Author Topic: Out of the Great Abyss -- Ethiopia. World War One. HOI2:Darkest Hour AAR  (Read 21177 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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The two-part entry this afternoon will definitely answer that question. :)
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.


Offline JasonPratt

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Part 31 -- Out of the Abyss

January 23, 1916.

With ghastly calm, Emperor Iyasu the Fifth of Ethiopia summoned his ministers into his office that morning.

“Petar,” he began, “I thank you for your service. You and your people, and your Serbian allies, should flee as quickly as possible to the port at Galkacyo. Or to Mogadishu, if they’ll let you enter the province. My general Yimer there has been instructed to let you pass unharmed.

“I wish we could have given you a safer home until your home was restored. We will protect your retreat with our lives, as our honored guests.”

The European nodded. “You... you and your people have graciously welcomed us, despite some cultural and religious differences. I promise you: your charity will never be forgotten.”

“Speak well of us in your prayers, and to those you meet. That is all I can ask.”

“And, may I ask, what will you do?”

“I have made arrangements. Your... friend, Nicholas, has agreed to take my family with him, caring for them as his own, so that they will not suffer reprisals here.

“As for me... there is only one way that this will end in peace, now.”

The Emperor briefly glanced at the map of Ethiopia. This morning, our radio relays over the mountains and across the deserts had reported a fleet of capital ships waiting off the coast of Massawa. Twenty-five heavy-cannon ships had been counted, and over fifteen groups of smaller ships, up and down the coastline. And that was removing probable overlapping reports.



“The British can simply march their rested divisions into both our factory provinces, including the capitol city area here. We might be able to pull some divisions back to protect our capitol, but that would only give the British openings to advance from other directions and surround us more closely. We could possibly cut off the British advance from Djibouti for a time, but all they have to do is shell us off the coast and secure a line of advance. At worst, for them, their expeditionary assault force would face a rough few months before they reconnected with supply and fresh divisions -- who would be hitting us meanwhile as we tried to cut the assaulters off. Our military reserves are almost already exhausted: we only have reinforcements for maybe a month of combat more. We could save up supplies perhaps for a general mobilization, but only at the cost of crippling our industry fatally, hampering even what little power we have to kit new troops with weapons and other combat gear.

“Why should my people be asked to die for that?”

The Emperor took a deep breath. “Therefore, I will do what I planned, from the start, in case this happened.

“I will go in front of the people, as you carry away my family, and confess to being a murderer: a man who sacrificed the lives of my people, entrusted to my care by God, for money,” he twisted his mouth -- his ministers silently wept, some more freely than others -- I couldn’t tell for I could barely see. “I took the money and spent it overseas, investing it where it cannot be recovered now, in order to grow my own power in the world, trading the blood and sorrow of my people for worldly security.”

“...I know that isn’t true,” said Petar Plamenac, biting his lip.

“You must reassure my family, as must Nicholas -- but for the sake of our country, you and they must be silent!” Iyasu’s voice cracked as he struck his thigh with his fist. “The British must believe my people were deceived and acted on evil orders! -- and so must my people, to keep them from trying to fight the British further!”

The door to the office opened. Nicholas stood outside. “So... you will be reckoned with sinners to save your people? That is your plan? I heard you as I approached, wondering why no guards were posted outside.” He entered the room, shutting the door behind him. “Naturally, they could not be risked to hear this. Now I understand.”

“I will surrender myself to... to you,” Iyasu nodded, forcing the words from his throat. “My original plan, if worse came to the worst, was to let Mikael arrest me, having exposed my treacherous plot. He is still popular. They might accept his word. The British, however, might accept you more easily, a well-liked king with royal connections, as... steward over us.” Our Emperor trembled with shame, unable to look up from the floor any longer. “You can save our people. Mikael will support you.

“This is all I can do.

“Then, soon afterward, shoot me. After the people convene to judge me, of course. Make sure of the verdict.”

“You offer your country to me. Just like that. By your choice.”

“That, or have it ripped from me by the British over another several mountains of dead Ethiopians.”

There was silence, for a time. And for half a time again.

“I know few other kings or leaders, anywhere in the world, who would dishonor themselves like this to save their people further suffering. I did not,” said Nicholas the First, king of Montenegro.

Iyasu had seemed to stop breathing in his grief. He nodded and yet shook his head, at that remark: “My confession is true, in effect. My minister of ministers was right, whose peace I have also permanently ruined, for he never again can accept episcopal honors. He gave that away for our nation, for our people. Had I only agreed with him... Mikael, what hurts even more is that I know you’ll forgive me anyway...” Mikael couldn’t answer. “I am unworthy of your honor,” said our Emperor, “or even of your friendship. I cannot accept your forgiveness for what I have done to our people. But I can do this. This,” he said, standing up straighter, “is what I can do!

