Some geography musings

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I wonder if an overview card of the whole game world exists?

What I picked up from the in-game lore, I have some questions:

a) What is the Feud? The game is a bit inconsistent in, whether it wants to title just Civilians as Feud Citizens/Citizens of the Feud, (as it does with the Elitist boon), or just everyone who can be met in game, as it does when checking their relationship status, even for the Rentorian diplomat. It never explains WHAT the Feud actually is. The nation states seem to be Deltree and Rentoria, with Havaria as the name of the continent, that houses a Deltrean colony. Is the Feud the name of the planet?

b) Does Sal's campaign play in New Deltree? New Deltree is supposed to be in Murder Bay, and Sal's campaign certainly plays in Murderbay, but New Deltree is never mentioned. There are some hints, that New Deltree is of pityful size for the importance it is supposed to have, but in Sal's campaign all that is on the map is an oversized looking Admiralty headquarters, a dam, a harbor facility with a warship and some smaller buildings that could be workshops or artillery installations, plus a building complex to the north east of the HQ, that houses rich merchants, maybe a hotel or some other type of luxury accomodation or gated community. Apart from that there are only a few smaller villages or hovels, which in game are mostly the site of Spree encampments.

c) Supplicant City is described as being located in the "far north" of Havaria, while Rentoria is an island nation "to the north of Havaria". That seems to put them into relative vicinity to each other, right? Rook in discussuion with one of his shadows mentions another town as border town to Rentoria (which name atm eludes me.. Dock... something?)

Pearl-on-the-Foam on the other hand has a very southern, humid and hot climate, but seems convenient enough to reach to be a favorite vacation site for Supplicant city dwellers. And this tourism even in normal times (without the Beaching) seems to play a major role in its economy. Given that Pearl-on-the-Foam seems much bigger and more inhabited than what Sal encounters in Murder Bay, it stands to reason, that Supplicant city must be a lot bigger still.

Talking about economy, there seem to be 3 major reasons to settle Havaria, the Breadlands, to the south of Murderbay, and probably still south of Grout Bog, exporting basic food to Deltree, the Grout Bog itself, which interestingly has barely any presence of Deltrean Admirality, and the derricks that harvest lumin for the Cult of Hesh, probably off the coast from Supplicant city.

I find the Grout Bog interesting, as it seems odd, that the Deltrean nation goes through the trouble of installing a colony in Havaria, and supposedly going to war over it with Rentoria, but then failing to wield much control or influence over what seems to be two of the three main economic centres, Supplicant city and Grout Bog. My speculation is, that either Deltree itself has a severe food problem, or such an abundant independent source of Vagrant tech and some equivalent of spark/lumin power, that it just values the Breadlands so much higher. Maybe Roaloch, but looking at the Bilebroker's custom protection suit and the tales about it, that place seems exceedingly hostile and inhabitable, and more valuable for the exotic properties of its flora and fauna than for vagrant tech excavation.

Does someone has more insight that I either missed in the game, or from sources, that are so far unknown to me?

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I'll see if I can clear up some stuff, considering I already nerded out about theology in Griftlands.



a)This is a pretty old question, I remember asking about this last year. As far as we know the Feud has not been classified in any logs so far. I can at least clear up one thing, it's probably NOT the name of the planet. Quotes like 'Another day in the Feud, hm?' imply through semantics that the Feud is either an organisation, class of people, or a specific location upon the planet, not the planet itself.

Here's most of the references to the Feud I can find in game:


"If it's all the same to you, I will be remaining guarded. I have a poor standing with the Feud and first encounters."

"How's the Feud swaying your fortune today, friend?"

How's the Feud treating you today?

Another day survived in the Feud. hm? Lest I speak too soon!

Another day in the Feud, hm?

I'd ask what you're up to lurking through the Feud at night, but then you might ask me the same.

The only real lead we have on this is a random labourer battle cry 'The Feud will rise!', it's specifically FOR the labourer NPC class. I put my money on the Feud being an informal term for areas where the lower classes of the world live, kinda like slums???

