When we left the Kingdom of Lapland, it was still under the bloodstained thumb of King Ottarr the Brute, who was fighting his way to reforming the Germanic faith with murder and black magic. Shockingly, these trends continue!
With control of three Germanic holy sites and sufficient piety, the barrier to my reforming the faith is getting moral authority over 50%. Two ways to raise it (by 1% each) are successfully taking counties by “pagan conquest” and burning infidel temples, which go nicely together. I get thing started by attacked the Finns to the east.
Also on my list of goals is creating the Empire of Scandinavia, but that’s tough — it requires controlling 80% of the counties within this area, and I’m not even close. It would help my succession enormously though, by getting me back into a situation with one top-level title.
As usual, my doctors have no idea what’s going on. Fortunately I’m extra-healthy from, uh, eating my children.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s where food poisoning comes from? Who knows where they’ve been?
Odin is with me! And I’m going to kill him!
Putting the woman I demonically possessed in charge of building me a statue? I … um, really should have seen this coming. Fortunately I have piety to spare now.
Ottarr still makes time for old-fashioned, non-demonic lunacy.
I’m making a little progress against the Finns and Estonians, but moral authority is going in the wrong direction. This is because other Germanic states affect it too, and they apparently aren’t doing that well.
Time for a new plan. The county of Zeeland is the fifth Germanic holy site, currently under the control of Catholics. Getting it back under German rule would give me +10% to moral authority. Fortunately, as Norse, I can fight a pagan conquest not only against bordering counties but against any coastal county, so Zeeland is a fair target.
Unlike holy wars, pagan conquests don’t draw in neighboring co-religionists. So I only have to fight Germany, which owns Zeeland, and Germany is pretty splintered and weak. I call in some tribal armies and start marching down through Denmark!
The King of Germany is only 15, and busy with some other wars, so my occupation goes fairly well.
Meanwhile, my efforts to secure the succession continue. My daughter Rögnfrið has been groomed to rule, as my only surviving child, but the electors insist on choosing someone else! I call on the dark gods to give her disease, but she only gets pneumonia and recovers quickly. So I’m forced to rely on conventional assassins and bribery.
Success! Germanic faithful rejoice.
And the victory, combined with some older modifiers timing out, kicked me over 50%. Better and better.
So the reformed German religion was created, codified, and led by a man who secretly worshiped Hel. This is a bit like finding out that the Apostle Paul was actually a Satanist all along. But you can’t argue with results!
It’s time to hunker down for a while, though, because my vassals are pretty angry. I get started quieting them down.
The next goal is becoming feudal instead of tribal, which among other benefits will allow me to finally change away from the gavelkind inheritance that has made my life miserable from day one. Reforming the religion was a prerequisite, as is upgrading my holdings, so I’ve done that. I need to increase my legal authority a bit more, which means quieting my vassals down and waiting a while. I just need to hope Ottarr lives long enough and/or his succession issues get smoothed over.
I summon a cat familiar, LORD OF ALL BEASTS, to assist me!
Halla is currently standing in my way, succession-wise. She’s lunatic and possessed, so maybe the electors just don’t want to rock the boat?
A major revolt finally breaks out, but I’m ready with tribal armies and mercenaries, and the rebels are crushed. Enjoy rotting in the dungeon until the next Great Blot!
Unfortunately, both sorcery and assassins have failed to rid me of Halla. I turn to my third option, which is just to bribe the electors and make sure Rögnfrið gets the nod.
Honestly, if the worst I get after a lifetime of human sacrifice and dark sorcery is a stutter then I’m kind of okay with that.
Another claimant to the throne pops up. I try to have my minions abduct her, but they fail miserably. Honestly what is even the point of being an evil wizard anymore?
Fortunately, bribery works wonders where more dastardly methods have failed.
This charming fellow is the King of Frisia, who has declared a holy war for Holland. I don’t really need Holland, at this point, but I’m not giving in without a fight.
I appear to have acquired two additional counties in Holland without noticing? That’s odd. Also, good lord, northern Europe is a mess. Why is Italy in there?
The king of Frisia dies and is replaced by a two-year-old, who agrees to cool it with the holy war. Yet another adventurer is targeting my kingdom, though.
However! My own vassals are quiet enough that I can raise tribal authority, and I’m ready to convert to feudalism. This will weaken me a bit in the short term, especially since I lost the ability to hire tribal armies with prestige.
