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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Cosimo di Medici

1454 - 1455


250px-Jacopo_Pontormo_055.jpg

It was year 1454, nearly twelve months had passed since the realities of trade on the Mediterranean Sea shattered with the fall of the last of the Great Roman Cities. And even though the world still mourned, the people of Italy where busy elbowing each other on the small peninsula, trying to carve themselves a bigger piece of the boot, along with a larger share of the lucrative trade.

At the beginning of the new year Cosimo di Medici had sent out three envoys to ask the Genoese, the Milanese and the Venecians for mutual friendship in case of sudden, and not so, war conflicts. All but the proud duke of Milan accepted the offer. During the following few months the sides exchanged gifts to seal the deal and show their good will towards each other, among others were "A Small Horde" - a collection of Tatar slaves brought by the Genoese merchants from Kaffa and an beautifully encrusted chest, filled with whole roasted coffee beans - a gift from the Venecian Doge. There was also a letter attached to the chest: "For a clear and energetic mind my dear friend." Some of the sceptics saw this as a hint that the leader of Tuscany was not of bright intellect and had his senses clouded, but these sceptics were swiftly rebuffed by everbody who knew di Medici in person.

The other small states were also keen on finding friends abroad, though many looked too far from the Italian borders, which made the Tuscan leader more than happy. The state of Siena managed to lure the Swiss into an alliance, the small lands of Mantua and Urbino found that two outsiders should unite and Modena had to settle for Naxos, which caused many a smile among the Italian elite. The most successful were Savoy and Milan, who formed a northern alliance among each other. Sicilly was still lacking a foreign policy and was attached to its leader in Aragon.

For the next few months Cosimo di Medici was often found in a small room, in which there was a large chair and small table that resembled the one used for chess. Upon it there were ivory figures, each holding a flag of the Italian state, Cosimo arranged them in small groups, moving them from place to place. He would often hold one of the figures and stare at it for nearly an hour or more. When asked, he told that it helped him think the way his enemy did, see the world from the other palace so to say. At the beginning of 1455 the many possible moves Tuscany's neighbours could make became unimportant as the real events began to evolve faster than any man's thought could fly.

Carving up Central Italy - The war of Mantuan agression
(1455 - 1456)


Due to the unsuccesful search for reliable allies in 1454, Modena was seen as the weakest member of the Italian peninsula, even by the lowly Mantua-Urbino alliance. This in turn led to a declaration of war by Mantua, many believe the Count of Mantua saw this as a "Grow or be eaten" situation.

In the following days the states of Italy resembled a flock of crows - when one suddenly is seen as weak or sickly, others swoop down to feast on its flesh. Even though Urbino decided not to aid Mantua, they dishonored the alliance and instead found new friends in Burgundy, much to the surprise of the rest of the world, Modena found itself at war with Milan-Savoy. With a few more days passing Siana and the Pope suddenly manage to agree on their interests, ally, and declare war on Modena.

Cosimo di Medici, seeing that the power balance in Italy can shift to an unfavourable position, with his neighbours growing in power by dividing Modena, declares war himself. To secure his southern border di Medici decided to give Military Access to the newly independant Sicily, seeing as how they were the "Raven among crows" and did not think of Tuscany kindly.

Two weeks after the army marched south Cosimo di Medici died. He left this world in his favourite chair holding the ivory figure with a Tuscan flag in his hand.

His greatest accomplishment, the formation of the Tuscany-Venice-Genoa alliance, securing a strong base for future wars and control over Italian Centres of Trade, removing the fear of embargoes.
 

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Hello, this is my first attempt on a AAR and I am going to be happy to hear comments, suggestions, critique etc.

I am still not sure on a style in which I am going to write, as you could see for yourself, it was quite a lenghty chapter for a only a single year, hopefully I won't scare anybody off with my rambling :rolleyes:

I simply wanted to welcome you all and say that there will be many more screenshots in the next update, as the Tuscan leaders will try to find a way to glory through war, peace and countless intriguing Magda Mundi events.

Have fun!
 

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Pasquall Ulivelli

1455 - 1473


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Cosimo di Medici was wise both during his life as well as after his death. Suffering of old age and seeing how countless nobles, well-established merchants and even an odd clergy man had already began to plot intrigues to "help ease the suffering of an old man by overtaking some of his power and responsibilities," he was forced to ensure a proper heir to his position, as to save the Republic from potential chaos. Although many did not agree with the name of Pasquall Ulivelli at first, in time they were all forced to surrender to Cosimo's charm backed up by his position and wealth.

