another update - July 13
Last night, I uninstalled and reinstalled the game, started a new game, at lowest settings possible. No mods.
It finally let me in. However, the next time I logged in (this morning), it crashed again - with the same error message. Only change to settings I made was to the resolution.
It let me in again after a second login attempt, and, so far, has been stable within the game itself. This is what the game had been like when I first got it, a couple of weeks ago. Crashes got progressively worse after that, though.
My best guess is that the crashing corrupted something within the game, that Verifying the integrity of the game through Steam was unable to fix, and that this will continue to happen until the underlying cause of the initial crashes is fixed.
Edit - Approaching a fight between a couple of crocs and an exile, the death of the exile caused the game to crash again. Hopefully it lets me back in.
Edit #2 - Crashed again… and again, it involved exiles. Approaching an exile camp, fight was just beginning, and it froze, then crashed.
Short bit later, a third crash in game, and… again… involving an exile. This time it was the friendly at Shaman’s Rise. So far the game has let me back in quickly after these crashes.
Edit #3 - managed to play for a bit, and game was stable. It seems to be human npcs causing the crashes from within game. Its possible, that thralls near my login are/were causing the crash at load up. Crashes in game seem to coincide with npcs the first time they’re encountered. Respawns seem to be alright.
And with this last crash, it has returned to not allowing me to log in again. Crashed near an exile camp. Edit: 3 login attempts got me back in.
Edit 4 - Crashed again, though this time there were no human npcs involved. It was an area north of the giant croc pond, near a kudu and some antelope. I THINK this is a zone boundary, maybe?