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  1. #1

    The Prince and the Archduke - continued

    http://www.birthright.net/forums/sho...4869#post34869

    I wanted to respond, and found out I couldn't, so I created a new thread to this topic which I find interesting, please share your opinions on topic.

    I must say I like kgauck's break down of the scenario, very well thought out.

    I would say however it is incomplete, IF we take the situation beyond Anuire and look to what would enable one side or another to gain the advantage...

    Avan in his ability to politic and ally with others, may seek aid from Rhjurik, Khinasi, etc. any of the realms outside of Anuire are game for an alliance which could aid him in his efforts... for a price of course.

    Rhuobe Manslayer can alter the situation drastically simply by succeeding in killing Avan or Aeric; though the Avan line looks better situated to quickly recover from such an occurance than Boeruine, based on canon information and potential succession. Any EPIC event that significantly harms one side or the other would turn this from a stand off of near equals, to a heavily favored fight for the side that was unharmed.

    If Avan built up his alliances and resources for YEARS, married off Aubrae to gain a new ally, it is very likely he could overwhelm Boeruine. Patience and planning is on Avan's side, brute force and better positioning belong to Aeric...
    The better part of valor is discretion

  2. #2
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Ah, thread necromancy. Following problems last year we put a block on resurrecting old threads - the posters weren't around to explain/defend themselves, topics may have become obsolete, the mailing list people had more trouble accessing the old stuff, etc.

  3. #3
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    On topic however...

    Boeruine has a strong tactical advantage in that he isn't surrounded by enemies, and anyone attacking pretty much has to come from the south due to mountains, goblins, etc. Avan by contrast is in the centre - able to strike at anyone but equally vulnerable from all sides. At least, that is how an Anuirean likely sees it. A Brecht or Rjurik noble would likely see the opposite - Boeruine with his long coastline is open to attack whilst Avan is the opposite with mountains and major rivers blocking any land army from approaching.

    In a conflict between the two the key is in my view not going to be the direct forces - both are fairly equal although Avan has the advantage from recollection counting vassals - if Avan can make them actually support him.

    But what of the others? Diemed could certainly cause trouble for Boeruine either by sending support by land or raiding from the sea - likely both but what would Diem want in return - marriage between the two families perhaps? Equally however Avan could sponsor Fulgar the Bold to raid Boeruine or Talinie to encourage Boeruine to keep troops back, or could build diplomatic links to one of the stronger Rjurik nations - but at the cost of possibly undermining his position at home - a true Anuirean noble could persuade his peers to aid him and would not rely on foreign mercenaries. The big problem with foreign mercenaries in my mind is logistical -could any Khinasi land really provide support over such a long distance? I think the southern Rjurik or northern Aduria are the only practical options.

    In practice I expect that alliance building all depends on events and personalities. If Boeruine offends a powerful noble then he will lose their support, if he can woo them with promises of power or plunder then he may be able to draw more support, Ghoere is an obvious ally but would probably demand too much for his support, Kalien would be a good ally for his information network but Boeruine doesn't sound like he would work well with the guilder. Similarly if Tuornen or Alamie was greatly weakened, the other might support one side of the Avan/Boeruine conflict in exchange for support to re-unite the Duchy without the other really becoming involved.

    The personality issue is a key one given the era, I expect that all the families are extensive - Aubrae will probably not for example be an only child - however different family memebers may contest heirship preventing a smooth takeover, or the replacement for a slain leader may be inept. If of course Aubrae is an only child then Boeruine may not need war - marriage would be cheaper and more effective means to unify their lands, or as an alternative simply undermining her marriages or hoping for her to die in childbirth (common in medieval times but probably not for a noble with access to healing magic) would also be better than starting a war now - unless of course he prefers the pillaging.

  4. #4

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    People put a lot of stock in diplomacy. However, I think the Tarkin Doctrine is probably the only realistic strategy for reuniting the Empire. So, the key lies in expanding one's power base without going head-to-head with one's principal rival immediately.

    I think Boeruine's biggest advantage in that regard is the fact the he borders two "enemy" realms. It affords him with the opportunity to invade these lands and expand his power base with few political consequences. He also has an ally in the Northern Imperial Temple -- who can be "compensated" with new temples. And, as much as I hate the idea of walking all over the guilds, he is in a position to consolidate within his realm. With some intrigue, Boeruine could probably also justify consolidation in Talinie -- though he would probably need to sell out the Hidden Temple for that. And, that could even be drawn out to ventures into Dhoesone and the Rjurik Highlands.

