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Thread: Tales from the Throne Room

  1. #1
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
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    Default Tales from the Throne Room

    The Throne Room is the place where we play collaborative and competitive games based around TW in its various incarnations. These have tended to take three forms: Hotseats, RPGs and Succession games. We have a steady nucleus of between 10 and 20 players across these various games and a strong sense of community centred around our shared belief that it’s fun to play TW campaigns with other humans.

    In this regular piece we will provide a selection of stories, interviews and game updates to showcase the Throne Room in all its glory as a special part of the Org which cannot be found elsewhere.

    Hotseats: A group of human players each control a single faction and fight for supremacy in a long campaign with a set of agreed rules. Most hotseats are played in M2TW and its various mods but RTW hotseats are also possible. The level of time commitment and RP involved can range from minimal to very involved depending on the game and the group involved but at a minimum players are expected to be able to play their turn with 48 hours notice.

    RPGs: A group of human players each control an in-game avatar such as a family member or agent of a single faction. A set of rules dictates the ownership of property and the political interactions between the characters, who vie for power and control while working together to expand the empire. The level of RP is usually very high and most activity occurs out of the game rather than on the campaign map. Players are expected to be available to move their avatars and fight battles within a set period (usually a couple of days) while also participating in debates and votes to settle in-game issues. RPGs have so far been played in RTW and M2TW and their various mods, but this kind of game is so flexible it can be played in all TW titles.

    Succession games: A group of human players take it in turns to control a single faction, passing the save to one another on completion of a set number of turns within the game. Sometimes the handover takes place at the death of the faction leader so that each player completes a ‘reign’ before passing the save to the next. It is possible to play succession games in most strategy games, including all TW titles and even other games such as EU3

    Having set the scene, in our next update we will showcase the games which are currently in progress, report on games which are currently recruiting for players and we will interview a prominent member of the Throne Room community.

    Welcome to the Throne Room!

    Zim and phonicsmonkey, Throne Room moderators

    (Graphics by Quirl al-Mustafa Mubarak)
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  2. #2
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
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    Default Tales from the Throne Room - Chapter One

    Welcome to Chapter One of our regular Throne Room update. Of course you've already seen our Introduction...In this edition we will attempt to tell the story so far of some of our current games. Then in subsequent editions we will provide updates.

    We'll also highlight games which are looking for new or replacement players and in our From the Vaults section we'll dig out some old classic stories from games of the past.

    We hope you enjoy our Tales from the Throne Room!

    Current Hotseat Games:

    Dogs of War: A Stainless Steel Hotseat

    This game started back in May 2009 so is approaching its second birthday and is played in version 6.2 of the popular Stainless Steel mod for Kingdoms. 47 turns have been played between 14 human players. This is the current grand-daddy of Throne Room hotseats and if we can keep it alive long enough (we're suffering from intermittent CTDs) we should be in for an exciting conclusion.

    The story so far is:
    - Hungary allies with HRE, Venice, Byzantines and Rus
    - Egypt gets really big really quickly and scares the bejesus out of everyone
    - France tries to get an anti-Egyptian alliance going, is frustrated by politics and turns isolationist
    - Venice allies with Turkey and Egypt, putting itself in opposition to Christian Europe
    - Turkey attacks Byzantines and hands Constantinople to Venice, angering Christian Europe further
    - Spain starts a war with the Moors, who are allied with Turkey and Egypt
    - Hungary takes out the remaning Byzantine settlements and Venice opportunistically joins in, angering the Magyar
    - France and England go to war
    - Hungary attacks Venice along with Sicily and HRE, wipes them out and takes Greece
    - England becomes a French vassal
    - Spain defeats the Moors
    - Turkey attacks Hungary in defence of Venice
    - Peace is negotiated between Turkey and Hungary
    - Turkey attacks Sicily and starts a war with HRE, Hungary, Rus and Sicily
    - Egypt joins in that war in support of Turkey
    - France and England attack Spain, get beaten back
    - HRE joins Iberian war in support of France/England
    - HRE, Rus and Hungary defeat Turkey

    And we're still playing. At this stage the Rus have the largest empire but the HRE are not far behind. Poor little Hungary (my faction) is sandwiched between them...

    If you want to know more, browse the in-character diplomacy thread or the story thread where we post AARs.

    Glorious Achievements: A M2TW hotseat

    This game is in the vanilla version of M2TW and has eleven players.

    The aim of the game is to complete, within the 40 turn time limit, as many achievements as possible. These are listed in the first post of the game thread. The idea being to incentivise a different style of play to the usual competitive hotseat game where all factions invade one another endlessly in a constant state of war. (Sounds fun, right?)

    We're only on turn 22 and so far most factions have simply expanded into rebel territory and started to build their infrastructure. However, the HRE began invading its neighbours, quickly defeating Denmark, Poland, Venice and Milan while deposing the Pope and seizing Italy. The invasion of Sicily was the final straw for the eastern factions of Hungary, Turkey and Egypt who have launched a joint attack on the HRE. Will the HRE's French and Spanish allies join the war? Or will a peaceful solution be found?

    Here is the diplomacy thread for this game if you would like some further reading.

    We'll feature some of our other games in the next chapter to bring you up to date with them all - then we'll provide regular updates on all of them so you can keep in touch with the battlefields!

    Currently Recruiting:

    If reading about those games gave you the appetite to join a hotseat game, here are the games which are currently looking for new or replacement players:

    - Dual Alliances: Double Jeopardy; needs a single player to take over the combined team of the Turkish and Moorish factions. Post in the game thread or pm TriforceV if you are interested.

    - Clash of Gods; a new game which will be a deathmatch between two teams, one of Catholic and one of Islamic factions, this game is looking for a number of new players. Post in the game thread or pm Myth if you are interested.

    - The Hotseat General Recruitment thread; post here if you want to announce your availability for hotseats or are recruiting for one.

    From the Vault:
    Here we will showcase some well-loved games and stories of the past.

    This week, Commanders of the Faithful, the first Broken Crescent hotseat at the Org.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Originally posted by rossahh
    Jerusalem, 1175 AD

    It was hot, very hot, just as it always seemed to be that way in this Kingdom. The man on the horse wrinkled his nose. The city always smelt terrible when it was hot. It made it hard to think, hard to concentrate - yet he needed to do both at the moment.

    Why have I been summoned? Why? he thought to himself. He had carried out his orders, the King's orders, yet he felt apprehensive. Gaza was taken and pillaged, all for the loss of but two knights. Indeed, he had still been carrying out the King's orders - March at best speed with the army to reinforce the army at Damascus - when the summons came.

    What had gone wrong? What did I do wrong?

    The King's chambers were just as they always were. Dark, cool, forboding. Standing proud and tall in the ante-chamber, the man waited, sweating from more than from just the heat outside.

    "Enter" said the soft voice.

    Entering through the curtains, the man came into the mix of darkness and candle-light. As always, it took a moment for the eyes to adjust to the drop in light before the figure on the cushioned couch came into focus. The figure was but an outline of a man, except for the eyes. The bright, shiny eyes pierced the newcomer and seemed to be searching him, reading him, judging him with their glance.

    Nervously, the man bowed low and whispered in a suddenly dry throat, "My Lord".

    For a moment, the figure did not stir. The eyes gazed silently back at the man. Finally, the soft voice spoke again, muffled from the mask, "Please sit down". The man quickly sat down, opposite the couch on which the figure lay. As he did, he noticed for the first time the multitude of papers scattered around the couch. Dozens of papers, parchments and letters, bearing all manner of seals and insignias.

    As soon as he had sat down, the man began, "My Lord, I most humbly apologise for any offence which..." The man was stopped midsentence by an upraised hand from the figure. In the hand was a document, a letter, bearing a seal not known to the man. The man's heart began to thud faster and faster as he watched the King unroll the letter. What was in it? Was this the reason I was summoned? Was it his execution?

    The soft voice spoke. "Jerusalem will not long survive in a war with the Muslims. Already, the Kingdom is divided. Of the northern states, only Tripoli answers to us. Edessa and Antioch have ceded and the Emir in Aleppo is openly hostile."

    The figure paused and the brandished the letter to the man,

    "But this is the future of Jerusalem. The Sultan and I have made peace."

    The man began to panic. If the King had made peace with the Muslims and I had attacked them, had I violated the pact? Had I destroyed the future of this Kingdom? His heart stopped beating.

    Unaware of the man's thoughts, the voice continued,

    "Damascus and Homs have been surrendered to us. The eastern borders are secure. Peace has been restored between Christian and Muslim."

    Relief flooded the man's body. He was able to breathe again, and his heart pumped blood once more.

    "You have played you part well, and we thank you for that. Though peace with the Muslims has been obtained, the future is not yet secure."

    The hand dropped the letter it was holding and picked up another. On this one was a seal that the man recognised. It was the seal of Joran, the representative of Jerusalem in the Court of the Caliph.

    "News from the court speaks of trouble brewing in the north. Beyond the northern counties, a threat is growing. The Takavor in Armenia, it seems, is pulling away from us and towards the Turks."

    The man frowned. The last that he had heard of Armenia was that were to be allies of the Kingdom. Strange that they would be courting the Turks against us. But perhaps I heard wrong. The man nodded to himself, it was quite some time ago that he had heard the stories about Armenia, after all.

    "With the situation in the north as is, we have set a task for you."

    The man ceased his musings about Armenia and focused on the eyes. Now that he knew his fate was safe, he was anxious to know what was to become of him now.

    "It is time to strengthen the northern border. The counties of Edessa and Antioch are to be returned to the control of the Kingdom. It is our desire that you march the army of Jerusalem to the north and reassert our claim on the northern counties. Tripoli will assist you with whatever troops they can spare."

    The man smiled at the mention of Tripoli. His uncle was a good soldier and campaigning with him was always a joyous affair. However, he frowned as he thought about what the King had first said. He saw a flaw in the King's plans, and felt he had to say something, yet he didn't know how to phrase it without offending the King. Tentatively, he inquired.

    "My Lord, what if Antioch and Edessa reject your demands?"

    The King's head tilted to the side. The eyes gazed intently at the man.

    "Then you will force the demands upon them."

    The voice had not changed in volume but there was an intensity in that sentence that frightened the man. The King is not one to be trifled with, I see the man thought to himself. How appearances can be deceiving.

    The man waited for the King to say more, but he did not utter another word and just gazed at the man. The man understood that he was dismissed and so stood up, bowed and said, "It will be done My Lord".

    The eyes twinkled back at him and the soft voice said, "Yes, we know it will."

    A shiver went down the man's spine, and not from being in the cool room. Suddenly, he felt afraid again. He quickly turned to stride out of the room. As he did, he noticed something strange. The King had a third letter next to him, one that he didn't show the man. Though he couldn't see much of it in the dim light, from his angle it seemed the letter bore the official seal of the Roman Emperor. The man paused and looked back at letter, before leaving the room. Strange that he didn't mention that seeings they are one of our northern neighbors. It must not be important...

    And so the army marched north, the man on the horse in the lead, its purpose clear.

    The Kingdom would be united again under one banner.

    Last edited by phonicsmonkey; 05-06-2011 at 04:36.
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  3. #3
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
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    Default Tales from the Throne Room - Chapter Two

    Welcome to Chapter Two of our regular Throne Room update. In this chapter we will continue to tell the story of some of our current games. Then in subsequent editions we will provide updates.

    We'll also highlight games which are looking for new or replacement players and in our From the Vaults section we'll continue to bring you stories from past classic games.

    We hope you enjoy our Tales from the Throne Room!

    Current Hotseat Games:

    The Levantine Struggle
    This is a five-player hotseat in the Kingdoms: Crusades campaign. The game has reached the 14th turn and so far the notable event has been that the city of Jerusalem has fallen to the Egyptians. How will the Crusader states respond to this challenge? Further north the Turks have abandoned their Anatolian holdings to the Byzantines and re-located further east around Baghdad. Will they rebuild and attempt to push west once more?

    For more, browse the AAR and diplomacy threads.

    Unification of the Isles
    This is a five-player hotseat in the Kingdoms: Britannia campaign. The game has reached the 17th turn and a bitter war is raging between England versus Wales and Ireland. In the north, the Norsemen have defeated the Scots and have laid claim to their territory.

    For more, check the diplomacy thread.

    The Frozen North

    This is an eight-player hotseat in the Kingdoms: Teutonic campaign which has been slightly modified to make Norway playable by a human player. The game has only reached turn 6 but already Novogord has been eliminated by the Danes while the Teutonic Order wages war on the pagans of Lithuania.

    Currently Recruiting:
    If reading about those games gave you the appetite to join a hotseat game, here are the games which are currently looking for new or replacement players:

    - Clash of Gods; a new game which will be a deathmatch between two teams, one of Catholic and one of Islamic factions, this game is looking for a number of new players. Post in the game thread or pm Myth if you are interested.

    - The Hotseat General Recruitment thread; post here if you want to announce your availability for hotseats or are recruiting for one.

    From the Vault:

    Here is where we showcase some well-loved games and stories of the past.

    This chapter we’ll continue the story of Commanders of the Faithful, the first Broken Crescent hotseat at the Org.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Caliph's Dream
    Originally posted by phonicsmonkey, March 2008

    The Caliph dreamed.

    He was one of a multitude surging through the narrow lanes of the bazaar in Baghdad.

    There were men there of every country in the world, their stalls, carts and trays overflowing with the bounty of the earth.

