Vengeance Cut Short? SPOILERS WITHIN!


Hell's Vengeance

Silver Crusade

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After having finally received Hell Comes to Westcrown and read it, I found myself a little...underwhelmed? by House Thrune's reaction. Officially the Glorious Reclamation's rebellion wasn't even big enough to warrant a change in imperial policy, and thus the worship of Iomedae will not be banned and only foreign-born priests will be deported.

This just doesn't feel like it gels with the spiteful and vindictive image I have of Abrogail Thrune in my head. I was imagining anti-Iomedaean pogroms and tearing down structures like the Dorjanala and Arodenama and ultimately sending a message that Iomedae is no longer welcome in her home nation, and any who defy the will of Thrune will die.

Perhaps I've been playing too much Dragon Age II and Skyrim, but I just sort of imagined the response to an Iomedaean rebellion in Cheliax to garner a similar response to Anders' destruction of the Chantry in Dragon Age II, that it'd be the excuse Abrogail needed to take off the leash and finally massacre the paladins she loathes but has had to tolerate for the sake of politeness for so long.

Am I reading this wrong? It just feels like, by this time, even if the Glorious Reclamation doesn't represent Iomedae's church at large, Cheliax wouldn't care, and would use it to basically declare war on Iomedae's church out of spite.


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Putting down a rebellion isn't about grand gestures and loud proclamations.

It's about returning everything to normal and forgetting the whole thing happened.

Free opera tickets for everyone! Who hoo!

See, in a few weeks it'll be like it never even happened. :-)


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No sense picking fights they don't have to.

Abrogail's evil, vindictive, and vain. But she's not stupid. Why declare anti-Iomedan pogroms when you can let whispers that it might be such a great idea to look too fond of the Inheritor do the damage for you?


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Abby may be spiteful and vindictive but she's also a smart cookie (and with a Hell of a teacher, pun intended - the queen was practically raised by a pit fiend.)*

Declaring war on the Church of Iomedae after defeating the Glorious Reclamation means going through all the trouble of stopping a civil war dead in its tracks only to instigate a civil war.

Abby's deliberate refusal to crack down on the church of Iomedae even as the Glorious Reclamation got rolling is may be a huge part of why the mainstream faith is staying out of the fight.

* Interestingly enough, both Hell's Vengeance and Hell's Rebels avoided statting out Gorthoklek. I'm curious as to whether he's a "normal" pit fiend or if he's one of the Dukes of Hell - the elite pit fiends who stand as side grades to the conquering Malebranches.

Silver Crusade

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I know Golarion's designated Malebranche is Alichino, but for some reason he seems more focused on Ustalav than the Chelish Heartland.

I'm just kind of confused, isn't Cheliax's devil-supplemented army strong enough to fend off an army of copper dragons? If they can do that then wiping Iomedae's church from the face of Cheliax and dealing with the inevitable backlash should be a piece of cake!


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Ask Rahadoum how that's working out for them.

Frankly, I'd have a better chance exterminating every mouse and rat, they're pretty much the same thing.

Besides, if there's constant war, how am I going to keep up with the latest fashions.

Best to let the peasants have their trinkets and shrines, because I hold the real power, and that's all that matters.


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
I'm just kind of confused, isn't Cheliax's devil-supplemented army strong enough to fend off an army of copper dragons? If they can do that then wiping Iomedae's church from the face of Cheliax and dealing with the inevitable backlash should be a piece of cake!

Iomedae's the second-most prolific faith in Cheliax, right after the state-mandated Asmodeus.

And most of the Iomedaens are actual followers rather than being forced to pay lip service.

If Abby declares war on them, she'd be looking at having to purge a third or more (possibly way more) of her country's population.

She might have the military force to do it, but she'd destroy the actual nation in the process.


