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

Yeah. If you let your deputy do the brunt work you’ll be fine. There’s a few really good guides, though, that can help out with the micromanaging and give you great results.

Tried them, they’re good but eh. I don’t wanna have to follow a guide to such an extent. Wanna focus on the story not making sure I spammed enough mules to get by lol
Thanks btw!

There are lots of ways to generate a solid rebellion if you let the AI run the Winter. You will have to choose to Evade the enemy at the end, and make sure you have over 75% in any 3 attributes, but you will have a rebellion with hundreds of people that escaped the Karagond army as one unit, which when you think about it is pretty good!

If you want to Fight the enemy army, your options (with the AI running the Winter) are much more limited. I would recommend being a Compassionate Noble that lets the Harrowing happen, and makes friends with his fellow Nobles.


But the most spectacular wins, those with a Ruthless Helot build that antagonizes the Nobles and Merchants until the Karagond send ~1000 men at you, then kills the 1000 and takes all their stuff, can only be done with perfect Winter micro. Ledd has a guide on the Discord for how to do it, and I’m putting together a a similar guide (though his is for a 2COM build and mine for a 2INT one).

3 Likes

Probably gonna be pretty hard to get an optimal result without micromanagement. Here’s my personal favorite high-anarchy run I’ve done.

Name: Captain Rand Hunter

Origin: Helot

Skills: 2 COM, 1 CHA

Traits: Ruthless, devout, homelander

Start: Uprising

Deputy: Breden

Religious role: Prophet of the common Angelic voice

Archon’s army: Got captured by the Archon’s army after the rebels melted away to the helot camps, then killed the tagmatarch and took her sword

Surviving adult outlaws: 449

Fallen outlaws: 157

Anarchy: 62

Reputation: Loved by helots, yeomen, and priests, but hated by merchants and nobles.

Ending: Went into Xaos with Breden, giving Kalt the theurge-forged sword and leaving him in charge

2 Likes

@Breathless_pidgeon out of curiosity how many of the leadership survived / free at the end of that run?

I just finished what I believe to be my best run yet.

Name: Kurios Taras de Eramant.

Origin: Noble

Skills: 2 COM, 1 INT

Traits: Compassionate, devout, cosmopolitan

Start: Uprising

Deputy: Zvad, then Alira

Religious role: Eclect of the Angels

Archon’s army: stood and fought; broke army in the first round of fighting

Surviving outlaws: 186 adults, 178 children

Fallen outlaws: 380, none of them children

Anarchy: 27

Reputation: Loved by the helots and yeomen, sympathetic to the nobles (and aided by Mikal de Rose), disliked by the merchants and priests

Ending: Went into the Xaos lands with Breden in search of Cerlota, leaving his deputy Alira in charge of the rebels.

3 Likes

All of the leaders survived I believe, Zvad left because he doesn’t like any option but running. I put Radmar in charge of the group that fled before the final battle so he never got captured but his status is ambiguous. He wasn’t present in the final scene when I chose who to lead the group in my absence.

Edit: just checked my screenshots, no named rebels are listed under Fallen Rebels so I’m confident all lieutenants survived.

1 Like

Please forgive me. Have a super weekend everyone.

3 Likes

It’s finally done! My magnum opus, a Ruthless Helot build guide fully optimized for export to the next game! Perfect for players that want to roleplay a savage yet cunning Helot Goete.

2 Intellect / 1 Charisma
Ruthless / Skeptical / Homelander
Uprising Start
High Anarchy Helot

9 Likes

Hey Hugh, that’s really excellent work - looking forward to having a go at it. I wonder if we’ll see new generations of guide-writers appearing as the books continue to release - I certainly hope so. It’s just a small thing but I wanted to do something nice to say thank you, to you and the others who’ve written guides since the first book was published:

I’d actually come just to post this (small probably unnecessary CW: detailed descriptions of fictional child abuse, and also Hitler):

Edit: (The original was removed from youtube twice for hate speech, so here is an alternate source.)

@Havenstone Making this involved reviewing as much of the MC’s relationship to their father as possible, and the thought occurred that some of this might have been quite stressful or burdensome to write. Not just that relationship in particular, but many of the passages in the book are fairly heavy.

Specifically lines like these:

Your father drives on, savage and shrill. “Your mother was a worthless bit of meat.”

