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[Neutral Creature] The Cult of the Rat-God

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Hyrune

Bloodling
Feb 16, 2013
13
4
70
31
Ireland
#1
"Through the corruption of the flesh we see the greatest expression of our Master's will."
~ St. Yersyn of the Flail, Archdeacon during the Great Rotting of 594 B.H. (Before-Healing)

The Most Humble Servants of the Nameless One, The Bringer of New Life (less formally known as the Cult of Rat-God) are an oft-hidden, underground sect of religious zealots in more than one sense of the word: called blasphemous by larger, more mainstream religions and almost universally deemed strictly illegal by most nation's ruling bodies, The Cult nevertheless clings to existence in times of prosperity and peace by slipping beneath city streets, slinking away into darkness to better commune with the exalted familiars of their Master in the sewers below until such a time as their...services are called for once again.

While the Cult will fervently declaim that their doctrine calls for the veneration of the Flesh and the purity thereof, theirs is an often bitter pill to swallow, so to speak - to cleanse oneself of sin one must embrace the gifts their God so generously bestows upon all of Nature in the form of pestilence polluting entire populaces and sweeping the Surface clean...
Some cult-members with a more... people-friendly frame of mind will extort the citizens of towns and cities that without the great Master's work there could be no new growth, that the rubble must be swept away so that a greater Paradise may be built anew. Such cultists are, frankly, few and far between: others do away entirely with all pretence of social-nicety, instead choosing to foster great nurseries of rodents and vermin beneath the homes of the righteous, encourage putrescence in granaries, and take great joy in contaminating local water supplies. When the Rat-God's gifts actually take hold of a populace, the cult will take to the streets, pouring out exultations in his name while tending to their "chosen flock". Almost inevitably these creatures will be chased back down into the underworld from whence they came, but more than one great city has been silently strangled and made a city of the dead by their efforts, proud nations slowly fading off the map...

Precisely what (if anything) the Cult actually seeks to achieve in the long run is anyone's guess; despite the fact that their writings proliferate like maggots on a corpse, much of the Cult's final agenda is disjointed at best and at worst ... quite condescending. More than one scholar has dismissed their efforts as being as twisted and diseased as their patron deity, which, to all intents and purposes, is found all too frequently in pantheons across the known worlds - above and below.

For now, the Cult's efforts have been confined to more remote areas of the Empire: the last uprising of the Cult was put down quite forcefully by St. Fascia of the Second Crusade some 15 years ago, though writers of the time report that even then many of the Cults forces managed to scurry away through the cracks of Fascia's daring campaign during the time of the Great Red Death of '613.
If - and when - the Cult of the Rat-God will rise again is anyone's guess...
~ Pax the Lesser of Bessina, shortly before contracting the Falling-sickness of '629

_________________________

Hey folks,

My name is Hyrune, I've been an on-again, off-again lurker since Day 1 of the Kickstarter. To cut a long-story short, Simburgur and Vaernus were tossing around ideas in the IRC about how the surface-world would be handled, if at all. I pitched a couple of ideas, and the guys seemed to like them, and unfortunately months went by and I never got around to submitting anything.

The Cult of the Rat-God was something other people in the chat at the time seemed to like in particular so I took it and I fleshed it out a bit more with the help of my talented friend Kathy.

My original pitch for this idea was to mix things up a bit for the "normal" run of levels (and obviously I use the term normal hesitantly because at the time we had no idea as how levels were going to progress!): instead of the notion of taking on an enemy Underlord or tunnelling Empire goons, you would find yourselves paused by the obstruction of a great city, its forgotten cellars, sewers and under-crofts neatly bisecting/obstructing your efforts to excavate your dungeon. Efforts to simply overcome the local citizenry are rebuffed - common bakers and cobblers glowing with health in the prime of your life, laughing at your dark glory. But you sense dark power here beneath the city streets, some forgotten Shrine of evil.

A little further excavation unearths (literally) the forgotten Cult of the Rat-God, masked creatures even more disgusted with the happy, lesion-free populace cavorting above your heads. For a price, they are willing to enter into a mutually-beneficial alliance with you in the hopes of overthrowing the simpering sacks of meat above.

I envisaged the Cult as being neutral, or at least initially: exactly how you could procure their trust was left deliberately nebulous at the time. We kicked around the ideas of a good-old-fashioned fetch-quest, or that allying yourselves with them could be optional rather than railroading-necessary. Maybe they would remain neutral, but would remember your aid in later levels, returning at times to further offer their services in return for the mayhem your dark hordes would surely invoke. Or, alternatively, helping them here would forever bind them to you, and allow you to summon the zealots as Creatures forevermore.

We posited that their initial aid would come in the form of great, map-sweeping ritual: my own suggestion was that it would be a spell allowing you to sweep a swarm of rats before your Hand into the path of your enemies, infecting their all too-healthy but happily resistance-free bodies and turning them into happy little time-bombs of puss and shrieking.

Now, as I alluded to earlier, I pitched all of these ideas to Kathy, and she really pulled out all the stops. I'm going to attempt to include a couple of her images here - if this is liked, we're going to work on some more stuff.





