Heretical Cult Creation Tables

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This is a set of tables intended to create your very own band, secret society, or cult of heretics to the Imperial Creed. Taken from a similar mold as those from the Deathwatch Rites of Battle and the generators inspired by them, these tables are taken directly from the Dark Heresy Second Edition supplement Enemies Within. Note that a few tables will be expanded slightly to make the resultant cults a thing which all three Ordos could conceivably deal with.

Just like the Imperial Creation Tables, these are an instrument for deepening fluff and adding yet more things to the systems and sectors you may create, to give you foes (or alternatively friends) to spice and flavor your campaigns. All that's changed is their allegiance. Through 8chan, with zeal, we bring this to you. Welcome to the true faith, brother.

Origins of the Cult[edit]

Cults of Society (1d20) Background
1-2 Desperate Underclass: Although the Imperium’s ponderous bureaucracy is the only institution vast and powerful enough to keep humanity alive in these dark times, it does so at a terrible cost. Innumerable cults have risen from those ground between the gears of empire, seeking only to better their own admittedly miserable lot. While pitiable, their actions invariably threaten the lives of many millions more.
3-4 Decadent Nobles: The elite of the Imperium are required to earn their position through meritorious service and self-sacrifice, rather than simply bask in the luxuries accumulated through an inherited position. In actuality, though, many Imperial holdings are plagued with idle nobility with few occupations other than amusing themselves. From this wellspring of casual indolence, heresy almost inevitably follows.
5-6 Warrior Brotherhood: Military strength is prized by the Imperium like few other virtues. It is this strength, and the will to wield it, that is valued above almost all else in protecting the holdings of Mankind. Those entrusted with this task sometimes let their heady burden take control of them, and devote their lives to war as a craft, hobby, or even religion, rather than a duty. Such cults can arise within militant forces such as the Adeptus Arbites or planetary Enforces as easily as the Imperial Guard or Navy.
7 Worker's Collective: Open organizations of laborers rarely survive for long in the Imperium, as the Adeptus Administratum does not tolerate any potential threat to production for its tithes. As such, fledgling labour groups are forced to rely on more secretive methods to survive. As they scheme and maneuver for their cause in the shadows where they dwell, they become as much a threat to the structures of the Imperium as any malefic coven.
8 Primal Devotees: These cults form around an aspect of their surroundings or environment. This might be such elemental aspects as the burning flame, life-sustaining water, an essential native vegetation, the primordial darkness, or even the unending depths of space.
9 Trade Compact: Commerce in the Imperium is heavily regulated, ensuring it works to the benefit of the Adeptus Administratum’s tithes and quotas, rather than in competition with them. From underhive market stalls to the immense starships of Chartist Captains, the traffic of goods is carefully monitored. Some merchants chafe at these restrictions, and conspire with their fellows to orchestrate greater profits at the expense of others.
10 Errant Adeptus: The Imperial Adeptus are as vast and labyrinthine a collection of organizations as it is possible to be. Disagreements and quarrels between the different branches are regular occurrences, and considered part of the intrinsic grinding of the Imperium’s colossal gears. In such an environment, illicit elements occasionally arise from one faction or another. Nevertheless, a rogue group within the Adeptus is one of the gravest threats Acolytes might face, as the Adeptus are the only group capable of mobilizing a response to a perceived threat on the same scale as an Inquisitor.
11 Rogue Trader Gone Too Far: The Warrant of Trade gives Rogue Traders license to engage in a lot of activity that would be considered heretical in most circumstances but there is a point where this goes too far. Through the interest of monetary wealth, hidden knowledge, xenos manipulation or chaos corruption, the Rogue Trader has delved into heresy and must be removed.
12 Hereditary Laborers: Noble lines can have the pedigree of millennia, and so can the families which serve them. What the noble may or may not be aware of is that treachery can simmer in a servile soul.
13-14 Clergy: Whether fallen ministorum priest, an enginseer, or primitive shaman, the origins of this cult can be traced to someone of religious authority worshiping foul creatures.
15-18 Cross-class (roll twice, combine results)
19 Sin of the Founders:The forefathers of the region themselves planted the first seeds of heresy. The taint is deep, and purging it may destroy the region in which it grew.
20 Sector Command: Sometimes, even the highest echelons of the Imperium become heretical. These cults are some of the most dangerous due to the vast resources they can bring to bear.

