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Thread: The Stuff of Kings - A House of Burgundy AAR

  1. #1
    The 45 Tommy4ever's Avatar
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    The Stuff of Kings - A House of Burgundy AAR



    Well, I've fallen for the bug of paradox games, this forum and AARs yet again. I recently got CKII in the past week and have been quite blown away at its brilliance. I loved the first Crusader Kings and love this one even more. But in all my previous games since I bought it (admittedly only 4) one thing kept sceaming out at me - this game would be brilliant for an AAR! So here it is.

    I will be playing as the House of Burgundy or the De Bourgogne dynasty as its known in the game (and in French). They start as the Dukes of Burgundy in France in the December 1066 start date, a middling power by the standards of French Dukes, and nicely have the founder of the dynasty on the throne at game start.

    I aim to follow the same system for updates as my now rather old (it was started in 2009!) CKI AAR where each update follows one reign, if there is a lot to write about this could be split into two or even three but the structure remains the same. The style will be history book - if you've read any of my old AARs you will be familiar with how I do these things. Hopefully this will be a happy return to AARing for me and I can write an entertaining story for you.

  2. #2
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    Robert, the Old
    Lived: 1011-1079
    Head of House of Burgundy: 1032-1079
    Duke of Burgundy: 1032-1079



    Robert the Old, the first Head of the House of Burgundy, was a towering figure in the early days of the Capetian dynasty in France. He was the grandson of the first Capet King and the youngest of the three sons of the second - Robert the Pious. Whilst never fufilling his ambition to prove that he was indeed the stuff of kings, Robert did become a powerful territorial lord through his acquisition of Burgundy and became the founding father of a dynasty of his own the House of Burgundy, the most famous of the cadet branches of the Capet dynasty.



    Robert forged his dynasty through warfare with his own family during the early part of his life. Following the death of the eldest of King Robert the Pious' sons, and designated successor, Hugh Magnus, in 1125, the then fourteen year old Robert joined with his elder brother Henry to make war against their own father. Defeated after two years of warfare the King was confined to the capital and Henry made Junior King. He lingered on for anther six years before passing away in 1131 at this moment Robert once again looked to make war against his closest family as he attacked his former ally and brother Henry, back by their mother no less, in an attempt ensure that it was he who would takeover the now vacant throne. In the end Henry was able to buy off Robert by granting him the Duchy of Burgundy in 1132 thus establishing the House of Burgundy.



    For decades after 1132 Robert instituted a reign of terror over Burgundy. Having little to no effective power beyond Dijon, the Duke ruled his territory more like a barbarian warlord, using force of arms to plunder the lay and church lands of Burgundy alike. Aside from numerous sacks of church properties his most infamous act of violence was the murder of the brother and father of his wife Helie of Semur whom he had repudiated after she had sirred him five children.


    Burgundy Ducal Demesne
    Rose Vassals
    Red Lands Seized


    As Robert aged his violence gradually lightened as more formal feudal governance was introduced into Burgundy. However, Robert did discover more nuanced ways to assert his power over his vassals. At the grand old age of 61 he formulated a plot alongside friendly courtiers of the powerful Count of Never and Auxerre a vassal who could rival Robert himself in terms of power. Yet the old Duke was never forced to throw his realm into civil war as the Count was arrested and shortly thereafter all his lands and his treasury stripped from him as he was banished from Burgundy. The newly acquired counties were then granted to his eldest surviving son Henry.



    Decades of abuse had deeply alienated Robert from his remaining vassals focussed around the three Counts who controlled the Southern half of the Duchy they began to exert heavy pressure upon their ageing lord to institute an elective law of succession which would allow the leading nobles of the realm to decide upon the succession of the Duchy, in the hope that such powers would give the nobility a powerful position from which to resist future abuses of power. Rather than crush the murmurings with force of arms as the younger Robert might have done, Robert the Old decided to listen to his subjects and agreed to change the laws of succession. Such was the goodwill that the aged Duke had won through this move that his vassals unanimously agreed to back Robert's preferred candidate for the throne, promising to elect Henry as the next Duke. Just two years later, and after 47 years in power in Burgundy, Robert passed away at the grand old age of 68.

