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?
Apostles’ Gate Church
Sisterhood of Void Exultation
Prismatic Temple of the Boundless Rainbow
Freedom Through Infinity
The Most Holy Abbey of the Kelvion-C54 Jumpgate
Peace Beyond All
Gorged Church of the End Times
What’s an identifying feature of their believers?
Constantly humming a low drone
Sacred geometry tattooed all over their faces
Vow of silence
Intricate robes and shawls, all in one specific color; nonbelievers on the jumpgate’s station are forbidden to wear clothes of the same color
Blindfolds and visors prevent them from gazing upon this unworthy realm
Ritual self-scarification leaves their skin a knotted, roiling mass of lumps
They smile, always, just a bit too widely
Reek of formaldehyde and soil
Brains uploaded into simple robotic bodies, leaving the prime self free for round-the-clock meditation
Speak to each other in a babbling, fractured conlang
What are their fringe beliefs apart from basic hyperspace worship?
It’s not enough just to go through hyperspace conscious, you’ve also got to be on psychedelics to get fully enlightened
Attempts to impose human rule over outer space (ie interplanetary governments) are sinful
Random civilians should be forcibly sent through hyperspace while conscious, to give them the gift of enlightenment
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
Hyperspace must be colonized
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
The strange phenomena that occur during a failed jump are clues as to the true nature of the universe, and should be studied extensively
The only way to go to heaven is to die ritualistically in hyperspace
Hyperspace IS heaven
Meditation is a perfectly fine replacement for a cryopod
What are their aesthetics like?
Gothic cathedrals, stained glass
Geometric mosaic tiling and gold everywhere
Spare and ascetic, translucent plastic and plain white walls
Ultra-primitive; high-level technology cleverly concealed in rough-hewn hallways and handwoven tapestries
Infinite mirrors (Yayoi Kusama-style) in every room
Too hardscrabble to scrape together an aesthetic- just industrial grit
Neoclassical; glowy crystals and Jack Kirby geometries proliferate
Neo-midcentury modern Tomorrowland raygun gothic
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?
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
The nonbelievers have unionized and they’ve got a list of demands a lightyear long
The usual cargo supply ships are all arriving empty, with their entire crews slaughtered and the ships running on autopilot
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)
Cult members are being killed off and the only suspects are also cultists
There’s a charismatic cultist attempting to start a splinter faction and engage the original cult in a holy war
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
All communications from the place their jumpgate leads to have ceased, following a single message: “THE ANDROIDS WON, BE VERY AFRAID”
Some cultists are trying to leave the group but they know valuable corporate secrets that could get everybody into big trouble if leaked
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?
The entire jumpgate station is segregated into believer and nonbeliever spaces
Plotting to overthrow the cult and seize control of the gate
Prisoners working for no pay as an alternative to life on an deadly irradiated prison world
Persuasive cultists have turned them into believers too, now they want full cultists status and benefits
All of them are androids… and they’re hiding the fact that they’re defective (or Cloudbank Infiltrators?)
Involved with organized crime (arms dealing? sycorax smuggling? identity laundering?)
Operate a popular interstellar casino on the jumpgate station
Hardened Marines and mercenaries; they won’t explain why this specific jumpgate needs the extra security
Apathetic and underpaid enough that the jumpgate frequently breaks down
Totally cheerful, polite and hardworking; secretly infected by an alien hive mind planning a hostile takeover
What does their jumpgate lead to?
Dense city-planet whose skyscrapers reach miles into the atmosphere
Lunar headquarters of an illegal salvage operation servicing a nearby derelict graveyard
Asteroid at the boundary of a black hole’s event horizon, used as a research site
Overworked, over-exploited farming colony responsible for growing most of the fresh produce in the sector
Maximum-security Interplanetary League prison
Active planetary warzone
Tropical lunar resort
Barely-explored, resource-rich planet with insanely dangerous wildlife
Military training basecamp surrounded by planetary mining facilities and geodome farms
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?
Digital library of obsolete media contains knowledge long thought to be lost
Top-secret Corporation laboratory that the cultists were blackmailed into defending
Safe house for embattled members of a brutal organized crime syndicate. The password is a few lines quoted from “Kubla Khan”
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
Massive, completely-clear hull panels, overlooking the vast field of space
Well-kept, often-used self-mortification chambers full of flagellants
Bustling nonbeliever bazaar stalls in the central hub where all your contraband can be discreetly passed off to creepy buyers
Makeshift shanty town housing refugees from a recent cataclysm
Choral hall whose acoustics cleverly ensure that the atonal song of the Voidnuns can be heard everywhere in the space station
Rickety space elevator to the celestial object below