Monday, April 8, 2019

University Cults

((I've updated this post to reflect the new rumor format I'm using in the following post.))

I'm using these for any Wizard City shenanigans, but I'm sure y'all can find a use for 'em elsewhere! I'm lookin' at you, Esoteric Enterprises.

It Is Called: The Generous Hand
Type: Charitable Organization
Threat Priority: Low

A "cult", so sayeth the city leadership, with the apparently radical idea that we shouldn't be total and absolute jerks to each other. They do know what city they're in, don't they? This is WIZARD City, not DECENT PERSON City! Geeze.

Anyways, it's a futile effort, but they're gaining the slightest amounts of traction, undertaking such programs such as distributing non-experimental food, providing non-haunted shelter to the homeless, offering non-organ-harvesting medical service, even for brains in jars, THE NERVE!

1. Why do they provide these services for free? Well, obviously, it must be because they're hiding something. It can't possibly be some commitment for the greater good.
2. Its leaders are firmly under the thumb of oligarchs. They use the organization to politically manipulate the vulnerable.
3. It's all one little piece of the inevitable brain-in-jar uprising. How? Not sure yet.

It Is Called: Church of the Spoon
Type: Religious Group
Threat Priority: Low

"All Hail The Spoon!"
Thus sayest the Spoon Pope.
They hand out fliers in the city squares. They make monuments to the Spoon. They say that "everything is spoon" given the right spoon-lense. They say that the universe is shaped like a spoon, and that everything, down to the last atom, is constituted of spoons. They worship the spoon. They wear spoons from their ears, and eat nothing but spoon-shaped things with spoons. They spoon when they sleep. They make spoons obsessively, and spread their wonder wherever they go. They have single-handed collapsed the spoon market, making them cheaper than dirt, literally.

1. They regard The Gigamancer, capable of summoning one billion spoons (among other things) in a single instant, as some sort of demiurge or avatar of the All-Spoon - their proverbial god, which is more or less The Universe in entirety.
2. The entire endeavor was actually a student prank that got way out of hand. It's original founders, long since excommunicated, have gone on record saying that the whole thing was 'a joke', but nobody cares.
3. There is a hidden hierarchy to the church, with Spoon Priests and Spoon Bishops, going all the way up to the Spoon Pope, who sits upon a throne of spoons.

It Is Called: The High Modernist Society
Type: Professional Order
Threat Priority: "None"

A secret cabal of architects, politicians, and city planners devoted to the formation of the 'perfect' city. It is both the least threatening-seeming of the cults, and the most dangerous. Its founders and members have massive influence in city planning: everything from spontaneous evictions to rent control to zoning laws to eminent domain.

They want to create the 'perfect' city, but what exactly that entails is kept totally secret to all but its highest members. The following conspiracy theories have been developed about their goals. If even one of them are true then The High Modernist Society deserves at least a High threat rating.

1. They have ties to the Providence Men. They even say that the Pyramid Heads pull the strings on their organization from the future, and that every project they influence is tilted towards constructing the monument of their power.
2. Their city planning is all in service of creating a massive magic circle. Everything from zoning to street layouts to ghetto formation to population control is all a part of an elaborate ritual - but what the end goal is nobody is sure.
3. They spur on riots to justify police force so that in the resulting crackdowns they can drive a profit through demolition and real estate development.
I read this recently, can't you tell

4. The slums and ghettos were created and planned by the High Modernist Society for the purpose of harvesting bodies for necromantic experiments. Nobody cares if someone goes missing in the slums, so it's the ideal harvesting grounds
5. It's highest members are actually magitech Artificial Intelligences, manipulating the city's people as pawns towards their goals of technological-magical Singularity. The tendrils of AI power seep throughout the bones of the city, and the zoning laws create a function of specialization to constitute citywide magitech computer parts.
6. The entire society is actually a plot of the Unter-Ooze to completely and universally take over the city via simultaneous plumbing infiltration (sewage, fresh water, bathing). High ranking members are just puppets of the Ooze, and will structurally fall apart under scrutiny. Hence the emphasis of sewer development from the Society.

