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TNESII: Et In Arcadia Ego

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Thlayli, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. Shadowbound

    Shadowbound Incorrugible

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    When a light-blue Toyota Prius pulls up into your driveway, say that again.
     
  2. Adrogans

    Adrogans Quiet Laughter...

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    hmm a Prius huh? :mischief:
     
  3. LightFang

    LightFang "I'm the hero!"

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    If Thlayli shows up in #nes before the update is up, I give you all permission to abuse him.
     
  4. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Wow, I'm getting e-lynched 3 days after the deadline. This is definitely a new personal record... :p

    NO, the update is not done. YES, it will be up today/tonight, stats or no stats.
     
  5. alex994

    alex994 Hail Divine Emperor!

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    OOC: You're the one who made implicit promises :p
     
  6. BananaLee

    BananaLee Fruity Penguin

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  7. Kal'thzar

    Kal'thzar Deity

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    Promises like piecrust were meants to be broken.

    I'm sure the update will be tasty...
     
  8. Adrogans

    Adrogans Quiet Laughter...

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    In sovietNES promise breaks you!
     
  9. Ninja Dude

    Ninja Dude Sorry, I wasn't listening...

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    8 More replies and Thlayli can claim the top of the page once more! By the way, he's been replying to this thread since 4PM apparently >_>
     
  10. Adrogans

    Adrogans Quiet Laughter...

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    ninjas are deadly and violent.
     
  11. Kentharu

    Kentharu Zebra Commander

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    Everybody was kung fu fighting!!
     
  12. Shadowbound

    Shadowbound Incorrugible

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    Their kicks were fast as lightning!
     
  13. Ninja Dude

    Ninja Dude Sorry, I wasn't listening...

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    Nancheng looked far away, holding his hand over his eyes to block out the sun. Where was that diplomat? He had an important update to deliver! Without that update on the current situation people could be hurt! This update on foreign affairs could be a matter of life or death of the Xin Ming Dynasty.

    Finally, a ragged looking man sprinted towards the Imperial Palace, sweat dripping off of his face. The guards let him in as he presented the Seal of the Emepror.

    "Here is the update your Highness," The man said as he kowtowed.

    "Ah yes," Nancheng said joyfully. "This update is wonderful! Its detail is amazing!"

    ;)
     
  14. Adrogans

    Adrogans Quiet Laughter...

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    In fact it was a little bit frightning
     
  15. Insane_Panda

    Insane_Panda Deity

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    Its already eight o clock on the east coast damnit. Update already, or stop pretending you have it done.
     
  16. D'Artagnan59

    D'Artagnan59 The Gascon

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    I had a boring meeting and a long drive for seven hours and the update's still not posted.
     
  17. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Update 1: Arabesque, or, A Cotillion of Nations

    1900 Anno Domini – 1317 Anno Hegirae – 5660 Anno Mundi


    In which the first year of the new century sees auspicious attempts at industrialization across the globe, sparking both growth and reaction in many nations. New conflicts begin, as old enemies meet upon the field of battle, and on the quiet but equally deadly field of diplomatic intercourse.

    A dance begins, the steps long pre-arranged.


    Part the First: Affairs of the Nations of Europa and the Mediterranean.

    The Conference of London

    No matter how strong their inbred, ancient hatreds and loyalties, how vile their prejudices or noble their virtues, the people of Europe will habitually put all of this aside, put on the nicest, most expensive clothes they own, and attend a spectacular party.

    For the London Conference of 1900 was certainly that: An extravagant gala put on by the Kingdom of Arcadia under the guise of a conference to coordinate the systematic exploitation of a weaker continent. The choice of London rather than distant (and freezing) St. George made it amenable to European states, almost all of whom sent delegations.

    True to form, the Conference was spectacular. Arcadia had been cleaning up and restoring London for years, and wanted to show it off: The rebuilt, neo-Gothic spires of St. George’s Cathedral and impressive classicist architecture dominated the streets, which had been comprehensively re-planned following the (fortuitous, some would say) destruction of London some one hundred fifty years past. Security was tight, and this paid off when several Flemish-born arbeitist-anarchist agitators were arrested, tried, and promptly sentenced to transportation to Kimberley. They had allegedly planned to bomb something or other, it wasn’t really asked what. Several ambassadorial delegates from the Holy Roman Empire promptly died of massive stomach pains during the conference, but this was generally agreed to be an unhappy misadventure with the local cooking.