In the long term, though, it’s great. Not only can I finally start working on changing the succession, but feudal holdings produce enormously more income, and my vassals no longer get a choice about whether they contribute troops to my wars.
At 59, Ottarr is not quite the general he was at his peak, but still head and shoulders above almost everyone. He’s a brilliant strategist, a falconer, a hunter, diligent, ambitious, arbitrary, cruel, lunatic, and a drunkard. He’s got one legitimate daughter and five bastard children, all of whom have now been given titles. Plus, of course, the … other children that we don’t talk about.
I’d like to change the succession to primogeniture, but that requires “Late Feudal” authority, which I don’t have yet, plus I’d need to do some work pleasing my vassals. But it’s on the agenda.
Being feudal gives me access to a bunch of new upgrades for my holdings, which of course requires money. And we all know where we get money! So it’s off Viking once again.
Mellowing in his old age, or perhaps with just more to lose, Ottarr starts turning down these requests for random mayhem. No need to rock the boat.
Now that I’m feudal, another goal is to increase the power of the ruler at the expense of the council, slowly moving toward absolute monarchy. The problem is the council has to sign off on this, so you need to get them on your side first. Bribery works, of course, but it helps to stock the council with loyalists and sycophants too. (If you’ve read my Israel game, this was never a problem, since I started with absolute authority and never gave it up in spite of many, many revolts.)
I also start a war to get Kemi back into the empire. My goal is to get to the 55 territories I need to create the empire during Ottarr or his daughter’s reign, before gavelkind succession comes to bite me again. I’ve got about 35 at this point, so it’s going to be a long haul.
My vassals want to change from Elective Gavelkind (where the primary heir is determined by election) to ordinary Gavelkind (where the eldest child is primary heir). Ordinarily I fight all revolts, since winning gives you an opinion boost and a chance to revoke titles. But I’m totally fine with this one, since I’m not popular enough to change succession law anyway. This means I no longer have to worry about Rögnfrið being displaced! (Retroactive apologies to all those people I killed, I suppose.)
Yes, it would be terrible for any … dark influence to come into our lives.
This is a slightly more serious consequence for the use of dark magic, I have to admit. Ottarr is on his last legs, but I’m still working toward getting the empire.
One step closer!
But still a long way to go.
Fortunately, there are still some small realms I can pick off fairly easily.
Once that’s done, I declare Holy War against Denmark to pick off their counties in the west, something I can do now that I’m reformed! There aren’t many Old Germanic rulers around to help them out.
?Holy War theme song is back!?
While the war goes well, one of their counties rebels against Denmark, which means I won’t get it when I win. Boo.
Ottarr’s time is definitely running low.
Unfortunately, while I beat Denmark, my vassals are all very angry due to their levies having been raised too long.
Only at 43/55. Rögnfrið is going to have a lot of work to do.
On the plus side, the new Germanic religion has mostly supplanted the Old Germanic remnants.
Back in Brittany, Ottarr finally earns his Viking card!
He seems to show some remorse for the unspeakable acts he committed. Which causes him to become possessed?
Ottarr’s long and bloody reign finally comes to an end. Whoever writes his summary seems unaware of his dark side! In spite of being a demon-worshiper, dark sorcerer, child murderer, and all around supervillain, Ottarr managed to get the Germanic religion reformed and convert his people to feudalism, two essential tasks on my checklist for this game. Good work, I suppose!
Meanwhile, the new Queen Rögnfrið is an excellent general and a passable administrator. She’s brawny, scarred, zealous, ambitious, kind, gluttonous and greedy. Her vassals are not very happy with her, either.
(Side note: I say “queen”, though the game prefers “Fylkir” or “Fylkja”. These are the titles of the head of the Germanic religion, the equivalent of the Pope, which I now also hold!)
While all of Ottarr’s scheming and murdering to pass the kingdom to Rögnfrið intact worked great, Rögnfrið herself has three children, so when she dies things are going to be bad. If I create the empire before then, it’s not so terrible, but if I don’t make it then Lapland and Sweden will go to separate heirs and, at minimum, I’ll have to fight a war to get them back together. It’d be great to change the succession law, but that requires at least ten years reign and for your vassals to like you, something Ottarr could never manage.
Will Rögnfrið be able to create her empire or change her succession before she dies? Will she resort to eating her children like her father? We’ll see…
Current Year: 905 AD. Current Status: No Longer A Murderous Psychopath!