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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Michaelangelo

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1816-1821 – Into the Blue

The session of Parliament at the beginning of 1816 dealt with many heavily loaded issues. The Sultan of Najd had requested formal protection, essentially offering to become a vassal of Hispania. The question of whether to accept such a thing from a Muslim nation led to a fierce debate and an extremely close vote. Near the end, the Emperor voiced his opinion in support of this endeavour, believing such an agreement could further stabilize the region and ensure a friendly power survived there. That proved enough to gain the necessary support in Parliament.

The Parliament Act rectified the issue of seats by fixing them and the electoral districts to a set number. A new Parliament building was placed under construction to fit the larger Assembly and preparations were made for the 1820 election in four years, the first that would use the new Assembly composition.

However, the most controversial act proved to be one with the best intentions. The Citizenship Act officially turned the bulk of the Crown’s subjects into official citizens with rights. However, it made one glaring mistake: it forgot to include the Greeks. Seeing as the bill also tied voting rights to citizenship, it essentially disenfranchised every Greek in Hispania. The Greeks immediately raised an uproar, launching a mass protest and rioting in the streets. The movement to join with Byzantium flared up again with renewed support, and Hispanian Greeks petitioned the Byzantine government to intervene. At one point, the Byzantine flag was flown across Athens before authorities took them down. Only the presence of the Exercit Athens prevented a full-scale rebellion from breaking out. As for the Byzantine government in Constantinople, they remained silent on the matter, not wanting to provoke the ire of Hispania nor commit to anything.

The Emperor tried to end the crisis by invoking Clause V of the Citizenship Act to grant all the Greeks who would normally fit the requirements citizenship, but the slight could not be ignored. With their own Parliament having ignored them them and Constantinople remaining silent, the Greeks invoked the National Plebiscite Act in protest of the Citizenship Act and to force another referendum on separation. It found overwhelming support, leading to the awkward situation where the Citizenship Act was voided for two months shortly after being instituted, and the Greeks made it clear they’d keep protesting against it until it was amended. To prevent the Citizenship Act from being indefinitely vetoed by the Greeks, the Emperor revoked the National Plebiscite Act until it could be rewritten to prevent such abuses. As for the referendum, the Greeks forced the issue soon after. Support was much higher this time, with roughly 60% of Greeks voting in favour of joining Byzantium. However, taking a closer look at the votes revealed that the majority of support came from Athens, with there being a much more mixed response in Mylasa and people slightly opposed in Rhodes. Seeing as the National Plebiscite Act had been revoked before the referendum had been carried out, the legitimacy of the referendum was questioned. Now the government had to decide how to respond to this forced referendum.

Even when domestic troubles were stirred up, Hispania’s reputation abroad had never been better.



The Ministry of Foreign Affairs carried out the first of its planned wars at the end of 1816. Several armies were moved to Yemen’s borders before hostilities were commenced. Minister of War Joan de Trastámara personally took charge of the forces near Jerusalem to move on the territory just to the south, with Captain General Maximiliao Dias beside him. Leon, San Dionisio, and von Politz coordinated farther south in an attack on Yemen’s heartland in Southern Arabia.

San Dionisio was the first one to encounter the enemy, meeting them in battle in Mahrah. Experienced in battle against inferior opponents in the far corners of the world, he had no problem in dispatching the enemy.

Back in Europe, Germany declared war on Poland again in the name of nationalism. The question was whether they would actually take land this time or just raid Poland’s treasury.

By the end of February of 1817, Yemen’s capital of Mahrah had already fallen, along with all its western provinces. Prince Joan personally captured Medina, a holy city of Islam. Yemen had practically fallen after the war had just begun. Most of the armies were already being recalled or moving into place for the next.

At sea, the tiny Yemeni fleet was sunk in the Gulf of Aden.

The death of Emperor Louis XXI in March saw the crown pass to his cousin-once-removed, the now crowned Jean III. Only a boy himself, and one with no heir, the question of succession was raised. The only two remaining male Valois lines were now ruling over Scandinavia and Germany, but both lines had sworn off all claims to the French throne. There were some that speculated that with the male line all but extinct, they would have no choice but to consider the women of the family. In this case, the throne would have to pass to the closest female heir, who happened to be Jeanne de Valois, Crown Prince Pere de Trastámara’s wife. Whether this would be contested or not was yet to be seen.



With control of the Red Sea secured, goods from India could be safely transported back to Europe with little difficulty.

France had grown weary of Scandinavia’s colonial conflict with Malacca and decided to sign a white peace. With their strongest ally abandoning them, Scandinavia felt it was time to sign a peace as well. They settled for a small part of New Guinea and war reparations, a small reward for such a prolonged war.

Yemen tried to retake land with a small force of 2k men, but was pushed back by half of the new Exercit Arabia, which was encircling the land around Yemen’s last fort.

Cut off from the sea, Kaffa had no avenue of expansion other than to attack Alodia.

With Yemen all but defeated, a second war was started, this time with the tiny state of Ajuuraan. San Dionisio and the Exercit Colonial were in place to launch the first and only attack.



Such battles on far-off soil were nothing to San Dionisio. These savages were all the same and caved in with ease.

Colonization of South Africa proceeded smoothly as Roggeveld became self-sustaining and the last province of Griqualand could be given attention.

Hispania was truly a global empire and could project its strength all over. Thus as men fought in Arabia and East Africa, it was not overstretching for war to be declared on Pasai as well. The Exercits Cathay and India were already in position, and nothing more was needed.

An atmosphere of freethinking was spreading throughout Hispania as learned men shared ideas without fear of persecution, provided they weren’t treasonous in nature.



A naval battle off the coast of Christmas Island saw a small trade fleet of Pasai’s sunk.

At the end of 1817, Germany signed a peace with Poland, and lo and behold they only took money again.

The development of the field howitzer greatly improved the effectiveness of Hispania’s artillery. When immediately put into use in the sieges of Masqat and Gedo, both cities fell within a month, effectively ending the wars with both Yemen and Ajuuraan.

Pasai attempted to make a break for Southern Sumatra to stir up trouble, but the two Hispanian armies intervened. The entire enemy force of 18k men faced no choice but to surrender or die in a relentless onslaught. Most of Hispania’s casualties in the battle were from the jungle rather than from the actual fighting.

Peace was eventually signed with both Yemen and Ajuuraan. Yemen’s land on the Red Sea was ceded to Hispania, including the city of Medina. Not wanting to leave a threat so close to valuable trade routes, the remainder of Yemen was handed over to Najd. This would hopefully ensure Najd could handle itself and would no longer be threatened by outside forces. As for Ajuuraan, it faced annexation, plain and simple.



Mercantilism could prove quite frustrating in regions where neutral or hostile nations controlled most of the goods and land. Merchants were having a more difficult time competing in the interior of Africa away from the sea trade routes.

Hungary, boxed in by Hispanian allies and vassals, felt their only path of expansion was northwards. They declared war on Poland, who they hoped was still vulnerable after their war with Germany.

The young Emperor of France was a most pious man. With the passing of the old Bavarian pope, a Frenchman took his place. The French Emperor and Pope corresponded with each other, leading to the Emperor Jean III being proclaimed the Defender of the Catholic Faith.

The fort in Siak fell just as Kaffa swallowed up Alodia.

Pasai attempted to reform their army for a second attempt on Hispanian Sumatra, but it was never to be. San Dionisio arrived in Pasai and led an attack on the enemy army, removing the threat once and for all. With the fort of Muko-Muko falling at the end of the battle, the armies could spread out to carpet siege the whole island. Najd had even send a small force to show their commitment to their new protector.



The colony in far-off Heiltsuk became self-sustaining, shifting focus once more back to Africa. With most threats in East Africa gone, efforts to colonize the interior could be pursued, starting with Ogaden.

By February of 1819, all of Pasai had fallen except for one fort and a forgotten province in Siam. The Pasai navy had no choice but to set sail right into the waiting Flota de l’India. The enemy did not fare so well.

In mid-1819, Hispania adopted the gold standard, switching from silver to gold coins. Some speculated this was a result of a growing trade deficit with China, with the Chinese taking in European coins but not their goods.

Speaking of China, Ming decided to flex its muscles again, declaring war on Jin to reclaim its former glory.

Malwa annexed their vassal Baluchistan just as Pasai’s final fort fell.

