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

Hi there, total noob here! (and lurker who’s enjoyed reading the updates and debates amongst you guys)

a. Beyond Game 1, will crime lord/“godfather”/“godmother”/“kingpin”/“queenpin” antics continue working for our MC during later games?

To further elaborate: even though I typically prefer to win over Alaine with my 2INT “let’s be friendly business partners who can profit from each other in good faith!” approach, I was both surprised (and slightly amused) to find out that the iconic “offer you can’t refuse” approach was an equally valid tactic for bending the merchant faction to your will.

I also wonder if the “organized crime route” might be allowed to delve into “Breaking Bad”/“Opium War”/“narco”-levels of drama and intrigue, e.g. my high-INT MC creates an original herb (or alters an existing known herb, e.g. mullow) to start introducing addictive/poisonous foods and beverages into enemy territory marketplaces.

(while also concocting an equally addictive antidote (or temporary vaccine) that will hopefully serve as a repeatable, long-term, and overpriced bargaining chip to force enemy factions into agreeing with any demands our MC makes)

And keeping with the theme of XoR being all about hard choices (and having to live with their consequences), I imagine that my suggested drug-dealing approach easily qualifies as a double-edged sword (since the spread of addictive/poisonous foods and beverages might escalate beyond my control later down the road, eventually hurting allied territories who I previously thought to be ‘immunized’.)

All hail Heisenberg Seriatou the Plague-bringer, First of his Name.


b. And here’s a potentially interesting alternative take on a high-INT MC (for players who mostly (or completely) dismisses wielding Theurgy in favor of more mundane, less supernatural fields of expertise) - A master businessman, industrialist, and/or entrepreneur who wins over allies with shady backroom deals while waging economic warfare against rivals/enemies. This MC’s strategy is based on one particular assumption: he’s already resigned himself to believing that in the grand scheme of things, his faction can’t possibly win a conventional war against the other major powers’ manpower and Theurgy (thus perceiving a need to constantly resort to sneakier methods).

I was pleased to see shades of this archetype during my playthrough (especially when the backbone of my 2-INT Noble MC’s success hinged upon successful, business-minded negotiations with Isme, Alaine, and Calea) and during my browsing of this forum (my jaw dropped when I learned that your MC can frame Isme or Alaine during the “recruit Bleys” route).

But, since all works of art always have room for improvement, I’d like to throw in my two cents for what new method we can include.

The example that I’d like to talk about from an episode of a favorite (and arguably underrated) anime of mine, called “Shoukoku no Altair”.
Its protagonist, Mahmut (a “pasha”/general of the Turkieye Stratocracy, aka “anime Ottoman Empire”) manages to break apart an alliance between Balt-Rhein (aka “anime Holy Roman Empire,” the story’s main antagonist faction) and Venedik (aka “Venice”) with a particularly clever ploy (as explained below).

Mahmut, while in disguise and operating through a struggling merchant’s business (as his proxy), sells Venedik glassware (in great numbers) to China, under the seemingly benign pretense of merely selling luxuries to the Emperor of China, (who’s an eager consumer of “beautiful and intriguing” Western goods, AND needs to decide which gifts will given to the “masses in attendance of the crown prince’s birthday”).

Because of Mahmut’s bulk sale, Venedik is put in the tough spot of having to urgently buy huge stockpiles of wheat from Tharros (aka “anime Africa”), just so that Venedik can meet its quota (to convert enough wheat into straw as packaging material for the 400,000 boxes of glassware).

At the same time, Balt-Rhein urgently needs Tharros’ “huge stockpiles of wheat” to fuel their invasion of Turkieye (and FYI, the cargo that Venedik purchased was originally scheduled for delivery to Balt-Rhein, right up until Venedik out-bid Balt-Rhein by offering Tharros five times the sale price of wheat.)

So in response, Balt-Rhein’s Prime Minister, Virgilio Louis, feels compelled to intercept the Venedik fleet with a blockade.
At first, Louis’ envoy tries to resolve the resource dilemma (by simply reimbursing Venedik for the wheat, if Venedik will immediately return the wheat to Balt-Rhein). Unfortunately, because of Venedik’s rigid national philosophy (of honoring every business transaction, no matter the circumstances), Venedik refuses the envoy’s offer, and then conflict between the two fleets ensues.

Thus, Mahmut’s ploy effectively scuttles the alliance between Balt-Rhein and Venedik while also creating an opportunity for Venedik to join Mahmut’s “Triparte Alliance” later down the road).

Anyways, before I get further bogged down going through “anime geopolitics memory lane,” let’s get back to the subject of XoR.

Might it be possible for an MC (with a high enough INT score and a sufficiently strong relationship with the merchant faction) to pull off a similar stunt in XoR? (engineering circumstances that manipulate enemy coalitions into backstabbing each other over an “Apple of Discord” natural resource)


c. Per earlier posts (which pointed out the possibility of visiting/investigating the direct source of Xaos-storms), might we possibly discover (and/or) create tools that let our MC channel/unleash Xaos-stormbolts?
(e.g. some sort of Mjolnir or a close equivalent)
I also imagine that achieving such a miracle might require the following combination of factors:
Sufficiently strong alliances with Xaos-landers, Abhumans, and/or their associates (to gain access to required technical knowledge),
And a sufficient INT score (2-3) for forging the invented “pseudo-Mjolnir” into a viable weapon.

