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Thread: The AARlander Issue #15 December 2008 Christmas Edition

  1. #1
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    The AARlander Issue #15 December 2008 Christmas Edition

    Welcome to the AARLANDER , AARland's monthly publication ! If you would like to write for the AARlander , contact canonized or Avernite - everyone is welcome ! Also , what's the best way to support the AARlander aside from writing ? Give comments ! Put your comments in the AARlander: Comments and Discussion Thread for our writers to read !

    Editor in Chief: 
    Editors this Month:
    trekaddict  robou
    Assistant Editors on Staff: 
    General_BT  Estonianzulu  ForzaA  English Patriot
    Contributors for This Month: 
    phargle  canonized  TreizeV  Grubnessul  
    Comagoosie  Cyrus_The_Great   General_BT
    Ksim3000  trekaddict   Qorten
    Cover Artist: 
    Other Writers or Contributors on Staff: 
    Judas Maccabeus  LeonTrotsky  Hajji Giray I  ElidioEmperor
    JimboIX  VILenin jeffg006  Myth  grayghost  Kurt_Steiner  KanaX  
    Mettermrck  DerKaiser Alfred Packer  AlexanderPrimus  Atlantic Friend The Swert  
    The_Guiscard  robw963   crusaderknight  Degeme  Capibara

  2. #2
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    The Christmas Truce of 1914

    by Cyrus_the_Great

    By the time that the Christmas of 1914 was coming near, the First World War had been raging for almost five months. In the Ypres Salient, a normally marshy region of Belgium, some of the most heated fighting of the war had reduced the area to a desolate, hell-stricken span of mud and decay. And yet within this unearthly landscape, this torn up land of onslaught, one of the most heartwarming and altruistic events of the war took place.

    As the December of 1914 was approaching, the First Battle of Ypres had scourged the landscape, and severely demoralized all of the troops involved. Living in the trenches as winter approached, an unusually cold winter at that, was a brutal ordeal for the soldiers, ill prepared for life in the flooded and chilling fields of Flanders. The unending slaughter and pounding of artillery had a demoralizing effect, and many of the soldiers, kept in these hostile conditions, and deprived of everything that makes life living for such a long period of time, naturally wanted some reprieve. The soldiers were not machines, they were humans. And thus, as Christmas day approached, a day that would have seemed as hellish as the last, a small glimmer of humanity peaked through. Gifts coming from families stood as a reminder of Christmas and the message behind it, and this message, one of love and peace, may have helped to spur the soldiers to do what they were about to do. The Germans soon began to decorate the areas around their trenches, placing candles on trees, and soon enough, had burst out singing carols, such as Still Nacht. The British soldiers, Englishmen and Scots, soon began to sing their own carols in reply, and soon an exchange of song and laughter had erupted. According to a correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, the Germans then managed to smuggle a chocolate cake into the British trenches along with a note calling for cease fire. At the time designated on the message, heads from both sides emerged, and the soldiers came out of their trenches to greet their enemies.

    The soldiers from both sides began to exchange gifts: tobacco, whiskey, jams and chocolates, and soon enough the troops of the opposing sides had befriended each other. The recently dead were given proper burials, and there are many accounts of a “football game.” A ball had emerged out of the crowd, and one soldier recounts, “it was not a game as such – more of a kick-around and a free-for-all. There could have been 50 on each side for all I know…I don’t know how long it lasted, probably half-an-hour, and no-one was keeping score." However, far away from the horrors of war, in Chateaus or other luxurious accommodations, both the British and German high command heard of this fraternization. High ranking officers on both sides soon arrived to break up the festivities, and one remarked towards his soldiers, “[you] were there to kill the Hun, not to make friends with him.” As everyone settled back into their trenches, in a last show of friendship, “[a British soldier] fired three shots in the air and put up a flag with "Merry Christmas" on it, and [then] climbed on the parapet. [The Germans] put up a sheet with "Thank you" on it, and the German Captain appeared on the parapet. [They] both bowed… [and then he] fired two shots in the air, and the War was on again.”

    Although limited in span, this show of friendship and camaraderie perhaps exemplifies the best and most altruistic nature of humans, the ability to reconcile with an opponent, despite the conditions. In a war that, arguably, was the most bloody and brutal in the history of our planet, this event served as a glimmer of hope for the future, and a reminder of the basic needs of every human being. It remains comforting that soldiers, even when told to have contempt and hate for the other, still had the ability to put down their guns and extend the Christmas message of love, peace and goodwill to all.

    Private Turner of the London Rifle Brigade Stands Behind Two Germans

    Cyrus_the_Great is the author of In the Land of the Few

  3. #3
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    It’s Christmas Time Again….!

    by Ksim3000

    I always know it’s coming to Christmas time when the first Park Christmas hamper adverts start to appear on the tele. By then, the rest of the adverts follow, persuading watchers to “buy this most excellent jewellery for only £250 for the best Christmas ever!” and other such themed adverts. Sometimes they throw in a bit of snow and maybe a santa claus just to get that “Christmas Theme” going. I just shake my head when I see the adverts and switch off. It doesn’t get any better though when going into town and seeing crowds of people lining up at the check-in’s, buying consumerable items that will most likely end up on eBay or in the dust bin by the time New Year rolls around. Every reader I am sure can understand what I am getting at. Christmas isn’t “Christmas” anymore. Not like how it used to be. I’ve even mused and started call ing it “Consumermas” instead because let’s be realistic, that is what Christmas has become. When you grow up and realise the reality, it saddens you that all Christmas is about these days is empty materialism. I’m not going to get into the reasons why Christmas originally exists but I will say that what I miss is the true family time of the season. The times when friends and family truly got together and celebrated Christmas without having to give each other lots of expensive and unnecessary gifts. A time when communities got together in church or anywhere and sung, celebrating a time of togetherness.

    I grew up in quite a traditional British background (being in a village and all) and events such as Christmas and Easter always carried the traditional Christian baggage with them. Before santa claus or the easter bunny popped into the equation, we always learnt as children the true meanings of these holidays and celebrated them accordingly. I remember the best times at Christmas I spent walking up to the local church with my school and singing along to Christmas themed hymns with my fellow pupils. But today, I feel a lot of children, especially in towns and cities throughout the UK, don’t get the same experiences that I had. We all know a lot of the reasons but without that knowledge or understanding of Christmas, without that experience, it simply becomes a time of over-excessive consumerism. A time when kids know their going to get presents by some fictional character in a red costume and a white beard when really, we all know the reality. However, times are changing and money isn’t in excessive supply as it used to be. “The Credit Crunch”, as the media often call it, has arrived. For the rest of the world, “Economic Recession” is usually the term used. Even despite these hard times we are about to enter, people are still spending like crazy just for Christmas. I wandered through one store the other day and there was a whole line of people just waiting at the counter, ready to spend their credit cards on more expensive items. Maybe though when the reality of economic hardship sinks in, people might be willing to return relying on each other and appreciating the little there is instead of the massive and shiniest.

