The Consult and the Sranc

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MrGanondorf

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« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2016, 01:05:21 am »
Well I have always maintained that cnaiurs secret of battle was just a delusion, so it makes since that having all the feelings doesn't beat having all the numbers.


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It is a delusion. But it's a delusion that makes real. A viramsata, was it, that the Nilnameshi called it? The Horde is by necessity too big of an entity to ever come to a conclusion about winning or losing, so it's impenetrable to this tactic. They're not an army or a civilization. They're just a swarm. Ignorance is strength etc etc

I could almost imagine that Bakker will take the story in this direction...

-NG returns
-Everybody dies.  All of them.
-Nothing left except Consult, Derived, and 144k in axotl tanks in Ark
-Sranc constitute the population of whatever
-Skinspies begin to see themselves as special and separate from the brutish sranc and the tyranical Consult
-Skinspies attempt to break Eden, overthrow NG

idk--i was just thinking that in the absence of humans, skinspies would suddenly be like the pinnacle of civilization.

i wonder how long it would take for the Derived to develop anti-Consult tendencies?  genetic drift and wotnot

Wilshire

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« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2016, 03:02:53 pm »
Well I have always maintained that cnaiurs secret of battle was just a delusion, so it makes since that having all the feelings doesn't beat having all the numbers.


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Isn't his 'secret of battle' implicitly an illusion/delusion?

"Indomitable conviction. Unconquerable belief."  - or something along those lines, is the secret of battle.

Those words, to me, especially when wielded by Kellhus or in light of viramsata, are pretty meaningless. It requires nothing tangible, just the belief and/or feeling that what you are doing is correct. In other words, pure delusion. Delude yourself until you're unbeatable, that you will win no matter the odds, etc etc.

What this, the whole battle outside Caraskand, and the entire Holy War really, shows us is that the the numbers aren't the only deciding factor - and the more belief you have the less the actual numbers are important. When Cnaiur is teaching Kellhus war, this is pretty much the whole lesson, looking no further than the loss in Shigek when the camp is attacked. Its why he makes a stand with the standard. The battle is lost once you or the enemy is convinced that they lost, regardless of what the actual battlefield looks like. Looking strictly at numbers, and tactics (ignoring plot devices and the necessities of the plot itself) the Holy War should have failed many times.

Same thing goes with the Ordeal and its various wins/losses. They are always outnumbered by sranc, but that doesn't mean they lose every engagement. Tactics, schoolmen, training, etc. etc. yes, but when the Men of the Tusk sing their hymes and refuse to die against all odds, things turn out better. When they fear defeat, they are defeated

Numbers and beliefs both serve vital roles in military engagement. Victory is much more difficult if you only have one or the other.
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Blackstone

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« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2016, 03:56:56 pm »
Well I have always maintained that cnaiurs secret of battle was just a delusion, so it makes since that having all the feelings doesn't beat having all the numbers.


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Isn't his 'secret of battle' implicitly an illusion/delusion?

"Indomitable conviction. Unconquerable belief."  - or something along those lines, is the secret of battle.

Those words, to me, especially when wielded by Kellhus or in light of viramsata, are pretty meaningless. It requires nothing tangible, just the belief and/or feeling that what you are doing is correct. In other words, pure delusion. Delude yourself until you're unbeatable, that you will win no matter the odds, etc etc.

What this, the whole battle outside Caraskand, and the entire Holy War really, shows us is that the the numbers aren't the only deciding factor - and the more belief you have the less the actual numbers are important. When Cnaiur is teaching Kellhus war, this is pretty much the whole lesson, looking no further than the loss in Shigek when the camp is attacked. Its why he makes a stand with the standard. The battle is lost once you or the enemy is convinced that they lost, regardless of what the actual battlefield looks like. Looking strictly at numbers, and tactics (ignoring plot devices and the necessities of the plot itself) the Holy War should have failed many times.

Same thing goes with the Ordeal and its various wins/losses. They are always outnumbered by sranc, but that doesn't mean they lose every engagement. Tactics, schoolmen, training, etc. etc. yes, but when the Men of the Tusk sing their hymes and refuse to die against all odds, things turn out better. When they fear defeat, they are defeated

Numbers and beliefs both serve vital roles in military engagement. Victory is much more difficult if you only have one or the other.

