D&D 3.0: Tales from Mystara
Demon cults are quite a mixed bunch – the name generally refers to militant sects of the Order of the Shadow Court, but these groups can be very different, depending on their patron Immortal, philosophy, and history. This section outlines some of the most important cults, but in the chaotic underworld of the Shadow Court, these organizations are not as stable as the more legitimate ones, and new groups emerge frequently, just as old groups are destroyed or implode due to internal dissention.
Demon cults take the name pai, that is school of thought, to show their devotion to specific philosophies. The informal leaders take the title of Elder (laoda).
Huo Pai: School of Fire
Possibly the oldest of the Demon Cults, the Huo Pai focuses on the worship of Hua Fan-Liang, though the Fiery General, Rong Han, is also respected by this school of thought. Huo Pai members believe in the supremacy of fire over the other elements, and originated from the ancient Cypri who had brought, hidden, the teachings of the Followers of Fire from Old Alphatia. The Followers of Fire hid among the non-magical Cypri, and moved with them to Ochalea.
The Huo Pai took part in the Ochalean uprising against the Alphatians, and was a legal faction for the first three centuries thereafter. A string of especially agressive Elders in the fourth century AC led to the outlawing of the Huo Pai. Since the sixth century AC, the Huo Pai are only present in significant numbers in the Celestial Territories, though cells survive in Beitung as well as in the provinces of Cao, Chun and Kiang.
Bao Pai: School of Revenge
Only the evilest demon cultist compose the Bao Pai – the Revenge of the Dreamwalker, Jiang Da-Ru. This sect acts mostly as an assassins’ guild, offering its services to anyone who has a wrong (real or perceived) to avenge.
Bao Pai members are expert martial artists, and are highly skilled in stealth as well.
Gui Pai: School of the Ghost
This sect developed in the towns of Ochalea as the frequency of undead occurence grew. The lack of action on the part of the established priesthoods led the poorest locals to form self-defense groups, who later developed into crime gangs managing protection rackets. The Gui Pai is accounted as a sect of the Shadow Order, but it has only few priests in its ranks, which are instead filled mostly by thieves and warriors.
Yinghe Pai: School of the Shadow Lotus
The main sect of followers of the shadow empress, Nü Yue-Wang, the Yinghe Pai is among the less overtly evil of the Demon Cults. Its members do, however, hold an unhealthy fascination with undeath, which they consider as one of the possible evolutions of life. Most elders of the Yinghe Pai are actually sentient undead – ghosts and the occasiona nosferatu – which puts them at odds with the Gui Pai.