  3. #3
    Colonel Prince of Savoy's Avatar
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    Very good introduction. I like the fact that you didn't introduce your ruler as this benevolent, good guy of a ruler, but rather in a way that is honest, if nor a bit brutal towards him.
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    Good introduction. Your writing style is amazing, so expect me to be following!
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    The 45 Tommy4ever's Avatar
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    Henry II
    Lived: 1035-1102
    Head of the House of Burgundy: 1079-1102
    Duke of Burgundy: 1079-1102



    Henry was the second born, and by 1079, the only surviving son of Duke Robert the Old. He was the second Henry to rule Burgundy following the reign of his now deceased uncle (who gave the Duchy to Robert in exchange for securing the French throne) and the second Head of the Burgundian dynasty. It seemed to be a family trait for members of the House of Burgundy to be extraordinarily long lived by Medieval standards and Henry was no exception, living to the age of 68 just has his father had done. Like his father during his younger days Henry had pretensions beyond Burgundy and vigorously pursued power through his two decade reign.


    Burgundy Ducal Lands
    Red County of Macon
    Rose Counties Backing Macon


    The system of elective monarchy introduced by Robert in the closing years of his life quickly proved problematic for Henry. The Southern Counties decided not to line up behind Henry's chosen successor (his eldest son Eudes) or even any member of the ruling House but instead united in the support of Count Guy of Macon. United the three Counts could outvote Henry in the election, even after Auxerre (the most Northerly County of Burgundy) was granted to Eudes. The solution was simple the South had to be disciplined by force of arms. From 1081 until 1083 Henry waged a brutal war against the Southern Counties. After initial defeats Guy was largely abandoned but fought on until he was finally captured in his last remaining bastion. Guy was subsequenly banished from the Duchy and his lands in wealthy Macon (the County that contained Cluny the centre of the ongoing reform movement within the Roman Church).

    Whilst force of arms had forced the Counts to abandon hopes of removing the Burgundian dynasty from the Ducal throne it did not prevent them from pursuing and independent course within the elective system. Whilst Henry and Eudes himself placed their support with Eudes, the eldest, the Southern Counts backed Henry's youngest son and Chancellor of Burgundy Renaud. The future succession was to remain finally balanced between the warlike Eudes and the more diplomatic Renaud for the rest of their father's reign.



    After a period of peace in Burgundy and France as a whole the outbreak of war between England and France over the Norman Vexin in 1088 marked the beginning of an exended period of violence in the Kingdom of France that was to last for almost continuously for 50 years to come.


    Burgundy Duchy of Burgundy
    Light Blue Duchy of Champagne-Orleans
    Light Green Duchy of Berry-Anjou
    Orange County of Amien
    Cross Rheims


    The over the County of Sens between 1089 and 1090 marks the greatest point of Henry's reign. With the assistance of a core of Breton mercenaries he faced down tow power Dukes in Champagne-Orleans and Berry-Anjou as well as the County of Amien and decisively won. The draining of troops from these provinces to fight in the war with England undoubtedly assisted the Burgundian cause, yet the victory was still impressive. The seizure of Sens for Eudes marked the first extension of the House of Burgundy beyond the Duchy's borders, a statement of the family's ambitions to expand their power in France.

    As Burgundy continued to consolidate its enemies weakened. In 1093 the powerful Duchy of Champagne-Orleans shattered into four parts as the Duke's three sons and one powerful Prince-Bishop in Rheims battled for control over their father's legacy by 1096 the war had ended with the legacy split between two equal Duchies. In 1092 King Hugh of France was excommunicated by the Pope. Two years later he agreed to lead a massive effort to save the rapidly collapsing Christian Kingdoms of Spain through an invasion of the Taifa states of Andalusia thus beginning an almost endless conflict between the Taifa and France (later also the German Emperor) lasting throughout the 12th century.



