The following was submitted by Chuck Z, following a thread on GOO motives:
A friend of mine and I were discussing what we would do if black magic was real, he told me I could expect to see him in hooded robes, chanting aloud from a blasphemous tome. How many people would chuck their faith out the window for a piece of the action? I believe enough people to keep investigators knee deep in cultists from now 'till the beetles take over. Why isn't everyone in Lovecraft's world a cultist? Perhaps, for the most part, humanity is simply too squeamish to make useful instruments. Maybe we are viewed as an excellent source of POW, entertainment, cheap labor, breeding stock, and protein just the way we are. Or maybe we are unworthy as a species to have that much attention paid to us.
Steve Dustin replied:
1>If you made your cultist's motivations distinctly human, that is, centered on human needs to be loved and belong just like everyone else, then the obvious extension is: how much are your cultists like your investigators, and what is the chance your investigators becoming your cultists? This might be an old tired idea for most of you, but fear of insanity still scares lots of people.
2>If the Great Old Ones exploit the same weaknesses over and over, couldn't that place them behind some of the biggest events in history, without having to expend much effort? You could always make a case for Hitler as being a plant (a shoggoth lord, maybe?) but I'm thinking about other events, more chaotic, less purposeful, to the point of being needless. WWI pops immediately to mind. Millions of people died, and in all honesty, for what? Smacks of the Great Old Ones wanting to further human suffering to me.
3>Ok, this idea is a little more concert and less vague. If humans are malleable for the Great Old Ones, then why is that? I prefer to blame the Elder Things. I know we were supposedly created by accident by the crinoid ones, but what would it have taken them to come back early on and tinker with our genetic code, placing a set of triggers which to easily manipulate us? In 'At the Mountains of Madness' the Elder Things just seem to be scientists, but what about in 'Dreams in the Witch-House'? They appear to be pretty malovolent (I don't think I spelt that right) there. What exactly did happen to poor Gilman? Maybe it was the triggers in his brain they were manipulating. This, of course, totally blows away any sense of safety for anyone in CoC.
There are of course holes in all of this. Chuck Z already pointed out one:
> Why isn't everyone in Lovecraft's world a cultist?
I would venture to guess that one of the Great Old Ones' motivations with humanity is to increase human suffering. If everyone was a cultist, it is likely that no one would be suffering. Most cultists overt schemes are always seem vengeful, spiteful and evil. I like to thing that cultists main schism with the rest of us is the fact they don't belong, and therefore want to 'get back at us.' If everyone was a cultist, there would be no one to get back at.
And my final note (this goes along with another thread that has been floating around here) why do the Great Old Ones care?
> Maybe we are viewed as an excellent source of POW, entertainment, cheap labor, breeding stock, and protein just the way we are.
These are all good points. I think though, invariably, that to assign concrete motivations to the Great Old Ones is kind of like looking at the face of God--a complete mystery. What's the standard answer when people ask about the why's concerning God? "Our feeble human mind cannot even begin to comprehend why God does what he does. It's just part of his plan." I prefer to take that route, in the big picture, with the Great Old Ones. When you're talking about entities whose lives have spanned galaxies and millions of years, you could expect that much.
> Or maybe we are unworthy as a species to have that much attention paid to us.
I think that's entirely possible. If we're pre-programmed already, as I mentioned earlier, then why couldn't it be that every so often, the Great Old Ones just jump down for a few moments (a lunch break so to speak), tinker a little and then just let us go on autopilot? It seems a lot of history was inevitable long before it occurs (you got WWI which lead to WWII which lead to the Cold War . . .). I imagine it doesn't take the Great Old Ones much to have humanity perpetuate misery upon itself.
>3>Ok, this idea is a little more concert and less vague. If humans are malleable for the Great Old Ones, then why is that? I prefer to blame the Elder Things.
I suppose that it has something to do with the way our brain works, since ghouls seem to be as 'malleable'. In a system as complex as the human body, it is likely that the Elder Things never realized the possible weakness. Do keep in mind that their methods seem almost as backwards as our, since what they do to the dogs for examination is dissection.
>In 'At the Mountains of Madness' the Elder Things just seem to be scientists, but what about in 'Dreams in the Witch-House'? They appear to be pretty malovolent (I don't think I spelt that right) there.
Something about Lovecraft that never quite fit was that most races seemed to take a racial approach to things: al Byakhee serve Nodens, all Mi-Go behave in a certain way, all ghouls worship the Charnel God, etc. Since, as has been pointed out on this list, the Elder Things are the race that is probably closest to the human race in a psychological frame, why wouldn't there be both good and bad ETs? It is only reasonable that even if most of the race are scientists, there are one or two in a crowd that would rather deal with Nyarlathotep than tinker with mechanisms and DNA.
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