    While the Conference was a glorified Party and Arcadian muscle-flexing event, and every European power was completely determined to go on doing exactly what it had been doing before, some things were accomplished:

    Egypt and Portugal lobbied fiercely on behalf of the “native empires” of Mali and Ethiopia, and received general assurances from all parties that the independence of “civilized Africans” would be respected. Several tales of Rozwi and Asante barbarity were spread around by missionaries to aghast audiences. Converted Africans were trotted out to an admiring crowd of patronizing aristocrats, and general funds were secured for yet another round of missionary activity, mostly in West Africa. Some talk of a “native university” was thrown about, though no one really agreed who would run it.

    As the conference dragged on, and it became clear that none of the powers that had already colonized Africa were going to budge on their claims, the focus shifted to European diplomacy.

    The Holy Roman Empire and Sweden publically announced a defensive alliance, prompting the walkout of the Danish and Tverian delegations. They returned the next day brandishing a tripartite trade deal with the Republic of Poland, bolstered by arms sales and joint Tverian-Danish naval exercises in the Baltic Sea.

    The conference closed with Arcadia securing proprietary ownership of the remainder of the uncolonized portions of the southwestern African coast, in return for mercantile considerations and tariff exceptions granted to several powers, who wished to remain unnamed.

    And a grand total of no one discussed the subject that was on everyone’s mind: The massive new wars engulfing Asia.

    (+1 Arcadian Confidence, various alliances form, stability of Governorate of Britain bolstered, minor African border changes)

    ---

    On the Advance of Industry across the Old and New Worlds

    To summarize all the numerous economic reforms of year 1900 would be both time consuming and inadequate to the detail they require…but one must attempt it nonetheless.

    Overall, 1900 saw a craze of state-supported and subsidized industrialization, vastly driving down prices across the continent. While ostensibly good for the lower-income consumer, this benefited the middle class primarily, as those with the disposable income to buy were able to buy more. On the other hand, the large urban working classes did not profit from the various funds pumped into industrialization, as increased industrial output combined with (initially) fairly low tariff barriers in most nations caused hugely increased competition, lowing the average wage of both the unskilled and skilled labor force. The expendability of the common man, upper-level government indifference to their plight, and perceived massive corruption of the industrialists pocketing huge sums led to a resurgence of Arbeitist sentiment in some nations.

    The Kingdom of Arcadia’s efforts were primarily directed at the expansion of public infrastructure such as the railroad, and government subsidies for free land led to the foundation or expansion of numerous westward settlements. Ambitious plans for a transcontinental railroad commenced as smaller rail operators were organized into regional entities, and their tracks linked, though the cooperation of New Albion in this endeavor was…complicated by recent events.

    Much of Europe’s industrial subsidies had come at the expense of agricultural investments, which benefited the few nations with abundant food exports, these being Chernigov, Arcadia, Sweden, and Australia, which had just begun to invest in a modern fishing fleet. Sweden also began to profit significantly from iron exports across the Baltic.

    Most of Europe had already achieved a tolerable amount of industrialization. The mass production of steel, use of the steam engine to produce self-propelled vehicles, and a mechanized factory process to produce everything from textiles to ceramics to weaponry had already been organized to some degree. In the more industrialized nations like the Holy Roman Empire and Tver, money was sunk into large infrastructure projects, especially railroads, for both economic and military purposes.

    Several important innovations were showcased or attempted. The mass production of phosphates for use in agriculture and explosives was perfected by German and Australian chemists simultaneously. Buoyed by new exports of rubber from Brasil*, engineers in the Holy Roman Empire, Egypt, and Tver attempted to create wheeled vehicles with the material, which remains an experimental effort at best. Rumors abound of self-propelled steam-driven heavy artillery in development by several powers.

