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Author Topic: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?  (Read 1114 times)

Colt Ward

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Re-reading some history and thinking of the various religious wars . . . did we really get that with the Jihad?  Did we get really get all of that in it's nasty hating fullness?

Sure we got some fanatics, and get some some piece-meal brainwashed devoted . . . but where were the whole divisions screaming 'Blake Wills It!' as they charged into the attack?  Or when a city is sacked, "kill them all, Blake will know his own."  I sort of feel we got more emphasis on the chaos rather than it being a religious war out to punish the unfaithful for not following the Blakists Vision.
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mikecj

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #1 on: 14 June 2022, 16:41:36 »
Isle of the Blessed made me think exactly that for New Avalon.  Avitue wasn't exactly using scalpels.
but even the attacks on the Regulans weren't as bad as the Kentares Massacre.

Word of Blake- more principled than Kurita!

But the sourcebooks were written to paint the WoB as 3 dimensional and more complex than Cobra.  Thats why I enjoyed them.
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butchbird

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #2 on: 14 June 2022, 17:04:28 »
The thing with the jihad was that it wasn't really a religious war...to have a religious war, to my knowledge, you need somewhat opposing metaphysical stands.

The question, to me, is rather "what did we get with the Jihad?". Unfortunately I'm somewhat hampered in my vision of the thing by the fact I see the whole story arc as breaking away from the potentially awesome and slow paced changes that seemed to be put in motion by the events before the Jihad so as to lead to the republic and then dark age, which doesn't lend itself to debating the story and everything attached in-game and in-universe...

Still, there is something here. If you consider the pro/anti-techno visions, you have something apparenting religious war (or ideological wars, which were but a new twist on the same basic concept of having a "written ethic code" and more or less living by it) but standing in another arena. The people in the battletech universe tend to reject the "crystal palace cult" (I'm trying to be brief, so if you know dostoievski you might catch might drift, if not look it up if you have the time I guess), while the word of blake embraces it. Clash of views on "transhumanity" also, ironically in the FWL more so then with the others.



Natasha Kerensky

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #3 on: 14 June 2022, 17:06:40 »

In my mind, historically, religious wars involved one religion or sect going after another based on their religious identity.   The Sacred Wars of Greek Antiquity, the Crusades, the Albigensian Crusade, the Northern Crusades, Thirty Years’ War, the Troubles, etc.

The only part of the Jihad that fits that definition is the Blakists going after ComStar — a more devout sect going after a more secular sect of the same religion.  I hesitate to use the term religion at all.  Blake is worshipped, but he’s not a supernatural deity or god, for example.  But assuming there’s more to the ComStar faith than recruiting for the interstellar Ma Bell, the Blakist operation against Case White and similar Jihad engagements might be considered part of a religious war going back to the original Schism.

It’s hard to see anything else in the Jihad as a religious war.  The Blakists lashed out at the House capitals because the Second Star League had screwed up their plan to take the fight to the Clan Homeworlds and ascend to the leadership of the Star League/humanity, not because the Houses or the Second Star League were competing religions.  Same goes for the Blakists’ original plan to take the fight to the Clan Homeworlds.  The Blakists saw the Clans as a threat to humanity that they could vanquish to become the heroes of the Star League/humanity, not as a competing religion.

FWIW...
« Last Edit: 14 June 2022, 17:08:18 by Natasha Kerensky »
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mikecj

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #4 on: 14 June 2022, 17:08:20 »
I wish we'd seen at least one strike on the Home Worlds.  The Wars of Reaving were great but it would have been epic to see a few Shadow Divisions drop on Strana Mechty.
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Natasha Kerensky

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #5 on: 14 June 2022, 17:18:32 »
I wish we'd seen at least one strike on the Home Worlds.  The Wars of Reaving were great but it would have been epic to see a few Shadow Divisions drop on Strana Mechty.

Depicted realistically, it probably wouldn’t have been that epic.  The Blakist plan was to WMD the Homeworlds first.  The Shadow Divisions were just the clean up operation.  I think it would have involved the systemic slaughter of shocked, irradiated, and infected survivors, rather than tactical engagements between effective military forces.

