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Howard railroad(spoilers)

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: Howard railroad(spoilers)
Post by lyonheart   » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:29 am

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Hi again Randomiser,

Given the size of the SH territory, I wouldn't be surprised if the SH population wasn't 20-25% of the empire's 194 million, or 39-49 million before the NH refugees came flooding down.

The fact of the Desnairian great wall [named after some Desnairian emperor some centuries ago] that put the stop on the Harchong empire's southern expansion; evidently the HE had the then tacit approval of the CoGA/temple or more influence than Desnair's goldmines at that time, and probably still did before the Charisian false jihad.

In fact I wouldn't be surprised if Desnair didn't come up with a huge bribe to get the temple/CoGA to accept the wall as the final border between SH and Desnair.

Given that history, its quite understandable why Mahrys IV's decision to sympathetically contact the new HE emperor is so noteworthy its in the book.

Given so much we still don't know, we can't predict where RFC is going in this book, and that's how RFC likes it, when he isn't enjoying leading us astray.

So keep smiling,

L


[quote="Randomiser"][quote="PeterZ"]Actually, they are limited in their population and that places a firm upper bound on SH's political power. If they can't reconcile with either of the Northern polities, their lack of population means they will either be a massive producer of industrial output OR a military force. They simply cannot do both well enough any time soon. To do both they need to ally with someone....cough....Desnair. I suppose they could ally with Delfehrahk and Sodar, but those polities have to actually expand their military quite a bit for that to make sense.
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Not quite so confident of that Desnair pop 148M; Delferahk 89M; Sodar 31M; Harchong 194M, split not specified; Imperial Charis 82M. (see 'Grab Bag 2 of Questions' in the forum FAQs) Probably not accounting for War casualties.

Yes Desnair 'had' a large army, a totally useless one, many of the experienced officers and troops of which are no longer with us. Not really sure the officer class have learned not to despise infantry and to stop yearning to lead gallant cavalry charges, however. It depends how much of Harchong's population is now in the South, but it's not clear Desnair is a worthwhile ally because of the cultural baggage they carry. Also Delferahk is bigger than Imperial Charis, numbers wise, and with Sodar is 80% the size of Desnair with less attitude.[/quote]
Any snippet or post from RFC is good if not great!
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Re: Howard railroad(spoilers)
Post by Randomiser   » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:28 am

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Weird Harold wrote:
Randomiser wrote:...It depends how much of Harchong's population is now in the South, but it's not clear Desnair is a worthwhile ally because of the cultural baggage they carry. ...


I should think Desnair's "cultural baggage" is precisely what would make them ideal allies in the SH Emperor's view. The decision is NOT going to be made after rational, dispassionate consideration of all the pros and cons, it is going to be driven by the SH Emperor's prejudices and biases matching up with the Emperor of Desnair's prejudices and biases.


OK - I could see that. Not sure how well it would work out for their futures though
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Re: Howard railroad(spoilers)
Post by Weird Harold   » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:33 am

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Randomiser wrote:
Weird Harold wrote:I should think Desnair's "cultural baggage" is precisely what would make them ideal allies in the SH Emperor's view. The decision is NOT going to be made after rational, dispassionate consideration of all the pros and cons, it is going to be driven by the SH Emperor's prejudices and biases matching up with the Emperor of Desnair's prejudices and biases.


OK - I could see that. Not sure how well it would work out for their futures though


About as well as Desnair's army fared in the Jihad and the Harchong aristocrats fared in Naval strategy. That won't stop either from acting like aristocrats don't have bodily functions that emit foul orders.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

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Re: Howard railroad(spoilers)
Post by PeterZ   » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:45 am

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Weird Harold wrote:
Randomiser wrote:[
OK - I could see that. Not sure how well it would work out for their futures though


About as well as Desnair's army fared in the Jihad and the Harchong aristocrats fared in Naval strategy. That won't stop either from acting like aristocrats don't have bodily functions that emit foul orders.

