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Thread: The AARlander Issue #6: February 2008

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    The AARlander Issue #6: February 2008


    Cover by ComradeOm


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

    * (on sabbatical)

    Welcome to The AARlander
    by anonymous4401
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 05-02-2008 at 10:31.

  2. #2
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    A Crusade That Changed The World – The Seventh?

    by The Yogi



    I would like to illustrate one of the points made by Mettermrck in his excellent little piece about the cascading consequences of changing an even with a case study.

    About a year back, I began working on an alt-hist timeline ultimately intended to provide the back story for a full length novel. The PoD is in 1241 AD, when the Great Khan does not die, and the Mongols rampage through Central Europe and as far west as Paris. On their way they pretty much annihilate the Chivalry of Germany and also defeat the army of King Louis XI of France and sack Paris before returning to the East.

    As a result, Louis, an impoverished King of a devastated realm did not launch his VII Crusade to Egypt. As that Crusade was a dismal failure, one would think that it’s disappearance from history would have only the slightest consequences. Instead, I found it dramatically overturned the history of the Middle East.

    The reason is that at the time of the VII Crusade, Egypt and Syria were both ruled by the descendants of Saladin, the Ayyubid dynasty. The Sultan As-Salih Ayyub who was in Syria fighting a dynastic war, immediately returned to Egypt where he died in the aftermath of a leg amputation intended to save him from an abscessed wound. His heir Al-Muazzam Turanshah was recalled from Kurdistan to lead the defence. In the mean time, Mameluk Generals took charge and defeated the Crusaders in the Battle of Al-Mansurah. When Al-Muazzam finally arrived, he rubbed his Mameluk commanders the wrong way, and having proved themselves as leaders to the also Mameluk troops, they had no trouble overthrowing the Ayyubid Sultan and erecting themselves masters of Egypt. The Ayyubids continued to rule in Syria though, until wiped out by the Mongol invasion of Hulagu Khan in 1260 AD. Later that year, news of the death of Hulagu’s overlord Mongke Khan forced Hulagu to withdraw with most of his forces to take part in the process of succession, which in turn allowed the Mameluks to attack and defeat the Mongols at Ain-Jalut.

    Now, let’s examine the consequences of a cancelled VII Crusade. With As-Salih not having to rush back to Egypt for his date with fate, he might well have ruled for several more years, perhaps even up until 1260 AD and Hulagu’s invasion. Even if he didn’t, there would be no opportunity for the Mameluk leaders to prove themselves as leaders and gain the prestige necessary to overthrow the Ayyubid, and Al-Muazzan wouldn’t have needed to return to Egypt to anger his slave soldiers into rebellion. As a result, it’s not far-fetched to imagine that the Ayyubids would still have been ruling both Egypt and Syria in 1260 AD. The Mameluk army of Egypt would most likely have been sent to Syria to repel the invasion and, almost inevitably, been slaughtered as they met the Mongols in full force, not the pitiful remnant they destroyed months later at Ain-Jalut in our timeline.

    With the Mameluks gone, nothing stands in the way of Mongol domination over all the Near East, including Egypt. And so, for the lack of the VII Crusade, the history of the Muslim near East is changed beyond recognition, with the Ilkhanate of Hulagu stretching from the Indus to Cyrenaica.

    Damn, what a difference a completely failed and obscure Crusade can make!
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 05-02-2008 at 10:15.

  3. #3
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    A Brief History of the Franco Prussian War (1870-1871)

    by ComradeOm


    Despite being overshadowed by the sheer devastation of later 20th C conflicts, the Franco-Prussian War today remains one of the most important and pivotal wars in modern history. It effectively reshaped the face of European politics/diplomacy and set the stage for the de facto European Civil War of 1914-1945. This is something well captured by Victoria. For the French and Prussian player 1870 is the date to plan for, with every prior action being taken with this war in mind. Even the other European Powers cannot afford to ignore this event chain and the seismic change in the balance of power brought about by the formation of Germany. This conflict takes on added significance for those engaged in writing Victoria AARs. The Franco-Prussian War was in some ways the first modern war and many of the tactical and strategic innovations first pioneered in 1870 would make a reappearance almost fifty years later on the fields of Flanders. For those contemplating a hypothetical European conflict between 1870 and 1914 then this is the war to study. With that in mind I'm providing a brief overview of conflict. As with all such histories much has been left out but for further reading I can highly recommend Michael Howard's The Franco-Prussian War with the Osprey Military Gravelotte-St. Privat: End of the Second Empire as an additional resource

    Declaration of War


    A detailed background of the march to war is beyond the scope of this short work but, in brief, the crisis arose over the Spanish offer of their throne to a minor Prussian prince from the House of Hohenzollern. France strenuously objected to this offer but the Prussian Chancellor's (Otto von Bismarck) efforts to manufacture a war came to naught when Wilhelm I of Prussia ordered his distant cousin Leopold to reject the offer. When the French Ambassador (Benedetti) pressed the King to personally guarantee that a Hohenzollern would never accept the Spanish throne he was firmly, but politely, rebuffed. Bismarck edited Wilhelm's response (the infamous Elms Dispatch) to make it appear as if Benedetti had been curtly dismissed and ensured that it was leaked to the world. The French government immediately acted to defend the "honour" of France and issued a declaration of war on 19 July 1870



    Left: A French Lieutenant and Private (L-R) Right: A Prussian Private


    This was by a particularly rash move in light of the growing gulf in the military capabilities of France and Prussia. Having gone through a rapid period of reform (spearheaded by Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke and Minister for War Albrecht von Roon) the Prussian Army in 1870 stood as the world's first modern army. Universal conscription required all men to serve three years in the regular army and four years in the reserve before passing into the Landwehr (further reserves). In 1870 von Moltke had at his disposal almost a million men in total with complete mobilisation and rail plans designed to transport them to the border with little delay. The various German allies of Prussia adopted the same system but with less enthusiasm. In contrast to this impressive military machine the French Army remained rooted in the past. Political concerns, which equated a mass army to Revolutionary France, and professional distrust ensured that, despite of the efforts of a few reformers following 1866, the French could only muster 250,000 men to meet the Germans in 1870. While these were almost all professional soldiers, and armed with the excellent chassepot rifle, there was virtually no trained reserve available with the Garde Mobile existing largely on paper. In addition the impressive logistical system that ensured the smooth running of the German war machine was almost completely absent in France. Given the above it is little wonder that von Moltke urged Bismarck to seize the opportunity for war when it presented itself.

    Saarbrücken to Sedan


    Initially it was assumed by virtually everyone that history would repeat itself and the French would follow up their declaration of war with an offensive into the Rhineland. This would both satisfy the enthusiasm of the public and the military, and possibly convince Austria to join the war against Prussia. However after arriving at the border with his army in late July Napoleon III vacillated and failed to provide any sort of leadership. A minor offensive was launched to occupy the border town of Saarbrücken but aside from that the French Army of the Rhine did nothing. With reports of large German armies assembling Napoleon hurriedly withdrew his formations to a defensive line within the border. The thinly spread French armies were unable to support each other and were soundly driven back in three engagements (Wissembourg, Spicheren, Wœrth on the 4th, 5th, and 6th August respectively). Following the insipid display of leadership by the Emperor Napoleon, Marshal Bazaine was granted overall command of the French armies as they retreated towards Metz (12 Aug 1870). Unfortunately Bazaine was to prove equally incompetent and out of his depth



    Important French Generals: (L-R) Faidherbe, Bourbaki, Bazaine, MacMahon, Chanzy


    As the German armies advanced westwards the French tried to retreat towards northwest towards Verdun in order to avoid encirclement in Metz. Confusion and disorder continued to plague the French operations/logistics and their march west was slow. The decisive battle of the war came when the pursuing Prussian armies intercepted the French formations in the area of Gravelotte-St. Privat (18 Aug 1870). This was the largest and bloodiest of the battles of the war with roughly 200k German soldiers attacking 110k entrenched Frenchmen. The latter were well prepared and the disciplined fire of their chassepot rifles caused horrendous casualties amongst the German formations rashly committed by over-zealous officers. All day the battle raged with the German attackers slowly gaining the upperhand. Under the cover of night the French armies withdrew from the battlefield and retreated to Metz, obstinately to reorganise and replenish supplies. At the cost of some twenty thousand casualties (the French suffered less than half that) the Germans had successfully prevented Bazaine from escaping west. He and his army would spend the rest of the war trapped in the fortress town of Metz

    It was only at this point that serious alarm began to appear amongst the politicians in Paris. The French soldiers had acquitted themselves well even in defeat but now the bulk of the Imperial Army was under siege in Metz and the road to Paris was open. Only Marshal MacMahon's army had survived the initial border battles (having become separated from the rest of the army during the first retreat to Metz) and this was tasked with salvaging the situation. Reorganised as the Army of Châlons, and accompanied by Napoleon III, this army marched east along the Belgian border in an attempt to outflank the Germans and link up with Bazaine at Metz. It was a disastrous strategy and Moltke lost no time in capitalising by seeking to effectively "pin" the French against the Belgian border. Converging German armies forced the French to retreat to the fortress of Sedan where they were rapidly encircled. With Bismarck ensuring that Napoleon could expect neither aid nor free passage from the Belgians, the result was almost a massacre. Surrounded, constantly pounded by German artillery, and attacked from all directions, the Army of Châlons disintegrated over the course of the day (1 Sept 1870). Finally Napoleon III surrendered. In total the French lost almost 120K men to either death or captivity… with the Second Empire amongst the casualties



    Click for map of the campaign (Warning: Large File)

    Rise of the Republic


    Napoleon's empire did not survive his capture and a Republic was proclaimed on 4 Sept 1870. A Government of National Defence (containing prominent names such as Trochu, Favre, and Gambetta) was established and there were hopes for peace all round. The Germans naturally assumed that with France's standing armies either destroyed or under siege that Paris would accept any terms for peace. In contrast the prevalent sentiment in France was that this had been Napoleon's war and it should end with his demise. Certainly the Republican polticians were not willing to accept the territorial concessions that Bismarck insisted on. When it became clear that the German price for peace included the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine the Government began preparations to continue the war. Drawing heavily on Revolutionary slogans and sentiment* it called for the mobilisation of the French Nation against the foreign invader - the famed "People in Arms". In turn the Germans resumed their advance on Paris, reaching the city on 18 Sept 1970

    Paris was an attractive target for Moltke for two principle reasons. In the first place the city exerted a startling magnetism on French minds. Even with German armies approaching the Government of National Defence refused to abandon the city and would later obsess over relieving it. Secondly Paris was the only tangible target for the German armies as, with the exception of the sieges of Metz and other border fortresses, there were no obvious French concentrations to strike against. The latter were either rebuilding their armies in the provinces or conducting guerrilla raids (the famed franc-tireurs) against the German logistical chain. Unfortunately for Moltke, Paris was also the most heavily fortified city in the world at this time and was ringed by an extensive series of fortified villages and towns. There was little that the German armies could do except settle down and begin a protracted siege. Even this dangerously stretched Moltke's considerable resources - in addition to Paris, significant German forced were devoted to besieging Metz, guarding the supply routes, and seizing the border fortresses - and left him with little to combat French counterattacks



