Gods and Masters - Let's Play India in Europa Universalis 4
Hello and welcome to another Paradox LP! No, we will not starting with CK2 (or CK3). We're diving headfirst into EU4!
Wait, don't you have an unfinished LP already?
Several, in fact! You may have read my Crusader Kings 2 LP where switched countries every century and my Feudal humans in space Stellaris LP, both unfinished.
You're the Zunbil guy!
Yeah, I'm the Zunbil guy.
How'd you get Zunbils in EU4?
I didn't. We'll be playing the Vijayanagara Kingdom (and later, empire). It's one of the easier starts in India.
Vijaya-nagara. Sanskrit has a lot of compound words that end up being written out as a single word when transcribed into English due to a couple of factors, like the use of the devanagari script (itself a compound word that means "from the abode of divinities"), as well as strict grammar rules for joining- You know what, it doesn't matter. There are a lot of compound words in Sanskrit. The empire is named after its capital: Vijaya (victory) - nagara (city), thus "City of victory".
It's a pretty easy start, and unlike, say, CK2, EU4 doesn't lend itself to interesting narratives as much if the player empire is large and stable. I'm not here to write about map painting. So we'll be playing with a few handicaps.
The most important one is stability. We will not be spending admin points (paper mana) on raising our stability. This will give us a lot more unrest (and other fun bad effects), and we're more likely to see disasters actually fire.
Second of all, we won't be dumping monarch points into developing cities to jump-start institution spread. This means that after a few decades, we should be behind in tech.
And lastly, unless we take the religious idea group, we won't be converting provinces.
Oh, and I'll try to match our playstyle to the monarch's traits, but there's gonna have to be a lot of interpretation going on.
Alright, so are we running a senate or what?
No. Though there will be voting on important things, like idea groups.
Like my previous few attempts, this will be a narrative-focused LP. More than anything else, it's gonna be a collection of short stories set in the world that this playthrough will create, kind of like ZunLP.
Alright, let's get started!
The Tamil Boys
----1.1 The Long Walk North
----1.2 An Empty Stomach
Kayten fucked around with this message at 21:20 on Dec 13, 2020
|# ? Dec 3, 2020 17:34|
|# ? Jan 22, 2021 15:53|
|# ? Dec 3, 2020 17:34|
1.1 - The Long Walk North
It's been a long time since the rivers by Tanjore saw peace. Nayaks, sultans, maharajas, and governors brought men, steel, and horse against the gates of the city time and again. Each one gave their share of blood to the Kaveri, throwing corpse after corpse into it. The river, for its part, could not tell the blood apart: a Tamil bled as much as a Kannada did, and a Muslim's blood was as red as Hindu's.
And so, an army left the city gates once more, and headed north along the river. The morning sun was not kind to the soldiers this far south, and the stench surrounding the river was already unbearable.
Jai carried his pike on his shoulder, and marched along with the rest of his column, his kit on his back. A squad of men with pikes like these gave his parents a choice three weeks ago: they give the nayak their harvest, or their boy. His family knew they couldn't survive the year without the harvest. And so, for now, at least, Jai would carry his own pike, and stab it into whoever the nayak told him to.
To his right was the only person he knew from home - Naveen. Sundatty wasn't much of a village, so Naveen 'volunteered' to join the Tanjore levy the same day as Jai did.
"Cheer up, Jai, it's not all so bad", he said. "At least we're not in Sundatty anymore. You don't want to grow beans your entire life, do you?"
"I like Sundatty. And what's wrong with beans? My family grows the best beans this side of Kaveri!"
The burly man behind them interrupted.
"What's wrong, boys, miss your amma?"
No matter how he tried to present himself, Radha wasn't much older than the Sundatty boys. The big difference between them wasn't age - all three saw their twentieth birthday not too long ago. The real divide was why they were here, marching. Unlike them, Radha volunteered. By the time the army moved north, he had spent two full years beating the nayak's taxes out of merchants in Tanjore.
"No time for that kind of talk. You're Lord Chellappa's soldiers now! Be proud of what you do!"
"Seems to me the only thing we do so far is walk and carry sharpened sticks", said Jai.
"Don't forget the occasional death threat", added Naveen.
"Blasphemy! The maharaja sends us on a holy mission, and this is how you see it?", said another soldier behind them. He held his pike in one hand, and fiddled with a pendant depicting Shiva, the Destroyer, with the other. Sunil was younger than the rest, his beard barely grown. Like Radha, he wasn't forced into the levy.
