Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

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Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-10-15 08:35am

Was ever said in either DSC itself or in the EU material why the Klingon Empire was in a state of disorder?

Also if there's no official explanation what is your speculation (and no "Discovery is crap" is not a valid explanation here).
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by tezunegari » 2018-10-15 04:53pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2018-10-15 08:35am
Was ever said in either DSC itself or in the EU material why the Klingon Empire was in a state of disorder?

Also if there's no official explanation what is your speculation (and no "Discovery is crap" is not a valid explanation here).
I don't think they said why, at least on-screen.

There might be some licensed book/comic that explains it but I think those are still all considered non-canon.

They only mentioned on-screen that they haven't had contact with the Klingons in a century outside of Terror raids.

At least as far as I can remember.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-10-15 05:32pm

Because Klingons gonna Klingon?

Seriously, Klingons have been a fractious society in every era but TOS (and maybe Enterprise, I don't really recall). I guess that's the price of having a warrior society obsessed with honor and death in battle.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-10-15 06:34pm

Hypothesis: Double dipping into Klingon warrior culture at the expense of other needs of society, as talked about in Enterprise. With an entire minority of smooth heads, there's racial conflict as well.

This lead to more conflict, maybe even a civil war, and the empire coming apart.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-10-15 09:31pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-10-15 06:34pm
Hypothesis: Double dipping into Klingon warrior culture at the expense of other needs of society, as talked about in Enterprise. With an entire minority of smooth heads, there's racial conflict as well.

This lead to more conflict, maybe even a civil war, and the empire coming apart.
Sounds close that my speculations were. I suspect that there were also weak chancellor(s) (politically speaking) who couldn't keep the whole mess together and the Great Houses started to become independent enough from the council to break the unity such as it is of the Klingon Empire.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-10-16 12:06am

I would postulate that a semi-feudalistic society built around feuds, "honourable" combat, and death in battle like the Klingons can likely only function if there is a) an exceptionally strong chancellor/emperor who can play politics well enough to keep any of the other houses from getting strong enough to oust him, or b) an external enemy to united against.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-10-16 12:31am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-10-16 12:06am
I would postulate that a semi-feudalistic society built around feuds, "honourable" combat, and death in battle like the Klingons can likely only function if there is a) an exceptionally strong chancellor/emperor who can play politics well enough to keep any of the other houses from getting strong enough to oust him, or b) an external enemy to united against.
That's more or less what I suspect as well though I suspect that "tradition" also plays a major role in keeping the Klingon Empire united, in essence the heads of the Great Houses would be reluctant to be seen publically breaking their oath of loyality to the High Council, since their enemies could use that to destroy them for breaking "klingon law".

However I suspect that an especially a weak chancellor would cause the Great Houses to bend the rules more and more until the central authority was essentially meaningless since the chancellor was too weak to punish those that bent the rules too far. So without an enemy to unite them the Great Houses would only play lipservice to the High Council and Chancellor since they could get away with it.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2018-10-16 02:15am

Two points

1) The Klingon Empire is old. Founded in the 9th Century old and a regional super power back in Enterprise old. It's not prone to flying apart because it has survived a thousand years. It is prone to solving its political problems with violence, which should surprise none of us since Klingons vote on contentious issues with bat'leths and disruptors.

2) At the beginning of Discovery there are 24 Great Houses and they are still the High Council. T'Kumva is rebuked by Kol for presuming to dicatate terms to the Council while not being on it. They all respond to the idea of a united empire by quickly backing T'Kumva in fighting what they perceive to be an intrusive and culturally threatening Federation. While it's clear that the Empire is internally riven, some of its institutions have survived and the idea of a unified empire and a greater common culture and interest are values that are publicly embraced by the heads of all the Great Houses.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-10-16 05:25am

The wars do always seem to be about who rules the Empire, the idea of actually fracturing the Empire on purpose seems rare.

But while some of this is the whole warrior mentality, it makes some sense. They declared an Empire a long time ago, yet they appear not to have defeated a single other species or any of their primary enemies. Even when they traveled a long distance to invade the Cardassians whom were in the middle of their own internal problems and weakened by a protracted set of wars the victory was less then complete. That kind of string of events has precedent in real life and it's never great for stability.