The weapons ideas, I have to give her total props for, I think they're all great. And I should really copy/pasta her thoughts:

"There was a couple other ideas we ended up coming up with after I had sent the pictures, like the idea of him carrying around gigantic surgical tools and syringes, a large bell (Bell tolls for thee kinda thing) or a gravedigger shovel.
If we're doing by old Dungeon Keeper style "roles" he'd be akin to a Wizard, spamming offensive spells from a distance and possibly healing, and when not in combat is a researcher in the
dungeons, his lab liking to cut stuff up on Frankenstein tables. But of course is pants in close ranged and prone to get either mulched or flees easy when in contact with meatheads.
I can imagine when he's clicked on, or told to move places he'd wheeze like Darth Vader or muffle like Pyro form TF2."

So, lemme know what you think, we're still working on stuff obviously but this is a humble offering thus far.
 

Noontide

Designer / Community Manager
Brightrock Games
Dec 8, 2012
2,141
1,776
700
Brighton, UK
#3
Had to post before I'd read (busy) to say I absolutely love the Art.

If you want me to quickly fix your thread title send me a PM with details.
 

ANewRoom

Gargoyle
WFTO Founder
#4
I'm not sure what to say, I really like the idea of these guys, and the amount of work you both put into this is really awesome, but I'm not sure how they fit into the WftO universe. It maybe the Top hats and dusters, but they look far too dapper in a way that kind of brings to mind a Victorian secret society (by way of the Skaven from Warhammer Fantasy).

Sorry if this comes off as really overly sour. Like I said I enjoy the concept, I just not sure it works in the setting.
 
Likes: Amon

Hyrune

Bloodling
Feb 16, 2013
13
4
70
31
Ireland
#5
A fair point. I originally imagined them with hoods but Kathy ran with hats (though you can see she experimented with hoods in the first image). I can see where you're coming from, but I think it's a good fusion of medieval priest meets, as you say, Victorian doctor, rather than straight-up anachronistic.
 

Hyrune

Bloodling
Feb 16, 2013
13
4
70
31
Ireland
#6
I also said to her when we were first tossing around ideas that I loved the idea of the cultists being almost ironically neat in appearance - wading through gore and bodily fluids but spic'n'span and ready to praise the works of the Rat-God!
 

Lord of Riva

The Lord
WFTO Founder
Dec 29, 2012
2,786
923
485
31
#7
hey there hyrune welcome to the board.

i always loved skaven but they are literally worshippers of the Rat-God (the Horned rat) so i think it would just problematic ... maybe make yours a mod later? ^^

The artworks are really nice i have to say.

please try using the formats in the suggestion forums like in this thread: https://subterraneangames.com/threads/creature-phase-squid.2280/

it will help to see what you really had in mind with fokus on the WFTO game mechanics ;)

i will add this into the neutral creature section
 

Wice

Templar
WFTO Backer
May 2, 2012
106
38
230
The Netherlands
#8
I don't have time to read all of this right now, but I have marked to so I can read it later. I do just want to say that I love the artwork, especially the collored ones on the second row, the two in grey and red. They are fantastic!

Great Job, seriously
 

Cultist Joris

Ember Demon
WFTO Founder
Dec 30, 2012
1,555
840
545
25
Belgium
#9
3 things to say:
  1. Awesome artwork and good background info ;)
  2. I did had the time to read it... :p
  3. I think it's a good idea and I love the concept, except the appearance of the priest is a bit too victorian for the medieval fantasy setting of DK and WftO. I'm eager to see it in formats... ;)
 
Likes: Amon
Jan 7, 2012
446
171
340
23
#10
Great artwork! The disease spell in dk was very nasty but a bit too op when you used it against heros without temples or the stupid ai,
With the need of finding and convincing the cult, there could be interesting situations were players are struggling against their enemys by spending ressources (maybe prisoners/corpses for experiments which have to be escorted to the cult safely?) to get the help of the local cult, or to destroy it to hinder the enemy of getting their help first.
But as already said the tubes and hats dont really fit if you compare them to the medieval dungeon and creature design, also I wouldnt like to see them as a regular unit, we have cultists, bloodmages and alchemists which are very likely to be evil humans, another human unit should be an optional neutral for the sake of diversity.
 

Fireeye

Augre
WFTO Backer
Dec 30, 2012
1,155
687
515
Ze Germany
#11
I actually had a similar idea, that is, a unit that resembles a Plague Doctor and uses various diseases to give the enemy a 'good time' (in a very free interpretation), albeit they had a slightly different character - they were attracted to corpses in a fashion that almost resembled necrophilia.

Edit: Here it is.
https://subterraneangames.com/threads/creature-plague-doctor-beakie-doctor-schnabel.1936/

Maybe we could get a combination of both ideas into the game - then again, your suggestion is much more elaborate in terms of background story and character design, so if we could only have one thing, I'd stay with yours.
 

Fireeye

Augre
WFTO Backer
Dec 30, 2012
1,155
687
515
Ze Germany
#13
Hey Fireeye - yes, I saw your post after I did this up, I hope you didn't feel I was stepping on your idea!
Ah, nonsense. They resemble each other, but their background stories are quite different. Besides, so long as they do add one of the Doctors, I'm entirely content ;)
 

Lord of Riva

The Lord
WFTO Founder
Dec 29, 2012
2,786
923
485
31
#14
Hey Fireeye - yes, I saw your post after I did this up, I hope you didn't feel I was stepping on your idea!
we profit from every suggestion made keep up the good work ;)

EDIT: he over 500 Posts ^^ i hope you dont feel i spam to much ^^
 
Jan 3, 2013
3,241
739
495
31
#15
Guy could be a mini-boss or quest giver. Surely not a unit you can pick-up and slap whenever you want - too good for this.
 
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