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Creating my own Cthulhu Cult...

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#1 HelplessBystander

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 12:36 PM

All right, so I recently, I ran a campaign with my friends that was set in 1920s China, due to the unfortunate lack of proper source-books and published scenarios set in China (except MoN and that one Pulp Cthulhu scenario), I was forced to devise a quick group of antagonists and motivations (they chose to be local residents) on the spot. Through tactical manoeuvring of the scenario, I was somehow able to vaguely allude to the nature of the cult without directly having them learning anything about the cult or result in any sort of direct confrontation per se. In preparation for the next scenario, I would like some help fleshing out this cult.
 
[WARNING TO MY PLAYERS: If you participate in my games, don't read anything below this line. It'll ruin the fun. Oh, and that includes everyone from the Dead Men Walking PbP at Play@YSDC.]
 
This is what I have devised so far:
 
Name: Abyssal Monastery(九幽寺)
 
Symbol: 3MJcKfg.jpg

 

Description: An ancient monastery of monks who worships the Infernal One of The Nine Thousand Hells (九千地狱燚君), the horrendous Nylsaryhisuylvalysantosflaspasparaginpuacyllykluth (奈亚萨蕊黑苏叁彤斯弗拉斯帕辣亘普塞瑞库洛斯). They are deeply influential within the government of the Republic of China after they had foreseen the ultimate downfall of the imperial dynasty.  They operates an unseen web of skilled informants hidden deep within all of China. These cultists plan to summon The Infernal One Of The Nine Thousand Hells to descend upon China. Hoping that it will grant them unholy power and inhumane knowledge to its dutiful followers as they learn new ways to shout, and revel, and murder, and destroy their bodies and minds...and embrace all of China in the sundering flames of The Nine Thousand Hells within an everlasting Holocaust of Ecstasy as the great barrier between Life and Death blurs. Their minds are insane with the delicate agonies of ecstasy and horror. Their Dark God desires to cover the world in dense of smog of The Aura of Death (阴气).
 
China will be gradually swallowed up and submerge deep into the abominable recesses of The Nine Thousand Hells, should the Abyssal Monsatery succeed, and the world will be plunged into the End Times as chaos spread throughout the world. 
 
 
Please give some feedback on how I can improve/flesh this out. Thanks! :)




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#2 GBSteve

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 03:38 PM

I'd suggest making the names a bit shorter and more pronounceable. Just so they don't get laughed at.

 

I don't know anything much about China and it really depends how much work you want to do, especially if any of your players are familiar with China. I did 10 minutes research with Wikipedia

 

I'd check the actual Chinese. The Abyssal Temple includes the character 寺  which indicates a Buddhist temple or monastery (according to Wikipedia). There are many hells in Buddishm and some interesting background here.

 

Also, China is a very large country with many different religious practices, ethnicities and languages. Where are you situating this?

 

The 1920s seemed not to be a particularly good time for Buddhism in China on the whole. The Warlord era was a tumultuous time and a cult would have to go some to be inveigled into the highest echelons of power, given how changeable these were. Which factions were they backing?

 

There's also something in the name. It doesn't sound as if it promises much fun or profit to its worshippers, or anyone who meets them. What hold do they have on people that they should help their world ending cause?


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#3 DAR

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 08:28 PM

If you pick up Secrets of Japan there might be some tomes and stuff you can mine for ideas, especially when combined with Secrets of Tibet. My single greatest problem is how they treat Buddhism as a religion and how it interacts with the Mythos (trying to avid Spoilers), but otherwise it is a really great supplement full of worthwhile ideas.

 

D.



#4 HelplessBystander

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 09:46 PM

I'd suggest making the names a bit shorter and more pronounceable. Just so they don't get laughed at.

I don't know anything much about China and it really depends how much work you want to do, especially if any of your players are familiar with China. I did 10 minutes research with Wikipedia

I'd check the actual Chinese. The Abyssal Temple includes the character which indicates a Buddhist temple or monastery (according to Wikipedia). There are many hells in Buddishm and some interesting background here.

