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Thread: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (COMPLETED 7/24: EPILOGUE)

  1. #1

    Default [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (COMPLETED 7/24: EPILOGUE)

    I've noticed that there are not too many Portuguese AARs, so here is my attempt at one. I wrote quite a few AARs with RTW years ago, but I haven’t done any in a while. I’ve been playing Stainless Steel for a few months, and I’ve finally decided to write one here. I almost did one for the Aragon campaign that just ended, but I didn’t start taking pictures until I was already 20 turns in, and I didn’t want to start in the middle.

    I actually lost in that Aragon campaign, so I’m hoping this is an interesting AAR with some tension and drama about whether or not I will actually be able to survive. The problem with Aragon was the lack of quality spears to counteract the Moorish lancers, plus Genoa’s treacherous assaults from Toulouse. I’m hoping things will be similar, if slightly less difficult, with Portugal.

    I’m playing Stainless Steel 6.3 on Hard campaign, Very Hard battles, Savage AI. I’ve got Faster Turn Times, Longer Assimilation, Permanent Watchtowers, and the Next Heir Ancillary submods loaded. (As a sidenote, FTT helps a ton, but only if you have the battle time limit on; I played the Aragon campaign with unlimited battle limits, and the difference in turn times in huge in this campaign.)

    My goal is for this to be a very difficult (not impossible) campaign, but I’m hoping that any successes will feel like real accomplishments because of that. I have quite a few house rules that I consistently use: no rushing at the beginning of the game, no overuse of blockades, very little use of assassins, no intentional use of spies to open enemy gates, usually let neighbors make the first aggressive move before attacking them (this could be them blockading my ports, sending troops into my territory, or obviously declaring war on me). I try to avoid tactics that the computer never uses or can’t use. Therefore, I will almost never continue battles after the entire enemy is routing. I will use night battles, and I will use flank charges. I won’t bribe cities, but I may try to bribe armies or generals or agents (I almost never do, but we’ll see). There are probably more, but I just want to give a sense of my style.


    I realize that much of the background even when the game starts is not quite perfectly historical; Henriques really was the leader of Portugal in 1100 when the game starts, and his wife really was Teresa, but Portugal didn’t officially become a kingdom until 1139. But since everything after 1100 is fictional anyway, it might as well all be ahistorical.

    Chapter 1: Foundations


    It is the year of Christ 1100. The Moors, under Yusuf ibn Tashfin, have reconsolidated most of southern and central Iberia under Muslim rule. However, as the Muslims have united, the Christian lands in Iberia have fractured. Henrique, Count of Portugal, has chafed under the Kingdom of León, and has now declared himself King of the new Kingdom of Portugal.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Though young, King Henrique is ambitious. He seeks to first consolidate his lands and then push back against the Moorish Caliphate that dominates the entire region. The Kingdom of León is a wary ally, and while the Kingdom of Aragon to the northeast is neutral, all three Christian kingdoms must balance their rivalries with one another against the need to present a unified front to the Moorish invaders.
    Henrique’s wife Teresa, illegitimate daughter of King Alfonso of León, has been at least as ambitious as he, urging him to take greater control of his capital city at Oporto. It is she who convinced Henrique to rise up and declare himself independent from León.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The King’s only son, Afonso, shows promise as both a civil and military leader. He is less ambitious than his father, so Henrique will need to stabilize the Kingdom as quickly as possible. He may not be able to count on his son to aggressively fight the Moors.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    The King’s oldest daughter, Urraca, on the other hand, may be ambitious enough for the both of them. Intelligent and spirited, she has a dynamic personality. She takes after her mother and will not likely settle for a secondary role under Afonso’s future reign.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    In 1100, Portugal is, quite frankly, a weak kingdom. Surrounded by enemies (and potential enemies), Henrique must expand quickly.


    Rankings
    Overall:
    1. Byzantine Empire.....70,000
    2. Seljuk Sultanate......62,500
    3. Holy Roman Empire...62,500
    4. Moorish Caliphate....57,500
    5. Cuman Khanate......45,000
    25. Portugal................8,000


    Military
    1. Byzantine Empire.....31,000
    2. Seljuk Sultanate......24,000
    3. Holy Roman Empire...18,000
    4. Moorish Caliphate....16,500
    5. Cuman Khanate......16,000
    24. Portugal................4,000

    Territories
    1. Byzantine Empire.....15
    2. Seljuk Sultanate......12
    3. Holy Roman Empire...10
    4. Moorish Caliphate......9
    5. Cuman Khanate........8
    22. Portugal................1


    Population
    1. Byzantine Empire.....42,000
    2. Seljuk Sultanate......34,000
    3. Moorish Caliphate....29,500
    4. Holy Roman Empire...27,500
    5. Fatimid Caliphate.....27,000
    25. Portugal.................2,000