    The ideal strategy would be to slowly build up to the point where he had a 3-to-1 advantage against Avanil. That entails convincing his allies to pour all of their funds into the military -- fielding troops alongside his army in return for holdings. Then, he would start out small and take on progressively larger opponents -- building up his power base.

    Assuming a competent player is running Avanil, the Prince would undoubtedly try to counter these moves. However, it would be difficult to go toe-to-toe -- projecting force so far from his homeland. And, the Archduke could stir up trouble with Avanil's vassals to keep him occupied.

    The problem, unfortunately, is that I don't think Boeruine is that clever in character. He's obsessed with Avanil and looks to the South rather than considering the big picture. He would rather invade the Imperial City now -- rather than build up his power base. And, he doesn't really show any cleverness when it comes to manipulating Avanil's vassals.

    Some players like to completely disregard stuff like that and just make up reasons to cast aside things. But, in my mind, that's part of the game balance. And, it's the reason Boeruine hasn't been successful and probably won't be successful. You can't even really squeeze in a Richelieu-style advisor to "take control" of the government because the realm's tone seems to be centered on Boeruine -- with little room for reason or discussion. It's all about his ego.

  5. #5
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I think that personality is a huge factor - and possibly not just for the current incumbants of the roles.

    Boeruine seems to be from the 'loud man with an axe' school of nobility - I always have Brian Blessed in mind when I think of him. He probably considers tactics such as pillaging and razing his enemies lands perfectly acceptable to force others to battle or encourage future foes to surrender, Avan by contrast would see them as acceptable for sapping his foes strength at low cost. I agree that Boer would be almost immune to being 'guided' by someone more subtle - his way is the right way and such is proved by the fact that it's his way.

    Avan is the polar opposite, quite possibly deliberately so. Diplomacy first and the steel fist always veiled in the velvet glove - until the moment that it strikes. As such Avan is likely much more able to win friends and far less likely to alienate them (possibly more important).

    I'd expect Boeruine to watch Avan carefully looking for weakness, perhaps doing some banging and crashing every now and again to force Avan to hastily build his alliances, only for Boeruine to then back down - he spends a few GB on active troops and probes the defenses of the southern realms, Avan has to give away rights, etc to another noble which cause much more long term cost. As and when those tests show a weakness Boeruine capitalises on it, or if Avan's response seems lacking indicating difficulty in forming alliances or lack of will to defend his vassals.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    Darien Avan to me is a soulless manipulator that has lived a life of privilege in the center of civilization all his life. A pampered Harvard boy driving Ferraris and Lamborghinis around with his friends in high school who took taekwondo classes when he was young to impress the ladies and give pause to any one that may challenge him. He hasn't known a single day of hard work in his life. He has no value on human life outside of his own and would sit there and watch a person slay his closest of servants if they were simply just accused of being a spy with no trial. He has the ability to win popularity contests but not to lead. He has followed in his fathers footsteps and has been given the keys to the kingdom by his father's name. In other words he is nothing but another George W. Bush in Anuirean clothing. His network of power establish by his predecessors is extensive and has a mind of its own. It is complicated to manage and he relies heavily on his advisers to do the administrations for him. All the while he makes the photo shoots and dazzles audiences with his Brecht combat style in court. I see him as a very theatrical figurehead full of pomp. He is self righteous and spoiled and values being popular and would rather be feared than loved because its easier.

    As for the Avan domain and vassal network it is very formidable albeit a sluggish system I'd suspect. It is the main reason the Prince is anything at all outside of his bloodline and his higher than average level as a warrior that I'd argue came from rigged tournaments and training.

    So, no I have no respect for this character and I see him as the man to beat and I believe it is setup to be that way. This is of course just an interpretation. An no the modern references were to paint a picture of parallels. I don't think Avan has the vision to make more of his situation outside of guile and villainy. The character portrait I painted above fits this profile. I don't think he is as cunning as many tend to portray him outside of winning popularity contests.