Maybe the only enemy they did ever beat was... the smooth headed Klingons! All the fighting we see in post TOS Trek episodes may really trace back to how that went down. They just don't tell outsiders about it. Presumably because it shows them as some kind of combination of weak, pure fools or genociders.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2018-10-16 08:58am

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-10-16 05:25am


But while some of this is the whole warrior mentality, it makes some sense. They declared an Empire a long time ago, yet they appear not to have defeated a single other species or any of their primary enemies.
Trek completely avoids the issue whether or not the Klingon Empire has actually conquered any other species/polity. There's some noncanon stuff and the Abrams-verse says they've conquered at least two other species that Starfleet knows about, but its never really addressed if the might Klingon Empire is really a mighty conqueror at all.
Even when they traveled a long distance to invade the Cardassians whom were in the middle of their own internal problems and weakened by a protracted set of wars the victory was less then complete. That kind of string of events has precedent in real life and it's never great for stability.
They rolled over the Cardassian fleet pretty hard even after the Federation warned the Cardassians that the Klingons were coming. The Federation effectively propped up the Cardassians after that. Gowron's authority seemed to hold after that, but he's also got a really good "stabbed in the back" story to prop it up. It isn't until he starts wasting ships and lives to destroy Martok that his authority slips.
Maybe the only enemy they did ever beat was... the smooth headed Klingons! All the fighting we see in post TOS Trek episodes may really trace back to how that went down. They just don't tell outsiders about it. Presumably because it shows them as some kind of combination of weak, pure fools or genociders.
With Discovery we can now add yet another kind of Klingons defeated by the Klingons.;)
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-10-16 02:28pm

a.) what DO we know about the Klingon Empire in the general time period from Enterprise to TOS?

b.) Is it explicitly 'fractured' as in it has broken up into competing factions trying to assume control of the Empire as a whole, or is it just a few rogue Houses fighting private wars?

Bear in mind that I've never watched Discovery and don't know a whole lot about it, so...
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by tezunegari » 2018-10-16 04:04pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-10-16 02:28pm
a.) what DO we know about the Klingon Empire in the general time period from Enterprise to TOS?

b.) Is it explicitly 'fractured' as in it has broken up into competing factions trying to assume control of the Empire as a whole, or is it just a few rogue Houses fighting private wars?

Bear in mind that I've never watched Discovery and don't know a whole lot about it, so...
to A)
Virtually nothing is known about that the internal situation of that time ( both in-universe for the Federation and out-of-universe for us).
The last contact with the klingon empire was 100 prior to Discovery and only sporadic attacks against colonies happened.

to B)
If I remember correctly the HIgh Council has lost most of its power to control the 24 Houses that are its members.
Essentially every house acts on its own plans and agendas instead of acting in the interest of the Empire.

T'Kuvma used Kahless' beacon to call the leaders of those houses to the Binary Star to force them into a war with the Federation to unite them again.
But with his death the unity never came and every house started a one-upmanship against eachother to prove themselves better then the others.
This one-upmanship lead to the total war/genocidal level of warfare with igniting atmospheres and bombing whole spacestations.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-10-16 05:47pm

Imperial Overlord wrote:
2018-10-16 08:58am
They rolled over the Cardassian fleet pretty hard even after the Federation warned the Cardassians that the Klingons were coming. The Federation effectively propped up the Cardassians after that. Gowron's authority seemed to hold after that, but he's also got a really good "stabbed in the back" story to prop it up. It isn't until he starts wasting ships and lives to destroy Martok that his authority slips.
Yup its pretty clear they could have most likely completely dominated Cardassia, if not outright conquered all of it left alone. But instead the Federation's involvement and other factors limit them to retaining some outlying systems, which didn't sound like glorious prizes. Meanwhile Federation technology and political complications prevent them from taking over DS9, and prevent them from taking any kind of wider revenge, and basically they only end up more interdependent on the Federation as DS9 goes on.

It's not exactly a glorious place for a warrior culture to be when it's being curbed by another space power that for the most part doesn't even build completely dedicated warships! That's the perfect situation to breed revolutionary behavior until a system is achieved in which expectations match reality. But we've seen in human culture that mechanism can take centuries to function.
With Discovery we can now add yet another kind of Klingons defeated by the Klingons.;)
I haven't seen any of that, but why am I not somehow surprised. Personally waiting until CBS has the second season out, then I'll pay them for a month of service so I can binge watch it, if I don't hate it. Got too much on my other watch lists to worry about it right now.

