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Glorious Church of the Unified Spirit

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  • Glorious Church of the Unified Spirit

    Through the Ebon Gate details a cult that worships Sin-Eaters and is overall horrific in every way:

    More than one of the Bound has found herself surrounded by sycophants who expect great things from their unwitting leader. Remember, though, nothing is more dangerous than a disillusioned follower. (pg 1)
    There’s something darkly tempting about the idea that the Seekers worship Sin-Eaters. It’s an ego trip to know that someone thinks you’re special, and all too easy to fall into the trap of letting it go to your head. But when atrocities are done in your name – to please you – how do you extricate yourself? The sorts of people who advance into the upper echelons of the Black Gate are not the type to take it lightly when their “angel” isn’t having fun anymore. A Sin-Eater may be the object of their adoration, but that can quickly turn into a prison (or worse) when the Sin-Eater doesn’t live up to the cult’s expectations. When normal people who ignore the existence of ghosts and ignorantly prefer to live are reviled, how much worse is the Sin-Eater who values life over death and squanders the gifts they’ve been given by the “Shining Ones?” (pg 3)
    So here's my question: Outside of the plotline granted in Ebon Gate, how would you write the GCUS to make it a legitimate threat to Sin-Eaters?

    The plot given in Ebon Gate has to do with hunting the cultists. These passages, however, imply that the cultists are sometimes the ones who "hunt," so to speak, Sin-Eaters. I can see an organization like this being frightening to a mortal, but Sin-Eaters can make themselves immune to different types of damage, fight back against threats, even make themselves invisible and shadowstep or airstep away from danger, etc. Sin-Eaters might easily fear the harm these people do to others, but how would you make the GCUS something that makes a Sin-Eater legitimately fear for his/her own safety? A bogeyman the Sin-Eater would try to run away from rather than face?

  • #2
    Just because these cultists are human may not mean they don't possess some supernatural abilities themselves - Thief of Fate, Telekinesis, Psychokinesis can all be scary in the right hands, and an incensed cultist may be some of the most "right" hands to do so. They'll just be more limited compared to the range a Sin Eater has on their own hands.

    Another idea could be the use of Infrastructure - perhaps the cult is something crafted by the God-Machine in order to harvest plasm from Sin Eaters, or even to simply scare off Sin Eaters in general. Maybe the Bound who don't satisfy the cult are thrown into some device or another that is accumilating Geists for some purpose.

    A third idea is that those who compose the cult become something other in the process, something that makes them just disinclined enough from normal humanity that a Geist couldn't take one even if it wanted to. The cult could transform any who join it into another supernatural, a low level Horror, and grant them various abilities that make them more "deathly", just enough that they seem human in most ways but the ones that really matter. These abilities could be tailored to various Sin Eaters, including cultists who have abilities that lock down other abilities.

    Alternatively alternatively, perhaps the cultists have some method of drawing plasm out of the air...and out of Sin Eaters as well, if they use it. It's all well and good to be able to stealth away, but if each turn of being stealthed causes another plasm to leave you things start looking far more dire than usual. After all, Sin Eaters use a ton of plasm to fuel their powers, and unlike most supernaturals they can't replenish it through other humans save for cold blooded murder, which is something their Geists don't tend to agree with...


    • #3
      I kind of like that idea of the ability to lock down abilities. It's something I've been toying with for homebrewing Hunter, going off the Sheep-Goat Effect detailed in Second Sight, page 32. Instead of a skeptic making psychic powers less potent, maybe mortals who are aware of the supernatural world but reject it (hunters trying to carry "light" out in the "darkness") develop the ability to dampen supernatural abilities.

      It would of course be different in this case. GCUS is aware of the supernatural and want to embrace it, but you get the idea. The only issue I see is that it describes the members of GCUS being flawed in their thinking, not only because they don't really understand Sin-Eaters, but also because most of them don't really have what it takes to become one, no preexisting supernatural bent or connection to death. Making them Horrors or some such might give them that ingredient that makes them attractive to Geists after all.


      • #4
        The dampening effect could be a sort of hive effect that affects the surrounding area; the more the cult is impressed with a Sin Eater, so the powers are easier to use, but the more displeased they are, the more that area becomes hostile to Sin Eaters. They feel the Sin Eater isn't worth their powers, so by hating the other so much they make those abilities harder to use. It could be a domain style effect: while within the GCUS's domain, the powers of a Sin Eater gain a bonus so long as the members of the cult worship them. However, should a Sin Eater displease the cult, they will find their powers penalized for every member within a number of yards. It could be that the penalty's range is in proportion to the Sin Eater's Psyche, so the stronger they are the harder it is for them, even if they're managing to stealth their way around the place.


        • #5
          Damn. That would be terrifying. Thank you!


          • #6
            Hmm. If what I recall is correct, Ceremonies only use Synergy (or Psyche) for part of their dice pool, and are themed about using more generalized death/ghost/Underworld energies to accomplish an effect. They may have a lower dice pool, but you could certainly give the cultist Ceremonies they could use themselves for various effects (such as the "Comply and be rewarded; Resist and suffer hardship" field above). A whole cult of fanatics enacting Ceremonies against you is likely to get annoying, fast.

            Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
            Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."