I am the Emperor of Rome! All former Imperial possessions please form an orderly queue.
No? Well. We’ll see about that.
First, though, I decide to try for five years of peace, to let my threat decline a little bit.
I also move the Imperial capital back to Rome, which only seems appropriate.
Here’s one of the main benefits of reclaiming the empire — I get access to the “Imperial Reconquest” Casus Belli. This is basically like a Holy War, but it works on anyone within the old boundaries of the empire, and they don’t get to call in co-religionists to help.
The problem with peace is that it’s boring. Having both mended the Great Schism and restored the empire to its former glory, Methodios needs new adventures. Random trysts while hunting are nice, but that’s not going to cut it.
His thirst for novelty leads him down different paths.
After all, having conquered the Church and the secular world, that means there’s only God left to fight …
Hilariously, Methodios’ stated goal is to cure his daughter, who just has, like, the flu.
“Dad, I have a sniffle!”
“I will sell my soul to the dark powers!”
“Dad, I’m feeling much better, can we –”
“Not now, sweetie, carving a pentagram into my flesh.”
Where does Lucifer get these femme fatales?
The refuse option here is a little weak. “I’m a married man! If I was unmarried, sure, I’d be totally down for your weird Satantic sex-initiation.”
So, now I have a cool black hoodie and worship Satan. Good times!
You know what that means — orgy time!
Did … did we orgy some dude to death?
Satan demands virgin sacrifice!
Fortunately, my dungeons are well stocked from various wars. This seven-year-old girl should do.
What? It’s like sacrificing children is bad or something? Jeez.
On the plus side, even though I’m at peace, my vassals are doing good work pushing the boundaries outward. The old province of Gaul is a mess of several different kingdoms, so that’s going to need some sorting out.
Oh, and I’m still trying to wipe out the entire Muradid dynasty.
The things I do for
love political power. Doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Wait, he flew off like an ostrich? I mean … I guess that works …
Only two Muradids left!
I already worship Satan, how much worse can dealing with witches be?
Waaaaait a minute. That was just vodka!
Damn it, hold still while I’m trying to wipe out your entire family!
Hurrah! Five years of peace! Now we can get back to warrin’.
Satan tells me to burn things.
Climbing the ladder!
What kind of a name is Herbert for a high priest of Satan?
Also, that witch totally ripped me off!
Given my predilections, I’d be shocked if it did anything.
Satan demands blue blood!
Whatever you say, snicker Herbert.
To cure my food poisoning, my doctor has switched me with my
evil good twin!
Still worships Satan, though. He’s just more humble about it.
Time for plotting. This fine fellow has claims on Austrasia, Germany, and Saxony, and he’s willing to come to my court.
I marry him to the young princess of Italy. His claims are heritable, so if they breed I’ll have some useful children, too.
They’re weak claims, though, which means I’ll only be able to press them if the current monarch is female, a child, or otherwise weakened. Fortunately, the heir to the throne is five. So if I can kill this guy …
Somehow, I assume through a wacky sit-com mixup, I have become lovers with my own wife in addition to my Satanic sister. I’m looking forward to the episode where they almost meet at the restaurant.
Come on, bandits!
Bah. Stupid bandits.
Hmm. Until now my oldest daughter Sibylla has been heir.
Aha! In Agnatic-Cognatic Primogeniture, a daughter with a son outranks a daughter without a son, regardless of birth order. Your move, Sibylla!
Come on … carriages?
Nice! So that’s the Austrasian throne up for grabs. I’ve got some time, though, since the heir is young.
My buddy is dead, but not before he managed to have a son, who has inherited his claims. Perfect.
Meanwhile, this guy has been plotting against me. And I still need a ruler to sacrifice to Satan …
He rebels, of course, and I get to work burning down his castles.
Another bonus: if you’ll recall, in order to take Italy/Lombardy, I had to grant a kingdom to a claimant and press the claim. (Much as I’m planning to do with Austrasia.) Unfortunately, that leaves the claimant as a Despot (a hereditary ruler by right) as opposed to an Exarch (a ruler appointed by the Emperor). When the Despot dies without an heir, though, the kingdom reverts to me, and I can bestow it on someone useful as an exarchate! (The other way I can convert it is by having the holder rebel and stripping him of his title.)
This lady is the new ruler and as you can see she’d very fond of me, in spite of my craven, slothful, drunken murderishness.
I like that craven, slothful, drunken murderer adds up to -25, whereas “attractive” is +30. “He may be a drunken lazy coward murderer, but man is he easy on the eyes.”
Satan’s commands alternate between horrifying and petty.
“I totally peed on that dude and held a decadent feast in his name! WOO GO SATAN!”
Sibylla’s back in the lead!
It’s all tied up at one son each!
With the revolt successfully concluded, the unfortunate Duke finds himself on the Satanic altar.
Satan rewards me with total insanity!
My threat is down below 75%. When I attack Austrasia, I’ll be fighting pretty much everyone (since they’re Christian) but with less than 75% the Christians won’t join in if I attack a Muslim. So, first step, holy war against the Muradids!
Things go pretty badly at first. Those are some big armies they have there.
I distract myself with another Satanic orgy.
Wait, Satan already has a dwarf, I just met him! What is it with dwarfs?
My wife doesn’t love me anymore. At least I still have my Satanic mistresses.
In spite of some early setbacks, I get the war moving in the right direction. The AI is really bad at using sea travel, which means I can generally run rings around it while it marches overland losing men to attrition. Also, it gets distracted attacking whatever holdings are closest, whereas I go straight for the war goal, which counts more toward the total score.
The AI also runs out of money to pay its mercenaries before its army even arrives. Bad planning right there.
