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how was the usurpation successful?

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  • Murcushio
    replied
    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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  • glamourweaver
    replied
    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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  • nalak42
    replied
    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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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    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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  • CapitanTypo
    replied
    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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  • The Wizard of Oz
    replied
    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.

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  • armyofwhispers
    replied
    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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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Analysing the backstory of a game's setting exceedingly through game mechanics is something that I find leads to unsatisfactory results, whether in terms of "this thing said to have happened some time couldn't have if you look at this particular rule", or of crafting stories that exclude everything that could contradict a rule.

    ​Surprise Anticipation Method does not bely the potential for a character to be so at ease that a thoroughly unexpected attack under circumstances in which they would otherwise feel safe catches them off guard.

    {checks Charm write-up}

    ​Also the fact that the Charm is no longer written to be an instant and flawless alert to danger.

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  • Accelerator
    replied
    Originally posted by chance View Post

    These kind of explainations are bollocks. Any mature solar would with reflexive charms be more or less immune to short time harm and able to move to safety with a simple or two actions. Without overwhelming arcane abilities being involved the calibration feast massacre doesn't happen, only the weak ones die. This seems true for most any edition even if I'm less familiar with 3rd it seems to hold in some ways it seems even more true.
    Ah, yes. But remember. These aren't quantum solars. These are npcs. Which means they aren't optimized. Sure, some have defenses.... but some don't.

    My view of the usurpation is like this:

    1. Everyone is singing and dancing and getting drunk/ high.
    2. Sidereal comes up to make a speech and a toast.
    3. All take the toast.
    4. Some fall dead from the poison as the don't have the right resistance charms.
    5. Avoidance kata occurs.
    6. Soulbreaker orb detonates. Anyone with no surprise negator or perfect dies.
    7. Survivors find themselves struck by several instances of essence disruption attacks and equivalents.
    8. Escape the burning building, only to find an entire first age army of fully kitted out dragonblooded army, with air and warstrider support, along with elder sidereal martial artist.
    9. All through this, the sidereals are granting curses and blessings, stacking the deck
    Last edited by Accelerator; 09-05-2017, 12:26 PM.

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  • Lundgren
    replied
    Originally posted by chance View Post
    Without overwhelming arcane abilities
    Yeah, you could almost think there would be people involved almost as competent as those setting up the Jade Prison.

    The poison is a crucial part in making the event plausible in my mind, and something engineered to target Solars specifically. Still, it would be something the Sids would have a contingency plan for the contingency plan, in case that part failed. There probably wasn't a need to take out more than a handful, and anything beyond that was just a "bonus".

    Those most likely to be able to detect or resist it might have decided to do other things, and declined the invitations. That is also part of stacking the deck.

    If you find it to be bollocks, we are not in the same gaming group, so there is no need for us to agree. That is just how I have it, to make it plausible enough for me.

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  • chance
    replied
    Originally posted by Lundgren View Post
    * As they drink, they feel dizzy and before they get a chance to react they are attacked by the guards. A couple of them got a quick battle description, and how more guards are flowing into the room and they are overwhelmed. One less combat experienced just got a description of how a spear is thrusts through them, seeing the blade sticking out their chest as the scene fades away.
    These kind of explainations are bollocks. Any mature solar would with reflexive charms be more or less immune to short time harm and able to move to safety with a simple or two actions. Without overwhelming arcane abilities being involved the calibration feast massacre doesn't happen, only the weak ones die. This seems true for most any edition even if I'm less familiar with 3rd it seems to hold in some ways it seems even more true.

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  • Lundgren
    replied
    Originally posted by mark View Post
    calibration is the big issue here. the normal rules for orchestrating a revolution do not apply .after all it's a single place. or let me put it that way how many dragon blooded would be needed to attack the massed solars during calibration and have a realistic chance of winning? after all you can't really bring a dragon blooded army from all around creation to one very specific place housing a few hundred individuals and expect that the soldiers will follow you just because you say so. after all a dragon blooded is not just a conscripted peasant who listens to the guy with the shiniest armour.
    All of my players that have had a Solar character (that makes it five different people, and six different characters) have started with a vision or dream of their character's death during the Usurpation. Most where from the banquet, so it was the same event from different perspectives. Roughly, I did them like this.

    * I described the large table, how the people there are dressed in extremely elegant and expensive clothing, etc.
    * One of the participants holds a short speech, and declare a toast.
    * As they drink, they feel dizzy and before they get a chance to react they are attacked by the guards. A couple of them got a quick battle description, and how more guards are flowing into the room and they are overwhelmed. One less combat experienced just got a description of how a spear is thrusts through them, seeing the blade sticking out their chest as the scene fades away.

