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Lets Play / A Scotsman in Egypt

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"A gah-lah bala to you too, laddie."

A Scotsman in Egypt is an epic Let's Play of Medieval II: Total War written by Something Awful forum member Jerusalem, and according to the Let's Play Archive it "sets the gold standard for narrative LPs."

The year is 1080. Europe is slowly emerging from the grip of the Dark Ages, but two Scottish princes are only just emerging from the grips of their hangovers. Edward and Edmund Canmore have awoken to find themselves leading an army to Egypt in an act of drunken daring, and follow through on the idea, seizing the city of Alexandria, waging war on the armies of Egypt, and setting the stage to rewrite history, one angry, drunken, kilt-wearing brawl at a time.

The story of A Scotsman in Egypt covers nearly two centuries of war and intrigue surrounding the Canmore clan (Starting with Edward and Edmund, but then moving to their sons Domnall, Nectan, and Aodh, and ending with Adam Canmore's son Kirk and Aodh's daughter Joan Canmore) as they fight their way across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, using guile, trickery, assassins, massive armies, copious amounts of alcohol and sheer Scottish stubbornness to forge the mightiest empire in history, while defeating the ambitions of rival empires, intrigue within their own ranks, and the invading hordes of the Mongols and Timurids.

Also has a prequel, in the form of An Egyptian In Scotland, a Rome: Total Realism LP that tells how the Ptolemic Empire were the ancestors of the Scots in A Scotsman In Egypt, and how Edward and Edmund were fulfilling the ancient promise that the Ptolemics would return.

A Scotsman in Egypt provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Hew Mar's father evidently never thought much of his son. King Mallobo doesn't either.
  • Acoustic License: Boasts and speeches are often audible to the entire army no matter how far away the are, as are orders given in very noisy conditions.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Several soldiers take jibes directed at them in good humor, one laughing louder than the rest of the army... before booting the speaker up the arse.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The whole thing starts after Princes Edward and Edmund get the idea to go off on an adventure and become kings in their own right after a night of binge drinking.
  • Alternate History:
    • While the most obvious part is how two drunken Scots rewrote history by storming Alexandria, An Egyptian in Scotland posits that the Scots are actually descendants of the Ptolemic Empire, displaced by war and forced to settle in Britain, which helps to explain the Canmore crest inside Egypt's pyramids.
    • Then there's the alternate timeline beginning with Domnall Canmore's death at the hands of Istok, the slow self-destruction of the Scottish Empire and the plague that nearly finishes it off in time for the Timurids to finish the job. Too bad it was an extremely long-planned gambit on the Scots' part.
  • Always Late: In chapter 63, Captain Allan is described as having been late his entire life, and vowing that this time he won't be. The battle is a stupendously costly victory, and he orders Let Us Never Speak of This Again.
    Captain Allan had been late all his life.
    He was born late, during a Winter storm in which his mother died. He walked and talked later than all his brothers, he was slower to learn, his body changed from a boy to a man long after his friends had entered manhood. He joined the army and was a slow learner even there, struggling with discipline, with formations and marching, rank and training.
    But slowly, surely he had made his way, a stubborn, sluggish push upwards through the ranks based more on pure bloody-mindedness than any real skill or potential. He'd become a Captain in the Army, and found his place in the world at last.
    But he was still late.
    When General Micheil Broune had been tasked with protecting the border from the Byzantines, he'd sent out a call for all available artillery units that could be spared to be brought under his command. [...] They'd been so delayed on their journey by breakdowns, dysentery and appeals for help from local farmers that they'd missed Micheil's great victory on the border.
    But the army had continued on towards Nicaea, which was the personal city and playground of the Byzantium Prince Asemopoulos, and in Allan's mind, dreams of a last minute arrival that turned the tide of battle their way rang through his head. He'd been late all of his life, but he intended to see to it that he WOULD arrive on time, this time.
  • An Aesop: played with in-story:
    "Have ye worked out the point of the tale I told ye yet, mighty Warlord? Even when it seems impossible.... Scotland always overcomes."
  • And the Adventure Continues: The story ends with Kirk Canmore starting a conquest of the Aztecs.
  • Appeal to Familial Wisdom: Hew Mar is always remembering things his father told him. Unfortunately, his father was an abusive asshole, and so much of it consists of remembering the insults used on him.
  • Arc Words: "Domnall is nae Edward Canmore."
  • Artifact Title: The conquering campaign of Egypt is is the beginning of the Scottish Empire, but it doesn't really have that much bearing on the later parts of the story. Also, technically speaking, it's two Scotsmen in Egypt.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Zigzagged, with people like Duke Puccio and Angus the Mauler falling on the evil side but most others averting it.
  • Artistic License Geography: One character mentions wanting to remain in Toulouse due to it being near the sea. In Real Life, Toulouse is hundreds of kilometers away from sea or ocean.
  • Arrows on Fire: The Scots use them to great effect, especially when unshielded rams and siege towers are involved.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Dego di Spina, the finest assassin in Milan, bites the dust when he attempts to put down a Scottish merchant... who turns out to be Farquar the Killer, the finest assassin in the Scottish Empire.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Gordon of Edinburgh is short-tempered, arrogant, and religiously intolerant.
