Hiding A Cultist Among Your Players by Cry.Sys

Warning: If you are reading this, and never plan to be a Keeper, stop. This article is for Keepers to play dirty tricks on players. ;P

This is a little guide on how to add some spice to one of your games in the form of hiding a cultist among your players. I don't suggest doing this more than once, however, because then your players will catch on quickly. This guide is meant to inspire you, not explain everything. I've put steps in on how I did this trick, and I suggest you borrow what you like. Being original is cool, so just overlook that when I wrote this it was more of a how-to.

Step One: Laying The Foundation

The first thing to do is organize a large group of players for a game (I suggest 3 to 5 investigators). Pick someone who is a good roleplayer and can keep things secret well (how you would know this I have no clue but being these players' friend I would think you would have an idea of who would be good for this).

Once you have someone picked you have to contact them by phone and ask them if they would like to play a "wolf among the sheep". This is a one-shot deal. If not, you're likely to have this investigator looking at all the other players as cultists, leading to possible cooperation difficulties. If the player is interested then you need to get together with them.

When you meet up with them, make up a investigator sheet. Then put in false stats like OO% Cthulhu Mythos and a high sanity score. Talk with them about whatever cult they belong to and give them a little info on the plot. For example if you were using _The Complete Masks of Nyarlathotep_ and your investigators were on their way to Cairo, inform the cultist about the Brotherhood of the Black Pharoah cult there. Maybe even let them read over the sections in the book that apply to their knowledge. Or, perhaps, make up a handout that you can give them and let them read over.

Figure out their real stats after this. They should probably have 0% Sanity, and some Cthulhu Mythos Knowledge.

Step Two: Getting The Wolf In Sheep's Clothing Among The Sheep

This is a little tricky. You have to be careful not to let too much slip, and not to become too obvious. I found that you have to get the other investigators' trust built up. One way is to let your cultist make up a cultist character and play it once or twice with your investigators before making him a enemy of them. Alternatively, if the cultist's investigator dies the players wouldn't be suspicious if you had another character ready for your cultist.

I figure that you already have ideas on how to do this without my help. ;)

Step Three: Random Monkeywrenching

So now you have your investigators suspecting very little, and your cultist is a friend of theirs. It's time for things to start going wrong for your investigators.

Look over the plot of your story for points where things could go wrong. For example, places where the investigators would have to split up. Perhaps your cultist could suggest guarding the NPC cultist your investigators captured. Have your investigators play out their scenes and then ask them to leave the room (You might want to ask your cultist to leave prior to this since he's guarding. It'll also help keep suspicion down). Let your cultist release the captured NPC or kill him to keep his silence. If they are having a little trouble being creative, let them have a phone number to a higher member in their cult to ask for advice.

Here are a few things I've seen done:

1. Cars sabotaged by removing parts. 2. Car bombs. 3. Cars stolen. 4. Mythos tomes spontaneously combusting. 5. Mythos tomes disappearing. 6. Mythos tomes getting stolen. 7. Sleeping pills placed in investigator's drinks. 8. Guns loaded with blanks. 9. Guns loaded with nothing. 10. Releasing NPC prisoners. 11. Killing NPC prisoners. 12. Cultist Assasins showing up in the investigator's "safe" haven. 13. Investigators being kidnapped. 14. Cultist followers always seeming to be on investigator's tails. 15. Delays, delays, delays.

Step Four: The Scapegoat

The scapegoat is a NPC to be blamed before the investigators suspect your real cultist. An example of use:

John (my hidden cultist) and Teresa (My NPC scapegoat) offer to guard the NPC cultist they and the investigators captured. The investigators leave them to guard (I ask John to leave the room). After I am done with their scenes, I ask all the investigators to step outside, and John to step in. He already has a plan. He slips a few knockout pills into Teresa's drink and she falls asleep guarding the NPC cultist. John quickly unties the NPC cultist and has the NPC cultist knock him out with something. John first makes signs of a heavy struggle. The investigators come back in the room, only to find that John's knocked out, Teresa's asleep, and the NPC cultist is gone. My investigators first thought that Teresa had been ensorcelled by some magic. John spoke with a few of them privately, saying he thought Teresa attacked him from behind and knocked him out. Almost immediately Teresa found herself tied to a chair, the scapegoat of the situation.

That example is a little rough, and I hope that your scenes will be much better (maybe put the object John was knocked out with in Teresa's hand?).

Last Words

Maybe your cultist can survive the whole story, but odds are that he will eventually get caught and/or killed. But, think of all the fun you can have when you ask all the investigators except one to leave the room. My players, in the game after the discovery of the cultist, always started suspecting each other as the cause of their problems.

A little tip: Never have your cultist try to directly kill another investigator. Being subtle is the best way to go. Slipping poisons and such into drinks is much better. Attacking only causes a full breach of your cultist's facade.