The "What If" Thread

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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby DragonAtma » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:43 pm

The way I see it, Yuan Shao USED to be competent, but entered senility (and was firmly there by 200).

He got Jizhou because Han Fu panicked and gave in.
He got Qingzhou because his son Yuan tan defeated Kong Rong -- who's not exactly known for leading armies.
He got Bingzhou because it had fallen apart (and only had 600,000 people or so -- much less than Jizhou had)
He got Youzhou because Gongsun Zan may have been good at combat, but was poor at governing and made an idiotic decision.

As for the later days? Remember that Yuan Shao was given these pieces of advice:
* Ju Shou and Tian Feng saw Cao Cao as a threat and suggested attacking him while Cao Cao was still weak. Yuan Shao didn't do so.
* Liu Bei recommended attacking at the same time Liu Bei took Xuzhou in rebellion; Yuan Shao did nothing.
* Afterwards, Tian Feng said Yuan Shao missed the chance to attack Cao Cao. Yuan Shao ignored that and started the Guandu campaign anyway.
* Ju Shou said that Yan Liang was too impatient to lead the battle of Boma alone; Yuan Shao ignored that, and Yan Liang died in battle.
* While advancing on Yangwu, Ju Shou warned Yuan Shao that leaving Cheng Yu's small army alone was a bad idea, in case things went bad. Yuan Shao ignored that, and stripped Ju Shou of his men.
* Ju Shou said that Cao Cao was running out of grain at Guandu, and it's best to deny Cao Cao an actual battle. Yuan Shao refused that advice.
* Yuan Shao's first food supply, at Gushi was guarded by Han Meng. Xu Huang routed him and burned the supplies.
* Yuan Shao's second food supply, at Wuchao was guarded by Chunyu Qiong. Ju Shou said that Chunyu Qiong was unequal to that and she be reinforced. Yuan Shao ignored that.
* When Yuan Shao heard of the raise, Zhang He urges Yuan Shao to support Wuchao, as the campaign depended on it. Instead, Yuan Shao sent forces to attack Guandu and only sent Wuchao a token force. Surprise, surprise -- Chunyu Qiong was captured, Yuan Shao's second supplies went up in smoke, and the attack on Guandu failed.
* Guo Tu slandered Zhang He and Gao Lan. Yuan Shao believed them, and the two were forced to defect to Cao Cao.

Like it or not, the Guandu campaign was one blunder after another.
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 Han » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:42 pm

Shao should be commended for being able to form a proper and loyal alliance with the northern ethnic minority that lasted even past his death. China struggled with the northeners throughout the Han, Wei and even Jin dynasties. There are however zero records of the ethnic minorities raiding Yuan Shao and Yuan Shao was even able to command them directly in a few battles.

Yuan Tan also defeated Tian Kai.

Guan Yu killing Yan Liang was something unexpected and obviously surprising. The effect on morale as a result of Yan death was probably not taken into account. After all no one goes into battle thinking what would happen if their star generals died.

GuanDu was a blunder definitely. But some factors were out of Yuan control. His greatest mistakes were listening to slander and purging his greatest general Qu Yi.
Liu Bei did nothing wrong.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:08 pm

Ju Shou said that Yan Liang was too impatient to lead the battle of Boma alone; Yuan Shao ignored that, and Yan Liang died in battle.
* Yuan Shao's first food supply, at Gushi was guarded by Han Meng. Xu Huang routed him and burned the supplies.
* Yuan Shao's second food supply, at Wuchao was guarded by Chunyu Qiong. Ju Shou said that Chunyu Qiong was unequal to that and she be reinforced. Yuan Shao ignored that.


The Yan Liang one has always seemed odd to me. Yan Liang gets promoted after long and able service, Ju Shou warning that it is a level beyond Yan Liang, that I can understand. It is the "don't let him lead alone" when he wasn't, he was under Chunyu Qiong but let to carry out the siege when the main army under Qiong was tricked into thinking Cao Cao was arriving elsewhere.

Han Meng was mentioned as being a famed officer

I don't recall Ju Shou saying that about Qiong. One of Yuan Shao's most famous officers

=====

On the wider why does Yuan Shao get hit so badly as a reputation (Yuan Shu gets bad reputation becuase he was a poor warlord who ensured infamy by his massive misjudgement in declaring himself Emperor too early. He was a good sportsman, resilient and had an eye for assassinations but lacked administrative, political or miliatry skills required. ), multiple factors.

