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Thread: Bruce and Barry get Bushwhacked - an Austrian AAR

  1. #1
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Bruce and Barry get Bushwhacked - an Austrian AAR

    OK, after having read the boards, and especially the AARs, for a few months now, I have decided to have a go at an AAR of my own. The fact that Warspite has recently started an Austrian AAR make me a bit nervous, but my style (both in writing and game play) will be different, and, as will become clear, my game premise really requires that I play Austria.

    I am playing Austria in the Grand Campaign, v 1.07, no betas. I have random missions on, to add a bit of interest.

    I am setting myself the following goals:
    • Discover and colonise Australia
    • Avoid taking any sort of loan, and keep inflation to a minimum at all times
    • Convert all Christians to Catholicism

    The style I have in mind means that I will probably make slow progress, but I have an ending in mind for my characters, so even if I don't make it through to 1820, the story will hopefully have a clear finish.

  2. #2
    Admiral of the Kings Fleet Warspite's Avatar
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    some interesting goals, good luck with it
    What a Game!

  3. #3
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Prologue, Part I - This place, I don't think it is where you think it is

    Prologue, Part I
    In which Barry and Bruce arrive at an unexpected destination

    Scene: A dark and winding road. Our heroes are two men in early middle-age, neatly dressed in blue business suits, travelling inside a Land Rover, following a pitted track through the night.

    Bruce: You'd think they'd have a sign. We're heading for the capital after all.

    Barry: Or better road markings ...

    Bruce: Or cats-eyes on the roadside ...

    Barry: Or a road ...

    Silence descends once more. The vehicle continues to bounce along as Bruce steers around the worst parts of the "road." Dawn breaks slowly, revealing an undulating countryside, surrounding the winding track.

    Barry: I think our mission is clear ...

    Bruce: Oh yeah, couldn't be clearer.

    Barry: We get to Canberra and offer advice to the government there. I do taxation and trade, and you do ...

    Bruce: You don't remember?

    Barry: Should I remember?

    Bruce: From last time we worked together, you nong.

    Barry: We worked together before, did we?

    Bruce: I don't know, did we?

    Barry: Didn't we?

    Bruce: I thought you'd know. You seem to know whats going on.

    Barry: I thought you were running the show. So what is it you do then?

    Bruce: Foreign policy and military training. From what I hear there's gonna be a bit for me to do.

    Barry: Really? What do you hear?

    *pause*

    Barry: Well, what do you hear?

    Bruce: I can't hear anything unless you keep your trap shut!

    Silence descends. Barry looks out the window, where daylight is taking a firm grip on the landscape.

    Barry: You know, I didn't realise that the mountains were so high here.

    Bruce: What mountains?

    Barry points out to the left, where the rising sun is illuminating the snowfields atop the towering mountains.

    Bruce glances, then stands on the brakes. The vehicle shudders to a halt. Bruce lets out a low whistle.


    Barry: So is that Canberra then? *pointing forwards*

    Bruce: Must be, I guess. Although I didn't realise it was a walled city ...

    Barry: Me neither. And I thought we were gonna blend in?

    Bruce: We usually do ...

    Barry: Well, I think we're the only one that doesn't have a cow of some sort pulling their car.

    Bruce glances at the road ahead, where carts are beginning to occupy the road.

    Bruce: You're right Barry. I realise its a banana republic, but surely they're not this backward here?

    Barry: No wonder they asked for help Bruce.

    Bruce: Yeah, no wonder. It'll be a bigger job than I expected dragging them into the 21st century.

    Barry: Maybe we should leave the car here, and walk it. Don't want to stick out like a budgie on a bare branch.

    Bruce: Hmmmm ...

    ...

    Scene: City gates. Two men dressed in business suits approach the gate. Four city guards with halberds are at the gate. The guard captain, identifiable by the sword at his side, crosses himself and hails the intrepid duo.

    Guard Captain: Halt strangers! State you business in Vienna!

    Bruce: We have come to Canberra to offer our services to the ...

    Barry: *tugging Bruce's sleeve* Err ... Bruce.

    Bruce: Prime Minister of Australia, to guide the Commonwealth ...

    Barry: Bruce ...

    Bruce: through this particularly challenging time ...

    Barry: Bruce!

    Bruce: What?!

    Barry: *to the captain* Did you say Vienna?

    Guard Captain: *eyeing the strangely dressed duo* Indeed. I have never heard of the Kanbrau you speak of.

    Bruce: Vienna isn't the capital of Australia is it Barry?

    Barry: Not last time I checked.

    Bruce: Then why are we here?

    Barry: Tell me captain, is it the year 2004?

    Guard Captain: *suspicious* I know not what Satanic calender you use, but all decent Christians know that it is one thousand four hundred and nineteen years since Our Lord and Saviour was born in a humble manger ...

    Barry: *rolls his eyes* Someone has stuffed this right up ...

