|Group type:||Religious Cult|
|Motto:||"We are all the same"|
|Location(s):||Wandering the United States|
|Goals:||End the pain and suffering comes from inequality|
|Enemies:||Those that do not understand|
The Same were founded by an enigmatic man known only as The One sometime in the second half of the 23rd century. The core concept behind his philosophy, and the cult’s central thesis, is that pain and suffering come from inequality. For people to truly be happy, they must become homogenous, meaning that all people should occupy the same social status, the same economic standing, the same philosophies, and even looking the same. As a result of this, members of The Same give up whatever material wealth they own, either abandoning it or donating it to the cult itself to be used in a manner that benefits all. Initiates choose new names upon entering the group, leaving behind everything they once had, including social standing- meaning that all members, despite their origins, are seen as no more superior or inferior to any other acolyte.
The group is most known for the ritualistic body modification that members undergo, or force upon themselves. In mirroring the appearance of their leader, members do various things to modify their bodies- taller members walk on their knees, to be the same relative height as their fellow acolytes, while shorter members walk on stilts, for example. Members wear white make-up and wigs to mirror the appearance of their leader. Some walk with a fake limp, while others have even physically hurt themselves in specific ways to encourage healing with certain scars or other deformities. All wear emblems representing the group- a circle with two lines crossing through it at 120-degree angles- somewhere on their persons.
Most groups of The Same are composed of thirty to sixty wanderers. The leaders of these groups, known as Proxies, are not technically more important, or of higher standing than any other member, but they are by de facto as they are seen as carrying out the will and orders of The One.
The cult draws most of its recruits from those who are downtrodden and down on their luck. The group is mobile, and travels from place to place, drawing from a wide pool of potential recruitees. Membership is open to anyone, and nobody is discriminated against because of their social status, age, appearance, or anything else. There is no formal entry into the cult- a person can simply walk into a camp of theirs and start following, learning as they go. There is no specific way to leave it, either. A member can simply wander off and never return. The group does not actively recruit, a radio message that simply proclaims 'We are all the same' the extent of their evangelizing. If a person wants to join the group, they are allowed to. If a person does not want to join the group, they are not pestered about it.
For some, the costs of membership can be difficult. Members are expected to give up everything they had in their ‘old’ lives- money, possessions, family, friends. For those that had very little of those things, the sacrifice can be relatively easy. For those that had those things in excess, giving them up can prove difficult. Turnover among new devotees occurs most in the first four to six weeks. Most who make it past that period of time remain members of The Same for life.
Activities & Interests
In the past, members of The Same have caused fear, unrest, and unease among communities that they have traveled to. To alleviate this, The One ordered members to take up trades, which encourage positive interaction between acolytes and non-members. When The Same travel to an area, they bring with them goods and other crafts, which they often sell to locals, turning their camps into mobile bazaars. Of particular note, The Same are known for creating exceptional firearms, such as pistols and shotguns, as well as the bullets for both weapons. They do not sell their secrets, but sell the items themselves in small numbers.
As an organization as a whole, The Same have few friends or enemies. Many are uneasy of their presence, and feel scared or threatened because of it, but these complaints are about their strange appearance and behavior, and are not specifically about their beliefs or what they represent. Certain groups or nations are suspicious of the group because of their beliefs, values, and attitudes, but very rarely do these suspicions manifest in any tangible way.