The Middle Ages are drawing to a close! But there's still time for a war or two ... or three ... or four ...
Emperor Lema is now the masked head of the Empire of Israel. Aside from a drinking problem and a lack of children, he's doing okay.
His friend/enabler, the castrated King Berhanu the Handsome of Norway, keeps inviting Emperor Lema to parties.
Given my high level of threat after the seizure of Tripoli, five years of peace seem like a good plan. We can dream, can't we?
I return from the party hungover for the next year. That's a good party.
Also, King Berhanu apparently despises me for being a drunk, despite being the one who organized the drinking binge?
Aha! As you may recall from last time, I hired the wiliest Jew in the world and sent him to Rome to "prove" that I have an ancestral claim on it. That's now paid off! You're living on my land, Romans!
In addition, Pope Sergius a) has a measly 7,000 troops, and b) is not part of the grand alliance against me. So forget five years of peace. We're taking Rome!
I genuinely don't know what will happen with this, I've never attempted it before. But it's good revenge for all those crusades.
I send over a boat and 30,000 men. The actual war is ... pretty short.
Rome is now part of Israel! Meanwhile, Emperor Lema decides to devote all his time to playing wargames, which is clearly a very silly thing to do.
I'll be ready for that killer nun when she turns up, though.
The Pope declares a war to try and get Rome back. Fair enough, I suppose.
My heir (officially my first cousin, in reality my half-brother due to dad's shenanigans) has come of age. His stats are okay but he really needs to do something about that hairstyle.
The war against the Pope is weird. The Pope still has an Emperor-class title, even though he doesn't have any actual land or holdings for me to besiege. So I can basically just wait around for his armies to show up and then smash them.
Looking at his character, he's still apparently hanging out in Rome. Can't we just arrest him or something? He has a crapload of money to pay his mercenaries, too.
Eventually some substantial Papal armies turn up, but I beat the tar out of them.
That's what you get for picking on the Smurfs all those years!
Pope Sergius still has plenty of money, but now he has to pay me some as indemnity. Feel free to try again whenever you like, sir!
Okay, now maybe we can have peace. Also my heir still looks like a crazed hobo. I'm having heir hair problems.
Two rounds of getting killed in India are apparently not enough for the high priest and my vassals.
Emperor Lema is having crippling phantom nose pain.
I mean, I already don't have a nose, how much worse could the surgery make it?
Good work, doctor! My lack-of-a-nose is feeling much better.
"Hey, I've been a little out of it, and ... you guys conquered where?"
C ... Can I have an elephant?
While celebrating at one of Berhanu's parties, someone apparently set me on fire. First of all, can we not find out who and, I don't know, chop off their head? Second of all, no more parties for me, this is getting out of hand.
The wound healed almost immediately, leaving me even more horribly scarred. On the plus side, I've managed to have two daughters.
Israel now definitely has the biggest font, followed closely by Chawda. (Which will always make me think of that Simpsons episode about pronouncing "chowder".)
Yeah, no. The last party I got set a bit too much on fire.
Why are all my vassals suddenly such party animals anyway?
Another adventurer. Where are my damn ninjas?
Hey, it actually worked for once! That makes me like 2 for 500 in terms of peace.
Well, crap. I was hoping that taking over Rome would dissuade them somewhat. Oh well.
Pope War IX: The Pope Jedi.
Adventurer-dude helpfully turned up around the same time. Fortunately I'm now wise to the clever Christian plan to take over Jerusalem by invading Norway, and dispatch some troops there ASAP.
Large battles still break out in Greece, but I'm more on top of it then last time.
The armies invading Norway are pretty small, so 40,000 angry Jews makes quite an impression.
This brings the count to two for Greece and seven for Jerusalem.
Does this woman have the best name ever? It's possible!
With my threat down to 49%, I can declare war for those two stray Mongol counties and only have to fight the Mongols and a few co-religionists. I have false claims, too, so it shouldn't stir things up too much.
The Mongols are clearly past their prime and quickly surrender.
