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!