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Thread: The AARlander Issue #4: December 2007

  1. #1
    AARlander
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    The AARlander Issue #4: December 2007

    COVER GOES HERE



    Editor-in-Chief: anonymous4401
    Assistant Editor: canonized
    Columnists: Atlantic Friend, Estonianzulu, Phoenix Dace
    Contributing Writers: ComradeOm, The Swert, The Yogi

    Code:
    CRUSADER KINGS
    History: Swords in History vs. Modern Popular Culture by The Yogi
    EUROPA UNIVERSALIS
    Mod Review: WATKABOI by The Swert
    HEARTS OF IRON
    The Cabinet Files: No. 2 by Atlantic Friend
    AARLAND
    AAR Writing: A Matter of Borders by ComradeOm
    The Evolution: The Judges: Alexandru H. by Estonianzulu
    The AARt of Writing: December 2007 by Phoenix Dace and Atlantic Friend
    INSTRUMENTALITY
    The Hero In Narration by Atlantic Friend
    Une Noel de Tornade - A Failed Britannia Story... by General_BT
    AARland Holidays by Grubnessul and Avernite
    POP goes the Narrative: Using POPs in Victoria AARs by LeonTrotsky
    You've Been Canonized!: Kurt_Steiner by canonized
    Welcome to the AARlander
    by anonymous4401


    And so here we are at the end of 2006, with the holiday season upon us. With this you'd think that this issue would be retrospection on the many happenings of the year, which was enough to include the release of a major Paradox title and three expansion packs. Failing that you'd think there would at least be something related to the holidays. And to that I say, what do you think we are? Some sort of a not-really-a-magazine monthly-internet-'publication' that is good? Well Instrumentality has some holiday-themed articles, but we'll get to that later.

    No, in this issue of the AARlander we have an article by AARland luminary The Yogi about swords. We have an article by The Swert about a mod whose actual name is so long that nobody ever actually bothers to type it out. We have another installment of the Cabinet Files by Atlantic friend. We have an article by ComradeOm about putting borders around pictures in AARs to make them look nicer. We have a continuation of Estonianzulu's The Evolution series. And finally we have a chatlong between El Pip, Phoenix Dace, and Atlantic Friend kicking off a new column titled 'The AARt of Writing'.

    And in Instrumentality we have a piece about heroic archetypes by Atlantic Friend. We have Part I of an alternate history short story by General_BT. We have a holiday-themed comic by Grubnessul and Avernite. We have VILenin writing about how to translate the POP system in Victoria into a part of the alternate history fabric. And last but not least, we have canonized's interview with Kurt_Steiner in the latest You've Been Canonized!.

    I hope you'll all be able to drop by the discussion thread and hopefully confirm that people aren't merely pretending to be reading. Please talk about the articles instead of just writing down a sentence of generic praise and leaving!
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 05-12-2007 at 04:06.

  2. #2
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    Swords in History vs. Modern Popular Culture

    by The Yogi


    The sword was not the first weapon created specifically for homicide – the club carries that dubious honour – but it’s without question the most iconic weapon of all. It’s not only the archetypical weapon of war, representing all others, from clubs to nuclear-tipped missiles in figures of speech and thought, it also has become the very incarnation of the warrior codes of old, from the Roman Legions to Samurai of Japan and the Knights of Medieval Europe. It’s THE weapon of legends and sagas, with the bow following a very distant second. While relegated today to mostly ceremonial duties, the sword is undiminished in culture, or in fact, perhaps more popular than ever.

    Yet perhaps because of that, swords have been so extensively used, and misused in popular fiction, such as fantasy books, films and RPGs that even within the community of medieval martial arts buffs misconceptions and myths about the swords of history abound.

    Popular misconceptions

    Some of these false ideas have become so widespread that a “fantasy” history, classification and description of swords could be compiled and recognised as truth by most. Here goes an attempt at just that; please note, hardly a word of it is true.

    “The swords of antiquity were crude and short because their metal was so poor, so longer weapons would bend on impact. As a result, the Roman Gladius, for example, was mainly good for thrusting. With improvements in metallurgy swords could be made longer and heavier for causing greater cutting damage. By the middle ages, the normal western sword was the one-handed Broadsword, a broad-bladed heavy weapon for single hand use. There were also longer, single-handed swords called Longswords, and large, incredibly heavy two-handed swords who only the strongest could wield. An in-between type was the Bastard Sword which could be used single- or double handed, although only real beefcakes, such as your typical knight or barbarian had the muscular strength to throw around these heavy brutes with one hand. Overall, western medieval weapons were still crude and unrefined. Their edges were quite blunt, to better withstand the rigours of combat and the still poor metal in them meant they had to be made very heavy. In Japan, by contrast swords were made with far superior skill and better steel and were immeasurably sharper, lighter and better in every way. A good medieval Japanese Katana could would have cut through a European sword like butter. Only by the end of the middle ages had European sword-making and metallurgy progressed far enough that thin light blades like the rapier could be made out of good flexible steel, and since body armour had largely been abandoned with the advent of gunpowder weapons, these completely superseded the broadswords of old after the renaissance.”

    The real deal

    Of course, the real history of swords requires many volumes to be told, not just a few sentences, and it requires being written by a true scholar and not a happy aficionado like myself. Thus I might well be wrong about a great many things below, but nonetheless, here goes;
    Classification of Roman and Medieval Swords

    While it is possible to assign type names and periods to swords, an important caveat to remember is that swords in all lengths, sizes and shapes have existed since iron supplanted bronze as the main metal for sword making. There have been finds of great two-handed Germanic swords from Republican Roman times which would not have looked too far out of place in the early Renaissance battlefield.

    Single hand swords

    While it’s true that the iron or steel at the time was not as good as it would later become, the reason the Romans opted for a short, heavy sword like the Gladius when equipping their Legions is the manner in which they fought, shoulder to shoulder in tight formation. This gave little room for swinging, so a fast stabbing weapon was needed, and the Gladius was just that. All else equal, a longer sword is slower than a short one in the handling, but the Gladius was no flimsy weapon – in loose order or individual fighting it could deliver extremely powerful cuts with lightning speed. It is, in fact heavier than most medieval single hand swords and recent test-cutting have proven that it handily outperforms them in cutting power. The reason the Legions eventually went over to the longer Spatha was probably because with it’s greater length, it was better suited for the Legions primary way of fighting, ie giving greater reach for stabbing, but not better cut performance.

    The Spatha and similar weapons remained the typical European swords for the next few centuries, while mounted warriors gained in importance. Fighting from horseback requires longer reach, and while the Spatha was originally a cavalry weapon, better steel and more advanced designs meant longer swords could be made without sacrificing too much handling. After going through some transitional stages (Migration period, Viking), longer single hand swords had evolved by the XI century which are today called Arming Swords or Knightly Swords. With a blade typically between 70 and 80 cm in length and weighing only a little over a kilogram (2 pounds), they were emphatically NOT the “Conan’s Broadsword” monstrosities imagined in fiction. The Arming or Knightly swords remained in use until the XVI century as the sidearm of a nobleman, and would eventually evolve into the cut-and-thrust swords of the late renaissance, and finally into rapiers (the name of which is derived from Spanish “Espada Ropera”, “clothing sword” which is synonymous with “Arming Sword” in the sense of “arming” of getting dressed; like the Arming Sword in later middle ages the Rapier was part of a gentleman’s proper attire). But the Rapier it was NOT a light, nimble weapon. Typically, it was heavier than an Arming Sword with a long, stiff blade and had abominable handling characteristics for anything but thrust and recovery. That was the reason it became popular to use a long dagger, or “Main-gauche” (fr. for Left Hand) to aid in parrying. The mental image most have of the rapier corresponds better with the XVIII century Smallsword, which was shorter, more flexible and lighter than the Rapier.

    Two-hand swords

    To counter improvements in armour, scaled up versions of Arming Swords for primarily two-handed use appeared by the time of the III Crusade (ca 1200 AD)– these were known as “Swords of War”, but the term has also been applied to the Arming Sword itself so the classification is not clear cut. Especially large swords were known as “Great Swords”, but again that is not a clearly defined class of weapon, rather a description of large individual weapons. To compound the confusion, the Anglo-Saxon word for “Sword of War” sounds a bit like “kregsword” (not sure about spelling), compare to equivalent “Krigsswärd” in modern Swedish, so the “classification” might even be a case of mispronunciation. With blades of up to almost a metre in length, although much larger and heavier than Arming Swords, even a heavy Greatsword would rarely reach two kg in weight.

    In the XIII century, longer, thinner swords specifically designed for two-handed use emerged in response to ever improving armour, replacing the Sword of War as main battlefield sword. These were called Longswords, and with their longer grips, it became possible to take advantage of the leverage of a really long blade for delivering devastating cutting blows. A subclass of Longsword was the XV century Bastard Sword, which thanks to a heavily tapered blade (which moves back to point of gravity at a given weight and length) was so agile it could also be used comfortably with one hand. Proper “Twohanders” (often referred to as “Zweihänder”) only appeared during the Renaissance to deal with plate armour, horses and pikemen – not the pikes themselves, as is sometimes thought, but the men wielding them. Heavily armoured soldiers carrying these great swords would brave the wall of pikes to wreak havoc in close. These men received double pay, but I doubt it was because only a select few were strong enough to wield them: even the greatest Twohanders would not weigh much above three kg (excepting ceremonial weapons unsuitable for combat) and could be as light as half of that. Rather, it would take a lot of monetary motivation to make a man try to wade through a forest of pikes trusting his armour to keep him alive until he reached swinging range.

    Japanese swords

    In Japan, something similar happened – the quite Spatha-like Jian-type swords were replaced by XI century with longer, but curved blades, not straight ones like in Europe. The reason for that might have been better or more ubiquitous European armour, necessitating good thrusting capabilities for finding weak spots. Of these curved blades, the Longsword equivalents were known as Tachi, not Katana, and the Twohander ones as Odachi, not Nodachi. The better known Katana began to replace the Tachi in the XV century and was shorter and straighter, probably for being better suited for dismounted combat. Just as in Europe, by this time pole-armed infantry was beginning to dominate the battlefield and the Samurai in the Sengkou wars increasingly had to fight on foot. The ossification of Japanese culture and warfare after the end of the Sengoku period meant that the Katana never was replaced by a Japanese Rapier-equivalent but was kept in use until the XX century, smoothly transitioning from Samurai battlefield weapon to the role as ceremonial officer’s sidearm of European Cavalry Sabres.

    The Real Broadsword

    And what of the Broadsword, dreamed of dripping crimson in barbarian fists? There actually was a sword named so – it was an XVIII century short broad-bladed footman’s sidearm (called so because it had a traditional, medieval broad blade in a time when most swords where thin Smallswords). In the sense most people think of it, it never existed or was an Arming Sword.

    Edge and Metal

    Contrary to a somewhat popular misconception, Ancient and Medieval swords were sharp, even razor sharp. We have seen ossuary evidence of what they could do - the technique of cutting at the legs under the rim of the shield was popular since Viking days, and in the Visby mass grave (XIV century), a skeleton was found which had had BOTH legs severed across the shins with one blow, probably the work of the Sword of War or Longsword of a Danish Knight. There were also split skulls and chopped off limbs, none of which would be possible with a blunt edge. Also, era pictures show Swords of War splitting steel Great Helms. Medieval poetry go to great lengths describing armoured warriors split from shoulder to saddle seat by powerful sword blows - probably an exaggerated claim, but not so much so that it would have been laughed out by the intended audience, knights and noblemen who knew damn well what a Sword of War could and could not do. In sharpness they differed little from Japanese swords of their time, although later Japanese sword smiths with their extraordinary attention to detail achieved even sharper weapons.

    As for the relative quality of steel, the problem of combining the properties of steel (hard, brittle) and iron (softer, flexible) began to be addressed by the early Roman period through the introduction pattern welding (i.e. the folding together of different metals to even out their properties) by the Celts in around 300 BC. By 500 AD it was in general use in Europe. This was the same technique used in Japan, although because of the extremely poor quality of iron ore available to Japanese smiths, they had to fold their metal more. The end result was no better, but not worse either than contemporary European swords, a fact that speaks creditably about the skill of Japanese swords smiths, given the poor materials they had to work with. The very best sword steel was known as Damascus or Wootz steel. To this day, the exact technique to produce is unknown, although Indian vanadium-rich iron ore, which ran out around 1700 AD might be part of the explanation.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 05-12-2007 at 04:05.

  3. #3
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    Mod Review: WATKABAOI

    by The Swert


    Europa Universalis II is a great game but if you enter the forum you will no doubt soon be told that after playing the original version you should try a mod. The mods allow for increased replayability, variety and, in some cases, accuracy whilst still being based on the familiar EUII engine. Over the years modders have worked on hundreds of mods and they are wide-ranging. There are mods that try to be more historical, some that are fantastic, some that alter the map, some that alter the timeframe and many more. As time has gone however many of these mods have been abandoned and many no longer work with the latest patch, albeit that the patch itself is nearly 3 years old. There are now only 40 or so mods that still work today and of those mods there are even fewer that are still being worked on and updated. The mod I shall review today is one such mod.

