The Old Ones
In the archives of occult societies and in the oral traditions of the oldest societies, one can find tales and warnings about beings that are stranger and more dangerous than any spirit, demon, or undead. There are creatures that come from beyond Reality, from beyond the realms of existence itself. Their purposes are unfathomable. The ancient peoples had a name for their kind: the Mad Gods, the Great Old Ones, or the Beings from Outside.
Some of them can drive humans insane and tear down the fabric of Reality by their mere presence. Others seem to exist only to eat and consume all around them. A few of them show a degree of intelligence and willing malignancy. Those seem to wish to displace our Reality with their own.
The occultists who have studied them, often risking their lives and sanity doing so, believe these beings come from an altogether different plane of existence. Somewhere outside the order of things on both Earth and the Otherworlds. The Mad Gods may come from one alien plane of existence or from several. Since the powers and abilities of the Mad Gods vary widely, the second possibility may be the most likely case. Being creatures from beyond our Reality their intrusion in our worlds brings havoc and destruction just by their innate fundamental strangeness. They are like cancerous cells growing and slowly destroying a body. Or like black holes in the deepest pits of space sucking light and everything around them. Some are incredibly ancient and have visited our Reality in the past. Some occultists claim that the Mad Gods, or maybe only one or two of them, were responsible for the disasters that wiped out the dinosaurs on Earth and cleansed the planet Mars of all life. Once manifested in full force these beings are almost impossible to destroy. Even pure Essence is often not enough.
Fortunately for our existence, even beings like these have to follow some rules. Breaking the barriers between our Reality and the Outside is incredibly difficult. It requires not only enormous power, but the willing connivance of living beings from our own Reality. Most beings from our Reality from the holiest Sentinel to the most depraved Vampire and jaded demon, are repulsed by and afraid of the Mad Gods. Only the utterly deluded or insane will willingly cooperate with these beings. Why some humans give themselves up to beings who embody only madness and destruction baffles some Gifted, but there are always willing cultists to perform the obscene rites of summoning necessary.
For all their terrible power and strangeness, the Old Ones are further hampered from intruding into our Reality by the fact that these beings do not work as a group. It appears that there are many enmities among these beings and their minions. Some Mad Gods are as strange and alien to others as they are to us. Although playing a Mad God and its minions against another is theoretically possible, their incomprehensible natures make such tasks very difficult and likely to backfire on the perpetrators.
The actual shapes of the Mad Gods differ from one to the next. They are almost always inhuman and revolting. Their true shapes are believed to be impossible for humans to behold. What we see and sense is nothing more than our mind’s best efforts to cope with a sight we were not meant to envisage. Thus the Mad Gods often appear to be made of rotting or decaying flesh. They reek of corruption and death. Their forms often have multiple limbs or sensory organs, to represent their alien abilities and senses. Some appear to be moving pools of utter darkness or radiant feverish heat. In all their forms, they inspire in those from our Reality a feeling of utter horror of being confronted with something that has no place in our order of being.