"My master is the Truth, the Way, and the Will!"

Given the vital role that religion plays in many societies and the number of people who venerate gods, cults could find wider acceptance in the general population. After all, cults honor a higher power, a greater good, or a treasured ideal.
    What sets a cult apart from other religious institutions is a fundamentally bad belief, a perception about the cosmos that is diametrically opposed to those held by right-thinking folk. A cult’s creed could be based on an extraordinary interpretation of a god (any god, even a good one) that compels certain sinister practices in their worship. Another cult might elevate a demon lord, monstrous alien, or dark power to divine status. Cults could be founded by devotees of beings that exist only in their minds. Such strange and deviant belief breeds dangerous behaviors and attracts the attention of forces that champion the good. As a result, most cults are driven underground.
    Cults spring up regularly the world over. Fear, uncertainty, and dissatisfaction foment offbeat beliefs and unwholesome ideas about how the world works and what the future holds. Cult leaders prey on doubts and superstition, drawing the disaffected and the despairing under their inf luence. One by one, adherents are brought under the cult’s sway, abandoning families and work to find the salvation promised by following the one true path.
    Few cults subscribe to peace and harmony. Such rewards must be earned, a task that is impossible to realize in the present state of affairs. Therefore, cults are subversive societies, working against governments and widespread faiths, all to attain whatever objective the cult was founded to achieve.

    Cultist Starting Feature (1st level): You gain the master's eye power.
    Cultist Level 5 Feature (5th level): While you are bloodied, you gain a +1 power bonus to Fortitude and Will.
    Cultist Level 10 Feature (10th level): You gain a +2 power bonus to Intimidate checks.
    In addition, during the first round of each encounter, enemies take a -2 penalty to attack rolls against you.

Cultist Attack Master's Eye

Your obsequious call draws attention to your deeds, risking your master’s ire if you fail.

Encounter        Shadow
Minor Action      Personal

Effect: If you make an attack this turn and hit with your first attack roll, the creature you hit takes 1d8 extra damage from that attack, and you gain 5 temporary hit points.
    If the attack roll misses, or if you do not attack this turn, you grant combat advantage and are deafened until the end of your next turn.
    Level 11: 10 temporary hit points.
    Level 21: 15 temporary hit points.

Cultist Utility 2Mad Confidence

Your master is with you. You cannot fail.

Daily        Shadow, Stance
Minor Action      Personal

Effect: You enter the mad confidence stance. Until the stance ends, you grant combat advantage and gain a +4 power bonus to damage rolls.

Cultist Utility 6Ritual Sacrifice

By offering your latest victim to the dark master, you are rewarded with a surge of power.

Daily        Healing, Shadow
Free Action      Personal

Trigger: You kill a nonminion creature.

Effect: Choose one of the following effects:
        You spend a healing surge.
        You gain a +1 power bonus to attack rolls until the end of the encounter.
        You gain a +5 power bonus to Arcana checks, Dungeoneering checks, Nature checks, and Religion checks until the start of your next extended rest.

Cultist Utility 10Reluctant Sacrifice

Shared pain transforms near failure into a resounding success.

Encounter        Shadow
No Action      Melee 1

Trigger: You make an attack roll and dislike the result.

Target: One ally

Effect: You and the target each take damage equal to your level. You then reroll the attack roll with a +2 power bonus and must use the second result.

Published in The Book of Vile Darkness, page(s) 1-11.