Jump to content

Unresolved Issues in Avadon Lore


googoogjoob
 Share

Recommended Posts

Every Spiderweb series has some inevitable worldbuilding inconsistencies between entries- most infamously, probably, are the way the dragons' genders change irregularly between the Exile and old Avernum games, the way the earlier Geneforge games mention a second Shaper-settled continent that seemingly gets retconned out of existence in 4/5, and the way the Drayk Isss-Ta manages to age several centuries in the decades between Geneforge 2 and 4. Generally, I think these inconsistencies tend to result from the way that Spiderweb games' lore is developed piecemeal- worldbuilding tends to happen on-the-fly, as-needed, in order to set up the terms of the conflicts presented in a game. How heavy a boulder is too heavy for a Battle Beta to move? Exactly as heavy as the one blocking your way through this passage right now. How long would it take to dig a tunnel around this thing that's obstructing Avernite interests? Exactly too long for it to be a desirable alternative to having the heroes get rid of the obstacle some other way. That sort of thing. This works pretty well, and actually ends up resulting in relatively few conflicts between games, and hardly ever in major plot-relevant contradictions- eg, the genders of the dragons doesn't have any real effect on the plot of the Avernum games, where the real conflict is usually between the Kingdom Avernum and whatever foe it currently faces; and nothing concrete is ever mentioned about the Shapers' ghost continent anyway, and it's irrelevant to the games' themes of the ethics and proper use of Shaping, so... whatever.

 

Avadon is radically different from Avernum or Geneforge or Queen's Wish in that it does a ton of worldbuilding up-front- you learn things about, eg, the Corruption, or Dharam, or the Tawon Empire in Avadon 1, despite not visiting them at all. Perversely, this actually results in a series of games with much graver and more plot-relevant lore inconsistencies than the other series have- and those inconsistencies begin springing up within the very first game, not just between games.

 

Anyway. I'm replaying Avadon and paying close attention for this sort of thing. And I'm gonna document such inconsistencies here. I'll probably edit to add to this if/when I find more cases or more material for the ones I've gotten down here.

 

Note: Many of these inconsistencies stem from contradictions between the in-game Codex of worldbuilding lore, and characters' statements and evidence one finds in the gameworld. Very possibly the Codex represents an earlier "draft" of the games' lore, which was in practice revised during development, resulting in contradictions; but there are also contradictions between characters' statements and the testimony of evidence you find, and the Codex is grandfathered in to Avadon 2 and 3 basically unchanged, so these contradictions and inconsistencies are simply never resolved in canon. Most of these problems could not be resolved without totally rewriting the Codex and a bunch of in-game dialogue.

 

First:

How does one become Keeper of Avadon?

 

This is probably the most important inconsistency in the games, as it has major plot implications- killing Redbeard to become Keeper is possible (but just barely so) in 1, and the prospect is much more heavily emphasized as the climactic crux of Avadon 2 and 3. As such, 2/3 establish it as (mostly) unambiguous canon that one kills the sitting Keeper to replace them (with some caveats).

 

The Codex unambiguously states that Hanvar's Council appoints the Keeper. It states that there was a two-year interregnum after the death of the first Keeper before the Council appointed her successor- which can't be possible if the position is automatically filled by the assassin. It also explicitly states that Redbeard was appointed by the Council, who believed he'd be weak and easily manipulated. Redbeard claims to genuinely have forgotten whether or not he was involved in the death of his predecessor- and surely, if it were definitely the rule that the killer takes the place of an assassinated Keeper, he'd know, or at least be able to deduce, that he killed his predecessor.

 

The contradictory evidence to this position is of course everywhere in Avadons 2 and 3- but there's already inconsistency within Avadon 1. The first time you speak to Miranda after meeting Redbeard, she says, matter-of-factly, that whoever kills Redbeard gets to be the next Keeper; and, if you actually manage to slay Redbeard at the end of the game, everyone instantly and automatically recognizes you as the new Keeper once they find you standing over his body.