    In fitting with my words on the economy above, I thought I would tell a few stories about Christmas during the days of the war and how even during such troublesome times when this island was threatened with invasion, how my relatives during that period had some wonderful and appreciating Christmases despite the shortage of goods and other basic necessities. My Grandfather on my maternal side during the war years lived in a big family. There wasn’t much to go around and his father was quite an abusive man at best. If you got in trouble, he wouldn’ t think nothing of whacking you across the face or belting you. As was the norm in those days. So not the best of situations.Food was in short supply as were clothes. His family couldn’t afford much yet they always came together as a family for Christmases. During the 1940 Blitz, the best he and his siblings got for Christmas was probably a few pieces of fruit such as an orange which they’d have to share and maybe a pear and an apple between in them stockings. Even still, they had an enjoyable family Christmas where they all sat around as a family and ate together, enjoying each other’s company. The siblings would share the fruit which were considered luxuries. Life was hard but they appreciated each other and the little time they might have left. It was a very real possibility of invasion and every moment they spent at that special time was important. My paternal Grandmother told of her Christmases growing up. Much the same as my Grandfather’s although she was a bit more luckier. She only lived in a small family of three and her Grandmother was a bit more wealthier. She would send the girls a box of chocolates each which, compared to the rampant selection boxes you have today, were a luxury.And finally, my maternal Great-Grandmother’s story is perhaps the most interesting of all. During or after the D-Day landings when there was a lot of American troops stationed in Britain, one young soldier called “Jimmy” was injured and my Great-Grandmother whom was a nurse took him in as part of her family and helped him to recover. Every night and even at Christmas time, he was welcomed into the family and they shared their own limited food with the young soldier.

    He gradually recovered and left, always eternally grateful for the friendship and support he had received by her and her family. Every year at Christmas time, he would send her a card with a picture on it, showing him and his family over the years. These are just some stories from a period in time when Christmas time was about helping others and being with family, the way Christmas time has always been about. Friendships were formed not by flashy gifts but simply the warmth and kindness of Human comfort. So, when I see the present as it stands today, I hope that in some ways with the current economic climate, maybe people might begin to appreciate what they have a bit more and begin to appreciate others. What little time we have upon this Earth, it is our family and the friendships we make that truly last forever, not some little watch or cheap toy. Thank you all for reading my thoughts and feelings on Christmas. It’s my first article for the AARLand and it has been an honour to have been invited to write it. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and remember to spend time with loved ones.

    Ksim3000 is a contributor

  4. #4
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    Inside Phargle's Head: A Very Phargle Thanksgiving

    by Phargle

    In this episode of "Inside Phargle's Head", we'll go through all the various games made by Paradox, identify aspects that are interesting, and indicate why we should thanks for them, all while drawing interesting analogies to different Thanksgiving foods. Hah, actually, I'm not going to do that, although it does sound delicious. I just can't get past Rome being the turkey, and I honestly can't conceive of the stuffing unless it's the inheritence rules of EU3. That would make Crusader Kings that pecan pie your grandmother brings every year that tastes pretty good but could be so much better if. . .no, what I am actually going to do is talk a little about Thanksgiving in general, and then find ways to specifically link it to AARland until my wordcount is high enough that canonized won't beat me. I know what I'm giving thanks for this year, yesseree: a cornucopia of no beatings. It should be hilarious and insightful, provided y'all are Americans. If you're not, it should be culturally imperialist and peculiarly obsessed with turkeys. Onward! Thanksgiving, as we all know, was a propaganda event designed by bunch of humorless bastards called the Pilgrims. Originally, it was all about black hats with buckles on them, and it unfortunately moved away from that kind of awesomeness into the orgy of gorging we know today. Personally, I'd be happy with a black hat and a pumpkin pie, but with a little more pumpkin pie and a little less deception about Indians - er, excuse me, Native Pilgrims. That got me thinking. . . considering the smorgasbord of imperialists landing on Plymouth Rock with a hankering for Butterball depicted by the various AARs of the Europe Universalis 3 sub-forum, what alternate timeline Thanksgivings are we missing out on?

    Take Milites' Paris ne vaut pas une messe! - A Huguenot IN AAR. Protestant England still colonized the eastern seaboard, meaning the people who looked at Massachusetts Bay and thought "This freezing hell-hole looks like a wonderful place to start a New England[/i]" were mostly likely English. . . but considering the thrashing the Holy Church has taken in that timeline, what if the Englishman seeking religious freedom were Catholics? The legacy of Protestantism is lousy food everywhere in the known world - lutefisk, boiled beef, and stale pretzels - but a Catholic Thanksgiving might be something truly awesome to behold. Catholics, as we all know, are descended from the Jews, and one ecumenical link between the two religions is a love of feasts. If the roast turkey is the brainchild of Pilgrims, you can be damned sure that the foes of Nicholas Henri fry their birds. In a bucket of lard. I's delicious, and ultimately not at all descended from Jews. Over in A Greater Netherlands - IN Brabant AAR, FYROM gives us a world where the boring black hats are worn by the Dutch heroes. . . while Plymouth Rock seems to be the domain of Portuguese explorers. Honestly, who could be fleeing Portugal? In the real world, their colonization left a legacy of totally hot bikini models or really terrifying civil wars, meaning the people up in the chilly north are bragging to the rest of the world about their women while snarfing down tripe and bean dishes. It's a Thanksgiving that'd make Shakira shake her hips just to get her hands on another serving of flan. Meanwhile, the so-called protagonists of FYROM's AAR are sulking down in Mexico, wondering how they got stuck eating cheese yet again. Or, even worse, those Pilgrims never went to Plymouth Rock because Brabant is so darned awesome. . . once they arrived in Amsterdam, they just stuck around, and we now live in a world without cranberry sauce. Thanks a lot, FYROM.