I love that you brought this up, because I've been thinking about it lately.

I have a few thoughts:
Indomitable Conviction/Unconquerable Belief - You make a good point that have both belief and numbers are an advantage and having only one of those two make winning more difficult. However, history both near and far gives us examples of conviction and belief winning battles against superior numbers. Marines in WW2 did it many times in the Pacific while fighting the Japanese. Same in Korea when a surrounded Marine commander said, "now we can attack in any direction" after being given word that they were surrounded.

Numbers - I'm doing a reread of the final battle in Shimeh, and as I see it, the Holy War is attacking with just short of 100k fighters. Let's call it 80k. Shimeh has a total of 2k regular troops. The rest of the defenders are townspeople conscripted into service. So it doesn't seem like that big of a stretch to me. Granted, more Fanim show up during the battle with Fanayal, but it seems the Holy War has the advantage in battle-tested warriors.
As for Caraskand, someone mentioned in another thread that that battle was a mirror to a battle in the Crusades. And I don't think we get numbers for how many Fanim troops are there. Do we? 
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« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2016, 05:34:46 pm »
As for Caraskand, someone mentioned in another thread that that battle was a mirror to a battle in the Crusades. And I don't think we get numbers for how many Fanim troops are there. Do we? 

I don't think it's ever said, but I could have missed it.

That being said, I am most certainly not a well versed military historian, but I have read a bunch of things that does lend something of an air of credibility to the idea that conviction can win battles, in a way.

For most ancient battles, it is discipline that tends to carry the day, if no overwhelming tactical or strategic andvantage is had by one side.  The ability to hold the line, not break or lose cohesion can't really be overstated.  Battles were not usually decided by the grind of line on line, because it actually is rather hard to kill someone with a spear when both lines of troops are pressed against each other.  It rather comes down to a battle of wills, who can hold longer in the center and who can hold or protect their flanks (which is actually the real key).

While just willing yourself not to lose really doesn't matter, keeping disciplined and holding your line goes a long way though.  Rome conquered most of the known world of the time on the back of discipline, logistics and engineering.  The average Roman solider was actually not a particularly good warrior though.  That really isn't what is needed to win ancient battles though.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2016, 08:51:34 pm »
While just willing yourself not to lose really doesn't matter, keeping disciplined and holding your line goes a long way though.  Rome conquered most of the known world of the time on the back of discipline, logistics and engineering.  The average Roman solider was actually not a particularly good warrior though.  That really isn't what is needed to win ancient battles though.
Part of discipline is believing that you'll win. I think its harder to force a cohesive unit together that believes that failure is imminent. Its all part of the same thing as far as I can tell. Conviction, tactics, discipline, superior fighting strength (be it raw numbers or more talented troops, or both), they all play a crucial role. Without all of it working together, you're more likely to fail.

Granted, in the case of sranc, which have an infinite supply of bodies, if a host is stranded and engulfed on all sides, at some point that host will break. Fatigue should be very real for the men of the tusk. Without the ability to back peddle, relieve the front to rest out of harms reach, and prevent so many bodies form piling up that it forms a ramp over the front lines, they would be slaughtered. This is whats so important about discovering the ten-yoke army early - had they not, and been surrounded, all would have been lost.

Given a large enough host, they might have a small enough surface area to defend, they might have enough time and space to fully rest troops before they have to go back to the front. But even then, assuming the sranc never stop, at some point their swords/shields/armor would break or be lost faster than they could be repaired or replaced.

Regardless of most of that, schoolmen are the real key. If they could stay safe and sing forever, or sing in concerts for long enough for fully rested replacements to arrive, the battle would remain in a stalemate. Then the battle would last so long that you'd have to start worrying about food. It would be like a continuous siege. Something, at some point, would give.

