As I work on Insta-NPCs: Cults and Cultists I thought I would use some early notes to provide additional thoughts on the Cult of the Goddess encountered in The Snake’s Heart – A Lost Age Adventure.
These are the qualities I worked with:
- Size – Horde (60 members)
- Commitment – Inspired
- Focus – Service
- Leadership – Individual
- Teachings – Religion
- Isolation – Public
- Dress – Loose
And that, plus what we learned of the cult in the adventure led to this:
The Cult of the Snake has ebbed and flowed over the centuries. At its core is the worship of the god Set, the Serpent. For millions of years, the power of Set has risen and fallen – when brought into our world, other gods and forces rise to oppose him. His power has always come from consuming lesser gods, demons, and devils and harnessing their abilities.
In his last manifestation, he was banished by a group worshiping Mitra, a god whose followers focused on decency, simplicity, and beauty and strictly forbid the use of blood sacrifices in other, lesser religions. However, even Mitra’s power has waned and Set has taken a new approach, recasting his energies in a feminine form.
The Goddess is the new form of Set, known as Assara. Though her followers represent her in the form of a coiled snake or a humanoid goddess holding a snake in each hand. Serpents are used to protect many of her temples and she is thought by some to be the essence of a daughter of Gaia.
As a relatively young cult, there are small pockets of worshipers spread across the lands. Each leader interprets the goals of the Goddess in different ways, but the tenets revolve around:
1. She is a goddess of health and rebirth, consuming her enemies and using their energy for her children.
2. She does not suffer fools or pretenders and strikes fast to crush them.
Her followers are devout, using dance and a ritual “shedding of skin” to display their devotion behind closed doors. They often wear loose clothing which can be shed quickly.
A small percentage of her followers watch writhing knots of snakes, interpreting their movements and proclaiming the Goddess’ will. Offerings are made regularly of willing subjects and the lists of those people who have disappeared in such snake cult activities is a sure sign of an active group in the area.
Some, particularly violent leaders have chosen to direct their followers to sacrifice offerings towards the goal of bringing their Goddess back to the world as the “Great Devourer.”
I’m sure we’ll see the cult rise again… after all the Goddess *is* eternal, right?