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Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:15 pm
by Orin J.
Whymme wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:09 am
I am a bit surprised by the link of Tzeentch to the elite - I would expect him to have followers among the wretched lower classes of society, who crave for change. The elite generally are pretty content where they are and would favour stability. But that aside.
no, it makes a lot of sense, tzeentch advertises that you can get further by being smarter and the elite always beleive they're the smartest there's been in generations regardless. they simply want to change things where the deserving (them) are above those lucky rabble that were born into undeserved privilege (literally everyone they know, who are always making them *ugh* work for their position....). of course, when they learn they weren't special so much as lucky it's usually when tzeentch has them by the curlies already but that's not something they're gonna consider....

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:24 am
by Karanthir
Knight of the Lady wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:16 am
Whymme wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:09 am
I am a bit surprised by the link of Tzeentch to the elite - I would expect him to have followers among the wretched lower classes of society, who crave for change. The elite generally are pretty content where they are and would favour stability. But that aside.
Well, it was both in regards to from where the Tzeentchians recruit people and also how I see that most Tzeentch cults are, or tend to be, structured. Now this may of course have to do with how I personally have encountered Tzeentch cults, but so far they have seemed to be and I imagine them as pretty elitistic.

Since the historical examples of wealthy people seeking change to gain more, I'll elaborate on my personal views and experience with Tzeentch cults.

The way I see Tzeentch cults is that they are about the "Tzeentchian Dream" that contrary to all the people who never make it past lowly cultist, YOU, can do it if you work hard enough and serve your magos well enough.

And some are indeed raised up by the magos to keep the scheme going but its never about hard work but rather dumb loyalty, the right level of competence to do things but not threaten the magos and that the magos can play them and so prevent them from actually becoming a threat to him. Hence I tend to see, and have experienced in the games I've played in, Tzeentch cults as being very much so of a privilaged elite who runs the thing, soaks up the benefits and sets the goals of the cult. The rest of the cultists are on the other hand fed to think that they can also one day join that little elite and gain sorcerous power if they just give it their all.

Not to mention that unlike the other Chaos gods where a guy off the street can still have the fatalism for Nurgle, the killer instict for Khorne or the decadence for Slaanesh, you probably need to start with some privilaged stuff in the Old World, like an education in the letters or such, to do things that gains Tzeentch's attention.

But I also understand that this is my personally take and experience on this subject so I realize that others may well have different opinions and experiences.
I'm not sure there's anything specifically Tzeentchian about the cult you've described - it could be any cult dedicated to any god (not just Chaos) that ends up like that. The leaders will tend to be the more elite members, as they're the ones with the education and resources to set up a cult in the first place. Is the cult serving the god or the magos, and is the magos serving the god or himself? Not saying you're wrong to view cults in that way, but I don't think it would be specific to Tzeentch cults (think of the corruption in the Sigmarite hierarchy, or even the Catholic Church in the rw Middle Ages).

Also, Tzeentch must occasionally take an interest in uneducated individuals (naturally very powerful hedge witches for example), otherwise he wouldn't have much of a following among the uncivilized tribes of the north.

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:20 am
by makrellen
Thank you everyone who has contributed! For those interrested - below is a short summary of where I am heading with this based on your suggestions.

-----------------------------------

Campaign background: It is set in 2312. Magnus the Pious has routed the chaos invasion in the north and is busy re-building The Empire (as well as establishing the new magic collegues in Altdorf). The campaign is based in Nuln using The Oldenhammer Contract as the starting point.

In Nuln there are two cults at play working towards their own goal. One is a Tzeentch cult centered around the university. They are working on a ritual that will allow lesser demons to enter the minds of mortals all over Nuln (using 5 locations in Nuln as points in a massive pentagram). To lower the mortals threshold of resistance they are also supporting several gangs in flooding Nuln with alcohol (this is first ed after all - low WP scores due to alcohol equals low resistance to magic). This is where the players come in - they have teamed up with Dirck Huyderman after the Oldenhaller contract and he is boot legging into Nuln.

