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GypsyComet October 21st, 2016 12:20 AM


Originally Posted by Vargas (Post 551785)
I don't know that Dulinor could have been said to have won either.

By Hard Times it is clear that the Imperium lost. All of it, except behind the Claw. Even based solely on what we knew at the time, the Domain of Deneb was probably boned as well. The Zhodani unrest hinted at in TNS items would only have delayed the inevitable. The Vargr would not have been tempered as time went on, and the unrest caused even by a more peaceful Ihatei influx would have kept the Domain's backfield busy.

Even without the (dubiously received) infection rate of Virus to bring on the edition change to TNE, Dulinor lost by stealing it, because he brought it into every ship in the task force himself. Dulinor was personally doomed, and the rebellion of Ilelish would have fizzled without him.

This is the way to bring about the early concept of the exhausted Imperium as an end of the Rebellion: Dulinor sneaks in to steal the superweapon, reportedly succeeds, and jumps out with his loot. This is where the narrative changes, with one simple sentence: "None of the raiding fleet is ever seen again."

And everyone carries on with Hard Times. Sure, maybe Lucan burns Dlan as punishment, but that's still going to be a fleet-chewing trek.

epicenter00 October 23rd, 2016 01:05 PM


Originally Posted by LeperColony (Post 551715)
What do you think were the causes that led to Lucan's failure to defeat Dulinor?

The Imperium of 1116 isn't the Imperium of the Fifth Frontier War. This time the threat is within the Imperium itself, it's not some convenient external foe that the Imperium can unite against.

The Imperium has certainly had to deal with its share of revolts and insurrection, but probably nothing as widespread as Dulinor's attempted seizure of the throne.

In canon, it's pointed out that the Imperium of 1116 has been growing more decadent and slowly fragmenting under veneer of unity and prosperity. Like the First Imperium, most of the Imperium doesn't really take any threat to it seriously. The majority of the Imperium has not seen a serious war in several centuries by 1116. In fact, there's quite a few areas of the Imperium who have not seen serious war for over 500 years or more. Some areas in the core of the Imperium have probably not experienced a threatening sense of war perhaps from the date they joined the Imperium - so perhaps upwards of 1000 years. This is an unimaginably long time - beyond true human comprehension. To inhabitants of worlds who have felt the presence of the Imperium for 500+ years, the Imperium as might as well be eternal. Nobody alive can remember when it did not rule, even a sense of "social memory" can't recall such a period. It's not really outrageous to imagine in an Imperium like that the people in it can't imagine a situation where the Imperium really falls or ceases to be.

In a situation like that, factions in the Imperium start to look inwards, especially with the Imperium being hemmed in by other states on all sides. Everything becomes a zero-sum game. For me to gain, the nobles around me have to lose something. Political games become obsessively about the minute increases in power or prestige. Playing these games are considered harmless by the nobles and larger power groups because nobody seriously expects the Imperium to be destroyed because of their actions.

Most players in the Imperium, when they hear about Dulinor's revolt probably don't seriously expect it to succeed. No, it'll be crushed in a few years, just like the Illiesh Revolt or the Solomani Rim War or any of the other incidents that are numerous but unmentioned in canon history because they're just too local to mention. So the power players instead start thinking about the war as a way to promote their own interests.

Lucan is likely to have failed to win because the Lucan loyalists were too busy purging disloyal elements (that's always a morale killer), Dulinor probably had the support of a lot of the more dynamic younger officers in the Imperial Navy (who coincidentally tend to be the more competent and daring) who were fed up with the state of the Imperium and agreed with Dulinor - so Dulinor likely had better commanders, and many in the Lucan-side simply didn't take Dulinor seriously so were too busy with their own political games - seeing the Assassination and Duilnor's revolt as an opportunity to advance their own agendas ... because after all, the Imperium couldn't fall.

Nathan Brazil October 26th, 2016 12:51 AM

:coffeecup: Putting aside ALL RL reasoning aside, just looking in universe:
Lucan may be megalomaniacal, but he sits on the throne and has more to worry about than just that rebellious dude that shot his uncle. He has to contend with the damned Solomani and Vargr incursions into HIS Imperium, with nothing but the Archdukes of Deneb, Gateway and Sol (sort of) to back him up. He can't be too dumb. He outlasted Dulinor, tricks Virus into making him immortal and defeats Anv!ull’lxux. :CoW: Not a standard military victory there though...
Reversing the saying: Few people see themselves as the villain of their own story.
As a politics thing, what is in a name? The rejection at a certain level of the Right by Assassination claim.:nonono:
OTOH Dulinor gave up pretty quickly. He declares/reorganizes Ilelish into the Federation of Ilelish 3-4 years after the assassination? I suggest that as written, Dulinor had lots of hubris and no contingencies unless declaring The Federation of Ilelish IS the contingency plan. Oh and gets killed by Virus...:devil::coffeegulp::coffeegulp:

TheDS July 25th, 2017 11:14 PM

IMO it's a case of neither having read Sun Tzu. They did not know themselves, nor did they know their enemy. They both went to war hoping to win instead of winning and then going to war.

