As said many times before – After the long war Arkat retired with his closest confederates to Arkhome, which became the capitol of Arkat’s Autarchy. Arkat instituted formal cult procedures, created a government to rule after he was gone, then departed to the stasis of the Other Side in 500, where he remains worshiped as the patron god of Heroquesting. Arkat’s cult controlled exploratory Heroquesting. They had rigorous entrance requirements and maintained strict rules and iron discipline. They demanded respect for the magics, and a tender care in treating with them. The cult policed the Hero Plane, seeking unwanted or obtrusive Heroquesters and expelling them. They made many enemies that way but maintained stability on the Hero Plane.
The God Learners destroyed Arkat’s Dark Empire in 740, and his empire, and his cult, fell to conquerers who carried off his secrets, prizes, and wonders. At this point stop. The cult founded by Arkat, with its secrets, its knowledge of exploratory Heroquesting, its rigorous entrance requirements and strict rules and iron discipline – that’s gone. The God Learners destroyed it, looted it, and wore its carcass as a hat.
But a few centuries later, the God Learners themselves met the same fate. And various groups claimed to be the successors of the Arkat Cult, each with their own secrets and claims of direct lineage to Arkat. All have extravagant claims, and none have managed to fulfill their boasts.
So each of these “Arkat cults” can be as wrong or as right as you the gamemaster want them to be in your campaign. They can be charlatans or keepers of mysteries – or both. They can be a little right and a lot wrong – or even something completely other “disguised” as an Arkat cult.
Except there is one Arkat cult that might – just might – have a direct lineage to the God. That of Arkat Kingtroll in Halikiv, founded by the Wizard Children. Except they are not human, but monstrous dark trolls that live forever in Darkness. And they do not teach their secrets to non-trolls.
So when we talk about “the Arkat Cult” we have to be very careful to define what we mean by that. Are we talking about:
- The original cult founded by Arkat that guarded the pathways of Heroquesting and was in existence circa 450 to 740?
- One of the many “successor cults” of the original cult?
- The Kingtroll cult founded by the dark troll “Wizard Children” that keeps the secrets of sorcery for the trolls?
- Something else?
That original cult had some pretty amazing secrets and lore. Even if they managed to keep much of their lore out of the hands of the God Learners, what the God Learners took was enough to jumpstart their techniques to a new level. Think about that – a secretive cult, bound by iron discipline, that held the mysteries behind the God Learners.
And this cult was dedicated to guarding the pathways of the Hero Plane, preventing people from misusing exploratory Heroquesting (and Illumination) to screw around with the mythic foundations of the cosmos. Imagine the things they did, the hero quests they stopped!
And here’s a really crazy idea – what if there are still Arkati in the God Time? Eternally there, always reoccurring.
Just an idea for you GMs…..
Any Arkati you encounter in the Third Age is going to be something like someone today claiming to be the heir to the secrets of the Knights Templar.