Firebrands and Eagle Knights


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


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The Firebrands and Eagle Knights seem very similar - both of them are organisations devoted to fighting against evil, with ideals of freedom and equality, with strong ties to former Chelish colonies. Considering this, what is the difference between the two organisations? When Vidria was reaching out to other former Chelish colonies with similar values to form the Firebrands, why didn't they contact the Eagle Knights as well as the Silver Ravens? Why aren't the Eagle Knights listed among the allies of the Firebrands? And how does one determine whether to make a character an Eagle Knight or a Firebrand?


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Well, the Eagle Knights are a state-funded military organization in Andoran. The Firebrands are a lot less official, in that whatever materiel aid they receive from the governments of Ravounel or Vidrian has to be on the "plausible deniability" level.

There's a significant difference in how the relevant countries relate to Cheliax. Ravounel and Vidrian are protected from Chellish invasion via contractual shenanigans and remoteness, but are small and comparatively weak as new countries without stable governments and would get rolled if a war actually did break out. Andoran has been preparing to go to war with Cheliax for the last hundred plus years.

So Andoran probably does have contact via the Twilight Talons with high ranking Firebrands, as they share similar goals, but officially it's not in either's best interest to officially unite. For one thing, if Cheliax and Andoran do go to war, Ravounel is treaty-bound to come to the aid of Cheliax- something neither Eagle Knights nor Firebrands want.

In terms of "which to make your character" the big difference is that Eagle Knights are Andoran patriots, whereas Firebrands are freedom fighters and rabblerousers from everywhere else.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Well, the Eagle Knights are a state-funded military organization in Andoran. The Firebrands are a lot less official, in that whatever materiel aid they receive from the governments of Ravounel or Vidrian has to be on the "plausible deniability" level.

There's a significant difference in how the relevant countries relate to Cheliax. Ravounel and Vidrian are protected from Chellish invasion via contractual shenanigans and remoteness, but are small and comparatively weak as new countries without stable governments and would get rolled if a war actually did break out. Andoran has been preparing to go to war with Cheliax for the last hundred plus years.

So Andoran probably does have contact via the Twilight Talons with high ranking Firebrands, as they share similar goals, but officially it's not in either's best interest to officially unite. For one thing, if Cheliax and Andoran do go to war, Ravounel is treaty-bound to come to the aid of Cheliax- something neither Eagle Knights nor Firebrands want.

In terms of "which to make your character" the big difference is that Eagle Knights are Andoran patriots, whereas Firebrands are freedom fighters and rabblerousers from everywhere else.

Thank you for your explanation.

Shadow Lodge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
In terms of "which to make your character" the big difference is that Eagle Knights are Andoran patriots, whereas Firebrands are freedom fighters and rabblerousers from everywhere else.

To expand on this point, the Firebrands are an international association with affiliates in many countries. The SRs of Ravounel and whatever organization the revolutionaries in Vidrian formed before they took power (it's not named, for some reason - maybe they are the original "Firebrands" and the whole association took their name?) are predominant for obvious reasons, but there should be both self-proclaimed and more-or-less official sections in any number of countries. The Children of Westcrown in Cheliax (assuming any survived the reconquest of the city at the end of Hell's Vengeance), the Heralds of Summer's Return in Irrisen, and the Scarlet Rose Gray Maidens might well have affiliated themselves with the Firebrands by 4720. So could, and this is important, people in Andoran.

Something that always bugged me about Andoran was that it was presented as a political near-monolith. Sure, there are some ineffectual schemers trying to restore the old order, and there's the Lumber Consortium with its own interests, but a democratic republic really should have political parties. And speaking of the Lumber Consortium, it should really be generating organized political discontent among its laborers and captive market/company towns. There should be some political defense at home of imperialist expansion, and political expression of anti-imperialism, especially given that colonial competition with Cheliax (and possibly a resurgent Taldor) is likely to lead to war. The Eagle Knights are committed to the defense of the status quo at home and imperialism abroad. A Firebrand might be just the ticket for one of Andoran's discontents.


I feel like a big cause of Andoran unity is that they have big nasty Cheliax next door ready to destroy the Andoran way of life and they are literally in league with the devil. Cheliax is the best "unite around opposing those guys" you could ever hope for in terms of creating artificial national unity- you don't even have to paint them as the baddies, since they come out and say it like it's a badge of honor.

But yeah, they definitely could drill down on some of the subtler schisms lurking in Andoran. It always seemed under-explored in the source material to date.

But I did assume that Andoran had political parties, it's just that no one at Paizo was interested in naming them or fleshing out what they were about. Perhaps to represent that "everyone outside of Andoran finds Andoran politics incomprehensible" but more likely because they had other things going on.

Shadow Lodge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like a big cause of Andoran unity is that they have big nasty Cheliax next door ready to destroy the Andoran way of life and they are literally in league with the devil. Cheliax is the best "unite around opposing those guys" you could ever hope for in terms of creating artificial national unity- you don't even have to paint them as the baddies, since they come out and say it like it's a badge of honor.

