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



Thanks, Zappy – for my part, can I say that you’ve given my favorite review so far?

And you got me. I read more on English than German peasant revolts, but both of them contributed some ideas to the game. :slight_smile:

I’ll write more on Anarchy when it’s not midnight here, but the short answer is that it’s meant to rise whenever you do something that decreases people’s general sense that the authorities are in control…


I do have my reasons why I believe Breden is the traitor.

1.) She’s one of the three that didn’t show up at the meeting where the others got caught and sent to a Harrowing.
2.) Radmar probably isn’t the traitor since he’s a hothead and his husband Poric was tortured then poisoned. When that happened, Radmar got very angry and accused Breden of poisoning Poric. And when the others got caught, he hid in a swamp because he might had been noticed by a Theurge when he was on his way to the meeting. Breden says he/she was busy with work but it sounded suspicious to me.
3.) If you choose to raid the Alastors, Breden tried to find out what your plans were despite you keeping the cards close to your chest.
4.) She knows a Kryptast code which is quite suspicious when you romance him/her
5.) She suggests the band to go back to the helot camps where your generals are potentially facing a Harrowing which was unacceptable to me.
6.) Edited to add the 6th reason: Also remembered Radmar saying that Breden has been around the helots for few months at the most so where has Breden been before coming to the de Rose estate?

Either Breden is just very unlucky or he/she is just playing a long game trying to sabotage you at every turn.


I’ve had my suspicions as well. That’s why I decided to force him/her to come with me when I crossed the Wards to Xaos lands. There was nothing more Machiavellian of a maneuver than making him/her function under the false pretense that they had your affections, when in fact, you’re just lying in wait to see if they are the traitor. At least that way, assuming their feelings are in fact genuine, I can test them to see if their loyalty to the establishment was greater than their growing affections for my protagonist.


The wards are likely to be an unsustainable problem and the crisis that ensues with their fall (though only on the border with Xaos is it a crisis at all, the coastal wards and the one on the Hallasur border can be dropped safely).

A better course of action is to see if that country sized battery of transformation magic can be harnessed towards our own purposes. It is also likely the storms will have a geographical limit.

Most, not all, for example imprest is merely restricted for example and even the ones that are run on magical power at the moment there may be a substitute. Steam power would seem the most likely.

It is rather obvious to draw the core of the new military from our own rebels, many of whom will have become accustomed to leading large numbers of men and women in battle.
The current officers are unlikely to be willing to take any orders from somebody like my mc so they are worthless to him no matter what. It would be like asking Indian officers (not modern ones though that would be difficult enough) but 17th-18th century ones to be taking their orders from somebody of the untouchable caste and like it.

Lastly I think the population of most of the cities is going to plummet anyway as it seems to me that the best way to deal with a place like “Grand” Shayard would simply be for my mc’s rebels to starve it out. Sure there are some cities we may deliberately want to preserve, like Avezia, but I see no reason why many of them cannot simply be strangled by starvation.
Grand Shayard in particular since it seems like it would be ranked either first or second in most (politically) hostile places to my mc.

Those who hold the rank of Ecclesiast or higher can, very few objected with Zebed and few enough with even Olynna.
In any case as previously discussed on the other thread at length the priests are so accustomed to taking their orders from above that forcing the previous Diakons, now cut off from public funding and state support to begin to really think for themselves while they for the first time in ages will need to be responsive to the flocks who would pay their way would shatter the Xthonic faith into a thousand different denominations who will find it difficult to hold on to wordly power. As long as they accept certain ground rules, such as the fact that the Karagond Codex is outlawed and there will be no bloodline nonsense, my mc will be happy to incorporate them into the new religious “free market”.

On my high anarchy playthrough their objections to destroying Harrowers fades rather quickly as does their objection to raiding church targets on all playthroughs. Sure they may still believe in Xthonos, the most important thing is they no longer believe in the current Church. As stated by the game itself “few still believe the current priesthood has the ability to call the Angel’s vengeance down upon them”.

