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Thread: The Most Beautiful Accent in the World: A Maltese (The Knights) D&T AAR

  1. #1

    The Most Beautiful Accent in the World: A Maltese (The Knights) D&T AAR

    The Most Beautiful Accent in the World
    A Maltese Culture Spread Hybrid AAR


    Introductions

    Hello everyone! I've decided to quit lurking and start my first AAR. This will be a "culture" AAR, meaning my goal is to spread the Maltese culture as far and wide as possible. I've been playing EU3 since In Nomine, and while going from an OPM to an unstoppable juggernaut is fun (and occasionally nerve-wracking) I've done it enough times that it loses a bit of its zest eventually. EU3 is the ultimate sandbox game, though, and like many players I like to create alternate criteria to accomplish, from the seemingly impossible to the unspeakably bizarre. The goal of promoting culture above all else places a set of interesting constraints on gameplay. I hope you stick around to find out!

    Although it will be out of character and contain detailed gameplay descriptions, I have a strong interest in narrative and the dramatic so I may occasionally spice things up with historical speculation, character short stories, random tangents, flash-forwards, and whatever else I come up with to keep myself (and you) interested in writing and reading the damn thing. I plan on writing one medium-length (500ish words? Let's see, shall we?) update per week, and playing for however long it takes me to finish (the full D&T historical time span, 1356-1861, or presumably less if I am crushed beneath the unrelenting heel of the Blobttomans).



    AAR Background
    A quasi-literary diversion, in which I explain a bit about my life and the motivation for this AAR, and which you are welcome to skip if you so desire


    When I was young, I had the great fortune of living in Europe for a few years (in Germany, to be precise), and because of this, gained access to the great wealth of culture and history to be found there. One of the few benefits of living in Europe - apart from decent healthcare, an overall lack of gun violence, and a functioning education system - is the immediate access to cultures dramatically different to one's own. I should say that we were not a particularly wealthy family; we lived in Europe because my father worked for a German company. However, living only a few hundred miles from France or the Czech Republic makes packing up and driving to Prague of no more consequence than a family from Oklahoma taking a trip to Texas (for whatever reason one usually visits Texas; I assume there is one, or there wouldn't be quite so many Texans).

    During this period of my life, then, I had the further opportunity to visit a little-known island vacation spot called Malta. Its obscurity seems to me both inexplicable and an injustice, for the island has an incredible density of rugged landscapes, friendly people, warm oceans, and fascinating history (I say "dense" rather than "vast" because, after all, the island is only 216 sq. miles). But by far the greatest natural wealth of the island is found in its people. Specifically, in their accents. The Maltese language itself is a strange fusion of an incomprehensible, now-extinct Arabic dialect from southern Sicily, Italian vocabulary, some English, and dribs and drabs of every Mediterranean culture for a thousand miles. In addition to Maltese, English is an official language of Malta, and almost all citizens speak it fluently.


    Here lies paradise!


    Normal Maltese English is heavily accented; but oh, what an accent! Lilting and soft, with cadences unknown to the tongues of the rest of the world: it has the sensuousness of Italian, the sophistication of British, and the gentle rise-and-fall of Paradise. Listen to this: That's the Maltese Prime Minister, talking (very dully) about an EU council decision (possibly the dullest organization on the planet), and yet it sounds like gentle summer rain on a thousand-year-old sandstone roof in Florence.

    If EU3 gives me the potential to rewrite history, my path is clear. Petty trifles like "preventing the genocide of the Native Americans" or "stopping the French Revolution" seem drab and lifeless compared to this most noble of goals: ensure that as many people as possible have the chance to speak a language tinged with these dulcet tones!



    The Lay of the In-Game Land
    At the beginning of Death and Taxes, the predicament of the Maltese culture (and hence, the Maltese language) is dire. The number of Maltese culture provinces in the game: zero (no, not even Malta. It's Sicilian. Wha?). The number of Maltese culture governments: precisely one. Apparently the Grandmaster of the Knights Hospitaller is the last Maltese-speaker left in the world! This situation must be rectified vicariously, in the only way I know how: by playing video games really hard.



