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When and how to handle the Realm Civil War in a Secondary School Game

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  • When and how to handle the Realm Civil War in a Secondary School Game

    I'm plotting out a DB secondary school game, and I'm wondering where and how to have the Realm Civil War impact the place.

    Secondary schools are attended from the ages of 15 to 21, a span of six years. The present day is RY 768, five years after the Empress vanishes, four years after the Council of the Empty Throne, and three years after Tepet's fall and the splitting of the Imperial Legions. Most importantly, it also leaves three years before the formal "abdication" of the Empress, which is where I imagine the civil war would kick off properly.

    Given these timescales, I'm curious about when would be the more interesting times for a secondary school game, without disintegrating it as a low-stakes game. I'd imagine that a civil war would have severe implications for any structured education in the Realm, which means that feasibly any high school game that wants to avoid the Civil War entirely would have to start before the disappearance of the Empress.

    Has anyone run games that go through the whole length of a secondary school education, and how did you handle the various big events for the Realm alongside the more immediate things happening in the school? I imagine any Tepet PC would have letters from somewhere telling of the Battle of Futile Blood, and handling their grief from the death of family members as a matter of course, but how else have these events been managed? Or do folks tend to just run these games in the time before the Empress disappears, avoiding it entirely? I imagine that'll at the very least impact how House Tepet is seen, and House V'neef is even greener than usual.

    This is a bit rambly, but I'm just curious how people have dealt with the macro Realm calendar in a secondary school game context.

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  • #2
    A couple fo thoughts from someone who is starting their own secondary school game set in the civil war: It really depends on how much you want the civil war plot to be part of your game. It is entirely possible that it is happening in the background and may provide motivations for some instructors/students but never intrude directly. OR at the other end of the s[ectrum one faction or another ocupies the school and treats the kids as hostages / a resources to develop.

    As far as timing goes: at the end of the Regent's term the throne will officially be declared vacant. Mnemon has already announced her intent to take the throne at that point, more or less daring anyone to stop her. Waiting until the go-date is the privelige of the front-runner, many who are less sure of their ability to claim the throne may want to gain an advantage with a pre-emptive strike before then. After all if they are triggering a civil war then violating that one edict won't really matter much. If they win then ti doesn't matter and if they lose well, it is unlikely that the winners wouldn't retaliate against them regardless of the date.


    • #3
      Which school?

      In my game, the Heptagram raised every magical defense it had, declared neutrality and waited for someone to win. (The PCs had long graduated before the civil war began, but still had ties to the school.)

      You could play being trapped on a magical island as war unfolds around you.

      Having relatively young Dynasts (first years) would be perfect for such a game.

      By contrast the Spiral Academy is literally in the capital city. It will come under siege. If you have, for example, Ragara students and Mnemon takes the capital, you can expect a polite knock from Mnemon legions on your character's bedroom door.

      Having relatively old students (final years) would make a lot more sense.

      And this also affects timings.

      If you are going for a Spiral Academy game, then kicking off the Realm Civil War early makes sense: your parents knew that conflict was brewing, but still sent you to the capital because the Council of the Vacant Throne suggested you still had a year or two of safety under the Regent before hostilities started. Whereas with the Heptagram idea, maybe your parents sent you to the Isle of Voices specifically to get you out of the way of the civil war.

      Otherwise, yeah, just don't start your game in RY768. Go earlier and sidestep the issue entirely. Or Deus Ex it and have the Deliberative vote for five more years of Tepet Fokuf.

      I think it might be interesting to run the game at Pasiap's Stair. Be Outcastes learning about Dynastic society. Then civil war. You are military trained but don't have an allegiance to any particular house. How do you navigate this? What do the Great Houses think about having a super solider school on their doorstep when the soldiers don't owe them any particular loyalty? You can do politicking for alliance. Defending the school from attacks. Go mercenary or full bandit. Throw in with a Great House. Declare your alliance to the Scarlet Empress and go Wyld Hunting whilst the Realm disintegrates around you. Maybe even side with The People and lead your own glorious revolution against the status quo.

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


      • #4
        A lot of what might happen is dependant on your vision of how the overall Civil War will go. To what level will the intrigues rise? How bad will the actual violence be? Will it remain somewhat under the surface, or will it be an actual war, where all pretenses are shed and armies are marching, while all House members are extected to actively participate? Notice, that once a danger level rises beyond certain point (probably even before reaching the outright war stage), everyone will just start pulling their scions home, to safety - or towards the frontlines. And that means not just students, but teachers as well.
        So, at first you will see tensions rising, and preexisting personal relations affected by current House politics. Then you will see groups of students band into alliances for safety more and more, as well as teachers playing favouritism (and acting against each other) in more and more visible ways. Then people will start to disappear. Some by getting recalled, some by fleeing (especially from more minor families)... and some in more final way. At some point everything will just unravel, or one House will march in and take over.
        Each of the schools will likely be affected in different ways and at different rates, but ultimately all will get affected, due to Dynast staff in those generally not being able to avoid the whole issue (and mortal teachers being unable to keep everything running on their own).

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