Also, China is a very large country with many different religious practices, ethnicities and languages. Where are you situating this?

The 1920s seemed not to be a particularly good time for Buddhism in China on the whole. The Warlord era was a tumultuous time and a cult would have to go some to be inveigled into the highest echelons of power, given how changeable these were. Which factions were they backing?

There's also something in the name. It doesn't sound as if it promises much fun or profit to its worshippers, or anyone who meets them. What hold do they have on people that they should help their world ending cause?

 

My grandparents were Buddhists (well, worshippers, anyways), so I have some first-hand knowledge of their idea of the afterlife as well as a how their religion generally works. Buddhists worships many deities and there's plenty of real-world unrecognised Buddhist sects. I think it's believable to set it as an anonymous Buddhist sect.

The Abyssal monastery worshippers a God who they believe will make them immortal and revive the dead (erase barrier between life and death, etc.), and grant them knowledge that will allow them to ascend to enlightenment and transcend their material vessels. Pretty sweet deal in exchange for the ultimate destruction of the world, eh?

These guys should back Chinese republic rather than the imperialists.

I plan on setting this in a central province within mainland China during the 1920s.

Oh yeah, and the god's name is like that because I really can't come up with a better name. Thanks! :D



#5 HelplessBystander

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 10:51 PM

If you pick up Secrets of Japan there might be some tomes and stuff you can mine for ideas, especially when combined with Secrets of Tibet. My single greatest problem is how they treat Buddhism as a religion and how it interacts with the Mythos (trying to avid Spoilers), but otherwise it is a really great supplement full of worthwhile ideas.

 

D.

 

I'm not sure about Secrets of Japan, the reviews that I saw were all pretty mediocre, and I want to make sure that I get the most worthwhile purchase possible. Personally, I don't feel like making inferences based off of a Japan-based sourcebook. I would probably just buy MON and its companion book.



#6 eternalchampion

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 01:44 PM

Secrets of Japan is a very dense source book, with many pages and small characters; it is full of interesting information about japanese culture, the Mythos there and most importantly how these two merge. Most of the book concerns a rather modern setting, but there are information about earlier eras and even middle ages. The mediocre reviews probably have to do with the scenarios, which I have not played. You might find useful the merging of Buddhism and Mythos that is presented in the book. There is also a scenario (Master Wu marriage)  set in medieval china in "Strange Aeons II"; it even has floor plans of a monastery, but it has nothing to do with a Mythos cult there.

Check also this

http://detwillerdesi...for-delta-green



#7 DAR

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 07:34 PM

Secrets of Japan is a very dense source book, with many pages and small characters; it is full of interesting information about japanese culture, the Mythos there and most importantly how these two merge. Most of the book concerns a rather modern setting, but there are information about earlier eras and even middle ages. The mediocre reviews probably have to do with the scenarios, which I have not played. You might find useful the merging of Buddhism and Mythos that is presented in the book. There is also a scenario (Master Wu marriage)  set in medieval china in "Strange Aeons II"; it even has floor plans of a monastery, but it has nothing to do with a Mythos cult there.

 

Yeah, I'd agree with that. Mostly I was thinking of the mythos Tomes and a couple of the cults which have clear links or origins to China - plus the information on Buddhism and "Dark Taoism". I also seem to recall some Chinese folk magic in... Secrets of San Francisco? Can't remember if there are any Chinese cults or other information, but it's certainly possible.

 

D.



#8 HelplessBystander

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 10:49 PM

I see. Thanks. Just want to make sure it's a worthwhile purchase before investing.

#9 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:41 AM

I think GBSteve's advice is, as always, top-notch, but feel free to roll with what you've got or what seems right to you, and see what happens.  You can always make adjustments as you go along, to fit your group.

