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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

iain_a_wilson

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NOTE: THIS IS THE STORY THREAD OF FOR "THE KINGDOM OF AARLAND" AAR. ALL COMMENTS SHOULD GO ON THE COMMENT THREAD

Winner of Best CK Gameplay AAR, Quarter 1 - 2010

Index

Introduction - Where we meet the ruling classes
Part 1 - The bit where some people get new coats of arms and Vesimir's wife carks it
Part 2 - When some Dukes are appointed, some pagans are slaughtered and Fookison thinks it's a good idea to rebel
Part 3 - Kaisermuffin annoys lots of people and there is much warring
Part 4 - The war begins! Oh, and Enewald dies...
Part 5 - The one where everyone kisses and makes up and then falls out again (I think this could be a reoccuring theme).
Part 6 - More betrayal, disloyalty with some heathen burning on the side!
Part 7 - Dutchie decides that War is Fun!
Part 8 - Lots of dead Finns and a bishop throwing a hissy fit.
Part 9 - The bit where everybody gets owned by the Mongols and the Swedes.

Extra Stuff

Map of AARLand circa 1337 - courtesy of Kazmir
Map of the County of Isengard - courtesy of Vesimir
Family Tree of AARLand circa 1347

---​

A long time ago, in a...no...wait...that's a different AAR <-blatent plug

Picture the scene...

It's 1321 at we're looking at a cold, stony keep in the far north of what will one day become Russia. To heighten the dramatic tension it's raining and blowing a gale. Thunder rolls and lightning flashes. A full moon rises in the sky (or whatever it is that moons do) and off to the left of the castle a solitary wolf raises his muzzle sky and howls. His call carries across the valley (despite the thunder - for a wolf he has brilliant projection) and is answered by a dozen of his pack mates. Just for good measure, and because it's not noisy enough already, there are owls hooting in the trees.

Lots of them.

So to recap - dark and stormy night, lots of vocal nocturnal creatures, full moon...

Those are "dire portents" for those of you not skilled in soothsaying.

The castle itself is in darkness, save for one window from which light blazes forth. This is the Royal bedchamber and at the moment it's awash with women and abuzz with activity...

...no...not that sort of activity you filthy-minded wastrel! Honestly! This is not that sort of story! If that's what you're after there's a whole big wide internet to be a-searching...

Where were we?

That's right. Royal bedchamber, loads of women, lots of activity. The king's pacing pensively as the aforementioned busy women buzz round his wife like frantic worker bees. She's screaming like a banshee, which is probably due to the fact that she's given birth to twenty children in a row and shows no sign of stopping. A lady-in-waiting mops the queen's fevered brow, as she gets ready for another almighty push. She tenses, starts to push and...

...actually, who am I kidding?

Forget the stupid "I'm-trying-to-justify-this" back-story (that's the above for those of you with REALLY low standards) - basically the premise here is "Wouldn't it be fun to take a bunch of people from AAR Land, plumb them into CK and run a short AAR documenting their humorous antics". Oh, and it's all consensual before anyone thinks I'm just swiping people off the forums at random!

RULES

1) Everyone's part of the same dynasty - Van Der Aarlander. Yes, it's made up.
2) All characters start at 15 years old. This is to allow education to fire.
3) All characters stats and some traits were determined prior to the game after consultation with the individual forum members. Gosh - that's a grand way of saying, "Pick a couple of things you're good at and some things you suck at." Traits gained through education (things like "Brilliant strategist", "crafty merchant" etc) will not be assigned at the start (despite some of you asking for them!) and will be determined through education.
4) Everyone will start of as a county of the Kingdom of AARland. For those interested it's located just north of...er...the Golden Horde... Show's how often I've played the 1337 scenario... Hopefully they'll be good neighbours! What? Stop looking at me like that!
5) The Kingdom of AARLand will have elective law because that makes for interesting games.
6) All characters are siblings. Yes, that's ridiculous, but what did you expect?
7) I start as King. That's because I'm writing it.
8) Everything else will be determined (or ignored) as the AAR develops.

Current dramatis personae

Me
Allmyjames
Vesimir
Murmurandus
Johan
Eamond
KaiserMuffin
Enewald (deceased)
Loki100
4th Dimension
canonized
morningSIDEr
praxiteles
morrell8
Hannibal X
Bingo Brett
Kanil
Kazmir
Fookison
Uriah
Eron12
Cunobelinus54
Coz1
Raaritsgozilla
Treppe
Alekson
FlyingDuchie
JDMS
Drak Rlugia
Kadvael
The Shepherd
Threedog (deceased)
Snaake
Cecasander
Tuore
 
Last edited:

iain_a_wilson

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The Kingdom of AARLand


It's late and my brain is frazzled so this is going to a brief and somewhat less than wordy update. Fear not, for I have many pictures to do the talking for me.

Like the map above. Behold! The Kingdom of AARLand. Glorious in its...er...reddness.

I think it's most notable features are its bitter coldness, barren soil and hostile neighbours.

A veritable paradise.

Let's meet the ruling classes shall we?



It goes without saying that Murmurandus is NOT one year old. The beard should be enough of a giveaway. He's just got a long title, that's all. Chosen by him too I might add!

Why's Coz got two provinces and everyone else only has one? Simple - he got lucky and the guy I was cut and pasting his details onto happened to have two. Lucky old Coz!



Second mistake of the night happens to poor old Enewald whose title I've chopped off. He's Count of The Ene Wald. See what I did there? Clever? No? Please yourselves...

Oh and KaiserMuffin's mad. Be wary of him!

You'll also find that the random number generator that I used for DNA strings generated quite a few that looked like Johan (and which I didn't realise until I started playing). Game rational - it's something to do with genetics.



For some reason Kazmir has the county I gave to Kanil and vice versa. I was going to change it but then I thought it would be more amusing to have them bicker over it.

Rune is actually Canonized (the player not the action of being canonised...) and he gets the award for most homo-erotic coat of arms. Not quite sure what's going on there...

Oh and Loki is one of the aforementioned Johan clones.



