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  • #91
    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
    Hmmm... Historically, generally when an Empire collapses it isn't quickly replaced by new ones. I am not saying that never happened, of course it did, many, many times, but a bit more often colonies/satrapies/tributaries stay unstable but free, while the main part of the Empire spends a century or two as a set of smaller states. Many of the initial states will soon form into larger ones, but those will generally fail to reach the critical mass that pushes them into an Empire.

    For example, after the collapse of the Roman Empire, no state ever managed similar control of the Mediterranean. The province of Britannia was replaced by numerous small kingdoms. By about 400 years later they were replaced with... About 10 (1 bigger than the rest). By 900 years later there was one. By 1200 years later it had absorbed a couple of small kingdoms next to it. But... that's it. Tiny compared to Rome.
    No, but, and I think this converges on Astralporing's point, what came after Rome (in the West) wasn't really much closer to "idealized communities of peoples and nation states govern themselves". It was rampaging sets of "barbarian peoples" (Avars, Huns, Visigoths, Anglo-Saxons, Franks, Slavs, vikings, Irish Scotii, and so on) establishing themselves as dominant ethnic groups over much smaller territories but over people who were different to themselves, or their own "empires", and this transitioning over time into an internationalized European aristocracy which heavily intermarried but was often quite alien from the peoples over which it ruled, in its identity. If our goal is "Peoples rule themselves" (or people avoid being oppressed and dominated by people with ethnic identities other than there own) then its not really so clear to me that the fall of the Roman Empire in the short term was really a good thing or got you any closer to that state, if not further away!

    (And this is Rome in the West, because Rome never really fell in the East).

    (Before the rise of the nation state it seems like you have a choice really between A) localized states which approach closer the ideal of a people ruling itself, but aren't really based explicitly on this principle and whose leaders don't act like it, or B) larger states which aren't, but which have wider markets and things like this which can improve living standards by wider trade and policing and specialization.)

    (The end of the British Empire is somewhat of a different thing than Rome, and hard to compare. You have huge changes between Rome to Britain where Britain really is more committed to these ideas of parliamentary self rule which drive contradictions in maintaining an empire, and where it really does diverge economically from world markets that make tax revenues there become increasingly unattractive relative to cost of military footprint, and where the US really takes away as a hegemonic state which is even more committed to democracy (or its appearance!) and which can crucially project intensively from a network of bases with a tiny footprint, doing away any territorial need for huge empire, even to keep the trade routes open to the non-Western places which even matter. The "pointillist empire".)

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    • #92
      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
      For example, after the collapse of the Roman Empire, no state ever managed similar control of the Mediterranean. The province of Britannia was replaced by numerous small kingdoms. By about 400 years later they were replaced with... About 10 (1 bigger than the rest). By 900 years later there was one. By 1200 years later it had absorbed a couple of small kingdoms next to it. But... that's it. Tiny compared to Rome. Yes, Britain did then start its own Empire, but we're talking 1300-1500 years later.
      (And 60-75 years after we lost our empire, the vast majority of our former possessions are still independent.)
      This is tangential to the discussion, but you're looking at a wrong place.

      The centre of Roman civilisation around V-VIth century was already farther to the east. We sometimes use to think of Constantinopol as some kind of fan-made version of Rome, but definitely they thought of themselves as completely regular Romans. So, when that remote nowhere of Britannia ceased to be a part of the Empire, it was not a major tragedy.

      And in the east, well, much of the civilisation of Rome was taken over by the newly emergent exploding Arabic empire. Afterwards the Roman empire started generally crumbling with occasional periods of revival, at some point, probably after IVth crusade it completely ceased to be a meaningful power, and the Arabic states fell pray to the newly emergent Turkish empire (and to the emerging power of Venetian empire in the West).

      Generally, we see power vacuum in the Roman West around 5th century, because honestly, no one cared. For the ancient mindset it was clear that the civilisation is from Rome, North Africa, Greece, through Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Media, to India. Ok, in late antiquity Galia was a civilised place, but then, there was really no power vacuum there and when we read Gregorius of Tours, in VIth century, we see that this is still pretty much an ancient society and both in Italia and in Galia barbaric rulers generally wanted their reign to look legal, e.g. asking Roman Senate to make them consuls. But still, it was definitely not the centre of focus for the Roman Empire.

