Insidious or Enlightened? Create-a-Cult Challenge

Hi Cardsmiths!
First time starting up a discussion here, so I appreciate your patience and understanding with any mistakes I might make. I have been thoroughly enjoying taking on the creative challenges around here, so thought I would put one forward myself.

"A cult is a social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or by its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal."

The challenge I put to you is to develop a series of cards to represent a cult (as defined above) over the next four weeks. Each week I shall provide two prompts to design cards for, representing different aspects of your cult. This might be the cult's leader, it's holy relic, or it's otherworldly deity. You'll also be invited to create up to three additional cards to support that week's prompts, to flesh out the story and mechanics behind them. In addition to the two prompts, I will also be offering a number of bonus challenges to work towards amongst all the cards you design.

So that's a minimum of 2 cards, a maximum of five, per week.

At the end of each week I shall award points to each participant.
- I will judge the week's entries and award 7 points to the smith I determine has made the best cards for the prompt. 5 points will go to a second place, and 3 points to third. Entries will be judged for how well they meet the prompts, how well they mesh within the overall design of your cult as you establish it, and how well the card is designed from a mechanical stand point (are rules correct, understandable, does it make sense as a Magic card etc.)
- Then for each bonus challenge each participant has achieved among their designs, they earn a point.

At the end of the four weeks, the cardsmiths with the most points overall will receive the following rewards:
1st: 6 favourites from me of cards of their choice, and a follow
2nd: 4 favourites from me of cards of their choice, and a follow
3rd: 2 favourites from me of cards of their choice

Less tangibly, there will also be a fortune in glory and renown on the line.

Joining late? No worries. If you design cards for the previous weeks I will still award you bonus points for the various challenges you complete, you just won't be in each week's running to win the 7/5/3 points. You'll still need to meet each week's core prompts as well.

Other Rules:
-Only accepting new cards created for this challenge, however pre-existing mechanics are welcome.
-Please post an image of each card you create in the discussion, with a link to it's MTG Cardsmith page.
-You have all week to enter your cards, you do not need to enter them all at once.
-Edits are allowed, but once I go over each entry at the end of the week and award points I shall not come back and review previous entries.

Best of luck to you all, and I hope you enjoy. Part 1 is about to be posted.

See at the bottom of Week 1 for a detailed explanation of the prompts and bonus challenges.


  • edited January 2021
    Week 1: Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted

    Due Date: Sunday 31st January 2021 (I'll be judging it Monday morning here in good ol' Australia). The next week's challenges will be posted after that.

    Prompt 1: A typical member of your cult.
    Are they robe and mask wearing fanatics meeting in secret? Are they bright and zealous students at the local university? Do they have one more tentacle that would be typical for a member of their species? Show me the rank and file.

    Prompt 2: The recruitment process.
    Is it a friendly stranger at the local inn buying troubled youths a mead? Are citizen's brains secretly being replaced when they have them scooped out for their monthly polish? How do I go about joining your extra-exclusive club?

    Bonus Objectives (For each one you manage to tick among your cards, you score a point!)
    -What's the password? One of your cards shows or references a secret phrase, signal, or handshake.
    -Where are we meeting? Include a land among your designs.
    -You messed with the wrong third-cousin of a local assistant magistrate. One of your cards show or references the ill-results of trying to hassle a cult member.
    -The new recruits sure are... something. One of your cards creates one or more tokens.
    -Emrakul is just the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you all know it. One of your cards shows or references food.

    To enter this week's challenge, you need to create a minimum of two cards - one showing a typical member of your cult, another showing the recruitment process.

    For each bonus objective you tick off, you score an extra point. Knowing that's a lot to cram into two cards, and that you might just enjoy creating cards for your cult, you may make up to three additional  cards supporting your typical cult member and recruitment process.

    So, you might create 1: Creepy Cultist, and he's always trying to indoctrinate his family and friends like it's a pyramid scheme, so you've made him enter the battlefield with a token. You've covered prompt 1, and you've ticked off bonus objective to create tokens.

    Then you make 2: Shady Innkeeper, the guy who helps indoctrinate people off the street, to show your recruitment process. In this card you also manage to sneak in a picture of a cupcake (a really evil cupcake, for indoctrinating people), and in the flavour text the innkeeper says "knock three times on the door to left and crow like a rooster", I imagine you've got yourself a secret phrase. That's your prompt 2, and two more bonus objectives done.

