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Everyone Who Dropped the Ball in INFINITY WAR (Spoilers)

I liked this movie a lot. If you haven’t seen it, go do that. SPOILERS HERE.







Right? Okay. So leaving the theater, it occurred to me that the heroes actually had a ton of chances to stop Thanos’ plan, and the fact that they didn’t manage it is sort of astonishing. Just for fun, here’s a list of everyone who, by not being slightly smarter/more ruthless, bears direct responsibility for the death of half the universe:

  • Loki could have left the Tesseract behind on Asgard to be destroyed.  This is maybe half a point, since it’s not 100% clear this actually would have destroyed it.  But later events imply that the stones are actually destructible, so maybe?  (Side note: having the stones be indestructible would make waaaaaaay more sense.)
  • Loki gives up the Tesseract to save Thor.  As will become a theme, it’s not super clear where he had it or what would happen if he actually held out on Thanos, but everyone acts as though he’s actually giving Thanos something.
  • Doctor Strange could have destroyed the Time gem immediately on hearing Thanos was doing stuff.  They handwave that he’s sworn to defend it but you would think not giving Thanos unlimited power would take priority?
  • Doctor Strange decides to bring the Time stone with, instead of leaving it somewhere slightly safer then hanging around his neck.  If the spell really does prevent anyone from taking it, even when he dies, he could also have safeguarded it by dying?
  • Iron Man decides to take the ship (and the Time stone) to Titan.  Not taking it back to Earth is understandable, but you know what other option was available?  Literally anywhere else in the universe.  The one thing Thanos emphatically does not have throughout the movie is perfect knowledge of where the stones are, because he’s constantly asking people.  So just like … go lose yourself somewhere?  Space is big.
  • Gamora goes along with the plan to go to Knowhere and … do something?  It’s really not clear what the actual plan is since if Thor, Hulk, and Loki got curb-stomped by Thanos it’s pretty clear Starlord, Gamora, Drax, and Mantis aren’t going to be able to take him out.  Maybe they thought they could get the stone first and run away, in which case you can add Starlord for not just turning the ship around and running away.
  • Gamora for not killing herself once it was clear Thanos was there, or indeed earlier.  That seems harsh but she did ask Starlord to kill her, so she was obviously aware this was a problem.  She could also kill herself later, when Thanos has her in prison and apparently unsupervised.
  • Gamora for giving up the location of the Soul stone to save Nebula.  This one is particularly bad since she a) knows exactly how bad this is, and b) has no expectation that Thanos won’t be able to take the stone once she tells him.
  • Starlord for ruining what was actually a perfectly functional plan to get the gauntlet away from Thanos that almost worked.  He is just the worst.
  • Scarlet Witch and Captain America in some combination for balking at Vision’s perfectly reasonable request to let him sacrifice himself for the good of the entire universe.  Extra points because Cap never really answers Vision’s comparison of his WWII era sacrifice of himself to save America.
  • Doctor Strange, again, for giving up the Time stone to save Iron Man.  At this point he had some vision of the future to guide him, but it’s not clear what would have happened if he’d held out, similar to Loki above.

I think that’s it?  Thanos was really pretty lucky that all the stones were in the hands of good people who would give them up when friends or loved ones were threatened, rather than like Magneto or Doctor Doom or somebody.

Also, note to Thanos: even with a slowly falling world birthrate, human numbers approximately doubled (from 3.8bn to 7.5bn) between 1972 and 2018.  Assuming other civilized planets are similar, you’re going to be doing this again roughly every fifty years, forever.  Probably more often actually, since the greater availability of resources will lead to faster growth rates.  Read your Malthus, man.

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Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Eleven

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, and Part Ten. This is the grand finale!

The relentless march of the legions continues!  Onward to the old borders and beyond!  Emperor Ioannes commands it!

Go to your room, Young Ma’n!

Okay, but seriously.  This guy happens to be the heir to one of the larger sub-realms of the Hafizids, my eternal enemies to the east.  If I can get him on my side and press his claim, I may be able to take a big bite out of them.

Meanwhile, my forces have taken Kent.  Because England is composed of many small realms, it’s relatively trivial for me to take them in quick succession.

