This months Unearthed Arcana dealt with Fiendish options for PCs as well as NPC cultists. Some excellent tiefling variants were offered up but as a DM I was personally slightly more intrigued by the Diabolical Cults section of the material because it has some nice flavor and mechanical benefits to monsters useful to throw at players.
Overall it was a great bit of playtest material and I especially liked the design videos that Wizards will hopefully continue to accompany the articles going forward.
For some reason, perhaps because of the theme and the month (October), the options and flavor reminded me of the Fey-touched background article written a few weeks back over at Tribality. I thought it might be interesting to combine the two, like so!
The Otherworldly Patrons section of the 5e PHB offers PCs an Archfey patron option. Clearly if such beings are powerful enough to grant spells, they should be powerful enough to instill cult-like followings on the material planes.
Similar to demonic cults, I thought it might be interesting to model a few cults around Archfey. These cults can make interesting out-of-the-way factions found in pristine forests or living in a harsh wilderness, protecting their lands from other humanoids.
While there are plenty of sources to choose from for this exercise, I decided to go with an excellent 5e supplement that comes prepackaged with some well-developed Fey Lords and Ladies: Kobold Press’s Tome of Beasts.
Cult of the Bear King
Goals: Protect their lands, multiply their numbers, satisfy their sweet tooth
Typical Cultist: Berserker, cult fanatic, druid, gladiator, guard, thug, tribal warrior, veteran
Signature Spells: True strike (cantrip), heroism (1st level), Barkskin (2nd level), Crusader’s Mantle (3rd level)
Followers of the Bear King believe in strength and multiplying their numbers. They have a sweet tooth for honey and mead and go to great lengths to enjoy the two whenever they can. They enjoy hunting, brawling and large feasts. A typical cultist will challenge any creature that treads upon their domain with ferocious intensity.
Bear Surge (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). When this creature hits with an attack that isn’t a critical hit, it can turn the hit into a critical hit.
Indomitable. This creature has advantage on all Strength, Wisdom and Constitution saving throws.
Cult of the Lord of the Hunt
Goals: The Wild Hunt, expansion, driving out other humanoids
Typical Cultist: Berserker, cult fanatic, druid, guard, scout, tribal warrior, veteran
Signature Spells: Ensnaring strike (cantrip), longstrider (1st level), pass without trace (2nd level), lightning arrow (3rd level)
Huntsmen, revelers, intelligent hounds and souls swept up in their frenzy, the Lord of the Hunt rules them all while he sits upon a midnight horse driving these hordes from forest to forest, and shadow to shadow. An enigma to most other fey, the Lord and his followers exist to purge elvish lands of those who do not belong. This zeal can turn to dangerous extremes, turning defenders of lands into zealous warmongers.
Perfect Shot (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). As a bonus action, this creature gains advantage on a single creature it can see.
Incite the Revelers (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). As an action, this creature allows each ally within 30 feet of it that has the Perfect shot trait to make one weapon attack as a reaction against a single target.
Cult of the Moonlit King
Goals: To perpetuate their solitude, to unburden themselves of a terrible past
Typical Cultist: Acolyte, assassin, cultist, cult fanatic, knight, mage, noble, spy
Signature Spells: Minor illusion (cantrip), tasha’s hideous laughter (1st level), crown of madness (2nd level), bestow curse (3rd level)
A once great elven lord, the Moonlit King is an ephemeral vestige of greatness lost. Split between the material world and a fever dream in their minds eye made of shadows and regret, these cultists live to soothe their Lord’s ailments through offerings of pain and retribution from those who would seek self-aggrandizement. Lost in a fog of forgone days, these followers weep for the crumbling greatness of elvish lands overridden by other humanoids.
Mantle of Shadows (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). As an action, this creature, along with anything it is wearing and carrying, magically becomes invisible until the end of its next turn.
Stare of Loss (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). As a reaction, one creature that this creature can see has disadvantage on its next saving throw.
