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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

aniuby

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The Ned's NederlandAAR :
From Holland to Hindustan

by aniuby

holindia_zps92f2c5f6.png

Welcome to my first ever AAR. Herein I shall document the misguided adventures of my latest playthrough of EU3, starring Holland. Or such is the name under which she begins her quest ... but it will change, nay, I shall endeavour to make it change! For Holland is set for a greater destiny than a mediocre existence in the meagre continent of Europe - Holland shall find the promised land of India, far to the east, and make it her own. Many years into the future, the nation once known as Holland shall be that same promised land of which the petty squabbling nations of Europe will have dreamed.

Table of Contents
Chapter One : Can't Get Out from Hainaut (1399-1413)
Chapter Two : Giving Bourgogne a Good Buggering (1413-1427)
Chapter Two-A : Mouse - Taking the Mickey out of Jan van Henegouwen (1427-1431)
Chapter Three-A : Bottoms, BRAs, and Bondage - Holland's Dirty Laundry (1431-1436)
Chapter Three-B : Bottoms, BRAs, and Bondage - Changing the Sheets (1431-1436)
Chapter Four-A : A Crown of Blood and Bitterness - A Date with Destiny (1436-1445)
Chapter Four-B : A Crown of Blood and Bitterness - Branded by Victory (1436-1445)
Chapter Four-C : A Crown of Blood and Bitterness - A Wedding and Four Funerals (1436-1445)
Interlude the First : Five Ways to Kill a (Noble) Man
Chapter Five-A : Rise of a Tyrant - The Geneva Contravention (1445-1451)
Chapter Five-B : Rise of a Tyrant - Rivers of Blood (1451-1456)
Chapter Six-A : Sic Semper Tyrannis - The War of Two Albrechts
Chapter Six-B : Sic Semper Tyrannis - Dressed to Repress
Chapter Six-C : Sic Semper Tyrannis - A Colonial Ceilidh
Chapter Six-D : Sic Semper Tyrannis - Proverbs 16 : 18
Chapter Seven-A : Flower of Holland - Caution, The Floris Lover
Chapter Seven-B : Flower of Holland - Going with the Flo (1466-1470)
Chapter Seven-C : Flower of Holland - Flo'ed at the Bell (1471-1474)
Chapter Seven-D : Flower of Holland - Blood on the Dance Flo (1475-???)
Chapter Eight-A : Tijd voor Avontuur - Who Done It? (1475-???)
Chapter Eight-Aii : Tijd voor Avontuur - Do the Time Warp, Again (???-1477)
Chapter Eight-B : Tijd voor Avontuur - A Time of Troubles (1477-1479)
Chapter Eight-C : Tijd voor Avontuur - Holland's Unhappiest Hour (1479-1481)
Chapter Eight-D : Tijd voor Avontuur - Time and Tide (1481-1484)
Interlude the Second : The Promised, Unforgotten
Chapter Nine-A : Flowering Nights - Painting Flanders Scarlet
Chapter Nine-B : Flowering Nights - A Soul Red as a Bloodied Poppy (1484-1487)
Chapter Nine-C : Flowering Nights - Apparitions of Grandeur (1487-1491)
Chapter Nine-D : Flowering Nights - That Centennial Festival (1491-1493)
Chapter Nine-E : Flowering Nights - Night of Nights (1493-1495)
Chapter Ten-A : Will at the Helm - Elderly and More Terrible (1496-1498)
Chapter Ten-B : Will at the Helm - Worse than Senseless Things (1499-1501)
Chapter Ten-C : Will at the Helm - A Carcass Fit for Hounds (1501-1502)
Chapter Ten-D : Will at the Helm - Spurned like a Cur (1502-1503)





Aims
1. Form The Netherlands.
2. Switch to a republican form of government, convert to the Protestant or Reformed faith, and leave the HRE.
3. Move capital to an Indian province and switch to an Indian culture.
4. Form Hindustan.
5. Reclaim all cores!
6. Whatever else comes to mind.


Game Rules
1. Divine Wind 5.1, no mods. 1399 start.
2. All settings to Normal, Lucky Nations off.


House Rules
1. No using the console for whatever reason!
2. No claiming thrones or forcing personal unions ... except on Dutch culture nations. (There are none left who are independent, so that means no claiming thrones/forced PUs whatsoever!)
3. Holland and her successor states (hence referred to in this introductory post as Holland) shall convert to a republican government as soon as possible.
4. Holland shall convert to a Protestant or Reformed faith as soon as is reasonable, and will not use missionaries to convert any province to Catholicism.
5. No utilising the vassal release/reconquest trick to drop infamy. Any vassals released by Holland may only be reintegrated through diplo-annexation, not by force.
6. No reloading under the following circumstances :
i. In the event that war is declared upon Holland.
ii. To avoid negative events or procure good ones.
iii. To sponge the RNG for things like better advisors. Exception : Daft missions like "Build a manufactory in an overseas province that is not even a core and has the wrong trade good".


Questions?
Q. Why Holland?
A. I want to try out a country that's considerably smaller than those I've already played. Understandably, it's not a "weak" country, but then again I have no claim to be a fantastic player. I just want to have a relaxed game, and not have to grit my teeth as a OPM and hope I don't get crushed. I also want to try playing a super-teching country, as well as one which has an incentive to keep infamy low, due to being a free trader. Lastly, it's also a country that has an incentive to convert away from Catholicism, as otherwise you'll keep getting spammed with the mission.

Q. Why Hindustan? And why not use Navarra instead?
A. I also want to try out the "European nation forms Hindustan" trick and see whether I can pull it off. Getting lots of free cores, and going on a massive war to reclaim them, is also part of the fun. I know Navarra is better suited to this silly objective but I'm picking Holland due to having two provinces instead of one, and less uncertainty over just what happens to you as a vassal of Aragon.

Q. Is this even possible?
A. Short answer, I don't know. This is further complicated by the fact that I aim to form the Netherlands before capital/culture/tag shifting to Hindustan. I anticipate the possibility that in order to be able to culture-shift, and thus have less Dutch provinces than those of an Indian culture, I will either have to miss out on some of my Netherlands cores in Europe, or release them as vassals and sell them additional provinces (e.g. to isolate my capital). The long answer is, I really won't be able to know until I've punched my way into India and seen what cultures are available, before deciding where to relocate my capital and what culture to adopt. But will I actually go through with it, whatever the obstacles? Damn right I will.

Q. How will this AAR be updated?
A. Expect a new post every now and then. Real life and a ton of other stuff do come calling every once in a while, as you can imagine.

Q. What is a "Ned", apart from a very bad pun?
A. A "Ned" is a Scottish chav. A chav is, for the lack of a better word, some sort of hooligan, who tends to wander everywhere with their hood up and mutter "innit", and "bovvered" at people. Which is sort of similar to my game philosophy as Holland - wander everywhere, be opportunistic, and don't hesitate to be an excessively violent bully if there's something to be gained. Ned Nederlander is also a character played by Martin Short in the movie "The Three Amigos", who happens to live in Mexico and has absolutely nothing to do with being Dutch.

On that note, if I was playing Flanders instead, wouldn't the AAR be called "Ned's FlandAARs?"

Feedback, comments, and other remarks are welcome!

All pictures (apart from ingame EUIII screenshots) are sourced from Wikipedia unless otherwise stated.
 
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aniuby

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Miscellaneous Fact Sheet (Contains Major Plot Spoilers)

List of Heads of State

Sovereign Albrecht I von Wittelsbach of Hainaut "The Boo, Hiss"
Sovereign of Hainaut and Count of Holland
b. 1336, d. ???, ruled 1358-16 Jan 1409

Sovereign Jan II van Henegouwen of Holland "The Worst Last Name Ever"
Sovereign of Holland
b. ??? d. 1431, ruled 16 Jan 1409-22 May 1431

Sovereign Albrecht I von Hohenzollern of Holland "The Daddy's Boy"
Sovereign of Holland and Margrave of Brandenburg
b. 1412, d. 1456, ruled 22 May 1431-22 Apr 1456

Sovereign Albrecht II von Hohenzollern of Holland "The Big Girl's Blouse"
Sovereign of Holland, Margrave of Brandenburg, and Duke of Thuringia
b. 1425, d. ???, ruled 22 Apr 1456-5 Nov 1466

Sovereign Floris VI Gerhard von Hohenzollern of Holland "The What Kind of Name is Floris Anyway"
Sovereign of Holland, Margrave of Brandenburg, Duke of Thuringia, and Duke of Milan
b. 1437, d. 1495, ruled 5 Nov 1466-9 Nov 1495

Sovereign Wilhelm VI Karl von Hohenzollern of Holland "The Control Freak"
Sovereign of Holland, Margrave of Brandenburg, and Duke of Thuringia
b. 1437, ruled since 9 Nov 1495




Monarchical Relationship Tree


Acknowledgements to Fyregecko's InTveresting Times



List of Major Wars

The War Against the Excommunicated Dishonourable Scum Burgundy (1421-1423)
Holland, Friesland, Cleves, and Liege vs Burgundy (boo, hiss!)
Result: Holland annexes Antwerp and Ghent. Burgundy relinquishes claims to Gelre and Hainaut.

First Benin War, or, "The Benin Affair" or "The Benin Fiasco" or "Beningate" (1430)
Holland vs Benin and Oyo
Result : Four of Benin's five provinces are released as the Christian territory of Oyo, under the protectorate of Holland.

Holland-Brabanter War of Honour, or "The War of Albrecht's Bottom", or "The Great Lotharingian Trade War" (1433-1435)
Holland, Friesland, Liege, Cleves, and Oldenburg Traitors vs Brabant (boo, hiss!), Oldenburg Loyalists, Bremen, Bar, Alsace, and Venice
Result : Brabant and Oldenburg swear fealty to Holland as vassal states. Indemnities are collected all round.

"War against the Tyranny of Burgundy" (1434-1435)
Burgundy (boo, hiss!), Neverian Traitors, and Avignon vs Holland, Liege, Neverian Loyalists, Hainaut, Oldenburg, and Brabant
Result : Burgundy relinquishes all claims to territories outside its present borders, save Cambrai, Picardie, and Flanders. Burgundy agrees to restore the independence of Nevers.

"First War of Destiny" (1436-1440)
Holland vs Orissa
Result : Holland annexes Indravati. The Christian territory of Deccan, under the protectorate of Holland, is established. The nation of Gondwana declares its independence.

"Second War of Destiny" (1440-1445)
Holland, Deccan, and Gondwana vs Bihar and Khorasan
Result : Holland annexes Orissa, Jharkhand, Bangala, Pandua, Koch, and Maithil.

Third Benin War, or "The Massacre of Benin" (1445-1447)
Holland, Oyo, and Liege vs Benin
Result : Two Beninese provinces are released as the Christian territory of Ashanti, under the protectorate of Holland. Benin's last province is transferred to Oyo. However, the latter condition of peace was not enforced, resulting in continued low-level hostilities.

