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HolisticGod

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Machiavelli III: From Dawn to Decadence
Contributors
Aldo
Archduke
AttilatheHun
Barnius
Damocles
Devil
ForzaA
HolisticGod
Juv95hrn
Lord_Robertus
Mulliman
Norrefeldt
Slargos

Edited by HolisticGod​




It is necessary to take such measures that, when they believe no longer, it may be possible to make them believe by force

Fortune is a woman, and it is necessary to conquer her by force; and it is seen that she allows herself to be mastered by the adventurous rather than by those who go to work more coldly. She is, therefore, always, woman-like, a lover of young men, because they are less cautious, more violent, and with more audacity (bold, daring) command her

Hence it is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity

You must know there are two ways of contesting, the one by the law, the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second. Therefore it is necessary for a prince to understand how to avail himself of the beast and the man

and a prince ought, above all things, always to endeavour in every action to gain for himself the reputation of being a great and remarkable man​




The Game
Type: Multiplayer RP/AAR
Style: Varied
Scenario: PE 1520, M3 Version
Difficulty: Normal/Normal
Key Special Conditions: All countries bumped down a tech group; inflation injetions; three province limitation in European wars; colonial wars; GM-enforced roleplay
Rules*: Can be found here, along with OOC discussion
Game Progress: (starts Tuesday, January 20th)
*Note: Not completed

A highly competitive MP game focused on a realistic adherence to contemporary morals, politics, warfare, religion and diplomacy. Players take on the role of individual monarchs, leaders, ministers and clerics not merely to report on the ambitions and values, triumphs and defeats, marriages and alliances, wars and treaties of their mother countries, but to decide them.

Theoretically.

This is the thread for diplomacy, peace agreements, histories, condemnations, trivialization and glorification. I hope to see an eclectic range of approaches to this-from straight delivery of the facts to novels of the type seen from MrT and LordDurham to satires like my own Hitchhiker's Guide. To that end, I'm going to be running three separate AARs of my own:

*A Brief History of Europe, running down major events from every session in an Encyclopedic manner

*The Tolerance Train: A Multicultural Pilgrimage to Mecca, Rome and Beyond! (drawing on my RP roles as Pope, Patriarch and Sheyhulislam

*The Potsdam Classics, Annotated (for the history of Brandenburg)

Of course, insane ambition cometh before the dryspell.

But I hope this will encourage a little more activity than we saw last time. More than that, I strongly urge anyone reading to respond to the literary content with all the customary oooing and awwwing and feedback. Most of these guys, for all their experience with the game, are AAR virgins. A little necking here and there, but nothing to pee on a stick about.

So give them a ravishing welcome.

Game commentary and questions, as always, go in the OOC thread in the MP forum.
 
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HolisticGod

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(Note: I'm going to post the damn thread in case I fail to finish the opening pages before passing out tonight. I know certain persons would very much like to get started and they may proceed. If nothing else, I can throw up a couple place-holders)

This is the After Action Report for the third installment of the now legendary multiplayer franchise Machiavelli. Building on a range of styles (play- and writing-), and serving as the hub of diplomacy, political chicanery, artwork and shameless self-promotion, it promises to rouse the spirit, touch the soul, inflame the body and stimulate the mind.

If history is any guide, it shall not deliver.

But the beginning is so fresh and exhilarating and filled with bounding hope! Let us, for a moment, suspend disbelief. Let us, for a moment, put faith in the noble members of our Fellowship, among whom we may count the Seawolf of Portugal, the Emperor of Poland-Germany, the Swedish Slayer of Own Officers, the Spanish Scorer of Own Goals, the Peacemaker (200 hundred years to be exact-200 Turkish years), the Bane of Austria (Austria), the Destroyer of (New) Worlds and the Magnificently Inconspicuous Viking. Let us, for a moment, trust that their towering achievements on the pixelated fields of battle and the mountains of inflation shall now be repeated in the glowing verisimilitude of language, of epic. Let us, for one brief, shining moment, one epochal, soul-defining, boundary-breaking, idiotically optimistic moment, believe with all our hearts that HG will finish an AAR.

Or that Damocles (Sweden) will not push his conquests to the extremis of good taste.

Or that Barnius (England) will participate at a reasonable volume.

Or that Mulliman (Russia) will participate at all.

Or that Robertus (Portugal) will make good on his promise to wage senselessly bloody, ravenous war on any nation that dares round the Cape of Good Hope.

Or that Juv (Venice) will make good on his promise not to recreate the Kingdom of Italy by 1600.

Or that Attila (Spain) will remember to convert his provinces before going 10 innovative.

Or that ForzaA (Austria) will get to play more than one session.

Or that Aldo (Ottoman Empire) will refrain from saying "you know, I don't think I should have to take the lower tech group" sometime around 1614.

Or that Devil (France) really will defend Scotland.

Or that Nor (Denmark) won't brutally violate Sweden with Russia at the earliest convenience.

Or that the GM will show up on time to sessions.

Or that Duke (Holland) won't quit the moment Slargos is a bastard in Reloaded.

Or that Slargos (Poland), dear, wonderful Slargos, shall one day when the heroes of glad tidings and the riders of ill fortune have gone from the world and the days of legend are past, come to have a (1) by his name in this thread's post count.

You may say, my patient readers, that I am a dreamer.

But I am not the only one.
 

HolisticGod

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Placeholder.
 