    Recognizing both need and opportunity, in 1102, the King sends his son, and all the troops he can muster, to attack the independent city of Lisbon. With several dozen nights, and a moderate advantage in troop numbers, Afonso is confident.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Expecting little defense, Prince Afonso brings only one ram, one siege tower, and one set of ladders.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    As the ram begins crashing the gate, enemy troops stream out, catching the Portuguese spear militia unawares.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    As the Prince sends his other men forward to support the initial attack, the news gets worse.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    With his men bogged down at the gate, and the siege tower destroyed, the young Prince becomes increasingly concerned. In a desperate move, he sends all his knights forward toward the gates, hoping their momentum will break through and allow the rest of the Portuguese army through.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Though the spear militia rout, the Prince’s gamble initially works. The knights break through the gate and push the enemy back.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Eventually, the rest of the Portuguese army pushes the defenders back to the square, where they make a final doomed stand. In the end, Afonso is victorious, though it is not a victory without cost.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    After the victory, King Henrique orders Afonso to stabilize Lisbon and build up the city’s defenses, while the King does the same in Oporto. He reluctantly accepts a Moorish offer of trading rights after the assault on Lisbon. The King recognizes that the Moors will remain neutral only as long as it suits them; they are almost certainly sizing up this new enemy in preparation for what they hope will be an easy war.


    In the meantime, the King’s other daughter, Sancha, comes of age. While she possesses some of her older sister’s charm, she is a bit snobbish. Her life has always been pampered, and she has none of Urraca’s ambition. Still, both sisters go off on diplomatic missions to Portugal’s Christian neighbors.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    The two princesses are each warmly welcomed by the various nearby Kingdoms: Aragon, France, England, Genoa. Urraca proves to be a cunning woman, and convinces the Genoese King to marry his daughter Martinella to Urraca’s older brother, Afonso. Urraca herself meets Gaston d’Aquitaine, a French nobleman distantly related to his king. Though love is too strong a word, Urraca feels a certain sort of connection to him, based at least partly on her sense that he could be a powerful man in Portugal.


    While abroad in France, Sancha meets a fellow traveling Portuguese noblemen and, unlike her sister, does fall madly in love with him. Sebastiao de Anunciada is also not all that ambitious and seems to be a perfect match for Sancha.



    After a decade of building up his small kingdom, Henrique is only mildly surprised when the Moors declare war in 1110 and blockade Lisbon’s port. Whether threatened by Portuguese expansion southward, or simply sensing an easy way to cripple their neighbor’s economy, the Moors intend to go to war.
    The Portuguese war admiral manages to break the blockade, albeit barely. Through Henrique’s careful stewardship, the royal treasury has become quite full; however, the decision to neglect the navy may turn out to be a serious error.


    [One more update coming tomorrow. I'll also get some pics of Gaston and Sebastiao, though probably a bit later than the initial marriages. Also, if anyone can recommend a better way to show the rankings so the numbers all line up nicely, I'd appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!]
    Last edited by TheBard; July 24, 2011 at 04:12 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Nice start buddy! This should be interesting.

  3. #3
    Karnage's Avatar Centenarius
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    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    I love Portugal, I played them once in vanilla and I had a blast, it is always fun to play in chaotic Iberia, you never get bored If I have a suggestion, if ever a crusade is called and Spain sends crusaders within the first 20 turns of the game, wait 5 turns and strike them. They will be virtually defenseless and the added territory is always welcome
    My work in progress AAR, come and have look.

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  4. #4

    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Thanks for the comments.

    Karnage: I usually try to avoid taking advantage of Crusades to attack my neighbors, especially when we are both Christian. Plus, Spain is now "Leon" in Stainless Steel, and we are already allied. Now, once the Moors are gone from Iberia (if that ever happens), all bets are off.

    Also, if these pictures are too wide, please let me know. I'm basing it off how it fits in my laptop screen. I want to make it so no one (or almost no one) needs to scroll to the right to read text. I've been aiming for pictures that are less than 1100 or so pixels wide, but if that is too many, please let me know and I'll make them a little narrower.
    Last edited by TheBard; September 16, 2010 at 09:35 AM. Reason: Forgot to ask question

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Chapter 2: Stumbling Blocks

    Gaston d’Aquitaine, newly arrived from France with Urraca, is placed in command of Portugal’s modest army to set up defenses against Moorish attacks. In the meantime, he comes across a small army of rebels near Lisbon.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    With a superior force, Gaston’s men eagerly charge the enemy, seeking to break them in one fell swoop.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    It works as planned, and the enemy are smashed and scattered. Rebel leaders are rounded up and executed, while many of the others simply disperse back into the countryside. Gaston is confident that this show of power will help avoid further uprisings.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    What it won’t do, though, is stop the Moors. While Gaston is tied up east of Lisbon, the Moors land a huge army near Lisbon, transported by ship in the dark of night. Neither Prince Afonso’s garrison in Lisbon, nor the King’s in Oporto is at all capable of holding them off. Thus, it will be up to Gaston.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    But before Gaston’s army can dare take on these invaders, they await reinforcements from Oporto. King Henrique sends all the men he can spare, leaving the Portuguese capital nearly defenseless. His other new son-in-law, Sebastiao, leads the men on their march to link up with Gaston’s army. With his ally León to the north, and the Moors concentrating on Lisbon, the King is relying more on hope and wishes than any real ability to put up any real defense.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Gaston receives word by messenger of the birth of his and Urraca’s son, Salvador, in 1116. Buoyed by the news, the Portuguese general mounts his horse and gives the order to move. Just as Gaston’s army begins its march to the coast south of Lisbon to take on the Moorish army, their scouts spot two more enemy armies setting up at the bridge needed to advance. Facing difficult odds, and with the huge third Moorish army still south of Lisbon, Gaston and Sebastiao have little choice but to attack.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Gaston sends his entire army forward to deal with Attiyah ibn Shurayh’s larger force, banking on the idea that he can defeat them before the enemy’s smaller reinforcements arrive from the north.
    As the Portuguese and Moorish soldiers clash on the plains, Gaston’s men initially get the better of the enemy. The Moors are rattled, but Attiyah’s strong rallying cry urges them onward. As Gaston considers how to deal with the enemy cavalry, the Moorish reinforcements suddenly arrive, directly on the Portuguese flank!

