Beginnings and Endings

I hadn’t realized it had been more than six months since I wrote here, but somehow that’s not a surprise. I know I had forgotten I had this blog until recently- and I don’t even remember what reminded me. I think it was visiting some site that used WordPress.

Anyway, the big story in my personal life of the last month is breaking up with the girl that I had been in a relationship with for two years. While I’ve been wanting to write about it (particularly since we have sort of started communicating again), I also am leery of writing too much here. Among other reasons, it’s weird imagining her reading anything I write here (though I don’t think I ever told her I had a blog), to say nothing of her current boyfriend, her family, or Internet archaeologists of the future. Haha. Anyway, to abbreviate a long story, she had started talking about wanting an engagement ring and a wedding proposal soon, and I didn’t want to propose to her. After several weeks of arguing about it and her departure for the winter break, she gave me the ultimatum of either proposing or breaking up. I didn’t want to propose, so we broke up. We maintained sporadic contact (mostly initiated by her) for about the next week and a half, and at some point I apparently made her think I had changed my mind. Once I told her that I hadn’t, she said she didn’t want to talk to me unless I had changed my mind or unless it was about getting her stuff back. Aside from a few text messages, some of which I’m sure were intended to make me jealous or otherwise upset, we had stopped talking, which has been its own adjustment. I can write more about that later.

Unfortunately, the spring semester began Tuesday. On the bright side, I only have one class Tuesdays and Thursdays, but this good news is somewhat marred by the fact this class is at 9:30 AM (not good news for this night owl, especially on nights I work until midnight) and the fact that Mondays and Wednesdays this semester I have three classes spaced out between 11:15 AM and 6:45 PM. Of course, since the semester just started, I haven’t had any serious assignments yet, but I’m not looking forward to having assignments and projects due.

In other news, I’ve been playing a lot of Stellaris lately (and this was particularly true before this week). I decided to start working on another AAR, this time based on playing as a Trade League (ethoi: Pacifist Xenophile Materialist) after playing a brief game because I had never tried the Corporate Dominion civic. At the moment I’ve been having mild “writer’s block” not quite knowing how I want to start it. I have decided I want this to be sort of a history, rather than the narrative story based on another Stellaris game that I played last summer. With that in mind, I’ve decided I want to start with a sort of prologue of the first ruler’s term covering the first twenty years of the game. Right now I think I’ve decided on listing the achievements of the first term (information about planets colonized, technologies researched, economic growth, diplomacy, etc.) before I start writing the history proper. Of course, before I write that history, I’ll also have to play past 2220, and decide whether I want to go with the random election, or burn most of my current Influence reserve and keep my current ruler for another twenty years. Decisions, decisions.

Well, I’m overdue to go to bed, so that’s all for now. I’ll try to write more here later- if nothing else, writing a blog post might make me feel more accomplished than some of the alternatives.

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Deeds of the Dukes of Chariton, part IX

Deeds of the Dukes of Chariton

A Crusader Kings II: After the End mod After-Action Report


Part IX: Wars in the North and South
November 2694 – January 2699

On May 19 2695 Mayor Isaac of Rock Port, who had spent 31 years as Mayor of Rock Port, died in his sleep at the age of 59. After a brief meeting of the city council, the leading citizens of Rock Port elected Isaac’s eldest son Everett to succeed him as Mayor of Rock Port.

In early October 2695, Duke Lyman noticed that his wife had developed an interest in romantic poetry, and sent her books of romantic poetry purchased in Des Moines, Rock Port, and Carrollton.

In late June 2696, there were sordid rumors that Muriel (a courtier of Duke Lyman’s) had been seen in the company of King Franklin.

In August 2696, Theodora Nodaway, the natural daughter of Spymaster Lavon’s wife Pamela, was betrothed to Asa, the heir to the Barony of Lincoln in the Kingdom of Platte.

In December 2696, Muriel gave birth to a son, who was named Morris. She claimed King Franklin was the father, and once the word reached Des Moines King Franklin acknowledged the child as his own. In the same month, Theodora Nodaway was married to Asa Lincoln.

In February 2697, rumor had it that the Rust Cultist Oligarch Grimhilt of Cuyahoga had stood firm and dealt a defeat to the the Ursuline Abbess-General, which prompted Abbess-General Bella Dompierre to make peace with Oligarch Grimhilt and call on her flock to adhere to the peace treaty and pray for guidance.