    The name of the mod is WATKABAOI which stands for World According To Kasperus African Beta Age Of Imperialism which surely must be the longest titled mod around. The mod is the work of mainly one man, cool-toxic who has worked on the mod since before its release in June 2006, which makes it a relatively new mod. The mod can be broken down into three components which are all referred to in the name. The mod originated with the map mod World According To Kasperus by Kasperus to which cool-toxic added his own work. The most significant of these additions are the expansive edits made to Africa. Cool-toxic then combined the new map with Hive’s Age of Imperialism mod to create the scenarios we see today.

    The Map

    WATKABAOI’s map is definitely one of its main features. Whilst based on the WATK map, cool-toxic has made substantial changes to Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas, and some changes in Europe but the WATK influence is still evident. For those who are unfamiliar with WATK, it adds hundreds of new provinces to the game as well as improving delicacy of the borders and coastlines. The result is much less of that annoying permanent terra incognito across the whole world and more provinces to enjoy. The highlight of the map in comparison to WATK is cool-toxic new Africa. Africa now has no permanent terra incognito at all. Criticism has come in regards to the treatments of certain elements of the European provincial allocation but considering the timeframe of the mod and the ever-changing borders and demographics it is impossible to please everyone and in any case it is a major improvement on the original map.

    The Timeframe

    The original game lasts for 400 years, from 1419 to 1819. In historical terms, it goes from the closing stages of the hundred year war to the end of the Napoleonic era. WATKABAOI adds to this by the implementation of Age of Imperialism. The extended timeframe is 44% longer from 1337 right through to 1914. This allows the full play of the Hundred Years war as well as continuation through the Industrial Revolution to the start of WW1. The advantage of the longer timeframe is that it gives the opportunity to play one really long game with no need to rush in the final few years to conquer the world. Personally I find 400 years long enough for one nation but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the extended timeframe. For me it gives the opportunity to play as several nations over same the game creating my own ahistoric world. To coincide with the timeframe the technology costs have been altered so that research is still needed right through to 1914. You will also be required to install the unlimited time patch for the mod to work.

    The Nations

    Given the number of provinces and the more than 500 years of gameplay offered by WATKABAOI one must think there must be dozens more nations to choose from. Unfortunately EUII only allows for maximum of about 340. Therefore, the country allocation has been centralised on Europe. This means that there are less native American tribes, asian nations and revolter states but since most players prefer playing as European nations it seems a valid decision. This doesn’t mean to say that the rest of the world is forgotten. India and South East asia are diverse with choices and if one chooses, the remnants of the Mongol Empire can collapse into smaller states. Also, in light of the many 19th century colonial independence movements across the globe many of the modern American states can break away as well as South Africa and Australia.

    The Scenarios

    WATKABAOI offers four scenarios: the 1337 Hundred Years War, the 1419 Grand Campaign, the 1492 Age of Exploration and the 1792 Napoleon’s Ambition. The most worked on of these are the 1337 and 1792 scenarios which are based on the equivalent Age of Imperialism scenarios. At the main menu, as you select a scenario, you are also able to select options such as whether to play with an intact Il-Khanate or fragmented successor states which allows you to somewhat customise the scenario yourself. Also of note, in WATKABOI the base trade level is 50% so using merchants is always profitable.

    The Gameplay

    Playing the game itself is somewhat more tedious than it should be. The Hundred Years War scenario, for example, begins a few months before the war breaks out. If playing as England you start with no ships and are expected to somehow cross the Channel to defend Holland whilst the French tend to invade Flanders early, capturing the CoT and quickly putting you in a losing situation. The Napoleon Scenario , as another player put it, is so “aaar!” From my experience, the game seems to crash every three years or so and even the gameplay between these crashes isn’t great. I advise reading through all the Napoleonic events before playing the scenario or else you’ll just get frustrated. To elaborate why lets explore what happens when you play as France. As the war begins you decide to build more troops only to discover a few weeks later that you get given thousands more anyway meaning you now exceed your maintenance level. Later, as the war progresses, let’s say you capture the minors of Trier, Avignon and Liege. You immediately force-annex them into your country only to find out a few days later an event fires to allows you to inherit them badboy free. There are other events also, such as the Partition of Poland, which sometimes cause agony. The Partition of Poland requires Austria, Prussia and Russia to do their part in the conquest and even if you succeed in capturing your provinces you must wait until the others do so too before the event of inheritance fires. It’s all of these historical but annoying quirks which make playing the game so frustrating. I would love to be able to tell you how the game usually ends up at the end of the game in 1914 but the crashes have overshadowed my interest of playing all the way through.

    The Hundred Years War scenario is thankfully far more stable and on the whole well done. Things don’t always go historically, even with the events, and in my mind this adds to the adventure. The scenario would make a good hands-off game as the world looks completely different by 1419 and traditional powerhouses like Austria and France might find themselves struggling; although I haven’t seen that in my experience. The Grand Campaign and Age of Exploration scenarios are much like the originals. There are some new events but most of these cater for the new countries and provinces or are otherwise pretty superfluous as most of the crucial events were incorporated in the original. Having said this, cool-toxic does incorporate both the Hanseatic League and the holy roman Prince-Bishoprics into the game events for which normally appear as soon as you start the game. The effects of the League and Bishoprics though seem minimal and have no affect on strategy. As a final comment it seems as though cool-toxic’s hard work to make a fully playable Africa is quite redundant as only a few nations exist in the inland and most colonists won’t dare touch it due to the fact that some provinces, like in the Sahara, offer no tax value at all. I would like to see an attempt to colonise the world on this map though, that would be a feat worth achieving.

    The Graphics

    The graphics in WATKABAOI are very good. All the nations have unique flags and shields and new sprites have been made for the units, buildings and resources to better fit the timeframe. Cool-toxic has also included a new loading screen but unfortunately the music is the same. However the alterations to the map have left its mark on the graphics. Some terrain sprites don’t appear in the right locations and some of the unit positions look as though they are in one province when they are in fact in another. Furthermore there are several tiny provinces such as Massa and Ormuz which are almost impossible to click on.

    With 7 major versions made since its first release there has never been any question about ongoing development of WATKABAOI. The development has only recently begun to waver as cool-toxic has said he is now happy with the stage it’s at. In conclusion, everything about this mod says big. It is a big endeavour by one man to combine a big map with a big timeframe to create a mod with a big name. As one could understand, with a mod of this magnitude there are bound to still be errors and saving regularly should be advised as insurance against random CTDs. Nonetheless this is a great mod for those who like really grand strategy and have a lot of time on their hands but that doesn’t mean to say that a short game on the mod won’t be fun also. Basically it offers you everything you could ask for and it’s up to you how you play it.

    The most recent version is 1.77. Discussion about the mod and the download link can be found here: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...d.php?t=252750.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 02-12-2007 at 07:45.

  4. #4
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    The Cabinet Files #2

    by Atlantic Friend



    Hearts of Iron Anthology and its assorted Mods offer gamers the possibility to form the Cabinet that will lead their country for a 30-year wild ride throughout a dangerous and unforgiving History. In addition to the original list of Ministers, it may be interesting to have a quick look at characters who either played a role in their country’s political stage, or stumbled and fell on their journeys along the corridors of power.

    Today, I’d like to introduce you to three European characters who, through their actions either open or covert, played a part in shaping up their country, and could even have had a greater impact had things been a little different. Just as they had an influence on Real-Life History, maybe you'll want them to have an influence on your AAR.


    André Marty (1886-1956)



    Country : France

    Role : Minister of Security

    Ideology : Stalinist

    Personality Trait : Prince of Terror

    Loyalty : High

    Available dates : 1936-1952

    Real-life biography :

    Born in south-western France, André Marty soon became acquainted with the Marxist theory of social revolution. Having joined the French Navy as a mechanical engineer before the Great War, he found himself in 1919 part of the French Expeditionary Corps that was sent in Russia to help defeat the Soviets. He instead took part, as a ringleader, in a mutiny aboard the battle cruiser Jean Bart. While the mutiny itself was short-lived, the ensuing trial made Marty a prominent figure in the nascent French Communist Party which split from the Socialist-led Internationale in 1920. Marty joined the Communist Party in 1923 as soon as he was released from prison, and he became a member of the French Assemblée nationale the following year. He campaigned against militarism, was arrested in 1931, and became increasingly involved with the new Moscow-dominated Comintern. In 1936, he joined the International Brigades as Political Commissar, and was noted for his strict adherence to party and military discipline, and also for his disdain of human life, earning the nickname of “Butcher of Albacete”. In the aftermath of the Republican defeat of spring 1939, instead of returning to France, he left for the Soviet Union until 1943, when he was assigned to establish ties between Moscow-dominated Resistance movements and de Gaulle’s Free French movement. He is rumoured to have floated the idea of a Communist takeover of power in 1944 to oust de Gaulle, which was rejected because of lack of support either in France or in Moscow at that time. He remained a Communist Congressman, until he was ousted from the Communist Party in 1952.

    Game rationale :

    A staunch, almost fanatical Stalinists, André Marty would be one of the key elements of any Communist French government from 1936 to 1952. Had Stalin decided to attempt a Soviet coup in France, using the vast influence Communists enjoyed throughout the country after the Liberation, André Marty would most certainly have been one of the pillars of the Moscow-sponsored government. His role as a Political Commissar in Spain, and his attested bouts of paranoia, would make him a great Minister of Security, with the Prince of Terror trait.

    Soviet France would most probably have a high dissent rate, as questions such as private possession of the land would be a hard one to tackle for a Moscow-inspired government in face of a large and capitalistic peasantry. There’s no doubt a Soviet France would be a full-fledged member of the Comintern, granting the USSR full military access, and even possibly existing only as a Soviet puppet (as the French Communist Party was one of the last ones to ever claim a right to differ from what the Kremlin said).


    Michael Collins (1890-1922)



    Country : Ireland

    Role : Head of State / Head of Government

    Ideology : Social Democrat

    Personality Trait : Die Hard Reformer (HoS), Flamboyant Tough Guy (HoG)

    Loyalty : High

    Available date : 1936 - 1950


    Real-life biography :

    Michael Collins was born near Cork, in a family who had already embraced the ideals of an independent Irish Republic. Moving under various influences, notably his father’s and his teacher’s he found himself joining the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1909, an organization he’d come to play a central role into. As an IRB member, Collins took part in the failed 1916 Easter uprising, in the end of which he was arrested. Escaping the gallows, Collins was sent to Frongoch internment camp by the British, and as often happens in such cases used his jail time to improve his leadership skills and work out the shortcomings of the Irish rebellion. After the 1918 general release of Irish prisoners, Collins and other prominent Sinn Fein members ran for Membership in the British House of Commons, and, despite elected in their native country, refused to take their seat in Westminster and set up an Irish Parliament, the Dail, in Dublin instead. As the British police arrested prominent Sin Fein members, including Eamon de Valera, Collins found himself playing an increasingly vital role in the organization of the Irish independence movement. He organized the movement’s finances, he set up counter-intelligence teams tasked with the assassination of informers and British agents, and he supervised the smuggling of arms and Republicans alike. In 1921, when the British government, exhausted after four years of war and a seemingly irrepressible rebellion in Ireland signalled its desire to negotiate some form of Irish autonomy, de Valera appointed Collins to head the Irish delegation. To some, it was a convenient political manoeuvre to put distance between himself and the necessarily mitigated results of the negotiation ; other see it as a trap to curb down Collin’s influence, which had grown tenfold in the years Collins had been a one-man revolution and a one-man government all by himself. Regardless of the reasons, the end of negotiations and the following Anglo-Irish Treaty signalled the beginning of a growing rift between de Valera and Collins. Collins has obtained autonomy, and de Valera wanted complete independence. The IRA followed de Valera to oppose the treaty, while the Dail and the IRB narrowly approved its ratification. In April 1922, IRA groups rebelled against the authority of Ireland’s Provisional Government, leading Collins to order brutal repression of the mutineers who by that time had occupied various part of the country. Collins was killed in August 1922, during an IRA ambush led against his convoy while he was visiting his native region of Cork to try to deprive the IRA from popular support there.

    Game rationale :

    I’ve always found Collins’ life was cut short before the man could reveal his true potential as a statesman. Unlike men like de Gaulle, whose life took them from rebellion to a position of power in a matter of decades, giving them enough time to shape up their country and era, Collins’ political life only spans 6 measly years, from the Easter uprising to his untimely death. I think it could be an interesting addition to Ireland’s list of ministers to bring back one of the men who did the most for its independence.