    On the other hand, the other gameplay elements at the start for The Knights are a tiny bit better than in vanilla Divine Wind: I have an extra province (Smyrna), the Ottomans are a bit more fragmented (although not beset by rampaging Timurids), and larger Christian regional powers (Serbia, Byzies, Bulgaria) have the power to protect me and, later, be viable candidates for an alliance. I start out guaranteed by Venice, and quickly pick up guarantees from other Catholic powers who can give the Ottos a run for their money on land or sea.



    While I am dirt-poor, my slider settings are not so abysmal that I cannot move to free trade over time to give myself the edge against the Mosselman, and I'm -1 centralized to boot.



    And, lucky me, I nabbed the best possible starting mission: to annex the Saruhan tribes, so that they may be brought to Christ, and, eventually, the noble Maltese language.




    Gameplay Mechanics
    The overriding goal of this AAR is to get cultural conversions ("flips") to the Maltese culture, which is in the Iberian group for some reason. Culture flip mechanics in Death and Taxes are basically the same as in vanilla Divine Wind, with the exception that converting Animist or Shamanist provinces does not cause culture flips (which is, granted, a rather large exception). That means no cheese with pagan zealots to convert huge swathes of territory. Fine; it's more fun the hard way!

    Not a lot of people really worry about culture spread; they seem to view it as a kind of extra bonus. I've always liked trying to nab more culture flips, along with other obsessions (like core stripping via Promote Cultural Unity). Getting tolerance from state-culture provinces means a 30% tax increase and -1 revolt risk, no patriot revolters, and (especially when you've taken a unification decision) it adds the "narrative feel" that your people aren't just a cobbled-together group of peasants under the strongest warlord available (you, obviously), but that they're actually forming a strong national identity that will persist into the modern era (which fits well with the character of the Maltese culture tag, since it's such a creole already).

    So, if I can't shamelessly exploit pagans for profit, how can I spread the glorious Maltese accent? Well, there are really only three basic ways: the settlement policy decision (which is really a province-level Mean Time To Happen modifier for the culture spread event), various other ways of encouraging the culture spread event, and colonizing provinces.

    The first and last option are interesting insofar as they are in a strategic tension with each other, since Settlement Policy adds a global modifier that reduces colonist growth by -0.5 per year. In the early game this means very little to me since I have no opportunities for colonization anyway, but later on I will have to make hard choices: do I grab ten or twenty provinces with 1,000 starting population overseas, or Enact Settlement Policy in a province with 50,000 population (and get faster growth once the province flips, and, what's more, possible flips from surrounding provinces)? I'll be doing some math on this once the game actually starts.


    [WARNING: excessively detailed]
    Culture growth can also be promoted by manipulating the MTTH modifiers on the culture spread event. The event itself has three possible circumstances for it to occur:
    1. The province is your capital.
    2. The province is a COT in which you have five placed merchants.
    3. The province is bordered by another province which also possesses your culture and religion.
    In addition, the converting province must always be cored and be your state religion to convert.

    The event has a base MTTH of 3000 months, which means it will happen about once every 250 years. There are a number of modifiers that reduce this base conversion time (here's a good background of MTTH and how these modifiers work - basically <1 means "faster" and >1 means "slower"):
    -Being a part of preset "culture pairs" that convert each other easily, e.g. Turkish and Greek (however, none of these apply to the Iberian category)
    -Being a part of the same culture group (.9 modifier)
    -Having high stability (.81 modifier at +3 stab, 4.00 modifier at -3 stab)
    -Having certain National Ideas (.9 modifier for Divine Supremacy, .8 for Church Attendance Duty, 1.5 for Ecumenism, 2.0 and Humanist Tolerance and Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite).
    -Having certain slider settings (Serfdom/Free Subjects less than -1 is a .9 modifier, above 2 is a 1.1 modifier)
    -Having a high population in the province (1.1 above 10,000 pop, 1.1 above 25,000, 1.5 above 50,000, 2.0 above 100,000 - very large provinces rarely ever flip)
    -The national focus modifier (.5 modifier)

    Go into your "events" file and read culturespread.txt if you want the full rundown.