  • Ax-Crazy: People who stay around Angus the Mauler see him as this.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: In Adam Canmore's case they do. The birth of a male heir gets him to love his wife, dump his mistress and be a better man.
  • Badass Army: The Scottish, who utterly curb-stomp many of the foes they go to battle with, though part of this is down to the competence of the LPer and AI, or lack thereof in the AI's case. The Milanese are this in their first fight with the Scottish, but become pushovers afterwards.
  • Badass Boast:
    • The Scots have an endless supply of foul-mouthed taunts detailing the gruesome ends of their enemies. Sometimes, their enemies even have a counter to them.
    • When the Sicilians lay siege to Cairo, Edward, Edmund, and Nectan Canmore roll out a series of increasingly insulting tunts, until Edward finally gets pissed off that the Sicilians are still around, at which point:
      "NOW. GET. OUT. OF. MY. EMPIRE!"
  • Bash Brothers: Angus and Hew Mar, by the end.
  • Batman Gambit: Aodh's final gambit is to keep Kirk, Angus and a few others cooped up in Russia, specifically forbidding them to go to war to expand Scotland's borders until they get fed up and go anyway, discovering and dominating a foreign civilization (the Aztecs), just like Edward and Edmund did.
  • Battle Discretion Shot:
    • Unlike every other battle resulting in the death of a general, Prince Alexander's death in battle is represented by a series of increasingly darkened screenshots, the last one being completely black. Nor does he get the usual "A Noble Death" message telling you of a general's death.
    • Domnall gets one too... or so it seems.
    • Dougall Macdonchie gets the same treatment, before his commanding officer yanks him off his horse and detains him for his own safety.
  • Battle in the Rain: The start of the showdown between the Scottish and Timurid armies.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Inverted, Angus the Mauler specifically sends for a commander he used to bully as a child specifically because he'd stood up to him (read: kicked him in the balls).
  • The Berserker: All Scots cleave toward this, but Angus the Mauler most especially. His most brutal kill comes when he ends a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown with a Russian general by tearing his throat out with his teeth. Later battles show that he never loses this trait, as one chapter's dialogue from him consists of nothing but, "AAAAAHHH! KILL! KILL!!"
  • Best Served Cold: Nevin of Shetland, a nobleman's bastard, gets his revenge on the legitimate half-brother who lived the life he'd always wanted by arranging his marriage to a complete bitch.
  • Bewildering Punishment: The Danes have no clue why the Scots are so furious at them. And they shouldn't- Aodh made them the collective scapegoat for the interruption of Edward's campaign against the Moors.
  • Bilingual Bonus: One short sequence, set in Rome, has the characters speak entirely in Latin.
  • Black Screen of Death: Deaths in battle are represented by the character surrounded by enemies and slowly fading to black, ending on a completely black screen.
  • Blood Knight: Angus the Mauler.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: The classic Scottish hat, well-worn from beginning to end.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • Frequently. When Duncan Colison kills Farquar, he pulls a Prototype Handgun out. Farquar goes "And what in the devil is that, then?" before Colison shoots him.
      Colison: (smiling) That? That, my friend, is progress.
    • The death of Duke Puccio. "Milan surrenders." (Domnall cuts his head off.) "Scotland accepts."
  • Book Ends: The story opens with Edward and Edmund piss-drunk, cursing their father, and leading an army on a drunken lark to conquer Egypt. The story ends with Kirk Canmore, Angus the Mauler, Edward of Shetland, and Edmund Besat getting piss-drunk, cursing Aodh Canmore, and leading an army on a drunken lark to America.
  • Brave Scot: The amount of Scotsmen who flee from battle over the entire saga is less than a dozen despite facing the likes of Mongols and Vikings. One battle sees a bunch of hastily-recruited farmers holding their own against elite Spanish soldiers and even killing their general.
  • Breaching the Wall: Happens repeatedly over the course of the many, many sieges the Scots lay to their enemies: their catapults/cannon concentrate fire on the gate or a wall section, and the Scottish hordes pour into the enemy. That is, when their spies haven't infiltrated the city to open the gates for them.
  • British Teeth: Angus is noted as having horrible dental hygiene, not helped by his combative lifestyle.
  • The Caligula:
    • King Nene the Lewd, last king of Sicily, definitely qualifies. After being unexpectedly ascended to king, he becomes apathetic and delusional. His behavior ruins his country. He indulges in all forms of debauchery, sleeps entire days away, and starts having trouble telling the difference between dreams and reality. He also becomes incredibly paranoid, believing that Venice is plotting against him, having anyone who says otherwise executed as a spy. His campaign against Venice is an utter joke, and results in him losing his African and island holdings to Spain and Scotland. Nene's strategy comes more from astrologers than generals. After he gets lynched by Venetian soldiers, Sicily is finally put out of its misery, and its pieces end up absorbed by Spain, Venice, and Scotland.
    • Averted by Domnall, who acquires the same epithet in good-humored jest.
  • Cain and Abel: Alexander and David are perfectly fine with the idea of offing their wayward brothers... but the opportunity never arises.
  • Character Filibuster: Several Popes have a lot to say on certain subjects, such as heresy or Scotland's antics. The latter gets a grand total of one appearance where he suffers a heart attack midway through his rant.