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Well, off the top of my head, I can think of some very good reasons to not go all "PURGE THE F$#@ING CHURCH." First, there's the fact that Iomedae was Chelexian before she got her god-powers from the space rock. Even if Her Majestrix doesn't like the followers of Iomedae, the simple fact of the matter is that the Inheritor is a massively important part of Chelexian history, and one hell of a feather in the cap of the country's ego. If there's one thing Chelexians at large love, it's the fact that they're "better" than everyone else, and Iomedae being in the Ascended is incredible proof that there's more to that than idle boasting. Deciding to destroy that would be a polarizing decision, to say the least.

Secondly, Good religions have this nasty habit of working to help each other out in the face of oppression. If you declare war on one, there's no telling just how many others will begin to rise up as well. Milani would be obvious, and it'd be easy to see Cayden suggesting his faithful stand by his fellow Ascended's followers as well. Add in Sarenrae, Erastil, Shelyn, various Empyreal Lords, and some good aligned followers of neutral dieties, and you've got a real mess on your hands real quickly.

So, yeah. Trying to wipe out Iomedae's church in Cheliax would be a profoundly stupid move on Abrogail's part, which is why she isn't doing so.


I can see how, from the lore perspective and under the setting's internal logic, Abrogail II would not purge the Church of Iomedae.

However, from a dramatic and expectations standpoint it feels sort of like a cop-out and punches being pulled.


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Why would you expect it.


Axial wrote:

I can see how, from the lore perspective and under the setting's internal logic, Abrogail II would not purge the Church of Iomedae.

However, from a dramatic and expectations standpoint it feels sort of like a cop-out and punches being pulled.

Why? The adventure's pretty clear that Queen Abby pretty cheerfully persecutes everyone that actually supported the Glorious Reclamation.

But she doesn't extend said persecution everyone who sat the fight out.

After all, she's a horrible psychopath, but she's a competent horrible psychopath.

It's also worth keeping mind as far as rebellions go, the Glorious Reclamation is pretty short lived - depending on how fast your PCs go through the AP, the Glorious Reclamation might only persist for a couple months before being snuffed out. As far as rebellions go, that's a flash in the pan. (And so going on a general purge after stopping the GR would be equivalent to putting out a grease fire in your kitchen only to go throw a Molotov cocktail into your own living room.)

Now, if the PCs fail and the Glorious Reclamation successfully plunges Cheliax into years of civil war, then a general anti-Iomedaen pogrom could well end up on the table.

Silver Crusade

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captain yesterday wrote:
Why would you expect it.

Why? Because I've no real frame of reference for Evil that doesn't do stuff like that. Stuff like Rites of Annulment or Death Stars or Exterminatuses. That I thought the way people like Thrune act is that they're waiting with bated breath for someone to date step out of line so they have an opportunity to beat them to death with a riding crop or crowbar while cackling their head off like the Joker. How do you play Evil without doing that, especially if, like me, you don't want your character to perform other actions that aren't really board-appropriate to discuss as a cheap (and disgusting) way of being "dramatic" or "realistically evil?"

I suppose part of me's wondering, "Okay, if Cheliax is Evil, why isn't it Mordor yet?"


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Perhaps Goodfellas, The Godfather, and shows like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia might be a better guide for smart evil.

House Thrune is pretty much the mob anyway. :-)


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Why would you expect it.

Why? Because I've no real frame of reference for Evil that doesn't do stuff like that. Stuff like Rites of Annulment or Death Stars or Exterminatuses. That I thought the way people like Thrune act is that they're waiting with bated breath for someone to date step out of line so they have an opportunity to beat them to death with a riding crop or crowbar while cackling their head off like the Joker. How do you play Evil without doing that, especially if, like me, you don't want your character to perform other actions that aren't really board-appropriate to discuss as a cheap (and disgusting) way of being "dramatic" or "realistically evil?"

I suppose part of me's wondering, "Okay, if Cheliax is Evil, why isn't it Mordor yet?"

Because evil doesn't always mean self-destructive.

Smart evil means managing your assets instead of just wiping them out in a single orgy of pillaging.

Smart evil is about making your evil part of the status quo (or even better, a status symbol), rather than it being a disruptive event.