Cult of the Queen of Night and Magic
Goals: To achieved unparalleled magical might, to rule over all
Typical Cultist:Acolyte, archmage, assassin, cult fanatic, druid, mage, noble, spy
Signature Spells: Eldritch blast (cantrip), witch bolt (1st level), blindness/deafness (2nd level), fireball (3rd level)
Grace and majesty, with the threat of magic form the image of followers of the Queen of Night and Magic. Ruling their lands with sorcerous power and a command over the very elements themselves, these cultist seek power and the ability to defend their schemes against any and all interlopers. Usually operating from a well-fortified court, they send out minions in favor of direct confrontation, but once found they are powerful foes in combat.
Student of Magic (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). As a bonus action, this creature gains advantage on their next spell attack roll it makes until the end of the current turn.
Wreathe of Elemental Flames (1/Day). As a reaction, when this creature rolls for damage on a spell that deals fire damage, this creature may reroll any or all of the dice rolled. They must use any rerolled die when calculating damage for the targets of that spell.
Cult of the Queen of Witches
Goals: To gain power, to force others into loyalty and tribute, to acquire knowledge
Typical Cultist: Cultist, cult fanatic, druid, noble, spy
Signature Spells: Friends (cantrip), hex (1st level), hold person (2nd level), fear (3rd level)
Often formed into covens overseen by hags and other nightmarish fey creatures, followers of the Queen of Witches seek power through pacts. They stand opposed to the rule of any others in their lands except their own and bend the wills of any who defy them through magic and fear. When these tactics fail, they seduce, cajole or scheme to exert their influence, one subject at a time.
Willful. This creature is immune to being Charmed and has advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Promise of Power (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). As an action, this creature chooses one creature it can see. Up to five allies of its choice become convinced that the target’s demise will bring them untold power. Until the end of this creature’s next turn, those allies may reroll any or all of their damage rolls against the target. They must use any rerolled die when calculating damage for the target.
Cult of the River King
Goals: To protect their people, their sacred sites and to oppose any who would rule them
Typical Cultist: Assassin, bandit, bandit captain, berserker, cultist, cult fanatic, druid, scout, thug
Signature Spells: Chill touch (cantrip), thunderwave (1st level), gust of wind (2nd level), counterspell (3rd level)
A stern lord with a quick temper, followers of the River King have a great love for their people and their domains. Cultist of this pedigree are truly free-spirited fey, and they delight in a chaotic approach to life and battle. They serve to protect their peoples and also their sacred bodies of water from all who would trespass.
Waterwalk (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). The creature may move across water as if it were harmless solid ground until the end of its current turn. If the creature ends its turn on such a surface, it immediately into the water as normal.
Tempestuous Fate (1/Day). When this creature rolls a 1 on an attack roll, skill check or saving throw, it may reroll and keep the new roll.
Cult of the Snow Queen
Goals: To rule her lands with an icy fist, to entice travelers into a dangerous demise through foolish undertakings
Typical Cultist:Acolyte, archmage, cultist, cult fanatic, druid, mage, noble, spy
Signature Spells: Ray of Frost (cantrip), mage armor (1st level), suggestion (2nd level), sleet storm (3rd level)
Cruel and proud like their mistress, followers of the Snow Queen exist to rule their lands from icy towers and exquisitely beautiful structures that glitter in the harsh rays of the sun. They distain outsiders and rule with an icy fist. Their plots and schemes are emotionless, often centuries in the making and are excellent strategists.
Slothful Stare (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). As an action, this creatures makes a Charisma (Intimidate) check contested by the Wisdom (Insight) check of a creature it can see within 30 feet of it. If this creature succeeds, the target has its speed reduced by 10 feet until the end of its next turn.
Icy Fortitude (Recharge 5-6). As a reaction when this creature takes damage, it can roll a d10 and subtract the number rolled from the damage.