The Star Seed
Xhamen-Dor,1 also referred to as the The Inmost Blot or The Star Seed, is a Great Old One whose corrupting knowledge infects living hosts, transforming them wholly into undead servants. It has been travelling to countless planets, turning their population into undead, then consuming them and feeding them to the alien city of Carcosa. While doing so only grows Carcosa by a tiny size, this method allows it to prey upon worlds without a decadent aristocracy required by The King in Yellow.23
During the first passage of Hastur through the deepest sewers of Carcosa, he left behind festering residue that seeped into the city's cracks and crevices. When Carcosa consumed its first prey, the city of Alar, slivers of the victims' souls and minds fused with Carcosa's dregs, coalescing into Xhamen-Dor.2
Xhamen-Dor's physical form can be distinguished by toadstool-like growths and twisted, fibrous, hair-like fungal tendrils, emerging from a massive corpse or the bones strewn on a battlefield. On Golarion, it takes the form of a serpentine dragon, and it is known to take other forms in other incarnations. Xhamen-Dor always seeks wet areas like underground caverns or lost lakes to make its lair.2
However, Xhamen-Dor does not truly exist within its twisted form, but deeper in the minds of those who learnt of its name or its true nature. With this knowledge, Xhamen-Dor spreads within their bodies, turning them into seeded worshippers.2
Xhamen-Dor views all other cults as food. Its primary enemies are Desna, who has long stood against it, and Cyth-V'sug, who competes with it for the same goal. Hastur views Xhamen-Dor as an ally, but if the cults of both deities are active on the same planet, Hastur's followers often try to send Xhamen-Dor back to Carcosa and prevent it from triggering a premature apocalypse, as the world is worth more when consumed directly by Carcosa than indirectly via Xhamen-Dor.24
Worshippers of Xhamen-Dor consists of three groups:
- Nomads, usually alien entities like mi-go and flying polyps who choose worlds for Xhamen-Dor to harvest.2
- Seeded, indigenous creatures transformed into Xhamen-Dor's undead minions. Some of them still dwell within society and spread hints and whispers about Xhamen-Dor while maintaining a diverse life to keep their profile low. Once their number reaches a critical point, the seeded quickly overwhelm entire populations.23
- Sentinels, a heretical group who worship Xhamen-Dor out of fear and seek to keep it slumbering so it cannot destroy a world and turn its attention to others. They know that they risk becoming seeded if they know too much about Xhamen-Dor, and regularly erase their memories, only retaining knowledge of what is absolutely necessary to keep Xhamen-Dor secret. Those who know too much are sacrificed, and some of them do not even know the name Xhamen-Dor. There are no clerics and very few other divine spellcasters among the sentinels.2
Xhamen-Dor's worshippers never build temples, due to their sole purpose of destroying worlds. The only site sacred to them is the residence of Xhamen-Dor's physical body, and they perform their rites of worship in shunned or ruined places.23
Once Xhamen-Dor consumes a world or is defeated, it will return to outer space in the form of a tiny core blot of its essence. It can travel for aeons until drawn by a world's gravity, but when the nomads find a world suitable for consumption, they will erect structures called Star Stelae, which are infused with magic that Xhamen-Dor can sense. Once the Great Old One arrives, the nomads depart to mark another world, leaving behind a few guardians to protect the growing Star Seed.2
After enough time passes, Xhamen-Dor can grow seeded worshippers on its new world. Most of the time, its presence is simply unconsciously forgotten by those who learnt of it, but this resistance can never stop Xhamen-Dor's corruption. As mortal minds dream of Xhamen-Dor, they invite it into their dreams and become infested. They then start to spread Xhamen-Dor's influence and hasten the world's end, at which point they will be consumed and excreted into Carcosa's sewers, achieving immortality (from their point of view).2
During the Age of Serpents, a swarm of Hastur-worshipping flying polyps landed on Golarion and established Star Stelae in two locations: the site of modern Thrushmoor and a nameless city in the Parchlands in southwestern Casmaron. The former flying polyps were destroyed by the serpentfolk and the latter by yithians, leaving only the Star Stelae standing.6
When the alghollthus called down Earthfall, Xhamen-Dor's blot was among the cosmic debris, a comet, that fell alongside the Starstone. The Star Stelae called to it, and Xhamen-Dor fell far from the Starstone's impact, into the heart of the nameless city, where it formed a crater and eventually a stagnant lake. Due to the desolation of the nearby area, Xhamen-Dor grew imperceptibly slowly.65
In the Age of Destiny, the nameless city was discovered by a Ninshaburian expedition, who named in Neruzavin. Eventually, the explorers became seeded, and were sent back to civilisation to infect more victims. As more seeded came to the lake to offer themselves to Xhamen-Dor, the authorities dispatched a group of heroes to eradicate the cult. The heroes discovered that the only way to contain Xhamen-Dor was to erase its name from all texts, and Tarrasque finished this job for them when it destroyed Ninshabur.6
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- James Jacobs revealed that he created Xhamen-Dor for an unpublished short story written while he was still at school. Later, Jacobs introduced Xhamen-Dor into Golarion in Wake of the Watcher. Please see:
- “Xhamen-Dor, the Inmost Blot” in What Grows Within, 63–66. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “Bestiary” in What Grows Within, 87. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “Cyth-V'sug, Prince of the Blasted Heath” in Prisoners of the Blight, 69. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “Cults of the Dark Tapestry” in Wake of the Watcher, 64. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “What Grows Within” in What Grows Within, 5. Paizo Inc., 2017 .