The "What If" Thread

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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sat Apr 02, 2016 7:58 pm

(1) Dong Zhuo is the kind of person who drives away friends and attracts enemies. Even if Wang Yun & Lu Bu's plot failed utterly, either someone else would have assassinated him, or he would have been conquered. Remember, not only was most of china in revolt by then, but he was even forced to abandon Luoyang.

(2) Gongsun Zan, for all his flaws, was a skilled enough general to defeat the much-stronger Liu Yu. Liu Yu is clearly better at administration, but -- as his "don't kill anyone but Gongsun Zan" order showed -- is also a huge softy (which is actually listed in The Art Of War as one of the five fatal flaws in a general). So it'd probably wind up similar to history, with the main difference is that Yuan Shao defeats Liu Yu in 199-ish instead of Gongsun Zan.

(3) Cao Cao was known to be competent; if he wasn't appointed governor of Yanzhou in 192 (due to Liu Dai being alive) he would have been appointed governor elsewhere. An intriguing possibility would be none other than Yizhou in 194; historically Hu Mao was the original choice, only to be driven out by Zhao Wei's team, who thoguht a pliable Liu Zhang would be better. It's entirely possible that Cao Cao would defeat them. Considering that Shen Mi, Lou Fa, and Gan Ning -- yes, that Gan Ning -- rebelled against Liu Zhang at about the same time, they'd likely be welcomed into Yizhou Governor Cao Cao's forces.

(4) If Yuan Shu died at Fengqiu, his heir would be one of his followers (keep in mind that historically, in 199, his cousin Yuan Yin was considered the leader of the branch instead of his son Yuan Yao -- which suggests that his son was under 19 in 199, and therefore under 13 in 193). But Yuan Shu was a poor judge of character, so people like Cheng Pu, Lu Fan, and Huang Gai would likely be passed over in favor of Yuan Yin (most likely), Zhang Xun, or Liu Xun. Crippled by the loss of Sun Jian, Yuan Shu, and much land, the force probably would have stayed weak and wound up surrendering to a neighbor. But there's one thing in his favor -- since Yuan Shu doesn't live long enough to declare himself emperor, his reputation would be somewhat better.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Lord_Cao_Cao » Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:43 am

Thanks for your answers!

1) I'd imagine Dong Zhuo to be much more careful if such a plot by high ranked ministers and officers failed. So another (successful) assassination attempt could become more unlikely in the short term. Dong Zhuo also retains some generals such as Xu Rong who died at Chang'an. Who would have the necessary strength to conquer Dong Zhuo in the vicinity?

2) Yuan Shao and Liu Yu were allies during the time IIRC. If there was to be fighting between Yuan Shao and Liu Yu, I think that the former would have an easier time conquering him, but why attack an ally who (due to his "softy" nature) wouldn't have much incentive to fight against Yuan Shao? I'd also be interested in what happened to Qingzhou, I don't remember when Tian Kai was assigned there by Gongsun Zan.

3) Wasn't he Grand Administrator of Dongjun already? However, I must say that the idea of Cao Cao governing Yi would be quite interesting, the question is whether Cao Cao as an ally of Yuan Shao would just leave and go there.

4) Where could they go? Yuan Shao and Cao Cao don't seem to be a possible choice due to the fighting between them, I'd say an escape to Yangzhou as historically happened could still be a possibility. I'd be especially interested in what would happen to Sun Ce and his entourage.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:14 pm

Dong Zhuo was an arrogant person; even if the Lu BU plot failed, it's entirely possible he'd fall to the next.

As for "who could conquer him", at the minimum there's Sun Jian, Yuan Shao, and Cao Cao. Remember, one of the reasons the alliance collapsed is that Dong Zhuo was greatly weakened by losing Luoyang. It's entirely possible that both Yuan Shao and Yuan Shu's forces match him in power by the coalition's end.

