Queen Wulfhild continues her quest to create the Scandinavian Empire! Also continues her descent into madness, in the mode of her ancestor King Ottarr.
At the moment she’s laying waste to Brittany, again. The owners show up to defend it, but not in enough numbers that I’m inclined to leave.
I mean, who wouldn’t be charmed by that beard?
Waaaaait a minute. Futility of prayer? I know these guys! Wulfhild may take after Ottarr, but she doesn’t want to go down the truly dark path. Fighting Cthulhu is enough.
A bunch more Spanish troops show up. I hurriedly finish up my looting and head back to the boats. Back home, the brother of the dead adventurer has finally turned up with his army, so there’s work to do.
Wulfhild’s doctors have been shockingly successful at treating her syphilis.
Another adventurer in jail. I banish him, and confiscate the 500 gold he spawns with. Try again any time, sir!
With the treasury replenished and threat run down, it’s back to conquest! The remnants of Karelia are part of one of my duchies, so I can just take them de jure.
53/55! Almost there!
Also, my vassals like me, so I can finally change the succession!
(I’m actually super unsure of why my younger daughter comes before her older brother in seniority? Maybe he disqualified himself somehow. Anyway.)
So, while seniority is infinitely superior to gavelkind, it has its drawbacks in terms of short reigns and difficulty of raising your heirs. My normal default is primogeniture, but here I decide to experiment with ultimogeniture instead, which means that the youngest child inherits. There are tradeoffs to both. Primogeniture offers stability, since unless the eldest child dies the heir remains the same. It also gives you the greatest chance of having your heir be an adult when the ruler dies, preventing a disruptive regency.
Ultimogeniture, on the other hand, means that your heirs will often be very young. If they’re younger that 16, you have to suffer the regency, but on the other hand a ruler who takes power that young will hopefully have a very long reign, which is really helpful in terms of vassal opinion. Since you can exert some control over whether you have more children, it also means if your current heir sucks you can try to breed more.
One technique to mitigate the regency issue for male rulers is to marry women about a decade older than yourself. Typically women will stop having children somewhere between 35 and 45, which means your ruler will be about 30; that gives him a good chance of making it to 46, when your heir will be of age. It’s harder for women, unfortunately.
Anyway! Here ends the confusing genealogy! Unless something goes horribly wrong, future rulers of Lapland will be descended from mad Wulfhild the Rash.
My current heir, Gisela, is honestly not great, and already has chest pains. But importantly, she already has three dynastic sons, which means a strong future for the line.
I’m looking to grab those last two counties, but I’m running out of easy targets. I go to war with Austrasia, a biggish kingdom in Germany that holds two counties on my east coast. Unfortunately, I have to take them one at a time.
Seems like a good move. You can always trust a horse.
Glitterhoof is attractive, strong, stubborn, slow-witted, and a horse.
But so loyal! Although somewhat intolerant of my homosexuality.
Gisela dies of her heart problems, leaving her youngest son Luder-Udo, age 0, as heir to the realm. Now I need to hope Wulfhild lives a while longer. Maybe ultimogeniture was a bad idea.
Noooooo Glitterhoof! Now who can I trust? At least 17 is a ripe old age for a horse. Also, during his brief reign as chancellor, he managed to gain “Sympathy for Christians” somehow.
The war against the Austrasians is going well when a bunch of my vassals demand independence. This is actually kind of stupid of them, since my army is raised and ready and theirs is not.
Predictably, this goes poorly for them.
As a reward for rejecting the temptations of Hel, I am visited by Odin himself! Sadly his well full of gold never materializes. It was probably a metaphor.
I need more good doctors to keep me alive longer!
The Austrasians finally give up and concede the war. And I’m pleasantly surprised to find that my vassals have taken two additional counties in the meantime, putting me at 56/55! A century or more after Ottarr’s death, his descendant has realized his mad dream.
Finally, the empire is born! I like its pleasing blue-gray color. And there’s only a couple of stray provinces in the peninsula proper left to clean up. (Note that Scotland, while being a similar color, is not part of my empire. Yet.)
Wulfhild consistently keeps her venereal disease in check via violent pooping.
Of the nearby powers, France is by far the strongest, ruled by Empress Agnes the Frog. Italy and Muslim Spain are also powerful. Eastern Europe still a mess, England a mess aside from Scotland.
A pyramid for Faithful — wait, it costs how much? I’m not spending the cost of a new castle on my dog.
Since creating an empire is expensive, we celebrate in the traditional way: raiding Cornwall!
Then, once we arrive, we have to sail back immediately because I forgot to tell the army to vike before they left port.
“Prepare to attack — hang on, guys! I left my Viking hat at home! Back to Scandinavia!”