His eyes are dry and bulging now, but his voice comes in sobs. “I wish I’d strangled you in your cot.”

“Xthonos wither your loins and gall your blood, you helot-consorting filth.”

“You mewling, insinuating little parasite!” he barks.

I wondered if it wasn’t quite challenging for an author to create such emotively distressing words and characters. I imagine the use of fictional terms and atypical vernacular helps to create some distance, but as seen in two of the examples above that isn’t always possible. On your next post would you be willing to do a short writeup of your experiences with regards to that aspect of the writing process of the books please?

And, if you’d prefer a happier question: words like susurrus and poltroon - are these words you already knew from your own experiences in life, or would you tend to encounter them whilst writing the book?

Finally, just for fun, here is the compiled research of all the really nasty things the MC’s father says or does in Uprising. It’s not an exhaustive list, I did skip some, but it’s fairly comprehensive:

This is a very tragic character

Your father hissed at you to stop wailing before someone asked the matter.

Your mother often protested sharply at his hard-heartedness, but that would only drive him into a fury. “This is exactly the sort of ‘kindness’ to the helotry that will spoil them, wife. And it’s bloody dangerous! It’s as if she’s apologizing for the Harrowing. What does she expect will happen once they begin to take that idea seriously?”

“We’ll just see how long they let her keep it up,” your father growled. “It’s not an Ecclesiast’s job to hand out sweetmeats and weep at Harrowings.” He leaned in toward your mother, breaking into a thin, unreturned smile. “I’ll wager with you, wife. Your friend the priest: you think the nobles will have her removed, or will they wait till the Hegemony gets round to it?”

“Don’t ask questions,” your father snapped. “And you just keep your distance from her.”

Under your kyrtle, the last ghostly bruises from your father’s thrashing were finally beginning to fade.

Your father caught you easily and struck you across the face. “No more cheek from you. I said, what’s happened?”

As so often, your silence sparked his fury. He seized both your shoulders and shook you until you felt dizzy and sick.

He swayed slightly, as if he were drunk, or simply hadn’t slept in a month. Grieving your mother, you’d heard people murmur. More likely, he was just so used to lying awake thinking of ways to win arguments or wear her down that he hadn’t yet figured out how to stop.

His face went ashy, then darkened again. “You impudent whelp!” The other helots around you jumped back to a safe distance. “Defy me to my face? You…you dare?”

Your father lunged across the table and cuffed you sharply on the head. “None of that, damn it. You’ll heed me on this.”

After a long silence, he finally rasped, “They’ll come in the morning. They’ll come to us all. And I’ll tell them that you couldn’t possibly be the one they’re looking for.” You heard his knife snick free, felt it begin to hack off your hair in the ugly, unfamiliar cut you would be wearing for the next three years. “Because I thrashed you within an inch of your life today. So bad you couldn’t even walk to the ditch to pass your bloody piss, let alone to the wineroom. And they’ll come to look. And they’ll see it’s true. They won’t even recognize your face, for the bruises.”

When you saw your father just outside the doorway, you were so distraught that you actually ran straight to him, sobbing, arms outstretched. He looked up in customary irritation, a caustic remark forming on his lips.

“Don’t you quote your mother at me.”

Your father stared at you, aghast, then lashed out with an open hand. “I don’t want to ever hear such Xaos from your lips again. No helot is ever innocent in such matters.”

Your father’s face instantly darkened with rage. “What did I tell you about questions?” Fighting not to cry, you raised your hands to protect your head.

Your sullen tone sets your father scowling. "Think I won’t thrash you at a Harrowing, girl? Just wait till I get you home.

Your father just cuffed you too, hard enough to make your ears ring.

You’ve never seen your father looking so undone. This is the nightmare at which he hinted so many times: the hour when Xaos prevails, the chattel turn cutthroats, and all Order is swept away.

“What have you done?” he whispers. You’ve never seen such a fearful, unfocused look in his eyes before today. “Foolish child, what lunacy possessed you? We’ve lost everything—everything.”

Your father is the first to look away, and when he speaks again, his voice is thin and tremorous. “Curse your own father. Add disgrace to disgrace. Why not? I have sired a madwoman. You rave about toppling the Hegemony, but all you have done is banish me from my home and condemn me to death, along with every helot here.”

