Mystery Cult Initiation

Type: Social
Cost: Variable • to •••••
Prerequisites: --

Cults are far more common than people would like to admit. “Mystery cult” is the catch-all term for a phenomenon ranging from secret societies couched in fraternity houses, to scholarly cabals studying the magic of classical symbolism, to mystical suicide cults to the God-Machine.

Mystery Cult Initiation reflects membership in one of these esoteric groups. The dot rating dictates standing. One dot is an initiate, two a respected member, three a priest or organizer, four a decision-making leader, and five is a high priest or founder. If you wish your character to begin play in a cult, work with your Storyteller to develop the details.

Designing a Mystery Cult requires three things, at bare minimum. First is a Purpose. This is the defining reason the cult exists. Usually it’s tied in with the cult’s history and recent background. Second is a Relic. This is an item that grounds members’ faith. For example, a piece of the God-Machine, an ancient text bound in human flesh, or the mummified flesh of a saint. The last is a Doctrine. Every cult is defined by its rules and traditions.

In addition to standing, a Mystery Cult Initiation Merit offers benefits at each level of influence. Develop these as well. The following are guidelines; use them to craft your cults:

A Skill Specialty or one-dot Merit, pertaining to the lessons taught to initiates.
•• A one-dot Merit
••• A Skill dot or a two-dot Merit (often a Supernatural Merit)
•••• A three-dot Merit, often supernatural in origin.
••••• A three-dot Merit, or a major advantage not reflected in game traits.

For sample cults, see page 52 in Chronicles of Darkness: Core Rulebook.

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