Monday, August 17, 2015

Nameless Cults II

CULT OF NYARLATHOTEP (or Thee Church of Starry Wisdom)

No. Appearing: 1d8
Alignment: Chaotic
Move: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 11+
Hit Dice: 1-4
Attacks: 1
Save: Magic User
Morale: 12
Experience: 7-190

The worshippers of the Crawling Chaos, the Ebony Man, the inscrutable tormentor of mankind known as Nyarlathotep, gather at Thee Church of Starry Wisdom. It is the most well-known of the ancient cults, and semi-tolerated where it appears - in a mountain cave, or a dungeon, or a few miles from a village amongst the downs - only for the cult's healing magics. It is rumoured they can cure afflictions which are beyond even the power of the followers of the Christ Jesus, and many desperate folks will seek them out when other options fail.

The problem is they're totally intolerable. They just won't leave you alone - once you've been to their temple and been healed or helped in any way (even after you've paid them), they will never stop trying to convert you. In the most awkward ways possible, maybe by showing up in town when you're trying to have a drink and party, or rolling up behind you in the dungeon and loudly proselytizing, catching the attention of nearby monsters. They might try to kill you in the course of their normal cultish activities, but during the fight they'll be lecturing you still. At all times, they pepper their dialogues with terrible New Age speak and motivational slogans: "Be the change you want to see in the world!" "Life is an amazing adventure!" stuff like that. Use this. Everybody would hate them even if they weren't servants of the Ancient Ones.

"Come on in, we're SO happy you could make it!"
They wear the attire of ordinary English folks in order to blend in with the populace, but due to their master's mind-bending revelations re: space and time, their clothing is always from the wrong era - they never actually blend in. In Arthur's Britain they are dressed like 19th-20th century country squires, all waistcoats and pocket watches and tweed. They wear animal masks to indicate their rank - predatory and dangerous animals are the low-HD supplicants and initiates, and every increase in status uses smaller and less dangerous animals, until the high priests are wearing mouse, rabbit and hedgehog masks.

During combat, their AC is 11 until they get surprise or win an initiative roll, and then their minds are filled with Nyarlathotep's revelation of angles and distances, making them harder to hit. Add 1 AC for every round they go first - maximum bonus is equal to the HD of the highest-ranking cultist around.
Nyarlathotep has gifted his acolytes with additional magical abilities as well - they can cast spells as a Magic-User of level equal to their hit dice, regardless of their actual class (if any). I give them spells from a special "dungeon-only" spell list the PCs don't have access to.

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