To which an Andoren Firebrand might reasonably respond that Cheliax is no monolith; it was just rocked by revolution, and today hosts at least two national-scale subversive and popular (that is, based in the popular classes) organizations that have proved impossible to root out despite the most fierce repression, whose struggle is ongoing. That militarism and war fever are self-fulfilling prophecies, and that just like the Andoren government profits from a rally-round-the-flag effect, so too does the Chelish government, and that artificial patriotism may be one of the only things keeping it alive. That for many Andorens just as for the Chelish masses, the main enemy is at home.

None of these are sentiments that an Eagle Knight, whose position demands that they uphold domestic order and Andoran's imperialist foreign policy which creates endless flash points with its rivals for world power, could ever express. And that is both 1) an element that helps shake up Andoran from what is frankly both a boring and unbelievable status quo, and 2) is a big part of the answer to the OP's question.

Also probably worth noting is that while Andoran's Supreme Elect in 1E was a worker (specifically a sailor), its current Supreme Elect was an Eagle Knight, specifically a Steel Falcon.

(FWIW, I think of Andoran's hegemonic political party as the "Populists," based on the naming of the People's Revolt.)


Yeah, there absolutely is a place for Firebrands to work in Andoran whose agenda would run contrary to the goals of the Andoran government (and hence the Eagle Knights). There would just probably be a reasonable bit of dissension among the Firebrands as to whether this is a valuable use of time and resources considering all significantly worse places they could probably do more good in.

There's probably a good "do not let perfect be the enemy of good" versus "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" story to be told here about Firebrands who are struggling with these questions.

Shadow Lodge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Yeah, there absolutely is a place for Firebrands to work in Andoran whose agenda would run contrary to the goals of the Andoran government (and hence the Eagle Knights). There would just probably be a reasonable bit of dissension among the Firebrands as to whether this is a valuable use of time and resources considering all significantly worse places they could probably do more good in.

It's not really up to the center in Kintargo (presumably this is the relevant center; Anthusis is far away) whether local groups pop up or not, and what their activities are. Especially since they don't disavow groups that claim affiliation. What is up to them, at most, is whether to support these groups with their own resources and personnel. And they might well decide not to. The center has its own state backers to advance the interests of, and it could well prioritize friendly relations with the Andoren government over its own affiliates a la the way the Comintern prioritized relations with the KMT over its own affiliate in China.

But consider the position of a local Firebrand-affiliated group in Andoran. The center has no authority or ability to stamp them out or curtail their activities, whatever they decide those to be. And as an affiliated group they can work to change the politics of the center, albeit from a position of relative weakness in the overall association.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

For one thing, if Cheliax and Andoran do go to war, Ravounel is treaty-bound to come to the aid of Cheliax- something neither Eagle Knights nor Firebrands want.

This is not necessarily true, we don't know what detail is peace agreement. It was possible that some countries were exempt, meaning Cheliax would need to fight them alone. In fact I think Andoran and Taldor was used as examples of such exceptions.

Shadow Lodge

Erk Ander wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

For one thing, if Cheliax and Andoran do go to war, Ravounel is treaty-bound to come to the aid of Cheliax- something neither Eagle Knights nor Firebrands want.

This is not necessarily true, we don't know what detail is peace agreement. It was possible that some countries were exempt, meaning Cheliax would need to fight them alone. In fact I think Andoran and Taldor was used as examples of such exceptions.

Nope. Most Ravounel can get is a time limit when they can't be called to war. Eventually, if the war goes on long enough, they will be a co-belligerent with Cheliax.


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Erk Ander wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

For one thing, if Cheliax and Andoran do go to war, Ravounel is treaty-bound to come to the aid of Cheliax- something neither Eagle Knights nor Firebrands want.

This is not necessarily true, we don't know what detail is peace agreement. It was possible that some countries were exempt, meaning Cheliax would need to fight them alone. In fact I think Andoran and Taldor was used as examples of such exceptions.
Nope. Most Ravounel can get is a time limit when they can't be called to war. Eventually, if the war goes on long enough, they will be a co-belligerent with Cheliax.

You can also negotiate "Ravounel can withdraw from the conflict after a certain amount of time elapses" but even though Cheliax understands that Ravounel is not going to be an enthusiastic, or especially helpful ally in event of war, they also understand that it is very much not in Ravounel's best interest to violate their treaty with Cheliax.

Shadow Lodge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Erk Ander wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

For one thing, if Cheliax and Andoran do go to war, Ravounel is treaty-bound to come to the aid of Cheliax- something neither Eagle Knights nor Firebrands want.