 

Even in 2 and 3, there's inconsistency between whether Keeper is a lifetime posting, and succession can only happen following the death of the current holder (eg Nicodemus refuses to acknowledge Protus as Keeper as Redbeard is still alive, but he says nothing about Protus having to kill Redbeard to take the position); or if succession happens automatically, with the killer taking the position (cf the endings where the protagonist kills Redbeard); and also whether these issues are matters of codified law, or simply custom (eg when you meet Protus for the first time, the narration says that Avadon "chooses its own leaders (usually with bloodshed)"). Protus mentions that Hanvar's Council is attempting to institute a new system of Keeper selection at the time of 3- Keepers serve ten-year terms, and are selected by Avadon's servants, but the Council has veto power over this decision. Protus says that "the law says" that his killer would become Keeper; and that Keepers are "generally" assassinated and replaced by their killer. Rudow and Callan both mention that Redbeard is still Keeper "by some readings of the law...," implying that this is in dispute even in-universe.

 

I guess one could argue that the "whoever kills the Keeper becomes the Keeper" rule was instituted by Redbeard specifically during his reign, but there's no indication of this anywhere in any of the games, to my knowledge; many dialogues and ending passages indicate that assassination is the typical means of succession to the position. It's not a very good rule. Probably it exists to raise the stakes around the perennial "kill Redbeard, or don't" conflict in the games. Killing Redbeard is nearly impossible in Avadon 1, and IIRC Jeff's said somewhere that it was kind of an afterthought or an easter egg type of thing, rather than intended as being a serious option, so this inconsistency doesn't really rear up so bad until 2 and 3. Anyway it's a very problematic inconsistency, and an awful lot of the games' lore would have to be rewritten to fix it.

 

How many Keepers of Avadon have there been?

 

The Codex says seven, including Redbeard: Telera, Herom, four ephemeral Keepers (which'd presumably include the Diantha and Geert entombed beneath Avadon), and then Redbeard himself.

 

Redbeard implies that there have been many more, though he doesn't give any hard numbers. He says there were a profusion of very short-lived Keepers after Telera and before Herom- during a time the Codex says was a Keeper-less interregnum. He says that having a tomb beneath Avadon is reserved for Keepers who managed to survive at least 40 days in the office, which he wryly says has cut down on the number of tombs needed pretty heavily- but there are six tombs beneath Avadon, which'd actually be consistent with the six pre-Redbeard Keepers the Codex establishes. Two are empty, but that would not be inconsistent with either the Codex or Redbeard's 40-days rule, presuming two of the ineffectual post-Herom Keepers didn't make it to 40 days. (nb: In 3, Protus says that the tombs are for Keepers who "survived the office more than a week, and the ones whose bodies survived their assassinations intact.")

 

What exactly happened to Keepers Telera and Herom?

 

The Codex says that Keeper Telera was assassinated by parties unknown using poisoned wine. It also says that Herom, her successor, mysteriously disappeared after he started showing too much interest in the Council's activities.

 

Redbeard claims that Telera disappeared, and there was a gap of time before her body was found. This is not dissonant with what the Codex says. He also says there were many minor Keepers in the aftermath of her disappearance, before her body was found, which is- the Codex says there was a two-year interregnum after her death before the Council appointed Herom. The Codex also says Herom disappeared mysteriously, with "no trace of him ever found." But his tomb beneath Avadon contains human remains and effects.

 

Disappearance doesn't really make any sense under the scheme where the assassin gets to become Keeper- why would the assassins not claim the position? But it does make sense under the scheme where the Council appoints a new Keeper, especially in the case of Herom being implicitly vanished by the Council or its allies.

 

When did Redbeard become Keeper?

 

The Codex gives an explicit date for Redbeard's ascension of 6265. Redbeard's in-game statements in Avadon 1 agree with this- it's 6312, and he says he's been Keeper for "nearly 50 years."

 

Nicodemus gives an explicit date for Redbeard's ascension of 6257, eight years earlier, which is the year Herom disappeared. Lexrem, the Eternal Prisoner in the dungeons, explicitly says he was imprisoned in 6263 for plotting against Redbeard, necessitating his having achieved the position of Keeper before then.

