Erik Schmidt
Erik Schmidt

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You never just run afoul of one Apocalyptic; there is always a flock.

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 other Cult Campaign Seeds posts 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. With that in mind, here are some ideas for Apocalyptic groups.

Sex & Candy

“No. Four.” Diego holds up two fingers on each of his skeletal hands. “Two. Two. Four.” The bartender collects his patience for a moment, then wordlessly pours four shot glasses in quick succession and slides them across the bar, keeping Diego at arm’s length.

Diego is even drunker than usual. He flashes his oversized, yellow teeth at us. “Grab a shot, kittens, and lesh have a toasht. To the fatherly shtrength of Zubari’s Scourger Pack, may they protect ush all from the vile Guerreros!” We clink glasses and down the bitter swill.

He pulls us close, forehead to forehead. “You realice,” he plows on, “this represents a major revenue opportunity for us, kittens.” Jasmine’s eyes light up. “It sure does,” she chuckles. “There isn’t another flock within two days ride, and Zubari is setting up his forward base right here in this forgotten little town.”

Ionia threws a skeptical look. “Yeah, but Zubari is a hardass. He was left for dead on the battlefield a couple years back, and somehow he survived. And his pack has always been ultra-disciplined. How are we gonna sell sex and Argus to these Scourgers?”

Jasmine’s brows furrow. “That’s a good point. And once the Black Jays find out, they’ll just swoop in and wipe us out.”

Diego tightens his embrace. “Oh, kittens. If we wanted to play it shafe, we’d be planting beans or shpinning pottery. What’s the old Bygone saying… no guss, no glory, right? We’re gonna milk these Scourgers for all their coin and have fun doing it!”

Characters with the Concepts of Creator, Conqueror, Visionary, and Ruler have Affinity with this group, while Aversion greets those with Defiler and Traditionalist Concepts.

Cause & Effect

The lazy stride is unmistakeable. It’s definitely Blossom. She walks out of the barn, wearing a gauzy yellow dress that glows in the midday sun. A moment later a barrel-shaped farmer old enough to be her father rolls out, grinning like he’s just seen God. And maybe he has.

“Esmerelda, you’re the best wife any man could hope for,” he calls after her submissively. She turns her head and winks at the defenseless hayseed. Then she whistles a soft tune and walks on toward the small stone farmhouse not a stone’s throw distant.

“Esmerelda, hmm?” Giselle raises an eyebrow. “What’s her game with this dirt-pusher? Doesn’t look like he has any money or holdings beyond this little farm.”

I shrug. “Don’t know. Don’t care. She won’t be waking up in the morning.”

Dantha cackles. “You like this work too much. But you’re right. It’s her. She crossed Lena. She’s gotta die.” You all nod in silent assent.

Blossom is one of five who tried to wrestle control of the Flock from Lena. But you and the others showed your loyalty and thwarted the attempt. Three of the traitors survived, and Lena sent you to end their little lives. “Do not come back until you have all their heads. I don’t care if it takes you months,” she’d demanded. Now several weeks later, you’ve found the first. Blossom.

The other two are craftier. They will stay on the move, they will throw obstacles your way. Collecting their heads will not be easy.

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

Guns & Ammo

You’ve boarded enough ships to know a decoy from a fat catch. And this one is a fat catch. The crew fights hard. The guards fight hard. But the Black Flock always wins in the end, and you take Star of Destiny as your own. Not a huge ship, but well-appointed. Apparently a Great Hunter, Kahmil of Qabis, is having trophies from his adventures in Europe sent home.

Or was.

Balthazar and his band get back on their Zodiac and head back to their ship. Hakir and his band leave as well. The rest of you are left on the Star of Destiny to wait for Callisto, who is due to arrive in the morning. She’ll survey the contents of the cargo hold herself.

But the captain’s quarters are another matter. Among the mahogany chairs and tapestries, the captain maintained an enchanting collection of distillates, ales, and other tasty and intoxicating liquids. You and your fellow pirates sample a few. Then the sampling turns to a more dedicated exploration, and finally a through review. A very thorough review.

So it is that you’re asleep when the first scream rips you awake. A moment later you hear another, longer, more painful shriek of terror. Below decks. In the cargo hold.

You haul yourself to your feet and stumble out of the captain’s quarters. The thick night mist makes it hard to see more than three arm lengths in front of you, but you hear the clash of a blade on something hard. Then you hear a loud, wet crunch.

The sickening sound is coming from the main deck. Not below it. On it. Whatever is making that noise can’t be more than fifteen meters away.

“Stay calm,” Baba whispers from your left. Halima is with him. Her voice quavers. “I… I think one of the Great Hunter’s trophies wasn’t quite dead after all.”

Chance has thrown the three of you together. You have no idea if any more of your comrades are alive. But one way or another, you’ll have to find a way to defeat whatever is coming for you in the mist.

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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