Pasquall earned his wealth running a small fleet of merchant vessels in Pisa. In time he was noticed by Cosimo and offered one of the higher positions in the Republic - he became responsible for Tuscany's business in Liguria and Venecia, working to ensure that Tuscan merchants, himself included of course, were always first to grab lucrative opportunitities.

What Pasquall lacked in charm and intelligence he made up with cunning and boldness, attributes that were perfectly suited for the difficult times ahead.

The war waged for the Modenian lands bore no fruit to Tuscany: Ferrara was quickly seized by the Venecian troops and Modena itself was claimed by Mantua - the Tuscan troops arrived over a week after the siege had began. By the year 1456 the map of Italy suffered the first of the many changes to come.

Italy in 1456

eu36xp1.png


The given situation did not sit well with the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire however, and soon heads began to fly due to the sanctions imposed by his highness on the would-be agressors. The first to comply with the demands to release newly conquered lands were the Venecians, which isn't surprising, as the Austrian armies under the command of the Emperor, ready to pillage the rich Italian lands at will were more than enough to make the Doge sweat more than average. On Christmas 1456 the creation of an independant nation of Ferrara was announced, followed by the release of Modena by Mantua in 1457.

The given events bore immediate concequences. First of all, Italy became a region of interest for the grand powers of Europe. Following the example of Burgundy, who allied with Urbino, the Castillians offered help to the insulted Mantua. The latter, as bitter as they were due to the release of Modema, quickly accepted help in hope of forcing the Emperor to look away next time.

Another concequence was a bold move by Pasquell Ulivelli in 1458, who quickly moved his forces into Modena and claimed these lands to be under protection of Tuscany from this day onward. The rulers of Modena agreed with the proposal, or rather, they simply could not disagree lacking any means to do so. Many in Italy saw it as a rather honorless move, nevertheless it accomplished what Cosimo had originally planned in 1455.

It should be especially noted that Pasquell extracted 200 ducats for his "protecton", many say that he simply did not want the vassal's court to rival his own in luxury.

The Scum from the South

During the years 1455-1458 there were countless reports from the merchants returning from Northern Africa, that the pity Kingdoms there supported pirates, in hopes of earning a profit to please their greedy rulers. Yet evidence of Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian support for the pirates always arrived during a military campaign. Due to the scarcity of money no counter-offensive could be undertaken, wishing to solve one problem before beginning the other, Pasquall took a few ducats for his silence and continued to pursue his interests on the Italian peninsula.

Yet all of this changed when a spy arrived in Firenze, holding solid proof of Algerian involvement, right at the same moment when a dimplomatic envoy returned from Modena and ordered his levies to haul a chest full of gold to Pasquall's feet. At the given moment a foxly grin appeared on Pasquall's face.

eu39mb6.png


In a few months time Pasquall travelled to Pisan docks to greet the returning ships, not knowing whether he will see the smile of a captain who has just won a battle, a face shaded with death or perhaps not see anybody at all, he still had a plan for any case - the Muslim Kingdoms of the south would be portraid as merciless villains and scum. But, Lord had shined on the Italian heroes.

eu310hz5.png



A Risky Expanse - The Great War of 1459 - 1461

In time Pasquall had discovered the small room that Cosimo was so fond of and was enjoying it for many an hour a day. The two men were quite a like, both being fascinated by planning the future campaigns and trying to outsmart their potential foes, even before the prey would find out it is being hunted.

The List of alliances at the time

Milan allied to Savoy
Mantua allied to Castille/Milan
Papal States allied to Siena
Ferrara allied to Sicily
Urbino allied to Burgundy/Naxos
Tuscany allied to Genoa/Venice

Pasquall was worried of the fact that his realm struggled to support an army that would atleast compare to that of his neighbours, not to mention be the larger one. Sicily and the Pope, for example, both boasted over 12 000 men each, while Tuscany could muster only 5 000 at most. The Republic needed more land!

Lovingly moving the ivory figures around, Pasquall held a discussion with himself. Milan and Savoy are difficult to beat and do not have a common border with us, Ferrara and Mantua have "Raven" friends and belong to the Holy Roman Empire, hardly easy acquisitions.

This leaves Siena, Romagna (belonging to the pope) and Urbino. Romagna would be perfect! A land that can be taken without destroying an entire country and not belonging to HRE. Then Pasquall's face suddenly turned sour as he reviewed the reports that showed the Siena-Pope alliance supporting almost 20 000 men.

Opening a small wooden box he took out a piece of fine linen and wrapped it around the ivory statue that held the flag of Urbino, afterwards sealing the statue into the box. On the 20th March 1459 war was declared! It was a first step to expand Tuscany before declaring war on the Pope and seizing the prized province of Romagna as the prize.

