Monday, December 2, 2013

The Mi-Go

Art by Dagon (dagonweb/Ruud Dirven)

The Mi-Go, also known as the Fungi From Yuggoth, are an extrasolar life form that has colonized Pluto (i.e., Yuggoth), the Kuiper Belt, and the Oort Cloud. Their form is vaguely insectile, so perhaps it is not surprising that they are called by a name similar to the Persian word for shrimp or prawn (maygo). Certainly they bear little resemblance to the Tibetan Mi-go or "Wild Man" as the Yeti is also known. Then again, it is not uncommon for the Mi-Go to appear to be somewhat shaggy due to the numerous antennae and fibrous syncytial extrusions projecting from their mottled grey rancid flesh.

Since the Yeti are usually seen in mountainous areas on Earth, the appropriation of the name for these otherworldly insectile creatures may be due to the aliens' propensity to mine for minerals in remote mountainous areas. Two metals in particular are held in high esteem by the Mi-Go, perhaps for religious or magical purposes. The first of these is silver.

Those who worship Nyarlathotep are known to mine for silver; they may readily be summoned by rituals officiated by silver-masked priests. There are places sacred to the Mi-Go within long-abandoned mine shafts buried deep within the Cerro de Potosi (or Cerro Rico) of Bolivia, a vast mountain that has been continuously mined for silver since the mid-16th Century.  These sacred places are cramped, stooped affairs maintained by acolytes drawn from among the sizable unionized child labor force in the mines.

This mine-mountain has been thoroughly riddled with layer upon layer of shafts. It may collapse any day now. The mine is always-already nearly exhausted - but not quite. That's because the deepest mine shafts of the Cerro Rico extend deep into rich veins of silver within its shadow-mountains on adjacent planes.

A second metal prized by the Mi-Go is copper. The worship of the more degenerescent fungal aspects of Shub-Niggurath has been largely discontinued among the Mi-Go, due to a diminuition of her affect upon the Mi-Go's sporulative fecundity. After extensive researches among the planes three centuries ago, Mi-Go scientists issued a Clarification. All but a few recalcitrant and isolated atavist communities of Mi-Go have now shifted their devotions from Shub-Niggurath to Lady Utleku, the Hirsute Bloom of Entombed Fecundity. She is of the substance of Ktelu, He Who Cannot Be Gazed Upon, the One of Enhanced Putrifaction, and of the essence of Ulela, The Maid of Despairing Delight. [The qualities of these two other-planar entities are adumbrated in M.A.R. Barker's The Book of Ebon Bindings.]

Those who would summon of Lady Utleku must have willing adult human celebrants for the subterranean rite,* as well as the metallic offerings of oxidated copper which are prized by the Lady. While the ancients often lived in peace with the Mi-Go's nearby mining activities, contemporary mining concerns such as the China Metallurgical Group Corp. promise to disturb such arrangements, potentially disrupting the Mi-Go's reproductive biology..

The third metal prized by the Mi-Go is actually an entire class of rare metals. The Mi-Go's liturgical practice for the veneration of Yog-Sothoth requires the harvesting of radioactive materials. These rare metals are volatilized and inhaled by the Mi-Go on mountaintops on moonless starlit nights. They frequently allow human attendants and followers to join these rites. The Mi-Go's worship of Yog-Sothoth takes the form of buzzing quasi-shamanic rites in which the stars themselves are seen to reel and reveal to the Mi-Go the hidden pathways between the stars.

The Mi-Go's devotion to Nyarlathotep, Lady Utleku, and Yog-Sothoth should not be mistaken for ordinary piety. Their devotional practice is purely instrumentalist. They recognize these three beings as manifest and imminent, and as beings with something to offer them. Nyarlathotep grants the Mi-Go access to dangerous and advanced scientific knowledge. Their devotion to Lady Utleku is to propitiate their own fungal fecundity, ensuring the survival of their species.  Yog-Sothoth teaches the Mi-Go how to detect and open Nexus Points and use their otherwise vestigial wings to travel to other stars and planets through the negative enumerations of hyperspace.

Their world outlook is thoroughly scientific, and rooted in a form of deeply pessimistic philosophical materialism. Everything that exists is temporary; it will all come to an end. The universe is the Mi-Go's chief enemy, and will eventually be responsible for their undoing - if they themselves or their enemies don't do that first. It is only a matter of time, but science can put that off for a bit.

A desire to survive, rather than scientific curiosity per se, therefore drives the Mi-Go's constant search for new scientific insights and discoveries. That's of course quite a contrast with the human scientific propensity for Coxean scientific optimism, which looks at the universe as a thing of wonder, a thing to be explored, understood, and appreciated as much for the pure aesthetic pleasure of doing so as for any practical application.

