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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Le Jones

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Both Master Darius and Robert seemed surprised, but Martin had more experience in this game. “Lady Parr?” At her nod he continued. “I suppose his house is still usable, and might make a reasonable base on the Island. There will need to be a proper story, otherwise we may have too many nosy neighbours. I believe Bartholemew had put about Robert and his family being attacked due to a smuggling gang.”
I've quoted from this as I had two notions / question floating around as I read this. 1), the meeting read like a cross between a Godfather style conflab and a military briefing (and as ever well-depicted) and 2), I was wondering how on Earth they'd hide their 'predilections' from the 'oomans'.
 

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An Italian connection: Fascist or Mafia vampires? They need to get Oliver Stone going on the conspiracy analysis. Who stands to benefit from whatever it is the enemy are trying to do? Of course, it could be a smokescreen for some internal plot or power play. Even Lady Parr herself, running a deep and double game. I trust her even less than the rest of this rum crew.
 

stnylan

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I think Martin’s right: everything seems far too up in the air for it to quite be a plan. But it does at least like we are drawing close to …something.
Martin, to be fair, has experience on trying to turn the intentions of his Masters into workable plans on the ground.

I've quoted from this as I had two notions / question floating around as I read this. 1), the meeting read like a cross between a Godfather style conflab and a military briefing (and as ever well-depicted) and 2), I was wondering how on Earth they'd hide their 'predilections' from the 'oomans'.
Certainly there is a sense of a semi-formal planning meeting, which is quite intentional.

As to your second point, do you mean generally or this specific group as they go about their business? For if this specific group the ones out in the open will largely be Martin and Robert, who have a much easier time. For the others .. they are ways and methods. But the greatest aid to remaining hidden is the human ability not to see, aided by the judicious use of violence, coercion, money, and so on. In the source material though the threat of discovery becomes increasingly more urgent from the 80s and onward. Though the arrival fo the internet offers its own myriad possibilities to create skepticism and doubt of any uncomfortable claims.

But ... should the secret truly get out it will not be pretty. There is a reason these rules exist, after all.

An Italian connection: Fascist or Mafia vampires? They need to get Oliver Stone going on the conspiracy analysis. Who stands to benefit from whatever it is the enemy are trying to do? Of course, it could be a smokescreen for some internal plot or power play. Even Lady Parr herself, running a deep and double game. I trust her even less than the rest of this rum crew.
Well, maybe not mafia or fascist vampires - but let us be honest, a shadow famiilial governing structure with its fingers in all the pies of legimitate governance ... there is considerable overlap. Fascist movement might be a little recent for older creatures to take advantage of. Younger ones, possibilty. Mafia families though might be the perfect vehicle for some.

Otherwise, yes yes and yes. That is one of the signatures of this setting as I envision it - there is next to no real trust, these are creatures who can play a very long game, and the fact everyone operates in a very partial infomation situation.

I am glad you "like" Lady Parr.


All
So this update is probably the one I am overall least happy with thus far. Partly that is because it feels very procedural. I did seriously try to stuff the necessary information into the preceeding Martin update somehow, or into the next one ... but for differnet reasons I could not make either work to my satisfaction. And I wanted to have an update with Lady Parr more present than she has been thus far. I find her quiet difficult to write in a way that does not feel to me like caricature.

I also have a decision to make. Today the next country pack for HoI4 has been announced, which will add Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey to the countries with unique Focus Trees (@Bullfilter I think you will find the Turkish tree to be 'of interest' as it were). It is due out on October 15th.

Thing is, I don't know whether to restart the game I am playing which this is AAR is being based on. We are, of course, currently a year or so before gamestart, though here and there a game items are being referenced. If I were to restart I could probably replicate that by use of game rules to force the AI to select the focus path they chose in this run through (I played with Historical Focus off). On the other hand ... I would lose over 3½ years of meticulously recorded gameplay which would be a bit of a bugger. Though I suppose I could view it as a massive trial run, as I have gotten quite determined about what information I do and do not wish to record. Restarting would allow the use of these three new focus trees by the AI, which would complete the more important Balkan nations (sorry Albania, you don't count), plus Turkey - all of which might make the region and Eastern Med a more intriguing place.

