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  • mark
    started a topic how was the usurpation successful?

    how was the usurpation successful?

    ok, back then there were like a million dragon-blooded.. it's hard to imagine how most of them became part of a conspiracy without even a few betraying the rest to the solars

  • nalak42
    replied
    Actually the way combat is supposed to work getting the solars overwhelmed, caught off guard when possible, or any other of a million little tricks to get a solar more penalties beyond just the onslaught penalties. Lets be fair about this the Sids and DBs were not operating in a vacuum of information on the Solars. While charms aren't a list of known powers in universe it isn't like they wouldn't have a general idea of things. You know "She's a nightmare to sneak up on, he freaking seasons his sandwiches with the worst poisons he can find, and I'm pretty certain those three are immune to stabbing for different reason." I mean not necessarily personalized death traps, but probably a case of knowing who's vulnerable to what and setting things up so they weren't trying to ambush the group that makes a game out of reading the letters people are writing in the next room by eavesdropping on the sound of the the writing instrument.

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  • Blaque
    replied
    Originally posted by chance View Post
    Even if the Usurpation story isn't required to make sense system wise, isn't it preferable if it does? ...
    I think the big thing is the game needs to prioritize being playable in the time period that is its assumed default, and being fun while doing so. Making the game "work" so to speak for a one-off event fifteen centuries ago which is not really meant to have happened before nor likely to ever happen again, is generally just not worth it a lot of the time. Remember that in 1e, the dev at the time (GCG) said that had he were given the chance to do something like a First Age book, it would likely not even use Exalted's system at the time.

    I think that's the big thing there, what is the design intent of your systme and its goals. And having the Usurpation be replicable in the game down to mechanical details is likely not one of them, especially when you consider that the moving parts of myriads of Exalts and their millions of mechanical widgets is probably just beyond something any game system could even pretend to really replicate.

    So I guess TL;DR, not really. It's not preferrable unless it begs the question that such a thing is more usable beyond again, a single historical event without precedent and with no notable future replicant.

    Originally posted by chance View Post
    ... The story of the game after all builds the expectations of what is possible for the players, it should reflect the actual capabilities they are going to play with. ...
    -Ish. The story of the game is about playing Solars in the current Time of Tumult and the Usurpation being assumed to have been successful in leading to that. In 1e the assumption was we'd never get to such a system without well, a new system. In 2e it tried to do something where mechanics of the now did try to map to the past, but the way they designed high Essence and its design assumptions made that fundementally untennable in its own system. 3e is again focusing on the modern, with a pretty blatent statement that the rules aren't physics and that if story dictates over mechanics, story probably wins. So in this case, no replication is needed: all is needed is to have had it happen as it's not something the game is even considering as something important going for.

    I mean, remember that the Usurpation only gets a few paragraphs in itself, while all of modern Creation gets thousands of words. I think that implies what really is the story here and it ain't about some past event.

    Originally posted by chance View Post
    ... Love the idea of the usurpation taking place over the five days of calibration and a few holdouts afterward and am very happy nothing about the usurpation is going to matter for my current game because there is no way I can make that work in a plausible way.
    Again, this is because to the game, it's not really even a thing of "this woudl be good or not". It's not worth its time to bother to make the setting work now. It's also soemthing to make the setting something to do yourself really. It might well be that the solution depends on teh setting really and if it is an issue, that's soemthing for an ST to figure and make a point of for her games.

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  • emeraldstreak
    replied
    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

    This is very true, but it wasn't just system stuff in 2e that lead to that idea that the usurpation was impossible. There were usurpation stories like 10,000 dragonblooded being bricked up in a basement with a dawn under the implication that one side barely killed the other and then died of exhaustion trying to get out. I think there was another about a Solar king being jumped by 3-5 sidereal master ninja assassins, and turning it around to kill all of them instead. Or that other one about the sidereal and air aspect assassins who get given away by a creaky floorboard and all die, alone with their entire city.
    You'll find out that in 2E these stories make more sense if they were unfolding under a Greater Sign of Venus / Indestructible field. Which is proof the stories 2E wanted to tell were aimed under the power level it afforded.

