Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous cultists incompetent idiots, true to life and love it

I can’t get enough of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous’s incompetent, idiotic cultists — and I’m not just talking about the experience points for dispatching them. Instead, it’s the non-fatal interactions I’ve had with them that have been such an unexpected but side-splittingly ridiculous source of entertainment.

It’s not that Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous plays everything for comedy; it is, after all, about a realm being overtaken by unholy forces — real “world hanging in the balance” stuff. And there are some spell-flinging, jacked-up cultists who are more than a match for your party, as well as ones who aren’t remotely willing to talk. But I’ve met enough red-robed bunglers to make it clear that the Cult of Baphomet and its sister organizations have next to no quality control. Got a pulse? You’re in.

The first time I met them, I saw a city guard swap sides just because one of his friends had signed up, which the other cult members were absolutely fine with. “At last we can see the kind of mind that swears allegiance to a demon lord,” one of your party disdainfully remarks, after a later encounter. Yes, a lot of cultists will straight up try to murder you, but you talk to enough of them to underline what thundering imbeciles they are.

I’m aware that real-life cults are very, very good at reeling people in, but it becomes apparent that half of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous’s crimson-clad clowns signed up because they thought the name Baphomet sounded cool. I ran into a researcher who, as I watched, quizzed a group of cultists about their demonic overlord. It was absolutely basic stuff, the equivalent of asking a Christian what the symbol of their faith is, but they hadn’t got a clue.

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous cultists incompetent idiots, true to life and love it

I could have stepped in front of her and put my sword through their necks, ruining her work, but showing the cultists up was so, so much more satisfying. So I stood there, interrupting and getting every question right (with, I’ll admit, a little saving and reloading) while they fumbled the answers and turned even redder than their robes, which I half expected to have “Make Evil Great Again” on the back.

However, it’s not just the grunts who are short on foresight, brain cells, or both, so the explanation that they were recruited as cannon fodder doesn’t hold true. Several higher-ups are just as inept, one so much that he decides to safeguard his cult’s scriptures by eating them. He ended up choking, leaving me with the choice of whether to assist or just laugh like a drain as he keeled over. I chose the latter option. Evil? Maybe. Extremely funny? Definitely.

The outcomes of these encounters vary depending on the various skills you’ve put points into, so your experience may vary, especially on a second playthrough. If your character’s a bit of a smooth talker, try making a bruiser the next time around; let’s see if their doctrine stands up to the steely gaze of a seven-foot barbarian.

Not every line in Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is voiced, but the dialogue and descriptions are just sublime. The aforementioned cult member “balls the pages up in his fist and shoves them into his mouth, then begins furiously chewing like a hamster.” I won’t spoil any of the other idiot-based interactions, but they’re every bit as vivid and nearly always as much fun.

The one downside to all this absurdity is you might feel a bit guilty about skewering the cultists’ less talkative comrades. But hey, I’m sure Baphomet will have a warm welcome for them.

Chris McMullen
I'm Chris. I've returned to games writing after a couple of career changes, and I hope, through my work, to settle the karmic debt I incurred by persuading my parents to buy a Mega CD.

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