It Is Called: Omicron Delta Theta (Sorority of the Cell)
Type: Student Group
Threat Priority: Medium

The notorious Biomancer sisterhood, whose name Omicron Delta Theta (ΟΔΘ) pictographically represents the splitting of the cell. Or maybe it's an owl. They like owls. This sorority has often been salaciously accused of incubating and birthing their own mad experiments. This is False (95% of the time). And those who slander the sorority often find themselves spontaneously developing simultaneous throat, eye, and brain cancer. Try being a wizard without those, scum!

The sorority house is located deep within the student ghetto, which gives them plenty of cover to hide their various illegal biomancy activities. The projects of the sisters range from:
"I've crossed a chinchilla and a puppy! LOOK HOW CUTE IT IS!",
to "I've developed a plague that causes people who ask too many questions at seminar to rapidly grow their bottom teeth up through their brain",
to "What if Cronenburg... But MORE?".

At first glance, you think the man on the platform is in control. He is not. Oh, he is not.

Like all rowdy fraternities and sororities, their parties are great. Just watch your drinks, lest you wake up with no teeth, an extra butt, and a unicorn head. If ever they are to team up with the Black Magic Fraternity, both of their respective Threat Priorities will automatically jump to High.

1. The Sorority has developed a highly contagious plague that will kill off anybody over the age of 30 with 99.99% lethality. The reason they're still around is because they're holding the entire city hostage.
2. Nobody becomes a doctor or a nurse in the city without some amiable connection to the Sorority. Those who cross the sisterhood often reach 'unfortunate ends'.
3. Those who survive the hazing rituals of the Sorority become immortal, it's just that the nature of the work they end up doing long after has a high mortality rate.
4. There is a beast that uses the sewers as its hunting ground. It is said to be half-man, half-crocodile, and that is was an aborted 'project' from the Sorority.
5. The Snakemen are actually a product of the Sorority's experimentation. It certainly fits their profile.

It Is Called: The Hypermath Cult
Type: Faculty Society
Threat Priority: Low

The Cult, whose upper echelons are based out of the Infinity Hotel, is nearly entirely devoted to the discovery of new means of math. They have a pseudo-public hierarchical structure, encompassing several semi-public levels of participation, and several more secret ones. The Cult itself is divided into several independent subsections, each devoted to some form of mathematics. These can be recognized by special secret gestures and acknowledgements, most of them completely harmless. Cult membership is denoted by Level, levels 1-5 being public, and levels 6-10 being secret.


The Logarithmancers are devoted to the study of logarithms, and how they might be used to access greater numbers. This sect, above the others, coalesces more power and practicality in its ranking members. Logarithmancers are known to have developed special LOG magic, allowing select members to blunt un-survivable attacks and conditions, such as falling from 100,000ft or withstanding a direct nuclear blast.

The Numerologismists [sic] are devoted to the study of the study of numerology. So, they don't study numerology per se, but rather study the creatures that study numerology - principally goblins, hobgoblins, and trolls - and mathematics systems derived therein. Being that they are often confused (and intentionally mislabeled) as numerologists, they've developed an acute sense of defensiveness surrounding their studies. Numerology is the lowest of sciences, after all, but studying those who study it is anthropology!

The Irrationalists are devoted to the study of irrational numbers. Being there an infinite number of irrational numbers, their work is cut out for them. They are an obsessive and devoted lot, composing a litany of human calculators, mad mathematicians, and artists. Their pursuit of irrationality often leads them down erratic and compulsive paths such as the development of misanthropic supersets, new math systems, and feats of eternal cruelty.

The Imaginarians are devoted to the study of imaginary numbers, complex numbers, and their various applications. There is a lot of drug use in this sect. Without the special drugs, they claim, one's brain cannot access the true Imaginary realm. As such, they tend to be a strange and ethereal group of scholars, far less obsessed with diligence and protocol as the other groups.

1. The Level 10 Logarithmancer, and a few of his Level 9 disciples, can survive a nuclear blast point-blank, such are the powers of his logarithmic magic.
2. The Numerologismists have secretly claimed they've discovered the Number Which Controls the Universe, but they're unwilling to share it, the pigs.
3. The Irrationalists have a secret bunker containing a legion of mad savants, furiously working night and day to produce the highest number capable of being expressed by humanity.
4. The Imaginarians are said to have a drug which shows you the True World. That would mean, of course, that this world is False.