A common fan theory here and elsewhere used to be one reason the Klingons might seem a bit weak, and love melee so much, is that they were actually encountering the Borg on the far side of their Empire away from the Federation and successfully fighting them off. This never made any direct sense in canon, Q specifically brought the Borg towards the Federation and the Klingon's surely would have boasted of defeating them, but it had a certain appeal to it.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-10-16 06:25pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-10-16 05:47pm
A common fan theory here and elsewhere used to be one reason the Klingons might seem a bit weak, and love melee so much, is that they were actually encountering the Borg on the far side of their Empire away from the Federation and successfully fighting them off. This never made any direct sense in canon, Q specifically brought the Borg towards the Federation and the Klingon's surely would have boasted of defeating them, but it had a certain appeal to it.
I think the reason for the preference for melee is that the Klingons were uplifted as a slave class by the Hurq, and this resulted in a medieval level society having access to starships and warp drive. Essentially, a very socially primitive society using very advanced technology. They skipped the guns trump melee development, leading to a lot of melee weapon preference in their civilization. However seasoned Klingon warriors bring out the disruptors and use the blade as a last resort.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2018-10-17 02:26am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-10-16 06:25pm
Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-10-16 05:47pm
A common fan theory here and elsewhere used to be one reason the Klingons might seem a bit weak, and love melee so much, is that they were actually encountering the Borg on the far side of their Empire away from the Federation and successfully fighting them off. This never made any direct sense in canon, Q specifically brought the Borg towards the Federation and the Klingon's surely would have boasted of defeating them, but it had a certain appeal to it.
I think the reason for the preference for melee is that the Klingons were uplifted as a slave class by the Hurq, and this resulted in a medieval level society having access to starships and warp drive. Essentially, a very socially primitive society using very advanced technology. They skipped the guns trump melee development, leading to a lot of melee weapon preference in their civilization. However seasoned Klingon warriors bring out the disruptors and use the blade as a last resort.
That has the little problem of not being canon. It's possible, it's the line that STO goes with, but what we know about the Hurq in canon Trek is they did attack pre warp Qo'noS, they did steal some shit, and they are believed to be extinct. Now as it goes, the Hurq strip mining the shit out of the area would also explain the Klingons claims to be resource poor in TOS, why they overmined Praxis, and some of their aggression. If you're already prone to glorify war and war was how you stopped being exploited by a more advanced race, you might feel that its a hostile universe out there and you should grab everything you can before someone does you dirty. Peaceful first contact with the Vulcans made us nicer, brutal first contact with the Hurq made the Klingons nastier.

We should also remember that Trek loves hand to hand combat, despite everyone being armed with death rays. TOS has so many fist fights that you might think Starfleet issued karate gis instead of phasers for self defence.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-10-17 03:09am

I kinda just always took the Klingon's behavior with the swords to be a reference to how Japan banned most guns for a few centuries a way to impose social stability. It doesn't make any military sense, but it limits the damage that goes on. It's at least sorta plausible that the Bat'leth duels may have actually come back into Klingon culture after they got into space? Why because having a pistol duel on an early spaceship was probably a really bad idea in terms of the spaceship remaining space tight. Collateral damage from a sword fight should be less. As the ships improved this may have become less relevant of course, by the Trek era clearly small arms fire isn't a hazard but it might have been for several centuries prior, a long time to establish a tradition.

The fact that the Bat'leth duels often take the form of a shoving match also actually kinda fits with this idea, it's a suitable form of fighting for close quarters such as a very small spacecraft (think nuke sub for an early Klingon warship, like that Romulan BoP from TOS) even by sword standards. I assume that had at least some relevance to why the actual people filming these fights on a sound stage did it like this too and with less sweeping motions on average. Short, simple, compact kind of fight sequence.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-10-19 11:07pm

Wouldn't a short thrusting sword like a Roman gladius be optimal for that sort of environment?

Actually, the swords used in TOS's "The Day of the Dove" (before the Bat'leth was introduced to canon) are kind of like that. So maybe there's some basis for that.

But yeah, I'm a fan of the idea of using melee weapons on spacecraft under the justification of avoiding a hull breach/damage to vital machinery caused by the reckless discharge of bullets.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-10-20 06:32am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-10-19 11:07pm
Wouldn't a short thrusting sword like a Roman gladius be optimal for that sort of environment?

Actually, the swords used in TOS's "The Day of the Dove" (before the Bat'leth was introduced to canon) are kind of like that. So maybe there's some basis for that.

