View Full Version : Bandit Idea

12-06-2010, 01:57 AM
I've been posting about bandits before, so when I came across this article during a random walk through Wikipedia, I thought I'd share it here.

There is no Wikipedia article for Cornelis Appelman yet, but this article about Jan Van Batenburg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batenburgers) describes a radical Christian sect that believed that it was good to rob from and kill those who were not members of the sect. Batenburg kept a low profile during his lifetime, but when he was burned at the stake in 1538, his disciple Appelman formed what was left of the sect into a robber-band of 200 men and their women.

In a nutshell, Jan Van Batenburg believed that everything belonged to God, and that he and his followers were God's Chosen. Therefore, they could do anything they wanted with God's property, including taking it from those who were not God's Chosen (i.e., those who were not members of this sect). All women and all goods were held in common (which implies that women are also property that is owned by God and God's Elect).

Van Batenburg had the loyalty of several hundred men, who were required to swear oaths of absolute secrecy, and pass painful initiation rituals designed to ensure that they would not reveal their secrets under torture. They could pass unnoticed among the population by pretending to be normal Lutherans or Catholics, but could identify each other by secret signals, signs, and hair styles.

Appleman was much more extreme than Van Batenburg. He killed any of his followers who refused to kill, rob, commit arson, or pursue the other criminal activities he required of them. He also murdered his own wife when she refused to allow him to marry his daughter, and then he killed his daughter as well.

After Appleman's death in 1545, the "Children of Emlichheim" continued to be active for about 10 or 20 years, but their sole creed was to have revenge against the infidels

The last of the Batenburgers were the "Folk of Johan Willemsz", who were active until about 1580, when Willemsz was burned at the stake and the rest of the group dispersed.

12-06-2010, 02:02 PM
Niiiiiiiice find!!! Thanks! I was looking for adventure fodder for a campaign arc that is coming up.


"Render unto (insert deity name here) what is (deity name)'s - or perish!!" (insert evil laugh here!!)

12-08-2010, 04:43 PM
God's will is the last refuge of the scoundrel. After all if you are doing God's will you are safe.

Yea, get god's permission to do you robbing raping and killing. In medieval times it was "putting down the Heathen" or "Converting the Infidel". I'll have to think that one over. Religious motivated bandits.

12-09-2010, 04:30 AM
Yet another aberrant group from that era, very interesting, never knew about them. It's even something that has happened in modern times, in Africa for example.

12-14-2010, 09:07 PM
My cult is very much like this, Do you want to join?

12-24-2010, 05:33 PM
common theme in many cultures. the origin is always the same, even if the details differ. the native americans (middle to southern) had a group sort of like this, but without the claim of belonging to any particular god. overthrew an entire government at one point.

12-28-2010, 12:41 AM
We have few of those groups in America. The "Freemen" and "Separatist" group come to mind. They prefer to do check fraud as their crimes but still think everything belongs to God.

01-02-2011, 01:29 AM
well, i don't disagree that everything belongs to God, but getting from that idea to the idea that suddenly some human has entitlement to do whatever they want with God's stuff is a bit of a leap for me there; with which latter idea i firmly disagree.