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jafritz

Help with a Non-Force Cult

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My PCs have just completed the open scenario and are no working their way through Long Arm of the Hutt, but I want to throw an interlude in with ten discovering ruins of an ancient cult. The times are perilous and the cult is returning to power. I want the leader to be a nemesis for the group.

But here's the thing. Most cults I have found in Star Wars are related to the Force. I don't want that or a droid base one. Any ideas?

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In the new Marvel comic series they set up a sequence where the survivors of Alderaan went into hiding after the Empire started hunting them down because of Leia's involvement in the destruction of the Death Star.

In the first issue of the Poe Cameron comic he runs into another such group but they're protecting a blue egg-like artefact and the First Order are tracking Poe since they know who he's looking for.

My point is that you pick some suitable exotic or unusual reason for the cult, like they're hiding an underground water source to maintain their position in society knowing full well if any Hutt learns this it will end in bloodshed so building a cult to protect their interests and making it absurd enough that the Hutts or the Empire pay little or no attention to them.

Since the leader is intended as a nemesis make him an imperial so they have fingers in both pies?

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Well or an Anti-Force Cult,

 

despiting the wars the force users brought to the galaxy in the past, the cruelity of the dark and the fake "kindness" of the light, Those people worship the HIGH ONE, an beeing that cutted of his strings to the force and got unaffectable by it (like a Vong).

 

They declare to destroy every Force-Sensitive-Beeing out there (be it inteligent or not).

In addition they naturally are no fans of Vader and the Emperor and also not of Luke or any FaD Player.

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The Star Wars galaxy is huge, and in a galaxy as huge as any, there might be a tendency to overlook the smaller parts. Tatooine is a big desert, Hoth is a snowball. But many planets are actually quite diverse. This means, zooming in to that micro scale, that a small group of humans on a tropical island can have a completely different religious and/or societal develpoment. Any idea can spring into being, and if a large enough following can be found, it turns into a cult if need be.

 

That said, one might have a cult of Banjo, the hand puppet (I know, totally non-sensical Order Of The Stick reference). Adjust that to Star Wars where the primitive ancestors have found a working holoprojector with a message saved on its hard drive. Say they pulled in from a crashed ship, and they couldn't understand the language this 'little person that cannot be grasped' was speaking when they accidentally activated the device. Instant ghost/deity/what not.

 

Makes you wonder why the Ewoks saw C-3PO and went into worship mode? Just his color? His ability to speak with them? Or have they seen something like him before, in some sort of untold tale (or just some told tale I am unaware of)? Though this specific example is droid based, one can wonder if it could be the basis for some sort of cult that is not based on Force-related happenings or people.

 

What about some cult that actually worships (one of) the four classical elements? Air, Earth, Fire and Water? Trust me, when I say the looks on your player's faces will be priceless when the cultists start talking about some form of 'holy cleansing' and they bring out the flamethrowers (not from a Star Wars campaign, from D20 modern, but perhapsd applicable).

 

What if the ancient cult temple shows murals or sculptures looking a lot like some ancient species (such as Duros, who have been traveling to other worlds for some time according to lore)? Alien visitors from the stars, with or without weird magical powers, should pose no trouble when converting them into the focus of a cult's worship.

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Thank you for all the great ideas. 

 

I definitely like the idea of doing something with one of the basic elements and creating an Imperial agent as the Nemesis. 

 

The Anti-Force cult has potential and an interesting way to start killing Force-sensitive individuals.

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Klatoonians worshiping an ancient hutt or hutt idol.. Yea, those earless dog people do worship hutts... Or weequay, they worship lots of gods. The two most "important" gods are mentioned in the species description, but they have many more based on natural phenomenas, weather and spirit that represent animals.

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I once had a kinda secret society, a network of doctors, who travel the galaxy to help with their medical expertise (think doctors without borders). In reality though, they think the Force is too much power for mere mortals, and only the gods should hold that power, so they seek out force sensitives and either abduct them, brainwash them, or pump them full of Ixetal Cilona (the active component of death sticks) to break their connection to the force.

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I once had a kinda secret society, a network of doctors, who travel the galaxy to help with their medical expertise (think doctors without borders). In reality though, they think the Force is too much power for mere mortals, and only the gods should hold that power, so they seek out force sensitives and either abduct them, brainwash them, or pump them full of Ixetal Cilona (the active component of death sticks) to break their connection to the force.

That's neat. I may steal this idea, but make the doctors otherwise good people. That could generate some conflict should the PCs ever face them.

