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MegaTraveller Discuss of the MegaTraveller ruleset and the Rebellion Milieu

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  #1  
Old March 19th, 2005, 06:21 PM
Lord Iron Wolf Lord Iron Wolf is offline
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Just a thought to the group. I'm thinking without the virus, the fleets would of battled each other to the exhaustion of men, supplies and vehicles. The war not being won as much as simply drawing lines and the combatants simply signing an armistice(sp) because they could no longer prosecute the War of Imperial Succession.

In recent history the only parallel would be World War I/The Great War. But this was simply a chance for a new generation to prepare to arm and finish the damn thing.

Would looking at the Rebellion and WWI be totally off or are there parallels?

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Old March 19th, 2005, 10:27 PM
kaladorn kaladorn is offline
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Hmm, this is one Larsen should put his thinker on for. And a few others.

My first thought is I really like Larsen's Wounded Collosus. I wish he'd really detailed it up a bit more, mind you [img]smile.gif[/img] <no hint here Bill, no not by half!>

Anyway, what I was really thinking when I read this was this wasn't a solution I think anyone has seriously considered (or that I've seen discussed, at any rate). Rather than 'grind each other into nothing, revert to barbarism' or 'reunite the empire', what about the very option you propose?

People agreeing (whether they really want to or are just tired out) to stop fighting, to start rebuilding, to agree that everyone should just have a different polity (thus we have 8 or 9 large remainder states, plus a whole new scad of buffers and independents) and then having them knock out some mutual defence pacts, some non-aggression treaties, a cease fire, and get trading back on line and the lifeblood of the OTU flowing again. This might be something like some of the historic trading leagues, with lots of different people represented.

Now sure, on the one hand, the powers that be want to finish it. Some of them. But after a few years of peace, some may discover they're just as happy at peace and have enough to worry about. Some may discover that their *people* are happy at peace, and aren't anxious to go back to the war. Some may discover that their *megacorps* and other trading interests are so happy to be back in the black, that they'll pressure the government not to go back to conflict.

The more I consider it, the more I think this is possibly one of the sanest solutions to MT I have *ever* heard of.

Furthermore, it would lead to a sort of European feel, with lots of small allied and opposed states, with independents, with all the 'shake up' the MT designers were looking for, with the chance to rebuild from a bit of a tough blow (good for the TNE crowd to get behind, though not quite the apocalypse of the collapse and hard times), it could avoid the whole virus (or come up with a technowhizbang solution to deal with it), and it could allow for a lot of free wheeling trading, intriguing, and small military adventures. For those wanting stable territory, there are quite a few large empirelets that each have several stable sectors. There are frontiers for people who want them. And there are wilds.

Oddly, I think this is one of the most thoughtful injections into the MT discussion since I've rejoined the traveller community 2 or 3 years ago after a long hiatus in other games.

This merits discussion and thought.
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  #3  
Old March 21st, 2005, 02:44 PM
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The problems is that two certain madmen CAN'T accept the status quo:
1) Lucan. He's so psychotic, that he MUST have the whole shebang or die trying.

2) Dulinor: if he doesn't at least take Lucan's territory, he's failed his principles.

A couple would be unwilling to let things lie, and as soo as they had fleets, would probably fire right back up:
1) the Vilani. THey need more markets, and bigger markets, in order to make more money. Their neighbors are unlikely to allow them in without some form of either conflict or assimilation.
2) The solomani: heir drive will cause them to expand if they can. But it will be in explosive, nova-like waves.
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  #4  
Old March 21st, 2005, 03:14 PM
kaladorn kaladorn is offline
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There have been many historical Kings who've really, really, really wanted X. But when their own nobles and merchant classes said "nosir, we won't be supporting that", they had to bide their time and live with their angst.

The Vilani would retain their markets at any rate - having different polities does not preclude common trade policy and thus does not preclude access to foreign markets.

Solomani have enough issues with the split in their own confederation between the zealots and the moderates and then throw in the off-Terra groups in the Rim that don't like the balance of power.

You can imagine a scenario where Dulinor gets told in no uncertain terms by his Dukes 'Sorry pal, it was a nice try'. Lucan is a bit tougher nut, but he could be written to be reasonable. Or maybe an 'accident' removes him. Maybe some Admirals rule 'in his name' or a regent takes over. You can imagine both Dulinor and Lucan being ousted by more sane heads in their own states.

A lot of what you need to clean this situation up is a Thomas Thiesman (for those who read Weber) type character - a reformer who is quiet, but willing to do what needs done (ruthlessly if need be) and who knows his end goal is the good of the people, not serving any particular master.

Anyway, if you prefer the Rebellion and Collapse, you've already got such a setting. The idea here is perhaps to explore other alternative endings. I think a bunch of small split polities can be metastable over quite a period of time.
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 11:34 PM
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daryen daryen is offline
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Looking at Survival Margin one more time (for another thread), it really impressed on me that Dulinor's coronation fleet was his final stand, and he knew it. Assuming no Virus, there were only two possible results.

Either he wins and kills Lucan, thereby "winning" the war of succession (at least over his and Lucan's territories), or his life is forfeit.

If he loses the battle and returns home, he knew he would die. In the Virus timeline, it was by a harvester. But even without Virus, Dulinor knew he was dead; the only question was who was going to kill him.

So Aramis' overall point was correct. The Rebellion situation could not remain static and some factions would be forced to win or die trying.
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by daryen:
So Aramis' overall point was correct. The Rebellion situation could not remain static and some factions would be forced to win or die trying.
Yes. This is true for Lucan and Dulinor, IMHO.

