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On a fun project about worldbuilding an Alternate History setting.

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Viorp, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel

    First of all, I checked.
    Yes, doing alternate history is worldbuilding, don't judge me.

    I've been working on this super fun scenario which started out as:
    "hmm... what if the Poles became hussite and joined the Bohemians in their uprising"

    A stupid little idea, which blossomed into something weird as hell. You see the national hero of the Czechs Jan Żiżka ang other high ranking hussites actually proposed that Vytuatas the currently ruling High Prince of Lithuenia would become the King of Bohemia. Which didn't really work out and they ended up being democratic.

    So I start the timeline by having Vytuatas accept the offer, while also having Hussitism become a thing in Poland. Vytuatases rule keeps the Hussites together preventing infighting which killed the uprising and they survive unified untill 1430 even good old Jan Żiżka still lives and is 70 by now and still has 1 eye.
    Funfact about him, he is one oft he only commanders which are undefeated while also having lead his troops when he was already blind...

    But then I started to dig deeper do you know what ingenious miliatry commander was also active at the time?
    Jeanne d'Arc another undefeated commander AND she even wrote threatening letters towards the Hussites.
    So everything fits perfectly.

    This is the set up for the story.
    After the battle of Grünwald the Pope ruled very good conditions of loss for the Teutonic knights which the Poles did not accept. In our timeline the the Pope revised his decission to be more fair. In this one he does not deepening the divide between Poland-Lithuenia and the Church.

    In 1422 Vytuatas accepts the Bohemian throne, he is somewhat involved in the coflict, but not much. He dies of the plague in 1429 where his cousin Władysław Jagieło inherits both Lithuenia and Bohemia from him and Władysław has already long converted to the Hussite faith. (unlike Vytuatas which stayed loyal to the Pope)

    Władysław goes a step further though, by proclaiming himself the Holy Roman Emperor and decreeing Hussitism the only true faith. The conflict escalates from a big civil war to a conflict to determine the one to rule europe and the true denomination of christianity.

    Jan Żiżka with access to Lithuenian troops fares better and does not loose his other eye and does not fall sick living a very long life up to 70.

    Meanwhile the Pope finds out about the trials Jeanne d'Arc is going trough and the letter she wrote to the English "Retreat immediately from France and instead join me in a war against the Heretics of Bohemia." (yup she actually proposed that.
    As the Hussite menace is much bigger this time and Jeanne's Inquisitory trial was very badly conducted the Pope forces these terms on the English by threat of excommunication. The disputed lands are temporarly to be held by the Papal state.

    So Jeanne is freed and given command of basically every single knight west to the Oder.
    That's the point where the story kicks in though the protagonist is a squire from a minor Polish noble family.
    Later I'll also have the Ottomans join in on the fun >:D
    Anyway alternate history is super fun because you get to know history and stuff you'd never get to know otherwise. Like how Jan Żiżka basically started his military carrer at 50 or how there was an order of Dragon Knights: Order of the Dragon - Wikipedia

    Most fascinating I found Jeanne d'Arc though.
    From these sources:
    Joan of Arc - A Military Appreciation
    Joan of Arc - Wikipedia
    Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc) - Physical appearance
    I found out so much stuff about her and how a lot of info about her is fake.

    For example:
    In media they often show her as a beutiful noble woman with long blond hair and white skin. On the contrary she was an average-height. Very skinny and slightly muscular girl with short black hair, brown eyes and dark skin. Though her squire describes her indeed as very pretty. He mainly mentions her leggs and how nicely shapen her boobs were... leter obiously adding that he had no dirty thoughts about her.

    She also was not the raging feminist or a progressive person, and deffinetly not trans -_-
    In many ocassions she claimed that she'd rather be sewing or hearding sheep than going to war and what she is doing is out of need not want. She also enjoyed feminine clothing she often wore male attire for protection or to deter rape. Her comerades claim that whenever they entered a town she would immediately return to female clothing.
    She also was described as very cheerful and what I'd describe as cute. For example she called d’Alençon "gentle duke" or "pretty duke".

    Now I just need to find some goddamn stuff about Żiżkas personality. I also got somewhat the tactics down. Both Żiżka and d'Ark were very good tacticians and made good use of artilery. Żiżka was much more experimental and innovative though while d'Ark excelled at riling up people one of the mentioned paper descibes her as a
    "super-cheerleader" though she also is known for her very agressive yes patient approach to war.

    Anyway what do you think of the idea here?
    Is Alternate History worldbuilding?
    Do you like Alternate History?
  2. elemtilas

    elemtilas Inkling

    Sounds like some of the zaniness we used to get up to over at the Ill Bethisad Project. Not a strict A-H by any means, but uses a similar array of tools to construct.

    In my opinion, it is a subset. Reason being, you're not actually devising or constructing or building a world. You're just rearranging the Lego box that is Earth history. It's a subset of worldbuilding because many of the tools are the same: exploration of history and culture, creating cultures, languages, histories.

    I've always been fond of it. I certainly appreciate the more scholarly approaches, posing what if questions and taking them seriously. But I also like how the medium allows for considerable frivolity and entertainment.