    The Republic's spirit and gift of improvisation was perfectly captured in Louis Gambetta's unlikely escape from Paris


    While the Government of National Defence remained in Paris, it was the young Louis Gambetta who (after an improbable escape from Paris in a balloon) served as the head of the government in the provinces. His energy was infectious, if not always well directed, and the months following Sedan saw a number of armies raised to relieve Paris. The fighting continued to be heavy around the Orleans but a combination of inertia on the behalf of the officers and the sheer rawness of the recruits severely hampered the Republic's campaigns. The greatest blow came however when Marshal Bazaine** surrendered his army at Metz and allowed Moltke to redeploy the considerable assets tied down by that siege (27 Oct 1870). Despite energetic campaigning through winter (by the likes of Faidherbe and Chanzy) the failure of the Bourbaki's offensive in the east (designed to sweep north and cut German supplies) ended any hope of relieving Paris. The Republic had fought with notably more passion and competence than the Empire but could not overcome the obstacles caused by the fall of the latter. An armistice was signed on 28 January 1871 and the Treaty of Frankfurt followed on 10 May 1871

    An Expensive Peace


    While there were many within the Prussian military (including Moltke) who sought the complete destruction of the French threat, the final agreement settled on the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by the new German Empire. Aside from recognising the creation of this Empire, the Third Republic also agreed to war indemnity of five billion francs. The latter would prove to be of particular importance in galvanising German industrialisation but was not particularly significant to the French. The loss of Alsace-Lorraine was a far more bitter pill to swallow and one that would give rise to French revanchism. In domestic terms the war merely cemented Prussian ascendancy within Germany and the military's ascendancy within Prussia. In France the Third Republic survived its brief civil war and staggered on. Elections held after the armistice returned a moderate government while the Paris Commune was brutally crushed with the loss of thousands of lives. Few were particularly happy with the outcome of the war and the general feeling following it was one of insecurity amongst the European Powers



    Proclamation of the German Empire at Versailles


    In military terms the post-war outcome was even less satisfactory. Germany had secured a decisive victory only to see it undermined by the (remarkably effective) mobilisation of France's resources. Europe would see much more of this warfare in the 20th C. The basic strategic lessons of the war were rapidly disseminated by military theorists and the Prussian staff and mobilisation model became standard throughout Europe. Increased emphasis on logistical support also ensured that the next war would be fought in a much more professional manner. Naturally this only increased the chronic paranoia of the German Empire's military. Unfortunately the overwhelming superiority of the Prussian military organisation ensured that many tactical lessons of the war were ignored. The three most important of these were:

    Collapse of the Cavalry: Throughout the war there were many cases of glorious cavalry charges. Unfortunately the stirring nature of these sights was matched only by their utter futility. With one notable exception (Von Bredow's Death Charge) the use of cavalry against riflemen proved to be completely ineffectual. From this point on their usefulness on the field of battle would be limited to reconnaissance roles

    Transformation of the Infantry: For all their innovations relating to the logistical and organisational aspects of warfare, the Prussian armies themselves did not prove to be particularly superior. Indeed the French professional soldiers, armed with the excellent chassepot rifle, repeatedly inflicted heavy casualties on the advancing German lines. It was not until the last months of the war that the traditional close order formation - in which men marched side by side across the battlefield - was replaced by the modern loose skirmishing line - with men advancing in small groups and taking advantage of cover to return fire

    Triumph of the Artillery: It is not often that a weapon alone can be said to have won a war but this may well have been the case of the French chassepot if not for the Krupp cannons of Prussia. Time after time the discipline and ability of the German gunners was required to subdue the French rifle fire. In part this was due to their use of percussion caps which caused the shells to explode on impact - the French stopped using timed fuses following the fall of the Empire and noted an immediate increase in performance. An additional staple of 20th C warfare also made an introduction with the bombardment of civilians in Strasbourg and Paris

    Perhaps the greatest tragedy of this conflict is that these lessons, both military and political, went largely unheeded. Many of them would be learned again in 1914 at terrible cost

    -----


    *Many of the younger politicians, particularly Gambetta, were fierce Republicans in the revolutionary tradition. This would lead to constant conflict with the generally Imperial military hierarchy

    **Judgement of Bazaine has been uniformly harsh following the war. Once considered one of Europe's great generals, his ineptitude, defeatism, and general listlessness of command saw him tried for treason by an angry post-war France. In particular his surrender of Metz was seized upon by opponents
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 05-02-2008 at 10:17.

  4. #4
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    THE CABINET FILES # 3

    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 that either played a role in their country’s political stage, or stumbled and fell on their journeys along the corridors of power.

    As we browse through the files, let’s get acquainted with four characters that, 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 just a little different. Just as they had an influence on Real-Life History, maybe you'll want them to have an influence on your game and AAR.

    ***+***


    Léon Pignon (1907-1976)



    Country : Indochina / Vietnam

    Role : Head of Government

    Ideology : Social Democrat

    Personality Trait : Silent Workhorse

    Loyalty : High

    Available date : 1948-1964

    Real-life biography :

    Léon Pignon’s rather extraordinary career in the French civil service began in France’s darkest hours of 1939. A lieutenant in Colonial troops in 1939, he fights in the Battle of France and receives the legion d’Honneur for his bravery under fire. Captured in 1940 during the Battle of the Somme, he spends two years in captivity in a German Oflag and is sent back to France in 1942. Refusing to work as the Vichy Colonies Minister’s aide, he is instead send to Algiers, then still under Vichy jurisdiction, to be part of the civil service there. Pignon immediately establishes contacts with Resistance group, and after Operation Torch joins Free France’s National Liberation Committee, where he is the equivalent of a Colonies Minister. He returns to Paris as soon as the French capital is liberated, and he works for France’s Provisional Government as head of the Indochina section of the Colonies Ministry – at a time when Indochina is still under Japanese control.

    At his request, Pignon is sent to Indochina clandestinely as part of a French intelligence operation, assisting Major Jean Sainteny whose task was to establish contacts with Indochinese Communists and prepare the return of French troops in an Indochina which was occupied by British and Nationalist Chinese troops, and where the fleeing Japanese had orchestrated a massacre of French soldiers and civilians alike in the spring of 1945.Pignon becomes increasingly doubtful of the sincerity of Ho Chi Minh’s Communists, but he loyally supports Sainteny’s and his government’s action. After some time spent in Cambodia, Pignon returns to Indochina in 1948 as High Commissioner, with all civilian powers.

    As Ho Chi Minh’s insurrection begins to spread, Pignon tries to counter Communist influence by reforming civilian institutions and granting more power to Nationalist Indochinese. His plan is to create French Dominion able to cooperate with Metropolitan France and soothe nationalistic aspirations. While Pignon’s solution would probably have worked a few years before, the rise of Mao in China and the lack of cooperation from both General Carpentier, the Commander in Chief of French forces in the country, and Emperor Bao-Dai, did condemn French Indochina forever. In 1950, after Chinese-equipped Vietminh divisions annihilate a French garrison at Lang Son, Pignon and Carpentier are both replaced by Général de Lattre de Tassigny – who conferred with Pignon and essentially tried to apply his plans for a modernized French-Indochinese Union. Pignon returns to France in 1948 where, with his usual competence and a rare discretion, he keeps working for the government until his death in 1976.

    Game rationale :

    What Léon Pignon proposed in 1948 was simply to have France control Indochina not as a colony, but as a puppet state. It is important to note that Léon Pignon may be the man who could have won the Indochinese and Viet-Nam wars before they even begun. His solution came within an inch to work, and only failed because of external factors, such as the rise of a powerful Communist China. In Hearts of Iron, France has the possibility to grant Indochina (or Vietnam) partial independence, and Léon Pignon, the Silent Workhorse, would then be the perfect man to carry out the necessary reforms.

    ***+***



    Jean Sainteny (1907-1978)



    Country : France

    Role : Head of Military Intelligence / Foreign Minister

    Ideology : Social Conservative

    Personality Trait : Political Specialist (HoMI) / Great Compromiser (FM)

    Loyalty : Very High

    Available dates : 1945-1964

    Real-life biography :

    Born in 1907, Jean Roger starts working in banks and insurance companies, in Metropolitan France and French Indochina. He sets up his own company in 1932, and marries Senator (and later, Prime Minister) Albert Sarraut’s daughter. Mobilized in 1939, he volunteers for the Air Force but the Battle of France ends before he can be deployed. Demobilized, he starts creating a Resistance network with General Georges Loustaunau-Lacau . He becomes “Jean Sainteny” – a name he’ll keep after the Liberation like many Resistants - to complicate the task of the German police, but is nonetheless arrested by the German Wehrmacht in 1941 and sent to Caen to face a court-martial. The French court-martial frees him for lack of evidence one month later, and Sainteny resumes his Resistance activities, helping in the evasion of other Resistants, facilitating the departure of volunteers for the Free French Forces, and organizing the Resistance in Normandy.

    Sainteny’s cover is blown by the Gestapo in 1943, and he is arrested on September the 16th. Two hours later, Sainteny manages to evade his captors, and has to go underground. He manages to go to London, and then returns to Central western France to help reorganize networks decimated by the Gestapo. While in Paris, he’s arrested again in 1944 and this time is so severely tortured he’s sent to the Hôpital de la Pitié in critical condition. He nevertheless survives, and his sent back to the Gestapo’s Parisian headquarters on Saussaies street for further interrogation. With the help of one of the French policemen working in the building, he manages to evade his cell by sawing the steel bars blocking the window, and manages to leave Paris and to reach the lines of General Patton’s Third Army, giving Patton precious information about the situation in the French capital.

    In 1945, he’s sent to Kunming, in China, by the French Intelligence, to enter Japanese-occupied Indochina and prepare the arrival of Free French troops. He negotiates this return with Ho Chi Minh in 1946, but is then victim of a street aggression in 1946 during the first clashes between French troops and Vietminh insurgents. Evacuated to France, and sensing the situation will continue to deteriorate, he keeps on working for the French Colonies Ministry. He returns to North Viet-Nam as part of the French embassy, and then militates for the return to power of General de Gaulle. Jean Sainteny then alternates minor Cabinet posts and special diplomatic missions, during which he serves as a go-between for Kissinger when he tried to approach Ho-Chi-Minh’s government. Jean Sainteny, decorated of the Ordre de la Libération for his Resistance actions, died in 1978.

