2004-10-09: At the Ray's request added PDF version of this article (see below for download link).
Prestige Classes; So You Want To Be a Cultitst?
The following two prestige classes allow to construct cults for the use during games. Cult members are gullible members of the populace, usually of Commoner, Expert and Warrior classes, who chose to follow the dark path in order to compensate their weaknesses or flaws - use average abilities spread for the purpose of generating NPCs.
Let me introduce myself, I'M a man of wealth and taste...
And, what I am going to fail to mention to a prospective recruit, is that I have many minions at my disposal. With but a wave of my finger I can order them to martyr themselves, make them add their strength to mine or, should they really please me, share with them a little of my power.
I am a leader of the cult, I am a shepherd of this misguided flock and I enjoy it. Anything else? Ah yes, this is what you get if you choose to serve me:
Cover Cult Member (template)
Description: some cult members must work undercover in order to avoid agents of opposing forces. Those who are chosen to benefit from this class are treated with a special ritual, during which the pact between them and their cult is sealed.
Special Abilities: Cover Cult Members gain benefits of Master Craftsman I (Ex) (detailed below) and are subject to Cult Minion (Su) (detailed below).
Alignment: Shift by one step toward Evil (the candidate agrees to join the cult out of their own free will).
Cost: Cover Cult Member sacrifices some of their life force (-1000 xp) in order to gain the benefits of the template.
CULT MEMBER (CMM)
Cult member is a three level prestige class for those who lack ambitions and qualifications to become a Cult Leader. Members of the cult gain social and professional benefits in exchange for unfailing loyalty to cult ideals. Those of highest standing also gain supernatural benefits.
The downside of being a cult member is that one's will and one's life belong to the cult. One's only a tool and, though one may enjoy the things one can do, one is also a disposable thing to one's superior.
Hit Die: d6.
To qualify a Cult Member, one must fulfill all the following criteria:
Special: Declare a total loyalty to a Cult Leader (a character with a least one level of Cult Leader class). Usually, such declaration takes a form of a ritual symbolizing rebirth or shedding trappings of past life.
Special II: When one elects to gain a second or third level of this class, one also has to voluntarily shift one's alignment to Evil by one step.
Class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Religion)(Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex).
Skill Points: 4 per level.
These are the features of Cult Member prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cult Members are proficient with all simple weapons and light armor.
Master Craftsman I, Master Craftsman II, Master Craftsman III (Ex): Each time Cult Member gains this ability, you gain +2 competence bonus to one skill of Craft, Perform or Profession type. In addition, if gaining Master Craftsman II or III, increase existing bonus to previously chosen skill by 2.
Cult Minion (Su): Cult Member Willpower save to resist Cult Leader commands (or spells or spell like abilities) suffers from -4 penalty. Cult Leader may channel his special powers through Cult Member.
Haunting Gaze (Su): Cult Member alignment must be Evil in order to use this power. Once per day per Cult Member level may look into someone else's eyes and show his true inner self gaining +4 to Intimidate for one day versus the target. Account of victims vary, but usually the eyes of the Cult Member using this power change into two black holes.
Aura of Competence (Ex): Cult Members exudes aura of competence, making him look trustworthy and reliable. Gain +2 competence bonus to Bluff and Diplomacy.
Loyalty Beyond Grave (Su): The strength of devotions of the Cult Member lasts beyond the grave. Unless dismembered or beheaded, the Cult Member rises (uttering low moaning sounds as Cult Member's doomed soul realizes its final fate) 4 rounds after death as a Zombie of appropriate size (increase CR by 1/2 if the Cult Leader is present and capable of channeling powers to Cult Minions).
The zombie continues to use the same weapons and armors it used before death and retains Cult Minion power. These zombies are controlled by Cult Leader and do not count toward ordinary limit of controlled undead. If the Cult Leader is not present, the zombie continues activities from before their death or attacks nearest non-Cult Members or remains inert awaiting controller commands. Should someone else taken control them, the zombies serve normally, but upon the end of controlling effect they revert to their typical allegiance (Cult Leader) and, usually, attack non-Cult Members.
