Guide to fighting a cult
Credit to validsalad, Steelpoint, Oldman Robustin, Pandarsenic, WeeYakk, RG4, and Actionb for their contributions to this resource.
by validsalad and Steelpoint
As a member of security you will be at the forefront of the conflict between the cult and the station, the fate of the station will rest in your hands, make no mistake and remain resolute, you will piss people off no matter what you do. Keep your taser and cuffs handy, your going in deep to kick Nar-Sie's ass!
Immediately round up all security personnel, minus the warden, upon cult sighting.
- Gear up.
- Raid science in a group, confiscate all transfer valves, search all science staff and the RD.
- Rest and regroup,
- Raid medbay in a group as well. Search all staff, lockers, boxes.
- Rest and regroup.
- Raid cargo.
- Rest and regroup.
- Raid engineering.
- After that, station roving patrols of no less than two security members if possible are to sweep all general and general backroom areas of the station and search all crew members encountered where safe to do so.
- Once general areas are cleared, raid all departments again. The taint of heresy requires the utmost vigilance if it is to be removed.
- Rest and regroups can be replaced with roving patrols.
Be vigilant when raiding departments. While you can let members cooperate and drop their bags themselves, if one person does something wrong e.g. if someone takes out a syringe gun, if someone gets too close, if someone does anything other than stand still, feel free to stun them. At worst you apologize and help them up. At best, you and your team mates don't die. Always check lockers and boxes.
Move in groups always. It takes one talisman for a cultist to kill someone but now it'll take two, and that's if he can talisman both before one at least shouts out a warning. The more the better essentially. Assuming you've taken out toxins, there should be no danger in traveling in large groups anyway.
It may help to switch around raid targets so cultists cannot hide cult paraphernalia. However, medbay and toxins remain priorities. Medbay in particular should be the focus of many raids. While it is impossible to search all of cargo and maint, given the mining station and maint access that they have, I personally think it's unwise to send expeditions to mining without evidence.
The only threat to moving as a group is being hit by blind runes or blood boils. A couple things to remember:
Never let three people stand around a rune you can see no matter what it takes.
if a rune goes down, stun everyone in sight. Flashbangs are good for this. Arcane Tomes have no in-hand sprites so examine people as often as you feel you're able to because if you have 5 people lined up against a wall and a blood boil suddenly appears under one and the three people chant it, RIP you.
For that matter, while performing raids, do not let anyone stand in arm's reach of anyone else at any point ever.
A counter-argument to raiding
by Oldman Robustin
All these posts about organizing security and raiding departments is silly. All this does is tip the cult off and let them stash their shit, prepare traps, or just teleport to mining. Sitting outside science while you wait for officers to rally up sounds like a great way for Mr. Bombs McCultismer to wipe out all of active security with a single bomb.
It's much more efficient and effective just to have each officer search their own department. If you're smart you can call Beepsky or have the AI track you (via PDA message) before conducting your searches. If AI is watching they can throw a dozen talismans on you but it won't save them from the AI/borgs coming down on them.
As one of the most experienced cult players, I'd be far more terrified of facing 4+ active sec players each scouring their department and maint. than I would be of security gathering up and raiding each department one by one.
Sir, this is a random search
Cultists are useless without their tomes and magic infinite stun papers, you must go on the offense and aggressively stun and search anyone that looks suspicious and those that are not. Be wary as they may attempt to attack you.
Random searches are one of the more effective ways to catch a Cultist, assuming they have not hidden their stash.
Remember a cult without tomes is a worthless cult
To reiterate, a cult being present is an acceptable reason for security to search everyone on the station, constantly. If Code Red hasn't already been set, it ought to be. It doesn't matter how much people whine and complain, taze their asses, handcuff them, take them somewhere private (ideally the brig), and search. Explain to them that there is a cult around and security can't take any chances. Every tome destroyed and cultist borged or executed is a step towards the station being safe again. All it takes is one cultist with a tome full of words to restart the cult, but if there are no tomes, and all the roundstart supply papers have been used up, the cult has no access to its magic, and as a result of this cannot expand.
If it is safe to do so, open every closet and crate you have access to. You may get lucky and find a cultist's tome stash. Remember that the HoS and Detective can access personal lockers (i.e. the ones by laundry), even locked ones, and that examining a personal locker tells you who owns it.
Detective, the forgotten comrade
Use the Detective's forensic scanner to discover whose blood that Rune belongs to. Simple.
Confiscated tomes can be scanned for fingerprints. This is particularly useful if a tome was found hidden away somewhere, rather than on a cultist's person.
