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how was the usurpation successful?

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  • #31
    Yeah, Accelerator I feel your version of events thoroughly relies of 2E mechanics. Not sure what it would look like in 3E, but I'd really doubt that they'd send in an agent aware of a plot to kill all the solars. Way to many of the best people in creation at reading intentions to be able to effectively dodge them all. Way too many paranoid/crazy solars to risk it.

    The DB are gonna be more of a threat this time around. I assume a fore-warned and fore-armed DB army could reasonably be expected to go head to head against solars caught unaware and succeed.

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    • #32
      I sometimes wonder if the Usurpation is better thought of as not a conspiracy-assassination, but a revolution. Perhaps the Solars knew that many Dragonblood were unhappy and angry, perhaps in the far Threshold Dragonblood had already seized control of some areas.
      But they didn't know the Sidereals were involved (and neither did most Dragonblood), or how many Dragonblood were unhappy (being, you know, incredibly arrogant and hubristic), and so were caught flat-footed by a conspiracy of a small vanguard of revolutionary Dragonblood, with Sidereal help.

      Of course, some Solars survived (perhaps a fair few), but the successful strike (and atrocities carried out by surviving Solars in revenge) soon had most of the Dragonblood rising up in revolution (and killing those Dragonblood who stayed loyal), leading to war across Creation.

      After all, the books do talk about wars across Creation, atrocities by both sides, the unleashing of incredibly powerful weaponry, etc. That, I think, is a bit more fitting than the ambush on the party being all-important.


      "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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      • #33
        In my head, I never perceived the entire usurpation as a single event, or even a short series of similar events. There may have been an initial ambush or series of them, but then there were protracted battles and chases and hunts. After the first (half?) of the solars were killed in ambushes, the rest would lash out and their retaliation would rally many more DBs who already would have perceived the solars as somewhat monstrous.

        Keep in mind that the usurpation kind of replaced the primordial war in the mythology of the DBs, so it had to have some level of epic combat.

        EDIT: Also, what the Wizard said, above
        Last edited by CapitanTypo; 09-05-2017, 07:19 PM.


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        • #34
          For my own personal entertainment, I imagine the basic timeline of the Usurpation thus:

          ​Dragon Blooded and Sidereals attack the Calibration Feast (which is not actually attended by all Solars). Many die in short order, many others escape out into the streets. Meru erupts into chaos as it is engulfed in fighting, not only from attacks on Solars but many people throughout the city rising up in their defense, general rioting, and the sorcerous creations of the Solars going mad. Within about a week, about half of the Solars are dead.

          ​Over the next few weeks, many Solars try going to ground, only to find that there is no ground to go to. The power seizures that this entailed throws a lot into confusion, as administrative systems and amenities begin to collapse, and the eruption of magics rebelling against the traitors spreads.

          ​By the end of this, while it has cost the Dragon Blooded desperately, they've managed to kill all but a few of the Solars. The holdouts are primarily members of the Night Caste who have managed to disappear, and a few who managed to entrench themselves in strongholds too hard to break easily, collectively numbering around a score. The Sidereals know that sealing the Jade Prison needs to be now or never, so it gets closed up; the remaining Solars will be dealt with in time, but their reincarnations will have to be a persistent problem of the new regime.

          ​The leaders of the Dragon Blooded declare a state of emergency to deal with the remaining Solars (declared traitors of the Realm) and the out of control magics; this will later be held as the starting point of the Shogunate. What resources of the Realm can be martialled are alternately brought into a state of total war against those Solars whose location is known, and extremely rigorous investigation for the ones who are not. There are purges, committees of public safety, outright witch hunts amidst a world in which bodies and material are being funnelled into breaking down the Solars who have set themselves up to make a fight of it. Within about six years, the last remaining Solar war machines have been thoroughly obliterated (including ones who needed to basically have everything around them blasted to smithereens); another four after that, and the Shogunate reports that the Solars in hiding have been rooted out to a reasonable degree of certainty.


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          • #35
            I think part of the reason the dinner tends to be viewed as the big event is because people just kind of assume that the Jade Prison could only be unsealed so long before the exaltations started going out to new hosts. Because otherwise why wouldn't the DBs and Sids wait until they have 300 confirmed solar kills to seal the thing up. So people tend to view the big strike as one or two nights to account for the majority of solars being dead by the end of it all and the prison being sealed off consigning the forever war against the remaining solars who were either not killed or not incarnated during that time frame.

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            • #36
              My assumption has always been that the Sidereals had the duration of Calibration to capture any Solar Exaltation from a slain Solar in the Jade Prison. Any Solar killed after fifth night reincarnated.


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              • #37
                Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                My assumption has always been that the Sidereals had the duration of Calibration to capture any Solar Exaltation from a slain Solar in the Jade Prison. Any Solar killed after fifth night reincarnated.
                This is an EXCELLENT and highly thematic idea; the notion that Calibration, the time when the universe is slightly... kinked... is the window that the Sidereals had for their greatest working of destiny ever; the chaining of that which will not be chained, the containment of the Solar Exaltations, which are empowered by the very will of the Unconquered Sun himself.

                They get five days to harry and corral those numinous sparks of exaltation into their Jade Prison, and then the Calibration ends and the doors swing shut forever.

                That's great. Stealing this.


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                • #38
                  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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                  • #39
                    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?

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                    • #40
                      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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                      • #41
                        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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                        • #42
                          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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                          • #43
                            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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                            • #44
                              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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                              • #45
                                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).


                                "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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