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how was the usurpation successful?

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  • Exthalion
    replied
    While we are on the subject, how has the Lunar campaign of sabotage and subversion gone so poorly for so long? It is almost trivial for a lunar to turn into a bird and slip poison into something a DB is going to eat or drink. Even if all the upper echelons have food testers, stomach bottle bugs, sorcery, charms, or what not in proportion to their relative importance and likelihood of being target for assassination (which won't always originate with Lunars) there are a lot of other important people whose death would have a massive impact.

    It needn't even be poison: altering orders or manifests, swiping valuable objects, spying, etc. are all things lunars in the form of small birds or rodents can do almost from the moment they Exalt. I know there was mention of the Bronze and their detection systems, but that is less than 50 people trying to track hundreds of Exalted who might have powerful stealth charms on top of their actual jobs and political intrigue. Kejack spends time as the secretary to the Mouth of Peace during which he cannot be in the Loom Chamber looking for Lunars and I imagine he isn't the only one who does something like that.

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  • The Wizard of Oz
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    Greyman Writing up a bit of comic book narration there, eh?

    ​I'm personally averse to the idea that the Usurpation was followed by a military campaign that lasted decades, because barring occasions in which you're fighting a foe living in mountains or something, for it to take decades to resolve a campaign has to be a sign of particular incompetence.
    I think Lunars don't really need to live in the mountains to count as that kind of foe. I mean, they could be anyone, anywhere.

    Also, we're talking about a war across the entire world. I'm sure there were plenty of places for pro-Lunar armies to hide, striking in ambush, as the armies of the new Shogunate slowly hunted them down, pushing them further and further into the deep Threshold.

    I guess really, the length of time really depends on at what point do you say it's no longer a military campaign, but rather anti-terrorism.

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  • Accelerator
    replied
    Originally posted by Piff View Post

    Military history is more or less a huge history of incompetence at grand scales! Particularly when new technology and tactics are involved, which we can only imagine they were, since the world had been at 'peace' for so very long. I must envision dozens of eager new generals playing with shiny new toys to the detriment of Creation at large.

    Also, the Taiping conflict I was using as an analogy did last fourteen years!
    Yes, but these are dragonblooded. Even the worst commander amongst them is equivalent to the best mortal strategist in history

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  • Piff
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    Greyman​I'm personally averse to the idea that the Usurpation was followed by a military campaign that lasted decades, because barring occasions in which you're fighting a foe living in mountains or something, for it to take decades to resolve a campaign has to be a sign of particular incompetence.
    Military history is more or less a huge history of incompetence at grand scales! Particularly when new technology and tactics are involved, which we can only imagine they were, since the world had been at 'peace' for so very long. I must envision dozens of eager new generals playing with shiny new toys to the detriment of Creation at large.

    Also, the Taiping conflict I was using as an analogy did last fourteen years!

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Greyman Writing up a bit of comic book narration there, eh?

    ​I'm personally averse to the idea that the Usurpation was followed by a military campaign that lasted decades, because barring occasions in which you're fighting a foe living in mountains or something, for it to take decades to resolve a campaign has to be a sign of particular incompetence.

    ​I assume that many Lunars in the Usurpation were in a similar boat to the Solars with regards to the idea of trying to go to ground and finding that the Dragon Blooded had taken control of a lot of key positions and arsenals (forcing many of them to go to ground in different places that even Solars would have a difficult time following them; if you can turn into a fairly quick bird, it's hard for anybody to pursue you into a cave network), and of those who survived you had a combination of ones who slipped by because they weren't the priority targets, and the ones who were especially canny and fierce and lucky. After which, many of them go deep underground (literally and figuratively), partially because that's where their strengths lie, and partially because they're trying to get a vantage point to figure out what the hell just happened.

    Originally posted by Piff
    The Lunar Exalted have a FOUR TO ONE numerical advantage on the Sidereal Exalted
    ​Unless the Sidereals have planned to attack Lunars in known times and places and go in groups of about five or six for each one.

