The Let's Play Archive

Civilization 4

by Zoolooman

Part 4

The tablet fragments of Kiev, found buried in the wall of a late Volgan ruin alongside the oldest known copy of the Russkaya Pravda. Translations and commentary by Tadeusz Zielinski, artistic renderings by Siev Meien.

Zielinski is an award-winning translator and renowned scholar of East Slavic history and culture. He currently holds the Chair for East Slavic Studies at Wrocław University in Wrocław, Poland.

Siev Meien is a talented artist well known for his detailed "fictional-historical" paintings, which often depict alternate histories and insightful "could-have-beens" that illuminate the sensitivity of our society and propose radical differences that would have stemmed from seemingly inconsequential changes to our past.

Translating the tablets:

While I approached the problem of translating these tablets with great vigor, I found much difficulty in deciphering the syllabary/logogram system of the Slavic tribes. Though my early research was assisted by the knowledge that the tablets were written before the introduction of the Glagolitic alphabet, this still left almost a thousand years of potential sources. Furthermore, I could find no identifying marks or signatures--a declaration of the shabby condition of these tablets! The Volga Bulgarian who crammed them into his wall had no understanding of his crime; my assistant speculates they were used as insulation against the summer sun. If only he'd known that the tablets were art, the products of great attention by their crafters; but then, maybe it is better I never discovered the author(s), for I might have wasted years in a fruitless attempt to place them in history.

It was my assistant that finally convinced me to let a machine date the tablets. The calibrated radiocarbon dates, said the machine, placed the origin of the first tablet around 1600 BC, and further tablets being created between 40 and 200 years after the preceding tablet(s). Altogether, the tablets spanned nearly eight centuries! With this knowledge, I was able to compare several tablets with samples of Slavic literature, and correlate parts of the syllabary to lexicon in the Russkaya Pravda. Within three years, I could trace the development of the local languages and accurately translate all but a few sections of the remaining text, which I speculate on in [brackets] below.

Tablet 1 - 1600 BC:

...[Pe]ter the Great king of the Moscovy-people declares every third child born to have his name writ in clay [and travel] to the forges in his thirteenth spring; thereon iron-[makers?] will sup[ply him with enough iron]...and he shall travel with his wife to the camps on the West bank of the Moskva river and settle until such time as the [crown leads them]...

In approximately 1400 BC, the Grozny Migration moved out of Moscow. This tablet suggests that the process of settling and empire-expansion was well understood by the early monarchs, and that a mobile shanty-town served for two-centuries as a painfully slow staging point for the colonization effort.

Siev Meien's rendition of the Moscow-Petersburg Highway under construction, circa 1560 BC. This was the year that the two cities were connected on a trade route, allowing them to share resources, information, commerce, and military forces in a short period of time. The Grozny Migration would travel along an offshoot of this highway in 1400 BC.

Tablet 2 - 1520 BC:

Canuck-Errant's scouts mapped the [Chinese border]lands to the East...stone and floodplains [are abundant in]...peaceful meeting [with] the settlers; they displayed their [plumage?] in many arrows...jealousy among the men and fear of the bow [prompted?] momentary retreat...[such time] that we come with force enough [to place] Mao's head on the city walls.

This tablet is indicative of Russia's early aggressive tendencies. By 1520 China had hardly settled her third city, and already the generals of Canuck-Errant, far afield of the crown, presumed to prepare for war along the Yangtse's twin river. Is it surprising then, that at this time St. Petersburg began to build an organized system of barracks?

Siev Meien drew this map of the cultural borders of the various cities around the Moskva-Yangtse river basin. Red is Delhi, and the unmarked blue city is Beijing. At this time, Chinese settlers were leaving Beijing and making their way westward along the hills near their border, in order to found their third city.

Tablet 3 - 1400 BC

...[to the] study of writing itself, the [masters?] of craft turned diligence...and the family Glagoli has been asked by the crown to ponder upon a common system of writing [which can be shared with] others...and encourage the trade of [inventions?]...let none say that Peter is unkind: Glagoli's daughters were excused from marriage to [Grozny-men?].

In 1400 BC, the Grozny Migration left without the Glagoli family, whose continued heritage of writing and literacy would lead to the development of the Glagolitic alphabet. The Glagoli family were the first specialists in Russian history, and arguably the world's very first scientists. It was their influence that lead to the crown's change of heart; and in twenty years, the crown would sign open borders agreements with Egypt and India. It was this signature with the Egyptians, I believe, which ironically allowed for the Donner Party returning from German lands to freely march through the Egyptian empire as military spies.