    Exotic dyes, spices and reams of cloth of every hue and texture dazzled the eye. Food sizzled on grills and bubbled in pots, and an array of odours assailed his senses. Music came flooding from every direction, strange and haunting melodies that spoke of foreign lands long distant.

    He left the bazaar and passed through the city.

    In a square shaded by date palms he saw a throng of holy men engaged in lively debate. There were men of Muhammad and men of Christ, men of the Hindu gods and many more he could not recognise. They smiled and embraced each other as they spoke, and seemed to come to an agreement.

    Past the square were the city gates, through which came a procession of carts loaded with freshly harvested produce. The line of carts stretched down the road to the horizon, and flanking the road on either side were fields of green crops and dark, earthy loam which seemed loaded with the promise of an endless fertility.

    As he passed through the streets of the city it seemed to him that the people lived their lives in peace and harmony, unthreatened by war, hunger or religious oppression. He saw no signs of sickness or poverty, and no man he saw carried weapons.

    Looming over the city was the Royal Palace. Now he was at the foot of the great stone staircase which led to the giant golden doors. Looking up he saw in front of the doors, seated on a dazzling throne the figure of an old man, the Caliph. Surrounding the Caliph were children of the city, seated at his feet and listening intently to his words.

    He started to climb the stairs but as he placed his foot on the next step he slipped and, teetering for a moment trying desperately to regain his balance, he met the Caliph’s eyes and fell.

    The Caliph awoke in his chamber. As he sat up on his hard cot the room seemed to be very dark and cold.

    An unfamiliar rattling sound came from the darkest corner of the room. He heard the chattering of voices in an alien tongue, and harsh laughter rang out.

    As his eyes adjusted he saw that there was a gaming table set up in the room, around which clustered a group of djinns. They were casting dice and gambling with pieces of gold.

    He rose from the cot and approached the table as quietly as he could, shocked and overcome by the fearsome sight.

    As he drew closer he saw that the surface of the table was a map, with the Caliphate and all the surrounding nations marked on it. The djinns were moving small squirming figures around on the map and seemed to be forcing them to fight.

    In the part of the table which showed Azerbaijan a tiny knight on a white charger struggled with a giant eagle which tried to bear him aloft.

    The djinns cackled and clucked at the sight.

    The Caliph was no longer fearful but overcome with rage – he overturned the table in his anger, scattering the dice, gold and playing pieces on the floor, shouting and waving his arms at the djinns to shoo them from his chamber.

    With a start they threw open the shuttered window and, grabbing his arms, bore him aloft from the tower and out over the city streets.

    Below him Baghdad was aflame - the people rioted in the streets burning effigies, spurred on by the hateful diatribes of Imans. Sick and starving children roamed in packs stealing from beggars and tormenting mothers who wailed after their dying infants.

    A host was at the gates, pounding on them with a great battering ram with the head of an ox. Behind them and to the horizon the land was scorched and barren under skies filled with black smoke.

    The djinns bore him higher into the air as he struggled and wailed for release. Now he was miles above the earth and looking out into the east across the great desert.

    On the horizon he saw gathering dark clouds and flashes of lightning.

    Across the desert, from the east towards the city, great twisting sandstorms came, fifteen in number, tearing the palms from the earth and destroying all trace of life in their deadly path.

    The Caliph awoke in his chamber which was bathed in the warm morning sunshine.

    Interesting, he thought.

    He meditated on the dream as he performed his morning prayers on the reed mat by the window. Afterwards he sat in a chair, lost in thought until a knock on the door interrupted his reverie.

    The Vizier entered, with a pair of manservants, one bearing a tray of dates and unleavened bread, the other with the Caliph’s robes.

    ‘My lord Caliph, the Court is assembling. It is said that the Georgians and the Seljuks will today announce the peace that you have brokered between them.’

    ‘That is excellent news old friend. I will attend Court presently to hear the announcement. Have the palace ghulams prepare a feast for our guests.’
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  4. #4
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
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    Cometh the hour, Cometh the Caliph

    Default Tales from the Throne Room - Chapter Three

    Welcome back to Tales from the Throne Room!

    In Chapter Three we will focus on Role Playing Games (RPGs), provide some news regarding Hotseat games and dig out another favourite story From the Vault.

    What is a Role Playing Game?

    Current Role Playing Games:

    We have two RPGs currently in play in the Throne Room. We support our RPGs by providing dedicated sub-fora for the multiple threads that each game requires. These are linked in the game titles below. Both RPGs are open to new players subject to the availability of avatars. If you are interested in joining a game click on the link and post in the relevant sign-up thread. We’d love to see you there!

    Kings of the Nile (KotN) is a roleplaying game where players control the Ptolemaioi faction from the Europa Barbarorum mod for RTW. Currently there are 12 players.

    The Gamesmaster (Ibn-Khaldun) has played the first 3 years in the game to provide a more challenging and interesting starting point. When the game started the Ptolemaioi faction had lost 2 settlements. However, now the players have started hitting back by reconquering their lost lands.

    The game has a different civil war system than the previous EB game "Will of the Basileus" or other Throne Room games like LotR, KotR etc. The intention is to encourage Player vs Player (PvP) online battles. The game rules also allow players to create their own kingdoms...if they can survive the wrath of the Basileus of course!

    Other new features are Private Units and Private Funds. Players can use their own finances to recruit their own private army. Whether it is used to against the enemies of the faction or against other players is up to them.

    Vassals and Valour (V&V) is an RPG set in Medieval Europe, using Lands to Conquer Gold, a mod for M2TW.

    In V&V players take control of a noble in the Holy Roman Empire. After an initial Civil War period the Gamemaster (Cecil_XIX) played through 10 turns to provide a more challenging setting for the now nominally unified Holy Roman Empire to rebuild in after the devastating internal war it survived. Nobles of the Empire squabble and jockey for position politically to improve the position of their House. They can't afford to alienate their fellows too much, however, for beyond their borders enemies wait at all sides to redress past wrongs. Even if their immediate neighbors are taken care of, Austrian expansion to the east has drawn the attention of a massively powerful Turkish Empire...

    Arguably V&V's most distinctive feature over past RPGs is a completely revamped system for province control and recruitment. Players have complete control over their lands deciding where every florin earned in them goes and who else (if anyone) can recruit from them, giving them much more autonomy than ever before. External threats and the power of the Emperor have thus far held the Empire's nobles together, but at any moment one or more of them could attempt to better their position by warring with their fellows.

    Current Hotseat Games:

    Dogs of War is now completed, with the Kievan Rus (controlled by Nightbringer) as the winner. Congratulations Nightbringer on your victory!

    Since our last update two new hotseat campaigns have begun, both using Stainless Steel 6.4:

    Clash of Gods is a match between two teams, one of Catholic and one of Islamic factions. The object of the game is for the winning team to secure certain target territories from deep within enemy territory. The game is only on the second turn but already there has been a battle between the Spanish and the Moors, resulting in first blood for the Catholic team.

    Wrath of the Khan 2 is a game in which everyone teams up against the Mongol invasion. The game has been rolled forward to the time of the Mongol invasion and non-Mongol factions allocated randomly amongst the players. The object of the game is to defeat the Mongols (played by yours truly) and to gain a certain number of territories from one or more of the other non-Mongol players. For the Mongols it is relatively simple: invade and destroy all who stand in their way! The Great Khan will arrive after a grace period of one turn and the battle for the Middle East and Europe will begin…

    There are no hotseats currently recruiting for players but if you are interested in joining or hosting a game post in the Hotseat General Recruitment thread and we’ll see what we can organise. It’d be great to see you in the Throne Room!

    From the Vaults

    In the theme of RPGs, this time we bring you a story from the grandfather of Throne Room RPGs, King of the Romans (KotR). KotR ran for 16 months and at its peak had over 20 players involved in the game.

    This story was selected by GeneralHankerchief, who had this to say about it:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    If there was one story that could truly set the stage for KotR's epic final act, this one would be it. For decades, a shadowy conflict had been brewing behind the scenes in the game, even as the Reich burned and were beset on all sides by enemies. The Brotherhood of the Illuminati, a secret society consisting some of the most prominent Imperial nobles, had been vying for more and more power in the name of saving the Reich from itself. However, some would say that this was all a sham and that they only sought power for its own sake, and many would say that their motives for gaining such power were harsh, potentially even too harsh.

    Working against the Illuminati was a small faction of nobles, including the late Kaiser Elberhard, a chivalrous if not very authoritative man who always tried to do the right thing. By the time of this story Elberhard had been dead for some years, having fallen in one of the many battles in Italy against the Byzantine Empire. However, this story depicts the experience of one of Elberhard's aides as he flashes back to his master's dealings with the Illuminati over the years and wrestles with an agonizing choice of what to do with a certain piece of information. This information comes in the form of an escaped prisoner; one who knows a deadly secret regarding the Illuminati and a murdered Emperor, a secret which if revealed could throw the Reich into an utter civil war and spell the end of everything.

    Providing a revealing look at the previous events and foreshadowing KotR's deadly and tragic conclusion, I could not think of a better story that sums up the intrigue and political maneuvering that King of the Romans was all about.

    And here it is, The Sins of the Past, originally posted by econ21
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    A village south of Frankfurt, 1364.

    “He was trying to knife me!” the fat farmer pointed indignantly at the vagabond.

    Jacobus Stoyan made no attempt to break free from the Teuton’s steel grip. The knights were all around him. It was hopeless. The brief burst of sunlight he had enjoyed was drawing to a close. As the skies darkened around him, the prospect of further pain and imprisonment loomed. The approaching shadow of death appeared almost inviting. But self preservation prevailed.

    “I have information … important information. I demand to speak to your Komtur. I will not talk to anyone else.”

    The Ritterbruder leading the Teuton initiates looked at his bedraggled captive and laughed: “By God, what makes you think I would waste the Komtur’s time with your jabbering?”

    The Teuton looked at the broken eggs around Jacobus. “It is obvious that you are a common thief.”

    He picked up Jacobus’s cruel dagger and studied it, before gesturing at the fat farmer: “This good man says that you tried to kill him. I should just have you hung as a small contribution to making Franconia safe for decent people.”

    The cataclysm and the invasion of the Catholic Alliance had led to a wave of violence throughout Franconia. However, sponsored by successive Chancellors, the Teutonic Order was expanding out from Frankfurt - slowly pacifying the countryside, even as it sent waves of new recruits to the frontline armies. The Ritterbruder glared at Jacobus - seeing in his feral form everything the Teutonic Order was struggling against. Impatiently, he drew his sword and moved towards the prisoner.

    “Damn it, why waste good rope …”

    Jacobus watched the blade emerge gradually from the Teuton's scabbard as if time itself was slowing. His instincts urged him to fall to his knees, to beg for mercy. But Jacobus had been in battle. A higher part of his brain told him that those who were easiest to execute were the men who prostrated themselves, who threw away their dignity. Killing them was no harder than butchering animals. No, the ones who soldiers spared were the noble and the brave. Jacobus met the Ritterbruder in the eye and took a deep breath:

    “I am a soldier, a Captain of Mercenaries. I would not deign to try to kill one so unworthy as him.” He gestured at the fat farmer. “Yes, I have seen better times. But has not Franconia herself? And indeed the Reich? Yes, I stole the farmer’s eggs. I was starving and he, evidently, is not. Yes, I have committed a crime … but not one that warrants summary execution.”

    The Ritterbruder paused, reassessing his prisoner. “This information you spoke of…?”

    “I have documents … evidence of matters of state that are of the gravest importance. But I will only speak to your Komtur.”

    Documents. The word seemed to deflate the Ritterbruder and he visibly lost interest in his quarry. Documents. Who among the Brotherhood stationed nearby could read, still less want to do so? Although supposedly a monastic order, the Teutons were recruiting men for the strength of their sword arms rather than any monkish learning. Then a thought occurred to the Ritterbruder. Captain Jan! Formerly of Kaiser Elberhard’s retinue, the veteran Teuton was often to be found reading some obscure manuscripts stashed away in the bowels of the castle.

    “I will not trouble my Komtur with your fantasies. But there is one brother who may wish to indulge you.”


    Captain Jan looked from the Ritterbruder to Jacob’s documents and back again with scarcely concealed excitement. It had been so long since he had been asked to do anything, however mundane or trivial. The death of his master, Kaiser Elberhard, at Bologna had led to an immediate collapse in Captain Jan’s fortunes. Without his patron, Captain Jan was merely a figure of mirth and contempt in the Reich - famous for being the hero who had bravely escorted the Reich’s treasury into the hands of the traitor Empress Theodora. The Teutonic Order had provided shelter, but offered him little work except overseeing the efforts of the Diendebruders. These young recruits were assigned with pacification duties and law enforcement as an initiation to the Teutonic Order before they were deemed ready to send into battle. An aging, grey haired veteran such as Captain Jan was seen as a suitable person to help mentor them.

    “So you will do it?” the Ritterbruder asked, as if Jan’s willingness to read the documents and interrogate Jacobus only confirmed everyone’s views that the Captain was the saddest excuse for a Teuton in the castle.

    “Yes, yes. These seals … they are important documents. Leave them to me.”

    “And this one?” The Ritterbruder gestured at Jacobus. “Shall I have him thrown in the dungeon until you are ready?”

    Jacobus tried not to flinch at the suggestion.

    “No, no … sit him down there…” said Captain Jan absentmindedly, before seeing the poverty of his accommodation - he was not accustomed to having a guest in his quarters. “Oh, better bring another stool in here. I will talk to him in a minute, when I have finished reading … my God…”

    “What is it?” asked the Ritterbruder.

