Mystery Cults

From Dark City

Mystery CultsPlayer Made

Mystery Cult Rules

  • MCIs may not grant merits to templates that would not ordinarily be eligible to receive them.
  • MCIs merits may ignore other pre-requisites such as Skill and Attribute. If the MCI grants points in a Style or a scaling Merit, you may not purchase beyond what the MCI grants unless or until you meet the ordinary pre-requisites of the merit.
  • MCIs must have a minimum of three player character members, which cannot belong to the same player.
  • You can take no more than 5 dots in Mystery Cult total, and must provide justification for membership in more than one. Please note that membership in more than one Mystery Cult does not mean you can take more than 5 total MCI dots.

Setting Cults

As long as you meet the requirements, you do not need approval to join a Setting Cult. Just submit your XP request.

The Providence of Muses

Prerequisites: Artists, Patrons of the Arts

Ever since the dawn of civilization, art and culture has existed both as a form of entertainment as the ultimate form of personal expression; for the truly inspired, it has been a passion that borders on obsession, the genius of the virtuoso echoing through the centuries. The Muses were the Goddesses of artistic inspiration, the wellsprings from which poetry, lyricism, music, and art flowed. They inspired perfection, demanded it. But what is perfection? The idea of the Form too hails from ancient Greece, the renowned philosopher Plato postulating a theory that claims that for every idea or object that exists, so too does the Form of that idea or object — its truest essence, the perfect and unchanging representation of it. There are perfect Forms of passion, of love, of hate, of happiness, as there are perfect Forms of beauty, of melodiousness, of dance, and of landscapes. But art in the modern day is art for its own sake; everyone is their own master, and everyone is a critic. It should then be the true artists’ vocation to pursue this sublime Form in their art, to find that perfection, to unveil it for the world to gape and awe at. No matter what the subject and no matter what the genre or style is, perfection is the standard to be held to. And the Muses are there to inspire it. Art is not subjective.

Beyond what is visible at the surface, those waters of inspiration flow from supernatural origins. Esoteric rites worship the Muses as the living embodiments of creativity, encouraging words and masterful lessons interspersed with the sorcery of Contracts and other mythical powers to ensure the loyalty, or at the very least the discretion, of the Muses’ supplicants.

Purpose

The purpose of the Muses is to guide and nurture talent in New York City, guiding aspiring artists to perfection. But not only do they harness the raw talent and passion of up-and-coming artists, they also invite the distinguished and cultured into their ranks, recognizing that perfect art demands a platform to be seen and spread, creating ripples on the water that furthers their influence across the state and the world itself. As such, the cult is divided into two separate branches; the Artists, those with the creative gift, the makers of works miraculous and wondrous; and the Patrons, the people who recognizes art true value and purpose and are willing to propagate the cult’s influence through the upper echelons of New York’s social ladder.

“We must be the shining exemplar of art and culture in New York; it is our duty to establish standards to which aspiring artists must hold themselves to in order to gain recognition”

Relic

A fresco of the ancient Greek muses at the very sanctum of their temple. Those of high enough rank in the cult congregate here to ask for the well-wishes of the Muses, hoping for good fortunes, inspiration, or their hearts’ desires to be fulfilled. In this temple, the Muses gather their followers for mystical rites, dismantling the inhibitions and blocks that impede passion.

Doctrine

The Muses’ foremost command is to spread the idea of art as the vessel for ideas and concepts elevated to the perfection of their form; as such, all Artists no matter rank are expected to continue to hone and develop their skills. The Patrons are expected to promote and bring attention to the cult’s creations, ensuring that the Muses’ sublimity travels far and wide. Whether Artist or Patron, those inducted into the mysteries of the cult are expected to maintain discretion about their rites and the true identity of those exerting influence on New York’s cultural stage. Mechanics

Membership levels:

Artists

Initiate: An initiate is recognized as someone with potential within their field, and is encouraged to develop their own personal style. Gain an Expression specialization related to your style of art (examples: Violin, Postmodernism, or Ballet).