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  • chance
    replied
    Even if the Usurpation story isn't required to make sense system wise, isn't it preferable if it does?

    The story of the game after all builds the expectations of what is possible for the players, it should reflect the actual capabilities they are going to play with.

    Love the idea of the usurpation taking place over the five days of calibration and a few holdouts afterward and am very happy nothing about the usurpation is going to matter for my current game because there is no way I can make that work in a plausible way.
    Last edited by chance; 09-11-2017, 03:39 PM.

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  • DrLoveMonkey
    replied
    Originally posted by emeraldstreak View Post

    While the story doesn't require the Usurpation to make system-sense in any way, the way to do it if possible at all would be
    This is very true, but it wasn't just system stuff in 2e that lead to that idea that the usurpation was impossible. There were usurpation stories like 10,000 dragonblooded being bricked up in a basement with a dawn under the implication that one side barely killed the other and then died of exhaustion trying to get out. I think there was another about a Solar king being jumped by 3-5 sidereal master ninja assassins, and turning it around to kill all of them instead. Or that other one about the sidereal and air aspect assassins who get given away by a creaky floorboard and all die, alone with their entire city.

    Solars are supposed to be legendary but I think under the new third edition style direction there might be few stories of a dawn going 500 to 1 odds against terrestrial exalts a straight 20 times in a row. Also though the first age maybe doesn't have to include millions of DBs to the point where 10,000 is almost a drop in the bucket.

    Also having some noble loyalist forces and including mortals in the story would be cool too.

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  • Murcushio
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

    ​A war that lasted so long because it was more expensive to disband the mercenary armies than to keep them in the field,
    This is absolutely not why it lasted so long. It lasted so long because the political and military goals of the relevant participants both had not been achieved, and they had not yet exhausted themselves. The mercenary armies got up to some hinky shit that did prolong some campaigns, that's true, but they weren't the primary driver here.

    and consisted primarily of them rampaging around the German countryside committing atrocities of such scope that in many areas the population was reduced by as much as thirty percent.

    Nothing incompetent there.
    You're correct. The chevauchee was a moral outrage but it was not, in any way, incompetent; it was very smart tactics and strategy.

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  • emeraldstreak
    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.
    Originally posted by Accelerator View Post

    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
    Under 2E, top level Solars wouldn't be remotely threatened by an attempt like the above. We're talking about Essence ~10 beings with full panoplies, Solar charmset, Solar sorcery, Power from Darkness/Eclipses, and some of them with Sidereal Martial Arts. They'll have a way to teleport away reflexively on tick 0, and a backup way or two to do that the moment they act, and they'll be likely to act on tick 0.

    While the story doesn't require the Usurpation to make system-sense in any way, the way to do it if possible at all would be

    1. Sidereals use whatever deus ex broke the Mask to hide their plans from high Essence Solar Investigation charms that predict threats.

    Optional: Sidereals somehow boost a 5-dot manse of the ones defending Meru temporarily to N/A

    2. Two Sidereals (one at the manse), who are already in Prismatic Arrangement of Creation Form use Smoky Adept Gesture to not only act on tick 0, but act before anyone else as a perfect effect trump-able only by SMA (although that last part may not hold vs other strongly worded perfect effects).

    3. One of the Sidereals deploys the Greater Sign of Venus, defeating the likes of Rings of Vanishing Escapes (and artifacts in general), Celestial Sorcery teleports in Third Hand Orbs, all non-permanent Charms be it Solar, MA, or Eclipsed/Endowed/PowerFromDarknessed

    4. The other Sidereal unleashes the inverted Sorcery-suppressing quality of the manse, and within a wide range it has a chance (if 5-dot) or certainty (if temporarily N/A) to counter Solar Circle Sorcery teleports of the Sunburst Portal Evocation ilk.

