Spoilers below: If you haven’t read The God That Crawls and plan to play it, you should find another blog post to read. Also, spoilers about the Hypogea.
Instead of the Catholic Church, we need a tie-in with the Chthonic Pantheon. The Chthonic Codex text mentions monasteries, altars, chasms, shrines, standing stones … all tied to the worship of deities or chthonic gods (which get a table of names!). From the AFG rules we know that there are Saints and Deities … but do Dove or St. Eleuther fit the Hypogea?
Here are some thoughts.
Believers as CharactersNothing in the AFG rules specifically is about priests, clerics, and so on, but the chapter on Divinity discusses Worship, Henosis and Charisma as central concepts. So, we luckily do not need any new character class; just as wizardly behavior can be construed as dispensation for the cost of casting certain spells, devout behavior can move a character more closely into the spheres of a given deity, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of Charisma.
Venerables of the HypogeaThere is no official list of the deities worshipped in the Hypogea, but it bears noting that altars are consecrated for a specific deity, and chasms are homes or at least places of power for specific chthonic gods. Which means there are many of them, and they are distinct, discernible, and different.
Also worth keeping in mind is that the procedure to become Grand Sorcerer of the Five Great Schools is called Apotheosis – closely read this means that characters could aspire to become deities unto themselves (but this would surely be a long term effort).
Saint AugustineThe story of Augustine of Canterbury is vague and lacks a lot of detail, which plays into our hand. All the details are mostly made-up backstory anyway to give the GM a guiding line and thus do not play into the module directly. But it still is important for a nice transport of a module to try and match the concept clearly.
So, we need a formerly important figure shrouded in history, a controversial but eventually overthrown cult, and a long-active group of people that tend to their suffering but still highly esteemed old member of the order. An easy way is to simply cast this onto the Five Great Schools and make The God simply a Savant Emeritus and the congregation a bunch of mystery cultists that have sworn to keep the Emeritus alive … we lose the triple blind of devout Catholics playing evil Cultists deep in Anglican territory (with the blessing of the Anglican church), but it would still fit the ticket nicely.
Another way would be to tie into the Cephalopods and their lost empire, making the monastery/church a former prison for itinerant slaves that were to valuable to put out of their misey; which then was later liberated when the Cephalod Empire fell — but without the power structure implied by worship, why should people have stayed around to feed The God and put up the ruse of being a mad cult while being part of the larger official body of belief? On the other hand, it would allow me to tempt the group with quasi cursed ancient cephalopod tech rather than the Catholic Church’s collection of cursed curios. Or I add a couple Hungry Idols.
I have not mentioned the technical details of converting the module, but that’s not yet up for discussion. Maybe after I (hopefully) successfully ran the module.