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

  1. #121

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/6: Chapter 23)

    love the grand approach m8. keep it up. the only thing i would ask is for spoiler buttons because the page jumps about like crazy when it loads the pics. enjoying it though!
    "Suffer little children," said the controller.
    -Brave New World

  2. #122

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/6: Chapter 23)

    Thanks vae victus. I'll try that next time. Do I just need "spoiler" and "/spoiler" in brackets (without quotes, obviously) before and after the image links? I've never used spoilers on these boards before.

  3. #123
    Concrete's Avatar Semisalis
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    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/6: Chapter 23)

    In the advanced post options, there's a button dedicated to the role.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    So it's pretty simple.


  4. #124

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/6: Chapter 23)

    I know it has been a while since the last update, but I wanted to let any readers know that I'm still working on this. I need to play ahead a little to find a good place for the next chapter.

  5. #125

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/6: Chapter 23)

    Chapter 24: Back to the Sea

    King Marcio and his army wait nervously as the Aragonese troops move into position to assault Valencia. Aragonese feudal knights move ladders into place and begin to climb.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    As the Aragonese knights reach the top of the walls, they are met by Portuguese knights. The two groups clash violently, with swords cutting through shield and bone.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The bulk of the Aragonese army begins to move along the outside of the walls, seeking a path to one of the gates. Newly constructed cannon towers take them by surprise, and 20-pound balls of iron rip through man and machine, destroying the Aragonese siege towers and forcing the entire assaulting army to the gate.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    The invaders eventually destroy the gate with their rams, but they are assaulted by cannon fire the entire time. As they pour through the ruined gate, they are met with fierce resistance. Having defeated the enemyís knights on the wall, the entire Portuguese army races to defend the city at the gatehouse.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Pushed forward by their countrymen behind them, the front lines of the Aragonese army charge forcefully into the Portuguese defenders. At that moment, burning hot oil pours from the gatehouse, killing dozens. The Aragonese horses, frightened by the noise and heat, charge desperately, flinging friend and foe into the air.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The defenders hold their ground, thrusting forward with their spears and hacking away with their swords. The King and his cavalry stand close by, waiting anxiously for an opportunity to enter the fray. But that opportunity never comes. The Aragonese army withers and falls apart, unable to punch through the Portuguese defensive stand. The Portuguese cannons bombard them as they flee, and Marcio and his cavalry chase down and kill dozens.

    It is a heroic victory and a turning point in the war against Aragon.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The King sets about repairing the castle walls and retraining his army. Valencia has become nearly impregnable, defended by three rings of walls, cannon towers, and Portugalís King and most powerful veteran army.

    Andre Osorio defends Silves from several small Moorish invasions over the next several years, easily destroying the enemy recon armies.

    Gilís sister Maria marries a nondescript Portuguese nobleman, Alberto Leal, in 1254. Neither she nor he are ecstatic about the match, but they go along easily in order to appease Mariaís assertive brothers Gil and Pero.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Only a few short months later, Mariaís brothers find themselves in a key battle against the hated Berenguel de Siguenza.

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    Berenguel and his huge army had besieged Cordoba in the spring of 1254. Pero rushed from Seville with all the troops he could muster, and Gil hastily returned from Gibraltar to help the beleaguered city.

    The battle begins late in the day on a forested slope. As Gilís army holds the Aragonese lines, Pero and the Cordoba garrison begin to envelop them on both sides.

    Gil and his hundred or so knights slip behind Berenguelís lines and charge them in the rear, catching the enemy general completely by surprise.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The Portuguese cavalry devastate the Aragonese infantry, and Berenguel is caught in the center of the chaos and killed.

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    Though Portugal sustains moderate casualties, the battle is a huge success. Berenguel is killed, the Aragonese army utterly destroyed. Portugal is again free of Moorish and Aragonese enemies, and the unprovoked attack has begun to slowly erode Aragonís standing with the Pope.

