The year is 1790. A decade of relative peace is coming to an end. The 18th century has been marked by a series of wars and conflicts as rising powers asserted their hegemony, culminating in the Nine Years' War that saw France defeat the Anglo-Spanish Naval League for control of North America and India. The French Empire, the successor to the Holy Roman Empire destroyed in the German Wars of Religion, stands atop the world. Spoiler World Map 1790 : Players in Paths of Glory take control of nations in Europe and elsewhere beginning to recover from past conflicts. Some of them seek to maintain their current position of relative superiority, others to reclaim past glories. And some just seek to weather the storm and preserve their fragile stability. Gameplay in Paths of Glory consists of four inter-locked systems: First, there is the political system. The Political System is the most important system, as it governs the other three. It broadly represents a player's control and influence over their nation. Spoiler Politics : Each nation has a Government, which is the players' representation. Every government has a government type, which consists of one or more words that describe briefly how the nation is administered and how power is distributed within that government. Every government has a Stability Rating, which reflects how strong and resilient the nation's current form of government is at absorbing outside shocks and internal conflicts. A high stability is safe but opens up the possibility of stagnation, while a low stability increases the risk of revolts and civil war and reduces economic growth. Spoiler Government Types : At the beginning of the game three broad government types are in use. Most of these will be monarchies with a sovereign ruler, some may be republican states with slightly different flavor. Feudal governments are those where power and policy is primarily made by a land-owning, hereditary nobility. These are typically linked to the institution of Feudalism. They are conservative and decentralized, sometimes they may be called Confederal. The feudal elite will fiercely defend their aristocratic privileges and take great offense to attempts to centralize power or dilute their influence. Parliamentary governments are those where power and policy rests in the hands of a parliamentary democratic body, though elections for that body are not necessary. They are distinguished from feudal governments, which may have similar bodies, by the fact that power rests in the body as a whole, rather than in individual members who may happen to meet there. They are fractious and unruly but possess broad powers to effect change via consensus and legitimacy. Administrative governments are those where power and policy rests in the hands of an appointed bureaucracy, loyal to the sovereign. These are typically absolutist states, though the exact degree of control held over the country is irrelevant. They allow the sovereign to dictate great change and enact transformational policies from above. But the lack of checks and balances mean poor decisions can be compounded. Some states may be called Presidential. A fourth government type, characterized as Despotic or Revolutionary, represents fledgling states without firm institutions of governance. It is characterized by the concentration of body in an individual or small group of dubious constitutional legitimacy, able to take decisive action but vulnerable to rapid collapse or overreach. Institutions are traits applied to a nation. They are a mix of technologies and policies that influence its politics, economy, and military. Not every institution is positive, some represent trade-offs, while others are purely negative. Most can be abandoned or adopted by spending a reform point. States are subnational units that make up every nation. Some small nations consist of a single state, others consist of over a dozen. Each state has a separate Confidence value, relating to its support of the national government. A low confidence will inspire revolts, while a high confidence will buttress the government through contributions of political capital, funds, and volunteers. States have Traits, the most important of which is the type of state, but also include institutions, which affect the state and its relationship to the central government. States come in three types. Home states are the core territories of your nation: France for the French Empire. Continental state are closely connected but still culturally distinct territories, like Lombardy. Colonial states are loosely connected and culturally distinct, often with native rulers or local assemblies doing much of the business of government. Confidence Values Rebellious -> Resentful -> Tolerating -> Supporting -> Enthusiastic Reform Points are used to modify institutions and states. They represent political capital and the openness of the upper classes of a nation to adopt new ideas and methods. Reform Points are inversely related to stability: a high stability means few reform points, while a low stability means many. Reform points can also be affected by institutions. Reform Points are spent by the players to adopt new institutions or change other aspects of the government. Reform Points cannot be banked, though they also do not need to be spent every turn. Spoiler Stability and Reform Points : At each successively lower level of stability, an additional reform point is gained. Stability 5 = 0 Reform Points Stability 4 = 1 Reform Point Stability 3 = 2 Reform Points Stability 2 = 3 Reform Points Stability 1 = 4 Reform Points At Stability 2 and below, revolts and rebellions will increase in frequency and potency. Reforms Spoiler Political : Institutions are maintained from turn to turn as part of a nation's stats. Constitution - boost to stability, potential checks on player's power Feudalism - A political system in which power is devolved to a land-owning elite, who maintain authority in return for their own status - boost to stability, reduced centralization New Government - The recent establishment of our government, without firm administrative institutions, hinders our progress and security - reduced stability, -1 reform point a turn. Nationalism - Our people have a shared history and culture that makes them uniquely suited for greatness, and we should embrace it - Unpredictable effects, cannot be discarded. Serfdom - An economic system in which peasants are tied to the land, providing control at the cost of reduced progress - Boost to centralization in continental states, reduces growth. Growth reduction does not affect colonies affected by mercantilism. Secret Police - Our state and people are under attack, from within and without. This forms a politically influential organization that relies on a network of informants and police to resist. - Boost to stability Reactionary - The political elite of this country see reform as an assault on their privileges and will resist it bitterly. - -1 RP a turn, cannot be discarded Progressive - The political elite of this country have recognized the need for reform - +1 RP a turn, cannot be adopted Hegemon - Victory and dominance over our local region shows the might of our empire, why would we need to reform? -1 rp a turn, cannot be discarded Mercantilism - The wealth of our empire should remain within our empire. Boosts growth in core and some continental territories (the Metropole), reduces growth in colonial territories. National Market - The regulation of weights and measures and removal of internal tariffs allows the development of a national economy. Boosts growth in core and continental territories. National Assembly - The convening of a national body representing multiple societal classes, some of which are not normally represented in the political system, with universal legitimacy and broad authority to enact reforms. +1 RP a turn, may result in reduced stability. Reforms are one-time effects that are applied to a nation's stats during the turn. Repeated use of the same reform may have additional effects. Administrative Reform - Removing inefficient privileges and practices to the benefit of the central government - Boost centralization in continental states, reduces confidence Fiscal Reforms - Restructuring the way we handle debt and finances, taking advantage of modern institutions and establishing a better relationship with international lenders -Reduces interest rate by 5%, can't be reduced below 5% Regulating Act - Our colonies and trading enterprises have grown too autonomous, too independent: it's time they were brought in line - Boost centralization of selected colonial states, reduces confidence Progressive Experimentation - Implementing novel political and economic reforms on a smaller scale, before applying them to the nation as a whole - +2 RP next turn, may reduce confidence in a selected core/continental state, reduces growth in selected state. Anticlerical Seizures - Seizure of church property provides a one-time boost to income, at the cost of reduced confidence in selected states and possible stability loss Populist Measures - The purchase of popular support at the cost of the long-term stability of the government. Boost to confidence in all core/continental states, -1 stability Local Governance - Addressing the demands of self-government, we will permit one or more of our colonies the right to establish political assemblies - Boost confidence in selected colonial states, reduced centralization, improved growth, local political events Integrated Elites - We will tie distant territories to the metropole by introducing their leadership as equals, at the risk of angering the existing elite - Boost confidence in selected non-core states, may lead to reduced stability. State Arsenals - The creation of government-organized manufactories for the production of arms and goods for the benefit of the state. +1 MC in a selected state. Devolution - Giving local authorities additional power will head off popular revolts - Boost confidence in selected states, reduced centralization Incite Unrest - The direction of political efforts to undermine the stability of one of our rivals. Chance to reduce stability or confidence in a selected state. Spoiler Military : National Reserves - Every man must do his part to defend our nation - Halved recruitment cost for regiments, may cause reductions in confidence Academic Training - The requirement for officers to be thoroughly grounded in military tactics and discipline as part of their duties, establishing military schools for this purpose. - Improved military leadership Meritocratic