Story Title: Reliquarian - Become an eternal champion and wield a panoply of arms and armor across across lives and lifetimes as you fight to prevent the world's destruction.
Elevator Pitch: Players assume the role of a divine champion, destined to be reborn again and again over the centuries, as they battle a pantheon of eldritch deities known only as "The Strangers." With each incarnation, the player choose new forms, new classes, and new abilities while nations rise and fall, some by the hand of their adversaries, some by their own. Champions can fight alone or as part of a group to take on particularly challenging foes. As they progress, they build up a panoply, a collection of weapons and armor which they improve, and which they can recover from previous incarnations. Should they find themselves at the apocalyptic final battle, and fail to prevail, they'll have a chance to start again with some of those artifacts carrying over into the next cycle.
A Brief History of Rindherol
The Age of Myth
This period predates the appearance of The Strangers by some five thousand years or more. It was a time of heroes, though very little beyond ancient epics and minor artifacts of no great importance survive. The Pantheon of this time was content to let things happen as they would, intervening from time to time for their own inscrutable reasons. This period ended with the first appearance of The Strangers.
The Time of Contempt & The Great Prophecy
Over the course of roughly five centuries, The Strangers forced their way into various points in Rindherol. In doing so, they corrupted different lands, the creatures that lived in them, and the people who inhabited them. The Pantheon could not directly oppose The Strangers, their very nature somehow immune to direct action from the deities of the world. But something about the heroes whom The Pantheon chose and which faced The Strangers and their corrupted minions seemed to have an effect. Individually, these heroes could do at least a little damage before they were inevitably snuffed out. The Pantheon decided that they needed to create a new breed of hero: a champion, something that would be a bane upon The Strangers until the ending of the world or the destruction of The Strangers.
The Pantheon created one hundred very special souls, imbuing them with incredible potential to become paragons of all the mortal peoples. They struck a bargain with Orubrus, the cthonic and serpentine demigod who stood outside The Pantheon yet encircled all their works, to gift these souls with the power to be reborn. They would have new lives, new circumstances, new challenges, yet they would grow in power and wisdom to potentially defeat The Strangers. It might take millennia, but The Pantheon was prepared to wage a long war against the invaders. Orubrus granted the power of rebirth upon one condition: The Pantheon would need to seal themselves away, hiding within Orubrus' coils to await the day of The Strangers' defeat. Before they did so, they created one last soul with the same power of rebirth, but without any of the same potential. They held only one great ability: the gift of prophecy, an oracle which would guide the champions of The Pantheon and ultimately pronounce their final victory. When an oracle spoke the truth of The Strangers' ultimate defeat, The Pantheon would be freed from Orubrus' coils and return to the world.
Though their name is lost to history, the First Oracle's prophecy has echoed down through the centuries:
Twelve ages shall come and go from this dark moment.
Three shall end in shadow and ice.
Three shall pass in fire and ash.
Three shall fall to plague and rot.
Three shall drown in blood and sorrow.
And beyond this, the Last Age of the World,
Whose ending none may know until it comes.
This is how it shall be, but not how it should be.
This is how it was, but not what it may become.
Much has been written upon the final two lines of "The Great Prophecy," and the speculation has been intense. There is a recurring belief that it might be possible to circumvent the Great Prophecy, that the eternal champions of The Pantheon might be able to decisively defeat The Strangers and end the threat once and for. There's also speculation that this is perhaps not the first time The Strangers have visited, or possibly that history has somehow repeated itself in some fashion. All anybody knows for certain is that The Strangers are here and the world needs its champions.
The Lore of Ages To Come
The Hundred Champions, scattered about the five continents of Rindherol, will live many lifetimes. They will be born like any other person, but they are doomed to die fighting The Strangers and their minions. Yet they will be products of their time and location. These times are categorized roughly according to The Great Prophecy. While the Great Prophecy foretells times of tumult and destruction as the conclusion of a given age, it is not a guarantee that the means of that destruction will proceed consecutively. The First Age might end in fire, while the Second Age ends due to plague, and the Third Age to warfare.
Ages I - III (Classical Ages)
These ages are marked by the development of bronze, iron, and (later) early steel implements. Masonry develops and in certain areas becomes relatively affordable. Agriculture, animal husbandry, and simple engineering improves, leading to larger urban populations. Recovery from large scale disasters and global catastrophes is limited. Professional armies grow in popularity, but mercenary auxiliaries are still commonplace. Early magical systems are formalized, though they may contain elements of religious ritual to them. Systems of writing and communication improve, but education and literacy rates are low. Interactions between physical sciences and magic are rare. Intercontinental travel is rare, with passage times being incredibly long and expeditions being incredibly risky. Travel by magic is impossible at this point.