Cults of Idea (1d20) Background
1 Freethinker's Enclave: The Imperium is too vast and ponderous to truly possess a unified culture, but local planets usually have their own traditions and rigid thought. Where groups grow dissatisfied with their hidebound way of life, a cult devoted to questioning and seeking truth can arise. It is neither seemly nor safe for the common citizens of the Imperium to be concerned with such matters, and these freethinkers can cause mass panics by pulling down the comforting veil of ignorance that protects their fellows.
2-3 Pleasure Cult: The pursuit of pleasure, whether through partaking of exotic stimulants, the mingling of flesh, or gorging on epicurean delicacies, is a common focus for many cults. Although simple hedonism may seem to be a minor threat at first glance, those willing to place personal indulgence above the Imperium can be surprisingly dangerous if they see their delights threatened.
4-5 Secessionist Conspiracy: The Imperium provides protection in exchange for massive tithes and harsh laws. Occasionally, some grow weary of this bargain, deciding that they would be better off beyond Imperial rule. Whether they seek to openly throw off the yoke of the Emperor or to withhold resources for their own use, they endanger not only the lives of those who depend upon them, but their own worlds should they succeed in pulling free of the Imperial aegis.
6 Progressive Plot: The golden age of Mankind has come and gone. The wisdom of the past can be found with care and caution, but some are reckless enough to believe in seeking new answers instead. Cults of progress may lack reverence for old knowledge, or they may believe themselves up to the task of recreating it from first principles. In their pursuit of new and arcane secrets, they echo the hubris of the Dark Age of Technology, and may bring down ruin to match.
7 Inhuman Ideals: It is acknowledged by the Ecclesiarchy and the Priests of Mars alike that humans are the pinnacle of life in the galaxy. In form, mind, and spirit, they are beyond the deviant xenos and twisted mutant. However, there are those who reject this truth, pursuing some perceived alternative to the natural perfection of humanity. There exist cults revering mutation, unhallowed cyber-augmentation, or even xenos assimilation as a form of apotheosis.
8-9 Forbidden Worship: The Emperor of Mankind is the only god acknowledged in the Imperial Creed. All others are seen as primitive deviancy at best, and Daemons or echoes of the Warp at worst. On some planets, proscribed rites still thrive, and ancient powers or xenos races are worshiped in the Emperor’s place.
10 Sorcerous Cabal: The most immutable law of the Imperium states that all psykers must submit to the Adeptus Astra Telepathica and the Black Ships, to be judged and used for the benefit of Mankind. Those who flout the ban, whether natural wyrds or sorcerers dabbling in forbidden lore, are among the greatest threats a world can harbor. When they gather in numbers, for mutual protection or to seek power, they are truly a menace to be feared.
11-12 Apocalypse Cult: This nihilistic group sees everything around them as a blight and wishes to destroy it. It would be an accurate assumption that every member of the cult isn't in command of their full mental faculties for some reason, ranging from chaos taint, mind-control or even mundane mental-illness.
13-14 Zealotry in Misplaced Idols: The cult believes in all sincerity that it worships the Emperor, Omnissiah. or one of their many saints. In truth, their prayers go to something unholy.
15-16 The Most Dangerous Game: This is a cult revolving around the thrill of the hunt. Beast, man, or xenos, all prey is fair game so long as it gives a challenge. These can range from rural hunting lodges to hive nobles treating the underhive as a game preserve.
17-18 Seekers of Immortality: The main goal of this cult is the pursuit of immortality, a goal that few have attained. This cult or its upper echelons seek to become one of those few.
19-20 Blessed Is The Land: The cult considers the land it lives on to be blessed in some way and to be revered.