Before too long, the few defeats I had back in Anatolia are outweighed by my victories in the field and control of Cyrenaica, and the Muradids call it a day.
Sure. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
See! Azazel is totally chill, guys!
The raven is black like my soul.
Psh, people, who cares about them?
Can we please make it a law not to set the Emperor on fire?!
I’m still smoldering, but it’s time to get this party started. I make little Merigo King of Croatia, and then launch my war to press his claims to Austrisia, which control a grab-bag of land through France and Germany. With my threat high, this means fighting almost the entire world.
This turns out to be pretty hard. At first I make the mistake of trying to do it conventionally, fighting the enemy on the battlefield, but they have a lot deeper manpower reserves than I do, even if they’re bad at getting them to the field. So I win some battles but lose a lot of troops.
The problem is, winning battles doesn’t actually help, since you don’t get warscore for battles against the target’s allies. So I switch things up and sail around taking over Austrasian castles, while letting the enemy slowly besiege my own.
After a few tense years, this works out pretty well, and the Austrasians finally surrender.
God damn that’s an ugly border. Don’t you people know how to draw maps?
My new best buddy also has a claim on Germany, which would fill in some of the gaps.
We need to wait a little while, though, since the last war took so long my vassals are pretty pissed.
Orthodoxy continues to spread. Although of course I now reject God and all his works, I do like seeing maps filled in with one color.
Still trying to nail down those last few elusive Caliphs.
Oh, a tricky one, are you?
Satan wants me to possess some random woman.
Unfortunately, I only succeed in driving her mad.
Now, however, we have succession questions to worry about. Here’s the problem. Leontia’s son has died, so she’s out of the succession sweepstakes, and Sibylla will be the next empress. She’s already quite old, though, so I’m looking to her children. She has one son and three daughters. If the son lives, he’s heir, but if he dies the eldest daughter becomes heir. And she has inconveniently gotten married non-matrilineally, which means her children will not be part of the dynasty. We can’t have that.
Eat black magic, grandson-in-law!
Cursing people just always makes me smile, somehow.
Unfortunately, the oaf recovers from his illness. My attempts to kill him conventionally don’t go well either, so I ask my fellow Satanists to try and abduct him.
This works out great! Once he’s in my dungeons, I sacrifice him to the Dark Lord.
Then I make sure Alexia’s new marriage is on more appropriate terms.
The Muradids are having problems, though they have bred enough new dynasts that I reluctantly cancel my plan to wipe them out.
My wife is 74 but she has aged fantastically.
See, Zenon is a better name for a high priest of Satan.
Damn it, Alexia was pregnant before I sacrificed her husband to Satan! Now she has a non-dynastic son. That’s not acceptable.
I give the infant smallpox and wait to see if he dies.
Meanwhile, before Merigo grows up too much, it’s time to press his claim on Germany. This means another war vs. the whole world, but I’m getting better at those. I dodge various armies and sail around demolishing German castles.
Note that my council nearly stopped me from going to war, and I had to bribe them. We’ll see about that …
I expect my new chancellor to be much more reliable.
Satan wants another virgin, apparently.
This woman is in her forties, but has been in my prison since she was seven years old. So I sacrifice her, but it doesn’t work. Apparently there’s some shenanigans going on in the dungeons. (Apart from me sacrificing the prisoners to the devil.)
Another little kid for the Dark Lord, then. He’s so picky!
But he rewards me with demonic possession!
Also crippling illness.
Methodios is losing his grip, but the German war is finished, adding another swathe of territory to the empire.
Still a little fragmented, but looking better. Hopefully my vassals can clean up some of the smaller states.
Both smallpox and my assassins have failed me, so once again I turn to my buddies in Satan to rid me of inappropriate heirs.
Unfortunately, sacrificing little Michael to the devil is a step too far. The priests have caught on. While they can’t burn me at the stake, they kick me out of the church and everyone now hates me.
Methodios, alone in his castle, grows ever more deformed and strange.
Even my council hates me. All except loyal Glitterhoof, who will stand by his master to the end.
To cheer myself up, I dose random tavern crowds with hallucinogens. Love that Joker!
Everyone may hate Methodios, but he has one last thing to accomplish. The defeat of his final enemy: pants.
Pants are hereby forbidden in the empire! We we all be happy again!
Man, central Europe is kind of a mess. Someone should clean that up.
The Patriarch decides that since I haven’t sacrificed any children to Satan this month, I can come back to the church. Everyone else still hates me though.
This includes my new wife, since poor Blanche finally died. She’s a chaste genius, and they’re in love, but love doesn’t outweigh “Known Demon Worshiper”. I kind of feel like this is a horror story now? Chaste young genius marries elderly murderous demon worshipper?
…still got it…
For very weird definitions of “it”.
Finally, predictably, the vassals have had enough of Methodios’ madness.
Civil war begins, Italy vs. Anatolia.
“An artifact, you say? I will send my most loyal servant to search for it!”
“Sir, that’s your horse.”
“My most loyal servant.”
(Honestly, I’m impressed Glitterhoof attends council meetings.)
Unfortunately, she’s not great at searching for artifacts.
Methodios’ feelings toward Glitterhoof are mixed. He doesn’t like that she failed at the search, that she’s a horse, or that she’s stupid. On the other hand, he finds her sexy, and she has accumulated some prestige. And he’s grateful for some reason?
At the end of his reign, Methodios looks back and decides that all in all, it was pretty great.
With that happy thought, and the empire still riven by rebellion, Methodios dies. He united the church, recreated the Roman Empire, and sacrificed children to Satan, but according to his biographer the real issue was that he cheated on his wife. (With Satan.)
Sibylla, I choose you!
Current Year: 1013 AD.
Current Status: Burning in hell.