101+ Fun things and Advice "To Do and Not To Do" when creating a Successful Cult!


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


So I was in a Cult discussion in an other forum, and I thought it would be a good idea to start a 101+ Cult Ideas thread. Everyone please feel free to add your own advice/ideas!

1) Take Leadership or Thrallherd PrC at level 7-9ish, but generally as early as possible. The sooner you get a Cohort, the sooner you can get the ball rolling on expanding your Cult.

2) Keep your primary Cohort/Thrall working on furthering/growing your cult behind the scenes. Rather than making this guy into someone who would help you in combat, make this guy into a Skillmonkey instead, specifically Cha-based skills like Diplomacy/Intimidate/Bluff/Disguise, as well as Appraisal, Stealth, Knowledge (engineering, local, history, nobility, arcana), Sense Motive, and most importantly USE MAGIC DEVICE! These will all be handy skills for getting the most success out of your Cult, because you can use your Cohort as your own personal emissary. Figure out some way of communicating directly with your Cohort while you're out adventuring, and have him constantly working behind the scenes back at your Home Base and various Temples/Guilds that you send him to create for you. Make your top 3 followers after your Cohort similarly-- Cha-based skills focused, and have these guys kinda/sorta like deputy emissaries to do the mundane diplomacy stuff while your Cohort does the heavy lifting as needed. Also, the only time that YOU personally "need" to show up for Cult business is when your Cohort doesn't have the "umph" for a particular event/encounter.

3) Don't call it a Cult, and don't call it a religion either (unless you're specifically creating a religion). It's a Collective of Like-Minded Progressive Individuals working for a better future for all.

4) Spread your Cult far and wide-- absolutely everywhere you go. When you arrive at a new town/city, have 5-6 of your lowest level followers (and a CLERIC who heals people of afflictions for FREE) who come with you wherever YOU go, and as soon as they arrive they're distributing clothes, food, medical supplies, and commodities to the poor and powerless, all while preaching your ideals. You won't win them all, but you'll always get 1, and 1 is all you need to start a following/operation in any given town/city.

5) Make a passive income via your followers! Have them creating textiles, magic items, smithing armor/weapons, and every profession/craft under the sun and sell this stuff in major cities, while taking the profits and giving anything in excess GENEROUSLY to the poor and disenfranchised NPC's absolutely everywhere you go. Use this passive income to further your operations, and DON'T use it to outfit yourself with gear. For one, your GM and players will get frustrated with you showing up to combat with all kinds of new toys and "I win" buttons if you spend that money on yourself, and two, you're taking that income away from furthering your behind-the-scene goals. So, use this income to start Temples, Guilds, Charities, and anything you can possibly think of that will help further your Cult's goals.

6) Protect your Cohort, followers, and yourself with a "Seal Team 6" of 8-10 Assassin followers. These Assassins don't need to *win* per se, but they need to provide your followers, yourself, and your Cohort the ability to RUN if necessary. These assassins are essentially fodder, but assigning 8-12 of your followers as security detail for you and your 100ish followers can ensure less impact from DM shenanigans and chicanery on your behind the scenes efforts. There are penalties for allowing your followers to die, and you can greatly mitigate your losses to 1, 3, 4, or 10 deaths, instead of 15-100 deaths, when something bad happens. Split these 10ish assassins up into smaller groups to protect your efforts in various locations-- have 2-3 of them with you and your low level followers, and then have the other 7-8 assassins guard your other operations.

7) BUILD an Empire! Make a small team of your followers into Engineers and Architects. Build Temples, Guild Halls, Bridges, Towns, whatever your Cult needs.

8) Keep exceptional bookkeeping and records of everything your followers are doing. Start an Excel file or a Binder with all your Followers' information and character sheets in it-- you can make individual character sheets for each one of your followers. Make a list of goals for your Cult, itemize who is working on what projects, and check them off when they're complete.

9) Have "out-of-session"-sessions with your DM. Come up with a way to meet with your DM for wings and beer, or for coffee, on a semi-regular basis-- once every 3-6 weeks should suffice. Everything you do is going to come down to DM approval, and you don't want to bog down your in-game sessions with all your Cult's machinations and projects. Some of your cult stuff will come up multiple times in every session, but these should be as brief as possible and mainly only to show the other PC's what your cult is doing on the surface. Have the bulk of your Cult's work done out-of-session.

10) Take a page out of Alec Baldwin's book in Glengarry Glen Ross! Remember your ABC's! Always Be Culting!


If you want a way to grow your numbers relatively easily, have your Cohort be an Instructor Wizard... and have their apprentice be an Instructor Wizard. Lol. You can probably guess what to make the apprentice of the apprentice... you guessed it, another Instructor Wizard!!!

This is generally how I grow my numbers of Necromancers. So many Necromancer Instructor Wizards with so many Necromancer Instructor Wizard apprentices...

There is also the Cult Master Mesmerist, who could have anothet Cult Master Mesmerist as their Cohort... who could have another Cult Master Mesmerist as their Cohort... who could... yeah, you get the point.

But, if I was going to take Leadership for a Cohort to spread my ideals and gather likeminded people... I would probably have a Cult Master Mesmerist. And their Cohort would be a Necromancer Instructor Wizard. Lol.

Every cult needs a Necromancer. But you already knew that.


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12. Play in a game where the GM is going to be a willing participant in the growth of a cult.

