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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

qwertzuiop

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Hello,

this AAR is based on some alternative strategies with Siena. I like the various Italian states but I always thought that there isn't a lot of space for expansion on the peninsula even though it certainly gets easier after the Italian states leave the HRE. At the same time, the Italian states are not in a prime position to colonise because they lack the necessary range at the beginning and most of the trade ends up in Sevilla anyway.

So there is the option to attack one of the Iberian countries and to take the Canary Islands for example. But... why not just go through North Africa? My aim is to colonise through the Sahara, take the literal gold mine(s) that is Western Africa and dominating the important trade nodes, especially the Ivory Coast. Once that is done, why not spiral out of control and colonise parts of South America as well as all the way to Asia? After all, there is more gold to be had!

Yes (in order to start with the actual story), the wealthy elite of Siena is truly ambitious. And crazy. But most importantly ambitious.


Content

Introduction: The first step is done

Chapter 1: Instructions
Chapter 2: Corruption is bad
Chapter 3: Integration Alert
Chapter 4: Habemus Papam
Chapter 5: Impressions from the desert
Chapter 6: In Late Medieval Siena, state accepts you
Chapter 7: Keep up with fashions
Chapter 8: Rivalries just happen
Chapter 9: Think big
Chapter 10: They call him Columbus

Chapter 11: The stage is set
Chapter 12: Deus ... Vult?
Chapter 13: The spawn of the devil
Chapter 14: Sienese Sahel
Chapter 15: How to be more Catholic as a ruler
Chapter 16: Rivalry matters
Chapter 17: About things
Chapter 18: Subtle Diplomacy
Chapter 19: Rebel Combating Agency
Chapter 20: The rule of law

Chapter 21: Things need to change!
Chapter 22: Damnation
Chapter 23: A Cardinal Sin
Chapter 24: Monopolization efforts
Chapter 25: Turn East
Chapter 26: Freedom Day
Chapter 27: We Are Safe
Chapter 28: Race Around Lake Chad
Chapter 29: Stage Three
Chapter 30: The Concept of Serenity
 
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qwertzuiop

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Introduction: The first step is done



The result of the "war of Sienese Aggression"



Rafaello Nardi (Commander): "My Doge..."

Biagio Segni (The Doge): "Yes?"

Nardi: "Have you looked at our manpower pool lately?"

Segni: "Manpower pool? What does that even mean?"

Nardi: "It's...ehm...a special term related to the number of soldiers ready to reinforce our troops in times of need."

Segni: "So, does it look badly?"

Nardi: "Yes... yes it does. According to estimates, we only have around 2000 men left. Due to your incompetent... ehm... due to bad luck, we've lost around 10000 soldiers in the war. Our army got completely beaten twice in Africa.

Segni: "Yes, I remember... anyway, it's not too bad."

Nardi: "So could you please tell me why did we fight that war in the first place?"

Segni: "Well, it's simple. Have you ever wondered what's south of the big desert?"

Nardi: "No, actually I haven't. What is it?"

Segni: "Gold."

Nardi: "Gold??"

Segni: "Our agents have investigated the so-called "Trans-Saharan trade". It seems that the North Africans are receiving significant amounts of gold every year from the caravans passing the desert. We assume that the peoples south of the desert are producing a huge surplus of gold. We have tried to find the best possible spot to cross the desert and we believe that the area south of "Fezzan" is not as hostile to life as most parts of the Sahara."

Nardi: "So that was our first step in the big game?"

Segni: "This is correct. However the Syndicate has now instructed me to wait and repair the economy so we can repay our loans to the greedy traders of Lucca. We are to be cautious and to wait for the next phase. We cannot afford to attract too much attention at this moment."



A new game is more fun with a bunch of loans
 
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Tom D.

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Surprising choice to go on the colonial route with Sienna, and it's even greater that it is going through the desert itself! I also like the conversations already in this AAR. Looking great and subbed :)!
 

qwertzuiop

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Heh, a colonial aar. Now tempted to mod Rhodesia and it's meme magic...
Sure, why not? This reminds me that I need to grab the gold provinces in that area too even though that could take a long time.

