• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Greetings, gentle readers!

This will be an aar for Alexspeed's awesome contest! You can (and should!) go check it out here. The story will be an unorthodox mix of personal vignettes, character driven drama, and letters home to America from a traveling dilettante, con-man and gentleman adventurer of the time as he explorers the Middle Kingdom of Asia, China. Gameplay sections and analysis of my terrible playing skills will be socked away in brackets {like so}, with a summary of sorts at the end of posts. There should be some twists and turns that amuse and bemaze you - if this sounds like your cup of tea, please feel free to listen in and comment as you like.

This post will contain a chapter-listening where you can jump into any segment of the story. It will also contain a cast list to be expanded on and illuminated as the game takes it's course. One last note - if you are averse to cameos, bizarre strains of events, and my terrible attempt to form a few coherent Chinese sentences (any native speaker would be greatly appreciated in helping me avoid butchering the language!) - please give me a try anyhow. I'll do my best to make it worth your while. ;) Thank you,

Irv

Chapter Directory

A Single Step - Macau, '39 {1836-40} Click here

The Traditional Old Man and the Fierce Young Woman - Macau, '40, Zhangzhou '41 {1840-41} Click here

A Brittle Autumn Strength - Zhangzhou, '41, Huzhou '42 {1841-42} Click here

The Anthesis of Spirit, Huzhou' 42 Hui'an '43 {1842-44} Click here

The Lion and the Dragon, Hui'an '43 Hui'an '44 {1843-44} Click here

Ox-Head and Horse-Face, Hui'an '44 Xin'an '45 {1844-45} Click here

The Emperor of Devils Xin'an '45 Beijing '50 {1845-50} Click here

Duality Beijing '50 Beijing '55 {1850-1855} Click here

The March of Time Beijing '55 Dalian '60 {1855-1860} Click here

Dreams of a Butterfly Dalian '60 Beijing '65 {1860-1865} Click here

The Three Emperors Beijing '65 Aigun '70 {1865-1870} Click here

Sahaliyan Ula Aigun '70 Aigun '75 {1870-1875} Click here

State of Mind Aigun '75, Hui'an '80 {1875-1880} Click here

Hempel's Raven Hui'an '80 Beijing '85 {1880-1885} Click here

Denial and Memory Beijing '85 Beijing '90 {1885-90} Click here

Millenarian Fair Beijing - Beihai Park '90 Qiannian Jie '95 {1890-95} Click here



The Cast So Far -

Clark Osskisson - A young man out to seek his fortune. Headstrong, with a good degree of pith and pluck. Very much a man of his time. Occasionally displays outstanding compassion or moral character; more often displays confusion and a intuit lack of direction. Special skill - Knowing the exact wrong thing to say at the worst time. ?

Yelu - Veteran soldier, warrior-poet, explorer, and reluctant dreamer. Seems to have taken a shine to Clark, but also appears to have his own agenda. Opposes reformation so long as it doesn't aid what he thinks of as the soul of the country. Special skill - Surprising skill at playing the erhu as opposed to drumming. x

Hong Mei Ling - Stand-in gate guard for the Taipa. Seems to be off on a journey of sorts. Has mixed feelings regarding reformation. Empathic when chooses to be, just as often chooses to remain aloof. Special skill - Competent brawler, good situational awareness, and can make a mean cup of red tea. x
 
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TekcoR

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Seems interesting.

For images, I personally use imageshack.us.

Can also use photobucket.com.
 

mjj55409

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I've been using Imageshack. It's ok, but I don't really like their folder editing options, so I'm looking for something else too.

This AAR sounds interesting. I'll be watching.
 

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Thank you for taking part in the contest and good luck!

Linked your thread in the contest list, i will follow this as you can imagine ;)

About the images:
I used photobucket, but they have a bandwith limit that i reached easily, so i now use imageshak, its quite okay.
 

Serek000

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Thank you for taking part in the contest and good luck!

Linked your thread in the contest list, i will follow this as you can imagine ;)

About the images:
I used photobucket, but they have a bandwith limit that i reached easily, so i now use imageshak, its quite okay.
I find www.tinypic.com to be pretty good, too, if imageshack doesn't work out
 

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Imageshack is a decent filehost, in my opinion. It doesn't convert .png's to .jpeg's like Tinypic does, if I remember correctly.
 

LordTempest

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Very interesting concept, is this your first AAR?

Oh and I use Photobucket. I've used it for four years and never used any other file host.
 

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A Single Step - Macau, '39 {1836-40}


The Middle Kingdom at the beginning of '36

Dear Mother,

I hope this reaches you and Father well. You have no idea how long I have traveled aboard that leaky craft the British call a Clipper. At times, my fellow travelers and I assumed we were of secondary importance to the cargo! But not to worry, your prodigal son has arrived intact to Portuguese Macau! Surely, by the time this reaches you, I shall have earned untold fortune in the land of far-off Cathay, more than enough to pay back the small sums donated graciously by our gracious extended family and Pastor Lafarlett.