    “Leave him here and go.” said Jan, a hard edge entering his voice. And then he looked up at the Ritterbruder. “Believe me, brother, you are better off not knowing.”


    Captain Jan studied the documents for a long while and then finally looked up at Jacobus, aghast - as if the itinerant mercenary were an ancient and terrible shade from Hell.

    It was all coming back to Jan, nightmarish things he had buried and tried to forget. But here was Jacobus, like a ghoul, uncovering the hideous corpses of the past.

    Jan drew out a parchment from his own desk. A note he had long kept safe, one entrusted to him by Elberhard, his now deceased master, who at the time was Prinz. Jan compared the hand writing on the note passed on from Elberhard with that on some of Jacobus’s documents. He had hoped for the handwriting to match, but no - no powerful secret society could be expected to expose itself so carelessly.

    “What’s that?” Jacobus asked, innocently, looking the parchment Captain Jan had drawn out.

    Jan shook his head. “It does not matter.”

    He hurriedly put the parchment back inside his desk, closing it firmly, as if hoping to rebury what was best left undisturbed. But it was too late.

    Jan’s mind drifted back, as if reliving a recurrent nightmare. The parchment he had stored away had been passed on by his master, then Prinz, who in turn had received it on the eve of the last Diet before the cataclysm. It was a strange note, sent by a mysterious Order of the All Seeing Eye, advising the Kaiser to sideline his brother Hans and his ally Jan von Hamburg.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Greetings Prinz Elberhard,

    It has come to our attention that Kaiser Siegfried is currently unavailable for contact due to matters of a private nature. Though we have preferred to deal with him directly in the past, we simply cannot allow this state of affairs to disrupt the relationship we have built with him. As you are known to still be in contact with the Kaiser, we are contacting you in the hope that you will, in turn, convey the following words to him:

    The Order notes that in the upcoming Diet session, the Kaiser will be required to appoint two Electors to office: the traditional appointment of King of Outremer and, as a result of Frederich Scherer's resignation, the next Duke of Swabia. While this has not been part of our previous negotiations, we feel that we have proven our abilities to the Kaiser and stand ready to do what he has asked of us in the near future. Accordingly, we believe it would be only proper for the Kaiser to take our opinions into consideration when choosing the next occupants of these posts.

    Regarding the King of Outremer, Jan von Hamburg has caused much conflict between the Eastern provinces and the Duchies. We believe that a more neutral and less controversial man would better serve the interests of the Reich during the coming term. There are already several of these to choose from in Outremer. Regarding the Duke of Swabia, Frederich Scherer was an exceedingly fair and impartial Duke, but his chosen successor, Hans, is not cut from the same cloth. If he is appointed Duke, the fractures and rivalries between the Houses will likely only intensify. Once again, for the good of the Reich as well as Swabia itself, we believe that a Swabian with a slightly less biased history would be a better choice for Duke.

    Prinz Elberhard, it is regretful that our first formal communication must be in the nature of a simple courier request. Perhaps in the future we will find the opportunity to deal with you personally. If you wish to contact us, either to convey a response from the Kaiser or for your own reasons, you may reach us by leaving a note behind the paupers' grave marker in the cemetery at the Church of St. Maximillian in Rome.

    What had shocked Captain Jan, and the Kaiser, most had been the politeness and matter of fact nature of the note. As if the new Kaiser should have recognised immediately that his job was to bow to the wishes of this secret Order. The Kaiser had not been long in identifying suspected members of this Order - starting with those who had most to gain from Hans and Jan von Hamburg not being appointed to the positions of power that they were due. As the suspects endorsed and supported each other, they spun a dance that drew in new suspects and strengthened the Kaiser’s existing suspicions.

    Of course, the inaugural note had seemed innocent compared to the subsequent assassination of Kaiser Siegfried. Elberhard, Hans and Jan von Hamburg had quickly surmised that the secret Order of the All Seeing Eye were behind his assassination. However, they had no hard evidence for this belief. Hans’s investigation of the death implied it was the work of a prominent Bavarian, but Duke Lothar of Bavaria had quickly launched his own inquiry - fingering the Milanese and the Assassin’s Guild. The trail had gone cold, as cold as the corpses of the Milanese aristocrats Lothar had accused. With no solid evidence for their heinous accusations, Elberhard and Hans had been forced to remain silent for fear of public ridicule. At times even Captain Jan wondered if it were all paranoid delusions.

    Elberhard had attempted to use Peter von Kastilien to infiltrate the Order, to provide the evidence he needed to uncover the secret Order as Siegfried’s murderers. Captain Jan had been present as Elberhard offered Peter a trade while the rebel was imprisoned in Rome - freedom and the future Imperial crown in return for Peter’s services against the Order. But while the new Prinz had proved eager to seek out his brother’s killers, the killers were less keen to seek out the Prinz. The plan failed miserably.

    But the cataclysm had re-opened the wound. Elberhard had duelled Lothar in a proxy war for Swabia. But in the minds of many of the “Swabian loyalist” protagonists - Elberhard, Hans and Jan von Hamburg - it had not been a war for Swabia. Still less was it a war of Catholicism against Lutheranism. Instead, it had been a war against the secret Order. The war had ended with the fratricide at Bern and subsequent death of Hummel at Staufen. But while the conflict had been a victory for the Swabian loyalists, the wider conflict with the Order had merely been a draw. Captain Jan still had a copy of the terms of the ceasefire sent by Lothar to Elberhard.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Quote Originally Posted by Lothar Steffen
    Kaiser Elberhard,

    Welcome back to civilization. I regret to report that it is not in as good as shape as it was when you were last here, but it is certainly doing better than Outremer.

    I will get right to the point. You and I seem to have been fighting a proxy war in Swabia. You supported your brother, and I have supported those who wished to overthrow him. The situation is now resolved, and my allies have been defeated. However, your brother and Jan von Hamburg were both killed in the process, depriving you of two very influential supporters.

    You may have emerged the victor from this round, but we are still evenly matched, you and I. If you attempt to move against me, I will defend myself with all my power. I assure you, that power is great and I have many allies. It would benefit neither of us to engage in such a war when the Reich is already so weak. So, I would like to propose a ceasefire in this quiet little war of ours.

    Given your side's victories in Swabia, it is only proper that I give the greater concessions. I am not a fool and I know when I must accept some humbling. Therefore I propose the following terms:

    1) Nuremburg is to be returned to Imperial control and will serve as the capital of the Reich and the home of the Diet until such time as Rome is recaptured. When Rome is regained, Nuremburg will be returned to Bavaria.

    2) Neither Duke Lothar Steffen nor Kaiser Elberhard will speak ill of the other in public or attempt to make the other accountable for previous actions. The past will remain in the past.

    If you agree to these terms, I will pay proper homage to you as Kaiser of the Reich and work with you to regain what we have lost. If you do not, I will rally my allies and prepare for war.

    Please know that this offer of mine is an attempt to do what is best for the Reich; it is not an admission of defeat on my part, nor is it an expression of absolute loyalty to your person. You may believe me to be a criminal, but I think of you in the same way. It was Siegfried and his mad unification plan that brought this all about, not me. You aided him in his crimes and are as guilty as he was. Good and evil, right and wrong, are all a matter of perspective, my dear Elberhard.

    So, shall it be peace, or war?

    Lothar Steffen
    Duke of Bavaria

    So, Elberhard had chosen peace. Better to save the Reich, he had argued, than tear it apart in a continued struggle against the illusive Order. Captain Jan grew pale. Now the choice that Elberhard had faced was confronting him. He looked up at Jacobus. Kill him. Burn the documents. No one need know. The Reich could continue undisturbed. She was weak and sick, but growing stronger. Let her rest, regroup and recover. Forget the past. Honour Elberhard’s wishes.

    And yet, Elberhard was dead. His brother, Hans the fighter, was dead - murdered in cold blood by a man he believed to be an agent of the sinister secret Order. Something hardened inside Captain Jan. He remembered what Jan von Hamburg had said when Elberhard had pleaded for restraint. Elberhard had begged Jan von Hamburg to try to save the Reich by avoiding escalating the Swabian conflict and bringing in more of the Order’s supporters out in the open alongside Duke Lothar. But Jan von Hamburg had hauntily retorted that a Reich built on compromise with the hated Order would not be worth saving.

    Captain Jan looked up, his face set. His master, Elberhard, had been a good man but ultimately a politician. Elberhard's foul language and bluff manners did not conceal the fact that he was as keen on compromise and harmony as his father Henry. But Captain Jan was not a politician. He was a soldier of God. He would do what was right, even if the world burned as a result.

    Jan spoke: “Jacobus, I believe you. And when they read these documents, the Kaiser and Chancellor will believe you too. I will send them on immediately.”

    Jacobus heart leapt: “And what of me?”

    Captain Jan contemplated the figure in front of him. Another soldier like himself, who had seen better times. Whose life had been ruined by being ensnared in crimes not of his design.

    “You hail from Bohemia, do you not? I will send you to Count Becker. I believe he is an honest man and may be seen as impartial in this matter. He will keep you safe from the reaches of Duke Lothar. And one day you will be called to testify. When that day comes, your voice will carry more weight if you are sheltered within neutral Prague and not a vengeful Franconia.”

    Jacobus stood up, eagerly - for the first time in many years, his future seemed bright. Captain Jan ruefully watched the man’s rise in spirits. If Jacobus’s future was bright, would it not merely be from the glare of the flames that were about to consume the Reich?

    (graphics by Quirl, words by phonicsmonkey and Zim)
    frogbeastegg's TWS2's here!

    Come to the Throne Room to play multiplayer hotseat campaigns and RPGs in M2TW.

  5. #5
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Cometh the hour, Cometh the Caliph

    Default Tales from the Throne Room - Chapter Four

    Welcome back to Tales from the Throne Room, our regular piece on the Org's community of hotseat and RPG gamers!

    In this Chapter Four we'll invite you to join our new Total War: Shogun 2 RPG, provide an update on hotseat and RPG games in progress and share another of our favourite stories From the Vaults.

    Total War:Shogun 2 RPG in development

    Yes, you heard right! We're launching the Org's first RPG based in TWS2. We have several players signed up already but room for more so if you are interested in joining this game register your interest here and contribute to the discussion. We'd love to see you in the Throne Room!

    Current Hotseat Games:

    The Levantine Struggle
    This is a five-player hotseat in the Kingdoms: Crusades campaign. The game has reached the 29th turn, the Fatimid Egyptians have been eliminated and the Turks are looking wobbly. With Jerusalem crippled by the long war with the Fatimids the major powers are the Byzantines and Antioch, who now face off for the ultimate victory...

    For more, browse the AAR and diplomacy threads.

    Unification of the Isles
    This is a five-player hotseat in the Kingdoms: Britannia campaign. It's turn 33 and the game appears to be entering the final stages. Wales and Ireland have taken some heavy hits in the most recent turn and for now it looks like the dominant English-Norwegian alliance will win out.

    For more, check the diplomacy thread.

    The Frozen North
    This is an eight-player hotseat in the Kingdoms: Teutonic campaign which has been slightly modified to make Norway playable by a human player. The game has now reached turn 6 and we are down to five remaining factions: the HRE and Teutonic Order are allied and at war with Denmark and the treacherous Mongols. These two alliances look fairly matched and the war to decide the game should be a bloody and close-fought one. Poor Norway is holding on for now...just!

    Glorious Achievements: A M2TW hotseat
    This game is in the vanilla version of M2TW and started with eleven players. The aim of the game is to complete, within the 40 turn time limit, as many achievements as possible. These are listed in the first post of the game thread. We're on turn 36 so this game has four turns left to run. A war has been raging between Hungary, Turkey and Egypt on one side versus France, the HRE, Spain and England on the other. After an initial series of successes for the eastern alliance they were pushed back, losing Italy and much of Greece to the westerners. It appears that all seven remaining factions will survive to the 40 turn finish line and the question is now how many achievements has each faction been able to gather while at war?

    Clash of Gods
    This is a match in the Stainless Steel 6.4 mod between two teams, one of Catholic and one of Islamic factions. The game has progressed to its eighth turn, a crusade has been called on Moorish-held Silves and the Moorish Caliph has fallen in battle.

    Wrath of the Khan 2
    This is a game in which everyone teams up against the Mongol invasion. The game has been rolled forward to the time of the Mongol invasion and non-Mongol factions allocated randomly amongst the players. So far, by turn 5, the Great Khan's horde has exterminated the cities of Khiva, Urgench and Konjikala, killing 50 thousand civilians and 7 thousand of the Khwarezm Shah's finest troops in the process. Rumours have reached the Khan's ears that a group of nations are pooling their resources against him...the open question is, what is the Khan's intention? And exactly how many reinforcements are on their way from the far east to bolster his horde?

    For more, check the diplomacy and story threads.

    New hotseat games:

    With so many games reaching their end it's time for a new generation of hotseat games to start.

    End of the Third Age
    This is a team match in the Third Age Total War mod. The Free Peoples and the Servants of Sauron will clash in war until a series of target cities is acquired by either side. The game has just started and we watch this one with interest!

    Coming up soon will be a new Stainless Steel 6.4 grand campaign hotseat and with the Kingdoms games winding up we'll probably replace them with more of the stay tuned and join a game!

    There are no hotseats currently recruiting for players but if you are interested in joining or hosting a game post in the Hotseat General Recruitment thread and we’ll see what we can organise. It’d be great to see you in the Throne Room!