    Urculus gives us a wonderful premise for a Thanksgiving in The VikINg League. For starters, those vikings got their "running from Europe to find a new home" on centuries before the Pilgrims came up with the brilliant idea that the Protestant movement could probably be just a little more sucky. What do his Vinlanders have to be thankful for? For starters, they're not back in Norway, where they'd be eating the aforementioned lutefisk. In their new home of Vinland, these Scandinavian heroes are spending the third weekend in November eating cuts of honeyed turkey off the back of skraeling slaves before moving on to a rousing game of Drink Mead And Make Love To Your Hot Skraeling Pocahontas Wife. They is also a game involve a sweet potato, but it's not fit for dinner-table conversation. In Babington-Smythe's Scotland the Brave (....but a wee bit cowardly sometimes....), the English who landed on Plymouth Rock aren't trying to set up a religious paradise. They're fleeing Scotland. Unfortunately, their brilliant plan is thwarted when Scotland also flees Scotland and snarfs up the rest of North America. That means Thanksgiving in that timeline involves taking over a bunch of land if you're Scottish, or eating haggis if you're an Englishman desperate to give the Scots no excuse whatsoever to invade Blighty. Massachusetts is therefore not a cool place to be if you're a sheep, a sheep's stomach, or English. We don't have to guess to know what the folks in Bingo Brett's AAR do for Thanksgiving. In Opening The Papal AARchives 1453-1792 , he basically tells us. The Mayflower Compact governs a Catholic colony of fur outposts where the principle form of giving thanks for the gift of living in the New World is eating skinned beaver and getting stoned on hashish purchased from Ottoman pirates. I am not even kidding.

    That's what I think when I read these AARs. There's a whole world behind each of these stories. We're so focused on the big things that we can miss the ability of small details to bring a story to life. It takes a light touch and an aside here or there to change an AAR into a world: a great big world full of vibrant life, delicious food, individual plight, memorable aromas, hard-working people, and everyday troubles. The things you choose to highlight can speak volumes about the story you're trying to tell. This works in any AAR, whether it's a detailed narrative or a broad-strokes gameplay. Take a step back and add a turkey to the story. By adding that extra chord, you'll give it added depth that it otherwise might not have. My challenge to all of you, then, is to present a scene to us in your world that shows how it's different from our own - and focus on the little guy. If you're playing Crusader Kings, give us a glimpse of life in the Holy Land. If Vicky is your thingie (and who hasn't got a thingie for Vicky?), showcase a factory worker in some soot-covered industrial city. If you love Hearts of Iron, sit a family down at dinner far from the war and put a radio broadcast in the background. And if Europe Universalis is where you're at, give us a Thanksgiving dinner scene we'll remember. It can all be different. It can all be interesting. Or it could be the same in ways that are eerie. It's your call. So this year, when you're thinking about the turkey and stuffing you just stuffed down your throat - or, for my non-American friends, thinking about the turkey and stuffing I stuffed down my throat - just imagine: if only you lived in a world invented by Alfred Packer, you'd be having hamburgers and gravy instead. So give thanks no matter where you're from to the power of imagination, and add a little life to your AARs. And pass the cranberry sauce while you're at it.

    Phargle is the author of Thrones

  5. #5
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    Paris ne vaut pas une messe! A different religion, a different France?

    by Grubnessul

    One of the main joys of Paradox games is always the historical ‘what if?’ question. The question what would have happened if a certain country had had a (wo)man with vision in charge instead of a bunch of infighting nobles? What if Spain had (failed to) conquer the world? What if the wars of religion in France had turned out different, what would a Protestant France have done in Europe?

    Luckily, Milites answers this last question in his excellent AAR: Paris ne vaut pas une messe! - A Huguenot IN AAR. The title (Paris isn’t worth a Mass!) refers to a quote by Henry IV, who converted to Catholicism in order to obtain the crown of France. I will not go deep into the real history stuff, there are other (better) places and sources for that!

    So let us look at the AAR in question. First that meets the eye are the excellent maps, clear, yet stylish and the really breath an atmosphere fitting an epic AAR. And epic it is, no psychological deep characters, no explanations of their motives, we read an history book and, like in our own history books, we will judge upon their deeds. Up to now, the AAR has manly focussed on the wars of France with her neighbours, we’ve seen many thousands of deaths and the end is nowhere in sight.

    The draw back of this style is that it is rather shallow, it may be a history book, but it isn’t a really extensive one, the story covers the wars and the religion, exactly what one would expect, but you remain wonder, what of the rest of the country? What do the peasants do and think? Than again, he writes in clear language, his English is good (I know it might not be fair to judge an AAR on this, every writAAR does his or her best and most their language skill is excellent, but a good story should be written in good English, so a thumbs up if you can do that.)

    A real problem might be that Milites plays France and Protestant or not, France is France, and is all powerful. I’ve quite on other AARs on the point that the writAAR became all powerful and the story was done. The question is, will Milites keep the Huguenot’s story exiting?

    Still, I can whine what I want, this AAR is good stuff to read, ok it could be more in depth, the updates could be longer (but that’s compensated with the frequency of updates, unlike other writAARs as yours sincerely), but it’s fun to read and the maps are eye candy. So for the content I’ll give this AAR a nice 7.

    ‘Content?’, you’ll probably ask now, ‘what’s this? Grubby has more to whine?’ Short answer is ‘yes!’. The long answer is: ‘this is an AAR, how AARish (and that is, I think, a new word) is it?’ So, yes, I’ll have a short look at how the AAR is done. First, a Protestant France is rather original, I like it, it set out as a challenge to the player alla world conquest with random minor country X, now it’s a good story. The shift was painless, points for that.

    Next, an AAR is a report after action, the action of a game that is. So, can we detect the game underneath? Short answer, yes! The writAAR did really play the game, and he achieved something, based on what he wrote down I can follow in a game of my own (something that is almost impossible in the AAR of certain other people…).

    So, yes, I’d judge this AAR very AARish, a good thumbs up to Milites and the Protestant Power of Huguenot France!

    Grubnessul is the author of There might be Vikings out there! Or: how I accidentally traded my wife for a halibut

  6. #6
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    From the Man that Always Wins

    by comagoosie

    This month is the first month that debuts Europa Universalis Short AAR Contest brainchild of Duke of Wellington, a well renowned author and participator in AARland. If you know an idea sprang from his head, you know it is a good one.

    To sum up in a few words, this contest is basically for writers that have a great idea on their mind but they either don’t have the time or the motivation to start a whole new AAR. This will let them vent their creativity and see if it turns out, if it doesn’t, no harm done, there isn’t commitment. The only catch is that this is for the Europa Universalis series only.

    A lesser known fact of the Contest is that it is a contest. Every month, after the 3 batches of entries have been posted there is a vote to determine who the winner out of all of them. So don’t forget to vote on your favorite on November 29th!

    I personally love the idea. Whenever I play EU3 I have all these idea flourishing in my mind. I get so excited that sometimes I quit EU3 with adrenaline pumping and quickly write up an update, and just about to post when the better sense of me takes hold again. And quite frankly, I would love to try a comedy or a history book someday, though I don’t think I could do it as a full time AAR, thank goodness for the contest. I may be funny, but surely I would run out of jokes in the first week.

