Saturday, July 10, 2010

Are we dreaming? ...Yes, of EVERYTHING



Barcelona, July 10th 2010, 18:00

They shall not stop us

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Commitment from Exile

Barcelona, 20th July 1713

On this day, Valencian and Aragonese citizens in Exile, belonging to the Three Arms of their respective Kingdoms' Parliaments, which had been abolished in their homelands by H. M. Philip d'Anjou decrees, have gathered in assembly in Barcelona, so legally instituting themselves as Parliaments in Exile of the above mentioned brotherly Kingdoms. The first resolution passed by each one has resulted in the delivery of written words to the Parliament of Catalonia expressing their full adhesion to the Cause of Freedom advocated by this, as well as an appealing to this Principality's faithfulness in accepting to continue these Kingdoms' memory, corresponding in Justice to the reciprocal, inseparable union of this Principality with them --"as established centuries ago by our common Kings of the Crown of Aragon, ancestors to our S.C.C.R.M. [Sacred Caesarean Catholic Royal Majesty] Emperor and King Charles".

Accordingly to the reception of such letters, and while in the wait for the next gathering of this Principality Parliament, its General Deputation has resolved the assignment in rental of a building in Barcelona city to each of these Honourable Institutions, so that it becomes possible for them to hold their natural activities in an appropriate environment. Besides, it has been authorised to these Institutions the use on Catalonian soil of a distictive flag of their own, in the same terms and conditions as those granted to the Parliament of Catalonia itself.

[Similar adhesion letters did actually exist, although naturally conformed to the real Historic situation; they were delivered on June 15th and 16th 1713, some two weeks before the formal declaration of War At All Costs by the Catalonian Parliament. So that, from a legal sense, such declaration was made not only in behalf of the Principality itself, but of the whole Crown of Aragon instead, empowered as this Institution was by such written words. That's what I desired to symbolize with this thread. A contemporary copy of such letters can be read (in Spanish language only) at 1713-06-15-representacio-aragonesos and 1713-06-16-representacio-valencians.]

Reception Committee

Monte-Cristo, 19th July 1713

Not less happy in his brand new Royal Catalan Guards uniform than a dwarf in a diamonds mine, Friedrich Leibnitz was relaxedly observing the overall docking operation, performed with amazing, professional precision by a so disparate improvised team as the Monte Cristan pilot and the Catalan sailors. From his position at the xebec's bow, the young military then noticed the presence on pier of a reduced albeit distinguished delegation, evidently waiting for them.

-It's the entourage of His Excellence Louis-Ferdinand Celine de Saint-Gobain -said Lord Vilana at Friedrich's rear, as responding in advance to an eventual question-. Formally, he's coming to welcome us as this country's Counselor of Relations with Foreign residents, but also to discretely inspect us... -he ironically added-. Besides of the already mentioned employment, he's also empowered as some kind of Ministry of Interior, my young friend; a most influent man in Court, and no doubt a potentially powerful ally, if conveniently reassured about our friendly intentions. -The Marquis of Vilana then advanced a couple of steps to become clearly visible from pier, and discretely smiled to Lord Counselor while slightly bowing his head with elegance, as a salutation to their distinguished hosts.

It was then when Leibnitz noticed, among the Monte Cristan delegation members, the presence of a woman he judged to be beautiful. She was clad in a courtly version of a hunting dress, noticeably completed with sword in scabbard. Uncapable to discern whom was she looking at, he incounsciously straightened up and adopted a gentlemanly posture. Such a gesture wasn't unnoticed to Vilana, who smiled with indulgence and exclaimed: -Blessed you young people, who happen to attract at each other as opposite poles of a magnet! ...A certainly extraordinary woman, I'd say, worth of the most gentle courtoisies ...Are you good at French language, Friedrich? -then he humourously asked.

-Bien sûr, Monsieur l'Ambassadeur -Leibnitz answered, with a wide, somewhat innocent smile in face.

-Keep then your ears and instincts aware if you happen to meet her -Vilana answered, suddenly serious-. If this woman's qualities do really match with her superb appearance, she's most probably an officer of Monte-Cristan famous Gardes de l'Etrier...

-A woman, officer? -asked Leibnitz with surprise.

-From the strict point of view of Reason, my dear friend -Vilana responded, adopting a somewhat teaching tone-, there are no consistent arguments to keep Woman at a lower stage than Man's own; no other than dogmatic misogyny or superstition. Would you say otherwise, my friend, having such an amazing woman in sight? -he cunningly concluded. Leibnitz couldn't avoid a seduced smile at the Monte-Cristan she-knight, who was now obviously observing him.

-Aprioristically, we shouldn't take her as any enemy to us, Friedrich. However, please have always in mind -Vilana concluded, quickly serious again- that such kind of agents are committed to their duty above any other consideration; be explicitly respectful to it, and strictly faithful to your own mission, and you'll be gaining her respect and favour. Few best allies you can achieve in this country as a Gardes de l'Etrier officer.

-Ship is conveniently moored, Sire -the boatswain interrupted them-, you can disembark at will.

-Excellent! Let's meet our distinguished hosts, then -Vilana replied.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Ready for a 2nd turn, but...

In less than one week's time, this weblog is to be temporarily closed for a 3-weeks holidays, that my wife and I will be investing in unveiling the so renowned Tanzania's wonders :)

However, I wouldn't like to leave for holidays without having set the basis for our 1713-1714 campaign second turn, so that, in agreement with my gaming mate Jordi (who is currently leading the Catalan/Galatan Army in the campaign), we've already written orders for our respective fiery columns. Besides, I have rolled dice on Mythical GME tables for our various Playing Characters, so that the main trends of each one's immediate fate are already known by me.

Therefore, in the few days left before leaving, I'll be starting some threads related with this second turn, either showing military moves or narrating Character scenes. Please have in mind, however, that the turn will be deliberately left uncomplete, so that eventual battles won't be resolved until my coming back, for example.


Just a few thoughts about the campaign development itself:

1) As some of your may probably have noticed, I'm not considering the Character dice rolls as to be compulsorily followed, but just as an inspiration source to help me imagine their adventures amidst the chaos of war -i.e. some kind of vague guide of each one's next trouble. Maybe in a future I'll have to better exprime Mythic GME, and follow the storyboards drawn by the dice in a quite more accurate way, but I'm still feeling comfortable enough with my current freedom of action -therefore, I'd guess that an eventual method change is not imminent.

2) I happened to find a perpetual calendar website, which can produce the complete calendar for any year between 1501 and 2500 AC. As in our campaign each turn corresponds to 1 week, I checked our turns chronology with this website, and it resulted to be slightly displaced with respect to actual chronology, so that I'll be modifying it. This way, if our first turn had 11-18th July 1713 as title (Tuesday to Tuesday, in fact), this next turn will be entitled as 24-30th (Monday to Sunday), so that it fully matches with real weeks. If anyone interested, that website's URL is www.eldiade.com. It supports Catalan, Spanish, English, Italian and German languages, which can be selected through an option on the top bar. To obtain a yearly calendar, you must first choose century (top left; Roman numerals, so that 18 is XVIII), and afterwards select the desired year in the century.

3) Please excuse me for not publicly publishing yet the campaign rules used; the reason is that we're still continually questioning and testing them, as well as trying to refine them with some additional stuff -such as a summary Naval operation chart, for example. Due to things like this, eventual amendments are still likely to appear in the few next turns, so that any published version might be obsolete the next day. We were especially unsatisfied with our current open field battles alternate resolution system (I mean, those encounters we're not to resolve with miniatures for whatever the reason), so that in the end we'll be using an adapted version of the Europa Universalis boardgame CRTs. Besides, I've lately started to muse with the possibility of formally publishing this campaign under the Desperta Ferro! wargaming Guides label, so that a minimum quality level should be required for publishing. Just a thought, though.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Waiting for the pilot

Monte-Cristo, 19th July 1713

The Monte-Cristo Bay calm waters were gently swaying the xebec while, on board the ship, the crew expected the arrival of the pilot who would lead them into the harbour. Standing at the stern castle near the captain, the Marquis of Vilana watched with worried eyes the bright reflections of the city in front of them, which seemed to invite the traveler to an immediate disembarkment, with no delays or prolegomenon. Under the bright sunrays, the city's tight skyline projected before them an image as beautiful as ambiguous -extremely pleasant to occasional visitors but risky, even hazardous for anyone immersing in its more deep and dark waters.