    Bonus: the manse also has the Indestructible quality which it imbues into the dome the Solars will be under attack, making flying away harder

    5. Unleash the Dragon-Blooded army under the Greater Sign of Venus. If there were ever a chance for DBs to, firstly, force Elder Solars into a fight, and, secondly, win it, this would be the one.
    Last edited by emeraldstreak; 09-11-2017, 04:00 PM.

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  • glamourweaver
    replied
    Originally posted by Exthalion View Post
    While we are on the subject, how has the Lunar campaign of sabotage and subversion gone so poorly for so long?
    This premise assumes Creation would look much the same without the Lunar sabotage efforts. The comments I recall from the former developers indicated this was not the case. The Lunars are the main force keep the infrastructure level of the world at late antinquity levels, preventing a recreation of Shogunate level infrastructure.

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  • Piff
    replied
    Personally, I like the 'big war' idea because it helps resolve my difficulty with the Dragonblooded in the Usurpation. I've always had pretty major issues with how they are portrayed as being entirely on the side of the usurpers, which made no sense to me.

    If you think about it, many of them have local obligations and loyalties. Many of them would be very well compensated for being part of the regime - to put it another way, they would have more to lose by a rebellion than the status quo... which would probably be a pretty accurate judgement to make if real world precedents are any indication. The 'treasure' offered by the state is usually going to be of generally higher quality (and more importantly easier to guarantee) than hypothetical rewards given to revolutionaries... which any students of history in any setting will be wary of. And finally, the Lunar Exalted are explicitly embedded within the first age military to a degree the Sidereals are not and are in fact some of the most visible heroes and lauded generals of the era.

    Put it all together and I do not see a unified Dragonblooded consensus by any stretch of the imagination.

    In fact, my Usurpation is more or less focused on this point - it's a battle for the hearts and minds the Terrestrial Exalted... who are even more influential in this time period due to simple demographics. The battle begins when the Solars are massacred, but it does not end until virtually all of the Dragonblooded who are left can agree that doing this was a good idea.

    The 'long war' concept fixes these issues with Dragonblooded actions during the Usurpation because you can simply say - the loyalists are all dead! The losing side got more or less massacred! Which allows you to easily reach the modern status quo where the Lunar Exalted have inexplicably abandoned notions of loyal Terrestrial servants.

    (Which by the way also should not be, and I would hope/expect for a few Dragonblooded 'loyalist' regimes to emerge in 3e who have a very different view of the Usurpation and close Lunar allies - nothing on the scale of the setting defining Realm, mind, but still legitimate centers of culture)
    Last edited by Piff; 09-11-2017, 10:36 AM.

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  • Epee102
    replied
    I typically imagine a long campaign or hunt as the majority of the Usurpation. But that's because I only recently found the idea of the Calibration Feast palatable(I greatly dislike any centeralizing of the First Age, but it makes sense among sorcerers, since they have the capacity and reason for such a ritual). It makes more sense to me that a number of ideological rebellions began (All with something along the lines of "The King/Queen is mad, they must be stopped." on various levels), and upon realizing their were others participating in the same rebellion, formed a grander coliation against the solars. Who of course are hard to dislodge once they've settled in.
    As for the campaigns themsleves, I imagine that the hardest part was the Night and Eclipse castes. I imagine that some fled beyond creation and went low to ground, assuming they could wait out the new regime change and get their revenge when they could reassemble their assets. And then found that the Dragons were willing to chase them wherever they went.
    Into the Fae courts.
    Into the depths of the Earth.
    Into the underworld.
    Into Malfeas itself, if need be, to be certain that they were dead.
    Now, I also assume that the Jade Prison was collecting every solar marked, no matter how long passed. If it weren't for (UCS turning his face on creation, machinations of the Yozis, misplaced paperwork, take your pick), their still wouldn't be any surge in solars. That makes a long series of wars and hunts more tenable.

