Cult of Kali
goddesses who give life, Kali takes it. She feeds on death and must be
offered blood sacrifices. Her blackness represents the supreme night
which swallows all that exists.
Kali's terrifying appearance is the symbol of her endless power of destruction and her laughter an expression of absolute dominion over all that exists, mocking those who would escape. Her arms are the four directions of space identified with the complete cycle of time. Her sword is the power of destruction, the severed head she holds is the fate of all the living, and the garland of skulls shows the inseparableness of life and death. Kali as the power of time destroys all and embodies all fear. As she alone is beyond fear she can protect from fear those who invoke her. Thus she has a hand in the removing fear gesture. The pleasures and joys of the world are ephemeral, and true happiness exists only in that which is permanent. Only the power of time is permanent and can give happiness, so Kali gives bliss as symbolised by her giving hand which may offer a bowl of plenty.
By accepting the harsh truths that Kali represents, devotees are liberated from fear of them which people who deny or ignore them must suffer.
The Thugee cult was devoted to Kali, the goddess of death and destruction. For hundreds of years the Thugee cult practiced an organized campaign of assassinations. Strangulation was the preferred method of choice. Thugees claimed tens of thousands of victims over a 300 year span. They would worm themselves into the confidence of wayfarers and when a favourable opportunity occurred, strangle them by throwing a handkerchief or noose around their necks. They then plundered and buried them, All this was done according to a certain ancient and rigidly prescribed forms and after the performance of special religious rites, in which the consecration to the pickax and the sacrifice of sugar formed a prominent part. Though sporadic attempts were made to the extinction of the gangs it was not till Lord Bentinck (governor general of India 1833-35) took vigorous steps that the system was seriously attacked. Between 1831-37 the British hanged nearly 4000 Thugees and the cult was presumed eradicated.
They were sadly mistaken.
|When a novice
to the order has completed the required training and rituals of
initiation, he gains the powers and limitations of an Askar during the
ritual of passage. He can then use any of the powers and can perform
basic religious procedures within the temple. Continual use of the
powers of this cult will gradually but inexorably drive a follower
insane. The powers of terror require an already unstable mind to wield,
and each use of a particular spell may lead to a burnout. Such a burnout
victim requires a lengthy exposure to fearful experiences, usually at a
cult temple, before the power can be used again.
Priests gain their power directly from Kali and must appeal to her through prayer, ritual, and sacrifice in order to restore or increase his magical abilities. In exchange for this power, a priest must forge a blood pact with her that requires compensation in the form of physical disfigurement. The more evil power the Priest gains, the greater the physical price he must pay.
Kali worshippers are fanatical killers who spread death all over the world by murdering for the Cult. They advance it into the heart of society, efficiently eliminating any who speak out against them. They deviously believe that murder is their most sacred mission, a holy and meritorious enterprise under-taken in the service of their goddess. The cultís has allies in extremely high places from senators to monarchs who will do anything to protect it.
|Mamluk||1st level; Includes only Thugee apprentices or mundane worshippers. Most of Kali's allies in politics and corporations fall into this category.|
|Askar||2nd-3rd level; Anyone who has slain at least one victim in Kali's name graduates to this section. Insanities are at Difficult level.|
|Faris||4th-9th level; The unholy warriors. Most of Kali's assassins fall into this category. Insanities are at Severe level.|
|Kahin||10th-12th level; A true Kali priest and head of the local cult. They are always appointed by the regional Ghul. Insanities are at Extreme level.|
|Ghul||13th-14th level; Each of these Ghuls control all the cult branches in their country. They are selected by the Calif.|
|Calif||15th level; Head of the entire cult, specifically chosen by Kali. When Kali becomes displeased with the current Calif she sends dreams to the other Ghuls instructing them to murder him/her and chooses another for them. On rare occasions she may choose an outsider who is particularly evil and has agreed to do her bidding.|
|From second level on each follower must roll for one random insanity per level.|
|To all mortal
beings, death must eventually come. Representing all that is dark and
loathsome in humanoid nature, Kali draws her twisted power from the evil
aspects of other beings, and her loyal priests lust constantly for
darker and more unholy rituals to increase the destructive influence of
their god. Priests and followers of this evil religion are horribly
fascinated by every aspect of fear. Perhaps they worship this twisted
god because terror is all they have known in their lives, or they see
fear as a political tool to control the will of others. They may even
worship the god for reasons no sane mind could fathom. Whatever the
reason, all followers of the dread god are not quite in their right
minds, and continued practice of this taboo religion can be expected to
consume the sanity of all who hear this dark calling. The primary
aspects of Kali include fear, hatred, maiming, torment, strife, and
destruction. By custom, the priests use a jagged, blackened dagger to
perform all sacrifices to their god.
Religious gatherings take place in darkened temples, often located deep underground. Torches and large flaming pits provide the only illumination to these abominable services, and the ritual chants are accompanied by wildly gyrating dancers and the beating of large drums. The high priest leads the final, most unspeakably disgusting ritual, often culminating the services with some form of blood sacrifice. Innocent beings are preferred for these lengthy rituals, especially those of a good and pure nature.
A large number of slaves are used to maintain the labyrinth of chambers in the fortress, and they also serve as fodder for the sacrifice rituals. The Thugees frequently provide support and protection for the slave traders in the region. The temples are guarded by all manner of natural, unnatural, and man-made hazards and barriers, and scores of forsaken beasts.
1)Thugees are focused on Kali and display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.2)Thugees are preoccupied with bringing in new members, especially ones with great wealth and influence in the outside world. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.
3)Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punishable by death. Absolute devotion is required.
4)The high priests interpret Kali's word and dictate sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel.
5)Thugees are elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader/s and members.
6)Thugees have a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group. The group is not accountable to any authorities. Kali's will prevails.
Some of the sacrifices are kidnapped beforehand by the cultists, but most are chosen at random on the nights they are needed, cultists hunting them down and then dragging them back to their sanctuary to slaughter them. A few cults, considered somewhat heretical by the others, not only hunt their victims, but then slaughter them where they were caught and feast upon the corpse.
The Thugees had been content to ignore meta humans up until now as they were considered a recent phenomenon and bore further study. All their activities at this point had concentrated on sabotaging projects which cured disease and prolonged life. Often this involved using right wing religious fundamentalists who didn't realise who they really served.
However this all changed with the appearance of a new form of meta known as the Unfated. These were people who were able to escape their fated death and thereafter remain out of her reach. Such an affront to their mistress's will could not be allowed to continue...
With the aid of Kali and other dark powers, runic daggers were created which could be used to kill those who had become Unfated. As the cult began its war it realised the greater danger posed by all meta humans. These evolved humans often had powers which enhanced their natural longevity. Even worse they used their abilities to prevent the deaths of others or their superhuman intelligence to extend lives beyond the natural order...
All meta humans and so called heroic crusaders must now either be subverted or eliminated. They have also just become aware of another form of meta, the greatest insult to Kali yet.. Immortals..