The other cult is centered around Nurgle. The cult leader is a former military cook in the campaign against chaos 10 years ago. After seeing the suffering and torment incurred by chaos his mind got warped and he started serving his company stew based on sick rats, carcases of dead chaos beings and other nasty stuff. To his surprise the spirits of his company was greatly elevated and they went on to win the campaign. After departing from Praag however men deserting from the military found themselves sick and rotting without the cooks daily servings and many came back just to follow him around. Eventually the cook had to flee as his unsavory cookings were discovered but with him came a detachment of men all determined to follow him.

Over the last 10 years he has grown a following of people - all of them join with the basic promise of food from his renowned stew only to find themselves in eternal chains to Nurgle.

I envision him as a simple man led by instinct. But around him are powerfull people (people with magic powers, a chaos warrier, veterans of the war) all plotting to take his position but also afraid they will loose their life if they no longer get their daily serving from their true master.

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:48 pm
by Knight of the Lady
Karanthir wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:24 am
Knight of the Lady wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:16 am
Whymme wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:09 am
I am a bit surprised by the link of Tzeentch to the elite - I would expect him to have followers among the wretched lower classes of society, who crave for change. The elite generally are pretty content where they are and would favour stability. But that aside.
Well, it was both in regards to from where the Tzeentchians recruit people and also how I see that most Tzeentch cults are, or tend to be, structured. Now this may of course have to do with how I personally have encountered Tzeentch cults, but so far they have seemed to be and I imagine them as pretty elitistic.

Since the historical examples of wealthy people seeking change to gain more, I'll elaborate on my personal views and experience with Tzeentch cults.

The way I see Tzeentch cults is that they are about the "Tzeentchian Dream" that contrary to all the people who never make it past lowly cultist, YOU, can do it if you work hard enough and serve your magos well enough.

And some are indeed raised up by the magos to keep the scheme going but its never about hard work but rather dumb loyalty, the right level of competence to do things but not threaten the magos and that the magos can play them and so prevent them from actually becoming a threat to him. Hence I tend to see, and have experienced in the games I've played in, Tzeentch cults as being very much so of a privilaged elite who runs the thing, soaks up the benefits and sets the goals of the cult. The rest of the cultists are on the other hand fed to think that they can also one day join that little elite and gain sorcerous power if they just give it their all.

Not to mention that unlike the other Chaos gods where a guy off the street can still have the fatalism for Nurgle, the killer instict for Khorne or the decadence for Slaanesh, you probably need to start with some privilaged stuff in the Old World, like an education in the letters or such, to do things that gains Tzeentch's attention.

But I also understand that this is my personally take and experience on this subject so I realize that others may well have different opinions and experiences.
I'm not sure there's anything specifically Tzeentchian about the cult you've described - it could be any cult dedicated to any god (not just Chaos) that ends up like that. The leaders will tend to be the more elite members, as they're the ones with the education and resources to set up a cult in the first place. Is the cult serving the god or the magos, and is the magos serving the god or himself? Not saying you're wrong to view cults in that way, but I don't think it would be specific to Tzeentch cults (think of the corruption in the Sigmarite hierarchy, or even the Catholic Church in the rw Middle Ages).

Also, Tzeentch must occasionally take an interest in uneducated individuals (naturally very powerful hedge witches for example), otherwise he wouldn't have much of a following among the uncivilized tribes of the north.
Well, I think that you didn't bring the whole view I tried to paint even if I agree that you got a point with the education stuff. Rather than education, maybe it should be "knowledge" or at least a drive for knowledge and particularly arcane or occult knowledge.

