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The Old Ones are ancient eldritch beings predating Earth and even, for some of them, the universe itself. Many Old Ones dwelt on Earth in the distant past.[1] They are also known as the "Great Old Ones",[4][5] "Many-Angled Ones",[3] "Elder gods",[11][1] "Elder Ones", "Outsiders",[14] "Dark Ones",[14] or "dark gods"[11] (to add to the confusion, other groups have also been known as "Elder Ones", "Dark Gods" or "Elder Gods", and even "Old Ones").

They were led by a certain number of Old Ones, including Shuma-Gorath,[31] True Faery King Oberoth'm'gozz,[16] and Yog-Sothoth, as Sehdoula,[14] while both Shuma-Gorath[32] and Chthon were considered the greatest of the Old Ones.[5] The hierarchy among the Old Ones, if any, is currently unknown.

Many ancient books mentions them and specifically (sometimes strictly) Shuma-Gorath, including Unausprechlichen Kulten, the Thanatosian Tomes, and the Black Sea Scrolls.[33]

In Earth-616, modern author Lovecraft wrote on the subject of the Old Ones, about the True Faeries,[16] while his Earth-1610 counterpart wrote at least on the subject of Zvilpogghua and the great old ones.[15]



Despite being sometimes described as a race[11][29] and to have common elements in origin, there is no evidence that the Old Ones are one and the same race.[1]

The origins of the Old Ones are unclear, and various:

  • They have been described as "extradimensional demonic"[29] beings.
    • The Many-Angled Ones were described as primordial cosmic entities that inhabited the spaces between universes. They were reported as the memory-echoes of the nightmares that plagued the first Daemons, but there were ancient, pestilential ghoul-worlds in dying realities still devoted to their worship. They were documented as the first beings ever to grow old.[17]
  • The Old Ones were described as "primordial beasts" made of antimatter, and to be the embodiment of nothingness, absence of meaning, and thus evil beings.[28]
  • Asteroth claimed to had been born from the Chaos of creation, and to be "the blood and tears of the Universe".[34] It is known that she belonged to a race of cosmic beings.[35]
  • The True Faeries were stated to be the Old Ones Lovecraft wrote about.[16]
  • Despite the general "extradimensional" origin, some Old Ones are known or hypothesized to be originated from Earth:

A few groups of beings named Old Ones have been identified seemingly as seemingly consistent species:

  • The star-headed Old Ones were a species that came from space and established themselves on Earth, building massive cities.[39]
  • The True Faeries are a species of squid-headed, insect-winged humanoid, wrote about in the Modern Age as the Old Ones.[16]

They were led by a certain number of Old Ones, including Shuma-Gorath,[31] True Faery King Oberoth'm'gozz,[16] and Yog-Sothoth, as Sehdoula,[14] while Chthon was considered the greatest of the Old Ones.[5] The hierarchy among the Great Old Ones is currently unknown.

The Ancients, a similar group,[1] may (or may not)[11] be contemporary with, or a sub-set of the Old Ones.[1]

Prehistory and distant past

The Old Ones (as well as the Great Race of Yith) partially wrote the Pnakotic Manuscripts.[40] They also created the Wings of Needless Sorrow, an energy-absorption and -redirection device with also negative impact on people's moral,[41] and brought to Earth the Shining Trapezohedran.[42]

According to lore, the Old Ones populated all existence before the act of creation.[28] The Nameless Old Ones allegedly ruled the universe a billion eons before the birth of Gayomar, the first of all men.[23] Shuma-Gorath and other Old Ones came million years ago, ruling the Earth and feasting on the ape-men.[43]

They were known to love fire, blood, degradation, sacrifice and death, all which the mortals were utterly willing to give them.[44]

In their time, the demon N'Garthl walked the Earth, while man was "but a cowering pawn in the shadow of creatures vile beyond imagining".[45]


Many events happened led to the disappearance of most of the Old Ones from Earth and the Universe:

  • On Earth:
    • More than 1 million years ago,[46] Shuma-Gorath was banished from the Earth-realm by the time-traveling sorcerer Sise-Neg, along with allegedly "all of the Old Ones".[3]
    • 1 million years ago, two groups of gods fought. One side, led by Chthon, lost, and were banished away.[5]
    • Many others existed on Earth or were summoned, but most of those were slain or driven off,[1] stated to currently slumber in the sea, waiting to reawaken.[47]
    • During a vision, Victoria Montesi, the daughter of Chthon, stated that the Old Ones were consumed,[48] though the statement was made without any context.
    • At an unknown point, the Old Ones, possibly including Cthulhu, were reborn in a different form, into one simple spiritual entity, the source of all persecution, toxic pride and true depravity: God when his name was invoked in hatred. They assumed various identities, including Ra, prayed by the Egyptians for him to keep the slaves in line and themselves wealthy. When the name "God" was invoked in hatred, the ignrant fueled the word's opposite meaning. This tale was told in opposition to the Old Ones fleeing to an alternate dimension,[28] although it is established many did, under different circumstances.
    • The star-headed Old Ones living in the Mountains of Madness, in Leng, were killed by their slaves, the Shoggoths.[39]
  • Asteroth was exiled by her own race into a "cosmic Hell".[35]
  • In Earth-1610, Zvilpogghua was allegedly cast into "The Abyss", the N-Zone, by the ancestors of Atlantis and the Old Gods.[15]

Despite the general disappearance of many Old Ones from activity (through death, extradimensional removal, slumber) due to the various events mentioned up here, part of them remained present and active on the Earth plane.