    [TL;DR] Basically, I want my peasants to be oppressed, pious, happy and sparsely populated, in the classic Russian style (except for the "happy" bit).



    House Rules
    I could promise I won't reload a saved game if I crash and burn so hard that I get annexed; but I'd be lying, because I think I'll have a lot of fun writing this AAR and won't want to quit before game end. However, I promise I won't save/reload to avoid mere setbacks (anything from stab hits to losing a bunch of provinces in a war), and if I do have to reload, I'll tell you about it (to keep me honest).

    No obvious cheese, i.e. releasing cored vassals for reconquest and BB reduction. If there's anything you think is too cheesy, point it out and we'll have a good old back-and-forth about it.

    No messing with save files, except to correct bugs (nations without kings, cultures, or religions; basic game mechanics not working properly, that kind of thing). If this happens, I'll explicitly tell you so.

    And, obviously: No national culture changes. Maltese must reign supreme!



    Goals
    From (in my estimation) the most attainable to most difficult:
    -Malta is cored and Maltese-culture (however, the Knights are a wandering order, so my capital may not be here!)
    -At least one Maltese Pacific, Caribbean, and Indian Ocean island! The Maltese need to find other island homes that are just as balmy as the real Malta.
    -Maltese is the largest single culture, with a nation of at least 30 provinces.
    -Form Spain or Iberia with Maltese culture (haven't decided yet)
    -At least 30 non-colony provinces with Maltese culture (the minimum size to form an empire).
    -Have at least one Maltese province at the population cap (999999)
    -The major holy sites (Rome, Jerusalem, Mecca, Medina) are all cored, Christian, and Maltese.
    -I own the entire Mediterranean coast; more than half the provinces are Maltese.
    -Maltese is the majority culture (>50%), with a nation of at least 30 provinces.
    -At least 50 non-colony provinces with Maltese culture.
    -There are more Maltese than Chinese people. I will count by hand if necessary.

    If you have an suggestions for cool, funny, silly, interesting, or challenging goals, add them in comments!




    Will the Maltese conquest of Saruhan go off, or will they be immediately crushed by a nascent Ottoblob? Will Grandmaster Roger II DesPins be the last Maltese-speaker ever to grace the face of EU3? Will anyone even read this AAR!? The answer to all of these questions is: WHO KNOWS!

    [Gameplay update on its way for tomorrow night. This took me a stupidly long time to write, get a handle on the formatting I liked, upload pictures, etc. In the future, I should get faster; if anyone has any tips, comments, criticisms, etc, please go for it.]
    Last edited by Displacement; 08-08-2012 at 10:31. Reason: Finished a sentence >_>

  2. #2
    I will definitely be following this. I like playing with cultural spread but I am not very good at it, so hoping to pick up some nice pointers!
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  3. #3
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    Subscribed. Spreading Greek culture is something I always do in Byzantium/Rome games.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Displacement View Post
    Not a lot of people really worry about culture spread; they seem to view it as a kind of extra bonus. I've always liked trying to nab more culture flips, along with other obsessions (like core stripping via Promote Cultural Unity).
    You are not the only one trying to get rid of all those foreign cores


    The first and last option are interesting insofar as they are in a strategic tension with each other, since Settlement Policy adds a global modifier that reduces colonist growth by -0.5 per year.
    0.05 actually or as much as one CoT gives you. Anyway, good luck.

  5. #5
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    This looks a lot of fun! Good luck!
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  6. #6
    And so it begins... (Update The First)


    Jan 1. 1356 As the game opens, The Knights are in some dire straits: two poor, wrong-culture, wrong religion provinces right next to the Ottomans. Immediate territory and treasury expansion are necessary if I'm going to survive more than five minutes. While they're not the most desirable allies in the world, Cyprus and Armenia accept my alliance requests; perhaps they'll serve as a useful distraction if a big fish comes after me. I make an initial slider move towards free trade and hire a mercenary cavalry and infantry regiment to help me conquer Saruhan. I can't afford to wait around while my manpower pool increases (I started at 905 and only gain 180 per month) and see whether Saruhan picks up any guarantees (from Ottomans, Mamluks, or anyone else I can't fight off - which, right now, is pretty much anyone who's not an OPM).