"What are you talking about, kulantai? You can talk about holy missions once you grow your moustache", Jai said.
"Oh no, Jai, we need to show respect to the revered elder. He looks upon us from the great height of sixteen summers! Share your wisdom with us, oh guru of gurus!", Naveen added.
The Sundatty boys laughed, their pikes bouncing behind them.
Radha gently put his hand on Sunil's shoulder.
"Don't worry about these two muttal, they're not true soldiers yet. Where are you from, young one?"
"Tanjore. I wanted to serve."
"A local boy! That's good, that's very good. You're showing these farmboys that city men can carry pikes too"
Naveen turned his head.
"He can carry mine, if he's so eager!"
"Eyes up front, boy. We have a ways to go yet."
Naveen kept walking.
A group of Marathas on horses rode past them towards the head of the column.
"Wish we had horses. There'd be less walking. Where are we going, anyway?"
"I told you, we're on a holy mission!" Sunil said.
"Sure, yeah, Vishnu himself appeared to you in a vision and told you to stab someone with a pike."
"Not me! Haven't you heard the news? War is brewing! The maharaja will strike back at the unbelievers!"
"What, like the Jains?"
"The moneylenders? Oh, my amma's going to like that, we still owe that muttal for the new goats", Naveen said.
"The Ja- No! What are you even talking about? Do you think of nothing but farming?", Sunil said.
"Listen, kulantai, do you have any idea how much work there is to do on a farm? I'm sorry we can't all carry a pike for one holy war or another, someone's got to feed all of you", Jai said.
"And yet here you are, pike in hand, going to war against unbelievers. Whether you like it or not, you will carry out the will of the gods."
Radha's laugh boomed behind them.
"He's got you there, Jai. We're all in this together now. Better get used to it."
A few weeks later, the army has made camp for the evening. Still in friendly territory, the camp is barely protected. The nayak and his commanders were relaxing in their tents, while the soldiers huddle around fires on the sleeping bags.
Dice roll after dice roll, and Radh was not having a good night. He had already lost nearly a third of his next month's salary to Naveen.
"I can't let you bet anymore 'future money', Radh. What if you get stabbed tomorrow? Am I supposed to come up to lord Chellappa and ask him for a third of your pay?"
"Come on, Naveen, you know I'm good for it. A few more rolls and I'll win everything back."
Sunil piped up from a distance.
"The gods do not look fondly on gambling. It is dishonest money."
Jai turned around to look at the youth.
"Do they? Didn't Shiva and Parvati play dice?"
"They did! And do you remember what the dice turned them into? How they bickered, how Parvati took all of Shiva's divine possessions? How he fled to the forest in shame?"
"Listen, kulantai, all I know is that if you pray to Lakshmi on Diwali, you'll get lucky with dice. Do you think you know better than a goddess?", Naveen added.
"Does it look like Diwali to you?"
Before the theological debate came to blows, a horn called throughout the camp.
Lord Chellappa Narasimha, the Nayak of Tanjore stood before his troops.
"Soldiers! Tamils! Hear me!"
The camp grew deadly silent.
"Tonight is the last night that we spend in safety. Tomorrow, we cross the river, and strike at the Bahmanis."
"Our maharaja says that these borderlands belonged to the City of Victory once. That may be so. The maharaja is a learned man, after all, while I am but a humble soldier.
But I will tell you what I do know! I know Tamils! And Tamils are invincible!"
The soldiers cheer.
"The maharaja is no Tamil. He is a gentle man. He knows of war from epics and journals.
His highness wants us to be kind to our foes, and merciful to the defeated.
But the maharaja isn't here."
"We are Tamils! War is in our blood! We will take the borderlands before the other Nayaks even get here!
I offer the enemy no mercy! Every soldier here is free to take what he wants."
The camp erupts into cheers. Their payday has arrived.
|# ? Dec 3, 2020 17:35|
Looking forward to the LP! And the inevitable collapse into chaos because of a comet storm!
|# ? Dec 3, 2020 20:19|
In on the ground floor!
|# ? Dec 4, 2020 01:37|
I'm here to warn you about the economy, fools!
|# ? Dec 4, 2020 01:42|
Looking forward to you taking over the silk road.
|# ? Dec 5, 2020 01:31|
|# ? Jan 22, 2021 15:53|
1.2 An Empty Stomach
This village was like any other in Raichur: a few streets lined with houses, a run-down temple dedicated to Shiva, and a half-built mosque. In the distance, the Mudgal fort broke up the skyline from the top of the hill, reminding the locals who's really in charge.
