• We have updated our Community Code of Conduct. Please read through the new rules for the forum that are an integral part of Paradox Interactive’s User Agreement.

Merrick Chance'

Comte de Purchase
77 Badges
Jun 28, 2007
  • Stellaris
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Rise of Prussia
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • 500k Club
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Surviving Mars
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Cities in Motion
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Ancient Space
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Rome Gold
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness

Lords of France, Part Two: Politics After Revolution

(apologies in advance for the self indulgent introduction)

This AAR covers a topic which is perhaps the most controversial in history. The French Revolution; the events which led to it, the events which occurred during it, and what came after, has been the source of both academic and real world schisms for over two hundred years. It is (I would say accurately) regarded as the beginning of the modern era in Europe. Within it were contained the whole of modern political struggles and tendencies: left and right, nationalism and internationalism, the beginnings of the administrative state and of industrial capitalism, and the beginnings of opposition to these forces. Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism, all originate in the Revolution, the reactions to it, and the writings after the fact.

But what if it had been different?

When I began Lords of France, I thought that I would write a single narrative spanning the history of France up to the Revolution. The intent was to recreate my game as closely as possible while remaining true to history (which I would say is the mission of any historybook writer). My second (perhaps foolish) attempt was to finish Lords of France within a single summer. This went out the window when my game crashed in the fall of 2012, and (given the amount of unexpected free time I had as a graduate student) my mission with Lords of France began to change. Rather than recreating my game, I instead aimed to realistically write what I think would happen next from the events given to me. LoF started featuring historical figures in radically different roles (Machiavelli as senator and uniter of Italy, Montaigne as anti-Bourbon radical, Richelieu as one of the founding fathers of Quebec).

This led to the adoption of separate Point of View characters, because history rarely has a singular viewpoint. The sections of Lords of France are written by discrete characters with their own views on things, and while they may give a glimpse of ‘real events’, most of these writers are fully enmeshed in the times in which they are writing, and see events in the context of their own times.

The research and work that I have put into this AAR has been genuinely transformative, the assumptions that I held when I went into the AAR, about the state, about politics during the feudal period and politics now, about the analysis of history as a whole, have changed as a result of writing this. It’s been very important to me, and I would like to thank all of the people who kept reading it for years.

Alright so enough with the self indulgence! I will post the first update (on the state of the world in 1685) within the next couple of days.

Lords of France

Chapter One: The World In 1685
Last edited:
  • 1
I'll be tagging along. I will admit I lurked in your EU3 AAR but I've decided to start commenting now. Looking forward to your top quality work.
You're allowed to tell us about these things you know, Merrick. We really won't mind! :p

Even if I am a few days late to the party, I'm very much looking forward to this one.
I want to know what happen to Quebec ;)
Thank you everyone for the comments and thank you very much for reading!


The World in 1687

From Jean d’Ancelle’s France In The World of the Enlightenment, published in The University of Sacremont, 1985

The modern era unfurled in all its glory and horror in the period immediately after the Franco-Dutch War. This war, which was fought across the world, ended the expansion of the Dutch and created the international structure which would remain for the rest of the century: two superpowers, the English and the French, who possessed colonies around the world, and a series of minor powers, who had few or no colonies. Thus, before I discuss the events which occurred in France during the Colbert Administration, I feel the need to discuss the world which these events take place in.

A final note before I begin discussing this: there has, as of late, been a controversy in the Quebec historical community which I cannot help but comment on. There has been a movement which has drawn on European theories in order to criticize traditional history, which has criticized leading Quebecois politicians, which has been banned in several universities.

Many of my students, and many journalists, have asked me what my opinion on this movement is. I shall say it here: it is dangerous. To judge history on categories made by our modern society is not to write history, but rather to bias the past with modern notions. I merely recount events with what information I have, in as unbiased a fashion as is possible. To do otherwise is not only not historical, it pollutes the discipline of history with a questionable political agenda. And because each theory is seen as ‘equal’ to the others, each and every thing is seen as ‘up for questioning’. What is the result of this? If anything can be questioned can anything be true? If anything can be true how are we to be unbiased? I pride myself on my lack of bias, and I will endeavor to describe to you, the reader, only events of importance, regardless of the sex or race of those who participated in them.