Pre-Cataclysmic Age

As far as 20,000 BC, the Old Ones were worshiped in the Temple of the Old Ones of the City of the Winged One (near Hyborian Age's River Zarkheba in Kush). Beneath that city, they planted traps to protect their treasures.[49]


Hyborian Age

During the Hyborian Age, the Old Ones as a group were unknown of many,[49] and.were considered dead.[50] Some Old Ones were sometimes invoked or even summoned or already present on the Earth plane. A few were even gods of cities and official religions.

Invocations and secret worship

To avenge himself from Captain Lupus Dalvalte who tortured him, left him for dead and stole his daughters, Reimos allegedly entered in contact with the Old Ones, the Black Gods of R'Lyeh, the Goat with a Thousand Young and the children of Great Cthulhu, who offered him his spider-infested castle.[51]

Gods of cities and official religions

Gol-Goroth[52] (also known as Gol-Gorth) was the god of darkness in the city of Bal-Sagoth. His cult was administered by the high priest Gothan, and an indestructible idol of him existed within the city. His worship was outlawed by Kyrie who posed and was worshiped as Aala, the sea goddess.[53] Afterwards, Gol-Goroth manifested itself into Bal-Sagoth before the city's destruction.[52]

Thog, the Ancient, was worshiped in the city of Xuthal.[54]

In Zemizar, in Zamora, the Goat God was known as Sahb Delanzar, and was a major religion of the city. The Brotherhood of Sahb Delanzar tried to gather the Thousand Young (the One Thousand sacrifices who would constitute the leaders of Sahb Delanzar's avenging army when it would return to claim and/or consume Earth). That plan was foiled by Conan of Cimmeria.[9]

5,800 BC

The Unforgiven Dead (also known themselves as the Old Ones), led by Suma-Ket, worshiped the Old Ones.[29]


One of the last active Old One, the Beast-God, lived in the kingdom of Vanaria and was offered sacrifices. He was killed by Beowulf who later killed his ghost-form as well, destroying him.[55]

Modern Age

The Old Ones' origin was seemingly unknown to the neophytes of this era,[42] though they were still active.

20th century

Lovecraft's writings

At the time of World War I, a man, stranded on the sea after a German sea raid, eventually found himself on an island in the South Pacific, inhabited by fishmen who worshiped Dagon and offered him sacrifices in the form of fish and drowned men. He witnessed the horrible sacrificial ceremony and by the coming of Dagon, and was subsequently rendered insane by the experience. The man managed to flee the island and found himself in San Francisco, where he tried to learn more about what he had seen, and wrote down his story, until he was found back by the fishmen. That story was later published by H.P. Lovecraft, with the man as narrator, under the title "Dagon".[56]

Lovecraft also wrote about the True Faeries, who were known to him as the Old Ones,[16] while his Earth-1610 counterpart wrote at least on the subject of Zvilpogghua and the great old ones.[15]

Shuma-Gorath's return

Shuma-Gorath's servant N'Gabthoth awakened, only to be defeated and killed by Doctor Strange.[25] Strange soon also killed Kathulos, who served Shuma-Gorath as well.[57]

Later, while fighting Urthona, Strange was forced to destroy many objects of powers to swipe his enemy, but in doing so released many ancient evils[58] (including the water elemental of the Ancients,[59] and the Old Ones,[citation needed] called "ancient evils"[59] or "old horrors").[citation needed] Strange finally helped Jacob Roark relinquish his magical energies which were keeping together a "thing" from R'lyeh that assaulted him, causing the vanishing of the creature.[60]

The Many-Angled Ones whispered their influence to the Captain Marvel of Earth-10011 on his deathbed and convinced him to initiate the ritual of Necropsy that destroyed the avatar of Death and released the Angled-Ones into the universe's plane of existence, causing his universe to eventually become known as the Cancerverse.[17]


21th century

Asteroth, Chthon and Shuma-Gorath attended the Devil's Advocacy meeting where the demons discussed of the threat posed by the Serpent.[62]


Level of Technology: The Old Ones created artifacts of power, including the Shining Trapezohedran and the Wings of Needless Sorrow.
Representatives: Cthulhu and Shuma-Gorath are considered as archetypal Old Ones.[1] Both Shuma-Gorath[32] and Chthon were considered the greatest of the Old Ones.[5]

A few among them have been told to lead their brethren:

See also the list of known Old Ones.

