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Thread: Radzeer's Quill

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    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Radzeer's Quill


    Welcome to the collection of my writings! Kudos to Mega for the idea and for leading by example. The next post has the links and listing of my writings at TWC. If you think about writing, I'd encourage you to try your skills. This is a great community with plenty of opportunities and lots of support for writers.

    In case you wonder about the picture above, it is from the
    Illuminated Chronicle (Képes Krónika in Hungarian), a quite famous account of early Hungarian history. It was written in Latin, but has now been digitized and you can read (or listen to) it in English too.
    ~
    Last edited by Radzeer; March 01, 2011 at 01:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    The Chronicle of a Hungarian Freeman


    The first AAR I have written, documenting the story of a freeman soldier, his rise in ranks and his epic journey to the Holy Land. I really enjoyed working on this story, and learning the art of AARtistry. It has won MAARC XXIV, and was reviewed in the Critics' Quill by la coupe est pleine who did an excellent job.


    Primus Inter Pares - The Kievan Rus


    My second AAR, which was more extensive and focused on the Kievan lands. It revolved around the family of the Grand Prince, but had a "story inside the story" component where you could read the adventures of three brothers caught up in the expansion of the Rus. Thokran did a great review of the story in the Critics' Quill. I was working on this for more than a year, and then some more to write an extensive behind the scenes part too.


    The Wolf Among Dogs - The Latin Empire


    My current project about a forgotten kingdom. A lot of intrigue between the three major noble houses of the Latin Empire, and a young knight's adventures in Frankish Greece and the Holy Land.


    Tale of the Week and Scriptorium entries Invasion
    My TotW Christmas story. It did not win, but I had great fun writing it.
    Darkness
    Another TotW loss, but my idea here was to write an entry which is only a dialog with no additional character description.
    Inspiration
    A short piece about a muse taken from real life.
    This is...
    A tribute to Harry Harrison and the Technicolor Time Machine. My first ever TotW win!

    Artistic representation

    My entry to the Scriptorium Winter Writing Competition. It received the Librarian's Choice Award, which was a great honor for me. It was featured and reviewed by Hader in the April 2012 Editorial. Later, robinzx gave it a more detailed and very professional review in the Critic's Quill. The story is in the spoiler below.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Artistic representation

    It was early morning. The bookstore was not yet open, but the lights were on and people were busy inside. A shipment of new books has arrived the night before and had to be neatly arranged on the shelves before the customers arrive. But there was something else inside that building. An invisible, lost spirit was drifting back and forth after a long journey. Then it found something.


    I felt a bit dizzy first. What a strange place... Lights were everywhere, and books with markings. I looked around. To my left, there was some strange, dragon-like animal.
    Dinosaurs, said the marking. I wondered what that would be. To my right, a portrait of a man in battle gear. Memoirs of a quarterback... Hm, possibly a great general, but his armor was not familiar. Then I realized that I had a marking too... Ronins. It was a little insulting. I am not proud of that.

    I was a ronin. I remembered charging the enemy lines, hoping to fight brave and erase the shame upon me. Yes, the shame for not committing seppuku when the head of my clan was ordered to... But I did not want my family to die, so I sent them away and became a ronin. At Sekigahara, I had fought like a lion, killed several men... and I didn't remember the rest.


    When I recognized that I have a new life, nothing was familiar. Also, I could not move or speak. But I could still see, hear and think. And remember, which was most unusual. I spent a few hours looking around, trying to read the markings and observe the people. Everything was strange but I felt peace. This new life certainly seemed more tranquil than my previous one...


    Suddenly I moved. Rather, I was picked up. I could hardly see who it was, except that it was a woman. She held me gently, her hand was warm and her skin was fair. I could catch a glimpse of her summer dress, but I have not seen her face. She must have been beautiful, I thought.


    She put me down on some flat surface. "Are you interested in medieval Japan, miss?" asked a polite but indifferent voice.


    "A little. But this is going to be a present. Could you please wrap it?" This voice was like that of angels, enchanted and playful.


    "Certainly, miss." And I was covered with something and lost all my senses for days. It was similar to being asleep without dreams. When it happened to me for the first time it was frightening, but then I learned to use it for meditation.


    When I regained my senses, I saw an old man. He had glasses and a neatly trimmed beard, some wrinkles but not too many. There was wisdom and joy in his eyes. "This is great, thank you!" he said looking at me. Then he added something. "And this time they finally picked the right art for the cover. This warrior looks quite authentic."


    I was not sure whether I should take that as an insult or as a compliment. I
    was authentic.

    "So how did you know that I wanted to buy this?"


    "Oh, I remembered you mentioning this a few weeks ago. I was just hoping that nobody buys this for you before I do." This was the voice of that woman who captured my heart. But I still could not see her face.


    "You know me too well."


    "Of course I know you." Her voice was full of love. "Happy birthday, Dad! Come, and let's see if I could find your taste in cake too." And in a minute, they were gone.


    Over the next weeks I learned that the old man is a teacher of some sort. There were many books on his shelf, mostly about Japan but some were on Korea, China or military history in general. There were also a few that I could not figure out. The strangest among those was a book with the marking
    Shogun. I expected to see Tokugawa Ieyasu on the cover, as that would have meant that he won the battle of Sekigahara and became the shogun. But to my great surprise the two figures on the cover were a European man and a Japanese woman. It was impossible for either of them to become the shogun, so that was the most mysterious book I have ever seen.