---

Liu Yu and Yuan Shao weren't really allies. Liu Yu never joined the coalition, and he rebuked the offer to make him emperor. As for Yuan Shao's offer, it wasn't for Liu Yu's sake, but to help move power east. Yuan Shao was probably closer to Gongsun Zan than to Han Fu (they did collaborate on seizing Han Fu's lands), up until fallout over who'd control Ji.

Qingzhou likely would have been unchanged; given that Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan were fighting each other directly, Gongsun Zan was probably limited in how much he could assist Tian Kai. If Gongsun Zan lost the battle with Liu Yu and Liu Yu cut all aid to Tian Kai, then Tian Kai likely would have joined Taqo Qian's force (he did send a few thousand troops under Liu Bei to assist Tao Qian in 194).

As for why Tian Kai was in Qingzhou: in 190 Inspector Jiao He of Qingzhou joined the ADZC, but was so inept in war he couldn't even defeat his province's turban remnants; Jiao he died later that year, and both Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao appointed replacements (Tian Kai and Yuan Tan, respectively).

---

IIRC "Grand Administrator" is essentially the same as just "Administrator". In either case, administrators run a commandery, while governors run an entire zhou, so the only time going from administrator to governor would be a step down would be if they went from a large commandery such as Runan to a small province such as Bingzhou (which is the equivalent of going from Mayor of Los Angeles to Govenor of Wyoming).

In any case, technically Cao Cao may or may not originally be declared inspector, not governor (which is officially weaker, but in practice, due to the Dong Zhuo chaos would have the same power and slightly less prestige).

As for being in Yizhou, he'd still be an ally -- but a clear ally (like Liu Biao 1994) instead of a might-be-ally-might-be-vassal (like historical Cao Cao 194).

---

Going to Xuzhou is most likely. Historically Tao Qian was on Yuan Shu's side, up until Yuan Shu declared himself King of Xu. But if he died in the battle of Fengqiu, then Yuan Shu would not be around long enough to declare that, and so he'd be a neighboring ally.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Lord_Cao_Cao » Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:44 pm

1) Sure, but I'd say Dong Zhuo wasn't too stupid either. Arrogant in that he would continue his tyrannical regime, yes. But I'd say he'd be more careful to get rid of potential opposition more quickly.
Sun Jian was dead by that point, Yuan Shao too far away and Cao Cao too small.
Weakened is relative imo, the alliance collapsed rather because its members started to pursue their own interests and Dong Zhuo was not within reach, with Chang'an probably being easier to defend than Luoyang. Outside of Cao Cao, Sun Jian and perhaps Wang Kuang, the other members didn't really do anything from the beginning. The alliance started as a fragile construct, which caused its eventual demise. Dong Zhuo being much weaker without Luoyang in a way that the coalition wouldn't see him as a big enough threat anymore, when he moved the population and pretty much all supplies to the west is a bold statement the way I see it.
Perhaps Cao Cao could be more of threat if we took the possible appointment in Yizhou into account.

2) As far as I know, Liu Yu did support Yuan Shao since his son was held captive by Yuan Shu. That collaboration could have ended with Gongsun Zan's death though. The emperor thing was when the alliance was established, wasn't it?
Remember, I'm talking about the situation in 193, by that point Han Fu was already dead and Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan in open conflict (their marriage alliance wasn't too strong either as it turned out).

3) Yeah, I'm aware of the ranks and the power they held. What I wanted to say is, he already had a position in Yanzhou and was pretty close to Yuan Shao. I don't see it too likely that Cao Cao would have been appointed as Inspector of Yizhou at all.

4) Yes, it seems that Xuzhou would be the most likely scenario. Forgot about Tao Qian's involvement in the struggle between the two power blocks.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:45 pm

(1) For some reason I didn't connect that Sun Jian was dead by then; sorry. In any case, Dong Zhuo's burning of Luoyang and forced deportation of its 400,000 people was a huge black mark; add in the other things he did, and few people would want to join him. So even if Lu Bu's plan failed, Cao Cao and Yuan Shao would be growing stronger while Cao Cao is stuck in western Sili. He can't expand south because of Zhang Lu and Liu Yan/Liu Zhang, he can't expand east without triggering a second ADZC, and expanding northwest would give little benefit because Liangzhou had so few people over so much land.