San Dionisio fought one last battle against Pasai before sailing back home.



The Ministry of the Interior promoted the idea of the four field rotation to farmers to improve production of crops and ensure the preservation of arable land.

At the start of 1820, Pasai was given no choice but to surrender all land in Sumatra. They also were made to renounce their claims elsewhere to prevent a resurgence and possible revenge, leaving them as a single province in Siam. Hispania’s control of Indonesia was almost undisputed.

The navy was finally receiving the attention it deserved, as production was boosted to ensure it had everything it needed to protect Hispania’s global empire. Of course, this didn’t mean matters of land were ignored. A few forts here and there were expanded or refurbished.

The colony in Manokwari reached self-sufficiency, turning the Crown’s full attention to Africa with the colonization of Afder. When Senqu became self-sufficient shortly after, Tajhari was the next target for colonization.

Malwa and Persia butted heads in December, both trying to reclaim a former glory that had since been lost.

As 1820 reached an end and 1821 began, an uncomfortable silence fell across Hispania. The last few years had been prosperous, and indeed Hispania’s trade income had never been higher. A state of religious harmony existed on some level, with Christians of all faiths united under one banner. New ideas were promoted freely, with Hispania being one of the most liberal-thinking countries in the world. Yet beneath it all was a lingering presence, dissent that had been growing over many decades but kept at bay. Hispania kept sliding down the slippery slope of progress at an increasing pace, and in the process making mistakes and errors along the way. Emperor Alfons IX had proved a stabilizing figure, having reigned justly over Hispania for 66 years now, yet his health remained poor and it seemed clear his reign would not last forever. The question now was whether Hispania could keep sliding its way into a glorious future or if it would inevitably crash when it finally reached the bottom.





JpsioAG.png

Presenting His Imperial Highness, Alfons IX de Trastámara, Emperor of Hispania, Caesar of Rome, King of Bavaria & Transdacia, and Protector of the Greeks.

These weary bones of mine refuse to give in just yet. Time ways heavily on me and I am grateful to have experienced so much throughout my life. I can’t help but reminisce over everything that we, that Hispania, has accomplished over the decades of my reign. There have been great triumphs, and horrifying failures, yet we have always gotten back up and continued on regardless. The perseverance of the Hispanian people never fails to amaze me. I pray that they will continue to accomplish great things even after I am long gone.

The whole affair in Greece is a travesty, and surely one not intended by Parliament. I have done what I can to appease the Hispanian Greeks who feel so insulted, but I fear we may have irreparably damaged what relationship we had with them. I have until this point refused to acknowledge their referendum, believing that the results are born from temporary frustrations rather than actual logic. I pray they will change their mind, or else we must consider reaching out to Byzantium for another solution that may see the Greek people united under one rule.

It is welcome to see Arabia stable at last, and control of the key waterways in the Red Sea and near Malacca now firmly under our control. I sometimes wonder if we overreach, but the prosperity such actions bring cannot be ignored. We do what we do for the good of the Hispanian people.

Now I fear I must take my leave. I find that these appearances before Parliament wear me out much more than they used to. I require adequate rest, for we have much work to do on the morrow. So much work….


((Well there you have it. We have finally reached 1821 after almost exactly a year and a half since I started this iAAR. Remarkable. I’m also astonished yet again that the game refused to kill off Alfons after the unintentional second chance. I did say it would be funny if he actually made it to 1821, but I never expected he actually would. He clearly is immortal now. God save the Emperor!

Usually this is the part where I say that ministers should submit plans and players can post laws. That isn’t happening this time. In fact, I expressly want you not to post any of those things. No minister plans, no laws, and nothing else that requires direct GM intervention. You can still comment on things that happened in-character if you want. I will be explaining more about what happens now in a bit, but first I need to get out the 1820 election results and a final world update to show where we’re at in 1821.

Listing pensioners probably doesn’t matter anymore, but I’m going to include them anyway just because I want to. Call it a tradition. :p

Pensioners:
@Duke Dan `the Man`
@alscon))
 

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The Election of 1820

Perhaps more than any other election before it, the Election of 1820 saw the most dramatic change in the Assembly. A variety of factors saw a great shift in seats, one showing a general shift towards specific parties. The biggest factor in this election was inevitably the Parliament Act, which increased the seat number from 300 to 500, and changed how some of them were decided. The number of appointed seats dropped from 75 to 50, which conveniently allowed the Emperor to dismiss the remainder of the independent appointees and leave those already assigned to each party. The seats assigned to each province didn't see anything unusual, although they bore a slight resemblance to the Cortz, while the eight seats assigned to the largest cities were split evenly between the Imperials and Marina, for all those cities were either part of the Imperial heartland or a major trading city.

The second major factor was the Citizenship Act, which increased the franchise to parts of the lower class. The extent of that increase proved a deciding factor. It allowed many of the lower class to vote, with the exception of those who either didn't pay taxes for various reasons or were simply too poor. That left out the more radical members that may have voted for more leftist parties. Most of those who could now vote lacked the extensive education that fostered liberal ideas in the middle and upper class, as well as lived relatively simple lives that fostered a generally conservative view to life. Many of these new voters thus flocked to the Imperials or Los Campos, depending on various preferences. There were still those that favoured the other parties, but not as many. The Reconquista's generally liberal stance lost its appeal to the lower class, turning it more into a club for the upper class. The Marina had focused so intently on trade that it had little appeal outside the middle class. As for the Phoenix, their more radical view didn't appeal to the mostly conservative lower class, with those who most favoured the party still being unable to vote or the more left-leaning members of the middle class.

Perhaps what most contributed to the rise of the right in the form of the Imperials was the Greek problem. The Imperials were the only ones not tainted with that scandal, and thus received almost the entire Greek vote. Elsewhere in Hispania, a conservative backlash grew as people started to worry that the Hispanian government was going too far. Certain laws were pushing the boundaries of what most found comfortable, especially the new lower class voters who preferred stability over change. They wanted a government that could be trusted to stay the course rather than move into uncharted waters. This growing conservative sentiment so benefited that Imperials that for the first time since Parliament's creation, Los Campos lost its status as the largest party to the Imperials.

The Cortz mirrored this growing conservative sentiment somewhat as well. A few nobles in the Reconquista and Marina drifted towards the more conservative parties, although the number was still small. Seeing as the membership rarely changed and it was difficult to change existing members' minds, any greater fluctuations in seats was unlikely.


Assembly

Independent (Appointed) - 0 (-25)
Independent - 7 (+3)
Imperial - 139 (+73)
Reconquista - 60 (+31)
Marina - 95 (+36)
Los Campos - 132 (+59)
Phoenix - 67 (+23)


Cortz

Independent - 3 (0)
Imperial - 30 (+2)
Reconquista - 26 (-1)
Marina - 12 (-2)
Los Campos - 21 (+1)
 

Michaelangelo

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The World in 1821

An excerpt from The History of Hispania, Volume V, “The Alfonsian Era”

Hispania had changed much since Pere V proclaimed the Iberian-based nation an empire in June of 1606, and even more so since Alfons VII created the kingdom of Hispania from the union of Aragon, Castile, Navarra, and Naples in April of 1555. When Alfons V first set his eyes on Castile, he began a movement that intoxicated the Aragonese people, leaving them longing for a union of the Iberian people, a union that soon extended to Naples and the rest of Italy, and fed the imperial ambitions. Those ambitions never ended, and Hispania continued to grow and flourish.

The Trastámara family has graciously guided this dream as the monarchs of Hispania for centuries. Their involvement has often been felt in the most crucial moments of Hispanian history, and it is likely Hispania would not be where it is without them. They have played a major role in its greatest triumphs, as well as its greatest failures. It is only appropriate to include a list of these monarchs and their reigns when detailing the history of Hispania. For simplicity’s sake, I have only listed those who were in power after the 14th Century.


