It has already been revealed in one of the Aspect splatbooks that there is some individual knowledge of the Sidereals and their activities in the Realm in the minds of some Dynasts. I'm putting together an epic game, and something that's been troubling me as I've been working on the ideas of a new Emperor taking up the mantle is what would happen if the truth of the Sidereals and their impact on the Realm and the Immaculate Order came to light?
How This Came About
In one of my earlier games, a Sidereal PC pulled the rest of the party, consisting of Solars and an experienced Dragon-Blood, into the plot of the Celestial Bureaucracy as they attempted to discover the whereabouts of an ancient artifact of great power. During the search, the Dragon-Blood separated himself from the group on various occasions, searching out his father, whose exceptional heritage he had begun learning of only recently (before then, he'd known nothing of him). It's assumed that after these adventures, the Dragon-Blood returns to the Realm, and continues to serve in the Wyld Hunt. Perhaps it is some hubris that the Sidereals presume he would keep quiet on what he saw, or perhaps they continued to watch over him.
This comes back to haunt them, though, when the man who would be Emperor begins to rise in power. The Fire Aspect book provides that the head of the Mnemon house knows of them, and that it's unusual to do so. I'd guess that something between 6 and 12 Dragon-Bloods are sufficiently aware of the influence to be a threat to the Sidereals that they would apy attention to them. Now, the character from the game I ran was actually able to enter Yu-Shan (he was kept under close watch by the Celestial Exalts, but still...), but was otherwise seemingly too preoccupied with his work to be considered a direct threat. If the Emperor had found out about this from several DB's as he reworked the Bureaucracy, it's possible that in his righteous fury, he snaps against the Sidereals and begins a witch hunt against Sidereals in the Realm.
Considering that in my idea, the new Emperor is a relatively young member of House Mnemon who gets his power to rise so quickly from discovering several important First Age items. He knows from some texts that the Immaculate Order's views of the past are not entirely justified, and he's able to get a hint of the deception placed into the post-Deliberative societies. When the Empress comes back with the Ebon Dragon, he rises to the challenge. He reworks the Imperial Defense Grid to run off of a different source than the demon within, which allows him to stop the Dragon and Empress. With the final proof to him that the Realm has been poisoned, he sweeps into the political void, using popular support to oust the Regent and take control of the Scarlet Empire. The leader of House Mnemon begrudgingly allows him to take the throne for two reasons: first, she realizes that his youth and drive will be good for the stagnant realm; second, she will have more influence on the Reformation aiding the immensly popular Emperor than if she vied for control, since everyone had expected her to be next in line but did not enjoy that prospect.
The Reformation would, in an echo of the French Revolution, likely revolve in large part around the weeding out of Sidereal influence, since it can be used as a scapegoat, along with the tainted Empress, for the abyssmal state of the Realm in the beginning of the Interrum (my term for the period between the return of the Empress and the stabilization of the new nation-states rising in Creation). Since the Sidereals can run, I suspect those that are not caught in the initial onslaught either work beyond the Realm's borders, or with extreme caution.
After the Realm restabalizes, it will certainly retain a high suspicion of Sidereal influence. I figure that while the general well-being of mortals will rise as the governmental machinery settles and whirs more productively than before, the fear of Sidereals getting their claws back into the machine will lead the governmental organizations to be even more discriminatory against mortals, since proving that one is not a Sidereal when one cannot pay the mote to flare a Terrestrial's banner is far more difficult. The power of patrician families will therefore wane greatly unless the new government adapts in order to handle the balance of power.
The revelation of even part of what the Sidereals have been doing is enough to start a conflict, I imagine. Assuming the Realm went at them quickly, and the Sidereals cared mostly about getting out quickly and safely, the conflict would certainly be short, and there would likely only be a few casualties on the Celestial side.
Three things come to mind here. What process might be used to make sure enough of the word of the Sidereals' doings sticks in order to do this? Could such a revelation weaken the curse of Arcane Fate, with that much knowledge retying their influence to fate? How would the rest of the world respond to the knowledge that secret masters might be influencing every organization of any power in Creation? (More to come.)
The Factions and New States
In the long run, I think the backlash will be such that the power balance within Yu-Shan will shift dramatically. With the Bronze Faction weakened, the Gold will be pushes into a position of at least near-equality. Given that I'm concurrently envisioning the Solars rebuilding a nation from Rathess and the Scavenger Lands, they would probably quickly rise to becoming the most powerful faction. Something else I'm considering is that with the ability to influence the Realm waning, there would be some movement into establishing a real Silver Faction. This isn't as solid an idea, though, since I'm not sure on how I'll treat LunarNations yet.
