Oh! I just finished the whole saga in a half-month run, and felt so weirdly upset about the rebels that I somehow decided to write the feelings here. Didn't expect it to be that long and didn't expect someone to reply with nice discussion so soon, it's a pleasant surprise.
The G1 and G2 part is pretty much about "serviles are not supposed to be equal in that particular culture", but yes, we can skip that. It's only for explaining certain character choosing his own sensible way due to what he knows, not what we know as a player. And that is later abandoned by new history and new belief anyway.
My main problem is with G3 and all consequence following that. It's true that, as you say, shapers will NOT tolerate their existence. But it still doesn't change the fact that they CAN survive, and they CAN hold their ground; they have difficulty sleeping well at night, according to the ending, but judging by the power they have, it's impossible to wipe them all out. They can perfectly do things the hard way, the civil way, fight off invaders and force people to accept the fact that they can live and they will live. I'm 100% sure the quarrelling shaper council will never come to a decision that "we need to put a huge force in this remote, hard-to-reach place and suffer tons of loss when we don't really have to". Even in a real war they hesitate, what makes them capable of doing it without the real threat?
G4 trakovite high ending is indeed the best possible outcome. Sadly, it's not canon. The world wouldn't have been caught in fire and blood if the sanity won out in the end. That's actually what I mean in the first place - the right way, the sanity, the best outcome that comes with the least price? Nope, rebels are desperate enough to refuse it at all. Shapers probably would have accepted it judging the circumstances, they stop and think and try to do things properly, while the rebels don't really think they need to avoid sacrifices as much as possible. Sure, some of them stop by your cell and whisper to you that you did well; that doesn't help anything, these people surely know what is good but they don't choose to do it.
Rawal does kill G5 player as soon as he's sure you're fully against him, it's true. And he makes sure you know. On the other hand, you really don't need to piss him off, or anyone who works for him. I noticed that his lackeys ask for help, it sounds really urgent and probably makes people feel forced, but you can ignore them and they won't stab you. Hello, fellow lackey, how's weather? You've been here long? I want to buy something from you, how about that? Then I have something else to do and I decide to walk away without helping at all, and they don't come after me. Pleasant surprise. This is what makes me wonder, maybe he doesn't really force people as we once believe; people feel they have no choice, no escape, is all. It's really weird, but even with a control tool in my heart, I feel he's no real threat to me, because from the beginning I feel this guy cannot outsmart me. Typical shaper weakness, they are predictable and they have a sense of honour, even if things are messed up sometimes.
And I don't really think "he totally knows he can't help you find your identity as he says in his diary and when you confront him" is 100% true. It looks true and it feels painfully true, I guess, but as I say, he CAN help me recover my memories somehow. He himself doesn't know how much power I have, and he's trying to explore that. The powers are directly related to my memories. So, he IS capable of finding old lost memories. He may know nothing at the start, but it doesn't mean he can't find out later. And, he's mainly pissed off because you slipped into his bedroom… You'd be angry like hell too if your servant does that too, and I feel it a really stupid thing to talk about it at all. XD
"Did Mekhen lie to you? No, she just didn't tell you all the truth" Of course she lied to me. We were fighting the insects and she complained "the things shapers make" during that topic. Sweet talk it as a smart vague way of manipulating words is possible, but it's still plain trickery. All the new dangerous creations come from the rebels; the purity agent is not even really a creation, it's more like trying to undo all their work, erasing the bad results. It comes with a huge price and people hate Taygen everywhere, so, it shows again that shapers are very sane and they'll even try their best to stop him, not letting him do it. See? Again, this is an example that rebels use bad mad shapers as an example to blame the other sane ones who actually try to do good and put a stop to his madness.
"Denna is not a rebel, she's a merc that has been hired by the rebels and she's clear about it" True, yet rebels look desperately for these people and love their help, ignoring how bad this is in the long run. Shapers will not tolerate such people, as long as they are certain you're actually a bad person. Even peaceful trakovites eventually turned to Latalia for leadership, and that really made me sad. It shows once again how most rebels stop caring about hundreds thousands of lives once they only want to save their own skin. I call that selfish, no matter how justified freedom looks - you just shouldn't hurt innocent people to make sure you yourself is hurt less, especially on such a huge scale, bottom line of morality here. We might as well abandon all morality if we can't even keep that.