I’d also personally nickname my version of “pseudo-Mjolnir” as “Mule Nyr” (along with painting an emblem of a mule next to Nyr’s unspecified national flag on the hammer), purely for wordplay/punny reasons. :slight_smile:

And it’s not just military applications I have in mind, what if our MC were (eventually) able to figure out a way to literally “capture lightning in a bottle”?
(creating the very first Xaos storm-powered battery (and XoR’s very first PG&E company),
with my merchant/advertising contacts (from Game 1 and beyond) presenting said battery as a newfound energy alternative to blood)

And assuming my MC does a good job of protecting his trade secrets, perhaps his entrepreneurship could snowball into making him the “richest man alive” in XoR’s history (thus allowing him to play kingmaker or outright buy his way into becoming the next king himself).


d. My personal chosen nickname for Jac Cabel’s yeomanry-based rebel faction - “The Farmer Joe Brigade.”

But jokes aside, does heavy Game 1 (and beyond) recruitment of yeomanry affect your dealings with Jac Cabel’s faction?

On one hand, maybe Jac sees you as a competitor (since he’s desperately trying to recruit the yeomanry under his banner, too).

But on the other hand, perhaps Jac might instead interpret your yeomanry recruitment drive in a more positive light (e.g. “Hey, maybe the MC and I share a common commitment to improving the day-to-day lives of yeomanry”).


e. If Thaumatarch Hera is the original leader of the Greek-influenced/inspired Hegemony, what happened to XoR’s version of ‘Zeus’?


f. Random idea on how to reconcile a “your MC died at the end of game 1” playthrough with future games:
A prologue section reveals that Archlich Gaesh graverobbed the MC’s corpse (because he’s already deemed MC to be ‘a fascinating specimen’ after having listened to the reports of his undead (and unseen) spies).

Afterwards, Gaesh’s necromancy ends up reviving MC as a member of the Unquiet Dead. But whether because of lingering willpower/wits from his/her previous life (or because of outside intervention from a third party), MC was able to (temporarily) regain most of his/her old memories and free will (during the interim between Game 1 and 2)?

And the reason I suggest “temporarily” is because we could introduce a unique metric, “estimated time left until Gaesh retakes control of you.” (thus raising personal stakes for the MC, who not only has to rebuild his rebellion from scratch (along with having to overcome the stigma of being a disgraced rebel who very recently lost against the Hegemony), but now also has to struggle to keep his very own soul.)

And as for how an Unquiet Dead MC could still be relevant for the socializing/“wining and dining” aspects of Game 2’s later chapters, perhaps Cerlota’s mastery of Theurgy could restore MC’s missing flesh (or at least manifest as a 24/7 glamor that covers MC’s rotting parts)?


g. Will it also be possible to intertwine certain factions of supporters more closely together?

(E.g. our MC combines…
#1: his influence over Xthonic religion as Eclect
#2: and his merchant network, trade connections, and other forms of economic might,
to create his version of the Knights Templar?
(an organization which arguably qualifies for the title of “the world’s first international banking system,” with their “remarkable rise from donated rags to vast riches” having been kickstarted by the decree of a pope).

(FYI, the source I’m relying on is this link: Templar Banking: How to go from Donated Rags to Vast Riches - Medievalists.net)

And as for how an XoR Knights Templar strategy might possibly backfire in Game 5, inspiration can be taken from the downfall of the historical Templars.

Perhaps a disgruntled customer (similar to King Philip IV of France) might seek to escape his debts (to your Templars) by propping up a charismatic rival Eclect, who uses false (but cleverly crafted/hard to debunk) accusations to undermine the legitimacy of your Xthonic faction?

Eventually, with enough failed stat checks (or overall poor decisions from our MC), the smear campaign eventually leads to the MC’s entire faction being declared as heretics (against “the true Xthonic faith”), with all of MC’s Templars getting arrested (while their assets get seized) and then eventually burnt at the stake (or in XoR’s context, Harrowed instead).


h. (building upon my earlier Knight Templar-inspired banking suggestion)
And if we take into account (possibly late-game acquired) necromancy skills (from teachings and time spent with the Unquiet Dead), what if the MC’s banking institution became the XoR equivalent of the Orzhov Syndicate? (a favorite faction of mine from Magic the Gathering)

FYI, quick copy-paste quote about what sort of organization the Orzhov are: “The Orzhov Syndicate is the Ravnican guild of business, where the values of white and black meet and the dead exist solely as capital. Nearly every business in Ravnica ties back to the Orzhov in some way or another. While they bear the facade of a religious group and may have been a true faith at the signing of the Guildpact, they now worship only profit and power.

The Orzhov guild is founded on the beliefs that wealth is power, that structure breeds wealth, and that guilt creates structure. The guild is a combination of a religion, credit-lending agency, and crime syndicate. An ostentatious hierarchy of priests, enforcers, and ghostly councilors rules over a congregation of guilt-bound loyalists, indebted ghosts, and thrull servants. Should somebody be in debt to them, that person must work off their debt even beyond death. Many Orzhov guild members believe that their actions are necessary for making Ravnica the best it can be, and they are unscrupulous in their methods of seizing power. Most Ravnicans see the Orzhov as a corrupt organization, but many are attracted by promises of wealth, prestige, and longevity.

