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The Shiji, Book Two: Project Kaguya

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Stories & Tales' started by Sima Qian, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Sima Qian

    Sima Qian 太史令

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    Sima Qian, Prefect of the Grand Scribes, had once again been summoned to the imperial palace. It had not been long since he had just completed his first assignment, the tedious task of constructing the Wonders of the Orient. But Emperor Han Wu Di was very demanding of all of the men who served in his court, and Sima Qian was no exception. In addition to his other work as Grand Historian, such as reporting on important developments both inside and outside the Han Empire, he was also expected to satisfy the strange fantasies of the Civilization junkie he served, the Son of Heaven himself.


    "Your majesty, how may I be of service to you today?" asked Sima Qian upon arriving at the palace. "Do you need me to play one more turn?"

    Wu Di snickered. "Just one more turn? You can do much better than that." He paused for a moment. "No, I have something else for you to work on now. We are done with the wonders and China's domination. This time, you shall take on a completely new role."

    "What might this be?" inquired the historian timidly.


    "You may remember that at the very end of your last game, we saw Shogun Tokugawa screaming 'Luck, it was all luck!' Well, I do agree with that to an extent. No matter what you say, you had a lot of luck while building those wonders. You had all the right resources at the right times, and were fortunate to have an ally on your continent for most of the game. Well, all that is going to change now."

    My luck was bad enough, I did not get a single great leader during that game! Sima Qian would have screamed at the top of his lungs, but in the presence of the Son of Heaven he kept that thought to himself.

    Emperor Wu Di suddenly changed the topic here. "Before I go into the details, let me ask you one thing. Have you ever read the story Taketori Monogatari (竹取物語), the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter?"

    Sima Qian wondered what this had to do with anything. "I vaguely remember reading it in one of our libraries," he answered. "It is a Japanese folk tale, the story of the beautiful princess Kaguya-hime and the impossible tasks she gave to the men who wished to court her."


    "Precisely. And what do you remember of the ending?"

    "I do not know whether to call it a tragedy or not. It turned out that Kaguya-hime had to return to her home at Tsuki-no-Miyako, the Moon Palace, for she never was of this world to begin with."

    "You have a good memory," said Wu Di, smiling. "And that brings me to your new assignment. This time, you shall take on the role of that unlucky fool you have just defeated, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Shogun of Japan. The Japanese have acknowledged the inevitable domination of the world by China, and now, true to their religious qualities, they seek refuge with Kaguya-hime and the legendary Moon People. Your task is to build a great spaceship that can take them to their destination."

    Sima Qian had not seen any piece of a spaceship in his last game, but he knew that it was unlocked by the final technology he had researched, space flight. He also recalled from his reading of the Civilopedia that the spaceship was intended to bring a colony to the distant star system of Alpha Centauri, not the moon, but decided it was not worth his time to challenge the Son of Heaven on this minor detail.

    "There is a problem, though," continued Wu Di. "Japan is not the only civilization with ambitions to build such a spaceship. In fact, I believe there are several others that are far more qualified in this respect. Do you know which ones they are?"

    The young minister thought for a moment, then answered, "They are the scientific civilizations, who have great advantages in research and development. You must be speaking of the Russians, who are also expansionist, the Greeks, who are also commercial, the Persians, who are also industrious, the Germans, who are also militaristic, and the Babylonians, who are also religious."

    "And they are the ones you shall compete against this time," said the Emperor. "Besides, you may also know that historically, those peoples have been in close contact with each other long before any foreigners reached the isolated shores of Japan. And so you shall start on an island, the most distant one from the nearest neighbors in a small size archipelago world, with 70% ocean coverage and a temperate climate. The difficulty level will be Monarch, which you should be quite comfortable with by now."

    "Will everyone be aiming for the goal of the spaceship?" asked Sima Qian. "Or will there be other victory conditions they may pursue?"

    "Every victory condition is enabled, but you are required to win the space race. And I add that Tokugawa, in particular, is at a terrible disadvantage, not just in the field of science. Japan is notorious for its poor terrain and lack of resources. So in this scenario, your starting island will have no resources."

    "How do you know that?" asked Sima Qian.

    Wu Di grinned. "I edited the map for you, of course. You enjoyed too much luck with your starting position last time, and now I shall take that advantage away from you."

    Sima Qian sighed, but he was still interested in how this would work out. "When you say there are no resources, do you mean that I only lack strategic resources? I still have luxuries to keep my people happy, right?"

    "Nope. Not a single lux on that island."

    "Then how about bonus resources? I'd certainly like to have two cows on a river to start."

    "NO!" shouted the emperor. "What part of 'no' do you not understand? You shall have no cattle, no wheat, not even gold. And since you have been so obnoxious, I'll go back and delete the river I put on the map too."

    It seemed hopeless, but Sima Qian knew that there was no choice but to follow his master's decree. "Then I shall develop the economy, to amass great wealth and trade with the other powers for the precious resources."

    "Develop the economy you must, but trading resources is forbidden. And yes, I mean trading any resource, strategic or luxury. Don't you remember how many times the Japanese broke the deals they made with you in your last game? Nobody will trust them anymore. If you want a resource, there are only two ways you can get it: you may demand it, or you may take it by force."

    To Sima Qian, this began to sound more like a game of conquest rather than building. He knew that demanding resources would be unlikely to succeed, and even if it did, the opponent could easily avoid the trade by declaring war. "So then I will have to conquer the enemy cities, and seize their resources for Japan."

    "Perhaps," said the emperor. "But the Japanese people are far more interested in developing their own cities than managing colonies in distant lands. You shall build cities on your home island with no overlapping tiles, and at no time may you control more than one city on each of the other islands in the world."

    "What if I build a city on another island, and capture a foreign city next to it?"

    "Then you must destroy the city, or abandon your own city first."

    A strange rule, thought Sima Qian to himself. He nodded in acknowledgment.

    "Oh, and I wish to tell you one last thing. I have already moved your starting units into place, and you shall build your first city at the exact position as I have shown here." Wu Di then beckoned a eunuch, who delivered the scenario to Sima Qian.


    What the hell is this? Sima Qian almost said aloud.

    Emperor Wu Di threw his head back and cackled with glee. "You nuked the Japanese last time," he said. "The radioactive fallout has devastated their civilization, and they have now forgotten everything. You will be starting from scratch."

    This is much worse than 'scratch,' muttered Sima Qian to himself. But he remembered that in the Civilopedia, Japan was mentioned as the only civilization ever to be on the receiving end of a nuclear weapon, and maybe the Emperor had a point to make here.

    "Any last questions before I retire for the day?"

    "No, your majesty. I shall take my leave." The Grand Historian, Sima Qian, now had a long and challenging task before him. While the emperor was trying to reduce the effects of luck in his game, this was the one time he felt he needed it most.

    Quick Index

    Chapter 1: The Curse of the Evil Water God
    Chapter 2: In Search of New Lands
    Chapter 3: A Warm Welcome
    Chapter 4: New Neighbors, New Horizons
    Chapter 5: Wonders and Threats
    Chapter 6: Recovering the Shikon Shards
    Chapter 7: Hammurabi's Crown
    Chapter 8: Beyond the Chrysanthemum Throne
    Chapter 9: The Great Library Revisited
    Chapter 10: The Age of the Zaibatsu, the Technology Brokerage
    Chapter 11: A False Peace
    Chapter 12: Shifting Allegiances
    Chapter 13: The World Takes up Arms
    Chapter 14: Thrust into Modern Times
    Chapter 15: Xerxes the Incensed
    Chapter 16: Rise of the Kyosanto
    Chapter 17: Hammurabi's Back Door
    Chapter 18: Banished from the Ivory Tower
    Chapter 19: Bonds of Sea and Fire
    Chapter 20: Dream of the Shore Bordering Another World
    Chapter 21: The Wounded Shall Advance into the Light
    Chapter 22: A Golden Purpose Makes the Chrysanthemum Bloom Again
    Chapter 23: The Razor
    Chapter 24: Light from the Netherworlds
    Chapter 25: Sayonara, Cruel World
    Epilogue
    Saves and Replay Summary
     
  2. conquer_dude

    conquer_dude Imperial Slave

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    :woohoo: First to reply. Real excited. Nice story. ;)
    Thanx for comin back and making a new story! :D
     
  3. stocktracker

    stocktracker Prince

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    I will be looking forward to this game. At least Japan can fight wars well, which will allow them to get cities on every island early.
     