      We tend to think of northern Europe as place of interest because of much later events.

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      • #93
        I know, but as the Eastern Empire didn't collapse, but rather was conquered by a rival Empire, I didn't feel it was relevant to a discussion on the collapse of Empires.


        I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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        • #94
          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
          I know, but as the Eastern Empire didn't collapse, but rather was conquered by a rival Empire, I didn't feel it was relevant to a discussion on the collapse of Empires.
          I'm sorry if my post looked patronising.

          My point is: it's a misconception to think that there were two empires. There were multiple emperors of course, but people of the era clearly thought of them as rulers of the same entity.

          You know, what formally happened in 476 was that rulership over Italia was oficially assumed by the Eastern emperor., so this tells a lot about their perspective.

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          • #95
            Oh certainly, and the East was richer and generally more peaceful anyway. There's a reason Constantine chose the East to settle in and not the West.


            I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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            • #96
              Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post

              No, but, and I think this converges on Astralporing's point, what came after Rome (in the West) wasn't really much closer to "idealized communities of peoples and nation states govern themselves". It was rampaging sets of "barbarian peoples" (Avars, Huns, Visigoths, Anglo-Saxons, Franks, Slavs, vikings, Irish Scotii, and so on) establishing themselves as dominant ethnic groups over much smaller territories but over people who were different to themselves, or their own "empires", and this transitioning over time into an internationalized European aristocracy which heavily intermarried but was often quite alien from the peoples over which it ruled, in its identity. If our goal is "Peoples rule themselves" (or people avoid being oppressed and dominated by people with ethnic identities other than there own) then its not really so clear to me that the fall of the Roman Empire in the short term was really a good thing or got you any closer to that state, if not further away!
              Eh, I believe* most archeological research now indicates that, in Britain at least, the Britons mostly integrated peacefully with the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, and actually British people in 450-600 lived on average 2 years longer than during the Roman period.

              But honestly, I was talking about... hmmm, I guess the medium term rather than the short term.


              *From what I've read. Professor Robin Fleming's book Britain after Rome, for example. I won't claim to be a professional in this area, my MA is in Modern History, not early medieval, it's just a period I find interesting.


              I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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              • #97
                Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                Well it feels both.
                I'm sorry. My group, being English and Welsh, makes a lot of parody jokes to each other about imperialists in our games. Especially Dragonblood games. People playing explicitly racist imperialists who talk about how "Thresholders make great troops when led by Realm officers!" and "the Realm Citizen's burden". It maybe doesn't come across well to others.

                Also as a Canadian I can tell you the nation of Canada is doing quite well and the First Nations that inhabited this continent before European settlement are still being shit on.
                I know, but I don't think that's because Canada is no longer being ruled by Britain. Our parliament tended to make nice-sounding pronouncements while the governors on the ground continued their racist policies, terror squads, divide and rule, etc, and generally got away with it.

                I don’t really see a simple solution to that. Do you?
                No, but I wasn't really trying to give one. Just saying that the collapse of the British Empire did not lead to Canada inevitably being invaded or becoming its own empire.

                Alhough honestly Canada's not really a good example anyway, when talking about the Realm; places like Botswana, Nigeria, Jamaica and India are better. Canada's a place the British used primarily for settlement (post the loss of the USA), which the Realm doesn't do, they just take control of other nations in order to extract resources and enforce their ideology and geo-political aims.

                Maybe we’ll all just head back to where our ancestors came from.
                No way or we letting Trump claim British citizenship from his British mum, no way!

                *please don’t insinuate that because I don’t believe it is a viable option to bring all transport to a grinding halt that somehow makes me an anti-science denier of man made climate change. I am painfully aware of the physics behind the equilibrium of the sun’s light and the Earth’s black body radiation, as well as the feedback loops of increased water vapour, decreased snow cover, and trapped gasses that make that balance more sensitive to CO2 levels.
                I wasn't intending to, I do understand. I like you DrLoveMonkey, you're good for this forum, I'm not trying to be mean.



                Perhaps, instead of trying to make clever points, I should just boil down my argument to a simple point:
                I do not believe, based on history, that when an Empire collapses the formerly-ruled nations will inevitably become empires or get conquered by other empires. Sometimes yes, of course! But not always. Thus, saying "if the Realm falls it might be replaced by something as bad" isn't a great argument for the existence of the Realm, because things might stay the same, or they might get better.

