Erik Schmidt
Erik Schmidt

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Over centuries, Palers have become optimized for life underground.

The Scars section of Artifacts (p.24-41) provides tools for building cohesive player character groups. It also describes how player characters of the same Cult can come together as a group. Taking Scars as a start point, this and future Cult Campaign Seeds posts will explore ideas for campaigns built around a single Cult. The aim is to provide gamemasters with ideas that can be expanded, grafted into other campaign seeds, or otherwise altered as needed.

I’m deliberately starting with Cults that haven’t been given as much love as some of the others (lookin’ at you, Spitalians). With that in mind, what better Cult to kick things off than the Palers?

Retaking Eden

Piet was the rightful Demagogue. He led the Bunker through power surges, cave-ins, and gas leaks. He was a man of concrete surety, a voice of moral clarity and ruthless purpose. Your team lived to serve him. Now he is gone.

When the filthy little rat Grina set her takeover in motion, the entire Bunker erupted in close-quarters combat. You fought hard, but Grina’s followers were as devious as they were cowardly. They had long planned this moment, and though they were smaller in number, they succeeded in taking over the bunker.

Grina got on the speakers and broadcast Piet’s last, gurgling breaths. With her silver tongue she cowed Piet’s subordinates into obeisance. But ear plugs kept her poison from affecting your minds. You crawled through a little-known waste tunnel and into a natural cave network that eventually led to the Above.

Luck and smarts helped you survive Grina’s treachery, and now you are aligned by a desire for revenge. The outside world is strange and dangerous, but you will survive. You will gather the resources you need, however long it takes, and you will retake your bunker. You will have your vengeance on Grina and all who follow her.

Characters with the Concepts of Defiler, Abomination, Heretic, and Destroyer have Affinity with this group, while Aversion greets those with Healer and Mediator Concepts.

This We’ll Defend

For ten lifetimes, your Bunker stayed safe under the foothills of Hybrispania. Your people safeguarded the saviors of humanity, releasing them every hundred years as Getrell himself proscribed. The selfish fools above ground fought with each other over petty concerns while you toiled in secret.

Then the ferrets who call themselves Scrappers began coming dangerously close to your bunker’s hidden ventilation shafts and secret exits. Aspirant Taro gave your team a vitally important mission, to go above ground, live off the land, and familiarize yourselves with the people and terrain surrounding your bunker. Then he stirringly intoned, “You will launch a fearsome terror campaign. You will use your cunning and ferocity to drive the Scrappers away and ensure the safety of our bunker.”

He explained that while there are few settlements nearby, a broader danger awaits. An endless war between the Guerreros and the Scourgers has reached the area. Guerreros hide out in the hills, Scourgers mount campaigns to root them out. Taro warned you to stay clear of these combatants and focus on the Scrappers.

You were chosen for this mission because of your loyalty to Aspirant Taro. You all know he will in time become the next Demagogue. To fulfill this important mission for him will put you all further in his favor. Who knows, perhaps your triumph will lead to his ascension to Demagogue. Think of the rewards he would bestow upon you!

Characters with the Concepts of Mentor, Protector, Martyr, and Healer have Affinity with this group, while Aversion greets those with Abomination and Ruler Concepts.

The Future is Unwritten

The air filtration pumps in Subsector S4 always caused problems, and fixing them was no fun either. Because the pumps were close to ground, your team had to gear up as if you were heading to the surface for a provisions raid. Then you had to scrape through a narrow access tube and into a small hand-crank service elevator.

You were in that elevator, slowly drawing closer to the pump system, when you heard the sound of muffled gunshots from the bunker’s core. More gunshots. Stock still, you all listened as the gunfire increased, as the shock waves from distant explosions gently rocked the elevator. The overhead light panel bathed your faces in ruby red.

You did nothing. Wordlessly you looked at each other. The seconds stretched into minutes. The sounds of destruction tapered off then died. Finally one of you began turning the hand crank, taking the elevator back down.

Thick smoke filled every passage, forcing you to use your emergency breathers. Stepping over the bodies of the dead, you saw the gaping holes left by explosives. The Chamber of the Sleepers was utterly destroyed; the pods for each Sleeper had been opened and their heads cut off. Weapons had been removed from storage alcoves. Electronic devices had been ripped from walls. Food stores had been set afire. Nobody was left alive.

You found no attackers, no evidence of who had done this. There was nothing left in the bunker for you. You had nowhere to go but up. So you found your way to the surface and into the uncertainty of life above ground.

You know each other, of course. But would you have chosen each other as comrades? Probably not. You have been thrown together by random chance. But now that you are above ground, you have nobody to rely on but each other. Working together to survive shouldn’t be difficult, but what lies beyond survival?

Characters with the Concepts of Adventurer, Traveler, Disciple, and Mediator have Affinity with this group, while Aversion greets those with Hermit and Destroyer Concepts.

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