With that said, I will get on to a discussion of the three regions of importance to our study at the beginning of Colbert’s regency: Europe, the Americas, and Asia*. I will discuss each in turn.



Europe at the end of the Franco-Dutch War

Europe faced the beginning of a new era at the end of Louis XIII’s reign. The slow decline of France under Henri II, and its laggardlyness during the reign of Louis XIII, was immediately halted with France’s victory in the Franco-Dutch War, against each of the north German powers. Within a short period of time, France went from a declining power, who’s trade was being assaulted in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and who could barely defend her own borders, to a world-wide power.

With Bourbon’s on the throne in the Netherlands and Naples, and French aligned parlements in Switzerland and the Confederacy of the Rhine, France was once again the center of the world, with all the riches of both her colonies and the colonies of the Dutch. They are not the only alliance system, however; there are two rivaling alliances as of the 1680s: the old Holy Coalition and the Saxon-Anglo union.


The Bourbon Alliance

The Holy Coalition, between Habsburg Iberia and Austria and Medici Italy, had existed for sixty years at this point. It was originally conceived by Matthias II, in an attempt to wrest France’s old ally Modena away from her by tempting Ferdinando de Medici with a crown. This ended up succeeding and, at least on the surface, the alliance was still strong: Italy had gained a crown and official backing of her colonies from it, Iberia had gained backing for her new Imperial status, and Austria had gained allies who had helped in the retaking of Hungary. However, each country had diplomatic and internal difficulties to deal with; difficulties which in time would tear the alliance apart.

Italy for its part hadn’t been under centralized leadership since the Lombards, and even during the times of the Italian Coalition, separate principalities and republics were allowed to separately set up colonies. The Italian tendency towards independence, especially in the north where the Milanese and Savoyards were recent additions to the primarily Tuscan political culture led to four revolts over the 1670s and 80s, and brutally repressive measures had created a large Italian diaspora which primarily went to France. Beyond this, while Ferdinando had been content with the royal title given to him by the German Emperor, his son Cosimo was now looking covetously towards the still Austrian territory of Venezia.

Austria was still a patchwork of duchies, counties, and municipalities that no Emperor had tried to centralize. While nominally an ‘Absolute’ kingdom, they hadn’t proven themselves as such like the Italians or French, and thus had great issues finding money or manpower in the corners of her empire, especially in the newly reconquered areas of Hungary and Silesia.

The Iberian Empire was also a new nation, formed after Spain conquered the last traces of the Portuguese kingdom. However, she was an Empire in name only: not only did she have similar problems to the Austrians in her lack of centralization and thus lack of a tax base, she had also defaulted twice over the last decade due to the loss of her East Indies colonies to the Dutch (who then lost them to the French). Iberia would not be the last nation to fall into fiscal disarray due to lost colonies, she would just be the first.


The Holy Coalition

The newest major alliance was the Saxon-Anglo Union, between the Grand Duchy of Saxony and England. This was the product of the Glorious Revolution which unseated the French-aligned Stuarts and replaced them with Augustus of Saxony. Under the House of Saxony, England’s attention was brought back to the continent, she reformed her army and navy, and created a new tax system which included a portion of landed wealth. This personal union (which in the 1680s would soon give way to a slightly looser union as Augustus’ split his kingdom among his two sons, John George and Frederick Augustus) would become the primary foe of France as time went on, and soon enough the English model would become vaunted across Europe. The reason for the Saxon-Anglo alliance’s strength, however, did not come from taxes alone, but rather the gold England gained from her overseas colonies.


The Saxon-Anglo Union

The Americas


The Americas in 1687

The Franco-Dutch war spelled an end to the Dutch colony of New Zeeland in what is now Nouvelle France and the Commune of Manhatta. Beyond this, battles between the French and the English in the Southern Atlantic led to the realization of great wealth in the Pacific Ocean. And so, as the 17th century turns to the 18th, we see that there are four great powers in the New World: the Netherlands, England, Iberia, and France. However, the map would deceive you, as Iberia’s bountiful colonies are now as grand as they appear. As Dutch, French, and English merchants and privateers began coming in through the Caribbean and South Atlantic, Iberia’s colonies became a hollowed out shell who provided more wealth to the aformentioned traders than they did to the Iberians themselves. Beyond this, France’s newly bought right to trade slaves to New Spain and Peru led to massive personal wealths among traders such as Franceau de Berry and Renault de Vauban (Sebastien de Vauban’s adopted son).