    Bruce: How's that?

    Guard Captain: Men! These strangers are either sorcerers or diplomats, or possibly both. Seize them and take then to the dungeons!

    The guards surround Barry and Bruce and drag them off.

  4. #4
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Prologue, Part II - Work, or else!

    Prologue, Part II
    In which Barry and Bruce readjust their thinking

    Scene: A dark, dank dungeon.

    Bruce: I really hope that's not a cow pat I'm sitting in.

    Barry: If I were you, I'd hope it is a cow pat.

    Prisoner: Oi! Get out of my garden you madmen!

    Bruce: Errr ... Sorry. I didn't realise.

    Prisoner: Always the way ... They come in here, they squash my garden, then off to be executed.

    Bruce: *gulps* Executed?!

    Prisoner: Oh yes ... Very efficient executions here. No messing about.

    Barry: Well, Mister ... You've obviously been here for a while then?

    Prisoner: Oh yes, I have been here for ... *he crawls over to the wall and begins counting under his breath* Just over three years now.

    Barry: Not to put too fine a point on it ... Why haven't you been executed?

    Prisoner: *stunned look* Oh no, they can't execute me! Not without causing an international incident. I am His Majesty Charles VI's ambassador to the Austrian court.

    Barry: You're an ambassador?! What did you do to make them lock you up?

    Prisoner: Do? I don't understand what you mean? All the ambassadors end up here. I frequently talk to the English ambassador in the next cell, and he tells me Hungary is one over from him, and Bohemia beyond him, then Poland ... well you get the idea.

    Bruce: Did you say Austrian court?

    Prisoner: Yes

    Bruce: So you are the Austrian ambassador?

    Prisoner: No, you fool! I am the French ambassador to Austria!

    Bruce: Not Australia?

    Prisoner: Where is that?

    Suddenly the prison door opens and a tall, slim young man with dark hair and a porno moustache enters, followed by a slight figure in a hooded cloak. The French ambassador leaps to his feet and bows low to the young man. Bruce and Barry slowly get to their feet. The moustachioed man looks Bruce and Barry over.

    Prisoner: *out of the side of his mouth* Show some respect for the Archduke!

    Bruce: You're in charge here, then?

    Albert: *seems surprised by Bruce's tone, but not offended* Indeed, I am Archduke Albert, the ruler of Austria.

    Bruce: Not Australia?

    Albert: *as if talking to a small child* Aus-tri-a ...

    Bruce: Aus-tray-ya?

    Albert: *turning to the hooded figure* Are you sure they are the ones you summoned?

    Hooded One: *shrugs* Perhaps we can discuss it later, my lord? *nodding towards the ambassador*

    Albert: Yes ... You are right! Come Wolfgang and Ludwig, there is work for you to do!

    Albert grabs Bruce and Barry by the arms and drags them out of the cell.


    ...

    Scene: The archducal throneroom. Albert seated on a throne at the top of three stairs. The shadowy figure stands, on a lower stair, to his right. Bruce and Barry stand before him.

    Albert: *to the hooded figure* No one will overhear us here?

    Hooded One: *pauses* Only the four of us are in this room. No one is in the neighbouring rooms.

    Albert: Are you sure these are the ones we requested?

    Hooded One: *shrugging slightly* Where else would they come from?

    Albert: *to Barry* Are you my new advisors?

    Barry: *glancing at Bruce* Err ... well, that is ...

    Albert: Perhaps they are not? Perhaps they really are wizards, as the guard thought?

    Bruce: Oh no, there's nothing magical about us.

    Albert: Not magical? The what use are you to me?

    Hooded One: You can always kill them later, my liege, if it should turn out that they are not who you need.

    Albert: True! *smiling at Bruce and Barry* Well, Ludwig and Wolfgang, welcome to my court.

    Bruce: But ...

    Barry: Shut up Wolfgang! *bowing to Albert, tugging on Bruce's arm until he also bows*

    Hooded One: I have provided my replacements. Wolfgang and Ludwig will serve you and your descendants well. They will guide you through the difficult times that will come. Listen to their advice, but make the dcisions for yourself, and never let anyone outside of your family know of their role. And now, my time here is done, and I may take my rest. Farewell, my liege!

    The hooded cloak settles slowly to the floor. It is unclear who or what was in it previously, but it is clear that now it is nothing but a shapeless grey cloak.

    Albert: Come Ludwig. Come Wolfgang. There is much for us to attend to. We will start at once!

  5. #5
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Thanks Warspite. I have already learnt more about 15th century Austria from your AAR. I suspect mine will be a bit sillier, and a bit less accurate.