Let me introduce myself, I'M a man of wealth and taste...
|1st||0||+2||+0||+2||Minion Mastery Power (Su)
Soul Forfeiture (Ex)
Honey Tongue (Sp)
|2nd||1||+3||+0||+3||Minion Mastery Power (Su)
Creeping Corruption (Ex)
|3rd||2||+3||+1||+3||Minion Mastery Power (Su)
Extended Lifespan (Ex)
|4th||3||+4||+1||+3||Minion Mastery Power (Su)
Delegate Power (Su)
|5th||3||+4||+1||+4||Minion Mastery Power (Su)
Fear of the Great Beyond (Ex)
Creeping Corruption (Ex)
|6th||4||+5||+2||+5||Minion Mastery Power (Su)|
|7th||5||+5||+2||+5||Minion Mastery Power (Su)
Creeping Corruption (Ex)
Gain free Leadership feat
These are the features of Cult Leader prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cult Leaders are proficient with all simple weapons and light armor.
Soul Forfeiture (Ex): Upon sealing the bargain, the Cult Leader forfeits own soul in exchange for power. Because of this, Cult Leader cannot be raised or resurrected in any way short of divine intervention - as it belongs now to the being which purchased the soul.
Honey Tongue (Su): Once per day per level, the Cult Leader may take an oath of service from a recruit (subsequently allowing the recruit to advance in Cult Member prestige class).
Creeping Corruption (Ex): The service to the other power exacts a heavy toll on the Cult Leader - the Cult Leader begins to exhibit signs of an advanced age. Every time Cult Leader advances to the level with Creeping Corruption, his outward appearances shift by one age category (Adulthood to Middle Age, Middle Age to Old, Old to Venerable), though his abilities (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma) remain unaffected. Decrease Constitution by 1 each time Creeping Corruption occurs.
Extended Lifespan (Ex): The worth of the Cult Leader is recognized by the power Cult Leader serves. The Cult Leader continues to age, but does not die, even when his Constitution reaches 0 - each time Maximum Age would be reached, apply Venerable Age ability adjustments (physical penalties only), and determine new Maximum Age. This may result in severe physical dysfunctions, but the life of the Cult Leader continues.
Delegate Power (Su): The Cult Leader may temporarily transfer one of the Minion Mastery Powers known to one of subordinates. The subordinate must have at least one level in either Cult member or Cult Leader prestige classes. The transfer lasts for one day per Cult Leader level or until Cult Leader revokes the power (a standard action).
Fear of the Great Beyond (Ex): The Cult Leader begins to fear for his life as he learns the consequences of his death. If confronted by agents of opposing force Cult Leader deems too strong, he always flees, though usually after augmenting (through Delegate Power) one of her or his minions. If cornered, he will defend, but he will be shaken (a shaken character takes a -2 penalty on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws). Once per day Cult Leader may cast Expeditious Retreat (Sp) as a Sorcerer of his level.
Gain free Leadership feat (Ex): The Cult Leader's fame reaches far to many miscreants which begin to flock en masse swelling the ranks of the cult. Essentially, this is a free Leadership feat.
Minion Mastery Power (Su): The devoted service to another power allows the Cult Leader to learn how to utilize the power of prayer of cult members (not necessarily members of Cult Member prestige class, though in order for the cultist to benefit from power effects, he or she must possess at least one level of the Cult Member class). Unless otherwise stated, a ritual requires an hour to be completed. Each time a new Minion Mastery Power is gained, choose from the list below:
Berserk Flock: (prerequisites: Fearless Flock) all cult members within 60' of the Cult Leader can go berserk as a free action (at Leader's request) or if engaged in combat.
Berserk cult members gain +4 to Strength, +10 temporary hitpoints. Berserk cult members cannot exit their state voluntarily.
Consecrate a Temple: seven members of the cult must pray for seven days in order to for the Cult Leader to use this power.
Area: 30' radius from Cult Leader.
Effect: each non cult member entering the area must save vs Will (DC: 10 + 1/2 Cult Leader class level + Cult Leader Cha modifier) or be filled with vague feeling of dread (shaken). The area counts as desecrated (i.e. as if subjected to permanent Desecrate spell).