Compared to the other nations of the world, Hispania was by far the richest, largest, and most developed. An unofficial ranking conducted by historians of the day placed Hispania at the top, followed closely by France. Scandinavia, Lithuania, Byzantium, Germany, and Poland were given high ranks, with even Austria making the cut simply due to their past accomplishments before their fall from grace. When compared to other nations of the time, only France could compete on any level of note. Both Hispania and France had a similar level of tax income and production. It was Hispania’s vast trade empire that differentiated it from everyone else, bringing in over four times as much as France or any other power, and has often been attributed as the main source of Hispania’s great success over the years. Not only did Hispania possess the most efficient merchant class in the world, but the Crown dedicated far more ships to trade than any other nation. This great wealth that Hispania’s trading empire brought in allowed for the Crown to cover the heavy costs of supporting a massive army and navy. The army alone took up nearly half of the Hispanian budget in 1820 at 2.5k, with the navy just below that at 1.5k. The cost of maintaining the forts, even when not garrisoned, and the costs of government barely added up to the cost of the navy, with colonial and church expenses having reached a point where they could be afforded with spare change. Hispania had reached a state of great prosperity where it could afford to maintain such a large budget.


On the topic of the army and navy, Hispania had far surpassed her neighbours in both the size of her armed forces and their skill and discipline. In 1821, estimates put the Hispanian army at roughly 560k, with the treasury more than capable of supporting several thousand more without problem. Not even France, who came close on many accounts with Hispania, could match those numbers, their army less than half that. The Hispanian navy had surpassed the rest of the world on a scale larger than even that of the army. At 860 ships, it was over three times as large as Scandinavia’s, which was the second largest in the world. Hispania possessed far more threedeckers than any other power, giving it a great advantage on the open sea, while her great frigates sailed in even greater numbers for trade purposes. The number of galleys was less impressive, but Hispania possessed far more transports than anyone else, for more than any other nation she relied heavily on the quick and reliable transportation of troops both near and afar.


On matters of religion, Hispania had done much to spread the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ or CJC, promoting tolerance for all Christians. The Christian faith under the CJC was the second most practiced religion, with half a dozen nations designating it as their state religion. Only Catholicism had a more devout following, with 23 countries and twice as many followers. Islam still maintained followers in the East, as well as Confucianism and Hinduism. The other Christian faiths had become mostly irrelevant on their own, with Reformed isolated mostly to the British Isles and their colonies, and Protestantism followed solely by the Germans. The Orthodox faith had long lost any large following, becoming a loose sect in Lithuania, while Coptic maintained its hold only in Kaffa. Hispania had done a decent job in bringing all the Christian faiths together, although a few Coptics resisted joining and some Muslims in Arabia and Indonesia still clung to their faith.

Over the centuries, Hispania had become a giant mix of different languages and cultures. No one culture dominated the others, although Aragonese tended to be recognized as the predominant one due to its preference in the colonies and positioning of the capital. Despite this varied mix, many of these cultural groups had achieved a level of tolerance from the government, who had long ago opted to work with these groups rather than attempt to assimilate them.


Europe had entered a period of relative peace, with only the occasional skirmish disrupting the quiet. Hispania herself lay at the crux of the group, maintaining alliances with the premier powers of France, Scandinavia, and Byzantium, while also ruling over the semi-independent kingdoms of Bavaria and Transdacia. Many of these alliances had lasted for centuries, the French alliance forged the longest ago in 1444 under the reign of Alfons V. The web of alliances existing amongst these strong powers had prevented any major conflict for decades, for to go to war would mean losing one’s allies who likely had ties with the defending power. Those outside the web either fell into semi-irrelevance, such as with Poland and Hungary, or turned away from Europe, such as with Lithuania and Scotland.

Even outside Europe, Hispania’s reach was far. The greatest nation on Earth had expanded far beyond the borders of Europe, colonizing vast lands in the Americas and Africa, and even extending its presence into the mysterious Orient. Not a single continent remained untouched by Hispania. Her colonies controlled great swathes of land, and her alliance with the United Kingdom of America kept conflict from erupting between the major powers of the Americas. Arabia was firmly under Hispania’s control through Najd, while Hispania herself controlled almost the entire coast of Africa, other than a few areas in West and South Africa. Territories in India, China, Korea, and Indonesia brought in great wealth. Hispania’s reach was vast and it only contributed to her greatness.






Hispania at the turn of the century had embodied the spirit of the Alfonsian Era. Prosperity, free thinking, and progress were the key words of the day. Yet like every era in history, it must come to an end. With the death of Alfons IX would go much of what he had worked for. He had been a most capable ruler, one who had done much to improve the functions of government and manage state affairs. Yet the successful system he had devised had been designed to function with a capable hand guiding it, and only Alfons could truly fit that role. The government, Parliament, and everything else had been crafted under his guidance, and without him it could only falter. It was a product of a brilliant mind, but also of great distrust that had been ingrained into Alfons as a child. Despite his willingness to listen to advice, seek consensus, and rule by consent, he never once truly allowed power to slip from his fingers, for in his mind was always the terrors of the Hispanian Civil War and the crown he had almost lost. The Crown had to maintain supremacy, for he believed that no one but himself could be trusted with such power. Alfons had maintained balance by retaining his royal powers to the relief of the right while also allowing liberal ideas and reform to be sought to satisfy those on the left. But this peculiar circumstance required Alfons’s touch, and another in his place might not be willing to seek such a compromise. A less capable monarch would unlikely be able to maintain the system Alfons had devised, while a monarch more concerned with his own power would be likely to undo much of what Alfons had created. The Alfonsian Era could not last because it required Alfons to maintain it. With his health continuing to decline going into 1821, it was only a matter of time until the time of prosperity, free thinking, and progress came to an end. A time of uncertainty approached.


((And that brings our EUIV iAAR to an end. It's been quite a ride and I thank you all for joining me on this long and windy ride. I'd say more, but it's already 3am where I am and I want to sleep. :p I'll post tomorrow about what happens next when I have more time to write up a response.))
 
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Many merchants and other members of the middle classe have been whispering that Charles Gustave de Saint-Pierre had died at sea in the year 1820, just before the elections. Some others say that he's travelling around the world under a different name, enjoying the wonders of Hispania and spending his final years in peace, away from the heated politics of the Emprie.
His fate remains unknown, his body never found or recovered from the depths of the ocean.

His son Henri Maxime de Saint-Pierre continued his father's struggle to empower the middle and lower class and to protect the interests of the Trans-Atlantic Trading Company and other merchants serving the Hispanian Empire.
 

DragonOfAtlantis

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The main branch of the Villanova family continued their tradition of colonialism as they always have, however with the death of Joaquin, none of the family stood up to take the position of royal colonist nor take up the appointed assembly position give to the family and have willingly given it up. Instead a member would occasionally run for and win the election as a member of the assembly, generally imperial or campostina, due to no small part of Villanova farm controlling a majority of the votes in the region.

Over in Provence, Count Félix spends his time with his family and despite, officially, being Count in name only, he takes a deep interest in provincial development and the noble branch of the Villanovas work with the governor and other government officials in the day to day management of the land.

There has been some news in regards to the Count's young son having military aspirations. Especially surprising considering the controversial Fausto Villanova, Field Marshal, war hero, traitor. One account has the seven year old saying he wants to redeem the family name, big words for such a young child.
 

ML8991

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An end of an Era


For a long time now, Duke Matthias had not appeared at court. In truth, he couldn’t. The disease that had claimed his legs had crippled him to his bed, a Duke in name alone. The illustrious house of de Soneta, for he felt it would be more appropriate in this memoir to refer to the house by its original taken name in the Hispanian annals, would not go out with a bang, but a whimper. His countless generations back grandfather could claim royal blood, and indeed he mused greatly that his line would continue, albeit in a much-diluted form, in the many houses, and the royal tree of the nation. The line which could claim to the most members of the Hispanian world at least, to sit on His Holiness’s throne, and indeed claim to have ruled Hispania as well once upon a time, as well as to sit as its first prime minister.

He too was proud to have been part of a family that encompass nigh all of the houses of Hispania, truly the de Soneta’s could be said to be the parents of the nation, if only by blood. He almost shed a tear as he felt the coldness closing in around his ancient heart, how ironic that of one of the longest lived of his family, he would die in such a quiet way. And so, with the passing of Prince-Duke Matthias Louis Enrique Alfonso de Soneta di Belmonte, Prince of Belmonte, Reichfurst of the Holy Roman Empire, Grandee of Spain-1st Class, Duke of Acerenza, Duke d'Ipar Menedaikakeo, Marquis of Argençola, Marquis of Galatone, Count of Copertino, Count of Pirineo, Count of Zaragoza, Count of Urgell, Head of His Majesty’s Police Force, Born 17th August 1732, Died 29th October 1820, the line of de Soneta, least in Spain, pasted.
 

alscon

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While Alfons lived, he would live too. A bit longer. Emiliano Faixòn would continue to fight for his ideals until his last breath. Only through his usual weapon, the word. He knew that he had instigated many of the reforms that had been made through his constant criticism, even if the damned reactionary Imperials would never admit it. Their latest tyrannical amendment failed to achieve its full effect, but that was only due to the Guaranteed Freedoms Act. Thankfully it wasn't taken back before having the chance a passing through Parliament. Faixòn would continue to work hard for his dream.

