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Pentil is an emotionally heavy place


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I've finally fought my way through eight million vlishes and reached Pentil, and I'm finding it a difficult place to be, emotionally.  The librarian has spent her entire life copying useless records because they belonged to my people.  The military leader has killed people because they disobeyed shapers who weren't even there anymore.  And just in case I missed the message that these were living, thinking, feeling people, Jeff has given us a sage who's figured out how to tame fyora and a farmer who's sad because her husband died.

 

I find the entire town emotionally difficult to be in; the whole place makes me embarrassed to be a shaper.

 

In the real world, my country abolished slavery 150 years ago.  I've often thought about how horrible slavery was for the slaves, but this game is making me think about what a horrible effect slavery would also have had on the psyches of the slave owners.

 

Geeze, Jeff, rip out my heart and stomp on it, why don't you?

 

So, am I a crazy person who takes games way too seriously (okay, yes, I am; I know that), or did anybody else find this an emotionally difficult game?

 

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Jeff's games do make you think at times, it isn't all hack & slash/kill everything that moves.

 

(specifically thinking about the decision on the strategic value of wiping out a large batch of future slith warriors ... vs ... the tactical situation of 'you' wiping out a bunch of defenseless toddlers)

 

Sometimes (in game situations) you gotta do what you gotta do ... in your case, telling the librarian she's done a good job, telling the farmer what she wants to hear, etc.  To do otherwise risks having the town tear you apart for being a heretic (I wish those were some of the responses available to you - lying but telling them what they want to hear - give you a neutral or very slight reputation adjustment vs the larger adjustment with the given responses)

 

In the end though I think the games are better for it as those situations do add to the background color/game immersiveness

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7 hours ago, Corylea said:

I've finally fought my way through eight million vlishes and reached Pentil, and I'm finding it a difficult place to be, emotionally.  The librarian has spent her entire life copying useless records because they belonged to my people.  The military leader has killed people because they disobeyed shapers who weren't even there anymore.  And just in case I missed the message that these were living, thinking, feeling people, Jeff has given us a sage who's figured out how to tame fyora and a farmer who's sad because her husband died.

 

I find the entire town emotionally difficult to be in; the whole place makes me embarrassed to be a shaper.

 

 

 

 

I had the same thoughts about how horrible the Shapers have been. The words of The Pentil boss in his journal were another punch to the gut. He has killed his followers, manipulated them or had them tortured (you can see all those bloody logs, shackles and whips) for not being loyal enough to the group of people that abandoned them to die 100 years ago. And what is his deepest desire? His guilty thoughts? 
He finds himself at time wishing that a Shaper would tell him he did well. 
THAT is what this person desires and he feels guilty about wanting something from the Shapers. All the leader of the larger group of Serviles, that has blood on his hands, wants is for a Shaper to pet him on the head like a dog and tell him "good boy". 
Rydell's loyalty is admirable but he's loyal to the wrong people. He's a brainwashed creature and a huge waste of potential. The Obeyers make me feel unclean.  They make me feel uneasy in their place. They disgust me.  Not because they are themselves disgusting but because of the disgusting things that have happened to them in order to condition thinking creatures to behave like the beat-up Fyoras the Obeyers have tamed. 

But worry not. There is a solution... 

Down with the Shaper Tyranny! 
Burn Shapers in their ivory towers! You may like or dislike the Canisters and down the line the guys on the Rebellion side are not perfect but they are much better towards the serviles and the thinking creations than the Shapers. You are absolutely correct that being a Shaper is shameful. The Shapers are looking down on the outsider people and lock them out of the knowledge. They are hoarding power pretending they are the only ones wise enough to use it, when the world is littered with the disasters of their making. 
The Shaper Tyranny must end. 

 

Welcome to the Rebellion. We will remake the world to a better place.

