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Douche
2017-11-27, 01:53 PM
General question: what steps would you take to create a cult? Where would you start? I'm thinking of preying on the homeless and downtrodden with free food to lure them in.

Now onto specifics. I'll try to keep it concise.

My character wants to create a utopia as a school project. I don't actually want to live there, I just want to be able to say I did it. How am I going to accomplish that? In the lore there is a dream realm where you consciousness goes when you sleep. I have been exploring this dream realm, and using my superior intellect to carve out my territory. Eventually it will become the utopia.

Here's the important thing; I have figured out how to build a gate to the dream realm, where someone would step through and their physical body would die - but their consciousness will permanently be in the dream realm. So, with a short logical leap, we can conclude that the best way to get a bunch of people to commit ritual suicide to live in a utopia is through a cult.

The party is on board with this. I think I'll have one of the others be the figurehead so they can feel involved. I'd rather be the man behind the curtain anyway. We also have a lot of seed money.

I just want to make sure that this goes as awesomely as possible, so I'm wondering what you guys would foresee, or what you think the best course of action is, or your personal experiences with cult-making are. Or just general tips would work as well - like "how to make an example out of dissenters" and other seminars

Tanarii
2017-11-27, 02:50 PM
The first step is to figure out how to make your idea appealing to those looking for something to believe in. Then you'll need some solid mantra that sounds meaningful, and can be repeated by your potential cult-members to reinforce their sense of belonging and having special knowledge. It's also important to make the cult-ees feel they are separate from other people, not the same, so that they feel isolated and unable to function in general society without the cult, as well as reinforce their sense of belonging.

There are numerous real-world examples of how to do it. Many of them are not religious at all.

Douche
2017-11-27, 03:36 PM
It's also important to make the cult-ees feel they are separate from other people, not the same, so that they feel isolated and unable to function in general society without the cult, as well as reinforce their sense of belonging.

Ah yes, the alienation is important. I would not have thought of that.

I think I'll have to repeatedly drill into their heads how special they are and how no one understands them because they are so special. Maybe we'll invent a device to measure thetons so that we can measure their special-ness.

Also, what's the best way to get them to cut all their social ties without being too overt about it? Gotta get rid of all those Suppressive Persons trying to get my cultists to doubt themselves.

RazorChain
2017-11-27, 09:49 PM
There are numerous documentaries on cults.


First. You need a charismatic leader and/or something to sell. If you don't have charsima then you need a good product which is a place to belong or a group to identify with. People are sheep, they need to belong to a flock. You are the wolf and you want to own a flock to prey on.

Second. You need victims. People who don't belong or fit in elsewhere are the easiest victims. When you have recruited some victims you use them to recruit others.

Third. You must have your cultist share the feeling of belonging to the cult. Initiate them to secrects that other people outside the cult don't know or understand and try to cut off your cultist ties to other people that don't belong to the cult. The cultist are the chosen, they are better than the people that don't belong to the cult.

Fourth. Alienation, those who go against the cult will be alienated and all ties or communications by other cult members is forbidden. Being a sheep is addictive and leaving the flock should be no fun.

Fifth. Put yourself as the master of divine secrets that no one else is privy to, continue to brainwash the cult with your divine truth. This is where the abuse starts and you realize the power corrupts when you are claiming all the 14 year olds for yourself or doing all those things that mad cult leaders do.

Six. Profit, now put in motion your mad plan of ritual suicide and hope that you have your sheep brainwashed enough to go through with it.


Disclaimer: I have never lead a cult but at point in my life I joined one for research purposes and just to experience it. In the cult which was of religous nature I was asked to do without things I enjoyed, all my free time was expected to be used in the company of other cultists. The leadership devised activities for cultist to partake in everyday after work that was used to reinforce the cultist belief in the doctrine and the leadership. The cultist were lead to belief they were the chosen and should not have ties with those who weren't chosen, the only purpose of interaction with non-chosen was to recruit them. Family and friends should be discarded if they didn't belong to the cult and I was expected to find a partner within the cult.

Cealocanth
2017-11-27, 10:08 PM
Beyond the above I would suggest that you have to transform something innocuous that already exists into the cult. People don't join cults straight up, usually, because the word "cult" is a pretty loaded term and/or they already belong to another system of indoctrination because they've been raised in such a system from birth. I would personally recommend that you infiltrate the leadership of and begin to transform an existing organization that already provides a sense of belonging and is generally accepted in the community. You will not be successful when you stand on street corners and hand out pamphlets that read "Join our cult! We offer a sense of belonging and a strong community! Also free t-shirts!"

While it is possible to do it from things like TTRPG clubs and sports teams, you will find far more success with groups that already have top-down structures. Things like "Generic Alliance of People Who Share the Same Opinions", "Humanitarian Group with Obscure Definitions of What Exactly We Do", and especially "We Claim to Represent a Specific Racial, Religious, or Social Group". From there you can begin the conversion process to a true cult.

Lord Haart
2017-11-29, 02:23 AM
Converting the homeless and downthrotten is easy (been there, done that). It's also short-sighted. Sure, you will easily convert a lot of them to your cause, but will they convert anyone in turn? They are downthrotten for a reason, after all. You will be stuck with a flock of the size you can baby-sit, with no prosetylisers but you (unless you get lucky and attract a legitimately charismatic, yet unlucky person; who may then turn out to work with you not out of faith but out of a power hunger), and any attempt to make it bigger will end up with unattended people losing their interest and faith as quickly as they gain it.
No, what you need are proselytisers, ideologists and orators on their own right, people who will both believe in your dogma and develop it, and have such a need for having everything arguemented for that they'll have the capacity to sell it even to a really doubting person. Your primary targets, then, are people (especially young people) who are good at thinking systematically and used to disputes yet still yearning for a purpose in life, for a greater cause to lift them over the mundaneness and averageness around them which they despise.