    One of the crappy things about starting off as The Knights is that I'm a Theocracy, which doesn't get either the legitimacy bonus from having a king or the tolerance bonus from being a republic. The upshot of this is that I have an abysmal -5.1 tolerance for heathen and heretic faiths; my capital is even at risk of religious and nationalist revolters at the beginning of the game. Also, my provinces' tax takes are reduced by a shocking 50 percent due to intolerance, leaving me with a land forcelimit of TWO. Conversions will be an immediate priority: first in the capital, so that I can start waiting for Culture Spread to fire, and then in the rest of my provinces, so I can start using Settlement Policy.

    After my regiments build, I shuttle them to shore, and DOW Saruhan in late February. Immediately after I do so, Ottomans DOW me, and I nearly have a heart attack. I march on Manisa, crushing Saruhan's single regiment, while Ottos dispatch three regiments to besiege Smyrna. Luckily, their DOW dragged in powerful friends: Venice, England as DOTF, and Armenia and Cyprus. I think the AI was unprepared for this war; they seem really laissez-faire about the whole deal. Come on, guys; at least put your best effort into it!


    A siege race is the most boring kind of race, especially since nobody goes anywhere.


    Ottos offer a white peace only a few months later, in May, before they've even completed sieging Smyrna, and Saruhan is annexed only a few days later. Now I have THREE wrong-culture, wrong-religion provinces! Woo.



    Those mercs really ate away at my treasury; I was going full mint for a year. I disband both of them and start saving money for regiments of my own. By 1358, I have several merchants working in different COTs bringing in a bit of coin (Alexandria, Kouban, and Constantinople are fairly wealthy, and not as rough as European COTs). I can afford a missionary in Rhodes, and, joy of joys, they convert only four months later. Now I can actually get a culture flip there, and I enact settlement policy for good measure (it's not like I was using those colonists for anything).



    In 1358, I pick up guarantees from Castille and Portugal, which makes me feel a hell of a lot safer. I also get a "Clergy Condemns Philosopher" event, and pick the Philosopher since more Innovative will help my tolerance of heathens/heretics a bit until I can convert them.

    By this time (1360), Byzies have annexed several central Turkish provinces, from Candar, Eretnids, and Karaman, while Armenia snagged Dulkadir. For a moment, it looks like Christians may inherit Anatolia (which would make my situation dramatically less precarious) but alas, it's not to be. Mamluks DOW Armenia and quickly crush them (I'm in the war, but inaccessible to their huge stacks because the Byzies have naval superiority) and both Mamluks and Chobanids DOW Byzies. and begin the process of stealing their Turkish provinces; the Byzantine AI doesn't stand a chance. I guaranteed Byzies in an attempt to curry favor with them, which is now backfiring massively. I opt in to the Mamluks war, since they haven't been able to get close to me yet, but Chobanids are allied with Hafsids, who I'm worried will overwhelm Byzantine naval superiority and land troops on Rhodes, so I duck out of that war.

    In December 1362 Ottomans DOW Byzantium.



    This one's a real gut check for me; while preventing Ottos from growing is in my direct strategic best interest, I'm pretty positive I won't be decisive in this war. Byzies are going to lose it no matter what I do. Their only stack (~20 regiments) was trapped in central Anatolia and destroyed by the Mamluks. And, having picked up those guarantees means I'm in a (somewhat) safe position if they collapse. Plus, if the Byzies were to win, well, they still have cores on all my provinces, so they could try to conquer me just as easily. I decide to take the prestige hit and duck out of the war.

