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



My MC doesn’t care much about the helotry, believing that the helots magnify That Which Is, the Angels, and their Eclect, through their blood and their toil, so naturally he would only implement some “reforms” which will be promptly ignored by the nobility and his Alastors. If any of the lower orders wished to complain about such, they would be met with Theurgical fire, or if the uprising is big enough, a mountain. So, it’s basically the Hegemony 2.0, with more regard for the rights of the free peoples.


My MC considers that to be a heretical false doctrine propagated by the servant of Xaos known as the Thaumatarch and his fake Eclect who have corrupted the Church from within. The original uncorrupted Shayardene canon will be restored without the Thaumatarch’s Xaos-inspired alterations.


Is your MC a noble or a helot? And doesn’t the Thaumatarch proclaim himself as Eclect, just as my MC will.

No points for guessing what his post-revolutionary title will be.


My primary MC is a noble inspired by Sister Olynna and memories of his own mother, but I also have several helot MC’s too.

Yep, the Thaumatarch has declared himself and his nine highest ranking pet theurges all to be Eclect. This is why my MC will do everything in his power to destroy the Thaumatarch’s legitimacy and push for a reformation of the Church, repudiating the blasphemous Xaos-inspired alterations made by the Thaumatarch and restoring the old uncorrupted Shayardene Codex.

Thaumatarch :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Yep, also will you have any sort of schooling after your rebellion?

My MC will, but for some classes only.

Nobles: The tuition system will continue with a few changes.

  1. Poorer nobles will receive a package from the local Telone, with enough money to get a good tutor for their children, with the Telone making sure that it is spent on that.
  2. There will be two tests, taken by young nobility, one at the age of ten, and the next at sixteen. The one at the age of ten will be there to determine whether this child has the knowledge, and ability to go to my High Lykeion, in the capital to be trained in Theurgy, and once they are fully trained they will be assigned as Theurges of the second kyklos. The second test will be to determine whether this person has the knowledge and ability to go to my Provincial Lykeion, to be trained as a Theurge of the first kyklos. The family will receive a two year exemption from tax, barring very high ranking nobility, and they shall also receive, regardless of rank, a large bonus of two thousand drachems.

Alastors, Telones, Ecclesiasts, etc: They shall go to a local school which will train them in any of the middle class trades, depending on ability, and shall be grouped up into their trades and sent for a year of training, excepting those picked to be low ranking Alastors who will attend a month long bootcamp, because you don’t need much training to crack skulls.

Merchants and Artisans: Artisans shall attend an Artisan’s school to be trained in their respective trades, and merchants shall have to pay for tuition, because if they can’t do that, than they are pretty crap merchants. :joy:

Yeomen: They can send their kids to an Artisan’s school, or pay for tutors but I will be charging them for letting their kids into Artisan’s schools, so it is unlikely that many would get schooling.

Last and certainly least, Helots: They magnify Xthonos, the Angels and their Eclect*, through their blood and their toil, neither of which requires any schooling. Besides, they can’t toil in the fields if they are at schools, and an educated helot is a dangerous helot.

*Or Eclectoi, depending on whether my MC wants some of his Ennearchs to have the title.


And Linos has ‘‘anointed’’ the mc at least partly out of fear for his master’s life in many cases and partly because he and Horion see a ‘‘useful idiot’’ in a sympathetic mc, particularly if the mc is a helot there is precious little actual respect involved and I don’t believe for a second that Linos or Horion believe the mc truly is some sort of anointed prophet of the merciful angels. I think at best them anointing the mc is so the mc and his/her band can serve as a distraction while they are building up to their own coup or rebellion from the relative safety of the shadows.

True, but also a useful one, by not educating or under-educating the majority of their population the Hegemony is criminally wasteful with its human resources, amplified by their abominable caste system and (de-jure) theocratic mode of government.

In short you’re expanding the welfare state for nobles in a post-war, rebuilding economy.

As gruesome as it sounds there is also the option to try and spread the famine and starvation more equally, as while the other provinces may not have the farmland they have resources and at least some elements of their cultures worth preserving too. Of course, if my mc is to become a serious power player then he will need the backing of those other provinces against Shayardene nationalists and Laconnier partisans.

Oh by the way, talking about the real-word for a second I hope you and the misses were able to vote in the US mid-term elections without trouble from the roof of the world @Havenstone?


Mara would try save part of the other provinces except the hegemony itself. But She and I hardly doubt it will be possible even with the drop of population due war maybe saving the most key cultural figures of the provinces or children. But Looking logically the famine wount last forever so i hope I could give them enoght to not being decimated. It just Mara will choose save at least something not spreading butter to thing.