1) It fitted into a sense of the old guard giving way to the new. This wasn't exactly true but the Yuan family vs the upstart Cao Cao and being wiped out by the more able new comer (from established family but narrative isn't always accurate)

2) Guan Du. If your final big battle ends badly, your reputation gets slaughtered. Liu Bei, and Cao Xiu also suffer from this for example.

3) If you lose, whatever advice you didn't take instantly becomes pearls of wisdom that would have led to instant victory. See "should have taken Jia Xu's advice at Chi Bi" "Liu Bei should have attacked Wei rather then Wu" so and so forth. It tends to ignore that major camapigns had splits on whether to fight the war or not or if the advice is actually really bad.

4) Wei portrayed it as Yuan Shao's massive massive army vs their small, heroic force of 5 men and a sheep. This may not have been true but it was an effective narrative so Yuan Shao looks like he had all the advantages and blew it.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Han » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:57 am

Agree with your third point Dong!

Sidenote, but Yuan Shao gets so much shit even though his pretty amazing. Conquering, pacifying and controlling 4 provinces is an unmatched accomplishment during that era.( Well, more like 3 and a half). Even Sun Quan could only control roughly 3.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby VinnyYooo » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:25 am

Agree with Han. Also, something just popped into my head.

Dong Zhou wrote:...Yuan Shao was "merely" an able warlord, one with considerable skill but also big flaws throughout his career, vs probably the best 3kingdom warlord. Against the very best, being good is not always enough, ....


Ok, fair enough for Yuan Shao. But what was Liu Bei actually good at? Could he have been considered 'the very best' at something? Anything?

Like, he was an able leader/warlord, sure. But what did he actually excel at? Physical fights? Aside from physical fights, I would've thought that Liu Bei was, to put it in your terms, 'merely' an able warlord; and I'd say with no extraordinary skill to speak of. His uniqueness sort of only revolves around his ancestry, hypocrisy and confucian approach. I guess he was good at managing and utilising people. But maybe not at the level of Cao Cao and Sun Quan?

Seems like all he did to cement his name in history was stab Liu Zhang in the back and rely on mountains for defence. Am I missing something?
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Han » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:45 am

Errr...

Liu Bei was benevolent in comparison to his other warlords and especially his rivals. Cao Cao frequently committed massacres and plunder while Sun Quan frequently raided Jiangxia and massacred a few cities here and there. Liu Bei has zero recorded massacres and only four recorded plunders. Twice as Yuan Shao surbodinate, once under Liu Biao direct control and the final one, he did it to reward his troops and he did not hurt the common folk.

Liu Bei was an able commander. Not the best and not one of the better ones but he was above average. He defeated Yellow turbans, stalemate against Yuan Tan for a few months, stalemate against a numerically superior warlord in Yuan Shu, caused trouble in Runan twice unmolested for some time, raided Wancheng unopposed, ambushed Xiahou Dun, conquered BaShu while being isolated in the first half of his Sichuan campaign and finally killed Xiahou Yuan. Whenever he is given proper resources, he can pull off a few victories here and there.

Liu Bei was charismatic as noted by the histories. Even though he constantly fled around, by the time he declared himself Emperor, most of his surbodinates were all from different parts of China. From part ethnic minorities like Ma Chao to northerners like Zhang Fei and the Southerners he inherited from Liu Biao and of course Liu Zhang.

Liu Bei was able to inspire capable loyalty. Guys like Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun all followed Liu Bei when he was a common surbodinate under Gongsun Zan to him being King of Hanzhong even after his many losses.

Liu Bei had unmatched cunning and was quite the intelligent person to trick Cao Cao and Sun Quan while able to also cleanly backstab Liu Zhang. Who else can claim that they are capable enough to do all these while still being Emperor in the end.

Liu Bei was respected as a "hero" directly by Cao Cao, Cheng Yu and Zhou Yu. That surely counts for something.

You accusing Liu Bei of treachery to conquer Sichuan is laughable at best. Cao Cao conquered Xiliang by using treachery. Yuan Shao aquired one entire province by using treachery. During War time, treachery is frequently used to further one personal ambitions.