Arcane Fate & Shattered Destinies
Within the Realm, the requirements in focus and effort needed to maintain the memory of the Sidereal corruption will require constant vigilance. The propaganda machine necessary to constantly reweave their existance into the minds of the masses will be great. As a result, it would make sense that, at least within the Realm, the power of the Great Curse would be somewhat diminished. Eventually, the ties of fate from the Realm would make it so, at the least, Sidereals in the Realm area will find themselves more noticible. Likewise, their resplendant destinies and astrologies will probably both be weakened; the increased ties of fate crystallizes destiny in the Realm, making the Sidereal's influence even harder to forge than the Dragon Bloods would expect.
Results for the Future
What this all means is that the focus of the Sidereal plans will need to change. With the rise in power of the other Exalts, and the Realm no longer being the single bastion of civilization, Creation will for the first time have major players on par with one another. With the deaths of many elder Sidereals either having passed or looming ominously, their nature in the world will have to change. There will be at least three factions now, the Silver joining the Bronze and Gold; depending on how Sidereals feel about the Autochthonians and Deathlords, there could be other factions rising as well (Adamant and Obsidian, respectively). A non-canon modification I'd make in a case like this is to up the number of Sidereals to 125 (25 for each caste), to make the spread of factions work more sensibly.
The Realm can't afford to stand alone against all their problems, so the Dynasts would perhaps make some noise, do some Immaculate soul-searching but eventually still work with the Bronze Faction, perhaps on a bit more equal terms. Look at how concepts of good guys and bad uys, us vs. them can be twisted in the real world, and then imagine the kind of spin Chejop Kejak and his cronies could muster with all their power and contingency plans. The Gold Faction, if revealed, might go for broke and more openly help Solars. Resplendence
I would say the biggest problem is that the Immaculate Philosophy - the state religion and pretty much the justification for the way the Dragon-Blooded do things - is made up. If this comes to light, there will be Problems. The other primary problem I can forsee is if the Sidereals decide to work openly with the Realm. Then the Immaculate doctrine goes from being "anathema = bad" to "anathema = bad except for some anathema, who = good". Since this is somewhat more complex than before, it means followers of the religion will start thinking about it, and wondering what other bits might be wrong or subject to sudden 'revision'. As a way of maintaining social order, the Immaculate philosophy would become markedly less effective if it seemed less... perfect. Or neat. Or infallible. - Falcon
Thanks for the comments. Yeah, I figure that the revelation as to the nature of the Sidereal's influence menas that the Realm will never be the same. If the Realm proves able to remove the Sidereal influence from its institutions, I posit that the only ways the Bronze Faction will be able to exert any future influence will be to either prove themselves less of a threat than something else (possible, as I'm also working on a surge in Deathlord activity at the same time) or that the Sidereals who work for the Realm are directly sanctioned by the Emperor, and their presense is hidden from the public. Otherwise, the Realm works without the support and overlordship of the Sidereals. Canamrock
There are going to be two other big fallouts from this, actually. First off, if the Terrestrials start actively hunting Sidereals around the Blessed Isle, they're going to seriously start interefering with the Sidereal ability to do their jobs. The result of that would be an upswing in the number of fate tears and demonic breaches all across the Blessed Isle. Every time the Sids can't get things back in order, there'll be a paradox, and something nasty will slip out (actually, I thought that organizing an anti-Sidereal witch hunt would be something the Infernal Empress might try, if she was subtle enough to return without getting caught). The second problem is that there's a good chance that the Wyld Hunts will be curtailed even further, since they were mostly (not to their knowledge, mind you) using Sidereal astrology to get to the Solars fast enough. Net result, the Solars are even more likely to get out safely than before. Thoughts? - FrivYeti
I can see the demons being blamed on 'the anathema', and the Wyld Hunt being redirected to do in demons rather than Solars. Just a thought. - Falcon
Perhaps Sids could make their castes appear more elemental in nature - which they already are to some extent - and claim to be further along the road of Immaculate enlightenment or some such? That way they'd get more DB guniea pigs for their experiments in teaching advanced MAs to DBs. Resplendence
I think that this would happen over a much longer time period than most people are thinking. The Solars didn't just become currupt overnight, and the Dragon Blooded did not just hold contempt for one day in order to overthrow them. I think it would take about 10-20 years for the total collapse to happen, in which time the Solars could regain a decent amount of power in order to take up the defenses of creation again. You are still going to have Dragon Blooded with the same thinking as their paradigm is going to be extremely slow to change, maybe even lasting until the last old Dragon Blooded of this age is dead. Isn't that what is happening with the Siderials? They have a ancient old man running the place, and once he dies the power also shifts, though it will seem to happen in slow motion in Creation. -Miles