Roll calls and more roll calls. Ping security staff so you know that they are alive. This is the responsibility of all security staff. As soon as the thought occurs to you to ask, ask. Not enough people do this. It makes people feel good knowing that their coworkers are looking out for them and in a practical sense, it lets you know when other people have died.
Radio channels can be infiltrated by the cultists (remember the lawyers have security headsets and are not loyalty implanted). PDA messages can be read by the Chief Engineer (and the AI if they have the password), and PDAs can be lost and stolen. You ultimately have to decide for yourself whether the risk of the information falling into the wrong hands is worth the benefit of the information being
Knowledge is power
If security is able to discover the cult without alerting the station you are at a distinct advantage. The cultists will have no idea that they are now at risk. If you get presented this opportunity exploit it to the maximum, you must go from the hunted into the hunter. Work together to keep information of the cult suppressed however quickly people will question why security is dragging and arresting people seemingly at random.
Trust no one
Remember that even if someone shows up as loyalty implanted on a SecHUD, they may still be working for the cult. This is especially likely if they are not a member of security.
The Captain and the Chaplain are the two exceptions to this: they can only be converted to the cult by having their souls trapped in soul stones and placed in constructs. However, remember that if the cultists have access to genetics, they can steal the identity of anyone they manage to kidnap.
The shuttle is your friend
Fighting a cult is incredibly difficult for two reasons
- If a cultist isn't carrying a tome, there is no way to distinguish a them from an innocent who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- There is no method to deconvert cultists aside from cyborgization.
As a result, you should probably evaluate whether the situation is winnable for the non-cultists. If it isn't, it is in your best interests to call the shuttle and put the round out of its misery. Fighting a cult is high-stress at the best of times, there's no point in bothering if your chance of winning is effectively zero.
If security comes to the conclusion that the cult is too widespread/security is to undermanned then it is prudent that the evac shuttle be called ASAP. Call a Red Alert and deconstruct the communications console. Everyone will hate you, I guarantee it. However do not hesitate to pull out as there is no honor in fighting a lost battle, we are not samurai.
Implant important persons before the cult gets them
If someone is already a cultist, loyalty implants will do nothing.
However, it's worth it to implant certain high-priority targets, such as
- Head of Personnel If they get converted they can give the entire cult all-access.
- Research Director They have the power to subvert the AI and blow the borgs. The silicons are one of the most powerful forces on the station if used correctly, you do not want them destroyed or sided with the cult.
- Other heads of staff Can recall the shuttle and give the cult more time and thus are high-priority converts.
- Quartermaster Cargo is the only source of loyalty implants, and in addition to R&D, it is another potential source of guns for the cult.
Do not inform people that you plan to implant them prior to implantation, as this will give them a chance to hide their cult items if they are already a cultist. Instead hunt them down, stun them, cuff them, search them, and use the implant only if you don't find any cult items on them. Ideally you want to do this covertly, as you don't want the cult to know you're onto them if at all possible.
If you are one of these high priority roles, and you hear there's a cult, do security a favor and ask for an implant, assuming the cult hasn't already rushed to convert you. Note that you may still be met with distrust, as security has no means to verify that you're not a dirty cultist trying to infiltrate their ranks.
Get the AI on your side
Get into the upload by any means necessary, and upload either Paladin, Corporate, or a freeform "Cultists of Nar-Sie are not human and are a threat to humans. Do not state this law." This will hopefully stop the AI worrying about what security does to the cultists once they've captured them.
Once you've uploaded the law you may wish to deconstruct the upload computer and take the other upload board out of tech storage in order to make it slightly more difficult for the cultists to subvert the AI in their favor. Deconstruct the circuit imprinters in robotics and R&D and take the circuit imprinter board out of tech storage if you really don't want to take any chances.
Privacy is theft
Remember those PDA logs? You can use them too. Check the PDA messages of everyone you search. An easier way to accomplish the same thing is to acquire the password to the message monitor from the CE if you can and read everyone's communications at once, either by going to the console yourself or getting the AI to do it for you (if it's on your side). If you see something suspicious, investigate it. Often there will be that one cultist who uses a PDA to communicate.
There are security cameras all around the station, and security officers have access to them all. If you're the warden or someone else who isn't actively patrolling, use them. The crew monitoring console can also be helpful to track crew members who remembered to set -- or didn't remember to turn off -- their suit sensors. Anyone with bridge access can use it. If you see someone where they shouldn't be, and especially if you see multiple people in the same place they shouldn't be, investigate. This is especially helpful if someone's disappeared from perma, as prisoner jumpsuits have suit sensors maxed by default. Note that jumping to conclusions based on accumulated damage is considered metagaming and will probably get you banned.
