Cult of Baal-Peor

I've decided to make thirteen initiations for a Mystery Cult based around Baal-Peor, Lord of Gluttony and Filth, from RoPI. It's meant for a mixed cult of Magi and diabolists, so it offers a mix of maleficiae and hermetic virtues. I see the cult being structured in cells, each led by a powerful magus-hierophant. There should be one or two cells per tribunal, with each cell spread around several settlements but coming together for ceremonies a few times a year. They usually recruit from the wealthier mundanes. However, most of the magi involved are peripheral and poor by hermetic standards, or at least seems to be so to avoid attention.

Fellow Ars Magica players are free to use the cult wholesale or cherry-pick their favorite initiations, although that may take altering the Initiation Script.I assume a Pre + Cult Lore of 9.


Inscribed in the Ledgers of Hell

9 (Base) + 9 (Major Ordeal) + 1 (Sacrifice of wealth) + 1 (Sacrifice of one season) + 1 (Ritual appropriateness)

The Initiate gains either the Chthonic Magic or Greater Immunity from Disease Major Virtues, and the Oath of Fealty to Baal-Peor Major Flaw.

The initiate is brought to a dank cavern, a musty basement, or a similar place, where he swears to love and serve Baal-Peor, Lord of Gluttony and Filth. After a sordid celebration and forking over grubby lucre, the Initiate is handed over to the Master, who subjects him to a season of servile and abusive labor. It's said that at the end of the ceremony, Ball-Peor himself greedily writes his name in the ledger book of lost souls. He is now marked as Baal-Peor's property.


Dissolution in Pleasure

9 (Base) + 9 (Previous Ordeal) + 1(Sacrifice of wealth) + 1 (Sacrifice of one season) + 1 (Ritual appropriateness)

The Initiate gain the Debauchery Major Virtue.

The initiate spends two seasons and a significant amount of money pursuing and staging the most debauched of bacchanals, while shamelessly ignoring his societal duties. If he's a noble he sells land, if a merchant he invades his principle, if a priest he sells church ornaments and relics. Nothing can stand in the way of his appetite for hedonism. This likely results in a Reputation as a Shameless Ne'er-do-well.


Cain Devoured Abel

9 (Base) + 6 (Previous Ordeal) + 3 (Quest) + 3 (Sacrifice)

Grants the Malediction Greater Virtue

The Initiate must must develop a true human bond of friendship and affection with an individual chosen by the Mystagogue. This could entail befriending the person or obsessively stalking them, since it doesn't have to be mutual. Alternatively, the Mystagogue could pick a love one who's in serious trouble (perhaps engineered by the Mystagogue himself?) for the Initiate to rescue. Regardless, the initiate must then kill and devour the victim, lest he be devoured himself.


A Thousand Pains, A Thousand Pleasures

9 (Base) + 3 (Previous Ordeal) + 3 (Minor Ordeal) + 3 (Mystagogue's Season) + 1(Sacrifice of one season) + 1 (Sacrifice of wealth) + 1 (Appropriateness)

The Initiate gains the Consumption Major Virtue and the Witch Marks Minor Flaw.

The Mystagogue imprisons the the Initiate and inflicts terrible tortures on his body. Slowly, as the Mystagogue breaks and re-breaks bone, burns flesh, and cuts tendon, the Initiate begins to appreciate the supple malleability of the human body. At the end of the second season, if he hasn't died, he suddenly gasps in realization of the thousand beautiful forms his body can be twisted and ripped into.

The scars that are left over criss-cross into an obviously diabolical pattern. The Mystagogue is careful that these should be in places that can be hidden.


The Beauty in Decay

9 (Base) + 3 ( Previous Ordeal) + 3 (Mystagogue's season)

The Initiate gains the Unaging Minor Virtue, although it won't have any effect on his apparent age.

The Mystagogue spends a season taking his wide-eyed pupil to paupers' graveyards, ill-kept slaughterhouses, and primitive refuse piles. While there, he lectures on the majestic marvels of the carcass, the maggot, and the worm. By the end of the season, the Initiate has began to understand the sickly sweet beauty of rot.

More after I take a shower :wink:


My Church is Revulsion

9 (Base) + 2 (Previous Ordeal) + 3 (Minor Ordeal) + 1 (Appropriateness)

The Initiate gains the Aptitude for Sin (Shameful behavior) Minor Virtue and the Depraved Minor Personality Virtue. Actions count as shameful if they are publicly committed with no efforts to hide them and run contrary to the perceived societal role of the person committing the sin. Thus, a knight who runs away in battle would get the bonus, while one that secretly plots against his liege would not.

The Initiate spends the season in flagrant negligence of his societal role: he allows his family to go hungry, ignores his debts to his neighbors, and never even thinks about going to Mass (unless he's the priest, in which case he goes but drunkenly bungles it.) He also punctuates the season with public shameful behavior, like chasing after women or men, or beating people he's not supposed to. He should gain several experience points in his Shameless Ne'er-do-well Reputation. The lesson is truly learned when his village, his family, guild, diocese, covenant, etc takes action against him, probably in the form of public shaming.

Two quick observations.

First, I think selling one's soul should count for more than a "Vow of obedience". It's a big, big thing that should carry appropriately large rewards.

Second, if one is "associated with hell" (gained diabolic warping, has tainted V&Fs, made a diabolic pact - not necessarily selling one's soul etc.) one can learn Maleficia without requiring the corresponding Virtue, just like characters with True Faith can learn Divine Supernatural Abilities, characters with the Gift can learn Magical ones, and characters with the appropriate Faerie Sympathies can learn Faerie ones. Yes, the road to Hell is wide and open :slight_smile:

Of course, if you already have other supernatural abilities you'll be penalized (even other infernal ones count if they are not part of the set of supernatural abilities). This means that there may be something of a separation between magi, who essentially need initiations to overcome their learning penalty, and diabolists, who don't (as long as they stay "in tradition"). This should be kept in mind when designing a cult.