Shadows of Forbidden Gods – Lists and Notes on Mechanics

Shadows of Forbidden Gods is a really interesting game, but the documentation on it can be… spotty at times. This is really just a list of sources of various modifiers and some notes.

Mechanic Lists and Notes

Overview and Formatting

I sometimes use shorthand when describing challenges. “5P/10M/25C” describes a challenge that gives 5 profile and 10 menace when completed, and is 25 complexity.


I’m assuming the reader knows what the 4 stats are and the basics of challenges. What can be a bit less apparent is other sources of stat points (besides the 1 per level up).

  • Primal Font (when controlled then consumed as a 2 complexity action) gives +2 to every stat for… I want to say 40 turns? It is very strong.
  • Might is the easiest stat to “permanently” increase, there are 4 items I’m aware of that boost it, a fairly common axe that boosts it by 1, a pretty rare axe that boosts it by 2, manticore trophy (from the wandering manticore challenge) adds +1 might/+1 command, but doesn’t stack, and concealable daggers that boost might (and intrigue) by 1. There are also certain events that can lose you might for a number of turns, either in orc territories or in areas of high death (they are different events)
  • Intrigue has the aforementioned concealable daggers to give +1 intrigue/might, and some events can increase your intrigue by 1 (stackable if it reoccurs on you in time) for 30 turns. Some events can also temporarily lower it.
  • Command has the manticore trophy, and that’s it AFAIK. Doesn’t stack.
  • Lore has… nothing. I am not aware of a single item, event, or buff (outside of primal waters) that will increase your lore, arguably making it the most “valuable” stat as there aren’t ways to artificially buff it.
  • The way the math works makes it so the first points in a stat shave off the most turns to perform actions, and there are diminishing returns. Specialization is good, but bumping agents to 3 or so in a secondary stat can help a lot too if they run out of actions in their area.

Challenges That Run Off More Than One Stat

  • Fake miracle (blue/Lore) also scales 100% with intrigue
  • Influence Holy Order (green/command) also scales 100% with Lore
  • Hierophant’s Gospel of X (blue/lore) scales with 50% of intrigue
  • Enlisting the Wandering Ogre(s) uses might and command
  • Seizing control of orc camps (green/command) also scales with 100% with Might
  • I believe force-spawning an orc leader also uses might/command
  • Some other orc actions also use might/command IIRC
  • Elvish challenge Temptation of Eternity scales equally with command/lore despite showing as green
  • Wrestle for Control of the Primal Font: does tell you, but it scales with all stats (this means drinking from it gives you +8 to progress checks on it once you’re allowed to drink from it at 50%)


Factors increasing security

  • Base: +1
  • City: +2
  • Capital: +3
  • Seat of Holy Order: +2
  • All four of the above stack in relevant settlements, a city will have a minimum of 3 security plus ruler intrigue, for example
  • For cities/capitals/Seats of Holy Orders/Elvish Settlements: +X where X is ruler intrigue stat (1-3 generally)
  • For Elvish settlements only: Elvish Vigilance: +4
  • Alliance Vigilance: +2 in Alliance settlements

Factors decreasing security

  • For each adjacent location at 100% infiltration: -1
  • Bribed Guards: -2. Can not be stacked by the player, but insane rulers can bribe their own guards to let people in (which gives the same modifier as the player taking the relevant challenge) and relatives of agents can bribe guards “so they can meet” as well. If the AI does it, it CAN stack, but it’s rare, and you can’t start the challenge while the modifier exists in a settlement.
  • Enshadowed ruler: 0 to -5, scaling (linearly?) with ruler shadow of 0 to 100%
  • Courtier’s Noble Connections: -1 in cities
  • Courtier’s Familiar Face: -3 in Courtier’s home city
  • Unrest: -4 at 100% unrest or higher (does not scale below 100%, additional unrest doesn’t add a bigger malus)
  • Deep One Cult present: -1
  • Organized Dissent: -2, a command challenge that requires a Lingering Resentment modifier in the settlement or unrest >100% (if neither is present at any point while an agent performs the challenge it is interrupted)
  • Buccaneer’s Raid Port: -2, can only be conducted on coastal locations
  • Through Their Eyes: -2 in locations ruled by the cursed family, or where heroes of the cursed family are present (I don’t it stacks? I haven’t tested a hero and ruler of the same line in the same place)
  • Dissident can take a passive that lowers security based on unrest, I think it’s -1 per 75 unrest (bearing in mind at 300% unrest it resets to half)
  • Skeleton Key item: -1 security in locations the agent is present, similar to (but stacking with, AFAIK) Courtier’s Noble Connections, and not limited to cities.
  • Elvish cities have a relatively high chance of their challenge event being “-2 security, lose 10-15 progress” or “do nothing”. There aren’t many elvish challenge events so it’s about a 1/3 chance I want to say.
  • One of the possible madness events that fires at 300 madness gives a massive security malus
  • For Elvish settlements only: Elvish Arrogance: -X where X increases as the Elvish Arrogance modifier for the settlement increases (often -2ish, can go up to -5, -6 at least, but can require work to get there)
  • Cordyceps has a power that lowers security by 1, and is stackable