“Now let us go. Summon the press representatives. Come, I have one more duty to my people today! -- let us be doing it more quickly!!”

“I agree,” Nicholas said, standing away from the door to make way for our king, “if you will listen a moment more, to my advice.”

At noon we stood, still in shock, as Iyasu the Fifth stepped up on the mounted platform, in the middle of a gathered crowd, a single radio microphone propped up on a stand to catch his voice, to send it across our nation and to magnify it here, in Addis Abeba. Such miraculous technology; our fathers never had dreamed such dreams.

“My people,” said our Emperor, “today our struggle has ended...

“...IN VICTORY!!”

[Def-fan... zero. For now.]
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Part 32 -- According To What Light We Can See

When Yimer had first succeeded in making arrangements for the rescue of Nicholas I of Montenegro, the monarch had sent couriers to the Queen of Italy, his daughter. To put it delicately, the Italian king hadn’t married her for any grand political benefit, Nicholas being only a minor though popular king of a nation almost as tiny as Luxembourg, but because he was besotted with her many charms and talents.

She had been unable to persuade her husband to intervene in time to save her father, but Nicholas had asked her, considering where he was going, to work on convincing her husband to relinquish his claim on Ethiopia’s northern coast, so as to let us have our cultural unity once again and also a path to the sea.

Once open war broke out between us and Britain, the Italian Queen had promptly insisted upon an immediate visit to her peer the Queen of England; where, several weeks later, during her conversations on various topics, Nicholas’ daughter had opined that it was strange that British soldiers should be expected to fight and die against a nation that posed no immediate threat compared to, say, the Ottoman Empire. Not that she disagreed with the British desire to help their allies, the French and Italians, whose territory had been taken away, and certainly she sympathized with British outrage over their portions of the Upper Nile regions being invaded. But after all, those areas were traditionally Ethiopian, too, at least long ago; and as for the portions not so long ago, well, in her opinion her husband ought to give those back as a sign of good faith in a struggle against despotic annexation of weaker nations such as Serbia, Kuwait and Montenegro. Furthermore, she was prepared to stay there in Britain, or any other nation in the world that might accept her, and talk about this constantly to the press as well as to various political groups who might be interested in her opinion.

The Italian Queen, after all, had learned to play a weak political hand with maximum strength, from her father.

One thing led to another, and an agreement had been reached among the allies: Britian would get back Djibouti for the French, bringing French officials into the land, escorting a few French ships to the coast. British territory, where not yet taken back, would be promptly returned by Ethiopia, as would any Italian territory south along the Horn. Italy would not enforce, for an indeterminate period, its claims on what it called the coast of Etreria. Peace would not necessarily be formally granted to the Ethiopian monarch, but that would depend on his actions at this gesture, since after all he had made some propaganda speeches about wanting to rule over all the African continent -- the Italian Queen assured her husband and also British authorities, that she had it on good authority from her father, now harbored by the kind and merciful Ethiopian government, that the little African Emperor had only said such things to get his people ready to fight what he thought would be a hopeless battle against colonial powers combining together to stop his attempts at freeing his own people. Similarly, she said, this accounted for why he had taken Khartoum, but then had voluntarily marched away again without a fight.

This is what Nicholas told us before we left our Emperor’s humble office. A version of this, minus some unimportant details irrelevant to the people, was what Iyasu told his people in his proclamation of victory: we had earned the respect of Italy and her allies, who had larger wars to fight, and so we would give back various lands in order to keep our own -- including our northern coastline.

“You understand,” Nicholas gravely warned: “I only can manage this once. You must promptly do what I promised you would do. Otherwise, I’ll be on my yacht, safely guarded by a giant fleet of Entente capital ships, with or without your family in tow.” Nicholas had been given the news of the armistice arrangements by messengers from the fleet, once it arrived off-coast.

“You understand,” Iyasu gravely warned his ministers later, during a private celebration dinner, not including Petar: “Nicholas didn’t say so, but there is only one way that any of those monarchs would have agreed to that arrangement.” He paused to sip some evening toast, inviting further comment.

Habte looked confused, but Yimer nodded after a moment. “The European nations were promised that Nicholas would seize control of the region if necessary. Maybe even if we complied. Just not now. Later perhaps.”

“You understand,” Mikael added later toward the end of the meal. “You didn’t win this victory through war. Through war, you almost lost our nation instead.

“You won this victory only through your charity.

“Petar said they wouldn’t forget it.

“I hope that you don’t either.”

[Gamenote: your suspicions are correct. I totally hacked the gamesave code, to take away the ‘war’ that Britain was currently fighting with us. Just to be safe, I also tweaked our intervention score back to 6, which the game regards as neutral instead of 5 for no clear reason. I gamed it out as far as described by Iyasu in his expectations from the previous Part -- I just wasn’t ever going to have the wherewithal, no matter what I did, to convince the British to go away and do something else with their lives while I got stronger. Fortunately, I had already made plans in the plot to try this potential solution if things got apocalyptically bad; and I figured watching me be slowly ground away would get very boring. Trust me on that by experience. ;)

What will the world be like after WW1, though? -- how strong will we be by then, and what effect will that have when-if-ever war breaks out again?

We’ll see, after the appropriate timeskips! ;) ]

FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Some Fraternally Anticipated Questions meanwhile...

1.) Is this the end of the AAR? -- You'll know when the AAR is nearing its conclusion when the bat creatures and the lizard men start battling for world supremacy in the open. That answer seems safely ambiguous enough.

2.) Is the story going to get considerably more insane before the end? -- Not as far as you know; but if it does, I'll be sure not to spoil it ahead of time.

3.) Is this how I originally planned to end the story? -- Trick question.

4.) Is this how I originally planned to end... um... whatever just happened? -- No.

5.) Could I be a little more specific about that previous answer? -- Yes.

6.) Could I be a little more specific about that previous answer any time soon? -- Maybe.

Okay: this was one of my plans that I developed along the way for getting out of a game-ending defeat in-story. At least one of my other plans (maybe more) was also referenced in-story. I had others, too. I also had some plans in case I didn't suffer a crushing defeat. They may or may not possibly come into play later, so I don't want to talk about them yet.

One of the drawbacs to writing a narrative AAR is that up to a point I have to write what the game deals me, so I can't really make 'plans' too far ahead, I can only plan for possible eventualities. And then make specific tweaks to the game engine if I have to, but in a way that respects the game (as it has developed) and the engine.

7.) That sounds kind of like a working example of the theological position known as open theism. Am I an open theist? -- No. Though I probably would be if I was a Mormon. Look, you REALLY REALLY don't want me to get into talking about theology because I am entirely capable of blathering on about that for nearly nine hundred pages. Just stick with anticipated questions about the game, all right?

8.) Is my meandering discussion with myself a working example of how the two natures of Christ inter-relate in orthodox Christi--? -- NO! ...maybe. There's a lot of dispute about that. Probably not.

9.) Am I going to get back to the game now before this seems too much like some kind of sneaky tie-in with Easter Season? NO! ...wait, sorry, I meant maybe. And also probably not. Again. Or words to that effect. Wait, back up, let me start over.

I'm somewhere in late 1917 (if I recall correctly) in my playthrough right now. I'm keeping a few notes along the way, but I'm not sure at all that I'll use those notes for any narrative purposes. I have a distant expectation that I won't be starting the narrative back up in any primary way until somewhere around 1920 for reasons I'm not going to say because spoilers duh. But it might be later. Or a little earlier. I don't know yet because the game writes a significant chunk of the plot and the voices in its head haven't told me yet.

10.) How long will it take until the voices in my computer's head tell me to start the plot again? Trick question. Resubmit.

11.) How long will it take until I game up to 1920 or whatever? I don't know yet. Could be a few days, could be a couple of weeks. I've tried to tie off things nicely here in case I never get back around to gearing up the story again WHICH IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE and I do want to let readers who've gotten that far know about that possibility ahead of time.

Even then however I'll want to play forward far enough beyond where I find the plot worth starting up again, that I have leeway for narrative testing etc., just as I did before. So the answer is "whenever plus".

Hopefully that Q&A was helpful.  :D

And more seriously, thanks to anyone who enjoyed my tale enough to read this far along. Or who wanted to skip to the end and found this note. Whichever.  8) I really do intend to keep going for a while, but I'm unsure when (or by the nature of my own fickle attention span even if) I'll start releasing the next 'book' for want of a better word, and I wanted to let anyone getting this far know that.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 03:39:34 PM by JasonPratt »
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline Martok

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All I can think of to say at the moment is...fascinating.  That was definitely a unique way to end an AAR (if end it be). 