ForzaA

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House Habsburg, winter of 1519-1520

DISCLAIMER: My AAR’s will contain some parts of the Wheel of Time novels by Robert Jordan. Be they happenings in the book, things that are likely to happen in one of the next books, or things that likely have happened, or things that could have happened. As such, I would advice anyone who is in the process of reading the series to be aware that I might be giving away some plotlines.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Seventh Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Alps. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
Born among the snowy peaks and icy dales that made up most of the Alps, the cold wind blew east and north across the numerous passes in the Alps, filled with the organised busyness that were the camps of the Habsburg army. The wind sent a chill down the spine of every man outside.

But the wind blew further still, north and east, slowly losing some of its freezing cold, until it reached Vienna, Seat of the governor of Austria. Georg, on the way to a meeting with his lords, Karl, or Carlos, Ruler of all of House Habsburg, and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and Ferdinand, who ruled Austria in the name of his brother. They had demanded his secrecy, and thus he was forced to walk the way from his camp to the palace, even so, he hid deep in his cloak, wondering to himself if it was just the secrecy, or that the wind had more of an effect to him than he was willing to admit. Suddenly, the wind seemed to gain strength, and became even colder. Ducking even deeper into his cloak, it seemed the wind settled into him, became part of him, or woke a part of him he had never known.

Chuckling, he continued his way to the palace, eventually reaching it, and entered through a little used backdoor. He made his way to a room that was used only for secretive councils like these, knocked softly, and after a knock on the door from the other side, he waited a few seconds, then slowly entered the room, bowing as he entered, ”my lords”.

“You have received our orders?” Emperor Karl was never a man of formality in those secretive meetings, “Are they secret, are they safe?”
“Certainly, milord,” less formal, but that didn’t mean Georg would not be punished if he did not show proper respect.
“Excellent, although I am afraid there has been a change of plans.”
”A change, milord? “
”Withdraw as many men as you can from the borders, without leaving them too vulnerable, it seems the Turk is up to something,” Ferdinand nodded, a nod of not liking, but agreeing that it was all that could be done.
”I will see to it at once, milord.”
”One more thing, the Turks seem to have an army larger than ever, and will likely outnumber us 6 to 1 or worse.”
”May we shelter safe beneath the Light, in the Creator’s hand” Georg muttered. ”Sorry, what did you say?”
”Nothing, my lord.” Yet, at the same time, he thought to himself - what was that, where did that come from- but he didn’t know, as a matter of fact, he had no idea at all.
” with your, permission, my lords, I will carry out your orders at once,” Bowing, and moving backwards, he reached the door, slowly opened it, looked both ways before stepping out, and made his way out of the palace, and back towards the camp.

That night, sleep wouldn’t come to Georg, and his mind wandered back to the incident of that day, speaking words he would never have used. -My apologies, those words were mine-
Never before Georg had been so fast out of bed, trembling, but his sword was steady in his hand.”Who’s there?” Georg demanded.
-Trickster, gambler, son of battles… Toy... I have been named many names, I had a real name too, but it is of no importance-
”Where are you, why are you here?”
-I was hoping you could tell me the first, to the second, I am here to help you, you have an important role in the Pattern, you have seen many a battle, and will see many more, but I know more battles than you would even believe have been fought-
”Pattern, what pattern?” Georg was almost crying, -what curse of Satan has caught me-
-Don’t ever speak that name, it draws the attention of the Dark One-
-What name? And why do you know what I think? How do you know I have fought many a battle, or that I am important?-
-Shai’tan, thinking it is barely safe, but NEVER speak it out. Your questions, I wouldn’t know, but the Pattern has strange ways to guide people to ensure that the Wheel continues to turn-
-Pattern, Wheel ?-
-What strange Age did I end up in that doesn’t know the Pattern or the Wheel? The Pattern and the Wheel ARE this world. The wheel moves it, make things happen, and everything has its influence on the Pattern-
-Nonsense! The Lord created the world in 6 days, and he sent his Son to save us. But leave me now! I must be rested if I am to save Austria from the vile Turks-
-Turks? What are they like? People that look like animals?-
-They don’t look like animals, no, but they fight like beasts, their army is formidable, their cavalry seldom, if ever, beaten, and there seems to be no end to them-
-I have seen enough battles where superior cavalry was beaten by determined infantry, do not worry. The Light willing, and with my help, you will win this-

”What do you think, my brother, will we be able to stop the Turk?”
”Whether or not we are able, it does not matter, we simply must,” Ferdinand paused, and shivered, ”And then there is the French, ever pushing into Italy, they must be stopped as well. And if that was not enough, the Empire crumbles with the preaching of these heretics, just now that the Empire needs unity the most.”
”The situation is indeed dire, my brother, but I am convinced that the Doge of Venice will help us, and Zygmunt will not stand by idly when the Turk comes”
”I can but hope you are right, and pray for the strength to survive the onslaught that will be upon us soon.”
 

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Making the Indian Ocean Portugese. An introduction to the World of Portugal

It was a bright sunny day in Lisbon as the King, Manuel I and his advisors were sitting at a balcony in the Royal Palace, overlooking the bay and admiring the Portugese navy. Small talk had been made for the past hour as the people gathered sipped their wine and just enjoyed the day. Mauel stood up and with a contented look upon his face addressed his Council.

'My friends, it is time that we discussed our policy. I am old, yet I am determined that I leave a leacy of greatness for my son, to create an empire that the sun will never set on, mastery of the waves and exclusive control of the trade of India and the Far East. Yes it is a great task we must set upon, but do it we shall.'

The councilors nodded in agreement at this, already a good part of the Far east had been mapped out, it was now time to seize their destiny and bring the East under their control and to bring it to the greater light of Catholicism.

