Like staring straight into the sun. Great anti-Theurge weapon.
There is a slightly interesting metaphysical question there - in the world of telos, what are the implications if a created object has a use (a very well-suited use, we’ll say) that the creator didn’t consider? Does it appear to telos-vision, or not? Or not until that specific object is actually put to that use?
(There’s no ‘true’ answer, of course, but.)
Believe it or not, that’s addressed when you deal with the guy who crossed the Wards. He mentions that they were given prybar-like tools that could also make good weapons in a pinch, but didn’t trigger the Wards.
Well in telosvision each object is seen as a pattern of interweaving purposes. So I think the prybar may show up as a weapon very faintly but the wards are designed to stop things who’s primary purpose is “kill humans.” I think this my apply to duct tape too? It’s main telos is that of any tape: adhere and bind. Sure it can be made into a wallet but that is making something new so now the telos is “hold currency.” Don’t know for sure of course but that’s my take.
@Dominic as to the metaphysical I think you can answer it metaphysically. Telos is imparted on each thing in the world not by man but by God. Since God is omniscient he never makes a mistake in assigning telos. Interesting though once something like duct tape is created could a skilled theruge divine its other telos by viewing the very first roll off the assembly line in telosvision?
My mc would, of course, disagree with that, as it is stated that theoretically applying enough magic can change anything, even the laws of physics themselves and he certainly does not wish to even pretend to respect a “God” whose imparted telos for him could be charitably described as “farm equipment” and/or “blood cattle”.
His version would go more like “Telos is initially imparted on each thing by the state of the universe as it was then”.
The universe however is ever changing and so is humankind and our place within it, in addition to that we each have the power to change the universe, just at it changes us, no matter how small with every action we take. Thus our telos is not a fixed quantity but is instead ever changing, like the universe itself and we must each forge our place within it."
Come to think of it, @Havenstone @P_Tigras , you were right, that sort of message might fit better with the symbolism of the rising sun, then the current Xthonic Hegemonic symbolism that focuses on the Earth, order and the Immutability of (the telos of) all things.
I think there must be more to it then that, if that is truly the only thing they do then it surprises me that the Xaos lands, or the Hallassur for that matter, do not regularly send through people, things and creatures whose primary purpose is something other than kill, like seduce, subvert, explore or infiltrate that nonetheless have the potential to severely destabilise the Hegemony, perhaps even more so than an army ever could. Or perhaps they have been doing this all along and there’s a substantial “fifth column” already.
I would say that the telos Xthonos has in mind for, and the Hegemony’s dirty little secret since all their theruges can see it too, is to be the “nature behind nature and the maker of change.” I think this means humans can change a thing’s telos in a way that animals cannot. Human’s can forge a lump of metal into a sword or alternatively a plow. We know from the game the telos of these things will be different. So blood magic is not required to change a thing’s telos, but it does rely on this mechanic to function. Thus the ultimate expression of human purpose is making blood sacrifices to change the telos of things!
From my perspective the existence a visible defined purpose for everything is evidence enough of God’s existence in this world whether you like It or not. The fact that you need to give the “universe” agency in your explanation betrays this fact as well. If you want to carry on calling Xthonos “the universe” though I won’t stop you…
You picked up on that, did you, while my character may personally believe the universe has absolutely zero point to it and everything is entirely random, the agency thing is a compromise meant for anyone of his followers who still, desperately need something divine to cling to, like a shipwrecked man to flotsam.
Alternatively it could indeed be read as even my mc would like to believe in something, just not the nonsense the Hegemony spouts, and be one of his deepest, darkest secrets.
We’ll see how @Havenstone proceeds with the philosophy as we get a bit further into these games.
For now I haven’t decided quite yet whether my mc is a true atheist or merely agnostic, only that he very definitely rejects the nonsense of organised religions, particularly those of the Xthonic variety.
For the purpose of his relation with the Ecclesiasts it hardly matters anyway if he merely loathes the Xthonic religion or is the ultimate heretic by adhering to the Xaos-theory.
Well, my intent in writing that passage (note the MC’s reaction) was to convey the idea that they’d be pretty crap weapons in a pinch, which is the reason you can get them (like a rope or a roll of duct tape) across a Ward.
When you finally do cross a Ward yourself, you’ll notice your teeth hurt as they encounter mild resistance. But you can get them through.
Never. You’ll start meeting them next game.
While the Wards are good at keeping out an army, they’re even better at keeping out other threats, as suggested by Yed Gaverne.
@Havenstone sort of dovetailing with the above conversation, do the theruges (or society in general) believe that the actual act of performing therugy is sort of a religious rite? I really don’t have anyway to explain the blood disappearing and turning into a supernatural act other than divine favor. Are these blood sacrifices actually seen as being to Xthonos, and is It considered to be “powering” the change?
Theurgy has strong religious overtones… but the moment described as sacrifice and hedged round with ritual is the Harrowing, not the moment when the blood gets used.
The Theurges sit above the priestly hierarchy (see the reverence with which Zebed treats Chirex) and their abilities are seen as an Angelic gift, so to society in general the Angels’ power (emanating from Unmoved Xthonos) is clearly what fuels Theurgy.
However, there isn’t a widely articulated sense that each time a Theurge pours blood into her palm, she’s propitiating the Angels.
As for how it all really works? Midichlorians.
Alright that was really interesting and resulted in another train of thought for me along this same track. So the act of performing theurgy is also attributed to the demonic power of xaos. I would say making change to the physical world is in and of itself an chaotic act that serves entropy and chaos. Xthonoic belief exhorts its followers to maintain order and change nothing, which is the opposite of what the theruges do.