Leaders of the Cult[edit]

Cult Leadership Type (1D100)
1-35 Central Figure: A single important individual holds leadership of the cult.
36-50 Council of Inner Mysteries: The cult is ruled by a group of a decent size. This group may all work together towards a common goal or more likely, constantly plagued with in-fighting and backstabbing.
51-55 Diumvirate/Triumvirate: The cult has two or three main leaders. Sometimes they work in harmony and sometimes they are in conflict with each other.
56-70 Strict Military Hierarchy: The cult bases its structure on an imitation of the Imperium's military ranking systems.
71-80 Religious Figurehead, Secular Commander of the Faithful: The cult leader is either a messianic figure or a philosopher king of some sort; in this situation, they will usually have a powerful second-in-command who carries out most of the cult's temporal workings.
81-90 None: Cell Structure: The cult is heavily decentralized with no person or persons who singly lead the cult. Having so many heads to cut off makes precision elimination a long and tedious affair.
91-95 Hive Mind: The members of the cult have linked their minds together into a singular collective being. All actions taken are as like a body moving its limbs.
96-100 Esoteric: The leadership structure of this cult is odd.

The Cult Leadership (1d20) Nature
1-2 Demagogue: The cult is held together by the personal magnetism of a central figure. He may be a particularly driven madman or a charming orator, but in either case, it is his words that hold his power.
3 Thug: The cult’s leader is a simple, brutish figure whose tactics are often simple but effective. Such cults rarely last long or grow to great size, but each can be a dangerous threat nevertheless.
4 Military Figure: Some figure with experience in one of the Imperium’s military organizations, from a local warlord to an officer of the Adeptus Arbites or Imperial Guard, heads the cult. A leader of this sort is most common among cults with ties to war or violence, but his force of personality and unflappable nerve made him capable of commanding anywhere.
5 Noble: A scion of one of the Imperium’s noble bloodlines has taken charge of the cult. Raised from birth to accept leadership, an Imperial noble often has a commanding air that serves him well in such a role.
6 Religious Authority: The direst sort of heresy follows the cult’s leader, who is initiated in the mysteries of one of the central religious groups of the Imperium. Whether his knowledge of spiritual matters originated from the Ecclesiarchy or the Red Priesthood of Mars, he now perverts his gifts to twist the minds of his followers with deviant philosophies.
7 Imperial Official: The cult’s influence is extended greatly by their leader, who holds a position within the Imperial Adeptus. He may be a powerful and influential Adept, or a minor functionary with great ambition, but his place at the heart of power makes him dangerous in either case.
8 Mutant: A monstrous taint marks the leader of the cult, twisting his flesh into something inhuman. He may conceal his deformity or use it as a sign of his supposed greatness, but his position outside the human race shapes his perspective more than anything else.
9 Psyker: Whether an unnaturally-born wyrd or a scholar in the profane arts of sorcery, the cult’s leader is able to maintain his position through his psychic prowess. Operating without the safeguards offered to sanctioned psykers, he is a terrible threat to all around him even when he does not use his power.
10 Multifaceted (roll again twice)
11-13 Xenos: (if part of 'Multifaceted,' the more mundane nature is a guise) The cult is lead by a xenos of some sort. The most common type are the tyranid genestealer cults but it can also be led by creatures such as the foul slaugth, manipulative eldar, megalomaniac necrons or tau spies.
14-18 Daemon: (same as above, but include 'Xenos' as a possible mundane guise) The cult is led by a daemonic entity, usually tied to one of the chaos gods.
19-20 Something Else: (same as above) Whatever the leadership is, it is neither human-derived, xenos, nor daemonic, but a rare (and often unique) other. Known examples have included Abominable Intelligences (from the Dark Age of Technology or newer) and cosmic phenomena. The Inquisition is liable to label the entity itself as an Obscuro-type threat.

