The Most Beautiful Accent in the World
A Maltese Culture Spread Hybrid AAR
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).
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.
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.In addition, the converting province must always be cored and be your state religion to convert.
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.
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)Go into your "events" file and read culturespread.txt if you want the full rundown.
-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)
[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).
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!
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.]