Challenges that scale with security

  • Infiltrate (POI) has 50 complexity, scaling by 25 per point of security
  • Rob Treasury has 20 complexity, scaling by 8 per point of security
  • Subtle Thievery has 10 complexity, scaling by 4 per point of security
  • Brutal Assassination has 50 base complexity scaling by 5 per point of security
  • Silent Assassination has 30 base complexity, scaling by 5 per point of security
  • Steal Ruler’s Item (Courtier) has 20 complexity, scaling by 5 per point of security
  • Steal Hero’s Item (Courtier/Trickster) has 20 complexity, scaling by 5 per point of security
  • Cause Scandal (Courtier) has 15 complexity, scaling by 7 per point of security



  • Increase shadow increase from all sources by X% where X is the percentage of POIs infiltrated in the location (1000% infiltration: double shadow from all sources)
  • Enshadowed ruler: 2% per turn at 100% enshadowment of ruler. Not sure how it scales below that.
  • Adjacent areas with more shadow: 0.4%(?)
  • Ward reduces all incoming shadow by it’s percentage (I don’t know if this protects against enshadowed rulers
  • Malign Catch modifier slows adds shadow
  • Enshadow action brings location shadow to 100%, cannot be done at less than 100% infiltration or if >50% ward is present
  • The Dark Worship challenge and it’s Holy variant both push Shadow out from them towards other tiles. Both require the temple/coven present to have the relevant tenet be at least -1
  • The Holy Site PoI, when it’s tile is above 66% shadow, can have the Desecrate Holy Site challenge taken, which continually adds shadow to it’s location


  • Ruler in a shadowed location(greater than ruler shadow?): increases ruler shadow
  • Hero resting in a shadowed location: increases hero shadow
  • Harvester’s Howl: Sin: +5% shadow to all heroes in it’s tile per turn
  • Corrupted Elfstone: +2% shadow to hero/ruler with it in their inventory (Rob/Steal from hero can put it in hero inventories, Rob Treasury/Subtle Thievery can place it into ruler’s. Elfstone breaks at 100%.
  • Took HP damage from cursed dagger: +2% until they hit 100%
  • Certain events: raise/lower shadow on actors
  • Heroes can cleanse shadow from themselves or other heroes
  • CO can perform Redeem Sovereign challenge to purge all shadow from the sovereign of a nation (and add wards, and cleanse shadow from location, IIRC).
  • Heroes (once alliance forms) can cleanse shadow from rulers (or assassinate them) if shadow is still present
  • Religions turned toward Elder Powers slowly give their acolytes/priests/nuns shadow over time. This effect seems to scale with how deeply they’re attuned to the elder powers

Interacting with the Chosen One

The Chosen One (CO) is immune to a lot of god powers, agent abilities, spells/curses, and even game mechanics. Here’s as complete a list as I’ve been able to manage so far of what does and doesn’t work.

Mechanic immunities

  • The Chosen One’s menace is reset to 0 at the start of each turn, so while they can gain it very briefly it won’t stick.
  • The Chosen One cannot gain shadow (or it is reset to 0 each turn, I’m not sure which, either way enshadowing them is impossible currently)
  • Makes giving them corrupted elfstones or attacking them with the cursed blade that causes enshadowing useless

Mechanic non-immunities

  • Can be driven insane
  • CO has a unique event where their mentor is found, killing their mentor causes sanity loss and interrupts them.
  • Can be impacted by events triggered by the death of family members, I have confirmed the CO gaining preference for combat and danger due to mourning their daughter.
  • (untested) I would assume that if they got the “preference for deep ones or shadow” events instead these would similarly work
  • If they flee from an agent in combat you can give them a personal dislike of your agent or a preference for danger and/or combat (as per normal rules for this)
  • Can use “steal from (hero name)” action if CO’s home city is >=50% infiltrated (once every 100 turns, as per normal) to take their things or give them cursed items
  • (Untested) Rob (Hero Name) action likely works on CO as well, but they’re likely to be the highest leveled hero and are immune to XP draining effects, so meeting the “higher level than target” requirement might be hard
  • (Untested)Can poison CO at their hometown. It shows as an option, I just haven’t actually done it myself.
  • (Untested) AFAIK ruin events that would cause sanity loss in surrounding people (the artifacts chain) can impact the CO if they’re in range