My apologies go out to Praxiteles. Seems that CK spells "muslim" "moslem" so when I put "muslim" in it took offence at my spelling and made poor ol' Prax a catholic instead! I've rectified this you'll be pleased to know but not before the piccy was taken.

You'll also have spotted another clone sneaking in. Evil sneaky clones - I'm not sure if they're an asset to the kingdom or not.



No screamingly obvious errors on this page. Thwise is Cunobelius54 and he's mad too. We have a rule that neither he nor KaiserMuffin have access to sharp things when an electoral council is in session. It keeps things safer that way.



No - Bingo's not a one year old either. He is celibate though. At 17. That's rough.

You'll have noticed that some characters have finished their education and some haven't. Or rather, you'll have noticed this if you're a CK fan. If you're not, then all the little symbols in the top right will mean nothing. It should be noted that I've let the game run for a year or so just to see what would happen so that's why everyone's stats are probably wildly different from what they expected.

Finally we have yours truly...



As you can see, I've got a few Ducal titles to parcel out (I've made a rule that the ruler will not hang onto ducal titles when he has them). What I need is a compelling argument from you as to why you should have such a title (and feel free to slander your peers when doing so). Also, any requests for what the kingdom should do next will be good. I'll leave it for a week or so before acting (or may act sooner if things quieten down).

Let's lead AARLand to glory!

(apologies for the quality of this update)
 

iain_a_wilson

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The Kingdom of AARLand


Wow - this IS moving quickly...

I'm still debating who is going to get to be a Duke. Not everyone has given their reasons yet (I think!) so I'll give it a couple of days before making my decision. Btw, if you DO get a title, feel free to request a change to the name - "Duke of Awesomeness" sounds far better than "Duke of Novogorod" after all...

Anyway, here's a quick update on the situation in AARLand today...



Meet Dutchie! He's Steward to yours truly and I trust him with my cash because he looks like an overweight 70's porn star. The sooner Kazmir and the Muffin get a move on and supress some pagans the sooner I can hand the Dutchmeister some land.



Mr Morel? Now that I can spell "Norman" the correct way (rather than, say, "Nroman") you've got your nationality back. Lucky you!



Meet our first bishop! AllMyJames - Bishop of sheep and Big Hair.



Johan now has his new county name and coat of arms. Apologies if it's not wonderful - I'm no ninja with Photoshop!



The Muffinman now has his cool coat of arms courtesy of one of his brothers...



...as does Hannibal. He's got a new county name too. Lucky him.



Praxiteles now gets his correct religion, even though he is clearly planning some kind of "Everyone versus the catholics" war. I've got my eye on you kiddo!



Here's Kanil, count of Kazmirgrad. Sorry it can't be Kanilgrad, but it's all a bit legally awful. Damn those lawyers! I bet that's one of them on your cool new coat of arms, eh?



And here we have our first piece of scandal...

First of all, note Vesimir's coat of arms. I did them. Wonderful huh? I know the colour scheme is a bit "can of Carlsberg" but hey!

Secondly, note that his wife is dead, after only a couple of months of marriage.

Thirdly, note his new best mate.

Bingo.

No, not "bingo" as in "aha!" but Count Bingo.

Yeah...

Dead wife, new chum...

Now, I'm not suggesting anything here, nor am I suggesting it odd that Bingo found the body at the bottom of the stairs or that it was fishy that, as well as breaking her neck in the fall, Vesimir's wife had somehow managed to stab herself in the face several times...

I'm also not implying anything when I say that Bingo has been there to comfort Vesimir through his grief.

No, it's probably nothing.

I love CK at times... It just writes itself.
 

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The Kingdom of AARLand


Right, as promised here's a quick, cheap and cheerful update to keep you all quiet for a couple of days...

*looks at wall of posts above*

...actually, "quiet" is probably not the right word, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, before we go on - here's a few questions answered that some of you guys posted:

Vesimir - your first born is called Wit. I know. Deal with it.

Treppe? You have your new coat of arms and county name.



A simple "Thank you oh wise and great one" will do...

(I even gave your CoA a metal sheen - how nice am I?)

Now, put your hands together and welcome the latest additions to our family - each and every one of them hungry for land.



From top to bottom we have:

kadvael56 - a heretic...er...yeah...
JDMS - another one of the big hair and beard brigade.
Drak Rulgia - seemingly a Kanil clone.
alexon47 - a clone of FlyingDuchie! This is getting scary.
The_Shepherd - a rather violent looking young man.

Stay tuned guys - we'll try and get conquering and find you some land.

Oh and I don't have three spy masters, I was just getting screen captures. Alekson got the job in the end. Can't have too many overweight 70's porn stars around the castle I say!

Next up - DUCAL AWARDS TIME...

Obviously you all made staggeringly convincing cases as to why you should get a new ermine cloak (or whatever is a substitute for ermine in this blasted expanse of tundra we call home - reindeer probably), but in the end I went with these guys:



My reasons?

Kanil - er...well...Kazmir did a really good job on the map of the kingdom and I felt he should have got it - but I got him and Kanil mixed up, AGAIN, and Kanil got it. Sorry Kaz!

Coz - he's got more land than the rest of you. 1337 was a harsh time I'm afraid!

Loki - for his genius idea of killing Finns and pagans (and warning me about other people being suspiciously loyal).

Kaisermuffin - I thought it might be a laugh - kings are allowed to do things on a whim you know. Otherwise there's no point in being a king. Plus I know he'll antagonise the rest of you and that'll be worth watching.

Bardley - well, he's bravely holding the border against the evil hordes and everyone else down there was a vassal of someone else at the point so I thought "Hey - why not!" I was actually intending to give it to Eron, but sadly he was someone elses vassal so I couldn't.



See?

Not that I'm wanting to cheapen your title or anything Bradley. Here! Enjoy the reindeer trimmed cloak!

Oh, I was also considering Enewald for the position too, but turns out that he's a rebellious little count...



I expect the Muffin Man to keep a close eye on him...

This all means that, according to elective law, my heir is:



...which is kind of odd considering it was a mistake that led to him being a Duke.

You've got to laugh, right?

Right?

Come on guys - stop sulking like that!