    The days have gone slowly and there was nothing for me to do. I tried to put together pieces of this world to understand where I am, but I only had some fragments of conversations, the occasional glimpse at the outside world when I was placed by the window, and the markings on other books I could see. I realized that this was not Japan, but that was all I could conclude, so mostly I just waited patiently for my time to pass. Sometimes I wondered how my actions in this life would be judged, as I was not able to do anything. I convinced myself that if I am patient then I would eventually reborn as somebody better. I had a lot of time to think, and I only regretted not seeing my family again. I hoped that they could live a long and peaceful life.


    One day I heard a longer conversation. I was always fascinated how the old man could speak into a small device and hear somebody through it too. "Yes, I have the tickets... I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time. Just think about it: I have studied this country, but never been there... I think the board was very generous to support this trip... No, my health is fine. Talk to my doctor if you won't believe it... Yes, I know this is a long flight. Don't worry, I will be fine. I'll take a few books to read... Of course I will call you when I arrive... I love you too."


    And this was how I made it back to Japan.


    To my disappointment, the setting was hardly more familiar. The sky was the same and so was the air and some of the buildings, but everything else had changed. My initial joy turned into sadness. I realized that I truly had no idea what happened over the many years while my spirit drifted in the void. And then came the day which changed everything.


    The old man went to visit somebody. As we were on the train, a mother and her daughter sat down right next to him. The daughter was about seven or eight years old and seemed fascinated with everything around her. Soon she and the old man started to chat. A few minutes later she asked something.


    "May I see that book, please?"


    "Certainly," said the old man and I found myself in the hands of a child.


    "Is this man on the cover a ronin?" she asked.


    "Yes, although this is just an artistic representation," he responded. I wish I could have frowned.


    "Very nice," she declared. "He seems brave. The ronins were brave, right?


    I liked this child. And as she lifted me to see the cover better, I could also see her face which seemed strangely familiar. There was something in her eyes I have not seen a long time ago.


    "Yes, they were brave," said the old man continuing the conversation. "For many, courage was the last thing they had."


    "Have they fought in the battle of Sekigahara?"


    The old man was surprised. And I was too.


    "I am sorry, sir," said her mother who was silent until now. "I hope she does not bother you."


    "No, not at all. I just wonder how she knows about Sekigahara. I assume they learn about it in school."


    "Yes, but she knows more than that. We have a family legend about Sekigahara."


    "It is told in our family that my great-great-great-great grandfather was in that battle on Tokugawa Ieyasu's side," said the girl proudly. "He fought honorably and died that day. As a reward, the Shogun restored the honor of his family, giving back their samurai rank."


    If I could open my eyes wide I would have done that. Was this possible? Or was it just my imagination playing tricks on me? Her eyes were familiar, but many thousands had fought in that battle and hundreds must have been rewarded in some way. Maybe I just wanted to find some relation where there was none. But I felt that there was something in how this child looked at me, as if we had an invisible connection across time. I felt tranquility and happiness.

    My sacrifice was not in vain, and I was rewarded.

    Suddenly the train stopped. Everybody looked up. A whistle was blown, and a man came running. "Everybody, please leave the train immediately!" he shouted. "There is a fire! Everybody out!"


    There was a great confusion, as there was smoke in the car already. Some coughed and others cried as all hurried toward the doors. All except me. I was left there on the seat but I could see the little girl looking back from the door. She extended her hand and pointed at me, but her mother held her firmly and in the next moment they were gone.


    The train was empty.


    There was smoke and I felt the heat. Then I saw the flames too, crawling closer with each passing second. I had no fear. A life ends, I perish in the flames and will reborn again. It was a good life, and I had no regrets.


    Well, maybe one. I really wished to hear again the voice and finally see the face of that woman who was like an angel and first held me in her arms when I woke up to be born in this now passing life.


    The flames engulfed the train, slowly swallowing everything inside. But right before they reached the book with the picture of a ronin on the cover, an invisible spirit broke free and started to drift again across time and space.



    Critic's Quill reviews and articles Here you can find the reviews and articles I wrote for the Critic's Quill. The CQ has a lot of high quality pieces, so I encourage everybody to browse its volumes.

    AAR and other fiction reviews
    An Eastern Jewel in a Western World: Chronicles of a French Miserable
    The Baltic Terror
    The Legacy of Skantarios
    Pontos Rising
    Heimskringla - A tale of Norway's rise

    BAARC reviews in CQ 27 (the two silver medalist)
    A Light In The Darkness: Tales of the Bosporan Kings
    Pagan Vengeance
    Kaiser's Crusade
    Good Intentions
    Takeda - A Shogun 2 AAR

    The Price of an Empire
    The Crimson Dragon of Britain
    In the Holy Lands

    Articles
    Anything But a Shameful Display: The Early AARtistry of Total War Shogun 2
    TATW AARtistry: One Does Not Simply Write Like Tolkien
    From the Shire across Lothlorien to the Westfold – recent TATW AARs
    And they lived happily ever after (at least some of them) - Ending an AAR
    Where Few Men Have Gone Before: Female Characters in AARs


    Video trailers
    After my first AAR I got this idea of making low-key, simple video trailers, using still images from my story. It was a lot of fun, and I tried to make them as if they were real trailers.









    Other random pieces If you want to know a little bit more about me, read my CQ interview by Beer Money.