"The First War of Albertine Tyranny", or "The First Hollander War against God" (1445-1447)
Holland, Liege, Cleves, Brabant, Friesland, Oldenburg, and Münster Traitors vs Hesse, Trier, Utrecht, Münster Loyalists, and Baden
Result : Utrecht and Münster swear fealty to Holland as vassal bishoprics. Trier releases the province of Koblenz as the Duchy of Mainz, administered by a feudal lord as a protectorate of Holland. Indemnities are collected all round.

"Fourth War of Destiny" (1451-1453)
Holland, Deccan, and Gondwana vs Rajputana, Bihar, Orissa, Nepal, and Khorasan
Result : Bihar's remaining provinces (Bihar, Oudh, and Allahabad) are annexed by Holland. Orissa pays an indemnity. Remaining belligerents accept a white peace.

War of Vijayanagari Containment, or, "Four-point-fifth War of Destiny", or, "The War of Two Albrechts" (1455-1459)
Holland, Deccan, and Gondwana vs Vijayanagar
Result : Holland annexes Lucknow, Deccan annexes Golconda, The Christian territory of Gujarat, under the protectorate of Holland, is established. Mysore declares its independence.

"The Phoney War of Destiny", or, "Five-point-fifth War of Destiny" (1466-1467)
Holland, Deccan, Gondwana, and Gujarat vs Orissa
Result : Holland annexes Parlakimidi and Telingana. Rebels seize the provinces of Ahmadnagar, Dadra, Maharastra, and Nagpur for the nation of Ahmadnagar

"The First Hollander Betrayal", or, "The Second Hollander War against God (1471-1472)
Holland, Cleves, Brabant, Oldenburg, Münster, Mainz, Brandenburg, Thuringia, and France vs Liege and Cologne
Result : Liege swears fealty to Holland as a vassal bishopric. Mainz annexes the province of Köln from Cologne

"The Final War of Destiny" (1472-1473)
Holland, Deccan, Gondwana, Gujarat, and Delhi vs Rajputana and Orissa
Result : Holland annexes Orissa's capital, Cuttack. Rajputana annuls all treaties and pays an indemnity. Durrani declares its independence from Rajputana.

The War to Cut Austria Down to Size, or, "The First Hollander War of Great Power Contention" (1475-1478)
Holland, France, Cleves, Brabant, Oldenburg, Münster, Mainz, Brandenburg, Thuringia, and Liege vs Austria, Trier, Ukraine, Baden, Montenegro, Corfu, and Ragusa
Result : Austria ends the vassalisation of the Duchy of Baden and pays a small indemnity. The nations of the Palatinate, Tirol, and Styria declare independence from Austria. Austria's army is forcibly disbanded and it is formally warned against going to war with neighbouring states.

The Bavarian Reconquest of Franken, or, "The War of Bavarian Betrayal" (1479-1480)
Bavaria, Switzerland, and Pomerania vs Holland, The Palatinate, Brabant, Oldenburg, Münster, Mainz, Brandenburg, Thuringia, Liege, Salzburg, Saxony, Cleves, Tirol, and Styria
Result : Tirol annuls all treaties with Holland. Pomerania swears fealty to Holland as a vassal state. Bavaria renounces its claim to Franken and annuls all treaties with foreign powers.

The Hollander Reconquest of Flanders, or, "The War of Flemish Liberation", or, "The Second Hollander War of Great Power Contention" (1484-1487)
Holland, France, Hainaut, Brabant, Oldenburg, Münster, Mainz, Brandenburg, Thuringia, Liege, Cleves, Styria, and The Palatinate vs Castille and Brittany
Result : Holland annexes Flanders. Castille releases the province of Apulia as the Sovereignty of Naples, under French protection, and the Duchy of Galicia and the provinces of Epirus and Larissa as the Independent Byzantine Greeks as protectorates of Holland. Castille pays indemnities to Holland and France and its sphere of influence is dismantled. Brittany swears fealty to Holland as a vassal state.

The Second Umpteenth English Reconquest of Normandie, or, "The First Anglo-Hollander War" (1491-1492)
England and Savoy vs France, Holland, Brabant, Oldenburg, Münster, Mainz, Brandenburg, Thuringia, Liege, Cleves, Styria, The Palatinate, Brittany, Hainaut, Galicia, and Byzantium
Result : England renounces all claims on French-held territories and pays an indemnity. Connacht, Wales, and Cornwall declare their independence from England.

The French Conquest of Liguria, or, "The Second Great Trade War", or, "The Pesto War" (1494-1496)
France, Connacht, Wales, Cornwall, Holland, Brabant, Oldenburg, Münster, Mainz, Brandenburg, Thuringia, Liege, Cleves, Styria, The Palatinate, Brittany, Hainaut, Galicia, and Byzantium vs Venice, Genoa, Savoy, Nevers, Bohemia, Meissen, Anhalt, Alsace, Aquileia, Tuscany, Naples, Sicily, Parma, Corfu, Ragusa (that's 34 combatants!)
Result : France annexes Nevers. Genoa pays an indemnity to France and releases Corsica as a sovereign state. All remaining belligerents accept a white peace.
 
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Chapter 1 : Can't get out from Hainaut (1399-1413)
Sovereign Albrecht I von Wittelsbach of Hainaut (boo, hiss!), 14 Oct 1399-16 Jan 1409
Sovereign Jan II van Henegouwen, since 16 Jan 1409


nobert1_zpse63f9bde.png

DO NOT WANT!
The actual reign of the Wittelsbachs lasted into Albrecht's son and granddaughter, and ended only thirty years later ...
with the annexation of both counties by the Duchy of Burgundy.
We shall aim to avoid that fate - the first step is to get rid of this man.

And thus the glorious history of the nation once known as Holland begins on 14 October 1399. Best sliders in the whole world, but at the terrible cost of being chained as a lesser partner under the yoke of a landlocked OPM to the south called Hainaut. The only other real advantages it has are a respectable navy of 7 big ships and 4 cogs, with naval forcelimit 15, and a yearly census tax of 40 Guilders, which is pretty darn high for a 2PM. But otherwise, obstacles loom on every turn.

Being a lesser partner in a personal union means that Holland has no authority to form alliances, make royal marriages, or declare war. The latter two are not so important early on while you're establishing yourself, but the former means no cheaply secured Day 1 alliances which can save the neck of even puny nations like Bar or Epirus. Friesland and Utrecht, to which Holland casts its eyes as targets for future expension, quickly rack up a network of alliances and guarantees with the neighbouring OPMs. And Brabant, the great rival of Holland for the domination of the low counties, guarantees all the other Dutch nations. Except us. Very suspicious.

Yes, our bountiful nation with its rich territories has a maximum land forcelimit of, sigh, seven. All of Holland's navy would be to no avail if it was overwhelmed by a concerted attack from an alliance of OPMs, or even Brabant alone, with its so-called "senior partner" in a person union to the south helpless to intervene. I don't understand why all the Dutch nations have 150+ relations with each other if they all hate each other so much. And of course, there's the elephant in the room, the big reddish-purplish elephant split in two halves in the middle of Francia ...

Burgundy. Threat. Saviour. Rival. Target. All of these things.

HOL00010_zpscc5f83a2.png


Oh look. I think "Saviour" would the first role they could play.
And then they go off and declare the Burgundian War of Reconquest on Bar instead. Eh, dammit. Much cleverer, but dammit.

But anyway, Holland's starting diplomats are spent first breaking the alliance with Hainaut, because frankly we want Burgundy to do us a favour without being on their bad side. Hainaut is subsequently insulted into negative relations, which will break the union but also hampers us somewhat considering that our first mission is "Improve our Prestige!". Small losses for a bigger payoff later. Diplomats are also sent to warn Friesland and Utrecht, guarantee Gelre, and offer Burgundy a two-way military access agreement. The warnings and guarantees are to ensure that Holland can intervene in a war despite not actually being independent, in hope of force-vassalising those countries for later diplo-annexation, while agreements with Burgundy push our relations above 100, meaning that should they declare war on us without cancelling the agreements, they would be dropped to minimum negative stability. Not that it would stop them, but it at least gives the AI something to consider.

The building blocks to take Holland to greatness will be its finances and its advisors. On the first aspect, resources are first devoted to raising stability to the max, then on government tech for our first National Idea, which is naturally National Trade Policy. Subsequent priorities are Production 4 for Constables, Land 4 for Armouries, Naval 4 for Docks, Land 5 for Men at Arms, before everything goes into Trade tech to further our grand scheme to migrate from Europe. Merchants are also sent, first to Lübeck as a member of the Hanseatic League, then eventually to all other Centres of Trade, until Holland has a full 5 merchants in each. Our sliders ensure that our success rate is so high we do not fail to place a merchant until reaching Lisboa, and our merchants have nary a chance of being kicked out except in Liguria and Novgorod, home cities of the opposing trade leagues we can reach. With all our sliders at near-max or beyond their limits, we go for moves towards Quality to make best use of our limited manpower. We accept a subsequent shift toward Narrowminded (from "Clergy Condemns Philosopher as Heretic") to keep us still innovative, but on the Pope's good side. An event also gives us three spies - we'll keep them in reserve for now since we don't actually gain any normally.

As to advisors, our initial selection is poor, with only a 1-star Army Reformer and Philosopher to show for it. Both are hired anyway, as Holland has the cash to spare. A year later, Holland receives a windfall as talent from across the world flocks to our courts - a 6-star Master of the Mint to turn our juicy monthly income into cold hard cash, as well as a 4-star Collector to boost our trade income and compete chance. Our unemployed magistrates are also sent to commission tapestries, paintings and other works of art in hope of attracting better talent to our country - in particular, a talented Treasurer to jumpstart our Trade research.

Other developments in the rest of the world - the Horde runs rampant over Eastern Europe, with Muscowy almost totally overrun, though the infidel Turks hold their own. Castille attacks Granada, Aragon attacks Navarra, Papal States attacks Urbino, the usual suspects. Bar is promptly overrun by Burgundy, who also annexes Bar's wartime ally Liege for 8 infamy and no core, and then secures an alliance with Scotland and Portugal. Worrying, but our good relations with Burgundy are maintained. However, England and France stay on surprisingly good terms (i.e. not instant war), as England goes off to complete its conquest of the Green Isle. Also, Hungary declares war on Poland instantly for some reason - Poland is victorious and snatches several border provinces in a punitive treaty.

And then finally, the war we've all been waiting for ... oh dammit, it isn't. Burgundy severs all treaties with England and declares the War of Reconquest of Calais on them. France also takes the opportunity to declare war on England for their continental provinces. Brittany and Scotland honour their alliance with Burgundy, while Portugal does as well, breaking her alliance with England. The English fleet is trapped in a pitched naval battle with her former allies somewhere in the Bay of Biscay as the Franks land an invasion force on her homeland.

