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Can the Dynasty cooperate against an invasion?

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  • Can the Dynasty cooperate against an invasion?

    In the thread about when an Anathema would become a serious threat to the Realm, it was opined that in the face of a serious threat, the Houses would mutually agree to ignore their cold war in favor of the hot one on the doorstep. I'm not convinced.
    First, there are no Imperial legions anymore, only House legions. That inherently makes any deployment of troops into an intensely political act, with Houses seeking glory but trying to avoid serious danger. '
    Second, the central command of the legions has been gutted. Of the nine Crown Marshals in RY 763, two were executed, one is locked up, and the rest in hiding. At best, the one's in hiding might be willing to ignore the insult paid to them in favor of the immediate external threat. More likely, House Iselsi has seven willing and able recruits who are absolutely down for some Vendetta.
    Third, this is almost the archtypical prisoner's dilemma. If even one House chooses to strike while it's fellows are fighting the beastfolk armies of Solar Queen Perfect Soul, then the whole resistance will collapse. And since every Dynast will recognize this, no House will cooperate.
    Fourth, beyond just the legions, the Realm as a whole has basically no central leadership. The closest is Tepet Fokuf, who is: male, a Tepet post-Futile Blood, most well known for masturbating to Immaculate texts/possibly getting attacked by the Throne itself, and is probably not an Eclipse in disguise. Past him, you have the Deliberative, which.... yeah.

    All told, it's almost more likely that an existential threat to the Realm as a whole would trigger a short, bloody RCW, with someone trying to take the Imperial City and Imperial Manse, to try and quickly claim the Throne and lead the defense. If successful, this would likely result in RCW2 not long after the victory. Although in a Dragon-Blooded campaign, I could easily see an arc where the PCs negotiate an interim leader to stave off the RCW until after the invasion.

  • #2
    Well how big an external threat is somewhat important. Maha launching an invasion would certainly get a response and his forces can cause a lot of damage, but under the normal situation he wouldn't merit putting everything aside. Just a sort of teeth-clenched teamwork scenario where a number of houses offer assistance and are cautiously accepted or refused based on the capabilities in the area of the invasion.

    Whereas something like the Balorean Crusade represents an existential threat to most of Creation, Realm included, consequently while the Realm might at first not put everything aside after the scale is understood then you would have a mix of those attempting to fight the invasion because its necessary with the odd desperate attempts at reclaiming control of the Imperial Manse to make use of its abilities to you know save all their lives as the priority over being able to use it as a means to gain control of the Realm.

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    • #3
      The Realm will do whatever they are required to do to tell the story your table wants to tell.

      That might be everyone unanimously accepting Mnemon as Empress. It might be everyone backstabbing each other as Rome burns. It might be anything in-between.
      Last edited by JohnDoe244; 11-09-2020, 05:58 AM.


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

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      • #4
        Hey hey hey. I'm the guy who said they'd engage in jolly cooperation. I agree with nalak42 , there's a certain timeless human quality to uniting squabbling factions in the face of an outsider threat. You probably won't get V'Neef and Peleps to work together unless you attack them both simultaneously, but for everyone else, I mean, how perfectly suited to the type of stories Exalted draws from to say "let us set aside our differences to defeat the Demon-Soul Invaders". Realpolitik is definitely a thing in Creation and the real world, but there's still the foundation of Pragmatism- even the seediest backroom dealers realize that if the Solars take the Jade Throne its going to be the end of their wretched lives. Not to mention the countless do-gooder heroes, the monks upholding their vows, the blood brothers(sisters), and the opportunists. Nothing brings people together like an outsider to hate.
        That said, there's still a lot of room for say, House Cathak to "arrive late" to a battle and for another house to be absolutely screwed over, but in the grander context I'd see them working together out of necessity, especially when the first major battles are lost to the Golden Horde. Nobody gets to be king of the Ashes.

        Also I agree with JohnDoe244 , the setting is basically starts the second the wheel comes off the truck so each table can do anything they want.


