Horrors are creatures/spirits that date back to the Fourth World and earlier. They are able to access our world when the mana levels are high enough. In the Earthdawn universe, they are said to come from the "dark corners of the netherworlds." This would seem to correspond to the deep metaplanes that have been discovered.
Characteristics and Origin
Very little is common to all Horrors in terms of physical characteristics that might help to classify them. One trait they all share however, is their origin; they are thought to come from a distant astral realm, envisioned to be some kind of hell. Another shared trait is their instinct or desire to cause harm. It is theorized that Horrors subsist on the negative emotions produced in the victims they torture.
In the Shadowrun/Earthdawn universe, magic goes through cycles. As the magic level rises, it allows Horrors to cross from their distant, otherworldly dimension into the material world. The Horrors come in an almost infinite variety -- from simple eating machines that devour all they encounter, to incredibly intelligent and cunning foes that feed off the negative emotions they inspire in their prey. Some horrors were so powerful, that during the Scourge they killed or drove insane several Passions and similar god-level entities.
Horrors display a variety of powers that they use to cause misery, pain and suffering. Some of the more notable Horror powers include abilities that:
- curse a pattern with astral taint, through which they can wield their other powers
- warp and corrupt astral energies and magic
- inflict horrendous damage by causing a victim’s skin to tear and twist around their body
- create undead from the bodies of slain victims
- drain the magical and life essence from living beings
- instil crippling terror in those nearby
- manipulate a victim’s thoughts and actions, and defile their dreams and emotions
Not all Horrors possess these capacities, and this list is by no means exhaustive.
Horrors in Shadowrun
Critters in the Sixth World that might be modern manifestations of early Horror-arrivals include wraiths, nomad spirits, and shedim. Insect spirits had, at first, been believed to be another manifestation of the Horrors, but instead have been identified as a threat that merely heralds the arrival of the Horrors.
Half-horror, half-immortal elf Thais is alive in the Sixth World.