    Now you can rest easy, or because you're having so much fun, go ahead and create up to three more cards. Maybe the Shady Innkeeper's taproom would make a great land, so you tick off an objective there. Or you'd like to make a sorcery for "Possibly Cursed Graffiti" on the local guard captain's house, to show what happens when he gets too close to your cult. There's another bonus.

    Hopefully this helps clarify my intentions here, please let me know if I can clear up anything else. I'm glad there's people interested.

  • Ooh. I like challenges where you make sets of cards rather than random individuals, and I like challenges where you progressively build up towards something's completion. Seems like this'll be good, then.

    Just to check that I've got this right, the minimum number of cards I'd create for this week would be two (one for each prompt), and the maximum number would be five (one for each prompt, plus the three additional cards to help support)?
  • That is correct MemoryHead, and ticking as many bonuses as you can fit across that 2-5.
  • This is...sort of confusing. So, we make cards for the prompts. Then, do we create separate cards for the bonus objectives or should those be included with our original prompt cards?
  • @AboveAndAbout You can choose, I believe. Each week you can make a card for each prompt, and up to three cards in addition to those. The bonus objectives are just things you want to try and do on one or more of your cards over the course of the week. For example, you could make a card that is a typical member of your cult (for prompt one) that also refers to Food and creates tokens (possibly food tokens), to tick off two of the bonus objectives. Similarly, you could try to make a card that crams in all of the bonus objectives at once, or a card that isn't for the prompts or the bonus objectives that you're making simply to bulk out your cult's flavor or something.
  • Ah. So the max entry is five per week?
  • edited January 2021
    @AboveAndAbout For this week, yes. Possibly it'll change in future weeks, since obviously I don't know what TheRacingTurtle's planning. The max entries per week is "number of prompts + 3". Admittedly the opening thing says there'll be two prompts per week, which means five per week unchangingly unless some additional rule to that comes up, but hey ho.
  • priest+priest=cult
  • edited January 2021
    My cult entry is Krelli.

    The Krelli are a gathering of zombies, specifically ones raised by ghoulcallers that broke from their command. The Krelli worship a strange deity, an eldritch entity hidden in the aetheric waves of the Blessed Sleep.  This community assumes a strange hierarchy, with no zombie above the other.  For the first prompt, I present Krelli Patrollers.
    Krelli Patrollers

    Every week, the undead send out a group of patrollers to search for food and new recruits. The way into the society is a nasty one, as one must be carrying a fresh brain as a gift to the people. For the second prompt:
    Feast for the Mind

    Once the recruit enters the inner burrows, the zombies gather around, grabbing limbs and tearing open the head to steal their brain. For the initiate to become an official undead cultist, the zombies feed their own brain to the poor soul.

    Around harvest time each year, Kessig sends out a group of human spies pretending to be zombies, with cow brains in their hands. Once the zombies admit them, the spies hide away, stalking around the land and waiting for the opportunity to kill. Unfortunately, ever since Avacyn's blessing disappeared, the number of returning spies has been diminished greatly.

    Burrow of the Fallen

    The zombies have three official inner burrows, with outer burrows scattered around the area. The burrow of the fallen houses the darkest souls, including powerful wraiths that wander the upturned graveyards. The other burrows, the burrow of the sorrowful and the burrow of the vengeful house many more ghouls, gheists, and other undead.
    From the Blessed Sleep
    (I tried to find every undead creature type here.)

    The deity the Krelli worship often pulls souls straight out of the Blessed Sleep, granting newfound powers and abilities to them. This is the main way that the Krelli "reproduce".
  • Definitely going to try and participate! Just have to decide on a theme.
  • Hi all, I'm glad you're interested. I've added a more detailed example of how I envision this working at the bottom of the Week 1 post. If you have any further questions please just hit me up, and forgive the time difference. I need my beauty sleep.
  • Hot dayum @AboveAndAbout, starting out strong (and creepy, oh so creepy). I appreciate seeing you try out Pact, soon all souls will be ours!
  • @Ranshi that sounds... ominous...
  • It's more silly than anything else. He started a small cult about me over the summer.
  • edited January 2021
    Presenting the House of the Two-Moons, a religious and educational society centered in the great city of learning, Vargshapat. Many within the cults ranks are prominent members of society, fulfilling various roles, both administrative, educational, and religious. The Cult’s true aims are shrouded in mystery, only the very highest members are privy to such information, however one thing can be said by all- They are utterly devoted in their pursuit of esoteric, and arcane knowledge and they stop at nothing to protect, and increase their control over the city. All to the glory of Vahimgar!

