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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

YF-23

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Let's eat Pizza Napolitana!

(heavy in screenshots!)

So this is my first AAR. I've been thinking about doing an AAR for some time, and in the past week or so I've done some planning. It will use the MEIOU mod for HttT, latest version with several minor modifications by myself (mostly number altering). Feel free to ask for more details about them. This will be an interactive AAR; I will hold votes on various things, like some slider moves, NIs, and possibly some important decisions down the road.

Also note that the result of each voting will affect how I play the game. More things are going to be affected than just what's shown in-game. For example, a win for expansionism in a slider movement vote will make Naples more aggressive on the international scene in all kinds of ways.

All settings are default except for spread of land provinces, which I set from the default 100 years to 75 years.

A crude table of contents:
Page 1: chapters 1,2,3
Page 2: chapters 2,5
Page 3: chatper 6, chapter 7 (first NI)
Page 4: chapters 8,9
Page 5: chapters 10,11
Page 6: chapters 12,13 (second NI)
Page 7: chapter 14
Page 8: chapters 15 (part 1 and part 2), 16 (part 1)
Page 9: chapters 16 (part 2), 17 (part 1)
Page 10: chapters 17 (parts 2-4), 18 (part 1)
Page 11: chapter 18 (parts 2-4)

With no further ado...


Introduction

The date is 10 of January, 1356. Our focus shall be on the Kingdom of Naples...

zuDbw.png

The ruler of this kingdom is Joan, of the house of Anjou, a French dynasty. Joan is a mediocre ruler, a queen with no exceptional qualities, but who also doesn't have any glaring weaknesses.

VSrLR.png

Her heir, Louis, who came of age only the year prior, has grown to be just as capable.

5a2Yn.png

Joan is also the Duchess of Provence, a rather sizeable enclave on the Occitain coastline. The adjacent county of Nice has pledged allegiance to the feudal lords of Provence, and so it is expected that these lands will also be eventually absorbed to the Napolitan throne.

IJLi3.png
uvo8B.png

But peaceful expansion should not be the only thing in a monarch's mind. Not in this time and age, at least. Opportunities can present themselves, and only a fool would pass them by. And these opportunities can be found most easily on one's borders.

To the north of the Napolitan mainland, lie the Papal States.

mNjwq.png

Ruled by the head of the Catholic church, taking Papal lands could have nasty repercursions. The city of Rome, especially, home to the Vatican, could have all of Europe turning their eyes on its conqueror.

Directly to the east of the boot lies another small holding of the Napolitan crown, the Greek island of Kerkyra, which provides a good potential opening to the east.

oJwX9.png

On the Balkan peninsula, the sad remnants of the Fourth Crusade can be seen. Small duchies and principalities pledging allegiance to Catholic lords, a fractured Roman Empire, and a Serbian empire in decline. Asia Minor dominated by Muslim Turks, who could easily take advantage of the chaos to their west. The doorstop to Europe has fallen.

To the south lies the island of Sicily, populated by people with similar customs and traditions to the inhabitants of Napoli.

ORhRd.png

Unfortunately, it's also land owned by the Aragonese throne, which rules a kingdom with vast holdings throughout the Mediterranean.

nYCCT.png

Their mainland and the Balearic islands aside, they also possess the islands of Sardinia, Sicily, and Malta, as well as overlordship over the duchy of Athens. Their fleet is also the biggest in the world, far more so than what Naples can afford at the moment. Sicily is out of consideration for the time being.

But any expansion would have to wait for a suitable opportunity. For now, the internal politics of the kingdom deserve a look.

Hwzkx.png


zdEAF.png

Naples produces little grain to speak of, and the naval supplies manufacturing in the capital is utterly insufficient for the Kingdom's 23-ship fleet.