I was coding shoes today and that made me thing in your pc lol @idonotlikeusernames


You’re probably right about that. But when my MCs own rebellion triumphs, he will take the title of Thaumatarch and declare himself Eclect, using the considerable knowledge he will have from specialising in INT to bolster his argument.

That would be true if my MC wasn’t planning on forcing them back into slavery, where their general job would be field and mine work. Obviously he will have to face a revolt from them to that, especially since he plans on continuing Harrowing, and perhaps adding some Halassurq ideas to their lives, foremost among them, Harrowing children. And since he does not want helots becoming tradespeople, and he definitely doesn’t want them becoming Theurges, education takes up time that should be used for work.

Yes, I am expanding the welfare state for nobles in a post-war, rebuilding economy that needs Theurges. My MC envisions an all-noble Theurge’s Guild, and due to the amount of knowledge needed to become a Theurge, not many families will get that bonus, and as for the first bonus, that is probably there because when he was a young aristo, his House could not afford a tutor, and he doesn’t want any other nobles to “suffer” that. And since the package is doled out by Telones and not other nobles, only families who actually can’t get a tutor would receive it.

On that front, my MC would agree, although he would much rather feed all of his new Hegemony by Theurgically bolstering harvests. And as for the Laconniers he can always go to his new (hopeful) allies, the Halassurq and ask them to shut down the Laconnier conspiracy.


Okay I hope this isn’t too bothersome question, but do you think it will be brought up later if you didn’t propose to Breden that she doesn’t want to have children?
Cause I chose to fight and Breden was more or less "okkayy prepare for funeral cause we are going to die" so the topic of marriage didn’t seem very ideal.

I was just thinking cause my noble mc loves Breden, but she also needs to have an heir…the idea her family name would be gone after her would be a huge failure for her as an heir.

Man I feel bit dumb asking this when everyone discussing their plans for the future of the realm


The conversation(s) with Breden about children will happen in later games too.


I know the question wasn’t aimed at me, but I think a (perhaps slightly tendentious, certainly whimsical) case could be made for XoR as soft-science fiction.

It’s playing with social sciences, after all–poli sci, sociology, anthropology–in a way not a million miles removed from the way more traditional sci-fi plays with physics.

Maybe a wildly unscientific magic system rules it out. Fair enough. But when I think about what made Battlestar Galactica good, for my money it was the terrific resonances with the “soft” sciences–with the politics of survival, the anthropology of extremity–rather than anything about robotics or space travel.


For me , what intrigue me was the Cylon infiltrator, number 6 … was the data of her robotic memory considered as Soul in human term ? :slight_smile:

Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!

Agatha Heterodyne - Lady of Mechanicsburg

And thank you again @Ramidel for introducing me to that web comic.


Glad to be of service.


On a Lounge thread, Rachel wrote:

(to which, yay!) but she also noted that staff discussions about the forum often end up being more about the headaches, problems, and cost than the benefits.

In response I suggested that some share of the runaway success of XoR should go in the benefits column, because forum engagement was key in making it a success–both in terms of providing good ideas and the sanding-off of bad ideas. So I hope Jason doesn’t still wonder if forum engagement was mostly a time sink for me.

To go into a little more detail than I have previously on the time-sinkiness: the two biggest blocks of time that went into the writing of Rebels were when I decided to add the Ch 2 tax collector raid in 2013 (which is longer than it may appear), and to rewrite Ch 2 as a week-by-week survival management game in 2015-16. Neither of those were a response to forum demand; for better or worse, those design choices and their length are both on me.

But the forum made them way better. In particular, I’d never have arrived at a tolerable version of the winter survival game without patient engagement from many forumgoers throughout 2016! Structurally, the “hard branch” at the beginning (aristo v helot), a design feature which used to be discouraged as a time sink, was also all me.

What things were written in response to forum feedback?

  • Radmar, Elery, Yebben, and Pin. The story originally dropped you straight into the Fourth Harrowing, without any of the Ch 1 flashbacks that establish your history. Our much-missed friend @FairyGodfeather was instrumental in challenging me in April 2013 to make them care about Breden and the (then-nameless) helots more, feeding back on a draft shared over direct message.

  • The chance to be a snobby noble rather than an inevitably bleeding-heart one.

  • The Carles and Olynna prologues–kind of. Forum folk made the suggestion that the prologue ought to introduce nationalism and religion a little better, offering a greater breadth of reasons to rebel. The decision to do that by writing two alternate prologues (rather than integrating the stats into the Plektoi prologue) was, again, all me.

  • The choice to delegate Ch 2 number-wrangling to a deputy, which has made a massive difference to many, many people’s enjoyment of the game. :slight_smile:

  • The choice to be a discreet Theurge rather than all up in your face about it from day one.