Their white flavor is exemplified by how they have a strong sense of tradition and community, reflected by the fact that they still partake in all of their ancient rituals and customs despite not worshiping any gods. It is also symbolized in how they hoard their wealth, but are shown to share with family members or close friends. Their black flavor can be seen in that they regularly deal with the dead, they never give to charity if they can help it, and continually violate the spirit of the law merely to meet their own ends. The Orzhov know also how to create thrulls out of remnants of past debtors.”


i. Random theory about Xthonos’ true identity (since “Xth” is pronounced as “Cth”, correct?) Xthonos is the “benevolent half” of XoR’s version of Cthulu, with Xaos being Cthulu’s “expunged evil half.” Or at least, that could have been the convenient creation myth that was concocted to explain a past epic war between two ancient, squid Abhuman mortals. :slight_smile:
But regardless of Xthonos’ authenticity (or lack thereof), I can already imagine my church’s new motto: “May Xthonos’ divine tentacles bless you, my child.”


j. Building upon earlier discussions (about “non-empire ruling roles in the post-Hegemony era”, such as kingmaker, eminence grise, ‘Vatican Switzerland’ fantasy pope, perpetual rebel), here are other suggestions that come to mind:

#1: (overlapping with kingmaker and/or perpetual rebel) What if instead of Horion’s Shayard League, MC’s cosmopolitan rebellion ultimately becomes a nomadic “soldiers without borders’’ mercenary faction, only pledging allegiance to the highest-bidding anti-Hegemony faction(s)? (akin to that of Big Boss’ Militaires Sans Frontières/Diamond Dogs from the Metal Gear franchise)

#2: (overlapping with kingmaker, along with possibly overlapping my earlier discussion about Knight Templar financing)
What if a high-INT MC (who graduated from Game 1 with strong relationships with the merchants, e.g. Alaine Leybridge) eventually became THE leading member (or merely one of the leading members) of the Syntechia/merchant guilds?
In this scenario, I imagine that MC eventually becomes rich/influential enough to upgrade the Syntechia, turning the Syntechia into XoR’s version of the Iron Bank (from ASOIAF/Game of Thrones), uplifting ally factions with generous loans while punishing/blacklisting any “repayment dodgers”.
And to keep the gameplay balance from becoming too easy in MC’s favor, perhaps the Iron Bank’s oppression ends up creating one of Game 5’s main antagonist factions: a borderless, global alliance of black markets and smugglers (who also happen to be aided by Iron Bank inside men that wish to usurp your MC).

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@mshan95032 holy cow that is by far the largest post I think I’ve seen to date lol not bad thing but I just had to say that. :smiley: Now to well truly read it

:: Whistles :: that’s quite a lot to unpack but with a first read through I like the posibiltys quite alot and would be curious to see where they lead.

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Welcome @mshan95032! Fantastic way to make an entrance. :slight_smile: I don’t know if I’ll get through all the points raised, but let’s have a go!

I intend to keep weaving those options in. When you’re in Grand Shayard in Game 2, several of the factions you can spend time with have underworld strategies, and others can be countered with them.

Much as I love Breaking Bad, though, I don’t think I’ll go full Heisenberg and have you invent blue mullow. That’s a cool idea and theoretically possible in world, but I think it would open up more plot implications than I’ve got the capacity to grapple with.

Yes, though probably not until Game 3 or 4, when supply disruptions and resource scarcity (for blood, food, textiles, and precious metals, among others) will reach the level where your market manipulations have the power to render major factions desperate…

A Change of that complexity requires an active mind behind it – you couldn’t graft it onto a tool. So no “Mule Nyr,” delightfully groansome as that would be. And Xaos-storms produce random-seeming, destructive, large-scale Change, not usable energy; getting one going would consume a lot of aetherial blood, not create an alternative to it. Sorry, no Xaos-batteries!

As you’ve guessed, if you’ve got high cred with the yeomanry, Jac might take that either positively or negatively. It’s not guaranteed that he’ll react to you as a competitor.

Died.

:slight_smile: I am afraid that even if the Game 1 MC were so fascinating a specimen as to attract the Archlich’s interest, if s/he were to die while inside the Ward, Ghaesh couldn’t do a thing about it, being stuck outside himself. I’m also not going to add massively to my writing burden just to create a plot hatch to escape permadeath. Dead is (with very few Game 5 exceptions) dead.

I do like the idea of a world where Death can bring you back if you die early and thereafter you have to grapple with your debt to Him – that was a core plot driver of my college D&D campaign. But that’s not one of the areas I’m going to bring from that campaign into XoR, alas. Maybe next project.

This will totally be possible. I don’t think I’ll use it to mirror the history of the Templars, fun as it would be – there are already a couple of international banking systems in the gameworld, and seeing how you relate to them will be a key part of later games. But I do hope there will be fun ways for the different factions to riff off each other.

I have no plans to bring Xthulhu into the gameworld. :slight_smile:

And finally, yes, I would like “merchant prince” (head of a strengthened merchants’ guild) to be one of the non-empire ruling roles. Let’s see about the nomadic mercentary faction… that’s appealing, but I’m not sure whether it will fit.

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I’m still not sure about what your opinion is (towards my suggested Orzhov-inspired “supernatural credit-lending agency that has religious trappings and can collect debts from ghosts”), but otherwise, my curiosity is mostly satisfied at this point!
Thank you for the timely, clear, and concise answers!

And even though we don’t agree on everything, your reasons for rejecting some of my ideas (e.g. “not within the scope of the game”, “not within my writing capacity”) are totally acceptable/relatable, and I’m grateful for the warm acceptance you’ve shown towards the ideas that you do resonate with!

Sharing our respective imaginations/tastes with each other has been a privilege I’ve enjoyed very much (and would like to continue enjoying for the foreseeable future); I look forward to the day that you fully realize your vision of a completed XoR saga! :slight_smile:

On the top of my head, here is my following tentative recollection (and guesses) about which Game 2 factions fall under the “have underworld strategies” (versus those who are countered by them).