Anyway, down to business - namely kicking the crap out of the two pagan provinces up near Treppe. Kazmir and KaiserMuffin volunteered for the job, they raised their armies and steamed in. So did I, and so did some other over enthusiastic vassals.

Here's a picture of Shepherd wailing on some reindeer worshipping infidels:



(btw, that's the reason we're at war - this isn't just a random land grab, it's GOD'S WILL! Ok?)

Now, what I'm about to post is probably going to annoy some people, in particular Kazmir who is probably just a teency bit apopleptic after reading the previous few paragraphs. However, as Kazmir and KaiserMuffin are busy getting down and dirty with some pagans, guess who storms up under computer control and steals all the glory?



You've got to LOVE what CK does at times...right?

Meanwhile, as the gentle sounds of dying idolaters filters down from the north I learn this...



My domain is in FINLAND!!! What the **** did you expect? Subtropical heat? A balmy summer's day? Monsoon season? Of course it's bloody cold! It's meant to be! You can't put Finns in the heat or they'll melt!

Honestly!

Annnnnywaaaaaay...

The pagans are about wrapped up when I get yet more "great" news:



Some bunch of Lithuanian pagans have declared war on Bingo (don't know why - I think one of them was related to Vesimir's late wife), Kanil has steamed in and wants my help. Meanwhile, Bishop *coughs* AllMyJames is clearly respecting his vow of celibacy whilst Shepherd's missus is with child while he's in the far north killing reindeer worshippers...

That aside, the pagans are subdued so it's time to parcel out some land to... Wait a minute! What's wrong with THIS picture:



Yes, gentlemen, we've had our first case of treason! Good ol' Fookisonski has decided that Coz is a crap Duke and that he'd rather go it alone. Coz gets a withering glare for just letting him skulk off like that!

So, I'll throw this open to the floor - what shall we do with the wretc...er...errant little blighter?

Oh, and regarding everything else, I've played up until 1341 (this update is STILL in 1338) so consider yourselves all in suspended animation until then - although feel free to sway my opinions on what to do about anything mentioned in this update. Especially the last point...
 

iain_a_wilson

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The Kingdom of AARLand



First up, Eams, I'll have an index up soon - watch the front page!

Back in AARLand...

Early 1339 saw the war with the pagans in the north swiftly concluded. As a result, two loyal courtiers received some land.



Shepherd, for his excellent conduct during the war, and Dutchie for the fact that I'm not sure I like the way he's looking at my wife - a stint ruling over a bunch of pagans in the frozen north of Kajanaborg (of Dutchsylvania as it's now known) should do him the world of good.

Sheps? Would you like Kemi renamed to something more appropriate?

You'll recall that the Chiefdom of Mordvins (I'm still trying to find it on the map) launched a crusade against dear old count Bingo last time I updated. Thankfully, faced with the *ahem* might of AARLand arrayed against him the High Chief of the Mordvins asked Bingo if a huge pile of cash would settle their differences.



Bingo, it appears, is a true mercenary at heart.

I think that makes him an asset.

Back on the home front JDMS, comes skipping out of school, waving an exam certificate and boring everyone with just how much he knows about religion. He even obligingly converts to Catholicism which means that I have no qualms with giving him the position of diocese bishop.



Never let it be said, however, that AARLand is just a barren expanse of snow and reindeers, utterly devoid of excitment and character.

Not at all - AARLand is just as kicking as any Western European court.

Don't believe me?

Check out what early 1339 brought with it!



Who needs grand festivals and imperial majesty, eh?

On a more domestic level, it appears that Grbavi, the count of the 4th Dimension, has married a lady that sounds like she belongs in the adult entertainment industry.



Similarly, Loki appeared to be ever so slightly on drugs when he named his child...



Things are going well - everyone seems to be getting on with each other, the only wars have been with crazy pagans and they were resolved to everyone's satisfaction...life is good!



Ah... Er... I'm sure this is nothing to worry about...

Things start to go wrong for Drak Rlugia - my erstwhile chancellor - first.



Looking on the bright side, she is quite old, so maybe if she drops dead of the plague he can marry some young bit of skirt and get himself an heir?

Every cloud and all that jazz...

Meanwhile the Pope is getting bored and calls a Crusade!



Everyone in AARLand gets pretty excited until it becomes apparant that we're held in such low regard that nobody really cares if we turn up or not. In fact, the Pope isn't even aware of where AARLand is - we only learned of the crusade from some Baltic fishermen who managed to get lost in a storm and end up in Germany.

Ho hum.

The news that I'm a nobody amongst European loyalty (not to mention the stress of ruling you lot) leads to this:



No ifs or bits, I've simply become less able in the sack.

Thanks CK.

I then receive the worrying news that Kadvael, my heretic steward, has finished his education and become a fundamentalist nut job.



I'm sure this won't lead to ANY problems with my recently converted and rabidly catholic bishop...

Then we have our first bit of trouble...

Enewald (the rebellious) has a falling out with Kaisermuffin (something to do with reindeer rustling), words are exchanged and before we know where we are Enewald has mobilized his army and started marching towards Muffinsville.



Naturally I support my Duke.

However, my plan is not anihiliation - I'm a wise and just king after all. I wish to bring Enewald back into the fold where he will doubtlessly learn to be less rebellious. To do this I will have to get an army to the Ene Wald before Duke KaiserMuffin, otherwise I sense that good ol' KM will simply take his land...

To this end, I raise my own armies, but to assist I call upon Johan and Loki, who each spring into action to help bring Enewald to heel!



Look at them go! With two disicplined forces bearing down on him, Enewald has no where to go! No where to run! No...



...oh.

This isn't good - KM's bearing down on Enewald at a rate of knots and my army is still quite a distance away. I know! Canonized lives next door - he won't mind helping out his liege.



!!!

What have I done???

I'll remember this...

Murmurandus, however, proves to be more loyal and willingly sends his forces into the breach.



Meanwhile, Kaisermuffin descends on the Ene Wald and put Enewald's forces to the sword, sending them fleeing in disarray and greviously wounding the rebellious count himself in the process.