Officer Corps - Our nation's military is dominated by aristocrats, whose chief qualification is being born to the right people. Opening up advancement to more classes is necessary to triumph - May lead to reduced stability, improved military leadership Columnar Formations - The changing nature of warfare suggests experimentation with novel tactics, emphasizing shock tactics and massed formations over infantry lines Amalgamation - Mixed formations of veterans and recruits allow armies to massively expand without penalty in a short time period Skirmishers - Improvements in weapons technology and tactics adopted by irregulars in colonial warfare are implemented as loosely organized, high morale soldiers who harass enemy formations before, during, and after the battle. Corps Organization - The formation of sub-armies, as part of a larger force, that can move and fight both together or independently opens a new range of strategic maneuvers Living Off the Land - Allows large military formations to be supported with minimized supply issues, at great cost to the theatre of engagement Flying Batteries - Reorganizes artillery as independent formations within an army, rather than solely in support of infantry, greatly improving its efficacy. Irregulars - Rather than a professional, western-style army, this state relies on less disciplined formations of soldiers, no match for their european counterparts in a stand up fight. Cannot recruit Regiments or Brigades. Continental System - The transition from a regimental system to brigades increases the size of each formation by 50%, while sacrificing espirit de corps and some capacity for long-distance deployment for better effectiveness as part of a larger formation and reduced damage from casualties. Replaces regiments with brigades. Military Discipline - The abolition of corporal punishment, the promotion of dedicated “morale” officers, and new methods of drill create a more disciplined fighting force. Stavka - The establishment of a permanent military administrative body, independent of any army formations, allows for more effective coordination of supply and logistics. Reduce maintenance costs for regiments and brigades by 25% Free Corps - The organization of paramilitary or volunteer forces, capable of harassment, support, and garrison duties alongside a more conventional army. Improves Irregular formations, Irregulars Institution must have already been discarded. Scorched Earth Tactics - Denial of resources to an invading enemy force, at great civilian cost. Damages the growth and confidence of states being attacked, but severely limits supply opportunities for invaders. Decisive Battle - Abandoning the school of thought that emphasized orthodox line of battle engagements, decisive battle sought to take greater risks by concentrating a fleet's strength against a small portion of the opponent's line. Specialized Naval Training - Commanders and officers in a fleet should have specialized training for their roles, rather than just being members of the aristocracy who received their posts through patronage. Uniform Naval Design - Adopting standardized practices for the construction of ship's hulls, and the size of their cannons, reaches peak efficiency possible for a sailing ship. Copper Bottoming - The practice of sheathing the bottom of a ship's hull in copper can protect it against damage and attrition from long periods at sea, allowing ships to fight after long journeys. Second, there is the economic system. It represents the commercial, agricultural, and industrial wealth of each nation. It funds the activities of the other systems. Spoiler Economics : Each state has an Economy, which will fluctuate throughout the game as a result of player and non-player actions. This economy is taxed by the central government according to the Centralization rate: a higher centralization means a higher share of the tax. The sum of each state's income is the nation's total income, which can be spent by the player, chiefly on the military. Centralization can be increased using reform points. Economic growth is not accurately measured or controlled during this point in time, but the player can indirectly support it through regional projects and political reforms. Low stability will reduce economic growth, and it is also affected by select institutions. Players can also Directly Invest in states, paying 10% of a state's economy to boost its growth for the coming turn. Each nation pays maintenance for its standing army and fleet. This army is actively used both to defend your borders against outside threats and support your government against local rebellions. Each nation also has access to international credit, represented by their Interest Rate. A nation can accrue additional Debt equal to their current income. Every turn a nation pays interest on their existing debt. Unspent income goes into paying down debt. If all debt is eliminated there is no interest paid on a banked surplus, though income can continue to be banked. Most nations start with a manageable level of debt. (Most) Nations end up with disposable spending, once interest and maintenance is subtracted from income. Some of this may be spent on purchasing new military units, but money can almost literally do anything. Players can patronize the