    The Portuguese Sociedade Imperial attempted an ambitious experiment coupling a steam turbine to a balloon filled with hydrogen. The ingenious attempt resulted in a balloon moving on its' own motive power over Lisbon, before an overheated boiler resulted in what was universally acclaimed an equally horrifying and entertaining explosion. Even so, the Portuguese government, with its' needs for long range communication and transportation, has reportedly contracted another experimental "flying ship" for testing.

    Experiments into the creation of both electric light and an electric engine have resulted in no appreciable success, and the general consensus of the European scientific community remains that coal-driven steam engines are the most efficient possible generators of mechanical power.

    Several telekinetic wires for the purposes of communication were laid under the Mediterranean sea by Egyptian entrepreneurs. A link now exists between Alexandria and Syracuse, and some ambitious Egyptian businessmen now see Egypt's geopolitical status making her a center of global communications. Surely the Egyptian press, one of the most vocal in the world, agrees.

    (+1 Industry for HRE, Chernigov, Tver, Denmark, Sweden, Arcadia, +Quality of Life for Chernigov, Sweden)

    *Brasil is the term for both the southern continent of the New World, and the Flemish colony. Any previous references to Nieu Zeeland can be considered printer's errors.

    ---

    On Urban Disturbances, or, the Price of Industry

    Fierce riots engulfed Milan and several other northern Italian cities, as Arbeitist demonstrations calling for government protection of workers and trade unions fell on deaf ears. Motions to reform the Italian government remained deadlocked in the Senate, as the Castiglioni government remained paralyzed by the urban/rural divide, and corruption and factionalism in all reaches of government.

    Other, more peaceful leftist-republican demonstrations were organized in Arcadia’s larger urban cities, particularly protesting the recent bills empowering private magnates to enrich themselves at the expense of the Common Man.

    In Germany, persistent smog has begun to settle over several larger cities, primarily from the excessive burning of coal. The accelerating production of phosphorus and other dangerous chemicals has resulted in another dramatic decline in workplace health and safety, also due to the lack of regulation of working conditions which remains rampant in most European states. Though less common than in the Holy Roman Empire, increased disease, crime, and other urban concerns have accelerated in Italy, Tver, and Hungary, with a new plague of morphine addiction apparently spreading from Budapest.

    France and Egypt are contending with rising dissent as well, however this is more connected to the continued political repression in the former, and the recent tax hike passed by the Hieros in the latter. France’s dissent issues have largely been kept in check, however, by the clandestine (and therefore publically known) counter-espionage organization colloquially called Les Oreilles de Dieu.

    In Egypt, the Hierophant forced through a tax increase over significant dissent from some of the less powerful parties. Major subsidies and considerations were granted to the Old French and Metis-Arab elite, though the traditional Jewish mercantile class was alienated by the increase in tariffs necessary to fund the growth of domestic industry. On one side, mercantile traffic through the Hectorian Canal has lessened slightly, due to the increased tariffs, as well as war and the rumor of war in the Orient. On the other hand, Egypt has modernized her engineering industry, become the world leader in production of telekinetic wire, and has begun to bring her old pre-eminence in the sciences back.

    (-1 Italian Confidence, -1 Italian Stability, -1 Holy Roman Confidence, -1 Arcadian Confidence, -1 Holy Roman, Arcadian Quality of Life, -1 Egyptian Trade, +2 Egyptian Industry)

    ---

    Reorganizations, Funerals, Purchases, and Other Miscellanea

    King Gustav of Sweden’s death led to the unexpected succession of the beloved but unlikely heir to the throne, Queen Beatrice I, who promptly joined the Dowager Empress Maria I of Portugal as Europa’s second reigning female monarch. Queen Beatrice refused to be intimidated by the Tverian Imperator, as he now styled himself in western titles, despite his alleged dropping of several pointed comments regarding Gustav’s “untimely” death at the state funeral. Some argued that Mikhail’s hard push for Swedish neutrality drove them directly into the arms of the Germans…but that is a debate for another day.

    Unfortunately for the Tverian King, Imperator, Caesar, or what have you, difficult lessons in geopolitics are usually taught the hard way: by experience. The lesson of 1900 was, it is difficult to extend one’s influence in one direction, and simultaneously maintain influence in the exact opposite direction. A major diplomatic coup had been scored with the military liaisons and economic advisors appointed to usher Poland into Tver’s loving embrace.