In early March 2697, Abbott Lee of Bethany requested permission to duel his rival, which Duke Lyman granted. On March 16, King Franklin summoned his vassals for war against Jarl Ollrod of Saint Anthony, declaring his intent to return Rochester and the surrounding lands to their rightful place as part of Iowa. While the armies mustered, Duke Lyman was charged with training troops near Des Moines.

In June, Micaiah, self-styled Governor of Missouri, died and was succeeded as Governor of Missouri by his 17-year-old son Micaiah, who claimed his father had originally come from Atchison, near the State of Missouri’s northern border with the Kingdom of Platte. A few days later, Duke Peter of the Quad Cities announced his interest in assuming the Iowan throne. Later the same month, 4100 Iowan men began to lay siege to Rochester.

On July 1 2697, Duke Lyman summoned his vassals for war against the State of Missouri, declaring his intent to press Count Napoleon of Thompson’s claim to the County of Saline. Duke Lyman’s 2200 men from Maryville and Kirksville, as well as Count Hannibal’s 200 men and Count Napoleon’s 200 men, were ordered to meet at Moberly.

In late July 2697, it was announced that Duke Lyman’s wife Juniper was pregnant.

In early August, Duke Lyman’s army of 2600 men united near Moberly. Duke Lyman’s friend Lavon was given overall command, with Count Napoleon of Thompson commanding the right flank and Theophile Lucerne in command of the left flank. Lavon was ordered to march on St. Joseph.

King Franklin’s first wife died in July after a period of illness, and King Franklin married Rosa Steinbach, a sister of Duke Keifer of Illinois, in late July or early August. Duke Keifer of Illinois accepted his brother-in-law’s call for aid and joined the war against the Jarl of St. Anthony in mid-August.

In late August, the Chariton army began to lay siege to Saint Joseph.

Rochester fell to the Iowan army by mid-October, and on October 18 Ana, wife of Duke Truman’s steward Phineas, gave birth to a daughter named Bertha.

On November 6, Duke Lyman’s steward Phineas was killed by a mob of angry peasants while trying to collect taxes. He was survived by his widow Ana and two daughters. Sheldon, who had previously served as Duke Truman’s steward and Duke Lyman’s steward in his minority, replaced Phineas as Steward. Sheldon’s son Paul, a friend of Duke Lyman, was appointed spymaster and Solomon, Sheldon’s youngest son, was appointed chancellor and sent to Rolla to improve relations with the Duke of Waxhaw.

In January 2698, Duke Lyman questioned his steward about some money that was missing from his treasury. After Sheldon’s confession, Duke Lyman ordered him to pay back the money he had stolen.

In February, King Franklin’s youngest brother Count Cole of Fort Dodge announced his interest in sitting on the Iowan throne. On February 23, 2698 Duke Lyman and Duchess Juniper’s first son Zerubbabel was born.

In late February, a heathen army of 4600 men from St. Anthony and Jarl Ollrod’s allies took Rock Rapids while King Franklin’s army was laying siege to Winona.

On June 11, after a siege of 9 months, St. Joseph surrendered to Duke Lyman’s army. Pinola, the mother of the Count of St. Joseph, and Fanny, an infant girl whose father was unknown, were taken into custody. Duke Lyman’s army marched south and began to lay siege to Platte City.

In early August, Duke Peter of the Quad Cities was captured by Jarl Ollrod of St. Anthony after the battle of Rochester, which saw 4200 Iowans face some 4500 Northlanders. Nearly 3300 Iowans were killed or wounded, while only some 400 Northmen were killed or wounded. In mid-August, Duke Lyman’s chancellor Solomon married Lily, a woman from the county of Hannibal.

On August 24, Platte City surrendered to Duke Lyman’s army, which began to march south to besiege Kansas City. Duke Lyman’s 2200 men began to besiege Kansas City on September 20.

On January 6, 2699, Kansas City surrendered to Duke Lyman’s army. Mayor Fitch of Kansas City had tutored Governor Micaiah Atchison of Missouri and served as the Secretary of State of Missouri, but was unable to personally surrender the city to Duke Lyman’s army due to his being in the field and commanding troops in the Missouri army, or so the delegation of prominent citizens that surrendered Kansas City informed Lavon and the other commanders of Duke Lyman’s army. After accepting their surrender, Lavon’s army marched east to besiege Marshall in the County of Saline, but after hearing that the Missouri army was laying siege to St. Joseph the Chariton army crossed the Missouri River near Carrollton and marched west to St. Joseph.