(2) Liu Yu and Yuan Shao were only on the same side because both opposed Yuan Shu. While Yuan Shao never officially declared himself emperor, he did have a desire for power, and what better than taking Youzhou from a governor who's too soft to fight battles well?

(3) If Cao Cao was not chosen for Yizhou, then he would be chosen for some other province. As early as 175 Cao Cao demonstrated that he was willing to flog an uncle of Jian Shuo; by 192 he was historically famous enough to be the next choice for Yanzhou, so even if Liu Dai lived, he'd still be a top choice for another province. Remember, Yuan Shao and Yuan Shu viewed each other as archrivals; to them, Cao Cao and Sun Jian were simply subordinates to help them gain more power.
Unless I specifically say otherwise, assume I am talking about historical Three Kingdoms, and not the novel.

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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:35 am

Dong Zhuo - If the plot barely failed, it may have opened the doors to other attempts, although I'd think that they would not have been successful. It would have promoted instability under his regime, however. If he stomped it out, it would secure his power, but I don't see him doing much more than Li Jue and Guo Si accomplished. Eventually someone would have grown strong enough to march out and conquer him, but in the meantime he would have remained a regional power and dealt with local conflicts. I don't think having the emperor in his control influences matters elsewhere.

I think Lu Bu being dead puts a big question mark over the near-future fate of Yan and Xu. Zhang Miao might still rebel but I doubt he would shake things up as much as Lu Bu ended up doing.

Liu Yu - Gongsun Zan being out of the picture makes things easier for Yuan Shao, who may very well rise to power in the north faster. When it comes time for the two of them to butt heads, I doubt Liu Yu would have been willing to put up much resistance. Maybe another Han Fu style ploy would see Yuan Shao wrest You from him? But another possibility would be leaving Liu Yu as a northern buffer/pawn and turning his attention to Xu.

Cao Cao and Liu Dai - I'm not really too knowledgeable about the rank differences going on there and what they mean for Cao Cao's future. Yuan Shao could end up absorbing/integrating Liu Dai if his influence grows rapidly. As for Yi, it's intriguing, but was Cao Cao in a position to appoint himself/get appointed to a far-off region?

Yuan Shu - I'm not super-familiar with Yuan Shu's situation around that time period. But yes the interesting thing is what happens to Sun Ce and gang? He may have found Yuan Yin easier to persuade to give him command/troops. Or Yuan Yin may not have had the resources. Who knows.

Collectively, I think all these events bode well for Yuan Shao. As long as he handles the Liu Yu situation appropriately, he can basically push south without encountering much resistance at all.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Mitsunari » Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:05 pm

What if...

...Dong Zhuo never had Li Ru as his chief advisor? This question could apply to both the novel, and accurate history.

Be gentle, I've only just started absorbing 3K again after a looooong absence. :mrgreen:
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:38 pm

I don't think it would make any impact in terms of history as I seem recall being told previously that Li Ru wasn't that influential in real life!
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Mitsunari » Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:00 am

Sun Fin wrote:I don't think it would make any impact in terms of history as I seem recall being told previously that Li Ru wasn't that influential in real life!


Ah, cack... :lol:

Ok, scratch that then, I'll come back when I think of a better one.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby chinesecannibal » Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:40 pm

What if Emperor Shao IS Sima Yan reincarnated? God is fair, and he rewards the innocent and honest one way or another. To recall, Emperor Shao is the true Emperor of the Han, not Emperor Xian. Dong Zhuo poisoned Emperor Shao because Shao was too kind and timid, a mark of a true ruler given by God Himself.
So Sima Yan ultimately was given the kingdom that was rightfully his in the first place. And he got to live the rest of his life filled with food and women without much care.

You want proof?! Here's your proof!

Same hair cut! Same face! Besides the color, even the clothing is the same!
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