Sunday, January 3, 2021

Jumpgate Hyperspace Cults

Jumpgate Hyperspace Cults, who you can read about here and here, are religious groups who worship hyperspace, and their highest-ranking members expose themselves to hyperspace travel fully conscious to achieve enlightenment (it also drives them insane and sometimes gives them limited psychic powers). They operate the jumpgates that make large-scale interstellar travel possible, they employ a lot of non-believers to run upkeep on the space stations that host the gates, and they’re in a constant power struggle with everyone else in the galaxy. Each gate is run by a different cult and there is no central authority; generally members of different cults will get along, but the rare conflicts are bloody and awful.

Using all these tables will quickly develop a unique cult- I’d recommend supplementing the space station with the tables from A Pound of Flesh. Although these cults are a major thing in my setting, you could drop a single, solitary cult into your own setting without much trouble.

Also, if you have Skerples’ Kidnap the Archpriest module, try reskinning it as a cultist space station with security androids, laser hallways, etc. I did, and my players really enjoyed it!

What’s this specific cult called?

  1. Apostles’ Gate Church

  2. Sisterhood of Void Exultation 

  3. The Lack

  4. Empty Communion

  5. Prismatic Temple of the Boundless Rainbow

  6. Freedom Through Infinity

  7. The Most Holy Abbey of the Kelvion-C54 Jumpgate

  8. Peace Beyond All

  9. Arcturus’ Saviors

  10. Gorged Church of the End Times

What’s an identifying feature of their believers?

  1. Constantly humming a low drone

  2. Sacred geometry tattooed all over their faces

  3. Vow of silence

  4. Intricate robes and shawls, all in one specific color; nonbelievers on the jumpgate’s station are forbidden to wear clothes of the same color

  5. Blindfolds and visors prevent them from gazing upon this unworthy realm

  6. Ritual self-scarification leaves their skin a knotted, roiling mass of lumps

  7. They smile, always, just a bit too widely

  8. Reek of formaldehyde and soil

  9. Brains uploaded into simple robotic bodies, leaving the prime self free for round-the-clock meditation

  10. Speak to each other in a babbling, fractured conlang

What are their fringe beliefs apart from basic hyperspace worship?

  1. It’s not enough just to go through hyperspace conscious, you’ve also got to be on psychedelics to get fully enlightened

  2. Attempts to impose human rule over outer space (ie interplanetary governments) are sinful

  3. Random civilians should be forcibly sent through hyperspace while conscious, to give them the gift of enlightenment

  4. An embodiment of pure evil that can only be fought and killed in hyperspace is going to destroy humanity unless we can destroy it first

  5. Hyperspace must be colonized

  6. Each time you jump through hyperspace you’re actually traveling to a branching parallel dimension with subtle differences; you can never return to the original

  7. The strange phenomena that occur during a failed jump are clues as to the true nature of the universe, and should be studied extensively

  8. The only way to go to heaven is to die ritualistically in hyperspace

  9. Hyperspace IS heaven

  10. Meditation is a perfectly fine replacement for a cryopod

What are their aesthetics like?

  1. Gothic cathedrals, stained glass

  2. Poured-concrete brutalism

  3. Geometric mosaic tiling and gold everywhere

  4. Spare and ascetic, translucent plastic and plain white walls

  5. Ultra-primitive; high-level technology cleverly concealed in rough-hewn hallways and handwoven tapestries

  6. Infinite mirrors (Yayoi Kusama-style) in every room

  7. Too hardscrabble to scrape together an aesthetic- just industrial grit

  8. Neoclassical; glowy crystals and Jack Kirby geometries proliferate

  9. Neo-midcentury modern Tomorrowland raygun gothic

  10. Art Nouveau revival, floral scrollwork on every surface, some of the ultra-organic looking mechanical stuff starts to look a bit less Alphonse Mucha and a bit more H.R. Giger

What problem will they hire spacers to solve?