    Current RPGs:

    Kings of the Nile (KotN) is a roleplaying game where players control the Ptolemaioi faction from the Europa Barbarorum mod for RTW.

    The number of active players is now three, so if you are interested in joining this game and the war against the accursed Seleucids, post here and join the fight!

    From the Vaults:

    This time we're going to continue the story of the first Broken Crescent hotseat in the Throne Room, Commanders of the Faithful, which ran for eighteen months between 2008 and 2009 and inspired a number of great stories, including this effort, originally posted by TheLemongate:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Konstantinopolis, beginning of Winter 1175

    Manuelos Komnenos was sifting through reports from all over Asia Minor and Syria. Prospects looked good. Rebellious towns had been captured in central Anatolikon and Cyprus was once again Roman.

    “At least this time that fool Kontostephanos hasn’t completely failed me.”

    King Baldwin of Jerusalem had also sent his approval for joint operations in Cilicia. A positive step in bridging the gap between the two great branches of the Christian faith. The Empire had given shelter to Armenian refugees when the Seljuks had invaded a century earlier. Since then, relations between liege and vassal had waxed and waned. Though the little Cilician kingdom had helped both Latins and Romans, neither could fully trust them. Their deviousness and willingness to side with the Turks could not be tolerated and so an invasion was underway.

    Tbilisi too had agreed to an alliance. Though Rome didn’t need the mountainous kingdom’s support in the immediate, the Georgians, through ingenious use of terrain, could resist for years to pressures from the East. A day might come when they would play a crucial role in Rome’s defense.

    Nearly everything had gone according to plan. Nearly.

    The Sultanate of Ikonion, Konya as the barbarians called it, had proven very aggressive in its negotiations. Not only did they not recognize Rome’s prior claim to rebellious towns still inhabited by Greeks and Romans, they threatened to storm Konstantinopolis itself while loudly clamoring their peaceful intentions at the court of the Arab Basileos…

    “And to think that these mongrels, these barbarians feast only a few days ride from our heartlands in the very city where St-Paul himself gathered the faithful to perform the Eucharist!”

    The Basileos was unnerved. He was a pious man. He had vowed to defend the holy places of Christendom whatever the cost to his person or to Rome. In his soul he was as much a crusader as his frankish allies but Turkish might was not to be underestimated. Unlike the Westerners, Rome had weathered the tides of time and had learned the hard way that patience can prevail where rash actions led only to disaster.

    A sudden rustling of feet drew the Emperor from his musings. An aid entered his office.

    “My lord, the men you requested are here.”

    Manuelos answered with a nod.

    The aid disappeared and ushered in a trio of eclectic warriors closely followed by four imposing varangian soldiers bedecked in full armor. The Basileos observed the men.

    One was a warrior from Rus, a Kievan by the looks of him. His eyes were a pale shade of blue and his blond locks fell in waves from his helmet. He was dressed in an ample brown garment with little decoration. A vicious looking ax hung by his left side, while a byzantine-style sword was at his right hand. A large metal-rimmed shield made of wood was hung over his back.

    The second man was from the steppes. A Cuman, or maybe a Turkman. His skin was darker then that of Greeks and Romans and his eyes had the cold black stare of Asia. His face was emotionless. One could barely discern a tiny smile creeping into the corner of his mouth which would send shivers down the spine of lesser men. Manuelos noted that there might have been as many as seven different blades on the mans accoutrement, each of a different and exotic design. The man must have let the small, compound bow for which his kin was known with his horse.

    Finally, the last man was a Norman. Towering a foot above his two companions, he was a match in size and muscle even for the varangs which escorted him. His dress was simple for the occasion. He wore no armor and his bare arms showed the scars of many battles. Scars earned fighting Rome no doubt…

    The Basileos admired the men before him. Some of the greatest warriors of this age, all come to sell their strength to Rome. And Rome was paying in gold and silver.

    “How many men do you command,” he asked?

    “Eighty knights from Apulia, armed and armored in the finest norman steel.”

    “A hundred infantrymen from Kiev and another hundred from Novgorod.”

    The asian looked at his companions and smiled:

    “Five hundred horsemen from the steppes armed with bow and javelin.”

    Manuelos was pleased.

    “I shall take command of the host myself. We are to meet the Roman army at Dorylaion and move to the front at once. If the Turks want war, we shall bring them war!”
    frogbeastegg's TWS2's here!

    Come to the Throne Room to play multiplayer hotseat campaigns and RPGs in M2TW.

  6. #6
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Cometh the hour, Cometh the Caliph

    Default Tales from the Throne Room - Chapter Five

    Welcome back to Tales from the Throne Room, our regular piece on the Org's community of hotseat and RPG gamers! (written by phonicsmonkey and Myth)

    In Chapter Five we'll provide the usual update on current games and let you know what's coming up that you can sign up for.

    We also feature an interview with Throne Room regular Nightbringer as well as finishing up with another old favourite story From the Vault.

    Before we get started though, take a look at our Comprehensive Guide to Hotseat Play, written and compiled by our resident content manager Myth. It's a must-read for anyone planning to face off against other humans in a TW hotseat campaign!

    Current hotseat games:

    M2TW: Kingdoms (Crusades) - "The Levantine Struggle"

    The game is gearing up for an epic struggle between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Principality of Antioch. A clash of veterans and massive empires will mark the zenith of this game, while the much smaller and weaker Kingdom of Jersualem and Ottoman Turks have been reduced to supporting roles against the might of Antioch.

    Stainless Steel 6.4 Wrath of the Khan 2

    A bloody war has already began in the east, while the western nations still solidify their positions and assess the situation. The mighty Mongol Horde has all but eradicated the Kwarezmian Shah however the Cumans, ERE and Turks all make way with hordes of their own to meet the invaders of Genghis Khan.

    Third Age Total War 2.1 End of the Third Age

    This hotseat set in Tolkein's Middle Earth is still in it's early stages, not in the least because the mod has huge distances, low income for the human players and it does not allow forts to be built. While Mordor has started pushing Gondor at Osgiliath, Saruman of Isengard left the solitude of his stone walls and ballista towers, and attempted to take on nearly two full armies of Rohan's finest cavalry, and lost the battle in the process.

    Stainless Steel 6.4 Clash of Gods!

    This is a game with predetermined teams of four factions each, who contest target cities between themselves, as well as the final game-winning prize: Jerusalem! Currently players have been replaced on both sides, but from the very start, the Crusader States (who are on the Muslim team) have quickly eradicated the AI-controlled Fatimid Caliphate and have began pushing into Greece and mainland Europe.

    Meanwhile, in the West, the mighty Moorish Caliphate valiantly resists the onslaught of Leon-Castille , France and England.

    Stainless Steel 6.4 The March of Time

    This promising hotseat is still in it's early stages, and most all of our active players have joined in the fray! From the very start, the Eastern Roman Empire's position at the relative center of the map had made it a target. The Empire chose to make war on Sicilly as well as the massive Fatimid Caliphate. However, diplomacy played a keen part in having several more factions join the fray against the Romans. Meanwhile diplomatical failure (or victory, depending on whom you ask) has sparked war between the formidable Moorish Caliphate and the Kingdom of France. Will he be able to repeat Charlemagne's feat, or will the Moorish tide sweep across Western Europe?

    M2TW: Kingdoms (Britannia) These Sceptred Isles

    This game is a direct remake of the previous Britannia game, which showed us much tension and back-and-forth non-stop battles for 30+ turns. Right now it is still in it's early stages, but already Norway finds itself with the Isle of Man blockaded by a superior Irish fleet. Meanwhile the traditional deathmatch of a Britannia game, Wales-England, has begun, with England's troops consolidating on the smaller nation, while Wales will have the fight of its life to look forward to!

    Recently completed games:

    Glorious Achievements
    - this M2TW hotseat capped at 40 turns has been won by Silvershield, and the last 10 turns were marked by true Total War! The HRE, commanded by Myth, taking over from TriforceV, had grown large and scary, but in a led-battles game with determined enemies in a team, no one is safe! Silvershield and his Hungarian troops managed to destroy army after army of the opposition, all while Thanatos Eclipse and his Spain backstabbed Nightbringer's France, allowing Silvershield to rake in more achievements than the otherwise very well positioned French Kingdom.

    Unification of the Isles
    - This 41 turn massacre of a game was intense from turn 1. Wales, masterfully lead by Ignoramus, began a severe onslaught against England, led by Myth, all while Ireland, under the leadership of Nightbringer, prospered on its own island. Meanwhile up north, a deathmatch between Zim's Norway and Cecil XIX's Scotland had already began.

    A fortunate (for Zim) turn of events had all of Scotland's FMs killed, thus turning them rebel and out of the game. For the next 30 or so turns, everyone was fighting everyone, apart form England and Norway who had formed a secret alliance which lasted until the end of the game, with Norway raiding and crippling Ireland while England slowly and meticulously turned the tide of the war with Wales and the bulk of Ireland's armies.

    The Frozen North - This game was full of non-stop fighting pretty much from the start. While the Teutonic Order, led by Myth and the Holy Roman Empire (led by Slysnake) had forged an unbreakable alliance and with joint efforts, eliminated Nightbringer's Poland by turn 6, Visorslash's Denmark had managed to push back Ignoramus's Novgorod. Once again, Fortuna had her say and Novgorod's FMs were slain in a pitched battle, resulting in the faction turning rebel.

    Thanatos Eclipse's Lithuania made a strong effort to wipe out a spread out TO, but their inferiority in autoresolve ultimately proved too much. Later, a joint backstabbing by the Mongols, lead by Phonicsmonkey, and Denmark, saw the end of the TO and HRE, though not by elimination but by Denmark getting the required number of provinces to win the game. The game had progressed to such a state however, that Visorslash's Denmark had grown too big and too rich to be reliably defeated in an AR game.

    Upcoming hotseat games:

    A remake of the previous Teutonic hotseat has all but started. There is one more faction slot left. Claim it now! This will be a led-battles game, so anyone can win.

    A Shogun 2: Total War RPG is in the making, signatures will be available soon. Join the storytelling and roleplaying masters in the Throne Room's trademarked style of cooperative game!

    Myth has been advocating for a rematch with the .net and a second "When Worlds Collide" game. We need one more player. Do you have what it takes to defend the .org's honour?

    Interview with Nightbringer:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    - Hello Nightbringer!

    Hi Phonics!

    - So, what originally brought you to the Throne Room?

    What originally brought me here was an invitation to participate in Dogs of War by its original host, Lemongate. I had been active in the .net Stainless Steel hotseat community for a while and his invitation was the first I heard of the .org. Once I had joined that game, I quickly started signing up for games here rather than the .net. I don’t want to start any controversy, but the smaller more intimate community here got me far more involved in the games, as did the presence of roleplaying in diplomacy threads and such.

    - You won your first hotseat game, Dogs of War which was in Stainless Steel 6.2. What are your memories of that game and to what do you attribute your success?

    One of my favorite parts of that game was the very tense relationship that developed between myself (Kieven Rus) and the Seljuk Sultanate, who were under the control of Barcamartin. He was at war with my ally, Hungary, and I was doing everything I could in role-play to convince him I was staying out of the war, while simultaneously building up for an attack. I was about to spring my trap when he caught me at my dirty trick and did some serious damage to my invading force. I just really enjoyed the tension of the diplomacy in that situation.
    As to my victory, I think the key was building up my strength in a corner of the map while everyone else was at war. We were playing without rules against building destruction, so a lot of the rest of the world was a wasteland, while my lands in the North East were fully developed. By the time I went to war I had built up an enormous army, fleet, and spy network. This allowed me to simply plow through resistance despite losing the element of surprise. Also key to my success was the early alliance with Hungary, which allowed me to completely ignore my western border, freeing up a lot of troops for Northeastward expansion against the ai.

    - Since then, which games have you enjoyed the most and why?

    That is hard to say really, but I think Glorious Achievements was one of them. I came in late, but I built myself up really well only to have everything come crashing down in the last few turns of the game. It was a unique experience and taught me not to trust allies too much. I also found it very interesting how much I managed to expand and succeed for much of the game without really winning any battles versus other players. I feel like I made a lot of mistakes in that game but somehow managed to still do well for most of it.
    I also like the way March of Time is shaping up, a lot of players seem interested in the diplomacy side of things and that is a big draw for me. I won’t go into too much detail fro fear of revealing my plans though.
    Really, every game has something unique about it that makes it the most fun in one way or another.

    - What did you think of the RPG, Vassals and Valour?

    I found it very interesting I think is the best way to put it. It is a concept which has a lot going for it, but the sheer amount of rules was very intimidating at first. Figuring out both the politics and the mechanics of the game at the same time definitely made it harder for me to get involved. Once I was involved I started really enjoying the game. It is just such a different experience from everything else that it really breathed new life into M2TW for me.

    - Would you join another RPG in the future?

    I definitely would, but I think something with a little less potential for actual war between players would be more to my taste. Civil war is great in terms of role-play, but it is so hard to do mechanically that it bogged things down. I think a game with a more co-operative aspect might be easier to do. Possibly having the players battle against the host as a group in a setting like the 100 Years war. Or possibly two teams in the same conflict. This would decrease the chances of people actively trying to attack each-other, while still allowing for competition and possible betrayals where they join the opposite side in the war.

    - I understand you are the all-seeing eye these days. How's that going for you?

