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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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tunapirate

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So this would be my third attempt at an AAR -- the first time I lost the AAR to a corrupted save game, and the second I had to restart because of the surprise appearance of Rajas of India; if I had gotten past the first chapter I probably would have continued via the beta function on Steam, but I figured that I might as well just start an entirely new AAR. This attempt I'm going to focus on creating a powerful force in the Low Countries, by transplanting the House de Bourgogne into the 867 start as the Count of Dijon. My goal is to secure the de jure Kingdoms of Frisia and Lotharingia, as well as the duchies of Burgundy and Upper Burgundy, which should result in a somewhat stronger-than-OTL Burgundy by the end of the game. As of writing this post I'm fifty years into the game, and--as I had suspected--it looks like I'm probably going to achieve that goal well before the dawn of the fifteenth century. To account this, and to warrant the inclusion of the Indian subcontinent in RoI, I'll have an Indian-themed surprise in case the game becomes too easy.

I'm hoping that this time I don't get hit with any AAR-ending patches/bugs/DLCs, so--God willing--this one will last more than a week or two! My goals OOC for this AAR are the same always: create interesting characters, create a narrative that spans across multiple characters/chapters, give people some enjoyment, etc. I'll also be working on incorporating some pretty graphics (maps, logos, dividers, character profiles, etc.) into the AAR, because I like making pretty things and you guys seem to enjoy looking at pretty things--that's synergy right there. Given the ease of conversion these days, if this AAR makes it all the way to 1400 I'll definitely consider converting over to EU4.​


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tunapirate

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The year is 867 and the newly anointed Duke Hugh I of Burgundy finds himself in an uncomfortable position: despite receiving royal recognition of his right to rule the lands of Burgundy, the Duke's de jure lands are split between the Welf Angevins and the Kingdom of Burgundy. Unable to defeat the Burgundian Kingdom in war and unwilling to fight the numerous Welfs in power across the Kingdom, Hugh was forced to find another way to unite his duchy, ultimately choosing to consolidate his power in Northern France and marry into the Welf dynasty.


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The wedding of Duke Hugh of Burgundy and Judith, the daughter of Duke Konrad of Anjou, was a happy one. The wine flowed freely and the food was rich in flavor. The wealth of the Welfs, combined with the fertile land of Burgundy made for a cornucopia of exquisite dishes. Social status in the Duchy of Burgundy, for the following months, was heavily tied to attendance at the wedding. A man who hadn't received an invitation to attend was clearly of low social standing, and a man who had received an invitation and chosen not to attend was of even lower mental capacity. The wedding was looked upon fondly in the area as the epitome of the "simpler" times of the past, before the militarization of the duchy.

In contrast with their wedding, the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy had a definitively mundane marriage. The notes of the castellan of the castle at Dijon would describe the two as "cordial, if not very warm," although he also proposed the possibility that later in life the two had "grown so comfortable with each other as to kindle a small, if enduring, flame." The wedding was undeniably one of political convenience: Hugh needed the support of the larger duchies to recover his holdings under the control of the Kingdom of Burgundy, and the Welfs sought to prevent, at least temporarily, the Dukes of Burgundy from attempting to wrest control of Angevin Burgundy. Most importantly for Hugh, however, was the possibility of inheriting the Duchy of Anjou without a fight, a prospect much more enticing than engaging the large armies of the Welf's holdings.


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Having secured an alliance with the Duchy of Anjou, Hugh set out to begin recovering control of Burgundy. Seeing Middle Francia locked in civil war, Hugh elected to press his de jure claim on the province of Chalons. Confident that the Middle Francian rebels would be able to rapidly eliminate the loyalist army, Hugh immediately set to establishing control over Chalons by laying siege to the castle Chalon, the centerpiece of resistance in the county, as the duchy of Burgundy lacked the troops to fight the Middle Francian troops before their ranks were thinned by the rebels. By the later months of 870, the majority of the county had fallen under his control. Furthermore, as was expected, a powerful rebel army had quickly moved north from Italy and successfully engaged the loyalists, leaving only a handful of troops for Hugh to dispatch.


