The Jerusalem Complex

By: Mark Clark (
Adventure Seed

With the late 20th century increase in tourism to the Holy Land, esp. Jerusalem, there has been a marked increase in a form of mental illness called the "Jerusalem Complex." Perfectly normal folks, average tourists, become convinced that they are a biblical figure (Christ, the Virgin Mary, etc.) as a result of the time they spend at holy sites. There is a mental hospital now outside the city that specialises in the treatment of the syndrome.

Here are some things to keep in mind about this syndrome. First, those who are victums normally are not those who are well-integrated in their faith, but are folks who have doubts or who have sinned in the past and seek redemption. Second, they will be fully convinced that they are the holy person, and will be very uncomfortable with any questions that refer to their real past. Note, however, that this does not mean they will immediatly act like the historical figure they believe they are - a person convinced they are Christ might be very hesitant to speak out for fear of crucifiction, for example. Finally, most individuals recover faster if they are removed from Jerusalem - the city itself seems to have an influence.

Classic Traveller

  1. The players are hired to find a young man gone missing from his wealthy family. He is on the planet where his religion originated, convinced that he is the returned saviour. Since he has given away his money and destroyed his clothing and ID, he'll be difficult to find.
  2. As 1, but the young man has attracted followers who will be unwilling to let him leave.
  3. As 1, but the "followers" are criminals who are just pretending to be believers. They plan to blackmail the young man's family.


  1. On a visit to a Failing world, one of the players (whose religion originated on this world), decides he/she is the messiah and must help these people. It is suggested that the GM arrange this beforehand with the player involved, preferably selecting a character who has some moral failings in his/her past.

The New Era

  1. A victim of the syndrome is the TED on a planet. The TED arrived some years ago on his spaceship, and has used high tech equipment to perform his miracles. The inhabitants believe in him, for the most part, and follow him.

Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises. Portions of this material are Copyright ©1977-1996 Far Future Enterprises. This article is © by Mark Clark []. Posted to the XTML April 25, 1995.