    So far it is going pretty well, although I would expect to see more of the map considering I am literally an all-seeing eye. I managed to get a crucial victory against Gondor and captured Osgiliath, but I am worried that my lack of cavalry is going to doom me eventually due to their power in led battles.

    - You are clearly a Throne Room veteran: what tips would you give to new players?

    One of the most important things, although pretty basic, is limiting your fronts. It is very hard to successfully fight a war in multiple places. Faction choice is one of the biggest factors in this. Due to the nature of the map, corner factions have two completely safe borders, making them much stronger than they might appear otherwise.
    Along these same lines, try to force your enemy to divide their attention. If you are planning on starting a war, try to sneak small forces into positions where they can attack settlements behind enemy lines. This can occasionally be done with forests, but is much easier with armies in boats. If you get far behind their lines, they should have minimal forces in the area so your small army might take a settlement, damaging their economy and forcing them to send troops away from the front. If you can draw enemy forces back into their own territory, you then have a much better chance of taking frontier settlements, and forcing them onto the defensive should keep your own settlements safe.

    - One last question Nightbringer: Reggae or Sci-fi?
    Sci-fi, especially if you include fantasy. I grew up with the Lord of the Rings (the books), Star Wars (the originals), D&D, and Warhammer. I like Bob Marley, but I don’t know much else in terms of reggae.

    - Thanks Nightbringer
    Thank you phonicsmonkey!

    From the Vault:

    Continuing the story of the first Broken Crescent hotseat in the Throne Room, Commanders of the Faithful, which ran for eighteen months between 2008 and 2009 and inspired a number of great stories, including this effort, originally posted by Askthepizzaguy:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Wednesday, 10th day of MuHarram 571 Anno Hegirae, the year of the Hijra, التقويم الهجري
    July 30, 1175 AD, Christian Calendar

    Karaman, central Anatolia

    The seige of the rebel stronghold goes well. They have but a few infidel soldiers guarding their wooden walls, but a direct assault will still be costly. These people are outlaws and thieves, and recently bandits from the area were spotted in Konya, the home of our most magnificent Sultan. Kilij Arslan himself, the pious leader of the Anatolian Turks, commands the seige forces.

    "Soon they will rejoin the civilized race of men," Arslan said to Allah, with whom he frequently spoke. Allah said nothing in return of course, but Arslan knew that his deeds were pleasing to the lord, and counted only the Almighty among his allies.

    But all that was set to change. The negotiations with Armenia had begun. Although we do not trust these people, we do not begrudge them their Christian faith. Indeed, Arslan is a man most pious, but most welcoming of other Men of the Book. And the rumors of an assault on Cilicia would put the young Turkish Sultanate in a very difficult position. Being wedged between three hostile Christian powers, the Roman Empire, the Georgian Kingdom, and the Holy Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Turks were but a struggling outpost of the Great Islamic Civilization.

    Yes, truly the heart of the civilized world was at Baghdad, the nursery of the entire world and the center of all learned thought. The radical and heretical teachings of Christian Europe have clouded their scientific advancement, and they have for hundreds of years fallen behind the great Islamic Caliphate in terms of literacy and raw scientific knowledge. They call us barbarians, but do they speak the language of science, Arabic? It is we who have revived the ancient but advanced teachings of the European masters, the Greeks.

    Our advancements over the Christians include the inventions of the astrolabe, the parachute, and an ingenious mathematical device known as the analog computer. Our knowledge of astronomy, physics, mathematics, and chemistry is matched by none in the known world. We developed the first true soap centuries ago, and the unwashed Christians still do not possess any. Still they call US barbarians while they battle plagues caused by their lack of sanitation and their severe poverty. The Islamic world is rich and beautiful, and we have no idols scattered around to divert our attention from the one True Faith, as the Christians do. Their sad devotion to that man in the white dress and pointy hat is probably the reason for their apparent lack of forward progress.

    However, the Sultan still welcomes Christians in his land. Perhaps under our tutelage, they too will join the race of civilized men. Inshallah, they will prosper under Islamic rule. The Sultan sees great potential in the Europeans, if only they would welcome the teachings of the Prophet as much as we have welcomed the dhimmis; Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Mandeans, and, in the far east, Hindus and Buddhists. People of all faiths prosper under Islamic law, and unlike the intolerant peoples of Christian Europe who do not even welcome their brothers of the faith, we welcome Christians, Orthodox and Catholic alike, and their many different churches.

    Allah has smiled upon the faithful in this rich and glorious land. The Islamic civilization spans from the distant shores of west Africa all the way to the distant Chin peoples of the far east, and still we are growing and bringing more infidels under the Prophet's enlightened teachings. If only there could be peace between the Christians and the Muslims, the world would be such a wonderful place to live, the Sultan observed. He vowed to bring about such a world, and make friends with the Christians, and spread his philosophy of tolerance and brotherhood to the war-torn peoples of Europe.

    His overtures towards the Roman Empire, however, were met with much skepticism. Still, we have reason to believe there might be peace with them, as they are considering our offer of alliance in exchange for a demilitarization of our border, so that we may turn our righteous arms towards the Crusader infidels of the Muslim Holy Land, Jerusalem, who even now advance north towards Syria... for what diabolical purpose, only Allah can know. But we must find friends and allies, or else this land could be torn apart by war. The Sultan hates war... but he is prepared to fight, if the time should come.

    A messenger arrives from the north, bringing good news:

    "The Kypchak tribes of the North have united! They have pledged their allegiance to us in exchange for a military alliance against aggressors!"

    The Sultan smiled. The northern tribes were no threat to us, and they were pagans, but they had great potential as friends and allies to become part of the Islamic civilization. If they would allow our Imams to spread the word of the Prophet, we will back them in battle against all foes. The Sultan dispatched an emissary towards the Georgian Kingdom, which is now allied to the Roman empire. Although these people had declared their intentions to expel the Muslims from Anatolia, our recent peace overtures have been welcomed, and they seem to be holding their swords. All is going according to plan, thought the Sultan. Surely nothing could happen now which would bring war to Anatolia. The Romans have been offered an alliance, and the Kypchaks have joined us, the Armenians and the Georgians are our friends... nothing can stop the peace process now.

    Nothing at all...
    frogbeastegg's TWS2's here!

    Come to the Throne Room to play multiplayer hotseat campaigns and RPGs in M2TW.

  7. #7
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Cometh the hour, Cometh the Caliph

    Default Tales from the Throne Room - Chapter Six

    Welcome back to Tales from the Throne Room, our regular piece on the Org's community of hotseat and RPG gamers! (written by Myth and phonicsmonkey, graphics by Quirl)

    The Throne Room is where we play collaborative and competitive games based around TW titles, including Hotseats, RPGs and Succession games. We currently have a group of 18 active players across 7 hotseats and one RPG.

    In Chapter Six we'll provide updates on the games in progress and show you our plans for upcoming games which might interest you. We'll also share another classic story from our Throne Room collection.

    Current RPGs:
    SS 6.4 Lords of the Danube

    A new TW RPG has started, sure to be full of roleplaying and storytelling and with a challenging position for medieval Hungary, pitted against the mighty ERE and the savage Cumans.

    King Pozsony, fresh from resolving the Civil War which threatened to tear his kingdom apart, wishes to hold his recent conquest of Constantinople against the forces of the mighty Eastern Roman Empire. His own resources are stretched, with the northern Counts tied up in battling their age-old steppe foes and with the looming threat of Venice in the west keeping Junior King Bokeny and his armies occupied in Croatia and Serbia. Meanwhile the insult of the excommunicated Holy Roman Empire occupying Esztergom, Hungary's spiritual birthplace, continues to fester...

    If you've never played a TW RPG, now is a great opportunity to discover this unique Org and Throne Room experience and understand why many veteran players have such fond memories of the past RPGs.

    Current hotseat games:

    M2TW: Kingdoms (Crusades) - "The Levantine Struggle"

    This long-running game is still reaching its conclusion in a titanic struggle between the ERE (controlled by Cecil XIX) and the forces of the Principality of Antioch (Thanatos Eclipse). The Romans have two allies in the Turks and Jerusalem but they are each close to defeat. Antioch's steel grip on the land and vast armies that are well suited to the game's rule that all battles be auto resolved give it strong chances for victory. However there is still room for error or inspired strategy which could turn the tables. Watch out for our next update by which time the winner may be known!

    Stainless Steel 6.4 "Wrath of the Khan 2"

    The Fatimid Caliph's betrayal of the anti-Mongol alliance and his vast armies joining the Khan's hordes has been the major event of recent times. The Fatimids (played by Zim) seized some Seljuk (Loosecannon1) settlements but the forces of the ERE (Silvershield) and the western Catholic Kingdoms are swooping towards the eastern battlefields. The major confrontation is still brewing, though the Mongols (phonicsmonkey) have all but defeated the Khwarezm Shah (Myth) and have now started to push back the Cumans and Seljuks.

    Third Age Total War 2.1 "End of the Third Age"

    Events in this team match have developed to the point where Rohan (Mithridate) and Eriador (Rougeman) have vanquished Isengard (deguerra). Gondor (Zim) is still holding out relatively unscathed as the enemy, Mordor(Nightbringer), consolidates near his borders. In the west, Eriador and the Elves (Myth and slysnake) expand unmolested, but the war and the Third Age itself is far from over.

    Stainless Steel 6.4 "Clash of Gods!"

    The conflict is nigh! Spain (Thanatos Eclipse) and England (Myth) are advancing side-by-side and are on the doorsteps of Cordoba, a Catholic target city, whilst the Crusader States (Silvershield) have debarked in Greece and together with the Seljuks (Mithridate) are beating back the AI-controlled ERE and have already drawn blood from Venice (Nightbringer). As both Cordoba and Venice/Rome are exposed to their respective enemies, this very well might turn out to become a race for Jerusalem, the final target city!

    Stainless Steel 6.4 "The March of Time"

    With the destruction of Norway (deguerra) and the abandonment by their respective players of France and the ERE, three player-led factions have already been eliminated. Tensions rise now and several superpowers rush to consolidate their positions. The Kwarezmian Shah is vast and a potential winner of this game. The spot is vacant as of now, so feel free to apply in the game thread! Don't miss the inevitable world-scale conflict!

    M2TW: Kingdoms (Britannia) "These Sceptred Isles"

    Wales, commanded by Throne Room newcomer Mithridate, gave in to England's (Nightbringer) focused pressure as it remained unassisted by the other factions. Ireland (Myth) developed while Norway (phonicsmonkey) and Scotland (Ignoramus) battled and now the Irish-English alliance has been revealed. Two battles took place only recently, greatly damaging both Scots and Norse, while the powerful allies advance northward to a seemingly inevitable victory.

    M2TW: Kingdoms (Teutonic) "Winter Is Coming"

    With war raging since turn one the Teutonic Order (Myth) has all but eradicated Lithuania (phonicsmonkey) who stood alone against the invaders. Now Novgorod (Zim) declares against the Order, but is it too late to stop the powerful faction from taking the east? In the west, a conflict between Denmark (Nightbringer) and Norway (Rougeman) dragged the HRE (Cecil XIX) into the fray but so far the Danes have proven their mettle in this 2v1 scenario. In the background Poland (slysnake) quietly develops, seizing lands from the AI-controlled Mongols.

    Upcoming games:

    TWS2 RPG: This game is its final stages of development and coming soon! Check out the discussion thread if you are interested in participating.

    RTW / Europa Barbarorum succession game: a Succession game is a SP campaign where each player carries out the term of a faction leader until he dies. Then the save and control of the faction is passed on to the next player. Each player will provide a write-up and screenshots describing his reign, making this a unique collaborative experience. Post here if you are interested in taking part!

    Myth has been advocating for a rematch with the .net and a second "When Worlds Collide" game. Though things have been quiet as of late, just as the ancient Romans we will not rest until we reclaim the eagles and standards of our fallen legions! Send a PM to Myth if you feel confident in your ability to represent the .org in what could be the most challenging hotseat you've ever played!

    Interview with Cecil XIX:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    - hi Cecil XIX, mind if I call you Cecil?

    It's very tempting to go 'YES I MIND' here, but unfortunately that kind of joke doesn't work over the internet. It needs an overly exaggerated tone of voice and facial expression. So I guess I'll just have to be boring and say it's fine!

    - I have to ask: why not Cecil the First?

    I first used this screenname on GameFAQs way back in 2002, as that was the first website where I ever had to register a name. I wanted a name that had a meaning, even if only to me. At the time, I had just recently played Final Fantasy IV and had come away from it with a strong admiration for the hero, Cecil Harvey, who ends the game as King of Baron. So I decided to name myself after his hypothetical descendent of the same name. I suppose I could have called myself Cecil XIX Harvey, but why complicate things?

    - You're one of the few players who is still around from the King of the Romans days, what are your recollections of that game and the Throne Room back then?

    It's funny, I joined the Org about a year and a half before I joined KotR. Initially I was just using the site as tech support for help with the perennially finicky Medieval: Total War, but one day I decided to look around and found people playing a game the likes of which I had never seen before. I'm usually more interested in working under constraints in games rather than being able to have it all, so being limited to only one general in a Total War game realy interested me. It was only well after KotR had ended that I took the next step and started looking at other games in the Throne Room, unfortunately.

    The thing that's amazing is that the game lasted about two years and involved about two dozen players and around four dozen memorable characters. Everyone did an amazing job giving the world life, and there was really a sense that you were interacting with fully fleshed out characters. Practically everyone had their own plotline or two, so even when the board was quite it seemed like things were happening. Another thing that really contributed to the atmosphere was how we all changed our avatars to your character's portraits and our user titles to you character's names. For me didn't really mean anything since I was only going to the Org for KotR at the time, but's impressive when you think about the people who must have kept those settings when they visited other parts of the Org.