No Shadow Divisions, but the Wars of Reaving is what gives us total warfare in the Homeworlds short of mass WMD employment.
"Ah, yes.  The belle dame sans merci.  The sweet young thing who will blast your nuts off.  The kitten with a whip.  That mystique?"
"Slavish adherence to formal ritual is a sign that one has nothing better to think about."
"Variety is the spice of battle."
"I've fought in... what... a hundred battles, a thousand battles?  It could be a million as far as I know.  I've fought for anybody who offered a decent contract and a couple who didn't.  And the universe is not much different after all that.  I could go on fighting for another hundred years and it would still look the same."
"I'm in mourning for my life."
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idea weenie

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #6 on: 14 June 2022, 17:51:25 »
Depicted realistically, it probably wouldn’t have been that epic.  The Blakist plan was to WMD the Homeworlds first.  The Shadow Divisions were just the clean up operation.  I think it would have involved the systemic slaughter of shocked, irradiated, and infected survivors, rather than tactical engagements between effective military forces.

No Shadow Divisions, but the Wars of Reaving is what gives us total warfare in the Homeworlds short of mass WMD employment.

That would have been a nice bit of extra, during the war of Reacing a nuclear charge or few is dropped on something critical to Clan survival.  Both the Scientists and Warriors blame the other for it and the Wars of Reaving get worse.  Afterwards, they find out the truth.

The Blakist ship waits for a while expecting reinforcements, but soon the 3 MD in charge have to admit they will not be receiving reinforcements.  So per their fanaticism, they send the ship into a death ride into a star, after serving Kool-aid to the rest of the ship's crew (and adjusting the ship's atmosphere to 95+% nitrogen).

SlightlyIrritatedCat

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #7 on: 14 June 2022, 17:55:16 »
Or at least a bigger war.  The jihad had a lot of high profile strikes on targets we the players care about but when I read the Jihad sourcebooks it just kind of seemed like a slapfight to me.  During WW1 for example you had soldiers writing in their diaries that "this isn't war, this is the end of the world."  Despite all the press censorship you had journalists wondering if the war would just keep destroying and taking lives until civilization itself was gone and only rubble and barbarism was left.  And I didn't get anywhere close to that feeling from the Jihad sourcebooks.

I don't really like most of the Timeline from the Clan Era onward because it changes tones several times and takes the setting in directions I'd rather not go.  But if we were going to get a Jihad to setup the changes for the 3150 era, I feel we should have gotten something more appropriately horrid.  Where you could legitimately see the people in setting wondering if the terrible end of the Succession Wars thought averted had come for them at last.  If we were going to end up with Dark Age I wanted to see a war so terrible and pervasive that you could legitimately see it tearing down nearly everything and bringing about a forever changed setting.

Natasha Kerensky

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #8 on: 14 June 2022, 20:38:16 »
That would have been a nice bit of extra, during the war of Reacing a nuclear charge or few is dropped on something critical to Clan survival.  Both the Scientists and Warriors blame the other for it and the Wars of Reaving get worse.  Afterwards, they find out the truth.

The Blakist ship waits for a while expecting reinforcements, but soon the 3 MD in charge have to admit they will not be receiving reinforcements.  So per their fanaticism, they send the ship into a death ride into a star, after serving Kool-aid to the rest of the ship's crew (and adjusting the ship's atmosphere to 95+% nitrogen).

I’ll buy that scenario, except the Blakists should put their warship into a nose dive onto a Homeworlds capital.  A bit of Clan history that Malvina recalls at an appropriate time decades later...
"Ah, yes.  The belle dame sans merci.  The sweet young thing who will blast your nuts off.  The kitten with a whip.  That mystique?"
"Slavish adherence to formal ritual is a sign that one has nothing better to think about."
"Variety is the spice of battle."
"I've fought in... what... a hundred battles, a thousand battles?  It could be a million as far as I know.  I've fought for anybody who offered a decent contract and a couple who didn't.  And the universe is not much different after all that.  I could go on fighting for another hundred years and it would still look the same."
"I'm in mourning for my life."
"Those who break faith with the Unity shall go down into darkness."

