Ancient Cultist (5e Background)

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Ancient Cultist[edit]

You are part of a cult that follows an elder god, an ancient monstrosity or another such entity. You were either born into the cult's fold or joined later in life for one reason or another. For whatever reason, you've chosen to leave your former allies behind. Perhaps you can't stand what your "family" has done and what you've been made to do, and have decided to leave that life behind, or at least are trying to. On the other hand, perhaps you have set out on a private mission, received from the cult or directly from your god and you are willing to do everything in your power to finish it.

Choose an elder god from those that exists within the world, or create one for your cultist to follow. Work with your GM to fashion and detail the cult, its practices and members, and seek to incorporate it into the world in a natural and logical way.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Religion

Tool Proficiencies: Torturer's kit

Languages: Deep Speech

Equipment: A set of traveler's clothes, your cult’s identification mark, a marked dagger, and a pouch containing 10 gp

Feature: One of the Family[edit]

Thanks to your long affiliation with your cult, you can easily identify members of other cults that follow an esoteric entity like that of yours. This does not mean that you are held in high standing with such cults: the field of hidden worship is often a competitive one, and an adherent of one creed might stand in bloody opposition to a faithful of another. Nonetheless, you have insight into the nature of hidden religions and can usually recognize the basic features of any given cult.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

Cultists are very much molded by the experiences they've faced within their own cult. Although many such cults are secretive and adherents don't speak publicly of their strange faith, cults tend to snake their way into all areas of a cultist's life. This influence, and the kind of personality it breeds, tends to linger long after a person has left the fold. Not all cultists are bad people, just as not all cults are inherently bad - but they do tend to be secretive, suspicious and even paranoid.

d8 Personality Trait
1 My past still haunts me in my dreams. I often wake up screaming or do not sleep at all.
2 I anger quickly and I am prone to violent tantrums when someone tries to control me or give me orders.
3 Being a pawn in someone else’s game left me with an inability to make choices of my own. I am indecisive.
4 I am having second thoughts about having left the cult. I am afraid I could easily return to my old ways given the right circumstances.
5 Boundaries were violated time and time again in the cult until I lost sense of which boundaries were appropriate. I often behave inappropriately or in a seemingly random manner.
6 Constant feelings of shame, helplessness and inferiority make me change my mood at a moment’s notice. I suffer from mood swings or sudden emotional breakdowns.
7 I feel immense guilt over my past actions and welcome suffering as my atonement. I have little or no regard for my personal health.
8 Every day I expect to get a knife in my gut and I see vengeful assassins in every shadow. I am paranoid or suspicious of others.
d6 Ideal
1 Protective. Dark cults trifle with powers that are beyond their understanding or control. Those fools must be stopped. (Lawful)
2 Nihilist. What’s the point of anything? People are insignificant and their struggle is futile. (Neutral)
3 Repentant. I cannot possibly undo the wrongs I have done, but I can still try and atone. (Good)
4 Anarchist. Lives of men should not be ruled by anyone. No gods, no masters! (Chaotic)
5 Faithful. While our cause is righteous, the cult's leaders are corrupt: I seek to follow my god's plans. (Any)
6 Selfish. The world is doomed either way. Better make the most of it. (Evil)
d6 Bond
1 When I left the cult, I took one of its relics with me. For some strange reason, I cannot part with it.
2 They were supposed to be sacrificed, but I helped them escape. Now I feel responsible for them.
3 It breaks my heart to know that my close friend, lover or family member is still a loyal follower of the cult.
4 The cult leader made me kill my old friend during the initiation. I have not forgotten that and I want revenge.
5 I cannot stand by and watch as more children and youths get turned into mindless fanatics or are exploited for someone else's personal gain.
6 No one must ever know about my involvement with the cult.
d6 Flaw
1 Sometimes, I hear voices in my head that command me to do terrible things. And sometimes, I give in.
2 I trance out and lose touch with reality. I am sometimes delusional or experience delirious states.
3 I take great solace in flagellation. The road to salvation is through blood and self-inflicted pain.
4 Before I left, I was given a task by my cult's deity or leader that I am yet to fulfill.
5 While at the cult, they kept us on drugs. I am still heavily addicted and I will do anything to get a dose.
6 I dread the idea of killing another sentient creature. I have already spilled enough blood.

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