Yet this was not to be easy, three days later after the Tuscan army had marched on its conquest, Mantua decided to once again conquer Modena, now a vassal of Tuscany. Pasquell determened to defend what was rightfully his, opted to support his vassal against the agressor. This left Tuscany alone against Mantua, Milan and Castille - Genoa and Venice could not help out, due to the diplomatic structure of alliances.

A simple offensive quickly turned into a two front war against an overwhelming enemy. Pasquall opted to destroy the smaller countries first, to ease the pressure on him, not that he had much choice on the matter, since Milan had marched 10 000 men as he was nearing Urbino. Even though Pasquall was hardly of military mind he was forced to lead the army himself, the men needed a morale backboan in times of such despair.

Such a desicion yielded superb results, the Urbian army was crushed and their capital quickly overran by an assaulting force.

eu311rf6.png


Many footsoldiers lie dead after the storming of the castle and regimental commanders questioned Pasquall's decision, the risk of failure was enourmous and even success came at a high price. Yet the acquisition of new land allowed Tuscany to focus on one front and support more men, the added mercenaries were depleting the treasury faster than the Italian nobles could eat at a feast.

Tuscany now marched upon Mantua, trying to avoid the huge Milanese army in Pisa and defeating the Mantuan army on the way. The said victory was accomplished with the help of large number of mercenaries, among whom were an elite regiment of Knights Hospitallers. (/OOC I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them, thank you MM)

A stalemate followed, Sitzkrieg was how the Holy Roman Emperor of Austria mockingly called it. With Milan sieging Pisa, Mantua battling the walls in Modena and Tuscany wrestling the defenders in Mantua, Parma and Milan itself, though with out much success in the latter two provinces. Luckily Castille honoured the alliance with Mantua on words only.

Yet positive news had also reached Pasquell's ear, which did a lot for his mood. Being a merchant and a diplomat he was not fond of spending months camped, sieging various towns.

It was obvious that the international community was on Tuscany's side and saw the recently conquered state of Urbino as rightly Tuscan. Many say it was because Pasquell made many an influencial friend during his merchant travels.

eu312bd7.png


By the year 1461 Mantua had agreed to become Tuscany's vassal and soon afterwards Milan and Castille accepted a white peace, lacking a cause for war as their ally and the original agressor had already succumbed to Pasquell's might.

What began as a small scale war turned into a fight for survival, at the end of which Tuscany emerged more powerful than ever, even though suffering under the burder of a loan.

Italy in 1462

eu314qm0.png


Yet peace was not to last....




Second part of Pasquall's rule coming right up, the man lived a very eventful life!
 

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The Reign of Pasquall Uvelli - Part II

Mocking the Weak

As celebrations erupted through out the realm to honor the people of Tuscany and their magnificent leader, an alarming message had arrived. Ferrara decided to empower itself by declaring war on Mantua, now a vassal of Tuscany, and dragging their ally, Sicily, along, in their honorless agression against an already suffering nation.

An envoy from Mantua arrived in Firenze, during one of the many celebration feasts, asking for help. It must be said that Pasquell enjoyed seeing a former agressor beg for his survival, but he would enjoy even more the thing he was about to do.

The diplomat was sent away with a negative answer, as Pasquell offered his guests a new form of entertainment, namely they would collectively write a mocking reply to the leader of Ferrara. A rough copy of the original, written from the words of the delivering diplomat, can now be found in the libraries of Rome:

"I shall not protect my vassal against your attack, as I as well would like to see my former agressors suffer at the hands of yet another enemy. Therefore I bless you and hope that the Emperor will see your actions as rightful"

Needless to say the Emperor was the guest of honor at the given banquet and enjoyed writing the letter as much as Pasquell. The two had been good friends for a while and the Emperor could not wait to exercise his authority humiliating Ferrara.

After annexing Mantua, Ferrara controlled the lands for only 3 months only to become the laughing stock of the entire Italy (+ 8 BB) and ending up with nothing. (Mantua released)

Two years after the war (1462-1464) were of growth and prosperity. During this time Pasquell did what he was good at - business. Many merchants were sent across the entire known world, making Tuscany the richest nation in Europe. Tuscanian merchants were the first to resume trade in Constantinople, bringing back stories of godless deeds commited by the Turks. The riches brought prosperity and culture to the Rebublic.

eu313zd9.png


Another diplomatic victory came in 1464, marking the peak of the short peace era. Pasquall, using his ties to the Emperor, led a campaign to fully recognize his claims in Italy - few could refuse the Holy Roman Emperor.

eu316jr2.png


Divide and Conquer - The 1464-1467 Italian War

In time Pasquall's interests turned to his original target - Romagna. He was hatching numerous plans and buttering up his old allies, as well as trying to make new friends. Needless to say reality once again presented a perfect opportunity, surprising all.