    Gaston sends Sebastiao and several units of javelinmen to hold them off, but things look increasingly bleak. Though Sebastiao succeeds, and routs the enemy reinforcements, the Portuguese lines become thin. Perhaps they could have held if Sebastiao and the extra men had not been sent off, but there is no going back.

    Attiyah takes the opportunity to charge through the Portuguese lines directly toward Gaston. Sebastiao arrives back, exhausted, and he and Gaston try desperately to kill the enemy general. Attiyah, however, is a powerful man, and his cavalry decimate the Portuguese generals’ own cavalry. Seeing their leaders in dire straits, and increasingly surrounded by enemies, the Portuguese lines break and flee. Seeing no alternative, Gaston grabs Sebastiao by the arm and urges him to flee as well. The two barely escape with their lives, their entire cavalry forces destroyed.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    [Sorry that I didn’t get any good pics of the battle; I was too distracted trying not to lose and only got a couple from very far zoomed out]

    While they did inflict a great deal of damage on their enemies, the Portuguese are now in a desperate situation. Attiyah’s army is damaged, but hardly crippled, and the huge army south of Lisbon still waits.
    In Lisbon, Prince Afonso is unaware of the battle’s outcome, and is preoccupied with the birth of his own son, Alexandre, in 1117. Gaston and Sebastiao flee blindly northward through the wilderness with the meager remnants of their army. They arrive at Oporto, battered and bruised, and inform the King of the situation.

    Distraught by the news, the King fears for his son in Lisbon. He gathers the entire garrison from Oporto and the hundred or so remnants from Gaston and Sebastiao’s army. Leaving the two men in Oporto, the King goes on the march toward Lisbon, fearful of what he will find.
    Last edited by TheBard; February 24, 2011 at 03:40 PM.

  6. #6
    Karnage's Avatar Centenarius
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    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Spain, Leon-Castille, all the same. But it is your choice obviously. It seems you have a bit of a major crisis of Moorish nature. Best of luck with that.

    Good update, would have loved to see screens of the battle but I know how it is when fighting a desperate battle and focusing on winning can hinder screenshots taking. One of my biggest battle in my AAR, also vs the Moors, I was only able to take overhead screens as I was busy not getting killed
    My work in progress AAR, come and have look.

    L'État c'est moi, The Monarchy of France
    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=355826

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  7. #7
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    A promising start, good luck for Lisbon!
    No wonder Gaston has an outlander adultress... there seem to be some major differences between the two sisters.

    Too bad nobody (that I know of) came up with a sure way of saving campaign battles allowing taking the shots in the second run.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Thanks Radzeer. The real problem is that you never really know ahead of time whether a battle will be worth having pictures of. So do you take a ton of zoomed in pictures (having to pause and unpause a lot, probably) of every battle, no matter the odds? Do you just do it with battles that look close ahead of time? It's hard to decide sometimes. I'm going to try to work on taking better pictures of battles eventually, though I've still got some pictures saved up for the next update, maybe later today.

  9. #9
    Karnage's Avatar Centenarius
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    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBard View Post
    Thanks Radzeer. The real problem is that you never really know ahead of time whether a battle will be worth having pictures of. So do you take a ton of zoomed in pictures (having to pause and unpause a lot, probably) of every battle, no matter the odds? Do you just do it with battles that look close ahead of time? It's hard to decide sometimes. I'm going to try to work on taking better pictures of battles eventually, though I've still got some pictures saved up for the next update, maybe later today.
    It all depends on your style my friend, I personally take pictures of every battle, even if I lose them, because it is part of my AAR, but some AARtist prefer to only show battles of their chosen characters, others dont show battles at all.

    Whatever suits your style my friend. Its important to take good screens but dont get yourself killed by doing it neither.
    My work in progress AAR, come and have look.

    L'État c'est moi, The Monarchy of France
    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=355826

    Critic Quills review about my AAR.
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  10. #10
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBard View Post
    Thanks Radzeer. The real problem is that you never really know ahead of time whether a battle will be worth having pictures of. So do you take a ton of zoomed in pictures (having to pause and unpause a lot, probably) of every battle, no matter the odds? Do you just do it with battles that look close ahead of time? It's hard to decide sometimes. I'm going to try to work on taking better pictures of battles eventually, though I've still got some pictures saved up for the next update, maybe later today.
    Yep, I agree with Karnage, it's a personal style issue. Normally when I play I seldom use the pause button. However, for my AAR game I do that quite often just to find a good angle for both close-up shots and zoomed out ones. And usually it is better to be safe and take tons of pictures. You can always delete what you don't like.