The lack of grain will very likely be very harmful for the economy, given Naples' orientation towards a large army.

pgMMr.png

Joan assessed the economics of her kingdom. Aware about her own abilities, she gathered her advisors. She needed ideas on how to improve the state finances.

u4wLd.png
72A26.png

In the end, she decided to follow one of three suggestions:

A. She could rescind some rights and privileges of local lords and move the authority to the crown. With a more centralised state the efficiency of all economic and bureaucratic sectors would improve, though the populace would not be happy with such a move.

hN1l1.png


B. A much more aggressive trade and diplomatic policy could be followed. Such an expansionist move would surely benefit the merchants of Naples.

Gvz8V.png


C. Finally, laws condemning heretical and heathen beliefs could be put to an end, as it is suggested that by showing signs of equality towards people of other faiths and establishing a more secular state, the previously persecuted peoples of Naples could contribute more to the kingdom's economy.

hA8zd.png
 
Last edited:

gigau

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Subscribed... of course.

For a first move, i think i'd go centralization... expansionism can wait a little.
 

MannheimCouncil

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Interesting choice for an AAR, subscribed. For the first slider move I'm going with A as everybody else. Naples is just too decentralised for its own good. Although, I would like to see an AAR with some idealistic elements apart from "conquer all comers," so I think secularisation should be given some serious thought the next time.

Edit: Just read your clarification. In that case I'm changing my vote to one move towards secular.
 

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Centralization, provided you are properly prepared for the possibility of rebels/stab hit. I am following closely, but am unfamiliar with the mod, so I may not be of too much help/use :)
 

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I'm not writing an update at 4AM ever again.

Chapter 1

The advisors picked their votes, and the motion for the lords to cede privileges and authority to the bearer of the Napolitan crown passed overwhelmingly. This reform, claimed by many to have been long due, was met with nothing but mere grumbles from the feudal lords.

isk5K.png

With her confidence recieving a great boost from this, Joan declared that she would be trully satisfied if the royal treasury grew to at least 100 ducats. To that end, she reduced military expenses by 55% during peacetime. Assessing the situation, 2 years of stable growth would be all that's necessary to achieve that goal.

5USly.png

In the meantime, she could switch her attention to diplomatic efforts, marrying siblings and cousins into the royal families of various European monarchs.

syAp2.png

Later in June in the year, news arrive from the Holy See. The Pope had died, and his successor had been elected. A rather obscure figure to the Napolitan nobility, it is nonetheless suspected heavily that he is supported by a state whose interests conflict with those of Naples.

nmSj1.jpg

At the same time, a very peculiar thing was happening in the Papal province of Umbria. A significant force of peasants and horsemen had gathered under the leadership of a Vittorio Anconna, whose goal was, as he claimed, "to restore [himself] to [his] rightful position as Pope". The degree to which he thought his own claims to be legitimate, given the delicacy surrounding the choice of the person that would sit as ruler in Rome, is unknown. Even more mindboggling than his cause, is the support he mustered for his cause. One has to wonder what kind of precedent such a rebellion would set for the election of future Popes.

Nevertheless, the death of the Pope under whose reign he rose up in revolt and the election of Paulus II did not alter his plans - or claims - in the slightest.

7Dbjw.png

And as time went by, and by funneling state income to where it was demanded, the peasantry and lesser nobility of Naples became more content and confident in their future.

y4zWI.png

Among Joan's priorities was maintaining this harmony, and for that purpose, she sought to befriend two powers that she deemed threatening; France, who directly bordered Provence, and Aragon, whose presence in Sicily could not be ignored. Just like with other, not particularly significant states, she had her royal line married into those of these two countries.

hGRPf.png

Good news reach Joan in the early months of the next year; a recent influx of great men who could not find occupation in her court were hired elsewhere, and fresh money flowed into the royal coffers! Thanks to that, her goal of 100 ducats had been achieved much earlier than she expected.
So she turned her focus elsewhere; having secured a decent sum of gold, she could start bringing the Napolitan army to par with that of other powers of similar size. For now, she decided that matching the Papal armies would suffice.