Mercia is next.

Noooo, there are Lollards in Fife!  England is great for silly words.

The Emperor decides to have some of his Hermetic Society buddies over for a shindig.

“Hear me out, boys — what if we made some kind of inter-net?  You know, for fishing boats?”

Bishop Ioannes is being a dickhead, and he has the same name as me.  Oh, it’s on!

That’s what I thought!  And I’m changing your name to Butt-Face!

I have to imagine this going via a Hamilton-style cabinet battle.

While Ioannes’ high-minded theorizing continues, I’m trying to kill enough people to get Prince Ma’n on the throne.

We’ve invented … a thing that measures angles in the sky … I guess.  Honestly I was hoping for, like, warp drive?  But this is … fine.

My incursions into Hafizid territory continue.  They’re weakening, but it’s still going to take a while to wipe them out.

Unfortunately, Emperor Ioannes the Hammer isn’t doing as well as the empire.

His doctors try chopping some bits off at random, but it doesn’t seem to help.

But, with another holy war, we’ve finally driven the Hafizids out of North Africa completely.

It’s Ioannes’ last achievement.  His drinking buddies/alchemist companions will miss his insight and his wine cellar.

I choose you, Konstas III!

Konstas III is … pretty lackluster.  He’s a twin, born in the purple, Augustus, kind, humble, slothful, shy, brave, and depressed, with below-average stats across the board and no children.  We can work on the last one, at least.  

On the plus side, the death of the Emperor means an early end to the truce with the Hafizids, so I can take another shot at them.  Time to finally complete my control of Gaul.

I have had it with these MFing Lollards in my MFing Fife!

Just one more county to go down at the tip of Brittany.

To keep the vassals in line, sometimes it’s good to make an example.  This guy hates my guts.

This is actually the intended result, because it gives me the chance to burn down all his shit.

Bulgaria doesn’t last long against the might of the Empire.  I don’t raise my full levy for anything short of a jihad anymore.

On the other front, I’m still pressing into the desert against my old friends the Muradids.  Unlike the Hafizids, they can still pull together a respectable army.

Aha!  While Ma’n never got with the program, his heir Isma’il is willing to convert to Orthodoxy (after I captured him as a child) and be my puppet claimant!  As soon as the truce with the Hafizids runs out, I can press his claim.

No, I don’t care if he had his fingers crossed during Mass, you are not to set him on fire!

I finish the war with the Muradids, taking a big chunk of Syria.

And I’m salivating at the prospect of taking over Isma’il’s claim in Spain.  Almost there …

The King of France, on his own initiative, is finishing off Brittany.  GJ king!

Blah blah blah, we want “rights” and “powers” and “some kind of say in literally anything”.  Hasn’t anyone explained the concept of rule by divine right to you guys?

Well, consider it MFing explained, MFers.

With Brittany taken by France, all of Gaul is at last Roman once again.  Caesar, you are avenged!  (I know that makes no sense but it sounds cool.)

Still waiting for the truce to expire, but there’s a rebellion in Spain, so I can grab some land off the rebels.

And multiple Muradid revolts give me the same chance in the east!

The King of Jerusalem calls in a favor to get me to help press his claim on some sultan, which honestly is the kind of thing I do anyway.

The borders are expanding, east and west, although now my label is kind of messed up.

Konstas has been doing some serious conquering, if you know what I mean.  And what I mean is that he has syphilis.

Fortunately, his doctor is here to help with sweet, healthful mercury!

And now it’s finally time to launch my war for Prince Isma’il’s claim —

Wait.  God damn it, guys, what did I tell you not to do?

Set Prince Isma’il on fire.

And what did you do?

set Prince Isma’il on fire.

Now I have to conquer Spain the old-fashioned way, one duchy at a time with holy wars.  Bah.

Fortunately, they’re getting weak enough that my larger vassals like Italy and France will take shots at them.

I take over York to console myself.

“Whosoever pulls this sword from the stone, and has the backing of 100,000 Roman legionaries, shall be King of England!  Or queen.  Whichever really.”

Rapid cleanup ensues.

