Following once again in the tenuous holiday connection of “the stars just happen to be aligning on the Winter Solstice!” we present a scenario in which arcane resources are finite, and a number of fringe cults and duking it out to come up on top before the Winter Solstice.
As you can gather from the title, there are no less than six cults lurking about your friendly neighborhood Investigators’ hometown. They’ve taken up residence in hotels in and around the area, and are preparing for the big ritual. And, unlike most other cults in the Mythos universe, these guys have no spell casting ability. In fact, the reason why they are all in the Investigators’ hometown to begin with is that they all read the same Web site that gave instructions for summoning a demon. It involved going to a particular town (the Investigators’), collecting specific items, and at midday on the Winter Solstice doing the ritual.
No less than six cults believed this crap, which was contrived by a horror fan, Simon Westmarch. Simon, a classics major at Miskatonic University, originally wrote the whole thing up while under the influence of lots of beer and pot. He polished it up and posted it on his student Web site.
The items needed to be collected are:
- The blood of a virgin. Most cultists, who are generally socially awkward and not used to talking to girls, will be going around the high schools of the town and trying to discern the sexual experience of most girls. Those who aren’t watched for suspicion of statutory rape will certainly have red marks from all the slaps they get. A few will be clever and either use their own blood, or else nab it from small children.
- Thirteen marijuana joints. Most cultists brought their own, though a few will be frantically looking for a dealer.
- The dog of an important official.
- A garter belt.
- An albino duck (half have already found one).
- An aborted fetus (to be found at your local clinic).
- A Nerf football (all of the cults have found one by this time).
- An Elder sign (both the five-pointed star stone with a flaming eye in the middle, as well as the “branch” version are to be found among the cultists).
- A mummy’s finger. (Most have bought theirs at a novelty shop.)
- A bowling trophy.
- Three items belonging to the Investigators, that no one else is likely to have. Ideal would either be tomes or else some sort of trophies or souvenirs from past adventures.
In case you hadn’t guessed it, that last item is the big connection for the players. Provided they don’t just bust these guys for interrogating high school girls and dog-napping the mayor’s dog. You never know how civic minded some players will be. However, you can add extra levels of personal interest by having some of the victims of the component acquisition be friends and relatives of the Investigators.
Investigators can easily find out the component list from any of the cultists once they convince the cultists that they aren’t from a rival cult. They can even trace it back to the original author, and learn the background. (He’ll likely respond, “Shit, no way! Someone actually took this serious?”)
At the time of the summoning, there will likely be some contesting of the ritual area. Whether it comes to physical blows or not depends on just who it is that arrives at the site.
The cults in question, in order of most competent to least competent, are:
- The Ordo Templi Orientalis: Not the real OTO. Just some guys really into metaphysics who thought the name was wicked.
- The Coven of Eternal Night: A group of thirteen “witches” with a goth/nihilist streak through them. They’ll be showing up at the ritual “skyclad”, much to the delight of other cultists.
- The Revised Church of Satan of Kent: They couldn’t get into the real Church of Satan, so they started their own. In Kent, Washington. For those not from around here, Kent is a suburb of Seattle that is hip-deep in white trash. These are the guys you read about in religious publications warning people what can happen if you listen to heavy metal and play roleplaying games.
- Kappa Kappa Kappa: Not really much of a magical group, these ten fraternity boys have a superficial interest in metaphysics (“Dude, I once bought a tarot deck.”), and have decided they’ll beat the crap out of the other cultists to get all the materials they need.
- Devil’s Own: A biker gang/heavy metal band. They blend the philosophies of the Revised Church of Satan, as well as the frat boys.
- Discordian Pickle Wedge Cabal: They’re Discordians. They came in a VW Microbus, and have enough pot to keep them warm through the holidays.
Don’t bother with stats. Most of them suck, though the bikers and the frat boys are moderately competent physically.
If confronted with the horrible truth of their “ritual”, most won’t believe it. Even if the Investigators get Simon to show up. At the very least, it will be some entertainment for the Investigators when it gets to be time for the ritual.
Jeremy Zimmerman is a teller of tales who dislikes cute euphemisms for writing like “teller of tales.” His fiction has most recently appeared in 10Flash Quarterly, Arcane and anthologies from Timid Pirate Publishing. His young adult superhero book, Kensei, is available as part of Cobalt City Rookies. He is also the editor for Mad Scientist Journal. He lives in Seattle with five cats and his lovely wife (and fellow author) Dawn Vogel.