Vornheiming Middenheim Part VI: Cults and Intrigue


Today we get to the stuff I'm most excited about: the Chaos Cult and Intrigue generators! These are the parts that are most original and least a reworking of other people's stuff.  Obviously I think the reworking has value too, or I wouldn't be doing it, but coming up with these got me fired up in a way working on district write-ups or adapting the Powers that Be did not.  

So, a few words on each of the generators.  First of all, I can't help the feeling that they're overly simplistic, but I think in practice the complexity will come from interactions.  That being said, even more so than the other things, these are a draft, and I'd appreciate any suggestions for changes or additions.

The intrigue generator essentially works as a mad libs.  If you don't already have a person or group in mind, you can randomly generate the players involved, or you can just roll the other columns and plug in the groups you want to find a relationship for.  The wants and beliefs are left fairly vague so they can fit a variety of different people and situations.  If an intrigue seems weak, either a) pick one you like better, b) roll again until something gets your motor going, or c) layer on other sources of complexity like generating specific NPCs, tying in the Powers that Be, pulling in a Chaos cult, or what have you.

The Chaos cult generator's format is inspired by Logan Knight's excellent NPC Birthing Sacs.  I've added the feature that you can roll 1d4 and get a "standard" cult by reading straight across, and each cult is assumed to have an enmity/rivalry with the next one down.  Which Chaos God is generated does a lot of the heavy lifting for the flavor of the cult, as the rest of the columns were made to generically fit any one of the Chaos gods.  I figure I'll never be as evocative as the Realms of Chaos books, so I won't try.  I feel like the "quirks" could be more interesting, but it was hard to come up with ideas that worked equally well for followers of every ruinous power.  After the break is the actual rules.

Intrigue Generator

Procedure
  • To find relationship between two people or groups, simply roll on column 2
  • To create a new basic intrigue, roll on columns 1, 2, and 3
  • To create an intermediate intrigue, add column 4
  • To create a complex intrigue, add column 5
  • For maximum complexity, add column 6
  • Repeat the process with already established groups or people in one or more columns in order to create a web of conflicting and interconnecting plots
  • If the same group or person comes up in multiple columns, attempt to interpret it in a way that makes sense, such as a smaller factions within a larger group, or complex internal psychology of an individual, but if it flat out does not work, re-roll
  • If using column 6, try to interpret the other columns in light of the district rumor to create a coherent whole
  • Finally, the headings can be used as an ad lib to be filled in any way you like: "(Person/Group) wants (a thing) from (Person/Group) because of a lack of (a thing) that they blame on (Person/Group) because they are secretly behind (a random rumor) in (a random district)."


BasicIntermediateComplexExtra Complex
Roll(Person/Group)Wants (thing)From (Person/Group)Because of a lack of (thing)That they blame on (person/group)Because they are secretly behind (a random rumor) in (random district)
1A random PowerSexA random NPCSafetyA random Chaos CultRoll district, roll rumor
2A random NPCMoneyA random PowerMarriageThe GrafRoll district, roll rumor
3A random Chaos CultConnectionsThe Law LordsProtectionThe Merchant GuildRoll district, roll rumor
4The GrafPowerThe Midden MarshallsIntimidationThe Law LordsRoll district, roll rumor
5The Merchant GuildMarriageThe Law LordsSubmissionThe Midden MarshallsRoll district, roll rumor
6The Law LordsSafetyThe Merchant GuildSexThe Cult of UlrichRoll district, roll rumor
7The Midden MarshallsIntimidationThe Cult of UlrichConnectionsThe Cult of SigmarRoll district, roll rumor
8The Cult of UlrichSubmissionThe Cult of SigmarPowerKomission for Commerce, Trade, and TaxationRoll district, roll rumor
9The Cult of SigmarProtectionKomission for Commerce, Trade, and TaxationMoneyThe Worshipful Guild of LegalistsRoll district, roll rumor
10Komission for Commerce, Trade, and TaxationViolenceThe Worshipful Guild of LegalistsCooperationThe Komission for Elven, Dwarven, and Halfling InterestsRoll district, roll rumor
11The Worshipful Guild of LegalistsCooperationThe Komission for Elven, Dwarven, and Halfling InterestsViolenceThe Komission for Health, Education, and WelfareRoll district, roll rumor
12The Komission for Elven, Dwarven, and Halfling InterestsAn objectThe Komission for Health, Education, and WelfarePolitical SupportThe Komission for Public WorksRoll district, roll rumor
13The Komission for Health, Education, and WelfarePolitical SupportThe Komission for Public WorksDiscretionA random Labor GuildRoll district, roll rumor
14The Komission for Public WorksDiscretionA random Labor GuildPublicityA random Craft GuildRoll district, roll rumor
15A random Labor GuildPublicityA random Craft GuildIndulgenceThe Wizard and Alchemists GuildRoll district, roll rumor
16A random Craft GuildIndulgenceThe Wizard and Alchemists GuildFavorsThe Physicians GuildRoll district, roll rumor
17The Wizard and Alchemists GuildFavorsThe Physicians GuildParticipationA random district Burgerlich KomissionRoll district, roll rumor
18The Physicians GuildParticipationA random district Burgerlich KomissionInfluenceA random companyRoll district, roll rumor
19A random district Burgerlich KomissionInfluenceA random companyApprovalA random PowerRoll district, roll rumor
20A random companyApprovalA random Chaos CultAn objectA random NPCRoll district, roll rumor

