As you might have seen from my recent Cult of the Lamb review and my subsequent trophy guide, I enjoyed my time building my flock of followers in Cult of the Lamb. The game provided a perfect setting to serve as the puppet master and guide my hapless followers to build a utopia in my image. There were plenty of sacrifices made, both figurative and literal. There were lots of questionable meals served to my subjects, and there were plenty and dark and twisted moments that put any non-believers firmly in their place.
With such brutal subject matter and grotesque tasks on my plate, you would think this game would have been a moral conundrum, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Thanks to the game’s silly and humorous approach and the abundance of fun and whimsical options to keep my flock in line, each cult-management session always felt like slipping on a comfy pair of slippers, and one of the key management tools that allowed for this stress-free gameplay was the doctrines you could unlock.
The player has the ability to build up a collection of helpful rituals that offer unique effects to everyone under your unholy guidance. These can make their lives better and appease the revolting members of your group. Or alternatively, you can lay down the law, take a more dictatorial approach and make their lives a living hell just because you can. It’s the freedom to be whatever kind of cult member you like that you have to admire.
Do you see yourself as a one-love preaching Manson type or a more in-control Jim Jones type? Let me be clear, if, in reality, you see yourself as either, do consult a physician, but for the sake of role-playing, I guess it’s fine. The point is, with the right doctrines, you can truly manage your Cult as you see fit.
So with that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to give you the lowdown on how doctrines work within this game and offer up a list of the doctrines on offer, as there are a lot of ‘this or that’ decisions to be made. Plus, I’ll even go as far as to give you a rundown of the very best doctrines on offer so you can have a series of incredible rituals on tap for when you need to manage the status quo and get your flock back onside.
So without further delay, here is our Cult of the Lamb Best Doctrines Guide; enjoy!
What Are Doctrines in Cult of the Lamb?
Still, wondering what the hell a Doctrine is? Well, that’s what I’m here for. Doctrines within the context of this game are core beliefs or commandments that are laid down by the main lamb themselves.
These doctrines teach core values that come hand in hand with special rituals that can be performed, and each offers a unique effect. This might be a boost in morale, a rise in worker productivity, or a fast, so you don’t have any mouths to feed for a while.
These are very helpful management tools, but you can’t just use them at will. You will need to collect Bones which are the currency needed to perform rituals, and these are earned by defeating enemies out in the combat zones, Darkwood, Anura, Anchordeep, and Silk Cradle.
Then depending on the ritual, you may need additional items to perform this action; for example, the Brainwashing ritual also requires Mushrooms. Then it’s also worth noting that these rituals also work on a cooldown timer, so if you use one, don’t expect to use that ritual again for a few in-game days.
How Do You Unlock Rituals?
Now that we know what Doctrines are, the question remains, how the heck do you unlock these rituals? Well, you will need to collect Commandment Stones, and these are made up of three Commandment Stone Fragments. These fragments can be found or earned by doing various different things within the game. These are as follows:
- Raising the loyalty level of a follower
- Defeating a mini-boss
- Purchasing a fragment from a merchant on a crusade run
Then once you have gathered three of these fragments, you will be able to go to your temple and use the ‘Crown’ tab to select a commandment to lay down. These will be split into five categories, Work and Worship, Possessions, Afterlife, Sustenance, and Law & Order.
The player then selects their desired category, and you will be given a choice of two contrasting core values. Choose wisely, as there is no way to change these after they are chosen.
Every Doctrine in Cult of the Lamb
I think you are all filled in now, which means it’s time to give you a flavor of what is on offer in each category mentioned above. These rituals all have their own perks and pitfalls, and while your choices will never mean that you cannot effectively control your flock, it is important to pick the rituals that will allow you to have the most fun and align with your own playstyle.
So let’s get into it. Here is every single Doctrine that you will encounter in Cult of The Lamb.
Law and Order
This allows you to murder one of your cult members. This allows you to gain Bones, Follower Meat and is a great way to get rid of dissenters, but this can lead to a loss of faith and unsettle others.
This allows the player to send a cult member to a higher plane of existence. This will raise follower loyalty and faith and will upset fewer followers, but there is no way to resurrect ascended followers.
|Ritualistic Fight Pit
This is a ritual where two followers are chosen to fight to the death, and while this will see a rise in faith, you will be down a follower at the end of the ritual.
This is a ritual that sees you tie the knot with another cult member. You can take as many spouses as you like, and this will offer an increase in faith and loyalty. However, taking multiple spouses will cause jealousy amongst older spouses.
This allows you to employ a follower to go around the compound and raise the loyalty of each member. This will lead to a loss of faith but will mean you no longer need to manually Bless/Inspire cult members.
