Choice of Rebels: Uprising — Lead the revolt against a bloodthirsty empire!

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#1028

It is worth noting the Hallasurq’s apparently harvest from children, their first-born children in particular if I recall correctly.


#1029

I thought that Halassurq harvesting children was just a rumor and not a confirmed fact…?


#1030

Well to me the more smoking of the guns is that the Theruge that is hunting the MC and their stragglers if you lose the final battle emphasizes to his troops to capture the children. The implication is that they are the most important for the eventual harrowing of the captives.


#1031

Catching up, first, with some earlier questions:

They know the Archon and the Archon’s family. The Leilatou have been responsible for some much-loathed policies in the slums of Grand Shayard. Anyone who managed to actually kill a Leilatou will be the hero of the town.

Slavers do ply the slums, especially looking for children, and being sold into helotry is one of the things the free urban poor dread and loathe. But because being a helot is supposed to be a telos you’re born to, it would be religiously questionable to suddenly “discover” that thousands of the urban poor were really born helots.

It would also trigger urban unrest on the scale the Hegemony gets cautious about–where they can’t be entirely sure of quelling it with mass Harrowings. Nobody wants to have to inflict a Great Scouring-type Theurgic cataclysm on one of the great cities; too much wealth is tied up there.

And it wouldn’t have been necessary to consider such a policy until fairly recently, when the Hegemony began running low on blood.

Corruption is a double-edged sword, and the larger the scale of the authoritarian regime (like PRC, where executions for corruption remain common), the more it creates vulnerabilities. Your utter kleptocracies are (I think) all relatively low-population countries. Bigger states, to survive at all, have to keep corruption containable. When it starts getting out of control, it both limits the ability of the ruling elite to enforce its will and alienates a wider and wider swathe of the population.


#1032

Interesting, so if the new justice system treats such slavers particularly mercilessly it might lead to a significant boost for the new regime among the urban poor.

Heavy emphasis on the supposed. My mc will love it though just one more corrupt practice the ecclesiasts are allowing to happen under their and their alastor’s noses that again exposes the complete and utter sham of the Karagond caste system. This is an obvious and particularly weak point of it my mc will obviously try to use as a sledgehammer to beat the church, the ecclesiasts and the caste system all at once.

Of their own or ordered down from Aekos that they just executed like the good little quislings they are?
Not that it particularly matters for the rebellion’s own propaganda, but inquiring minds still want to know.

While my mc didn’t personally do the deed, nor did any of his followers to his knowledge it might prove to be advantageous to roll with the Hegemony’s accusations that he did I see.


#1033

Now on towards spoilerville. Like I said four years ago (seriously, that long?):

And here we are at last, early in Game 2–at least, on my laptop. I’m still a ways off having a playable draft to post on Dashingdon, I’m afraid. (Who knew that this would be the year for simultaneously restructuring a $10m-a-year charity, fighting a Supreme Court battle against a billionaire, and organizing the pushback against a flood of poorly thought-through government policies, all at the same time?) Until real life gets boring enough again for me to make more progress on the draft, I’ll just have to pass on occasional lore.

In this case, I’m drawing from the infodump on Theurgy you get from Cerlota de Viore when you meet her in the Xaos-Lands. (Which everyone does, whether or not you actually learned about her from Horion in Game 1.)

Theurgy isn’t based on thoughts or brainwaves. Jumping back again to cryptic things I said a couple of years ago:

To unpack that (and seriously, y’all, here be big fat grimdark spoilers): if you asked most people in the Hegemony, “what does the ‘aetherial’ in aetherial blood mean?” they’d say it’s basically a synonym for Angelic. It doesn’t have any particular meaning other than “holy and weird like the Angels.”

Only a few are aware that it’s not originally a religious term, but alchemical vocabulary that crept partway into popular usage (without laypeople ever quite understanding what they were talking about)…before it became suddenly clear to the relevant alchemical elite that they needed to make sure that no one outside a very limited circle of practitioners ever found out what “aetherial” really meant. It was too late to keep people from saying it, but not too late to mystify the term beyond recognition.

As that small cadre of early alchemists discovered when they began successfully probing the reasons Theurgy worked, human blood has a relatively low aether concentration, which it loses easily by sublimation once the blood leaves the body. A living person using their own living blood makes fairly effective use of its teleomorphic potential. Early alchemists tried and failed to preserve that potency through preventing sublimation. None were able to come up with anything that fixed a meaningful volume of aether, not enough for more than a party-trick level of Theurgy–nothing that could really compete with a dedicated Theurge using their own blood.

Thaumatarch Hera was thought to have been the one who finally cracked that problem, through a carefully guarded refinement process. In fact, while she did discover a new alchemical pathway for reducing sublimation, her truly crucial insights were (1) that other human bodily tissues have a much higher aether concentration than blood (If you go kamikaze and pull down a mountain in Game 1, you’re basically drawing on a whole bunch of that aether, not just the stuff in your bloodstream) and that (2) it would be possible to mask a fairly large-scale process of harvesting those tissues thanks to the Krypteia traditions of helot-hunting in certain city-states.

Thus began the conquest, and the Thaumatarchy.

Those aether-dense tissues (brain, mostly, but the eyes also have enough to be worth harvesting) lose less to sublimation before the aether can be “fixed” through the alchemical process that begins in the Harrower (yielding an inert precursor that can later be refined into usable form). Blood remains a useful natural solvent, contributing a bit to the solution’s potency… and “blood” makes an even more useful, politically tolerable label for the final product.