Thankfully, my army arrives in just the nick of time (aided by Murmurandus) and Enewald is brought to the negotiating table.



Everything is back to normal.

Oh, on a completely different note, the plan to anihilate the Finns has been shelved as the Duchy of Finland has sworn itself to the Kingdom of Sweden. I don't think we're up to beating them...



By now we've had almost a year of nothing going wrong. We all know what that means, don't we?

Yup - something goes wrong...

Namely this...



It seems that Kazmir and Eron fell out with er...Kaisermuffin. I came to the assistance of the Muffin and then Kanil the Ungrateful decided to get in on the act.

So, my question is this - who else wants to get involved and on what side?

I've got the game on hold and will leave it that way until Monday night. After that, those who haven't replied will be assumed to be sitting on the fence.

Oh, and I should also point out that I'll be dealing with requests on a first come first served basis. Chances are when one of you declares war on one side or the other, the AI controlled nations might randomly get involved too.

If that makes sense.
 

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The Kingdom of AARLand

Part Four


Right, before we get down to the dirty business of war, time for a few announcements.

To start with, I have the sad duty of reporting our first tragic death. That's right - one of our cast has shrugged off his mortal coil and is presently being tormented in the bowls of hell.



Yes - it appears that the wounds inflicted upon Enewald by KaiserMuffin were too much for the treacherous Finn, and he passed away (but only after almost coughing up his lungs due to some horrendous disease he had contracted in his weakened, pus-seeping state).

It's how he would have wanted to have gone out I'm sure.

With Enewald receiving the tender ministrations of hell's finest the much sought after mantle of count of the Ene Wald passes to...



Well, at least he's more loyal than his father was.

Anyway, down to question answering time...

Praxiteles - here's your lovely wife.



As you can see you are indeed "getting it". In fact, judging by your wife's pregnant state and your two lovely kids you've had sex at least THREE (count 'em) times.

...or your wife has anyway...

Coz, you've got your new coat of arms...



...but as you can see they look like crap due to the fact that it was an 8 bit bitmap you gave me. Got a better one?

Duchie? New CoA time for you too!



Likewise for Hannibal...



(or rather, I've put your new one on your dutchy CoA).

Johan - you wanted to know your liege...



As you can see, not only is he your liege, but HE'S YOUR CLONE!

Next up we have two new cast members:




You're probably confused as to who Juhani is - it's Snaake, and boy does he looks old for a 16 year old!

Eams, as requested you're a Bishop.



Interestingly your only rival is our kingdom's only other Bishop, AllMyJames...

In other news Praxiteles and Enewald have both converted to Catholicism - very sensible boys.

So, down to the war...

As everyone starts squaring off against each other, my marshal gets mugged by a bunch of heavily armed Norwegians...



Thankfully they're easily-bought-heavily-armed-Norwegians, so I throw some cash in their direction and soon they're agreeing (in heavily accented voices of course) that Novogorod is an evil place that needs to raped and pilleged (those crazy Norse, eh?).

Still, my marshal seems peeved that he didn't get to fight to the death with some guy in a winged helmet and a name with far too many consenants, but I console him with the fact that he'll soon be getting to kill Kazmir's men. Or is that Kanil's? I can never remember...

As the Norse contingent are busy getting saddled up, Fookison chooses this moment to dispell any doubts I ever had about him.



The "should we stone him to death?" debate is now officially closed!

Just as I'm leaving to rain down righteous anger upon the devil of Novogord, Juhani comes rushing in, squealing that he's finished school.



Well done.

However, I soon forget about this as Fookison chalks up a few more redemption dollars by declaring war on Novogorod.



Over 5000 men? You are VERY welcome sir... Anyone saying anything nasty about Fookison from now on (or at least until the next time he betrays the Kingdom) will be officially censured!

That means something painful happens to you - it's just a nicer way of saying it.

The war kicks off in earnest in the east, with a resounding defeat for the good guys (that's the Royalists in case any of you Kanil-sympathisers are still deluding yourself into thinking you've got God on your side)...



...followed by someone (I have no idea who!) getting a beating off of the Arch Traitor himself!



So it's 2-0 to evil so far...

Not a great score in anyone's books...

(apart from Kanil's - Boo! Hiss!)

Time to inject a little bit of sunshine back into this tale...and by inject I mean "INJECT AT SWORDPOINT!!!!"



Yeah! That's what I'm talking about - run rabbit, run!

Kanil takes stock of the situation (at this moment in time he's got a fairly largely Royalist force bearing down on his capital and to the east there are small skirmishes taking place between Kazmir, Murmurandus, Eams, Kaisermuffin and Canonized that are resulting in lots of people dying in very cold places but nothing much else) and decides to opt for a Grigor Defence.



Yeah...

Right...

Kazmirgrad is besieged (yes, that still confuses me)!

It's round about now that Praxiteles shows up with a relief force (Kanil's army having scattered to the four winds) and attempts to drive off the royal army.



Down there you can see me, my marshal and Vesimir considering fleeing like cowardly dogs whilst Uriah, Fookison and my anonymous Norwegian commander do a fine job of holding the line...



...and driving off Kanil's army - something which I happily take the credit for. Look - I wasn't all the way down the hill when I heard that the enemy had retreated, so techically I never left the battlefield and was therefore still in charge...

So, how's the war going to end?

STAY TUNED!
 

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The Kingdom of AARLand



Part Five


So, where were we?



That's right, bringing traitors back into the fold.

(and apologies about the whole Beloozero/Novogorod mix up Hannibal - I know you're a good, loyal Duke!).

Kanil and I have a chat...

We both agree that the whole rebellion thing was one big silly mistake and he agrees to be good, loyal vassal in return for me showing him my just and merciful side (no, that's not a euphemism).



Of course, we also both agree that there's no way I'm trusting him in a month of Sundays with a Dukedom - at least not until he does something radically wonderful to earn my trust again.

As I debate who to pass the too-many-vowels-for-my-taste-Dukedom-of-Beloozero onto, the war in the east rages on.



Well, I say "rages"... Clearly what I meant to say was "the war in the east devolves into the troops of either side calling each other names." Clearly Murm's men are more profane than Eron's!

