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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Revenge of the Templars

I am about to start a new AAR in the EU2 grand campaign. The AAR will be a bit unusual in that there will be an extended introduction of background material covering more than 100 years before the start of the actual game. Put very broadly, the game will contain the Templars' revenge, but the revenge won't make sense until we know what terrible grievance they have, and against whom. That's largely the point of the introduction, which will occupy many chapters.

You will notice that the nation I will play has not yet been specified. That is deliberate. By the time the game starts it will be clear, but for the time being I intend to leave it in suspense. Now, that brings up our

GRAND PRIZE OPPORTUNITY

All readers are welcome to offer their guesses or predictions (one per reader) as to which nation I will play. Whoever has the first correct answer has the right to be written into the story as a named Templar -- even a future Grandmaster if you wish!

The historical material to be presented in the introduction is essentially accurate. You will recognize very quickly that I have added fictional characters in addition to historical figures such as Jacques de Molay and King Philip IV. The conversations recorded here are imaginary, but those involving historical figures are generally consistent with their actual words and deeds during this era. Those conversations involving my fictional characters are, of course, pure fiction.

There is a wealth of information on the Templars available on the net. I found the Catholic Encylopedia to be particularly helpful, along with the site www.templarhistory.com, which has a good history section although some of the rest of the material there goes way off the deep end. I also have relied heavily on the excellent book The Templars by Piers Paul Read, St. Martin's Press, 1999 (the book from my library is the first US edition in September 2000). A lot of my material on the legal proceedings against the Templars has been taken from this book.

Some technical details: the game is with version 1.09 except that the straits have been modded back to what they were in the good old 1.07 days. In particular, there are no straits across Gibraltar, the English Channel, or the Irish Sea. I always play both difficulty and AI aggessiveness normal.

My goals within the game should be clear from the title. But I will give more concrete details as I approach the beginning of the campaign.

Edit: The former list of excluded nations from the role of "Country X" has been deleted now that the cat is out of the bag. Navarre it is!
 
Last edited:

Lurken

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Looking forward to reading this, and becoming a Templar/Grandmaster
 

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Chapter 1: The Handwriting on the Wall

7 September 1303


Anagni (ESE of Rome), the Papal palace

It takes a special kind of man to arrest the Pope. King Philip IV of France, however, suffered no shortage of qualified personnel, and in Guillaume de Nogaret he found the man he needed. Nogaret had already proved his mettle by having the brass to bring a charge of heresy against the Papal Legate in Paris. With this worthy resume behind him, Nogaret teamed up with Sciarra Colonna to lead a force strong enough to attack Pope Boniface VIII in his own palace. Colonna for his part was a member of a powerful Italian family rival to that of Boniface. He required no persuasion to accompany Nogaret on this expedition.

Boniface angrily protested, only to be insulted and even slapped by the gleeful Colonna.

"We will see," said Nogaret, "who will excommunicate whom."

In the days that followed, word of the outrageous mistreatment of the Pope spread to the people. Nogaret, sensing that he may have overplayed his hand, relented and released Boniface, the French force withdrawing. But Boniface was a broken man, and he lived barely another month.

January 1304

Templar Castle, Limassol, Cyprus

"Master, this news is not good. We barely resisted Philip's pressure under a sympathetic Pope, and now ..."

"Enough, my dear Bernhard. You no longer need to convince me; I see our danger is apparent. Proceed to form your group, but do not yet commit either our members or our assets."

"It shall be done, Master."

In the weeks and months that followed, these two men -- Bernhard of Metz, Seneschal to the Order, and Jacques de Molay, the Grandmaster himself -- discussed and agreed upon an elite cadre of six knights, chosen both for their abilities and their obscurity. Each of these knights soon received a sealed letter from Bernhard with orders to recruit three additional junior members and contingency instructions.

It was a race against time, for both Jacques and Bernhard knew that King Philip of France had long sought to suborn their order. Holding the Knights Hospitaller firmly in his control, he had pressed Pope Boniface to force the two knightly orders to combine. The Pope held steadfast, though, whereupon Philip resorted to more extreme measures.

The new Pope Benedict showed hints of promise and resolve, only to die under mysterious circumstances, not even holding St. Peter's chair for a year. Following many months of wrangling in Rome, the College of Cardinals finally selected the Archbishop of Bordeaux as Pope Clement V. The rumors of widespread French influence on both the convocation and the new pope did little to bring cheer to the Templar leadership at Cyprus.


By September 1307 King Philip's hand was strong enough to command the Grandmaster to appear in Paris before both Philip and Clement in order to answer to charges of heresy. Though he had to know he was doomed, Jacques de Molay obeyed.

In Paris, Nogaret smiled grimly. He had work to do.
 

Saulta

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Yay, a new jwolf aar!!! I´m a big fan of your other aar´s and I have high expectations on this one!!!
 

Snake IV

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Nice. I hope I can find out which contry it is (but I doubt it)
 

coz1

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Hot diggity dog!!! A new jwolf AAR! Well you know I am sitting front and center for this. I am looking forward to the historical set up you give us, and might even be able to guess the country. We'll see. Good luck and great to see another work from you! :D
 

Van Engel

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Nice, a new Jwolf AAR. :D Do we get 1 guess per update or only 1 in total? :wacko: If 1 per update then I guess you will be Cyprus... if only 1 in total I shall withhold that guess and wait longer. :D :p
 

Storey

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Van Engel said:
Nice, a new Jwolf AAR. :D Do we get 1 guess per update or only 1 in total? :wacko: If 1 per update then I guess you will be Cyprus... if only 1 in total I shall withhold that guess and wait longer. :D :p

My take is we get one guess total. I'm leaning toward a country in Europe but I shall say nothing more right now. Hmm a templar called storey. Now that's going to take a lot of explaining. :D

Joe
 

stnylan

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What more could want than a new jwolf aar just before bed-time!
 