Certainly, the news of Sylvester's apparent obligation to work in the coal mines troubles me as much as it troubles you. As the most educated of our little circle, he clearly should have listened to me when I was around instead of worrying about things such as 'responsibility'. This venture WILL prove profitable, and I can assure you with no small amount of confidence that there is no need for Sylvester - or Humphrey, or even Aribella - to do anything besides assist father and yourself. The Oskisson family name will be restored, I promise!

In the meantime, I have enclosed a sketch of the first landmark I've seen since departing the docks; the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral. Apparently it was once of great importance, but has now fallen into obsolescence; this thought filled me with the desire to change the fate so harshly handed down to our kin. Nestled inside the drawing, you should find dried, pressed thyme and nutmeg crushed between the pages; smells I grew most used to on the journey. The captain kindly provided a few samples of each as a gesture of good will for some of the harshness of the journey. Send my love to the family and my cordial greetings to Father,

Clark



Clark's sketching of the ruins of St. Paul's

The grey skies cast little light over the paper as Clark finished scrawling his message. The circles under his eyes spoke of things unmentioned in his letter; the British and Portuguese shipments of bond-servants and opium not spoken of; the reason the captain had been so kind regarding a sample of his goods. The near constant brawls on the ship and, of course, his consistent insomnia. A wry smile crossing his lips, he ran a finger through his brown hair, staring at the letter as if searching for something. And, after some time of not finding it, he rose to his feet and walked solemnly back to the barely seaworthy vessel and it's equally ancient English captain. The captain turned his one good eye to the newcomer, grunted in comprehension, and took the letter - and an unreasonable three taels of silver, leaving Clark with two taels of silver and the clothes on his back.

But it didn't matter to him. Turning away from the memories of a voyage he could now forget and the suffering of which he had no fondness of - yet no interest - in halting, he walked away, somewhere, anywhere. It was not long before his feet took him to a tavern, filled with the sound of revelry and drink. The building was built to look like a hodge-podge of 'Oriental' cultures, with Divans to recline in, serving girls clothed in Qi-Pao and Sari's, and a young Qing soldier guarding the gate in faux solemnity. Clark had imagined such a scene when he first heard of China, and eagerly headed for the entrance - only for the gate guard to step in front of him, eyes glittering dangerously.

"Please, don't make me stop you. There's a private party in that room, and I'm filling in for the normal guard - but I will not hold back if you try to force your way." The guard's English was quite good, if not accented and a little stilted. Clark frowned, leering from behind his groomed moustache at the young man who could barely be older than him; the guard had long hair unbraided (ah, so not Manchu - Clark recollected smugly to himself), and a baby face to match! "See here, boy - I've just been on a long ride, and I rather need a drink. I am certain I can acquire some opium for you if you just let me in; or is at yapin-" The words were barely out of his mouth when the first blow landed.

By the second, he had lost consciousness.

When he awoke, he was in a warm room with a fire burning brightly in a corner fireplace; besides the small wooden cot he had been laid out on, the room was spartan. The bruises and stinging in his solar plexus and forehead were enough to tell him what had happened. Wincing from the pain and the sound of a sharp rap on the wooden door of the chamber, he tilted his head to see an older man with the long Queue braid mandated among the Qing - or so his studies had said. The man had careworn eyes that seemed to hint at a kind nature - but stared at Clark somewhat bemusedly.

The stranger was the first to break the silence - in flawless English. "So - you are Clark Osskisson." Clark tried to rise to his feet, but the newcomer frowned and shook his head. "No, no - stay still. You took quite a beating, one that I would have administered myself if I'd know a foreigner was trying to get in to the Taipa. The Tavern." He gestured expansively with skin like weathered sandpaper. "You're in it now - I stopped my acquaintance from throwing you into the sea." Pausing uneasily on the word acquaintance, the older man sighed. "We looked through your bags - you have nothing. Why are you here, Mr. Osskisson?"

Clark had been unable to meet the older man's gaze, instead fiddling with the covers of the simple bed and reaching for the art supplies in his bags - the stranger had made no attempt to stop him. He began to sketch as he spoke in a quiet whisper. "... I came to make money. I want to help my family. They have nothing, but we were... We were great once. I heard a sailor talk about how wealthy China was as a young man, and studied it as much as I could between work. That's all. I want money, and I want power."

There was a pause, and the stranger spoke. "Well, that's a pretty horrible reason to do anything. And what you heard was wrong. No one has money here. Otherwise I'd be receiving my salary from the Green Banner Army. But... At least you're honest. I was expecting you to talk about adventure or something like that, given the stories in your notebooks." He smiled to himself as if satisfied and held out his hand. "I am Yelu. If you must call me by a surname, I am of the clan Irgen-Gioro. I can't help you with money or your terrible manners, but for some reason, you interest me. And I can at least stop you from getting yourself thrashed by Hong Mei Ling again."