    Aeric Boeruine, is an asshole. I like him better than Darien in that he has convictions that aspire to something beyond his ambition. This is illustrated in his dealings with others and friendships he forms. He has a sense of honor and values love and loyalty. He is a noble that is equivalent to that on a march as he is a frontier land type of lord. His family is and always will be a harder breed than the pampered Avans. In boxing terms Avan would be a light weight and Boeruine a heavy weight. In my opinion Aeric is a much more deadly warrior than Avan 1 on 1 as I interpreted from the players options books released at the time of Birthright where a 12th level warrior was in a league of their own. I'd even venture to say that Aeric has battled with Rhoubhe on the same battlefield at least once if not more. Outside of his martial prowess he lacks as a leader of an empire in that he is tragically consumed with his family's claim and his personal disdain for the Avan family. As a man of passion he easily is consumed by his temper and acts to quickly upon it without taking time to think. Thus he makes an ass of himself more often then naught and alienates others. In modern terms I think he'd be a fun guy to drink with at a pub, and I don't think he'd be the guy to start a fight either, but he would finish it. I doubt he'd be easy to get to know with his exclusive view on nobility, but his friends would consider themselves lucky, and his enemies would be for life. I don't think he values fear rather he views himself as righteous and sticks to his guns. This invariably gets him into situations that are more detrimental to his cause than he would ever admit. I like his aspiration to noble causes, but his foundations need some work.

    The Archduchy is the most potent realm in the game. What I mean by this is it is a one hit one kill type setup. It is not spread thin, hit holds a punch that can knock out any neighbor in a turn, and can back that up with staying power. The fact that his guilder and mage are so close to him as to be Lts. speaks volumes as to how he can rely on loyalty in his ranks. Being hardened by the lands itself the people of this land including the nobles are a tough breed compared to their southern neighbors. Life for them is tough and I think the public view is one of pride and loyalty regarding their regent since this is what he projects not only demands.

    So Aerics major strength is his principles of justice, but his weakness is his lack of wisdom and thinking things through before acting and perhaps engaging in his family's claim that may be a bigger bite than he can chew.


    Between the two I'd vote for Aeric, but I'd likely cast my vote for some independent elsewhere. I know I have a tainted view on Avan in respect to those who view him as cunning and savy. I don't think his position in Anuire would necessarily demand those character traits. The only way they would fit is if he was emperor already.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

  7. #7
    LOL. Two very different perspectives on Avan and Boeruine . . . .

    I think Avan is much more clever than Magian gives him credit for though. He is a souless manipulator -- who trades and sacrifices people for political advantage without the slightest hesitation. But, I think that he also shepherds his reputation very carefully. He's the epitome of the modern politician with public events and focus groups. He gives dazzling appearances and never misses a step. He has a staff of fawning intelligent, capable advisors that he uses well. They act as his hatchetmen when he has to do something ugly so that it doesn't tarnish his reputation and he acts like he's ignorant of what they do -- even though he probably knows exactly what's going on at all times. And, when the time is right, he's willing to let them fall on their swords for him without a second's thought. He rewards his henchmen, but not out of any sense of loyalty to them. It's all about how useful they are to him and how he can encorage ambition and loyalty in others. All in all, everything he does is all about cultivating his "legend". And, I think his court is one of those rare Circus du'Soliele spectacles where every step is carefully planned and choreographed to impress.

    Boeruine is more difficult for me to understand. But, I think he is more of the more traditional feudal mentality. He believes very much in rank and station. In my mind, his personality might be something like the Chairman in the first Skulls movie. (I don't know if any of you have seen the outtakes where there's more classism, but it's a good depiction of Boeruine.) I don't think he's that smart militarily -- at least compared to Gavin Tael, for instance. However, he is very athletic. He personally ventures into combat. And, I think he probably absorbs much of the virtues of competive spirit and such that one finds there. I think he's more loyal to his associates, but he expects obedience and everyone is stuck in their birth stations in his mind. A capable man can rise maybe a level above the station of his birth (certainly no more than that), but he's always thought of as "missing" something that he would have learned had he been raised as a noble. And, it is only future generations that have been raised at the elevated level that truly understand what it means and are fully capable. That bias affects how he views other nobles too. I think he views the maintenance of the social order to be paramount. And, as he's at the top of the pyramid, he thinks everyone else should share the same attachment to the social order.