It Is Called: Order of the Nine Eyes (The Black Magic Fraternity)
Type: Student Group
Threat Priority: Medium

The most notorious and infamous student group on campus. Nobody with good sense even walks down the same street as their frat house, even the poor mailman. The house itself - a monument and zoo to every dark magic that ever existed - is a cesspit of debauched insanity. At any given time, it is haunted by no less than three demons/ghosts/monstrosities/aberrations. It is filthy and trapped with all manner of cursed objects with apocalyptic implements on hair triggers - think the basement scene in Cabin in the Woods.

Like this, but a whole three-story house.

Like: Oh, you want to look in the bathroom mirror? Well, you just summoned an ultra-evil doppelganger of yourself that's going to kill everyone you know and love before gouging out its throat in front of your dissertation committee.

1. Despite the perpetual existential dread, the fraternity is surprisingly supportive to its members. Brothers frequently share resources and advice for summoning spirits and demons, rationalizing that the better they are at helping each other, the more horrible-ness they can bring into the world.
2. Their parties are bitchin', too, if you're okay with a moderate-to-severe amount of misanthropy and human sacrifice.
3.  If they ever team up with Omicron Delta Theta, then there will be absolutely no hope for the city to avoid an existential catastrophe.

It Is Called: Eat The Rich
Type: Memetic
Threat Priority: "High"

Source, also more good examples.
Eat The Rich is a memetic cult devoted to its namesake - cannibalizing rich people. It's followers include a litany of shadowy graffiti artist-magicians who decisively plant psycho-somatic-memetic text so that those reading it will immediately attempt to eat the next wealthy person they come into contact with. Servant class folk are frequently targeted for this text, along with close family members of intended targets.

In disproportionate response, several secret and non-secret police units have been devoted to its eradication.

1. Because this cult primarily targets affluent communities, it has been labelled the number one threat in Wizard City, despite only a few occurrences of wealthy-person cannibalism each year (several of which this cult's influence was highly debatable).
2. Some people have theorized that Eat The Rich is actually a puppet by the High Modernist Society to scapegoat any of their misdealings, but those people are dead.
3. Eat The Rich is, in fact, an organism which cares neither about eating nor the rich. The psycho-somatic components of its 'plague' are merely byproducts of its naturally-selected reproductive cycle.

It Is Called: "That One Thing We Can't Talk About"
Type: Mimetic
Threat Priority: Low

Several decades ago a plague swept through the city. At first, people reported seeing strange shadows dancing in the distance down long streets, recalling the appearance of a black cloth caught in a hot air updraft. Then, people reported seeing a black-robed man standing in the distance, staring at them. After that the reports stopped, and the migrations started.

"That One Thing We Can't Talk About" is a mimetic virus of an increasingly closer-standing black-robed man. Early stages of the disease include extreme paranoia and the compulsive desire to talk about the black-robed man, thereby spreading the disease. Late stages include suggestion and brainwashing, culminating in complete loss of free will as the victim begins to mindlessly march due east directly into the desert - to what destination nobody has found out, for subjects die of dehydration long before stopping.

The only way to cure the disease and to halt its spread is to never talk about it, hence all government denial that such hypothetical diseases exist. Despite this, there is a small segment of the population encompassing various amnesiac conspiracy theorists that keep the disease alive, even worshiping the black-robed man as some sort of messiah.

From Lawrence of Arabia
1. The Black-robed man is trying to tell us something. Hosts have sometimes declared they saw the man trying to speak, but producing no words.
2. The State actually perpetuates the plague as a means of eugenics and population control. After all, the lower classes are disproportionally affected by it.
3. Only those who have unjustly escaped prosecution from the law ever see the Black-Robed man, hence why it never affects the righteous wealthy.

It Is Called: "The Other Thing We Can't Talk About"
Type: ???
Threat Priority: ???

The Providence Men. Talking about them has a tendency of getting one mysteriously disintegrated. The Men come from the future where their rule in absolute, and they return to the past to ensure their future. Nobody has any idea what the rationale for the assassinations is, and the Men of Pyramid Heads aren't keen to divulge.

Despite this, there is a small cult devoted to their future rule. They are the only people who seem able to discuss the Pyramid Head Men without getting disintegrated, but only so long as their revelations aren't brought into the proper light. They can be identified by their special signet rings depicting the Providence Eye.

1. ???
2. ???
3. ???

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