This allows you to employ a cult member to go around the compound and collect a tax from each member. This will lead to a loss of faith but will offer a steady stream of revenue.
|Belief In The Original Sin
This will allow players to put non-dissenting followers in jail without losing any faith when doing so.
|Belief in Absolution
This will grant players a boost in faith at the start of each day, provided there are no followers currently in jail.
|Ritual of Resurrection
This is a ritual that allows players to resurrect any dead follower. (ascended followers cannot be resurrected)
This is a ritual that allows the Cult to mourn the loss of a dead follower and offers a nice boost in faith.
|Belief In Sacrifice
This is a trait that gets the group accustomed to sacrifices. This means every time you sacrifice a cult member, you will gain an added bonus to the faith received.
|Belief in Afterlife
This is a trait that makes cult members more accepting of death. This means that when someone dies of natural causes, you will lose significantly less faith.
|Return To The Earth
This unlocks a new building called the ‘Natural Burial Building.’ This allows you to convert any dead bodies into fertilizer.
|Grieve The Fallen
This allows you to create grave buildings as opposed to Body Pits. Followers can grieve at these graves, and you gain a small amount of faith every time they do.
|Respect Your Elders
This grants a stackable boost of +5 faith for every elderly cult member within your ranks.
|Good Die Young
This grants an added boost when an elderly member is sacrificed, consumed, or murdered. However, this doubles the negative effects if this member dies of old age.
Work and Worship
This allows the player to increase the loyalty boost given when they perform a Blessing. This is replaced with the ‘Inspire’ Prompt.
This allows the player to increase the loyalty boost given when they perform a Blessing very slightly, while also improving worker productivity. This is replaced with the ‘Intimidate’ Prompt.
This will increase the rate at which you can earn devotion by 15%.
This will increase the worker productivity/speed of your followers by 15%.
|Glory Through Toil
This allows you to perform a ritual that grants your workers the ability to work through the night for three days with no sleep. This will lead to a loss of faith.
This is a ritual that essentially gives your cult members a day off, however, this will give you an 80+ boost in faith.
|The Glory of Construction
This ritual will automatically finish construction on any buildings or decorations that are yet to be built on the compound.
|Ritual of Enlightenment
This will boost the rate at which devotion is generated by 20% and this effect lasts for three days. This does not apply to Tabernacles, Grand Shelters, etc.
This is a ritual that declares a cult-wide fast. Members will not get hungry or need to be fed for three days. However, you will see an immediate loss of faith.
This ritual completely fills the hunger meter for the Cult, and followers will receive a boost in loyalty and faith.
This will alter the effects of feeding the group Follower Meat and this will lead to a boost in faith every time this is eaten.
This will negate the negative effects of feeding cult members Grass Meals.
|Ritual of the Harvest
This ritual will automatically turn all sown seeds into ready-to-harvest crops. There is also a small boost in faith as a result of the ritual.
|Ritual of the Ocean’s Bounty
This ritual will mean that catching rare fish in Pilgrim’s Passage is much more likely and you may catch two fish in one cast. This effect lasts for two days. This will also offer a small boost of faith.
This will offer a 20+ boost in faith every time the Brainwashing Ritual is performed.
|Belief in Prohibitionism
Cult Members gain a permanent boost of 10% to devotion production and worker productivity. However, this means that there is a 50/50 chance that the Brainwashing Ritual will make followers sick.
|Belief In Materialism
This offers a boost in faith when you build better sleeping quarters for your followers.
|Belief In False Idols
This offers a boost in faith when you build a new decoration for the compound.
This Doctrine allows you to perform an action available in the follower interaction wheel that lets you take coins from each follower once per day.
This Doctrine allows you to perform an action available in the follower interaction wheel that allows the player to bribe followers with three gold coins in return for a boost in loyalty.
This rewards the player with a +5 boost in faith when a new building is built on the compound.
This Doctrine means that followers will gain more faith when the player performs their daily sermon.
|Alms of the Poor
This allows the player to give their gold coins to their followers in return for loyalty and a boost of faith.
|Ritual of Enrichment
This allows you to demand that your followers give you gold coins, but this will lead to a loss of faith.
Other Unlockable Rituals
This is unlocked through natural play and given to the player by Ratau. This ritual offers a 30+ boost of faith.
|Sacrifice of the Flesh
Given to the player by The One Who Waits. This is a ritual that allows you to sacrifice a follower in the name of the cause. You will lose a follower but will gain 10+ faith.
Given to the player as part of the Spore Grotto side quest. This ritual locks faith in at 100% and the effect lasts for two days.
The Best Rituals to Choose
Okay, so now you have a handy list of all the choices you will have to make, and you may have an eye on a few rituals that sound super helpful when it comes to cult management. However, you may still be wondering which of these are truly the best of the best. Well, I won’t leave you in the dark. Here are what I consider the best doctrines to choose in Cult of the Lamb:
This is by far one of the most useful traits that you can apply to your followers. While it’s not super-difficult to do some farming and cook meals for your followers, it can slow the game down when your farm plots aren’t automated, and you have to take crusade paths that lead to berries and vegetable patches.