All of that being said, the Mi-Go do appear to have an inexplicable interest in human companionship - whether out of a perverse desire to reward their human followers, or to punish those who thwart their plans. From time-to-time, they will perform a bloody-minded species of excruciating psychic surgery on a human being, extracting and transferring the human's brain into a Nomad probe-sized metallic brain cylinder. The brain cylinder allows the individual to accompany the Mi-Go on journeys in space and hyperspace. The cylinders have the capacity to preserve conscious thought indefinitely, without any apparent alimentation, and to offer the mind imprisoned inside the brain cylinder the ability to communicate with beings outside itself, as well as to gather at least rudimentary sensory information from their immediate environment. Of course whether such individuals retain their sanity for very long is anyone's guess...

One final note is that it is reported that there is at least one Mi-Go shrine in the Imperial Sovereign's Cobalt Palace on Altair III. What purpose it serves, whether it sees any use and indeed, whether it is a shrine of the Mi-Go or to the Mi-Go is unknown to all but the closest associates of the Imperial Sovereign.  It is speculated - by those who dare to do so - that the shrine dates back to the time of Glorious First. Perhaps it offers a glimpse into the ritual practices and ancient treaties which bound together the tribes of Comet Barbarians who swept away the ancien regime of the Star League and founded the Empire we know today...

*And in this manner humans have become imbricated within Mi-Go biology.


The Fungi from Yuggoth

  • High Concept: Insectile fungiforms from Pluto
  • Trouble: They seek human companionship
  • Aspect: Almost impossible to describe one after you've one
  • Aspect: The purpose of Science is to help our race survive
  • Aspect: We have pacts with many beings
  • Careful: +2
  • Clever: +3
  • Flashy: 0
  • Forceful: +1
  • Quick: +1
  • Sneaky: +2
  • Challenge Sanity: At the beginning of any scene in which a Mi-Go is encountered, it may take a +2 to make a Forceful mental Attack against ALL normal humans in the scene. Any cultists or followers who are accustomed to the Mi-Go's presence are immune to this effect.
  • Clawed Horror: Take a +2 to make a Forceful Attack against foes in the same Zone.
  • Disguise Artist: The Mi-Go may take a +2 to its Sneaky Approach to disguise itself as a human. The Mi-Go must have access to a mask and outerwear such as a cloak or long coat. This disguise works best at a distance and will not bear up under close inspection! 
  • Psychic Surgery: Take a +2 to Clever Approach to Attack an intelligent creature by exerting psychic force against the target's internal organs. The intent of such attacks is usually to perform an encephalectomy. If the target is Taken Out, so is its brain. The Mi-Go successfully phases the target's brain out of its body and may place it within a Mi-Go brain cylinder. Depending on the campaign, this may still be a viable character!
  • Steal Between the Stars: In space or any mountainous area, the Mi-Go may spend 1 FP to open and enter a Nexus Point or phase directly into hyperspace. This effectively removes the Mi-Go from a scene. Others in the scene may pursue it through the rift in time and space, but this option is usually best left for the very foolhardy or the extremely brave.   


  1. The people behind Fate really gain a lot from your passion. You've covered so much ground already, and for people who want it there's now a lot more material of all kinds ready to go, just because of this one blog, and a quick search away.

  2. Intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic...

    1. Quite so, Trey. I was rather struck by the similarity in outlook to the Martians when I read some of the standard descriptions of the Mi-Go - and they are certainly strange in "The Whisperer in Darkness" as well.

  3. Thank you very much, Porky! As always, nothing comes from a vacuum. Having friends with creative blogs keeps ones own creative juices flowing. In this case, the specific inspirations were the Project Generations scenario I ran at U-Con in November. It involved Mi-Go, which was just as much the players' doing as mine.

  4. Spores in the air? We've been revisiting the fungal Blights out along the Belt, now the Mi-Go are infiltrating FATE? Nice. The direct tie-in to Book of Ebon Bindings is nice to see as well. There's a ton of connective tissue along the HPL-Barker axis no one has publicly mined. Maybe it's high time it was. Can't think of anyone better suited to doing it.

    1. I was reading the essay that opens The Book of Ebon Bindings over breakfast this morning. It has a kewl rep for its naughty rituals but its true depth comes from what it implies about the Tekumel and the Planes Beyond. Such a rich vein to mine for all sorts of gold: things Tekumel and thing far, far beyond.

  5. I'm going to throw these bastards against my group. Thanks!