This same year, Hebrew influences from the North inspired the creation of the St. Petersburg Judaic Movement, which firmly cemented Judaism as a cultural and religious mainstay in Russian history.

Famously, during the years that the Zoolooman garrison left the city of St. Petersburg to help found Grozny, a barbarian tribe rose up in the Ivory Bend, supposedly in reaction to the violence of traders coming out of St. Petersburg and heading towards Delhi. Though it required the destruction of a forest northeast of the city, the governer rushed to arm and armor a full garrison to defend the city.

Aside from Zoolooman posted:

In this situation, I had been chopping a forest to speed up the barracks and clear some land for a farm. However, lo' and behold, barbarians popped up in the one square of fog of war between me and Ghandi. I started building a warrior, knowing full well that it'd rush to completion next turn because of the felled forest. I just hope the barbarians attack my warriors directly, rather than pillaging my farm first.

I've also assigned two specialists in Moscow, now that it has hit its happiness limit. With the library, these two scientists should give me 7.5 beakers a turn, plus 12 Great Person points!

Let me explain Great Person points for all the newbies. Whenever you assign a specialist or build a world wonder in a city, you begin to inspire members of your population; this inspiration is measured by the number of Great Person points that your city acquires. Different specialists create different kinds of Great Person points. Scientists create scientist points, engineers create engineer points, etc. The same applies to wonders: some wonders create priest points, other wonders create artist points, etc. There are five types of points: artist, merchant, priest, engineer, and scientist. However, all these points are pooled into one queue bar in each city; and whenever a bar fills up in a city, a single Great Person is born. These are important men like Plato, Moses, Homer, Imhotep, or Magellan. They are special units with really powerful abilities.

However, since each type of point is different, you might wonder what type of person is produced if you only get one? It turns out that the number of each kind of point influences the percentage chance that you'll get that type of great person. So if you produce 8 GPP (great person points) for scientists and 4 for engineers every turn, then there will be a 66% chance that your GP (great person) will be a scientist, and a 33% chance it'll be an engineer.

Also, whenever a GP bar fills up in a city, *all* GP bars in your cities increase in size. This means that the next great person will require more inspiration than the last.

But don't think you can assign whatever you like and produce whatever great person you want. Wonders are hard to build, and specialists can only be assigned if you have a building in that city which allows the assignment. In the case of Moscow, I have a Library, which allows me to assign two points of population to become scientists. Scientists give me +3 beakers every turn, and +3 GPP scientist points ever turn.

One last note in this very long aside: Peter is Philisophical. This means that he gets a +100% modifier to his production of GPP every turn. Barring other modifiers, his trait effectively doubles his rate of Great Person production.

Tablet 4 - 1200 BC

...beautiful [but arro]gant Queen of Spain demanded we adopt Judaism as the religion of [Russia]. Henceforth, we agreed, and the crown will mark itself one of God's chosen in covenant [with]...though we suffer from anarchy, the declerations of war against the barbarians of the Ivory Bend...[Canuck-Errant?]...and will fight [across the river]...

This tablet was in the worst condition, but what little clear text remains pins a date on the official declaration of state religion in Russia. It seems that at this time, Canuck-Errant was sent to eradicate barbarians in the field.

An artist's rendition of the battlefield for this little known conflict between barbarians and the Canuck-Errant.

Another aside from Zoolooman posted:

Listen up! Terrain and experience change the results of combat. Canuck-Errant has the Combat 1 promotion, giving him 10% more strength (2.2 rather than merely 2 strength), and he's on the other side of a river. If the barbarians attack, they'll get a 25% penalty for crossing a river (for a total of 1.5 strength). 2.2 vs 1.5 gives Canuck-Errant an 80%+ chance of victory. If Canuck-Errant wins, he'll gain one or two experience points, putting him that much closer to earning another combat promotion.

Aside from Zoolooman posted:

Success! It's hard to see in this tiny picture, but Canuck-Errant just beat the ever-living crap out of that barbarian horde!

Tablet 5 - 1080 BC

Translator's note: Tablet 5 was especially interesting. It had two layers of markings, one pressed into the wet clay in the Slavic syllabary, and another scraped into the pottery in the Glagolitic alphabet.