    However, while this was being engineered, Khan Tegus was secretly hoarding a massive sum of money to execute his own counterstrike: In one fell swoop, several Tverian magnates operating in the western provinces of the Horde had been bought out, and extravagantly overpaid at that. Many of the provincial governors protested fiercely against what was effectively a widespread nationalization of much of the nation’s nascent railroad and steel industries, but the Khan was magnanimous in his bribery, and only muted appeals were sent to Tver from the same governors. Tverian influence in the Horde was not outright wiped out, but it was lessened significantly. And as Tegus began to make overtures to Chernigov, Mikhail found himself in yet another minor crisis…

    The Holy Roman Empire, not satisfied with possessing one of the largest, most expensive militaries in Western Europe, unleashed another round of administrative reforms aimed at keeping the Emperor from ruining everything by trying to command soldiers. This effort was largely successful, as this Emperor proved to be of the sane, non-troop commanding variety. Unlike other Emperors… (See Spotlight) Combined with rumored new mechanical designs, military liaisons established with half a dozen allied nations, a reformed war academy curriculum and various other projects, agreements and plans set in motion, a new Pax Germanica seems to be coalescing around the center of Europe.

    That, at least, is what the Germans believe.

    Various rumors abound… (PM’s to be sent)

    (+Quality, Technology for Polish, Holy Roman Armies, +Holy Roman Bureaucracy, +/- Tverian Confidence)
     
  18. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    ---
    Part the Second: On the Affairs of Nations in the Arcadias, Brasil, Darkest Africa, and the Orient
    ---

    The Bullworth Affair

    Even in peacetime, the popping of distant rifles can be heard in the rich forests and warm hills of New Albion, as frontiersmen stalk game or claim squatters. Gold had been discovered about a decade back, and while the profits had mostly gone into the pockets of local landowners, a major rush of immigrants had come from Arcadia. These were mostly second-generation English, the Anglican type as opposed to the Catholic Anglos that had long ruled the Republic, and comprised the majority of the population. But a small number of Portuguese were present as well, and a significant Japanese minority.

    The powers of New Albion’s government were divided between the President, the influential First and Second Directors of the High and Low Chambers of the Republic, and the Counties, regional authorities dominated by what passed for landed gentry in the country. With a vaguely written constitution and a population in flux, the country was ripe for upheaval. And it came when the First Director and the President jointly called for a new constitutional convention, ostensibly to reduce the corruption and weakness of the central government.

    This was met from some suspicion in the Incorporated Cities, and with outright anger in the Counties, already strongly opposed to a more centralized government, most of which refused to send delegates. When news spread of an Arcadian resolution inviting New Albion to join the Kingdom as an autonomous province, the First Director resigned publicly, announcing that he could no longer support the new Constitution in good faith. It collapsed on the floor of the Upper Chamber...only to be resurrected when a new election was called to fill the vacant position of First Director.

    This snap election was boycotted en masse by the Counties and some of the townships, as a new Anglican candidate, Anderson Bullworth, garnered major support in the more rural northwestern portions of New Albion. His platform was openly jingoist, anti-Japanese, and strongly pro-Arcadian. In the confusion of the election, several opposition candidates "failed to register," and massive swathes of the country failed to vote entirely or boycotted the entire thing. What areas did vote strongly carried Bullworth to the First Directorship. Unfortunately for Bullworth, he made the decision of ramming through the revised Constitution before both Chambers had even seated all their delegates, relying mostly on a coterie of his own supporters, fellow northeastern Anglicans all.

    The urban councils, what semblance of an independent judiciary the Republic possessed, the Catholic Church, and the country's large Japanese minority violently protested the happenings at Fort Albans. The new Constitution, however, abolished the power of the Presidency, dividing it between the two Directors of Legislature, established a new police force, and established free immigration for Anglo-Saxons only. Combined with the resolution of the Arcadian parliament, these actions were seen by much of the country as not simply sinister, but blatantly undermining the freedom of the Republic.