A frantic note has entered your father’s voice. “And all because of your damned pride! All because you’ve always thought you were wiser than the Theurges and stronger than the Hegemony.”

Your father cackles madly for a moment, then pulls the blade from its sheath and hurls it at you. “I knew you’d be back for it, you poltroon,” he howls as you dodge the clumsy throw. “What next—the shirt from my back? Will you expose your father’s nakedness before this herd of swine?”

Your father, of course, looks like he’s about to choke on his own bile.

“You want me to go begging? To helots?” he sputters. “Xthonos’ Eyes! Is there no bottom to the shame you’ll inflict on this family?”

“Force me?” he snaps, eyes bulging slightly, all tenderness gone. “Did you ever dream that you could, you unnatural little beast?”

For his part, your father looks apoplectic. He catches you later, just before camp-breaking. “What…what shame and madness…what crime against your House…”

“But what’s going to be left when you’re done?” he demands. “Will there be a Shayard worth having? How much damage are you going to do before they finally pour Theurges and Alastors into these hills and crush us?”

“You kidnapped a noble?” your father sputters from the entry flap.

Then he turns a savagely shining eye to you. “My own luck with marriage was worse. More than twice as long, for still but a single fruit. And a rotten one at that.”

Your father scowls and shakes his head bitterly.

Quiet, thoughtful Ganelon, who might have been your closest friend but for your father’s hatred.

When the news is widely known, your father bursts in on you, white-eyed with outrage. “You idiot girl—what are you thinking? You’ve just ensured that Conte Phrygia will throw everything she has against us.”

Your father takes a step back, draws himself up to his full height. His voice quavers as he demands, “Now, you take care, girl. You just take good Xthon’damned care how you talk to me, and what you think you’re saying.”

You’d thought you knew how fast your father could move; maybe it’s just that he hasn’t dared lay a hand to you in so long. But before you know it, his fists are clenched in your kyrtle collar, his breath seething on your face. “My child’s been dead these twenty-one years, girl. You’re the one that should never have been.”

Your father drives on, savage and shrill. “Your mother was a worthless bit of meat.”

His eyes are dry and bulging now, but his voice comes in sobs. “I wish I’d strangled you in your cot.”

“I was the hope of our House! The last of the name!” His howl rocks him up on his toes, as if drawing force from his whole body. “Every day my mother reminded me of that burden. When I did aught to shame the name, she’d stripe me for it. And I passed it on to you—a hope that you never cared a whit for. Traitor, ingrate, familicide. You’re your mother’s child, you careless, weakling harpy. I’ll have none of you!”

Your father’s eyes widen; something in what you’ve said has struck home. “You murderous whelp…you dare to stand in judgment on…” he begins, trying to regain his fury.

Your father’s lips twist into a bloodless snarl. “If there’s any justice in the world, you’ll be Slow-Harrowed before the leaves change. You’ll die as long and hard as the worst murderer in Shayard. And I’m just sorry I’ll be dead in these woods so I won’t be there to see it.”

“Xthonos wither your loins and gall your blood, you helot-consorting filth.”

“You mewling, insinuating little parasite!” he barks. “How dare you suggest that I might be party to this manner of blasphemous crime?”

4 Likes

It was emotionally demanding, for sure. I’m fortunate to have a very good relationship with my own parents, but I’ve had friends with abusive parents or step-parents. Writing the character of a physically and verbally violent father drew on what I’ve observed and heard from them. It wasn’t as devastating to write as it would have been if I were working through my own personal trauma; but the end of Chapter 3 in particular, with its wide range of toxic exchanges between protagonist and father, was draining. Trying to get into the head of the father and what made him who he is – in both his aristo and helot incarnations – was if anything more unpleasant and exhausting.

I read very widely myself, through the fiction and nonfiction of many different epochs, which means I end up picking up a pretty wide-ranging vocabulary. (The Economist was also helpful during the decade or so that I was a subscriber after college – they’re very fond of tossing out the occasional obscurity.) Most of the words I use in the book are just part of how I normally write, not stuff I looked up especially for Rebels. One of the few exceptions is “goety,” which I’d never heard about before looking at the etymology of “wizard” and synonyms, and trying to find a Greek-based equivalent.

