100 Call of Cthulhu Cults

Cavnar

Explorer
I'm short on material for this weekend's game. We're going to play The Madman, but it's very short. Everything I've found says it really needs to be fleshed out, but I haven't had time to really search for some way to flesh it out. I was planning on maybe getting a campaign and using this as an intro into its story, but I haven't found a mi-go campaign yet (A Time for Harvest has pictures of Mi-go in the free handouts, but the blurbs about the campaign say diddly squat about what the campaign actually is. It sounds more like just a vermont resource book or something?)

Anyway, I'm going to try something this weekend that I haven't done before, which is to nearly completely ad-lib the entire session. I'm going to try a "just say yes, sorta" gaming style and see where the players take it, and try to simply guide them via my responses toward where "The Madman" is supposed to go. The alternative being my normal style of gameplay, where they ask to research something that they pulled out of thin air, probably because they misunderstood something I said, I just say, "Nope, you can't find anything like that" and then they stumble around until I beat them with the pre-written plot clues.

Toward that end, I'm trying to put together some general motivations and rituals and clues and some cult that I can modify on the fly to fit random research themes they may go down. And then I thought that this might be something that could come in handy for a lot of people, and for a lot of my game sessions if this play style works at all.

So, I'm asking for submissions for 100 Call of Cthulhu Cults.
Totally random made up cults are great. They need motivation of some sort, a ritual, something. Basically, they need some reason to be noticed and investigated/encountered as a cult.
I'll take published cults, since I haven't read many of the adventures and modules, but I'd rather have variants on those than direct copies. I'd like a list that can be modified on the fly, as I said, to be used in custom campaigns and such. If it's a direct copy and a keeper modifies it to suit some campaign, I don't know what that will do to the story line of whatever campaign it came from if they play it (I want to say, "Nothing, just change the name and now it's a different cult", but I don't know.)
If it is a published cult, list the publication and how the encounter can serve as entrance into that adventure or campaign, etc.

I'll start off with 2 of my vague ideas....
 

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Cavnar

Explorer
1) The priest running the Chapel of Contemplation in The Haunting is really an aspect of Nyarlathotep stirring up trouble. I've already told my players (and they completely ignored it) that the description and police artist sketch of the priest from the chapel matches a photo of an unnamed man giving the sarcophagus to Rupert Merriweather's club president (I can't remember his name) in a sort of "handing off" ceremony that was in the journal in Edge of Darkness. There are also conflicting stories about the priest's arrest with one report saying witnesses think they saw him walk out of the church through the flames and disappear into the night, and another saying he was arrested but never arrived at the station. Further, my investigator's introduction to the Kimball's in Paper Chase was through a colleague at the university who had a client that wanted a rare book, a trade the colleague had on the side. One of the investigators had a free week, so he was asked to go try and buy it. Things happened, they didn't get the book, the colleage is dead in a very culty way, and if the investigators look, there's an article in the paper about the Kimball house burning down. Finally, sometime within the next few weeks, the player's office is going to be broken into while they are out, and the sarcophagus from edge of darkness will be stolen (and possibly the trumpet from Dead Man Stomp, depending on how that goes; we have just a bit of that to finish this weekend before The Madman starts).

So Nyarlathotep is stirring up chaos through a cult just for fun. That cult is gathering objects of power to summon Nyarlathotep (because he thought man would enjoy the irony when his aspect is already there at the summoning, laughing about what they ACTUALLY summon). The players can do investigation back to other occult thefts and trace those, or maybe trace who hit their office through some middle-tier hired-for-the-job thief or something like that.

I haven't figured out how to tie it back to The Madman. Maybe it's not really a summoning, but the mi-go are actually gathering the items and sending them offworld or something. And the mysterious figure tying it all together isn't Nyarlathotep, it's just a used-to-be-normal human with mi-go longevity technology serving as their representative. (I seem to recall that the mi-go brain jar thing was a two way deal, where the human got sent out and an alien could take over the body, so maybe it's not human-on-the-inside. Am I remembering that right, or was that a different Lovecraft race?)
 