'To this end, my friends' Manuel continued, 'I have decided that we shall colonise the Cape of Good Hope. With that area under our control I entend to sink any vessel that attempts to pass it, unless they have asked for permission to pass. Even then, they may still be sunk.'

There were some mumors of dissension about this. To do so would alinate a great deal of their fellow Europeans and bring some finacial discomfort due to loss of trade, but the look on Mauel's face said it all, he would not be swayed on this. But Mauel would not live forever and maybe his son could be made to change this policy...

'But what about the Lands we have discovered in the New World?' The Councilor of the exchequer asked. 'Great wealth lies there, will we leave it to be claimed by others?'

'The Lands will eb colonised' Manuel responded, 'But our destiny lies in the East....'

With that Manuel dismissed them and turned to admire his fleet.
 

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كفّار فيينّا و بودابست سيُهْزَمُونَ و يُدْفَعُونَ للرّكوع في البوّابة العالية
اللّه الأكبر


With those words, Sultan Selîm I Yavuz ended a long enthusiastic speach held for a great crowd of Janissaries in late 1919. It was quite clear for the audience that the Ottoman war machine would soon be running again and they were the ones that would have to make the machine run.

Still everything was calm but the High Gate followed events in Europe closely and soon the storm would be set free.
 
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devil

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PAR: Tales of France

Here follows the early tales of François I King of France, written by the court chronicler.

Our King François I was crowned King of France in 1515 in the cathedral at Reims, a great day that will always be remembered.
post-6-1074475938.jpg


François I, is know as a member of the Valois Dynasty, he was born at Cognac, Charente. He is the son of Charles d'Angoulême and Louise of Savoy.
I his short reign France has already made good cultural advances. When young Francis ascended the throne in 1515 he was a king with unprecedented humanist credentials. While his two predecessors, Charles VIII and Louis XII, has spent much of their reigns concerned with Italy they never did much embrace the new ideas coming from Italy. Our King is much more open to the intellectual movements coming out of Italy.

Contact between the French and Italians in the long running series of wars under Charles and Louis had brought new ideas to France by the time the young Francis was receiving his education. Thus Our King had a good number of tutors, such as Desmoulins, his Latin instructor, and Christophe de Longeuil was schooled in the new ways of thinking. One can state that our King has received an education more oriented towards humanism than any previous French king.

By the time François ascended the throne in 1515 the new Renaissance ideas had clearly arrived in France, a new intriguing period is about to arrive and François has from ascendance been an important supporter of the change. He has already lent his support to many new artists and encouraged them to come to France. Some has arrived and began working for our great King, including such greats as Andrea del Sarto, and Leonardo da Vinci. On a personal note, it is rumored Leonardo will take up permanent residence in France. Our King has worked hard at improving the royal library, and collection of books has been expanded, because knowledge is the key to victory as the king reminds us. Our King has employed agents in Italy looking for rare books and manuscripts, just as he has been looking for art works. My lord even opened his library to scholars from around the world in order to facilitate the diffusion of knowledge.

Our King François I, has already shown himself as an impressive builder and he has poured vast amounts of money into new structures. He has continued the work of his predecessors on the Chateau Amboise and also started renovations on the Royal Chateau at Blois. He has also begun construction of the magnificent Chateau Chambord. Our King François is even known to be considering rebuilding the Louvre, Hotel de Ville for Paris, and maybe the largest project of all the reconstruction and expansion of Royal Chateau of Fontainebleau.

Militarily and politically, wise François’ reign is still largely unknown. He has his allies in north the proud scots, and has good relations with other countries. His concern is the habsburg house that rules spain and austria.

He could always continue to pursue more influence on the italian lands, the battles in: 1495 Battle of Fornovo and 1509 Battle of Agnadello are not to be forgotten. The series of wars in Italy has been going on since plotting of Ludovico Sforza of Milan who encouraged French involvement. At present day, our King is ruler of Milan and Genoa as he should be. That will our great King do, only time will tell...
 

Machiavellian

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Oooooooooo AaahhHAhhhhh..



... When does the bloodletting start?
 

HolisticGod

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Mach,

You are welcome to make AAR-related comments in this thread. All other questions, opinions, ideas, suggestions, requests, bewilderment, etc., belongs in the OOC thread as noted above. Trying to avoid sensory overload. ;)

Just for future reference.

Thanks.
 

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Peril in the Republic...

The Doges council was gathered in the great Hall of the Palace at the St. Marcus Square. The exquisite surroundings did not hide the fact that the richly clad men around the table were in deep thought and concentration.
“So, the snake will not yield?” inquired the leader of the men?
“No. Sire, he will not release your sister from her marriage. Her letters only indicate she is in dire need of assistance. Fleeing the city is probably impossible, bribery has failed and diplomacy has utterly been meaningless, Sire.” This answered a fine-boned man of great stature, wearing the baton of the ministry of external affairs in his aging hands. Luigi Fratello, foreign minister of the Republic of Venice thought of the ill tidings of lately. The Turks had overrun most of the interior of the Balkans and were now neighbors and owners of large tracts of formerly Venetian land in the eastern Mediterranean. The new national states in the rest of Europe had shown great efficiency in raising arms and money that surpassed the richness of the ancient city states of northern Italy even that of Venice itself. Austria had gathered a league of nations and forced Venice to yield her interest of the HRE in northern Italy. In truth the future, and the recent past, did not look grand for his beloved republic, including his own very powerful trading, banking and merchandize house.