Alternatively I can continue with my current save, by continuing to play on the older version (presuming the new versoin is not save game compatible). The particular detail that has me seroiusly considering this option - other than my time investment thus far - is given my writing pace the game will inevitably overtake whatever versoin I am basing it on.

So I am going ot make a cup of tea and decide what to do.
 
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Specialist290

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While I'm personally an advocate of going with the decision that you're personally most comfortable with as an author, my personal preference (and the way I believe you're leaning anyway by my own interpretation, if I'm totally honest) is to keep rolling with what work you've already done. As you've said, it's likely that future updates will overtake your writing anyway, and the advantage of a heavily narrative-based AAR like yours is that you don't necessarily have to stick strictly to the events of the game per se -- if you choose to take a few liberties here or there, I doubt that any but the most eagle-eyed of readers who have an intimate familiarity with the mechanics (which does not include me) will even notice.

Either way, though, I will obviously continue to follow and support whatever decision you make :)
 
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Since it's so...not game focused at all (I understand this might change a little when you reach the start date), I'm not sure it makes much difference, and you obviously can't tell us much more without spoilers (not that I personally mind spoilers but as this is a sort of mystery as well as horror, best not to have them), I would suggest going with whatever makes sense. If the Balkans are central to the plot, and would benefit from being more interesting (or rather, play test the scenario first and compare your two games)...otherwise, I don't see much use in getting rid of meticulous notes and images.
 
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If you are looking for input, stnylan, I’ll add my voice to the emerging consensus. My own views on the subject, predictably, are to do whatever you feel most helps in telling the story you want to tell – whether that means decades of meticulously noted gameplay, or a vague idea sparked by a few months of crisis. Either way, I’m sure the end product will be just as compelling as it has been thus far. :)
 
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Le Jones

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This probably won't help but I'll offer it anyway...

I have a similar conundrum but have played, in ARP, to early '42 with a major (and, thank God, almost plausible) war now virtually done and an intriguing postwar settlement looming. Like you, I suspect, I waited for LaR to spice up the gameplay (it does) but I have to accept that for both us there are aspects of our AARs that would change, potentially, with new Focus Trees. I have decided to keep going - the Focus Trees are as often a hindrance as they are helpful. With your skill and flair you don't need them.
 
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An Italian connection: Fascist or Mafia vampires? They need to get Oliver Stone going on the conspiracy analysis. Who stands to benefit from whatever it is the enemy are trying to do? Of course, it could be a smokescreen for some internal plot or power play. Even Lady Parr herself, running a deep and double game. I trust her even less than the rest of this rum crew.
It does appear you could go a very long way in the Vampire world just by being direct and blatant. Everyone would spend their entire time trying to double guess deep misdirections that aren't there and have no time left over to actually do anything.

But it passes the time I suppose, and is that not the main thing?


On the question of DLCs I can only suggest update the game, wipe the screenshots, burn the notes and laugh manically as all around you is destroyed and then re-made in the new game. I don't really think that's a good idea, but someone had to play devil's advocate and suggest it.
 
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On the question of DLCs I can only suggest update the game, wipe the screenshots, burn the notes and laugh manically as all around you is destroyed and then re-made in the new game. I don't really think that's a good idea, but someone had to play devil's advocate and suggest it.
This is strangely in keeping with the themes of this AAR. Just like albert discarding the tablets on his way to the new world. These vampires aren't afraid of burning things, as Angelo did find out to his detriment... All jokes aside, I'd just keep going with the version you're playing, but that's just me.
 
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stnylan

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It does appear you could go a very long way in the Vampire world just by being direct and blatant. Everyone would spend their entire time trying to double guess deep misdirections that aren't there and have no time left over to actually do anything.

But it passes the time I suppose, and is that not the main thing?
There is definitely a trope regarding overly complex plots in the game - and Iam pretty sure in on the sourcebooks the writers even referenced it at some point iirc - precisely as you say, it is something to pass the time.