    Game rationale :

    Businessman, officer, Resistant, diplomat, Jean Sainteny is one of these greater-than-life characters that rise up from extraordinary circumstances. I think his background would have made him a good candidate to head France’s post-WW2 intelligence services and that he could even, in a post-1954 alternate France, become his country’s Foreign Minister. His Resistance background, more than justify giving him a Very High loyalty, along with either Political Specialist or Great Compromiser traits. Anyone wanting to include him in a Crossfires-inspired game or AAR will be interested to note Sainteny learned his resistance trade with General Georges Loustaunau-Lacau, which we already met in a previous issue of the Cabinet Files.

    ***+***


    Jean Mermoz (1901-1936)



    Country : France

    Role : Chief of the Air Force / Minister of Armament

    Ideology : Social Conservative

    Personality Trait : Army Aviation Doctrine (CoAF) / Air Superiority Proponent (MoA) / Undistinguished Suit (both)

    Loyalty : High

    Available dates : 1936-1964

    Real-life biography :

    In 1920, Jean Mermoz, discovers the aviation when he signs up a 4-year contract in the French Air Force. After initial training in a bomber squadron, he volunteers in 1922 for deployment in Syria, a French League of Nations mandate where the French Army fights occasional insurrections from the Druze tribes. As he returns to France, Mermoz takes a dislike to military aviation and signs up a contract with the Latécoère airline company, first as a mechanic and then as a pilot on the Toulouse-Barcelona flights. He then switches to flying postal planes, notably between Dakar, in Senegal, and Casablanca, in Morocco. During one of his flights he’s captured by Moors who only release him after a ransom is paid by the postal company. In 1927, Jean Mermoz, who like Antoine de Saint Exupéry has developed a passion for the adventurous life of the postal planes crewmembers, is hired by the newly created Compagnie Générale Aéropostale, and develops postal flights from Rio de Janeiro to various Latin American destinations across the Andes mountains. In 1930, he creates the first 100% aerial line between France and the United States, and will cross the Atlantic 24 times in the six following years.

    From 1930 to 1936, Mermoz keeps establishing new airlines, and works to preserve them from American and German competitors. This leads him to increasing disappointment with the weak governments of the French Third Republic, and Mermoz joins the Croix de Feu through their National Volunteers organization – as only wartime decorated soldiers can join the Croix de Feu at that time. He uses that political forum to plead for the development of a popular aviation in France, where young men from every background could be formed as pilots and mechanics. After the French governments bans the Croix de Feu in 1934, Mermoz becomes the Vice-President of the Parti Social Français, the legal Croix de Feu political wing that keeps developing.

    Jean Mermoz dies on December the 7, 1936, during a transatlantic flight, aboard the “Croix du Sud”. His last message is “Are stopping the rear right engine”.

    Game rationale :

    It may only appeal to “Crossfires” aficionados, but Jean Mermoz has potential in a narrative AAR based on a more Conservative France. His eminent rank in the Parti Social Français, and his commitment to the development of French aviation would have made him a strong candidate for Air Minister, a Cabinet post Hearts of Iron doesn’t propose per se, but whose responsibilities borders those of Chief of the Air Force or Ministry of Armament, as the Air Ministry’s task is to develop the nation’s air industry. From there, gamers have two possibilities. Either they decide Mermoz’ dislike of the military side of aviation would make him an inefficient but historically correct Minister, in which case he’ll get the Undistinguished Suit trait. Or they could decide Mermoz’ passion will inevitably have beneficial aspects for the French aviation, notably if he pushed for the development of faster, better planes. In this case I’d suggest Mermoz be given the Air Superiority Doctrine or Air Superiority Proponent traits, depending on the Cabinet Post he gets.

    ***+***


    Geoffroy Chodron de Courcel (1912-1992)



    Country : France

    Role : Foreign Minister

    Ideology : Social Conservative

    Personality Trait : Ideological Crusader

    Loyalty : Very High

    Available dates : 1955-1964

    Real-life biography :

    A Second Lieutenant at the end of his military service in 1933, he obtains a PhD in Law, Literature and Political Science, and turns to a diplomatic career. His first posting is in 1937 in the all-important French embassy in Warsaw, as a modest Attaché d’Ambassade. He then joins the French embassy in Athens as Secrétaire d’Ambassade, and is in Istanbul when WW2 breaks out. Mobilized, he’s sent to the French Forces in Lebanon during the phoney war, until Fate finds him. De Courcel is on leave in Metropolitan France in the fateful days of May 1940, at the start of the German offensive. Instead of being sent back to his Lebanese posting, he’s directed to report to the new Secrétaire d’Etat for National Defense, a certain General Charles de Gaulle. De Courcel becomes de Gaulle’s batman, and chooses to accompany his boss to London.

    De Courcel is the first officer to join the Free French Forces, and for one year serves as de Gaulle’s personal aide. He’s then sent to a Free French regiment of Moroccan Spahis, where he takes the lead of a recon unit equipped with light armoured cars. De Courcel takes part to various battles in Libya and Tunisia against Italian and German forces, and notably in the battle of El Alamein. In 1943, de Courcel is made General de Gaulle’s Deputy Chief of Staff, and serves in various positions in France’s liberated provinces to reinstall French authorities. He notably serves as the French government’s High Commissioner for the liberated provinces of Alsace and Lorrain, until the spring of 1945, when he is demobilized and returns to the Foreign Ministry.

    He there resumes his diplomatic career, serving in the French embassy in Rome and then successively heading the Foreign Ministry’s Bilateral Agreements department, the National Defence department, and the strategic Political Affairs department. Geoffroy Chodron de Courcel represents France in NATO in 1958, when his former boss returns to power in France. He becomes President de Gaulle’s Chief of Staff in 1959, and is then made extraordinary ambassador to Great Britain in 1962. In 1973, he returns to the Foreign Ministry as its Chief of Staff, and sits at various official committees such as the Atomic Energy Committee and the Compagnie Générale des Pétroles until his retirement in 1978. Geoffroy Chodron de Courcel dies in 1992.


    Game rationale :

    Crossfires readers have met Lieutenant Chodron de Courcel as he was General de Gaulle’s aide de camp in Spain in 1937, and might have felt sorry for the young man who’s regularly sent to bully superior officers on behalf of his haughty boss. As he gets a crash-course on how to deal with high-ranking officials, I thought it might be interesting to explore what might become of this young cavalry lieutenant. Obviously, de Courcel had a bright future in the diplomatic career waiting for him in 1937, and if it hadn’t been for the outbreak of World War II he might have climbed the echelons of the Foreign Ministry higher than in our timeline, as his close association with the Gaullists was clearly a handicap during de Gaulle’s 1946-1958 eclipse from power. It’s never easy to speculate about what a historical character would have become had circumstances been different, but I think de Courcel would certainly have reached a very senior position in the French diplomatic services, to the extent he would have exerted a great influence on the Foreign Ministry. I therefore propose you to meet France’s potential 1955 Foreign Minister, in effect if not in title. Under de Courcel’s stewardship, France would certainly have strived to develop closer ties with Great Britain so as to preserve in peacetime the bonds develop in wartime.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 05-02-2008 at 10:18.

  5. #5
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    Applying Sun Tzu to Paradox Games

    by Phoenix Dace



    This month we'll be looking at the second chapter of Sun Tzu's Art of War. Again, remember your version may vary based on different translations (mine is by the Denma Group).


    Chapter Two: Doing Battle
    In sum, the method of employing the military-
    With one thousand fast chariots, one thousand leather-covered chariots and one hundred thousand armoured troops to be provisioned over one thousand li-
    then expenses of outer and inner, stipends of foreign advisors, materials for glue and lacquer, and contributions for chariots and armour are one thousand gold pieces a day.
    Only after this are one hundred thousand soldiers raised.
    It costs money to raise an army, in real life and in Paradox games (except maybe Hearts of Iron). What can be gleaned most from this passage of the Sun Tzu is that your economy has to come before your army. You can't fight a war and have a worthwhile army without a good economy first. You have to have the money to raise and then maintain that army for the entire course of the war, which could be a long time. Obviously, the detailed descriptions of lacquer costs, etc. are unnecessary in a Paradox game, but the same principle (you need money to get troops, you have to have an economy before you can have a military) stays the same.
    When one employs battle-
    If victory takes long, it blunts the military and grinds down its sharpness.
    Attacking walled cities, one's strength is diminished.
    If soldiers are long in the field, the state's resources are insufficient.
    The Sun Tzu advocates fast, decisive victories with as little loss of life as possible, which is also a good thing for a Paradox player. Finding ways to defeat your enemy without losing large numbers of men is a good thing, leaving you at an advantage since you still have an army capable of campaigning. You also want to find ways to make your campaigns short, even if it makes them brutal – the less time you have men in the field, the less it costs you.
    Now if one blunts the military, grinds down its sharpness,
    Diminishes its strength and exhausts its goods,
    Then the feudal lords ride one's distress and rise up.
    Even one who is wise cannot make good the aftermath!
    In the time of Sun Tzu, the feudal lords were the rulers of many states in Northern China. Sun Tzu portrays them as fickle allies, swiftly transforming from allies into backstabbing enemies. Here he is pointing out that leaving a weak military is a one-way ticket to getting attacked. Your enemies can see when your military is weak, and in Paradox games (especially Victoria and Europa Universalis) they will take advantage of that.
    Thus in the military one has heard of foolish speed but has not observed skillful prolonging.
    And there has never been a military prolonging that has brought advantage to the state.
    Going too fast into battle (or not spending long enough planning your campaigns) will get your military ground down and weakened. Spending too long prolonging the battle or campaign will do the same thing. Sun Tzu advocates skillful use of speed (not 'foolish speed') and definitely says prolonging is a bad idea.
    And so one who does not thoroughly know the harm from employing the military
    Cannot thoroughly know the advantage from employing the military.
    This one's a bit misleading. What the Sun Tzu is actually referring to is the use of military force and its advantages and disadvantages. A general must know both the advantages and disadvantages of using it, and how to use these to his own benefit. The general must be aware of how things could go wrong (disadvantages) and how to turn those into ways for things to go right.
    One skilled at employing the military
    Does not have a second registering of conscripts nor a third loading of grain.
    One takes equipment from the state and relies on grain from the enemy.
    Thus the army's food can be made sufficient.
    This has less application to Paradox games, because we don't really worry about feeding our armies. What the Sun Tzu is saying, though, is that you should not take the burden of bringing food with you, and instead use that effort for more military equipment or soldiers. Take food from the enemy, and it will strengthen your army. I suppose you could apply this to a game like Europa Universalis or Crusader Kings, where you can pillage land to earn money and use this money to supply your troops.
    A state's impoverishment from its soldiers-
    When they are distant, there is distant transport.
    When they are distant and there is distant transport, the hundred clans are impoverished.
    When soldiers are near, things sell dearly.
    When things sell dearly, wealth is exhausted.
    When wealth is exhausted, people are hard-pressed by local taxes.
    Diminished strength in the heartland,
    emptiness in the households.
    Of the hundred clans' resources, six-tenths are gone.
    Of the ruling family's resources-
    Broken chariots, worn-out horses,
    Armour, helmets, arrows, crossbows,
    Halberds, shields, spears, pavises,
    Heavy-ox drawn wagons-
    Seven-tenths are gone.