    From what can be derived from the Anglo-Irish Treaty and Collins’ own plans to put an end to the 1922 civil war, a Collins-led Ireland would probably still be tied militarily to the United Kingdom, granting military access to UK forces. Dissent would remain significant, to represent the IRA’s continuous opposition to the Treaty. Another option would be to have a De Valera-Collins alliance, with less dissent, and also looser ties to the UK, if any.




    Joseph Darnand (1897-1945)



    Country : France / Vichy

    Role : Minister of Security

    Ideology : Paternal Autocrat / Fascist

    Personality Trait : Efficient Sociopath

    Loyalty : High

    Available date : 1941-1964

    Real-life biography :

    Joseph Darnand was an apprentice carpenter, aged 16, when WWI broke out in 1914. He joined the Army two years later, and in the coming two years showed such an aggressive spirit he was promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer and ended the war the Médaille de Guerre and seven mentions in his regiment’s reports. In one remarkable action, Darnand is said to have infiltrated German positions and to have managed to bring back prisoners, who gave information that proved vital for the Allies to resist the Germans’ 1918 Champagne offensive. In 1939, Darnand joined the Chasseurs Alpins 24th Mountain Infantry regiment, and again his actions earned him a medal, this time the Légion d’Honneur. Captured vby the Germans during the 1940 offensive against France, Darnand managed to escape his Stalag two months later, fleeing to Nice that was part of Vichy France. Seduced by Pétain’s National Revolution, which probably appealed to some of of his long-held bias towards Jews and democracy, Darnand creates in 1941 an organization sending volunteers to fight with the Germans in Russia. In 1942, he created another paramilitary organization, the Service d’Ordre Légionnaire, and offering Vichy and the Germans its assistance in operations against the Allies (who had just invaded North Africa) and against resistance movements in Metropolitan France. In 1943, now a SS-Sturmbahnführer, Darnand becomes Vichy’s head of police and then Secretary of Interior. In this role, Darnand sends his SOL, now transformed into the Milice, in Italy to support Italian Fascists. Fleeing the advance of Allied troops in France, Darnand left France for Nazi Germany and Northern Italy, where he was captured shortly after WW2. He was transferred to French authorities, who sentenced him to death in October, 1945


    Game rationale :

    Strangely enough, and despite his having filled that exact role, Hearts of Iron 2 does not list Darnand in the possible Ministers neither for France nor for Vichy. Darnand is a good example of a “lost soldier”, who ends up fighting the very regime he initially (and in his case, heroically) defended. To get an idea of the kind of character Darnand was, the Sol he created required its members to take an oath in which they swore to fight “democracy, de Gaulle, Free France, and the Jewish plague”. The participation of the Milice made German anti-Resistance operations all the more efficient, and the role of that organization was particularly significant in the destruction of the Maquis des Glières, where Milice members committed many executions of wounded Resistants.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 03-12-2007 at 03:10.

  5. #5
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    A Matter of Borders

    by ComradeOm


    Personally I've always placed a high emphasis on the presentation of my AARs and the quality of the images used in them (perhaps because it distracts from the actual writing!). A very simple technique that I've been toying with of late is framing my pictures with an in-game event border. This really adds little to the AAR but is a nice touch to polish up the overall presentation of the piece. It only takes a minute or two to prepare the picture and I do like the result. I see no harm in providing a quick tutorial on this in case anyone is interested. What follows is a quick run through of the procedure used to produce an image like the one below.


    An example of an image with a Vicky event border


    As with almost all image editing, this technique requires a graphical programme such as Photoshop or the GIMP. I highly recommend the latter (its free!) and use it for creating most of my AAR images. Most importantly, both these programmes can handle transparencies. For this quick tutorial I'll be using the frame image from Victoria. The principle should be the exact same with other Paradox games.

    First of all we have to acquire a copy of the frame to use for our picture. In Victoria we do this by using our graphics programme to open up any one of the event pictures found in the Victoria/gfx/Interface/events folder. For the purpose of this demonstration I'll use image #6930. While I have nothing against Michael Collins he's not really important to us now as we are only interested in the frame.


    Any event picture will do. It seems almost a shame to butcher the excellent Vicky images


    What we'll do now is cut out the actual picture of Collins et al from the image, thus leaving the frame alone. To do this we first add a transparent layer to the image. This means that after cutting out Collins we'll be left with a blank (ie transparent) space, as opposed to a merely white one. In GIMP this is accomplished by clicking on Layer/Transparency/Add Alpha Channel. We can now use the rectangular selection tool to select the area within the screen and remove it (Ctrl-X).


    Select the area along the inside of the frame...


    ...and cut. The grey/black background indicates that this surface is transparent


    That is the first part of the procedure done. You now have a template image containing only a Vicky frame. You might want to save this (as a .png or .gif in order to preserve the transparency) for further use. Now it is merely a matter of applying this to your own image.

    Thankfully this could not be simpler. It is merely a matter of using the GIMP rectangular selection tool to copy segments of your above frame onto the new image and position them correctly along the border. This is where the transparency proves its worth as only the frame will be imposed on your picture. Your image dimensions will probably differ from Vicky's standard 408x149, so just copy the frame across corner by corner and you can fill in any gaps later. Be aware that Vicky event pictures have a green line through across their bottommost pixel so position the frame so that it is not visible.


    Copy the frame cross piece by piece and arrange along the border of the new image


    And that, as they say, is that. It takes very little time to get used to this technique and, to my mind at least, it’s a nice little way of further integrating your pictures into the AAR. Let me know if you have any problems with this or have found a way to do it in half the time. To finish us off, here's an example I prepared earlier:




















    The Evolution: The Judges: Alexandru H.

    by Estonianzulu


    Way back in the dim-dark ages of AARland (3 years and one month ago), Alexandru H. wrote an article for the then-magazine The AARland Gazette. Alexandru H. was primarily responsible for the creation of the longest lasting of AARland's magazines, which lasted 7 months and ended on a rather sad note), and did a lot to get it off the ground. His impressive drive got this first great expression of AARland off the ground. Much like the short story and alternative fiction magazines that you can find on the bottom shelf of your local bookstore (somewhere between Vogue and Guns and Ammo), The AArland Gazette was designed to help stimulate the realm of AAR's and create a place for writers, readers and researchers to come together and collaborate.

    In the magazine's opening issue, Alexandru H. began the work with an article entitled "A Sense of Community". Although he attributes the concept to another, I will attribute the following line to him; Alexandru begins his article describing the "self-sustainable bee-like colony" that makes up AARland. He introduces us, the salivating masses, to the Gazette by crafting for us a Periclean world of internet democracy. In all he tries to establish a unified realm that does not operate like some giant mechanical clock, but instead a living, breathing organism.

    The article premiered with very little fan fare. It issue three, Alexandru returns to the subject of 'what is AARland', this time will the full force of analysis behind him. He strikes out with the intention of not only discussing AARland as an entity, but delving into the why's and how's. In his approach he establishes a general time-line in the history of AARland, and specifically attempts to attribute change to each period. Describing the community as a fragile figure, balanced on the brink of glory and oblivion, Alexandru makes a noted attempt to measure the influences on this time.

    While I will not go over the article in great detail, because you can in fact read it for yourself, I will note some interesting factors. Specifically, Alexandru mentions two turning points and focuses rather heavily on the "Great Men" of early AARland. The first "turning point", that being the introduction of EUII, brought with it the creation of the first interactive AAR. Alexandru does an excellent job discussing the reader-writer relationship in regards to this period. The second turning point was the creation of this very community, once again stemming from the "Great man". The article is an excellent attempt at defining how things came to be.

    The true importance of this moment in AARland's history cannot be overlooked. Alexandru, in a moment, summarized the growing divide among AARland writers and readers. He establishes, right from the start, two classes of AARists, the "conservatives" and the "evolutionists". This theme does not go away. In May of 2005 issue five premiered, bringing with it another discussion by Alexandru on this topic. "The Defendaars", as he titled the article, discusses not only the problems with AARland, as he saw it, but possible and probably solutions. I think the true key to note in this very well written article is the notable change in tone. No longer is the bright future a near certainty, but now a glimmer, an ember, something that must be worked towards. Nothing is taken for granted in this article.

    Alexandru's final article would come in June, after which he would retire from the Gazette (although through the impressive work of Amric, Coz1 and others the Gazette would continue on until February of the next year ending after 26 issues). Gone is the concept of a true togetherness and fondness for community. Suddenly, and rather starkly, Alexandru's work has turned into a criticism of the community. " WritAARs, ReadAARs, MembAARs" is a harsh and unforgiving look at the immediate problem with AARland, which was at the time undergoing the trials of inactivity. While he does offer solutions, a theme for Alexandru's work, he states, right from the start, that community without community service is nothing. It is a sharp turn from the earlier writings.

    But the question we must ask is why does this matter? Reviewing the writings of a long retired magazine writer hardly seems like ground breaking stuff. But what Alexandru represented, and the reason I chose to focus on him, is that these articles represent what was, at the time, a very real concern for many of us in the AARland community. A simple perusal of posts at the time, especially in the Gazette discussion thread, and you will very easily see this to be true. Now, my purpose in this article was not to stir up a long dead debate, but instead to highlight and describe a sense of thought and philosophy that existed at the time. My articles in this particular magazine have focused on the history of AARs. And perhaps at no other time was there such a discussion and debate about the meaning of the AAR.

    I began my survey with Genesis, and by butchering the Bible have arrived at the Book of Judges. Over the next few months I will continue dissecting and discussing the articles of the Gazette (and later the Advocate) and seeing how and why certain philosophies and ideas came to be shared by the community of writers we call AARland. I encourage all the readers to follow along, you can find the index of The AARland Gazette here. When I complete a 3-4 month look at the writers themselves I will draw my own conclusions based upon the world as we see it today. My attempt is merely as a scholarly view on the change of philosophies that has emerged in the 'modern' AARland, and I hope to enlighten newer readers to the past and remind the old fogies how far we've come.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 03-12-2007 at 03:10.

  6. #6
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    The AARt of Writing - December 2007

    by Phoenix Dace and Atlantic Friend


    This is a transcript of a three-way chat between myself - Phoenix Dace,writer of Services For One's Country, In Peace and War Alike, my co-host - Atlantic Friend, writer of Crossfires, a French AAR for HoI2 Doomsday, and our guest - El Pip, writer of – among others - The Butterfly Effect: A British AAR. Atlantic Friend and I decided it would be a good idea to have a four-way discussion each month on writing, and AARs, and put it in the AARLander. Unfortunately, we couldn't make it work with Lordling, who was to be our second guest this month, and so it ended up being a three-way discussion instead. Barring any further obstacles, Lordling should be a guest for the January discussion, since we asked him to take part in this one and a lot of why he could not was our fault.

    Each month we hope to feature two different writers, and different topics of discussion, from previous months. This month we only introduced one of our planned topics, but as the discussion spread it ended up encompassing nearly all the others, so we actually did not have to broach our other remaining topics as topics themselves.

    Note that the transcript has been edited for readability, but all actual content remains, except for brief discussion about technical errors that occurred a couple times. If you think that the three of us wouldn't actually talk on an instant message program with such perfect spelling and grammar, you just may be right.