This seems a little bit late.  I discover the problem later — in order to claim an old province, every holding must be my vassal.  Even if all the counts are mine, sometimes there’s an independent baron or a temple owned by some random dude causing problems.  This caused a lot of carefully clicking through each county.

But, anyway, woo!  Roman order marches on!

I’ve subdued all the independent realms in Britain except for the Kingdom of Wales, so it’s time to start grabbing stuff off them.

My doctor has a new and exciting syphilis cure to offer!

I’ve taken over enough in the east that I look up where the old borders were so I know what to aim for.

I also have a nice juicy claim to Pomerania, which technically isn’t within the old borders, but close enough.

Konstas’ illness is getting to him.  Syphilitic madmen are traditional Emperors!

I’m going to have to take Brunswick at some point.  It just look untidy sitting there all gray.

Catholicism has been almost entirely wiped out.  The Shia are making a bit of a comeback, surprisingly.

An Imperial Reconquest and some revolts gets me most of the Kingdom of Wales.  Still a few bits left to mop up.

Konstas’ son Gabriel has a stupid hat.  He’s a reasonable steward but a crappy diplomat, so I grab him a high-diplomacy wife to compensate.

As a bonus, said wife has a claim on that untidy duchy of Brunswick…

My doctor finally takes care of my syphilis problem for good by cutting out my eyeball.  Unfortunately, I’m still crazy.

I take some more land off the Hafizids, and one of their vassals is rebelling, so I get a bonus round!

Sadly, the Hafizid ruler dies and the rebellion ends.  But he loses the truce on his death, so I get another bonus round!

Nom nom nom.

I now own a 51% stake in Wales, so I get to be king.  This has the happy side benefit of splitting up the remaining Welsh territory until several easily-gobbled sections.

Konstas applies his awesome legal mind to the most pressing problem of the day: ventilation.

Nearly there!  Just have to grab that long pointy bit.

At this point, the old boundaries are in sight.  I need to finish off the Hafizids, grab a few pieces of territory in the east, and finish England.  I may take Ireland also just for kicks.

Also, my gold has gone totally bonkers.  The empire has always been rich, but now I have waaaaay more than I can spend coming in, and the treasury is up over 20,000.

This … was never a province, honestly.  But I’ve taken the Scots Isles.

Konstas himself is still pretty mediocre, but he managed to have a hell of a lot of sons!

“Philaretos the Noble?  What could we possible blackmail him about?”

I get my wife Brunswick as an anniversary gift.

With my threat pinned at 100%, even my own holy order is constantly fighting against me, and they’re probably my most annoying remaining opponent.  Fortunately, it occurs to me that I can simply press a claim to them on behalf of one of my vassals, and then they’re out of my way!

With a little border cleanup, Illyricum (Greece and the Balkans) rejoins the fold!

The Shia caliph declares a jihad, which is … not very threatening.  Hardly anyone shows up.

There’s also a fresh outbreak of the Black Death, but the great hospital at Rome keeps the Emperor safe.

He is having phantom eye pain though.

Devon, the last holdout in Britain, finally gets its turn.

Hooray!  Another province!

Wait, the province of what now?

Emperor Konstas dies of confusion.

I choose you, Gabriel!

Gabriel the Wise is not particularly wise, although at least becoming emperor has relieved him of his stupid hat.  He’s also in the middle of a war for Holstein.

That doesn’t last long.  I do like a tidy border.

I investigate the problem with Britain.  Italia getting completed was coincidence, it turns out, and the issue is that there’s some baron in Leicester with delusions of grandeur.  I send ten thousand men to camp on his doorstep until he changes his mind.

Much better.  Welcome back, Britons!

Similarly, Furstenburg has both a delusional baron and and uppity bishop!  Who gives these guys crazy ideas?

Eat my dust, Trajan!

*taps Holy Roman Emperor on the shoulder, clears throat*

The conquest of the Hafizids continues amid revolts as their power dwindles.

Things are a little slow, because I have to wait out truces with the same few enemies so I can finish off the last little bits of the old empire.  To cheer myself up I press a vassal king’s claim to Denmark.

Getting closer…

Ireland, Gabriel decides, should really be a part of the empire too.