“Most likely to use underworld strategies on regular basis”:
#1: Marginalized/outcast factions who are often underestimated, mistreated, discriminated against, and/or ignored by everybody else, thus having to rely on dirty tricks by default just to survive and keep up (e.g. Abhumans, Grand Shayard drudges/day laborers, Jac Cabel’s group, and any “leftover helots” who weren’t recruited by Game 1 MC)
#2: The nation-states whose spymasters/agents are introduced during Game 2
a. Halassurq (mainly through Erjan and Carles the Jongler)
b. Nyr (mainly through Jevahir)
c. Karagond Hegemony loyalists (because I’m still feeling wary (and excited!) about your plan to continue exploring the Kryptast-related intrigue surrounding Breden)

“Most likely to fall prey to underworld strategies on regular basis”:
#1: Snobby, upper/middle-class nobles who often don’t pay enough attention to the “filthy/barbaric peasantry” and “weirdo outsiders/foreigners” (aka the underestimated/mistreated groups I mentioned earlier)
#2: Merchant guilds (e.g. Syntechia) and Karagond bureaucracy (e.g. Telones) - Perhaps some sort of widespread, white collar crime-themed scheme might be applicable here? (especially if MC can continue recruiting more corrupt employees/bureaucrats to serve as inside men) The Ponzi/pyramid scheme in particular might be exciting to pull off.

(curling up my fingers in a Mr. Burns-like fashion) Excellent! :smiling_imp:

On another note, ‘desperate’ is very open to interpretation. While I would like to see the ‘desperate’ that motivates the pressured party into agreeing with whatever demands my MC (and his allies) make, I wonder if ‘desperate’ could also translate into “I’m willing to kidnap MC’s loved ones (and/or key allies) to extort the resources I need from him.”

(which the MC can retaliate against by organizing a “Die Hard”-inspired rescue mission, with Elery and Zvad leading the rescue team while my high-INT MC (accompanied by Suzanne and Cerlota, who serve as bodyguards) stalls for time during the ransom negotiations.)

Ah shucks, I guess I’ll then settle for giving the “Mule Nyr” name to one of my fictional children (and then probably deal with the “Daddy, why did you give me that weird name?” comedic fallout during Game 5’s epilogue)

When I contemplate how the phenomenon is titled Xaos/“chaos”-storms (and not “neatly profitable to harvest”-storms), I suppose I should have anticipated your reply ahead of time. :rofl:

Oh crap, so Zeus died during XoR’s distant history? That’s quite the curveball! I wonder if Zeus’ infamous womanizing/infidelity finally caught up to him (and then Hera killed him in a temper tantrum of disproportionate retribution), or if different circumstances/factors were involved.

Also, I’ve now contemplated the possibility that Sarcifer is a “Came Back Wrong” resurrected (or reincarnated) version of Zeus, whose seemingly noble “I want to reform the Hegemony to limit the power/dominance of Theurges” motivation is a convenient excuse to cover up a more personal, petty goal (to get revenge on Hera by destroying (and then remaking) the Hegemony in his own image).

This theory would split the “reform the Hegemony to limit the power/dominance of Theurges” camp into the “true believers” (Cerlota and Diadoche Phaedra) versus the “secretly selfish revenge seeker” (Sarcifer/Zeus), thus creating nuance/complexity while also possibly adding a “Broken Pedestal” trope moment to Cerlota’s character development (whose ideology was largely shaped from reading Sarcifer’s notes).

The Syntechia/merchant guild(s) are the very first examples that come to mind; how many other XoR international banking groups should we expect?

a. An occasional recurring forum topic that keeps intriguing me is the possibility of the MC brokering a team-up/reconciliation between the Laconnier and Leaguer factions.
Would suggesting a constitutional monarchy (1- with the Laconnier royal family serving as the executive branch, 2- a cosmopolitan Senate serving as the legislative branch) be a viable compromise?
Alternatively, if the Leaguers balk at the suggestion of any single lineage forever holding power over the executive branch, there is another possible (and more reasonably scaled) bargaining chip to win over Laconnier support: promising them a hereditary peerage in the “House of Lords” chamber of MC’s new parliament.

b. I did appreciate that how one of Game 1’s “customized/optional sacrament declarations” involved the Aristo MC telling his congregation that “nobles have the divine right to responsibly lead the masses”; hopefully, that clause will come in handy for convincing MC’s devout helot/yeoman followers to accept his post-Hegemony, Aristo-led new world order.
(though I will admit that my Aristo MC will probably have a difficult time trying to justify pardons for his cousins, Hector and Calea, infamous XoR examples of the “irresponsible/vicious noble archetype”, especially if Kalt/Kala and Radmar call out MC for giving undeserved special treatment/mercy to his family).

Glad to see we’re once again on the same page!

Personally, I’m looking forward to instituting “Got the best deals anywhere!” (inspired by Warcraft’s goblins) as the strengthened merchant guild’s main slogan! (though I will admit that the antics and competing desires of the remaining factions will probably test that slogan’s upper limit to the max).

And on another (minor) note, I wonder if it might be possible for our merchant prince MC to (eventually) boast of their immense power at the end of Game 5 (after everything’s settled), in a manner similar to that of Gargoyles’ David Xanatos.
(please refer to below quoted conversation for details) :slight_smile:

David Xanatos: The truth is that my men repelled an invasion by a rival corporation trying to steal some of our new technology.
Elisa Maza: “Repelled an invasion”? You’re a private citizen, Xanatos. Not a country.
David Xanatos: Detective, I am the owner of a multinational corporation, which is bigger than many countries you could name.