“Why would I ever promise my sister to that maggot the Duke of Mantua” spoke the Doge Leonardo Loredano. That she would be mistreated and disrespected any fool could have foreseen. That the obligations and dues to Venice would conveniently be forgotten any child should have understood. “We can’t go on like this any longer.”
“No, Sire. The matter has gone long enough already. The Duke should not be allowed to act in this manner to the damage of our great republic” spoke one of the younger council members, always eager to show his support for the ruling man.
“I sense the council is ready to vote in the matter,” stated Fratello.
“Is there no risk of repercussions from the Habsburgs or other states, no risk of the Turks overrunning our backyard while we reclaim what always has been ours” inquired one of the senior merchants known for his cunning, lures and substantial interest in the spice trades.
“Yes of course that risk is always there but the situation has become intolerable and we must act or see our dignity forever soiled. Besides we aren’t meddling in the matter of the Empire since Mantua is outside it. This territory has belonged to the sphere of interest of Venice since ancient times. All in favor of mustering the army and declaring war against our treacherous neighbor to punish him for his betrayal, raise their hands now” Fratello spoke.

Under silence the council took its vote…
 
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State Loans...

To the nations, peoples and States of Europe.

Hereby the Bank of Venice offers splendid opportunities to increase the freedom of economical movement of all levels of political entities in our world. As long as you have a first rate credit rating you are welcome to apply. (Jews, heretics and heathens should not trouble themselves applying.)

Currently we have the following offers:

Counts Loan

Furnish your castle with the latest fashion in tapestries, paintings and furniture. Pay after the drought, flood or rebellion has passed. Don’t see yourself surpassed in splendor and glamour by your neighbors, upstarts as we know them to be.
Details: Sum: 100 Ducats, Loan time: 5 years Interest: 6% per year

Dukes Grant
Are your vassals rebellious? Does your Liege King demand your fealty and deconstruction of your feudal castles? Fear not we have what you need. Raise your own private armies and fight for your ancient feudal rights with our offer. Don’t slid back into subservience and mediocrity! Our help can prolong the honor of your dynasty.
Details: Sum: 200 Ducats, Loan time: 10 years Interest: 5% per year

State Bond
Do you have a new continent to subdue, a war to win, a feudal rebellion at your hands, a King’s ransom to pay? Fear not. We can assist you overcome even the most incompetent management of your feudal, nation’s state treasury… temporarily. With this ’Loan of the Kings’ you can spend like ever before without having to deal with the reality today but leave such trivialities for future generations. Save the honor of you reign by becoming our benefactor,
Details: Sum: 400 Ducats, Loan time: 20 years Interest: 4% per year

Rules:
Loans should be repaid including interest at the end of the loan period.
Loans are not repayable in advance.
Individual terms can be concluded. Please contact our local representatives for further information.
Loans can be prolonged per year if unable to be paid. A service charge of current interest +5% will be charged for such prolongation.
Unpaid loans will be collected. A service charge will be added for this and the customer’s credit rating will be revived meaning less advantageous terms (for the loaner, not the lender.)

Happy loaning
Bank of Venice
 
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England in 1520 and hopes for the future


England is ruled by King Henry VIII, a complex man, with the moments of brilliance, but also with the history of thoughtless decisions with some rather bad consequences. A man lead by impulses, and currently the main one which was leading him was a desire to provide the country a heir of the throne… The fact that his pious wife Catherine of Aragon was up to now unable to give birth to a son was very disturbing and could lead to… who knows what… especially if the Pope would not be ready to compromise… perhaps the King should have more influence on the religious matters… But the Queen was a close relative to the Emperor and King of Spain…

Insecure succession on the throne was not the only problem England was facing. It wasn't even the largest one. A few decades ago England lost almost all her possessions in France. The King have been constantly reminded by English nobility that they were the rightful owners of Normandy and Aquitaine…

In the same time northern provinces were constantly in danger of Scottish raids and pillaging. Something had to be done there too…

There were stories about New World. England wanted her share, there was no question about that, but how? The economy was weak, the navy small… Those were the preconditions for any expansion, be it against France or Scotland or in the New World.

Luckily, Bank of Venice was there and England arranged one rather large loan under favourable terms. England will be opened for the investments for at least a few decades, until our own economy is strong enough to start paying for the expansion. Trade is the most important – we must get our fair share in it.
 
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In the earlier part of the 16th century Moscow was like any other peasants village, only with the addition of a few fancy buildings and tripled in size. The city had become rich from fur trade, it being the centre of the trade lanes from the north and south. From here, the muscovite rulers had become powerful, under the leash of their Mongol masters they had conquered all other Russian principalities and established themselves as the Empire of the Rus. Now was the time to break the dark bond with their former masters to the south, but many precautions had to be taken; Russia had more than a few enemies at her borders. To the west the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania being the clear dominating power of eastern Europe, commanded vast armies (maybe not as vast as the Russian ones but surely more advanced) and possessed great generals like Ostrogski. The threat of this realm was not one to be taken lightly, that was for certain. To the north the weak kingdom of Sweden dominated by Denmark, was perhaps not a power to be reckoned with at this time, but they had a very powerful strategic location, something that could give them the strength to become more powerful in the future.
In the south, the mongol khanates, earlier so mighty but now divided and weak, were ripe for the taking. Beyond that, there were rumours of great lands, rich with resources and wealth.


