INFINITY: A Look at Factions Part 2: Yu Jing

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 Keeping the train rolling, time to take a look at the second greatest  power in the Human Sphere…one that  is  just itching to become top dog.

((DISCLAIMER: Of course, the N3  rulebook was released online before the  first  part  of this series was scheduled to go up, and  in the  holiday rush, I didn’t  manage to secure  good enough net access to update it. As a result, I’ll revisit ALEPH once the  PDF supplement updates are up.))

E. Unum, Pluribus

May you live in interesting times. Our interesting times.

Yu Jing is Order. Yu Jing is Tradition. Yu Jing is growth through enforced excellence, willpower and sacrifice. Yu Jing is relentless and merciless in its pursuit of victory, as its enemies often learn to their sorrow.

As befits a superpower that created its identity by forging the industrious, populous and often antagonistic nations of the cradle of the human race, Yu Jing is nothing if not  pragmatic. It is authoritarian and centralized. But that power is not  often concentrated and personalized; emperors who get too overconfident tend to have very brief terms that end in tragic falls in the bathroom that  not  only end their lives but regrettably ruin the Cubes beyond recovery. The strength of the society is not in any one person’s  brilliance or ambition, but  in the systems that guide and regulate the endless power  of  Yu Jing as a StateEmpire. And when those systems align, they are an unstoppable force indeed.

“For the Emperor! …Wait, that feels a bit wrong somehow…” 

In a ‘high’ sci-fi game  like Infinity, how  futuristic  is the faction? The answer is “As much as  it  needs to be”. We’re talking about a superpower that reworked the  ancient Imperial systems so it could cling to them, and while it is capable of subtlety both in and out of the  battlefield, it  knows and values more blunt approaches. If the death f the cell is the health of the body, YJ is never afraid to pave the way to a glorious future with blood, and doesn’t flinch if a good  bit  of those red cells are their  own.

Yu Jing’s theme  is that  of a stratified nation trying to get  its layers to work harmoniously. You  have the Imperial Seat, which rotates between two dynasties so no one gets delusions of  permanence or  undue  importance; they, like all others, are servants of the Yu Jing ideal  and should not overstep their bounds, which include heading the Supreme Tribunal. The Judicial Corps keeps tabs on who is doing what and enforces  imperial discretion while also keeping tabs  on the Emperor himself,  makes sure that the smaller institutions and ethnicities are getting with the  program, and in turn fall under pressure from parliament and the Emperor’s bully pulpit if they become too heavy-handed. And then there’s the Party, which forms the  vast core of bureaucrats and legislators that can make things  happen or not happen, depending on how nicely all other factors are coming along and  how their two faction align. That, and they  hold the  power to resurrect  Emperors  or not, which is quite a deterrent  in a world where  death has been somewhat defanged.

“This will only hurt for a second, citizen. Unless you resist. Then it’ll hurt for the rest  of your  life.”

For us western barbarians and  our (supposed) love of freedom, this brand  of, um, muscular Confucianism may sound tyrannous and static. However, history  has shown time and again that  people will put up with a  lot of authoritarianism, and even grow to relish it, if the jobs keep coming, the trains run on time, and -insert uppity minority here- is  kept down. And  if you can say one thing about YJ, is that  it delivers the goods; it knows that it needs strong, sustained expansion to keep its system viable. Their  kind of venture  usually exists  on  only two modes: Vigorous  growth or  chaotic collapse, with not  much wiggle room between each.

“How dare the StateEmpire oppress my toned  midriff!”

Let’s not forget the Japanese Question! In-game, it  just adds a very popular sectorial (ninjas, samurai and Akira-style bikes? I’m amazed JSA  hasn’t seceded  into its very own game yet!), but as a world-building element, the fact that Yu Jing  keeps the vast majority of its japanese people as second-class citizens says a  lot about their ‘feel’, and their priorities. Heck, you have units who are basically double agents and frag officers who lean too hard on their  japanese underlings.

Since poverty causes unrest and inefficiency, the state makes sure that even the lowest ‘castes’ are somewhat  looked after, unlike PanOceania, which boasts a higher standard of living but simply accepts that those who fall by the wayside and end up in dire straits were never meant for anything better  and are of no concern, according to their meritocratic laissez-faire ideology.