Take all the time you need to make a decision, but if you’re looking for even more inspiration on the nomadic mercenary archetype, below mentioned is a quote about Star Wars’ iconic Mandalorians:

“Here’s why you can’t exterminate us, aruetii. We’re not huddled in one place—we span the galaxy. We need no lords or leaders—so you can’t destroy our command. We can live without technology—so we can fight with our bare hands. We have no species or bloodline—so we can rebuild our ranks with others who want to join us. We’re more than just a people or an army, aruetii. We’re a culture. We’re an idea. And you can’t kill ideas—but we certainly can kill you.”

If I were to transplant that quote into XoR’s context, I think it feels very profound and relevant to XoR’s main themes (of how people in general respond to oppressive governments and brutal caste systems). Make of it what you will, and let me know your thoughts as usual.

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Cool idea – but I don’t think it’ll work with gameworld necromancy. There are no equivalents to the thrulls, and becoming a lich is not something a debtor could expect. :slight_smile:

A kidnapping plot may be part of the G3 Aekos chapter-- we’ll see.

The Halassurq continent has its own network based in the riverine jungle statelets on its southwest coast. They also keep trade going with the Hegemony during wartime. You’ll have the chance to meet some of their citizens in Grand Shayard.

I won’t comment on the next few speculations, but I will say that some line like

will certainly be an appropriate coda to a successful merchant prince outcome.

The big independent mercenary band wouldn’t be a viable model in the bipolar superpower war of the present gameworld, nor in a total anarchy meltdown where no one has the money for big armies… but it would probably work out and be a satisfying option for some players in a post-Hegemony world of many little states. I’ll keep it in mind for my G5 planning. Thanks!

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No, but then you can be the next best thing and become an Afghanistan-style warlord, being “hired” to “protect” every population center within range of your armies.

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a. It just now occurred to me that an MC can easily buy back yeomanry loyalty with donations (even if the MC had previously robbed the yeomanry during Game 1 winter).
If Jac was paying close attention to the MC’s Game 1 behavior (especially having noticed MC’s above-described change of heart), could he then possibly view the MC as a fair-weather friend/hypocrite? (who robs or supports other people on an unpredictable whim)
Alternatively, might Jac be feeling more ambivalent towards the MC instead? (e.g. “forgiven, but not forgotten”)

b. “Ester Cabel was betrayed by the nobility. Maybe some stripling Rimmer [lord/lady] doesn’t have reason to remember it, four and a half decades on. But those of us whose kin fought and died alongside her do not forget.”
In the context of this very understandable and tragic grudge, how much of a disadvantage/uphill battle would this burden an Aristo MC with (in later games)?
From what I understand, dealing with this schism is arguably going to be the most significant challenge to rebuilding/restoring Shayard to its original borders (or possibly beyond).

c. And does Jac have any close friends/family who are currently members (or hidden spies) of MC’s rebellion? I wonder if somebody like Elery might be able (and willing) to put in a good word for us and vouch for our character.

Quick question, in XoR, how does any person eventually rise to become the merchant prince/princess of the Syntechia?
Are they…
#1: Elected by all voting-eligible guild members and “stockholders”,
#2: Elected by an elite body/board of directors (e.g. Game 2’s “Shayardene Guildmasters”),
#3: Directly handpicked by the previous merchant prince/princess?
#4: Or are picked through an entirely different method that I have yet to foresee?

And how high does Alaine Leybridge rank in the Syntechia’s hierarchy?

As soon as you said “riverine jungle,” I immediately visualized what a visit to Halassurq’s southwest coastal bank might look like.

At first, my MC would be taken in by the exotic spices (and other amenities/luxuries) of the bank’s environment (along with reliving the memories of Carles the Jongler’s ballad), but would then be immediately reminded of Halassurq’s infamous reputation for brutality (by witnessing the bank manager paralyze an uncooperative customer (e.g. refused to repay his/her loans) with poison dart frog venom, and then toss said customer into a tank of hungry piranhas).

And then in the background, we can hear a bunch of Halassurq employees whispering, “man, the boss is still upset about not getting sharks (with laser beams attached to their heads).”
(while said boss sits on a comfortable swivel chair, with his neck/shoulders adorned by a pet anaconda while he’s stroking a pet jaguar on his lap)

Unless I’m interpreting the “during wartime” description incorrectly, I’m having a hard time reconciling the imagined “DIE/SUFFER, HEGEMONY SCUM!” war cry with “hey, Hegemony official/citizen, do you wanna buy my wares?”
Is Halassurq (as an overall nation) really that pragmatic? (to have settled into this weird “frenemy” dynamic with the Hegemony, despite the two being at war)
I could really use clarification here, please.

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For those of us who adopt (or will later adopt) this sort of approach, I’m hoping that Havenstone will let us rename our faction “the Horde” (or the Golden Horde), with our MC calling themself “Warchief” (or Khan).

Jac can’t pay closer attention than the code does, and I’m afraid I didn’t code for the game to remember whether you were a persecutor of the yeomanry or helots before you paid for their affection. It’s possible I might go back and add that. If so, yes, it would have an effect on Jac as well as other G2 factions.

An aristo MC will definitely have major barriers of yeoman (to say nothing of helot) suspicion to overcome if they want to unite Shayard as part of their win strategy, rather than relying on connections that span multiple provinces.