 

If you are ever interested, the YSDC forum people have written a handful of (to me) fascinating and exciting discussions and debates about Cthulhu cults and cultists, often with some unusual alternative ways to look at and think of cultists, which might inspire some additional story ideas and such, such as:

Spoiler

"I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time." - Blaise Pascal


#10 HelplessBystander

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:08 AM

I think GBSteve's advice is, as always, top-notch, but feel free to roll with what you've got or what seems right to you, and see what happens. You can always make adjustments as you go along, to fit your group.

If you are ever interested, the YSDC forum people have written a handful of (to me) fascinating and exciting discussions and debates about Cthulhu cults and cultists, often with some unusual alternative ways to look at and think of cultists, which might inspire some additional story ideas and such


I liked GB's advice as well. Very constructive. As with yours! Thanks! :D

[UPDATE: 12/10/2017] The Infernal One of The Nine Thousand HellsNylsaryhisuylvalysantosflaspasparaginpuacyllykluth, Immature Spawn of Nyarlathotep

Type: Lesser Outer God

"It is with great levity that I pen this letter to you, my good friend. I had saw that most...wondrous of sight; a most perplexing of vision that has enthralled me to place my damned knowledge on paper to share it with you. [/background]Once you know, once you really understand, you will never forget. It keeps me up at night, and if not for my pity supply of Opium, I shall never sleep at all. On the day that marked my woeful fall, my wife and child hanged and tainted with their...whims; they chopped off my right hand as some further reminder of the mistakes that led up to that point.

I was of a most atrocious state, in both body and mind. It was then that I saw it. It was then that I was touched. Truly, the matter comes down to dimensions and our perception of space. We possess the ability to perceive the three spacial dimension of daily lifeheight, width, and depth. Hold up a roll of newspaper or some other mundane object, feel your fingers wrap around it, and you will understand. Now imagine a creature that existed in only two of those three dimensions, in a universe that described a simple plane through our own. To that creature, that roll of newspaper would appear to be a simple flat plane is the totality of their world, growing and shrinking over a seemingly-infinite distance as multifolds of it passes through the flat plane of that hypothetical creature's universe. Imagine how our hand would look—perhaps some series of [/size]strange fleshy circles filled with pulsing veins stretched over glistening skin; no texture, no depth. The creature could never understand what it was really seeing, as it could no more conceive of the fantastical thought or understanding of a hand any more than it could imagine a creature like us, moving freely through these three spatial dimensions and interacting with these objects on a whim.

I suppose I saw one such creature back then.

Through some unseen expanses of space, I saw not of moving goblins or munchkins inside my head, but a creature who is so incomprehensibly alien, that my only glimpse of it resembled some large, hatefully large, 'thing' of some almost atrociously beautiful juxtaposition between that of an mewling feline, an octopoid mollusc of aquatic origin, and some blasphemously beautiful arachnid that would've made Aphrodite herself blush in embarrassment. It was then that know that 'it' was a 'Her'. Perhaps it was the ellipsoid nature of her...eyes, or maybe it was that feminine nature of her features; but I knew, through some reason or another, and I saw Her blurred, nebulous, presence moving it's body between "here" and "away". That cognitive dissonance as my brain struggled to comprehend the movement of the majestic visage. She unfolded her jaw, which seemed to stretch as wide as the gap between the sky and the earth. Within it, I glimpsed some true cosmic afterlife within her amorphous stellar form. I saw endless world, and perhaps some true nature of life and death as it seemed to be on verge of devouring me, my very Essence. But just as quickly as that vision of enchanted beauty, that gorgeous Goddess tossed me away, granting me the honourable privilege of scouring food for Her and with it, unveiling the mysterious veiled curtains of Death for me as I lived for another day as an insignificant mortal destined to never be the centre of her divine existence. Death now holds no more secrets or fears for me, as I know that She will reward the most dutiful of servants with that Ultimate reward desperately sought after by countless Kings and Emperors in their dying days. Maybe if I were to show her my competence and offer her a sacrifice worthy, my wife and child shall return to me from those Endless Realms Within.

