1. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    Starting A Cult

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by cjs0216, Nov 14, 2010.

    In the story I'm working on now, I have a failed author who is almost 30 that gets the idea of starting a cult with his DnD buddies. Obviously he writes fantasy because of his gaming habits. I'm just wondering how beleivable it would be for his group to experience the "role playing game" of a life time and actually pull it off. I don't know if I'm going to make them a totally cliche DnD group, but I worry that if I don't, they won't be relatable to people that don't play PnPRPGs and if I do, would a group of DnD nerds actually be able to pull it off?
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Anyone can start a cult, D-and-D geek or not. :)

    What type of cult are they starting? I'm assuming it's related to DnD, but can you tell me more about what their cult consists of? I might be able to help more then.

    I"m a teeny bit confused about what you're asking...don't make them stock characters...anyone can be immersed in the D&D world, but make sure they're real people who are well-fleshed-out. This will make them relatable (or at least real-seeming) to the non-gamer crowd.
     
  3. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    I guess I should have written that post more coherrantly...my apologies. The cult will not have anything to do with DnD, I don't think the masses would buy into that. Originially I had two visions of this story. One being humorous in which the cult is based on the Atlantis myth that ties into Christianity somehow and the other, the vision I'm currently persuing, is much darker with murder and mayhem and all of that, but I don't know if the Atlantis thing will work out for a more serious approach, but then maybe it will. Really the whole point of the group being DnDers is that they are average Joes with the ability to create lavish stories someone could get immersed in, which I think is totally needed in a fictional or factual cult.

    Does that make anymore sense?
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    How believable it is depends on how convincingly you write it. That's all there is to it.
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Yeah, it makes sense. Hey, I once read a book about some agnostic kids who made their own religion based on worshipping the town's water tower. It started out as a joke they just did for fun, but this one dude had an obsessive personality (he treats everything he does WAY seriously) and gets really into it...like, he actually does think the water tower is God....and he starts getting fundamentalist and stuff over the WT and the story takes a darker turn..lol. It sounds super cheesy, but it was a great book because the author could pull it off.
    ]
    Cog's right - it depends on how you write it.

    I personally think the latter, with the mayhem and stuff, would be a better read. Why couldn't Atlantis play a role?
     
  6. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    Thanks guys for the replys, I guess I asked a question I already knew the answer to...lol

    Mallory, do you happen to remember what book that was? Seems like something I should take a look at for inspiration!

    --Actually I think I found it...was it called Godless?
     
  7. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    hmm...i just read a couple sypnosi on the book and am totally discouraged. The idea is almost exactly the same...lol
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Yup that's the one.

    Just because the 2 stories have similar themes doesn't mean you can't do yours. I'd suggest you read "Godless" so you'll know what to avoid being identical with. Then, write your own story based on your ideas.
     
  9. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    Kind of sounds like Scientology.
     
  10. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    I don't know if ol' L.Ron was an avid DnDer, but he was a science fiction writer...lol, but I guess every cult has their parallels...

    @Mallory-I was only half kidding by my statement, but I do think I need to get a hold of that book just to see how he pulled it off. I've read a lot of factual stuff on cults, Jonestown, Heavan's Gate, etc...and I think I know most of how I want everything to work...but there are a few things I need to look at and it seems like a book like this'll do me wonders...can anyone suggest other similar books?
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Can't think of any other books like that off the top of my head --

    It seems to me like the main thing about cults (I have a friend who did a thesis project on them) is that they play on people who have clingy or dependent personalities - people who need belonging and will do anything, even let people walk all over them. They use lots of propoganda and "you must do what we say" mentality.
    Cults tend to be more about following a leader, brainwashing, etc than about actual religion. However, the cult leaders will use the religion as a means to get people to obey them out of fear.

    Not all religions are cultlike and not all cults are religiously rooted.

    Another thing to consider is something called "foot in the door effect." It's a huge player in brainwashing. Let's say you joined a club and the leader said "Everyone, worship me and be willing to drop your entire life at my command and give me all your possessions. Don't communicate with anyone unless I say it's okay." You'd say "hell no" and walk out the door. That's not how cults operate...they start out with small methods of gaining control, then slowly get worse and worse, until the above scenario has slowly come into being without people even realizing it until they're there. People have more difficulty saying no to small steps, for some odd reason.

    Good luck!

    May I read this story when it comes into being?
     
  12. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    Yes, yes, I understand that you can't out of the gate claim to be a God to be worshipped. I've done extensive research on Jim Jones to that effect. After years of acting like a good Christian, he threw the Bible acroos the sanctuary and told his people that it was crap...he didn't get struck by lightning so he must be right, but people followed him for so long, it wasn't a big deal to them. That pretty much lead up to his speech: If you want me to be your friend, I'll be your friend, if you don't have a father and you want me to be that father, I'll be your father, etc, etc. which of course ended in something like if you want me to be your God, I'll be your God. And people went for it. That's the main reason I wanted to have a DnD group start the cult. I didn't want some automatically charasmatic guy leading the pack, which is why the MC will sort of make a speech at the start saying something a long the lines of, like I alluded to before, this beign the greatest RPG of a lifetime.

    Now don't get me wrong, I don't want this to be a let's drink somke punch cult, but there will be some treacherous stuff at play...lol I just hope that I can pull it off like I envision it...

    And yes, you may read it when I get going on it. The idea is that it'll be broken up into three novellas at first, three acts as the formula goes, which will culminate into one novel. I want to start off with small goals which is why I chose the Novella thing. I've already got a chapter complete, though I need to revise the dialouge.
     
  13. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it sounds like a great idea, cjs, and quite believable. I can see how people being used to follow the GM for many years won't think too much about it when the game gradually becomes more and more real.

    Apologies for going on a tangent - have you read the classic religious tract called Dark Dungeons, by Jim Chick? Could be fun to reference it in your story :)
     
  14. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    Well Islander, the idea is that they are all in on it. The go outside the group to start this cult. Originally I had intended this story to be humorous, hence the DnD group, but I realized that I'm not witty enough to pull a whole story like that off. Actually, I just came up with an idea that would put all of them on board with starting a cult a little more believable: they ALL get bored of the standard RPG and are wanting something more. hmm...
     
  15. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    @Islander, I'm reading that tract now and it's hilarious. This kind of rhetoric has been seething through the Christian community since the game came out. I actually wrote an email to the webmaster of one Christian site that claimed he and his wife were high level witches back in the day and that the creator of DnD came to them to ask if they could shed some light on how to actually do the rituals they were describing in the game. I essentially told the webmaster that was a load of bull, because I've read all of the early DnD (1st ed, ADnD, etc.) books and no where does it ever tell you how to perform rituals of any kind. Of course I never got a respose back. Personally I'm not an avid DnDer and I've only played the game twice, but I do get tired of fundamentalist claiming that DnD teaches you how to actually summon demons and perform evil magic. Anyways, thanks for the hilarious morning read!
     
  16. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    One word: Cthulhu ;)
     
  17. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Cults are not about what people believe but that people exist that are willing to believe it. The 'story' of a cult are the people that are seeking some enlightenment, belonging or higher purpose but find themselves desperate for that sense.
     

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