• Crusader Kings II Expansion Subscription

    Subscribe to the CK II Expansion and enjoy unlimited access to 13 major expansions and more!


  • Paradox Midsummer Sale has arrived! Up to 75% off!

    Enjoy some sun and song this Midsummer, but when the sun goes down, the fun doesn't have to stop! Paradox has a festive sale on plenty of games to keep your summer nights going!


    June 18th - June 30th
  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
The more information that you have, the better the chance of success for your decisions, but do not collect to the point of inaction. Please be safe, my General.
Albinus is just being careful. Probably too careful, but he does have time... for a bit, at least

Guiness Book of World Records next? :D

No comment. It will probably be a while before this "arc" finishes.
 
  • 1
Reactions:
Part 1: The War In The Shadows, Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, Albinus Gets a Second Opinion, Part 4

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
“...it’s not the end of the world,” Marcellus snapped heatedly. “The empire is eternal. It cannot be destroyed, especially not by the Persians. The Persians are weak! Their destiny is to perish!”

Albinus blinked. This was clearly a bad time to resume listening to the debate. Still, he was surprised by the vehemence of Marcellus’s words. It seemed as if he hated the Persians. Idly, he wondered why that could be the case, but he quickly dismissed that thought. It wasn’t important.

“And if they aren’t?” Julius asked. “How are you certain that the Sassanids are as weak as you claim? Even if they will perish eventually, that doesn’t mean that they’ll perish in this war. It would arguably be bad if they perished in this war, but that’s irrelevant to the topic at hand. What if we do lose this war, and it’s because we didn’t check Hasakah now? How utterly humiliating would that be?”

To Albinus’s surprise, those words seemed to shock Marcellus into silence. He agreed with Julius, but he had learned a bit more about Marcellus’s character from that exchange.

Marcellus hated the Persians, but he also seemed to regard them as a lesser race. Albinus was… uncomfortable with any worldview that proclaimed that some people were better than others. He was especially uncomfortable with philosophies that proclaimed that some cultures were inherently superior to other cultures.
This view had nothing to do with morality. He just believed that believing in your own superiority to anyone else, regardless of who they were, was going to cause you to underestimate them.

Finally, it seemed as if Marcellus had come up with a response to Julius’s declaration. “They won’t,” he began. “But, if they somehow did, then the glorious Roman Empire would rise up and get revenge for the humiliation - tenfold. If the Persians somehow win this war, our reaction will make them wish that they had lost. One way or another, they will perish!”

That was an interesting view. Objectively, it was even a correct view - very few people in the Eastern Roman Empire would be happy with a Sassanid victory. Many factions that were normally at odds with each other would likely ally due to the Sassanid Empire being a threatening enemy once more. Nothing unites like a common enemy. Still, as far as Albinus was aware, Marcellus wasn’t aware of the various factions that dominated Eastern Roman politics. Either Marcellus knew more than he was letting on, or he was fanatical in his belief in the superiority of Romans to Persians. Neither of those ideas was comforting to Albinus.

“Why would certain people care at all?” Julius retorted. “Just because the Sassanids could win one war doesn’t mean that they can seize control of the entire Eastern Roman Empire. We have defeated them before, and many people will just assume that this war was an outlier - on both sides. We might lose control of some of Mesopotamia, but that won’t matter to the vast majority of governors and important figures in the Empire.”

That was also a good point. Dammit. This debate was just making his already existing indecision worse. Now, he was going to have to continue listening just to come to a decision about whether or not even sending troops to Hasakah would be a strategically good move.

“Losing a war lowers our position amongst other nations,” Marcellus pointed out. “Many will assume that we will be an easy target - we would have just lost a war and a legion. A loss to the Sassanids will ensure that His Imperial Majesty will be forced to prove that he isn’t weak. He will need to prove that he will remain a good leader who can protect the people. If he can’t, then he will be overthrown. If he’s overthrown, then whoever the new emperor is will have to prove that he is a good leader who can protect his subjects. If he can’t, then he will be overthrown. Eventually, there will be a leader who is willing and able to get revenge on the Sassanids. When that day comes, the Persians will fall.”

