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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
The Beginning

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Time for another Stellaris AAR. Comments are welcome.

Settings:



___________________________________________

The forests and plains of Aramus were long home to various cat-like species, but it was one of them, the Valdari, who, in the difficult and challenging process of their evolution, were able to acquire sapience. Perhaps it was their relatively small size compared to the more tiger- and lion- like species that made this evolutionary path possible for them.



The Valdari were naturally quire hierarchical. While they never placed much importance in slavery - and, eventually, abolished it - their primitive societies had long been divided into many clans and sub-clans. While gradually, the whole planet was united under one Imperial office, these subdivisions still persisted, reflected in many feudal noble titles and the respect their holders had from common Valdari.



It was under the reign of Empress Jorim den Iridar the Imperial Valdari Institute scientists discovered a way to travel between systems at a faster-than-light speed. They called these connections "hyperlanes". The commoners clamored for more space to escape the overcrowded cities of Aramus, while the nobles yearned for more power and influence.



The first order of things was to bring the remaining uninhabitable planets of the Arakim system under Imperium control by building space stations in their orbits.



The Empress decided to sell goods produced by the Consumer Goods Imperial factories to her vassal nobles in order to fund space exploration.



Science ships swarmed the nearby Barban system, which seemed to lack any sentient life - or, indeed, any inhabitable planets at all.



On Arakim itself, the remaining scientists, while envying somewhat their colleagues working in space exploration, continued to do important theoretical work.



The space battle debris, found in Barban system, has shown that the galaxy at least contained intelligent alien life in the past.



Does this life still exist in the galaxy? Will they submit to the Empress? Will they be hostile to the Alvani? These questions were poised everywhere on Aramus - in the common rowdy taverns, in noble castles, in scientific laboratories.

 
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Nice to see another AAR
 

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Sounds interesting. Consider me subbed!
 

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Thanks for the comments, everyone!
______________________________

These mysterious aliens who fought in Barban were, in certain respects, more advanced than the Valdari. This was slightly disconcerting.



The whole Arakim - especially its nobles, who envisioned them controlling new lands on new plantes - was grateful to brave space explorers who ventured into the unknown. A monument was dedicated to them, while more energy generators were commissioned to fuel continuing exploration.



Although nobles insisted the computer be scrapped for parts, the scientists who discovered it petitioned the Empress to allow this technological wonder to continue what it had been doing. Apprehensive, the Empress nevertheless took the scientists' side.



It was somewhat a relief for Valdari scientists to find what looked like a giant amusement park, even if they noted that it was probably something more prosaic.



Space exploration and its popularization in arts and propaganda resulted, somewhat unexpectedly, in scientific professions being considered almost as prestigious as being an Arakim noble.



Indeed, space exploration brought news of new wonders every day, both of practical...



and of artistic-theoretical matters.



Although Media system nearby already had a planet suitable for colonization, the nobles had dreams of annexing more lands after terraforming the uninhabitable planets, too.



Alien ships were found in Kazoo system - unfortunately, they seemed to be unrelentingly hostile. Were there friendly entities in this galaxy at all?



Apparently, there were - or, at least, entities that were not hostile on sight. A ship of different design and structure, but with similarities to Valdari science ships was noticed in Polgara...

 
Neighbors

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As the first colonists landed on Media Prime...



the Valdari were contacted by a sapient space civilization calling itself "Holy Spyran Foundation". While intrigued by the existence of contemporary sapient life, the Empress and her advisors didn't like their smug, preachy attitude. She calmly expressed that no matter what the Spyrans might think, the Alvari will not be held back by any sapient's religious prejudice.



The Spyran space.



Although Jorim den Vargos misread the indicators of Ulfao star energy, the Empress graciously pardoned him for his mistake, especially since the star turned out to contain much more usable energy than it seemed at first.




The Spyran were becoming unbearable, constantly lecturing the Valdari about their "sins" and attempting to hack Valdari video broadcasts to insert "spiritual messages about their Lord and Savior Spyrus".