    Phoenix Dace: So, shall we get started?
    El Pip: Let's go.
    Atlantic Friend: As some form of introduction, I'd like to say the general idea of this little fireside chat is to broach a number of topics dear to every forum Author
    PD: Yes, I suppose an introduction is in order. I'm Phoenix Dace, and I write the HOI2 AAR 'Services For One's Country, In Peace and War Alike'. My
    fellow host today is Atlantic Friend, writer of 'Crossfires, a French AAR for HoI2 Doomsday', and our guest is El Pip, writer of too many AARs to count.
    AF: It has struck Phoenix and I as a good idea to convene with a few other authors, both emerging or already widely acclaimed (yes, that's you, EP) to discuss the fine art of writing an AAR.
    PD: If this works out, we're hoping to have this become a regular feature in the AARLander, where every month we have a discussion with two guests on various topics related to writing in general and AARs in particular.
    EP: "Too many to count" Well I think it's three so I'm worried about the standard of the interview.....
    PD: Just because we can't count doesn't mean we can't write.
    AF: Do not worry, we are outrageous liars.
    EP: True, numeracy is over-rated.
    PD: 1, 2, many, lots.
    EP: Woooo, lets not go that high. I'm not sure I've got that many fingers.
    AF: The Detritus School of Accountancy, eh ?
    PD: Nah, he could go all the way to many many many. We just get many.
    PD: Also, I'm now seeing the word many as manly, and it's getting confusing. I think we should get started before we all go nuts.
    AF: To make things simpler, I'll let Phoenix be the moderator and Great Asker of Questions.
    PD: So, here's our first topic:
    Since a story naturally involves a conflict, and every conflict must have more than one side, it is all too easy to make it seem as if one side (usually that of the narrator) is right and another is wrong. It is natural to give your characters biases, but how do you avoid a bias in the writing itself?
    EP: Do you have to avoid bias?
    PD: Excellent point.
    EP: If you set the objective as unbiased that's different, but you can do a perfectly fine story with the most outrageous bias, slant and down right propaganda as long as you intend to do so and are aware of it
    PD: I guess it depends on the viewpoint of the narrator of the story. If it's an omnipresent narrator, it seems wrong to give it a bias - such as if writing a third-person narrative. If writing a history book obviously written by someone from one side, or a first-person narrative, a bias could be seen as part of the story.
    PD: For example, in my AAR it's from the point of view of the protagonist, Mark, and so I suppose everything that happens in it has a bias because of that.
    AF: I'll be tonight's Great Dissenter, so I'd say yes, we need to avoid the bias - or that at least, the field of Alternate History requires a certain level of objectivity, if only to avoid weakening the plot. As you yourself pointed out in your canonization interview, EP, there is a great peril in making one's favoured faction semi-divine, and having everyone else being dupes or corrupt.
    EP: Bias doesn't inherently mean wrong, assuming your aware of it the most likely problem is that you miss out on certain aspects of the story. But such omissions can be covered, by an chapter overtly biased the other way (character reading propaganda for instance).
    EP: Or other similar type problems/solutions.
    PD: That's true. You could have a bias one way for one part, and a bias another way for another part - for example, you could have different chapters focusing on different characters, so you hear both sides of the same issue, and from someone who truly believes it.
    AF: So, you'd favour some subjective bias ? I would have to agree on this point. If the narrator in my story is a man with strong anti-military views, I concur this has to appear not only in the dialogue, but also in the way he sees and describes things.
    EP: Precisely, one of my big points is consistency. Not only in plot but how the story is told.
    AF: A sacred rule indeed.
    PD: At the same time, I'd say you don't want an extreme bias. If you're writing, for instance, a history book, you don't want your writer to actually be demonizing the other side, unless you make it clear that that is what is happening. It would be all too easy to be writing that, even if that is what you intend, and have it come out that you're demonizing them in your writing.
    PD: I'd say you want to be sure your readers know that the bias is not yours, but your character's.
    AF: One of the advantages I see in putting a lid on author bias is to keep the readers on their toes regarding the plot. I started Crossfires with the idea that a mass right-wing party used the 1934 riots to take control in France, when in RL it brought the Socialists in power. If I portray the Socialists as weak dupes paid by Moscow, then I kinda narrow my choice of options when it comes to reaching a climax, or a turning point.
    EP: Weak dupes are capable of incredible things under pressure or prompting. Just look at *Insert relevant political group here*.
    EP: Seriously though if your keeping to plausibility and consistency it's hard to portray one group as weak dupes. Unless they are, in which case the first two points would limit your actions anyway.
    PD: That's true, and I guess that it could either make readers think something good or something bad - either that the weak dupes aren't so weak after all, or that they've already set their mind against them, so they feel it's not really plausible/good.
    PD: Referring to weak dupes doing amazing things, of course.
    AF: Absolutely. If I portray all my characters as fairly as possible, without underestimating their different opinions, I can surprise the readers with either my favoured faction making a blunder, or their adversaries coming up with a great idea. I guess that comes to my deeply-ingrained prejudice - or let's say wariness - against heroes.
    PD: Having a 'hero' is a dangerous thing. Maybe that should be our next discussion topic.
    EP: Heroes have their place, but must not be overused or overhyped. I still maintain one of my favourite scenes to write was having HOI2 ARRland legend (TM) Otto Skorzeny outwitted by King Haakon.
    EP: Just to bring him down a peg or seven
    AF: What could be more satisfying than humbling the Hero / Villain ?
    AF: Not to mention the surprise effect it has on readers.
    PD: In my opinion, considering someone to be the 'hero' of a story, or an AAR, is inherently dangerous, because it makes you as a writer (or me, at least) start thinking they're more than they should be. If you start thinking of someone as a hero, they sort of take on an extra quality, that starts setting them above others, when they really shouldn't be.
    PD: Heroes are very different from protagonists, and I think we see too much of the first and not enough of the second.
    AF: I think too much heroics inevitably dissolve the plot into the ether by removing the element of challenge that is inherent to conflict, that key element of a story.
    PD: Exactly. If you have a hero who can solve any conflict, what is the point of writing/reading? It would be like having every story be about James Bond.
    AF: But a hero, or a set of main characters are necessary to lead us throughout the story.
    PD: See, I wouldn't call the main characters heroes.
    EP: Heroes are a lot less effort to write, which probably explains their prevalence. A flawed protagonist, with flaws that actually affect their performance and do lead to mistakes that matter, is much harder to write than the hero with a drink problem or who gets emotional after a mission when it doesn't matter.
    PD: That's why I say that heroes are different from protagonists. A protagonist, or a group of main characters, has flaws. When you say 'hero', you imagine the square-jawed, shining smile, golden superman, and there's no way a protagonist should be like that.
    AF: That's true. Would you say heroes are a lazy author's best friends ?
    EP: Undoubtedly.
    PD: Haha, that and spontaneous combustion.
    AF: Never forget spontaneous combustion indeed.
    EP: And critical mistakes only the hero can see.
    PD: Ah yes, let's not forget the classic villain's plot, with a hole so big you could drive a herd of elephants through it, and only the hero notices.
    PD: "I am going to keep a three-year-old on staff. If he can find any flaws in any one of my plans, I am going to scrap that plan."
    AF: You mean the super-technical knowledge there's no way the reader can get, but which is daily displayed by the detective who knows that butterflies from the Bellarosa Superflenxis only mate from July the 5th to August the 14th ?
    PD: That, again, I would say is a characteristic of the 'hero'.
    EP: The other problem is, even if the plot is sound, the vilain will hire the "Imperial designer" from Star Wars. You know like one who put a hole down to the reactor in the Emperor's throne room. Muppet.
    AF: Yeah, because "it sounded a good idea at the time".
    PD: One knack a writer needs to develop is the ability to make a sound plan but still have the protagonist find a hole in it.
    PD: Or, rather, make a hole in it.
    EP: Or, if your really really brave, no hole and let the bad guys win.
    AF: So, EP, you'd agree with Hitchcock when he said "the better the Villain, the better the movie" ?
    EP: Yes, a story is only as good as it's villain. Unless you genuinely think the villain/enemy country/whatever can win there's no narrative to hold the interest. Just a series of updates until the 'hero' inevitably wins.
    AF: SO true.
    PD: Definitely a good point.
    AF: The problem sometimes, in movies in particular, is that the author's
    laziness kicks in, and a perfectly good and clever Villain suddenly makes things easy for the hero because the author is unable to think of a hole to put in the Death Star.
    PD: Essentially, if a writer is lazy, the story can be great, but if eventually the protagonist wins by a deus ex machina of any sort, it's all wasted.
    AF: And while it's easy to spot in and make fun of it in a movie, that is a peril that walks with us with every update of an AAR.
    EP: No it's far worse for an AAR.
    AF: Because we can always have a reader who'll sit up and think "wait a minute, why didn't Von Manstein counter-attack there, with all the forces he has at his disposal ?" or something similar.
    PD: That's a good point - we don't get to comment straight to the writers in Hollywood.
    AF: And because we're dealing with History, whose plots are usually thicker and more complex than a usual Hollywood movie
    AF: Not to mention our readers are History Buffs par nature.
    EP: Partly, but also because unless you finish the whole game before you start writing, and who honestly does that, you can find yourself painted in a corner not of your own making. The grand confrontation with Germany/USSR/The evil spy mastermind is a damp squib due to AI bugger up or whatever.
    PD: True.
    PD: That's why it's easiest to just not have a game behind it at all.
    EP: But then it wouldn't be an AAR.
    PD: Or to make it so abstracted from the game that you can't tell the difference. Referring to narratives, of course.
    AF: Or to allow the story to override the game at some crucial points.
    PD: I suppose it depends whether you're putting the story or the game first.
    EP: Ohh it has to be the story, if you start putting the game first then your just setting yourself up for a fall.
    PD: If you want to dutifully tell everything that happens, you might end up pigeonholed into a situation you'd rather not be in. If you'd rather tell a good story, it might not be accurate, but could work out better.
    AF: The Paradox Games offer us the possibility to alter the game considerably, either through modding the initial scenario or via cheat codes. I agree the author should use it - but keeping in mind the mods have to be in favour of the story, not of the country he's playing, or else he's just putting bias into the game system as well.
    EP: My only concern would be if your using the game as a "results generator" as I tend to (if only to avoid giving one side too many victories and to give me a rough base line on transit times. Ohh and to keep track of locations of units) then going too far from the game throws that out.
    AF: I guess the story itself can be written in such a way to allow a little wriggle room. I had, through various circumstances, to re-start my Crossfires games three times, and the results of the Spanish Civil War were not completely similar in the three instances
    AF: I chose to stick with what I had initially written, of course, but I was glad I had remained conveniently vague about some issues, such as the status of Euzkadi, which so far has been the major difference between the initial Crossfires story arc and the current one.
    EP: That is why I only use the game for "Strategic" results not how they happened, it tells me operation/campaign 'X' was won or lost. Then I decide how that happened.
    AF: I always find it useful to leave a certain possibility open - like, through speculation of a character who can be dead wrong about it, or be proven quite right later. this allows me to deal with some major unknowns in the story.
    PD: If you tell everything, you end up with no room left for writing. You have to pick and choose what you say, what you leave wide open, and what holes from that you fill in yourself.
    PD: And depending on those proportions, you get some very different stories.
    EP: Well I tend to steer clear of characters so less of an issue for me. When I started I wasn't quite as confident so made a decision to stick with historic characters only, barring low level cameos of sub commanders, etc.
    EP: If I was starting from scratch tomorrow I may well make a different decision, but I'm committed now.
    AF: Plot holes, when they're not a mile wide, can indeed be a useful device - it gives you something to build on later. For instance, in my story the UK government's final stance on Germany and a possible Franco-German war is my biggest plot hole. I have tried to remain as vague as possible as to which way Her Majesty's government will go if, or rather when, the balloon goes up.
    AF: That means a lot of unresolved issues now, but also an easier integration of the game results later.
    EP: There's a difference between plot holes and just not mentioning something.
    PD: Well, when you're writing about a Paradox game, there's no way you can predict the AI. I don't think anyone expects you to, either.
    EP: Or alluding to it in vague ways. The plot is perfectly intact it's just the readers can't see it. Or they can see straws in the wind and small differences that, hopefully, in hindsight make sense.
    PD: Of course, that doesn't mean you couldn't make it an issue. You could have analysts trying to figure out which way the Brits would go, pointing out pros and cons and so on, so that then you can explain away whichever way the AI does go, or whichever way you decide the Brits should go.
    PD: That way you don't end up springing something on your readers at the last minute, or shoehorning the story into somewhere it really shouldn't be.
    AF: Yes, you can hide something - especially if you're still yourself in the dark as to what will happen - but you have to throw some information to the readers, who at some point simply want to know the big picture.
    PD: This is why I really like writing a spy story - I get to expose everything small piece by small piece, and the big picture unfolds very slowly.
    AF: Exactly. That's how I proceed generally with potentially interesting but still developing situations.
    EP: I do try and throw in misleading pieces. Partly as a cheap and seedy writers trick. But mostly because real life never throws up all the correct pieces in a near order, there will be conflicting information the protagonists will have to sort through.
    AF: That's true. Chaos and mistakes and entropy do play a role. Nobody gets dealt the perfect hand - that could happen in real-life, but it's harder to justify in a book or an AAR.
    PD: Well that, again, sort of comes back to the issue of what the protagonist knows - if he knows about the big hole in the plot, there's a problem with your villain. If he just knows everything, you've got a problem with your hero.
    AF: And in both cases, your story has a potentially fatal illness.
    EP: Unless he 'knows' everything but part of that everything is in fact wrong. Either deliberate misinformation or over-eager incorrect analysis.
    PD: I'm more referring to ultimate knowledge, not 'what he knows at the time'. Solipsism can be a useful tool when writing.
    AF: What would you say, Pip, has been your most daunting task writing your AARs, story-wise ?
    EP: My complete inability to focus on the next update.
    EP: I'm always thinking too far ahead about twists or turns in events that haven't even been put in motion yet.
    EP: So actually writing the updates to get the words to the same place as my ideas can occasionally feel like a chore not a pleasure.
    AF: I guess we all have this feeling from time to time.
    AF: Itching to reach that splendid climax we've dreamed up, and instead getting stuck with preliminary moves
    PD: I think we do to a certain extent. I often find I think of a great idea, but it doesn't fit in the story right now, so I have to wait about thirty updates before I can use it.
    PD: So I end up sleepwalking through whatever I'm writing at that point so I can get ahead to this excellent idea.
    PD: Except then, of course, I forget the idea and I'm left with a couple boring updates.
    EP: I have a trick for that, I have a vast array of text files full of random ideas for the future.
    AF: Ah, the Might-Have-Been's Might-Still-Bes ?
    EP: Exactly. Everything from interesting characters to machines to intrigue to vague plot ideas gets jotted down.
    PD: My problem is I often have ideas while away from my computer, and I forget them before I get home. I do have some text files, though not as many as would be as useful as I'd like.
    AF: So, a little scoop here, where will the Butterfly Effect take us next ?
    EP: Well reoccupying the Rhineland is still late. And the 2-26 incident in Japan is also overdue. Ohh and the Spanish Civil War hasn't kicked off yet.
    EP: In all those cases the reasons and pressure behind the actions are still present, but the leaders haven't acted yet (for various reasons, not all voluntary). Those pressure still have to be released somehow, somewhere.
    AF: What about Mark's adventures, Phoenix ? Where do you plan to take him next ?
    PD: Well, obviously he's going to Turkey next. From there, I've got a bit of a surprise. All I'm going to say is it's a surprise to Mark as well as to the readers.
    PD: And how about you? Obviously the France election is coming up, but what plans do you have after that?
    AF: As long as it isn't one for the author ! Of all three of us, Phoenix, you must be the one who has to face the toughest issues in terms of characterization, as you chose to tell your tale in the 1st-person, with a character clearly identified as the story's hero.
    AF: In one word : Münich !
    EP: Covers a vast multitude of sins that word.
    PD: Ah - protagonist, not hero.