I am hovering between Awakened and takers at this point. I didn't think the Takers could have much except "Unlimited Poweeeer!" to convince me but their absolute dedication to die free, knowing how their fight will end but still wanting to fight for it regardless is earning them points in my favor. Yes, they are fanatics. But they strive for freedom at all costs. According to the Taker beliefs they prefer to die standing up than live on their knees.  

Edited by alhoon
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Sadly the Rebellion end up being just as bad if not worse than the Shapers later on. At least one of the most admirable quality the shapers have as a whole is that they understand the concept of when great power comes great responsibility.

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1 minute ago, ultra112 said:

Sadly the Rebellion end up being just as bad if not worse than the Shapers later on. At least one of the most admirable quality the shapers have as a whole is that they understand the concept of when great power comes great responsibility.

 

I haven't played the later games in this series and am hoping not to have spoilers for them!  And since Jeff is re-working this series, the Rebellion could be different, this time around.

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16 hours ago, Corylea said:

 

I haven't played the later games in this series and am hoping not to have spoilers for them!  And since Jeff is re-working this series, the Rebellion could be different, this time around.

 

Don't worry. What @ultra112 says represents his opinion. The games are really not black and white. I strongly disagree with the assessment that the Rebellion was worse. They were (IMO) a significant improvement not just for the Serviles, but for everyone. Sure, to get there a bloody war was needed. But the next day if the Rebels win (the player decides that...) is better than the status quo pro-Rebellion. Or so I think and many disagree with me. 
There are different ways to win GF5 BTW. Different endings + variations for each ending. Your ending may (will probably be) different than my ending. 

 

My opinion, without spoilers is: The Rebellion at its worst was better than the Shapers at their Worst. The Rebellion on its best was much better than the Shapers on their best.  True, the Rebellion at its worst was worse than the Shapers at their best. But that is not a fair comparison. 

 

I think most people that are aligned with the Shapers do so because the first games you play a Shaper. You learn the world from a Shaper's purview with the good and the bad, but you're a Shaper. 

I started the games at GF4 - the Rebellion. So I didn't have the rose-tinted glasses of the 3-games-as-a-Shaper. 
The only game that really made me iffy about the Rebellion is GF3. But I won't give spoilers. 

 

No Spoilers suggestion

 

I honestly suggest you play GF3-GF5 as they won't be ready for several years. And that's where the Rebellion actually starts. Again, in my opinion, GF1-2 are "prequels" to the story, GF3-5 are the main story. GF3-5 form a closer narrative with many major NPCs from GF3 staying around through GF5. 
GF1 -3 are located in small areas, while GF4-5 you play in a laaarge part of the continent and cross many realms.

GF4-5 have a more cohesive system and better graphics. 

In GF3 you start to see Shapers ruling over large groups of people, although to get to an actual city instead of backwards small settlements you have to play for some time. 

In GF1 you see Serviles ruling significant settlements of Serviles and you learn how things were for them when they lived in semi-peace for a century. 

 

I honestly doubt those things would change in the future relaunches. What I believe will happen is better consistency between the games and perhaps extra endings or ending variations. 

 

Edited by alhoon
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4 hours ago, alhoon said:

[...]

My opinion, without spoilers is: The Rebellion at its worst was better than the Shapers at their Worst. The Rebellion on its best was much better than the Shapers on their best.  True, the Rebellion at its worst was worse than the Shapers at their best. But that is not a fair comparison. 

[...]

 

Yours sounds like an observant and nuanced view, and I appreciate your sharing it.  It also sounds so much like the sort of thing I say about other games. :-)  Well, you've already heard me on the Scoia'tael vs. the Order...

 

 

4 hours ago, alhoon said:

[...]

I honestly suggest you play GF3-GF5 as they won't be ready for several years. And that's where the Rebellion actually starts. Again, in my opinion, GF1-2 are "prequels" to the story, GF3-5 are the main story. GF3-5 form a closer narrative with many major NPCs from GF3 staying around through GF5. 

[...]

