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The Moloch: a setting sourcebook for KULT

Theme and Mood
Urban Horror

The theme of the Moloch is urban horror. The city is a cold place and life means nothing within it. Yet the city itself seems to be alive - an evil aeons old feeds on the suffering within it. The citizens live in a vortex of violence and poverty, a vast number of people live below the poverty line and not a few lose their minds - or worse.

In the deep at the heart of the Moloch there lies an ancient deity which subsides on pain, fear and torment, giving protection and fertility - but only to spawn further evil. It is the source of the name the people within this city have given to their home: the Moloch is both the god and the city.

The Moloch is served by a cult using rituals that have not changed much over millennia. The cult works in secrecy, and other factions with interests in the territory of the Moloch are at constant odds with this cult. Life in the Moloch is governed by an organization which is only known as the Management. The Management is not under the direct control of the deity. Instead it was built up by servants of Kether, the Ruler, whose envoy Prince Rainier Xavier von Habsburg lives at the Dortburg, a castle and surrounding village in the midst of the Ruhr area but strangely separate at the same time. After the disappearance of the Demiurge and Kether's shift in priorities in favour of Huang Li-Pao in Taiwan (see Legions of Darkness) the prince is on his own. Even though Kether might no longer support Rainier Xavier the loyalty which this archon inspires is hard to shake off. Prince Rainier still works at his plans to eventually rule a unified, aristocratic Europe as God Emperor. The Management is his personal tool securing his power base. It is a group of Lictors and other servants in key positions within politics, economy and society in the Moloch and who wield significant influence within the state of Northrhine-Westphalia and Germany itself. The Management supports Prince Rainier and works for the upkeep of the Illusion. Those who might Awaken are hunted, subjugated and enslaved; Children of the Night are destroyed; whereever the Illusion is threatening to break down the Management uses its considerable resources to close the breach or cover it up. But the very influence of the Moloch in the deep is gnawing at the foundations of the Illusion, and it is only a matter of time when it will fall for good.

The primary enemy of the Management (even though they do not realize it yet) are the Masters of the Temple lead by the renegade Lictor Anton Pradwyck who has escaped the bonds of Kether's domain. Pradwyck's aim is the replacement of Prince Rainier Xavier (see Legions of Darkness).

There are more factions in the area of the Moloch - but while the Moloch itself is conscious of all of them they know only little about each other or the Moloch.

The Forgotten are a loose organization of people some of whom are on the road to Awakening, and some of whom are just mentally insane. They are homeless people who have gathered around a philosopher and a historian and who work together in an effort to break through the boundaries of the Illusion. They know the secret pathways of the Moloch like no other and they are as much at home in the Labyrinth bordering on Metropolis as they are in the sewers and the industrial ruins of the cities.

The underground also hides the enigmatic Nephilim who have marked the borders of their subterranean territory with magical talismans and fetishes which the Forgotten respect. No outsider knows who they are or what they want.

Other Children of the Night also roam the Moloch and pursue their own agendas.

Describing the living city

Campaigns set in the Moloch should imply the feeling of a city full of unhealthy life - the presence of the Moloch is evident everywhere. All descriptions should include and emphasize the life in the city apart from its citizens: stray dogs or cats, fat rats, fungus and mold, moss and lichen, but also the rhythmic stomping below, as if a gigantic heart was beating there, pipelines which contain hot liquids like veins carry the blood, traffic that seems organic.

Dead meat rots very quickly and myriads of carrion eaters gather at the site; nothing remains sterile or clean for long and sex leads to pregnancy far more often than average. Multiple births are common as are genetic defects and hereditary illnesses. Cancer is proliferating.

Foods bought in the supermarkets tend to rot or mold even before they reach their sell-by date. No shop will replace such goods.

Crime and perversion run rampant in the Moloch. The number of missing persons is dramatic. But the citizens are almost apathetic in regard to the mounting news of atrocities; they are like a swarm of ants which barely notices the few individual worker ants which are crushed under the food of a playing child.

Mental illnesses are also prolific in the Moloch; a number of badly equipped and old-fashioned asylums collect the terminally insane without any hope for or attempt at a cure. They are all controlled by the Management. Those who are in danger of Awakening are singled out and end up on the Dortburg slave market.

Ideally, the player characters should never really encounter the Moloch physically (although that is possible). It should always seem to hover above their heads as an unseen, obnoxious presence. The other factions in the Moloch might already be more than the player characters can stomach. There is not much the player characters can do that will not please the Moloch - either they suffer or they cause suffering, but in the end the Moloch is satisfied.

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