And that was another good point. It seemed as if this issue was far more complicated than Albinus had assumed. Great. Another reason to question his decision. Albinus was so consumed by this line of thought that he almost missed what Marcellus said after.

“Also, why did you emphasize Eastern when referring to the glorious empire in which we serve?” Marcellus asked. Albinus figured that he meant that as an afterthought. “The Roman Empire has always been one state. It has occasionally had multiple leaders, but that doesn’t mean that it was multiple separate empires. With nobody ruling over the West, Emperor Justinian is the rightful ruler of the entirety of the Roman Empire. He is the only ruler of Roman territory.”

From a legal standpoint, that was correct. Albinus didn’t take Marcellus as someone to stand on technicalities, though, which meant that that speech was intended as a declaration of something. The problem was that Albinus had no idea what Marcellus was trying to declare.

“I suppose that you’re right in regards to the Roman Empire’s unity,” Julius said unconvincingly. “My apologies. I’m used to the time when there was still a western emperor. Anyway, why do you believe that the empire could survive a military coup? For that matter, why do you believe a military coup will succeed or even happen at all? Yes, a loss in war might lead to a loss of status, but most nations aren’t vultures…”

Around half the room looked directly at Julius incredulously. Albinus imagined that they saw Julius as hopelessly naive for that statement. After all, barbarian tribes had descended like vultures upon the Western Roman Empire very recently.

It seemed as if Julius noticed the looks, though. “Let me finish,” he said, sounding somewhat annoyed. “Most states aren’t vultures, and the barbarian tribes are probably too busy worrying about keeping their subjects under control or ensuring that their land remains unconquered by other tribes to pose much of a threat. The Emperor will seem weak to his subjects and his court, though, and the resulting chaos will come from people wishing to take advantage of that.”

“I don’t believe you with regards to your emphasis on the word Eastern, but I’ll let it slide for now,” Marcellus said. “Also, even if there is a civil war, that war must eventually have a victor. The winner of the civil war will need a way to keep popular support, and what better way is there to do that than to attack the most resilient of enemies to the Roman Empire? If His Imperial Majesty wins, then he will want to redeem this defeat against the Sassanids with a victory. If anybody else wins, then they will want to prove themselves better than Emperor Justinian by doing what he failed to do.”

“And what’s the harm in sending people to check for the Legio I Armeniaca in Hasakah?” Julius asked.

To Albinus’s utter shock, this was enough to shut Marcellus up. All of that debate… and it gets stopped by one question? Seriously?

“I suppose that there isn’t any harm in sending a mission to Hasakah,” Marcellus conceded. “Consider this, though: what do you do if whoever is sent to Hasakah returns empty-handed? What do we do if the commander of the Legio I Armeniaca was actually stupid enough to get the majority of a legion destroyed? It won’t be the end of the world, of course, but we need to have a plan on how to bounce back… or a plan on what to do in the event that the war is lost.”

Albinus mused over these words. Marcellus did have a point - a backup plan was required, as well as, preferably, a backup plan to the backup plan. One could never be too prepared.

“Very well, then,” Albinus said. “Is everyone in agreement that we should send a small force - from this legion - to Hasakah itself? To check for any signs of the Legio I Armeniaca?”

He expected agreement, but, then, Julius brought up yet another good point.

“Why should we only send men from this legion?” he asked. “There are men from three legions present in this camp. Why should we not send men from the portions of the Legio I Armeniaca that aren’t missing in action with troops from our legion to Hasakah? They could identify potential spies and make our dialogue with any potential members of the Armeniaca easier.”

This statement received many agreements. Unfortunately, it also left Albinus in an… unenviable position.
 
Last edited:
  • 1Love
Reactions:
Part 1: The War In The Shadows, Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, Albinus Gets a Second Opinion, Part 5

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
The point of this mission was to recover as much of the Armeniaca as possible - this suggestion didn’t threaten that. Unfortunately, Albinus was a naturally distrusting person. He didn’t trust those that he didn’t know.