    With the French King tied down in the Spanish March and suffering horrific losses Duke Henry sniffed an opportunity for greatness invading the Royal Demesne in early 1095 with the aim of placing himself on the French throne. Although successfully taking Orleans (just South of Paris) by the end of the year successive and crushing defeats on the field of battle by royal troops returned North from Spain convinced Henry that his dream was unattainable and in the Summer of 1096 a truce was agreed with Henry also promising to keep his armies on the field and send them to the war effort in Spain. This particular condition lasted only a few months with the Burgundian troops withdrawing after briefly being involved in the siege of Barcelona (lost to the Muslims barely 3 years before).

    The final noteworthy act of the now world weary Duke was a brief war with the now truncated Duchy of Champagne (backed by Berry-Anjou but none of the previous coalition) which was swiftly won resulting in the Prince-Bishopric of Rheims becoming a Burgundian vassal with a new Bishop (Henry's largely ignored and incompetent middle son Robert) on the ecclesiastical throne.

    The remaining years of the Duke's life were spent locked up in his court of Dijon, cajoling the electors of Burgundy to support Eudes rather than Renaud. By his death Henry had suceeded emphatically with Eudes being unanimously elected ahead of his brother on the understanding that Renaud would be his chosen successor.

    Henry had significantly expanded the power and influence of the Duchy. Now able to rank amongst the most powerful landholders of France the House of Burgundy's rightful claimants to the French throne could be taken more seriously especially with the Capet's insistence on continuing its endless wars in Spain and against the English at the expense their vassals alienating many of the most powerful lords.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince of Savoy View Post
    Very good introduction. I like the fact that you didn't introduce your ruler as this benevolent, good guy of a ruler, but rather in a way that is honest, if nor a bit brutal towards him.
    Thanks, but Robert the Old really was that much of a bastard in RL. :P Hope you continue to enjoy this!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tapscott View Post
    Good introduction. Your writing style is amazing, so expect me to be following!
    Thanks! Its been a while since I last wrote an AAR so its nice to hear people can still enjoy my writing.

    Comment!

  7. #7
    Field Marshal Tapscott's Avatar
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    Good update. I reckon that switching backing to gavelkind is going to be safer than elective, that is if you are going to be expasionist.
    Voltaire - "I would rather be ruled by one lion than by one hundred rats."

    My Inkwell

  8. #8
    This is excellent stuff, and a model for what I will do with my first AAR. Your storytelling alone would have been enough to keep me coming back for more, but the use of real life historical illustrations brings to mind watching the History Channel. It also makes me want to start a new game in Burgundy.

  9. #9
    President Pro Tempore Jape's Avatar
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    This is very nice, Robert the Old did seem like quite the bastard, which naturally makes for a fine read.

    Will be following.

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    The 45 Tommy4ever's Avatar
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    Eudes I
    Lived: 1060-1106
    Head of House of Burgundy: 1102-1106
    Duke of Burgundy: 1102-1106



    Eudes might have been a great figure in French national and Burgundian familiar history. He came within an inch of the French throne before his life was cut short by the hand of the Duke of Flanders. As such he is an often forgotten character, remembered only for his part in the long struggle between the Capet and Burgundian dynasties over the crown of France.

    Having secured the Duchy ahead of his more peaceable and diplomatic brother Renaud, Eudes quickly set out to build a war chest determined to expand the power of Burgundy by any means necessary. Under Eudes the Duke was more powerful than he had ever been before with 5 of the 8 Counties of Burgundy under direct Ducal authority the gold flowed freely into Eudes' coffers.