    The guards already in the room + the soldiers pouring into the room, perhaps six hundred Dragonbloods in total.

    So it is handled by a "weak" poison, made up of two components digested separatedly, to make detection harder. It just make it harder for the Solars to counter what will happen. The Solars are unarmed and without armor, so only what can be summoned or created through Charms could be used to fight back against heavily armed and armored Dragonbloods; the rest fights unarmed or with improvised weapons. The Dragonbloods have the element of surprise, and there is quite a bit of Sidereal workings affecting the event. The Dragonbloods are also trained specifically for this event, while in my mind, a lot of First Age Solars did not have personal combat as a focus.

    Still, in my version of the events, a few Solars survive the Massacre and dies later. Without stacking the cards in the DBs favor, a lot more Solars would have escaped.

    One of the death memories wasn't from the Calibration Massacre, but from an attempt of revenge. The Night Caste having a vision of leading a group of Dragonblooded assassins into a castle, but they walked into a trap; the Dawn living there and his guards engage them. The Night Caste manage to slay the Dawn, but is himself cut down by the guards.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Piff View Post

    I don't think any of that is important because it confuses the myth with the reality.
    ​The myth of "most of the success for the Usurpation can be attributed to the Solars" still sends the wrong message.

    I am all over the idea that the simplified narrative of the Usurpation is all that is really necessary for the backstory and most people who adamantly refuse to buy into it need to get over it.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by mark View Post
    or let me put it that way how many dragon blooded would be needed to attack the massed solars during calibration and have a realistic chance of winning?
    How many Solars, unarmed and at ease, go down almost instantaneously when their feast halls turns into an elemental conflagration?

    Originally posted by mark
    after all you can't really bring a dragon blooded army from all around creation to one very specific place housing a few hundred individuals and expect that the soldiers will follow you just because you say so.
    Well for one thing, it's likely that thousands of Dragon Blooded lived and worked in Meru already.

    ​It can be enough that the ones in charge carefully assigned ones who were known to be loyal or had pre-existing grievances with the Solars and either inform them of the plan very shortly before it is to take place or even just calling for an attack at the key moment and letting reflexes and momentum carry things forward.

    ​I should say that my image of the Calibration Feast is one in which having an honour guard of several hundred or thousand Dragon Blooded was the norm.

    Originally posted by mark
    after all a dragon blooded is not just a conscripted peasant who listens to the guy with the shiniest armour.
    ​I begin to fear that this is one of those "Dragon Blooded are all individuals" arguments.

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  • Piff
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    I get why some people go for the thing of Solars assuming they're in control of the Usurpation or fighting each other after it begins, but I think it sets the wrong tone.

    ​It's one thing for Solars to have underestimated a conspiracy against them, but making them active participants in their own downfall is something that I think kind of diminishes the accomplishment of the usurpers. Or rather, to enter with an attitude of "it needed the Solars to help in order to work" does not imply an attitude towards Terrestrial and Sidereal Exalted that will translate well for their use in play.

    ​The idea of them being manipulated into fighting each other is an improvement, but only slight.
    I don't think any of that is important because it confuses the myth with the reality.

    The reality of the Usurpation is intentionally lost. They don't describe it in the game and they probably won't ever detail the hour-by-hour-, day by day breakdown. So we're left with the myth, which is all we really need to play anyway.

    That myth is going to come far, far short of explaining the nuanced reality that happened. I assure you that 'looking at it a certain way' the Solar Exalted were COMPLETELY responsible for the Usurpation, where as 'looking at it another way' the Dragonblooded were TOTALLY the driving force, and yet another perspective might suggest that the Sidereal Exalted were the prime motivators.

    To get just a taste of how immensely complicated this situation and the motivations behind it must have been, examine a current political crisis as an analogy - the Russia affair engaging the White House, for example. Without getting into any partisan political commentary that would derail the thread, anybody can see that this sort of thing is an immensely complicated web of interests and counter-interests acting at the highest levels of government. Describing 'what happened' in simple terms just isn't possible.

    If you tried to write an accurate description of how that went down... or how Vietnam went down... or how Monica Lewinski went down... or any number of high level government shenanigans, you'd need a novel the size of War and Peace.

    But accuracy is over rated, especially in history. So we get the myth.

    And it's probably good enough.

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