Thanks for the write-up Jason!  It's been fun following Iyasu & co.  :D 

"I just need to add enough bourbon." - mirth

"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
"I like to think of it not as an excuse but more like Pavlovian Response." - Sir Slash

"At our ages, they all look like jailbait." - mirth

"If we had lines here that would have crossed all of them. For the 1,077,986th time." - Gusington

"Government is so expensive that it should at least be entertaining." - airboy

Offline JasonPratt

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Weekend update: nothing. ;) I spent the weekend playing through the PS3 port of Arkham Origins: Blackgate, doing taxes, and playing with nieces.

So with love and death and taxes done, back to Ethiopia this week (I hope). :)


April 14th update: now played up through late 1918, nothing too exciting yet. I'll cover the relevant details in a Part or two when I pick back up again post-War, which is when I expect the craziness to ramp up substantially.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 06:26:57 PM by JasonPratt »
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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Added a couple of minor progress updates to the previous post, for anyone checking in new.

Nothing actually new since last night. I only spent ALL MY FREAKING TIME THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT BEFORE BED frantically trying to figure out what the hell I had done in tweaking my save files, to ruin my tech tree so much that I had eliminated by ability to research HQs.

This was all predicated on a completely false memory of having an HQ research branch on the tree.

Hours. Painfully frantic hours. Utterly wasted. Maybe worse than wasted because now I don't know what I might have done that might have broken my research in some real way.

I just needed to vent. Please accept this smiley indicative of my mood vs my wretched imaginary memory which is EVEN THIS VERY MOMENT cheerfully providing me A COMPLETELY FALSE PICTURE of the HQ research branch positioned high and a bit right of center on the infantry research panel.




(Incidentally, I finally figured out HQs are upgraded along the main land-doctrine trail, at least in DH.)
« Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 07:43:23 PM by JasonPratt »
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline OJsDad

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« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 02:29:50 PM by OJsDad »
'Here at NASA we all pee the same color.'  Al Harrison from the movie Hidden Figures.

Offline JasonPratt

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 8)

I have in fact been playing the game pretty faithfully (though off and on) for the past several weeks. But WW1 has dragged on into early 1923 with total stalemate on the western front, and I'm still peaceably growing Ethiopia down in my little corner of Africa so it would make awfully boring reading.

My tentative guess is that I'll post an update around August 1924 on the 'ten year' anniversary of the war's start. After that, if the war hasn't ended yet, I won't likely update until it does and I can turn on the craziness button.  :D (Darkest Hour WW1 doesn't have scripts past the War, and I'm a little fuzzy whether I can port a save game into the mod which bridges the WW1 scripts with the earliest pre-WW2 scripts, so I'll probably just go with flipping the switch that allows any nation to declare war on anyone whenever it sees fit.)
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline JasonPratt

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New update: with August coming up fast, I'm putting this campaign on hiatus while I begin the reason for why I played this campaign in the first place.

Specifically, I'm going to try to AAR several already-established WW1 games as Russia in parallel. (There are two more excellent looking strategic WW1 games on the way this year, but I'm doubtful I'll have them in time to try a parallel AAR with them. Maybe an expansion later.)

More to follow, hopefully, a couple of months from now, but I've already started trying to suss out what the hell I even have a chance of doing as Russia in Darkest Hour -- especially since I intend to start with the same strategy in each game and work out what happens from there. In DH that strategy seems... problematic. Though DH might actually let me do something very radical, which would make a ton more sense than any other typical Russian option in these games. But would I do it if I could? -- since doing so would run completely opposite to my intended plan for each game. Hmmm...

Less cryptic musings when I get around to it in another thread. Meanwhile, although I wouldn't call this AAR definitely dead I can't foresee restarting it any time soon since I'll be chugging along on the main project now.
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.

Offline Martok

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Parallel AAR's?  Interesting... 
"I just need to add enough bourbon." - mirth

"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
"I like to think of it not as an excuse but more like Pavlovian Response." - Sir Slash

"At our ages, they all look like jailbait." - mirth

"If we had lines here that would have crossed all of them. For the 1,077,986th time." - Gusington

"Government is so expensive that it should at least be entertaining." - airboy

Offline JasonPratt

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All in one thread for easier comparison (with screenshots of course), and so that I won't swamp the AAR list.
FIRE IN THE GROGS TOO -- a four-player full team mp of GMT's Vietnam War boardgame Fire in the Lake, recreated in TTS.

Me vs Barth -- DC1: Blitz

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR

The full pdf of Cry of Justice has been posted to the Grogheads Book category here.