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Considering what happened the last time that James d'Molay and King Phillip the Fair met....something tells me this will have a violent end :)

My guess for the country is Scotland.

BTW I read The Templars by Piers Paul Read - very good book. The end got kinda conspiracy-theoryish but the first 90% was a very good history of the Poor Foot-Soldiers of Jesus Christ.
 

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My guess for the country is Scotland.
Would have been my guess too. First I wanted to say Portugal (many Templars found protection there), but this would be too easy.

Hm, I guess jwolf will play Cologne (no special reasons, just for the fun of the thought).
 

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Great, I hope the Templars strike back. :)
They will, I assure you -- they will indeed. :cool:

Thanks to all for your kind words of support. My intent for the guessing game is just one guess per reader, not one guess per reader per post -- the latter would open me up for a simple dictionary attack as there aren't all that many nations available. :p

Just to narrow the field, I don't think I'm giving anything away if I confirm that my nation is a European.

Let me plea to all of you for patience -- the game part of the story will come eventually, but the introduction, covering the 1300s, will continue for a long time yet. I hope you will find this part interesting.

Hmm, Templar Giuseppe del Storia? Templar Joseph de la Stoire? Templar Jozef von Storr? It has a certain ring to it, and what would "she who cannot be denied" think of it? :p And everyone -- this could be your name in lights, too.

Next chapter to come in a few minutes.
 

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Chapter 2: Various Preparations

Paris, 1 October 1307


The Marketplace

Every morning Maria arrived early to set up her stall in the marketplace. She sold all manner of dairy foods -- eggs, cheeses, milk, and butter -- to her hungry customers in the city. She marked her prices on a slate, and as was her practice, the price for cheese was listed as 24 though she knew the market rate was far below that. As usual, one of her first customers was a finely dressed gentleman who spoke with an Alsatian accent.

"May God bless you this morning, my good woman. I wish to buy cheese."

"Certainly, Monsieur, the price is 24."

"But you know no one will pay that much. Come now, your price is too high."

"Ah, Monsieur, I must admit you have convinced me."

So it went every day, the two of them eventually settling on a fair price; usually 15 or 16, sometimes as high as 20. Today it was 18. Maria corrected her price on the slate.

The King's Palace

"Your Majesty, we must strike quickly and thoroughly. The entire Order must be crushed with one fell blow."

"Can you do it, Guillaume?"

"Admittedly, Your Majesty, this will be a test of the efficiency of your servants throughout the Kingdom. But I believe the administrative structures you have built are up to the challenge."

"How much time do you need?"

"Two weeks, Sire. We can make the arrests on the 15th."

"Certainly not on the Lord's Day, my dear Nogaret, nor shall we despoil the Sabbath. Order your men to move on the 13th."

"As you say, so shall it be done, Your Majesty."

Guillaume de Nogaret bowed deeply before the king and left as soon as he was granted leave. He had much to do, but he was confident; his boast of the efficiency of his men was no empty bragging. Indeed, he reflected, his only regret was that Philip's reach extended no farther than the borders of France.

The Marketplace

Late in the morning Jean bought his lunch. From one stall he purchased a fresh baguette, from another some fruit, and cheese from a third. He paid 18 for the cheese and went on his way happily. Maria pocketed the money, grateful for another prosperous day of selling.

Templar Headquarters

"Master, you cannot go. He means to arrest you."

"At his sister-in-law's funeral? And me one of the pallbearers? No, not even Philip would be so rash."

"I must confess, Master, that I lack your confidence."

"It is of no account, really, Bernhard. We both knew when we left Cyprus that it was only a matter of time."

"I suppose so, Master, yet I have a sense of foreboding."

"We cannot help it. But whatever happens, remember this: we answer to God and the Holy Father, not the King of France."
 
Jan 23, 2006
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Templar Alessandro Farnese?

I like it :D
 

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Great story so far and i will follow it!!!

For templar country i'm going to say France , lets us hope that those templars have some massive counter attack to throw the french king off his throne!
 

coz1

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I'm thinking maybe Maria has a little thing for the finely dressed man she haggles with for cheese. The question is, how will this tie into the Templars. You are adding lot's of nice little flourishes to this jwolf. That bodes well for the future.
 

Katapraktoi

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Jwolf, I think that this AAR certainly will be interesting to follow, though if I may suggest the slightest thing; don't rely on Piers too heavily. I've read that book as well, but have you read his purpose with the book? He will find the ultimate truth about the templars? Couldn't hold in a candy-store court... The man tends to glorify the templars, especially their deeds (except that they might be corrupt, yes I know) and give an unlikely picture of then. Sure he tells the truth in such matters as historical events, but personally I wouldn't rely too heavily on his opinions on the templars themselves. That said, I still think the book is good and could be used as a reference, all depending on what you take out of it. :) Hope I will have enough time to read and solve your little competition! Could be fun to try to figure that one out... for how long will this competition go btw, how many posts by you until it is no longer possible to guess?