  4. Takeo

    Takeo Shogun

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    Very interesting and tough! Will be watching.
     
  5. Mirc

    Mirc Not mIRC!!!

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    New story!!! Good luck.
     
  6. Smart

    Smart King

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    Your stories are very interesting, I will watch this one too.
     
  7. madviking

    madviking north american scum

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    lurk mode on
     
  8. Ansar

    Ansar Détente avec l'été

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    Subscribing.Keep the updates coming.:)
     
  9. DJ Bonebraker

    DJ Bonebraker a.k.a Laura

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    Checking in....

    But Dayum! that's a horrible start.... It will take you at least 20 turns before you can even think about growing your pop above 1 (unless you do what I'd do and move the settler to be next to the sea, like I did in my WH story).
     
  10. Sima Qian

    Sima Qian 太史令

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    It's not that bad of a start... I actually have one workable tile as soon as I build the city. :crazyeye:

    The lake will provide 2 food and 2 commerce, which will put me at pop 2 in ten turns. By then, I'll have border expansion from the palace culture, and things will get better.

    I'll try to post an update later, this game is going to be tough but it's monarch level so definitely doable. And as far as I know, the AI tends to suck at space race (in Vanilla at least).
     
  11. conquer_dude

    conquer_dude Imperial Slave

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    Go for it! :goodjob:
     
  12. DJ Bonebraker

    DJ Bonebraker a.k.a Laura

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    Oh yeah, this is vanilla, otherwise I don't see how you'd have a chance in Hell (I only win about 2/3 of the time on Monarch difficulty in C3C without any ridiculous handicaps)... But then again, most of the games I've played in Civ III ended with either a Space race victory (almost all epic games I've played as well as one of my FF mod playtests), or a score victory (all but 2 of the Conquest Scenarios that came with C3C)... I've only achieved two culture victories (Age of Discovery Conquest and 1 game of my Tweaked Out epic game mod) and two by domination (the Sengoku Conquest and my first Warhammer mod game that I played as the Empire).

    Oh, and after re-checking the start, I'd have to say that once you get the crap cleaned up, you'll be able to out-produce anyone; you have a source of fresh water, hills, two BG, and mountains nearby, so you'll get plenty of shields and food (plus you can irrigate fromt the lake)... I'd say concentrate on pumping out workers to clean up the mess at first....
     
  13. tupaclives

    tupaclives Tupac Lives on!!

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    Checking in at the Lurker Hotel! :beer:

    You certainly don't believe in making things easy for you do you? Will definately be watching this!

    Out of interest when playing with no variants, what difficulty to you play at? Demigod/Deity in vanilla? Deity? Sid even?
     
  14. Sima Qian

    Sima Qian 太史令

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    Easy = uninteresting for me ;) . I played one game on chieftian and one on warlord, and after those it just became too boring to run over spearmen with tanks (or losing those battles too) :spear:

    I don't play many non-variant games anymore, although most of the ones that were under normal rules were either monarch or emperor difficulty. I've played deity a few times as well, and lost several of those games before I got a win--the AI just goes totally insane with their research rate and free unit support.

    Nowadays I find that games played under variant rules are the most fun, and I usually pick monarch difficulty for those since they offer a challenge while I can still be creative.

    I'm actually still working on my update right now, you should be able to see it soon.
     
  15. Sima Qian

    Sima Qian 太史令

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    Chapter 1: The Curse of the Evil Water God



    Yanagi chiri / shimizu kare / ishi tokoro-dokoro
    Willow bare / clear stream dried up / rocks here and there


    Yosa Buson (A.D. 1716-1784)​

    Tokugawa Ieyasu coughed and wheezed from the noxious fumes around him. The ground was covered by a disgusting glop that glowed bright orange in the darkness, with dark patches every so often where the mysterious dust had clumped together. It clung to his boots wherever he walked, and if he hadn't kept his fingers pinched across his nose the whole time, he would have long ago fallen into the mess unconscious.

