I believe the submission is miss filed, I think this a plot not a system. While it contains the fundamental description of a system it is primarily a plot or mini-campaign. This taxonomic view does not effect my opinion of the submission nor, I believe, the submission's relevance to the quest. I think this is a well organized and well written story presented as a bare bones DnD style module.
I believe in this plot their are several layers of conflict. The direct conflict between the NPCs and the PCs is one layer of conflict. The conflict between the cult and society in general is another layer. And the conflict between the ideology of the cult and ideology of the established church is yet another layer. I believe this final layer is under developed. I accept that there is good argument that most theological dispute are held in proxy for other more deeply rooted economic or social disputes. I could also accept that religious disputes are essentially an us versus them dispute and theological trappings are unimportant and interchangeable. Thus as the plot goes these specifics are not important to its progression. However, I assume that this post was written in part with the goal of exploring the theology of the cult. I think the treatment of the cult and its values in the current write up is shallow and this diminishes the evil cult to a gimmick; essentially the campaign comes to down to "wouldn't it be fun or novel to play an evil party." I see the underdevelopment of cult in two sections of this write up: first the amount of literal and explicit information in this write regarding the cult and the conflict between the gods is sparse and underdeveloped. Secondly, the amount of time and energy dedicated to this specific conflict of ideas and world views in the events and actions outlined in plot is negligible.
With regard to the lack of literal and explicit information given to the cult in this write up this begins in section one with the recruitment of the anti-Heros in the sample seen. The "recruiting officer" states that the character have checked the right boxes with their violent and ruthless tactics but does not express the moral or ethical underpinnings of her beliefs . Just because the characters are "evil" does it mean they are shallow? Then again in the write up of the god, SE states that there is conflict between the gods of civilization and the gods of chaos, and even a debate, but does not outline that debate. However some are things are described very precisely, we have a few specifics with regard to proper names and event, but only a vague outline of the theological underpinnings that lead to those events.
However, this terse write up would not be as large a problem if the characters were given an opportunity themselves to have this debate, to develop the theology and explore the values of their chaotic animalistic side versus the values of the structured and dignified side of society. The characters are at one pointed ask to recruit new people to their cult, fairly late in the progression of the story, however as the story is written the major points made by the character's relationship to the cult is improved stats, wealth and magical weapons. There should be a point in the plot in which the players have to defend their beliefs with more than a sword and a spell. I believe that developing the theology of the cult and forcing the players express some understanding of this theology and defend will increase the player involvement in the game, the level of immersion and ultimately the game's significance and enjoyment.Go to Comment
We need a "save the cultist" movement. For too long have the forces of good and right trampled upon the simple, hardworking, and downtrodden cultist; those whose only collective desire is to unleash world-destroying demonic forces. Is that really so worthy of being harried in their homes and put to the sword in their places of worship? Have we no tolerance?
Ok, seriously, this is one of those great ideas that seems like it should have been completely obvious, yet has never occurred to me before. Great work on this. 5/5