Lastly, Cao Cao had strong connections to the gentries when he first started out. Sun Quan inherited JiangDong from his brother. Meanwhile, Liu Bei grew up a peasent to eventually become an Emperor of 1/4 of China. Surely, he must have some capabilities to achieve all that, no?

Feel free to shit on Liu Bei for his personality, but there is no doubt Liu Bei had heroic talent and as Chen Shou put it :" the charisma of GaoZu".
Liu Bei did nothing wrong.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby VinnyYooo » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:24 am

Han wrote:Errr...

Liu Bei was benevolent in comparison to his other warlords and especially his rivals. Cao Cao frequently committed massacres and plunder while Sun Quan frequently raided Jiangxia and massacred a few cities here and there. Liu Bei has zero recorded massacres and only four recorded plunders. Twice as Yuan Shao surbodinate, once under Liu Biao direct control and the final one, he did it to reward his troops and he did not hurt the common folk.

Liu Bei was an able commander. Not the best and not one of the better ones but he was above average. He defeated Yellow turbans, stalemate against Yuan Tan for a few months, stalemate against a numerically superior warlord in Yuan Shu, caused trouble in Runan twice unmolested for some time, raided Wancheng unopposed, ambushed Xiahou Dun, conquered BaShu while being isolated in the first half of his Sichuan campaign and finally killed Xiahou Yuan. Whenever he is given proper resources, he can pull off a few victories here and there.

Liu Bei was charismatic as noted by the histories. Even though he constantly fled around, by the time he declared himself Emperor, most of his surbodinates were all from different parts of China. From part ethnic minorities like Ma Chao to northerners like Zhang Fei and the Southerners he inherited from Liu Biao and of course Liu Zhang.

Liu Bei was able to inspire capable loyalty. Guys like Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun all followed Liu Bei when he was a common surbodinate under Gongsun Zan to him being King of Hanzhong even after his many losses.

Liu Bei had unmatched cunning and was quite the intelligent person to trick Cao Cao and Sun Quan while able to also cleanly backstab Liu Zhang. Who else can claim that they are capable enough to do all these while still being Emperor in the end.

Liu Bei was respected as a "hero" directly by Cao Cao, Cheng Yu and Zhou Yu. That surely counts for something.

You accusing Liu Bei of treachery to conquer Sichuan is laughable at best. Cao Cao conquered Xiliang by using treachery. Yuan Shao aquired one entire province by using treachery. During War time, treachery is frequently used to further one personal ambitions.

Lastly, Cao Cao had strong connections to the gentries when he first started out. Sun Quan inherited JiangDong from his brother. Meanwhile, Liu Bei grew up a peasent to eventually become an Emperor of 1/4 of China. Surely, he must have some capabilities to achieve all that, no?

Feel free to shit on Liu Bei for his personality, but there is no doubt Liu Bei had heroic talent and as Chen Shou put it :" the charisma of GaoZu".


So I'm not missing anything, then? Just hypocrisy and bias from LGZ? Lol; My criticism isn't about the backstabbing itself - that's not an issue - but about his claim of being upright, honourable and upstanding. He claimed the throne while the rightful Han emperor was still alive - and yet claim to be loyal to Han. He's always had imperial ambitions from the start yet pretended to be a defender of the dynasty.

Benevolence in governing? Ok, sure. So that makes him equal to Tao Qian and Liu Zhang. Again, nothing special there (c.f. Qin Shi Huang and Li Si).

His charisma comes from his false pretences, which, I agree, makes him a dangerous person on account of the fact that people (i.e. his followers) are generally gullable to lies (I think this is what Cao Cao sees). His people management is good, but not extraordinary (Mi Fang and Liu Feng lost confidence in him - and that's saying a lot given their background).

His 'cunning' and 'intelligence' can't be attributed to him personally cause he had good advisors.

The rest of what you mentioned revolved around his martial prowess. Like, yes, I acknowledge he was an able warrior (warlord even), but really unremarkable in terms of abilities alone.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:25 am

Then let me clarify: technically Yan Liang was not alone (he had Guo Tu and Chunyu Qiong with him), but Cao Cao considered it important enough to go personally and bring Zhang Liao and Guan Yu. All three were better than the three Yuan Shao sent, so it's not surprising Cao Cao won. And it wasn't a minor spot, either; according to Carl Leban's Ts'ao Ts'ao and the Rise of Wei: The Early Years it was a vital route between Yuan Shao and Cao Cao's territories -- which was just another reason to send a top-notch general, not two overrated generals and a sycophant.