 

I'm still working my way through the current game.  I have a chronic illness that steals many of my days, so I can't do anything quickly, unfortunately.  But when I'm done with this one, I'll certainly check those out.  Or perhaps Jeff will have published Queen's Wish 2 by the time I manage to finish Mutagens. 😄

 

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15 hours ago, alhoon said:

I think most people that are aligned with the Shapers do so because the first games you play a Shaper. You learn the world from a Shaper's purview with the good and the bad, but you're a Shaper. 

I also started with Geneforge 4, and it's actually what turned me against the rebellion.

 

Won't go into detail why because spoilers, but the first time playing as a rebel (as the default) I just got more and more uncomfortable with it all and ultimately just stopped playing. Later restarted with a character who started listening to the Shapers instead and had a lot less of a problem. I still remember with great fondness how we crushed the rebellion at the end.

 

Geneforge 1, on the other hand... well, I completely share OP's sentiment regarding the Obeyers. Considering they're the pro-shaper faction... they actually did a lot to turn me against the Shapers compared to the rebellion stuff in 4-5. (I played the games in sequence 4, 5, 1, 2, 3)

 

(My shaper character rationalised it as "they're just confused, they've been without guidance so long they've started developing all these weird ideas." But I doubt he's actually convincing himself.)

Edited by Iguana-on-a-stick
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8 minutes ago, Iguana-on-a-stick said:

I also started with Geneforge 4, and it's actually what turned me against the rebellion.

 

Won't go into detail why because spoilers, but the first time playing as a rebel (as the default) I just got more and more uncomfortable with it all and ultimately just stopped playing. Later restarted with a character who started listening to the Shapers instead and had a lot less of a problem. I still remember with great fondness how we crushed the rebellion at the end.

 

Interesting!  You know Jeff has done a good job when people's real emotions and real ethical values are engaged when they play.

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No spoilers clarification
Some of the assumptions I have been discussing under in this thread, have just been proven (Mine Core zone) to be partially wrong. 

@CoryleaTake what I said here with a grain of salt and wait to explore more of the island. As a note, my opinion doesn't change but there were things I have not taken into account. 

 

Some old timers that we discuss with in  the past few years would probably be tempted to say "This is a common occurrence". Well, what can I say? The going-to explanation I have for things I see is based around "The Shapers are irresponsible, authoritarian knowledge-hoarders." So unless I see evidence there's a different reason for something instead of just Shapers acting as irresponsible, authoritarian power-hoarders I go under this assumption. 

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4 hours ago, alhoon said:

No spoilers clarification
Some of the assumptions I have been discussing under in this thread, have just been proven (Mine Core zone) to be partially wrong. 

 

No problem!  One of the great things about a well-written game -- which it looks as if this is -- is that everyone speaks from their own point of view, but that point of view may be based on faulty or incomplete information.

 

Have you played Planescape: Torment?  The main character has amnesia at the start of the game, and he gathers information about who he has been in the past slowly, over the course of the entire game.  The slowly dawning realization of just who you have been in the past is chilling.  Even after more than twenty years, P:T is widely considered to have one of the best stories, ever, in gaming.  It's one of my favorite games, specifically for that gradual realization of what the truth is.

 

So I'm happy to see the truth gradually revealed. :-)

 

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Corylea, what you're describing is a literary device known as the "unreliable narrator" and it's one of my favorites. It's differentiated from the "omniscient narrator" who knows everything about the situation and describes it accurately, or at least accurate to what the author wants to instill in the audience. With the unreliable narrator, either the story's narrator, or a character narrating their own perspective within the story, has a flaw in their telling, which should give the audience pause as to whether to rely on them. They may be crazy, they may be a liar, they may be brainwashed, or they may even just be misinformed. I love this story mechanism because it's true to life. Believing everything people tell you - gullibility - will lead a person to disaster.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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2 minutes ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

Corylea, what you're describing is a literary device known as the "unreliable narrator" and it's one of my favorites. It's differentiated from the "omniscient narrator" who knows everything about the situation and describes it accurately, or at least accurate to what the author wants to instill in the audience. With the unreliable narrator, either the story's narrator, or a character narrating their own perspective within the story, has a flaw in their telling, which should give the audience pause as to whether to rely on them. They may be crazy, they may be a liar, they may be brainwashed, or they may even just be misinformed. I love this story mechanism because it's true to life. Believing everything people tell you - gullibility - will lead a person to disaster.

