Oct 26, 2023
Texas, USA
Apocalypse has given us a new episode of Alaric’s journey.There's a lot that was revealed. Spoilers ahead!
The dead’s territory is south of the Deadhaus gates. When the dead attack, the gates don't open nor do they use boats. A fog appears, and they come out of it. According to the Necroliberatas, humans have planeshifters who can effectively teleport entire armies. But the liches haven't figured out that magick. “Intervention of an Ancient is suspected”. So how is that possible?
I have some ideas. The dead have allies that haven't been revealed, who help them move great armies. Like the dragons, who could transport by air. Another idea is that liches have another method of moving a lot of dead at once. Something similar to planeshifters perhaps. It's said they can do it at will, but maybe a liche needs a lot of set up before they can do anything like it.

Alaric describes the gate as so large that standing at the base makes it just about impossible to see the arches. That's insanely big. That's as large or larger than America's Empire State building. Why do you need gates that big? To keep big things in? Or out?

After sprinting to the top of the arches, he sees a city; the city of Jelrass. I didn't realize this before, but Jelrass is a Ustilian city. Probably the last of Ustilia. Are they aware of what's been happening outside of the gate? Deadhaus and Jelrass have a contract that says Jelrass gives them their dead and some of their living, and Deadhaus doesn't enter their city. That's a good contract I think. The Jelrassan people can defend themselves if the contract is violated (is what the liche says anyway). The last gameplay update showed us Jelrass as an interactive area. Now why would that area be created if the city is off limits? Does Jelrass refuse to pay the tithe at some point? I'm assuming they get attacked by Awakened and we (the players) are asked to help.

Alaric jumps off the cliff and transforms into mist. Mist form! The first actual transformation of a vampire we've seen in the radio play. From what we can tell, it obeys the same rules as blood omen. It costs magick and you aren't able to fly, just able to ignore water and obstacles. Alaric has to be forced out of his mist form because he hasn't figured out how to leave it. The liche was surprised he was able to be in mist form so long and says that Alaric shouldn't have so much magick. In game, this will probably mean we can increase our maximum magick for stay in mist form for longer. Or, some players may innately get more magick than others. OR! Alaric is unique in some way.
The liche, whose name is officially revealed as Amarax, says that the more a vampire feeds and the longer it exists, the more spells the blood will remember. It's pretty consistent with the idea that ancient vampires are stronger and long time players will have more power.
Amarax says that “mist is the medium in which vampires reform themselves and in time may take other forms through it”. First, vampires can heal their physical bodies through mist form. Second, this implies that I'm order to transform, the process is vampire -> mist -> new form.

The next part, Amarax starts dumping a bunch of information on Alaric as part of their pact.

Amarax explains a lot about liches, which gets me excited. He explains that he is an Archliche, someone who has attained a great deal of knowledge. He, among others, are the top liches.
He also explains that killing a liche depends on how much it knows. For some, it's as simple as destroying the body then destroying the phylactery. I believe this means that some liches have gained knowledge that force a would-be attacker to jump through more hoops. I haven't a clue what this would be. I guess they could have something like a curse that would trigger when the body is destroyed, so that you'd have to remove the curse before destroying a phylactery. He says liches may also have multiple phylacteries. I kind of expected that but it's super cool to know it's possible. I still haven't figured out how a phylactery or multiple would work within the game. I still think it'll behave as a respawn point.

Afterwards, Amarax tells Alaric of the other powers they are against. He brings up the astrological map, showing the celestial bodies and what faction or house it represents.

  • Haruspex, represented by an icon with curled horns. The Nameless God, whose house is Prodigium

I'm pretty confident this is the demons. Mainly because of the horns. A haruspex is someone who reads prophecies from entrails of animals. Sacrificial things is pretty demonic.

  • Coluber, represented by a snake. S’sa-Naraj, The Sun Eater, whose house is Thon.

We know dragons exist, maybe they are grouped with serpents? Dragon, wurm, snakes? I wonder if we'll see anything like gorgons. I'll keep thinking of anything snake-like.

  • Vesania, represented by a mad eye. Islirith, The Dreamer, whose house is The Awakened.

This one I got right from a previous post. The Awakened take creatures and twist them into nasty monsters that are difficult to kill. At least the ghoul knew how to end them.

  • Novisol, represented by spears radiating outwards. El’Sabayoth, The All-Fire, whose whose is Empyrean.

This one is simple. El’Sabayoth is pretty much the Abrahamic god, written into the name. These are our angels, the holy creatures. Probably most aligned with humans.

  • Inundo, represented by a wave. Uorou, only Uorou.

I have no clue about this. Clearly it's a water based house. The god and the house is known as Uorou? So it's some kind of collective. My best guess is water elementals or something within the sea.

  • Laterum, represented by a diamond shape. Ohm, The Many Sided, whose house is Machinarium.

These are probably some kind of artificial creatures. If it's machines I don't know what to feel about that. I've always been of the belief that stories with magic shouldn't have guns or anything advanced. I don't even like the idea of artificers in D&D. However, some games do it right. WH 40K has magic in the world of machines. And you could technically consider the wight as a fleshy machine. Hmm…more information needed.

  • Ruina, represented by the Deadhaus icon that we all love. Allalmawt, The Weaver, whose house is Deadhaus.

In Arabic, Malak Al Mawt is the “angel of death”. Which is pretty similar. The god that represents our house is basically the avatar of death. I was told him being a spider (hence the title Weaver) was too on the nose. A spider god would have been sick lol. I am curious where the title comes from though.

  • Malorum, The Twisted Mother, whose house in The Pillars

I joked about this before, but what if the pillars are the giants? Unless this is a callback to blood omen, where the pillars are literal. I just realized Malorum literally means “evil”. Wonder what that's all about.

  • Tlaquetlex, The Shattered, whose house is the Others.

Amarax says they will arrive in time. In the Great Houses poem, is this the all-powerful center? How does he know they will arrive? Are they going to show by the end of the chronicles or will it be endgame content? I'm thinking the Others represent a player faction that is outside of normal gameplay, or a non-aligned house; powerful, but helps whoever they want.

Amarax tells the story of the First War, and says that if all these followers of a house join in song, the path will open. This is our sonata. Honestly beautiful to think about.

Overall, this was a fun episode. We got to see the wisp again. I'm a huge fan of the liches, and seeing Amarax basically steal Alaric's magick is something I hope to see in game. Also, the altar that they met at? What creatures did those spines belong to? So many questions!! Finally, with the houses revealed, we can stop saying dreamhaus and or angelhaus and call it by what it is.

Predictions for next episode: The Contract ended with Amarax telling Alaric that the Awakened and Deadhaus are enemies. The whole reason Amarax wanted him there was so that they may work together to fight against the Awakened. In The Judged, we may see the core of Deadhaus. Alaric gets a chance to learn more about Deadhaus and their plans against the Awakened. Or, passing judgement sounds like an Empyrean thing. We may have another run in with angels.