Smart evil is convincing the common folk (through whatever means you can) that whatever excesses your regime does indulge in are merely necessary prices of keeping everyone safe and secure -- you want them convinced "that won't happen to me because I'm a good citizen", not "oh crap, that can happen to me at any time."

Now, an evil society's whose evils have become the status quo will probably be incredibly resistant to reform, to the point of even going to war to defend their right to commit or potentially commit said evils.


I think Cheliax does fall into cackling evil with the whole 'Condemn your soul to hell because you were real naughty' thing. I mean usurping the whole River of Souls thing that was set up my Mary Sue Pharesma is really really serious, but of course The big P sits out due to reasons even though the various deities supposedly have an agreement not to mess with the whole deal.

Sanrenrae: Heyheyhey! Those were headed for Nirvana, I would really like those back please.

Pharesma: *Does nails*

Sarenrae: Asmodeus, can you tell your folks to knock off that stuff? Send your herald?

Azzy:Ehh...


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Because I've no real frame of reference for Evil that doesn't do stuff like that.

The Christening Scene in The Godfather might be a good place to examine for a feel on this- because Michael Corleone's vengeance is bloody, and a few innocent bystanders get caught in the assassinations, but the targets are very specific, and the attack is not against everyone who might have crossed the Corleones, and not even against the low-level foot soldiers among his enemies- just the heads of the Five Families, and a few specific problems like Moe Green.

Alternately, the ending of Casino shows what happens to people who rock the boat in solidly lawful evil organizations... crack too many skulls, make too much of a spectacle, and you get.... dealt with.

Or if mob movies aren't your cup of tea, how about Hamlet? Claudius is perfectly content to keep his body count low- the only people he wants dead are Hamlet's father (success!) and Hamlet (Success! ... Er ...) because he otherwise has what he wants- the throne of Denmark. No point in rocking the boat. He just needs to nip his nephew's plans in the bud.

Or Doctor Doom, who rules Latveria as a tyrant, but who also sees to it that his loyal subjects are as safe and prosperous as he can make them.

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MannyGoblin wrote:

I think Cheliax does fall into cackling evil with the whole 'Condemn your soul to hell because you were real naughty' thing. I mean usurping the whole River of Souls thing that was set up my Mary Sue Pharesma is really really serious, but of course The big P sits out due to reasons even though the various deities supposedly have an agreement not to mess with the whole deal.

Sanrenrae: Heyheyhey! Those were headed for Nirvana, I would really like those back please.

Pharesma: *Does nails*

Sarenrae: Asmodeus, can you tell your folks to knock off that stuff? Send your herald?

Azzy:Ehh...

This only confirms my headcanon that Asmodeus pretty much acts and sounds like Hades from Disney's Hercules movie.

"Name's Asmodeus, Lord of the Damned. Hi, how ya doin'?"

Mortal: "I'm going to hell for this, am I?"

Asmodeus: "Nah. I mean, it's, you know, it's a possibility. It happens 'cause, you know, it's war, but what can I tell ya?"

"My sweet deluded little minion. Aren't we forgetting one teensy-weensy, but ever so crucial little, tiny detail? I OWN YOU!"


"Purging Iomedie? Lord Asmodeas good and true ally?"

"Oh right little meat person, the Queen runs the show, not Asmodeas. And I am certain that neither of the two had any interest in encouraging anything that might release building pressures to allow everything to get back to normal?"

"Belias, isn't it so quaint that these mortals think they matter in the long run? Now let's get this charming little larvae to the barbecue, shall we?"


Makes me think Ao from Forgotten Realms had it right when Gods needed mortals worship to survive.(Of course that brings up the Wall of the Faithless)

"Oh darn! Looks like the country that worshipped Asmodeus got wiped out due to Urgathoa's plague. Are you feeling well Asmodeus? You look a little...diminished."
Or if there is a really big problem Contract the job out to a certain troubleshooter


1) Both Asmodeus and Iomedae are Lawful deities.

2) way too much risks of civil wars and self-destruction.

3) the Hellknight order of the Godclaw is kinda responsible for the mess, so forgiving the citizens for wrongly thinking the (present) Chelish government was involved make some sense.

