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101 Exarch Cults

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  • #16
    15) The Hope Lily Compact

    The group only initiates those in the know about vampires and almost exclusively their hunters. Members are taught the weaknesses and truths about vampires and ghosts, including how to leverage their traditional vulnerabilities. Through mystical know-how, they can learn ways of combining a few normally useless details into a meaningful asset in the fight. The lowest level are taught about vampires and their nature, with a focus on identifying them. Initiates are expected to fight the good fight intelligently.

    The religious aspects of the order become clearer with each initiation. Initiates may hear that there is a divine force backing them, but it isn't until they hit their second that they encounter the first specific revelations. (The specific form the religious teachings take is heavily influenced by the members in the area.) It is pointed out that the various traditions describe divine aid in fighting vampires in the myriad places they exist. They have studied these and tested them. Furthermore, they were given extensive lessons into using those gifts effectively. Another formal part of the second initiation is the revelation of a haunting or vampire that the initiate was unaware of. (At least the attempt is made Some branches have taken to showing 3-5 subjects, some of which are simply sketchy and then revealing the vampire)

    The third and final initiation reveals an important secret of the order: They do not exist to destroy undead. They exist to punish undead who scoff at the divine authority. They are introduced to the concept of vampires who are behaving well enough to be left walking around. Later, the concept of allies among the dead is revealed, if the initiate seems able to handle it.

    If not, they are dealt with in various ways. Death is unusual, though conversion into a vampire by one of their allies is not unheard of.

    Of course, the third is not truly the final initiation. If and only if, a member demonstrates the proper flexibility and capacity to benefit from further initiation, the higher levels of initiation are revealed. These are not overtly linked to rank as the lower are, as the lower ranks mustn't know, in case ambitions get out of line. Those who understand the nature of their mission are told that the mission is deeper than merely working with vampires but that vampires have a proper place under heaven. Humanity is a power that needs containment and pruning. Undead mark their boundaries quite well, unless they get too powerful. The Hope Lily exists to keep both sides from becoming arrogant and defying heaven.

    The heavens reward them with the illumination that allows them to understand and use the gifts granted to man, albeit distorted.

    There are vampire members of the cult, and they are used to police the higher revelations. If a mind isn't quite able to cope with the realization that they are allied with vampires, they are usually caused to forget, as a few areas cultivated relationships with a vampire who bears such skills.

    The ultimate revelation involved a lesson on the name of the divine, which leads to a vision that reveals to the initiate the secrets of their lore craft. After that point, they, too, can shape new rituals from folklore to wield as weapons. The weapons handed to man aren't meant for the common man. They weren't distorted, as some might think, they were placed throughout the world to aid the faithful who had this insight.

    (The vampire side is quite similar, except that they know it's a hunter group. It's generally presented as an elder's clever game. Initiation teaches the dignity of heaven and the role of vampires under it as a counterbalance to humanity. As initiation continues, they learn that hunters are more than mere weapons, they are divine instruments. The resulting effects are essentially the same.)
    Last edited by thenate; 08-18-2019, 01:22 PM.

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    • #17
      16) Graiae Wetware

      Following the Great Refusal, the newly annoited Council of Free Assemblies started chasing after the agents of Pantechnicon with a level of zeal and cold efficiency that threatened to end their existence. As a result, many Pylons had to go into deep cover, cutting off contact with the greater Pyramid for fear of being tracked down, or worse, becoming scapegoats for fellow Seers.

      One of these Pylons brokered a mutual defense agreement with a Demon Agency, re-styling themselves as the "Nameless cabal" of The New Romancers, alleged specialists on the God Machine. The Demons would use their penchant for secrecy and paranoia to keep them off the grid, whereas the Seers would bring the analytical talents of the Awakened to dissect and undermine the God Machine. Both parties agreed to split any salvaged technology and thus a lasting partnership began.

      As success mounted and experience was earned, they started to perceive what allowed it to endure while their fledgling Ministry struggled to survive. First and foremost, the Machine is decentralized. Demolish a piece of Infrastructure and it won't necessarily expose all others, each piece operates on a need to know basis. Secondly, it is efficient, specialized facilities could be placed in charge of key steps, allowing "broken gears" to be swapped out more easily.

      Over the next couple of decades, they would achieve the impossible, repurposing Infrastructure to their needs and using it as the foundations to rebuilding themselves into 3 key organizations. They would act as an assembly line, efficiently processing the most valuable commodity of them all: humans. With this new system they seek to usurp the Chancellor's favor from Mammon and ascend into a greater Ministry.