    The year was 4000 BC, and Tokugawa had no idea where he was or how he had gotten here. All he knew was that his people, the proud Japanese, had trusted him with absolute power, and were depending on his leadership for survival. Their outlook was bleak. No crops could be planted in the contaminated soil; anyone who tried found that within hours, they would turn a sickly yellow, and before the end of the day the seedlings would be dead. No animals roamed the open land, for nothing was left for them to eat. It was Tokugawa and his tribe, alone in the harsh, cruel world.

    The only thing not covered by the ugly goo was the lake, calm and quiet in the darkness. It had the shape similar to that of the Japanese lute, and so they called it Lake Biwa. Some reeds grew along the shore, just outside the reaches of the glop, but from their yellowed stalks Tokugawa could tell that they, too, were struggling to survive.

    A cold wind blew from the north, sweeping in a small cloud of ice and snowflakes scattered throughout the dust. It had come from the frigid northern ocean, through the barren tundra, and now it whipped up tiny ripples in the orange slime, carrying the putrid smell everywhere it went. The Japanese leader gurgled and coughed again. Behind him, Tokugawa heard the faint whimper of a child in a mother's arms, too weak and undernourished to even cry. I have to do something, he thought. My people are dying.

    Despite the eerie orange glow around him, he thought he saw a faint glimmer of hope. The full moon had risen above the mountains now, its pure white light reflecting off the surface of the lake. One moment it seemed to brighten up the nasty slime even more, but the next it would shimmer briefly as the waves disrupted the rays of light. The last, untouched gem in the Japanese landscape, Lake Biwa was all the hope they had to survive in this dismal world.

    "Come this way, Shogun. It is warmer over here by the fire." The voice belonged to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a close companion of Tokugawa. "Our soothsayers tell us that we have angered the evil water god, Susanoo-no-mikoto, and now his wrath is upon us. We must find a way to appease him."

    The campfire was at the top of a small hill, where a small patch of ground had been found that was clear of the orange slime. A few workers were trying to clean up the goo around them, as though it would expand the boundaries of their safe haven. But it was from this vantage point, as Tokugawa stared across the lake, that his eye caught something interesting. It was a quick, brilliant movement of a shooting star across the night sky.

    He thought he heard a voice from the heavens speaking to him. Do not despair, for your destiny is in the stars. There is much suffering and hard work before you, but if you can survive this struggle, you shall be handsomely rewarded.

    "Shogun..." Hideyoshi had approached him from behind, but kept a respectful distance.

    Tokugawa did not answer.

    "... is something bothering you?"

    Tokugawa turned, and said to his advisor, "Tell the people that we shall settle here, on the shore of Lake Biwa. It is a harsh environment, but if we persevere, we are sure to succeed."


    The Japanese people did their bidding, and named their capital city Kyoto. They would build a shrine to honor the water god and beg for his forgiveness, but not before recruiting a band of the strongest Japanese warriors to defend their settlement from any outside threats.

    The citizens had nowhere to work, except to gather some meager scraps of food from the lake. Tokugawa asked his workers to clear out the hideous slime around them, and for many years they toiled away, day and night, hoping to reclaim the land.

    It took nearly five centuries before there were any results to be seen. Every time the workers thought they had finally wiped away the mess, the ooze would seep back out from the ground, leaving them helpless and discouraged. But the citizens of Kyoto managed to make a decent living from the lake, and in time the population grew. They soon ventured outside the immediate borders of the city, and discovered that there was much more fertile land beyond the spoiled hills.


    The new lands offered new supplies of food and resources, and Kyoto grew even further. A new crew of workers was put together to clean up and improve the terrain, while Tokugawa ordered the construction of a temple to honor Susanoo, the water god. Each year the people would visit the shrine to pay their respects, and in return the water god did not curse them with more of the orange slime.

    "Tokugawa-dono," announced Hideyoshi one day. "Our craftsmen have discovered pottery, and we seek something new to learn. I suggest that we develop an alphabet, and then try to extend that to a form of writing, so that we may record the trials that our people have gone through."


