I love how dumb this format is.
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From context, I would guess that there's supposed to be a "you" after that "towards." But as is, who knows WHAT Asterion could be glancing at? A distant thunderstorm? A delicious egg and cheese sandwich? Hugo Award Nominee Chuck Tingle? The Hyundai sign and drive sales event? It could be anything!
If we're talking about the same explanation, then that was in terms of "shapeshifting is a physical change, passports are a perception change" distinction.
Which would imply that, in reference to the "true form if they enter the hotel" question below, that a werewolf would still be able to shift, because the passports that the hotel 'turns off' doesn't effect any material changes.
I keep wondering how the whole Passport system manages them.
Are there governments who refuse to issue them Passports or other official charms? On the logic that they can shapeshift into humans, and therefore "shouldn't" need them, but they're still subject to the same "you're in trouble if anyone notices you're anything but human" laws that other mythicals use a Passport to comply with.
What I read that scene as is: Hermes slipped into Recursion, the kind P was talking about during Hinterlands. I don't know if he was trying to leverage the power of his own myth for whatever "undo the labyrinth" scheme he's working on, or if he just didn't notice and putting literal Hermes in the position of killing someone in the role of Argos to release someone in the role of Io was just too close to his story, but either way I think the story took over. Which is why he couldn't remember where he was, why he was calling people by the names of people from the story, and why when someone who was a better fit for the role of Argos showed up, he switched to trying to kill them without noticing.
That's my interpretation, anyway.
I don't know if it's the most meaningful, but the incantation P uses to make Storm's charm was the moment I knew I had to follow this story all the way to the end, so there's not really any way to argue that's not my favorite.
Ok, I said I was going to do it and I did. So here's the entire beach day ritual, as clearly as I can identify all the elements. Some of these might just be incidental, but if I could think of a way to interpret something as part of or an enhancement of the rite, I included it.
COMMEMORATIVE HOLIDAY: In celebration of Oscar's first paycheck
JOURNEY: Setting out to the seashore
SETTING INTENTION: "I'll bet... that by tomorrow mornin', at least somethin'll be cleared up, and you'll have a nice job offer" and as has been implied, in future builds, P will be hirable as hotel staff. Unclear if Storm meant this as encouragement, or if he actually intended this to be an Intention Setting, but the effects of the rite do bring exactly this about.
TO LIMINAL SPACE: the seashore, which is about the most liminal space there is.
BATHING: in the sea.
PURIFICATION WITH SALT: because the bathing is done in the sea.
USING THE MATERIALS AT HAND: the seashells. Note the bought one is rejected. Which makes the money spent on it wasted, and therefore a-
SACRIFICE/ALMS: the money wasted on the conch shell when Storm immediately finds a better one.
SHARED MEAL: the dumplings and fish and chips. It's not bread and wine, but there's no other narrative reason to mention the food and Asterion's more than once made a big deal of the ritual aspect of eating together.
MAKING A FIRE
IN AN ABANDONED LOT: another layer of liminal space, and the same kind P used to make his charm.
TRADING LIFE STORIES: P volunteers an account of how he can't stop seeing the hotel, the very thing he's been avoiding telling Storm, unprompted once the fire is going. Note providence and/or synchronicity carries the steps forward once the ritual has some momentum, and Storm doesn't have to do this step.
It's at this point Oscar explains what he's been doing. P doesn't catch on till he's told.
THE ACTUAL RITUAL: salt, fire, amulet, and a spiral to be broken. note the amulet used was both an heirloom-a bead from the charm P's grandfather made him-and purpose built-among other beads Storm added. Storm mentions this as another symbol of broken recursion. Also reflects, unknown to Storm, the armlet MC summons for Asterion to test the hotel's fabrication powers. Synchronicity again, but also dipping into another narrative's power. Storm is playing YOUR role of "releaser from the bondage of recursions"
PERFORMED ON BEHALF OF ANOTHER: explicitly in the text
TRADING LIFE STORIES: then Oscar responds with the story in whose recursion P is trapped.
GUESSING P'S TRUE NAME: and that one carries some REAL hefty folkloric weight.
INVOKING HIS ROLE WITHIN THE NARRATIVE TO CLAIM AND CONTROL IT: "I'm Io, and yer the Panoptes." which arguably has even more weight. Note the implicit queer implications in claiming a role meant for a different gender, which in some traditions is also an enhancement of ritual work.
So, it's maybe not surprising that this is what worked to break through P's debts and reveal the hotel. About the only things that could have been done which wasn't was if the ritual had also been at a crossroads, and the Marian invocation that this thread was supposed to be about. (I guess a future update could always reveal the beach is named Salve Regina or something like that.)
I guess one could say there's a 'true love' element that could have been included too... but I'm willing to bet that future updates will reveal that yeah, that's there, retroactively, if you as the player steer correctly once Storm and P arrive at the hotel.
Something that just occurred to me: if you're right about Zeze killing Grampa P? That MIGHT fit Grampa P's recursion: Because the person playing the Argos role is supposed to get killed by someone playing the Hermes role, right?
If you go back into some paleomyhtology, it's thought that both Hermes and Pan have their origin in a Proto-Indo-European god Pehusan, who is theorized to have been a god of pastures, roads, journeys, boundaries, the wilderness, and herding. At some point between the Linear A and B periods and the beginning of classical greek antiquity, the version of this god they had in Greece got split, with some of the myths and godly responsibilities:--Roads, Journeys, Boundaries, being a Psychopomp--going to Hermes, and some--Herds, Pastures, being a Goatman, the Wilderness (and what's another word for wilderness? Hinterlands) going to Pan.
The other thing about Pan is that "Pan" is the Greek word for "everything" or just "every-" if it's used as a prefix.