 

I'm familiar with the term but didn't use it because I wasn't sure if everyone else was. :-)  And yes, that can provide a compelling story.  There's an Agatha Christie novel where the story is told from the point of view of the murderer, but he doesn't tell you until the very end that he IS the murderer.  Since the sort of old-school classic mysteries that Christie told were usually narrated in a straightforward way, it was a surprising plot twist to have her suddenly giving us an unreliable narrator.

 

We've learned in the real world -- to our sorrow -- that people tend to interpret new events so that those events will fit into their existing worldview.  When game characters do that, it makes the world a richer and more conflictual place.  Having the real world be conflictual is kind of a drag, but drama thrives on conflict, so story-heavy games only benefit from it.

 

I tried to get the Obeyer spy who was in Taker custody to escape, but his worldview was unshakable, and he seemed happy to die for his beliefs.  Do I chalk his death up to the Takers, to the Shapers, or to the Obeyers?  It seems as if there's enough culpability to go around for everyone to have some. 😞

 

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4 hours ago, Corylea said:

Do I chalk his death up to the Takers, to the Shapers, or to the Obeyers? 

To the Shapers. The man prefers to die free than submit. That's his choice. Fanaticism, but his choice and there's something respectable to staying true to your beliefs.

The Obeyers on the other hand are justified to kill a spy and saboteur. He wasn't there to make friends. 

 

The Shapers now. They abandoned, for whatever reason, the Serviles on Sucia all alone after instilling into them a culture of obedience and making them dependent on the Shapers for direction, to "do the thinking". Lack of critical thinking would often lead to fanaticism. The Obeyers fanatically worship the Shapers because they were conditioned to. The Takers fanatically oppose the Shapers because they feel betrayed and, after the rose-tinted glasses were removed, they realized they have been treated horribly.

The two different ideologies are both tied back to the Shapers. Both sides of the coin, Blind hate and blind reverence, are there because of the way the Shapers made and conditioned serviles (Obeyers) / treated the serviles and abandoned the serviles (Takers). 

 

If the Shapers were not complete and utter buttholes, that Servile would not have to die. All Serviles would be closer to the awakened, diverging on one side or the other but not to those extremes we see. 

Edited by alhoon
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There's a reason G1 looms so large over the rest of the series. Sucia is the central great failure of the Shapers, from which the other four games of misery and war spring. But it's easy to criticize, and harder to improve. The only way to really improve Sucia's aftermath would be to eradicate every creation on the island. You can't rehome the creations of Sucia like dogs. The ambitious will hunt them down and piece it all back together, in secret. Later games show that. You can't just wipe out the research and repurpose the place - the entire island is devoted to it, it's everywhere, and a lot of it's not easy to remove. Scraps would survive to be found. Why didn't the Shapers just harden their hearts and burn Sucia and every living thing on it into ash?

 

Shapers don't generally like wiping out their creations - they are consistently shown as arrogant, absolute, and dominating, but not sadistic or wicked or callous beyond measure. It's not quite on the level that humans don't like eradicating entire populations of their own people, but it's there. They are also persistently dedicated to the advancement of their science. If they weren't, they'd be all Guardians and Agents - it's the entire raison d'être for the Shaper branch of their order. I hope these traits are recognized as virtues, however paltry, and not flaws! The Shapers abandon and Bar Sucia rather than utterly purge it because they don't want to massacre their loyal creations, and they don't want to obliterate progress. Someday they might come back for the Geneforge, someday they might use what they learned here in a better way, but they're not ready for it yet. What apex-predator human organizations do you know of capable of executing the same choice?