    You can find some of the memorable battles from my Hungarian AAR here

    ~
    Last edited by Radzeer; June 07, 2013 at 11:57 PM. Reason: constantly updating...

  3. #3
    Mega Tortas de Bodemloze's Avatar Divide & Conquer Ver 3
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    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Outstanding...can't wait to go through this....... +Rep

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    Boustrophedon's Avatar Grote Smurf
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    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Great idea and glad to see your work brought together in a single place I've enjoyed your AAR's very much so far! +rep

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    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Quote Originally Posted by Mega Tortas de Bodemloze View Post
    Outstanding...can't wait to go through this....... +Rep
    Quote Originally Posted by Boustrophedon View Post
    Great idea and glad to see your work brought together in a single place I've enjoyed your AAR's very much so far! +rep
    Thank you both very much! I'm in a quite busy period in my work, so my TWC writing time barely covers my Kievan AAR and Quill reviews, but I hope that I can get back to the TotW scene soon.

  6. #6
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Memorable battles from The Chronicle of a Hungarian Freeman
    The Crusade against Vilnius (Hungary vs. Lithuania) is two battles told in one setting. My AAR protagonist did not participate, but received an eyewitness account written by a monk. I actually had a lot of fun writing it up that way.
    Crusade against Vilnius

    Written by the humble Brother Maynard of Esztergom, as told by Esquire Mikán, infantry captain of Álmos the Chivalrous, with the help of Esquire Andreas, commander of our honorable King István.

    When after a long journey in the northern wilderness our Lord’s army has arrived to Vilnius, we saw that other nations have also answered the call from His Holiness. The Germans were already besieging the castle, while Norwegian and Danish troops were bringing the Lord’s message to the countryside.



    A few days later the pagans have defeated the Germans who were too confident and thus had been punished by God. Lord Álmos bravely took their place and ordered mighty siege engines to be constructed. But soon a large pagan army led by the terrible Tautvilas of Riga, the enemy of the True Faith appeared and attacked our soldiers.



    The pagan advance guard approached our lines under the cover of the fog shouting in some godless language, but our soldiers had no fear and cut them all down.



    When the fog lifted, out lines still stood proud, waiting for the main pagan army.



    It was very cold on the top of the hill as we watched the pagans emerging from the woods. Their numbers were great, but we had God on our side that day.



    Our brave crusader knights were eager to fight, and when the pagan infantry attacked, they ran down the ballistae and the archers in the back.



    On the hill, our soldiers fought against the wild pagans who rejected the Lord’s message. The white uniform of our crusaders showed our pure faith which defeated the forces of darkness.





    Finally, our crusaders killed the terrible Tautvilas of Riga, and cut down his standard bearer too. Seeing the fall of their commander, the pagans routed.



    By the end of the day, nothing had left of the pagans, but dead bodies and their blood-soaked red flag on the ground.



    The heroic victory of our soldiers will be remembered forever in the annals of our kingdom. Those who sacrificed their lives are already in Heaven, by the side of our Lord and Savior.



    Following our great victory, Lord Álmos ordered the attack on the pagan castle.



    It was a magnificent sight to see our soldiers stand in ranks before the attack. The whiteness of the fresh snow may be covered with red blood soon, we thought, but victory will be ours!



    The commanders gave the sign, and our troops started to advance.



    Our spearmen were the first to attack the walls with ladders. The pagan defenders were confused and shaken.



    Yet, the fight on the walls was bloody and terrible, as if all the legions of the underworld have risen against us. Many good soldiers of Christ gave his life that day to defeat the pagans.





    But God has not left us, and the pagans were pushed back to the main square. Our spearmen attacked them there, and took no prisoners.



    After the victory, the crusader army, led by Lord Álmos the Chivalrous marched across town to show the strength of the Cross. Vilnius was ours, taken for the glory of our Lord!







    And thus ends the chronicle of the Crusade in Lithuania. It was God’s will, and we all praise the Lord who gave us strength to be worthy for his task.

    The battle of the Nile (Hungary vs. Egypt) was the mirror image of the Lithuanian crusade. It was a relatively easy battle, so it is memorable for me because I wrote it up from the opponent's perspective (and I learned again that describing a battle using religious jargon is not that easy).
    The battle of the Nile

    To the Mighty Caliph of Baghdad from the governor of Upper Egypt,

    It is my humble duty to inform you about the sad events that took place in Egypt. Earlier this year the Franks (curse on their name) dared to attack Cairo, sacked the town and killed thousands. Our men were brave, but melted away against the swarm of locusts. And our misery was not over as shortly after another army of infidels, carrying the double cross, attacked Damietta from the sea. We sent their king to hell where he belongs, but their numbers were too great and we lost the fortress.

    Then Allah smiled upon us. The godless Frank governor of Cairo was killed by one of his servants. In the riot following his death, most of the Franks have perished. I sent the righteous soldiers of the Prophet to bring the light back to the people of Cairo. At the same time, I ordered Captain Aws, one of our great commanders to besiege Damietta. But the infidel governor was told all about this, and in his godless pride he marched his devilish army to the south to attack us.



    The infidel army was waiting for us with spearmen, swordsmen, archers, riders, and, thousand curses on their name, some traitor mercenaries who betrayed the True Faith and dared to side the enemies of the Prophet.



    Many of our brave soldiers entered Paradise before they could fight the enemy. Those cowards shot arrows into our ranks, but we continued to march, fearing nothing else but the wrath of Allah.