In 1464 Sicilily declared war on the Pope, Siena chose to "Commit the Greatest of Sins," as the Pope told at the time, and dishonor the alliance. Quickly Sicilian 12 000 troops swooped over the walls of Rome, capturing it, all while the Pope was in Romagna with his 10 000 men.....waiting.

What followed was the most cunning move by Pasquall, later earning him the nickname Fox.

eu319en3.png


As one can see from the map, Tuscany acted as a border between the Sicilian army and that of the Holy See. Suddenly wishing not only to conquer Romagna, but Siena as well, Pasquall decided to keep Sicily and the Pope busy or "Let them enjoy handing out gold to their armies for some time" was how Pasquall put it at the time. Envoys were quickly sent out, informing the rivaling countries that Tuscany officially revokes military access from both parties. Being a diplomat that he is, Pasquall made it look good by writing: "In the name of peace on the Italian Peninsula and for the protection of the holy city of Rome and common folk through out the lands"

Having written the given letters Pasquall once again acted as a true diplomat, hypocritical as they are, and declared war on Siena. The country was conquered and vassalized in a matter of months in 1465.

It must be noted that Genoa refused to join the said war, due to its meddling affairs in Germany it was busy trying to keep the forces of the Emperor from Genoa, ultimately failing at the task. The Emperor, as merciful as he is, forced Genoa to release Corsica as a sovereign state.

Pasquell could have spoken to the Emperor, gently aligning him for a white peace and aiding Genoa, but the truth was, that by this time relations between Tuscany and Genoa had cooled down. Mostly due to different outviews on the politics of Italy, Pasquall supporting the merchant class of Guelphs and Genoa the aristocratic Ghibellines.

eu34me0.png


Having established a loyal government in Siena, Pasquall turned to Romagna, yet he was reluctant to attack, as the Pope still had 9 000 troops there. He devised another interesting move, giving military access only to God's representative on earth and leaving Sicily out in the cold, in hopes that the Pope will march his forces to liberate Rome, leaving Romagna unprotected.

As wise as the Pope was, or as stupid, he decided to divide his forces and sent 3000 of his men across the border to fight the Sicilian 12 000, needless to say the servants of St. Peter's heir were never heard from again.

Pasquall acted again, giving military access to Sicily, his spies soon said that the entire Sicilian force was seen moving towards Romagna. Pasquall hastily declared war on the Pope, assembled a small cavalry force and managed to arrive an hour before the Sicilians, taking control of their army and destroying the Pope's forces. Out of 6000 only 2000 escaped. Pasquall did not wish to release the Sicilian army from his grip, leading them in for an assault and claiming Romagna for himself.

The King of Sicily actually thanked Pasquall for his aid and superior commanding skills, this was, of course, before the Pope officially recognized Romagna as Tuscan lands. The thoughts of the Sicilian King on this matter are unknown.

By 1467 the Holy See commanded no troops whatsoever and was forced to acknowledge Sicily as its secular overlord, keeping his religious authority and dignity intacked, or atleast the Pope thought so, most on the otherhand, did not agree.

Italy in 1467

eu320qt7.png


As one can see from the map, Tuscany controlled 4 provinces directly and Modena and Siena as vassals, Pasquell had effectively tripled the country that he took over from Cosimo, overshadowing his predecessor by a large margin.

Yet Tuscany not only grown in width, but also in quality - the country became the richest in the known world having a dominating presense in all of the known Centres of Trade.

The last 6 years of Pasquall Uvelli's rule were marked by relative stability and prosperity, despite some minor drawbacks....

The God's Punishment?

As Pasquall was developping economical and personal ties with its vassals, hoping to bring them closer to Firenze and eventually integrate them fully, disaster struck in 1468. The Barbary Pirates, still acking from the raid organized by Pasquell many moons ago, decided to avenge their loss and reclaim their ducats, mounting a raid on the Ancona province.

eu321og5.png


A man of peasant blood emerged to aid the people who suffered at the hands of the savage pirate scum. A son of a mere farmer, he was able to climb the clergy hierarchy and used his newly acclaimed power to help the poor and the weak, during a time of crisis. By his actions and mere existanse he showed the men and women of Ancona that Lord is with them (/OOC Both Effective bishop and hometown pride active in Ancona, MM is brilliant!)

