On the 4th Day of Cthulhu…

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DAY 4 – Great Old One on a Shelf

by | Dec 2, 2020

Year after year, children and adults alike are baffled by the mystery of how the Great Old Ones really know who’s been naughty or nice. After much investigation, Petersen Games has found out the truth – Great Old One on the Shelf. At the start of each holiday season, avatars of the Great Old Ones appear to spy on the children personally, traveling back to the Outer Reaches each and every night to make a detailed report of the day’s activities.

How does Great Old One on the Shelf work?

The quick answer is each day you put one of your Great Old One figures from Cthulhu Wars on the shelf, and then the Great Old One of the day terrorizes your kids by doing scary things around the house, hiding, and perhaps bringing little treats.

How to Start Great Old One on the Shelf?

  1. Get a Great Old One: if you don’t own Cthulhu Wars, you can get Great Old One figures from https://petersengames.com/miniatures/. You can have multiple Great Old Ones joining in the fun – just use a different one every day.
  2. Decorate your Great Old Ones. A fun cheap way to do this is to buy a ferret or lizard elf hat or a loop of ribbon and put it on the figure, or just stick a sprig of mistletoe or jingle bell into a tentacle loop.
  3. Pick when you want the Great Old Ones to start coming. Remember that one will need to show up daily once you start, till Christmas Eve.
  4. Choose some fun activities for the Great Old Ones to do. We like to have the kids search desperately through the house, trying to find the Great Old One. We also like to have the Great Old Ones keep appearing closer and closer to the presents under the tree¸or to their stockings, or whatever holiday activities you support.

Tell the Kids how Great Old One on the Shelf works!

Let them know that the Great Old Ones fly in from the Outer Realms each night and spy on them. But don’t touch the Great Old One, or the kids might get a curse! Like their ears turn the size of cabbage leaves, or ghouls howling outside their bedroom window, or their holiday presents might turn into coal.

Ten Fun Activities for your Great Old One on the Shelf

  1. Decorate for the holidays: let the Great Old One decorate the house with a few Halloween decorations, possibly thematic for that creature. (Shub Niggurath might have a scary tree, for instance.)
  2. Hide and Seek: super easy – leave a note from the Great Old One to the kids saying something like “Find me before your bedtime or the Clock of Doom will advance.” Then hide it inside a kleenex box or a coffee maker or the kid’s pillow (where she’ll feel it) or something.
  3. Snacks! Let your Great Old One bring a treat for the kids, because it is pleased with their progress. Again, thematic stuff is good. For instance, Cthulhu might bring Swedish Fish.
  4. Breakfast with a Great Old One: put them on the breakfast table, or even inside a box of cereal. Yog-Sothoth made your food! Isn’t that nice?
  5. Naughty Great Old Ones: let it do a prank and maybe make a mess. You can imagine the King in Yellow toilet-papering himself in tatters and maybe part of the shelf around him. Or Tsathoggua might be laying on his back, drunk, with an empty crumpled beer can at hand.
  6. Arcane Runes: writing on the mirror with toothpaste makes sense. Give the kids little messages or just draw the Great Old One’s glyph.
  7. NOT flushing the toilet: kids love bathroom humor. Put your Great Old One on the floor of the bathroom, possibly swaddled in TP, and then put food coloring of that Great Old One’s hue in the bowl so it looks like it peed in there.
  8. Playing a game: you’re doubtless a board game fan. Normally we only recommend one Great Old One per day, but in this case set up two or more of them on your game table, with a game set up that they were playing before morning came and they were interrupted. It doesn’t need to be a thematic game. Finding out that Azathoth, Yig, and Ithaqua were playing Candyland together is pretty cool.
  9. Fighting a Fight: put the Great Old One so that it looks like it was battling enemy figures – using monsters or cultists from another faction (this is a good way to get the Ancients in on the fun). Some of the attackers might be laying on their side like they were “killed”. King of the hill makes sense of course.
  10. Interacting with other toys: imagine finding Nyarlathotep going on a “date” with the kid’s Barbie. Or a circle of stuffed animals or GI Joes worshiping Ubbo-Sathla.

How to say Good Bye to Great Old One on the Shelf

When the holidays end, you can write a letter to the kids from the Great Old Ones – they can all sign the same letter. Tell them they were good little cultists. Or you can let them make a phone call to the Great Old One, in which it will thank them for their hospitality. (Dial the number of a friend or grandparent in on the joke.)