Prospernia

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #9 on: 14 June 2022, 21:08:25 »
I was disappointed with the Jihad.  It was suppose to be a surprise-invasion from an unknown enemy like the Clan-invasion, but this time, from within.

Niopsian

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #10 on: 14 June 2022, 21:25:27 »
I think you could argue that the Blakists intended it to be a religious war - Blake's vision against the competing, false dogma cooked up by Nicholas Kerensky. A lot of the Word's early membership came from ComGuards who survived Tukayyid or ROM true believers who could brook no competing vision for the future.

Everything against the Great Houses was the result of irrational temper tantrums or a panicked attempt to carve out a large enough buffer zone around Terra to survive the inevitable backlash.


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Nav_Alpha

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #11 on: 15 June 2022, 05:27:08 »
I think the WoB holy war, the Jihad, was really supposed to be against the Clans. They’re the true enemies - genetically engineered freaks playing god who suddenly appear after abandoning the IS to 300 years of chaos and conquer, rather than trying to help.
Alas, because the Successor State squabbled and stuffed everything up by sundering the second Star League, they needed to whipped back into shape and shown the way.

So, I guess you could almost consider the Jihad a precursor to the real holy war? 


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Metallgewitter

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #12 on: 15 June 2022, 06:52:58 »
I think the WoB holy war, the Jihad, was really supposed to be against the Clans. They’re the true enemies - genetically engineered freaks playing god who suddenly appear after abandoning the IS to 300 years of chaos and conquer, rather than trying to help.
Alas, because the Successor State squabbled and stuffed everything up by sundering the second Star League, they needed to whipped back into shape and shown the way.

So, I guess you could almost consider the Jihad a precursor to the real holy war?

The Clans were also seen as a perversion of what Comstar / Word of Blake believed: technology to only enhance warfare capabilities while Comstar and the Word hated the use of technology for this purpose (kinda ironic given how much the Blakists invested into their army).

one can argue that the Blakists kept the deep religious tappings of the old Comstar with the use of a different designation for Omni Mech configurations (Luminos, dominus etc) and also their high Domini language. And well as their first expected result of the "Third Transfer" didn't come to pass they did what a lot fanatics do: lash out against the "infidels"

Alan Grant

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #13 on: 15 June 2022, 07:49:05 »
I think a comparison to the concept of Jihad in Dune makes more sense than any real-life comparisons.

My point really being, the term gets loosely applied there as well. Twisted, adapted to a sci fi universe, somewhat diverging from any historical meaning.
« Last Edit: 15 June 2022, 07:53:03 by Alan Grant »

mikecj

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #14 on: 15 June 2022, 14:28:12 »
I think a comparison to the concept of Jihad in Dune makes more sense than any real-life comparisons.

My point really being, the term gets loosely applied there as well. Twisted, adapted to a sci fi universe, somewhat diverging from any historical meaning.

Eh... mechanized vs motorized infantry... we've been there before.
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butchbird

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #15 on: 15 June 2022, 19:56:00 »
The Clans were also seen as a perversion of what Comstar / Word of Blake believed: technology to only enhance warfare capabilities while Comstar and the Word hated the use of technology for this purpose (kinda ironic given how much the Blakists invested into their army).

Well, I might be missing something but I don't recall the word of blake to ever be considered as pacifistic. While both societys are radically different, I'd argue that their embracing of ever expending technology places them on the same side of the "relation towards technology" spectrum...they just live it differently, and granted its more subtle within the clans. To the WOB, every machine deserves a prayer while the clans have their holy temples of eugenics. The Manei domini has all kind of augments, the clans have a very rigid eugenics program. And there's plenty more examples. Furthermore, from a "litterary" point of view, both of these factions fall in the "cautionnary tale" category, though in the clans its more on other societal aspects then relation with technology, but said relation remains central to the rest.

In this vain of cautionnary tale...I'd like to remind about the cover for one of the jihad books (jihad: final reckoning I believe?). You have the master, exhibiting his cybernetics while a hail of orbital bombardment levels the city. Besides the pretty colors, this is a pretty strong image of mankind toying with dangerous things beyond his full comprehension and/or level of maturity. I'd argue that the WOB can basically be summed up with that cover.