    The first batch of writings is out, and let me say that I am amazed. There is some obvious talent that goes into this. They are a joy to read too filling one’s head with fanciful thoughts and ambitions. I am telling you, the Norwegian one really makes me want to start up another Norway game.

    There was an astounding 10 person roster for the first time. Unfortunately 7 ended being posted, do various reasons, and 1 withdrew after becoming posted. Some are quick to read and witty while others could be excerpts right out of an already running AAR. There is something there for everyone, in length and in subject. You want a short gameplay, done. You want a long, thrilling narrative, done. You want maps that your eyes can feast on, done. Point is, is that no matter what your tastes are, you are bound to find it. Even if you want something that will take you less than 30 seconds to read it is there.

    Not to mention that all subjects range in matter too. From Norwegian Vikings seemingly going to commit suicide to Einstein traveling back in time to Westphalia to stop Hitler from seizing power. Or how about Crusaders at Cairo’s door to the reformation. Again, something there for everyone.

    The contest is strictly anonymous, so in the end votes don’t become skewed. Also a plus side comes of this. What if you read an entry and you liked it so much that you are interested in the writer’s work. When the authors are revealed you can go and find an AAR by that author, or if it is a first time writer then you can help persuade them to start their first AAR and you would be right by their side cheering. You might think that this would never happen, but it has happened to me and when the authors are revealed, I will go hunting down their AARs.

    The question is, what will happen in the future? There have been many attempts at similar contests and they didn’t exceed for one major reason. You.

    You had the power to participate and chip in your talents. You had the power to support the cause by posting encouragement. You had the power that when the entries where posted to comment on them. You had all these available outlets to help these programs but you didn’t do them.

    This time let us correct ourselves. We have 7 great stories staring us right in the face, can we not take the short time to let the world know how we appreciate to be entertained by writing made by our fellow members. Entertainment is the main reason why there are AARs written. If there was no distraction from our hectic lives in writing or reading an AAR then a point doesn’t really exists. Instead it does exist, people find it fun to write, and others like to see how people’s minds work half a world away.

    It is interesting to see the writings of a Hamburg native compared to that of a Detroit native. Not just the language differences, but culture ones, and the educational ones too. To get the opinion of the reformation of a Polish native and compare that to French native, and one could wrestle invading thoughts for a whole day. My point of this is that you get a whole bunch of differing stories written by a whole bunch of differing people. The stories may not be related to one another but to get views from another person in some other land is priceless. Combine all these treasures together you get the contest created by Duke of Wellington.

    Naturally I am a supporter of anything that comes AARland way, especially programs like Duke of Wellington is doing thus far. I always love the opportunity to read someone else’s work based on a game that I play, and see their ideas form. The only problem is awareness, if we can just let people know of all the great things that AARland has to offer, then I think we would have an explosion on our hands.

    So go and participate, and find out the rules.

    And don’t forget to read this month’s entries.

    comagoosie is the author of For Rome's Honor

  7. #7
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    Publishing your Writing: An interview with Lord Durham

    Presented by : TreizeV

    It's an ambition most writers have at every level. To have your works published and shared with the world (and to make a buck or two along the way , why not?). But the most basic question is, how do I go about doing this? You may have the best piece of historical fiction written down in transcript but unless you do something with it, no publisher is going to notice.

    Well, today I'm lucky enough to have secured an interview with one of AARland's most respected writers, one of the few who has successfully had their works published, to offer us his insights into how he got into the business. I am of course, referring to the honourable Lord Durham!

    Part 1: Starting off

    How did you start out as a writer?

    It began with the purchase of 'Conan the Conqueror', one of a series of
    paperbacks released in the mid 60s by Lancer books. I was so captivated by
    the character and the 'history' that I was determined to try my own hand at
    writing, though the results were less than stellar. My collection of
    rejection slips proved it. Somewhat discouraged, I took a break (a long
    break), until I discovered the Paradox forums. Writing AARs convinced me to
    try again, and after a few rejections, made my first sale. That was 'The
    Marsh God', published in 2004.

    How do you usually find your ideas/inspiration?

    Lots of reading; especially history books, provide a fertile ground for
    storylines. Documentaries and world events are a good source too. So much of
    what goes on these days make for great story-telling fodder. Just change the
    names to protect the innocent.

    For those of us who are not familiar, please tell us about your stories.

    My published writing covers a broad spectrum, from SF and fantasy to
    history, alt-history and young adult. I'm probably best known for my fantasy
    series involving a mercenary named Dalacroy and his lover/partner Moirya.
    There are 5 published stories to date, with more coming. In addition, there
    is the ongoing comic adaptation of 'The Marsh God', the inaugural story in
    the series. My website (www.brucedurham.ca) features excerpts from all of my
    published and forthcoming tales, as well as links to the various

    What inspired you to write in your genre?

    Well, as I mentioned, I write in several genres. But to be specific, in the
    case of fantasy, the aforementioned 'Conan the Conqueror', and more
    explicitly the work of Robert E. Howard, resonated with me. His gritty style
    introduced me to the world of dark fantasy, heroic fantasy, and sword and
    sorcery. I found the idea of creating my own world and populating it with
    characters of my own creation a lure I couldn't resist. The genre proved to
    be a short leap from writing AARs, as the historical component was pretty
    transparent. My fantasy fiction is essentially historical fiction with
    different names and a touch of magic. The other genres I write in have
    varying influences. For history, Cecelia Holland, Harold Lamb and Talbot
    Mundy proved influential. SF? Where do you begin? Clarke, Asimov, Niven,

    How much time do you usually devote to writing?

    Well, post eye problems, I try to write when I can, striving for a minimum
    1000 words a session. It's not much, but it's the best I can do these days.

    How much research do you find yourself doing when composing your writing?

    Definitely too much. Research is my bane, to the point where I get bogged
    down by minutiae and conflicting sources. After deciding what to keep and
    what to toss, I typically use about 10% of what I gathered. Research should
    support the story, and not the other way around. Use too much and your tale
    will read like a history book.

    Who has influenced you most as a writer? and why?

    Robert E. Howard. He could paint a picture in a couple of sentences with a
    few choice words. His writing was vivid, gritty and no nonsense. These days
    authors tend toward a sparse style that discourages the use of adverbs and
    adjectives, so his prose may appear archaic. But I defy anyone to read his
    descriptions and not come away with a colourful mental image of his
    characters and the world they inhabit.


    Part 2: Publishing

    What made you decide to publish your writing?

    Quite simply, I wondered if I had what it took to go professional. I had
    these stories I wanted to share, so I began submitting them. I was fortunate
    enough to find markets that felt my work was good enough to publish.

    What steps did you go about in publishing your work?