 

It's to be noted that the serviles of Sucia, despite their ideological divisions and rocky beginnings, existed in peace and progress before the unforeseeable Sholai came. There was trade and peace between the villages, the rogues were under control, and things went about as well as they can go in a primitive agrarian society without magic. Is it good that the Shapers left them this way? No, but what were the other options, really? The universe where the unchallenged world-ruling wizard cabal spontaneously frees their (obedient, loyal!) inhuman slaves and welcomes them into the project of governance doesn't exist. Sucia managed, in their absence. The Sholai, their breaking of the Bar, and their grasping for power are what spoils all this.

 

Sucia highlights the contradictory drives of the Shapers. Humanity, security, and progress. You can plausibly change the outcome of Sucia, but only by further sacrificing one or more of them.

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5 hours ago, Sudanna said:

There's a reason G1 looms so large over the rest of the series. Sucia is the central great failure of the Shapers, from which the other four games of misery and war spring. But it's easy to criticize, and harder to improve.

I agree on that. However, they are pretending to be the all-wise many-fail-safes guys. It is hard to improve, but they are supposed to be the best and if that's the best they could come up with, they are buttholes. 

For all the good things you put forward of the Shapers, there is the other side of the coin and different, much more selfish motivations. From what I have seen from the Servant Minds, there were a few shapers that were mostly motivated by sympathy/mercy and a lot of Shapers that were against-purge mostly so they could continue their work. If the Shapers knew they won't return when they barred the island, instead of hoping they would "be back soon", I have no doubt they would have purged most of what made Sucia so attractive: The canisters and the geneforge. (Not the creations)

 

You're asking me how they could improve: Simply by eradicating the canisters, records and the geneforge would be enough. Few would have reasons to go back there.
Doing everything mostly from the beginning would be impossible too. The Servant minds didn't know enough to be useful without the records. The Serviles didn't know anything.
To make sure that this impossible task is not undertaken in secret, a contingent of 7-8 Guardians placed on the island would be enough to dissuade rogue researchers from trying to slowly put the research back together, with 2-3 agents showing up every 2-3 years to make sure none of those Guardians do anything naughty. 

The biggest mistake of the Shapers was that in their arrogance, they thought they would return to researching godhood, because that's what this is about. 

 

(Mistake, not crime. Their biggest crime was leaving the Serviles IMO. Even without the Geneforge and the Sholai, the serviles suffered needlessly.) 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: I have not yet encountered any sizeable population of Drayks to address the other big crime of the Shapers IMO: the "woops, you are too smart and too hard to control for me to allow you to exist. I have to kill you because you may one day decide you want to be free." 
That reminds me of Ghaldring's words to one Cryodrayk he shaped "I apologize for making a faulty creation like you" before re-absorbing it or something. The Shapers didn't even feel guilt towards that.  

 

NOTE2: I am talking from GF1 narrative only. I would prefer to not discuss in this thread what happens in future games and how the Shapers mishandle the Sucia situation in the worse way. 
Except of course, in the following spoiler! 

Warning: Spoilers for future games and part of this between-games lore may change in the remakes - or when I find more about what happened in GF1

 


In GF2 we learn that the Shapers returned, started studying what happened and purged the creations, even most of the Obeyers. I.e. not only they didn't show mercy to the creations, they also started poking on what was left. The worst case scenario. 

 

Aaaall this could have been prevented if Shapers have purged the records and the canisters and sent guardians (not Shapers) for 5-year rotations with a few agents checking they don't do anything bad. 
 

Edited by alhoon
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Spoilers for later games, mostly G2, throughout.

 

  

Quote

I agree on that. However, they are pretending to be the all-wise many-fail-safes guys.

 

Shaper arrogance is their most visible flaw. Projecting omnipotence to outsiders and creations is one thing; Shapers rule, and don't owe their subjects humility. The danger is when they pretend to themselves. To each other, but moreso internally. Some Shapers are very weak in this regard, and others less so.

