Continuing on from yesterday, probably the hardest thing to cut from Spoils of the Gorgon Coast were the randomizers for the Cult of Chalices; the horrible cult which exists to support the Inheritors in their quest for monstrous divinity. The Inheritors in the book ended up getting more focus, as the direct antagonists; but the Cult of Chalices are the intended bad guys to fight and contend with. In all honesty I should've freely published these earlier, I was sort of holding off on it because I put out an offer for anyone who reviewed the book online to receive free further content from me; but that never really took on. C'est la vie.
Having gotten to write a bit of the setting material for Best Left Buried: Deeper, the Cult of Chalices do appear in some mentions, as does the Gorgon Coast; but they are contained to broader Maignish territory ceded in the collapse of the Imperium. I actually enjoyed writing some non-Italian/Spain inspired items away from the monstrous attitudes of the Gorgon Coast; but it is my hope that some folk might run campaigns and use my work to tarnish, invade, and destroy that broader, more beautiful world.
As the state religion of the Coast, the Cult of Chalices influence much of the culture present in these modern days. All but the most outlying hamlet has at least one shrine dedicated to their bloodletting rites, all of storied history and some importance to the greater schemes of the faith. From the vaunted cathedrals of the city-state to the petty road shrine in the southern mountains, the influence of the Chalice is ever present.
[d10] Why is this site sacred to the Cult of Chalices?
- An ancient Chalice-Bearer was exsanguinated where this structure now stands.
- An Inheritor, first of their line, was birthed in this spot.
- A martyr of the Ordo Mourner-Stigmata died defending the Chalice faithful here.
- This was the site of an ancient purge against dissidents and heretics.
- A terrible monster was blooded here, bringing safety and prosperity to the land.
- The Basilisk was driven back from this site nearly a hundred years ago.
- A false Inheritor who denied the Chalice was tortured to death here.
- A mighty Chalice-Bearer who rose to the rank of Archon was born here, their afterbirth still stains the ground.
- The Ordo Parasitium purged the last of a strain of vile blood at this location.
- A wayward pilgrim's chalice was blessed by miraculous blood here, not emptying til all had their fill.
[d10] What else is of importance at this site?
- An ancient chalice is enshrined within, stained red with age and use.
- Xiphos swords from a more primitive age are held here in reliquary.
- A pacified monster, brutalized docile, serves here.
- Many ancient scrolls are held at this site, such is their importance.
- Hidden catacombs beneath the site hold blood of ancient servants.
- An adjacent wine cellar holds blessed sanguine from the days of imperial splendor.
- Enshrined within is a gilded scroll that Chalice-bearers make pilgrimage to read.
- A ritual room is attached, for rites of passage and fouler acts.
- The ceiling of the site is a detailed painting of the night sky, with astrological signs painted in red.
- Brass grotesques of agonized bulls and hateful men line the outside of the site.
[d10] Who is in attendance at this site?
- A group of silent mendicants ...
- A throng of scab-coated flagellants...
- A few dozen parishioners in their sanguine finest...
- A trio of Chalice Aspirants...
- A few candle-lighter boys...
- A cadre of peers from the Ordo of the Mourner Stigmata...
- A heretic and a legalist, both of the Dissident Choir...
- A dozen anemic blood letters...
- An exorcist and apprentice of the Ordo Parasitium...
- A red deacon and their congregation of the humble poor ...
[d10] What is it they are doing?
- ...holding sallow candles of ox-fat and singing the chant.
- ...polishing knives of elegant silver and hornwood.
- ...engaged in silent prayer, whispering over empty stone chalices.
- ...looking upon the splendorous displays of the faith.
- ...engaged in hushed talks of politics and war.
- ...contemplating the vintage of a phial of blessed blood.
- ...speaking the ills of the world and who is to blame.
- ...spilling crimson blood into a grotesque ritual basin.
- ...donning the Regalia Gorgoneia in preparation for a ritual.
- ...singing the chant of blood and truth, loud and wild.
[d10] Who is the Chalice-Bearer of this locale?
- A lesser sibling to the local Inheritor...
- A castrated Inheritor searching for purpose...
- A zealot who drinks too deeply of vile blood...
- A retired exorcist who holds the chalice for fear of demons...
- A boisterous chaplain of the Inheritor's army...
- An atavistic anchorite, blooded of the Dog-Men...
- An eel-throated chanter of the Dissident Choir...
- A flame-scarred theologian who fears the eschaton to come...
- An emaciated martyr, bedraggled by botflies...
- The flayed child of an Inheritor, destined by prophecy for the Blackened Throne...
[d10] What is it that makes them unique?
- ...they have fangs like a crocodile and the wild hair of a beast.
- ...they seek the offal of a basilisk to perform a sacrament of stone.
- ...their body is host to many parasites, slowly turning them to stone.
- ...their hands are clawed like a vulture and their voice is like the breaking of bones.
- ...a third eye upon their head bleeds with beatific stigmata, a mark of greatness.
- ...they wear a stone mask, grotesque; their inner truth made outward.
- ...they wear a raiment of crimson, dyed with the blood of a hundred "lesser beings."
- ...they clutch tightly an ancient Imperial blackware chalice.
- ...they deeply fear loss of influence in the coming war, that they will be usurped.
- ...they have begun to pen their grand works in virgin blood, binding a terrible spell to the page.
[d6] The Cult of Chalices perform many profane rituals. What is the catalyst of this one?
- Demands the sacrifice of wild bulls...
- Commands the drowning of a child in monstrous blood...
- Calls for the bedding of a virgin and a vile monster...
- Demands the consumption of ancient blood...
- Calls for slathering oneself in the ashes of charred royalty...
- Commands the consumption of a warrior's heart…
[d6] What will result from this ritual succeeding?
- ...it will produce an Inheritor of great value in the coming age.
- ...it will provide insight into dweomers that prevent the coming age.
- ...it will mantle the ritualist with monstrous mien.
- ...it will enkindle the soul with mastery of immolation.
- ...it will be the cause of calamity against hated foes.
- ...it will bid the Imperator's genus loci to inhabit a new Stone Herald.
[d10] In places of splendor, what treasure does the Cult of Chalices display?
- A grand tapestry, dyed in the sanguine blood of martyrs and monsters.
- A stained glass window depicting the Chalice casting a red glare on the world..
- Blessed candles rendered from the fat of fallen peers of the Ordo Mourner-Stigmata.
- An ancient chalice of clay, cracked with age and stained deep blackish red within its basin.
- An altar of simple stone with a deep basin so that all may drink from it heartily.
- A grotesque teapot of scowling monster faces, large enough to hold a beating heart.
- A set of small onyx statues depicting pilgrims carrying chalices.
- Resplendent painting of monsters and heretics drowning in a sea of boiling blood.
- A carpet, stained red and woven from the hair of the fallen faithful.
- A set of red-bound books concerning the nature of contagions and purification rites.