Some beings might be Old Ones, though it hasn't been confirmed so far:

Among the many entities' names invoked by the denizens of the Cancerverse, and presumably those of the Many-Angled Ones, were Kthl, Yot-Soter, Shuma-Gorath, Nyerlathortech, Llehk, Yoggor, and Yoth.


  • The Old Ones are demons of the Third Class, and are considered to be key elements[64] and the most notable[1] among that class.
  • Despite common elements in origin, there is no evidence that the Old Ones are one and the same race.[1]
    • However, they have been described as a race on occasions.[11][29]
  • The status of Old One hasn't been seen so far to be transmitted to their direct descendants: The Dweller-in-Darkness (spawn of Cthulhu), Khosatral Khel and Dagoth (spawns of the possible Old One Dagon) have never been stated to be Old Ones themselves as far.
  • Many of the Old Ones' names end with the syllable "-oth", a constat that led Ian McNee to suspect Hoggoth to be himself an Old One.[2]

Original creation


Additionally to straight-out appearances, the Old Ones have also appeared as pastiches of some of the original Old Ones.

A few groups of beings have been introduced, who are either more or less inspired by the Old Ones, or are them, yet unconfirmed:

Confusion around the name

See Also

Links and References


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Marvel Zombies Handbook #1; Demons' entry
  2. 2.0 2.1 Marvel Tarot #1; The Inner Planes
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Marvel Fact Files #46; Shuma-Gorath's article
  4. 4.0 4.1 Blockbusters of the Marvel Universe #1; Appendix: Ascent into Hell's entry
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Carnage Vol 2 #14
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Thanos Imperative #5
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Annihilation - Scourge: Fantastic Four #1
  8. Namor the Sub-Mariner #37
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Savage Sword of Conan #125; At the Altar of the Goat God
  10. 10.0 10.1 Savage Sword of Conan #164; The Slithering God
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #8; N'Garai's entry
  12. Doctor Strange #388
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Thanos Imperative #6
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 Savage Sword of Conan #152; Valley Beyond the Stars
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Ultimate Fantastic Four #31
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 16.8 Thunderbolts Annual Vol 2 #1
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Thanos Imperative #3
  18. Savage Sword of Conan #64; The Children of Rhan
  19. Fantastic Four Annual #33
  20. Namor the Sub-Mariner #38
  21. 4 #26
  22. All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #1; Atlantis's entry
  23. 23.0 23.1 Conan the Barbarian Annual #7
  24. Savage Sword of Conan #126; The Mercenary
  25. 25.0 25.1 Marvel Premiere #6
  26. Avengers #352
  27. Doctor Strange Vol 2 #45
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Moon Knight #191
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #11; Suma-Ket's entry
  30. Heroic Age: Villains #1; Cancerverse's entry
  31. 31.0 31.1 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #18; Shuma-Gorath's entry
  32. 32.0 32.1 Wolverine: First Class #12
  33. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic #1; Appendix; Tomes
  34. Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill #4
  35. 35.0 35.1 Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill #5
  36. Conan: Serpent War #1
  37. Savage Sword of Conan #30; The Scarlet Citadel
  38. All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update #3; Annunaki's entry, Dagon's and Ea's paragraphs
  39. 39.0 39.1 Conan the Savage #4
  40. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic #1; Appendix; Tomes; Pnakotic Manuscripts
  41. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic #1; Talismans of Mystic Power; The Wings of Needless Sorrow
  42. 42.0 42.1 Journey into Mystery Vol 2 #4; The Haunter of the Dark
  43. 43.0 43.1 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #18; Shuma-Gorath's entry
  44. Strange Tales Vol 2 #8
  45. Savage Sword of Conan #135; Three Lives for N'Garthl
  46. The First Host occurred 1,000,000 years ago per Marvel Zombies Handbook #1's Set's entry, while Uncanny X-Men Annual #1989 picture the pre-humans who benefited from Sise-Neg going through the First Host
  47. Strange Tales Vol 2 #4; Walk on the Wild Side!
  48. Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins #9
  49. 49.0 49.1 Conan the Barbarian #100
  50. Savage Sword of Conan #162
  51. Conan the Barbarian #141
  52. 52.0 52.1 Conan the Barbarian #18
  53. Conan the Barbarian #17
  54. Savage Sword of Conan #20
  55. Tower of Shadows #6
  56. Haunt of Horror: Lovecraft #1; Dagon
  57. Marvel Premiere #8
  58. Strange Tales Vol 2 #1
  59. 59.0 59.1 Strange Tales Vol 2 #2
  60. Strange Tales Vol 2 #19
  61. 4 #27
  62. Journey into Mystery #627
  63. Marvel Legacy: The 1970s Handbook #1; Psyklop's entry
  64. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #18; Appendix: Demon classes, Class III
  65. Many-angled ones on Wikipedia
  66. Lloigor (Cthulhu Mythos race) on Wikipedia
  67. Carnage Vol 2 #4
  68. Carnage Vol 2 #15
  69. Savage Sword of Conan #40; A Gazetteer of the Hyborian Age: Valusia's entry
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