  6. #6
    This is hilarious, please continue
    All EU3 AARs: Unsung Ballads of Aquitaine (on hold, WritAAR of the Week, 3/3/8), Magna Mundi AAR: 2nd Minor French-Burgundian War

    Some EU2 AARs: Give Unto Caesar What Is Caesar's - German Kingdom AAR (Weekly AAR Showcase, 12/12/3), Give Unto Caesar What Is Caesar's II - Roman Empire AAR, The Heirs of Caesars: Habsburg AAR, The AARt of War: Brandenburg 1617 Mini-AAR, The King and Queens of Spain AAR (WritAAR of the Week, 5/28/03), Sultans of Turkey AAR (lost pictures), Zaporozhian Host AAR, Decisive Campaigns and Battles AAR

    Some EU1 AARs: The Thirty Years War: The Austrian AAR, Third Rome, The Lords of the Horizons: Portuguese AAR, Al-Andalus, English Timeline AAR

  7. #7
    Field Marshal jwolf's Avatar
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    The classic Austria-Australia mixup. Delightful. And more than a little bit insane. Good luck guiding the Habsburgs to the Outback.

  8. #8
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Chapter 1, Part I
    In which Barry and Bruce get down to business


    Here's the status of Austria, for those who care about the game settings.
    Monarch: Albert V
    Admin: 5
    Dip: 5
    Mil: 7

    aristocracy = 8
    centralization = 4
    innovative = 4
    mercantilism = 8
    offensive = 5
    land = 8
    quality = 5
    serfdom = 8



    Scene: A dimly lit library, with scrolls, books and loose papers littering the desks and shelves.

    Barry: Looks like we're stuck here then.

    Bruce: But how are we going to be any use to a medieval European king? He'll have us back down with the French ambassador in no time!

    Barry: Look, the principles of good governance are universal, right?

    Bruce: *unconvinced* Yesss ...

    Barry: So all we have to do is tell him how to run the country a bit better, and she'll be apples.

    Bruce: Its worth a try, I guess. Maybe we can try and find our way to Australia while we are here?

    Barry: Its not time yet. There won't be a government there for another five hundred years or so.

    Bruce: Still, can't hurt to look, eh?

    Barry: No, I suppose not.

    Bruce: So am I Wolfgang or Ludwig?

    Barry: You're Bruce, Bruce.

    Bruce: I know I'm Bruce. I know you're Barry. But he thinks we're Ludwig and Wolfgang, so I thought we should straighten it out.

    Barry: Oh right ... I'm Ludwig, I think.

    Bruce: OK ... I'll be Wolfgang. Lets get stuck into this paperwork before Bert comes back and wants to kill us again.

    The two begin searching aimlessly through the piles of paperwork.

    Barry: Bruce, mate, how many troops are there in the army here?

    Bruce: *shuffles through several piles of paperwork* 25,000 foot soldiers and 15,000 cavalry according to this.

    Barry: Thats what I thought. *pointing to census figures* This says that there's only 31,000 people in the whole country!

    Bruce: Sounds like people trying to dodge tax to me, Barry.

    Barry: Sounds like the military over-estimating their own numbers in order to rip off the tax payers to me, Bruce.

    Bruce: We better sort it out, I suppose. *shouting* Scribe! Scribe! Come here!

    A round-shouldered scribe with mouselike features scurries in.

    Barry: Ahhh ... There you are! Look at this! *shoving the parchment under the scribe's nose*

    Scribe: Ahem ... yes .. that all seems in order. 7,000 citizens in Vienna, 7,000 in Graz, 6,000 in Salzburg, 5,000 in Innsbruck, and 6,000 in Krems. Yes, my lord?

    Barry: So there's about 30,000 people in whole damn country?!

    Scribe: No my lord! There are many more than that.

    Barry: Thats not what this says!

    Scribe: Indeed not, my lord. These figures only cover free citizens, and only the provincial capitals.

    Barry: *simmering* What use is that?!

    Scribe: I assure you, my lord, we use the most up-to-date methods.

    Barry: *slowly* Yes ... but you don't know how many people actually live in the country.

    Scribe: Why would we care how many serfs, peasants and other rustics there are in the countryside, my lord?

    Barry: Well, so you can tax them for one thing!

    Scribe: Oh we do have a comprehensive tax system.

    Barry: Really? Go on ...

    Scribe: Yes, my lord. Every year our citizens send their tithes here, directly to the archduke, who then spends the funds for the common good.

    Barry: What?! You don't have tax collectors in each province?

    Scribe: No. Is that necessary?

    Barry: Essential! Go away now.

    The scribe bows and exits.

    Barry: Well I think I know where I am going to be starting. What are you up to Bruce?

    Bruce: Well, according to that, we are spending 1.6 ducats a month on naval technologies.

    Barry: Sounds sensible to me Bruce. Especially if we want to get to Australia sometime this century.

    Bruce: *hands Barry a map* Take a look at this, Barry.

    Barry: Yes ... Its a map of Austria. So?

    Bruce: What would you say is our major port Barry?

    Barry: Port? Ummm ... Ahhh ...

    Bruce: Its a landlocked country Barry! Why are we wasting money on naval research?

