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Thread: Pine, Bamboo, and Plum: A Song AAR (MEIOU)

  1. #241
    Captain bananafishtoday's Avatar
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    Oooo, awesome. Thanks! I'm ok with correcting eg "Yuanzhang Zhu" to "Zhu Yuanzhang" when writing, but the extra names will be very helpful.

    Also, do the names show up with pinyin tone marks properly? I was under the impression EU3 couldn't render the letters with third tone.
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  2. #242
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    Chapter 23: Crumbling Defenses


    "The Navy Departs Shanghai." Painted by an anonymous artist in the 17th century. Long believed to depict one of the famous Fei Expeditions later in the 15th century, most modern critics now think it was intended to commemorate the invasion of Korea, based on the smaller size of the ships. But at least half a dozen other naval launches have been put forward as potential subjects of the painting, and opinion remains divided on what event this painting actually celebrates.


    By the 1430s, Northern China and Mongolia have earned a reputation for lawlessness. Although the kingdom of Qin seeks to be a force for stability in the region, they find it increasingly difficult to keep the various Khalka tribes subjugated. The independent Mongols, still clinging to the old “Yuan” name, also have a hard time maintaining order in their lands, especially with the Kazakh Khanate pushing into their territory. Xia is in no better a position, struggling against Kashmir to the west and bound to the Korean Empire by alliance.

    In the middle of all this, the northern Yue holdings suffer from constant border raids, the people living in fear of attacks by Mongols of all stripes. The situation comes to a head in July of 1436, when Yue declares war on the independent Mongols and calls Song into the conflict. Zhao Wongwai, at first, thinks a war with the Yuan “Dynasty” rather quaint. He honors the call but does nothing to aid in the conflict, instead preparing his fleet for the eventual invasion of Korea.



    Wan'er sits, brush in-hand, at her writing desk in the royal bedchambers. Hard at work all morning. Cold November air leaks through gaps in the poorly-constructed building's windowframes.

    Wan'er still isn't sold on the coming war. She doesn't much see the point. The people of Korea had been unwilling vassals of the Yuan Dynasty, and they'd likely fight tooth and nail to hold onto their independence and keep their throne out of foreign hands. The peninsula's resources are valuable... but does Song really need them? And, as their explosive growth across Manchuria has shown, the Korean armies are strong and well-trained. The war could certainly be won, in time--but at what cost?

    But Wongwai's enthusiasm has only been growing for the past several months. Despite whatever arguments she makes against the invasion, he continues to insist it “must” be done. So, much like the massive migration to Shanghai, Wan'er has given up on trying to change her husband's mind. She now spends her time trying to help prepare for the attack. If she can't stop it from happening, she may as well try to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.

    Wongwai yawns and stretches, just managing to rouse himself from sleep. “Good morning.”

    Wan'er doesn't look up from her papers or stop writing. “Afternoon.”

    “Oh,” he says, scratching the back of his head. He sits up in bed, tossing aside the sheets and reaching for his robes. “Darling, what are you doing?”

    “Working. One of us has to, at least.”

    “Oh. So, uh...”

    “How are things going?” Wan'er puts down her brush. She rubs the bridge of her nose. The secretaries spends hours drafting these briefings, and he doesn't even bother to read them... “Our spies in the Korean capital are doing well. The kingdom's troops are still up north in Manchuria. Pirate activity on Tsushima seems to b--”

    “Tsu-what?”

    “Tsushima. The island.”

    “Oh.”

    “Pirate activity seems to be increasing. If the wokou make a move on the Koreans, that would be the best time for us to go in as well. And I've dispatched the Frontier Defense Force to Shanxi in order t--”

    “What?” He asks the question with a slight growl. “I never ordered any involvement in Yue's fight with Yuan, why the hell would y--”

    “I have not,” Wan'er says, without missing a beat, “involved us in that. The Yuan situation is a plausible excuse to set our troops up on the border with Xia. Should Xia come to Korea's aid, our men will be ready to push west in the hopes of quickly removing them from the war.”



