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Thread: The End Is Not Yet: MP 900-year game

  1. #1
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    The End Is Not Yet: MP 900-year game

    There have been Wars, and Rumours of Wars; but the End is not Yet.

    A man's allotted years are said to number three score and ten; and if that's true, then the uptime intervention in history can be measured in eleven men's lives. Study eleven men - a family line, perhaps - from first squall to final sigh, and you will know what the Quantum Device has wrought. A neat theory! But the sea of time is not to be so swiftly summed up. It is both broad and deep, and though you may plumb the depth in a single place, you will remain ignorant of the undercurrents and flows; and the great beasts of the deep will retain their secrets.

    In the depths of time, human purpose is lost. A man might hold to some single aim steadfastly through his life, may work every day for his one cause - but when he dies, how much of his goal will he transmit, uncorrupted, to his sons or apprentices? "<a href="http://www.online-literature.com/kipling/913/">It is his disciple, shall make his labour vain</a>", and over the centuries an organisation composed of humans flows like water, bending in the face of every obstacle until its very founder would not know it, and would strive with all his might for its destruction.

    The Ynglings at Dovre are an exception. Every quarter-century, their purpose is renewed by the arrival of an uptimer agent, fresh from the chambers of the Quantum Device and primed with the uncorrupted agenda of the Secret Hird. Over the past two hundred years, they have painstakingly built their control over the Scandinavian peninsula and over the genome of its inhabitants. They have built an army, and a state within the state; more, they have built a mythos. Every year, at the great festivals marking the passing of the seasons, their great epic is sung; there are prizes for the best singer, and for the poet who adds a new verse telling of how the year has gone. Such is the Dovringar saga.
    It tells how from the nadir of their fortunes after the bioweapon release, when every man's hand was raised against them, they waged a hundred-year war against the German occupiers, and at last threw the invader into the sea. There are verses on how they found the secret of healing, and used it to save the strongest of the race, but a jealous foreign sorcerer corrupted the forests of all the world, thinking thereby to make the Norse race weak and stupid once more. It is told how they rose above that blow by agreeing all among themselves that only the worthiest should bear children, and how they wrote down what was to be held worthy so that none should twist its meaning. The formation of the militia has an entire epic to itself, twenty verses of ranks, tables of organisation, and billeting ratios. All these events and many others are recorded in the Dovringar saga, and children spend years of their lives in memorising it.

    Also part of the saga is the great Numerical Coda, which reports in verse form the average and maximum running speed, weight lifted, reaction time, vocabulary scores, and arithmetical ability found by the Dovre Tests every year since 1703, for Norse and for the Control Group that every year is invited from the Norwegian community in Lubeck. Memorising the Coda is considered a great achievement, even though it is rarely performed in song at the feasts.

    Other Norse, it must be admitted, tend to consider the Scandinavians a little strange. But that is not unusual, in this year 1836; the enormous territorial states that rule the world are nowhere culturally united - they are all nations separated by a common language. It is true that the effect is particularly pronounced in Norway, but there is also little in common between a Sus-born civil servant and a settler of the South African interior, although both are free Bretons of the ruling caste. The language spoken from the tip of Africa to the Channel Coast of England, across seventy degrees of latitude, three polities, and two continents, is nominally called French; but a traveller from Kent would be ill-advised to ask for directions in Johannesburg without a phrasebook and some practice with the local dialect.

    In addition to the insular pagans of the peninsula, there are three major and two minor groups within the Norwegian state. Foremost in power and influence are the smallholders of northern North America and the burgeoning industry that builds on their agricultural surplus; it is no accident that when the Ting fled the Breton armies that sacked York, they built their New Bergen at the confluence of the Ohio and Miami rivers (*). The breadbasket of the nation has always been the backbone of its armies, and is also becoming its workshop, for the smallholdings that the setters carved out of the wilderness cannot be economically divided, and second sons must seek their own fortune. The farmers and shipowners, by and large, keep themselves to themselves; but they do not object to seeing the army sent to fight in faraway lands and the navy sweeping other nations' commerce off the oceans. What is it to them, if the Hird takes dreadful casualties in European struggles? The eldest sons will inherit their lands, and the navy will keep foreign invaders on the other side of the Atlantic. No dreams of Empire and glory are dreamt in the public squares of the small towns. The crops and the weather are the staples of conversation. But if the Ting finds it convenient to support one party or another in Europe, the farmers shrug their shoulders; what matters a distant rumour of war to them?

