Brainstorming about the Vermin Swarm

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    • Brainstorming about the Vermin Swarm

      kisanis wrote:

      Honestly - when it comes to fluff the biggest gap is with the Vermin Swarm - finding out how to fit them into the picture, flush out their place in the world, and figure out their linguistic/cultural roots. As it has been asked - Are they Roman or Byzantine? If so, which era? both of those span almost 2000 years of history.
      Let us see if the community can help with a little bit of brainstorming and also show the BGT what the community thinks of the subject (If that is of any help). I start:

      Linguistic and cultural roots: If they came into being during the fifth age, as suggest by the tapestry, they may not have any other linguistic roots than what the local language was at the time. If that was latin then latin it is, which is good as I do not speak greek. As they were driven away and went into a underground diaspora they took up the languages of their surface neighbors. Latin remains the "language of power" as it is used by politicians and learned rats and used in diplomatic text between clans. It is revered so much that is is common for those who can not speak latin but have come to power to pretend speak latin in front of the lower classes with phrases like "hokus pokus". The lower classes speak a lot of different languages mixed with a vulgar latin. As they have many slaves pigeon and creole languages are common among the slaves and slavedrivers. They use latin writing for laws and important documents but have a second writing language that is based on characters. The character is written whit scratch strokes that are wider at the base and then becomes narrower so it can be scribbled with a claw or a brush. Each character has the meaning of a word and the language is simple and can be used without knowing the pronunciation of the word. It is usually used for signs and commandments but lack the proper grammar to form proper sentences in most languages. With these characters the swarm can communicate over verbal linguistic differences in their polyglot society. They complement their verbal language with smells and onomatopoeic sounds which makes their speech sound primitive to most humans. They are also more animalistic in their body language than humans and show their neck in submission rather than raise their hands.


      Are they Roman or Byzantine? If so, which era? both of those span almost 2000 years of history: They have a voting system for their leaders according to the 9th Scroll and yet the Byzantine Empire suits their assassin riddled culture, so I should say a mix it. The first triumvirate contains voting and a republic setting with infighting and a constant eroding of the old republic. Mix that with Byzantine Empire under the Angelos dynasty that gives rebellion and a combination of fight against corruption and tyranny. The latter is also close in time to the viking age and the age of chivalry.


      Finding out how to fit them into the picture, flush out their place in the world: They are the constant threat to the great civilizations. They do not want to destroy the world like the daemons, nor do they reflect our sins and worst behavior like the dark gods. They want to usurp the surface world and replace its population and continue what has been built and making it better in their view. Where there is a great civilization there is a swarm underground that speaks the language of it citizens and plots for its capture. They envy the surface livers and feel like they do not appreciate what they have and that they do not reach their true potential of what the surface can give them as they have become complacent. The fear of advancements in technology, magic, and selective breeding has chained the surface dwellers to mediocracy.
      The swarm was given Avras to build upon what humans had created but were to conservative and blind to perfect their creation. They are opportunist that copy what other have created and makes it "better". They long for the old metropolis but most have never seen a city on the surface and for them Avras is but a metaphor for a better world.
      As they plot for a renewed surface supremacy they infight and scheme. Some populists claims that the upper classes forgets about the need of the lower classes in their dreams of Avras and the populist seeks to replace to old elite so that they can distribute the swarms wealth to all citizens. This leads to political roots and uprisings from time to time.
      As opportunist they want for division and infighting and when it happens they strike and colonizes.


      "As pretenders clash in the fields a rat usurps the throne" an Avras proverb about the dangers of animosity within the family.
    • As I thought out many months ago, I see the ultimate goal of the VS as a Greco-Roman Industrial Dystopia mired in bureaucracy, toil, corruption, and misery, all with a healthy layer of 1984/1920's Marxist propaganda.

      whether thats what BGT is planning, I'm not sure - But I like the idea.

      I think just going with a Latin-esque language will work. Worst case you can also write out that your army uses this latin language because it considers itself PURE, or something like that?

      But its fun to write it out!
      tagging for awareness those who may be interested:

      @Eldan
      @Scottish Knight
      @JimMorr
      @Ghiznuk
      @thedarkfourth
      @VisconteDimezzato

      Head of Lectors

      Quick Starter Team

      "...take a step back and remember that we are playing a game where we roll dice and move little people around the board."

      - Grouchy Badger

    • I would assume that conteporary Vermin Swarn have already lost most of their Avresian traits. They are more like Vlachs/Romanians - people who claim they are descendants of Romans but have their own culture and history. Any links to Romans can be found only in their language.
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    • kisanis wrote:

      As I thought out many months ago, I see the ultimate goal of the VS as a Greco-Roman Industrial Dystopia mired in bureaucracy, toil, corruption, and misery, all with a healthy layer of 1984/1920's Marxist propaganda.
      That sounds like something an enemy of the people would say.