THE RISE (or fall) OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE 1520 – 1820

Chapter 0
Moscow was almost entirely covered by the black northern night, the only light coming from the heavily clouded moon. The Kremlin was easily seen as a dark silhouette to the black sky, its towering shape standing high above the other houses of the city. Dark shapes moved in the night, somewhere an inn was still open, even at this ungodly hour the sounds of drunken laughter emitting from the bright windows. Like any other city, Moscow had its shortcomings as well as splendours.
Vasily III sat in his chamber, pondering over the future of his realm. The newly formed state was still in its cradle and he could see that there were many enemies standing by, ready to squash its ambitions for glory. The Poles were making threatening demands for the Ukrainian provinces under Russian control. Vasily did not know what to do. The Russians had acquired these lands from the Commonwealth not long ago but right now, their armies were incredibly large with the great Ostrogski leading them. Russian peasants could not do much against these winged hussars. Hopefully the Poles would become preoccupied elsewhere, the Turks were making a fuss down in the Balkans and being a good Christian Zygmunt would have to come to the aid of the Emperor in protecting their lands.
Not only outer enemies threatened Russia’s, and Vasily´s, existence. The boyar Yurij Muravjov was also a thorn in his side. The old noble was more than a power to be reckoned with; rumour had it that he was perhaps even more powerful than Vasily himself, at least at the court. Whatever he was planning, it could not be of good.
The man was probably too influential to be exposed of, so maybe he could be made an ally? The future of Russia was uncertain, but golden glory lay there and the opportunity to grab it would surely come....

NOTE: Be aware that the Empire of Russia has been formed a little earlier in this scenario ;) .

Chapter 1
1520
Yurij Muravjov walked along one of the corridors of his residence. His powerful stature gave away his former service in the army, even though he was an old man by now. He was a boyar, a member the old aristocracy of Russia. Rich and powerful, he owned a lot of lands around the former realms of Novgorod. When the current Tsar Vasily III assumed power, he had moved to Moscow to be able to direct certain matters in person as well as being closer to the court. Known as sly and a lover of intrigues, the current “important people” of the court had tried to have him taken away through a varied flora of actions. Still, Yurij had stayed. He had lived for a long time and could easily tell what the opposition was planning, the ones in the Kremlin most of all. His wide contact net gave him knowledge of every action his enemies as well as his friends were committing, and he had made certain that not a mouse would be able to stir in Moscow without his knowledge. Right now, he was the most influential, powerful and greatest player on the diplomatic field (apart from the tsar of course). He had a toothache and couldn’t sleep.
At this time, medical specialization such as dentistry was no more than a hobby among some of the nobles and “doctors” of the capital and Yurij was not exceptionally fond of having his teeth drawn out. Besides, this tooth had ached since he was sixteen, it was not like he wasn’t used to it. In fact, he thought he would miss the old bugger if he decided to draw it out.
What really held him awake was not his tooth however, no there was another reason for his late excursions in the big residence. A messenger had arrived just that night carrying a message of utmost importance, demanding to speak to the boyar at once. Yurij wondered what the message was, but he could make some guesses already. A month ago, the Polish had made troubling demands for the ruthenian cultured provinces of Poltava and Donetsk. The Tsar had answered with the usual statement, a more verbal form of “no” and since then all communication with the Commonwealth had stopped, news of the hussaria massing at the border had reached Yurij’s ears a week ago. What troubled Yurij was not the war in itself, he already knew the Russians could hold their own on the battlefield but the Polish army was superior in every aspect. He had spoken to the great Ostrogski on several occasions (Yurij was a man of contacts and intelligence after all) and knew that man had a mind like no other. The Russians would have to be really lucky or blessed if they were to win the upcoming war.
What made him sweat however was that a large part of his lands lay around the city of Kharkov, the area the Poles had made advances to. Would the Poles win, which they surely would, he would loose half his fortune. Perhaps a deal could be made with the Polish king…
When he reached the end of the main hallway, he descended the beautifully wooden ornamented stairs into the hallway, where the messenger stood waiting. It was Katja, a young woman who had been hired a few years ago by Yurij, now working at semi-high level in his wide contact net.
“Greetings Yurij, I am sorry to wake you so late but as you may know, I come with a message of utmost importance”, she said, the girl never paid heed to titulations.
“Tell me Katja, I already have a feeling what the matter is.”
“The Poles have invaded, at the moment they are sieging Kharkov and have occupied all lands south of the river Donetsk. It all happened very fast. The Teutons have allied the Commonwealth, right as we speak, they are marching on Pskov”, then she added “The Tsar will be notified in an hour.”

1538
It was a beautiful winter-day, the snow glistening in response to the strong sun, the trees bulging from their weight, the way they always did. Moscow was as usual, filled with serfs, nobles and screaming laughter as well as wailing despair. Even though it was cold, the white sheet made it feel warm somehow and coupled with some furs and the fact that you have lived in this weather for all your life, it was actually a pretty hot day after all.
Ivan took an arrow from his pack and strung it to his short bow. Taking aim, a deep breath and concentrating, he let it go swiftly. The twang and swishing sound was immediately followed by a deep thud and the last sighs of a deer. It had been a pure shot and had hit the leg of his prey, which would cause the animal a lot of pain before it would die. Just like Ivan wanted.
“Great shot my Lord”, Yurij appraised on his side.
Since his crowning two years ago, Ivan had enjoyed hunting even more than before. It provided a great relaxation and the ability to focus his thoughts on the tasks at hand. The realms he had inherited from his father was an Empire in growing. Though Russia had lost to the Poles, after countless of battles and countless of serfish deaths, the lands south of the Donetsk had been ceded to the Commonwealth. It had been a great loss, but not something that could be repaired. Ivan remembered his father when he had made the decision to attack the Khanate of Astrakhan. The outdated Mongols had fallen to the Russian cavalry like wheat before a scythe and the war had gone swiftly. This had given some prestige and the nobles and generals had something to talk about other than the defeat to Poland-Lithuania earlier.
After consolidating his holdings, his father had made the order of attacking Krim and the ravenous slave-traders that lived there. As long as they were not controlled, Russia could not benefit from the fruitful lands they had just conquered (Crimean Tatars and slave traders were known to make raids northwards, taking as many prisoners as possible). With the aid of the ancient kingdom of Georgia the Tatars were crushed, surrendering large amounts of territory to both parties, giving the Tsar access to the Black Sea.
When Ivan took the throne, he continued the conquests of his father. Some more lands of Astrakhan were handed over to Russia and he had just started a second war on this Khanate, aiming to take as much as possible from the corrupt Mongols.
On the second day of ruling, Ivan had been approached by an old boyar, Yurij Muravjov, the man right now accompanying him on his hunting excursion. He had proven incredibly valuable, how stupid his father had been not to accept his services! Yurij provided him with information that the young Tsar in turn used to counter his enemies. He had not demanded any payment, but that was not weird, as anyone would be honoured to serve the Tsar in person. The only thing that troubled him was that there were rumours that Yurij was a friend of the Polish king and that he owned a great deal of estates on the other side of the border. Anyway, it was probably just what is seemed anyway, a rumour.
Smiling, Ivan ran ahead to take care of the now dead deer...
 

