Cult of the Yozi

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Name(s): Cult of the Yozi (or Yozis; Spirits of Ill; Ya, Ha, and Snyrg, the lords of evil, madness, and of spite; the lords of malice, madness, and hatred)

First Appearance: Lord Dunsany, "Time and the Gods (fiction)"

Short Description: A cult of subhuman, ape-like beasts who have been granted the power to masquerade as humans by the Yozi, Spirits of Ill, in exchange for the foul worship of the cult.

History and Scope

...As the gods slept, there came from beyond the Rim, out of the dark and unknown, three Yozis, spirits of ill, that sailed up the river of Silence in galleons with silver sails. Far away they had seen Yum and Gothum, the stars that stand sentinel over Pegana's gate, blinking and falling asleep, and as they neared Pegana they found a hush wherein the gods slept heavily. Ya, Ha, and Snyrg were these three Yozis, the lords of evil, madness, and of spite. When they crept from their galleons and stole over Pegana's silent threshold it boded ill for the gods. There in Pegana lay the gods asleep, and in a corner lay the Power of the gods alone upon the floor, a thing wrought of black rock and four words graven upon it, whereof I might not give thee any clue, if even I should find it—four words of which none knoweth.... These words the Yozis read, and sped away in dread lest the gods should wake, and going aboard their galleons, bade the rowers haste. Thus the Yozis became gods, having the power of gods, and they sailed away to the earth, and came to a mountainous island in the sea.

There they sat upon the rocks, sitting as the gods sit, with their right hands uplifted, and having the power of gods, only none came to worship. Thither came no ships nigh them, nor ever at evening came the prayers of men, nor smell of incense, nor screams from the sacrifice. Then said the Yozis:

"Of what avails it that we be gods if no one worship us nor give us sacrifice?"

And Ya, Ha, and Snyrg set sail in their silver galleons... And came to a rocky shore in an inhuman land which stood up against the sea. Thither the Yozis came and found no man, but out of the dark from inland towards evening came a herd of great baboons and chattered greatly when they saw the ships.... Then spake Snyrg to them:

"Have ye, too, a god?"

And the baboons spat.

Then said the Yozis:

"We be seductive gods, having a particular remembrance for little prayers."

But the baboons leered fiercely at the Yozis and would have none of them for gods....

Snyrg leaned forward and whispered, and the baboons went down upon their knees and clasped their hands as men clasp, and chattered prayer and said to one another that these were the gods of old, and gave the Yozis their worship - for Snyrg had whispered in their ears that, if they would worship the Yozis, he would make them men. And the baboons arose from worshipping, smoother about the face and a little shorter in the arms, and went away and hid their bodies in clothing, and afterwards galloped away from the rocky shore and went and herded with men. And men could not discern what they were, for their bodies were bodies of men, though their souls were still the souls of beasts and their worship went to the Yozis, spirits of ill.

And the lords of malice, hatred and madness sailed back to their island in the sea and sat upon the shore as gods sit, with right hand uplifted; and at evening foul prayers from the baboons gathered about them and infested the rocks.

But in Pegana the gods awoke with a start.

Lord Dunsany, "Time and the Gods (fiction)"

The Yozi are lesser spirits of ill from beyond the Rim which once crowned themselves gods of Earth, and, seeking worshipers, failed to distract men from their devotions to idle and careless gods, and so, desperate for worshipers, stooped low, and gathered about themselves a tribe of "baboons" as worshipers in exchange for the miracle of elevating the baboons to a foul imitation of humanity. Now the Yozi, pale shadows of themselves perched weakly on the rocks of their remote island, wait each evening to receive the dubious honor of subsistence upon the foul prayers of their worshipers.

Identification, Psychology and Behavior

The Cult of the Yozi is a debased and primitive thing, nominally led by the demonic Yozi spirits, and followed by a race of ape-like creatures masquerading as humans, yet still possessing the spirits of foul and bestial animals. The cult may engage in any form of monstrous and filthy depravity that one might imagine a cult of semi-human beasts to enjoy.

The cult's organization is a virtual anarchy, with the cult's leadership determined by whichever of the cultists happens to be strongest, loudest, most charismatic, or most disagreeable that day; the Yozi hold no genuine control over the cult beyond whatever temporary hold they can obtain over it via their feeble miracles, and the occasional threat of abandoning the cult and allowing it to revert to complete savagery as the members lose their dubious status of "humanity".

Wherever the followers of the Yozi go, they build their pitiful shrines to the Yozi from out of the shining scraps of their unfulfilled ambitions, and then send their foul prayers and impudent demands to the Yozi, who raised them up from the Isle of the Baboon, and whom the cult have never respected, but also never forgotten.


  • location:
    • isle of the Yozi - on a nameless island in the Pegana stand gigantic, eroded, guano-spattered, basalt statues of the three Yozi, with their right hands uplifted in imitation of the gods; this island is sacred to the Yozi and their cult
    • isle of the Cult of Yozi - an unknown island in Pegana where the "large baboons" from which the cult has ascended once originated
    • Black Galleons: the Yozi arrived in ancient times in Pegana on black galleons with silver sails from an alien star somewhere far beyond Yum and Gothum, the stars that stand sentinel over Pegana's gate; the galleons are probably still harbored on the nameless isle of the Yozi in Pegana, and might perhaps be commandeered by Dreamers who wish to sail beyond Earth's Dreamlands, for a price to be paid to the Yozi
  • races:
    • The Yozis, Ya, Ha, and Snyrg, Lords of Evil, Madness, and Spite, pitiful entities of darkness that serve the cult as feeble gods
    • Frazetta Man, degenerate ape-like creatures imitating humans, who worship the Yozi in exchange for humanity
    • debased Human Cultists may sometimes accompany the cult for any of a variety of foul and dubious rewards offered by the cult in exchange for their service

Heresies and Controversies

Keeper Comments

  • The Yozi, apparently alien travelers in the Astral Plane, seem to have found themselves the butt of a cosmic joke, successfully stealing the secret of godhood from the gods, only to somehow snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when they failed to successfully drive a bargain to gain human worshipers. Still, the Yozi offer instant gratification to their worshipers, and may still seek a higher class of cult than to be worshiped by Voormis or Gnophkehs, perhaps offering their dubious services as gods to human cults, with results as disastrous for the Yozi as the are for the cultists. It is likely the Yozi have more than once been tricked into bargaining with wizards which likely failed to fall far into the favor of the Yozi.
  • The Black Galleons of the Yozi might serve as a goal for a scenario, as ships capable of sailing far beyond Earth's Dreamlands; of course, the Yozi would not willingly let a Dreamer make use of a galleon, without first extracting a price - perhaps in human worshipers, or perhaps in dealing with the unruly cult to grant the Yozi some peace from the infestation of the cult's foul prayers upon their island. The hazardous journey to the ominous, prayer-infested, and no doubt demon-haunted island can provide some adventure on its own, and the investigators would, of course, need to obtain the secret of the island's location first from the bestial Cult of the Yozi....