  • Church Militant: Early chapters see a lot of Religious Fanatics being used, showing zeal that would do the Imperium of Man proud.
  • Combat by Champion:
    • King Istok of Hungary challenges King Domnall of Scotland to this, after the Scottish annex the Papal States.
    • Harry the Merciless, last king of England, tries to stave off the Scottish horde storming his city by telling them they're being thrown away in battle by their rulers, that they don't need to shed each others' blood, and then challenging Hew Mar, the general of the Scottish force, to combat by champion. One Scotsman replies by telling him that he's English, which is all the reason a Scotsman needs to kill him, and then lops off his head with a claymore.
  • Cruel Mercy: King Domnall lets Doge Tusco live... as the leader of a tiny, broken Venice reduced to him, his horse, and his bodyguards. And even then he promises him safety while on Scottish territory with an assassin pushing them over the Hungarian border.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: You'd be amazed how often this happens. Usually with someone who isn't Scotland on the receiving end.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone, due to the writing style of the author, but Duke Puccio gets extra credit. Even with the Scottish horde banging down the gates of his last city, he sarcastically mocks everyone around him for showing concern over their dire situation, including waving his arms around in a fake panic.
  • Decapitation Presentation: When Edward kills the leader of the Mongols he presents the man's head, and then chucks it aside, calling it "shit."
  • Decapitation Strike: The Timurid invasion is thwarted first by infiltrating their army years earlier with a Fake Defector who arranges for their army to head west while sending information back, then by a single assassin killing their top generals as they're looking over the planned battlefield. Despite the loss of their (competent) leaders and the fact that they're outnumbered by the Scots, the Timurids still fight and are defeated.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • Angus the Mauler. Being punched in the face by Domnall makes him want to follow the man even through the gates of Hell.
    • He and Hew Mar only get along after Angus hits him with a chair leg... and Hew, following his father's advice, retaliates with a chair.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: See Do Wrong, Right. A city guard is perfectly willing to excuse a noble dragging a whore's body, as it's not the first time a man has gotten carried away with a whore.
  • Determinator:
    • The hat of the Scots.
    • The Russians as well, as shown in their first battle with Angus the Mauler's troops.
  • Disaster Dominoes: For Spain, starting with Nevin of Shetland's infiltration of Zaragoza and ending with King Mallobo giving himself a heart attack from paranoia that a Scottish assassin is in the room. There is, but he dies just before he finds him.
  • Downer Ending: Domnall is slain by King Istok, Scotland suffers under the ravages of the Black Death, Poland, Hungary, and Portugal take chunks out of Scottish territory, and the Timurids invade. Man, that's depressing. And then subverted, because it's all a massive Batman Gambit to get the Timurids to walk into an ambush involving 15,000 Scots.
  • Do Wrong, Right: A city guard stops Robert the Younger as he's dragging the body of Cassandra to dispose of it... and tells him he's headed the wrong way, he wants to dump her in the river, not the city walls, and even helps him carry the corpse, no questions asked.
  • The Dreaded: They call Domnall "The Merciless" for a reason.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Aodh experiences prophetic dreams. Justified, in meta terms, as the LP itself shows Aodh picking up this character trait on his unit card.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Angus the Mauler becomes this when training officers.
  • The Empire: Scotland.
  • Epic Fail: Byzantine soldiers manage to commandeer a bombard, get in a lucky shot, reload and fire at the charging Scots now in point-blank range... and miss.
  • Eye Scream: Jebe the Tyrant takes a flaming arrow to the eye.
  • Facing The Swords One Liner: A Scottish general gets one at Nicea, "BASTARDS! COME AND TAKE ME THEN! I'LL HAVE A PITCHFORK WAITING FOR YE ARSE IN HELL!"
  • Face Death with Dignity: Some armies, when faced with utter destruction at Scottish hands, do their best do go down fighting.
  • A Father to His Men: King Edward, who fights alongside his army, and knows the men's names off the top of his head. The reigning Scots in general try to impress this on their potential heirs.
    • Hew Mar and Angus the Mauler, both in their own ways. Hew's first battle sees him refuse to put his men in danger, instead opting to use their artillery and archers to decimate the English nearly bloodlessly. This comes up again later, when Hew refuses to march their army through Russia's hellish winter, with nearly the entire army joining him out of admiration. Angus, by contrast, earns the devotion of his men by fighting on the frontlines against all odds.
  • Freaky Friday Sabotage: Scotland cedes the just-conquered city of Baghdad to the Papacy in exchange for improved relations with the Papal States. At first it seems the Pope got the better end of the deal (even if the city is a lot less willing to convert to Christianity than was advertised), but it very quickly becomes apparent that Scotland came out the winner because they knew about the approaching Mongols, making the impossible defense of the city Somebody Else's Problem.
  • Frontline General: The Scottish generals hold themselves to this standard. It results in more casualties among their leaders, but is excellent for morale.
  • Funetik Aksent:
    • The Scots, of course.
    • The Mongols, occasionally.