As Holland's scouting fleet watches (with nothing else to do anyway except observe the misery of others), Burgundy sieges down Calais and Kent unopposed, with Scotland occupying the English forces oop north. However, an abrupt peace is declared after England, having vanquished the slightly smaller but still darn huge navy of her former ally Portugal, heads over to sink the Burgundian fleet. Burgundy decides to secure her gains, and agrees to annex Calais and Kent (???). With the massive Burgundian alliance out of the picture, France is left alone at war and their inability to make further gains on the English homeland lead them to make a quick white peace ... out of boredom more than anything else.

HOL00020_zps208fec65.png

Europe after the Burgundian War of Reconquest of Calais. Also note Holland's snazzy advisors.

It seems that the drear of Holland's enslavement to Hainaut will never end as the next few years pass uneventfully. Castille calls for a crusade against OPM Granada, while Muscowy, completely overrun by the Horde, loses all independence to Nizhny Novgorodian rebels and a personal union with Mazovia, with Novgorod successfully annexing Yaroslavl and enslaving Tver. Bavaria (finally) attacks the Palatinate and brings all the electors in a giant war against it. Bohemia, Poland-Lithuania, and the Teutonic Order fight a non-eventful war that ends in white peace. And finally, in 1408, the war all true Hollanders have been waiting for ... Burgundy declares war on Hainaut, at last!

Burgundy's increasing infamy had earned the ire of many of its neighbours, and several of them (not us, of course) rushed to Hainaut's defence as alliances cascaded upon it. First Lorraine, then Alsace, then Savoy, then Naples, then Austria, who invited Poland-Lithuania. Oh, did we also mention that when England became papal controller, their first act was to excommunicate Burgundy? This dropped their relations with us to -50 (from >100, thank goodness we didn't actually spend money bribing them), but this was not too much of a worry as we weren't their top priority, and the excommunication also cost it its alliance with Brittany and Portugal. But anyway, by January, Hainaut was overrun by the Burgundian hordes, and Holland was free, free at last!

HOL00030_zpsad4505b6.png

Except we still can't get out of Hainaut. "Henegouwen" means "Hainaut" in Dutch, thanks to another AAR for pointing that out.
Also, what kind of last name is "Zuiderzee"? Did the fellow grow up in the swamps or something? Why not call yourself something like "van Holland" instead?
Note one Liegeian province released by Burgundy as a result of a demand by emperor Bohemia - silly AI, they should not have accepted.

Jan II van Henegouwen, proclaimed the new ruler of Holland, was actually a fairly decent chap all round with 7-5-3 stats, despite having a somewhat abhorrent last name. However, he was one short of that magic 6 diplomacy required for the "Claims on our Rivals" event to fire. It's a bit unfortunate that under any other circumstance I would have welcomed a ruler with 7 administrative skill, whatever his other stats. The state of Holland, now truly alone in its world, pondered its first steps, as war raged across the fields of its bloated neighbour to the south.

An alliance offer came not long after from Cleves, which was just another German OPM. However, it was also adjacent to Brabant, and this would help divide Brabant's attention in the event of war with them. Seeking a second ally, Holland found only one more state willing to bite at a chance better than "Unlikely", which was Friesland, across the Zuiderzee. Well, this should be a helpful prelude to diplo-vassalising later, or giving us a casus belli against them after they fail to honour our call to arms to war against a country which they can't even find on their maps. And yes, more help against Brabant ... or Burgundy. For good measure, Friesland was also guaranteed.

Royal marriages offers with the new lord van Henegouwen's close relatives were also sent out across Europe, eventually winning us enough prestige to complete our mission. The next mission? "Accumulate Money" - easily done - and "Protect against Brabant", which was kind of daft considering that Brabant had 10 units while our land forcelimit was 7. On the royal marriages - it seemed almost that Modena, newly broken away from its personal union with Ferrara, would be the first to fall under the thrall of Holland in its ascendance to global supremacy, but it was not to be as a heir was born mere months before the doddering old fool they appointed sovereign passed on to the next world.

To the south, the war seemed to be playing out to Burgundy's advantage. Although resigned to losing their ill-gotten territory of Kent to English loyalists, the Burgundian forces were doing well, overrunning Lorraine's territories and annexing them for 8 infamy, as well as taking over the garrison at Sundgau. Neapolitan forces were crushed as they landed off the coast of the Low Counties, while Savoy accepted a white peace within mere months of joining the war, cowards that they were. The Polish-Lithuanian juggernaut, while strong, was completely helpless to intervene due to the simple fact that the AI isn't clever enough to ask for military access. Although Burgundy's war with Austria was now at an impasse, they also found itself guaranteed by England - goodness knows why! - helping to insure them against an opportunistic attack by another European power.

HOL00040_zps3c3269ac.png

War, glorious war! And none of it is my doing!

The Austro-Burgundian war, over the corpse of the conquered Hainaut, seemed to drag on endlessly, unlike several other inconclusive wars which managed to reach white peace soon after (a rarity from the AI, indeed). Holland sought something to which to apply itself to make use of its new-found freedom, but its only casus belli was against the excommunicated Burgundy. Searching for some easy target somewhere, all she could find that seemed easy pickings was Morocco, who was under attack by Portugal, aiming to conquer Tangiers, and its ally Castille, who had for some reason not declared Holy War against OPM Granada, while at the same time under siege by the Turk, supposedly defenders of the Sunni faith.

Joining the dogpile against Morocco seemed like an interesting first step for the ambitious Jan van Henegouwen, even with the -2 stability hit for declaring war with no casus belli (easily regained in two months), but he thought better of it. Although it would be a good first step for any other ambitious country, Holland could ill-afford taking 10 infamy at once in order to snag the gold resources of Sus. Besides, given Holland's grand scheme to establish a promised land to the east, the gain of unnecessary and not terribly beneficial territories might hamper the achievement of this goal.



As sovereign Jan II van Henegouwen reclined on his throne, a messenger entered bearing news. Great news, or grave news?

"My liege ... your wife has given birth to a son, the new heir to the throne! But ..."
"That's great news! But ... what?"
"But ... it's not what you think it is ..."

nobert2_zps847954b0.png

Perhaps this is the best way of representing Holland's freedom.
Apologies to all Hainaut fans and actual Henegouweners out there.
 
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MrQwerty

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Good luck, and watch out for Burgundy :ninja:
 

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Considering I know squat about EU, I could understand this, so you must be doing something right :)

I like the writing - it has a sort of casual wit to it.

I'll be following this.
 

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Chapter 2 : Giving Bourgogne a Good Buggering (1413-1427)
Sovereign Jan II van Henegouwen, since 16 Jan 1409

Grave faces all around at the council table at Holland's seat of power in Amsterdam. Though it was only Lord Jan van Henegouwen who was absolutely ashen, while the other council members simply looked bovvered that they had to be there.

"So ... little Albrecht was not born deformed, was he?" Jan stuttered, all too afraid of the dreadful news he would soon hear, "or worse, a helpless imbecile."
"No, my liege," said Marshal Louis François de la Porte, "in fact, he was born, what you would call, 'Quick'. In fact, he's probably going to grow up to be smarter than you, as long as he lives to adulthood. More military skill, too. Somehow, we already know all this though he is an infant. Technology has certainly advanced since the dark ages."
"That sounds ... pretty good, actually. So what's the problem?"
"Um, it's a little delicate, shall we put it" the Frenchman hesitated. Chancellor Alfredo Zeno cut in.
"Basically, he's got a birthmark on his bottom that looks like the crest of the Hohenzollern family. He's not actually your son, my liege. But no one is going to know that."

"How in heaven's name is the child is not mine?!" cried Jan, driven to the limits of his endurance by the revelation, "I mean, who could have done it? And what do you mean I can't do anything about it?"
"It's a free country, sire, and you can't just screw with the succession laws however you want. But it's not hard to check who did it," said Zeno as he pulled out a handy-dandy map of Europe that had the map of every single nation and its ruler labelled on it.

"It is 1413. There's only one country in the whole world that has a Hohenzollern on its throne."

"FFRRRIIIITZZ!!!"

Somewhere in Nuremburg, far far away from Amsterdam, there was a roar of triumph as a gloved fist pumped the air.
"Score one to me! Take that, von Habsburgs!"

ANSFritz_zpse13818ac.png

"Albrecht ... I am your father! Also, Jan, I've been shagging your wife!" - Fritz von Hohenzollern
Known ingame as Duke Friedrich VI of Ansbach, who later became the first Hohenzollern ruler of Brandenburg.

Okay, so we have a heir to the throne! And he is pretty good, 7-5-5, above average in everything, and he'll make an excellent future ruler. Except that he still doesn't have the magic diplomacy number of 6 for "Claims on our Rivals". And he is a Hohenzollern, which is truly indeed a very authentic Dutch last name. In game terms, this really isn't a big deal apart from the fact that we'll take a small Legitimacy hit when he takes the throne due to the fact that he's of a different dynasty. Think half your country rising up in an independence revolt or something ... NOT! This also means that any countries to which we spread Lord Henegouwen's seed will no longer reciprocate our friendly relations when Albrecht takes the throne ... assuming he doesn't die from a convenient hunting accident. However, should Holland manage to form a personal union with any other countries, the personal union would still continue despite the new sovereign being of a different dynasty.

I've never actually had the ruling dynasty of my player country in EUIII change before, so I'm certainly looking forward to the new experience. It helps that the heir has decently good stats. There's also the slight advantage of having a greater chance of gaining co-dynasts from randomly generated family names due to the fact that there are much more German-language countries than Dutch ones, though in the long run it won't matter since we plan to switch to a Republic. And nobody in Holland wants their king to be known as "van Hainaut" anyway ... brings bad memories. Hence everyone's indifference to Lord van Henegouwen's misery.

Anyway, the moment for Holland to make an opportunistic strike somewhere passes, as the world settles into a temporary peace with the major wars in and around Europe resolving themselves. Byzantium is laid to rest for good when it decides to attack the Ottomans for some godforsaken reason - possibly the high war exhaustion - and promptly gets overrun by the Turkish force sitting around ("on the Ottoman") with nothing to do due to Portugal occupying most of Morocco. On that note, Morocco's two-front war against the Iberian powers as well as the Turk ends in its dismemberment as the Portuguese annex a swathe of territory from Tangiers to Figuig, while the Ottomans take its other Barbary provinces. Algiers pounces and seizes the Atlas mountain range too. However, a little good news for them, as a random Centre of Trade appears in Sus ... and is promptly crowded out by Holland and Navarra.

The Wittelsbachs in Bavaria don't do too well either as they eventually agree to white peace with the Palatinate for the war over Franken, despite managing to beat all of the Palatinate's allies, due to not actually having a route to the Palatinate homeland. And Burgundy's war with Austria eventually ends with Burgundy agreeing to release the nation of Hainaut into this world once again - except that it now has a Wallonian (read "Frenchy") ruler instead of a von Wittelsbach - double blow for them. We'll consider the hatchet buried, Hainaut, no hard feelings. As long as you don't set foot in our land again, you scumbags.

