But more in the key of Miyazaki.
Well, he did already do a bloody story about giant canines.
Finished my first playthrough.
I rarely write reviews, but I just wanted to say that, in terms of depth and thoroughness, I’ve yet to play a choicescript based game that matches this one. Usually when I play a choicescript game, there’s some option I want to try, but can’t. Not with Choice of Rebels. the choices are distinct, wide-ranging, and nuanced. With only a couple of exceptions, the characters tend to be intelligent and 3-dimensional, each with unique positions on the geopolitical situation.
The choices have far-reaching and both overt and subtle effects on the storyline , the mark of a great choicescript game, and it was easy to immerse myself in the very well developed world, which was detailed without requiring an information dump and a pronunciation dictionary. (except “Xthanos”, still not sure how to pronounce that.).
Really enjoyed how the magical system worked, and it should give rise to some very interesting scenarios in the sequels.
It’s left ambiguous whether the dieties and the angels actually exist, and what side they might be on if they do, and leaves the reader to determine whether they would be good or evil forces.
Over-all, I’d rank this game as a close second behind Choice of Robots (more due to a personal preference for the subject matter rather than any objective criteria), and I think it has the potential to become #1 in my book, depending on how the sequels turn out.
For the record, X in Greek sounds like a hard ch. So “Xthonos” is “Kth-onos.”
One more thing:
If there was one thing that turned me off, it was the title.
“Choice of Rebels” is too generic and unoriginal to really catch my attention, and I almost didn’t try the demo. It brings to mind much of the post-apocalyptic teen fiction cluttering bookstores and libraries. A game of this caliber deserves a better name.
I know it’s a bit late to change it, but thought I’d throw that out there.
From the XOR 1 WIP thread:
Unfortunately, the Halassurqs were unable to make progress up the isthmus toward Karagon, so the Nyr were left to fight largely alone. They held their own for a while, but after a decade of war the Thaumatarch Hera dropped a mountain on Nyrnakan, marking the end of Nyrish liberties (and religion). Forty years after that, the Broracha’s infamous Goety catastrophically backfired, creating the Xaos-Lands… and leaving Halassur with no independent allies against the Hegemony.
My MC would view building the new capital either on top of or beside the ruins of the old Nyrish capital as a useful statement of the rebellion’s ideology. The fact that such a capital would be in the homeland of skepticism would suit my MC perfectly.
Yay ! I realize this is a matter for the future, but when testing on XOR 2 begins, I think if it does not already exist then there needs to be some sort of system for the WIP to read in the variables from the end of XOR 1. Merely picking a few choices along the lines of skipping ahead to Chapters in XOR 1 could leave a lot of bugs undiscovered. The Steam save files get uploaded to COG so maybe some way to access uploaded saves or perhaps like how @jeantown’s amazing Guenevere WIP gives the save state at various points.
Well it may depend on how closely human nature carries over.
Actually I do think the Hegemony probably internally has wrestled many times with their system that even its proponents seem to see problems with (the possible exception of the Theruges we fight themselves). Their problem is the society is founded on dehumanizing the helots and any attempt to reverse that makes one question the whole thing. In the calculation of those in power the dangers external to the Hegemony are far more horrific and justify the ones going on inside of it. Hopefully that calculus is in err but ultimately the equation requires therugy in some quantity to sum to something greater than zero.
The Hegemony admitting that there were an alternative to treating the helots as divine fuel would mean admitting that their religion had lied from the beginning. Even if the Hegemony could claim that the purpose of helots had changed to something other than fuel, it would be unacceptable to those in power for the helots to decide that being something more than fuel means the helots should have rights.
Furthermore there may also be industrial/commercial reasons to continue producing and maintaining Harrowers along the lines of oil companies pursuing renewable energy patents for decades while publicly opposing renewable energy.
Isn’t it stated (or implied) somewhere that pain and death potentiate the blood obtained from Harrowers?
My understanding is that that is the reason we can’t just keep the Helots alive and use periodic bloodletting (as the MC proposes in Chapter 3). It would work to a degree, but it wouldn’t be as magically effective as the current system.
I think it’s not the experience of pain per se but something to do with the brain. The “blood” obtained by the Harrowers isn’t just blood.
That’s what some people throughout the empire believe - a reasonable interpretation of the Theurges’ insistence that without the rite of sacrifice, blood has no power. They’re mistaken, however.