I can only assume that the relationship quote is a very old piece of writing, it wasn't made with the knowledge it'd be used for every single NPC.

b) Sal's campaign takes place in Murder Bay. That we know for sure, New Deltree is the foothold base of operations for the colonising Admiralty into Havaria. Judging by its name and the abundance of the Spree, Murder Bay was probably a loosely organised union of small settlements before the admiralty set up, using their massive military budget to construct what the game calls 'The optimistically-named "capital" of Admiralty-occupied Havaria, and the biggest city in Murder Bay.- the way these qoutes are worded implies that the area Admiralty has control over in Havaria is very small. Sal's campaign will take her to New Deltree, to do quests and such, but the bulk of it is spent in small settlements around Murder Bay, like the Grog'n'Dog.

c) Firstly, we can confrim that Supplicant City and Rentoria are near each other, mostly because Heshies and Rentorians hate eachother and have most likely fought at some point.

We can also assume that Supplicant city is HUGE, the Cult is shown to be very old, possibly going back to the Vagrant Age. So they would have the time (and resources considering they basically own all Lumin and the Ik-Derricks that work it) to build a huge city. On the other hand, judging by Pearl's class of people, it was probably founded to be a relaxing getaway for the 'cutthroat' Heshies in Supplicant. I can only imagine that Supplicant city is a vastly more strict version of Pearl-on-the-Foam, considering Moreef mentions that devote Heshians don't drink alcohol, and the most devote Heshians come from Supplicant City.

As for the reasons why Havaria is being settled. Firstly, the Cult definitely wasn't the first group to stumble upon the contient considering Vagrant Age tech exists in abundance there. It's pretty simple as to why they'd first colonise it though;

Havaria is a continent,

Continents have a lot of coastline,

Creatures blessed by Hesh wash up on coastlines constantly.

The Admiralty most likely got to Havaria a lot later, as they had to found Deltree itself first. The Admiralty again have a pretty clear motive for colonising Havaria, they're a military nation that needs subjects to rule over, and they need fuel and resources to fund themselves. There was aparrently a Rento-Admiralty war at some point in time so I can imagine the recent creation of New Deltree is to help the Admiralty recoup losses from that war.

As for WHY the Admiralty hasn't stepped on Grout Bog and Supplicant City, like I said they've only recently made a stand in Havaria with New Deltree. Hesh, even Sal's story is about the Admiralty trying to quash the last of the Spree in Murder Bay so they can keep the area for themselves. This would also explain why the Admiralty aren't a big fear for most of Havaria - they just don't currently have the respect or age to make Havarians obey them.

For the Bog, it has been consitently described as a impassible and deadly swamp that drives most people away. The Admiralty probably doesn't want to bother spending a ton of resources just trekking through the damn thing to get to talk to the owners of it, the Spark Barons. Not to mention the Boggers basically cornering off a large chunk of the place.

Speaking of the Barons, they're not a nation or a religious organisation really - they're just a corporation with an absolute ton of Shills to spend. This is already a problem for the clearly weak-to-bribes Admiralty. Not only do they dig up the Grafts used by people, but they're also the sole producers of spark. The Admiralty has good reason not to anger the people providing them with all of their Grafts, and a likely bulk of their fuel (as spark has been described as a much cheaper and popular alternative to lumin).

The Bog is basically one big company store, where the barons themselves seem to enforce law over their workers - they're a closed economy basically.

Smith's story does show that the Rise and Admiralty are in a feud with eachother too, so it's again a good decision for the Admiralty military to not risk stepping into the civil war between the Rise and the Barons when both of them have reasons to turn on the Admiralty.

As for Supplicant City, it's pretty clear that Hesh is the main religion in Havaria. If the Admiralty were to invade Supplicant City, they would be attacking the religion of their citizens (not to mention the clear military might the cult has). The quote 'The symbol of the Deltrean Empire and its lineage. When the Cult of Hesh became the dominant religion, the "many roots" of the Deltrean Tree became synonymous with Hesh's many tentacles. ' clearly implies that the Admiralty themselves are mostly worshipers of Hesh too, they probably wouldn't want to damage their religion's holy land. They are also the sole owners of Lumin, so going against them would mean losing a ton of your fuel sources. Sal's story does show that they have been trying to achieve some soft power over the Cult with the auction at the end of the day 5, though what became of that we don't know.