      But yeah, though to me it's a bit lighter on the Marxism and heavier on the late Roman Republican Populism. More Gracchus or Pulcher, less Engels or Lenin.

      What I see as a big thing is how votes used to work in Roman culture at the time. Wealthy patricians would give concessions to their tennants and tennant farmers in the form of cheap loans, financial aid, tax-free farmland or even free food, but in return, it was expected that they would vote in their patron's interest.

      And what I'd absolutely also expect is the unending string of provincial generals and governors fashioning themselves dictators for the good of the people. They'd go out with their legions, who soon become personally loyal to them, but then come back without enough loot to pay them, so they'd have to dispossess some rivals first to distribute their lands to their soldiers as the traditional pension.

      Third, a continuous problem was that constant war meant an influx of slaves, which meant cheap agricultural labor, which meant that patricians with those slaves could buy up ever more land, which meant that rural farmers became homeless and unemployable and flocked to Rome.

      Combine all those, filter them through Verminkind and you get absolutely teeming masses, always a day away from rioting and starvation, continually swayed by demagogues making them ludicrous promises. Those demagogues would ride the surge of the mob to the top, be unable to keep their promises and then be quite literally devoured. The entire system only goes on through sheer mass and inertia and constant influx of resources from low-level warfare, badly maintained technological superiority and surprisingly shrewd trading.
    • JimMorr wrote:

      Wallachian/Moldavian/Vlads





      I'd say that Gentleman on the right is dressed in a quite Roman fashion. Not that far away from a legionary.
    • kisanis wrote:

      all with a healthy layer of 1984/1920's Marxist propaganda.
      *cough*
      I don't want to start no quarrel, but I'd rather call it « Stalinist » propaganda.
      Marx was a philosopher and an economist, he did not write propaganda.

      But yeah, anyway, as Eldan says,

      The political mores of the Roman Republic are already full of such crazyness.
      I especially like the Rome HBO series in how they depict all that process, the bonds of clientelism between the elite and the lower layers.

      And yes, when you look at the Roman streets, people really do look like rats.

      As for Romanian, as JimMorr suggested, hm, why not, let's see.
      We definitely need @Niedfaru at some point here, you know.
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • Also on Roman Republic politics, I read Sallustius's account of the Jugurthine War and the effect it had on promoting Marius to the status of hero of the people, it's really interesting.


      However, we should be cautious that we already have a Roman-style slaver and supremacist republic in Dathen (Dread Elves)…
      We should be careful to clearly differentiate them.
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • I was going for the type of 'peasant power' popular movements on the left during the ww1/interwar era

      Spain, Russia, Germany, China, Etc..

      Not to mention the Dread Elves don't enslave their own...

      Vermin would gleefully sell their surplus litter into slavery - its a necessity of the overpopulation issues.

      To the VS, life is cheap.

      To the DE - all *other* life is cheap.

      Head of Lectors

      Quick Starter Team

      "...take a step back and remember that we are playing a game where we roll dice and move little people around the board."

      - Grouchy Badger

    • Although I would love to see my rats as bolsheviks bringing liberty, equality and fraternity to all nations I am afraid it fits neither vermin pantheon nor plague cult. Soviets were enemies of all religions, mysticism, church. Marx called religion opium for the people and even though soviets misrepresented most of his theories they kept this one quite literally. They had deep hatred for religion maybe because Stalin himself failed to become a priest... it was personal. Also slaves are somewhat out of place in communist system - there is only one lower class. Instead of slaves we would need penal companies... I would really love to switch with BH background.

      More fitting will be a sanctioned oligarchy. Senates (more then one as vermin communities after fall of Avras have dispersed) have a number of permanent seats occupied by most influential Houses and Cults. Those may have even veto right... Other seats are subject of competitions of smaller Houses. As permanent Seats are able to block any decision Senates are hardly effective ruling system - without a dire danger or blackmail they seldom reach consensus. As the result Vermin politics is really politics of Houses and Cults which raise private armies, wage wars on their own and are generally states within state. Plague cult is outside of this system - its priests have been neglected the right to permanent Seats and the plot to overthrow Senats and replace it with true theocracy...
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    • Raz Ivovich wrote:

      My rats are perfect in every way. A thriving mass of fascist cults reaching for ultimate Power!!
      Power is never ultimate. Proximate, at best.
    • JimMorr wrote:

      Marx called religion opium for the people and even though soviets misrepresented most of his theories they kept this one quite literally.
      Actually if you read the actual text where Marx says that, you'll find that he was precisely arguing, in a rather romantic and poetic way, against the critic of religion for the sake of it and any direct attack on religion.
      He was on the contrary trying to attract his fellow philosophers attention onto the fact that the belief in religion has very deep societal roots, that the poor, downtrodden masses need religion because they have no other source of hope in their life.
      Thus anyone wanting to fight religion has first and foremost to fight for better living conditions, justice and equality for the masses – and then the religious feeling will gradually decrease by itself.

      « Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. [i]Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.[/i] »


      Also, please note that he was only 25 years old at the time.
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • Eldan wrote:

      But they are too nationalistic to be communist.
      Well, the Soviet Union after Stalin usurped power became a very nationalistic place, with the theory of « Socialism in one country », glorification of the Motherland and of the Russian race, the « Great Patriotic War », etc.
      Official propaganda became very schizophrenic between the slogan of « we will free the world from capitalism » and all the « we are the best country in the world (and we don't need anyone else) ».
      Also, the way the initial Workers Councils became changed into the bureaucratic « Soviets », Stalin's rise to power, etc. all that can be connected to the general theme of how the dictator came to power. (Star Wars, Cæsar, and so on)

      But yeah, even though we can get some inspiration of any totalitarian dystopia / failed utopia, if only for the hypocrisy of the slogans that were fed to the masses,
      I'd rather much more we base ourselves on the stories of the Roman republic – how Marius, Caesar, August became dictators.
      This would help us avoid offending anyone's beliefs.
      The Roman Republic was a very, very nationalistic place as well.
      They really believed that they were a people blessed by the gods and that gave them the right to collectively enslaved and conquer the whole known world.


      But yes, we could imagine that this would be the line of demarkation between Dread Elves and Vermin :
      Dread Elves get inspiration from both the Meditarrenean slaver republics (I have shown elsewhere how this does not necessarily means Rome, it could be any other Mediterranean maritime slaver republic, as they all broadly shared the same societal system : Carthage, Syracuse, Rhodes, Tyrrhus, etc.) and the early USA / Confederate States (I have also shown in that same thread as mentioned above how the geographical similarities helped shape the early USA into a slaver society with similarities to the early Roman Republic).
      In short : a slaver republic of free colonists / landowners / craftsmen, proud individuals, each an owner or a master of his craft, fending for themselves, upholding their honour and going to war as a free man/woman to get an equal share of the loot.
      Which also opens parallels with the early Vikings.

      Vermin Swarm are the late Roman Republic / Roman/Byzantine Empire, a convoluted system of a few noble families / clans / houses ruling over a vast mass of client plebs / proles, partially fed, equipped and entertained by the State, with different factions and mobs vying for control, killing each other in violent riots, with frequent changes in alliances between the different noble houses.
      Much like modern African politics……… ;)
      And the mass nature of society means we can draw a lot of the slogans from totalitarian systems such as Soviet Russia / Nazi Germany / you name it. But that doesn't mean we have the same type of society, and we should do that in a way that is a mock, but not in a way that it could be definitely labeled as to exactly equating this or that.


      To sum it up :
      DE are the libertarian mix of early Roman Republic with inspiration from early USA
      VS are the totalitarian mix of late Roman Republic/early Empire with inspiration from USSR / 3d Reich
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa

      The post was edited 4 times, last by Ghiznuk ().

    • Here's an idea that I've chucked around before, so I'll chuck it around again?

      How about vermin as evil merchant guilds? Like the Dutch East India trading company (or the British, Portugese, Swedish etc), selfish mercantile powers with control over vital commodities that gives them too much poltical power.

      This would make the vermin not just another evil race, but a lawful evil race that lives throughout the world in tolerated but despised way, lawful because they follow the rules (where they have to), but evil because they will bribe, murder, sell addictive drugs. This would make them a faction that lives within other factions.

      Their communities would largely be arranged around guilds, and each army would be the personal army of those guilds. Battles could be fought anywhere, for various reasons; a war with high elves would be over fought over them trying to exert trade rights or establish slave labour mines, dishonest Equitaine lords could hire them as mercenaries, on the promise of a monopoly.

      Its just an idea, but its borrowing not off an existing people and leaving vermin as another evil race who live in a specific territory, but instead borrowing for a historical phenomena of evil capitalists who had their own empires and unscrupulous methods to make money.
    • Ghiznuk wrote:

      And the mass nature of society means we can draw a lot of the slogans from totalitarian systems such as Soviet Russia / Nazi Germany / you name it. But that doesn't mean we have the same type of society, and we should do that in a way that is a mock, but not in a way that it could be definitely labeled as to exactly equating this or that.
      This was what I was going for - I feel like because of the rakkachit aspect, some of the VS have a mid-1800's industrialisation underway - this provides ample opportunity for industrial era propaganda to keep the workers in line.

      Ghiznuk wrote:

      I'm sure that idea can be combined with the rest, especially since we also have fluff describing rumors of Vermin dealing in all the darkest trade at the bottom of human society.
      I agree here too - but only certain members of the VS would be able to engage in this manner - I feel like a merchant/banking house would be able to fit into here - maybe like the north Italian merchant states?

      Head of Lectors

      Quick Starter Team

      "...take a step back and remember that we are playing a game where we roll dice and move little people around the board."

      - Grouchy Badger