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However, Hugh had failed to account for the intervention of the other Francian nations under Karling rule. Lothaire II, ruler of Middle Francia, had quickly sent word to his kinsmen in East and West Francia to intercede on his behalf against Duke Hugh's forces. Louis II of Aquitaine had responded positively, dedicating an army to clean the Burgundians out of Chalons. Occitan forces surprised Hugh, smashing his army against the walls of Chalon and crippling the Burgundian war effort. Hugh, disgraced, was forced to settle for a status quo ante bellum with Lothaire II.

Hugh returned to Dijon to find matters there to be in a similar state. The Duke had only been home for a month when his wife gave birth to his second son, Gilles. However, the Duchess had been sick for the majority of the pregnancy, and died during childbirth, passing a few minutes after the baby was pronounced to be in perfect health. Despite their somewhat cool marriage, Hugh still took the death of his wife poorly. Although he would remarry some years later to a princess of the Bulgarian kingdom, his castellan noted that "if [Duke Hugh's] first marriage was cordial, his second was icy in comparison." Frustrated that his attempts to retake his duchy both martially and diplomatically had been rebuffed, Hugh distracted himself with the education of his first son, Charles.​


o5yp3s.png


It had taken Hugh almost seven years to return to his ambitions of uniting the duchy, an ambition which had developed into an obsession in the interim. In addition to tutoring his son in the matters of war, Hugh had spent the interim plotting to assassinate the current Duke of Anjou, Guelph--also a Welf. Hugh had made two resolutions following his defeat at Chalon and the death of his wife: the first was that he would personally see to the destruction or absorption of the Welf family, and the second was that he needed to expand in order to sustain an army large enough of meeting and destroying the Welfs on the field of battle. The first resolution he had already begun to accomplish: the Duke of Anjou lacked a male heir, and the current inheritor was betrothed to Hugh's son Charles. By killing Guelp, Hugh would see another Welf buried under the soil of Anjou, and see an entire line fall into the House of Bourgogne.

To accomplish this, Hugh had very discretely begun to seduce member's of Guelph's court to the idea that the German Welfs did not have the right to rule Frankish territory. After months of correspondence, Hugh had finally compiled a sizable and dedicated team of people who agreed that Guelph was a foreign ruler who had to be removed. It was then that one of his henchmen proposed a most ridiculous idea: incinerate the Duke by detonating manure under the floorboards of an inn the Duke preferred to stay at while travelling. Incredulous, it took quite some time before Hugh came around to such a spectacular method of execution; he was finally convinced by the notion that incinerating Guelph would ensure there was no possible way for the Duke to survive.​



2q0pvdl.png


Now having eliminated his rival and securing the eventual absorption of Anjou into the Bourgogne family, Hugh set to the second task. He could, hypothetically, wait for Anjou to fall into his hands, but his obsession with justice could not be put on hold for such a long period of time; furthermore, Hugh had begun to feel the drag of time on his muscles: he was running out of time to destroy the Welfs. With this in mind, Hugh turned to a pair of old family claims on the counties of Amiens and Vexin. The pair of titles were both independent of any duchy and, despite being owned by Karlings, lacked the ability to call in any sizable allies.

Satisfied with his ability to quickly dispatch the two rulers, Hugh began the long march northwards with his famous cheer: "Onwards to Amiens! Onward to destiny!"​
 
Last edited:

Magicguy38

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This seems pretty cool; I like the style of writing and arrangement of the writing. Subscribed! :)
 

Pelican Sam

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Lothaire II, ruler of Middle Francia, had quickly sent word to his kinsmen in East and West Francia to intercede on his behalf against Duck Hugh's forces.
It's late and I'm getting silly, but that really struck me as a hilarious typo.

I eagerly await the next chapter in the adventures of the Duck of Burgundy. :D
 

Henry v. Keiper

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Awesome start! I like the little division artwork you've made. Interested in what will happen in the future with the Burgundians, for sure.
 

RiotPipe

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Can't wait to see where this will go.

By the later months of 1870, the majority of the county had fallen under his control. Furthermore, as was expected, a powerful rebel army had quickly moved north from Italy and successfully engaged the loyalists, leaving only a handful of troops for Hugh to dispatch.