    However, the Khwarezmian Shah takes this opportunity to invoke a jihad against the Portuguese capital of Toledo. Pressed ferociously by the invading Mongols, the Khwarezmians are desperate for new lands. Though Portugal is literally a world away, that distance also makes it an excellent location to set up colonies that will likely not have to deal with the Mongol invaders. It is a huge risk, as the Moors are in no position to help, and the Fatimids are busy dealing with the Sicilians in Africa. Still, if the Fatimids join the jihad, Portugal will be inundated with enemies.

    In the meantime, Celestino and the exiled Gaspar reach the last Moorish city of Marrakesh, far to the south. As they prepare to besiege the city, hoping to destroy the Moorish threat once and for all, a large Aragonese army arrives.

    The Aragonese have forged a strong alliance with the weakened Moorish Caliphate, using them as a pretext to wage war against Portugal. Celestino and Gaspar besiege the city anyway, hoping the Aragonese will not aid their allies.

    But the Aragonese captain does aid the Moors. The Aragonese join in for two main reasons: first, they would much rather have a weakened and subservient ally (the Moors) to their southwest than a determined and belligerent enemy (Portugal); and second, the Aragonese Pope gives his blessing to the Aragonese to defend their Muslim ally. Normally, choosing to defend Muslims against Christians would be considered a treachery against the Church, but the Aragonese Pope is more than willing to bend the rules for his countrymen. Thus, not only do Celestino and Gaspar have to fight a huge coordinated enemy, but Portugalís standing with the Pope suffers considerably.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Celestino is hardly a strategic or tactical genius. He is a survivor, but not much of a leader. Gaspar, on the other hand, has an excellent military mind. Though Celestino is technically the leader of the Portuguese army, it is Gaspar who comes up with the real plan.

    Gaspar creates the main battle plan. The goal is to quickly assault the city walls, using siege towers, ladders, and rams to enter the city and destroy the Moorish defenses before Aragonís army can even join in.

    As the Portuguese troops move forward, one siege tower is hit with fire from the ballista towers and quickly burns to the ground.

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    Celestino urges the other siege tower forward quickly, but it too is struck with fire arrows mere feet from the wall and also burns to ash.

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    Several dozen Portuguese troops scale the walls with ladders, but the bulk of the army must fight through the gate to reach the defenders.

    Celestino, Gaspar and a few hundred javelinmen and men-at-arms turn to face the Aragonese army racing toward their flanks.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The main Portuguese force enters the city and begins to slowly fight through Moorish defenders, trying to reach the city square. Celestino and Gasparís force, with nearly a hundred mounted knights (including 31 elite Knights of Santiago), gradually surround and destroy the entire force of Aragonese reinforcements.

    Celestino and Gaspar and the few remaining infantry then rush inside to support the main Portuguese invading army. By then, nearly the entire Portuguese infantry is wiped out, leaving only a few hundred archers and a few dozen knights to try to capture the city.

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    Celestino and Gaspar fight their way to the city center as their archers and javelinmen are decimated and routed. Soon, the two Portuguese nobles find themselves trapped, cut off from retreat by Moors that survived the Portuguese ladder assault on the walls. The two men turn their houses one way and then the other, desperately seeking a way out of the city, the noose tightening around them all the while.

    Seeing no other choice, Gaspar convinces Celestino to make a desperate charge against the Moors to their rear.

    The two charge into the enemy, throwing several into the air, and scattering the lightly armored Muslims. Then, the two nobles continue their charge straight through to the other side, galloping quickly through the ruined gate, leaving the city behind.

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    The Portuguese are routed, sent fleeing with their tail between their legs.

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    Celestino and Gaspar barely escape with their lives, and with no reinforcements, they are forced to back onto their ships. Celestino is shamed by the debacle, but Gaspar takes some pride in having destroyed the Aragonese army.

    Still, Marrakesh remains in Muslim hands, and the Pope is not pleased.