  • Can be affected by Through Their Eyes
  • Can NOT be affected by Curse of Wasting
  • Can be affected by Harvester’s death curse
  • (Untested) Can probably gain the deep one curse but I imagine it doesn’t do anything to them
  • (Untested) I don’t imagine they can be affected by The Hunger
  • (Untested) Agony spell likely doesn’t work
  • Can be hit with the geomancy school’s “attack channeler”, notably when they’re redeeming sovereigns
  • Taunting Lure will affect them/draw them in

Agent abilities

  • Harvester: Death curse works, as noted in curses section. Neither Howl ability works, for both the insanity/shadow gain and the XP drain functions.
  • Trickster’s starting ability of Adorable Monkey (or whatever it’s called) can give the CO a preference for her.
  • Trickster can Sell Snake Oil to CO.
  • Trickster’s Misleading Clues successfully transfers P/M gains to CO (keeping them from being added to your agent), but menace disappears immediately next turn.
  • Courtier: Cause Scandal appears to reduce the target’s liking of the scapegoat by 1, thus Obsession becomes Like, Like, becomes neutral(?), neutrality becomes dislike, dislike to hatred. This can slow down alliance attempts by the CO by making rulers like them less (obsession is generally needed for them to join the alliance)
  • (Untested) Courtier’s Escalate to Vendetta on the CO


  • SWWF’s ability to summon a temporary quest works AFAIK, if the CO is the one who chooses to take it
  • Iastur’s abilities to add likes/dislikes do not work
  • Iastur’s personality amplification spell (turning likes/dislikes into loves/hatreds) notably DOES work, though the effort required to make the CO qualify may not be worth it.
  • Vinerva’s Gift of Power(Might?) allegedly works, I have not tested myself

Geographical anomalies

  • The Brother’s “Gift of Silence” DOES work on the CO
  • I have not tested The Entrance much, I would assume it works on the CO

Madness and (In)sanity

Madness and insanity are closely related, but I’ve split up their sources and effects here. Note that locations with 101% or greater madness (not 100%!) will cause their ruler to lose sanity every turn or two until they’re driven mad.



  • Malign Catch modifier adds 1 madness a turn up to 150%
  • Iastur’s tome when “deployed” adds 1 a turn, increasing to 3 a turn add 1 in adjacent settlements as a midgame power upgrade
  • Holy: Preach Doom adds 50 madness to the location the acolyte preaches in
  • The Music Of the Outer Spheres tenet adds madness per turn (1*tenet level?) in locations with a temple of that religion
  • Iastur’s Stories into Dreams adds 50 madness to a location (3 power cost)
  • Iastur’s supplicant can choose Maddening Tongues to add 1 madness per turn they spend in a location
  • Iastur’s Hysterical Tome leaves behind a tome that adds 1 madness a turn
  • Iastur’s agents can Drive Word of Mouth where the tome is to add 25 madness.
  • Vinerva’s Neurotoxin consumes Vinerva’s Gift to add up to twice as much madness, capping at consuming 150% gift to hit the madness breakpoint of 300%
  • Insane rulers have a chance to get a trait that gives their location 5% madness a turn
  • Certain events/event choices can add madness


  • At 101% or higher: ruler of location begins to lose a sanity point every turn (2 turns?)
  • Scaling unrest increases. Test number I have are: 1.4 at 108%, 2.1 at 163%, 2.8 at 213%, 3.5 at 263%. (Untested:) May require 100% madness before it starts adding unrest.
  • (Confirmation required:) Causes a scaling drop in prosperity (in addition to the drop in prosperity caused by the unrest it causes)
  • At 300% the madness boils over. The location will get a modifier that applies a serious debuff to it, chosen randomly from a list, and if your infiltration is at 100% you can choose to have the location declare independence and start a civil war (they seem to take another settlement or two with them as they do this.)
  • The 300% madness “capstone” effects are pretty varied: massive drop in security (and loss of population), complete ennui and loss of prosperity (and food production?), more banditry, heroes gaining 5% shadow per turn while present (resting there?), etc.


When someone’s sanity hits zero (negative 1?) they are driven insane. Just so we’re all on the same page. People can be driven insane more than once. Insanity effects are apparently capped at 5. All effects are cumulative.