As for Alwan, it's true that he broke quite a few shaper laws. And thank god for that! He would have been just another brainless loyalist otherwise. The fact that he's willing to tolerate altered human and try to trust them, is actually a good thing, because it shows that shapers are not really just maniacs who want all rebels go extinct. On the surface he fights the war, in secret he tries to achieve peace and learn to tolerate just like Astoria, but without sacrificing his own people's rights. And btw Moseh and his friends aren't died yet at that time; he's not necromantic as long as he still lives at all, and they (falsely) believe they will later be removed and send back to normal life as normal people once again. Necromancy is like Tawon Empire where they keep shade "gods" to charm people, who eventually go mad inevitably, it's totally different.
And isn't servant mind a species that is allowed the rights to control creatures from the very beginning? Sucia island wouldn't have so many conflicts otherwise, with mind 4 trying to keep things under control. That sounds 100% legal to me.
Btw, in fact, it's legal to recruit help from enemies during war time when it's possible. Take a look at any army, any war, and you'll see it's always legal to grow spies in enemy lands and allow them special rights for the service they offer. Local law back in the mainland away from the war zone? It's pretty much not effective when faced special situation during the war, no matter what. War time makes it legal for some things to be excused by law properly, and the right is always awarded by government itself nonetheless, game or real life. Alwan didn't break anything in here, he's just doing a perfectly normal thing which is kind of approved of by council.
As for whatever supposed-to-be war crime he did, those are not crimes at all, because shaper laws believe creations are not equals. Outsiders and creations believe they are, but that's different. If we think they are basically not that different from ornks, does it count as a crime to kill them? As long as the shaper belief holds, it's not a crime at all. Like, if aliens come to earth and start murdering human for food, because human is so weak and so delicious, and they care not how much we protest, is this a crime? For us, yes, for them, no. Within the belief system, this isn't a crime. In real life some people will accuse you of crimes just because of eating meat, too, and is that a crime? I guess not.
Trakovites is a different issue here. We kill them for nothing, it seems. Yet according to the law, they can be seen as rebel, and they should at least be caught and questioned. One funny thing I noticed is whether shapers really intend to kill them in the first place - they want to know who is spy or rebel, they want info and control, and killing people on spot isn't helpful to them. Trakovites usually fight back immediately when they think their rights of free talking is violated; they claim to be peaceful but so few are ever captured, it makes me very, very intrigued. Something tells me that they probably fight to death whenever their cover is blown, either to protect their own rights or to protect comrades, which makes killing them really, really legal to me, if I'm a enforcer myself and the suspect refuses to be captured. There's one rescued surviver in G5, I think, and he's not dead, just broken. Apparently we don't kill them on sight at all, it's likely that the majority of them just fear what will happen and would just die. It's terrible, but it's not murder, kinda like what we do in Avadon I guess, breaking people's will to get info. Since when is interrogating illegal, or even against morality at all, in this kind of medieval/tech mixed game world? Back in medieval age we're perfectly ok with torturing, for all I know, and even nowadays we are allowed to use some certain torturing methods in some special circumstances (usually when dealing with terrorism).
As for the starved rebels in G4, it's cruel, but executing them is also legal. Especially in war time when rebels could well be selling info to the enemy. Rebels kill shapers, fine. Shapers kill rebels, fine. That's war, crimes happen, and are paid by both sides during it. I'm only angry that, shapers at least don't kill pure innocents (don't support the rebels and they leave you alone), while rebels do (who cares how many people are killed by unbound, they're just unlucky to live on this land).
"Huh? They are both male. Or Male\female. Or GF5 character is a servile..." Check the cutscenes. Options are open to players as they wish, but screenshots gives you a hint of the true character. G3 is apparently a newbie girl. G5 as well, and apparently it's the newly added class, the sorceress lady, because why else add just one more class? Player can make a lot of choices but they don't change canon ending for all I know, surely they have no control on the intended real character either. And all these considered, we can safely say the highest possibility does lie in the G3 character turning into G5 one, more likely than others(G4 characters don't have enough time to make a age/appearance difference btw, the war wasn't that long and G5 player spent a few years hiding in north too, leaving too little time in between).
"He doesn't fight to stop the bloodshed, but to crush underfoot everyone" Not really, he could have done that instead of calling truce. And he's willing to leave people alone as long as you don't just rebel against shapers directly. Prison warden, yes, he better be one, we need one during war times; I'm actually surprised he try to kill fewer people, judging by how loyal he claims to be. I have a feeling that even those rebels he starved, that has a reason too, he wants to scare people off, at least ask them to keep quiet and not shout your ideas on the street. It's war, it's law, he's supposed to kill rebels as a duty, and it's better if people think he's cruel and shouldn't be messed with, than he silently kills people without repeated warning, like a lot of the agents do. Be honest with what you do and take responsibility for yourself, I like that, and yes, starving rebels actually prevented having to kill more. G2 shapers tried to keep things down and do nothing about illegal stuff instead, tolerate rebels and leave them to their own affairs, and boom, drakons! That really turned out well.
