Blind Penguin of Leng

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Giant Albino Penguins: Blind Penguins of "Leng", Palaeeudyptes albus, Palaeeudyptes klekowskii, Aptenodytes albus

Origin: H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness (fiction) (first and only appearance in Lovecraft's original fiction)


Blind Penguin of Leng

That the antarctic continent was once temperate and even tropical, with a teeming vegetable and animal life of which the lichens, marine fauna, arachnida, and penguins of the northern edge are the only survivals, is a matter of common information... the ultimate doom of the land city must have been recognised, for the sculptures shewed many signs of the cold’s malign encroachments. Vegetation was declining, and the terrible snows of the winter no longer melted completely even in midsummer. The saurian livestock were nearly all dead, and the mammals were standing it none too well... the great river was now lifeless, and the upper sea had lost most of its denizens except the seals and whales... all the birds had flown away, save only the great, grotesque penguins.

Suddenly a bulky white shape loomed up ahead of us, and we flashed on the second torch.... This white, waddling thing was fully six feet high, yet we seemed to realise at once that it was not one of those others... to say that the white thing did not profoundly frighten us would be vain. We were indeed clutched for an instant by a primitive dread almost sharper than the worst of our reasoned fears regarding those others. Then came a flash of anticlimax as the white shape sidled into a lateral archway to our left to join two others of its kind which had summoned it in raucous tones. For it was only a penguin — albeit of a huge, unknown species larger than the greatest of the known king penguins, and monstrous in its combined albinism and virtual eyelessness. When we had followed the thing into the archway and turned both our torches on the indifferent and unheeding group of three we saw that they were all eyeless albinos of the same unknown and gigantic species. Their size reminded us of some of the archaic penguins depicted in the Old Ones’ sculptures, and it did not take us long to conclude that they were descended from the same stock — undoubtedly surviving through a retreat to some warmer inner region whose perpetual blackness had destroyed their pigmentation and atrophied their eyes to mere useless slits....
— H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness (fiction)

A fictional species of penguin which appears in H. P. Lovecraft's 1936 novella At the Mountains of Madness. The narrator, William Dyer, describes them as standing six-feet-tall, making them larger than even the Emperor Penguin, which in reality is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species; a two-meter-tall extinct real-life species of giant penguin (Palaeeudyptes klekowskii) resembling Lovecraft's fictional monster was recently discovered to have lived in Antarctica 34 million years ago. The modern Albino Penguins discovered by Dyer and Danforth in At the Mountains of Madness are hinted through prehuman sculptures to be descendants of archaic penguins bred by the Elder Things as livestock or for some other, alien purpose. When Antarctica became glaciated, the penguins retreated to a heated underground abyss, where years of evolution in these depths "destroyed their pigmentation and atrophied their eyes to mere useless slits."

Heresies and Controversies

  • See the Discussion tab for fan theories and suggestions.

Keeper Notes

  • Typically only used as a source of humor and comic relief or even a sort of mascot among Lovecraft fans, but keepers could play on the absurd horror of being attacked by packs of primordial, bloated, ravenous, towering, blind, albino birds with razor-sharp claws and blood-soaked beaks in the darkness of subterranean Antarctic caverns and tunnels....
  • Perhaps rare specimens of this species are brought from the Antarctic by explorers, and turn out to be vectors for some exotic disease, hosts for some horrific parasite, monsters in disguise (e.g. a Thing)....

7th Edition Statistics

Giant Penguins, Palaeeudyptes albus

  • char. averages rolls
    • STR 110 (3D6+12 ×5)
    • CON 50 (3D6 ×5)
    • SIZ 80 (3D6+6 ×5)
    • DEX 75 (2D6+12 ×5)
    • POW 65 (2D6+6 ×5)
  • HP: 13
  • Average Damage Bonus: +1D6
  • Average Build: 2
  • Move: 5
    • Attacks per round: 1
    • Fighting attacks: Razor sharp beaks and vicious claws.
    • Fighting 45% (22/9), damage
    • 1D6 + damage bonus
    • Dodge 47% (23/9)
    • Armor: 1-point feathers.
  • Skills:
    • Spot Hidden 70% (blind, but makes up for it with heightened senses of hearing, smell, etc.)
  • Habitat: Antarctica, underground at the Mountains of Madness

Associated Mythos Elements

  • might be found in the company of Elder Things or Shoggoths in Antarctica
  • might be found on or near colder regions of the Plateau of Leng