    • Angus the Mauler, Book Dumb brute that he is, writes like this.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In a way. What the occasional character sheet screenshots show sometimes seems to contradict what happened in-story. There's the fact that the story starts in 1080, with Edward and Edmund in their mid-twenties. They're still around to fight in the Mongol Invasions, which begin in 1220. note 
    • Gameplay and Story Integration: The character traits given in-game are built upon in the dialogue, as are random events (the pope recalling an excommunication against Scotland after a diplomat delivers an enormous bag of money to the pope in person, assassins getting to look absolutely badass instead of merely reporting success).
  • Gender-Blender Name: Averted: although two male characters are named Maria, it can be used as a male name.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: Though the Scots have the sympathetic viewpoint and generally are heroes, at the same time the enemies they're fighting against get their own sympathetic moments as well, and in the case of the Scottish war on the Danes, the Scots actually come off as the villains. The Scots themselves are also pretty merciless, and in some cases commit shockingly brutal acts - usually against enemies like the Mongols or Timurids.
  • Guns Are Worthless: One Milanese army uses handgunners, but the Scots simply wait in a dip where the guns can't reach and fire arrows.
    • Averted with the assassins' guns, which prove to be the undoing of Farquar the Killer.
    • Also averted with the Scots' cannons, which time and again shatter walls and gates, fueling their endless conquest of the world.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Edward and Domnall Canmore do not angst much. But when they do angst - usually when a close family member dies - they angst hard, usually locking themselves in the royal chambers for days or weeks.
  • Heir Club for Men: The royal line adopts more sons than they actually sire, and while the throne always goes to a Canmore, the rulers themselves never have sons.
  • Hidden Depths: In Chapter 52, Cassandra, Robert the Elder of Edinburgh's former mistress, tries to talk Robert the Younger into murdering Adam Canmore's family and friend, by blackmailing Robert Senior's memory. He stares at her for a second before hysterically choking her to death with his bare hands.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade / Historical Villain Upgrade: Malcolm III was an actual king of Scotland, and had sons by the name of Edward, Edmund, Alexander and David.
  • Hold the Line:
    • The Scottish troops under Gawain, fighting the Mongol hordes using a combination of pikes, archers, catapults, and a narrow bridge to trap them in a meatgrinder. Later followed up by King Edward and Edmund Canmore doing the same thing to destroy an even larger Mongol army.
    • Later, the Hungarians try to pull this same trick on the Scots. It fails, hard.
  • The Horde: The Mongols, of course, and their heirs, the Timurids.
    • The Scots themselves often come across as this to their enemies. Timurids invading with 9000 men? The Scots bring 15000.
  • Husky Russkie: The people of Russia are known for their toughness, as the Scots find out the hard way.
  • Hypocrite: Gordon repeatedly gets his servant's name wrong, then blows up when the servant panics and calls him George.
  • I Am Spartacus: Turned upside down in the worst way, quickly becoming "HE is Spartacus!"
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • Nevin of Shetland, while on a mission for the Scottish crown, fell ill of plague and was cared for by a friendly farmer and her family. He finds out that while delirious from the plague, he spoke secrets that the family overheard, and subsequently had to kill them all. Naturally, he is deeply wracked by guilt as a result of this.
    • There's also Aodh forging the documents necessary to start a war with Denmark, just because he felt Domnall was losing respect. Thousands of innocent soldiers die, and their King commits suicide as a last-ditch effort to end the war, which doesn't work.
  • Inadequate Inheritor:
    • Everyone thinks this of Domnall, including Domnall.
    • Played for Drama much later, when King Istok of Hungary starts a war with Scotland, taking it as a personal insult that Edward had died before Istok could serve under him and been replaced by Domnall.
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon: A few show up to move the plot along (and in one case, a raven), but the most painful case would have to be James Bunnok receiving and sending messages using the same bird.
  • Impeded Messenger: Several messengers get delayed over the course of the series, including a few who "lose" their messages in a campfire. This becomes a plot point later on when Aodh reveals to Domnall that Denmark had delayed a number of Papal messengers, which delayed a warning of impending excommunication, triggering a Roaring Rampage of Revenge by Domnall against Denmark.
  • Impossible Theft: Eoin Makartane manages to escape from a sealed, windowless room after the guards watched him walk in there and locked it behind him, and then snatches Aodh Canmore's personal orders to him from his locked office without the guards ever seeing him or even unlocking the door. Of course, given that the whole thing may have been a setup...
  • Incendiary Exponent: "ELEPHAAAANTS!"
  • Insult to Rocks: "Castle Caernarvon can be easily defended by six sheep and a simpleton... and the English might even be able to do it too."
  • I Shall Taunt You: King Istok of Hungary uses this against Domnall. It doesn't work against Domnall, though it hacks off his officers rather well.
  • Jerkass: The Scots seem like this at times. The entire plot is kicked off when they attack a city that was perfectly peaceful towards them for no other reason than they wanted to prove themselves.
  • Kicked Upstairs: The ultimate fate of the Papacy, thanks to Aodh's scheming.
  • The Kingslayer: Averted. There's a guy running around with the name of Niels "Tyrantslayer" Ebbesen, but his title is never explained, and he dies in battle against ordinary soldiers instead of the king.
  • Kissing Cousins: Aed Canmore marries his cousin Muriel. It causes a bit of a stir, but the narration claims they're only related due to the vast family that the Canmore Clan has become through political marriages and adoptions, so not even by blood — though they are, in fact, first cousins, once removed. note  And they end up Happily Married.