What happened to finishing the AAR in the 1400s? :p
 

tunapirate

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What happened to finishing the AAR in the 1400s? :p
I eagerly await the next chapter in the adventures of the Duck of Burgundy. :D

Clearly the best way to get replies is to make silly typos! I'll see if somehow the Duck of Burgundy can make an appearance later! (After all, there was a crusade led by a goose!)


Awesome start! I like the little division artwork you've made. Interested in what will happen in the future with the Burgundians, for sure.

Thanks! I'm trying to make this as aesthetically pleasing as possible: that way, I can get away with some wee typos and no one will mind :>


Enjoyed the first chapter, I'll keep an eye on this.
This seems pretty cool; I like the style of writing and arrangement of the writing. Subscribed! :)

Thank ye kindly, sers! Hopefully I'll have something up later tonight, when we'll see Hugh munch on some OPMs up north for cash and levees, and start a multi-generational quest to murder the Vlaanderens (in addition to the Welfs, who have continued to foil me at every turn with their dastardly German-ness).
 

RiotPipe

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Not to sound impatient or anything, but when will the next update be posted?
 

tunapirate

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The year is 878, and Duke Hugh has marched northward to press old family claims on the counties of Amiens and Vexin. However, Hugh's northern expansion would bring him into conflict with his new neighbors: the Dutch von Vlaanderens, starting a second dynastic rivalry for the Bourgogne's. Hugh saw expansion into the wealthy Low Countries as necessary to fund and man an eventual expedition against the Welfs.​


o5yp3s.png


Hugh's army had already marched as far as the river Seine and stopped to recover in the county of Reims when the news of his first misfortune reached him: Norsemen had sailed up the River Seine into the heart of France and landed a sizable raiding force in the county of Amiens, thus standing directly between Hugh's army and Vexin. Seeing marauders so close to the throne in Paris was surprising and worrisome and Hugh, if he was not already operating with a precariously small army, would have certainly liked to drive the northerners back into the sea. However, the lands of Burgundy were rich in soil and not in men, and so instead the Duke was forced to divert northwards through the westernmost counties of Germany, and then double back around through the duchies of Flanders and Normandy, finally travelling eastwards along the Seine towards Vexin.


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The Vexinois defenders had been expecting Hugh to attack from the northwest, and were thus surprised when their scouts spotted a bedraggled group of Burgundians marching from the east along the banks of the Seine. The Karlings defending Vexin--a small army comprised of troops from Vexin, as well as some soldiers from the county of Vermandois, which was also under Karling rule--assumed that Hugh had attempted to drive through the Norse raiders and lost most of his army, and so the commander of the defenders sent a force of levees to engage what appeared to be the remaining Burgundian forces. As soon as the Karling levees engaged the small force of Burgundians, Hugh's main host charged into the melee, trapping the majority of the Karling soldiers against the banks of the Seine and routing the enemy force.

With so many defenders lost in the failed sally, Hugh managed to lay siege to the province with little incident. The majority of towns in the county surrendered shortly thereafter, and within two years the main castle of Pontoise had fallen, forcing the count of Vexin, still in his minority, to officially surrender the county to Hugh by October of 879.

Hugh had originally anticipated that the count of Amiens, also a member of the Karling family, would also have contributed to the defense of Vexin, but the presence of the large Norse raiding party had preventing Amiens from formally entering the conflict. As a result, there was nothing preventing the Duke of Burgundy from pressing his claim on the county of Amiens without delay. However, the two years spent laying siege to Vexin had thinned Hugh's army, mostly from defection and disease, and so it was three months before Hugh felt comfortable enough to march eastwards and declare war on Amiens, who was again joined by the count of Vermandois.


riuu4i.png


Hugh's army had engaged the Karling's directly, and the superior numbers of the Burgundian forces, especially the highly mobile units of lighter infantry, turned the battle into a second rout, with only fifty troops from Vermandois remaining. The count of Amiens, also in his minority, allegedly attempted to surrender the county to Hugh immediately after hearing report of the battle. However, Hugh continued the war, even after successfully laying siege to Amiens, on the grounds of eliminating the remaining Karling forces. Despite his respect for the count of Vermandois's attempt to help his kinsmen, Hugh could not allow such a challenge to his authority go without punishment. As such, Burgundian troops entered Vermandois itself and engaged what was left of the Karling troops, leaving no survivors; Bourgogne control over the Valois region was solidified with the blood of Vermandois.


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Hugh again returned home to Dijon, this time victorious in his expedition. He was, however, not yet entirely comfortable with his position. He had spent almost four years abroad, and it had become evident that Hugh would not live to see the Welfs removed from the Kingdom of France. However, Hugh had dedicated much of his time to ensure that the Duchy would fall into capable hands. His firstborn son, Charles, had been raised in both the diplomatic and military arts, and surpassed his father in both fields. Furthermore, he was also engaged to the current Duchess of Anjou, ensuring that a major source of power for the Welfs would instead fall into the hands of the Bourgogne's.

The personality of Hugh changed dramatically after returning from the northern expedition. Hugh's second wife, despite their loveless union, had surprised and pleased Hugh by producing his first daughter. The castellan of Dijon's last entry concerning the reign of Hugh included a note that describes Hugh as "a man torn between the satisfaction with his numerous successes in the expansion of the prestige and control of Burgundy and the failure to achieve his most prized goal of seeing the [Welfs] expelled from Francia."

2pqrias.png

As Hugh continued to age, his mental health continued to decay, and management of the duchy gradually shifted into the hands of Charles. Hugh's last major decision was a second expedition northwards, this time attacking the duchy of Flanders for control over Artois, which Hugh had ordered his chancellor to go and produce Burgundian claims for. The Flemish levees, although usually greater in number than Burgundy's, had been worn down by constant raids from the Norse, and barely numbered over one thousand.

By the Spring of 885 a force of almost two thousand Burgundian troops had reached the Flemish province of Boulogne, and the two duchies promptly met in battle outside of Terwaan in Artois. The Flemish troops were handed a heavy loss, although more than two hundred troops managed to escape the slaughter. The survivors were chased back to Boulogne, where they were shattered in the Battle of Saint-Pol. Charles, now in full command of the Burgundian troops, was met with widespread approval for his first successful operation.

His elation was, however, tempered with the direst of news. While his son and armies were away in the north, Duke Hugh of Burgundy had passed, leaving the title to Charles.


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Last edited:

Thragka

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Hugh may not have realised all his hopes but indeed an accomplishment for within one generation. Let's hope Charles will uphold his legacy.
 

tunapirate

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Hugh may not have realised all his hopes but indeed an accomplishment for within one generation. Let's hope Charles will uphold his legacy.

I was a wee bit sad to see him go--I think because of his early failures I really got more into his character.
It didn't help that his death ended the claim war on Flanders; I've tried to get provinces in Flanders three times since then and I've only managed to succeed once. That first war was all but won when Hugh died on me! The durned Dutch have been almost as frustrating to deal with as the Welfs: because France is elective succession, whichever Welf is largest in the kingdom gets all the votes from the German dukes (which is mostly the other Welfs).

Not to sound impatient or anything, but when will the next update be posted?

Sorry about the wait! I was midway through typing all this up on Sunday when my computer crashed, and that did a solid number on my ability to write for a few days.
(As for why I write in the post editor, it makes it a lot easier for fudging around with spacing of images and formatting and the like. Having BBCode in Word or Google Docs just looks wrong to me.)

But really though, good work so far.


Thanks! Hopefully there are fewer typos in this, but I'm not confident enough to claim I wiped them all out.


o5yp3s.png


Alright! I'm on the quarters system, so classes proper have just started, in addition to some acting stuff. I'm not going to go ahead and announce a release date of tomorrow for the next chapter, but--unless my computer crashes on me again--that's what I would personally like. We'll get to see the reign of Charles I, which doesn't actually turn out to be all that spectacular (despite his great stats) until midway through. I might even knock his whole life out in just one chapter, if there's not enough stuff (which I doubt, since I'm now surrounded by belligerent blobbers).
 

Henry v. Keiper

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Let's see his descendents push on into the low country. And good luck with classes :)