Hierarchy and "leaders-and-followers" are naturally found in most organizations, and cults are after all an organization but there are some things that I think are more common among Tzeentch cults even if it isn't unique to them. And the part that I think is perhaps the most important is the "Tzeentchian Dream" that YOU can make it to magos one day, unlike all the other lowly cultists that you've hang around with. Cultists of the other gods are probably aware and content with the knowledge that they'll most likely never going to become a magos or a Chaos Warrior or whatever themselves and find something to gain from being part of the cult anyway. Be it a sense of superiority, liberation from restricting social norms, an oppertunity to lash out, revenge, a sense of freedom or what else you've got. But with Tzeentchian cultists I always found them to be highly ambitious, in most cases but not all of course, and that they are constantly thinking that they can move up the ladder and seek to move up the ladder in their cult. Despite the fact that Tzeentchian cults in my opinion, as I mentioned before, tends to be very hierarchial and more elitist than say Khorne or Nurgle cults.

You mentioned the aspect of Tzeentch favoring powerful hedge wizards, which is true, but also don't that make it also a very small elite that he favors? Most Norscans and Kurgans won't be sorcerers, shamans or whatever nor will they be powerful ones. So I would actually think that's a point partially in the favor of my argument of Tzeentch being a god for elites. But naturally that when you've got much, you want more for yourself and therefore change and a sense of elitism would work well to bring established elites into Tzeentch's fold.

Because in all honesty I have yet as a player encountered a Tzeentch cultist that I remember who wasn't educated above the norm in some way OR didn't come from a highly privilaged background. Maybe its just me but if you've got examples of Tzeentchian followers of note or entire cults based on low income or low education/knowledge then I would be happy to read about them and challenge my opinion aboput Tzeentch. :)

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:27 am
by Wyrmslayer
A Warhammer novel, "The Enemy Within" (with no connections to the wfrp campaign) has a bunch of gutter level Tzeentchian cultists.

The old Beasts in Velvet novel had Tzeentchian cultists playing in the background. An Agitator (Yefgemy Yefimovich, or something) might have been born above the gutter, but was whipping up the low denizens of Altdorf.

In both books it was easy rationale. Masquerading as protesting for a better quality of life, by tearing down the Imperial institutions.

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:11 am
by Knight of the Lady
Wyrmslayer wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:27 am
A Warhammer novel, "The Enemy Within" (with no connections to the wfrp campaign) has a bunch of gutter level Tzeentchian cultists.

The old Beasts in Velvet novel had Tzeentchian cultists playing in the background. An Agitator (Yefgemy Yefimovich, or something) might have been born above the gutter, but was whipping up the low denizens of Altdorf.

In both books it was easy rationale. Masquerading as protesting for a better quality of life, by tearing down the Imperial institutions.
Haven't read these books but thank you for mentioning these examples of Tzeentchian cultists who breaks my stereotype of them.

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:36 am
by Zisse
What about the Tzeentchian cultists in TEW? Those trying to contact the PCs do not seem upper class to me.

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:44 pm
by Knight of the Lady
Zisse wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:36 am
What about the Tzeentchian cultists in TEW? Those trying to contact the PCs do not seem upper class to me.
True, but I have to ask if they are of note or if the Purple Hand is based on a lower class basis. Or if just the pawns and grunts comes from such background?

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 2:06 am
by Zisse
Knight of the Lady wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:44 pm
Zisse wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:36 am
What about the Tzeentchian cultists in TEW? ...
True, but I have to ask if they are of note or if the Purple Hand is based on a lower class basis. Or if just the pawns and grunts comes from such background?
Probably the second is true. So in the end such cults may simply reflect the same old hierarchy of society? Maybe it is not as strict, but the starting point. It could be or seem to be easier to climb the ladder in a cult than in real life.

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:52 am
by Orin J.
makrellen wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:20 am
Thank you everyone who has contributed! For those interrested - below is a short summary of where I am heading with this based on your suggestions.

-----------------------------------

Campaign background: It is set in 2312. Magnus the Pious has routed the chaos invasion in the north and is busy re-building The Empire (as well as establishing the new magic collegues in Altdorf). The campaign is based in Nuln using The Oldenhammer Contract as the starting point.

