Category Archives: Ideas

Plot-a-Day: Satanic Machinations

I’m an atheist, but I still enjoy a good satanic conspiracy. There’s just something about Lucifer’s fall and the whole idea of a secret organization devoted to spreading evil that’s very powerful – archetypical, you might say, and Satanists make for good villains – probably because they are, by definition, devious and capable of great evil in pursuit of their goals.

Satan – Dantes Inferno, by Gustave Doré

Since Halloween is once more upon us, let us look at some fun we can have with these minions of the dark prince.

Second Coming

The Satanists are usually keeping themselves busy preparing for the second coming by spreading chaos and destruction – take the current fad of Islamic terror and put Anti-Christians at its core.

The protagonists are small, well-funded mercenary unit in the pay of the Vatican (perhaps supported by a faction of the US government) and are trying to fight the encroaching evil – as time is of the essence they can not work within the law. As their enemies gain power, the dangers increase, until they have to fight demons in urban areas. (I am sure someone wrote this book already.)

Gates to Hell

Another obvious idea is a search for a magic book or satanic tome which opens the gates to hell (if you’re running a high-supernatural game or novel), allowing some of the Devil’s minions slip through and aid in the preparation for Satan’s return. In a more realistic setting, the Satanists are deluded – there’s no hell and of course the “magic spell” won’t work – but the heinous crimes committed by them are quite real.

The Devil Made Me Do It

In a less advanced society, “satanists” and witches (really anybody the locals decided they didn’t like very much) were blamed for everything from diseases to accident to bad weather. Such accusations usually ended in the painful death of the accused; your protagonists may need to clear their names (if there is enough time for rational discourse) or run for their lives. And in some settings, the accusations might actually be true – or the accuser might themselves be working for the devil.

Just a Bunch of Deluded Fools

A satanist (or other cultuist) based plot doesn’t have to do with the “real deal”. Religion, in any shape or form, is a great motivator to a great many people, on all ends of the spectrum. If the guys in the black robes brandishing daggers made from meteoric iron want to kill you, does it really matter if they want to use your blood to summon a demon or not?

Even if there’s no truth behind it all, Satanists (or any other cultists) can make a great red herring, or you can bait-and-switch your players (the cult is really a money-making scheme, for example). Maybe the satanists are employed by someone who lies to them, and employs them to do their dirty work to achieve some other goal. For example, a politician could use them as thugs to ensure his own election to office.

Star-Spawn of Satan

In a science-fiction setting, satanists might set up their own colony – far away from the usual trade routes. Such a society would be very dysfunctional; just take a look at the various sects that run afoul of the law almost every other year.

In the best case, members are just exploited for cheap labor; but usually, there’s rampant sexual abuse of both adults and children, violence, murder… The colony could support itself by piracy, and pirates that are unusually ruthless and ritualistically murder the crews of the ships they rob may be what brings the protagonists in as investigators.

Good Guy Lucifer

I usually assume that it’s best to play with the audience’s expectations. Keep them guessing. If your players assume that Satanists are “the real deal” then it turns out they aren’t, or maybe they are but the devil is really different from what everybody thinks. You could even make Lucifer the good guy – after all, the victor writes the history book – or in this case determines dogma.

Happy Halloween, folks.

Not much actual world-building stuff for March, but I came across a bunch of articles and sites I thought were share-worthy:

  • Helicoprion was a spiral-toothed fish and shows that very weird-looking creatures did indeed exist…
  • We can now re-grow teeth.. it’ll be a while for commercial availability, but the shiny future may sole all dental problems.
  • Chuck found a nice photo website called Phototravel, lots of nice visuals there.
  • Paleos.com – Life Through Deep Time is cool resource if you need to figure out what lived on Earth when.
  • The BBC has an article up describing a Future Without Antibiotics.

Plot-a-Day: RMS Titanic

The Titanic probably needs no introduction. It sank on April 15th, 1912 – one hundred years ago. Since its story is featured in so many stories, movies and so on, I thought it would be a good opportunity to post a list of plot ideas involving the Titanic.

Continue reading “Plot-a-Day: RMS Titanic” »

Worldbuilding Links for January, 2009

Here’s an assortment of links you might find useful.

How-To’s

* Map-making tutorial using The Gimp.

Inspiration, Locations

* Photos from Paris Exhibition, 1900. In color.
* Abandoned subway stations in New York City
* The Uros people of the Titicaca lake live on floating islands, which is a cool style of living for a conpeople.

Science Fiction Stuff

* Tests have shown that it is possible to protect long-duration missions from solar wind using a magnetic shield.
* Scientists figured out that Mars’ loss of atmosphere to the pressure from solar wind isn’t a slow, gentle process; instead it is quite violent: Solar Wind Rips Up Martian Atmosphere.

NaNoWriMo 2008 Research

* Wikipedia on radioactive fallout
* Wikipedia on fallout shelters and blast shelters
* Mount Weather government bunker
* Gas masks vs bad smells: Gas masks do not filter out odors, unless they are designed for the job, but vick vapor rub is a work-around used by law enforcement and emergency workers.
* Geiger counters
* Compound bowsbow hunting is done in the US

Plot-a-Day: "Alien" Squid sighted at deep-sea platform

The Shell oil company has filmed an alien-looking Bigfin squid at one of its oil development sites. These creatures are a stark reminder of what strange animals live in the depths of our Earth’s oceans. When I watched the shaky video in the National Geographic article, I kept thinking that alien life on Europa could not possibly look weirder – or more spooky!

The plot ideas here are obvious.

  • The sighting is an actual alien, or a monster – a Deep One, Godzilla or the Cloverfield monster, or some other strange creature. The creature could be scouting out the oil rig for a later attack.
  • The oil drilling site could be located on an alien planet, thought to be devoid of native life – the presence of these creatures could undermine plans to exploit the planet.
  • The creature is actually a genetically engineered being released by a competitor or eco-terrorists.

Watch The Abyss or any other deep sea monster drama movie for inspiration, and read lots of H. P. Lovecraft.