Choice of Rebels: Stormwright (XoR2 WIP)

How much Aztec history have you read? Go read Warlords of Ancient Mexico. If you think they were better than the Spaniards, fine.

But saying “they’re not that evil from the standards of empire” is an absurd opinion. Just because their victims were a bunch of people who you’re likely not that familiar with doesn’t excuse their horrible crimes against humanity.

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i have yet to heard of empire that becomes empire without a lot of crimes against humanity and saying that somehow Aztec where EVIL empire is just justification for what was done to them. every empire is EVIL by its definition. il check that book but i dont think it will change my mind that much.

also “evil, imperialist, expansionist system” is just description of empire it is true for every empire that ever existed and will ever exist.

i just don’t like that EVIl is very frequently is used against Aztec for justification.

for example if we in game destroy hegemony only then to create new state which is worse then hegemony and call it something else we haven’t done any single good thing.

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If the MC in Choice of Rebels creates an empire by overthrowing the prior leadership, is that evil and expansionist? No, not until they or their successors start more wars. Plenty of empires which were created out of the ruins of old ones were not evil to begin with; most of them just ended up being evil later on as they repeated the cycle of conquest, oppression, etc.

As for the latter points, the Aztecs as a political / warrior elite got what they deserved (the average farmer, child, etc are of course blameless). And they got it mostly at the hands of their native enemies/ victims, the Tlaxcalans, not the Spaniards. The Tlaxcalans won most of the battles. The Tlaxcalans sacked the city.

Now, the rest of the natives of Mexico did not deserve what the Spaniards or the Aztecs did to them, but the Aztecs as a state were evil by any reasonable measure and that is a perfectly good justification for their overthrow.

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I would hazard a potentially warm take that empires are inherently evil. You don’t get an empire by voluntary donations; and even if somehow you manage to make one without undue bloodshed (which is to say - any bloodshed), you most certainly don’t get to keep an empire without undue bloodshed.

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Cortes also had ridiculous plot armor. The troops sent to arrest and replace him he managed to recruit, survived and succeeded in capturing the enemy commander during multiple medal of honor charges, convinced the enemy emperor to become his hostage voluntarily, and a tornado helped him win the final battle of Tenochtitlan!

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Is France an evil empire? Germany? Italy? All of these states are not natural. Their core lands were formed via conquest. Frankish Empire, Holy Roman Empire, Roman Empire / Resorgimento. Yet now they have coalesced into political entities which are not commonly viewed as evil.

Why?

Because all the people within their borders have accepted their sovereignty as legitimate, despite the fact that they are, in truth, an empire which rule over the homelands of several different peoples. Northern Italians are not very genetically similar to Sicilians. A Celt, the ethnic group which most French are descended from, were an entirely different people group that the Frankish Germanic people conquered.

The point is this. If all empires are those political entities which hold lands over multiple peoples by imposed, consistent violence and force, then obviously they are evil. The question is whether all such empires are held together by consistent, violent force, or if some exist with other forms of sovereignty.

If the MC of the game conquers the Hegemony (a just war) and rules over a hundreds of millions of people, from radically different ethnic groups, it would be an empire by most people’s definition. If those people accept his / her rule as legitimate, then consistent, violent force would not be required to rule over the nation, and the empire would not be “evil”.

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He also won/stalemated several battles against the Tlaxcalans, before he convinced them to ally, where he was outnumbered like 20 to 1. Helped that he had some of the finest, most battle hardened soldiers on earth at his command, but still.

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Yeah an IRL master of the Goku model of imperialism: “I beat you, therefore we are now friends” as @Havenstone put it.

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There’s a tendency for people to look at an obviously corrupt, tyrannical STATE and assume that the CULTURE OF ITS PEOPLE is inherently aligned exclusively to said state to the point where imperialism and subjugation is either necessary or just no big tragedy even if people aren’t defending it. In the Aztec’s case, people seem to believe that most of the cultures that were a part of it are just gone, supplanted by Spanish colonial culture. Like, these peoples are still around. The Mexica themselves are still very much around. Reducing them to the darkest aspects of the Aztec government is just vile.

The indigenous faiths of Mexico, including the Aztec pantheon, are also worshipped by quite a few people, who don’t necessarily appreciate having them be reduced to cheap horror villains because of how SOME people worshipped them and because of how the faith was turned into a tool to justify brutal imperialism and subjugation. Empires co-opt religions, rewrite scriptures, change narratives surrounding the various beliefs and mythology, and make an official, state endorsed version of faiths with favorable narratives to their agenda CONSTANTLY. It’s like, the oldest trick in the book. Pretty much every empire with a state religion drastically rewrote it from either the original faith as was or from numerous different regional faiths with a shared history that they combined and rewrote into a version that most benefited them. The Romans famously did it with Greek mythology, several myths of annexed peoples, AND Christianity. And usually if one of those state religious institutions has a practice like human sacrifice or slavery or whatnot, it’s there because the ruling class benefits from it somehow. That doesn’t mean that there were no proponents of it beforehand mind, authoritarianism grows from the ground up, but there’s still an agenda behind which of these ideas get promoted here. By that same token, it logically follows that these religions and their beliefs and even their institutions can move on from these practices just like any other, and they definitely shouldn’t be relegated to being “the evil myths we use in horror stories”.

