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The Upright Soldier as an unintended consequence of Sidereal Mask-breaking

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  • The Upright Soldier as an unintended consequence of Sidereal Mask-breaking

    Reading the Thousand Correct Actions of the Upright Solider I found it odd that in a culture so fascinated with ancestry and lineage that the Dragon-Blooded strive for the ideal of the anonymous Upright Soldier. Then, I stumbled across a theory that the Sidereals might be to blame.

    In Sidereals 2e page 26 a passage on breaking the Mask as part of the Usurpation cover-up mentions "They could not even be compelled to confess their own deeds, because no one knew exactly who did what."

    I imagine that having won the right to rule Creation, and needing to glorify and justify the widespread destruction of that conflict in a 'winners write history' sort of way, the Shogunate would be in the position to need stories of heroes fighting the good fight for noble reasons to feed the populace to legitimize their rule. The trouble was they had no such heroes and stories on account of the occulting of the deeds of the Usurpation. So instead they leaned on the Immaculate Dragons and hit on this ideal of the Upright Soldier to paper over not remembering anybody else.

    I wonder, does anyone else have any dev insight about how the Upright Soldier aesthetic came to be?


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  • #2
    I always read it as discouraging personal heroics and ambition as these were the traits of the Anathema. This wasn't just for the purposes of saying "Know your role, mortal scrub." But also discouraging mortal soldiers from the sort of audacity that could draw an Exaltation.

    For the Dragon-Blooded, who likely have already drawn their second breath before they begin their studies, it seems like especially with the way their charmset at the time was developing, the admonishment was there to rein in not just individual arrogance, but to get the Terrestrials, who could still be cocky and proud, to cling to their kin and to their kind. There have been moments of individual daring that have accomplished much, but more frequently the Dragon who flies alone falls with those who followed her.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Tikor View Post
      I wonder, does anyone else have any dev insight about how the Upright Soldier aesthetic came to be?
      Modeling off of the Roman legions?


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      • #4
        The Art of War and Roman Legions and the 36 Strategies all contributed to the Upright Solider. The idea of not encouraging crazy heroics, but rather renifrocing that the solider is a part of a greater machine is...not that strange from an empire's perspective.


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        • #5
          I'll also note that the ideal of the Upright Soldier contains nuances that address the status of the Dragon Blooded; there are references to how Exalted officers being personalized in their style of dress, weaponry and fighting to a degree that basically no actual military has functioned with are expected and necessary. They're just meant to integrate with the uniformity of their fighting unit, rather than stand wholly apart from it, cultivate dependence on their skills, or encouraging similar individuality or pursuit of acclaim in the ranks.


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
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          https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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          • #6
            I had not heard of the 36 strategems before. I can definitely see the influence in the Thousand Correct Actions of the Upright Soldier.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Tikor View Post
              Reading the Thousand Correct Actions of the Upright Solider I found it odd that in a culture so fascinated with ancestry and lineage that the Dragon-Blooded strive for the ideal of the anonymous Upright Soldier. Then, I stumbled across a theory that the Sidereals might be to blame.
              AFAIK, the Thousand Correct Actions of the Upright Solider is not an anonymous work, but a collective body of work done through the eras, with celebrated commanders across the ages getting to add their own thoughts and additions to the work (that is probably closer to an encyclopedia or pile of scrolls than an actual book) as a sign of recognition, Tepet Arada being the one "modern" example cited more than once.

              As an aside, this can mean versions from different eras and regions might have major differences, as fragments of history are lost, or regionalism - probably no Arada commentary on Lookshy's version (or Nefvarin's thoughts on the River Province campaigns on the Realm's edition) - for example.

              It's an ideal of soldierhood more than individual soldier - no one soldier, junior officer or general is perfect, but through the combination of their multiple moments of excellence, a collective glory greater than the parts is presented for all to be enlightened, learn and strive for.

              Just my bit of personal rambling on the subject.
              Last edited by Baaldam; 08-01-2019, 01:10 PM.

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