A dream only one of his sons shared. But Arnau's methods were different. There would be a boiling point reached in the close future, of that he was certain. Then the people would no longer be merely puppets. Peasants, simple workers, soldiers - the revolution would come one day, topple the corrupt elites, and install a true rule of the many, for the only legitimate government for a people is the people itself!

Felipe Faixòn could hardly be any more different. He produced mainly military supplies in his factories, a good with a great demand. The TATC might control the trade in most of Hispania, but Felipe dreamt of controlling the production with his company. He was always looking for any profit that could be made, and what more than with full control...


Marti de San Dionisio fulfilled his tasks with precision and devotion. Colonial warfare was his element. The Prince would surely regret it had he not looked further than the name Marti had since his birth. Stoically, he recorded each battle, each skirmish, led with pure efficiency. This was what he lived for.
 

hirahammad

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The wind blew. Sand over the deserts of the Sahara. Snow over the frozen wastes of the Pyrenees. Insects buzzed in the wet jungles of Ceylon. Lions prowled the South. And the wind blew. Over the graves in Brakna. Home to a family of heathens. In Makkah, the prayers no longer rang through the dry streets, but their legacy was heavy. The crosses bore especially large burdens. And the wind blew. In Grenada, it whistled through soraing Cathedral windows, and fortifications from half a century ago. The bells rang through the empty air, carried by that same wind. The wind. No movement was present save the wind. It crept through alleys, into shacks and manors. Mourners shivered in the biting cold. The Cardinal, Archbishop, Minister of Religious Affairs, Justinian Lagos had passed into the arms of His Lord. He died alone, as he had lived since the late His Holiness Xystus II had died. No one there to bid him farewell when he collapsed, fell down the stairs, and choked on his own blood. And the wind blew. As it had blown during the times of Tarquinius Superbus, and Caesar. During the times of Charlemagne, Alfons VII, and Pere V. As it would continues to blow, long after Lagos had taken his last breath, long after Hispania would draw her last. The Subjects of His Majesty, Citizens of Hispania did not contemplate this. All around the Empire, all around the globe, they knew but one thing: The wind blew.
 
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zenphoenix

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((Private))

Fernando de Leon was now almost sixty years old. He still retained his commission as a military officer and rank as a lieutenant general, but he had been "promoted" to a desk job. It was probably for the best; he knew he didn't have his grandfather's vitality and zeal. Now instead of leading from the front he directed troop operations from Valencia or any other headquarters in the field, with his son Carlos Maria and nephews representing him and making sure the troops conducted themselves honorably.

His job as Minister of Colonial Affairs took up a surprising amount of time, forcing him to commute from Leon to Valencia and back every month or so. The newfangled trains and the railroad network they ran on (some of which he helped set up by providing funds) actually helped out a lot. In Valencia he frequently attended Parliament meetings, almost always demanding that the Citizenship Act be expanded to include the Greeks. He worked with the Reconquista party leadership, trying to retool its mission and purpose so that it would appeal better to the common people without losing touch with the nobility. Several charities and youth organizations were set up under his guidance.

In court he effectively became the Emperor's right-hand man, fiercely defending him against his critics and helping groom Prince Pere for the succession (with his daughter and future empress's help). He would make sure that the prince's reign got off to a smooth start and that the monarchy would last after Alfons's death. He didn't attend that many Illuminati meetings after Lagos's "plan" regarding the Phoenizes, seeing the group as a good place to coordinate platforms but not much more than that. He did make sure to recruit his children into the group.

At home, he tended to his estate, preparing for his own death and the passing of his titles and properties to Carlos Maria. He ran some local charities and donated a substantial amount of his wealth to the people of Leon. He built hospitals, schools, and churches and did his best to crack down on crime. He made an agreement with a local prison to form teams of prisoners who would help clean up the streets (under heavy guard) in exchange for reduced jail time. Finally, he also went into business.

He built a series of factories in Leon, Castile, Asturias, and Andalusia, all producing key consumer goods. These factories were staffed with ten thousand employees each, hired from nearby towns and villages. He made sure that wages were high and working conditions were safe. As a result, the new factories brought him a new source of income, increasing his wealth substantially. His sons and nephews quickly got stakes in his company and helped boost profits substantially with their clever business practices which not only boosted . The Leons were no longer just regular nobles, but they were now also self-made entrepreneurs and successful businessmen. Fernando knew that his company would ensure his wealth was protected if something really bad happened in Valencia.

In the winter of 1820, he took a train from Leon to Valencia, stopping at every stop along the way to give a speech to the common people, promising to fight for their rights and to uphold their respect and dignity. He arrived in Valencia and attended a Parliament session, where he gave another speech lobbying for granted citizenship to the Greeks. He finished his speech and left for the harbor. But he wasn't headed home just yet.

He walked down the waterfront of Hispania, down the very same path that his grandfather walked at the start of the Phoenix War. He passed the location where his grandfather had tried to talk Montsegur out of his revolution, noting that the house that was there at the time was gone, demolished to make room for an expansion of the TATC headquarters. Most of the waterfront itself had changed. The road was now paved over with cobblestones. Horse-drawn carriages passed him on the way to other destinations. There were a few old sailing ships in the harbor, but there were now a bunch of the new steam-powered vessels, belching columns of thick black smoke into the pristine blue sky. Men and women traversed the street in fine clothes, and he could tell that most of them were commoners whose standards of living had substantially increased. But that was not true for every Hispanian. He tossed a few coins and bills to every beggar he passed, giving them enough money to get their lives back on track.

He wasn't done yet. He boarded a steamship bound for Sicily. The journey took a couple weeks, a couple weeks of comfort that would never have been possible on an older ship like the ones his grandfather used to relocate to Naples. He got off at Palermo and took a train across the island, to Syracuse, where his family had gotten its start.

When the local noble had moved away to the mainland, his grandfather had eagerly bought up his family's ancestral estate here, but he never set foot in it. Fernando was the first Leon to set foot in Syracuse in centuries. He set foot in the old estate, marveling at how the previous owner had kept it relatively unchanged, judging from old floor plans. He walked past old fountains and through small gardens, still brimming with beautiful plants. He went up to the observatory, where his ancestors had looked at the stars and wondered what else they could learn. He looked in the living quarters, finding that the place where his ancestors slept was still there. It was here that Carlos de Leon, a minor Aragonese count, began his journey. It was here that old Carlos took it upon himself to end his family's exile from Iberia. The Leon family hadn't lived in Leon since the 12th century or so, possibly even earlier. It was Carlos's father who desired to retake Leon from the Castilians, but he died in 1443, leaving a young Carlos to fulfill his ambitions. And it was in the room that Fernando was now standing that Carlos picked up the ancient sword passed down through the generations from the very first Leon, a legionnaire serving under Augustus himself who with his legion founded the city of Leon in the first century BCE, and vowed to reclaim what was his family's birthright. From there he rose through the ranks of the Kingdom of Aragon, becoming the Marshal of the realm before being disgraced and dying. His descendants, though, redeemed the family by serving as conquistadors, conquering the wilds of the New World and bringing civilization and Christ to the savages. This was the time of Juan Ponce de Leon and Hernando Francisco de Leon, the greatest conquistadors to have graced Hispania. After the end of the Age of Discovery, with nothing left to explore the Leons would return to Iberia and take up politics, eventually fulfilling Carlos's ambition and regaining Leon. Leons fought in all of Aragon's wars, bringing glory to Valencia. It was a Leon who was instrumental in the declaration of empire and the rise of the Hispanian Empire, and it was a Leon who helped organize the tolerant branch of Christianity now followed by millions. It was a Leon, his grandfather, who defended the Empire in the Phoenix War and ultimately defeated Montsegur, and it was a Leon, himself, who championed the people and defended his emperor, making sure that the Trastamaras endured but that the people were respected and protected.