-Have your sailors have been adequately acknowledged? -he asked to the captain, who in turn cunningly smiled: it was more than apparent to him which one was the Marquis' concern.
-Don't worry, Sire. Most of my men have already been here several times. They're aware of "el pa que s'hi dóna" [literally, "what kind of bread it's given there"].
-Hum...

Yes, such was one the Marquis' concerns: the liberal nature of the Monte-Cristan society might be seductive and tempting, a bit too much for many non-cultivated or religion-enslaved foreigners. And he could not risk the unleashing of a diplomatic incident due to a mis-understanding of such liberality by any of the Legacy members; their mission was a too critical one to allow it abruptly going to an end by any silly intemperance.

However, there were many other, even more worrying issues to the Marquis. How would the different contacted powers' agents react to their pleas? What price will it be asked in exchange by each one? Would the Parliament consent? Why of the obstinate silence of King Charles these last weeks? He had been empowered as a plenipotentiary ambassador by the Principality's General Deputation, but such responsibility had already started to be a heavy burden, even before experimenting its real weigth. Of course he was worried and nervous, despite all his long experience in courtly and diplomatic affairs!

And besides, there was the child...

1713 National Flag Act

Last week, the Parliament of this Principality passed a new Act regulating the design and usage of flags, which not only deals with a new official design for usage on land, but also confirms the Ordnances passed by the General Deputation some weeks ago for usage on sea, as well as those of the Junta de Guerra, or War Board, regarding Military Flags (*).

According to the above mentioned Act, it has been established a new National Flag for usage on land, as well as the corresponding variants to be used depending on the person or corporation flying it:

Any individual citizen, or private Institution or Society is allowed to fly the National Flag in its Simple or civilian form, which consists of a 3:2 rectangular piece of cloth, horizontally divided in two equal fields, yellow and red; being these the traditional colours of every State belonging to the Crown of Aragon.

Inversely, the State Flag is reserved to Organisms, Representatives, Estates, Properties and Fortresses belonging to or depending on the Crown, and no other person or Institution is allowed to use it.

As an unique exception, the Parliament of Catalonia and its General Deputation will enjoy a flag of their own, showing the Saint George Seal of these representative Institutions. This flag is to be flown on any Estate, Property or Fortress belonging to or managed by them.

(*) [Eventual Military Flags regulated in 1713 by this Imagi-Nation War Board are to be fully coincident with those actually used by the real 1713-1714 Catalan Army, so that I'll be sparing you the corresponding post ;) ]

[Just for curiosity, I've learnt that the just enacted National Flag of this Imagi-Nation is the same one used by the actual Principality of Andorra until the French Revolution]

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The mule

Outskirts of Tarragona, 18th July 1713

After their escape from Tivissa, Mireia and her relatives travelled on foot towards the rocky pass of Fatges, some miles to the south, with the aim to meet the coast road and seek for refuge behind the solid Roman walls of Tarragona city. With stubborn tenacity, the three women incessantly walked along the rocky road until close to sunset, allowing themselves almost no rest stops; as a result of their effort, when finally encamped by an unused shepherd’s stone hut with the last sunrays of day, they were completely exhausted.

It became evident they wouldn’t be able to maintain such a frenetic rhythm too long. This was especially true for Mireia’s grandmother, who due to being older had a weaker physical constitution. Fortunately for them, early in the next day’s morning a cart going in their same direction happened to meet them. Their occupants were some well known neighbours, who gladly accepted Mireia’s group with them; thanks to this, the improvised retinue managed to approach to the view of the magnificent old city long before the sun started its daily path down the sky.

Suddenly the mule apparently desisted to keep pulling, and the cart stopped with a bump. Not less worried than surprised, the travelers descended and examined wheels and axle, but these had no visible damage.

-Maybe the mule has got injured -said the family's husband, and then he asked to Mireia's grandmother: -Teresa, your abilities as a cattle healer are well known all around the county. Wouldn't you mind to examine my mule?