    Wongwai is silent for a few moments. “Oh.” He starts to put his robe on, pauses, then tosses it to the floor. “Say, darling, how about--”

    “Sorry, honey.” She picks up the brush again. “I'm busy.”

    “It can wait, it can wait. Come on... darling...”

    “The Prime Minister needed these orders drawn up weeks ago.” Finishing a sheet, Wan'er stamps the page with her husband's seal. “I still have I don't know how many left to write. There's a lot of work we have to get done if you expect our kingdom to come out of a foreign war intact, and...”

    Wan'er turns around to make sure Wongwai is listening to her. He lies sprawled out on their bed, fast asleep.

    ____________


    The waiting finally comes to an end in February of 1437. An army of Japanese pirates land on the shores of Korea and, thanks to the spies who had infiltrated the Korean administration, Song knows of the attack within days. Wongwai receives the news with glee and wastes no time ordering that war be declared. Two armies prepare for an amphibious invasion of Korea while a third marches into Xia. With the Yuan pretense now unnecessary, a white peace is offered to and accepted by the Mongols.





    Song troops quickly take up positions to cut the peninsula in half, denying the Koreans access to the rich southern provinces. Wongwai knows he is no military man and opts to stay in Shanghai. But supply ships bring constant news to the Song capital, and the king cannot help but resist the urge to begin calling the shots. He orders the White Lotus Army to launch an assault on the Korean capital. The attack proves disastrous: over two-thirds of the Army's infantry perish.



    By June, Korea moves some of their forces down from the Jurchen border to fight off the wokou pirates. The White Lotus, weakened as they may be, follow them into the area. They lie in wait to ambush the Koreans after the battle.



    Although Song manages to best the Koreans in Gangwon, they end up losing more men in the process, including almost every spearman in the unit. Around the same time, residents of the former capital of Hangzhou rise up in revolt. With the entire Song Army on foreign soil, no one is there to stop them from ransacking the city. Wongwai doesn't care. “If they want to betray the kingdom during wartime,” he tells his ministers, “let them kill themselves.” But Wan'er writes to her father in Guangzhou for help. The Yue king reluctantly agrees to send his own soldiers to handle the rebels.





    The Koreans move south to resupply and prepare for another attack on Gangwon. After losing so many men, the Song armies must spread themselves even thinner to hold onto their positions. Song troops in Xia fare better, and it seems they may be able to force the kingdom out of the war in good time. The Korean army makes its move in November. The Song forces in Gangwon manage to fight them off but, again, take more casualties than their enemies.





    Rather than continue standing their ground and being bled dry, the Song men chase after the Koreans. As luck would have it, they manage to win a decisive victory in Gyeongsang thanks only to the fact that they caught the Koreans on the retreat. In the same month, the kingdom of Xia finally capitulates, freeing up the troops Song had committed there.

    A second Korean army marches south on the Song positions, but it will be months until the men from Xia can be moved to the peninsula. Another pirate force has landed in northern Korea, but it remains to be seen who they will target. And despite nearly a year of sieging the Korean forts, they still hold strong as ever. While Wongwai considers the war to be turning in Song's favor, others are not so sure.

    ____________


    “The fighting in Xia is over,” Wan'er says to her husband. She find it harder to get any real work done. Most of her time is spent briefing Wongwai, relaying orders for Wongwai, trying to change his mind on those orders... it's getting to be quite tiring. For both of them, in fact. But while the constant running around has made Wan'er weary, every perceived failure Wongwai learns of makes him more angry, more insistent on doing things his way.

    “We need to get those men to Korea,” Wongwai says. “No leave, no rest. They march straight to Shanghai and get on the barges not a minute later.”

    “No, we should just move the navy to Shangdong and pick them up there.”

    Wongwai's eyes narrow. “'No?' Is that the way to talk t--”

    “It's a shorter route,” she says, sighing. “We should be able to get the army over by April of next year, but move them down to Shanghai and it wouldn't be until at least July.”

    “Apologize.”

    “What?”