HOL00050_zps06289443.png

Burgundy at its greatest extent. Note the annexed Lorraine and released Hainaut. It's kinda scary when you're a 2PM and they have a border and -100 relations with you.
Thankfully, their new mission is "Annex Luxembourg". (cue cheering from Brandenburgers everywhere)
Note how Bohemia has lost the Silesian territories to Poland - this will be important later.
Also, Albrecht von Hohenzollern in the flesh. I didn't actually notice that he was a Hohenzollern until I read the names more carefully and realised Fritz had done me over.

Back in Holland, Jan van Henegouwen despairs ... not only over his misbegotten heir, but also for things to do with the nation's newfound independence. Treasurer Zuiderzee reports that teching and trading is going as well as can be imagined for a commercial powerhouse like Holland, as all Lvl 1 buildings have been constructed save Churches which are not needed due to our tiny stab costs.

"Do you find our lack of churches a little impious, my lord?" asked Holland's Court Chaplain, a somewhat shifty looking guy called 'Jean Martin Ulrich Hus-Luther-Zwingli-Calvin' or something like that.
"Er ... not especially," replied Jan, "unless it has something to do with my heir ... well let's not talk about that. Is there a problem?"
"We haven't received any messages from God lately."
"God sends you messages?"
"Well, yeah. Little things like 'Accumulate Money!' and 'Protect against Brabant!' and 'Royal Marriage with all of our neighbours except Burgundy!', things like that. We do God's work. But recently God's gone a little silent. He hasn't told us anything since we finally bribed Friesland into that royal marriage in your hope of eventually spreading your filthy Hainautian seed somewhere."
"Should we be concerned? And what was that last bit ..."

At this point, an even shiftier fellow in a hood crept around from behind Lord Jan's throne.
"Well, yes, we should be concerned. We could be doing fun things. Like being told to conquer Utrecht in God's name. Nevermind that they're a theocracy and have lots of allies and guarantees."
"I suppose you are right," Lord Jan nodded, trembling a little as the suspicious 'councillor' loomed before him, conveniently concealing the sight of the chaplain frolicking out the throne room while reciting his new treatise on heresy. "So tell me how we should do this, Spymaster Sherzogen ... Shergotter ... Boscher ... whatever."
"Well, first you might be interested to hear that France and Scotland have attacked Burgundy. Seems like a rare opportunity, though England, Aragon, and Emperor Bohemia have come in on Burgundy's side." the hooded figure said, then chuckled in a sinister fashion, "I'd love to tell you how to conquer Utrecht but I'm afraid I can't ... until you prove that you're a true Hollander by remembering the name of the town I come from. Not being called 'van Hainaut' would help a lot too".

And Spymaster 's-Hertogenbosch disappeared back into the darkness from which he came. Jan van Henegouwen was left alone to ponder the situation.

"I have a feeling no one here likes me."



Okay, so coming into war against Burgundy and England definitely didn't sound like a good idea. Even though they were fighting France and Scotland, due to the presence of the Emperor I could not foresee a French victory. I hoped that Scotland would quickly knock out England, but my scout fleet noticed that the free units from "Highlanders Arrive" didn't actually do very much except stand around in Scottish territory having a staring contest with English troops. Who, incidentally, were actually doing something useful by slowly wearing down the Scottish garrison. Perhaps they were hoping for "Highlanders Arrive" to fire twice before making a move - a wise strategy, in fact. And if England were not taken out by Scotland, Holland would not stand a chance in war - they could occupy a decimated Burgundy but their homeland would be overrun by an English amphibious landing.

The War of French Reconquest of Picardie was allowed to run its course without any interference by Holland. As expected, once the Emperor Vaclav V's Bohemian troops crossed Swabia and entered Burgundian soil, the French government quickly pressed for a white peace. However, this seemingly meaningless war had long lasting consequences for the balance of power in Europe. The Teutonic Order took advantage of the Emperor's distraction to launch an assault on Riga, and the Teutons were allied with, gasp, Poland-Lithuania. Of all people! The Emperor thought he could play the white knight against the black-and-white Teutons and rallied to Riga's rescue, but this was a foolish mistake as his troops were all the way on the opposite side of Europe, while Poland's were just on his border.

When Emperor Vaclav's victorious but ragged troops returned to Bohemia within the next year, they were in for a rude surprise as the Bohemian homeland's entire garrison was occupied by Polish and Teutonic forces. Spotted by their foes, the returning armies were pursued and slaughtered down to the last man, with some saying the Emperor himself was left begging something about "my kingdom for a whore!" or something like that before being cut down. His words were to prove prophetic, as shortly after Poland negotiated a strangely merciful treaty with Bohemia whereupon they agreed to withdraw in exchange for merely the renunciation of a few Bohemian cores. And the former Emperor's infant son and only heir, newly proclaimed Emperor, as hostage.

The news sent shockwaves throughout Europe. The Emperor had been laid low. And it was time for the vultures circling the Empire to prey - the prime target being the freshly trampled but still very much alive body of the excommunicated Burgundy. The first declaration of war came from Burgundy's former protector, but certainly not friend, England. The War of Reconquest of Calais, they called it. How ironic. Not a single country was willing to respond to Burgundy's calls for aid - the whole of Europe had enough of this unholy, heretical, excommunicated dishonourable scum nation. English forces landed on the shores of the Low Counties and engaged in a bit of a musical chairs with the Burgundian troops there as each tried to drain the other's resources without engaging in decisive battle. But within half a year, the next hungry predator descended.

Castille, allied with Portugal. Of all the bloody people it had to be them. This meant more misery for Burgundy as Castillian and Portuguese forces landed and began sieging, combining with English troops to squash the Burgundian resistance. Funnily enough, Portugal managed to start the siege in Calais, which sort of annulled England's entire war objective, but too bad for them then.

It was then that I knew it was my chance to act.

HOL00060_zpsa0d666d7.png

The prelude to Holland's first ever war. Note Burgundy's massive war exhaustion as well.
My forcelimit is 7, so I start actually living off my census tax by fully funding this overlarge army.

Military access with Burgundy was immediately cancelled - I could have attacked traitorously but there would be no advantage in doing so seeing as to how their army was already at full maintenance. My scouts reported the occasional 10k Burgundian stack still roaming their homeland so I thought I would seek an additional ally before launching a war. Someone who had less than three allies, was adjacent to Burgundy, not too large, and generally liked me ... Switzerland. I sent them several gifts in the hope of raising their chance of agreeing to an alliance, but ran out of diplomats before I could get relations up to 200.

As I hesitated, waiting for more diplomats to appear, France declared war on Burgundy, the five year truce having ended. It was now or never. Switzerland refused the alliance - their loss. With the final diplomat, Holland was plunged headlong into its first ever war!

A glorious rush of adrenaline as we marched into battle. Well, Holland did, because Friesland and Cleves agreed to join the war but did sod all, not even move their soldiers. Jan van Henegouwen was also conscripted to lead the army - not because we wanted him to die, you see, because that would leave us in a regency council, but because we wanted to keep the cash spare and skimp on hiring a real general in the event something went awry. Our armies marched south and quickly laid siege to the garrison at Antwerp and Ghent, while scouts were sent to observe the movement of the main Burgundian stacks.

But things went as expected - France flattened the remaining 10k Burgundian stacks. Also, OPM Liege agreed to become our ally in the middle of the war - they also did sod all despite being directly adjacent to Burgundy - while the traitorous Swiss launched their own invasion of Burgundy. Brabant and Hainaut (boo, hiss to both of them!) join the fun as well. However, the French advance was strangely unambitious as despite seizing quite a bit of the Burgundian homeland they settled for Cambrai and retreated happy. But this was a massive advantage for us, being only a freaking 2PM. Our armies fanned out across the depopulated Burgundian homeland and laid siege to every castle. The English, Castillians, and Portuguese were outmanoeuvred despite having done much of the initial drudge work, as Holland's forces punched south before they could reposition their forces, although they were beaten to Franche-Comte by the Swiss. In any event, the remaining invaders had to settle for all they could get their hands on - England took Picardie (???) and Castille took Flanders ... now that one's a little annoying, as I could have appreciated its addition to my territory.

Soon, with as much of Burgundy occupied by Holland's forces as possible, the Burgundian scum had to yield. Our first victory in war, and first territory gained! All glory to Holland!

HOL00070_zpsbadd06d7.png

Damn, you will not believe how good this feels. Holland, 2PM no more!
We could have released Bar or Nevers, but decided not to as they would not be very useful as landlocked allies, and we'd have to protect them if they were attacked.
Also, it wouldn't be easy to diplovassalise them due to our small size. Instead, we settled for making Burgundy give up their cores on Gelre ... and Hainaut.
All in the interests of preventing a quick resurgence of Burgundian power, since Hainaut borders us now. And no, that doesn't make us like them or anything.
I'd much rather have used my excess war score to annex Flanders instead, but I couldn't get control of it. Hainaut later annexed Artois, while Bar and Nevers got released.

With victory and conquest comes power and prestige, which Holland uses to finally establish a Sphere of Influence! Friesland, Utrecht, and Liege are now under official "protection", and the bonus to diplomacy and increased size now mean that we have a "Very Unlikely" chance of diplovassalising Friesland. On the other hand, Burgundy is now well and truly buggered, reduced to a rump of 6 provinces, none of which are adjacent to us. France now has a Reconquest casus belli against us, but the fact that we have a two-way military access agreement, no direct land borders, and >100 relations means that they are unlikely to press the claim. That means that, apart from Castille's control of Flanders, Holland is now the strongest nation in the Low Counties!

Not that it means very much.

And now it seems that we have a little bit of work to do, as our researchers have just discovered this thing called "Quest for the Promised Land" and the concept of sailing into places which aren't marked out on our map! Such an idea had previously been considered heresy. One such intrepid soul is sent on a mission, far to the south, to find this "Promised Land" on which the dreams of the people of Holland will be built. It takes two years for him to finally return with some news, but when he does, the nation descends into uproar.



HOL00080_zps81ccf830.png

Oh bollocks.
 
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DensleyBlair

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Also, Albrecht von Hohenzollern in the flesh. I didn't actually notice that he was a Hohenzollern until I read the names more carefully and realised Fritz had done me over.

Surely, it would be Lady van Henegouwen who had in fact been done over? :)

"my kingdom for a whore!"

Brilliant!

Also, for me, the image of no-longer-2PM-Holland isn't working.
 

aniuby

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Good luck, and watch out for Burgundy :ninja:

Thanks for being the first person to comment to this thread! I hope you enjoyed Part 2!

An interesting start. Good luck!

Oh, it's got messier since. I'm going to need all the luck I can get!

Half of it already is orange, not that bad ;)

*RAGE!*

Okay, seriously, that map is not something I expect to see in less than thirty years from the start of the game. Pondering my next move.

Considering I know squat about EU, I could understand this, so you must be doing something right :)

I like the writing - it has a sort of casual wit to it.

I'll be following this.

Thank you for your compliment! I see you play and write CKII AARs, so I hope that some of the cross-references here and there help you find out more about EUIII. In my opinion, I like it more than CKII, though it has been worked on for many more years.

I'm not going for any specific style here since it's my first AAR. But, since we are British, you'll know how a little bit of 'casual wit' sort of comes naturally to people like us =)

Also, for me, the image of no-longer-2PM-Holland isn't working.