    Our cavalry, proud and strong soldiers of the Prophet advanced toward the infidels. The sun sparkled on their armor and shields.



    When they charged the enemy lines, they cut down the archers who had nowhere to run.



    My heart is sad to tell you though that we were betrayed that day. The battle was in our favor, when the scum of Sudan attacked our warriors from behind.



    On the other side of the battlefield, the traitor Bedouin riders charged our soldiers. How could the followers of the True Faith spill the blood of their brethren, I will never understand. But they will burn in the fire of hell.



    It was the will of Allah that we perished that day. Many warriors of the True Faith were killed, together with Captain Aws, a great loss for all of us. Some prisoners could escape later and told me what happened on that sad day.



    Therefore, I ask you, High Commander of the Faithful, to honor our alliance, come to our aid and drive those infidels back to the sea where they came from. Praise be to Allah, the One, the Maker of all things in Heaven and Earth!

    The battle of Damietta (Hungary vs. Egypt) is memorable for me because of the exceptional BAI performance. The AI used cavalry charges to loosen my lines and generated strong infantry superiority on my right flank. It was almost like a human performance.
    The battle of Damietta

    The messenger informed us that Kuppány can support our attack on the besieging Egyptians, but we should not expect miracles. Álmus sent the messenger back, instructing Kuppány not to intervene unless the battle clearly turns against us, to prevent the Egyptians retaking the castle with the help of the local population during the battle. He was confident that his veteran troops could defeat the besieging army. We all were in good spirits before our first battle in the Holy Land.



    We took positions between the sea and the small forest where the King was killed before. We had our spearmen in the center with supporting infantry behind and two reserve companies in the flanks. Our Magyar cavalry was under the cover of the trees on the right flank and our Hungarian nobles guarded our left. We expected the enemy coming from the east.



    The Egyptian commander had strong cavalry units and wanted to put pressure on both of our flanks. They planned to surprise us from the woods going around our right flank, but our Magyar cavalry engaged them with deadly precision.





    The enemy center slowly approached, and our first lines had to stand the long range arrows of the Nubian archers. Our crossbowmen could not answer that challenge.



    Then without a warning, the Egyptian cavalry charged our spearmen on the right.



    At the same time, a large enemy cavalry unit tried to outflank us on our left. Our horse archers did their best, but they had difficulties moving quickly on the sand so close to the sea. They were only able to draw some of the enemy horsemen away from our lines.



    After the first enemy charge, our formation broke and our spearmen fought one on one against their cavalry. Suddenly I found myself right in front of an Egyptian horseman. He pointed his sword toward me and spurred his horse to run me down. For a moment I remembered the cavalry charge of Lord Vazul many years ago back in Transylvania… and I had luck on my side again, or maybe God was watching from above. The horse just passed me on my left allowing me to strike the rider’s leg with my sword while he could not reach me with his weapon. My Greek sword bounced off of his armor and he turned his horse quickly (I always admired how great riders they were), but before he could attack again, one of my man stabbed his spear into his back.



    The Egyptian commander was a mere captain, but he had an excellent battle plan. Even though his flanking maneuvers did not work, his cavalry loosened our infantry lines and his spearmen kept our center under pressure. Now he decided to outflank us on our right, this time with his heavy infantry. Reserve Ghulam companies charged our spearmen who suddenly became heavily outnumbered.



    At the same time, enemy spearmen tried to run around the battle line, avoiding our men-at-arms who came in to support our spearmen in the front.



    Our only chance was our last reserve company of allied Croat infantry. These soldiers came from Dalmatia, and many of them were vassals of Zirn before the crusade, proving themselves in battle several times already. They held the enemy spearmen back, despite their inferior armor.



    While our reserve troops were fighting, the Nubian archers sent one volley after another at our lines not even sparing their own troops.



    Then the Egyptian commander had one last move. He kept the pressure on our right, and sent an elite Ghulam company around our Croat infantrymen. The Ghulam soldiers met no resistance until Álmus charged them. But these were fanatic soldiers who did not run away from the horses, and killed quite a few of his bodyguards.



    After cutting down the Ghulams, Álmus stopped his horse and looked at the center. The enemy cavalry was dispersed and we firmly held he line. For a moment our eyes met, and I raised my sword, signaling that we are in control. He nodded, turned his horse and charged the enemy spearmen on our right.



    The Egyptian army routed, but most of the enemy soldiers were captured around Damietta. Álmus accepted a ransom for the prisoners, but let the enemy captain go freely. He was a brave fighter and a good commander, yet he was not part of the Fatimid nobility. He was more like us, a veteran soldier serving his lord. I wish I could spoke his language then as much as I can do it now. He bowed when we gave him back his freedom, and so did we. It seemed that we understood each other without expressing our respect in words after all.



    The battle in the Seljuk village (Hungary vs. Seljuks) was an unforgettable custom night battle assembled from two different pieces with multiple runs. I wanted to model a skirmish in a small village. It was not part of the actual campaign, only the story plot, but it was a challenge for me to take good screenshots, and come up with a battle narrative that had little correspondence with how the battle took place.
    The Seljuk village

    In the next years we had no major military operation in Galilee or Egypt, but I have to recount one skirmish. By a strange twist of fate that was both my first battle as a ranking commander and my last battle as a soldier of the Hungarian Crown. We learned that a small Frank fort will be the target of a Fatimid raid, and Álmus offered help. Our troops had to march across Seljuk territory though where a village garrison guarded the only mountain pass to the fort. We decided to move during the night, and fight the garrison before sunrise to open the road to the Franks.