    There's also another factor that I think really made KotR, and I really mean it in a good way: The people who weren't very good. There were some players who weren't very good at roleplaying, or writing, or politics or battles. (I think I'm part of that last group). And it's not that it was intentional, they were really giving an honest effort that, in my opinion, didn't work quite as well as it might have. I know that sounds mean, but the truth is I'm really grateful for them because that's what life is like as well! There are always going to be people who seem to have been given power and authority even though it seems like they don't deserve it. It makes the game more interesting for everyone, and I would assume they're still having fun as well if they're still playing. Certainly all my failures haven't discouraged me! So to end this on a positive, I'd say that even though TW RPGs can seem intimidating, there's no need to care about whether you're screwing things up or not. If you're good, that's fun, and if you're bad, that's fun too!

    - And how do you like the current crop of games? You're in two hotseats and an RPG right?

    Indeed, they're all quite different. One hotseat is autoresolve-only, the other isn't, and they're both my first time in either setting. I imagine I'll make a lot of mistakes, but I expect to learn a lot too! It's nice to be in another RPG as well, they're much rarer and more unique than hotseats, oweing to the greater amount of effort required of all involved.

    - Do you think you'll beat Thanatos in the Crusades game, or is your goose cooked?

    I'm still playing to win. Thanatos has done very well in taking on the world, and since the game has been my first real hotseat it's been a real eye opener. I've made some simple mistakes and at least one serious strategic error, so I can't deny that he's a better player. But victory and defeat are constant companions in war, and I'm confident that I can force an error and turn things around, no matter how long it takes. In any event, there's no way he can conquer Constantinople in the one hundred fifty-two turns we have remaing!

    - What is it with you and the Holy Roman Empire? You were in KotR, you created V&V which was also set there and now you're playing them again in our Teutonic hotseat! Are you German?

    Strictly speaking, my affinity is more for the Kingdom of Bohemia in particular than the Reich in general, although I do have German ancestry on my father's side. I suppose it's all due to KoTR, and my failure there. My first character was Sigismund von Mahren, and I had big plans for him: Nothing less than to become the greatest and most chivalrous knight in the Reich. It was a simple idea, and it give me a way to approach most every situation from an RP perspective. I had an interesting plot hook thrown at me when it was revealed that Sigismund's real father was the late Duke Leopold (Ituralde) of Austria, making Sigismund the older half-brother of the current Duke of Austria, Arnold (AussieGiant). An top of that, Sigismund struck up a strong friendship with the idealogically likeminded Jan von Hamburg (PrivateerKev), who had fought a series of bloddy duels with Duke Arnold and had become a strong enemy of his. It was quite a balancing act, but I was able to have some success. I even came up with some reasonably distinct personalities for four members of Retinue.

    Finally, the call came for Sigismund to take command of the Austrian Household Army for the purpose of launching a campaign to take Bran from the Hungarians. A series of four battles were fought, and boy was it was exciting. Normally fighting four battles to take one province isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of what you have to do in a Total War, but when you're playing a TW RPG it feels like a grand adventure, a chance to make your mark in the world and show your quality to your peers. Another difference was that there were no reinforcements available, although he did unsuccessfully petition the Chancellor for the money to hire some mercenaries. There was just a single stack of soldiers and a target, with every other detail left up to the General in charge. The last battle was the siege of Bran, and to make a long story short Sigismund died because I got it into my head somehow that arrows from a tower would never kill a general. I can't tell you how frustrating that was.

    My next character, Edmund Becker, had his character planned entirely around the notion of minimizing danger in battle. He was a govenor, who would rather stay in Prague rather than command an army. He even went so far as to rebel against Duke Arnold to raise Bohemia's stature. That a was during the Cataclysm, perhaps the high-weather mark of KotR in terms of enjoyability. Tincow ran the whole thing, and he spent a lot of time to do a fantastic job. It lasted ten turns, and every turn each character was given a list of choices like it was a choose-your-own-adventure story. For example, Becker was given choices to raid neighboring provinces within and without the Reich, to protect Silesia when it was under attack from the Poles, or to go to Nurnberg and make a speech in order to gain military volunteers.

    But as the game reached it's end at the Battle of Trent, Becker made a huge mistake. A Civil War was brewing, with the Illuminati on one side lead by Dukes Arnold and Lothar (TinCow), and the Loyalists on the other lead by Emperor Peter von Kastilien (gibsonsg91921) and his brother, Chancellor Fritz von Kastilien (Ramses II CP). Now Fritz was a real unsavory character, and he drove a lot of people into the rebel's camp. He was most famous perhaps for either sacking or exterminating his own fief twice, and it was behavior like this on the part of the Emperor's closest confidant that convinced Becker to remain neutral, rather than fighting for one of two evils. However, it turned out that this was intentional. Fritz was secretly working with the rebels, and betrayed his brother at the Battle of Trent, where they both met their end. Thus Becker, and therefore I, was tricked into not fighting for the side I wanted to see win. It was really a brilliant move, such that I specifically sought to work with Ramses II CP in the next game, Last of the Romans.

    The truth is, the greater portion of the reason I keep coming back to the Throne Room is to seek redemption on a stage as grand as that of Trent. Even though it's been almost four years, five since I joined KotR, every so often I'm still captivated by what could have been had either Sigismund lived or Becker fought.

    - I see you might be taking over the character of King Poszony in the new RPG, Lords of the Danube. Ever been King before? How will you approach taking over a character from another player?

    I have, and it's quite a responsibility. The first king of the game and really set the conflict for the whole thing, so I'm going to have to find and issue to divide the players and push it as hard as I can. It's a pretty tough gig honestly, but if you do it right it's quite worthwhile! I'd like to invite everyone to give Lords of the Danube a try, there really is nothing else like a good TW RPG.

    - Last question Cecil: hotseats or RPGs?

    Definitely RPGs. Hotseats bring out the true nature of Total War games, something I must say I've found to my liking. The only real problem is that Hotseats were an imperfect simulation of playing with other people. We need something more like the multiplayer campaigns in Shogun 2, but with more than two people! Having to engage in diplomacy with other people is the most distinctive aspect of hotseats.

    RPGs, on the other hand, bring Total War to a new level of gameplay. When you're only playing one general, previously minor details have vast consequences. Setting tax policy and decided what to build doesn't just affect the Reich, it affects you and your House personally. And when you go into battle, you risk a lot. Political clout is won and lost on the battlefield, and since you never have the full backing of the realm behind you there are serious limitation how you can replenish your army. In KotR you were reliant entirely on the Chancellor to get you fresh soldiers, while in Lords of the Danube you might at least be able to use your own money to recruit mercenaries or soldier from your own settlements. And unless you work with the other lords and develop good relations, you may not be able to enjoy the fruits of your conquest. It's really an unparalleled experience, and after having played TW RPGs I can even go so far as to say it might not necessarily be such a bad thing if The Creative Assembly made a Total War MMO.

    From the Vaults

    This time, in honour of our new Throne Room RPG starting, we bring you another classic tale from King of the Romans (KotR). KotR ran for 16 months and at its peak had over 20 players involved in the game.

    This story was written and originally posted by TinCow back in June 2007. Enjoy!

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    “Back for more, are ye?” Adelman snorted and spat on the ground. “I hear they call you the ‘Count of Florence’ or something equally ridiculous these days.” He eyed Lothar Steffen coolly. “You still look like a spoiled pup to me. The ‘Count of Flatulence,’ perhaps.”

    “I may still be young, but I have learned a great deal since last we trained together. It is unwise of you to underestimate me,” the Bavarian noble deadpanned.

    “Underestimate you? For the love of… you go and win yourself a few minor battles and you think yourself a master now? By the Devil’s Tits, I swear I never thought it was possible for you to get even more arrogant than you were before you left.” Adelman popped his jaw; an act that somehow managing to convey immense disdain.

    Lothar Steffen paced across the room to a rack of practice swords. He traced his fingers along the hilts of half a dozen, before he found one he liked. With a deft movement he lifted it, feeling the balance. He flipped it back and forth between his hands and swung it in smooth arcs. Satisfied with the results he turned back to face the weapons master. “Perhaps you should give me another lesson in humility.”

    Adelman stared at the Bavarian for a moment, then laughed. “Now? You’re not even armored! Even with the dulled edge, you’d take such a drubbing that your father would have my head on a pike!”

    Lothar shrugged and lifted a round wooden shield propped against the nearby wall. “Is this better? I would not want to put you at too much of a disadvantage. It would not be… ah, what is that word… chivalrous.” He looked his old trainer in the eye. “Or perhaps you are simply a coward.”

    There was no verbal response, but none was needed. Adelman lifted his sword high, bringing the hilt in line with his right shoulder. He held it two-handed, his fingers flexing slightly to achieve the perfect grip. Lothar could see his opponent’s weight shift as he adjusted his stance. Adelman’s body angled backwards, narrowing his exposed front. The shieldless man was preparing for a rush; a brutal direct assault on his opponent that was designed to overwhelm and subdue through sheer force.

    In response, Lothar slipped his hand more firmly into the leather straps of the shield. He held it lightly on his left, prepared to bring it up in front of him at a moment’s notice. The training yard was inundated with the silent expectation of combat. Several long moments passed as both men stared into each other’s eyes, in an effort to shake the other’s confidence; victory before the fight had even begun.

    Lothar grinned. Adelman charged.

    The speed with which the huge man moved was startling. Lothar himself could barely move that fast without armor, and he was half Adelman’s age. The intensity in the man’s eyes was disturbing to behold. Had Lothar not experienced such an expression dozens of times before, he might have broken at the sight. It was a berserker’s charge, being wielded by a man who never yielded to rage. Cold, calculating, and deadly. There was no way to deflect, dodge, or riposte. One could only endure and hope to survive. Lothar braced himself and raised his shield to meet the oncoming blow.

    Adelman swung his sword down with every ounce of strength he could summon. Rarely had he put as much effort into a single blow as he did at that moment. It was a stroke that would split a man in two in a real battle, and even with the blunted practice weapon it could seriously maim. The sound of the impact was so slight, the opposition to his blade so weak, that at first he thought he had smashed the eldest son of the Duke to the ground. It took him a moment to realize that Lothar was still standing, unphased by the blow. A loud clattering sound came from his right. It took him a moment to realize that his blade had sheered cleanly from the hilt. A moment after that he noticed the sharpened dagger at his throat.

    “You taught me well, Adelman.” Lothar cocked his head, the tip of his dagger drawing a drop of blood from his opponent’s throat. “Never fight a battle that you cannot win. Those are your words, not mine. I will never best you in even combat, so I will not engage in even combat.” He nodded towards the hilt still clutched in Adelman’s hand. There, clearly visible in the afternoon light, were fine marks spanning three-quarters of the width of the blade. The tool used to file through the hardened steel must have been incredibly narrow, to keep the split imperceptible to casual inspection. “I have learned a new lesson since the last time you trained me; Exitus acta probat.”

    Adelman smiled broadly, then let out a hearty laugh. “Perhaps you are not the dummkopf you were when last we met. Very well, then…” He touched the dagger gently, moving it away from his throat, and bowed deeply. “I yield, my Lord.”

    Triumph glittered in Lothar’s eyes. “Do not forget it.” In a flash, his dagger whipped out and sliced deeply into Adelman’s cheek. Blood poured in sheets down the side of the man’s face. He raised his hand to the gash, but was greeted with a boot to the chest. Adelman fell backwards in a sprawl. “That is for your many years of disrespect. If you ever fail to address me in the proper manner again, I’ll have your head.” The Count of Florence bowed.
    Last edited by phonicsmonkey; 02-09-2012 at 03:57.
    frogbeastegg's TWS2's here!

    Come to the Throne Room to play multiplayer hotseat campaigns and RPGs in M2TW.

  8. #8
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Cometh the hour, Cometh the Caliph

    Default Tales from the Throne Room - Chapter Seven

    Welcome back to Tales from the Throne Room, our regular piece on the Org's community of hotseat and RPG gamers!
    (written by Zim, Nightbringer and phonicsmonkey, graphics by Quirl)

    The Throne Room is where we play collaborative and competitive games based around TW titles, including Hotseats, RPGs and Succession games. We currently have a group of 22 active players across 7 hotseats and one RPG.

    In Chapter Seven we'll provide updates on the games in progress and show you our plans for upcoming games which might interest you. We'll also share another classic story from our Throne Room collection.

    Hall of Fame:

    It's awards season at the Org and our members have been busily nominating and voting for various categories. Those relevant to the Throne Room are Best Hotseat Game, Best Gamesmaster, Best Throne Room Contributor and Throne Room Champion.

    In the next update we'll announce the winners and we'll showcase our Champion with an interview.

    Current RPGs:

    SS 6.4 "Lords of the Danube"

    The Kingdom of Hungary faces threats from all sides, with wars raging against the Cumans to the northeast and the mighty Eastern Roman Empire to the south.

    Progress against these foes has been mixed, with the fortresses of Halych and Baia captured from the steppe warriors and Scopia and Belgrade seized from the Byzantines, but with the jewel of Constantinople lost once more to the Empire.

    Indeed, in returning from the disgrace of Constantinople and while his nobles were gathered for a tournament at the capital Varad, King Pozsony was ambushed and slain by unknown assailants. The new King Bokeny has focused suspicion on the Cumans and rallied his nobles for a final push to finally defeat them.

