1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Balseraph History and Culture

Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Lore' started by thewyrm, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. thewyrm

    thewyrm Ambassador to Real Life

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    I love this mod so much I am going to blatantly rip it off for my next D&D campaign (prob. a 4th ed one) and I love the unique and mysterious Balseraph most of all the races. I plan on creating my own history and backstory for them, but I was hoping to enlist y'all with some help in determining a few things. Bear in mind this is for my own amusement, so don't worry if it is "canon" or not.

    Perpentach: Is he truly "insane?" Is he just as likely to kill you as he is to hug you depending entriely on his mood, or does he always have some ulterior motive for the seemingly random things he does? Is he really evil, or does he simply have a moral code totally alien to what we percieve?

    Keelyn: Do her "puppets" have genuine affection for her, or is she just a tool they cultivated for their own use? I lean towards Giggles at least loving her in his own twisted and evil fashion.

    Loki: What is his origin, and what is his relationship to Perpentach and Keelyn?

    Would an aristocratic society or a guild based society make more sense? My original idea is that Balseraph society is caste based. With each tradiotional circus act having it's own place in a rigid social heirarchy. However, I see marriage and attachment being entirely irrelevant to the Balseraphs, so familial ties to a specific job or caste would be difficult to implement. Would you simply be the same caste as your mother since determing who a Balseraph's father is would be nigh impossible?

    Finally, how "evil" should the average Balseraph be? Are they twisted deviants who will stoop to just about anything for their own gain, much like the Drow in D&D? Or are they simply artists and performers trying to get by as best they can in their clown king's madhouse? I think Perpentach's inner circle at least should be disgustingly debauched anyway.

    I see Balseraph society as the kind you find morally repugnant until you find yourself there. Then you try the wine. . . then you taste the food. . . then you enjoy a show. . .then you hear the music. . .then you dance and revel until delerium. . . then you dance with someone else. . . then they lead you someplace dark that smells of incense and opium. Sooner or later, you become addicted to your own pleasure until you cannot get enough. Even the most pious priest of Junil has their breaking point.
     
  2. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    15,936
    Location:
    Kael's head
    Perpentach's insanity is due primarily to the fact that his mind contains copies of the minds of at least hundreds, possibly even tens of thousands of his victims. He was a powerful magical savant, and the strongest student of Kyorlin, whose specialty was mind magic. He has used this since his early childhood to control the minds of others, but cannot help but create a copy of each mind he enters. These minds constantly detract and argue with him and with each other. Kyorlin managed to use Perpentachs power to bind these minds in a corner of his mind when he took him on as a student, allowing him to concentrate and hone his skills. When Kyorlin turned good, Perp did not, and they fought and epic magical battle. Perpentach even successfully controlled the mind of Kyorlin, but Kyorlin (possibly the copy of him in Perp's mind. The later of the at least two copies of him, that is.) broke down the barrier he had created, and threw Perp into disarray. He could not defeat him, but he bound him in the Tower of Eyes, far from any minds to control, guarded by Golems. Eventually a traveling carnival wandered near, and he took them over and used them fight off the golems. All these carnies died, but he escaped, and he still holds them in his mind. By this time, centuries alone with his thoughts had driven him insane, and he had learned to embrace them. He doesn't suffer from insanity, he has come to enjoy it.

    He has many motive and moral codes, which often conflict. He is however known to be extremely honest, usually prefering to keep his word literally but not do in the way that people expect him to.



    I don't know about Keelyn, probably a bit of both.


    I don't know about Loki either, but it has been suggested that he may actually be an Angel of Mammon (God of the Mind) or possibly Camulos (God of Chaos)


    Yeah, an odd sort of aristocracy is probably right. The Nobles are probably more susceptible to the whims of Perpentach, so the "upper" classes are probably not really any better off. I suspect that there is a great deal of social mobility, with no logical basis whatsoever for most promotions or demotions.


    Most Balseraphs have just gone insane like their leader. They probably don't have much of a concept of good or evil, and have become quite amoral.
     
  3. Mewtarthio

    Mewtarthio Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Messages:
    1,930
    The Balseraph nobility are saner than Perpentach himself, which explains why the empire hasn't instantly collapsed. They can't directly counter his insane schemes, but they are able to subvert his orders to keep things running smoothly, and they often notice when he does things particularly outrageous.