This is not necessarily true, we don't know what detail is peace agreement. It was possible that some countries were exempt, meaning Cheliax would need to fight them alone. In fact I think Andoran and Taldor was used as examples of such exceptions.
Nope. Most Ravounel can get is a time limit when they can't be called to war. Eventually, if the war goes on long enough, they will be a co-belligerent with Cheliax.
You can also negotiate "Ravounel can withdraw from the conflict after a certain amount of time elapses" but even though Cheliax understands that Ravounel is not going to be an enthusiastic, or especially helpful ally in event of war, they also understand that it is very much not in Ravounel's best interest to violate their treaty with Cheliax.

There is, of course a practical question here. Ravounel has a low population, is ocean-facing, and is highly likely to leak sensitive material with which it is entrusted. Given all that, what can Cheliax realistically ask of them in a war with Andoran and get more than they lose? Ground troops are right out. They would be few in number, unreliable, and difficult to transport. Ravounel's best use might be for commerce and colony raiding, but that just risks strengthening Ravounel itself. Captured prizes would join the Ravounel Navy or merchant marine, and captured colonies would be occupied by Ravounel. This can be ameliorated somewhat by requiring the Ravounel Navy to sortie only as part of a combined Chelish-Ravounel fleet, but commerce raiders operate alone and are hard to police. Maybe require a Chelish political officer on any commerce raider?


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
There is, of course a practical question here. Ravounel has a low population, is ocean-facing, and is highly likely to leak sensitive material with which it is entrusted. Given all that, what can Cheliax realistically ask of them in a war with Andoran and get more than they lose? Ground troops are right out. They would be few in number, unreliable, and difficult to transport. Ravounel's best use might be for commerce and colony raiding, but that just risks strengthening Ravounel itself. Captured prizes would join the Ravounel Navy or merchant marine, and captured colonies would be occupied by Ravounel. This can be ameliorated somewhat by requiring the Ravounel Navy to sortie only as part of a combined Chelish-Ravounel fleet, but commerce raiders operate alone and are hard to police. Maybe require a Chelish political officer on any commerce raider?

Or just as many ground troops as they can argue for via the terms of the treaty out of spite. Efficient or not, Ravounel is the one bearing the expense.

The best case scenario for Ravounel is actually Only land troops no navy, with exemptions in the alliance for Andoran and/or Taldor (or whoever the Silver Ravens of a particular world thought to negotiate for exclusion) with a X month delay before hostilities begin and a pull out clause of Y months.

And the nonaggression pact can twist it up even more.

Unfortunately, we don't know what the default Oakrib Accord actually is going forward, just that it has to be there because the AP was considered successfully completed.

Shadow Lodge

Kasoh wrote:
Or just as many ground troops as they can argue for via the terms of the treaty out of spite. Efficient or not, Ravounel is the one bearing the expense.

The trouble with ground troops, even if Ravounel can be made to pay for and arrange their supply, is that they are highly likely to fraternize with or desert to the enemy if they get to the front, or surrender at the drop of a hat and allow themselves to be taken prisoner. Either way you lose valuable intelligence and may lose a fighting unit. To stop that, you'd need to invest so much effort into countermeasures (devil MPs and such) that you might as well just form another unit with the men and resources you'd use keeping the Ravounels in line and save yourself the trouble.

Quote:

The best case scenario for Ravounel is actually Only land troops no navy, with exemptions in the alliance for Andoran and/or Taldor (or whoever the Silver Ravens of a particular world thought to negotiate for exclusion) with a X month delay before hostilities begin and a pull out clause of Y months.

And the nonaggression pact can twist it up even more.

Unfortunately, we don't know what the default Oakrib Accord actually is going forward, just that it has to be there because the AP was considered successfully completed.

There is no non-aggression pact with third powers in the Oakrib Accord. It would be such a blatant shot across the bow that Cheliax would abandon the negotiations right there. And the Oakrib Accord, forming part of the basic law of Ravounel, surely supercedes any other agreement (if it didn't, Ravounel could do things like sell off its entire annual salt production to a third party and avoid paying the remittances). But yes, the best solution for Ravounel is a contribution of ground troops and nothing more, precisely for the reasons I identified; Ravounel contributing ground troops helps Cheliax's enemies more than Cheliax. Which is surely why Cheliax will demand, and get, because it is the stronger party with more leverage, something else.


If Ravounel really does get the ball rolling it does seem more likely they'd end up as a naval power than anything else. Since they're primarily a mercantile state and they have pretty direct access to a lot of presumably friendly ports on the northern part of the Arcadian Ocean (including notably Azir, Magnimar, and emerging markets in New Thassilon.)

Their terrestrial borders are protected by mountains, a treaty, and Nidalese apathy. So it seems that they'd commit more resources to building a navy (or at least a merchant marine which would double as one in a pinch) than to a ground based military.

Shadow Lodge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
If Ravounel really does get the ball rolling it does seem more likely they'd end up as a naval power than anything else.

