I’m just wrapping up the final main section of Hunter: Mortal Remains (previously called Monstrous Basterds). In celebration, I figured I’d show you all some of the absolutely terrifying stuff we’re bringing to the table. There’s a whole chapter on Dread Powers and awful monster shit. But no. In this case, we’re talking about the hunters themselves.
The Faithful of Shulpae are a Conspiracy that primarily hunts Arisen. But they’re not too picky. As a note, the Revivification Dread Power is how our Hunter version of mummies come back from the dead. Keep in mind, this is a first draft. I haven’t given it the full pass, and it hasn’t gone to editing yet. This is raw flesh we’re sharing with you.
The Faithful of Shulpae
“Today, we honor those who have fallen in the hunt for Divinity, and in their name, we feast! Try the arm, there’s still meat on it.”
The Faithful claim that so long as there have been men and gods for men to worship, they have been practicing their ecstatic adulation. As long as gods have taken human or human-like form and walked on the surface of the earth among man and woman, the Faithful have delighted in their Feast.
Because their rites are carefully guarded secrets, things that outsiders can’t hope to understand, there are few if any written records, and even the god they draw their name from is only a briefly mentioned curiosity rather than a piece of historical or mythological fact. If they did not exist, the Faithful of Shulpae would leave no trace of their existence at all.
And yet they exist, biding their time, hunting, and collecting embodied gods for the Feast.
The Faithful do not consider what they do cannibalism. Cannibalism is a thing a human does to another human. They are eating the flesh of gods in order to unite themselves. This is apotheosis and it is a holy act no different than what Catholics do every Sunday. Their rituals are worship of the deities they’ve brought in to their temples, and it makes them a part of the god as much as the god is now a part of them.
The Faithful don’t actually know they are hunting Mummies, and the occasional other odd immortal-ish monster they run across. These traditions are handed down in family lines, between lovers worshiping in secret, or by happenstance when a stranger stumbles into a private ritual accidentally and instead of running in horror, watch in fascination or curiosity. In fact, this later group is some of the Faithful’s largest pull. While it can be forgiven, the Feast, if you have it explained to you beforehand, many believe that to understand it you have to see it. Further, many of the Faithful believe that they are uniquely and divinely strange, which is why they are called to the Feast by fate as much as they are drawn to the gods who walk by luck and happenstance.
While these hunters may not realize what a Mummy is or any practical knowledge of them, most Faithful are adept and seeing the patterns of people and fate that circle around Mummies, knowing the signs that an immortal is operating its power on the world around them. Further, many Faithful have an intimate knowledge as to what Mummies can do, since they can steal these powers from the Mummies flesh when they Feast.
It’s likely that any Mummy who has encountered the Faithful in the past simply does not remember them from one lifetime to the next, or else one would wonder how the Faithful have not been hunted down to the very last practitioner.
The actual capture of Mummies tends to have a lot to do with knowing what the Mummy can do, and using their own powers against them. Hitting them with trucks in modern nights has also proven very effective. Once they are downed, temporarily, bringing them back to a temple for the first new Feast is imperative before they can regenerate and wreak havoc.
You were with a small group of orphans starving in the streets of Cairo a hundred years ago or more. A wicked god tried to beat you for getting in his way, and in desperation you bit him while he struggled with you. In that moment, you discovered a secret deep in his flesh. Your friends seemed to see it to, and you all swarmed the god and ate him to the bone. Later, while you were feeling horrific about it, the Faithful came and explained what you did was an act of Devotion, and you were special and holy now.
You were trapped in a tomb after the careless anthropologist who’d hired you and many of your friends got greedy and left you to rot. As the only survivor, you did what you had to, and eventually that meant testing the dried flesh a mummy left behind with you. It was just enough strength to push through the collapsed tunnel. The Faithful were waiting, outside, to welcome you and to collect the god you had discovered.
You were always afraid of your stepfather and his friends, they were strange and their whispered jokes always seemed so ominous. When mom got sick, you blamed him, and intended to find out what he and his friends were really up to, when you followed him to his secret temple. Inside, they had a beautiful man with golden skin stretch out on a table and they were eating him. You knew two things immediately, that man was not a man, and you had never been so aroused as you were in that moment. Soon, you joined them, and understood so much.