    Thus the wise general looks to the enemy for food.
    One bushel of enemy food equals twenty bushels of mine.
    One bale of fodder equals twenty bales of mine.
    Here the Sun Tzu extends the 'take food from your enemy' bit from above. Again, less relevance to Paradox games than other passages, except maybe using plunder to fund your armies.
    And so killing the enemy is a matter of wrath.
    Taking the enemy's goods is a matter of advantage.
    This is a good one. You don't have to kill all your enemies to win, and it doesn't give you advantage. The Sun Tzu values victories without loss of life on either side – you can win without having to kill your enemy, and in many cases you have to choose between one or the other. You can chase down that thousand-man army, or you can besiege the enemy's capitol. One will lead to victory, one will lead to prolonging.
    And so in chariot battles-
    When more than ten chariots are captured,
    Reward him who first captures one.
    Then change their flags and pennants.
    When the chariots are mixed together, ride them.
    Supply the captives and care for them.
    This is what is meant by “victorious over the enemy and so increasing one's strength.”
    Again, a bit too small-scale for Paradox games. We don't get to capture equipment and re-use it. We do, however, get to capture land and use the manpower, resources, etc. from it. Lesson: learn to use the land you have captured, as Sun Tzu uses the people and equipment he has captured. In this way you can gain advantage.
    And so the military values victory.
    It does not value prolonging.
    A summative passage. By victory, the Sun Tzu means 'capturing whole'. Prolonging has already been explained. The Sun Tzu values defeating the enemy without ever actually engaging him in battle. When battle is absolutely necessary, make it fast to prevent prolonging. In EU3, if you can win by letting the enemy enter your lands while you siege all his lands and force a peace without ever fighting, go ahead and do it. You will have captured whole his lands, without prolonging the campaign with unnecessary fighting.
    And so the general who knows the military is the people's fate star,
    The ruler of the state's security and danger.
    A fate star is apparently, according to the commentary in my translation, something that control the time of death.

    The general who knows the military knows how to use everything the Sun Tzu discusses, in this chapter and others. He knows how to use the economy, all the way down to how to actually defeat the enemy in a campaign or battle. In this way, he controls the life or death of his nation and people. Like you, at the helm of a Paradox nation.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 05-02-2008 at 10:19.

  6. #6
    AARlander
    Europa Universalis 3Hearts of Iron III

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    AARland Choice AwAARds 2007Q4 Results

    by anonymous4401


    The AARland Choice AwAARds has been active for more than two years now. I'd say something about the changes my life has seen over the past two years to illustrate the length of time it has been around but my life really hasn't changed at all since two years ago so let's skip to the results.

    The AARland Choice AwAARds for this quarter, which spanned the time from October 01, 2007 to December 31, 2007, had seventy-eight voters total, which is certainly a lot but somehow smaller than the quarter before and the quarter two quarters before the quarter before. I guess the only special thing about it is that there were zero private votes sent.

    In the fairy realm of Europa Universalis III, where the trees are low-quality 3D polygons and the interfaces are awkward and oversized, canonized's Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? continued its domination, winning the Overall vote with twenty-six and the Narrative vote with thirty-two. thrashing mad's History of the White Eagle - Poland - Megacampaign AAR - part 2 EU3 placed second in the Overall with six votes, and English Patriot's The Rebirth of England - Woodhouse Dynasty Part II placed second in Narrative with three votes. In Comedy, Grubnessul's There might be Vikings out there! Or: how I accidentally traded my wife for a halibut won with eight votes, beating isca's Birth of a Salesman, which got six votes. The History Book category actually had a contest, which is unusual for EU3, with English Patriot's The Rebirth of England - Woodhouse Dynasty Part II taking twelve votes and defeating the monopoly of thrashing mad's History of the White Eagle - Poland - Megacampaign AAR - part 2 EU3, which took second place with ten votes, where it tied rcduggan's The Ebony Cross and the Sacred Eagle (Era I). In Gameplay, Rennslaer's Sforza!!! - A Milan AAR finally takes first after two quarters in the wilderness following its monopolistic victory in 2007Q1, its own ten votes somehow being a monopoly of its own facing four AARs that tied for second place with two votes.

    HOI2/1 continues to be a divided, fractuous chaos, except even more so this time. In the Overall, fourteen AARs received one vote and four two votes, with Massacre: A(nother) Romania AAR by Rotten Venetic and Unity - Justice - Liberty -- A AH Germany AAR by trekaddict taking second with three votes each. Crossfires, a French AAR for HoI2 Doomsday by Atlantic Friend squeaked into first with merely four votes, tying 2005Q4's record for lowest number of votes by a Overall HOI2/1 winner. Narrative, on the other hand, managed to beat its record for lowest number of votes by a winner, with War and Revelations- The Hebrew Uganda AAR by likk9922 taking four votes. Three AARs received three votes, three received two votes, and eight received one vote. Oddly enough, none of the winners of these two categories in the past quarter managed to scrape together more than two votes in this quarter. Even in Comedy, Le Ran's This is SpAARta!, which won last quarter with a stunning twenty-eight votes, only received four this time, tying for second with Furious Vengance - A 1944 UK AAR by El Pip, and losing to MongoliAAR - The Cartoon by Hannibal Barca2 with its amazing five votes, which is coincidentally precisely the number of colored squares said AAR consists of. In History-Book The Bear in Winter: An All the Russias AAR by RossN took first with seven votes, which was five votes until I noticed that I had been tallying it under two names. Crossfires, a French AAR for HoI2 Doomsday by Atlantic Friend took second with four votes. Echoing a theme, the top three winners of last quarter in this category failed to place in the top three this quarter. And Gameplay provided a much-absent spot of stability with Remble's A Creek without a Paddle - Gotterdammerung, Germany 1944. taking first in its own right with four votes, one less than the number of votes it won with last quarter. Soviet Union AAR - The Bloody Road to Berlin by Klaipedietis and Fatherland - Deutschland über alles by Kanitatlan took second with three votes each as the percentage of readers of HOI2 Gameplay AARs that voted in the AARland Choice AwAARds continued to be a fraction of a percent.

    In Crusader Kings, the imitable Knud Knýtling, Prince of Denmark (and other assorted tales) by phargle arose from the dead to take its terrible vengeance upon the living, or in this case, win the Overall category by the skin of its teeth with five votes, defeating A Year's Education - Russia Megacampaign, pt. I by RGB Rome AARisen - a Byzantine AAR by General_BT, which took four votes each. Rome AARisen however won the Narrative Category with eight votes, defeating previous winner The Beautiful Girl and the History Class by Jestor which took three votes. In Comedy Knud Knýtling showed The Adventures of the Crovan Clan by Alfred Packer and P is for Passau by Farquharson, both newcomers, what's what by defeating them six to four. In History Book A Year's Education - Russia Megacampaign, pt. I by RGB won where it could not in the Overall, taking seven votes to the two taken by the two second-place winners. And in Gameplay, Real Men Do It Alphabetically: An AARgau by anonymous4401 won for the fourth time in a row, defeating second place winner and newcomer Finlandia Universalis: An Alternative History AAR by JMJ seven votes to three.

    In Victoria, The World is Not Enough, a German WW1 AAR by Quirinus308 wins the Overall for the first time since 2006Q4, exactly a year ago. And by a good margin, too, as it received eight votes to Sceptre of David: An Israel AAR by superskippy second-place four-vote finish. In Narrative, last quarter's winner Cruelty Has A Human Heart by LeonTrotsky won this time with eight votes, defeating jeffg006's Empire Under Heaven ~ Zhonguo (VIP) AAR which took six. In Comedy, For to make learning of Great Moldavia history by Dysken & Hannibalbarca collaborated itself to first place with six votes, defeating second-place winner Kamrat Kim Kommer Krossa Kapitalisterna! -A Swedish Juche AAR, which is also by Dysken, which received three. And somehow none of the winners or second-place-winners or anybody at all really from the previous quarters in this category showed up, as all the AARs that were voted for were new. In History Book, ComradeOm's Sins of the Fathers (Papal States 1836-'78), winner of last quarter, won this quarter with eight votes, defeating Sceptre of David: An Israel AAR by superskippy, which took second place with six votes. And in Gameplay, The World is Not Enough, a German WW1 AAR by Quirinus308 maintained its win from last quarter and revived its streak, with seven votes. In second place, with two votes, was Sceptre of David: An Israel AAR once more, earning it the dubious distinction of having won more second-places in a single quarter than any other AAR, ever. Also in second place with two votes was The Will of God, an Italian AAR, also by Quirinus308.

    And finally, in EU2/1, the voters for Mettermrck's epic The Eagles of Avalon seemed to be the only ones to remember to go to the polls as it won both Overall and Narrative with seven and six votes respectively, which is a landslide in EU2/1 terms. Second place in Overall were Golden Horde - Scourge From The East by Duke of Wellington and Resurrection: Rebirth of the United States by CatKnight, which took three votes each, the latter of which also placed second in Narrative, again with three votes. In Comedy newcomer The Khan that dreamed and screamed, A uzbek AAR by Lord Skane edged out category mainstay Golden Horde - Scourge From The East by Duke of Wellington 5-4, and in History-Book O Lord, our God, Arise: More Weekly Reports from England by Judas Maccabeus made another EU2/1 landslide with seven votes to second-place winner For Another Thousand Years: A Roman AAR by Lordling taking two. In Gameplay previous winner Dreams of a Baltic State - Pomerania AAR by Emperor_krk tied newcomer Here be Fez. by Wtbrg for first with three votes each.

    And even more finally, in the Overall categories, History of the White Eagle - Poland - Megacampaign AAR - part 2 EU3 by thrashing mad took Favorite Graphics with twelve votes, and in New Writer asd21593's The Greek Empire - An Alt. His AAR won with three votes, Clockworkorange coming in second for his I'm the Count of Agder and you're not with two votes.


