Roleplayer
Roleplayer #26, October 1991

The Anioto

Not much is known about this animistic cult; they seem to have a mafia-like structure, protected by a conspiracy of silence and local superstition. Members are often required to eat human flesh as part of initiatory rites. They also use vegetable hallucinogenic drugs and dress in leopard skins. Enemies of the cult are killed in ritualistic fashion – their torsos and necks are slashed with steel "leopard claws," and occasionally, their blood is drained and consumed by the cult members. Some Anioto, especially the most respected shamans, are rumored to be true shapeshifters, able to become leopards at will. The cultists are intolerant of strangers and are not opposed to slashing first and asking questions later.

Though leopard-men are found only in Liberia and the Republic of Sierra Leone, similar animistic cults can be encountered all across Africa. The totem animals are different – lion-men in Tanganyika, hyena-men in the Cote-d'Ivoire and even chimpanzee-men and were-alligators in some regions – but the arrogant, intolerant structure of the cult is always the same. Currently, these cults are slowly disappearing, or changing – losing much of their ritualistic behavior and mutating into political lobby groups, fighting for the rights of natives. Of course, in a magical campaign, all these cults might possess old secrets, either good or evil.

(Depending on how you got here . . . )
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