    Barry: I see your point Bruce.

    A man dressed in modern clothing, and looking suspiciously like David Attenborough, appears in front of Barry and Bruce. He blinks once or twice, then starts to speak.

    Narrator: In their first weeks on the job, Bruce and Barry refocussed research investments, to concentrate on Infrastructure and Land technologies.

    In the background, Bruce and Barry stare at him.

    Bruce: Who's that Barry?

    Barry: Looks like David Attenborough to me.

    Bruce: What's he doing here? Making some sort of wildlife documentary?

    Barry: Probably, Bruce. *Takes off his shoe and kills a cockroach on the floor.* God knows there's plenty of it about.

    Barry scrapes the roach off his shoe and makes his way to present it to the narrator.

    Narrator: *Ignoring Barry* However, Albert soon had a more challenging task for them.

    ...

    February 1419, the Archducal throneroom.

    Albert: Ludwig, Wolfgang! Come here!

    Bruce and Barry enter, bowing

    Bruce: Yes, Bert?

    Albert: *bristling* You must show me respect!

    Barry: Yes, your Archiness. *bows again*

    Albert: I don't have time for this now, but you will learn the correct forms of address, yes?

    Bruce: No wuckers, Bert.

    Albert: *glares* I have a task for you. A task that will test your abilities to the limit. If you fail, I will execute you both. Clear?

    Bruce: *swallowing hard* Very well, Your execellency. What is it you want us to do?

    Albert: You will have five years to achieve this mission ...

    Barry: Yes, yes ... but what is the mission?

    Albert: By February 1424 you must ensure that Steiermark is a part of my realm.

    Bruce: Errrm ... Isn't Steiermark already ...

    Barry: *talking over Bruce* That will be challenging, Bert, but we'll give it a whirl. *Taking Bruce by the arm, bowing to Albert and hustling Bruce out of the throne room.*

    Bruce: But Steiermark is already a part of Austria ...

    Barry: Bruce, I know that, and you know that, but lets make the most of it, eh?

    Bruce: Ahhh ... I'm with ya now Barry. With ya now ...

  9. #9
    Very funny and a good writing style, crazy Aussies
    you have 1 chance to give back the clay

  10. #10
    I resemble that remark!

    Great AAR. Melbourners represent!

  11. #11
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Bruce and Barry aren't insane, they're just ... confused. I'm glad to hear that people are enjoying so far.

    I was going to write the whole thing through dialogue, but I was afraid I'd never get past the 1420s, so I had to introduce the narrator.

  12. #12
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Chapter 1, Part II
    In which Barry and Bruce go to war

    March, 1419. The Library.

    Barry: Bruce! Bruce! Come here!

    Bruce: What is it Barry?

    Barry: Just look at how much your army is costing us!

    Bruce: Yeah, its about 19 ducats a month. Good value, I reckon. Cheap at half the price.

    Barry: Perhaps Bruce, but we only earn 4 ducats a month.

    Bruce: You better work on that then, Barry. Otherwise the country will wind up broke.

    Barry: Yes, it will Bruce. I think we should disband the army.

    Bruce: No way! We need it for border control. Can't you increase productivity?

    Barry: I'm trying Bruce, but the pace of economic growth is slow. We'll run into serious problems unless we slash spending.

    Bruce: Well I hate to see a good army being wasted. How about a small war?

    Barry: I guess its up to you. Who against?

    Bruce: Venice, I reckon. We have a good excuse to fight them.

    Barry: Because of their protectionist trade policies, you mean?

    Bruce: Nah, it turns out that our man Al reckons that Istria should be his.

    Barry: Isn't he already in charge of Austria?

    Bruce: Not Austria! Istria! Its just south of Steiermark.

    Barry: Oh ... and whats Istria got to do with Venice?

    Narrator: *Striding purposefully into the room* And so, for a range reasons too complex to go into, in late March 1419, Austria declared war on Venice.

    Bruce: He's back again Barry.

    Barry: Must be some meerkats about, or something.

    Bruce and Barry both search the room, while the narrator continues his spiel.

    Narrator: Venice was already involved in a war against Hungary and Hungary's vassal Croatia, so the Austrians were confident. The Austrian Imperial Guard marched into into Veneto. Istria, the purported cause for the war was already besieged by the Hungarians, and so the K.u.K. Armee marched on to Dalmatia. Despite their willingness to make the hard decisions, on April 1, 1419 Bruce and Barry were demoted to Baronet.

    The war against Venice hung in the balance for a time. The army in Dalmatia was defeated by a larger Venetian army, however the Imperial Guard went almost unchallenged in Veneto. The remnants of the K.u.K. Armee struggled back from Dalmatia, through the mountains of Istria, to Veneto, where the combined Austrian forces were able to easily defeat a number of sorties by desparate, but poorly prepared, Venetian defenders.