    As the public face of the city’s ecclesiastical university and adjoining monasteries and colleges, the House of the Two-Moons is well respected and plays a major role in local politics. In truth, the House is responsible for many good works throughout the city, however few are aware of the cult’s other aspects. (Queue up some haunting music -

    purposely leaving things a little vague here. But I leave it for you to decide: Insidious, or Enlightened?


    I’m really stoked about this challenge, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of you come up with!!! 

  • This sounds like just the sort of contest I was always dreaming of existing. If I manage to wrangle my rapidly-flowing-out-of-control responsibilities by the deadline, you can bet that Automorphers Anonymous will be making an appearance.
  • Sweet work @Rayne-Lord, I love the  art and flavour direction here. Scroll tokens are a cool concept, have you made other cards utilising them before, or made it up for this?

    I believe in you @HeroKP! Good luck keeping all the balls in the air :smile:
  • @TheRacingTurtle Thanks man! I can hardly wait for the next prompt!

    As for the scrolls, I just came up with them actually, and I’m not entirely sure I’m in love with them. I like the concept as well (and the potential other interactions) but their functionality seems ‘eh’. I suppose i’d have to play test them to really know. If you click on the card you can actually see i changed the card again, however I’m thinking I’m gonna leave the entry here as is just to collect those extra token points.
  • I like the new design as well, but I get it. Hungry for points! I might play around with a scroll token card when I’m back at my desk later.
  • edited January 2021
    This sounds like fun! Here's my cult: 

    The Bitter Sisters are a highly exclusive group of princesses that gather from time to time around a cup of sugarless tea to gossip about the news and, occasionally, plan a murder or two. Life at court can be a bit dull, it's important to shake things yourself if you want to have something to gossip about. 

    Here's a typical member of the Bitter Sisters. She has a pretty dress, she smells nice, and she's slightly murderous:

    Note that this card references food, which checks one of the optional prompts ;)

    So how do you become a member of the Bitter Sisters? Well, as long as you fit their criteria they'll usually contact you during a dance at the ball:

    Cherry on top, this card also makes a characteristic princess token (or in MTG terms, Human Noble) to check another optional prompt.

    Of course, you are given a choice to come to their little tea parties or not. But be careful, as they don't really appreciate to be turned down. Here's an additional card that shows what happens when you cross the Bitter Sisters, which check another optional prompt:

    To finish this entry, here's a land showing a typical meeting room of the Bitter Sisters, with a reference to their secret password — in this case, a secret knock — to complete the last optional prompts:

  • edited January 2021
    @ningyounk thats awesome man! I really dig ‘cult’! I really want more people to jump in on this, i feel theres so much space for people to explore!
  • @ningyounk I love this cult of yours, I'd deffinitely read something associated with these (slightly) poisonous ladies!
  • I'm joining as well for the first week! And with that, meet the Heroreapers, a cult that focuses on making mono-white playble in commander again, a cult that focuses on finding and guiding heroes that dwell among regular people. They are the cult of the people, loved by many commoners and despised by most nobles (this attitude goes both ways). Their members are wanderers, going from town to town, from village to village, in search of heroic acts performed by the lower class. They believe in that heroes are not a privilege of the wealthy. Now for the cards:

    Heroreaper Adept showcases the common member of the Heroreapers. It encourages other creatures to jump into bald heroic actions and shows them that they can stand against threats bigger than them if they have courage. Most Heroreapers choose to carry scythes or sickles as weapons or symbols - tools used by farmers, in other words the lower, working class, which show their affiliation with the commoners.
    Encourage Heroism is a bit of a strange card. The process of becoming part of the Heroreapers is rather uninteresting, one just decides, finds a Heroreaper and tells him they want to be a part of their cult. Instead I chose to showcase the process of finding new heroes who are not neccessarily Reapers themselves, but they are aided by them and the two are quite interconnected.
    The Reapers don't have a particular meeting place, instead they meet wherever it's needed, sit under trees on the sides of wheatfields or they are offered a house by someone in the village. That's what Inclined Village showcases.
    And Heroreaper's Sickle is the thing you get stabbed by if you somehow act against the cult (or are an obnoxious noble). It is the weapon of choice for most Heroreapers.