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  • AnubisXy
    replied
    Originally posted by Murcushio View Post
    Having said all that, I don't like the idea that the Usurpation was followed by an extremely extended military campaign either, but for thematic ones, not practical in-setting ones.
    Honestly I've always assumed that the Usurpation was followed by an extended series of military campaigns. I've always imagined that it took some time (a half century or more) to finally slay the surviving Solar Exalted, drive all of the Lunars to the edges of Creation, kill the the remaining Dragon Blooded who were still loyal to the old regime, bring all of the Solar's created races to heel, put down rebellions of common citizens that refused to bend to the Dragon Blooded, etc. Plus, of course, there would have no doubt been some level of infighting and friction between the various rebellious Dragon Blooded as many of the Gens had little loyalty to one another outside of shared ancestry and a recognition that the Solars and Lunars represented a bigger threat.

    *edit* at the least, it probably took a few decades before everyone accepted that the vast majority of Solar Exalted were not going to reincarnate. Until then, I suspect there were still a lot of groups and Exalted fighting for the old order.
    Last edited by AnubisXy; 09-11-2017, 08:22 AM.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Murcushio View Post
    The Thirty Years War springs immediately to mind,
    ​A war that lasted so long because it was more expensive to disband the mercenary armies than to keep them in the field, and consisted primarily of them rampaging around the German countryside committing atrocities of such scope that in many areas the population was reduced by as much as thirty percent.

    Nothing incompetent there.

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  • Murcushio
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    ​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.
    This isn't actually true. In the pre-modern world, conflicts that spanned decades were quite common. The Thirty Years War springs immediately to mind, but there are a lot of other examples.

    The issue is that prior to the modern idea of total war backed up by sophisticated logistics operations, campaigns didn't operate in a continuous state. Your army might dissolve because the feudal service of your vassals had expired and you couldn't make things sweet enough to keep them in the field, so sorry, we'll see you next year. You might literally run out of food and have to retreat or watch your army starve to death. Winter could come. You could be evenly enough matched with your enemies such that in any given year you slap each other around but nothing decisive happens. A lot of things could cause wars to just drag on and on and one that have nothing whatsoever to do with incompetence.

    Of course, the First Age isn't precisely analogous to a pre-modern society, but... there's also the fact that "barring occasions in which you're fighting a foe living in the mountains" is doing a lot of work in that sentence. One assumes that in the hypothetical scenario of enough Solars living through the initial punch of the Usurpation to force an extended military settlement, that's exactly where they went to ground; in the remote fastnesses of Creation where they'd created boltholes.

    Having said all that, I don't like the idea that the Usurpation was followed by an extremely extended military campaign either, but for thematic ones, not practical in-setting ones.

    Originally posted by Exthlation
    While we are on the subject, how has the Lunar campaign of sabotage and subversion gone so poorly for so long?
    I asked this very same question some time ago, because it seemed logical to me there'd be a few Lunars who were ultra-specialized in things like "can kill a Dynast anywhere, anyhow." I can't find the specific thread, but I remember Minton being kind enough to drop in.

    Basically, it's a number of factors. Isator, as he so often is, is absolutely correct when he says that a large number of Lunars don't care about it. But it's more than that.

    First of all, the Sidereals and the Dragon-Blooded play a numbers game. A Lunar might be able to infiltrate the Blessed Isle or the more secure satrapies and murder a Dynast who it is valuable for that Lunar to have murdered (say, a talented general or spymaster or colonial administrator whose actions in the Threshold are deleterious to their interests) a number of times... but eventually, if you're successful, the Dragon-Blooded and the Sidereals will notice, and they will dedicate sufficient resources to finding and murdering that Lunar. Experienced Lunars would usually prefer to keep on being experienced Lunars, and so will not take those sorts of risks on a regular basis.