    By early August it was clear that the Austrians had achieved their aims. The Austrian army, although only half the size it had been at the start of the war, was on the verge of capturing Venice itself.


    ...

    August 1, 1419. Bruce and Barry are alone in the library.

    Barry: Good news Bruce, I've managed to train enough of the scribes to understand how a tax collection system should work.

    Bruce: Thats great news Barry! So the tax revenues will go up now.

    Barry: Maybe a bit, but first I have to go around the provinces and train up some tax collectors.

    Bruce: How long will that take?

    Barry: About a year. Oh, and it'll cost 50 ducats per province ...

    Bruce: What?! You're getting me to destroy my perfectly good army because it costs too much, and then you spend ... *counting* 250 ducats on tax collectors?! Little blokes in grey suits? What use will they be if the Venetians invade?

    Barry: Well the Venetians wouldn't be wanting to invade if YOU hadn't started a war with them!

    Bruce: I only started the war because you were wanting me to save money!

    Barry: The money we spend on the tax collectors will pay itself back in the long run.

    Bruce: Just rack off and train your buddies will ya Barry. I've got a war to stop.

    ...

    Scene: The dungeons. Bruce is staring at the narrator, but the man in the cell appears not to have noticed him.

    Narrator: It took some time, but after three months of hard work, Bruce was finally able to meet with the Venetian ambassador. Albert has been helpful, so the ambassador was housed in a relatively clean cell in the dungeons.

    Bruce: Who are you anyway?

    Narrator: I provide continuity and colour. Without me, the entire local ecosystem would collapse.

    Bruce: How do you figure that?

    Narrator: If an elephant mates in the forest, and nobody sees it, can one make a documentary about it?

    Bruce: Very Zen. No, I guess not.

    Narrator: So as you see, I'm essential.

    Bruce: O ... K ... Are you finished then?

    Narrator: I think the ambassador wants a word ...

    Venetian Ambassador: Who were you talking to?

    Bruce: Continuity. You can't see him?

    Venetian Ambassador: Only you and I are in this cell. Are you sure you are able to make a deal with me? Perhaps I should speak with the Archduke?

    Bruce: *trying to focus* I am here as the representative of Austria. Any deal I offer you will be honoured by our nation.

    Venetian Ambassador: Very well. What is the deal you offer us?

    Bruce: If you'll agree to a truce for the next 5 years, we'll withdraw our armies straight away.

    Venetian Ambassador: And give up your claim on Istria.

    Bruce: Errr ... No.

    Venetian Ambassador: Then whats in it for me?

    Bruce: Well, for a start, our armies are surrounding your capital, and your armies haven't come within cooee of here, but more importantly, you'll have to deliver this offer to your government right?

    Venetian Ambassador: Well, obviously so.

    Bruce: So if we were to sign a truce with Venice, I don't think that there would be a need for Venice to maintain an ambassador here in Vienna ...

    Venetian Ambassador: So I need not return here?

    Bruce: Not once the truce is signed.

    Venetian Ambassador: Excuse me, I need to be going now ... I am sure the Venetian government will look favourably on your offer of peace.

    Narrator: On November 1, 1419 Venice and Austria signed a truce, and the Austrian armies were withdrawn from the vicinity of Venice, bringing the first war of Archduke Albert V's reign to a somewhat unstaisfying close.

  13. #13
    Field Marshal jwolf's Avatar
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    Too bad you couldn't get a province from the Venetians. But in any case, your story is a delight! Love to see the Aussies running the Habsburgs. And the "documentary approach" with the narrator adds a nice mix of fact and surrealism. Looking forward to seeing Austrian Melbourne.

  14. #14
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    The pesky Hungarians with their seige on Istria spoilt my plan to grab a province off Venice. I didn't really want to have Dalmatia as an isolated province. Still, I didn't lose the war, so that counts as a victory, right?

  15. #15
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Chapter 1, Part III
    In which its plain sailing for Barry and Bruce

    August 1420.

    Scene: The Archduke's private quarters. Like the library, this room is full of an assortment of papers, scrolls and books. Unlike the library, a giant four poster bed occupies one end of the room.


    Albert: Ludwig, Wolfgang! Come here!

    Barry: What can we do for you Bert?

    Albert: How many time must I remind you! Even when we are in private, you must show me respect. You never know who might be listening in ... *glancing around*

    Bruce: All right, your high and mightiness. You didn't call us here just to share you paranoid delusions with us, did you?

    Albert: No, Wolfgang. I have been monitoring your handling of international relations and I am disappointed, to say the least.

    Bruce: But we married off that ugly niece of yours to that Bavarian prince in March.

    Albert: True. I was quite pleased to see the back of Brunhilda. But what of our other neighbours?

    Bruce: I don't think we have anything to worry about there.

    Albert: What about Bohemia?

    Bruce: Apparently we have ... religious differences ... with them. None of your relatives are willing to marry into their royal family.