On the contrary, working with them would reduce my mc to nothing more then a mere puppet to their ambitions. As the helots, former or not, will never have any “legitimate” place in the halls of power, save for scrubbing the floors.
The current clergy is never going to accept an helot Eclect as a true prophet, at best they’d be a puppet forced to mimic a life of pious, celibate poverty while making nonsensical statements favourable to maintaining the wealth and power of the current clergy.

With the new revolutionary army of course. All revolutionary states in our own history have had to put down several attempts at counter-revolution, so some of those are probably unavoidable no matter what we do.

The (former) rebellion.

Yes, my mc would like a basic law that is very, very hard to amend through the legislative process. This may cause problems 200 years down the line, as currently with the US and their Constitution, but that is not likely to be of much immediate concern to my mc even if he could foresee it.

I’d rather like to use spiritual and my mc is not going to go after most of the diakons the way he is doing with every priest ranked ecclesiast and higher. The goal is to splinter the church, outlaw the Karagond codex along with some abominable practices and then create as much choice (or confusion) as possible in the religious market.

Almost everybody objects to being blood-cattle, particularly if it can be proven that it is completely unnecessary.

This is a problem but that may be an unavoidable crisis in any case if the speculations I linked to are correct the cost of the wards is only going to keep increasing to the point where there isn’t enough blood in the whole Hegemony to keep them up, waiting till that time needless to say will only make everything even worse.

Ah, but if that is the case my mc has already won most on the political, if not the personal level, as that will make reconstituting the Hegemony as well as the church in its present form a non-starter.

I won’t deny that but if you don’t break down the current caste system there’s no way a (former) helot is going to be allowed to rule anything at all, least of all themselves.

Co-opting Cabel in the second game would certainly be nice and the yeomen too can certainly profit from some long overdue land reforms. The part of Shayardene “culture” my mc will most likely seek to emphasize will be the free peasantry the parts he’ll downplay and indeed demonize will be those relating to the oppressive and corrupt old monarchy, as de-legitimizing the Laconnier conspiracy is likely to be vital too.

As a (former) Helot you really can’t do one without the other in this game as even if you wanted to you cannot position yourself at the top or at any level beyond blood-cattle or maybe serf or sharecropper without breaking the current caste-system.


Wow, thanks. Glad to see I wasn’t that far off. I’m a massive history nerd and have always wanted to write a story about the subject, so I was pretty happy to see that someone had gotten the same idea. :smile:

Looking forward to your write-up. It makes a lot more sense the way you describe it


Oh I’m curious. Does anyone have a favorite character? I’d have to say Yebben is my favorite. He’s a gentle person, also blind. And he’s willing to protect the children and those that he cares about despite his disability. Also if you choose to train yourself as a Theurge, he’s smart enough to realize that you may had been the one that turned the raids in your favor every time and calls you out on it. So of course, I chose to train him in the art of theurgy (or Wisdary depending on what you chose eariler). Having a blind theurgy for the rebellion probably would sway some people to your side in the sequels. Just imagine what he could do after we see him again after we return from the Xaos-Land.

Choice of Rebels-Uprising Help/Hints

Speaking of Breden, I think that’s a good segue into an explanation of my MC’s character:

My MC (Alexandre de Guesclin), is a poor noble, stuck with a Shayardene name and not much else. He got to see how much Shayard’s legacy was worth with Carles, and decided there was only one way to build a safe place in society for himself: train like hell, and get an appointment in the Alastors or (hopefully) Phalangites. This was all derailed by a chance meeting on the road, though.

It’s not hyperbole to say Breden lit his soul on fire. Suddenly, he had something real to use his talents for. He had a group of people (helots, admittedly) that admired and respected him like the nobles never would. So obviously he reacted very poorly to the Harrowing, and just straight-up started attacking the Alastors and led a bloody riot. This would carry over to his style of leadership: bloody-handed and relentless.