    In the South, such things are taken more seriously. The descendants of Gunnar's colonists, and the natives they settled among and taught to make iron and written law, have a strong belief in honour as part of state policy; some of them even take Christian doctrine seriously as a guideline in such matters. They are generally isolationist, pacifist, and opposed to any war which cannot be construed as a direct defense against aggression. Since their Peace Party has been in opposition for a hundred years, they are also somewhat isolated from the practical realities of politics, and shelter a good number of dreamers and ideologues. Nonetheless, their solid core lies with the tribal councils and small merchants who hold to a rigid conception of personal honour and a man's word, and wish to hold governments to the same standard. Although duelling has been forbidden and nearly unknown in Norway since the events of 1100, but in the southern states it has been reinvented independently, and the law is only very haphazardly enforced; one insults a southern gentleman only at great personal hazard. In a bit of historical irony, the most pacifistic area of Norway has thus taken up a fighting custom that even the rabidly expansionist uptimers at Dovre have abandoned as impractical.

    The third major power-grouping in Norway is the squirearchy of the Norse Law, exemplified by Gunhild Ingeborgsdatter. Having suffered through decades of Breton occupation, they are the most self-consciously patriotic and nationalistic party of any in Norway - not even beaten by the uptimers at Dovre, who for all their theoretical expansionism have not fought a deadly guerrilla war in recent years. The squires want, above all, to keep foreign armies out of the Isles, including England-south-of-Thames. Any proposal for naval expansion can count on their support, and having seen how an efficient occupation economy works under the Bretons, they are not above getting a bit of their own back in the form of attacking Continental powers - preferably ones already fighting on another front. It was the squires who funded and armed the rebellions that drove the Breton regime out of southern England, and it is they who push for measures to keep that area economically dependent on the Norse Law proper. In this they have been unsuccessful, for the Peace Party outnumbers them and finds in the French and English farmers as a natural ally for their program, while the northern industrial interest wants England-south-of-Thames, with its large population, to be prosperous and thus a market for their goods. Still, the squires have managed to keep the Catholic and French-speaking population socially and politically marginal. With Norway's strong tradition of local autonomy, keeping the French out of the Tings in the British Isles gives the squires a strong position for their next moves.

    England-south-of-Thames, home to French settlers on the coast and what remains of the English ethnicity inland, form the only non-Norwegian interest group, and are further isolated by Catholicism in a nation overwhelmingly (except in pagan Scandinavia) Protestant by profession and largely secular in outlook. Their political power is not helped by the divide between the landlord/merchant class - largely French - and the farmers, predominantly English. The mainstream of their political agitation is directed towards getting a local Ting meeting at London instead of being ruled through the squirearchy-dominated Norselaw Assembly at York; although the national Ting in New Bergen is some protection against direct exploitation, it is still hard for a Frenchman or Englishman to find the business opportunities available to a Norse-speaker. However, as the years pass without any apparent progress on the London Ting, French opinion is becoming more radicalised, and some calls for an independent English state, or a return to the division of the Isles between Norse and Breton rule, are being heard.

    The last, and least, political group are the Irish, including the Norwegian settlers in the Emerald Isle and the Highlands. Ireland and Scotland claim, with ironic pride, to be the oldest parts of the Norwegian Realm: They were conquered well before the settlement of America began, and dismiss Scandinavia and the Norse Law on the grounds that these were occupied by foreign rulers for hundreds of years. For continuous allegiance to the Norwegian Crown, then, no land (except tiny and poor Iceland) can claim a longer history. Other areas, to the extent that they take any notice of this at all, dismiss it as just what you would expect of an irrelevant backwater, and the taunt has some truth in it. Still, having avoided occupation and looting by foreign armies, the Celto-Norse areas are richer than one would expect; centuries of uninterrupted building of capital and infrastructure have had their effect. The Celto-Norse provide a disproportionate number of the engineers and inventors who are beginning to transform the Norwegian economy, and form a counterweight within the Isles to the dominance of the Norselaw squires.