The Last thing I knew of her was the name. Some snarling meow whispered besides my ear with the intimacy of a wedded wife. Such a name was, unfortunately, incapable of being truly transliterated into Chinese or the English tongue that I know of. My closest attempt at finding any alternatives to fulfil the duties of those missing vowels is presented below. Some accurate rendition of Her name, I believe, would be Nylsaryhisuylvalysantosflaspasparaginpuacyllykluth. A name as beautiful as the ancient sign that I've inscribed within the Monastery that built by me in Her name and honour. I'll be seeing you soon, my good friend..." [font=arial]—Ren Kang Kai, Founder of 'The Abyssal Monastery'[/b]

History of Cult - First founded in 1905, at the centre of Beijing City (then romanised as Peking) by Ren Kang Kai after the man experienced a spiritual experience involving an Immature Lesser Outer God. A small, unofficial shrine not sanctioned by The Chinese Government was set up, and several members of The Chinese Political Party was inducted into the cult, and thus the cult relocated their centre of operations deep within the mountain ranges of the Hopeh Province. The Abyssal Monastery has since then become a shadowy parasite clinging on the Chinese Government, it is gradually becoming stronger and noticeably more influential as the Chinese Republic gains more and more political momentum.

Current Beliefs and Goal - Worships The Infernal one of The Nine Thousand Hells, and plans to bring about chaos and violent in an active attempt to gain the attention of the being, and eventually gain some twisted form of immortality. Unfortunately, there's internal schisms taking place due to the unprofessional nature of their leader. While he is admittedly charismatic and a fast learner, Ren Kang Kai is inexperienced at running cults, and causing contradictory schools of ideologies and core philosophies to form due to his insanity and episodic outbreaks. Conflicting information and tasks were often passed down, causing general inefficiency and internal strife

Methods - Through ritualistic ceremonies, they plan to use the people of Peking as unwitting sacrifices to fuel a Create Gate spell that will allow The Infernal One to descend upon China in a public display of celebration Life and Death.

Activities - Causing the End of the world, seeking Enlightenment, and ultimately entertain their god.

Region of Activity - Mostly mainland China, with a few cultists stationed at Shanghai to initiate further dialogue with The Order of The Bloated Woman whenever it is convenient to do so. The cultists of The Abyssal Monastery are also relatively experienced Dreamers, they have recently set up a rudimentary equivalent of their cult in the Dreamlands. In the waking world, they are currently too underfunded to expand their sphere of Influence overseas.

Membership - Around roughly 300 members of the cult is spread throughout china, some are merely laymen whose interests are not aligned with the inherent philosophy of the cult, but are willing to work for them and some are devout believers who worships the god on a regular basis. There is no formal system of indoctrination in place currently due to it's small scale and youth. There is a loose hierarchy of Lay people, Neophytes, Pilgrims, Monks and Nuns, and Elders. No further hierarchical structure was established and their speed of processing new information often come with a thirteen hour delay to internal conflicts.

Degree of Secrecy - Actively secretive. The cult actively attempts to hide behind the political chaos of China, and will often create vast numbers of red herrings and smokescreens to distract and deceive their opposition. They will often deceive their opposition to form misconceptions of their cult.

Language - Chinese, and some degree of English. There are a few member of the cult that have received extensive education and are capable of speaking relatively good English in preparation for expanding their influence overseas.

Associated Cults - The Order of The Bloated Woman is aware of the existence of The Abyssal Monastery, in fact, it is entirely possible that the reason for its speedy development is due to help by The Order of The Bloated Woman. The Monastery is also aware of the existence of The Bloated Woman. Due to the youth of the cult, it has little to no influence overseas and do not have long-term alliances with any other cults.





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