    In January 1363 I get a Gift to the State! Time to buy a carrack; while getting one now won't help much, if I can get naval superiority I can keep Rhodes safe no matter how helplessly outclassed I am on land. This brings my navy to one carrack, two galleys and a cog - the nascent core of the great Maltese Main Battle Fleet! The rest I spend on missionaries for Smyrna and Manisa.

    January 1364: from a high of 10, I now have three placed merchants; I later stabilize around six. Until I get a few more slider moves in free trade, and Shrewd Commerce Practice, I'm basically just dumping money into merchants.



    October 1364 and I get a free slider move into Free Subjects. Although keeping below +2 will help with slightly faster culture flips, I'm going to need at least a little more tech-friendly sliders and I'll take any free slider moves I can get right now.


    To my surprise, Byzantium seems to have pulled off a white peace with Ottos and Chobanids; three of their provinces are still occupied by Mamluks, but they don't seem to be folding like a soggy paper towel.

    January 1366 brings another slider move towards free trade. A decade after game start, The Knights are (reasonably) safe, stable, prosperous (note: not actually prosperous) and one province larger! Who knows what the future will bring? Tune in next time to see the progress of...

    The Most Beautiful Accent In the World!


  7. #7
    Comments and Questions


    quicksabre, adam_grif - Thanks! I'll try to keep things interesting. Any comments, requests, tips, etc are much appreciated; even just little stylistic things. I want this to be as readable and fun as possible.

    nim2 - I wish it were only .05 a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by event_modifiers.txt
    settlement_policy = {
    colonists = -0.5
    officials = -0.1
    local_revolt_risk = 8
    badboy = 0.1
    population_growth = 0.1
    icon = 8
    }
    Ashantai - Oh, it will be.
    It will be.

  8. #8
    Commissar BootOnFace's Avatar
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    This is fun, it reminds me of my Mughals game in HTTT where I spread Uzbek culture throughout northern India and in Anatolia.
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  9. #9
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    I cannot express how awesome this is going to be with words.
    AARs:

    -A More Imperfect Union [COMPLETE]: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...1#post16196641

    -Down South in Dixie [IN PROGRESS] : http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...3#post16954663

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Displacement View Post
    nim2 - I wish it were only .05 a year.
    Wait, how old is your version of D&T ? Don't tell me you're still on some I think 5.x version where that was the case ?

    Edit: Well, at least you survived And you won't ally armenia again I think
    Last edited by Nim2; 09-08-2012 at 06:02.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Displacement View Post

    nim2 - I wish it were only .05 a year.

    In the latest release of D&T, it is a 0.05 per year penalty. Missionaries are very hard to come by, however.

  12. #12
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Nice start! Here's to Maltese!
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  13. #13
    A brief literary interlude...


    And now we turn to one of the strangest cases on offer, the so-called "Mirror Document." Found along a beach near Izmir, Turkey in 2004, stored in a water-tight silver canister, the document has been subject to extensive speculation on the Internet and in some more conspiracy-minded circles concerning its origin, purpose, and message. Given the obvious ahistoricality of the events referred to, the contents of the document themselves are less important to the conspiracy theorist than the structure and formatting of the document. The most common theory concerning its origins is that the document is an encoded message between spies; theories about as to how to decode and interpret this message abound, which is part of what has given rise to its persistent popularity. Since it is held to document anything from a secret Turkish nuclear program, an alien invasion/crash/government take-over, a scandal of varying nature concerning prominent politicians in many nations around the world, etc., it is often used as "evidence" for conspiracists' pet theories. In this way its popularity has remained despite its rather mundane contents. Historians in the areas of state espionage have, for the most part, long-since disavowed the document as a simple hoax.

    [...]

    Nevertheless, a few troubling incongruities remain. First, the document is formatted in a style typical of European literary journals of the late 20th century, to the point where it is indistinguishable (other than, of course, the fact that it refers to the "Annals" of a Society that does not exist). This is taken by conspiracists as evidence that the document is a form of secret communications, because of the extraordinary care put into disguising its true nature. Second, the document is an almost word-for-word copy of a speech recorded in "The Annals of the Kurdish Preservation Society," with only the greeting and a few names and figures replaced. This discovery lends some credence the theory that some kind of cipher is at work involving the replaced words; however, no attempt to decode the substitutions has produced...