And yes, the aether concentration in humans does drop off significantly from infancy through puberty before stabilizing in adulthood. The Karagond Theurges pride themselves on their refusal (by and large) to make use of that fact; you’ve got to have something to point to that makes you feel less of a monster at the end of the day. Of course, they can’t overtly explain to the laity just why they’re so proud of eschewing child-murder, but they spare no opportunity to blast the Halassurqs for it. When you meet Erjan in Game 2 Ch 1, you can hear how Halassur justifies the opposite choice, while abhorring the nightmare slave system of the Thaumatarchy.

What does it mean that human beings are the only known sublunary source of the element that makes telos malleable (by analogy to the way the element fire makes many lesser substances malleable)? Well, some–notably Abhuman philosophers and seers, and some long-extinguished Karagond heretics–would suggest that this is strong evidence that humans were wrought by Theoi or Angels with a particular overarching end in mind, as a couple of folks surmised over on the old WiP thread. This is of course rankest heresy, unwhisperable among Karagond Theurges.

It’s also not the only explanation on offer. Nyrish Theurges continue to think any “argument from design” is bollocks, and kenonite or otherwise skeptical MCs will be free to agree.

So there you go. That’s what everyone will learn about halfway through the first chapter of Game 2. :slight_smile: Please do spoiler-tag your reactions…but after all these years of hinting, I’d welcome your thoughts.


#1034

@Havenstone Just out of curiosity, what about harrowing Plektoi or Abhumans? Sublimation is going from solid to gas so it does not seem applicable to blood.

Also on a different note, how did you manage to quote from a locked thread? Can it be done just by typing in the right html?


#1035

Well It really comes as no surprise that my mc inherently dislikes any mentions of “intelligent design” as it cleaves too close to the Hegemonic and Shayardene Xthonic nonsense.
Still the undead remain an enigma that possibly defy this explanation of magic or they have found a way to coax, aether or magic from their dead body parts without cannibalizing them. Or they use an entirely alternate and different system of magic altogether Either way my mc remains very interested in them.

The Nepalese, UK or US governments, or all three of them?


#1036

I’m guessing Leader status has something to do with that. :frowning: Sorry!

The alchemists use “sublimation” to describe the escape of aether because before discovering it as a component of human tissues, they had only previously encountered it in meteoric form…so it’s generally thought of as a solid. (In contrast to how the “quintessence” was envisioned in our world, I know.)

Abhumans are (mostly!) human, and have plenty of aether in their blood and tissues. Plekt-ized animals, on the other hand, do not. Once you’ve sunk Theurgy into creating a Plektos, you’re not getting it back.

The Unquiet Dead will not be covered in the infodump I’m writing now, or indeed any infodumps before Game 4. So I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a while before figuring out how they work.

Diplomacy prevents my answering.


#1037

Oh no, I don’t know if I can resist the temptation of spoilers.


#1038

So it is strictly backroom pushback for now, otherwise you’d presumably be keen to drum up publicity in a public forum like this one.

Maybe with the new limits on big threads @RETowers or somebody from the company should look into extending those privileges to normal members and regulars, maybe? It would sure be a big help with the big series like this one and Cata’s Infinity saga.

Come over to the dark side, we get all kinds of interesting lore tidbits! :smiling_imp:


#1039

@Havenstone Does this mean that we could go mining for meteorites to power wisardry?

Some threads grow quickly enough that they will repeatedly go through multiple batches of 10000 posts so being able to quote from earlier batches would be helpful.


#1040

Oh absolutely. Langley training coming in handy.

It’s been done, about as extensively as is possible. Remember that Glossary entry that you described as fascinating upthread?.. :slight_smile:


#1041

@Havenstone Has anyone tried mining underwater or if needed draining the water from areas just for mining purposes?

I’m guessing that there is a probably a pragmatic branch of Hegemony Theurges that will then push for Harrowing children when things get desperate.


#1042

Blah, blah all is okay and that Mara doesn’t care really. Except to propaganda vs Hegemony. Still the question could Mara destroy absolutely all blood culture and harrowings? And not have automatically a game over


#1043

@Norilinde: Underwater, yes, about as far as is remotely practical (i.e. not in the deep sea, which will have to await a future tech epoch).

And absolutely, when things get desperate, lots of things will become thinkable to the elites. But how much will be doable, when it flies straight in the face of rules and values you’ve spent 300 years instilling?

The Karagond caste system made itself socially tolerable by setting clear lines about who does and doesn’t merit Harrowing, and for what reasons. If the folks at the top start breaking those rules when they need resources that the rules previously put off-limits, it immediately puts the whole system at risk. It’s the kind of self-destructive decision that regimes often only make when things are falling apart anyway.

I won’t lie: it’ll be really hard. Aetherial blood is the main source of power (economic, military, political) in the world. Other factions both within your rebellion and outside of it will want to keep making the most of blood harvesting. You’d need to defeat them decisively to create a space within which you could lead a blood-free (or only organic-blood, if you don’t mind people being wizards by cutting their own hands) existence without being invaded by people still using industrial-scale Harrowing.

It will be a possible ending. But it would probably take a successful run either as a Genghis-level general or a charismatic Eclect/religion-founder. A high-CHA character can achieve a lot with a cult of personality alone, without meddling with religion… but I don’t think purging the world of Harrowing is an achievable goal operating on Charisma alone, without rolling out a new set of religious institutions.


#1044

I will meddle with religion but not being declared by Linos alone… It seems pathetic. Maybe I should made the fire water mumbo jumbo i did once that was really funny… I am afraid that not accept Linos means broken that part forever or something.


#1045

No – someone with your Charisma can do it without Linos’s help. And there will be chances again in Game 2, though obviously the sooner you start a religion, the wider it has a chance to spread…


#1046

it is i want a Pope coronation like a new Messiah? and random dude in forest alone won’t do


#1047

@Havenstone How soluble is aether in seawater? If aether can dissolve in seawater, then even at much lower concentrations than in blood it might still be worthwhile to try to extract aether from seawater since there would be so much seawater available.