Ages IV - VI (Middle Ages)
These ages are marked by the further refinement of steel implements. Masonry becomes almost universally commonplace and engineering projects become greater in scope. Governments at all levels become more centralized, creating very large urban populations and the first efforts of logistics to feed the populations. Recovery from large scale disasters and global catastrophes improves. Education and literacy rates are higher, but still limited in scope. Professional armies benefit from the development of logistics, allowing larger operations to be sustained, while mercenaries are hired on as "household troops" by powerful and influential figures for security closer to home. Magical systems continue to develop and begin to benefit from improved interactions and understandings of physical sciences. Intercontinental travel is increasing; while the risk is reduced from improvements in ship design and construction, passage times remain long. Magical travel is effectively in the experimental stage, with short hops generally no farther than line-of-sight from the caster.
Ages VII - IX (Modern Ages)
These ages are marked by advances in alloys, increasing levels of mechanization, industrialization, and miniaturization. Construction techniques and materials improve, with large scale engineering projects combining stonework with metal elements in equal measure or leaning more towards metal. With well established logistical and communications techniques, governments can stretch out further, creating large political units and alliances which are able to respond to changing circumstances rapidly. Recovery from large scale disasters is rapid to the point of effortlessness, though global catastrophes are more difficult. Professional armies are the norm, usually as all-volunteer forces with some polities relying on short-term conscription. Education and literacy rates rapidly climb, approaching a near-universal presence by the Ninth Age. Mercenaries become more specialized, fulfilling specific niches which are not generally handled by conventional military forces. With improvement in physical and metaphysical disciplines, magical systems grow more demanding, yet also more pervasive and flexible. The first tentative steps of fusing magic and technology together are taken towards the end of this period. Intercontinental travel becomes commonplace by oceanic and transatmospheric means, though its average cost puts it firmly in the reach of the wealthy and middle-class. Magical travel rapidly improves, though intercontinental travel requires considerable resources.
Ages X - XII (Future Ages)
These ages are marked by rapid and incredible advances in material sciences, as well as life sciences. Large scale engineering projects aim for a holistic approach, fusing the structure with the environment for maximum efficiency and minimal impact. Logistics and communications are global and streamlined, allowing for mega-political units and the possibility of a unified polity across the planet. Large scale disasters are a rarity and easily recovered from, though global catastrophes still take extensive time to recover from. Education and literacy is universal, and most individuals are capable of low-order magical effects which were considered powerful during the early years of the Classical Ages. Professional armies are small, highly trained, and well equipped; not quite ceremonial but rarely used in matters of international conflict. Mercenaries operate in small units, often out of sight of official government sanction, their expertise within certain areas remaining their best assets. Magical systems are approaching a point of their practical limits; they're astounding in their complexity and their power, but are generally considered to have reached the point of diminishing returns when used by themselves. Magic and technology is fused ever more intricately, producing astounding new discoveries. Intercontinental travel is commonplace by oceanic, sub-oceanic, transatmospheric, and magitechnical means with negligible cost to all.
The Final Age
The shape of the Final Age is a matter of conjecture. The supposition is that it will be considerably shorter than any of the previous ages, perhaps a generation or two, perhaps a few centuries. The state of the world, and its champions, will depend very heavily upon how the Twelfth Age ended and what survived. It is at this point that a final battle with The Strangers themselves will occur. The Hundred Champions will contend against The Strangers and either defeat them or perish. Should they fail, Orubrus' Bargain will kick in. The world will undergo a massive temporal reset, returning to a point shortly before the start of the First Age, and begin the cycle anew. There will be no physical record of this reset, nothing to indicate that the cycle has started over. However, certain knowledges and abilities developed by The Hundred Champions will almost certainly carry over, just as they have in the cycle before. By this method, it is believed that The Hundred Champions may be able to divine how to defeat The Strangers and potentially influence the course of events to more quickly bring that defeat about.
Rindherol consists of five large continents, spaced more or less equidistant from each other. The largest, Auchas, sits more or less on the equator. The smallest, Plaiton, is closest to the southern pole. Each have distinct geographic, political, and historic features to them. Due to the nature of the Great Prophecy, and the nature of how cities and nations may rise and fall over the course of ages, some of these may only exist in the First Age.