    Glaring at her now, Wongwai says, “Apologize. I don't like your tone, and I won't have you interrupting me.”

    “What the hell does it matter? I'm doing my best to keep things under control, and we don't exactly have a lot of time. We sent thirty thousand men to Korea a year ago. Now half of them are dead, we don't control any territory, and if we don't reinforce them by--”

    “Apologize.”

    Wan'er sighs, louder this time. “Fine. I'm sorry. Honestly, though, I don't understand why you insist on--”

    “Because I'm the king! I'm the king of the most powerful kingdom in the world, and the... the idiots I have for generals can't even conquer some worthless, backwater garbage heap of a--”

    Wan'er puts a hand on her husband's arm. “Honey,” she says, feeling bad he's gotten himself so worked up, “please, relax. We've stressed about this enough for one night. Come on, we shou--”

    “Don't!” He tears his arm away. “Don't you 'honey' me! I'm sick of all of you! Trying to get on my good side when you can't eve--”

    “Please, just stop th--”

    “Shut up!” Wongwai points a finger in Wan'er's face. “Shut. Up. Stop trying to placate me. Stop trying to... to cover up for your failures with kindness.”

    Wan'er's sympathy turns to outrage. “My what?”

    “You heard me. And don't talk back. You're my wife, and it's about damn time you acted like it. You do what I say.” Wongwai opens the door, then turns and stares her dead in the eyes. “Get back to work.”
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  3. #243
    Ouch. Diplomacy, your name is Wongwai.

    You know, in Opposite-land.

  4. #244
    Lt. General scholar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafishtoday View Post
    Oooo, awesome. Thanks! I'm ok with correcting eg "Yuanzhang Zhu" to "Zhu Yuanzhang" when writing, but the extra names will be very helpful.

    Also, do the names show up with pinyin tone marks properly? I was under the impression EU3 couldn't render the letters with third tone.
    Some do, some do not. It depends if the accents already exists for other country names such as the Spaniards, Italians, and so forth.

  5. #245
    'Subtle' is not a word I would use to describe Wongwai.

    Also, invasion of Korea! Somewhat unexpected, but hey. It's in character in so many ways.
    俺はMEIOUずきだ。

  6. #246
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    Maybe it's time for Wongwai to find himself a Zheng He. This form of foreign military expansion doesn't seem to be going very well.
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  7. #247
    How does the Wokou/pirate mechanism work?

  8. #248
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    Erm, wasn't Wongwai supposed to be something of a diplomatic genius? I mean, less brain activity in other areas than a six-month dead, decomposing corpse, but at least he was supposed to know his diplomacy... And he's decided to take out his fury on the one person (the one woman) who, in fact, is responsible for him still being king of anything? Wow.

    If he were a CK2 character, he'd have the trait 'Imbecile' ("This character is a drooling imbecile") - and it would be an understatement.

    I rather hope that Wan'er will slap some sense into that thick skull - or rather, that she slaps the un-sense right out of that thick skull. The un-sense being Wongwai's brain and the preferred implement to achieve this feat a mace or something. Wan'er should look for inspiration to Consort Li (though perhaps not to the end of Consort Li). If there is such a thing as the Mandate of Heaven, it's hard to see how Wongwai deserves it, what with him being such an obnoxious, ignorant, petty, childish, idiotic moron.

    I don't really like Wongwai, see?

    Anyway, now that I have vented a bit, let me praise the way you're building up Wan'er (and making Wongwai look like an idiot). She has a thankless job and if she wasn't possessed of such a sense of responsibility, she'd just let Wongwai walk right off the cliff of his own making. I pity her.
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  9. #249
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    Wan'er deserves better, and I am reminded of several other incompetent rulers in history. Their advisers try desperately to stem their idiotic planning only to find themselves put in jail, killed off, or banished so that he can do things his way and end up losing everything as a result.