However, if you choose the Grass Eater trait, you can feed your flock Grass Meals with practically no negative effects apart from the heaps of poop lying around afterward, but that’s an added bonus, because then you have fertilizer. Grass is so easy to accumulate on Crusade Runs, so with this in place, you don’t need to rack your brain for a new recipe to cook each time you return. Is it a balanced diet? No, but do you care? I would wager probably not.
While this isn’t one you have to choose on your adventure, you do need to complete the Spore Grotto side quest to access this ritual. It’s something that may take a little while, but it is worth doing, as no matter what you do in this game, the Cult’s dynamic will turn at some point, and if you have a stack of psychedelic mushrooms handy, you can stop the clock, keep faith at 100% and improve the situation by the time they get their heads straight.
Plus, if you want to batter through the story-related content, putting the needs of the flock on hold for a few days is a great way to get back-to-back crusade runs done.
Remember how I said that cooking for the flock isn’t hard? Well, that may be true, but it is pretty tedious at times, especially if you have to manually farm the crops needed to make nutritious meals. Ritual Fast is the antidote to this situation and allows players to negate any hunger in the group for three whole days, for a trade-off of a loss of faith. This is a lifesaver if you are low on crops and makeshift food items, giving you a chance to go fishing, crusading, or get some farming done.
Ritual of Resurrection
While this wasn’t necessarily a problem for me, some players who have played this game (most notably, my wife) have stated that it’s so hard to keep a strong number of followers in your flock without everything crumbling around you. With the player constantly sacrificing followers, murdering dissenters, and elderly followers going to the great beyond, it can be tricky to get the twenty followers needed for the final ritual.
Well, with the ritual of resurrection, you can bring back your lost souls and indoctrinate them back into the fold. Plus, if you are the sentimental type that named all your followers and got all choked up when they kicked it, this could be a great way to curb all that grieving.
Polygamy may not be legal here in my home county of Ireland, but it sure didn’t stop me from marrying the vast majority of my followers. Please don’t tell my wife here in reality.
This ritual allows you to get a sizable boost in faith there and then with practically no downside. Sure, if you marry lots of followers, you will lose faith as they will get jealous, but the trade-off makes it more than worth it.
If you are someone that wants to race through the game and unlock all of the Doctrines, Weapon Upgrades, and Curse Upgrades fast, you will want to pay attention to this one.
Isn’t going around each follower one by one and blessing/inspiring them a chore? Well, if you use the Loyalty Enforcer ritual, you can assign one of your loyal minions to do this for you, leaving you to get on with more important things, like cooking bowls of poop and throwing innocent followers in jail.
You will see a little drop in faith, but the good weighs out the bad here.
Then lastly, you have another ritual that acts as a hard reset or a stalling tactic until you can sort the deteriorating situation on the compound. If you spend a lot of time crusading and not a lot of time tending to your devoted followers, your faith will plummet. So if this happens, the ability to declare a holy holiday and raise faith by a whopping 80 points is a super option to have. It’s not a long-term solution, but it should tide you over until you can find one.
Question: What is the Best Doctrine?
Answer: This will purely depend on your favored approach and your overall playstyle, but my pick of the bunch would have to be the Grass Eater trait. It’s something that helps right at the beginning of the game and never becomes irrelevant. Plus, with the tedious nature of manual farming in Cult of the Lamb, this Doctrine allows you to focus on the more fun aspects of this game.
Question: How Many Doctrines Are There?
Answer: There are a total of twenty doctrines that can be chosen by the player, with four in each of the five categories. These are not all rituals, as some are permanent traits that are applied to the group, and there are three rituals that are learned without the need to select a doctrine.
Question: How Long is Cult of the Lamb?
Answer: It depends on if you stop to smell the roses when playing this title. If you really lean into the cult-management side of this game, the decorative aspects, and take your time when it comes to crusade runs, you might stretch the experience out to twenty hours. However, if you gun it right to the finish and do the bare minimum when it comes to cult management, you may be able to finish this one in around 5-8 hours. Difficulty settings and skill level will determine the speed with which you make it through this game.
As you can see from the list of rituals above, there are so many ways to manage your flock’s overall mood, and keep everyone happy, or living in fear if that’s more your style. The rituals on offer provide so many different approaches and allow for flexibility when managing your group.
This often means that with a quick ritual, you can nip out and fight monsters, wander around the hub world, or play a game of Knucklebones without having to worry about dissenters corrupting your other loyal minions. We hope that this guide helps you choose your rituals wisely, and gives you some scope regarding which of these rituals are most useful. As always, thank you for reading Indie Game Culture!