The problem with Julius’s suggestion was that it required him to trust people that he had never even talked to. They could be working for anybody. The fact that these men were likely new to the legion and untrained in the art of war just added to Albinus’s paranoia. How many had been put there by those with a hidden agenda?

After a bit of thinking, Albinus came up with a solution. Soon enough, if the mission succeeded, the fact that the Legio I Armeniaca would become known across the three legions - and perhaps even beyond - anyway. Making the information known to everyone would mostly make potential spies useless - they wouldn’t be able to share any new information.

However, there was still the threat that they could sabotage the mission if they were allowed any control over it. That wouldn’t be good, but it was also easily avoidable. Yes, he could present this as a compromise…

“Very well,” Albinus said. “We shall send a few members of the Legio I Armeniaca that remain at this camp on the mission. They shall help identify the members of their legion, and they will be allowed to serve a mouthpiece.” In all honesty, even that was a risky move, but the potential benefits there outweighed the risks. “However, they shall not be allowed anything resembling control over the mission.”

“Wait,” Marcellus said. “How will we determine which members of the Armeniaca shall go? For that matter, how will we determine which members of our legion will leave for Hasakah? We can’t simply refuse candidates, as that would mean that there would be people who know what we’re doing, but won’t necessarily keep quiet about it? If they tell anybody, then this might spread throughout all three legions, which would be a disaster. Panic would spread throughout the three legions. How would we stop that?”

“We make sure that the information doesn’t get out,” Julius said. He was silent for a few seconds. “How we’re supposed to do that, I don’t know. I’m sure that somebody here has an idea.”

“I did have an idea,” Marcellus said, rolling his eyes. “It’s just that it was a terrible idea that had a very low chance of working. I thought that, perhaps, we could swear people to secrecy. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that they will obey their oaths - and we need a guarantee of that for this to work. If we don’t have it, we could jeopardize our victory in the entire battle - and the war itself.”

Albinus considered that. Marcellus did have about not being able to trust people to keep their word. There was a solution that removed this possibility entirely - but that was extraordinarily risky. He wasn’t going to suggest it himself.

As it turned out, he didn’t have to. It seemed that Julius had the same idea. “Well,” he began. “We could simply recruit people. We would make it so that, once someone has been recruited for this mission, they can’t back out of it in any other way except dying.”
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:
Part 1: The War In The Shadows, Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, Albinus Gets a Second Opinion, Part 6

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
“And if they refuse?” Marcellus asked. “No offense, but threatening to kill anyone who attempts to back out will only encourage people to attempt to be martyrs. Your so-called solution might destroy the three legions entirely. Encouraging treason is a terrible idea.”

“How would my idea encourage treason?” Julius began. “Almost all Romans hate the Sassanids. Even if we piss off our soldiers somehow, they won’t commit treason. Especially since they should know that doing so will be akin to suicide.”

“Many of them might realize that committing treason will end in their death,” Marcellus acknowledged. “But… death is the only way out of the mission. If they believe that they will be killed anyway, what do they have left to fear from committing treason? If they succeed, there is a chance that they can buy more time - time that they can use to do whatever they want. If they fail, well, they were sentenced to death anyway.”

That shut Julius up. Albinus sighed. He was going to have to put an end to this… argument. If Marcellus and Julius continued being at odds for much longer, they were going to damage their relationship with each other. If that happened… well, the results wouldn’t be pretty. Both Marcellus and Julius commanded a significant amount of loyalty within the three legions - not as much as some people from the Legio I Armeniaca or Albinus himself, but still a substantial number. If this argument went on much longer, their anger at each other might spread throughout the three legions, and that was the last thing that Albinus needed on the verge of a final victory against the Sassanids.

“Making death the only alternative to joining the mission once someone knows about it is absurd,” he finally said. “There are many reasons why a soldier in this army might not want to go on the mission that aren’t deliberate sabotage. Perhaps the Lord could be punishing them with disease for their sins, and they don’t wish to let that be known. Perhaps they are injured. Perhaps they believe that they will only hold the group back. Unfortunately, Marcellus is right that we can’t let panic spread throughout this camp. That means that we do need some measure to prevent that from happening.”