But yeah, I'm a fan of the idea of using melee weapons on spacecraft under the justification of avoiding a hull breach/damage to vital machinery caused by the reckless discharge of bullets.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if Bat'leths were intentionally inefficient to show off the skill of the warrior.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-10-20 03:44pm

That too.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Master Six » 2018-10-23 03:38pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-10-19 11:07pm
Wouldn't a short thrusting sword like a Roman gladius be optimal for that sort of environment?
Yes. Although you don't even need a shortsword -- even a longsword can work well in tighter hallways. Two bat'leths going at it would degenerate into a shoving match behind locked prongs. There's just no maneuverability.
Actually, the swords used in TOS's "The Day of the Dove" (before the Bat'leth was introduced to canon) are kind of like that. So maybe there's some basis for that.
I'm a sucker for swords even in a futuristic setting. I think "Day of the Dove" does a good job distinguishing Klingon culture from Human/Federation culture without being silly. Even with spaceships and ray guns they continue to respect and adhere to a tradition of bladed combat, which gives them the edge sometimes, even out of luck. If there is ever a full return to the 24th century, I'd like to see the Klingons use more realistic swords in a less ridiculous fashion. Save the bat'leth for martial arts training.
But yeah, I'm a fan of the idea of using melee weapons on spacecraft under the justification of avoiding a hull breach/damage to vital machinery caused by the reckless discharge of bullets.
It would also be a nod to the naval traditions underpinning Starfleet. Maybe the KDF works off the model of the Great Heathen Army.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Esquire » 2018-10-23 08:33pm

Master Six wrote:
2018-10-23 03:38pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-10-19 11:07pm
Wouldn't a short thrusting sword like a Roman gladius be optimal for that sort of environment?
Yes. Although you don't even need a shortsword -- even a longsword can work well in tighter hallways.
This is at least not obviously true; care to walk through your reasoning? My experience is that a cutting weapon is at a serious disadvantage in confined spaces compared to a thrusting weapon, and that a longer weapon can be a good or a bad thing depending on exact circumstances, with the balance being towards bad. History seems to bear this out, given the weapons common among shield-wall troops and tunnel/trench fighters; a Saxon infantryman has a spear, sure, but he also has an axe or a sword as soon as he can afford it, and a WWI soldier going trench-raiding leaves his rifle behind and brings a fighting-knife or an entrenching tool if he can't get a shotgun.
It would also be a nod to the naval traditions underpinning Starfleet. Maybe the KDF works off the model of the Great Heathen Army.
I'm not sure what you mean by either part of this. What naval traditions did you have in mind, and how do the various Lodbrok children come into it?
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2018-10-24 02:20am

Esquire wrote:
2018-10-23 08:33pm
Master Six wrote:
2018-10-23 03:38pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-10-19 11:07pm
Wouldn't a short thrusting sword like a Roman gladius be optimal for that sort of environment?
Yes. Although you don't even need a shortsword -- even a longsword can work well in tighter hallways.
This is at least not obviously true; care to walk through your reasoning? My experience is that a cutting weapon is at a serious disadvantage in confined spaces compared to a thrusting weapon, and that a longer weapon can be a good or a bad thing depending on exact circumstances, with the balance being towards bad.
He didn't say a longsword would be superior. He said a shorts sword like a gladius would be great, but that weapons like longswords would also be effective. Not superior, not equal, not garbage, just work well. There are a number of close quarters fighting techniques for weapons like longswords that allow them to used in tight quarters and any situation where it does have a room to work with it will have length advantage. A longsword can be a quite effective thrusting weapon.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Master Six » 2018-10-24 09:57am

Thanks Imperial Overlord, you summed it up perfectly. A shorter sword is ideal, but someone with skill will not have too many problems with a long sword and has an obvious reach advantage. Skallagrim on YouTube has a video about self-defense tactics in the home with a variety of blades. Unlike a real sword, the bat'leth cannot even hope to work poorly without a greater amount of space to maneuver and swing it about.

As for naval traditions, sailors of old were expected to be able to hold their own in melee combat, considering that gunpowder supplies didn't stay dry out at sea. U.S. Navy officers still have swords as part of their dress uniform, even if they never get used.

The Great Heathen Army line was a joke. TNG Klingons are Space Vikings, after all.
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Esquire » 2018-10-24 11:30am

With that as a gloss, fair enough - although I still think it ought to be 'can work,' not quite 'works well.' Skallagrim makes entertaining videos, but is not actually an authority on real-life melee combat.

As to tradition, I think saying Starfleet draws from Age of Sail navies to any but the most cosmetic degree is a bit of a stretch.
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Elheru Aran
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Re: Reason for the fracturing of the klingon empire

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-10-24 01:36pm

Longswords aren't that hard to use in an enclosed space-- in those circumstances, you use them as short spears, basically, and they have a secondary function similar to a staff, in which you can use the flat of the blade between your hands to help you wrestle your opponent.

As for the Klingons and swords... *sigh* I don't have much issue with the bat'leth being some sort of ceremonial weapon, and it should be noted that they do have secondary weapons such as the mek'leth and the dagger, which are MUCH more useful. The mek'leth is basically a fancy kukri, for example.
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