arts, invest in infrastructure, and pay off political groups for support with excess income. Finally, each nation has a Manufacturing Capacity. This represents their potential for modern industrial production of armaments and ships. It can also be used to boost a state's growth for that turn. Manufacturing Capacity cannot be banked, but it can be loaned out to another nation. Third, there is the military system. It represents the armed forces of each nation. It protects the other systems and allows them to accomplish their goals in the face of violent opposition. Spoiler Military : This is divided into land and sea formations. Formations are bodies of men and equipment that are employed by nations to occupy territory, neutralize enemy formations, and express political will through organized violence. Land formations come in three forms. Irregulars are troops with inferior training or equipment to modern European line infantry. They rarely fight in regular order but are very effective at defending their homelands, especially in rough or difficult terrain. Irregulars cost 1 economic point to recruit, and 1 point of maintenance is paid for every two irregulars. Regiments are formations of approximately ~1000 men raised and equipped according to modern European methods, with supporting cavalry and artillery. They possess a strong espirit de corps within their formation. Brigades are modified formations that replace regiments. They are larger by about 50%, but lose some of their capacity for independent action or long-distance deployment. They are more effective at grand battles and continental campaigns than regiments, being designed to operate in concert as part of a larger body. Regiments and Brigades cost 4 economic points to recruit and require 1 economic point in maintenance every turn. Batteries are formations of cannons and howitzers employed as artillery in military campaigns. They require protection and are very vulnerable to being captured or cut off, and their efficacy is highly dependent on terrain and formation. Properly used they can demolish fortifications and inflict disproportionate damage on enemy formations. They require 3 economic points to recruit and 1 economic point in maintenance, but also require 1 manufacturing capacity to build. Naval ships come in two forms. Frigates represent lighter ships unable, by means or by design, to fight in the line of battle. They are employed to support larger ships, where they exist, or as the principal fighting force without. They represent a wide range of roles, from Mediterranean galleys to Atlantic raiders to Asian junks. Frigates cost 1 economic point to recruit and 1 point of maintenace is paid for every 4 frigates. Ships of the Line are multi-decked sailing ships armed with powerful broadside cannons. They are designed to fight in the Line of Battle, an elaborate system of maneuver and engagement that deals with the limitations of modern naval technology. Ships of the Line cost 5 economic points to recruit and require 1 point of maintenance every turn. They also require 1 Manufacturing Capacity to recruit. The quality of a nation's armies and navies is an abstract thing and not easily measured in available statistics. Militaries that do a lot of fighting will perform better. Militaries that expanded rapidly recently will fight worse. Militaries from nations with high confidence in their core regions will fight better, while those with poor internal stability will suffer from defections and desertions. Not every military reform will result in a straight improvement: some will reduce efficacy in the short-run and others are dependent on other factors to be successful. Command and logistics are supremely important in making the most use of a military. As of the start of the game it is impractical and unwieldy to command a force of more than 30,000 men in a single battle. Armies need secure lines of supply to their home territories and one can compel an enemy force to retreat or risk an unfavorable engagement by threatening their logistics. Fourth, there is the diplomatic system. This is represented by multiple players and their conflicting ambitions. It is the manipulation of the other three systems to overcome other players that represents the true challenge of the game. Spoiler National Backgrounds : French Empire If the 18th century has belonged to any nation, it belonged to France. It has the most powerful fleets, the strongest armies, the wealthiest economy, the richest colonies. French successes in the past two centuries have been magnified by the failures of their rivals, letting them expand into Italy and the former Holy Roman Empire. Compromise and reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants at home has fueled a colonial empire in North America and India. The Bourbon rulers of France crowned themselves as successors to the Holy Roman Empire, a claim they reinforced with victories over Britain, Spain, and Poland, humbling Europe's rival great powers. To secure their Indian possessions the French have invested in a momentous undertaking, a canal through the Suez in Ottoman Egypt, but the increased taxes to pay for this project and the ongoing military expenditures to maintain a worldwide empire have pushed their American colonies to the brink, and France may