THE CULT OF RAKDOS
The members of the Cult of Rakdos are a threat to themselves and others. Thrill seekers, sadists, masochists, entertainers and full-blown lunatics gather together in this cult of personality, united in their shared interest in a rule-free life of self-satisfaction. They are the guild of ‘do what you want, nuts to the rules’ and are very open about it. Ranging from relatively harmless purveyors of most of Ravnica’s entertainment industry, to depraved serial killers, the Cult represent probably the most dramatic dichotomy of any of the guilds of Ravnica.
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
Unofficially, the Cult of Rakdos was formed as a contingency plan; a way to keep its parun and guildmaster, the demon Rakdos entertained and occupied. A violent, unpredictable embodiment of selfish hedonism, Rakdos might be the most dangerous living thing on Ravnica. Without something to hold his interest, the other guilds feared that he would ravage the plane out of boredom. As it is, they are a group of like-minded persons who idolize his self-interested lifestyle and celebrate the cult’s irreverence for the rules and restrictions most of the other guilds impose upon their own and Ravnica as a whole.
Officially, they were put to work. They represent the manual labor force of Ravnica. Construction, demolition, mining; etc. But that’s super boring, so they took it upon themselves to entertain themselves, and as fortune would have it, others. Many within the Rakdos crave attention, and so they have come to be the backbone of Ravnica’s entertainment. All of it. Ranging from the mundane and normal, circuses, strip clubs, bars, gambling houses, to the depraved; brothels, snuff houses, and all manner of blood sport. If there’s a way to have fun on Ravnica, the Rakdos are the best at it, woe be it to you if someone else’s idea of fun is not in your best interests.
Given that violent, criminal sadism isn’t repressed in the Cult the way it is by most any sane political organization, there are a number of members in the Cult that are good at doing dirty deeds for fun and profit. Whereas the Dimir, for example, are good at breaking the law in a covert and subtle way, the Rakdos make a spectacle out it, which certainly has its uses if you don’t care who knows or want to send a message.
Even more officially, the Rakdos served a secret purpose, to enforce the necessity of the Guildpact. The Rakdosfrequently engage in very public spectacles of violence and destruction, and the only thing keeping them in check are the other guilds. For this very purpose alone the other guilds tolerate the Cult’s continued existence because it reinforces the idea that the Guilds are all keeping each other in check.
It should be stressed though, that despite the horrors that their Cult at their worst represent, they are not universally feared and despised across the plane. There are those among their number of have the harmless desire to simply be the best entertainers of their specialty, and the Cult has the best structure to pursue that career path. There are those within the cult that realize that they, the average parishioner, are all that stand between Rakdos and a violent end to the city should his boredom overtake him, and are willing to live their life and die their death pursuing that purpose. For every violent assassin in the Cult, there is a harmless barkeeper that provides entertainment to those sorely in need.
THE FALL OF THE DEMON
Rakdos lives large and almost poetically, rests large as well. When he sleeps, he does so for months, sometimes years at a time. During these occurrences, his seconds in command vie for power. The next highest position of power in the cult is the rank of Bloodwitch. When is he is awake, these powerful mages, mostly women, are Rakdos’ eyes and ears to the smaller parts of the world that Rakdos cannot see from his position of power. They act on his whims and gain his favor. When he sleeps, they turn from his sycophantic enablers to power-hungry politicians vying for the incredible power that a position of leadership in the cult provides, and many seek to establish more permanent, longer-lasting plans during their parun’s absence.
During the celebration of the Decimillenial, the most powerful Bloodwitch was a woman named Izolda, who hand grand plans for domination over the plan. Leveraging deals with several other folks from other guilds, she shaped a plan to take control over Rakdos at his weakest, his slumber, and use him as a weapon for her own power. Some who had dealt with her had other plans though, and Rakdos was injured by a Simic monstrosity. The spell tethering Izolda and Rakdos together backlashed onto Izolda causing her damage. Sensing her weakness and suspecting her defeat imminent, her followers cannibalized her, and Rakdos’s mind was shattered as Izolda died inside of it. He fell into a coma and was returned to his home, a lava pit inside his palace, Rix Maadi, located in the core of a dormant volcano hollowed out by Rakdos mining.
Without Rakdos in charge, very little changed. He was more of an icon than a political leader, and most of the day-to-day management of the Guild was left to the Bloodwitches and Ringleaders, so the Cult changed very little in his absence.
RISE AGAIN AND RUNNING OF THE MAZE
Sometime after the fallout of the sundering of the Guildpact, the attempt to carry on with a non-magical Guildpact, and the eventual return of the Guilds to power, Rakdos roused from his seemingly endless sleep as though it had never happened. Not one to let others keep him down; he carried on as though nothing had happened.
The announcement of the running of the Maze was regarded within a Cult as an excuse to have fun rather than a serious life or death matter for control of the fate of the city. Rakdos personally chose a runner; the Bloodwitch Exava. A crafty, violent woman, Exava had come to become Rakdos’ personal favorite Bloodwitch. She was intimately familiar with the sort of thing that Rakdos enjoyed and was quite good at providing quality entertainment. She was clever and knew how to gain and maintain power. And best of all, she was an exceptionally theatrically-minded showman. Style is important in the Cult of Rakdos.
She was favored for her position of power as well as a series of repeated run-ins with Jace Beleren who found himself at the middle of the affair, and his friends and accomplices. She savored the job of maze runner, as a task handed down personally from Rakdos himself is an incredibly rare honor, and because she loves a good excuse for a party.