Bagua Zhang

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Foundation: 1769
Capital: Xian in Shensi
Religion: Buddhist

By Martin Helsdon, modified by James Gemmill


A splinter of the Divine Kingdom of Judah in 1769, formed during an ongoing internal power struggle either brought on or exacerbated by the destruction of the Judean capital by Qing airships (theorized by some to actually be Martian "Mantas" in disguise).

Bagua Zhang: " of the three major internal Chinese martial arts. The word 'baguazhang' literally means "eight trigram palm". The trigrams refer to diagrams from the Yijing, one of the canons of Taoism. These diagrams in turn refer to eight animals, upon which in some styles of Baguazhang movements or fighting systems are based on."

The History:

Still to be written.

NewsFax Entries

1769 – 1770 T220
Bagua Zhang: With the foundation of the Judean state so abruptly annihilated by the Qing attack, every Buddhist heart in the realm rejoiced. In the far west of the kingdom, a long-extant but unremarked society called the Bagua Zhang (the Eight Trigrams) took the opportunity to lead the lower-class citizens of Shensi in revolt! Much to their surprise, there was essentially no resistance to their winter rising and by March of ‘69, all of Shensi and the city of Xian were in their hands. The Catholic population cowered in their houses, waiting for the pogrom to being…

The Judean lord Talus, who had held command of the garrison at Tanshui, was seized on the road to Xian by frenzied peasants and torn to bits, his body scattered along the highway for more than a mile. His fate was not far off from that which befell the Catholic Cardinal Castiglione, who was attacked while leaving his residence in Guyin (down in Funiu) and murdered by Eight Trigrams sympathizers active along the Qing border. This single event, coupled with the widespread attacks of the Bagua Zhang against Catholic institutions, led to the near-collapse of Papal authority in China.

When the winter snow cleared from the roads in April, three Zhang armies burst forth from Shensi. One of them, that led by Master Kun, was reinforced by the footless khan of the Bulingir, Kadan, who now rode against this great enemy once more with a zealous fire in his heart. Kun attacked east into Houma while Master Li paralleled his course south of the Huang Ho with a drive into Shentung. Master Dui struck north into Huang. During this time, the Judean generals were still squabbling over the throne in the east.

Li’s advance into Shentung met no resistance and Tsing’dao city, which was strongly fortified, was convulsed with rebellion when he reached the walls. Fighting in the city quickly swung to the Zhang cause when Li’s artillery began hammering at the gates. By the end of May, the entire province was in Buddhist hands. Leaving a garrison to keep the Catholics cowed, Li plunged on into Honan itself, intending to smash the remains of the Judean state with one blow.

There were over 50,000 Judean troops in Honan – but General Seei had already sped east with the Imperial Guard in an attempt to seize the fleet at Xinpu – so Master Li’s attack caught them unawares. Worse for the Judeans, the destruction of Pienching had outright slain thousands of Catholic lords and the rest of the landed nobility were overwhelmed with refugees from the city. The sudden onset of the Zhang, therefore, caught everyone unawares and in disarray.

Despite this, however, Li’s numbers were quite small – only 6,000 men – though a peasant rising in the province added another 12,000 rabid (but ill-armed) Buddhist zealots. Master Li was counting on confusion as his greatest ally, but the acting Major of Engineers, Wan Suu, rallied the core of the Royal army to react to the incursion. As Li’s advance was threatening to seize the bridges at Pienching (which remained intact, despite the destruction of the city by fire and plague), Wan Suu marched north with all speed, gathering up scattered Judean regiments as he went.

Unfortunately for the Engineer, Li reached Pienching first and had time to dig in his guns (the Zhang having scrimped and saved over many years to amass a modern armory) and the Judean cavalry and infantry was forced to attack their positions at the Railroad Yards frontally – the Grand Canal on one side, and the ruins of the city on the other. Wan Suu advanced with a heavy heart – his experienced eye saw the raised railway beds made a fine redoubt – and the first crack of cannonfire thrust a dagger through his heart.

The mass attack of the Judean lancers stormed across broken ground, surging up against the Zhang lines – and shattered, shredded by canister at short range and the volley fire of the Buddhist riflemen. Wan Suu fell back, his army staggered by its losses, and fled south into Tangchou. Behind them, the countryside of Honan was aflame with burning estates and the roar of the peasants releasing two centuries of bitter hatred in an orgiastic spree of genocidal violence.