    But again, it is your personal preferences that will decide. You're providing free entertainment for us, but it should be fun for you too!

  11. #11

    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Chapter 3: Opportunities?

    As the King heads south with his ragtag army, Gaston works hard in Oporto to recruit as many new soldiers as possible. Feeling responsible for the disaster against Attiyah, Gaston ignores the King’s orders to stay put and heads out to find the King with the new recruits, eventually linking up with him south of Oporto. Exhausted, Gaston rides to the King and demands a chance to hit back against the Moors.


    Though uncertain about Gaston’s leadership abilities and anxious to reach his son (and new grandson) in Lisbon, the King relents and sets up camp near the coast. Perhaps Attiyah feels threatened by the King’s growing army, or maybe there are threats from León to the east, but for whatever reason, the Moorish general heads eastward at a fast pace, leaving the Portuguese lands once again free of invaders.

    Meanwhile, Prince Afonso receives news of the battle against Attiyah and rapidly increases construction in the coastal city. He also works hard to recruit as many new troops as possible, knowing they’ll be needed in the years ahead. Unfortunately, the pickings are slim, and Afonso mostly settles for training up local peasants and farmers. With the ongoing wars against the Moorish Caliphate and a low population to begin with, there are just very few even semi-professional soldiers in the area.


    Back in Oporto, Sebastiao’s daughter Francesca is born in 1121, and he is, unlike Gaston, content to remain as the governor there. Like Afonso, he attempts to recruit what soldiers he can, but he is equally stymied by the lack of professional soldiers. Should León renege on their uneasy alliance and choose to attack, or should the Moors slip by the King’s army, Oporto would be hard pressed indeed.


    Meanwhile, King Henrique and Gaston attack the huge Moorish army camped near Lisbon in the summer of 1121.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    As they so often do, the Moors again send their cavalry skirmishers to harass the Portuguese left and right flanks. Lacking any professional archers, the Portuguese must rely on levy archers made up of the local citizenry to try to keep the skirmishers at a distance. It is, at best, only partially successful, but the Moorish cavalry skirmishers eventually run out of javelins and are routed by the Portuguese spear militia and javelinmen.


    Gaston, increasingly reckless after the defeat by Attiyah, charges the enemy archers. It provides enough time for the Portuguese infantry to slowly surround and rout the lightly armored Moorish soldiers. The enemy captain is captured, and the entire enemy army soon flees.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    It is 1122. Lisbon is now safe, but the King has a decision to make. With the way seemingly clear both south and east, there are two options open: Silves to the south, and Seville to the east.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Both cities present opportunity and challenge. Silves is a coastal city, far from the wars in central Iberia, and more easily defended with its back to the sea. Plus, it is not a city that León or Aragon will be interested in any time soon, so there would be no extra conflict with Portugal’s Christian neighbors. Lastly, as a city with a medium-sized population, there would be considerable financial benefits to come from the increased taxes.


    However, as a castle, Seville would (eventually) provide access to the more professional troops that will be needed in a long-term war with the Moors. Oporto is the only Portuguese castle thus far, but it has a small and slowly growing population, making it of limited value for the moment. [For anyone that doesn’t know, the RR/RC component of the Stainless Steel mod severely curtails recruitment of all troops, but particularly the more professional ones. It is not enough to build the buildings required for light men at arms and feudal knights; you must also wait upwards of 8 turns between recruiting of those types. Eventually, the time between recruiting shrinks, but any professional troops are very hard to come by for a long time. Though the AI has the same restrictions, you need to be careful with your armies, since they are difficult to replace.]


    The nobles have also been pressuring King Henrique to take Seville, promising him further military support if he does so. At the moment, the Portuguese treasury is flush with money, making the need for a tax base in Silves less urgent. But Seville would be difficult to hold, as it is closer to the Moors’ base in central Iberia, as well as the crossing at Gibraltar where they are able to bring in more troops from northern Africa.


    While gathering Afonso’s recently trained troops from Lisbon and deciding on his next move, the King receives news that Oporto has been besieged.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Henrique is torn. This might be the only chance to take either Silves or Seville while the Moors are distracted and regrouping. But Oporto is the capital, and trading it for one of the other cities is hardly a step forward. Gaston wants to take Seville and believes it would be a powerful symbol to strike in the heart of the Moorish Caliphate. In the end, though, the King’s pragmatism wins out, and he urges his army northward. As he nears the city, word comes from Portuguese scouts that a large Moorish army has massed south of Seville. The King may have missed his chance.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    The King fights off several small Moorish armies on his way toward Oporto. While each battle is relatively easy, they slow his progress to a crawl. In the summer of 1124, when he and Gaston are within one day’s march of Oporto, the Moors assault the city. Sebastiao will be on his own.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Though the Moorish army is a small one, only 400 or so men, Sebastiao’s garrison is even smaller. Because of the need to constantly send all troops south to defend against the Moorish invasion there, the capital has remained almost defenseless. It will take a miracle for the castle to hold.


