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""Sensation is a wheel. One direction is pleasure. The other is pain. Walk the path of pleasure long enough, and you’ll find pain. Walk the path of pain, and you’ll find pleasure. My love, let me take you on this path, to experience the ample pleasures and pains my lord offers. Let me run my tongue across your back. Let me cut you. Let me tease you, titillate you. Let me cut you. Let me fulfil your every need. Let me kill you.""
—Allana, Cult Magus of Slaanesh.[1a]
Syberites Cult

The Sybarites are a mysterious organisation dedicated solely to the pursuit of exquisite pleasure and terrifying pain. They believe both experiences are but reflections of the same thing: the limits of Human endurance. To understand pure pleasure is to know pure pain, and vice versa. The Sybarites include members of both genders, and they welcome all into their fold, from the mildly curious to the downright depraved. They have no interest in politics, though the numbers of nobles and politicians obviously bring a certain political sensibility. And religion matters not; there are plenty of Priests with hidden desires. They see themselves as the true ideologues of emotion, pleasure and agony, and they must slake their thirst in reaching the heights of bliss and the depths of sorrow, whenever and wherever they can.[1a]

History Edit

Like most large cities in the Empire, Nuln has its fair share of subversive organisations. Aside from the machinations of the Mutants of the Night Market, Nuln also houses the largest Cult of Slaanesh in the Empire, larger than even the now-defunct Jade Sceptre of Middenland (see Ashes of Middenheim page 22). Though enormous, the Sybarites have remained hidden thanks to the cult’s commitment to lying low. Even during the Skaven uprising a few years back, and the recent troubles on their streets, the Sybarites remained securely out of sight.[1a]

Part of their success stems from their long history of being at the centre of the Empire’s politics. When Emperor Fulk moved the seat of the Empire from Altdorf to Nuln in an effort to show support for the burgeoning Cult of Sigmar, he brought with him a slew of decadent sycophants and pleasure-seekers. It’s not clear if Fulk was a cultist or not, but his time spent in the city produced a great many wonders of architecture, art, and beautification, all at the expense of the city’s labourers. Against this breathtaking backdrop, Nuln gained a reputation for catering to the pleasures of its visitors, attracting people from all over the Old World. It’s believed at some point in this era, the Sybarites were founded.[1a]

Starting small, they catered to the bored and curious courtiers in the Emperor’s court. What began as a few illicit meetings became something darker, something far more sinister. The orgies turned strange, exploring the forbidden, the fantastic, and the grotesque. And its members grew more daring in their exploits, creating something of a perverse subculture in the city.[1a]

Over the next five centuries, the Sybarites were the worst-kept secret in the city. Any efforts to uncover them and their excesses were blocked by politicians and Priests, sometimes even by the Emperor himself. And then, in 1110 IC, a stalwart Witch Hunter exposed the Arch Lector of Sigmar as a secret member of the organisation after a fire started mysteriously in the Temple. What followed was a terrible scandal that ultimately led Emperor Boris Goldgather to relocate his seat of power back to Altdorf while he resided in a palace in Carroburg. As history notes, this set in motion the terrible plagues and subsequent war that nearly destroyed the Empire (see Chapter II: The History of the Empire in Sigmar’s Heirs).[1a]

The horrors that followed diverted attention from the conspiracy in Nuln as citizens fought for their very lives. The cultists learned a valuable lesson from this ordeal: they learned the need for secrecy. So, for the next thousand years, the Sybarites have remained in Nuln, maintaining their perversions as they always have, slowly corrupting the upper class and seducing men and women at all levels of government. Some whisper the Countess herself dabbles in the idle pursuits of the cult, though none would dare voice such treasonous thoughts.[1a]

Organisation Edit

The Sybarites are so large they have multiple Cult Magi distributed throughout the city. No one knows for sure how many there are, but suffice it to say, there’s one for each district. Beneath the Magi are the many Acolytes whose duty it is to attract new members and procure subjects for their terrible orgies.[1a]

The most influential member is a woman known as the Silken One. She moves from cell to cell, killing the previous Cult Magi and sampling the delights of the particular sect. It’s said she does this because she can no longer experience pleasure, no longer feel pain, so she desperately searches for new sensations. Her migrations also inadvertently keep the cult’s numbers in check, which helps to conceal their existence.[1a]

Symbol Edit

The Sybarites use a stylised version of Slaanesh’s icon in their rituals, though they are prone to using snakes and reptiles in their gatherings. Chains, masks, leather straps, spikes, and studs are all common motifs.[1b]

Motives and Goals Edit

Unlike other cults, the Sybarites have no interest in dabbling in the political machinations of the Empire. Moreover, they have no concerns about martial strength, leaving such matters to the savage followers of Khorne. No, worship of Slaanesh is about sampling experiences and nothing else.[1b]

Recruiting Edit

To sustain its members, the Sybarites are aggressive when luring new members. They typically look for healthy young men and women born of a suitable station, though by no means are they limited to the youth of the upper classes. Acolytes use their talents for seduction to draw new members in, building trust while being experts in pleasing their victims. In time, the Acolyte pushes the boundaries of what’s acceptable, always testing to see how far their “lovers” will go before they panic, and if they do, the Acolyte always lures them back with promises of safer titillation. Once they build up to a proper tension, they lead their victims to a specially prepared gathering. Willing participants are invited to join the cult. The Sybarites also finance orphanages and asylums to prey upon the most vulnerable people, granting them access to abuse the children in whatever sadistic way they wish without fear of discovery.[1b]

Ceremonies Edit

The Sybarites have many ceremonies and rites, far more than can be defined here. The most notable sacred day is Mondstille, the winter solstice when Morrslieb is full. The cultists open their ceremonies with unspeakable sacrifices and then mix in a perverse celebration of sensations, elicited both by conjured Daemons and other cultists. The vile orgy is enough to drive a sane man mad in its sheer depravity. To conclude the ceremony, they sacrifice a young man or woman and distribute the victim’s blood to the gathered host.[1b]

Source Edit

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Corruption
    • 1a: pg. 74
    • 1b: pg. 75

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