        Please be warned: this is not champagne, this is most likely a duck.
        -Chausse

        Message me for Japanese translations.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
          even the seediest backroom dealers realize that if the Solars take the Jade Throne its going to be the end of their wretched lives.
          With the caveat of course that they have to be made aware that the threat of the returning Solars is real. Some prominent folks in the Realm are likely sufficiently insulated from what's going on in the Threshold to not be convinced that the tales of Anathema overturning satrapies isn't just an excuse made by Dynasts who just weren't crushing the populace hard enough.

          ​(That said, don't go sending seven guys out to take one captive to show your sister. Or at least target one who's not in the middle of a goddamned army.)
          Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 11-09-2020, 07:43 PM.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
            That said, there's still a lot of room for say, House Cathak to "arrive late" to a battle and for another house to be absolutely screwed over, but in the grander context I'd see them working together out of necessity, especially when the first major battles are lost to the Golden Horde.
            It's funny that you use the term Golden Horde when that's the historical name of a successor state to Genghis Khan's empire which made significant early strides owing directly to the fact that the Chinese Song Dynasty refused to come to the aid of the northern enemy Jin Dynasty who was the first target of the Mongols. Something which set the stage for the later Mongol conquest of China.

            It's at least as timeless for polities that already have their own conflicts to fail to come together in the face of external threats due to things like insurmountable differences, an assessment that they'd be better spent prioritizing their own border defence, or actively wanting to see this terrifying new threat destroy people that they have a more active hatred for. People often fail to act in what should look like their best self-interest.

            JohnDoe's answer is the most correct one of course in that it's plausible to run the setting either way according to the scenario best suited for the game, but I'd argue the trajectory of the written setting inclines more towards the Houses failing to pull together.

            Although I do think the most engaging way to run that in a game is to have them be on the fence about it and encourage the player characters to actively undermine unity.

            Conversely, the Realm is a playable thing. You can play as characters who see the writing on the wall and then need to actively work to get everybody on the same page, with the likely prospect that they won't on their own forming the stakes.


            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
            Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

              It's funny that you use the term Golden Horde when that's the historical name of a successor state to Genghis Khan's empire which made significant early strides owing directly to the fact that the Chinese Song Dynasty refused to come to the aid of the northern enemy Jin Dynasty who was the first target of the Mongols. Something which set the stage for the later Mongol conquest of China.
              Totally intentional, I'm a big fan of EU4. Also it just has the perfect ring to it.

              Also, tvtropes calls the thing I'm describing the "Genghis Gambit", so there's double precedent. Its what Bull of the North is doing more or less, so its happening in game as well


              Please be warned: this is not champagne, this is most likely a duck.
              -Chausse

              Message me for Japanese translations.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
                Also, tvtropes calls the thing I'm describing the "Genghis Gambit", so there's double precedent.
                Huh. In more than a decade with TV Tropes, I've managed to miss this one.

                {reads into it}

                That's just bad history, and a poor real world example to match this fictional device to.


                I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                • #9
                  "I never thought I’d die fighting side by side with an Ragara.
                  How about side by side with a friend?
                  Aye. I could do that.
                  "

                  ... If you want! Or not. (As John says, basically)

                  In general I incline to the idea that the Great Houses probably would close ranks against an outsider, mostly. Ultimately the worldview is based on Dragonblooded hegemony and the Immaculate Philosophy and that takes precedence, and it's mostly "Me against my brother, my brother and I against my cousin, and all of us against the stranger." and "Fredo, you're my older brother, and I love you. But don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever." (swap some gender nomenclature about for the 3e Realm's more typical analogy).

                  It probably wouldn't be efficient cooperation though, not by a long shot; there's going to be lots of score settling and jockeying for position. And whether the rest of the Isle society would play along is entirely uncertain. And this is all very much "At first" - whether this would hold through a bad tactical situation and some defections, or credible rumours of defections that are deliberate, sorcerous empowered *lies*, is much less certain.

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                  • #10
                    Sorry, SOverlord, I was thinking about this during work yesterday, and couldn't find who uttered it when i skimmed the thread before making this one.