    A fractured state, then, with different groups pulling in all directions, from the near-complete isolationism of the radicals of the Peace Party, to the world-domination dreams of the uptimers at Dovre. Their squabbles may drive the history of the next century; or perhaps not, for in the larger world, Norway is counted only a second-rank Power. Perhaps it will be another nation that strikes for global hegemony, and becomes the engine of change in the nineteenth century. But what is certain is this: The End is Not Yet.


    * OTL Cincinnati.

    (Maps to follow.)
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  2. #2
    Resident Opportunist King of Men's Avatar
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    As promised, some pictures of the situation. As one might expect after 770 years of interference, it is not much like our timeline.

    North America, split between the Norwegian Realm and the United States of Italian America, with the tiny exception of the Fortress City of Narragansett, nominally a Georgian enclave:



    Africa, completely dominated by the Republic of Transvaal:



    Europe. The red border in England marks the extent of the Norse Law, colonised by settlers from Norway in medieval times and ruled by the Norselaw Assembly at York. The southern part of England, usually referred to as England-south-of-Thames, is French, English, and largely Catholic. The black border in Ireland marks the northern limit of the Norwegian settlement there; the Celto-Norse areas are administratively separate from the Norselaw proper, being under the authority of the Dublin Ting.



    The Middle East, and the enormous Georgian empire, larger than Alexander's:



    East Asia, where the Dragon Throne broods over the recent unequal treaties.



    Oceania. In the sixteenth century, Georgian settlers took advantage of their more advanced seagoing technology to leapfrog the Malaccans and colonise Australia; it remains to be seen whether they can maintain their outposts.



    The Norwegian political situation:



    Some statistics, sorted by population:

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  3. #3
    Is it me or is the Northwestern quarter of North America unclaimed?

    And the 3 powers of Europe are France, Germany and Prussia right?

    Best of luck KoM, never played Vicky but with luck maybe you can industrialize North America and shot up the ranks that way.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by frigidmagi View Post
    Is it me or is the Northwestern quarter of North America unclaimed?
    The United States of Italian America controls California and the Pacific coast up to Alaska, so it's merely the interior of the northwestern quarter of North America that is technically unclaimed. Of course, the Stadtholders and now Presidents of USIA have always considered this wilderness a part of the Republic. The fact that no emissary has bothered to actually go there to establish lordship over the savages (or return alive) is merely a technicality.
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    Is that Finnish Siberia!?

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    Quote Originally Posted by frigidmagi View Post
    Is it me or is the Northwestern quarter of North America unclaimed?
    Yep. It was PTI in EU3.

    And the 3 powers of Europe are France, Germany and Prussia right?
    No, they are (east to west) Prussia, Germany, and OMG FRANCE!

    Quote Originally Posted by TC Pilot
    Got any openings?
    Not right now, but people do drop out and some of us are having technical difficulties. Stay tuned.

    Is that Finnish Siberia!?
    Technically, but the power in question started out as Novgorod in Crusader Kings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Varyar
    The United States of Italian America controls California and the Pacific coast up to Alaska, so it's merely the interior of the northwestern quarter of North America that is technically unclaimed. Of course, the Stadtholders and now Presidents of USIA have always considered this wilderness a part of the Republic.
    Have they, indeed? Interesting that they never mentioned it until now. The Ting at New Bergen does not recognise any such claim. Unsettled lands are terra nullius, no man's land, until claims are made by effective occupation. Words do not an occupation make.
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    Any chance we could get you to post a savegame?? I could easily imagine myself having a blast playing the world you guys have created through the two previous games. At least the world looks a lot more interesting and probably more challenging in your game than the usual potmix of small states.

  10. #10
    Yours is no Disgrace Gollevainen's Avatar
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    Is that Finnish Siberia!?
    Yeas it is. As KoM said, the power indeed started under name of Novgorod princedom in CK days but due schemy deals it became the russian empire...all along however behind the scenes and at the handle of true power stood Gollevainen, a finnish necromancer whos plans all along called for forming of greater finnish realm. His dream fullfilled sometimes during the 17th century when mainland Finland was connected to the Novgorod realm. After that the nation changed it's name to it's proper one.

