CatKnight

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As we're closing in on 1450, let's take another look around the league.

India
1448India.jpg


Obviously with me around history's going out the window. The biggest events of the last 25 years are the virtual destruction of Bihar by Delhi and the Bahmanids by Vijayanagar.

NE Europe
1448NEEurope.jpg


Par for the course in my old stomping grounds. Muscowy still has the upper hand but hasn't finished off Novgorod. The two knight orders haven't changed that I can see, and Scandinavia looks 'close enough.'

NW Europe
1448NWEurope.jpg


It's really just a matter of time before England finishes off Ireland. The rest looks pretty historical, including France's growth at Burgundy's expense.

SW Europe
1448SWEurope.jpg


I'm not sure, but it looks like Castile might have taken a small chunk from Aragon while Tunis has expanded southward. Other than that, Italy is the regular mess we expect.

SE Europe
1448SEEurope.jpg


The Ottomans have almost unified Anatolia, but the Byzantines are still going to be their big test. I believe their presence is what's stopping the Ottos from making a mess of the Balkans. It looks like Serbia ate Bosnia at some point. Poland did really well as the Horde imploded.
 

morningSIDEr

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It was time to let someone else try.

I'll say. Very gripping stuff.

The official refused, reminding his rajah that the Gujarati were proud and more likely to respond to a few gentle words than an overt threat. Enraged, Mallikarjuna drew his own knife and thrust it into the diplomat's stomach. They started avoiding him after that.

Stabbing reasonable diplomats in the stomach and generally acting like a madman? On reflection, I'm not liking Mallikarjuna II's style quite so much now...
 

unmerged(58610)

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A new dynasty. They're quite a lot to live up to. Mallikarjuna II got his just desserts. Vijaya had enopugh bastards, perhaps one of them will inherit.

How did the war with Gondwana end? Do you still have the PU with ASSAM.

It looks as though it is going to be a knock-down drag-out confrontation between Delhi and Vijayanagar. Then there's the insult that is Orissa.

The Ottomans look to be about to face their moment of destiny. Get it wrong and the Holy League will rip it apart.

I'd like to see a stronger navy. You seem to be lagging behind in the tech races. What do you plan to do to speed up your tech advances?
 

unmerged(59077)

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Bah.

And here I was hoping for monkey king to achieve unexpected greatness. He clearly didn't read the evil overlord list - there's a rule about confronting your protagonist in person, you know.
 

dinofs

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That's a surprise. Sad that the dynasty should end on such a sour note, with the last king also being the worst.
 

Stuyvesant

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Wow. Mallikarjuna started his reign poorly and managed to steadily work his way down from there... In the end, what brought him down wasn't the fact that he was a frightening homicidal maniac, but rather that he combined a limitless capacity for cruelty with a nonexistent capacity for anything else.

Those were a few bad years. I wonder if the Jeoomal brothers will make a play for the throne (it's not like they have many other options), or if someone else will take up the mantle. As Chief Ragusa points out, there are enough bastards from Vijaya floating around somewhere...
 

Surt

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Well any new dynasty will have to kill off all the bastards(potential legitimacy) and the brothers(King don't like King slayers) to secure themselves so they better make a bid for power.
 

CatKnight

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Enewald: Didn't even see that. Yep, looks like Hungary got uhm.. humbled.

morningSIDEr: Gripping is a good word for this next post. Depressing also works. :)

Chief Ragusa: The war with Gondwana is ongoing. In game, Mal. died as the doomstack battle began. We'll see what happens. Our navy is nearly non-extant, and being Indian I don't have much hope for our techs.

We do get a last slap at Orissa though.

RGB: I tend to keep a running dialogue in my head with my characters, so at the onset of war Mallikarjuna's plan was precisely to stay away from the Jeoomals. At the end, though, the dialogue was something like:

Mal: OK, I'm done in the west. Better bail those losers in the east out. No, you two stay here on the border. I don't trust you and the glory is mine.

EU3: Mallikarjuna loses. Madurai rebels.

Immadi: Heh. Serves you right, bastard.

EU3: Gond army moves to destroy the siege at Indravati.