    Portuguese levy archers man the walls, firing volley after volley at the Moors as they advance with their ram.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Sebastiao sends out the lone unit of jinettes that he has, using them to harass the enemy infantry. While they cause only moderate casualties, they do distract several hundred enemy soldiers, ensuring that the enemy cannot all push into the gate at once.


    When the enemy infantry do finally push through the gates, they initially come one unit at a time, instead of en masse.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    A few dozen spear militia, some Lusitanian javelinmen, and Sebastiao himself are all that stands in the way.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    As the Moorish infantry becomes engaged with the Portuguese spear militia inside the gate, the javelinmen charge their sides.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Sensing his own men about to rout, Sebastiao recklessly charges his cavalry into the other side.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    The Moors hold their ground, and even press forward slowly. As the Portuguese men are again about to break and run, the jinettes return, slamming home into the rear of the enemy. Surrounded on all sides by newly emboldened Portuguese, the Moors soon lose heart and run, abandoning the attack.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    It is a crucial victory for Sebastiao, but a close one. If not for the jinettes, or if Attiyah (or any competent general) had commanded the enemy, Oporto would have been lost. Knowing that the King is near, and wanting to impress him further, Sebastiao leads the garrison out of Oporto, surprising the Moorish general Sawwar al-Malaki and fewer than 100 men. In a surprisingly easy victory, Sebastiao captures the Moorish general, eventually ransoming him back to the Caliph for more than 1000 florins.

    The King and Gaston return to Oporto for two years, biding their time and replenishing their depleted army. Word arrives of the birth of Afonso’s son Fermao, born in 1126.

    Gaston is restless, continually urging the King to smash the Moors. Frustrated by being cooped up in the castle, Gaston trains and trains the men, driving himself past the point of exhaustion each and every day. Finally, in the winter of 1125, Gaston d’Aquitaine falls ill and dies soon afterward. His loss leaves the King with only enough generals to govern his two cities. King Henrique promises Gaston on his deathbed that he will take the fight to the Moors in the spring.


    The King makes good on his promise, leaving Sebastiao in command of Oporto, and heading south with nearly all the Portuguese forces. After stopping east of Lisbon to once again consider whether to attack Silves or Seville, the King hears word of a huge Moorish army between him and Oporto.



    Trying to avoid another assault on the capital, the King speeds north with his army, meeting the enemy in 1127 at the same bridge where Gaston and Sebastiao were defeated more than a decade prior.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Outnumbered and forced to attack across the narrow bridge, the King of Portugal is worried. Still, he knows that about half of his men are veterans, and the enemy is commanded by a lowly captain.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    King Henrique sends his archers to the middle of the bridge first, knowing that he has the advantage in missile units. There, the archers begin to fire into the enemy ranks.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Before he can move up his spear militia to cover the archers, enemy cavalry charge into them, bowling them over and throwing many to their deaths in the swiftly flowing river.

    Some of the archers rout, but many hold their ground, knowing that this battle could determine the fate of their fledgling kingdom. Soon, the spears come up, and the enemy are pushed back across the bridge.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    The King himself makes a rare charge into the enemy, sending them fleeing through the steep cliff valley. Hundreds are run down and killed, while hundreds more are captured.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    After the battle ends, the King makes the decision to execute more than 500 prisoners. Word arrives that Oporto was again besieged, but the small besieging enemy quickly retreats after hearing of King Henrique’s victory and subsequent executions.

    Throughout the winter of 1127, scouts bring conflicting and confusing reports. There are many armies north of Seville, some Moors and some with different flags.

    In the spring, things become clear. León has sent troops into Moorish territory! Whether his allies intend to help him fight off the Moors, or whether they intend to take Seville for themselves, Henrique does not care. For now, the path toward Seville is open.

    Last edited by TheBard; February 24, 2011 at 03:44 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    I've played a little further and things are about to get very interesting. It will be a couple days before I can get pics edited and everything put together, but I'll be able to do a couple chapters in a row again, like I did above.

    Just as a teaser, I will say that there is a new king.

  13. #13
    withfriend2's Avatar Tiro
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    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    good aar. will definately be following

  14. #14
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Nice update, keep it up!

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    I'm only at chapter 3 so far, but felt I should comment. Overall it is looking good. Interesting you only start off with Oporto. That makes it a bit more of a challenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBard View Post
    Also, if these pictures are too wide, please let me know. I'm basing it off how it fits in my laptop screen. I want to make it so no one (or almost no one) needs to scroll to the right to read text. I've been aiming for pictures that are less than 1100 or so pixels wide, but if that is too many, please let me know and I'll make them a little narrower.
    I found 825 pixels to be an ideal width for my AAR. Due to the fact I have my task bar along the right side of the screen, I probably lose around 180 pixels. Not that you should change your pictures just for me, even with the reduced width the screenshots as is do mostly take up the entire screen (1104x768?). Maybe put the pictures into spoilers. A lot of people will encapsulate the battle report and pictures in a spoiler so it's separate from the campaign intrigue and story.