Religion had never really been something he cared about, he just found sermons tedious. However, his success had to have come from somewhere, and after meeting Linos, he knew. The Angels chose him, not just to cast down the Karagonds, but restore their fundamental truth. And they spoke to him first with Breden’s voice.

Despite everything, he can’t believe Breden is a traitor because it would completely undermine everything he believes about himself and his divine mission. If she’s a fake, everything he’s done, all the people he’s killed, the lives he’s ruined, and everyone that’s died for him would have done so based on a lie. The first love of his life would be a fraud. So he killed Radmar for her and moved on.


I actually really like Breden. The fact that I believe that s/he’s the traitor makes him/her interesting in my eyes. If Breden was just some person who was always in the wrong place at the wrong time though, that’d diminish my interest in them by quite a bit. There’s a lot of depth I ascribe to Breden due to the fact that I believe they’re the traitor. As someone who basically inspired my MC to kick off this entire rebellion, yet who could be a traitor at the same time…I dunno, it ignites my imagination.

It also helps that I tend to lean on Breden an absurd amount because a lot of my characters have no charisma to speak of. Yup. Pretty helpful stuff.


Now you made me think twice about how truly important Breden is to the MC. Wow, never saw it from that perspective


I had a similar situation with a 2 INT, 1 COM character where I had no choice but to utilize her as a diplomat
Since I took the route where the MC end up marrying her, that leaves three possibilties:

  1. she’s a kryptast, a damn fine one at that considering after all the things that transpired during the story, she can still fake all the romance
  2. she’s a kryptast but genuinely falls for the MC. therefore, she wants to save you( revealing the code) but still has to get the mission done( all the traitorous events)
  3. someone with a very clear intention is framing Breden, either through distrust(Joanna), blind rage(Radmar) or jealousy(Ciel) or could be someone with another motive.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see, unless there’s a path you can take that states explicitly whether she’s a spy or not, which I haven’t found so far


No, the Ecclesiasts don’t control the Alastors; the Alastors answer to the Archon. Ecclesiast Zebed only was able to turn the Alastors against Ecclesiast Olynna because the Archon supported her removal. What you want is already the case; the problem is that the various power hierarchies are all corrupt.

@Havenstone: I have a lore question. Do the children of priests have any particular standing in the caste system?


A correspondence from kuria Alya Seriatou, Theurge and leader of another rebel force:

Your ideas have some merit, though I think that they are overly idealistic and - taken as a whole - revolutionary. I myself intend to maintain the caste system when I replace the Hegemony.

1 and 2: These ideas go together, and I think they’re your best. The establishment of the rule of law and the elimination of corruption will go a long way to create a more functional system of government. With that said, I think the second handles the first quite well. Alastors who can be called to account by the courts will be more hesitant to take advantage of their position. As for Kryptasts…well, the Thaumatarch is above the law, but I’d rather have as few special agents who share that status as possible.

3: You’ve asked for two things that run counter to one another. It is through the syntechnia that merchants, artisans and other town-dwellers are able to unite and make their voices known, so deregulating the guilds would weaken their voices. I would indeed support more representation and empowerment for the mercantile classes, but I would do so through strengthening the syntechnia and assigning a certain percentage of Hegemonic and (if I kept them at all) ecclesiastical offices to merchants.

As for the yeomen? In an ideal world, they wouldn’t exist and all land would belong either to chartered towns or to the aristocratic estates. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t seek to change the status quo for them. So long as they pay taxes and perform military service, let them keep their lands. Perhaps they should be included in the recruitment pool for local courts and similar Hegemonic institutions? Possibly, but I wouldn’t expect them to attain high office.

4: You’re right that we don’t have enough information on the Harrowing - please keep me informed of any of your theurges’ developments that will allow aetherial refinement of blood without death, or the refinement of animal blood. My own scholars and research have come to the consensus that, at the very least, the Wards against the Xaos-lands and Halassur are necessary - forget propaganda, it’s fact that the Halassurqs are currently an enemy and are capable of their own magical practice, and we require a defense against that. I have some ideas of my own but they will require more blood, research and experimentation.