Immadi: Well, I can't let them just massacre them.

Mal: What? I told you to stay at the border! I'm going to take my (weakened, demoralized) army and kick both of your tails. Then I'm gonna kill you. You hear me? I'm gonna kill...

EU3: Mallikarjuna dies.

Me: .... Oh.

So no, I guess Mal didn't read the book. :)

blsteen: Ooh. That's a good way of looking at it!

Qorten: It is. I was having fun with them :)

dinofs: The problem with statements like these is I'm also active on a baseball forum where AARs are called dynasties. I'd just come from there, read your comment and Qorten's, and thought: "Wait. I didn't say I was ending this AAR did I? Oh wait..."

Stuyvesant: I've noticed in many AARs that it's the insane characters who tend to be the most memorable.

Surt: Yep.

*******

COMMENT: When I wrote a few posts ago that the Empire had reached (and passed) its golden age, I thought I was just being dramatic.

Turns out I was a prophet.
 

CatKnight

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Vijayanagarflag.png

Chapter VII: Narasimha I
Part 1: The End (1448-1452/1469)


Vijaya's Ride

Shortly after Mallikarjuna II's assassination, Vijaya Jeoomal commandeered the fastest steed in his brother's army and galloped south.

He didn't do this out of fear: It would be hours before word escaped that their rajah died 'as a hero at the height of battle.' He knew that with the Imperial bureaucracy in such disarray as to be nearly non-existent, the army fighting a war in foreign lands and the emperor dead, it was only a matter of time - weeks at most - before the Empire exploded into a dozen tiny states.

1448Sep-Update.jpg


This left his brother to fight a desperate battle against Hirade Sahi III, the embattled rajah of Gondwana. Sahi's armies were tired but in good spirits, for they'd defeated Mallikarjuna II once and expected to do so again. Of course, Mallikarjuna's army had been an undisciplined mob and Immadi used this to advantage. He sent orders stating that their emperor wanted them to have the honor of destroying Hirade while Immadi's army would snipe at the flanks and prevent retreat. This placed the deceased rajah's greatest supporters, and therefore some of the more likely troublemakers in the days ahead, directly in harm's way.

As predicted, Hirade swung the bulk of his army to engage Mallikarjuna's mob. The two met in a grisly, headlong clash as Jeoomal moved his more disciplined soldiers towards Hirade's flank. The Gondwanan king realized his danger and retreated, but not before killing or wounded several hundred of Mallikarjuna's supporters. One of Immadi's most trusted lieutenants carried the rajah's standard into battle and, at a specific moment, allowed it to fall. The rajah's slashed body would be found among the slain.

Vijaya meanwhile assumed command of the Imperial reserves in Telingana and marched on Vijayanagara. He intended no coup, and it's not likely he thought through who should be the next emperor. Certainly this gave him a legitimate and powerful claim...except someone else had already claimed the honor.


The Road to Coronation

1448Sep-NewRuler.jpg


Following the Pradhana's collapse during Mallikarjuna's reign, Jeevan Tuluva emerged as the leader of a powerful and angry faction of hereditary nobles and bureaucratic officers who wanted more autonomy. In 1446 he'd spoken (privately) of his vision as the Rajah of Vijayanagara being a 'first among equals' with the greater noble families including the Jeoomals of Madras. He'd sent a spy to watch Mallikarjuna. When he learned he was slain 'in battle' he deserted the army. Since Vijaya had stopped to gather an army, he arrived first.

Jeevan, now calling himself Narasimha (a form of Vishnu half-lion/half-man), produced evidence he descended from the 'god-king' Virkupashka. He didn't really have the administrative skills being emperor required, but he was eloquent and emphatic. He promised a new age free from the 'tyrannies' of the Sangama dynasty and decades of near-endless war. Despite this implied tolerance of continued Islamic presence in India, he won over 'moderate' swamis and other holy men.

All he lacked was an army to deal with Vijaya's dozen known bastards, so Jeoomal's coming was a blessing. He asked to speak with the commander:

Narasimha said:
I can piece together what happened. Simply put, Mallikarjuna comes to your brother's tent with the intent of superseding or even arresting him. The next time we see him, he's been cut down on the front lines by a master swordsman. Mallikarjuna never led from the front, and if he chose to do so it would be with his own army. Meanwhile, you leave before the fighting has even begun ... before our rajah allegedly died?