  1. A ship recently docked to hand off some cargo that turned out to be a bloodthirsty alien organism- it escaped and it’s eating everybody

  2. The nonbelievers have unionized and they’ve got a list of demands a lightyear long

  3. The usual cargo supply ships are all arriving empty, with their entire crews slaughtered and the ships running on autopilot

  4. A hijacked prison transport ship docked here and the convicts escaped, blending in with the other nonbelievers and biding their time before their escape (after which they’ll be truly impossible to recapture)

  5. Cult members are being killed off and the only suspects are also cultists

  6. There’s a charismatic cultist attempting to start a splinter faction and engage the original cult in a holy war

  7. They need a ship outfitted with ultra-delicate sensors to make a dangerous hyperspace jump to settle a theological debate, and none of their ships are sturdy enough for the jump

  8. All communications from the place their jumpgate leads to have ceased, following a single message: “THE ANDROIDS WON, BE VERY AFRAID”

  9. Some cultists are trying to leave the group but they know valuable corporate secrets that could get everybody into big trouble if leaked

  10. Hyperspace has begun rejecting their ships- upon trying to jump, the jump drive just fizzles out

What’s the deal with the nonbelievers they employ?

  1. The entire jumpgate station is segregated into believer and nonbeliever spaces

  2. Plotting to overthrow the cult and seize control of the gate

  3. Prisoners working for no pay as an alternative to life on an deadly irradiated prison world 

  4. Persuasive cultists have turned them into believers too, now they want full cultists status and benefits

  5. All of them are androids… and they’re hiding the fact that they’re defective (or Cloudbank Infiltrators?)

  6. Involved with organized crime (arms dealing? sycorax smuggling? identity laundering?)

  7. Operate a popular interstellar casino on the jumpgate station

  8. Hardened Marines and mercenaries; they won’t explain why this specific jumpgate needs the extra security

  9. Apathetic and underpaid enough that the jumpgate frequently breaks down

  10. Totally cheerful, polite and hardworking; secretly infected by an alien hive mind planning a hostile takeover

What does their jumpgate lead to?

  1. Dense city-planet whose skyscrapers reach miles into the atmosphere

  2. Lunar headquarters of an illegal salvage operation servicing a nearby derelict graveyard

  3. Asteroid at the boundary of a black hole’s event horizon, used as a research site

  4. Overworked, over-exploited farming colony responsible for growing most of the fresh produce in the sector

  5. Maximum-security Interplanetary League prison

  6. Active planetary warzone

  7. Tropical lunar resort

  8. Barely-explored, resource-rich planet with insanely dangerous wildlife

  9. Military training basecamp surrounded by planetary mining facilities and geodome farms

  10. The Dead Planet- the jumpgate itself was sucked into its orbit and the cultists now worship the Gaunt

What else is on the jumpgate space station?

  1. Digital library of obsolete media contains knowledge long thought to be lost

  2. Top-secret Corporation laboratory that the cultists were blackmailed into defending

  3. Safe house for embattled members of a brutal organized crime syndicate. The password is a few lines quoted from “Kubla Khan”

  4. Magnificent aviary where real, live birds swoop and soar. Beautiful enough to bring a tear to the most grizzled spacer’s eye. The birds of prey feast on the bodies of the cult’s enemies

  5. Massive, completely-clear hull panels, overlooking the vast field of space

  6. Well-kept, often-used self-mortification chambers full of flagellants

  7. Bustling nonbeliever bazaar stalls in the central hub where all your contraband can be discreetly passed off to creepy buyers

  8. Makeshift shanty town housing refugees from a recent cataclysm

  9. Choral hall whose acoustics cleverly ensure that the atonal song of the Voidnuns can be heard everywhere in the space station

  10. Rickety space elevator to the celestial object below

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Jumpgate Hyperspace Cults

Jumpgate Hyperspace Cults, who you can read about here and here , are religious groups who worship hyperspace, and their highest-ranking m...