•• Artist: An artist is well-versed in understanding and scrutinizing works of art, and can recognize true quality when they see it. Gain the Taste (•) merit.

••• Artisan: An artisan is viewed as one of the true artists of New York City, their works sought after by connoisseurs of the art world. Spread two dots of merits amongst Status: Arts and Society or Fame (either one dot in each, two dots in Status, or two dots in Fame; this is only possible for the first two dots of Status).

•••• Master: A master is approaching the upper echelons of the cult and is expected to start guiding those beneath them towards their potential. Gain the Inspiring (•••) merit.

••••• Muse: Gain a dot of Expression. This dot may take you over the normal rating limit for skills.

Patrons

Connoisseur: A connoisseur has an appetite for the fine arts and cultures, and often frequents galleries, museums, or theatres. Gain a Socialize specialization related to indulging the arts (examples: Arts and Society, Formal Events, or Cocktail Parties)

•• Sponsor: A sponsor is intimately familiar with the fine arts, experienced enough to recognize true quality when they see it. Gain the Taste (•) merit.

••• Patron: A patron has made significant contributions to the cult’s artists, either donating at events or purchasing art. They can boast of their cultural distinction to their peers. Spread two dots of merits among Status: Art and Society or Allies: Art and Society (either one in each, two in Status, or two in Allies; this is only possible for the first two dots of Status)

•••• Philanthropist: A philanthropist is expected to promote the cult’s interest in the very uppermost tiers of society, recruiting new sponsors and discrediting those that might criticize its expanding control over the cultural sphere of New York. Gain three dots in the Etiquette social style.

Player Made Cults

If you'd like to join a Player Made Cult, contact the originator that Cult to speak with them.

House of the Third Ajar Portal

Prerequisites: 3-Dots of either Occult or Academics; 1-Dot in the other

Purpose: A collection of scholars, investigators, mystics, and the curious that refuse to believe they are capable of perceiving everything in the world around them. Members attempt to focus their third eye, following whatever cultural equivalent pulls to them: mind’s eye, ajna chakra, eye of Horus, etc. Their efforts are collected through a vast library of efforts of members before them, originating from the Library of Alexandria; requiring the most dedicated intellectuals to learn from the verbose and complicated notes. Each member’s journey is different, but their pursuit of knowledge rewards them with helping build their focus in the occult, granting them new perceptions, and access to the House’s vast collective library. The House’s library and its members tend towards a hermetic style, strengthening their focus through mudra, somatic gestures, chanting, and symbolism.

Relic: Shred of Alexandria. A small collection saved from the Library of Alexandria that forms the basis of the House’s larger library. Despite the House having branches all over the world, they all believe to have a piece or the entirety of the Shred of Alexandria. Some scholars believe the Shred has a will of its own; to grow their library, and to reproduce into more growing libraries…

Doctrine: Members are committed to the investigation and collection of knowledge. It is through this commitment that their third eye has opened and through exploring new unknowns, their powers will grow stronger. Members are expected to move with discretion; the House’s singular drive and goal is a vulnerability and, after all, knowledge is power. Codes, cyphers, and double-speak are common when in ‘mixed’ company.

Mechanics:

•: Every member has something about the supernatural that has pulled at their curiosity. The House’s connections and philosophies help them explore that curiosity. Members gain a Specialization of their choice in Occult.

••: Members allow themselves to sink deeper into their obsessions. The House’s structure continues to reward them with new understanding. Members gain the ‘Area of Expertise’ merit in any Occult Specialization.

•••: Small pieces of unconfirmed knowledge bring about a mixture of paranoia and understanding, especially when there is evidence of the supernatural. Members gain the ‘Eye for the Strange’ merit.