  • The chance to run a protection racket in the Owlscap (thanks again, Will)

  • Cousin Hector as potential love interest. (The ensuing encounter with Calea was so fun, it practically wrote itself, in a single day’s work.)

  • A bunch of fun little worldbuilding items, as anyone reading through the WIP thread could see.

Those really weren’t the big time sinks that significantly delayed completion of Rebels. They did of course add to the writing time, but not all that much. And in ways big and small (which I did my best to credit), they made the game appreciably better. The forum community also kept me energized and engaged. In my own mind the cost-benefit tradeoff is clear.

tl;dr: The fact that I’m long-winded and gravitate toward the more elaborate/ambitious ways of doing something should continue to be held against me, not the forums. :slight_smile: And it looks like more authors are being encouraged to engage with the forums, which is great.


If we are talking dollars and cents here:

There is obviously a cost benefit trade off to time vs content. I think you took the time to provide an interesting answer to most reasonable questions a player might have about their character or the game world. That obviously takes up a lot of time, but the rewards seem apparent. Great product with a great customer response. The IP that creates will also have enduring value that can translate into other mediums. I think the Dragoon Saga or ZE are examples of how it can grow beyond the IF game itself.

In terms of creative achievement and artistry, you have made something here to be proud of. The setting is compelling and fleshed out enough for film or TV IMO.

If you can attribute any part of that to forum engagement the cost in time and frustration dealing with irritating posts should be worth it to most authors and COG I would think.

You had more than a few moments of overwrought pushback on a creative decision and even a pun rebellion to put down… Its not like you don’t have the scars to prove the point.


Congratz Joel! :smiley_cat:


@Havenstone On the subject of sufficiently analyzed magic, I have some more questions regarding parts of the lore dump.

  1. Would it be possible to harvest aether in eyes without killing someone? This would still admittedly be grotesque but it is probably preferable to dying.

  2. What effect would blood transfusions have on the ability to perform wisardry? In other words, if a wisard gets a blood transfusion from someone else, does that increase the wisard’s ability to perform wisardry? Do Harrowers have a method for preventing blood of different blood types from clumping together? Would it even matter if that blood did clump together?

  3. If wisards can’t harness the aether in someone else’s blood without fixing the aether, is there a way to harness the aether in their eyes and brain without bothering to fix the aether? For example, would it work to touch someone else’s eye or brain and then use their aether?

  4. So I got to thinking that if normal blood does not work well as aetherial blood, does aetherial blood work as blood in the bloodstream? In other words, could we transfuse aetherial blood back into people without killing them? If so, then what effect would that have? Would it enable wisards to replenish their natural aether? Is it possible by this method to boost even temporarily their internal supply of aether beyond what is natural? Would doing so be visible under Telos Vision? Could this be a way to get aether past the Wards by transfusing it back into someone? Are the Wards also used on a much smaller scale as security for individual rooms and buildings to prevent someone smuggling in aetherial blood for use by hostile wisards on the inside?

  5. Would it be possible using Telos Vision to detect wisards who have earlier used their own blood by checking whether their internal aether is lower than would be natural?

I like the way @MahatmaDagon phrased this sort of thing:


Havie You are a saint. The fact you survive the first demo you posted that I could be personally called and pointed out to be rather toxic or bluntly sincere evwn if I was just trying to help you and the game. Now I am older and wiser so I hope being helful but being more nicer to not depress the author I want to help.
Interaction with authors are key for instance many games I was in fence of buying could have being instant buys if they had a small choice that could have expanded my enjoyment alot. Also, make a close contct with author makes reader more engaged and ready to spend money . I am dying to still helping you and i promise being nicer lol


I loved the new BSG in the beginning, but it seemed less and less space opera and more and more soap-opera as the seasons went by. About half the final season’s eps left me feeling meh due to the over the top melodrama, and I found the final finale a bit hokey, but I was glad the series got an ending unlike the original series.

I do agree that at its height BSG was amazingly good with excellent acting, great special effects, highly effective use of sound to accentuate events, and a fine balance of engaging drama and breath-stealing action.

And yes there were terrific resonances with the soft sciences even as the series kept the hard science mostly to background material with computers and drones sidelined due to fear of Cylon hacking and replaced with humans, increasing opportunities for both interaction and heroics. There were no lasers, phasers or plasma weapons, just missiles, both nukes and non-nukes, which we already have and can relate to, and slug-throwing rail guns which were already well into development at the time the show was launched (although the US has recently reduced spending on research, cancelling plans to build demonstrators and a prototype due to the current inability to attain the desired rate of fire). So the Tech was pretty low key, and didn’t steal the spotlight away from the humans & their self-created enemy which at times seemed just as or even more human.

So if you’re going to emulate BSG, please emulate the first few years instead of the final year or two. :smirk_cat: