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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    The coup disaster is honestly kind of silly, because as a player all you actually need to do is delete janissary/meczennik units until they form less than 5% of your army and then press a decision. And that's not even an exploit, it's all you can do. I actually restrained myself a bit by (half-accidentally) waiting as far as November.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-04-12 at 04:28 AM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

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  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Chapter #47: Altered Allegiances (Aleksander II, 1746-1758)

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    18th of March, 1746

    If the Kupala Coup was the sum of many factors, its aftereffects are wide-spanning as well. In less than a year, the very ideals and foundations of noble power and Crown-Sejm relations have been thoroughly shaken up. Polish external power has been reduced by the sudden loss of Moldavia and Scotland, as well as the seemingly growing ambitions of Germany. And while it was somewhat sidelined during the events, the fact that the meczenniks consisted mostly of oddani is not forgotten in the aftermath, fueling increased distrust of non-pagans as a whole, among myriad other social and political divisions brought to the surface. High King Aleksander II (now 17!) certainly has a lot on his plate.



    And though keeping in line with the legal line of succession, the circumstances of his coronation were otherwise some of the most fraught in Polish history, not to mention that, having only been rescued by the military, he may seem indebted to his generals. Some consider it telling that one of his first targets of spending in the spring of 1746 is the renovation of defenses and other military infrastructure in some vulnerable regions such as Pomerania and Yugoslavia. This and similar massively expensive projects, such as expanding the navy, continue to dominate for years to come.

    While any changes the meczenniks did make are legally declared moot, it’ll take a while for the crown administration to sort itself out. At the same time, while most local governments are pleased that order has returned to Krakow, many of them were also happy with their ability to handle themselves during the crisis and wouldn’t have minded keeping their wider responsibilities. This goes double for places such as Calais, which is basically a Polish military outpost sandwiched between Frisia, Italy and England, and torn between opposite impulses to accept or shut out those foreign influences. In the current situation, the crown government strongly urges them towards the latter. However, some worry that entrenched ideas of Polish superiority might turn out to be its downfall in these rapidly changing times.



    The elderly Prendota Lechowicz, hero of the counter-coup, passes away in June. However, his influence in the government is largely inherited by proteges of his such as one Lechoslaw Potocki, the new Quartermaster General appointed by Aleksander II.



    Even as Poland has been rather focused on internal matters for a while, things have been happening elsewhere. Tripoli and Kanem Bornu were unsurprisingly successful in their invasion of Murcia, annexing what was originally a rather artificial albeit long-lasting crusader state (but whose population was by this point quite thoroughly Christian).



    Tayshas remains a broken state, allowing several native movements to declare independence, even if unrecognized by most states other than the Polish colonies (which, for the record, don’t have the legal right to do that). The opportunistic Swedes have tried to invade these breakoff states in the south, only to be temporarily taken aback by what a coalition of natives with modern technology can do. Tayshas’ trials are far from over, too, with several more nations still looking to break free.



    As the newly enthroned Nadbor IV Movilesti of Moldavia asserts his independence from Poland, his domination of the Balkans and the Black Sea basically forces most nations to acknowledge Moldavia as the third-greatest pagan power after Poland and Germany (fifth if you include Rajasthan and Wu). He is rapidly enacting new conscription laws to build up a larger army than they ever had under Polish rule, and other European nations seem to be following suit – other than Poland, which has plenty of trouble just keeping its current one functional.



    Japan’s back-and-forth warring in China resumes with an invasion of Yan. The offense is also joined by Rajasthan and, curiously enough, England, presumably looking for more ports in the region. However, Yan is protected by Arabia, pulling Rajasthan into an unfortunate two-front war. It’s also a good reminder that Poland needs to invest more in its port that it conquered from Italy as almost an afterthought…



    Of course, such projects have to take a backseat to getting Poland’s economy back on track without angering the populace too much. The meczenniks really did a number on the treasury, basically throwing out the stockpile built up by Aleksander I and causing lasting damage to the rest of the crown finances as well.



    At least the alliance with James III Abernethy of Scotland is remade easily enough. Moldavia seems to be a tougher to bring to the negotiating table, not overtly hostile towards Poland but apparently quite determined to take some distance and not be seen as its subordinate again. Since the Poles are also unhappy with Chernigov and uncertain to continue their alliance if push comes to shove, Aleksander II’s government starts making overtures to long-neglected Sweden in the north, hoping to maintain some guise of a pagan power bloc – especially given Sweden’s massive colonies in Alcadra. The Inger dynasty in Stockholm is quite amused by this turn of events… but intrigued by the offer.



    Meanwhile, in response to increasing discrimination against the oddani, be they actually associated with the meczenniks or not, the young and perhaps naive Aleksander II figures that he, a personal victim of theirs, might be able to relax tensions by making a public statement supported by the rest of the government. He could never have expected the amount of yelling this causes in the Sejm. In the end, even a lot of people loyal to the High King aren’t actually on board with his foolish plan to grant the oddani special protections as a “reward” (as they put it) for what they did with the Kupala Coup only a couple years back. The heated debate only ends up serving as a stark reminder of the state of Polish politics.



    To the crown’s rescue comes Harald Brockenhuus, a respected Danish philosopher. While most of his theories deal with rationalism, the nature of reality and things like that, and have been neither embraced nor rejected by the state, his outspoken support for the government (mixed with some constructive criticism) proves invaluable in this trying time. In place of destructive religious strife, he urges rational agnosticism on both sides, and his students and contacts in academic circles throughout the country start to do the same. Their message reaches even the vast majority who wouldn’t be reading his works per se, and the situation seems to calm down for the time being. Brockenhuus receives a massive state stipend.



    As of 1749, Amatica remains in flux, with some native states being successfully reconquered by the colonizers just as others declare independence right next door.



    And on 14 September 1749, Cesira Gizella I, the Empress of Italy, finally passes away in Rome. Her 46 years on the throne saw Italy declare itself an empire, consolidate its territory and truly take its place as one of the great powers of the world, even if undermined by its loss to Poland in the Dalmatian War. The throne passes to her 19-year-old nephew, Caesar Nino VII, said to be another young genius trained from birth to be a ruler one day. It can safely be said that a new generation has stepped in to take over the fight for Europe, with Sweden’s 33-year-old Dyre II being on the older end. It can only be assumed that a change of guard will also bring a change of attitude.



    That it does. Kaiser Dalimir I has long been of the mind that while Vladimir’s local government has served quite well, it’s been in a stable union under Germany for a while now and it’s about time that they just dropped the pretense of a separate Vladimirian state altogether. The long process comes to an end in March 1751 as he officially dissolves the Vladimirian regent government and announces that all his dominions shall be ruled directly from Brunswick. Much like when he declared himself Kaiser, the effect on everyday life might start out rather small, but the mostly Russian nobility and Ugrian peasantry of Vladimir definitely have their own identity and don’t feel very German, not to mention the… geographical problems.




    This also causes concern in the rest of Slavdom. For the first time, everyone can agree that it's Germany and not Poland shaking up what remains of the Moscow Pact, which aids Aleksander II in striking those alliances he’s been looking for. Sweden and Moldavia both make pacts of mutual defense with Poland, forming what should be a rather solid center against German pressure – but while Scotland, Novgorod and Moldavia all seem reliable enough, Sweden and Chernigov have split loyalties with Germany and insist on only maintaining the status quo, threatening to join forces with whomever they see as the defending party. While frustrating to the people in Krakow, they might really be doing everyone a favor by keeping this particular war cold. History will be their judge.



    Perhaps not unrelated, Dalimir I dies under unclear circumstances in September 1752 and is immediately succeeded by his slightly younger brother Witosz IV. He, however, declares that the internal and foreign policies adopted by his beloved late brother will continue as planned.



    The new reality of a continent-spanning German Empire puts some new speed into the Polish government as well. The worst-case possibility of Chernigov and Sweden turning against it forces the construction of yet more fortifications on the eastern and northern fronts, which on the other hand is seen as a sign of distrust that strains their relations somewhat. Infantry technology and thus doctrine march on as well, including the readoption of old hand-to-hand tactics in the form of rifle-mounted bayonets instead.

    (Forgot to take the screenshot, but it's just military tech)

    In 1753, the Asian war ends in a resounding victory for the attacking side, letting Japan reclaim most of Korea, England expand its foothold in China and Rajasthan actually reclaim some regions previously taken by Arabia.



    There are also many factions within Poland who want it to engage in some colonialism of its own now that it’s had plenty of time to recover from its troubles, but the unfortunate reality of globalized power politics is that almost any target “worth conquering” would also drag the nation into a war with one or more large countries on other continents. Some argue that in its glory days, Poland would’ve simply taken that as a challenge. But right now, Aleksander II’s more cautious government – advised by military leaders who seem perfectly happy to get a lot of investment without ever actually going to war – simply don’t concider it worth it.

    Of course, plenty of people say that the High King simply hates the idea of war, perhaps traumatized by his teenage experiences or perhaps just a man of common sense.



    Speaking of, Japan’s warring on the continent seems to have been just a distraction from troubles of its own. It has long been stuck in a web of ideological contradictions: lauding the Emperor’s divine authority while actually ruled by the Shogun, proudly calling itself the home of the Enlightenment while trying to guard itself from foreign influence, embracing Japanese superiority while actually allying and even intermarrying with Rajasthan. Pushed to the brink by otherwise temporary political crises within the country, this national doublethink came toppling down. Having finally risen up in rebellion, in May 1756, the Daimyos and other nobles of Japan succeed in overthrowing the Shogun altogether. However, while they have no interest in elevating a new dictator, they also don’t seem to feel like becoming an absolute monarchy again. Instead, they organize themselves into a noble republic of sorts, with the Emperor having his position solidified as ceremonial head of state while most power rests with the Imperial Diet consisting of the nobility and upper classes.


    (Not the actual Revolution disaster, confusingly enough – just a “normal” republican revolution.)

    The whole so-called Japanese Revolution has some key similarities to the Kupala Coup, but also couldn’t be more different, having occurred in very different circumstances and with the broad support of both the nobles and the populace. However, as the news spreads across the world, it inspires worry in some and courage in others: while only a secondary power in military terms, Japan is one of the most scientifically, economically and some would say societally prosperous countries in the world, which even the Europeans have gradually been coming to accept. If its stable autocratic government can be toppled and replaced with a republic with the rest of the world none the wiser that it’s even happening, what does that say of their own?

    Mere months later, something very similar happens in neighboring Yan, though it wasn’t really the exemplar of stability to begin with. The middle classes of the wartorn rump state rise up, forcing the King of Yan to abdicate and founding a provisional republic in the place of the royal government. Here the changes are actually far deeper than in Japan, as the people seem to be tired of the aristocracy as a whole, aiming to throw out any possible notion of inherited power – though at least the royal family still get to leave with their lives, over to Wu, where they will live in exile. Voting rights seem to end up being defined by wealth, too.



    Much like Japan, the Poles have been quite convinced of their own noncommittal ideology and seemingly had little interest in foreign Enlightenment thought. That certainly doesn’t get any better now that many people are starting to associate it with anti-monarchist revolution. Aleksander II shares these concerns, sympathetic to many Enlightenment ideas but no more eager to give up his own position than any other ruler would be, but for now, his cautious policies – including both appeasing the populace and keeping the military on high alert – have kept the situation stable, and the Kupala Coup is already starting to fade into memory (at least for the optimists).

    In early 1758, his foreign policy is finally put to the test. Karnata and Rajasthan declare war on England, aiming for its various Asian colonies, which also draws newly-republican Japan to England’s defense, breaking its long-standing alliance with Rajasthan. At the same time, a very brief regency ends in Chernigov and the 15-year-old Queen Feodosia I is allowed to take the throne. She immediately uses this power to declare war on Rajasthan, trusting it to be distracted on other fronts and aiming to claim some of those territories that Chernigov has been eyeing for centuries. She is joined in this effort by Germany (which, remember, now reaches deep into Siberia and has plenty of claims of its own).

    More importantly, she also asks Aleksander II to join the cause, saying that Poland might have some colonies of its own to gain. Of course, refusing would break Poland’s alliance with Chernigov (again) and leave it solidly in Germany’s camp, threatening the fragile balance of power. But joining would put Poland at war with most of Asia which, while obviously weaker than it looks, is a logistical nightmare, and just the kind of massive slaughter that he personally would like to avoid.



    He has a difficult diplomatic decision to make, and a choice between certain war now and possible, much worse war in the future.

    Spoiler: Map Highlights
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    • Borders haven’t been changing that much in Europe. Moldavia annexed Serbia, obviously. Murcia quickly rebelled and threw off the Tunisian yoke, only to be invaded again by Kanem Bornu… which only took its capital for some reason.
    • Over in Tayshas, Swedish and Asturian intervention has since cleared out the breakoff states, but tensions obviously remain and Tayshas is very much bankrupt.



    • Rajasthan is massive but also massively backwards, actually one of the least advanced countries in the world by some metrics. Meanwhile, the much smaller Karnata has a larger army that is just as advanced as the European great powers’, and its strange relationship with Rajasthan is generally seen as one of the tail wagging the dog.

    Spoiler: Comments
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    I’m not organizing an official vote, but I am taking thoughts on the war against Rajasthan.
    Other suggestions too, though I’m personally pretty happy following world events as long as I have something to write about. War statistics if joined.

    I… don’t know what to think about that German Eastern Europe. Not to mention how it’ll work in Vic 2. It sure is something.

    A lot of the narrative about the military buildup, rapid changes and Poland’s inability to participate is basically an explanation for why all the AI nations are getting a +50% bonus to their army size due to Very Hard difficulty while we don’t. I’ve confirmed that it’s working, but since it’s only a bonus to manpower, force limit etc. and not instantly spawning those troops, the effects on world balance will also come in more gradually.

    With that failed debate tanking my prestige at the start, the Harald Brockenhuus event immediately after quite literally gave me the choice of whether I wanted to have the Revolution disaster or not – but since I just got out of another self-imposed coup, and probably would just end up crushing the rebels if I didn’t intentionally let them win, I went with what made sense in-character. I’m thinking of buffing the Revolution to match the AI’s buffs so it doesn’t just fizzle, though. Speaking of, even Japan probably would’ve brought out the guillotine if it were the proper revolution, but since they just became a Noble Republic, I figured that they’d still keep their divine emperor as a ceremonial figure the way they have in our timeline.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-04-20 at 09:32 AM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

    Sovereign Levander on Steam

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    How feasible would it be for Poland to join the war but not participate? It doesn't look like there's any real danger of Poland proper being invaded, though the Polish East Indies do seem vulnerable, given their proximity to Karnata. How strong are the military forces, especially the navy, in that colony? And does Poland stand to gain anything should they join and the war prove successful?

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Almost the entirety of that enemy navy (preview) is Karnata's relatively modern ships, so we'll need to bring together a few of our (recently expanded) fleets to be roughly equal, but our side is clearly bigger as a whole. The Indian Fleet and some trade fleets are already there, but the Grand Marynarka and Atlantic Fleet will take a moment to sail around. The East Indian garrisons number 84,000, and any others will have to either march through Chernigov or hitch a ride on the fleets. Karnata might try to sneak a force into the East Indies before the armada can gather, but we'd probably be able to stand our ground, so Poland just joining and securing the seas without actually staging a land invasion is a viable option - as far as we can tell.

    As for gaining anything, there are a bunch of valuable ports to be had, but that'll require us to make a landing, occupy a bunch of territory and possibly make a separate peace to be sure. So the two options are mutually exclusive. Then again, helping Chernigov and especially Germany too much might actually be seen as a minus.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-04-16 at 12:58 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

    Sovereign Levander on Steam

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Chapter #48: Front Row Seats (Aleksander II, 1758-1770)

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    18th of February, 1758

    After much deliberation, Aleksander II and the Sejm seem to be in agreement. He informs the Queen of Chernigov that Poland will be joining the war effort and leveraging its superior navy to secure the Indian Ocean. The unspoken side, of course, is that he has no interest in sending his men to die in a land war in… well, land war against Asia. But it is true that Poland’s oceangoing navy is the strongest by far, and that blockading the enemy will be of vital importance in a war of this scale. Poland has thus honored its alliance for the time being. Intelligence suggests that Germany was actually hoping for the Poles to refuse, sabotage their relationship with Chernigov and tip the balance in Europe. This just confirms that joining was probably the right choice. A naval operation, albeit a massive one, is also easier to sell to the populace than sending hundreds of thousands to march across mountain, steppe and desert.



    The fact that Rajasthan, the mighty Pratihara Empire, can only field a relatively small army despite ostensibly ruling most of Asia and half a billion people is testament to just how shallow its power actually is. On a closer look, most of its vast territory is controlled by local vassals, warlords and tributaries and defended by militias that barely have any guns and would be worse than useless against a proper army. It’s the natural result of trying to rule such a large and diverse land empire with poor communications, of course, but the overly conservative rulers and government in Kanpur have certainly done their part in messing it up further. Meanwhile, the imperial army can only field some 250,000 men, comparable to that of Germany – but far inferior in quality and equipment. The current Emperor is also underage, leaving his mother to reign in his stead, which complicates matters further.



    Meanwhile, the Karnata Kingdom to its south is much smaller in both area and population, but very wealthy, modern and efficient. Despite having married into the Pratihara dynasty centuries ago, it has managed to keep its real and cultural independence. Sitting at a real crossroads of trade and very hospitable towards foreigners, it’s been able to absorb European and Japanese influences alike and keep up with the rest of the world while Rajasthan provides all the raw materials it needs. Cartoonists like to depict Karnata and Rajasthan as a dwarf leading an elephant on a leash, which people also expect to be the case for this war. That goes double for Poland, seeing as the Karnata navy is going to be its main enemy on the high seas.



    Of course, Poland isn’t alone in this, since Karnata has already been fighting the formidable fleets of England and Japan in their separate war, but Poland can’t assume them to be where they’re needed, so it’ll have to muster enough of its own navy in one place. The Indian Fleet and a few trade fleets are already in the area, but the Grand Marynarka, Atlantic Fleet and others also receive orders to sail there and group up. Even by the most generous estimates, they won’t all be there until early next year, meaning that the local forces must stay on high alert. An extra army will also be sent over from Europe to reinforce the East Indian garrisons.

    On land, while most of the armies are still mustering, the war gets off to a bad start in Ceylon. Chernigov has long been allowed to maintain an outpost and garrison there, but with the declaration of war, Karnata forces soon march in to… evict them. Chernigov sharply criticizes Poland’s neglect in blockading the island.



    Yet another war begins on the Europe-Asia frontier as Moldavia invades Rûm and Arabia, luckily not trying to drag Poland into it. It does mean, however, that the Slavs being at war with the entirety of Asia becomes more and more literal.



    One thing the East Indian garrison does dare pull off, far from Karnata’s reach, is a naval landing in the lesser-noticed enemy nation: the Khmer Empire of Cambodia. After most of the enemy fleet is caught and sunk out at sea, it goes through without too much resistance. Some might already be eyeing Cambodia as a potential colony, but it quickly drops out of the war, leaving Poland with one less front to worry about.



    About a year into the war, invasions have gotten moving on the continental front as well, though progress is slow due to the sheer distances involved. On that note, the unlucky armies marching across the punishing terrain of Central Asia are perishing by the tens of thousands or deserting in the desert, even as the first couple battles have been victorious for the Slavs. There might be a good reason that this long frontier has gone largely uncontested for centuries now, the mountains and wastelands serving as a natural buffer.



    As for the largest naval operation in Polish history, almost three hundred warships are placed under the command of two admirals, Shestov and Mikula. They immediately set out to look for a decisive battle to seize the advantage. After some smaller skirmishes, in July 1759 they seem to find it out in the middle of the sea: about half of Karnata’s navy gathered in one place, apparently headed towards the East Indies. However, the enemy admiral only puts up a fighting retreat to escape with minor losses.



    More fighting follows off the coast of Ceylon and the tip of India, but forcing the enemy to fight to the death proves easier said than done. In the end, the Polish forces settle on blockading Ceylon to trap most of the enemy navy there, but unfortunately this means not being able to patrol the rest of the ocean.



    Meanwhile at home, life goes on much as usual. Since there’s need for conscription drives or the sort, to those not directly involved with this distant war, it isn’t of much concern. The only 30-year-old High King, however, is showing strange signs of deteriorating health despite his age. Healers are split on what exactly it is that ails him, but as he needs to take frequent breaks – some of them several days long – he must delegate more and more of his daily duties to others, mainly the provincial and colonial governments that already proved their worth during the Kupala Coup. The conduct of the war, for that matter, is almost entirely in the admirals’ hands.



    In Central Asia, all parties having to split their attention across a large area means that the Indians also have some opportunities to wreak havoc in Siberia, but most of them are repelled soon afterwards. Farther south, the Slavs are making good headway into Iraq and Persia.



    After that initial shuffling, Poland’s part in the war has proven… uneventful, which of course is exactly what it wanted. As the enemy seems content to sit in Ceylon, Shestov and Mikula also feel comfortable splitting off some of their forces to blockade more of India. Still, their contribution is significant for having locked down the enemy navy and also tied down a good chunk of Karnata’s best soldiers in defending against a Polish invasion that never comes. Even the parts of the military that feel a bit frustrated, disappointed or even “bored” by this lack of action can probably be glad they’re not dying up on the continent. By the end of 1761, almost half a million Slavs already have. For Poland, that number is a few thousand back in Cambodia, which is peanuts on the scale of any “real” war.



    It bears repeating that all this time, the Indians also have the Chinese front to worry about, still being at war with the English and Japanese.


    (Fog of War turned off)

    As for Poland, even with the lack of action, the logistics involved in maintaining the navy are nothing to scoff at. The sheer amount of shipments, soldiers and merchants sailing back and forth draws a lot more attention and Polish settlers to the East Indies.



    In June 1762, Karnata agrees on what is basically a white peace with England and Japan, admitting defeat and paying some piddling reparations for its aggression. The original declaration of war was only meant to seize some small colonies but ended up dragging Karnata and Rajasthan into much bigger trouble when Chernigov seized the opportunity to attack.

    But at the same time, Germany and Chernigov are trying to not only replace their losses but actually grow their armies in order to cover the massive front. A constant stream of reinforcements – bottom-of-the-barrel conscripts, hastily hired mercenaries, much needed reserves – makes its way across Europe in a baggage train of epic proportions, large and consistent enough for entire businesses to pop up and new roads be built along its path for the sole purpose of catering to its needs. It’s not a beautiful sight, nor a beautiful sentiment, but some Polish politicians undoubtedly get some comfort out of the knowledge that Germany in particular is pouring its manpower into Asia instead of its neighbors.


    (That really is a rare sight in EU4…)

    October 1763. After devoting over 70,000 men and over a year to the cause – as if they had nothing better to do – Karnata finally takes the heavily fortified Polish stronghold of Lushun (Port Arthur). All Europeans have been long since evacuated.



    January 1764. After failing to get past Adana for several years and finally having the tables turned on them, the Moldavians make an embarrassing white peace with the Muslims.



    April 1764. Rumor is that an increasing number of Poles are making trade with the Indians even through the blockade, at hugely jacked up prices, and the navy is letting them. The navy doesn’t react to these accusations, and Krakow doesn’t press them.

    September 1764. The first German troops finally cross into India proper. The enemy starts pulling back more of its troops to defend the homeland.



    And that they do. After engaging the Germans with the overwhelming force of multiple armies, the Indians succeed in driving them back. It appears that this was a desperate last-ditch attempt by the Germans. The war has been going for almost seven years now, each of them making it more and more obvious what a gross miscalculation it was, while also bringing the Slavs such seemingly massive gains that they had no choice but to keep going and justify all those deaths. However, with this beeline for the enemy capital being thwarted, Germany has simply run out of manpower, money and simply morale to keep up the fight. Kaiser Witosz IV has also died in the field some months ago, leaving the throne to his 15-year-old sister Agafya I, not much of a warmonger. In January 1765, Germany makes a separate peace. All German forces start their equally long trek back home, leaving Chernigov to hold the occupied territory. Poland watches from the sidelines, honestly feeling a bit awkward at this point.