7 Likes

Thanks for responding so soon! And for taking the time to explain. It’s interesting to hear that real experiences were drawn upon in the creation of the character - perhaps that’s why it has such a raw feel to it. I wasn’t sure if you just had to spend a bunch of time putting yourself in the shoes of a really awful person, or what.

I bet!! Even just reading it was draining, although I went through all 555 usages of the word ‘father’ in sequence so it was a fairly intensive study of an upsetting narrative.

I was struck by how quietly sympathetic the character is, actually, and previously had no notion of nuance with regards to his justifications for his own awful behaviour. I was happy to see how much effort had been made to write a realistic “shit person” whereby there is a logical progression from “raised poorly under difficult circumstances” to “massive cunt” - after yesterday’s reading I certainly view the MC’s father in a more sympathic light than before.

That’s really cool! I have no idea where a person would ordinarily encounter a word like susurrus (except XoR, I guess?).

I just found a definition of goety as black magic or witchcraft in which the assistance of evil spirits is invoked - that is a pretty solid in-universe slur.

6 Likes

Thank you!

I’m not too sure if new books will bring more guide-writers, for a couple reasons.

  1. XoR is really hard. Well actually it depends, if you’re a Compassionate Noble, you can deliberately screw up the start of the Winter badly, and still win the final battle flawlessly (I have tested this). Additionally, Charisma builds off all stripes are easy to pilot.
    -But if you want to win with a Ruthless Helot build, you have to play near-flawlessly. And the build I posted is even more brittle than the 2-Combat Ruthless Helot runs, though you get more arms once you win.
    -I like to think I’m a reasonably intelligent person and dedicated powergamer (I beta test and write guides for other strategy games). It took me months to figure out Ruthless Helot 2-Combat builds. To arrive at this guide took me YEARS, and I had some help.
    -What does it take to powergame Odyssey: Echoes of War? Be Gaia’s son, have 65 in Speed and Strength and 60 in Sword, and memorize a run through the 6 trials. What does it take to powergame in XoR? Not only do you have to memorize some unintuitive paths, but you have to balance influence, muling, recruiting, stat gains, faction cred, and other variables I’m forgetting. You have to know and apply things like opportunity cost, you have to hedge against RNG, you have to do math…(concepts and exact numbers both) in your head. It’s a lot harder than other Choice games.
    -This sets a limit on the people that can powergame in XoR, though hopefully the guides of myself and others can get people through the hard part!

  2. From reading the Reddit and other comments, I’ve learned that a lot of people don’t WANT to powergame. They want to play XoR as a story, enjoying the triumphs and struggles (mostly struggles). They don’t want to worry about minmaxing the Winter. And that’s fine! Fortunately the game itself allows you to succeed by having the AI do the Winter, and I have another guide designed for people that want to win flawlessly, but play on autopilot.

  3. This community is small. I didn’t really have many people to bounce ideas off of. This is a sharp contrast to Infiniverse, which has a massive and well-developed community. It’s truly impressive how virtually all their Discord regulars have memorized how to flawlessly play a 18-year-old Idealistic/Merciful Aetorian. I don’t think the XoR Discord has more than 3 people who could do something like that for this game.

Of course if this series takes off and gets a lot of passionate fans, I think we’ll get a lot of new guide-writers, which would be great!

5 Likes

You’re very welcome. Thank you more! I’m proud of my own guides, for sure, but they pale in comparison to a work like this.

XoR is really hard.

Hmm! I guess that’s a valid concern. I’d like to think your guides could become a standardised approach to Uprising in the same way @Verand’s original National Hero guide did for Sabres of Infinity, - i.e. they enable a clean and powerful launch into the series, after which the player can steer the ship as they see fit - but I suppose Uprising is just objectively longer and more complex to navigate, so it’s harder to predict whether it’ll even be possible, or advisable, to have a “best” playthrough of the first book in order to serve as a base for the future entries in the series.

My Non-Violent Resistance guide, which was pretty solid, limits the player into being religious, for example - what if someone wants to run an atheistic non-violent rebellion? That’s the joy of proper Interactive Fiction, I suppose - when it’s done well, there’s less opportunity to create a flawless narrative.