    Álmus appointed me as the leader of the campaign, and for the first time I wore the red and black uniform of the royal commanders.



    The village seemed quiet when we arrived, and the garrison was apparently unaware of our presence. We had two companies of spearmen, an archer company, and some dismounted knights as heavy infantry.



    One of our soldiers volunteered to enter the village and find out what the garrison is doing.



    He saw war preparations as the garrison was apparently on alert. It seemed as if they prepare to move out to join the Fatimids.



    When he tried to get back to us, he was almost caught by the garrison commander who was checking the night sentries.



    The plan was to send in the archers first, followed by a frontal attack of the spearmen, while the heavy infantry goes around and charges from behind. Our archers started to bring fire to the enemy before the garrison could deploy.





    When I got the news that the knights are in position we started to advance.



    We ran through the dark streets to the center to put pressure on the enemy.



    At the same time, our heavy infantry moved in through the back alleys.



    By the time the Seljuk sentry saw them coming, it was too late.



    But the garrison had veteran spearmen that stood their ground against us. Their commander was a particularly fierce warrior.



    When our knights arrived, the Seljuks were surrounded, but they did not surrender. The fight on the main square was intense when the whole garrison took weapons.



    The Seljuks were trying to get to our commanders in the chaos. No matter how many I cut down, they continued to come and fight. My lieutenant was killed right behind me when an enemy spear pierced his body.





    Finally, we were victorious. The main square was covered with bodies. The village was silent and I sent out some soldiers to see if they can find any supplies before we move on.



    While our troops rested, I looked at the enemy flag in front of the chief’s house. Our first task has been done, I thought. Now it’s time to meet the Egyptians again.




    The last battle of my protagonist in the Hungarian AAR (Hungary/Crusaders vs. Egypt/Seljuks) was the largest custom battle I made for an AAR. I wanted to have a grand finale, an epic battle in the Holy Land to complete the journey of my character. It was quite a hard battle which I almost lost as I had only limited means to direct the reinforcing Hungarian army. This is where I learned that the custom battle replay does not recreate the actual battle...
    The last battle

    Then finally the day came when I fought for the last time. We were all called to arms, when a large allied Muslim force attacked Galilee. It was a well-planned move, as the main Frank army was in Egypt, besieging Cairo. Álmus was in Cyprus, bound to arrive at any day, so I left a message asking him to come to our aid. I summoned all the knights I could find and we marched out to meet the enemy. Our army was small: three companies of spear militia from the city, some Armenian archers, a small company of Templar squires, mounted crusaders and us, the Hospitallers.

    On the third day we saw the dust cloud of the enemy.



    We marched across the valley to gain the higher ground on the hill.





    As we deployed, one of our Tuareg scouts arrived back to report about the enemy.



    The Fatimid commander had plenty of spearmen, heavy infantry and even wild tribal warriors from Africa.







    The Seljuk force was no smaller.







    The first enemy we saw was a band of religious warriors, trying to flank us. Our crusader riders, no less fanatic, immediately charged them.



    Many of our riders were new in Outremer, and once the enemy routed they started to chase them without any discipline. Now we had to face the main Muslim army with no cavalry support. The first to arrive were the camel riders.



    Our archers greeted them with fire.





    The riders charged into our ranks. Some of our soldiers who have not seen camel charges before were terrified, but most of them held their ground.



    Their infantry was not far behind. The enemy numbers were great, and they were determined to crush us. It has been a long time since I had a sword in my hand, but I thought that if this will be my last hour, I’ll make the enemy pay for it.



    On our left, the tribal warriors engaged our spearmen.



    On our right, the Fatimid infantry attacked the Templars.



    The pressure was the greatest in the center. The enemy heavy infantry, mostly Seljuks, threatened to break through our line of spearmen. I was just about to lead the Hospitallers to their aid, when one of our men shouted: “They are here!” We looked toward the mountains, and saw the dust cloud which meant that Álmus and his troops have arrived to the battlefield.



    I cannot describe what I felt when I saw their banners, bright and proud in the sunset.



    Hardened Hungarian troops marched against the infidel, company after company, spearmen, archers and heavy infantry, armed to the teeth.



    And there was Álmus himself, honoring our alliance and maybe helping out an old friend too.



    His troops were greeted by the Turkish horse archers.



    But the Hungarian infantry could not be stopped. The horsemen scattered, and once the Hungarians saw the enemy, they ran down the hill to charge them.





    The Muslim commanders turned back most of their soldiers to stop the Hungarians. The pressure on our lines eased immediately.



    Álmus charged his knights into the enemy before they could take battle formations.



    His troops were soon facing the elite Muslim infantry, who were heavily armed, fresh, and held the high ground.



    Although the Hungarian charge shook the enemy, their superior numbers started to overwhelm Álmus’ companies. His knights fell one after another.



    They continued to fight nonetheless, even when facing dozens of spearmen.



    Álmus turned his horse three times, to charge the enemy spearmen. Many of the Seljuk soldiers have met their maker from his hands.



