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Karl Heinrich in the Call of Cthulhu card game

On the afternoon of June 18, as reported by wireless to the U-61, bound for Kiel, we torpedoed the British freighter Victory, New York to Liverpool, in N. Latitude 45 degrees 16 minutes, W. Longitude 28 degrees 34 minutes; permitting the crew to leave in boats in order to obtain a good cinema view for the admiralty records. The ship sank quite picturesquely, bow first, the stem rising high out of the water whilst the hull shot down perpendicularly to the bottom of the sea. Our camera missed nothing, and I regret that so fine a reel of film should never reach Berlin. After that we sank the lifeboats with our guns and submerged.
~ Heinrich on destroying a British ship.

Karl Heinrich, Graf von Altberg-Ehrenstein is the villainous protagonist of H.P. Lovecraft's short story The Temple.


Heinrich was a lieutenant commander in the German navy during the First World War. While sailing in the North Atlantic, he sunk a British freighter, taking sadistic pleasure in the ships destruction and filming it for audiences back in Germany. Afterwards he used his U-Boat's guns to blow up the lifeboats before submerging.

When the U-Boat surfaced, the corpse of one of the ship's crewmembers was found on the deck with a strange piece of carved ivory in his pocket. Heinrich's second-in-command, Lieutenant Klenze, took the carving as a souvenir. The body was then thrown overboard, however just before it was dumped its eyes opened and stared mockingly at the soldiers. It then apparently swam away from the U-Boat, although Heinrich and Klenze denied that anything abnormal had taken place and reprimanded the crew for their "peasant ignorance".

After this event, the crew, with the exception of Heinrich and Klenze, appeared to be suffering from extreme fatigue and horrific nightmares. In particular, boatswain Muller claimed to have seen the dead seaman swimming past his porthole at the head of an army of dead sailors. Heinrich had him clapped in irons and brutally flogged, rejecting the pleas of the men to dispose of the ivory charm. As a result, the charm's influence caused the men to slowly go insane, prompting Heinrich to execute two of them, something he regretted because "German lives are precious".

Soon after, the men started disappearing. A mysterious explosion damaged the U-Boat's engines and left them floating aimlessly. An American ship came across the U-Boat, and the crew begged Heinrich to surrender. Heinrich refused, instead shooting several of the men on the spot before ordering the U-Boat to submerge. This proved to be a mistake when he realized that the ballast tanks were damaged, meaning they were unable to resurface and were instead slowly sinking to the bottom of the sea.

Realizing they were doomed, the remaining crew attempted a mutiny and managed to destroy several key implements before Heinrich was able to kill them all. Klenze, the one remaining crewman apart from Heinrich, was by now thoroughly insane and began ranting about the talisman, claiming that "He" was calling. Heinrich eventually murdered Klenze by ejecting him from the U-Boat and leaving him to drown.

Completely isolated on board the doomed U-Boat, Heinrich came to rest at the bottom of the sea, where he discovered a sunken city. Using a diving suit to explore, he came across a temple with carvings similar to the one on the talisman. He spent the next few days awaiting death on board the U-Boat as its power supply dwindled, before eventually deciding to face death with dignity by donning his suit once more and walking out into the city to asphyxiate when he ran out of air. Heinrich wrote down his experiences and cast them adrift in a bottle (later found of the coast of Yucatan) before walking out into the city to meet his end.


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