Revolutionaries Renown and the Liberation of Night

Is it possible to raise Renown: Revolutionaries beyond 15 without permanently Advancing the Liberation of Night? I wanted to get all my Renown up to 50, but I also don’t want to acquire that quality. If I can lower it to zero after raising Renown that high, I’d count that as an option.

I think it is really unfair that you are forced to get that just to increase Renown. No other faction works that way, and it is unreasonable to equate any Revolutionary help with the Liberation of Night. They’re far from united, after all. I’ve always valued the ability to avoid contributing to the Liberation, and I’d rather cripple my character by keeping that quality at 15 than change my mind. I much prefer the old sources of AtLoN, which were limited to specific ways to acquire and spend Connected: Revolutionaries.

Alternatively, I propose a bit of a novel design for this faction: provide two Renown-increasing options for 15 and up. Keep the current option, but add a far slower and tedious alternative that doesn’t raise AtLoN at all. Sure, no other faction works that way, but no other faction forces you to irreversibly sacrifice your agency as a player just to raise Renown either.

I welcome community input on this, of course.[li]

Is it really that unreasonable, though? I mean, you are supporting a bunch of shadowy people who want to violently overthrow the current government, it all happens while trying to avoid the attention of the Master’s agents, is it that unreasonable to assume that you can’t do that while hand-picking which particular group of troublemakers are exclusively going to profit. I mean, even just generally weakening the Master’s control and strengthening any revolutionary group is probably indirectly furthering the agenda of the liberation.

Also, is not having renown: Revolutionaries above 15 really crippling? I mean, you lose out on two items and maybe a convenient shortcut here or there, but… its not like thats gamebreaking?

Honestly, I’d rather have the game provide the occasional unwanted consequences to our actions, instead of being able to have my cake and eat it at all times, even when it doesn’t make any narrative sense.

I agree with Achanei, I prefer the game to make me make hard choices, and sometimes the cost of advancing my character is not just grinding, but morality. And I say that as someone who is also seriously contemplating not raising Renown for the same reason. (This is probably related to why I own a Zub instead of a Yacht.)

Saklad, you raise a good point that the Revolutionaries are not synonymous with the Liberation, and there are even anti-Liberation factions within the Council itself. But, if you’re helping the Council as a whole, then there are Liberation ideologues who are benefiting from your actions, so I think the quality increase is justified. And I get the feeling that the Liberation and its backers (of various types) are more in-control of the revolutionary agenda than it would appear.

To answer your question: I believe I have heard there is exactly one way to lower your Liberation of Night quality. Specifically, an ending to some Exceptional Story does a full wipe. I don’t remember which story and I certainly don’t remember which ending, and I’m guessing you have to support the Masters which is its own can of ethical worms (which bats find tasty). But it’s there.

Your reasoning for this request is somewhat confusing. You value the ability to avoid contributing to the Liberation - why? I can see no gameplay rationale for it (Failbetter is very keen on making it impossible for you to control all changes in quality that happen to your character), only in-character reasoning - your character would not support advancing the Liberation, so you want to take actions that will not advance it.

Yet at the same time, you want to raise the Renown: Revolutionaries beyond 15 because you want to get all your Renowns to 50. That sounds like a gameplay goal to me - strictly in-character wise, there is little reason to assume that your character is deeply and intimately connected to all the major factions of the Neath. But just in case, I will present two arguments against your proposal based on a gameplay-goal/character problem and a character goal/character problem.

The first argument is that you are mixing character with gameplay issues. That the Revolutionaries: Renown raises another quality at a certain point is not an issue, because Failbetter has long stood by the idea that the player is not in full control of what qualities they choose to raise or lower (See Quirk Increases/Decreases as another example - you also cannot control the fact that the Revolutionaries Renown Gain past 15 also increases your Ruthless and lowers Hedonist). Maybe you do not want to make a gameplay choice for character reasons, but that does not mean the gameplay choice is unfair. If your goal is gameplay oriented though, getting that shiny medal of Renown 50 for all factions for achievement purposes, you will already be making sacrifices to your character’s agency in order to fulfill that. See the players who wanted to collect all the Renown items but weren’t happy about needing to die or get banished from court to fulfill their items: you can’t always obtain your game goals without taking actions that your character wouldn’t otherwise do. It’s a choice - Some players choose character over game, others game over character. Most everyone falls somewhere inbetween.

The second argument, if you want to get Renown 50: Revolutionaries for story purposes, is that even though the Revolutionaries faction encompasses a wide variety of groups the Liberationists are still one of the most influential and notable Revolutionary groups in the setting. Their goals are after all the goals of all Revolution taken to its ideologically extremist endpoint: the system of natural law itself is unjust and should be overthrown. The actions you take to raise your Renown beyond 15 in the text reflects that progression from relatively mundane to more esoteric revolution, and even the title itself notes you as the Thirteenth Month of the Calendar: the group most explicitly working toward Liberation. If you want to be in tight, REALLY tight, with the network of agitative and subversive groups that fall under the banner of the Revolutionaries? You’re gonna get involved with some light-killers.

