Hello adventurers! Welcome to my spellbook and thanl you so much for checking out the 41st episode of our background series. Today we’re going to taking a look at the rakdos cultist 5e. Which flavor wise has got to be one of my favorite all-time backgrounds. Really cool stuff and this is found in the guildmaster’s guide to ravnica. So you know it’s got some real wallop it’s packing. In any case if you missed or haven’t checked our backgrounds page yet we highly recommend you to check it out now. Let’s get into the topic now.
As per this d&d rakdos cultist background, from your heart you are an entertainer, the best performer with a flair for a dramatic and even a love of the spotlight. Of course you’ve already spent many years honing your craft and mastering a demanding set of skills so that you can perform them with the panache and even make them look easy. However here the wild shall applause, the screams of many crowds and the mayhem and even terror spreading into the streets-this is what you live for.
Even though you’re also a member of the cult which has been devoted for an ancient demon those who delights in the violence and the chaos. It is just so happens that a Rakdos loves the good show, and also your highest aspiration is for pleasing the Defiler, of course the Lord of Riots, with your own performance.
Basically what this really reminds me of is cicero from skyrim if you like the whole dark brotherhood thing this is like literally him like this is his whole shtick in a nutshell. Really it’s kind of oddly consistent. Let’s take a look at their extended spell list here.
Feature: Rakdos Guild Spells
Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature
As per this feature you shall get many advantages, for more details you can read the below paragraph.
For the sake of you, the spells upon the Rakdos Guild Spells table has been added to the spell list of your spellcasting class (al though, if you’re one of the multiclass characters with the multiple spell lists, these spells are added to all of them.). Check out the below mentioned table for better understanding.
|Cantrip||fire bolt, vicious mockery|
|1st||burning hands, dissonant whispers, hellish rebuke
|2nd||crown of madness, enthrall, flaming sphere
|4th||confusion, wall of fire
This feature allow your magic to frequently produce a flashy spectacle, wreathing you or else your targets within a mixture of the harmless flame and even the shadowy shapes. Whenever you are manipulate an opponent’s mind, a flaming symbol of the Rakdos might momentarily appear as a mask over the target’s face.
As cantrip you gain both a fire bolt and vicious mockery. As first level spells you gain burning hands, dissonant whispers and hellish rebuke. At second level you gain a crown of madness, enthrall and flaming sphere. At third level fear and haste. At fourth level spells include confusion and wall of fire and at fifth level you gain a dominate person.
A lot of these are really cool flavor wise but in terms of mechanics they’re alright. In terms of standouts firebolt is great just because of the range on it. Hellish rebuke is really nice if you don’t have a need for your reaction. Crown of madness depending on circumstances can be absolutely amazing. Enthrall is interesting too and flaming sphere if you don’t have a need for your bonus action can reap a lot of damage.
At third level haste is an obviously praised one but i think fear is slightly better in more cases than not. I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me on that but haste is really only good for martial characters and getting out of scenarios in a pinch where fear is kind of good for everyone and still good for getting out of scenarios in a pinch so.
That’s kind of how i’m looking at it. Confusion is a little bit random but has some pretty nice effects. Wall of fire is a solid choice for not only DPs or DPr iguess but also in terms of thematics and dominate person is of course great. But the standouts for me are going to have to be fireball, hellish rebuke and flaming sphere just for the record. Now let’s move on to its mechanics here.
Skill proficiencies include acrobatics and performance which of course makes sense given the context of your character and tool proficiency is one type of musical instruments. Its language options are rather unique either taking abyssal or giant. I feel like most people are going to pick abyssal although giant is probably going to be more useful. It would be worth of course discussing with your dungeon master what they think would be best and kind of going off of that.
