Creating a Story


Story Idea One: The Sacred Tree/Sacred Grove

This story centres around the idea of ‘The Sacred Tree’. This idea originated with the Assyrians of Mesopotamia. The Trees represented a fertility or vegetation goddess. In the old testament, the tree was made from wood and adorned in precious stones and bunting. In many parts of the world, travellers have observed the custom of hanging objects upon trees in order to establish some sort of a relationship between themselves and the tree. These are known as Wish trees. Wish trees usually stand in a protected Sacred Grove.


Story Idea Two: Santa Muerte (Lady of Holy Death)

A violent and often bloody take on cultism. Originated in central America. Consider the Aztecs, Zapotecs, Toltecs, and others. Usually, human sacrifice is needed in this type of cult. The ancient gods have a distinct taste for blood.

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Story Idea Three: Voodoo Zombies

Centres on the invocation of ancestral spirits. Which are called upon for good or evil? One of the most notable elements of Voodoo is ‘The Zombie’. It is believed that a zombie-like state could be achieved through sorcery. Voodoo also involves exorcisms and healing rituals. This might include singing, dancing, drumming, or the sacrifice of an animal.

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Story Idea Four: Black and White Magic/Witches

Wicca, at its basis, is a mystery cult requiring initiation and a path of personal fulfilment while developing psychic or magical abilities


Tabletop City

German-style board game

The game board is a medieval landscape built by the players as the game progresses.

Aims are simple:

  • Conserving followers.
  • Joining in on other players’ features.
  • Avoiding sharing.
  • Judicious placement of followers in fields.
  • Trapping opponents’ followers.


Settlers of Catan

Puerto Rico


Economic simulation tabletop games
Game of Life

abstract strategy board game

Inspired by the architecture of cliffside villages on Santorini Island in Greece. The game is played on a grid where each turn players build a town by placing building pieces up to three levels high. Players must move one of their two characters to the third level of the town.

Each turn of play involves moving one of your two pieces around then placing a tile adjacent to the moving piece. On subsequent turns, pieces may be moved onto one of these built-up tiles, but only one level up at a time. Pieces may also be moved down any number of levels. Players may also place a special dome tile on top of a three level building, which prevents a player from moving onto that spot for the remainder of the game.

The winning condition is to get one of your pieces onto the third level, though players may also win if their opponent is unable to make a move.

The Roxley Games version of Santorini introduced a god powers variant.

What works?
What does work?
Why do I like it? 


We wanted to look into witchcraft and Salem

broadly means the practice of and belief in magical skills and abilities

Typically elements of witchcraft:

  • Casting spells –  traditionally cast by many methods, an inscription of runes or sigils on an object to give it magical powers.
  • Necromancy (conjuring the dead) – the practice of conjuring the spirits of the dead for divination, prophecy or other purposes
  • Demonology – Worshiping the Devil and his practices


Narrative/text adventure prototype

Writing a Create Your Own Adventure Story
(good tools for mind mapping your story)


  • sketch out the story as a zero draft
  • Go back through it and break it into blocks These blocks are linked together to form a narrative chain
  • most branching stories have a minimum of around 10 levels and a maximum of around 20
  • a block of text could be either a scene, a sequel, or some kind of transition Writing Tips how to Write a Choose your own Adventure Story

suggests, for each block, trying to answer the following questions:

  • “Who has your hero met? Does your hero have any traveling companions? What is their relationship? (Friends, enemies, peripheral characters, pets?)
  • “What is your hero’s inventory? Has your hero lost/gained an item? Is it needed to achieve the goal? (Food, clothing, money, weapons, climbing gear, a holy relic?)
  • “What special abilities or knowledge does your hero have? For how long? (Where is the hidden letter, who was in bed with whom, how to avoid a fight or pick a lock?)
  • “Has your hero actually achieved the goal? (Reached a destination, killed the enemy, won over the love interest, found the special item, rescued the prisoner?)”

Morse mentions that there are five basic kinds of templates for endings:

  • The protagonist is captured.
  • The protagonist is killed.
  • The protagonist acquires treasure.
  • The protagonist finds love.
  • The protagonist fails in his/her quest.

There should be a handful of endings somewhere in the middle that cut the story short. The protagonist might die or just fail to achieve his/her goal.


Dynamic Object-Oriented Narrative

This last structure is Bateman’s term that, as far as I can tell, he invented to describe the game Façade (which you should absolutely download and play if you have not yet seen it). The idea is that there are several mini-stories, each with potentially several entry points and exit points. A single mini-story’s exit point may lead to a final ending, or to another mini-story. The mini-stories may be thought of as “chapters” in a book or “acts” in a play (except that you may not “read” all of the chapters or may read them in a different order, depending on the choices you make and how you exit each chapter).