    ...at this point the discussion rambled far off-topic for a short time and eventually settled on the topic of editing...

    PD: And I'm going to edit out my mistake so no one else ever sees it
    AF: Editing, yet another useful tool.
    EP: Yet a vaguely depressing one.
    PD: I've found an easy way to edit.
    EP: As much as I know what I've written is rubbish I still don't like wiping it out to start again.
    PD: If you write the updates ahead of time, then reread them before you post them, with fresh eyes, it's much much easier.
    AF: I used it a lot in the beginning of my AAR, when I realized Paradox listed as living and breathing French ministers and generals who had been dead for quite a few years in 1936
    AF: It made some of my updates smell like Voodoo sessions.
    PD: Ha - Dawn of the Living French.
    AF: Excellent title, I should have stuck with the stiffs and turn Crossfires into a comedy/horror AAR !
    PD: Or just slowly change Luxembourg into a survival horror story.
    EP: You mock the life giving powers of the Croix de Feu? Merely joining that party or thinking its a good idea can raise you from the dead.
    PD: Dawn of the Living Grand Duchess.
    AF: Do not tempt me !
    PD: Hey, I wouldn't be complaining! At least then you'd update it...
    AF: How do you deal, Phoenix, with the necessarily greater characterization of your main protagonist ?
    EP: Less of your "Cyclopean interests".
    AF: Hey, if Heaven can Wait, so can Luxembourg !
    PD: Mark has developed, and continues to develop, in my head. By this point I'm basically just throwing situations at him and seeing how he would deal with them. And of course, he continues to develop, and change. I have plans for how he's going to turn out, they're just unfolding very slowly, because hey - it's only 1937, and if I finish the protagonist's characterization in 1939, what do I do for the rest of the war?
    PD: Basically, I just fleshed out Mark as much as I could, and I continue to do so.
    EP: It's a good plan, focusing on characters not events. Something I try for - How would the government/country actually react to something rather than what the 'Best' response is. A fully formed protagonist will always do something that surprises the author and leads him away from where he thought he was heading.
    PD: One thing I always used to like to say about writing was that you should develop the characters and then let them react to the situations.
    AF: Hajji Giray said something on one of the subforums about imagining the conversations your various characters would have if they were sitting at the same table.
    AF: I thought it a little odd at first, but it certainly forces the author to focus on the protagonist' personality, and not its heroic function.
    EP: You do need a cast of characters though. And fairly well rounded ones at that. Thats aid I can certainly see it's usefulness for an established story.
    PD: One thing I remember him mentioning was to write just a whole bunch of dialogue and then assign it to characters after you've written it. In my opinion, I don't know if this would work with already-established characters, but if you wanted to introduce several characters at the same time, it could be a very useful tool to flesh them out for yourself.
    AF: For further characterization, we also have models all around us. Our teachers or bosses can provide us with a variety of authority figures, and colleagues, friends, or just people we see can help flesh out a character.
    PD: Well, they say to write what you know, so I guess to a certain extent most characters we write are based off someone we know, someone we met once, a stereotype, someone from a movie/book/TV show, someone media personality, etc.
    AF: I certainly used characters from books I enjoyed. I guess there's a little of Discworld characters in both my AARs in this respect.
    PD: Who hasn't based characters off Discworld personalities?
    AF: Sad people who don't have the books at their disposal, I guess.
    EP: There are only a limited number of core characters. Almost endless variations of course, but still recognisably that same few core types.
    AF: Yes, there are only a few archetypes in a story. Having archetypes is not a problem for an author - turning them into stereotypes is.
    EP: Precisely. How your character performs there 'role' in the narrative is as
    important, if not more so in some cases, than what that 'role' is.
    PD: Excellent point.
    AF: That's something we intend to discuss during another session, but do you think readers prefer to be surprised, or to be presented with reassuringly familiar story figures and plots ?
    PD: Depends whether your readers enjoy Hollywood movies or not.
    EP: Both.
    PD: Also, let's not forget we're dealing with the same AARLand that will deify any story featuring Otto Skorzeny.
    AF: Note to self : kill Skorzeny whenever possible.
    EP: Even when he gets turned into the Six Million Lira Man there are still people who root for him.
    PD: I've been tempted to introduce him to Services and then kill him off, just to screw with my readers.
    EP: I've killed him, brought him back, killed him again and plan to bring him back again when I do my next "For the Fjords" update.
    AF: To sum it up, EP, how do you think characterization of the protagonists can help or hinder a nascent AAR and beginning author ?
    AF: Characterization or lack thereof, that is.
    EP: Nice simple question there.
    AF: I know, I know.
    EP: Frankly characterisation is demanding and easy to get wrong. The route I've seen work well most often is to start simple, with a couple of broad traits (one 'good', one 'bad') and build up from there.
    EP: I remember an article on sitcoms which is relevant. Assuming you have one main protagonist each of the other characters (or events) should play off and reveal different aspects of that main character. This approach forces you to add depth to a character only as needed and prevents a rush to fill out a character prematurely.
    EP: Now that's a simplification and it's only one of many approaches BUT if your a beginning author it's simple and keeps you clear of most of the worst pitfalls.
    PD: And on that note we should probably finish up. We've got an hour and a half of discussion, and the sooner we finish, the less I have to edit.
    AF: Ah, that's an interesting take, because it's also usually said the Hero (in most tales and stories) should have one trait of each of the other Archetypes.
    AF: Yep, great work !
    PD: Thanks for joining us, EP! I think we made this a definitely worthy discussion.
    EP: Well I do hope to be invited back next time to ramble at length about the topics we never got round to.

    If you want to be included in a future session, send a PM to Atlantic Friend or Phoenix Dace. You will need to have an account on MSN Messenger which you are willing to expose to us (don't worry, we won't sell your email to spammers).
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 03-12-2007 at 03:10.

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    Welcome once again to INSTRUMENTALITY , The Tempus Society's Monthly Publication .


    The Tempus Society is an all inclusive organization dedicated to the edification of AARland and for promoting excellence in writing in the Alternate History genre as well as in all facets of our community. If you are interested for writing for our monthly publication please feel free to contact canonized or English Patriot for more information.


    Editor in Chief
    canonized S.T.S.

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    English Patriot S.T.S.

    Member Writers for This Month
    Atlantic Friend F.T.S.
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    LeonTrotsky F.T.S.
    canonized S.T.S.

    Contributors for This Month
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    Avernite

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    Last edited by canonized; 03-12-2007 at 03:22.

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    THE HERO IN NARRATION

    By Atlantic Friend



    This article was inspired by two books I read a few years ago, when I started to wonder what made a story go and what made readers tick. While they only provide guidelines, I strongly recommend them to any would-be narrative writer. One is “The Writer’s Journey”, by Christopher Vogler, himself inspired by John Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. The other is “The Mystery Writer’s handbook”, written by The Mystery Writers of America, Inc. Though these two books are easy to read, they contain in a nutshell everything an aspiring writer needs – as long as he’s ready to do his share of the work

    I do not write for a living, which certainly limits my authority in the matter, but I have become, over the years, a particularly demanding kind of reader and movie-goer, probably after having been traumatized by too many simplistic plots and paper-thin characters. Thus, what follows also contains a lot of personal considerations about the role, function, nature and limits of the Hero. So please do not take this as a Revealed Truth. Doubt it, question it, contradict it, find your own way through it. Do not expect this short article to be a compendium of dos and don’ts, or some menu you can work into an instant story generator. It may give you a tool to get a few things done, but in the end it won’t replace your own ideas, perceptions, and talent. Look at what follows as a nugget of semi-precious metal. In its present raw form, it looks and smells like dirt, to be polite. To turn it into something valuable, you’ll have to work hard, sweat a lot, and swear even more under your breath, and what you will produce will be truly yours.

    Now, let’s have a look at our heroes. In its old ancient Greek meaning, “heroes” means “they who protect and serve”, which probably led early on to a quick assimilation of the two basic purposes of the hero in most stories, which are to bring the story to us and to make Good triumph over Evil. Note that the first function can be performed by any character in the story, or even by a non-character such as the story’s narrator, while the second one only belongs to the Hero (or a group of Heroes). In the following text, I’ll use “he” to talk about the Hero, but that will just be for the sake of yours truly. Who indeed, in this day and age, could doubt that the Hero can be a Heroin, or even a Hero-thing ?



    WHERE AM I ? WHAT TO DO ? OR, THE HERO AS THE STORY’S GUIDE AND MAJOR PROTAGONIST

    Generally, the most basic function of the Hero is indeed to bring the story to the reader, even when the story isn’t written as a first-person report. I call this “Story Medium”. The Story Medium is something that is more obvious in written fiction than, say, in movies, where the camera often tries to play the role of an objective eyewitness, giving us a different take on the situation. With the Story Medium, we see what the hero sees, we get a feeling of the story’s universe through his own senses and intuitions. As such, the Story Medium is our guide through the universe of the story, and just like a museum guide he must keep us interested and bearing with him at the same time. He’ll explain to us readers how his universe works, and he’ll probably have one little snippet of intriguing information for every “room” of the universe to surprise us with.

    As such, he is a powerful narrative tool in the hands of the writer, but beware, for there is such a thing as overdoing it. Using the Hero as the Story Medium can be defeating the writer’s purpose in two cases. One, there’s the risk the Hero drowns us into heaps of information that are neither particularly relevant to the plot nor very interesting. Think of Jules Verne, for example. I love Jules Verne, but in every novel he puts a “Professor” or “Reporter” character who thinks we absolutely need to know what are the precise coordinates of Omsk or what particular order of molluscs the limpet actually belongs to if we really are to immerse into Michael Strogoff”s or Captain Nemo’s adventures. In my opinion, at no point the Hero used as the Story Medium should turn into a lecturer – he introduces to the world as he sees it, but he has to stop there. If more technical information is needed, the writer can use a secondary character instead of the hero.

    The other peril that awaits the Hero used as a Medium is that, well, he might see too much. Using the Hero as the Story Medium basically obeys to a single but inviolable rule : whatever the Medium perceives, we must perceive too. Hence the risk of our Hero already knowing or instantly guessing so much that he instantly kills the suspense and weakens the plot. Unfortunately, in their desperate quest to make the Hero truly greater than life, writers often tend to overdo it. To use an example from TV series, let’s take Lt Horatio Caine from CSI : Miami. In almost every episode, whenever David Caruso’ character dislikes someone, you can be sure that person is either the murderer or some pompous rival who will hinder the investigation. I used to like CSI : Miami as a crime show, but frankly I now don’t understand why the Metro-Dade Police Department doesn’t just gather the suspects in the same room with Lt Caine, and charges whoever gets the most one-liners. Apparently it works every single time, beating much more unreliable investigation tools such as forensics and scientific evidence, and it would save taxpayers a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on unnecessary crime labs. Not to mention it’d save jurors and policemen an awful lot of time, which they could spend looking for better-paid jobs where they wouldn’t have to work with insufferable Lieutenants.

    When he’s not bringing the story to us, the Hero usually performs his second and probably most important narrative function : he makes the plot move forward. I call this second aspect of the Hero’s role the Protagonist. When used as a Protagonist, the Hero stops explaining the world, and starts interacting with it on our behalf. In the process, he meets allies and mentors, overcomes obstacles, suffers ordeals, battles villains, and in a general sense brings the story to life.