    About the bonuses:
    - The phrases "Heroes walk among the people," and "And we provide the guiding light," are the classic "password" or rather a greeting of the Heroreapers. One simply opens with the first line and any others reply with the second one.
    - The food refference is quite obvious and it shows the attitude of common people when it comes to Heroreapers - they often give them food and shelter whenever needed.
    Inclined Village and Heroreaper's Sickle are explained above.
    - Aaand I kinda didn't do a thing with the tokens (yet...?)
  • Also, would you guess how difficult it is to find art featuring scythes without it being absolutely over the top or associated with Death?
  • Welcome to the Unjay Cult. The Unjay are a group of former, rebel monks. They still meditate: but only when preparing for battle. They live in a broken, ancient temple next to the house of wisdom, the rulers of the kingdom they live in. Every day, the Mistweavers check the towns and kill anyone straying from them.
    The mistweavers grow more powerful with the more mist they consume into their staffs. They believe that the more knowledge they gain, the more the chances they will be able to create a mountain temple that oversees all in the highest peaks, where they will, with the supposed help of their god, Jaliau, attack the house of wisdom. 
    Once you have joined the cult, the leaders will not let you out again. The oath you swear cannot be broken. Although some escape from the clan, those who do are always on the run.
    The sacred part of the temple is the fountain, which produces the fountain blessing. 
    The fountain's blessing is said (by the Unjays) to be powers granted by Jaliau herself, to pure the bruised minds of the vengeful monks. If anyone seeks Jaliau's favour without the clan's permission, they will be punished severely, often execution is used.

    The house of wisdom is beautiful and glamorous on the outside, but some darker secrets lie within...

    The house of wisdom feign to have the people's interests at mind, but their true aim is to get everybody on their side to take over the whole realm. Their shadowy secrets are iced over with feigned kindness. Despite their clever antics, they're oblivious to the vengeful monks living just beside them.

    Every week, the house is raided by the shapeshifting Warmonks, whose loyalty remains with the head council, and the head-council only. They can transform into something very dark, but only when neccessary.  But always the monks are stopped on the outskirts by beast-mages. The beast mages almost always defeat the vengeful monks, but every now and then the monks break in and find out more crucial information. But the beast-mages are unpredictable and ruthless, so many monks do not dare face them.

    (Divergence mechanic by @MemoryHead which I copied from this card)

    The high lord of wisdom sometimes gets angry that his attackers are unknown, so he sends out troops to eliminate the threat. At first, the monks were unprepared and suffered heavy losses. But then monks of certain ability were selected to seek the fountain's blessing and defend the temple. The high lord of wisdom has since held off from going.

    The Defense monks are powerful, yet have precious little control over their own mind. They're driven by desperate vengeance, swallowing their minds. 

    Yet destroyed, their temple has some intact bits, such as the shrine garden, where the monks bathe. The consequences would be high if one of them betrayed their cause...a matter the monks haven't taken into account...

    Next week, imma go more into the enemy and their shadowy secrets.

    So, let's say, a bit of insidious and enlightened!


  • @TheDukeOfPork Nicely done. I like that you decided to subvert what many would suspect by not including black in your cult’s colors. Aside from that, I think we should all wait and see what @TheRacingTurtle has planned for us next week before we start planning ahead too much. I’ve had to rein myself in a bit (albeit there is a few ideas swirling around) in order to fully appreciate whatever the prompt ends up being. 
  • edited January 2021
    Also, still waiting for @MemoryHead to swoop in with his entries and run us all down with his cloutwagon 
  • Tannarian Researcher

    The Tannarian Society is, on the surface, a private club dedicated to preserving history and ensuring the preservation of knowledge. That makes it especially tempting to students of history, since many historical secrets are open to members of the Society. However, as many new members find out, there are loose threads through the hidden histories that suggest that the Society is looking for something hidden in the pages of history.

    Tannarian Invitation

    People can only join the Society through invitation, although members can suggest up-and-coming researchers whose skills could help the Society, as well as wealthy dilettantes who might fund projects and the Society as a whole.

    Targai Seat of the Council

    The Society is based in the city of Targai. It's been the center of its region for many years, and the Society enjoys the benefits of its massive library. The Society isn't the only nebulous entity in the city, but it is one of the most highly regarded.
  • Loving the entries so far, we have a little over two days to go until the end of round one. Let's see if we end up completing the colour pie with some red cards.
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