    Chernigov knows perfectly well that it should just quit while it’s ahead. Months later, before the Indians can mount another counteroffensive, Chernigov strikes a peace deal with them – very good by any metric, winning them vast amounts of land, but at a vast cost. Poor supply, exhaustion and disease have claimed far more men than the actual fighting, exacerbated by constant guerrilla warfare by the Rajasthani militias, who didn’t prove so useless after all. While unable to match an army in the field, with the collaboration of the local populace, they were more than capable of sabotaging and attacking the already very long supply lines at every turn and then picking off entire regiments who strayed from the army in search of supplies.



    Most of the land annexed comes from the Central Asian steppe, the part they fought, bled and starved the most over. While not “worthless”, most of it is rather arid and sparsely populated, and many feel justified in asking whether it was worth the trouble. The Poles certainly do, but they also know well enough to hold their tongues in this case. After all, Poland is widely blamed for slacking off and letting the war become such a meatgrinder in the first place instead of ending it quickly. But Chernigov and especially Germany can’t pretend that they were unaware of the chilly diplomatic situation between them, and if these losses really came as such a shock, maybe they should’ve looked at a map first.



    Poland’s various fleets return to their usual postings, and the extra army that spent all these years sitting in the East Indies is ferried back to Europe. No sooner have they arrived there than Asturias starts sailing in the other direction, declaring its own war against Karnata. The Asturians presumably plan to exploit Karnata’s current exhaustion from the war to expand from their existing base at the tip of the peninsula.



    As for Poland, openly exploitative as it may seem, the damage taken by Germany and Chernigov seems to have strengthened it in turn. Having saved its money and soldiers during the war, it is now in the perfect position to offer its neighbors deals for protection and resources that they can’t refuse, undoing years of German efforts to do the same. This boost to the economy and newfound feeling of security also leave Poland, or more specifically the governors making the decisions for the sickly High King, somewhat more open to foreign trade, ideas and imported knowledge. Though no one in Poland recognizes it at the time, historians in the future will say that it was actually showing signs of falling behind the other great powers in terms of development. These subtle, ground-level reforms are credited with having bucked the trend.



    One of the most important technological advancements in this latter half of the 18th century is the widespread adoption of coal as a fuel source, as well as the machinery to use it with. This machinery is naturally still very primitive and mostly useful in mines, which makes the explosive growth of coal-mining a self-reinforcing cycle. Poland is actually quite late to this trend, coming behind the likes of Japan, Italy, Germany and England, but currently possesses the largest coal reserves out of any of them. No one is actually approaching “industrialization” as a conscious goal, nor do they even realize such a thing might be possible, but as it creeps its way into other… well, industries, other countries will become increasingly dependent on those producing the fuel to run them.



    Meanwhile, as the Asturian navy is presumably busy in India, Sweden declares war on Asturias in turn, citing… well, pretty much any of their messy, disputed borders in Amatica and Alcadra as the casus belli. The two colonial empires really have pretty much half the New World to fight over. Despite the scale of the war, though, Sweden doesn’t even ask Poland to join. They must’ve learned from what happened in Asia, albeit not well enough to not start a continent-wide war themselves. Germany on the other hand is called in again and forced to accept, desperate not to lose any of its allies.



    That war gets off to a good start in Alcadra, where Sweden dominates, but not so much in Amatica where its presence is much weaker, nor in Europe where Germany is still badly weakened by the previous war and unable to defend itself. The war begins in late 1766, and by early 1768, Asturias has penetrated deep into Germany and forced Sweden to divert much of its army to fight in Germany’s stead. They eventually succeed in turning the tide, but the fighting will continue for years.



    In this situation, the Poles are even willing to start selling military equipment to Germany – at a high mark-up and the added cost of humiliation, of course. Whatever headstart Germany had in its industrialization is rapidly being undone as Poland makes the leap into other areas such as textiles, and not just lifting large weights or pumping water like down in the mines, but some rather precise work as well. This is actually a growing cause of concern for many laborers and craftsmen who feel that their livelihoods might be at risk, but for the small selection of merchants and government contractors who own the machines and facilities, it's an opportunity for more and more money and influence. Lucky for the common folk, perhaps, these operations are still rather small-scale and centered in the major cities.



    Nadbor IV, having earned himself a reputation as a bit of a babbling buffoon frantically trying to prove his worth to hold the throne, gives the failed invasion of Rûm another shot.



    Well, a few months later he dies doing what he loved, from a stray cannonball after getting much closer to the front than he really should’ve. As his son and heir Zbigniew is only 5 years old, the country is left in the hands of a regent government, and unlike their late monarch, they aren’t too proud to ask Poland to join the war. While Aleksander II still isn’t the most warlike sort, the Poles at least recognize the worth of helping Moldavia not pound its head against the same wall over and over.



    In July 1770, Poland begins its first “real” land war in a long time – hopefully not a very dramatic one.


    Spoiler: War & Map Highlights
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    The Eurasian War (1758-65)
    Chernigov + Germany + Poland vs. Rajasthan + Karnata + Khmer

    Immediately after her coronation, the teenage Queen Feodosia I of Chernigov declared war on the continent-spanning Pratihara Empire (Rajasthan), expected to be a paper tiger that would crumble at the first touch. Enthusiastic as she was, it can only be assumed that the idea was put in her head by someone else. She managed to enlist Germany’s aid on land and Poland’s more grudging participation at sea, but while the sea war was quite uneventful throughout, the land war became bogged down in the various mountains and arid steppe that formed the entire frontier. Despite the Slavs’ technical and (strangely enough) numerical advantage, the Indians had the home turf and the ability to make them bleed for every mile of land they took. After a desperate final push for India, the Slavs ended up simply going home with what they could, namely a great chunk of territory for Chernigov but none whatsoever for Germany, even though their money and manpower had been drained by the war.

    Due to having included large-scale fighting all throughout Central Asia and Siberia, in parts of India, and even in China, the war has been given an appropriately grandiose name. It seems likely to receive a numeral somewhere down the road.


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    From what I can find, the adjective form of Karnata seems to be Karnata, and not Karnatan for instance. Nitpicky as that may seem, now that I know it I’m legally required to use it.

    It looks like even after getting the +50% bonus from the difficulty level, most AI countries didn't really start building those additional armies before they actually got into a big enough war. This creates the interesting effect of individual regiments being recruited at home and marching to the front in a large stream, looking more like something you'd see in... any of the other games in this megacampaign, but not EU4.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-04-25 at 02:54 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

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    Wow. Not getting involved in the land war was definitely the right call. I do wonder, though, if Chernigov is going to take another swing at Rajasthan when the truce is up. Do you know what portion of the losses were theirs?

    As I recall, the last time Poland got dragged into a war against Rum and Arabia it was a surprisingly bloody affair for relatively little gain. Have things changed, or do you expect a repeat of the last conflict?

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    Hmm. I don't think I have any way to go back and check the exact numbers anymore, but in terms of their respective manpower, Germany went down to 0 (or actually ran a deficit) while Chernigov still had some left as I recall, which means that Germany bore the worst of the casualties both in absolute numbers and relative to size. Sign of an absolute failure on all levels of leadership, I'm sure.

    The war in 1739-1744 was in fact a bit of a mess, but while it ended up being a silly white peace, the Poles didn't take that much damage per se and it mostly boiled over because of the already tense political situation. That being said, people should still remember it relatively well. Thanks for reminding me to address that a bit more in the next chapter.

    The one in 1690-1695 is mostly infamous for the Massacre of Mush (I love that province name), where a whole army was caught out of position and wiped out, but it's rather distant memory at this point and the ones who do remember it probably think that a similar outcome can be avoided by better strategy and all the advancements that have been made since then.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-04-26 at 08:37 AM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

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    Chapter #49: High King on Vacation (Aleksander II, 1770-1776)

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    21st of July, 1770

    Germany is recovering and quickly pushing the Asturians out of its territory, ready to take its turn on the offensive. Similarly in Amatica, the Asturians seized Sweden’s colonies around Tayshas early in the war, but after securing the Alcadran front, the Swedes are rapidly making their way up the narrow continent.



    Poland, meanwhile, is entering a war of its own, helping the Moldavian invasion of Rûm. Historically speaking, the Poles have plenty of bad memories from similar southern wars, and the diplomatic mistakes associated with the last one were actually a major catalyst for the Kupala Coup of 1745. However, this particular war has already been going on since last year, and the Moldavians seem to be making good progress on their own, mostly calling in Poland to make sure the shock of their king’s sudden death on the battlefield doesn’t turn the tide. But whether the war were important or dangerous or not, Poland would still need to safeguard its alliance with Moldavia in any case.



    Admiral Shestov, who previously served in the Eurasian War, is put in charge of the Black Fleet and sent south to join with the Moldavian navy and help it assault the Rûman capital Adana. It’s the lynchpin of the Sultanate and the same city Moldavia failed to take in its last attempt, leading to a frustrating white peace. Two armies also start marching south.

    The Muslim fleets are nothing to scoff at either, but the Slavs working together are able to lock down the Eastern Mediterranean, blockading and bombarding Adana to finally take it by December 1770. Thus the invasion moves past the geographical chokepoint and into the Levant.



    Around the same time, much farther to the east, yet another Asian empire is forced to surrender to its own populace. The Khmer Empire had already been on the decline, having been pushed towards the coast by the Siamese state of Lan Na, been forced to open a treaty port to Italy, and even occupied by Poland. The spark in the powderkeg turned out to be an invasion by England, looking to turn the whole country into a colony. Not eager to switch an incompetent ruler for another, much harsher and more distant one, the Khmer people have risen up en masse, driven out the occupiers and imperial officials alike and proclaimed the Khmer Republic as of July 1771. The nascent republic is still at war with England, though, which still occupies part of its territory.



    Indeed, as the republic struggles to get itself in order, the English make a new landing and end up seizing most of its territory. The republic remains, but greatly reduced.



    In 1772, the other European imperialist wars also start wrapping up. Asturias is forced to bail out of its war with Karnata, giving up its naval base in India. Germany, having clearly made another miscalculation by joining the war against Asturias, also makes a white peace in that war as soon as possible. Sweden and Asturias still keep up the fight, though, and large parts of Asturian Amatica are overrun all the way up to the Polish border. It’s already clear who has won; only the exact division of millions of square miles of land remains to be determined.

    It is finally set in stone in the groundbreaking Treaty of Tenochtitlan, 14 December 1772. The majority of Asturias’ Alcadran provinces, as well as some of the most valuable – albeit native-dominated – parts of Tayshas change hands. Sweden’s title as the unparalleled master of the continent and its surrounding regions is further cemented, yet on the other hand, this expansion for expansion’s sake makes it increasingly clear just how fragile that position might be: a small population of a few million in Europe is ruling over a great number of colonial citizens, unhappy natives and conquered other Europeans as well, and though the Swedish government may be efficient and its military mighty, it is clear that this empire can only stand as long as the colonial elites play along for their own benefit.



    As the year turns into 1773, the invasion of Rûm slogs on, having moved on to the usual phase of convincing Arabia to give up the fight. The Caliphate’s manpower isn’t to be underestimated, though: it can very well bring together an army strong enough to send any misplaced Slavic forces reeling back. The sheer amount of soldiers that other countries are able to mobilize lately has come as something of a surprise.



    Poland for its part doesn’t really go out of its way to pick fights with the enemy, but occasionally has no choice if it is to hold onto its occupations and force a pleasant peace treaty sooner rather than later. Still, the overall outstanding General Strigin proves prudent enough to pull back when needed and regroup rather than end up losing the whole region by trying too stubbornly to defend it. Another army is ferried over from the homeland, though, and overall another generation of Poles get their chance to fight and die in a land war. They do well, mind you, but obviously still incur losses with each battle.



    On the home front, on the other hand, technological progress – truly technological in a way people aren't really used to – continues unabated. The steam engines mostly used for mining so far are showing promise in more and more areas, including transportation, and though these ideas are almost all still theoretical and the machinery too finicky for anything more complicated than turning some gears in place, a growing class of investors are seizing on anything that could make them some money. The crown has been rather hands-off, either not really paying attention or just assuming the private sector (itself a rather new concept) to take care of it, but this development isn’t limited to just Poland, either: it’s happening everywhere with the supply and demand for it, be it in Europe, the colonies or even Japan.



    One place where the private sector, Enlightenment philosophy, industrialization and increased education all meet is in the independent press. Competing political presses have had a role in Poland as far back as the Confederate Civil War, where they were instrumental in the race for popular support, and remained a constant presence ever since then, but their effect has been rather more limited (not least thanks to some governments trying and managing to crack down on them). As the number of writers and readers alike is once again on the rise, though, Aleksander II has to choose his own policy towards them. Soft and rather passive as he is, he doesn’t see much need to ban or try to control any but the worst excesses. Poland’s internal situation is rather stable, too, and should be able to handle or even benefit from a little public discourse; including some criticism of the current war effort, be it on practical, isolationist or even anti-imperialist grounds.



    As for that war, well, in 1774 it finally culminates with Strigin’s invasion of Cyprus, where the Sultan and most of the Rûman navy are holding out.



    The fortress is blown to pieces, and the Sultan is faced with the choice to either accept his long since obvious defeat or attempt a desperate escape with the fleet, likely ending up at the bottom of the gulf. He opts for the former. Poland ends up gaining a notable if not really spectacular base on the West African coast, while Moldavia’s gains are rather more impressive: basically everything west of Adana, bringing basically the rest of Anatolia under Slavic control. Of course, while a significant victory for Slavdom viewed as a whole, and the Polish command made no major mistakes in its conduct of the war, those who were critical of the war from the start aren’t necessarily convinced it was worth it.



    The High King doesn’t particularly seem to care either way. In fact, Aleksander II has now spent the last 15 years of his reign notably distant and aloof from politics, seemingly even more so than his chronic illness would require, and doesn’t like commenting on things even when asked. He rarely leaves his comfortable estate near Odessa on the Black Sea, and people rightfully wonder whether he's even paying attention. Instead, the pendulum of centralization has once again swung the other way, as he has left almost the entirety of his work to advisors, local governors and the Sejm. His poor wife Anna, forced to act as an unofficial go-between, has tried and generally failed to make her voice heard in the absence of his own. In late 1774, though, at the same time that the armies start returning from their victorious war, the exasperated Anna starts claiming that the High King’s 25-year-old designated successor Skarbimir could be plotting to fill this power vacuum and force Aleksander II off the throne. She urges the High King or anyone else to take action, but what happens instead is that she gets even more thoroughly sidelined and eventually even replaced as Queen by one of the concubines.



    It seems that either Anna was lying, Skarbimir abandoned his plot, or Anna basically did his job for him, as no coup of any kind ever comes and he instead ends up taking her position as the High King’s main deputy.



    He takes to his increased duties with glee, authorizing and pushing through several projects suggested by the Crown Council that have long languished in bureaucratic limbo.



    That includes the grandest “project” of all: maintaining Poland’s position at the top of Slavdom, making sure it can never be shaken again (as Germany seemed to be doing for a moment) and never again taking it for granted. At times, Poland’s relationship with its allies and subjects has even resembled the Chinese tributaries of old, treating them with diplomatic but clearly condescending grace, often as de facto vassals. However, the opposite – doing whatever those allies ask in a desperate attempt to keep their favor – is also not a good look for a great power. The balancing act is a difficult one, and one that’ll require constant dialogue and presence. Is what the government’s well-spoken advisors say, anyway.



    The power balance within Slavdom really seems to have become the top issue in Polish foreign policy once more, shoving aside things like Pagan-Christian rivalry and colonial questions. At the same time that Krakow launches these high-profile initiatives to court its allies, it almost off-handedly passes a law to crew Poland’s greatly expanded navy with increased, even forced recruitment in its actual vassals: Frisia, Yugoslavia and the colonial voivodeships. The main thing keeping the vassals grumbling but “content” through various diplomatic crises has been the mostly hands-off treatment they received as long as they paid their (heavy) tariffs and taxes, but this “active campaign of royal persecution to pay for European wars” is making tensions flare up again. The upper classes are a mixed bag, but much of the general population has moved to the colonies specifically to escape what they see as royal tyranny and the ever-looming risk of being conscripted to die in a nameless jungle or desert somewhere, like in this most recent war. New outrage mixes with old frustration, fanned by revolutionary winds blowing from Asia across the Pacific. Things that weren't a central issue in the past, such as the lack of colonial representation in Polish politics, suddenly become breaking points. Throughout 1775, firebrand speakers are touring the towns and villages of Polish Amatica, with local officials ignoring or even encouraging their clearly illegal rabble-rousing. Be shipped off to fight for the oppression of others, or stand up and fight for your own rights, they say. The current government's failure to crack down on rebellious newspapers just lets this message grow more and more shameless.

    Words escalate into acts, mostly in the form of protests and passive resistance at first. From the reports reaching Krakow, it doesn’t seem it’ll require much more than a regular restoration of discipline. In between all its other priorities, the Sejm puts together a special committee and sends it to Ledenesz, the capital of Buyania and effectively Polish Amatica, to consult with Voivode Bozydar Radziwill and demand that he keep his subordinates in line. When they arrive in February 1776, he seems initially receptive, apologetic if clearly tense. In private meetings, reports of which only reach the public much later, Radziwill promises to take action and pacify the provinces by force if necessary. Thinking its duty done, on the 27th of February the committee boards its ship, the Mlody Orzel, to return home.

    Unbeknownst to them, the cargo loaded onto the ship – an extra shipment of furs and other goods to “pay for” the colonies’ insubordination – is in fact nothing but gunpowder. As soon as the ship is outside the harbor, a willing martyr left onboard ignites the payload. She, the ship and all members of the committee go up in a massive fireball. This explosion's physical shockwave is already great, rattling windows in the city, but far outdone by its political one.

    The Mlody Orzel is still burning in the background when Radziwill delivers his historic speech, soon to be printed and distributed throughout the colonies. Historians in Europe and Amatica alike will differ on his motivations, his concern for the populace, his commitment to the cause, whether he was involved from the start or only picked it up to keep and gain greater power. But the “Eagle’s Claw Speech” of 27 February 1776 is a passionate cry against tyranny, imperialism, gouging taxation and the ruthless indifference of distant monarchs that will inspire and be imitated by countless revolutionaries to come. The Amatican Revolutionary War has begun.



    As Buyania figuratively and later literally declares war on Poland, Lukomoria and Jeziora enthusiastically follow suit. Somewhat suicidally, so does Frisia. And, making it increasingly unlikely that this was all unplanned and spontaneous, even the Queen of Asturias (or Francian Empress as she calls herself) declares her quite hypocritical support for this revolution in order to weaken Poland. Poland’s faithful allies will stand on its side, of course, but the full scale of the situation will only become clear over the next several weeks and months. But whether the Poles realize it or not, they’ve been thrust into another continent-sized war, one they can’t just sit out this time. And as far as they’re concerned, it’s come entirely out of nowhere, by the hand of traitors of the worst kind.


    Spoiler: Comments
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    Looks like southern wars really are cursed somehow! Not that there's an actual mechanical connection there, just funny timing.

    The Far East of all places having a series of (successful) republican uprisings in a short period of time – Japan, Yan and now Khmer – sure is an interesting trend, and I'm more than happy to highlight them as this timeline's "home of the revolution". For that matter, one thing conspicuously absent from this game has been colonies breaking free, compared to our last game several years back for instance. It might be a difference in coding that has emerged since then, or it might be a more subtle side-effect of the power balance in Europe, like the religious divide making the great powers too reluctant to Support Independence in each other’s colonies or something. I’ve been passively encouraging it through things like raising tariffs and pressing sailors throughout the game, but even as multiple vassals have had very high liberty desire for almost a century now, they’ve never actually done anything about it. Until now for some reason. Presumably the difficulty level. The year is a little too perfect, though…

    The numbers aren’t exactly in the colonies’ favor, but most of our allies aren’t exactly known for their naval power. Nor can we exactly move our entire army to Amatica…
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-05-08 at 12:28 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

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    The more I look at this situation, the less in Poland's favor it seems. Yeah, they have a 3-1 numerical advantage, but there's a huge amount of rebel territory to contend with. I suppose it'll come down to how smart the AI is about keeping its armies intact and how willing the Poles are to wage a protracted war - much like the real life American Revolution.

    I also wonder how the people running Poland are going to react to this. It all seems a little out-of-nowhere, and though I'm sure future historians will find plenty of warning signs its possible the people in the moment haven't seen any of them.

    Also, given Aleksander's hands-off approach to government, I wonder if this rebellion is even necessary. How would the High King have reacted if the Voivode had simply asked for increased automony? Is that even possible in the game mechanics?

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    Chapter #50: The Amatican Revolution (Aleksander II, 1776-1779)

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    1st of March, 1776

    The idea of “democracy”, in the sense of rule by negotiation and consensus, isn’t in itself foreign to European or even Slavic philosophy. Small-scale city-states run on such principles have existed since antiquity, and still do, and the pagan regions in particular have a long history of tribal councils of which the various parliaments of Slavdom – including the Polish Sejm – are but the latest incarnation. However, there’s one thing all the parliaments with any real power have in common: they consist of only the nobility and whoever else might qualify as the ruling classes. Even where the ideals of rule by consensus are respected, the concept of rule “by” or “for” the general populace goes against traditional and the currently popular rationalist philosophies alike. The driving principles of government anywhere in Europe are deeply paternalistic, with the people’s role being to do whatever the wise and powerful say, to the point of often making those rulers blind to any other option. Even when the people might take up arms and rebel, the government assumes that either the poor peasants don’t know what’s best for them or there’s some power-hungry noble stirring them up, and often there is. But it barely even occurs to them that there could exist a large-scale movement among the disenfranchised masses.

    The advanced, respected and powerful Japanese Empire becoming the world’s first major “constitutional monarchy” with gradually expanding voting rights has set off a paradigm shift that’s reaching some faster than others, and Krakow for one is being rather slow on the uptake. When Buyania, Lukomoria and Jeziora “suddenly” rise up in rebellion in early 1776 – the signs having been there for months, years or in fact decades – Voivode Bozydar Radziwill is initially assumed to be the ringleader behind the whole thing, missing the fact that he’s only been Voivode for a couple years and the overwhelming frustration with Polish rule goes far deeper. In contrast to the Polish Sejm, the colonial administrations under it have traditionally given voting rights to most landowners, which in the colonies is a good chunk of the population, and thus the people have gained more and more influence over who rules them – except over the crown government at the very top, which seems to have no interest in them other than milking them for money and manpower. The voivodes get to tell them that as much as they’d want to make their lives better, the crown won’t let them. The fact that the current High King is especially aloof just makes him more hated in their eyes, not less, and any petitions they’ve made have been quickly dismissed before ever reaching him. Physically distant, exploited and unrepresented, even those originally from Poland have little reason to feel like Polish “citizens”, only “subjects” – and unlike in Europe, where such ideas have been quickly and fiercely put down wherever they surface, in the colonies they’ve been able to fester. This also applies to the relatively well-integrated Native Nations, forming around half of the colonies’ population, which broadly support independence from Poland and have been promised total, not merely relative, equality once the “imperialist” overlords have been defeated.

    No doubt they feel like they’ve made a deal with Czarnobog by allying with Queen Ghada I of Asturias, Francian Empress, who seems blissfully blind to the impact this movement might have – or is already having – in her own colonies, not to mention the inevitable invasion of the Asturian homeland (again). Still, doing so has secured basically all of inland Amatica, with Poland and its allies only having several perilously scattered footholds across the coast. Those can also be a vital asset, of course, but only if they can be defended and used as launching boards to push into rebel territory. The war between the Colonial and Royal coalitions, as they will come to be called, will be fought across huge tracts of farmland and wilderness and over a few critical ports. At least the fourth voivodeship, Nowa Straya, is rather isolated from the others and has had the good sense to not get involved.


    (Colonial capitals in 1776, real-life names in brackets. Click for larger version.)

    The slowness of cross-Atlantic communications adds to the confusion at the start of the Amatican Revolutionary War. Of course, the commander of the crown forces in Amatica, General Agnes Obolenski, learns of the events of 27 February and the unofficial declaration of war long before anyone in Europe, but by that point, the Colonial forces have already had ample time to capture all the important infrastructure and kill or arrest – mostly arrest – any officials deemed too loyal to the crown. The colonies being allowed (or made) to maintain their own militias seems less wise in retrospect. Meanwhile, the Royal garrison’s main base has always been in Nowa Antwerpia (New York), Lukomoria, where the Atlantic Fleet is also stationed, and in the absence of orders from the homeland, Obolenski deems it her duty to ensure that it stays that way. While the rest of Poland gets its bearings and tries to grasp the scale of the situation, she moves to seize the city and its surroundings, declaring herself their military governor for the time being. While she will be reprimanded for this technically illegal action, the government will unanimously brush it under the carpet and praise her decisiveness instead.



    Agnes Obolenski is a young talent from an old military family who earned her position in the aftermath of the latest Rûman war, where she commanded troops in the hills and deserts of Syria and Jordania. Poland’s greatest all-star General Henryk Strigin seems to have some long-running mutual feud with her, which neither of them will elaborate on, but it meant that when she was promoted, Strigin pulled some strings to have her put in charge of the Army of Amatica, far away from Krakow, the action – and himself. He never could’ve imagined that those would be the frontlines of the most important war in a while. While younger than Strigin, she’s at least as good at her job (some claim Strigin was simply scared to be dethroned) and commands great respect in her subordinates – most of whom are in fact from the colonies – making doubly sure that they will remain loyal even as most of the populace turns traitor. They’re far from the only loyalists, of course, but those currently stuck in Colonial-controlled territory have little room to show it.



    Although, Strigin does assert his authority on a less-remembered front of the conflict: when news of the rebellion arrive in Europe, Grand Duke Hendrik van Renesse of Frisia – grumbling but not generally rebellious until now – is a little too vocal in his support for the Colonial demands, wanting the same for Frisia as well. Already skeptical of the Frisians’ loyalty, and allegedly at Strigin’s urging, the nobles of Aleksander II’s deputy government order the crown army to move into Frisia and occupy it just to be sure. The exact truth of how “rebellious” Frisia actually was will remain debated for years to come, but with Poland going on the offensive, the Frisians are quick to take up arms in defense of their autonomy and the Grand Duke they see as standing up for their rights. Frisia is, in effect, treated as part of the Colonial rebels, and Strigin engages its army like he would any other enemy. The very first battle is already a decisive victory for Poland, from which the Frisian rebels won’t recover, but the fact that it even happened leaves a scar in the national memory that also won’t heal for a while.



    The attack slows down when it hits staunch resistance and some of Europe’s best fortifications outside Amsterdam, the Frisian capital, and Strigin has no interest in sitting around to besiege it. He leaves that to others, taking one army and embarking onboard the Grand Marynarka to earn his share of the glory in Amatica.

    Over there, Obolenski receives her first real orders from Krakow, but they basically say to do whatever necessary to squash the rebellion and seize its leadership. To that end, she marches for Bakanów, not too far from Nowa Antwerpia. In stark contrast to Frisia, the colonies are sparsely populated and even more sparsely fortified, making it more a war of logistics and maneuver in difficult terrain. The Colonials know that terrain much better than the Royals do, not to mention the risk of the civilian population joining in as guerrillas. Obolenski’s survey of the situation is apt and her answer to Krakow laconic: she needs more troops.



    A bit to the south and far to the west, Scottish colonial troops are quick to enter Asturian territory. On the other hand, while Sweden’s colonies are mighty indeed, they’re a lot less ready to contribute: the ragtag colony of New Svea is riddled with the same native rebels that have plagued Tayshas for ages, and that Tayshas is also taking the opportunity to march back in and try to reclaim some of the land it lost in the Treaty of Tenochtitlan just a few years ago.



    Swedish Alfmark is also in dire straits, having to deal with a sizeable civilian uprising (possibly inspired by the Revolution) at the same time that Buyanian forces are attacking its western territories that they’ve honestly always wanted for themselves. Indeed, the war’s first real fighting by any Buyanian troops occurs in the vast inland forests, between grizzled rangers on both sides, and the Buyanians are clearly coming out on top. Western Alfmark is a lost cause, but at least reinforcements from Alcadra succeed in rescuing Alfsvik and putting down the rebellion.



    Wasting no time as she goes, Obolenski succeeds in capturing Bakanów by the end of May. She meets little resistance, the Lukomorian army having decided to pull back and fight another day. Only now do they finally show up to try and contest the territory she’s captured, which they will come to regret: with advance intel from her scouts, Obolenski is able to catch them in a trap and kill or capture an entire army in one fell swoop. Voivode Kurnatowski of Lukomoria, clearly overestimating his ability as a military leader, is among those captured; but to their credit, his subordinates succeed in a daring plan to rescue him and let him return to the fray. There is also fighting at sea, but there the balance is much more one-sided and the Colonials spend most of their time either running or sinking.



    Constant raids and skirmishes follow throughout the war, wherever the Royals go. Obolenski seems to show particular talent in avoiding protracted battles and minimizing her own losses, making the best of what she has available here far from the homeland. On the “downside”, this arguably slows down her occupation of Lukomoria, as she aims to keep her troops in one place as much as possible to reduce the risks of them being picked out piecemeal.



    In August, the Grand Marynarka and Strigin finally arrive on Beothuk Island (Newfoundland), making their first landing at Janigród (St. John’s), the symbolically important oldest Polish settlement in Amatica. Strigin plans to use it as his forward base to launch his daring attack on Ledenesz itself.



    Meanwhile, though, the political framing of the conflict has solidified: the Colonials won’t settle for any empty promises and demand nothing short of full independence, with all Royal troops removed from Amatica, while the government in Krakow is outraged and determined not to give in to traitors and rebels. Whatever other divisions might exist between them, almost everyone in continental Poland can agree on the need to maintain a strong grip on the colonies, lest it start a snowball effect and spiraling decline elsewhere. Their allies in Sweden and Scotland agree, fearing the effect that a colony successfully breaking free could have on their own empires. For once, everyone can join together in firm agreement: the Colonials must be defeated.


    (Very ironic event given the situation…)

    That attitude is also seen in the troops on the ground. Especially European-born soldiers seem to have little sympathy for their Colonial countrymen, either seeing them as traitors undeserving of sympathy or just taking the opportunity to follow their baser instincts. Their occupation often involves looting and other cruelty far beyond the necessary, which the population won’t soon forget.



    Towards the end of the year, as the snows start falling and army movements slowing, the war enters a whole new, much different phase. When the Colonials wrap up their occupation of western Alfmark and start congregating around Lukomoria, Obolenski finds herself facing almost 2:1 odds, growing worse by the month as the largely untouched Buyanian and Jezioran populations are mobilized for war. Strigin, preparing for his master plan and not interested in working with Obolenski, is no immediate help. And worse, Krakow is hesitant to ship any more armies far across the sea… but given the situation, it just might have to.



    Problem is, the Asturian army may also have been dismissed as a threat a little too soon. In early January 1777, upwards of 160,000 Asturian troops suddenly flood over the Frisian border, having acquired passage through Italy for this purpose. They should also take their sweet time breaking through the fortifications, but that’s a lot of latinos to fight at a time when the Poles are already hurting for reinforcements elsewhere.



    At least Obolenski’s skill and the enemy’s lack thereof can compensate for the difference in numbers. She catches the same old Voivode Kurnatowski out of position and wipes out his entire army once again, and the fact that he himself manages to evade capture this time does nothing to make him look better. Whatever the outcome of this war, he won’t exactly go down in history as its greatest hero.



    Despite the fact that much of the sea around Ledenesz is frozen, Strigin executes his invasion plan, marching his troops over the ice where needed and taking up positions (on land) around the city. However, Ledenesz, the Throne of the North, isn’t the sort of lumber hillfort he and Obolenski have encountered so far: as the “Capital of Polish Amatica”, is protected by fortifications no less formidable than those in Frisia. Strigin is a brave man, and a skilled commander, but he’s taking a great risk by placing himself between the city and all the enemy forces around.



    At least the Poles manage to close one chapter of the war in May 1777 by finally reaching Amsterdam, arresting the Grand Duke and forcing all rebels to stand down. Whether this is wise or not, they then impose yet more demands and penalties on Frisia and replace the Grand Duke with a Lechowicz, actually leaving the territory with less autonomy than it used to have. The Asturians retreat, and Poland has at least some more men to spare.



    During the summer, a third army finally arrives in Lukomoria, under General Pelka Dabrowa. He goes on the move to try and reinforce Obolenski’s flanks as she makes a push deeper inland.

    Other fronts aren’t doing as well. The initially promising campaign in Scottish Cascadia turned out to be an utter loss as more Asturians came in through Caliphania and occupied the whole region. Similarly, the attack from Hibernia succeeded in capturing much of Appalachia, but has since been driven back by Asturian and Jezioran reinforcements.



    At least the siege of Ledenesz turns out to be much less grueling than expected. Strigin shows no mercy in bombing its walls (and much of the city) to pieces, capturing it by late October. Of course, surprising exactly no one, the Colonial leadership and Radziwill are long gone by now. The capture of the enemy capital is a major blow, but not the end of the war. They have plenty of continent to hide out on, after all.


    (Situation at the start of 1778.)

    In late February 1778, almost exactly two years into the war, Obolenski faces the first real defeat of her career. Having decided to force the Colonials to relent no matter what, and perhaps gotten a little cocky after all, she finds herself and her army climbing up and down the Appalachian Mountains in search of a reported enemy force. That force turns out to be a lot larger than expected, and the Royals get bogged down in the difficult terrain, allowing more and more Colonial reinforcements to arrive. In the end, Obolenski only succeeds in making a narrow retreat with only around a third of her original forces, most of whom had served under her since the start of the war. She’s forced to make a running retreat to the coast, ceding much of her captured territory in the process.



    Meanwhile, even though the Frisian rebellion was defeated, the European forces still need to stay on high alert for sporadic Asturian attacks. At least those Polish allies unable to contribute to the fighting in Amatica are sending some forces to support this front instead.



    April 1778. Elections in the Buyanian “Commonwealth” should be held right around now, but Bozydar Radziwill’s government has implemented emergency measures to delay them for another four years.

    As it becomes clear that just trying to capture key points and forge forward won’t work here, the three unruly generals – Dabrowa often having to mediate between the squabbling other two – are forced to focus on thoroughly securing the eastern seaboard before making any more bold pushes. If they don’t, Colonial forces will just pop out of the bushes and take it right back, making them turn around and waste time. Krakow’s hands are also tied: there are currently 3 armies in Amatica, 6 in Europe and 2 in the East Indies, and they can’t detach any more for fear of a new Asturian offensive or even a new war breaking out that would threaten the homeland.

    In December 1778, Strigin succeeds in cementing his seat in the halls of champions, as he takes his 42,000 men and strikes towards the 77,000 who have sprung up to try and recapture Ledenesz. The Royals’ superior troops, equipment, leadership, and what many call the favor of Radogost are enough to drive off the large but cobbled-together Buyanian army. Unfortunately, his daring comes with a price: he himself dies in the assault, struck by a sharpshooter after taking the lead in the final assault that seemed to have stalled until he showed up. Having first captured the enemy capital, gone out to defend it, died in such a way, and actually won against those skewed odds, even Obolenski has no choice but to begrudgingly salute her late rival. Strigin’s right-hand-woman Vojslawa Wend will have to take over for him.



    Luckily, she seems to have little more work to do. Dabrowa succeeds in capturing Kataraktyn, the Jezioran capital, and the Colonials keep taking more and more losses with almost every battle they try and fight. They made a strategic decision to rely on their vast territory to bleed out the Royals and get them to the negotiating table if nothing else. However, their Asturian allies have failed to put enough pressure on the Poles in Europe, allowing them to send more troops to Amatica, and now the Jezioran breadbasket is at risk as well.

    Until now, the Colonials have also been able to rely on material aid from Asturian Amatica. But though it took a while, the last Swedish-Asturian war seems to have repeated itself after all, with the Swedes securing Alcadra first and then marching up the continent in force. After initial gains, Asturias is rapidly losing ground in New Svea, the Swedes being about to push into Tayshas and raising the specter of another full occupation. At the same time, the Asturians are pounding their heads against the wall in Frisia while their own territory is plagued by devastating raids from Polish allies. Not to mention that the Queen has died, and her replacement is much less invested in continuing this doomed war. He threatens to make a separate peace and leave the Colonials facing total crop failure, starvation and inevitable defeat. More of the fighting moving into the Native Nations’ territory also risks losing their tenuous support for the federal government.


    (Spring 1779)

    Radziwill, who has in fact become the figurehead of the revolution despite being a rank-and-file member at the start, launches more desperate attacks and attempts to get at least some sort of compromise, but the Royals are relentless and demand nothing short of unconditional surrender. Finally, in March 1779, that’s effectively what they get. Pushed by their own governments, or thrown under the wagon depending on how you look at it, the three voivodes emerge out of hiding to present an armistice to Dabrowa (Obolenski being much too hated). Thus the fighting ceases, but neither the Royals nor what remains of the Colonials move from their positions. Instead, they dig in and prepare to resume fighting at any time. Barring a miracle, the war is lost, but should Krakow not show mercy, they might well end up fighting to the last man.



    The generals present their best reports of the events of the war and current situation to the Sejm, which gathers to debate the immediate and long-reaching fate of millions. For once, even Aleksander II has been dragged along to participate, or at least listen…

    Spoiler: Special Vote
    Show
    Vote whatever you want, whether or not that’s the most “realistic” option, and I’ll make it work. (In my opinion they’re all plausible with the right narrative spin.)

    “We do not negotiate with rebels! All who lash out against the divine and legitimate law laid down by His Highness and the Sejm, murdering messengers of the Crown and taking up arms against their rightful government, deserve punishment of the highest degree. To compromise would be to reward insubordination, and call others to try the same! We will hunt them down, put them all to trial and show the world that there is no fighting the Polish Eagle.”
    • Full return to status quo, including the same or even harsher treatment of the colonies and execution of the rebel leaders.

    “I can see that most of you in this room treat this as either a local rebellion, a foreign war or some confusing chimera of the two, when it is in fact the greatest and bloodiest civil war our nation has faced since the days of the Confederation many generations past! Do you not know how that conflagration, sparked by meaningless squabbling in this same Sejm, put a thousand thousand children of Poland in the ground and threatened to tear our noble nation apart? Do some of you not come from venerable families who paid dearly for taking the wrong side, and were locked out of these halls for decades after the fact? While this rebellion must be punished, we must also see where we are fallible and seek compromise, lest it repeat itself time after time. The citizens of the colonies are citizens of Poland, and must be treated as such. Treason must not be tolerated, but a free man in Ledenesz deserves the same rights as a free man in Krakow.”
    • Keep the colonies as vassals but try to reconcile, treat them better in the future, remove but don’t execute leaders, and try to keep Liberty Desire low.

    “Has it not been known for centuries untold that Slavs are slaves to none? And yet, the moment a free Pole crosses the ocean to seek a better life and selflessly expand his nation while he does so, we forget he was ever a Pole and start treating him like a conquered subject or a foolish child! Their pleads for fair treatment have fallen to deaf ears, and they only took up arms when we pushed them over the brink! They must have the freedom they ask for, so that they can work with us as equals, or we’re going to spend the next century bleeding ourselves dry, fighting brother against sister while the world laughs around us! It’s not rewarding rebellion, it’s righting what is wrong! It's... Wait, what are you… Get your hands off me! Hey! He’s got a weapon! H—”
    • Grant independence to Buyania, Lukomoria and Jeziora, try to maintain better relations and Polish privileges, and keep Nowa Antwerpia and Beothuk Island as military bases.

    Vote here! Remember to share your view in the comments as well! [CLOSED]

    Spoiler: Comments
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    They agreed on that peace actually a lot earlier than I expected, at only 29% war score. Full disclosure: mechanically speaking, the war is over and they’re unlikely to start a second rebellion before the end of EU4 even if we do keep mistreating them. But the decision is still impactful, especially roleplay-wise and going into Vic 2.

    I feel like I’m doing a lot of pretty text-heavy chapters lately. These are definitely the most detailed couple years of this AAR so far. But that’s partly because a lot of game mechanics are in fact pretty arbitrary or out of nowhere, not to mention not very interesting to just describe beat-by-beat, so especially when it comes to historical events whose in-universe effects should far outweigh their mechanical ones, some more narrative is needed to keep up a consistent setting. Grand strategy games are perhaps a bit notorious for their abstraction of things happening “on the ground”, understandable as it is. Besides, I generally think that even in real-life history, warfare itself isn’t nearly as interesting as everything going on around it, and the relatively simple warfare mechanics definitely contribute to that feeling. To some extent this writing style has replaced the more narrative special chapters that I always had trouble deciding when to sprinkle in, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleBison View Post
    Also, given Aleksander's hands-off approach to government, I wonder if this rebellion is even necessary. How would the High King have reacted if the Voivode had simply asked for increased automony? Is that even possible in the game mechanics?
    I suppose that’s what high Liberty Desire is about, affected both by the colony’s power relative to yours and by your positive or negative actions towards them. The game effectively tells you that a colony is at risk of rebelling if you don’t lower their LD, though in this case they’d stayed in that rebellion zone for so long it became the norm.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-05-18 at 04:17 AM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

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  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    I'm voting for reconciliation. A return to the status quo is simply laying the groundwork for another war. Granting the colonies independence is a terrible idea for a lot of reasons: It encourages other colonies to rebel, it's an insult to the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who died in the war, and perhaps most critically it doesn't give the colonies any reason to be friendly with Poland.
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    Crush them! Grind their hopes of liberty beneath our boots, and never let up!

    This is totally an optimal strategy, not just a way of making Victoria II more interesting.
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    Chapter #51: Closer to Home (Aleksander II, 1779-1788)

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    7th of March, 1779

    After both sides of the brawl are escorted out with minor injuries, there’s no one left in the Sejm foolish enough to imagine giving the Colonials exactly what they want after three years of fighting and so close to totally crushing them. There are some more moderate voices calling for some sort of settlement rather than a brutal one-sided subjugation that would only push the problem into the future and make it worse, but in the end, they too are sidelined. Some demands for a killing blow and elimination of all rebel elements really do come from a place of zealotry, but for others, it’s just an unfortunate fact that suddenly adopting a reconciliatory tone after taking such a hardline stance until now is a political impossibility. For whatever it’s worth, Aleksander II himself is (moderately) in the moderate camp, but never asserts himself too strongly, and after hours of listening to the heated debate, agrees that the entire government must present a united front in its demands for unconditional surrender.



    The fighting in Amatica resumes, but there’s no longer any real contest. The ceasefire has given the Royals ample time to shore up their supply lines and put down resistance, while driving the already ailing Colonials ever closer to total collapse. After the heartlands of all three voivodeships are captured, the generals are already preparing to continue their push into the countryside for as long as it takes to find the rebel leaders and wring a surrender out of them, but those leaders finally decide that resistance will only cost more lives for no real purpose, and – after leaving behind a heartfelt last message and manifesto that will be unsuccessfully censored and continue to circulate in the colonies for decades to come – turn themselves in voluntarily on the 8th of June, 1779. There is no official peace treaty, for even that would mean legitimizing the rebels, and sporadic fighting and violent incidents will continue for a long time, but the Amatican Revolutionary War is over – or at least on break. Rather than even slap a bandage on the wound, people will rightfully say that Poland is twisting the knife in it.

    Much as they expected, the three voivodes – Bozydar Radziwill, Lechoslaw Kurnatowski and Prendota Belevski – are brought to Nowa Antwerpia, given a swift and one-sided trial and executed in the fortress courtyard with no audience; beheading by axe, as is the traditional fate of rebels. At the same time, a revolutionary hymn echoes throughout the town, citizens in their homes and on the streets joining in the choir.



    Countless other rebels who made it through the war itself are jailed and often executed as well, and not even regular soldiers and collaborators are necessarily spared. The majority of the colonial administration is replaced either with those who stayed loyal or entirely new arrivals from across the ocean. Two armies under General Obolenski will remain in Amatica, based in Nowa Antwerpia and Ledenesz, but the crown army will also monitor the rest of the territory. While minor concessions are made to the taxes and manpower requirements to account for the reality that there is little left to give, overall, Poland’s treatment of the voivodeships becomes even worse in several ways and better in pretty much none. Only Nowa Straya avoids the same fate, due to not joining in the rebellion and being rather separate from the others in general. The fact that people they’re used to thinking of as fellow Poles, including relatives and other close contacts, are being treated like conquered enemies causes quite a stir even in the homeland population – the integrity of the colonial empire isn’t such a critical issue for most of them – and while the shift in mood will be widespread, Poland really was caught in a lose-lose situation in some sense. Imperialism is an inherently brutal and self-destructive mentality, people will say in the distant future – but it’s not likely to pass its peak for over another hundred years.

    The unrest in Frisia isn’t totally over, either. The installment of a Lechowicz prince and tighter-than-ever Polish control has renewed their demands for an independent, liberal, republican government. While support for this movement is widespread, Frisia is already being closely monitored, and even the armed rebellion is quickly suppressed before it can really get going.



    One thing weakening Frisia’s attempts at independence is its lack of internal unity: at the same time that some clamor for Frisian independence for Poland, there are people in its southern parts who want independence from Frisia. Of course, the crown army puts them down all the same.



    Over in Nowa Antwerpia, “Slaughtermaster General” Agnes Obolenski – never too passionate in her persecution of the locals, biographers will argue, but a little too willing to let it happen – is assassinated in the street in July 1780. She is shot at close range by two gunmen who leap out of a window, having clearly waited there to ambush her. Hated by the Colonials and beloved by the Royals, this will only stoke tensions further. By now it should be perfectly clear to everyone that the fighting in Amatica is far from over, and the armies will have to remain there for the foreseeable future.



    At the same time that it tries to split itself across three main theaters (Europe, Amatica and the East Indies), keep unrest down in each, and “replenish” its manpower, the army continues to improve its logistics and bureaucracy while also drawing up, mostly theoretical, plans for how Colonial-style tactics could perhaps be applied in the case of large-scale fighting in Polish territory.



    Several more uprisings occur in Frisia, and while Poland itself has been untouched so far, the unease in the air is palpable. The Poles try to expand their web of alliances and mutual assurances, whether against these threats from below or in order to gain an upper hand in this world increasingly dominated by great powers, but their findings are concerning: Europe is quite sharply split into Slavic and Christian blocs, which are further divided into Poland, Germany, Italy and Asturias. These despise each other and are just looking for any sign of weakness while trying to shore up favor with the secondary powers. Beyond Europe, the Indians aren’t much use and Japan is playing Italy and Germany simultaneously. Poland has few real allies to gain outside those it already has.



    However, as it turns out, the great power playing field is about to see some major changes. Over the last several decades, ironically ever since Dalimir I named himself Kaiser in 1745, Germany has seen a very Romanesque rapid rotation of rulers, regency councils and internal power plays, the difficult integration of Vladimir, as well as massive and mishandled foreign wars for no benefit to the country and much suffering to the populace. The treasury has tried to fill its leaking coffers by raising taxes, taking and then defaulting on loans from German merchants, or simply confiscating private property. In early 1781, the latest to take the throne after a few years of regency is Sedzimir III Lechowicz, a 15 years old but already thoroughly unpleasant young man who seems to have no interest in even trying to rule wisely and would much rather spend his beat-up country’s money on a lifestyle that’s pampered and ostentatious even by imperial standards.



    Sitting right next to both the old city-states of the Rhineland and the revolutionary hotbed of Frisia, there's no way that Germany could've been totally isolated from the same ideas. Indeed, there is more and more similar stirring in Germany as well, which the government tries to keep under wraps but which Poland’s contacts have kept a close eye on. Whether uncaring or in fact trying to distract from the issue, only a few months after his coronation, Sedzimir III declares war on the rump state of the Kingdom of Sardinia that was previously left half-conquered. While a pushover in itself, this also puts Germany at war with Asturias – again. The German people remember perfectly well how that went last time. This is both the last straw, and the perfect opportunity.