Surprising choice to go on the colonial route with Sienna, and it's even greater that it is going through the desert itself! I also like the conversations already in this AAR. Looking great and subbed :)!
Hey, I'm glad you like it. Actually I have colonised through the Sahara several times, but never as a European country. I've done it as Morocco, Tunis and I think twice as Granada. Whenever I'm playing as a small or very threatened country I'm always looking for possible "exit points" to other areas which are easier to dominate. I enjoy it a lot so sometimes I also go this route in situations where it wouldn't be necessary in order to survive, just like in this AAR. So there is a lot of logic to my playing style here, but from a narrative perspective it's of course completely crazy. Just as colonizing Africa in the 15th/16th century is completely crazy. :p
 
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qwertzuiop

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Chapter 1: Instructions





Biagio Segni (The Doge): "Signore Nardi, I have just received a letter from the Syndicate. The messenger told me that it carries instructions both for the head of government (that would be me) and for the chief commander. That would be you."

Rafaello Nardi (Commander): "Sure. I'm ready for the instructions."

Segni [reading the letter]: "Housing the machinery of government is as important as the machinery itself and one should never forget the importance of religion while doing so."

Nardi: "Ehmmmmm..."

Segni: "Wise words."

Nardi: "I don't understand..."

Segni: "That's a codified message. Let's take a look at the "how to read codified messages" guide powered by The Syndicate.

Nardi [says nothing]

Segni: "Okay."

Segni: "So."

Segni: "What it means is..."

Segni: "First, they want to me to stay in office for another term. Well I wanted to do that anyway..."







Segni: "Their next instruction is to keep an eye on the Portuguese. It is well known that their royal house is very ambitious and they are exploring the seas. They have recently settled a group of islands several hundred kilometers away from their coast. They are very good shipbuilders and they have recently expanded their territories in North Africa. We don't know whether they will be friends or enemies in the future. It is entirely possible that our interests are going to clash. At the same time they could help us exploring the unknown lands and oceans."




Nardi: "Wait, did they really hide all those sentences in their message?"

Segni: "What? No, no... They are just telling us to keep an eye on the Portuguese. The rest is just me narrating... I mean... ehm... I'm just mentioning what I already know. After all our agents have already been active in Portugal for several years."

Nardi: "Fair enough".

Segni. "What's that? There is another message. Ahem."

Segni [starting to read]: "Throughout the middle ages cavalry's dominance was being challenged by disciplined pikemen. In battles such as..."

Segni: "Okay, that's not even a codified message. They are telling you to introduce a new pike formation. Actually, it's a formation most of our neighbours already know. I guess that explains why the message is not codified. It's not exactly something that needs to be kept secret."

Nardi: "Ah yes, the pike square formation. I've seen our allies in Florence using it. I'm just going to copy all their methods. We should be able to use it in battle in only a few years."


 

qwertzuiop

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Chapter 2: Corruption is bad




Advisor: "My Doge..."

Marco Torricelli (the new Doge): "Yes?"

Advisor: "I apologize for bringing bad messages, but we've got a problem."

Torricelli: "And that is?"

Advisor: "There is something really bad stalking our country."

Torricelli: "And what's that?"

Advisor: "Sayings."

Torricelli: "Sayings??"

Advisor: "There are bad sayings spreading in our country. Those sayings have become so common that they can now be regarded as a 'meme', that means, even the artists have picked them up and everyone is familiar with those sentences. [opens the window] There is a group of musicians outside. Just listen to their song."

Musicians [playing music]: "What is the difference between an honest man and a fool? The fool doesn't know he is being swindled! The fool doesn't know he's being swindled."

Torricelli [closing the window]: "Okay. That's really bad. I listened to that song for a few seconds and I already feel more corrupt."

Advisor: "Yes, that's the problem... sayings make people corrupt. Imagine if this continues. It could seriously undermine our ability to rule."

