D&D 5e Background: Cult Member

I’ve started to write up some custom character backgrounds for DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 5th edition. Here is the first one, the cult member.

Cult Member

You are (or were) a member of a secret cult that is devoted, not to a deity, but to an agenda that would be seen as dangerous by the common public. You joined at an impressionable time in your life or were perhaps indoctrinated by birth or through a loved one. If not still a member, you have perhaps fled the cult now that you are no longer in alignment with the cult’s beliefs. The cult has a core agenda that its members are actively pursuing. Choose one from the list below.

Core Agenda

  1. Full devotion to the founder(s) and their idiosyncratic commandments
  2. To expedite or fulfill a particular doomsday prophecy
  3. Bring about the ascension of a revered mortal or planar being to godhood
  4. Periodically incite mass destruction to change the natural order
  5. Secretly infiltrate and manipulate powerful governments
  6. Install the group’s supreme leader as the head of a one-world government

Skill Proficiencies

History, Persuasion

Languages

Choose one Exotic; cult ceremonies and writings are in this language

Tool Proficiency

Poisoner’s Kit

Equipment

Book of Lore, Signet ring (bearing the mark of the cult), Ceremonial Robe, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp. 

Feature: One of Us

You know the secret phrases, gestures, and runes that will allow you to covertly greet and identify members of the cult. You know when and where private meetings of the group occur and can attend them if you so choose. Members of your cult are willing to hide and shelter you for weeks at a time. You can inquire about any recent achievements or setbacks the cult has experienced.

Personality Traits

  1. I always try to strengthen unity between all the members of my group
  2. I am very family-oriented and love big clans of people
  3. Unexpected results don’t bother me since I regard most events as pre-ordained
  4. The more hushed a conversation is, the more I try to listen in to it
  5. I am very careful about sharing my beliefs with others
  6. I am often seduced by charismatic people with strong beliefs

Ideal

  1. Conviction. Once you know the truth, you cannot live a lie (Lawful)
  2. Selectivity. One must be tested before being deemed worthy (Neutral)
  3. Purification. The weak and ignorant have no place in the new world order (Evil)
  4. Organization. No one can stop an aligned and committed group (Any)
  5. Sacrifice. There is a hard price to pay for the highest knowledge (Any)
  6. Zeal. The world only changes through explosive events (Chaotic)

Bond

  1. All my accomplishments must be in the service of the main agenda
  2. Those who seek to expose the cult must be stopped (or assisted) at any cost
  3. Cult members sacrificed something precious of mine that I would want back
  4. I seek the whereabouts/outcome of the cult’s highest leader
  5. I know where to find an artifact that is vital to the cult’s success
  6. Powerful members of the cult think that I am too dangerous

Flaw

  1. I’m not expressive of my emotions no matter how intensely I feel them
  2. I always suspect others of having ulterior motives
  3. I am not very careful with material possessions or money
  4. I’m elitist and find ways to exclude undesirables
  5. I rationalize away observations that do not align with my own beliefs
  6. I hate frivolous entertainment and pastimes, they are a waste of time
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