The following list outlines the sorts of Spectres who would be most likely to be the direct Patron of a cult, their uses for such a thing and the overall outlook of such an organization. This is not to say that other kinds of Spectres couldn't be Patrons, only that these are the most likely. Mortwights are looked at as menial laborers and disposable agents, and are not to be trusted with too much, Malfeans are unlikely to directly lead a cult due to their position in the Labyrinth, and Shades are too single-minded - or is that mindless? - to lead such a thing.


The wraiths who lost the battle to their Shadows, Dopplegangers are aptly named. Unlike most servants of Oblivion, they can partially disguise its hold upon them. Most of the time, they are charged with the dual tasks of spying upon, and subverting from within, the Necropoli. However, given that they still have fetters, this makes them ideal agents to spread Oblivion in the Skinlands as well.

Dopplegangers, then, have two purposes for any cult they patronize. The first is self-gain: the Angst gathered from many foolish dupes fuels his needs. The second is utilitarian: with a loyal following of Quick, all eager to curry his favor, Skinlands errands - such as finding the fetters of other wraiths and destroying them - become much easier to accomplish.

Unfortunately, most Dopplegangers are not long for the Shadowlands after their fall into Oblivion's embrace due to the methods of detecting them. Some are smart enough to plot and plan rather than step into the light and do their own work and risk being spotted: these have the strength to prosper, and perhaps advance in caste, but the rest are bound for dissolution or the forges.

Dopplegangers are aware of this, and tend to work their cults as hard as they can as quick as possible, knowing that tomorrow may be the end of their tenure. Some Dopplegangers are very stingy with Being to start out with, and then, sensing imminent capture or destruction, go out of their way to give out as much Oblivion as possible before the end. As a result, many cults patronized by Dopplegangers are like shooting stars: there is a flash on the horizon, followed by a brief, bright flame, and then there is nothing but cinders.



These Spectres, like Shades, are halfway between Dopplegangers and Nephwracks: they are starting to show the divine stigmata of Oblivion's love, but they still retain some of their Fetters. In the hierarchy of Oblivion, they are the traveling priests and field commanders, overseeing a Nephwrack's wishes, or conspiring to take his place. And, in their duty as priest, who better than they to spread Oblivion's cause into the Skinlands? Their mastery of the Dark Arcanos Maleficence makes them perfect for it.

Like the Dopplegangers that some of them were, Apparitions see cults as a utilitarian thing, but the gathering of Angst for personal reasons is secondary to the spreading of Oblivion's message. To this end, they go out of their way to make sure their cults are as close to Oblivion's ideal as possible. Of course, depending on which Malfean the individual is following, that "ideal" will vary quite a bit. Their plans could be as simple as ruining a community one home at a time, or using a convenient disease to infect horror and despair upon dozens at once.

Apparitions don't get to where they are by making snap judgments or changing their mind too often. As a result, such a Patron will be as free with the Being on the first day as he is on the last day, or as stingy, depending on what he feels the best method to achieve his aims is. On the other hand, Apparitions are playing for such high stakes they tend to be more liberal with their giving of Being than Dopplegangers or Nephwracks.

With luck, sacrifice and hard work, there will come a day when the Apparition destroys his last ties to the world and then ascends to Nephwrack caste. At that point the Cult is out of luck, but there's a good chance another Spectre will come along to fill the void before too long.



The high priests of Oblivion, and courtiers to the Malfeans. Due to their lack of fetters, and traditional duties within the Labyrinth, it is very rare for one of them to be the Patron of a Spectre Cult. The only true exceptions are to maintain very large and important cults, or ones that the Malfean they serve believes to be auspicious in some way and does not wish to leave to a Doppleganger or Apparition.

Any cult that has a Nephwrack as its Patron is in for good times and bad. They can afford to lavish Being on their chosen servants, but at the same time they brook no failure lightly. In the Labyrinth, the servants of the darkness are expected to randomly torture their lackeys to keep them combat-ready, and reward failure with a swift, painful devouring of the offender. As below, so above: a lackwit mortal who fails is dead, and a lacking mortal leader who fails will be quickly replaced, and his replacement granted the right of the kill.