    If you've never played a TW RPG, now is a great opportunity to discover this unique Org and Throne Room experience and understand why many veteran players have such fond memories of the past RPGs. There are several avatars available for new players to take over!

    Current hotseat games:

    M2TW: Kingdoms (Crusades) - "The Levantine Struggle"

    Fast becoming a contender for the longest running hotseat ever, this game is in its 61st turn...The alliance of Byzantines (Cecil XIX) and Turks (phonicsmonkey) is just about holding the line against the might of Antioch (Thanatos Eclipse). Meanwhile, in the desert, the Mongols shuffle about menacingly...who knows where or even if they will strike?

    Stainless Steel 6.4 "Wrath of the Khan 2"

    With the death of Genghis Khan and the betrayal of the Mongols (phonicsmonkey) by the Cumans (Visorslash), it seems the dream of world domination by the steppe horsemen is fast fading. In the Levant, the vast armies of the ERE (Silvershield) face a strong defensive line established by the Fatimids (Zim), who maintain their alliance with the Khan...for now.

    Meanwhile the hordes vent their rage on the Seljuks (LooseCannon1) and Khwarezm Shah (Myth) while the outriders of the Kievan Rus (Nightbringer) have been sighted in East Anatolia and Azerbaijan, poised to join the fray.

    In the West, the Moors (Mithridate) make war upon France (Thanatos Eclipse), adding intrigue to the fight against the Mongols.

    Third Age Total War 2.1 "End of the Third Age"

    After early gains along the Anduin, things have grown increasingly difficult for the forces of evil. Isengard (deguerra) has been destroyed by the forces of Rohan (mithridate), and the main force of Mordor (Nightbringer) was recently wiped out by Gondor (Zim). Gondor now marches on Mordor with catapults and the power of its cavalry. Further West, Rohan, Eriador (Rougeman), and the High Elves (Myth) are steadily growing in power, and are sure to be a powerful force once they join the battle. Although things look grim for the forces of evil, Harad (Loosecannon1) has begun raiding the South of Gondor, and it may be able to deal the necessary damage to allow Mordor to recover. Additionally, Rhun (Thanatos Eclipse) is entering the fray in the North, going toe to toe against the Sylvan Elves (slysnake). Can The Servant’s of Sauron make a comeback, or will peace be restored to Middle Earth?

    Stainless Steel 6.4 "Clash of Gods!"

    Clash of the Gods features a unique rule set that pits Catholic factions versus Muslim one’s in a team battle to control key cities across the map. The game started with the Moors (Loosecannon1) quickly dominating Iberia and threatening to eliminate Leon Castille (thanatos eclipse). However, a coalition of French (slysnake), English (Myth), and Venetian (Nightbringer) forces struck against the Moors, saving Castille and eventually destroying the Moors, capturing the target city of Cordoba in the process.

    In the East, The Crusader States (Silvershield), fighting for the Muslim side, conquered all of the Levant and moved into Greece where they were met by the forces of Venice. The Crusader States steadily gained control of Greece, expertly denying the Venetians chances to engage. The Crusader State now press into Italy, but attacks on Venice (another target city), have proven disastrous for them so far. Meanwhile, the Seljuks Sultanate (Mithridate) and the Khwarezmian Empire (Ezilkannan) have taken large swathes of land and Seljuk forces now near Italy. With reinforcements coming to relieve Venice and the Catholics raking in points from Cordoba, the Muslim factions are in a tough situation. Can they capture Venice? Will the recent Jihad recapture Cordoba? Or will the Catholics successfully sweep East and Capture Jerusalem, likely winning them the game?

    Stainless Steel 6.4 "The March of Time"

    The Fatimid Caliphate (phonicsmonkey) and Moors (Nightbringer) currently top the faction charts, with their vast empires dominating the southern corners of the map. An uneasy peace reigned among the kingdoms of the world, as the factions eyed one another suspciously - that is, until the Fatimids struck at Sicily (Myth), seizing Athens and Sparta while entreating the Siclians' allies Swabia (slysnake) and the Kievan Rus (Mithridate) to stay out of the fighting. Will the Islamic nations be successful in their plans to seize North Africa from the Sicilians? Or will the alliance of Sicily, Swabia and Russia strike back? And what of the stance of the northern kingdoms of England (Zim), Denmark (RexLegend), Lithuania (Nigel) and Poland (Gaius Octavaius Caesar)?

    M2TW: Kingdoms (Teutonic) "Winter Is Coming"

    The Teutonic Order (Myth) looked to be having things its way after the routine defeat of Lithuania (phonicsmonkey), but a spirited resistance by Novogorod (Zim) has bogged the crusaders down for long enough to allow Denmark (Nightbringer) to enter the fray. Meanwhile the HRE (Cecil XIX) and Poland (slysnake) are neutral in the conflict...for now.

    Stainless Steel 6.4 Late Era "Europa I"

    In this new hotseat, an innovative set of rules govern faction relations and the power balance between the players, with the gamesmaster (Hurin the Steadfast) tracking a set of characteristics such as Infamy, Prestige and Stability, all of which have in-game effects. In addition, a system of monetary rewards for roleplaying has encouraged storytelling to a level not seen for a long while.

    The game is in its early stages and the factions are positioning themselves diplomatically with no major wars so far.

    Upcoming games:

    TWS2 RPG: This game is its final stages of development and coming soon! Check out the discussion thread if you are interested in participating.

    From the Vaults

    This time we feature a story from the M2TW RPG Last of the Romans, which was set in the Byzantine Empire and ran in the Throne Room for most of 2008. This contribution, originally posted by GeneralHankerchief, nicely showcases the fun and humour that is to be had in playing RPGs!

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Byzantine Blab

    Your Daily Dose of Gossip in a Lovely, Effeminate Shade of Purple Since 330 AD

    August 1125 Edition - Special Magnaura Report

    Patriarch Lucks Out in Alexandria Conflict
    Was legal loophole a blessing from God... or tricky maneuvering?
    By Woodros Bernsteintinos
    CONSTANTINOPLE - Mere hours after the controversial Edict 4.5 was passed in the Magnaura essentially shipping Patriarch of Constantinople Nicholas III to yet-to-be conquered Alexandria, a statement was issued from the Office of the Patriarch proclaiming that, in preparation for the move to Alexandria, an error was discovered the ancient Book of Orthodox Doctrine.

    The Book, written in ancient times when the Eastern Roman Empire was flourishing and when Alexandria was under its control, lists the various Patriarchates and the powers allocated to each. Amended to keep up with the current state of the Byzantine Empire, the Patriarch of Constantinople oversees the religion in the greater Greece area, has a say in the legitimacy of royal heirs, and is allowed an official Representative in the Magnaura, among other things. In comparison, the Patriarch of Alexandria oversees Orthodoxy in Africa and the lower Levant and is allowed no greater say in the affairs of Constantinople.

    However, as the Office has revealed, the Book contains a glaring misprint, previously undiscovered due to the fact that up until a few hours ago, the Patriarchate of Alexandria had not existed for centuries. In the headings for each section, the words "Constantinople" and "Alexandria" are accidentally switched, meaning that, technically, the allowance of a Representative and a voice in the matters of succession now fall under the Patriarch of "Alexandria"'s duties, and vice versa.

    "What this means," said Nicholas III's official Representative, in an exclusive interview with the Blab, "is that Patriarch Nicholas essentially will continue in the same role he has had for the past years, with only his official title changing." The Representative went on to state that, despite the silliness and rather obviousness of the error, it is law, as the Book was legally voted to be "the absolute final say for all matters and disputes pertaining to Orthodoxy, as per the Joint Magnaura/Synod Resolution of 933 or something," said the Representative.

    Others, however, aren't so sure that this error always existed. "Come on, just a little bit after the Patriarch loses the fight and gets shipped to Alexandria, it's suddenly revealed that the Patriarch of Alexandria now has all the powers of the Patriarch of Constantinople? Give me a break," said a disgusted Savvas ek Miltou, in a bit of a rush considering his historic tie for the position of Megas. "Clearly, Nicholas and his cronies are manipulating ancient dogma to subvert the rule of law. If that was always in place like they say it is, I'll eat my entire Magnaura bench."

    When questioned about how quickly this oversight could be corrected, the Representative was not optimistic. "It's not as simple as crossing out 'Constantinople' and writing 'Alexandria' over it," he said. "Changing the Book is a very ancient procedure and will require, to start, a convening of at least two councils, followed by several votes as well as the Patriarch's approval. It could definitely take some time."

    "This just adds to my case," Savvas said upon learning this, before he walked off in a huff.

    As the learned portion of Constantinople was thrown into an uproar over hearing the two pieces of news, the few among them who remained calm said that the continued standoff did not bode well for the continued internal peace of the Empire.

    "At this point, the Basileus and Patriarch are just trying to one-up each other," said a citizen who preferred not to be named. "Eventually, something's got to give, and I predict it will sooner rather than later."

    The Patriarch could not be reached for comment.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Savvas ek Miltou used with Andres's permission.
    Last edited by phonicsmonkey; 04-12-2012 at 05:19.
    frogbeastegg's TWS2's here!

    Come to the Throne Room to play multiplayer hotseat campaigns and RPGs in M2TW.

    Member thankful for this post:

  9. #9
    Strategist and Storyteller Member Myth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Tales from the Throne Room - Chapter Seven

    Welcome back to Tales from the Throne Room, our regular piece on the Org's community of hotseat and RPG gamers!
    (written by Myth and phonicsmonkey, graphics by Quirl and Myth)

    The Throne Room is where we play collaborative and competitive games based around TW titles, including Hotseats, RPGs and Succession games. We currently have a group of 19 active players (and several who come and go) across 5 hotseats, one succession game and one RPG.

    This chapter marks the ending of an era. The retirement of both veteran moderators, phonicsmonkey and Zim, men who have shaped the Throne Room into what you see today, is both a threshold and a reminder to us all to strive to give to the community as much as they have during their years as players and mods. It also marks the ending of previous games, the coming resolution of some but also the prospect of new and innovative games to come!

    Hall of Fame:

    The annual HoF awards came to a close, and the results are as follows.

    @SilverShield won the title of Throne Room Champion and was unanimously hailed as the best general of 2011. I congratulate him and I promise the next edition will feature an interview (this edition's interview is a special occasion).

    @Cecil XIX won the award for Best Gamesmaster and has good chances of repeating his achievement if he hosts that multi-faction RPG he proposed in the Arena of Kings contest.

    @phonicsmonkey won the Best Hotseat award for 2011 despite the stiff competition. Hopefully he will run at least one game for 2012!

    I myself won the award for Best Throne Room Contributor but that was rather the point of my Content Manager title. I do hope that for 2012 we will have some fresh faces who will contribute ideas, art or with the hosting of games.

    Current RPGs:

    SS 6.4 "Lords of the Danube" has ended, but several RPG games are a possibility:

    "RTW Nostalgy" RPG game proposed by @The King

    Cecil's proposed multy-faction RPG

    The S2:TW RPG that had been proposed some time ago is still a possibility as people have been discussing it.

    I was thinking of staring a "Quest for the Holy Grail" RPG but that will be proposed in August.

    Current hotseat games:

    M2TW: Kingdoms (Crusades) - "The Levantine Struggle" The game has been completed and @Thanatos Eclipse (Principality of Antioch) is the victor! Congratulations to a well earned triumph!

    Stainless Steel 6.4 "Wrath of the Khan 2"

    The Mongols (phonicsmonkey) are gaining ground. The surrender of the Kwarezmian shah (Myth) and Seljuk Sultanate (LooseCannon1), they now have to face the armies of the ERE (SilverShield) if they hope to go further. The Fatamid Caliphate (Zim) is on their side, and the Cumans (Visorslash) are suing for peace with the armies of Kublai Khan.

    War in the west wages back and forth between the Moors (Mithridate) and France (Thanatos Eclipse) and massive battles are now coming into play!

    Third Age Total War 2.1 "End of the Third Age"

    The High Elves (Myth) and Rohan (Mithridate) are advancing east and soon the frontines around Minas Tirith will become the deciding factors for this game. The Silvan Elves (slysnake) are caught in a struggle for their life versus Rhun (Thanatos Eclipse), while Mordor (Nightbringer) and Haard (LooseCannon1) are trading blows with Gondor (Zim). The large distances in this mod make the moving of armies slow between turns, but the big battle of the Third Age is dawning for elves, men and orcs alike.

    Stainless Steel 6.4 "Clash of Gods!"

    In a most fascinating turn of events, the Muslim team has made not only a resurgence, but a bold and quite sucessfull attempt at winning the game! The Crusader States, lead by our champion Silver Shield, managed to gradually conquer Greece and Italy and push hard against Venice's borders, while the Seljuk Sultanate (Mithridate) made a mad dash for Hamburg and London in a Jihad, and managed to conquer both target cities. The Kwarezmian Shah (LooseCannon1) has also now joined the siege of Venice, and things look bleak for the Catholic team, despite Venice's (Nightbringer) valliant defence and the growth of France (slysnake), England (Myth) and development of Leon-Castile (Thanatos Eclipse)

    Precious few turns are left before the Muslim team can claim victory, and the fate of Christian Europe hangs in the balance. Don't miss the conclusion of this epic team battle!

