Shub-Niggurath, code-named Quake, is the absolute ruler of the Monsters in Quake's reality and the final boss of Quake. Known as the Hell-Mother, All-Mother, and the Witch-Goddess, Shub-Niggurath is the mother of all monsters that roam the dimensions of Quake. She has spawned an army to invade Earth using the humans' own portal technology. She'd planned on using the four runes to cause such destruction, but the runes were instead sought by the player and were used to gain access to Shub-Niggurath's Pit in confronting the Witch-Goddess. She physically resembles a massive demonic tentacled creature, with three huge tendril-like limbs extending upwards from her bleeding central mass.

Assassinating Shub-Niggurath and stopping her invasion of Earth is the main goal of Quake. Ranger fights through the four Episodes to locate the four Runes which he uses to open a passage to Shub-Niggurath. Shub-Niggurath spawns an army of Shamblers and Vores to kill him, though they are promptly eliminated as Ranger works his way to a Teleporter. Using a Spiked Sphere that floats around the world as a guide, he was able to kill the Old One. Though infinitely powerful, even Shub-Niggurath could be destroyed by the laws of physics (in this case, a Telefrag).

Shub-Niggurath is an Old One with vast magical powers. For many eons, she enslaved many dimensions. When humanity first invented the slipgate technology, she sensed it and discovered our dimension. She connected the slipgates to her own realms and started an invasion of Earth.


  • Shub-Niggurath spawns hundreds of demons but has no attacks of her own, relying purely on the power of her children. Shub-Niggurath's one 'combat' ability is her impossible defence. None of the player's weapons can hurt Shub-Niggurath, making her practically invulnerable. The only way to kill her is using the Spiked Sphere (see below).
  • Jumping over to Shub-Niggurath and standing near her will result in the player losing health. This could be some kind of defensive aura.
  • Shub-Niggurath is confronted in Shub-Niggurath's Pit. To kill Shub-Niggurath, the player must kill a large number of Shamblers and Vores, notable as the most powerful enemies in the game, to reach the far end of the room via a path that goes around her. At the end of the path, there is a Teleporter that will take the player to the location where the Spiked Sphere is currently floating. Watch the sphere and wait for it to fly into Shub-Niggurath. Jump into the portal just as it enters Shub-Niggurath to Telefrag her. Watch as Shub-Niggurath explodes, revealing the player as the victor. Text will appear and the player will win the game. This is a quick overview of how to kill Shub-Niggurath at the end of the level. For a more detailed walkthrough, read the article on Shub-Niggurath's Pit.

Death Messages

  • "Player" became one with Shub-Niggurath (Cut from game)



  • Shub-Niggurath's name is taken from one of the "Old Ones" of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, whose full title is "The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young". This is reflected in the .mdl files such as oldone.mdl.
  • Shub-Niggurath was the only Old One in the final game. One of the original concepts of the game included more Old Ones who were all imprisoned inside dimensional prisons. Ranger's goal was to free these Old Ones by gathering Freedom artifacts. The end of the game pitted Ranger against Shalrath, the one who imprisoned all the Old Ones. Eventually, Shalrath's true form would be revealed as Shub-Niggurath. [1]
  • The Quake emblem is very likely formed in the visage of Shub Niggurath. (2 curved protrusions with one straight all forming from a "stem" as one might call it)
  • Two unused sound files can be found in "Sound/Boss2". One is an idle sound (idle.wav), the other (sight2.wav) when Shub-Niggurath sees the player.
  • Although there is a death message written for Shub-Niggurath in client.qc (seen above), she has no actual way of directly killing the player, thus the message is never seen in-game.
  • In early releases of Quake, it was possible to kill Shub-Niggurath with brute force by shooting her until all 40,000 hit points were expended, which would then cause the game to crash. This was fixed in version 1.06.
  • John Romero programmed Shub-Niggurath to not take direct offense against the player as an analog to Doom II’s final boss, the Icon of Sin.[2]


Shub-Niggurath detecting her nemesis (Unused)
Shub-Niggurath being aware of her threat (Unused)
Shub-Niggurath being slain
Shub-Niggurath exploding



  2. Interview with John Romero where he stated, ‘Yes, the boss situation was due to time constraints. Although you might notice that I placed the Shalrath creatures in the end room of E2M6 as a sort of boss - it's the first time you meet them and we reuse them later on (a la Baron of Hell). I designed Shub to do exactly what he does - it was a really quick and easy boss to implement and an analog to DOOM II's final Icon of Sin boss.
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