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Cthulhu's North America by QuantumBranching Cthulhu's North America by QuantumBranching
In 2011 - two hundred years ago - the Stars Were Right. R’lyeh arose, and the most psychic 20% of mankind either went mad from fear or went gleefully psychotic. The seas arose and billions of Deep Ones flooded ashore. Unimaginable things emerged from beneath the ground, and darkness fell upon the Earth.

Nuclear weapons could at most annoy Great Cthulhu himself and destroy some of his stuff, but a sufficient number of them could in theory wipe out most of humanity and deprive him of subjects, as well as doing a serious number on his oceanic minions. A rump US and Russia managed to negotiate a tenuous armistice on the basis of “you don’t eat our brains, we don’t blow up the world to spite you.”

Two centuries passed. The continent underlying R’lyeh arose further, and the seas penetrated deeper inland. The spawn of the Great Old Ones multiplied and built monstrous cities across the face of the earth. The wild shoggoths of the sub-Antarctic were taught obedience with a little trouble. Some disputes with distantly related horrors deep within the earth were resolved with the death of only a few tens of millions of humans, mostly from famine, although some through submersion in hot magma.

Now, the world is mostly ruled by the heirs of the Cthulhu Cult and opportunistic evil bastards and mages, an all-powerful priesthood whose rule as “shepherds” of the human flock includes slaughterhouse delivery and whose rule is backed by divine retribution far more swift and sure than any previous variety. Mass human sacrifice is the norm, although the details of how the various human states are ruled are of no great concern to Cthulhu and the other Great Old Ones which are his “family” and friends. Bloodlust, violence and weird sex are the social norm: close influence of the Great Old Ones may lead to power, but it leads to madness or monsterism in the long run, and as for those too psychically insensitive or strong to be driven mad by the general psychic background, they are reduced to a state of foggy placidity by various foul magics.

Technology is an odd mix, mass slave labor and 20th century hardware, cities more monumental than New York but no computers, the occasional odd bit of unearthly super-science and the use of weird forces best called “magic.” The Great Old Ones prefer their subjects and soul-munchies ignorant: research, scientific or otherwise, is not encouraged.

The star-spawn and associated horrors – Cthulhuoids (like the big C, but smaller: think classic King Kong vs. Godzilla), shoggoths, night-gaunts, zombies and litches, Hounds of Tindalos and Deep Ones large and small, Colossal Worms, worm-men etc. – inhabit and build the monster cities of dubious geometry that disfigure the face of the Earth. What everyday life (or undeath) is like in these cities is unknown – like a roach motel unto Blattidae, humans check in but do not check out. There is often but not always a full Great Old One in residence in the central temple complex; Cthulhu generally stays in R’lyeh, although he occasionally visits his human subjects for a little Al Fresco dining and to remind his human subjects Who’s the God?

The huge polygonal region surrounded by 2000-foot walls remains wrapped in impenetrable darkness, while the Atlantic Vortex is quite visible but equally unexplainable: and these are only two of seven equally vast and obscure projects the Great Old Ones and their servants have created in the last few decades.

These developments worry the Democratic Human Republic of America, which has made determination of their nature a top priority. After a long period of instability and various withdrawals in the face of irresistible pressure, the Democratic Human Republic of America has managed to achieve some stability: there hasn’t been a pro-Cthulhu revolt above pants-bomber levels of competence in decades. Given existential despair at the continued non-appearance of Jesus & Co., and the frequency with which the religious-minded were befooled by the Great Old Ones, the theocratic rule of the Republic’s early decades failed to sustain itself, and has been replaced by a ruthless scientific atheism as the creed of the Republic. Although the Government’s refusal to call a spade a spade or Black Magic Black Magic is perhaps a weakness, the insistence on the non-demonic nature of the Great Old Ones and the eventual scientific explicability of all their mysterious powers is something of a spine-bracer.

Powered by fusion reactors, bristling with atomic weapons, and recycling every scrap (there’s not exactly much trade with the rest of the world, although a lot of smuggling), the Republic is more democratic than it used to be, but is still a fearfully regimented society, in which any deviation from the Rules for survival is punished ruthlessly. Psychic sensitivity is tested from infancy, and all “susceptibles” are required to wear protective head-gear (aluminum-foil lined and marked with certain ancient symbols) whenever outside. (All buildings are heavily psychically shielded as a matter of course). Constant closed circuit monitoring for signs of Alien Influence is an accepted norm, as are physical and blood tests for signs of Monsterism.