Wqray.png

Six thousand men were raised, four infantry and two cavalry regiments, and combined with the initial successes of the Umbrian revolt, that goal was quickly achieved. Realising that such an army is little more than a drain to the economics that so much attention had been given to, she decided that it should be put to good use and start paying off its cost as soon as possible. She looked at the map, and decided that Epirus, the Greek duchy owning large parts of the Greek mainland and directly next to Kerkyra was the best target.

Pxvzo.png

Allied with three regional powers, among them the empire of Constantine, Naples would need some aid should war be declared. To that end, Joan allied her kingdom with that of Aragon, and the duchy of Neopatria, a small Greek realm and direct neighbour to Epirus, who would have much to earn should the latter fall.

YPP44.png

Unfortunately, Joan also lacked a pretext to engage in hostile actions, so for now the most she could do was provide them with pretexts in the form of insulting letters, and oversee the land reform efforts in the direct vicinity of the capital, as part of the internal restructuring platform that was agreed upon in 1356.

v6XI0.png

And as time goes on, Joan can only watch as Epirus and its allies are fighting in wars against heathens in Anatolia, still lacking a pretext to go to war; this is the perfect opportunity, anything would do!

But nothing happens that can be used to go to war for, and so attention is given to events outside of the Napolitan interest zone. In Iberia, Castille and Granada have signed an unexpected peace treaty; in the crusade Castille launched to finish the reconquista, it left an opening, which the Granadans took advantage of and managed to occupy several provinces. So while the final treaty was favourable to Castille, it was also humiliating given the sheer power difference between the two countries. The heathens of Granada live to see another day, and mostly intact at that.

47jvL.png

Only a few days afterwards, news arrive that Aragon has managed to completely bring under its fold the Sardinian crown of Arborea, who had up until this point claimed complete autonomy in all matters.

xsOEV.png

Joan is much satisfied to hear these news. With her most powerful ally not involved in any conflict, she is certain that a call to arms once an opportunity to strike the Epirotes would not be denied.

Too good to be true.

qURTE.png

Joan was looking for a fight, but a fight found her, and it was not the fight she was looking for. Fortunately enough, France was already in the middle of a conflict with England, making this a much less suicidal war than it may seem like at first glance. And as powerful Aragonese armies march into southern France, a small expeditionary force, 5 thousand men, are sent to ward off small Castillian forces sent to lay siege over the castles on the border between the two Iberian kingdoms.

HlWjh.jpg

The forces of the two sides are roughly on equal footing on land, but the French forces have suffered much during the war with England, and Castille is still recovering from its "victory".

Nd5ze.png

The expeditionary forces manage to land several small victories, hampering any Castillian progress...

DWmDb.png

...and grow bolder. Only seeing small, broken up forces in Castille, rarely over 2 thousand men each, they move to siege the enemy capital.

Qt8fv.png


That soon proves to be a big mistake, as Pedro, the Castillian monarch himself puts the broken up forces of his army together and marches on the Napolitan force. It intercepts them in La Alcaria, and soon the result is clear. The expeditionary force tucks its tail between its legs and runs a hasty retreat all the way to the Aragonese capital, where it will hopefully manage to reinforce and contribute with victories.

Cb0z8.jpg

Despite this setback, the war is going well. Large parts of the French army have been destroyed, and the Aragonese are marching forward. Should the Castillian armies also be held at bay, the war is certain to be won.

OygjM.png
 

Omen

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A great mod, and a nation I haven't played much. I'll be following this one for sure.
 

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Chapter 2

France is in a desperate situation. Its armies defeated, the Aragonese and the English making steady gains in the south... The perfect opportunity for Navarra to strike and regain old territories. Following the Navarrans in their war are their allies, Portugal and Guyenne, and Normandy, their vassal.

JBlSV.png

Finding themselves attacked from nearly every direction, the French hurry to at least get rid of their bigget problem, and give the Aragonese what they went to war for.