“My centurion,” Marcellus began. “Perhaps we can simply demand that those who know about the Armeniaca’s plight keep it secret. Make them swear by a religious oath, or an oath based on their beliefs in any case, to keep it a secret. That would prevent them from spreading word due to the fear of divine intervention.”

“Would it?” Julius asked. Albinus let out a small sigh, but he decided to let Julius make his point. “Not everyone truly believes in divine retribution. Some might simply not care - perhaps they only believe in delayed intervention for oath breaking and wish to tell anyway. Your suggestion also assumes that we would somehow be able to convince them to swear oaths in the first place. How? Threatening with death won’t work. If we did do that, we would have to be bluffing. What do we do if they call that bluff?”
 
  • 1Love
Reactions:
Part 1:The War In The Shadows, Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, Albinus Gets a Second Opinion, Part 7

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
Privately, Albinus agreed with Julius here. Bluffing was a terrible idea in almost any circumstance. A mass bluff was an especially risky move because, if any single person learned that they were being bluffed, they could easily spread the word that it was a bluff. Unfortunately, he was unable to think up a better idea himself. He hoped that either Julius had an alternative, or that Marcellus had another viable plan.

“We could make everybody in the three legions believe that we weren’t bluffing,” Marcellus offered. “We could make it seem as if we have killed those who refuse and gotten rid of the bodies. It’s better to be feared than loved, after all.”

“The best option is being feared and loved, and that only applies if the people that you want to fear you actually know that you exist and have power over them,” Julius shot back. “All acting as if we weren’t bluffing would do is increase hatred towards whoever takes credit for the idea. Almost certainly Albinus, in this case.”

“They need to have some incentive to not betray our secrets,” Marcellus snapped. “If we must lie to gain said incentive, then so be it. Men are vultures. They will betray you as soon as they can to gain an advantage for themselves. Always.”

“You have a very cynical view of humanity,” Julius observed. “I disagree with it, but you are right that an incentive to not spread this information - and to not spread panic by extent - wouldn't be a bad idea. I’m just thinking that we should have that incentive not be something that encourages betrayal. We could bribe people who are in the know to keep their mouths shut.”

Albinus smiled. That exchange had told him a lot about both Marcellus and Julius, and it had brought their disagreements to light. Marcellus was far more of a cynic - he didn’t trust people in general that much. Personally, Albinus thought that he was right about that, but that he wasn’t cynical enough. He did trust everybody in this tent, and he probably assumed that they were his friends. That was pure folly, as spies were everywhere in the Roman Empire. Everywhere. Julius, by contrast, was more of an idealist. He believed the best in humanity - or at least he implied that he did. However, his actual precise wording seemed to imply something very different. Julius wanted people to believe that he was naive to the ways of the War in the Shadows, but Albinus wasn’t buying his act for a second. Their conflicting viewpoints would be very useful to use if they ever began to plot rebellion against him…

“And what incentive should we grant them?” Marcellus asked. “Especially considering that you believe it shouldn’t be violent. If our incentive isn’t violence, then what should it be? Nothing moves men more than the threat of reprisal.”

“We disagree on that point,” Julius mused. “Still, that’s irrelevant. Even if men primarily look out for themselves, my idea should still work. After all, what better way to ensure loyalty than by threatening affairs of the heart?”
 
  • 1Love
Reactions:

Midnite Duke

Colonel
Jul 20, 2017
960
1.111
Cynicism is very good! With cynicism, man's frailties only disappoint on rare occasions and man's occasional goodness can bring joy. My General, be safe for there is no such thing as paranoia (everybody is really out to get everybody) in the ERE!
 

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
Cynicism is very good! With cynicism, man's frailties only disappoint on rare occasions and man's occasional goodness can bring joy. My General, be safe for there is no such thing as paranoia (everybody is really out to get everybody) in the ERE!