 So yes, it’s a delicate balance, and while YJ can be considered the darkest shade of gray among the human palette in Infinity, they are a vast span of gray with the well-being and future of a good  chunk of humankind as  its responsibility. If Warhammer 40K lore is an exercise in  grimdark excess, Infinity is about what form the future of humanity will take: Will it be  christian free-market fundamentalism? A strong State oversseing an orderly society? Humanist traders guided by faith and diplomacy? A melange of wild and eccentric creativity with no thought  of consequences? A harmonious, managed blend of all of those, managed by an inhuman AI arbiter? Or a destiny  of servitude to alien empires all too happy to make that choice for  us?

Yu Jing is one of the answers. It might be the one that suits you.

The Dragon’s Talons

 
If  one had to pick the faction’s specialty, the easy answer would be  “heavy infantry”.  It has tons  of  different grades and styles of guys in power armor, some  of them cheap and disposable, some  severely specialized and lavishly priced. You have Cube-less HI to troll Sepsitors, MSV2 HI to ventilate Myrmidons and hunt camo with heavy machine guns, camouflaged infiltrating heavy troopers to scout through enemy  lines and  pop up with a HMG  in their rear, HI meant to run forward and slice the enemy to chunky salsa with melee weapons, invisible HI to pop a surprise  missile  upon unwary opponents, and veritable two-legged artillery platforms.

But that would be an oversimplification. There are other aspects that are very characteristic  of the faction. A certain stark dichotomy between the lowly grunts and the elite bigshots (far more than you could find in, say, Nomads) would be one. An increased focus in melee combat as well, but not at the cost  of  any firepower. Heck, the Yan Huo  is so dedicated to “More Dakka” as a concept that  it could  likely be an ork model in 40K with a green paint job…except that he actually  knows how to aim.

PanOceania pictures itself as the guy in ropes. The YJ Party imagines PanO as the same guy, but with a few more bullet holes.

As far as big names in warfare go, it  can’t get  much bigger than Sun Tze. The guy literally wrote the book. His  latest  incarnation is durable, ties with the Avatar for the highest WIP in the game (and  it  makes his  Flash Pulse infinitely annoying to others!), is no slouch in a shootout, brings Strategos L3 to the game, and  has the great ability to add an extra command token, which can be  used to terrifying effect to allow  coordinated  orders for up to 4 of your models to advance aggressively  or  redeploy if the situation changes.

From what we  have seen of N3 so far, Yu Jing has an amazing wealth of  options for almost any role, and that  makes covering all your  bases  a breeze (Unless you go sectorial. That  usually  means  leaving some  parts  uncovered so you can -really- cover the hell out  of the  others). Tiger Soldiers are strong contenders for  best AD troop  in the game, with their excellent BS, mimetism, and  flamethrower option to fry annoying  camo/ODD before  it becomes an issue.  Ninjas are cheap and deadly specialists that are  hard to prepare against. Guilangs bring great  utility and can be taken in  pairs now. In fact, unless we are talking monsters  like the Hac Tao and Hsien, you can  usually afford to bring  more than one of what you like, and still have points  left for your other  needs.

Gaps in the Armor

The faction is certainly  light-years ahead of the low-tech armies like Ariadna and Haqqislam, but  one YJ weakness  is a  lack of hypertech: you won’t  find MSV3, cheap NWI models, ODDs, Hacking Devices + and  many other cooler toys in the lists. It  has  plenty of  tech, mind you, and even some  unique stuff  like the Karakuri bots and their  swiss-army-knife approach to weapon loadouts, but they are exceptions. Yu Jing is about  giving strong models the good (but  rarely the  -best-) stuff and having enough of them to pummel the opponent into submission.

Yu Jing also has precious few uber-skilled specialists. No WIP 15 hackers, engineers or doctors, though again, you can make up for that with the sheer number  of them. Between Ninjas, Guilangs, Tiger Soldiers, Dao Fei and Zu Yong Invincibles with handy Hacker or Forward Observer options, holding your force away from Objectives can feel like trying to stop a fire house with a paper  napkin. Just don’t expect to win any infowar duels with Interventors! 

Also, while this is  hardly a fatal flaw, the main YJ tag (Gui Jia) can very well be described as mediocre, if we are feeling a tad uncharitable. 

More faction overviews coming soon!

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