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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 12:38 am
by ky9ersfan

With Lu Bu he previously lost in the battles of Yan province, with Cao Cao's forces, and was given sanctuary in Xiao Pei as a strategic buffer force. This would've put him in immediate danger, and he would've been looking for a better situation. Just like in the novel Yuan could've sent gifts to improve relations, but this time actually followed through, and formed an alliance.

If Yuan didn't declare himself emperor, neighboring relations could've been different with those two. If Liu Bei allied with Lu Bu, there is a decent chance he would've allied with a former late Han commander.

With Sun Ce, Yuan could've sent diplomats, an negotiated another army to be dispatched to Guang Ling (The port city east of Shou Chun). Sun Ce did kind of owe Yuan, AND he was always itching to get in on the central plains battles. Plus him an and Yuan were already on decent terms, if Yuan didn't declare himself emperor, he likely would've been an ally.

Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:55 pm
by Lord_Cao_Cao
I don't really know about that.
Yuan Shu and Liu Bei had already been on hostile terms before Yuan declared himself emperor. They fought each other as early as 195, a year after Liu Bei got Xu. Liu Bei was also the successor of Tao Qian, with whom Yuan Shu had already been in a feud over Xu. Yuan Shu clearly had designs on Xu, I find it unlikely that it would have changed in a wink of an eye.

Then there's Lu Bu. If he openly allied with Yuan Shu, he might have become an enemy of Liu Bei at that point, considering the latter's relations with Yuan Shu. Even if he didn't, his territory was so small that he had to expand somehow or otherwise he would have been too weak in my opinion to contribute in any way. He had like 3 options, attack Cao Cao (and probably get defeated again), attack Yuan Shu (since he should ally with him, he wouldn't) or attack Liu Bei (the historical way). Given Lu Bu's nature, I think he would turn against Liu Bei sooner or later if he initially joined the alliance and get him busy.

Finally, Sun Ce. By the point Yuan Shu declared himself emperor, Sun Ce had conquered Jiangdong and was basically building his own power base. He was ambitious on the one hand and smart enough imo on the other hand that he would focus on consolidating his power in Yang. Yuan Shu double-crossed him with Lujiang commandery, if he wanted to send Sun Ce with an army north, far away from his territory, wouldn't Sun Ce suspect that Yuan Shu would do Lujiang all over again and replace him with someone else to keep him on the short leash? If Sun Ce had joined an alliance against Cao Cao, I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't have sent any troops north to aid Yuan Shu on the offensive.

All in all, it would leave Yuan Shu on his own again. Even with Liu Bei's hypothetical support and superior resources, I doubt he'd be able to defeat Cao Cao in the long run. Cao Cao was the better commander and had better officers. It would be different if Sun Ce joined in, but again, I don't see any way that he would do so actively. I think that by the point he conquered Jiangdong, it was already clear that Yuan Shu wouldn't be able to contain him forever.

Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:18 am
by Sun Fin
ky9ersfan wrote: What if Yuan Shu was smarter, and had never declared himself emperor, and instead used his wealth to ally with Sun Ce, Liu Bei, and Lu Bu? Forming an anti-Cao Cao coalition?

Until Yuan Shu declared himself Emperor Sun Ce was officially his subordinate. Ce only turned on him when it was clear there would be no repercussions for doing so.

Yuan Shu was also aligned to Gongsun Zan. I struggle to understand some of the other alliances. My understanding is that Liu Bei, Kong Rong, Tian Kai and Zan were all allied againt Yuan Shao/Cao. Meanwhile Yuan Shu was allied to Zan but not all the others.

Meanwhile Yuan Shao and Cao Cao were also allied to Liu Biao at this point.

Does someone else want to clear this up for me?

Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:51 pm
by Lord_Cao_Cao
Liu Bei and Tian Kai were subordinates of Gongsun Zan. Kong Rong was Administrator of Beihai, making him a subordinate of Tian Kai when he was Inspector of Qing. However, he became Inspector of Qing himself for a brief time in 195, but I don't know why (considering Tian Kai here, was he stripped off his position or what?).
At the beginning of the 190's, the power blocks were Yuan Shu, Gongsun Zan and Tao Qian on one side and Yuan Shao and Liu Biao on the other side. My understanding is that by the time Cao Cao defeated Yuan Shu and forced him into Huainan, the Yuan-Gongsun-Tao alliance had pretty much disintegrated; Gongsun Zan and Tao Qian stayed on good terms, but I don't think Yuan Shu had anything to do with Gongsun Zan from then on. He certainly was hostile to Tao Qian due to declaring himself Lord of Xuzhou.

Yuan Shao was allied to Cao Cao and Liu Biao, but Cao Cao and Liu Biao weren't allies as far as I know. IIRC Zhang Xiu was backed up by Liu Biao after he defeated Cao Cao at Wan.

Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:01 pm
by DragonAtma
In 190 (I think), Kong Rong was appointed administrator of Beihai; also in 190, incompetent Qing inspector Jiao He died of sickness after being repeatedly defeated by turbans (which prevented him form joining the ADZC).

Sometime later (195), Kong Rong was declared Inspector of Qing, only to lose it all to Yuan Tan shortly afterwards.

I do not know exactly what happened in Qing between 190 and 195; my best guess is that it was a turban-infested mess (sort of like Bing), with both Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao trying to get their candidate in charge of Qing (Gongsun Zan's officer Tian Kai, or Yuan Shao's son Yuan Tan). Gongsun Du may also have controlled the easternmost commandery, but nobody talks about him.

That said, Kong Rong was probably on Gongsun Zan's side, even if he was not in an formal alliance.

Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:42 pm
by Dong Zhou
Kong Rong refused sides and executed someone who suggested he ally himself with someone

Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:49 pm
by DragonAtma
...sometime we should make a list of who was on which side for which times in the Yuan Shao vs Yuan Shu war, including the minor forces.

Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:42 am
by greencactaur
What if cao cao was never around, how do you guys think things could've panned out?

Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:59 am
by Zyzyfer
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?

Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:56 am
by Lord_Cao_Cao
Who's to say that Bo Cai wouldn't manage kill Huangfu Song or Zhu Jun somehow had Cao Cao not arrived with reinforcements? Or what if Jian Shuo's executed uncle had some sort of impact if Cao Cao didn't execute him? Or the Three Excellencies that were dismissed due to Cao Cao's memorial? What if some sort of huge menace had emerged in Ji'nan if Cao Cao hadn't brought order back into the area after defeating Peng Tuo? :mrgreen:

You can't really answer these types of questions properly in my opinion. There's too much to be considered.