There really needs to be a way to quote locked threads. I already miss the old XOR WIP thread .
The element of the oil economy that I’m most interested in is the profound difficulty of changing it to something that doesn’t do the same damage; and that has to apply to the Karagond blood economy, too. If it could be solved as simply as Hegemony-wide blood drives, the only reason for the current system to persist would be pure demonic malice, which would make for a much less interesting rebellion. (It may be worth repeating again what I’ve said a couple times upthread: the theory that it’s pain/torture/terror of the victim which gives aetherial blood its power is wrong. That would take the metaphor in a direction which I think is less true to the real world challenges of e.g. the slave economy or the oil economy.)
I usually go Homelander because I like the Shayardene names for foreign conties better than the native ones. Not because I am racist. In case anyone was wondering
Well even without the Harrowers you’re left with all the economic benefits of slavery, plus the benefits of having an untouchable caste. Which is why progress in modern India is so damned slow and is even kicked in reverse in some areas.
It would shatter their legitimacy, even if they wanted to they can’t as long as my mc’s rebellion is active and trying to shatter their legitimacy on many of the same grounds.
Oh, yes, you can’t give your untouchable blood-cattle class rights, unless they’re really “rights” (as in serfdom, where the lords are in theory supposed the benevolently look out for the rights of their serfs, in practice well…)
Even that is something the Hegemony cannot do, certainly not at the moment without catastrophically undermining their legitimacy, but I do suspect that “bettering the lot of the helots” through serfdom is a highly plausible Laconnier ploy.
Whereas Cabel might try for abolition American style and sharecropping (since he has likely already promised all the land to the yeomen), in any case I don’t think anybody but my mc’s rebellion will dare give land to former helots.
Hmm…isn’t the new Nyrish capital right next to the old one already, if so you could simply expand it, which it will certainly need if it is to become the capital for a new continent spanning super-power state.
For my mc Avezia can’t be beat both in strategic considerations and the fact that it has a presumably mild climate, whereas Nyral is a bit chilly, which wouldn’t be all that for my barefoot mc.
In Radmar’s case, I would bet on INT -1. INT 0 is supposed to be average and Radmar really is an idiot.
My MC will have to be as tactful as is possible with CHA 1 when meeting Cabel because my MC thinks they were all fools. Timing the rebellion for when the armed retainers of nobles were away indicates to my MC that they viewed those armed retainers as a significant part of the Hegemony’s military potential. The old Shayardene monarchy probably had fielded much larger forces likely with trained wisards (though without aetherial blood) and the old royal house still lost. Thinking to beat the Hegemony with a smaller force than that without wisards and aetherial blood of their own was tantamount to mass suicide. Horion mentioned that there are approximately 20 million Shayardene helots. A government that can control 20 million people is not going to feel seriously threatened by 10 thousand rebels. The equivalent of the police force (in this case alastors and kryptasts) probably numbers more than 10 thousand already.
And so I say that in a nation which seeks to be free but which is surrounded by powerful neighbours and riddled with secret, festering factions, every citizen should be as soldier and every soldier should be a citizen, if France does not wish to be utterly obliterated.
@Havenstone My INT 2 MC has enthusiastically embraced literacy lessons for the rebellion not because the MC loves reading (though that is true) but for the entirely practical reason that the rebellion needs wisards of its own. So my MC intends a levée en masse for wisardry. Going with the rough estimate that a literate helot is one in a thousand (INT 2 helots see this estimate), that would mean there are approximately 20 thousand literate helots. If even 10 percent of those can be trained into wisards then 2 thousand rebel wisards is something for the Hegemony to fear even without aetherial blood. With the ability to make aetherial blood (which my MC is headed into the Xaos lands to study) and with more helots regularly being trained in literacy and the fundamentals of wisardry, that is the sort of force that could topple the Hegemony and drive off foreign encroachment.
As far as what the MC’s rebellion is hoping to achieve politically, another good example would be the Turkish War of Indepedence. A militantly secular government under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk repelled foreign invasion and rose to replace the Ottoman Empire that had been ruled by the Sultan who simultaneously held the religious position of Caliph. The fact that literacy rates in the Hegemony are so low for helots likely means that literacy rates for the total population are horrible. However like the Republic of Turkey, which increased literacy from 9% in 1923 to 33% in 1938, for better or worse the MC will be able to forge an education system almost from scratch. So my MC intends to keep a vigilant watch upon the curriculum and in addition to the fundamentals of wisardry, books about concepts the rebellion’s ideology embraces will be required reading.