    Eudes' opportunity to seize greatness arrived in early 1105 when King Hugh II of France died whilst on campaign in the Spanish March, his successor for Leonard 'the Gentle' a quiet and kindly figure with an ecclesiastical education who had been thrust into the limelight after his brother's untimely death by drowning in the Seine (he had fallen into the river after a night of drunken revelry) two years before. He was most certainly not the unshakeable warrior-king who could hold the kingdom together and face down the Mohammedan threat France needed and wanted, making him unpopular with wide sections of the French nobility. Eudes smelt blood and before the crown had even been palced on Leonard's head a huge Burgundian army bolstered by thousands of battle hardened mercenaries was marching on Paris.

    The war was initially a great success with Orleans and Forez (a small County directly West of Lyon and South of Burgundy that had recently come under the Royal Demesne following its capture from a rebellious Imperial Count) falling with little effort and Leonard's attempts to bring together troops from the Northern regions of France failing miserably. The nobility seemed quite ambivalent to Leonard's cause with only Gascony openly backing Eudes' claim and Toulouse also going to war but with the purpose of seperating from France meanwhile mighty Aquitaine remained neutral although officially on the side of Leonard. Realising the seriousness of the situation Leonard ordered the temporary withdrawal of the majority of the French forces in Spain in order to face down the usuper at home.



    With the King quivering under siege in Paris and nothing left to defend Northern France the arrival of the army from Spain was the last hope of King Leonard's reign. With an ever so slight numerical advantage the crown army met Eudes at St Aignan, near Orlean, on the 3rd of August 1106. The result of the battle for a crushing defeat of the crown army which was scattered and near enough destroyed the road to the French throne lay wide open for Eudes. However, in the heat of the battle the Duke had come into personal combat with the Duke of Flanders, during this battle Flanders was badly maimed yet Eudes suffered a severe head wound and barely escaped to camp alive thanks to the help of his followers.

    For a little under a month following the victorious battle Eudes lay in a coma in the city of Orlean as all France waited. If he awoke then the crown would be his, if he died then Leonard and the Capet dynasty would survive for another day. Luckily for Leonard and unfortunately for the House of Burgundy, he did not survive passing away in early September. With that Leonard the Gentle's regime was saved as the most threatening of the King's wars was ended Eudes being succeeded by Renaud who favoured reconciliation with the Monarchy and a repositioning of the House of Burgundy from a dynasty obsessed with seizing the throne of France to one more concerned with becoming the power behind it.

  11. #11
    The 45 Tommy4ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tapscott View Post
    Good update. I reckon that switching backing to gavelkind is going to be safer than elective, that is if you are going to be expasionist.
    I've not had this game very long but something I always hated was bloody gavelkind - I like to keep my realm together. This was the first time I'd ever tried elective and was figuring it out as I went along, was pretty fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertoTomba View Post
    This is excellent stuff, and a model for what I will do with my first AAR. Your storytelling alone would have been enough to keep me coming back for more, but the use of real life historical illustrations brings to mind watching the History Channel. It also makes me want to start a new game in Burgundy.
    Thanks! I look forward to seeing that AAR when it comes out, will it be in CKII as well? I always liked clear a structure like this myself in an AAR.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jape View Post
    This is very nice, Robert the Old did seem like quite the bastard, which naturally makes for a fine read.

    Will be following.
    Hope you continue to enjoy it.

  12. #12
    Field Marshal Tapscott's Avatar
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    All the hate to poor gavelkind I just use it to make sure Ive got my dynasty members landed everywhere. Anywho, another good update!
    Voltaire - "I would rather be ruled by one lion than by one hundred rats."

    My Inkwell

  13. #13
    Major Aetherius's Avatar
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    Great ! A new AAR ! And by Tommy4ever !
    Very good, so far
    But you write the english form of the names ... It is a choice ?
    Also, It's Orleans, Orlean
    Last edited by Aetherius; 23-06-2012 at 20:46.