While I'm personally an advocate of going with the decision that you're personally most comfortable with as an author, my personal preference (and the way I believe you're leaning anyway by my own interpretation, if I'm totally honest) is to keep rolling with what work you've already done. As you've said, it's likely that future updates will overtake your writing anyway, and the advantage of a heavily narrative-based AAR like yours is that you don't necessarily have to stick strictly to the events of the game per se -- if you choose to take a few liberties here or there, I doubt that any but the most eagle-eyed of readers who have an intimate familiarity with the mechanics (which does not include me) will even notice.

Either way, though, I will obviously continue to follow and support whatever decision you make :)
Since it's so...not game focused at all (I understand this might change a little when you reach the start date), I'm not sure it makes much difference, and you obviously can't tell us much more without spoilers (not that I personally mind spoilers but as this is a sort of mystery as well as horror, best not to have them), I would suggest going with whatever makes sense. If the Balkans are central to the plot, and would benefit from being more interesting (or rather, play test the scenario first and compare your two games)...otherwise, I don't see much use in getting rid of meticulous notes and images.
If you are looking for input, stnylan, I’ll add my voice to the emerging consensus. My own views on the subject, predictably, are to do whatever you feel most helps in telling the story you want to tell – whether that means decades of meticulously noted gameplay, or a vague idea sparked by a few months of crisis. Either way, I’m sure the end product will be just as compelling as it has been thus far. :)
This probably won't help but I'll offer it anyway...

I have a similar conundrum but have played, in ARP, to early '42 with a major (and, thank God, almost plausible) war now virtually done and an intriguing postwar settlement looming. Like you, I suspect, I waited for LaR to spice up the gameplay (it does) but I have to accept that for both us there are aspects of our AARs that would change, potentially, with new Focus Trees. I have decided to keep going - the Focus Trees are as often a hindrance as they are helpful. With your skill and flair you don't need them.

On the question of DLCs I can only suggest update the game, wipe the screenshots, burn the notes and laugh manically as all around you is destroyed and then re-made in the new game. I don't really think that's a good idea, but someone had to play devil's advocate and suggest it.
This is strangely in keeping with the themes of this AAR. Just like albert discarding the tablets on his way to the new world. These vampires aren't afraid of burning things, as Angelo did find out to his detriment... All jokes aside, I'd just keep going with the version you're playing, but that's just me.
Thank you all for your thoughts. I have decided to keep wtih the current save

Unfortunately I have also hit a bit of a snag with the update, which ... well, the plain fact is right now it does not work. I think I am going to have a stern word to a character or two about not developing in unforeseen ways or somesuch. In any event I need to reconfigure and re-order some stuff. Which is going to mean a delay, alas.
 
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Unfortunately I have also hit a bit of a snag with the update, which ... well, the plain fact is right now it does not work. I think I am going to have a stern word to a character or two about not developing in unforeseen ways or somesuch. In any event I need to reconfigure and re-order some stuff. Which is going to mean a delay, alas.
Characters do tend to inconveniently take on lives of their own sometimes, don't they? ;) Take all the time that you need.
 
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Characters do tend to inconveniently take on lives of their own sometimes, don't they? ;) Take all the time that you need.
It appears this applies even when the characters are technically dead.
 
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Chapter 2.6 - Albert XI New

stnylan

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Chapter 2.6 - Albert XI

“I think I should speak now,” Prince Schureman says to his Seneschal, Adrianus van Eyck. Unlike Schureman, who is of middling height, van Eyck seems to almost stretch to the ceiling, with broad shoulders so that he truly towers.

“Of course,” he says. Already standing his leans forward to pick up the small bell from the table, and rings it with a precise shaking of his hand. It proves to be enough, and the room is soon all but silent.

Schureman stands, flanked by his Seneschal and by Simon Warren, his Sheriff. If the Prince looks insignificant next to van Eyck, at least he looks well dressed next to Simon, whose raggedy attire and wolfish appearance make no secret of his blood. I am sure Schureman thinks it looks imposing.