(What I think makes more sense, honestly, is to have some way of lowering AtLoN for those who really want it. Perhaps by giving you a chance to help the Secret Constables in their work, smashing down doors and bludgeoning would-be ultimate anarchists to (at least temporary) death. At the expense of giving up Revolutionary Favors or something.)
edited by Hotshot Blackburn on 9/14/2017

Technically you can drop it using Empress Shadow. But it would take GIGANTIC amounts of fate - something like 1240 fate to wipe all the liberation you’d have gained going from 15 to 50

If you don’t want to be silly, handing july over to the masters in “lost in reflections” sets it to 0 I think.

What a mad notion.

What a mad notion.[/quote]
We’re all mad here, and being mad is a serious business.

Is it Empress’s Shadow that can reduce Liberation of Night? I didn’t see anything in that storyline which was especially connected to the LoN, and I recall reading that it was Lost in Reflections that could reduce AtLoN.

As for reducing AtLoN, how would that work on the story side of things? The assistance you’ve given has already been given, and can’t be undone. It’s like wanting to remove Hellfarer, Bringer of Death, or Fist of the Bazaar. Those qualities (and many others, e.g. Successful Terms as Governor) reflect your character’s past actions, not their present attitudes or future plans.

Its undone because you’re turning over info or taking actions that make it harder for the revs to use their resources.

Well…

edited by Optimatum on 9/15/2017

On the one hand, I think that it wouldn’t make sense to involve yourself so deeply with the Revolutionaries with the impression that you won’t be involved with the faction’s main shtick. On the other hand, since the ideologies of the Council range wildly from changing the law, using the law to your benefit, fighting against turning the lights out, and even going so far as to do the exact opposite of making everything dark, you could make the point that aiding each sub-faction wouldn’t lead to much progress that would trump the opposing groups’. So, while I think it’d be a bit unfair if not just boring to aid the revolution and not have the effect of it alongside, I wouldn’t say you couldn’t rationalize it.

On a side note, I’m not actually against the idea of having mechanics to lower the LoN. Only a few qualities match up to the effect of Advancing the LoN (Hellfarer and Fist of the Bazaar are debatable, though even they aren’t as game-changing as destroying all of reality, but you could also argue that’s why it should stay at its current level). However, even it’s been reducable in Fate content, so I wouldn’t throw out the idea of it being disposable just yet. If Failbetter were to offer the option at some point, I can see it as either being: A) a one-time deal in later story content that requires something so weighty mechanics-wise and story-wise that it’s debatable if lowering the quality is really worth it, or B) they turn its depletion into a long and expensive grind. Bonus points if only a single point of Advancing the LoN is erased after each succession.
edited by Sir Joseph Marlen on 9/15/2017

It would make absolutely no sense for someone to be able to get in deep with the revolutionaries without also increasing the liberation of night.

Even if they’re not all united, if you’re hanging out with a lot of revolutionaries and helping them out in various ways, you’ll end up accidentally helping the liberation.

Remember, the quality description says “Knowingly or not, you have contributed to the Great Work.” It could be unknowingly.

Keep in mind that Renown is not a simple measure of how highly regarded you are with a faction. It is supposed to be a measure of how well-known you are. That’s why it doesn’t go down even if you try robbing the Brass Embassy or sending anarchists to the gallows.[li]

I don’t think it is unreasonable that my character would want to have contacts with every power of Fallen London. Besides, if the Calendar Council can have members that are anti-Liberation, surely it can have allies that are as well.

As for comparisons to Hellfarer and Fist of the Bazaar, you can raise Renown without affecting those. In fact, no other Renown-raising action permanently affects qualities: all quirks can be raised or lowered reliably.

I suppose I could get Renown: Revolutionaries to 50, keep my preferred ending to Lost in Reflections, and still not have Advancing the Liberation of Night. It’d cost 50 Fate, though. I’m not sure I want to do that, but I’ll consider it. Just to be clear, though: are we certain that doing that wipes Advancing the Liberation of Night clean, even from the levels I’d get by raising Renown to 50?

It’s not a clean wipe, I think. Just a decrease.

On one hand, there are people grandfathered into Renown 50 without any Liberation and having some choices here would be neat.

On the other hand they added Liberation to random revolutionary activities like Bombing in the Flit post-conversion, so I think they intend for Rev interactions to be entangled with Liberation of the Night more than before.

Yes, that was the original description of the Renown mechanic. Of course, that description also gave robbing the Embassy as an example of Renown increasing due to notoriety, but that doesn’t happen. Right now I don’t think there’s a single option that narratively makes you an enemy of a faction while raising that faction’s renown. Even if Renown can’t be lowered, it’s still effectively measuring your popularity.
edited by Optimatum on 9/15/2017

As other have mentioned, Lost in Reflections and Empress’s Shadow do allow for the reduction of Advancing the Liberation of Night. Still, while other have used the argument that it’s &quotKnowingly or not&quot and that the Liberation of Night is tied in with certain groups within the Revolutionaries, I’d say that there certainly needs to be more ways to reduce that quality. If you can unknowingly assist the Liberation of Night, then it should definitely be possible to knowingly oppose and even slow down/halt the LoN. Possibly make it so supporting the Masters in the Affair of the Box reduces the Liberation of Night, or that frequently betraying Revolutionaries to the Constables will lead to a reduction of your Advancement. Unless Failbetter Games is trying to suggest that the Liberation of Night is inevitable and the only choice in the matter is how much you’ve contributed to it, I’d certainly say it needs to be a more flexible quality.