end up losing at least half of its colonial empire as a consequence. Kingdom of Great Britain The triumph of royalist forces in the English Civil Wars established the modern British Monarchy, absolutism cloaked in parliamentarism and (some would say) Catholicism cloaked in Protestantism. The Stuart Monarchs leveraged Britain's wealth and maritime power into a global empire. But clashes with the ancestral enemy, France, would bring it down, as despite heading up the Anglo-Spanish (and friends) Naval League Britain would suffer defeat, most recently in the Nine Years' War. Deprived of its ambitions for an American or Indian Empire Britain has turned further east, rebuilding its strength by consolidating control of the East Indies, acquired at Dutch expense, and expanding its interests across the Pacific. Kingdom of Spain The shifting politics of the Iberian peninsula, a complicated web of religion and inheritance, ended with the unification of the Crowns of Portugal and Castile and the expulsion of the Moors. The unified Spain built the largest colonial empire the world has seen, dominating the Americas and Indias, but rising powers in the Dutch and the French chipped away at it. In the end the Spanish Empire became dependent on British credit to smooth over its irregular revenues, and ultimately a junior partner in that alliance. The immense wealth that once flowed into Spanish cities and palaces has dried up, and Spanish finances have yet to recover from the Nine Years' War, where the Naval League tried and failed to stop French hegemony. Reforms at home, and higher taxes, are needed to staunch the bleeding. Kingdom of Ireland Created out of the Nine Years’ War by the victorious French, the Kingdom of Ireland is an unsteady state next to a powerful and envious neighbor. Kingdom of the Netherlands From its humble beginnings, the Kingdom of the Netherlands began as a Protestant revolt against the ruling Hapsburgs during the German Wars of Religion. It passed briefly under the rule of the Vasas, but clashes between the local Estates General and the Absolutist Swedes led to a revolt where they crowned the Prince of Oranje as King, precipitating the collapse of the Swedish Protestant Empire. The 17th century was a Dutch Golden Age, establishing colonies and trading concessions from the Americas to Japan. But the 18th century saw decline: disastrous wars with France and Britain, sometimes both at once, lost the Dutch their southern provinces and East Indian Empire. Only its Brazilian colony in New Holland was retained, secure and content, but at home Dutch decline, both in foreign affairs and in domestic conditions, has led to brewing dissent. Kingdom of Aragon Once, Aragon challenged France for control of Italy and Portugal for control of Spain. It lost both of these conflicts but retained its Mediterranean possessions until the War of Aragonese Succession pitted Spain against France. This war provided a temporary check on French ambitions, as they were unable to press their claim on the Aragonese throne, but it resulted in the loss of Aragon's Italian territories. The following century was dominated by the resulting personal union with Spain, but a fresh revolt and French support resulted in the restoration of the Crown of Aragon as an independent entity, albeit shorn of its wider territories. With French backing the new Aragonese Monarchy has worked to suppress the privileges of the traditional feudal bodies, angering the groups that once were its biggest supporters for independence. Kingdom of Sicily Created out of the captured holdings of the Kingdom of Aragon, the Kingdom of Sicily became the possession of the junior branch of the French monarchy that had failed to press its claim on the Aragonese succession. For the last century it has been a reliable French ally, strengthening their position in the Mediterranean, participating in the suppression of the Barbary States, and securing their lines of supply to their interests in Egypt. Strong, capable rulers have avoided falling completely under the control of Paris like the rest of Italy. Confederation of the Rhine The latest and most durable union of German principalities since the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the Rhenish Confederacy has managed to check Polish ambitions and endure despite defeats to France. While the power base of the Confederation is in northwest Germany the most famous Rhenishman was the Red Duke, Louis Frederick of Baden who won brilliant military victories against Poland, the Ottomans, and France, securing the expansion of his own princely domain alongside the continued survival of the Confederation. Kingdom of Denmark-Norway A sometime British ally, Denmark has focused on trade and prosperity for the past century, growing relatively wealthy off the Baltic and North Sea Trade. Their chief foreign policy aim has been to prevent the emergence of any power capable of threatening them, or if that failed, join them. Hence, the alliance with Britain and the interventions in Germany and against Sweden. Kingdom of Bavaria The ultimate protestant victory in the German Wars of Religion meant the final unification of the two German branches of the House of Wittelsbach, joining the Palatinate and Bavaria under a single crown. They built a rough compromise