In Nuln there are two cults at play working towards their own goal. One is a Tzeentch cult centered around the university. They are working on a ritual that will allow lesser demons to enter the minds of mortals all over Nuln (using 5 locations in Nuln as points in a massive pentagram). To lower the mortals threshold of resistance they are also supporting several gangs in flooding Nuln with alcohol (this is first ed after all - low WP scores due to alcohol equals low resistance to magic). This is where the players come in - they have teamed up with Dirck Huyderman after the Oldenhaller contract and he is boot legging into Nuln.

The other cult is centered around Nurgle. The cult leader is a former military cook in the campaign against chaos 10 years ago. After seeing the suffering and torment incurred by chaos his mind got warped and he started serving his company stew based on sick rats, carcases of dead chaos beings and other nasty stuff. To his surprise the spirits of his company was greatly elevated and they went on to win the campaign. After departing from Praag however men deserting from the military found themselves sick and rotting without the cooks daily servings and many came back just to follow him around. Eventually the cook had to flee as his unsavory cookings were discovered but with him came a detachment of men all determined to follow him.

Over the last 10 years he has grown a following of people - all of them join with the basic promise of food from his renowned stew only to find themselves in eternal chains to Nurgle.

I envision him as a simple man led by instinct. But around him are powerfull people (people with magic powers, a chaos warrier, veterans of the war) all plotting to take his position but also afraid they will loose their life if they no longer get their daily serving from their true master.
good man, good stuff. sounds like a lot of fun. you'll have to share the highlights with us.

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:24 pm
by Whymme
makrellen wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:20 am
Thank you everyone who has contributed! For those interrested - below is a short summary of where I am heading with this based on your suggestions.

-----------------------------------

Campaign background: It is set in 2312. Magnus the Pious has routed the chaos invasion in the north and is busy re-building The Empire (as well as establishing the new magic collegues in Altdorf). The campaign is based in Nuln using The Oldenhammer Contract as the starting point.

In Nuln there are two cults at play working towards their own goal. One is a Tzeentch cult centered around the university. They are working on a ritual that will allow lesser demons to enter the minds of mortals all over Nuln (using 5 locations in Nuln as points in a massive pentagram). To lower the mortals threshold of resistance they are also supporting several gangs in flooding Nuln with alcohol (this is first ed after all - low WP scores due to alcohol equals low resistance to magic). This is where the players come in - they have teamed up with Dirck Huyderman after the Oldenhaller contract and he is boot legging into Nuln.

The other cult is centered around Nurgle. The cult leader is a former military cook in the campaign against chaos 10 years ago. After seeing the suffering and torment incurred by chaos his mind got warped and he started serving his company stew based on sick rats, carcases of dead chaos beings and other nasty stuff. To his surprise the spirits of his company was greatly elevated and they went on to win the campaign. After departing from Praag however men deserting from the military found themselves sick and rotting without the cooks daily servings and many came back just to follow him around. Eventually the cook had to flee as his unsavory cookings were discovered but with him came a detachment of men all determined to follow him.

Over the last 10 years he has grown a following of people - all of them join with the basic promise of food from his renowned stew only to find themselves in eternal chains to Nurgle.

I envision him as a simple man led by instinct. But around him are powerfull people (people with magic powers, a chaos warrier, veterans of the war) all plotting to take his position but also afraid they will loose their life if they no longer get their daily serving from their true master.
I love the cook. Perhaps his followers spread diseases, and those infected will have to join the cult or die.

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:13 am
by Capitaneus Fractus
Reading again The Lost and the Damned, I feel that a corrupted flavour of what would be a cynical sect might be another good historical inspiration for Nurgle cults, especially their concept of adiaphora.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynicism_(philosophy)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adiaphora

Re: Nurgle cults - what defines them?

Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 3:55 am
by Theo
Zisse wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:36 am
What about the Tzeentchian cultists in TEW? Those trying to contact the PCs do not seem upper class to me.
Middle-class artisans/burghers, I took it.