    At this point 'old Godwin' resurfaced again, having organized a coalition of the major coastal towns and Counties against the "Albans Despot." Pro-Bullworth members on the larger city councils were forced out, and a new government was proclaimed at Abernathy. During the time it had taken the 'rebels' to get organized, Fort Albans had been secured by the Bullworth (Directorate) government, and his new National Police, essentially now a private army, most of whom were recent Arcadian immigrants. Despite his new strongmen, however, most of the country was in the hands of the ‘Federation’ government at Abernathy.

    At this point, civil war broke out in earnest. Anglican and Catholic militias loyal to the Fort Albans or Abernathy factions were raised, farmsteads were burned, and skirmishes raged across the center of the country. The various County militias were primarily interested in maintaining their de-facto autonomy, and did not provide as much support as Godwin would have liked. Even so, the arrival of several Australian squadrons in Bolton Bay allowed the Federationists to gain much needed weapons to resist the less numerous but more organized Directorate forces.

    The two sides have not yet come to open battle, but Bullworth’s last move was to agree to Arcadian trade terms and call for intervention from St. George on behalf of the “legitimate” government, while similar pleas went out to Kitchener from the “last bastion of democracy in the Republic.”

    (New Albion stats split into “Directorate” and “Federationist” factions, various minor casualties to both factions)

    ---

    The Third Gangetic War

    Smoke could be seen from the terraced gardens of Varanasi on the first day of the war. Bengali artillery had begun to shell the border fortresses the night before; a far more effective declaration of war than the pieces of paper used in Europe. At the opening of the year, Bengal had declared itself the Bengali Empire, to great fanfare. Surrounding powers braced themselves for what could be an onslaught of newly imperialistic aggression. In Southeast Asia, Bengal’s onslaughts were notorious. And the Malla were not exactly unprepared. Small though they were, their days of hegemony in India long gone, the Malla were a military caste of Gurkhas, and had fought the Bengali before.

    Bengal’s leadership in Paharpur hoped for a quick victory; new, modern gunboats steamed up the Ganga, encountering minor mechanical difficulties as they settled in to shell the capital. But the Malla had an unpleasant surprise for the Bengali: Gunpowder mines had been rigged and tossed into the Ganga, to detonate on the metal hulls of the Bengali ironclads. The low mobility of the boats in cramped quarters allowed the Malla to swarm them with improvised watercraft. Only a few boats sank or ran aground, but the remainder was forced to turn back; they were built for open water navigation, not rivers. Even so, the surviving ships wreaked major havoc among Malla defensive positions before returning to the ocean.

    The initial swarm of Bengali militia sent to test the defenses of the capital was smartly defeated by entrenched Malla garrisons, their bodies burned to keep from soiling the holy Ganga. Of course, this was just a ploy to weaken the Malla. The far superior soldiers of the Imperial Army soon surrounded the holy city, but could not bring themselves to fire upon it. Destroying the metropolis founded by Lord Shiva himself was unthinkable. So a lengthy siege began, the defenders secure in their outmoded fortifications, with enough Bengali artillery to level the city five times over lurking just outside.

    The Bengali advance continued, meeting determined but severely outnumbered resistance. What grenadiers the Malla had were used to fighting in rank, unable to combat the mobile platoons of riflemen which had become so popular in Europe recently, also adopted by Bengal. Backed by artillery support and all the accoutrements of a modern military, the outmoded muzzle-loading musketmen and dragoons that the Malla fielded were outclassed, outflanked and driven west.

    The Bengali had feared Rajput intervention, and their fears were realized, somewhat delayed due to the necessity of organizing the fractious rajas of the Empire into a coherent army, but they fiercely if somewhat disorganizedly plowed into the left flank of the main southern Bengali advance, blunting their salient and pushing them back to Allahabad until the vanguard could be reinforced. Various rajas debated vassalizing the Malla, parceling out their lands, or simply federating them into the Empire, but the ambitious Rajput advance stalled as various commanders became unsure whether they were fighting the Malla or the Bengali, or both.

    At this time, it is unsure whether the royal family and leadership of the Malla are holed up in Varanasi, or managed to escape with the remnants of the army, which has now coalesced near the ancient fortress of Gwalior. The Bengali advance also stalled, however, as forces were shifted to combat a Rajput raiding expedition into Bengali Gondwana, which was halted at the Narmada river. Potential internal problems for the Rajputs and troubles for Bengal further south have increased the desire of all sides, especially the Malla hoping to survive in some form, to seek at least temporary negotiations.