between their Protestant and Catholic territories so as to combine their strength to claim control of Germany. But German hegemony would be foiled, first by the Vasas’ Polish Empire and then by the French expansion to the Rhine. The Palatinate Wittelsbachs would be left with just their Catholic Bavarian possessions in a great historical irony. Too proud to simply be one of many princes the Bavarian Kings stand apart from the Confederation of the Rhine, compensating themselves by cannibalizing the ailing Venetian Republic. Kingdom of Austria Final defeat in the German Wars of Religion meant the end of the Holy Roman Empire. But, through the grace of god or a pact with the devil, the Hapsburgs were able to preserve their own rule in Austria, albeit under a Protestant branch. Austria has served as a junior partner in the various coalition wars of the 18th century, opposing French expansionism here, Polish aggression there, partitioning the Venetian Republic, carefully protecting its independence as the smallest fish in the Central European pond. Republic of Sweden Sweden was the seed for a much greater European empire, as its Vasa Kings became first rulers of Poland and then, however brief, of Germany. But Empire has its burdens and as the center of royal power moved further and further south its relations with Sweden and the powerful Riksdag degraded. At the height of the conflict between the Riksdag and the Vasas Sweden broke free, triggering the First Northern War that saw the establishment of the post-HRE order. Failed attempts to import a new monarchy, or elect one of their own, saw the Riksdag choose to formalize its own power and their rule of Sweden as a republic, beginning an Age of Parliamentarism. Since then Sweden has had on-and-off wars with all its neighbors, most recently aligning with archrival Poland to unsuccessfully fend off Russia in the Third Northern War, losing Livonia. Kingdom of Poland Poland is the remnant of the Vasas’ empire, which once stretched from Finland to the Rhine. Proud and protestant, Poland is Central Europe's premier military power but this prestige is tarnished by recent defeats. Since electing the Swedes as Kings the Sejm saw its power curbed until eventually Poland was transformed into Europe’s first Absolutist Monarchy, the continued struggle between the monarchy and the powerful Polish magnates serving as a breeding ground for military reforms and experienced generals. Backed by the might of its famous army the Poles reclaimed Hungary from the Turks, conquered Brandenburg, and then attempted to wrest Lithuania from the Russian grasp, only to be defeated by the unexpected resilience of the Russian-led union in the Third Northern War. This defeat has discredited much of the existing establishment and allowed a new generation of younger statesmen and generals to rise to the fore. Kingdom of Hungary Hungary is old, yet young, re-established with the withdrawal of Polish troops following their defeat to Russia-Lithuania. Its small army is chiefly composed of former Polish auxiliaries and its nobility is as much Polish as Magyar. It still has yet to elect a king, with delegations from European nations in Buda angling, through oratory and bribes, to see their candidates on the throne. Union of Russia-Lithuania To ward off the rising power of Muscovy the Lithuanians elected Ivan IV, son of Ivan the Terrible, as King. The absolutist tendencies of the Russian Tsars and the powerful Lithuanian nobility would clash but eventually compromise, creating a lasting parliamentary state that stretches from the Baltic to the Pacific. The power and resilience of the union was demonstrated in the most recent Russo-Turkish and Northern Wars, as Russia-Lithuania defeated its local rivals to stake a claim to great power status. Ottoman Empire Ottoman fortunes have been in slow decline since its height in the mid-17th century. Wars with Poland and Russia have cost it much of its gains in the Balkans and Crimea, while the rise of the Afsharids in Persia resulted in the cession of Iraq and the Caucasus. The most recent humiliation in the Russo-Turkish War resulted in a brief civil war that saw the loss of authority over North Africa and, possibly yet, Egypt. But the victorious Sultan has managed to reform the core of the army into something approximating a modern force and may be able to preserve what he has, if not reclaim lost territory. Kingdom of Georgia Formed from the Kingdom of Kartli-Kekheti created as a vassal to Afsharid Persia, the Bagrationis have played loyal vassal while also gathering more and more autonomy for themselves, especially with the slow decline of the Afsharid State. Afsharid Persia The death of Nader Shah in 1747 did not mean the sudden collapse of the empire he had built. It was a wealthy, powerful state with a capable military. But the lack of good rulers meant stagnation, and in the modern era stagnation means decline. Afsharid Persia has the raw power to crush rebellions and possibly fight off a foreign invader, but it needs a leader with vision to reform. Khalistan The Sikh misls, warrior clans, filled the power vacuum in the Punjab with the decline of the Mughal Empire. The Dallewalia Misl united the others into the Sikh Empire, also known as Khalistan and now it has the potential