Norrefeldt

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Damocles said:
Uber-Buffed Catholic-Funded Denmark + Damoclean Sweden = Longest and Bloodiest Independence War for a Stupid White Peace Ever.

Heretic propaganda!!
Better to fund a righteous war with contributions coming from piouos Christians, living in prayer and toiling for their living, than to plunder churches and monasteries, killing priests and leave the nuns to soldiers. All this to pay for the aggressive war invented by the evil and megalomaniac mind of one nobleman! Gustaf Wasa, name of a viper, I wish you were still kept as hostage to ensure good behaving Swedes. A condemned man bringing condemnation over an entire kingdom.

The wild-eyed and very agitated Danish diplomat left the builing, breathing heavily and face red.
 
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Liber Chronica di Venezia anno 1520-1540

- 1521 Venetian forces march to the city of Mantua and besiege the city finally investing the city, arresting the Duke. Charged with heresy, conspiracy, sodomy, witch craft, murder, Devil worship and countless other sins against the Republic the Duke is found guilty and beheaded in a public execution. Mantua is annexed and added as a fief to the Republic. Mantua’s only ally Bavaria soon make peace with Venice.
Bank of Venice lends substantial amounts to the English King.
-1522 A diplomatic affront is sent from Hesse gaining The Republic a Casus Belli against them and leading to some instability in the Realm.
- 1523 The Papal States together with her ally Tuscany Invades Mantua without proper warning. Inferior Venetian forces barely manage to hold their positions in a number of attempted crossings of the river Po. The Venetian navy sallies and after many skirmishes sinks the Papal navy without any losses. This makes it possible to bypass the Papal armies and land and invest the harbor of Marche. Meanwhile the Papal forces have attacked and stormed Mantua wrecking its fortress in the siege. Attempts at returning to status quo are spurned at by the aggressive papal envoys. After ravaging the Papal homelands the Venetian Guards Army return to Venetian lands and recaptures Mantua.
- 1524 Poland declares war against Venice that has been excommunicated by the most secular and aggressive Pope trying to gain more land in Northern Italy for himself rather than stopping Infidel expansion on the Balkans. After several won battles and Tuscany left the alliance the Pope surprisingly offers Marche to Venice in return for peace. Venetian delegates quickly agree to the surprisingly favorable terms. Poland agrees to White Peace after a couple of months.
- 1525 A punitive expedition is mounted against rebels in the Istrian mountains to help suppress unrest in the Austrian Dukedom. The expedition fail and 5.000 Venetian soldiers and knights vanish in the mountains but the rebels are forced to lift their sieges of the coastal cities in the province.
- 1526 Nobles rebel and causes widespread unrest in the realm.
- 1528 Church functions are stopped costing money and prestige for the Republic
- 1531 New land is claimed outside the Lagoon meaning more taxes and a larger recruitment base for the Republic. Some English loans are prolonged at favorable interest to the English Crown who’s credit rating now is increased from A to AA. Soon the English refuses the one true faith decreasing their credit rating to A once again.
- 1536 A rush of merchants increases Venetian trade incomes somewhat
- 1540 A scandal at court severely diminishes the diplomatic standing of the Current Doge Pietro Liando
 

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Notable Events - Poland.

1520s

- War with Russia. Victory. Poltava, Donetsk -> Poland.
- Conversion efforts somewhat successful. Rough successrate of 50%.
- Trade income on the rise. The Polish Trading Company prospers.
- France aids the missionary work by sending large parts of its clergy to Poland. Suspicions that this is to relieve Francois of his most bothersome priests are surely unfounded. Relations with France strengthened.

1530s

- The Pope calls for help against the Doge who finds himself excommunicated after his assault on Papal lands. Zygmunt sends Hetman Tarnowski and six thousand lances to aid the papal cause. While the princes of the holy roman empire allowes Tarnowski passage, the Habsburg emperor denies it. Are the Doge and the Emperor in collusion? Is there witchcraft or satanworship involved? Only time will tell. Relations with Austria and Venice at an all time low. At arrival in Milano where the French have prepared a stagingground for the Winged Guard, Tarnowski is refused passage into papal lands and can thus not relieve the venetian sieges. Tarnowski instead plunders Venezia.
- That the pope doesn't speak more harshly against the Emperor is worrying Zygmunt, but that he so idly dismiss the helping hand of Poland even more so.
- Conversion efforts continue. A healthy 50% successrate is maintained.
- The promised aid from the emperor in converting the heretics does not materialize. Relations are strained.