    But eventually he was surrounded. There was no escape for him, and I don’t think he wanted to escape. He was a loyal commander who was unfairly treated by his king, and this must have had a heavy burden to carry ever since. I think that even as the governor of Acre he did not find his peace. But he died honorably and his name will be remembered forever. I ask God to have mercy on his soul.



    Following his death, the Seljuk commander charged the Hungarian spearmen, and then the heavy infantry.



    This proved to be too much for the Hungarian soldiers. Leaderless and exhausted after the forced march, they fled.



    The enemy army then turned back to finish us off. Our knights were able to contain their infantry, but I feared that if the whole Muslim army will arrive back to the hill, we will be overrun. By this time, most of our spearmen were killed. The Hospitaller and Templar knights were all hardy soldiers, superior in one on one combat and inflicting horrible loss on the enemy, but the Egyptian and Seljuk troops continued to come.





    Then unexpectedly, our crusader knights came back to the battlefield and charged the Fatimid commander. After a short but bloody melee, they cut him down.



    Then the crusaders attacked the Egyptian heavy infantry on our right. They killed many of them, but slowly became separated and surrounded. Only a few of our riders could break out and escape.



    This was when the Seljuk commander decided to charge our remaining spearmen to finish the battle. Our soldiers got under the horses and most of them fell before offering any resistance. But one of them had luck on his side that day, and as the Seljuk commander passed by him, he tripped his horse with his spear. The enemy captain fell on the ground and was trampled to death by his own bodyguards in the dust.



    The enemy infantry did not give up the fight. Everywhere there was blood, and I lost all contact with the world around me. I just saw enemy soldiers attacking me one after another, and I killed them all.



    Then I looked up just to see a large group of fresh Seljuk soldiers in front of me. Since I had nothing to lose, I quickly stabbed the soldier closest to me.



    Suddenly, the enemy routed. I did not know why until I heard the sound of marching feet behind me. I looked back, and I saw many of our Hospitaller knights coming to my aid.



    I knew that something was not right as their armor and weapons were clean, which was just not possible after all this fight. I thought that maybe they came from heaven above to help me, but before they reached me, I fell into darkness.

    When I woke up, it was dark, but I could see the stars above. There was a campfire nearby, and familiar voices everywhere. I slowly realized that I was in our camp, after a victorious battle, the last one I fought. It was not a battle of great significance for historians. An enemy army was defeated, but the status quo has not changed. Our troops raided Arabia, their troops raided Galilee, and the war went on. But it went on without me. I lived the rest of my life in Outremer, serving the Hospitaller Order and providing shelter for pilgrims.

    The Battle of Baranya (Hungary/Poland vs. Kiev/Cumans/Greeks/Rebels) was another fiction battle to support the plot in my Hungarian AAR. It was written up as a letter to my protagonist. Its importance for me was experimenting with the civil war without modding/reskinning (which I cannot do). I wanted to have a complex battle with several factions to simulate an internal conflict in Hungary in which both sides brought in reinforcing factions. It was assembled from two different custom battles to show Hungarians on both sides.
    Battle of Baranya

    During the summer, Móg summoned a big army and openly challenged the King. All the eastern and some of the southern barons supported him. The King had his loyal Croat and Dalmatian nobles, as well as Wlodzimierz’s vassals, who himself was the Duke of Esztergom with substantial fiefs in the north bordering his homeland. And since I know that you are working on your chronicle (and may already have finished it by now); I will give you the account of the Battle of Baranya where everything was decided.

    I was with the King’s troops that day. Many nobles from Croatia and Dalmatia came, and Wlodzimierz brought not only his Hungarian vassals, but Polish support too. It was great to see so many brave knights and soldiers there. The King ordered the Polish troops to be the reserve, as he wanted to achieve victory on his own. The Hungarian and Polish knights had excellent armors and heavy weapons, and were ready to face any enemy to end this conflict once and for all.



    Facing the King was Móg’s army, larger in number but weaker in armor. Most of his troops were Cuman mercenaries, hordes of horse archers and spearmen. Móg himself was riding with Kievan troops that many saw as open treason. He did have good connections in the Rus (you may know that both his mother and grandmother were from Kiev), and commanded a small, but well armed contingent.



    With Móg were the eastern barons and their troops, mostly poorly equipped militia and archers. However, they were able to bring in Greeks with ballistae and mangonels to support Móg. The King was furious, but the Greek ambassador in his court was able to convince him that those troops were mercenaries. I am not entirely sure about this; I think the Greeks wanted to secure their political goals regardless of the outcome of the battle (which became clear at the end I think).

    I drew you a map of the battlefield. The King’s army was waiting on a hill. Wlodzimierz’s Polish troops were well behind, because the King was too eager to fight the enemy. As the events showed, he was not a good commander, may God be merciful on him and those who died because of that. Our right flank was on top of a steep slope protecting our troops. Facing our Croat infantry on the left were the Cumans. In the center of the enemy army was Móg with his Rus troops and the rebel Hungarian barons. On the far right of the enemy were the Greeks, mostly siege engines that kept some distance.



    We only saw the Cuman advance guard, the rest of the enemy army was behind the hill.



    The enemy horse archers started the fight. They came very close to our lines, so we all took cover behind our shields (not me of course as I had no weapons, but the Lord was watching out for me).





    The Cuman commander must have been a veteran warrior, as his troops went around the hill, and attacked in a large mass from the slope where we did not expect them. Meanwhile, the horse archers kept our center pinned down.