•••• At this level, Mortal Members of the Cult find their perceptions continue to evolve and expand. Supernaturals, distracted with their own ways of perceiving the secret world, instead find a growing strength in a focus that falls within the Hermetic roots: most commonly books, jewelry, eye imagery, wands/staves, and more.

Mortal Members gain the 'Aura Reading' Merit. Supernatural Members gain the 'Object Fetishism' Merit at 3-dots, and must choose a 'foci' that falls in line with the cults themes.

•••••: Members find their own personal libraries growing and shifting even without their control, becoming a part of the House’s larger library, shifting and changing to meet their needs. Members gain the merit ‘Advanced Library’ at 3-dots. These topics can be changed every Chapter/Week, but cannot be shared.

Contact: Lockepick

Murk Striders

Shadow.png

Prerequisites: Werewolf, Wolf-Blooded, or Mortal+/other supernatural with a relationship to Werewolves or the Shadow. Occult 3, Empathy 1.

While primarily comprised of Uratha and Wolf-Blooded, there are a handful of others that dot the numbers of the order referred to as Murk Striders, Shadow Walkers, or simply Spooks. Regardless of what they're called, the individuals who are privy and party to this patchwork network of cells tend to be Ithaeur, Bone Shadows, Thyrsus, Mediums, Piercing Eyes Wolf-Blooded, or have some other powerful connection to spirits, the Hisil, and other elements of Shadow.

They seem to generally be united among their dogged pursuit of errant Shadow entities, no matter their stripe, though the more esoteric and bizarre, the more alluring. Alluding to their name, many Murk Striders will travel far, far outside their territory in pursuit of their quarry, which is not always prey: sometimes the hunt is simply for answers.

The Murk Striders are, above all, irrepressibly curious, which manifests in their developed sensitivity to the occult, strange relics collected along the way, the ability to both keep and know secrets, and a preternatural affinity with identifying even the most esoteric weak spots.

Occult specialty in (Spirits)

•• Closed Book

••• Occult Skill dot

•••• Killer Instinct 3

••••• If Werewolf or Wolf-Blooded, take Fetish (•••). If Mortal+, take the Omen Sensitivity merit.

Contact: Pax

The Black Hand of Typhon

Prerequisites: Status (Crime) 2, Occult 1

Description: Followers of the Black Hand, also known as the Four Perils in some cultures, teach that their founder, or ,founders, were ancient kings who raised early man out of darkness and ignorance. Then the "Gods" came to impose “laws” on mankind, to keep them from becoming gods themselves. The king(s) fought against the Gods, but were cast down, and imprisoned somewhere in the west. Some believe that the location was under the island of Sicily, the volcano Etna.

Most people don’t recognize the spiritual chains placed on them by the Gods. Followers of the Black Hand indulge in increasing levels of crime and sin to break these bonds and encourage others to do the same. If people can’t understand their enslavement to laws, perhaps they can understand enslavement to drugs, alcohol, sex, or gambling. All too often, however, nothing will open a person's eyes but the complete ruination of his life and pride.

To accomplish this, the Black Hand follows the teachings laid out, it is believed, by Typhon, in dreams to the earliest Nameless of the cult. Several variant copies of the transcripts of these dreams exist, alternately called the Revelations of Sin, or the Book of Blood.They have variations, in different languages, but each contains the parables of Greed, Lust, Deceit and Murder, and the story of the Nameless. Some also contain mystical rituals and spells.

As "civilizations" rose and spread across the globe, the Black Hand spread with them, seeding and nurturing criminal organizations from positions of power within, giving rise to many references to the "hand" or "black hand", and associated symbolism in these groups, as well as codes of conduct and silence.

Only those who have proven themselves in their "daughter" criminal organization and have at least a rudimentary understanding of the occult nature of reality are considered for membership. Naturally, most fail to live up to the highest ideals of Typhon, and indulge themselves. This is expected. Like an addict who requires more and more drugs to get their high, the Hand teaches that indulging in sin is a path to inuring oneself to it.