My MC would prefer having the capital surrounded by people that would share the rebellion’s ideology even if it means cold weather. On the subject of wintry conditions, if the new state needs a coat of arms eventually, so help me my MC is going to insist on a mule being prominently displayed as one of the things that made the rebellion possible.
That’s…an interesting policy decision. Does your MC worry that creating a battalion of 2 thousand wisards could lead to something akin to the Janissary revolts?
The initial literate helots probably devoted much of their time reading to the Xthonic Canon not books on the rebellion’s philosophies which would worry my MC. Concentrating power in what could become an elite unit would also worry my MC since obviously wisard duty could never be universal but the larger proportion of society that serve as wisards, the better as far as my MC is concerned.
On the other hand, the Hegemony used hundreds of Theurges to crush the Ester Cabel Rising.
Forty-five years ago, the yeomanry of the Westriding rose up en masse, spurred by the Hegemonic Laws that had steadily stripped them of their lands and commons. Their rising was carefully timed to coincide with the Court Season, when all the powerful nobles had decamped to Shayard City with their private guards. In the first few days, the rebels slaughtered every Alastor and Ecclesiast in the Westriding, and spilled over into parts of the Rim, the Coast, and the Reach. Declaring helots free, they nonetheless spared the remaining Shayardene nobles, appealing to the Archon to join them and lead the whole realm against the Thaumatarchy.
At the height of the rising, ten thousand souls mustered behind Ester Cabel, the young yeoman leader of the rebellion. For two months, its sheer scale defied the Hegemony’s power to respond. The Archon claimed that he had assurances from the Thaumatarch that the laws would be changed. But while he temporized, the nobles and yeomanry began to turn on each other. Mutual massacres soon put paid to Cabel’s dreams of a united Shayardene revolt.
It all ended in the Great Scouring: hundreds of Theurges setting the hamlets and woods of the Westriding ablaze, followed by three months of incessant rain to wash away everything that survived the fire. Cabel was betrayed, Slow-Harrowed and quartered; her remains were dispatched to the four corners of the Hegemony and lashed to the bonetree of each provincial capital. The Archon’s heart stopped beating soon afterward, and the archonty passed to a different noble House.
“Mentioning Cabel’s name will get you locked up and Harrowed by any Alastor in the realm,” Elery warned in conclusion. “But they say her son Jac Cabel has kept the flame of the great rising alive across Shayard.”
So my MC considers it both obvious and necessary to beat the Hegemony in sheer number of wisards since the rebellion cannot initially field wisards as experienced as the Hegemony’s Theurges. My MC would consider trying to beat the Hegemony without wisards or as the only wisard suicide. Universal military service could also serve to keep the military in touch with the wishes of the civilian population.
I largely agree, why do you think my mc will become a very keen air-rifle proponent once he learns of them, because they make training citizens into soldiers relatively trivial, compared to the years it takes to train competent archers and swordsmen. Particularly archers.
As a fringe benefit it also allows for more equality in the army as currently the bow trained yeomen and fully trained nobles hold significant advantages in military potential over the helots, the rifles make that largely evaporate.
My mc can’t comment that much on his tactics, as with his com 0 he’s a pretty crappy tactician, but strategically and most of all logistically that was a very dumb move. Then again it could be that much like our mc’s themselves they had no choice but to seize their moment or go meekly to their graves. So my mc probably has a lot of sympathy for them, but not all that much admiration.
Weather aside, my main argument against Nyrnakan as the new capital is that its location doesn’t seem all that central or strategic. The skepticism of the locals is a big plus, I agree, but it doesn’t quite negate its negatives for my mc compared to the sheer potential that Avezia seems to bring to the table, relatively central locations, mild climate (excellent wine), the resources required for rapid industrialization close at hand and the potential for major infrastructure upgrades that benefit greatly from its location, most of all the possibility of that grand canal and making a home for a strong future navy.
Culturally while inferior to the home of skepticism it does benefit from being neither fully Shayardene nor Erezziano, which is something my mc can possibly exploit for a new sort of pan-nationalism. In any case it will be vastly superior to Grand Shayard as a potential capital.