He looked down, where the ancient Roman sword was strapped to his side. It had been refurbished and redesigned many times over the centuries, going from a crude iron sword in the days of Augustus Caesar to the modern saber he held in his hands, but it remained fundamentally the same. Just as the sword continued to be, the Leons had redefined themselves and changed who they were, but they remained Leons, and they remained Hispanians. And they would remain so for the next few decades, he hoped. Just as this sword had been used in every single major Hispanian battle he and his family had fought in, from Castile to Granada to the Americas to Austria to Arabia to the Civil War, the Leons were the sword of the Trastamaras, the sword of the Emperor, the sword of Hispania.

The Sword of the Empire.
 

Mach Twelve

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Captain General Maximilliao Dias sat as he considered the past few years.

Times were changing, and the old ways from before the Phoenix War were lost for good. The shaky foundation that Alfons had so carefully and successfully kept stable was to crumble soon, he could feel it. Pere was not his father, and Joan, who would be able to do it, didn't have the neutrality needed to do so. A time was approaching where peace would no longer exist in the world of men. He must be prepared. His family must be prepared.

((Athens))

Two people, a man and a woman both of Greek descent were sitting in the shadow of the Mandromenos Citadel built in 1644 after the sack of Athens by religious rebels.

The Man spoke, "What if I told you that my original objective was to see the Byzantine Flag fly in Athens so long ago?"

The Woman replied, "I know, it was a very well kept secret. But as we know, you changed your mind. Why?"

"You can never predict how people would react. I expected more hostility to my presence, but they welcomed me and because of that I couldn't just betray them like that. I wanted to spend the rest of my one life repaying them."

"Funny you say that. One life. And yet here we are."

"Indeed. Here we are. But not by the same method. I was surprised how burdensome the early years can be. I thought an aching back was bad."

"Oh, imagine having to deal with your 'parents' suddenly having their daughter change overnight. At least I had the same name. I presume there is a reason for their choices, especially the ones they didn't select."

The Woman looked to the Citadel, her eyes misting over. She spoke up.

"I wish I had one chance to speak to them again. Especially my father. I hope they are in a good place."

"Indeed. I hope they are too. But what about us?"

"I wouldn't know. I suppose we could attempt to sway the people, but which way?"

"And here I was thinking you would stand by your son."

"I do intend to. What about you."

"I must consider all the options. The winds of change are blowing. I fear that things will change faster and faster every decade from here on out."

"I hope not. Too much change would only destabilize the Empire even more."

"We need to stay vigilant. And move when needed."

"Just try to not choke on your ambitions as you choked on that apple."

"You should mind your ancestor, girl."

"And you should mind your Empress, old man."

The two looked at another and soon could help it and burst out laughing. Soon after, they parted for the time, both remembering what they had learned from another.
 

Michaelangelo

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((tl;dr: I'm uncertain about whether to continue on to Victoria II or not and require player input on the matter. I've also detailed what a potential conversion effort will entail. If you don't want to read my entire rant, scroll down to the bottom for more exact instructions.


The Future of EotM


Now that this iAAR is at an end, I'm sure many of you are wondering what will happen next. Is this the end or will I transfer over to Victoria II? Well there's a very convoluted answer to that question. I know I've made vague references to a sequel and even asked who was interested in one several months ago. Since that day, I have been debating with myself on the merits and difficulties of moving on to Vicky 2. I can safely say that I've literally changed my mind on the matter every week since. I've hesitated to make any final decision due to my indecisiveness, knowing that my mind could change in an instant. When I did make a decision, it usually didn't last long. At one point I was writing up scenarios for the sequel and at another I was trying to minimize my interaction with this iAAR because I didn't want to think about a possible sequel. I had hoped I would make up my mind before this iAAR ended, but I am still flip-flopping. Because of that, I am almost entirely unprepared for any conversion efforts or the required interlude between 1821 and 1836. This isn't that big of a deal, since there isn't exactly a time limit on when a possible conversion has to be done. I could start it today or I could start it a month from now; either would work. Anyway, to sum it all up, I am still unsure about whether I want to convert or not. I know I should be making a definite decision at this point, but I hesitate still because I don't want to make a big mistake that I might regret. I've decided the best course then is to discuss with all of you the future of this iAAR, if there is even to be one, so that we can all work out what we want to happen. Ultimately, an iAAR is dependent on a working consensus between the GM and the players, and I don't want to make a decision that would be detrimental to the players. Now, to best discuss the matter, I should probably better explain where I'm coming from first.

As I've said, I have been thinking about the future of this iAAR for months. I've carefully examined by myself both the pros and cons of continuing on. On the pro side, there is the obvious desire from everyone to see this continued, and I'd feel like a poor GM if I just ignored what the players wanted, especially after raising the possibility of a sequel. There is still part of me that wants to see where Hispania goes in Victoria II. I've had fun during this iAAR, and there will be similar moments during the Vicky 2 portion. However, I must also consider the cons. Running an iAAR is a lot of work, and there have been many moments during this one where I felt either overwhelmed or burnt out just trying to keep up. There would be times where I'd log on to Paradox, see a notification for this thread, and be filled with anxiety because I'd know it probably meant more work for me. Over the past few months I've tried to take a more laid-back approach, and perhaps people have noticed that my GMing was particularly lax during this period. I stretched deadlines and stopped letting this iAAR intervene with real life affairs. It certainly helped keep me from getting too stressed out, but I felt at times my GMing became quite poor or I'd get anxious anyway because I'd realize it'd just leave more work for me to do if I kept delaying for too long. I'm still unsure what the best approach is to make sure the iAAR proceeds smoothly without wearing me out. Then there's the matter of time management. I'm not generally a busy person, so I've had plenty of free time to dedicate to this iAAR. I'm worried going into the future I may not have as much time. I've also had moments where I've felt that I'd rather be spending my free time doing something else. It's rare for me to stick with any one thing for long, let alone a year and a half. I'm worried I won't be able to manage another year of an iAAR, especially as I yearn to try other things. I've even contemplated going back to normal AARs, since they require far less work and a less strict time schedule, although I'd never consider doing one while also working on an iAAR. The question of whether I can actually keep up with an iAAR for another year without losing interest or burning out has been the biggest dilemma I've considered. Then there's the minor fact that I haven't played Victoria II in well over a year and am not all that familiar with it. My ability to play it, and especially mod it, will be much more limited that with EUIV. While not a major hurdle, it will certainly present limitations.

Reading over that, it certainly sounds likes I really don't want to continue on into Vicky 2. Don't let the negativity dampen all hopes of a sequel. I'm still not entirely set against it. I've been trying to contemplate possible ways of continuing on while also lessening my workload so I don't feel overwhelmed. Various ideas have come to mind, but none I'm dead set on yet. One possibility is forcing the Trastámaras into a reduced role, either by withdrawing them from the forefront or creating a government less reliant on them. This would cut down on my IC obligations and put the initiative on the players to push the narrative forward. I've grown quite attached to the Trastámaras though and wouldn't want to simply remove them or push them out of the limelight without justification. I've also considered changes to the iAAR mechanics to make things easier for me. For example, I'd likely use much less custom events, especially since I'm not all that familiar with Victoria II, so any sequel would involve me interfering with in-game events on a much smaller scale. I'd still craft events for the minor changes required to make the game work with the iAAR, but likely there won't be any big events without help from others. This could also extend to the iAAR itself. A more toned-down iAAR would be much easier to manage and relieve a great burden by making the whole process streamlined, but would sacrifice a level of interactivity on the players' part. There would simply have to be things that players could no longer do because it'd either require modding beyond my skill level or GM interference requiring excess work on my part. I'm not sure about doing that since it could dampen the fun for players, although it would certainly make things easier for me. At this point, I'm simply trying to think of a way this iAAR can continue without wearing me out in the process and becoming a boring affair for the players. This is where your input is appreciated. I want to discuss this thoroughly, since you all have as much at stake in this iAAR as I do. It may have been my creation, but you all shaped Hispania and contributed through your many characters. It'd be unfair for me to make a judgment call right now without consulting you all first. I welcome any ideas or suggestions, and I won't make a final decision until I've felt this has been thoroughly discussed. As I've said, there's no time limit on converting, so it's better to work things out for a time before rushing into things, if we decide continuing is worth doing at all.