      This cult's Merit can have up to 5 points and its effects vary based on which of the organizations the cultist works for.

      First is Deino, the field operation experts, who have developed a discrete brain implant. It manifests as a small access port at the back of the neck, using it an agent can add skills directly to the brain using knowledge cylinders, but only one at a time. Cylinders take a scene of work to swap. The cultist gain [Merit] additional dots in a chosen skill, even if they didn't posses it before. If this value would go above natural limits, its puts the skill at said limit and grants 9-again on a roll if the cultist spends a Willpower point.

      They believe knowledge itself is a commodity to be monopolized and given only to the worthy. Their job in the greater cult is to kidnap extremely intelligent or uniquely skilled people to send to the second organization, called Enyo.

      Enyo receives these people and performs cerebral imaging. They can then create true AI with a few adjustments, they also supply and update the knowledge cylinders. However, they can't link multiple brains into a gestalt.

      They believe that AI is the key to the future, not only as the most dynamic defense for personal data, but also as a drug. By heavily pushing for its inclusion in all aspects of daily life, they seek to foster a crippling dependency on it. As people grow lazy and their skills dull, the world will become theirs as loyal AI yield every treasure to the Graiae. Unfortunately, a perfectly loyal and stable AI is still beyond even the God Machine's wonders.

      Their merit allows the cultist to be issued a portable AI that can be attached to a single electronic device at a time, possessing [Merit] points in Intelligence. Once attached, it can perform anything the device could (for example, a PC can ping a network or write an email, but not write a program or close its lid), rolling Intelligence + the equipment's bonus for any skill checks. It can understand spoken, written or digital messages by the agent and communicates by whatever means it can. The AI starts with a friendly disposition towards the cultist, but this may change based on how its treated.

      After the scan, the victims then have their brains extracted, replaced by biorganic microchips and are then returned as unknowing sleeper agents. Because of this, recruiting any supernaturals that can heal the surgical scars is always a priority.

      Biochip users behave as they always did, but agents can shut them down for a scene by speaking a key phrase, the victim will simply perceive it as a lapse of consciousness. If agents are equipped with the right device, they can download the memories of any user within sensory range.

      Once the procedure is completed, the brains are then shipped to the third organization (although sometimes they implant the chip just to get a sleeper agent and discard the brain).

      Pemphredo, the third agency, believe creative minds are an invaluable asset, to be seized and put to toil forever. They place the brains in special vats that can preserve them eternally and outfit them with machinery to voice their thoughts. Once they stop screaming, the organization begins brainwashing them into compliance. They are then assigned in teams to special facilities, called Think Tanks. Here they redefine the bleeding edge of technology. Agents create, maintain and defend these facilities, but these are only half of their duties.

      Their role in the greater cult is to regulate technological development. New medicines, revolutionary software or materials, breakthroughs in engineering, true power is held by those who monopolize them. Cultists bribe, blackmail and do everything to coerce geniuses into service. Because of this they have a long and bitter rivalry with the Thaumatech Engineers.

      Their merit aids them in this mission. They receive a portable Phorcides device with [Merit] charges. By using a charge, it replicates the Shaping spell, with instant use, a scene of duration, the ability to affect solids and a Potency of [Merit]. By using two charges, any Crafts rolls required gain 9-again, or 8-again for 3 charges. The molding and spell canceling are done via the device's console interface.

      Those that do not react well to their methods get marked as targets of Deino. In the end, they all flow into the Chancellor's pocket.
      Last edited by KaiserAfini; 08-18-2019, 04:18 PM.

      New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

      The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists


      • #18
        17) Night Shears

        The Night Shears society was founded in 1799 by a rather obscure but well-established vampire who stumbled across T. Malthus' An Essay on the Principle of Population.. This vampire had already been studying humanity from a husbandry standpoint, at the time, and took the book as an insightful compilation of reasons to become ever more aggressive about the culling he was already pondering.

        Initiates must understand the basics of population control or hold concepts such as poverty being a cause of crime. They are taught that humanity is a dangerous element to allow to overrun the planet. Vampires are a convenient force for curtailing that threat..They are encouraged to determine the specific aspects that they wish to monitor. This includes the human populations and the markers of problems that the vampire chooses to monitor.

        It is revealed to initiates, eventually, that certain insightful wizards aid them while others will attack, making their unlives interesting. Other vampires are always threats, but the group may or may not be welcome in kindred society. Members are taught to keep an eye out and keep the organization's true goals secret. Let the world know that they are pro-conservation. More than that is excessive information.