A humbled Clark's drawing of Yelu, posing by the wall.

"Hong Mei Ling, eh, that young gentleman who beat the tar out of me?" Clark coughed again, managing a smile. "He was a rather fierce fellow, wasn't he? I suppose... I suppose I shouldn't have been so cavalier, should I? Well, what's done is done, and for what it's worth, I will apologize. It a pleasure to meet you, Yelu." Taking Yelu's hand and shaking it firmly - and not noticing the slight smirk Yelu had as he spoke - Clark lay back into the suddenly comforting confines of the bedchamber. "Tell me then, Yelu... What's happened to China? When I was young, I heard all about it's adventure, it's exoticism, it's mystery."

Shrugging, Yelu, reclined in his seat. "Perhaps all places seem exotic to those who do not live there. But what I can tell you is this - the Daoguang Emperor is fearful of the West. Many people like you, so-called adventurers bringing opium in an open palm, trickle in, and the social order so cherished by the Emperor is brought to it's knees. We both learn much from trade of ideas, but trade itself seems rarely to be an equitable deal. And a word of advice - Mei Ling will not accept your apologies, as least so long as Opium remains so casual to you. But you asked of China, and let me tell you what this old soldier knows."


The state of the Imperial Army in 1836
"Although the Imperial Army was strong before you arrived, other Banners were falling apart at the seems, barely capable of handling internal threats, let alone a concentrated enemy."


An example Banner in 1836

"The first order of business was to modernize, and so an Imperial Decree was issued barring all but the Han and the Manchu from service in the Imperial Army. That went through about as popularly can be imagined." Yelu grinned wolfishly, and shook his head.


China already has a mighty military, but little standing in the West.

The modernizers pursue increased wealth.

"Some members of the modernizing factions managed to influence the Emperor into changing course entirely, favoring even more trade with Portugal and Britain and an all-China Regimental army. Soon, the army was employing untold numbers of drilled troops, all trained in the best infantry tactics we can scrape together. Peasants and conscripts were sent back into the field as the Empire declared war on the vassal state of the Joseon. It was not a happy war, for it's purpose was solely to humiliate our neighbor in the hope it would make the British see us more like them. Even the discovery of gold in Caozhou wasn't enough to quell the shame every free-thinking citizen of this land felt as we waited for the Koreans to admit defeat - so precious are our diplomatic envoys, or the sting of the many loans crippling every sector of society."


Gold - as well as the single-highest day of economic loss China faced.

The newly strengthened military creates the illusion of safety.

Joseon concedes after China milks every battle in pursuit of glory.

"But, higher taxes, tariffs, and the increasing freedom of trade for the elite of the Han business classes combined with the loans our country bleeding us dry led to debt-prisoners, sold to wealthy Europeans as 'servants'. Ironically, it was this new class that reacted with such shock to the monster they had helped to create - that all calmed down as soon as a few Neo-Confucionists started shouting about how great our society was, if only we could keep it pure - pretty amusing, coming from a school of thought that blends together so many ideas, isn't it?" The slightest hint of a smile flickered onto the old veteran's face as he stared out the single window; the sounds of revelry in the Taipa had died down, and the faint patter of rain whistled from outside.


Prison work becomes a joint venture between the state and China's business class.

The faculty of innate knowledge is to know good and evil. The investigation of things is to do good and to remove evil.

Clark had been silent, finishing his sketch and listening intently while stewing in a mixture of interest, guilt, and envy - this sounded so exciting, so different from growing up the son of a huge family in a sleepy coal-mining town in Appalachia. This was greatness, and he could - no, he would - be a part of it! But even the unfounded jealousy eating away at his thoughts couldn't make him dislike Yelu, who was now listening to the rain and whistling an unfamiliar - and exotic! Oh, the chords, the melody! Such a tune! - song. "Yelu," he said quietly, eyes focused. "I want to learn more. Would it be acceptable if I were to stay here awhile? I can pay -"

Yelu cut him off, smiling widely with eyes half-closed. "With two taels of silver? That's nothing, kid. My advice is to go home. Start a family, use that brain of yours to do something good. For people, for your family, anyone. I saw you looking disgusted as you left those docks, so I know you aren't a complete bak chi. But you're young, and the same sort of idiot who tries to bring wealth to China from the same polluted stream we're drowning in right now. So yes, you can stay around, at least until you recover. Maybe I'll show you around, knock it into your thick skull that life here isn't some exotic adventure. I-" Yelu paused, and then cursed under his breath. "-need to go, actually. Time to talk to a friend; this old man enjoys getting to ramble far too much. Mei Ling will be outside if you need anything, just don't try to talk to him." Again, Yelu barely suppressed a chuckle. "Like you need a reminder. Well, good night, Osskisson. Tomorrow, we rise early."