As a result, you either have to have one of them win, or both of them eliminated.

Note that you only have to eliminate _them_, not their factions. It would be easy enough to have them succeeded by people that would end the war.

Of course, that "end" could merely be a Korean War-style ceasefire, rather than a "real" peace. The possibility of a new war can always be left open. In fact, it probably should, since that's more interesting.

Most of the other factions were battered around enough to need a breather, so they can be assumed to accept a tacit peace.

The Solomani are the main problem, of course, but we have some "standard" excuses for them stopping with reconquering the old Solomani Sphere.
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 12:58 PM
kaladorn kaladorn is offline
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Two points:

The individuals had issues which would necessitate them being removed, but not necessarily their factions.

The Solomani might well have internal issues that draw their focus inwards.

Another point to consider: Our perceptions of Dulinor and Lucan and what extents they need to go to are married to when we tree-off this alternate history. If it is early enough after the Assassination, then maybe they aren't so polarized that they can't continue as heads of their polities. They get more polarized into 'win or die' as the years go by.
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 02:25 PM
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I don't know that moving the point of departure up changes anything for Dulinor or Lucan. Assuming we don't change their characters (which presents a plethora of new options), they are both pretty much set to run their course.

Lucan is flat out nuts. Killing his brother somehow unhinged him. After that, he was making very few rational decisions. If he doesn't kill Varian, then who knows what happens?

Dulinor is committed the moment his bullet hits the Emperor/clone. Once that happens, he must either succeed in taking the throne, or his life, legacy, dynasty, everything for him, is forfeit.

The only thing I can think of changing that would make much difference is to change Lucan into a rational human being. Of course, if he is rational, then he gets confirmed, the other parties get in line behind him, and the Rebellion never happens. Instead we get the Second Ilelish Revolt.
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 04:20 PM
kaladorn kaladorn is offline
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Ah, Daryen, but that's sort of what I was getting at. The character is established over time. Before the MT setting's first page, I'd never heard of Dulinor or Lucan. Before the various DGP articles outlining their policies and opinions about one another, I only had vague feelings about them. Before subsequent developments, I wouldn't have considered Lucan a total fruitloop. So yes, in effect, I am suggesting an edit. If we're editing around the classical end (or lack thereof) of the Rebellion, maybe some character edits fit into that (assuming we don't have them killed).

Is he nuts? Did killing his Bro do it or was he always a bit unhinged? Or is he just hyper ambitious and a bit sociopathic/psychopathic? He may just not really care much about his brother, other than that 'he got in the way'.

Dulinor is only 'forfeit' if anyone can take him out. If the rest of the Imperial fragments were to go their own way, sure, he'd be unwelcome in Lucanite territory, but there are arguable precedents for the legality of his actions and I'm not sure Norris would give his polity grief it if approached them on good terms. Sure, Norris might not approve, but if having peace meant preventing the backsliding of the overall Imperial population base, even if it does mean they are temporarily broken into other polities, he'd probably be okay with that.

Sure, Dulinor personally might consider himself a failure and choose to step down or pop himself off. But he might just accept that he failed and revert to worrying about his people, the ostensible underlying reason for his actions.

When I have some time (this weekend if I have some cycles), I'll try to sketch out an alternative timeline and some events/changes that might make this a reasonable outcome.
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kaladorn:
The character is established over time. Before the MT setting's first page, I'd never heard of Dulinor or Lucan. Before the various DGP articles outlining their policies and opinions about one another, I only had vague feelings about them. Before subsequent developments, I wouldn't have considered Lucan a total fruitloop.
First of all: nobody had heard of Dulinor or Lucan before MT. They were created then.

Rebellion Sourcebook is the original source for Lucan's character. It emphasises: the ends justify the means, and policy comes from the fickle mind of the Emperor. It also calls him a spoilt brat.

So Lucan began as a despot ruling by arbitrary whim. That can't/shouldn't be changed.

Later on, of course, he appears to have deteriorated further. This bit could be lost.

I can't see him accepting peace. I _can_ see him being assassinated by his own supporters.

As for Dulinor...

I've always felt Dulinor's big weakness lay in the contradiction between his supposedly democratic ideals and the fact that his support lies in the Imperial apparatus, that is, the nobility. His reforms, if actually implemented, would have the effect of reducing the power of his key supporters, which would give them reason to reconsider their support.

The result of this is that his reforms are likely to be stillborn, or at least hopelessly compromised. Even so, his rhetoric about them is likely disturb at least some of his nobles...

If he actually tries to implement his reforms seriously, he is guaranteed to run into opposition from the nobility. That is, from his Admirals, senior bureaucrats, Subsector Dukes, his Intelligence chiefs, the commander of his bodyguard, and so on.

Essentially, he has the choice of either facing down a coup, or backing off and becoming a lame duck "Emperor".

And even if he succeeds, the results aren't likely to be what people expect. His reforms would inevitably shift power even further towards the rulers of the high population worlds, at the expense of the other worlds and the Imperium itself. At the same time, depending on how "democratic" you want to read his intentions as being, he is trying to replace these rulers.

This is a recipe for a terrible snafu.

Norris was able to get away with it under the whip of Virus. There was doubtless more to the story than a simple decree, but we will never know the details.

It's a pretty safe bet that Dulinor's agenda would either be thrown out the window, lead to massive conflict, and/or possibly result in his fall.

The interaction and chronological synchronisation of that with the processes at work in Lucan's Imperium can be left to the scholar...
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