Sleeper Cult
Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos - Pathfinder
Tsathoggua is keenly interested in worshipers because he is always hungry for sacrifice. His cult follows the same natural cycle in almost every case (see below). All the stages of the cult may be present simultaneously on a world or continent, but in any one region or nation, only one stage manifests at a time.

At all times and at all stages, the primary function of the cult is to keep Tsathoggua fed so that he continues to reward his worshipers. Unlike other Mythos cultists, cultists of the Sleeper are often sane and rational, if callously so. Tsathoggua places no premium on madness or destruction for its own sake, and thus his cult can operate in an ordered society—at least for a while.

Sleeper Cult Beginnings

Initially, only a few unlucky individuals in any given region know about Tsathoggua. The Great Old One may make personal appearances or his formless spawn may contact likely individuals. These people begin worshiping Tsathoggua and start organizing services for fellow cultists. Tsathoggua’s cult at this early stage often seems more or less harmless. Only animals (dogs, cows, etc.) are sacrificed to their foul deity, and the obvious benefits of the cult make it seem attractive, at least to those of a low moral nature.

At this stage, the cult may be limited to a particular clan, race, or guild, but it always looks to expand. The cult is not an exclusionary organization and welcomes outsiders as adherents.

The Rise of the Sleeper Cult

Eventually, the Cult of the Sleeper becomes large and forms a proper church. At this point it is grouped into congregations, each of which has formal worship services, one or more temples, and an organized hierarchy with initiates, acolytes, and priests. These congregations work together as groups to capture and provide victims for the awakening of Tsathoggua. When possible, they attempt to bring their cult to a position of importance in their land.

At this stage, the cult is strong and bold enough to begin kidnapping humans and other intelligent victims to sacrifice to their god. The benefits they receive from this are obvious, even to outsiders, and the cult continues to grow. Typically, the cult still attempts to keep the sacrificial nature and true purpose of the religion at least somewhat hidden.

Downfall of the Sleeper Cult

Unless the cult is able to achieve a stranglehold on an entire nation, eventually its prominence leads to disaster. The vile practices, kidnappings, and murders of the cult, as well as its dealings with hideous formless spawn and other monsters (such as serpent folk), lead the forces of law and order to strike back and try to suppress the Sleeper.

Even if the Sleeper Cult does manage to gain support in high places (for example, by converting a nation’s king or vizier to its number), this can lead to a mass revolt against the horrors it perpetrates. The natural response to the Sleeper is a call for its official ban or even a pogrom against the cult. Sleeper worshippers go into hiding or engage in pitched battles with the authorities. Usually the Sleeper Cult is exposed before it has grown too powerful to be stopped, and thus it is eventually doomed to widespread destruction. But even then it is not gone.

The Sleeper in Secret

A few cultists almost always remain, often the most intelligent and potent. They carry on the lore and the legend of their god. Even if most of the cult dies out, one individuals sometimes find out about and choose to serve the Sleeper.

These few isolated cultists must function within an overall society in which worship of the Sleeper has been banned. But they still remember the purpose of their god—and, even in secret, kidnap people to provide victims for Tsathoggua.

The Sleeper Forgotten

Ultimately, the memory of the Sleeper Cult’s crimes fades into history and society as a whole forgets the danger the cult poses or even its name. The cycle begins anew with small bands of cultists, just as at first.

Sleeper Cult Gifts

  • Ancient Sorcery: Tsathoggua’s connections enable cultists to learn obscure or rare spells directly from him without the need of texts or magical research.
  • Cursed Slumber: A cultist can call upon the power of Tsathoggua to enter sleep without interruption for weeks, days, or months. During this time, the cultist needs no sustenance. This can be useful to hide for prolonged periods, which is particularly helpful during a time of suppression.
  • Energy Nexus: Tsathoggua’s powers of precognition will warn a cultist before something terrible happens, either personally or to the cult, often through an item such as a ring of Eibon or a spell such as divination, foresight, or temporal energy nexus.
  • Items and Lore: Church-based cultists always maintain a temple, which contains either a magic portal leading to Tsathoggua, or else a special statue through which the god can manifest. In return for their service, Tsathoggua, when he manifests, grants them knowledge of minor magic spells or limited-use magic items, including temporary versions of permanent items that last only until it is time to feed again.
  • Treasures: Cultists usually have access to clithni, gates, formless spawn, and rings of Eibon.

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