    From the Annals of the Turkish Preservation Society (Feb. 1996 edition)

    Merhba, colleagues.

    Today I would like to give a brief talk about some of the more insidious arguments I have heard against our work, and effective ways of countering them. I know it is difficult to make a fuss rather than leave people secure in their smug misperceptions, but we are fighting a cultural as well as a linguistic battle. Unless we stand up and make a racket whenever possible, our voices will not be heard, and Turkish will never again grace the marketplaces and halls of power of Greater Anatolia.

    The most common is that Turkish is a dead language, and that attempts to revive it are sheer extravagance. Not so, I say! You have all seen my work; the best estimates indicate that as many as one hundred thousand Turkish speakers remain, mostly in inland rural and isolated coastal communities. It is true that as these communities develop and are better-connected with the rest of Malta, parents tend to stop transmitting the language to their children, but this is a sign of a language in crisis, not a dead one. As for the second charge: fearing the loss of cultural diversity is no idle pursuit. With the death of a language comes the loss of the heritage and way of life of its speakers, as well as a wealth of anthropological knowledge. How can we claim to be a modern Republic if we allow - or even demand, as we did in the bad old days - the death of a part of our heritage?

    Another species of critic insists that linguistic preservation is nothing but a front for Turkish nationalism. To this overly patriotic person, I say: I do not fight for lost causes. Thinking that a nation should cherish all parts of its heritage is a very long ways away from separatism. Can we not appreciate the poetry and literature of Turkish without showing disloyalty? Does thinking that Brunelleschi was a great artist mean we must also hate Teleki? No; this is the most small-minded argument, from the person who is incapable of holding more than one thought in their head at once.

    The last, and to my mind most dangerous, objection is that Turkish deserves to become extinct, because Turkish culture was decadent and weak, or else it would not have disappeared the way it did. This is the worst form of Social Spencerism, and it misunderstands the nature of history. History is not written in stone; there are no "iron laws" of historical development. So much comes down to the inexplicable, to luck, that things could very well have worked out another way. Turkish culture did not fall because it was weak, but because it was unlucky. If things had turned out differently, we might very well be speaking Turkish right now, having the same discussion from the other direction, and I would still argue that Maltese was worth preserving for its own sake. If we take the view that things are the way they are because they must be this way, and because we are just and good and powerful, we might as well say that we should never try to change the present for the better. Do your best to make this person look ridiculous, because their view is the most destructive and self-absorbed of them all.

    And with that, it seems I am out of time. Il-leyl it-tayyeb, my friends, and good luck to you all.


  14. #14
    I, for one, am disproportionately excited about this AAR. Glory to Malta!

    Also a note, if you start the game in vanilla sometime in the 1500s, the Knights are indeed located on the illustrious island of Malta and the province is already the correct, glorious culture.

  15. #15
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    A very interesting and very impressive little interlude there. I love it when people take the time to do things like this! Nice work!
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    The Eternal Exile: Nation Hopping AAR with a mix of narrative and game-play. On Hold. | WINNER EU - Narrative for AARland Choice AwAARds 2011 Q1!

    Winner: AAR Showcase 29/11/2011 | Winner: Character Writer of the Week 19/1/2012 | Winner: Fan of the Week 20/9/2010 and 20/8/2012 | I was Character Writer of the Week 13/12/2010

  16. #16
    American Tyrant Beamed's Avatar
    200k clubCrusader Kings IIDarkest HourDeus VultEuropa Universalis 3
    Divine WindFor the MotherlandHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In Nomine
    LegioMagickaMarch of the EaglesSemper FiVictoria 2
    Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of DarknessMount & Blade: WarbandPride of NationsCK2: Holy Knight
    500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Call to arms event

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
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    2,415
    This AAR is wonderful
    "We give the facts. You can't say that we have a slant because of it. I hear that the jury's in on evolution."

    "When you divide a country into two sides, one of which cheers the idea of murder and hate, you don't have much choice in which side you're on."

  17. #17
    Second Lieutenant Rauchen's Avatar
    Europa Universalis: Chronicles

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    142
    Intriguing. Weird how D&T has Malta as Sicilian culture while vanilla has it as Maltese. I'll keep an eye on this.
    Read A New Era for an Old Town: An Oldenburg DW 5.1 Narrative AAR
    Character Writer of the Week 7/15/12
    Winner of the Weekly AAR Showcase, 8/5/12

  18. #18
    This is looking absolutely brilliant.

    Great work so far.

  19. #19

    Comments and Questions


    BootOnFace - Well, if Alexander can spread Hellenic culture over half the world... Certainly weirder things have happened. Culture, like history, is to some extent created by the victors.

    trekfan - I think you just did. Thanks!

    Nim2, adam_grif - Oh snap! I'm still using 5.12. This game would be a heck of a lot easier with those rules.

    Ashantai - That means a lot, coming from you! The Eternal Exile is great fun.

    Beamed - Thanks! Stay tuned.

    Rauchen - Not for long...

    Glinn McGraw - Thank you. I'll try to keep up the good work.


  20. #20

    Muddling Through (Update The Second)


    This was an intensely difficult update to write; I had to save and reload several times in the late 1360s to deal with a Mamluk DOW that kept ending up with me annexed, and absolutely made me want to rage quit. Eventually I figured out a strategy that worked and managed to wangle a white peace. What can I say, I'm no PrawnStar.

    In January 1367, a new Grandmaster takes the throne. Desiderius I remains the last Maltese speaker, having learned the language from the previous Grandmaster Robert DesPins (a bit like the Jedi, I suppose, in that there can only be one student and one teacher, in an unbroken chain stretching back to... whenever there were actual Maltese people around).



    Seeing the Knights' precarious situation, Desiderius immediately decides on a more bellicose foreign policy. Since the Byzantines are getting double teamed by the Ottos and the Mamluks, this seems like an optimal time to intervene. In June, I DOW Byzantines (without a casus belli) hoping to pick up one or both of their Anatolian coastal provinces, Mugla and Antalya.



    March 1368: Gov't 6 brings my first NI slot. I'd like to take Shrewd Commerce Practice, but D&T imposes additional restrictions on it: you have to have either a certain number of moves into Plutocracy (which I don't have) or at least 20 placed merchants. Since right now I can barely keep four in COTs, I'll have to get to that later when I'm more competitive. I'm worried enough about my survival that I take Military Drill instead; when I feel more secure later, I'll swap it for something else. Of course, +1 morale doesn't do a huge amount of good when Mamluks have 60+ regiments.

    May 1369: Armenian Call to Arms against Mamluks



    Sorry, bro, but that's not happening. I've got enough problems with this war against the Byzantines and a bizarrely long-lasting siege in Mugla, and Mamluks could walk right over your territory and into my sieges. I take the prestige hit instead.


    That's a level 1 fort...


    June 1371: Mugla finally surrenders. I may have to write an epic poem saluting the valor of the Greek defenders.

    What follows is... exceedingly strange. I've occupied Mugla and Antalya, but Byzantines have clear naval superiority and thrash my couple of carracks quite soundly, putting me solidly in the negative on war score. Despite this, they agree to a peace deal giving me both provinces I want. Maybe they figure they're going to lose them to either me or Mamluks, so it might as well be somebody Christian?



    What I actually think happened is that this is one of the weird consequences of bankruptcy, likely induced by passing Liberum Veto without the resources to sustain it. But then, I don't understand the mechanics of bankruptcy that well; perhaps one of you can enlighten me. All I know is that under normal circumstances I've never gotten more than +10% more value on a peace deal than I have war score. In any case, this puts most of the southern Anatolian coast under my control, and I'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. A gift to the state I got during the war is immediately put to use with missionaries in both provinces.