    It happens on the 1st of September, 1781. In Salzburg, Austria, one of the major cities of the empire and a center of anti-imperial sentiment, at the end of another of his plays full of revolutionary rhetoric, natural and regular philosopher-slash-playwright Eustachy Strasz von Calw takes the stage like he always does and starts talking. Over time, general hatred of the detached and corrupt imperial government has developed a tinge of anti-Slavism as well, as even though Slavic culture and religion have quite thoroughly permeated German society, the fact remains that the ruling monarchy originated as a Polish puppet state, Slavs are still seen as disproportionately rich and powerful, and many Germans feel persecuted within their own country – a feeling which people like von Calw are happy to play on. The Polish annexations of the North Sea coast still stings, and especially the southerners really want Wien back too. The hopes of the German people are many and ambitious, but they all must start somewhere.

    His routine diatribe is even more fervent and graphic than usual, and the reason soon becomes clear: by the end, the audience is rushing out of the theater like a human wave, sweeping up more and more chanting revolutionaries as it goes, armed mostly with whatever torches, pitchforks and improvised clubs they can find. By the time they reach the local duke’s residence, the confused and utterly surprised guards open fire on the crowd, but are quickly overrun, and soon so is the rest of the house, the duke himself being clubbed to death. With the local garrison greatly reduced by the mobilization for war and the flames of revolution flaring ever higher, Salzburg falls under rebel control within the night. Word travels fast, and within days, several uprisings start occurring across the country. The Amatican Revolution was a “failure”, but it set the example for others to come; and now the Germans will do what they failed to do, or die trying.



    Most of the German military has moved out of the country or even across the sea, and as such, its initial response is rather slow. Much as it hurts to even consider “helping” one of Poland’s main enemies, the Sejm actually debates intervening to stop this seemingly even worse ideological threat, but it soon becomes clear that the Germans predictably won’t allow Polish forces to enter the country. Doing so would require a full-blown invasion, turning most of Slavdom against Poland, which puts that option firmly off the table. Poland can only watch the situation unfolding across the border, try to balance the situation within its own borders, and get its own people to safety before they too can be lynched.

    The Revolution, with the amazing orator von Calw as its apparent leader, quickly organizes itself and lays its roots both in the central cities and in the impenetrable Alps. Trying to simultaneously hold off the revolutionaries and continue the war, Germany achieves neither, instead allowing the Asturians to make a breakthrough in the south and once again push deep into its territory, which is now a three-way battlefield. Indeed, the foreign invaders are probably the bigger threat to the revolution here, but they also don’t go out of their way to pick fights with the rebel forces, having little interest in anything besides reconquering their own claims. Roughly a year into the Revolution, the capital Braunschweig is under siege, while elsewhere, radical declarations and drafts for a constitution are already being written.



    Though the Europeans pay it little mind, on the other side of the world, an ominous precedent is set: only a few years after its founding, the once-idealistic republic of Yan already lapsed into a life-long dictatorship under its first elected leader, and now, following his death, his son has inherited the position almost as if the coup never even happened. The revolutionaries of the world would do well to heed this warning of how things might go wrong, but they’re a little too busy with battles of their own.



    In early 1783, the German government – without the Kaiser, since he’s stuck in Braunschweig – makes a desperate peace, handing back all territory previously part of Asturias and Sardinia in order to finally bring its armies home and make a last-ditch attempt to rescue the monarchy.



    However, it is too late. In August, the revolutionaries finally storm the final bastion and take the imperial palace. The teenage Kaiser, supposedly either defiant to the last or sniveling for mercy depending on who you want to believe, is soon relieved of his head, while what's left of the imperial family flees to various allied countries. Even the military seems rather halfhearted in its attempts to stop this, since even if the noble leadership is loyal to the government (or at least attached to its power), much of the actual army isn’t. At the same time that countless remaining nobles and noble-sympathizers who haven’t yet left the country are put to trial for their crimes against the “German people”, work begins in the capital for a new, truly democratic Bundesrepublik. For starters, the traditional estate-based Reichstag is replaced with a bicameral parliament including a fully elected Bundestag and a separate Bundesrat where the states of the federal republic, granted considerable autonomy, can represent themselves. The legislative, executive and judicial branches of government are, at least on paper, separated in a way seen nowhere else in the world. It’s worth making the distinction that this republic is still dominated by the wealthy middle class and burghers, refusing to grant the vote to the lowest classes that it says would be too easily swayed by vain tradition or demagoguery – but even with that caveat, it really is remarkably progressive.



    And Eustachy Strasz von Calw, to his credit, surprises the world by actually staying true to his supposed ideals and not even running for the presidency, though in the end, he doesn’t actually retire and simply becomes the ideological force working behind the government. Indeed, many of the revolutionary government’s most unusual traits can be traced to von Calw. He and his closest followers appear dedicated to radicalism and reform for its own sake, wanting to weed out anything and everything they think might symbolize the old regime. Besides changes to the government itself, this includes goals like ditching the old calendar, changing the number of days in the week, total atheism – quite unheard of – and even reforming the language to remove certain terms with archaic implications.

    Most of the populace has yet to get behind these more radical ideas, being more focused on more immediately relevant matters, but the Calwists are sure to keep pushing them behind the scenes.

    The Polish crown army, for the record, has been keeping a close eye on the border to stop revolutionaries from crossing over, seemingly with success. As the sheer radicalism of the Bundesrepublik becomes clear, together with open (political and cultural) anti-Slavism, the will to invade and dismantle the republic by force is greater than ever, but unbelievably, Sweden and Chernigov still object to the idea and threaten to attack Poland if such an attempt were made. Of course, they’re not completely blind to what’s happening in Braunschweig; rather, it’s quickly becoming clear that what they're really loyal to is the balance of power within the pagan world. While they are happy to maintain alliances with both sides, allowing Poland to install a friendly (or even puppet) regime in Germany would only make themselves more vulnerable to total domination by Poland in the future. To them, the existence of a strong Germany means leverage over Poland, even if that Germany is also something of a question mark at the moment. And war on all fronts, including the colonies, is simply not something Poland can risk.

    But even if it can prevent people and arms from crossing over, there’s no stopping ideas that already have a foothold within the country. That same “strong Germany” seems to be an inspiration to all sorts of people. The Polish crown must also start pumping as much money and manpower as possible into expanding its military, but it really is pushing its limits in that regard. All distribution of subversive ideology is banned, but that kind of censorship, especially on such a vaguely defined scale and when Poland has generally been rather lax in the past, has a bad habit of only making it more appealing. Poland proper doesn't seem to be at any immediate risk, but should it let its guard down, there are sure to be plenty of people willing to create some.



    Sweden seems to be home to some really stupid ideas of its own. It chooses this of all times to begin a colonial war against Munster (effectively a satellite), Italy and Japan at the same time, hoping to seize a whole slew of outposts all over the world. Of course, that also means fighting all over the world, and the Swedes seem to live under the illusion that Poland is going to help them with that. Too bad for them, Poland calls their bluff. Even if it means breaking the alliance with them and destabilizing the situation even further, Poland will not start a global sea war against two colonial powers with the Bundesrepublik merrily beheading aristocrats right under its nose. The sheer absurdity of the situation becomes clearer day by day, but the Poles can only bite their nails. With all the great powers that could intervene in Germany either fighting each other or held back by the short-sighted politics of their “allies”, the revolution will have ample time to establish itself.



    Elsewhere, another republican government collapses under its own weight. Perhaps this gives some hope that Germany will simply do the same.



    And in the Madjid Caliphate of Arabia, a place Poland usually doesn’t pay much attention to, an ideology known as Wahhabism has taken hold in recent years: an especially fundamentalist form of Sunni Islam that, for all intents and purposes, makes even fellow Sunni into insufficiently pious heretics that it must wage holy war against. The gradually shrinking Sultanate of Rûm has clearly outlived its usefulness as a long-term ally, for in the summer of 1786, Arabia and Yan declare another Asia-spanning war against Rûm and its newfound ally Rajasthan. The Caliphate’s ultimate goal seems to be the creation of a true pan-Islamic state stretching across the world. With Asturias also waging a pointless colonial war against Japan, it seems like Poland is one of the only places in the world not at war.



    Germany, for that matter, shows no immediate signs of succumbing to the same sort of regression as those other republics, deciding to allow the President only 3-year terms and successfully electing a new one. The republican system has proven disturbingly functional – for now – but even then, under the surface there’s plenty of debate and maneuvering between factions with different internal and foreign policy goals. Ironically enough, the revolutionary zeal, national spirit and so far empty threat of monarchist invasion whipped up by the government have allowed it to start recruiting more soldiers than the conscription drives of the hated Kaisers ever did, and the more time passes, the more difficult that perhaps inevitable war becomes.



    And in June 1788, the inevitable happens. With Imram Silvester’s rise to the presidency comes an even more militant shift in the currently 5-year-old republic’s philosophy, saying that not only must the Bundesrepublik prepare for an existential battle that might come at any moment, it must take the initiative: not just for the sake of the German people, but the many oppressed nations still living under foreign imperial rule. Only by striking when the chains of oppression are stretched to their limit can the Revolution break them altogether, establish a safe haven of like-minded republics in Europe and spread ever further. And right now, the obvious target right next door is Italy, distracted by a colonial war and with much of its army deployed outside Europe. The German Revolution was only the beginning – now the Revolutionary Wars begin.


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    • There isn’t much fighting going on in Europe itself, but there’s about to be. Germany is at war with Italy, Japan and some very minor countries; Italy is at war with Germany, Sweden, Chernigov and England. Asturias has recently finished its colonial war and is now at peace.
    • To the east, the Arabian-Rûman war is off to a decent if slow start. Yan made a quick separate peace, but Arabia is making progress on its own.

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    In a typical “civilized” war of the late 1700’s and 1800’s, both sides mostly consider it a matter of two sovereign rulers fighting over territory that simply happens to come with a population living on it, and as the role of looting and pillaging is actually on its way down and armies are more streamlined and organized, only a tiny part of the population is directly involved in the fighting and no widespread terror campaign is usually necessary (though that still doesn’t mean occupations are nice and cozy or anything). Even nationalism and the idea of having to belong to your own “nation” are only now really starting to emerge, though the AAR writer’s modern perspective seeping into the text tends to obscure that. However, when it comes to rebellion, or even worse, revolution, suddenly the very population is your enemy, and one that you must keep down no matter what if you don’t want your own power structure toppled altogether. Hence why I made such a big deal of our first civil war that wasn’t actually an intra-nobility squabble, and how it was also unusual to the people in-universe.

    Anyhow. Now would obviously be a good time to attack Germany, but I can confirm that it will put us at war with Sweden, Chernigov and England (it’s honestly a bit funny that the revolution doesn’t break your alliances with monarchies). Scotland and Novgorod would join us, but Moldavia, the strongest of our allies, doesn’t feel like it. I still feel like the Poles would be uncomfortable starting an all-fronts war against those countries, and meta-wise I also wouldn’t mind letting the revolution go on a bit longer, though I don’t want it to feel too much like I’m just sitting here twiddling my thumbs and letting them get stronger on purpose. Even if we don’t attack now, it'll definitely come within the next couple decades. Thoughts?

    …Of course, that’s assuming we’d win. Though Germany is distracted with Italy, its army is the same size as ours, concentrated in Europe and growing, whereas a third of ours is in the colonies (which would also become a battlefront thanks to Sweden). Once you count in both sides' allies, they’d actually have the bigger numbers, though it wouldn't be the first time that the AI messes up despite that.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-05-19 at 01:54 PM.
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    I don't think attacking Germany is a good idea as long as it has so many allies. Can you guarantee someone the Germans are likely to attack?
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    We could possibly guarantee one or two of the tiny states around them; I think the AI includes guarantees in its math when considering whether to attack or not, but in that case, either they don't attack at all, or they do and Moldavia+Chernigov should hopefully join our side. Sweden is currently allied to them but not us, so it could well join in the attack, but we should be able to remake the alliance with Sweden once the penalty from breaking it last time wears out. Guaranteeing a larger country like Asturias or England would be both risky, since they could get mixed up in all sorts of colonial wars, and possibly kind of out-of-character since we all hate each other's guts.

    I also checked whether we can convince any of their friends to break their alliance, since I often forget that's an option, but nah. We can't.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-05-19 at 10:29 AM.
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    Chapter #52: The New Normal? (Aleksander II, 1788-1805)

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    9th of June, 1788

    The 59-year-old High King Aleksander II no longer spends much time at his various estates, having finally settled down in damp and drafty Wavel Castle where he should’ve been all along – first and foremost for his own security, but also to remind the Polish people that there is still a High King, and that he’s not just a ceremonial figurehead who lives on the nation’s money and leaves the actual work to others. Well. For a couple decades now, that’s mostly what he was, but if Poland is going to emerge from the current crisis victorious, he’ll need to take a more active role.

    The republican uprising in Germany was far from the first in the world, and in fact directly inspired by successful attempts in East Asia and the failed one in Amatica, but it has been unique in the sheer radicalism of its ideology and for turning one of the top great powers upside-down. In the so-called Bundesrepublik, the capital-R Revolution has gone through several overlapping phases, from killing the old leadership, to the new leadership scheming against each other, to trying to export the movement to other “reactionary” monarchies. Poland and its blatantly artificial puppet state Yugoslavia have been spared any open uprisings thus far, but already restless Amatica and Frisia are a different story, with the crown army basically having to maintain a hostile occupation of each. At least Nowa Straya and the East Indies have been blissfully quiet, saving some resources, not that the natives there are happy about their colonization either.

    Worst of all, having had five years to consolidate, radicalize and raise the largest citizen army in the world – making up in enthusiasm and innovation what it might lack in traditional training – the Bundesrepublik has finally decided to take direct action by invading the Italian Empire. Its sworn enemy and ultimate target might be Poland, but Italy with its absolute monarchy, devout Catholicism and plenty of oppressed people to liberate presents a tempting first victim for Germany to fatten itself up for the final battle. How genuine they might be is up for debate, but the supposed ideals of Freiheit, Gleichheit, Solidarität – and death by guillotine – really pose an existential threat to the undeniably rather oppressive great powers of Europe. And yet those great powers are too busy fighting each other or even supporting Germany, either because they’re somehow blind to the problem… or because they wouldn’t mind seeing Italy and Poland brought down a notch.



    The anti-Slavic message might be one reason the Revolution hasn’t been as popular within Poland or Yugoslavia, even among those who can get behind the rest of its goals. In Vladimir, on the other hand, much like in Germany, the demagogues have been successful in fanning up resentment against the Slavic upper class among the largely Ugrian population. There was already an attempted coup in the capital region to overthrow the “Uralic Republic”, a special member of the Bundesrepublik, and restore the Kingdom of Vladimir, but despite Polish sponsorship, it was eventually put down by the Revolutionary Guard and only prompted more purges of the former aristocracy. In any case, the existence of these eastern provinces only makes the prospect of war even more intimidating – especially for Novgorod, which stands to be overrun from all directions.



    The already ongoing war, though, gets off to a rather choppy start, as the German and Italian territories are so closely and messily intertwined that neither can avoid some attacks slipping through. As some small mercy, Sweden makes a white peace in its own ill-advised war with Italy (and Japan), allowing them to focus entirely on the Revolutionary threat, but those troops are going to take a while to get there. After roughly a year of fighting, the momentum clearly seems to be on the Germans’ side as they win several battles and roll into France, declaring new glorious republics in just about every province or even individual town they pass through. Sometimes the locals actually support this, but the vast majority of the time, it’s only a small group of collaborators helping the Germans set up a transparent client state (or “sister republic”).



    In September 1789, yet another Polish ally starts an utterly unnecessary secondary war, namely Moldavia trying to take advantage of the Arabian-Rûman war to continue its own conquest. Infuriating as it is, Aleksander II – actually making some decisions for the first time in a while – has no choice but to accept the call to arms, but he has absolutely no intention to help any more than is necessary. At least Karnata doesn’t get involved in this one, meaning that Moldavia might actually be able to handle it on its own.


    (Whyyyy)

    The High King also manages to renew the relationship with Sweden, making a fresh start with the newly crowned King Dan I (through a considerable amount of bribes and trade concessions). Sweden still refuses to accept an invasion of Germany – ironically enough, it has members of the imperial family lobbying it not to allow a single Pole set foot in Braunschweig – but at least promises to come to Poland’s aid should Germany become the aggressor.



    That is indeed the top concern on Poland’s mind. It does its best to adopt any useful bits from the Bundesrepublik’s tactics and organizational reforms, in addition to finally weeding out any leftover mercenary companies and other irregulars that have been grandfathered in through countless reforms in the past and replacing them too with career soldiers and trained recruits.



    In the summer of 1790, the Bundesrepublik achieves a breakthrough in Lombardy, securing several Alpine passes and finally marching into Italy proper. Italy has been more successful in Africa, where it has seized most German and English outposts, but that is very little comfort should the homeland fall. The German forces based in China have also occupied Japanese Korea, inspiring the proclamation of the Republic of Korea in the independent state next door, though in this case Japan has already crushed the small German force and started reclaiming its territory.



    The Bundesrepublik’s less than streamlined army is hampered by squabbling and indecision, shuffling troops from front to front and chasing after stragglers, but still manages to maintain a slow but steady two-headed offense into France and Italy. Paris falls in early 1791, and though the Italian peninsula is rather heavily fortified, there seems to be no force available to stop Rome from meeting the same fate sooner or later.

    In Frisia, the same old uprisings continue.



    Within Germany, it must be said that even the state of war hasn’t made the Revolution give up on its principles, as it dutifully continues to elect a wholly new President every three years. Of course, once that’s happened four times in a row with not a single reelection, it’s probably a sign of intense ideological discourse and not in fact happy consensus. But even though old personal and regional interests are starting to raise their head in the government, for now, it remains rather devoted to the common struggle.

    Still, despite continued success in the field, the war is taking a great toll on the ramshackle Bundesrepublik, and pragmatism wins the day: in January 1793, having stalled north of Rome, the Germans decide that now is a good time to make an armistice – neither side considers it a permanent arrangement. The treaty forces Italy to recognize the independence of a number of republics in Lombardy and southeastern France, which then immediately “join” the federation and are thus annexed by Germany. Toppling an empire in one war is a lot to ask, they’ve decided, so they’ll just patch up, regroup and come finish the job later. These new territories will only make an even better launching board.



    Poland couldn’t care less about Italy, and on any other day it could be cheering, but both Germany’s success in the war and the lukewarm international reaction just make Krakow more and more fidgety. The Swedes seem to have decided that while the Revolution must be stopped from landing in their own country, other countries fighting each other does them no harm, and the Germans actually feel some sort of pan-Germanic kinship with them that leads to much less hostile rhetoric. With Chernigov, meanwhile, they seem to have made some sort of pragmatic exception in their anti-Slavism, toning it down in order to maintain this invaluable check against Poland.

    However, unbelievable as this crisis may be, perhaps it’s not all horrible. While it has done little to reverse Poland’s authoritarian streak, this and the Amatican war seem to have shaken off a certain sort of complacency after all. Pushed to extract every coin, resource and peasant from the land and make as good use of what it has as humanly possible, Poland can only do its best to stay on the cutting edge of… well, anything and everything.



    The field of culture and science is never quiet either, and even when those great works or discoveries have no direct practical application, Krakow is eager to embrace and tout them as proof that monarchy is nowhere near synonymous with stagnation. Indeed, for all intents and purposes, the “second reign” of Aleksander II wouldn’t be a bad time at all, were it not for the looming reason behind the whole thing.



    Poland does its best to simultaneously support any counter-revolutionaries and lobby other countries to see just how anathema the Revolution is to everything they represent, but it seems to be a lost cause, as their alliances with Germany are already built on sheer cynical Realpolitik – a German term that seems more relevant than ever.



    Arabia makes a favorable peace, annexing roughly the southern half of Rûm and the entire Persian Gulf coastline. In January 1795, Moldavia finally does the same, annexing the north. The Sultanate of Rûm, built on great ambitions but gradually chipped down by the Slavs and finally betrayed by its ally, is no more. This probably won’t be the end of Moldavian-Arabian conflict, though.



    The relative lull within Poland is broken in early 1798, as Crown Prince Skarbimir dies while on a hunting trip – something the cautious royals haven’t had a lot of recently. While seemingly accidental, having fallen off and stumbled down a cliff, his body is badly mangled and the whole thing a little too sudden, too convenient. The heir presumptive goes out without a bodyguard for once, and is immediately violently killed? Aleksander II, for one, thinks it was no coincidence.



    The High King is 68 years old. Even the Crown Prince was in his forties. He’d always had a major role in running the country, even basically acting as its regent for a while, and his loss is both an immediate blow to the administration and a looming one in the probably near future. The High King can’t be expected to live much longer at the best of times, and even though he should obviously cloak a new heir, the next leader of Poland will inevitably be a young and inexperienced one.

    And in July 1798, barely a few months after the partition of Rûm, Moldavia and Arabia have already started fighting over where exactly the demarcation line should go – apparently Moldavia adjusted its initial offer to “somewhere around Cairo” – and another war is at hand. Aleksander II offers a nominal promise of aid, with roughly the same amount of enthusiasm as last time.



    More surprisingly, around the same time, the Bundesrepublik begins a blatantly colonial war of conquest against Betsimisaraka and its protector Japan. After Germany got off to such a good start in terms of “democracy” and refused to even reelect its leaders, President Jacek Bogumil is currently serving his third consecutive term and seems to be doing his best to build a cult of personality of sorts. His open militarism now seems to be taking forms reminiscent of the oppressive colonial regimes of old, perish the thought – although, true, Betsimisaraka is a monarchy, so he can at least “plausibly” use the same justification of spreading the revolution.



    As a minor footnote in the annals of history, England finally invades the tiny Duchy of Lancaster squeezed between it and Scotland, which it has somehow allowed to exist all the way until now. While inconsequential in itself, the rhetoric around the invasion is notable for including the idea that “all English-speakers”, apparently including very divergent dialects like Yorkish, should be part of “the English nation”. Although, in the end, England ends up buckling to internal and external pressure and promising Lancaster a more gradual path to integration as a vassal at first.



    Seemingly turning away from the precipice where so many other republics didn't, in 1801 the Bundesrepublik decides to put an end to Bogumil’s little empire-building exercise and finally oust him from the presidency, replacing him with the more moderate Konrad Ausala. They then seem to resume their original tradition of always electing someone new.

    …They’ll still finish the war he started, though. That part’s apparently fine.

    On that note: in 1804, Moldavia finishes its war with Arabia, with perhaps rather modest results.



    And as the year changes into 1805, High King Aleksander II is still kicking. His emergency heir Nadbor has learned the ropes decently enough, Germany’s threats of Europe-wide upheaval have been put on break as it busies itself in Madagascar and Korea of all places, and while it would still be a grand struggle if it were to attack, year after year it becomes less obvious that such an attack is actually forthcoming. After all, much as the revolutionaries might hate to admit it, they’re bound by Sweden and Chernigov’s threats in just the same way as Poland is. While it definitely seems untenable in the long term, and the Christians probably have another invasion to fear sooner or later, Poland might well have to settle in for a very stressful, very long 19th century.


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    Really getting tired of people’s dumb wars, but oh well.

    I am quite honestly stumped on what to do about Germany, as long as Sweden and Chernigov are there and no one else seems to care. Of course, that’s just how the Poles feel in-universe as well, and while deeply disturbed by the situation, they’re also not suicidal enough to start a huge war without a truly immediate threat. If the Germans don’t attack us, then that just means a very different Europe going into Vic 2, I guess. And I could ostensibly guarantee Italy or something, but that would probably just mean no wars at all, which is the most boring option of all. There’s a number of things about the diplomatic situation that feel difficult to explain in a way that makes sense in-universe, but I try.

    If nothing does happen, I can’t deny that I’ve kinda shifted into Vic 2 transition mode, and in a sense, the world being dominated by great powers and their pacts of mutually assured destruction is a very natural lead-in to that. There’s little aggressive action we can take that makes sense either mechanically or in-universe, though arguments to the contrary are welcomed. But if that turns out to be the case, we might have only one or two chapters of EU4 left. That should be a little energy boost for me, assuming it doesn’t crash and burn, anyway.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-05-24 at 06:49 AM.
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    Chapter #53: The World of Realpolitik (Nadbor III, 1805-1821)

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    7th of January, 1805

    The Christian world has entered the 19th century, though in the Slavic Calendar (which starts in 883 A.D.) it’s only the year 922. At the same time that the entire world grows increasingly centralized under a small number of global empires and industrialization picks up speed, making the great even greater, the political landscape seems to have come to a critical junction with the German Revolution of 1781-1783 and the rise of the ideologically radical Bundesrepublik. The very idea of a traditional monarchy has really come under fire for what feels like the first time, and the aristocrats in charge don’t know how to react. Perhaps even more problematic than the Bundesrepublik itself is this inability of the other powers to agree on a course of action: some like Poland and Italy see it as an enemy to be destroyed, while others – even though uneasy about its goals – are willing to compromise with the Bundesrepublik as long as it suits their own interests.

    Not just that: following the First Revolutionary War and the addition of several new “states” to the Bundesrepublik, many of the illegal republics declared in the Italian Empire have refused to submit to the crown even after the Germans withdrew, and are now fighting a war of their own to do what the Germans couldn’t and topple the government in Rome altogether. The fact that the Bundesrepublik can plant such seeds of unrest makes it look even more infectious. One can only speculate whether the revolution succeeding in Italy as well would just lead to infighting between it and Germany anyway, or – the nightmare option – them actually joining forces against the surrounding monarchies.



    In the end, the revolutionary armies are routed in early 1806, but not before occupying several major cities and considerably shaking up the imperial establishment. Italy enters an almost Amatica-esque period of uneasy friction with its own, still rebellious populace, and just like across the Atlantic, the situation doesn’t seem truly over.

    There is shaking in Poland as well, for in February 1806, High King Aleksander II finally breathes his last. With some 60 years on the throne, he’s one of the longest-reigning rulers in Polish history – and though his passiveness during that time could maybe be blamed for some of Poland’s problems, he at least stepped back into the limelight for the last decade or so, paving the way for his (second) heir to inherit an actually rather stable country, even if that stability was in many places achieved by force. With the pressing need to educate him into a decent ruler as quickly as possible, Nadbor III has turned out rather… decent, indeed. Much like Aleksander II back in the day, he hasn’t had the time to hone his skills and contacts in a lesser post, but the nobility in particular has high hopes that he will inspire the nation to stand against the Bundesrepublik and Revolutionary lies, at least in defense if not offense.



    The Bundesrepublik, for that matter, ends up making a white peace in its strange colonial war against Betsimisaraka and Japan. However large its citizen army, Germany was never really a major naval power and can’t compete with Japan on the waves. Of course, that’s still a lot of time and resources down the drain.



    Perhaps to distract from that failure, only a few months later, President Krzeslaw Adalbert and the parliament begin their second invasion of Italy. Even if Germany took some damage from its colonial adventure, Italy is faring much worse after both the previous war and the rebellions in between, and its allies don’t seem to be interested in sacrificing themselves either.

    Though the Germans should have a large numerical advantage, organizational issues and inconvenient geography once again give the war a sputtering start. The most fought over area seems to be the Occitan coast, which is a natural consequence of the German corridor to the Mediterranean being of vital importance for both sides.



    As usual, every German setback big or small makes Poland feel tempted to just rush into Braunschweig, which it surely could achieve, as the capital of the Bundesrepublik is only some 60 miles from the closest point of the Polish border. But foreign relations continue to make that either impossible, or certainly not worth it even if achieved.

    The young Nadbor III decides to focus on that diplomatic front instead. By maintaining constant, always positive relations with the other pagan nations, and more softly and gradually convincing them of the monarchies’ need to stand together against the Revolutionary menace, he hopes to eventually swing the balance in Poland’s favor and acquire an opening to invade.



    It doesn’t hurt that these wars between Germany and Italy, two of the most industrialized powers in the world, are persuading (or forcing) other countries to rely more and more on Poland for goods and investment.



    And so it happens that, apparently having been much better prepared this time around, after almost six years of grueling back-and-forth fighting concentrated in the Alps, Occitania and France – often resembling civil war, as local partisans fought against either or even both sides – Italy actually wins what could well be considered a defensive victory. The territories it reclaims from Germany in the peace treaty of April 1812 are comparatively minor, but just having stopped the great Revolutionary machine (its now second humiliation in a row) is a great triumph in itself, immediately turning the public perception of the Bundesrepublik from a “rolling onslaught” to a “mess of mob rule tripping over its own feet”.



    Both countries have been economically and physically bled dry. Nadbor III chooses this moment for another diplomatic offensive, aimed at Chernigov in particular, but as persistent and persuasive as his arguments of Polish superiority against German “decadence” might be, in retrospect they were bound to fail: the idea of the Bundesrepublik being unable to protect itself only makes it more, not less, important for others to maintain the balance of power. Truly, it is hard to see what sort of argument, short of Germany posing a direct threat to Chernigov, could change that – and with Poland located in between them, that seems rather unlikely.


    (Even that effective +5 shift in diplomatic reputation didn't do the trick...)

    Alas, mere months later, Chernigov fires the first shots of the Second Eurasian War: another continental invasion of Rajasthan and Karnata, in which it requests Polish aid. The same cold logic that led to that previous exchange takes this one in an unexpected direction: the Bundesrepublik turning out weaker than expected (?) and the threat of an invasion of Poland seeming remote at best means that Chernigov also isn’t such a critical ally after all, so Nadbor III “politely” refuses the call to arms. At this point, it’s no secret that he might actually be hoping for Chernigov to shoot itself in the foot, get bogged up in a bloody war and leave Germany defenseless.



    A while later, Germany actually joins that war, apparently not remembering how it went last time. Other great powers also start piling on Rajasthan, as Asturias – which has conquered itself a nice foothold in Indochina in the confusion of the last couple decades – joins the attack from the opposite direction.


    (Also pictured: the rising star of the Shan Empire, formerly Hsipaw, which hasn’t gotten a lot of attention)

    Even Scotland, which doesn’t actually have colonies east of Guinea, joins the dogpile. Nadbor III stands firm in his decision not to get involved in this whole mess. If Scotland wants to be safeguarded against England (which is also participating in the invasion, for the record), it’ll probably remake that alliance as soon as possible anyway.



    Poland gets to keep itself busy in Frisia, where yet another faction has arisen in the struggle for power: one wanting to maintain the monarchy, but get it back into local hands. Of course, the armed rebellion is once again crushed with relative ease, but the royalist faction is added to the fractious ranks of Frisian underground politics. It would probably go a lot better if they struggled together.



    Among the great powers not invading Rajasthan is Moldavia, which has been distracted growing its Mediterranean dominion. It succeeds in its war against Tripolitania and Kanem Bornu, annexing most of the former’s heartland and thus gaining a stronger and stronger grip on the strategically vital sea.



    And so, though they are not in fact working together, most of Europe seems to have put aside its differences in favor of working on every great power’s common hobby: imperialism. As the years tick by, more and more of Rajasthan comes under (tenuous) occupation from one direction or another, while Poland and Nadbor III in particular mostly sit by, shake their heads and continue selling them the wares to do so.



    In August 1818, Moldavia starts another land-grab of is own, once again against Arabia (and its Chinese allies). As little interest as Poland frankly has in this, Nadbor III can’t risk his frustration turning into total isolationism, having already lost Chernigov and Scotland as allies. Moldavia is Poland’s most powerful ally to begin with, so somewhat reluctantly, he promises his support for this one.



    In the end, after so much effort (more from some than others), the Second Eurasian War comes to something of a whimpering end in 1819, as first Chernigov and Germany make a successful peace treaty – mostly taking some land in Central Asia and the Caucasus – and then the others, suddenly finding themselves under a lot more pressure, have to settle for white peaces, time wasted and nothing gained. Poland’s decision to stay out proves quite prudent once more.





    Europe seems to be falling into something of an awkward but surely temporary lull, in a world full of ambiguous in-betweens. Amatica is in check but far from stable, the Bundesrepublik has proven strong but not undefeatable, Italy has stumbled but not fallen, Slavic cooperation is tenuous but holding, and the Polish population is quiet if not quite happy. Emerging technologies, still a strange concept to be quite honest, are starting to shake up both the military balance of power and people’s very way of life. While Poland might be the strongest great power, the others have caught up and found ways to restrict it nonetheless, a fact which the Poles are acutely aware of and highly uncomfortable with. Long gone are the days that simply being stronger than your worst enemy and able to beat them in the field of battle seemed to be enough: now it appears that you have to be stronger than your so-called friends as well. And while it might be that the sun never sets on the Kingdom of Poland, visions of a Pan-Paganist Polska Uniwersalna look more and more like delusions, and the world might be entering a whole new, very different era of… brr... alternatives.


    Spoiler: Comments
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    I… actually forgot for a moment that I was going to play this until 1836. Looking at it now, I realize doing that actually causes certain technical problems in the conversion, but I can work around those by making this 1821 save the one I actually convert, making any major changes that happen over the next 15 years manually (which I already have to do for a looot of things anyway). However, with that in mind, the structure of the next chapter isn’t set in stone quite yet. Depending on what (if anything) happens in those 15 years, it might well be just a quick, more narrative intermission and not this kind of step-by-step chapter.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2022-03-10 at 03:18 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

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  18. - Top - End - #168
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Hsipaw? Hsipaw turning into an empire? That's surprising, they've only ever been a very minor power in the games I've played. Hope the conversion to Vic2 works out well, looking forward to it!
    ithilanor on Steam.

  19. - Top - End - #169
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    Haven't really posted, but just wanted to say I've been enjoying these and thank you.

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    Interlude #3: Between Wars (Nadbor III, 1821-1836)

    Spoiler: Chapter
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    1st of January, 1821

    In the future, it would become a commonly cited cliché that the 1820s and early 30s were a rare period of “peace in Europe”. However, that was only a very shallow view, plus as the situation around the Bundesrepublik stabilized somewhat and became the new status quo, the European powers accelerated their efforts in African and Asia instead. Moldavia wrapped up its invasion of Arabia in record time, taking a geographically modest if extremely valuable chunk of Egypt, which is both the Caliphate’s economic core and the Madjid dynasty’s homeland. The Movilesti rulers of Moldavia thus managed to push the Arabs off the Mediterranean coast altogether.



    Of course, the new status quo was no less hostile than the old one. Even if neither side anticipated a war in the near future, Poland and Germany engaged in constant diplomatic spats and even the occasional border incident with a lot of saber-rattling and apocalyptic rhetoric. The boogeyman of an ideological enemy right next door continued to be a great boon for both sides’ internal politics, even if the unifying effect began to wear off over time.



    Also with record speed, Chernigov started the Third Eurasian War. High King Nadbor III once again decided not to join, and the Poles started to doubt the value of maintaining an alliance with Chernigov at all.



    As for Indochina, Asturian disruption in the region was part of what originally allowed the overgrown city-state of Hsipaw to carve out its very own Shan Empire. When Asturias tried to invade the Shan in turn and assert dominance, it backfired in spectacular fashion as the Empire – armed with modern tactics and almost-modern weaponry – ended up overrunning the Asturian colonies and acquiring its first bit of coastline in the ensuing peace treaty.



    The humiliation provided an opening for armed revolutionaries to also rise up in Asturias, which had appeared mostly insulated from the movement until now. While they ended up being forcefully put down, it served to establish that the situation was still fragile. The Emperors and Empresses of “Francia” clung onto their (long-since meaningless) moniker harder than ever. Similar uprisings also continued to occur in Italy, where various separatist movements – especially on the French side – picked up speed as well.



    Karnata, which had long tried and even managed to stand equal with the other “civilized” powers, was finally subjected to large-scale colonization as Chernihiv and Germany carved it apart almost as collateral damage during their wars with Rajasthan.



    Poland, to its credit (?), remained at both external and internal peace throughout this period. Even still, it saw great demographic and economic upheaval: as industrialization progressed in leaps and bounds, more and more newly jobless peasants started moving to the cities, which necessitated their massive expansion and, in the worst cases, the birth of shoddily constructed and very dense slums where a new and different “working class” was forced to dwell. The same applied to other such “advanced” countries, but in few places was the shift as large and radical as in rural Poland. Meanwhile, as those other countries recovered from their wars, acquired new colonies and joined the industrial arms race, Poland’s economic dominance actually fell from its Revolution-era peak, and its stretched-to-the-limits military – once again the largest in Europe, as Germany and Italy both started to downsize – was becoming a real problem for the budget. And internationally, as Poland was repeatedly forced to renege on and then remake its treaties, desperately trying to balance the loyalties of allies it used to take for granted, its position as the unquestioned #1 power seemed like a nostalgic memory.

    Technological, economic, military, diplomatic… Yet out of all these winds of change, none would prove nearly as instrumental to world history as the awakening of “the people” as a political force. The German Revolution was only the beginning.

    Spoiler: Timeline of EU4
    Show
    Map GIF and Comparison

    1444: The highest nobles of Poland meet at the Congress of Moscow to tie the Moscow Pact, agreeing to split the overgrown empire peacefully before they have to do it violently. Though Poland hopes to maintain hegemony over its former provinces, that will only last for so long before they start acting practically independent. Similarly in Francia, the internal situation has grown untenable to the point that the Emperor would rather grant the member states greater autonomy and make the Empire an elective monarchy in hopes of ending the endless cycle of civil war.

    1459: Stanislaw I, the great but controversial reformer who pushed through the Moscow Pact, sets an immensely influential precedent for Polish politics by delegating significant power to the regional, cultural and religious minorities in an attempt to stabilize the country and, most importantly, counterbalance the nobility in Krakow. Many governments and High Kings over the coming centuries will spend their time trying to roll back some of these reforms, but never all of them.

    1461: Stanislaw I’s attempts to confiscate his noble vassals’ lands meet violent resistance, especially by the Mazowiecki clan in Warsaw, which is defeated but still manages to force the High King to tone down his “tyrannical” ambitions.

    1488: Wladyslaw II finally codifies the Slavic Calendar, basing it on the founding of Poland in 883 AD.

    1497: Andalusian explorers bring back the first reports of mountains of silver and a vast continent to the west. However, it’ll take several decades before the Poles commit to any colonial projects of their own.

    1504: France falls into a personal union under Italy, where it remains to this day, creating a new Christian great power and further destabilizing the Francian Empire from within as the other electors desperately try not to give Italy-France too much power – even if it means shooting themselves in the foot.

    Meanwhile in Poland, the disgruntled nobles try to reclaim their old rights, only to be denied by Wolislawa I and have their uprising put down after the infamous Westward March. They ultimately join forces to form the Polish Sejm, a parliamentary organ to force her and future rulers to listen to their demands or be met with country-wide resistance.

    1510: The Sejm tries to enforce serfdom in Poland for the first time, only to be denied by Wolislawa I once more. Its bark seems to be worse than its bite.

    1514: Political and sectarian strife within Francia leads the violently suppressed Waldensian heresy to resurface in Lancaster, preached by one Wolf Raleigh. It spreads like wildfire across the north, both as an appealing philosophy and as a way to resist the unpopular Pope and his allies in the Mediterranean. Thus begins what is known as the Heretic Rekindling.

    1518: Janina Oginski, captain of the Czech’s Ambition, becomes the first Pole to visit the unknown continent of Amatica and the first person ever to send back detailed information that leads to permanent colonies in what is to be Buyania. Though it won’t always be so rosy in practice, Poland still distinguishes itself as the only colonial power to adopt a relatively “peaceful, diplomatic and tolerant” approach to taking the natives’ lands from them.

    1525: The Cathar heresy resurfaces and gains great popularity in wartorn Anatolia, though the results of those same wars end up making it the least successful of the three main heresies in the long run.

    1531: The Lollard heresy is brought back in Carinthia, spreading through political patronage first and mass movement as a distant second.

    1564: The Heretic Rekindling has disrupted Francia’s already fragile balance to the point that the Emperor and his allies take a more heavy-handed approach to weeding it out, which leads to the heretics founding the Evangelical Union to protect their rights and interests as members of the Empire. The Catholic Union is formed in response, splitting the entire Empire into two camps.

    1566-74: The two Unions struggle for superiority, starting the so-called Heretics’ War. Despite several non-Christian powers supporting the rebels, the Catholics finally manage to knock out the Heretic ringleaders and lay down the law in the Peace of Champagne, leading to even stricter penalties and an ultimately ineffective ban on all heresy. The Waldensian-dominated British princedoms leave the Empire altogether. As Italy-France grows ever stronger, the Empire shrinks, and a good portion of its own members are made into political pariahs, Francia enters a decline from which it will never recover.

    1572: Kazimierz I pens the Pact of Convention, finally legitimizing the Sejm in an attempt to make peace with the nobles and wield its power for the benefit of the Crown. Though very limited in both power and voter base, Poland technically becomes the second parliamentary monarchy in Europe (if one counts the Francian Senate), setting an example that Novgorod, Chernigov and Moldavia will all follow.

    1601-04: Sulislaw II’s perceived violation of the promises made to the Sejm, which is trying to assert its newfound power, mixes with a number of other disputes to finally erupt in the Confederate Civil War, the most significant internal conflict in Polish history. After three years of fighting between the Crown Army and the rebellious Confederate nobles, nearly a million people lie dead and the upper classes are split in half worse than ever before. Sulislaw II emerges victorious but is forced to deal with the consequences for the rest of his reign. Poland only narrowly dodges a slip into ever greater autocracy and governmental paranoia.

    1624: After 14 years of persistent, popular uprisings in Frisia, Lechoslaw III accepts the Amsterdam Compromise, making the Grand Duchy of Frisia into an autonomous vassal state of Poland. Both sides see this as only a temporary step towards their respective goals, but it ends up staying that way for at least the next couple centuries to come.

    1634: The heirless Queen of Moldavia ends up passing the throne to Jan I, bringing Moldavia into a personal union under Poland. Germany and Novgorod dispute this succession, calling it a violation of the Moscow Pact and worried by the prospect of Poland coming to dominate Slavdom once again. Ironically, their declaration of war is what really breaks the Moscow Pact, or at least changes it from an actually very stable alliance into a dead-letter pipe dream. Germany loses the war and has some of its territory seized by Poland, leading to a long and bitter rivalry between the two.

    1678: Similar to the above, Vladimir falls into a personal union under Germany and Chernigov annexes parts of Novgorod, burying any hopes of pagan harmony for good.

    1688: Seeking a way to expand and strengthen Poland against its former friends turned enemies, Stanislaw II invades Pannonia so that he might shape the Principality of Yugoslavia out of its charred remains. As a Polish vassal state, Yugoslavia is later expanded to cover the entirety of the Western Balkans, kept together mostly by Polish military force.

    1710-18: In a series of reforms and dramatic events, Gizella I, more popularly known as “Cesira”, finalizes the departure of Italy from the Francian Empire. This puts the final nail in the latter’s coffin when she moves her capital from Pavia to Rome, declares Italy an empire of its own and starts annexing the minor states around. As one of the more positive changes, Italy becomes the first (and so far only) colonial power to legally abolish slavery.

    1716: Niezamysl II inherits the throne of Scotland, placing another kingdom into a personal union under Poland.

    1734-38: Despite Niezamysl II’s disinterest, Polish nobles push to begin the so-called Dalmatian War. At the end of four years of fighting, Frisia, Yugoslavia and Moldavia all make gains, Italy is humiliated, and Crown Prince Aleksander signs the Treaty of Rome to ostensibly split Europe into clear spheres of interest. Though the treaty is otherwise rather dubious, this does mark the last direct war between Poland and a Christian power for at least the next century.

    1745: Constant provocations by Aleksander I (above) lead the elite meczennik forces to stage a coup on the night of the Kupala Feast, taking the High King into captivity where he is accidentally killed. They crown Aleksander II as a puppet ruler, but a counter-coup by the military manages to first purge the meczenniks out of their ranks and then march for Krakow to restore law and order. In the aftermath, the meczenniks are abolished, the High King’s dignity takes a blow, Moldavia and Scotland slip from wide autonomy into full independence, and the entire state machinery looks rather different after fixing the damage it took in a few short months.

    Dalimir I declares Germany an "empire" as well, which it won’t remain for all that long.

    1776-79: A toxic blend of neglect, exploitation and revolutionary ideals from abroad leads the three Voivodeships of Buyania, Lukomoria and Jeziora to declare independence from Poland, beginning the Amatican Revolutionary War. The Royals are ultimately victorious, showing unusual brutality in their subjugation of the Colonials both during and after the war. After this very haunting precedent, no other colonies (of any country) try to declare independence for the next half century, so Poland could well consider it a great success.

    1781-83: As a result of all the above plus particularly great incompetence, decadence and needless wars on the Kaiser's part, the Germans do what the Amaticans couldn’t. They topple the German Reich altogether, execute any Lechowicz they can get their hands on and lay the foundation of an unprecedentedly radical Bundesrepublik. It soon starts to expand its borders by force in a great crusade to end tyranny (a.k.a. monarchy) all across Europe and the world.

    1812: After an intense cold war with Poland and a couple hot ones with Italy, the Bundesrepublik finally suffers its first notable defeats, seemingly bringing an end to the immediate risk of world conquest that some Poles saw in the Revolution – but not the underlying friction of people against crown, far from it.

    Spoiler: Comments
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    As you can see from the map (in case you missed it), there’s a lot of bordergore to be fixed with great prejudice.

    Anyhow: CK2 took effectively 24 chapters for 577 years, for an average of 24 years per chapter. EU4 took 31 chapters for 392 years, or 12 years per chapter. Victoria 2 is only a 100 years long, and… hmm. Come to think of it, it could actually take roughly 16 chapters for an average of 6 years per chapter, but I’ve never written a Victoria 2 AAR before and really can’t estimate how long it will be in my style. Could be more, could be less. I’m not going to aim for any particular number ahead of time.

    For that matter, it’s been interesting (to me) to note how different factors conspire to make every conversion more laborious than the last. CK2 was basically vanilla, obviously, with only some cosmetic tweaks made along the way. The EU4 conversion was a lot of work, but at least I only needed to do part of the world, and EU4’s structure is a lot more “modular” in ways that made it easier to just “plug in” a custom start and still have it work reasonably well – after all, the game already has custom and even random starts as a built-in option.

    In Vic 2, I not only needed to do the entire world – great respect to Idhrendur for the fanmade converter, but I still felt obligated to tweak all the details, including even stupid things like province names and populations in the New World. On top of that, Vic 2 in itself is more “pre-scripted” than EU4, with a lot more specific events to start specific wars between specific countries and whatnot. Many of those I scrapped, some I modified, and I can only imagine that Vic 2’s overall more fiddly mechanics will make it even more unbalanced than EU4. And HoI4 will be worse yet. On the other hand, at least the last two are designed to have the world dominated by great powers from the start. But more on all that in the next post.

    Thanks for reading this far, whether you’ve been sticking around for a year and a half or hopped on somewhere along the way!
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2022-03-10 at 03:42 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

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  21. - Top - End - #171
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    *applause* Two games down, two to go. That's a lot farther than most megacampaigns get; congratulations! Looking forward to Vic2.
    ithilanor on Steam.

  22. - Top - End - #172
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    Interlude #4: Towards Victory (1836)




    (Click for full size)

    Spoiler: Poland
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    (Note: Most in-game population numbers, like this one here, only show 1/4 of the total population, leaving out children, the elderly and other non-workers.)