“Thank you all for attending my summons,” Schureman begins. “I realise it is not usual, but I have news to impart. I need to introduce to Satrap Albert here,” he motions his hand in my direction, “who has arrived in London at the invitation of myself and a number of other Princes to discuss matters of mutual import. Satrap Albert, naturally, has leave to reside, and I am sure you all join me in hoping he enjoys his stay in our great city.”

There is a pause, and I realise it is my cue. I stand from the side-table against the wall. “My thanks to your Prince for his kind words, and his hospitality. I arrive here as a stranger, but I hope when I depart I will leave friends behind me.” I sit once more. A few clap politely, and the sound soon peters out.

Schureman says nothing for a moment - was he expecting more? Maybe, but he does continue. “With Satrap Albert here we will shortly be having an influx of visitors. Whilst not a formal conclave Justicar Xavier is aware and supports our endeavours. He wishes however to have no cause to have to make an appearance.”

“So don’t make him have to,” Sheriff Simon growls

Schureman offers a tight smile at this interruption. “I urge you all to be courteous to our guests, and to be wary if those with less reputable aims seem to take advantage of the situation. And I remind our Anarch brethren that they too our bound by these laws, according to the…”

“We know,” calls out a voice from those gathered, “or have you forgotten who is going to be providing a goodly portion of the numbers you require for security?” An unassuming man shoulders forward, untidy mop of hair, a serviceable outfit. “You’ve introduced us to this guy from London, and told us about this not-Conclave. Do you have anything else to say, because some of us would like to enjoy our evening and you aren’t that interesting to listen to.”

Schureman keeps himself very contained, but knuckles whiten as he makes fists with his hands. He draws a very slow, deliberate breath. “And we thank you for your aid,” he says in a voice that sounds like it might cut glass. “Please, all of you, enjoy my hospitality.” With that he turns and leaves, the Sheriff following him. Van Eyck stays.

“You heard the Prince,” he tells the waiting crowd. “Please enjoy yourselves,” and the din of conversation quickly resumes - though he beckons the one who spoke, but my view is then blocked.

“Might I introduce myself?” says a man who has approached my seat. He is very neatly dressed, in what I take for the latest fashion (or perhaps fashion-to-be?). I stand, and wait.

“I am Jonathan Carisbrooke, Toreador Primogen of this domain.”

I doubtless appear blank a moment, and then I understand. “You must forgive me,” I say, putting my left hand over my chest and inclining my head, closing my eyes for a brief moment as I do so. “I had forgotten the influence of Iberian speech in the New World.” Though it does appear to be spreading from what I hear in the Water.

Jonathan maintains a polite smile, “Of course. I had just thought I should welcome to you the Domain personally as well, and assure you that if you require anything, please, let me know.”

I smile falsely. “Thank you,” I say simply. “I trust there will be no need for me to take up your kind offer.”

Jonathan’s smile matches my own, but I think without hostility. “But of course. I also wondered if you might like to attend some of the events we have upcoming of a more refined nature.” He pulls out a card from an inside pocket of his jacket, and holds it out to me. “I am sure there must be something we can offer that would be of interest.”

I look at the card a moment - really look - and it appears to be just that. With two fingers I pluck the card from him. “Again, thank you,” I say. “I will have to examine this later.”

Another bright smile from Jonathan. “My details are included. But I will take no more of your time,” and with a precise, perfect bow of the head he moves off, his purpose done and with an acute awareness not to overstay a welcome. I glance at his card - perhaps there will be something - but someone else approaches and I pocket it.

It is van Eyck with the man who spoke against the Prince. “Satrap Albert,” van Eyck begins. “I wanted to introduce you to Orin Radford, a valued - if somewhat antagonistic - member of our Domain.”

“Chrissakes Adrian you didn’t have to say all that,” blurts out Orin from his shoulder. He steps forward, and sticks out his hand. “Orin the Anarch, and I am not sure I am pleased to meet you.”

I smile in return, more fully, and take his hand. “Albert,” I say, “and I probably am pleased to meet you.”