 

It's not inconceivable that the four minor Keepers the Codex mentions having held the office between Herom and Redbeard could have all held it within one calendar year, but otherwise this conflict is unresolvable within game canon.

 

As a side note- Redbeard also mentions, in 1, having come to Avadon about 60 years prior to the events of Avadon 1, which would be halfway through Herom's reign as Keeper; but in conversation he curiously never mentions Herom, but seemingly has extensive knowledge of the aftermath of Telera's disappearance/death. Maybe he meant to say "70 years" instead? Further complicating matters, in 2, Redbeard explicitly recalls serving under Telera, and says he was presumably involved in Telera's assassination- but in the very same dialogue, he reaffirms that the Keeper's assassin becomes the new Keeper, making this impossible: Redbeard became Keeper either 12 or 20 years after Telera's death, depending on the source, and all sources agree that there were at least five Keepers between Telera and Redbeard.

 

When do the games take place?

 

In Avadon 1, everything indicates a date of 6312 for the events of the game. The Codex says it's 6312, the map is labelled "c. 6312," in dialogue with Lexrem (the eternal prisoner), the protagonist says it's 6312. There's no indication that the year rolls over into 6313 during the course of the game; it doesn't track time, obviously, and you can go back to Lexrem and tell him it's 6312 all the way up to the end of the game.

 

In Avadon 2, there's conflicting evidence as to the dates of both Avadon 1 and Avadon 2. The Codex entry for "The Sack of Avadon" says "Two years ago, in Cycle 6313...," which places 1 in 6313 and 2 in 6315. The Codex entry "The Third Age" says it's 6315. The entry on Dheless says "In Cycle 6312...," at least implying a 6312 date for Avadon 1. The map is labelled "c. 6314," and it can't long predate the game as it has the Wyldrylm Rebellion shown in full swing on it. When you talk to Lexrem, you tell him it's 6314. Commander Odil says of the Wyldrylm Rebellion that it has "grown slowly for three years, starting not long after Avadon was sacked," implying a date of either 6311 or 6312 for the events of Avadon 1. (Note though that the narration in the first area of the game states that the rebellion has only been going on for several months- though it might just be referring to rebel activity in the Contested Lands.) Characters generally say it's been either two or three years since the events of Avadon 1, with somewhat more characters saying two years than three years. This isn't in-game evidence, but the game file containing the Codex entries has a commented-out note in it declaring, "Avadon: Cycle 6313. Avadon 2: Cycle 6315."

 

Avadon 3 unambiguously takes place in 6318. The Codex says "The current year is Cycle 6318." The map is labelled "c. 6318," you say it's 6318 in dialogue with Lexrem. The "Sack of Avadon" entry is updated to say "Five years ago, in Cycle 6313...," The "Age of Chaos" entry says "Three years ago, in Cycle 6315," giving a 6315 date for Avadon 2. The "Wyldrylm Rebellion" entry gives a start date of 6314, consistent with the it starting within a year prior to Avadon 2 (according to the narration), but inconsistent with it starting three years prior to Avadon 2 (according to Commander Odil). The Dheless entry still gives an implicit 6312 for Avadon 1.

 

How old is Avadon?

 

A late-breaking continuity error.

 

The Codex is pretty clear on the basic facts. The Midlands Pact is about 300 years old by the time of the games (formed in 6000; the games take place in the 6310s). Starting approximately a century ago (6203), the Pact more or less fell into abeyance as the Pact states engaged in a series of bloody, indecisive civil wars. This period (6203-6237) is known as the Black Age. The Black Age was ended by the efforts of Telera of Dharam, who gave up her ineffectual Council seat to travel Lynaeus and forge a lasting peace in the Treaty of the Five Powers. The Pact was reinstated, and to preserve it, Avadon was instituted as a paramilitary/counterintelligence agency dedicated to defending and preserving the Pact. Construction of Avadon (the Black Fortress; headquarters of its namesake agency- unless the agency has an unmentioned proper name, and is merely called Avadon via metonymy) began shortly after the Treaty was signed, and was concluded in 6240, with Telera becoming the first Keeper of Avadon.

