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Thread: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

  1. #1

    Default World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    This will be a creative writing exercise chronicling a world war scenario, but starting in 272 BC, and focusing on the Mediterranean and Middle East. It's inspired by the Europa Barbarorum II mod for M2TW, and combines gameplay mechanics, historical background, a little fantastical artistic license, and AAR-style narrative. Through about a dozen or so chapters I will cover the prelude to the outbreak of war, the grand strategies, the campaigns fought, the heroes and villains of the war as history will remember, and finally the future ramifications of the conclusion to this war in this alternate history. A non-trivial understanding of Mediterranean geopolitics on 272BC is required - I cannot reiterate what actual historians can describe much better. Original thread is at https://www.twcenter.net/forums/show...World-War-Zero. Chapters 1 and 2 incoming soon!
    Last edited by Shoebopp; September 01, 2020 at 08:34 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Chapter 1
    Seleucid Prominence

    The Ptolemaic Empire was in a sorry state by the winter of 272 BC. Its chief rival, the Seleucid Empire, has just scored three critical victories, two of which were at the Ptolemies' expense.

    In Mesopotamia, a Chaldean rebellion was easily put down by Seleukos Seleukides, an act that quelled any thoughts of revolt by Seleucid subjects throughout the empire. Meanwhile in Syria, a great army led by the Seleucid king Antiochus I Soter himself smashed Menelaos Ptolemaiou's relief force sent by the Ptolemaic king Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The city of Ptolemais-Akko surrendered shortly after this demonstration of strength, ceding Antiochus complete control of Syria. Meanwhile in the West, Olympikhos Alindeus of the Seleucids campaigned to free southern Anatolia from Ptolemaic control. Ptolemaios Ptolemaiou, Ptolemy II's golden child, attempted to wage guerilla warfare with his inferior army in the mountains of Anatolia, but was ultimately helpless to combat the Seleucid steamroller. A series of clever maneuvers by Olympikhos cornered Ptolemaios. In the ensuing battle he was killed, and his army surrendered shortly afterwards, clearing Anatolia of Ptolemaic presence.

    Thus, it is with these three victories that the Antiochus proved to be the most worthy of Alexander's successors, while the Ptolemy descended into impotence. His authority over his subjects plummeted. In fact, an expedition to Syria led by Alexandros Pelopos defected to the Seleucids, as he lacked faith in Ptolemy's command. Unrest in the Upper Nile festers as Ptolemy briefly left the Ptolemaic capital of Alexandria to assert control over what few loyal followers in Egypt remained. The situation is grim for him indeed - any more losses, especially at the hands of Antiochus, would dissolve what's left of his legitimacy as rule and cause his kingdom to spiral into chaos.

    Unfortunately for Ptolemy, news of the Antiochus's dominance spread like wildfire throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Formerly wish-washy allies of the Seleucid Empire asserted their fealty to the Seleucid cause. Antigonus Gonatas, king of the Antigonid Kingdom in Hellas, for example promised military aid to Antiochus against their mutual enemy Ptolemy as soon as the marauding mercenary general Pyrrhus is dealt with. Philetaerus, the Attalid dynast of the wondrous city state of Pergamon in western Asia Minor, pledges to fund future Seleucid endeavors. Finally, Mithridates I Ctistes, ruler of the fledging kingdom of Pontus, declared himself a friend, a Philos, of the Seleucid king, thus entwining Pontus's fate with the Seleucid's. With these newfound close allies Antiochus held all the power and resources needed to dethrone Ptolemy and acquire the rich lands of Egypt.

    As poor as the Ptolemaic Empire's fortunes are, it still had some reasons for hope. Allies in the form of the Nabataeans in the Sinai Peninsula and the Massylians in western Africa can be counted on to provide their superb cavalry. The free greeks of the Koinon Hellenon coalition led by the aging but capable Areus Agiades enjoy the stewardship of Ptolemy's sister-wife Arsinoe II, and would gladly return the favor. Finally, the great strategist Pyrrhus, though currently butting heads with Areus and the free greeks in Sparta, owes a great debt to Ptolemy for his military and financial aid. His fine tactical mind and incredible leadership could prove a fantastic asset.

    However, these steadfast allies were still not enough to counter the mighty Seleucid coalition. And so, envoys and diplomats sailed from the ports of Alexandria to around the Mediterranean while messengers trekked east in a plea for aid, not knowing the international web of entangling alliances and ensuing world war they'll bring.

  3. #3
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Welcome to the Writers' Study, Shoebopp!

    This is a really interesting idea, and your first chapter is great. The hint of menace in your last line: "...not knowing the international web of entangling alliances and ensuing world war they'll bring" makes me want to find out what will happen next.