If you mean a picture of Holland spanning 4 provinces on the world map, there is none. The image depicts the War Negotiations screen showing exactly what you can demand or concede when you attempt to conclude a war with someone, unlike CKII where you can only declare war over a single objective - a step backward in my opinion. So the intention was to show what I eventually demanded from Burgundy, together with the list of all the provinces I could have possibly taken, rather than the post-treaty state. But, just for you ...

HOL00090_zpsbeed2c83.png

The Low Counties, 31 December 1427. Holland is a 4PM - I gain a CoT and a manufactory! Also, note the enlarged Hainaut (boo, hiss!).
The English soldiers are friendly, just having a little staring contest with the Castillians is all. (They are at war =P)
And it seems Liege is about to gain two provinces from rebels, good thing we allied with them! France is about to get Calais, too. Burgundy will be left with 3 provinces.
If Castille could get in a war somewhere else, or get defeated and suffer war exhaustion, we could possibly use rebels to get Flanders to defect to us.

Surely, it would be Lady van Henegouwen who had in fact been done over? :)

You see, I am Lady van Henegouwen. How else did a loser like Jan become a ruler, anyway? Besides, Fritz was a real good lay, too.

(joking)
 

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Chapter 2 A : Mouse - Taking the Mickey out of Jan van Henegouwen
(circa 1427- 22 May 1431)

Sovereign Jan II van Henegouwen, since 16 Jan 1409 ...

'Wee sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous Jan,
In what a panic in thy den,
Thou need nae start awa sae hasty,
To spread thy family name,
For we'd be laith to stand an' watch thee
Further taintin' Holland's fame

I'm truly sorry Fritz's dominion,
Has broken your family union,
An' justifies our ill opinion,
Which makes thee want out.
For thy last name Henegouwen,
Reminds us all of Hainaut.'

with apologies to Robbie Burns.



Sovereign Jan van Henegouwen of Holland stood at the table in his war room at Amsterdam, his 'loyal' councillors seated around him ... well, Chancellor Zeno was there, as well as Court Chaplain Jean "Totally-not-a-heretic" Watzisface. Marshal of the Mint de la Porte had called in sick. And the Spymaster, like good Spymasters, was nowhere to be seen. In addition, there was a new man at the table who smelt faintly of exotic spice, supposedly having visited the fabled "Promised Land" far to the East.

"Where's Treasurer Zuiderzee? Isn't he going to turn up"
"I'm afraid not, my lord," said Chancellor Alfredo Zeno, "We sacked him after he insisted that his last name was dafter than yours. We couldn't abide someone who could attract more public disdain than you, my liege. Instead we hired a new guy. He's smarter, too."
"Pleased to meet you, my liege," the new man at the table effused as he rose and offered a handshake, "My name is Pieter Vin der Loo, the new Treasurer, here to dish up some spice and fire in your council. But all my friends call me Venloo, so you can call me that too."

"Okay, enough currying favour with the Lord," Alfredo said as he dragged Pieter back to his seat before Jan could accept his handshake, "We have to get down to work. Much has changed since our successful war with Burgundy and the annexation of Antwerp and Ghent. In particular, we have gained a Textile Manufactory and the centre of trade at Antwerp."
"Although ..." the new Treasurer cut in, "The only really satisfying thing about that is that production research is bubbling, with everything ahead of schedule on that front. And census taxes are up by 10 Guilders after throwing Antwerp and Ghent into the mix. But though Antwerp might be the apple of our new acquisitions, we're missing a 'core'."
Alfredo nodded gravely, as he pulled out a statement of accounts
"Capturing Antwerp for ourselves has resulted in trade centres all over Europe hating our guts for interfering with trade, excommunicated despicable scum Burgundy notwithstanding. Our merchants are getting kicked out everywhere. Even in Lübeck, other members of the Hanseatic League are replacing our merchants despite the Hanse promising to safeguard our trade."

"Liars!" scowled Jan as he thumped a fist on the table, "Tell those Germanic scum their deal is cancelled. We'll take our business elsewhere. At least we have Antwerp."
"Done and done," said Alfredo, "however, since Hainaut doesn't have a Trade League ("What ...?") I'll hook us up with some connections I have back in Venice. We'll sort something out."
"Also, owning Antwerp isn't panning out as well as we thought," Pieter sighed, "Although all of the British Isles as well as Brittany trade through Antwerp, England's decision to feed their Iron to the centre of trade at Lübeck means that we've lost out on a most delicious sauce, er, source of trade income. We can't lather over the fact that our trade revenue has gone up in flames. And we can barely sate our appetites on our yearly incomes."

"There is some good news, though," piped up Court Chaplain Jean, "God has started talking to us again."
"Oh? What does He want from us?"
"Just the last week, he told us to Protect against Brandenburg. Only He knows why, though, Brandenburg is still under a personal union with Luxembourg."
All true Hollanders in the room crossed themselves upon the mention of the Brandenburgers' sad state. Mmm ... Branden Burgers.
"He's also told us a couple of other things. Ever since Poland conveniently disposed of the child Emperor of Bohemia and left Austria the only eligible candidate for Emperor, He's been telling us to Make Bohemia Vote for Us!"
"Ah! That I shall handle myself!" cried Jan, to chuckles all around the room, "Leave it to me!"

HOL0007A_zpsce069f2a.png

What is this I don't even.

"And finally, on the report from our expedition to the Promised Land ... Treasurer Vin der Loo, if you please. And stop buttering up to the Lord."
"Sorry if it's not to your taste. But anyway, my brother was one of the explorers on the expedition, and his sage advice is that there is no way to acquire our Promised Land without first beefing up our half-baked forcelimit, so we can manage some kind of assault force, and use it to pepper the heathens there with heat-and-run attacks."
"So," lord Jan mused, "We need to find some way to get more territory before we can even think about an expeditionary force."
"Yes," said Zeno, "On our voyage there, we had to request for military access from many countries to allow our sailors to restock their supplies. However, one nation, Benin, refused us and we think it would be a good idea to punish them for it by enslaving them. Besides, we need the cash anyway and they are heathen savages."
"Um ... I don't know if there are ways to do that without further jeopardising our reputation. Maybe we could just postpone our Project Promised Land ..."
"My liege, there's a whole smorgasbord of ways!" insisted Pieter, "The Promised Land is ripe for the taking and we need to show that we're not chicken! Anyway, I've got a recipe for success and if you give me the ingredients I'll serve up victory for Holland."

HOL00110_zpse2fe8a61.png

Benin. The only country audacious enough to refuse us military access, a just cause for war!
Also, the fact that they have only 6 units, when we have only 4 transports.

"That's right! Attack them! Capture their territory, and demand their treasury in exchange for their freedom!" commanded Chancellor Zeno, "And my lord, would you like to lead the army? You certainly would, wouldn't you?"
"Uh ... I'm not feeling too well," said Jan, "Must be the strain of ... trying to negotiate with Bohemia to elect us Emperor. Send the Treasurer's brother instead. I think I'm going to seek some physic."

And subsequently ...

"What do you mean things didn't work out as planned? We actually lost money and got infamy from this whole damn expedition to Benin?"
"Sorry, Alfredo. We were able to lay out their defences, but somehow the more of their territories we took the less willing they were to cough up the dough. We had to settle for getting them to spit out this subsidiary state Oyo, then cancel our agreements with them and roll them out for a double helping of goodies. And guess what, not only did Oyo have no cash at all, but Benin had guaranteed Oyo's independence and became war leader, so we just had to chow down on both of them. But we couldn't simply swallow Benin whole due to having the wrong casus belli against them."
"Somehow I don't think it's supposed to work this way... damn heathens."
"Then, we saw that Benin had two provinces that belonged to another non-existent nation, Hausa. So we annexed Oyo and and those two provinces, then released Oyo as a Christian vassal. But we couldn't release Hausa for some reason! We had to resort to selling the provinces to them, using up our diplomats, and couldn't negate the infamy gain through releasing vassals! We didn't even recoup our costs for funding our soldiers and ships!"
"Wow, you just cooked up a whole paragraph without making a single food pun."
"Well, I'm just that cheesed about the whole thing! I'm about to boil over!"

HOL00120_zpse263773c.png

Bugger it, we can't do that! Anyway, what Pieter Vin der Loo said.

Meanwhile, back in Amsterdam, Lord van Henegouwen replaced his shirt and sat up as the physician entered the examination room. A grim look was written all over the doctor's face.
"My liege, we've completed your medical assessment. I'm sorry to tell you that you will die soon."
"Somehow I knew you were going to say that," sighed Jan, "so just tell me why."
"From stress. Having a fifteen-year old son, fully of the age of majority and ready to assume the throne, tends to induce an incredible amount of stress in their parents, especially if their parents are less capable than them."
"Uh ... right," Jan made a mental note of the fact, "I should probably appoint him Master of the Hunt."

"Also, you're missing one of your vital organs. This is going to severely hamper your ability to continue as Holland's head of state"
"What?! Which one?"
"Your backbone."

"I see."



"I ... am dying."

Back in his official house, overlooking the crowded and polluted canals of Amsterdam, Jan van Henegouwen lay back on his seat. He was alone, his "son" and heir Albrecht gone out hunting together with Jan's second, legitimate son Eberhard. On the table beside him lay two letters - one unfinished, and resting beside the official seal of Holland - Or, a Lion rampant Gules, armed and langued Azure.

"I should never have come here ..."

The other letter, recently opened, was addressed to him and stamped with the seal of Gules, a twin-tailed Lion rampant Argent, crowned, armed and langued Or. It read ...
'To his excellency Sovereign Jan II van Henegouwen of Holland,

It brings me great pleasure to inform you that Zikmund van Henegouwen, the son of your nephew, has been nominated King of Bohemia by the regency council overseeing our kingdom since the tragic betrayal and death of His Most Imperial Majesty, our previous monarch Vaclav V and his infant son, by virtue of your nephew's marriage to His Majesty's daughter who is herself ineligible for the throne.

Our new monarch, King Zikmund, Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, looks forward to cultivating a lasting and prosperous relationship with yourself and your nation and invites you to an audience in Prague to discuss a further course of action.

Signed, the Chancellor of King Zikmund of Bohemia.'

"I regret everything I've ever done. All my trespasses. But as for those who have trespassed against me ... my God! My God, who art in heaven."

Jan van Henegouwen, Sovereign of Holland, reached for his quill, and the half-written letter beside him. With his life ebbing away from him, he scratched a few words, then folded the letter. With his final warm breath, he melted the wax seal before stamping the letter. He then laid back, never to rise again.

"I am Jan van Henegouwen. Avenge me, my kinsman..."

HOL00100_zps8d6ec064.png

Good night, sweet Prince.
 
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Vin der Loo - brilliant :)

Are you now allied with Bohemia? Or is that not how it works? In any case, I'd imagine they wouldn't be bad allies to have...

As always - very enjoyable.
 

