Time is running short: as we announced earlier this week, Barotrauma is coming out of Early Access on the 13th of this month, so it’s time to sneak peek our way through the rest of the faction overhaul!
In previous weeks, we’ve written about the Coalition and the Separatists, but of course, they are not the only groups you can choose to side with. Europa is also home to two more mysterious factions: the Church of Husk and the Children of the Honkmother.
The Church of Husk
The husk church may at a glance seem like the garden variety death cult, and that’s not altogether inaccurate: much of what they do is entirely unwholesome, and neither the Coalition nor the Separatists want anything to do with the Church.
“I, and the people, call you a terrorist cult guilty of murder, cannibalism and pandemics.”– Christopher Greene, prosecutor of Europa v. Jacov Subra
The Church worships the alien species Velonaceps calyx, more commonly known as the husk parasite, which makes itself at home in an unsuspecting victim’s throat, eventually turning them into a mindless monster. That does not sound like a fate anyone would choose willingly, but the Church believes the husk holds the key to humanity’s survival on Europa.
As the husk takes over, the body undergoes a dramatic transformation which allows it to withstand the pressure and coldness of the Europan ocean. This transformation is what the Church pursues, through prayer and study. They believe the husk is the next step in human evolution, a chance to overcome our physical limitations and thrive. Their goal is a true symbiotic relationship, where the husk grants the body incredible resilience, but the host’s mind is not lost in the process. It’s not death they seek… it’s transcendence.
“It can take you way beyond the limits of that fleshbag you call your body!”– Overheard in a back alley
While not without nobility in their beliefs, the Church’s history has seen many sordid turns: allegations have been made of forcible communion to join an unwilling or unaware human with the husk, of ritual sacrifice, drug use, murder, and cannibalism. One of the Church’s leaders, the notorious and wildly colorful Jacov Subra is even accused of the unlawful eating of a pet iguana while standing trial before a court of law.
Subra initially popularized the Church as an “alternative music festival”, but it has outgrown that facade many times over, both in scope and seriousness. Their days of public debauchery seem to be in the past, and their sermons are now held in more privacy. This has allowed them to become, if not quite accepted, at least more broadly tolerated in Europan society in recent years.
“We, mere mortals, can at best only glimpse the Great Husk, the giver and the taker!”– Jacov Subra, Arch-Ecclesiast
The Children of the Honkmother
Perhaps the most baffling of all the Europan factions are the clowns. The ocean is vast enough and the submarines claustrophobic enough to drive anyone mad, but is it really psychological troubles that drive some citizens to don red rubber noses and honk bikehorns at passers-by? Are they entertainers, hired in some misguided attempt at lifting morale? And who in the heavens is the Honkmother?
“You might want to keep an eye on them. They’ve got some crawlers in the attic, if you get what I mean”– A concerned citizen
These are questions that the clowns, or the Children of the Honkmother, seem to take great pleasure in not answering. In fact, they seem to take pleasure in most things in life, large or small. They are unfazed by the ever-present turmoil around them, and while their antics may cause no end of grief to other people, there doesn’t appear to be any real menace behind them. They are despised by all the other factions, yet the Children of the Honkmother call no one enemy.
While it’s unlikely you’ll ever get a straight answer out of a clown, it does appear there is some consistency to their ramblings, some recurring turns of phrase, some concepts they all share. It’s almost as if they know something other Europans don’t. Are you patient enough to listen, and hear what the Honkmother tells her children? The clown philosophy is so obscure it stretches the notion of religion, yet they all sing the same tune, so there must be something to it.
“I can tell you the Honkmother is three pounds of custard pie, but that doesn’t mean anything to you, does it? You need more training.”
And maybe there is: imagine living on Europa, only the cold dampness of it doesn’t depress you, the encroaching radiation doesn’t scare you, and the incessant rivalry of the Coalition and the Separatists is barely a blip on your sonar. Just honk, honk, honk your horn, gently down the stream! Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily…
Faction overhaul: New items, vendors, and more
Even though the outposts of Europa are primarily controlled by either the Coalition or the Separatists, you can find smaller hideaways within them for followers of the Honkmother and the Church of Husk. Like the Coalition and Separatists, the outcasts of Europa also get their own special vendors, with different items or services for sale based on your reputation with each faction.
Speaking of items, the faction overhaul will bring with it a multitude of exciting faction-specific items for dedicated followers to purchase. For example, a fan favorite, the Dirty Bomb will return to the game as a Jovian Separatist exclusive item. Of course, the update will also add multiple completely new items to the game, including but not limited to: 40mm nukes, molotov cocktails, a new pet, tools for peaceful coexistence with your husk symbiote and…bananas. Be mindful of where you discard the peel.
In addition to items and vendors, the Church of Husk and the Children of the Honkmother are also getting their own storyline and missions, with rewards tied to completing the missions and gathering reputation with the factions. For example, you can work with the Church of Husk and help them research ways to achieve “ascension”, or you can try to make sense of whatever it is the Children of the Honkmother do and why.
Overall, Barotrauma 1.0 will bring with it a whole host of new features, many of which we have already detailed in the two earlier blog posts. Make sure to read through them as well, and look forward to one more sneak peek before the release of Barotrauma 1.0 on March 13!