Memoirs of Louis André d'Blanc, Adjutant to General Halen
One man can change the world.
Once, some men believed otherwise. The world, they said, was a vast and complex place, home to hundreds of millions. The institutions that existed were hundreds of years old, and the leaders of even the greatest powers could hardly budge the Earth from its ingrained framework. A King or a general might try, strain against the standing order to war and conquer, but the forces of the status quo would soon push him back his position. The time of men like Caesar, Alexander the Great, and the Khans of the East were long past, they said. No more was the world dominated by the whims of kings and warlords, but governed by a vast and complex social fabric that rebelled against change and fought against the men who would be gods.
Napoleon proved them all wrong. He shattered their foolish notions of the importance of numbers and politics on the battlefield. The time came when the entire world spoke his name in whispered awe, an all of Europe was at his feet. Only by the might of titans, half of whom he cowed in his fight for dominance, did the world finally bring the Emperor of the French under control.
From that day forward, no one ever again believed in the stability of the balance of power. To an extent, the world returned to the way it had been, but the scars that Napoleon had left in his vast campaigns across Europe could still be seen on any map. The Great Powers adopted the new notions and ideas of warfare that Napoleon had left them, but kept the Emperor under careful lock and key on the island of St. Helena until the day he finally died. Still they feared him. A man like no other.
Or was he? Napoleon had been born no one. He was the son a minor noble family of no relevance in French Corsica, and of even less importance following the Revolution. He had been given a rushed albeit elite military education and served in the French army for a few years in Italy. The only thing that set him apart from all the others who had even done the same was the greatness of his skill, eclipsed only by magnitude of his ambition. It was this and nothing else that allowed him to become General at 24 and Emperor at 35.
But this book is not about Napoleon, though he will be mentioned at least once more before it is done. I merely mention the great Emperor to prove that leaders are born, not made. After Napoleon, all the powers of Europe knew this, but somehow they did not consider it. Surely, they thought, such a man appeared only once in a lifetime. Little did they suspect, that not only was there a second such man, but that he was already a General, and his exploits would soon be heard in every court in Europe.
Hello and welcome to Ambition, an AAR that focuses on a single stateless and quite mercenary general rather than a nation.
The AAR will be narrated by our friend Louis d'Blanc (whose writing you've already sampled above), but will focus on the fictional character of General Halen, a General who will mod into the game and change between various countries. He'll go where the wars are, often favoring the underdog. The point of the AAR isn't to conquer as much as possible for any one nation but instead to see how much one rogue general can change the world.
Halen is what a loosely term a "legendary" general. I won't say what his attributes are, but he's better than any general you could normally get in-game, but not in any one stat. I modded in two attributes for him specifically ("Legendary" as Background and "Unbowed" as Personality), so I'll let you guess what they mean. I'll be dropping hints about his stats in d'Blanc's narrative.
To test Halen's power (with no significance in the narrative whatsoever) I gave him to Tripoli and put him in command of their three brigades in the starting war against the Ottomans, which is very heavily stacked against them. Halen defeated the initial 2-brigade force. They regrouped with another 3 brigades of Ottoman reinforcements and defeated the combined force in a series of bruising battles, which included two defeats and a handful of victories. After that, the Ottomans hit with another 3 brigades which he wiped off the map in one battle. Then, the Ottomans mobilized (‽) and hit Tripoli with overwhelming force. Halen's brigades were destroyed. Note the Ottoman general in this war gave -2 to both attack and defense.
By this test, I assess Halen to be "very good but not insurmountable", which is exactly where I want him to be. He can fight slightly superior numbers and technology, but not overwhelming of either.
This AAR will be very short (probably only covering fifty years of history, if that), because it will necessarily conform to Halen's life. It will also be updated infrequently - that is to say, whenever I have time, because I'm running Shadow of the Andes which is quite time-consuming. I had the idea for this AAR when I was tinkering around with adding generals into the game for Shadow of the Andes.