The Old Ones (sometimes referred to in Palladium Books publications as the Great Old Ones or the Unnameable Beings) are a race of Alien Intelligences within the megaversal setting of Palladium Books‘ game module PFRPG. The Old Ones are the most powerful forces ever to have existed in the various Palladium game settings, and their power dwarfs that of ‘ordinary’ Alien Intelligences, beings which are in general far more powerful than the gods themselves.
Despite their origins in Palladium Fantasy—the first and oldest of Palladium Books’ Game Settings—they are hated and feared throughout the different dimensions of the Palladium Megaverse by those beings who remember them, even those beings who have great power and are evil themselves.
The Old Ones’ physical and mental natures were such that to pass the time (and to feed themselves), they each seized upon a specific aspect of pain and suffering to study, psychically feeding on the emotions and suffering that would follow. For example, Ya-blik was the symbol of pestilence, betrayal, and pain, and would spread pestilence and foment those dark emotions where they did not already exist. Netosa was another of the Old Ones; its “portfolio” was that of darkness and death, and it kept sentient beings in never-ending, unreasoning fear of same to drink up the emotions that such terror generated. And Xy, greatest amongst their number, was the Great Old One of Power Incarnate, and fed upon the chaos and suffering brought by the other Old Ones as they conquered planets, galaxies, and entire dimensions in his name.
These creatures, whose origins are unknown (and who may have, in fact, always existed), were the first beings to discover the megaversal energy source known as Potential Psychic Energy (PPE), and develop the “science” of magic to manipulate it.
They are responsible for the creation of such magic ‘schools’ such as Diabolism (the use of symbols to create temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent magical effects such as spell wards), Invocations (spells performed by words and gestures on the part of a mage or shaman), Rituals (advanced and more powerful magics involving a protracted series of actions and/or sacrifices on the part of one or more mages and/or shamans), Shifting (the summoning of creatures from other locales, worlds, or dimensions for the purpose of doing the summoner’s bidding), and were the creators of the first Rune Artifacts (specially designed, indestructible weapons and artifacts created by the mystical merging of a weapon with the life forces of sentient beings).
At the end of a titanic battle some 50,000 years ago in the Palladium Dimension (and an undefined, but likely even greater longer period of time in the past relative to the other Game Settings, due to the differing ages and origins of the respective universes that make up the Palladium Megaverse), the Old Ones were finally defeated by the combined efforts of hundreds of races consisting of billions of sentient beings across the Megaverse; one of the most critical factors in the defeat of the Old Ones was a powerful magic spell by a “former” Old One himself (who was by that time amnesiac, a primary member of the Forces of Light, and entirely unaware of his own origins and true nature). The aftermath of that battle saw many of those species rendered extinct.
Unfortunately for the Megaverse, however, the Old Ones could not be destroyed: it was feared that the destruction of entities that powerful would cause a chain reaction (roughly analogous to a nuclear one, but mystical in nature) and an “explosion” that would destroy all universes. Instead, they were put into an eternal mystic slumber and hidden away between dimensions beyond the reach of all but the most powerful gods and (good) Alien Intelligences. Constant vigilance and effort is required to keep these beings asleep, and various members of the Great Powers of the Palladium Megaverse cooperate with one another to ensure that they never again awaken.
The leader of the Old Ones is/was a Great Old One once called Xy who, through a series of circumstances and betrayal, forgot his own past and now believes himself to be Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god of Wisdom. It was he, as Thoth, who helped to fashion the super-spell that would finally force the Old Ones into mystic slumber.