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Why the Lunars didn't take over the Realm after the Contagion?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    The assertion that one circle of Lunars could have held the entire Blessed Isle against all of the opposing Dragon Blooded residing there is still completely absurd, though.
    Typically when we have these discussions it's a simulationist issue.
    The Lunar can probably get the jump on and kill a Dragon-Blooded before escaping retaliation because of clear mechanical advantages. The ability of other Dragon-Blooded to recognise that someone is picking them off one by one and adapt in response is mostly narrative so it gets discounted.


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    • #47
      my best guess, they couldn't. Yes lunars are strong, but the great contagion was a plague that affected all beings. in addition, even if the lunars united there are only 300 of them and a few thousand barbarians, and those numbers are doubtlessly reduced by the contagion. the realm still has legions of dragon bloods. Then of course they get hit by the balorian crusade first because they lurk on the outskirts of creation. And to cap off the reasoning, the Scarlet Empress manages to use the sword of creation. that all adds up to the lunars being unable to press the advantage.

      of course, I know nothing about 3ed. I might be completely wrong.

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      • #48
        sids would have organized hunts for any lunar that got to powerful

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        • #49
          There’s some discussion of this in The Realm, specifically starting on page 15. Apparently the Scarlet Empress barely survived several Lunar assassins in the early days of the Realm and, between that and the meat grinder they tended to turn their lairs into, this was what led to her turning to the Immaculate Order and calling for a major Wyld Hunt initiative.

          I would tend to agree with the people in this thread that have asserted that the Lunars 1) had more urgent things to worry about at home and 2) either didn’t know about the threat of the Realm or dismissed it as “just another petty DB kingdom.” And then, once the Realm started flexing its might and the threat became clearer, the assassins started having very personal reasons to show up, like “you destroyed my village” and off we go.


          ....

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          • #50
            I feel as though a lot of this question is resolved by fully integrating the spirit of how Fangs at the Gates portrays the Lunar Exalted, in contrast with how a lot of people might have expected the Lunars to be portrayed for a variety of reasons.

            To put it simply, I think the original Lunars book was written heavily informed by a narrative of "barbarian peoples" who engage in violence for its own sake rather than for greater strategic concerns. That for better or worse, many people built up an image that even Third Edition Lunars would be deeply immersed in violence. And the Exalted Third Edition core book did indeed introduce the concept of Lunar Dominions in terms of them being this thing that Lunars continuously build up and expend upon the Realm for the purposes of its destruction in perpetuity.

            Fangs at the Gate ultimately depicts the Lunars as having more nuance and humanity, in parallel with the people that they're embedded with. There's an underlying awareness that the sole concern is not with the methods that must be employed to fight, but decisions on whether to fight at all and understanding of what exactly you're fighting for. The Silver Pact ultimately does not think its existence is compatible with that of the Realm (in addition to several points for consideration that regard the Realm's existence as less desirable than their own), but one might say that several Lunars are living as though they know that they can last for centuries and that to live in terms of "all warfare all the time" is not desirable or sustainable, so they can afford to spend periods of time in a manner indistinguishable from being reconciled to the existence of the Realm.

            Also for there to be strategic considerations by which they employ a greater variety of means for constantly seeking the Realm's end than direct warfare, whether that be soft power, undermining them spiritually or metaphysically, environmental degradation or cultivation of disease.

            That's not to say that in the origins of the Realm there was necessarily a deliberate reflection on "this isn't the best moment to start a big fight on our part", but just to say that there's a general attitude to what they're after that would reasonably not be prioritizing the best way to bring a fight at all times.

            One might judge the Realm as the Scarlet Empress built it up to be a thing that does not know how to not fight. Sure, there seem to be a lot of instances and policies in which it is holding off on a specific fight (for purposes of conquest) until later, but the driving force of the culture of their ruling elite is one that is concerned with unambiguous domination; they can brook no equals and all lesser powers must ultimately submit. The Realm is not ultimately in a state of genuine peace with its less powerful neighbours, it just hasn't gotten around to conquering them yet. I feel that The Realm is consistent with this interpretation when it presents the ultimate purpose of the satrapies as being defensive; they view all the rest of the world as a source of hostility against which they need to constantly be on guard.

            If we measured this against historical example, it would not be a sustainable attitude. In the setting of Creation it might be seen as being lengthened beyond what might be expected, which could be logically backed up a bit by the supernatural potency of the people and resources behind it, but there's still an attitude in the current writing that is aware of the unsustainability of the Realm. That's before one gets to the point that the Realm props itself up on an unstable alliance of highly competitive and self-interested factions who were only ever balanced by the constant interventions of a very powerful monarch.

            It does become a bit of a chicken and the egg kind of situation if one wants to determine whether this highly unstable and violent system is the reason for or result of the Silver Pact, although it can probably be approached as both. Particularly if one is not concerned with the Lunars being entirely moral actors; that they could be the types that say "the Realm's method and purpose of rule is inherently destructive, which we're going to demonstrate and exploit by constantly provoking them into continuing it until they lose all credibility and fall apart". But it does lead back to a point that the Realm is expending itself in defence against fangs at the gate, and thus it has been more in the interests of Lunars to be at the gate than at the throat; that there's greater value and less risk to have fed into the perception of the wider world being inherently hostile than to have surged right at the heart of the enemy and make themselves a clearly distinguished target.