    Read the following 'pedia entries. These are crucial to understanding the Balseraphs:

    Perpentach (leader)
    Keelyn (leader)
    Beeri Bawl (leader)
    Revelry (spell)
     
  4. Nikis-Knight

    Nikis-Knight Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    5,636
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    In my mind, the Balseraph nobility are mad in at least one sense--they think that they can take advantage of Perpentach's madness. Each probably has his own scheme he tries to advance behind the back of the mad king--but Perpentach is also master of mind magic, and these schemes invariably fail.

    I think the common people are a mixed lot; some enjoying the hedonism and splendor, some trying to avoid being noticed and eek out a life and provide for themselves despite the mad and ever changing laws and plots. Similarly, some enjoy the cultural aspects, delighting in art for it's own sake, and others enjoy the cruel pleasures of others misery, the freakish slaves and simple fools.
     
  5. thewyrm

    thewyrm Ambassador to Real Life

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    I have read all the 'pedia entries pertaining to the Balseraphs. I'm just looking to delve into them further.

    How many of y'all have ever been to a Mardi Gras celebration? When I imagine the city of Jubilee, I imagine the City of New Orleans, only a darker, twisted mirror image. One where the Mardi Gras never ends. The bouncer will always open the velvet rope for you, but you don't know whether it was a good idea to go inside until it is too late. One room may bring you to boundless pleasures of the flesh, but the next you may be forced to be mutilated for the pleasure of a noble.

    I see daily life for the "Nobles" being one where every noble is trying to out-do the others by creating the next craze. They are a nation obsessed with aestic values. The more powerful and influential someone becomes, the more they steer the masses into believing what is and is not in fashion. I also see a "Sado-Masochistic" society. The sadism comes in that they will force nigh unholy hardship and disgustingly perverse situations upon their slaves and peasants, but they are also Masochistic in that they push their own boundries of pain and pleasure. I guess an example would be piercing yourself until there is no skin left to pierce, or ritualisticly scarring your body in an effort to improve your "beauty." Or that month's concept of beauty anyway.

    PS- It is my hope that this will become an ongoing discussion on the daily lives of the Balseraph people, and that it will encourage those who have a particular love for the other civs to start their own topics on them.
     
  6. zxcvbnm

    zxcvbnm The Nobody

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
    2,070
    Location:
    nowhere
    A good example of promotions/demotions in the Balseraph empire:

    Fire the complaining advisors! She is the only one doing it right! (painting cows and planting corn on rooftops)
     
  7. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,227
    I don't think they are that insane, because after all, their empire somehow holds together, and even thrives. You could have slaves, cruelty and debauchery, but at the end of the day they still manage to hold larger cities than others. What I'm thinking is a heavy, burdensome tax with the nobility taking more of it by corrupting the already-oppressive fees and levies, but then some of it is used for large circuses, fireworks, LSD's and slave-prostitutes that double-up as punchbags. This way the entire empire becomes evil, but also very productive.
     
  8. thewyrm

    thewyrm Ambassador to Real Life

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    It's kinda like everything that was wrong about the Roman Empire. Sure you have roads and aquaducts, but your Emperor sometimes invites you over for a dinner of glass fruit. Or demands you give your wives and daughters to his Legions for an evening.
     
  9. TheJopa

    TheJopa Šumar

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Messages:
    2,008
    Location:
    Croatia
    I think that on the beginning of the Age of Rebirth they are kinda like typical medieval kingdom with insane king. Most of peasants would be too busy with survival and work to care about insane king, they would have low consciousness about the world and most of Perpentach decisions wouldn't have too big effect as the is definite lack of communication/transport/efficiency at that time.

    As the time goes and Balseraph have more spare wealth they start investing in entertainment etc. Obviously not everyone is insane, as peasants still need to supply the food and resources. Population in remote villages could be safe, even unaware of decadency. Still most of them would gladly visit large cities and join in the fun only Balseraphs can enjoy. Cities itself would be full of nobles, artists, often crazy scholars, priests and visitors and would have feasts as seen above.
     