                (There's a point about how the fall of Empires tend to involve civil wars, and those are generally horrible. But the Realm's about to fall into a Civil War anyway, so...)

                Now, saying all of this, I could definitely imagine a Dynast believing that if the Realm falls it will inevitably be replaced by another Empire, and using that to justify it to themselves.


                I run... Lunars: The Apocalypse! Exalted 3rd edition. Fimbulwinter is upon the world as an Ice Age begins, and only six young Lunar heroes have a chance of saving humanity.

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                • #98
                  Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                  Perhaps, instead of trying to make clever points, I should just boil down my argument to a simple point:
                  I do not believe, based on history, that when an Empire collapses the formerly-ruled nations will inevitably become empires or get conquered by other empires. Sometimes yes, of course! But not always. Thus, saying "if the Realm falls it might be replaced by something as bad" isn't a great argument for the existence of the Realm, because things might stay the same, or they might get better.
                  I think it's important in Exalted to place your reflexion at the level of your character. You are playing a Demi-god of the mightiest power on Creation, that enforces order one way or another, and you are purposed to extend this order all your long life.

                  When someone argues, inside Exalted, says that "If the Realm falls it might be replaced by something as bad" or "If the Realm falls it might be replaced by something terrible", they don't make a general statement about historical study of Empires, they make a political statement on their core belief of what will happen next.


                  My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

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                  • #99
                    Many things are empires which are neither called that nor possess many of the trappings, such as an emperor. They also varied greatly in size. The Delian League, or rather the Athenian Empire, was significantly smaller and less populated than even many small modern nation-states.

                    One definition of empires is: ...a state where one set of people (the core) extract resources (typically by force) from another set of people (the periphery) [From here]

                    As that source argues, there has never really been a time when there were not empires and nation-states, which Creation has a relative overabundance of, are something of a historical aberration. Empires, of whatever size, may well be the most common and most dominant form of social organization for all of history.

                    Replacing the Realm will almost certainly give rise to numerous small empires as regionally strong states attempt to make the best of the situation. This is, funny enough, what most PCs get up to if a game runs long enough because the nascent Realm Civil War provides a prime chance to begin carving out power bases and spheres of influence.



                    I am having trouble quoting CountAlucard's message, but:

                    Originally posted by TheCountAlucard
                    I'd still rather give something than have it taken away.
                    That they are framed as voluntary gifts to the king does not mean they aren't really taxes. The difference is that more of them will go toward local uses, which might be more investment in local infrastructure or might be the king having bigger parties that he used to be able to.

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                    • Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      Eh, I believe* most archeological research now indicates that, in Britain at least, the Britons mostly integrated peacefully with the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, and actually British people in 450-600 lived on average 2 years longer than during the Roman period.
                      Maybe, but probably by the standards people mostly "integrated peacefully" with the Roman Empire and Roman identity?

                      2 years longer seems like a pretty fine life expectancy estimate difference for what you can know through archaeology, but I don't know very much about how these things are worked out and I haven't read anything of that length, and could have many different causes.

                      (I also think it's very hard to work out what degree to which integration is peaceful, or integration even happened rather than a change from the archaeology from the little I know. Forensic archaeology, isotopes, material culture, studies of skeletal trauma, are all very difficult and noisy indicators that can end up saying very little that is not malleable to interpretation.).

                      Would say it's a good point for sure worth reminding us that the Western Roman Empire didn't immediately get replaced by the Langobardic Empire or the Hunnic Empire or something (and so on for similar examples) - that is a reductive tendency that can end up presenting without really thinking it through. But I would say that this is a bit of a unintentional reduction on the part of anyone who seems to be pointing it forth; the real point is more that the dynamics that led to the rise of empire don't tend to fall with one big empire, and the reason why another does not arise after are more due to constraints in the actual capabilities of "challengers" who try to put one back together again and much less due to, well, falls in people *wanting* to build one up or trying to (as if the rise of these big empires were due to ideas which are a freak occurrence, not a more general condition).