    There are many ways to AAR, so don't feel like you need to follow a particular style, though if you find a style you like, you can always emulate it. The format and flow of my Papal AAR was inspired by another AAR but I took it in a bit of a different direction.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBard View Post
    Thanks Radzeer. The real problem is that you never really know ahead of time whether a battle will be worth having pictures of. So do you take a ton of zoomed in pictures (having to pause and unpause a lot, probably) of every battle, no matter the odds? Do you just do it with battles that look close ahead of time? It's hard to decide sometimes. I'm going to try to work on taking better pictures of battles eventually, though I've still got some pictures saved up for the next update, maybe later today.
    A lot of people will take pictures of battles that are important to the story or the AAR. For instance, pictures of "rebel fight #19" with a full stack against 2 units of peasant and a unit of spear is so unworthy of even being mentioned, let alone pictures being taken.

    There are times where you'll get into a grind against an opponent where the battles will turn out the same with a similar style army. In my Aragon campaign I had Castile, Portugal and the Moors attack with different armies, but they individually had the same tactics that had I been writing an AAR, if defensive siege battle 12 was effectively the same as defensive siege battle, I would report the results, but not bother to take pictures unless something different happened. In that game, when the AI would assault I would always send cavalry out to disrupt their rams and a few of their towers/ladders. Once the AI got at least one set of ladders or towers to the walls, they would try to cram all their troops onto the walls, completing ignoring that they had a ram near the gates and several other ladders or towers to utilize. Once the AI was convinced using one set of ladders/towers was victory, their troops would enter a meat grinder such that I'd lose very little troops and kill and rout their entire army. This happened turn after turn after turn.

    Even the defeats are still picture worthy.

    In my Templar AAR I had a battle I thought I'd probably lose, but due to my position and the fact the AI had to walk across the battlefield, I managed to defeat not one by two AI forces with under-strength units. Had I not taken pictures, I would not have been able to show my victory.

  16. #16

    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Chapter 4: Hemmed in



    With the way to Seville clear, King Henrique makes the decision to try for it rather than Silves to the south. Though it will be hard to take and hard to hold, Seville provides the recruiting base for troops that Silves does not.


    As the army heads east toward the castle, a Moorish diplomat intercepts them. In fluent Spanish, the diplomat greets the King’s advisors. “I have a message for your King. Because we tire of killing your men, we are willing to offer a ceasefire. We have more…pressing…matters.”


    The King considers the offer. Though he does not trust the Moors to cease their attacks for long, even a short pause in hostilities would provide his kingdom the time to recover, rebuild, and expand its army. Still, this might be the only chance to take Seville for a long while. And why would the Moors suddenly make this offer?


    “No. There will be no ceasefire. If your Caliph wants this war to end, then leave these lands and return to your own. I would think you would have more than enough to worry about in Jerusalem.”
    Despite the diplomat’s protestations that Jerusalem is controlled by an entirely different Muslim caliphate, the King would hear no more of it. “Go, now, before I become less hospitable.”

    As the army nears the castle, spies meet the King and explain why the Moors are suddenly so conciliatory. “My Lord, León has sent troops against the Moors. They are heading toward Seville as we speak.”


    Suddenly, everything makes sense to Henrique. The Moors are hard pressed on (at least) two sides by their Christian neighbors, and wish to hold off one as they fight the other. King Henrique has no intention to waste the opportunity. The Portuguese army move up quickly and besiege the castle.


    However, as they work on building rams and siege towers, the Portuguese are surprised as a large Moorish army moves up behind them. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Portuguese are in dire straits, as the defending garrison also moves out to attack.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Yet somehow, the Moors’ reinforcements from the west do not arrive to help! The King would find out later that they were too exhausted after a forced march from the south to make it to the battle in time.
    Apparently unaware that their reinforcements have not arrived, the defending army charges out of the castle. The Moors are led by their hero and the Caliph’s son, Hajib ibn Hajib. He and his cavalry charge into the lightly armored Portuguese militia.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Hajib’s men fight valiantly, but they are picked off one by one. Eventually, the Moor is all alone, surrounded by enemies. Covered in his own blood and his enemies’, Hajib single-handedly kills dozens of men.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    In the end, though, he too falls and the Portuguese are victorious.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    King Henrique refuses to allow his men to dishonor the Moorish hero, and he makes arrangements for his body to be returned to the Caliph. Though the King has no love for the Moors, and he hates their heathen religion, he is a father first. Were it Afonso’s body lying there in the dust, Henrique would give anything to see his boy again.


    The Portuguese army takes control of the castle, setting up the watch and sending men around the city to keep the local citizens in line. Full of Muslims, the inhabitants detest the Portuguese and their Christian ways. Between the unrest and the large army outside the gates, no one could blame Henrique for being nervous. Still, he often finds himself thinking of his son and the rest of his family during the winter of 1129.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    In the meantime, the Moors fight back against the Leonese, killing hundreds and sending the rest scattering back to León.