Leadership Style (1d10)
1 Figurehead: The cult’s apparent leader is actually a stand-in for another, hidden figure operating behind the scenes. Generate this secret mastermind separately.
2 Hands-on: Even the lowliest dregs of the cult are familiar with their leader, who personally involves himself in every aspect of its operation.
3 Dark Camaraderie: However vile their heresy, the cult masters have earned their flock's respect. Even more shocking, this respect appears mutual. Commands are given more like requests to brothers-in-arms, punishments are mostly nonlethal, and losses are mourned genuinely.
4 Charisma: Through force of personality or sheer charm, the cult leader is universally revered by his followers. His influence is felt even when he is physically absent.
5 Force of Arms: Using his own personal strength or even psychic powers, the leader rules all around him with displays of brute force and physical intimidation.
6 Dread Aura: The cult leader uses terror to control his minions, all of whom fear his wrath above any other threat.
7-8 Shadowy: Little is known of the cult’s leader, who surrounds himself in a shroud of mystique. He avoids appearing in person whenever possible, and hides what he can about his nature even from his lieutenants.
9 Puppetmaster: The cult leader favors elaborate schemes of manipulation, sending chosen pawns to act in his name for inscrutable ends. Some are elevated to the upper ranks of the cult, while others are reviled for failure, but the true meaning of his actions is always reserved to the leader alone.
10 Direct Control: The cult leader uses mind control to keep his followers under command. This can be either psychic or technological in nature.

Equipment and Identifiers of the Cult[edit]

Roll 1D6 for each to see how many results the Cult receives, then reroll the required die for the number of options given.

Armaments and Defenses (1d20)
1-2 Plentiful Ammunition: The cult favors solid projectile weapons, grenades, and other armaments that rely upon easy access to large stores of ammunition.
3 Intricate Craftsmanship: Items possessed by cultists, whether utilitarian gear, deadly weapons, or ritual implements, tend to be finely made and ornate.
4-5 Brutal Weaponry: When forced to action, the cult uses simple, direct weaponry. Heavy axes, huge mauls, and similar weapons are common. More advanced armaments follow similar trends, with chainswords, autoguns, and bolt weapons being preferred when accessible.
6-7 Fortified Protection: It is particularly hard to put down these cultist forces, thanks to their tendency towards extensive protections. Military-grade flak armor, or sometimes even carapace plating, is not uncommon among their ranks. The elite may even possess force fields or psychic defenses.
8 Heavy Firepower: For a shadowy cabal or coven, the cultists have far bigger guns than might be expected. They make frequent use of powerful weapons in their battles, such as heavy stubbers, grenade launchers, or more devastating devices
9 Advanced Technology: The cultists are unusually familiar with unusual devices, as evidenced by their use of encrypted vox channels, multi-spectral scanners, or even xenos weaponry.
10 Wyrdcraft/Sorcery: The elite of the cult bear amulets imbued with witch-inscribed charms, or wield blades inscribed with runes of hellish power. Their unnatural armaments are nearly as deadly to the wielder as to his foes, but they remain a threat that should not be underestimated.
11-12 Cover of Position, Shield of Repute: The cult has good publicity or someone influential to protect it from retribution.
13 Beasts: The cult trains, breeds and alters living creatures to suit their goals and defend themselves from opponents.
14-15 Instruments of the Xenos: Through some obscure means, the cult has access to a large supply of xenotech. Depending on the circumstances, this can be better or worse gear than imperial equivalents but it does mean that it becomes more difficult to counter their technology through delicate methods than cults that use imperium derived equipment.
15-16 Instruments of the Daemon: The cult uses chaos summoning, daemon weapons, daemon engines and chaos artifacts to fight off those who threaten it.
17-18 Extensive Bodily Modification: This cult makes use of extensive bodily modifications to bolster its forces. These modifications could be biological in nature such as controlled (as much as it could) chaos mutations or tampering with the holy human form or mechanical in nature similar to that of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
19-20 Otherwordly Allies: The cult has allies in unknown places and may not even know the true nature of their allies.