  • Klingon Promotion: Assassins apparently follow this logic, as Duncan Colison replaces Farquar as the Scots' best assassin.
  • Last Stand: The siege of Rennes for the Scottish, and Antwerp for the English.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Edward and Edmund take advantage of the Mongol leaders' tendency to do this. They confront the Mongols at a bridge that had been carefully prepared as a killzone, and the Mongol leaders' vicious pride and rage caused them to lead a charge straight across into the Scottish pikes, archers, and catapaults.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: The Scottish survivors of the farcical disaster of Nicae, which featured a lot of confusion, generals charging to the front by mistake, archers refusing to advance because they're out of arrows, their bombard being turned against them then missing at point-blank range, ending with both their generals dead and a grand total of ten living Scotsmen, agree to this.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Alexander and Adam are believed to be impotent, but each eventually manages to sire an heir.
  • Low Fantasy: Though the majority of the story is set in a fairly realistic medieval world, the presence of Aodh's prophetic visions and the fortune teller in Egypt who manages to perfectly recite, word for word, the plot of a group of conspirators who had planned to assassinate Edward and Edmund decades earlier indicates some low-key supernatural elements.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Angus hires Mongol hwachas as extra artillery to destroy the Russians' walls.
  • Man Bites Man: Angus the Mauler kills Voislav Miloslavov by biting his throat out. The sheer brutality of it completely breaks the Russian morale, who spread tales that the Scottish commander is a blood-drinking, soul-eating monster.
    • A sadder example comes from Rory, who along with his cousin Angus had been Those Two Guys at various battles throughout the story. Rory's body is seen being held by his mortally wounded cousin. Angus tells King Edward that Rory tore out a rebel's throat with his teeth before dying.
  • Master Actor: Gille Calline the Balleol.
  • Meaningful Name: Everyone is afraid of Fearghus Campbell.
  • Meaningful Rename: Malcolm Hew becomes Hew Mar on being adopted into the Canmore clan.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: Alexander and David, king Malcolm's other two sons, had plotted against Edward and Edmund (believing the Egypt expedition to be a waste of time and resources, and that they belonged in Scotland), but it failed when David died before he even saw battle. When England invades Scotland, he's so desperate for Edward to return to Scotland that he nearly reveals his role in the plot, ready to ask Edward to punish him by sending him back... before it turns out Edward is as furious as he is with the invasion, and promptly sends Alexander back to repel the invasion.
  • Morality Chain Beyond the Grave: Subverted. After the Scottish commander of an Egyptian fort is killed in battle, a soldier says that he would have wanted to be buried there. In fact, the narration makes it very clear he hated the assignment, the climate, the people, and wanted nothing more than to go back home to Scotland, though apparently he put his duty first so no one realized.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: The Russian troops are incredibly tough. During the Scottish campaign against Novgorod, they find out that the Russians can shrug off wounds that would normally be fatal. One guy takes an axe to the brain, only to stand up and keep fighting! Too bad Angus is stronger.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    The Scottish stretched out through the night outside the walls of Novgorod, 1378 strong.

    And 40 Mongols.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Averted in one battle where the Scots wait in a slight depression so the enemy's handguns can't hit, and use arrows to shoot over the hill.
  • Non-Action Guy: Prince David is a sickly man who fears the sight of blood. When he suffers a fatal Heroic BSoD for it, one commander stabs his corpse so it can be claimed he died fighting.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Princess Deredere is apparently a total shrew.
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Nevin "punishes" his half brother Rory by having him married to Princess Deredere. This may not seem like much of a punishment, except for the fact that Deredere is known to be unpleasant.
  • Oh, Crap!: A common response when the Scots show up to kick someone's ass.
    "Are they wearing... kilts?" asked Knud in disbelief, "The Scottish are here?"
    "The Scottish are here," nodded the man beside him, "You know what this means, Captain?"
    "Oh yes," nodded Knud grimly, "We're fucked, aren't we?"
  • Old Soldier: Rory and Angus become two of these after a while. Both meet their demise mopping up rebels outside Damascus.
  • One-Man Army: One unit of Highland Nobles manages to rush into a fortified castle and massacre everybody inside while the rest of the army sits on the sidelines.
  • One World Order: The end goal of the Scottish throughout the story.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted (there are like half a dozen Anguses running around in this story) and Played for Laughs at one point, where a captain calls out his Second's name to warn him as he is about to be stabbed by an enemy, who is then distracted as it turns out he and the Second are both named Donald. Then they have a short conversation before going back to killing each other.
  • Professional Killer: The various assassins commanded by the Scots.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Some very morally questionable actions are justified by the Scots as being directed against non-Scots.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Edward and Aodh are proudly Christian, though somewhat more open-minded than the norm. And it doesn't stop Aodh from making sure the Papacy stops meddling in Scotland's foreign policy by making them vassals in all but name.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: A particularly arrogant and annoying Scottish diplomat ends up being assigned to the ass-end of nowhere on the west coast of Africa.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Edward and Edmund Canmore, respectively, setting up a great dynamic between the two brothers.
    • Domnall and Aodh Canmore. The former is the aggressive, brutal warrior, while the latter is the calculating chessmaster.