The Irish object, but not very effectively.  Here, though, I actually have to forge claims, because it’s Orthodox and outside the old empire and thus not subject to reconquest or holy war.

Eventually, I’m able to create the Kingdom of Ireland, which gives me de jure claims on all the remaining counties.

In the east, I push my borders out a bit against the Muradids, who are once again united.

Fortunately, I don’t need to wipe them out, just get to the edge of Mesopotamia.  Another province off the shopping list!

There’s a revolt in Iceland!

…when did I even get Iceland?

With most of Norway under my control, it seems impolite not to take the last little bit.

One of my duchesses wants to be marshal.  Unfortunately she’s a drooling imbecile.  Does this count as Dunning-Kruger Syndrome?

Almost done!

In Syria I have to root out one of the Muslim holy orders and take their castles to complete my province.


Sadly, Gabriel can’t quite go the distance.  They’re not kidding about the fabulous riches, though, my treasury is now over 50,000.

I choose you, Gabriel II!

Now that it’s mostly irrelevant, Gabriel II is actually kind of awesome stats-wise!

He gets to work right away subduing the last few bits of Ireland.

There.  A nice, soothing red.

Also not actually a province, but sure.

The emperor got mugged in the woods.  Just like his great-to-the-nth grandmother!  I wonder if the family will ever find that chalice…

Weirdly, now the Arabian Empire collapses!  You couldn’t have done that two hundred years ago, guys, and saved me some trouble?

The crimson tide is rising.

Ah, what the hell.  One last civil war for the road!

Well that’s a mess.  Fortunately, if I need to I can hire literally every mercenary in the world.

Ultimately it doesn’t come to that.  I slap the rebels down, and clean up the last few counties in Spain.

One last war against an upstart baron…

And we’re done.  My most inveterate foes the Hafizids are vanquished, the last province is recaptured, and the ancient borders of Rome are restored!


Actually waaaay more than restored.

Here we have our emperors.  Surprisingly few, with long reigns!  Thank goodness for primogeniture.  Standouts include Chrysgone Ironside, who built the Kingdom of Anatolia; Tiberios the Usurper who used it to become emperor; Methodios the Glorious who mended the great schism, restored the Roman Empire, and then descended into dark sorcery; and Ioseph the Wise who heeded the voice of Jesus to become the greatest general who ever lived.

Restoring the old borders was a fun challenge!  It got a little tedious at the end, just because the various mechanisms the game has to stop you steamrolling everything break down one by one, until it’s a matter of fighting out a hundred tiny wars.  There’s actually 300 years left in the game, too — if I could tolerate the tedium, I could probably take over the rest of the map.  But I’d rather move on to other things.

Thank for reading Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo!

Current Year: 1165 AD.

Current Status: Maybe just one more war…

Content, Crusader Kings Series 3, Excluded, Games

Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Ten

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, and Part Nine.  Updates Wednesdays!

We left off with mad Emperor Ioseph the Wise having just conquered France and receiving new cures daily from his crazed dwarf doctor.  Onward!

He must have mixed the red powder better this time, because it actually works.

My heir Ioannes has survived consumption, thankfully.  At age eight he’s looking pretty good.

I launch a war for the Sinai.  At this point, every war means fighting the entire world, and at first things go rather badly as poorly-defended frontier castles fall to the allies.

However, once I blitz the actual war target, the Caliph changes his tune and surrenders at a measly 33% warscore.  I think what’s happening is that the castles held by the allies contribute to the overall war, but don’t affect the target’s calculation about whether he’s winning or not.  (Which makes sense.  News that distant allies have taken a castle in Germany is small comfort when I’m burning down all of Arabia.)

At 42 Ioseph is an extremely solid emperor with middling-to-good stats.  As I transition to ruling the Roman Empire, stewardship has become less important, since my personal demense is a tiny minority of the realm as a whole.  Diplomacy is now more critical because it affects my vassal limit and relations with the lords.

Iospeh is (deep breath) shrewd, Augustus, brawny, zealous, charitable, paranoid, craven, cruel, lustful, humble, possessed, lunatic, and consumptive.