    The fight on the slope was brutal. Despite the armor and weapons of our soldiers, the overwhelming number of the enemy seemed to get the upper hand.



    In this critical moment, the King made a mistake. A Pecheneg company got around our lines and attacked the King’s bodyguards to lure them away from the battle. The knights took the bait, and charged the Pecheneg horse archers.



    Suddenly, on our left, arrows hit our soldiers from an unexpected direction. The Rus troops have arrived. Móg timed his attack perfectly, exploiting that the King was separated from the battle.



    Following the archers, came their riders…



    … then the heavy infantry…



    …and the spearmen, putting great pressure on our left flank. Our men-at-arms and halberdiers fought bravely, but the Kievans were no Cumans: their armor and weapons matched ours.



    Meanwhile, the masses of Cuman troops pushed back our right flank where most of our soldiers were killed, and attacked our center.



    By the time the King came back to the battlefield after chasing away the Pechenegs, our lines were in complete disorder. Our right flank was defeated, the left could break at any moment, and we saw Cuman and wild Lithuanian mercenaries ready to attack the center. The King sent a fast rider to Wlodzimierz to come with haste as the battle has turned against us.



    A moment later he made a fatal decision. One of his knight yelled that he saw Móg’s banner behind their lines. The King then charged the pagan spearmen and riders in the center, hoping to get to Móg.



    He was brave, but he had more courage than common sense unfortunately. As one of his knights later told me, he was well in front of his bodyguards, when a sudden charge of some Cuman riders pushed him off his horse, and he was killed by the godless spearmen on the ground.



    A minute later, the royal standard, carried by Paulus of Vázsony, who otherwise was a famous knight, fell on the ground too.



    Our only hope was now Wlodzimierz and his troops. Móg knew this and hurried with the Rus knights to attack them before they arrive to support us.



    But Wlodzimierz was an experienced commander too. He left his veteran troops to fight Móg, and rode fast to our aid.



    He arrived just when the pagans got around our lines on the right. The Polish charge hit the Cuman infantry at the side, and they routed immediately.



    With the arrival of the Polish troops we could hold the line. Once the Cumans lost their captain, they fled the battlefield. The Kievan troops fought bravely, but could not break through. We all wondered where the rebel barons and the Greeks are, when there was a huge explosion in the air, and fire rained down on our troops.





    Seeing the Greek fire, Móg attacked again. However, the King’s Croat vassals held their ground and cut down most of his escort.



    Wlodzimierz was looking for Móg’s banner, and came fast to settle his treason. Móg saw that the battle is lost and tried to run back to the rebel barons, but the Polish knights did not let him escape.



    Once Móg fell, the Kievans surrendered. The Cumans have fled the battlefield already, and the Greek commander decided to withdraw his troops without any further fight. The only enemy left on the field was the contingent of the rebel barons. God knows why they did not come to Móg’s aid before. Wlodzimierz sent an envoy to them demanding their surrender. Had the King been alive, they would have probably done so. But many of those barons had deep roots in Hungarian soil, and they had no desire to obey a Polish lord even if he was a member of the royal family. They may have hoped that if Wlodzimierz dies, they can elect a king from themselves. But they were hopelessly outclassed, and Wlodzimierz ordered his troops to attack.



    The Polish soldiers marched up the hill in battle formation.



    The rebel light infantry charged them.



    The attack was not very effective, but kept the Polish infantry engaged. The barons decided to charge them head on as they must have known that their soldiers cannot fight for long. Their treason was obvious when they dared to fly the royal banner.



    The Polish infantry held their ground, and their armor was just too thick for the swords of the mounted barons. Then Wlodzimierz appeared from behind and charged the ranks of the Hungarian spearmen.



    This was the last act of the battle. The surviving barons and their men fled.



    Next day Wlodzimierz rode back to the battlefield to see the abandoned Greek machines and decide about the prisoners. I think this was when he realized that he may be the next king of Hungary.



    Last edited by Radzeer; April 29, 2011 at 06:14 PM.

  7. #7
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Repository
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    I think the industry, or at least a large part of it, moves into the direction of more control over what users do after the initial hookup. The variety and flexibility they offer via DLCs (as one of the marketing lines) is similar to a constant stimulation with new content (and in this context it does not matter whether that content is already downloaded and should be unlocked - it is a different debate how ethical this is).

    Many people here are upset for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, for each of you guys there are thousands with the attention span of a fruit fly who will buy whatever is the latest stuff. If the average playtime for a game is short, the company can get away without fixing stuff. The longevity of the game usually does not bring in more money except the extent to which it is necessary to keep the base game around to sell the DLCs. Therefore the company strategy is to keep the boat floating and stimulate users with small pieces of new content (some of those for free, others relatively cheap), because most users will buy the new stuff. Ironically, the market competition reinforces this behavior. If one gets upset about a bug, he can switch to another game and spend some time there, but due to the short attention span he will come back for the latest DLC hoping for new content or fixes. There is a big difference between 1 game out of 200 and 1 game out of 5.

    This also goes back a generational issue. I do not want to generalize and say that young people today are spoiled brats, because that is not true for many of them who are informed and vocal about issues. But we have generations growing up without experiencing that time when a user had a tangible product in his hand over which he had full control. Most of those who are too young to remember to that era cannot really relate to the criticism of Steam from the perspective of user control. (I know the company line is that users have control over Steam etc, but it is not entirely the case.)
    Apparently you fully subscribe to the neoclassical economic mantra. The problem with the "delicate balance of the free market" is that there is no such thing. It has certain assumptions about information, rational choices etc. that are just not true. Companies can make more profit if they can exploit the flaws of the free market, one of which is putting consumers in situations where they do not actually have a choice.