If Han Meng was a famous officer, what was he famous for? He was not Zhang He, Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun, Tian Feng, Ju Shou, or Shen Pei; I recognize many three kingdoms names, but not his -- and, indeed, KMA encylcopedia only describes him as that guy who lost Yuan Shao's first grain supply. Remember, when you pick someone based on reputation, not ability you get Cao Shuang and Xiahou Mao -- Wei would be better off picking SoSZ's Xiahou Mao!

I may be wrong about Ju Shou saying Chunyu Qiong was unworthy, but Yuan Shao's SGZ definitely said that Ju Shou recommended Yuan Shao send Jiang Qi to support Chunyu Qiong.

Why is Yuan Shao's reputation so bad later on? Three reasons:
(1) His successes were against flawed people: Han Fu, Kong Rong, sand Gongsun Zan. When he faces someone actually good (Cao Cao), everything falls apart.
(2) At Jieqiao? He was winning, but let himself get rushed by 2000 cavalry; only dumb luck (the enemies not recognizing him) let him survive the day. At Yijing? He won not because of his talents, but because of Gonsun Zan making an extremely stupid decision. At Guandu? He made error after error, as I pointed out on the previous page.
(3) Over his career Yuan Shao had plenty of talented people -- Qu Yi, Zhang He, Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, and Zhao Yun for his armies, and Tian Feng, Ju Shou, Xun You, Cui Yan, and Dong Zhao as advisors. Instead, they get mostly ignored, driven away, and in one case executed while Yuan Shao favors Yan Liang, Wen Chou, Chunyu Qiong, and Guo Tu -- all of whom were too flawed to be top-level leaders.

Finally, remember that Guandu didn't harm Yuan Shao's reputation becasue of "Cao Cao won" so much as "Yuan Shao lost". If Yuan Shao didn't make so many boneheaded mistakes his reputation would be better, even if Cao Cao still won by the same margin he historically won by.

---

EDIT: Whoops, forgot to respond to VinnyYooo. Liu Bei's ability was to bounce back from defeat after defeat with no real loss. If anyone else had half as many defeats as Liu Bei they'd quickly become a nonentity, but not only did Liu Bei keep recovering, his list of talented followers just kept growing.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Han » Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:23 am

So I'm not missing anything, then? Just hypocrisy and bias from LGZ? Lol; My criticism isn't about the backstabbing itself - that's not an issue - but about his claim of being upright, honourable and upstanding. He claimed the throne while the rightful Han emperor was still alive - and yet claim to be loyal to Han. He's always had imperial ambitions from the start yet pretended to be a defender of the dynasty.


LGZ was making a fictional novel based on history. Yes he was hypocritical but keep in mind that he never claimed Rotk was history.

If he did not claim the throne, then the Han Dynasty would have ended with Xian Di abdication. By declaring himself Emperor of Han, he can keep fighting to restore the Han like GuangWu did.

Right. If having imperial ambitions is the worst thing he did, then Liu Bei is a saint compared to his rivals...

Benevolence in governing? Ok, sure. So that makes him equal to Tao Qian and Liu Zhang. Again, nothing special there (c.f. Qin Shi Huang and Li Si).


Agreed. Administration was not Liu Bei forte. He usually leave it to others like Zhuge Liang.

His charisma comes from his false pretences, which, I agree, makes him a dangerous person on account of the fact that people (i.e. his followers) are generally gullable to lies (I think this is what Cao Cao sees). His people management is good, but not extraordinary (Mi Fang and Liu Feng lost confidence in him - and that's saying a lot given their background).


The definition of charisma is :
1.
compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.
"he has tremendous charisma and stage presence"
synonyms: charm, presence, aura, personality, force of personality, strength of character, individuality;

Lol. Cao Cao acknowledge Liu Bei as a hero directly to his face not because of a simple reason like you are dismissing.

Last I check Liu Feng never betrayed Liu Bei even after Meng Da incite him to do so and seize his territory.

The reason given for Mi Fang betrayal is Guan Yu arrogance and threatening him and Fu ShiRen.

Furthermore, retainers betraying was fairly common in Three Kingdoms period. According to your dumbass logic many "lost faith" in both Cao Cao and Sun Quan lol.

