The Apple of Hedonism
One of the Seven Banners, the Banner of Hedonism.
It is ruled over by Desire and her Seven Luxuries, and pursues of happiness as the only end.
OverviewThe Apple of Hedonism, Hedon, is many things for many people. It is an adaptive organism that takes all kinds and finds itself in all places. It is a philosophy, a religion, a culture, a hope, and a drug. It is pervasive by nature, and considered perversive by many. Hedon is a hierarchy of disciples ranging from the thrill-seeker on the street to the intergalactic Duke on their throne. It embeds itself into all levels of society, a natural result of Sophontic nature, and one which the other Banners have tried in vain to stifle. At its top is the Seven Leisures—high commanders—and the Kingqueen itself: Desire, who founded the Banner after being willed into existence. To Hedon, Pleasure as the highest purpose, and Consent is the Highest Law, for without consent how can there be universal pleasure? This order works well for Hedon , but alienates it to those who consider the concept to be self-indulgent.
There is One Law: Consent; everything else is superfluous.
Explore yourself; your body, your mind, and your morality.
Do anything you want but abide by the One Law.
Break the One Law and pay two eyes for one.
AutonomyHedon leans on Consent as philosophy and law. You are expected to know your rights and your personal limits, and stand against things you oppose with an unbreakable resolve. The most powerful word is “No.”
Manufactured ConsentThe grey area of Hedon is manufactured consent. All rules are liable to be bent and broken and the rule of Consent is no exception. Predatory minds linger in Hedon, conning you into Consent in any way possible. This is greatest issue that Hedon’s detractors focus on.
Layers of ConsentLaw of Consent is not permission for total anarchy. Instead, the Nobility at Tier of Governance has permission from Desire to define the Social Contract which those beneath them must adhere to, may add onto, and can even add exceptions to, but may never remove from.
Fluid GovernanceThe Apple of Hedon is a nepotistic oligarchy wherein Desire selects her direct subordinates and trusts them to select their own. She maintains her balance of power through the The Leisures of Desire
The Leisures of DesireThe Leisures of Desire are her seven lieutenants chosen to maintain different aspects of society and to advise her in her rule. Each has a vastly different role and personality, and the process she uses to elect each is hardly the same from one Prince’s reign to the next. They may hold any scale of territory, from systems to settlements, but only at her discretion. While Desire leads Hedon and maintains majority share of its assets. She often rewards the Leisures with holdings of their own: land, military, artifacts, and so forth. This often causes the Princes to vie for her favor and compete with eachother for resources—rather than combat, this manifests as grand tournaments and competitions.
|Ambition||Akrasiel||Expansion Tactics, Conversion|
|Intimacy||Visra of the Burning Hearts||Social Health, Population Management|
|Indulgence||Lady Voracious||Resource Management|
|Relaxation||Unchea||Public Health, Recreations|
|Justice||Selukhaan||Hedon Posses, Law Enforcement|
Nobility of HedonRather than trying to organize the logistics of owning a world, Hedon piggybacks on other Banners by appointing individuals, Nobles, to rule over a Seat of Power, controlling and subverting social and governmental trends towards Hedon’s aims. This control is an open secret, a shadow government which is only half as organized as it sounds and twice as effective as anyone would want. To survive as nobility, a deep understanding of Consenti and a large network of allies and resources is necessary. You are always in competition with forces inside and outside of Hedon. Nobility reserve the power to appoint subordinates, and have command over a Tiers of Governance.
Nobility, ranked by supremacy, are:
|Title||Tier of Gov.||Example Seat|
|Prince||Galactic Control||Uncertain locations, on board the Rose of Hedon or their capital ships.|
|Duke||WaySystem||An orbital station overseeing the planet and planetary trade.|
|Marquis||Planetary||A major house of governance or near the epicenter of global politics.|
|Count||Metro Region||A large estate within the region with easy access to their Barons.|
|Baron||Metro District||A penthouse or club, anywhere with a good vantage or social throng.|
|Esquire||Holds and Estates||Any worthwhile hold marked by a Baron, such as a safehouse.|
The intimidating thing about Hedon is we’re not sure if they own a dozen worlds or hundreds.Nobility maintain a presence and funnel resources to the higher nobility as fealty. If the planet’s owning Banner cracks down on Hedon they may reveal their hand, leveraging their network to cause social, economic, or even militaristic harm. This forces governments to instead compete with Hedon—done right, this is a competition that can feed the economy and do well for all powers involved.
We ordered Voda-Shaddai to turn all its resources towards preparing for an attack on Hedon, and instead heard back that Voda-Shaddai was sending a fleet of ships to attack all of our stations in the area.
Yeah, I know, Duke Archai hasn’t made a ruling against duels on this world, but in my city we handle things like gentlemen. If I find anyone settling their differences with duels I’m exiling them.
Civil RightsMany Hedonite rights are provisionally determined by the Nobility. Below is described the universal rights as commanded by Desire. For more information on each Prince’s Social Contract, view that Prince’s article. If Desire has no ruling, the Right is marked as Provisional.