    • Angus the Mauler and Hew Mar as well. Both are hot-tempered men of action, but Angus is more prone to flying off the handle and tearing men's throats out with his teeth, while Hew is significantly more tactical and diplomatic in his dealings... until the time comes for battle, anyway.
    • Among the Scottish diplomats, Gordon of Edinburgh and Gille Calline the Balleol, respectively.
  • The Remnant:
    • One chapter features a large battle between Scottish troops and a force of former English soldiers united under an English general, many years after England itself was formally destroyed.
    • Russia self-destructs long before the Scots begin conquering their cities.
  • Rising Empire: Scotland. It rises from one backwater city to eventually conquering the entire known world.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Domnall Canmore engages in one of these against the Danes, and by association, Venice for aiding the Danes. And Milan. And Sicily. And Spain. In short, you go to war with Scotland, Scotland kicks your ass.
  • Rousing Speech: Most Scottish generals start the battle with one which boils down to "Let's get them, lads!". Angus the Mauler doesn't bother, since he only cares about getting to the enemy first (and there's a thunderstorm anyway).
  • Running Gag:
    • Domnall is nae Edward Canmore.
    • Also Hew Mar always quoting the...questionable advice of his father at every oppurtunity. Played with when falling back to his father's advice supposedly ends up getting him captured ("Fuck you, father!") and later he realizes in the Final Battle that the only thing he doesn't have advice from his father to fall back on is fighting elephants ("HOW THE HELL DO YOU FIGHT ELEPHANTS!?! YE NAE TOLD ME THAT, FATHER!")
    • "A gah-lah bala to you too, laddie."
    • "Like, like a boat!"
    • "...whose name was Eoin, not [whatever Gordon though his name was]"
    • "I'm going to grow old and spoil my grandchildren!"
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: When a Pope hostile to Scotland gets elected, the Scots buy his favor. Literally. With a giant sack of florins.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: The last king of England tries to convince the Scots that their king thinks of them as disposable, and they should rebel. They say "You're English. That's all we need to know to kill you."
  • The Siege: For the most part, cities are directly assaulted instead of being starved out, almost always ending in a Scottish victory (be they the attackers or defenders).
  • Siege Engines: Rams, ladders, siege towers and catapults are a standard part of any siege, with trebuchets and bombards making appearances later.
  • Smug Snake: Duke Puccio of Milan, who think himself The Chessmaster and dismisses criticisms and warnings as irrelevant to a man who's always two steps ahead.
    • Cassandra also qualifies. She tries to blackmail a Scottish noble into strangling an infant and becoming her personal plaything. She ends up strangled to death, with her last thoughts being that she probably should have thought her plan out better.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Most of the Scots, but Edward is king of this.
    Edward stared wide-eyed at his men, of such a number that they stretched the entire length of Jerusalem's city wall. He felt euphoria now before the battle that he usually only felt at its climax, which he put down to being the infectious religious euphoria of the bulk of his new troops. They were itching with excitement, eager to kill heathens, and his original Scottish troops seemed to be getting caught up in the religious fervor too, and Edward knew he had to be careful to ignite that smoldering flame with just the right words. He lifted his sword high, and felt the hairs on the back of his head raise up as the entire force suddenly went quiet, waiting to hear him speak.
    "Okay lads!" he roared,"Let's get the bastards!"
  • The Spymaster: Fearghus Campbell.
  • Starter Villain: Egypt. Scotland sails one army across the Mediterranean and crushes the ancient empire in a quick series of decisive battles.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The stock in trade of Scotland's spies and assassins.
  • A Storm Is Coming: At one point, a huge storm sweeps across the Atlantic. This foreshadows King Mallobo's campaign against the Scottish Empire.
  • Superweapon Surprise: The Mongols were not expecting the Scots to use bombards, which had just been invented, nor were the Russians expecting them to use a hwacha from a mercenary Mongol unit.
  • Talkative Loon: Prince Augustine, the last prince of England, is "quite mad." His last minutes are spent asking his bird friends - that is, bloodthirsty Scots mobbing him - not to peck him.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Fearghus Campbell manages to assassinate the Milanese spymaster after he dies this way. He knows the man will become bolder and more aggressive after Campbell dies, so he set up an assassin as an informant for the Milanese, and once said assassin got in his good graces he killed him. The best part is that Campbell actually sent the enemy spymaster a letter telling him he was never as good as he thought he was as the signal to kill him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • King Istok gives one to Domnall Canmore after the Papal States become a de facto vassal of Scotland.
    • Aodh Canmore gives one to a Papal Inquisitor who put him on trial inside an Egyptian pyramid where he had just buried his brother Nectan.
  • Those Two Guys:
    • Hew Mar and Angus the Mauler. King Istok even refers to them as Domnall's lap dog and his hound dog, respectively.
    • Earlier in the story, Rory and Angus, who are cousins in King Edward's army. Their appearances largely consist of trading joking barbs just before joining a huge battle. Both are mortally wounded in combat with rebels and die shortly before Edward, both having completed their journeys.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Gawain dies when the enemy general throws his sword into his neck.
  • Tranquil Fury: Domnall displays a terrifying example of this in his dealings with Councilor Tusco.