    In this second function the Hero is an even more powerful tool in the hands of the writer, because at this point, the audience/readers demand action. The world of the hero is seriously flawed, injustice abounds, a sinister plot is hatching, and we want the Hero to embark on his journey that will grant him true heroic status and give him the power to change the story’s world on a large scale. The methods used by the Hero for cranking up the narrative engine are multiple : he’ll go through some form of epiphany, he’ll rebel against the authority, he’ll start an investigation, set sail to retrieve the lost treasure, battle an enemy division, manage to win his sweetheart back, you name it. Generally (but not always) the method is closely linked to the nature of the Hero, which we’ll see in the next chapter.

    Naturally, it is also possible for the Hero Protagonist to overdo it and kill the story. Just as the Hero with too much knowledge weakens the plot, the Hero with too much power kills the suspense. When all is said and done, the purpose of any story is to keep the audience on its toes, wondering what will happen next. If the Hero is either too knowledgeable or too powerful, it will be obvious to the reader he should discover what sinister plot is going on before we reach page 5, and probably arrest the Villain somewhere around page 10. If he does, well, the reader can kiss the story farewell, and a good plot will have been nipped in the bud. Sometimes the author realizes there is a problem, and stalls his all-powerful Hero for three hundred pages more before he can actually do anything. I don’t know about you, but this trick puts me to sleep way before the end of the 300 pages. As in everything, it’s a balancing act. To keep us interested, the Hero must make the story move forward, but he must meet strong resistance, which he’ll overcome only because of hard work and sacrifice.


    IS IT A PLANE ? IS IT A BIRD ? NO, IT’S A HEROIC ARCHETYPE !

    Now that we have a better understanding of our Hero’s main purpose in the story, it’s time to see who he is. As it happens, a Hero’s personality can vary a lot, as can his attitude towards his Heroic status. In this respect, and despite of what authors all over the world can claim, every character is a variation of a very few themes that the writers of Ancient Greece and our modern psychologists concur in considering timeless, because they’re linked to our deep psyche. Archetypes are just that, idealized versions of us that men look after in their works of fiction and in their real life, be that in art, religion, or politics. The archetype is that absolute embodiment of our better angels or worst demons that we try to model ourselves after, either emulating them or fighting them.

    What follows is a short list of the main Heroic archetypes, which more or less you’ll find in our every character, real or imaginary. To help illustrate my point, I chose a fictional character and a real-life, historical one, which I assigned to each of the archetypes. Before we get to know these archetypes better, let’s note that they apply to Villains just as well.

    The first great divide between Heroes, before considering their inner personality, concerns their approach to the Heroic business. Basically, heroes fall into one of these two categories :

    The Adventurous Hero

    This Hero embarks on its Quest not out of obligation or pressure, but because he wants to see the outer world, to face great challenges, to tame the dragon. Either bored by the mundanity of his usual surroundings, or refusing to obey the rules that others have set for him, this rebel embarks on a life of adventure, actively pursuing and enjoying it. Luke Skywalker, desiring to leave Tatooine, and Julius Caesar, unsatisfied with his already enviable lot, are Adventurous Heroes, and their paths led one to defeat an Empire, and the other to create it.

    The Reluctant Hero.

    This Hero aspires only to be left alone and leave in peace, but contrary forces and his inner qualities will drag him, usually kicking and screaming, into action. While the Adventurous Hero rejects the status quo with disdain, the Reluctant Hero fully embraces it – and will actually fight the whole universe for it. Good examples of Reluctant Heroes are Frodo the Hobbit, forced to embark on a perilous quest to make it possible for the Shire to continue living in peace, or any member of the various Resistance groups in WW2, who wanted to get their country back.

    Once, the Hero’s general attitude is determined, here comes another distinction, that hinges upon the motivation of the character.



    The Spiritual Hero

    Whether sent on his Quest by an adventurous soul or by external forces, this Hero has found his moral compass and will do his best to stay on the High Road, usually making sure his friends and allies do the same. Whether his cause is Love, God, or simply Basic Decency, and regardless if it is a long-held principle or a newly espoused cause, this Hero is a crusader that will try to overcome every obstacle lying between him and his sacred goal. Examples of Spiritual Heroes would be Romeo, or of course Jesus.


    The Cynical Hero

    This character has nothing but disdain for noble causes, and looks at all kinds of crusade as hypocritical scams. He buys no ideological or spiritual tripe of any kind, and regards both as the plague of mankind and an obstacle to his goals. He’ll be forced into assuming a Heroic stature by the circumstances, out of personal vengeance or personal interests, and will try to walk the thin line between Good and Evil – often ending choosing a side, sometimes staying on his own. Humphrey Bogart’s Rick character in Casablanca is the perfect Cynical Hero, and so is Josef Stalin, in his quest for personal power.

    The Tragic Hero

    This Hero can actually be anybody, from a high-level official to a humble taxi driver, it doesn’t matter. What drags him into the story is a trauma, a personal wound, either mental, physical or sentimental. Something terrible happened that went right through the character’s usual set of armour, and as a results he embarks on his journey, during which he’ll often hesitate between Good and Evil, Spirituality and Cynicism. A typical fictional Tragic Hero would be Anakin Skywalker in the latest Star Wars movies , and a real-life tragic Hero could be General de Gaulle, revealed by France’s 1940 tragedy.

    Lastly, there is a distinction to make, that concerns the method followed by the Hero.

    The Lone Hero

    Whether because of his own sense of superiority, because of his inability to trust others or because of his being cast out by his fellow men, this character rides alone. He will interact with others without either caring for or pursuing their company, and as a result will alternatively attract and repel other characters. John Wayne played dozens of such outcast and self-sufficient heroes in as many Westerns, of course. In real life, a man like Lenin could also fit the bill.

    The Sociable Hero

    This one has friends, or a following, that is an inherent part of his heroic quest. Whether he sees his associates as his true equals or a simple group of junior partners doesn’t matter, this character is part of a team or a pack, and his quest will be a collective effort to reach the goal. Tolkien’s Hobbits are a good example of equal-minded Sociable Heroes, while a President like Franklin Delano Roosevelt can be seen as a real-life, status-conscious example of this archetype.

    Interesting, isn’t it ? Of course it is. And there is more than meets the eye, as the preceding enumeration of Heroic archetypes isn’t simply a way for me to fill up another page. I’ll let you in a little secret : the Hero personality actually helps him perform a third function in the story. Contrary to his first two functions, this third mission of the Hero isn’t directed at the story, but at the reader, and it’s called Identification.

    LET’S GO SEEK OUT DANGER AND ADVENTURE !

    To grab our attention, the Hero has to give us the possibility to identify with him, either by displaying personality traits we already have, or by embodying qualities we’d like to have. As for the first two Heroic functions, the writer must be cautious not to overplay his hand. It is possible to bestow too many qualities upon the hero that all identification becomes impossible – imagine the Private Eye in the murder story is God, for example. He snaps His fingers and hey presto, murder solved – or thwarted before it even happened, and it’s time for the curtain to fall, leaving us a bit frustrated. Conversely, if the Hero has no quality of any kind we might now want to identify with him. At first sight, Terry Pratchett’s Rincewind character looks like he belongs to that second category. He’s an utter coward, a twit, and a weakling – who would want to look like Rincewind indeed ? But wait – first, Rincewind is not so much of a Hero as he is a Comic Sidekick, a distorted reflection of our own weakness. Two, on closer inspection, Rincewind is also a loyal friend, a decent guy, who may flee oppression but never applauds it and never conspires to make your day any worse.

    The process of identification actually requires more than some great qualities. The hero’s function, within the story, is to embark on a journey. His attitude towards this prospect and during the aforementioned journey will entirely depend on his archetype, but it is this journey that is really the core of the story. The journey can be a simple metaphor, such as a criminal investigation or a deep introspection to learn an important lesson about himself, or it can be a real journey with bandits and elves and dragons. It has many forms, many shapes, many variants, but it always performs the same function : to transform the main character into the Hero, and to complete the identification process.

    The Heroic Journey I’ll writ about in another article, but until then let’s just say that a typical journey goes like this :

    On Step 1, the hero still lives in the Mundane World
    On Step 2, he gets the Call of Adventure
    On Step 3, he usually resists the call (depending on the Heroic archetype)
    On Step 4, he meets the Mentor (a useful archetype we’ll talk about in a later article), who makes him accept his destiny
    On Step 5, he meets (and overcomes), the First Obstacle
    On Step 6, he finds out that this first victory brings greater challenges, as he meets Allies and Adversaries (other archetype we’ll discuss another time)
    On Step 7, he makes his way toward the Big Fight
    On Step 8, he fights the Big Fight
    On Step 9, he gets his fair reward, the Magical Potion
    On Step 10, he starts his journey back to the Mundane World
    On Step 11, he undergoes some kind of resurrection / transformation
    On Step 12, he returns to the Mundane World with the Magical Potion

    This 12-step journey is used in most stories, and it is derived from many sagas and classical tales. And tales are a mysterious thing, a dark thing often, transforming real-life events into a manageable piece of wisdom for mankind to reflect upon it. What I mean is, the 12-step journey is at work all around us, and even modern History obeys its rules more often than not. You want an example of how powerful Clio and Calliope are ? Fine. Let’s take the United States in the late 1930s.

    Step 1 : Life goes peacefully in the USA
    Step 2 : In Europe and Asia, hostile, oppressive regimes rise, and people, nations turn to the US to help fight the dark tide.
    Step 3 : The USA would rather be left alone
    Step 4 : FDR starts convincing the US Congress the US have foreign responsibilities.
    Step 5 : The US Navy, though savaged at Pearl harbour, shows it has the ways to challenge the Japanese in the Pacific, while the USs industry begins arming the nations fighting Nazi Germany.
    Step 6 : This conflict makes life more complicated for the US, who now begin to have global responsibilities, and have to support allies they also want to keep in check
    Step 7 : This time it’s not just about fighting back, but about defeating Japan and Germany on their soil.
    Step 8 : D-Day, the Liberation of Europe, the island-hopping strategy, the fire-bombing of Japanese cities take the war home for the regimes who started it.
    Step 9 : The US, through a combination of wealth, talent and ingenuity, develop the weapon of tomorrow, the A-bomb.
    Step 10 : The oppressive regimes are defeated, and it’s time for the US to move to peacetime again.
    Step 11 : But it cannot. Peace doesn’t mean what it used to, and the US cannot become what it was in 1938. It is now a global power.
    Step 12 : The US returns to peacetime fully transformed, and brings the Pax Americana at home and abroad.

    See ? A great quest, a great Hero, straight out of the History books, and yet obeying every rule of the classical tale. I tell you, when Calliope and Clio work hand in hand, there’s not one force in the universe who can resist them.

    Alright, ladies and Gentlemen. Remember, reading Uncle AF’s articles makes you wiser and immensely popular with Swedish gymnasts and top-models. It also whitens your teeth while you sleep, regrows hair, and trades your boring 40-something spouse for two young 20-something ones. Use this stuff wisely, and patiently wait for our next article, in which you and I will embark into a Heroic Journey and see what’s all this then, finally.

    Atlantic Friend is a Fellow Of The Tempus Society and the WritAAR of Crossfires

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    Une Noel de Tornade - A Failed Britannia Story...

    By General_BT


    November 22nd, 1925


    "Congratulations!"

    Pierre Mitterand winced slightly as yet another hand collegially slapped him on the back. Mitterand was tall and powerfully built - he'd played Calcio in high school and was renowed across southern Illinois for his abilities with the ball. Yet no amount of training could prepare a man for being slapped hundreds of times in the back, no matter how jovial the manner the blows were delivered.

    "Thank you," Mitterand bowed slightly in the direction of the congratulations - they came from Gaspar Montaigne, the mayor of Nouveau Paris - what was left of it. Almost eight months had gone by, and large sections of the town still remained stripped as bare as the storm left them. Yet that problem was no matter, not tonight. Tonight was when the town fathers had gathered in the new city building, with their wives, children, and rich donors, to give thanks for making it through such a tough year, and ask for campaign donations for the coming January elections.

    Not that they mattered much. The Governor-General in Arcadia hardly ever listened to the Premiers, and the Premiers of the provinces never listened to their local leaders. It was a long chain of willful ignorance that stretched all the way from Nouveau Paris on the plains near the Mississippi all the way to London in Angleterre and the halls of the King. Politics was a dirty business that led nowhere in any of the commonwealths in L'Union Anglais.

    Something Mitterand didn't have to worry about.

    A special election two weeks ago had confirmed his position as intendant by an amazing margin - 81% to 15%. Most of it rode on his actions that dark March afternoon, when hell itself came to visit Dupree Departement. Pierre thought organizing rescues was what intendants were supposed to do, but the public, through their plaudits and acclamations, clearly thought otherwise...