    I began by researching various markets to gauge their submission guidelines;
    especially what they wanted and what they didn't. Then, if possible, I read
    a sampling of their material to get a feel for what they were actually
    publishing. I soon found that the disconnect between what a magazine claimed
    they would accept and what they actually printed was large. Anyway, after
    targeting some markets, I listed them in order of preference, begin
    submitting and crossed my fingers.

    Did you ever get any rejections? If so, how did you react to it?

    All writers get rejected. Even the best. William Golding's 'Lord of the
    Flies' was rejected about 20 times before acceptance. I've had my share.
    Some I agreed with, others I didn't. Some were constructive, others were
    form letters. It's hard not to take it personally, but at the end of the day
    the editor is rejecting your work, and not you. The best thing to do is take
    the story and send it to the next market. For instance, 'The Marsh God' was
    rejected 3 times before 'Flashing Swords' published it. It only went on to
    win an award for best Science Fiction & Fantasy short story in 2005. I won't
    deny that I took a 'told you so' attitude with the 3 markets that rejected

    What are some of the major challenges you've faced in getting your
    stories published?

    Beyond reconciling what a publication accepts versus what they claim they
    want, I've been pretty fortunate. The only real challenges I've had were a
    couple of requested rewrites, usually to tighten the storyline or expand on
    an idea. Beyond that, there are a couple of 'big' markets I'd like to crack,
    which I'm hoping will happen in time.

    Do you find writing for a magazine different from recreational writing?
    (i.e forums) If so, how?

    There is a difference, though the gap for me isn't as wide as it once was.
    Writing for a publication forces you to submit the best work possible. You
    can't take shortcuts, or skimp on the editing process. Because competition
    is so fierce, the editor wants to see the best you have to offer. On the
    other hand, recreational writing allows you space to experiment, to work out
    ideas and hone the craft. My early writing on the forums was undisciplined,
    but as I gained confidence I improved. Now I try to produce work that I
    would be happy to submit professionally, after some tweaking, of course.

    What's your opinion on the experience or skill a writer should have
    before considering publishing?

    Skill definitely counts, though surprisingly some editors will forgive
    mediocre writing if the story is a standout. However, everything that can be
    written has been. When's the last time you read an original idea? It all
    comes down to how you present your material.

    I've noticed that a lot of your works involves publishing short stories
    with magazines, have you considered writing a novel one day? Or starting
    a series? Involving your character Dalacroy perhaps? (if you've
    published a novel, ignore this question) What are your future writing plans?

    I've been approached by a publisher to write a novel based on my character
    Dalacroy. The story is plotted, and I'm currently at chapter 4. Time will
    tell if it's successful, and if it will encourage sequels. I have another
    work in mind, an alt-history piece, but so far it's in the planning stage,
    and has been relegated to the backburner due to the success of Dalacroy.
    However, I have a short story coming that takes place in that particular
    alt-history world. A prequel, so to speak. At this moment I'm working on a
    fantasy story for a sequel to the critically acclaimed anthology 'Return of
    the Sword', which has just entered its second printing and features my story
    'Valley of Bones'. The story will continue the adventures of Mortlock, the
    everyman hero from 'Valley of Bones'.

    From your experience thus far, what do you believe Publishing companies
    look for in a manuscript/story to distinguish them from the rest?

    It depends. Some publications look for stories that are literary in nature
    and concentrate on characterization in lieu of plot. Other publications
    prefer a solid, plot driven story with good characters. One of the keys is
    how you present your material, and how you deal with your ideas. Remember
    what I said about everything having been written? Well, you have to convince
    the editor that your piece stands above the rest. It's not easy, because
    everyone has different tastes, and a lot of what is accepted or rejected
    comes down to that. For example, I've been a slush reader for several
    publications, which means I judge submissions before passing them along to
    the editor with either a recommendation or a rejection. I can usually tell
    from the first few paragraphs if the story will work. Of course, like
    editors that I try to sell to, I have certain biases that influence my
    decisions. It's human nature.

    Would you have any tips for those who wish to market their work?

    Read the publication's submission guidelines. The good ones will tell you
    what they want and what they don't. If in doubt, certain editors will accept
    queries. Make sure your manuscript is as good as it can be, and follows the
    submission guidelines for formatting. There are certain rules to be
    followed, make sure you know them. Some publications are extremely fussy
    about that. Spelling and punctuation are vitally important. Use the
    resources on the 'net'. There are lots of good ones out there. For locating
    markets, Ralan.com is excellent. Some markets like to see a short cover
    letter, basically a brief introduction listing a few previous publication
    credits. Others don't. Again, the submission guidelines should cover that.
    However, don't use the cover letter to provide a synopsis of your story. Let
    the story sell itself.

    Lastly, any advice you would give to new writers? Especially those who
    might consider publishing in the future?

    Practice, practice, practice. Experience comes with practice. Read and read
    some more. Develop thorough plotlines, create intriguing characters, put
    them through the grinder, keep the pacing tight, give the reader a catchy
    opening--openings are extremely important to keep the reader's
    interest--finish with a resounding climax and satisfying end. Write, edit.
    Rinse and repeat. An author has to engage the reader, make them see what the
    character sees, feel what they feel, suffer through their adversity and
    revel in their accomplishments. Work with a small critique group and be
    willing to accept criticism. Don't be afraid to toss out what doesn't work.
    Use all of the senses when writing, not just sight. What does a character
    hear? Smell? Taste? Touch? Use a thesaurus. Few things are more off-putting
    than reading the same word three or more times in a paragraph. If you want
    to convey action, use action verbs. Avoid cumbersome dialogue tags. Good
    dialogue is hard to write, so spend a lot of time working on it. I recite my
    story out loud. It's a useful trick I use to help find the clunky parts, the
    sections that don't read right. Finally, when you feel you're ready, and
    that first manuscript is submitted, be prepared for disappointment. I had
    nine rejections before my first sale. But that first acceptance letter makes
    it all worth while. So, don't get discouraged and don't give up. And by all
    means, don't talk the talk. Do it.

    You can find all of Lord Durham's short stories here: http://www.brucedurham.ca/page4.html

    TreizeV is the author of Resistance – Fall of Man

  8. #8
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    You’ve Been Canonized!: The Swert

    Good evening and welcome once again to You’ve Been Canonized! AARlander edition where we take an author and get to know more about them and their AAR ! I’m your host canonized , author of Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? and today’s guest is the usually reclusive The Swert author of ThundAAR from Down UndAAR – Australia, Imperialism and War . Let’s get to the questions !

    Part I: I, Swert
    A look at the crazy swertiness himself !

    canonized: First , thank you and welcome to the programme ! For those of us who might be familiar with Your Swertiness , would you introduce yourself a little for us ?

