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🎨 Creative 1001 Imperial Outrages! Down with the tyrants!


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Alright, I'll hop on this 1001 list bandwagon.

I've thought of a few things that would turn an occupied nation against its conqueror real fast (specifically in the context of Exalted, but they're general enough to apply elsewhere). Here's the list, and please do add to it with your ideas:

1. The empire hosts a powerful, dominant religious organization with strict taboos against certain things the occupied nation takes for granted. The imperial religion decides to flex its muscles and starts a rampage of divinely inspired vandalism, defacing artworks, cultural artifacts and sacred places for daring to defy the sublime edicts of the conqueror's prophets. This all comes to a head when the religion tries to destroy a cultural monument of massive national significance to the locals, who subsequently start a riot to protect it. The occupation government cracks down on the enraged rioters with excessive force.

2. A group of aristocrats from the imperial center take a "vacation" in the tributary state, flouting all local laws and mores and doing whatever they please. This excessive debauchery takes a dark turn into rape and murder, getting so bad even the imperial government takes notice. The offenders are quietly extracted and privately chastened, but suffer no public punishment. The victims are not even acknowledged as the government waits for the situation to die down.

3. Local businesses and industries are persecuted, driven out or shut down under ridiculous charges. Naturally, imperial magnates and foreign factors swoop in to establish virtual monoplies and drain the local economy dry. Poverty and starvation skyrocket.

4. In order to supplement their ranks and reduce the possiblity of rebellion, the empire recruits thousands of young people from the tributary as auxiliaries, either drafting them or telling lies about promised rewards and the circumstances of service. These auxiliaries, often the most likely individuals to make up the ranks of rebels, are sent to die in horrible wars far from home. The few that survive their terms of service return to their families maimed and traumatized.

5. The empire begins resource extraction in earnest, concentrating all the tributary states' manpower and industry into producing or retrieving whatever the invader finds valuable. As local industry becomes hyperspecialized, the economy distorts, making the conquered land overreliant on one or two sources of national income. As the fortunes of the imperial industry rise and fall, so to do the fates of the inhabitants. Quality of life suffers a gradual downturn, and human souls become a cheap commodity.

6. The empire hikes taxation up to ridiculous, unsustainable levels. Poverty and starvation spread like plagues. Meanwhile, local imperial cronies receive their share of the spoils, and live like kings while the common folk rot. Ordinary people must debase themselves in humiliating servitude to the cronies for food, or else compete with one another for dwindling resources.

7. The empire withdraws its garrison forces and refuses all calls for aid, preoccupied with its own problems. Raiders, rivals and monsters ravage the borderlands and probe deep into the heartland, and the empire refuses to do anything it. They of course continue to demand their tribute, the occupational government's forces extorting taxes from the populace while doing their level best to evade any actual danger whatsoever.

8. The occupied nation guarantees its people certain rights, according to its social structure and traditions. The empire flouts these rights, for instance ignoring a claimant's right to a trial by jury, or habitual interference in honor duels.

9. Criticism, even of a constructive nature, is not tolerated under the occupational government. Anyone who dares to speak against governmental conduct, whether he or she be an artist, intellectual or government offical, is either publicly punished or quietly intimidated into silence. The most blatant example of this comes when a group of highly respected savant-philosophers are publicly executed for sedition after a farcically one-sided show trial.

10. A certain family or organization has ruled the land for generations, the populace having long since embraced them as the true legitimate power. This body refuses to obey the empire's increasingly tyrannical edicts, and subsequently suffer the conqueror's wrath. Entire families are wiped out, and the survivors and their most loyal followers are forced into hiding. The empire appoints sycophantic quislings in their place, who enact the imperial will with zeal.

11. The empire takes a divide and conquer approach, exacerbating or outright fabricating tension between local cultural, ethnic, political, racial or religious groups. The tributary turns against itself as the occupiers play the sides against each other and reap the rewards. The conflicts inevitably turn violent, and blood flows through the streets and fields. The empire ultimately puts the weakest or most hated faction into a position of power and privilege over the others, practically enslaving the group to imperial protection while directing the nation's ire away from their true oppressors.

12. A local tournament or sporting event of great significance is ruined due to imperial meddling. Champions representing the empire itself or its local cronies are given ludicrous advantages, or even benefit from outright cheating. The locals are scandalized and furious.

13. Certain animals considered sacred by the locals possess unique qualities, are extraordinarily difficult to catch or put down, or both. Imperial aristocrats take to hunting these sacred animals for sport, sneering at local protests. They even bribe or threaten locals to go against their own beliefs and help hunt the creatures down.

14. Imperial treasure hunters defile sites and artifacts of deep cultural or religious significance in pursuit of treasure. The occupiers manage to avoid any negative consequences directed at themselves, and completely ignore any negative repercussions suffered by the populace.