With his liege humbled, Eron agrees to come back to the loving bosom of mother AARland.



Good. With that all settled I can get back down to the business of running a stable and orderly kingdom with no need to worry about uppity vassals killing each other or running their greedy little eyes over each other's titles.

I hold a grand tournament to celebrate this fact (although it's not worded as such) and it's proves to be a great success until...



...Shepherd gets drunk and refers to me as "a big fat gonk, who has as much grasp of his vassals as a Greek has of an oiled up slave boy."

(Shepherd, it seems, is well travelled).

I grin and bear it and have a quiet word.

That word is "ungrateful".

Hopefully he got the picture.

It's not long after this that I receive a fecundity of communication from Duke Kaisermuffin. I won't bore you all with the details (it was pretty poorly written), but the content was florid, purple, angst-ridden and self-pitying; completely devoid of hope and, on several occasions, mentioning the fact that the sun is never going to rise again, and suggesting that perhaps we could go and burn some infidels to cheer him up.



Yup - seems that the ol' Muffin man has picked up a nasty knock courtesy of the last war (against whom I'm not sure - I'm not certain he saw action - perhaps it was an accident in the kitchen or the bedroom?) and it got him quite down in the dumps. Dangerously, this has come on the tail coats of him becoming rather bloodthirsty in his attitude towards non-Catholics.

I'm almost certain that this combination will cause no trouble whatsoever in the future...

Stop laughing, all of you!

Oh, and you'll also notice that while the war in the west was taking place Kaisermuffin helped himself to Kazmir's land...

Where is Kazmir now I hear you ask!



Yup - he very sensibly fled back to my court where he now languishes, seeking a chance to prove his worth to reclaim his ancestral lands from Kanil!

The realm at peace once more, I make my decision and award the Dukedom of Beloozero to...

*drum roll*



His loyalty in returning to the fold in the Kingdom's hour of need, in addition to raising a ruddy big army for Kanil squashing purposes has scored him many brownie points - well done Fookison!

Less excitingly, the war has had an adverse effect on the Kingdom's coffers and I've been made a laughing stock...



...something that Shepherd finds hilarious...



This time, my "quiet words" are backed up by threats, but I don't think he listens.

Ignoring the jeers of my peasants I spend some valuable time finding some fit young brides for two of my loyal courtiers.



Who says I don't look after my brothers?

Months pass...

...Kaisermuffin opens his mouth...

...another of his vassals loses patience with him and - whaddaya know - we've got another war on our hands.



This time, however, I choose not to get involved. I'll be interested to see if the Muffin-man can hold his own without royal assistance.



Judging by the military prowess on display here I fear for him...

One curious thing to note, however, is WHERE they are fighting.

Not in Grabvi's realm...

Not in KM's realm...

No, it seems that the pair of them thought it would be much wiser to duke it out in Rune's neighbourhood.
(that's Canonized for those of you with short memories)

Very considerate of them...

Judging by Rune's response, I think it's safe to say that the choice of location was KaiserMuffin's idea...



Now, while this is all going on it seems that Grabvi and KaiserMuffin have settled their differences (no, I have no idea what they fell out over in the first place) but, none the less, Rune raises an army to see off the invasion of his soil by Muffinite forces.



While the previous force is quickly beaten off, KM's men return in force...and are beaten off.

The pair of them then kiss and make up, and Rune accepts an invitation to rejoin AARLand.



The King of Poland, seeing that AARLand is such a well ordered, stable and unified place then asks if we'd like to be in his gang.



I assume he is insane and politely decline.

So, we're at peace once more. But what of the Fourth Dimension? Can it - will it - be brought back into the fold?

I've play on for a few more years, so I'll let you all know when I'm ready to slip back into real time!

Stay tuned!
 
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The Kingdom of AARLand



Part Six


So, we've had a bit of a break - let's see what's happening...



Yes, JDMS, my wonderful chaplain, who is doing an equally wonderful job of keeping me on the straight and narrow (in the Catholic sense), believes that he deserves some recognition of the gold and shiny variety.

I pay him fairly, for two reasons:

1) I always like to give my courtiers that incentive to work just that little bit harder.
2) I'm Scottish and therefore more miserly than Scrooge during the current global recession (that's if he were not a fictional character and actually alive - it's just a simile, don't over analyse).

JDMS is clearly delighted with my appraisal of his performance, and rushes off to find something devout to do. They say that the devil makes work for idle hands - in this case it's the Pope doing the finding.



Yes, JDMS has been on the blower to (or, to be thematically accurate, has probably received a missive from) his Holiness in Rome, the upshot of which is that he thinks it would be a blindingly good idea to put poor old Threedog the heathen to the stake.

Hmm...

On one hand, he is a REALLY good marshal...

...on the other hand he does worship graven images of reindeer...

What to do, what to do...

Well, I *AM* just and fair, so it's only fitting that I give him the chance to say "Oh, what the heck - Catholicism sounds cool! I'm done with stone circles and virgin sacrifices!" After all, if he takes a look out the window and witnesses JDMS busily collecting wood to lay around the stake and whistling merrily to himself I'm sure he'll see the light (so to speak).



Unfortunately he thinks I'm bluffing and adamantly refuses to give up his worship of Great Chumbamba, the spirit of the forest.

Oh well - the Pope thinks I'm great, the peasants get a barbeque (stop looking at me like that - the poor souls hardly get any decent meat!), and JDMS gets to strut around with a look of extreme, righteous satisfaction on his face.

Someone else who is clearly impressed with my heathen burning antics, and who believes that such behaviour makes me a good example to young people everywhere, is Loki, who sends his very oddly named daughter to my court for education.



Hopefully I'll be the robust role model that he's expecting...

First up on the "good example to children" list of things to do is dealing with errant vassals. With my new vibe of zealous do-goodery feeding my ego I decide that I have had enough of Grbavi's insolence (he staunchly refuses to return to the fold) so I cite my claim and declare war.



...and I'm not short of volunteers to help.



Here we have Praxiteles, Canonized, Loki and Enewald II's marshal showing their loyalty and executing a battle plan of staggering complexity.