    The Swert: Hello all, i'm The Swert. My real name is a mystery but I'm a 20 year old university student in Melbourne, Australia.

    canonized: How long have you been hanging out in AARland ?

    The Swert: Well I found the forum about the same time I got EU2 in January 2007. After reading around and discovering AARland I used my first post to start my first aar. Feels so long ago now.

    canonized: How has AARland treated you since then ?

    The Swert: It was a very welcoming beginning, my first fan was DoW, but it hasn't always been so good. The EU2 forum slowly declined and so did the comments received. My Duchy of Athens AAR in particular went by seemingly unnoticed and forced me to abandon it. Having said this it's significantly my fault, I'm guilty of not commenting of other AARs and you can't expect to receive if you rarely give. Recently things have picked up though; my Knights aar won an award and my first fling outside of EU2 has shown me what a proper audience is like again. But these days I don't write for the comments or audiences, it's just a joy to put pen to paper.

    canonized: As someone who's very in tune with the EU2 forum especially as its AARchivist , could you tell us a little bit about what you think will be the future of it and what we can do perhaps ?

    The Swert: I like to think myself as somewhat of a champion of EU2, I'll keep writing there no matter what. But as librarian I have accumulated statistics which show its decline. It hasn't been sudden but a gradual process beginning even before EU3 was released. As of now there's only a handful of aars left, I had hoped we would reach the magical 1500 aars figure but it doesn't seem likely now. EU2 aars, if there aren't already, will be seen as a novelty and a curiosity. I am reminded when DoW dared to start an EU1 aar earlier this year, perhaps soon starting an EU2 aar will receive the same type of quizzical glaces.

    canonized: What would you say motivates you to writing ?

    The Swert: Simply playing and having imagination. It's odd; in this sort of sandbox game it's easy to get bored so I tend to give myself some sort of goal and roleplay. It sparks the interest and then when i finish playing a session I always find myself saying "that would make a good aar" It's actually a bit of a curse. I usually start a new game to offset my aar writing. The only games I play for more than a few hours are the ones I make interesting and then I get all these new ideas for aars despite the fact I’ve already got too many aars on my plate as it is. That's why some of my ideas can be delayed quite a while, they get interrupted by another idea.

    canonized: Despite being a champion for EU2 , you're also expanding and dabbling in other areas ; most recently in HOI2 . How have these other areas been for you and what would you say are the major differences between these sub-fora and that of EU2 ?

    The Swert: Yes I have recently ventured into HoI2 and have a plan to start a EU3 aar soon too, although it's interesting that after playing the EU series I was tossing up between getting CK or Vicky and yet got HoI2 instead. HoI2 presents some different aspects, the shorter timeframe, imo, makes it more suitable to a narrative or history book aar allowing more detail than EU2. Although I have noticed the HoI2's greater activity means that I need to update more often if I want my aar to stay on the first page or two, something i've been failing at recently. Also HoI2 has my own country in it which makes country selection easy and there's not too many Australian aars to compete with either

    Part II: A Hermit’s Honesty
    As per AARlander regulations this part of the interview can be found in the full version here

    Part III: Advance Australia Fair !
    Let’s take a look at The Swert’s latest AAR !

    canonized: So you've made an Australian AAR which is relatively rare ! Tell us a little bit about why you chose to write one about Australia

    The Swert: Well as I said before, I like to make games interesting and once interested I get ideas for AARs. My first game of HOI2 was with Australia, a minor like my first eu2 game. I read a tactic in the wiki for Australia which promoted invading the Balkans. I tried it and found it awfully fun and had to turn it into an aar. The concept was well received as the audience debated over the feasibility of such a strategy and the wisdom of the wiki author.

    canonized: Obviously your national identity plays into it . Could you tell us a little bit about how it's factored into the way you feel about the AAR and the attitude you've taken with it ?

    The Swert: It hasn't actually had a huge impact in terms of gameplay. I played it as I would any other but it did make it more enjoyable. Most Aussies like underdogs and in WW2 having the Aussies invading the Balkans replicates this sentiment. Also I've started a soundtrack based on Australian warsongs which I found whilst compiling the aar, I hope that they provide an Australian perspective on the war which is often overshadowed. They did for me at least.

    canonized: Did you have any inspirations for your AAR ?

    The Swert: Not particularly. I'm not that well read in the HOI2 forums but I do have the mention PostcAARds of Australia by Wolfhound, my favourite aar.

    canonized: So your AAR could be best described as a history AAR with elements of gameplay with the screenshots . Why did you choose to use this particular style ?

    The Swert: Indeed, I chose a history book aar because I had never really done one before but yet felt that HOI2 was well built for it. There's a lot of detail that can be added from troop movements to unit production which allows you to be a bit creative which is what led to my list of operations. And screenshots help keep the audience up-to-date as often slabs of text can be confusing. Everybody loves screenshots but only in moderation I think. I was actually somewhat inspired by your bonuses in Timelines and such to introduce the soundtrack and focal points which will expand as the aar grows and help break up the gameplay.

    canonized: Well thank you ! the Balkans are perhaps an odd place for Australia to be considering when one thinks of Australia in WW2 , they might mostly think of the Pacific theatre . How has this twist worked out for you ?

    The Swert: Well I don't want to mention too much as Japan has just declared war in my aar but it made the game a lot of fun. It managed to split the game logically into three parts taking the game all the way through to 1954, each a unique struggle for the Australians to cope with. I will give away that Australian soil will not escape invasion at some point.

    canonized: What kind of AAR plans do you have after you finish this one ?

    The Swert: Finish this one? Well that's ambitious in itself, it's only 1942! But I do have more ambitious plans which have been in the work (or rather on the back boiler) since the start of this year. The Book of St John will return and hopefully that will culminate with a grand narrative which I have begun already. I only fear that by the time I actually get around to releasing it the EU2 forum shall be dead.

    canonized: Well we’d like to thank you again for being on the programme , The Swert , and we’d like to thank our audience for once again tuning in to our interview segment ! We hope to see you again next time ; good fight , good night !

    canonized is the author of Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World?

  9. #9
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    Some Easy Tips on Reaching Out


    Let’s be honest – part of the reason we write is for ourselves, but part of the reason we also write, and photoshop, and draw, is for our readers. From my own experience, often the most frustrating moment in writing an AAR is at the very start – you aren’t sure if people like what you’ve done, what you’re doing right or wrong, even if someone has some tips, some advice on how you can change your gameplay. Reader comments, suggestions, and presence are often a crucial thing that can keep an AAR afloat. It’s in all our interests to try to encourage more readership amongst more AARs.