Cavnar

Explorer
2) Another idea I had was a cult that are gathering "a certain kind of person" (I have no idea what kind) and gathering them to some remote location. And that's as far as I've got. I was originally thinking it's run through travel agents with "too good to be true" "limited time only" deals, so some clues are people leaving for resort destinations that shouldn't have been able to afford such vacations and then never coming back. Once the itinerary gets the sucker far enough out, they just disappear; it goes from "first class" to "packed in a box car to the slaughter house" or something at that point. Another clue the players could find is a wild story from one of the vacationers that escaped at the last minute, with tales of monsters in the mountains/jungle/desert/whatever. Maybe the entire tour thing is a front, but only "the certain people" disappear, so it's not like an entire tour group or cruise ship go missing. Investigators would/could probably investigate the tour company itself and find weirdness there to trace to alien intelligences or raving madmen.

To tie to The Madman, maybe this is a brain-jar harvesting operation going on as a sideline to the mining they are trying to set up, but it would mean an influx of people into an area they are currently trying to get people out of. Oh, maybe it's a backup plan; if they can't get the summoning to work and kill the town off, they'll get enough puppets to just take the town over, drive the normies out, and then use it as a front? I don't know.
 

Committed Hero

Explorer
[A little more religious than Mythos, but it could involve Nyarlathotep]

Army history says the 1st Special Service Force (“the Devil’s Brigade”) was disbanded at the tail end of World War 2, its members shunted off to individual American and Canadian units. Howard Becker, the second-in-command, had other plans. His men had found a ruined chapel on the outskirts of Nice, on ground that had been profaned during the French Revolution, and there asked for strength and safety in the name of the US. Like Patton, he knew that the Commies were the next foes in line, and that tougher enemies demanded tougher soldiers.

The 2nd Special Service Force (“the Devil’s Own) has no chaplains attached to it. No religious symbols adorn the headstones of its members who have died (never in battle, curiously). Its Cold War vets who mustered out taught at the School of the Americas or served as mercs in Africa; now they head to any number of unnamed black sites and PMCs of dubious reputation.

Its Israeli and Muslim allies find collaboration uncomfortable, for no discernable reason. Its foes are convinced that no amount of resistance to The Great Satan is undeserved. And its true patron will ensure that the U.S. has no shortage of enemies.
 

Voadam

Legend
A completely utilitarian cult. They connect to an uncaring but powerful mythos being seeking specific supernatural powers (longevity, financial predictive powers) in return for completing rituals and sacrifices. They consider it non-corruptive and not particularly dangerous, and they do not seek to destroy the world, but work very hard to keep the cult secret and ruthlessly cover their traces.
 

Voadam

Legend
An infective cult. There is a mythos object (yellow sign, meteorite, magical tome) that affects those who contact/read/touch it. It gets into their brain and worms into their thoughts and creates compulsions. This can lead to joining with others so touched, quietly working for nihilistic ends, driving members to infiltrate society to be in positions to bring about catastrophic events (nuclear disaster, war, mythos being summoning) and to possibly bring others to the object to expand the cult.
 

Cavnar

Explorer
Cool ideas, thanks. The military group sounds more like an intro into some OTHER cult. Like you wouldn't ever be going up against the full Devil's Own, but you may find them involved in something else. Maybe as an unwelcome inter-department operation where Devil's Own doesn't have time or manpower or inclination to deal with something, so your Delta Green squad is unwillingly assigned a Devil's Own as a temporary commander for one specific black op to ostensibly wipe out some other cult. Although, the Devil's Own guy is mostly using Delta Green as pawns to capture the artifact of power the other cult has been using.

The other two are pretty generic, but still definitely useful ideas. My two could be considered flavors of these; my first one would be the utilitarians, gathering items and such to summon what they think is Nyarlathotep for whatever ultimate power that brings, not knowing what they are actually summoning. Although my cult members are dangerous in themselves, regardless of how dangerous the end goal they think they are working toward is.

My second one could be inffective; maybe the people disappearing AREN'T being kidnapped, but instead are infected with whatever the goal is and are leaving on their own. That's pretty much how the modern day cults work, anyway, right?
 

Hand of Evil

Hero
Epic
I say go to history and adjust.
  • Cult of the Emperor - Group that worship the reincarnation of X, they believe a person is a God. You can have a person that is or that could be or carries the genes of this X and is watched for or is being looked for.
  • Hellfire Clubs - motto "do what thou wilt", chaos cult if there ever was one. Parties and general anti-culture.
  • Knowledge Groups - Those that have a belief and look for anything that supports it to the point of doing anything to get it and keep it from the rest of the world or to prove their point of view.
 

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