Thankfully, it's over rather quickly.



Gravi wisely returns to the royal court as a courtier, and the royal capital is moved to The Fourth Dimension (yes, it sounds off when I say it too).

Playing by my own internal compass of "I'm never going to own more than three provinces at once as that will somehow be unfair to all of those lounging in court awaiting some provincy goodness" I then hand Drak Rlugia the scenic, beautiful and utterly impoverished county of Iainland-on-Sea.



Take good care of it bro!

It is around about now that the curse of the Duchy of Beloozero crops up again, and Fookison decides to show his heinously ungrateful colours by making me a laughing stock and ceding from the Kingdom.



One is NOT amused...

War is declared...

Loki decides that the centre of a war torn kingdom is a great place to raise children and sends another sprog my way...



...and Dutchie tells me to take some time out, relax and kill some wildlife with him...



I'm not sure about boars, but those miniature snow tigers don't have much eating on them...

Anyway, back at the front...

My marshal routs Fookison's army...



...which then wanders into Uriah's territory. Unfortunately for Fookison, Uriah pops up and routs him once more...



Bingo then proves to be the only vassal (stupid enough) to show some loyalty so his liege, and tries to relieve Fookison's besieged capital. He takes a route through Kanil's territory and the former traitor turned loyalist shows that he has learned his lesson by giving Bingo a thorough spanking.



Very soon, Fookison is brought to the negotiating table.



Unlike the counts and dukes who have been vanquished before, Fookison chooses NOT to come back to the royal court, and instead storms off in a huff, vowing to make his name elsewhere away from his treacherous brethren.



For those of you who aren't aut fait with Balkan geography, here's Senj:



Don't worry Fookison, I'll keep you appraised on the comings and goings in sunny Senj.

With the war wrapped up I have a think about where to pass the (seemingly cursed) title of Duke of Beloozero onto (or "The Duke of Loyaltyzero" as I've taken to calling it). After a lot of pondering I manage to determine my most loyal vassal who isn't currently a Duke:



Don't let me down, fella!

The Kingdom now finally appears to be stable. Oh, hang on - what's that? A knocking at the door. Who could it be? Oh - it's JDMS. Hang on a minute - let's see what he wants...



Apparently this would be "a really ace idea" and JDMS knows a LOT about religion...

What the hell...

DEUS VULT!!!!!
 

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Family Tree

Ok - the long awaited Family Tree.

As I went through the several hundred images I took of the people in the kingdom this rapidly became a BIG document.

Therefore, I've uploaded it as a PDF file within a zip file.

For those of you who aren't very technically minded most versions of Windows should allow you to double click on the zip file to open it, and within it you should find a file that you can open in Adobe Acrobat reader.

If you have difficulty with this let me know and I'll try and find another way of getting it over to you.

Also, any questions about it please post to the comments thread or PM me.
 

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The Kingdom of AARLand



Part Seven


Welcome back to AARLand...

Now, most of you who hang around these parts have at least a mild appetite for history. Therefore, if I were to mention "the causes of world war I" you'd probably know what I was meaning.

However, I'm going to make an assumption that some of you didn't pay attention in your early 20th century European history class and will therefore offer a considerably condensed and patronisingly simple account of events.

Austro-Hungary makes lots of unreasonable demands of Serbia in the aftermath of Franz Ferdinand's murder.
Serbia tells Austro-Hungary to poke it.
Austro-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
Russia declares war on Austro-Hungary.
Germany declares war on Russia.
France declares war on Germany.
Germany takes a short cut to France through Belgium.
Britain declares war on Germany.
Machine gun fire, screaming, bleeding, shelling and trench digging ensue.


Why am I mentioning this? Well, thanks to good ol' FlyingDutchie, something similar just happened to AARland.

Dutchie wakes up one morning and decides that setting snow tigers on his wife's cat is boring and instead declares war on his Finnish minor next door neighbour.
The Duke of Finland then declares war on Dutchie.
I then declare war on the Duke of Finland.
The King of Sweden declares war on AARland.
I call on you lot to provide cannon fodd...er...loyal soldiers for the cause.




The King of Sweden gets a bunch of Dukes in on the act.

Yes... We're going to war people!

And, surprisingly, you all prove to be really loyal and agree to send troops.

AARLand functioning like a well oiled machine? Is this a sign of the apocalypse?

Anyway, onto the war. Dutchie, Treppe and Shepherd descend upon the northern part of Sweden, whilst myself, Drak Rlugia, Snaake and some NPC dude sweep into the centre.



Oh, as an aside, MorningSIDEr gets the award for Most Pathetic Contribution to the War Effort.



Seriously, man! Must...try...harder...

Back at the front there is the clash of steel, the twang of arrows, the bleating of reindeer and battle is joined!



First blood to AARLand! Granted, it's not quite the Somme, but well done to Shepherd (although don't think I've forgotten the jousting incident), Treppe and Dutchie anyway!

While the majority of the nobility are capering around like madmen, cheering our latest victory, Kadvael comes to me and points out that the whole realm is falling apart. He's getting quite excitable so I tell him to try and sort things out.



It doesn't work.

Anarchy reigns.

I blame the Finns.

And the Swedes.

Coz then cheers me up by facing down an entire Swedish army and scaring them off without so much as a fearsome battle cry.



I don't know why I was worried at the beginning and making all those World War I comparisons - this is going to be EASY!



See what I mean? Dutchie and co have taken a province from the Finnish child...



...who promptly agrees that incorporation into the growing stain that is AARLand would be a great idea!

I don’t know about you, but I still think his name sounds a bit porn starry.

Meanwhile, myself, Uriah, Snaake, Drak Rlugia and Alekson take on some invading Finns and Swedes.



As you can see, the astute leadership of yours truly leads to some major arse-kickery taking place.

Coz then leads a massive force, comprising himself, Vesimir, AllMyJames, Uriah, Kanil and someone's marshal deep into Finnish territory...



Shepherd and Treppe meanwhile are doing a grand job of liberating some more Finnish territory from its (rightful) occupants.



At the same time as all of this is taking place, Tuore and Ceseander take the opportunity to get wedded. All together now - AWWWW!