    The Kingdom of Poland has a mixed record on “liberalism”, be it social, political or economic. While it has long held onto certain principles of cultural, religious and linguistic pluralism, relative gender equality, and local autonomy, its real commitment to political rights in particular has followed a pendulum pattern depending on the current monarch, government and crisis. The German Revolution of 1791-93 and the threat of the same in Poland have kept it on high alert for decades now, but as the danger seems less immediate, policy may or may not begin to loosen up again. No single actor can be given credit for Poland’s freedoms or lack thereof, as the crown has shot down the Sejm’s demands of serfdom on some occasions, the Sejm stood against increased crown power on others, and the clergy flip-flopped between reining in and embracing its more fundamentalist elements. Yet there is one division to which they’ve all seemed willfully blind – in fact the greatest of all, as it shuts out the vast majority and makes politics the world of the marginal few: class.



    Unlike the absolute monarchies of Italy, Asturias and Sweden for instance, Poland’s is “semi-parliamentary”, but though the Sejm’s voter base has technically been expanded by the inclusion of not just the nobility but also other wealthy landowners, this expansion remains extremely marginal. There are various local, regional and occupational councils with their own rules, but only some 2% of the adult population is able to vote for the Polish Sejm, and only in the European provinces – though for whatever it’s worth, unlike the vast majority of countries, around a third of these voters and a fourth of the elected deputies are women. The Sejm’s stated purpose is to balance the nobility against the High King and the provinces against Krakow, not so much to represent different ideologies or class interests, and so there are also no formal parties, only temporary ad-hoc groups banding together for a few votes at a time. The several hundred voting districts in the country only select one deputy each, so the winner takes the seat and the runner-up gets nothing – even if it was a 51-49 split – heavily favoring the unambitious middle-of-the-road candidates.



    Due to all this and the tightly-knit voter base, the choice of deputies is largely based on personal connections, backroom deals and individual issues rather than any ideological affiliation. The Sejm then utilizes these same methods in forming a sub-government of its own (Ruling Party), usually with a rather broad conservative consensus. The Premier – the leader of this government and by extension the Sejm – is officially the second-most powerful person in the country, as long as the monarch allows. The Premier can be dismissed, a new election held and even the whole government reorganized by direct order of the High King, but this right is very rarely used due to the outrage it would cause.



    If the Sejm represents the upper classes, then the High King is represented by the Crown Council (Upper House). While the Sejm has control over many routine matters and can make a real impact even on its own (if not dismissed), little major legislation can be passed without Council support. The Council is an unelected institution consisting of political allies, officials, priests, experts and “experts” from around the country, and as such, there are many ways to become a member. They actually end up being a lot more diverse than the Sejm, including even some who think their home region shouldn’t be part of Poland to begin with but who can still do some job or other. Though its size and purpose have changed a lot over its long history, the Crown Council is rather archaic compared to the upper houses of “real” bicameral parliaments, such as the Bundesrat of Germany.



    Though there are again no official parties, three main types of deputy can be identified. The Conservatives are the mainstream majority, mostly going along with official policy and honoring certain political norms with little taste for reform, focused on small matters of the day and content with the status quo. The royalist Reactionaries resent this same complacency and demand a return to (real or imagined) traditional values, military intervention and increased government power, even though they often end up annoying even the High King himself with their outbursts. And finally, the Liberals are mostly businessmen or business-oriented nobles willing to use modern values, parliamentary reform and other crowd-pleasers as a vehicle for their main goal: hands-off economic policy. Of course, this “populism” would probably work a lot better if the “populace” it targets were allowed to vote in the first place, and they also have to toe the line of not getting labeled as revolutionaries.





    While many would gladly view Poland’s global empire as a united whole, there is in fact a clear difference between “the homeland”, the two vassal monarchies, the four voivodeships, trade company lands, military outposts and more. Due to the fastest communication still being at the speed of a ship, no matter how strict Krakow wants to be, it still has to give the local leaders a great deal of autonomy. And as for the purposes of these far-flung, expensive-to-maintain colonies, they include force projection, control of shipping lanes, taxation, manpower, exotic wares, sheer imperialistic pride… and ever increasingly, natural resources. Counting all the various subject states, Poland is the third-most populous country in the world after the all-but-defunct Pratihara Empire and the Kingdom of Wu.



    Internally, while the revolutionary movement has been kept in check for now, other countries have shown that it can still flare up at a moment’s notice, especially as the peasantry continues its transformation into a city-dwelling working class. The “cultural nationalism” espoused by some like Germany and England, though, is another future threat: Poland has dealt with its massively diverse population through means of autonomy and coexistence, extending both Pole and Slav to describe all members of the nation without actually attempting to “Polonize” them. However, this new ideology classifies nations more strictly by language, religion and other cultural heritage, real or imagined, and the Germans have actively tried to provoke separatist movements in regions like Pomerania and Bohemia that have been happy subjects of Poland for almost a thousand years. Should the idea of “self-determination” actually take root in such central regions, who’s to say what might happen in the periphery that was never quite so content with Polish rule to begin with?



    (Italics and parentheses = not present within Poland or subject states)

    In any case. Thanks to early investment and large natural deposits, Poland is one of the world’s top producers of coal, steel, and other industry essentials as well as a huge exporter of food. However, many of the other great powers and even some smaller ones like Lotharingia are rapidly catching up or already past in terms of manufacturing, especially after accounting for size. As for imports, the Poles are… big on drinks, apparently? (Maybe 90% of the world’s tea is grown in China and bought by the colonial powers at less than fair prices.) Poland’s economic development has been closely tied to the military and its needs, and will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future, even as the civilian industry takes on a life of its own and starts to diversify.


    Spoiler: Great Powers
    Show

    (The nation scores and rankings are going to start shifting quickly, so don’t put too much faith in them.)



    The Italian Empire remains unbowed, but has taken a beating at the hands of revolutionaries foreign and domestic alike. The country has been ruled by a regency council for almost a decade and Emperor Araslan I Alfieri is still only 13 years old, making the political situation doubly unstable. The last war against Germany, while lauded as an Italian victory, was basically a stalemate, and the threat of internal rebellion only makes it more paranoid about passing any much-needed reforms that could undermine the nostalgic foundations of the “New Roman Empire”.



    Having had its Greek and Croatian provinces conquered by Poland, and a wedge driven through it by Germany, the Empire’s European parts can be neatly divided into Italy and France – though its rulers would have you believe they’re all one Latin nation. The Empire has also had some misfortune in its colonial endeavors, losing its foothold in Amatica, but Santa Croce in Alcadra is one of the oldest and richest colonial nations. Honduras (originally Asturian) and Aotearoa are decidedly second-class, but at least the Empire also includes a respectable array of bases in Africa and Asia.



    Besides keeping itself together, Italy’s top priority is to reabsorb the lands conquered by Germany. But a lot of those lands might be less than interested in coming back.



    The Federal Republic of Germany, or the Bundesrepublik, remains the awkward centerpiece of Europe, politically as well as geographically. After weathering some close calls – internal factions trying to seize power, or the public threatening to retract its support – the government has managed to push out the more radical Calwists and other fringe groups to become a stable democracy, but even as it continues to hold free elections and expand personal liberties, its anti-monarchical and somewhat anti-Slavic raison d’etre hasn’t gone anywhere. In fact, the Bundesrepublik seems to consider itself the only true republic in the world, dismissing constitutional monarchies like Japan, merchant republics like Venice, and “noble republics” like Lotharingia and the Rhineland. While it has proven willing to make cynical alliances with the enemy of its enemy, there’s a certain exceptionalism underpinning the Post-Revolutionary ideology.



    Germany is the shining beacon of the new brand of nationalism, and rather than incorporate most of its non-German regions – some French borderlands notwithstanding – it has formed them into seven main sister republics, some of them with silly new names to erase their “monarchical history”. Especially notable is that Bolgharia was separated from Uralia to give the northern Khazars their own state for the first time in forever, which was (and is) rather controversial with both Uralia and Chernigov. The sister republics are all autonomous regions of the Bundesrepublik, but with their own government comes the lack of seats in the Bundestag or Bundesrat. This is actually a cynical move on Germany’s part, since if the whole federation had equal representation, actual “Germans” would find themselves in the minority. But in any case, with these sister republics included, the Bundesrepublik is a massive Eurasian power stretching across the continent, and a strategic nightmare just for its sheer size and ability to attack Poland from both sides.



    The federal capital has been moved from Braunschweig to Frankfurt, a more central location farther from the Polish border and with less historical baggage. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also in the Rhine region, Germany’s up-and-coming industrial heartland.



    The Kingdoms of Moldavia and Chernigov are in many ways similar, and easily described together. Both are former regions of Poland that still keep their capitals and heartlands close to the Polish border despite having expanded far, far to the south and west at other ailing empires’ expense. Moldavia rules half of the Mediterranean, but while Chernigov is more of a land power, they’ve both started toying with a late entry into the colonial race. And as could be expected, they’re both massively “multicultural” as conquering empires tend to be, except lacking even a token commitment to local freedoms like what Poland has. Slavs form around 51% of the population in mainland Poland, 36% in Chernigov – and only 15% in Moldavia, making it a clear case of minority rule.



    In the rest of their politics, both countries are rather similar to Poland, having similar semi-parliaments, relatively centrist attitudes and no major revolutionary movements (yet), having been somewhat insulated from what’s happening in the west.



    The Kingdom of Asturias, which still sometimes calls itself the Francian Empire, has a long history of being invaded by every other great power in turn. This has greatly weakened it, put a toll on its populace and even driven it to bankruptcy a couple times, but also galvanized it as a “bastion of decency” that has only itself, its colonies, and a smattering of smaller states – desperate for protection – to depend on.



    The Asturian colonies are nothing to scoff at, though somewhat sparsely populated. After Peruvia was taken by Sweden, Asturias' only Alcadran foothold is tiny Juliana, but it continues to dominate southern Amatica, the Zanaras, southern Africa (Esperanza) and Indochina. Caliphania is quite peculiar due to the fact that it was acquired from Andalusia at a time when the other Amatican colonies were in complete turmoil, and as a result, was basically allowed to continue business as usual so it wouldn’t become yet another hive of unrest to deal with. It retained Arabic as an official language, and more liberal religious policies than the rest of the empire. More recently, the small colony of Appalachia was merged with neighboring America to form the Union of South Amatica, a somewhat larger state hopefully better able to fend for itself.



    It’s been a while since the last time Asturias was occupied, and they’d surely prefer to keep it that way, while also trying to fend off unrest anti-monarchical, cultural and religious alike.



    The Kingdom of Sweden is another former Polish subject, and the Inger dynasty that has ruled it all this time was elevated and put there by the Lechowicz, a favor which they’ve seemed all too happy to forget. Sweden has been admired for its military, minerals and colonies on one hand, but on the other, it’s become somewhat notorious as the most brutal colonizer, generally backwards, isolated, conservative, and rather chilly in terms of diplomacy. Lately this has been most apparent in its deal with the devil, co-signed by Chernigov, to protect revolutionary Germany against Polish aggression.



    It might seem that according to all known laws of imperialism, there is no way Sweden should be able to have a colonial empire. Its population and resource base are too small to keep in check such massive overseas dominions. Sweden, of course, manages this anyway because, unlike Poland, it has somehow stayed behind in the good old days of colonialism when the governors were working with, not against, the homeland to better exploit the natives in jolly cooperation. This and the military’s focus on quality over quantity have allowed it to become the only colonial power where the colonial population outnumbers the homeland – 3-to-1, in fact.



    Still, that arrangement is inherently fragile, leaving Sweden’s empire and very status as a great power hanging on a few governors’ loyalty. Whether it can maintain them is dependent first and foremost on how it manages to keep up with the rapid changes occurring in Europe.



    Last and in fact least, since that’s how great powers are ranked, we have the Madjid Caliphate, commonly known as Arabia. For centuries it has been the greatest Muslim power, Custodian of the Two Holy Cities, lock against Pratihara expansion, contender in European politics and even a naval power with some outposts around Africa, but now a series of trouncings by Moldavia has blocked it out of the Mediterranean and apparently reduced it to the rank of a primitive power to be colonized. It may be an absolute monarchy ruled by the Caliph, but in truth the government is basically run by the hyper-zealous Wahhabists. They want to “reclaim” not only the lands taken by Moldavia but the entire territory once ruled by the Umayyads at the peak of their power, stretching from Persia to Andalusia.



    Unfortunately, their harsh religious policies haven’t been received so well in the (largely Hindu) Persian provinces taken from the Pratihara, and thus the region that could be the Madjids’ backup against European aggression is the same one closest to open rebellion.

    Spoiler: Secondary Powers
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    The Japanese Empire is a constitutional monarchy whose divinely descended Emperor is basically a symbol and little else. It might seem like this is actually not that different from the days of the Shogunate… except that the military dictator was replaced with a popular parliament and voting rights eventually expanded to be almost as wide as Germany’s, albeit restricted to ethnic Japanese. Home to many scientific and technological innovations – it’s currently experimenting both with railroads and with the first steam-powered warships – even the Europeans, usually dismissive of other continents, have had to acknowledge Japan's merits. With considerable naval power and bases in Korea, China, the Siberian coast and Africa, it’s basically a great power in all but name, often forgotten due to its noninvolvement in European matters. But that’s likely about to change as industrialization not only raises its standing even further, but also makes it strike out in search of resources to fuel it.





    Trying to become “the Japan of Europe”, the Kingdom of England – an absolute monarchy with not much in the way of representation – has invested heavily in industry and naval development to compete with the great powers, capitalize on its quite decent colonies and, most importantly, choke out Scotland. The two are sworn enemies out to conquer the other and dominate the isles, but England is allied with Germany and Scotland with Poland, and neither side has felt like trying out whether those alliances would hold if they came to blows. Even their respective colonies in Amatica are locked in a stranglehold. England has far more important colonies, though, in the Zanaras, Alcadra, Africa, the East Indies and even China (which accounts for a third of England's supposed population). It too would likely be a great power already, were it not for outside intervention.





    Indeed, the Kingdom of Scotland unarguably owes its existence to that Polish protection, having even spent a couple decades in a personal union. It mirrors England in many ways – politically, economically and militarily – but out of its western colonies, Patagonia and Cascadia mostly consist of second-rate land no one else prioritized grabbing, and in the eastern hemisphere, Scotland has no colonies at all (its foolhardy invasion of the Pratihara ended uneventfully). As nationalist expansionism rears its head in England, the Scots are rightfully worried that it might get a little too bold and take that risk they’ve both been putting off. On a side note, the Polish naval base in Szetland has been leased to Scotland for the foreseeable future due to its reduced importance for the colonial empire. (It's part of the Inverness province in this game, so it was either that or annex a chunk of the Highlands into Poland.)





    The Karnata Kingdom, on a promising track similar to Japan, ended up suffering for its insistence on protecting the Pratihara. Large parts of it have been carved up by Germany, Chernigov, Italy and England like it were any other “tribal backwater”, and its great navy has been decimated. But all its development and even fledgling industry haven’t gone anywhere, not to mention considerable resistance movements in those lost territories. It’s determined to make sure that this humiliation is only temporary, and India will soon rise stronger than ever to join the ranks of the great powers.





    The Sultanate of Kanem-Bornu is another strange case, having conquered much of inland Africa before the Europeans could get involved, but then also managed to modernize once they did arrive. Unsurprisingly, it too has a hugely diverse population of conquered peoples, but the ideologies wreaking havoc across Europe haven’t really gotten a foothold, and military might or the perhaps even greater threat of European expansion have kept any rebel sentiment in check. When the Sultanate has been faced with aggression, it has usually come out on top, though in the end, the colonizers also haven’t been terribly interested in the vast inland “wastes”. Most recently, the Sultanate has even hopped on the industrial bandwagon and started independently building factories in its more urbanized regions.





    The Shan Empire is a very young state, founded only a couple decades ago, though in the making for a long time. It managed to repeat the tried-and-true strategy of letting your neighbors get conquered, taking the conquerors’ weapons and knowledge, and then grabbing that same territory for yourself after it has already been devastated. Historically, though, that trick has only served as a stopgap measure before you get conquered in the end, and whether it’s the Asturians or the Chinese, the Shan have plenty of enemies to choose from (besides being a minority in their own empire). They also have little to no naval or diplomatic reach, making them relatively irrelevant on the world stage.





    The Kingdom of Novgorod goes on with its life, almost unchanged from 400 years ago, awkwardly squeezed between great powers on every front, but at least making the best of it by acting as a go-between for their trade and trying to play them diplomatically. Novgorod should be more invested in pagan harmony than anyone: whenever a war does break out in the region, it tends to get overrun. It still lays claim to the provinces Chernigov took from it, though. Confined to the Baltic and lacking much of an oceangoing navy, what influence Novgorod will have is likely to come from its mining and forest industry.





    And finally, the Principality of Lotharingia deserves a honorary mention. Small in size and precariously perched between Poland, Italy and Germany, its power is of the purely economic sort, being definitely the most industrialized country per capita – which still isn’t much, though, given the lack of capita. Poland has “allowed” it to exist as something of a neutral buffer state, convenient for Pagan-Christian trade. The Karlings eke out a humbled existence: the state originally named after Lothair Karling may have gone through a lot of convulsions and finally become another noble republic, but the last remnants of the once mighty dynasty are still influential within it. It doesn’t have many avenues to expand, and a few too many ways to get conquered, but at least it's going to be an important battleground for whoever sets their eyes on it.


    Spoiler: Comments
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    Whew. Never mind the conversion that took forever, there was so much that I wanted to at least briefly show off that this post felt like quite the whopper to write too. But hey, nothing wrong with wordy as long as you have something to say… right…? I just like numbers and statistics, and I hope that things like the economic and political systems will cause some interesting moments in the future.

    One complication of this game is going to be who to roleplay. The ruler is a nonentity with no stats or function outside a few events, the Premier is just a single changing modifier, and basically the only people with a name are military commanders. I'll do my best to remember that those all still exist, but for the most part, I'm going to prioritize roleplaying the ruling party, whatever it may be at the moment, and protecting its interests. A typical Vic 2 game constantly has the player do meta things like maneuver a fringe party into power, push through every reform possible and even cause intentional revolutions in their own country, but partly as a challenge (since most of those things are beneficial), I'm going to try and avoid that. Until an appropriate party does come into power, at which point I'll go ham.

    Spoiler: Misc. Conversion Notes
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    • Credit to Idhrendur for the converter which did a lot of the groundwork and heavy lifting (I can’t imagine creating everything from scratch), even if I tweaked basically everything from there. I couldn't use the latest version of the converter since I started so much ahead of time. I also managed to incorporate most of the mechanics of the Pop Demand Mod, though obviously not all the historical events.
    • I did a looot of searching for alternate flags, place names etc. and still had to make some up out of whole cloth. Every country in Vic 2 actually needs four flags, for different government forms, though sometimes I just reused them and luckily most of the default ones were pretty serviceable. PDM also helped here.
    • Government name changes from vanilla: Prussian Constitutionalism → Semi-Parliamentarism. HM’s Government → Constitutional Monarchy. Presidential Dictatorship → Military Dictatorship. Bourgeois Dictatorship → Radical Pseudo-State. (We don’t have any of the latter two at the moment.)
    • Monarchies with parliaments became Semi-Parliamentarist. Noble Republics (which we had a lot of) became Constitutional Monarchies with Only Landed voting, with the exception of Japan, where they’re broader due to their choice of reforms in EU4. Colonial governments also became ConMons, the monarch being the one in Europe. The actual Democracies include Benin, Rwanda, Assam, Bar, Manchuria and the countries of the Bundesrepublik.
    • I spent an unreasonable amount of time tweaking the migration numbers of all things. In vanilla it’s taken for granted that the USA should get almost all the immigrants, but obviously that doesn’t apply here, and I wanted a more even split anyway. Migration starts out slower, but gradually ticks up to full speed by 1870. Due to the added diversity in colonies, I somewhat increased things like people’s preference for countries of their own culture group and religion when available.
    • I actually split Germany into satellites not so much as a nerf but to liven up the map, add more options for regional politics, probably actually buff the federation (since accepted cultures make for better troops and more stable politics) aaaand because Germany probably couldn’t handle the lack of a land connection anyway. As satellites, they can break off either by declaring war, through some events, or if either side falls to rebels for any reason. Some of their names are inspired by the weird client states founded in the actual French Revolutionary Wars.
    • Speaking of, we have a lot of satellites compared to a regular Vic 2 game because not a single colony became independent. The Polish ones were the only ones that even tried. That will likely change over the course of the game, but it’s certainly different than vanilla. Maybe it’ll make up for more of Africa being already taken at the start. I made a couple manual mergers, namely the Union of South Amatica, and the English Ancelles being controlled directly by England – plus obviously a lot of bordergore-fixing. I also didn’t leave any uncolonized provinces in Amatica or Alcadra, because they’re just a bit of a headache with this setup (they’d have to be colonized by the mother country and then transferred to the vassal by event).
    • The transition always messes with AI behavior, since besides the AI itself being different in each game, “power” is determined in different ways. While technology, industry etc. still serve as force multipliers, sheer population serves the same role that Development did in EU4 (making me a bit worried about India and China), and since I didn’t go out of my way to adjust every single province, plenty of countries ended up either stronger or much weaker than they might have been before the switch. Core provinces also represent different things, as EU4 makes a distinction between cores, claims and permanent claims but in Vic 2 it’s cores or nothing (and they’re much slower to create but also have less relevance outside warfare).
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2022-03-10 at 04:14 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (continued at last!)

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    *standing ovation*

    Wow. I can't imagine how much effort this must have taken. Really, really looking forward to the game.

    Side question: how does Poland have such a big Hindu minority? Did Java end up Hindu at some point?
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    Yeah. In this game, Malaya and Sumatra are Sunni, Java is Hindu, Borneo is about 50/50 and the Moluccas (as well as various other islands) are Animist. The Philippines (or Maniolas, as I called them) are a weird three-way religious split, in addition to the political split between Italy and Germany. Well, they were a way bigger mess of colonies in EU4, but I toned it down to two. Tragic that religion isn't as relevant as culture in this game, but should at least make for story fodder sometimes.

    Java is such a damn populous state (about equal to all of Czechoslovakia!) that it alone is enough to make Javanese Hindus the second-largest demographic in the empire.

    And thank you!
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-01-17 at 07:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    I decided to reread the AAR before it got into the next game, a task at which I almost succeeded, and there were several moments where significant events could have gone quite differently. I've put some thought into alternate history scenarios:

    - What if Poland lost the Great Oriental War or the War on the Don and was forced to become a Chinese tributary state? This would have significantly weakened Poland, and depending on how long it took to break free the Poles might not have been able to conquer Germany, which would have had very significant consequences down the line. I suspect that after breaking free, the Poles would be more aggressive in an attempt to repair their national pride, especially if they'd suffered any significant defeats while a tributary.

    - What if the Moscow Pact wasn't established, and Poland stayed a single, massive country? On the one hand, the High King would have had a lot more wealth and troops at his direct disposal; on the other hand, maintaining the unity of such a vast realm would have been much harder. Additionally, the never-ending Slavic urge to expand eastward could very well have diverted the crown's attention away from the New World, resulting in a smaller Polish presence in Amatica.

    - What if the Sejmic faction had won the Confederation Civil War? I suspect that this would have resulted in Poland becoming, de facto if not de jure, a noble republic of some sort. It's possible that the weakening of the central government would have made Poland vulnerable to hostile powers; it's certainly the case that there would have been a lot of unrest among the peasants, as the royalist faction had put a great deal of effort into convincing them that the Sejmics were trying to basically enslave them.

    Thoughts, anyone?
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    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleBison View Post
    I decided to reread the AAR before it got into the next game, a task at which I almost succeeded, and there were several moments where significant events could have gone quite differently. I've put some thought into alternate history scenarios:

    - What if Poland lost the Great Oriental War or the War on the Don and was forced to become a Chinese tributary state? This would have significantly weakened Poland, and depending on how long it took to break free the Poles might not have been able to conquer Germany, which would have had very significant consequences down the line. I suspect that after breaking free, the Poles would be more aggressive in an attempt to repair their national pride, especially if they'd suffered any significant defeats while a tributary.

