Cult of the Damned
WORK IN PROGRESS
Disclaimer & Metagaming: This is a secret organization. I am not sure if we will encounter it, but Jessica will likely be looking to make contact with organizations of this type, if not specifically this one.
The Cult of the Damned has a colored and long history, running back almost to the dawn of Hell. Originally conceived by mortals who had realized they were tricked and damned by devils, it’s charter has changed with the political winds from century. The salient common thread is that the organization consists mainly of mortals who are cognizant of the fact that they are destined to Hell. The mere knowledge and acceptance of that fact produces a number of reactions in mortals, and accordingly there are several sects within the Cult of the Damned. Much like Catholics and Protestants, these sects have subtly, yet (in their eyes) fundamental differences and generally despise members of other sects. Quite often, sects engage in secret warfare. On the exterior, the organization isn’t really an organization at all, but appears to be a collection of warring sects under one name.
There are numerous sects, and they are all predominantly centered around how they believe a damned individual should behave:
- Hedonistic: The Brotherhood of Wine is quite popular and behaves more as a fraternity. The Brotherhood preaches that one should attempt to enjoy as much of the mortal coil for as long as possible. They instruct their followers in ways to shirk duties or evade fiends. Many illusionists, rogues, and knaves of all flavors belong to this sect. The sect has a public face in their brothels. Where they are allowed or ignored, you can bet that at least one member of the Brotherhood is involved somehow. Most people who are in the Brotherhood aren’t actually pact bound to a fiend, and those few who are hide it. Experts at evading soul collectors, the long-lived members of this sect rarely can be found in the same place twice.
- Repentant: The Reformed are actually an outreach branch of the Church of the Silver Flame that managed to penetrate the Cult of the Damned and attempt to hide and mediate the salvation of pact-damned individuals. The group is hated by all other sects, kept at arms length by most accepting of good aligned organizations, and forced to secrecy by the hounds of hell who dog the leaders of this group.
- Embracing: The Black Hand are a militant and dangerous group. They feel the process of becoming a Lemure and climbing the ranks represents a sublime escape from their current mortal lives. Ambitious to earn what favor they can for their future in Hell, they seek to sow the seeds of active destruction. Ironically, the group is borderline chaotic in their simple pursuit of destruction, but they explain their tactics as destabilizing the forces of good so that a groundwork for Lawful Evil organizations can move in. The group is decidedly uninterested in doing the rebuilding, exalting in the act of destruction rather than creation.
- Embracing: The Black Glove is the sister group to the black hand. This group consists mainly of long-lived mortals, usually elves, elans, and the like. They move slowly and specialize in long term manipulation of political undercurrents. They too believe that they are destined for the hierarchy and view the loss of their identity as a purification process.
- Hybrid: The Tangled Web is somewhat a mix of the Black Glove and the Brotherhood of Wine in practice, but fundamentally different than all of the groups in terms of their core belief. The Tangled Web believes that the loss of one’s mortal identity is neither unique to Hell (its actually a common event in most planar destinations for souls), nor is it desirable. This group strives to either defeat their captors or to somehow preserve their identity in the conversion process. The group members of the Tangled Web are extremely diverse in their views and backgrounds, no two fully capable of agreeing on much of anything, with one exception: handling fiends. The Tangled Web teaches ways to control and dominate fiends, believing that fiendom neither represents superiority nor transcendence. The Tangled Web is aligned to Hell merely because they believe it represents a more perfect order, one free of the weaknesses of the good and neutral. The Tangled Web is open to almost all solutions to their problems, save that offered by redemption, which they feel is the ultimate show of weakness.