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Colour Out Of Space

A colour out of space is a fictional extraterrestrial in the writings of the horror fiction author H. P. Lovecraft. It first appeared in Lovecraft’s short story “The Colour Out of Space” (1927).


In Lovecraft’s story, the colours out of space are unknowable, non-humanoid extraterrestrial creatures who suck life out of all living things in the area. They arrived in a meteorite that fell in a rural area west of the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts, landing next to a well, on farmland belonging to Nahum Gardner.

Meteorite properties

Colour Out Of Space
Ludvik Skopalik’s artwork based on H. P. Lovecraft’s short story “The Colour out of Space”.

An eerie radiance, a glow unlike anything else, suddenly suffuses the area, bringing with it a stifling sense of latent malignancy.

  • The meteorite possesses odd properties:
  • It wastes away when exposed to natural air.
  • It continuously produces significant amounts of heat.
  • It is unusually soft for something resembling rock.
  • No noticeable gases released when heated over charcoal.
  • No reaction to the borax bead test.
  • No apparent reaction to any producible temperature, including that of the oxy-hydrogen blowpipe.
  • Highly malleable.
  • Luminous. Especially noticeable in dark surroundings.
  • Spectroscopic analysis during heating resulted in shining bands unknown previously in the visible spectrum.
  • Mostly immune from reaction to all laboratory-standard reagents, ranging from water to aqua regia. Small and faint traces of Widmanstätten pattern appear on it in response to acid reagents. Same reagents also slightly cool it.
  • Generally accepted to be a metal of some sort.
  • Possesses the qualities expected of a magnetic material.
  • Affinity for electricity, to the point where it could divert lightning strikes to itself.
  • Mutually damaging to silicon compounds.
  • The colours inhabit small colored, fragile globules within such meteors, exhibiting the odd band of colors described above. A simple hammer tap is sufficient to break one open, resulting in no noticeable release of anything at all.

Environmental impact

They possess mutagenic properties. The crops on the farm near the impact site grew to great size and unnatural gloss, but this was useless as their taste was bitter, sour and unlikeable in the extreme. Animals in the area were also affected, their bodies, behavior and activity showing hints of alteration, such as leaping distances well above their normal capability, malformed body proportions and appearances, and footprints in the snow of unnatural configuration.

Snow around the house melted faster than anywhere else nearby, and skunk cabbages of prodigious size and unusual color sprouted out of the soil. The trees budded early and were observed to be moving even with no wind of any sort. Sprouting saxifrage bore the same unnatural hues as the cabbages. Within a few months all plant life near the site took on unnatural properties and odd hues to the point where the road running near it fell into disuse, owing to people fearful of seeing such a sight.

Insects were also affected in a similar manner. Their bodies and movement pattern noticeably altered from what was known through past experience, and behaving in a manner contradictory as such. It is probably safe to assume that they are affected to a similar degree as animals.

Effects on mammals

Cows grazing on grass near the site produced milk of worthless quality. The cows were moved away, a solution that worked as the milk returned to normal thereafter.

The grass near the site, the same general area the cows fed in, started taking gray colours and became strangely brittle. Horses in the stable one night  were driven violently mad by it, and had to be shot for their own good when  found a week later after they were released from the stables during their bout of madness. Woodchucks populating the area have also been affected; at one point two villagers find and shoot one specimen described as strangely deformed, with “an expression which no one ever saw in a woodchuck before”.

Effects on plant life

The plant life in the area, even the mutated ones, started taking after the fate of the grass, turning brittle, growing smaller than normal, growing increasingly more hideous-looking, gray, and in the case of the crops, tasteless. The insects followed suit, dropping dead rapidly.

The vegetation thereafter began crumbling like dust into grayish powder, and it was soon discovered afterwards that the well water was of undrinkable quality. The rest of the farm animals also fell to the same fate. The poultry turned gray, rapidly died and their meat found useless as food, being dry and of disgusting taste. Hogs grew massively fat, developed isolated mutations on their bodies here and there, and then soon after turned gray and collapsed like the rest of them, their meat found inedible for the same reasons as the poultry. Cows were next, portions of their bodies, or even the entire thing, shrank incredibly.

The result was the same. They turned gray and died.

Although all plant life in the area tended to die away, some, most notably trees, reacted in an unusual way – one member of the family claimed that the branches of some trees “swayed also when there was no wind,” although it is never established if this swaying was the result of specific manipulation from the alien species, or was merely another example of the unusual growths.


The majority of the colours eventually returned to space in a dramatic fashion, with everything it had ever touched glowing with its unnatural colours, and the trees pointing their branches up towards the sky. It then rapidly shot itself up into space, leaving a hole in a cloud as the only sign of its departure. All things organic that it had associated itself with crumpled into dust. A small portion remained in the well where it had originally taken up residence. The farm which had been invaded was located near one of four towns later flooded to form a reservoir.