That said, referring back to the enduring popularity of the classic 18 y/o Aetorian build, it seems reasonable to expect that by nature the community will tend to gravitate towards a one-size-fits-all build that is simultaneously powerful, appeals to a broad audience, and enables a strong entry into the next book. At any rate, I guess we’ll have to see the second book itself to know how best to optimise the first. Fully expect book five to make us regret certain book one choices, and looking forward to it.

you have to hedge against RNG

This is a slight challenge, isn’t it? I was glad it’s possible to write a guide which disregards the randomness with careful planning, but I remember when I wrote my 68% guide that it took a fair bit of study to ensure that nothing would go wrong for the reader. Makes me fearful of the prospect of writing a guide to the whole saga, as it would be untenable to have a playthrough fall apart in, say, book four due to an uncontrollable variable.

I’ve learned that a lot of people don’t WANT to powergame. They want to play XoR as a story

This will vary over time, I expect. If people should find themselves locked out of certain routes or content in the future books then perhaps there’ll be just cause to revisit the previous entries and optimise their choices slightly.

This community is small.

This will vary a lot, I think! The Dragoon Saga and Samurai of Hyuga fandoms have vastly increased in size since the release of their first books, so it seems reasonable to expect that as book two and three come to pass that we’ll see many new people take an interest in the books and the community both. The main barrier to entry for guide-writers to this series would be its length and complexity, I think, but if the books hold a high level of quality, I expect the effort will seem worth it to most.

Of course if this series takes off and gets a lot of passionate fans, I think we’ll get a lot of new guide-writers, which would be great!

Woohoo!! Agreed very much. It’s unusual for most of us to take it for granted that unreleased products will be great, I assume, but I have a lot of confidence in the quality of the future books, and look forward to seeing many people enjoying them.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time - looking forward to seeing your book two guides.

6 Likes

Sabres is an interesting comparison. Because it has so many powerful stat boosts (mainly associated with befriending Cazarosta), there’s pretty much one “right” way to play it, the “National Hero” build. I did post a roleplaying Ideal/Mercy run where I opposed Caz, and it worked, but I had to use various kludges and didn’t get the same rep (and Caz is my relentless enemy, which has its own…challenges.) Furthermore, running away from the battle is entirely a roleplaying option in Sabres, since virtually every build can clear the fight. If you do run away, it’s a challenge to make the next game work for you.

(I don’t want to attack Infiniverse, the story/game is great overall, Sabres just has some things that don’t work).

XoR is different. There are of course better and worse runs. But it’s not clear that there’s one optimal path. Brutally murdering the de Merres is both a danger (it galvanizes the nobility against you) and an opportunity (it raises your notoriety and lets you score more glorious victories). And furthermore, the game experience you get diverges significantly depending on whether you’re a noble trying to win over elites and merchants, or a helot raising the stakes and challenging the entire system.

So is there a kind of “National Hero” build that would work for XoR? I think the closest it gets is a build I haven’t written a guide for yet, a High-Anarchy 2-Combat Noble run that befriends both Nobles and Merchants, and of course has “Folk Hero” among Helots and Yeomen. A lot of allies and all available lieutenants are about as good as it gets. But we’ll see how that ends up in Game 2.

5 Likes

Hugh: thanks so much for sharing your work with us. It’s tremendously helpful for me to have Game 1 so thoroughly explored and stress-tested. When I get to the meat of Game 2 it’s going to be invaluable to have samples of the most successful G1 outcomes.

I never intended XoR to be satisfying only for those playing to win big, so I’m relieved that in your perception most readers:

But I’m also glad that my efforts at creating a story with complexity, tradeoffs, and opportunity costs at its heart has yielded a game without a single obviously superior path – and a bit surprised, as well as gratified, that it’s taken a dedicated and attentive fan years to find one hard but satisfying outcome.

7 Likes

Is there going to be a sequel to it? If yes, then what is the name of the sequel or can somone share the forum page of the sequel?

There will be a sequel but it isn’t started yet.

I don’t know if that’s how I’d put it. I’ve written 80,000 words. :slight_smile:

It’s just not ready for the forum yet, let alone publication.

Aditya ji, here is a summary of the plan for the sequels:

10 Likes

Thanks for letting me know :slight_smile:

Yay! I’m glad to hear that. Honestly, I’m awaiting to read your sequel so much. I loved your previous game :slight_smile:

1 Like