    The list:

    Favorite AAR, EU3
    Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? by canonized
    Favorite Narrative AAR, EU3
    Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? by canonized
    Favorite Comedy AAR, EU3
    There might be Vikings out there! Or: how I accidentally traded my wife for a halibut by Grubnessul
    Favorite History-Book AAR, EU3
    The Rebirth of England - Woodhouse Dynasty Part II by English Patriot
    Favorite Gameplay AAR, EU3
    Sforza!!! - A Milan AAR by Rensslaer

    Favorite AAR, HOI1/2
    Crossfires, a French AAR for HoI2 Doomsday by Atlantic Friend
    Favorite Narrative AAR, HOI1/2
    War and Revelations- The Hebrew Uganda AAR by likk9922
    Favorite Comedy AAR, HOI1/2
    MongoliAAR - The Cartoon by Hannibal Barca2
    Favorite History-Book AAR, HOI1/2
    The Bear in Winter: An All the Russias AAR by RossN
    Favorite Gameplay AAR, HOI1/2
    A Creek without a Paddle - Gotterdammerung, Germany 1944. by Remble

    Favorite AAR, CK
    Knud Knýtling, Prince of Denmark (and other assorted tales) by phargle
    Favorite Narrative AAR, CK
    Rome AARisen - a Byzantine AAR by General_BT
    Favorite Comedy AAR, CK
    Knud Knýtling, Prince of Denmark (and other assorted tales) by phargle
    Favorite History-Book AAR, CK
    A Year's Education - Russia Megacampaign, pt. I by RGB
    Favorite Gameplay AAR, CK
    Real Men Do It Alphabetically: An AARgau by anonymous4401

    Favorite AAR, Vicky
    The World is Not Enough, a German WW1 AAR by Quirinus308
    Favorite Narrative AAR, Vicky
    Cruelty Has A Human Heart by LeonTrotsky
    Favorite Comedy AAR, Vicky
    For to make learning of Great Moldavia history by Dysken & Hannibalbarca
    Favorite History-Book AAR, Vicky
    Sins of the Fathers (Papal States 1836-'78) by ComradeOm
    Favorite Gameplay AAR, Vicky
    The World is Not Enough, a German WW1 AAR by Quirinus308

    Favorite AAR, EU1/2
    The Eagles of Avalon by Mettermrck
    Favorite Narrative AAR, EU1/2
    The Eagles of Avalon by Mettermrck
    Favorite Comedy AAR, EU1/2
    The Khan that dreamed and screamed, A uzbek AAR by Lord Skane
    Favorite History-Book AAR, EU1/2
    O Lord, our God, Arise: More Weekly Reports from England by Judas Maccabeus
    Favorite Gameplay AAR, EU1/2
    Dreams of a Baltic State - Pomerania AAR by Emperor_krk
    Here be Fez. by Wtbrg

    Favorite Graphics, Overall
    History of the White Eagle - Poland - Megacampaign AAR - part 2 EU3 by thrashing mad
    Favorite New Writer, Overall
    The Greek Empire - An Alt. His AAR by asd21593


    And a final word: What this quarter has seen is truly amazing. Both the Victoria and Crusader Kings boards, which have been in decline for some time, have actually increased their activity, the former almost to the point that EU3 once was, which itself also increased. But sadly despite all of these new AARs and writers and readers, it seems that participation in the AARland Choice AwAARds has not increased, which means that the percentage of AARland participating in its only existing participatory institution might be at its lowest point ever. Imagine a world where the five third-place winners of the HOI2/1 Overall tied not with two votes, but with five votes, or even ten votes. Can you imagine such a world? How beautiful it must be!

    I hope that the AwAARds for the next quarter, 2008Q1, will be in such a beautiful world. And I hope that I will see you there.
    Last edited by anonymous4401; 05-02-2008 at 10:20.

  7. #7
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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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.

    Assistant Editors
    English Patriot S.T.S.
    General_BT F.T.S.

    Member Writers for This Month
    Atlantic Friend F.T.S.
    Mettermrck F.T.S.
    Judas Maccabeus S.T.S.
    canonized S.T.S.
    grayghost H.F.

    Contributors for This Month
    Capibara

    Other Writers on Staff
    English Patriot S.T.S.
    LeonTrotsky F.T.S.
    JimboIX F.T.S.
    General_BT F.T.S.
    Myth

    Current Tempus Roster
    Last edited by canonized; 02-02-2008 at 06:03.

  8. #8
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Victoria II: Heart of Darkness500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res PublicaCrusader Kings II: Legacy of RomeCrusader Kings II: Sword of IslamCrusader Kings II: Sunset InvasionCrusader Kings II: The Republic
    Crusader Kings II: The Old GodsCrusader Kings II: Sons of AbrahamCrusader Kings II: Rajas of IndiaCrusader Kings II: Charlemagne

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    THE SUPPORTING CAST IN NARRATION, A GENERIC LOOK AT STORY ARCHETYPES

    By Atlantic Friend



    Just as “The Hero in Narration”, this article was inspired “The Writer’s Journey”, by Christopher Vogler, and “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 of course.

    It also owes a lot to the many, many books, and game scenarios I have come to read over the years. Good and bad plots alike have a lot to tell to any aspiring writer, setting up great examples to follows, or pointing out at great pitfalls to avoid. In this respect, I think it’s high time aspiring writers, who usually profess their everlasting admiration and gratitude for literature giants such as Shakespeare, Hugo or Dante, reward these unsung heroes whose shadowy influence is usually greater than that of all of the great authors combined. Yes, I mean the underdogs. Dogs so under their fleas get nosebleed at sea level : the really, really bad authors. You know, the dullards who should have kept their day job. A bit like the primitive hominoids we once were, let’s face it, the “authoroids” or proto-authors are a pretty embarrassing bunch. We’d rather die than be seen with, and by God we’d be right. But embarrassing or not, our forefathers they are. After all, we learn through trial ands error, and while I have never met anyone becoming an author because Byron or Tennessee Williams were good at writing, I am sure we are quite a lot who, after reading an insipid plot or watching a caricatural Z movie, decided we could do better in our sleep. So, be thanked, you utterly incompetent (and yet, sometimes famous) writers of all times, for the hours of boredom, disgust and sheer disbelief you inflicted upon us. Rest assured that, should I ever attain to the Hall of Fame, the last thing I’ll ever do will be to be seen with you.

    Now that these much-needed honours have been rendered, it’s time for a little modesty. Bad plots, hole-ridden plots or utter absence of any plot whatsoever may be the trademarks of the Really Bad Writers, but when it comes to character flaws, we are all prone to stumble and fall into the bottomless pit of bad literature. In some bizarre defiance of the known laws of physics, a good story can actually fall if confronted to a lack of depth. To its characters’, to be more precise.

    In the previous article, we have met the various forms that can be taken by the story’s Hero. Now I know last month I said we’d embark in a Heroic Journey in the next article, but I think we first need to get a quick look at the inhabitants of the stories before setting sail. This article will present major narrative Archetypes, along with their narrative function and possible use in an AAR.

    Ready ? It is now time to explore the world of the supporting cast, and to see how the good use of Archetypes can prevent an pandemic of stereotypes.


    THE FACES OF THE ARCHETYPES, OR “HEY, DON’T I KNOW YOU ?”

    Myths, fairy tales, and novels are full of characters built around a few universal models :we can all recognize a mile away. Whether we met them in an espionage novel, or in an action movie, we are generally very familiar with them all. Take any story or movie : we know the golden-hearted whore will reluctantly help the hero, and we know the irreverent rogue will do his best to annoy the heroine before falling (and possibly dying) for her. We know the arrogant west Point Lieutenant will be humbled by his salty Sergeant and emerge a better man, just as we know the slightly demented old sage will provide the knowledge or technology the hero needs to keep the story going. In a way, it is kind of strange that we all know these apparently generic characters so well, recognizing their archetypical nature, and still often allow them to take us by the hand and surprise us. It’s as if they had the power to keep us hoping that, by repeating a similar experience, we’ll get different results. And sometimes, we do.

    Psychoanalysts like Carl Jung believe the powers of the Archetypes come from some form of collective inconscious, which would be fuelled by stories and tales we hear or read as kids. The universal situations and characters of the stories would then become our first tool to decipher the world, finding their way in both the collective and individual mind. As you see, it’s some kind of a circular argument : the real world would provide us with the archetypes, which in turn would help us understand the world. Some writers, like Joseph Campbell, take a different stand about Archetypes, and see them as almost biological functions. In this approach, mankind use Archetypes in narration for the same reason our nose smell : we cannot help it because it’s the way our brain works. Naturally, for a writer the exact point of origin of the Archetypes isn’t important. The important thing is that Archetypes work, and that a gaining a deep understanding of their function is a serious step towards cobbling together a story that will get the attention of the readers. And an Archetype’s function, of course, depends on its nature .

    The Archetypes most used in narration belong to no more than seven primary categories, which, from the most positive to the most negative, are :

    -1- Mentors
    -2- Allies
    -3- Messengers
    -4- Gatekeepers
    -5- Tricksters
    -6- Shape-shifters
    -7- Shadows (or Foes)

    Before you tell me that including the Shape-shifter category is cheating because it enables me to include as many different types of characters as I like and still claim there are only seven, let me stress the fact that the Shape-shifter is not a convenient catch-all category to include whatever doesn’t fit the rest of the list. It is, as we’ll see later, a category devoted to characters whose very narrative function is to change during the story. And since you want to get all uppity with your good uncle AF, let me let you in another little narrative secret : in many ways, the Hero himself is just another Archetype, albeit with a special connection to us, the readers.

    Now, these categories are not meant to be mutually exclusive, far from it. In fact, only in the most basic tales – like the ones we tell our kids before going to bed, or the ones we tell our pals over a beer - will a character consistently belong to a single category. In simple tales, characters will tend to belong to a single category and stick to it, possibly displaying traits of another category for one particular scene. Think about “The Lord of the Ring”, for example. Gandalf is pretty much a Mentor throughout the first book, as he gives wise but withering advice to the Hobbits. But come the dangerous crossing of the Moria, the Mentor pulls his sleeves and gets to fight the Balrog – a task usually devoted to Heroes. As “The Lord of the Rings” loses the fairytale quality that characterizes the first chapters and evolves in a deeper, more complex story, so do its protagonists.

    So the first rule of Archetypes could be written as : the more complex the story, the more permeable the categories.



    THE ARCHETYPES’ BASIC MISSIONS, OR “HAVE TRAITS, WILL TRAVEL”


    We won’t talk about Heroes and Heroines any longer, since we already broached the subject of their nature and narrative functions in a previous article. It’s time to focus on the rest of the so-easily forgotten crowd, the allies and adversaries, the obstacles and helpers, the meddlers and the passers-by.

    The Mentor

    As his name suggests, the Mentor is that very positive character who’ll help the Hero through his quest, usually by his knowledge and good advice, but also possibly by giving him just the gizmo he needs. The Mentor is the Hero’s mother, his teacher, his role model or that loony inventor next door who’s tinkering with the very fabric of space and time. The important part is that the Mentor is the provider of something the Hero needs : advice, knowledge, magical items or technological gizmos. Often, the Mentor is possessed by some superior virtue, be that in the religious or merely moral sense, meaning the Hero will only get something from the Mentor if he deserves it. Like Merlin urging Arthur to unite the Kingdom, or Gandalf trying to convince nations to get rid of Sauron for good, he shows the direction and sometimes bullies the Hero to usher in better times, if not a golden age. In this respect, the Mentor is a reflection of the Hero’s (and the writer’s) highest aspirations. He can also be what the Hero can hope to become, like Obi-Wan Kenobi to young Luke Skywalker. As a role model, the Mentor is often portrayed as a former Hero, who performed his quest and grew up as a result.