Source  Archives of Nethys

Source Pathfinder #46: Wake of the Watcher pg. 76

Colour Out Of Space CR 10
XP 9,600 CN Huge ooze (incorporeal) Init +12; Senses Blindsight 120 ft.; Perception +18 Aura lassitude (300 ft., DC 22)
AC 23, touch 23, flat-footed 14 (+6 deflection, +8 Dexterity, +1 Dodge, -2 size)
hp 126 (12d8+72)
Fort +10, Ref +14, Will +10
Defensive Abilities incorporeal; Immune acid, cold, fire, poison, sonic, mind-affecting effects, ooze traits; SR 21
Speed Fly 50 ft. (perfect)
Melee disintegrating touch +15 (6d6; DC 22)
Space 15 ft., Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks feed
Strength -, Dexterity 26, Constitution 22, Intelligence 19, Wisdom 23, Charisma 23
Base Atk +9; CMB +19; CMD 36 (can’t be tripped)
Feats DodgeImproved InitiativeLightning ReflexesMobilitySpring AttackVital Strike
Skills Fly +27, Knowledge (geography) +16, Knowledge (nature) +16, Knowledge (planes) +16, Perception +18, Stealth +12
Special Abilities
Aura of Lassitude (Su)

A creature within 300 feet of a colour out of space (even when the colour is hiding within a solid object) must make a DC 22 Will save or become overwhelmed with listlessness and ennui. While under this effect, the creature takes a -4 penalty on all Will saving throws, and will not willingly travel farther than a mile from the area where it failed its saving throw against that colour’s aura of lassitude. A break  enchantment spell (DC 22) ends the effect, as does removing the victim from the aura’s area of effect. Every 24 hours, a creature affected by an aura of lassitude can attempt a new DC 22 Will save to throw off the effects of the aura. A creature that succeeds at this saving throw is immune to that colour’s aura of lassitude for 24 hours, and a creature that is under the effects of an aura of lassitude from a colour out of space cannot be further affected by this ability from other colours. This is a mind-affecting effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Disintegrating Touch (Su)

A colour’s touch causes a terrible disintegration of flesh and bone. A DC 22 Fortitude save halves the damage caused by a colour out of space’s touch attack. A creature reduced to 0 hit points by a colour out of space’s touch attack must make a DC 22 Fortitude save or be immediately slain and reduced to a pile of fine ash. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Feed (Su)

A colour can attempt to feed on any living creature or a region of plant life as a full-round action. If it feeds on a single creature, the colour must have line of sight and be within 300 feet of the target. If it feeds on a region of plant and animal life, it need only be within that region. It can attempt to feed on a region once per week, and upon a living creature at will (but only once per day per living creature). Feeding on a region of plant life is automatically successful, blighting that region of plant life as if via a diminish plants spell used to stunt growth. A creature can resist being fed upon by a colour out of space by making a successful DC 22 Will save—if the save is successful, the colour must wait 24 hours before attempting to feed on that creature again. If this saving throw fails, the victim takes 1d4 points of ability drain to Charisma and Constitution. If a creature is drained to 0 points of Constitution by a colour out of space’s feed attack, it dies, crumbling into a mass of desiccated tissue. If a creature is drained to 0 points of Charisma by a colour out of space’s feed attack, it gains the colour-blighted simple template (see facing page). Every time a colour successfully feeds on a creature, it gains 1 growth point. A colour out of space can never have more than 100 growth points-it can expend 100 growth points after spending 24 hours concentrating on its growth, and in so doing gains 1 permanent Hit Die. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Susceptible to Force Effects (Ex)

A colour out of space takes half again as much damage (+50%) from force effects, and takes a -4 penalty on all saving throws to resist force effects. A colour out of space cannot damage force effects with its disintegrating touch. Its aura of lassitude and feed ability is blocked if the colour is completely entrapped by force effects (such as by a windowless cell version of forcecage or a telekinetic sphere).
Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure incidental

The deepest, strangest parts of the Dark Tapestry hold truly alien concepts, and of those, few are more notorious than the colour out of space. The lack of a physical body does little to impede this deadly alien lifeform’s ability to cause incredible devastation. The fact that its life cycle requires periodic visits from the deepest reaches of space to gestate and grow in the vicinity of powerful gravitational fields such as those created by planets only increases the monster’s opportunities to bring ruin to countless worlds.

The colour out of space is just that – a mobile radiance. Its glow is unlike any seen in nature, and while those few who encounter one of these creatures and survive to tell the tale may describe the radiance or depict it in art as a sinister green-gray illumination, these depictions are flawed reproductions. To witness the colour out of space is to know there are things no humanoid mind can fully comprehend, describe, or explain.

Colour-Blighted Simple Template (CR +0)

A creature with the colour-blighted simple template appears hideously deformed and glows with the same unnamable color as the creature that blighted it. A colour-blighted creature’s quick and rebuild rules are the same.

Rebuild Rules: A colour-blighted creature’s ability scores suffer drain as a result of being fed upon by a colour out of space, but once a creature gains this template, it becomes immune to further feed attacks from colours out of space until it loses the colour-blighted simple template. A Charisma score drained to 0 by a colour out of space’s feed attack is raised to 1; other ability scores are not altered. In order to remove this simple template from a creature, one need only restore all of its drained ability scores to normal. As long as a creature suffers the colour-blighted template, it becomes strangely aggressive toward creatures that do not exude the colors of a colour out of space, and gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls against such targets. Every 24 hours, a creature suffering from this simple template must make a DC 12 Fortitude save to resist crumbling into fine white ash – such a doom means instant death and, for many color-blighted creatures, their only chance at escape from a life filled with pain.

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