Setting aside the issue of Theurgy, I think your land reform and reclamation suggestions are impractical due to the nature of existing noble estates. The majority of helot issues can be settled with a replacement of the current Harrowing system and by allowing helots enumerated rights of dignity and due process, and if that doesn’t work, they can be liberated and allowed to serve as free laborers and servants. I rather suspect that the former would be a better option - if the helots are freed, they will be free to starve too. The estates taken from our incorrigible enemies are best either alienated to reward exceptional followers or kept as the demesne of the Thaumatarch (or Hegemon, or Eclect - whatever title the leader will claim in the final system. I mean to be Thaumatarch, but that’s me).

5-6. Another contradiction - how are you planning to pay for your roads and aqueducts without taxes, or a blood tax to support Theurgic earthworks? As for creating jobs and developing land, there’s already work enough for helots and drudges throughout the Hegemony, particularly if we don’t go down the land-reform route. That said, expanding the network of roads and pandocheia for greater unity throughout the land and easier commerce is a good idea for its own sake.

I’m not planning on having descendants to inherit - I’d rather live forever. With that said, I’m likely to co-opt what institutions of the Hegemony are worthwhile and discard what are not. When it comes to religion, I’ll probably keep the Diakons as low-ranking Hegemony officials to teach the New Canon, perform the Sacrament of Cleansing and work to instill and maintain virtue in the people so that they can hear the voice of the Angels with an unclouded spirit. Ecclesiasts and great public ceremonies are hallmarks of the Karagond Codex and the Latter Books, and I won’t have any of that in my Koinon. At most, I might retain them to administer the Diakons.

Continue in the Angels’ work, and I’ll see you in the ruins of the Floating Palace.


That awkward moment when you forget what you said a few days back in their entirety.

Reserving this post, will get a full rebuttal tomorrow.


I gotta say, among the new CoG releases, I’m not feeling this one.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the plot is fantastic and all, but all the strange terminologies just turn me off. Strange names are one thing, but when you invent a new, strange-sounding terminology to replace an already existing one in the real world, it’s just too much work. Helots can be replaced with slaves, theurgy can be replaced with magic, and so on. This gets worse when you give the player the option to learn all these terminologies. The fact that you have to teach the player these words when you can use an already existing word in real life is just bad. Even if those terminologies actually exist in real life, they’re not used very much, and it’s better off if you just use common words.


I’m not seeing it myself, but I’m probably not the one to ask about such things and there’s a valid criticism in that. Standard writing advice is to target an eighth-grade reading level, and Havenstone is very much not doing that. He’s writing for erudite history/fantasy geeks.

I consider that a feature rather than a bug, but it’s something to be aware of.


The strange terminology is part of the point, it highlights Karagond’s intrusive alienness like more common English terms never could. Karagond’s tyranny extends to language itself, making even home unfamiliar.


And you’re in excellent company:

Just like Anathem (which I really, really liked), Choice of Rebels won’t be for everyone. I’ve written the kind of novel that I personally like to read – not just fantasy, but a challenging world with its own language linked to its history. I’m comfortable with the fact that other people like different things.


Especially as the Shayardian words are actually pretty commonplace fantasy terms e.g. wizard/moot vs theurge/apella.


Agree, gets confusing at times.
But it is just too good to care

Karagond’s tyranny extends to language itself, making even home unfamiliar.

Indeed though in more subtle and distinctive way then some other attempts at it. In any case double plus good, eh? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

wizard/moot vs theurge/apella.

Ahem! That’s goete/appella, thank you very much.

Ack! You’ll just perpetuate the nightmare for the lower classes I see, right @Ramidel?
That’s an easy trap to fall into since if you’re an aristo you can make yourself eligible for high executive office with very little changes to the system. If you play helot, like me, you don’t get that luxury and you really do need to deconstruct or break the system in order to be able to get anywhere at all.
Otherwise, regardless of talent or merit, those born into the lower castes will never have a place in the halls of power, except to scrub the floors. :unamused: