Monday, 23 July 2012

Cult of the Cacodemon


This cult first appeared in Griffin Mountain under RQ2 rules, I am updating it for Legend (and I haven't read it, but it will probably work for RQ6 as well). In my Griffin Mountain G+ game the players have just done for a gang of these creeps, but who knows, after reading this they might be tempted to join them instead.

The Cacodemon was one of the many horrible monsters that appeared in the armies of chaos during the Great Darkness. He was, according to legend, eventually slain by Waha, the great spirit of the Praxian nomads, and can now only return to the mundane plane with the aid of powerful magic wielded by his willing slaves. Each has a an avatar of Cacodemon of his very own, a vessel into which he can pour his corruption, greed and violence, but the beast yearns to be unleashed and act of its own free, mindlessly destructive will.

He is the traditional god of wild ogres, monsters who prey on humans from heir secret camps in the wilds, but many ogres who secretly live within civilised lands also follow him, dreaming of using his gruesome avatars to strike terror into their human neighbours and allowing their avatars corruption to mask heir own.

Anyone can join, but almost all of his followers are ogres, or humans who will soon become ogres as they consume human flesh as part of his worship. A follower must prove their dedication to Cacodemon by engaging in acts of violence and mayhem at the behest of their priests, and must join in the seasonal feasts of human flesh.

The cult will train its followers in Stealth, Disguise and Deception, and teaches the spell Boon of Lasting Night and Detection Blank.

Human followers will not detect as chaotic to any spell or ability unless they have a chaos feature.

To be considered as an initiate a candidate must have Stealth 30%, Disguise 30%, Deception 30% and two other skills at 30%, preferably a weapon skill of some kind.

They must undergo the Heroquest 'Awakening the Avatar', rolling POW+STR x 3% or less. If they fail, an avatar of the Cacodemon of 1d4+1 dice (see below) will appear and attempt to kill him. If he lives, the rest of the cult will hunt him down and finish the job.

They gain a Pact with the Cacodemon and his mark, a severed hand, usually easily concealed. They can be taught any spell or skill heir cult leaders see fit, but Disruption, Befuddle, Goldentongue, Glamour and Mindspeech are favourites.

They must dedicate at least 1 POW to their pact, but no more than 1/4 of their total POW, and must learn as their first Divine spell Summon Cacodemon. They may also learn Blessing, Behold and Shield.

Any Initiate who gains a chaotic feature may transfer it to their avatar, if they manage to summon it - useful if they live hidden among civilised folk and get something not easily concealed and or something detrimental.

Acolyte (Claw)
A Claw must have 50% in five of the cult skills, and may include Theology (Cacodemon) and Pact (Cacodemon) amongst these. He must dedicate at least 3 points to his pact, to a maximum of 1/2 POW.

They may learn the Divine spells Disarm, Beserker, False Form and Dismiss Magic.

Priest (Talon)
A Talon must have 75% in five cult skills and must carry out a task of assassination or destruction assigned by their superiors. If they manage to kill one of their superiors, they are automatically their place in the priesthood. They must dedicate at least 6 POW to the cult, but no more than 3/4 or their total.

They may learn the spells Amplify, Extension, Create Skeleton and Create Zombie and must learn Ritual of Sacrifice.

High Priest (The Avatar Incarnate)
There is only one High Priest and he must have 100% Pact skill and devote at least 9 POW. There may not actually be a High Priest most of the time, and he keeps himself well hidden as the only way a lesser priest can be promoted is by killing him, usually with the aid of his personal avatar.

The High Priest can no longer summon the Cacodemon, he is transformed into a Cacodemon whenever he casts the spell, and when in ogre/human form he has all the chaotic features he may have offloaded onto his avatar given back to him, usually making him a twisted, mutant wretch of barely humanoid appearance.

Becoming an Ogre
When a human consumes human flesh (Praxian herd men don't count) he gains 1d6% in a new skill called Ogrishness, and must roll an opposed skill roll of Ogrishness vs his Persistence. If he fails he has become an ogre and rolls a new Str on 2d6+12 and a new Dex on 2d6+6. If these are higher than his current scores he gains 1 point per month until he reaches his new limit and his teeth become sharp and carnivore like. He is now a chaos creature, like it or not, and there is no way back.

Chaos Features
The quickest way of gaining a chaos feature is to join the cult of Primal Chaos and beseech the demons to bless you, but merely using certain corrupting spells may end up with the same result. As before, start a new skill called Chaos, add 1 point for each use of False Form, 2 for Create Skeleton or Zombie, 1 per dice of a summoned cacodemon, 2d6 for Ritual of Sacrifice, and roll for this skill vs Persistence (or just roll unopposed, some people actually want a chaos feature). Points may be added for particularly chaotic deeds committed. Once a chaos feature has been gained by this method, the skill is reset to zero.

Cult Special Spells
Summon Cacodemon
Duration Special, Rank Initiate, ranged

Summons the personal Avatar of the Cacodemon. This will have 1 dice in Str and Siz per 4 points of POW dedicated to the pact, 1 dice per 3 points if done on a holy day, 1 dice per two POW on a high holy day. The cultist must sacrifice at least one sentient creature of at least 10 POW and roll his Theology (Cacodemon) skill or under to control the demon once summoned, and again to dismiss it when he wants to. If it persists he must roll again once per day to control it, and again to dismiss it. An uncontrolled demon will kill anything it can reach. Killing the summoner does not dismiss the demon. A High Priest always uses the 1 dice per 2 points ratio, and personally transforms and thus does not have to roll for control.

Ritual of Sacrifice
Duration Special, Rank Priest, touch

A priest may find a holy place and sacrifice victims to boost the size and power of his demon. He gains 1 dice per 10 points of POW of his victims on a holy day and 1 dice per 8 points on a high holy day. For first victim roll the Pact skill to succeed, then at Pact -20% for the second and so on until the priest fails a roll and the demon has absorbed as much POW as it is going to and actually appears.

False Form
Duration 1 hour per 10% Pact, Rank Acolyte

Changes the form of a worshipper into that of an ordinary human of the same size, undetectable by any physical examination, magic or skill. Useful if one has a particularly noticeable Chaos feature, or a 100% foolproof method of disguising ones sharp teeth, or even (for the very brave) fooling priests of other cults long enough for you to make it through an initiation ceremony and stealing their secrets.

The Cacodemon
STR variable d6
CON 3d6
SIZ variable d6
POW 2D6 + 1 per STR/SIZ dice
CHA 3D6 + 6 per STR/SIZ dice

Combat Actions 3
Strike Rank 12
Armour 1 per STR/SIZ dice

Brawn STR+SIZ x 2%, Resilience CON x 5%, Persistence POW x 3%, Athletics STR+DEX x 2%

Weapon Styles
Claw STR+DEX x 2%, Bite STR+DEX x 1.5%, Tail STR+DEX%, Kick STR+DEX x 1.25%

Weapons have three different Size, Reach and Damage, first for size 1-15, second for size 16-40, third for 41+
Claw Size S/M/L, Range S/M/L, Damage 1d4/1d6/1d8
Bite Size M/L/VL, Range S/M/L, Damage 1d6/1d8/1d10 + poison
Tail Size M/L/VL, Range M/L/VL, Damage 1d4/1d6/1d8
Kick Size S/M/L, Range M/L/VL, Damage 1d6/1d8/1d8

Chaos Features
Poison Bite with Blade Venom potency 20+5% per STR/SIZ dice
1 extra random chaos feature per 3 dice of STR and SIZ
1d3 Chaos Features on top of that

The demon is vaguely Broo shaped with a huge crocodile-like head, vestigal wings and a barbed tail, but the shape and size of the various body parts varies enormously.

Cacodemon and the Borist Church
At some point in the Second Age presumably some more than typically unhinged Godlearner sorcerer came across the cult and developed it into a whole Malkioni heresy. Borist towns are apparently very peaceful, sedate places with pleasant placid people, but in every basement there is caged up demon, embodying all the violence, lust and destructive urges the citizens do wish to deal with in the open. Most demons are very small, but who knows how big the secret demon of that pleasant, responsible householder who just wished you a nice day actually is.

1 comment:

  1. Another Gloranthan blog has a cool take on Cacodemon, it's written for Heroquest but some interesting ideas.