On the same note, if even supporting non-Liberationist Revs increases Advancing the LoN because they’re indirectly benefitting, then why are there no qualities for the anti-Liberation or Revs with other goals altogether? Surely they’d be benefitting from it too and having their own works advanced, unless, of course, the implication is that nothing else the Revs do matters aside from the Liberation of Night.

Personally I’d love an option to help push back any Liberation efforts (&quotyou have minutely hindered the Liberation of Night…&quot).

But as for the Renown: Revolutionaties, it has always made sense to me that this will increase the Liberation. Why wouldn’t it, when almost use of Favours: Revolutionaries (as well as calling in Favours with them pre-conversion) advances it?

The thread here reminds me of a recent complaint someone has made over on reddit about the fact that to increase Renown: Society you had to &quotside with monsters&quot. (That is, there were complaining that increasing Renown: Society requires blackmailing some nobles on behalf of the Royal family). In the world of Fallen London, become most Renowned by those of High Society means doing favours for the royal family. Likewise, becoming most Renowned by the Revolutionary elements requires involving yourselves with the Liberation. That’s just what it is.

I think it’s a huge exaggeration to claim this is &quotcrippling&quot. The game doesn’t require you to have high Renown with any particular faction. It’s a gameplay choice and a role-playing choice. In fact, even setting for yourself a goal of Renown 50 is completely arbitrary anyway, since there’s no cap and you can get most faction’s Renown up to 52 (at least one get go to 54).

The only in-game benefits for high Renown are the Renown items. But these were always blocked by potential player role-playing decisions:

  • Some people can’t get the top Renown: Constables item, since they play a character they won’t let die.[/li][li]Some (including myself) can’t get the top Renown: Society item because they refuse to get banished from Court.[/li][li]Many can’t get the Renown: Rubbery Men item because they didn’t pay Fate for Flute Street.

(So saying &quotNo other faction works that way&quot is true, yet irrelevant. FBG are vocal supporters of asymmetrical design. There are always examples of &quotno other quality works this way…&quot).

In short: if you set a principle for yourself to never increase the Liberation (which I support, as I also play this way), this personal choice means you won’t be able to get certain items.

I still don’t understand what Renown is meant to represent: is it a measure of neutral fame (or both infamy and fame), or is it a measure of positive fame/favourability of disposition?

Failbetter stated that it was meant to be the former, hence it can never be lowered - even if robbing the brass embassy doesn’t increase renown, it certainly doesn’t decrease it, which it would do if Renown was simply a measure of favourability (much like the old Connected - in fact, this is practically the main point differentiating Connected from Renown).

And yet the only way to actually gain renown is through acquiring favours. This alone would be easy enough to fix - perhaps as in future expansion of the system. But the problem arises from the fact that high renown levels provide access to explicit rewards from the faction in question - in other words, the faction gives you a present after you reach a certain level of renown. This goes completely counter to the idea that renown doesn’t necessarily imply a positive attitude. And more than this, some of the quality text for higher levels or renown strongly implies a positive association - the only one I can remember right now is the Thirteenth Month, but that should be enough to make my point: clearly this means that your character is basically a member of the Calendar Council, which would be unthinkable if they reached Renown 40+ by opposing the Revolution with such fervour that eventually every anarchist would know - and curse! - their name. No, it quite clearly cements the fact that this level of renown could only have been gained through helping the Revs.

So did Failbetter silently go back on their word without really making a big deal out of it? The fact that Renown can’t be lowered seems to indicate otherwise. Do they plan to later extend the Renown system to create antagonistic ways to raise it? There are absolutely no signs pointing to that - the current implementation appears to be mechanically completely sound and self-contained, and to my knowledge FB never even hinted at anything like this. Did the writers/designers drastically change direction mid-way, without properly redesigning the concept from the ground up, leaving us with this contradictory, inconsistent system? As much as I love FL, appreciate the effort that went into it, and applaud the design of almost every other part of the game, I’m afraid this seems to be the only plausible answer.

Unless they make significant further changes, then yes, it would seem they’ve changed their mind on this. Renown only ever increases by helping a faction, and all advanced unlocks (including Renown item) implicitly and explicitly assume that they like you the more Renowned you are.

The way I see it is:

  • The &quotcurrency&quot aspect of the old Connected quality got separated into Favours.[/li][li]The &quotcloseness&quot to a faction aspect (or how much you are respected by them) got renamed into Renown.[/li][li]For gameplay mechanics reasons which makes no narrative sense, this Renown (which is RP-wise the same as old Connected) can only ever increase. This is a poor choice, in my opinion, since it comes at the expense of actual RP choices dropping Connected (conflict cards used to be about an actual conflict of interests, not deciding whose Favours to cash in). But I guess it gives people something new to grind towards for a few months…