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    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    Very nice start to this AAR, I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes. I always like a traditional Burgundy AAR. Gavelkind IS a terrible law, though, unless you're a cold-hearted gambler and willing to murder all of your heirs but one.
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  15. #15
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    Renaud I
    Lived: 1065-1127
    Head of the House of Burgundy: 1106-1127
    Duke of Burgundy: 1106-1127
    Duke of Champagne: 1114-1127



    Renaud does not fit the traditional mould of the the early leads of the House of Burgundy. Rather than ambitious, reckless and obsessed with some inherent right to be King, Renaud was a staunch realist and loyalist to his liege Leonard the Gentle throughout his reign. Passed over in the succession following his father's death, Eudes' politics of war against the capital had failed, now Renaud's politics of allegiance were granted their opportunity to prosper.




    After ascending to the Ducal throne Renaud instantly embarked on a flurry of diplomatic activity. Just weeks into his reign his barren and politically irrelevant wife (she was the daughter of very minor nobility) died in very suspicious circumstances and Renaud swiftly moved to take the hand of King Leonard's third sister the buxom Princess Mascarose Capet. This marriage brought Renaud much prestige and political influence as well as a close alliance with the throne shortly later he was appointed the Chancellor of France. In 1107 the English, sensing weakness in war weary France, launched a huge invasion of the French Kingdom. After just a year of military defeats Renaud successfully negotiated a very light surrender that merely saw the County of Anjou pass into English hands a small price to pay. Leonard and Renaud had agreed that the only way to restore France's position was to give her time to recover from the endless warfare she had been afflicted by the last great vacuum of men an resources to be obliterated was therefore clearly the war in the Spanish Marches. Travelling as far as Cordoba to meet with the Taifa Princes Renaud eventually secured a peace treaty in Spain in 1111. The Taifa agreed to respect the territorial integrity of the remaining Christian Lords in Spain (the Kingdom of Navarre, a tiny and truncated Kingdom of Aragon and a Duchy of Barcelona consisting of just a few impoverished Counties around the French border) in exchange was recognition of their conquests over the past decades. France was finally at peace and Renaud's stock at court had never been higher.


    Burgundy Duchy of Burgundy
    Red Annexed 1114
    Orange Annexed 1117


    With a watertight relationship with the royal family and an absense of immediate threats to from the kingdom abroad, Renaud decided to take the opportunity of the decade of peace he had won for France by expanding his own holdings. In 1114 his forces fought a brief war with the sad remains of the Duchy of Champagne capturing its last holdings. Within a month of the annexation of Troyes Leonard agreed to anoint Renaud Duke of Champagne thus legitimising his grip on the entire Duchy. Two years later Burgundy was at war again this time with the Dukes of Berry and Orleans over the County of Bourges that stretched Westward from Burgundy's border. This war lasted a little over a year but ended with predictable results as the County was annexed.



    This proved to be the high watermark for Renaud as his past sins began to catch up with him. The closeness of Renaud to the King made him an extremely difficult opponent for his enemies to oppose through traditional means. Yet the Duke of Orleans, desperate to halt Burgundian expansion, discovered a truly potent weapon the family of Renaud's deceased first wife. Granting funds and influence to their cause this minor family was able to petition the Pope for justice in what they deemed was the murder of one of their own. With a strong body of evidence and an even stronger degree of political pressure coming from Orleans and a coalition of other French nobles the Pope agreed to excommunicate Renaud. The results of the Papacy's judgement were disastrous for the Burgundian Duke. Not wanting to be associated with the now muddied name of Renaud of Burgundy, King Leonard exiled the Duke from Paris and removed him from the Chancellorship sending him back to Dijon in shame. Once back in Burgundy Renaud again found himself in a weak position having spent virtually no time in Dijon during his reign (either being at court in Paris or abroad) Renaud's connections in the Duchy were few and his allies few on the ground. He was barely able to maintain his own rule and found it impossible to influence the electors into supporting one of his two sons as the chosen successor instead Sybille, the only child his brother Eudes, remained the primary candidate.