That's an interesting viewpoint. Also a good one to have in the ERE.

Everybody who isn't paranoid in the ERE is an idiot.
 
  • 1
Reactions:
Part 1: The War In The Shadows, Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, Albinus Gets a Second Opinion, Part 8

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
“Emotional manipulation,” Marcellus murmured. He looked like he was mulling over the idea. “I like it,” he decided. “But how will we use affairs of the heart to guarantee loyalty?”

“All men care about their families,” Julius said, smiling. “If we were to threaten them… well, then they would be inclined to obey our will. Even better, we could offer to protect their families from their enemies - and they will have enemies.”

Albinus blinked at that. Julius was an idealist, yes, but it seemed that he was a pragmatist above that. Still, the way that he smiled while talking about torturing - or killing - others gave Albinus chills. Julius wasn’t a man that could be crossed lightly. Not at all…

“That’s... actually really harsh,” Marcellus said. “But what about those who have no family? What do we do about those who only have dead parents and are unmarried? Or those who have dead parents, dead spouses, and perhaps even dead children? How do we control matters of their hearts? After all, you can’t kill that which is already dead, so threatening to kill their family isn’t a viable threat…”

“If a man lacks a family, then it is very likely that he is trying to replace it,” Julius said. “He will do this by making friends. We can always threaten them… or, perhaps, convince them to abandon the person who refuses to keep our vital information secret… which will work best if they aren’t truly reliable friends. Some people have terrible taste in who they associate with.”

“While that should cover almost everyone,” Marcellus began. “I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. What do we do if they are friendless, and their family is dead… Or simply don’t care about what happens to their family or their friends. How do we manipulate the affairs of the heart for someone who doesn’t have a heart for one reason or another?”

Albinus thought over that statement. As much as Marcellus framed his question as a far-fetched hypothetical, Albinus could tell that he meant it seriously. Marcellus didn’t have a very high view of humanity.

“Why would anybody not have significant people in their lives?” Julius asked. “Everybody loves someone.”

“Many men are wolves,” Marcellus shot back. “Do you seriously believe that every person in this world has love - of any kind - in their hearts? Do you believe that every person loves a living person? I highly doubt that. Many people are untrusting, and they often have good reasons to be. If a man can’t trust, why would he be able to love?”

After a long silence, Albinus finally decided to speak. “Do you have another idea on how to ensure that panic doesn’t spread around our camp?” he asked. “Does anybody? I agree that many of our soldiers likely lack people that can be threatened to ensure our cooperation, but what else can we do?”

The room was so silent that you could hear a pin drop. It seemed as if emotional manipulation was their only plan to ensure cooperation. Albinus sighed. He had hoped that someone else did have a plan.

Well, this silence didn’t necessarily mean that nobody had a plan. It was possible that some people were mulling over their plans. Albinus desperately hoped that that was the case.
 
  • 1Love
Reactions:

Midnite Duke

Colonel
Jul 20, 2017
960
1.111
This battle continues to move at a pace that makes snails envious. Everybody cares about someone else or themselves. Now to separate those who care about others from the narcissists and apply the correct levers.
 

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
This battle continues to move at a pace that makes snails envious. Everybody cares about someone else or themselves. Now to separate those who care about others from the narcissists and apply the correct levers.

Indeed.

This battle has many people attempting to make plans. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry...
 
  • 1Like
Reactions:
Part 1: The War In The Shadows, Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, Albinus Gets a Second Opinion, Part 9

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
“Wait, so we decided that neither emotional manipulation nor death threats will work?” Julius asked. “What are we supposed to do, then? It’s not like we could threaten to smear their… wait. Actually, that could work. If they care about how they are viewed…”

“Care to let the rest of us in on your thought process?” Marcellus asked. “What is your idea?”