Over the 16th and 17th centuries, the American colonies had been mostly kept alone. They sent tariffs back and some new world goods, but the metropoles rarely interfered in their domestic politics. This would begin to change over the 18th century, as France, England, and Iberia began emulating the reforms enacted by the Dutch, who turned their colonies in Louisianna and Brasil into extractive centers for goods like coffee, brasilwood, furs and tobacco. As this was repeated and the metropole began centralizing power over her American colonies, independence movements started to form. This struggle, between the European colonizers and the colonized, would form one of the great conflicts of the 18th century.



Asia in the 1680s. In southern China, Scandinavian protectorates are highlighted in backward diagonal stripes and French protectorates in forward diagonal stripes

The last half century had narrowed down the number of colonizers in the East Indies considerably. Discounting the Italian pearl trading ports in the Persian Gulf and spice trading ports in Giava, there are three major colonizers in the East Indies: France, England, and Scandinavia. The most major of these are the Chinese protectorates, formed when France and Sweden intervened in the Qing Dynasty’s attempt to wrest control over the Ming. The main theme of the East Indies and the colonies there is precarity: all of the European colonizers had small colonies which bordered against far greater local powers, but those local powers had issues of their own.

In India, the Second Timurid Empire had collapsed, leaving a group of central asian Khans to fight over the old empire’s power base and two new powers along the Indian Ocean: Persia and the Mughals. The Mughals are more important as they had moved rapidly into India, taking back the old Empire’s strongholds and new land in southern India, but unlike the Timurids they had no major Islamic power base to gain troops from and most of their armies were Hindu. This played a major role in the Revolt of the Mirzas, as southern and eastern Indian princes attempted to gain independence, a struggle which is currently underway.

In China, the protectorates are facing culture shock as they were pummeled with European culture, and though they are independently weak, they face a Qing Empire who itself has many enemies. The Qing, who never fully gained the Chinese ‘Mandate of Heaven’, face local struggles alongside their everlasting war with the Ming (who retreated to Tibet) and the Mogai Khans.

As European interest in foreign trading items grew, the centralization of the colonies which will occur in the Americas will also occur in the East Indies. Colbert had already forced the French East India Company to relocate to Paris, and the Scandinavians would soon look upon their protectorates in Bengal and south China as yet more extractive colonies. The results of this are as of now unclear, but given the precariousness of European colonization in the area one must wonder why the European kings chose to embark on such a questionable path.

That is the shape of the world as Colbert comes to power. In the next chapter, I will discuss Colbert’s economic policies, which would mark France for the next two hundred years.

*d’Ancelle’s lack of discussion of Africa and the slave trade is purposeful, I’m going to write a segment on the slave trade later
An excellent opening to this AAR. Lots of foreshadowing to give a sense of what await these nations. I wonder if there's a reason for the mention of mostly colonial nations. There are also some other big players in the international stage.
An excellent opening to this AAR. Lots of foreshadowing to give a sense of what await these nations. I wonder if there's a reason for the mention of mostly colonial nations. There are also some other big players in the international stage.

Yeah that's why I went through the struggle of editing the save file, the game wouldn't be the same without the sheer number of powerful countries and the really multi-polar situation that leads to.

And yeah I don't know why I'd mention colonial nations so much <.<

Also for the record the next section is going to be another historian talking about the beginnings of the Enlightenment.
Whilst i never managed to read your first one all the way to the end, I'll definately try to keep up with this one. The alternate world you have here looks very interesting! :)
An excellent round-up of the situation. I'm particularly intrigued by the future woes of the Holy Coalition, not to mention India - with a strong Swedish presence thrown into the mix, I wonder if the Mughals will do better or worse against Anglo-French machinations?

Here's hoping I'm personally really rooting for the protectorates and the Mughals to kick the Europeans out.

I find it highly amusing that, despite history going down a very different path, Belize is still exactly the same.