With that, Yelu was gone from the room in an instant, leaving Clark to hazy thoughts amidst the rain, wondering if his letter, sent when the sky was still grey in the hazy August of 1839, would reach home safely...


the Indian subcontinent

North America

South America

North Africa

South Africa, and the amazing static parliament!

Bonus! Severnaya Amerika

The Middle Kingdom.

The world map as of Jan 5th, 1840

-


Thoughts so far - Woah, this was even longer than I'd expected. I'd meant to post this a night - two nights? Ago, but was distracted by a new forum and a few more hours of Vicki! The good news is that means a new update soonish!

Gamewise (I never used brackets, nooooooo!), China has been ultra fun so far. I took huge amounts of loans and totally rebuilt the army, whose new names you can see (also, not visible in that last pic of the Middle Kingdom is how most garrisons face Russia. Ya know. just in case.), but was amazed to start making money again in mid-1837, and soon was making money hand over fist, even without freedom of trade. I was expecting to have a huge number of loans to show you from army build up, but... Uh... Yeah. Anyone else have this happen when playing China? It seems fairly realistic, as so far the worst day - and it was terrible - occurred during the first months of the Korean war, with a few new loans and more construction going on. The demand for Chinese products has been high, and foreign pressure higher. No attempts to sphere me or compete over me just yet - possibly a consequence of my huge military?

I find it interesting that the Manchu can build infantry (which is great, but doesn't feel like the banner system; wouldn't it make more sense for them to build only irregulars until the New Army?), but not cavalry. Still, the cavalry that China starts with is more than enough to move around one to my most active divisions. And for the purposes of this AAR, land gain is not likely to be prominent. (That is possibly a lie.) Also, I need to add that the point of divergence started way before the scope of this game - but that is a secret.

My knowledge of the Manchu language and Chinese language conventions is terrible, again. I don't want to come off as Clark-like irl. :rofl: Hope you've enjoyed so far. Next time!

- More Adventure!
- More Laffs!
- Thrills and chills!
- Detailed shots of the regional view (including the lovingly redone lakes of Canada~ <3 )
- Walls of Text!
 
Last edited:

unmerged(219496)

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Thanks for the advice, all! I've dabbled in a few of the sites suggested and am currently using imageshack, but will move things swiftly and quietly if I feel that one is better then the other.

Tekcor - Glad that you find the concept interesting, hope the execution stays that way for you!

mjj55409 - Excellent to see you on board! Yeah, imageshack is what I'd already started uploading the bulk of my images to, so it's what I'm using.

Alexspeed - Hope this entry is contest-tastic; I want to show off regional stuff too, next update. I'll need to find a good reason to pan the camera off of China...

Serek000 - I'll look into it - I'm not a hundred percent sold on any place just yet. I want to have enough bandwidth, but also want the pictures to be easily accessible.

PenguinOverlord - Yep, I use irfanview for that - it's got good compression for my purposes. :D

Tanzhang (譚張) - This is definitely my first AAR, and it's probably gonna show all over. ;P I have a very defined story in my head that I want to use to deconstruct a genre or two, but will probably end up writing something completely different depending on how the game goes. Oh, and I'll be checking out Photobucket, too. I'm very undecided about which one of these hosts is going to win my trust and loyalty, haha!
 

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Very nice, hard to belive its your first AAR, keep it up. :)


The overall length of the text is quite long, about double the ammount of words suggested for a chapter.
Thats ok for this one, but if you have allways that much text in one update you could split the updates in two,
so its easier to follow :)


I see you have a problem with the sea terrain texture file (ugly stretching, does not fit),
Please use the one from the "\optional\Smaller Water Colourmap" directory in the mod archive instead,
that should work and give you correct sea borders.


There are also alternative overlays if you find the standard parchment one too bright ;)

Besides that its "contest-tastic" :)
 

Alfredian

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A good start. Do you have any particular goals that you are aiming for with China?
 

LordTempest

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Great stuff so far, but is it just me or are your screenshots a little blurry? EDIT: It was just me, or rather just my internet connection...

This is definitely my first AAR, and it's probably gonna show all over
It does, and it doesn't. I think your writing style and storytelling is excellent, but at the same time you could write this as a stand-alone character piece without Victoria and it would work. Personally I don't think a lack of AAR experience is a bad thing, since this is the first time you've written an AAR you have complete freedom of style, whereas if you had written a few AARs before, you may feel "locked-in" a particular style you had used previously.

Two minor bits of nitpicking: (sorry...)
1. "the guard had long hair unbraided (ah, so not Manchu...)" Is this a mistake on Clark's part? If he didn't have a queue at this time, he probably would be a Manchu; as the queue was enforced by the Manchus on the Han as a humuliation.
2. Although Yelu is Manchurian (and thus i'd assume, from the north where Mandarin is prevalent) since he's currently based in Macau, shouldn't he be speaking Cantonese (Bak Chi) rather than Mandarin? (Baichi)
 
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unmerged(219496)

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Oh wow, thanks for all the comments, all! :O You guys are the greatest! Sorry for the slow response time - I'm probably going to be updating Wednesdays/Fridays. Is that a cool schedule for you all? Anyway, on to comments!