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                      • Originally posted by Exthalion View Post
                        One definition of empires is: ...a state where one set of people (the core) extract resources (typically by force) from another set of people (the periphery) [From here]
                        It seems like a bit of a questionable definition though; China's empires generally extracted from their demographic core of the river deltas (through tax) in order to fund military expenditures and "civilization" at the frontier. All the better to keep the barbarians at bay. Still an empire. Tons of what we call empires did that - even Rome, which is a fair example of an empire that really did tax elsewhere and spend in Italy wasn't extracting resources in Britannia, for ex, as much as expending resources gathered in their core in both armies and civilization possibly existed pretty much by central imperial fiat and expenditure of resources gathered elsewhere. Empires can't really be defined by where they gather resources and where they expend them.

                        (Some of this comes from arguments that empires must exist because of some economically extractive "profit" motive which come from certain kind of materialist economic schools of thought. But, and I'm sounding like a stuck record here, but this is to ignore ideology, military considerations, prestige, and the fact that even when there is an economic motive, it may only benefit some people with political sway, and not the actual people who are paying the expenditures.)

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                        • Leaving the spoiler tags on, in order not to spam too much.
                          Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                          "Most of the dangers Creation is filled with" are wolves and tigers. Poisonous mushrooms that look similar to the tasty ones. Rusty tools. Staircases with an unattended toy on them, or ladders with a bad step halfway up. The occasional bad storm that collapses your roof or ruins your harvest. Greedy merchants, exploitative usurers, and men who would sell you bridges. Illness. Weevils, locusts and mosquitos.

                          ​The Realm protects from none of these, and in fact fosters quite a few of them to use against the peasants.

                          Sure, hobgoblins and storm serpents exist, but most people in Creation will go their entire lives without seeing either. And the Realm doesn't proactively go out and take care of these threats; it waits until the raksha has already lured away the farmer's children, and then the farmer's lucky if he's not drafted to help put down the fae.
                          Fair enough. Numerically, most of the dangers are indeed minor ones, on a level that can be ignored. There's enough of the bigger dangers however to make an idea of self-protection on the level of individual villages laughable.

                          Notice by the way, that the majority of the major dangers would be other humans. From the regions under Realm influence we've heard about, most (if not all) were in a state of war or internal strife before Realm even arrived. And the supernatural dangers do exist, and regions in danger of those don;t seem to be as uncommon as you say.

                          I'd still rather give something than have it taken away.
                          You do realize, that in most cases the difference would be moot, as individual people on the ground would often not even get asked about what they want anyway. It's not like most of the satrapies Realm conquered were communities created by voluntary assent from bottom to top. Most of the political entities in Creation (well, out of those that are bigger than a single village anyway) are autocratic in nature.

                          You're putting words in my mouth.
                          No, i'm not. The goal of lunars may be destruction of the realm, but their chosen method is a destruction of industrial infrastructure everywhere. Because a barbaric Creation is a field of battle that suits Dragonblooded the least, while Lunars are not hindered by it in the slightest.

                          Sure. But monstrousness is not a desire to tear down civilization itself.
                          That very desire is Lunar's battle plan, if you haven't noticed. I'm not saying they necessarily like it (because i am sure most do in fact not like it), but they will still tear down the civilization in order to defeat Realm.

                          You're right - bureaucrats are far worse than Neomahs are.
                          If only Neomahs were the only demons you'd need to be wary of.

                          Yes.
                          Where? Which other entity is strong enough to protect Creation in the case that, for example, another Balorian crusade, or something on similar level comes?


                          You don't know that. Can you demonstrate that Janest would never have been born if an emissary of the Shogunate hadn't gone out and negotiated with the Fair Folk, instead of pettily squabbling over resources while the raksha hordes massed at the gates?
                          No, but i can demomonstrate that noone would have been alive in that village (or anywhere else) if most of the shogunate dragonblooded did not die in order to slow down the armies of the Balorian Crusade, and if the Empress didn't use Sword of Creation to stop the Fae.

                          Why do you people keep cramming the word "democracy" in my mouth?
                          I didn't.I pointed out to you that the entities that would replace the realm would almost certainly not be nice countries we're so used to in the 21st century, but most probably just a bunch of smaller, but equally autocratic and exploitative states.


                          Why do you people keep cramming the word "peace" in my mouth?