AY2CJ.png

In the midst of all that, and with the Castillian armies sieging Aragonese provinces, the Granadans had thought it a great idea to take payback for the previous war. Unfortunately for them, the peace ending the Aragonese Reconquest of Montpelhièr was signed without any damage to the Castillian armies; the end of the Reconquista seems to be finally trully starting.

s49q2.png

And so Joan finds her kingdom once again at pea-

7TxUO.png

At this point Joan trully starts to wonder about the benefits the alliance with Aragon brings. At least it was while the Mamluks already deep in another war, against of the Khanate of the Jalayarids.

YIFsq.png

However, this is a war the Mamluks have more or less already won, so it doesn't make much difference.

z91ae.png

Joan pledges only ships for this war. Any expeditionary force would only participate if the Aragonese manage to land significant forces on enemy land first.

Now, the Aragonese could pull such a feat. With a big fleet, a Mamluk naval non-presence in the Mediterranean, and most of their forces returning from Arabia, a landing on the western border of Egypt would give them enough time to amass a large force there.

DW14J.png

Of course, that would have been the smart thing to do.

Wondering about the full extent of the Mamluk army, Joan sends a spy to infiltrate their capital and get information on army movements. Perhaps a joint Aragonese-Napolitan force might be able to hold back the heathen armies.

orlEH.png

The results are not encouraging in the slightest.

zMBRK.png


The most troops Aragon can move at a time is 11 regiments, and by the time the next force is ready to land on the Levant the previous one has already been wiped out.

52I4e.png

The second landing force meets the same fate as the first, and is soon followed by a third one.

The war deemed a lost cause, with any offensive maneouvre suicidal and with the mamluk armies unable to sail, the Napolitan navy is recalled and attention once again shifts to home matters. A minor dispute over land on the north border has escalated to a provincial scale, with major diplomatic consequences.

bepr1.png

Utterly unsatisfied with the wars that Naples has participated in up to this point, Joan is glad to respond to this. She orders three more regiments to be raised as backup and places her forces around the capital. Soon enough, war is declared.

These three new regiments push the royal treasury even harder, as even more supplies have to be imported...

EgJYw.png

...but at the very least, this war rids Naples of the Aragonese alliance, which so far has brought more harm than good to the kingdom, as the king of Aragon is unwilling to join in another conflict while his forces are decimated in a war he cannot possibly win and which he does not want to give up.

TqK81.png

Of the Pope's allies, only Croatia answers to the call to arms, but is unable to bring any troops to its aid. Leading the armies of Rome is the Pope himself, and he brings their full strength to the lightly-defended Napolitan capital. At the same time, the 2nd Army and the newly-raised regiments rush to help the defenders, and and their combined force manages to repel attack. They quickly follow the Papal army as it retreats to Lazio, and utterly destroy it.

UAvea.png

With no organised forces in sight, the Napolitan army spreads out and sieges everything north of the border.

HbT2S.png

Not shown: The Provençal army sieging the Papal city of Avignon.

The Croats, with a pretender to their throne having taken over several castles, realise there is nothing they can do in this war and ask for a white peace. Such common sense is a rarity, so Joan gladly agrees to let that part of the war end in this way.

yRpb8.png

One by one, the castles fall, except for Rome itself, which has withstood admirably; no progress whatsoever had been made in the part of the besiegers.

yblOW.png

Despite the perseverance of Rome's defenders, however, the war is clearly lost. The Pope agrees to a very hard peace, in which all lands other than the cities of Rome and Avignon and their immediate surroundings are lost...

rmzBv.png

...and promptly dies.

8NutB.jpg

Joan sends a representative, hoping to at least smooth the drop the relations.

Looking at her kingdom, for the first time she felt powerful. For the first time, she trully felt that things were going well, and a certainty that the future of Naples was bright. She only wished her kingdom produced as much grain as it produced wine.

hD6X0.png
 
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YF-23

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Concrete: Haha, yeah. Made it today, though.

Chapter 3

Joan wasted no time getting as close to the new Bolognese allies as possible.

xcrfW.png

The reputation gained by the recent war made any more meaningful relationship impossible to achieve, however...

