Think Arthurian legend but with a twist. The entire story takes place on an island which is the last refuge of the human survivors (a limited number) after an apocalypse. The island also houses an array of various mutated creatures, some which the people hunt for their survival and some which hunt people. In this setting, I have Arthur extract the sword from the stone and people believe that he is the chosen one to lead them to salvation and follow his every word.

In this scenario, what is it, possibly, that Arthur can do to turn the people away from him, to lose faith that he would be able to liberate them ?

Here, Arthur is neither dumb nor lazy; however, he is motivated by jealousy and an abnormal desire to feel adored by each and everyone. He can't stand people praising anyone else.

There is also an adversarial tribe which is opposed to Arthur's tribe, living on the opposite side of the island.


closed as too broad by vsz, HDE 226868, ArtOfCode, Burki, bowlturner May 10 '15 at 11:52

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    $\begingroup$ The inscription on the sword says: thou must feast on ninety nine children heart whom have smiled at least once at thy, maybe there's a one in a million chance thy will be bestowed great power.... Lol! $\endgroup$ – user6760 May 9 '15 at 10:05
  • $\begingroup$ Why the down vote ? Also what more information can I add to make it more narrow ? I've specified all the relevant points... $\endgroup$ – user96551 May 12 '15 at 19:38

Arthur, as you described him, is a micromanager.

He will try to make the new society revolve around him. He won't like it when people disobeys his assignments (specially if they have a good idea!). When things don't go the way he wants, he will try to punish the offender (if he sees that the rest of the people agrees with him) or would do some remarks remembering his assumed role.


  • He orders the farmer to only grow wheat and corn. Being a little savvy, the farmer recalls that planting some legumes will help the ground to recover some nutrients, so he does. When Arthur finds about it, and seeing that most of the people do not really understand the issue at hand, he launches a public attack against the farmer for not knowing what he is doing, for causing the food scarcity and behind a danger for them all, and proposes some form of punishment (v.g., extra latrine cleansing duties).

  • He orders the "taylor" to make a working outfit for every member of the colony. The taylor decides that it would nice for people to have two outfits so they can change clothes, so he makes two for each. Then Arthur will complain that the extra wool used could be needed for something else, like tents or bandages. But he sees that most of the people don't follow that argument, and are mostly happy with having two outfits. So he will avoid from attacking the farmer, will remark that "I knew that I saved your life for some reason" and tells him to consult him any new initiative.

  • If someone praises the shoemaker about the new job he is doing, he will also have to remark thingks like "That's why I told him that he should be in charge of making shoes" or "I am so glad of having saved him (the shoemaker) so you (the praiser) could have nice shoes".

  • After seeing all of the above, John (who happened to be a ceramic hobbyist) talks privately to Arthur and points that he could build a ceramic oven, and that location X is ideal; Arthur replies that he will think about it and to keep it quiet. At the next public meeting, Arthur announces that he has devised a way to get some pottery available, by building a ceramic oven at location X, and that he thinks that, under his direction, John might be able to do a somewhat passable product (if he cannot, John will end with extra latrine turns).


  • Arthur can count on the people gratitude, but not leverage on them. The crisis that made Arthur fundamental has long passed and life is more or less stable (if Arthur was indeed still indespensable, people would put up with all of the above and much worse just to stay in the good side of the one who keeps them alive).
  • Yes, the actions of Arthur are not "intelligent". It is a question of character, not intelligence. That's whay makes Arthur obsession with praise a clinical case -as you described it-; when having to decide between the intelligent action and the one that gives Arthur some praise, he will always chose the latter. Normal people enjoys being praised, but won't (conciously) antagonize other people around them just for a little recognition.

Another variation has Arthur as a too perfect leader, reminding the people how they are going to rebuild all of the glories of the old civilization, and pushing them (including himself, who works as the best of them) to do extra work for projects like building a road, or keeping plants out of derelict factories nearby, which the rest of the people do not care about.


The question may be too open ended to answer. Religious fervor is complicated, and each individual citizen may lose faith in a different way.

However, it is not easy to kill hope, so if he is their hope, he might as well deal with it. I point to Firefly S1E06 (Jaynestown), where Joss Wheton plays with the idea and how far it may go.

  • $\begingroup$ There is no mention of religion here, in fact, religion does not come into the picture in the entire novel. You may be confusing the word savior with its counterpart in Christianity. What I'm asking is what can Arthur do that would make people think, 'wait a minute, maybe he is not the right choice and we should not put all our eggs in the only available basket'. I want people to doubt his motivations. $\endgroup$ – user96551 May 9 '15 at 6:54
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    $\begingroup$ @user96551 "Chosen one to lead them to salvation and follow his every word" seemed close enough to religious fervor to me. In either case, the Firefly episode does not deal with a religious character, but actually something right up your alley. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon May 9 '15 at 7:06
  • $\begingroup$ I can understand that... Thanks for pointing to the episode, I'll have a look at it... $\endgroup$ – user96551 May 9 '15 at 7:42
  • $\begingroup$ The only common use of the word savior (only use at all, in my experience) is to refer to Jesus the Christ. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 9 '15 at 9:38
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz: Savior is a reasonably common word in many fantasy/heroism/myth stories. $\endgroup$ – Erik May 9 '15 at 10:03

All our Arthur needs to do is disappoint the high expectations.

Once he acquires adversaries and doubts are seeded all he needs is some bad press along the lines that he is a pretender and endangers the real chosen and eventual salvation.

Likely the authorities then will step in to ensure public safety. And at the same time safeguard the existing power structure and incidentally their own job.

This is more likely anyway than the powers that be allowing our hero to proceed and as a consequence topple the existing leadership.


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