  10. WhitewolfIV

    WhitewolfIV Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    31
    I thought that the Balseraph nobility (or at least a select group) were level headed and pretty much on the ball. They would have to be to keep the country together and functioning. Perpentach is a man who is king of a country, and knows that he is insane. So he probably selected a few level headed people in his court to keep everything in order so he doesn't have to. Those other people who paints cows and stuff, would stay a week or two in the court before being replaced by someone who paints elephants.
     
  11. thewyrm

    thewyrm Ambassador to Real Life

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Well, if he is insane then he really wouldn't know he is insane.

    I think I have settled on the ruling class being a group of promotors. A select few people in the Balseraph lands constantly buy new slaves, train new and unique acts, and generally compete with each other over talent and exposure. All in an attempt to impress their fickle leader who is obsessed with pleasure and entertainment. If Perpentach mentions he has a desire to see a contortionist, these nobles will literally do everything in their power to train, buy, or murder every contortionist they can.
    Getting Perentach's ear allows them to drive forth their own personal agendas. Maybe one has a vinyard, so he manages to get Perp to declare that all citizens must spend a days wage on wine every week. That sort of thing.
     
  12. thewyrm

    thewyrm Ambassador to Real Life

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    I really dig the idea of the mimic unit. It adds a cool unique touch to the martial class of the Balseraph. The best Balseraph warriors are the Gladiators who adapt to any situation and learn by studying their opponants in the arena. This helps them maintain the adoration of the crowd. I have often wished there was a way to reward units who survive several attempts at the arena with unique promotions, but it would just encourage re-loading.
     
  13. Tyrs

    Tyrs Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    684
    Location:
    Northern Virgina
    I've done that, had a particular Freak that won about four matches in a row, so I named him the Arena champion. Something that annoyed me about freaks is how quickly they became outdated. They have really awesome and unique graphics, it makes me sad that I'm almost forced to upgrade them to swordsmen so soon. The extremely cheap upgrade cost (5) doesn't make keeping them any more excusable, either. I just wish the graphic could stay around longer
     
  14. thewyrm

    thewyrm Ambassador to Real Life

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Personally, I've always favored the freak being the swordsman. An Acrobat is someone who is in peak physical condition who is both beautiful and lithe. I never really liked being able to takes freaks to the recon line.
     
  15. Fenboy

    Fenboy Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Ingurland
    As mentioned in the Calabim thread, I'm studying the XML, and while Perpentach is (unsurprisingly) heavily weighted towards the Octopus Overlords, I was surprised to see that Keelyn has no such affiliation, and indeed has a +10 weight towards the Ashen Veil. It seems future generations of the Balseraphs will be going in a very dark direction...
     
  16. Rex rgis of Ter

    Rex rgis of Ter Me I'm a Creator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Messages:
    1,331
    Location:
    Erebus
    Well she is a demon summoner...

    I would, however, prefer her to be a CoE leader. There are too few of them, and she is thematic. She takes over the kingdom in his abscence (sneaky backstabbing). Her mother was a spy.
     
  17. Mewtarthio

    Mewtarthio Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Messages:
    1,930
    She doesn't look much like one for subtlety. She takes over the kingdom in her father's absence, true, but a CoE leader would do this by manipulating everyone else behind the scenes, not by storming into the palace with a Balor. Plus she's more inclined to summon demons since many of them are her childhood friends. And she's probably one of the best humans on Erebus to talk to if you want a demon's perspective on things (maybe even better than Tebryn).
     
  18. Fenboy

    Fenboy Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Ingurland
    One thing that I find really funny is that she's about the closest FFH has come to a "fairy-tale princess" :lol:
     
  19. thewyrm

    thewyrm Ambassador to Real Life

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Quick side note- I think a large reason for my love of the Balseraph are that they were the first civ I ever played as, and I chose them based solely on the fact that Keelyn had the coolest leader portrait of all the leaders.

    Keelyn is Ashen Veil because her puppets have convinced her it's the only way to party. Luckily Perpentach is never absent for such a long period of time as to allow her to truly usurp his rule, but I am certain she has her own cadre of sycophants who do things to please her. One of those things would be adopting her religion.

    I assume Perpentach is essentially immortal, so I don't think we need to worry about Keelyn taking control long term.
     
  20. kenken244

    kenken244 Grammar Nazi

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    980
    Location:
    Grammar Nazi Conclave
    He isn't immortal, he just takes over the mind of some young person every time he gets old. he wears too much makeup for anyone to notice anyway.
     

Share This Page