I'll allow myself to make this comment though: the jihad could have been more if only things had gone more slowly, perhaps in relation to the "great debate" that was brewing whithin the FWL? That would have had some potential as far as going beyond stompy robots is concerned (after all, we all came here for the tumbling and rocking robots, but many stay hooked also through the depth of the sourcebooks and the interpretations and speculations possible through them).

Cannonshop

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #16 on: 15 June 2022, 21:35:00 »
Or at least a bigger war.  The jihad had a lot of high profile strikes on targets we the players care about but when I read the Jihad sourcebooks it just kind of seemed like a slapfight to me.  During WW1 for example you had soldiers writing in their diaries that "this isn't war, this is the end of the world."  Despite all the press censorship you had journalists wondering if the war would just keep destroying and taking lives until civilization itself was gone and only rubble and barbarism was left.  And I didn't get anywhere close to that feeling from the Jihad sourcebooks.

I don't really like most of the Timeline from the Clan Era onward because it changes tones several times and takes the setting in directions I'd rather not go.  But if we were going to get a Jihad to setup the changes for the 3150 era, I feel we should have gotten something more appropriately horrid.  Where you could legitimately see the people in setting wondering if the terrible end of the Succession Wars thought averted had come for them at last.  If we were going to end up with Dark Age I wanted to see a war so terrible and pervasive that you could legitimately see it tearing down nearly everything and bringing about a forever changed setting.

there were a lot of considerations that had to be taken into account by the developers and writers of the time, including not-alienating-devoted-fans.

including fans on-the-staff.

I mean, if you follow the sourcebooks, the Jihad wasn't really as terrible as the succession wars, because they couldn't afford to make it as terrible as the succession wars.
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mikecj

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #17 on: 16 June 2022, 17:27:34 »
But it did level things back off.  And potentially more faction options.
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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #18 on: 16 June 2022, 19:46:56 »
I mean, if you follow the sourcebooks, the Jihad wasn't really as terrible as the succession wars, because they couldn't afford to make it as terrible as the succession wars.

It would be hard to have a war as devastating as the 1st Succession War without giving the Great Houses decades or centuries to build up hundreds of WarShips a piece and other similarly massive stockpiles of weaponry. Even if every fight went to nukes, there simply aren't enough spacefaring nuke delivery platforms to have another conflict on that scale.


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Metallgewitter

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #19 on: 17 June 2022, 12:15:23 »
I mean, if you follow the sourcebooks, the Jihad wasn't really as terrible as the succession wars, because they couldn't afford to make it as terrible as the succession wars.

Well the Jihad was the first war after the Sucession Wars that saw the deaths of worlds. And not worlds that were dependent on terraforming tech but "normal" worlds: Galax, Alarion, Necromo, Paradise etc. They were either poisoned by biological cocktails or glassed with nukes. The Jihad saw the return of "Jumpships are fair game" tactics as well as Q ships. Or the return of battlefield nukes (of course mostly on the Blakist and Taurian side though the Roughriders gave the Taurians a taste of their own medicine too) It was in essence a more fiercly fought 5th Succession War.

Orwell84

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #20 on: 18 June 2022, 18:11:38 »
Not sure how relevant this is, but I recall Herbert A Beas II - one of the key Jihad writers IIRC - pointing out in a different thread that the Blakists themselves didn’t call it a “Jihad”. That was just a media sensationalist label that stuck.

I mean, if you follow the sourcebooks, the Jihad wasn't really as terrible as the succession wars, because they couldn't afford to make it as terrible as the succession wars.

It was touch-and-go there at one point, I think TPTB really were considering torching all five House capitals and maybe even Terra itself. But as you say, that might’ve been the tipping point for wavering fans.
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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #21 on: 18 June 2022, 18:36:01 »
Not sure how relevant this is, but I recall Herbert A Beas II - one of the key Jihad writers IIRC - pointing out in a different thread that the Blakists themselves didn’t call it a “Jihad”. That was just a media sensationalist label that stuck.