 

Almost nothing in the first two games contradicts this narrative, and much supports it. The Avadon tombs only contain four burials, consistent with relatively young age for Avadon and a small number of enduring Keepers (given that one must serve 40 days in the office to be deemed worthy of burial there). The obelisk in the Avadon entry hall declares Telera the first Keeper (in 2 and 3, anyway; in 1 it erroneously says Herom- see below). This narrative is crucial to Redbeard's characterization- while for most of Lynaeus, the Black Age, being 75+ years ago, is on the fringes of living memory, Redbeard came of age during the Black Age, and was an early servant of Avadon; he remembers parts of this time vividly. Being witness to the violence and strife of the Black Age is an important part of why Redbeard is such a pro-Pact hardliner, and why he's so adamant Avadon needs to be strong and effective; being witness to the chaotic early years of Avadon, marked by instability and repeated Keeper assassinations, is an important part of why Redbeard is so paranoid and distrustful.

 

There's one fleeting contradiction in 1- when you enter the lower cells, the narration declares, "these chambers have been abandoned for at least a century." (Possibly this is just a misapprehension on the part of the protagonist; the line between "omniscient narrator" and "protagonist commentary" is always blurred in Spiderweb games- though even so, it'd be odd for the protagonist not to know how old Avadon is, given that they're a Pact citizen who's presumably been through a good bit of education and training to qualify as a Hand. More likely it's just a mistake.) More committed errors begin creeping in starting with 2. The intro to Avadon 2 talks about a "peace that has held for centuries"- untrue, as the Pact was riven by widespread civil war only a century ago; and declares that "Avadon has watched over the Pact for three centuries"- also untrue: the Pact is about 300 years old total, but Avadon was only instituted and built less than a century ago, in the aftermath of the aforementioned civil wars. In conversation, Redbeard also claims that Avadon "rose again" after the Black Age, despite not existing before it; really he should say the Pact rose again. But these are isolated errors, and most of the rest of the game is consistent with the Codex narrative, in basic chronology if not always in exact details.

 

3 kind of throws all this out the window, and consistently says Avadon is centuries old in narration and dialogue, despite the Codex remaining unchanged on these points. The intro to Avadon 3 repeats the "Avadon has watched over the Pact for three centuries" error, while a number of characters repeat the error in dialogue- eg Khalida says that "Avadon has had the power to judge and kill the people of the Pact for centuries" and "the Black Fortress watched over the Pact for centuries;" Redbeard says, "For centuries, the law of the Pact was that only my death could remove me from my post;" Deniz says the shamans of the Wyldrylm offered Avadon the Green Refuge "two centuries ago;" Callan makes reference to secret passages and tunnels having been built within and under Avadon over "centuries." The Spiral Library is depicted as having been abandoned about a century ago, and having been an Avadon outpost led by an Eye of Avadon. But the tombs still only hold four burials- hardly consistent with centuries of Keepers, unless the lasting Keepers all unnaturally extended their lifespans like Redbeard; and the obelisk still says Telera was the first Keeper. Nothing in the game resolves these problems- there's no mention of Avadon being "refounded" after the Black Age or the like, or of it having existed as a secret society before the Black Age, or of it having used a different headquarters or different name before the Black Age. It's hard to tell if this is a deliberate retcon or just a weirdly pervasive mistake- but if it were a retcon, I'd expect the Codex to be updated to reflect the new continuity, and for things like the tombs to have been changed to fit it better, so I have to lean towards this being a mistake.

 

Other, simpler discrepancies:

  • There's an obelisk in the entrance hall of Avadon paying tribute to the first Keeper. In Avadon 1, it reads, "IN MEMORY OF HEROM OF THE KVA/FIRST KEEPER OF AVADON/[character name], he died for you." Unfortunately, Herom was not the first Keeper- according to the Codex, he was the second Keeper; according to Redbeard in dialogue, he served following a profusion of ephemeral post-Telera Keepers. All sources agree that Telera was the first Keeper of Avadon. In Avadon 2 and 3, the obelisk has thus been edited to read, "IN MEMORY OF TELERA OF THE KVA/FIRST KEEPER OF AVADON/[character name], she died for you." This... does not fix matters, in that there's no such person as "Telera of the Kva"- Telera was from Dharam
  • The secret records about Miranda describe her husband as trying to kill Redbeard, and being executed for it, approximately 40 years ago. In dialogue with Miranda, she says she's been at Avadon for only 30 years, and the protagonist describes the man as her "betrothed" in dialogue options, rather than as her husband. Miranda must have been serving Avadon before her husband betrayed Redbeard, as the records describe her as an Eye at the time. Very possibly the year thing is just a mixup- the secret records about Leira describe events 30 years ago, despite Leira seemingly being older and having been at Avadon longer (50 years, by her account); if you swapped the 30/40 years between their files, they'd both make more sense
  • Following up on the prior point: in Avadon 1, the secret records and dialogue with Miranda indicate that Miranda's husband's betrayal happened approximately 30 years ago (presuming the 30/40 thing to be a mixup); that Miranda was an Eye of Avadon when it happened; and that Redbeard continued to trust her because she told him about her husband's plot beforehand. In the recreations of her memories Miranda shows you in Avadon 3, however, Miranda is shown to have joined Avadon about 30 years before her death, but to have married her husband several years later, and then to have been married long enough to have children (at least two, as Miranda speaks in the plural), pushing the betrayal forward in time by years; she says she was already a Heart at the time of her husband's assassination attempt; and she says that her husband never told her of his plans- she would've betrayed him to Redbeard if he'd told her, but he didn't. This could, I guess, be Miranda's shade misremembering; but it's internally coherent enough that I think it makes more sense as a retcon that clears up and adds detail to the account from the first game
  • Lundy, the Kellem soldier who leads the team that goes into the Beraza Pits, is erroneously titled "Blade" Lundy. It's established elsewhere that a "Blade" is a unit of 10 soldiers, led by a Watcher- thus Lundy should be Watcher Lundy, not Blade Lundy
  • Incantatrix Questa, in Castle Vebeaux, gives you a quest to retrieve samples of the forbidden magic in the Beraza Pits. If you bring them to her, and let her keep them, she can sell you two useful but expensive trainings, that give your party blanket stat boosts. But the descriptions of both trainings (Ward of the Holklandan and Cunning of the Kellem) claim you got them in Holklanda, with Cunning of the Kellem specifying that you got it from "a Kellem in Holklanda." Castle Vebeaux is pretty definitely in Kellemderiel, and you only venture into unambiguously Holklandan terrain during Shima's companion quest, so this is a weird error
  • The order of the floors in the dungeon is curiously changed from 1 to 2- the small floor with two guardrooms is moved from being the first subdungeon to the second-to-last; the alternate order is preserved in 3
  • Khalida says, in explaining her odd pauses, that after she was released from the dungeons, Avadon allowed her to be a Hand. However, the records you find in the dungeons, and dialogue with Xenophon, indicates that she was already a Hand when Xenophon framed her. Probably Khalida's dialogue should say Avadon allowed her to continue as a Hand after her wrongful imprisonment
  • Xanthe, a woman working as a guard in Troezen in Avadon 2, says she's actually from Holklanda, but got posted to Dharam. But she seems to have accidentally been given one of the Greek or Greek-ish Dharamite names, rather than an East Asian-ish Holklandan name, as she's in Dharam. Whoops
  • There's a Dharamite at the Antitia Ruins in 3 with the Latin name "Otho;" probably victim of another such oversight
  • For that matter- though this is a quibble- "Miranda" is a Latin-derived name, which in the context of Avadon would indicate a Tawon origin. In 1, Miranda says she's from Dharam; in 3, it's clarified that her parents were Holklandan immigrants to Dharam. But "Miranda" wouldn't be either a Holklandan or Dharamite name, and it'd be odd for immigrants seeking to ingratiate themselves with their new home culture to give their child a name from said culture's ancient rival and oppressor. Obviously the real-world explanation is that Jeff Vogel just likes the name "Miranda" a lot, but this is a post about taking these games overseriously and nitpicking them for all they're worth
  • "Dheless" is a very odd name for a Tawon, too- it might be a pseudonym, but characters sometimes recognize it as a Tawon name without any other context, which is odd given that all the other Tawon have clearly Latin or Latin-ish names
  • The name of the Khemerian settlement in Avadon 3 is inconsistently rendered as either "Vanatok Stead" or "Vanatok's Stead." "Vanatok" seems more likely to be correct, as the settlement is named after a man named Vana, not after a man named Vanatok; maybe "-tok" is an honorific, but nobody ever refers to Vana as "Vanatok" in any other context, and the nearby region of Holklanda you venture to is called "Vana's Reach," not "Vanatok's Reach." If "-tok" is a possessive suffix, then "Vanatok's" is redundant
  • As a side note, Chief Tilla describes Vana's Reach as "a wild land between three Steads," when on the map it's manifestly in Holklanda, and the narration and dialogues explicitly refer to it as being in Holklanda. Very possibly it was meant to be in Khemeria, but they ran out of space on Avadon 3's zoomed-out world map to place it there, and Tilla's dialogue was just never fixed to reflect this
  • Mamora tells you that Pynkkna, the infernal, was summoned by a Tawon mage who had infiltrated Holklanda. Pynkkna itself tells you it was summoned to Kellemderiel. Whoops
  • The timing and circumstances of Redbeard's disappearance between 2 and 3 are hazy. Rudow says he was recruited three years ago, by Protus, after Redbeard had vanished- placing Redbeard's disappearance in 6315, less than a year after 2. Botan says he was recruited by Protus two years ago (6316), implying a date of 6315 or 6316. But other sources (eg Lord Svarl saying he's been in Avadon for seven years, and sat waiting for Redbeard to see him for six; Redbeard saying he hasn't been in Avadon in over a year; other remarks about the improvement to Avadon's budget and resources in the past year) imply a date of 6317. Then, there's also dissonance between whether Redbeard was driven out (eg, the Council reportedly teleported a hundred soldiers into Avadon at once to expel him), or whether he left voluntarily (eg, he says he gave Protus his necklace before leaving voluntarily). (The ending of 2 is unreliable, and doesn't fit canon, so it can't be used as a source for these events- eg it says Callan is made Keeper after Redbeard disappears)
  • Gryfyn is described as being relatively young in Avadon 1. But in Avadon 3, set only five or six years later, he's described a few times as "old" and "aged." Maybe living in fear for his life for so long has left him prematurely aged