The streets remained empty. The locals were used to small raiding forces coming from the City of Victory, but those were a few dozen men at best, and they never stayed long. The fort made sure of that.
This was different: the Tamil force numbered in the thousands, and was soon joined by the rest of the Vijayanagara host. Ten thousand Kannada pikemen marched through the the streets, flanked by Maratha horsemen and dozens of war elephants. True war had come to the village.
And war was a ravenous beast.
Like other villages, this one was surrounded by farmland, growing rice to feed the locals, and coffee for the lord to sell. As the army marched through, the silos were emptied, and storehouses raided: the soldiers would eat even if the locals would starve. Those that refused to feed the army fed the earth and the carrion birds. The Nayak of Tanjore forbid burying them, whether Muslim or Hindu.
The army descended on the village like locusts, taking all they could, and moved to the fort.
That was months ago. The Maharaja's forces moved past the fort, leaving Chellappa's host behind to starve the defenders. The siege had carried on ever since.
For the first time in a while, Jai and boys could move without marching. An old pack horse was "liberated" from the locals for army needs, as was the cart the four Tamils now rode in. Naveen was the only one that knew how to deal with a horse, so he held the reins as the cart slowly drove down the muddy road.
"Tommorow, I'm telling you! The muttal in the fort will surrender tomorrow!", Radha said.
Jai was whittling away at a piece of wood with a small knife, one of the many skills he'd picked up on campaign. This figurine was a tiger, ready to strike. At least, so Jai claimed. At best, it looked like some horror that fought Lord Rama. But it looked more like a tiger than the last five figurines did.
Without looking up from his work, he asked Naveen:
"How many tomorrows are we up to at this point?"
"Fifty-seven! But, don't worry, Jai, tomorrow for sure!" Naveen said.
"Tomorrow for sure!"
"I don't understand why they keep fighting", Sunil said. "The hosts of the Maharaja have destroyed their allies and are burning through their countryside."
The youth has matured over the past year. His beard was no longer as patchy as it used to be, and he stopped yelling about the gods every other sentence. He has, however, remained just as dour.
"I don't know, maybe they hope enough of us die to the drat fever before they all starve to death", he added.
"Cheer up, kulantai! We're not sick yet! And soon, we'll have fresh food for the sick boys!" Naveen said.
Jai looks up from his figurine.
"Besides, the camp keep growing with all the new Kannada coming in. We may die, but the army won't. Just like a battle, but instead of dying in minutes, it takes days. I thought you wanted to die in a holy war, Sunil", he said.
"Not like this! There is glory in dying on the field of battle. There isn't any glory in vomiting to death."
"The rest of the host went to run the heathens down in the field, while we're here waiting to see who starves to death first."
Naveen pipes up from the front.
"You should find something to do, kulantai. Cut... elephants from wood like Jai here."
"It's a tiger", Jai said.
"Ah. Well. Nonetheless, maybe you can whittle an elephant to keep it company!"
Sunil stares into the distance.
"I don't like these distractions. We're here for a very specific reason, and I want to focus on that."
"Speaking of which, you're up."
The cart stopped in the middle of the village. As soon as the soldiers could be seen, the locals rushed into their houses, except for an old man, who stood by his door, staring daggers into them.
The boys jump down from the cart, grabbing their pikes. Sunil yells a few words in Kannada at the old man.
"Ye! Sain'ya! Ahara! Dayavittu!"
The other three slowly surround the old man with their pikes.
The old man shakes his head.
"Ahara!", Sunil repeats.
Ahara. Food. Even Jai knew enough Kannada to understand that much.
The old man started talking to Sunil, way too fast for any of them to understand. Sunil cut him off.
"Sain'ya", he said, pointing first at the four of them, and then at the pikes.
He pointed at the old man, and then motioned towards the cart. "Ahara!"
"Illa! Illa!" The old man was getting worked up. He spoke faster and faster, gesticulating wildly.
Radha spoke up.
"Sunil! What is he saying?"
"I don't know, he's way too fast. Something about 'bandits', I think. Let me try again", Sunil said.
"A-ha-ra." He brought his hand to his mouth, making chewing noises.
The old man's tirade was getting louder and louder. Jai noticed that all around them, curious villagers were peeking out of their windows.
Sunil moved closer to the man to calm him down.