    It should be obvious that larger and/or better known AARs can play a critical role in helping newer, smaller, or less well known AARs gain exposure and readers. However, every AAR writer who also reads can share the gift of a good story to their readers, and share the gift of readers with another AAR. I hope in this article to give AAR writers of all genres, sizes and shades some ideas they can use to help spread and promote other AARs that they enjoy. If we take a few big steps, we can all give a little something back to each other.

    One method for writAARs who also are avid readAAR themselves is the cameo. Very simply, the writAAR picks some element of another AAR they especially enjoys, and then uses it in their own, while linking and/or pointing their own readers to the source of the cameo. I’ve used this several times in Rome AARisen, borrowing a favorite character (Serlo de Hauteville from Furor Normanicus, for example), or a style of updating (everyone, it seems, should have a Knud Knytling style post).

    Naturally, of course, the first step is to get the original authAARs permission – there’s a fine line between using a cameo as an act of praise, and just stealing someone’s characters. My experience has been that most authors on this forum are flattered that you enjoy their AAR to the point you want to do a little bit of mimicry, and everyone tends to enjoy help in getting new readers. As to the actual cameo itself, that is up to you and/or the originator of the character or idea. As for me, I tend to limit graphics based cameos to one post – for example, doing a single update in pharglesque style. For more narrative based cameos, for example Serlo de Hauteville from Furor Normanicus, they become like my other characters, available to the story, and treated in a manner best befitting an homage. At the bottom of the first update with the cameo, I always include a link to the original story, as well as an endorsement urging my own readers to broaden their reading horizon.

    The cameo offers several advantages – it requires less work than a guest post, for example, and gives you, the authAAR another character or posting idea to play with, making your job easier. However, the main drawback to the cameo is that it interposes you between your readers and the new author you are trying to endorse – they don’t see the author directly, they only see your interpretation. While mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, it also can lead to misinterpretations of someone’s characters or methods.

    Another, more exciting option could be the guest post. A good example of this might be the inter-seasonal showcases that are featured in Timelines. This one takes more coordination and ultimately more trust – in essence, you are handing part of your baby off to another writer to play with. However, while this form takes the most work, it perhaps is one of the most rewarding. Often, the change of pace of writing a new set of characters separate from one’s own can be a good change of pace for the guest-author, while giving the main author of the story a little bit more time to come up with their own new update. Writing a guest post in someone else’s story can also relieve that terrible affliction of all writAARs – writAAR’s block. Often a new vignette is enough to get the creative juices flowing, allowing the original story to forge onwards after the guest post is finished.

    Finally, there is the method every one of us can do many times a week – become readAARs ourselves. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is as encouraging when you’re starting a new AAR than having people post saying they are interested and like your story. I know what I just said sounds obvious, but it bears mentioning. Often we more established writers get so caught up in day to day concerns and working on their own AAR that we forget to read around us. I’ve fallen into this sometimes myself. Add to this many of us already have a list of “favorites” that we follow, and you have the recipe for unintentional “blinders” being put on, so to speak, making us many of the newer writers that are constantly cropping up in AARland.

    So first, we have to make a conscious commitment to try to read new AARs. Comments are like precious pearls to many authors – they show us others are interested in our work, they can spark interesting discussion, debate, or simply serve as a pat on the back. For someone who has written only a few AARs or none at all, comments are enormous boosts of confidence, especially when old hands arrive and say a kind word. Remember that authors appreciate comments whenever they get them – don’t give up reading an AAR simply because you missed a week or two (or twelve). Come back when you have the time, and read then, and leave a comment then. Or even comment apologizing that you haven’t read, and you will as soon as you get the chance. Authors will appreciate knowing you’ve remembered their story.

    But not only do new authors gain when people read and comment – even the most experienced writAAR learns as well. One of my creative writing instructors once told me that the key to good writing is to constantly read. Reading allows us to note things both good and bad, things we wish to emulate, and things we wish to avoid. Reading around amongst new AARs exposes us to new styles, new ways of thinking about how to tell the story we want. In the end, everyone gains.

    So this holiday season, start reading a new story. Ask one of your favorite writAARs if you can do a cameo of his work, an interview, or even if the writAAR would like to do a guest post. I think you will be surprised at the warm response you will get, and how rewarding the experience will be for you too!

    General_BT is the author of Rome AARisen - a Byzantine AAR

  10. #10
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    Guns vs. bombs or why I still prefer Battleships ( not a gameplay advice article )

    by trekaddict

    The term “Battleship” was coined around the end of the 18th century, shortening the term of Line-of-Battle-Ship, the dominant type of ship during the age of Sail. Modern Battleships, as we know them, are all descendants of HMS Dreadnought, and all have the same features: A main battery comprised of multiple heavy guns in multiple turrets and a lighter secondary, often dual-purpose armament. Technically these ships are all Dreadnoughts as the early models were mostly modelled after their revolutionary British contemporary, but they are popularly called Battleships. In this article a fan will explain to you why he still wishes the Aircraft Carrier had never been invented. Back when I first started being interested in Naval Warfare I watched “Tora Tora Tora” and became a fan of Aircraft Carriers. I read all I could, watched documentaries and generally didn't waste much thought on anything else, certainly not Battleships which I regarded as a thing of the past. This changed, and again by a film, “Sink the Bismarck” to be exact, the scene where the Hood loads her Guns to face Bismarck ( a scene that was actually filmed on HMS Vanguard, Britain's last Battleship ) is enough to convince anyone. This slowly started to change my opinion on all that. While I still knew that Carriers ruled the seas, Battleships started to intrigue me. These giant Steel behemoths had and have something about them that couldn't easily explained with words, and it's something I still find difficult to formulate. I will still try in this.

    What initially drew me to Battleships was perhaps the sheer size. When compared to contemporary ships a ship like the KGV- or Iowa Class dwarfed pretty much everything in it's time, and despite being four metres shorter than the contemporary Essex-Class Aircraft Carrier the Iowa class, and also every British Battleship class simply seem to be much larger than they are in reality. The combination of an impressive exterior and the impression of sheer power, most importantly firepower. Have you ever seen a Battleship fire a broadside? I recommend it if you can somewhere. The raw power displayed by that is simply mindblowing, and while a barrage of bombs dropped by carrier aircraft is certainly impressive it is no comparison to a broadside by a Battleship. What fascinated me the most about the Battleships was, and is, the tremendous effort, planning, technological and naval expertise behind the concept. Back when HMS Dreadnought came off the slipways and joined the Grand Fleet its concept was a revolution in warship construction, but even before that, from the USS Monitor in the American Civil War and HMS Warrior Battleships began turning from wooden floating matches into giant floating fortresses. Although the all-big-gun concept wasn't proven until the Russo-Japanese war of 1905 and even after that only one real BB vs BB battle was fought, these ships have captured the imagination of many, including yours truly. The aura of invincibility that these ships have did a lot to create the reputation and fellowship the Royal Navy has today on these forums, and the same goes for all navies. Battleships are also reminder of seemingly easier times, when it was “us” and “them” instead of the grey puddle we have today. Many, including myself, see Battleships in an overly romantic way, jokingly stating that back then Naval Battles were still fought between real men and not computer jocks. How true this is is irrelevant, as we can't go back in time, but Battleships serve as a remainder of a time when Naval Warfare was vastly different from what he have today. Also:

    'nuff said I think. I was tempted just to send in this picture instead of the entire article.