Relax. I have no intent of exposing you. In my opinion you or your brother did the Empire a service. However, if I've pieced it together others might and they would rise up against you if you usurped the throne. Instead, swear your service to me. It should be obvious that I need you, and in exchange I will protect you and your brother from any misunderstandings and shower you with the glory and honor you've earned.

Vijaya agreed. After detaching about 1,500 men to serve as the core of a new Imperial Guard to protect Narasimha, he continued south to crush the Madurai rebellion.

Through the autumn of 1448 the Empire remained surprisingly calm. Immadi Jeoomal chased the Gond army into Indravati and defeated them again. He then withdrew to Parlakimidi to rest his men while Hirade Sahi sieged Telingana. Vijaya crushed the Madurai rebellion in two sharp battles. Narasimha accepted envoys from the Chagatai and Kashmir who offered peace in exchange for minor concessions. Their very presence granted him legitimacy surely worth some gold and silver.
(Peace with Chagati for 9d. Peace with Kashmir for Kohistan (a Rajuputana province they'd seized.))

In January 1449 a Tantrist scandal broke out along the Deccan coast and into Raichur. Here, some practiced a slight variant on Hinduism based more on sensuality (both sexual and physical) than philosophy. They considered it a sin against the gods not to enjoy the riches and pleasures of the world they'd made. This indulgence astonished more traditional Hindus and angered Muslim and (Eastern) Christian alike.

1449Jan-Tantrism.jpg


It would be hard to imagine a ruler who cared less. Not only was Narasimha busy trying to soothe nobles and external neighbors alike, but his sense of justice demanded tolerance. After all, if he was going to demand that Muslims accept Hindu presence and vice versa, why should he exclude a relatively harmless variant on his own faith?

The nobles disagreed. Those in the south either secretly sympathized with the Madurai rebellion or didn't like Vijaya's sometimes brutal means of breaking it. In the east they worried either that Parlakimidi still wasn't legitimate and therefore set a bad precedent, or that the Gond rajah was camped outside of Telingana trying to reduce it. Northern nobles sided with those who thought Tantrism needed to be purged. As predicted, some put two and two together and pegged Immadi and/or Vijaya Jeoomal as murderers.

Slowly a handful of Emperor Vijaya's bastards stepped forward, each claiming the throne and each with political backing.

1449Jan-Opposition.jpg

(The game said I had a 'smooth transition.' I couldn't justify that, so I manually triggered moderate Noble opposition.)

These bastards might have had their supporters, but they didn't have armies. The Jeoomal brothers controlled the Imperial army, and by and large the men respected them. There were rumors of regicide, of course, but given Mallikarjuna's campaigns had killed over twenty thousand men in three years, few resented the loss.

Hirade Sahi of Gondwana saw his chance to recover his lands with pride intact. He offered Narasimha a chance to end the war in exchange for a pittance, little more than an acknowledgement that Mallikarjuna started the war with minimal provocation. He agreed. (Peace with Gondwana for 2d.)


The Great Compromiser

Historians argue that Narasimha was, at best, a milksop. Certainly hindsight supports that. By 1449 however, he would have realized how precarious Vijayanagara's position had become. As we've stated, he was a brilliant negotiator but indifferent elsewhere. Further, he grossly underestimated how difficult it was to actually hold the reins of power.

His bureaucracy still lay prostate and crippled from Mallikarjuna's purge. In some villages two or more years passed between visits from tax officials, while in other distracts the officials simply kept the taxes. Vijayanagara lost the means of auditing and controlling these men and the Imperial economy faced complete collapse.

It was in this spirit that he happily ended the war with Gondwana, for this allowed him to reduce the army (through merging regiments) from thirty banners to seventeen. By late May 1449 the reduced, but elite army arrayed along the Imperial northern border for one last time.

