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 Anabaptist groups.
Rumors about the Furor Azhrah are legion. He is the child of an Anubian mystic and an Apocalypic. He was born to a Neolybian diplomat and a serving girl from Bergamo. He was found as a baby, the sole survivor on a merchant ship that had been ravaged by the Black Flock. He ran away from home at the age of six and spent seven days and seven nights wandering until he came across a small Anabaptist village and was saved.
One thing is clear, however. Azhrah is a true servant of the Cult. Day and night, through heat and cold, he traverses Purgare looking for threats, rallying Orgiastics from complacency, turning them to the tasks that must be done. Now this legend stands stands at the dias in your small town’s assembly hall.
A wrinkled finger sweeps across the crowd, but to each of you it feels as if you are being called out by name. Azhrah, the bushy-browed, shave-headed, imposingly tall warrior needs devoted souls who are ready to defend the Cult from enemies within.
“It is known, people, it is in fact a pillar of our faith that each of us must make our own connection to the divine. Yet there are some who take that truth and bend it with deceitful intent. They claim to understand God’s truth, but their true goal is to manipulate others, to turn our beloved faith against itself!”
The crowd is agitated, angry. His deep brown eyes scour the room. He looks directly at you! For a moment he locks his eyes with yours, and you know you must follow him. You must show him that you can match his zeal with your own.
“There is a man who calls himself Scirocco. He is a Flayer – he uses pain and spectacle to sow mistrust and discontent. He is a showman, a charlatan, nothing more! This deviant and his followers have been seen in the vicinity of Lucatore, a town we all know is of great importance to all Anabaptists, not least because the hero Altair calls it his home.”
You feel something rising inside you, something that must find release. Azhrah continues. “This Scirocco is a malevolent man. Who here will travel to Lucatore to be there when this Scirocco appears, to bolster the town against his ill intentions, to drive him away with words if possible and by more if necessary?”
“Yes, I will go!” It takes you a half-second to realize the bellowing voice is your own. You look around the hall and see that you aren’t the only one who has volunteered for this important mission.
Characters with the Concepts of Mentor, Protector, Martyr, and Healer have Affinity with this Loyalty-driven group, while Aversion greets those with Abomination and Ruler Concepts.
“‘Rebirth is redemption.’ Rebus spoke these words centuries ago, but they have never rung truer than today.” Bella the Elysian looks up at the clear, open blue sky and smiles. You all call her Bella the Stout, in reference to her squat, strong frame and no-nonsense braids. But she’s always had a calm, reassuring demeanor.
“You’ve heard me talk before of Orek the Pious. He is a man devoted as we are, not to the hierarchy of our faith, but to its principles. He is a man who echoes in every fiber of his being the faith and will of Rebus himself. And now Orek has invited us all to join him in a mission of tremendous import.”
You look over at Kirste, who shrugs at you in reply. “Better than tending the same old plot here, I guess,” she whispers.
Bella’s ears are sharp. “That’s right, Kirste, you will be applying your labors to a more righteous pursuit. Orek has established a new community called Everlast, which sits in the ruins of Ferropol. We will spend our life’s labor turning that iron graveyard into a flourishing refuge, a rebirth!”
Jan pipes up. “But Bella, isn’t Ferropol, well… dangerous? Shouldn’t some Orgiastics make sure it’s safe first?”
Bella cracks a grin. “Come now, boy. You aren’t going to tell me that the Orgiastics are as pious as us, or that they understand God’s will the way we do? You aren’t going to tell me their righteous conviction can match our own, are you? We are driven by true faith, and that faith is a better sword than any steel.”
The small crowd murmurs in approval. “And besides,” she adds, “we have our eyes, our ears, our wits, our keen planning, and if we need to, we can certainly fight.” At that the murmuring becomes clapping and low whistles.
Jan leans over to you and says with a nervous grin, “Well, I guess it’s God’s will, isn’t it?”
Characters with the Concepts of Seeker, Chosen, Zealot, and Martyr have Affinity with this Destiny-driven group, while Aversion greets those with Traveler and Adventurer Concepts.
“The truce has held only because the filthy Jehammedans have been too scared to break it. Until now, obviously.” You’re all standing in icy snow, your breath steaming in the cold morning air. Reger is kneeling by the body of a woman, stripped bare and frozen, shouting. “I mean, can it be more obvious who did this?!”
The knife sticking out of Claudi’s back is Jehammedan. The carved horn handle is etched with the strange symbols of that Cult, and inlaid with small gems. There’s no doubt this was part of a deranged Jehammedan ritual used by them for reasons unknowable to rational people. Except that while the Jehammedans are many things, they’re not so stupid as to leave one of their knives in the back of an Anabaptist like this. It makes no sense.
Parmau bares his teeth. “We all know what will happen though. The elders will say we must investigate. They’ll say we can’t be rash.” You hold up a hand. “Well, they’d be right. Think for a moment, my friend. We all know Claudi has been spending time with the Moon Owls. We all know.” You look down in shame. “We didn’t help her when we could. They used her up and killed her, but that wasn’t enough. They tried to turn us against the Jehammedans because they assumed we’d take the bait instead of pointing our anger at the real threat.”
Even Parmau sees the wisdom of your words. “What do we do, then?” he asks forlornly. Jenna speaks up, fire in her voice. “We have put up with the Moon Owls for too long. We need to hit them where they won’t expect it. I have an idea.”
As you haul Claudi’s body back to the village, Jenna lays out the plan. It won’t do to attack the Moon Owls just across the river. You have to be smart about this. You’ll need to go further. You’ll need to journey days into their territory, then you’ll find a village where they ply their Burn and vice, and give them an eye for an eye.
You’ll watch them, determine their patterns of behavior, and cut them down one at a time, always without warning, always when they are at their weakest. You’ll put fear in their hearts. You’ll give them back tenfold what they gave to you.