My Inevitable Greatness
- a Mount and Blade Warband AAR -
consisting of diverse quotations and precepts for the wise,
as well as many a tale of derring-do,
with details of a romantical nature to set the heart aflutter,
and political insight most penetrating,
excerpted from that most magnificent work,
”The Life and Times of the Unparalleled Khünbish Jalair”
with the occasional enlightening comment from this unworthy author.
(6000d for the full uncensored version; A collector's edition with illustrations is available to the discerning customer for a mere 28500d from authorised book-sellers.)
This is the true story of how I, Khünbish Jalair, the supreme image of femininity, great mother of wisdom, unparalleled seducer, the great scabbard of the faithful*, scourge of the Rhodoks, slayer of Khergits, unholy whore of the Sarranids, ravager of the Vaegirs, the heat that melts the Northern ice, the despoiler of the fields of Swadia, the feeder on impurity, the lady of penitential torture, our lady of mercy, goddess of unnatural lust, insane megalomaniac bitch, the virgin of Halmar, and symbol of unchallenged victory to name just some of the titles I have been known by in my time, got to be just where I am today.
* I always hated that title, but it is mine and while it was granted by mine enemies, like so many of the less flattering titles I have been known by in my life, I took it for my own and made them choke on it!
I have spent most of my life lying, scheming, and conniving, when I weren't plotting, intriguing, or misleading. Equally accomplished at dishonest trade and seduction, I am proud to say that I never fought any man face to face when I could stab him in the back instead. While my charisma and natural modesty are known to all the world, there is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't be where I am today, were it not for my almost god-like intellect – attributes that were often misunderstood by my enemies, who have all days been legion. The world is hard place and it is hard on everybody, but it is harder on women and of all women in the world, it has been the hardest on me.
But where lesser people would perish, I have always, even in the darkest of days, been able to see the shining light in the distance, that beacon of hope that lights my path through the valley of despair on the one hand and rejects false comfort on the other, the golden road that has led me all the way from my birth to my inevitable greatness!
Editor's note: At this point the modest Khünbish Jalair recollects several amusing incidents, which led to the granting of some of her more outrageous titles such as “she of the jade skirt”, “the hunger below”, and “guide of souls”. These are not essential to her story and are at any rate ill suited for male readers under the age of 60 and are, as such, not suited for this volume. Interested readers should obtain the full uncensored version, carried by any authorised book-seller, or the collector's edition. It has illustrations of an educational nature.
Chapter the first: I am born
In the humble yurt owned by my father Gansükh, a renowned warrior of the Jalair tribe, temporarily raised somewhere on the great steppes, the most extraordinary event occurred on September 1, 1238 – the birth of a living girl-child by his fifth wife. Now, girl-children are as common as horses on the steppes and worth considerably less but Gansükh was a man accursed by fate.
Of his twelve previous children by acknowledged wives, three had died along with their mothers in childbirth, five had died in childhood, two taken by the plague just as they were about to be married, and two strapping lads struck down in their very first raid. Every acknowledged child had been a son and in his youth he was much admired for his ability to consistently produce sons by his wives; Admittedly some of his bastards were girls, but well, that's what you can expect of loose women.
Now, at the ripe old age of forty-two, he was a respected warrior but one without anybody to carry on his legacy save his horde of bastards upon women willing and otherwise, and those are as nothing in the eyes of the gods, and it was widely whispered that the evil spirits were jealous of him for his nearly divine ability at providing boy-children and had caused the deaths of his legitimate offspring out of spite to turn a blessing into a curse.
He had, naturally, been hoping and expecting another boy but that was not to be. He got his first acknowledged girl-child! ME!
My recollections of my birth are dim, but I have been reliably informed that I was born at exactly midnight and that the warriors, who had been drinking heavily, were with the exception of my brave father terribly scared because a two-headed calf had run through the camp earlier in the night. A dead two-headed calf, mind you, though how on earth anybody can have been sober enough to notice is beyond me. In either case, it was definitely an evil omen. The comet that blazed a trail across the night sky in the minutes surrounding my birth was a more ambiguous omen but the general verdict was that it was probably a meteor rather than a comet and, hence, bad.
In either case, I was a disgustingly healthy baby and failed to die in infancy like so many others and my father was faced with the grave issue of naming me. He had long experience with naming boy-children, but what name should be given to a girl-child? Flowers, virtues, colours – these were common and satisfactory choices for girls. Now, if I had been given the choice, I'd have given myself the name Altan, golden, for my hair which was golden in those days, the last gift of my outlander mother, but my father was not so poetically inclined.
Upon grave consideration and after consultation with the elders, he decided upon that rarest of all names: He gave me a taboo name to ward off the evil spirits that had cost him his other children by acknowledged wives, letting practicality take precedence over poetry, a lesson I have taken to heart.