This continent stretches for over five thousand miles in a straight line from its eastern coast to its western one, though it's north-south breadth is only a third of that. It's by far the most populous continent and home to a number of significant cities, as well as historical sites, geographic features, and Stranger Lairs.
• Oriabury (Capital City/Major Port) - Crowning the Bay of Oriab in the southwestern corner of the continent, Oriabury has long dominated the carrying trade for other coastal cities, as well as providing a well equipped port to help move goods into the interior.
• The Cenotaph of The First Oracle (Historic Site) - Near the precise center of Auchas sits what can only be described as a temple complex. At its heart is a cenotaph. Yet, instead of the names of the dead, it bears the words of the Great Prophecy as revealed by the First Oracle. The walls of the complex tell a rather abridged version of the coming of The Strangers and the creation of The Hundred Champions by The Pantheon. It does not mention Orubrus or the bargain it struck with The Pantheon.
• The Unholy Tree (Stranger Lair) - One of The Strangers is believed to be laired (or possibly entombed) underneath a massive tree measuring almost a quarter of a mile across at the base. The tree does provide shade, but whatever eldrtich energies have caused it to grow to its present size have also choked out all other plant life within a mile or so of its branches.
North-northwest of Auchas, Auphai could easily be considered as being broken off from Auchas, a truth which will not become known until many ages deep into the cycle. While it is a distinct continental mass, it's size (2100 miles across) and proximity will cause it to be mistaken as an extension of Auchas for many centuries.
• Iclens (Major City) - Nestled in the heights of the Leifrav Mountains, Iclens boasts some of the oldest observatories in the world, as well as some of the oldest deposits of sulfur, niter, and other chemical compounds. Most of this can be attributed to the various hot springs which dot the glacial valley which Iclens sits in.
• The Adaenira (Historic Site) - One of many temple sites to The Pantheon, the Adaenira is best thought of as a massive musical instrument. Raised during the Age of Myths, it is effectively an engineered "Aeolian harp," where wind, water, and even plant and animal life combine to produce musical effects. Its acoustic properties and architecture will be studied for centuries, but rarely if ever duplicated, and never surpassed.
• The Grove of Agony (Stranger Lair) - This particular expanse of forest, although relatively small compared to the breadth of the continent, holds the dubious distinction of being the most deadly woodland in the world. Animal life is rare, but what creatures do live there are extraordinarily aggressive, equipped with mutations which only serve to enhance their lethality compared to their "normal" cousins. Plant life is invariably carnivorous or poisonous (and in many cases both). Fungi are universally toxic and death is the typical end result of either casual contact, ingestion, or inhalation of spores. Many have theorized that the Grove is not a typical biome, but is some bizarre form of biological gestalt, a super-organism which is defending its particular patch of territory with unfettered hostility.
To the northeast of Auchas sits Cacith, a modestly sized continent (1500 miles across) which is dominated by the ring of mountain ranges almost entirely circumvalleting it. Its residents generally either make their homes on the thin fringe of coastal lands at the seaward feet of the mountains or within the mountains themselves. Cacith will be referred to at various times as "The Sanctuary Isle," owing to the effect of the mountains creating an almost entirely undeveloped interior.
• Ukhada (Small Town) - Referred to as "The Garden Gate" by coastal residents of Cacith, Ukhada sits in the middle of the narrow valley between the Tiverterel and Kirwaki Ranges. Guides for expeditions into the interior of the continent are generally hired here, and the townsfolk seem to be the best local source for information about what lays beyond the far end of the valley.
• The Pearl Graves (Historic Site) - The western coast of Cacith holds perhaps one of the strangest burial grounds ever seen. In a semi-submerged grotto, the skulls of particularly courageous mariners are given to a bed of giant clams, causing a pearl to form around the skull. Each skull is wound with a special burial cord to help identify them, which slowly unwinds as part of the pearl formation process. After a decade or so, the clams eject the pearls. The pearls are then recovered and placed in niches with the name of the mariner and the date of their death carved below them. Stealing even one of these pearls is a deeply held taboo, and grave robbers are dealt with most harshly.
• Sanctum of Regret (Stranger Lair) - This small and oddly shaped structure sitting deep within the interior of the continent holds a deeply confounding labyrinth which none have ever successfully navigated. By all accounts, it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside by a couple orders of magnitude. Few have ever escaped it.
