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The Moloch: a setting sourcebook for KULT

The Lurker Beneath

Almost hypnotized the young man and his beautiful companion stared into the glaring bonfire inside the huge blast furnace. The heat drenched them and the assembly in sweat. They could only barely recognize the blurry, demonic face someone had spray painted around the opening of the furnace which in turn acted as its gaping mouth. The young woman swallowed dryly and looked down at the bundle of cloth in her arms which twitched a little just then and a crease of which moved lightly. The man put his hand on her shoulder.

The high priest raised his hands, the folds of his hooded garment fell back and revealed tattooed forearms. In a deep voice he called out: "Thus Frank and Margarethe offer you their sacrifice so that you may guard their lives in your grace!"

This was their cue - the young couple went forward. On a nod by the high priest they bowed their heads in front of the glowing furnace, then took the bundle between them. A low, smothered cry escaped it. Together the two of them threw the bundle into the furnace - the heat tore the cloth away and upwards, and the heartrendingly screamingbaby could be seen for a flicker as a bubbling, quickly blackening mass of flesh with its thin, fluffy hair shriveling away in a split second. Then it disappeared in the conflagration.

All stared into the purifying fire-breath of the Moloch. Nobody saw the twin red dots twinkling under the hood of the high priest where his eyes were supposed to be...

The Moloch - god and city

The city that is the Moloch was not always called that - you won't find the word inscribed on any traffic sign or on any map. Outside of the Moloch, the word is not even used nor understood as the name for the city, but within the city, the inhabitants refer to their home only by that term. Nobody remembers when that started or why this word has been chosen to designate what has become of the city; to all effects, it has always been called the Moloch.

Originally, Moloch was the name of an ancient god. This god is mentioned in the Bible, and it is also known by many permutations of this name. 'Moloch' is a rather modern rendition of the original name which has been lost in the recesses of time.

Not much is known about the cult of the Moloch and just what kind of deity he might have been. Historians and theologists agree that he was a personification of evil; that children were sacrificed in his name, especially firstborn sons, to avert his curse by placing them in the hands of a huge idol with a gaping maw in the depths of which an unholy fire burned; a mechanical contraption moved the hands to make it look as if the god himself threw the screaming victims into his mouth.

Sinister rumours link his worship to that of Yahweh, the Hebrew war god who later aspired to become the One God of all monotheistic religions. It is no big surprise that Yahweh is an image the early captive humans made to symbolize the Demiurge, their gaoler. But just whom does the Moloch symbolize?

The Moloch is a Living God. Nobody knows whether he is an Awakened human or another being altogether, more powerful or less powerful than an Awakened. His evil is different from that of Astaroth. He is not the tempter, not the punisher. He is the devourer of children, the defiler of all that lives, more sinister even than Astaroth and his death angels. Astaroth and the Inferno are part of the prison the Demiurge invented for us - Moloch is not part of it. He may be a twin of Astaroth, or a different being altogether, but one thing is sure: he has been with us since our imprisonment began, and he has never left our side, always waiting for the sacrifices to be made.

The Demiurge and Astaroth both actively fought the Moloch, for while he is not interested in the Illusion in any way, he is weakening the status quo. The Moloch brings depravity in his wake, and from the suffering his presence engenders people may find a way to Awaken. Yet the Demiurge and Astaroth could not harm the Moloch. The Moloch seems to be a part of the human subconscious as much as an independent being, and as long as humans remain imprisoned, Moloch will be extant.

The Moloch has lived among us since the earliest times, and he was fed by the suffering engendered by wars, pestilence and the Inquisition. His power grew immensly when the Industrialization set in: the rich were burning up the poor in their factories, and especially the anguish and plight of countless children fed to the furnaces were ambrosia to the Moloch. It grew to obscene proportions, and where it had walked the world before it now became dormant, bloated and saturated beneath the cover of the earth - beneath the feet of the people living in that city which from then on became synonymous with the lurker beneath its streets: the Moloch.

The Moloch is a Living God - he does not have any corporeal form within the Illusion which could be described in terms of game stats. But it is not completely unthinkable that strong-willed investigators break through the Illusion and quest for the Moloch.

In the lightless depths of the subterranean labyrinth there is a tremendously vast hall in which the bloated, mighty form of the god rests; a veritable mountain of soft flesh without discernible limbs or sensory organs. The hall can be found by visiting Moloch's temple on one of the 7777 hills of Metropolis. There is a chasm in front of it, separating the temple portal from the street, looking like a yawning, hungry maw. The borders of the chasm are slippery and crumbling, and deep in the pit there's the light and heat of red hot fire, which lets the very air above the chasm shiver and projects luring hallucinations into it. If anyone falls into the chasm the flames will see to it that a well-done morsel eventually drops into the one gaping opening atop the hungrily waiting flesh mound Moloch.

The Moloch has a dark effect on the city above him and all the world: he is the fount from which we take our aggressive thoughts. Have you ever imagined how great it would be to slice open the belly of that smelly stranger in the street, rip out his entrails and gloat over his torment? Have you ever played with a child, your own or someone else's, and secretly wondered how easily those fragile bones might snap? How effortlessly you could destroy that little life, smash it against a wall, tear it to pieces and eat its heart? This is the Moloch whispering to you. Your thoughts feed it, but it wants more. All it takes is a little push in the right direction and you'll find yourself doing what you previously only dreamt of. You will feed the Moloch, and it will take what you can give. It will squeeze you out and bleed you dry. And you will get nothing in return; there are always more where you came from.

These urges are strong everywhere, but nowhere as strong as in the Moloch's own city. The atrocities pile up, the body count mounts, but the media and the police are strangely silent on that matter; everyone feels the influence of the Moloch, man and lictor, and all cherish the situation deep in their souls, as long as they do not become the victims. Whenever the Moloch takes another life, everyone just looks the other way. Many atrocious deeds go unpunished, while other factions punish the smallest transgressions overly harsh and no second chances are given.

Welcome to the Moloch - live while you can.

The cult of the Molokai

The influence of the Moloch did not take long to make people begin venerating it. Depravity was rampant in the early industrial age; and people were desparate for a way out of their debasement, even if only in their minds, even if for the price of their children. For over a hundred years the cult of Moloch has been revived, and parents sacrifice their first-born to the god.

The cult started in a steel producing company; here the first child was offered to the god by throwing it into one of the giant furnaces in which the steel was melted down. The practice soon spread and became a kind of consecration for new furnaces. Furnaces all over Europe were at long last designed in the image of Moloch.

Outside the Moloch area the cult was not for long. But here it exists even today. It assembles in the ruins of an old Hütte - the German word that designates a factory for steel. There is just one operational giant furnace here, located in an underground vault accessible only through a locked iron gate inside the ruins. A demonic face has been painted on the front of the furnace, making its opening the giant maw of the god Moloch. The cult keeps the fire stoked and burning by feeding it children abducted from the city above. New members are required to provide a child of their own or one closely related to them. In exchange the spirit of the Moloch enters them; in their ecstasy the depravity that weighs on them becomes natural, lessening the pain.

The cult is led by the High Priest of Moloch - the same man who founded the cult back in the 19th century, though he is no longer a man in any meaningful sense of the word. The Moloch has taken him over and he is to all effects an avatar of the god. His body is greyish-black as if it consisted of ash (which it does), and his eyes are like two tiny specks of glowing coal. He conceals his features under a hooded robe. He walks the borderland of death, given life by the unholy rites of the cult.

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