Hmm, it seemed as if Marcellus really didn’t like incomprehensible mumbling. Or he was getting impatient. What was really weird is that this was the first instance in this meeting that Julius had thought aloud. Albinus knew that he used to do that far more often, but he stopped after a while. He didn’t know why he had stopped, though, and figuring that out could tell him more about Julius himself. Still, asking that question immediately would make him seem far too paranoid or give away his current game, and neither of those options was acceptable.

“What? Oh, I was talking out loud again, wasn’t I?” Julius asked. “Well, my idea relies on the idea that many men care about their reputations. Indeed, they might care about their reputation more than they care about their families or friends, as many people who believe that people are inherently untrustworthy might also want to appear trustworthy for their own plans. We could simply threaten to smear their reputations completely, to make them appear evil, if they refuse to obey our wishes.”

“That is an excellent idea - in theory,” Marcellus began. “In practice, though… it will easily fail. What happens if somebody doesn’t care about their reputation at all? In that case, threatening to smear it won’t affect them at all. Their response will boil down to, ‘so? I don’t care’. And some people care about certain abstract concepts, like, say, truth, over everything else. Those people are always very annoying.”

“I never did get those people,” Julius admitted. “But that’s beside the point. There will always be those few people that we can’t manipulate. For them, the best thing we can do to shut them up is death. The more cowardly ones will back down at the mere threat of it. This is our best plan - the plan that will convince the most people to keep their mouths shut and not spread panic.”

“That’s not good enough,” Marcellus snapped, annoyed. “We need to come up with a plan that will convince - or force - everyone to keep their mouths shut. Nobody can talk about this, or panic will spread across everybody in what’s left of the three legions. Our campaign could be irrevocably destroyed!”

“I know that!” Julius replied, agitated. “But we haven’t come up with any plan that matches that description! We can’t create a perfect plan.”

“We can try,” Marcellus pointed out. “Also, even if you and I haven’t come up with a good plan, that doesn't mean that somebody else that has been listening to this meeting hasn’t. We have kind of been keeping attention focused on us.”

“If they did, they would’ve tried to say something by now,” Julius responded. “Still, they might be afraid to enter this argument, or they might not want to express their opinion. Perhaps, if we ask for opinions, we will get more?”
 
  • 1Like
  • 1Love
Reactions:
Part 1: The War In The Shadows, Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, Albinus Gets a Second Opinion, Part 10

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
Albinus would've greatly preferred hearing multiple voices to start out with. It would allow him to gather more information about the influential figures in his legion - and whether or not they believed that he trusted them. Wait. Perhaps that was why this argument was limited to Marcellus and Julius. If so, then he would need to figure out how to trick his other advisors into thinking that he trusted them.

On the other hand, it was possible that he was being overly paranoid. Normally, he believed that there was no such thing as “overly paranoid”. Everybody had their own goals. Every alliance existed out of shared interest - either the two or more parties allied with each other shared a common enemy, or they shared similar goals. Still, this fundamental fact wasn’t as well known as it should be. Far too many people believed in such ephemeral concepts - such as trust. It was probable that his advisors were simply not as enlightened as he was.

“We likely will,” Julius agreed. “Even if we don’t, it can’t hurt to try. So, everybody, does anyone have an idea on how to keep this secret - so that we won’t lose this battle due to panic alone?”

There was an extremely long and really awkward silence, and Albinus began to worry. Did this silence mean that nobody had a solution to their current dilemma? Granted, he could choose between certain suggestions that Marcellus and Julius had already offered, but none of their “solutions” was ideal, as they themselves realized.

Thankfully, it seemed as if some people were simply gathering their thoughts. Unfortunately, that meant that a lot of voices began to say ideas, and Albinus couldn’t hear any of them. Actually, nobody could hear any of them because, well, a bunch of people were talking at once.

“Quiet,” he said. Unfortunately, it seemed as if he had not spoken loudly enough. He could still barely even think with all the noise. “Quiet,” he shouted, as loudly as he could.

That worked. The entire room was staring at him now - he didn’t normally shout. “Okay,” he began slowly. “I will acknowledge somebody, and then they will talk. In order to request the ability to make your opinion known, tap the ground three times.”

