One of the major factions in the Eyes of the Stone Thief campaign is the Cult of the Devourer, a cabal of fanatics, wizards and fanatical wizards (wizardly fanatics) who worship the Living Dungeon as a god of vengeance. As outlined in the campaign (p. 302), the cult was originally founded, many ages ago, by exiles from the Dragon Empire. Cult traditions hold that these founders were driven out by the first Dragon Emperor, but after twelve long ages and a lot of sitting around in caves grumbling and whispering arcane mutterings, a little self-mythologisation is not unlikely – the cult’s account of its own history may not be accurate.
Here’s what’s definitely true – the cult is controlled by a cabal of Secret Masters who dwell in a temple in the bowels of the living dungeon called the Stone Thief. The cult believes the Stone Thief is their holy method of vengeance, a subterranean scourge that will one day rise to destroy the Emperor and the other usurpers who exiled the cult’s ancestors. The cult masters communicate with their worshippers and acolytes on the surface through magical dreams.
The cult’s main asset, beyond commitment to the cause of vengeance, is knowledge of a ritual to call the Stone Thief close to the surface. It’s handy to have, effectively, a natural disaster on a leash, although the range of the ritual is very limited, so the cult can only use this power when the dungeon is nearby. Over the centuries, the cult has parlayed this partial control over the dungeon into considerable influence and wealth.
While the cult’s intended as an adversary for the Eyes of the Stone Thief campaign for characters of levels 4-8, it can easily show up on the surface as foes for your lower-level adventurers, foreshadowing the rise of the dungeon.
- The classic Devourer scheme, as outlined in Make Your Own Luck – use the Stone Thief as a siege engine. If the cult knows that the Living Dungeon is in a particular area, then their cultists can approach one side or another in a local conflict and offer to call up the Stone Thief at a particular spot. Quarrelling with the next baron over? Have the cult sic the Living Dungeon on your neighbour’s castle! Troubled by druids in the Wild Wood? Have the cult target the druids’ sacred grove and rob them of their power! You’re the Orc Lord, attacking the Imperial fortifications up north? What would you pay for an earthquake on demand? This gives you an investigation (who are these cults and why are they hanging around with our bad guys?) that leads to a fight scene with a time limit (we’ve got to beat them all before they finish the ritual!)
- The Cult of the Devourer despises the Dragon Empire, and believes that one day the Stone Thief will consume the surface and destroy the existing order, so the cult can step in and rule the world. (They’re half right – the Stone Thief will consume the surface, but it cares nothing for the cult and won’t stop devouring, ever, until it’s destroyed). Until that glorious apocalypse, though, the cult plots in smaller ways against the Empire and manifestations of Imperial law – they assassinate Imperial magistrates, sabotage the roads, support the enemies of the Imperial Legions and the like. Any characters with Positive or even Conflicted Relationships with the Emperor or any of his allied Icons (Archmage, Priestess, Elf Queen, Dwarf King, Great Gold Wyrm) may find themselves enmeshed in the schemes of the rebellious Devourers.
- Dream-messages from the Secret Masters sometimes go awry, either infecting the dreams of innocents and revealing the cult’s plans, or inspiring weak-minded creatures to serve the cult. Such stray dreams might indicate the presence of a cult temple nearby – or that the Stone Thief is passing by, deep underground…
When the Stone Thief devours the world and the false emperor is overthrown, they’ll rule the world. Or at least they’ll get their revenge on their neighbours.
1st level mook [Humanoid]
Ritual Dagger +6 vs. AC—4 damage
Blend In: Anyone in the Empire might be a member of the cult. If the initiate attacks with surprise, it gets a +2 bonus to its first attack.
PD 15 HP 7 (mook)
Mook: Kill one Cult Initiate mook for every 7 damage you deal to the mob.
Temple guards, spies and assassins.
3rd level blocker [Humanoid]
Crushing Mace +7 vs. AC—12 damage
Critical Hit: The target loses a move action next turn.
Stalwart: If the enforcer is not staggered, then at the start of the enforcer’s turn, choose one enemy engaged with the enforcer. That enemy does not gain the benefit of the escalation die until the start of the enforcer’s next turn.
Grudge-Bearer: The enforcer’s crit range increases by +1 for every positive relationship point the target of its attack has with any of the following icons: Archmage, Dwarf King, Elf Queen, Emperor, Great Gold Wyrm, Priestess
PD 16 HP 45
Master of the secret temple
4th level leader [Humanoid]
Ritual Dagger +9 vs. AC—12 damage
Natural 18+: The target takes 10 ongoing damage (save ends) and the high priest pops free. The high priest may no longer make ritual dagger attacks.
Stone Claws +9 vs AC (two attacks) – 8 damage
R: Death Curse +9 vs MD – 12 damage, and until the start of the high priest’s next turn, the target is Vulnerable to attacks made by members of the cult.
Command the Cult: If the high priest is unengaged, then at the start of the High Priest’s turn, roll 2d20 and put them aside. Any other cultists may take one of these d20 and use its rolled result instead of making a normal roll.
PD 14 HP 54
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