The Admiralty's existance in Pearl-on-the-Foam is likely due to its previously mentioned tourism industry (there's reasons to visit it, unlike the Bog). There's clearly a lot of crime going on (as there's more than enough rich suckers to make a living off of), but the Cult aren't lawmakers - they only go after people who go against Hesh's doctrine. They probably don't mind the Admiralty setting up a police office in their smaller vacation city and keeping their pretty little holiday location clean, the Cult still clearly holds rule over them there with their overwhelming dogma.

The Breadfields are rightfully a top priorty for the Admiralty - an army marches on its stomach after all.

Finally, the Roaloach doesn't seem to be a place that the Bile Brokers actually live at, rather its a dangerous enivroment that only they can work in because of their equipment and training. The Admiralty can just buy the resources they need from the Bile Brokers, as they aren't a large group of people. Its just a small archipelago after all.

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Thanks for the answer. I agree with a lot of what you write, but as dispute is more interesting than harmony for a conversation, I will focus on a few points, where I feel your conclusions are either not compelling or even contradictory.

About the time line of Supplicant City going back to the Vagrant Age: There is the problem of Deltree being named as the main continent, while Havaria as a whole is repeatedly named and treated as a colony, thus secondary and somewhat dependent of Deltree. This raises the question how this clear stratification came into being. If both locations were already settled by powerful forces from time immemorial, the Cult of Hesh on the one hand versus the Deltrean Admirality on the other hand, the more likely outcome would be a rivalry between otherwise coequal nation states.

You will probably agree, that the mass of artifacts to be found from the Vagrant age, without any apparent cultural continuity to be found, points toward an apocalyptic event that ended the Vagrant age. I think the clear hierarchy of continents points towards the fact, that Havaria was left unpopulated by this cataclysm and had to be newly settled, which is still an ongoing process as of the times of the narrated events.

I reckon the size of Supplicant City and Pearl-on-the-Foam to be more a consequence of their economical importance than of ancient foundings.

I will admit, that my theory about Havaria only being resettled lately, mostly under the leadership of the CoH raises some questions on it's own. I will hereby propose some simple additions to canon, that would solve such problems:

If Deltree was already established prior to the founding of Supplicant City, wouldn't it also have an established religion that spans back to before the encounter of the Deltrean society with the creature Hesh? Deltrean society obviously accepts the concepts of nobility as important, and historically any form of feudalism, monarchy or even aristocratic republic ever recorded utilized some form of religious validation for their hierarchy of power. A transfer of power from an assumed ceremonial centre in Deltree to Supplicant City should greatly raise the probability of a religious schism between a Deltrean orthodoxy and the Havarian CoH, but no other religion than the CoH is ever mentioned.

I think this non-schism can be explained by revisiting the "teachings" of the Cult of Hesh. Hesh himself apparently doesn't do a lot, prior to the events in Smith Banquod's storyline, except excuding lumin. Which is in turn harvested with "derricks" either from the sea or seafloor under the supervision of the CoH. Which very plausibly does not so much put Hesh itself at the centre of worship, than its product, the lumin. It's entirely feasible, that lumin extraction via derricks is feasible everywhere in the seas, even along the coasts of Deltree, but probably a lot less efficient there due to dilution and distance from the source. Another way for lumin to be known to Deltree before the founding of Supplicant city could be Rentorian exports.