    Pictures courtesy of Alt_naval photos and Google

    trekaddict is the author of Against all Odds: The British Empire in World War Two

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    The Belgian Revolution

    by Qorten

    Today Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and parts of northern France were once, back in the early Middle Ages, a region with a common culture and language. Whether people lived in Vlaanderen, Holland or Luxemburg, they spoke Old Dutch (albeit that the southern regions were bilingual and through time eventually became French-speaking). In 1477 the region, by then commonly referred to as a whole as the Netherlands, came under Austrian rule. The whole region, but especially Vlaanderen, Brabant and Holland were regarded as rich and valuable provinces throughout Europe and a lot of influencial statesmen and artists lived there.

    During the sixteenth century the Reformation conquered northern Europe and the Netherlands with it. Emperor Charles V acted cautiously and tried to work things out diplomatically between Catholics, Protestants and Calvinists. He managed to avoid an all out uprising in the Netherlands in his reign. His son Phillip II of Spain however was a lot less tolerant. In 1568 a general uprising roared through the Netherlands and became the Eighty Year's War. The conflict ended in 1648 together with the Thirty Year's War in the Peace of Westphalia and the Netherlands were divided in two. The nortern provinces became the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, or short Dutch Republic or United Provinces. The southern provinces stayed part of Spain and in 1713 came under Austrian rule again. Meanwhile parts of the territory had been lost to France (the regions of Lille and Valenciennes).

    Because of the harsh reign of Phillip II many influencial, rich and important people escaped the Spanish Netherlands to mainly the Dutch Republic, leaving the Spanish an impoverished region. The Counter-Reformation wasa success and the Spanish Netherlands became a firm Catholic stronghold, while the Dutch Republic was populated by Calvinists, Protestants and Catholics. In the provinces Luxemburg, Henegouwen, Namen and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège French became the dominant language by far and that region became known as Wallonia.

    After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 the map of Europe was redrawn in the Congress of Vienna. The southern provinces, formerly the Austrian Netherlands as of 1713 and later part of Napoleonic France were joined with the newly formed Kingdom of the Netherlands under king Willem I of Oranje-Nassau.

    During the Austrian and Napoleonic occupation Wallonia transformed into one of the first industrialized parts of continental Europe, creating a French speaking bourgeoisie who also dominated Dutch speaking Flanders. When the new Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed these people feared Dutch might become the dominant language and they might loose a lot of influence.

    Religious differences between the Protestant and Reformed north and the Catholic south had become too big to heal. Catholic bishops warned their believers not to accept any governmental posts, or else they would be excommunicated. The state religion of the kingdom remained Protestant, despite the fact that a large majority of the people were Catholic.

    From 1828 onwards the catholic, clerical faction and the liberal faction in the Dutch parliament started heavy opposition against the policies of king William I, forcing him to radicalize even more, creating a vicious circle.

    In July 1830 a liberal revolution occurred in Paris against absolutist king Charles X. This heightened the tension in the southern Netherlands, as Wallonian liberals counted on French help in case of a Belgian revolution. Meanwhile high unemployment among the workers due to industrialization and higher food prices due to a failed harvest caused high tensions with the proletariat.

    It all started on Ausgust 25th after a performance of the sentimental and partiotic opera La Muette de Portici, arousing the crowd in the opera house in Brussels with patriotic vigor. People occupied government buildings and the unemployed in Brussels joined the liberal bourgeoisie. From the 27th onward the riots spread to other mostly Wallonian cities and Leuven in Flanders. Meanwhile the paupers that had joined had become uncontrollable for the Dutch authorities so the Belgian bourgeoisie took things in hand and formed neighborhood watches to keep them in check.

    King William I and his sons made a poor impression handling the situation, causing the final drop and transform riots into a full-fledged revolution. At the end of September the first major battle occurred in Brussels, where the citizens and volunteers from all over the country and some from France drove back a Dutch army led by prince Frederik. During these fights a provisional government was formed, called 'Voorlopig Bewind' in Dutch. A 'Declaration of Independance' followed on October 4th 1830.

    During October 1830 the Dutch army slowly desintegrated as it marched north through Belgium. One third of the army were actually from Belgian origin. Everywhere the revolutionaries took over positions from the Dutch army. Note that this also happened in todays Dutch Limburg and the archduchy Luxemburg.

    November 1830 saw the election of a National Congress, a rudimentary parliament, tasked with writing the new Belgian Constitution, which came to be one of the most liberal of it's time. They decided that Belgium should become a monarchy. First they were undecided whether the king could be a member of the house of Oranje-Nassau, but after an artillery barrage conducted from the Antwerp citadel on the city itself by the Dutch garrison it was decided that the king could never be from Oranje-Nassau descent.

    On the 21st of July 1831 the German prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is crowned the first king of Belgium. Previously he had turned down an offer to become king of Greece. His ascension was well received by both France and great Britain, as he had strong ties to both nations. Meanwhile king William I hadn't sat idle and he invaded the country again on August 2nd 1831. This would become known as the 'Ten Days Campaign'. The army under leadershop of the Dutch princes William and Frederik won two battles against quickly assembled revolutionary forces, one near hasselt, in Limburg and one near Leuven, only 30 kilometres east of Brussels. Only the appearance of a French army stopped the Dutch from advancing and quelling the revolution. King William I now had to agree to an indefinite armistice, although he could negotiate from strenght due to his initial suceesses when the matter was settled in the Treaty of London in 1839, when William finaly recognized Belgium as an indepent nation.

    After the revolution not everyone in the new country was as happy though. Mostly from Flemish side people wondered whether or not they were better off now. The French-speaking elite colsed down all public schools except the French-speaking universities of Ghent and Liège. French became the sole national language, despite the fact that the majority of the people spoke Dutch. All ministries and public offices had to be held by French-speaking people. The Flemish economy , mainly the cities Ghent and Antwerp, collapsed as the mouth of the river Scheldt, the main economic artery of these cities was still held by the Dutch and they had lost a great part of their demands from the north.

    Qorten is author of BohemiAAR: An Alternate History ...

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