It’s easy to get distracted by how good Cult of the Lamb is and lose track of just how morally questionable your actions in the game are. Remove the quirky cartoons from Cult of the Lamb and dissect its core —it’s essentially a story where you get sacrificed by a quartet of heretics.
Then, just as you glimpse the light at the tunnel’s end, The One Who Waits (probably moonlighting as an Elden Ring boss in his spare time) resurrects you, but with the caveat that you must run a cult. Presented with the riveting choices of “Yes” or “Absolutely,” you embark on a quest to take down the bishops and recruit their followers for your own Cult.
Soon enough, you gladly accept their hard-earned resources and revel in their prayers, basking in the glory of all the building and combat upgrades you can unlock at their expense. Yet, no amount of catchy music, muffled dialogue, and satisfying gameplay can shake the nagging thought — wait, am I the bad guy here?
Is the Lamb Evil in Cult of the Lamb?
No, the lamb isn’t specifically evil. In a world ruled by four evil Bishops and a deceitful demon God, the Lamb has the potential to become the lesser of evils in Cult of the Lamb, but never a two-goody shoes hero. The direction of the lamb’s morality is more about player intent and choice.
Whether you’re an evil bastard or a pretty decent lamb depends on how you play the game, sure.
But it’s hard to look at how these hundred-odd creatures mine, lumber, farm, and pray all day for you in exchange for nothing but grass meals and a mostly clean environment while you enjoy your fish and Knucklebones afternoon at Pilgrim’s Passage.
In Cult of the Lamb, you’re the final Lamb sacrificed by four powerful Bishops known as “The Old Faith.” Resurrected by a demon God called “The One Who Waits,” you’re on a mission for revenge and chaos across four domains, aiming to fulfill a prophecy. As you take down these Bishops, you’ll also rescue their prisoners and previous followers to turn them to your old faith.
Because the Bishops of the Old Faith are the absolute worst, you can choose to become a better faith in Cult of the Lamb.
Your path through the game is shaped by your choices. Treat your cultists well, avoid sacrifices, and be friendly with NPCs, and you become an anti-hero—a benevolent force in the guise of a cruel god, using violent methods for the greater good.
However, treating your cultists poorly labels you as a villain. Under your rule, they aren’t freed; they merely exchange one oppressor for another. You become the next villain of the week in the perpetual cycle of the lands of the old faith.
Does Cult of the Lamb Have a Morality System?
Cult of the Lamb offers players a dynamic morality system where your choices shape your cult leader persona for most of the game.
If you’re expecting a red and blue bar that lets you know how good or bad your choices as a cult leader are, however, then the answer is no.
James Pearmain, Co-Founder of Massive Monster, shared during a pre-release interview that “what you choose to teach your followers in your daily sermon will then form your Cult Doctrine… so based on the way you decide you want to preach, you then have different paths you can take.”
Whether you’re a benevolent leader or a tyrannical maniac, Cult of the Lamb you to lead your Cult as you see fit. As you progress, you make crucial decisions like choosing between a wedding ritual, a fight pit, or inspiring followers instead of intimidating them.
Unhappy followers dissent, and you decide how to handle it — will you re-educate them, imprison them, sacrifice them, or secretly murder them?
The game doesn’t have a morality system that penalizes you for being “good” or “bad”; instead, it encourages you to experience it your way.
However, in 2023, a free update for Cult of the Lamb named Relics of the Faith was added to the game, adding post-game content that would take a direct hit to player choice. The update made sacrifices mandatory, removing the freedom players once enjoyed running their Cult.
While the Relics of the Faith update was received with open arms due to its combat and cult management improvements, some expressed mixed feelings about the enforced sacrifices. Players yearned for more choices, suggesting alternatives like sparing followers at the cost of diminished devotion.
This wasn’t an arbitrary choice, though. The reason Lamb becomes a more sinister character is due to the weight of the crown. The choices are now dictated by their crown, as warned by the cautionary words shown in Cult of the Lamb‘s first minute of gameplay: “A crown cannot sit upon two brows.”
Can You Play Cult of the Lamb as a Good Cult Leader?
You can play Cult of the Lamb as an unwaveringly good cult leader. But just so you know, it’s the equivalent of trying to play Grand Theft Auto while following traffic signs.
Playing Cult of the Lamb as a benevolent cult leader might sound like a noble endeavor, but in this twisted world of Satanic rituals, being a goody-two-shoes lamb comes at a cost.
As I embarked on a journey of ethical leadership, my attempts at creating a cult of kindness resulted in a grindy and tedious playthrough.
You can craft individual sleeping camps for each follower, preach the virtues of respect, and feed them only your finest meat, but you’ll soon run out of resources, and your flock will inevitably perish.
Turn your back to brainwashing, and your dissenters will multiply by the minute. Refusing to resort to imprisonment or secretive murder means you have to re-educate them each day in hopes their dissenting meter doesn’t go any higher. If you allow them to air out their complaints for too long, the once-harmonious Cult transforms into a rebellious mini-army.
Not having the elderly go into a fighting pit before they die of old age does seem reasonable, but if they drop dead on the ground, they’ll lower your Cult’s faith and give some characters the “Fear of Death” trait.
Cult of the Lamb, a thrilling blend of rogue-lite and cult management, can quickly turn from exciting to downright dull if you just refuse to let up every now and then.
Think of Followers as your personal herd – sure, you’re using them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw in a little humanity, right?