With a demonstrated ability to win wars vs. the entire world, the only limit on my expansion is truces — after each war, there’s peace for ten years, unless one leader or the other dies.  I pick off smaller realms like the Taids while waiting out truces with my largest enemies: the Muradids in the east and Hispania in the west.

So much for humble.

This is weird.  So there is already a Kingdom of Jerusalem, and one of my vassals is king of it.  However, as a Christian, I can create a special Kingdom of Jerusalem, too?  It gives a massive amount of prestige and piety so I do it and award it to the same guy.  He’s double-king now!

This apparently causes the Lord to take notice, because next thing I know I’m being negged by Jesus.

On the plus side, after literally decades, my consumption has been cured!  Praise the PUA Christ!

While in this timeline the Arabian Empire has never truly collapsed, it does undergo periodic crackups and reconsolidations.  These are opportunities for me, since I don’t have peace treaties with the rebels, so I can grab territory off them.

The voice of Jesus has tempered Ioseph’s zealous cruelty.

Making progress!  Gaul is still pretty ugly though.

Through the usual means of bribery and packing the council with my toadies, I have achieved absolute rule.  Soon the council will be abolished, and the last vestiges of the Old Republic will be swept away.

Fear will keep the local vassals in line.  Fear of my extremely overpriced assassins.

Hispania has become the Hafizids, but they remain my greatest obstacle, since a proper Roman Empire should include all of Spain.  Also, my invasion of England has begun!  Londinium is back under Roman control after six or seven centuries.

Jesus is still back-seat Emperoring.

Whenever the truce runs out, my legions push west along the North African coast, taking it back from the Hafizids duchy by duchy.

A second ancient province is complete!  I’m not paying too much attention to these for now — I’ll clean up the bits later once I fill in the broad strokes.

My heir has come of age, and he’s quite good!  Unfortunately he hates me, because he’s ambitious and that makes me his rival.  Well, bring it on, son!

With Jesus’ help, Ioseph has lost craven, and his stats are edging up into “great” territory.

He did, um, seduce the 17-year-old wife of one of his cousins.  Sorry about that.

Fortunately any problem can be solved with a large enough sack of gold!

Bloody comets are considered a positive sign, right?

It’s time to clean up Gaul.  I’ve picked off most of the small realms, so now I start on the bits held by other Christian kingdoms, using the Imperial Reconquest cassus belli.

This apparently pleases the Lord, because Jesus starts dishing out the dirt.  Who knew Jesus was such an awesome general?

So, at fifty, with Jesus’ help, Ioseph is a reasonable diplomat and steward and the best general who has ever lived, far above pikers like Genghis Khan and Ottar the Unspeakably Vile.  Predictably, my wars go well!

A little charity is a small price to pay for Hax Jesus.

Huh.  According to Jesus the Church hasn’t got everything straight …

Fortunately my daughter is able to talk me back around to Orthodoxy.

“Don’t you think maybe a little democracy …”

“Sorry guys.  Jesus says I should be in charge.”

Jesus also tells me to stop sleeping around.  Man, why are you such a buzzkill, Jesus?

Can’t argue with results, though.  Look at that martial!

The North African frontier takes another lurch westward.

Saxony holds an annoying amount of widely-separated land, making reconquest slow.  Fortunately this guy a) is the younger brother of the king and b) despises his brother with the fire of a thousand suns, making him willing to join my court, be appointed King of Aragon, and then launch a bid for the Saxon throne.

Noooo lord why have you abandoned me!  Now all I have to rely on is my crushing military superiority!

Fortunately, that’s enough.  Another chunk of France and Germany comes under my rule.

More progress.  France is much tidier.  My vassals can make headway on their own against the smaller states in the north-east, but only the might of the full empire can take on the Hafizids.

What’s that, Jesus?  I should stop boning entirely?  Yikes.

This apparently spurs Iospeh into the decision that he doesn’t want to visit the kingdom of Heaven yet.  I’d be quite happy for him to live forever, he’s pretty awesome.

I send out my spymaster, since he’s ridiculously awesome at spying.

Did you really have to sneak into my room at night to ask for money?

Whiiiich he promptly spends on hookers and blackjack.  So much for that plan.