Governor Barim advised the Empress to order an expansion of Valdari military industry, "just in case Spyran preaching turns violent,"



The Empress recognized the potential in a strange space creature's DNA. No prejudice about "abominations" shall prevent any benefit coming to the Imperium.



It was only a matter of time before Valdari exploration ships found more sentient life.



The militaristic Rixi Coterie didn't have any particular desire to preach their spirituality at the Valdari - for this, the Empress was grateful. Unfortunately, they seemed to be potentially interested in Valdari material goods...



Despite hostile relations between two empires, the Empress' Council decided not to risk an altercation with the Spyrans at this time.



The Foundation, the Imperium and the Coterie.

The rivalry declaration on top comes from the Spyran Foundation, apparently completely disgusted at Valdari's lack of spirituality.

 
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What lovely neighbours!
 

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What lovely neighbours!
Well, they could've been Fanatic Purifiers... besides, it makes some sense for relations between Cats and Avians to be fraught.
______________________

With promises of future autonomous realms on new planets, and using threats from the Foundation and the Coterie as additional arguments, Empress Jorim convinced the nobles to grant more concessions to the Imperial power.



Finally, the mystery of unremittingly hostile space entities was revealed - these were ancient mining automata. The Count-Generals of the Valdari were determined to rid the space of these obstacles to colonization.




The Japris system was extremely important. Its hyperlanes were the only ones guarding the entrance to the star cluster "east" of it. The Empress' will was clear - the Valdari must control it before the Rixi Coterie. With immense efforts, Valdari colonists and engineers were successful.



In order to prove its superiority to the avian neighbors, the Imperium must invest in technological advancement.



Unfortunately, all these successes were not enough to prevent popular opposition to Imperial policies. Many Valdari on Media Prime, encouraged by underground dissidents, started to accuse the Imperial government of oppression and authoritarianism. Naturally, this couldn't be tolerated. Secret agents were sent to Media Prime, to... remove the more rebellious elements.



It appeared that the Valdari had precursors in their galaxy, even if these large worms didn't have much in common with their current successors.



The Zom system was located in the "eastern" cluster saved from the Coterie. Wisely, the Empress decided to wait for the results of the atomic clock's objective.



Other dissident elements, unlike the pacifists of Media Prime, were less ideologically-minded and were just criminals on a grand scale. The Imperium's space fleets were the instrument to deal with them.



Somewhat stubborn, but, as always, just, Governor Barim ordered the construction of generator districts on Media prime.



Knowing the name of the basic Vultaum time unit wasn't much... still, it was a gain in Valdari knowledge.



Far more interesting was the information about their virtual realities.




The Empress' counsellors advised her to arrest den Subir, but, apparently, the Empress was getting tired of repression. Further, den Subir didn't seem to be actually disloyal to the Imperium.



Interesting reports of a proto-sentient species were coming from Kazoo.



Discontent nobles were given more estates on Arakim. The Empress needed to carefully balance her desires and the needs of the Imperium with the nobles' demands.



Even the seemingly useless frozen planets still could be useful.



Whatever the pacifists of Media Prime wished, ultimately, it was the Empress' will to found academies for shipwrights to further increase the Imperial fleet.



The shipwrights' techniques greatly improved the durability of Imperial ships.



Anchorages were built on Valdari starports, to ensure the viability of further fleeet expansion.



Most of the ideas contained in this Spyran text were banal and full of moralism. Still, it provided some insight into psychology of these avians.

 

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Tick tock ... I had completely forgotten that event. I can't even remember what the potential outcomes are.
 

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It's certainly quite a strange event, yes...
__________________________________

The contrast between luxurious noble estates and pitiful slums of Arakim motivated Barim den Telnik to start a slum clearance project.



The planet Ruqlar, located in the "north" of the Alvari galactic sector, was a picturesque place, full of natural beauty under wild storms. Alvari painters would certainly appreciate it.