            That and I'd judge the Realm's attitude as part of a continuum from the Shogunate's policies, which I see as emergent from a severe failing of the Sidereal Exalted (or at least how I'd like them to be portrayed going forwards). There's a lot that I want to say about what I think would be a good way to portray their motives and how that related to prophecy going forward, but for now I'll keep it to the point that I would judge the Sidereals as having fundamentally misunderstood exactly what made the Solars so dangerous. That they viewed things in terms of "going mad with power is acceptable enough so long as you're not too powerful" and so they opted to swap out the Solar Exalted for the Terrestrial on the reasoning that the latter would be easier to control and less damaging in their abuses when they came up.

            It isn't solely on them, but it's part of my idea that there should be a fundamental question of whether the Age of Sorrows is really meaningfully better than the future they were trying to avoid, and that either way the Time of Tumult represents a turning point at which everything is on the verge of coming to a collapse anyway, hence the return of the Solars. That's not even about threats from the Wyld or cthonic or infernal forces, which I would characterize a lot like Surtur in Ragnarok; by the time you roll over to incinerate everything, all that's left anyway is the ruins in the aftermath of all of the pride and distrust and spite finally turning in on itself (the fact of it doing so being the main reason that you're free to incinerate).

            (Lest this post feel like it's affording too much credit to the Lunars, I'll just say that while I view them as being in a somewhat better place than the Realm, their ultimate goals are still too focused on victory rather than reconciliation to absolve them for responsibility in the crisis faced by the game's world at the point where Solars return to it)


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            • #51
              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
              (Lest this post feel like it's affording too much credit to the Lunars, I'll just say that while I view them as being in a somewhat better place than the Realm, their ultimate goals are still too focused on victory rather than reconciliation to absolve them for responsibility in the crisis faced by the game's world at the point where Solars return to it)
              I think the culture of the Silver Pact is made more healthy in part than the Realm by how the two kinds of Exalts are Exalted.

              The Silver Pact generally has to recruit adults with world-shaping powers who have never before interacted with the Silver Pact. It fundamentally has to present a culture enticing to people not in it. "Rule over a culture you craft as you see fit, with the option to apprentice yourself under a more experienced person with similar capabilities to you, and engage in trade with powerful peers whose specialties differ from yours. Also, work together to try to stop the people who want to kill all of us from doing that" is an ideology you can recruit people to much easier than "Dedicate your life to gaining influence and power, only to throw it away in endless violence for the sake of violence".

              On the other hand, most Dragonblooded are born into being Dragonblooded. They can be part of the culture from birth, to the extent that its failures seem like the default state of the world. They are raised to expect the world to be their enemy/their target to be subjugated, and would need to actively seek out a different culture in order to be part of one.

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              • #52
                Why didn't the anarchist furries opposed to imperialism immediately turn around and become imperialists, indeed.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Frostav View Post
                  Why didn't the anarchist furries opposed to imperialism immediately turn around and become imperialists, indeed.
                  Eh, the Silver Pact on the whole is far from anarchist and not specifically anti-imperialist, even if particular members hold either of those positions. You also have ones that are rather contrary to it.


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                  Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by autXautY View Post

                    I think the culture of the Silver Pact is made more healthy in part than the Realm by how the two kinds of Exalts are Exalted.

                    The Silver Pact generally has to recruit adults with world-shaping powers who have never before interacted with the Silver Pact. It fundamentally has to present a culture enticing to people not in it. "Rule over a culture you craft as you see fit, with the option to apprentice yourself under a more experienced person with similar capabilities to you, and engage in trade with powerful peers whose specialties differ from yours. Also, work together to try to stop the people who want to kill all of us from doing that" is an ideology you can recruit people to much easier than "Dedicate your life to gaining influence and power, only to throw it away in endless violence for the sake of violence".

                    On the other hand, most Dragonblooded are born into being Dragonblooded. They can be part of the culture from birth, to the extent that its failures seem like the default state of the world. They are raised to expect the world to be their enemy/their target to be subjugated, and would need to actively seek out a different culture in order to be part of one.
                    Is that better? (Yes, but...)

                    Consider, our young Lunar. Likely poorly educated, likely downtrodden. The criteria for Supreme Executive Power has been granted to them by a Glowing Bint handing out Exaltations. There's no "consent of the governed" here, unless that's the type of government the Lunar chooses.

                    You've given someone the power of the gods and told them "do as thou wilt".

                    That's way more desirable than seven centuries of tradition, but the argument that it's healthier is unproven. (It is, but, like, not by much.)