Van Eyck’s lips break into a small smile. “I suspect you’ll be fine together. Please excuse me gentlemen,” and he withdraws.

We release each other. “Shall we sit?” Orin says, “rather than just stand like that ninny Jonathan insisted on doing?” I shrug, and we sit. “To be honest,” Orin continues, “if it wasn’t for Theo I wouldn’t speak to you at all, for all that Adrian said it would be a good idea.”

“You get on with him?” I ask.

“Eh, he’s alright. Stuck up of course, as are any of his sort. He’d be the prince, if people didn’t get so bloody uptight about the Tremere.”

“And you do not ‘get uptight’ about them yourself?” I ask, curiously.

“Course I do. But I don’t think your blood should count against you. Instead he gets lumbered with Schureman - which has to be some sort of punishment if ever there were one.”

Orin is nearly the perfect Anarch leader. He is talking louder than he must - to ensure everyone can hear. A few jibes at those in power, but nothing over the line. And a not-so subtle warning about the Tremere. I glance over at the dozen or so clustered back, clearly watching him.

“You seem to have quite a following here,” I say.

He grins at me. “Now what I really want to know is - if trouble comes at this not-Conclave - say the Crusade get wind of it -” and for the first time his voice drops, “- are you going to stand with us neonates and rabble, or are you going to run like most of the other elders?”

I wait a moment. “I take it you are unaware of the nature of my title?” I say softly into the silence.

Orin shrugs, “Well you’re not a governor of a Persian province, I know that.”

I chuckle, “No. No I’m not.” I look him right in the eye. “But - should a Crusade, or something similar, occur - I hope you will not find me a disappointment.”

He stares at me for several seconds. “I hope so too,” he says quietly, and glances around. He again speaks in his louder voice. “Well, I won’t take more of your time. Lots of people want to speak to you, and I don’t envy you listening to their droning.” He stands, gives a sharp nod of his head, and strides back to his group. They occupy two large tables further down the room, talking loudly amongst each other, probably annoying some others. Anarchs, frivolous on the surface, but now and then …

I dismiss the thought, and prepare myself for the next person who wants to welcome me. It is going to be a long night.
 
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stnylan

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All

I am not entirely happy with this piece, for all I think it does quite well what I need it to. Truth is I haven't been able to concentrate properly - and that is because this last week an event happened that made me realise I needed to go back on anti-depressants. Which I did on Thursday. However I want to keep on writing, because it does help to send my mind away to this land of make believe. Just not, by itself, enough.

Be safe
stnylan
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Well, I found the concept of a guy walking up to a high level and ancient saptrap, sitting down and in all serious asking if they were any good in a fight quite funny.

If the New World covens are as young as the source books (invariably) suggest, then Albert is one of the eldest on the continent (notwithstanding random native types)? I can't imagine you're going along with that, since otherwise the hosts would not be so relaxed in his company.
 
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As always, stay safe and the best of British luck my friend. If writing helps you, great - as your story certainly keeps many of us happy and entertained - in its idiosyncratically and sometimes grim way!

“I take it you are unaware of the nature of my title?”
To be fair to Orin, neither are we, really! We infer though that he is no shrinking violet if a fight beckons. This is also the first time (iirc) that a capital C Crusade has been mentioned. Without being aware of the canon, one assumes that to be a non-undead phenomenon?
 
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To be fair to Orin, neither are we, really! We infer though that he is no shrinking violet if a fight beckons.
In this story, seems to mean executioner, commander etc. In the medieval sense for the former, so also head torturer, medical practioner, front man for the crown, enforcer etc. Enforcer would be a fairly good modern analogy.
 
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“And you do not ‘get uptight’ about them yourself?” I ask, curiously.
Albert trying to be down with the kids. Terrifying.

I can happily sympathise with the Satrap trying his best as he fields off a rabble of suitors at this gathering. The New World comes across as bewildering through his eyes, and I don't doubt that this has its accuracy. One wonders what exactly lies in store with this 'not-Conclave' and the Crusade.

Otherwise, be well.
 
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