Europa Universalis: Rome: I'm sorry, Marcus
TomChick - News - 03/29/08 - Link

I'm sorry, Marcus, but I need you to do this for me. It's all for the horses, really. As you may have heard, we just discovered the technology for equites, which are Rome's noble cavalry. They're 10% more expensive than vanilla cavalry, but they're also 10% more effective because of their discipline bonus. They'll make a nice addition to our legions. But there's one little problem. We don't have any horses.

So I checked the map. There are some horses in the barbarian hinterlands to the north, but as those Judeans say oy, vey! Do you know how much trouble we've been having in Liguria and Bononia? Of course you do, you're related to Numerius Fabius Pictor, one of my finest governors up there. We're nowhere near to colonizing the provinces with the horses.

Yes, there are horses in that province occupied by the military tribe of Aedui, which we could seize easily enough considering the occupation force we have in nearby Helvetii. But even then, we have yet to occupy the rough mountainous provinces we'd need to connect it to our empire, and we still can't build roads yet.

What's that? Get permission from our allies, the Massilians, to run trade through their territory? My dear Marcus, they certainly don't have the technology to build roads yet. No, no, the horses to the north are simply too long-term a prospect. We need our equites sooner than that.

So, Marcus, you know as well as I do that our best option is directly east. There are horses in Scorda, just a short trip across the Mare Superum. The poor Illyrian bastards who live there are down to a single territory after the drubbing they've taken from Macedonia and the Aetolian League. Illyria isn't long for this earth. So it'll be a simple matter for us to load up a few cohorts, sail across the sea, lay siege to Scorda, and then annex it. We can exchange the horses for the spare wine from Rome, which will help check unrest. Because between their Illyrian culture and their Greek religion, those people aren't going to be happy about having Roman overlords. We'll definitely want to keep them liquored up.

Furthermore, Scorda will give us a beachhead for when we start fighting all those splintered Greek nations, which will be a much easier next step than the unified Carthaginians. You know that's where we're going next, don't you? Once we've replenished all the causalities our legions have taken from fighting barbarians. So, all things considered, it'll be well worth the stability hit we'll take for declaring war on Illyria without a casus belli.

And that's where you come in, Marcus. As you know, every diplomatic action requires an envoy. Even a simple declaration of war, which requires no diplomatic skill whatsoever. After all, it's not like a declaration of war can fail. It's just a formality, really. You show up, you say, 'Hey, we declare war', and then the armies arrive to kill people and break things. But still, someone's got to do the declaration part. And today, Marcus, that someone is you.

Now I understand that you have some trepidation about this. You probably realize that hostile diplomatic actions aren't always well received. In fact, the messenger is often outright killed. Rude, I know, but it's a final act of contempt from these little penny-ante nations with nothing left to lose.

So you might wonder why I've chosen you. It's a fair question, Marcus. It deserves an answer. So I'll tell you what I do in a situation like this. When I'm asked to select an envoy, I can click any one of the headers along the top of the window to sort the list. Normally, I sort the list by charisma, because I want the best diplomat for the job. But with something risky like this, with something that requires no charisma, I like to click on the loyalty column. Actually, I click it twice, which then sorts the list of personnel from least loyal to most loyal.

And then I work my way down the list for the best candidate. Now you're probably going to point out that you're fourth on the list of least loyal characters. First comes Servius Fulvius Paetinus, but he's 44 and he has pneumonia. I don't think he's going to be around for very long. Next up is Aulus Calatinus Atilius, who's 52. I think which of them dies first would be an interesting wager, don't you? Third on the list is Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, who is only 22. But he's saddled with the trait Unnoticeable, so he's not likely to ever be popular. Plus, his martial ability is 5. Considering that we've been burning through generals so quickly, that makes Tiberius a prime candidate for the governorship to one of those border provinces in the north.

And that brings us to you, Marcus Fabius Buteo. Your Prominence and Modesty have given you an impressive 94% popularity. The people love you. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. But when I consider that you have a loyalty of 30%, and you're only 37 years young, and a member of the second most prominent family in Rome, I really don't want you around in the event that a civil war breaks out. So I can't help but come to the conclusion that you're the man for this job.

So arrivedercci, Marcus. Ciao! Bon voyage! And as you sail to Illyria, please savor the irony that you have the Blunt trait, which reduces your effectiveness at diplomacy. Who'd have thought your greatest and final service to Rome would be as a diplomat?

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