The Victoria II Conversion

With that out of the way, I may as well detail what the process of conversion would require from all of us. First off, we obviously need to fill the gap between 1821 and 1836. I've considered many ways of doing this, but have yet to prepare anything definite. We could simply keep ICing as usual and act as though we're still moving through the EUIV portion. I'd have to make the call on what happens for the in-game stuff, making up world events and other dilemmas, and then presenting these as updates interrupted by parliamentary sessions. The other option I considered was a semi-interactive gap where I simply present problems and the players vote on how to respond to them. There would be no laws or the other bits that usually occurred between updates so as to streamline the process, but it'd sacrifice a level of interactivity. It'd also be a more linear path, with preset goals that would be determined by the various votes. I definitely do not want to just cut out player involvement entirely and dictate what happens during those 15 years, since that would defeat the whole purpose of an iAAR to begin with. Regardless of how we do this, I expect this entire process to take a month or so to complete to ensure there is adequate time to conduct votes and IC.

Seeing as this 15-year period will determine what state Hispania will be in at the start of Vicky 2, I cannot start the official conversion process until it is completed. That means it is likely that the Vicky 2 portion of this iAAR would not occur for another month or two, since I'd need adequate time to move us through the 15-year gap and then actually convert the save file. I have yet to actually try any conversion efforts, so I don't know yet how stable the game would be. I'd likely have to do some tweaking and experimenting to see what the game would turn out like in Vicky 2. I'd hate to go through the whole process, only to discover the file breaks every time and we can't actually convert. If anyone is interest, I have included the 1821 save file on the front page, so feel free to conduct your own conversions and see how the file works in Vicky 2. I'll need to figure out not only how stable it will be, but what glaring issues will have to be rectified. I know religion will be an issue since we're using a custom religion in EUIV. All of these problems should be made note of before conversion officially begins so I can work on them at the appropriate time. I'll also be including the updated mod files soon just in case they're needed. I may need assistance at some point, since as I've said I'm not all that familiar with Vicky 2. I will most likely try to do as much as possible in EUIV, such as changing borders and such, but obviously some things will have to be done in Vicky 2.

While both of these are going on, there is still another step that needs to be conducted. Seeing as the Vicky 2 portion of this iAAR is still an iAAR and posted in a new part of the forum, I will need to get mod approval. I expect since I completed this one with minimal problems, there shouldn't be objections, but I will need to write up entirely new rules to present to them first. Most likely during the process of covering the gap years, I'll be working away at tweaking our existing rules to work with Vicky 2. I'll also have to make myself more familiar with Vicky 2's mechanics so I know what to account for and what to change. I expect the time required for the 15-year gap should be more than enough to allow me to prepare some rules and gain mod approval, so I hope to have that all finished before the actual conversion effort begins.

Once all three of those processes are completed, the actual Vicky 2 portion of this iAAR can begin. I will be giving preference to existing players when making characters and parties, meaning that you won't have to worry about some newcomer stealing your titles or a new party outshining an existing one. Tied into this will be some necessary tweaking, since all noble titles are tied to the EUIV provinces, which may require changes for Vicky 2. As for the parties, I'll need to know their ideology and party issues during the conversion effort to ensure they are properly represented in-game. This can all be dealt with later once we're closer to the date.


Conclusion

I feel like I'm writing an essay here. If you've actually come this far, thanks for bearing with me. Now is the time for you all to give your input. Do you all still want a Victoria II sequel? Do you have ideas on how to proceed so that everyone can still enjoy it without it wearing me out in the process? Do you have any suggestions for how to conduct a potential conversion? Any thoughts on the matter are appreciated and I encourage open discussion. I don't intend to rush this as I have with certain parts of this iAAR in the past, nor do I intend to not give it the attention it is due. I may be tired and ready to do new things, but I haven't given up on this iAAR yet. I hope to reach a possible solution that will make the whole process workable and enjoyable.

On another matter, I feel it only appropriate to thank each and every one of you. This iAAR would have never reached 1821 without you. To those who joined right at the start and stuck it out to the end, I admire your perseverance and thank you for sticking by me the whole way. It's not easy dedicating a small part of your life to one thing for a year and a half. To those who joined later on but still gave it their all, I appreciate all you've done and it's your contribution rather than the length of your participation that matters the most. To those who came and went several times but still made it to the end, I realize that there were times when this iAAR had lost its appeal and I'm thankful you kept finding a reason to return each time. To those who participated for a small time and then left to never return, I only hope that during your small time with us you had fun and enjoyed your time here. To those who gave me many headaches and were a blight on their fellow players, I thank you for the memories that are only truly funny in hindsight. I will never forget the 7k ship fleet, the child army, the mind-reading, the animals spies, and the many other hilarious moments. To those who stuck it out during the hard times or when I made tough or poor decision (alscon, I still feel bad about allowing one of your characters to be spam-assassinated), I am grateful that you trusted me enough to allow me to fix my mistakes. To those who left because of my mistakes, I can only offer my sincere apologies. There are still many moments I regret and wish I could take back, but I can only move forward and try not to replicate them. To those who contributed on a whole other level by creating events, like alscon's Cusco event chain, or by brainstorming event ideas, like 05060403's Arabia narrative, I offer a special thanks for going beyond what is required of a player. To those who produced large walls of IC text, wrote up detailed laws, and participated actively either in the custom events I created in-thread or in parliamentary proceedings, I want you to know that I appreciate all of your posts. It was people like you that kept this iAAR alive through active participation and brightened my day by letting me know that at least someone felt it worth dedicating their free time to my creation. I could go on, but I think I've made my point. An iAAR can become a labour of love, one a GM wants nothing more than to see succeed, and only with a dedicated player base can it flourish and grow. At this point, this iAAR and Hispania is as much your creation as it is mine. I hope you can all look back at it as I do and appreciate what we have created together.))
 
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zenphoenix

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((I would be okay with a sequel into Vicky, but I'd like to hear other people's opinions first.

For the conversion, why don't we just set the end date in the defines to 1836 and play as normal for the next 15 years? That would allow us to organically set up the scenario for the sequel without too much work, but there are also story benefits to just skipping ahead fifteen years.

Thanks for the ride. It was a pleasure playing through this with all of you.))
 

Michaelangelo

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((I would be okay with a sequel into Vicky, but I'd like to hear other people's opinions first.

For the conversion, why don't we just set the end date in the defines to 1836 and play as normal for the next 15 years? That would allow us to organically set up the scenario for the sequel without too much work, but there are also story benefits to just skipping ahead fifteen years.

Thanks for the ride. It was a pleasure playing through this with all of you.))

((Doesn't playing past the end date cause all kinds of issues? I'm not exactly sure what the converter looks at, but I'm worried doing that might change something to screw up some value. My knowledge of the converter and what exactly happens when the date is extended isn't exactly extensive though. Part of me wants to avoid relying on the game for the gap since I know it is likely that I'll have to nerf Hispania going into Vicky 2, something that can be more easily accomplished by taking control of events away from the game.))
 

zenphoenix

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((Doesn't playing past the end date cause all kinds of issues? I'm not exactly sure what the converter looks at, but I'm worried doing that might change something to screw up some value. My knowledge of the converter and what exactly happens when the date is extended isn't exactly extensive though. Part of me wants to avoid relying on the game for the gap since I know it is likely that I'll have to nerf Hispania going into Vicky 2, something that can be more easily accomplished by taking control of events away from the game.))
((No, I extended the end date of my megacampaign in EU4 to 1836 and it converted over with no issues other than the usual mild bordergore. So an extension of the game to 1836 could work. But, as you said you want to nerf Hispania, and I don't think that can be easily done in the game without a bunch of events to railroad it, at which point there's little fun left in the game. It's ultimately up to you to decide whether to extend or just skip, as it's your iAAR.))
 

Michaelangelo

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((No, I extended the end date of my megacampaign in EU4 to 1836 and it converted over with no issues other than the usual mild bordergore. So an extension of the game to 1836 could work. But, as you said you want to nerf Hispania, and I don't think that can be easily done in the game without a bunch of events to railroad it, at which point there's little fun left in the game. It's ultimately up to you to decide whether to extend or just skip, as it's your iAAR.))

