Cults have existed nearly as long as civilization. Humanity is a fractious, conflict-prone lot that seeks a homogeneity that historically has proven impossible to achieve. Since the dawn of time, people have tried to convert others to their way of thinking. This has been true of philosophy, strategy, efficiency, and perhaps most importantly, religion.
In more primitive times, men and women worshiped a vast variety of gods, some of which allegedly were the incarnation of dark, evil impulses that dwelled in the back of every mind. As often as not, these religions were merely an excuse for its adherents to indulge in the basest, most vile practices without the need to feel guilt or concern for their actions. Such religions often preached violence, and conflicts with other religions were common. In time, these widely reviled groups were crushed beneath the heel of larger groups who could not tolerate their excesses, either because it offended their own religions tenets or because they found the cult’s practices deplorable on a personal level. Because of this history of persecution, those who worshiped dark gods or conducted dark practices learned to conceal their actions from others who might destroy them for their “blasphemy.”
Over the course of thousands of years, the term “cult” has come to have a number of meanings. The types of cults discussed above still exist, certainly, hidden in the crannies of society so that their members might worship evil powers in hopes of achieving some level of that power themselves. The term cult also has come to apply to the followers of particularly charismatic individuals, however, who may not necessarily preach a particular religious dogma. Often these individuals take an established religion and alter it to suit their needs, perhaps changing a respect for mercy into the notion of showing mercy to one’s enemies after defeating them, or a holy text indicating followers should turn away from sin into a mandate to eliminate sinners altogether.
Traditional fanatical cultists are a furtive, maniacal lot. They adhere to religious strictures that most cannot understand while willingly participating in rituals that virtually every established religion would find both degrading and repulsive. They typically give their lives for the cult without hesitation, certain in the notion that they will be amply rewarded in the afterlife.
These individuals may possess some sort of mystical abilities, if their dark patron is a legitimate entity willing to invest in its followers, or they may simply have ritualistic weapons they use to kill others in the name of their false god.
The more modern incarnation of a cultist is a fanatical follower of some radical splinter religion, a weak-minded innocent who has effectively been brainwashed into accepting a doctrine they might otherwise find offensive. Their zeal makes them dangerous, and like their traditional counterpart, they all too often offer up their lives without hesitation. Such individuals often have access to military grade firearms, as violence is a mainstay of many modern cults.
Typical Fanatical Cultist
Reflexes 3D: brawling 3D+2, dodge . 4D
Coordination 3D: marksmanship 4D
Physique 3D: running 3D+1
Knowledge 2D: scholar: (specific splinter religion) 4D
Perception 2D: search 3D, streetwise 3D+l
Presence 2D: disguise 3D, charm 2D+l, intimidation 3D
Strength Damage: 2D
Fate Points: 0
Character Points: 2
Body Points: 19
Wound levels: 3
Disadvantages: Infamy (R1), often regarded as dangerous or deranged by others; Devotion (R4), follow leader without question, up to and including death; Quirk (R1), often bear the mark or insignia of their order on their person at all times Advantages: Contacts (R1), other members of cult
Special Abilities: Uncanny Aptitude (R1), + 5 to willpower totals when resisting attempts to convert away from cult Equipment: normal clothing; ceremonial robes; heavy firearm (damage 4D) or ritual blade (damage +1D)