    In an AAR, where we have to give readers a lot of information about the historical context, having a Mentor is always useful. This Old Timer will be able to tell our Heroes how things once were, how bad they became and how Better Times could be ushered in. A Mentor can also serve the Villain, proposing a very different perspective on the Better Times to bring. In both cases the Mentor can also provide a nice balance and cut the Hero or Villain down to size, by reminding them of their shortcomings.

    Since the Mentor is a kind of power behind the throne, or a teacher whose pupil will equal and then dwarf, Real-Life History tends to overlook them. After the tragedies of World War 2, who will remember Karl Lueger’s anti-Semitic theories played an important part in shaping up Hitler’s ? Or who will remember Proudhon’s Communist theories inspired Lenin ? Mentors tend to fade away as their most talented pupils get all the attention, but they are there, powerful, influential…

    The Ally

    Obviously a very positive force, the Ally eithers rushes to the help of the Hero or is won by his cause. The impact of the Ally varies with his identity, and he will take many forms, from that of a lowly, yet loyal henchman or that of a powerful, independent character, as long as it performs his mission which is to lend the Hero a hand and make the Heroic Quest a little easier. Contrary to Mentors, who usually help the Hero by giving him information or some important gizmo, Allies give themselves and put their own life on the line. In some stories, it can be difficult to tell between Heroes and Allies, which can lead to gut-wrenching situations where a certain character, thought to be a Hero and revered as such by the readers, dies and this reveals his true self.

    Politicians and soldiers will usually make the big battalions of Allies in a narrative AAR, with a smaller number of intelligence operatives. They can also be friends, relatives, colleagues or brothers-in-arms of the Hero’s, following him out of friendship or conviction. Allies are useful tools to keep the Hero from appearing too powerful, by making sure the heroic quest moves forward without having the Hero do everything by himself – which can sometimes be a narrative impossibility given the Hero’s social or professional background. An East Side petty crook, for example, won’t be able to get invited to a garden party at Lord Rothermere’s so he can see if a certain War Ministry official is giving information to the German Naval Attaché. But if he has for Ally a certain young nobleman down on his luck, then maybe he’ll be able to sneak in.

    In Real-Life History, Allies and Foe alike have been a-plenty – and of course, are diversely portrayed depending on which side of the physical/cultural/religious war you are considering. A prominent Ally would be Kim Philby, for example – if you adopt the point of view of the USSR, of course. Under a British perspective Philby would probably be a Shape-shifter, if not a downright Shadow.

    The Messenger

    The Messenger is a neutral force, bordering on positive because he sets the story in motion by pushing the Heroine forward. In the very beginning of any story or movie, we usually see the Heroine before the Messenger arrives, either enjoying a peaceful life or being immersed in routine duties. Things are not perfect in the Heroine’s world, but she manages to make her peace with it. Once the Messenger has spoken, the Heroine’s perception of the world is shattered, and she realizes she has to commit and get involved. The Messenger usually is just that, as he is sent by some higher authority, whether from this world (representing the government, the Army, or just the Law) or from another (angels, demons, ghosts and divine beings sent by the Gods). He might be a one-scene character, or he could even be the main character if the story revolves around whether he’ll manage to convince someone to do something vital. In some genres, like Western, you can have Messenger Heroes, like the stout young farmer who has to cross Indian country to reach the cavalry outpost and urge them to go protect the surrounded settlers.

    In a narrative AAR, the Messenger will naturally set various plots in motion, and will either disappear forever (the nondescript officer/clerk announcing the neighbouring nation has started shelling railways and attacking merchant ships) or evolve into another Archetype as the situation also required him to get involved (the Prime Minister announcing the King or President the country is now at war, and then starting to prepare the country for the coming conflict). As Messengers usually get no attention at all – let’s admit it, we all focus on what they announce – it could be interesting to have them reappear in the story later, in a more prominent role. For example, the young officer announcing the enemy surprise attack can prove to be an enemy agent much later, or evolve into a Resistance leader. They can be brown-nosing leeches who hoard much-needed information and only give the bare minimum, or they can be dashing and high-minded, leaving no red tape stop them in their mission of delivering the information they have.

    Unless they ultimately evolve into a more prominent figure, Messengers go down in Real-Life History as a mere footnote, with the possible exception of those who brought vital information. Resistance agents like Michel Hollard, who passed information to the MI-6 about the ramps the Germans were building for their V-1 weapons, or Roland Duchez, who, hired to paint the walls of some German HQ, seizes the opportunity to steal the plans of the Atlantic Wall and manages to pass them to the Resistance and the British.

    The Gatekeeper

    Contrary to Mentors and Allies, Gatekeepers are a neutral force – bordering on negative since they’ll spend most of the story resisting the Heroine’s efforts. Although they are usually not the true villains of the story, and even if they can sometimes be the Heroine’s objective allies, their main mission is to stall her. Whether they do it because they are on the Villain’s payroll or because they represent a neutral force is . They are enablers, as they figuratively stand guard over a particular treasure, item, or information the Heroine needs to go forward in her Heroic Journey, and will only let her get it if she proves she’s worth her salt – this function is very much like the Mentor’s, except for the fact Gatekeepers do not want the Heroine to succeed. Getting past them usually involves a test of wit, ingenuity or fortitude, like a riddle to solve, or a proof she’s the right heiress to the throne. Even if they don’t – as in psychological dramas or modern stories where you don’t have treasures hidden behind an oak door – Gatekeepers are the characters who’ll clearly define a “before” and an “after” in the Heroic Journey. Gatekeepers don’t make for dashing heroes, but they can play a very important role in the shaping up of the main characters.

    • Any narrative AAR will have swarms of Gatekeepers, of course. The salty decorated sergeant who finally and grudgingly accepts to teach a few tricks to his wet-behind-the-ears Second Lieutenant after months of being passive-aggressive with him is a Gatekeeper – and will soon become a Mentor in most cases. So is the Resistance member who finally trusts the Heroine after she helps free some of his network from jail, and who gives her information on how to contact the upper echelons is also a Gatekeeper. Gatekeepers can also be literally that : guardians standing before a gate. The Feldgrauen guarding the prison where the Heroine has been jailed are just that, hostile Gatekeepers who’ll (reluctantly) grant her access to freedom if she outwits them. Gatekeepers are very useful in stories, as they shed some new light over the Heroine and her quest.

    • In Real-Life History, one can find many Gatekeepers, and some of them have been of great significance. Ex-Chancellor von Papen, for example, performed the function of a Gatekeeper when he first tried to oppose the rise of the Nazis, and then opened for them the doors to legislative power.

    The Trickster

    • Here comes the perfectly neutral character, which cares little what’s right or wrong and keeps toeing the fine line between ally and nuisance. Their narrative purpose is usually to offer a counterpoint to the Hero’s self-importance or self-righteousness, and to fascinate the readers by showing a character over which rules and laws have little effect. Tricksters also provide the often necessary comic relief, as an old rule of writing drama is to make readers cry a lot, and laugh a little. The Trickster can be the Heroine’s friend, the Villain’s not-so-bright lieutenant, or simply a pet. Tricksters are catalysts, putting other people’s life upside-down without ever being affected themselves. That doesn’t mean Tricksters are insensitive cold fish : they’ll feel pain and anger and grief, but they’ll express their humanity by remaining able to mock Heroines and Villains alike.

    • Tricksters in a narrative AAR will probably be limited to comic relief, as the main events will be dramatic enough. In the middle of the chaos brought by war, political upheaval, we’ll appreciate to have somebody around who doesn’t let anything get to him. Or we will find it disturbing that someone could walk amidst the ruins of a bombed city and make cynical jokes about it, feeling bound neither by pity nor by fear or anger. If we start with a Trickster who seems able to laugh at anything, it can be interesting to see the evolution of a Trickster into a different archetype, as the character faces situations that will transform him forever. Conversely, the transformation of another Archetype into a Trickster can also make for some good story, portrayed either as the character becoming wiser or, in the contrary, as him losing part of his humanity and moving closer to Shadows.

    • Real-Life History is usually disdainful of Tricksters characters. But as all the Archetypes actually represent a part of every man’s and woman’s personality, you’ll find Tricksters in many historical figures. Churchill’s formidable wit, Hitler often ridiculous theories, Mussolini’s bombastic antics, their collective reluctance to let rules stand in their way, aren’t them traits of the Trickster, after all ?

    The Shape-shifter

    • This character has no constant quality, and in the story will be alternatively a positive and a negative force, alternatively helping the Hero in his quest and sabotaging his efforts. Shape-shifters turn from friend to foe, from lover to enemy, from associate to adversary. Wherever they appear in the Heroic Journey, they’ll either deceive the Hero or remain reluctant and exclusively temporary allies, if their loyalty isn’t downright debatable. Shape-shifters might seem a nuisance, but they are in fact characters pursuing their own goals, who’ll only cooperate with the Hero if it fits their agenda.

    • In an AAR of course, we’ll have many Shape-shifters. Independent politicians characters will usually be Shape-shifters, giving support to the Hero one day and taking it away the next. Nations as a whole can be portrayed as Shape-shifters, as they’ll cooperate with the player’s to defeat a common enemy, but will also pursue their own goals and defend their interests. A Shape-shifter could likewise evolve from Ally to Shadow over a particularly grave disagreement with the Hero, making for an interesting story twist. Yesterday’s allies become tomorrow’s foes, and what more dangerous foes than those you fought alongside with for years, who sat at your councils and were privy to your every plan ? Showing the widening gap between the Hero and the Shape-shifter, the increasing opposition would provide your readers with hours of enjoyment, as they wonder if the two characters will be able to find common ground again or if things are going to get uglier.

    • In Real-Life History, prominent Shape-shifters could be men like Daladier, who at first supported Paul Reynaud’s government in the pursuit of the war against Nazi Germany, but then pulled the rug under Reynaud’s feet as he joined Pétain in calling for an immediate armistice. They could also be men like the German General officers who, after years of serving loyally the regime, feel the need to plot against it.

    The Shadow

    • As their names suggest, Shadows are the ultimate negative characters, pawns and champions of the dark forces the Heroine is battling. Shadows are the Villains and evil henchmen of the story, and their only goal and purpose in the story is to defeat the Heroine. That doesn’t mean automatically Shadows are out to kill her, nor that their goals are automatically opposite to hers. In fact, bitter rivals, wanting to complete the Heroine’s quest for their own benefit can be portrayed as Shadows.

