Mr. Capiatlist

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Wandering the city of Detroit, one feels the pressure of time weighing on them. It is a city of highest highs and lowest lows, but the people remain friendly, smiling and offering you a "good morning" from behind their masks as you walk down the chilly autumn roads. Orange barrels dot all the roads, a lone police officer absentmindedly writes a parking ticket as you turn the corner onto a small, one-lane one-way road. Tucked away between art deco facades of bigger and better things is a quaint, three-storey brick building. The second and third floors are covered in windows, each a little portrait into the lives of the folks living behind them. The first floor, though, has only a single oaken door behind a wrought-iron security grate. On either side of it hangs a myriad of flags. A platypus skeleton on navy blue, an assortment of pride flags, and of course the proud flag of the city itself: flags on flags, watched over by two women: one weeping at what was lost, the other comforting her with what was to come. From the ashes we rise again, she seems to say.

The door is heavy, but on the second pull it unsticks, and are met with two sets of stairs. In front of you is a full set upwards to the apartment above. Beside you, almost hidden and somehow precarious despite only being four steps, is a second set down to another door, this one oak with a old stained-glass inset with heavy solder between the individual panes. This one is much lighter than the last, and you nearly break your nose with the heavy pull you thought you'd need. The first thing you see is a framed list of rules hanging on the wind-breaker:

- Stay in character
- Try to promote others more than yourself
- Always be encouraged to discuss the craft of writing
- Quoting is okay, but please use the multi-quote feature
- Off topic chatter is encouraged, but stays in the bAAR and in character
- No fighting

The TVs are all proper football. Most are tuned to a team in maroon and gold playing a team in green. The greens look tired and out, and it's only the fifteenth minute. The score is even, but you get the feeling it won't be for long. The maroons start a promising drive from a reset in their own half.

Behind the bar is a short woman with asymmetrical hair, elbows resting on the shining wooden surface. Her eyes only briefly glance over at your entrance, but otherwise remain fixed on the game. Nearly three dozen taps stand tall in front of a wall of spirits that would make even the most seasoned connoisseur blush. You make your way to one of the many empty bar stools...
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Somehow wandering through from the streets of Manchester, a grey-cloaked figure emerges from the curiously inaccessible entrance. A hat and cloak are hung upon the hat-and-cloak stand. The click and tap of a cane sounds regularly and pleasingly upon the polished wooden floor.

The figure pauses in the centre of the room and takes in his surroundings. The bar area is delightfully American: at once a dingy dive and wood and brass, in the way only Detroit, and occasionally Chicago, can manage. However, because the establishment is also frequented by poshboys from the Old World, here to the right there is a crackling marble fireplace with oak panelled walls and wingback chairs for plotting and harrumphing. Over the bar is the framed and disarmed quote gun of yesteryear, whilst above the fireplace hang rather dreadful oil likenesses of dearly departed members. Patting one of the armchairs fondly, the figure then ambles over to the bar and sits down.

"Good afternoon," TBC, for it was he, said, resting his cane against the stool, "It has been some time now, hasn't it?"

The air stirs a little within the place, in response, in anticipation.

"Well then, let us begin anew. I suppose, since I believe we have never met previously, that it is only right and proper I have whatever you suggest?"
 

DensleyBlair

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In from the cold comes a kid from the Old World, early twenties, dressed in a way that reminds you of Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally: big coat over a knitted jumper and blue jeans. On his feet he’s wearing tattered pink Reeboks, and over one shoulder is a dark green backpack. Over his ears are a pair of big headphones, and as he pushes the door to it is clear he is too wrapped up in music to properly take note of his new surroundings. Musha ring dum-a-do dum-a-da, comes the tinny sound as he takes off the headphones and produces his phone from his pocket to pause the song. Whack for me da

The music stops, and for the first time the kid becomes aware of the room he has just entered. Something about it unsettles him. In the corner a television is showing a football game. Maroon and gold? the kid thinks to himself. I haven’t seen a team play in maroon and gold since

And then it hits him: Detroit City. He’s watching Detroit City, which can only mean one thing.