 

  • Probably the most involved and difficult of these errors, though it doesn't really raise lore issues:
  • In Avadon 1, Eye Leira, a Holklandan, is Avadon's librarian, and one of Redbeard's "wives"- one of his most trusted aides. She's been at Avadon for nearly 50 years, and must be at least in her 70s. She is killed in the assault on Avadon at the end of Avadon 1, and dialogue in Avadon 2 reaffirms this. Leira uses the generic mage/cultist sprite, and has a unique portrait
  • Avadon 2 introduces Eye Laria. She's a Dharamite Tinkermage, and is tasked with arranging Avadon's defenses against ground-based assault. She doesn't seem to have been at Avadon for very long; she's clearly not very close to Redbeard- she says she's "heard he said" that all of Avadon's defenses exist, but hasn't apparently had any direct guidance from him. Likely she's one of the post-Sack conscripts that Redbeard has flooded Avadon's ranks with. Laria uses the female tinkermage sprite, and has no portrait
  • In the aftermath of the events of Avadon 2, hardcore Redbeard loyalists are purged from Avadon, sometimes imprisoned in the dungeons. Redbeard tasks you with finding his trusted aide, "Eye Laria," who is depicted as a confused mixture of Eyes Leira and Laria. In dialogue, she's described as having been Avadon's librarian (which Leira was, but Laria absolutely was not), and also as being a Tinkermage (which Laria was, but Leira wasn't at all). She claims that she was head librarian, but was reassigned to minding Avadon's defenses after Miranda's betrayal, as they "didn't need librarians" (untrue- there are librarians serving during Avadon 2 and 3, with Eye Berenger taking over as head librarian immediately after Leira's death). This "Laria" uses the Tinkermage sprite in the dungeons, but the Sorceress sprite when she's at Redbeard's side and in Zhethron's Keep. She doesn't have a dialogue portrait
  • This is a pretty bizarre amalgamation of two unrelated characters from the earlier games, apparently prompted by genuine confusion on Spiderweb's part, possibly resulting from their similar generic fantasy names
  • There's actually already some confusion in Avadon 2- the "Laria's Equipment" quest item has the description, "This valuable set of tinkermage tools belongs to Eye Leira."
  • Confusing matters further- in Avadon 3, the commander of Fort Foresight is named Eye Leora, and reuses Leira's portrait from Avadon 1
  • There's also a simpler but goofy continuity error regarding Laria in 3: when you relocate from Zhethron's Keep to Fort Foresight, Redbeard leaves Laria behind. She stays in Zhethron's Keep monitoring the Eyes there. But then, when Redbeard (in his chamber beneath Fort Foresight) gives you the final Antitia Ruins quest, the text is written as if Laria is present in the room, comforting the protagonist after Redbeard magically disguises them. She's actually still in Zhethron's Keep, and never does appear in Fort Foresight outside that mention
Edited by googoogjoob
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would note that most of these issues seem to stem not from Avadon I in general, but from the Avadon I Codex in particular.

