Fellowship Within the Water
Name(s) of the Cult: The Fellowship Within the Water
Origin: Call of Cthulhu scenario "Dead Leaves Fall"
History and Scope
The Fellowship Within the Water unofficially formed in Massachussetts in the 1920s, when a several Children of Chaat found themselves in the care of Dr. Earl Fairmount at an innovative clinic at Bolton. Dr. Earl Fairmount believed his patients' claims about strange transformations on Halloween and their sense of being called to "rejoin their ancestors in the water" to be some strange, shared delusion, to be treated through psychoanalytic means. The doctor sequestered the patients together for further study, and it was in the final days of their time together under the doctor's care that the group became a cult, as their mutations accelerated and the patients began having shared dreams. Upon witnessing the patients' more advanced stages of transformation, the horrified Dr. Fairmount was profoundly shaken, and in revulsion and terror the doctor began persecuting his own patients, who escaped and fled to a secret commune in Foxfield to await their final transformation into their true form. The Fellowship Within the Water took its name from Dr. Fairmount's title for his originally planned book about the group's supposed delusions.
This comparatively peaceful group of hybrids may have survived Fairmount's attempts to eradicate them and the other disturbing events of the night of their predicted final transformation, persisting to this day, as they prepare their fellow Children of Chaat for their own traumatic transformations, quietly increasing the ranks of the group year by year.
Identification and Activity
Members of the Fellowship Within the Water are usually hybrid Children of Chaat, though at varying times some members might also be humans and Deep Ones and other hybrid creatures, perhaps mis-identified as Children of Chaat, or simply strange outsiders accepted into the group for the group's own reasons.
The early stages of the transformation into the true form of the Children of Chaat typically result in mutations in humans that include crab-like claws, flippers, gills, tentacles, and other aquatic features. In more extreme cases, the mutants shed their human shells and transform completely into monstrous creatures with no resemblance to human beings.
The most human members of the group typically provide the semi-public face of the group for recruiting purposes, with the members who have undergone the most extreme transformations hiding in seclusion near the water.
The Fellowship typically styles itself as a sort of "support group" for sufferers of undiagnosible disorders, and in the modern era, the group might recruit members over the internet from the ranks of users complaining of mystery symptoms of medically unrecognized disorders on online medical self-diagnosis websites, from site members whose complaints may typically be dismissed at their earliest stages by doctors as hypochondria and other obsessive-compulsive psychological disorders or delusions, and in later stages as sufferers of unknown genetic disorders, mysterious tumors, and unknown syndromes without known cures. Members of the cult may perhapse use the language and trappings of New Age support groups and alternative medicine, referring to the transformation in terms of "water therapy", "rebirth", "renewal", "rejoining the water", "re-energizing", "healing", or "expressing/channeling/birthing inner water elementals".
The group has been known in the past to be generally peaceful, but it may have been infiltrated and/or splintered on more than one occasion by members with more radical and sinister agendas, including members who might also be members of such groups as the Esoteric Order of Dagon and the nameless Cult of Cthulhu. The psychological trauma of the transformation can also take a terrible toll on the sanity of even the most peaceful members, resulting in erratic and violent behavior, and the group has been linked by some investigators to mysterious murders and even human sacrifices in the name of such deities as Dagon, Chaat, and Cthulhu.
The Transformation Ceremony: Halloween is believed by the cult to be a significant date on which their ghastly physical changes are accelerated, and the group may celebrate their transformation at simple midnight Halloween candlelight gatherings at secluded areas by a body of water (usually a river or lake).
- Tomes found in the possession of cult members may include:
- Servitors and Races found in the company of cult members might include:
- Children of Chaat
- Deep Ones
- ...other former humans, hybrids, and mutants
- ...sorcerers, witches, and other humans who have come into contact with The Mythos
- ...ordinary Human Cultists suffering from hypochondria and other delusions and occasionally real illnesses, leaving them convinced that they are transforming into monsters or that they share the same disorders as their less human friends, family, or fellow cultists
- Great Old Ones and Deities worshiped by members of the cult might include:
- There may be some cross-over membership with other cults, including:
- Cult members have been known to frequent sites in the general areas of:
- a compound or commune located in rural Foxfield, Massachusetts
- a sect associated with Innsmouth, Massachusetts (believed to have become extinct in the 1930s due to U.S. federal intervention)
- a sect associated with the swamps of New Orleans, Louisiana (believed to have become extinct in the 1920s following the intervention of local police)
- Known members include:
- Founder and cult leader, Jeremiah Keats
Heresies and Controversies
- The Fellowship Within the Water may not be on friendly terms with the Esoteric Order of Dagon; the Esoteric Order seems to know secrets about the transformation which they are not sharing with the Fellowship, and exploiting this advantage over the Fellowship in exchange for horrible "sacrifices" from the group.
- The "sacrifices" demanded by the Esoteric Order of Dagon may include sending virgin maiden members to the Esoteric Order to be made into "brides of Dagon" and bear Deep One hybrid children.
- Though the Fellowship claims to simply be a peaceful support group, the group or its individual members may have secret agendas.
- Close association with Children of Chaat is believed to prompt or accelerate the transformation into the ghastly True Form, and it's possible the vector that causes or facilitates the transformation is in some way communicable, either as an infection, through some unknown hormonal means, or even through the power of suggestion. Anxious hypochondriacs who might ordinarily have no real physical problem may find themselves transforming in hideous ways simply by being in contact with those who are already infected, perhaps finding relief in spite of the monstrous changes at being believed at long last that there really is something wrong.
- Some cultists may subscribe to "Aquatic Ape" theories of human evolution, believing themselves to be returning to a more pure and natural aquatic stage of human evolution; others may believe the transformation to the True Form to be the next step in human evolution in preparation for an "Aquarian Age" in which man completes his evolution on land and returns to the water for the next stage; still others may believe themselves to be "the descendants of sunken Atlantis".
Keepers might find the relatively subtle, outwardly peaceful, and "New-Agey" Fellowship to be a useful contrast to the more heavy-handed tactics and old-school paganism of the Esoteric Order of Dagon. The two groups' contrasting styles could provide some interesting competing dynamics in cases where both cults are trying to recruit the same NPCs (or perhaps the same investigator!)
The Fellowship Within the Water might be a nice fit for a campaign set in the 1960s and 1970s, as a sort of alternative to the Esoteric Order of Dagon recast as a back-to-nature, free-love, alternative-healing hippie commune.