The Drowners

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The Drowners

"The Drowners" are a loose collection of beings or forces believed to be parasitic alien entities which thrive by vampyrizing the Great Old Ones themselves; they seem to have little in common with each other, except a general mutual aversion to light and fire, generally amorphous or semi-shapeless bodies, a loose association with Nightgaunts, and "drowning" qualities that may have a parasitical, life- or power-draining effect on other Mythos creatures.

Origin: ("The Drowners" were originally created by Brian Lumley; first appearance is in "Rising With Surtsey"?)


Lest any brash or inexperienced Wizard be tempted to call forth one of ye Drowners - be it Yibb-Tstll or Bugg-Shash - this Warning shall guide him & inform him of his Folly. For ye Drowners are of a like treacherous & require ye most delicate Handling & minutest Attention to thaumathurgic Detail. Yibb-Tstll may only be controlled by use of ye Soul-Searing Barrier of Naach-Tith, & Bugg-Shash may only be contained in ye Pentagram of Power. Too, ye Drowners must be sent early about ye Business of them, which is Death, lest they find ways to turn upon ye Caller. Call NOT upon Bugg-Shash for ye sake of mere idle curiosity; for ye Great Black One, neither him nor His Cousin, will return of His own Accord to His Place, but will seek out by any Means a Victim, being often that same Wizard which uttered ye Calling. Of ye two is Bugg-Shash most treacherous and vilely cunning, for should no Sacrifice or Victim be prepared for His Coming, He will not go back without He takes His Caller with Him, must needs He stay an hundred Years to accomplish His Purpose....
Feery's Notes on the Cthaat Aquadingen, as portrayed by Brian Lumley in "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash"

Heresies and Controversies

  • The Drowners, introduced by Brian Lumley, are parasitic alien entities which thrive by vampyrizing the Great Old Ones themselves. (Encyclopaedia Cthulhiana, and possibly Brian Lumley in "The House of the Temple")
    • "The Drowners" are referred to in a number of Mythos Tomes as "guardian" or "protective" spirits, "saints", "angels", and such, which, when properly appeased, may protect cultists from the consequences of summoning more powerful beings, such as Great Old Ones, by "drowning" or weakening them. (YSDC Forums)
    • Nyarlathotep may have been behind the inspiration for cultists to invoke "The Drowners" for the purpose of weakening summoned Great Old Ones, suggesting the idea to the authors of Mythos tomes throughout history, as a cruel prank on the summoning cultists, the "gods" they are summoning to become the unwitting tasty snacks of the parasitic Drowners, and on "The Drowners" themselves who must suffer the consequences of being compelled to feed on angry "gods". It's no wonder that being summoned by human cultists tends to put the Great Old Ones in a bad mood! (YSDC Forums)
  • Both Bugg-Shash and Yibb-Tstll are associated with Nightgaunts in some mysterious way, and perhaps together have spawned these beings; other "Drowners" may have a similar association with Nightgaunts. (YSDC Forums)
  • The ranks of "The Drowners" include Mordiggian, a shadowy, amorphous, maggoty thing worshiped by Ghouls and said to have the ability to consume fire and heat and to engulf the living and drown out and absorb life. (fan theory)
  • The ranks of "The Drowners" might also include Abhoth and/or Ubbo-Sathla, and possibly Shoggoths. (YSDC Forums)

Keeper Notes

Collectively, "The Drowners" may represent tools or weapons that can be used to weaken, control, or even defeat Great Old Ones and other powerful mythos beings. But, seeking, summoning, and then weilding such treacherous power brings with it terrible risks and consequences, and the few sources that hint at this information tend to be sketchy, unreliable, and perhaps the product of mad delusion!

Associated Mythos Elements

  • Cthaat Aquadingen describes "The Drowners", particularly Bugg-Shash and Yibb-Tstll, in great detail.
  • Cultes des Goules includes in some versions references to "The Drowners" as "water elementals", and claims that its author knows of a way to control them by invoking the "fire elemental" Cthugha
  • Yibb-Tstll and Bugg-Shash are described explicitly as "The Drowners"
  • Abhoth and/or Ubbo-Sathla in some ways resemble known "Drowners", and are sometimes included in a catalogue of their kind
  • Shoggoths bear some vague similarity to descriptions of some of "The Drowners", and may be related in some obscure way
  • Nightgaunts cling in great numbers to the breasts of Yibb-Tstll, and might also be associated with Bugg-Shash as "bogeymen"; Nightgaunts might similarly be associated in obscure and poorly-understood ways with other "Drowners"
  • The Other Side, a place of darkness outside of the known universe where the Drowners originate and/or remain imprisoned until summoned


  • Fiction: Brian Lumley's fiction, including "Rising with Surtsey", "The Kiss of Bugg-Shash", and others.