Coz's army is then ambushed by some Swedish duke.



Initially things look good, but then Coz starts making excuses that all sound a bit like “I’d like to leave this battle now – please”.



Yes, there ARE more Swedes on the way...

At the same time Morel and a random marshal decide NOT to help out Coz and co, but instead head over to assist Treppe and Shepherd grabbing the Duke of Finland's last province.



Thankfully for Coz, help is on its way! Bradley and Praxiteles are rushing to his aid, led by...er...Kaisermuffin...



*sound of wind whistling*
*tumble weed blows past*


Look, I'm sure this is for the best, ok?

Sadly, as can probably be made out in the previous picture, a whole mass of angry Swedes (I think that's the correct collective noun) turned up and started slaughtering AARLand's finest. Kanil fought almost to the last, but in the end all armies had to flee (mainly because nearly EVERYONE died)!



What next for AARLand? Will Sweden be overcome or will we be forced to stand back whilst the evil Nordic types have their wicked way with our reindeer?

STAY TUNED!
 

iain_a_wilson

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The Kingdom of AARLand



Part Eight


Previously on The Kingdom of AARLand...

Er...Dutchie started a war with a bunch of Finns, and while it started off quite well, it ended up going downhill when the King of Sweden got involved.

To help illustrate this point, here is a shot of myself, Snaake, Kasmir, Raaritsgozilla, Murmurandus, Enewald II's marshal, Eron and Morrell rushing to the aid of a beleaguered Rune (and chums) who are defending a portion of the Duke of Finland's territory which we merry AARLanders have wrenched from his grasp (Florid? Moi?).



Note the sheer abundance of generals, but the somewhat pitiful army size.
Truly AARLand is a land of plenty.

Meanwhile, Dutchie, with a force almost the same size as the First AARLand Expeditionary Force (as I've have now named the previous army) is coolly whupping an army he outnumbers almost five to one.



Truly AARLand is the home of the brave.

However, it is not the home of the loyal...

I'll let the following screenshots tell their own, torrid, little tale.





Yes, Loki has declared war, the opportunistic little scrote...

However, CK being CK, about five seconds after this he sends another envoy saying "can't we just be friends now - I'd really like to be your vassal".

I say yes, and we're friends again.

It's around now that I expect fans of Suenik to start screaming at me to keep a List...

With the realm handily stitched back together, myself and Dutchie go to visit the Duke of Finland (the reason for all this bloody trouble in the first place) and make him an offer he can't refuse (Dutchie has a mini snow-tiger under his arm which he is stroking menacingly).



I also suggest to the King of Sweden that we really, really, REALLY should be friends again, and offer to show my commitment to this by giving up some claims I have on some desolate tracts of tundra that he finds so important (somewhere called "Stockholm"?).

He proves to be a reasonable chap.



Excellent - with the realm at peace I can now concentrate on growing AARland into the global superpower I know that it is destined to be.

Stop sniggering at the back. It’s not very noble.

However, before phase one of the masterplan (there is one - honest) can be enacted, something rather suspicious happens.

Here's a timeline of events...

Tuore finishes school and graduates with flying colours - in fact, it'd be safe to say that he's ideal marshal material.



My marshal then dies of "old age"...



I'm not sure when "tripping from the battlements and plunging into the ice cold of the moat" was considered "old age" but hey...

Tuore then is the only noble left suitable for the post of marshal.

I decide that as long as I don't think of the circumstances of Zourab's death I should be morally ok with this.

Anyway, time for a quick people watch to catch up on some highlights from the war.

First up we have Coz, whose quip of "I'd rather be battling Finns on my doorstep than running around in the sand, murdering Muslims at the behest of some Roman lunatic in a funny hat" seems not to have gone unnoticed...



(for those of you not conversant in the ways of CK, the little blue symbol third from the right means "excommunicated" – yup it's generally a bad thing to be)

Now we have Thwise, who it seems took the whole war with the Finns rather badly.



The little blue symbol means that he'd rather be off killing Muslims and pagans than bothering Finns, whilst the little red symbol with the noose means he's VERY depressed and the little red one next to it means that he's a raving lunatic.

Joy.

'cos we needed another one...

*sighs*

Now we have brave Uriah...



...whose valour saw him earn much prestige but resulted in his being horribly injured too.

Now we have Treppe...



...who, as the little red symbol will tell all fans of CK, has become really, really stressed out with all the rushing around in the snow battling Finns and Swedes.

Hopefully he won't flip out.

Anyone want to lay some bets?

Finally we have His Grace, AllMyJames...



...who, like Uriah, ended up horribly injured, but wasn't lauded quite as much by his peers. He also seems to have suddenly been seized with a desire to go to the Holy Land and slaughter infidels in the name of the Lord. I imagine it would be hard to do that from your bed, but you've got to admire his conviction!

Meanwhile, back in court, JDMS comes rushing in, squealing excitedly and claiming that Tuore is a heretic.



Now, you'll recall that Tuore has just taken over as marshal and that he's pretty damn good at his job.

You'll also recall that he recently came whining to me for extra money and, when I paid him fairly (rather than showering him in gold), he insisted that I put poor old Threedog (also a capable marshal) to the stake (claiming that he too was a heretic). Later on, he also encouraged me (by way of a letter from the Pope) to go on a Crusade (and yes, we went west rather than south but that's AARLand for you).

Ergo, he's had rather a lot of attention recently, so I advise him that I while I appreciate his advice, I don't believe that there is any evidence linking Tuore to heresy.

He doesn't take it well...



I'm sure I can hear sobbing and cries of "It's SOOOOO unfair" from behind his chamber door.

However, he bounces back quickly, dons some black robes, fires up the brazier and manages to "convince" Kadvael that he wants to play nice with the rest of us good Catholics.



Time passes...

Snow falls...

Reindeer amble majestically over the plains...

Rune decides to say nasty things about me to his neighbours...



Hmph.

So, what's the cliff-hanger going to be this time?

Mongol invasion?

Civil war (again)?

Crusading?

Nah - just a party celebrating Cecasander being a bright boy at school.



Well done lad!