Most Alvari long outgrown their superstitions about old gods. Their feudal society was justified by rationalistic arguments from every society's need for an established order. Still, for those still spiritually-minded, the will of the gods provided a further justification. And it enriched the Imperial treasury.



The shipwrights continued to work on new designs.



In order to placate the nobles who complained about excesses of Imperial power, the Empress decided to proclaim the Zom system in the "eastern" sector and its tundra planet an autonomous duchy of Tentramoda, ruled by a Duke, picked among the most influential nobles of the realm. The Duchy had the mandate to expand its influence in systems not already claimed by the Empress herself.

The Feudal Society civic really should grant a small bonus per vassal... maybe a small Influence gain?



The Empress made a lot of the comet in her propaganda.



Although den Subir was spared, and even allowed to contiue her activism, this did not extend to more common folk on Kazoo Prime.



It was clear that despite all improvements in warship construction, the Imperium still couldn’t fight on two fronts. Therefore, the Empress, with heavy heart, decided to pay tribute to the Coterie of her own will, hoping to avoid a stab in the back in the most inopportune time.



The Empress is dead, long live the Emperor.



~~~~~
Empress Jorim den Iridar

Reign dates: 2196-2241



~~~~~

"I am pleased to meet another Mammalian species", Emperor Rodrig began his greeting.
"You are mistaken, my Emperor" - said the creature in a strangely monotonous voice, "we are in no way mammalian".
"But... wait, these green things aren't clothing?"
"Indeed, we aren't, my Emperor. The mammalian creature you see is just a vehicle for us to survive and to reach the stage of being able to explore the galaxy".
"Are the mammalian beings sentient? Or were they so?" - asked the Emperor, with clear discomfort in his voice.
"They don't seem to be a sentient species, my Emperor, but it is none of our concern, really. Whatever they are, it's a great honor for them to serve as extensions and servants of the Hazar Hegemony".

Emperor Rodrig had no choice but to be satisfied with the answer.



The Hazar Hegemony on the map.

 
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Sometimes you have to know when not to fight a war.
 

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There's time for war and time for peace....
___________________

Both guns and butter were important to the Valdari, as Barim den Telnik knew. Therefore, she organized the building of consumer goods factories on Media Prime.



The Racket Industrial Enterprise had a reputation of running a real racket on its deals. Still, the Empire needed every ship.



Paying the Coterie off to maintain good relationship had its payoffs - the Rixi decided to antagonize the parasitic Hazar fungoids instead.



The Emperor was pleased to know that his shipwrights managed to make corvette hulls even tougher.



The death of den Subir was seen as a relief to the ruling circles around the Emperor. Still, Rodrig took care not to insult her memory, declaring merely that a mausoleum to her would be too expensive.



Despite their spiky appearence, the inhabitants of Adnor seemed to be one of the most pleasant species in the galaxy.



The nation of Adnor on the map.



They also seemed to be less militaristic than other nations met so far, focusing less on fleet power.

 

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Just goes to show, don't judge a species by their looks.
 
Getting to Know the Whole Galaxy

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Well, most of Stellaris species are quite ugly. The later added portraits switch to a more attractive "strange" rather than "ugly" aesthetics, like the caterpillar and the fairy dragon. I'd like for more portraits to be like this. Personally, I also like for there to be more strange mammalians - cute three-eyed rabbits, savage multi-pawed wolves, etc.
_____________________________

The Adnor revealed to the Alvari their other contacts. Strangely, one of the other galactic species, the bull-like capitalists, also called themselves a similar name (although their "a" was far more throaty and "r" more rolling and less palatized).



All the colors of political map.



It appeared that the "other Valdari" sovereignity wouldn't last long, as they were in a direct conflict with the far more powerful plantoid Ganvius empire.



Saathid Trade Union revealed to the "main" Valdari many other galactic nations. When the Valdari only started their space exploration, they had to inkling that the galaxy contains so many sentient species.