Alexspeed -

The overall length of the text is quite long, about double the ammount of words suggested for a chapter.
Thats ok for this one, but if you have allways that much text in one update you could split the updates in two,
so its easier to follow
Planning to make this one and the next four or so shorter- they'll still be picture intensive, but given they each are going to span a year or three, (and aren't the pilot episode, haha!) shouldn't need such a wall of text. Hehe, I do like my verbacity, tho! ;P

I see you have a problem with the sea terrain texture file (ugly stretching, does not fit),
Please use the one from the "\optional\Smaller Water Colourmap" directory in the mod archive instead,
that should work and give you correct sea borders.
Oooh - I hadn't noticed that. When I got back online today, moved the alternate fix over and can see a definite improvement. Although it says a lot about my land-centricness that it hadn't even occurred to me. Maybe I'll try to rescore some pictures for Chapter 1 so it doesn't have the ghost of Ryleigh under it's waters... Sorry 'bout that! :eek:o But glad you think it's contestastic so far! :D

Alfredian -

A good start. Do you have any particular goals that you are aiming for with China?
Thanks! I have two sets of goals; the current Emperor (and later, possibly rulers) goals, and his agenda, and my goals as a player. As a player, I want to modernize above all else. It's not hard, but it's tedious and any intervention by Britain or Russia could be catastrophic.. Not to mention domestic unrest, although I seem to have kicked it to the curb so far. Secondary goals are reclaiming Nibcu (modern-day Nerchinsk) from Russia, colonizing a bit, and most importantly industrializing and building infrastructure/literacy rate. I like increasing my pop's quality of life as much as possible. The Daoguang Emperor wants to enforce Qing Tributary States back into their vassalage, build a huge army, and encourage traditional Manchu values while assimilating the Han people and modernizing. Conflicting goals, or a sound plan? Only time will tell...

Tanzhang (譚張) -

Thanks so much for the comments about the AAR! I agree with your analysis - I tend to change styles a lot in my personal writing, and it really shows in this; I will say that the game will tie into the story more as it progresses, though (Hopefully!). The blurriness might occur again though - I have a high rate of compression on my images, so if they look blurry even after a refresh or too, lemme know. I might upload higher-quality images on a separate site or something. And please don't be sorry for nitpicking! I love constructive criticism! :D As long as it isn't just 'it sucks, drrr' which doesn't help me at all. :rofl:

Two minor bits of nitpicking: (sorry...)
1. "the guard had long hair unbraided (ah, so not Manchu...)" Is this a mistake on Clark's part? If he didn't have a queue at this time, he probably would be a Manchu; as the queue was enforced by the Manchus on the Han as a humuliation.
2. Although Yelu is Manchurian (and thus i'd assume, from the north where Mandarin is prevalent) since he's currently based in Macau, shouldn't he be speaking Cantonese (Bak Chi) rather than Mandarin? (Baichi)
1. That's all Clark - He's designed as a send up to the pulp action Westerner of Rider Haggard style books, Pocahontas stories, and the like. He's the sort doesn't know much, but thinks he knows everything and can just land feet first in a part of the world he heard about and know everything about anything. But hopefully, he also comes off as a subversion, especially as the story unfolds... He already knows that his hard-scrabble schooling isn't quite complete.
2. However, this one's all my bad. xD I completely missed that, and he should've been speaking Cantonese.
 

unmerged(219496)

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The Traditional Old Man and the Fierce Young Woman - Macau, '40, Zhangzhou '41 {1840-41}

Dear Mother,
I know it has been a long time since last we corresponded; I received all of your letters swiftly and promptly. The Qing post is an amazingly efficient machine of state - indeed, the fault of not replying is all mine. As you will soon hear, I have been busy under the tutelage of a Manchu gentleman by the name of Yelu; you will recognize him as the subject of the sketch enclosed in my previous letter.

He has been escorting me around the countryside while we look for business opportunities; well, I have been looking! He is, of course, an officer by the Qing standard of such, and is obligated to certain sites and duties. This has been beneficial to my explorations, as well as enabling me to not need the funds you have sent me; of course, they have been returned as you have noted. Also, shipped with this are some lacquerware plates to replace the ones you lost last Christmas. Note the quality of the glaze! These were a gift from a certain kiln we visited during Yelu's most recent deployment.