His 'cunning' and 'intelligence' can't be attributed to him personally cause he had good advisors.


Thats dumb. Seriously stupid. Cao Cao had Xun Yu, Xun You, Jia Xu, Guo Jia; etc. Sun Quan had Zhou Yu, Lü Fan, Lü Meng, Lu Xun etc.

Also Pei SongZhi would disagree with you.

" Later, when Cao Cao was leading his forces from Chang'an to reinforce Hanzhong, he received news about the strategy proposed by Fa Zheng to Liu Bei to attack Hanzhong. He remarked, "I know Xuande (Liu Bei) is not capable of doing this. He must be following somebody's advice."[20] The historian Pei Songzhi commented that Cao Cao made that remark – which suggests that Liu Bei was not wise enough to notice Hanzhong's strategic importance – because of his personal disdain for Liu, and that it should not be taken seriously. He felt that a lord acting on his adviser's suggestion should not be interpreted as a sign that the lord was not wise enough to make his own judgment. He pointed out that Cao Cao himself also followed the advice of his adviser Guo Jia.[21]"

And

" Lord Cáo campaigned west, heard Zhèng’s strategy, and said: “I originally knew [Liú Bèi] Xuándé could not have planned this, and this must have been someone else’s teaching.” (1)

(1) Your Servant Sōngzhī believes Shǔ and Hànzhōng are like lips and teeth. Ruler Liú’s wisdom, how can it not think of that? Supposing the plans were not yet enacted, then Zhèng only started it and that is all. One who listens to and uses excellent strategists to accomplish achievements is a master among hegemons, who can not be that way? Wèi Wǔ [Cáo Cāo] believed it was another’s teaching, how lowly! This was excess words of shame and disgrace, not proper words of true judgement."

The rest of what you mentioned revolved around his martial prowess. Like, yes, I acknowledge he was an able warrior (warlord even), but really unremarkable in terms of abilities alone.



So instead of rebutting my point, you are just going to dismiss all of it? Lmaooo.

Why is Yuan Shao's reputation so bad later on? Three reasons:
(1) His successes were against flawed people: Han Fu, Kong Rong, sand Gongsun Zan. When he faces someone actually good (Cao Cao), everything falls apart.
(2) At Jieqiao? He was winning, but let himself get rushed by 2000 cavalry; only dumb luck (the enemies not recognizing him) let him survive the day. At Yijing? He won not because of his talents, but because of Gonsun Zan making an extremely stupid decision. At Guandu? He made error after error, as I pointed out on the previous page.
(3) Over his career Yuan Shao had plenty of talented people -- Qu Yi, Zhang He, Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, and Zhao Yun for his armies, and Tian Feng, Ju Shou, Xun You, Cui Yan, and Dong Zhao as advisors. Instead, they get mostly ignored, driven away, and in one case executed while Yuan Shao favors Yan Liang, Wen Chou, Chunyu Qiong, and Guo Tu -- all of whom were too flawed to be top-level leaders.


1) No... just... no... GongSun Zan was one of the best fighters of that era and feared for his valour by the minority tribes themselves...

2) Great job discreditng all of his accomplishments. I can literally word for word copy what you said and apply to Cao Cao: At Wancheng? He already won but his dumbass got himself into an ambush; only dumb luck( his son giving him his own horse) safe the day. At Xiliang? He won not because of his talents but because of enemy infighting. At JingChu? He nearly moved the capital because of Guan Yu advance.

3) You mean Xu You and Xun You right?

Whoops, forgot to respond to VinnyYooo. Liu Bei's ability was to bounce back from defeat after defeat with no real loss. If anyone else had half as many defeats as Liu Bei they'd quickly become a nonentity, but not only did Liu Bei keep recovering, his list of talented followers just kept growing.


Agreed Liu Bei was resilient. But that was not his only ability.
Liu Bei did nothing wrong.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:57 am

Han, just a heads up for future,
Thats dumb. Seriously stupid.
is just over the line. You could go with something like "I don't think you thought this through" or even "that's ridiculous" though last one likely to heat up a debate

I'm enjoying this debate and look forward to joining in coming into this debate (though I owe Han a post so stunning it will convince him to pledge his undying loyalty to Cao Cao first :wink: )
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