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Vin der Loo - brilliant :)

Are you now allied with Bohemia? Or is that not how it works? In any case, I'd imagine they wouldn't be bad allies to have...

As always - very enjoyable.

Having the same family name as someone else has a couple of effects.

First, there's a bonus to recovering relations, which feels very large early on when your country has relatively low prestige and small diplomatic skill and Sphere of Influence. This inherent bonus to relations also results in an increased tendency to support each other in the HRE elections. Second, there's an increased chance of a personal union or inheritance happening between the two countries if both have a royal marriage and one of them doesn't have a heir, and can also result in the inheritance of vassals, which is otherwise impossible in the game. I speculate a bit but having the same family name might also increase the chance of both parties agreeing to treaties and the growth of trust. However, it doesn't stop both nations from killing each other if they so choose and there's no penalty for doing so.

Bohemia is no longer Emperor and they're in a bit of a bad patch so there's no advantage in allying with them now. And besides, as you might note, with Lord Jan's passing Holland's ruler no longer actually has the same family name as his scion in Bohemia ... this might become a plot point =) "Make Bohemia vote for us!" is kind of an in-joke in the EU3 community as it's basically impossible - eligible electors will vote for themselves once they're beyond a certain size (Brandenburg too), and the only way to get them to vote for you is to reduce their size or vassalise them.

Feel free to ask if you have any more questions about game mechanics and I'll answer to the best of my knowledge.

Thanks very much for your continued support! I really appreciate having an audience, and I hope you enjoy Part 3A which should be up in the morning. If you received the free EU3 Chronicles, go ahead and give it a go too.
 

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Chapter 3 A : Bottoms, BRAs, and Bondage -
Holland's Dirty Laundry (1431-1436)

Sovereign Albrecht I von Hohenzollern, since 22 May 1431

23 May 1431. It was an overcast day, the ground still damp with the morning's rain. In the middle of a graveyard on the outskirts of Amsterdam, an eclectic collection of officials dressed in black stood before a freshly-installed tomb. Another man had thrown himself over the coffin, striking the cold stone with his fists, and wailing and sobbing as his poofy hat flopped to the ground beside him.

"My lord! My lord! How could you bite the dust so soon! We were just beginning to warm up to each other when you had to go off and stew by yourself! Why didn't you let us drink from the same cup of sorrow? Now you're all up in marshmallow land eating angel cake by your lonesome!"

"Pieter is truly a loyal servant. He quite liked my father, didn't he?" remarked Albrecht, new lord of Holland, to the two men standing before him.
"Truly, yes," replied Kaspar Bolsward, the recently-appointed Marshal of the Mint, who had replaced the dearly departed Louis de la Porte, "He loved your father like a son would have. He would have done anything to please him."
"You shouldn't be fooled by my brother's pretensions," said the third man standing before them, the famed general and explorer Eberhard Vin der Loo, "He's a toady, a boot-licker, who would do anything to please. To be honest, I'm rather embarrassed to have a brother like him."
"He can't be half as bad as my brother," sighed Lord Albrecht, "He doesn't take after my father at all, what with all his wining and whoring and obsession with football, hunting, and other sport. Why, it's almost as if he was from a different family!"

The aged Chancellor Alfredo Zeno stood a little distance behind the three men, a wry smile on his face as he stared pensively. At the seat of Lord Albrecht's trousers.

In the meantime, Pieter Vin der Loo continued to weep even as he wiped the tears and snot from his face with his sleeve, before struggling to his feet in front Lord Jan's tomb.

"I hadn't even run dry of my long list of puns about food yet! Not a single joke about Hungary, Turkey, or Greece! My lord, how could you leave me so soon!"

"General Venloo, you underestimate the love your brother had for our late sovereign," Kaspar said, "He is wracked to the bone by the lord's passing. It's almost as if ... a part of him died along with our liege."
"You may be right," the general sighed, exasperated with his brother's antics, "But it doesn't mean I have to like him. Maybe I should change my last name, just to get away from him. Calling myself 'Fääl' might be a good step up. Or how about 'Garamasala'?"
"You're moaning about your brother, what about mine?" Lord Albrecht cut in, "He's not even at our father's funeral! He promised he'd be here!"

Conveniently, at that moment, a crash of metal was heard as a half-drunken, shaven-headed youth stumbled into the graveyard. He was attired in red trousers, a red-and-white shirt, and a stripey red-and-white scarf, and he stank of beer and freshly-dug mud.
"WHOOO!!! That was an incredible match! Daaamn, Bertie, you should have been there!" Young master Eberhard half-cheered, half-guffawed, as he staggered towards his brother. "A-JAX! A-JAX! A-JAX!"

"What do you mean, been there? You should have been here! Almost an hour ago, in fact! Hardy, your father is dead!" Lord Albrecht was almost seething at the sight of his indolent younger brother.
"Well ... I guess that's really sad. Dad was totally awesome. I'm sorry for being late," sighed Eberhard nonchalantly, before springing to his former joyful self, "But you really should have been there! A goal down against Eindhoven with 15 minutes to go, and then Bam! Bam! Ajax, Four, PSV, Three! Now we're ahead of Feyenoord with a game in hand! We had a party all the way down the street from the stadium to celebrate, and I wouldn't even have been able to pull myself away if not for..."
"Congratulations, I guess ..." Albrecht snarled, interrupting his brother's babbling, before a mark on Eberhard's shirt caught his eye, "And is that lipstick? Hardy, what the hell have you been doing again?"
"Ehehehe ..."

ajax_zps8fea8476.png

Ajax Amsterdam, circa 1430 AD.

Several days later, lord Albrecht and his councillors were gathered around the war-room table, before a recently-updated map of the European situation. Chancellor Zeno, Marshal of the Mint Bolsward, and General Venloo were there, though Treasurer Pieter Vin der Loo had called in sick - of anguish, it seemed.

"France have just declared war on England to take advantage of their ongoing struggle with Castille. It's a terrible mess - the scum in Hainaut have come in on the English side and French forces have poured into their lands. The English troops billeted on our territory have marched off to engage them - it's a safe bet that not a single one of those boys are going to come back. Not in one piece, anyway." General Venloo methodically pointed out the relevant territories on the map.
"But we're safe, right? We have good relations and a two-way military access agreement with all three big powers."
"If France annexes or vassalises Hainaut for their audacity, they would have a border with us and that might tempt them into pressing their claims on Antwerp and Ghent. We need to avoid conflict with France for another twenty years or so for those claims to be invalidated. But in the short term, yes, we are safe."
"Since our immediate threats are occupied in their own war, it's fair to say this is our opportunity to make our own moves. Are there any easy targets, General?"
"Well, we could theoretically break our agreements with the savages in the Kongo and attack them for their resources," demurred General Venloo, "but we all remember 'the Benin affair', so I wouldn't advise it. In other news, King Erik of Denmark, the leader of the Kalmar Union, has declared his first ever war, on the Mamluks, and Sweden have managed to petition the Pope to call a crusade against them, so Christian nations all over Europe are piling in so as to gain the Pope's favour."
"Should we join? There's practically no chance of actually losing."

"Well, we could, but King Erik was killed by Mameluke warriors in the middle of the desert sands," Marshal of the Mint Kaspar said, "and local lords Gustav Oxenstierna of Sweden and Harald Benkestok of Norway have declared themselves kings independent of Denmark. We wouldn't want a similar fate to befall you, sire, especially at the start of your reign."
"Oh ... I guess that bodes pretty ill, then. So we should just sit tight in our own lands?" asked Lord Albrecht.
"It would be more appropriate that we deal with internal problems first. For example ..."

leg20_zpsf71dda08.png

"So we have only twenty gold crowns. I thought we were decently well off?"
"No, sire, that means that only one out of five people think that your reign is legitimate," corrected Marshal Kaspar, "That's generally bad for your authority, but since this is Holland it's par for the course, since people here aren't fond of monarchies. You should do something to legitimise your rule."
"In addition," Chancellor Alfredo Zeno spoke up, a rather odd smirk on his face, "Your subjects have proclaimed your brother Eberhard as your heir."
"WHAT?! So this means that if I have any children, they'll be disinherited?"
"Unfortunately, yes. Here in Holland we appoint heirs based on, ahem, proximity of blood. Being popular with the public helps too, and Eberhard's ... traits ... certainly lend themselves to that."
Albrecht grimaced nervously, putting his fingernails to his chattering teeth. Strong, Brave, and a bit of a Hedonist, his brother certainly found ways to get around even if he didn't know the slightest thing about international diplomacy. Plus, Albrecht thought, there was no way he could let anyone find out he supported Feyenoord. He'd be overthrown in an instant.
"What a disgrace ... anyway, appoint him Master of the Hunt. So I've decided - no foreign ventures for now. I, Albrecht van Henegouwen of Holland, must demonstrate that I am worthy of living up to my father's memory."

The zany smile on Chancellor Zeno's face broke into a guffaw, as he almost rolled off his chair laughing. Albrecht could only stare at his bizarre antics, wondering what he had said which was so wrong.
"Alfredo, don't be so full of yourself," said General Venloo said, "Your homeland of Venice is now under siege by both the Turks and Austria. I don't imagine things will go too well for them."
"Don't be silly, Eberhard. Holland is my one and only home now," countered Alfredo, "I am an old man, and have spent more years of my life here than any of you. Longer even, than some of you have been alive. I have more right than anyone to call myself a Hollander, more so than ..."
As his gaze fell upon the seat of Lord Albrecht's trousers, Alfredo again broke into a raucous laugh.

"This is most unbecoming, Chancellor! On my word, cease this nonsense, or you will be punished. And what the hell is so funny?"
"N ... nothing, my lord," Alfredo said, clearly lying through his teeth, before retrieving a scroll he had kept with him and handing it to Lord Albrecht, "We fulfilled your father's last wishes by passing on his memorandum to the King of Bohemia, though if he's trying to get them to vote for us it won't get anywhere. In the meantime, this arrived for you."
Lord Albrecht unfurled the scroll, and read ...

BRBJean_zps98928c93.png

Duke Jean IV de Valois of Brabant. Why the long face, m'lord?
The real Duke Jean died in 1427, after unsuccessfully intervening in the civil war between Holland and Hainaut,
among the descendants of Albrecht I von Wittelsbach (boo, hiss!).

From His Excellency Sovereign Jean IV de Valois of Brabant -

May the continued friendship between the two realms of Brabant and Holland be long and enduring. His Excellency wishes to extend fondest congratulations to Lord Albrecht upon his appointment as Sovereign Albrecht I von Hohenzollern of Holland, following the death of his stepfather, Sovereign Jan II van Henegouwen. His Excellency also wishes to offer condolences at the recent passing of Lord Albrecht's biological father, Sovereign Friedrich VI von Hohenzollern of Ansbach ...

"WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!" Lord Albrecht roared in fury, "Are they insinuating that I am not my father's son? Am I not the son of the great lord Jan van Henegouwen of Holland?!"
Chancellor Zeno was doing his absolute utmost to stifle his laughter, while the other councillors in the room looked at each other nervously. The cat had been let out of the bag.
"This insult is unforgivable! WAR! I demand war with Brabant! As Lord of Holland, I decree it! That bastard Jean will pay for his crime against my father's memory! Convene my war council this instant!"