This heretical mystic is now my court doctor.  I’m sure he’s just as good as the crazy dwarf, right?


Well, though he only lived to be 56, Ioseph had a good run.  With Jesus’ help he led the legions to victory, vastly expanding my domain in both the east and west.

Ioannes, I choose you!

Ioannes is 24, with excellent stewardship and martial but lackluster diplomacy, which causes problems with his vassals.

He hires a witch to be his doctor!

The witch gets married and leaves him in the lurch.

His wife gets him a dog!

The dog eats the holy remains of John the Baptist.

And the peasants are revolting.  Good times in the Roman Empire.

Once they’re dealt with, another holy war secures this annoying green dot in the middle of my field of peaceful red.

The vassals are unhappy with the new emperor, as usual.  Commence the traditional revolt sequence!

Except, somehow, it doesn’t happen!  I imprison a few nobles and my Mystikos gets the rest under control.  Score!  To celebrate I hit the monastery.

Drunken sot?!  Come on, I had one beer.

Drunken or not it’s time to take more territory off the Hafizids.  This is becoming more or less routine at this point.

Creeping ever closer to Gibraltar.

Then the nobles decide they do want to revolt after all!  At least they politely waited for me to be done with my war.  That’s, what, four kings and four dukes?  I can take ’em!

These civil wars are getting to be somewhat large affairs!  But I bring the rebels to their knees and peace is soon restored.


Oh come on.  I refuse to believe there’s such a thing as a Szekesfehervarian.

Emperor Ioannes is feeling sorry for himself.

The bad news is that the Muslims have gathered a huge army.  The good news is that they can’t feed it out in the desert, so I just wait around for them to starve to death.

Once they’re whittled down to a more reasonable size, I jump them.

Eventually, the Caliph pays up to end the war.

A triumph for Ioannes!

At 34 Ioannes is a crappy diplomat, but still improving as a general.  No word yet from Jesus though.

A Hafizid revolt gives me a chance to blitz some more territory in the west.

About time I did something about this ugly purple blotch, too.

Much better.

Brittany is next on the shopping list, along with another chunk of Egypt.  I lose so few troops in these wars I can run them continuously, letting the levies of some vassals recover while I use others to fight with.  Italy, France, and Africa are all good sources of troops.

My vassals have been pushing at the northern border, too, including grabbing a random county in the middle of Scandinavia.

The cleanup of Gaul continues with Loon and Alsace, where nothing bad will ever happen again.

Another war with the Hafizids follows.  Almost to the coast!

Meanwhile, as a distraction from constant war, Ioannes has decided to become an alchemist.  This is another secret society, though a little less malicious than the Satanists.

Now he must face his most difficult opponent: a term paper.

When building a laboratory for esoteric science, it helps to be richer than God, which I now am.

On the war front, I’ve managed to enlist a claimant to the duchy of Thoringia, which will go a long way toward cleaning up northern Europe.

I am the Emperor.  (And my prestige is over 10,000.)  I don’t accommodate anybody.

I have prepared a paper on … fermentation.  It will help with the preparation of, um, alchemical elixirs.

Are they buying it, bro?

WOO they bought it!  Barkeep, another round of alchemical elixirs!

I’m Emperor of, like, the world.  Can’t I tell them not to do this?

Thoringia falls, pushing my northern border up to the Baltic Sea.

Then somehow the Duke of Gelre (that brown bit next to gray Brunswick) inherits Paris?  That shouldn’t be legal, but who knows.  Fortunately, this is not a catastrophe, since my vassal King of France gets a claim on Gelre in return.

A quick assassination takes the King of Gelre out of the game, putting a child on the throne.

And I take both territories back in the counter-attack.

Fortuitously, a claimant to the Kingdom of Alban drops into my lap, and I launch a war for that even though it’s really beyond the old borders of the Empire per se.  Ioannes, though, is more concerned with his alchemical shenanigans, breaking into a rivals library to steal his secrets.

This goes poorly.  You’d think “I’m the Emperor!” would be a pretty good trump card, but apparently not.

Fortunately, he’s willing to let me go for a sack of gold.

And Alban has fallen.  Soon it’ll be time to get serious about occupying the rest of Britain, which will not be terribly difficult.