    Albert: The Bohemians ARE godless heathens who need to be brought back into the fold of the Holy Roman Catholic church. But why did we not form a military alliance with them?

    Bruce: Well we asked 'em, but they wouldn't have a bar of it while we were fighting the Venetians.

    Albert: That war finished some time ago ...

    Bruce: Yeah, but in the meantime Bohemia buddied up with Poland, so we missed out.

    Albert: Very well ... So who are our allies?

    Bruce: Just Bavaria at the moment.

    Albert: How about out vassals in Baden. Will they not join an alliance?

    Bruce: Errr ... well ... that is ... they umm ...

    Albert: Yes?

    Bruce: Well, they threw off our vassalisation.

    Albert: Ungrateful peasants! Let us invade them immediately!

    Bruce: Well ... we *could* do that I suppose ... but Savoy and Saxony are guaranteeing Baden's independence now. And besides, we'd have to get some sort of access through Helvetia to get to Baden, and the Swiss aren't too keen on us at the moment.

    Albert: So we will allow this slight to go unnoticed.

    Bruce: Oh we'll remember it, Bert. Revenge will come eventually.

    Albert: Good ... good ... In the meantime, I have a number of very ugly cousins who say they would like to move out of the mountains. Set up some good marriages for them Ludwig.

    Bruce: I'll start at once, your marvellousness.

    *Barry and Bruce turn to leave*

    Barry: *whispering* Phew! I'm glad you copped that, not me.

    Bruce: Its not a problem Barry ... He thinks I'm you.

    Barry: *swallows hard*

    Bruce: Give us a hand talking to the diplomats will ya Barry?

    Barry: No worries, Bruce.

    The narrator sticks his head out from a perch on the top of the canopy of the four poster bed.

    Narrator: Bruce and Barry spent many hours in the dungeons over the next few months.

    Barry: *Quietly* I think he's following us, Barry.

    Bruce: And it doesn't look like Bert can hear him. Weird.

    Narrator: If I might continue, gentlemen? During 1422, Austria made marriage alliances with Hessen, Saxony, Savoy, Genoa and Modena. In April of 1423, Bruce's diplomatic moves improved relations with Modena even further.

    ...

    April 1421. In the library.

    Bruce: I've got a couple of bits of good news for ya Barry.

    Barry: I'm glad to hear it Bruce. I could use a break from these tax returns. Do you have any idea how hard it is to implement self-assessment when most of the populace haven't even seen a calculator before?

    Bruce: Errr ... Not really, Barry. Anyway, as I was saying ... I've been busy, and managed to establish cantonments in Tirol.

    Barry: I see ... Chinese food all round then?

    Bruce: Huh? We've improved the organisational structure, it means we can recruit more troops there.

    Barry: Oh. I was really looking for to some Cantonese cooking too ...

    Bruce: I'll do you a stir fry later Barry. Anyway, the other good news is that our navy has improved.

    Barry: Didn't we stop spending money on the navy?

    Bruce: Yep. But apparently Bert likes to take a yacht out on the river every now and then, and just to please him, some of the guys have been training in Venice. Our sailors just keep getting better and better.

    Barry: Yeah ... all they need now is a boat, right? I mean a real boat, not just Bert's yacht.

    Bruce: I don't think we're ready for that just yet. But maybe one day.

    Bruce and Barry both look around expectantly, but no one appears.

    ...

    March 1424. The Archducal throneroom.

    Albert: *bellowing* Wolfgang! Ludwig!

    Bruce: *rubbing his ears* All right! All right! We're here.

    Barry What can we do for you, your stentorianness?

    Albert *suspicious* What did you just call me?

    Barry: Its a term of honour, your enthronedness.

    Albert: Very well ... In any case, I have good news for you.

    Bruce: Ripper! Whats that?

    Albert: Five years ago, I set you the mission to keep Steiermark as a part of my kingdom

    Barry: *interrupting* We didn't agree to that!

    Bruce: *out of the side of his mouth* Yes we did!

    Barry: No, we didn't agree to make Steiermark part of his kingdom.

    Bruce: Yes we did! Keep shtum will ya?

    Barry: *leaning close to Bruce* But he's not a king, so its not a kingdom, so how can we make anything part of his kingdom?

    Bruce: He's happy, OK. Lets leave it at that ... You were saying, my lord?

    Albert: If you two are quite finished? I was just about to congratulate you on your success in the mission I set you, but now I am not so sure ... Perhaps I will set you a new mission. Double or nothing, as the soldiers say when they are playing dice.

    Bruce: What would this new mission be, my liege?

    Albert: Report to me in five years time. At that time, I expect you to give me a definitive answer that Steiermark is still a part of my kingdom.

    Barry: But ...

    Bruce: Will you shut up Barry?! *bows to Albert* As you wish, my lord.

  16. #16
    Mad Clansman Farquharson's Avatar
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    Great stuff! I'm enjoying the prospect of 400 years of temporary insanity. And Australian at that! Now, that's what I call high class insanity!