It’s rather telling that pantheons like the Norse one are often portrayed in a far more positive light in pop culture despite having ALSO been worshipped via human sacrifice, including ones supplied by raids like the Aztecs. Gee, I wonder if there’s a glaringly obvious reason for this disparity.

Also, it’s a fairly obvious point but sometimes it helps to have the obvious on record. The notion that imperialism against the Aztecs and other such nations was “justified” or even “not worth mourning” relies at least tacitly on the notion that anything Cortes or the Spanish Crown in general did after toppling the Tripple Alliance was in any way a necessary follow-up to/trade-off for overthrowing the current government. They could easily have established friendly relations with the now free peoples they just allied with. They were, notably, already allies at the time. They didn’t NEED to subjugate them in a brutal campaign of genocide and slavery, they didn’t NEED to have the conquistadores rampage and plunder the region for resources while massacring the native populace, they did it because it lined their coffers quickly and in large amounts.

I would say that an Empire, as defined by “a country acquiring other countries and making a larger nation of smaller constituent peoples”, which is the only definition I can come up with that applies to every historical nation we give the title “empire” then yeah, empires aren’t inherently evil. It’s just that the easiest way to become and empire is through brutal subjugation where the culture of the imperial core is the intended benefactor. You can totally build a large federation of sorts without ruthless, brutal subjugation and assimilation, and if you overthrow such an oppressive government, there’s no inherit ethical weight towards collapsing the whole nation and splitting it into numerous smaller countries. In fact, that’s usually a major downside of overthrowing an empire since it causes mass instability. I’d argue that keeping the Hegemony’s borders as intact as possible but abolishing the oppressive institutions and practices of the current state in favor of a newer, more ethical and egalitarian government (like a federation and/or republic) is a far more ethical option since it prevents the inevitable rise of feuding warlord states, many of whom are run by aspiring imperialists, in the territory you don’t control. Saying independence is ALWAYS the superior option due to the legacy of the previous state controlling the lands in its borders always seemed like a purely emotional sentiment without logical reasoning to me, while also serving as a convenient way of washing your hands of the ensuing crisis while claiming the moral high ground for not doing anything about it.

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ADAT I introduced a schema I used for a while in responding to questions and suggestions, and should probably pick up again: NTH and LIM. Some suggestions are Nice to Have, but non-essential:

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There should be be a branch of Xthonosism that is based on Hinduism. It should have gods that are aspects of gods that are aspects of gods. It could be the most early version of Xthonosism or a hybrid between Xthonosism and the Forgoten Gods. Each aspect represent a telos

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Because telos is mutable through theurgy and just plain old tools I am not sure that would be a viable basis for religion. People tend to search for supernatural answers to things they can’t readily explain. Telos already has something of a natural science around it due to theurgy. It’s true that ancient civilizations often had patron gods for trades, but those religious often struggled when they were confronted by monotheistic fervor. I think a partial answer for Hinduism survival was that its first encounter with a monotheistic religion was Buddhism, which is kind of a protestant sect of Hinduism and is generally syncretic. This allowed Hinduism to reform into an organized state religion prior to confronting Islam and Christianity.

Xthonosism is even less tolerant of heresy than Christianity or Islam and the author has even indicated Xthonoism is modeled as a nightmare version of Christianity. While I think a religious revival style rebellion will be viable as a basis for revolt I’m not sure a new loose polytheistic faith has much of a chance against a crusading Hegemony. I think Xthonoism is just too entrenched.

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On the other hand, syncretizing the Inner Voice and the Theoi probably is do-able, and would probably indicate baby steps toward something like Hinduism.

The Angels are already “aspects of one greater god who can’t do anything,” after all.

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Not sure I entirely follow. Are you suggesting that Inner Voice adherents would personify certain angels to align with specific telos?

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I’m suggesting that the Abhuman religion and the Inner Voice adherents might decide that they have a lot in common and end up seeing the Theoi and Angels as just different names for the same thing.

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Sigh. That feeling when you play through what you’ve just written and it’s wrong. :frowning:

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Just savor the feelings of triumph you will feel, once you correct what is wrong and everything feels right once more!

. :revolving_hearts:

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Wrong in what sense?

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The pacing is too slow. Too much talking about tax, less tension over the fact that the tax is likely to spark a revolt.

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Honest question, why not release what you have for more feedback? If it feels wrong and you can’t quite identify why, maybe more voices can pinpoint what it is.

Cap certain branches if they’re unfinished. The Cyberpolice author does that with their WIP with a disclaimer and nobody cares.

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