There has been a return to space, although made risky by the fact that most of the Great Old Ones and many of their minions can move through space with little difficulty (How Not to be Seen is an important part of space science: low-flying spy satellites in particular tend to cease working rather abruptly, especially when passing over R’lyeh).

The Republic is not entirely alone in a world of Cthlhu-worshippers: radio communications remain open with the New Russian Empire. Other forms of communication are trickier: it takes a brave and highly skilled individual to travel undercover through the slave nations, boats and subs are too easily noticed by the Deep Ones, and planes are also rather visible (and taking a detour through other dimensions always carries severe risk of attracting unwanted attention). Besides communications difficulties, relations with the Empire are inherently a bit shaky, given its far more open embrace of Black Magic and Abominations in their pursuit of survival. (There is considerable suspicion that the Fifth Putin, which has ruled for over fifty years, is no longer technically human).

There is also the Sultanate of Dust in the Arabian Desert: its inhabitants no longer look very human even on satellite photos, and they appear to have managed to remain independent through some sort of terrible pact with the even more powerful Outer Gods. (One of the more creatively decadent Saudi princes discovered that his multi-million dollar collection of blasphemous books and scrolls was actually useful while the world was coming to an end). Communications are understandably limited.

Other “free humans”, refugees from the Archonate, squat on the territory of the Mi-Go: the chance of being abducted and experimented on or even end up as a brain in a jar are probably higher than of becoming a snack or sacrifice back home, but at least the Mi-Go have no interest in governing humans or eating them, and as long as they stay away from the Mi-Go’s mining operations, they are free to pursue their primitive agricultural lifestyle unmolested. The Archons have complained to the Great Old Ones, but the Mi-Go do have a solid short-term (less than a million years) lease.

Other potential allies include the Chthonic Old Ones and the Outer Gods, but so far the Republic’s government has put them very solidly in the “Friends like These” category. There are also contacts with some discontented mages and dark creatures within the boundaries of Great Old One territory, who find that the Return of the Great Old Ones has not been nearly as cool or rewarding as promised or find being immortal and masters of life and death over millions does not make up for having the ultimate Boss From Hell. Special Intelligence has a new and very promising contact in New England, whom they just refer to as “the TOM…”

The Great Old Ones are not particularly concerned about the independent human states, although they are a bit miffed by the Outer Gods putting a tentacle in their pie. Two centuries are barely a blink of an eye to the immortal Old Ones: and in very little time (quite likely less, even, than another two centuries), certain plans will come to fruition, and the minor annoyances will end.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconpaireon:
paireon Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2015
I'm game for a bit of brainstorming if you ever want to expand/update the map. I've got ideas for the Cthonians (perhaps Bryan Lumley's sole interesting Mythos contribution IMO - the rest was pretty much just Derlethian "Good-vs-Evil" wankery; I mean seriously, giving a "good" brother to Cthulhu?) still having at least one sizeable realm on the surface (their leader Shudde-M'ell is also a Great Old One, after all), and even some possible changes/additions for North America in mind (remember the subterranean realms of K'n-yan, Yoth and N'kai? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%27n-ya… ). Probably a place for Hastur's Carcosa to superimpose on this reality could be found, and the Australian interior would be... less than hospitable. And while it's a few millenia too early for Tsan-Chan, there's no reason for the seeds of it future existence not to be planted. England would be one big Severn Valley, of course.

...Yeah, I have way too much free time. And I'm also way too pumped about the upcoming release of the Cthulhu Wars boardgame.
Reply
:icondaemonprinceofchaos:
daemonprinceofchaos Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014
Man this is amazing. 
Id love to see the rest of this world. 
Reply
:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014
One of these days.... :)
Reply
:iconbonnaught:
Bonnaught Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2014
Fantastic! I'm already shivering imagining what Ithaqua's followers can do controlling so much of the north!