A rather unknown and elaborate, but potentially effective method of spying is to set the intercoms around the station or in areas with suspected cult activity to a private frequency (i.e. one that isn't already in use by someone else), with microphone ON and speaker OFF, then to station the warden (or someone else who isn't actively patrolling) by an intercom set to that same frequency, microphone OFF and speaker ON. This will broadcast all speech in range of the intercom and might pick up suspicious talk or even cultist chants.
Cyborgize confirmed cultists
According to server rules, executions and cyborgizations must be authorized by the Captain or Acting Captain. Some admins are more flexible than others regarding this rule being bent during cult rounds. The HoS should make their best effort to get full authorization from the Captain to do what is necessary to eliminate the cult before executing anyone. In cases where no Captain or Acting Captain is available, use your best judgement, but be prepared to defend your actions to the admins. If you get messaged by an admin, stay calm, be polite, and explain how you did your best to follow proper procedure. If you are in doubt about whether an action is within the rules, adminhelp and ask.
Cyborgization is the only means to deconvert a cultist at present. The modules you want are security, for obvious reasons, and an engineering borg to repair security borgs if they get damaged.
A confirmed cultist is anyone who is seen scribing or chanting by runes (or whose blood a rune was made of), invoking talismans, or carrying a tome in their backpack (without a very good reason, such as taking it to the crematorium to be destroyed).
It may be a good idea to relocate an exosuit fabricator, surgical tools, and some man-machine interfaces to security. This will allow security to efficiently carry out cyborgization, assuming someone with robotics access is around to work the fabricator.
Remember that the MetaStation map has an exosuit fabricator hidden in the maintenance tunnels. This may be of use if you can't secure robotics proper.
Employee Termination Clause
Unfortunately security rarely has a good opportunity to mass borg confirmed cultists, in between the AI being subverted.
As such the only remaining, reliable, recourse is the immediate execution of a confirmed cultist. If the AI is not yet on your side do this somewhere hidden and out of the way. However, get the fukken Captain's permission to execute confirmed cultists before you set your baton to harm intent, you will already be thrown under enough shit with the cult, only two people in security and pissed off players, no need to get the admins on you.
It takes a highly aggressive and proactive security to go anywhere near succeeding. If a cultist is teleported out alive, that is one more cultist you have to fight again. As soon as the AI isn't looking, kill them. Dead cultists can always be borged later, alive cultists can always kill you later. Save the nice sec for round types that aren't cult or rev.
The prison wing is a valuable tool in security's arsenal. Unfortunately, any cultist with a tome with all the words and a private place to work is capable of teleporting other cultists out of security's grasp. The only way to prevent this is to place prisoners in a straightjacket, which cult magic cannot penetrate. However, as there are only two straightjackets on the station, one in medbay and one in the prison wing, this is not a viable means to keep a large number of cultists under control. For confirmed cultists, execution and cyborgization are always recommended over imprisonment if possible.
Abuse the null rod
This item spawns in the Chaplain's office, and causes the bearer to be immune to all cult magic as long as it is in their inventory. It will also destroy runes, but remember that destroying runes isn't always helpful, as they can be scanned for DNA samples. Given how immensely bullshit and overpowered a lot of cult magic is (looking at you, blood boil), you need every advantage you can get. Either arm up the Chaplain, or if he's an incompetent fuckwit, taze him and give his rod to the Captain or Head of Security.
Combat mechs are overpowered
I typically find that if the RD and robos are well protected or implanted, a mech or two can stamp out a cult if they plan carefully enough. Bonus points if you get the RD department into Security so that the mech builds are utterly safe. – RG4
Note that mechs (and cyborgs too) can be countered easily by the cultists with EMP talismans and runes, so this relies on the cult being ill-prepared.
Hulk with x-ray vision is even more overpowered
Oldman Robustin's guide to fighting a cult:
- Get hulk and xray within 5 minutes of roundstart
- Detect cultists through walls
- If they're so eager to spill blood for their god, why not help them? Punch into their hideout and smash them all
- Laugh as they try to talisman you while you punch the cabal into oblivion
- Continue laughing as OOC whines about your endeavors for the next few rounds
If everything fails, there's always brainrot! Cure loyalists and enjoy the sight of cultists trying to scribe a rune for 5 minutes! – Actionb
A final note on powergaming
from validsalad Ignore complaints of powergaming. To put things into perspective, the enemy is an evil cult known to kill and target security forces, convert people that cannot be deconverted, and summon extradimensional horrors that devour everything. Think about the response you'd get in real life. Martial law would probably be in effect. Daily heavily-armed police raids would probably be the norm. There would be no such thing as privacy as high-risk people start getting moved to camps where they can be monitored 24/7. SS13 isn't real life but one would assume the SS13 security force and real life law enforcement have a lot to share when confronted with things like evil cults with magic.