Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cult of the Ravenous - HMS APOLLYON

Not all of the HMS Apollyon's human residents live within Sterntown, though however oppressed its masses are they are arguably the luckiest of the vessel's fully human residents.  Only the stretched albino giants of the Black Gang supposedly live better deep in the hull amongst their forges, fortresses, furnaces, and soot stained temples to the blood quenched spirits of ash, ember and steel.  Of course it is hard to believe that they are human at all, as the Black Gang has dwelt without light or fresh air for so long that they have been changed, if not for the evil, then certainly for the strange.  Likewise the thralls of the Fishmen, while once human are now something very different.

Other people live within the hull however, small tribes of primitives, exiles, and inbred clans all eking out frightened existences hiding from the horrors of the hull.  It is no surprise that some of these groups seek the protection of otherworldly patrons, or that the they are far less picky about which patrons they will serve and how they serve them.  The worst of the cults that has recently come to some prominence, and may even represent a threat to Sterntown's expansion is the Cult Ravenous, worshipers of Yeenoghu Gnawer at the Root of the World.  No gnolls exist to praise Yeenoghu with butchery and gluttony aboard the Apollyon, so he aids his human followers with many boons.
Cult Ravenous Blessed One

The priests of the blood stained cult know the secrets of turning humans into terrible pack ghouls, the fate that awaits some of those who are captured by the expansive and aggressive cult. Most are devoured in horrible rites dedicated to the Gnoll deity where additional strength, nimbleness and ferocity are granted to Yeenoghu's chosen warriors.  These rituals also serve to summon giant monstrous hyena from the White Kingdom, the otherwordly domain ruled directly by Yeenoghu.  The Hyena serve the cult as war beasts, and are the equal of the most ferocious hounds Sterntown's pack masters breed, even those lines that contain traces of otherworldy blood.  When Yeenoghu's hyena's are slain, they still serve to increase the cult's power, as their flayed skins are grafted onto the cult's chosen warriors, already infused with evil power and protected by powerful scar wards.  These men give up the ability of speech and human appetites to become completely bestial, filled with fury and raw power.  

A small offshoot of the cult was recently destroyed just beyond Sterntown's Rust Gates, in the form of Sheriff Buck Naked and his gang, but the few survivors of the gang claim that they are were in league with larger and more powerful groups on the decks above and to the Starboard of Sterntown, who revere the Demon Lord of Gnolls in ways that frightened even Buck Nakeds evil cannibal bandits.

Sample Spells of the Ravenous

1. Mark of the Hungerer (Abjuration)
Level 1  Components: V,S,M  Range: Touch  Casting Time: 12 turns  Duration: 10 days
Saving Throw: None  Area of Effect: Creature touched

An horrible and lengthy ritual involving the scarification and marking of a (most often voluntary) creature with symbols of frenzy, blood lust and protection.  The protected individual will be covered with painted symbols in a thick, foul smelling paste that slowly dries into a set of rust colored protective wards.   The wards will provide the recipient of the ritual with a natural AC of 5 -1 per every three levels of the caster, to a minimum of AC 2.

Side effects of this potent ritual include, visions of Yeenoghu, desire to eat the flesh of sentients, increased sadism and the tendency to trigger detect evil spells.

2. Eye of Frenzy (Enchantment/Charm)
Level 1  Components: V,M  Range: 20'  Casting Time: 1 round  Duration: 1-4 turns
Saving Throw: Yes Area of Effect: 1+1 creature per level

The cultists of the Ravenous are capable of inspiring violent compulsions, both driving their own followers into a wild frenzy and forcing others over the edge into bloodlust fueled rage.  By means of this spell the caster may induce a wild frenzy of berserk violence in his targets. In combat, the caster catches the eye of one or more combatants and incites them to greater murderous violence, by forcing incantations and prayers to the hyena headed god of slaughter directly into the mind of the target(s).  If the target fails a Save vs. Spells she will give herself over to violent bestial rage and fight berserk and uncontrollable for 1-4 turns.

The effects of Yeenoghu's rage is to both increase the victim's combat effectiveness and eliminate any tactical sense or loyalty.  While under the influence of this spell the target will attack randomly with +1 to hit, +2 damage, an increased HD of temporary Hit Points, a -1 to AC, and always win initiative.  They will not however retreat, listen to any orders or refrain from attacking anything living within their view.  Worse, the berserker's bloodlust is so great that a berserker kill a target (they are 50% to switch to a new target every round as long as there are multiple living creates in range) there is a 50% that they will begin to eat their victim, insensible to anything around them until the spell wears off.  

When the duration of the spell is over the caster must also save vs. spells or be gripped by the same frenzy, tearing into anyone nearby and trying to eat them, as if under the effect of their own spell.

3. Summon Holy Devourer
Level 2 Components: V,S,M Range: Touch Casting Time: 4 turns Duration: Permenant
Saving Throw: None  Area of Effect: N/A

By use of this ritual the caster may summon x2 their own hit dice in beasts holy to Yeenoghu.  These creatures are most often hyenas (HD 2, ATK 1, DAM 1D6+1, AC 6) but more powerful hyena like monsters may also be summoned by more powerful cultists.  Beasts summoned, up to x2 the caster's hit dice, will be generally loyal and obediant to the caster as long as they are well feed on fresh meat or live prey. 

The ritual requires the sacrifice of a living sentient for every HD of beast summoned in some horrible and grisly manner, and every time this spell is cast the caster becomes more and more Gnoll like in appearence.


  1. I would Kickstart-back the shit out of an HMS Apollyon campaign box set. Just sayin'

    1. Nice to hear - I am hopeful that you'll get a chance to Print on Demand the hell outta one sometime. Part of why I am redesigning the play - may switch it to Whitebox or something.