  10. #250
    I'm hardly one to defend a childish misogynist, but if Wan'er wanted to influence him she could have done it better. Perhaps it was frustration that brought her to that point she spoke so brazenly with him, but she did all but treat him like a child. From our perspective, he was being a child, but this is the King of Song and Ming, greatest ruler in the whole of the world, with frustrations all his own about the 'incompetence' of his own subjects. It remains to be seen whether Wongwai will lose the Mandate of Heaven, he is young still, with plenty of time to become great, or far far worse, in spite of or because of his personal failings.

    Also, like the chapter title, with its possible double meanings.

  11. #251
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuvenalianSatyr View Post
    I'm hardly one to defend a childish misogynist, but if Wan'er wanted to influence him she could have done it better. Perhaps it was frustration that brought her to that point she spoke so brazenly with him, but she did all but treat him like a child. From our perspective, he was being a child, but this is the King of Song and Ming, greatest ruler in the whole of the world, with frustrations all his own about the 'incompetence' of his own subjects. It remains to be seen whether Wongwai will lose the Mandate of Heaven, he is young still, with plenty of time to become great, or far far worse, in spite of or because of his personal failings.
    All good points and a nice shift of perspective. I still think he's a blithering idiot, but you do allow me to see things from his view. Much appreciated.
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  12. #252
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    Just caught up from page 1 Excellent AAR writing skills you have here, I can't imagine how hard it is to write it all!

  13. #253
    Captain bananafishtoday's Avatar
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    Hey y'all, sorry I haven't updated in a while! Been busy with work and midterm exams. Should have something this week though...

    Edit: Oh! Also, if anyone is considering voting for my humble AAR in the AARland Choice AwAARds, I'd ask that it be placed in the EU3 Narrative category.

    @Omen: Haha. And he don't get much better, neither.

    @scholar: Ahh, gotcha.

    As for the advisor comment, makes me think of an anecdote I read while doing research. After the death of Qin Shi Huangdi, one of his top ministers, Zhao Gao, tried to root out "disloyalty" in the bureaucracy. What he did was he brought a deer in front of all the other ministers. He told them he'd found a marvelous horse to give to the new emperor, and had everyone in the room take turns commenting on it. Most of the men praised his "horse," while others objected that it wasn't a horse at all, but a deer. When everyone was finished speaking, Zhao Gao had everyone who said it wasn't a horse killed.

    Needless to say, the Qin Dynasty didn't last very long.

    @Sjiveru: I don't mention this in the story proper until later, but the whole thing I made about Ryukyu was basically that it made future Song leaders see the East Ocean as being in their sphere of influence. Hence Korea and a century of similar fun times.

    @mayorqw: Haha... Wongwai's frustration kind of mirrored my own (although with 100% less misogyny!) because the whole time I was like "WTF I just destroyed Ming and these guys are kicking my ass..." Let's say that Korea becomes a personal vendetta of mine, as the player.

    @panormo: No sure how it compares to vanilla, but in MEIOU it's something like this: You get events saying pirates attacked a province, giving it a "looted" debuff. You're given the option of launching an attack, which costs money and manpower but grants prestige. If it succeeds, you get money, prestige, and pop growth; if it fails, you lose prestige. If you decide not to attack, however, eventually pirate rebels can be spawned in your territory. That's what happened to Korea.

    @Stuyvesant: Despite his stats, I tend to go more on traits... and Wongwai was "blessed" with the traits "amateurish pettifogger" and "deceitful." So yeah. I will say that Wan'er remains mild-mannered and doesn't end up a Li, but don't worry, the king will get his comeuppance.

    And, speaking of the further future... let's just say that Li and Wan'er were written in large part to foreshadow an upcoming straight-up badass of a woman.

    @JuvenalianSatyr: Very good points. Many a king has been ruined by being too preoccupied with their kingliness!

    @Chlorna: Welcome, and thank you! I actually find it to be harder than just straight writing... the time spent consulting screenshots/notes/histories breaks the flow a lot in comparison to standard writing's "screw it, I'll just write whatever I feel like!" It's similar to nonfiction in a lot of ways in that a lot of my time is spent trying to adhere to my world's "reality."
    Last edited by bananafishtoday; 09-04-2012 at 04:38.
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  14. #254
    Corporal Chlorna's Avatar
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    @ bananafish I hope this AAR isn't dead, really love it.