 

Both in- and out-of-character, I think the simplest way to handle this is just to treat the Avadon I Codex as an unreliable document.  That plus understandable imprecision of memory going back 50 years makes these seem... well, a lot less imposing than the whole continent thing ^_^

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are actually, curiously, some new issues introduced into the Codex in 2 and 3, resulting in the Codex contradicting not just the dialogue of the games, but itself as well. While most of the text is carried over from 1, the entries are updated in places to reflect the events of the games, but inconsistently; none of the issues mentioned above are touched in the revisions, and some of them are made worse.

 

While the "Keepers" entry is edited to reflect the happenings of the games, all the text about the Council appointing Keepers is retained unchanged. The entry on Protus in 3 says he can only be "Acting Keeper" until Redbeard dies, though, implying the "kill the Keeper, become the Keeper" thing is the rule.

 

The entry on Redbeard in 1 says he's been Keeper for "almost fifty years," which agrees with the term of 47 years (as of 1) established elsewhere in the Codex. But then in 2 and 3 it says he is/was Keeper for "over fifty years," though it'd be precisely 50 years according to all the info elsewhere in the Codex; it'd be 58 years if the earlier date Nicodemus gives is the case.

 

All the evidence given in Avadon 1 places the game as taking place in 6312. The Codex entry on the Third Age says 6312, the player character gives 6312 as the date in conversation with Lexrem, the world map says "c. 6312" on it. In 2 and 3, the Codex entry on the Third Age says the Sack of Avadon happened in 6312, agreeing with this. But the Codex entry on the Sack of Avadon claims it happened in 6313.

 

None of this really matters hugely. But it's kind of frustrating, in that the Codex is the only in-universe source for most of the history of Avadon's world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of the inconsistencies you can try to explain away by the fact that Avadon is in many ways a secret society and has deliberately obscured its own history.  

 

From an organizational sense, the council setting up a system where whoever killed the last keeper gets to be the new keeper would be a very poor decision because it eliminates the council's power over the keeper.  I suppose that since the council members do not trust each other that this could have been a deliberate way to take it out of their hands, but it still seems like an unlikely decision to me.  Later on with the Keeper of Avadon becoming excessively powerful, the council may have lost their ability to control Avadon and it is possible that during one of the transition times after a Keeper died that the council appointed someone who Avadon rejected and put in their own keeper.  This type of action could certainly lead to a lot of internal conflict with the killing of several keepers in a short time.  

 

No organization that is trying to appear respectable wants to advertise that it has slipped the bonds of its makers (the council) and so Avadon may well publish materials that say that the council still appoints the Keeper while it is an open secret inside Avadon that whoever kills the Keeper is the next Keeper.  