Right to Life
Right to Property
Right to Identity
Right to Death
Law EnforcementIf you break this law of Consent, or are accused of breaking this law, you are Marked. Marked individuals have the chance of redeeming themselves through a Justicar. Those who fail and are deemed guilty of breaking the law or Social Contract can be sentenced to expulsion, execution, or reeducation through the Trials of Desire. Enforcement of the Law is conducted by Justicars and Posses.
Consenti JusticarsOne of the core rights of Hedonites, as outlined by the Prince of Justice, is the right to dispute Consent and Context of any agreement. If someone wishes to contest, they are sent to a Justicar which has the jurisdiction to prosecute at the Tier of Governance which defined the Social Contract which was broken. Jurisdiction is determined by how versed they have proven themselves to be at Consenti.
PossiesEnforcement of the Law is conducted by Possies organized by a Justicar. Some members of these are possies are career hunters, some are just looking for extra money or thrills. To join a posse you must submit to holding yourself entirely accountable to Justicars. Posse hunters who break the law are executed.
I think half the reason anyone joins a posse is for the sheer joy of hunting someone who has zero rights. Not every writ takes away all their rights, but when it does… well, let’s just say that I think half the justice system is handled by giving those with terrible urges a paycheck and a place to handle those urges.
MilitaryHedon’s Military is small compared to the other banners, instead focusing more on cultural and political warfare than conventional. What military activity there is tends to be well funded, completely immoral, and gruesome.
StrategyHedon practices two types of military strategy: Shock and Awe and bio-weapons. Conscription is often provisionally outlawed. Instead, Hedon has no moral conventions and a irregulated armament industry. Weapons deployed by Hedon reflect this approach.
Strike First, Strike Once, Strike Last.Hedon’s strength shines brightest in the public theatre, where they are masters of cultural subversion and crowd conversion. Their words and offerings are a siren song to many, especially to those who don’t realize they’re being roped in. Hedon uses Dukes to cause havoc within the planets they control. This can range from economic and military sabotage to total planet conversion. Combined with the bio-weapons, enemy morale spirals out of control. Military Defection and Public Opinion can quickly sway a Banner to attempt more diplomatic solutions.
I got the kiss of conversion as I lay dying on some fringeworld, I didn't know what was going to happen to me. I heard stories of Calis.... Overwhelming pleasures of body and mind which you can never leave. It is the type of Hell that Hell wants you to know, you know? Turns out Hell's pretty convincing.
TechnologiesHedon has an affinity for Orga technology. Massive bio-weapons such as the Ongleon are commonly used to not only destroy enemy holdings, but make them unusable without massive effort. In conventional warfare, they use a mix of organic, hellish mechanization to support well-equipped infantry. Their egregious weaponry often strikes the morale of an enemy as much as it physically cripples them. It is not uncommon for enemies to surrender more often than die.
Bio WeaponsHedon uses bio-weapons such as Ongleon, Cognivores, Ouroboros, and Trait Rampancy to fight wars without actually having to put boots on the ground. If Hedon sends a bio-weapon, there are few counters.
ConvertsDesire takes it upon herself to convert other Banners’ prized units. Somnolent Angels are favored targets, captured and corrupted until they defect and fight against their previous comrades. This conversion serves a purpose other than just immediate military strength: conversions of such powerful units deals a devastating blow to enemy moral.
ResourceWhile Hedon sports a far-reaching culture, they do not own as much as other Banners in land. The lack of land means Hedon has very little raw material wealth. Hedon bases the majority of its economy off two sections of industry: the finished products they make with other Banners’ resources, and the pleasure tourism they rake in from worlds across all Banners.
TradeLow tariffs and high demand makes trade with Hedon a lucrative endeavor Most Banners look the other way concerning Hedon’s subversion of trade regulations and routes, The profits of these trade routes outweighs the danger and cost of shutting them down. Only the Church of the Somnolent and the Haimarchy actively seek to eradicate Hedon presence. Pharmaceuticals, Armaments, and genetic Traits comprise a good portion of the Hedon economic output. Hedon uses trade to export their culture as well—trade opens discussion and power, and many of the Nobility will take control of trade routes to suit their purposes of converting holds to their control.
Slip them a discount on the bulk trade in exchange for some property in their capital. That’ll suit me nicely, plus I need a working vacation home.
It is a weapon which disarms its opposition.
It is an export, for many banners wish to have a slice of its charms in their everyday life.
It is a unifying value, as the laws of consent keep all following it content. Hedonistic culture is as the name implies: Hedonistic. While Hedon is known for its drugs, sex, genemods, and raves, what tends to disarm people is resolve towards Consent and Pleasure. Consent grants one autonomy of self and encourages wisdom of law. Pleasure includes love, expression, and all other aspects of identity and joy—not just the depraved. If you are not constantly partaking in new experiences then you have not truly dipped yourself into the culture of Hedon. Life is but a conduit to experience pleasure for Hedon, do with that conduit what you will as long as you do trample on Consent in the process.
Self ExplorationHedonites are unified in their pursuit of exploring everything that their bodies, minds, and souls are capable of. The loose laws of Hedon and cultural acceptance inspires and rewards those who attempt to find more about themselves. Society in Hedon does not guide the individual, only the individual can guide themselves. Even the tourists who come to Hedon are encouraged to explore themselves and can sometimes find themselves converted just from the exploration of what they desire.