  15. #255
    Quote Originally Posted by Chlorna View Post
    @ bananafish I hope this AAR isn't dead, really love it.
    Seconded.
    俺はMEIOUずきだ。

  16. #256
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chlorna View Post
    @ bananafish I hope this AAR isn't dead, really love it.
    It better not be dead
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  17. #257
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    He'll continue when/if he wants. You should use the PM or Visitor Message system to ask him to continue, not this thread itself.


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  18. #258
    Captain bananafishtoday's Avatar
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    Hey y'all, I'm (tentatively) back. Basically irl intervened in a bad way, and I've had no time to work on this. I'm not out of the woods yet, so I may disappear again, but this project is not something I want to abandon.

    That said, I may dial down the narrative bits... they're honestly very taxing to write. I always feel I should have a lot more space devoted to fully exploring the characters, so I agonize over what little space I do give them... but if I spent more time, the story would quickly get bogged down. With 300+ more years to cover, I'm going to try and speed up the pacing a bit and hopefully finish before EU4 comes out. In the future, though, I'd love to do a pure narrative but with a much narrower (20-30 years) scope.

    I'd planned to devote more time to Wongwai but... I just really didn't like him. He's an asshole, sure, but not even an interesting one to write. Semi-spoilers, but Mei will be my first 100% all-star awesome monarch, so I'm excited to (hopefully) get to her soon. Tired of these chumps. She kicks ass.

    I might do a recap soon to get everyone (myself included!) back up to speed if anyone thinks it'd be helpful. Oh, and I've played the game to like 1650, so I have plenty of material ready to write up and playing time isn't really an issue.

    But yeah. Glory to the Great Song!
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  19. #259
    Captain bananafishtoday's Avatar
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    Chapter 24: New Beginnings




    Zhao Wongwai, monarch of the Song Kingdom, only wanted to escape the shadow of his grandfather. The man had founded a dynasty, brought the kingdom back from the brink of ruin, crushed the House of Zhu, and made the Song-Yue Alliance the undisputed center of power in the Middle Kingdom. How could Wongwai compete? He refused to be a mere historical footnote, a “transitional” monarch, one remembered only for not ruining what his predecessor had built.

    He wanted more. He wanted to be second in a long line of legendary kings, an essential part of Song's continued rise to greatness. He wanted to leave an indelible mark on history. He wanted Korea.

    But so far, the war has been a disaster. Despite better training and superior numbers, his armies cannot match the Koreans on their own soil. Nearly every battle is a Song victory--a “victory” that costs twice as many Chinese lives as Korean. But with the fighting in Xia over, Wongwai hopes these troops can finish the job. They land in April of 1438.



    But, as has happened before, Song's superior numbers cannot overcome Korea's knowledge of the land, nor their ferocity in defending it. Song's Fronteir Defense Force pushes back the Koreans, but not without a heavy cost.



    But the Koreans strike back the very next month, without any rest or recuperation, hoping to push Song back into the sea. This decision proves disastrous for them, and the entire Korean force in annihilated.



    This small victory, however, proves bittersweet. Progress remains slow and painful, and the foreign war quickly proves to be a nigh-inescapable quagmire. More Japanese pirates land on the southern coast, fighting the Song off of territory that was nearly theirs. And a massive peasant army rallies around a Korean pretender who pledges to crush the Chinese invaders; Song if forced to retreat from the capital.



    In 1440, the first good news out of Korea in years reaches Shanghai. Confucian bureaucrats in P'unghae, disenfranchised after Korea's conversion to Buddhism, pledge their loyalty to the Song crown in exchange for the restoration of their titles.* And the nearly three-year siege of Gangwon comes to an end.



    This is cold comfort to Wongwai. Four years... the war has been on for four years, and all he has to show for it is one miserable scrap of territory. Although rumors circulate that more provinces will soon be willing to defect, this is a far cry from the glorious conquest the young king had envisioned.