    (-9 Malla divisions, -6 Bengali divisions, -3 Rajput divisions)

    ---

    On the Intricacies of Colony Transfers

    Chernigov had been planning for some time to sell their costly Indian trading post, and rumors circulated of Egyptian and Flemish offers. Finally, it was publically revealed that sovereignty would be transferred to the Empire of Bengal. A small surprise greeted the Chernigovans, however, for one month before the appointed date of withdrawal, a large Hyderabadi force, five times the size of the garrison, surrounded the port town. They informed the Chernigovans that the Nizam would meet the conditions of the sale, politely escorted them aboard their ships, and sent them packing.

    Bengal’s naval detachment to claim the outpost arrived a month later, to be greeted by cannons at the water’s edge. Not quite willing to start a war with the Nizam without authority from Paharpur, they turned back. Tensions remain high, especially with a wave of new restrictions in Hyderabad against Hindus, and talk of restoration of the dhimmi.


    ---

    On Burning, Reforming, and Sailing

    The Portuguese made an ambitious effort to reinforce their colonies in the Orient, and this paid off when China remained secure despite the instability wracking the region. Unfortunately, the fertile, pleasant settler colony of Inacio on the southern tip of Africa became much less pleasant when a huge Rozwi raid roared across the northern borders. Adopting a strategy of elastic defense, the Portuguese garrison retreated to the towns they could fortify and hold, burning many northeastern farmsteads before they could be taken by the Rozwi. While this war just seems to be beginning, captured prisoners among the Rozwi have indicated that foreign weapons had been recently “traded” by mysterious ships along the coast.

    The make was a familiar one to the Portuguese. The Rozwi had been given Flemish guns.

    Compared to the aggressively modernizing nations of the West, few in the Far East were doing the same…except the Knights of the Nile, who had reopened direct ties with the west, and opened a new patent office which rapidly filled with foreign-imported designs. Ceylon is rapidly becoming a sort of trading factory, where raw materials from India can be rapidly refined for a quick profit, or repackaged and sent to Egypt or sent into hungry Portuguese trade routes.

    Siam mixed military awareness with pragmatism, adopting Noahite-style social reforms while slowly expanding the army, placing a heavy garrison on the border with Bengal, perhaps to make a point.

    However, both the Knights and Siam were dwarfed by the nemesis of Christians all, the Japanese Shogunate. While fairly modern by global standards, the entrenched provincial nobility has begun to cause serious stagnation in government, not due to lack of efficiency as much as dispersal of power and retention of conservative attitudes.. Rather than embarking on yet another costly purge, the Shogunate has sought to work within the system, granting massive mercantile contracts, especially lucrative new railroad deals, to nobles who have now begun to double as zaibatsu magnates. Shogun Yamagata Aritomo has toed a careful line thus far, but rumors of a new intelligence organization and secret alliances may indicate broader goals for the future…and perhaps in China, as some hope. (see Spotlight)

    The one ambitious move the Shogun has made is to gain a toehold in the opening of the Tawantinsuyu. Japanese ships have been allowed official, permanent anchorage, or so the rumors say. What role they will play is unknown, as the notorious secretiveness of the Sapa Inca prevents any additional information from escaping to the world.

    A new round of Portuguese missionary and infrastructural efforts in Africa and Canton had mixed results. In the coastal Cantonese cities, a mercantile, Portuguese-influenced Christian elite is beginning to take hold, but the vast majority of peasants in the interior continue to practice their traditional beliefs, and retain their Ming sympathies. In Africa, well…the missionary efforts probably caused the Rozwi raids to begin with.

    (-1 Portuguese division, -4 Rozwi divisions, +Knights of the Nile Industry, +Siamese Quality of Life, +/-Canton Confidence [Portugal])
     
  19. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Spotlight: War of the Dynasties.

    “You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is ‘Never get involved in a land war in Asia,’ but only slightly less well known is this: ‘Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!’”