    The choice of buying vs. not buying is not really a choice. The choice would be buying with Steam or without Steam. Imagine a situation when you can only buy a product you really need in one specific way. You can say that one can survive without owning a TW product, but that's not the point.

    Forcing Steam on users occurs because CA/SEGA can do it without repercussions. They follow their own logic of profit which builds on the balance of how much a user is willing to give up from his control over a product in order to have the product. And of course as long there are enough people willing to do it, they will have no reason to change. But that does not make their practice ethical (and we can have a different debate about business ethics).
    Ethics is more than just life and death. It also includes considerations about self-restraint, maximizing one's benefits, using various arguments for selling a product etc. This is really not the place for discussing business ethics in a theoretical way as that would be off topic. But let me put this simply in the Steam context.

    If Steam is a good alternative for users then users should see this too, and behave accordingly. So offering a choice of Steam or no-Steam variants would eventually move most people toward Steam if the benefits for the users are obvious. In this context, it does not matter if the company makes a lot of profit on it - as long as the users see the benefits too. Not offering such alternative is unethical, because it takes out the choice element, pushing for a solution that secures the benefits for the company without letting the user decide what's best for him.

    This forced Steam solution (for the lack of a better word) is done because the company feels the uncertainty about the majority of users opting for Steam (if the benefits for the users are not obvious), or because this transition would take too long which then would cut into the company profit. The ethics part refers to maximizing the control in order to maximize the profit by limiting the choice.

    If the company has a foolproof plan that works for the mutual benefit of the user and the company then it should work without limiting the users' choice. The limitation is done because the plan is not foolproof, or rather it is only half-foolproof (that is mostly benefiting the company).
    Let's keep in mind that we should not see ethics and profit as a zero sum game. More profit by itself does not make a practice less ethical. Similarly, being more ethical does not reduce profit by definition.

    The problem with ethics is that it does not have a universal definition, it is rather contingent on many individual and group characteristics. So something I consider unethical may not be such for others. That is especially true for business ethics.

    Ethics comes in when you have a choice in how to behave/operate. As it was said, CA and SEGA do not have a moral obligation to make a Steam / non-Steam option available. If they had an obligation, no ethics would come into the picture. Since they don't, they have a choice how to distribute it, and they chose to do it in a way that maximizes their profit at the expense of the customer choice.
    CA is an enterprise first and foremost, whether because they think of themselves as such or because Sega keeps them that way. It's all about making money, so as I said it before, it's about finding the threshold that most prospective players would find historical enough. Because of the mods, that threshold is higher than what it was when Rome I came out.

    A bit off, but think about Medieval 2 as an example of this threshold. When I looked at how my own country (Hungary) was represented, I had to laugh how ridiculous it was. Obviously, it was not important enough for CA to put more than a few hours of wikipedia research into its roster, geography, history etc. But I can understand that. How many people complained about Hungary? It would not have justified the manpower put into the game development, not to mention that the complainers bought the game anyway and I guess most are happy to play SS or other mods that do a much better job in that respect.

    Based on what I saw from Rome II, it seems to me that the game will be closer to history than Rome I and unit designs will be more authentic. This is to satisfy the somewhat increased expectations about historical authenticity, partly triggered by the Rome I mods. But most of the extra budget will no doubt go to eye candy, because eye candy sells better than historical authenticity. Then as always, it will come down to moddability to satisfy the niche gamer within the niche genre (don't take it the wrong way, I'm one of those people too, although I would draw the line at authentic mustache and toenail).
    A random thing.
    Last edited by Radzeer; January 09, 2013 at 09:18 PM.

  8. #8
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Placeholder for experiment.
    Last edited by Radzeer; February 13, 2012 at 07:59 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Great stuff here - and some very nice new additions I might add

    Is it some kind of sociology experiment to put "A random thing" in tiny font? Because it was one of the first things I clicked on
    The Wings of Destiny - A FotS AAR (Chapter 12 - Updated Apr 24)
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  10. #10
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Quote Originally Posted by robinzx View Post
    Great stuff here - and some very nice new additions I might add
    Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by robinzx View Post
    Is it some kind of sociology experiment to put "A random thing" in tiny font? Because it was one of the first things I clicked on
    Nah, I'm just lazy to look it up.
    Last edited by Radzeer; July 17, 2012 at 10:05 AM.

  11. #11
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Great stuff here mate. I enjoyed re-living the battles.

    That little random thing was a good read as well.

    I'll look forward to the 'Memorable battles from Primus Inter Pares' section.
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  12. #12
    Boustrophedon's Avatar Grote Smurf
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    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Very snazzy collection you've got here, mate

  13. #13
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Update, reorganization, etc.

  14. #14
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    A long time coming.



    Looks good boss.
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  15. #15
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Updated with my article on the fairer sex in AARs.
    Go and read the Quill, people! (the whole thing, not just my scribbles)

  16. #16

    Default Re: Radzeer's Quill

    Hey Radzeer!

    Don't know if you'll ever see this, but I just found your library (how dare you hide this quality in the second page of the Inkwell!) and I love the variety of stuff here. It was great having you around, I hope you decide to return one day.

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