to expand its confederacy across northern India if the Marathas show weakness. Maratha Empire Led by the Peshwas, a dynasty of hereditary prime ministers, the Marathas have spent the 18th century driving Mughal and European influence out of India and replacing it with their own. Checked in the 1760s during clashes with the Afsharids, in the 70s the Marathas experienced a revival under Madhavrao, who re-established Maratha authority over northern India and confined the hated British to Bengal. But power within the empire has become decentralized and many Maratha families rule states as their own fiefdoms, while new challengers arise, as the French looking to replace British influence and the dynamic Kingdom of Mysore has consolidated the Deccan. Kingdom of Mysore Once a dependency of Vijayanagar, Mysore's independence was subdued under Mughal influence until the 18th century, as it played a careful game of diplomacy and alliance. This era saw the chief ministers become especially powerful, ruling the state in all but name. But the collapse decline of the Mughals brought new opportunities. Under its previous chief minister, Hyder Ali, Mysore expanded across the Deccan, even defeating the Marathas to secure his gains. His son, Tipu Sultan, stands poised to do the same and potentially extend Mysore across India. Restored Hanthawaddy Pegu In the aftermath of the collapse of the Taungoo Empire the Mon people of Pegu claimed authority over the Irrawaddy and from there established control over the rest of the country, pushing back Burmese rivals with French support to secure their hegemony. At their peak they claimed control over Siam as well, but a combination of British machinations and native revolts drove them out of the core territory in Bangkok. Caught between three great powers, as the potential for Qing intervention rises, Hanthawaddy will have to carefully juggle competing interests. Tay Son Annam Annam has long been divided between the Trinh lords of the north and the Nguyen lords of the south. The Nguyen grew progressively weaker and more corrupt, provoking a peasant rebellion led by the Tay Son brothers. This began fifteen years of three-sided warfare that ended in victory for the Tay Son and their leader, Nguyen Hue, proclaiming a new dynasty as he defeated a Qing intervention in 1788. The new emperor, Quang Trung, has an opportunity to reform the Vietnamese state into a regional power. Tokugawa Japan The Tokugawa, a military clan under the nominal Japanese Emperors, established control of the country in the 17th century following the collapse of the Ashikaga. The only perceived threat to their power were Christian missionaries from Europe, so the Christians were expelled and trade with the outside world was only run through the relatively areligious Dutch in the Port of Nagasaki. But a decade ago the Dutch traded away their privileges to the British, a much more aggressive European power, and when the British were refused entry they shelled Nagasaki and other ports and forced the Shogunate to sign a new treaty, deeply humiliating, in which they conceded a broader array of privileges along with Nagasaki itself. Now that it's been shown that they can bleed old enemies, the Tozama, are moving again and the Shogunate must quickly react. Qing China Qing China in 1790 is at its height. In his half century on the throne the Qianlong Emperor has expanded not only the borders of China but its identity, working to forge a multi-ethnic definition of the Empire beyond just the Han. He expanded the empire into Tibet, Xinjiang and Kachin, and may yet do so in Vietnam too. But the Qing are like the sun at midday: the expensive military campaigns and opulent court have drained the treasury, led to the rise of powerful warlords, and fostered corruption. Empire of Abyssinia Ethiopia is a fractious, fiercely independent, religiously unique nation in the horn of africa. This is its Age of Princes, where the authority of the Emperor is negligible. Conflict between the Amhraric-speaking old nobility and Oromo newcomers has led to the rise of the Wera Sheh as regents of Abyssinia. But this has brought with it a period of relative peace, as for the moment they are strong enough to fend off any contenders to their rule. Bambara Empire Beginning with the collapse of the Muslim Mali empire, the traditionalist Bambara have built an empire in the heart of West Africa. Still isolated from the great titans of Europe they are content and secure in their local hegemony. Columbian Rebels For the last century the Dutch, Swedes, British, and French have been fighting over North America. It became a dumping ground for ethnic minorities, religious dissenters, political malcontents, and simple prisoners as each group sought to stake a stronger claim to the continent. The final victory of France in the Nine Years' War did not mean an end to the strife, particularly in the most populous province of Nouvelle Bretagne. Increased taxation and centralization have provoked a colonial uprising, one that has spread to the provinces in the immediate north and south. But the Columbians are a disorganized, fractious entity, uncertain of their own demands and untested in their military might. The rebellion may crumble, or it may grow stronger still, depending on its leadership.