Torricelli: "What if...?"

Advisor: "Yes, my Doge?"

Torricelli: "We could create our own sayings. Non-corrupt sayings. We can create our own lyrics. It's not so tough!" [starts to write]

Torricelli: "Okay. Read this out loud." [handing over the paper to the advisor]

Advisor: "Choosing the direction a country is going to take... is perhaps the toughest choice a ruler will ever face."





Torricelli: "It's great, isn't it? It makes you feel less corrupt."

Advisor: "Yes, my Doge. I can directly feel how your sentence absorbs corruption. If we tell our court musicians to create a song based on this sentence, I assume this would have a great effect on our population. Yes, I would even say that the lyrics you have written are in some way 'ahead of time' because they are so brilliant. If you do not mind, my Doge, I will summon the court musicians immediately."

Torricelli: "Very well."

Advisor [leaving the room]

Messenger [entering the room]: "My Doge! Top secret message!" [gives him a letter]

Torricelli [reading the letter and murmuring]: "Stage two... stage two."

Torricelli [looking at the messenger in a conspirative way]: "Tell the Syndicate that I have understood."

 

JCan

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Very nice.

I'm not normally one for 'narrative' or 'story' AARs, but this has grabbed me. Sterling work so far.
 

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qwertzuiop

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Great read so far! The dialogues are lots of fun. Keep up the good work!
Thank you! I had a lot of fun writing them (especially the one about the corruption event because that's what I'm always thinking when I get one of those events ingame).

Very nice.

I'm not normally one for 'narrative' or 'story' AARs, but this has grabbed me. Sterling work so far.
Thanks! I hope I can keep it up then. :p

I see that you lose 13 RT there, I thought it was 'only' 10?

I feel the same, may God have mercy for my corrupted sins...
That's because I'm an Administrative Republic with 5-year election cycles so it costs a bit more than in a merchant republic.

As far as the corruption stuff is concerned, please don't quote it! The corruption might spread throughout the forum! :p
 

Tom D.

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As far as the corruption stuff is concerned, please don't quote it! The corruption might spread throughout the forum! :p
Oh no, God will have to forgive me twice :eek:! Let's make some more lyrics which definitively are very demotivating corruption.
 

qwertzuiop

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Oh no, God will have to forgive me twice :eek:! Let's make some more lyrics which definitively are very demotivating corruption.
Well there are only a few sentences that can decrease corruption - the ones that are 'ahead' of their 'time'. :p
 

qwertzuiop

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Chapter 3: Integration Alert


The Syndicate's agent [entering Marco Torricelli's office]

Marco Torricelli (the Doge): "Ah, welcome. Take a seat."

Agent [sitting down and taking off his mask]: "Nice to meet you again, Signore Torricelli."

Torricelli: "It's a pleasure, ehm... sorry, could you please tell me your name, Sir? I must have forgotten."

Agent: "My name is Attila."

Torricelli: "Attila?"

Agent: "Sure, that's my codename. It's not my actual name of course."

Torricelli: "Ah okay... I guess I'm just going to refer to you as 'agent' then. I mean... anyway. Let's get down to business."

Agent: "About the war."

Torricelli: "Yes?"





Agent: "How exactly did that war start and why did we participate?"

Torricelli: "Well the first question is simple to answer. Take a look at that painting." [points to a painting on the wall]



Torricelli: "Our best court artist created this. The description is 'Between outward expansion and defense inside, the whole world waiting but Italia demands our attention, the Florentine call - resounds throughout the desert'."

Agent: "Okay."

Torricelli: Followed by 'Choosing the direction a country is going to take is perhaps the toughest decision a ruler will ever face'. Well, that's the anti-corruption sentence there. Anyway, at the start the choice was not easy indeed. But then we learned that Austria..."