What program did you use to create the map?
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:iconzarim:
Zarim Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2013
I once got a setting somewhat similar to this out of a Fiasco game's third act. It was terrifying.
Reply
:iconcurt-teh-murt:
Curt-teh-Murt Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2013  Student Interface Designer
I kinda skimmed the description (it's cool I'm just tired right now) but what happened to florida?
Reply
:iconscorpionlover42:
scorpionlover42 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013
This is utterly cool. I'm a fan of Lovecraft, and I can't help but wonder what he would think of this world where Cthulhu won.
Reply
:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013
Probably something along the lines of "Dude, you're taking my stuff waaay too seriously." :D
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:iconscorpionlover42:
scorpionlover42 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2013
Ha! More than likely.
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:iconsfrecon:
SFRecon Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Im finding this all incredibly interesting, but, can someone tell me what the hell this is!? A book? A conspiracy? Please!! I want to know more!?!
Reply
:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013
Just read these:

[link]

[link]

[link]

To start with. It'll give you some idea of the setting...
Reply
:iconhellhound01:
HellHound01 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012
What about the Tsan-Chan Empire?
Reply
:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012
That's from a timeline where Cthulhu _doesn't_ rise...or, in some fanon interpretations, where he does and everyone other than their ancestors dies of Cthulhu-inspired madness. (I'll note that in the story they first appear in, "The Shadow Out of Time", there is still an Australia with presumeably non-raving-mad physicists in the 2500s, which would seem to favor the "no-rising" theory). In any event, the Tsan-Chan aren't supposed to show up for a few millenia.
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:iconhellhound01:
HellHound01 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012
Well the Australian physicist was from 2500 A.D. I believe. While the Tsan-Chan Empire reaches the peak of its power in 5,000 A.D., which puts the stars right sometime between the two dates. In any case the map is great, I'm just a fuddy purest when it comes to the mythos.
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012
Thanks! I'm just saying that if you go with the Tsan-Chan as "post Cthulhu rises", then my scenario is an "alternate universe" in which the rising takes place earlier. After all, we can see from the original "Call of Cthulhu", the stars are presumeably already in position, what is required is access to R'lyeh for Cthulhu cultists.
Reply
:iconmadhatter3479:
MadHatter3479 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012
Very nice! I understood most of the references in you description except one. What story is "the TOM" from?
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012
"The Terrible Old Man" ( [link] )
Reply
:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner May 28, 2012
OH, sorry, my bad ignore the first post. But my god...this world must definitely suck.
Reply
:iconmdc01957:
mdc01957 Featured By Owner May 28, 2012
Wait. Russia and the US had nukes in 1811?!
Reply
:iconthefirstfleet:
thefirstfleet Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2012
Scary as eff, man! Nice!
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2012
Thanks!
Reply
:iconcaptwally:
Captwally Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2012
Are you going to continue this map in any way? I would like to see how fucked up the rest of the world is after Cthulhu's rising. Maybe Europe or Asia.
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2012
If the muse inspires me... :)
Reply
:iconryu238:
ryu238 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012
I think there was a book exploring the return of the old gods.
Reply
:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012
There was a recent anthology entitled "Cthulhu's Reign" ([link] ) - is that what you are thinking of?
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:iconryu238:
ryu238 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012
yes
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012
Read it. Some fairly good ones...
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:icon33k7:
33k7 Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2012
This is what happens if Chuck Norris didn't exist!!!
Reply
:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2012
Unfortunately, before Cthulhu arose Chuck Norris clashed with Mr. T, leading to mutual annihilation and the vaporization of Dallas, Texas.
Reply
:icon33k7:
33k7 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2012
lol!!!
Reply
:iconhhswn:
hhswn Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2011
Interesting, I've always imagined Cthulhu's rising to be more of an inescapable apocalypse that consumes the entire planet, but what you've created is grounded and frankly, makes sense. I never thought about the card mankind held with nuclear weapons, though I'd imagine he'd have his followers crack down on all existing missile silos to break the truce.

And, I haven't read any Lovecraft yet, but I've heard of one story where he's actually damaged by a ship, or something. He quickly regenerates though. That makes me think, is he really the end all of all monsters in media and legend? I mean, Godzilla's been unscratched by way worse than that, and he has comparable regeneration to boot. And if you think past the rubber suit monster fights,and think about what Godzilla started as, an unstoppable horror upon mankind, he could have fit nicely into a Lovecraftian setting as an equal to Cthulhu, at least in power.