Good thing there isn't an infinite number of sranc, and they do run away at some point. Shackled to the will of the No-God though... ill tidings.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 08:57:53 pm by Wilshire »
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The Sharmat

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« Reply #35 on: April 29, 2016, 05:51:50 am »
i wonder how long it would take for the Derived to develop anti-Consult tendencies?  genetic drift and wotnot
They seem to do their best to keep it on lock, and the Skin Spies are very recent (and probably bred in tanks or something, since all of them seem to be male), but that doesn't apply to everything. The pheromones or whatever they use on the Sranc aren't universally instantly accepted. The Skin-Spy that was playing Somandutta had to actually physically assault a Sranc chief to get his clan under control, IIRC.

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« Reply #36 on: April 29, 2016, 03:00:49 pm »
i wonder how long it would take for the Derived to develop anti-Consult tendencies?  genetic drift and wotnot
They seem to do their best to keep it on lock, and the Skin Spies are very recent (and probably bred in tanks or something, since all of them seem to be male), but that doesn't apply to everything. The pheromones or whatever they use on the Sranc aren't universally instantly accepted. The Skin-Spy that was playing Somandutta had to actually physically assault a Sranc chief to get his clan under control, IIRC.
You are correct. But was it pheromones that kept the sranc from immediately attacking or the fact that Soma spoke their language?
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MrGanondorf

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« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2016, 05:20:58 pm »
Well I have always maintained that cnaiurs secret of battle was just a delusion, so it makes since that having all the feelings doesn't beat having all the numbers.


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It is a delusion. But it's a delusion that makes real. A viramsata, was it, that the Nilnameshi called it? The Horde is by necessity too big of an entity to ever come to a conclusion about winning or losing, so it's impenetrable to this tactic. They're not an army or a civilization. They're just a swarm. Ignorance is strength etc etc

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Darzin

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« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2016, 01:59:30 pm »
Cnaur's secret is not a delusion. In ancient battles with hand to hand combat only about 5% of soldiers were killed in battle, whoever broke first lost and then could expect significant causalities from calvary mopping up. Obviously this doesn't apply to modern armies with Apache helicopters and shit. But for hand to hand sword and spear conflicts it absolutely does.   
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« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2016, 03:19:38 pm »
Bakker's battle is an argument metaphor with Kellhus and Cnaiur at Anwurat is great.
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« Reply #40 on: June 19, 2016, 01:10:56 am »
As for Caraskand, someone mentioned in another thread that that battle was a mirror to a battle in the Crusades. And I don't think we get numbers for how many Fanim troops are there. Do we?
Kascamandri breaks down the composition and numbers of his troops when we first see him right before he reaches Caraskand, I do believe. Haven't the book handy but I do believe the numbers were, if not even, in Kian's favour.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2016, 01:42:25 am »
The sentiment is that kian has overwhelming numbers.
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The Sharmat

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« Reply #42 on: June 21, 2016, 06:49:38 pm »
i wonder how long it would take for the Derived to develop anti-Consult tendencies?  genetic drift and wotnot
They seem to do their best to keep it on lock, and the Skin Spies are very recent (and probably bred in tanks or something, since all of them seem to be male), but that doesn't apply to everything. The pheromones or whatever they use on the Sranc aren't universally instantly accepted. The Skin-Spy that was playing Somandutta had to actually physically assault a Sranc chief to get his clan under control, IIRC.
You are correct. But was it pheromones that kept the sranc from immediately attacking or the fact that Soma spoke their language?
I think at the least pheromones were what kept them from just jumping him immediately, his words prolonged it, and finally him killing their chief cemented the deal.

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« Reply #43 on: August 09, 2016, 11:50:29 am »
The Battle at Caraskand is based on the Siege of Antioch in the First Crusade.  The starving Crusaders emerged from the city to fight an overwhelmingly large and well provisioned Muslim army, but they had "discovered" the holy lance that pierced the side of Christ inside Antioch and were convinced that God was with them.  As has been mentioned by Darzin, morale is utterly crucial in battles where you fight in hand to hand conflict.  That's why a good Spartan came back with his shield or on it (because a shield is the first piece of gear a hoplite chucks when running away) and the warrior codes of so many western cultures focus on courage as the epitomy of virtue.  Most of the killing is done when an army breaks and its order collapses, with cavalry doing a lot of the killing. 

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« Reply #44 on: August 16, 2016, 06:58:10 pm »
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