Principles of War

Alright, you stupid fuckin’ morons! What do we already know about warfare?

  1. Always side with whoever’s protecting children!
  2. Never defy your chief medical officer!!!
  3. If you want to work with an army, you need to work better as a team! We can’t just all go commando! Everybody needs to learn the standard equipment, if you learn any of the Marvelous moves, that’s just marvelous!
  4. Sometimes, all you can do in battle is escape; but sometimes, you need to stand your ground and fight!
  5. Sometimes, you need to hand over information; sometimes, you need to withhold it. You can’t hand over our secrets to just anyone! That’s a potential enemy!!!
  6. Stand united or fall divided! The family that stays together, slays together!
  7. Either go for the leader, or kill as many things as possible! Don’t try to do both at once. Choose your battles wisely! Morgoth is not like the Dark Lord in a galaxy far, far away. He has legit fighting skills and magic powers.
  8. You can’t fight in a field the same way you fight in a forest! You need to understand the lay of the land! We do not understand the lay of this land!
  9. Be as loud and noisy as possible! Over the din of battle!! Axes to the foxes!!!
  10. Sometimes, you need to break rank; but sometimes, you need to follow orders.
  11. Leave the warfare to the adults! We’re not bringing a bunch of baby animals into battle. Yavanna will be absolutely furious!
  12. “Ego” is the rudest word they’ve got? Fuck that bullshit! Use real swear words!!! Like warriors! A single swear word is enough to get everyone’s attention around here. Use this power wisely.
  13. Take over! When someone’s ill-suited for command!
  14. Have a backup plan in case your leader gets gold-sick.
  15. Govado i nothrim în ah i mellyn în mi Mannos” means “May you meet your family and friends in Mandos“. You can’t save everybody. Bad things still happen even when you try your best.
  16. Not everybody is suited for the field, and not everybody is suited to defend the home.
  17. In real warfare, you don’t always get the units you’re expecting.
  18. Pawns moving one square at a time makes sense, and so does the queen going wherever the hell she wants! But why do the knights move in L-shapes? That’s not how knights move in real life! Whoever designed this game is a freakin’ weirdo!
  19. Transfer units you can’t use to someone who can use them effectively.
  20. “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” ― Sun Tzu (a Chinese general who wrote The Art of War).
  21. “If you wish for peace, then prepare for war.” ― Oda Nobunaga (a Japanese Diamyo who forwent honor and social conventions to actually succeed at warfare).
  22. “Better one big enemy that you can see than many small ones you can’t.” (Mando’a proverb).
  23. “In any conflict there are always three sides; two opposing and the innocent who are caught in the middle.” ― A.J. Garces, illustrator.
  24. “Any warrior knew that death by slow poisoning was worse than death by the blade.” ― M.L. Wang, The Sword of Kaigen.
  25. “All warfare is based on deception.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  26. “We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  27. “Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  28. “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  29. “If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  30. “The general who is skilled in defense hides in the most secret recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  31. “The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  32. “Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  33. “Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  34. “No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  35. “When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixed duties assigned to officers and men, and the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner, the result is utter disorganization.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  36. “If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler’s bidding.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  37. “Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  38. “Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  39. “The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  40. “Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  41. “Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  42. “At first, then, exhibit the coyness of a maiden, until the enemy gives you an opening; afterwards emulate the rapidity of a running hare, and it will be too late for the enemy to oppose you.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  43. “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
  44. “A warrior is more than his armor” ― (Mando’a proverb).
  45. “Horror would not annoy a soldier any more than the sight of a hammer annoys a carpenter. It is sentimental to pretend that horror is not the tool of the soldier, just as the hammer is the tool of the carpenter. We live off death and the threat of death and we must take it calmly and use it well…. Eventually I came to enjoy killing, as a pianist enjoys the Czerny which keeps his fingers limber for the Beethoven.” ― (Irwin Shaw, American playwright).

We’re Calemir’ade! We bend, break, steal, and adapt anything it takes―including souls, oaths, gods, and people―we need to keep ourselves safe! And raise children properly! “Pressure makes gems, ease makes decay” (Mando’a proverb).

Education and armor,

Self-defense, our tribe,

Our language and our leader—

All help us survive.

This is a translation of what Mandalorians call the Resol’nare. It’s their religion. Let us contribute to our tribe’s welfare by increasing their knowledge! Ardan Elves love learning things, and calling everybody children―including adults! Let’s all be kids again! Ardan Elves may be traditional, but they’ll still want their kids to have fun! We need a cin vhetin: a fresh start or clean slate; literally: “white field”. (Mando’a term).

Part 2.


7 thoughts on “Principles of War

  1. Sun Tzu’s Art of War (actually the name is Bing-fa by the School of Sun Tzu) was created 2700 years ago as a methodology for achieving objectives without conflict. The military language – misunderstood by the military – always – was a teaching device. It’s metaphorical.


    1. this is actually really good to know. that book link sounds awesome, too! i’m no warfare student, so i’ve been trying to study enough warfare-related things to eventually tell something of a Star Wars story. i also consider in-person, verbal conversations a battlefield anyway with my horrible upbringing anyway, so i’ve been trying to retrain myself to treat such conversations like a battle. i may not have a lot of “HP”, but maybe I can learn to raise my “Critical-Hit Chance” with whatever I do manage to say and impress people that way.

      even i admit this series’ metaphors are getting a little too entangled now. “What exactly is the metaphor again???”

      Plus, in-universe, the idea is that this is a series of essays that we’re sending to the Middle-Earth Elves who have even less of an idea of who Sun Tzu / Ba Fing (and China in general), but also prefer flowery language. Therefore, the “warfare” people they will prefer to learn from are the flowery-languaged ones, not the plain-languaged person whose quote is about growing to enjoy killing :/ . all the essayist has to do is shut up and say “yep, this is definitely a warfare guy!” and everyone will think he’s brilliant.

      but that is important context for non-Middle Earth people to know, so thank you!

      this is also why i’m dialing my posting schedule back to not-daily. it’s rough. although i do enjoy numbers going up. i’d rather spend my time with things, even though i conversely agree that i spend too much time fiddling with tiny things that only i will notice or care about.


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