Now only the county of Antioch remains in the middle of god damn it the Curse of Archa has struck again! Where the hell is Scooby-Doo when you need him?
Fortunately, my vassals are on the case, quickly launching a holy war to take it back. Good work, Count Negasi.
Another Shia jihad? Make it quick, I'm trying to watch this!
I tell my daughter Abeba to become ambitious, even though it will make her hate me. Parenting is hard sometimes, but it's all worth it when you take control of a child with good stats after you die. I assume this is how it works in real life too.
They didn't even get close to Arabia this time.
The conversion of the empire to Judaism is mostly complete, though I'm going to have to speak to the mapmaker about that terrible kerning.
Even some of the Norwegians are getting with the program!
The Cursed County falls, again, this time to my vassal. Just stay put, would you?
Princess Abeba has turned out ... not terrible, but not ideally. She'll need a high-stewardship husband for sure.
I recruit Chainai of Diksmuide for the job because a) he has good stats, and b) he has a silly name.
One of the past adventurers is causing trouble again, so I decide he should be done away with. Apparently everyone at his court agrees.
Ah, the viper trick!
I guess some collateral damage is to be expected.
Noooooo Chaninai of Diksmuide!
She remarries Shabsai of Yotvata, which is a pretty silly name, I guess. To add insult to injury, though, she managed to have a daughter with the aptly nicknamed Duke Merille the Unchaste.
Dammit. What in my history makes these people think this is a good idea?
Geez, Rabbi. That sounds bad.
I like this rabbi!
I mean, I still have cancer, but at least I'm well-fed.
Sir Robin Emperor Lema insists on rolling the dice.
Hey, that's not new at all! We literally tried that hundreds of years ago. Seems to work, though.
My adventurer friend turns up and finds a huge army waiting for him. Honestly I shouldn't bother having them killed.
Even ground-up hobo scabs can only keep cancer at bay for so long. Long live Empress Abeba!
She's still only so-so, but at least she has a legitimate son now.
Unfortunately, childbirth was difficult.
The rabbi thinks I have syphilis. Is that ... a common problem caused by childbirth?
Rabbi Negasi's treatments may not work, but his diagnoses are right on the money.
My old friend Beruhana the Handsome of Norway has been replaced by King Beruhana II, Son of Satan.
We seem to be moving back toward traditional remedies, here.
The empress has been understandably distracted, but the war against the adventurer finally comes to an end. I dig in and wait -- it's about time for the vassals to get unruly.
Unfortunately, the ongoing progress of her disease has driven Empress Abeba mad.
Is is really paranoia, though, when they really are all plotting against you?
I catch one of the dukes at his treason and order him locked up.
Shockingly, this actually works instead of starting a war. One down, twenty to go...
Thankfully, China isn't included in the game, so they can't invade me.
I'm in need of a new doctor, what with the ongoing syphilis.
Sure! That sounds promising.
...if he served many rulers before, what happened to them?
Our "pope" is an incurable gossip.
It's ... possible that this is the insanity talking.
Okay, Shanoi, work your magic!
Well, that made me paranoid and possessed. How about trying something that doesn't drive me more insane?
Okay, that one burned my hand off and made me really angry. I think maybe enough with the magic?
Let's try some actual medicine, please.
He cut off my face?! Do I look like fucking Nicholas Cage?
That's it. To prison with this asshole.
I'm making my mom court physician. She may not have mystic knowledge but she doesn't cut off people's faces.
Mom doesn't get to do much, though, because Empress Abeba immediately dies, sad and mutilated. Long live Emperor Bekele!
Bekele is only six, so we're in for a long regency.
At least he's learning to take bribes properly.
My vassals are seriously restless. In an effort to subdue them, I find the sneakiest Jew in the land, and make him spymaster in spite of his questionable choice in hats.
Yeah, that doesn't work. Notice how there's no list of vassals on the second line? That's because there's so many they wouldn't fit.
That's, um, all of them, isn't it.
On the plus side, Rome is now Jewish! Maybe I should move there.
Ooooookay that's a lot of guys.