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I've had a hunter cult in my games. Think Predator, but with "civilized" beings. They're a bunch of trackers, fighters, technicians etc. who try to find worthy opponents to hunt down.
They try to find people they can gain access to (so no Palpatine hunts), which is pretty much anyone outside of the Empire and the biggest corporations.
The cult operates in secret, but their activities may need covering up, so they may pose as bounty hunters or police officers (and even as terrorists and what have you).

This cult may come across the PCs and decide that they're worthy targets for some of their not-so-seasoned members. Once the PCs deal with them, the higher ups start to pay attention.
If your PCs are local heroes or famous for something big they've done, even better.

This cult can be as small or as big as you wish. I've used it like a small guild, which operates nearly everywhere, but isn't a very common sight, so encountering them is not your everyday problem.


I too liked the idea of an anti-Force cult. Maybe I'll modify this cult for my FnD game!

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Marvel Comics just released the first issue of a Poe Dameron mini-series. The plot focuses on Poe tracking down Lor San Tekka who lived with the Creche for a short time. They're a cult that worships a giant egg that they believe will hatch a messiah. I would suggest following this story line as it may introduce other religious groups.

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Some great ideas here. Thanks everyone for responding.

 

Here is what I have so far:

 

Order of the Burning Hand is an ancient cult that has been long thought dead, exterminated by all forms of government and force wielders, Sith or Jedi. The single belief of the cult is pure chaos, no governments or order (The irony of being an Order is not lost on me) should control the galaxies. The PCs are introduced to this cult through an ancient temple that they will find on their way to Nabat after their triumph at New Meen. They are caught in a sandstorm and must find refuge until it passes. The entrance is revealed in the morning. 

 

Eventually, they will be fighting the Order as I plan to tie it in which each of their obligations. 

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Techno Worship. Taken into extremes, they might even believe steel is better than flesh. Have a bunch of folk running around with life quests to see how to overcome their body's limitations on the amount of cybernetics they can install, promoting a species like the Gank to leadership positions for their ability to replace more flesh with steel as is, and maybe even suffering religious indoctrination when they are inducted and then force to Thank the Maker.

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Some of the Hutt client species, such as the Klatooinians, revere the Hutts as being near godlike. Having a PC "blaspheme" concerning the divinity of Hutts and within earshot of a Klatooinian could be a good way to make an enemy.

 

Other posters have mentioned plays on Freemasonry. One of the key components of the Freemason belief system is that of a "Grand Architect." It seems very likely that there are Freemason-like groups in the SW universe that revere the idea of literal Celestial Architects. I would imagine that these groups would be very prolific in star systems that have evidence of being (ahem) "intelligently designed," such as the Corellian system, the Kathol Sector and the Hapes Cluster. There could even be a network of "behind the throne" string pullers in the Corellian system or Hapes Consortium that have a great deal of influence on the government, as many of the government officials are members of said society. See Freemasonry in Victorian England, et. all.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, races like the Columi and the Sharu went "primitive" to stay out of the way of the Celestials, so they could view the Celestial Architects as devil figures.

 

Religions often arise from old stories written in eras where history isn't well documented. The SW universe is very, very old so there could be religions, cults and secret societies based around all kinds of things.

  • Ancestor worship of the Taung by Mandalorian Humans and a competing religion of ancestor worship of the Zhell by Core World Humans.
  • Humans with Alderaanian heritage might belong to cults that worship the Killik as insect-like angels and specific Killik are called upon for certain needs ("Oh, Saint Thurhut, patron Killik of healing, treat my sick child!").
  • The Gungans have their "gods" which means there will be factions and cults that believe different things about them.
  • Worship of the Rakata would probably strongly resemble Cthuhulhu worship (i.e. monstrously powerful amphibian gods) and they would have creation myths that involve the Kwa.
  • The Fia have gods that correspond to a specific time period in a person's life.

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What about an anti-machine cult?

Believing bthat cybernetics is a corruption of the body and that technology has gone too far, that it should be a tool in the hands of sentients rather than (as they see it) the rulers of.

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Other religions:

  • There is the B'Omarr Order, who believe achieving enlightenment requires removing your brain from your body and placing it in a jar.
  • The Dim-U worship the Bantha.
  • The Skakoan religion involves reading from the Book of the Boolmide which opens the "Gates of the Grontessiant."
  • There's a pretty generic religion called the Sacred Way which believes in the value of all souls... though droid souls are only worthy by half. It's easy to imagine that there would be cults with varying views.
  • The Ithorians worship the jungle, the Trandoshans worship the Scorekeeper who tracks kills, the Weequay worship the moon god Quay and the thunder-god Am-Shak, and the Gand worship their planet's enshrouding mists.

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