Tl;dr, Cthulhu's an unstoppable force to humans, I get that, but a lot of theoretical discussions I've read seem to place him as an unstoppable force to EVERYTHING, even planet eaters like Galactus or whatever, and to that I'm not so sure. Would you agree with that?
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012
That's fanwank. Cthulhu's power level is frankly all over the place depending on who is writing him: since Lovecraft was fine with others writing "fanfic" in his settings, there have been many variations. Heck, Cthulhu isn't even consistent in the original Lovecraft, or even in the story itself: at one point his release will drive the whole world to madness, and then he gets blown up like a punctured Macy's Day balloon by a steamship (yes, he quickly reforms, but really?). And in "At the Mountains of Madness" Lovecraft presents Cthulhu and his kin as rather advanced aliens invading the ancient Earth rather than Gods (another advanced alien race known as the Elder Things successfully keep them out of their Antarctic homeland).

Meanwhile, in the various Cthulhu-themed stories, power levels and nature vary widely. For obvious reasons, such role playing games as "Call of Cthulhu" tend to build him up a bit. SF writer Charles Stross has Cthulhu (unnamed in "A Colder War", but we know who he is) shake off giant fusion bombs and suck all human souls on Earth into the "information space" of its mind. OTOH, in "Real Ghostbusters", Cthulhu is taken out by the New York power grid. So, when someone says "Cthulhu could take Galactus", you have to ask "which Cthulhu?" Quite a bit of it is essentially on the level of "Chuck Norris could..."

It is therefore reasonable to me to pick what attributes and power levels one sees fit for the story one is telling: Cthulhu in my setting is essentially an alien God, but with limits. His release is a world-shaking event, but just the earth and solar system have to worry: the universe as a whole, unimaginably huge and ancient, is unaffected. Susceptible folks go batshit when He wakes, but most just get gnarly dreams. He can surive an atomic blast (vaporized, but shortly reforming, pissed off and radioactive), but many of His servants can't. And so on. There are worse things than Him: Yog-Sothoth is even worse, and would strip the world clean of all life if released into this dimension, and to the mad, blind, idiot god of all demons, Azathoth, the whole solar system would be barely a snack.

I take the original Lovecraft stories as basically canon, but with some additions from his fans (the inhabitants of the arctic, for instance): my personal no-prize [link] explanation for the business with the boat is that it's not actual Cthulhu they run into, but some sort of ectoplasmic emanation of a still-sleeping Cthulhu - after all, if to wake him all that is needed is to knock on the door, why bother having a whole elaborate system of cultists?

BTW, the stories are all available on line: here, for instance...

[link]

(Be warned: there is considerable variation in quality)
Reply
:iconmangazach13:
mangazach13 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011
Sooo, the blue is where us cultists get to live?
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011
Nooo, the blue is the only place cultists _aren't_.
Reply
:iconmangazach13:
mangazach13 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
ooh, so what lives in the blue? this map confuses me so.
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
There is a description... :bookdiva:
Reply
:iconmangazach13:
mangazach13 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
ITS LIKE HALF A MILE LONG!
Reply
:iconepee102:
Epee102 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2011
Who is this TOM? ( sorry i dont read MUCH lovecraft..)
Awesome map.
Reply
:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2011
The "Terrible Old Man" [link]
Reply
:iconepee102:
Epee102 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2011
Thx. Btw any chance of us seeing the rest of this alternate world?
Reply
:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Maybe one of these days, but don't hold your breath. (Unless you are really, really good at it. :) )
Reply
:iconcelestialhost:
Celestialhost Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
What a fantastic bit of world-building!
Reply
:iconmaxwriter:
MaxWriter Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
Very cool. Glad I stumbled across this.
Reply
:iconked911:
ked911 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2010
Great job, this would be great background for an rpg, or any story for that matter.
Reply
:iconspazzreflex:
SpazzReflex Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
New World Capital in 'The Stand': Boulder, Colorado.
New Human capital: Boulder Colorado
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2010
A curious coincidence! :wow:
Reply
:iconrixshaw:
Rixshaw Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010  Professional General Artist
Beautifully crafted addition to the mythos. Well done.
Reply
:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010
Thanks!
Reply
:iconegg-zilla:
Egg-Zilla Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2010
Wow... That is cool, funny, and well-thought-out! The Mi-Go wouldn't have more land to themselves? Strange.

They should try contacting Yog-Sothoth and tell him that Cthulhu and his gang of miscreants are down here trying to kill all of his girlfriends.... He might wide up destroying the planet or rewinding time back to when Solar System was forming and un-birth everybody, but atleast he would be able to strike some fear into the Great Old Ones...
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2010
The Mi-Go also have territory "off-screen" in Tibet and elsewhere.

Oddly enough, the US and the Russians would prefer a method of victory that doesn't involve them all dying... :)
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