Deeds of the Dukes of Chariton, part VIII

Deeds of the Dukes of Chariton


VIII: New Wife, New King
August 2691 – October 2694

In August 2691 Duke Lyman of Chariton married Juniper Ramsays of Little Egypt.

In November of the same year, Duke Lyman began preparations for a great feast for his vassals. Due to his obligations in Des Moines, it was to take place there rather than in Maryville. Count Hannibal was dispatched to hunt boar and Duke Lyman spent lavishly on food and entertainments. Count Hannibal of Hannibal, Count Napoleon of Moberly, Abbot Lee of Bethany and Mayor Isaac of Rock Port were invited, and all replied that they meant to attend.

On December 28 2691, after a prolonged illness, Duke Lyman of Chariton’s sister Evanora Still, Duchess of Driftless, died in Dubuque at the age of 23 years. Her husband Duke Roquat of Driftless was commanding troops in Illinois when she died.

Count Hannibal and Mayor Isaac were each attacked by bandits near Des Moines on their way to the feast in February 2692, but otherwise the feast passed without incident.

In March the Atomicist Duke Grannuslav of Calumet attacked Duke Keifer of Illinois, claiming to be the rightful ruler of Kannakee. In early March, an Illinois army and a Calumet army, each of about 1000 men, fought near Kankakee while 3800 Indianapolitans began to retake Joliet and Chicago from Illinois and King Franklin’s army began laying siege to Champaign, which had been held by a small Indianapolitan garrison after its surrender.

In June, the Iowan and Indianapolitan armies met near Streator. In the Battle of Streator, 1700 Iowans under King Franklin met 3300 Indianapolitans, including Northlander mercenaries in the employ of the Duke of Indianapolis. Some 800 Iowans were killed or wounded, and about 200 Indianapolitans met the same fate. Later the same month, the Ursuline Abbess-General declared that any true Christian who took up the cross and fought the Rust Cultist Oligarch Grimhilt Stahlbleche of Cuyahoga, Upper Ohio, and Miami Valley would be absolved of their sins. The Oligarch Grimhilt ruled most of what was once called Ohio, on the eastern border of the Duchy of Indianapolis, and this news was mostly met with apathy in Iowa.

In August the court in Des Moines recieved news that Prince Franklin had been captured by Duke Ralston of Indianapolis after the Battle of Mount Zion, which saw 4500 men from Iowa and the Duchies of Illinois, Little Egypt, Great River, and Lead Belt defeated by some 3100 Indianapolitans and their mercenaries. About 2400 Catholics were killed and wounded, as were some 1200 Indianapolitans and their mercenaries.

In September, Duchess Juniper of Chariton was named High Almoner by her husband Duke Lyman.

Lavon, who had been a friend of Duke Truman’s and ably served both Duke Truman and his son Duke Lyman as a chancellor, regent, and spymaster in spite of his long-standing demonic possession and heretical Neo-Gnostic beliefs, was murdered on the orders of his wife Pamela on October 30, 2692. Paul, a son of Duke Truman’s old steward Sheldon, replaced him as Duke Truman’s spymaster and Melville Baltic replaced Milo Trenton as Duke Truman’s chancellor. Chancellor Melville was dispatched to improve relations with King Franklin.

In late March 2693, a group of soldiers in the service of Count Napoleon of Moberly set up camp in a field belonging to a farmer in Nodaway. The farmer claimed that their campfire spread and burnt all of his crops and, in early April, the farmer brought the matter before Duke Lyman’s court and demanded compensation. Duke Lyman paid the farmer from his own treasury.

In late December, a Consumerist merchant named Marius came to Duke Lyman’s court and requested permission to stay at court and carry out his trade in luxuries and rare artifacts. Duke Lyman granted him permission, on the condition that he answer a few questions about the political situation on the East Coast. A few days later the same merchant came to Duke Lyman requesting special privileges in the markets of Duke Lyman’s lands, which Duke Lyman granted for a period of 6 months.