    1130 proves to be a good year for the King. The late Gaston’s son, Salvador, is finally old enough to fight, so he is sent to Oporto to help Sebastiao. The Portuguese nobles reward Henrique’s success at Seville with nearly 200 Lusitanian javelinmen, also in the capital. Recognizing the need to resupply and reinforce Seville, Sebastiao leaves Salvador in charge of the capital, gathers most of the troops there, and heads south, intending to link up with troops from Lisbon and head east.



    But nearly as soon as he leaves the capital, an army of Moors comes together west of Seville to face him, while the tardy reinforcements outside Seville besiege the castle.


    The next spring, Salvador marries Ines, a Portuguese noblewoman, and Prince Afonso’s son Alexandre comes of age in Lisbon, marrying another Portuguese noblewoman, Costanca, soon afterwards.

    In 1132, Sebastiao has a difficult decision to make. The Moors wait at the bridge of Alcantara, where Gaston and Sebastiao were defeated 16 years earlier. But Oporto is besieged, and the young Salvador can not defend the city himself. In the end, Sebastiao sees no alternative but to quickly march to the capital, hoping the Moors do not cross the bridge and go after Lisbon.


    When Sebastiao arrives, he attacks the enemy, and Salvador hastily sallies with his garrison.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Sebastiao is confident that he can win this battle without the young general, but it would be a good chance for him to get his first taste of battle.


    With Salvador’s reinforcements coming quickly, the Moors are pressured to climb the hill and face Sebastiao’s men first.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    With the advantage in numbers and terrain, Sebastiao’s army easily takes care of the enemy before Salvador’s men can really join in much. They do chase down fleeing infantry, but the young general’s safety is paramount to Sebastiao.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    The King sallies forth against the small Moorish army besieging Seville, easily destroying them and keeping the castle clear of invaders. The Moors continue to mass armies near the Alcantara bridge, and others begin to move northwest of Seville, cutting off the route from Seville to Oporto.


    Unexpected help comes soon, though, in the form of English troops landing in the north of Iberia. It seems León has lost several of its cities to the Moors, and the English see an opportunity. King Henrique makes a hasty alliance with the English, as he certainly does not want to face them at the same time as the Moors. This alliance angers the French, but Henrique is unconcerned about such a distant problem.
    Sebastiao sends troops to Lisbon, helping Prince Afonso clear out invading Moors there, and his young son Alexandre gets his first taste of battle as well.


    With the three cities temporarily safe from attack, Sebastiao makes a bold decision. His scouts have told me that the Moorish city Silves to the south is completely defenseless. With no time to wait for orders from the King, Sebastiao chooses to capture the city before it can be reinforced. With an angry Muslim populace, he is forced to seize land and execute unruly civilians. Still, the citizenry is near riotous, and Sebastiao becomes bogged down in crushing uprisings.


    With Silves to the south and Seville to the east, Prince Afonso realizes that Lisbon is safe from any but the most cunning land attack; therefore, he leaves Alexandre in charge of the city and heads north with an army to reinforce Salvador at Oporto. From there, he can regroup and consolidate an army to attack the Moors that have moved from Alcantara bridge to northwest of Seville.


    The year 1135 is a grim one, however. The entire Portuguese navy, presently blockading Cordoba at the behest of the nobles, is surrounded by Moorish ships and utterly destroyed.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    King Henrique catches a fever after many evenings on the castle walls, surveying his new region. After only a few days in bed, his condition worsens, and the first King of Portugal passes away.


    To make matters worse, more than 1000 Moors, led by the confident general Siraj ibn A’id, besiege Seville, now left without any competent commander.
    Last edited by TheBard; February 24, 2011 at 03:45 PM.

  17. #17
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Very interesting! I assume you have Sebastio as the faction heir, right? Or did Alexandre stepped up?

  18. #18

    Default Re: The Rise of Portugal

    Alexandre came of age in time, and I'm using the Next Heir Ancillary (though I think the game would have made him heir anyway, but I wanted to help it along just in case), so yes Alexandre is the new prince. The next chapter is a short one, but almost done already. I'll include the new rankings, new family tree, a reflection on Henrique's legacy, and a couple years of new stuff. Should be done tonight. Then I'll be caught up and I'll have to play a bit again. There is a big battle that happens in 1137, which I hope people will find interesting. I'll try to fit that in. Pictures are done, which is the hard part.

  19. #19
    Karnage's Avatar Centenarius
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    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 9/19)

    Great update and nice couple of victories over the Moors, its always fun to pick a fight with them.
    My work in progress AAR, come and have look.

    L'État c'est moi, The Monarchy of France
    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=355826

    Critic Quills review about my AAR.
    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=365219

  20. #20

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 9/19)

    Chapter 5: New Beginnings?


    At King Henrique’s death in 1135, the Kingdom of Portugal is a minor power, even in its own region. The Moors are still the dominant faction in Iberia, with Aragon and León barely hanging on to their own lands in the north and northeast, respectively. However, with the combined pressure of all three Christian kingdoms, the Moors are contracting, and their power is slowly lessening.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    In his 35 years as King, Henrique took the County of Portugal and turned it into a true Kingdom, albeit a small one. From the sole castle of Oporto, he expanded both southward and eastward, capturing the cities of Lisbon and Silves, and the castle of Seville. He fought back against the Moors, pushing them further from the west coast. Though he saw the deaths of thousands of men, serious gains have been made. And while the new regions are only nominally Christian, that will surely change in time. With a true power base in the western regions of Iberia, the Kingdom has a real chance to help push the Moors out for good, though much depends on the fate of León and Aragon.