Is that really the kind of question you expect the author to answer? :slight_smile:

The Syntechnia has its own internal promotion structure which (in a nutshell) relies on proving your reliability to the people in the level above you and contributing a certain amount of wealth to the common purse. As a non-merchant who is starting off on the very wrong side of the law, you don’t have much hope of rising through the ranks yourself in this normal way; however much wealth you threw at them, you’d never be able to make yourself respectable enough to be recognized formally as a guildmaster. Especially because the top echelon in Shayard is chosen by Karagond masters…

But the system will be massively destabilized by the rebellion, and there will be various ways for outsiders to work their way into the guild – especially if you decide to help the Shayardene guild essentially establish itself as a countervailing force to the Karagond one, and then strike the Karagond Syntechnia a good hard blow during your G3 time in Aekos.

Alaine is well respected for a local trader, but she’s nowhere close to being a guildmaster. She’d need to move to the cities if she wanted to pursue that, and spend more of her time buttering up the top nobility. A Nyr in Shayard starts at a massive disadvantage for the latter.

Hey, Plektosis braintrust! Get me some laser sharks!

It’s really, really hard to stop all trade from happening even when you’re at war. High-volume commodity trade, sure. But both sides have a nobility with an extenstive appetite for luxury goods – spices, textiles, fine art, musical instruments, etc. – that are mainly produced on the other continent. The Mahru and Sindhul, the primary traders of the jungle coast, are happy to sell to both sides. So are the Qalsa or Corsairs, though they have a greater tendency to combine theft and trade when it comes to the goods passing through their territorial waters.

It’s less of a frenemy relationship and more of a mutual willingness by elites to not let the war get in the way of their luxury consumption. The result is a low-volume but high-value trade that continues through intermediaries even while the rival empires fight to destroy each other.

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For wild speculation, I would suspect Alira as a secret Cabel if it wasn’t for her being a Bowyer, which you’d really have to go out of your way to find out in Uprising. She’s the Whendward bandit with heavy plot armor and a personal connection to Cabel’s Rising.

Nowadays, my gut sense is that her fate is the bonetree in Grand Shayard, a tragic ending. But let’s set wild speculation aside here.

A Homelander rebel can have Bethune and her Westriding yeomen as allies, who may not be spies but probably fulfill the “put in a good word for us” role you’re asking about, and even rebels without a direct personal connection can likely count on notoriety and word-of-mouth.

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All right, well, I wanted to be the one to write the XoR version of the “National Hero” Infiniverse build, basically a build that finishes the first game gloriously, with a maximal number of perks and options open for the future.

But then I realized that I don’t quite know how that would look like. So I have decided instead to let the audience answer that question, since they’re the ones who would be playing such a build.

It has to be an Aristocrat, as that is the only way (for now) to win over the Aristocracy, and besides I already have a very nice Helot guide.

It would preferably be compassionate, as the “National Hero” build is Idealistic/Merciful (and Compassionate is slightly stronger than Ruthless).

So then, with those stipulations, what is the Compassionate Aristocrat build that people want?

Oh no, I have a lot of Homelander Aristocrat builds…given this, what will be their advantage relative to Cosmopolitan ones?

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Preferably do it Charismatic, since I think I already nailed the theurge route for aristos (one easily made more Compassionate as one wills).

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By the way, how do you pronounce Aekos?

I’m thinking it’s either “Ay-Cose” or “Ay-Eh-Goes”, but as usual, I could use some clarification here.

If it is “Ay-Cose,” then I’d like to market the pun, “Leggo My Aekos,” as the primary slogan for my future Syntechnia waffles (with each box logo commemorating the descent/destruction of the Thaumatarch’s floating palace). :smiley:

a. Awesome; as usual, thanks for the consideration!
Hypocrisy/inconsistency should always carry its own risks and hidden costs, though I’m hoping that both Breden and I can spin our “from persecutor to philanthropist” transition into a palatable redemption narrative.
(to the extent that Jac’s group and I can reach the “forgiven but not forgotten” relationship status I spoke of earlier)

b. Anyways, on a separate note, I’m super grateful to have kept my (totally platonic) BFF/rebellion co-founder, Breden by my side!
Personally, I think she qualifies as an “ex-Kryptast who’s become a genuine believer in our rebellion (after having been previously disillusioned with the other failed rebellions she’s worked with in the past),” with G1’s poisoning incident having been caused by the actual Kryptasts (who are aware of Breden’s past, thus seeing Breden as the obvious scapegoat to frame).
I sincerely hope that one of G5’s possible epilogues involves Breden finally finding peace of mind and vindication after everything’s said and done (or if she’s revealed to be truly guilty/complicit to some extent, then perhaps she’s instead feeling a wash of relief from MC’s (yet again) granted mercy/pardon).

c. It also now just occurred to me that Cabel is one letter away from being spelled “Cabal.” I’d now like to change my chosen nickname for Jac’s group (from the “Farmer Joe Brigade” to the “Farmer Joe Illuminati.”)

As I’ve said earlier, hopefully, my G1 Eclect-related influence will give my MC a head start in assuaging the fears of devout Shayardene yeoman and helots.

As for how to win over the skeptical/less devout portion, my MC’s reputation for compassion (assuming the “from persecutor to Robin Hood” inconsistency can be eventually forgiven, but not forgotten) should come in handy for bridging a reconciliation (or at least peaceful, if slightly uneasy, coexistence).

