the second of the secret societies is perhaps the oldest, born from the worship of a creature beyond time and space. the voidsingers offer great power to those who make a pact with the great old one, helpful in pursuing faith and unhinging the loyalty of those around your empire. bring the world to its knees for the arrival of the things from beyond the stars.
Part two of my Secret Societies posts studies the Voidsingers, an ancient cult looking to bring about the apocalypse. Even if you’re not entirely sold on terrestrial mass-destruction, you’ll probably appreciate the early faith bonuses, the relic slots, and the cultists who can obliterate the loyalty of neighboring cities.
Or maybe you just like tentacles – who am I to judge?
As with all of the Secret Societies, your civilization will have to seek them out first. Nestled within the various Tribal Villages you find in the world, there’s a high chance that you will unlock the chance to join the Voidsingers. The chance of finding said invite – according to the wikipedia page – is about 70%, lowering as other civilizations join. This makes the Voidsingers perhaps the most prestigious of the Secret Societies, and requires some good luck with your early scouting.
Once you grab your cultist flier and pledge yourself to the infinite malignancy beyond the stars, the being of pure and incomprehensible twilight who was ancient when the universe was young, you’ll gain the ability to construct the Old God Obelisk, a worthy replacement for the Monument in your City Center. Aside from the usual +1 loyalty, +1 culture, and further +1 culture if your city is at maximum loyalty, the Old God Obelisk also offers a mammoth +4 faith, as well as a slot for any Great Work. You can build one of these in each of your cities, offering a very reliable source of extra Great Work slots in your empire.
Moreover, the initial +4 faith on such an early building is an excellent way to secure the pantheon that you want. As discussed in my post about Ethiopia, a good faith economy is beneficial to nearly every victory condition imaginable, offering access to a variety of things from Great People to units with the right builds. Grabbing Earth Goddess would be my recommendation, unless you’ve got some hellishly ugly land all around you, in which case you might go for Goddess of Festivals if you’ve got plantations on the horizon. Failing that, you might consider going for Religious Settlements to get the Settler, and begin expanding your empire.
The cult has survived the ancient times, and slinks onwards through time into the Medieval Era, and towards the inevitable conclusion of mankind. By this time, your people have more than likely become accustomed to doomsayers and ritual sacrifice in the town square, allowing your empire to generate additional science, culture, and gold equal to 20% of your faith output in each city.
Those of you who have read my Ethiopia post will identify this as Menelik II’s Council of Ministers ability on steroids – 5% more powerful across the board and with the inclusion of gold, too. It goes without saying, then, that faith production in your cities should be of a high priority if it isn’t already. Any Ethiopia players will be happy to hear that the bonus does stack, giving you a staggering 35% of your faith production as culture and science per turn. Proof, if you ever needed it, that it is in fact in his house at Addis Ababa dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.
The Industrial Era brings with it steam, industry, and Cultists. Lesser known than steam and industry for their impact on the world’s production economy, Cultists are insidious envoys of the Voidsingers who enter cities and spark madness, lowering the loyalty of the city by 10. Much like in H.P. Lovecraft’s famous “Call of Cthulhu”, this attack on the city’s loyalty can be viewed as unified dreams among the population, a dead language preaching of something greater and more powerful than they can fathom. Abandoning the shackles of normal society, these people seek to join you – what else can you do when you see such a vision?
These Cultists move freely in cities and territories where your empire is not at war and, when their three charges are expended, you are rewarded with a unique Relic of the Void. These can be placed in Temples and Old God Obelisks much like regular Relics, and further contribute to your faith production. They also have some fantastic names, and there are about 25 to discover.
And so we reach the apex – time to welcome our new imperceptibly ancient overlords. Dark Summoning is the magnum opus of the Voidsingers, allowing you to initiate this city project to generate lots of faith, and increase the amount of loyalty damage your Cultists do by 2 points up to a maximum of 30.
It’s unlikely you’ll reach the Atomic Era in order to unlock this feature, but if you find yourself in need of units and can buy them with faith through Grand Master’s Chapel, or need those final few apostles to lock out your religious victory – or you feel the dark lord working through you and flipping cities to the cult of madness is your jam – this is a great feature to finish off your game.
What’s the verdict?
The Voidsingers appeal to my love of Lovecraft – nihilism and chaos, a madness I’m sure we’ve all fallen victim to during some of our domination victories. Why not do so under the banner of Cthulhu himself?
Early faith generation at an important time in the game, general passive bonuses based on your faith economy, and a fun unit to torment your neighbors with. While not as outright as ludicrous in what it offers as the Hermetic Order’s Ley Line business, the Voidsingers’ Ritual bonus becomes potent as your faith rises. Give into temptation, and bring about the end times in style!