So did old Teresa, who agreed and professionally examined the animal's hooves, as well as its legs and armpits, while Mireia stood by her grandmother, carefully observing the inspection. After a long examination, however, Teresa had to give up: -I'm sorry, can't see any injure, twist or jerking in this animal. It is for sure quite tired, but nothing else.

In the meanwhile, Mireia found herself staying in front of the mule, slightly leaning the head to one side and silently looking at the animal in the eye with an air of bemusing at who-knows-what; and so she remained for a while, until suddenly relieving and telling to the others: -It's not the mule. It's the jonction between left wheel and axle that has got struck, and it is blocked now. This is why the mule is no longer able to keep pulling the cart.

Astonished, the travelers checked the alluded wheel and verified it was true. -Amazing! How is it that you guessed so? -asked the family's husband, evidently perplexed.
-It's not me, but the mule who told me -simply answered Mireia, giving no importance to her own words.

Mireia's mother and grandmother looked at each other silently, in a smiling expression of mutual intelligence -her Gift is growing stronger and stronger -quietly murmured old Teresa, and added: -sooner or later, she'll have to know.

-Not yet please -replied Blanca to her mother-, she's still so young... -with the air of a plea in her voice.
-Not yet -agreed Teresa-, but she's growing older too, my dear. She's going to become a woman soon, a beautiful one. She'll have to be acknowledged.
Blanca turned her head to reply again to old Teresa, but then she stood petrified, looking in terror beyond her old mother's eyes.

Close to the group, behind a crop of low trees, a group of men were silently listening to the travelers. They did undoubtedly have the chance of fully hearing Mireia's words, so that were paying a very evident attention to the still unaware girl, who was the main target of those men's sulky looks.

Armed men.

Soldiers.

A nasty first week

Lleida, 18th July 1713

The Aides-de-Camp of the Spanish Bourbon headquarters at Lleida -the main city in western Catalonia-, looked at each other with a resignation sigh. Definititely, this was not the best humour's day of their commander in chief, Duke of Populi. He had been getting progressively more and more angry as reports and dispatches started arriving.

-It's unbelievable! ...Are you telling me that an entire Dragoon Regiment has withdrawn face to a mounted gang of bandits? What kind of incompetents do we have in this army?
-But Sire... the enemy Regim... ehem... the bandits gang was followed by a whole Infantry battalion, and one of their most reputed generals was commanding them. They had no other chance, unless risking to get literally enveloped.

-Stop, that's all about this regrettable affair -sharply interrupted the Duke-. One of their oustanding leaders, you say? Who's he?
-The Marquis of Poal, Sire. They seem to be heading north, towards Castellciutat fortress.
-Well, I want our northern army despatching one brigade in pursue of that man. That force must consist of Dragoons, Cavalry and three Infantry battalions. Understood?

-Oh yes, Sire. However...
-However?
-Well, er... the fact is that in rearguard, the city of Balaguer has revolted. The populace has slaughtered our garrison there and taken control of the whole city, so that maybe that army will be forced to regain it, otherwise they risk to become unsupplied.
-WHAT? Balaguer??
-Yes, Sire.

Duke of Populi shut up and looked upwards. That was very bad news. Balaguer city had strong walls, strong enough to force them setting a formal siege. That would mean investing not less than three Battalions in the operation. If another detachment was to spend their time in the Marquis of Poal hunt, that would lead to a forced stop the offensive's northern wing. He then soundly sighed.

-Ehem... there is something else, Sire -the stressed aide whispered.
-Humm... what?
-Well, it's been reported that our southern corps has had to face an unexpected problem. The Imperial garrison in Tivissa town has rejected transferring control of it. Not only this, our troops have been shot, engaged and expelled by them.
-¡¡POR LAS BARBAS DE BELCEBÚ!! Imperials?? -the Duke exclaimed.
-Yes, Sire.
-Word must be immediately sent to Court in Madrid, with no delay. His Majesty has to be acknowledged of this Imperial treachery. Im-me-dia-tely, do you understand?
-Yes, Sire.

-What about the French? -then the Duke asked.
-They've had to face a couple of revolts too, Sire. In Girona city and Sant Feliu de Guíxols town. However, situation seems to be nearly under control in both places.
-Lord! What a nasty week! ...and we've just started, no else...