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  • Piff
    replied
    These issues are why I favor just calling the Usurpation story a myth, and walking away, though the prospect of surviving NPCs does make that tricky of course.

    Personally I like to suggest a fairly impressive multi-decade military campaign took place AFTER the Usurpation which involved civilian casualties on a scale previously unthinkable ala the Taiping Rebellion. With millenia of peace and weapons development, you can bet this would be a brutal, tragic conflict. This state of 'Total War' serves to drive the Lunar Exalted out of Creation, creates significant impacts on infrastructure and raw worldwide population, and involved enough abominable behavior on both sides to ruin the previously sterling reputation of the Lunar Exalted for the foreseeable future.

    So effectively, in my interpretation, the myth ignores a conflict as serious as a world war. You can fix almost anything as long as we assume the actual in-world story is realistically simplistic and massively incomplete.

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  • marin
    replied
    I note in regards to this that canon so far in 3e is that the Lunars were on the losing side of the Usurpation, chased to the edge of the world. No details, just the broad strokes.

    In addition, DotFA isn't canon for 3e's First Age.


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  • The Wizard of Oz
    replied
    Well, it's not 4-1 between Lunars and Dragonblood.

    I think it's okay that the Dragonblood attacked the Solars and Lunars, but the Lunars didn't get stuck in the Jade Prison, and were slowly driven out of Creation (probably over decades and centuries, rather than a couple of years).

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  • Piff
    replied
    Honestly, try not to think about the Lunars too much. It's all so horrible.

    Nothing about Lunars in the Usurpation makes any sense. It was written so badly that it's just... dissolved into a total mess now.

    Initially they went off to sulk because they were just so emotionally injured the Solar Exalted died.

    When it was figured out that idea was seriously stupid, a competitively stupid idea was put forward - super astrology by the Sidereals made them leave.

    Now let's just think about this for a second. The Lunar Exalted have a FOUR TO ONE numerical advantage on the Sidereal Exalted, who are explicitly NOT more powerful than them. Further, while many Sidereal Exalted are removed from public office and governance as per DoTFA (and this is one of the implied reasons for the Usurpation, in fact), Lunar Exalted serve on the ground and with populations that have learned to admire and love them as heroes for centuries.

    Just on the surface looking in, if you had to guess who the Dragonblooded generals are going to back... is it going to be Lunar Caesar, or weird Merlin that just showed up last year and started pulling some strings? My money is on the immortal god-thing they've grown to love and admire over centuries, personally.

    Lunar Exalted were really really badly written into the Usurpation and frankly anybody trying to do anything less than a ridiculous take on them essentially needs to throw the really bad, bad canon completely out.

    ATM I would lean towards an 'alpha strike' idea that just suggests they kill the Lunars anyway even without a Jade Prison for them to foster chaos and disunity, but even that... really stretches plausibility given the '4 to 1' thing.

    If you propose the existence of some sort of Dragonblooded mind control device in control of the Sidereals (which the canon does seem to propose eyeroll) then of course everything works great as the Dragonblooded get 'activated' and all act massively out of character suddenly simultaneously.

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  • nalak42
    replied
    At the very least Lunars would have had a vested interest in crippling the Deliberative's communication networks. I mean those trying to protect a solar, or exigent, partner wouldn't have wanted the information on where the it was easily available, and the rest of the Lunars would very much have not wanted it to be easy to track and coordinate attacking them.

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  • Greyman
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    ​In my picture of Dragon Blooded seizing key facilities at the outset, communication hubs are among them. I vary on whether I think it would make sense to sever those lines to put the Realm into a state of information blackout.
    At the very least, denying the new Shogunate any means of easy communications and coordination would have been a priority target for Lunar retaliation.

