The Timurid Scientists: A vision of the future
Imagine a solemn gathering of the foremost minds of the Timurid Empire. Imagine the lofty discussions, the penetrating insights, and the most splendid arguments, all for the greater glory of Allah (praise be his name) and the chosen successor of Timur Lenkh, in the golden city of Samarkand. As the mind's eye turns from the minarets and to a cozy room, cluttered with books, half-eaten meals, and charts of the heavens, the sound is cranked up a bit...
"We are in deep dung, my brethren", began the Chief Scientist, "and it is all the fault of the bursar". The bursar, a cost-benefit dieting poster child, begged to differ. "I didn't actually buy the lamp (extravagantly priced, I tell you, the kitchen's budget needs to be reexamined), I merely polished it. And, admittedly, answered its question. And I needed a better abacus, to fudge, sorry, nudge, the figures for our next research grant (which the khan dislikes paying, as well you know), to make my troubles go away."
"At which point the Djinn swapped the khan for the Arcane Logic Unit, as far as I understand, leaving us with no khan, no research grant, and a solar-powered abacus...", replied the Chief Scientist, gesturing towards the black perfection of the ALU.
An embarrasing moment of silence was followed by the quiet but dignified shuffle of slippered feet, as the gathered scientists rushed for the door. Elbows were employed in an unseemly manner and fists were raised. Fifth Scientist flattened Sixth Scientist with one mighty blow, while Third Scientist by accident (these things happen all the time) nudged Second Scientist through an open window, thus securing his own advancement. Second Scientist's early investigation into the theory of gravity proved, conclusively it was later agreed, that an earthly body full of hot air is attracted by the earth, rather than the air element, and thus an otherwise sad end to a brilliant career, was instead to the advancement of human knowledge in general, which just goes to show something.
Remaining was the Chief Scientist, who struck the Arcane Logic Unit with a whack of epic proportions, inadvertently activating it. A disembodied voice seemed to emanate from the box, as glistening panels unfolded seeking the light of the sun: "ALU beta0.004 reporting for duty, master. Congratulations on your purchase. <static> guarantees your complete satisfaction, and <garble-garble-garble> except as noted on page 3241 paragraph 4, subsectiction 2. This company is not liable for any damage caused by any use, misuse, abuse, or disuse of this equipment <static-garble>, including major bodily harm, death, dissolution, disintegration, discorporation, or collapse of major solar bodies. Remember to register. The licence will expire 1819 (Christian Calendar). Thank you for choosing <garble-garble>. Pose your question, master"
Now that was more like it was supposed to be, thought the Chief Scientist. His first question concerned the lack of a khan and the desire to maximize the research grant. The ALU had a solution, and a disturbingly insane grin took possession of the hitherho serene face of the Chief Scientist. As a result of this innocent request the course of the future was sent crashing madly down the wrong trouser leg of causality, or the continuum, or something, and God and man alike awaited the outcome.
EUII v1.03, Very Hard/Furious
No reloading except in case of CTD
No peeking in save games except to repair them in case of the stupid 'selectable country' bug in 1.03.
Having read MrT's Timurid AAR the ALU is able to offer cogent advice of future events. Unfortunately the ALU is still in the beta stage...
Maximize the research grant
Expand in an economically feasible way, really
Keep the various khans clueless
Survive until expiery of licence
Keep stability up and revolts down
Excerpt from "Timid Timurids? The post-Lenkh years":
"...In those days arose the system of competetive examinations for positions of authority overseen by the foremost scholars of the day. Few examples of early examinations are available for study, due to the near collapse of the Timurid Empire and the devastating fire of 1500."
Q: Who should rule our the mighty Timurid empire, savouring the unearthly delights of absolute power, with a new and enlarged harem, with his every care taken care of, and advised by the preeminent sages of the day (especially Chief Scientist, rather than that smarmy Second Scientist)?
A: Ghorge Bhush
A: Al Ghore
"I don't really know, to be absolutely honest.", declaimed Second Scientist (recently promoted) to Third Scientist (ditto). "That question seems awfully loaded to me." Heh, not compared to the results of the poll. Every candiate got to vote. There were two votes for Bhush, eight for Ghore, and only one for Yourself, with the addendum: "me being Rūkh". Deeply impressed by his ability, Shah Rūkh was the new ruler of the empire, and he ruled firmly but justly, or at any rate for a rather long time, in which many things of great import happened, which enabled later scholars to write lengthy diatribes, so that's all right.