    • Naturally, Shadows are, with Heroes and Heroines, the bread and butter of narrative AARs. The evil dictator, the sadistic secret policeman hunting down the Heroine, the dedicated enemy soldiers, the Heroine’s opposite number working for a rival government, they all are Shadows, and the story resounds with their actions and nefarious plots. I wholeheartedly recommend making the Shadow Villain a true reflection of the Hero, by giving him a goal that goes beyond merely inflicting pain and spreading mayhem. The Shadow Villain will be more intriguing and disturbing if the goal he pursues is coherent in design and breathtaking in scope. Defeating a nation to plant the Villain’s flag on its presidential palace is boring. Organizing a complete New World Order around that victory isn’t. Remember what Hitchcock said : the better the Villain, the better the movie. A good motivation makes a good villain, a good villain makes for a good challenge, and a good challenge makes for a good story.

    • In Real-Life History, Shadows naturally abound, starting with the highest echelons of some governments : Hitler, Stalin, Tojo are good examples of Shadow Villains who had a real agenda. And generally their trusted (or not-so trusted) lieutenants, like Himmler or Beria, weren’t any better, displaying various forms of sadism, paranoia and megalomania. By extension, and supposing a black-and-white conception of History, every man and woman who served the regime our nations opposed have been (albeit temporarily) Shadows, whether we talk about the woman who anonymously denounces refugees or the lowliest soldier of the enemy army who grabs his rifle to fight your nation.


    ARCHETYPES AND IDENTIFICATION : A LAST SECRET

    We have seen that in simple stories, characters usually stuck with one Archetype. But what og more complex stories ?

    In more elaborate stories, the main characters will display traits belonging to several of these categories, either alternatively or simultaneously. To take a really complex story, and a different perspective, we have the character of Jaime Lannister, in G.R.R. Martin’s saga “A Song of Fire and Ice”. Jaime pretty much starts as the Shadow per excellence. Perjuring himself, killing children, blaspheming, nothing is too low for this man. He’s what Erich von Stroheim was in 1920s movies : the man we love to hate. And then as the story develops, we walk a few miles in Jaime’s shoes and discover that he has a twisted but very real sense of honour, that he’s capable of more than mere villainy. And it is extremely disturbing, because as long as he was the infamous villain, we felt happy with ourselves. However low we could stoop, we’d never be Jaime Lannister – he was the Monster, the Abomination. But as we follow him in later chapters, we discover with some uneasiness that Jaime Lannister is, in fact, very much one of us, and can even show qualities we’re not sure to possess ourselves.

    How come we can develop such intense feelings of envy, unease or admiration for the Archetypical heroes and villains ? Well, in fact – and this is the real, deep secret – Archetypes in a story do not only serve to flesh up the supporting cast. They also are the various faces of the Reader. In Real Life, which has to be the most extraordinary story ever to be written, every character of our cast of billions simultaneously belongs to every category, depending on whose perspective we’d look at him/her. You, me, and everyone else, are a mixed bag of Archetypes.

    In this respect the Second rule of Archetypes can be probably written like this : the more Archetypical traits displayed, the closer the character gets to the reader.

    If we keep this in mind, it’s no mystery the Heroes and Heroines earn our sympathy throughout a well-written story : as they go through their narrative journey they display these faces. That’s how the Hero/reader identification works : we do not identify with the Hero ; quite the contrary, it’s the Hero (or Villain) who gets to identify with us, who becomes more like us. All good stories reflect our human condition, which is to be born, to grow up and learn, to overcome obstacles, and to complete our inner journey.

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

  9. #9
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    Alternate Musings

    By Mettermrck


    Many forumites love writing alternate history, and I count myself high among them. It’s fun, you get to mess with history and also create your own world. Much of writing alternate history comes from practice and diving in, so I won’t write on about things which are best experienced personally…in the doing. Yet allow me to mention a couple aspects of alternate history that I’ve encountered in my own doings.

    When you write alternate history, it’s important to perform in-depth historical research so that the breaking point, the touted POD (point of divergence), is as real and plausible as possible. When that moment occurs, when Washington surrenders at Trenton, when Lee accepts McClellan’s sword, or when Richard the Lionheart marches triumphantly into Jerusalem, you have the weight of historical sources behind you, telling you exactly how each character thought, what they wore, how they fought, etc.

    But what happens next? And what sources do you use down the road? Remember, when you first wrote the story, your characters were historical, acting in a predictable manner, every element of the world heading towards an outcome which you’ve just adjusted. So let’s take the next month in your story. Using our three examples, we ask: would the American rebellion have collapsed in 1776? Possibly, very possibly. Would the Union have survived a bitter loss in 1862? Hmm…maybe. Where would King Richard go next? Would he go home? Yeah right.

    So how do you answer these questions. You do what you did in the beginning, of course. Read the historical sources. Ahhh, but remember, the world has changed. These characters haven’t experienced these events before. Did you know that King Richard would experience a deep satisfaction after praying in Jerusalem and give up his warring impulses, go home, and be a good king? How would you know? Has Richard ever conquered Jerusalem before? No, he hasn’t. You have to use historical examples to help find out a basis for his personality and then - uh oh – you have to make your choice. Dare I say…guess? The thing to keep in mind is, the further out your alternate history goes, the less reliable the original historical sources are.

    Also, don’t forget that by changing one event, you’re very likely changing many other things you hadn’t counted on. For example, that papal dispensation where Christian knights who had survived the Third Crusade and entered the Holy City could wear a small white cross on their arms? Did you know that caused a fashion trend, and white became a popular color amongst the aristocracy in Europe? Or that greater contact with the East through possession of the Holy Land into the thirteenth century caused more foreign goods and language, to enter into the West? That ten percent of the population of Venice (mostly merchants) in 1300 spoke an Italian-Syrian dialect which would become the major language of commerce? These are subtle changes, background ones even, yet very possible. You’re thinking of the kings, the borders, the treaties, aren’t you? Not the gradual social shifts? Yet it’s these little things which can add so much flavor and richness to your tale.

    Putting these together, I’ve found that the further out from the original history you go, the more power you have to put your stamp on the world. The less helpful your source material is, the longer period of time from say 1189 to 1300, means that it’s up to you to forge your own material. Be creative, adapt real elements, and mix them up with subtlety. Remember, it’s not just about the big changes. A combination of many tiny differences will give your story an impact that it wouldn’t have with only different rules or nations. Don’t be afraid to bring your own imagination to the table.

    Mettermrck is a Fellow Of The Tempus Society and the WritAAR of Eagles of Avalon
    Last edited by canonized; 02-02-2008 at 16:16.

  10. #10
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    A SOLDIER IN THE GRAND ARMEE, RUSSIA, 1812

    By Judas Maccabeus


    A WHITE, DEAD landscape lies strewn out before
    The army that shook Europe to its core
    Nations humbled, kings dethroned, and towns
    Removed from 'neath their undeserving crowns.
    Yet force of arms and numbers cannot strive
    Against the host of Nature in her drive
    To keep the seasons' ancient cycle on,
    As always over all the years has gone.
    So now, in depth of winter, we advance
    Not to the foe, but within. We chance
    To come upon a horse or man succumbed
    To the dreadful weather which has numbed
    Five hundred thousand in their march of death
    Through man-high drifts and white revealéd breath.
    Though that which lays there belongs not to us,
    We do not hesitate to use what thus
    Has been set forth before as gift from God:
    A meal of horseflesh, or from out the sod
    A lucky blade of grass. Thus fed anew
    We set forth out again the road to strew
    With corpses of the men who could not last,
    As never had been seen in ages past.

    WHAT BATTLE then could such a slaughter see?
    Or where could storm or earthquake ever be
    That several hundred thousand at one time
    Take from the earth to heav'nly heights sublime,
    Or throw them to the fiery pits below?
    Not since the world was set within its bound,
    Or Cain first did, like to a starving hound
    Set first his brother on, to tear apart
    And there the dread line of man's killing start,
    Have so great a number been yet slain
    Within the course of only one campaign.
    And as the air begins to lose its chill,
    And spring at last shows that its thawing will
    Remove the deadly banks of snow around
    And in the end reveal the hidden ground,
    We finally shall see this horror's end.
    That, many who this season's wrath did send
    Beyond this life have been denied to claim!
    So praise to God for me 'twas not the same.

    AT AUSTERLITZ he led us, years ago
    To Austrian and, still more, Russian woe:
    Then peace they cried, and call'd our armies off
    And said that we could stay, it was enough.
    When our wise Emperor led forward still
    We felt then, if that such was his true will,
    That he must reason have for our campaign.
    And that then shall remain our chill'd refrain
    As we march on in terrible defeat
    On painful legs and dead, frostbitten feet.
    This is how we must remove the royalist pollution;
    This is how we guard the revolution.

    Judas Maccabeus is the Dean of the Vetus Schola Of The Tempus Society and the WritAAR of O Lord, Our God , Arise

  11. #11
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    THE
    LORDS OF WAR

    By grayghost



    On January 4th of 2007 I began to write an AAR entitled “The Manchurian Candidate: Pu Yi’s Attempt to Restore the Qing Empire”. The odd thing about this was that I had never intended to write an AAR about Manchukuo. I had great aspirations my intended first AAR, with much research being done, and many ideas being written down, and much play testing to determine the feasibility of said AAR, which was in fact going to be about Liberia. So how did I go from planning to write about one of the few independent African nations to writing about a Japanese puppet nation? That’s where my second creation of January 4th 2007 comes in…The Warlord Club.

    I began my first forays into AAR land as a fan, a reader of AAR’s, and at one time had about 67 subscriptions. One of the first AAR’s I came across was Le Ran’s comedy “For a Few ReincARRnations More: A Tibetan AAR”. After this I came across two more eastern comedies; “Red Star Over China” by Comrade Brian, and Tribolute’s irreverent look at the Guangxi Clique called, “Risky Ambitions: A Guangxi Risk AAR to Piss of Myth”, yes, that was the title. The story even had a cruiser named “Myth Sucks”. With all this talk of Myth, I had to see what all the hubbub was about, so I immediately found Myths great piece entitled, “Great Ambitions: A Guangxi Attempt at Chinese Domination”. Also during this time, there was another rabid fan of AAR’s running around named rcduggan. His name was always popping up everywhere. When I noticed in his sig. that he also had an AAR about Nepal, which was as unlikely a nation to play as I could imagine, (well, I was planning on playing Liberia, so I guess it’s not that hard.) I just had to check it out as well. By the time it was all said and done, I was following 10 different eastern AAR’s, all well written and intriguing. I commented a great deal, and started to develop relationships with the various authors, until one fateful day, one of the authors uttered those words, “You should do one”, meaning an AAR in the east. I was fascinated by the idea, and also completely hooked. And thus was “The Manchurian Candidate” born.