    Rankings


    Overall
    1. Byzantine Empire 305,000
    2. Fatimid Caliphate 190,000 (+533% since 1100)
    3. Holy Roman Empire 170,000 (+172%)
    4. Cuman Khanate 150,000
    5. Khwarezmian Empire 145,000
    7. Moorish Caliphate 135,000 (+134%)
    23. Portugal 40,000 (+400%)

    Military
    1. Byzantine Empire 215,000 (+593%)
    2. Fatimid Caliphate 125,000
    3. Seljuk Sultanate 115,000
    4. Holy Roman Empire 115,000
    5. Cuman Khanate 90,000
    7. Moorish Caliphate 80,000 (+384%)
    21. Portugal 25,000 (+525%)

    Territories
    1. Byzantine Empire 22 (+47%)
    2. Cuman Khanate 16 (+100%)
    3. Seljuk Sultanate 14
    4. Holy Roman Empire 13
    5. Fatimid Caliphate 13
    7. Moorish Caliphate 9 (+0%)
    23. Portugal 4 (+300%)

    Population
    1. Byzantine Empire 210,000
    2. Fatimid Caliphate 150,000 (+455%)
    3. Holy Roman Empire 130,000
    4. Seljuk Sultanate 120,000
    5. Cuman Khanate 120,000
    7. Moorish Caliphate 105,000 (+255%)
    24. Portugal 25,000 (+1150%)

    Portugal is on the rise, though the Moors remain a deadly adversary. The Moors have suffered substantially from the war with Portugal, as they have had to pour increasing amounts of money and manpower into the battles in Iberia. And while the Moorish Caliphate is much stronger militarily than it was in 1100, its civilization and population base has been stagnant for decades.

    These are small comforts to King Afonso as he lays his father to rest in 1135. The new king is not the leader of men that his father was, but he is determined to be bold, whatever the cost.


    He leaves the capital of Oporto in 1136 with a large force that he has been building up for years. He intends to quickly march to Seville and lift the siege. He sends Salvador south to collect armies from Lisbon and Silves, and to urge Sebastiao into the fight. But instead, the Moors voluntarily lift the siege in order to consolidate their forces and attack the new King. Word reaches the defenders in Seville, who march to Afonso’s aid in the northwest. The enemy has more than 2300 men all told, while the Portuguese can muster only about 1750.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    The King and his men wait for the enemy to come, hoping the reinforcements from Seville will arrive in time. Still, the situation looks bleak, as the Moors seem to come from every direction at once.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Afonso’s plan fails, as the forces crash into one another well before any Portuguese reinforcements can come. For now, his army is on its own.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    The reinforcements finally arrive, exhausted and leaderless. It was all Afonso could do to hold off the various enemy armies, and the new soldiers are a welcome sight. Somehow, the Moors are able to hold Afonso’s men at bay while they take on the newly arrived army.


    Siraj ibn A’id, a rising general in the Moorish ranks, takes his army and crashes into the Portuguese from Seville. With his own hands full, Afonso can do nothing. Siraj’s army routs the Portuguese reinforcements, killing their captain, and killing hundreds. Afonso and his cavalry make charge after desperate charge, hoping to break the will of the enemy.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    But Afonso’s men, utterly spent and nearly destroyed, can not continue. Having seen their reinforcements slaughtered and routed, the main Portuguese army begins to flee. After many failed attempts to rally his men, King Afonso flees for his life, with only one of his bodyguards having survived.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    It was a huge strategic error to allow himself to be surrounded, and perhaps a bigger one to allow the garrison at Seville to come forth to his aid. Though he flees back to Oporto and the reinforcements back to Seville, it is a disaster. It may have been better had Afonso’s army been destroyed while the garrison at Seville remained intact. Or perhaps the loss of Seville is inevitable without a strong commander there. Either way, the destruction of Portugal’s two largest armies is devastating. Seville is nearly defenseless, as is Oporto. The remaining Portuguese troops are with Salvador far to the south, and Sebastiao can spare no men, as Silves is still in near open revolt.


    Still, when the Moors again offer a ceasefire that same year, King Afonso refuses, but his men remark aloud that his spirit seems broken. Though he fought admirably against difficult odds, Afonso feels as though he cannot live up to his father’s legacy.



    Salvador and his army race eastward, hoping to save Seville. They arrive, and attack Taj Amir Hasan’s army.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Enraged by the constant attacks, and determined to keep Seville, Salvador himself charges Taj again and again. The two units of cavalry square off in the midst of the battle.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Salvador is gravely wounded, but Taj is eventually killed. The Moorish army is destroyed, but Salvador’s own army is also greatly depleted.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    It may be enough to hold Seville for now, but a war of attrition with the Moors is not a winnable one. The Moors continue to pump out thousands of recruits from northern Africa and their castles in Iberia. It is all Portugal can do to hold on.

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