4) Give Abby and Asmodeus good publicity.

5) Give Iomedae's cultists a bad reputation/publicity.

6) etc...


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Yeah! I didn't do s#~# to deserve this, I'm just trying to put things right again, and make sure no one gets hurt.

Also Gorty was getting low on Paladin intestine bowties, and you know how important it is to Gorty to be fashionable.


Even if House Thrune wanted to purge the church of Iomedae in Cheliax, the church of Asmodeus would no doubt put a lot of pressure on them not to. They don't want to be purged in retaliation in other lands where they are currently tolerated. Marginal improvement in Cheliax, where they are already the dominant and state sanctioned religion, isn't worth terrorist attacks or state action against them elsewhere.

Silver Crusade

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Do people even accept Asmodeus in other nations? I was under the impression that (apart from Korvosa, a former Chelish colony) other nations despise the Asmodean "church" and it's forced to operate as small secretive cults to avoid the government or overly zealous adventurers purging them on principle, and that a purge of Iomedae's church in Asmodean-controlled Cheliax would be a sort of "turnabout is fair play" moment.

I suppose I should be grateful that the ending is the way it is, since it doesn't mess with Westcrown too much so that it feels like whatever work achieved in Council of Thieves is undone, but at the same time it feels like they're letting everyone off easy, especially after the events of Hell's Rebels reveal that Ravounel's rebellion and secession was all part of Hell's plan to give Cheliax a kick in the pants because they were getting soft and needed to increase the stamping of the boot on the human face, to borrow a metaphor from Orwell.


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According to Faiths of Corruption, the church of Asmodeus has a strong presence in Nidal, and Isger, and strong in cosmopolitan areas where law and order reigns supreme.

It also says they have a strong presence in the Worldwound crusades, working alongside the faithful of Iomedae to help seal the rents to the Abyss.

So, it would seem, A) the church isn't as cruel and dogmatic as you think, and B) not as ostracized as you expect it to be.

I highly recommend Faiths of Corruption. :-)


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On other faiths

"For the most part, you regard other religions with amusement: They worship young gods w/o possess a fraction of the power of Hell's master, deities who will eventually fall into line with Asmodeus's will."

So, really, it's only a matter of time.

Hope this helps. :-)


Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
... especially after the events of Hell's Rebels reveal that Ravounel's rebellion and secession was all part of Hell's plan to give Cheliax a kick in the pants because they were getting soft and needed to increase the stamping of the boot on the human face, to borrow a metaphor from Orwell.

Eh, not so much getting soft as getting sloppy.

Breaking the Bones of Hell wrote:
The nation’s pride, as surely as Barzillai’s pride, will be its downfall, and your actions have, my Master hopes, served as a warning.

After all, Queen Abby had delegated control of an entire province to a guy that was actively plotting against her. Hell's Rebels serves a reminder that her power is not guaranteed, and she needs to keep it together.

As to the Church of Asmodeus - keep in mind that Asmodeus can have LN denominations, and Asmodeans can generally be expected to follow the law.

I'd expect Asmodeus to do fine in any region that that's N or LN, and to possibly even manage a foothold in LG area.

After all, the paladins of Lastwall aren't going to purge a group of Asmodeans if the Asmodeans aren't breaking any laws.

Chaotic leaning regions will probably reject Asmodeus as incompatible, though. So the Mammoth Lords, Linnorm Kings, most of Varisia, Numeria, etc.

Lawful areas will care about whether the Asmodeans behave, and chaotic areas won't.


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I saw earlier people were talking about "smart evil" so I figured I would share some thought processes of my party, as an example of why Abby AT LARGE wouldn't rock the boat after this:

1st: After being pronounced the new sheriffs of longacre, the party arrested the bar owner, Caggan. He does his thing a few nights later and turns into a wereboar.

What does my party do? Knock him finally out via non-lethal damage and get reputations about saving the town from a hideous monster.

2nd: When they receives the 1st letter of the doctor, do they wait patiently for her to hang herself?