The ecclesiastical teachings also include two key points in this area: one that Xthonos is perfect and simply “is” but consciously ignores the order of the material world, and two xaos is constantly trying to “tear down” or in other words remake the material world. Doesn’t this make all theruges servants of xaos and more importantly can they prove that the power to perform all theurgy doesn’t come from xaos?
Isn’t the mantra “I am the nature behind nature and the maker of change” really just an xaotic deception to lead humans astray when the real “nature behind nature” is and can only be Xthonos? Xthonos created the world to be as it is not to allow man to randomly go about changing the telos of things!
Perhaps this is why he has turned away from the world and consigned it to its inevitable xaotic doom becuase humans cannot help but be makers of change and servants of xaos by their very nature.
Interesting speculations. In response, I’ll just quote a bit from my original pitch to CoG, some years ago:
“The metaphysics of Theurgy are kept secret not only for their practical/ technological but also their political/ religious implications. The concept of a single, natural, and unchanging telos is central to Karagond politics: ruling is the telos of the aristocratic class, servitude the telos of helots. The state religion venerates Chthonos [sic], That Which Is, a detached, impersonal, and omnipotent deity which is the source of everything’s telos.”
You self-reported a mistake… ahhh, if I could, I’d give you 10 for that.
It’s not really a mistake, just an aesthetic change since the Greek letter X is commonly transliterated as “Ch” in English. Either way it’s going to get butchered by the majority of English speakers when they try to pronounce it.
Another pronoun issue in a sentence. If you do the sheep raid, are with Breden, then break up with him/her for Kalt/Kala:
In the morning, you walk back from the dell where you and Kala spent the night. Finding Breden in the queue for breakfast rations, you pull her aside and begin to say, “Breden… I’ve something…”
In the second sentence, the phrase “you pull her aside and being to say,” That ‘her’ was a ‘him’ in that playthrough.
A devout, orderly sould won over to heresy and sedition
This may already be on the to do list, but ‘sould’ should just be ‘soul’
Well, while I hope I would self-report mistakes, this one was a deliberate change:
Which, for those “recently” tuning in, is why @idonotlikeusernames’ long-ago typo of XOR for the game was so hilariously apt, and why I’ve adopted XOR as the game’s abbreviation (it also helpfully distinguishes Rebels from Robots and Romance).
I have a really minor quibble, but basically, I dislike how so much of your attitude as a noble is set by the one conversation option of ‘I can no longer countenance such barefaced impudence’. Like, isn’t it possible for me to not respond that way, but still want to maintain my noble privilege or whatever later on? If you don’t, you basically have to respond like- “I’ve of course, naturally, forsaken all noble privilege”… It just seems like a bit of a particularly opaque / hidden choice, unless I’m missing something (which I might be)
Good point. The aristo character used to be much more defined as a forsaker-of-privilege, but when I added the barefaced impudence option, I should have allowed for more of a spectrum. And it’s easy to pop in another option to that choice:
“I’m glad that they keep calling me by my proper title. I’m not a helot, after all.”
And @Lys, the typos you found will be fixed in the next update.
I’ve been asked to cross-post this reply from the Guns of Infinity thread here because of the parallel’s between what happened in Fallujah as well as Iraq overall and what is likely to happen in XOR once the MC upends the existing system.
Under the Sunni rule of Saddam Hussein, the Sunni city of Fallujah was one of the most prosperous cities in Iraq, with a disproportionately high number of high ranking Ba’ath party, government and military officials. When the US came in, it disbanded the military, dissolved the Ba’ath party, and deba’athified the government. As a result, Fallujah’s most powerful and prideful citizens were summarily fired and left with very large axes to grind.
When there are a lot of powerful people in a small area who share the same grudge and suddenly have no responsibilities to distract them from plotting revenge, there is guaranteed to be trouble, especially when they’re surrounded by a largely sympathetic population that similarly feels that the US handed their country to their mortal enemy Iran and its Shiite lackies on a silver platter. Many of whom refused, and continue to refuse to accept Shia-majority rule. Many of whom don’t believe the Shia are the majority.
Not quite, as the US intervention in Iraq was not a genuine rebellion nor a civil war, it did start a civil war but the intervention itself was merely a foreign power with a poor grasp of the situation steamrolling Iraq.
I’m sensing you’re trying to make an Aekos or perhaps even a Shayard City parallel here.
First of all by the time we get to Aekos the formal military of the Hegemony will most likely be in shambles anyway, this is not going to be a quick campaign like the US conducted in Iraq, nor is my intention to leave those people idle as there will be lots of gainful employment, even for dangerous counterrevolutionaries in infrastructure.
It’s a similar story with the government, this is not going to be relatively quick and bloodless coup, it’s going to be the end point of a long and bloody guerrilla campaign and my mc won’t be so foolish as to simply dismiss the members of the former regime with their wealth intact and send them back to their estates to begin plotting.
My mc isn’t going to willingly leave many of the members of the old elite in positions of power and influence, if only for the reason that those people view him as subhuman to begin with. If they are really necessary then precautions will be taken like making their families guests of the state.
What you lay out might happen if you go for a charismatic mc and a minimum of bloodshed, otherwise the potential conflict will likely be too different to draw much parallels with how Rumsfeld and Cheney and co handled Iraq.
Not to mention that we can very possibly make Aekos into Hiroshima, if we simply let the Thaumatarch’s floating monstrosity of a palace drop on it, even if we do not we can always have the city looted (for the its knowledge) and then give it the Carthage treatment afterwards.