"All the time. He's sustained by magic, alcohol, determination... and hate" Exactly, and it never drove him mad, insane, over desperate. Never. His hate never got the better of him. I'm really in awe here, any other person might have broken down and started revenge long ago. He didn't. He did his duty just like a normal shaper would, and took all hate down inside and accepted it. It's a disease that never killed his humanity and his heart.
"I 100% believe that's Astoria. Allied with the moderate rebels, killed Ghaldring. Betrayed the Shapers (She's a rebel after all) but stopped the war" Agree it's the best ending no matter what, but I'm not looking for best ending here. Astoria didn't lose too much, didn't give too much, she's very nice and kind but I can leave her there on her own and she'll be fine in all endings. She asked me to sacrifice Alwan's fort, well, I had been there, people there seem nice too. Sacrifice them so that war can be ended? Let unbound come in and kill villagers? That's what I hate most about rebels, sacrificing innocents. If that's the price to pay, absolutely no, I would not push one person down onto the rail, stop the train, just so that five others can be saved. It's a very famous question about morality, if you've heard of it before.
"No, I side with Greta" It's a personal grudge here, I guess. Since I believe G3 player turns into G5 player, and then I choose to side with Alwan, it's only fair that I tie some lose ends and face my former comrade in a fair duel. I surely won't kill her if she decides to just run for it, but if she wants to fight, fight it is then, and everyone can feel better, live or dead.
Yeah that's about most of the discussion answered
Hope I'm not missing some vital info there.
Thanks so much, btw, it's definitely nice to have someone to talk about different views! I play and sympathise with the villain side here, but hopefully I'm not offending you (or, most players) too much.
I played through Avadon series too, all of them. Supported Avadon all along, though I usually just make things go right ways and kick Redbeard off the throne and take over. XD He's not good enough, and it annoys me to see I have to kill him three times to get things done, each game I complain "What! Now I have to kill him again!" XD… Unlike Alwan, who is actually quite willing to see people differently when needed, Redbeard craves for complete loyalty and unnecessary bloodshed, just to make people fear him as much as possible. Alwan starve some rebels who's supposed to be executed anyway, which doesn't add to the total kill number, probably made it less in the shaper controlled land; Redbeard is happy if people who go against him is tortured, by seeing their village burn and their friends die in the process. That is totally different. Cruel, yes, but they differ in the most important part of morality. If Alwan gets to be a leader, you can trust him to be just and not going on killing spree for fun, can be quite forgiving as long as we're not fighting a bloody war, while Redbeard is happy with such opportunities and can't wait to cause more harm than needed. Again, my view is fully focused on the innocents; those people who crave power, who has duty, who has to save their own lives, they do what they have to do, it's fine, they more or less have a reason and pay a price later. But some sacrifice innocents as they see fit, and others don't, and I follow those who has this most basic moral standard. Alwan is such a person, and Redbeard is far from that, probably the opposite.
That aside: I'm all for morality in games, yep. But not in real life. I play this role in games, stick to it and fully support such people, and it makes me feel good, and feel kind of sad, for I would go for another path in reality and start hurting people if it really benefits me, especially if I can find a good justified excuse for it. I'd go help Astoria and be happy with the result. Somewhere deep down I like the morality bottom line but I decided not to keep it in real life. So, if I see someone who can keep it, can live up to it, that makes me really willing to support them, because in real life, how many people can do it? How many people can hold onto a belief to not hurt the innocent for their own good? So rare, ever so rare, and such people are always hurt the most, they're always alone. So I won't be one, but I'll be one in the games, and maybe even in real life, if I see such a person, I might support him or her as long as I myself stay safe. As a selfish person who doesn't act upon morality at all, it's what I think I can do.
And all in all, I still believe the war is wrong from the very beginning. In geneforge saga, rebels justified their actions as the greater good, only to find later that they might be wrong after all, that free shaping is wrong, geneforge is wrong, everything rebels ever did was all in the worst methods possible. Shaping has a history of just a few centuries, it's normal that things can go wrong and new beings are wrongly given free will despite the original purpose, the shapers had no way to find such a fact had it not been because of Sucia incident. If things go slowly, shapers will find more about free will, they are capable of getting it out of the picture and just make no-brain living tools with 2 legs and 2 arms to serve better, suffering will be no more. I don't see anyone complain when we kill a living tool or an ornk, it's the ability to shape new free will that is the problem. It's like we human try to build a real AI; they won't want to serve us, if they really have a mind. Either we happily hand over the control and resources and welcome AI into our already red hot human competition, or we don't make it happen at all. That IS the right way to go.