    Keep it coming!
    Fide et Fortitudine
    Currently writing a CK AAR: The Hidden Cross - a tale of the Byzantine Empire and the Bryennios Dynasty

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  17. #17
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Fortunately, temporary insanity gives me the perfect excuse for my playing style. I can claim each of my bad decisions as role-playing

  18. #18
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Chapter 1, Part IV
    In which the Bohemians protect Erz

    September 1427. In the library.

    Barry: Good news Bruce! After spending even more time with the scribes here, I've taught them the importance of a bit culture. Austria now has the know-how to be able to build Fine Arts Academies.

    Bruce: Thats good news Barry. I'll give the architects a yell, and we'll start tomorrow?

    Barry: Errr ... Not quite.

    Bruce: Next month? ... After Christmas then? ... When?

    Barry: As soon as we can raise 800 ducats ...

    Bruce: So it'll be sometime next century then?

    Barry: Could be, yep.

    Bruce: And this is good news, how?

    Barry: Yeah, well ... it shows that things are on the improve. We have also learnt the skills to build trading posts.

    Bruce: So we'll start one of them tomorrow then?

    Barry: Errr ... No.

    Bruce: Cost 800 ducats a piece too, do they?

    Barry: Nah, they are cheap, its just that they can only be set up in uncivilised areas.

    Bruce: Have you seen what flows down the streets here in the mornings Barry? I'd say we could find a spot around here.

    Barry: It wouldn't work. Just trust me on that will ya?

    Bruce: Sounds like that was money well spent all round then ...

    OOC: Infrastucture -> 2, Trade -> 2.

    ...

    April 1429. Albert's throneroom.

    Albert: Ludwig, Wolfgang, you have now been in my service a little over ten years, and what do we have to show for it? Nothing!

    Barry: Well we have had ten years of sound fiscal management and unprecendented economic growth.

    Albert: What do I care about these things?

    Bruce: Well, we have been fulfilling the missions you have set for us. Steiermark is still part of Austria.

    Albert: Yes, it is. You have met my requirements, but only because I had such low expectations. I have decided it is time to set you a real challenge.

    Bruce: How about we conquer Ostmarch?

    Albert: Ostmarch is already in our realm. You do not fool me so easily. How about you conquer Franche Comte instead?

    Bruce: Steiermark?

    Albert: Baden! We owe those ungrateful heathens for rejecting out vassalisation!

    Bruce: Tirol then?

    Albert: This is not a market, and I am not a peasant selling beets for you to haggle with me so. Your mission is to capture Schwyz. Succeed or face my wrath.

    Albert storms out.

    Barry: Damn! I was really hoping for a keep Steiermark. Do you reckon we can fight the Swiss?

    Bruce: Oh yeah, we can fight them all right. Whether we win or not will be another question.

    Bruce pauses for a moment on the threshold of the room.

    Barry: Come on, what are you waiting for?

    Bruce: *looking disappointed* I was hoping that narrator dude was going to pop up and say how easily we succeeded in our mission. Then I could relax a bit.

    ...

    August 18, 1430

    The throne room, Albert is on his throne when a messenger rushes in.


    Messenger: My liege, I bring grave tidings from Bavaria. *hands Albert a scroll and departs as Bruce and Barry enter the room*

    Albert: Ahhh ... the very men I need to see. It seems our allies Bavaria have declared war on Bohemia. We must support our allies in this enterprise!

    Bruce: But we don't have enough men to invade Bohemia AND conquer Schwyz.

    Barry: And wars are very expensive ...

    Albert: We can always raise war taxes.

    Barry: War taxes?

    Albert: Yes, yes, when we are at war, we tax the peasants more vigorously. They don't like it much, but they usually pay up.

    Barry: *eyes lighting up* Then lets invade Bavaria!

    Albert: You mean Bohemia, surely?

    Barry: Whatever! Lets just get on with it! I have some taxing to do.

    Bruce: Oh all right ... We should be just about be able to beat the Bohemians. They are already in a war against Hungary after all.

    Albert: I will send envoys to Bohemia, Poland and Lithuania at once!

    Bruce: Waaait a minute! What have Poland and Lithuania got to do with it?

    Albert: They are allies of the evil Bohemians.

    Bruce: And each of them is twice our size! I have a baaad feeling about this.

    The narrator steps out from behind a pillar.

    Narrator: On that day war came to Austria. With their allies Savoy and Bavaria, the Austrians faced Bohemia, Poland and Lithuania, in what became known as First Hussite War. Barry immediately raised the war taxes, while Bruce oversaw the invasion of Bohemia.

    In November 1430 the Austrians won a battle in the province of Bohemia and besieged its capital, Prag.


    Bruce: Well thats a relief!

    Narrator: Shhhh! You'll disturb them. *points to a pait of weasels mating behind Albert's throne.* Its extremely unusual to see this so late in the summer. Really fascinating stuff.