First layer:

...worker production proceeds [on schedule] but [the last]...[to create corn]...labor...[needless]...

The rest of the text was unintelligible.

Second layer:

Judaic texts; masonry texts; fishing hooks; bows and arrows; yoke

The letters are clumsy and large, signifying the lay hand of a merchant rather than the skilled hand of a writer. My assistant speculates that this was a list of things to be traded along the Moskva River. Whatever the case may be, the Russian people learned the following techniques from their neighbors in less than forty years after the invention of the Glagolitic alphabet: Fishing, Archery, Masonry, Animal Husbandry, Mysticism.

Tablet 6 - 975 BC

This tablet was written almost entirely in the Glagolitic alphabet, with a few logograms and syllabary symbols in place of complex words that hadn't yet developed a phonetic spelling.

...Ptah is brilliant. The crown showers him with gold for his innovation. He [is an engin]eer, writer, philosopher, thinker. I believe he will be remembered for a thousand years, so common is his name. His academy [is already] under con[struc]tion and so[on]...

Merit Ptah was born on 999 BC, and at the age of 24, he built his academy in the city of Moscow. Even after its fifth reconstruction, Merit Ptah's Academy is still frequented today by thousands of postdocs and research students.

Zoolooman posted:

One last aside. Yeesh. Alright, this is Merit Ptah, a Great Scientist. If you'll look at the bottom of the screen, you'll see a bar with a bunch of buttons. From left to right and top to bottom, I'll list what they are and what they do. Then you'll realize how powerful great people can be.

Delete, Sleep, Skip Turn, Goto Mode, and Goto Mode (Group) are the first five buttons. These are common to all units. Ignore them.

The button with the scientist and the star is the Super Specialist button. This makes Merit Ptah join the city he's standing on as a super specialist. A Great Scientist specialist costs no food, no population points, and produces 6 beakers and one hammer of production every turn.

The button that looks like a hallway is "Found Academy." If a city does not have an academy, the Great Scientist will vanish and the Academy will be instantly built. An Academy gives a bonus +50% beakers in that city every turn. That's extremely useful in the capital. Why? If you'll look in the picture, the capital has two villages I've built above them. These earn lots of commerce, and the commerce becomes beakers because I've set my science rate at 100%. So every turn, my capital will earn all those beakers, plus 50% more, making my early-game research really fast.

The button that looks like a light bulb is "discover technology." Currently, if I clicked that, I'd automatically discover Mathematics. Depending on how much you've researched, a Great Scientist will have different technologies to discover. In the Industrial and Modern eras, technologies cost so many beakers that Great Scientists cannot discover them all on their own. In that case, the scientist merely generates a massive one-turn beaker boost, often shortening the research time by many turns.

The darkened sun is "Start a Golden Age." If you have 2 great people of different types, you can use them both up to start a Golden Age of 8 turns. During these turns, you have massive bonuses to both commerce and hammer production. Most people use these when they're conquering the world in some early era, and they need the commerce to prevent bankruptcy.

Tablet 7 - 875 BC

The last tablet.

[Mathematics?] is the path to divinity; or else, the path to the land of God, where he [has in per]fect [order arranged] his messengers and given them the numbers of calculation. [Through numbers] we may know the face of the Almigh[ty One]...

I believe the text explains itself. The rest of the tablet is covered in straight lines. It is a geometry lesson and a religious work. By 875, the Russians had discovered mathematics, the precursor to measured architecture and Construction.

So far...

I've discovered a lot of shit, and I've also begun to build an Obelisk in Grozny. In short order, I'm going to build my fourth and fifth cities. Since I'm tired and I can see that my quality of writing is degrading as the night progresses, I'm going to post the full map with culture, and let you gents look over the developments.

Salient points: We're 8 turns away from construction (and just a handful of turns away from ivory). This means we're going to be running a combination of swordsmen and elephants, OH YEA.

China settled a little to the north of me. Ghandi settled to the south. I found Isabella. She made me adopt Judaism, bitch. :[ I'm trading corns for gems with her, in order to increase my happiness.

I need Polytheism to eventually research Literature and music, but only if I want to get the Great Library.

At this point, the tech tree opens up. So choose whatever you'd like, ok? Just try to be consistent in your choices, so that we build towards something. Otherwise I'll just choose Currency and tech towards Civil Service.

Full maps:



I'm going to sleep.