    As I was getting ready to start my very first AAR, two things occurred to me. One, there was about 10 people to thank for inspiring me to write my first AAR, and two, they all were authors of eastern AAR’s. In trying to bring these two facts together, I was inspired to invite them all to a loose nit little club that would recognize authors that were writing AAR’s about an area of the world that from an AAR standpoint is not extremely popular. Only about 5 to 10 percent of all AAR’s on the HOI2 forum at the time related to the following entities: Korea, Mongolia, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, Sinkiang, Xibel Xan Ma, Shanxi, Yunnan, the Guangxi Clique, Nationalist China, Communist China, Manchukuo, or Mengukuo. That’s 14 playable countries and an entire region of the world that just wasn’t getting much love. Admittedly, of the 14, Nationalist and Communist China are the two most popular countries to play, as they both have a fighting chance if played well. The rest can be quite daunting to play, considering the fact that a number of them begin as puppets to other powers, and due to limited resources could be quite boring for most power players. That is why I found it so inspiring that a group of writers would not only attempt to play these nations but end up writing great AAR’s about them as well.

    To recognize all these I created the Warlord Club. The name came about as, of course, this was the era of the Warlord in China after the overthrow of the Qing Empire and the struggles of nascent Guomindang government to take control of the country. It seemed appropriate that this should be their reward for not only inspiring me, but for also bringing light to this usually darkened part of the world.

    At the time of this article there are the ten original, or charter members of the club, another 13 regular members and one honorary member. The ten charter members will always be the most special of this group for many reasons, not least of which is the number of awards this group has won, which include: 5 ACA comedy awards, 2 ACA overall favorites, 4 ACA narrative, 3 writer of the week, 1 character writer of the week, and 5 fan of the week awards. Also, 3 of this group have also been “canonized” in canonized’s weekly interview segment, two of them twice. And of course, our only Honorable member is quite famous in his own right. You may have heard of him; canonized, author of the award winning mega series, Timelines. At this time I am also following 6 other AAR’s that take place in the east with the goal of offering membership in the Warlord Club. One is in the Vicky forum and would be eligible for honorary status, and one is even in the Spanish forum for HOI2. It gives me a chance to brush up on my Spanish, which is none too good right now. Through it all I have maintained good relations with most of the authors who inspired me, though some of the originals have disappeared from the forums. But, there place has been taken by other members who carry on with writing about a lesser known part of the world.

    All in all though, one thing that I delight in, is that this little club, with no other agenda than to recognize writers of eastern AAR’s has inspired another club, The Tempus Society. When canonized told me that the Warlord Club inspired him to create The Tempus Society, I was both humbled and honored.

    So, if your ever cruising the forums, reading AARs, and just happen to notice the “Warlord Club” moniker attached, now you know the story of our humble beginnings.

    grayghost is a Honorary Fellow Of The Tempus Society and the WritAAR of The Manchurian Candidate

  12. #12
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    Reaching Out: Instrumentality's Spanish Language Corner

    by Capibara


    Instrumentality is reaching out to WritAARs and ReadAARs who speak other languages! To begin this endeavor is our Spanish Language article hosted by Capibara at the Spanish AAR forums.

    Estrechando lazos entre el Foro Inglés y el Español: Un artículo de Instrumentality
    Tightening bonds between the English and Spanish Forum: An article of Instrumentality


    For our Spanish language readers, we hope you enjoy it and we hope to continue to foster the growth and togetherness of all of AARland!

    Capibara is a contributing writer and is the author of The All Island AAR
    Last edited by canonized; 12-02-2008 at 09:22.

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    Greetings and welcome everyone to this month’s INSTRUMENTALITY edition of You’ve Been Canonized! the weekly interview segment we have on Timelines where we get to know more about our local authors and other paradox personalities ! I’m your host canonized author of Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? and today we have a very special guest . Just as we had OHgamer here before to talk about VIP we thought it would be nice to talk with one of the HC Members of the perennially popular AGCEEP Mod ! That’s right , today we get to speak with YodaMaster ! ALLEZ CUISINE !

    canonized: First , I'd like to welcome you to our programme ; it's an honour ! Would you perhaps first please introduce yourself for those who will be reading who may not already know you ?

    YodaMaster: Ok, I'm YodaMaster (or Yoda but nickname was already taken...). I'm AGCEEP HC member. That's mean I'm in charge of this mod for EU2 with other HC members fellows

    canonized : Would you like to share anything about yourself in real life with our audience perhaps ?

    YodaMaster: I'm a French guy who enjoy strategic games. I was director of my own company until December 2007. But I'm almost totally free now. Of course EU2 is my favourite game.

    canonized: What first brought you to the Paradox forums ?

    YodaMaster: I was lurker from 2002 to 2005 only for EU2 updates and I decided to register in March 2005 because I discovered AGCEEP but had many questions and ideas for enhancements.

    canonized: So please tell me , what is it about EU2 that you enjoy personally over the other games ?

    YodaMaster: At the beginning, it was the game I was waiting for (well first was EU1, but...). Previous games weren't very appealing, not "complete". Next, feeling and immersion in a time period I enjoy became more and more important and historical events were the keys. And when I tried AGCEEP in January 2005 and made my first game with Bohemia, I had a shock. It was far more superior than Vanilla but a little voice inside me said "You can help improving this gem". I started to become active member until HC invited me to be part it in September 2005. Since this date, I never stopped!

    canonized: For yourself , what kind of historical background do you have in either research or experience ?

    YodaMaster: Since I was a kid, I always liked medieval history and historical maps. My parent had a big encyclopedia about European history, thousands of pages from Darks Ages to 1970 with chronicles of the writers of each time. History was read from the "inside". I learnt a lot.

    canonized: What kind of programming or other technical expertise do you have that you bring to the project ?

    YodaMaster: I was a Lead programmer. I brought almost professional methods to the mod for code scripting conventions, help to modders in writing scripts. I know web technologies. I created the AGCEEP website in its current version. I also have skills for graphics (cities sets, CoAs-flags).

    canonized: What would you say motivates you to do the work you're currently doing ?

    YodaMaster: It's a passion. I want to bring the most enjoyable game experience to players. But I'm not alone. We are a team with other HC members and contributors.

    canonized: How has the interaction and personal contact between with the other members in the HC ? For an outsider , how would you describe to them how it works within ?

    YodaMaster: It's a secret... We are just the most active contributors. Currently HC active members are mostly Garbon and I. Norrefeldt is in charge of new versions but doesn't post.

    Part II

    canonized: For those out there who may not know too well about the amazing work you guys have done , could you briefly advertise to them what the AGCEEP is ?

    YodaMaster: AGCEEP is a mod for EU2. It is the merging of AGC and EEP. AGCEEP means: Advanced Grand Campaign - Events Exchange Project. The goal of the mod is to enhance historical accuracy in EU2. Not easy to resume here in few words the eight points of AGCEEP Mission Statement that can be read on the website. Events Exchange Project (sorry for typos)

    canonized: As far as the content goes , how would you say to someone new to the idea of mods how AGCEEP affects gameplay ?

    YodaMaster: First, the player is not a God that can do everything in the country. He is more the Administration or the Government/Council of the country that never dies while rulers are mortal. Player has to deal with rulers. Events and AI in AGCEEP are designed for this. An AI country will try to act historically and interactions between countries are modeled to be the most accurate. of course variance is always possible but, for example, AI Spain will act as Spain in history and will conquer Aztecs and Incas. AI France will have to face the end of Hundred Years, Wars of Religion. But a player will always be free and have the power to change things or try to follow historical path. Events will be ignored if situation in the game doesn't match historical situation. Silly to see Napoleonic out of context events firing when Revolution never happened in France, isn't it? It is a hard work since there is always something to add to the mod or fix/enhance in already written events or AI files. A sort of never ending story! Not to mention the much awaited new map Garbon is working on.

    canonized: Ahh yes , the map is on everyone's mind ! Some people beforehand have even done ports of AGCEEP to other maps such as the WATK . Could you give us any preview on what Garbon's map will be like ?

    YodaMaster We posted drafts of the map, long ago I admit, in AGCEEP sub forum. Link to the drafts is http://norrefeldt.ownit.nu/ Drawing is almost finished but technical operations with Inferis' tools are time consuming. Very slow process... In between we enhance the mod with current map.

    canonized: There are quite a few of AARland's AARs that feature AGCEEP and even the other month we interviewed OHgamer for his work on VIP . What kind of experience have you had with AARs if at all and how do you feel about your work helping to contribute to the creativity of the community ?

    YodaMaster: I'm proud people write AARs with AGCEEP or use it for succession games (like this one: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/....php?t=333420). I don't personally write AARs (how could I find the time?) but read most of those that use AGCEEP. It is always very interesting and it is an excellent feedback for improvements or needed modifications.

    canonized: How about a little bit of history of the AGCEEP . How was it conceived and how it has culminated to this ?
    YodaMaster: Other HC members could tell it better. I'm the youngest of them. I know it started with several projects that merged. It is easier for me to talk about what happened since 2005.

    canonized: Please do tell us

    YodaMaster: Since version 1.36, we release a new version each two or three months. Each version represents hundreds of hours of work that are discussed on the AGCEEP sub forum before submission and inclusion. Of course, it was the same principle before but, like I said above, I just brought more professional methods. It helped us in standardizing code. In return this helped bug fixing many events and especially the famous CTDs (crash to desktop). Since 2006, betas are made for each version and each contributor can test a stable product. It helps a lot for quality control too. Team is HC active members and frequent posters like Bordic, Toio, sturmvogel, ConjurerDragon, Third Angel, and others (I will at least forget someone in this list...). Everyone is thus able to discuss on the same basis and can see project evolving. Some beta testers are useful too!

    canonized: As far as exciting things on the horizon , how did the news of Paradox opening up their source code for people to tinker with affect you folks ?

    YodaMaster: I am personally very interested. Maybe it is too soon to talk about it but I don't see why AGCEEP couldn't be involved in an extension of EU2 that fits our standards. I know what could be fixed or enhanced in 1.09 and I have some ideas of what could be added to EU2.

    canonized: Where do you see AGCEEP in the future both short term and in the long term scheme ?

    YodaMaster: In the short term, new version 1.55 is almost ready and will be released early February! In the long term, AGCEEP could have evolved and be adapted to EU3. We all know it is not the same game design and it is just not feasible, at least currently. New map is the next big step and we will follow with attention the possible extensions of EU2.
    With more than 150 downloads of the mod each week, even more than two month after release of current version, fan base can be assured other versions will come!

    canonized: Thank you very much for joining up with us , YodaMaster and we’d like to thank the audience for tuning in ! Please do stop by our thread to see the other interviews we’ll be having weekly and who will be next week’s guest ! Good fight , good night !

    canonized is the SEELE Chairman of the Tempus Society and is the author of Timelines
    Last edited by canonized; 02-02-2008 at 05:07.

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