    I will give my own introduction of the starting point of Finland soonish.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by King of Men View Post
    Have they, indeed? Interesting that they never mentioned it until now. The Ting at New Bergen does not recognise any such claim. Unsettled lands are terra nullius, no man's land, until claims are made by effective occupation. Words do not an occupation make.
    Surely you jest? Those claims have been on display for mo... decades at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' "Claims and Colonizing" section in Porto Velho, at San Salvatore missionary station in a dark basement that happens not to be equipped with stairs, in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Piranhas".
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    Brilliant game, excellent descriptions. I have been following this, and was waiting for the Vicky-bit. Very curious to see how it will all work out!

  13. #13
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    Yours is no Disgrace Gollevainen's Avatar
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    Modern times (This is somewhat unsequal continue of the Eu3/CK era AARs found in links King of Men posted)


    So the war of west against China didn't come after all... No problems there, if not the expenses that moving the Finnish army into Far-east brought.
    What were expenses if not numbers, numbers in accounts for clerks and other tribes of byrocraties that tended to be the word of today in everywhere...in army, in markets, in offices and government. Finland wasn't exception. Poor and peripheral it might have been, modern times gave no quarter for the old and traditional ways.

    Gollevainen had grew weary. The old man had himself accompanied with the GFFC (Group of Finnish forces in China) and then back again, and time had not made him swift and nimble. He didn't even return to Uusilinna. All that fuzz and reformations, countless new laws and orders made his hair fall bit faster than average. All that movement and dynamics mocked his old presence, claiming his obsolescence and antique ways. Of what was wrong and evil in past and old, Gollevainen must have been reason for it, if not a surrogate to the youth to blame for the darkness.
    Gollevainen had used to it. Haven't it always been so? Generations after generations of Princes and nobles, calling themselves emperors or Kings depending what time called best...
    All claimed to be the errants of the new age, better age than the one they grew up and yet all the same and after a hundred years, a mere shade in the darkness that used to describe the history of the world.
    Finland was not exception. It couldn't steal any better pose in what came to morale righteousness or being the empire of light, a force of good.
    None was. Neither was no one near the opposite, the evil. In mirk blackness that the time had been, who could tell the difference of each nations crimes or deeds?

    Gollevainen look back in his traces. It had brought him from the feudal jungle of the west 800 years ago to the north-eastern little principality of Novgorod, grown then as the Empire of Novgorod, claiming all the land of Russia and the very Chudians that Gollevainen recalled kinship. Chudians that Ynglings nearly demolished before the land known as Finland was brought under Gollevainen's command.
    Long had that old empire gone since the days when it was still a toddler among the world great kingdoms, shadowed by the Georgia in South and constantly threatened by the HRE in the west. It had survived.
    Better than most, despite the plague and Mongols, that only Novgorodian knights bothered to destroy. Those brave Pajars who didn't want to save the Mongols as single vassal for some devilish plans to mix that crude race into european noble kin. Novgorod saw only one fate for the mongolism...
    That fate that took many stronger nations as well, But Gollevainen kept his nation safe.
    He brought into its reaches the vast emptiness of Siberia and east, when rest of the world competed over fertile and rich lands of America and south asia.
    It was Gollevainen who liberated his ancient Northern homeland and self-decorated himself as a King of Finland, after 400 years of waiting. And flick of the wrist, few old rhymes and lores, some mushrooms and little bit of magic...
    The Novgorod was no more, and Finland rose from the fantasy into reality and Gollevainen was pleased.
    He still was. After so many years that Finland remained as a little but vast nation, traditionally in good terms with Georgia and later China due geo-strategy and 'couse of deep wisdom of the Bargantugy dynasty that ruled Georgia for many centuries.

    If Finland didn't triumph in the chauvinist tournaments of world hegemonies, it didn't suffer either. It kept its place and picked up the leftovers and people in the river vales and deep forest never had to feel foreing occupation. Had Gollevainen been poor leader?

    He didn't know. Sometimes he wished for more...but most of the time he didn't. And he felt sorry for those who didn't follow his path and fell under the changing dynamics that shaped the world in past.