I mean, geopolitically Ravounel is basically Portugal. Geographically too - the North Plains are volcanically active. Here's hoping that Xin's eruption in Magnimar was the equivalent of the Lisbon earthquake, and that the Big One isn't coming for Kintargo O.o

Silver Crusade

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
If Ravounel really does get the ball rolling it does seem more likely they'd end up as a naval power than anything else.
I mean, geopolitically Ravounel is basically Portugal. Geographically too - the North Plains are volcanically active. Here's hoping that Xin's eruption in Magnimar was the equivalent of the Lisbon earthquake, and that the Big One isn't coming for Kintargo O.o

Seeing as how Golarion isn't Earth that's a good bet.

Shadow Lodge

Rysky wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
If Ravounel really does get the ball rolling it does seem more likely they'd end up as a naval power than anything else.
I mean, geopolitically Ravounel is basically Portugal. Geographically too - the North Plains are volcanically active. Here's hoping that Xin's eruption in Magnimar was the equivalent of the Lisbon earthquake, and that the Big One isn't coming for Kintargo O.o
Seeing as how Golarion isn't Earth that's a good bet.

Close enough. It's got dead-on analogues for each of Earth's continents and oceans - with the addition of a northern polar continent and an ocean dividing central from east "Asia." But neither of those is relevant to Ravounel's geography.

Silver Crusade

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Rysky wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
If Ravounel really does get the ball rolling it does seem more likely they'd end up as a naval power than anything else.
I mean, geopolitically Ravounel is basically Portugal. Geographically too - the North Plains are volcanically active. Here's hoping that Xin's eruption in Magnimar was the equivalent of the Lisbon earthquake, and that the Big One isn't coming for Kintargo O.o
Seeing as how Golarion isn't Earth that's a good bet.
Close enough. It's got dead-on analogues for each of Earth's continents and oceans - with the addition of a northern polar continent and an ocean dividing central from east "Asia." But neither of those is relevant to Ravounel's geography.

Especially the "Ravounel is not on Earth" part.


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
There is no non-aggression pact with third powers in the Oakrib Accord. It would be such a blatant shot across the bow that Cheliax would abandon the negotiations right there. And the Oakrib Accord, forming part of the basic law of Ravounel, surely supercedes any other agreement (if it didn't, Ravounel could do things like sell off its entire annual salt production to a third party and avoid paying the remittances). But yes, the best solution for Ravounel is a contribution of ground troops and nothing more, precisely for the reasons I identified; Ravounel contributing ground troops helps Cheliax's enemies more than Cheliax. Which is surely why Cheliax will demand, and get, because it is the stronger party with more...

Part of the concessions of the Nonagression pact is that Ravounel can sell arms and magic to outside parties, and even allow open borders to foreign armies. I don't have my book with me, but I think that's the gist. The terms of it are actually ridiculous considering how relatively low the DCs are for the PC's level.

Now, it might not be how these sort of things work historically, but I imagine that Cheliax would request as many troops as they could, then put them in the front and push Ravounelians through the meat grinder just to be jerks about it. I see the military alliance as a form of Ravounel's human sacrifice.

It depends a lot on how antagonistic you imagine the two nations to be. Pretty much all of Cheliax relies on every military commander stationed near Ravounel to not pull a "Fangwood Keep." So, Cheliax has some incentive to play nice and Ravounel is surrounded by danger, so being able to play nice with Cheliax could be a politically relevant goal.

Shadow Lodge

Kasoh wrote:
Part of the concessions of the Nonagression pact is that Ravounel can sell arms and magic to outside parties, and even allow open borders to foreign armies. I don't have my book with me, but I think that's the gist. The terms of it are actually ridiculous considering how relatively low the DCs are for the PC's level.

These are basic aspects of sovereignty, and the default is that Ravounel does not get them. Writing a nonaggression pact into the treaty would be a bridge yet farther.

Quote:
Now, it might not be how these sort of things work historically, but I imagine that Cheliax would request as many troops as they could, then put them in the front and push Ravounelians through the meat grinder just to be jerks about it. I see the military alliance as a form of Ravounel's human sacrifice.

Trouble is, again, they'd have to force the Ravounels on the ground to play along with that plan. Without a line of Chelish NKVD at their back and among their ranks, they'd just desert or surrender. And if you have NKVD to spare, you have the makings of a good fighting unit that should be used for that purpose rather than keeping an unreliable unit in line for the sake of spite.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Erk Ander wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

For one thing, if Cheliax and Andoran do go to war, Ravounel is treaty-bound to come to the aid of Cheliax- something neither Eagle Knights nor Firebrands want.

This is not necessarily true, we don't know what detail is peace agreement. It was possible that some countries were exempt, meaning Cheliax would need to fight them alone. In fact I think Andoran and Taldor was used as examples of such exceptions.
Nope. Most Ravounel can get is a time limit when they can't be called to war. Eventually, if the war goes on long enough, they will be a co-belligerent with Cheliax.