In early 2694 the Indianapolitan duke made peace with the Duke of Illinois and the various Catholic rulers who had come to his aid. In late June, the Consumerist merchant Marius requested his trading privileges be renewed for another 6 months, which Duke Lyman agreed to. After less than two months, in August the Consumerist merchant left Maryville for Cincinnati.

On October 16, 2694 King Franklin Stonewall of Iowa died at the age of sixty-five years. He was succeeded as King of Iowa by his eldest son Franklin, who at the age of twenty-three became the third of that name to rule as King of Iowa. Prince Peter, Franklin Stonewall’s second son, inherited the Duchy of the Quad Cities, and Prince Cole inherited the County of Fort Dodge. The new king retained Duke Lyman of Chariton as Lord Marshal of Iowa.

Deeds of the Dukes of Chariton, part VII

Deeds of the Dukes of Chariton


VII: Blood
February 2689 – February 2691

Duke Lyman and Duchess Diana’s daughter Pastoria had always been a sickly child, and on Februray 24, 2689 she died after an especially prolonged illness at the age of one year and six months. Duke Lyman’s eldest sister Fairuza resumed her previous place as Duke Lyman’s heir.

The death of Duke Lyman’s daughter reinforced the urgency of securing the succession. An infant daughter would have made a poor enough heir, but due to Duchess Diana’s status as a traitor who made war against the Iowan crown, and the separation that had resulted due to her exile, Duke Truman had decided to seek a divorce from the Pope and purchased indulgences in July and August 2688. Shortly after the death of his daughter Pastoria, Duke Lyman purchased more indulgences in late February and March 2689 before petitioning His Holiness the Pope for a divorce, which was quickly granted in April on grounds of consanguinity. Some scholars of canon law had objected to the match in the first place on the same grounds, as the former Countess of Icaria’s mother Pastoria and Duke Lyman’s mother Fairuza were sisters, making Duke Lyman and the former Duchess Diana first cousins, and therefore too closely related according to some.

In March 2689 some 1600 Northmen from Michigan raided the country near Dubuque, and after his divorce and some searching Duke Lyman arranged to be betrothed to Juniper, the 13-year-old daughter of Duke Napoleon of Little Egypt. Duke Napoleon was also fighting alongside Duke Keifer of Illinois. Duke Lyman and Juniper were betrothed by proxy in May 2689.

In May some 4000 Iowans defeated the Northmen raiding near Dubuque, and in August about 200 Northmen were sighted raiding near Decorah, along the Iowan border with the Northmen of Saint Anthony.

In July 2689, a Indianapolitan army of some 4500 men began to besiege Champaign. The training grounds near Maryville were completed in September, and by Christmas the Illinois army under Duke Keifer’s relative Count Kasimir of Peoria was laying siege to Purdue. In September of that year, the wife of Duke Lyman of Iowa (Duke Lyman of Chariton’s grandfather) had a son, who was named Lyman.

King Ned of Platte died at the age of 72 years on December 7 2689 and was succeeded as King of Platte by his eldest son Ned, whose coronation was held in Omaha on Christmas Day, 2689. By virtue of her husband’s accession to the throne, Duke Lyman’s sister Fairuza became Queen of Platte.

In February 2690, Duke Lyman’s friend Paul was married to Claudette, a natural daughter of the Abbot of Crowley in Arkansas.

Purdue fell to the Illinois army  by early March 2690, and in late May an army of 2200 Badgerlings crossed the Mississippi River from Galena and began raiding near Davenport. The 4000 Iowans encamped near Dubuque marched south and met the heathens in late June, putting them to flight at a cost of about 500 Iowan dead and wounded and about 1000 dead Badgerlings.

After having spent several months bedridden and comatose, Duke Truman’s grandfather Duke Lyman of Iowa died in June 2690 at the age of 68 years. He was succeeded as Duke of Iowa by his infant son Lyman.

By July Champaign had fallen to the Indianapolitan army and the Illinois army under Count Kasimir of Peoria, after taking Purdue, had moved on to besiege Kenapocomoco.

King Franklin of Iowa celebrated Christmas with Duke Keifer of Illinois in Decatur, as King Franklin finally saw fit to cross the Mississippi River and directly join the war against the Atomicists of Indianapolis. In December 2690, the Indianapolitan army had marched to re-take Purdue after accepting the surrender of Champaign, Urbana, and Mahomet and the fall of Kenapocomoco to Count Kasimir’s army.