 

I must point out, though, that they have unmatched, unprecedented, unaccountable power, and their track record with it is really very good, on the whole. Better than anybody else who ever gets it. A real-world parallel is nuclear power: it's a complex technology with great and necessary potential, but it has risks. And there's no nullifying all risk. If you use nuclear power, there will be some accidents, someday. The correct response is not to avoid it: everything has costs, including non-nuclear power generation. Accidents can be predicted, managed, contained, minimized. The rebels, with their Unbound and their shredbugs, are Soviet Chernobyl. The Shapers are Japanese Fukushima(which did really very little damage and was effectively responded to).

 

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For all the good things you put forward of the Shapers, there is the other side of the coin and different, much more selfish motivations. From what I have seen from the Servant Minds, there were a few shapers that were mostly motivated by sympathy/mercy and a lot of Shapers that were against-purge mostly so they could continue their work. If the Shapers knew they won't return when they barred the island, instead of hoping they would "be back soon", I have no doubt they would have purged most of what made Sucia so attractive: The canisters and the geneforge. (Not the creations)

 

Nothing's stopping the Shapers from coming back! It's not that long of a boat ride. They can afford it. If they wanted to purge the place, they would have done it a century ago. The notes left by researchers on the island talk about clearing up this whole "The Council Barred us" business and resuming their work. There is, notably, no real discussion of destroying the creations. It wasn't proposed, it wasn't on the table, it wasn't something people were talking about. It's not something they were worried about because it's not something they generally like to do, and not something they expected to happen! With the addition of the entire concept of the "inutile" in this game, the Shapers of the period seem to do very little in the way of massacre.

 

The Shapers are not much motivated by compassion. They're an elite class with absolute power: most of them experience compassion as a niggling little doubt, a sick little feeling inside, rather than as a passionate drive. But they do mostly have that, and it seems to help a lot! They don't undergo terraforming projects for fun, or for personal need. They could extract everything they wanted from a much more desperate populace, if they wanted. They are humans, and are motivated, in flawed human ways, to do some good. They hold the power of life and death over all of their creations, and they aren't very hasty in exercising either, at least until they're in a war for their very survival.

 

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You're asking me how they could improve: Simply by eradicating the canisters, records and the geneforge would be enough.

 

Why? They are valuable beyond measure. I don't know about you, but I would very much like to become a god! If someone found a way to do it that had significant drawbacks, I would not want it destroyed, I would want to fix it! Forget that: if someone in our real world found a way to effectively modify a living adult human's genome in discrete, beneficial, and flexible ways, I would want that technology pursued at all costs! The potential is enormous. Beyond the human(or creation) cost of anything to do with Sucia. I would count it greater than the cost of all five games combined!

 

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I have not yet encountered any sizeable population of Drayks to address the other big crime of the Shapers IMO: the "woops, you are too smart and too hard to control for me to allow you to exist. I have to kill you because you may one day decide you want to be free." 

 

Much like being insufficiently genocidal re: Sucia, this is actually an instance of the Shapers not going far enough. It sounds like Drayks were, mostly, not slaughtered when they became Barred. They just stopped making them. Those remaining were left to live out their lives: you meet several on Sucia who tell you as much. Which is another instance of Shaper soft-heartedness coming back to almost kill everything! Who are the most evil, unstable, dangerous, tyrannical players on the stage, at the end of the series? The Drakons! The self-modified Drayks! If only we'd killed them all right away!

 

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The Shapers didn't even feel guilt towards that.

 

Says who? All the Shapers who were there for it are dead. And, again: it seems like they just stopped making them.

 

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In GF2 we learn that the Shapers returned, started studying what happened and purged the creations, even most of the Obeyers. I.e. not only they didn't show mercy to the creations, they also started poking on what was left. The worst case scenario.