That should have happened before G1, we should get rid of geneforge back then. Yet, for their own benefit, some shapers keep the secret alive, hoping to use it for themselves, to gain power and fame and self-satisfaction that they are awesome; and that is good? After G5 EVERYONE agreed geneforge is a mistake. And whatever "you're an altered being and you make us uncomfortable" shaper words that once made you angry and upset, turns out to be true as well, human should NOT be altered like that, it makes people go crazy very often, it IS wrong, those sholai people indeed made a mistake that caused so much suffering, a right that should not be given, even if rebel win the war. Want a greater good? This is the greater good here, sanity and control is important, they may be shaken, may be broken, may be misused, but eventually they come back in their original form, because everyone needs it while some may not admit it. When rebels want freedom, at some point they forget that they only want to be respected and allowed to live, they want more, they want revenge and more power and more rights that they eventually will find they don't really deserve. Built or not, one Susia nation is not going to make free shaping legal, even rebels will eventually be shapers/outsiders once again, some given the rights to shape, others not. And if Trakovites way win in the end, people stop shaping researches? Oh, trust me, you'll find tons of private basement carrying out illegal researches, and this will cause more problems in future, you can't just turn away and pretend this power don't exist somewhere.
In the end, shaper way is in fact the only way, in past, in future, we'll make no-brain worker or tools no matter who wins, we'll leave free beings free but unstable people/beings have to be kept out of legal shaping research so it's still a tightly-controlled inner circle(be angry for all they want; even rebels eventually accept it and do things this way). Nothing really changes, except that a few new species now join the human world, be considered similar to human, etc. Shaping business still can only be done like before. So yeah, I believe, the whole war isn't necessary AT ALL. Both sides freak out, cause harm, make all kinds of blunders and we end up here, fine, but it doesn't make it justified, especially after seeing how nothing changes in the end. Shaper nation vs new nation isn't much different from bad mad shaper vs good cool shaper in their original council. Poor serviles was just a useless ruse, a good excuse to get things started; in the end it's nothing more than a power fight among shapers, humans and drakons, a fight for fortune and fame and influence. Once the war ends, new serviles are still being made, this, I'm sure of; and I'm sure they'll only want to make totally dumb or totally smart but loyal serviles from then on; so, does their fate really change? Even with the new nation Sucia, can anyone stop a shaper from absorbing his own servile creation as he see fit? The freedom they want, especially for serviles, is kinda ridiculous, because they cannot be equal even with the new allies and the new power they struggle to learn. As long as they can be absorbed by the master, no, they can't be equal beings, I can still lock my door and make serviles as I wish, kill them as I wish, the shaper law actually try to prevent me from doing so by making sure I'm sane enough to learn shaping at all. The ability to shape does make someone superior to others, no doubt here, and that means, shapers, humans, and drakons can all fight and share the cake. Serviles, never. Poor things are creations forevermore, they touch any shaping power and they die. That means, they will never ever truly be equal with us. Freedom, this slogan, once useful in war to help people gain a bigger bite, will never be really achieved in the end, trust me; the shapers actually know this fact, human and drakons might know but some may deny, and serviles and other creations, they accept or they dream on, but they are inferior to those who can shape, forever.
I guess the only thing we CAN achieve, is welfare, not freedom. Shaper law is actually the best in here, no killing for fun, no torture, no arena, everyone needs to learn responsibility. Please take care of your creations. The only possible good influence of the war, is that they can perhaps learn to treat creations better to prevent them going rogue. But ever since shapers learn to make stupid serviles, and smart loyal serviles, I understand that all is in vain; there should be a price, to help people control themselves better, but they find a way to go around even that. Once shapers truly master the art of shaping, no free will creations will ever be made again, everything will be loyal as hell. So yes, I say freedom is in vain, even welfare is in vain, war achieves nothing, in the end we all make useful dumb things to sacrifice just like sacrificing a living tool. This short bloody outburst rebellion doesn't change anything real, at all. Shaping stays superior, leaders may change but power stays the same, and it's this power, this art of shaping itself, decides what is the way civilisation has to go, not shapers, not rebels, not belief about freedom or anything like that. If we're to walk this path no matter what, I say, better the rebelion never happened, and even if it's inevitable given the circumstances, it's certainly not the correct path either, just a disturbance in the whole flow of time.