Current diplomatic stance of the polish foreign ministry:

Good relations: France, Spain.

Strained relations: Austria, Venice.

Enemies: Russia.

Strategic allies: Sweden.
 
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From the Chronicles of Russia

Showing various pictures of battle.

post-6-1074735862.jpg
 

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The Swedish War of Independence: 1522-1534

OOC: Below is an account of an exceedingly buffed up Denmark vs Sweden in it's war of independence.

For much of the last century, unrest and dissatifaction between Denmark and Sweden have simmered at a low boil. Sweden being more sparsly populated and poorer could not put up much of a fight against the Kings of Denmark who had seemingly unlimited coffers through the Sound Due and the money to pay for well equipped foreign mercenaries, whereas Sweden was forced to rely mostly on peasant levies of stout courage and great heart but little skill or equipment. Yet as time went on, Sweden became less willing to submit to Danish authority. In 1520, the Realm of Sweden became the first formerly Catholic nation to announce itself as a disciple of Martin Luther, whereas Denmark remained catholic, and even began a campaign of purging Protestants from its land, something that it will no doubt, gravely regret. Yet Sweden was poor and weak, and Denmark was among the richest nations on the planet and was also allied with Russia in the east, England in the west, and receiving significant monetary funding from the rich coffers of Spain. Sweden's only allies were the small German states of Mecklemburg and Brandenburg, neither of whom could assist her.

Such a situation may have gone on indefinitely, were it not for the rise of Gustav Vasa, whose own father had perished in the Stockholm Massacere that had been inflicted on a rebellious nobility by the mad King Christian of Denmark. One of the greatest men of Sweden, he was not a warrior, so much as a skillful and knowledgable guide for his country for whom he became its first, true King. In a bid to throw off the yoke of Danish domination and to secure Swedish independence, Gustav Vasa declared war on Denmark and the war for the country's very survival was begun in 1522, after King Christian refused a last time to endorse Swedish sovereignty.

In the first stage of the war, the Swedish peasant armies consisting of around 34,000 troops of almost entirely infantry were surprisingly successful against the Danish catholic mercenaries whom had a very large core of cavalry. In open battle, the armies of Denmark were destroyed or driven back through the deep black forests and icy mountains of Norway. In rapid succession, the provinces of Jamtland, Trondelag, Bergenshus and Finnmark were assaulted and taken, leaving only Narvik and Ostlandet still in Danish hands. In the south, Skane was taken as well. At this stage of the war, Gustav demanded the province of Jamtland from Denmark, yet King Christian refused despite his foul position.

Unfortunately, Swedish troops had been on the offensive for five years straight. Fighting battles in the treacherous terrain of Norway while assaulting strong castles with limited troops took a harsh toll on manpower. Meanwhile, Denmark was flooding it's coffers with it's treasurey for almost a decade straight, running up increasingly high and unwise inflation. Regardless that at the start of the war, the Danish coffers were the largest in Christiandom, and their income the greatest in the Baltic, this was apparently not enough. The King of Spain was also entreated to send amazing amounts of ducats in Denmark's direction, sending them through the Bank of England. As this was going on, Sweden received only the occassional pittance from those on the continent who disagreed with Spain and England's heavy involvement. Yet Gustav Vasa was wise and looked to the future. He did not condone any minting of ducats for the war effort, as to win after such sacrifices would be no better then losing.

Thus, while ignoring the Protestant rebels who seeing the advantage of Sweden who rose up and took both the capital of Copenhagen and Gotland from the Danish monarchy, Denmark began a ruinous course which could only have been possible with the huge amounts of ducats it received from the Catholic community. Bit by bit, King Christian put together a massive army with which he began to campaign exclusively in Norway and to retake his capital. It is exceedingly difficult for one to fight a war in Norway, considering the brutal attrition that takes place. Thus, for several years, with a much smaller army it was forced to wage war on Christian's army lead by General Rantzau to keep it from reclaiming it's provinces.

For five more years this debillitating warfare continued, and war exhaustion lead to some sporadic revolts in Finland that were crushed. Denmark's own rebel situation was out of control with Gotland remaining rebel held for almost a decade, and Bergenshus as well, and many revolts from Skane which sometimes spilled over into Smaland. Yet Finnmark and Jamtland remained in Swedish possession, whilst Bergenshus and Trondelag on the western coast of Norway, and thus incredibly difficult to reach, were slowly besieged and retaken.

Only twice throughout this period did the armies of Denmark launch a direct invasion of Sweden. Both times were met with initial success, until the very end, when the Danish army ended up mauled and fleeting. At one stage, there were only 3,000 troops left in all of Norway. Yet due to Denmark's utter mastery of the sea due to it's large fleet and capable admirals, it was able to ship over more reinforcements from it's richer possessions in the south, funded with Spanish gold.

Then disaster struck. In the space of a single year, there began to be considerable dissension in the ranks of Swedish nobility. Though Gustav had taken the country from it's chaotic state and wielded it into harmony while Denmark disentgrated, events outside his control did much to reverse his good work. First, there was a corruption scandal that lost Sweden half of it's treasurey due to grain shipments lost by the Hanseatic League. Then, there was an assassination of the Duke of Finland. Only a month later, the nobility demanded greater pensions because of the great burden they were having to shoulder for the war. Gustav would not send his country into debt by paying the exorbiant amount, especially so soon after the corruption scandal, but his refusal created even more unrest. In the space of a single year, Sweden went from easily resisting the tides of dissatisfaction that were rocking Denmark, to almost the same level. And it is very difficult to stabalize a Scandinavian nation!