(Obvious specific examples include high school/gymnasium students, priests of legitimate church suffering crises of faith, volunteers, and participants in political protest actions though the latter might turn out to be already taken).

Offer them an ideology that makes them the heroic minority in a horrible society, that lets them genuinely work on improving the lives of oppressed (now the homeless and downthrotten come into play, with far less effort on your part, see?) while getting frustrated by societal norms and laws that tell them "no, stop doing it this way", that gives answers to well-known and long-suffered problems of the current way people live (to give such answers, just imagine that you care about solving these problems more than about un-solving thousands of bigger ones) and you'll set their souls ablase, their sense of community tingling and their better natures finally getting some work to be done. You'll get people who not only feel they belong, but who feel they're needed and, most importantly, who feel they're right.

Then you can (die) lay back and relax. The train will go on without you.


Source: that's how we do things in Russia.

ATHATH
2017-11-29, 03:27 AM
Listen to the commentary on this video, in which Ross (the speaker) tells the listener how to actually run a cult, in contrast to how the game that he is playing portrays cults (he apparently researched this quite well/deeply): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnkqdMS1LkE

Yora
2017-11-29, 03:46 AM
First. You need a charismatic leader and/or something to sell. If you don't have charsima then you need a good product which is a place to belong or a group to identify with.

Not only you need to be persuasive, you also need to claim a special power. Being a charismatic leader is not about being smart or persuasive, but about having unique access to higher powers that proove you're always right and everyone else wrong.

Douche
2017-11-29, 11:16 AM
Converting the homeless and downthrotten is easy (been there, done that). It's also short-sighted. Sure, you will easily convert a lot of them to your cause, but will they convert anyone in turn? They are downthrotten for a reason, after all.

Here's the thing; in the campaign a war has just broken out a few months ago (we have a lot of downtime and time skips). So we can go in to find otherwise normal people who are down on their luck. Walk into a town that has been burned & pillaged, you got plenty of homeless doctors and engineers to radicalize!

We will offer them safety, brotherhood, and a way to shed their earthly woes.

Besides, anyone who's ever been in an MLM knows that you don't even need to think for yourself. Just keep repeating catchphrases & recite the script until you find more suckers like yourself.


Not only you need to be persuasive, you also need to claim a special power. Being a charismatic leader is not about being smart or persuasive, but about having unique access to higher powers that proove you're always right and everyone else wrong.

We do have access to a special power! My character is going to create a dream realm. Another character in the party has a "chosen one" thing going on, where she has some magic power to control fate itself. She's going to be the mother figure of the cult. We need to think of a catchy title though

Lazymancer
2017-11-29, 01:48 PM
By the way, what is the best way to get rid of a body? Is buying a few car batteries for acid a good choice? If so, is there a way to evaluate how many car batteries it would take?


General question: what steps would you take to create a cult? Where would you start? I'm thinking of preying on the homeless and downtrodden with free food to lure them in.
The basics have been already pointed out, but one aspect is missing. Cult is a business. It works (unlike the random hobo preacher) because it has money. Homeless are easy since they don't have much of those and, consequently, are cheap to attract (even free food works). Then you can have charismatic leader give speeches or something. You can't really work with people who are too hungry to listen - or have nowhere to sleep.

I.e. first you need to either find sufficiently rich sponsor who will finance your cult (at least, initially), or resort to criminal activity.


... the best way to get a bunch of people to commit ritual suicide
A lot depends on numbers. How many people do you need to commit suicide?


We do have access to a special power!
You claim that you will acquire one, no? At the moment you do not have it.

Lord Haart
2017-11-29, 06:25 PM
By the way, what is the best way to get rid of a body? Is buying a few car batteries for acid a good choice? If so, is there a way to evaluate how many car batteries it would take?

An acquitance of mine did a speech on TV on the matter of dissolving human bodies in acids. No, really. (It got cut down horribly, since it turns out the TV company needed some sensational phrases, not a scientific analysis). The gist of it: it works, it is expensive, it takes a lot of time and a bathroom at the very least, and it attracts a lot of attention both in terms of having to buy a lot of acid (car batteries aren't really a great source) or reagents to produce it, and in terms of your neighbours eventually getting fed up with that acidic smell emanating from your flat (less of a problem in countries where living in separate houses is the norm, i imagine). And you still have to chop the body up, to provide a decent surface-to-volume ratio. And if you've just killed and butchered a person, it's probably safer to pack them in plastic bags and try to get rid of them ASAP than to sit on a closed bathroom for several weeks hoping nobody will try to take a peak especially if there's any chance that you'll be visited by law enforcement (even by "what can you tell us about the lost person's alleged attraction to some game called di-and-di?" kind of way).

Though at least your place won't smell of decay, only of chemicals - the acid will stop bacterial process. Provided you are a quick butcher, have the acid and the tub prepared in advance and won't make too bloody of a mess, that is.

Source: that's how we do things in Russia.

WarKitty
2017-11-29, 07:39 PM
http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20140910.png

Thrudd
2017-11-29, 09:31 PM
Step 1. Be god
Step 2. Tell people you're god
Step 3. Collect their adulation
Step 4. Get yourself a sweet club house
Step 5. Only let the cool people join the club
Step 6. Make sure the people in the club know they are absolutely the coolest no matter what everyone else says
Step 7. Fly away to heaven or outer space or something