  6. #126

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/21: Chapter 24)

    Chapter 25: The End of an Empire

    Celestino and Gaspar sail back to Portuguese waters with only a few survivors from the failed assault on Marrakesh. Celestino, suffering from scurvy and desperate to remain in Portugal after years trapped in English territory and fighting in Africa, chooses to remain in southern Portugal. He is tasked with helping Pero defend against Aragonese and Moorish invasions.

    Gaspar, prohibited from returning to Portugual, remains on a lone ship 10 miles off the coast of Gibraltar as the rest of the fleet docks in the port.

    Gil takes his large army of veterans and boards the fleet, meeting up with Gaspar. Because King Marcio doesnít trust Gaspar, the exiled nobleman is always under the command of a senior Portuguese general. Now that Celestino has returned to dry land, Gil takes up the mantle of invading Marrakesh and drags Gaspar along with him. By 1257, the two and their army have again reached Marrakesh by sea.

    That same year, the Republic of Genoa is destroyed by Aragon. A vassal of England, and a one-time thorn in the side of the Papal States, the death of Genoa is felt throughout the Mediterranean. Aragon has catapulted itself to a major regional power while also forcing it into a perpetual battle with England.

    Though the Pope initially blamed Portugal for war with Aragon, continued Aragonese forays into English, Genoese, and Portuguese lands finally results in the Aragonese Kingís excommunication in 1258.

    King Marcio immediately takes the majority of his army out of Valencia and heads north. Deep in enemy territory, Marcioís army is surprised and surrounded by four Aragonese armies.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Cut off from any escape route, the Portuguese king fights a series of night battles designed to clear a path back toward Valencia.

    Marcioís invasion was only a diversion intended to distract Aragon with the temptation of capturing their hated enemyís king. The diversion works, as Velasco de Benavides is able to besiege an almost entirely undefended Pamplona far to the west. With continued war against Portugal to the south and England to the north, Aragon is unable to properly defend all of their castles.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The Aragonese heir is trapped inside the castle with a pitifully small garrison. Velasco sends his men steadily forward, wary of any tricks.

    The Portuguese feudal knights use their siege towers to assault the defenders on the walls.

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    The fight on the walls is desperate and bloody, and the defenders are able to initially hold off the Portuguese knights.

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    Eventually, though, the Portuguese flood into the city through several different gates. Forced to fight through three rings of walls, the assault is exceedingly slow. Still, the Portuguese troops eventually corner and kill the Aragonese Prince Pero.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    With this victory, the Kingdom of Aragon has lost a key castle, the pivot of their defense against the English. With a large army of veteran troops, Velasco will have little trouble defending it against all but the most determined assaults. The victory also secures the northern Portuguese cities of Burgos and Leon against any land invasions, and with their close allies England to the north, there is little chance of any naval invasions.

    This is the first successful Portuguese assault on any city or castle since Marcioís abbreviated Crusade in Norway almost 30 years earlier, and it is the first real expansion of Portuguese territory since Guilhermeís capture of Toledo in 1218.

    While the king and Velasco slice deep into Aragonese territory, Gil does the same to the Moors, making yet another attempt at assaulting Marrakesh in 1259.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Caliph Safwan the Honourable has only a modest garrison, but Aragonese reinforcements once again stand ready to help with the defense.

    Unlike Celestino, Gil is a veteran strategist and tactician, and he and Gaspar come up with a plan to invade the city at night. This way, the Aragonese reinforcements will be unable to support the Moors in time.

    Portuguese troops pour onto the walls via siege tower and ladder, and rams smash into the gates.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The Portuguese eventually push into the city for the third time, attempting to finally wrest control from the Moors. Though Gaspar is afflicted with scurvy from his near-constant sea travels, he and Gil both charge forward at the enemy Caliph.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The enemy leader stands his ground and fights with every ounce of strength and determination he can muster. Eventually, though, he is squeezed between Gilís and Gasparís cavalry. Unable to properly charge, his horsemen fall one by one. Finally, the noble leader of the Moors is killed by a devastating blow from Gasparís sword.