So if we've got a guy who is a goat mythical, who lives in the Wilderness where there's not much but people in pastures raising herd animals, and his name is the same name as EVERYone else? That seems like a REALLY good candidate if Recursion needs someone to do a Hermes job real quick.
Well, I suppose that would depend on the rules of the magic system and the purpose of the ritual. But in this case, I'd guess it's pretty likely that yes, you can?
In terms of the kinds of rituals P does, I think so? For one thing, Storm doesn't get told much about what's going on the first few times he helps P do something, and those don't seem to be at all diminished in effectiveness for it.
For another, it's a common thing in magic that's about re-enacting narratives to harness their power that certain actions get done by the correct person, the person who's authorized to do the action. Like, only the youngest prince can break the spell on the castle, in the fairy tale. So you might have rituals designed to make someone count, temporarily and via a loophole, as the correct person. Like... you do something to age all the other princes, suddenly you're the youngest prince, just long enough to break the spell. And the prince doesn't need to know what he's doing to do that, the enchantment only cares that he is, right now, for whatever reason, in fact the youngest.
For another thing: recursion. The way P talks about recursion, it sounds very much like something that can happen to you without your noticing. Therefore, it must be possible to do it without knowing you're doing it. But recursion fits the definition of a ritual: it's a set of meaningful actions that have a supernatural effect. So if it's possible to go through the motions of recursion unaware, and it still works, then that would imply it's possible to go through the motions of a ritual unaware, and it still works.
"For example, every day at 6PM the radio stations would play an Ave Maria. Every home has a statue of the Virgin Mary"
Is that for praying the Angelus, or is that a different "Say Hail Marys at precisely 6PM" tradition than the one I was taught? Because I can easily believe there are many of those.
One of the things I'm gonna be analyzing really closely on my current playthrough is "what are the actual actions Storm and P do on their Beach Trip before they wind up finding the Hotel?" Because we see them from P's perspective, and he doesn't realize when the ritual starts. By the time Storm tells him what's up, they've already gone to the seashore which is about the most liminal space there is, bathed, purified with salt cause it's the ocean, waited till dusk, and built a bonfire.
Interesting to see if I can actually identify the entire ritual as Storm intends it.
I'm bringing this here because when I brought it up on twitter they explicitly told me about this forum, which I didn't want to set foot in till I'd finished build 0.5. Which I now have.
Throughout Hinterlands, there's a repeated motif of P using devotion to the Virgin Mary as a component of his magic. Saying Ave Marias to dispel the Tapir apparitions, the coffee cup that makes the shitty coffee taste good, etc. (I haven't had time yet to go back and play all the Hinterland sub routes yet, but if you find others please mention them.)
Partly this is because Hinterlands and the things that happen in it are based on Latin American folklore, which is very Catholic, and the devs have said as much. As someone who was raised... 'esoteric Catholic,' let's say, myself, I know how many, many, MANY different "say this number of Hail Marys at these specific times of day, with this introduction, with these other prayers, in this order" rituals there are.
But, any character COULD have been the one to showcase that, what does it mean that it's P that gets the "Marian Devotion as Latin American Ritual Magic?" Why him, specifically?
P is explicitly a descendant of, and named after, the Argos that the Argoi are pretending to be standing in for. That's the myth he gets Recurrence'd into with Storm, and why Hermes tries to kill him after up getting Recurrance'd into it as well. Which means he's under the patronage of Hera: In addition to the peacock being an animal sacred to Hera and often used in art as her attribute, the reason he can see through the spots on his feathers is because that's where Hera put Argos's eyes after Hermes killed him.
Two themes in the story are Syncretism and Recurrence: the overlapping and blending of traditions, and the re-enactment of old stories with new people filling the roles. As Argos, and as Peacock, P's story, his concept, has him supposed to be empowered by his devotion to the queen of the gods, the patroness of Mothers, and the exemplar of marital fidelity. Though that was originally supposed to be Hera, that's been syncretized into the Virgin Mary in the context of Latin American folklore (I'm going to guess Brazil? Though if someone told me no, actually, it's Argentina or Chile or Peru I'd believe them.)
Maybe this is because, as Hermes says, most of the Greek pantheon aren't really around anymore, so P's myth needs someone else to occupy the "Queen of Heaven" role. But it's also a thematic fit with the KIND of magic we see P practice, and Storm learn from him: utilitarian, symbol-is-the-thing, ritualism put together from The Things That Happen To Be At Hand. So if your story means you're empowered by invoking the Queen of Heaven, then maybe it doesn't have to matter which one?
Ok, just finished.
I think my main complaint is it's a little anxiety inducing to not have enough TIME to do all the things you should do. Asterion's project, the side character routs, recruiting Robert. In a game where the premise of the fantasy is "time enough, at last, with the people you care about" it bothered me a little that it felt like I was being forced to leave so much untouched. I hope the plot isn't, like, FINISHED? That future builds give the player some to actually see Asterion and the PC happy with eachother? As is, it felt a little like we got to see them finally find echother, and then that was it, the end.
I love the worldbuilding, the careful syncretism that's gone into the world. This is one reason I felt resentful of not having more leisure time to explore it. So often works that try to combine pantheons and mythologies feel like they treating them as irrelevancies: they're all true because none of them particularly matter. Here you did the opposite.
What I loved most is the idea of the Recursion, that Pedro explains, how people become trapped reliving different versions of the stories they were born into. And I really appreciate the earthy, practical, go with what works, the-symbol-is-the-thing style of his ritual magic. It gave a lot of context for what was wrong with Hermes, at the end.
It takes a lot to get me to buy a happily ever narrative. You did it though. I'm invested, and I really really hope that future builds are going to let us see some of it, not just leave us here.