((It's good to know that extending the timeline is a possibility and not game-breaking. I think you're right about the events thing though. It's the main reason I'd avoid continuing more into EUIV since I'd have to throw some heavy events at Hispania to knock it down. Easier to do when I'm deciding everything instead of the game. I suppose it depends if everyone even thinks nerfing is necessary. I'm inclined to see us a bit weaker since it'll leave us with something to do in the Vicky 2 part without being too easy, but on the other hand we have a world that's surprisingly filled with some very stable large nations. France, Scandinavia, Germany, Byzantium, and Lithuania have all blobbed quite well and might actually provide a challenge in Vicky 2. I honestly think what's made everything so easy for us up until the end here is the alliance web. Europe didn't have a lot going on when every major European nation outside Eastern Europe was pretty much allied with each other. I mean I had to force a conflict with our civil war just to break them up, and then the alliances just shifted to replace Austria with Germany. Things could potentially be more challenging if the alliances weren't there.

Speaking of alliances, this is a question for anyone knowledgeable about Vicky 2. I seem to remember that until great wars are unlocked, every nation can only have one great power ally, meaning that great powers can at most be paired off and alliance webs won't exist at the start. Does this actually exist or am I not remembering things correctly? Also, does anyone know that if this rule does apply, would it break up multiple alliances between great powers after conversion? It's one of the many things I've been wondering for conversion since I suspect I'll have to make major adjustments to the diplomatic situation in this iAAR and start breaking up alliances.))
 

zenphoenix

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((It's good to know that extending the timeline is a possibility and not game-breaking. I think you're right about the events thing though. It's the main reason I'd avoid continuing more into EUIV since I'd have to throw some heavy events at Hispania to knock it down. Easier to do when I'm deciding everything instead of the game. I suppose it depends if everyone even thinks nerfing is necessary. I'm inclined to see us a bit weaker since it'll leave us with something to do in the Vicky 2 part without being too easy, but on the other hand we have a world that's surprisingly filled with some very stable large nations. France, Scandinavia, Germany, Byzantium, and Lithuania have all blobbed quite well and might actually provide a challenge in Vicky 2. I honestly think what's made everything so easy for us up until the end here is the alliance web. Europe didn't have a lot going on when every major European nation outside Eastern Europe was pretty much allied with each other. I mean I had to force a conflict with our civil war just to break them up, and then the alliances just shifted to replace Austria with Germany. Things could potentially be more challenging if the alliances weren't there.

Speaking of alliances, this is a question for anyone knowledgeable about Vicky 2. I seem to remember that until great wars are unlocked, every nation can only have one great power ally, meaning that great powers can at most be paired off and alliance webs won't exist at the start. Does this actually exist or am I not remembering things correctly? Also, does anyone know that if this rule does apply, would it break up multiple alliances between great powers after conversion? It's one of the many things I've been wondering for conversion since I suspect I'll have to make major adjustments to the diplomatic situation in this iAAR and start breaking up alliances.))
((I would agree with nerfing Hispania. While the world is quite stable as it is currently, it really doesn't present a challenge because we're allied with everybody and we can win every war easily by swarming an enemy with our vassals and allies. As for the one great power ally thing, you can actually ally more than one great power ally, but it just gets harder to do the more you ally. The alliance webs will still exist at game start, but some GPs might randomly break alliances once you start playing because of the mechanic. It's also hardcoded and I don't know how to get around it.

Some other things. Regarding the colonies, at their current level of liberty desire they'd be directly integrated into Hispania. You'd gain cores on all of their territories and they'd have cores, but you directly own their provinces. That would give Hispania an unfair advantage, so I'd recommend that we either grant the colonies autonomy (so that they spawn as satellites) or full independence in the fifteen year gap. And personal unions aren't converted over but rather put in your sphere of influence, so Bavaria and Transdacia might present some issues. Especially the former if it's then sphered and annexed by Germany. And it would be best if we break up the alliance web and the vassal swarm, though in a realistic and believable manner.))
 

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((tl;dr: I'm uncertain about whether to continue on to Victoria II or not and require player input on the matter. I've also detailed what a potential conversion effort will entail. If you don't want to read my entire rant, scroll down to the bottom for more exact instructions.


The Future of EotM


Now that this iAAR is at an end, I'm sure many of you are wondering what will happen next. Is this the end or will I transfer over to Victoria II? Well there's a very convoluted answer to that question. I know I've made vague references to a sequel and even asked who was interested in one several months ago. Since that day, I have been debating with myself on the merits and difficulties of moving on to Vicky 2. I can safely say that I've literally changed my mind on the matter every week since. I've hesitated to make any final decision due to my indecisiveness, knowing that my mind could change in an instant. When I did make a decision, it usually didn't last long. At one point I was writing up scenarios for the sequel and at another I was trying to minimize my interaction with this iAAR because I didn't want to think about a possible sequel. I had hoped I would make up my mind before this iAAR ended, but I am still flip-flopping. Because of that, I am almost entirely unprepared for any conversion efforts or the required interlude between 1821 and 1836. This isn't that big of a deal, since there isn't exactly a time limit on when a possible conversion has to be done. I could start it today or I could start it a month from now; either would work. Anyway, to sum it all up, I am still unsure about whether I want to convert or not. I know I should be making a definite decision at this point, but I hesitate still because I don't want to make a big mistake that I might regret. I've decided the best course then is to discuss with all of you the future of this iAAR, if there is even to be one, so that we can all work out what we want to happen. Ultimately, an iAAR is dependent on a working consensus between the GM and the players, and I don't want to make a decision that would be detrimental to the players. Now, to best discuss the matter, I should probably better explain where I'm coming from first.

As I've said, I have been thinking about the future of this iAAR for months. I've carefully examined by myself both the pros and cons of continuing on. On the pro side, there is the obvious desire from everyone to see this continued, and I'd feel like a poor GM if I just ignored what the players wanted, especially after raising the possibility of a sequel. There is still part of me that wants to see where Hispania goes in Victoria II. I've had fun during this iAAR, and there will be similar moments during the Vicky 2 portion. However, I must also consider the cons. Running an iAAR is a lot of work, and there have been many moments during this one where I felt either overwhelmed or burnt out just trying to keep up. There would be times where I'd log on to Paradox, see a notification for this thread, and be filled with anxiety because I'd know it probably meant more work for me. Over the past few months I've tried to take a more laid-back approach, and perhaps people have noticed that my GMing was particularly lax during this period. I stretched deadlines and stopped letting this iAAR intervene with real life affairs. It certainly helped keep me from getting too stressed out, but I felt at times my GMing became quite poor or I'd get anxious anyway because I'd realize it'd just leave more work for me to do if I kept delaying for too long. I'm still unsure what the best approach is to make sure the iAAR proceeds smoothly without wearing me out. Then there's the matter of time management. I'm not generally a busy person, so I've had plenty of free time to dedicate to this iAAR. I'm worried going into the future I may not have as much time. I've also had moments where I've felt that I'd rather be spending my free time doing something else. It's rare for me to stick with any one thing for long, let alone a year and a half. I'm worried I won't be able to manage another year of an iAAR, especially as I yearn to try other things. I've even contemplated going back to normal AARs, since they require far less work and a less strict time schedule, although I'd never consider doing one while also working on an iAAR. The question of whether I can actually keep up with an iAAR for another year without losing interest or burning out has been the biggest dilemma I've considered. Then there's the minor fact that I haven't played Victoria II in well over a year and am not all that familiar with it. My ability to play it, and especially mod it, will be much more limited that with EUIV. While not a major hurdle, it will certainly present limitations.