Torricelli: "... couldn't amass enough forces for a defence. They abandoned their allies and it became clear that we would only have to fight against Lucca and Ferrara. That was of course no problem... and so we accepted the call to arms and won the war easily. I have to admit, in the first moment I thought the Florentines were completely crazy but that's better left to us... [coughing] ... what I'm trying to say is it all worked out rather well in the end."

Agent: "And stage two?"

Torricelli: "Stage two is ongoing. We have started integrating the local garrisons in Fezzan in order to increase our control over the area. The call to arms came at an inopportune moment - the local commanders thought they would be expected to join our war which would of course have slowed down the whole process. After all, it is tough to disband forces which are currently involved in fighting. Also, after some victories on the battlefield, maybe they would have asked for more autonomy and a concession here and there... so we just decreed that the Fezzani garrisons do not have to participate."





Torricelli: "Then we bribed them and... I mean, in a non-corrupt way. We just gave them a gift basically. Right? We are rich people so we are supposed to share with the poor."





Torricelli: "Then we started integrating them into the new structure which shall be called 'Sienese Tripolitania'. It's a beautiful name, isn't it?"





Agent [looking impatient]: "When can we explore the desert."

Torricelli: "We are already recruiting adventurers. We should be ready to start in one or two years."
 

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Subbed! May the non-corrupt bribes continue!
 
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qwertzuiop

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Chapter 4: Habemus Papam




Diplomat: "My Doge..."

Marco Torricelli (The Doge): "Yes?"

Diplomat: "Are you completely sure that was the correct decision?"

Torricelli: "Yes."

Diplomat: "I mean.. did we really have to take the Pope's nephew as the cardinal of our city? That's... not the most subtle way of doing things. If I may say so."



Torricelli: "We'll be fine."

Diplomat: "It has been reported that during a recent meeting, the Florentine council has loudly derided His Excellency... the cardinal. They were calling him "the Pope's pet"... or maybe they were referring to the person who made that decision... yes they probably talked about you, my Doge. Do you like to be called a 'pet'?"




Torricelli: "For now."

Torricelli: "Listen, our ties to the Papal States are important. We are about to expand into the desert and other rulers may think ill of us... they might regard us as ruthless expansionists and take us very seriously or they might regard us as complete madmen and refuse to take us seriously... which of course would be completely unjustified. So what do we do? We're just doing the Lord's work! Yes, we are just expanding to spread the One True Faith. Yes, it's a serious and at the same time a very humble mission. Other Catholic rulers will respect us for what we're doing."

Torricelli: "The diplomatic incident in Florence is a problem but... I'd rather have them talk about pets than asking what the hell we are doing in the desert."
 
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Tom D.

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Diplomat: "I mean.. did we really have to take the Pope's nephew as the cardinal of our city? That's... not the most subtle way of doing things. If I may say so."
That seems VERY suspicious, the Pope didn't accidentally gave a small 'gift' to persuade the Doge *cough*corruption*cough* ;)?
 

qwertzuiop

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That seems VERY suspicious, the Pope didn't accidentally gave a small 'gift' to persuade the Doge *cough*corruption*cough* ;)?
The Doge just wanted the Papal Influence. You know? 'Papal' 'influence'. 'Influence' like 'money flowing into your coffers'. Or even better, stability. :p
 

qwertzuiop

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Chapter 5: Impressions from the desert




"Hi! I am Fabio Alighieri, your interactive travel guide. So... yes? What do you ask? You'd like to call me Dante? Fine... call me Dante. No, no, I'm not actually related to the poet. Yes, it's okay.

So would you like to know how last year's travel went? Well... first we walked south into Fezzan. We were greeted by the local garrison.





Then we passed them and walked through the dunes of Murzuk in order to reach our most southern outpost.





Then we entered unknown territory... and we got raided.





Then we found water! There was a beautiful oasis and we stayed there for some months.






Then we walked further south into the desert...





... there seemed to be people living there...



... and then we encountered Air.



What do you say? It's pronounced Aïr? Oh yes. Yes, that is correct of course. This is Aïr.

Anyway, after we encountered Aïr we returned home."