    But times are changing. The wisdom that lived in Georgia had since perished and new reign ruled the land, a new wisdom and mind that claimed the traditional names but all knew that behind the curtains lot had changed.
    Despite the old Georgia never being grateful or thankful over the centuries long friendship between Finland and Georgia, it had at least silently acknowledged it as the foundation that both fortunes laid upon.
    New age called new people and if Georgia renewed itself, should Finland too?
    Should new take over and old lay back and enjoy the evening before the night would fall upon everyone? Gollevainen had to admit how time weighted heavier and heavier each year the calendar passed. Was it time to call it a day and say: “I did my best. Let the new man give his proof wheter he could do things any better”
    After all, times were changing fast. Gollevainen couldn't hide the fact that he was man of older times, a man fit to stand behind the chair of noble-breed prince gathering his cavalry, but to stand in the balcony of the parliament and guide the legislature to pass codes for building factories and ships for the new dynamics that reeked for fuel to its motion?
    Was he as fit for the museum than was the long lance of Novgorodian pajar that once ruled these lands?
    Were there a museum for likes of him? Gollevainen didn't knew, but such tough made him recall a little poem from another world and another time:


    Safe in the permanent gaze
    Of a cold class eye
    Their favorite toy
    They'll be good girls and boys
    In the Fletcher Memorial
    Home for colonial wasters of life and limb
    Is anyone in?
    Roger Waters

    Perhaps it was his time too...

    Gollevainen closed his eyes. Deep in there, in the thoughts...it still flicked like a little spark beyond any observation.

    ....It is mine! I've made it, It belongs to me!

    He had lost it. Long ago in different life and existence but it was still lost. Gollevainen didn't knew exactly what it was...other than it was a weapon, so powerful that only few could carry it, let alone wield it. Gollevainen didn't knew whether he was up to it, A champion that such weapon of all weapons would require, but damn right he knew that he had once made it.
    Made what, that his dreams and visions didn't tell. But hell of a weapon smith he had been if the spirit world spoke truth. And if the modern age loved someone, it was the weapon smiths, forgers of steel that made cannons and carbines, cuirasses... If he would see this age of gunsmiths and factories to see if the weapon that haunted his soul would appear...who knows, without staying. It wouldn't be the first new trade Gollevainen had learned after being declared as something dusty and worn out.


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    The Professor wrote:
    Also is there a site somewhere where I can google the acronyms you use.

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    Yes. The site is available at www.google.com.

  15. #15
    The Goldmattress Mattabesta's Avatar
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    YES!!!!!! finally been w8tin foevar fo dis!

  16. #16
    Resident Opportunist King of Men's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowdale View Post
    Any chance we could get you to post a savegame?? I could easily imagine myself having a blast playing the world you guys have created through the two previous games.
    Sure, but you need to do a bit of modifying game files for it to work - historical events, for example, are right out. These are the instructions:
    • Clean Ricky install
    • OHGamer's hotfix 6
    • Delete the events, leaders, economy, tech, parties, and units folders from db
    • Replace with the ones from the file linked below.
    • Replace 'config/province_names' and 'config/worldnames' files.
    • Replace 'db/country' file.

    The files are in this RAR file.


    Quote Originally Posted by Varyar
    Surely you jest? Those claims have been on display for mo... decades at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' "Claims and Colonizing" section in Porto Velho, at San Salvatore missionary station in a dark basement that happens not to be equipped with stairs, in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Piranhas".
    This, as you must well know, does not constitute effective occupation of anything except the basement in question.
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  17. #17
    Resident Opportunist King of Men's Avatar
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    It looks as though we'll need some subs for tomorrow, if anyone is interested. The savegame and required game files are posted above; game time is 1000 Eastern Daylight Time. Send me a PM if you can play, and I'll send you the IP and my ICQ number; we also use TeamSpeak for coordinating.
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  18. #18
    Yours is no Disgrace Gollevainen's Avatar
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    Yeah Finland for example might need one, due my proplems connecting the hosts...so any if anyone is up to it, I would be mostly appriciated.
    The Professor wrote:
    Also is there a site somewhere where I can google the acronyms you use.

    Ulmont wrote:
    Yes. The site is available at www.google.com.

  19. #19
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    The reconquests of the Norselaw and of England-south-of-Thames, accomplished behind the shield of the Navy and with Brittany fighting desperately against the Georgian armies in Egypt, has stirred patriotic fervour everywhere in Norway. Particularly in the in the Norselaw itself, but also in the industrial Northern parts of Norwegian America - the area increasingly referred to as 'Vinland', to distinguish it from the formerly tribal lands added to the Realm by conquest, the "Spear-won Lands" in the faux-archaic phrase of the war party - calls for expansion are increasingly heard on the radical fringe. There is no end to the possibilities for aggression, in the view of the Crown Party and their hangers-on: Retaking Skåne from Germany, Finland from the Finnish Empire, or the Gulf Coast from the Italian Confederacy are the most commonly heard.

