Weird Chinese Cults

Secret Santicore 2011 is a massive, free role-playing supplement produced by the Old School Renaissance (OSR) movement finest. You may get it from here.

I really enjoy reading the contents of the book, and I often find myself thinking how I could adapt this or that to The Celestial Empire. Today I am presenting you my Chinese adaptation of Weird Cults by Brendan S.

Roll 10D10 and pray the Buddha that nothing too weird happens!

㊀ TABLE I: What do they worship?
  1. A foreign religion (see p39 of TCE)
  2. A demon lord (a mìngmó, see p117 of TCE)
  3. A forgotten deity from the ancient past
  4. Prince of animals (roll on the animal table)
  5. Chī Yóu
  6. Emperor Xīn of Shāng (aka Evil King Zhòu)
  7. The Dào
  8. The new prophet
  9. The overlord of a rival state
  10. An ancient machine
㊁ TABLE II: What is their identifier?
  1. Animal tattoo on their back (roll on the animal table)
  2. Fine silver ring, allowed to tarnish
  3. Ritual cross-hatch scars on upper arms
  4. Glass eye
  5. Secret kowtow
  6. Green blood
  7. Eyelid fold
  8. Sharp teeth (either sharpened or naturally sharp)
  9. Hairless
  10. Verbal prayers of thanks to the patron upon any success

㊂ TABLE III: What is their ultimate goal?
  1. Extinction, but they want to take as many others with them as possible
  2. Accumulate souls for their account in hell
  3. To take back the underworld — men belong underground, demons above
  4. Prepare the world for the ancient masters from the stars
  5. The Pill of Immortality; each cell has part of the recipe, they seek each other out
  6. Enlightenment through extreme experiences
  7. Reforesting the great waste known as civilisation
  8. Red is the sacred colour, as much of the world as possible must be in this hue
  9. Yellow is the sacred colour, as much of the world as possible must be in this hue
  10. The end of warfare (could be latter-day Mohists)

㊃ TABLE IV: Who is in charge?
  1. Mad charismatic crackpot
  2. Demon, corrupt Xiān, or Yāoguài in human guise
  3. Alchemist who found the recipe for the Pill of Immortality
  4. Swindler, bilking the credulous
  5. Swindler, bilking the credulous, unaware that his teachings are true
  6. A sentient yīn lóngmài (see p85 of TCE)
  7. A sentient yáng lóngmài (see p85 of TCE)
  8. Prince of animals (roll on the animal table)
  9. One of the PCs in a past life
  10. An animated icon (see p84 of TCE)

㊄ TABLE V: What is their taboo?
  1. Must not eat cereals
  2. Will not bow in front of authority
  3. If you meet their eyes, you will learn one of their secrets
  4. They must wash skin that sunlight touches
  5. Dead cultists must be buried in the cemetery of the leader's home village
  6. Must not start a fire
  7. Sexual abstinence
  8. Will eat nothing cooked
  9. Must not lie
  10. Must always have a clear mind; no intoxicants

㊅ TABLE VI: What is their secret power?
  1. Start and control fires — use the Flames of the Sun spell (see p131 of BRP) at half cost
  2. Corpses speak to cultists — use the Necromancy skill (see p63 of TCE)
  3. Discipline of the body — a random wǔshù power (see p66 of TCE)
  4. Preserve corpses indefinitely, à la Kim Jong-il
  5. None, though they believe they can summon demons
  6. Rust metal by touch
  7. Detect Truth at will (see p77 of TCE)
  8. Fertile — crops tended yield 2 to 3 times normal bounty
  9. Access to uncommon Battle Magic spells (see p76 of TCE)
  10. Wire fu! — use the Sorcerer's Leap spell (see p134 of BRP) at half cost
㊆ TABLE VII: What is their ritual garb?
  1. Saffron robes
  2. Bronze armour with ornate helm
  3. Official magistrates — they actually run the place!
  4. Crazy Daoist garb, à la Chinese Ghost Story (they believe they are puissant Daoist sorcerers)
  5. Finely scented loin cloth
  6. White tunic and sandals
  7. Masquerade masks
  8. Loose hair, no hat
  9. Aboriginal clothing
  10. Shape-shifters — vixen spirits or other, ritual 'garb' is their non-human form

㊇ TABLE VIII: What do their nameless rituals entail?
  1. Eating live animals (roll on the animal table)
  2. Recitation of apocryphal sūtra
  3. Silent meditation
  4. Ritual combat
  5. Human sacrifice
  6. Animal sacrifice (roll on the animal table)
  7. Burning the sacred texts of rival cults
  8. Riddles
  9. Summoning
  10. Believer suicides
㊈ TABLE IX: Where do they hold their nameless rituals?
  1. Theatre
  2. Sacred cave
  3. Sacred mountain top
  4. Ancient unearthed vessel
  5. Yámén — they run the place!
  6. Ancestral hall of a ritually slain clan
  7. Ancestral hall of the leader's clan
  8. A natural glade under an overcast sky
  9. By a yáng lóngmài to protect from hostile spirits
  10. A rival cult's holy place
㊉ TABLE X: How old is the sect?
  1. Just founded last week
  2. Since before the Shāng
  3. Was loosed on the world by something let out of an adventure by the PCs
  4. During the founding of the current dynasty
  5. The previous dynasty (cult is all that remains)
  6. Cult is a cyclical plague unleashed to punish decadent societies
  7. Originally founded by a mythical ancestor in ancient times
  8. Older than written history (all cult records are oral)
  9. It was born with the leader and will die with the leader
  10. Founded based on some past innocuous PC action

APPENDIX: Animal table
  1. Mantis
  2. Turtle
  3. Goat
  4. Wasp
  5. Ox
  6. Rat
  7. Worm
  8. Monkey
  9. Snake
  10. Centipede

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