  • Rulers in locations that have 101% madness or higher lose sanity every turn or two
  • Heroes or rulers with Iastur’s tome in their inventory lose a point of sanity every second turn (Rob Hero/Steal from Hero challenges to give it to them, Rob Treasury/Subtle Thievery allows you to donate the book to rulers)
  • There’s a rare item that’s a page of from Iastur’s tome, that I’ve only had seen show up when playing as him, that causes sanity loss every turn in a ruler/hero’s inventory before disappearing when they’re driven mad.
  • Harvester’s Howl: Madness makes heroes (not rulers) in his tile lose sanity every turn.
  • Iastur’s Waves of Madness final power (I think?) doesn’t spread madness but instead skips that to directly drive people insane


Incredibly varied. Insanity is, fittingly, unpredictable. Rulers/heroes share some insanity effects and don’t share others. If one or the other isn’t specified, it can happen to both. “Insanity Effects” show up when you check their tooltip for their levels of Insanity, “Events” are things mad rulers/heroes can choose to do randomly, can trigger more than once. This list is not exhaustive, there’s a LOT of insanity effects.

Insanity effects

  • Gain liking for Undead/Orcs/Deep Ones
  • Gain liking for Cruelty and dislike of Co-Operation
  • -2 to a stat (I’ve seen might and lore, I’d imagine intrigue/command are possibilities?)
  • (Ruler): immediately declare war on a nation
  • (Ruler(?)): Gain liking for Ambition
  • (Ruler): Gain liking for Gold
  • (Ruler): Add 5 madness a turn to their location (Might be an event?)
  • (Hero): Paranoia, disperse all their minions (they can hire new ones)
  • (Hero): Violent outburst, gain 10 menace


  • Draw people into conspiracy plot: agent/ruler draws another person into an insane plot, Disrupting them for several turns
  • (Ruler): bribe guards where they are giving the Bribed Guards modifier
  • (Ruler): Place treasury in a cache that can be retrieved by agents and will slowly build profile as it isn’t eventually leading to destruction/collection by heroes

(Ruler): Add (25) unrest to their location


Makes or breaks runs. At the beginning of the game (first 5-10 turns) the Chosen One is made 100% Aware. It’d need more testing but I’ve seen a member of a religious order with the “Awareness of Elder Powers” tenet just… randomly becoming aware early on as well, so it MAY be possible that the tenet can divinely reveal your presence to it’s acolytes?

Aware Acolytes can take the Holy: Aware challenge (requires settlement to be of their faith) or the Warn the World actions (but take the standard -50 “Not religious task” penalty to choosing the latter) to increase awareness of the ruler in the target location to 100% and the adjacent rulers to 50%.

Aware non-acolyte heroes can only perform Warn the World, which performs the same way, and don’t get the decision weight malus that acolytes do.

Heroes/acolytes that… (visit? have the local ruler perform an action to warn them?) locations at 100% awareness have a decent chance of being made Aware, giving them the ability to Warn the World.

Warn the World priority is increased by liking Co-operation, and decreased by liking Danger, as well as world panic.

Deep Ones

Barely explained by the game. 2 Deep One cults are present at the beginning of the game on pretty much every map I’ve played. They add -1 security to their location, grow at base of 1 per turn, and at 300 will turn the settlement they’re in into a Deep One Sanctum, taking the whole of it’s population with them beneath the waves. They’ll never get there on their own as the Deep One Cult modifier accumulates Menace and Profile as it grows (increase reduced by shadow and infiltration in the city), and will inevitably gain enough menace that a hero will choose to do the Decimate Deep Ones challenge and cull their numbers (reducing their menace/profile in the process). In addition to infiltrating and enshadowing their location to reduce their passive P/M gain, here are the challenges you can do to support them:

  • Remove Deep Ones: Intrigue. 0/0/10C: Removes this cult from here, and starts a new one at another coastline location. The new cult does not inherit this cult’s progress, it’ll be starting off fresh, so watch for that.
  • Conceal Deep Ones: intrigue, 5P/10M/25C: reduces profile of cult (in this location) by 25
  • Human Appearance: lore, 5P/10M/25C: reduces menace of cult (in this location) by 25
  • Fund Deep Ones: intrigue, 5P/10M/5C, 100 gold: Increases cult’s rate of growth by 3 per turn for 30 turns (repeating stacks duration, not rate of increase, shared with Empower Deep Ones)
  • Empower Deep Ones: intrigue, 5P/10M/5C, 1 power: Increases cult’s rate of growth by 3 per turn for 20 turns (repeating stacks duration, not rate of increase, shared with Fund Deep Ones)
  • Malign Catch: Does nothing on it’s own, but is required to enable the Start Deep Cult challenge
  • Start Deep Cult: lore, 5P/10M/50C, Malign Catch modifier required, can only be performed by a hero that has been corrupted into an agent: Starts a new Deep One Cult here, and allows you to ignore the game’s usual “2 cults on the map at a time” limit.
  • Call of the Deep: Lore, 5P/10M/25C, requires >50% shadow and Deep One Cult modifier >100%: Curses the ruler of the location and their house. All of t hem must now perform an action/challenge regularly or they’ve turn into a Deep One NPC agent that tries to create/nurture Deep One cults

Cults’ default growth rate is 1 a turn. The following modifiers can change this rate. To my knowledge there are no events that change this rate or add/subtract to the modifier in bulk.