Most Typhonians are, of course, normal humans, but the cult does draw in supernatural beings with a criminal bent, many of whom see Typhon as an ancient version of themselves, battling whatever preternatural force seeks to bind mankind to its rules. An underworld werewolf might relate Typhon to an aspect of Father Wolf, while a criminal Changeling might believe that the ancient "Gods" they defy are True Fae. In any case, the code of silence of the Hand applies to all, and any member is expected to maintain the secrecy of any group to which they belong.

Relic: In NYC, The Revelations of Sin is a huge, ancient book in Latin, inked in blood and bound in human skin.

Initiation Levels

Thief - Learning the lesson of Greed,the Thief takes what he wants. Gain 1 dot of Resources.

•• Tempter - Following the parable of Lust, the Tempter leads others to indulge their desires. Gain the Pusher Merit.

••• Deceiver - Deceit is the third gift of the Black Hand, lying as a reflex to distract Gods and the law.. Gain a dot in Subterfuge.

•••• Death - The penultimate Revelation, the Hand kills those who would oppress or betray them without remorse. Becoming one with Death, they are unseen assassins. Mortal members gain the Psychic Concealment merit. Interacting oddly with a Changeling's mask, the Lost gain 3 dots of Dull Beacon, while other supernatural beings gain 3 dots in Anonymity or Alternate Identity.

••••• Nameless - Emulating the final story, the Typhonian may become as the first Nameless, rejecting and slipping away from all the rules placed on them by society, while cementing their own sway over it. Once per story (month), the Nameless may use 3 dots of any Status they choose (excluding Police), pulling invisible strings behind the curtain of anonymity. This can stack with normal Status dots in the same area.

Contact Magus666


The Obol Society

Obol.png

Purpose Obol is a reference to the coin placed under the deceased tongue as currency for the ferryman Charon. Members of this society have more than a passing relationship with death or the underworld and are often sought out to help less informed geists, and dead oriented mortals to traverse the dead roads. There’s even rumors of a grieving widow one having made a deal that was too good to refuse in an effort to bring back their dead loved one, and stories abound on if that journey was successful or not.

Relic An old Obol coin that appears as if brand new, but radiates with it’s own liminal aura.

Doctrine Members of the Obol society feel called to explore the underworld, both figuratively and literally. They dedicate themselves deeply to the deathly cost and some even become masters at navigating the deadlands.

Many in society, less versed at traversing those dangerous ghostly causeways will seek to hire a member of the Obol Society, though the price for such a guide can be mercurial, and raises significantly depending on the ineptitude of the one seeking to hire them.

Mechanics

• Initiates into the Obol Society have spent enough time in pursuit of knowledge of the underworld through study, application, or the skin of their teeth, that they’ve begun to specialize in it. Take the “Underworld” specialty in either Academics, Survival, or Occult.

•• Eventually that underworld knowledge advances, growing broader or more thorough in it’s application. Take either Interdisciplinary Specialty or Area of Expertise for “Underworld”

••• Your character has learned what many societies have suspected. You can take it with you…and in fact you can take it back across to the lands of the quick. Your character has more than a casual ability to obtain goods of the grave. The character obtains the merit Grave Goods •• if a Geist, and Automatic Writing if Mortal.

•••• Every Memento has a ghost story attached to it, and you’ve been in and out of so many stories that one has found it’s way into your possession. The character obtains a Memento if a Geist, and the Medium Merit if Mortal.

••••• Members of the Obol Society who reach the upper echelon have spent years traveling the roads of the dead, my landmark, maps, word of mouth and eventually instinct. +3 to Navigating the Underworld.

Contact: Muse

Mystery Cult Template

Mystery Cult Name

Purpose

Relic

Doctrine

Mechanics

• 1-dot, specialty or simple Merit.

•• 1-dot, specialty or Merit.

••• 2-dot.

•••• 3-dot.

••••• 3-dot.