You also get a ridiculous amount of equipment which is really interesting namely; A Rakdos insignia, musical instrument the one you kind of chose proficiency in earlier, a costume, a hooded lantern made of wrought iron, 10 foot length of chain with sharply spiked links, tinderbox which is used for starting fires, 10 torches, a set of common clothes, a belt pouch containing 10 gp, a bottle of sweet red juice. Which is pretty cool stuff overall.
- Skill Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Performance
- Tool Proficiencies: One type of musical instrument
- Language Proficiencies: Choose either Abyssal or Giant
- Equipment: A Rakdos insignia, a musical instrument (one of your choice), a costume, a hooded lantern made of wrought iron, a 10-foot length of chain with sharply spiked links, a tinderbox, 10 torches, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp (a mix of Azorius and Boros 1-zino coins), and a bottle of sweet red juice.
If you’re curious about the tinderbox in terms of an item, you can use it to light torches anything like exposed fuel takes an action and lightning other fire takes about one minute. Very cool stuff..now let’s move on to its feature is called fearsome reputation.
Feature: Fearsome Reputation
Many people can recognize you like a member of the Cult of Rakdos, and mainly they’re careful about not to draw your anger or else ridicule. However you can easily get away with the different types of minor criminal offenses, like refusing to pay for food at a restaurant or breaking down a door at a local shop, if no legal authorities witness the crime. Anyway most of the people those are too daunted by you in order to report your wrongdoing to the Azorius.
Now something worth pointing out here is this is almost identical to the pirate background from the player’s handbook with just a couple words added in here and there. Which kind of make it replace the pirate and some sense or another depending on how you’re looking at it and as with the pirate has the same upsides and downsides.
The upsides is there’s a strong argument to be made for this feature scaling as you do more thuggish or evil or threatening type things. Outside of that there are drawbacks namely that just because no one reported you doing something doesn’t mean that they don’t know you did something right!
So you’re likely not going to be met with open arms. People might be nice to your face but behind your back i can almost assure you they’re not gonna be your biggest fan. What that translates to in terms of gameplay is just to make sure you’re checking your food and drink for saliva before you partake too deeply. Now lets move on to flair for the dramatic feature and then some suggested characteristics here.
Feature: Flair for the Dramatic
Basically, these Rakdos performance styles are typically fuse a standard circus-style acrobatics with a fire, and also the wrought-iron spikes, and hooks, and monsters. However, you can roll easily a d8 or else select from the below mentioned table as we provided from the options in the Performance Options table it is to determine your preferred style of performance.
|d8||Type of Performer|
|8||Master of Ceremonies
Here the member of the demonic cults aren’t usually known to be a kindest or most mentally stable individuals, so that you’re most likely to be having something in your nature which distinguishes you from the law-abiding citizens of Ravnica.
You can check the rakdos dnd stats from below tables.
“I revel in mayhem, the more destructive the better.”
|1||I revel in mayhem, the more destructive the better.|
|2||When violence breaks out, I lose myself in rage, and it's sometimes hard to stop.
|3||Everything is funny to me, and the most hilarious and bloodiest things leave me cackling with sadistic glee.
|4||I derive genuine pleasure from the pain of others.
|5||I enjoy testing other people's patience.
|6||I can't stand it when things are predictable, so I like to add a little chaos to every situation.
|7||I throw my weight around to make sure I get my way.
|8||I enjoy breaking delicate works of art. And fingers, which are sort of the same.
Under ideal “Hedonism: death comes for everyone, so take as much pleasure as you can from every moment of life. And this is a relatively neutral position.”
|1||Guild: My guild is all that really matters. (Any)|
|2||Hedonism: Death comes for everyone, so take as much pleasure as you can from every moment of life. (Neutral)|
|3||Creativity: I strive to find more ways to express my art through pain-my own as well as others'. (Chaotic)|
|4||Freedom: No one tells me what to do. (Chaotic)|
|5||Equality: I want to see Ravnica remade, with no guilds and no hierarchies. (Chaotic)|
|6||Spectacle: People are inspired by the greatness they see in art. (Any)|
Under bond “I am devoted to rakdos and live to impress him.”
|1||I have belonged to the same performance troupe for years, and these people mean everything to me.|
|2||A blood witch told me I have a special destiny to fulfill, and I'm trying to figure out what it is.
|3||I'm secretly hoping that I can change the cult from the inside, using my influence to help rein in the wanton violence.
|4||I own something that Rakdos once touched (it's seared black at the spot), and I cherish it.
|5||I want to be better at my chosen form of performance than any other member of my troupe.
|6||I am devoted to Rakdos and live to impress him.