Apart from being a fuel source, lumin is obviously also consumed in the form of lumin wine, and seems to have some quite potent psycho-active effects. Interestingly the main pillars of Heshian theology, namely its "indifference" and the "annihilation" of memory also echo quite closely long-term effects of drug abuse, namely dementia and anhedonia. The consumption of lumin as basis for a religious experience gives a perfect explanation how a Deltrean religion could have been proto-Heshian even before the settling of Havaria, thus avoiding a schism after it's liturgical centre shifts unto a newly-settled continent. The timeline of settlement would then most likely change to a) first settlers arive in the Breadlands region and find fertile grounds for agriculture. b) entrepreneurial-minded Deltrean nobility travels north to exploit natural ressources of Havaria, probably also with an eye on increasing lumin concentration and finally comes into actual contact with Hesh itself, which leads to the founding of Supplicant city. Event b) could also come in some different flavors, either the motivation to explore the north could have already been religiously motivated, or even the location of the source of lumin could have already been approximately known to be close to Rentoria as a result from prior lumin-exports from there.

As for the war that Rook took a part in: On first reading I also thought, that it was initiated as a power clash between the nation states of Rentoria and Deltree, but pondering about in-game bits of lore, it becomes more and more plausible to me, that it was initiated as a conflict between the CoH and Rentoria, and the CoH after first military setbacks then called in the Deltrean Admiralty to set up a protectorate in Havaria. This explains the firm alliance between COH and DA, instead of any form of rivalry, and also somehow explains the awkward placement and state of Havaria's "capitol" New Deltree.

Looking at real-world historical models, there are certain instances, when artifical capitols were newly set-up and purposefully constructed away from existing population centres: Edo (Tokyo), St. Petersburg, Brazilia, etc.. A somewhat common denominator for such a decision is a mistrust for the established power structure in the main population centre. In Havaria the problematic influence in the Breadlands is probably the Rise, threatening to diminish food delivery to Deltree, but if the tipping point to the decision to finally officially set up shop in Havaria for the DA was a plea for help from the CoH, it also makes strategic sense to place the main military base further north, closer to the front lines between Supplicant City and Rentoria and to Pearl-on-the-Foam, which is probably the main export route for CoH lumin.

A few tid-bits about Rentoria that drew my imagination: We only encounter two Rentorian citizens in game, Threekwa, the Hunter, traitor to Rentoria and former associate of Rook, and Bordenkra, the Rentorian diplomat. Both of them are Shrokes, a race which in Deltree is delegated to manual labor and mercenary operations, and both wear some form of breathing protections, which is otherwise only common with Bilebrokers and Jake lifters and assassins. Bordenkra's goal in Smith's campaign is a scientific probe of the beached creature, and when Smith tries to cover for her inofficial meeting with a representative of the Jakes, he tells the investigating Admiralty goon about her "scientific explorations" of local fauna, which prompts a reaction of "Rentorians are disgusting". Smith clearly refers here to a preconceived Deltrean clichee about Rentorians as being more rational and analytical in their perspective than Deltreans.

I think this all fits with my prior assumption, that Rentoria used to export lumin to Deltree, before the founding of Supplicant City, but different from the CoH they view its value purely as a fuel and try to actively protect themselves from its intoxicating fumes, brandmarking them as "disgusting infidels" to the CoH.

This leaves one variable unanswered, and it concerns the dual use of lumin both as a fuel and as a liturgical drug for the CoH, and that question is mainly about when the priority of use started to change. Religions often strive for an appearance of "ancient wisdom", even fairly newfounded sects, but for Griftlands it is really unknown when exactly a cult of fuel-huffers turned into a power that is respected by the biggest military on the planet and treated as allies.


Edit: Just replayed Smith's Rentorian diplomat mission. Interesting tidbit's here. Tei Utaro says about the Cult, that a war with the Spark Barons is brewing, but some members of CoH "still believe the enemy is in the north", obviously refering to Rentoria, so from an inside view the CoH absolutely considers itself a party to the war with Rentoria, while when Smith tries to talk the fanatic priest down from attacking the diplomat, he argues "The war was with the Admirality, not the Cult". So, "officially" there was never a CoH vs Rentoria "war", although there clearly was a massive confict, that still raises emotions within the Cult. Interesting also that Bordenkra claims to be a follower of Hesh, but then goes to straight performing an autopsy on the stranded creature. 

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