    Safwanís heir, Taj Amir Hasbat is also killed, and the battleís outcome is nearly inevitable. It takes nearly six hours, but every last Moorish soldier is killed or captured, and all the prisoners are executed.

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    Tactically, the battle is a rather ordinary victory. But it is a huge strategic success. With the capture of Marrakesh, the Moors are destroyed. It has taken nearly 160 years, but it is the Portuguese who are responsible for evicting the Moors from Iberia and eventually destroying them.

    Just as importantly, Aragonís African colonies, thus far unthreatened by any real attacks, are finally opened to invasion by Portugal from both the north and south. With their homelands pressed by England and Portugal, and their African colonies pressed by Portugal and Sicilyís colonies in Africa, the excommunicated Kingdom of Aragon must gird itself for massive attacks from all sides.

  7. #127
    hull19's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/24: Chapter 25)

    wow....!

    cpould we get a world map of the end of this chapter? I want to see how aragon is turning up.. and england
    SS 6.4, Eras 2.3, DotS Project
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  8. #128
    Concrete's Avatar Semisalis
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    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/24: Chapter 25)

    Wow indeed, nice couple of updates, the Jihad should prove quite interesting.


  9. #129

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/24: Chapter 25)

    Thanks for the comments. I'll do some world pics in the next one. The Jihad has started to arrive, and it sucks. It will make things tough, which is good.

  10. #130

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/24: Chapter 25)

    Great set of updates! Glad to see this still going.

    I wanted to let you and the rest of your readers know that this AAR has been reviewed in the latest The Critic's Quill. Specifically, this part.

    Please head on over there and take a look!
    Read the review of I am Skantarios! in the Critic's Quill here.

  11. #131

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/24: Chapter 25)

    Skantarios, thanks for the review! I'm sorry I haven't updated this recently, but with the holidays and our college quarter just starting up (I teach English), I've been swamped. I'm hoping to get a new chapter up this weekend.

  12. #132
    dezikeizer's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/24: Chapter 25)

    Great updates and great aar. You've certainly had a slugfest of a campaign and it looks like it'll be that way for a while yet. Keep up the great work. +rep

  13. #133

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 12/24: Chapter 25)

    Chapter 26: The War in Africa

    [One quick note: I’ve incorporated some of Skantarios’ constructive criticism in his review in the Critic’s Quill. I’ve cropped the army cards and map out of the battle photos as a way to create more immersion, and I’ve lowered the jpeg compression from 100% to 50%. I’ll continue using spoiler tags for the photos, as I did in the last chapter. I’d like to know from readers whether any of these three changes make the AAR better, worse, or the same. Post ideas in the comments, if you would.]

    After the victory at Marrakesh, Portugal has passed the first of three key tests: 1) eliminating their rivals, the Moors; 2) withstanding the Jihad against Toledo; and 3) crippling Aragon while they remain excommunicated.

    Flush with excitement about the victory in Africa, King Marcio begins preparing for the second of the above tests. Though his own army is large and full of veteran troops, the King knows he will need many more troops in order to defend against the Jihad. To that end, the King surveys the troop rolls.

    With the constant wars, too many castles (and too few tax-producing cities), and few nearby trading partners, the Portuguese treasury is pinched, leaving only enough money for two to three full field armies. With the King’s army and Pero’s army north of Marrakesh, that leaves little money to pay for recruiting and supplying another army. Therefore, the King must rely on troops already available in nearby castles.



    Pamplona has a large army, but the castle is the linchpin of the war against Aragon, linking English and Portuguese territories west of the Pyrenees. Plus, the castle was only recently taken and is a prime target for Aragonese retaliation.