    I notice that this was inspired by Europa Barbarorum II, and you mention gameplay mechanics and the AAR-like style. The boundary between AARs and Creative Writing is a very fuzzy one, and I think this story could be considered either (or both). If you'd prefer this to be moved to the M2TW AARs forum, just let Writers' Study staff know, and we'll arrange that for you. On the other hand, if you'd prefer to keep your story here in Creative Writing, that's good too.






  4. #4

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Quote Originally Posted by Caillagh de Bodemloze View Post
    Welcome to the Writers' Study, Shoebopp!

    This is a really interesting idea, and your first chapter is great. The hint of menace in your last line: "...not knowing the international web of entangling alliances and ensuing world war they'll bring" makes me want to find out what will happen next.


    I notice that this was inspired by Europa Barbarorum II, and you mention gameplay mechanics and the AAR-like style. The boundary between AARs and Creative Writing is a very fuzzy one, and I think this story could be considered either (or both). If you'd prefer this to be moved to the M2TW AARs forum, just let Writers' Study staff know, and we'll arrange that for you. On the other hand, if you'd prefer to keep your story here in Creative Writing, that's good too.
    Thank you for the warm welcome! This won't be an AAR though since it's not based off of Europa Barbarorum II gameplay. This is more like if the geopolitical situation was as described by the descr_strat.txt file and if certain gameplay mechanics make their way into plot points. For example, M2TW's authority system is seen in Ptolemy II Philadelphus's loss of legitimacy following his recent string of defeats (and due to his already bottom-tier starting authority as per the descr_strat.txt file). Other than those this creative writing exercise is mostly literary fiction. Expect historical figures visiting the Oracle of Delphi and anachronistic execution of blitzkrieg tactics.

  5. #5

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Chapter 2
    Barcid Ascendance

    A string of deaths of prominent political figures was the talk of the day in the great port city of Carthage. Gisqo of Carthage, noted political pundit, was found dead by suicide, with 47 self-inflicted spear wounds riddling his battered body. Hannibal of Carthage, a young general, was also found dead, this time having sliced off his own head and thrown it 30 meters from the rest of his body. Then there was Shafat of Carthage, a self-pronounced moderate and current Other Leading Man who constantly shot down any attempts at political and social progress, who was discovered disemboweled, his innards scooped out, chopped up, and put back in. The final victim of these tragic suicides was Hamelqart of Carthage, a highly opinionated politician, whose crucified himself after drinking an entire chous of hemlock. A curious theme between these deaths was that the victims were all noted members of the anti-Barcid faction, which promoted Carthaginian expansion in Africa, in contrast to the Barcid faction, which favored expansion overseas. In unrelated news, Hanno of Carthage, staunch Barcid and the current War Leader of the great maritime empire, was selected by theSenate to become the Other Leading Man of Carthaginian politics. Truly tragic, these suicides were, but the Carthaginian Empire could look forward to a bright and expansionist future under the new Barcid leadership of Hanno.

    This change of management of the great empire of Carthage was not lost to Polyxenos Salaminios, the expert diplomat of the Ptolemaic Empire's royal court. While he is aware of the somewhat standoffish history between the two empires (the squabble over the Cyrene-Lapqi borders being the most sour), he is certain that, with some mutually beneficial promises and special consideration towards the Barcid doctrine, the Carthaginians can be persuaded to lend aid to the Ptolemies. In the following weeks, as Polyxenos sought an audience with the Carthaginian Senate and spoke with the Leading Man Adonibaal of Carthage himself, a lukewarm but still much-needed declaration of friendship was drafted, with certain caveats. For one, the Carthaginians wished to extend their trading empire to the booming, albeit a little war-ravaged, Aegean Sea trade. The Ptolemaics agreed to designate key port cities (at the expense of the Antigonids' Pella and Demetrius, and the Attalids' Pergamon) to become future tariff-free and tax-free trade contacts. In return, the Carthaginians would allocate a non-trivial portion of their war fleet (70 triremes) towards scouring the eastern Mediterranean for Seleucid-affiliated navies, and patrolling the western Mediterranean to prevent any interference from western actors. They will also lend the services of their mercenary recruiters stationed in Liguria, Celtiberia, Massylia, Lusitania and Gaul, though payment of these potential mercenaries must be provided by the Ptolemies. Finally, one last tenet of the treaty stipulated that for every additional political entity the Carthaginians declare war on to ease the burden on Ptolemaic resources, the Ptolemies would deliver a hefty sum of 100 silver talents. While both parties considered this clause an afterthought, it would later prove to be a temptation for the Carthaginians to bring additional nations into the conflict.

    Having gained a valuable ally for the defense of the Ptolemaic Empire, Polyxenos departed from the ports of Carthage. His next order, as per Ptolemy himself, was to contact Pyrrhus of Epirus who, according to the latest reports, had called off his siege of Sparta and was camped somewhere in Lakedaemonia, presumably awaiting the next great adventure.
    Last edited by Shoebopp; September 02, 2020 at 09:46 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Chapter 3
    Pyrrhos, Liberator of Hellas

    It was said that Polyxenos Salaminios shoved his way into Pyrrhus's tent just as an Argive finished delivering his plea for intervention. It was 272BC, and Pyrrhus was itching to redeem his reputation as a general for hire after his disastrous siege of Sparta where he lost his firstborn son. Having just been convinced to turn his attention to Argos, he changed his mind yet again upon hearing Polyxenos's offer. Pyrrhus's accompanying historian recorded Polyxeno's opportunity presented as such:

    "Great King of the Epeirotes, forgive my rude entrance, but a call to destiny awaits. You may remember the great faith my master Ptolemy II Philadelphos placed in your keen tactical mind by granting you 20,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry, 2,000 archers, 500 slingers, and 20 war elephants to aid you in your endeavors. He understands your ambition and wishes to present to you yet another opportunity for greatness. We share a mutual enemy, the cunning and insidious Antigonas Gonatas, whose cruel overlordship of Hellas must be put to an end. Only you command the men and intellect to usurp his tyranny. Would you take up the mantle as the Liberator of Hellas? Or would you heed this groveling Argive and attempt to enter his fickle city where, hypothetically speaking, you may get your head caved in by an old hag with a floor tile. The choice is yours, but my master knows you will choose well."

    Pyrrhus must've been enamored with the potential to become the Liberator of Hellas, just as he had once achieved (but failed to sustain) the titles of Liberator of Magna Grecia and Liberator of Sicily, because by the spring of 271BC he had taken the Antigonid stronghold of Korinth in a quick and vicious assault. This inspiring victory born on the backs of Pyrrhus's elite Peltastai and Hypaspitai corps as well as a ruthless usage of his remaining war elephants convinced Areus Agiades, leader of the emerging Koinon Hellenon, to make peace with him. Just as Polyxenos predicted the free Greeks hailed Pyrrhus as their liberator, completely ignoring his prevent attempt to install a pretender Spartan king to the throne. As the Koinon Hellenon made plans to incorporate Korinth into the fellowship of Greeks, Pyrrhos sent his personal historian over to Alexandria to finalize his allegiance to Ptolemy. No treaty was drawn nor necessary; Pyrrhus was to characteristically operate by his hand alone, a stipulation that Ptolemy was wholeheartedly content with. After all, the greatest general since Alexander has just joined him in the defense of Ptolemaic interests.

    Pyrrhus's decision to fully engage the Antigonid Kingdom raised the ire of the Seleucid Empire, and by extension its Attalid and Mithridatic lapdogs. War was declared by the summer of 271BC between the Seleucid Coalition of the Seleucid Empire, the Antigonid Kingdom, the Pergamon Kingdom, and the Pontic Kingdom, and the newfound Ptolemaic Coalition of the Ptolemaic Empire, the Epeirote Kingdom, and the Koinon Hellenon. The Carthaginian Empire refused to formally declare war, but its continued naval activity in the eastern Mediterranean culminating in its brazen sinking of a fleet carrying Seleucid invaders to Salamis caused tensions to reach a breaking point, and the Carthaginians formally joined the war in the winter of 271BC (also reaping a staggering 400 talent commission from the Ptolemies). A clear definition of opposing forces was forming, and Greeks and Phoenicians around the Mediterranean fearfully rumor of a war never before seen.

    His mission complete, Polyxenos was about to depart from the port of Athens when he was approached by a well-dressed stranger.

  7. #7

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Chapter 4
    A Pontic Prophecy

    Despite rising tensions making traveling by sea risky, Paerisades II, king of the Bosporan Kingdom, still made a pilgrimage to the Oracle at Delphi in the summer of 271 BC. A rather active king diplomatically, he initially sought counsel on how to parlay with the Saii Sarmatian tribe, whose most notable faction just defeated the Scythian tribe at Scythiapolis. What he received however terrified him to such a degree that he would enmesh himself in the international web of alliances, plunging the Pontic Sea into devastating war.

    "Paerisades, great archon of the Spartocids, forefather of Sarah Connor"

    "What the he-"

    "Nomads from the North and East descend upon your realm. Placating them requires careful acknowledgement of their needs. Land to graze is what their simple lifestyle requires. You will be wise to-"

    ...

    "-impotent and helpless, your kingdom that you had toiled so hard to forge will be bequeathed to the great Poison King"

    "What the hell"

    Paerisades must have taken the Oracle's words to heart, for he was said to have paced the ports of Athens for weeks in deep though. It was only when by chance he spotted Polyxenos, with whom his ambassadors had once met and of whom they spoke highly, that he took action. Normally a shrewd and dignified politician, Paerisades stumbled onto Polyxenos's ship before it departed and blubbered gibberish about "Mithridates", "war", and "alliance". He concluded his neurotic tirade with an offer of military assistance. Not a pact of friendship, not an half-assed alliance, but a down-to-earth promise to engage the Pontic Kingdom in war and to deliver the horse archers of the steppes into the Hellas theatre of war. Polyxenos gratefully promised to relay his message to Ptolemy. The two then departed to their homelands, Polyxenos having completed his mission to an extraordinary degree and Paerisades having extended the war to the entire Pontic Sea.

    It was on the journey back to Pantikapiaon that Paerisades' ship was stopped and frisked by a Carthaginian patrol. He easily dismissed them by presenting the hastily written but Ptolemaic-sealed treaty. His next encounter a day later however was with a Pergamene bireme that somehow survived the Carthaginian ongoing purge of the Aegean. Upon learning of Paerisades' identity and discovering the Bosporan-Ptolemaic treaty, the outraged Pergamene marines arrested him and attempted to bring him onto their ship. They were all singlehandedly killed by Paerisades' sailor. Too deep in thought to process the fact that the sailor punched his arm through one of the unfortunate Pergamenes, Paerisades reflected upon the severity of the international situation. He planned to conclude negotiations with the Bosporans' new Sarmatian neighbors, rally the displaced and disenfranchised Scythians to a common purpose of settling the plains of Thessalia, and organize resources for a preemptive strike on the Pontic Kingdom.

    Polyxenos arrived backed in Alexandria in the winter of 271BC to a hero's welcome. Ptolemy personally congratulated him as he entered the royal court. There was no time for extraneous festivities, however, as Ptolemy then convened an emergency court session to discuss the state of the Ptolemaic situation. Present were Ptolemy himself, Pyrrhus's historian, a few Barcid Carthaginian representatives, Polyxenos holding the Bosporan-Ptolemaic document, and Antipatros Philippou, the only general left who has not defected to the Seleucids. The session concluded with the aim of organizing a more inclusive and comprehensive conference in Memphis to address the Ptolemaic grand strategy.

    While Polyxenos managed to acquire powerful allies in the name of the Ptolemaic Empire during his journey around the Mediterranean, the emissary sent to the east, Ploutos Salaminios, was not as successful.

  8. #8
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    I like the way that you introduce us to the conflict between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid empires. I could be wrong, but it sounds as if the victories of the Seleucids over their Ptolemaic rivals - which lead to peace under Seleucid hegemony in the short term - sow the seeds of the war to come. That's a nice contrast, if the same events lead to peace now and war later. In the second chapter, I like the way that you introduce us to Carthage, with all of those unfortunate 'self-inflicted' deaths. The hints of hope for the Ptolemaic Empire are well done too, suggesting that the outcome of the Ptomemaic-Seleucid war is not yet finally determined.

    My only concern is that you've posted four updates in four days. I know that sometimes writers have a particular reason for posting chapters close together, for example if they have a limited amount of time to get a story done. The concern is simply that, when I posted chapters frequently, the number of views rose more slowly than when I posted them once a week. My guess is that readers tend to visit the Study once a week (or less often) and when updates are posted more frequently, they might feel that they're not going to keep up. Of course, it's your story - there's nothing wrong with posting four updates in a week if you want to.

  9. #9

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    My only concern is that you've posted four updates in four days. I know that sometimes writers have a particular reason for posting chapters close together, for example if they have a limited amount of time to get a story done. The concern is simply that, when I posted chapters frequently, the number of views rose more slowly than when I posted them once a week. My guess is that readers tend to visit the Study once a week (or less often) and when updates are posted more frequently, they might feel that they're not going to keep up. Of course, it's your story - there's nothing wrong with posting four updates in a week if you want to.
    Sure, I'll make it once per week and focus on polishing the chapters more

  10. #10
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Sick Baby of TWC
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    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    A wonderful introduction to the story thusfar. The stage is being set, the pieces are moving and total war will come to the Classical world. Sarah Connor? What a strange name. I wonder what that will mean.

    Chapter XXIX: Aldburg
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  11. #11

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Chapter 5
    The Mysterious Stranger


    From the newly settled lands of the Gauls in the West to the ancient homelands of the Boii in the East took place Celtic festivals celebrating the bounty of autumn. It was 500 BC, far before the onset of World War Zero, but a relevant time period nonetheless. For while the Celts enjoyed agricultural prosperity, the rising population density and concentration of wealth and resources in the hands of the elites served as a catalyst for change.


    It was said that the great agricultural god Sucellus took a bite out of a primordial leafy plant, spat it out, and yelled swear words at it. The plant, knowing better than to anger a supernatural deity, immediately rearranged its chromosomes to become more palatable and nutritious. Thus was born the modern cabbage plant. More scholarly Celts however stand by the belief that a mysterious stranger disseminated bountiful seeds and valuable farming practices among their people.


    By all surviving accounts this stranger spoke Celtic, though in an accent never before heard. He dressed in garb unbecoming of a proper Celt - shortened pants and tunic yet patternedd in green and brown in a desperate attempt to appear conventional. What mattered though was not his questionable choice of attire, nor his lack of social etiquette, but what he had to offer. A promising set of seeds that would ultimately produce cabbages and other staple crops, and the curious yet ultimately effective method of rotating crops between growing seasons were what he delivered. The Celts were eager learners - in the span of a century, these resources and practices were adopted, and the population boomed from the abundance of yields.


    Yet, as the peculiar memory of the stranger faded, more pressing concerns arrived. Greed and avarice festered in the wake of surplus. A burgeoning elite hoarded the bounty of the earth, and bought off the loyalty of many kingetos to ensure their position in society. Taxes were levied. Urbanization and social stratification appeared in a way actual history never could have predicted. By 300 BC, social unrest reached a peak. The elites knew that should the masses unite, their lifestyle would be in jeopardy.


    Thus, in a word-of-mouth propaganda campaign, Gallic and Boii elites spread the ideology that the Celts were destined, no, entitled to new lands beyond the horizon. The lands that far-travelling traders say are inhabited by perfumed foreigners living in gargantuan - and rich - megalopolises. Disenfranchised Celts were enamored with the prospect of fertile land and soft, "civilized" peoples ripe for looting. Slowly, over the course of 20-odd years, the Celtic masses were united - not against their true oppresors, but against the Romani and the Hellenes.


    In 275 BC, the great Gallic council convened to progress the next step in their ultimate plan. The Gallic kings Cocolitanus of the Aedui confederation and Aneirin of the Arverni confederation led the proceedings. At the same time the Boii king Bossomaros traveled through his dominion to deliver rousing speeches capitalizing on the growing excitement of the Celtic proletariat. The kings' verdicts were the same: hundreds of thousands of Celts - kingetos, women, and children alike, are to gather their belongings and travel South and East to forge their new manifest destiny.


    Meanwhile Celtic emissaries traveled to their Alpine and Scordisci cousins to notify them of their intent to cross their lands. Their unease was quelled when the emissaries candidly informed them of their plans to bypass their lands and intrude upon instead that of their neighbors. However, communication begets eavesdroppers, and Romani and Hellen traders who overheard the whispers of their Celtic competitors began circulating rumors of a impending Celtic invasion. These rumors travelled much faster than the Celts could organize and march, and by the Spring of 270 BC, right after the Alexandria Convention, they have finally reached the court of Ptolemy Philadelphos, the king of which was searching for potential allies. The legacy of the mysterious stranger had spanned the lands of the Celts to the conflict of the Hellenes.
    Last edited by Shoebopp; September 14, 2020 at 10:40 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Chapter 6 (This should have been Chapter 5 and vice versa)
    Journey to the East


    Ploutos Salaminios was sent by Ptolemy Philadephus to the East as a diplomat, but he was a spy at heart. Thanks to his survival and subterfuge skills, he was able to cover vast distances by foot and horse to his destinations. Once there however his lack of diplomatic prowess quickly showed.


    Ploutos reached the royal court of Armavir at record speeds by the Spring of 271 BC. The Yervanduni king of the same name, Yervand, was absent, campaigning in Egrisi to absorb nearby Caucasian kingdoms no longer guaranteed independence by the distracted Seleucids. This had naturally caused tensions between Yervanduni Hayastan and the Seleucid Empire to reach a tipping point. Ploutos, unfortunately, failed to take these political matters into consideration while delivering his master's plea to Shamush, the Yervanduni prince holding the court in his king's absence. A scribe present at the court would record his completely inappropriately brash and laconic message as such:


    "The mighty Pharoah demands your aid in his struggles against the Seleucids. Here is the scroll containing the details. I suggest you read it."


    Shamush was said to have laughed uncontrollably, calmed him himself down, then laughed some more before ordering that a barrel of cheese curds be spilled at Ploutos's feet.


    "Duly noted"


    Was his laconic retort, also recorded by the scribe.


    The agent-turned-diplomat-turned-laughtingstock departed from Armavir the very next day to the lands of the Dahae confederacy. He skillfully navigated the Iranian Plateau, effortlessly dodging Seleucid military traffic along the way. By the Summer of 271 BC, he had located the Dahaean's makeshift camp at Nisaya. Inside the camp, a flurry of activity was noted by Ploutos, who questioned the locals the reason for the ruckus. He learned that the Dahaeans are undergoing a transition into a more sedentary lifestyle, forgoing their cattle herding for simpler but more productive agriculture. Ploutos, utilizing his natural spy intellect, resolved to use this tidbit of knowledge to his advantage.


    Phrapates, the Dahae king, was tending to his enviable herds when the now reformed Ploutos deliver his message.


    "I believe the Seleucid city of Asaak has good soil"


    Absolutely inane and unrefined in any other circumstance, this characteristically Ploutonic message managed to somehow capture Phrapates's interest. The Dahaean monarch invited Ploutos into a hastily assembled house rather unbecoming of a king.


    "I believe this is what you Hellenes refer to as a dwelling"


    He proudly stated. Ploutos nodded in agreement, and the negotiations proceeded. While much more down-to-earth and open-minded, Phrapates could not agree to throw his people into the Seleucid grinder, even at the prospect of forcibly taking fertile soils. Even should his Dahae clan unanimously agree to wage war, it would not be enough, and convincing the Mihran, Karen, Suren, and the particularly ambitious Arshkanig houses to contribute would take too much politicking. Phrapates sent Ploutos off on a lukewarm note - while he empathized with the Ptolemies's gripe with the Seleucids, he could not risk his people's lives for such a gamble that is declaring war on the Seleucids, nor could he unite the five major Parthian clans behind one banner. Eavesdropping outside the hovel however was Arshak of house Arshkanig, who would later go on to poison the unassuming Phrapates, assume kingship, and instill a new national strategy for his peoples.


    Ploutos was disheartened by his predictable yet nonetheless disappointing diplomatic failures, which impacted his ability to cover large distances. It took him until the Spring of 270 BC to return to Alexandria. Having missed the adhoc Alexandrian Conference, he was still welcomed by Ptolemy who, though crestfallen at the loss of a potential eastern front against the Seleucids, was still excited by his newfound western allies, and the possible outcome of the upcoming Memphic Conference.


    Perhaps fortunately for Ptolemy, he did not know that an eastern distraction for the Seleucids was yet to come. In Hayastan, while the haughty Shamush had rejected Ploutos's message, he still confidantly delivered it to his superior, king Yervand, who, though having already known the rising Ptolemaic-Seleucid struggles, now has confirmation that the Ptolemies are seeking allies and may tie up Seleucid resources more than expected. He fully intended to exploit this to his burgeoning kingdom's advantage. Further east the assassination of Phrapates took place, and the ambitious and charasmatic Arshak rallied the five Parthian clans behind the common cause of acquiring rich, fertile lands at the expense of the Seleucids. While not full-fledged allies, enemies of one's enemy are still greatly appreciated.


    In the Summer of 270 BC, the Ptolemaic Memphis Conference convened, and its Seleucid counterpart as well in Sardeis. Grand strategies that will soon fall apart at first contact will be drafted, and the fate of the world will be decided.

  13. #13

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Just noticed that I have seriously bad consistency in point-of-view and tone. I will try to fix this. A personal third person omniscient and a dry tone will be the norm from now on. Any other criticisms?

  14. #14
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Good updates! I like the way that you explain the reasons for social changes among the Celtic peoples and how this leads to a desire for expansion. The intervention by the mysterious stranger is interesting. While I could be wrong, this (together with other hints) gives me the impression that your AAR is a mix of alternative history and a time travel story - with the mysterious stranger as a time traveller, who introduced crop rotation (and seeds from a future time period?) to the Celts long before this would have been discovered otherwise, leading to the changes you describe. If I'm understanding this correctly, I like the subtlety of your alternative history scenario - you haven't had someone go back in history to murder a great general, you've given Celtic nations more food.