Is this really the time?
I mean, gout seems unlikely to me, but I'm not going to tell grandma that.
Grandma? Did I do something wrong?
This war seems completely impossible. If there were a final boss of wars, this one would be it. I am reduced to guerilla-style tactics, keeping a single army in the field and shuffling it around between three or four major rebel armies, beating them when they're isolated and hurriedly freeing the castles they've taken to keep my warscore up.
The only thing that makes it even possible is the monstrous treasury Bekele inherited from his mother and grandfather, over 25,000 gold. That means I can hire tens of thousands of mercenaries, although it still doesn't come close to making up the numbers, and the gold starts disappearing rapidly.
Bekele comes of age as a warrior, unsurprising since he spent his formative years in the midst of the biggest war ever.
What do you think, grandma? The flu? Maybe some chicken soup is in order?
A good portion of my blood, grandma? Dear lord!
The treasury is getting low, and I'm starting to think I'm going to need to concede the war and finally give the damn council some authority. I make a last-ditch effort, assaulting the rebel capital and getting the war tipped temporarily in my favor. Apparently unaware of my weakness, the rebels agree to peace.
After half a decade and 20,000 gold in mercenary fees, the realm is restored!
Sorry, rabbi, we were all a little busy.
Bekele's wife, Empress Mahrene, is insane but an excellent steward.
Some time passes in peace. I have one more county I want to take from the Byzantines, but first I brace for the inevitable. And there it is.
Pope War X: Indiana Pope and the Last Crusade.
The levy of Syria is so large (over 75,000 men) that there's literally nowhere I can summon it where it won't immediately start to starve. (Hilariously, Syria owns the Orkney Islands north of Britain -- I summoned troops there to quell a local revolt and all 75,000 turned up, somehow...)
No, once again I draw the line at vials of my blood. Mom's experience with the mystic arts was not a positive one, either.
The Christians invade all over the place, but aren't very strong anywhere. It's more like playing whack-a-mole then a proper war, although of course they're bothering Norway again.
The French turn up and making a sporting try for Constantinople, but I'm ready for them.
My troops are used to this sailing-to-Norway business now, too.
Not the best war for the Christians, all things considered.
Final score of the Crusades: Jews 10, Christians 0.
My final target is Antioch, the last outpost of the Byzantines in the middle of my realm.
(I note with some pleasure that the Curse of Archa appears to have been broken.)
Surrounded by my troops on all sides, it's not much of a war.
Now I just need to survive another fifteen years or so. I'm sure this cheese-eating eunuch will help!
This week on As The Empire Turns, Emperor Bekele's illicit lover China reports that High Priest Berhanua is trying to seduce Empress Maharene!
Emperor Bekele makes his lover China marshal of the Empire, but not out of favoritism. She's just the fightingest Jew in the land.
Nobody is even plotting against me!
Uh ... lesson learned, I guess?
Joke's on you, Tewodros, by the time you're ready to attack the Middle Ages will be over!
Emperor Bekele even has an heir, who is frankly pretty bad-ass. The future looks bright.
And with the dawning of the year 1453, the game finally draws to a close. My final score apparently compares favorably to the Capet dynasty. Hooray!
The rulers of Semien/Israel. (Top to bottom, left to right.) Clear standouts include King Aman and Emperor Gebereal, who took Jerusalem and crated the Empire, Emperor Ogbae, Empress Berta, and Emperor Lema. Emperor Bekele technically takes the high score, but his is padded somewhat by my creating a bunch of titles in the final days. Emperor Fethee gets the record for shortest reign with 24 days, Empress Berta for the longest with 51 years. Not a bad 700 years!
The final state of Israel, including Norway, Rome, and a chunk of India.
The final state of religion. Judaism spread far and wide from where we started, including to India and Iceland! Amazing what seven hundred years of ceaseless holy war can do. (I'm also curious about all these Hindu steppe peoples.)
Thanks for reading, everybody! I had a great time with this, and I hope you all did too.
Current year: 1453 AD. Current Status: About Ready for the Renaissance.