Reading over that, it certainly sounds likes I really don't want to continue on into Vicky 2. Don't let the negativity dampen all hopes of a sequel. I'm still not entirely set against it. I've been trying to contemplate possible ways of continuing on while also lessening my workload so I don't feel overwhelmed. Various ideas have come to mind, but none I'm dead set on yet. One possibility is forcing the Trastámaras into a reduced role, either by withdrawing them from the forefront or creating a government less reliant on them. This would cut down on my IC obligations and put the initiative on the players to push the narrative forward. I've grown quite attached to the Trastámaras though and wouldn't want to simply remove them or push them out of the limelight without justification. I've also considered changes to the iAAR mechanics to make things easier for me. For example, I'd likely use much less custom events, especially since I'm not all that familiar with Victoria II, so any sequel would involve me interfering with in-game events on a much smaller scale. I'd still craft events for the minor changes required to make the game work with the iAAR, but likely there won't be any big events without help from others. This could also extend to the iAAR itself. A more toned-down iAAR would be much easier to manage and relieve a great burden by making the whole process streamlined, but would sacrifice a level of interactivity on the players' part. There would simply have to be things that players could no longer do because it'd either require modding beyond my skill level or GM interference requiring excess work on my part. I'm not sure about doing that since it could dampen the fun for players, although it would certainly make things easier for me. At this point, I'm simply trying to think of a way this iAAR can continue without wearing me out in the process and becoming a boring affair for the players. This is where your input is appreciated. I want to discuss this thoroughly, since you all have as much at stake in this iAAR as I do. It may have been my creation, but you all shaped Hispania and contributed through your many characters. It'd be unfair for me to make a judgment call right now without consulting you all first. I welcome any ideas or suggestions, and I won't make a final decision until I've felt this has been thoroughly discussed. As I've said, there's no time limit on converting, so it's better to work things out for a time before rushing into things, if we decide continuing is worth doing at all.


The Victoria II Conversion

With that out of the way, I may as well detail what the process of conversion would require from all of us. First off, we obviously need to fill the gap between 1821 and 1836. I've considered many ways of doing this, but have yet to prepare anything definite. We could simply keep ICing as usual and act as though we're still moving through the EUIV portion. I'd have to make the call on what happens for the in-game stuff, making up world events and other dilemmas, and then presenting these as updates interrupted by parliamentary sessions. The other option I considered was a semi-interactive gap where I simply present problems and the players vote on how to respond to them. There would be no laws or the other bits that usually occurred between updates so as to streamline the process, but it'd sacrifice a level of interactivity. It'd also be a more linear path, with preset goals that would be determined by the various votes. I definitely do not want to just cut out player involvement entirely and dictate what happens during those 15 years, since that would defeat the whole purpose of an iAAR to begin with. Regardless of how we do this, I expect this entire process to take a month or so to complete to ensure there is adequate time to conduct votes and IC.

Seeing as this 15-year period will determine what state Hispania will be in at the start of Vicky 2, I cannot start the official conversion process until it is completed. That means it is likely that the Vicky 2 portion of this iAAR would not occur for another month or two, since I'd need adequate time to move us through the 15-year gap and then actually convert the save file. I have yet to actually try any conversion efforts, so I don't know yet how stable the game would be. I'd likely have to do some tweaking and experimenting to see what the game would turn out like in Vicky 2. I'd hate to go through the whole process, only to discover the file breaks every time and we can't actually convert. If anyone is interest, I have included the 1821 save file on the front page, so feel free to conduct your own conversions and see how the file works in Vicky 2. I'll need to figure out not only how stable it will be, but what glaring issues will have to be rectified. I know religion will be an issue since we're using a custom religion in EUIV. All of these problems should be made note of before conversion officially begins so I can work on them at the appropriate time. I'll also be including the updated mod files soon just in case they're needed. I may need assistance at some point, since as I've said I'm not all that familiar with Vicky 2. I will most likely try to do as much as possible in EUIV, such as changing borders and such, but obviously some things will have to be done in Vicky 2.

While both of these are going on, there is still another step that needs to be conducted. Seeing as the Vicky 2 portion of this iAAR is still an iAAR and posted in a new part of the forum, I will need to get mod approval. I expect since I completed this one with minimal problems, there shouldn't be objections, but I will need to write up entirely new rules to present to them first. Most likely during the process of covering the gap years, I'll be working away at tweaking our existing rules to work with Vicky 2. I'll also have to make myself more familiar with Vicky 2's mechanics so I know what to account for and what to change. I expect the time required for the 15-year gap should be more than enough to allow me to prepare some rules and gain mod approval, so I hope to have that all finished before the actual conversion effort begins.

Once all three of those processes are completed, the actual Vicky 2 portion of this iAAR can begin. I will be giving preference to existing players when making characters and parties, meaning that you won't have to worry about some newcomer stealing your titles or a new party outshining an existing one. Tied into this will be some necessary tweaking, since all noble titles are tied to the EUIV provinces, which may require changes for Vicky 2. As for the parties, I'll need to know their ideology and party issues during the conversion effort to ensure they are properly represented in-game. This can all be dealt with later once we're closer to the date.


Conclusion

I feel like I'm writing an essay here. If you've actually come this far, thanks for bearing with me. Now is the time for you all to give your input. Do you all still want a Victoria II sequel? Do you have ideas on how to proceed so that everyone can still enjoy it without it wearing me out in the process? Do you have any suggestions for how to conduct a potential conversion? Any thoughts on the matter are appreciated and I encourage open discussion. I don't intend to rush this as I have with certain parts of this iAAR in the past, nor do I intend to not give it the attention it is due. I may be tired and ready to do new things, but I haven't given up on this iAAR yet. I hope to reach a possible solution that will make the whole process workable and enjoyable.

On another matter, I feel it only appropriate to thank each and every one of you. This iAAR would have never reached 1821 without you. To those who joined right at the start and stuck it out to the end, I admire your perseverance and thank you for sticking by me the whole way. It's not easy dedicating a small part of your life to one thing for a year and a half. To those who joined later on but still gave it their all, I appreciate all you've done and it's your contribution rather than the length of your participation that matters the most. To those who came and went several times but still made it to the end, I realize that there were times when this iAAR had lost its appeal and I'm thankful you kept finding a reason to return each time. To those who participated for a small time and then left to never return, I only hope that during your small time with us you had fun and enjoyed your time here. To those who gave me many headaches and were a blight on their fellow players, I thank you for the memories that are only truly funny in hindsight. I will never forget the 7k ship fleet, the child army, the mind-reading, the animals spies, and the many other hilarious moments. To those who stuck it out during the hard times or when I made tough or poor decision (alscon, I still feel bad about allowing one of your characters to be spam-assassinated), I am grateful that you trusted me enough to allow me to fix my mistakes. To those who left because of my mistakes, I can only offer my sincere apologies. There are still many moments I regret and wish I could take back, but I can only move forward and try not to replicate them. To those who contributed on a whole other level by creating events, like alscon's Cusco event chain, or by brainstorming event ideas, like 05060403's Arabia narrative, I offer a special thanks for going beyond what is required of a player. To those who produced large walls of IC text, wrote up detailed laws, and participated actively either in the custom events I created in-thread or in parliamentary proceedings, I want you to know that I appreciate all of your posts. It was people like you that kept this iAAR alive through active participation and brightened my day by letting me know that at least someone felt it worth dedicating their free time to my creation. I could go on, but I think I've made my point. An iAAR can become a labour of love, one a GM wants nothing more than to see succeed, and only with a dedicated player base can it flourish and grow. At this point, this iAAR and Hispania is as much your creation as it is mine. I hope you can all look back at it as I do and appreciate what we have created together.))
((While I don't know anything about Victoria, I can say that EotM has been pretty great, and I appreciate all the work that you put into it. :) I know I would not have been able to continue making quality IC so often for so long. As to extending, I too do not have any opinion either way, but if you do extend, I have a suggestion. During the fifteen years gap, you could kill Alfons, and let Hispania suffer. Whatever you want, Second Phoenix War, Lithuanian Resurgence, Colonial Insurrection, Asian nationalism. If the players agree, you could use our surviving characters and plans to culminate in a Neapolitan Nightmare. :cool: In the end, Hispania is in whatever state you want, and crucially, is a republic. That would allow you to not have to spend so much of your life on the Paradox forums, and I'm pretty sure that, regardless of Imperial efforts to postpone it, that's were we would have ended up eventually. ;) While I'm sure Lagos would be offended, Lagos is dead, :p and I don't care.))
 
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((I am fine with whatever decision you make, although I must caution that converting directly would effectively remove any semblance of difficulty in Victoria 2, so unless there is some master plan to perforate and dismember the Empire, I'm not sure a V2 continuation would be quite as fulfilling.

Now, if I had to be honest with my personal preference, I'm inclined to say that I'd just like a very good epilogue and a focus on putting together a new, separate IAAR. I almost feel as though it is time for a new story to begin, although I may be the only one who holds such a conviction...))