I am simply going to the quote the part from the Adventure path and the arguement with that

"Nereza agrees to place limits on the nations against
which Ravounel will assist Cheliax. For example, the
PCs may ask for an exemption on warring against
Andoran or Taldor."

Do you see now ? Depending on the success of the negotiations there might be exceptions. Just like I said. We don't know how well it went only that they succeded to negotiate. To what extent is unknown.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Erk Ander wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Erk Ander wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

For one thing, if Cheliax and Andoran do go to war, Ravounel is treaty-bound to come to the aid of Cheliax- something neither Eagle Knights nor Firebrands want.

This is not necessarily true, we don't know what detail is peace agreement. It was possible that some countries were exempt, meaning Cheliax would need to fight them alone. In fact I think Andoran and Taldor was used as examples of such exceptions.
Nope. Most Ravounel can get is a time limit when they can't be called to war. Eventually, if the war goes on long enough, they will be a co-belligerent with Cheliax.

I am simply going to the quote the part from the Adventure path and the arguement with that

"Nereza agrees to place limits on the nations against
which Ravounel will assist Cheliax. For example, the
PCs may ask for an exemption on warring against
Andoran or Taldor."

Do you see now ? Depending on the success of the negotiations there might be exceptions. Just like I said. We don't know how well it went only that they succeded to negotiate. To what extent is unknown.

Ah, you're new to Zimmerwald's "Golarion is Earth with changed names and some irrelevant fantasy stuff sprinkled on the top".


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Gorbacz wrote:
Ah, you're new to Zimmerwald's "Golarion is Earth with changed names and some irrelevant fantasy stuff sprinkled on the top".

If you're familiar with history, using the activities and behaviors of historical governments and industries can provide a great deal of guidance on what might happen in another similar setting without having to spend a lot of time making stuff up or deciding something off the cuff that ends up having repercussions you have to clean up later. (This depends on how simulationist your fantasy geo-politics goes.)

I find Zimmerwald's extrapolation useful. Some of it is usable in my games, some of it isn't but its almost always entertaining.

Shadow Lodge

Erk Ander wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Erk Ander wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

For one thing, if Cheliax and Andoran do go to war, Ravounel is treaty-bound to come to the aid of Cheliax- something neither Eagle Knights nor Firebrands want.

This is not necessarily true, we don't know what detail is peace agreement. It was possible that some countries were exempt, meaning Cheliax would need to fight them alone. In fact I think Andoran and Taldor was used as examples of such exceptions.
Nope. Most Ravounel can get is a time limit when they can't be called to war. Eventually, if the war goes on long enough, they will be a co-belligerent with Cheliax.

I am simply going to the quote the part from the Adventure path and the arguement with that

"Nereza agrees to place limits on the nations against
which Ravounel will assist Cheliax. For example, the
PCs may ask for an exemption on warring against
Andoran or Taldor."

Do you see now ? Depending on the success of the negotiations there might be exceptions. Just like I said. We don't know how well it went only that they succeded to negotiate. To what extent is unknown.

Thanks for the correction. Still a boneheaded move on Cheliax's part, but there it is.


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I think a significant theme in the Hell's [Foo] Adventure Path duology is that Cheliax is making significant mistakes because they have two crises pop up simultaneously and only really have the resources/political capital to address one of them.

They sensibly chose Westcrown over Kintargo.

Ravounel is just tremendously lucky because they had the Glorious Reclamation running interference during their secession (not to mention that Barzillai was a loon the other Thrunes didn't like much), and shortly thereafter the Whispering Tyrant woke up putting an end to pretty much all military adventurism by the inner sea powers, who find themselves having to be nominal allies until the Lich gets put back in the box.

Cheliax probably benefits from the "rally around the flag to oppose the armies of the dead" too, come to think of it.

Shadow Lodge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Cheliax probably benefits from the "rally around the flag to oppose the armies of the dead" too, come to think of it.

"The toilers in Egorian's dark, satanic mills, and the slaves in the cotton or jute plantation that feed them, have more in common with a vampiric or wightish thrall, or the minion of a necromancer, than with the Paraduke over their heads or his master, Mammon. And must someday make common cause against all masters."


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Cheliax probably benefits from the "rally around the flag to oppose the armies of the dead" too, come to think of it.
"The toilers in Egorian's dark, satanic mills, and the slaves in the cotton or jute plantation that feed them, have more in common with a vampiric or wightish thrall, or the minion of a necromancer, than with the Paraduke over their heads or his master, Mammon. And must someday make common cause against all masters."

That could make for an interesting story. Though I think that'd be a pretty hard sell to convince people of that. You'd probably have better luck making them hate the idea of mindless undead taking their jobs.