    In the mainstream of Norwegian politics, these plans are dismissed for the wild fantasies they are. Both the Peace Party that dominates the Spear-won Land and the Tingsmenn, the loose coalition of centrists that usually holds the balance of the Ting in New Bergen, are well aware that the Norselaw campaign and the guerrilla aftermath in England-south-of-Thames were blessed by special circumstances. Unkind men have been heard to use the phrase "lucky fluke"; the general opinion is a more generous "playing well with a really strong hand"; in either case, the consensus is that such a confluence of favourable events is both unlikely to be repeated and necessary for expansion. With the British Isles in Norwegian hands, there is no large, wealthy area that can be isolated from enemy troops by the Navy. As for sending the Hird - well-equipped, well-trained, but small - into a full Continental campaign against the vast armies of Europe, that is not to be contemplated. Certainly, the sober politicians will agree, Skåne might be seized and then isolated by sending the Navy into the Baltic; or Finland might be overrun. But then what? Nothing of this sort will force a Great Power to make terms, as Brittany was forced by the Georgian invasion.

    In mainstream opinion, then, Norway not only remains a backwater in spite of its recent victories, but should remain one. What use is a position in the center stage of world politics? Only to excite envy and attempts to unseat one. Better, far, to grow rich on new industries, to break the still-abundant new land of the Americas to the plow, and to use the Ynglinga Hird, lightly and rarely, only as a deciding weight if evenly-balanced scales should conveniently become available.

    At Dovre, the uptimers and their allies grind their teeth, but - obedient as ever to strategic reality - find themselves agreeing with the Tingsmenn. The history they have created contains no weak native powers to annex, no backwards Asian empires to dominate and colonise. Puzzle over or rage against this fact as they may, the facts remain.

    The German and Polish plains - traditional battlefields for the Hird in the vanished uptime - are closed by the well-tried alliance of the Germanic peoples in the face of French pressure. A century of war across the Rhine has moved the border a paltry few tens of miles, and the War of the Baltic League has taught the Ting the limits of sea power in a fight with the heartland of Europe. Still less can a war with France, dominating all of Western Europe including the Iberian and Italian peninsulas, be contemplated. There remains the possibility of supporting one side or the other should the perennial war across the Rhine be renewed. But to attack France is a serious matter, to be undertaken only if vast rewards can be had - no piffling transfer of a few provinces, but the overturning of the entire balance of power in the North Sea and Atlantic. As for Germany, it is protected partly by the traditional patronage of the Italian Confederacy - and "peace in the Americas" has been the First Article of Faith for Norwegian (and Italian) statesmen since time immemorial - and also by its densely settled geography, inconvenient for attack from the sea.

    What of the Germanic powers themselves? They ruled Scandinavia once, and found it an unrewarding pursuit; they have spent a century fighting France, for no good result, on the Rhine and the Isonzo. They might turn east into the endless Russian steppes; or south, now that the mighty Georgian empire finds itself short on the resources of modernity. Or they might prefer to stay at home, like Norway, and become rich on new industries. If so, they will find themselves with a more difficult challenge, for their borders are not protected by wide seas and powerful navies, only man-made fortifications. France has been pushing from the west for a century, and indeed, where else shall the French expand if not into the Rhineland with its rich iron and coal? And Finland, too, might look hungrily westwards. It will likely be another uneasy century for Europe.


    An almighty lot of man-made fortifications, admittedly...


    Further south, what of the giants, the Great Powers whose struggle has shaken the West for six centuries? Brittany and Georgia find themselves in an odd position: They are still the largest states in the world, commanding vast armies, enormous populations, uninvadeable territories... and yet they totter, for the conquerors who built their empires took no thought for the need for iron and coal. Without the mainstays of modern industry, will the Great Powers of these many centuries find themselves irrelevant, passed over by the states with luckier geographies? Worse, they might find themselves powerless, unable to resist partition or dismemberment. Many of the lesser Powers remember harsh treatment by the mighty, and are not above a little revenge. But economic shifts of power are slow, if certain; perhaps the Great Powers will abandon their long struggle, and attempt once and for all to impose their dominance on the world, while they yet can.