As for more concrete, tangible actions to win over and keep yeoman/helot loyalty (since words and reputation alone do not allay suspicion)…
Perhaps MC’s post-Hegemony constitutional monarchy (or oligarchy) could be held accountable by a new Codex that permanently enshrines protections/basic civil rights for every citizen (yeoman and helots included, to keep the nobility and head(s) of state in check).
Meanwhile, “Xthonos” (per the language and new rules of MC’s reformist Xthonic denomination) could be declared the source of the Codex’s legitimacy.

I am very much dreading the (huge) possibility of Radmar (and his fighters) deserting me in favor of Kalt/Kala’s (hypothetical G3) militia, especially since my Aristo MC has been going out of his way to win over the support of the nobility (per his “Backcountry Plot” G1 walkthrough).
By itself, will the Angel’s Eclect status enough to command Radmar’s continued (albeit reluctant) loyalty, or will a 2 (or 3) CHA score (in addition to the religious title) be required?

a. Was super surprised (and thrilled) to learn that my cosmopolitan MC was deemed worthy of being declared a Whendish clan chieftain (by Korszata, Bjel, and their entourage).
Though given Zvad’s mixed feelings reaction (between amusement and anxiety), I’m starting to wonder how much of a double-edged sword I’ve landed myself into.
(though the bright cosmopolitan vision of Wendrj having its own New Shayard district (while Shayard in return gains a new Wendrjtown district) might make the double-edged sword worth fighting for in the grand scheme of things)

b. Having vaguely remembered how G3 and G4 will allow MC to visit Erezza and Nyral, I’d like to ask if there will be any similar opportunities to likewise visit Wendrj (to cement our recently appointed roles as Whendish clan chieftains, and then expand our power base from there).

c. And an aspect of Wendrj which caught my eye is its water-based power/utilities (per what I remember from previous forum posts).
Would it be viable for a “merchant prince route” MC to push for considerable Syntechnia investment (and R&D) towards the creation of a hydroelectric/steampunk-based nation-state? (thus reducing dependency on aetherial blood)

Apologies for overreaching; I was (and still am) having lots of fun with drafting my questions, and hope that I don’t step on too many toes along the way.

For the players who feel less optimistic (than I do) about their chances of becoming merchant princes/princesses (or regaining any sort of formal respectability), could their MC’s instead double down on their G1 roles as the Syntechnia’s “off the books” hired smugglers (akin to Han Solo and Lando Calrissian)?

Since almost every civilization has its own list of prohibited (or strictly regulated/heavily taxed) goods and substances, it’s reasonable to assume that there will always be a demand for smugglers, even during a post-Hegemony world, right?

If a Karagond remnant (aka Sarcifer and Phaedra’s splinter faction) were to join the fold of MC’s post-Hegemony new world order, it’d certainly be an interesting role reversal to see the new Karagond Syntechnia’s top echelon be chosen by Shayardene masters for a change, right? (or in the cosmopolitan MC’s case, be elected by a senate/parliament of representatives from multiple, ex-Hegemony provinces).
Or would any prospect (of having to (genuinely) share power with anybody else) be too much of a dealbreaker for the greedy Sarcifer?

On average, how nationalistic (or cosmopolitan) would you say the Shayardene guildmasters are?
Do they sort of mirror the same split between the Laconniers and Leaguers, or is there generally a strong preference for keeping to their corner of the world? (e.g. they balk at my MC’s advice to also join forces (and share the spoils) with the other Syntechnia branch guilds in Wendrj, Erezza, and Nyral)
At the moment, I’m interpreting some very homelander vibes here.

Buttering up the top nobility, you say? :smiling_imp:

And does Alaine happen to be hanging out/visiting Grand Shayard during G2 Chapter 3?

Since my Backcountry Plot MC has good cred with G1’s nobility, maybe I could present that relationship as a convincing reason for Alaine to accompany me as my (disguised) plus one (during a hypothetical ball/party/banquet with my prospective Laconnier-Leaguer coalition).

Is G2’s code flexible enough to enable inviting Alaine in my suggested context, or is it currently limited to MC’s Xaos-land companion(s) and whichever new friends/love interests MC encountered during G2?

This sounds like the exact sort of person who would probably benefit greatly from living in a society shaped by my MC’s cosmopolitan vision.
The more details that I keep hearing about Alaine, the more I like her! (in a completely platonic manner)
How soon can we (reasonably) uplift Alaine from covert ally to a lieutenant (or co-leader) of the MC’s rebellion?
Or, does Alaine value discretion/deniability too much to ever consider working with MC in any direct, open capacity?

Will there happen to be any XoR “spice melange” counterparts (natural (but was previously never found until the present day) or synthetic (by MC’s creation) that grants the user Dune-like powers? (e.g. longevity, heightened awareness, prescience)

Or does this fall under the exact same boat as the previously hypothesized “blue mullow”? (“cool idea that’s theoretically possible in-world, but opens up more plot implications than you’ve got the capacity to grapple with”)

Has anyone ever come close to inventing the XoR counterpart for the mithril shirt? (made out of some lightweight but exceptionally strong material)
I imagine that the more paranoid nobles (who want to reduce their chances of being assassinated) might be in the market for such a product (a product which the MC might buy or steal for himself).

Would it be possible for a criminally-minded (and of sufficient INT) MC to forge “long-lost pieces of artwork”? (to auction off to G2’s nobility)

And alternatively, is it an equally valid option for a more honest MC to come into possession of legit, sellable artwork by random, incidental means?

