Nodens and the Elder Gods
I was pondering what to add to you all for a big reward for your loyalty. I didn’t want to make another “Dire” sculpt, largely because I am really happy with the other Great Old Ones. And I wanted something new, anyway. Felt you deserved it. I pondered new Great Old Ones … Cyaegha? Hypnos? The Man With A Thousand Legs? Nothing seemed important or “cool” enough.
Then it hit me – probably the most important missing god-level being from HPL’s works. NODENS! I know what some of you are thinking. “Isn’t Nodens a good guy?” August Derleth & other authors have even positioned Nodens as a member of a pantheon opposed to Yog-Sothoth, Cthulhu, et al.
Well, my answer follows. First, HPL calls Nodens “Lord of the Great Abyss” which doesn’t particularly sound like a goody two-shoes. Second, Nodens in the Dream-Quest controls the Nightgaunts, which are explicitly malign and terrible, and are found guarding relics of the Other Gods (such as Azathoth). Please note that in Cthulhu Wars I posit that the nightgaunts serve Crawling Chaos, either tricked, converted, commanded, or enticed away. Also the nightgaunts obey Nyarlathotep’s orders when he gives orders. So, anyway on with Nodens.
Third, the main evidence from HPL of Nodens being “good” is that the creepy guy in the Strange High House in the Mist hangs out with him (hardly decisive, and possibly even a contraindication) and that Nodens is pleased when Nyarlathotep fails to capture Randolph Carter. But this last isn’t so much Nodens favoring Carter as taking delight in Nyarlathotep’s discomfiture.
So while Nodens may not be as terribly malign as Hastur or Ithaqua, he certainly can be dangerous. Really, we have as many examples of people speaking amicably to Nyarlathotep or Tsathoggua yet no one thinks THEY are good guys.
THE ELDER GODS
Let me be clear. I do not regard the “Great Old Ones” as a pantheon, but as a certain level of power. Any entity that has reached this level, by any means, is termed a Great Old One. This is why, in Cthulhu Wars, I freely term beings such as Shub-Niggurath or Yog-Sothoth as Great Old Ones (instead of Outer Gods or whatever). Because they’ve reached that level of power.
Think of it as a parallel to Earth’s “nuclear club”. Our world’s nuclear-armed powers aren’t necessarily friends, nor co-operative, nor even equal in might, but they are at a particular level – they all have the means to employ nuclear weaponry.
Now, because of the immense cosmic significance of Azathoth & his court, certain beings derive at least some of their might directly from the Daemon Sultan. These beings are sometimes called Other Gods or Outer Gods. Again, they are not necessarily pals nor a true pantheon, though they do sometimes appear to act in concert.
Nodens is often called an Elder God. But I suspect that this, too, is not a pantheon, but indicates some other status. It certainly does NOT indicate friendship towards Earth life. Read Lovecraft’s stories of “The Temple”, “The Moon-Bog”, or “Hypnos”, for examples. All three, in my educated opinion, have to do with Elder Gods or their equivalents. For that matter, I consider Hecate, referenced by HPL as “Gorgo, Mormo, thousand-faced moon” as an Elder Goddess. And also possibly the Magna Mater. So the Elder Gods are clearly able to be inimical.