Thus, rather than becoming Gansükh Altan, I became Gansükh Khünbish in the eyes of the world, which is a mouthful to swallow, and set me on the path apportioned to me by fate.
In the tongue of my father, Khünbish means “Not A Human Being” and say this for him: It worked. The spirits were fooled. I survived my childhood completely unmolested by the evil spirits, who when they came for me presumably took one look at my name, concluded that I too was an evil spirit and they the victims of some bureaucratic screw-up, and went off to molest other humans. The torments I suffered at the hands of what can euphemistically be called my play-mates on account of my name, however, were legion, but they were children and acted as children do and they are all dead and gone by now while I am not, so now I can forgive them despite not forgetting.
I never forget.
Editor's note: At this point the sanguine Khünbish Jalair goes into great detail regarding the offenses and torments she suffered at the hands of the heartless and mindless wretches she grew up amongst, every incident engraved on her perfect memory with excruciating attention to detail. Such cruelty is surely unmatched in history and the very heavens themselves must have cried out for such monstrous injustice to be avenged - which it was.
This is my first M&B game that progressed more than 6-8 levels so I have learned the basics of the game and know I am bad at combat. Whether on foot or on horse, at equal damage to me and the opponents I get chopped up fast in melee. If I'm not shot first.
As such, this is as much a voyage of discovery as anything else and though I have progressed far enough in the game to have a few chapters worth of writing in me, I have absolutely no idea how it will end or which challenges I will be presented which, with the exception of those mentioned in the manual and what reading Wyvern's AAR has suggested to me (which AAR, by the way, was what convinced me to try out Mount and Blade in the first case. Thanks, Wyvern).
Wyvern also gave me the tip to try out lances and I discovered that repeatedly missing targets while trying to spear opponents, while it might not actually gain me much XP or contribute materially to the success of a battle, did keep me alive very nicely and was actually sort of fun, so I decided to start a new character focused almost exclusively on doing well in other areas than combat. This way, while I would learn combat along the way, painfully and slowly, I'd at least be trying to do well in the one aspect of computer games that I master – the strategic. I quickly hunted down a guide describing the bonuses gained from character generation and they pretty much decided the background of my character.
The idea of a character devoted to intrigue and leadership was born and since the manual said that the game was harder with a female character since this was a male dominated world and easier for nobles than commoners, the obvious choice was to make my next character a female commoner who would try to scheme her way up in the world with well developed leadership and persuasion skills... and enough riding skills to ride really, really fast away from the opposition.
In other words a female steppe nomad, who was first employed as a shop assistant before becoming a a lady in waiting. The obvious choice for the reason for adventuring, which would have fit my general design, was the loss of a loved one (+2 CHA), but there I drew the line. I was going to play a scheming bitch, not some heartbroken and weeping sob-story of a character with emotional baggage. It seemed much more in character after those already major changes of life for her to be forced out of her life as lady in waiting, having failed in one of her schemes.
Thus I ended up with modifiers of STR +2, AGI +2, INT +5, CHA +2, Riding 4, Persuasion 2, Wound Treatment 2, First Aid 1, Inventory Management 1, Trade 1, Path-finding 1, Weapon Master 1 as my starting bonuses.
Details such as whether there is a maximum level or not for characters or whether xp-gain gets exponentially hard from a certain point are unknown to me at this point in time, so I am basically developing the character along the fundamental ideas outlined above and as affected by circumstances with no fixed long-term plan for reaching specific levels of skill. Given how even a relatively small investment of points in a party skill will give a bonus even when that skill is provided by a companion, I fully expect Khünbish Jalair to end up a skillmonkey with many lowlevel skills and only the charisma based skills at high levels, but let's see what happens.
Since the manual lists bonuses up to skill 10 (+4) I am assuming that a skill cannot be increased to more than 10 but it is pretty irrelevant at this early stage of learning the game. Achieving skill 10 would require 30 attribute points in the first place, a huge amount at one per level and thus entirely possibly not within reach of any character not dedicated to one attribute to the exclusion of everything else and Khünbish Jalair wants at least two (intelligence and charisma), so this is unlikely to be an issue either way.
During the first chapters I am playing with POOR combat AI and campaign AI, NORMAL combat speed, 25% damage to me and 50% to my friends; This is changed later on as I get more comfortable with the game. I am playing with a battle size of 79 for no good reason I can think of. I think this was default? I may have changed it by mistake. I'll probably increase it later on when more familiar with the game but for now there are certainly more than enough things going on in battles as is.
Before I get to the AAR of what is going on in Calriada, however, I will need to finish writing up a character background that fits those a life progression from steppe nomad through shop assistant via lady-in-waiting being forced out of her home and seeking adventure in far Calradia.
It'll be one heck of a ride, and I don't have any plans for regular posting habits. Expect updates to come when I see fit and the story to end when I get bored.