Tokens of Allegiance (1d10)
1 Symbolic Color: The cultists show their affiliation through outfits that incorporate a specific colour to reflect their beliefs. It may be a shade uncommon among the local populace, or always worn on a particular garment.
2 Special Material: Some of the garb or gear used by the cult incorporates materials rarely used by those outside the cult. Offworld fabrics, the bones of rare beasts, or even xenos trinkets could all be possible signs of cultist ties.
3 Favored Craftsmanship: The maker’s mark or factory stamp of a particular craftsman or facility can be found on a great deal of cultist equipment.
4-5 Hidden Sign: A rune or other visual motif identifies the cultists. They might wear the sign on hidden pendants, hide it amidst other signs at businesses they control, or otherwise display it to those who know where to look.
6-7 Secret Chant: Code phrases and passwords are used by the cultists to confirm their allegiance. In extreme cases, they may have even developed an entire language of false meanings, allowing them to secretly converse wherever they please.
8 Marked Flesh: The perfidy of the cultists is worn on their very flesh. They may bear a hidden brand or tattoo declaring their membership, or a worse deformity might mark them as among the ranks of an inhuman throng.
9 Marked Mindset: Visible only by mastery of the Warp or arcane techno-sorcery, the very thoughts of cultists mark their loyalty. This may be the memory of an event, an implanted passkey of memory, or even the brainwaves of a member.
10 Roll twice, combining elements of both results

Draw and Activities of the Cult[edit]

Cult Allure(1d20)
1-2 Refuge: Cult members are drawn into the organization by the promise of shelter from other threats. This could be an offer of protection from a specific threat, such as the grasp of the Black Ships, or a general mentality that the cult looks after its own.
3-4 Purpose: Some citizens of the Imperium find themselves yearning for something more fulfilling than endless labour to support a war machine they never see. These empty souls often turn to cults that claim to provide meaning or purpose to an otherwise pointless existence.
5-6 Indulgence: By existing outside the sanctioned Imperial structure, cultists are often able to avoid restrictions on behavior that might be imposed by law or propriety elsewhere. Even outside a true pleasure cult, there are groups who appeal through a sense of luxury or freedom not to be found elsewhere.
7-8 Power: While true power within a cult almost invariably resides within its upper echelons, if not within a single leader, some are able to maintain the illusion that their members can gain power by joining. This may even be true to an extent, if advancing the position of an individual advances the cult’s goals or reputation in turn.
9 Entrapment: Many cults are not what they initially appear. They may have a public, or at least less secret, face that seems entirely wholesome and safe, with a secretive inner circle that uses this false cover for dark purposes. Once lured into these cults, blackmail and manipulation can draw the hapless dupes further into their schemes and deeper into heresy.
10 Mystery: A skillful cult leader can draw in followers with promises and allusions to a greater purpose or meaning that is never truly revealed. Elaborate structures of hierarchy and ritual are created to mask the cult’s true nature, and ascending towards the supposed truth becomes a coveted prize. The most devoted seekers end up being led in circles and convinced that still more valuable truth awaits, if they serve but a little longer.
11-13 Faith of the Forefathers: Mankind is old, its presence among the stars widespread and stretching tens of millennia into the past. Where man went, so too did his theologies. Some old faiths died, while others splintered, evolved, or mutated over time into new forms. New religions sprang up in the fertile fields of lonesome colony worlds. This cult is simply a continuation of these faiths, doing what they have done for generations despite Imperial censure and syncretism. It has an old-fashioned charm and reverence which may draw in the curious and unwary.
14-15 Knowledge: To live as a scholar in the Imperium of Man is to remain in frustrating ignorance. Mankind has forgotten and lost more knowledge than most xenos races have assembled by the death of their civilizations. The Adeptus Mechanicus worsens this crushing ignorance with their monopolies on technology and data, together with their stifling (often punishing) adherence to doctrine. Some groups appear to stand against the darkness, however, to either seek out the knowledge of the past or to seek new and abominable information. For a frustrated scholar, such groups would appear ready to slake his thirsts.
16-17 Salvation of the Soul: Sin and damnation are together a major concern for all Imperial citizens, especially where conditions are harsh (or conversely, when one is in a good position but knows too much). This cult offers a balm for the soul and peace of mind in the ideal of a better spiritual life. Once the convert has progressed far enough in the cult's doctrine and/or mysteries, they might yet believe it even as their corruption festers.
18-19 Oblivion: The Imperium is a harsh and often dismal place for much of Mankind, there is no debate about that. What this cult offers, one way or another, is a way to end all suffering in utter annihilation. Only the mad and the twisted would see the way, but they will come with all the fervor madness can bring.
20 Call Unto The Native: Something in this region of space binds its inhabitants to it; over the generations it has reached into their minds and souls, effecting a subconscious alteration which drives certain individuals towards specific behaviors (often including worshipful activity). A poor soul afflicted so may be perfectly sane and Emperor-fearing, and yet once called by the inhuman presence will join the cult as a sleepwalker might stumble the path to his doom.