Roughly the same size as Cacith (1600 miles across), Vistrath sits west-southwest of Auchas, enjoying a more tropical climate than most other locales. Because of this, it's the most sparsely populated of the five continents, more so even than Cacith. Its jungles and its few high deserts make for harsh living for most people, though The Strangers don't seem terribly bothered by the conditions.
• Eyrosa (Capital City/Major City) - Situated near the Vonsevain Massif and Sinval River, Eyrosa is a gateway to the jungle highlands and mountainous deserts further west. Its position leads to generations of riverine naval domination, material development (from various nearby ore seams), and engineering expertise (from building bridges and early efforts at water-based power generation).
• Orubrus' Garden (Historic Site) - This region holds a number of tall buttes thrusting up from the jungles below. The tops of these buttes contain unique micro-ecosystems, completely isolated from the creatures below.
• Vault of The Last Dream (Stranger Lair) - Near the center of the Raleche Wastes is a cyclopean structure, its angles and lines completely unnatural to most eyes. Beyond a massive door of gray-green stone is a maze of corridors and stairways. It's unknown how far down the passages go, though there have been reports of explorers experiencing strange dreams of a second door down at the very bottom.
At a little under 800 miles across, Plaiton is the smallest continent, southeast of Auchas. It bears the most Stranger Lairs of any of the five continents and more battlefields dot its cool grassy plains than almost anywhere else in the world. Most who hail from the nations of Plaiton are known for a general surliness and coldness of demeanor, though the almost constant engagement against The Strangers' minions may have something to do with this.
• Ensgend (Major City) - Cut into the base of Milgath Peak, Ensgend is less a metropolitan complex and more of a sprawling military reservation. There are more weapon makers and designers per capita here than anywhere else in the world. It is quite possibly the pre-eminent locale for martial theory, tactics, logistics, and training. For all of that, it also boasts incredible capacity for refugees and is likely one of the few cities in the world which is almost entirely self-sufficient for the length of an entire cycle.
• The Tomb of Qynjir (Historic Site) - A plain near Ensgend holds a site dating back to the early days of the Age of Myths. Qynjir was a hero of the region, and even today, a large number of Ensgendi will claim to be distantly descended from him. Each year, large numbers gather near the tomb to mark the day of Qynjir's death, traditionally reported to be on the spring equinox.
• Fane of The Deamageris (Stranger Lair) - The highest peak in Plaiton is Mount Saulaver, rising over twenty thousand feet above sea level, and upon this peak sits the Fane of The Deamageris. During the Age of Myths, it was a monastery for an order of mystics. During the Time of Contempt, The Strangers seized the mountain and slaughtered the monks to the last man before corrupting the site. Many have theorized that the Fane serves The Strangers in much the same way Ensgend serves mortals.
Player Character Classes
A player will undertake many roles during the cycle, living many lifetimes, performing many deeds in many different ways. While the Hundred Champions may become any one of these, deep and subtle metaphysical systems ensure that they are always evenly distributed, a score of champions to each continent, and an evenly divided number among the four types. And while each type may have favored weapons and armor, it's always possible for one of the Hundred to bring experience from one role into another. Each type has an elemental "affinity," a spiritual precept rather than an actual preference for certain elements in magical terms.
These are the frontline warriors of the Hundred. Their elemental affinity is Earth. They are the rocks upon which the tides of evil break and are confounded. Their strength and endurance are phenomenal, and they serve as natural leaders in the crush of battle. They know that to endure is to buy the most precious resource of any battle: time. Their favored weapons are two-handed blades and two-handed bludgeons. They favor the heaviest armors and shields.
These are the guerrillas and assassins of the Hundred. Their elemental affinity is Water. They are constantly in motion, shifting effortlessly from target to target, or from hotspot to hotspot. Theirs is the patience, and the speed, and sometimes the shocking force of the rivers and the oceans. For them, victory lies in the attack, and they are always on the attack. Their favored weapons are one-handed blades along with bows and other ranged weapons. They favor light armor and shields.
These are the magi and sorcerers of the Hundred. Their elemental affinity is Fire. They bring forth power from the mundane, unleashing the inherent energies of the world upon The Strangers and their ilk. In doing so, they must also be scholars and strategists, determining where best to strike and how to make the enemy come to ground of their choosing. Their favored weapons are wands and foci. They cannot wear armor (unless they have brought a trait from a previous incarnation into their current one).