15. In order to increase its profits, the empire enslaves large portions of the tributary's populace. Entire communities are depopulated and sold into servitude, usually in foreign markets. Widespread chaos and suffering within the occupied nation ensues.
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16: The empire's magic is fuelled by large-scale human sacrifice targeted against the slave caste. Slave revolts become a tool of the empire's social structure; they run around breaking things, turning the castes against each other and encouraging solidarity between local and imperial elites, and then the captured slaves can be sacrificed.

(not my idea - this one comes from Choice of Rebels: Uprising)


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17. The Empire, citing the need to fight further wars to conquer and secure territory, seizes food and other resources, causing a famine in the occupied lands.
18. The food seized by the Empire is discovered to have been left to rot in warehouses.
19. The Empire, decrying the inefficiency of traditional small-scale farming, seizes land and puts it under the direct control of its favored agents, who will use proper Imperial farming practices, depriving many farmers of any means to make a living.
20. Imperial farming practices are in fact less efficient, and unsuited to the local ecology, causing famine.


Diligent Procrastinator
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21. In an effort to suppress troublesome national identities in occupied territory, the Empire decrees that the official names of certain cities and states will be changed. Maps and history books that use the original names are destroyed, and it is made a criminal offense to say the old names. (Borrowed from the novel Tigana, where a tyrant has his revenge by trying to erase a country this way).

4th of Eleven

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22 - The new imperial governor is marked in some way that under local law would make him ineligible to lead - eg, an obvious birthmark marks him as 'cursed', he comes from an 'unclean' background, he lacks the ritual scars that mark him as having undergone the ceremonies of manhood.

23 - Newly minted Imperial currency is in some way offensive - eg, depicting the Emperor in a way that would normally be reserved for the divine.

24 - The Empire encourages/discourages polygamy, in violation of local traditions.

25 - The Empire forces 'reforms' of inheritance law and property rights. Traditional law has it that land is divided between all heirs, or held in common by a clan, while the Empire wants to encourage primogeniture (inheritance solely by the eldest child).

26 - The Empire has a large slave-caste, and uses them extensively for labor, displacing free workers and undercutting wages.


The Demon Slayer
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27. The Empire outlaws the main religion practiced by the locals, burning down its temples, killing its clergy and dragging people off screaming into the night for practicing it.


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28. The Empire tries to hold the occupied territory with not nearly enough troops, due to emergencies elsewhere. The locals see their opportunity and jump at it.

Well, I know the title mentions outrages and tyrants, but the first post just says "things". I thought I could add a different perspective...


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
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29) The Empire's the Noble/Elites are paying for immortality treatments. It is expensive, even for them. They are increasing the costs of everything to line their own pockets so they can live forever.

30) Food has increased in price to make it nearly impossible for normal people to eat. The harvests have been poor recently. Food is costly. The centuries old Grain Laws taxes grain (and most other food stuffs) from outside the Empire, protecting The Landed's income. There is food, just beyond people's price. Many are grumbling.

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
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31) In an effort to "make things simpler" the empire forces people to have cultures, languages, names, etc grouped by phenotype rather than traditional/natural divisions.

(Yes, I had this idea once for explaining fantasy monocultures.)


Spiker (proof on request)
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32) Census time! The Empire wants your name, your family's names, a list of what you own and so on.

32a) Census takers are imperial citizens who don't understand local naming conventions ("What's your family name?" "Which family? My father's family? My village family? My spirit family?) As a result the taxmen can't find the right people and start hanging tax dodgers who paid their taxes under a different name.

32b) The village horse is owned by everyone, so everyone claims to have a horse on the census. When the Empire demands half the horses in the village for a war, the half carcass that is delivered is taken as an act of rebellion. The hangings will continue until the horses are delivered.

32c) Everyone must have an address to be taxed at, even the nomads. The nomads are made to settle in towns, their response is to wander away across the border. The Empire starts rounding up nomads who cross the border in concentration camps.

33) Nomads who nomad across the Empire's borders are no longer welcome in the next country over, who fear the Empire's rhetoric about armed cavalry raider/bandit/thieves being their fault. Nomad refugees head deeper into the Empire and start camping and grazing animals on other people's pastures.

34) The local language is suppressed. Everyone must learn imperial. Taxes, documents and official notices have to be translated by shady translators who use the ignorance of the locals to overcharge and skim off the top. There is little written in imperial around these parts and literacy levels plummet. Also, the Empire wants to round up all those seditious teachers who are secretly teaching people to read and write their own tongue.

35) A troublesome senior imperial figure (a prince or the half-brother of the Empress or whatnot) has been sent out into the boondocks to keep them out of the imperial court. The asshole decides to ferment a rebellion and there's enough dissatisfied locals who buy into the rhetoric to get things moving. Here comes the Imperial ROFLstomp.
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