  • Translation Convention: Most characters understand each other, from Scottish generals shaking down Hungarian manservants for information to Scots and Russians having full conversations on the battlefield. Occasionally averted when truly alien encounters simply don't know any of the language to translate. The typical response is "A gah-lah bala to you too, laddie."
    • Mongols and Timurid generals get this treatment, implying they're speaking their own language among themselves, loaning terms and names such as "Id-War" (Edward) and his "Hye-landas." Those without a proper grasp of Scottish speak stilted, but understandably.
  • Trust Password: "I am Scotland's greatest friend and servant".
  • Tyrannicide: Averted. There's a guy running around with the name of Niels "Tyrantslayer" Ebbesen, but his title is never explained, and he dies in battle against ordinary soldiers instead of the king.
  • Unfulfilled Purpose Misery: After Domnall conquers most of Scotland's enemies, he starts settling down and enjoying life to the point where he acquires the nickname "the Lewd", though the narration claims it's in jest only. His brother Aodh brings him news that the Danes were indirectly responsible for the death of their father, and Domnall becomes a focused war leader once again, plotting the complete extermination of Denmark for this crime... which Aohd carefully framed them for, it really was sheer coincidence. Before he can plot any more exterminations, the Hungarians (and later the Timurids) declare war on the Scottish Empire (which by this point is most of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East).
  • Unreliable Narrator: James Bunnok, as well as the main narrator.
  • Unstoppable Rage:
    • Micheil flies into one during the Battle of Nicea, after Dougall is killed. This turns into a subversion, as it gets him killed as well. In the same battle, Byzantine general Valsamon Comnenus flies into a rage at the death of his friend, prince Asemopelous, charging blindly to his death.
    • The Sicilians take a drug that makes them go berserk in their final battle, but still doesn't stop them from getting destroyed.
  • The Upper Crass: Angus the Mauler is a minor noble stationed somewhere on the Russian border, and even by the standards of the Scotsmen (whose nobility and common folk are nearly all Brave Scots and Violent Glasweigans) he's a batshit insane Blood Knight.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    He watched the death of Domnall Canmore. And he watched the birth of King Domnall, true heir of Edward Canmore.
  • The Usual Adversaries: The Scottish earn this reputation throughout Europe. To the Scottish, the Timurids and Mongols best manage this.
  • A Villain Named Khan: The leaders of the Mongol and Timurid invasions are khans, though in both cases they're mere figureheads having obtained their position through connections, the truly dangerous ones are their seconds-in-command.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Quite a few examples. Chief among them is Spain's King Mallobo, after losing every territory and family member, who suffers a massive heart attack while reviewing his notes. In his final minutes, he tears down his entire bedroom in a paranoid frenzy, convinced a Scottish assassin was waiting to kill him, before he dies clutching a tapestry. That tapestry had an assassin behind it, but he couldn't have known that.
    • An earlier example is with the Mongol warlord Aradai, who kills his own men in a rage before ordering a retreat.
  • Victory Is Boring: Midway through the story, Scotland has defeated everyone who challenged them, and Domnall starts to relax. His authority begins to erode as a result, with the world in general and the citizens of Scotland in particular viewing him as less of a powerful ruler and more of an eccentric king. Aodh arranges for the war with Denmark to break this.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Only someone as much of a gung-ho Blood Knight as Angus the Mauler would decide to invade Russia in the winter, with less than 500 men. Only someone as Crazy Enough to Work as Angus could actually pull it off.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Edward. The entire story starts with him trying to impress his father by conquering Egypt, and his brothers are able to manipulate him by forging a letter where Malcolm admits his mistakes (not that it matters much).
  • Wham Episode:
    • A double whammy with the death of Domnall Canmore, which is later revealed to have been faked to allow the destruction of the invading Timurids.
    • Given Scotland's long string of Curbstomp Battle after Curbstomp Battle, the death of any named character becomes this.
  • Windbag Politician: One Pope delivers a nine-hour rant on the dangers of heresy.
  • World of Ham: What with the Badass Boasts and roaring enthusiasm of the Scottish and their enemies, this is hardly surprising.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Thomas Weste, a very skilled English cavalry general who managed to keep his master's fragmenting empire together as the Scots endeavored to rip it apart, simultaneously holding off the full brunt of the entire Holy Roman Empire and Scottish Armies. Eventually, he was killed when his short-tempered King forced him to defend an indefensible position, with even the Scotsmen who defeated him noting his great skill and chivalry after his death.
    • Averted with Chaghatai Khan. When Edward first rides out against the Mongols, he asks which of them is Genghis Khan. On learning Genghis is dead and that his incompetent bastard has taken the reins, he insults and turns his back on them.
    • When hunting down Khanzadai Kublai's remaining troops, the Scottish commander is disgusted that they outnumber the Mongols more than ten to one. So when they capture Kublai, he gives him a sword and lets him die in a quick duel. Kublai thanks him as he falls... As does Aed, for now his men have seen that he's a capable warrior.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Averted. After Aodh slowly kills the Timurid khan by breaking all his bones and stuffing snow into his mouth, he stands up and glares at all his generals, daring them to challenge him. None do, only turning various shades of green... except of course for Angus, who admires Aodh as much as he did Domnall.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • A common Scottish tactic when dealing with higher-quality enemy troops is to throw hordes of angry Scotsmen at them. Most notable during the war with Spain, where a small force of elite Spanish knights goes up against a massive force of Scottish militia and gets buried under their numbers. Also notable in the post-battle casualty reports; the Scots usually lose equal or greater numbers of men than their enemies, but they have plenty more where they came from. Also acknowledged in-story, where one Scotsman notes that the only thing Scots do better than fighting is making more Scotsmen.