These are the priests and healers of the Hundred. Their elemental affinity is Air. Life begins with a breath and ends with one. It is their role to preserve life, to soothe the pain of the injured both physically and spiritually. They are all-encompassing, able to restore those who are spent, or to lend support to those are flagging. But they can also be terrible to behold in battle, the first blast of a storm, or even the storm itself. Their favored weapons are one-handed bludgeons and icons. They favor medium armor and shields.
Many of The Strangers will be generated as the ages roll on, and The Pantheon is out of reach. That said, there may be a couple of constants.
Many have had visions of Orubrus, sometimes as they're on the brink of death, and sometimes even after they've died but before being restored to life by well timed interventions. He often appears as a titanic serpent, always with a serpentine smile on his face as he chides the subject for carelessly dying. Occasionally he'll appear in a more humanoid form, though even there, serpentine motifs and a reptilian cast to his features will be common. He has no great love of The Strangers and genuinely wants to be rid of them, but at the same time, he's rather pleased by the fact he's the only divine being in the world. Orubrus knows sooner or later, The Pantheon will be released and the party will be over. But until then, he'll enjoy it while it lasts. Some have speculated he knows exactly how many times the cycle of ages has reset, but if he does, he's not telling.
There are many titles this being has earned, many aliases been granted to avoid speaking its true name. Among The Pantheon, it is known as "The First Stranger" or "The Grand Unknown." Its motives are inscrutable. Its powers beyond mortal ken. Even the divinities of The Pantheon are unable to fathom the true level of its abilities or the ultimate objective it works towards. Yet for some reason, it cannot or will not manifest itself within the world. It may not be accessible from the world of mortals. And even if some of The Hundred did make it through, there's no guarantee it will die.
Items & Materials
The equipment a Champion uses in their previous incarnations will pass down through the ages. As the ages progress, new materials and processes become available, as well as new designs and types of weapons.
• Ash (Common Material)
• Axe (1H Blade, 2H Blade)
• Bone (Common Material)
• Bow (Ranged Weapon)
• Bronze (Common Material)
• Black Bronze (Rare Material)
• Club (1H Bludgeon, 2H Bludgeon)
• Dagger (1H Blade)
• Diadem (Focus)
• Fetish (Icon)
• Iron (Uncommon Material)
• Leather (Common Material)
• Maul (1H Bludgeon, 2H Bludgeon)
• Oak (Uncommon Material)
• Orichalcum (Legendary Material)
• Periapt (Focus)
• Sacred Scroll (Icon)
• Silk (Rare Material)
• Skymetal (Legendary Material)
• Sling (Ranged Weapon)
• Spear (1H Blade, 2H Blade, Ranged)
• Staff (2H Bludgeon, Focus, Icon)
• Steel (Rare Material)
• Sword (1H Blade, 2H Blade)
• Wand (Wand)
• Yew (Rare Material)
• Black Bronze becomes Common
• Iron becomes Common
• Silk becomes Uncommon
• Steel becomes Uncommon
• Oak becomes Common
• Yew becomes Uncommon
• Adamantite (Legendary Material)
• Crossbow (Ranged Weapon)
• Folded Steel (Rare Material)
• Grimoire (Focus)
• Laminate Wood (Uncommon Material)
• Lancewood (Rare Material)
• Pattern Welded Steel (Rare Material)
• Prayer Book (Icon)
• Folded Steel becomes Uncommon
• Laminate Wood becomes Common
• Lancewood becomes Uncommon
• Pattern Welded Steel becomes Uncommon
• Silk becomes Common
• Steel becomes Common
• Yew becomes Common
• Advanced Alloys (Uncommon Material)
• Advanced Composites (Uncommon Material)
• Duranium (Legendary Material)
• Muskets (Ranged)
• Signet (Focus, Icon)
• Pistols (Ranged)
• Rifles (Ranged)
• Titanium (Rare Material)
• Advanced Alloys become Common
• Advanced Composites become Common
• Folded Steel becomes Common
• Lancewood becomes Common
• Pattern Welded Steel becomes Common
• Titanium becomes Uncommon
• Crysteel (Rare Material)
• Diaphene (Rare Material)
• Focused Plasma (Legendary Material)
• Magitech Array (Focus)
• Paracausal Matrix (Icon)
Once the Final Age has been reached, no further advancements in materials or items can be obtained.