Chaos Cult Generator

Procedure
  • Step 1: Roll on the table
  • Step 2: Adapt the name as necessary (such as by adding "The Brotherhood of" or "The ____ Order" or the like) 
  • Step 3: Determine size of the cult by rolling 2d6, with 6's "exploding" (roll again and add on any 6's) to find the number of members
  • Step 4: Find at least one Chaos Cult to be an enemy or rival
  • For a quick cult, roll 1d4 and read straight across for step 1, and for step 4, use the next cult down in the table (wrapping around for Nurgle)
  • For a more involved cult, roll 1 each of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and a d20
  • Optional: For more involved goals, roll twice each for short and long term goals and use the first roll to determine the verb from and the other roll for the object
  • Optional: Plug the newly created cult into columns 1, 3, or 5 of the intrigue generator and create one or more plots for the cult to be involved in that may or may not relate to their short and long term goals
  • Optional: Use the NPC generator to create any members of the cult as they are needed

d4Chaos Godd6Adjectived8Nound10Short Term Goald12Long Term Goald20Quirk
1Tzeentch1Purple1Hand1Kidnap and sell into slavery new arrivals to the city1Gain control of the local government1Have a successful legitimate business as a front
2Khorne2Crimson2Blade2Assassinate government leader2Foment civil war2Unsubtle, methods of secrecy poorly followed
3Slaneesh3Jade3Sceptre3Lure and sacrifice through trickery children3Summon a demonic horde3Members more concerned with depraved rituals than actual power
4Nurgle4Fecund4Belly4Graverobbing the rich4Shut off the city from the rest of the empire4Members come from an unexpected social class or professional background
5Weeping5Sore5Cause the demonic possession of a military leader5Gain control of a powerful guild5Are actually worshipping a minor demon in service of the god they believe they are worshipping
6Golden6Eye6Pass contentious laws to drive out demi-humans6Destroy all other chaos cults6Most of the members are severely mutated
7Mask7Steal an important or valuable item7Increase the number of mutants in society7The leader is a powerful magic user
8Crown8Recruit someone important8Build an Empire-wide network of cults8Taking orders from a mysterious patron deep in the undercity
9Sabotage the city's defenses9Destroy the city9All members have prominent but easily concealed tattoo
10Take control of another cult10Discredit the church of Sigmar10Leader has a different long-term goal than the cult as a whole
11Open a portal to the realm of chaos11Posseses a powerful magical item
12Gather massive amounts of wealth12Operates within an otherwise innocuous secret society
13One of their members is an actual prophet
14Somehow subverts the expectations for followers of their god
15Actually more effective at organized crime than their religious goals
16Recruits members by addicting them to certain drugs
17Leader is a convert from another chaos cult
18Members believe themselves to be worshipping some benevolent, non-Chaos god
19Cult is made up entirely of one ethnic/cultural/geographic group
20Has a dangerous beast as a pet/guard