greencactaur wrote:What if cao cao was never around, how do you guys think things could've panned out?
That's a mighty big what if haha
- Coalition: Little impact, if any. Dong Zhuo stuff probably plays out mostly the same way.
- Yan: Based on who else held power there, maybe Zhang Miao or Liu Dai secures it? Zhang Miao is more likely, and would bring more stability to the region.
- Emperor Xian: Could have a huge influence on the final days of Han, the Emperor was stranded when Cao Cao came around so if he remained stranded several more years, it will probably kill all credibility for him. That said, by this point, few warlords genuinely cared about restoring Han, and did not at the time need the emperor to secure their immediate political goals.
- Yuan Shao: He steamrolls whoever runs Yan upon securing the north.
So thus far, it's had little impact. But then you have to look at the fact that Yuan Shao passed away not long after, and consider whether his failing health was due to his loss at Guandu, or was simply inevitable.
- If he dies in 202: Possibly secures Xu and Yan beforehand. Then you have to consider whether his growing power and failing health convince him to appoint an heir in a timely fashion. If he does, maybe there is still some infighting, but maybe it can be overcome. Yuan Tan wasn't very able in the political sphere however, so I don't know how much farther the Yuan clan can go.
- If he lives longer: He will probably do quite well in such a scenario, securing Xu, Yan, the capital, pushing out west. It would look similar to what Cao Cao achieved, although rockier. Beyond that, I can't really imagine.
Related, this is a huge
question but I've always wondered, if Cao Cao, Sun Jian, and Liu Bei never existed, how do things play out? I think the Cao side is pretty straightforward, Yuan Shao consolidates a fair amount before his death, followed by big question marks based on the succession issue.
I've discussed it elsewhere on the board before, but the basics that came up were:
- Yuan Shao blobs and dies and his sons fight over the succession, Yuan Shang wins probably (more backers)
- Yuan Shu takes over Jiangdong, declares himself emperor probably, but no one can take out him in response
- Liu Biao blobs Jing, dies, split between sons, they fight
- Nothing of note out west
- Big question marks over Central Plains
That carries things roughly up to about 210, after that who knows?