Monday, April 4, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: C is for Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories C
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: C is for Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis

(and a Special Monstrous Monday!)

The Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis is the "hypothesis" (really just an idea, it's not a good hypothesis in the scientific sense) put forward by Mac Tonnies and based on, among other things, the writings of Richard Shaver.  

The idea is that all the so-called "extraterrestrials" on Earth are all really natives.  Not cryptids per se, but whole other species. They have existed, in theory since the dawn of time.

Exploring the Shaver aspect, we have the "Deros" or his "detrimental robots" as a possible Cryptoterrestrial species. If we use the D&D versions, the Derro, then we have more to work with.   I think I would also like to take another page from Shaver's book magazine and have the language the Derro use be Mantong

Another species that fits this idea for me is the Ophidians.  This is a species that I have used in the past and really enjoy them.   

What separates cryptoterrestrials from extraterrestrials are their origins. While both can seem "alien" to humans, cryptoterrestrials are Earthlings.  They evolved from the same processes that gave us trees, lobsters, and humans.  Generally speaking, the same things that affect us, will affect them. They need to eat, breathe, and even sleep. They can be affected by poisons, just different ones, and bullets still hurt them. 


Since today is also a Monstrous Monday I think I should have some monster stats here.

No. Appearing: 8-80 (8d10)
AC: 4
Move: 20 ft.
Hit Dice: 3
Special: Pack tactics, Can fight in complete darkness, vulnerable to sunlight, madness.
XP Value: 60

Derros are a race of subterranean human-like creatures.  Their skin is a dull gray, their hair is typically a few shades lighter, and their eyes are a uniform white.  They speak an unknown, guttural language, but a few (1 in 10) can speak any surface language that is common nearby.  

Common Derro Abilities

  • Pack tactics. Derro are ambush attackers and will set traps and snares to incapacitate interlopers into their realms.  The derro will kill any they suspect is a threat, usually the largest, and keep the rest as slaves. 
  • Fight in Complete Darkness/Vulnerable to Sunlight.  Derro fight in complete darkness as if it were dim light. They take no penalty in attacks.  In any light greater than torchlight/flashlight they take a penalty of -1 (-5%).  In anything brighter, the penalty is -3 (-15%).  In full sunlight they cannot attack at all.
  • Madness. A full 25% of all derro suffer from a form of racial madness.  This usually manifests as a form of delusional behavior where they feel they are the superior species of the planet.  Their layers are fill with giant machines they refer to as "The Death Ray", "The Sun Destroyer", or "The Gravity Enhancer" that are designed to end the world, but never work.  Derro spend decades building these, or more to the point forcing slaves to do it, only to have them end in their own destruction.

Derro are cruel and delight in torture for torture's sake. 

No. Appearing:
 4-24 (4d6)
AC: 6
Move: 30 ft.
Hit Dice: 1 to 4
Special: Cold-blooded, enhanced senses (sight, smell), poison, magicly impaired.
XP Value: Varies

Ophidians are snake-like humanoids that have existed on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs.  They remember the great age of reptiles.  They hate humans, and really all mammals, and seek to destroy them so they can reclaim the Earth as their own.  If they hate anything more than humans it is the Extraterrestrial Reptoids. They feel the reptoids caused the great blast 65 million years ago that destroyed the dinosaurs (they didn't but the ophidians are not convinced) and they fight them for control of the Earth.

Common Ophidian Abilities

  • Cold-blooded. Ophidians live in deep rain forests, inhospitable deserts, and even underground near magma pockets or anywhere that is warm.  They prefer temperatures that are 75 °F / 24 °C or warmer with places of variable temperatures.
  • Enhanced Senses. Ophidians have superior senses of sight and smell.  Their sight extends into the infrared spectrum.  They are only surprised on a roll of 1-2 on a d10. 
  • Poison. The bite of some ophidians (1 in 6) can paralyze or (2 in 6) painful death (take 4d8 points of damage).  A Constitution-based saving throw can reduce this to 2d8 hp of damage. 
  • Magicly Impaired. Whether due to their reptilian brains or the fact they evolved from different progenitors than humans ophidians are incapable of magic.  They can, and many do, have psychic powers, but never magic.

Ophidians and Derro hate each other, often encountering each other and fighting great underground battles below the feet of unknowing humans.   It is possible that the only keeping these species from taking over is their hatred for everything and everyone that is not themselves.

Union of the Snake


Both Derros and Ophidians have a nice long history in my games.

I have to admit they did grow out of a lot of fringe theories and weird fiction from the 80s.  But I will admit that the Snake People were really sold to me from the Duran Duran video "Union of the Snake."

It was the 80s, I took my ideas from where they came.

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).


Pun Isaac said...

Derro make me think of the Kelly–Hopkinsville encounter. If you aren't familiar with that story/cryptid encounter, I recommend checking it out.

Cobra Woman just might be an ophidian, or at least work with them.

Excellent post, my friend. Also thanks for the music video. I've not seen it before today.

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

How have I never seen that video before - I though I had caught all of Duran Duran's vids by now. I have never heard the term Cryptoterrestrial before (and I have discovered I also can't type it 😆). Thank you for enlightening me.
Tasha's Thinkings: YouTube - What They Don't Tell You (and free fiction)

Dino said...

Unfortunately you lost me at "Conspiracy Theories", but all the best for the rest of the challenge.

annucool15 said...

This is deep stuff. I found it interesting but really a new area for me. See you around the A-Z challenge!
You can see my posts for the challenge on

Tim Knight said...

So Derro are Morlocks from the 1960's Time Machine movie?

Arlee Bird said...

This one is new to me. I don't think I buy it.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Timothy S. Brannan said...

@Pun, I'll have to check that out! You always have the coolest cryptid info!

@Tasha Duncan-Drake, my sisters were HUGE Duran Duran fans in the 80s! I could not but help hear all their albums over, and over, and over again!

@Dino, Oh I hear you. Not everyone's cup of tea.

@annucool15, I hope you enjoy! See you around too!

@Tim Knight, A little yes! I did a Grimlock a while back.

@Arlee Bird, Oh NONE of these hold any water! But that means they are great for a game! ;)

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Ooh lol, that's a fun idea... but like... wouldn't all native species so far undiscovered count as cryptoterrestrials? :D

The Multicolored Diary

Timothy S. Brannan said...

@A Tarkabarka Hölgy, I did say it was not a very good hypothesis! ;)

Melanie Atherton Allen said...

Interesting. What distinction is drawn, though, between cryptids and cryptoterrestrials? Also, please tell me there is a vehement school of thought in the Bigfoot community arguing fiercely that Bigfoot is a cryptoterrestrial. I have a relative who is very into Bigfoot, and from what she tells me, it sounds like there are always two schools of thought on every aspect of Bigfoot, always hotly contested.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I am not sure you can apply good scientific logic here! ;)