Background: Cultist

CULTIST

Sometime before adulthood, you got involved with an obscure religious sect that demands strict obedience. It may not be an evil group, but it is certainly secretive about its beliefs and practices. There are many unusual deities or ideals that you might embrace. Whatever they are, it’s unusual and offputting to others. Sometimes your leaders plan illegal or taboo acts for you to commit that further the cult’s agenda. These plans don’t necessarily harm others, but sometimes they make members of the cult uncomfortable. Not that they’d ever admit it.

Skill Proficiencies: Persuasion, Religion
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit
Languages: One of your choice.
Equipment: Common clothes, ritual robes, a small cult idol (holy symbol), a book of teachings, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp

UNORTHODOX BELIEF

The exact nature of your cult’s worship depends on its beliefs, and which god, entity, or philosophy you embrace. Your cult could be a radical sect of an existing religion, or it might worship a strange god.

d8    Belief

  1. Primordial Cult. The world was stolen from the primordial gods, and one day they’re going to get their due.
  2. Cult of Sowm. Sowm, the First Mother, isn’t dead, but lives in hiding from her murderous son Daemoth.
  3. Cult of Sarnoss. Civilization and industry are a blight on the natural world.
  4. The Hollow Crown. All the gods were killed centuries ago, and now the religions of the world only seek to maintain their false power.
  5. Order of the Emptied Chalice. The Black Arcane arts are gifts from the gods.
  6. The Black Lotus. Consciousness and the material world are illusions.
  7. Fundamentalist. If I am prepared, death will grant me godhood.
  8. Racial Cult. There is only one race the gods approve of. The rest are abominations.

FEATURE: INNER CIRCLE

When your cult’s leader teaches or pronounces an edict, you’re privy to the information. You know what rites or tasks your brethren and sisters of the inner circle have planned, and (subject to DM discretion) you have some sway with the cult’s leader. You can usually lodge with fellow cultists if need be, and they may keep you fed and supplied in return for performing tasks and following the cult’s strictures, which you and your DM should define.

SUGGESTED CHARACTERISTICS

Cults are often driven by the charisma and manipulation of a single leader. Trust in that leader is essential for the believers to continue faithfully within the group. Often the death of the leader jars the members of a cult to their senses. Consider who the leader of your cult is, what your relationship is, and determine how secure you are in the beliefs you’ve been taught.

d6    Personality Trait

  1. No one can shake my faith, even with proof.
  2. I don’t hold an attachment to worldly things, since I’m destined to inherit much better.
  3. My sanity is slipping after years of seeing things not meant for mortal eyes.
  4. My brothers and sisters of the order are dearer to me than life.
  5. My face is always an expressionless mask lacking empathy or feeling.
  6. I indulge in worldly pleasures to drive away the guilt of partcipating in disturbing rituals.

d6    Ideal

  1. Faith. I long for the day when all my beliefs will be vindicated. (Good)
  2. Ministry. Anyone and everyone is a possible convert, if I can get them to trust me first. (Neutral)
  3. Power. This cult is a lie, but I can use it to influence others and get what I want. (Evil)
  4. Obedience. I support my leaders. Even when they cause me pain I know it’s for my own good. (Lawful)
  5. Safety. I comply with this nightmare of a religion just to stay alive. (Neutral)
  6. Vengeance. The cult harmed me and now I stay involved to sabotage its goals. (Chaotic)

d6    Bond

  1. It started with seeking approval, but now I’ve fallen in love with my cult’s leader.
  2. My best friend was sacrificed or hurt by my brothers and sisters in the cult.
  3. My parents raised me to believe in this, and they still watch my devotion like hawks.
  4. I’ve come into possession of an artifact that disproves my cult’s beliefs.
  5. My leader has entrusted me with a secret quest that the other members can’t know about.
  6. I fell in with the cult’s enemies, and now I feed them information on our activities.

d6    Flaw

  1. I like to reference obscure scripture and teach others what they should believe.
  2. The most casual happenstance might be a sign from my god.
  3. I’ll sacrifice anything to further my cult’s agenda: friendships, possessions, even your life.
  4. I have a secret sin or practice that would brand me as a hypocrite.
  5. Sometimes the letter of the law causes me to violate the spirit of the law.
  6. I’m intolerant and disparaging to those who look or believe differently.