It didn't quite have the intended effect. The old man jumped back, afraid of the soldier.
"He's not helping. We're gonna have to go house by house and grab what we can", Radha said.
"Why would he help? We're here to rob them", Jai said.
"We're not robbing them, we're liberating them! These are our people! We're bringing them back into the fold", Sunil cut in.
"If they were our people, we'd at least know what they're saying."
"Enough! Lord Chellappa put me in charge, and I say we go house by house", Radha said, pushing the old man aside, and kicked open the door of his house.
"Jai, you go first, then Sunil, then me. Naveen, cover our back. Swords out!"
The four drew their swords. They weren't much, but they were better than anything the locals had. Jai took the first steps inside.
The old man's house was a mess. Broken pots and an even layer of dirt covered the wooden floor. There was nothing worth taking from him.
"drat it," Radha said. "Next house."
They formed up at the door of the next building over. Radha was about to kick the door down when Jai stopped him.
"Let's knock first." Two short knocks echoed across the square.
The door slowly opened up. A young girl stood there, staring at the soldiers.
Radha nudged Sunil.
"Ahara?", he asked the child. She shaked her head.
Jai moved past her and looked around. He noticed that she kept looking at the floor in the corner of the room. He followed her gaze, and saw a covered trapdoor.
He turned around to leave, but Radha stopped him.
"Let's go, there's nothing in here," Jai said.
"No, the girl said there's nothing in here. She could be hiding food. Search the house."
"She's no more than ten years old, Radha. She's a hungry child, not a criminal mastermind."
Radha moved closer. He towered over Jai.
"We are already rationing food at the camp. Half the host is too weak to fight the fever."
"So we're going to steal from starving children?"
"Let me perfectly clear. I would rather let everyone in this village starve to death than any of us. Now, search. The. House."
Jai turned back, and looked around.
Sunil and Jai peeked into every clay pot, and opened every cabinet. Nothing there.
Radha looked around the room as they searched, using his sword to avoid touching anything directly. His sword swept at the ground, and uncovered the trapdoor.
He moved closer, tapping at the floor. Hollow. He smiled.
"What's this then?"
He threw the trapdoor open.
"Illa!" The girl yelled, rushing at the soldier. He swatted her aside with ease.
Inside, they found pot after covered pot. Rice, beans, and everything else a growing boy needs.
Radha pulled the pots out, and stacked them on the floor.
"I see your parents have been holding out on us, little one. Now help me carry this."
The soldiers brought pot after pot towards the cart. By now, the village square was full of people. No one dared to say anything to the armed men.
The old man held the girl in his arms as he watched. She was young, but she understood what this meant.
With the cart packed, there was no need to search the other houses. There wasn't going to be much there anyway.
The boys grabbed their pikes. Radha leaned over to Sunil.
"How do you say 'thank you' in their tongue?"
Radha bowed to crowd, smiled, and repeated the phrase. The crowd roared in anger.
The old man pushed the girl behind him and stepped forward. Radha looked him over. He easily had a head and half on him. He was no match for the trained soldier.
And yet, the old man spat right in his face.
In a flash, Radha's sword was at his throat. The crowd's anger bubbled over, and the locals started yelling insults at the soldiers.
Sunil and Naveen readied their pikes against the crowd.
Jai, on the other hand, stood between Radha and the old man.
"Radha. Put the sword down."
"These people dare disrespect Lord Chellappa's soldiers! I should cut every last one of them down where they stand for this!"
"We have already killed them. These people won't last a week without that food. There's no need to kill them twice."
"He's right, Radha. These aren't the enemy, these are our people. This is bad karma. You're a brother to me, I don't want you to suffer in the next life for this", Sunil said.
Radha held his sword in its place. The old man stared him down. The crowd was getting angrier.
"Tell him to apologize."
"He insulted Lord Chellappa's soldiers. Tell him I will let him live if he apologizes."
Sunil fired off a few words at the old man. He never broke eye contact with the soldier.
A few moments later, the old man said a few words, slowly.
"Well? What did he say?"
"He said he was sorry for insulting such important men. Now please. Let's go"
Radha put his sword away and jumped on the cart. The others joined him, and the horse carried the last of the village's food to the fort.
For a while, no one spoke. The squeal of the ungreased wheels was the only sound to break the silence. Jai went back to his woodwork.
Eventually, Radha spoke.
"Tomorrow. Tomorrow for sure. You'll see."
|# ? Dec 13, 2020 21:20|