"My liege ... um, we are your war council," stammered Marshal Kaspar nervously, as he glanced down at a Chancellor Zeno who was by now writhing on the floor laughing his lungs out.
"Very well. And Alfredo Zeno, for your rudeness in your lord's presence, you are demoted! No longer shall you grace the office of Chancellor! Begone this instant!"
"Heh ... yes, my liege," said Alfredo, still barely able to contain his laughter as he staggered out of the room, "But when you need me ... when Holland needs me, I'll be there. I warrant it."

"So, my liege, if you're seriously going to declare war on Brabant ..." General Venloo began, "You might like to know Brabant is allied with a whole host of people - Oldenburg, Bremen, Alsace, and Bar. And Venice."
"It won't prevent me from coming over there and having my revenge! I won't stop until Jean de Valois is laid out and hung by his drawers from the end of my pike!"
"Um, yes, sire," stammered General Venloo, while inwardly pondering his lord's awkward choice of words, "Though, the risk of an alliance cascading on us due to the presence of Venice ... it's true that they're being crushed on two fronts right now, and thankfully all their allies are weaker than them, but they could still pose problems. Also, we're in their trade league."
"If they support Brabant against us, we'll cancel our deal! Have the Hanse on standby. Also, send out a diplomatic mission and find a strong ally to back us up if Venice dares to attack. Someone really strong, who has few allies. Like Sweden."
"Okay, Sweden. It will be difficult. But who should we send, sire?" questioned Marshal Kaspar, "You just sacked one third of your war council - and we don't know if Pieter Vin der Loo will show up again."
"Send my brother," growled Lord Albrecht, "and declare war on Brabant upon his return. Anyway if we fail we can blame it on him. Nothing will keep me from my revenge, Brabanters! For Holland! For FEYENOOORD!!!"
"..." The two remaining councillors in the room eyed each other haplessly.

hohenzollern_zps8a98817c.png

The crest of the House of Hohenzollern, unquartered. Oh you, Fritz.

"What news, Hardy?" Lord Albrecht stood before his brother in his throne room, looking not a little pleased with himself, as he paraded about in his resplendent battle armour. Eberhard, in the meantime, smelt strongly of booze - and women's perfume. "Did the Swedes turn us down?"
"Oh no no no, Bertie!" grinned Eberhard, as his brother looked confused, "In fact, everything went well!"
"What, seriously? How did an diplomatic numbskull like you do it? I mean, you don't even understand a word of Swedish!"

"It was easy!" Eberhard explained, "King Gustav was still on crusade in Jerusalem, so they let me talk to his daughter Christina instead. And she was totally hot and had this fantastic rack. And she was really friendly, too!"
"I'm starting to see where this is going ..."
"You told me to first negotiate a two-way military access agreement. So I pointed at her, to say 'You', and she nodded. I pointed at myself, to say 'Me', and she nodded again. And then I raised both hands, held up two fingers, one over the other, and moved them towards each other to signal 'Two-way military access agreement'. And she nodded her head really quickly, with this really big smile on her face."
"And ... what came after that?" said Lord Albrecht, dreading to hear the reply.
"What came after that? Oh, that was her idea ... oh, you mean the alliance! We got that too."

"Oh. Right. Now that we have that settled ... to arms! To arms! Summon our allies! Within the week, Eindhoven must burn!"
"They're away to Feyenoord, actually. I hope PSV wins."
"Shut up, you."

oxenstierna_zps46a7136f.png

The crest of the House of Oxenstierna. "Oxenstierna" means 'ox's face'.
Though I'm pretty sure Christina didn't have a face like one.

Many, many miles away, in the mountains around Prague ...
"A letter for you, my King."

"..." The rustling of paper, as a gloved fist unfolded the letter.

"Also," said the Chancellor, "The Prince-Bishop-Elector of Mainz has been forced to flee his country due to its annexation by The Palatinate. The Empire cannot for a day be without its requisite number of electors, so Emperor Johann Leopold of Austria has asked for your opinion as to which state should be nominated for the position."

"... thy will be done, my kinsman."


To be continued in Chapter 3B of Bottoms, BRAs, and Bondage - Holland's Dirty Laundry (1431-1436)
 
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If I wasn't already hooked, the football jokes would have certainly got me. I'm home! :)

And the Swedish 'diplomatic mission' - I've never laughed so much at something in an AAR :)

Thanks for the info - I'll be sure to ask if anything comes up - and I received a copy (although, having a Mac, neither Divine Wind, nor Heir to the Throne work,) so I'll be giving it a whirl soon.
 

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Chapter 3 B : Bottoms, BRAs, and Bondage -
Changing the Sheets (1431-1436)

Sovereign Albrecht I von Hohenzollern, since 22 May 1431

A bright summer's day, May 1433. Somewhere on the outskirts of Eindhoven, a military encampment, over which flew the banners of Holland, Liege, Friesland, and Cleves. Clad in polished battle armour, Sovereign Albrecht I of Holland strode into his tent. Within stood his brother Eberhard, poring over a pile of papers placed on a makeshift table.

"What news from the front, brother?" commanded Lord Albrecht.
"Well ..." Eberhard said, picking out one of the papers, "NAC Breda lost to FC Groningen, 2-3. And Feyenoord lost 0-2 at home to PSV. I hear their defence was all at sea in that match ..."
"Damn! Er, I mean, shut up! This is the time for war, not football! You have no business with that now!"
"You're right. Football needs its own special time."

"Enough of your nonsense! Just give me what I need to know about the military situation!" snarled Lord Albrecht as he glared his brother straight in the eye, "I hope the council was right in convincing me to bring you along to handle my military affairs. General Venloo is out in the field clashing swords with the enemy, Marshal of the Mint Bolsward is handling the logistics, and I had to appoint that creep Alfredo Zeno as Treasurer to administer affairs at home, after the General's brother succumbed to his illness, or, 'his goose was cooked', so I heard."
"Okay, okay!" said Eberhard, as he rummaged through the rest of the pile of paper, "So, after we managed to persuade Liege, Friesland, and Cleves to help us out in the war, Brabant called in all of their allies as well - and they answered. So we are in a state of war with Oldenburg, Bremen, Alsace, and Bar. You know, aren't those the guys Mr Zeno kept complaining about who keep kicking our merchants out of business?"
"Excellent - doubly excellent!" said Lord Albrecht, with a calculating grin, "Not only will our armies overwhelm them easily - once we have sieged down their forts, we'll demand their merchants' ill-gotten gains in exchange for their freedom. And their pride will be stained in the eyes of the world - all will see that their trade is safe only with the merchants of Holland."

"It's not all good news, though ..." Eberhard added, "Although we've defeated Brabant, Oldenburg and Bremen have mobilised their forces to attack us. Their navies are now at the bottom of the sea, but that still leaves the assault force they've landed in Rotterdam. Also, we haven't heard from the two wildcards - Venice on the enemies' side, and Sweden on ours."
"Their naval landing is no big deal. General Venloo has reported that the battle is going smoothly in our favour. We shall pursue the Brabanters until they surrender or are annihilated. Then, after allocating a division to lay siege to their cities, he will make an about turn to clean out the invaders from our lands. Better they attempt to attack us at our strongest, rather than trying to force our allies out of the war. As to Venice and Sweden, I expect that we shall hear from them soon."

"Oh, and one more thing ..."

HOL00140_zpse12dc217.png

"Burgundy declared war on Nevers, whose independence was guaranteed by Liege and Hainaut. Since Hainaut is still recovering from their short war with France, Liege have become war leader and are asking for our assistance."
"This is most unfortunate timing, but we have to say yes," Lord Albrecht sighed at the new inconvenience, "Liege is helping us in our war, we can't just go out there and tell their soldiers to sod off. Besides, joining the war against scum Burgundy would be most popular back home. The Burgundian homeland is too far from us, so they won't try to interfere in our war and we can deal with them after I've finished my business with Brabant. Does this make sense?"
"Well, if you know what you're doing ... I'll be happy just as long as they don't mess up the football schedule further."
"And here I thought you were finally beginning to show some aptitude for military-administrative matters ..."

"My liege! I bring news from distant lands!"
At that moment, the flap of Lord Albrecht's command tent was drawn open, as a hitherto unknown bearded man in a cloth skullcap entered the tent, carrying several letters of correspondence. Behind him, in the sunlight, there stood four men - three with silly hats and one with a cool-looking one. The three men with silly hats appeared to be in various degrees of confusion, glancing at each other nervously, while the fourth man seemed to be consumed with anxiety.
"Oh?" Lord Albrecht whirled around to face the stranger, as Eberhard looked up from his pile of papers, "Who are you, anyway?"
"Ah, I'm sorry! Allow me to introduce myself, sire - Johan Spijkenisse, at your service. ('Heh heh, 'speak-a-nice') I was formerly a clergyman but I now work as a translator - a six-star rating from the academy, no less. Have faith in my ability, my lord!"
"Is that so? What languages can you speak?" asked Lord Albrecht, as he clocked his brother over the head to silence his inane chuckling, "Show me your skill."
"For example, I can speak English - 'I can speak English', see? And Swedish too! - 'Jag kan babelfish Svenska'!"
"Excellent, I need a translator for my diplomatic service," nodded Lord Albrecht, "You'll do a much better job than my brother, who only knows the lowest forms of inter-human communications. ('Hehehe.' 'Shut up.') So who are these men, and what do they want?"

"Well, these three men ..." Johan indicated the three men with silly cloth hats, "are from Venice. They arrived within days of each other, actually - we had translated the first letter and were about to deliver it to you when the second man arrived, and likewise for the third."
"Okay. So, let's see ..." Lord Albrecht mused as he began opening the letters, "Venice has honoured their alliance with Brabant and declared war on us. Oh, that's simply terrible, we did not foresee that in the slightest. Well then, since we're at war, I want the first messenger arrested."
"It's true, sire. They made a peace with the Turk, though they're still at war with Emperor Austria."
Behind Johan, one of the three men looked exceptionally worried as his compatriot explained the situation to him.
"The second letter ... hmm, they've ejected us from their trade league. Simply terrible. Eberhard, take a note to let the Hansa know their deal is back up and running. And have the second messenger arrested too."
"Got it, Bertie." Upon hearing Lord Albrecht's words, a second man quivered at the knees.
"The third ... what? They want to sue for peace? No terms? Why did they even agree to declare war in the first place? What is this omnishambles?"

By now all three men were cowering in fear, having expected to be on the receiving end of the lord's wrath for some time.
"Get them all out of my sight! Tell them to inform the Doge of Venice he can jolly well do as he pleases, as long as he doesn't interfere in our war! And, also, that he is an incompetent sot!"
Johan Spijkenisse turned and explained the situation to the three men, who nodded assent before fleeing with their hats in their hands. The last messenger stepped forward, knowing that it was the turn of his case to be heard, all the while wearing a grave expression.
"And this last messenger is, I presume, the messenger from our faithful allies Sweden? Have they agreed to lend us their aid?"