What next?

STAY TUNED!
 

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The Kingdom of AARLand



Part Nine


We begin this update with some sad news (or good news if you're Enewald).



I'm not sure WHO it was, but someone assasinated him. The smart money says it was Enewald II (spurred on by his dead father) but regardless, the Muffin man is no more.

Given what is about to happen this could be a saving grace for him.

Remember a couple of updates ago on the comment thread I promised some "Scottish meddling"? Well, here it is:



Somehow, the King of Scotland has persuaded MorningSIDEr to abandon Loki, his rightful liege, and come back to the motherland. I'm not entirely sure why the King of Scotland would want an outpost in AARLand (rich as it is with reindeer and snow) but the deed was done, Loki didn't moan about it to me, and I decided not to risk dragging the Kingdom into an all out war with another realm - especially as we're STILL paying off the last one.

Speaking of which, JDMS comes to me again, proclaiming "great news".



Apparently the Pope has heard (from whom I wonder...) that I'm a bit skeptical about things, but that for a small donation to the Vatican's coffers (read 9837 gold to be precise) he would be willing to forgive me.

What a bargain, eh?

JDMS left the room quickly, a look in his eyes saying "please don't kill the messenger", wondering quite how he was going to convey the phrase "poke it" to the Holy Father.

However, my initial thoughts of "How bad can it be being excommunicated?" rapidly came into perspective when Coz, he of a prior excommunication, was struck down by consumption.

A previously healthy man, struck down in his prime.

I didn't need JDMS to explain that one to me.

(although he did - at length - with much shaking of the head, tsking and whistling through clentched teeth)

Thankfully, his holiness seemed to sense my dismay and genuine desire to repent by making me this lovely offer.



Naturally, I accept, give thanks for my forgiveness, and then turn to Cecasander and say "So how are we going to pay for THAT then, eh steward?"

He's a bright lad thankfully, and comes up with a few money-spinning schemes to make some much needed cash:



It should be obvious to all of you that the module dealing with "ethics" that AARLand students have to study is clearly optional...

Fast forward a few years...

The kingdom is once again rich...

(or as rich as a desolate patch of tundra can be)

...you lot haven't torn it apart in another frenzy of petty civil war...

...KaiserMuffin II is proving to be sane...

I decide to celebrate by creating another title (made possible by Dutchie's "Hey - these Finns look a bit pagany!" antics).



Ah...

Life is good...

I'm sitting in the palace debating whether or not I should grant this title to anyone else when suddenly I'm bombarded with about a squillion messages suggesting that most, if not all, of my vassals are under attack. Being the cool, calm, collected kind of guy that I am, I take the take to piece together the chain of "whos attacking whom" and find the good Count of the Canonizial Vale sitting at the top of the pyramid of attackees and waving merrily to me. Whoever could it be that he's warring with?



Oh.

Bugger.

Naturally, being the good king that I am I come to his assistance. This sets off a ridiculous chain reaction, were various vassals rush to get involved. When the initial flurry of patriotic craziness has settled, it seems like most of you have been suitably loyal (if a little stupid):



Now, I was going to put together an account of the war with its ups and downs, its highs and lows, the moments of glory and the moments of saddness - complete with some screen shots of hard wrought victory and others showing heart wrentching defeat.

However, it's a lot easier to sum it up like this:

1) The mongols did a pretty good job of wiping the floor with us.
2) Then the Swedes decided to get in on the act and kick us when we were down.

The end result?




The light green is the Golden Horde, the dark blue is Sweden, the dark red (that's kind of confusing as there's a sort of reddy brown right next to it) is the Dukedom of Novgorod, the grey is the Archbishopric of Bjarma and the light blue is the Kingdom of Scotland.

In short, we lost.

Badly.

But what of the brave nobles of AARLand? What did the Fates have in store for them?

Here's a quick summary:

Eamond Archbishop of Bjarma
AllMyJames Bishop in the Archbishopric of Bjarma (yes - I'm afraid that means that you've ended up as Eamond's bitch...)
Murmurandus Count in the Archbishopric of Bjarma

Bradley Duke of Novgorod (yes, you managed to avoid the Mongols AND the Swedes)
Thwise Count in the Dukedom of Novgorod

Pierre Morel Duke of Beloozero (Golden Horde)
Coz II Duke of Karelia (Golden Horde)
Eron Count in the Dukedom of Beloozero (Golden Horde)
Bingo Count in the Dukedom of Beloozero (Golden Horde)
Vesimir Count in the Dukedom of Karelia (Golden Horde)
Treppe Count in the Dukedom of Karelia (Golden Horde)
Kanil Count in the Golden Horde
Rune Count in the Golden Horde
Praxiteles Count in the Golden Horde
Snaake Count in the Golden Horde
Cecasander Count in the Golden Horde
Tuore Count in the Golden Horde (although you managed to end up with two provinces)

Uriah Count in the Kingdom of Sweden
Drak Rlugia Count in the Kingdom of Sweden

MorningSIDEr Count in the Kingdom of Scotland

Fookison Courtier in the County of Senj
Grbavi Spymaster in the Kingdom of Serbia
Kadvael Courtier in the Teutonic Order
Enewal II Courtier in the Dutchy of Hlynov

These were the lucky ones. Not so lucky were:

Threedog Burned as a heretic
Kaisermuffin Dead of illness
Coz Death from consumption
Enewald Death from wounds inflicted by Kaisermuffin

REALLY unlucky were those that ended the game alive, but with no coat of arms. I was treating that as "carted off and made into a Eunuch". So, in no particular order, the poor souls now serving drinks for the Khan are:

Iain
Kazmir
Johan
Loki
Raar MacGozilla
Dutchie
Alekson
JDMS
Shepherd

Looking at these results, I think it's fair to say that Archbishop Eamond and Duke Bradley are the "winners" as they're the only ones to remain in charge of others without being beholden to someone else (although if I leave the game to run I'm not sure how much longer THAT would be for)!

Thus endeth the saga of AARLand. I hope you all enjoyed it - brief as it was! Although, given the premise it's hardly surprising (and it's certainly fitting) that it ended like this...