On January 22 2691, Duke Lyman’s sister Evanora, the wife of Duke Roquat of Driftless, gave birth to a son, who was named Poynter after his father’s father, the first Duke of Driftless. The Duchess Evanora had never been strong, and after giving birth she spent much of her time in bed, trying to recover.

In early February 2691, Duke Lyman began to spend less time at King Franklin’s court in Des Moines and more time in his own lands.

A few ideas

I know I haven’t written here for a while, but I haven’t had much to report. Texting until 5:30 AM is enjoyable, but (at least earlier this week) it means sleeping until 1:30 PM, which, like every time I sleep past about 10:30 AM, makes me feel like I’m wasting the day. Today I only was texting until about 5 AM, and got the 5 hours of sleep I was desiring. With 2 cups of coffee, and writing 1849 words for my Crusader Kings 2 after-action report of Orkney beginning in 769, I feel like I’ve had a reasonably productive day.

Playing Windward, a recently released game on Steam where you control a sailing ship and can do quests, trade between towns, or hunt pirates (or, I suppose, possibly turn pirate yourself), has put me into a maritime mood, and made me want to write something involving boats, ships, and large bodies of water. It would be difficult to integrate that into my ongoing game as the Duchy of Chariton in the CK2 After the End mod, considering, with the exception of the Missouri River and a few other minor rivers in the region, there aren’t many major bodies of water in the lands known as Northern Missouri. Orkney, by virtue of being some islands off the coast of Britain in the North Sea, has slightly better odds, but I’ve decided to consider starting yet another idea.

For a while, I’ve considered writing an “after-action report” involving Sardinia, Corsica, and/or the Balearic islands, in the Western Mediterranean. At one point I actually did start one for the original Crusader Kings involving Sardinia, but that fell by the wayside due to computer issues, loss of interest, or other reasons after about 20 years of gameplay. I also tried starting one for Corsica at one point, but, again, that didn’t happen. I’ve tried playing games in Sardinia and the Balearic islands, at least, in Crusader Kings 2, but I have yet to actually start an after-action report. I thought it might be interesting to write a “narrative”, much like my Master of Magic project, where I write it more like a historical fiction novel and less like a history written by a monk.

According to my historical research, the Balearic islands were colonized by the Phoenicians before they were taken over by the Romans. The Vandals took the Balearic islands shortly before the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and the Eastern Roman Empire took the Balearic Islands back in the 530s (around the same time that Sardinia and the province of Africa was taken from the Vandals). After Carthage fell to the Umayyad Caliphate in 698, the Byzantines effectively lost the Western Mediterranean, and in 707 (per Wikipedia) the islands submitted to the generous terms of a Muslim fleet, which rendered them, in name, both Byzantine and Umayyad.

This is the last thing written in the Wikipedia article before mentioning that they were sacked by Vikings in a 859-862 raid. As I’ve been thinking lately, Crusader Kings 2, as I suspect of most video games, doesn’t handle multiple overlords very well. There are other historical examples of lords that had to choose which liege lord to obey, but in Crusader Kings 2, in the 769 bookmark, the Balearic Islands, like Sardinia, is Catholic and considered part of the Byzantine Empire, ruled by an Iconoclast emperor (considered a heresy of the Orthodox church). If I’m not completely mistaken, the distinction between Catholic and Orthodox didn’t really happen until the Great Schism in 1054, but it would vastly complicate things to add that in, and there were probably differences in practice before that point anyway, if I remember what I’ve read correctly.

In general, in Crusader Kings, I seem to be fascinated by alternate history, obscure rulers that didn’t historically exist, and, in general, playing as obscure, weak rulers and changing history. For example (though I haven’t done it for a while), playing as a Welsh ruler and becoming King of Wales, or uniting Ireland. Where’s the fun in playing as the Byzantine Emperor or Sunni caliph when you can play as the lord of a desolate bunch of rocks in the North Sea?

Anyway, as for my nascent Balearic game, I haven’t had much happen in the first 4 years. I’m not really sure how I’d write the whole “being de facto independent”, considering that isn’t really an option in the game (and no rebellion for independence yet), but I’ve already thought I may have to make some stuff up about the Byzantine navy and government, so what’s a little bit more fabrication? They do, after all, call it “historical fiction”. 