– I thought this place closed down years ago, he says to no one in particular, and then more purposefully:

– I wonder if they’ve installed a pool table yet…
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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The bar tender shifts back off her elbows and onto her feet before turning around. She grabs a glass stirring vessel, a bar spoon, and a jigger with which she adds two-and-a-half ounces of a locally-sourced gin, half an ounce of a blanc vermouth, then a handful of ice before stirring it for twenty seconds, and grabbing a frosted martini glass. With a strainer, she pours to cocktail into the glass, then takes a short pull of a lime peel, expresses it on top of the drink, and drops the peel in before placing a coaster in front of TBC with one hand and putting the glass down on it with the other.

"Good morning, good afternoon, and welcome," she says in a voice that hangs on the barely recognizable. "The special here is and always is a five-to-one gin martini made with sweet, white vermouth; though one can always substitute dry or extra vermouth; for the adventurous I recommend Cocchi Americano or Kina L'Aéro D'Or; for vodka-drinkers I recommend the actual door. For beginners, though..." she gestures over the glass in front of TBC with the flourish of a stage magician and lets @TheButterflyComposer get to their drink.

"Ah, Densley, good to see you again. What's on the menu for you tonight?"
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I wonder if they’ve installed a pool table yet…

TBC glances over at an area that could most certainly contain a pool table, or indeed once did, but presently does not due to the mysteries of space-time.

"In all honesty," he said, replying to Mr Blair's vaguely spoken thought, "I would wager a match in this place may take many moons to finish."

She grabs a glass stirring vessel, a bar spoon, and a jigger with which she adds two-and-a-half ounces of a locally-sourced gin, half an ounce of a blanc vermouth, then a handful of ice before stirring it for twenty seconds, and grabbing a frosted martini glass. With a strainer, she pours to cocktail into the glass, then takes a short pull of a lime peel, expresses it on top of the drink, and drops the peel in before placing a coaster in front of TBC with one hand and putting the glass down on it with the other.

"Unbelievable, an American who knows how to make gin martinis," TBC responded. "I thought you had all been got at by awful mid-century British alcoholics determined to get wasted as quickly as possible."

He takes a measured sip.

"Vermouth, gin, stirred. Excellent. You know what you're doing. I use lemon peel myself. Fleming got that right at least. It allows for larger, thinner slices and is generally a little cheaper too. At least in the old country."

"The special here is and always is a five-to-one gin martini made with sweet, white vermouth; though one can always substitute dry or extra vermouth; for the adventurous I recommend Cocchi Americano or Kina L'Aéro D'Or; for vodka-drinkers I recommend the actual door. For beginners, though..."

Another sip.

"Truly, most impressive. I may even risk a cup of tea here later on. It never ceases to amaze how influential barley-functioning literary figures ruined the image of cocktail drinking for much of the past century. There is little wrong with vermouth in the right proportions."

The bAAR begins to fill (three is practically a crowd) and so TBC decides to get the conversation flowing further.

"So, how goes it, chaps? The writing, the reading...mild anxiety about the state of AARland...the usual?"
 

DensleyBlair

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"Ah, Densley, good to see you again. What's on the menu for you tonight?"

– Lime & soda, thanks. Never fails.

TBC glances over at an area that could most certainly contain a pool table, or indeed once did, but presently does not due to the mysteries of space-time.

"In all honesty," he said, replying to Mr Blair's vaguely spoken thought, "I would wager a match in this place may take many moons to finish."

– Now that you mention it… that does sound about right.

DB looks wistfully at what could be the pool area.

– Shame, though. Bloody shame.

The bAAR begins to fill (three is practically a crowd) and so TBC decides to get the conversation flowing further.

"So, how goes it, chaps? The writing, the reading...mild anxiety about the state of AARland...the usual?"

– Big news in the Guess the Author world, for one, DB begins, although present company account for he is preaching to the converted. Back for the autumn season and we had four entries that were all on time. Just settling in right about now for criticism, so it's the right time to head over if you haven't already. Other than that… He pauses. It's been years since I've been at leisure to enjoy AARland at this time of year. I can't really say what to expect.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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– Lime & soda, thanks. Never fails.

"The history student's friend. I remember my friend, we'll call him History Hagrid because thats what he looked like, swore by the concoction.

Personally, it tastes unloved."