    Toledo has its own relatively large army and is far from the front lines against Aragon but needs all the troops it can hold in order to defend against the Muslim Jihad.


    That leaves only Valencia. The castle on the eastern coast is a key defense against Aragon, but with cannon towers and a port on the Mediterranean that allows for easy reinforcing by sea, troops will have to come from here.


    King Marcio sends orders to remove nearly the entire garrison. Unfortunately, there is no general to lead them, so the 1000+ man army is commanded by an inexperienced captain. Captain Marcio has to choose between the northern route and the southern route to reach the King for whom he was named.


    The southern route would take nearly half a year, as they would have to march southwest around the edge of the Sistema Iberico mountain range, then march north through the gap to the King’s position between Pamplona and Zaragoza. By then, the King might already be under siege by the Jihading armies.


    The northern route would take only a few months if they hurried. It would be a straight march westward, keeping the northern edge of the Sistema Iberico to their left. However, it would bring the reinforcing army through the southern edge of Aragonese territory, and putting them at risk of an attack.


    King Marcio would have chosen the safer southern route, noting that the longer route would bring them close to Toledo, where they could help defend the capital. The King would be confident in his ability to defeat or at least delay the Jihading armies until then, with the possibility of retreating to Pamplona if need be.


    Captain Marcio chooses the riskier northern route, and it will cost him his life.


    The reinforcements marched quickly past Zaragoza, avoiding Aragon’s armies. But as they near Portuguese territory, a few days march from the King’s army, they are blocked by a Jihading army under the command of Abu Muhammad al-Fihri. Though hardly a genius, al-Fihri is capable enough, having successfully marched his army the length of the Mediterranean in less than 10 years. Captain Marcio must either attack or retreat to Valencia.



    Again, he makes the wrong choice.



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Captain Marcio has a very capable army, filled with professional, though inexperienced soldiers. Al-Fihri’s army is filled with veteran, passionate warriors, and they are able to defend on a hill. Captain Marcio sends his army steadily forward, but they are continually harassed by Muslim horse archers. Having dealt only with jinettes, the Portuguese troops have no idea how to handle mounted archers. The Feudal Knights seek to charge them, but are too slow to catch up to them, and are peppered by arrows the entire way. Portuguese archers turn and try to shoot the horse archers, but they are too nimble and too spread out.


    The rest of the Fatimid army fires arrows from high up on the hill, devastating the Portuguese infantry. Finally, the Muslim infantry rush down the hill, smashing the Portuguese infantry. Captain Marcio and his light men-at-arms are some of the first to die.


    With no leadership, the entire Portuguese army begins to fold. The Feudal Knights are the last to go, run down and destroyed by the enemy cavalry.



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    The entire reinforcing army is destroyed, all prisoners executed. About 300 Fatimids are killed, but it is not a worthwhile trade. Valencia is virtually defenseless, there are no reinforcements for the King, and there are an unknown number of Jihading armies still coming from the east.

    In the south, things look equally dire. Gil and Gaspar remain in Marrakesh, rebuilding the city and restoring control over the riotous populace.


    Gil’s brother, Pero, has been marching south with a large army from Seville. Having made it across the strait of Gibraltar, Pero’s army continues south with plans to link up with Gil to receive further orders.


    Before they can make it, they are beset by two huge Aragonese armies, with a third lurking nearby.

    Though there might be a chance at retreating, Pero relishes every fight, even one with terrible odds, outnumbered nearly two and a half to one. As his advisors try to encourage him to pull back, Pero snaps the reins on his horse and orders the army to set up the defense on the hill. “We will kill these heathen scum! I will break their backs and watch them squirm like fish. To the hill!”





    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    One side of the hill has a steep rise, but the other has a more gentle slope. With enemies coming from both sides, it will be very difficult to hold it.