eu322px1.png


Before his death in 1473 Pasquall received a chance to once again deal a painful blow to the pirates, ensuring a smile for weeks on an elderly face.

eu323dk5.png


On the 12th of June 1473 Pasquall "The Fox" Uvelle passed on to meet our Lord. He accomplished more than any Tuscan ruler before him, yet his final days were saddened by the fact that he was not able to fully incorporate Modena and Siena into his realm, a task left for his successor. Many of the nobles believed that this was due to the death of his good friend, The Holy Roman Emperor of Austria and the election of a Bohemian King as the new Emperor in 1470. With this change the next ruler has to be more than capable if he wishes to annex Modena and Siena without angering the Emperor.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am surprised I accomplished this, the two parts of Pasquall's rule took a good part of the day to write. Doing this made the game feel a lot more real and historical, truly enchanced.

And even though I enjoy the game much more by having written this, I would like to receive some feedback, as to know what could be improved and whether or not I am speaking in an empty audience room.

I would once again like to thank the creators of Magda Mundi, people who made a good game perfect! (and a lot more difficult, expanding in HRE is a pain *grins*, much more fun though!)
 

Junkyard_Pope

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Great AAR so far. I really like the intrigues that are happening in the Tuscan Courts.

Tuscany is growing at a nice rate too, how's your navy coming along? You should control the Mediterranean with a mighty fleet, from which you will spread your tomatoes and sausages!
 

BBBD316

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Really well written Ar7, very interesting especially the MM events which you incorporate very well.

Can I ask what you got from the berber fleet?

Also how far are you away from being able to take on Sciliy?
 

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Junkyard_Pope said:
Great AAR so far. I really like the intrigues that are happening in the Tuscan Courts.

Tuscany is growing at a nice rate too, how's your navy coming along? You should control the Mediterranean with a mighty fleet, from which you will spread your tomatoes and sausages!

The problem of the navy should be adressed in the next update, since the same question was a problem for atleast two rulers

BBBD316 said:
Really well written Ar7, very interesting especially the MM events which you incorporate very well.

Can I ask what you got from the berber fleet?

Also how far are you away from being able to take on Sciliy?

I had three choices with the Berber fleet, two of them involved getting money for allowing either a free passage or a free passage and repairs. The third option was to destroy the fleet with no visible outcomes, but I think that it will influence the future relationship between Tuscany and the pirates.

Sicily is near the top on the "to do" list for the rulers of Tuscany!

Next update will come either today or tommorow, depending on how long my rulers live.

Cheers!
 

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Adriano Bizzelli

1473 - 1476


peltzman.jpg

Pasquall's death was sudden, even though by the time he had been an elderly man, many thought that he would live for atleast 3-5 years. The given judgement was based on Pasquall's ambitions and the speeches that he gave, promising a consolidated Tuscan realm within his lifetime. Yet these were his plans, the God had other intentions, calling the great leader into his court, away from the earthly chaos that was about begin.

The ackward truth was that many of the rivaling families within Tuscany were caught with their pants off. Many, if not all, were planning moves to ensure their power over the growing and prosperous Republic, but none were expecting the final show down so fast.

At the funeral of the Great Leader there was tension in the air, many a noble exchanging hostile looks with their rival, and due to the suddeness of the event, many were expecting a bloody struggle.

As it often happens, a common enemy brought the opposing families together. Seeing a growing Sicilian army at the borders and a puppet Pope on their side, none wished to give the southern Kingdom an opportunity for war. Thus it was decided to elect a "temporary" leader, a person who's sole purpose would be to act an admistrator of lands, keeping his nose out of politics, so as in a few years time, a true leader could be elected.

Such a man was found in the face of Adriano Bizelli, an able administator (7), general (7) and a stranger to diplomacy (3), just what the nobility wished for.

Though what is good for the nobility, is often bad for the country. The task put upon the "Castrated Doge" was to consolidate the realm, annexing Modena and Siena, something that was hardly a task fit for him.....or so was thought.

The next day after his election he sent a brash letter to Tuscan representatives in Modena, demanding that they would seize to practice their authority and hand it to the Tuscan sovereign. Many shaked their heads and expected the worse.

In a weeks time an embassy arrived from Modena, handing over the symbolic regals of power to the elderly leader of the Tuscan Republic and denouncing any claims on the sovereignity of Modena. The ceremony of reception, thrown for the embassy, found its way into folklore. In numerous poems the nobles and wealthy merchant families were mocked for their arrogancy and the elderly pope was portraired as the symbol of ancient Roman wisdom.

(Chance - "Unlikely" - accepted the first time I asked!)