    I also played an unusual twist on Gavin Tael that I thought I'd share . . . . I saw him as an extremely pragmatic individual who rejected both of the perspectives here. He was all about meritocracy and he was willing to promote someone to the highest levels if they showed capability. However, he was extremely ruthless because he subscribed to the Tarkin Doctrine. He hated imperial politics because he saw that lives were sacrificed for stupid stuff. He was paranoid about the Gorgon and he thought that the realms were too busy squabbling amongst themselves to ever unite against the Gorgon if the Empire faced a full-scale invasion. He was ruthless and militaristic simply because it worked. He could mobilize a huge army if he ran a centralized directed economy -- which was vital to his realm's security. And, security interests were always paramount. He was a military genius, but he recognized that a 1,500 year-old immortal (i.e. the Gorgon) being had the potential to be an even more frightening military genius. And, the wierd thing is that, IF he could ever be shown that a lighter-handed rule was more effective, he would gladly discard his "evil totalitarian" ways and adopt a more enlightened mindset. He just didn't have any faith that the realms would look to security issues and counter the threat posed by the Gorgon without a Tarkin Doctrine mindset.

  8. #8
    What, however, of the Temples?

    Guilders may go about their business pragmatically, whoever is in charge; wizards live in a world of secrets beyond the ken of mere mortals; yet temples are not merely congregations of the faithful - through their powers of investiture, they are intimately involved with questions of the legitimacy of political rule.

    The temples of Haelyn are not only the most powerful religious force in Anuire but also the only temples who might legitimately speak in matters of Imperial succession. How then might the voice and power of the two dominant faiths of Avan and Boeruine, the Western Imperial Temple and the Northern Imperial Temple, impact a direct conflict between the two, and the potential spoils for the victorious party?

    Boeruine, it would seem, has the Northern Imperial Temple on a rather short leash. The followers of Fitzalan might well have been crushed without the protection of a mighty realm like Boeruine - a fact the Archduke no doubt reminds his northern neighbour of with ample frequency.

    Yet obedient as the Northern Imperial Temple may be to its "benefactor", it is a small church without much influence outside Boeruine and Talinie. What is worse, its founding sundered forever the unity of the Imperial Temple. Even those who do not hold Fitzalan to be an actual heretic - as the Orthodox Imperial Temple does, and many other temples of Haelyn might - he may well be seen by most as a dangerous schismatic. Implacably hostile to aspects of the old Imperial church, and isolated in the North, the Northern temple seems a most unlikely candidate for anointing the next Emperor.

    Avan's situation by contrast is much rosier. The Western Imperial Temple seems to be theologically middle-of-the-road, and is hence in a position of dialogue with most of the Haelynite temples, bar the most ironclad Orthodox and most zealous Northerners.

    Also, the influence of the Western Imperial Temple extends far beyond Avanil and its closest vassals. It guides, for example, most of the faithful of Alamie and Tuornen. The Archprelate might quite possibly be the kingmaker of a reunited Greater Alamie - for a price, of course. Such a mighty Archduchy, united in faith with Avanil, would spell the immediate end of Boeruine's hopes for the Iron Throne.

    Boeruine may prevent the reunification of Greater Alamie through force of arms, yet without the support of the churches he will hardly be seen as more than the big bullying bear that he is. The Northern Imperial Temple is unlikely to expand east, and sending an army into Tuornen - as defence against Alamie or otherwise - might well make him look even worse than he does already.

    On the other hand, one might imagine with equal ease that the Western Imperial Temple does not have as many friends as I have suggested. What I have called its middle-of-the-road position might simply be seen as an unprincipled one by the other churches; its reputation might be tarnished by manifest and widespread corruption (though that is not something only the unprincipled suffer from); and its support (if vocal enough) of Avan and the unpleasant Duke of Alam might also weaken its moral authority.

    Whatever the outcome of a confrontation between Avan and Boeruine, however, it seems certain that the Temples will be heavily involved in it.

  9. #9
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I'd say that the guilds will be heavily involved as well, whatever PS endier says, the nobility were hugely involved in trade - they were the ones with the capital to invest in it afterall.

    With the guilds and temples full of nobles from the local noble families you can bet that all non-source holdings will be involved in any major dispute.

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