  • Base: +1
  • Funded/Empowered: +3 for X turns, duration stackable, amount per turn not.
  • Ruler likes Deep Ones: +1
  • Ruler is obsessed with Deep Ones: instead, +2
  • Ruler dislikes Deep Ones: -1
  • Ruler hates Deep Ones: instead -3(?)
  • Call of the Deep does not seem to add a modifier.

Heroes and converted heroic agents can choose the Deep One Specialist to get +3 to Deep One related tasks, which they keep if they’re converted into deep one agents by the Call of the Deep Curse, which can be quite handy, as Deep One NPC agents are… pretty dumb, and will happily spend 25 turns performing a challenge they only have 1 stat in, which locks you out of performing the action due to the 1 actor per challenge rule. Like all AI actors, they also don’t get Laying Low or being blocked by armies due to high P/M, so they’ll happily get chopped to pieces by a local army trying to perform challenges in cities once they break the P/M threshold (which for converted heroes is generally after 4 actions, as most Deep One challenges add 10 menace, and heroes already have high profile, putting them at >30P/40M threshold pretty fast).

Actor Preferences

As every non-agent actor in the game factors their preferences into deciding what to do, editing them is very powerful as it can drastically alter a hero or ruler’s priorities. Heroes/rulers are also much more limited in their ability to change preferences for people, making this relatively “uncounterable” compared to some mechanics. Ambitious, combat loving rulers are more likely to go to war, rulers that love religion or a specific one can Appoint a State Religion, and heroes that dislike co-operation and like danger won’t spread awareness of your threat even if they become aware themselves.

Actions every god can take to influence preferences

  • Hierophant’s Gospel of X unique challenges can change ruler preferences. Requires full infiltration, scales with 100% of lore and 50% of Intrigue.
    • Gospel of Cowardice
    • Gospel of Envy: Like ambition, dislike cooperation
    • Gospel of Wrath(?)
  • Courtier’s Cause Scandal challenge can lower the preference of rulers and heroes for the target by 1 (Obsession>like>neutral>dislike>hatred). Requires at least 1 infiltrated PoI in target city and the item of the person you want disliked (Courtier can also steal hero/ruler items from hometowns with a single point of infiltration himself, Courtier can steal hero items from their hometown (1 PoI infiltrated restriction), Taunting Lure spell drops a hero’s item as a cache if the hero does the challenge)
  • Courtier’s Escalate to Vendetta causes every member of a mourning target’s house to dislike (hate?) every member of the house that killed the person the mourner is mourning.
  • Agents can have events that cause their family members to gain personal dislikes of them as their notoriety rises
  • If a hero flees from combat an agent against it lets you increase or decrease their preferences for combat and danger, or cause them to gain a personal dislike of the agent that beat them
  • Any agent performing a sufficiently notable misdeed/challenge can cause a hero that “sees” it to gain a dislike of the agent.
    • I’m almost positive there’s a menace or profile floor on the challenge (or it’s tied to the challenge types) (not the agent) for this to occur: I’ve done subtle thievery with heroes on top of my agent and gotten nothing and I’ve done Rob Treasury (only 5 more, but over 10 menace) and gotten heroes next door hating my agent
    • Raid Periphery and Brutal/Subtle Assassinations are very likely to get this response.
  • Challenge event where you can either do nothing, blame a hero and give them menace (and 25% chance to dislike your agent) or temporarily gain 15 menace on the agent in exchange for causing the hero to like your agent
  • Insanity
    • Insanity can (randomly) add likes/dislikes to actors who go insane, up to 3 times total
    • Insanity can cause an actor to like Undead, Orcs, and Deep Ones (AFAIK this is independent of the “3 preference changes max for insanity” limit
    • Insanity is mostly Iastur’s wheelhouse so this can be tricky with other gods, but the Harvester with his Howl: Madness can reliably drive heroes mad, and compromised religions have 2 different ways of spreading madness (from their temples and from their preachers IIRC) so this can be done with any god, just not as easily
  • Blood magic’s torment ability can make the target like combat and will give them a dislike of the caster
  • Blood magic’s Possession will cause the target to hate the caster
  • Infiltrated religious order can cause their worshippers to like Deep Ones with the relevant tenet. If the tenet is set to human they’ll spread DISlike of Deep Ones instead
  • Preach to Ruler (100 gold, command, as an acolyte) makes a ruler like the acolyte’s religion, and religion in general
  • Undermine Religion (intrigue, an infiltrated temple of a faith that’s different from the sovereign’s faith, infiltration in capital): reduces the ruler’s liking for the religion in the city it’s conducted in by 1 (neutral to dislike, dislike to hatred) (presumably drops love to like/like to neutral)
  • Abyssal Faith Tenet makes people like/dislike Deep Ones when priests use it, based on whether it’s human or Elder power aligned.
  • Xenophobic Condemnation religious tenet increases dislike of rulers for the races other than theirs when an challenge adding menace is completed in their tile (IE a human completing a challenge with menace in an elven settlement following the religion would cause that ruler to dislike humans and vice versa)
  • Trickster’s Adorable Monkey trait makes two closest heroes like her on spawn
  • Certain events (tied to death or enshadowment of relatives IIRC) can cause rulers (actors?) to gain a liking for deep ones, a liking for shadow, dislike of shadow, a dislike of danger, or likings for combat or danger.
  • Conclave of Peace gives a huge number of people (17 when it fired for me) a preference for cooperation (including the CO) and makes them forget grudges, giving the CO a preference for cooperation makes them more likely to spread awareness (and presumably to start more conclaves)