    Georgios Bryennios too stood amongst a sea of people - this sea was not spread thinly over a huge ballroom, clad in the finest clothes available in this part of the state, but clustered tightly in all parts of his sister's small house near downtown Nouveau Paris.

    "Henri! Get down from there!" Theophano shouted at her own son, before another shout was directed at Arkadios, Georgios' own boy. The two were partly hanging out of the living room window, still gaping open after eight months. Theophano pointed Georgios to the boys, then darted amidst the sea of cousins, nieces and nephews to the kitchen. Its door flew open, and Theophano disappeared into a billowing cloud of smoke, cursing as she went.

    "Papa!" Arkadios yelled, pointing out the window. That alone made Georgios smile - the boy hadn't wanted to talk for almost half a year after that dreadful day.

    "You can point at it from in here," Georgios hefted the seven year old from his perch and set him on the floor of the living room. Henri quickly followed suit. He was the good boy, and good student of the pair. Georgios knew if Anastasia had been here, she would've immediately claimed her nephew's good marks were only due to his appropriate, Gallic name.

    "Papa, its the intendant's car!" Arkadios pointed as a vehicle from the Intendantement Departement cruised by, sputtering and puttering as it went. The vehicles were less than a year old - Georgios had helped the intendant's office keep the vehicles in good order, and just by the cough and bang the D'Esprey Black made as it turned the corner told him he'd have to go in early tomorrow to check on it. The boys of the intendant's office often drove their cars to oblivion through negligence.

    "I remember the last time I saw that car!" Henri shouted excitedly, a single sentence that drove Georgios' mind back eight months...

    ============================================ =============================

    March 25th, 1925 - 2:30 PM

    "Bah!" Mitterand waved a hand dismissively, causing Yves Troudeau, the local baker, to laugh. "You charge a ridiculous amount for that! I had a single donut, and you want me to cough up twenty
    denier?"

    "That's the going price,
    intendant!" Yves laughed. Since he weighed close to two hundred fifty pounds, it was a big, bellowing laugh.

    "Price gouging," Pierre sighed in mock misery, before setting down a single sous coin, the face of King Pierre showing. "Put the rest on my account - I have a feeling I'll be back in here before the night is over."

    "Trouble at the
    Ecole?" Yves asked, giving the local nickname for one of the more infamous drinking dens in Nouveau Paris. Hardly a day went by without a fight there, especially between the Natifs and the etrangers they utterly despised as low-brow, unclean, and intent on stealing their jobs - especially all of the Roman refugees that had flooded the Etats Unis after the Great War. All started over the death of a pointless Greek noble in Venezia.

    "No, the Weather Bureau is claiming there is bad weather about. I have a feeling I'm going to break an axle on the new car driving about to assure old farmhens that there is nothing bad about to happen!" The
    intendant looked quietly out the window - the sky was already darkening. It reminded him of the Balkans, the icky mud of the trench lines, coupled with the thundering rumble of Anglais and Greek guns. "Perhaps I spoke too soon."

    "If you get a chance, drive by and tell my missus that I'll be home early, would you?" Yves asked, looking out the windows himself. He was a little protective of her - they'd come from the Old Country back in '18, with only the clothes on their backs, part of the 'Resettlement Plan' that opened up L'Amerique to more immigrants. "It'll make her feel better - she doesn't like dealing with storms alone."

    "I'll do that," Pierre said, before picking up his donut, and his official hat - a tall kepi with the crossed swords of his department on the front. Cradling them both in one arm, he waved goodbye to Yves with the other and strode out into the unusually quiet streets of Nouveau Paris.

    It was a boom town, built around the coal mines that dotted the southern part of the
    province of Illinois. Almost nine thousand people lived in the city, and another ten thousand in the Departement as a whole. All of which meant that Pierre and the twenty or so sous-intendants under him always had their hands full, breaking up fights, escorting drunks to jail, serving as bailiffs for the local parlements.

    And the
    natif versus etranger tensions weren't helping. Eight years before, the Great War had left L'Union Anglais, the Greeks (or the Roman Empire, as they insisted on calling themselves), the Russians and the Germans all fractured. L'Union had managed to have the Roman menace disassembled into her constituent parts - a series of frayed and tattered nations stretching from Iberia, across Italica, to Hellene and the Levant. Far too many of their citizens had assumed Amerique, with its wide open spaces and liberal laws, would be welcoming. None had realized the presence or numbers of the angry natifs.

    And today, of all days, the Weather Bureau claimed it was going to storm, and had asked all
    departements in the south of Illinois and north of Henriavia to make a careful log of all weather happenings in their areas. If half of his sous-intendants had not been busy escorting the infamous Alexios 'the Butcher' Skeleros from the departement jail to court, he wouldn't have minded. But the man had killed fifteen natifs in ten months, and the honest people of Nouveau Paris demanded blood, and that he be treated as Satan himself - which meant a very public, very heavy guard. So, instead of taking an early afternoon off to have a donut, Pierre would have to drive to the hills just outside the town to watch the sky, and likely waste an afternoon...



    "I think a storm's building," Georgios heard Anastasia say, and he looked up from his woodworking.

    "Say what?" he said, slightly annoyed. Anastasia was always skittish whenever the sky darkened and thunder echoed in the distance. She'd always been that way, even when the two of them lived in Carthago Nova in the Old World. A brief gust of wind would come up and she'd panic. She became even more skittish once they got to Illinois - the weather there was far less predictable.

    Nothing bad really happened - except the time her father's corn crop was devastated by hail. And every time a storm came near, she'd want him to come and judge for himself - even if it meant an interruption to his carpentry. The
    intendant was well-meaning, but he wouldn't pay well for an etranger/i] like Georgios - making furniture for the other Greek speakers in the [/i]departement filled the gaps. It didn't help the position of their house on the western side of Nouveau Paris gave them an unobstructed view of the sky.

    "I say, there's a storm building," she repeated herself, her tone now more urgent. Georgios set his saw aside and walked out of the small, lopsided shed he called a workroom and into a countryside far darker than it should be at midafternoon. Off, directly to the west, the sky was near pitch black, as a massive thunderhead loomed. The first peals of thunder were barely audible in the distance.

    "Yeah, that's rather dark," Georgios had to agree with his wife. The two stood watching as it seemed to grow and billow, coming closer and closer. As the minutes ticked by, Georgios became confident the worst parts of it would miss them - it seemed like the bulk of the storm would pass north of them.

    "Anastasia, it's nothing," he said finally. "You should be getting Nikolaios and Arkadios ready. Mother will be upset if they aren't properly dressed for Mass," Georgios said dryly. Georgios, like his mother, practiced the Latin Rite since they moved to Amerique - it let them blend in easier. Anastasia had balked at first, and even now she only went begrudgingly.

    "Well, little Helena was being a handful," Anastasia replied. Georgios laughed - Helena was only three, but had a mind and temper of her own - just like her father.


    ================================================== =======================

    November 22nd, 1925


    Pierre happily sat down at his reserved place near the front of the room, across from the mayor's daughter, the local Bishop, and several men he didn't recognize. The Bishop was a fat man clad in the Danish manner, like most of the priests ordained by the Pope in Hamburg. Pierre had seen some relics from the Church's Roman days - a travelling circus displayed them among other curiosities. It was too bad the Greeks had shoved the Latins from that ancient city eight hundred years before.

    Rather quickly, one of them had a hand shoved forward, into Pierre's face, breaking his train of thought.

    "You must be the heroic intendant," the man said. By his thick patios, Pierre was sure he came from the East, perhaps from Nouveau Marseilles. "My name is Guillaume Beaucerc, and I'm director of Gassiere Steel Company."

    "Ah," Pierre said emptily. He didn't recognize the name. Then again, he knew little about the steel industry. He knew coal from Nouveau Paris was loaded onto trains, then went east. Beyond that, it wasn't his problem.

    "We're thinking about building a plant here, to help this little heroic town recover," the man continued with a far-too-charming smile. Pierre grunted - he didn't know business, but he was no idiot. Destroyed property meant land for sale on the cheap. That's why the man was interested in the town.

    "...employ some forty workers..."

    Fortunately, the ding of silverware on crystal signaled that the mayor was at the podium in front, about to speak. Part of Mitterand had always wondered how quickly the wealthy fo Nouveau Paris were able to order new silverware and china from Sade's & Renauld's catalogue, even as the poorer elements still were unable to find a place to rest their heads...



    "I want to be an intendant when I grow up!" Henri announced proudly.

    "And I'll be Le Premier, and order you around!" Arkadios one-upped his cousin.

    "You can't be Premier with a name like Arkadios!" Henri started to protest. "The law says you have to be born in Amerique to be Premier! And you were born a Greek..."

    "You're my cousin! You're Greek too!" Arkadios shot back.

    Georgios came out of his own memories of that dark day and intervened before too many egos could suffer permanent damage.

    "Now now," Georgios soothed things before the spat turned into truly hurt feelings, "this is a land of opportunity, there's no telling how far Arkadios can go in life. If you want to be Premier, Arkadios, you need to work and study..."

    The impromptu civics lesson was interrupted when Georgios' cousin Manuel bumped into his while carrying a tray of ouzu. A glass fell to Theophano's floor and shattered. Muffled curses came from the kitchen, over the noise of twenty people bustling and hustling about.

    "Lemme help you with that!" Georgios bent down, and started scooping up bits of broken glass.


    ================================================== =======================


    March 25th, 2:45 PM


    Mitterand rose from the ground next to the contraption they called a car and cursed again. Because he hadn't paid attention, he'd cracked one of the headlights on a tree whose trunk was far too close to the road. He'd have one light now tonight, at least until he could get Georgios to fix it in the morning. The man was a genius with cars.

    Other than that the trip up the hill, as well as the spacious view his drive afforded him, had been boring. He'd put up the canvas roof of the precious car he'd taken out to the hillside, and it gave him some shelter from the rain. He wrote grumpily in his notebook that the winds picked up and blew strong, and there was a great deal of rain. Nothing out of ordinary for a thunderstorm, and certainly nothing that justified him sitting out here, cold and wet.

    The rain let up, and the
    intendant thought he could start to see sunshine in the distance, on the far side of the cloud. Pleasant thoughts of heading back to Yves' for some warm coffee entered his mind, until he noticed something strange. It looked like a cloud, great and massive, as if the sky itself was rolling and tumbling on the ground.

    The noise of a distant waterfall greeted his ears.



    "Georgios!"

    Byrennios didn't hear that tone of panic from his wife's voice, and it was enough to send him bolt upright and running to the front yard. Anastasia was in the front yard, one hand gripping her five year old son Nikolaios' shoulder tight, the other pointing off in the distance. Georgios followed her finger to a huge, low cloud, boiling and angry, as if the thunderstorm had decided to scrape the ground.

    It didn't look like any cloud Georgios had ever seen before. He'd seen storms, he'd even seen a tornado, and he knew what they looked like for sure. Small, funnel-like appendages from the sky that danced around, wantonly sowing random destruction. This looked nothing like that - it was more a dark, black wall, moving towards them.

    The wind started to rise, leaves whipping around the three of them. Georgios frowned - the leaves and motes of dust that flew by were flying towards the black cloud, not away, like a normal storm. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, a cold and prickly sensation running down the back of his spine as he watched this unknown...
    thing.

    Something was not right.

    To make matters even worse, whatever it was, it was moving faster than anything Georgios had seen before. One send it hovered beyond the distant hills five miles from town. Then it was over them, clawing up past the Valois farm. Then to the grove of trees past that. Then it hit the Ossier place head on.

    Georgios stood rooted in his spot, mesmerized. As the black wall approached the house and its scattered outbuildings, their roofs seemed to come apart, at first tile by tile, then board by board, until finally they peeled up and away as if a giant was using one of those new can-openers. Only a second later, all the buildings came apart, and disappeared into the maelstrom.


    The clouds near the ground seemed to flash by, carrying bits of dirt, trees, homes, whirling them by at immense speed. Georgios blinked, not understanding what he saw, until he made out the shape of a cow, rising in the dark mist, the distant rumble of a heavy, nearby training rising in the wind.

    It was only then he realized it was headed directly towards them...








    ====END PART 1=====

    General_BT is a fellow in the Tempus Society and the WritAAR of Rome AARisen - A Byzantine AAR
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    We are starting a new series to parody various AARs in relation to the relevent holidays of the season. This featured holiday is St. Nicholas's Eve (December 5th) where good boys and girls get presents while the really bad boys and girls are put into Sinterklaas's sack and brought back with him to Spain where he spends the rest of the year.

    Grubnessul, author of There might be Vikings out there!, and Avernite are friends of the Tempus Society and contributing comics.