Upgrades & Inheritances
Probably one of the biggest mechanics players will be engaging in is upgrading their equipment, coming up with newer and more powerful enhancements to increasingly archaic weapons which somehow manage to keep pace with or even outpace "present day" counterparts. Probably the fastest way display this would be a color-coded system. It's common enough in other RPGs at this point, and it would speed player understanding. A chart for weapon/armor qualities would probably run something like this:
• Gray - Junk (cannot be upgraded) - Low quality material, shoddy workmanship, one step above an improvised weapon
• White - Basic (cannot be upgraded) - Average quality material, low to average quality workmanship, nothing remarkable about it
• Green - Good (Capable of accepting Minor-quality upgrades) - Good quality material or average materials worked by a skilled artisan, clearly of better craft than the typical example
• Blue - Excellent (Capable of accepting up to Major-quality upgrades) - High quality materials or good materials worked by a highly skilled artisan; if it's not a bespoke piece or commission, it's the next best thing
• Purple - Superb (Capable of accepting up to Grand-quality upgrades) - The highest quality materials, or "just" high quality materials worked by a master artisan; likely a one-off creation which carries a lot of prestige to it
• Gold - Masterpiece (Capable of accepting up to Legendary-quality upgrades) - The best materials shaped by the greatest of artisans; once-in-a-generation pieces, the stuff that legends are made of
The actual number of upgrades a piece could carry might either be randomly generated or part of a specific scheme of segments (e.g. hilts, pommels, blades, guards for swords).
With regard to the upgrades:
• Green - Minor - Small boosts to damage (weapons) or damage reduction (armor), low order effects (elemental or poison damage), or small debilitations to targets (brief stuns, slowing effects)
• Blue - Major - Modest boosts to damage or damage reduction, medium effects or debilitations to target, duplication of effects from early-tier spells
• Purple - Grand - Significant boosts to damage or damage reduction, large effects or debilitations on target, duplication of mid-tier spells
• Gold - Legendary - Boosts to damage or damage reduction doubled or tripled from their base value, damage effects or debilitations on target equal to or greater than base weapon damage, duplication of late-tier spells
There will undoubtedly need to be some system for "reforging" gear to accept new enhancements.
Fundamentally, Reliquarian is a roguelike writ large. There's a lot of ways this could ultimately evolve. It could be a classic isometric ARPG (akin to the Diablo or Torchlight series), which could have potential issues relating to procedural generation. It could be done up as a "loot shooter" (or "loot slasher" in a lot of spots) similar to the Destiny series (if going FPS) or The Division series (3rd person over the shoulder). However, it might be better to keep better quality weapons behind quests, give players a reason to explore and seek out august personages. Yes, it might be a fetch quest, ultimately, but it's one that will genuinely benefit the player instead of sending them to get ten rat ears because reasons.
None of us work in a vacuum. All of us are undoubtedly swiping small mechanisms and notions from other works. These were some of the ones that influenced me the most while working on this beast.
• Michael Moorcock - What can you say? The man's a legend of fantasy fiction. The "Eternal Champion" books were a major infuence.
• Red Aegis - This is a very weird TTRPG that I've never really had the chance to play. Designed by Brian R. James (with writing assistance from Ed Greenwood of Forgotten Realms fame), this had you playing not as a single character, but an entire clan across generations and ages, from the earliest days of recorded history to the other planets of your home star system and beyond. Definitely a very different perspective.
• Exalted - Terrible TTRPG systems, but always a compelling setting. Larger-than-life heroes equipped with relics of a bygone age that shatter mountains or cut through a soul like it was paper, all while fighting even more over-the-top villains. It's hard not to be excited by insane wire-fu coupled to ridiculous anime weapons.
• The Cthulhu Mythos - When you look at the Mythos as a whole, when you see the scope of it all, it kinda melts your brain a little bit. It's easier to focus in on certain periods like Robert E. Howard's "Conan" stories or the original stories from Lovecraft himself. But then you kinda want to connect the dots, trying to figure out how you get from Conan of Cimmeria to Nephren-ka to Charles Dexter Ward.
• Buffy The Vampire Slayer - This series (along with the spinoff Angel) did an excellent job of mixing urban fantasy with horror. Not simply in the visual side of things, but also in the characters and storylines. It's kind of a master class in how contemporary characters handle anachronistic equipment and knowledge.
• Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem - Probably didn't think this would be the big video game influence, did ya? Sanity Effects aside, the structure of the game's plot and its emphasis on bringing characters back to the same places ages apart, and their effects on the world, is subtle but so well executed. Also, it serves as the other big "Things Man Was Not Meant To Know" influence besides the Mythos. The Strangers are very much an homage to both this game and Lovecraft.