Iastur and preference changes

  • Iastur can add a like or dislike to any non-CO hero or insane ruler for 1 power, with a cap of 7 likes and dislikes IIRC
  • If you can get the tome into the insane ruler or hero’s inventory you can spend 3 power to turn all their likes/dislikes to their extreme variants, at which point you’ve got a puppet, their preferences will almost certainly lock them into whatever actions those preferences direct them towards, only enormously high menace/weights will distract them at that point.
  • Iastur’s preference amplifying power DOES work on the CO, whether the setup is worth it is debatable.

Religion: Overview, Influence, Prophets

Religion is an incredibly powerful and versatile tool when approached correctly in SoFG, and the game doesn’t really explain it at all. It can also be an absolute run killer if Awareness of Elder Powers is allowed to stay human-centric, so it’s worth knowing how to at least pull the teeth of humanity’s faiths even if you aren’t planning on using them against them. Changing a tenet for a faith requires you to accumulate 160 influence for the coven faith (humanity needs 240) and for religious organizations it’s 200 for you or for humans. The Dogmatic Tenet increases the accumulated influence requirement by X per level of tenet, where X is the base influence require (IE: level 1 dogmatic is doubled, 2 is tripled, and 4 is quadrupled).

Gaining Influence

  • The Influence Religious Order challenge (command/lore, 60 complexity, requires a temple/coven/Seat of Holy Order of target faith present) gives a burst of influence when completed, is repeatable, and scales down in influence gained the religion’s number of cities increases
  • Fake Miracle (Lore/intrigue, 30 complexity, at a temple/coven/Seat of Holy Order of target faith, 2 power, consumed on completion) also gives a burst of influence, scaling down as religion size scales up
  • Humans or elder powers controlling someone meeting that religion’s criteria for a Prophet (explained below) gives +4 influence per turn (to you if they’re an agent, to humanity if they’re not)
  • You gain +1 influence per turn if the Seat of the Holy Order is 50% or more infiltrated, increased to +2 at 100%
  • Infiltrating settlements of the faith gives a scalable influence per turn of up to +8 and 100%, fully infiltrating at least one settlement gives you +1 (out of the 8) even if that is less than 12.5% of their settlements.
  • Enshadowing rulers/heroes who worship a faith gives a scaling influence per turn bonus (capping at +3 I think?). Having at least 1 faithful person enshadowed always gives a minimum of +1. I’ve seen 7% give +1, 62% ALSO give +1, and 80% give +2.
  • Humanity gains influence per turn (up to +5 at 100%) based on rulers of the faith who are aware and not enshadowed.


Every religion has prophesies predicting a Prophet for their faith: 4 criteria, that if met, indicate this person is their prophet and they should listen to them. A passive +4 influence a turn is quite strong (a free tenet every 50 turns if you do NOTHING else), and sometimes the criteria line up to be very easy. I’ve seen “from the south, from a city, fought in a duel, mastery of magic” as the four before, popped out a warlock in a southern city, moved him down to attack an orcish upstart and run away, and gotten a prophet on turn 3 before. It’s generally worth A list of most of the criteria is below:

  • From the East/West/North/South: Agent/hero home settlement is in that side/quadrant of the map
  • From a City
  • From a Holy Site
  • From the coast
  • Fought in a duel: Orcish upstarts count. You do not need to win the fight. Attacking someone, surviving one round, and running counts for this.
  • Mastery of Magic: Has at least tier 1 magic in a school (warlocks work great for this)
  • Funded an outpost: FUNDED, not FOUNDED. You can just go to an outpost humanity is building, slap down 1 gold, and meet this criteria. There isn’t always space on the map for humanity to build a new outpost though, so you may need to destroy a settlement and make them rebuild.
  • Commanded an army: A single action commanding an army counts here. Orc armies DO count, so you don’t need to get the Dark Empire or anything for this.
  • Has >5 in (stat): notably equipment DOES count for this, strapping a bunch of daggers to someone with 2 might pushes them to 5 and lets them meet this criteria. I would assume Primal Waters also work, but haven’t tested.
  • Explored ancient Ruins: just one expedition is enough. You don’t need to fully explore them, just complete one 7-turn challenge.

