The Great Ones are extremely powerful, phantasmagorical multi-dimensional beings that can exist across several planes of existence. They are Eldritch beings that reside on a higher plane than humanity.
They are demonic and godly in both appearance and abilities. Beings powerful and are seen and worshiped as gods by Yharnamites.
The Great Ones caused the Scourge of the Beast, created horrific deformities and other monstrous transformations tracing back to the contaminated blood found within the lost and ancient labyrinth of Pthumeru.
They appear to be ageless, but they can be killed. Their powers can alter from divine to satanic, involving teleportation or strange phenomena, altered states, transcendental planes of thought or surreal realms, bring to form unknown and hideous creatures, entwining a bizarre reality that the human world cannot reach or comprehend. They caused Yharnam and other realms to be demented, haunted, vile and cursed.
One of the strongest Great Ones appears to be the Moon Presence, the creator of the Nightmare dimension that the Hunter is trapped within.
The Tomb of the Gods
Beneath Yharnam lies an intricate old labyrinth of myriad, endless ruins, the Chalice Dungeons, the Tomb of the Gods carved by an ancient civilization known as the Pthumerians.
It was in this Labyrinth that the scholars made the discovery that caused Yharnam’s direful ruin. Deep inside the ancient Pthumerian Crypts the Scholars discovered a source of the Old Blood, the tainted Blood of the Great Ones.
Pthumerians possess great and powerful strength. Their strange, almost undead-like appearance is due to from being marked by the Eldritch Truth when they came in contact with the Great Ones. This knowledge of the Great Ones lies somewhere deep within the old labyrinth and many have perished in their attempt to acquire it…
Pthumerians were said to have unlocked the wisdom of the Eldritch Truth. The Old labyrinth is known to be a place in which an inquiry into the cosmos started. The Great Ones were here, in the labyrinth, long ago. Pthumerians served as guardians of the Great Ones.
Pthumeria was ruled by Queen Yharnam. The ancient race who truly understood the Truth of the Great Ones and gained supernatural powers as a result.
Queen Yharnam was also the Holy Medium for the Great Ones. After a terrible tragedy the Pthumerians retreated into the deep labyrinth, with their holy chalices being the only remnants of their ancient rituals to break the seals in order to enter the crypts.
Highly revered by the scholars of Byrgenwerth, an academy that was built to understand the strange discoveries inside the labyrinth, especially the Truth of The Old Ones but the Truth is a terrible thing, slowly breaking the mind of anyone who delves too deeply.
Horrible things happened at Byrgenwerth and the neighbouring lands near and surrounding it such as the Forbidden Woods and Forbidden Graves, became defiled, infested with monstrosities and was eventually declared forbidden ground.
Byrgenwerth is the name of both the building and the institution that began the scientific and arcane study of human transcendence and mysterious secrets of the Chalice Labyrinths, the occult knowledge of the Cosmos and the Great Ones that inhabit it. The founding members were the scholars, Provost Willem and his devout pupil Laurence.
Everything begins at Byrgenwerth where the Great Ones were studied. The scholars of Byrgenwerth sent tomb prospectors to unearth the secrets buried beneath. As they descend deeper into the bowels of the labyrinth eventually, many went mad, and few returned.
Their study led to deepen their desire for humanity to ascend to their status as essential deities….and it came with a deadly cost.
The Healing Church
Laurence: “Master Willem, I’ve come to bid you farewell.”
Master Willem: “Oh, I know, I know. You think now, to betray me.”
Laurence:“No, but you will never listen. I tell you, I will not forget our adage.”
Master Willem: “…We are born of the blood, made men by the blood, undone by the blood. Our eyes are yet to open…”
Master Willem & Laurence: “Fear the old blood.”
Laurence: “I must take my leave.”
Master Willem: “By the gods, fear it, Laurence.”The Betrayal of Laurence and the doomed fate of Yharnam
Master Willem: “By the gods, fear it, Laurence.”
The Healing Church was founded by Laurence. His departure from the academy was to pursue the ultimate goal; to summon or harness the power of the Great Ones.
Master Willem’s most important teaching is the adage “Fear the Old Blood”. He encourages all the scholars of his college to seek enlightenment and ascension through other methods except using the Old Blood.
The discovery of the old blood inspired Laurence, who believed that the healing properties of the old blood were of divine nature, and was the ideal medium to transcend humanity through transfusing it into human bodies.
Willem’s aim however, was to advance the evolution of humankind and achieve higher planes of thought through insight, searching inwardly in order to see what the Great Ones see to further evolve into greater beings and acquire more Eldritch knowledge.
Their paths ultimately diverged. Laurence with other like minded scholars of the Church then distributed the blood across the city. Despite this, Provost Willem held distrust towards the substance, believing the material to be far too dangerous.
After the Blood Ministration, the patient’s health is significantly increased. Quickly, the Healing Church in Yharnam became renowned across the continent, attracting the sick and afflicted who were seeking refuge from their ailments including the existing incurable poison illness known as the Ashen Blood.
The Cure then turned into an addiction because none could resist the tantalizing euphoria educed by this mysterious blood concoction. Engulfed in bizarre hallucinations and the virulent descent into madness.
As blood healing became more common among the citizens of Yharnam, the results proved that when the Old Blood is mixed with human blood, it transforms subjects into beast.
This is when Yharnam’s plague of beast started. The Scourge devoured them from within, as the feral nature in them upsurged so did the relentless hunger for human flesh and blood grew.
The Church knew about the blood ministration’s heinous beastly side effects but they blame the outsiders for the source of the scourge. Travellers who are unlucky enough to get caught in the night of the hunt will be killed.
Laurence deeply regretted his decision of using the Old Blood and was among those who fell victim to the plague when infected blood began circulating and transformed into the first Cleric Beast in history, and was put to death.
“Our thirst for blood satiates us, soothes our fears. Seek the old blood, but beware the frailty of men.“Prayer of the Healing Church
What befell upon Laurence worse than death is that he was imprisoned in the Hunter’s Nightmare by The Great Ones. Left to burn for all eternity without memory, destined to seek the representation of his former life and mission in vain…
But all is not lost.
There are valuable Lore notes scattered throughout the land to aid the hunter and some were penned by Master Laurence. Through his findings he desperately reminded, in order to end the source of the nightmare and accursed plague, one must eliminate the Great Ones…slay them all.
And in doing so, to free him and the many damned souls from their wretched imprisonment…
“Master Willem was right. Evolution without courage will be the ruin of our race.”
“Hunt the Great Ones, Hunt the Great Ones.”
The terror and disheartening ruin borne out of the hopeful endeavour to empower, restore and elevate mankind through forbidden knowledge reflects the grievous Promethean tragedy.
A critical element and central theme portrayed in most of Lovecraft’s work, and clearly a strong influence and essence behind Bloodborne.