    The above project also spawned a good bit of writing to boot.
  3. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

    Do you play paradox interactive games by chance?
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Alternate history is *all* I do, though mine contains a very large dose of fantasy as well.

    Some Poles did support the Hussites, as I'm sure you know. Having the timeline you laid out also positions Poland (and maybe Hungary as well?) to remain Hussite right through the Reformation. You could even have the Socinians join in. :)

    The France-Poland angle is interesting. You might have to do a lot of explaining, as the average reader not only doesn't know much about this era, what they do "know" is often wrong or misleading. But if Eric Flint can leverage the Thirty Years War, someone surely ought to be able to use the Hussites. Plus, they had those cool war wagons.
  5. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel

    Yup... sao sad that EU4 does not start 25 years earlier.
  6. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel

    Hungary was actually the head of the anti-hussite crussade. As the whole uprising started when the king of Hungery demanded the Bohemian crown.

    The scenario actually chnges europe a lot. (not sure on the detail will be in the stories :p)
    The protestant reformation never happens and Hussitism stays as a sole off-shoot of catholicism.
    Castile and Portugal also don't discover the Americas, because the war destroys their economy to the point where it is impossible.

    Also, the Silk Road will probably not be blocked by the Ottomans anymore as Poland will probably go on war with them and maybe win. I also plan the Orthodox Church to merge with the Hussite one.

    Yea, the explaining part will be hard to pull off :/
  7. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

    Ha! I can sympathize, but with ck2. I love the Byzantine Empire and would have loved to play Basil II, but apparently adding India and Satanists and Charlemagne were all more important than filling in dates from 867 to 1066

    How would Poland beat the Ottomans? Hell, Skanderbeg was still working for them. I could see something like what would happen in Albania, Wallachia, Moldova, and Hungary during the mid-century, when superior Ottoman forces would be repelled but the defenders never would have the ability to launch counteroffensives.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  8. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel

    The "Wagenburg" used by Jan Żiżka was very effective in medieval combat and even more so at the start, because noone ever saw it before.
    He is known for example for beating a 100 000 strong Crusader force comprised of knights with just 2 000 peasants and mercenaries. That's how effective the Wagenburg was at the very start, the Ottomans would not have experience with it either.

    True around 1430 the Ottoman empire was strong as hell and had allies in Tunis which had one of the worlds strongest navies.
    We have to remember though that in this timeline the ones facing the Ottomans would also have great generals and it would be an alliance of Poland, Lithuenia, Bohemia, Vanice, Muscovy, Novogrod, Georgia and what remains of the Bizantine empire.

    To be honest I think the Ottomans would actually be outclassed and I consider having them call an all-out jihad with most of the middle east joining in.
  9. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel


    Guess who also lived around the mentioned timeperiod of the setting? Count Dracula, Vlad the Impaler himself.
    Goddamit. Sadly he was only born in 1428 so at the start of the sotry he is only 3...

    But I think if I play around with moving the dates a bit more, and having a war last over 20 years is not weird anyway.
    I might have to switch protagonists though. I think that involving Vlad the Impaler would be nice. Considering he also was a genious general who used very unorthodox tactics.

    I wonder how I somehow could involve this guy :/
  10. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

    Another solution would be to focus on the father instead of the son. Vlad II Dracul would already have to take a different path to power due to the changes in your timeline and he was a member of the Order of the Dragon. He even tried to run to Poland at one point but it seems the Hungarians picked him up. You could throw in a personal tragedy, say the death of his wife or his youngest son, if you wanted to monster him up a bit or try to contrast him with the Impaler's legacy instead. Dracula would, in all likelihood, grow up a very different man unless you chose to rail road him to keep him the same. Honestly, the whole family may have potential.
  11. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel

    Good idea. I might involve Vlad's parents, but I don't think his father could replace him.
    I think Vlad was
    1. A genious.
    2. A psychopath.

    Those are traits one is born with not something which is learned :/
    And you are right history would take to much of a turn to involve him at all.
    Having Jan Żiżka face of against Jeanne d'Arc is already enough.

    I think I'll mostly continue with made up characters in future parts of the story. That deffinetly is OK considering how much the world will change.

    Though the Order of Dragons will come in handy. I want the Pope to start and "Unholy Alliance" against the Hussite-Bizantine one and as the Order of Dragons was establioshed to beat back the Ottomans and help Bizantium I want them to side with the Hussites, but actually staying catholic, but trying to put an Anti-Pope on the throne. Which believes that christians should team up against the "muslim menace".

    Note: I have nothing against muslims, but that's how europeans saw them at the time.
  12. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

    If you want a genius general with unorthodox tactics, look no further than Skanderbeg! I never understood why Dracula gets all the fame when Skanderbeg was easily the most impressive Christian ruler at the time.
  13. Viorp

    Viorp Minstrel

    Probably like Żiżka he was simply forgotten.
    Nice for pointing him out. I'll read about him and I'll tyr to somehow involve him :D

    Edit: Ehh... he fought on the Orrom side.

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