    [ ​In prior editions Dragonblooded incompetence took most blame their inability to prevent First Age infrastructure from just spontaneously collapsing without the Solars around to repair and maintain it, while the Lunars just slunk off to sulk in the Wyld for several centuries. I feel Ex3's guerrilla warfare explanation to be so much more satisfying. ]
    Last edited by Greyman; 09-09-2017, 10:58 PM.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Lea, the one who conceived of and wrote IAM, had a conception in which it would have been shut down by paranoid Solars a few decades prior to their downfall.

    ​I picture communications in the Old Realm as having been highly sophisticated, but with a slightly retro aesthetic that would not resemble ours; under normal circumstances, it still had to be the kind of thing capable of conducting financial transactions across the world.

    ​In my picture of Dragon Blooded seizing key facilities at the outset, communication hubs are among them. I vary on whether I think it would make sense to sever those lines to put the Realm into a state of information blackout.

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  • Epee102
    replied
    Originally posted by Piff View Post
    What sort of media do you guys envision existing in the time period?

    If I live during the Usurpation, do I have a good concept of what's happening on the other side of the world? I seem to recall something about IAM from forum postings but I'm not exactly familiar with how first age society really worked.

    More to the point, how do people in the time period learn about what happened? Is it a 'news flash' sort of deal, or is it just something that happens out of sight in the forbidden city?

    This is heavily dependant, of course, on what kind of first age you have.

    If it's DotFA, then a news network run by IAM that informs all citizens of the Realm's decrees seems more than possible.
    If the goverments of the world are mostly unified under the Solar Delibrative, then images of said solars might carry pronouncements over vast distances instead. Alternatively, infallible messengers and couriers backed by sorcerers will send the messages to regional out posts, and from there it will trickle down. Inca and roman roads are nothing compared to Solar and Dragonblooded engineers.
    If it's an age of nightmares scenerio, then the peasents aren't going to know, in all likliehood, until it's too late.

    I tend to think that most people in creation were unaware of the usurpation's scale at the time it happened. I have a number of solars who died during the usurpation/shortly before, and they were mostly unrelated acts of rebellion/violence/hubris. Most of their subjects didn't realize that all the sun kings were going out until years later. Some even thought out (west/north/south/east) there were still kingdoms ruled by them, until the Dragonblooded bueracrats came around.

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  • Piff
    replied
    What sort of media do you guys envision existing in the time period?

    If I live during the Usurpation, do I have a good concept of what's happening on the other side of the world? I seem to recall something about IAM from forum postings but I'm not exactly familiar with how first age society really worked.

    More to the point, how do people in the time period learn about what happened? Is it a 'news flash' sort of deal, or is it just something that happens out of sight in the forbidden city?

    Leave a comment:


  • WinterWombat
    replied
    I imagine that the lead-up to the Usurpation involved a lot of work figuring out what everyone would do in the event of a Sidereal/Terrestrial coup. The conspirators want to know who's going to throw in with the Solars vs against them, but they can't just ASK people without looking hilariously suspicious. You get intrigue stories where agents are trying to gauge their targets' loyalties without letting on, and those targets who catch on have to figure out which side it is that's testing them, so as to know whether to reveal or conceal their true intentions. The conspirators try to move their pieces into position without those pieces even realizing they're being moved.

    Then, on the big night itself, the conspiracy and their close allies try for the biggest, most brutal strike possible, because the more they can weaken the Solars right away, the more fence-sitters and fair-weather allies are going to join the conspirators as the likely winning side. Once the die is cast, everything happens all at once, as the conspirators finally see whether or not they've won enough support to win the war they just started. Dragon-blooded warriors from across the Realm suddenly have to decide if their Solar rulers are really worth dying for, and many find themselves fighting in support of a revolution they weren't even aware of only hours before. Those who remain loyal to the Solars find themselves suddenly in the midst of an enemy army, outmaneuvered and neutralized before they even realized they were at war. Assuming the Sidereals have set up the dominoes just right, the entire Solar hegemony cracks apart on unseen faultlines, and the survivors find themselves changed from servants to rulers in a matter of days, wondering what the heck they're going to do next.

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