Master Li had little time for that however, as his own engineers were rushing for fortify the two great bridges and canal against the return of ‘Emperor’ Seei. That worthy returned in haste from Xinpu with the core of the Imperial Guard and saw the shattered core of his putative empire in enemy hands. Now, however, he had only 12,000 men to hand and the enemy lay waiting in a fortified position with almost as many… heart-sick, Seei elected to not attack the Zhang positions and instead attempted to cross into Hopei (where the remains of the bureaucracy had fled).

To his complete horror, he found the Zhang had assembled a river fleet which now held the Huang Ho against his cavalry and infantry. Without artillery to drive the war-junks away, he had no choice but to withdraw south through Tsainan, cross the Grand Canal into Anhui, and then, after two months of toiling across the blasted wasteland of that unhappy province, meet up with Wan Suu at Xiapin in Tangchou in April of 1770.

Meanwhile, in the north, Master Li had taken the opportunity to thoroughly loot every Catholic church, monastery and property he could lay hands on in Honan. On the other side of the river, the Zhang army commanded by Master Kun (ably assisted by Kadan of the Bulingir) had marched through Houma and attacked Loyang city. Here, unlike at Tsing’dao, there was an actual Judean garrison (a field artillery regiment) which (though leaderless[2]) stoutly resisted both the Buddhist rebellion inside the city, and the attacks by Kun’s small force outside (and blockade by the Zhang river fleet).

After three months of brutal struggle, Loyang’s defenses were reduced and the city fell to the insurgents. A Buddhist garrison was installed and Kun turned to looting every Catholic religious property he could find. Once this was done – and no Judean response was forthcoming – Kun and his men pressed on into Hopei. Here too the peasantry rose up violently, mobbing Kun’s advance patrols, flooding thousands of raw recruits into his ranks.

Kaifeng city, however, was now the putative Judean capital… and it’s massive, heavily fortified gates now stood closed against the rabble rampaging through the fields without. Vast clerical estates in the hinterlands of Hopei went to the torch (or were dissected and granted to their feudal inhabitants) and the churches looted once more to fuel the Zhang war machine.

Kun set his river fleet to blockade the great city, and his guns began hammering away at the gates in August of 1770. Sufficient corvee labor was now available for the Zhang commanders to begin building a great entrenchment around the entire landward side of the capital.

Back in the west, the third Zhang army under Master Dui had raided north into Huang, where the fires of revolt burned bright, capturing the great fortress city of Yen’an when its citizenry rioted, hurling their bodies into the closing gates and fouling the mechanism, allowing Zhang commandos to storm inside. Dui then turned his attention to Kansu province – where he found no good welcome at all. The Catholic land-owners were well warned by the rebellion in Shensi and had already brutally suppressed any restive elements in their own populations. An orderly withdrawal was made into the fortress-city complex of Tanshui and the Tarahumara lords prepared for a long siege.

Dui, his forces bolstered by tens of thousands of Huangi levies, essayed to besiege Tanshui. His effort was a pitiful failure – even against the farmers, high-country ranchers and their teenaged sons holding the walls of Tanshui. The Zhang army reeled back twenty or thirty miles and made camp. The countryside now descended into anarchy as raiding parties from both sides ravaged the local villages, burning barns, wrecking paddies and generally repressing the population.

Returning to the east, Emperor Seei had rallied the Judean army at Xiapin and moved north again in the late spring of 1770, intending to drive the rebels out of Honan and raise the siege of Kaifeng. Master Li stood in his way… and now the Zhang controlled the Huang Ho, allowing Kadan of the Bulingir and the core of the army besieging Kaifeng to cross the river into Honan as the Judean army advanced cautiously up from the south.

This time Seei swung west around the ruins of Pienching with his cavalry, while the Imperial Guard pinned the Zhang against the city and the river/canal junction. Second Pienching promised the Judeans victory as they now outnumbered the Zhang ‘rabble’ by more than two to one… but once more they were entirely lacking in field artillery, and though well-blessed with sappers, the Buddhists were dug in and quite well led. Three fruitless Judean assaults on the Zhang lines failed – Major Wan Suu was killed near the Factory – and the Judean army retired again, this time in considerable disarray, back to Tangchou.

At Beijing at the end of 1770, Admiral Lee reviewed the couriered notes from the south, including a plea from Emperor Seei to lift the siege of Kaifeng lest the government be utterly destroyed by the rebels. Having no love for Seei, and seeing his own chance to reign as King of the north at least, if not Emperor of all China! Lee declared himself Emperor of Judah as winter came on, dusting the fallen with snow. The entire north followed him, including the defenders of Kaifeng and Tanshui, for he seemed to offer the best chance for victory…

[2] Cities with garrisons/wall points now automatically generate a 0-5 Combat value leader to defend them. In this case the Judeans got a L1 to command the defense.

The Masters

  • Li 1769-

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