    In 1122 war broke out again in the Spanish March as the Taifa lords renegaded on the treaty of 1111 by invading the surviving Christian Principalities, bringing the swift response of war from the King of France and even the Holy Roman Emperor. Renaud saw this as a golden chance to restore his position in the Church and in the Kingdom enthusiastically leading the armies of Burgundy South towards Spain. For the five years that followed Renaud fought the endless hordes of Andalusia, winning battles, suffering defeats and rapidly ageing under the stress of it all.



    Following a crushing defeat by a Moorish army just North of Zaragoza in the high Summer of 1227 Renaud was separated from his routing men and found himself alone in the foothills of Aragon. Here a band of Muslim raiders discovered him and swiftly slew the old man for his jewels and fine armour thus bringing to an end reign of the fourth Head of the House of Burgundy. After news reached Dijon of the Duke's death Sybille moved swiftly to secure her election becoming the first woman to rule in her own right as Duchess in Burgundy. Amongst the greatest female icons of the the Middle Ages Sybille left an indelible imprint on the House of Burgundy, by the end of her life being known as Sybille, the Great.

  16. #16
    The 45 Tommy4ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tapscott View Post
    All the hate to poor gavelkind I just use it to make sure Ive got my dynasty members landed everywhere. Anywho, another good update!
    Unlike in CKI dynasty members seem to be the worst vassals of all in this game! So I have tended to prefer to give my lands to outside partners, or if available children dynasty members when I do have some to splash around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aetherius View Post
    Great ! A new AAR ! And by Tommy4ever !
    Very good, so far
    But you write the english form of the names ... It is a choice ?
    Also, It's Orleans, Orlean
    Somebody remembered some of my previous stuff?

    I've decided to Anglicise more common names like Hugues to Hugh, Guillaume to William, Henri to Henry etc, but less common ones will remain - for example Eudes isn't changed to Odo. Just a personal choice.

    And I know, keep making that typo everywhere. :/

    Quote Originally Posted by Saithis View Post
    Very nice start to this AAR, I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes. I always like a traditional Burgundy AAR. Gavelkind IS a terrible law, though, unless you're a cold-hearted gambler and willing to murder all of your heirs but one.
    I'd never played as Burgundy in CKI (and I played a huge amount in that game) and was pleasantly suprised by the set up. Never knew they started with a claim on the King of France (due to Robert the Old being second in line for awhile) and the Duchy is pretty wealthy. Also neatly positioned to either remain within France or look to expand into Burgundy. If only it had a coastline it would be a perfect starting realm.

    As I said before - hate Gavelkind.

  17. #17
    Major Berkis's Avatar
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    Well, now I know what a good AAR should be like. A smooth read, good non-game insertions and inventions. Excommunication should have been a pain. Any ideas why did it happen, or just AI played a trick? Renaud's piety after going into war against Taifa and moors increased, didn't it?
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    Try again. Fail again. Fail better.


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  18. #18
    AARficionado & Storyteller Demi Moderator Eber's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIDeus VultEuropa Universalis 3EU3 CompleteDivine Wind
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    Excellent work so far! Though I'm not surprised. I always enjoyed reading your work.
    Current AAR:
    Our Kingdom Stands Alone - How the Magyars Transformed Hungary into an Empire
    Weekly AAR Showcase - 19, September 2010


    WritAAR of the Week - 23, February 2007

    When I speak in this color, I do so as a Demi-Moderator.
    Forum Rules :: AARLand Rules #1 :: AARland Rules #2

  19. #19
    Crazy Cat Person. Meow! Moderator Qorten's Avatar
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    Good to see you back nto AAR-writing and such high quality again! It will be interesting to see how far you can get with the de Bourgogne's.


    When I use this color I am speaking as a Moderator.

  20. #20
    Major Aetherius's Avatar
    A Game of DwarvesCrusader Kings IIDarkest HourDivine WindFor The Glory
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    Maybe this time the communists will not take power

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