One bastard, also calling himself Narasimha, rose up in Dadra. Vijaya Jeoomal marched 4,500 men along the Deccan coast and slaughtered them to a man in October. Like the last Senapaati, Sadashivara Chatterji, Jeoomal reached the conclusion that only through calculated cruelty could enemies of the Imperium be brought to heel. He bound the rebel Narasimha's hands and escorted him to a circle of soldiers armed with sticks eager for the treat. Then he tied a sack full of pepper to the boy's head and threw him at the men. Somewhere between the beating and choking he died, his battered and discolored body left outside his father's estate.

Emperor Narasimha didn't approve, though he still needed Jeoomal too much to say anything. Instead he pointed to the boy's 'example' and offered to negotiate.

1449Nobles.jpg


Representatives from the major houses and interests gathered in Vijayanagara for four months of drawn out negotiations. This new Pradhana slightly increased in size to nineteen and quickly split into two factions: Those demanding greater autonomy versus those wanting more direction from Vijayanagara.

Once more, hindsight renders a clear verdict concerning Narasimha's concessions. Some at the time agreed he was signing away the Empire. It's too easy to say that however. As we've stated the Imperial economy was already broken. Preventing a large scale civil war could have, and arguably should have, saved Vijayanagara.

Narasimha signed the final documents on November 4, 1449. The contents only survived due to curious scholars first in Mysore then later in Great Britain. Some of the key articles remind one of the Magna Carta, specifically the rights of the upper castes (merchants, holy men and warriors/nobles) to be 'challenged' (tried) by their peers. Narasimha also agreed to the reforms set by Mallikarjuna's regency, such as not being able to disband the Pradhana and being obliged to consult them on matters affecting Vijayanagara itself.

He granted Assam identical rights in April 1450.

1450Apr-Assam.jpg


It wasn't enough.


Death Spiral

By January 1450 Narasimha's efforts to reform and rebuild his government, ineffective but earnest, confirmed what instinct already made clear: Even with the Imperial mint gathering every scrap of metal it could find and debasing it almost out of recognition, they couldn't balance the budget. Merchants at first made efforts to help with loans, but as it became obvious the Empire had no hope of repaying the offers became fewer and farther between. The Pradhana, either not realizing the danger or already planning for future years, flatly refused necessary tax increases. (With Admin 3, you can't increase your tax rate. Not that I'm sure it would have helped.)

In February, Narasimha revoked the regional anti-piracy defense plan meant to coordinate efforts between port cities. He also fired his closest advisors. By May some nobles sensed blood in the water, revoked their oaths of fealty and revolted. The first battle took place in Madras resulting in thirteen hundred Imperials killed.

There was one last attempt to save the Empire....from Muslim Khandesh. Shah Miran Muhammed II believed that if the Empire broke, southern India would be dominated by violent, dogmatic, intolerant city states that would either destroy the Muslims or be destroyed by them, neither of which struck him as very profitable. He didn't see any value in conquering a stubborn, hostile people when peaceful integration would suffice. He felt that Islam was a peaceful religion driven to war by necessity and that Islam needed civilization to flourish. The barbarism that would result from Vijayanagara's fall might push Islam out of the region entirely or, worse, give rise to a Hindu version of Mohammed.

Therefore he sent a virtual army of merchants south. Islamic merchants who would demand minor concessions and perhaps win a few converts, but whose raison d'etre was to stabilize the now free-falling Imperial economy. They came first to Konkan, then Goa and Parlakimidi with Narasimha's blessings. In the last reactionary zealots lashed out in a night of blood sport killing seven and forcing the other traders, Hindu and Muslim alike, to flee. They then rose in rebellion.

(Before we go further, let's talk about this death spiral. When Vijaya died, I had an income of about 39-40 ducats. At Mallikarjuna's death it was 18-19. At this point in the game it's 3. If I take anything from this game, it will be to watch all those little modifiers very carefully. Once I 'conceded' to the nobles, role playing or not, I signed my own death warrant. Between that, my furious aristocrats (-10% taxes), high war exhaustion increasing RR and so decreasing taxes, my 'distracted' and 'disorganized' administration and so forth, the majority of my provinces were giving me ZERO income.