Current projects

Crusader Kings 2:

(After The End mod) ChAARiton: A history of the Dukes of Chariton (rulers of the lands once known as northern Missouri) and their descendants, starting in 2666. At present I’m thinking about ending this around 2766, after one century of gameplay, so I can update the mod to a more recent version. So far, according to Google Docs, I’ve written about 18 thousand words, and I still have at least 20 more years to write about, so I’ll probably meet or exceed 20 thousand words.

(CK2+ mod) AARkney (working title): A history of the Pictish chiefs of Orkney, starting in 769 and ending… well, whenever I feel like ending it, I guess. I haven’t worked on this very much, and have only started working on it briefly about a week ago.

Master of Magic:

(untitled): a narrative of the progress of a game of Master of Magic as a wizard specializing in Life and Sorcery magic (or, in Magic: the Gathering terms, White and Blue) and ruling a city of High Men. I’ve played the game for 20+ years now, and have come up with several characters. My goal at the moment is for a sort of generational saga, because I always enjoy reading those. While writing earlier today, I realized I need to do some research on medieval houses, and possibly urban society in general.

Master of Magic

Master of Magic is a single-player turn-based strategy game originally released in September 1994 for MS-DOS. The player is a powerful wizard whose goal, along with their computer-controlled counterparts, is to dominate the two worlds of Arcanus (similar to Earth) and Myrror (more magical and with various flora, fauna, and minerals that aren’t present on Arcanus) through military or magical might. In this game, magic is (like Magic: The Gathering) divided into six schools of magic: Arcane (available to everyone), Life, Death, Nature, Sorcery, and Chaos. Instead of the technology tree available in most strategy games that requires you to research technology in order to advance, you spend turns researching various magical spells, until (if the game lasts long enough) you can research the Spell of Mastery and win the game.

You begin the game in January 1400 with a small town populated by one of the races. If you start on Arcanus, you can choose from the Orcs, three flavors of human (High Men, Barbarians, or Nomads), High Elves, Halflings, Lizardmen, Gnolls (like the D&D race, basically humanoid hyenas) or Klackons (insectoid, basically giant ants), while Myrror is populated by Dark Elves, Beastmen, Trolls, and Dwarves. Not all of these races are necessarily present in any particular game, and each one has its differences. While the Orcs can build any building, the High Men (for example) can’t build Fantastic Stables, so they aren’t able to build a unit like the Nomad griffin cavalry. Other differences include population growth (slower or faster than “normal”) and diplomatic relations – some races get bonuses to “unrest” if their city is occupied by another race that they don’t get along with. Additionally, a few races (High and Dark Elves, and possibly Beastmen if I remember correctly) have magical populations that generate “mana” (i.e., power that can be used by the ruling wizard) directly, without requiring construction of religious buildings. Additionally, various roaming heroes may offer you (or your opponents) their services or be summoned via spells that can lead your armies to victory with their various abilities and skills.

I don’t remember now when I first heard of Master of Magic, but it was probably at some point within the last five years or so while reading about strategy games and/or fantasy strategy games. At some point in the last three or four years, I found it via Good Old Games (gog.com), which has (or used to have) the most recently patched (March 1995!) version available bundled with DOSBox, which I’ve played on my Linux computer with the aid of Wine (software that allows Windows programs to be run on Linux, not the alcoholic beverage).

At some point within the past month, I had the idea of writing a story set in a game where my actions, as the game player, were in the background of the story. I decided to do this with Master of Magic, so instead of writing from the perspective of the ruling wizard I would write from the perspective of his subjects. After some “random” generation with a list of heights, Myers-Briggs types, hair colors, and possibly a few other characteristics I can’t remember offhand, I’ve concocted (so far) 4 viewpoint characters, including an ENTJ soldier, an INFP scholar, and an ISTP merchant. Due to my playing the High Men, intending to base their religion on medieval Catholicism, and having a variety of viewpoint characters, I feel like I owe George R.R. Martin (author of A Song of Ice and Fire, also known as the Game of Thrones series) some kind of apology. Since I really enjoy his work, maybe no apology is necessary. At any rate, so far I have vague ideas for how I plan to start the story and I’ve played the game for 16 years (1 month per turn). I should probably start writing soon, but I feel like I need a better title than “the Master of Magic story”.