Dulinor thinks all he's gotta do is kill the royal family and he will be the only logical heir. He knows he'll need a show of force to back that up, which is why he's got Illiesh ready to go, but he's got no contingency at all, and no way to force the Moot to take his claim seriously, nor even Moot support to begin with.

Stupid. Very stupid.

Lucan lucks out and survives his assassination, probably seizes further luck to kill his brother and become the next in line, and then thinks he can just throw fleets at Dulinor and win. But there's serious doubts as to his legitimacy, which means people tend to second-guess him (which infuriates him and only makes people MORE likely to be hesitant or disloyal), which is a serious morale hit. His soldiers don't believe in the righteousness of the cause, so they don't fight as well as they could. Additionally, his supply situation is not ready for a massive, coordinated invasion, nor is it expecting more than token resistance. Low morale, poorly supplied, and going at it piecemeal. Even if they'd had 10 to 1 force, that's still a recipe for disaster against a prepared, supplied, motivated army that can easily gain local superiority over and over against the trickle of incoming ships.

Additionally, Dulinor doesn't want to give up his defensive advantage because it's the only one he thinks he has. He fears that a REAL showing of strength will defeat any possibility of support for his claim, that he's SEIZING power for his own glorification when he wants it to appear like he's FORCED to seize it for the sake of everyone. (Plus, a more legitimate heir survived.) Dulinor defeated himself when he didn't look for Moot support BEFORE the assassination. He defeated himself again when he relinquished the initiative by not having his assembled fleets march on Capital to assert his legitimacy.

Likewise, Lucan couldn't crack Dulinor's waiting defenses piecemeal with a demoralized, unsupplied fleet questioning whether he should be obeyed. He felt he had to react NOW, rather than address the question of his legitimacy while ramping up the fleets in preparation to go when they were ready.

This explains the first year or so, with communication lags explaining another year or so. By the time everyone realized their mistakes, it was too late to fix them. Lucan had no choice but to fight defensive wars everywhere, sapping his ability to crack Dulinor's defenses. But he also had battles to fight at home, keeping his opponents at bay with tirades and rages and purges of disloyalty. Fear was the only weapon he had, and the only one he knew how to use anyway.

It is a testament to how much stuff was stocked up at Depots, and how many reserve fleets were present in each subsector, that the war dragged on as long as it did. Things had to have petered out after the first few years, during which industrial capacity was converted to take over. Lucan's larger "safe" zone was still not nearly large enough to deal with the sum of safe zones arrayed against him. Only sheer stubbornness and determination kept things going until the only thing left was "black war" actions.

Dulinor's Grand Fleet simply could not have matched its description. A fleet like that would have (if properly supplied) had no trouble walking its way to Capital; however, how much could he have afforded to hold back to build something like that when those resources could've been better used to push the frontier forward inexorably?

I gotta tell ya, from years of playing wargames with resource management that would have allowed a strategy like that, it doesn't really work. Holding back a small percentage simply means the bad guys pierce your defenses sooner. So the Grand Fleet had to have been fairly small in comparison to antebellum fleets, and it's only because it had been many years since a fleet that size could be put together that it was described as "blotting out the stars".

So in review, Dulinor lost when he failed to gain support from the Moot BEFORE he assassinated everyone. He lost again when Lucan didn't die (whether he tried to kill him or not). He lost again when he didn't have his fleets ready to arrive on Capital within a couple months to force his claim, and instead dug in. He didn't know his enemy, and he didn't win before seeking battle.

Lucan lost when rumors he'd killed his brother got out and he refused to prove his legitimacy. He lost again when he sent three ill-prepared fleets into a death trap. He lost again when everyone around him sensed the weakness he was trying to hide and attacked him all at once, forcing him to respond as brutally as possible with forces STILL demoralized by his lack of legitimacy and now the loss of three sector fleets so quickly. He lost again when he continued throwing meat into the grinder that was Illiesh which was needed to shore up against all the opportunists. He didn't know his enemy and he didn't win before seeking battle.

Kilgs July 27th, 2017 04:48 PM


Originally Posted by GypsyComet (Post 551716)
Lucan lacked the fleet volume to smash multiple opponents at once, but he insisted on giving those orders anyway. He micromanaged his fleet assets instead of giving his admirals strategic goals.

YMMV but I think it is Hard Times or Empire Falls where some scholar points out that Lucan did two things wrong right away... and the third is the poetic license that I've gleaned which ties the other two together.

1) Raced after Dulinor before consolidating his forces. The Imperium and Fleet strengths are huge and dispersed so he should have waited until gaining critical mass. It takes awhile to get everyone in place and instead he ordered them into the fray as they came so I can only imagine the strung-out lines, dribble of reinforcements and imagine the sheer bureaucratic nightmare of establishing lines of command, communication and everything else that had to be jury-rigged and then relied on. Everyone assumes that the Fleet showed up and acted uniformly loyal but that's a lot of high-ranked folks from all over the Imperium in a very small space... I bet there were some turf wars that hampered the effort.