Enjoyment of LifeNo matter the means of enjoyment, Hedon encourages everyone to pursue what makes them happy. As long as the rule of consent is followed, a person can do whatever their heart lusts for. Any habit or vice can be sated with little risk, mind-blowing sensations are little more than party favors. This culture can be shocking to many unaccustomed, but for those who know what they want, it is a treasure trove.
ReligionHedon as a whole is irreverent, placing Self as the highest god in the personal Pantheon. For that reason, Monoliths are regarded as the greatest divinity. Power which comes from the self, and which is earned through experiences, is the ultimate self-expression. It is uncommon for Hedonites to put stead in God and other such high powers such as the Wheel or the Sovereign. This is due, in part, to their lack of Sovereign and their love of Desire—who herself stands in opposition to such concepts. Desire is revered with the air of a prophet or an epitomical being: someone who all to aspire to be, Transcendance.
Universal BDP22% of Universal Product
Military Spending6.43% of Entire BDP
FoundingThe formation of the Apple of Hedonism was a reaction to the turmoil of the time. The founding of the Church of the Somnolent and the House of Sorrows seeded the circumstances from which Hedon sprouted.
Invention of SensateIn fearful reaction to the founding of so many Banners, Pact members turn to the comfort of a new peer-to-peer thought and sensation-sharing implant, Sensate. Unfortunately, this implant allowed the easy creation of quasi-hiveminds, which in turn lead to the creation of many Foci. Among them was Desire.
The Rise of DesireIn the social void left by existentialist fears of the future and Sensate abuse, a Focus, Desire, grew from concept to become powerful force. She made allies in high places, laying the groundwork for plans to come.
A Grand HeistSeven well-known and well-regarded members from across the other Banners announced themselves as the Leisures of Desire and pledged their allegiance to Lady Desire. They departed their Banners, taking from them supplies that Desire called for; ships, weapons, information, and even entire organizations changed hands without warning, dealing a painful blow felt throughout the Banners. With a world, a fleet, and a population all their own, the sixth Banner had risen. The Apple of Hedonism was known by all.
Imagine yourself in a place where you can do whatever your mind and pocket can conjure. No Laws but Consent. Drugs, Sex, Depravity, Nobility. It's all here for you in Hedon.The relaxed approach to almost every aspect of life led to many banners losing their brightest minds to Hedon. Many companies, tired of red tape and regulation defected; individuals seeking a life free of restrictions bit into the Apple of Hedonism. The numbers of the Hedonites grew so quickly that other Banners had no choice but to open trade and diplomatic relationships with Hedon. Those did not found themselves losing resource to Hedon anyway as Hedon’s nobility siphoned from them.
LacunaDuring the Lacuna, Hedon’s Hierarchy of Nobility was shattered. Even the Leisures were not immune, and some wound up toppled, replaced, or killed during the Lacuna. Dukes responsible for converting a world were left to fend for themselves—some maintained their standing on their worlds, others abandoned their cause to stay alive. More influential Hedonites used the disaster to start their conversions, using the fear and government turmoil to establish their power over their world. Desire maintained control over her world and flagship, establishing a powerful core which remains central even to this day.
ReclamationThe reopening of the Wayhalls was a blessing for Hedon, one that Desire took advantage of. She was one of the few entities who lived through the entire Lacuna, and has worked tirelessly to reconnect to her old contacts. Most separated Hedon entities have perished, some have conquered their worlds in the name of Desire. Hedon welcomes all back to her fold, expanding its numbers once more. She has elected new Leisures and they new Dukes. Hedon whispers sweet nothings from the shadows of all reclaimed worlds, winning heart, minds, and power. It has taken only decades for Hedon to regain its former strength.
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Live fast, die hard, and may the stars echo your name.
Live life your way or serve as slave of those who do.
I love the structure of this article. There were only a few things I was confused about and wish there were some tooltips or a glossary for some (examples being: Orga, Bannercasting...Things like that!) I enjoy that there's no rules except for one, and it definitely makes them a morally grey group. : o (I also love the use of Hotel California in that quote, its so good....!)
Oop! Good idea! We'll have to add that. Until then:
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R. Dylon Elder
Just as awesome as i thought it would be. It made me intrigued about the world and particularly this group. Just awesome. I do have a question, are there rankings or position in the group one can elevate to or is there even a way to join the group? It seems almost like its more of a cultural identity but at times it doesn't so i thought if ask. How does one join if they can and how far can one go?
Your relationship with the Banners shifts depending on where you were born. In the case of Hedon you tend to just... become a part of it, to get sucked into it by a friend or to start showing up at their events. This, as well as the tiers, is information that will be available to Master level Ethnis patrons soon, as we add in the RPG content to the world!
Admin of the WA Codex & Discord
Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter
R. Dylon Elder
Ooo im intrigued lol so its kind of like peer pressure almost or mob mentality. It spears like an idea virus. People just kind of get mixed into it? That makes a lot of sense given the themes. Thanks for the answer!