News that the Valdari Imperium was only a minor player on the galactic stage, as far as power and influence is concerned, was quite alarming to Emperor Rodrig.



At least, the Rixi would be definitely off Valdari backs for quite some time.



As predicted, the Other Valdari were on their way out - a cautionary tale. Galactical international diplomacy, it seemed, was a really wild jungle, even if the Adnor, with their talk about "international order, cooperation, norms and values" would wish it to be otherwise.



As if the galaxy didn't contain enough species... Still, more subjects can only be good for the Emperor.



The Adnor were clearly searching for more friends and allies in the cold vastness of space. This suited the Imperium just fine.



The Azizans made for fine servants of the Imperium and the Valdari.



Some Valdari complained that the new arrivals were taking their jobs. There was no denying, however, that they were better at these jobs - and that's the only thing Emperor Rodrig was interested in.

 

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I quite like some of the Plantoids myself.

Teh galaxy is filling up
 

Vilhelm

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Tick tock ... I had completely forgotten that event. I can't even remember what the potential outcomes are.
In the game I played, it released a nanite swarm that built a structure around a star.

Also, that sure is a lot of empires.
 

LWE

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Well, it's a Large galaxy with 2 extra AI empires. But yep, when there're too many AI empires they sort of blend into each other...
______________

Nationalist agitators were more to the Emperor's liking. Even if they went too far at times, they were useful for consolidation of the national spirit, as long as the Emperor was acknowledged to be the ultimate representative of the Nation.



The squabbling dukes of Tentramoda finally stopped squabbling and started to fulfill the Emperor's mandate by expanding their domains.



Puzzlingly, the Ganvius theocrats, not the various corporate regimes of the galaxy, were the ones to establish the intergalactic market station.



The dukes of Tentramoda also explored the stars "west" of Rixi, seeing their overlord being slow to do so.



The Emperor saw it beneath his dignity to hunt some harmless amoebas.



He was instead focused on getting his nation to follow his vision of greatness.



The Rixi could be pleasant neighbors, as along as you ignored their tendency to share tales of violent rape, pillage and plunder.



The other neighbors, however, were definitely less than pleasant. In fact, the Emperor was none to surprised when he received a laconic video message from the Spyrans:

"Your civilization has committed the ultimate sin by rejecting the divine superiority of the Spyrans. Prepare to die by the talons of our spaceships".



The Spyran Star Flocks were poised at Valdari borders, but the Valdari had a fleet of their own...
 

stnylan

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Well, a showdown has been due for some time now.
 
The First War

LWE

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Every Stellaris war results in fireworks all over the space.
_________________

The Spyrans foolishly attacked the star system of Lachium, which already had a powerful Valdari fleet, as well as a fortified starport. "Bird-brains", remarked admiral Jargim den Armak.



The results were predictable. This first Valdari real victory in space was celebrated across the empire.



Utilitarian Valdari ships didn't look so nice compared to sleek, aerodynamic Spyran look.



But they proved to be utilitarian enough to achieve victory after victory.



Admiral Jargim retreated from Spyran space after his victories, expecting a second wave of avian fleets. But this second wave was downright pathetic.



And thus, Jorgim and his young protege Durim started the invasion of Spyran space in earnest.




The ship on the left is the Racket Super-Clunker. It did its duty well.

The Spyrans managed to assemble one more fleet., but it was clearly inferior to Valdari forces, and suffered the same fate as previous Spyran fleets.



The mystery of the atomic clock was finally revealed - it released nanites which built a computational network on the capital of Tentramoda duchy.



Spyran ground forces were no match for the Valdari.



In peaceful matters, the governor of Ruqlar decided to take advantage of the planet's stormy weather by building physics research facilities.



The Spyrans had to accept the loss of most of their space and their capital planet.



New Valdari space.

 

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That will surely teach them.
 

Vilhelm

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Methinks the Spyrans thought they could win this one through prayers and tithes. That didn't work out so well for them... :p