No. the LE antipaladin PAYS the backtaxes out of his own pocket and demands patronage and healing from her when the party requires it because they refuse to use the church of Iomedae. The doctor, despite owing them healing THINKS THEY ARE SAINTS.

3rd: When the deputies attack them after giving up their badges, do they just kill them?

No. My party uses non-lethal tactics and has more stocks built so the town can see what happens to troublemakers who just mug people at night.

My party, through just clever tactics, has actually managed to get into the 3rd week of the rebellion calendar with only 11 Rebellion Points. And they only got those because they executed the wereboar publicly (named npc) and killed Kels when he was pretending to be the angel knight. (as well as a few other minor transgressions.)

In fact our party goblin is the head sheriff and the entire town is willing to give goblins a chance at peace, the antipaladin has an official title of "Black Knight of Longacre" and has attracted squires, and even the Urgathoan Cleric is accepted, as despite his vile religion, he has kept the peace with the people and acted in no way disrespectful. The ranger has no reputation but she's staying low on purpose.

In fact, if anything, my players are playing the perfect "You think you're doing the right thing? We aren't so different." villains.


Bard of Ages wrote:

I saw earlier people were talking about "smart evil" so I figured I would share some thought processes of my party, as an example of why Abby AT LARGE wouldn't rock the boat after this:

***

In fact, if anything, my players are playing the perfect "You think you're doing the right thing? We aren't so different." villains.

I would probably play my PCs in similar ways, being "Villains with Good Publicity" and trying to give the GR bad publicity.


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It's obvious. Queen Abrogail has read the Evil Overlord's List. ;)


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According to our most recent history, I wrote it. :-)


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Speaking of which, you still owe patent fees.


Abby Thrune, Despot wrote:
According to our most recent history, I wrote it. :-)

You mean you wrote the revised and improved edition?

Tangent101 wrote:
Speaking of which, you still owe patent fees.

You mean someone owe Her patent fees!


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I don't care who she gets to pay those fees, so long as that individual is not in my employ. Or myself. The last time someone went Magnificent Bastard on me I deployed the Kitten Collective on.


Tangent101 wrote:
I don't care who she gets to pay those fees, so long as that individual is not in my employ. Or myself. The last time someone went Magnificent Bastard on me I deployed the Kitten Collective on.

You misread me; Abby doesn't need to pay someone, someone need to give Her lots of money.


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So kittens it will be then.

A most horrible fate you have chosen for Cheliax.


captain yesterday wrote:

{. . .}

So, it would seem, A) the church isn't as cruel and dogmatic as you think, and B) not as ostracized as you expect it to be.
{. . .}

They're probably as cruel and dogmatic as Archpaladin Zousha thinks, just not as ostracized, because they are insidious. And what better exercise of insidiousness than to carefully prune the Iomedean Church while keeping the less bold parts of it Alice so that they can continue their already-in-progress program of corrupting it?


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Think Westboro Baptist. Completely morally abhorrent but still careful to always act within the law.


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Tangent101 wrote:

So kittens it will be then.

A most horrible fate you have chosen for Cheliax.

Those Patent organizations should feel disgusted delighted by the horror honor of holding the Patents of That little b**** who owes us money Her Infernal Majestrix Queen Abrogail Thrune II.

this draft need to be revised by the Chelish government.

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Abby Thrune, Despot wrote:

Putting down a rebellion isn't about grand gestures and loud proclamations.

It's about returning everything to normal and forgetting the whole thing happened.

Free opera tickets for everyone! Who hoo!

See, in a few weeks it'll be like it never even happened. :-)

Abby Thrune has a portal in her castle where she meets with several strange and feeble-looking old men wearing strange neck ties from another, distant world.

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Yeaah, whole point of not hunting down Iomedeans is to show off Thrune's power that they considered Glorious Reclamation "too insignificant" to bother changing things. They do probably hunt down Reclamation followers in secret though.

Cheliax is kinda chilling in that they are actually pretty smart type of evil for country who worships the devil :P

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