No, no profanity here (moderators relax!) but English is not my mother tongue so some parts of the story will probably read awkward. We'll try to keep it entertaining though. Realism Invictus mod. Planet Generator map. Huge world size. 15 Civilisations. Realistic speed. Prince difficulty. Random leader. Part 1 First there was light. Then there was France. Or so the French say. Curiously other civilizations never totally adhered to the French cosmogony. What is certain is that on one bright day of 4000 BC (some say it was Tuesday), a group of nomad wanderers settled down and took what they couldn't know was the first step to... Wait... That doesn't add up. They took the first step by stopping to walk? That's self-contradictory. No, would the French retort. That's paradoxical. Then everyone would shut their big pie and hope for the invention of the dictionary. Paradoxiwhat? The French were led by Henry IV, who was so called because when asked about his surname he would invariably answer: "A surname? What for?" Henry was a charismatic ruler, meaning that he could get laid without much effort, a humanist at that, always inquiring about other people's beliefs and opinions after he had beaten them with his club (and then beating them some more to get their opinions right), and anti-clerical, which without the existence of religion, let alone a clergy, just meant he disliked people putting on airs while loafing around. Historians still debate how it was that Henry For took the lead of the French people. Was it the strength of his vision? His subjugating aura? His humanist clubbing? Actually, Henry was just the first member of the nomadic tribe to get fed up with all the walking and say: "Hey guys, what about we stop and rest for a while?" Thus it is that they put down their belongings on the spot that was soon to be called Paris - an alteration of "par ici", "this way" in French, thought to be Henry For's own words at the founding of the city. An exploration party was sent around and it was quickly revealed that Paris was surrounded by sea on all side. Not exactly an island, but a maze of land extensions barely emerging from the ocean and connected to the main landmass in the East only by a narrow strait. Paris still had enough in terms of cattle and sheep to sustain growth, but many a French city would have to rely on the sea to get its sustenance. Thereby the French took it to themselves to become a nation of fishermen and sailors, trying to get the most from the sea. But first it was deemed imperative to lock the corridor to the East by the founding of a new city, to forbid any other sedentary tribe to settle the shores that the French would rightfully call theirs. It wasn't before some time that a group of settlers was sent to found Rouen, because the majority of the people of France, having discovered that the sitting - or lying, in some cases - position was much more comfortable than the walking-20-kilometers-a-day-pushing-Grandma-in-a-wheelcart position, were very reluctant to move, like, ever again. A few humanist clubbing sessions convinced a group of people to move away from Paris, and away from Henry For. And that was just the right time too because on their way East they met emissaries from the Maya empire. Well the Mayans fancied themselves an empire, but they were really not more than a bunch of club-wielding savages, if you asked any French. Rouen was founded nonetheless and all the land - and water - to the west of it was claimed. Near Rouen were also found huge depots of copper, which would be crucial to maintain claims and keep Mayans or other savages at bay. Having kept a few habits from their long tradition of wandering, the French naturally set for a pastoral nomadic economy, trying to get the most from the pastures around Paris before they would get used to their maritime destiny, trying to walk on water and all having somehow not been the tremendous success Henry For had foreseen (but here again some very humanist arguments seemed very persuasive in keeping people trying). As more civilizations were met - Incan, American, Malinese, Transoxianan - the pressure was high and Henry For finally agreed to let his people build boats. They started to harvest the sea for food and luxuries. Marseille was soon founded in the North, next to resources in fish and amber. In 2140 BC the French people, eager to distinguish themselves from lower civilizations, built the Pyramids from the top of which, they said, you could see the whole world. The whole world seemed to consist in a large body of water. All the more reason to maintain our efforts toward mastery of the seas, reasoned Henry For, who started then and on to put a lot more "Aaaar!" and "Scupper that!" in his talking, to show his people the Way. After that nothing happened for quite some time. Scouts were sent to the East to survey the lands beyond Rouen and further convince the French that they indeed had chosen an inferior spot for their founding of a civilization, what with all the resources the savages could get without even having to get wet. A hurricane hit Rouen, soon followed by an infestation of vermin in its granary, which prompted some to believe that the French people were damned and that Henry For was to be blamed for it. That was a bit much to take so Henry decided to found Judaism just to prove them wrong. Scupper that! The choice of Judaism as national religion was a bit unfortunate though since the French soon found out that seafood was frown upon by God Himself and so they wouldn't get health bonus from a lot of the resources they relied so much on. This didn't dampen Henry's enthusiasm and he sent two groups of settlers to found Lyons (in order to grab himself some gold resource) and Orleans on an island northwest which waters were teeming with now-forbidden seafood. Still eager to see his civilization thrive on water, Henry For had the Great Lighthouse built in the capital with the help of Gustave Eiffel, a great Engineer, in 1380 BC. It would be, he said, a great counterpoint to the Pyramids. Paris thus became the second-most awesome city in the world. Aaaar! The French were the leading civilization scientifically speaking, but Henry For, not so confident in the strength of the French military, would not hesitate to give away technologies in order to buy peace with its neighbours. Every other civilization was pleased with the French, but that was achieved at the cost of the French technological lead. The idea was to avoid being the first target in a major war, in order to be able to pick sides according to French best interests, but the continent despite its diversity of peoples still was eerily peaceful. The only battle that the forces garrisoned in Rouen ever saw was an expedition to take barbarian Olmec, North of Marseille. The French renamed it Veracruz immediately after conquest because Olmec didn't sound French enough (whereas Veracruz, you know...). They had been assisted in their attack by battering rams, stressing to all the importance of siege units. The Helepolis built for the occasion sadly had to stay behind, because of a massive case of forests happening to grow like, all the way up. The world could now be our oyster (but God expressly forbade to taste it).