 

Ah, but not all of them! Not even most! Zakary and Barzahl preserved as many of the creations as they could, enough to populate the whole dang Drypeak Valley with three full non-Shaper factions, because those creations would be instrumental in their study of Sucia's secrets. That Zakary and Barzahl did this at all puts the lie to your earlier assertion that the creations of Sucia knew nothing and were safe to keep around. The Awakened in G2 have the most extensive magic/Shaping infrastructure and are in the midst of making a giant army of flying Drakons! The Takers have built a second Geneforge and are effectively fighting Barzahl, perhaps the most dangerous faction in G2! In this remake, we even find (I think this next part might be spoilers for you, have you met at least two of the Ascended? Sessina and the next guy?)

Spoiler

Serviles that have used the Geneforge!

It's not, fundamentally, their fault, but the creations of Sucia are a real risk. They have been since they touched the Sucia project. Some of the Minds were privy to much, and held greater power than you seem to recognize. The Mind in the Shaper school early in G1 Shapes you! It has the power to deploy the effects of a canister just with its own internal knowledge and magic, like only very powerful characters do later in the series. Serviles operated and fixed machinery, kept records and libraries, and above all else saw things. Just telling a Shaper that genes exist to be looked for is momentous, let alone some specifics of the machinery used! Understand what it means that the Shapers were unwilling to destroy them. It is arrogance, in part, an unwillingness to admit that creations can be a threat. But it's more than that, too. That the Shapers have laws that do in fact recognize creations as threats says as much.

 

The (failed) purge of Sucia is the reaction of a Shaper Council that has just learned about the events of G1. What? Previously unknown outsiders came across the ocean, stole many of our secret powers that we use to rule the world, almost claimed godhood, and intended to destroy us all? They allied with an entire faction of serviles dedicated to ritually hating and overthrowing us? Those serviles learned to use magic? Both a master Shaper and a neophyte apprentice washed up on the island and promptly used canisters to Shape themselves into very powerful and dangerous beings, possibly intending to use the Geneforge to overthrow us themselves? If I were them, I would sink that island into the sea, if I could. That it happens to be Zakary and Barzahl doing the cleanup, probably the most irresponsible Shapers in the entire series, is either really awful luck or a sign of a terrible flaw in the Shaper order, but I'm not sure exactly what that flaw would be, except that it's still possible for there to be bad Shapers.

 

"The Shapers" as an organization intended to destroy Sucia, creations and research both. Zakary and Barzahl are criminals that willfully neglected to do either. They went against the wishes of their order to pursue forbidden knowledge. Barzahl may have intended to become a traitor from the start, or he might have been lost to canister madness later on, but Zakary just wanted to be a cooler Shaper. I would make a larger critique of the Shapers from this, except we see almost nothing like it in the rest of the series. I am inclined to think it's just very bad luck that lean and hungry Barzahl got the job, and that Zakary was weak enough to be dragged along(weakness is as terrible a sin as Barzahl's megalomania).

 

It can be argued that the creations were a greater risk than the research. After all, it's not the Barzites who stick around and fight a whole dang war, it's the Takers.

 

 

I do need to be clear, here: The Shapers are not good. I am attempting to defend them on the points that I think it is fair to do so, without losing sight of the fact that they're an elitist society of technocratic slaver overlords. In a dialectical sense, the war and the Rebels were inevitable and necessary: what comes out the other side has the potential(via Greta or Astoria; I prefer Astoria) to be better than what came in, in a way that was never going to happen otherwise. All the suffering therein is fundamentally the product of their sins, and they deserve that suffering in a way that even their worst creations don't, so much. But much of what the Shapers are is necessary, or even commendable in their circumstance; rare is the Shaper that is actually, truly evil, even in extremis. Even Rawal, perhaps the worst of them all. One cannot say the same of the Drakons. The Shapers rule with a light hand, use their power competently, and monitor themselves strictly.

 

G1 is maybe the game where the Takers are most defensible, most sympathetic. For all that the game reiterates their motive of hate, it's easier to support their war when it's confined to an ending slideshow, before you come to see what it really means in the later games. Their cause is necessary and just, in a way that I can't and don't argue. Don't let that blind you to their flaws or the Shaper's virtues.

Edited by Sudanna
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