                    And basically, what Isator said. For all that a common enemy can do wonders to bring foes together, history (and fiction) have all too many examples of people choosing to strike when the enemy is distracted. House Peleps might well accept a deal to stay out of an invasion in exchange for their Western Empire, for example. And my read of the politics of the Dynasty, especially considering the civil war that's brewing, is that they will tend to be more dagger-in-hand or coin-in-hand than hand-in-hand. Consider the Sesus betrayal of Tepet. Tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of Dragon-Blooded were maneuvered to their deaths at the hands Bull of the North. So Sesus could grab more satrapies, and kneecap a rival House.

                    Though this does make me imagine a scenario where the Deliberative responds to an immanent invasion by making the Roseblack Regent. Skilled enough to lead the Realm to victory, but from the weakest House, so she can be easily overthrown when the fighting's done.

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                    • #11
                      I see no reason why they shouldn't cooperate with one another. Ignoring the fact that this depends on every game, there's also the fact that there's no longer any Empress around to keep them at each other's throats. There's now no force setting them against one another. With the Empress no longer playing them against each other, there can now be more chances of cooperation and long-term alliances.

                      Originally posted by GhanjRho View Post
                      Third, this is almost the archtypical prisoner's dilemma. If even one House chooses to strike while it's fellows are fighting the beastfolk armies of Solar Queen Perfect Soul, then the whole resistance will collapse. And since every Dynast will recognize this, no House will cooperate.
                      Besides, isn't teamwork and brotherhood literally one of the Dragonblooded themes? There is a charm in 2e called 'Ten thousand Dragons fight as one' that lets you automatically create an intimacy of loyalty towards another Dragonblooded in the vicinity. Why can't the DBs have charms and abilities that let them overcome mistrust, so that they can unite against a greater foe?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                        I see no reason why they shouldn't cooperate with one another.
                        The Battle of Futile Blood, everything Ragara has done starting with "trying to murder Mnemon in her youth" through owning the majority of debts, and everybody (but especially Sesus) stomping over Nellens spring to mind.

                        Originally posted by Accelerator
                        there's also the fact that there's no longer any Empress around to keep them at each other's throats. There's now no force setting them against one another.
                        And then Peleps asks for V'neef to return tribute transportation rights to them. After all, they were only given away as a tactic by the Empress to create division, it's only fair.

                        It's reductive to portray the Empress as only a source of division and as the only source of division.

                        Originally posted by Accelerator
                        Besides, isn't teamwork and brotherhood literally one of the Dragonblooded themes?
                        It is. That lends additional dramatic irony to the number of institutional factors and interpersonal beefs that lead to significant infighting among them.

                        Originally posted by Accelerator
                        Why can't the DBs have charms and abilities that let them overcome mistrust, so that they can unite against a greater foe?
                        Because it's not really the intent of the game's dramatic functions or human portrayals for people to have the option to just resolve their personality issues with magic.

                        As there's no Charms to govern with wisdom and conscientiousness, there's no switch you can install in yourself to flip to stop being an asshole.


                        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                        Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                        • #13
                          You can be an asshole.

                          You can be foolish.

                          But nothing stops you from making magic backed Brotherhood pacts.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                            You can be an asshole.

                            You can be foolish.

                            But nothing stops you from making magic backed Brotherhood pacts.
                            It depends on whether or not one proposes to do so with people who don't tolerate fools and assholes.

                            Sure Sworn Kinships are depicted as an institution that distinctly crosses party lines, and there's even some foundation to the idea that unity can ultimately arise from networking Hearths together. But it's a bit odd to insist that Hearths being a thing means that the Scarlet Dynasty as a whole pulling together in mutual self-interest is a certainty.

                            For one thing, Kinships across different Houses are capable of being a source of tension over loyalties divided between Hearth mates and House elders. Consider the signature character from Lookshy who has trouble with the fact that he won't exploit his Hearth for his home's intelligence gathering. A single Lookshy Exalt forming a bond with some Dynasts doesn't mean that Lookshy and the Realm have no basis for being enemies.


                            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                            Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                            • #15
                              You know, I wonder if I'm simply bad at communicating or my feel and vision of exalted is so different it's like talking about 2 different things.

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