The cult who has a Nephwrack is also blessed in longetivity: the Nephwrack wouldn't be there if her Malfean didn't think the cult an important endeavor. The Spectre Patron may change due to attrition, and the Cultist leaders will come and go like South American presidents, but the cult itself will continue on.



Though the child-Spectres are unique in that they cut across Castes, they deserve special mention here because of their unique, and hideous, focus. Those Striplings of the Doppleganger, Apparition and - increasingly - Nephwrack Castes who Patronize Spectre Cults focus their attention on children. Almost universally, they recruit children to be their cult leaders, and encourage those leaders to recruit others like them for their "secret club."

The Stripling agenda is a simple one. As they've found, the more members in Oblivion's service can balance out the disparity of caste - therefore, recruitment of other Spectres like themselves is of paramount importance, on equal footing with the worship of Oblivion. Their cults are breeding grounds for potential Striplings: encouraging spectacular "accidents," ghoulish "pranks" and hideous "adventures" whose only real purpose is to maim and kill as many playmates as possible. This leads to predictably horrifying results, the sort that cause worldwide shock when the effects make the newspapers. And once these child ghosts enter the Shadowlands, the Striplings will reap them and lead them off to the Labyrinth for "initiation."

As if that wasn't bad enough, worst part of the whole thing is that sometimes the Striplings don't have to push too hard to get their playmates to cross over with them. These cynical and impersonal times have bred despair like sour fruit, and too many children in the "civilized world," like their older brothers and sisters, are easily convinced that death is a better thing than life. The only difference is that their older siblings have developed a taste for the odd distractions that this world has to offer, and perpetuate their existence if only for them, or have numbed their minds with drugs and alcohol. These distractions can make the job of any other Spectre a more difficult one. The young crowd hasn't crossed that bridge yet, though, and there are the Striplings, happy to show them a whole different kind of river to travel down...

Stripling cults tend to be short-lived, considering that they're all one ghastly and photogenic accident away from their true purpose being fulfilled. However, once that cult is all dead and its members halfway to being Striplings, the Patron can always move on and find new playmates to start over with. Due to that, regardless of Caste Striplings are very, very reluctant to give away points of Being to their leaders, preferring to lure them with those dark temptations and mysteries that childhood brings and adolescence tends to destroy.



These odd Spectres, which used to be fairly rare, are becoming more and more common. The victims of atrocity, genocide and famine, these Spectres come into the Shadowlands much like Mortwights, for they are already in the service of Oblivion from the moment they were taken from their coffin. They can be identified by the black fires of Oblivion that rage in their empty, smoldering eyesockets.

The Haints, being in the same sort of situation as the Mortwights, are at the bottom of the Caste system. Unlike Mortwights, however, they don't seem too concerned with this. In fact, unlike other Spectres, they don't seem to care much about the Labyrinth or the elaborate worship of Oblivion via the Malfeans at all. Oblivion is their reason for being, of course, but their sole purpose for existing, past that, is to feed the empty, gnawing hole in their gut and make sure those who didn't suffer as they did get a taste of what it felt like.

Those Haints who Patronize cults, then, do so in order to fill their own needs and pay back the living. Sometimes they do take their revenge on the people responsible for their condition, and sometimes they just don't care who gets hurt as long as they're doing the hurting. It's not too uncommon for a Haint to find someplace where peace and plenty reign, get sickened by the sight of people living a life she'd have killed to have, and then begin to do anything possible to destroy that tranquility.

Due to their endless hunger, Haints are unlikely to share anything with their followers in terms of Being. In order to have followers, Haints must find people who would be willing to give freely without getting anything in return. A favorite tactic is to find "bleeding heart" types - especially idiots in the campus protest set - who can be guilt-tripped into doing the unthinkable to "make a statement" about whatever atrocity took the Haint's life. That such a statement might take more lives is immaterial, especially if the Haint's been able to mess with her cult's heads.

Due to the particulars of their deaths, Haints are fairly short-lived. Fittingly, so are their cults, but if the current crop gets caught or blows itself up while "protesting" the Biafra massacre, the Haint can always find more fools somewhere else.