Shadow Lodge

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Squeakmaan wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Cheliax probably benefits from the "rally around the flag to oppose the armies of the dead" too, come to think of it.
"The toilers in Egorian's dark, satanic mills, and the slaves in the cotton or jute plantation that feed them, have more in common with a vampiric or wightish thrall, or the minion of a necromancer, than with the Paraduke over their heads or his master, Mammon. And must someday make common cause against all masters."
That could make for an interesting story. Though I think that'd be a pretty hard sell to convince people of that. You'd probably have better luck making them hate the idea of mindless undead taking their jobs.

It's a hard enough sell when the undead in this analogy are actual human beings. It's only really ever been successful once. But convincing people to hate the undead (in this analogy) is not only immoral, but counterproductive. Why exclude the thralls of the world from the international brotherhood of labor, and thereby render their masters invulnerable to challenge except from the outside?


I have no doubt in my head that the Eagle Knights are lending some aid to the Firebrands, CIA-style.

Shadow Lodge

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Voltron64 wrote:
I have no doubt in my head that the Eagle Knights are lending some aid to the Firebrands, CIA-style.

How dare you compare the Firebrands to the Contras!

(Kidding on the square here.)

Shadow Lodge

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An accounting of the state of radical politics in the Inner Sea Region in 4720:

The major international groups active as of 4720 are, in order of foundation, the Bellflower Network, the Eagle Knights, Liberty's Edge, and the Firebrands. Each traces its history to a different foundation, orients its activity to different if overlapping objectives mostly centered on the emancipation of labor and the institution of democracy, and takes on different organizational forms.

The Bellflower Network traces its history to the collapse of Old Cheliax and the counter-revolution that cemented the continued institution of slavery in the rump empire and around the Inner Sea (particularly Absalom). Its primary orientation was and remains toward facilitating the escape of slaves from their masters, and does not intervene politically. It is organized into clandestine cells.

The Eagle Knights trace their heritage to the revolutionary wave of 4648–4667 (from the beginning of the Freedom War to the end of the People's Revolt, overlaps in time with the Thrune Counter-Revolution) and in particular its crowning achievement in the Andoren People's Revolt. The Eagle Knights are today part of the Andoren military and exist to advance its foreign policy, whether by defending the state's frontiers, fomenting rebellion in enemy countries, or raiding slave ships. The last activity has been by far the most successful, and reached its peak in 4717 with the blockade of the western Inner Sea to slave traffic and the abolition of slavery in Absalom in 4719. The fomenting of pro-Andoran rebellions in western Cheliax and in Galt has met with far more limited success—Andorens are influential on Thuryan, but revolutionaries have largely gone their own way, fearful of subordination by the powerful Andoren state.

Indeed, Liberty's Edge began its career as an entry by the Eagle Knights into Pathfinder Society politics, hoping to subordinate that organization to the aims of the Andoren state. Its leadership broke from the Eagle Knights in 4713 in a bid to root out corruption in Andoran, and eventually the faction shed its ties to Andoran altogether, appointing an ex-Bellflower leader in 4717. Its entryist politics remain, however, as does its centralized structure. Today its orientation is toward influencing the Pathfinder Society to adopt radical politics (or at least toward taking advantage of its world-spanning scope and unique resources), but has met with only limited success. The Firebrands are pushing Liberty's Edge to reenter Andoren politics as a radical answer to the ruling Populists (with the ulterior motive that they would dearly love to have such an organization as their national affiliate in Andoran), but for now it seems to be staying the course.

The Firebrands were born from the recent revolutionary wave of 4708–4718 (from the anti-Ileosa riots in Korvosa through the ascension of Eutropia in Taldor), and in particular from the two revolutionary factions that managed to take power through it: the Silver Ravens in Kintargo and the Freemen's Brotherhood in Vidrian. The former group took power relatively easily, while the latter struggled from an abortive uprising in 4710 through 4717. Neither remained in power long, with the Silver Ravens losing control of the Silver Council (though not the Dominate) to the Court of Coin through resignations and absenteeism of councilors, and the Freemen's Brotherhood ceding power to a council of tribal elders (a decisive bloc of which but not a majority of which are members or sympathizers). But both remained influential and able to vie for power and policy influence in their home countries, and to sponsor movements elsewhere. This allowed them to attract groups that were wary of Eagle Knight patronage, and to build a network of national and local affiliates. Most otherwise-unaffiliated radical groups in the Inner Sea region at least claim affiliation with the Firebrands.

National* Firebrand groups include: the Silver Ravens, the Freemen's Brotherhood, the Woodsedge Dissidents in Galt (the first group to affiliate), Irgal's Axe in Nirmathas, and the Heralds of Summer's Return in Irrisen. Local Firebrand groups include but are by no means limited to: the White Thistles, Whaler's Guild, and Galtan partisans in Pezzack, the Children of Westcrown in Westcrown, the Bright Lions in Mzali, the Ironsoots in Korvosa, the Freemen in Kaer Maga, Zincher's Union Protection Association** in Riddleport, the Beacon's Point Trades Council** and the Rose and Rake in Magnimar, and the Waterworks Rebels in Artume. The Silver Ravens, Freemen's Brotherhood, and Irgal's Axes are well-established enough not to be persecuted in their countries, and rotate hosting Vaunter's Carnivals in Kintargo, Anthusis, and Tamran respectively. Each city is also a home to prominent Firebrands that more local groups consult for advice and aid, which is more or less freely given if available. Typically groups in Lake Encarthan's basin look to Tamran, while groups on the Inner Sea and Steaming Sea look to Kintargo and groups on the Arcadian Ocean look to Anthusis.