Immediately, he heard a lot of tapping. He briefly mused on who was mostly likely to have the best information - there were five people tapping exactly three times.
Eventually, he decided to call on Luwia. He always had good advice, and Albinus knew that he was personally loyal to Emperor Justinian. He wouldn’t attempt to sabotage this war unless the Eastern Roman Emperor wanted this war sabotaged - and that wasn’t the case. If it was, the war would’ve been over already.

“My commander,” Luwia began. “Both Julius and Marcellus have good points - while emotional manipulation and death threats won’t work alone, it is possible that they will work if used together. Our legion has annual ‘interviews’ yearly, does it not?”

Albinus had honestly been hoping to keep that particular detail a secret. As far as he was aware, no other legion did it, so it would look somewhat suspicious. Still, Luwia had a point - he did have a lot of information about those under his command. He could easily use that. The only question was how.
 
  • 1Love
  • 1Like
Reactions:

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
Really sorry for the late update.

Albinus should have a full plan by next update - and the Battle of Hasakah should be done within 3 updates - at least one of these updates will be longer than usual, of course, but Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, is almost done. Once that's done, we can get onto Chapter 4: The Schemes of Men.
 
  • 2
Reactions:
Part 1: The War In The Shadows, Chapter 3: Be All My Sins Remember'd, Albinus Gets A Second Opinion, Part 11

HistoryDude

Emperor of Greece and Rome and Holy Roman Emperor
39 Badges
Mar 19, 2018
2.308
1.078
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Rome Gold
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
Well, there was no harm in asking. It wasn’t like he cultivated an image of omniscience to anybody. “It does,” he acknowledged. “I could easily use the information I collect to aid my campaign, but how will I do so? I can’t assume that the information I collected at the beginning of the year is still accurate - it isn’t accurate for some people. If there is anything Eastern Roman citizens have in common, it is that they change.”

Many of the members of his legion were probably also double-crossing at least one person. Of course, he couldn’t mention that out loud - it would reveal his paranoia, which would ensure that people were especially careful about what they said around him. He couldn’t have that.

“Some things do not change,” Luwia countered. “What a man is driven by doesn’t often change. It is true that reputation smearing, death threats, and emotional manipulation alone won’t work. However, there is no reason that all of those combined can’t. After all, our legion has annual ‘interviews’. If anyone finds out about the mission and refuses to go on it and won’t initially keep their mouth shut, all we have to do is look at their ‘interview’. Using information from that, we will find out what they are like - we will find out whether they will be more cooperative if we threaten them with death, reputation smearing, or emotional manipulation. Everybody has a weakness, and we are in the unique position of being able to use people’s weaknesses against them, so why shouldn’t we?”

To that speech, there was only silence. Albinus was certain that at least one mouth was open due to shock. Luwia had a reputation for being nice - and even Albinus had thought his idea would rely on mercy. Apparently not.

Still, nothing that Luwia had said was untrue. Of course, it would require a lot of digging through old notes, but that wouldn’t be difficult, just time-consuming.

“Very well. We will go with Luwia’s plan,” Albinus finally decided. “If anybody here dares to attempt to inform the three legions at large that the Legio I Armeniaca is missing in action, they will be punished. Severely. I know what you fear, and I’m not afraid to use it.” He heard several gulps at that, and he smiled. “Now, who will go on the mission to find the Legio I Armeniaca? Are there any volunteers?”

There were. Many people were interested in searching for the lost legion. Albinus had expected that, though - he wasn’t going on the mission, so many people likely felt that this was a chance to plot - away from scrying eyes - his scrying eyes. There was no way that he was allowing that.

Only men personally loyal to him or loyal to one of the factions that wasn’t at odds with him would be allowed to go. “Well,” Albinus mentally mused. “That didn’t actually eliminate many people. Pretty much everybody here was here because they weren’t in one of the factions at odds with him - which meant that all of these volunteers were still eligible to go on the mission. He needed to narrow down the amount of people allowed to go on the mission further.”
 
  • 1Love
  • 1Like
Reactions: