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Game News Fallen Gods Update #3: Winning Was Easy, Governing’s Harder

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Fallen Gods; Mark Yohalem; Wormwood Studios

    If there's one thing we can expect from Fallen Gods, the upcoming roguelite from Primordia creator Mark Yohalem, it's excellent lore. This month's development update tells the history of the titular fallen gods - the overthrow of the primordial old gods by the new gods led by Orm the Trickster, and the stagnation of the Ormfolk's rule that eventually leads to the player's own fallen god being cast down to earth. As before, it also includes a sample of music from the game's soundtrack:



    At once the night’s gloom blooms with unearthly hues and the sky becomes a shimmering sheet of fire. You have stood among those lights, basking in the warmth of Orm’s soul-hoard as it glowed upon the guests in Skyhold’s hall. Now, far off and half-frozen, you watch the Trickster’s overflowing wealth spill earthward like froth from a drunkard’s horn. One fading ember falls nearby, singeing the sky as it streaks past.

    Fallen Gods takes place in the aftermath of a world-changing struggle called the Overthrow, in which the old, animistic Firstborn gods were driven from power by the united might of men. The leader of those men, Orm the Trickster, took up the mantle of godhood and bestowed the same on his closest followers. These new gods, called the Ormfolk, then ascended to the Cloudlands, where Orm built the golden Skyhold from the plundered flesh of Karringar, one of the defeated Firstborn.

    This kind of struggle, in which new gods drive out old ones, is almost universal in mythology—the best known examples probably being the Titanomachy (in which Zeus and his family overthrew the Titans) and Paradise Lost’s struggle in heaven (when Jesus, on behalf of soon-to-be-made mankind, defeats Satan and his overweening angels). In the Norse mythology that helped inspire Fallen Gods, the comparable event is the Æsir-Vanir War (in which Odin and his Æsir clan fought the Vanir). As overthrows go, it’s one of the gentler ones, and indeed the war ended in a peaceful accord. But it still fits within a pattern in which a preexisting pantheon oriented toward nature, fertility, and magic is supplanted or subsumed by one oriented toward war, craft, and cunning.

    While I was conceiving and detailing the world of Fallen Gods, I was reading a series of apocalyptic books about our natural world, the best of which (in no particular order) wereThe Sixth Extinction, The World Without Us, Wild Ones, The Moth Snowstorm, and The Peregrine. These suggested that we are ourselves living in the aftermath of a war in which mankind, with its craft and cunning, has defeated nature, assuming its place as the gods of the earth. (Consider the arc of history that runs from the rat-borne, man-killing Black Death’s arrival in Europe to the human-introduced, rabbit-killing myxamatosis’s arrival in Australia.) For most of humanity’s existence, the world’s wildness was oppressive, terrorizing us with ferocious animals, confining us with impassable boundaries, decimating our numbers with drought and disease, and obliterating us with immense disasters. From a posture of weakness and ignorance, early humans worshiped that wildness. From a posture of strength, later humans broke that wildness—what seemed at first the kind of “breaking” that happens when a rider tames a wild mustang, and what increasingly seems to be the kind of “breaking” that happens when you strike a work of art with a sledgehammer.

    A second series of nonfiction books also influenced my take on the Overthrow: books about revolutions and their aftermaths. Among the ones that I found particularly striking wereMoscow 1937, The Days of the French Revolution, Marie Arana’s Bolívar, and the memoirWhen a Crocodile Eats the Sun. These suggested the pessimistic conclusion that whether a revolution’s goals are righteous or ignoble, and no matter how wicked its enemies, there is a high likelihood that the aftermath of a successful revolution will be catastrophe. After all, a process that selects for warriors capable of overthrowing their entrenched, mighty rulers is not selecting for (and, indeed, may even be selecting against) men and women capable of building and administering a just and competent civil government in the revolution’s wake. Meanwhile, the bloody, irregular war so often necessary to change rulers, along with the society-wide upending that follows, inevitably inflicts immense collateral damage on the land’s natural, economic, and cultural capital.

    The Overthrow in Fallen Gods is a righteous one waged against wicked foes. The old gods were mostly bad gods—at least for mankind. Amarok, the Great Wolf, ravened among the flock of humanity and fed wolfishness to those that survived. The winged wurm Fraener destroyed any man, and any work of man, that might raise humanity up from drudging in the dirt. He was one of those oppressors (we all know them) who degrades his victims and then declares, “I am rightly above them, for look at how poor, and miserable, and squalid they are.” The ever-hungry creature known as Grath wandered the world as a force of famine, devouring whole fields and herds, destroying any hope of stability for a people perpetually on the knife-edge of starvation. Even the less awful beings worked woe: Berkanan who lured children to his woods and made them into wild things; the threefold goddess Karringar who kindled a gold-lust and an iron-madness in men that has never stopped burning; Trund who licked to life the lumbering trolls that were the terror of the hills and dales.

    One can hardly fault Orm for honing his cunning and cruelty until he could cut down such gods. Orm was a trickster with a crooked mind and a warlord with a ruthless heart, and to become greater he became worse, a man who bent whatever men could become his tools and broke whatever men could not. He won his crown; he won his wars; he won his godhead. Perhaps not tired of winning, but certainly tired of struggling, he was content to bask in his hard-earned heaven. But a war-torn world needs a healer and a steward, not an absentee landlord. And even when Orm paid attention it was the attention of a man who had become more than a man by the craft of killing, and killing can only get the world so far.

    Eventually, the soul-strength that the men and women of the world had given to Orm—the soul-strength he had stolen from the Firstborn—began to seep away. The people themselves weakened and shrank, and their faith weakened and shrank, and then their new gods weakened and shrank, until the very heavens weakened and shrank. Soon, there wasn’t room enough, or soul-strength enough, to share among fearful Ormfolk, who had, for long, long years, always been given more than enough of whatever they might want. These were gods who had forgotten, or had never learned, how to go hungry.

    And so they began throwing out their own brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters—because even a smaller pie can yield bigger slices when fewer need to be cut. Fallen Gods begins in that time of dearth and death, when the player’s eponymous fallen god has just been cast down from the Cloudlands. He is desperate, not to save the world or free the world, but to flee the world and save himself, for he is no better than the others, only weaker. All the same, however, he must boldly face the bleak consequences of years of neglect and decline, the dangers of a world in which the gods won Ragnarök ... and thus robbed the earth of the rebirth that should have followed.
    Judging by its title, I'd say the next update will have more details about the player's god.
     
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  2. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Thanks!
     
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  3. Maxie Magister

    Maxie
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    Good and edgy Mark my son
     
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  4. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    The themes and ideas are similar to Primordia. Machines take over from humans, their rule begins to stagnate and they start offing each other, the player is a cast-off primordial machine.
     
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  5. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    I hadn't thought of those similarities, but I'm not surprised that I'm rehashing the same stuff. I guess you could even say that the loss of the power core is like the loss of the fallen god's immortality. I'm pretty much a one-trick pony, and I'm not sure it's even a very good trick at that. :)
     
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  6. Quantomas Learned

    Quantomas
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    Rather not understanding one's own nature and what power truly is.

    If FG turns out to be a medium for the delivery of interactive poetry, I am all for it! :salute:
     
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  7. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Maybe then the press will finally like our game. :D
     
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  8. Quantomas Learned

    Quantomas
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    There are a lot of revolutions that did work. Mahatma Ghandi, Fidel Castro, Ayatollah Khomeini, Mao Zedong, Hugo Chavez, Nelson Mandela. Even the revolution in Egypt could have been successful, if the two victorious factions would not have stopped talking to each other.

    If you keep violence as a last resort against the counter-revolution, you have a fair chance to achieve your goals. On the other hand, if someone proposes to start a revolution as a civil war, people should always be wary.

    Even the Palestinians would have a chance at real change, if Hamas would disavow violence.
     
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  9. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    I think we're talking past each other. My view isn't that catastrophe is inevitable from revolutions (for example, the American Revolution was obvious a huge and enduring success), merely that they're very likely. The catastrophes don't always unseat the successful revolutionaries; often they get to preside over the catastrophe. I'm not sure how/why you could say that Mao and Chavez didn't yield catastrophes, and even in the Indian independence movement (not exactly the kind of revolution I'm talking about, nor was the S. African movement), which I consider to be a fine example of a successful approach to such things, yielded the Partition that displaced and killed millions (here is a Reputable Source: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/29/the-great-divide-books-dalrymple).

    Anyway, I realize the update is a little political, but I don't really want to debate the merits/demerits of real-world revolutions. The point of what I wrote in the post is whether you think the revolution is morally necessary and praiseworthy, the cost is often excruciating. That is the case in FG.
     
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  10. Quantomas Learned

    Quantomas
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    You are in the clear anyway, because from your description of FG, I don't see any alternative to taking on the pantheon with fire or sword in hand. Or trickery.

    My point was that the primary issue of an upheaval is not so much whether the change can be catastrophic, but rather what matters most is the attitude of the leader(s). If you set out to fight your way to the top you invite catastrophe, if you treat violence as a last resort you stand a much better chance to moderate the events as they unfold. The reason that I mentioned Mao is that his Long March is a famous example of avoiding bloodshed, and Chavez demonstrated that a general strike and its counters are more efficient tools than military action.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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  11. Blakemoreland Hybrid Boss Magister Patron

    Blakemoreland Hybrid Boss
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    But the act of expelling the tyrannical rule of a foreign country does not qualify as a revolution, sorry.
     
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  12. Quantomas Learned

    Quantomas
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    In case that you wonder how this is relevant for FG, for me it's the difference between Orm who revels in his ascendancy and its glory (which is a thing if I understood you correctly) and Orm who worries about the upheaval and what it causes to humans (which is not happening). It's truly about attitude, not the scale of change.
     
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