    - What if the Moscow Pact wasn't established, and Poland stayed a single, massive country? On the one hand, the High King would have had a lot more wealth and troops at his direct disposal; on the other hand, maintaining the unity of such a vast realm would have been much harder. Additionally, the never-ending Slavic urge to expand eastward could very well have diverted the crown's attention away from the New World, resulting in a smaller Polish presence in Amatica.

    - What if the Sejmic faction had won the Confederation Civil War? I suspect that this would have resulted in Poland becoming, de facto if not de jure, a noble republic of some sort. It's possible that the weakening of the central government would have made Poland vulnerable to hostile powers; it's certainly the case that there would have been a lot of unrest among the peasants, as the royalist faction had put a great deal of effort into convincing them that the Sejmics were trying to basically enslave them.

    Thoughts, anyone?
    I'm not sure how to word this, but I'm very impressed – flattered, touched? – by you putting so much thought into it. It's always great to see other people be invested in this too.

    The Great Oriental War is probably the closest this game has come to a sudden derailment, and I was (somewhat disappointingly, perhaps) only saved from imminent defeat by the AI being stupid. But all these make great sense narratively, and I especially like the last one. That's partly what happened to the IRL Polish Commonwealth, after all – not losing the civil war, but power slipping into the hands of an ineffective noble Sejm, anyway.

    Another point of divergence that comes to mind is that had the family trees and deaths lined up just a little differently, the mid-1600's could just as well have seen Moldavia, Novgorod and Vladimir fall into personal unions under Germany. And while in "canon" the Moldavian Succession was what really soured relations between Germany and Poland, even if we assume that they stayed on better terms in this timeline (which isn't so certain), Poland without Moldavia would've been a lot less secure in that period, while Germany would've had the power of half the pagan world backing it up against Italy and the Francian states around. If it went on a conquering spree, it could well have become a true continental superpower even if the personal unions eventually broke (or gods forbid, didn't).

    Farther back, what if the 14 Years' War (1056-1070) between Poland and Francia went bad, as it almost did, and the Crusade for Pomerania was a success? Poland's probably second-most valuable region would've become a crusader state, or worse yet, part of Francia, either taking a long time to recover or even causing a destructive snowball effect.

    ---
    Unrelated: Actually starting the Vic 2 game for real is scary, since at that point I can no longer directly edit the history files. Well. I guess "history files" is kinda jargon, but they're what determines the starting statistics of provinces, countries etc. and are only loaded up when a run first starts, in contrast to all the other files like text, graphics, events etc. that are loaded every time and thus can be edited freely (though it is possible to use events to edit things as a workaround). That's why I'm paranoid to double check I have everything right on that front, but that's easier said than done. But I'll probably get into the next chapter within a few days!

    This all also reminded me of the matter of difficulty. Hard difficulty in Vic 2 is definitely warranted, but it's honestly a little over the top in some of its modifiers and just boring in others, like less risk of rebellion for the AI (revolutions being one of the things I most look forward to Vic 2). So I've edited it a bit to make it less annoying but still significant. Call it "Hardish". Vic 2 is also more suited, in both its AI behavior and various mechanics, for "stumbling" into major wars that neither side necessarily wanted.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2020-06-10 at 10:44 AM.
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    Chapter #54: Revolutionary (1836-1840)

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    1st of January, 1836

    As the Midwinter bonfires die down and the year 1836 begins, there’s nothing to indicate that it’s going to be any different from the relatively peaceful past two decades. Sure, the Pratihara Empire is being whittled down, invaded from all sides, but there’s nothing too unusual about that. It is finally starting to fall apart from within, though, its various subject peoples wondering if it would be better to strike out on their own before their useless overlords let them get conquered by some foreign power anyway. Karnata too has abandoned the caricaturish image of a man leading an arthritic elephant, deciding to prioritize its own survival rather than go down together. Meanwhile, Asturias has finally decided to do something about that Bornuan thorn in its side, which it will achieve without much trouble.



    High King Nadbor III, not so much a great reformer as a great “preserver”, is pleased to hear that he nonetheless presides over a growing economy: though the latest trend of industrialization in Poland has been mostly privately driven, the crown has taken an active role in buying parts of and subsidizing important sectors, and even successful noninvolvement deserves a pat on the back. Some of the financial centers of the world with modern banks and stock exchanges include London, Frankfurt, Kyoto and Krakow, and they’re all looking to hold on to those positions.



    That illusion of calm is broken only a few weeks into the new year. England, continuing its streak of aggressive nationalism that previously led to the annexation of Lancaster, maintains that all Yorkish people – in truth a whole Norse-influenced culture of their own with a thousand-year history – belong under the English crown. Of course, it’s just another reason to claim the region that Scotland conquered with Polish help in 1667. Due to Poland and Germany throwing their support behind each of the two kingdoms, that was in fact the last notable war between the two – until now. England, having apparently redone the math, has reached the conclusion that in the world of the new century, it’s either grown so much stronger or the continental powers so complacent that Scotland should be defenseless. Scotland, unsurprisingly, defies the ultimatum to just hand over the whole region, and as of January 19th, the two are at war.

    So are a lot of other countries, for that matter: both the Bundesrepublik and Poland stand behind their respective allies, since only one or the other doing so would likely spell the doom of either England or Scotland. This then brings all their subject states and other friends into the mix. All of a sudden, half of Europe and Amatica is at war.



    In the past few decades of peace in Europe, all participant countries have been downsizing their standing armies and moving to more of a hybrid system. The standing army consists of a smaller professional core, while the rest of the population goes through mandatory military training to be conscripted if absolutely necessary. This system is largely untried, especially in Poland, and so is the restructured economy, built in peacetime for peacetime. Yet by mid-February, the first major offensives are already underway: thanks to the Frisians’ “brave sacrifice”, the Grand Marynarka manages to deliver an army into Scotland while the Royal Navy is distracted. Meanwhile, Frisia and Yugoslavia provide convenient paths for a two-front invasion of Germany.



    No one’s position is as bad as the United Lordships’, though, quick to get overrun from all directions.



    The sudden declaration of war caught probably everyone other than the English off guard, including the Bundesrepublik, but even if both sides are simply honoring their alliances to join what would otherwise be a regional dispute, they’re more than happy to turn it into the long-awaited Third Revolutionary War between Poland and Germany. Of course, neither side seems entirely sure what that means, and they ought to have learned from their past mistakes: calling everything an existential battle means unnecessarily raising the stakes and disappointing some people when you deliver anything less than the enemy’s utter annihilation. But it still makes for a good rallying cry.

    Besides some smaller skirmishes on the Yorkish moors, the Poles fight their first major battle of the war as they enter Bavaria in force and meet the German defenders. It comes with comparatively small losses despite the almost 2-to-1 advantage on the Polish side, but every push counts. As a little more time passes, similar battles become the norm, occurring every few weeks.



    Unfortunately, it looks like when you push the Bundesrepublik on one end, it bulges out on the other. The situation on the northern front is quite the opposite of the south, with the Germans and their sister republics rolling into Frisia in large numbers.



    Also unfortunate is that while the enemy is mobilizing its well-known citizen armies, Poland and its allies are actually not that eager to do so except as a last resort, since arming the populace may well backfire in more ways than one. Even for a country that doesn’t fear its own citizens, though, sending the working class off to war is a risky decision in terms of the economy if nothing else.

    For Poland, that economic side could be better, could be worse. While taxes and tariffs are heavily raised, government investment in “less vital” areas like education and civilian industry cut, and large loans taken from (mostly domestic) private banks, the crown focuses on subsidizing strategic industries that are quite literally putting guns in soldiers’ hands and food in their mouths. The wartime economy shrinks the regular workers’ daily bread more than anyone else’s, a fact which they’re sure to take note of.

    After about half a year, as the war enters the fall of 1836, the fight is far from decided in either England or Frisia, but the Lordships are under full occupation, red-and-white flags fly over southeast Germany, and the East Indies garrison has also landed in the German Maniolas (Philippines). Even if individual battles are anyone’s game, both sides entered this war woefully unprepared, and if neither can make a major breakthrough, economic attrition favors the side that has managed to maintain the most normalcy – i.e. the Poles. Having a colonial empire to draw on surely doesn’t hurt either.



    The real game-changer comes in October when the Italian Empire, eager to restore its lost provinces and more broadly its honor, smells blood in the water and declares war on Germany, effectively joining the Third Revolutionary War as a co-belligerent. The most immediate goal is to reclaim Franche-Comté (Freigrafschaft in German), a French region annexed directly into Germany for its strategic location, but given this opportunity, the Italians will likely take anything not nailed down.



    This act of jolly cooperation between the great powers also fuels some new enthusiasm in the Poles, who were just about ready for a white peace if things dragged on much longer. The crown assures them that with just a little push, the federal house of cards will come down and Poland can take its pick of the spoils.



    With Amatica under control, the Yorkish grinder actually receives a much-needed delivery of fresh meat from Buyania, an independent decision for which the voivodeship deserves plenty of praise.



    To the English, the idea of more reinforcements streaming across the Atlantic seems worrying to say the least, and a Moldavian invasion fleet being sighted in the Channel is the last straw. The Poles' actual demands turn out to be rather modest if anything, especially for England, as besides some routine economic, diplomatic and PR concessions, the only part of real importance is the conquest of the German Maniolas. The Poles don’t do much to hide the fact that they also want to get this over with. In January 1837, about a year into the war, the Polish part of the 3RW is over, and at least the East Indies have one less competitor. Germany has little room to grumble about its lost colony, given the larger and more immediate problem looming to its south and west.



    This was England’s big chance to cement its position as a great power, but for the time being, it ended in failure. Instead, as the European colonizers are busy with each other for a change, Japan – bolstered by a growing and modernizing navy – is raising its head as the world power it always was, and conducting itself as such internationally.



    Speaking of Asia, though, Moldavia openly offers its support to a separatist movement in the northern Pratihara Empire, threatening both a West-sponsored rebellion and a direct invasion if independence isn’t given voluntarily. Forced to buckle against a “smaller” nation once more, the Pratihara comply, carving a huge hole in their already fraying dominion as the opportunistic Uyghur Khanate claims even more land than expected. Though sparsely populated, it is geographically huge and still houses some 20 million people.


    (Fun fact: seems that if they have a core on any province of a state, they get the whole state regardless, which is what happened with both Mongolia, Tajikistan and Gansu here.)

    Apparently inspired by this, a popular noble in the English colony on Sri Lanka declares it an independent kingdom, though rather nominal for the time being, seeing as the vast majority of the island is actually under Chernihiv rule.



    As for Poland, it's happy to start transitioning back to a peacetime economy, though if anything, the jumpstart of the last war was a good reminder that the best way to avoid the economic shocks is to keep up some sort of readiness at all times. Much of Europe has no such luck, as the Bundesrepublik and England, after getting a few enemies off their backs, still have Italy to deal with. Just to add to the chaos a bit, Lotharingia (successfully) invades the Republic of the Rhineland over their disputed province of Luxembourg.



    Of course, Poland can’t get entirely complacent either: Moldavia played a major role in both southern Germany and finally even England, but obviously received little reward for its troubles – which is normal enough when it comes to helping your allies, but still enough to make one consider whether they’re worth keeping. With internal and international trade more finicky than ever, no power can afford to join the wars of others just because. But when the King of Moldavia rather politely brings this up, Nadbor III reacts with disdain at the idea that Poland and Moldavia's close relationship isn't its own reward and mutually beneficial. Who was it that helped (a little lazily, maybe) with all those wars against Arabia? The conversation turns into a personal spat between the two monarchs, with the King of Moldavia finally storming out and Poland being informed shortly after that it can consider the alliance broken.



    This, together with the ongoing effects of the 3RW, inevitably brings the economy down a bit after all, even though it seemed to be rebounding better than expected. Even if not pessimistic, investors and regular citizens alike are now only cautiously optimistic at best, no longer assured that growth will continue unabated. Still, at least they can rest assured they’re not being shipped off to war.



    While the 3RW drags on, the Republic of Venice can’t resist the temptation to try and grab Germany’s Adriatic bases, though ultimately unsuccessful.



    Just to mix things up, Nadbor III has controversially given Chernigov and Sweden – German allies in this war – permission to move troops through Poland. This is a very conscious ploy to turn what could’ve been Italy's quick and clean stab in the back into a prolonged struggle that, by early 1839, is seeing simultaneous fighting around both the German and Italian capitals. Of course, Germany's own economy is in the drain as well, its forces dwindling and its international clout disappearing by the day. Following Japan's example, the void in European influence allows a resurgent Karnata to start seeking foreign contacts, trying to reclaim its seat among the great powers.



    As it seems increasingly likely that Italy might lose this one after all, even Lotharingia joins in, claiming the Walloon provinces across the border.



    One of the deepest structural problems of the Polish economy seems to be that even as the agricultural revolution accompanying the industrial one has multiplied productivity in some areas and largely left traditional farming in the dust, not all of those now struggling farmers are able or willing to move to the industrial centers, and the industrial centers have little interest in coming to them. This problem is most notable all across Poland’s remote and rural eastern border, where the Byelorussian, Ruthenian and Khazarian regions are all basically devoid of investment, and even amidst an unprecedented flood of food, almost paradoxically getting poorer as their own farms are no longer profitable.

    To move away from farming and support its industry, the Polish state invests heavily into the development of more efficient methods for mining and refining coal, iron and more. Especially as other countries with similar products like England and Germany are reeling, boosting this one sector can have a massive impact on the economy. Of course, if farming is known to be backbreaking work, then working in a mine is definitely even worse.



    As the Third Revolutionary War enters its fifth year, February 1840 sees the first revolution of many in that year, a sign of what is to come. The so-called Leonic Republic has been occupied by Italy pretty much since the start of the war, only to recently erupt into a three-way civil war between one autocratic and two different republican parties (one French and one Occitan). The first of these to successfully claim the capital Toulouse is the Occitan party, which promptly declares the “sister state” government illegitimate and Occitania an independent republic. While the democratic movement brought by the Germans always had real popularity, the false name and foreign hegemony thrust upon them were blatantly artificial and unwelcome. The Bundesrepublik is obviously in no position to contest this, and Italy too quickly makes peace with the new government, leaving only the other rebel factions to deal with.



    Around the same time, Germany itself is struck even worse: as the state of war proves utterly untenable, yet the Italians refuse to accept the white peace they really should and Germany refuses to give up the “Freigrafschaft”, separatist movements of all colors start popping up throughout southern Germany. The region has always had its own identity distinct from the predominantly northern (and pagan) government. Be it frustration with the democratic experiment, Frankfurt in particular, or just life in general, Central Europe is aflame with regular people convinced that their best option is to take up arms, even if that means dismantling the Bundesrepublik.



    A revolution similar to the Leonic one occurs in the Saonic Republic, giving rise to the free state of Burgundy. The Rhodanic one is rather different, making the independent state of Provence into a one-state military dictatorship beneath the officers who performed the coup in the name of “national security”.



    German colonies in East Africa and India are the next to go…



    Unlike Provence, the breakoff state of Bavaria starts out governed by a fair republican government – but apparently not a very committed one, since it too is quick to decide that in order to protect the young state in these trying times, it has no choice but to pass “temporary” emergency measures for the sake of a stable government.



    And as the countryside is aflush with French and other nationalists trying to join one state or the other or form their own, the German government – with more than a little pressure from the military leadership – reaches much the same conclusion. The Bundesrepublik isn’t abolished, since that would pretty much mean giving up claims to all those rebel territories; rather, the Bundestag and Bundesrat formally remain in place, but under the surveillance and largely unrestrained power of the self-declared General-Director. But of course, the rest of the Bundesrepublik has little interest in dealing with this. Whether actively joining the rebellion against Germany or just no longer “returning its calls” so to speak, Lombardia, Uralia, Bolgharia and Siberia all emerge as independent republics, trying to find their footing in a massively changed world.



    Sweden and Chernigov, quite alarmed by all this and eager to pull their troops back home as soon as possible, manage to secure a rushed peace treaty with Italy, condemning it to reduce the size of its army (done) and pay large reparations. But of course, that “peace” is basically nominal at this point: rebel ideas don’t care about borders, and at this point neither do the rebels themselves. While various nationalists (and still the Lotharingian army) are fighting for control of France, in September, a massive crowd of thousands, maybe tens of thousands finally storms the Quirinal Palace in Rome and drags out Emperor Araslan I, only recently old enough to finally take the throne. It’s not their first time attempting this, but this time they succeed. And though it comes as a surprise to all concerned, and takes some serious explaining, the leaders of the Italian Revolution decide not to behead him like their (less than exemplary in light of recent events) German forerunners did. He is more useful alive, to put it bluntly: they can still form whatever (hopefully better thought-out) democratic government they want, and just keep the imperial family – especially the 17-year-old boy – as strictly controlled figureheads to legitimize it in the eyes of those who might otherwise complain.

    Thus the Latin Federation is born. Even the three viceroyalties of Santa Croce, Honduras and Aotearoa receive this news with cautious optimism, at least wanting to stick around to see what comes of it. After all, they’ve been pushing for liberal reforms for quite a while now… even if these methods were a bit more forceful than theirs.



    The reign of the General-Director proves rather short, too, as already in December, a new popular rebellion manages to topple his government, imprison him and restore the freedom of the government. He may have controlled the military, but there wasn’t much left of it to control. At this point, though, there’s no undoing the destruction of the Bundesrepublik: none of the former sister republics, especially the ones no longer really republics, have any interest in returning under German rule now that they’ve broken free from it. The only option left is for Germany, still a decently large and developed nation, to slowly rebuild and rise from this unprecedented crisis stronger than ever.



    And as the utterly chaotic Mad Year of 1840 approaches its end, most but not all of the insurrections start winding down as well. The ones that weren’t already put down have mostly achieved their goals: Lotharingia actually managed to strike a deal with the rebels to have them join the Principality, now more than twice as large and populous. And so, as a direct result of the unsuspecting English lusting after York, this one year ended up seeing: the independence of the seven sister republics and three other nations on three continents, the fall and reestablishment of German democracy, the huge expansion of Lotharingia, Bar, Burgundy and Occitania as the result of allying with rebel movements, and with the death of the Bundesrepublik, the birth of the Latin Federation. Few individual years in history will be the subject of quite as much study and debate as 1840.



    But although, largely due to dropping out of the war well ahead of time, Poland has been able to watch from the sidelines and reap the benefits, not for a moment in 1840 was anyone in Krakow able to “relax”. Besides the diplomatic corps obviously working overtime just to keep track of who rules what, Nadbor III and the Sejm have never stopped eyeing their own subjects with suspicion. While successful on a national level, the changes happening in Poland haven’t been quite so popular with many of the actual citizens, and though it was undeniably cathartic to watch the Bundesrepublik collapse under its own weight, the underlying message was rather terrifying: two great powers reduced to total anarchy by a single war gone wrong, roving bands of citizenry toppling and founding governments at will with no regard for any legal or military authority. The supposed appeal of monarchy is that of consistency, tradition and an enlightened noble leader, but having gotten rid of theirs, the people of the Bundesrepublik for one seem to have realized that a state doesn’t have to be permanent after all, as long as the “nation” survives. Could the same happen in Poland? And if yes, could it be stopped, and at what cost?



    Hopefully they’re not about to find out…


    Spoiler: Meanwhile, Elsewhere
    Show
    Newspaper Gallery

    (Most of the newspapers aren’t that informative, and often glitchy or just silly, but I figured I’d throw them here because why not. I still recommend leafing through them.)



    (Shoving everything, even if interesting, into the main chapter tends to kinda muddy the narrative, so this is going to replace the already irregular “Map Highlights” section.)

    The plucky little Republic of Benin somehow managed to claim a chunk of Kanem-Bornu, small but significant as it includes the Sultanate’s only southern port.



    After also slipping into autocracy, as a lot of these improvised republics seem wont to do, the Maratha Confederacy (blue country on the left) has confidently started a war with the Pratihara and seems to be doing fine for now.



    Great power Japan is invading both Yan and Wu, expanding its de facto colonies on the Chinese mainland. Despite their populations being about 10 times larger, Japan’s standing army is actually bigger than theirs combined, as their weak central governments simply don’t have the resources to support a military proportionate to their size.


    Spoiler: Comments
    Show
    Wew. Extremely stressful to write. See what I meant by the AI being unpredictable? A major war starting within the literal first days of the game means that neither armies nor economies have any time to self-adjust from their rather awkward starting positions, inevitably making everything a huge mess. From what I can tell, once Italy and Germany’s economies collapsed, they actually deleted most of their armies, thus making the war pretty much impossible to finish and sending them into a death spiral of unrest. War exhaustion drives up militancy really quickly. This level of chaos is honestly more than I expected, and some of it is definitely due to imbalances in the mod. Although, normally a Vic 2 game is supposed to start shortly after a huge upheaval in Europe. It seems that in our case, we started right in the middle of one. Which works for me! Assuming the AI doesn’t spend the entire rest of the game stumbling over itself, anyway. I might give them some of that unrest reduction after all…

    By the way, I was mistaken earlier: in vanilla, seems like only a successful revolution in the vassal, not the mother country, releases the vassal. But I wanted it to go both ways, so I made it so. However, if the mother country has a revolution, the vassal will only leave if they don’t share the new ideology/government form (i.e. democratic vassals like Italy’s colonies don’t necessarily leave if you have a republican revolution) or if their opinion is simply low enough that they’ll take the excuse to slip away regardless.

    I’ve mentioned before that I’m a history major, but my minor is actually in social sciences (political science, sociology and economics). Which might explain my fascination with a lot of the themes in Vic 2, if I can just get it across. Well, whenever I bring that up I feel like I’m just further embarrassing myself with all the ahistorical nonsense in these AARs, but hey, artistic license.

    Spoiler: Extended Mechanical Ramble
    Show
    Victoria 2 is a weird game. Under the usual map-painting and diplomacy it’s got three really detailed, closely interlocking systems – population, politics and economy – with every demographic group being simulated down to the individual person (as a number if nothing else), but perhaps as a result, they all end up being kinda opaque with a lot of weird terms and lack of clarity about what affects what. Most players tend to either brute force or simply ignore them to focus on the usual empire building, and possibly quit in frustration when nothing works. Me included. But no longer! Knock on wood. A non-exhaustive rundown of some of the stats for any population group (POP), since I feel like they’re a lot less self-explanatory than in either CK2 or EU4:

    • A POP consists of every person of the same culture, religion and profession living in one given province, and every province has a mix of different pops grouped into three social strata (labourers/farmers/craftsmen/soldiers, artisans/clerks/bureaucrats/clergymen/officers, aristocrats/capitalists). An event might affect, say, the Consciousness of every Pomeranian, every farmer, or every lower-class POP in a region, and that group of Pomeranian Slavic Farmers in Berlin might be 70% Conservative, 13% Liberal, 10% Reactionary and 7% Socialist. POPs can also do things like migrate or emigrate in search of jobs, life quality and political rights.
    • Consciousness makes a POP more likely to adopt ideologies rather than vote based on single issues or public pressure, demand reforms and higher life quality (needs), promote to a higher stratum when possible, and failing all those, emigrate to a colony. Since high Consciousness also leads to higher needs which lead to more Consciousness, as do a lot of the reforms they demand, it can be something of a self-reinforcing cycle. Basically as the name implies, it makes people think about things.
    • Needs are something every POP has, with the higher classes demanding more goods to be happy but obviously also having more money to buy them (yes, individual POPs’ money is tracked under the hood). Every POP has Life, Everyday and Luxury needs of specific goods (like food, coal and coffee) and becomes increasingly happy or unhappy as they are or aren’t filled. Things like unemployment, social security, taxation, economic events and the supply and demand of any given good affect how well POPs can fill their needs.
    • Plurality is a country-wide stat, not POP-specific, that raises overall Consciousness, needs, and demand for democratic reform, but also improves research. It represents the variety, and acceptance, of different ideas in society.
    • Militancy makes a POP more likely to join protest movements pushing for reforms, which can turn into armed rebellions if ignored or provoked. Unfilled needs, demands for reform, unwanted reforms, forceful suppression of movements, premature elections and so on are all major sources, so Consciousness can directly lead to Militancy if the government doesn’t take the hint.
    • Literacy is critical for research and POP promotion to higher classes such as clerks (which is a good thing), but also raises Consciousness.