Tell Ariabella that I am glad to hear of her marriage. She has helped our station admirably. Of course she may be feeling unhappy, but we all must make sacrifices in this life, and she has made hers. Of course I will be there for the wedding; this China business will only last another year at the latest. You know that father has always liked to jest about my capabilities! We men simply enjoy a playful brawl once in awhile! Ahaha! Please pass on my warm well-wishes,
Your devoted son,

Clark



On a windy day, nearing a kiln on the outskirts of Zhangzhou

However, Clark was not feeling particularly jovial at all. He had not been happy to hear that his father, already in bad health, had begin to criticize the flow of money heading to their middle son in his 'decadent pursuits', and had only returned the money as a matter of form. Yelu was helping him travel and survive, but the essentials that any man needed - a whetstone for his razor, comfortable bedding, and perhaps a pipe and some smoke were nowhere to be found. Clark had never smoked, but assumed that now he was in China, it was time for him to act his station. The first few weeks he had spent recovering, he had been at the mercy of the taciturn Mei Ling. Clark's attempts at communication?

"Hong Mei Ling, tell me something interesting. Certainly a door guard for a European-style tavern such as the Taipa see's all sorts of interesting things?" Tilting his head to the side in thought so that his long coppery black hair swayed, Mei Ling was silent for awhile before responding. "Well, we're at war now. Again. It's hardly worth talking about."


A blunt declaration of war

"Whaaaaat?" Clark had attempted to leap out of bed, failed, and fallen face-first onto the floor. Mei Ling, sighing, had helped him back onto his cot and brought over something that appeared to be rice congee. "The Daoguang Emperor noticed Britain eying Burma, and figured we should mark it as a tributary state. The secret police are already stirring unrest and a small garrison of Yue soldiers was sent to force Tharrawaddy's hand." With that, Mei Ling hefted a rucksack over his shoulder and faced the door. "My replacement's back. You should be good to walk soon." Clark stopped devouring the congee, staring at Mei Ling in surprise. "Oh, ah, yes. Mei Ling, if you would, that is to say-" Yelu's words ringing in the back of his head, Clark stared at the clean-faced young man with the unreadable expression.

"Have a safe trip. Thank you for caring for me."

Later, he and Yelu had begun their journey; Yelu had explained he had been called to Zhangzhou, to help watch over some anti-Manchu agitations. When Clark had asked about the war with Burma, he'd laughed sarcastically. When Clark had asked about Hong Meiling, though... Yelu's expression instantly softened. "He's gone. Hard news about his brother, really. Of course, being sent to that island kingdom isn't good for anyone..."


The Island Kingdom

Clark raised an eyebrow. "Ah, you must mean Nip-pon! Yes, I'd heard about the Prussian mission there. They're quite modern, you know! Steam engines and all that. Is the Daoguang Emperor planning to intervene in that dominion, as well?" Yelu blinked. "Wō? It's hardly worth a map of it's own. Burma has a land border, strategic value... What danger could a chain of islands ever present? Be more practical, I say. Worry about the Bear and the Lion." Yet, Clark noticed a faint hint of pensiveness in the old soldier's voice as they cut through the back country roads.

Secretly, he'd hoped there'd been a reason for taking roads that overlooked only peasant fields and quaint houses, but Yelu had grinned and told him that the main roads were congested on the coast. Besides, he didn't want to arrive too early; he was also hoping to pay his respects to the family of old friend who had died in a battle with some disgruntled tile-factory owners.


The Shangzhi family shrine had another name added to it's list.

"There was a small Manchu population in Zhangzhou - mostly career soldiers who had been sent to settle for their services. Mingzhu was looking into the distress as an unofficial service; he'd sent me a letter saying that it was some sort of official spreading this little insurrection. We're going to go listen to what our agitator has to say." Yelu had a very bitter tone to his voice that made it sound like listening was the last thing on his mind.


The Manchu population in most provinces was below 1%... If even.


Meanwhile, the Dai-Li force Tharawaddy's capitulation. Peace will come soon.

Zhangzhou had been anything but what Clark had expected; the streets were paved with granite and although the outskirts were the same rural exterior he had become used to, they were dotted with factories! Non-western factories, of course - but factories, nonetheless! Tile factories, lacquerworks, even two shipyards! The town was incredibly dirty however; filled with smog and the scent of freshly unearthed clay. Yelu seemed to take it in stride, so Clark did the same. They soon arrived at a large natural 'amphitheater'. Clark had been quite pleased with his choice of words, corresponding so neatly with news of a Greek national parliament.


Why do you assume that representation is democracy? Yelu had asked him.

Gathered around was a large crowd - mostly Southern Chinese. Clark believed the term was Hakka, but there were other groups he vaguely recognized as being Yue or Min - even some Manchu were there, although their lack of ornamentation indicated a lower social class. A man on a platform was speaking charismatically and shaking his arms towards the heavens as if in some sort of trance. Clark moved forward, but couldn't make out the man's words; they were far too fast. He felt a weathered hand on his shoulder, and noticed Yelu holding him back; Yelu's expression had become bemused. "What the deuce is he saying? Yelu, I can't understand a blasted thing that pompous ass is telling the crowd!"

