Lord of the shepherds

In the heart of Haïta the illusions of youth had not been supplanted by those of age and experience. His thoughts were pure and pleasant, for his life was simple and his soul devoid of ambition. He rose with the sun and went forth to pray at the shrine of Hastur, the god of shepherds, who heard and was pleased.

Haïta the Shepherd, Ambrose Bierce, 1891

Night fell and the hours dragged on, but still we murmured to each other of the King and the Pallid Mask, and midnight sounded from the misty spires in the fog-wrapped city. We spoke of Hastur and of Cassilda, while outside the fog rolled against the blank window-panes as the cloud waves roll and break on the shores of Hali.

The King in Yellow, Robert William Chambers, 1895

I found myself faced by names and terms that I had heard elsewhere in the most hideous of connections—Yuggoth, Great Cthulhu, Tsathoggua, YogSothoth, R’lyeh, Nyarlathotep, Azathoth, Hastur, Yian, Leng, the Lake of Hali, Bethmoora, the Yellow Sign, L’mur-Kathulos, Bran, and the Magnum Innominandum.

The Whisperer in Darkness, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, 1931
a tentacled thing with a mass of eyes on it's head, and butterfly shaped bat wings on it's back
Hastur by Brad Hicks

Hastur is turned towards the lonely souls who do their day’s work in remote and deserted places. Or to the introverted creative spirits who pursue their profession with strength of will and of their own accord. People who lead or drive, he shows himself well-disposed; weak and wavering individuals he will impose his will like sheep and sacrifice them for his purposes.

Hastur is a cruel being who appears in many guises. Even those who follow him and are at his service pay a high price for it, for Hastur brings madness to the people. Along the way, he leads the weak from one mindless abomination to another. Those who serve him may look upon the burning remnants of decency and sanity in this apocalypse – only to stand at the end of the road before the great, empty nothingness that was once their life.


Great Old One: The being is so powerful that it exists and acts outside of the human imagination system. Therefore, it does not have values and the game master freely decides the consequences of a direct contact with this being. However, an encounter usually means certain death or madness for humans.

Yellow Sign: Hastur’s mark, used by his faithful shepherds to separate themselves from the sheep. If looked at for too long, it has a corrosive effect on the mind and is accompanied by a loss of 1W4 SAN per minute. Exactly what this sign looks like seems to be a mystery. Possibly it changes and adapts to the mind of each observer. The only certainty seems to be that it has found many imitators, though the true Yellow Sign can always be created by Hastur’s will alone.

Favor of Hastur: A few are granted the favor of Hastur and gain frightening power through the Great Old One. Rumor has it that such individuals are able to manipulate others psychologically and physically through their knowledge and certain rituals (see Control of the Weak). However, the price of marching in the front line of the Army of the Insane is high: you lose 1W4 SAN per week. This continues until there are no bonds left and all motivation has been extinguished. The respective mental disorders when the stress limit is reached are to be chosen in the context of Hastur.

Control of the Weak: Hastur has the ability to manipulate, even control, weak individuals. This ranges from changing a mood, to prescribing thoughts and ways of thinking, to performing concrete deeds and actions. If the victim is aware of such manipulation, which requires an INT × 5 test or psychology, he or she can defend against it with an POW × 5 test. This ability is sometimes granted to Hastur’s minions as well.

Cult of the Yellow Sign: Throughout the world there are individuals who are in Hastur’s favor and serve the Great Old One’s purposes. Their distinguishing mark is the Yellow Sign, and they all stand ready when the Lord of Shepherds calls.

Unnatural Knowledge (+1d20): An encounter with this entity necessarily increases the player character’s Unnatural Knowledge by +1d20 points. The player character then simultaneously loses sanity points equal to this amount and suffers the usual consequences. No Stability trial protects against this trait. Unnatural Knowledge occurs immediately after the regular Stability trial and regardless of its result.

Yog-Sothothery: Hastur is often associated with Carcosa, the city on Lake Hali ruled by a yellow-masked king. But whether Hastur resides there and what connections he has with other Great Old Ones remains hidden from most people.

Just as the shepherd protects his sheep until they are sheared or go to the slaughter, Hastur may protect those who might once be useful to him as mass victims. But those in his favor may catch a glimpse of the future when Hastur has brought madness upon the world.

HASTUR, Lord of the shepherds

Sanity Loss: 1d10/1d100 (see also Unnatural Knowledge).

This creature description is translated from the German version published by FHTAGN-RPG.

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