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Old 01-10-2018, 03:31 PM   #21
tshiggins
 
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post

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Convincing society in general of the legitimacy of some position is the province of skills like Politics, Propaganda, Public Speaking and Writing. Arguments can be based on appeals to points of Law, Philosophy or Theology, but whether they sway the populace has little or nothing to do with whether they are technically correct according to the arcane rules of the academic discipline.
I'll agree with this point of view. Appeals to law, and the principles that lie at the foundations of a particular body of law, are frequently used to justify coups and revolutions, but that mostly takes place after the fact.

Law isn't used to justify rapid (and frequently violent) political change in the planning and execution stages. However, alteration of the structure of the legal system, as well as a redefinition of the philosophical assumptions that underpin that structure, are frequent consequences of such rapid and irregular political change.

The fact is, most people don't know much about either the philosophical foundations of law, or the processes by which legal structures function. Moreover, most people don't want to know, either, and some of those who learn enough to understand that Law has as many flaws and shortcomings as any other human creation, frequently lose all trust for it.

It's tough to use law -- which people don't understand, don't like and don't trust -- to convince them of anything. Appeals to emotions, beliefs or (sometimes) to reason and principles, work much more effectively.

I'll also note that, whIle most people accept that a decision settles a legal issue, a significant number of the people remain unconvinced of the fairness of any particular decision.
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:46 PM   #22
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

This sounds kind of like you're asking "what skill do I roll to plunder a dungeon full of monsters?"

If I was running it, it'd be at least one session of roleplaying, if not several. If the PCs aren't elite troops/police/secret police or something like that, then honestly consider making PCs just for that one adventure.

As officials and such, then there's still and adventure to be had. Talk to the loyalists in the government. Feel out the loyalty of a questionable captain to see if they've got what it takes.

Last edited by PTTG; 01-10-2018 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:05 PM   #23
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Yes, but that's not putting down a potential coup; it's suppressing public demonstrations or riots. Not the same animal at all.
A better example might be the 1991 failed coup by the KGB in the Soviet Uniion.
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:32 PM   #24
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Law isn't used to justify rapid (and frequently violent) political change in the planning and execution stages. However, alteration of the structure of the legal system, as well as a redefinition of the philosophical assumptions that underpin that structure, are frequent consequences of such rapid and irregular political change.
Do coups have that effect? It seems to me that many coups either transfer power from one clique to another, without changing the law in any significant way, or replace a government that has rule of law with one that has no concern with law, but dictates actions in particular cases without trying to provide general rules.

I would say that a coup is more likely to succeed if the general population has little trust in the rule of law in the first place. At that point it comes down to "my gang has more guns than your gang."
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:57 PM   #25
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Do coups have that effect? It seems to me that many coups either transfer power from one clique to another, without changing the law in any significant way, or replace a government that has rule of law with one that has no concern with law, but dictates actions in particular cases without trying to provide general rules.

I would say that a coup is more likely to succeed if the general population has little trust in the rule of law in the first place. At that point it comes down to "my gang has more guns than your gang."
Which is the disadvantage of being a dictator: once you start playing those kind of games there is no reason it can't come back on you. It is no wonder that paranoia makes so many of them far worse then a mere authoritarian rule would have to be.
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Old 01-10-2018, 05:14 PM   #26
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Do coups have that effect? It seems to me that many coups either transfer power from one clique to another, without changing the law in any significant way, or replace a government that has rule of law with one that has no concern with law, but dictates actions in particular cases without trying to provide general rules.
It's fairly common to try to maintain a veneer of legitimacy by reference to an existing legal system, but with enough changes that it's not really the same system any more ('constitutional reform', etc).
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:05 PM   #27
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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It's fairly common to try to maintain a veneer of legitimacy by reference to an existing legal system, but with enough changes that it's not really the same system any more ('constitutional reform', etc).
It is less common to pull it off. The Hanovers did or rather their councilors(basically they were hauled out of the great Germanic hiring hall for kings because a king was needed). But satisfying the desire for legitimacy is a lot harder then getting a temporary rule merely by force and fraud(though in any event there will likely be a bit of aforesaid "F&F" whatever happens) .
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:59 AM   #28
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Yes, but that's not putting down a potential coup; it's suppressing public demonstrations or riots. Not the same animal at all.
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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Eh, essentially, until the First Consulate, politics in France boiled down to coups, counter-revolutions and attempted coups. Who ended up winning determined which was which.

In any event, Napoleon was clearly defending the Convention against a counter-revolution on 13 Vendémiaire. It's true that he didn't arrest anyone, but that is because others had that responsibility.
"Revolution" and "Rebellion" are both colored terms that can be used to characterize just about any attempt at seizing power. "Coup" is a narrower term. It involves one group with some government authority quickly and secretly arresting, capturing, or otherwise neutralizing a faction within their own government. A riot, even one with the aim of changing government power, is not coup. Its not a government body. Its not typically very selective about its targets. And it relies on publicity as a weapon rather than secrecy.

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I think that something this complicated (and very likely plot central) should involve more roleplaying than an individual skill - rather, it should involve a raft of them...
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Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
This sounds kind of like you're asking "what skill do I roll to plunder a dungeon full of monsters?"

If I was running it, it'd be at least one session of roleplaying, if not several. If the PCs aren't elite troops/police/secret police or something like that, then honestly consider making PCs just for that one adventure.

As officials and such, then there's still and adventure to be had. Talk to the loyalists in the government. Feel out the loyalty of a questionable captain to see if they've got what it takes.
There are circustances where I would reduce plundering a dungeon full of monsters to a single roll.

The players had already identified 4 independent groups of the conspirators, including a clear mastermind.

They had identified a few different allies who are not part of it, particularly at the army level, and at the highest level.

The most interesting arrest, that of the mastermind, will have to wait until he gets back in town.

So we have mostly played it out...

Playing out the same adventure 6 times can be boring, at least for some. At that point the PC's had convinced me they had the methods and organization to pull off the coup. Most of what was left was details. Yes, I totally could have gone into more detail. There are several parts of this campaign were we could have generated secondary PC's and played a sub-campaign. But that's not the game we're playing.

------------------------------------------------------------

Law probably isn't important for the morning after, it appears. It is a complementary roll that you should take if at all possible, though, as if you break it too badly you'll undermine your own legitimacy.

Thanks for the answers!
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Old 01-11-2018, 07:55 AM   #29
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
It is less common to pull it off. The Hanovers did or rather their councilors(basically they were hauled out of the great Germanic hiring hall for kings because a king was needed). But satisfying the desire for legitimacy is a lot harder then getting a temporary rule merely by force and fraud(though in any event there will likely be a bit of aforesaid "F&F" whatever happens) .
However I'm not sure I'd classify that as a coup.
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:25 PM   #30
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Default Re: Skill to Plan and Execute a Coup

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However I'm not sure I'd classify that as a coup.
It was a successful conspiracy to overthrow the head of state and install a new one. Very few things in life fit exactly into a Platonically abstract category.
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