“I throw caution to the wind.” Which kind of blends with the ideal right!
|1||My family is prominent in another guild. I enjoy my wild life, but I don't want to embarrass them.|
|2||I couldn't hide my emotions and opinions even if I wanted to.
|3||I throw caution to the wind.
|4||I resent the rich and powerful.
|5||When I'm angry, I lash out in violence.
|6||There's no such thing as too much pleasure.
I feel like this is what a lot of rectus players are gonna be like. Kind of reckless a little bit crazy or maybe a lot crazy after all you’re literally performing for someone known as the defiler. So bear that in mind, also this might blend in interesting ways with other backgrounds the grinners in particular.
Seeing as though they are kind of revolutionaries in their own right and you reveal in riots and mayhem so. I don’t know the two might go hand in hand in more ways than not. Now let’s get to its contacts and then my personal thoughts.
The Cult of Rakdos is almost anything but in an organized way. Of course the Individuals shall frequently move from one performance troupe to another. However, almost all of the members of the cult shall know the former castmates now in a various types of troupes, which shall allow for a possibility of the widespread network of contacts.
You should roll twice on the Rakdos Contacts table (for an ally and a rival) and once on the Non-Rakdos Contacts table.
|1||I was part of a two-person act until my former partner moved to a different troupe.|
|2||My sibling and I ran away from home and joined the Cult of Rakdos together. We're very close.
|3||A childhood friend of mine is an attendant in Rix Maadi, the Rakdos guildhall.
|4||My parents brought me into the guild and taught me my trade.
|5||There's a lesser demon in the cult who thinks he owes me a favor, and who am I to argue?
|6||The master of ceremonies in my troupe is well connected with other troupes.
|7||I had a romance with a pain artist in another troupe.
|8||Rakdos himself has witnessed me perform.
|1||I know an Azorius elocutor who has a very amusing dark side.|
|2||A Boros captain really wants to "redeem" me.|
|3||I think a member of my troupe is a Dimir agent.|
|4||I once convinced a Golgari medusa to participate in a show. We've been on good terms ever since.
|5||I came from the Gruul and still have relatives there.
|6||An lzzet technician provides pyrotechnics for my performances.
|7||An Orzhov oligarch has taken an interest in my career, like a patron of the arts.
|8||Roll an additional Rakdos contact; you can decide if the contact is an ally or a rival.
|9||A Selesnya healer attends my performances regularly.
|10||A Simic biomancer provides mutant monsters to add a taste of the bizarre to our shows.
As with most of the guildmaster guide to ravnica backgrounds i am quite fond of the rakdos cultist. Is it too good, you know maybe in some scenarios in political campaigns or in social dominant campaigns. This might have more advantages than any other background.
That being said though, if you really do factor this into most day-to-day campaigns you’re really not going to reap too too many benefits from this at least not without incurring some drawbacks along the way. Its feature can be pretty good but also requires a decent amount of role play and decent roles.
After all if you try to threaten somebody who is much larger, much tougher than you and who doesn’t really care about the societal ramifications for harming you, you’re probably likely to get into more trouble than you are to receive any benefit from pursuing that type of feature too often.
In any case let me know what you think of the rakdos cultist down beneath in the comment section. Be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments, ideas or concerns you might have regarding them as well as any cool character ideas or stories from your past. As always guys i hope you have a great day and as always happy adventuring guys.