    That’s not by any means all that’s complicated about the game, but a good start on some things that I myself only sorted out recently. As usual, you don’t need to understand them exactly and I’ll try to work them into the narrative, but having some idea probably helps. I didn’t even get into the economy for instance, which I might or might not do later. I’m always available for an explanation/ramble, but I won’t turn this into an impromptu tutorial unless asked. I love paying way more attention to some of the statistics like culture and migration than might be actually “necessary”, and I hope they’ll make for good world-building fodder as we get a bit further (and, perhaps, into less chaotic times).

    Vic 2’s file structure is very similar to EU4 and just as moddable, but it too can be weird, being the oldest in the current line-up (from the ancient era of 2010). It actually needs weird workarounds for a simple “if” function! Fingers crossed for a Vic 3.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2022-03-21 at 04:07 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #178
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    ...wow. As you said, that's way more upheaval than the usual Vic 2 start...or the whole first half of Vic 2, for that matter. Glued to my seat for more!
    ithilanor on Steam.

  29. - Top - End - #179
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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    Chapter #55: Must Be Something in the Water (1841-1847)

    Spoiler: Chapter
    Show
    1st of January, 1841

    Anger against the Kingdom of Poland springs deep, and from a number of sources. Its much-touted liberties, while undeniably better than those of other non-constitutional monarchies, haven’t really been expanded in centuries, and seem like a very low standard to be proud of when much better examples are popping up all around the world.

    Aristocratic rule and the lack of democracy. The state treating its citizens less equally than it claims to. Ageless class differences being highlighted as people’s old way of life is disrupted and industry brings great wealth to some while driving others into poverty. And of course the violent suppression of anyone who dares to speak up. It makes sense that tensions would first flare up somewhere all these factors overlap. And as the High King so insists on presenting himself as the head and symbol of Poland, the people’s collected frustration is aimed at him as well.

    The Byelorussians are a conglomeration of Slavic tribes squeezed between the Russians, Ruthenians and Poles, almost able to pass as any of them but never really viewed as their own people or given an area recognized as “theirs”. The borders of the Moscow Pact running right through their lands and splitting them between three different countries didn’t help, but the Pan-Slavic worldview was still the dominant one, so this didn't seem like such an issue. Even the Byelorussians didn’t necessarily recognize that or any other name for themselves, only identifying with their hometown or village and maybe, maybe, whichever kingdom they were part of.


    (Reused image)

    Only recently has that really started to change, with concepts like nationalism, self-determination and cultural unity seeping their way into the countryside, at the same time that the borders dividing them are more relevant and strictly imposed than ever. Perhaps those ideas wouldn’t have taken root so strongly if life under the Polish crown was otherwise impeccable. But as matters of identity mix with everyday woes, never fully separable, they end up provoking one of Poland’s first openly anti-monarchical movements in Brest-Litovsk, a mid-sized city at the western end of what could be called the Byelorussian region. The movement is leaderless and nameless, its membership small and its goals unclear, but they do include liberal, independent and revolutionary elements. Besides Byelorussians, the city is actually about 22% Polish (and 12% Jewish), adding fuel to the fire as those Polish-speakers are on average more defensive of the monarchy and not huge fans of any separatist movement in their hometown. A sudden clash between the revolutionaries and angered royalists, largely just an unarmed street brawl, is broken up by force with several revolutionaries killed, more injured, and even more arrested before the rest run away.



    Poland has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to public provocation against the crown, the High King or the undivided Kingdom of Poland. The big question, of course, is how the intimidation value stacks up against the outrage. The story of what happened in Brest-Litovsk and the favoritism shown to the Polish counter-protesters is picked up and spread by local presses. Trying to cover their own tracks, the local authorities crack down on these newspapers, setting almost word for word the precedent that just reporting the facts may be punishable. In an ill-advised (and ineffective) attempt to contain the growing mess by also targeting banks, businesses and public figures suspected of dealings with liberal groups, they only dig themselves deeper, and the stage is set for a region-wide rebellion.

    When the situation dawns on Krakow, the government is rightfully worried that it’s witnessing first-hand how the German and Latin revolutions might have begun. That may be an overreaction, of course: it’s not Poland’s first time dealing with some local unrest. But with Europe west of the border still in flames, smoke is in the air and no one knows where the sparks might fall. By being so harsh and absolute for so long, the crown and the Sejm have both painted themselves into a corner on this matter, feeling unable to compromise with the liberal movement if they wanted to (which they don’t). And if they can’t either accept the demands or let the protests continue, that seems to leave suppression as the only option, no matter how counterproductive.

    Although, between the crown and the Sejm, the latter actually feels far more strongly about the matter. Since its formation as a response to royal abuse 337 years ago, the Sejm has always been an exclusive nobles’ club, not even meant as a house of “representation”, but its growing role as a government organ and the birth of popular parliaments in other countries have amplified demands for expanded voting rights. The ability of the nouveau riche to “buy their way into the Sejm” has been hard enough for the nobles to swallow, but at least they’re still few and far between and their interests mostly align. In comparison, the idea of the voter base being expanded even slightly from its current 2% and bringing in the unwashed masses – or just lesser burghers – is quite unthinkable, and would utterly transform the nature of the institution. Even worse, that change being imposed from either below or above goes against the basic tenet of the nobles being their own masters and the crown listening to them.

    Of course, whatever his personal thoughts on voter reform – publicly he moves in lockstep with the Sejm – “Death to the King” is hardly pleasant to Nadbor III’s ears either.

    Worse, 1841 is an election year for the Sejm: normally not a very dramatic occasion, but while the nobles gather in their shadowy chambers to elect their favorite or just most generous colleagues, it’s the perfect timing for rabble-rousers in the street to rant and rave to the populace about the fact that they’re not allowed to participate. Clearly the knock-on effects of the Brest-Litovsk farce aren’t limited to Byelorussia.



    The election itself coincides with the Kupala Festival in late June, but the speeches, “debates” and other rituals start already at Midwinter. On March 10, at the same time that the New Sejmic Palace in downtown Krakow is packed full of nobles (the first Sejmic Palace burned down in 1601 at the start of the civil war), a sudden riot springs up in the streets outside. The unruly mob takes even the increased guards… off guard… and attempts to enter the Palace. Especially with all those nobles present, this cannot be allowed to pass. Given that this is Krakow, the military is readily available, and the riots are put down with great prejudice – and no lack of damage to both property and human life.



    A mastermind behind the well-organized riot is soon found: the Red Eagle Army, a group flying the Polish flag with the colors switched, that threatens to turn Poland upside down in the name of mob rule. Historians will later decide that the Red Eagle did indeed exist, but at this point was only a small group turned into a boogeyman and easy target for the crown, ultimately feeding into its popularity in something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    This paranoia also contributes to unnecessary violence against groups demanding voter reform in a more peaceful manner.



    The election itself is rather boring in comparison, the nobles (now with extra security) almost making a point of acting like nothing’s wrong and voting the exact same way they always do. Liberal candidates actually earn a rather even 15% of the vote across the country, more with the capitalists than the aristocrats, trying to advocate for some kind of compromise to appease the people before things truly get out of hand. But alas, in the Polish system, a strong minority across the board means absolutely zero seats, and the composition of the Sejm in no way reflects the current social reality. The only sign that they’re even aware of it is the speech made by the new Premier, Wladislaw Sarna, where he vows to preserve the sanctity of the Sejm and make sure that no lowborn peasant enters these hallowed halls, at least not without a tray of tea.



    As 1841 turns into autumn, then winter, the open riots seem to have died down well enough, but the government is worried by reports that the groups themselves have just gone underground and become more determined than ever. Meanwhile, the liberal movement seems to be digging its roots into the Sejm after all: though the economic-liberal politicians’ relationship with the rest of the liberal movement is pragmatic at best, and they in fact try to distance themselves from it, there’s a certain temptation for them to throw their lot in with the reformers after all. The Sejm’s current laws are stopping them from getting elected or working towards their own agendas either.



    Consciously or not, cultural minorities are considered especially suspect, turning the government’s watchful gaze to places like the German North Sea coast. Smaller strips of non-Slavic land like here, Calais, Austria and Hungary sometimes get treated less as fully-fledged provinces and more like occupied zones, even if they've been that way for centuries. As all non-government mandated political groups and meetings are illegal anyway, that just gives people good reason to be more discreet about their opinions, which is then a good reason for the government to label any and all of them as “underground seditious movements”.



    At least people’s lives are getting slightly better in other ways, no thanks to the government, with advancements in medicine extending the lives of wounded soldiers and regular citizens alike.


    (Most of the game’s increases in population growth come from reduced mortality rather than increased fertility, which is of course historical. Meanwhile, Military Hospitals adds to the number of soldiers who return to the population when "killed" instead of actually dying.)

    In fact, in February 1842 the nation acquires a new distraction: having lost its alliance with Germany, Chernigov has nothing to protect it from neighbors wanting to settle some old debts, and Novgorod for one has never given up on reclaiming the lands taken from it back in 1680 (coincidentally Byelorussian for the most part). Now it’s making its first real attempt at a comeback, and Moldavia has already pledged its support – so Nadbor III decides to do the same, thinking that allowing any conflict in the region to drag on too long would only add to the unrest. The Polish-Chernihiv relationship has been on-and-off at best, and Chernigov's willingness to coldly support the Bundesrepublik was always rather unnerving, even if it never came to anything, so the High King’s decision has plenty of support from Sarna’s Sejm.



    As Polish armies march straight into the Dniepr swamplands, those new field treatments couldn’t have come at a better time.



    Even beyond the difference in numbers, Chernigov is rather poorly placed for this war. Its eponymous capital is right on the Polish border, as are its most valuable regions in general, and the three Slavic powers invading it are able to do so on an extremely wide open front.


    (I don’t play around with the battle plan editor that much since it has no real gameplay use, but sure, why not?)

    In Germany, the turmoil that people thought had ended already is apparently still going, with the Nationale Partei seizing power once more. The ringleader of the last coup, General-Director Ulrich Cranz, has been busted out of prison and is at it again, riding a wave of discontent caused by the Second Republic’s inability to put together a working government or make any progress in fixing the country over the past year and a half.



    The eastern war doesn’t magically erase all of Poland's western problems either. The Danes, perhaps one of the most distinct minorities in Poland but usually rather well-behaved, are making noise and starting to talk about either independence or, perhaps, union with Sweden. No such ideas will be tolerated, of course, in Denmark or anywhere else.



    That war, though, does go very smoothly, with the enemy apparently realizing they’re badly outmatched and letting the invaders pass almost freely with minimal fighting. Alas, Novgorod’s demands are rather significant, and it takes a while for Chernigov to stop haggling. The newly independent republic of Bolgharia – trying to reclaim its traditional lands from Chernigov – getting involved is certainly a good motivator to reach an agreement.



    In August 1842 the peace is signed, returning the border to its Moscow Pact position of 1444. Novgorod actually gets a little excited and has demands for more, but Poland is the moderating presence in this case, refusing to continue the war just so Novgorod could take an eye for an eye. With Chernigov no longer distracted, the Bolghars also end up making a white peace before their opportunism can backfire.



    For all its apparent ease, the war wasn’t actually a very good showing for the Polish military, with a perceptive observer being able to notice a lot of deep structural flaws in how the army is organized and the officers trained. One such person actually writes a rather scathing report back to Krakow. It could well have been quite the disaster against a more equally-matched enemy.



    But as the military sets out to reluctantly work on these problems, the unrest at home continues. It’s clearly no longer a local problem in any sense, with occasional protests, street fights, secret societies and whatnot popping up at every end of the country in turn… though notably, mostly near the borders, making the problem less urgent for Krakow on one hand but raising the specter of some independence movements getting mixed in.



    Meanwhile, paying little mind to internal problems, the Polish foreign service has been working with the treasury and a chamber of investors to perform a – surprisingly skillful – hostile takeover of the growing Lotharingian economy. As the Principality’s most valuable exports include largely the same resources such as coal and steel, the Poles have successfully bought up large portions of the local industry, become its largest buyer and seller and entangled its supply lines with Poland’s, making Lotharingia almost entirely dependent on it (and especially its ports, lacking any of its own). The ruling Parti Nationaliste, having reacted too late to do anything about it, deeply resents this state of things. The next step in the Polish playbook is to exploit it for diplomatic pressure.



    Annoyingly enough, even if the noble parliament can’t do anything, Lotharingia is also struggling with a liberal movement not unlike Poland’s, and what seems like a Polish takeover of the country is the last straw that pushes them into open rebellion. Polish influence isn’t quite at the point where it can just march into the capital without permission, leaving the troops to watch from across the border.



    On the other hand, Poland’s own industry keeps chugging on as railroads, tested mostly on very short distances until now, start being adapted to actual practical use. The most ambitious project so far is the so-called Miedzymorze (“Intersea”) Line, providing a direct connection from Gdansk to Odessa and passing through several major cities on the way. At last, one will be able to pass from the Baltic to the Black Sea in just a couple days. It’s planned for industrial use at first, but growing to include passenger lines as soon as possible, revolutionizing travel forever as the web of steel spreads across Europe. Though the terrain is perfect for it, laying the groundwork and working out the kinks in the machinery is still expected to take several years. They were hoping to build a rail network connecting Lotharingia and Frisia, too…



    In November 1843, the new Lotharingian constitution is signed into law, making it into a true republic on par with the others in Europe – but more problematically, the new government is determined to weed out all undue foreign influence, going so far as to confiscate Polish property, deport Polish citizens, and declare all trades or contracts with them annulled. Bold words for someone 40 miles from the border.



    Citing this direct attack and insult as a casus belli, Polish troops already on the border quickly start their march towards Charleroi to protect their citizens and their rights. The war isn’t entirely effortless, as even though it was unable to stop the revolution, the Lotharingian army isn’t a total pushover. Several bloody battles follow in the countryside as the Polish commanders try to stop the newly-founded republic from regrouping and mounting a more effective defense.



    It’s still wrapped up in early 1844, but Poland doesn’t actually have interest in anything as radical as a restoration of the old Principality or any kind of continued occupation, only some assurances that its assets will not be threatened again. It does take the opportunity to deepen its influence further, of course, and by the end of it, Lotharingia is tighter in the eagle’s grasp (and more spiteful about it) than ever. The Polish Crown Railways get to dig in their grubby fingers too, gaining a near-monopoly over the fledgling Lotharingian network and the ability to integrate it into Poland's.



    Germany just can’t catch a break: in November 1844, after tolerating the repressive Cranz regime for another two years, the people decide that this isn’t working out either and overthrow him – again. This should at least be a humbling example for any future would-be dictators in Germany, but the country isn’t exactly in good shape as a result of the constant back-and-forth. Many historians will consider the whole period from 1840 forward part of one long civil war.



    Poland, on the other hand, seems to be doing just fine: liberals have been a constant nuisance but not a real threat for some years now, business is booming in west and east alike, the Miedzymorze and other rail projects are making steady progress. To some, of course, the subjugation of Lotharingia is just another example of royal ruthlessness, the railways just another symbol of progress (literally) passing them by: even though much of the eastern region is in any case unsuited for railways due to its forests or swamps, it is true that railways by their nature link together the major cities while running through forests and fields and disturbing the countryside. Anti-railway protesters clash with those wanting to fix these same problems by adding more railways, but eventually they decide to just join forces against the current policy-makers and figure it out from there. They then end up getting recruited by the wider liberal movement, willing to pick up whatever subject it can bash the government for; in this case, demanding representation in the Sejm so that the people can decide where the railways are or aren’t built.

    The largest such protest at the construction site of the Krakow Central Station, December 1844, turns into another riot. As first the railway security and then the military answer with violence, word spreads quickly and similar groups in other cities spring to action. Somewhere these are just overgrown protests, not a threat even to the local troops, but in some places – especially along the Miedzymorze – there’s a real insurgent uprising, surely orchestrated by the Red Eagle.



    Likely due to having started so suddenly, the haphazard revolution is nowhere as large as it could’ve been, but putting it down still takes several months of heavy-handed military action and one-sided trials, and even then, most of the rebels just flee into the countryside or take off their armbands and pretend they had nothing to do with it. Actual fighting having started over such a seemingly minor issue, and the military responding so harshly, sends people a message – and not necessarily the one the crown would like.

    Not just that: with the great powers too busy tripping over their own feet for a while now, life across the Atlantic has been rather peaceful, but the sheer mix of incompetence and tyranny in Europe in contrast to the relative prosperity of Amatica is just adding fuel to old ideas of colonial independence. The failed Amatican Revolution of 1776 already had a distinctly liberal flavor, even before the same ideas really hit it big in Europe, and this is clearly feeding back into “liberty” becoming synonymous with Amatican identity.



    And while similar movements pick up speed elsewhere, the situation is exacerbated by a particularly bad harvest in some of the already poorest and most restless regions, which the government for once does its best to alleviate. Still, the economy in general has definitely taken a turn for the worse, with workers out on the barricades and investors unwilling to invest in something that could be torn down by an angry mob the next day.



    It’s hard to see what the government’s endgame is here, though. After the crackdown on the Railway Rebellion only caused sympathetic liberals to start arming themselves with renewed fervor in preparation for Round 2, the hardline stance doesn’t seem very sustainable. Besides, not even the Sejm – or most of it, at least – is actually enthusiastic about the idea of shooting and beating Polish citizens en masse from here to eternity, yet the increasingly ingrained attitude of “Liberty or Death” might force them to do just that. Premier Wladislaw Sarna, however, is both tied to his word and still a firm believer in it, and under his leadership, the Sejm isn’t going to budge. He seems to have Nadbor III's tacit support.



    And indeed, on that front, some people cling onto hope that even if unlikely to propel the liberals into power, the upcoming election of 1846 might at least make the conservatives see reason and put someone more moderate in the Premier’s seat. They don’t get a chance to test that theory, for on 18 March 1846, a new country-wide uprising finally occurs: this time without a particular provocation, clearly planned and organized by someone. The army is once again put on full war footing, and Yugoslavia also dutifully sends in troops to help. At least it seems like the liberals haven’t managed to infiltrate the military itself, as was the downfall of Italy.



    The uprising is accompanied by separatists in Hungary, Slovakia and Ruthenia as well. But as tempting as it is to paint the Red Eagle Army as the enemy and this as a civil war, calling upon memories of the Confederates, it is clearly an attempted revolution, with the state going to war against a disparate mass of its own citizens. And though they are mostly disorganized, scattered and no match for trained soldiers, on the few occasions that they manage to group up into a larger army under a competent commander, they actually manage some real victories – sure to go down as heroic struggles for liberty. But all in all, there are always more soldiers to come, and pluck and panache can only carry the rebels so far. Their defeat (for now) is only a matter of time.



    At this point, no amount of self-deception can claim that the situation could be solved just by waiting or beating at it until it goes away. As the delayed election proceeds in war-like conditions, Premier Sarna’s handling of the liberal movement comes increasingly under fire, mostly ignoring the fact that most of the Sejm supported it and him until just a while ago. Over the summer and early autumn, the uprisings are once again “put down”, but everyone knows that only means waiting for the next ones, and candidates on both extremes realize they might actually have a chance of taking some usually moderate seats this year. The Crown Council, too, has been swinging more towards the liberals lately, and there’s a chance it might be willing to pass some reforms with or without the Sejm’s support.



    Indeed! For the first time since anyone started counting this kind of thing, the “conservative” deputies don’t even break 50%, with the liberals coming in as a close second. It’s hard to draw any geographic trends, the results clearly coming down to each individual district, but that just means the shift is countrywide and even more significant. With these two factions competing for the top, the reactionaries get to play kingmaker in a sense, but there’s no question that they support the conservatives over their sworn opponents the liberals. This still changes everything, though: the middle-of-the-road moderates, who had arguably been swinging rather authoritarian during Sarna’s term, are going to have no choice but to work with either extreme if they want to get things done – but making concessions to both seems like a lost cause, and sticking too close to the reactionaries would just mean continuing the clearly ineffective policies used so far. A moderate-liberal alliance seems like the only option.



    As “party” politics become more relevant, despite parties not technically existing in a legal sense, their respective names also start getting thrown around a lot more, and the limits of that law are going to be tried quite a bit. And unsurprisingly, due to liberal demands, the Sejm submits a request for Nadbor III to declare a loss of confidence in Sarna, who is replaced by the far calmer, more “reasonable” Mariusz Nowak.



    The effects of both the new Premier and the changes in the Sejm are immediate. The tone of discussion in the chamber changes radically – for one, the Coalition and Populists really are discussing things, even if there’s also the Royalist contingent shouting from the rafters. New orders are given to the military and local authorities not to crack down on protests and liberal groups quite so quickly, but to either let them march in peace or point them in the right direction to complain. Of course, that still falls short of actually enacting those changes they demand… but it’s still a first step.

    Alas, fate is a cruel mistress, and just as this all-new government is starting to think that everything’s going to be alright, it is immediately put to its greatest test.


    Spoiler: Meanwhile, Elsewhere
    Show
    Newspaper Gallery



    The Latin Federation has taken two steps forward and one backwards in terms of restoring its former territory, having annexed rebel-riddled Occitania only to almost immediately lose the Grand Duchy of Brittany. The Swiss Confederation, a ragtag alliance of cantons in the Alpine region that has seen so much war and civil war lately, also broke off from Germany.



    In southern Africa, settlers from the Asturian colony of Esperanza had long been clashing with English ones in the mountainous Transvalo (Transvaal) region between them. Due to a string of gold discoveries, Transvalo too was very high priority for both sides, and neither wanted to let the other claim uncontested control over it. The two had already been on the verge of war over the matter, but with international pressure, finally reached an agreement giving it to England… only for Asturias to immediately double-cross it and seize the ports leading to Transvalo, leaving the English colony awkwardly landlocked.



    A major wave of unrest struck the Middle East, but though the Madjids managed to handle it on their side of the border, the Pratihara didn’t, giving rise to the Kingdom of Armenia, tiny rump Sultanate of Iraq and the Shahdom of Persia. They're still dealing with rebels in Kurdistan and Afghanistan, too.



    The Marathi have continued their conquests against the Pratihara, only for Karnata to finally get worried about another rapidly expanding state on its turf and decide to do something about it.



    If Germany’s collapse has seemed dramatic, then East Asia is an utter mess as well. Following in the Uyghurs’ footsteps, Kyrgyzstan is working on also breaking free from the Pratihara, while Tibet, Xi and Shu have already succeeded. Tibet and Shu teamed up to conquer parts of the Uyghur Khanate, while Shu also annexed a short-lived Mongolian state to its northeast. Meanwhile, Manchuria made use of all this confusion to finally “retake” the northern portion of Yan. As all these states sort themselves out (or don’t), the region is sure to see no end of fighting over who gets to reform the unified Chinese state after some 600 years of first Yuan, then Pratihara domination.


    Spoiler: Comments
    Show
    I love the wording in that one pop-up. “Scientists in our country have discovered The Spirit of Freedom.”

    The event pop-ups coming with timestamps certainly helps keep up with the timeline, but also makes it more obvious when I have to rearrange things to make more sense. Not that I expect anyone to object, it just makes me feel silly. And for the record, there are a million liberal events for instance, many of them repeating at least once a month, that I don’t bother showing at all. I’m almost disappointed, though, if this is the worst I can do even by picking the more provocative option on every single one of them.

    Going to pause on this cliffhanger for a bit, since I’m going to be away from my gaming computer for 2-3 weeks for Midsummer. Definitely going to continue as soon as I can, though!

    In the meantime, a good time to ask assorted questions about either the world or the game mechanics, I guess. If I don't have an answer, I'll make it up on the spot and declare it canon from now on.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2022-03-21 at 04:44 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #180
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    May 2020

    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    Well, I know this isn't a call for a vote, but I think they should actually try to reason with them in Amatica. We just had a ton of evidence that sending in the army over and over doesn't work in the long run, and with a newly fashioned Sejm, they'll be itching to prove to the local populace that they mean what they say, please don't rebel any more...

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