I am not so sure of that. The late Baron Harless was a hide bound unimaginative man. One of his children appear to be quite sharp and more than willing to adopt distasteful options to achieve his desired ends. I suspect that such a man will be more than happy to hire or bribe the CoGA to have posted in Desnair one of the training officers behind the MH. They can get the expertise and the technology. What will be interesting is just how far the Imperial Desnairian Army will go to fully adopt the doctrine necessary to take full advantage of the new technology?
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Re: Howard railroad(spoilers)
Post by Weird Harold   » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:51 pm

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PeterZ wrote:I am not so sure of that. The late Baron Harless was a hide bound unimaginative man. One of his children appear to be quite sharp and more than willing to adopt distasteful options to achieve his desired ends.


Baron Harless was not an aberration. The Emperor is cut from the same cloth as are many of his advisors.

The young Baron Harless is the exception rather than the rule. A good many more of his ilk are going to be needed in influential positions -- especially a new Emperor -- before the the hidebound culture of aristocratic privilege is broken.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

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Re: Howard railroad(spoilers)
Post by SYED   » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:23 pm

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The thing is their distain for charisian influences could be damaging to their efforts. They want the technology but none of the cultural influence. This seems like the infrastructure and logistics needs to run and maintain such a project would be limited by their efforts.
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Re: Howard railroad(spoilers)
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:16 am

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Weird Harold wrote:
PeterZ wrote:I am not so sure of that. The late Baron Harless was a hide bound unimaginative man. One of his children appear to be quite sharp and more than willing to adopt distasteful options to achieve his desired ends.


Baron Harless was not an aberration. The Emperor is cut from the same cloth as are many of his advisors.

The young Baron Harless is the exception rather than the rule. A good many more of his ilk are going to be needed in influential positions -- especially a new Emperor -- before the the hidebound culture of aristocratic privilege is broken.

They don't need the culture to be broken, the existing culture just needs to adopt different metrics for measuring economic success. If the Imperial Crown accepts and cheers their monopoly of the railroad, other aristos can adopt other enterprises. Heck, if young Harless was smart, he would let aristos and business folks bid for the right to operate the RR. It's basically a liscence issued by the Crown. The Crown can also charge a small tax on the shippers. If the Crown uses its own funds, the liscence fees are a return on their investment. If they use Harchong funds or firm to build the tracks, the fees are finance payments. The tax on shippers is pure profit.

There are ways to establish a Railroad without breaking the bank or begging Charis. The big shift is for the aristos to adjust some of their values. Accepting the value of trade goes a long way.
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Re: Howard railroad(spoilers)
Post by Weird Harold   » Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:11 am

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PeterZ wrote:They don't need the culture to be broken, the existing culture just needs to adopt different metrics for measuring economic success.


What? You expect Desnairian nobility to count marks like <shudder> common merchants!

Adopting ANY "metrics for measuring economic success" would totally break the Desnairian nobility's culture.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
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Re: Howard railroad(spoilers)
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:42 am

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I don't know. Young Baron Harless intrigued the Emperor quite nicely with the prospect of generating revenue from the railroad. If the aristos own the new money making toys, like factories, they can let peons actually run the place and sell the goods. How different is that from owning a farm and selling agg output? Or owning a gold mine or a fishing fleet?

After all owning the means of production is no more "trade" than owning land. A gentleman's agents and balifs do actual....shudder.....trade activities. That's how commoners serve their betters after all.

That said, SYED is right, their attitude to reduce production and general operating efficiency of the economy. Just how much depends on their unwillingness to discard their more hidebound notions.

Weird Harold wrote:
PeterZ wrote:They don't need the culture to be broken, the existing culture just needs to adopt different metrics for measuring economic success.


What? You expect Desnairian nobility to count marks like <shudder> common merchants!

Adopting ANY "metrics for measuring economic success" would totally break the Desnairian nobility's culture.
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Re: Howard railroad(spoilers)
Post by SYED   » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:51 pm

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I wonder if we might finally see the desnair gold mines run dry. Would the harchong empower bend enough to accept assistance from north harchong railroad efforts? While those in the north would be adopting some charisian practices, since it will primarily be a harchong effort, it might be more acceptable to the traditionalists.
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