    What about striking at critical infrastructure instead of critical people? Well, it turns out that's even harder. It's really hard to kill a bureaucracy or an institution via assassination, and stuff like bridges, roads, manses, vaults full of Jade, etc. are pretty hard targets. And you're just one Lunar. Take a look at Strength-of-Many. He's not an Elder, but he's a robust, experienced Lunar who has dedicated himself to smashing the slave trade... and he's having a very tough time of it, because that institution is more than the sum of the caravans he destroys.

    So that's direct action and its likely consequences. There's indirect action, of course, economic warfare, subverting society from within, social engineering, that sort of thing. Well... turns out that kind of thing is very much within the Sidereal and Dragon-Blooded wheelhouse, which obviates a lot of your advantages as a shapeshifting hellmonster, and there's a lot more of them than there are of you.

    If you want to poke at the Realm and survive the poke back... well, you need resources outside of your own puissance. You can get that by forging a nation-state equivalent somewhere. You'll need alliances and friends among other Lunars and enemies of the Realm and of the Sidereals. You need a way to ensure that if you get too successful you can keep a Sidereal hit squad off your back. And if you don't have that, you need to not get too successful.

    And hey, look at that! The most successful and/or longest surviving Lunars have done that. You've got the Caul, where they're this close to expelling the Realm from a major piece of geography and have done... something... to keep the Sidereals at a major disadvantage. You've got Jyudo Far-Flung, who has built a tidy little vest-pocket kingdom of his own that the Realm can't squash with typical Legion play, but isn't actually big enough or important enough to justify the use of the Defense Grid or of a very dedicated Sidereal hit squad. Ma-Ha-Suchi, same deal, although Ma-Ha is so old and so tough and so crazy that even a dedicated hit squad might have real problems facing him on his own turf, and the threat he poses doesn't justify the risk that he rips the head off a three thousand year old member of the Inner Circle before they bring him down, which might happen.

    The Lunar campaign of sabotage and subversion is highly circumscribed by the situation they find themselves in. It would likely be going much, much better if the Lunars were unified into a hierarchical command structure that was dedicated wholly to winning the ongoing war with the Realm. Lunars ain't have that. What they have is what they have. The fact that many of them are powerful warlords, centuries old, with armies of their own at their beck and call, and have survived to become those warlords, isn't some sort of failure because they haven't toppled the Realm; it's a sign of their great success at surviving and in many cases thriving when faced with the second greatest empire Creation has ever known.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post

    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.
    No, they can be a select number of people, often after having killed them, something that is liable to both limit their library, and create an avenue to realise that a form has been taken.

    ​For the majority of Lunars, their human forms are much like their animal forms; they're limited in number, and a bit less useful as disguises against somebody who is familiar with them.

    ​I'm also thinking of a scenario in which a Lunar is actually being chased, in which case I see it as generally useful to go somewhere that it is very difficult, if not outright physically impossible, for anybody to follow you.

    Originally posted by Exthalion
    how has the Lunar campaign of sabotage and subversion gone so poorly for so long
    For one thing, I imagine that large numbers of Lunars don't care about it.

    ​Although I also think the overall subject shouldn't read the agenda of the Silver Pact as going poorly.

    ​I think that for any kind of thing such as this, we need to be willing to assume that in the logic of the setting, there can be a number of small annoyances that act as sufficient obstacles to characters, even if they wouldn't be huge deals in the course of gameplay, because the priorities are different.

    ​Maybe also revise some assumptions that something would be trivially easy for a Lunar, whether it would be consistently dosing somebody with a poison that could actually kill them, or getting close enough to kill so intimately. I think the statement of doing massive damage by killing somebody with minimal defences is begging the question a bit.

    ​Still, some of it probably has to rest a bit on some suspension of disbelief. I know that if I was in a writing position, and I was forced to choose between adding all kinds of contingencies and addendums for how the whole world isn't broken by the presence of hostile people who can turn into tiny creatures, and avoiding that whole headache with an implicit assumption of "not all Lunars do that, for their own reasons", I would be inclined towards the latter.

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