And alternatively (yet again), could a high-enough INT score (paired together with an Aristo background/tutoring) translate into artistic dexterity? (that MC requires to outright create a masterpiece from scratch)

Might there happen to be any “Pied Piper” flute (if used to played a certain tune, or if paired/created with the right powers/ingredients) that could allow the MC to hijack Plektoi? :smiling_imp:

Or, if our MC has less sinister intentions, maybe he could use the flute to instead free or domesticate the Plektoi into reverting back to their original animal selves?
(hypothetically purchasing such a flute from his Abhuman allies, who despise Plektosis, thus having a strong cultural motive to free as many enslaved Plektoi as possible)

Alternatively (yet again), maybe my war-weary, disguised MC might settle for letting off steam at a tavern, playing a purchased lute (or ukelele) to sing “Throw a Coin to Your Rebel”! :wink:

By the time of G2 Ch 3, do Hector, Calea, and Isme happen to be participating as buyers and purchasers on the Karagond side of this luxury good marketplace?

Or is their attention instead mainly focused on socializing with the Laconniers, Leaguers, and/or Loyalists?

I wonder if there might be any Anne Bonnies or Mary Reads amongst their ranks who might be open to romance (during G2 or beyond)? :grinning:

To phrase an altered quote from Extra History, “Because why let a crusade get in the way of a good business transaction?” :moneybag:

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Interesting. :thinking: In the context of XoR, what exactly is a Bowyer? And during which chapter(s)/circumstances could you find out about this tidbit? (if you could post a screenshot in your reply, that would be very helpful and appreciated)

And on another note, the name’s pronunciation reminds me of the historical Boyars (nobles from Wallachia and Moldavia who played a part in the story of Vlad the Impaler, per a recent YouTube series from Extra History, which you can watch on this link: Extra History: Vlad the Impaler - YouTube).

Would certainly like to hear your more detailed thoughts on how/why this sort of fate might be inevitable for Alira; concocting an elaborate plan on how to save Alira should make for an interesting challenge.

Oh, that’s neat! Thanks for the advice; looking forward to discovering this scene in a later Homelander rebel replay!

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My mc will certainly be dismayed to learn that what is being traded essentially amounts to useless junk bought with wealth stolen from the vast majority.
Instead of useful things like food or knowledge (although the library and education network to widely disseminate it would need to be built first).
Even with compromises with the merchants and some lower ranking officials…like Bleys I hope those traders can adapt to a new order by becoming much more middlebrow and therefore useful to the edification of the people.

Or of course becoming useful outright in later games by trading food and things like cheaper textiles and maybe even weapons in bulk.
Pity my plan to use confiscated, melted down gold to destablise Halassur’s own economy is a no go for the time period.

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Yes that makes sense. Charisma is also the easiest stat to play.

I think 2CHA/1INT Compassionate / Devout / Homelander Female Aristocrat sounds good, I’m debating < 20 vs > 20 Anarchy.

I think Homelander is better for a build designed for mass appeal than Cosmopolitan. It’s much easier to grasp why a Noble with a Homelander orientation would be upset at the current state of affairs.

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@Havenstone I am in mood for speculations so i have some question. What would have happened if the nobles did not betrayed Ester Cebel during her Yeoman Rising? Could it actually achieve something or would it end like the actual Rising we know so destruction of Westriding but this time on a greater scale?

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As you’re already aware, it could be noted that from a design perspective there are some big differences between the Dragoon Saga and XoR to take into consideration when planning a National Hero equivalent.

The Dragoon Saga’s stats are typically incentivised to be as high as possible, whereas in XoR the stats are usually rewarded in the narrative, regardless of their numerical value. Therefore a National Hero guide equivalent is just much harder to produce, since “success” is so broadly defined.

As such, I’d recommend to focus on extremes. You’ve done the Ruthless Helot MC, so I agree that a Compassionate Aristo may be the best option now (may the gods forgive me for uttering such words). <20 Anarchy for sure - roleplays better with the high Compassionate stat, and provides a balance with the previous Helot guide.

Either that, or, using your vast experience and knowledge of the book, craft a path that you find most pleasing personally, which touches upon most of the major scenes and themes of the book. Start gently, recruit de Firiac, then lead your merry band down a bloodsoaked path towards a fiercely violent rebellion, for example.

Once XoR2 is released, we might see that some paths through Uprising lead to more rewards than others, but even then, given the inclusion of a Non-Violent Resistance path, I expect there will never be a “best” route, as there is so much freedom given to the reader to push the story forward in a manner that they find most pleasing.

@Havenstone I had always assumed this, but just to ask, could / would you confirm please if the Non-Violent Resistance path will be present for the entire saga? It’s my second-favourite route and it’s just occurred to be that it might be forcibly ended at some point - it will presumably diverge quite a lot from the main rebellion narrative as the books progress further forward.

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Being fair, the reason why you’re supposed to get as high a rep as possible is so that you can watch it drop forty points by the penultimate chapter.

So it is literally the inverse in XoR. You are supposed to build up your reputations and stats so that by the end-game you’re at the top of the world.

Also, Lords of Infinity is the start of the Core of the Series, I can’t speak for if Book One is the same in XoR but it’s always fun to know that Book One and Two of a Series is only meant to set up the conditions for the main plot-points.

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I think I was fair! There wasn’t a suggestion of “bad” or “less good” design, but simply a different perspective or attitude towards it.

This is true, though my intent was to illustrate that the stats are typically rewarded at any point on the scale - low, medium or high - rather than only at their heights.

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