TSI Fridays: Rambling about cults

I’d really prefer to spend today talking about how awesome the AngryDM’s articles, but I do have that awesome name scheme that I feel obligated to keep up with. So here we go!

I wish I had started this days earlier, so I could have a more thought out article, but I failed to do so, so instead, we’ll do a ramble and not about the topic I wanted to do originally.

I think, after observing bits and pieces out of Princes of the Apocalyse and Storm King’s Thunder, that I’m going to have to pilfer the cults from it and use them in my world.

Partly, that’s due to content. I don’t have a large backlog of old modules and the like that I can shoe horn into islands. I’m working on it, but slowly. I probably have more than I think and I need to just go through my options with an open mind. But I have recently gone through PotA and SKT.

I haven’t hit the dungeon sections of SKT, but I know the elemental temples in PotA would be lovely scattered about my watery world. And if I have the Temple sections, I might as well add the Fane and the deeper elemental places I don’t recall the name of. All of those would make great additions and, with a little bit off redrawing and adding magical locks and keys, suddenly I have some sources of long running, race to the goal island before the cultist campaigns.

Which brings me back around to the Cultists. I haven’t fully rectified them into my world, but I think there are small gatherings of the cultists on every island. My world has gods that already follow the four elements, basically, and adding a cult for each is a bit of a weird dynamic. Are they trying to replace Malimina, Mother Goddess of the waters, with, uh, that one Prince… dang it. Couldn’t find it online. Hold on, I have to go to my book pile. Olhydra, Prince of Elemental Water. I would not have remembered that.

Anyway, I don’t really know the exact goals of the cults. I’m sure the basics of the dungeons and the basic plots are the same, but I have to tie their cults to my different civilizations and goals and stuff. But I think it is interesting and it will be a thing I do, gradually, as part of these articles. I know the Earth Temple will be tied to the gnomes, for cool thematic reasons, and not the Shardminds, who don’t really get cults. I’m not quite sure where the others get tied. Fire to the dwarves, maybe, that makes a bit of sense, what with the volcanos. Air and water are still a mystery. If I brought elves in with a mind towards elemental water…

Actual, an elven city that is build into a mass of floating, solidified fog, sounds really cool. Hmmm. I may have to rethink things. Elves might have something interesting to contribute as well.

The cult in SKT, by the way, (which I always write first as STK for some reason) is the Kraken Society. And since I was doing something epic with the Kraken, I might as well add in a cult. Again, I’m not sure what thier goals are. Maybe to bring ships to feed thieir master? Maybe like in SKT, where they want the Kraken to rule the world or something?

And maybe I’ll add in cults for the Necromancers, who were going to be creepy, but now can upgrade to insidious. And the Atlantis group could use an actual, well thought out quest line instead of the rushed, stupid thing I had been doing.

So I’ll be adding at least 5 cults, maybe 7. 7 is a fun number. And it’s still a bunch of work, but hey, I have some interesting direction now!


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  1. Translating modules into a homebrewed setting can be difficult. Tweaking the flavor enough to ensure the verisimilitude of the society can take a lot of lore writing. Of course, it can be worth it with the ideas and mechanics that are brought to the table. Modules can be full of good ideas and knowing that it was balanced by a professional (no guarantee of quality, but generally better than crowdsourced stuff) can ease off a lot of pressure.

  2. It depends on the module, of course. (Feeding my annoyance into my ire of the Forgotten-Realms-Centricity of modern WotC) Some are built with more, well, modularity then others.

    I wish I had a big catalogue of Dungeon magazine to peruse, annotate and steal from. I found a site with PDFs of them all, but its just not the same.

    Justin Alexander(of the D&D blog, thealexandrian.net, of whom I’m learning about hex crawls from) cites it as part of his process to add favored modules everywhere. I intend to do so with TSI, but I don’t have the library 🙁

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