2) Lucan fancied himself a general. There's a quote from Hard Times talking about how his Imperium's economic situation was actually doing well because finance/economy held little interest in him while he personally made war decisions without the training or experience. In other words, those folks in charge of economics were left alone to keep things working and they did. The military unfortunately suffered under his leadership.

3) Lucan was an insecure and unprepared ruler. He definitely went coo-coo later so maybe the seeds were already there (paranoia/distrust). But he did not trust contrary advice, felt an immediate need to legitimize himself by going after Dulinor and, disastrously, made strategic decisions based on his own reasoning and interpretation of events. He was too far removed (and inexperienced/unstable) from the situation to react with good options... the pretty classic problem with micromanaging and this time it is on an interstellar scale. Not to mention, who did he trust to advise him? Whose counsel was he listening to? Did he believe the reports from the front? When an Admiral asked for time to consolidate before attacking maybe he perceived that as disloyal rather than sound theory.

(And there's 4, it makes for a far cooler setting ;-)

EDIT: Just read some of the other posts and thought this was really important...


Originally Posted by epicenter00 (Post 551939)

Most players in the Imperium, when they hear about Dulinor's revolt probably don't seriously expect it to succeed. No, it'll be crushed in a few years, just like the Illiesh Revolt or the Solomani Rim War or any of the other incidents that are numerous but unmentioned in canon history because they're just too local to mention. So the power players instead start thinking about the war as a way to promote their own interests.

Hard Times discusses how the Imperium reacted was due to its last civil war (Admirals War or something). In that, there was no one with a claim to the throne and the real fighting was just between militaries and not civilian populations. No one really cared who won so there was little collateral damage, no planetary invasions etc. The HT scholar notes that everyone assumed it would be the same and completely misjudged the emotional aspect and the differing factors involved in a war between actual claimants as well as involving the population of the Imperium at large... causes so to speak.

Carlobrand July 27th, 2017 11:33 PM

I'm sticking with "the author is God". Too much unlikely stuff in the mix there, but they had an outcome they wanted, and they wrote the story to achieve the outcome. Not the first nor the last writer to go that route in the name of drama.

If I could wish for something, I would wish they spent some time laying the foundation for the story. American civil war was decades in the making, and by the time it happened it was pretty obvious it was going to happen. Fall of Rome, very similar - one can see the underlying trends that pointed in that direction, even if the details might have varied a bit if a few different actors did a few different things. The fall of the first Imperium, the fall of the second, same: the foundations of the events to come were there to see, at least in hindsight.

Here - well, we can't see the foundation. It might be there, it has to be there if we're to accept the events as they occurred, but there hasn't been much up to that point that suggested the Imperium was ripe for that kind of meltdown, and we're left scratching our heads. We assume Dulinor had backing in the Moot that would have revealed themselves and supported his nomination if his plan had gone off correctly, but they weren't about to stand up with a living heir in the palace and their candidate in flight. We assume there was a culture of loyalty strong enough in the Core fleets and in the Core worlds that they drew recruits from that they'd follow the Emperor's orders even with doubts about how he achieved the throne, even as he gave orders that divided their forces and brought new opponents to the field against them. Clearly the fleets and populations of Vland, Ilelish, Daibei, and Delphi were more loyal to their local nobles than to the Emperor. Seems like the Admiralty wasn't shifting around their officers enough to prevent local loyalties from overriding duty to the Emperor.

The regional loyalties that drove the Core fleets to follow bad orders and escalate gradually to total war on Ilelish, and Ilelish to do the same in turn, seems to have been a defining weakness of most of the sectors of the Imperium. Imperium seems to have grown too big to avoid descending into Balkanization.

aramis July 28th, 2017 12:24 AM

THe precedent for the rebellion was there — for all astute fans to see — in supplement 8.


Originally Posted by CT S08:LD N–Z, p20-21
But there was also a cheaper, easier route open to many. The dynastic crisis of 244 had produced a precedent for the assassination of the emperor if he or she overstepped the bounds of legitimate activity. The concept was introduced to legitimize the elimination of Cleon the Mad and never intended for any other
purpose. Nevertheless, in the turmoil of the Civil War, assassination was introduced and accepted, at least by those utilizing the technique, as a way of promoting a succession in government.

mike wightman July 28th, 2017 04:02 AM

My players back in '81 noticed this and used it as a means of claiming the throne - happy times.
By the way it is Library Data A-M not N-Z, the latter is supplement 11.

A:1 hinted at the unrest that would lead to the Rebellion - political dissent, illegal imprisonment, unrest on a planetary scale.

Carlobrand July 29th, 2017 12:04 AM


Originally Posted by aramis (Post 570373)
THe precedent for the rebellion was there for all astute fans to see in supplement 8.

Precedent is not foundation. Precedent for taking pot-shots at an emperor does not necessarily translate into the sociopolitical pressures that drive the disintegration of a millenia-old interstellar empire.

aramis July 29th, 2017 12:31 AM


Originally Posted by Carlobrand (Post 570459)
Precedent is not foundation. Precedent for taking pot-shots at an emperor does not necessarily translate into the sociopolitical pressures that drive the disintegration of a millenia-old interstellar empire.

There were other hints of unrest coming in JTAS and Traveller's Digest.

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