Limitation: Each Cult Leader may consecrate one such area per class level, though if the effect is dispelled (caster level: cleric of 7th level), the Leader may choose to consecrate a new area.
Fearless Flock: all cult members within 60' of the Cult Leader are not affected by fear mind-affecting effects and gain +4 profane bonus to Will saves.
Martyr: (prerequisites: Word of Power) in a mass ritual lasting a whole night a member of the cult is chosen to sacrifice own life for the good of the cult. The martyr is given a mission and for the duration of the mission is immune to Mind-Affecting effects. Also, should the mission require physical extertion, the Martyr is treated as if he had Endurance feat.
This does not mean that the Martyr must die. It just means that the target of this ritual tries to complete the mission with no regard for personal welfare.
Limitation: maximum time the effect persists is one day per cult member praying during the ritual.
Martyr Champion: (prerequisites: Martyr) as above but the Martyr Champion physical characteristics are increased by 1 per 3 members praying during the ritual and Martyr Champion hitpoints are increased by 1 per 1 member praying. Maximum ability gain: +10, maximum hitpoints gain: +30.
This ritual is often used by old Cult Leaders who, due to extreme age penalties, are unable to live their life to the fullest. The ritual is usually performed by a member of their flock, who is granted this ritual power through Delegate Power ability and the mission to be performed is usually similar to "Arise, oh great one, and lead us to the greatness".
Name the Enemy: during a ritual an enemy (a character or an organization) of the cult is named. All cult members gain +2 morale bonus to attack rolls and +2 morale bonus to Will save vs fear or mind-affecting spells (spell-like abilities) versus this enemy (if the enemy is an organization) or +4 morale bonus to attack rolls and +4 morale bonus to Will save vs fear or mind-affecting spells (spell-like abilities) versus this enemy (if the enemy is a single character).
Limitation: only one enemy may be named at any time (and after completion of the ritual it cannot be revoked unless there are drastic changes in the cult - a change of the leader, for example). Each time a character is named as an enemy, he or she receives a nightmarish vision of their own painful death.
In order for the ritual to function, an item belonging to the character in question must be sacrificed during the ceremenony. If the enemy is an organization, a member of the organization must be captured alive and ritually sacrificed.
Reap the Reward: this ritual allows to grant a chosen individual, usually a devoted cult member in recognition of their deeds, a special luck bonus to one chosen activity (lasts for one month): choose one skill, save, attack or damage - gain +2 luck bonus to all rolls invoilving the choice.
Eyes of the Faithful: (prerequisites: Word of Power) as Martyr (with regard to the ritual and duration) - Cult Leader may choose, as a standard action, to see and hear through target's eyes and ears.
Summon Plague: A swarm (as per Summon Swarm, 3rd level caster) is called to destroy fields and stored food through a night long ritual. The plague swarm appears around midnight and departs at dawn.
Limitation: the distance between the place of ritual and the target to be affected is 100 meters per cult member participating.
Summon Guardian: (prerequisite: Consecrate a Temple) a monstrous being is summoned to guard a consecrated temple. The summoned being freezes like a statue and remains inert unless a drop of blood of a Cult member is spilled on the consecrated ground. It awakes one round after the blood was shed and attacks all non cult members.
To create the guardian choose an animal with hitdice of at most double the Cult Leader total character level (ritual leader's choice). Apply Half-Fiend template.
Limitation: There can only be one guardian per consecrated template.
Swarm Tactics: (prerequisites: Fearless Flock) Cult Leader may order (free action) Cult Members, to throw themselves upon the enemy - until the end of combat all Cult Members try to literally bring the enemies down with their numbers.
Each Cult Member gains Improved Grapple feat until the end of combat. All attacks become grapple attacks.
Word of Power: Each command given to a Cult Member by a Cult Leader is treated as Suggestion spell, though Cult Members receive Will save in order to avoid executing suicidal actions (DC: 10 + 1/2 Cult Leader class level + Cult Leader Cha modifier).