Whispers began to emerge that the "Castrated Doge" was in fact full of strenght, despite his old age and weak appearance. The given whispers were empowered when Genoese envoys arrived in the Tuscan court asking to re-established the broken alliance.

Yet despite these successes the biggest problem was still ahead - Modena was a member of the Holy Roman Empire and many were expecting a clash with the Holy Roman Emperor of Bohemia, hardly a friend like the Austrian sovereign was. The people of Tuscany did not have to wait long

eu325yv5.png


Emperor's demands were rebuffed, in a rude manner that was already becoming symbolic to Adriano Bizzelli's rule. The Tuscan elite were once again holding their breath, anxiously awaiting the Emperial Envoy, and they were once again surprised, even more than before. The Emperor did not wish for conflict, quite the opposite actually

eu326lx9.png


Despite the fact that Adriano's weakest side was diplomacy, it seemed that all he did during his reign involved envoys, emissaries and diplomats. Sometimes representing the strangest of interests. A parley from one of the many pirate fleets asked for an audience with the Tuscan leader, offering protection for a certain sum of ducats. Adriano, having a merchant background, like the majority of Tuscan elite, knew that giving in to blackmail only brought more demands, as such, the pirate envoy was thrown into the sea as soon as he came off his ship.

eu327mm4.png


The given incident was soon forgotten, in favor of a much pleasant one. The accomplishements of Claudio Pilo were now the central conversation topic in Tuscany.

eu327mm4.png


Many were now looking forward to seeing Adriano using his "charm" to persuade Siena into joining the Tuscan Republic and then, in time, a duel with Sicily for dominance on the Italian Peninsula.

Yet as it often happens, plans are made to be destroyed, shattered between the real events. In December 1475, Venice finally declared war on the Ottoman Empire. For years they have been complaining over the loss of trade routes and business opportunities, as the Turks were gobbling up one Balkan Kingdom after another, now endangering Venecians holdings in Dalmatia.

Genoa honored the alliance, taking upon themselves the bulk of battle against Crimea, the Ottoman ally, in a seperate war theatre on the shores of the Black Sea. Tuscany also honored the alliance, though not knowing how it would act or whether it would act at all.

The war was declared in December, a month later, January 1476, Adriano was found dead in his bed. He died peacefully during the night, witnesses even claim there was a smile on his face. Perhaps he died with a thought of how the elite would climb out of this mess? Or perhaps there was something else?

------------------------------------------------

Another update coming soon! Enjoy the AAR

Thank you for reading.
 
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Dysken

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Constantino Bizzelli

1476-1480


Pildesweb2.jpg

An Unexpected Turn

Six days after the death of Adriano Bizzelli, Tuscany found out that there was more to the smile on the dead man's face than was orginally assumed. On the 27th of January a Tuscan of high wealth of noble status could witness an unusual picture, namely a room filled with the most content people on the face of the earth. A collection of the ruling elite was gathered in a large hall used for banquets, they were giving each other sneaky grins and preparing for a debate on the new Doge. All of them had three years, during the reign of Adriano, to prepare for this event, and each and every single one of them had a couple of trumps down their sleeve.

Yet before the event, all of them were waiting for, could even begin, the large doors in the northern part of the hall swoop open, revealing a dozen of soldiers and a man with an even more arrogant and self-sure look - something that was not thought possible. The said person was looking around the room, trying to catch the surprised looks of the people present, he was even shivering lightly, clearly anxious to get something out.

The man stated, that he was one of the generals of the Tuscan army, controlling the largest force, stationed on the Sicilian border, and having support of the lesser regiment's generals. With a large smile on his existed face, he announced an ultimatum, stating that he was either elected the new Doge or would seize power himself, releaving the current elite of their possessions and power.

Whispering among the elite erupted through the hall, yet suddenly it ended, as the man stated his name - Constantino Bizzelli - the son of the late Doge.

While the ruling classes tried to limit the power of Adriano, forbitting him access to the theatre of political intrigues, they overlooked Adriano's military background, allowing him to set up his son, Constantino, as the controller of the army.

Constantino Bizzelli was, without doubt, a bettered copy of his father, having the same strong grip on economics (ADM 7) and warfare (MIL 8), he was more educated in the art of diplomacy, seeing how his father, albeit succesful, mishandled the parley.

The War None Cared For

It was not that none wished to fight the Ottomans, it was that none wished it as much, to actually do something themselves. The actual truth was the terrible state of the navy and the lack of the technology to build a new, advanced one. For years Tuscany's enemies were right across the border and everything was decided on solid ground. Now that the enemy was seperated by sea, Tuscany had no means to reach them.

Constantino, a man of military background, was furious and decided to allocate funds for the construction of a new, modern navy. Yet after the careful investigation of resources, it was found that the Republic could only support a maximum of 6 ships in active service, as the free men were already occupied in the sizeable fleet employed by the numorous Tuscan merchants. Thus it was decided to stay out of the active war, giving moral support to the allies and promising to send men, if their mainland provinces were to be invaded.

MM comment: I have a bone to pick with MM here :), the support limit for navies is a bit to small, there is no reason for me to have 6 ships, it's too little to accomplish anything serious, and quite costly to keep around, putting an inflationary pressure on me due to a little amount I receive in census, which in turn goes down constantly due to pirate raids

Jumping into the future, the Tuscans signed a white peace two years later, paying 50 ducats in 1478. The reason behind this was the growing anxiety in the Republic, young men seeing the country's involvement in a war with a very sizeable enemy, were trying to avoid service in the army, in fear of being sent fighting to far off lands.

MM comment: Love this MM feature, WE lowers your man power, though I think it is a tad extreme, fighting a few years can reduce the manpower pool by 50%

Genoese were loosing to the Crimeans in the provinces on the shores of the Black Sea and the Venecians, acting very nobly, offered to release Crete as a sovereign state in separate peace resolution with Crimea, thus saving the Genoese lands. Soon after the given event, in 1479, a white peace with the Turks was signed.

Now we return back in time, to the beginning of Constantino's rule, keeping in mind that for the majority of his rule, he and his allies were occupied in a war against the Turks.

Do the plans ever come true?

Having decided upon honoring the alliance with Venice on words only, Constantino began to prepare for the war that was truly important for Tuscan hegemony on the Italian peninsula - namely the duel with Sicily. The first thing he did was to acquire the funds needed to increase the size of the army, as well as provide a soft pillow in the case of heavy financial hits during the potential war. Considering the secular orientantion of merchant republics, with Tuscany not being an exception, Constantino turned to the church for the coins.

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After six months of being in power Constantino received a news of great importance, namely the title of the Holy Roman Emperor returned to Austria, thus ending the secret alliance with Bohemia. Yet the Austrian King did not look kindly upon Tuscany, the current relations between the two countries hardly resembled that of the time of Pasquall's rule. It is believed that the Austrian ruler had been keeping a wide spy net in Europe and knew of the secret alliance between Bohemia and Tuscany, due to the fact that Bohemia and Austria were bitter rivals, it is obvious why the secret alliance caused "minor discomfort" in the mood of the Austrian sovereign.

Despite this, Constantino continued to prepare for war, since the Emperor had no official claim to push against Tuscany, yet his plans were not to come true, problems began to pour on the Republic as though God himself wanted Tuscany to fail.

At first, the pirates once again returned to haunt the citizens of the Republic, remainding Constantino that his navy was no match to anybody, unable to defend the safety and well-being of the nation. This time Tuscany's most important port had fallen victim of the attack - Pisa, and this was despite the nation's defense plan that was implemented by Pasquall after the first raid.

eu332ua5.png


It must be noted that Constantino was a competent ruler and greeted difficulties like a man. Soon after the raid, additional defenses were commissioned in the province, improving order and showing the citizens that the government was not idle.

eu334gb0.png


Due to the increasing number of pirate raids and the crippling effect they had on the economy, it was decided that a change in foreign policy was needed. Until this day the Tuscan rulers had simply been destroying the pirates, hoping that the problem will one day go away, ignoring the fact that every Kingdom in Northern Africa supported the pirates. As a change the Republic thought to use its vast financial resources to cripple the support offered to the pirates by foreign rulers. It was decided to begin slow, with the smallest of Kingdoms - Tripoli.

eu333og8.png


The said policy was not to bear fruit immediatly, pirates continued to see Tuscany as a easy target, due to a very limited naval force.

eu335ng9.png


The pirates returned to the already suffered province of Ancona, once again province defenses were upgraded, although nobody knew if they really were hindering the pirates even the slightest.

Even though Constantino decided on a political strategy against the pirates, he did not wish to give up on the possibility of vengance, launching a raid of his own into Morocco. Many questioned whether or not such acts degraded the Italians to the level of African pirate scum.

eu336pw5.png


Despite the pirate raids and the ongoing war with the Ottomans, which meant that Venice and Genoa would probably dishonor a call to arm against Sicily, Constantino decides to continue his preperation for war.

In 1478 Sicily made a move of its own, peacefully annexing the Papal lands, this on the one hand made the potential enemy became more powerful, but on the other, made it easier to acquire Rome. Constantino made a counter-move, annexing Siena, changing significally the Italian puzzle.