(* I'm using the term "nation" to refer to countries delineated on the map. So even though the various River Kingdoms like Artume and the various Varisian and Mwangi city-states like Magnimar and Mzali are independent, they are not nations for this purpose - Artume, Magnimar, and Mzali belong to the nations of the River Kingdoms, Varisia, and the Mwangi Expanse respectively.)

(** These are names I made up, but which sound plausible to me. "Zincher's Union Protection Association" takes its name from one of the forebears of the International Longshoremen's Association. Riddleport's organized labor is controlled by Clegg Zincher, who has a habit of naming things after himself e.g. Zincher's Arena, and the ILA likewise historically had ties to organized crime. "Central Trades Council" or "Central Labor Council" is a common name for local groups of trade unions, and of the many guilds in Magnimar those in Beacon's Point are both the most near-uniformly working-class, the most shut out of influence, and the closest to resorting to direct action to gain it, so seemed to fit with the other affiliates throughout Varisia.)

These groups have overlapping memberships and cooperate more or less well with each other, and also with the Silver Rose Grey Maidens (which is a support rather than a political group, and isn't particularly radical, but which counts Queen Sabina Merrin of Korvosa among its number and is thus useful to keep happy to avoid persecution). In particular, the Firebrands and Liberty's Edge have Bellflowers among their leadership.

All parties involved were disappointed in the failure of the Glorious Reclamation to take power in Cheliax and the extirpation that followed, and are at best cautiously optimistic about the regimes of Azaersi in Oprak and Eutropia in Taldor. Each represents a movement of national regeneration, but neither is a force for either democracy or the emancipation of labor. Oprak in particular practices slavery, which endears it to nobody, and both the Bellflower Network and the Firebrands are attempting (so far unsuccessfully) to establish cells and gain affiliates therein. Both are also threats to Nirmathas and Andoran in terms of power politics, precisely because they represent movements of national regeneration, and rising nations tend to try to conquer their neighbors (Oprak has already annexed large parts of Nirmathas).

Speaking of power politics, Andoran supplies Nirmathas with weapons through Druma, while Ravounel and Vidrian maintain a military alliance—Vidrian also maintains a military alliance with Senghor. Andoran uses Kintargo for a naval base west of the Arch of Aroden and as a port of embarkation for its new colonies in Azlant, including the jewel in the crown that is Talmandor's Bounty. After the failure of the Glorious Reclamation, these alliance systems seemed destined to come together and clash with the Chelish alliance system that also embraced Nidal and Isger, and into which regional rivalries would likely have pushed Molthune and the Shackles (the Shackles have been invaded by Cheliax, but that's water under the bridge - at the moment the Free Captains' foreign policy priority is to reestablish their suzerainty over Vidrian and their domestic policy priority is to stem the poaching of captains' loyalties by the Firebrands). Rahadoum, antagonized by the Firebrands but also with irredentist claims against Cheliax, could go either way (it reconquered Kharijite in 4717, but Cheliax took it back some time between then and 4720). However, the rise of the Whispering Tyrant brought an end to the revolutionary wave and put a damper on both hopes of a revolutionary war to carry the banner into Cheliax, and hopes of reconquest.

Dark Archive

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Well, the Eagle Knights are a state-funded military organization in Andoran. The Firebrands are a lot less official, in that whatever materiel aid they receive from the governments of Ravounel or Vidrian has to be on the "plausible deniability" level.

To expand on that, the Eagle Knights are like the Anla'Shok/Rangers from Babylon 5 or Shield from the MCU: There is a fixed hierarchy with orders and ranks. New recruits are being vetted for the job by central command. If you fail to follow orders or guidelines, you can be sanctioned or recalled home. Sure, it is all clandestined and secretive, so you are expected to operate on your own intelligence, and bending rules is seen as a grim necessity (and if you are operating far away from home, like Irrisen or Sargava, your orders are pretty much "yeah, whatever you think is right").

The Firebrands, on the other hand, are like the Pirates Code from Pirates of the Carribian. Sure, there are rules and laws, but there are more like ... guidelines. You follow them not because you must, but because they make sense and you want to keep your standing. Anyone can call themselves a Firebrand, but that alone gives you nothing if the rest of the Firebrands don't recognise your claim. There is no strikt hierarchy to follow, just people who are very respected, and others follow their example because they are personally bound to them. And when different brands interact with each other, there is a lot of bargaining and philosophying because no one can "pull rank". It gets easier because everyone is on the same page regarding "good" and "evil", but if the Ravounel Firebrands tell the Thuvian Firebrands to eliminate the Taldoran Ambassador, the Thuvians can just say "no" and there is nothing that Ravounel can do, even if they are bigger and more powerful.