9wOwa.png

...and the fact that the treaty was at the expense of the Pope himself didn't make things any better.

evWvI.png

At least, the clergyman Joan sent to represent Naples during the election of the new Pope brought good news, as appeared that the new ruler of the States thought of the Papacy as a spiritual position before a political one.

i29hk.png

And he had cause to be satisfied, as it finally looked like the Castillians landed an irreparable blow on the Moors of Granada.

HZdDY.png

Eventually, the Mamluks too got bored of the dead end that the war was, and asked for a formal end to hostilities.

lSP6z.png

Meanwhile, reports from Provence came that the English, who had been pushed back to the coastal city of Lengadoc, were amassing a huge army, lead by the king himself, to at least hold on to the enclave that officially directly under French rule.

bmxrG.png

Later in the same year, Joan faced her first revolt. Five thousand men, unwilling to accept rule by anyone other than the Pope rose up in arms.

78nxg.png

Even at reduced maintenance, the Napolitan army proved too much for them, and the revolt was put down with minimal casualties.

Cuzv3.png

Printed books were slowly making their way into the hands of the Napolitan non-nobility, starting from the newly acquired province of Umbria. This spread of knowledge could perhaps, with time, lead to new innovations.

lJnUS.png

Disaster struck when the bubonic plague was detected in Marche de Anconna, where the Papal loyalists had risen up the previous year. Fearing another major outbreak of the Black Death that had swept through Europe only a couple decades ago, Joan dedicated a generous sum of money from the treasury on medical efforts in the province.

bx4qN.png

How calm the times of peace can be.

6AqpK.png

Times when you can afford to just sit back and relax while you watch the world burn.

News arrived from Nuremburg; apparently one of the marital unions of Napolitan nobility produced a child with a more legitimate claim to the Napolitan throne than Louis. This will likely mean an end to the Anjou dynasty's rule of Naples, but there is little to do about the laws of succession.

lyzpu.png

It has been a little over eleven years since Joan convened with her advisors like this. She felt it had been long enough since her last reform, and that it was time to change things again. She once again heard ideas, and asked her advisors to choose one of three reforms.

A. Pushing for further centralisation of the government in order to further reduce inefficiencies caused by regional autonomy.

Zzuul.png


B. Pushing for the elimination of some mercantilistic laws and measures. Naples itself has no trade centres, and the current policy prevents it from participating in trade anywhere.

SCrdF.png


C. As with last time, the idea secularising the state by ending some of the stricter anti-heretical laws is put forward, to enable non-Catholic elements to contribute more to the Napolitan society.

bfZD8.png


Cast your votes, advisors.
 
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Avindian

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A. Centralization is always preferable, in both the long and short run.

I like some of the events that MEIOU adds; I may have to give this mod a shot once I've got a little extra time to play a game I'm not writing an AAR for :D Keep up the good work!
 

Boris ze Spider

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A. Centralization is always preferable, in both the long and short run.

I like some of the events that MEIOU adds; I may have to give this mod a shot once I've got a little extra time to play a game I'm not writing an AAR for :D Keep up the good work!

Yes, you will not regret it. I vote A as well.
 

MannheimCouncil

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I vote for C. The revolt risk reduction from decentralisation will be handy in the short run and you've already shown yourself as not being very religious. Additionally, expansion up the Italian peninsula will be costly in terms of infamy once you hit HRE provinces. Better to build a Mediterranean empire with Muslim and Orthodox subjects. You can also embrace the Reformation and conquer Rome for extra fun.
 

YF-23

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Avindian: I try to show off most events I get. Some are just not worth using a screenshot for (and so making a shorter update because of them) though, and I'm not taking screenshots of repeats (had the renaissance happen once more during the last update). :)

MannheimCouncil: Indeed the idea with secularising is to interact more with (at least) heretics, and the slider's position will play a role concerning the reformation. ;) Just hope I'm not pushing people into changing their votes to C like this, heh.

Actually, I don't think many people got that the way the government's pushed will also change how I play the game. I'll edit it into the thread starter too.

Edit: I'll let this vote run for a few more hours still.
 
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