Yelu's lips moved silently as he whispered a translation to Clark. "People of Heaven! Know this, that your Kingdom is here. A great salvation comes! The Examiners of Heaven, those chosen righteously by the Manchu Officials, have been uplifted! Spirits of Heaven and Earth proclaim the younger brother of Christ Jesus here unto you- know this, and be saved! We must restore the Kingdom of God by introducing the concepts of equality into the heart of the Manchu, and if the Manchu does not listen, we must lift ourselves into power by the writing of God! Divide the Sexes! Worship Jesus! Expel the Foreign, Restore the Mandate to the Worthy of the Qing!" Yelu shrugged, seemingly uninterested.

"A demagogue, all right - but it doesn't seem like he has any solid ideas, just broad notions of reform. No one is going to listen to a mid-level bureaucrat; look, most of the crowd's already wandered off. Dangerous, but not worth my time. Let's leave, Clark. If Mingzhu died for this... Damnit. C'mon." Watching the grey hair of his companion fall and his proud shoulders sag, Clark suddenly felt pangs of guilt echo through him. He tried his best to smile and clapped Yelu on the back; this only caused the warrior to look even more dejected and Clark winced inwardly. "Come, friend - maybe there's more here than meets the eye! Perhaps a conspiracy-" Clark's eyes widened.

Among the crowd, among those who had not left, was Hong Mei Ling. Mei Ling looked entranced as the man - whom had identified himself as Hong Xiuquan - preached against the evil's of Opium and the oppression of foot-binding. Mei Ling's boyish face looked almost tender; until he saw Clark. The two locked eyes for what seemed like minutes, and Clark begin to feel very uncomfortable. Neither said a word. Then, as if in a daze, Clark motioned to Yelu - who had no compunctions about walking forward and talking to Mei Ling. The two greeted each other warmly, but it didn't take long before even Clark could hear the edge in their voices. The inner circle around Xiuquan begin to stir...


Restless Heavenly Army paramilitaries looked for any excuse they could find.

Expecting Yelu's voice to rise first, Clark was surprised when Mei Ling shattered the silence and drowned out Xiuquan's oratory. "Do you know what it's like? To live in servitude to, to nobodies? To these demons, to men like him?" Mei Ling gestured to Clark, anger in his eyes. "To lose a brother entertaining foreign barbarians who should be in debt to us? No, of course you don't. Not a valued, loyal, privileged retainer like you, Yelu." In the center of the grassy amphitheatre, Xiuquan smiled with polished teeth and voracious eyes.

"Yes! Remember the depredations of your betters, Manchu! Know that only we, the examiners chosen by this Heavenly System, can reform it from within! You, old man- Get out of here! Get out of this place! Leave, demon!" The crowd began to chant, and even Clark could follow it perfectly. But Yelu was undaunted; anger had restored his spirit. "Leave? And abandon a friend to this madness? Mei Ling, you can't follow this man - it won't bring your brother back, and these men are no different from the sort of people BOTH OF US have despised all our lives. And you're too young to go wasting yours. How can you support these mobs who'd poison your mind? Sure, I've heard some good words - but they're agitating to revolt, to get people angry, to kill! How can you support someone who plans to div-"

But Hong Mei Ling cut him off. "They let me fight. That's more then you ever did. This is where we must part ways, Yelu." However, Mei Ling's words shook slightly, and as Yelu pulled Clark away, Clark made out the faintest glint of a smile on Yelu's wisened old face. "Well, my American friend, I think we've solved our agitation problem." Clark sputtered, face red. "Solved? We just abandoned Mei Ling to those rabble! They might decide he's a danger, treasonous or whatever terminology that shady preacher would utilize!"

Yelu chuckled as they walked past windy fields, and rested in the shadow of a large kiln. "Perhaps, but Mei Ling is worth five hundred of those Heavenly Army thugs. And he -" Yelu chuckled again, smiling openly now. "He thinks for himself. He'll realize that the reform they offer is just another new yoke. Now, I want to show you something. Hey, maybe you'll even pick something up you can send back to that family of yours." As the two toured the factory and Clark was shocked and amazed at the beautiful art it produced, the wind picked up in a late November... And brought chilling portents.


An empire, one where the sun will never be free set...


... And one that does not forget those who challenge it's domination.


Bonus! No Canadian lakes for you this time - instead, look at Finland + NW Russia! :O It's *BEAUTIFUL*

-

Bonus: Qing Cultural Corner - The Dai-Li:

The Dai-Li are the secret police of the Qing state. They do not function just as police or paramilitaries of the state, but also as mid-level officials in foreign affairs. Most of them have taken the Manchu civil service exam and passed with flying colors; others are those who have talents that are deemed useful to the state. With infiltrator status in most nearby states, they are often used as pressure points in foreign affairs. They have been noticeably ineffective in dealing with Western influences, and some rumors circulate that they have even been aiding Western commercial and political factions in return for clemency and 'favors'...