– Big news in the Guess the Author world, for one, DB begins, although present company account for he is preaching to the converted. Back for the autumn season and we had four entries that were all on time. Just settling in right about now for criticism, so it's the right time to head over if you haven't already. Other than that… He pauses. It's been years since I've been at leisure to enjoy AARland at this time of year. I can't really say what to expect.

"I was today reading all the AARland stuff that's in my watched list, so stnylans 30k thread, the old baar, fixing the year enders, and the weekly awards...and was nostalgic. So I tried entering the old bAAR and got thrown out by the moderating gods. Then this appeared shortly thereafter...win some, lose some."

TBC finished the glass and tilted his head for something new.

"But basically, just looking for a catchup, a talk on writing and any thoughts of AAR stuff...maybe the CK3 situation cos its exploding at the moment, but not in AARland itself..."
 

DensleyBlair

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"The history student's friend. I remember my friend, we'll call him History Hagrid because thats what he looked like, swore by the concoction.

Personally, it tastes unloved."

– Aye, it can be a disappointment if the proportions aren't right. But getting a pint for under a quid in a uni town with London prices? DB asks with an ironic affectation. Now that is sweet.

"But basically, just looking for a catchup, a talk on writing and any thoughts of AAR stuff...maybe the CK3 situation cos its exploding at the moment, but not in AARland itself..."

– I always have a soft spot for CK. My first AAR, near enough eight years ago now, was in CK2. It was my gateway to AARland. (Although, if I remember correctly, I had so little idea of what an AAR actually was back then that my first entry to these parts was a rather meek thread in the general discussion asking if I was alright to post narrative work.) Even though I have the least sure grounding in the period, I would love to write for CK again. Maybe whenever I get around to picking up 3 I'll dust off one of my standby medieval AAR plans…

DB takes a wistful sip of L&S.

– But the talent on display already with CK3 is really something to behold. So many great stories being told right now. There's an excellent reimagining of the Mabinogion by @smrice that I've just even catching up with, for one.
 

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– Aye, it can be a disappointment if the proportions aren't right. But getting a pint for under a quid in a uni town with London prices? DB asks with an ironic affectation. Now that is sweet.



– I always have a soft spot for CK. My first AAR, near enough eight years ago now, was in CK2. It was my gateway to AARland. (Although, if I remember correctly, I had so little idea of what an AAR actually was back then that my first entry to these parts was a rather meek thread in the general discussion asking if I was alright to post narrative work.) Even though I have the least sure grounding in the period, I would love to write for CK again. Maybe whenever I get around to picking up 3 I'll dust off one of my standby medieval AAR plans…

DB takes a wistful sip of L&S.

– But the talent on display already with CK3 is really something to behold. So many great stories being told right now. There's an excellent reimagining of the Mabinogion by @smrice that I've just even catching up with, for one.

"Yes, the madness of initial release is always a good time for variety in aars. No one knows how the game works yet. Mind you, CK2 really came into its own afterwards, with more and more detail and flavour added in to give all the material and scope and variety an aar could wish for. Its long enough as a game to see strange combinations happen often, and detailed enough that an AAR can be based on one small village, a single county or a mighty empire."

TBC looks forlornly at his still-empty glass.

"Dash it all. They could have at least topped me up, if they aren't going to put ck3 in aarland."
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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The bar tender looks down from the sporting and sees an empty glass.

"More of the same, @TheButterflyComposer ? Or you brave enough for another dealer's choice?" she asks with a toothy grin.

As she waits for an answer, "Crusader Kings is as much a story generator as it is a game. It's an amazing tool, the way I see it. For me though, the most fun is EUIV because it's focus is mostly on the macro, which gives the author so much to flesh out on the micro level."
 

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A new member enters the bar. The area is unfamiliar to him, but he figures that he will be able out how it works soon enough. He saw an area where three people are discussing CK3, and he moves over there.

He begins his time by ordering soda. Then, he weighs in on the CK3 conversation.

"Indeed, CK is amazing for storytelling. EU4 also offers many narrative opportunities, although it makes its authors have to come up with more original detail. Speaking of which, I should probably got caught up on the works I'm following there... but I can do it later, so I'll wait."
 
Last edited:

TheButterflyComposer

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"More of the same, @TheButterflyComposer ? Or you brave enough for another dealer's choice?" she asks with a toothy grin.

