Not sure yet – we’ll see as those games come together. It might be possible to end G5 with it still a secret.
It would certainly be time-consuming, and since the bullets are made of the non-rare metal lead (and aren’t Theurge-forged to make them all-penetrating) retrieving them wouldn’t be worth it.
Flying mountains were used for mass troop transport, but their fairly limited maneuverability makes it unlikely that they’d be useful as a flying fort for Theurges. As for a WMD function, it’s only been achieved by crashing the mountain (i.e. what the Death Star should have done to Endor, rather than what it did to Alderaan). You can’t focus a Xaos-storm; while you can set it going in the right general direction, the likelihood of hitting any “distant target locations” decreases quickly over distance.
And a Xaos-laser would actually be something of a contradiction in terms; lasers gain their power by turning scattered light into something coherent and directional, the opposite of Xaos. And no one in the gameworld has discovered lasers anyway… so no, no Death Stars.
She strongly wants to see Erezza remain united within its current borders, as the only way to prevent future Halassurq and Karagond takeovers. A ruling elite based in either Avezia or Cocenza might be tempted to discount the risk at the other end of the isthmus, so she thinks Soretto is the natural capital of united Erezziano government. If Shayard collapsed, she’d be friendly to the idea of annnexing the currently Shayardene western coast of the Aveche Sea (with its relatively underpopulated farm districts) to securely feed the more urban eastern and northern coasts – but she wouldn’t want to go to war with a unified Shayard or a strong Coast-based state to take it.
I don’t think she’d go for that. We’ll see how the games go, but she’s not the type to easily accept puppet status. I’m also not sure yet how a Shayard-Karagon diarchy could work.
An MC who ends the game as a continuing rebel or small-state leader should be able to have allies and proxies unsettling the continent’s major powers, yes…especially if they’re a religion-founder/Eclect.
No, this isn’t something that Cerlota would accept just because the head of Erezza gets to call themself a “prince/ss” and have a little more sovereignty. And adding a top-tier Shayard-Erezza marriage alliance would markedly worsen the situation; elevating one Erezziano family to be unquestionably closer to the would-be imperial power than all the others would trigger a stew of murderous and rebellious counter-balancing by those demoted families. It’s hard enough to build a coalition of top families that can hold the country together, let alone trying to make a single family truly dominant (which has never happened in Erezza’s history).
In the fourth game, with the Thaumatarchy pulling back much of its strength to focus on the defense of Karagon and Aekos, your faction will have had the chance to start trying to build an actual rebel state around your main base of operations somewhere in the provinces. Before the siege of Aekos, you’ll have the chance to consolidate local loyalty by out-governing whatever late-stage Hegemonic authorities and rival rebel factions are in the neighborhood of your “capital.” (That will be a lot easier in some potential capitals, like Rimmersford, than other more contested ones like Aveche.)
At the start of the fifth game, with the Thaumatarchy shattered, you’ll have the opportunity to try to consolidate and/or expand from whatever base your faction managed to achieve in G4. That will likely bring you into conflict with one or more neighbors; even if you’re not expanding, they will be, and the choice to stay small-and-beautiful will attract opportunistic invaders. So you’ll need to defend yourself (militarily, diplomatically, or otherwise) against efforts to crush your faction. Throughout the game, you’ll have different opportunities to move your faction’s capital from your G4 base of ops, e.g. if you take over Karagon and want to rule from Aekos, or if you lose ground and have to retrench to the Southriding/Rim.
Various interrelated resources – tax money, state admin capacity, population, food supply, anarchy, army size, Theurgic capacity – will affect a new G5 state’s ability to consolidate (including rollout of new institutions), expand, and defend itself. Those three dynamics will be the main overarching challenges of G5. The first three chapters will each involve phases of consolidation, expansion, and defense involving all of your (quite likely changing from chapter to chapter!) neighboring factions. Plus interventions by powers that might not directly neighbor you but have an interest in the outcome.
The early game will inevitably involve grappling with big emergency problems of post-Hegemonic collapse, like famine, refugees, and widespread banditry. That won’t leave a lot of space for fine-tuned institutional design. A player who successfully navigates those early-chapter challenges, successfully and sustainably provides for their defense, and is willing to spend more of their remaining resources on consolidation/institutional innovation rather than expansion should be able to enjoy a G5 Ch3 that’s more about rolling out and adjusting sociopolitical institutions than anything else.
The final chapter will bring your struggles to their culmination, give the final status of all the major factions and characters, and then jump a decade or two into the future to show what follows from the world you’ve helped build.
As for the idea of a fully Industrial Revolution/post-industrial sequel, I don’t think I’d set it in this world:
I think the Karagonds would call them aerovolites, “air-shooters,” though readers familiar with Greek can tell me if that fails any laugh tests. Southern Shayardenes would probably go with chasseurs, for hunters.
Everything is indeed vulnerable to Theurgy’s “bombard it from the air” function, if the Theurge has got their oil of vitriol and enough blood to keep themselves airborne and ignite the fireballs. But my thought was that cavalry has the additional vulnerability that for a horse mid-gallop, tripping it badly enough to break its legs is trivial Theurgy, requiring very little blood.
So even if a cavalry squad went after an ill-equipped Theurge, or one who’d already spent their phials, or one who was too distracted to manage a big Theurgic effect – i.e. the kinds of vulnerable contexts where archers, or (as at the Fourth Harrowing) a sufficiently big swarm of peasant infantry, would have a shot at actually bringing down a Theurge – the cav would still probably get wiped out if they tried to charge, or retreat, or any kind of maneuver that involved the horses running. Which is most things you want cavalry for!
When an airborne Theurge spots enemy infantry, the infantry unit has some chance of survival if it rapidly disperses, finds shelter, and everyone does their best to return fire (draining the Theurge’s blood supply faster, even if none of the infantry gets in a lucky shot). Because infantry can make better use of concealment opportunities, Theurgic mop-up of an infantry unit is likely to take longer (using up more blood) and leave more survivors. Cavalry will find it a lot harder to find concealment/shelter, and if they try to run, the horses get their legs broken. So yeah, it still seems to me there would be a real vulnerability gap there. Does that make any more sense?
All gameworld armies to date have a limited number of Theurges, and need non-Theurges to supplement them for lower-priority tasks wherever possible. But cavalry skirmishers would only be used in contexts where you were almost totally confident you weren’t going to be facing Theurges – like nobles or Alastors putting down helot revolts. Recon by cavalry would be valuable on the warfront but extremely high-risk; any light cav scout who was spotted by an enemy Theurge almost certainly wouldn’t be coming back.
Which I think is how it’s been depicted so far. Your chance at horse-riding in G1 is on an Alastor captain’s mount, and nobles (who are expected to deal with most internal unrest) are big fans of horses.
These are all plausible factors that could temporarily lead to wider use of cavalry in the G5 wars. But the superiority of Theurgy will I think still be decisive as a new order emerges from the wreckage. Cavalry is expensive to maintain for a combat arm that is going to fail pretty much every time when it finds itself facing Theurgic opposition.
And while I definitely like the idea of surprising the enemy by new uses of combined arms –
– I’m not sure that “Theurges plus cavalry” would always beat “only Theurges,” any more than “Theurges plus janitors” would? If running horses aren’t a particularly effective platform from which Theurges can wield their magic against other Theurges (and I don’t think they are, at all) then it seems to me that the cavalry isn’t necessarily adding value, even if under some circumstances you could have effective combined Theu-cav tactics.
But I’m always open to being talked out of my misconceptions, especially military ones.