Nyrnakan also seems superior as a location of the new capital compared to Grand Shayard as Grand Shayard really seems to be poorly situated from a strategic standpoint, right on the frontier with the Abhuman federation and close to the Xaos lands. Finally, as I’ve said before, it is also likely to culturally be one of the most hostile places for my mc.
Two remarks, firstly the lower classes of the hegemony are woefully, criminally under-educated, but keeping the helots in particular but also the yeomen and the poor city dwellers (relatively) ignorant and superstitious is likely more of a matter of policy. Then there is also the fact that the mc and our rebellion literally come from one of the poorest and most backwards regions of the Hegemony so it is very possibly not all that representative of the whole.
Still I basically agree here as well and building a better and most of all more egalitarian education system is one of the most vital tasks for any new regime.
For my mc I think Turkey is only half relevant as Ataturk’s Turkey did sacrifice the more cosmopolitan outlook of the old Ottoman Empire, making it in game terms a nationalistic and skeptical revolution taking over from the cosmopolitan and religious empire, whereas my mc is trying to shoot for cosmopolitan and skeptical.
Hmmm…for the coat of arms for my mc I think the air-rifle and the pen would be more appropriate.
Though the rising sun is likely to remain the flag and the official national symbol.
Ah. The absence of “*set wealth +taxcash” anywhere in Ch 2 does make rather a significant difference. Thanks so much for catching this – should be working in the next update.
Well, as both the United States of America and Australia could vouch, you don’t have to place your capital in the most valuable of locations and there is something to be said for not having all of your eggs in one basket if an enemy decides to drop a mountain on a capital again. Avezia would likely be an important military base if nothing else which may be another reason not to place your capital somewhere your own military forces must concentrate. The influence of the military upon civilian government is unavoidable for the rebellion, but that influence would be amplified by proximity.
Considering that the only map we have shows most of the land connected, I am uncertain how useful a blue water navy would be compared to the army. It might be useful for commerce protection/raiding and freight transport, but sharing a land border with potential enemies means the army must take precedence and naval spending must compete with army spending potentially to the detriment of the army as Imperial Germany on the eve of World War I could attest.
I meant that even if nobles, priests, and merchants have close to 100% literacy, if those 3 groups combined are a small enough percentage of the population (for example 10%) and the other 90% of the population has close to 0% literacy, then the literacy rate for the total population will be horrible simply because the illiterate classes make up such a large percentage of the population.
True and the Republic of Turkey also lost much of the old Ottoman territory which would be unacceptable to my MC. That is one problem with having to pick from historical examples. One notes however that my first example was the French Revolution of 1789 and it would be hard to come up with an example of a more cosmopolitan revolution than that. Successfully exporting revolution across the continent on the backs of the levée en masse would appeal to my MC. After all, France was a true world power at the time even in the throes of revolution as Metternich noted, “When France sneezes, Europe catches a cold.”
My MC’s skepticism is well established, but as for cosmopolitanism/nationalism, my MC is a pragmatist on that scale. My MC prefers the band speak Koine since almost the entire band is fluent in it, but my MC prefers using the word wisard rather than playing into the Hegemony’s religious lies, and my MC’s band adopted the moot since even the younger teenagers were risking their lives and my MC felt that they deserved a say in decision-making in exchange. My MC would happily adopt any good ideas regardless of where they came from so I suppose that is a cosmopolitan outlook, but the game classifies adopting Shayardene ideas as being nationalistic. On that note, @Havenstone, the first game currently rewards players at the extreme ends of the scale and anyone who made choices that caused the scale to end closer to the middle would effectively be penalized.
I never said that a mule would be the only thing on the coat of arms, but my MC would feel that something must recall the memory of that first winter and sadly a mule does that all too well. I like the concept of the pen on a coat of arms, but perhaps either books or scrolls or quills or printing presses might better convey that concept. It is too early to say how useful the air rifle will be. If the air rifle does turn out to be really helpful, then yes it belongs on the coat of arms. My MC would also want a red drop of blood to be pictured on the coat of arms, it could stand both for those who have died and for wisardry.