At this point in the game I'm literally going through a loan per 1-2 months.


In August 1450, Vijaya Jeoomal arrived at Madras with 10,000 men and tried to break the rebels there. His men, however, had seen the pay sent to their families slow to a trickle and now saw their rations slashed as well. Only a fool subverts your own side in the middle of a battle, but they were clearly and obviously demoralized while the rebels sensed freedom. Vijaya inflicted more damage, killing perhaps two thousand when he ordered his horse archers to launch a classic cavalry charge with sabre and spear, but routed.

1450Aug-Bankrupt.jpg


The Empire simply stopped paying its soldiers and sailors, while bureaucrats survived either by defecting to rival lords or taking on small commissions from nobles and merchants. On August 19, after a meeting between ship captains, the Imperial Navy consisting of three carracks and a transport simply sailed away. They spent the rest of 1450 pirating along the west coast then left at the beginning of monsoon season to fade from history. (My last real attempt to cut expenses.)

Immadi arrived at Parlakimidi at the head of seven thousand men similarly demoralized. Tactics were lacking and it showed as the anti-Islamic nobles easily provoked the footsoldiers into a frontal charge.

In November Vijaya Jeoomal broke the rebels at Madras, albeit at grievous loss. His brother did the same, however his loss was greater. As his lines threatened to once more buckle and fade away, Immadi led a desperate charge of five hundred horsemen into the enemy ranks. The attack proved devastating and guaranteed his army's eventual win, but at the height of battle a chance sword blow severed the artery in his leg. He managed to stay on his horse for several moments before falling lifeless to the earth.

Narasimha's attempts to rebuild his government finally showed some fruit in early 1451. (Disorganized government to distracted.) It wasn't enough however, as Vijayanagara once more went bankrupt in April. Now those who depended on the government left in droves. Vijayanagara's population dropped from perhaps 35,000 at the beginning of Mallikarjuna's reign to less than twenty, mostly from the lower caste. A small plague struck in late 1451 taking the life of Narasimha's only son, his heir, and the one thing that kept him trying to fix his broken state.

1451Dec-Maldies.jpg


In June 1452 the Empire went bankrupt for the third time as rebellion erupted in Goa. The last bureaucrats left Vijayanagara. It would be Khandesh who paid for the Empire's last war, supplying food and weapons to Jeoomal's army in exchange for the coastal city of Dadra. Narasimha had no choice.
 
Last edited:

dinofs

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Sad that it should end this way. Well, I suppose that's Magna Mundi for you.

Congrats on a very good AAR!
 

unmerged(58610)

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Jul 2, 2006
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That was certainly unpleasant. From being on the brink of uniting India to powerlessness in a single reign. I'd imagine there's a very big cowpat somewhere.

Ah well, back to the Teutonic Knights. You must have used up all your bad luck.
 

Enewald

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I cannot believe you...:eek:
There is a reason why I avoid MM, it is laggy, and it gives you too many modifiers. sooner or later, those modifiers strangle you, and you fall whatever you try to do.
 

Qorten

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Talk about a drawn-out end, talk about Vijayanagara's death. All in all this AAR is perhaps more true to life in those times then vanilla or any mod not MM, but it certainly isn't fun to play most of the time IMHO. A nice try and a nice AAR CatKnight!
 

Stuyvesant

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Another glorious defeat! I say, you're quite getting the hang of those, aren't you? :p

That was... Wow. What a spectacular implosion. I wasn't expecting that. If I had thought ahead, I might've foreseen some rather difficult times, maybe a few provinces lost, but never would I have imagined such an utter collapse.

As I'm sure I've said before (with one of your other trainrides into Doom), it can't have been much fun to play, but it sure makes for an interesting AAR. And one that ends in a very definite way, too.

Good job. Looking forward to your next effort (there WILL be a next effort, right? All these defeats aren't souring you on writing, are they?).
 

unmerged(59077)

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Jul 17, 2006
5.575
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That's unexpected!

But the focus was kept strongly, so when things go that bad, it is reasonable that the story ended when it did.

But I can't help but feel sadness. Maybe Peperna should have stuck around a little longer to give advice.