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Fortunately, the closest enemies are forced to climb the steeper side, allowing Pero and his army to focus on them first. Portuguese jinettes circle the enemy to pepper their knights with javelins while Portuguese archers fire their arrows directly downhill, mere feet above their own men’s heads. The Aragonese ranks are thinned, but undaunted. They rush uphill to engage.

    As they do, Pero orders the archers to turn around and begin firing at the second army coming up behind them. Having held his knights in reserve, Pero has only the cavalry and archers to face the second army. He must hope his infantry can defeat the first army and then quickly turn and engage the second.



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    But the Portuguese infantry cannot make short work of the first army. Mired in difficult fights on the northern rise, Pero’s infantry will be no help on the southern slope.

    Pero orders his archers to hold their ground, convinced they can at least delay the second army. He is sure that the bulk of his army can return after dismissing the northern army. In the meantime, Pero orders his hundred or so knights to circle back around the southern army and strike their flanks. This they do, charging uphill to do so, and crashing right into the southern army’s rear as they fight the archers.



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Pero himself charges to protect his wavering archers. Crushed between Pero and the archers on the uphill side, and the knights on the downhill side, some of the Aragonese infantry begin to rout.

    At the same time, the Portuguese infantry on the northern side begin to break some of the northern Aragonese infantry. Several dozen men race southward to help Pero and his knights and archers.

    Pero disengages and charges over the top of the hill, swinging to his left to hit some of the strongest Aragonese units in their flank, hoping to break the northern army for good.



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Hundreds of jinettes, now out of javelins, charge into the northern infantry. After nearly an hour of fighting, and now assaulted on all sides by cavalry, the northern army does finally break. Jinettes chase down and capture hundreds of fleeing soldiers.

    Still, the southern Aragonese army remains and has decimated the archers and the knights. Pero and the bulk of the infantry race back over the top of the slope and charge directly downhill into the enemy. Though both sides are exhausted, only the Portuguese have a leader with Pero’s force of will and determination. Seeing their leader (and second in line for the throne, after Gil) risking his life in the thick of the battle urges the men onward. They grind down the enemy, the jinettes return to charge them, and the battle is won.



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    It is a heroic victory, one of the most decisive in the history of Portugal. It ranks next to some of Portugal’s most important victories: Sebastiao’s defense of Oporto against the Moors in 1124; King Afonso’s and Salvador’s defeat of Siraj ibn Aid in 1147; Marcio the Mean’s defense of Oporto against Leůn in 1178; King Guilherme’s, Diogo’s, and Estevao’s assault on Toledo in 1218; and Marcio’s victory over Miguel in 1242.

    1200 enemy soldiers killed, another 1000 captured. Pero offers to ransom the prisoners for more than 5000 florins, but Aragon refuses and the captives are executed.

    Pero’s victory gives King Marcio some breathing room in the south, at least. With Marrakesh taken and Pero free to roam Africa, Aragon will be unable to exert any pressure across Gibraltar. That means that all troops in central and northern Portugal are freed up to help defend Toledo.

  14. #134
    dezikeizer's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 1/16: Chapter 26)

    Great update as always, and yes, the changes helped. You're still in a difficult spot with how few armies you have and that disaster, but knowing your record, you'll pull through. Keep up the great work.

  15. #135

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 1/16: Chapter 26)

    Thanks, dezikeizer. Things are definitely tricky. When you think about it, I've had almost no expansion since the victories over Leon in 1218. That's almost 50 years. In that time, I've taken Pamplona and Marrakesh (and only after like three failed attempts) and that's all. It's been pretty stagnant, really.

    I like that things have been hard. As much as I love the style of some of the other AARs, most of them just never lose. A small battle here or there, and that's it. And the battles they win, they have almost zero casualties, even when assaulting castles. I'm most proud of the fact that I've had major setbacks from time to time, mostly due to my house rules I think.

