I don't suppose Roland's investigator ability to collect a clue can be used for example after a successful Parley result say with one of the Cultist leaders--is a Parley result success considered "defeating" that enemy? Seems a stretch but on the other hand should not talking grant you a clue if you think about it?
Also I am assuming that the Cultist leaders that have Parley listed on them can only be added to the Victory Point total if and only if you successfully Parley with them--killing them doesn't grant you the VP ( other ones without Parley must be defeated in combat to collect VP. Is this correct?
Unfortunately, the rules are pretty clear that "Defeat" means "damage in excess of Health" for enemies, so since none of the abilities on the Midnight Masks cultists say "Defeat", you're out of luck there.
Edit - nope, you can totally damage them to add them to the victory display. They have a Victory x on them and so they follow the normal rule of: "As a victory point enemy is defeated, place the card in the victory display instead of in the discard pile."
Then parley here is only a second option to deal with them apparently. Hmmm.. it hardly seems you've negotiated with them by killing them. Perhaps torture -lol-or maybe it will be become relevant in the next scenario what the difference is since I have't played it yet. Thank you.
Just like investigators and unique allies aren't killed by losing their health, I think of defeating the cultists as simply overcoming them to the point that they're no longer a threat. Maybe you chased them through the streets of Rivertown, or you fired a few threatening warning shots into their office desk.