Italy 1478

eu339mx3.png


---------------------------------------

Seems that my update is too large for a single post, diving is in progress
 

unmerged(33767)

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At the time, when Constantino could already feel the taste of battle, did the problems really begin to show, making the pirate raids look as enjoyable as a game of chess against a weak opponent. It all began when the Emperor demanded that Siena be released!

eu342yd7.png


Yet the way Constantino arrogantly seized the power in the Republic rewarded him not only with a large number of foreign enemies, but with an even more numerous army of enemies inside the borders of Tuscany. Seeing a weakening of Constantino's grip on the country, they tried to stage a revolution. What they did not take into account however, was the fact, that Constantino tolerated nobody who decided to take what he thought was his. The Republic witnessed bloody events, dubbed "The General's massacre" by the people.

eu343qn7.png


To make matters even worse, the Holy Roman Emperor saw the opportunity to press his interests through and allied with the rebels, trying to brake the rule of the former Tuscan general.

eu345eq2.png


Constantino was now forced to forget dreams of a glorious war and focus on the troubles in Tuscany itself, ensuring that the Republic would stay in his hands. He pursued this policy by ensuring the safety of common citizen, providing high walls and crippling the dangers from abroad.

eu349op6.png


eu347rq5.png


At a time it seemed that the worst was already left behind, but then Tuscany's recent history came back with vengance. In the struggle between the two classes, Guelphs, the ones that supported the pope, and Ghibellines, the one that took the side of the Holy Roman Emperor, Tuscany had traditionally supported the former. In a state of wavering central power, the Ghibellines tried to to oust Constantino from power, with the support of dissidents in the provinces only recently conquered by Tuscany, further weakening the country and making it look like a possible target for hostility abroad.

eu348lz7.png


While dealing with internal problems Constantino was forced to digest another bad turn of events, which burried his plans to acquire Rome in a war against Siciliy. In may 1480 Sicily granted independance and the city of Rome to Pope Innocentius VIII.

In three months after the given event Constantino Bizzelli was found dead on the floor in his personal chambers. It was said that he had a heart attack, caused by the ever deepening stress that he experienced. Yet many also whispered that the death was not natural and that the Doge was poisoned by the people that he had mistreated when he came to power. There were also those that saw the hand of God behind his death.

Nevertheless even the most bitter rivals agreed that Constantino is to be treated with respect - he was a strong and capable leader, with a vision and all the attributes to pursue it. Yet he was one of those leaders, with great potential, but with the worst of luck. A most noble of ceremonies was held to honor the passing of the Doge.

----------------------------------------------------------

It seems that Sicily escaped unharmed once again!
 

unmerged(25227)

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Looking good, unifying is fun! :D

I'm having my first go at MM4 myself atm. So far it have been abit like your game I imagine, some things you realy like and some make you go WTF!? :p
 

unmerged(70767)

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much better than the aar about the mighty nokia empire
 

unmerged(33767)

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Dysken Thank you! :)

uknight Unifying does set goals for games, my mind already can't decide whether to play Netherlands, Russia or Germany next :D

Calum Cornish Thanks, but the Nokia Empire is getting a lot more attention heh

The next update will take some time, I played through two rulers, reducing Sicily to a minor, yet exactly 5 seconds after I signed the peace, preparing to hit the "save" button, my computer decided to make repetetive sounds and self-restart. So I need to go through everything once more. *sighs*
 

BBBD316

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Very nice, I demand you slaughter a number of enemies in your next update.

Blood must be let!
 

aldriq

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Very good AAR and good progress so far as well, despite the eventful MM surprises. Much bigger challenges are waiting ahead though, with France/Burgundy/Austria preying on Northern Italy and the Ottomans around the corner, can you give us a peek at Central Europe/Balkans area to see how Hungary/Poland/Lithuania are coping with them?
 

unmerged(70767)

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Could you do a world overview after the death of your rulers or every decade?
 

aldriq

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aldriq said:
can you give us a peek at Central Europe/Balkans area to see how Hungary/Poland/Lithuania are coping with them?

Calum Cornish said:
Could you do a world overview after the death of your rulers or every decade?

We AAR-readers are a demanding bunch, soon we'll be asking you for weekly economic reports with the interest rates and inflation for the 150 countries, Monday by 9am :rofl:
 

unmerged(70767)

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aldriq said:
We AAR-readers are a demanding bunch, soon we'll be asking you for weekly economic reports with the interest rates and inflation for the 150 countries, Monday by 9am :rofl:
better than asking the exact manpower the HRE can expect to have in 10 years