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    POP goes the Narrative
    Using POPs in Victoria AARs

    By LeonTrotsky


    Victoria's POP system is unique among Paradox games. Such are the intricacies of internal politics and economics in Victoria that, nominally at least, every head of a household is represented with their own employment, ideology and issues concerning them. This article means to discuss how this information can be used by anyone constructing a narrative AAR. My current narrative is based on a Grand Campaign, albeit one which was modded fairly extensively by me as I played it, but the best writing opportunities came not from game events but from looking at the behaviour of various POPs.

    Of course, a bit of artistic license is needed to say the least. No 40,000 craftsmen in the same factory will have the same views on everything. No 40,000 people anywhere will, for that matter. And of course the economic situation is simplified too; not all workers in a region will be divided into one or two industries as the factory system in Victoria symbolise. But the division of POPs into professions can give you an idea of what the prevailing opinions are in any part of the country.

    So, if you took a craftsman POP with the ideology 'socialist' – what could that mean in practice? Socialism in Victoria can extend from ill-defined social democracy to non-Bolshevik revolutionaries. Well, you can look at he rest of the province. If there's a large number of clergy, perhaps the workers are more likely to be drawn to Christian socialism. If their militancy is low, they will be unlikely to be attracted to revolution and will maybe restrict their political activity to voting (if they're entitled to!) or single issue campaigns. What could these campaigns be? Well, look at the factors affecting the militancy of the POP – are they concerned more about trade union rights or voting rights? And so the process goes on.

    All this allows you to build up a complex picture of the political aspirations of the POPs, before we've even looked at what their 'primary' and 'secondary' issues are. Of course, take care not to forget minorities. There will always be one or two stubborn souls not willing to bow to peer pressure. So if the majority of the clergy in a province is reactionary but your central character is a liberal priest, he may become increasingly disillusioned and bitter. Or perhaps if you've written a naïve character, he or she will be swept along by the prevailing moods.

    None of this is suggesting that any writer should subsume the fundamental traits of their characters in game mechanics, nor even to drown their story excessively in the nuances of politics. But the reactions, actions and personalities of any individual depend on what is materially going on around them in wider society, and Victoria allows a writer more guidelines and opportunities in that respect than any other Paradox game.

    LeonTrotsky is a Fellow of the Tempus Society and the AuthAAR of Cruelty Has A Human Heart
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    Good evening everyone and welcome to another installment of You’ve Been Canonized! our weekly interview segment on Timelines where we interview a patron author and get to know more about them, their thoughts on Timelines , and their current AAR or project ! If you’re new to the programme, I’m your host canonized author of Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? and today’s guest is Kurt_Steiner author of Lo Llibre dels Feyts - The Book of Deeds . Let's get to the questions !

    Part I: The Crazy Catalan
    Kurt (and Peti) lets us know about themselves !

    canonized: First , I'd like to thank you for coming on the programme it's definitely an honour for us ! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself for those who may not already know of you ?

    Kurt_Steiner: Oh, well, what can I say... As my friends would say about me, I used to be the Antichrist of the Spanish forum, but now I'm a tender lamb, so they just call me "a malign spirit" My not so friends... well... better don't ask them... In short, I'm a good boy who has the incredible ability to be unable to shut up when I should.

    canonized: Haha , well you mentioned being part of the Spanish forums , but you also trace your ethnic roots more specifically than that , could you tell us a little bit about your identity that you are so proud of ?

    Kurt_Steiner: Well, I'm the best part of the Spanish forum, to begin with. Modesty is not one my dominant features, as you my guess, but I cannot tell a lie -Peti, stop barking!!!! I hate when he behaves like that... Well, for me to be part of the Spanish forum is a quite curious situation, actually, as this forum is half made of people from America as well as from Spain, so, its label is awfully funny, so to speak. Also, being a Catalan born with some German and Castillian ancestors helps to make it more funnier, trust me. Some of my Spanish mates in the forum will laugh if they read this, but... I don't really care about national labels, actually. Having Castillian, Catalan and German blood in my veins makes me think that nationhoods are just labels, so I don't give much attention to it. Of course, if I have to take a label, err.... a nationhood, I choose to be Catalan -ey Spamiards, don't you love me right now? Of course they love me, they can say it now: you see, he's crazy, but he's a Catalan crazy, not a Spamiard one. I wonder if this interview is making any sense right now...

    canonized: Well certainly by now everyone should notice your particular comedic personality ! Furthermore , it shows in your writing as well . What inspires you to these eclectic sensibilities about humour ?

    Kurt_Steiner: I don't know, trust me. Since I was a kid a used to be a bit eccentric, just to sign me out of the mass. Why? I cannot tell, but I like it. Then, some day... it happened... I was, in some degree, quite normal, even if a bit eccentric and black-humour being... but... unexpectedly... nobody expects it, you know... one day, watching TV, I show one rendition of "Monty Python's Flying Circus". And... well... Here the change took place. When I saw Cardinal Ximenez I saw my future clearer than ever: I wanted to wear those red clothes!!! Er... not that... well... let's talk a bit serious. Watching Monty Python transformed my sense of humour. I cannot tell why, but it touched something inside of me. Since then, I cannot consider the world quite seriously -awfully I do, from time to time-. I try, I promise, but something in me is unable to be serious. I have to make a joke about almost everything -well, not everything. Some topics are sacred even for me. But, all in all, I'm some kind of cynic unable to trust the material world and the fallible human being. Oh, Peti, stop laughing, I'm deadly serious! You see, having a imaginary pet which is as cynical as me doesn't help at all.

    canonized: Haha , I see ! I am curious though , being English not your first language , what do you think of the English AARs and the English community in relation to the Spanish ?

    Kurt_Steiner: I love the English AARs. First because they are an excuse to keep my English reading -and writing- skills alive and because I can compare the different kind of styles that I find in the English and the Spanish communities. But what most puzzles me is the English OT, trust me. I don't know if it's because Spaniards are like that -or because they suffer, er... enjoy me- but there is a tendency to quarrel so fast -especially about politics... something that, in comparison, doesn’t happen in the English OT as often. Well, perhaps because I only took part in the English OT topics from time to time, now I think about it... But returning to the AARs, I love the different kind of styles. There is such incredible quality in both sides, that I wonder why the heck some people are so crazy to read ME! Seriously speaking, there is a lot of quality in both sides, really.

    Part II: Alternate Iberias
    Part II , as per the agreement with the AARlander , is not published in this issue . You can read the full interview here .

    Part III: A Catalonian Comedy
    Kurt answers our questions about his current AAR !

    vacalentacialano says: Something I must confess, before this interview ends

    canonized: hm ?

    Kurt_Steiner: I must admit that I'm surprised about the success that my English AAR has, really. I am really surprised, not only because is quite visited and my readers enjoy it but I'm speechless for the support that my readers give me and how they have accepted when I turned some of them into characters in my AAR such a wonderful sense of humour and such complicity with me are the best prizes I could expect. So, in that sense, I'm awfully lucky of having them reading me, really. So, poor Judas and poor Kardinal Petrus who have suffered me sense of humor, and many others both in the Spanish and English sections, readers all, you're the best part of my AARs. As Oscar Wilde would have said, my readers have made a great show of good taste and wisdom reading and enjoying me, so, I can only agree with them.

    canonized: Naturally , the first thing that's obvious about your AAR is that it is an intermingling of history , profound and sometimes profane (haha) comedy , and some expert gameplay . How did you conceive to start with this project ?

    Kurt_Steiner: My fist intention was to emulate the first great AAR I found in a forum, the Hohenstaufen saga, by my master and teacher, the mighty and wonderful Obelixeke, in the Spanish AAR section. However, even if I'm able to clone something, I don't like just to copy. So I began to explain a story based on the family chosen, the house of Barcelona, and with the simple goal of making them rulers of the world and, of course, taking all the chances to make some laughs about it. Then, some day, I had the silly idea of making an alternative story about the main story... and some other day I had the brilliant idea of invading the English AARland with this alternative story. My only idea was just to see if I was able to do the same I was doing in Spanish. Not even that, I just wanted to test my English writing skills or perhaps just to see what happened and I got more than I expected, as I said earlier.

    canonized: A big part of the fun of your AAR is that you have a massive amount of characters pulled from other forumites and friends ; could you tell us a little about not only why you did it , but how it has affected your work afterward ?

    Kurt_Steiner: It was a silly idea. Dunno why, it just started in the Spanish main AAR, as a way to make the reader to be a bit of the story, and to, why not, play with them, seeing how far I could go with my puns and jokes, learning about them. How has it affected my work? It makes it harder, because I reached a point that I had almost tried everything. Then, some day, watching Apocalypse Now I thought... hey... So I tried and adapted it as a part of my aar, with my Spanish readers, and later on, with my English readers. And it got so well than I'm trying to find some inspiration to make it keep going, as a parallel story. I've tried some ways in the Spanish main story, but I didn't like the result, so I'm still searching for inspiration. While it comes, I'll do something that is quite usual in me: just to go on and trust that God sends some help

    canonized: Your work also is also permeated with what we talked about earlier ; your sense of humour and your Catalan-ness . Speaking of your sense of your humour first , the English style of slapstick comedy is very prevalent in this . Tell us a little bit about that , please .

    Kurt_Steiner: Perhaps is some kind of result of the British influence on me, as I have mentioned before. One of my first attempts on comedy was a comic adaptation, during my university days, of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Well, it was more than a excuse to put my classmates into an absurd story than anything else. I'm not very conscious of it, that is, I don't write thinking, now I'm going to put a bit of that here, and a bit of... no, it goes out just like that. Sometimes it has a good result, sometimes, well... sometimes is... different.

    canonized: Of the second part , of the Catalan influence , one can see that easily in the push for having counts and dukes only of Catalan stock ; share with us a little bit about this obsession ?

    Kurt_Steiner: Oh, it's a joke about me and history and Spain. As it history developed, Catalonia lost. We ended up having a Castillian set of rulers and finally got incorporated into Spain, to put it simply. So, my dark soul asketh itself one day: why not conquering THEM!? And I thought... what the heck... so, let's do it! But not just Castille. Let's turn the world Catalan. It was such a ... such a... such a STUPID idea, so CRAZY, so ABSURD that I LOVE it at the first sight. So, if Queen Victoria spread her empire around the world and her children among all the European royal house, I, Kurt Steiner, the silliest and craziest Catalan boy ever born I'll do the same in the Crusader Kings' universe or die in the effort. So, as I'm not going to die, I'll have to win, of course. Too cute to die so soon

    canonized: Could you give your fans any sneak peeks on who we might see in the upcoming weeks ? Any guests or special occurrences ?

    Kurt_Steiner: Good news... If God helps, I'll find some inspiration to make something better than I wrote till now. Bad news... no idea of what... In the present moment, the game is a bit... absurd... so I don't really know about what the future deserves about the parallel action, the play-within-the-play... well... let's say that I have some new ideas. If before meeting the Panzerkardinal I had my good Kardinal Petrus... just imagine which kind of perverse ideas I may have... Actually, I was going to introduce two of my favourite characters of my main Spanish AARs but I'm going to twist it a bit... So, stay tuned, because we're going to have a new character out there. And they are too good to miss them. And, as a good ladies, they won't forgive those who don't follow them closely... As I write this down, I'm giving shape to this new idea, so, don't expect me to explain everything now, for two simple reasons: A) it would spoil the surprise B) It... Peti, what are you doing!!! Peti!!!! Pet....

    Peti: I'm Peti, the good and loyal pet of this fool... Don't trust him: he has the idea, really, but he won't tell you anything for a reason: he has not the slightest idea of what he intends to do!

    Kurt_Steiner: Oh, thank you Peti, you know how to create mystery about something, don't you? Well, now I'm back, B) What Peti has told you, he's right. I have just a vague idea, so I cannot say anything but I'll try to keep the level and introduce a new reason for the actual readers to keep reading and for the new ones to join

    canonized: And lastly , do you have any plans for any future AARs ?

    Kurt_Steiner: I was thinking about an AAR based on my present game of the HOIDD, but I try to be wise and I'll try to finish the ones I'm carrying out, that are, shame on me, a bit outdated... I'm a bit busy right now -real life, writing a thread on the Spanish History section, some other issues...- but I'll try I don't want to have Judas or Olaus Petrus knocking on my door... hehehe

    canonized: Well thank you Kurt (and Peti) for this wonderful interview ! Very happy to have you both aboard . I’d like to thank our audience once again for tuning in this week and a special thank you to all the AARlander and INSTRUMENTALITY readers out there who are tuning in this month ! If you’d like to read more interviews , we host them every week at the thread so please come join us to know more about some of the patron authors ! We’ll be announcing the next interviewee on the thread this week as well . Good fight , good night !

    canonized is SEELE Chairman of the Tempus Society and author of Timelines
    Last edited by canonized; 02-12-2007 at 20:35.

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