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The Chill Mythos

Things in Vincent

Menaces are (usually) physical manifestations of the Unknown - the demi-god, Iblis, best exemplifies this (it simply wills itself back to the Unknown rather than die - Things, p. 61) - and their Disciplines are manipulations of the same. CMs do not have to roll for success whenever a Creature employs an Evil Way Discipline unless the Menace does not have enough WPR to perform the feat. In those cases, the Check is modified by the difference between the WPR he possesses and that he needs. For example, a Thing with WPR 35 trying to employ Fleshcrawl (50 WPR/use - p. 159) would test (p. 152) at -15.

Even though Creatures do not usually have to roll to employ their powers, their
Evil Way Disciplines (EWD) are pure manipulations of the Unknown, as are they; Menaces do not, and cannot, have Psionic powers. As a general rule, neither can Agents (who sometimes learn EWD) - it just makes things easier. Of course, psychics can be Evil... or even just assholes.

Chill vs. Call of Cthulhu

[Lovecraft's] fictional universe is entirely dominated by varying degrees of evil... the only thing preventing Lovecraft's horrors from wiping out all of mankind is the insignificance of humanity."

             -
Chill Companion, p. 19

Chill is most often compared to Call of Cthulhu - with good reason - though the comparison is not really fair to either game. CoC is, after all, dedicated to Lovecraft's work - not just primarily but specifically - and this is reflected by the system; in CoC, the odds are literally stacked against the PCs, as their foes are actual deities. This makes playing with more conventional and traditional horror menaces and elements nigh impossible. While it can be done, Chill's system is far better suited.

This has often been the crux of the comparisons: Chill is better suited to "traditional" horror, while CoC remains the definitive horror RPG if for no other reason than that Lovecraftian horrors are generally more frightening than, say, a Mean Old Neighbor Lady (p.
222). Carrying it further in this direction, CoC also got marks for the Cthulhu Mythos itself; Chill was often derided as a catch-all for horror which lay outside the Cthulhu Mythos.

However, Chill has its own Mythos - a Mythos just as rich as Lovecraft's, albeit with a much wider scope and range - and it's surprising no one has ever commented on it. At the top of this pyramidical hierarchy set two truly deific Menaces which must, by rote, be included in every campaign, even if never employed or encountered. Beneath them lay a handful of minor deities. And all of these Menaces set atop the Elementals, Minions, and Servitor races. As readers of The OddBlog will guess, the Elementals are Daemons, though they are generally directly tied to one of the four primary elements of nature in the context of this game.

The Elemental Gods

"Gods" is a bit of a misnomenclature, though most of these Things were, and are, the subject of worship, fear, and disbelief. The Lord of the Plains, the Wiesert, the Zombie Master, and others are the purest essence of a culmination of extreme emotions and concepts mixed with the Unknown - primal, physical manifestations - or Elementals. There are many Elementals and True Elementals, but the four basic Elements - Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire - are portrayed by Creatures of the Unknown in the canon, as are several more.

The Pyramid of Power

Not all Menaces and Things are on the Earth at the same time. Some exist purely in the Unknown, while others only sometimes manifest or can barely muster the physical dimension. Those Menaces have learned from their mistakes and made uneasy alliances to ensure they remain in the physical dimension. Most of these creatures are Masters, though several Independents make the list; Servitors occupy the lowest bricks on the Pyramid of Power.

The Deceiver
and Zombie Master are almost equally powerful, as noted in the
CHiLL 2nd-Ed. core rulesbook, and they jointly occupy the top tier of the Pyramid of Power. Beneath them come the True Elementals, and beneath those dark gods are the various other entities that make-up the ChiLL pantheon, with Servitors providing the numerous "bricks" of the base.

Outside of the game (OOG), the Chill Mythos is a tool to help CMs organize their campaign and setting, and choose proper Things for their parties and envoys to face. Choosing to exclude it within the game seems kind of silly; the books clearly indicate that S.A.V.E. has already classified some of these Menaces as "the most clever," "most evil," and so on. PCs should not be privy to the entire pyramid, but even the thickest envoy will quickly realize a Goblin (
Things, p. 55) isn't half the headache of an Alpine Vampire (Vampires, p. 27)! Such a Mythos and chain of command will soon present itself through campaign play, whether or not you choose to include The Chill Mythos.

Why is it "Necessary" to Include Any of This?

Technically speaking, you do not have to include the Chill Mythos in your campaign. Again, Chill was written to accommodate a wide array of play options, and many elements can be disregarded simply by ignoring them. Excluding the S.A.V.E. organization from your campaigning is but one example of how flexible the system is; though the original edition (Pacesetter, or 1st-Ed.) included S.A.V.E. as a matter of course, leaving it out of later editions is literally as easy as telling players it doesn't exist! The same can be done for the Mythos, though it would be to the detriment of your game.

Simply put, if your campaign has no overall theme or connecting references, it isn't an actual "campaign," just a series of one-shots. There's nothing wrong with this, and using the Mythos doesn't exclude one-off adventures, but for those wanting more continuity, either the S.A.V.E. organization or the Mythos - or both - should be used. The Chill Mythos can also be viewed as a breakdown of the Creatures of the Unknown by power and affluence. This breakdown can be presented as in-game information (perhaps culled by the research of S.A.V.E. envoys and compiled by the inner-most archivists working daily at any of the many S.A.V.E. outposts throughout the world).

Whether or not you include the Mythos as part of your campaign, the Creatures still exist. The short form is: if you include The Deceiver, you are including the Mythos. This is not meant to force your hand - you can still pick and choose amongst the Mythos, or manipulate it however you like - but the Mythos is already present in the books, I just gave it a name. While some of this material is an extrapolation of the rules set, it is mostly an effort to collect and organize the Creatures presented in the canon, in terms of power, and examine their individual backgrounds in relation to one another. These relationships constitute the mythology.

One of the purposes of these articles is to give your games a common theme above and beyond mere "do-gooding" and generalized horror-hunting. This can be accomplished by including S.A.V.E., but said organization is admittedly campy as written (which is why few CMs use it).

1 The Chill Mythos can provide the underlying framework for your campaigns instead of S.A.V.E., the mythology of the Unknown (with or without S.A.V.E.), or just serve as a yardstick against which to measure other Menaces (in the game and/or outside of it).
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