Note that if multiple people meet prophet criteria then nobody is counted a prophet until only 1 person meets the criteria, so try not to block yourself with multiple agents meeting the criteria, and be prepared to assassinate heroes that coincidentally match the criteria if you’re serious about it. In my experience heroes seldom match prophet criteria (once per couple of games) since they aren’t tailoring themselves to match them.

Religion: Tenets


Covens start with their Alignment Status at neutral (and generally Dark Worship a -1), other religions almost always start at Humanity +3, plus some levels in preachers/temples, and then a couple of randomly picked tenets from Candle Circles/Safety in Ignorance/Awareness of Elder Powers/Crusader Faith/Intransigent Faith/Abyssal Faith will be human aligned as well. Each god gets 1 tenet unique to their style as well. Note that + indicates “human aligned” and is generally “bad” for you, while – indicates “elder power aligned” and is generally positive. Note that you cannot take “negative” levels in tenets unless the Alignment Status is >= to that level of elder power alignment. IE: If alignment is neutral or higher then the floor for tenets is neutral. If alignment is -1 then you can take tenets to -1, and if it’s at -2 you can take other tenets to -2. There’s only 1 tenet that has a -3 besides alignment (Abyssal Faith) and you’ll need to drop Alignment to the bottom to get it.

Acolytes (grab bad term for all priests/sisters/nuns/witches) of religions have their decision making HEAVILY influenced by it’s tenets. The closer a tenet is to neutral, the less this weighting. It seems to scale linearly (Preachers, for example gives +40 weight per level to choosing to preach/spread their faith, compare this with say the 25 menace from taking the Dark Empire challenge (The Monarch literally founding the empire of evil, priests would consider her 62.5% as important as preaching after that at tier ONE)) and you can see how tenets drastically later priorities, even before acolytes ALSO get a whopping -50 motivation to most tasks not tied to their religion (-50: Not Holy Task). The +X with tenets indicates this priority weighting, per level of tenet, where applicable.

Structural tenets

  • Alignment status: ranges from -3 to +3. If Alignment is <0, acolytes will slowly gain shadow, scaling with elder power alignment
  • Temple Builders: Ranges from 0 to 3. (+40?) Will not build temples at neutral. Requires gold (check religion’s budget tab). Note that witch circles build Covens instead of temples, which give a superior Lay Low challenge variant.
  • Preachers: Ranges from 0 to 3. (+40) Will not spread faith at neutral. Requires gold (check religion’s budget tab).
  • Dogmatic: Ranges from 0 to 3. Increases influence requirement to change a tenet for both human and elder powers. Useful to “lock” a faith you don’t want changed