 

Avadon as an organization is certainly falling apart as it is very desperate for new recruits from outside the organization to come in and save it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Edgwyn said:

Some of the inconsistencies you can try to explain away by the fact that Avadon is in many ways a secret society and has deliberately obscured its own history.

 

I think a problem with this explanation is that the Codex is represented as being reports prepared for internal use by Avadon itself. You do find occasional books that give you Codex entries out in the field, but the majority of them are located within Avadon itself, behind sealed gates that you need increasingly elevated clearance levels to pass; some are explicitly described as being prepared to orient Avadon's servants. Some of the Codex entries in 2 and 3- the reports on Miranda, Dheless, and Protus- are explicitly marked as being classified internal reports, with a threat of punishment should they be shared with anyone outside the fortress.

 

Further, the Codex entries don't take anything like a consistent stance on how a Keeper is appointed or replaced, or what power the Council has over a Keeper, as one would expect from propaganda materials. Even the otherwise overtly pro-Council report on Protus describes the Council's removal of Redbeard as "unprecedented" and unusual.

 

I think one could plausibly argue that a Council-appointed Keeper is the formal rule, and that the former Keeper's assassin becoming Keeper is the custom within Avadon itself. Or- one could argue that the assassin becomes Keeper, lawfully or customarily, only when their identity is apparent, which was not the case with the killers of Telera or Herom. Or that the customary assassination-succession is a rule instituted under Redbeard. But there's no actual direct evidence for these interpretations in the games- they're extra-game supposition to explain the events of the games. Nobody in the games implies that the rule was once one way, and is now another, or that there's a difference between the law and the custom. When the Council attempts to depose Redbeard, and elevate Protus to his place, it's represented as an unprecedented, possibly illegal power-grab on the Council's part; but where characters differ in opinion about it, it's over whether or not this shocking move was justified or not, not whether it's legal or not.

 

I don't think there's a conclusive way to resolve these issues with in-universe information. There are several possible theorizable explanations for the major contradictions, but there's no in-universe information to settle which of several options is correct. The real-world explanation is obviously that Jeff Vogel's conception of aspects of the game world changed between the writing of most of the Codex entries (which I suspect were done early on, to get a bunch of worldbuilding "on paper" up-front), the writing of the first game (where the Council is a distant, poorly-defined entity, where the legality of Redbeard's reign is unquestioned, and where succession to his position only comes up in a deliberately-near-impossible afterthought ending), and the writing of the succeeding games (where a central drama of the second and third games ends up being the relationship of the Council to Avadon, and who gets to be Keeper), and that for whatever reason, the Codex was never revised to reflect these changing conceptions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, La paix said:

I do NOT remember the whole missing continent in Geneforge! Where is that mentioned?

 

"No. (And in fact, it gets reconned out in G5.)"

 

Dikiyoba.

 

One of the later topics that mention it:

https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/12106-2continents-in-geneforge/#comment-141305"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/15/2022 at 2:20 PM, La paix said:

I do NOT remember the whole missing continent in Geneforge! Where is that mentioned?

There are scattered references to the Shapers ruling, or at least having settlements on, two continents in the narration of the first three Geneforge games. Eg, IIRC, the ending of Geneforge 1 describes the protagonist's landing site, Dillame, as being on "the less-settled of two continents," or something to that effect. You never explicitly see the second continent in the games, and it's never given a name (and neither is the other continent, for that matter).

 

Geneforge 4 radically retcons things such that there is only one continent known to the Shapers, and names said continent "Terrestia." 4 and 5 also roughly incorporate the geographies of the earlier games into the new, retconned geography: you visit Dillame in-person in 4, implicitly setting Sucia Island somewhere to the east of Terrestia; the Ashen Isles (where Geneforge 3 is set) are said to be some ways to the north of Terrestia; and Geneforge 5 establishes that Drypeak Valley (where Geneforge 2 is set) is in southwestern Terrestia.

Edited by googoogjoob
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, I didn't recall! Interesting. Also, thanks for the interesting and highly detailed Avadon lore!!! I'm playing through them again now and this is fascinating. Overall, I think Avadon has some of Jeff's wittiest writing and I had forgotten just how fun it is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...