The Cult Appears
Tristian’s first companion quest, Kingdom of the Cleansed is somewhat convoluted, and has no set start date, like most other companion quests. Instead, it’s contingent upon several other events - kingdom and otherwise - which you may need to go out of your way to trigger. At least, if you want to control when this quest begins.
First, you must claim the Kamelands, then you must wander around in your domain until you get an encounter with some “Cultists”. If you get a chance to skip the random encounter, this isn’t the one you’re looking for - once triggered, you’ll have to engage the cultists. They’re nothing special, combat-wise, but one will transform into an Owlbear, which is a significantly more powerful foe. Still, if you’re doing this after Troll Trouble, you should be fine. Just be wary of the cultist who is standing back and acting odd, as that’ll be the one that transforms.
After they’re defeated, return to your throne room and Tristian will come speak to you about some “prophets” sowing discord among your populace by touting the virtues of some “savage goddess” who offers salvation through the wretched means of “a wild beast appearing from inside the body”. You know, like the cultists you just fought. What a coincidence! Make an alignment choice (Tristian seems fond of any proactive response against this threat) after which [Kingdom of the Cleansed] will begin. This quest is tied into the upcoming main questline Season of Bloom, so it might not trigger until that questline is about to become active (when the timer on An Ancient Curse, Part 2 has almost run out).
The Cult’s Location
Once this quest is started, head to your capital and find Tristian standing between two houses along the southern end of town - and he’s not alone. Near him is Amalia, a young cultist whom you’ll need to talk to. Exhaust her dialogue options (if you attack Amalia [Chaotic Evil], Tristian will stop you, and you’ll get a chance to back down [Neutral Good] or threaten Tristian [Neutral Evil], while the [Chaotic Good] option you’ll get has no significance the alignment modifiers) to obtain an Invitation from the Kingdom of the Cleansed, learning the location of this cult’s leadership in the process. Afterwards, Tristan will talk to you, giving you the opportunity to make a [Chaotic Neutral] response, which is otherwise inconsequential.
|Reward: For learning the cult’s location|
Travel: Sacred Sanctum
Your destination now is the Sacred Sanctum, which can be found in the Kamelands. Be sure to put Tristian in your party when you leave the capital and take the following directions:
You’ll arrive on the southeastern end of the area, and before you go anywhere, you might want to apply some buffs. You know, in case that dubious cult you’re looking for is actually here and has a violent reaction to self-righteous meddlers like Tristian. Mage Armor, Shield, Shield of Faith, Barkskin, Stoneskin, Mirror Image, Blur… all that good stuff. When you’re probably buffed head northwest and you’ll witness a sacrament. Suffice to say, the tenets of this cult aren’t really compatible with an established state… at least, not one with living citizens. The whole “repentance through death” this is bad enough, but eventually your rule will be challenged more directly, as the cultists have you in mind as today’s sacrificial guest of honor. Make whatever alignment response you wish (you’ll gain 225 XP just for witnessing the cult gathering) after which a fight will start.
|Reward: For interrupting the cult sacrament|
This fight might be a bit of a change of pace, as you’ll find yourself fighting numerous weaker foes instead of one or several mighty enemies. Granted, not all your enemies are equally weak, with Ruthgert (5th-level Cleric, high Armor Class) and the odd 6th-level Fighter or Rogue being standouts, but mostly you’ll be contending with enemies 1st-3rd level enemies, who are little more than fodder at this point in time. Even the standouts aren’t all that impressive, with Ruthgert being noteworthy for his spells and Armor Class, but still not much of a threat.
Given the massive brawl ahead, you can indulge in some strategies that are otherwise less common. The most direct (and perhaps most fun) being to finally let loose with direct-damage area-of-effect spells like Fireball. You can also summon skeletons via Animate Dead and pop out the odd Haste spell to even the odds if you want something more akin to past strategies. Either way, blasting a horde of cultists or cutting through them with summoned undead is a jolly good way to spend the evening. Just be sure to focus on Ruthgert so he can’t get off any nasty spells and form a defensive line to limit flanking opportunities and protect your squishy characters.
Once you’ve defeated a few cultists, others will begin to flee - pick off the ones who are still putting up a fight, then chase down the fleers or let them escape. After the fight, Ruthgert will make his own escape and you’ll find yourself chatting with Tristian about what transpired. After a display of stunning naivete on Tristian’s part you will have a choice between leaving the cultists who fled to their fate [Chaotic Good], or hunting them to extinction [Lawful Evil]. We suggest the former, whatever your alignment is, as it’ll appease Tristian and potentially help you out during a pivotal event on the main questline. You’ll get 270 XP for making a choice, whatever it may be.
|Reward: For dispersing the cult|
If you choose to pursue them, some surviving cultists will appear near where you entered, although they’re far too weak and few in number to prove much of a threat. As for loot, there may be the odd bow or masterwork weapon that’s weight-to-gold ratio is worth lugging back to your capital to sell, but other than a suit of Leather Armor +1 in a cart and the odd potion and scroll scattered about in various barrels and crates, there’s little of interest to be had.
Loot the area and then return to your capital to speak with Tristian. You’ll find him in the northeasternmost point of the main square. Tristian will update you on the status of the remaining cultists and the quest will complete, earning you 900 Experience.