    Hideyoshi's proposal was a good plan, but Tokugawa had little money to spare for research, and gave his advisor only a minimal amount each year to continue his work. There were other, more pressing issues at hand.

    It turned out that the Japanese were not alone on this island that they had settled upon. A barbarian tribe called the Kushans inhabited the lands in the northeast, and they were anything but friendly. Tokugawa sent some of his best warriors to deal with them, but the Kushans put up a difficult fight. Though ultimately the barbarians were defeated, very few of the Japanese warriors returned to tell the tale.


    More than two thousand years after the first settlement at Kyoto was built, the first group of settlers left in search of a better land, free of the water god's curse. Another band of warriors was sent out ahead of them to scout the land, as well as to clear out any unexpected "visitors" in the region.

    In the south, they met a barbarian people called the Uzbeks, who did not even hesitate to attack them. Fortunately, Tokugawa's warriors were far better trained in their martial arts, and it did not take long before they made the Uzbeks pay for their treachery.


    Under the protection of these brave warriors, the settlers arrived at their destination. "We have reached the southern edge of the island, and can go no further," they informed their leader. "And so we shall settle right here."

    A new city was built on the site, the first seaport on the island of Japan. There was a forest nearby that the settlers wished they could harvest, but all workers were tied up at the time cleaning up the land around Kyoto. The development of Osaka would have to wait.


    In the meantime, the workers who had been clearing the land discovered a strange artifact buried beneath the ooze. It was a tablet with many complex symbols, which nobody in the country could understand. Tokugawa could only assume it was a lost record from some advanced civilization.


    After some further study, he found that most of the symbols represented individual characters, as some of them were repeated, possibly to convey an idea multiple times. He had his best scholars attempt to imitate these symbols by carving them in stone and wood, but the primitive tools they used could not capture their graceful details. Eventually they took a few shortcuts and simplified the symbols into curves and shapes with fewer strokes, and called this alphabet system "hiragana."


    There was nothing new that could be done with the discovery of the alphabet, but Toyotomi Hideyoshi had promised that this could be developed into a form of writing, so Tokugawa let him continue working in that direction.

    Scouting parties sent to the east discovered another suitable site for a city, far away from the curse that corrupted the lands around Lake Biwa. This site boasted a natural harbor formed by an inlet from the ocean. Tokugawa sent the next group of settlers to the very end of that inlet, where they built the port city of Nagoya.


    But the fact that the Japanese civilization was already three cities strong did nothing to deter barbarians from continuing to harass their people. A hostile Aryan camp was spotted in the west, and Tokugawa was going to take no chances to see if they would send invaders into his territory. He sent another group of warriors to eliminate the threat. The mission was a complete success, for not a single casualty was sustained.


    Yet at the same time, the citizens of Osaka reported seeing a strange vessel prowling along the coast, something that they had no idea how to build. They did not see any people board or disembark from it, but they were certain that if they could get their hands on such a galley, they could also sail the seas without fear as well. But the owners of the vessel turned out to be barbarians, and they refused to share the secret of how they constructed the galley.

    "What a shame," moaned Tokugawa when hearing of this. "The curse of the evil water god has set us back so far, that even barbarians have become more advanced than us. We will have a long way to catch up in the years to come."

    ... to be continued
     
  16. Mirc

    Mirc Not mIRC!!!

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    Are you planning to settle in place?

    Edit: crosspost with an update! It's the first time this happenes to me!
     
  17. tupaclives

    tupaclives Tupac Lives on!!

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    Good start under difficult circumstances! ;)
    How many cities do you think you will be able to build on you're home island?
     
  18. Ansar

    Ansar Détente avec l'été

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    Great update, seems only one piece of freshwater.:sad:

    Actually it happens to me all the time.:lol:
     
  19. conquer_dude

    conquer_dude Imperial Slave

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    Thats happened to me twice. Both I think were updates to his other story. :lol:

    Nice story good read. Can't wait uintil the update. :rockon:
     
  20. Sima Qian

    Sima Qian 太史令

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    Better than having no fresh water at all :mischief:
     

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