    Stainless Steel 6.4 "The March of Time"

    The Fatimid Caliphate (phonicsmonkey) and Moors (Nightbringer) made short work of Sicilly (Myth) in a double invasion. In the mean time, the Moors have also advanced deep into central Europe and are now locked in a fort stand-off with Swabia (slysnake) Denmark (Rex Legend). England (Zim) joins the fray versus Denmark while the Kievan Rus (Mithridate) similarly assaults the positions of the Fatamid Caliphate. Lithuania (Nigel) has assisted in the assault of Poland (Gaius Octavaius Caesar) alongside Denmark and Swabia, and as the factions become fewer, the individual strenght and size of each one increases. The world's superpowers are now left to decide who will rule Europe and the Middle East once and for all!

    M2TW: Kingdoms (Teutonic) "Winter Is Coming"

    This game has ended with an allied victory of the Teutonic Order (Myth) and Poland (slysnake) despite the efforts of Denmark (Nightbringer) the HRE (Cecil XIX) and Novgorod (Zim). A new Teutonic game will start soon, so don't miss your chance to choose a faction!

    Stainless Steel 6.4 Late Era "Europa I"

    One of the most interesting and innovative games of 2012 and a sure contender for the Game of the Year award, this mix of RPG and Hotseat is still in it's developing early game stage. A recent declaration of war and betrayal of their alliance from the Moors (Mithridate) on England (Rougeman) stirs up the west, but the other factions have kept a diplomatic silence. Also partly because of the summer period, this game has had it's turn times extended and the IC talk has lessened, but I expect it to pick up come September. Also, with so much silence, there is surely much treachery and skulduggery about.

    Upcoming games:

    The restarting of the three Kingdoms games.
    The winning game from Arena of Kings, as well as any number of other proposed games there.
    A possible Broken Crescent 1.5 game.

    If you would like to see a particular game set up, don't be shy to propose it!

    And now, a special treat. An interview with our very own phonicsmonkey, caught before he had the chance of using the secret exit behind his throne!

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Hello Phonicsmonkey and thank you for your time.

    I want to begin this interview by saying that you have been an inspiration to me, both as a player and as an upstanding member of the .org. You were the one to set the bar for quality in the TR, both for games and for posting, you were the constant factor that was pushing the games forward and you set a stellar example of how to be a dreaded enemy and general while playing fair. The Throne Room will miss your untiring involvement, and I hope to see you more active again here after some time has passed. Now, on to the questions!

    Q: I think the first question should be, how did you get into Total War games and how did you discover Hotseat games in particular?

    A: Well firstly let me just say how flattered I am by your kind words and how honored I am to be interviewed in this way. When I started TftTR I never expected to be featured in it!

    I got into Total War games through a copy of RTW lent to me by a friend. It was, I think, the third PC game I played after getting my first computer after I left Uni (I'd always been into gaming but hadn't owned my own console or PC since I was a teenager at home with my megadrive - at Uni I mostly played playstation) and I was totally hooked after about an hour of playing. I remember spending most of the next day at work reading frogbeastegg's excellent guide which, by the way, is what brought me to the Org.

    And the Org is where I found out about mods like RTR, SPQR and EB which kept me playing on and on until one day I discovered that M2TW was coming out.

    I bought it on release and created my Org account so I could discuss it in the Citadel and share my experiences with other players. This led me to read AARs, which brought me to the Throne Room and hotseat games. I lurked for a while before joining one (the first Teutonic game, I stepped in to take over the Mongols after their player left) and the rest is history. Quite a lot of history actually, given that was back in 2007!

    Q: You are a most excellent general and one of my first targets when I was unfortunate enough to have you as my enemy. You were also an invaluable ally when I had you as one. Can you give the other warlords of the TR some tips on Hotseat play?

    A: Again with the flattery! Is this an interview technique?

    Well I think most of the Throne Room crowd know my playstyle and I've always tried to be open about strategy and tactics, so I risk repeating myself if I go into a lecture about hotseat best practice.

    I think in general I'm quite a conservative player and I think there are many better players than I among the younger TR guys, so I'm not really in the best position to offer advice.

    But one maxim I've always stuck to is never go to war alone. That way you can't get ganged up on. One of the least conducive situations to succeeding in a hotseat game is being alone against an alliance of enemies.

    An extension of this idea is to do your preparation thoroughly. If you can have the war won before you strike the first blow, all the better. There's nothing more satisfying than watching an enemy realise he's isolated because you already cut a deal with all his potential allies.

    And never leave an army where it can be attacked. You want to dictate the terms, when and where you fight. Even if you're going to lose, let it be in a manner if your own choosing.

    Q: Which types of HS games do you most enjoy? Which is your most memorable one and why?

    A: I like the big grand campaign games best! Months of minor squabbles and back room deals followed by a giant world war once the sides have finally been settled on. Lots of potential for skulduggery and backstabbing, just how I like it.

    My favorite game of all and in my humble opinion the best hotseat ever was Commanders of the Faithful. We had a committed group of players in a newly released mod, everyone was into role playing and no-one had really played hotseats before so everything was new.

    That game had everything: secret alliances, at least two off-forum discussion groups, traitors, vassals, evil viziers, plagues, crusaders, elephants in the levant, you name it...we even had a player come back secretly with an alt account to take over the faction he had previously ruled...

    The IC threads for that game were really exciting: a truly collaborative writing project inspired by our interactions in the game. As a writer I found it inspiring and unique the way my characters' lives were not mine to control. External events could force plot developments on me before I was ready for them: just like they had real independent lives. I was genuinely grief-stricken when the first Caliph An-Nasir died of the plague and I think it came through in the death story I wrote for him.

    When I think of all the guys I met through that game and became friends with, it's just a roll-call of throne room greats. @barcamartin, @Elite Ferret, @deguerra, @_Tristan_, @Askthepizzaguy, @The Lemongate, @Ramses II CP, @Zim, @rossahh, @Banzai Kamikaze, @TheFlax, @Quirl (al-mustafa mubarak), @oojebus. Hope I didn't miss anyone...

    Seriously, just checkout the court room and story threads for that game. That's what hotseating, and playing games on the Internet, is all about for me.

    Q: What would you consider your best, most cunning or hardest won victory?

    A: I actually haven't won many games to be honest. Partly because I've been the admin in so many and I almost feel it's poor form for an admin to win his own game but mostly I think because I'm not actually that good! More concerned with not losing than with winning I think...

    Still, I got an allied victory in the first Britannia game by betraying the Celtic alliance at the last minute. That was enjoyable, if a bit cheap.

    My allied victory in the CotF game was probably the hardest fought. The way that war raged across the levant and Anatolia with the whole region changing hands a couple of times and being ravaged by plague before we finally got the upper hand over the Romans, that was tough and there were many points at which it could have gone the other way.

    But the most satisfying result is probably my second place in the Teutonic hotseat, the Frozen North, because as the Mongols it was just so unlikely. I made a series of good decisions at the right time in that game which overturned my natural disadvantage. Plus it was a lot of fun betraying everyone I allied with one by one.

    Q: We all know you have Baby Monkey to think of now, but do you expect to join in at least one new game? Anything in particular that you fancy or has caught your attention?

    A: I'm thinking I'll probably take part in more RPGs than hotseats in the future, partly because hotseats have become less role play focused and partly because I have more time on the Internet than at my gaming computer, so I can participate in an RPG while I'm on the road for work or on a mobile device when I'm out and about.

    I'd probably join the RTW RPG TheKing is planning if I hadn't put my copy of the game into storage when we moved out of our house recently. I would definitely join the TWS2 RPG we were planning if it ever got off the ground. And definitely a R2TW RPG once that game comes out.

    As for hotseats I'd be most likely to join something big and with lots of RP, like that Europa game Hurin is running.

    Q: Speaking of Baby Monkey, what is the little angel's name? How is she adapting to being the Caliph's daughter and heiress to his empire?

    A: I'm preternaturally terrified of posting personal details on the public Internet, so I'll answer a slightly different question instead which is what would she be called if I really were the Caliph.

    I've always thought the arabic name Jamilah, which means 'beautiful', quite lovely somshe'd probably be called that.

    Right now she's not that interested in my empire, which is probably sensible given it will likely be conquered by one of you lot before she has a chance to enjoy it.

    Q: If I may pry a bit more into your life, what are your long-term plans? Do they include a return of the Caliph from his self-imposed exile from court?

    A: My long term plans don't include the Throne Room at this point, which is one of the reasons I stepped down as moderator and have semi-retired. I've just got too much going in in RL right now to think about it. I think I'll be around the place pretty regularly though, just keeping an eye on thing and looking out for old faces to say hi to.

    Q: Back to hotseats and the rich history of the TR, is there anything that you feel is unfinished? Any idea of yours that did not have time to see the light of day?

    A: I always wanted to host the first EB2 hotseat but that mod just never came out. I hope there's still enough of a player base for it when it does get released, to give justice to all the hard work that team has put in.

    Otherwise I feel like I never quite executed the Wrath of the Khan idea properly, despite two attempts. The first one was a continuation of the CotF game, so it had all that rich lore behind it to make it meaningful, but the Mongols in BC1.05 were unintentionally overpowered and e just didn't stand a chance against them. I remember how we rejoiced when we took out a single army of theirs!

    The second one, which is ongoing, is unbalanced in the other direction in my view. I haven't played it perfectly at all, but I'd like it to be that the Mongols don't have to in order to have a realistic chance of winning. If anything it should be the non-Mongols who sweat, even though there are more of them.

    Q: Regarding the Throne Room, from your perspective - how has it developed over the years. Where does it's future lie as a community?

    A: It's hard to say because it's going to depend on what direction the new TW games go in terms of multiplayer campaigns. It's only really M2TW where you can play a multiplayer campaign with more than one other player and where you don't have to be online together.

    TWS2 introduced a different kind of MP campaign but it doesn't require a forum, except if you want to post an AAR like Zim and I did with Mod vs Mod.

    Unless CA change direction on that with their next game, and I don't think there's any indication they'll do that, then I think hotseats will slowly die out as people stop playing M2TW. When you think about it it's amazing that so many people still play a five year old game which is so buggy and unbalanced!

    Maybe the TR will become more focused on RPGs and AARs, the way it used to be. Maybe succession games will come back? Or something entirely new.

    Q: And finally, what would be your words towards the newer players that have come and will continue to join the Throne Room?

    A: Stick around, don't be afraid to propose or even host a game, role play and tell stories because it enriches the experience for you and everyone else....and explore the rest of the Org, there are a lot of nice people here.

    Thank you phonicsmonkey for this interview!

    From the Vaults

    This issue's story comes from a game that has received much prase (and the 2008 award) and that was mentioned by phonicsmonkey as his all time favorite. Check more of the stories in the Commanders of the Faithful story thread. The story itself is a piece by @Askthepizzaguy who has been conspicuously busy at other parts of the .org, and whom I wish would once more grace our halls with such writing!

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    A peasant man walks on the outskirts south of Damascus, with his camel following behind him. Both the peasant and the animal look exhausted.

    A small pool of rainwater had collected last night in a sunken part of the stony road. The camel stops to drink, and is clearly quite thirsty. The man looks annoyed at the delay, but knows not to disturb his mount when he is drinking. He looks up and hears the sounds of hoofbeats against the stone road to the north. An entourage of men on horseback ride past him and his camel, not saying a word.

    The peasant man resumes watching his friend drink the rainwater.[/I]

    After several moments, the man looks up again and notices a group of men standing around him, and he immediately draws his sword.

    "Oh, it's a bit late for that... isn't it, old man?" A harsh and ominous voice intoned. The peasant man looked started.

    "You.... what are you doing here? Why aren't you on the Latin front?"

    An arrow pierces his sword-bearing hand, and he drops his weapon, and down to his knees in pain.

    "A better question might be, why aren't YOU on the Latin front?" the ominous voice replied.
    Malik delivered a fierce kick to the face of the old man, shattering his jaw.
    "Another question might be... why did you order me to sign an alliance with the Armenians?" Malik took out his long, curved sword, and delivered a terrible blow to the man's other hand, leaving them both useless and bloodied. "Or how about; why did you order an alliance with the Georgians, who now bow in fear before the Caliphate?" Malik took his iron boot and delivered a swift downward kick to the solar plexus of the defeated man "Or why you bothered to sign an alliance with the distant Hindus?" Malik delivered another kick, this time to shatter the older man's ribs. "WHY did you sign an alliance with the Seljuks?" Another kick to the face of the crumpled man. "WHY DID YOU SIGN AN ALLIANCE WITH THE ROMANS????" A harsher kick to the face of the man. "WHY DID YOU SEND 15,000 GOLD TO THE CALIPH????" An even more vicious kick to the genitals of the man. "WHY DID YOU, FOOLISH AND STUPID OLD MAN, AGREE TO AN ALLIANCE WITH THE LATIN CRUSADERS WHO ARE OUR MOST HATED ENEMIES????"

    Malik took his sword and impaled the man through the stomach.


    Malik twisted the sword, causing pain.

    "And tell me why, dear Sultan, you decided to make a pilgrimage to Mecca in our most critical hour?"

    Kaikosru attempted to speak, but the words could not come... he simply cried in pain.

    "You will not be making any more mistakes, you stupid fool. Now die, defeated, once the greatest commander on the face of the earth, now simply a peasant without a country... and without a head."

    Malik took an axe and seperated Kaikosru from his body.
    Last edited by Myth; 07-27-2012 at 23:03.
    The art of war, then, is governed by five constant
    factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations,
    when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

    These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth;
    (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
    Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"
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