Shadow Lodge

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A further note on power politics:

Ravounel has a military alliance with the unnamed aquatic elf polity on the continental shelf of the Steaming Sea whose major settlements are Irim in the Bay of Nisroch, and Mirivenn west of the Dismal Nitch. Andoran has good relations with Kyonin, and the (old) wiki page describing Andoren foreign relations calls military cooperation between them "not improbable."


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Ravounel has a military alliance with the unnamed aquatic elf polity on the continental shelf of the Steaming Sea whose major settlements are Irim in the Bay of Nisroch, and Mirivenn west of the Dismal Nitch.

Since Ravounel is largely run via a union of disjoint largely autonomous local governments, is it plausible that the aquatic elves here are just part of Ravounel? I'm not sure they'd lose anything there.

Shadow Lodge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Ravounel has a military alliance with the unnamed aquatic elf polity on the continental shelf of the Steaming Sea whose major settlements are Irim in the Bay of Nisroch, and Mirivenn west of the Dismal Nitch.
Since Ravounel is largely run via a union of disjoint largely autonomous local governments, is it plausible that the aquatic elves here are just part of Ravounel? I'm not sure they'd lose anything there.

I don't think so. Ravounel's constituent regions, including its territorial waters, are enumerated exhaustively in the Kintargo Contract, which also defines their frontiers. Annexations beyond that, even on terms of voluntary union, probably aren't kosher as long as the Contract remains in force, and would probably constitute a material breach (which probably also means Anchor's End either reverted to Chelish sovereignty or established self-rule rather than remaining part of Ravounel). Ravounel's territorial waters don't extend much past its coasts (probably no more than 12 miles), and both Irim and Mirivenn are located well out on the continental shelf.

On the other hand, Acisazi considers itself as much or more part of the unnamed aquatic elven polity as it does part of Ravounel, and represents Ravounel's territorial waters. Maybe it's a condominium a la Pheasant Island?

Shadow Lodge

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
All parties involved were disappointed in the failure of the Glorious Reclamation to take power in Cheliax and the extirpation that followed

Expanding on this a bit, there's quite a bit of recrimination for this failure among the extant radical groups, which hampers trust and cooperation. Liberty's Edge correctly accuses the Eagle Knights and especially the Silver Ravens of placing their countries' national interests above the interests of the international radical movement, and similarly accuses the Bellflowers of going to ground for narrow sectarian reasons, while Liberty's Edge itself aided the Glorious Reclamation along with the Silver Crusade. The Freemen's Brotherhood and the rest of the Firebrands largely escape criticism due to their distance from Cheliax, their actual non-abandonment of the struggle during the relevant times (despite that non-abandonment's non-decisive influence over events), or both.

The Silver Ravens, for their part, suffered a split of the once-and-future Court of Coin and individual resignations of many of their erstwhile members like Mialari Docur over the issue, and the internationalist faction that dominated the rump organization participated in the foundation of the Firebrands partly as a redemptive measure. They have not, however, entirely shaken their unreliable reputation.


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While Pathfinder adventure paths generally follow a real world time scale (i.e. 1 month in publishing is 1 month in Golarion) I was under the impression that Hell's Rebels and Hell's Vengeance happened simultaneously.

So that the Silver Ravens were not in position to extend their influence far outside of Kintargo until book 4 or 5 of Hell's Vengeance, when the Glorious Reclamation was already on the ropes.

Shadow Lodge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
So that the Silver Ravens were not in position to extend their influence far outside of Kintargo until book 4 or 5 of Hell's Vengeance, when the Glorious Reclamation was already on the ropes.

Silly answer: since when have such things mattered to radicals looking for recriminations? :P

Serious answer: certain events in HV correspond with the beginnings of HR volumes, as detailed in those volumes. Going by those, the GR had suffered only minor reverses until the very end of HV Book 5, which corresponds to the beginning of HR book 6, and remains a viable contender for power right through the end of HV Book 6. In HR books 5 and 6, the SRs have the choice of either using the Kintargo Contract to consolidate power and safety, or of baiting Thrune into a breach that will lose them Hellish support at the cost of the invasion and despoiling of Ravounel. HR assumes they opt for safety and consolidating power, which can at least be credibly characterized as a "screw you, got mine" to everyone outside Ravounel. Nor are the forces that the SRs can bring to bear outside Ravounel inconsiderable. At the end of HR Book 5 these amount to about 4 15th-level PCs, 1 19th-level NPC(!), and a smattering of NPCs of around 11th level.

Meta answer: conflict is important, and I was looking for an excuse to create some.

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