ALU report 1419:
Balance of Power: Aristocratic
Wierdness Factor: Narrowminded
Trading: Slightly free trade
Offensive: Yes, very
Quality of troops: High
Freedom of peasants: Negligible
Stability: Anarchy (-3)
State Cultures: Mongol, Afghan
Province Cultures: Uzbekh, Mongol, Persian, Afghan, Baluchi
State Religion: Sunni
Province Religions: Sunni, Shiite
Provinces: A lot
Core Provinces: Samarkand
Empire Rep: Extremely Bad
Centres of trade: Samarkand, Isfahan
Army (condensed): 35,000 men
Technology: Forget it, rock bottom.
Friends: Kaliphate (vassal)
Enemies: Qara Koyunlu & Ak Koyunlu
1) Maximize tolerance to Sunni & Shia Moslems to increase happiness.
2) Increase stability ASAP
3) Stay cool, expand trade and avoid wars. If you find a fork in the road, take it.
"Sounds fair enough, though I wonder what a condensed army is. Well, let it be so.", advised the Chief Scientist.
"...And he (Shah Rūkh) let Sunni and Shia live side by side, and his incredible wise diplomatic moves improved relations with the Uzbekh Kaganate, that statelet on the northern border, and when the clergy showed unhappiness, he appeased them, and when the Chagatai Kaganate declared war, and none could map their sand dunes, he defeated their armies and made them pay tribute, and as a stateman he allied with his vassal the Kaliphate. When nobles allied with the Kaliphate he showed restraint, though anarchy drew near. When Qara Koyunlu delivered an unforgivable diplomatic insult, he forgave and force-vassalised them, and forced them to pay tribute, causing great celebration and the spontaneous conversion of Tabaristan to the majority Sunni religion. In magnanimity unsurpassed, he granted Baluchistan home-rule, and forged an alliance of all three vassals: Baluchistan, Qara Koyunlu, and the Kaliphate. Great were the gifts to the state, and great was the rejoicing as stability was recovered in December 1427. A mighty leader, he had little need of the nonsensible advice of his supposed first advisor, the ill-named Chief Scientist, who was personally responsible for the few major military distasters of Shah Rūkh's reign....." - Second Scientist, "The early years of Shah Rūkh"
"...The dummy implemented most of our policies and spent his time in the saddle, dashing dashingly across the land, the great pillock. Of greater importance was the improving trade network, and, consequently, the greater grants allocated senior scientists with proven track records. I nudged policies towards cheaper land forces and more expensive ships, since we don't have any ships. Honestly, you would believe those morons could do so without my help. Oh, and the vassalisation of Gujarat (they insulted Shah Rūkh in 1428 with the same predictable result as Qara Koyunlu), was a great idea. Even the bursar was happy. And the loss of 20,000 cavalry fighting in Azerbadjan was not my fault, I wasn't there. My appointment calendar clearly shows that I was busy somewhere else the entire time. And those revolting peasants with their petitions of redress in 1434? I can't prove it, but "Great Windbag" the Second Scientist seemed suspiciously well-informed at the time, there's bound to be some collusion, not that I am pointing fingers, or anything. Fortunately our great Shah spent his time in the harem and never noticed anything untowards. And the special research grant upon the birth of an heir to the clown (1435) was a nice consideration, even if I do say so myself. I proved that yellow was the favourite colour of the Prophet." - Chief Scientist, "Diary volume XXXVII"
"...The 1430'ies were probably the most boring years of Shah Rūkh's rule. They saw the improvement of trading practices and infrastructure, the constructions of a few fortresses, and a disturbing tendensy towards peace. Had the fiery young tiger become a tired old goat or was Shah Rūkh merely biding his time? 1442 marked the turning point. In a fashion that would one be followed for decades to come, he sent missionaries to convert the Shiites of Isfahan and Hormouz to the true faith. Having built his armies, the Shah declared war on the Shiites of Oman and burnt their tradingposts in the Arabian peninsula. Losses were higher than estimated, but at the peace of 1444 he accepted tribute from Oman and establish trading posts in the old Omani territories. They would, in time, turn into truly valuable additions to the empire, rather than the waste of money some predicted. This year also marked the greatest threat to Timurid rule, as Delhi, Vijanagar, Mysore, the Uzbekh Kaganate, the Kazakh Horde, and Nogai declared war upon the empire. Greatly outnumbered but magnificently led, his gallant forces managed to defend the farflung reaches of the realm. Pursuing the pillar of charity he gave freely of the treasury to make peace with these treacherous foes, vicious dogs, and infidels. Then in 1447, Shah Rūkh, statesman and conquerer, died, in what was otherwise a truly excellent year. The succession was contested, but ultimately..." - Excerpt from "Timid Timurids? The post-Lenkh years".
"Well apart from avoiding wars, everything has turned out according to my schedule. I will consider this most deeply and consult with the ALU. Thank you, thank you. And stop gritting your teeth, Second Scientist. It is not seemly in a man of your advanced age", said the Chief Scientist on his way to his summer observatory in the new colony of Bahrein.
To be continued.