    Meanwhile, a death in the council finally gives Wongwai occasion to begin replacing the aging bureaucracy left over from his grandfather's reign. Although he'd intended to fill the vacant seat with a military man, Wongwai is instead convinced by his wife to elevate a diplomat to the position: a young man by the name of Enbo Wongyi.



    As the years pass, several more Korean provinces defect to Song. But with the Korean pretender soon to take the throne, promising to restore the Confucian state, this progress may soon evaporate. By 1445, Song's position on the peninsula remain shaky at best.

    Meanwhile, the relationship between Wongwai and his wife, Wan'er, has deteriorated almost to the point of open contempt. The thirteen-year-old heir, Dewang, is growing into a weak-willed young man, shunning a martial education in favor of painting and calligraphy. Wongwai has openly taken a number of unofficial concubines--a verboten practice since the days of Han Lin'er--intent on producing a new heir to the throne.

    Wan'er, for her part, merely wishes to raise her son and avoid the ire of her husband. She confines herself to her office in Shanghai, planning for the construction of a mint to rein in the inflation Wongwai's war is creating. But, despite her isolation, she still hears the rumors. One of Wongwai's concubines has given birth to a boy. He may plan to name the newborn his heir apparent. But with no precedent for divorce, annulment, or polygamy in the Song Kingdom, one possible fate for Wan'er and Dewang looms over the rest--execution.

    Wan'er goes back to her husband in the winter of 1446, begging forgiveness, pledging to be an obedient wife, and promising to produce a more suitable heir. Wongwai, pleased to have cowed the troublesome woman, accepts. And by 1447, Wan'er is found to be with child.

    But, far from the subservient role she now plays, Wan'er has plans of her own. In her final appeal to her husband's vanity, she suggests the stalemate in Korea is due to a lack of leadership. The generals are incompetent, the soldiers without direction. They need their king to lead them to victory.

    Wongwai has his doubts at first. But she gradually convinces him of his tactical brilliance, and soon, he takes it as fact that the Korean expedition is doomed to failure without him in command. He sets off across the sea to lead his troops to victory. Within months, Zhao Wongwai is dead.



    Wan'er quickly ends the war in Korea, ordering the Song troops to consolidate on the territory they already control. This leaves the peninsula fragmented and the Song holdings difficult to defend, but she sees fixing this as a task for another ruler.

    In the summer, Zhao Dewang reluctantly takes the throne. The boy is truly unfit to rule, but he has no illusions about this fact--he begs his mother to serve as his advisor, a position she reluctantly accepts.







    Dewang prays for a younger brother, someone he can abdicate in favor of when the time is right, and thus shed the burden of the crown. But, as fate would have it, a girl is born. His hopes dashed, Dewang mournfully attempts to learn the art of statecraft while his mother largely runs the nation's affairs. But, although none yet know it, the birth of the Great Zhao Mei of Song will herald the dawn of a new era in the Middle Kingdom.





    -----
    *((This is also thanks to MEIOU's war dynamism--if a province of Religion A is occupied by a country of Religion A, but owned by a country of Religion B, it will eventually switch to the occupying country. Tbh I don't remember whether Korea was Buddhist because they were a Yuan vassal, or whether they switched when they took tons of Buddhist provinces in Manchuria. It does feel sort of cheap, but this is the last war for a while in which it's a factor.))
    The Chronicles of the Norse - A Jorvik AAR (CK2, active)

    Pine, Bamboo, and Plum - A Song AAR (EU3 MEIOU, dead for foreseeable future)
    Winner: Weekly AAR Showcase 11/20/11 - Character Writer of the Week 12/4/11, 10/7/12 - AARland Choice AwAARd Q4 2011, Q3 2012

  20. #260
    NOP-field present Moderator Qorten's Avatar
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    Hey, great to see you continue! If you did continue with the narrative like before and wanted to do so for the whole timeframe you'd probably need another three or four years to finish, like General_BT's CK AAR Rome AARisen.


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