    -Vizzini, The Princess Bride

    There are many situations where diplomacy can provide an effective solution to a crisis. Two men claiming absolute, divine rule over the same population isn’t one of them. Long had the Nancheng Emperor of the Xin Ming weighed his options, forging the tip of a European-inspired spear to strike at his enemies, be they Japanese, Portuguese…or in this case, Manchu. It was the ascension of the aggressive, imposing, and possibly unstable Emperor Wanglong of the Qing Dynasty that galvanized Emperor Nancheng into action. Both Emperors “requested” the absolute submission of the other, which escalated into a spat of gruesome messenger torturing, and the immediate start of border skirmishes.

    Both emperors had reformed (or were reforming) the military apparatus during their reigns, and were tolerable commanders in their own right. While both dynasties used the traditional peasant levy armies, the Xin Ming could call upon a parallel European-style force, equipped with German guns and led by ambitious Flemish soldiers of fortune. In comparison, the Qing had reorganized their traditional Manchu banners into a regimental system with a unified chain of command, set alongside a characteristically vast levy army. It wasn’t as modernized as the Xin Ming or Japanese armies, but their cavalry and officer corps remained more disciplined and experienced. It was straining the economy, however. (-1 Qing ep next turn)

    At its’ northernmost extent, a wide loop of the Huang He curves up into Inner Mongolia, flowing from Ming territory into Qing lands. Both Emperors’ hopes hinged on this crucial area. Wanglong’s grand strategy called for twin strikes down each side of the loop, driving south to threaten Xi’an in a vast pincer, and putting Manchu forces (somewhat) within striking distance of Chengdu.

    By comparison, Nancheng’s strike called for two prongs as well. The western army was tasked with marching north along the river, capturing the Inner Mongolian prefecture of Baotou, and drawing off as much Qing attention as possible. If it succeeded in its’ mission, it was to march east and join the main assault on Beijing. For another, larger force was moving into Shaanxi from the river valley, its’ task no less than to penetrate into Zhili and take the capital itself. The Ming plan relied on the success of both Han rebeliions and a secretly negotiated Japanese intervention.

    The Qing frantically tried to implement Wanglong’s reforms as hostilities began; delays caused by this, and by a slightly less efficient (albeit terrified) bureaucracy, let the Xin Ming make the first move. Wanglong had hoped to keep the Ming from advancing along the west bank of the river, but this was hopelessly futile.

    The western Ming advance smartly defeated Qing border garrisons, while a Qing army belatedly moved to engage them. At the First Battle of Wuhai, disciplined Ming regulars crushed several charges of mostly conscript levy forces, but their ranks were shattered when a vicious assault of banner cavalry broke the Ming left flank, pinning them against the river. Several Flemish mercenary commanders helped the platoons drive off the dismounted horsemen, while preventing the core Qing army from pushing the Ming into the waters. The Ming had been bloodied, but Qing losses were far higher. The Ming continued their northward advance towards Baotou.

    Meanwhile, the two eastern armies with both Emperors in tow began their assaults. Qing forces were caught off guard by the ferocity of the Ming assault into Shaanxi, but the area had been heavily garrisoned by loyal Manchu troops to keep Han rebellions from breaking out. They broke out nonetheless, as the personal presence of the Nancheng Emperor caused an outbreak of barely-suppressed anti-Qing rage. (+6 Xin Ming irregular divisions) Despite the best efforts of the garrisons, which did manage to significantly slow the Ming advance, Shaanxi was mostly lost, Zhili was threatened, and even Tianjin fell to the rebels. But the Qing Emperor was not in Beijing to witness the tottering of his empire.

    Wanglong had had his forces cut south into Qing territory along the east bank of the Huang He, but was forced back by determined resistance from Xi’an. Faced with the deteriorating situation in Shaanxi, he attacked northeast, neatly severing the Ming’s supply lines, hoping to catch the main army from behind. Said main Ming army had been besieging Pingyao, the ancient capital of the prefecture and the last surviving Qing garrison in the Shaanxi. The city was almost at the breaking point as Qing forces arrived.