    When you introduce an unusual word such as kingetos, I suggest explaining its meaning, to avoid the reader being distracted. Maybe for EBII players it's familar (I searched for it and found a link to a discussion in the EBII forum), but it's new to me. To be fair, it's not necessarily bad to not explain things and let the reader work it out from hints, maybe that's what you're doing. Similarly, I was intrigued by the barrel of cheese curds, as I don't know the cultural significance of this. This shows nicely how different this ancient culture was, so it's effective in that sense.
    Last edited by Alwyn; September 20, 2020 at 12:14 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Yep this story is kinda of a mess using a historical tone of writing as well as incorporating fantastical elements such as oracles and time travelers. I'm hoping to settle down for a more consistent style. Also, spoiler alert,

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    The Bosphoran marine that slaughtered the Pergamene marines trying to arrest Paerisades was a reprogrammed Terminator. How relevant the protector will be in the future I'll leave as a secret for now...


    Thanks for the feedback, I'll definitely give some hints as to what ancient words mean, instead of just throwing them out there. As for the cheese curds, it's nothing special . It was a common dish across the ancient mediterranean and I would imagine that the royal court would keep a barrel of that stuff for royal snacks and for dumping on rude guests.

  16. #16

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Also, I'll be switching over to anglicized versions of ancient words. Pyrrhos will become Pyrrhus, Epeiros will become Epirus, etc. Hopefully these would be more Google-friendly
    Last edited by Shoebopp; September 20, 2020 at 12:13 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    The Memphis Conference


    In the Summer of 270 BC, representatives from all nations forming the Ptolemaic Coalition made the hazard-less journey through the Carthaginian-patrolled Mediterranean to Alexandria before sailing down the Nile to the Hellenized city of Memphis. Among them are Hanno of Carthage (who somehow remained the War Leader through several consecutive winters...), Pyrrhus of Epirus (who left his surviving son Alexandrus to hold down the fort at Corinth), Paerisades of Bosphorus (who was accompanied by the sailor who had helped him resist arrest by the Pergamenes), Qenu of the Nabatu Empire, Areus of Sparta, Antipatros (the most loyal and thus the sole remainder of the Ptolemaic generals), and of course, the Ptolemaic King Ptolemy himself. With little time for pleasantries, as the latest reports speak of a grand Seleucid army marching from Damascus to Alexandria, the council convened to discuss the Ptolemaic Grand Strategy.


    The most important snippets of the heated but respectful discussions that followed are recorded below by the Ptolemaic scribe:


    "...negotiations with the ascending Sarmatians as well as the displaced Scythians were a success. The migration crisis was averted through a rather brittle promise to settle them in the plains of Thessalia, currently owned by the Antigonid Dynasty. I must apologize for over delivering to these nomads, but their aid, especially in the form of their mobile warfare for which the Antigonids are woefully unprepared, is essential in the short term. How to transfer these vast hordes to the frontlines, I do not know as of now, but two options are openfor consideration: either trek through Dacia, Thracia, and into Dardania, or journey by sea. Either way, heavy resistance by Antigonus's allies will surely follow..." - Paerisades II


    "...Romans seek to punish my ancestral homelands of Ambracia for which I am obligated to protect. My kingship is shaky - the confederation of Illyrian tribes and Hellenic city-states that I rule in the western Balkan coast will surely fall apart, and with it, a sizable portion of my resources, if I do not uphold my title as Liberator of Hellas. To avert this scenario, I request that a new front be opened against the Romans to distract them and to ensure that I may operate unhindered by extraneous worries. Hanno of Carthage, while our peoples have feuded in the past over the wrestling ground of Sicily, perhaps we could coordinate our efforts in the pursuit of compatible interests?" - Pyrrhus of Epirus


    "...our mercenary contacts remain strong indeed. The Ligurians of northwestern Italy are eager to contribute in any way towards resisting the encroaching Romans. The Celtiberians of central Spain flock to the docks of Mastia to enlist while the coastal Gauls of southern France yearn to add more heads to their morbid collections. Finally, our Numidian allies will provide their finest skirmishing cavalry which will prove useful in any tactical situation. The Ligurians, Celtiberians, and Gauls must be paid by your hands, I'm afraid, but it would be our pleasure to fund the Numidians to be deployed in the theatre of your choice." - Hanno of Carthage


    "...correct, we can purchase the great Pharoah Ptolemy some time. Our people are well versed in horse archery and desert warfare. Harrying the intruding Seleucids is child's play, but I'm afraid we are unable to directly confront such a war machine in open battle. I estimate that the harsh deserts and our bows will delay the Seleucid march by the tune of 2 years..." - Qenu of the Nabatu Empire


    "...WRONG. My calculations predict that the Seleucids will achieve landfall in the Nile in a matter of months unless additional forces are inputted into the equation. I suggest the deployment of Numidian cavalry into the Sinai Peninsula." - an upstart Bosphoran sailor


    "...who the hell is this, and what the hell is a Sinai?" - Qenu of the Nabatu Empire