Rites and Observances of the Cult (1d10)
1-3 Mass Devotions: The most common form of cult ritual is a gathering of the cultists for a shared devotion. For some, this may be more akin to a business meeting than a religious ritual, as the defining element of mass devotions is a gathering focused on the cultists’ shared purpose. Such gatherings may have the cultists or their leaders remain masked and hidden from each other, or they may reveal their affiliation brazenly.
4-5 Foul Communion: Simply being in the same place is not enough for some cults, who seek to become still closer to each other than mere proximity. This communion may take the form of debauched rites, shared hallucinations, or invasive psychic melding, depending on the cult’s focus.
6-7 Blood Sacrifice: The sacrifice of living beings, from livestock to captured enemies, is a common way for cults to express their power. The ritual is usually symbolic, although some cults have found ways to harness the spilled life for power.
8 Flesh Twisting: Most common as a ritual of initiation or advancement, the deliberate mutilation or mutation of a cultist’s flesh is often seen as a show of dedication.
9 Sorcerous Arts: Most cultist rituals are primarily symbolic. At most, they usually make use of weapons or technology available to their members to make a dramatic point. But in rare cases, the ritual itself is a means to otherworldly power, by drawing on the Warp or the Daemons within.
10 Elaborate Rites (roll again twice, combine results)

Deities of the Cult[edit]

Focus of Worship (1d20)
1, 10 Hidden Mark of Heresy: The cult is unaware that the subject of its devotion is a Ruinous Power, perhaps instead believing it worships an aspect of the Emperor it has made its own. The GM can either select one of the below powers directly, or keep any hint of the cult’s true god a careful secret until a time of momentous revelation.
3, 8 Khorne: The cult thirsts for conflicts in all forms, from unleashing voracious scrapcode datavores to launching savage planetary uprisings. It always seeks out violence and bloodshed, the better to show its frenzied devotion.
4, 7 Nurgle: Morbid enthusiasms about death, but also rebirth, anchor the cult’s beliefs. Its members thrive on disease and decay, their appalling forms energetically eager to share their blessings with everyone around them.
5-6 Slaanesh: The cult is enthralled with excesses in all forms, and might pursue sensory experiences beyond imagining or seek out perfection in the blade. There are no limits to its desires and no sating the appetites of its followers.
2, 9 Tzeentch: Hidden secrets, forbidden lore, and intricate schemes dominate this cult’s goals of change and transformation. Psykers can form a large part of its membership, the better to divine the infinite whirls of fate within the Warp.
11-12 Malal or other Minor Chaos God: Instead of worshiping the main pantheon or a part of the main pantheon, the cult worships a small, obscure part of chaos. Malalik cults will invariably act to destroy other servants of Chaos with vengeful hate, and often carry out self-destructive attacks calculated to cause as much devastation and anarchy as possible. They are few in number, but they know exactly how to apply their hideous power. Necoho and Zuvassin, meanwhile, favor secularist plots and undoing plots respectively.
13-15 Chaos Undivided: This cult worships all of the chaos powers as a vile pantheon, honoring each according to the patron deity's preferences. Cultists of this persuasion can get bogged down in the details of pleasing four (or more) mutually hostile deities without reprisal, but when they succeed, they can bring the whole pantheon's power to bear.
16 Technology and Artifacts of Xenos: Sometimes, technology from ancient xenos gets idolized for whatever seemingly magical effects it can perform. Sometimes, their idol may even be listening...
17-18 Xenos as Divine: This cult worships xenos as divine entities. Most of the time, this is the Tyranid hivemind but other sources exist such as a Necron Overlord with delusions of godhood, or Eldar masquerading as Imperial Saints.
19 Something Else in the Dark: The Galaxy is a place of immense scale, the Warp impossibly greater. In all that space, many other things exist to bend Man's knee and twist his mind.
20 Strange Pantheon (roll twice, combine results)
Warhammer 40,000 Faction Creation Tables
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