Thus, Gustav Vasa finally broached a white peace to King Christian, whereby the independence of Sweden and Vasa was made clear and the final parting of Denmark and Sweden finished. He had failed to carry out his initial objective of seizing Jamtland, largely due to the willingness with which King Christian was willing to indebt himself to the other Catholic nations and the degree to which he allowed his country to economically rot to finance throwing repeated armies into Norway, where fighting on his home soil, he was not as vulnerable to the crippling affects of attrition. After the last shot was fired, the Danish realm was in such disarray that it took several years and Spanish troops to finally put it in order, during which time Sweden was monopolizing trade and expanding it's military knowledge.

The future is bright for Sweden.
 
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Norrefeldt

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Denmark 1520-1540

Reported to the Pope 1541 by Peder Brockenhuus, Archbishop of Lund. This diligent servant of God died in Rome two weeks after leaving his report, blessed be his soul.

Sweden decided to brake loose from the firm Danish bosom, and follow the wicked road of Luther, a sure way to eternal condemnation. To be accepted as a nation in the eyes of the world, and not as mere rebels, they started a war against their former overlords. Sure that this was only an internal matter, the Danish King didn't want to bother his ally and freind the Tsar, he had his own rebellions. Mecklenburg and Brandenburg joined the Swedes, them being fellow protestants we were not surprised. Mecklenburg landed an army in Jylland and later a smaller one in Skåne, both were beaten back, and several lost naval battles made them sue for peace after some 8 years of skirmiches. Brandenburg never did anything in the war, and a white peace was eventually agreed upon.

The Swedes started the war with a big offensive, storming Danish fortesses as they went on rampage in Norway and Skåne. The unability of our soldiers to hold our forts against their assaults and the luke-warm interest of our German mercenaries to do the same in Sweden made it difficult for us. (OOC: Swedish moral 2.85, Danish moral 2.35 with DP settings included) Sieging was much more time consuming and never succeded in these early years. Norway fell, but we were luckier in the open field, chasing his peasants away with cavalry, and in defending ourselves in the mountains. In this the Danes kept the hope that they would eventually prevail, even with great initial losses. The ability to bring in more troops by the sea into hotly contested Östlandet more than once help us driving them out from the province. This way of warfare, repetedly beating the Swedes in pitched battle, drove Gustaf Wasa mad with contempt, he wanted peace to be signed based on what fortresses he had taken.
On the sea our naval superiority made sure that the capital was never threatened and our heavier ships could block Norwegian harbours taken by the Swedes. Halfway into the war the Swedish admiral Jacob Bagge ventured into Skagerrak, badly beaten, he was forced to flee into Elfsborg harbour in Västergötland, never to be able to leave again since half our fleet could blockade it.
Slowly the initial Swedish offensive lost it's momentum, all the money stealed from churches and monasteries were probably spent, and we could start to retake our fortresses, through slow sieges. Our brave general Rantzau (333) died in one of the unsuccessful assaults we made in Jämtland, that province was though unlucky for the rest of the war and no Danish soldiers ventured there without double payment. Other notable generals fighting in the war was Lars Eriksson (333) for the Swedes, reported as killed, we don't know when though, Vincent Lunge (222) for Denmark, also killed, and Swedish von Mehlen (333), the only one still leading troops till the end. King Christian II (223-1) also took part during the two first years, till 1523, but retired from service after that.

Well, the turning of the war was coming slow, and Småland and Bergslagen was taken by Denmark, and all provinces but the colony of Finnmark in the far north and the deep forrests of Jämtland were retaken. The Danish state was then hit by internal fighting, civil war almost. It is now known as the 'Counts feud' and unrest rose to unprecendented levels, making recruitment and tax collecting almost impossible. The Swedes managed to retake what was lost and both countries being exhausted by thirteen years of struggle, a white peace was signed. The Danish King renounced his claims on the Swedish crown.
 
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juv95hrn

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-Father, father where were you in the Great War?
-Filberto, my beloved son, I was in the proud Venetian Guard when we invaded and besieged the Tyrant of Mantua. Later I was stationed along the border to the Papal lands defending against numerous crossings at staggering odds. The papal allies must have been a hundred times our number each battle. (NB. A more correct description would probably be 2-3 vs. 1, translators notes) We fought like lions and each time we drove the invaders back.
- And you received no help from other nations?
- My son, the French promised to save us from the invasion and prepared a grand army for that purpose but nothing came of it, only beautiful talk like all high men talks.
- But father how come you managed to overcome such overwhelming enemy?
- Our general cunningly ordered the navy to support a landing behind the enemies lines and we ravaged his lands until he was ready to give up his aggressive policies.
- But Papa how come our farms and stables were burnt to the ground while the army was away fighting for peace?
- That was the fault of the Polish King and his bloodthirsty Hussars lusting for murder and loot. In the name of greed and treachery he fell us in the back and attacked us while we were busy elsewhere.
- Father, how come the evil Polish weren’t ousted once and for all?
- They hid with their malicious horses and evil officers in the lands of the Frankish where our troops couldn’t reach them due to political meddlings a simple man like myself possibly can’t understand. Me and my friends wanted to go after them to revenge our spoilt harvests, dead wives and pillaged farms, border and treaties or not!
- Father, you are a great Hero!
- Thank not me. I only did my duty, as you one day will my son, but be grateful to our great republic that protects us from evil in the world…