My MC would absolutely agree about the flag and official national symbol being the eight-rayed sun. My MC had a noble background so was tempted to pick the symbol of the MC’s noble house just to spite the MC’s father, but in the end choosing a symbol of enlightenment that survives after the MC’s death was far more important.
I wonder if I’m the only person here with an “Evil” MC. By “Evil” I mean a ruthless, bloodthirsty, self-interested aristocrat who sees his followers as disposable and fully intends to rule the new order with an iron fist.
I usually play “Evil” characters in RPG-esque games, though.
As an aside, I just played another 2COM playthrough to beat the Archon’s army. This time, despite having 523 armed adults, I had barely 100 on winning (last time, I started with 440 and finished with 182 armed adults).
I also had the battle play out differently, it seems my archers were remarkably inactive. Perhaps it’s because the Yeomen didn’t like me much if at all this time.
If there’s at least 1 Theurge alive at the beginning of the battle they provide air support for the Phalangites and prevent a lot of free kills from your archers.
It’s not unreasonable, except that my mc thinks giving 14 year-olds the vote is courting disaster and it will be much harder to build legitimacy and a new system on the backs of the moot then it would be with the Apella.
As for what he calls himself, the call to use Goete since it diametrically opposes everything the Hegemony supposedly stands for is far too delicious to resist. Being defeated by a Goete should also be a much greater blow to the Hegemony than being defeated by a wisard a term almost nobody, particularly among the lower classes outside of Shayard will know.
My mc would likely set the rising sun in yellow on a tri-colour flag with orange, dark-blue and black bands (from top to bottom) to symbolize the rising of the sun banishing the darkness.
The first winter will likely be trivial compared to what’s to come, it was the “carefree” “Robin Hood” time of the rebellion after all. As such I don’t think it needs a symbol and while blood likely remains important having a visual reminder of that fact on the coat of arms would be too strong of a throwback to the very thing he’s trying to de-legitimize.
I do agree about the printing press better suiting the goals together with the air rifle, after all if it works those are the two principal things that will bring knowledge and education and the ability to defend oneself to the oppressed masses at last.
They are also both high-tech for the time thus emphasizing progress.
Hmmm…that would put us in direct competition with fellow revolutionary states. The Chino-Soviet split may serve as a cautionary tale there. That said exporting ideology and perhaps a trickle of weapons to dissatisfied and restive slaves and other oppressed groups in Halassur, if only to keep them focused on internal matters too is something my mc doesn’t have much if any objections to.
I think you underestimate it a bit as you likely also have to account for some skilled labourers and the bureaucracy and telones such as Bleys. My best guess is that the literate groups comprise about 20% of the population. Still the literacy rate overall is likely to be abominable in any case.
While this is true you forget that our mc 'salso likely have to spend most of the rest of their lives in that new capital and cold and wintry conditions don’t really agree with my mc, particularly with his preference for just throwing some rags on and not bothering with boots.
That said if necessary I suppose we could always pull a Brasilia or Naypyidaw out of our sleeves and simply build a new capital for the government. Though the expense will likely be difficult to justify post-rebellion and my mc would rather expend any funds that can be thus diverted on the grand canal.
Lastly with my mc’s planned redistricting and new administrative divisions all of them except for the capital would ideally be set-up in ways that make them non-viable as independent states, so my mc does lean towards having a strong and preeminent capital, but I do recognize the potential drawbacks and trade offs that involves.
It would be the most important economical center as it seems to be a prime location for industrialisation once we move most of that away from Karagond. Particularly if we do build that grand canal.
As for naval and military bases, almost all national capitals house at least one of those plus the central command, so that is likely going to be true for you in Nyrnakan as well.
Now as for really prominent military or naval bases and facilities my mc would be eying Veldrin plus strategic locations near the borders for the land-based army and of the existing cities Aegre, Cocena, the island of Scarthe and Umri for major naval bases and facilities.
Indeed, another area the rifles could greatly aid in as they are what would make conscription based armies and universal service possible. In addition switching to a conscription based model of citizen soldiers instead of a warrior culture means you can probably get by with a regular army that is greatly reduced in size compared to what the Hegemony has now.
This is unfortunately true but a universal service conscription based model should free up some funds for the navy eventually and furthermore you cannot pretend to be a super-power without power projection capabilities for which a navy and a good marine infantry service are absolutely essential. Failing that we’d be doomed to essentially remain a backwater regional power.