-
Thoughts so far

Wow, sorry that this is a wall of text again. gah, promise next one will be shorter. PROMISE. Like, in steel or something. So, some things noticed - prestige is pretty easy to rack up, and I'm not too scared about BB right now, as long as it doesn't topple over the limit. But woah! Two major errors in Vic2 China, imo -

One, why is there no industry on coastal China? Not even in Zhangzhou necessarily, but at least in Shanxi? Cement, glass, and maybe a clipper factory? For game balance? I figured being an unciv'd be enough for that. Two, and a major gah moment for me - why is there no Confucianism/Neo-Confucianism? Is Animist supposed to represent Daoism, 'traditional beliefs' (yes, I know, I don't like catch-alls's either), and other kinds of Buddhism? If it's for game balance and adding one more religion'd just be one too many, I guess I can understand, but... Really? I might have to mod that in.

Finally, this version of Hong Xiuquan passed his exam, and is focused on reform, not revolt, if it isn't obvious enough. :D Of course, he's still just as thuggish... Though promoting some very interesting and appealing ideas. So, questions, comments, letters of marque! And don't forget, next time!

- Exciting plot continuation!
- Clark gets reducated!
- Vicky gets serious!
- Yelu gets to kick ass!
- And so does Mei Ling!
- China finally gets freedom of trade (please maybe? Although I actually kind of wish I'd started with rights of man... ;_; )
 
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Alexspeed

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Thank you for the 2nd chapter, great read again.

I decided to up the suggestion for the upper word limit to 2000 words per chapter,
that should be sufficient for anyone to really tell a story, i dont want to put too many limits on the writers :)

Thank you for using the other watermap file, looks way better now, you dont have to redo any pictures, its okay as it is.

One suggestion i had would be to link the chapters in a overview list in the first posting,
that makes it easier for pepole who just want to read chapter after chapter :)
 

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I don't really care about how long the updates are, just keep 'em coming at the same standard. :)

why is there no Confucianism/Neo-Confucianism?
Whether Confucianism can be considered a religion is a matter of debate; as for Neo-Confucianism/Taoism/any other religion; accurately displaying the religious situation in China, Korea and Japan (before the Meiji era) is very difficult for any game which uses an either/or system. It's just easier for Paradox to group China as "Buddhist" rather than "Pluralist"

Is Animist supposed to represent Daoism?
No, i think it's to represent Shamanists in the North and North-East.

Fùng Siu-chhiòn
For the love of God, call him Hong Xiuquan!
 

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I find filesmelt to be the best for uploading pictures for AARs.
 

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Excellent stuff! Can't wait to see what your hapless westerner gets up to next :p
 

unmerged(219496)

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Comments already! :eek: :D I love you guys! Well, time to respond although after this I've gotta fly - got a lovely evening lined up tonight! :) Thanks for making it even better!

Alexspeed -

I decided to up the suggestion for the upper word limit to 2000 words per chapter,
that should be sufficient for anyone to really tell a story, i dont want to put too many limits on the writer
Thank you so much - I'll still try to have some less wordy chapters, just for ease of reading... But it means a lot to me. :) And you're very welcome for using the water map fix - when I noticed it, I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed it. Like Yelu, I only pay attention to the water when fishing or swimming. ;P

One suggestion i had would be to link the chapters in a overview list in the first posting,
that makes it easier for pepole who just want to read chapter after chapte
Good idea - I'd planned to do it earlier, buuuut forget/procrastinated and know is fixed up nicely. ;)

Tanzhang (譚張) -

Woo, you got it! I can't stop now, I've got some interesting ideas about how the next update'll go... If the game goes how I figure it will. :D

Whether Confucianism can be considered a religion is a matter of debate; as for Neo-Confucianism/Taoism/any other religion; accurately displaying the religious situation in China, Korea and Japan (before the Meiji era) is very difficult for any game which uses an either/or system. It's just easier for Paradox to group China as "Buddhist" rather than "Pluralist"
No, i think it's to represent Shamanists in the North and North-East.
This makes a lot of sense. Plus, even though I'd love to turn down assimilation + add cultures, my machine takes a significant amount of strain just loading the game, heh! I'd like to eventually fool around with religions/cultures. Maybe some day... :)

For the love of God, call him Hong Xiuquan!
Bwahahah! This just made my night. I'd just finished reading a study (from 1962!) that kept calling him Fùng and I was like - 'Hrmn....' :D Fixed!

I find filesmelt to be the best for uploading pictures for AARs.
Thanks! I'll check it out!

Excellent stuff! Can't wait to see what your hapless westerner gets up to next
Glad you like it! :D I'm sure Clark'll try to finally make some money next chapter, and prove that he is a Man of Resources! Will he be successful? Hrmn.... :rofl:

All right - more to come when I can dish it. You all - Stay awesome! :D
 

Enewald

Enewald Enewald Enewald
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All that matters is plurality.
And the size of the bank accounts of your capitalists. :p