13. Play in a game where the other players either don't care or don't know what's going on around them.


14. BE USEFUL!!! (An addition/follow-up to #7)...

"Remember this... we're everyone you depend on. We're the people who do your laundry and cook your food and serve your dinner. We make your bed. We guard you while you're asleep. We drive the ambulances. We direct your call. We are cooks and taxi drivers and we know everything about you. We process your insurance claims and credit card charges. We control every part of your life..." (Fight Club)

In a small town, an Alchemist can make all the difference. Open a shop, take their money, earn their trust whilst taking their money.

Engineers and hunters/Rangers and smart use of Adept NPC's.

Have YOUR people own the dirty work that nobody else wants to do, and everyone will depend on you.


15. Don't get greedy...

Influence and power will come in due time. Don't rush trying to implant your people into positions of power.

In fact, I would outright avoid it, if possible, until your numbers were strong enough to guarantee compliance with said ruler's rulings. Ursurping a Mayor or Captain of the Guard position right out the gate draws unnecessary attention. However, a bunch of townspeople being pissed off about the way things are right meow, will generally work in your favor...

It is way easier to take over the tavern, the shop, the local building/engineering crew, hunting and gathering for the community, finding new and industrious ways to reuse and remove the waste of society, building walls/towers for protection, supplying the walls/towers with guards to protect people... these are chores that NPC classes can do, and NPC followers are cheap.

Start small, build a foundation for something big. If you build it, they will come...


16. Invest in schools and orphanages before churches.

17. Always own or befriend the local Necromancer.

18. Always own or befriend the local rogue/thieve's guild/fencing agency. Control the black market and have an ear to the underground.

19. Own the narrative... my suggestion, make at least one Cohort into a Charlatan-Guild Agent Rogue multiclassed into Brazen Deceiver Bard... your lies become everyone else's truths...


20. Become friends with a Hag!!!

21. If you haven't done it yet, become friends with a Hag.

22. Every good cult deserves a Coven.


23. Buy your DM food/snacks, otherwise this cult business is going to get you politely invited to leave.

24. Every time you have the opportunity to take over... don't. It's a trap by the DM to send Inquisitors and Paladins after you. Instead, play the long game... it will make your DM pull out their freaking hair. Lol.


Fun side note...
In my Kimgmaker campaign, one of the players worshipped Milani... asked if some of the random people who add to the population could be a small caravan of fellow worshipers... it was trap, apparently.

He asked for an engineer to help build a bridge, and crafter...

He became King, almost by dedault, his little caravan proved to be very helpful... everyone loved the bridge... the party had a crafter...

It was clever, and it worked... he wasn't even trying to start a cult, and he wasn't even actually trying to be King... it was "just part of his back story"...

He gave up the throne to a different player, started an elite group of moral assassins to guard the kingdom from within, even if it means guarding the kingdom from the king...


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25. Read the Evil Overlord list. Take onboard the advice and don't make excuses.


VoodistMonk wrote:
...even if it means guarding the kingdom from the king...

There is nothing more frightening than a group of true believers who decide that the kingdom has to be 'saved'!


26. Diversify your portfolio...

Don't be blinded by unreasonable ignorance. Take in followers from different faiths, races, and backgrounds.

You need the numbers. And you do not want your followers easily identified or singled out in the general population.


VoodistMonk wrote:


22. Every good cult deserves a Coven.

You have a lot of good advice VM, but I think I like this one the best :D


Ryze Kuja wrote:
VoodistMonk wrote:


22. Every good cult deserves a Coven.

You have a lot of good advice VM, but I think I like this one the best :D

I am pretty sure one of the easiest ways for PC's access to a legit Coven is through a 12th level Dark Sister Witch.

Said Witch can summon her own Night Hag 1/week... 2/week @ 15, 3/week @ 18... and she can, obviously, take the Coven Hex.

I don't know how many hags will give you the time of day too much earlier than that, outside of GM approved plot device.

I know Accursed Sorcerers can join a Coven, but it still needs a real Hag. There is a metal collar, and a couple other ways in... but to my knowledge, they all still need a real Hag present.


Yeah, all Covens need a hag-- there is the necklace thing (I can't remember the name of it) that allows you to qualify for a Hag though. This is oftentimes the best route to go, because Hags are demanding and evil as crap, and it can be bothersome to be beholden to someone like that.


Cults are weak and powerless without the Perfection that is Undeath, all shall fall before the Might of the Swarm.


UD Sentient Squirrel Swarm wrote:
Cults are weak and powerless without the Perfection that is Undeath, all shall fall before the Might of the Swarm.

Of the dozen of Agent of the Grave necromancers I have drawn up, over half have the Coven Hex, or some other way to partake in Coven Casting... unless I am missing something, that Aid Another CL trick will increase the HD capacity you can control/create...

So Cults/Covens actually contribute to the Perfection that is Undeath, and Might of the Swarm...


VoodistMonk wrote:
UD Sentient Squirrel Swarm wrote:
Cults are weak and powerless without the Perfection that is Undeath, all shall fall before the Might of the Swarm.

Of the dozen of Agent of the Grave necromancers I have drawn up, over half have the Coven Hex, or some other way to partake in Coven Casting... unless I am missing something, that Aid Another CL trick will increase the HD capacity you can control/create...

So Cults/Covens actually contribute to the Perfection that is Undeath, and Might of the Swarm...

We find these terms to be.... agreeable.

The Perfection of Undeath demands such devotion. Go forth, spread.... and create your Covens for the Might of the Swarm.

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