                    Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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                    • #55
                      My perspective is that Lunars have been in a position where there's an incentive for them to reassess perspectives on what the valid use of power is. Those who have made a game attempt at it are not all the way there yet, and there are cases where some have leaned deeply into their own bad elements, but there's an impetus there, which is more than core Dragon Blooded have had during their hegemony and more than the Solars had at their height.


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                      Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                        My perspective is that Lunars have been in a position where there's an incentive for them to reassess perspectives on what the valid use of power is. Those who have made a game attempt at it are not all the way there yet, and there are cases where some have leaned deeply into their own bad elements, but there's an impetus there, which is more than core Dragon Blooded have had during their hegemony and more than the Solars had at their height.
                        I cautiously agree.

                        Agree because what you've written makes sense.

                        Cautiously because, well, look at the first three pages of this thread and I'm sure some fans would take this statement and infer that ONLY Lunar Exalted are capable of acting morally.

                        The status quo has little pragmatic use for undermining its own power structure. But I do kinda feel like the average Lunar looks at the status quo and says "the world is a mess... and I just need to rule it! *Maniacal Laugh*"

                        And I realize Fangs has done a lot to try and soften that blow. But I'm still cautious over the difference between "these people's circumstances have afforded them oppertunities collectively, but individuals may buck the trend" (valid, useful) and "All Lunars are RIGHT. All Dragon-Blooded are WRONG." (neither morally valid nor useful in an RPG).


                        Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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                        • #57
                          One of the reasons why the Seven Tigers posed an existential threat to the early Realm is that they, arguably, had more of a legitimate "right" to consolidate and rule over the remnants of the Shogunate than the Empress did -- they were a group of high ranking generals, while she was a single low-ranking officer. Taking over and ruling the Dragon-Blooded Host post-Contagion required, to some extent, the consent of the Dragon-Blooded Host, and if the Seven Tigers had been successful at killing the Empress and seizing control of her power base -- or even just separating her from the Imperial Manse so she could no longer use it as her ace in the hole -- it would have made a powerful argument to anyone not wanting endless war (a lot of people, at that point) that everyone really ought to just recognize the Seven Tigers as the legit rulers so everyone can move on to living in a society again. Perceived legitimacy and the (at least grudging) consent of the governed is important when you're trying to seize control of the remnants of a decapitated state, which is what the Empress did. The Scarlet Empire is in large part built out of something that started as the Dragon Shogunate remnants, and the Empress spent centuries dismantling the gentes and constructing her Great Houses edifice in their place after she first seized power.

                          The Dragon-Blooded Host would not have been collectively cool with a comparably sized Circle of Lunars doing the same thing, especially since, unlike the Seven Tigers, a hypothetical Circle of seven Lunars wouldn't have had the backing of huge Shogunate armies with Dragon-Blooded officer corps to lend them further legitimacy as leaders of the Dragon-Blooded Host. (Remember, the Seven Tigers weren't just seven guys. They were seven armed forces leaders with huge armed forces.)

                          So, in a low-information environment where the Silver Pact is scattered and suffering huge casualties, no one knows what the hell is going on, everyone just died from a plague and then just died from elves and then also just died from fire and iron raining from the sky, it's really not surprising that no random group of seven Lunars decided "Hey, if those seven generals with huge armies and a huge amount of perceived legitimacy could march on the center of the world and convince everyone of their ethnic group that they should be in charge just because they were really close to being in charge before, us seven rando furries could do it, too, right?"

                          Also everyone was probably more afraid of Bagrash Köl

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post

                            The Dragon-Blooded Host would not have been collectively cool with a comparably sized Circle of Lunars doing the same thing, especially since, unlike the Seven Tigers, a hypothetical Circle of seven Lunars wouldn't have had the backing of huge Shogunate armies with Dragon-Blooded officer corps to lend them further legitimacy as leaders of the Dragon-Blooded Host. (Remember, the Seven Tigers weren't just seven guys. They were seven armed forces leaders with huge armed forces.)
                            Which can also be perceived in how the story of the Seven Tigers ended not with them being brought before the newly proclaimed Scarlet Empress, but vanishing (into a lye pit) en route, escorted by newly pledged servants of the Empress. There's a lot in the narrative of how the Realm started that involves pre-existing authorities independently deciding who to throw their lot in with, and making meaningful gestures to that effect.


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                            Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Numinous View Post
                              I simply can't comprehend that why none of surviving Lunar staged a takeover like Seven Tigers.
                              Seven Tigers had an advantage no Lunar ever would, he was a dragon blooded and therefore someone the remnants of the shogunate might consider following if his faction gained prominence. But some filthy lunar anathema join together and cut the head off the nascent Scarlet Empire before it can cement its control and declares their wretched demonic coven rulers of the world? A bunch of the shogunates remnants are going to be banding together to challenge that notion hard core. Centuries of divergence and strife later Lookshy and the Realm are still willing to put aside their differences to get together and dogpile lunars on religious grounds for being far lesser of a threat then what you are suggesting.


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                              • #60
                                Perhaps they did try!

                                How could anybody know, in the chaos of the post-contagion, how many of the Seven Tigers generals were indeed lunars in disguise?

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