    Wanglong and Nancheng rallied their respective armies, but the early engagements went in favor of the Ming, whose severed supply lines were repaired by a brilliant sortie from the Huang He which linked up with local rebels. After several probing attempts were fiercely beaten back with high casualties, Wanglong withdrew from Shaanxi, conceding defeat and linking up with a reserve army further north which he used to relieve the capital. Pingyao fell, and with it northern Shaanxi and southern Zhili were lost to the Xin Ming. But Wanglong used this bought time to crush most of the remaining Han rebellions further north, leaving only a few pockets of rural uprisings left to defeat.

    The Ming had assured the rebels that Japanese intervention would soon come and sweep away the remainder of Qing resistance. But the Qing were also convinced that the Japanese were on their side. Both Emperors waited tensely to see which would be betrayed…and then Japan announced its’ neutrality, fortifying its’ Korean border with the Qing but doing little else. Nancheng’s grand plan faltered…and then unraveled entirely when news of the western campaign came in.

    In the west, Ming forces were approaching Baotou. The advance of the western army had been greatly weakened by Manchu raids, forcing the detachment of the Flemish to guard the supply lines, and the Inner Mongolian population was not supportive of the Han invaders. Even so, if Baotou fell, the road to Beijing would be open.

    But the Battle of Baotou was an unmitigated disaster for the Xin Ming. Wanglong had left a second reserve army in the north, and it slipped behind the rearguard unnoticed, using western-uniforms supplied by Portugal to mimic the Flemish who had been performing the rear guard. The Ming army was attacked simultaneously from east and west, and in the confusion several ranking officers were shot. All the European discipline instilled among the soldiers evaporated, allowing the Qing cavalry to cut down countless fleeing Han. The shattered remnants of the Xin Ming tried to regroup to the south, where they were forced out of Outer Mongolia entirely after the crushing Qing victory at the Second Battle of Wuhai.

    The west was now left entirely open to counterattack, and the Manchu soon gained more supporters among Outer Mongolian tribes raiding the fertile lands of the upper Huang He. (+5 Qing irregular divisions) The Qing armies, however, were too exhausted to advance further south than Lanzhou.

    Nancheng faced the defeat of his western army with stoic realism. Garrisons were brought up from the south to reinforce Xi’an and the capital, and a smaller northwestern probe from the main army managed to keep Beijing under threat. The lack of Japanese intervention had severely cut Ming chances for a quick victory, and Wanglong was quick to exploit the absence of Nancheng’s main army in the north by dashing south with characteristic speed to place Xi’an under siege, though the city was well-supplied and unlikely to fall for some time.

    The front gradually developed into a stalemate. One final probe by Wanglong’s Huang He army into Shaanxi was quickly knocked back by the Xin Ming, and new garrisons had been brought up from the south to keep the last Ming-controlled stretches of the Huang He from being taken, and the supply lines overrun. On the other hand, Beijing and Tianjin had been well fortified by one of Wanglong’s reserve armies. New, Portuguese artillery had been shipped to the capital, and the new model army of Shaanxi now had to deal with new model artillery fielded by their enemies.

    The frantic attempts by both Portuguese and Flemings to support their respective sides in the war led to a flurry of local naval activity, including a long-needed rebase of a Portuguese fleet, which raised tensions with Japan. The Japanese almost fired on a Portuguese weapons shipment sailing into the Bohai Sea, but decided that allowing Flemish arms merchants to sail up the Huang He would be a much more judicious retaliation. A small wave of Xin Ming inspired rebellions briefly flared across Guangzhou, but were quickly put down by the expanded Portuguese garrison.

    The Uighur Khanate had been offered an alliance against the Xin Ming by Wanglong, and tentatively agreed, pending a significant payment by the Qing Emperor. When he refused to pay the (somewhat large) sum they demanded, the infuriated Uighurs began to raid indiscriminately across Xin Ming and Qing borders alike, throwing much of both nations’ western lands into chaos.

    One year of warfare ends in Asia, as another begins. Both the Xin Ming and Qing continue to search for overseas alliances, so 1901 could make the campaigns of the year before look very small indeed…

    (-1 Portuguese division, -19 Qing divisions, -2 Qing irregular divisions, -13 Ming divisions, -3 Ming irregular divisions, -3 Uighur divisions, various quality increases/decreases)
     
  20. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,573
    Location:
    In the desert
    Okay, I lied. HERE is the map.

    Spoiler Out, thou stumpet Map! :
     

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