Keepers maintain the temples of the Faithful, and hold much of the political power within the Conspiracy. It is their sacred duty to watch over the ‘slumbering’ gods at times between Feats, maintain the Feasting calendar, and decide who gets to participate in which Feasts. If this weren’t enough, Keepers sometimes take part in small personal libations in cases where the gods seem to be waking too quickly. The Faithful see Keepers as a secret weapon against anyone who would destroy their temples, as no one would expect the decrepit old men and women sweeping the floors to have such incredible age and power thanks to the gods.
Guides without new recruits, the Faithful would die out, and then no one would worship the gods in the way that the Faithful believe is right and just and that would be a tragedy. Guides are the most charming of all the Faithful who watch among the mundane men and women of the world for signs of gods walking as well as signs of those rare eccentric souls who would make ideal candidates for the Faithful. These bright souls are guided to Feasts, but rarely have Feasts explained to them. It’s better that way, they think.
Celebrants for the most devoted, who partake most often, who Feast heavily and are unafraid of risking life and limb to bring the gods to the temple, is the honor of being a Celebrant. Not every Celebrant is particularly good at what they do, but their sacrifices are written down in books to be honored for generations to come. Those who take the greatest risks get first plate at the Feast.
Aside from invitation to the Feast, Status in the Faithful grants them access to Anthropophagy, the means by which they make themselves a part of god. Additionally, it grants them access to the Temple, an important part of daily life within the faith.
• Initiates to the Faithful can learn the Anthropophagy Endowment.
••• At three dots, the Faithful are granted a safe place, a temple to watch over. It is in these temples that the Conspiracy practices its Anthropophagy. Gain two dots divided however you wish between any of the Safehouse Merits (see p. XX).
••••• The highest, the greatest of the Faithful of Shulpae manifest strangeness from beyond the normal world, thanks to their visceral experience with the supernatural. Take four dots, divided however you choose, among any number of Supernatural Merits (see The God-Machine Chronicle, p. XX).
The Lucifuge: Could you imagine being the child of a god and look at your lineage with shame? Oh who cares about the politics and ethics of the god who spawned you! What matters is your closeness to the divine!
Malleus Maleficarum: They eat the flesh of their god and think it’s the only way, they drink his blood and would call what we do savage. Perhaps that is because they’ve never seen their god’s face and we know all of our gods by name and intimately.
The Chairon Group: Make no mistake, what they do is blaspheme. You could argue the similarity of their action to ours, and find yourself out on the street without a temple to call your own. If you see these butchers in the streets, you kill them. And take any god they have captured back to the temple.
New Endowment: Anthropophagy
Anthropophagy is the Faithful of Shulpae’s secret ability to eat monsters, and absorb their immortality, and their abilities.
A hunter with this Endowment can eat a monster and absorb their Dread Powers. To use Anthropophagy, she must kill the monster and eat at least a number of pounds of flesh equal to the dots she seeks to acquire. This devouring occurs in a single setting. In the case of a monster with the Revivify Endowment, they can return to life after a number of weeks equal to the hunter’s Anthropophagy dots. If the hunters do not successfully kill the monster, feasting on a pound of flesh causes the monster one lethal level of damage.
A group of hunters with Anthropophagy can share a single corpse, but must split the desired Dread Power dots between each other, the character with the highest Anthropophagy dots gets first pick. The monster must have enough flesh to feed the entire group; as a rule, a monster has about three pounds of edible flesh available per dot of Size. This amount may be reduced in the procurement, every health level of lethal damage on the monster counts for one pound that’s effectively rendered inedible.
The human stomach is not meant to process that much raw flesh. For every pound devoured in excess of her Stamina dots, she suffers one lethal damage from the engorgement.
System: Once she’s devoured the monster, the hunter may spend a point of Willpower. If she does, she gains a dot in any one Dread Power which the monster has more than the hunter, up to a limit of her Anthropophagy dots.
She can have a number of dots in the Revivify Dread Power equal to her Anthropophagy dots. As well, she can have a number of dots equal to her Anthropophagy in other Dread Powers, divided however she chooses, among any other combination of Dread powers.
She can abandon any of these Dread Powers at any point in time, reflexively. To fuel them, she uses her own Willpower. For the purposes of this Endowment, the Stamina loss caused by the Revivify Dread Power benefits from the Sanctity of Merits rule from The God-Machine Chronicle, despite Stamina not being a Merit.
It’s worth noting that murdering and eating a person is an Integrity breaking point. Make the breaking point roll at a penalty equal to the hunter’s Anthropophagy dots.