We get little background on the minotaur in ‘The God Complex’. It is mentioned they are a distant cousin of the Nimon. They share the same general form and an ability to drain energy from other species. The difference appears to be that this species feeds on faith.
The Nimon would have a scout establish themselves as a god and then use black hole technology to summon the rest of the species, consuming the planet like locust. The Doctor’s comments that the minotaur’s subjects developed to a point where they had the technology to trap it could indicate that this species travelled alone.
We can imagine that before the minotaur was imprisoned it gained the faith it required not by inducing fear but by making subjects think you were a god. People wouldn’t need to be converted, they’d worship him freely.
It is unclear if the conversion process is part of the prison or whether it just creates the trigger (a room of fears) to allow the minotaur to convert them. Consuming faith does seem to be a psychic ability so it isn’t much of stretch to allow it to also brainwash people into praising it.
During the adventure we are shown several examples of those who have their faith converted. They call the minotaur their master and gladly look forward to giving their life to him.
This would be a handy tactic for gaining a foothold on a planet. Rather than consuming early converts they can be despatched to spread the faith. This would allow the religion to spread naturally and probably more quickly than the minotaur could manifest directly.
It could be very difficult to resist the spread of this new faith. Those who are opposed, those who follow different gods, would unavoidably turn to their own faith during trying times. This would be the perfect opportunity for the minotaur to make his enemy just another disciple.
The question is just how frequently does the minotaur need to feed? During the conversation in the spa it is indicated that the creature is so old it no longer remembers its own name, that it now just acts on instinct.
It is unknown how much of its time has been spent in the prison. The loss of name, and hence identity, can be taken two ways. Either it had gotten so used to people calling it master while posing as a god that it forgot or that its loss of identity occurred during imprisonment.
I choose to believe the latter since forgetting a name usually comes from lack of communication. What is the point of being a god if your followers don’t know your name? Therefore it has spent a long time interacting with just the victims brought on board.
The reason this is important is that while there are many pictures of previous victims there are still no more than a few hundred. During the events of the adventure the Beast feeds several times in only a few hours and dies when it is denied Amy’s faith as a food source.
There are two options to explain this and still have the minotaur trapped for centuries. There could be more photos but the hotel was storing them somewhere else. It could also be that it would clear these photos away but they began to mount up the same time the glitches occurred that prevented the room of fears to be cleaned away.
It is the technical problems within the hotel that make me believe that the minotaur was trapped there for a very long time. Long enough for even the advanced technology of the hotel, which even the Doctor was impressed with when he arrived, to break down to the point that flaws appeared.
Possibly the minotaur did not need to feed so frequently in its younger days. It would have needed to travel between worlds and would have died during the time it took to get there if it was forced to feed every few hours.
The range of the hotel’s teleporters would have need to be quite vast in order to collect the selection of victims that we saw. Gibbis is able to see his planet from the view port but surely the Doctor would have mentioned earlier if his world was close to Earth, where the other victims were from.
It is possible its range extended far enough that it was always able to keep the minotaur in a fresh supply of victims. It might also have had a means to place the minotaur in hibernation while out of range of food sources.
It seems reasonable that the hotel was bringing in ‘batches’ of victims since there is no mention of meeting people from previous groups. Lucy was the last of her group and had the time travellers not arrived it is likely that a new group of people would have appeared after the minotaur fed on Gibbis.
We might even speculate that there is a set number of victims in each group, just enough for the minotaur to replenish itself before going into hibernation. If it doesn’t feed on all of them it dies.
The minotaur’s species could appear in other adventures. There could be worlds where they are still worshipped as gods. The player characters could arrive just as one of the species is establishing themselves, their faith spreading through the natives like wildfire. The could even find a minotaur in the same position, being punished by its followers.
Rather uniquely we don’t hear a translation for the minotaur. The Doctor clearly understands him so either he knows the language or the TARDIS is translating for him but he is choosing not to share his ‘gift’ with the others.
Could this hint at the fact that the minotaur is an ancient race? That it shares some elements with the untranslatable ancient entity in ‘‘The Satan Pit’? Did this race share the same hunting fields as other would-be gods like the Osirians?
From a moral point of view can we call a species that feeds on others by necessity evil? The Doctor is showing the beast mercy when it lets it die, not punishing it for what it has done. In other circumstances would he have stopped it from feeding knowing that it’d die as a result?
This can be an interesting dilemma for player characters, especially when they know that their opponent is acting on pure instinct. Should they save the prey, let nature take its course or find a way to save both parties?