One of my vassals grabs the last of the Saxon holdouts on the tip of Scandinavia. Good work, guys!
Even lesbian empresses can get in on the hunting-tryst action! Insane empresses can also ATTACK.
Unfortunately, the Duke of Westrogothia I so recently praised has become a Catholic, which means I’m forced to crush him without mercy.
“You won’t take my titles without a … oh … hmm.”
Man, screw everybody.
And here come the Austrasians again. It’s that same queen, she’s been around a while.
A couple of other vassals are pissed off, which reveals that they’re Catholics too! I’ll settle them soon enough.
Hey, it’s that duke guy! With his long, flowing locks and fashionable mustache.
Finally. I collect yet another big indemnity from the Austrasians.
Hooray for mysterious red powders!
After spending the windfall on moar castles I set out for Brittany once again. France has a new empress, who is stupid-looking but still powerful.
Hey, another one of these! Though the last one took two hundred years to unlock and was somewhat disappointing.
That was fast.
Huh! Well, gold is always useful, Roman or otherwise.
I’m distressed by how much Catholicism there is in my realm. I’ve purged it from my vassals, and they’re working on converting the people back, but it’s slow work.
Against all my initial expectations, Wulfhild managed to reign for 23 years, fix my succession, and create the empire at last. The lesson here is: if you want something done right, send for the lunatics.
Her grandson Luder-Udo takes the throne. He’s looking so-so, stats-wise, although he’s been given an Intrigue education, which is kind of annoying. He is attractive, which is a pretty good trait! There’ll be four years of regency before he can rule in his own right, but his vassals seem to like him.
His betrothed, Yrsa, is about a decade older (see above) and a badass to boot. Glad to have her on the team.
Yup. He’s 14, all right.
Luder-Udo continues his grandmother’s policies of a) building up his castles at every opportunity, and b) burning things, in this case Rome.
One of my vassals is Duchess Saga, THE SWORD OF ODIN. Unfortunately she is nothing but trouble.
Luder-Udo takes the throne! He’s a fantastic schemer and a so-so administrator, but absolutely atrocious at diplomacy due to crippling shyness. First priority: have some kids.
His eldest brother, Duke Balthasar, has been arrested for plotting against him, no surprise since he’s pissed about the succession change. I’m offered the chance to sacrifice him at the feast, but while it doesn’t give me the “Murderer” opinion penalty I would get “Kinslayer”, which is pretty bad. So Balthasar can rot in prison, I guess.
Twins! That certainly gets the succession off to a good start.
Luder-Udo falls in love with his wife, which is convenient because she’s a badass.
The raiders are finished with Rome, and take the scenic route home via the Black Sea.
That was quite a trip! Castles for everyone!
That’s a joke. Me. Castles for me.
With the treasury rebuilt, Luder-Udo takes on the Austrasians again, ready to finally kick the last foreign rulers out of the peninsula.
Queen Gertrude is still kicking, but has no better luck fighting me this time.
Next up is grabbing this county from Vitebsk, on my eastern border.
I get the flu, but survive, in spite of the best effort of my doctors.
Scandinavia is now more or less completely under my control. This completes my initial objectives: reform the religion, convert from tribal, and form the empire. So the question is what to do next? Expanding any further south means fighting France, and in spite of having a child-emperor they’re still too strong for that.
In the short term, my vassals are a bit unruly, so I spend some time raiding to let them cool down. The money is helpful for further castle upgrades.
“Burn and pillage, my mighty warriors, for we are — ah, jeez, here they come! Run for it, guys!”
Even better. Can’t a man burn down Brittany in peace?
Apparently not. The Teutonic Order wants to get in on the fun.
Let the juggling act commence! Fortunately, I have a big enough fleet to shuttle my army around quickly.
First we smash the invading Order army down in Copenhagen.
Then we rush up the coast to deal with the rebels.
Dogs are the medieval Paxil.
Follow the rebels by sea and take another whack at them…
…force the Hochmeister to surrender and pay a nice indemnity…
…finally catch up to the host army before they burn down my capital…
…then all the way back around to take on the rebels again! All in a day’s work for Luder-Udo.
I am not actually sure why this guy loses his gold. I kind of want him to keep it so I can steal it?
Shortly after he’s arrested, Hereweald is killed in prison, because I forgot to tell my assassins they could stop going after him now that the war was over. My assassins are loyal but very literal minded. “Man, this guy will be easy to kill now that he’s locked in your jail!”
The rebels finally cave too. So that was fun.
The realm is once again at peace. France is unified and too strong to attack, so I cast about for another target. Hmm…
Current Year: 1042 AD. Current Status: Imperial!