        Deeper initiations reveal further insights that are considered harder for most vampires to bear:

        Culling applies to humanity. These never abandoned the idea of eugenics. Most develop rather racist attitudes about such things, but most often in a sense like dog breeders prefer certain stock for their various traits. Many transcend that, focusing on stabilizing traits, but even they hope to stabilize humans into better breeds. The exceptions are those who don't care about the breeding aspect.

        The limits on blood indicate that fewer vampires need to be active, as well. Members learn to develop ways of conserving blood, and can treat their society as a Dynasty for purposes of developing traits like Speaker for the Silent.

        Of course, the limits on vampires are based on scarcity of blood. Cultivating herds of lesser vampires to convert vitae from lesser sources is wise, after all, if you are an elder. It's also simply good sense to limit overpopulation, though. These are challenged to earn their continued existence in some way. Accidents befall the failures.

        The rare wizard allies sometimes reveal important secrets. A later initiation unveils one of them: The secret to feeding on the lifeblood of the world. (They develop Unseen Sense: Supernal and Unnatural Affinity: Mana. They can consume mana out of a hallow and actually gain sustenance from it. This injures the hallow a level per mana absorbed. The hallow rating reduces by the drained amount until the hallow regenerates the full number of mana lost. These, of course, go towards healing, though, and are not available to other uses. If a vampire feeds on a mage, the vampire can absorb Vitae from both blood and mana stored in their pattern, if any. This absorbs one mana per vitae normally absorbed, effectively doubling the vitae drawn until the victim's mana or blood runs out. Uses of this power grant conditions that can produce beats if properly cleared out. Consuming the entire Hallow can shut it down, preventing its healing, but the result is an Experience per dot of rating. Magi can heal it by scouring their patterns for mana to invest in it, but it often reduces in capacity permanently.)

        The insights provided by their occasional allies are rarely as helpful as those provided by the Patron of the Night Shears. The highest levels of initiation reveals their patron has means of adjusting the scarcity of various important goods. To the joy of the most devoted members of this society, vitae is on that list. (This gift reduces Blood Potency for Vitae costs and for feeding restrictions)

        18) Mist Weavers

        A small red token in a hollow pins a stop on a path. Don't step on a crack; it courts misfortune. Opening a locked door and not even looking inside unbinds a path. Blowing smoke on a wall makes it more real. A ribbon pinned to a shirt and then torn out marks one as returning home.

        These little rituals are nigh meaningless on their own, a bit like phonemes. Gathered in various patterns, they can come to mean far more important things. Knowing which pieces have the potential to be combined into something meaningful is almost completely useless without knowing a syntax and grammar. That's the chosen focus of this group.

        Why humans have a knack for spotting these trivial pieces isn't clear, but it is clear that they do. The Mist Weavers study the various ramblings and obsessions throughout humanity or from particularly sensitive minds to find patterns with significance. The ability to spot the real bits in the drivel takes little skill for most people. The trick is spotting when it actually does something. Through in depth and careful analysis, they hope to become able to sort and gather this data into a vast database.

        This normally has disastrous consequences for the members, but almost only over long periods of time. The strain of what they learn wears down the mind rather slowly. It's the events that they witness that tend to cause the worst harm. They frequently develop the merit Fitful Slumber (MtA, 2e, Sleepwalker merits, pg 306) as a result, but the challenges just keep coming.

        As they develop their understanding of the various arcane and occult rules of reality, they start to see the order they seek begin to draw a picture: There are competing forces with exceptional power over the world through their arcane secrets and most are quite evil. They develop means of monitoring G-M and Awakened manipulations of reality.

        Eventually, when they are more or less convinced of the fact, already, they are introduced to the fact that the rules are beyond normal mortal comprehension so revelation from a higher source is required to wield the knowledge they are harvesting. The factions of those with the knowledge of the secret power that are actually doing good are introduced as sages serving objects of worship. Those who achieve this initiation are literally initiated as Sleepwalkers into the Seers of the Throne.

        The final rank of initiation is reserved for the Awakened, but those who would strive for it are allowed. The Awakened shepherds of the cult drive them to extremes in service of their patron, to see if they will be judged worthy.

        So,I figured I'd share this here, since it looks like good inspiration for a few of these sorts of cults:
        Last edited by thenate; 08-20-2019, 05:00 PM.

        Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.