    March 1372: Rhodes converts to the glorious, correct Maltese culture. Plans for an Interlude are in the works.



    October 1373 brings a Mamluk DOW against me, dragging in (significantly) Castille, Aragon and Portugal. This is the point where the game turns to bullshit; after getting my main stack wiped a few times (admittedly only 5k) and Rhodes under siege by Mamluks, I decide instead to play extremely conservatively and focus on preventing crossings to Rhodes. What I didn't realize at first (duhhhh) was that because I'm a human I'm automatically left as war leader despite my small size, meaning that as long as I can avoid having all my provinces occupied, I can add most of Iberia onto my effective "territory size." Although Mamluks have a far stronger navy than I do at this point, I lie in wait until one of the Iberian powers engages and then bring out my five carracks to add to the fray. A few decisive naval defeats seems to take most of the fight out of them and they offer a White Peace by the next October.

    Once I figure out how to use my guarantees to keep me safe, this part of the game becomes much less terrible. I still have a serious problem insofar as I can't conduct any aggressive wars against my main threats, Ottos and Mamluks. I'll have to wait for a target of opportunity in the form of a bogged down Ottos, or a Greek or Mediterranean statelet incapable of defending itself, without all those pesky guarantees from bigger powers. Give me ten thousand Maltese soldiers, and I will conquer the world.

    May 1374: Desiderius kicks the bucket, succeeded by Hadrianus I (3/4/6). A period of approximately 30 years during which The Knights get only rubbish leaders follows. Bleh, I hate theocracies. They are truly the worst form of government in the game. Even disregarding your awful bonuses and lack of any tolerance or legitimacy benefits, you can't even switch government type for at least 200 years.

    In the downtime between wars I try to up my diplomatic standing in the region, spending many precious ducats on gifts to the Venetians. By the time Ottos DOW me in July 1376, I have yet another Medi naval power on my side, and my "hide on Rhodes until they give up" strategy is just as effective as last time. Ottos make peace in July 1378, having lost half their fleet to patrolling Castilian/Venetian/Portuguese main battle fleets.



    This inaugurates a peaceful 15-year stretch for the Knights, during which (most significantly) the Ottoman-Mamluk alliance falls apart over a Jalayrid DOW on Mamluks. Happy days! Now I'll just get thrashed by ONE power much larger than me, rather than two.

    January 1380: His gout aggravated by the cold winter weather, and also poison, Hadrianus ascends to the Celestial Beer and Stripper Factory that I can only assume Heaven must be. He is replaced by the infinitesimally less incompetent (but far longer-lived) Nicholas II.


    This is what you get for electing your leaders based on piety rather than, you know, competence.


    In March 1381 I enact Settlement Policy on Mugla and Manisa. By 1385, both have converted to Catholic, and I have five correct-religion provinces (woohoo!). Now to get more cultural conversions...




    What's that!?


    Okay, so it's almost a decade later, but hey, I'll take what I can get. I also get additional slider moves in the meantime, which I use to go towards free trade; by the start of the 15th century I'm at +4.


    Jan 1399: When Mamluks Attack!



    Actually, this is a classic case of premature attackulation. They seem easily startled by the massive naval superiority my guarantees, and staunch ally Venice, can muster. There are some advantages to being a diaspora nation; all the Iberian powers keep reupping their guarantees every couple decades. It's quite nice. Mamluks sign a white peace only six months later.



    October 1403: Nicholas II finally dies, to be replaced by Johannes Paulus (6/8/6). The priest-warrior aristocracy of The Knights seems to have hit upon the novel notion that electing COMPETENT leaders, rather than awarding the position to the winner of their traditional "month-long pray-a-thons," might lead to good governance.


    When Mamluks Attack Part II: Electric Boogaloo


    And this time, they're playing for keeps.





    Will the Maltese survive their war with the nefarious Mamluks? Will the glorious Maltese language come to dominate Anatolia, or be relegated to a mere historical footnote? And will the Order ever make any damn money? Find out next time, on The Most Beautiful Accent in the World!


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