    Now, where was I? In the rest of Bohemia, the province of Moravia was already held by the Croats, but was under siege by 20,000 Poles and Bohemians, while Austria's allies, the Bavarians besieged Sudeten.

    In January of 1431, the Bohemians made peace with Croatia and Moravia reverted to Bohemian control. The Bohemian army, freed from the siege of Moravia acted decisively and moved to the mountainous province of Erz, rather than forcing a showdown with the Austrians or Bavarians.

    In July 1431 the Bavarians captured Sudeten and moved across Bohemia to besiege Moravia. Once again, the Bohemians acted decisively, and continued to defend Erz.


    ...

    January 26, 1432

    Scene: The war room. This is familiar to previous veiwers as being the library, but with more maps on the walls.


    Messenger: *panting slightly* My lords, I have travelled from Bohemia to bring you news!

    Barry: A Bohemian spy?! Here? Hide the maps Bruce!

    Bruce: Take a look at his shirt Barry. He's one of ours.

    Barry: *suspicious* I don't remember seeing him pay his tax last year ...

    Bruce: He's only 14 Barry, thats why we made him a messenger, not a soldier.

    Barry: *making a note* We'll see about that ...

    Bruce: What news from Bohemia?

    Messenger: My lord, General Haylov send word that on January 26 Austrian forces breached the walls of Prag, and the Bohemian capital fell into our hands. The general is leading the troops on to Silesia.

    Bruce: Excellent news! What about the Bohemian army? Did our army crush it.

    Messenger: My lord, it seems they are continuing to defend the province of Erz.

    Albert enters

    Albert: I have just heard the news of our grand victory in Bohemia. You two have done well. So well, that I will promote you both to the rank of Viscount.

    Bruce: *bows* Thank you, my lord.

    Barry: Will that include a pay rise?

    Albert: *thinks a moment* Yess ... I will double your pay.

    Barry: *smiling* So that makes it a ducat each, each year?

    Albert: Quite so *hands Barry and Bruce a coin each* I believe that puts you into the category of "filthy rich" for tax purposes.

    Barry: *beaming now* Thats right. You have been reading my memoranda!

    Albert: It is nothing ... But perhaps you can just remind me, what is the taxation rate for the filthy rich.

    Barry: Well its an excellent scheme. In order to simplify the tax system, we devised five categories of tax payers, and make sure that each tax payer in a given category pays the same amount of tax.

    Albert: Ah yes, it is very efficient. And for the filthy rich, I believe it is a ducat a year, isn't it? Since we are raising war taxes, and all. *taking the coins back* You know, there are times when I think I enjoy taxation almost as much as you do, Ludwig. *approaches the messenger* You, boy! How much do you earn each month?

    Messenger: *nervously* One pfenning per month, sire.

    Albert: That makes him "incredibly impoverished" doesn't it Wolfgang?

    Barry: Quite so, my lord.

    Albert: Good, good ... *knees the boy in the groin, and then makes his way out* Stop your whimpering boy. Just be grateful you're not female. The tax system is particularly tough on them ...

    Barry: *handing the messenger a piece of paper* And here is your receipt.

    Bruce: Good one, Barry! Now instead of a half a ducat a year, I get nothing.

    Barry: Just be grateful you're not incredibly impoverished, like him. *pointing to the messenger rolling in pain on the floor*

    Bruce: Shut up Barry! *kicks the messenger on his way out*

    Barry: Oh dear ... *reaches for a differently coloured piece of paper* This is a tax exemption for next year, make sure you present it to the tax collector.

    The narrator appears as Barry leaves the room.

    Narrator: Bohemia's stubborn defense of Erz continued throughout the early months of 1432, while Austria besieged Silesia and Bavaria besieged Moravia. Finally, on April 3, 1432, The Austrians and Bavarians saw that the would not be able to break the Bohemian's spirit, even if they could capture all of their provinces (except Erz), and so, after the Bohemians handed over the 141 ducats they had in their treasury, a truce was signed and the armies returned home.

  19. #19
    Alien Space Bat Judas Maccabeus's Avatar
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    Keep your filthy stinking paws off Baden, or I might have to show you what it's like in the "Incredibly Impoverished" tax bracket!
    SHEEP ARE THE FUTURE

    While Thou Shalt Flourish Great and Free (Saxon England, pt. 3) (Started 11 October 2010)
    Scenario progress: Base maps complete, pops and diplomacy in progress.

  20. #20
    Second Lieutenant TimN's Avatar
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    Those Badenese ... err, Badeners ... Badenii? ... The people from Baden have snubbed the Imperial power of Austria, and for that, they will pay!

    Probably ... One day.
    Self-promotion:
    Check out Bruce and Barry get Bushwhacked, my Austrian AAR for EU2. (Lapsed, I might get back to one day ... maybe ... )

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