Part 80: Bonus Update #1: Favor, Wrath, Loyalty, and FearBonus Update #1: Favor, Wrath, Loyalty, and Fear
As Cleopatra has undergone her wonderful adventures in misrule and incompetence, the game has been telling us that we have been gaining Favor and Wrath with various factions for our statements and actions. So far this...hasn't actually mattered. Graven Ashe might not LIKE that we released the unfortunate Sybil, but he's not personally beating our ass at the moment. Isn't he mad about that? Let's dig a little deeper into the system, as it's fairly well done and meshes well with the game's narrative.
We have three separate categories, factions, companions, and Archons. They're all fairly self explanatory, and have the same two bars - Favor (or Loyalty, for companions), and Wrath (or Fear for companions). We'll use the Scarlet Chorus as our example, as they're currently winning the alliance vote.
Most of the factions have various abilities unlocked at higher levels of Wrath and Favor, and these are generally abilities associated with someone who fights with the faction for Favor, and abilities appropriate for an enemy of the faction. The first Scarlet Chorus ability is appropriately titled "Merciless" and lets us execute weakened foes more efficiently - a perfect exemplar of the ruthlessness of Nerat and his merry band.
Should we distinguish ourselves as enemies of the Chorus, on the other hand, we gain abilities suited to fighting them. The Chorus uses a lot of Burning and Bleeding attacks - the Blood Chanters like to throw fire around, and Scarlet Furies cause horrible bleeding wounds and shoot fire arrows.
Special mention goes out to the max Wrath Disfavored ability, which lets us remove Ashe's regeneration from all Disfavored soldiers in an area so we can cut them to pieces. By the time you have this ability, you almost never need it and you will honestly forget you have it because your spells are crazy. Mechanics are kind of the weak spot of this game.
The companions are similar, though they only have one ability on each axis. Loyalty is earned by doing things they like, such as asking Landry about nerd stuff, fighting fair for Barik, or killing dudes for Verse. Conversely, Fear is earned most easily by threatening them, but also by doing things like openly defying a superior (Barik panics if you go against Graven Ashe, whereas Verse grows afraid if you tell her the Archons are unfit to command) or bringing the party to a fight they don't think they can win. Much like factions and Archons, Loyalty and Fear are completely independent, so you can max both axis by being nice to Barik but also talking about how much Graven Ashe sucks.
The companions all have one ability that unlocks at Loyalty 3 and Fear 3. These are their second and third combo abilities where they combine with the Fatebinder to use abilities...you mostly don't care about. Are you really going to pull both Lantry and Cleopatra off rotating through custom AoEs that hard disable enemies to...slow some dudes? No. No you are not.
Lastly, we have the Archons. Tunon loves it when you uphold the law, and hates it when you do blatantly illegal shit (among other things). Aside from that it's mostly kissing ass and mouthing off for Favor and Wrath. They don't actually grant you any powers either way. It's a lot easier to lose Favor than it is to lose Wrath, so if it seems like I'm having Cleopatra walk a tightrope between all these powerful assholes, it's because we absolutely need to if we want to avoid conflict.
That said, it should be noted that Graven Ashe is linked to the Disfavored, and Nerat is linked to the Chorus. If you do something the Disfavored like, Graven Ashe approves, and kissing his ass in person is just the cherry on top. The same goes for Nerat.
I would be remiss not to mention that the game reacts in many places to Favor and Wrath. Faction members will react differently based on how much their faction likes you, companions will stick up for you at higher loyalties, and you might be able to gain favors from Archons if you've brown-nosed enough. We can also get companions to teach us new Sigils we wouldn't be able to access otherwise if they fear or love us enough. As we've seen, there's a ton of reactivity in this game and this system is one of the levers the game pulls to see what story we get.
However, what's most interesting to me as an LPer is how this ties the Fatebinder in with the rest of the world. The relationships aren't merely what the Scarlet Chorus thinks of us, but it's how the world views our relationship with the Scarlet Chorus. If everyone believes we're a fearsome hunter of Scarlet Furies, we gain the supernatural ability to resist the Chorus' attacks. If everyone believes we're an agent of the Chorus, we gain the ability to execute our foes in combat and inspire terror. This ties into the game's theme of belief, what with Kyros manipulating the world's perception of the Overlord to appear as an omnipotent mastermind as well as other revelations we've yet to uncover. This is not a system where you farm Scarlet Chorus for bleed resistance and the ability to craft +2 gear, this shapes your magical power and place in the world.
Anyway, the vote is still open, so keep throwing votes at your favorite legion, and we will complete Act I hopefully this weekend!