    Anyway, thanks to any of the readers for keeping up with this. The next chapter is basically done, and another after that is almost done, so there should be some new updates or two over the next week or so. I think that will bring us to almost 1270. Cannons are still a ways off (at least 50 years) and handgunners are more like 100, but I'm looking forward to some of those kinds of changes. You cannot imagine how sick I am of lusitanian javelinmen! I've been using them as a main core of my armies for 170 years!

    Edit: I forgot to do it in this chapter, but I will try very hard to remember to get a picture of the world map in one of the upcoming ones. I may also give a picture (no names or dates, unfortunately) of the family tree, since it has been awhile.

  16. #136

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 1/16: Chapter 26)

    Chapter 27: Holding the Wall

    In 1264, after Pero’s heroic victory in Africa, the extended royal family increases. Velasco’s son Rui Meira comes of age in Toledo.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Intelligent and loyal, Rui has the makings of a fine military leader. Toledo’s governor, Alberto Leal, immediately sends Rui to the northern castle of Burgos so that the young man will not be caught up in the Jihad against the beleaguered capital city.

    Duarte Brito, Celestino’s son, comes of age in Cordoba, the same year that Celestino’s wife, Brigida, has another son, named Lopo Lopes.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Like his cousin Rui, Duarte is well-liked, but he is much more of an administrator than a military leader.

    King Marcio wants to continue attacking Aragon to take advantage of their excommunication; he knows that they are very likely to be reconciled when the aging pope dies. However, Toledo is in dire straits, as two huge Jihading Fatimid armies are nearly to the capital.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The King begins a forced march southwest back toward Toledo, hoping to arrive in time to save the capital. In the meantime, Gil and his brother Pero merge their armies and move north into Aragonese territory near the African city of Fes.

    Pero is concerned about leaving Gaspar alone in Marrakesh, but Gil is confident that the exiled general will pose no problems. Gaspar is 46, with no children. He has little to gain by stirring up trouble, and King Marcio is unlikely to be merciful with him a second time. Gil sees a governorship in the distant African city as appropriate punishment.

    The next year, the Pope unexpectedly calls a Crusade against the Aragonese city of Toulouse! King Marcio is surprised that the Pope has finally punished Aragon after years of aggression against Portugal, England, and Genoa (which is now destroyed).

    King Marcio has little time to ponder the ramifications, though, as his army has quickly marched to meet the invading Fatimid armies. One of the Jihading armies has besieged Toledo. The other is attacked by Marcio.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    The Portuguese King faces off against the Fatimid commander who destroyed Valencia’s reinforcements, Abu Muhammad al-Fihri.

    Marcio sends the feudal knights on his right flank far out to wheel around on the enemy mamluk archers, hoping to take them out of the fight quickly.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    However, al-Fihri is no fool, having learned from his battle against Captain Marcio. Rather than pull the mamluks back away from the knights (thus exposing his army’s flank to a charge) or have the mamluks set up to fire at the knights (which might eventually cause some casualties but would leave the core of the army without cavalry support), al-Fihri sends two of the mamluk units straight forward.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    They skirt the edge of the Portuguese infantry and slam straight into the Portuguese archers. Reminiscent of Pero’s charge, King Marcio personally charges the mamluks to protect the archers.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Marcio and his bodyguards inflict heavy casualties, just as the feudal knights complete their encirclement and charge into the same spot.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Heavily armored Khwarezmian mercenary cavalry swamp the Portuguese archers on the left flank.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    It is Portugal’s first real encounter with these monsters. Marcio had heard tales at court about these devastating horsemen. Covered in heavy metal armor, each horse is an elite, nearly unstoppable force.

    On the opposite side of the line, the King and the feudal knights surround al-Fihri, determined to kill him. Al-Fihri is slashed and stabbed dozens of times. His heavy armor is little protection as blood gushes from major wounds on his face.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    It is no surprise when al-Fihri eventually falls under the weight of more than 40 knights.