"Always," TBC shrugged.

"Indeed, CK is amazing for storytelling. EU4 also offers many narrative opportunities, although it makes its authors have to come up with more original detail. Speaking of which, I should probably got caught up on the works I'm following there... but I can do it later, so I'll wait."

"EU I suspect is best for challenges. I remember all the islands, just the islands, and the tea must flow. Excellent AARs anyway, but the challenge made them even better. Then again, the people aspect of ck2 means there's a lot more scope for insane challenges. Like republican Ireland."
 

DensleyBlair

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"EU I suspect is best for challenges. I remember all the islands, just the islands, and the tea must flow. Excellent AARs anyway, but the challenge made them even better. Then again, the people aspect of ck2 means there's a lot more scope for insane challenges. Like republican Ireland."

– There’s truth in this, I think, DB assents. Most of the EU4 AARs I follow nowadays are challenge based. @WolframS67 plies a good trade in picking up achievements and writing them up very well, for one. He pauses. It’s like coming full circle, in a way; back to what an “AAR” is in a fundamental sense.

DB takes a beat to finish his lime & soda before continuing, catching the bartender’s eye in a signal he hopes says Keep ‘em coming.

– Mind you, I do miss some of those epic history book projects from the EU3 days. Lords of France, and the like. I’m out of touch, it should be said, but I haven’t read many of the sort for EU4 – not that kept up any serious momentum, anyway. Don’t suppose anyone has any recommendations on that score?
 

TheButterflyComposer

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"Mega campaigns in general are good for that."
 

DensleyBlair

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DB nods in agreement.

– That was the major exception category that came to mind. I see fewer self-contained early modern histories, though. I guess people’s tastes have just changed.
 

HistoryDude

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"True enough that mega campaigns are good for epic history books. They're not so good for narrative - although narrative megacampaigns aren't impossible."

He takes a sip of his soda.

"EU4 is good for challenges - I've enjoyed a few @WolframS67 AARs. Also, I blame YouTube - less people are in AARland because they're doing Let's Plays."
 

TheButterflyComposer

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"Vicky2 is seeing something of a comeback for national AAR stuff."
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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"Always," TBC shrugged.
"Good," she says before turning to her wall of liquor.

Into the small half of a boston shaker goes a two ounces of heavy cream, half an ounce of orgeat, one small egg white, and then she pauses in front of a group of bottles that have long been collecting dust. Her hand instinctively goes to a tall, thin bottle cut like a diamond, three-quarters full of a green-brown liquid but she hesitates, then grabs a squat bottle marked with a blue snowflake made of glassware. When she pops the top the unmistakable smell of anise fills the room. An ounce and a half go into the tin, which is then sealed and vigorously shaken without ice for thirty seconds, then the tins separated, ice added, and shaken again for another thirty. Double strained into a chilled nick and nora glass.

"Absinthe Suissesse, enjoy."
 

TheButterflyComposer

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"Good," she says before turning to her wall of liquor.

Into the small half of a boston shaker goes a two ounces of heavy cream, half an ounce of orgeat, one small egg white, and then she pauses in front of a group of bottles that have long been collecting dust. Her hand instinctively goes to a tall, thin bottle cut like a diamond, three-quarters full of a green-brown liquid but she hesitates, then grabs a squat bottle marked with a blue snowflake made of glassware. When she pops the top the unmistakable smell of anise fills the room. An ounce and a half go into the tin, which is then sealed and vigorously shaken without ice for thirty seconds, then the tins separated, ice added, and shaken again for another thirty. Double strained into a chilled nick and nora glass.

"Absinthe Suissesse, enjoy."

TBC looked down at the glass.

"This is...green."

He shrugged and sipped. It tasted much like absinthe always did. Nowhere near as exciting as 19th century writers would have you believe, but still 'moste potente' for writing and imagining.

"I have a court moot later but for now, what's the feeling about CK3, its absence from AARland and the implications of all that?"
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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"I have a court moot later but for now, what's the feeling about CK3, its absence from AARland and the implications of all that?"
"Not happy with it, that's for sure."

OOC:
"This is...green."
I forgot to include it in my write-up, but I specifically used a Swiss blanche absinthe, which is clear and louches faintly blue.
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