    The world's eyes, notwithstanding these possibilities for conflict, are on the East. After centuries of playing catch-up to the technology of the West, the Dragon Throne is stretching newly developed muscles, and its grin reveals enormous teeth. Arms dealers are having a good decade; there are rumours of enormous stockpiles being built in Chinese cities. Chinese ambassadors point out, with reason, the Unequal Treaty so recently imposed by Italian and French power; to avoid another such humiliation, they say, they will prepare for war, although they want only peace. The reports of Yngling agents in the Chinese countryside make it clear that they have every reason for preparation. For in China, the Treaty of Shanghai goes by the name of the Great Clerical Error; and the name hides horror.

    The source of the error is clear enough. The negotiations for the Treaty were of necessity tri-lingual - French, Italian, and Mandarin. And at some point, an Italian envoy said 'million', a French clerk heard 'milliard', and a Chinese diplomat was too proud to protest. Clearly, he must have thought, the round-eyed devils were intent not merely on imposing a reasonable indemnity, but on grinding All Under Heaven to dust. It was, unfortunately, necessary to bow to battlefield reality for the present; but Chinese memories are long. The willow bends where the oak breaks; the foreign devils would learn the resilience of the Chinese peasant when the Middle Kingdom paid off their exorbitant demand early.

    A moment's inattention, a moment's prideful intransigence, and tragedy unfolds over a hundred million innocents. To pay the sum written into the Treaty, the dynasty has found it necessary to raise taxes just short of the point where famine stalks the land. Every flake of silver in China has found its way to Beijing, where the treasure ships are always waiting, always hungry. Every flake? Ah, no. There is a great need for soldiers, now, and if the Chinese say "One does not use the best iron for horseshoes, or the best men for soldiers", still, there are many now who are not too proud to consider themselves "not the best men". The best men have starved to feed their children; or fled into the hills beyond the reach of the tax collector; or been executed for resistance. A soldier is fed regularly - thin gruel, perhaps, but fed, and paid, in good silver. There is always some sort of economy, and the Chinese willow is bending under the storm, developing new industries in a forced draft, to make goods to exchange for silver to feed the insatiable maw of the treasure ships. When the bad years end, it is whispered at Beijing, the foreign devils will be sitting on a great pile of pretty, useless metal; and China will have a vast number of factories, and workers, and soldiers well used to blood.

    "The Great Clerical Error" - the one thing yet untaxed in China is a sense of irony. Even the best-educated Confucian bureaucrats have not turned a profit on that. So the peasants shiver, and starve, and sometimes in desperation try to resist; but in their blackest mood they can raise a laugh over what is killing them. A clerical error! A mere mistake! Three additional zeroes - nothings! - added to a treaty, and a hundred million innocents die! If you did not laugh, you would have to cry. And there are tears enough in China these days, enough to drown an invading army, enough to choke on. Tears, and rage. If the stiff-necked bureaucrats at Beijing are too proud to admit their mistake, still they retain the Mandate of Heaven - which has always risen from the rice paddies. The Chinese are human. Faced with a foreign oppressor and an enforcer of their own race, they blame the foreigner for their suffering. There are French garrisons at Shanghai and Macau, and Italian ones in Manchuria; enforcing the Treaty terms, in the European view. At Beijing, the garrisons are welcomed for their convenient demonstration of foreign guns held to Chinese heads.

    To err is human; all men make errors. But for every error, there is a reckoning.



    In game terms, the treaty specifies that China shall keep its poor taxes at 100% until its population is reduced, either by starvation or emigration, by 150 million, thus putting it on more even terms with, say, Georgia. I find it more amusing to consider it a mistake rather than a deliberate attempt at genocide; it should anyway be clear that no such treaty could be enforced without Chinese cooperation.
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  20. #20
    if a "picture is worth a thousand words" is it possible for me to submit a webcomic with some commentary as a suitible replacement for a AAR if decided to be of good enough quality to qualify?
    He who wishes to fight must first count the cost. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue... In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.
    -Sun Tzu, the Art of War

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