"Actually ... no, sire," replied Johan, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. King Gustav Oxenstierna of Sweden was at the negotiating table with the new King Christian Gryf of Denmark and King Harald Benkestot of Norway, agreeing to a truce with the Mamluks. With the paper signed and delivered, Christian and Harald then drew their swords and slew King Gustav where he stood! My liege, Denmark has declared war on Sweden to press their claims to the Swedish throne, and the new King of Norway is complicit in their scheme!"
"And what does this have to do with ..."
"WHAT?!" yelled Eberhard, struck by those words as if by a bolt of lightning, "What about Christina! My Christina!"
"I'm afraid you will never see her again, sir. ('Hardy, she's not yours, you know!') King Gustav's daughter was committed to a convent in Lappland by local conspirators. I'm told it's as close to a death sentence as you can get - death by boredom, in fact. No Oxenstierna has been left to rule Sweden."
"That's horrible!!! She'll be stuck making toys in Santa's workshop for all eternity! I need to get me to that nunnery! Haste, post-haste!"
"That really isn't possible, nor a recommended course of action, sir," Johan advised, before returning to Lord Albrecht, "Anyway, since we are allies, Sweden wants us to aid them against Denmark and Norway and their Baltic allies. Scotland has honoured the Swedish call to arms. What do you say, my liege?"

"I ... er ..." Lord Albrecht seemed to be disarmed by the call for help, coming on the heels of the previous one, as he pondered the proposal for a few moments before replying, "Tell Sweden that we'll join their war if they join us in ours. It's a bilateral agreement. A fair deal."
"But ... my liege! The Swedes are fighting for their nation's independence here! They won't be able to commit a single man beyond their borders."
"We are allies, are we not? If one of us does not send help to the other, the other will not reciprocate. Tell them that."
"... very well, my lord," said Johan as he drew the flap of the tent shut, "but you can consider the alliance to be at an end. The Swedes won't be too happy about this ..." As he turned to leave, a voice emanated from the depths of the commander's tent.

"NO!!! CHRISTINA!!!"

HOL00130_zps72f73505.png

A year's fighting later ... well, mostly just waiting for a siege to resolve until I lost patience and told them to assault.
In other news, Oldenburg was vassalised and money was demanded from the other participants in the war.
Also, see Nevers getting overrun. We'll deal with that later.

A large hall, somewhere in Amsterdam. In the middle of the hall, there stood a large box with a slot on it. Before the box there stood two men, one well-built with dark skin, and the other thin with fair skin. One after the other, both stepped forward and dropped a single gold Hollander Guilder within.
"You too, huh?" the fair-skinned man addressed the dark-skinned man, and the second man nodded silently. His grim countenance signalled his dissatisfaction as he turned to walk away.
"Well, see you again next month ..."
"No. Next year." the dark-skinned man replied tersely, before leaving the room.
"What?"

"You misunderstand, Jean de Valois!" snapped a voice from the side of the room. A door swung open and Lord Albrecht of Holland entered the room, flanked by Marshal of the Mint Kaspar Bolsward, and newly-appointed Chancellor Spijkenisse.
"Oh, thank goodness you've arrived. Bertie von Hohenzollern! I was beginning to think you weren't coming at all!"
"Shut your trap, Brabanter scum! Don't think you can mess with me just because you're, oh, some distant relative of the King of France. And don't even think of calling me by that name!"
"Oh dear. Sooo sorry. So I wonder, what exactly is this misunderstanding all about? You said, one Guilder of tribute, didn't you, hmm?"
"You see, you're paying one Guilder's tribute per month. The Duke of Oldenburg must pay me a Guilder's tribute per season. And that man is paying one Guilder's tribute per year."

"Goodness, hmm! You're quite the conniver, aren't you, Lord Bertie?" Jean IV of Brabant cooed. Standing at least a head taller than Lord Albrecht, the slender man certainly did not act the part of a defeated leader, "So, what's this other thing about bondage you mentioned?"
"Bondage? You mean how the you and the ruler of Oldenburg are no longer Sovereign, but are required to be my vassal Dukes! And don't call me..."
"Yes, vassalage. That's right. Is it anything like bondage?"
"Well, kind of. But that's not really how I'd describe it..."
"Like being a servant? A slave? A personal slave?"
"No, no, no! It means, to be ... like a vassal, okay? That means you have to pay tribute, and support me in my endeavours."

"Ah, not what I thought, most unfortunate," said Jean, sounding a little disappointed. "but I shall indeed do as is your pleasure. Support you. I always wanted to be your friend, to get close to you. This is a wonderful opportunity."
"Well, no! You don't have to be close to me at all! Just send me your troops! I need soldiers - military force!"
"Ah, yes. More force. More strength. More power ... it shall be done, Lord Albrecht. We shall support you, hmm, from behind. I will enjoy this immensely."
"Whatever!" Albrecht snarled, already seething at the older man's teasing. "Anyway, you know what I want, now get out of here! You're a creep, Jean, do you know that?"
"You're certainly one to talk, Bertie," Jean taunted as he turned to leave. "You attacked me without the slightest provocation. Well, okay, maybe you were upset with a few nice things I said to you about your dear father, but ..."
"It's not my fault that every single damn thing you say makes me upset! And don't call me Bertie!"

BRBOkay_zpsdac06e2f.png

Sorry, I couldn't resist it. His long face just made me think about this.
Apologies to all Brabant fans. And people who hate rage faces.

"... bastard ... only idiots call me Bertie ..."
"My lord? Are you ... crying?"
Marshal of the Mint Kaspar placed a hand on Lord Albrecht's shoulder. The Lord of Holland was, after all, still only a lad by most standards, hardly twenty and five years of age, and an orphan.

"N ... no! I'm just unhappy ... unsatisfied, okay? That Feye ... Ajax didn't win the cup in '34. I'm still upset about it, okay?!"
"All right, whatever you say, my lord," said Chancellor Spijkenisse, somewhat remembering at the back of his mind that Ajax did in fact win. "There's still the matter of scum Burgundy. They've forced the Sovereign of Nevers to yield to their will and are marshalling their forces to wipe out the last of their resistance. We promised Liege we'd sort this matter out for them, but haven't taken any steps since. What shall we do?"
"What shall we do? You're a diplomat, Johan! You know what kind of diplomacy we do with scum nations like Burgundy and Brabant! Send General Venloo to take care of it!"
"And ... you want to force them into bondage as well?" Kaspar asked. "It would be somewhat fitting, considering how they regarded the people of the Low Counties back in their heyday thirty years ago. Bringing a second scum nation low would greatly please our people."

"Actually, Kaspar, that's a bad idea," said Johan, "In my new appointment as Chancellor, I've heard from Emperor Austria that they wish to 'Pursue their Burgundian Inheritance', or whatever that means. Essentially, they wish to conquer the Burgundian homelands for themselves. Trying to make Burgundy bend the knee to us would put us on a collision course with the Emperor. There's also France to worry about ... we don't want to have any strategic interests on their borders."
"Well said, Chancellor Spijkenisse," said Lord Albrecht, "Extract whatever you can from the Burgundian scum short of demanding their vassalisation. I shan't honour them with the opportunity of visiting Amsterdam to pay me tribute. Now if you'll excuse me, I'd like a little bit of ... alone time."



"Dad ... why didn't you ..."

HOL00150_zpsdc8e153a.png

It would be a fitting fate for scum Burgundy, but unfortunately it's not a wise choice.
Also note other European countries blobbing up - France, Castille, England, and Austria.
Intimidating. When will Holland find its place in the sun?

A bright sunny day, May 1436. Lord Albrecht of Holland stood in the grounds of his mansion in Amsterdam, soaking in the sun and glorious summer, as his younger brother Eberhard sat poring over a scrap of paper - the latest football results, no doubt. A bearded man in a skullcap darted into view and accosted the young lord.

"My liege! Urgent diplomatic correspondence!" Chancellor Spijknisse cried.
"What is it? Who calls?"
"Emperor Johann Leopold of Austria has sent a pronouncement to all nations of the Holy Roman Empire - he is appointing a new elector, following the annexation of the Prince-Bishopric of Mainz!"
"So, he wants to nominate us?"
"No! Hainaut! Conditional on the return of a German family - the Wittelsbachs - to the Hainautian throne."
"Bugger all! You didn't have to spoil my day with news from that scum nation. And that scum family."

"It's not the only thing. Our reconnaisance forces on the ground near the Promised Land have reported an opportunity - dissent among the heathen native lords. This could be our chance to establish a foothold to claim the Promised Land for our own!"
"The Promised Land!" Lord Albrecht paused for a moment to recollect the Holy Book of Holland. "We must seize the day! Send an expeditionary force - this chance must not be missed!"

HOL00170_zps8671acff.png

Now play The Final Countdown.

"Lastly," continued Johan, "Some news from the Baltic which might be of interest to you. King Christian Gryf of Denmark has been assassinated by Swedish conspirators in what seems like a revenge attack. The nobility of Sweden, yearning for freedom from the Danish yoke, has risen in revolt once again."
"A story worthy of a proper literary tragedy. A revenge tragedy, if you asked me. But specifically just what about this should interest me?"
"Well, the people of Sweden yearned for a return of the line of old king Gustav Oxenstierna, but by the vows of her convent, his daughter Christina could not leave. So they instead proclaimed her infant son as King Karl von Hohenzollern of Sweden! Carrying his father's last name, so they say."
"Infant son? In a convent? What's all this about? How could this happen ...?"

"Christina?" Eberhard sat up abruptly upon hearing the name, "Christina? CHRISTINA!!!"

"Hardy, just what, or rather who the hell did you 'do' when you were in Sweden?"

HOL00160_zps896fc290.png

Tell them we're not paying child support.

A letter.

To His Excellency Sovereign Guillaume von Wittelsbach of Hainaut,

His Majesty, King Zikmund van Henegouwen of Bohemia, wishes to congratulate your Excellency upon his receipt of the title of Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. His Majesty desires to celebrate the cordial relationship between our lands by attaching a small token of his appreciation, and would like to solicit your Excellency's support concerning the Imperial succession. In addition, His Majesty desires to deepen the ties between our lands by presenting your Excellency with the offer of a Military Alliance. His Majesty trusts that your Excellency will find this proposal most amenable.

Signed, the Chancellor of King Zikmund of Bohemia
 
Last edited:

DensleyBlair

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This is easily the funniest AAR I've read - and the inclusion of omnishambles was genius. I do love that show :)

As always, looking forward it the next update.
 

UnitRico

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Ah, Spijkenisse...if all goes well, I'll be traveling through there today...I'm sure that's an interesting fact.

Anyway, another brilliant update!
 

InvisibleSandwi

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Hopefully Orissa or whoever doesn't put up too much resistance. It would be pretty hilarious if one of the Indian superpowers managed to modernize a couple times and keep you out of India... which would make for an interesting session, although the AI in this game isn't really known for modernizing.