    "...it would be wise to take into account the desires of the Greeks. Freedom has always been their goal, and they would give their life for such a word. Their loyalty to the Ptolemaic cause rests on our ability to liberate the Aegean city-states from Antigonid, Attalid, and Seleucid reigns. If we are to designate any theater of war as our primary focus, it should be the Aegean, and vast mobilization of patriotic Greeks would surely follow..." - Areus of Sparta


    "...my loyal agent Ploutus reported that his eastern negotations have proved inconclusive. As a note to us all: any strategizing must assume that no help from the East other than that of the swift and deadly Nabatu would arrive..." - Ptolemy II Philadelphus


    "...reports of Celts migrating south and east. Fortunately the Romans and the Antigonids lie in their path of destruction. We should consider refining the Celts' mode of attack rather then let this maelstorm wreak havoc on the entirety of the civilized world..." - Hanno of Carthage


    "...my affiliation with the Koinon Hellenon is but a loose one. Nonetheless, I fully believe that a more centralized fellowship of Greeks would unlock the full potential of a united Hellas. Kallippos Eleusinios has drafted the process for establishing such a confederation. The acquisition of one more city state that has reached Metropoleis-level development would lend our Koinon Hellenon more legitimacy. Though more of a side concern to the much more pressing issue of the defense of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, I can assure you all that the two are compatible. The ability to levy resources from a centralized Hellas will be a powerful tool in the future for all of our intersts... - Areus of Sparta


    "...may I interject to voice my bone to pick with the Kingdom of Pontus? It is essential for the survival of my Bosphoran Kingdom to eliminate this threat before it is realized. You may expect my nomadic allies to be less numerous initially - I intend to use a portion of them to complete the eradication of Pontus as quickly as possible. Any aid is appreciated, and will work in your favor as well..." - Paerisades II


    "...to address the elephant in the room [awkward laughter] the Seleucid army led by the oppressive King Antiochus himself descends upon the Nile as we speak. Although you all have your own justified interests, I implore, no, humbly beg of you to recouncil them with the defense of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. Our coffers are rich and our friendship proven - we will repay your contributions in kind..." - Ptolemy II Philadelphus


    "...with the few men at our command, and even with the conscription of the servile Machimoi class, we cannot possibly best Antiochus's finest army in an open battle until they have treaded through the Nabatu grinder. In the meantime I recommend we consolidate our forces in the Nile for an ultimate showdown against Antiochus..." - Antipatros Phillipou


    The Memphis convention concluded with the follwing strategem: the Ptolemies, the Nabatu, and imported Numidian horsemen will wage guerilla warfare against Antiochus's march of doom in the deserts of Syria to buy time. Meanwhile other Ptolemaic allies wage war to exhaust the Seleucid Coalition's resources until they sue to for peace. For example, Pyrrhos, utilizing all the resources that the Koinon Hellenon and the Epirote Kingdom could muster, would liberate Hellas from the Antigonid and Attalids. This would have the secondary effect of delegitimizing the Seleucid Empire's reputation as an ally. Areus is to "handle the business side," so to speak. He will convert the fragmented city-states of the Aegean into a centralized full-blown Koinon Hellenon, united in purpose. Finally, to help Pyrrhus concentrate on this task, the Carthaginians would divert the migrating Celts towards Rome, deploy mercenaries to raid Roman coastal settlements, and continue their stranglehold on the Mediterranean Sea. The conference concluded on a wildly optimistic note - all actors have agreed upon a strategem that will satisfy not only their own goals, but also the matter of safeguarding the future of the Ptolemaic Kingdom.


    However, a chess master never plays against an imaginary opponent, for the real opponent always wields a plan of his own. As the Ptolemaic Coalition set their plans into motion, the Seleucid Coalition discuss their own strategy in the Seleucid's Anatolian headquarters at Sardis.

  18. #18
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Sick Baby of TWC
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    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    The world is moving and the Ptolemies & Friends prepare for battle. The connecting of all these major players really gives a grand feeling to this story. This is not just some random war. Two large camps face off against each other with some wild cards (The Celts) thrown in the middle. Really enjoyable! I wonder what the Seleucids have in store.

    Chapter XXIX: Aldburg
    #JusticeForAkar #JusticeForCal #JusticeForCookie #JusticeForAthelchan



  19. #19

    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    Really enjoyable! I wonder what the Seleucids have in store.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Artificial. Landbridges. That's all I'll say until next week

  20. #20
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: World War 0 [Europa Barbarorum II]

    Good update, I enjoyed seeing the worries and hopes of the speakers and their reactions to each other, such as Qenu's reaction to the upstart Bosphoran sailor! Like Turk, I'm interested in how the actions of the Seleucids will affect the strategies of their enemies.

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