    With al-Fihri dead, Marcio and his knights turn and charge into the side of the Fatimid infantry line, scattering them. The Khwarezmian mercenaries are not inclined to stick around, and the entire enemy army is destroyed.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    It is a hard fought victory: 700 Fatimids dead, 500 Portuguese dead. With yet another Fatimid army to fight, it may have been too steep a price for Marcio to pay.

    With surprising timing, an Aragonese princess arrives at the King’s camp, asking to speak with him in private. Suspicious of her motive, Marcio demands that she speak in front of his men. “If you have something to offer, I’m sure my men would like to partake of it as well!” The King grins as his men roar with laughter. The princess blushes.

    “S-sire—I speak for my father, the king.”

    Marcio’s mirth evaporates in an instant. “Girl, there is only one King here! I am the King. Not ‘a king,’ not ‘one king,’ THE King! I care not what your father calls himself in private.”

    This time, the red in the princess’ cheeks was from anger, not embarrassment. “King Marcio, my father wishes to offer a ceasefire. Let us end this senseless war between our peoples.”

    With that, Marcio’s mirth returns. “Ha! Yes, this senseless war. Was it so senseless when your father invaded my lands? Was it so senseless when he sided with the Muslims against my Christian soldiers? Was it so senseless when he ignored the Pope’s orders? Or is just senseless now that he is losing, Crusaded by his own beloved Pope?

    “No. The Pope is against you, England is against you, and we are against you. Soon the whole world will be against you. Tell your father that his time on this earth as a man will soon be ending, let alone as a ‘king.’

    “Leave here now—while your father still has a daughter.”

    Only a few weeks later, the Pope dies. Marcio assumes that Aragon will soon be reconciled. However, during the Papal elections, a Portuguese Pope is elected! And Pope Lourenco XIV is not inclined to reconcile Aragon just yet. Aragon remains excommunicated with a Crusade still in effect.

    However, Toledo is still besieged, Aragon is still very strong in Africa, and King Marcio knows that somewhere in the shadows of Europe, Jihading Khwarezmian armies are coming.

  17. #137
    Karnage's Avatar Centenarius
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    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 1/20: Chapter 27)

    You've gone a long way since the last time I saw your AAR. Great story my friend. + rep
    My work in progress AAR, come and have look.

    L'…tat 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

  18. #138

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 1/20: Chapter 27)

    Thanks, Karnage, I appreciate it. Skantarios' review helped a lot.

    I like your AAR, so maybe you can help answer a question. On my laptop (which is 1366x768 pixels), pictures from FRAPS look very good, even with graphics a little off the highest. Then, I scale them to 850 with GIMP and they still look good. Then, I export them at 50% compression and upload them using imageshack. Then, by the time they are in the AAR update, I feel like they look crappy.

    Is that from the 50% compression? Even when I used 100% compression, the pics didn't look nearly as good on my laptop. Is it from imageshack? Are the jpegs being re-compressed there, leading to even lower quality? Or is it just because the pictures are (now) much smaller than they were at first on my laptop? Any solutions? Thanks in advance.

  19. #139

    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 1/20: Chapter 27)

    I've wondered at that a bit as well- I ended up just not compressing at all and it is as close as I can make it though even on the same computer when I compare the real screen to the image on photobucket there appears some deterioration so I'd guess most of the photo servers use some sort of compression as well.

    Interesting campaign. Portugal is one of my favorite factions along with Genoa, Kiev, Turks, Cumans, CS, and Lithuania.

  20. #140
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: [SS 6.3 AAR] The Rise of Portugal (Updated 1/20: Chapter 27)

    On the pictures: my originals are about 400-500k (I use Photoshop but that should not be a difference). Then Imageshack resizes them during the upload. For a long time I used the 640px wide resize as it was for "message boards". They come out very small (less than 100k) and kind of not great. In the latest update I switched to 800px wide resize, and that looks much better, producing a ~300k size picture.

    So yes, it is Imageshack compressing which takes away a lot of the detail during upload.

    And by the way, still great AAR!

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