                          ​Sure, it won't always be peaceful. But it'll be smaller, and smaller communities tend to try and make peace more readily, because they don't have as many people to lose before it stops being a viable community.
                          The Realm is built in such a way, that a transition period is guaranteed to be very, very violent. Those smaller communities you speak of, that are more ready to make peace? That might come much after -- but first you'd have years after years of bloody wars and smaller conflicts.

                          Right, cultures that commit atrocities tend to feed a viewpoint to the people raised inside, with the purpose of guiding them into not questioning atrocities committed to maintain it.
                          You might consider, even for a second, looking at the situation from the perspective of people living in that place and era, without filtering it through the eyes of someone living in 21st century Earth.
                          Notice, that in many cases the people Realm commits "atrocities" on would have problem with that not because they think those were atrocities, but simply because they were the victims of them.

                          Do you think slavery is wrong?
                          Personally? Yes.Although the better question would be "Do you think that the people of Creation think slavery is wrong". And the answer to that is not so obvious as you might think.
                          Hint: even most slaves at the time of Rome didn't think slavery was wrong. They just didn't want to be slaves themselves.



                          Ghosthead added to some of the things i wanted to say, so i will end with only one more response:

                          As for me, I'm not playing a Dynast currently, but one of my players was for a time. He was a House Cynis Wood Aspect who'd gone to Great Forks to see to House interests there; he brought with him two slaves that he grew up alongside, and once he was safely away from the prying eyes of his family, he freed and married them. He's become aware of some of the problems with the system back home, but he's not convinced he knows a solid way forward to fix them.
                          Precisely - even those well aware of the problems with the realm will be unlikely to see any solid way to fix them. Solutions to complex problems are generally neither simple not easy. An ability of individuals to make any lasting, bigger changes would be minimal (and on top of it, being too heavy handed with "fixing" stuff runs the risk of derailing the whole system and generating way more problems than you just tried to solve). And it's very easy to think, that the only way to be able to do anything would require you to work from within the system. Because looking from within, you are extremely unlikely to be able to see any viable alternative (no, 21th century earth systems are not viable, because not only most people would not be even able to imagine them, but they are not something you could easily and quickly introduce).

                          It is easy for us to look at the Realm in moral outrage, saying that it needs to be replaced, but actually doing that is a completly different matter.



                          The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.

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                          • I mostly want to leave this entire conversion alone, but want to add one thing of significance to the current discourse:

                            The Marukani are a culture consisting of almost entirely independent homesteads who circumstantially organise into mutual cooperatives under a leadership of limited power.

                            They are on friendly terms with a rigidly organised and highly militarised neighbouring state because they don't take liberties and they're able to provide highly skilled cavalry.

                            Relationships like this have existed in reality.


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

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                            • In the spirit of construction, the Marukan seem a bit like cowboy-Scythians (of the Iron Age, in the western steppe).

                              Cowboy in some of the aesthetic and cultural nods (boiled and grilled beef for breakfast on the range!), Scythian in the way that they're not quite totally nomadic pastoralists but have some commitment to settled agricultural sites scattered on a sparse landscape (increasing the archaeology seems to be indicating this, against a narrative of high levels of nomadism, which certainly hold more true for other societys). While still being characterized by relatively high mobility and long range connections dependence on the horse. The relationships with powers more tied into urbanism and sedentary agriculture also seem to have some similarities?

                              So this is really just a nod that this set of peoples may be worth looking at if anyone is interested in thinking about how to use Marukan in any stories.

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                              • Regarding something worse taking the Realm's place.

                                I think it's too soon to say for Ex3. Lunars lost a lot of their pretty serious red flags when they were updated and while it seems there's a clear move away from Deathlords as Sauron type villains who the Solars, Lunars, Sidereals and Dragon-Blooded must put their old hatreds aside unite against - necromancy is a force multiplier for how much you can abuse a civilian population and still get the resources you want, more importantly I can't see the writers trying to justify what The Mask of Winters has done to Thorns.

                                The other faction of interest here is the Fair Folk because they're emotional vampires who'd run a city like a tyrant as an end onto itself. But the previous editions have been almost monofocused on fae who enjoy negative emotions and after the late 2e errata difficult to say if they're even capable of stepping into that void.


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