A center of sanity in an insane world.

Whilst i never managed to read your first one all the way to the end, I'll definately try to keep up with this one. The alternate world you have here looks very interesting! :)

I'm going to try my hardest to explain the world so that you don't need to read the last AAR and link to parts of the last AAR when it's totally necessary.

Chapter 2; 14th Arrondissement, Commune of Manhatta, 1987

Franceau Robb left his office at the University of Manhatta to get on the downtown subway to his new apartment. It was, perhaps, overly large, given that his wife and he had planned on living there together. But no, her organizing went first and yet again she was in the Grands Lacs going to what few factories were still open in the area and doing god knows what. Malikah’s career path had always confused Robb--it just seemed like it drew massive amounts of attention--but then he hadn’t had the father she had.

And anyways, he was attracting attention of his own.

It wasn’t Paths to Enlightenment which, granted, had been a surprise success in the wake of a wave of interest in French history that the coming bicentennial of the Day of Neufville. It was the article he published a year later, “On Enlightened Monarchs”, which he’d intended to make way for a second book he’d write on the leadup to and beginnings of the French Revolution. Turns out, he’d written an article critical of monarchies at the worst possible time. When the election of Ernest Laclau in Albion* and the success of revolts in Brasil, Quebec had lost two of her greatest allies in the Cold War just as deindustrialization was enacting horrors upon Quebec’s manufacturing. Unemployment was still going up, hitting 25% in some provinces and a horrid 40% in the Great Lakes. Thus, shortly before “On Enlightened Monarchs” was published, there was much official talk of declaring a state of emergency and bringing back the old institution of the Bonaparte empire. After spending his whole life laying low, Franceau Robb was now forced in the limelight, brought in front of pundit after pundit across Quebec and Louisiana. He’d attracted yet another kind of attention, infinitely worse than the deluges of hatemail he got every day.

He couldn’t help but notice that his block was the first in the 14th Arrondissement to get police cameras installed. He couldn’t help but notice that odd extra sound on the phonecalls he had with his wife. And he couldn’t help but notice the man who had been keeping a fair amount of distance from him who had taken every single transfer with him and was now half a block back.

So yes, he had gotten paranoid in the intervening years, but could anyone blame him? After the ‘robbery’ in his old apartment, a robbery enacted by a robber interested only in stealing his papers and knocking his furniture down? Yes, he was paranoid, but he was sure that paranoia was what was needed right now.

He hadn’t told anyone about the revolver which lay under his bed, including his wife. He also hadn’t told anyone about his purchase of a Besancon-Hiroshima (Bez-Shima) Multiple Information Services personal computer in an Apperels de Bureau Internationale (ABI) chassis. By all accounts it was an ABI computer, it even ran an ABI operating system if turned on, with a series of fake text files which seemingly outlined the next book. But when given a specific order the operating system changed over, and he was able to write his articles in privacy. His wife's friend at the Syndicaliste Internationale guaranteed him that this setup would keep his files safe from the gendarmes, at least until he was able to call a lawyer. The ‘tech-head’ of the group, Guillaume Guilebert, insisted that no one could crack the computer without a password, but Franceau was worried all the same.

Oh well, thought Franceau, as he lit a cigarette and got down to work. He had a new article to write.

*Note that ‘Argentina’ in this timeline was colonized by the English, hence Albion

Also sorry for the ‘modern day’ section but after all I was asked about how Quebec was doing and I feel that giving an idea of the kind of world that this history is being written in is important. The next section will be the article Robb is writing in this section, on Amelot de Houssaye and the beginning of Enlightenment thought
I'm always intrigued by these flashforwards. Manhatta in my head is parts New York parts Paris parts East Berlin.

That's interesting I see it as like, a cold version of 1980s Buenos Aires.

But hey I'm just a dead author you can see my settings through any analogical framework you want
I like the way "modern day" is weaved into the them. Not only do we learn about the past but also the fate of the author. Can't wait to see how this develops.
A very interesting flash forward. I maintain that Québec doesn't seem to be the greatest place to live during the 80s. Lots of ominous stuff going on in Manhatta.

I should add that Jape's vision of the place is close to my own. I see Manhatta as being like New York, but with less vitality.