They have Space Superiority? Time for Plan B!

This came to me in a nap today:

wouldn’t a planet at the mercy of a hammer fleet just totally re-do their entire plan for fighting off the invader?

forget trying to knock them out of the sky…it’s never going to happen

and forget massing your army…they’d just get pounded

wouldn’t they simply wait for the invading army to land, approach their targets, and then pounce, tying themselves so close to their enemy that hammers couldn’t fire without harming their own forces?

I’m thinking the defender would just send his entire army home. Tell them to take off their uniforms. Wage the guerrilla fight.

or,or…am I missing the idea that, in the Iron Empires universe, no Nobles would stoop sully themselves to such low tricks? honor and glory and fight!

another thing: the valyen invasion. OK if a world knew the Vaylen were invading, wouldn’t the resolve/initiative/morale/will to fight go up like 1,000 percent? 'cause they know what’s in store for them. I mean, the Vaylen wipe out a city, say with a nuke…I don’t think anyone’s going to say, “Oh, we should just give in…they nuked us…” I mean, you’ll all pretty much dead (hulled) anyway, right? fight on!

just thought: wouldn’t mass suicide be an aspect of Vaylen invasions? people just not willing to submit to it?

Those are all possibilities, but knowledge of the Vaylen is not universal and clear information during wartime is a precious commodity, not a given.


Exactly! This is what grav mobility gives you: the ability to stay dispersed and then ‘swarm’ onto one target, then disperse again. It is why taking a planet would be very hard, with or without space superiority.

I tend to think IE nobles come from a long-line of survivors and will do whatever they can to maintain their power and position. No trick too dirty, if it meets their goals. The results can be cloaked in talk of ‘honor’ and ‘glory’ later-that’s what ravilars are for!

Problem with fighting a guerilla war is that most Anvils, as I envision it, are semi-occupying armies. (Semi- cause it could have gone on for centuries.) Most (all?) Anvil Lords have little interest in maintaining the loyalty of their civilian populations, as they just want the resources to keep their Anvils intact, so these populations would have little loyalty to the Lord’s troops who try to hide among them and bring down reprisals for their actions. A populations’ loyalty on an IE planet would likely go to whomever provides it with security and doesn’t mess with day to day lives of the people too much.

“Yes sir, 4 guys in Iron? They went into that building there, 10 minutes ago. You won’t burn down my house and will make sure they don’t either? Thank you and who do I make this year’s tax check out to? Lord Snot? Got it, have a nice day!”

I suspect most people who know about the Vaylen do not really understand the Vaylen, the concept is just too, well, alien to take too seriously. There is probably a large undercurrent among the interior worlds intelligentsia, lords and aristocrats, that if we just talked to these Vaylen chaps, give them whatever useless border worlds they want, it would all just go away. The IE is all about human nature and such attitudes are very much a part of human nature!

And as for the lower orders, well – have you seen people who were supposedly “hulled” by these “Vaylen”? They seem perfectly fine to me! No missing limbs. Not drooling or flagellating themselves. If anything, they’re a bit more vigorous, a bit more excited about life. Why fight to the death when the Vaylen will let you live.

I hadn’t thought of that. I think you’re right. On the one hand, the culture of the Iron Empires values individuality less than contemporary Western society does (especially when you consider sci-fi geeks and Internet users); but on the other, they’re far more fatalistic than we are. I’d expect to see apocalyptic suicide cults killing themselves off by the thousands – alongside all the people who insist everything will be fine if you just trust in Fate.

I get the strong impression that many people in the Iron Empires treat the Vaylen less as an enemy to be actively combated and more as a natural disasater to be devoutedly wished away – kind of like Lousiana politicians and hurricanes, or most everyone and global warming: “It won’t happen on my watch. It won’t happen on my watch. I’m not listening! Lalalalala…” When the Vaylen do come sweeping in, a lot of folks who have the means are going to run like hell offworld. (And a few of them will be hulled, which helps spread the infection further). In practice, most people are going to be trapped, but even the possibility of being able to escape will make fighting and dying look a lot less attractive.

And, really, Fighting the Vaylen when they do come really is hopeless in a lot of cases, since they’re a (relatively) unified political entity that can mass enormous force at any given target. Running away does stand a decent chance of working, if you’re moderately rich. Ignoring the problem probably won’t turn into a disaster in your lifetime, if you’re not on the southern borders. Even after centuries of decline, human space is vast, the Vaylen are far away, and there are lots of more pressing problems closer to home.

Exactly! This is what grav mobility gives you: the ability to stay dispersed and then ‘swarm’ onto one target, then disperse again. It is why taking a planet would be very hard, with or without space superiority.[/QUOTE]

Lance is right. In fact, it’s a much-overlooked fact of modern warfare that conventional, uniformed armies can in fact make excellent use of what we call “guerrilla” tactics. The North Vietnamese Army is an obvious example: uniformed regulars, with a strict rank structure, operating in formations as large as battalions and regiments, but using the jungle terrain to approach unseen, “hug” the US forces so closely that American artillery and airpower couldn’t easily target them, and then slip away again. What’s less well known is that the Germans used “guerrilla” tactics against the numerically superior Russians on the Eastern Front in the latter part of World War II: They’d actually dig in tanks and self-propelled guns facing away from the enemy, carefully hidden in ambush sites, so that once the Russians broke through the Germans’ thin front line – which basically worked as a tripwire – the Germans could ambush the Russians from behind as they charged past.

so you guys gave me several ideas:

  1. the problem of refugees. I can imagine some heartbreaking moments when ships of them show up from the next planet over. Due to the fear of a few infected Vaylen lurking among them, the host planets might drive them off, permanently quarantine them, or even, gulp! fire on them!

  2. Vaylen occupation. I imagine hulling everyone would take a long, long time. Plenty of time to fight back. I can see lots of insurgent stuff…almost terminator -like: ID the infiltrators…hold out in the mountains, etc. Traitors, betrayal, mistaken identity, etc.

  3. Human forces successfully Re-occupy a Vaylen invaded planet. Yikes! Nuke it to dust from orbit???

Those are three great ideas for a game – all are possible in the context of BE!

Or a full reversal: agents from one of the Iron Empires infiltrating a Vaylen “farm world” – one where a large population of humans is left unhulled so they can develop the life experiences that make them all the more prized as hosts once harvested – and preparing the way for a human counterattack.

daaaamn Sydney, that’s hot!

we’re going deep into the Vaylen psyche this time, boys! fire up the squid tanks!!

I love that! Put the humans on the other side of the Infection mechanic!