Moral tenets

  • Awareness of Elder Powers: -2 to 2. Causes acolytes to spread awareness or remove it. Spreading it gives 100% in the city/50% in adjacent cities, removing it removes 100% (only at tenet level 2?) from the target city. +30 weight per negative level to acolytes. Positive levels have weird non-linear weights. Requires the settlement to follow this faith. You really want this at 0 max, positive AoEP can lead to acolytes spreading Awareness very fast.
  • Candle Circles: -2 to 2. Temples passively boost/remove ward in cities. Acolytes can increase/remove Ward in locations following the faith.
  • Intransigent Faith: Ranges from -2 to 1. Actors of this faith are more likely to attack members of other faiths as this drops, and sovereigns more likely to take the Appoint State Religion act as it drops (if their religion is this one). I’d assume this also makes them hire more minions so they can actually fight, but I haven’t confirmed this.
  • Xenophobic Condemnation (-2 to 0): Causes dislike (hatred) of other races when they perform menace-generating challenges in cities ruled by a different race than the agent in the local ruler.
  • Music of the Outer Spheres: -2 to 0. Temples generate menace, power and madness. Menace gain is low, maybe 0.2 a turn or so? I’ve never really noticed the power, madness gain seems to be 1*tenet level which can help.
  • Charitable Works: 0 to 2. (44.5 weight?) Removes devastation as a challenge.
  • Dark Worship(DW): -2 to 0. Inordinately powerful shadow spreading tool. Tenet level only seems to impact decision weight. Weight it 0 at neutral/-1 and 80 at level 2. Holy: Dark Worship can only be performed by acolytes, can be conducted by more than one actor at a time at a location and pushes 60% shadow while adding 10 menace to the coven/temple it’s performed in but does not require 100% infiltration. DW (the normal variant) requires 100% infiltration in addition to a local temple/coven with DW tenet unlocked, but pushes 150% shadow while adding 20 menace to the temple/coven.
  • Safety in Ignorance: 0 to 2. Unlocks the challenge Holy: Destroy Arcane Secret for acolytes (30 complexity lore), at 75 weight per tenet level. CAN be performed on secrets created by Secrets of Death (tested), and presumably (untested) on secrets created by Medical Experimentation.
  • Prophets of Doom: -2 to 0. 40(?) weight per tenet level. Unlocks Holy: Prophesy Doom challenge for acolytes (lore, 10P/10M/25C) which adds 50 madness. Testing indicates temples do NOT add madness with this tenet despite the tooltip, you’ll want Music of the Outer Spheres for that.
  • Funerary Rites: 0 to 2. Decision weight untested. Acolytes can clear death/human soul modifiers. I don’t know that I’ve seen this come up in 70 hours of play.
  • Healers: -2 to 2. Temples add/remove plague immunity (tooltip says plague too, but plague counter didn’t show a modifier for plague being added when this tenet was negative). When negative, acolytes can add 50 plague at temples/covens of this faith using Holy: Start Plague. Notably this effect does NOT seem to have a plague cap on when it can be used (as compared to Cultivate Disease, which is limited to use in areas with plague <200%). When positive acolytes can reduce plague by 100% in settlements of their faith (no temple requirement).
  • Abyssal Faith: -3 to 1. 30 weight per level. Makes rulers dislike Deep Ones when positive, makes them like them when negative, (love at -2?), and founds new Deep One cults at -3.
  • Crusader Faith: 0 to 1. +60 decision weight. Unlocks Holy: Military Fervour which increases military strength of armies in cities that follow this religion.
  • Arbormancy: 0 to 2. Increases habitability in nearby areas when Holy: Arbormancy is performed in temples that follow this faith. I’ve never seen it.
  • Human Sacrifice: -2 to 0. Circles/covens ONLY. Passively creates death equal to 1.5*tenet level a turn at covens while generating 0.6 menace a turn. I’ve not used it.

Unique tenets

  • She Who Will Feast (SWWF): Sect of the Serpent: -1 to 0. Agents above maximum menace will slowly transfer menace to acolytes/temples of this faith in their location. I’ve not played SWWF in a while, I think I slept on this one. Stealthy can bleed profile, this could bleed menace and reduce time required laying low to nearly nil potentially.
  • Iastur: Maddening Insight: -1 to 0. When non-agent mage is learning an arcane secret in settlements following this faith, both they and the local ruler will lose 1 point of sanity a turn. Quite strong, can drive most mages insane while learning 1-2 (3 max) secrets, at which point you can recruit them whenever you want (like, say, after they’ve hit level 3 geomancy).
  • Vinerva: A Darker Nature: -2 to 0. Decision weight ???. Unlocks Holy: Cultivate Her Gifts challenge for acolytes, which increases existing (cannot create from 0) Vinerva’s Gift modifier by 1%*tenet level over 20 turns (20 total at level 1, 40 at level 2). 10 menace on this tends to get acolytes killed fairly regularly, but very strong.
  • Ophanim/Mammon/Cordyceps: I’ve played like a third of a game each with them, I can’t speak to these.

A Note on Recruiting Heroes and Acolytes

Note that heroes (and agents recruited from enshadowed/insane heroes) can choose from the “normal” pool of +1 to a stat/infamous/stealthy like your usual agents but also get access to unique hero-only level-up choices that give +3 to challenges of that type instead. Examples include +3 to all orc challenges, +3 to all Deep One related challenges, +3 to shadow/ward related challenges, +3 to “mediation”, +3 to elvish challenges, and +3 to “human” challenges (I’ve not figured out what this last one applies to). Ex-hero agents also get access to at least one unique challenge event (gain +10 progress or set the local ruler’s treasury to 0), and starting a Deep one cult in cities with Malign Catch can ONLY be done by ex-heroes (-3 Abyssal Faith acolytes can also do something similar). This can make them extremely powerful choices, and you’re also depriving the heroes of an asset when you take a hero instead, so if you don’t need access to unique challenges on a specific agent consider recruiting heroes instead.

Acolytes (Witches/people who spawn in at religious orders) are uniquely able to perform Holy: (Challenge Name) challenges, which can be quite powerful depending on your strategy, though it generally requires you to convert the holy order’s tenets into something useful first.


I haven’t really touched orc camps, or magic. Or the unique challenges of unique agents. Man this game has a lot going on under the hood.

I hope you enjoy the game as much as I am. Have a great day.

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