That is correct.

Quote
It was touch-and-go there at one point, I think TPTB really were considering torching all five House capitals and maybe even Terra itself. But as you say, that might’ve been the tipping point for wavering fans.

That is not so correct.

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #22 on: 28 June 2022, 19:22:08 »
Thing is, there were a lot of things going on that didn't get the airtime they should have, the Ghost Bear / Combine fighting, for one thing.
We had the FedCom Civil War, and then everything dragged with the changes from FASA.
It's mentioned in several of the short stories that after ST. Jamais' idiocy at Tharkad, that Comstar was putting out that the WOB had nuked Tharkad.... despite evidence to the contrary. This makes Comstar just as culpable in the mess as anyone --- I can even see seizing the capitols to force negotiations, albeit with that backfiring. However, we really didn't get an idea of the scale of the Chaos March, and how much the AMC was stirring things up, to keep the profits flowing in. By this point, the Dragoons had started almost acting like a miniature house..... they were working to influence on a much wider scale than a mere mercenary outfit, and even Comstar still had issues with the fact that they had usurped the mercenary market. When you combine that with the fact that it was becoming open knowledge that they were linked, somehow, with the invader clans, the fight between them, and the heirs of Jerome Blake was inevitable.

The biggest thing that most people seem to complain about, though, is that "my favoritest character got killed off, etc"... and let's be honest, by this era, most of these characters should have been in retirement homes. It's battletech, not geriatric-tech. Plus, with the number of regiment sized mercenary units running around, you were going to get a major war, sooner or later. The cost of maintenance, alone would force them into it... and the houses had no choice except to continue employing them, so that their opposition didn't hire them.....

Plus, the truce for Tukayyid had ended in 3067, and all the clans had to do is decide to launch a new crusade --- the victory that Victor Davion had on Strana Mechty did refute the first one, but I am pretty sure the clans could have found a way to stage another one and still believe they had their honor. Among other things, they still considered the Second Star League a total sham....

I really think the other conflicts that happened, at the same time, need some airtime --- the Marches in Federated Suns more or less going rogue, really need more than just a footnote.... And I would love to know more about the fighting between Kurita Loyalists, and the Black Dragon.....

As for WOB, they never were the "big bad" -- they weren't big enough to take on even one house... and outside of a few initial surprise attacks, they were on the defensive almost from the get go -- it's almost as if the Comstar Propaganda that was making them out to be bad guys, got sucked down by all the players, as well as the people in universe.

Even the "dreaded" C3i was likely to be less effective than hoped --- the Clans had already fought Kurita, and their C3 units..... Zellbrigen was already being abandoned as the IS had been labeled Dezgra ... which meant that to take on the Clans, the WOB needed the houses. And everyone was already figuring out how to deal with the advanced electronics, already.

I, honestly, see the Jihad as the culmination of the Brush Wars already happening in the Chaos March, just with more people getting involved, which was likely to have happened, anyways..... the only difference was Comstar Propaganda making their rivals for HPG profits the scape-goat for everything.

Nahuris





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Colt Ward

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Re: The Jihad- Did we really get a fanatical religious war?
« Reply #23 on: 29 June 2022, 10:57:17 »
I think folks are confusing my critique of the methods vs the scope of the Jihad.  More that we do not have some of the some of the language & actions of the Crusade-Jihads of the Middle Ages or the Catholic-Protestant wars of late Middle Ages to early Renaissance to conflicts even last century's Irish troubles.  Heretic, apostate, reverts, infidel, the fallen, schismatic . . . all special language adaptations when you start talking about religious wars.  In our history, civil and religious wars are IMO neck & neck in the running for the most brutal types when it comes to war.

One side can act in accordance with their determination it is a religious war, even if the others do not feel that way- they are just the unbelievers.

I just question if the historical source material was mined as much as it had the potential to provide a different flavor in BT.

Btw, Nahuris- we have been teased with getting a Historical of some sort for the 1st GB-DC war, Op Guerrero, and other side shows that happened.
Colt Ward

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