    • When the Spanish king and his generals are discussing how to defeat Scotland, Mallabo points out that the Scots always move their armies in large numbers specifically to dominate the enemy in terms of manpower.

Tropes for An Egyptian in Scotland:

  • Alternate History: Of course!
  • Ancestral Armour: Philopater Ptolemy offers expertly crafted armour made before the fall of Egypt in return for the head of Ivomagus.
  • Ancient Grome: On account of the game being played with the famous Europa Barbarorum mod, the Egyptians look like this. Note that this is more historically accurate than the vanilla depiction.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Heruben is named "King of Britannia".
  • Badass Army: The Ptolemics. They initially struggle against the native Britons in unfamiliar territory, only winning by the skin of their teeth due to clever tactics, but they slowly grow out of it. In their first real battle against the Brits, they absolutely slaughter them.
  • Badass Boast:
    Heruben: We've told them to submit. We've told them that if our armies entered their lands, the consequences would be dire for them. Have they any response to that?
    Messenger: Their written response was one word, my lord: "If".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Ptolemics secure the entire British isles as their new kingdom, but King Heruben is killed in the final battle with Vortigern. The Ptolemy name is eventually lost to history, but the bloodline survives and spreads throughout Britain. A millennia later, the descendants of the Ptolemy return to their ancestral homeland... with a vengeance.
    Narration: Before leaving the sands of Egypt, Heruben Ptolemy had uttered the words "we will return". Fourteen centuries later, his oath was finally fulfilled when his descendants, unbeknownst to them, once more occupied the complete ancestral lands of the Egyptian Empire. And they finalized their return, their fulfillment of the Pharaoh's oath, with the following words:
    Edward Canmore: "A gah-lah bala to you too, laddie. Jerusalem is Scotland's!".
  • Brave Scot: The native Caledonian highlanders are tough bastards.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Ivomagus, a seemingly throwaway scout, is let free by the Ptolemy. In a way similar to Saving Private Ryan, Ivomagus returns as a general and is responsible for the death of Auletes and several Ptolemic warriors.
  • Cool Horse: Sort of. For the final battle, Vortigern rides in a chariot made from the skull of a slain Ptolemic war elephant.
  • The Dreaded: The Gaelic general Vortigern.
  • Defiant to the End: Euergetes the Profane, captured for information, not only says nothing, but his last insult is to fart at the enemy. His insult is so effective that his interrogator kills him on the spot, rather than continue torturing him.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Meryre Ptolemy. Dies in Alexandria's city square, allegedly bristling with arrows and wounds, clutching the spines of two Seleucids in his hands.
    • Heruben. Having killed the enemy general, waits until the enemy have deserted to collapse, revealing he'"d been holding his own guts in with his shield.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Euergetes, after he is captured by the Britons.
  • A Father to His Men: Heruben.
  • Fiery Redhead: Many of the native Britons. A Ptolemic general even comments on it.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The Ptolemic empire is destroyed by the Seleucids, forcing a mass exodus of Egyptian survivors. They land in the British isles, and the first few chapters is this.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The Ptolemics are Fighting for a Homeland, while the native Britons are fighting to defend their homeland from the "invaders". They both want the same bit of real-estate, and have legitimate reasons for fighting. That said, the Ptolemics have their share of bastards, and the Britons commit some shockingly brutal atrocities.
  • Growing the Beard: invoked Literally. Heruben grows a beard over the first British winter, and is more badass from then on in.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The Gaelic general Glasobrin. He gets rolled over by an Egyptian war chariot.
  • The Hero Dies: Heruben dies cementing his legacy, and a new homeland for his people..
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Meryre Ptolemy and the Alexandria garrison, who hold off the Seleucid hordes long enough to buy time for the Egyptian Pharaoh and his followers.
  • Historical In-Joke: Quite a few.
  • Legend Fades to Myth: By the time of A Scotsman in Egypt, the story of Heruben has been corrupted almost beyond recognition.
  • Lighter and Softer: Still rather violent and brutal, but not as much so as A Scotsman in Egypt.
  • Mighty Glacier: Ptolemic phalanxes. Heavily armed and armored, but slow and inflexible. The more mobile Britons often take advantage of this.
  • Rain of Arrows: Acestes uses Machamoi archers to deadly effect.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Heruben, against Vortigern. Heruben gets to defeat him in the end.
    • Ivomagus against Auletes.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: He's called "Euergetes the Profane" for a good reason, you know.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Auletes enjoys killing Britons a little too much. Not to mention his first line:
    Auletes: I don't know about you, Sekoundos, but I'm looking forward to the next generation of my line having red hair.
  • Starfish Language: Gaelic. Just look at it.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Auletes Ptolemy.
  • True Companions: The Ptolemic refugees. All they have in the world is each other, after all.
  • War Is Hell: Heruben's experiences in Britannia change him quite a lot.