Let’s Create a Cult – Followers of the Black Glade

To get a taste of what you can create with The Ultimate Guide to Remarkable Cults & Their Followers, let’s use their cult creation tables to create a unique cult. This will give you a really good sense of how detailed and comprehensive this books is when it comes to cult creation!

Step 1: Organization Types
Our first step is to roll a d10 to see what sort of cult organization we’re working with. We roll a 2 – Druidic Circle. This is likely going to be some sort of extreme nature protection cult, but let’s continue.

Step 2: Buildings
For ease of use here, we’re going to declare this cult to have a Wealth rating of 2 out of 5. This indicates 1d4+1 (we rolled a 3+1=4) common buildings, and 1 stronghold. On a d20 table we roll the following common buildings: Granary, Apothecary, Shipwright Hall and a Safe House. The Shipwright Hall seems out of place, but randomness often spurs creativity – so let’s keep it for now. Now a d12 for the Stronghold: a Black Sanctum! The description indicates it “Includes ritual chambers that randomly summon extraplanar beings loyal to the cult, such as fey or demons.” Excellent.

Step 3: Special Resources
The cult has 5 buildings, which indicates a Resource Score of 2 (out of 5). We could have rolled here, but let’s stick with one generation method. Our cult’s number of Special Resources is 1d4-2 – we rolled a 2, which would mean 0 Special Resources. That’s not very fun for this exercise, so let’s GM fiat this to 1. Our d10 roll is a 3 – Ingredients – Natural ingredients such as dried plants or animal parts, can be used to create poisons, potions or other consumables. That certainly fits well!

Step 4: Backstory
Now let’s randomly generate some Cult backstory! A d10 Origin roll (6) says “This cult was created after its leader uncovered hidden knowledge in a grimoire”. A d20 table for Goals and Motivations leads us to (8) “The cult’s patron or leader was wronged, now it’s devoted to exacting revenge.” What is the power source of this cult? A d10 roll (6) says, “The cult’s power comes from an ancient grimoire, the reading of which endows magical boons.” Serendipity abounds. The Focus and Specialty d10 table points us towards (6), “The cult conducts arcane or esoteric research that grants its members bizarre and previously unknown forms of magic.” This cult is starting to get scary. Every cult should have a Weakness though, and the d10 Weaknesses and Secrets table declares that our cult has (9), “The cult reveres a sacred artifact that, if destroyed, will rip apart the faith and/or loyalty of its followers.” Sounds like that ancient grimoire is key to the cult’s existence. A random d20 roll on Symbols and Logos gives us the sigil of (11) a Hand making some sort of gesture. Something to think on as we continue. Our final backstory generation is the Cult Name Generator – 3 d20 rolls that give our cult the name of (10, 4, 18): Followers of the Black Glade. Disturbing! Given what we know now, we’d say the sigil is a hand resting on a book, giving reverence to the importance of that grimoire. There are still mysteries to be decided – who was wronged, and how? What’s the hidden knowledge? How do they plan to exact revenge? What sort of black magical boons are given to members?

Step 5: Cult Members
Some of those questions may answered as we generate the leadership of the Followers of the Black Glade. Our cult leader’s general appearance (5 on a d10) is of a “Decrepit and sickly looking, movements are shambling and shaky” person. They (7 on a d20) have “skin with the appearance of something else” – we’ll go with tree bark and moss. A roll of 4 on a d20 declares they “always wear armor over clothing” but that doesn’t seem to fit our spindly tree creature, so we’ll toss that out for now. Their personality is (18 on a d20) “Pragmatic – calculating, opportunistic, willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to achieve larger goals.” A truly scary cult leader! Mannerisms are (1 on a d20) “Cautious – always sits with their backs to a wall, never lets anyone behind them.” Their personal background is (18 on a d20) – “Transformation – The character was transformed in some way, perhaps through wild magic, reincarnation or mutation.” Pretty sure that grimoire turned this person into some sort of withered, living tree. Their Secret is (11 on a d20) a “Wound – the character hides an old wound that still pains them.” What might this be? Another mystery to put in the back pocket for now. Finally, their great Flaw or Weakness is (8 on a d20) “Diseased – the character has an incurable illness that hinders them in some way.” Could this be related to the wound? Is it a tree disease or a living creature disease?

Step 6: Followers
The final step is to generate some Common, Uncommon and Remarkable Roles within the cult. A d10 roll for each table gets us (8, 5, 3): Beastspeakers, Summoners and Master Leeches (performs healing and can raise dead). This all fits pretty well! Adherents can speak with animals, summon strange animal or plant creatures, and raise the dead to be transformed by the grimoire’s rituals.

Your GM brain should be spinning now, trying to make creative connections – ours sure is. Vaguely, perhaps this cult leader was a druid adventurer. In a fight against a demon, their adventuring party abandoned them. The demon wounded them, a black wound that could not be healed by normal nor magical means. This druid, in that demonic treasure hoard, found a lost ancient grimoire. This book contained a spell that transformed them into a living tree, but forever leaking sap from that wound. They would now live, but forever be in a state of slowly dying. They now look for revenge against their former adventuring party – as well as adventuring parties of all sorts, believing them to be generally selfish and disloyal groups. The grimoire grants a sort of immortality, but only to the injured, forever freezing them in a suffering state. Followers of the Black Glade offer this service to adventurers who are cursed or wounded by forces that prevent healing. They use the Shipwright Hall to send forth their Master Leeches throughout the world, finding adventurers whom are cursed or hurt, using strange plant poultices to slow their disease so that they may be brought back to the Black Glade for transformation into plant creatures.

And so, we’ve created a wholly original cult, a druidic organization that “preserves lives” by healing and transforming the mortally wounded, cursed and diseased into plant-beings. These plant beings are functionally immortal, but still suffer their wounds – forever. That is the price of immortality. Their patient and cautious leader seeks to eliminate adventurers from the world in this way – by preserving examples of all those who are harmed in the process of adventuring…just as they were so long ago.

What a strange, creepy and – dare I say – remarkable cult.

You can get this supplement at Loresmyth.

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