Arkham Horror: A guide to the Other Worlds

One of my criticisms of Arkham Horror was the lack of any background information. One area I felt was particularly left out was the other worlds that the investigators visit while trying to seal gates. So here’s a look and the backgrounds and origins of the other dimension in time and space.


Mostly referenced as The Great Abyss by Lovecraft in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, the Abyss sits below the dreamlands and is home to the Nightgaunts and their master, great Lord Nodens. A huge spiral staircase passes through the Abyss connecting the Dreamlands to the Underworld.




Another Dimension

Another dimension is a random Other World and doesn’t relate to any particular dimension or time. Encounters here will be based on the ‘Other’ category which means that this is the most random of Other Worlds.





City of the Great Race

The Yithians, also known as the Great Race, where a race of alien creatures that could teleport through space and time by possessing the bodies of other creatures. In the Shadow Out of Time Nathan Peaslee is possessed by a Yithian scientist and visits the ‘library city’ by swapping bodies with the alien. He traces the city to Australia’s Great Sandy Desert and learns how it was destroyed eons ago by another alien race of “half-polypus” creatures, thought to be the flying polys. In Arkham Horror, the investigators are transported back in time to the city at the height of its power where ancient knowledge and alien artefacts are in great supply but being caught by one of the giant cone-shaped Yithians is a constant danger.


Great Hall of Celeano

The Great Hall of Celeano is home to the Great Old Ones’ vast library of knowledge, stolen from the Elder Gods. Professor Laban Shrewsbury spends 20 years in the Great Hall it in August Derleth’s The Trial of Cthulhu series. The library is described as being on Celeano, a star in the Taurus constellation; but it is generally assumed to be a moon or planet orbiting the star. It is said to hold gigantic granite shelves full of hieroglyph covered tomes, the keepers of the library are almost as dangerous as the information within.


Plateau of Leng

Leng is mentioned many times by Lovecraft. Sometimes it is a jungle in Central Asia, sometimes a lost city at the South Pole and in Celephais it is described as a desert plateau. The most detailed description comes from the Dream quest of Unknown Kadath where Randolph Carter crosses it on a Zebra and has to avoid its pan-like inhabitants.  According to Abdul Alhazred, Lovecraft’s fictional author of the dreaded Necronomicon, Leng is a place where the different realities converge; this means it could indeed be all of these places and more.



R’lyeh is the current resting place of Great Cthulhu where he waits for the time when ‘the stars are right’ so he can rise again. The Call of Cthulu is probably one of Lovecraft’s most famous works and details both Cthulhu and the sunken city of R’lyeh. The city lies somewhere in the south pacific and is characterised by dark stone, alien architecture and non-Euclidian geometry. It is not certain whether the R’lyeh in Arkham horror represent a recently risen island, as in The Call of Cthulhu, or whether the investigators have been send through time to a point when R’lyeh has risen. Either way it is the most dangerous of the Other Worlds and the most difficult gate to shut.


The Dreamlands

Many of Lovecraft’s stories take place in dreams, or have dreamlike qualities, and the Dreamlands take influence from many of these works. The Dreamlands are the main location for Randolph Carter’s quest to find the Great Ones in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.  As implied by the name of the novel, Randolph Carter is able to access the Dreamlands in his sleep and along his journey he meets Zoogs, a civilisation of intelligent cats and frog like slime creatures.



Yuggoth is home to the Mi-go and is their name for the now ex-planet of Pluto. At the time of Lovecraft’s writing Pluto was a newly discovered planet and was seen as something mysterious and intriguing. The Mi-go are a fungus based life form who can travel across space on their membrane wings and are often referred to as the Fungi from Yuggoth. Apparently the Mi-go don’t originate from here and took Yuggoth from the Flying Polyps. The Mi-go and Yuggoth are mostly described in The Whisper in the Darkness but are also referenced in The Haunter of the Dark. The planet has many terraced cities built from an unnamed black stone. The investigators’ encounters in Yuggoth often involve the Mi-go and offer the chance of obtaining alien artefacts.

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