This kind of story has the advantages of parallel paths, but without a linear story arc. Each mini-story has its own choices, and the overall collection of mini-stories itself acts like a larger branching or parallel path story. Each individual mini-story is self-contained, which reduces the required time to write the complete story.

This kind of story has two disadvantages. The first is that there’s still the forced-replay problem: a player must play many times to see all of the story paths (which is perhaps why Façade needs to last about ten or twenty minutes, and not ten or twenty hours). It is also a highly experimental structure, so we do not yet have enough games to really analyze what does and doesn’t work in this form. Façade itself took a couple of guys with PhDs in Computer Science to develop, so this is not the kind of story structure that is easily accessible to a traditional story writer.


What Makes Me?



  • Only Fools and Horses
  • Are you being served?
  • Blackadder
  • The Inbetweeners
  • Dad’s Army
  • The Young Ones
  • Bottom
  • Peep Show
  • The IT Crowd
  • Mrs Browns Boys
  • Big Bang Theory
  • French Prince of Bel Air
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Santa Clarita Diet
  • South Park
  • Friends
  • King of the Hill
  • Two and a Half Men
  • Family Guy
  • Bobs Burgers
  • Futurama

Vines and Memes


  • Romesh Ranganathan
  • Richard Ayoade
  • Jimmy Carr
  • Alan Carr
  • David Mitchell
  • Karl Pilkington
  • Jack Dee
  • Russell Kane

People getting hurt



  • Doug the Pug

Stoner Comedies

  • Cheech & Chong
  • Trailer Park Boys
  • How High?
  • Friday
  • Deuce Bigelow
  • Harold and Kumar
  • American Pie
  • Anchorman


  • Achievement Hunter
  • RoosterTeeth
  • Funhaus
  • Inside Gaming
  • Shane Dawson
  • Jeffree Starr

Netflix Shows

  • Santa Clarita Diet
  • Orange is the New Black
  • The Good Place
  • Superdrags
  • Big Mouth
  • Black Mirror
  • Insatiable






Mental Health

Natural Disasters












Donald Trump 



Going to shows and concerts

movie and video game sequels 

TV shows


Interior Design


Conspiracy Theories

Human Psychology









Initial Game Ideas

Single player card game

Single player games played with a deck of cards:
Wish Solitaire
Devil’s Grip
Napoleon at St. Helena
Streets and Alleys
Spider Solitaire
Clock Solitaire
Forty thieves 
La Belle Lucie



Construction and Management

The player acts as a ‘god’ and is responsible for growth and strategy

Gameplay elements:
Economic challenges
Goals to complete

City-builder (eg. SimCity, Age of Empires, Cities Skylines, Utopia)
Theme park management (eg. Roller Coaster Tycoon, Planet Coaster, Parkitect)
Colony management (eg. Dwarf Fortress, Rimworld)
Business Tycoon (eg. Capitalism, Transport Tycoon)



Text-based adventure

Interactive fiction
Roleplaying elements
Gamebook? Choose your own adventure
Use text input to control the game

Escape Room

Idle Game


Andy notes

When you talk about cults I think of people wanting to leave.
Why do people join cults?

maybe take some concepts from cults and work ideas around that.
utopian cities
Talk to cult charities – maybe they can sponsor?
How are people radicalised
maybe pitch it as a serious game?

look at the circle
Idea of popularity
The Game 1997

The cult of a game? fanbase? following type thing?

Pop Culture


1965 – Help! Directed by Richard Lester. A fictional version of the Indian criminal cult Thugees

1981 – Ticket to Heaven (a cult based loosely on the Unification Church)

1984 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom features a cult group inspired by Thuggees.

1985 – Witness, set among the amish sect of pennysylvania

1992 – Malcolm X. Shows his connection to the Nation of Islam

1999 – Holy Smoke! Shows a woman under the influence of a “Guru”

2003 – Latter Days – based on a gay relationship involving a closed Mormon missionary

2011 – Martha Marcy May Marlene. A woman adjusts to life outside a cult


Simpsons “Joy of the Sect”

Family Guy – Chitty Chitty Death Bang

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

AHS Cult

Phase Two Review

Look at cults Masons, Rosacrucians
How do they start in the first place?
How can people believe them?
Are there common points between the cults?
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
What separates religion and cults?
Tactics to join – Conspiracy, what is a conspiracy?
Thought reform framework
Space, where they live, set up, secluded
Real verses fake personas
House building
Cult information centre
Hot Fuzz
Negan from the Walking Dead
Citizen structures