First, though, another stab at the Hafizids gets me, finally, to the west coast of Africa.  They’re weakening — hopefully soon they’ll be small enough my vassals can bite off pieces.

A simple war to grab this purple county in Gaul turns out to be much more annoying than I planned.  This is partially because France has the plague.

Mostly, though, it’s because this is what’s left of Aquitaine, which now consists of like four randomly scattered counties all over the world.  So subduing each one (while the rest of the world fights me) is a bit of work.

But we’re going to petition the Divine Being!  I have some … interesting flasks … of elixir?  I hope the Divine Being likes Bud Light.

The Divine Being proves less than completely helpful.  Should have given him the box wine instead.

I’m so busy stargazing that I drift off in a council meeting, and when I wake up I’ve fired someone called Exarch Evangelos the Evil.  So that’s probably a net win.

Finally, Ioannes discovers a new star, which he generously names after his wife instead of himself.

He is extremely pleased with this result.

And the war against Aquitaine finally, finally ends!  I celebrate by starting a war against the Muradid Empire, which is ironically much easier.

Roman power is now pushed all the way to the southern border of Egypt!

And another ancient province is reclaimed for the Empire.  Getting there!


Current Year: 1077 AD.

Current Status: Stargazing.

Content, Crusader Kings Series 3, Excluded, Games

Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Nine

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, and Part Eight.  Updates Wednesdays!

All hail Sibylla, Empress of Rome!

Unfortunately, she’s not great, with pretty terrible stats.  She’s already infirm, though, so at 53 I don’t expect her to last that long.  Fortunately her son survived to adulthood, incidentally making all of Methodios’ abduction and Satanic sacrifice a bit pointless.

People are not terribly fond of Sibylla, either, mostly as carryover from the terrible opinion her father had accumulated by the end of his reign for openly worshiping Satan.

This definitely sounds like someone I want as my doctor and not locked in a padded cell a long way away.  Ew.

Sibylla’s husband dies almost immediately, and I replace him with this guy, an ambitious genius paranoid lunatic with one hand and amazing stats.

With that done, Sibylla brings the still-ongoing rebellion to a speedy conclusion.  The timing on this actually works out nicely, as she gets the “crushed a revolt” modifier, plus the bonus for confiscating and redistributing rebel titles.

I make my son Exarch of Jerusalem and put him on the council, which gives me a sympathetic vote to help pass more powers for the crown.

Said son is pretty good stats-wise but is craven, possessed, and lunatic, which doesn’t bode particularly well for the dynasty.

Let’s definitely get involved in his screaming fights with his wife, that’s sure to end well.

Not a bad empire, but we’ve got a ways to go.  My goal is the reclaim the borders of the old imperium, which presents three major obstacles.  In the north-east, France is big enough to be at least a little problematic.  More difficult are the two big Muslim empires, Hispania in the west and the Muradids in the east.  The old borders include all of the former and a big chunk of the latter, so there’s quite a lot of work to do.

To continue expanding into Gaul, we need to attract people with claims on big chunks of land to my court.  This guy is promising — apparently his liege humiliated him, so he’s open to joining my team and has a claim on Aquitaine.

I make him Exarch of Bulgaria, and marry him to a young wife to breed some children to inherit those claims, since he has cancer and may not last.

Sibylla the Gouty.  I’ve had better nicknames.

Unfortunately, my expansion plans have to be put on hold, as the Sunni Caliphate comes calling.

Various Christian leaders help out by sending their thoughts and prayers, and sometimes the occasional soldier.

The opposing armies gather around Antioch and Constantinople.

As usual, good use of fleets is critical for getting me superiority in the big battle.

Unfortunately, Sibylla is losing her grip on reality.

Her pus-licking, scab-eating holy woman doctor manages to revive her briefly with a swarm of bees.

The war is going well, but big Muslim armies continue to stomp around the Holy Land.

Sadly, even bees can only do so much.  Sibylla didn’t have much of a chance at being Empress, since she was already sick on taking the throne.  At least I’m now another generation removed from Methodios’ horrors.

Ioseph, I choose you!

For some reason this causes the jihad to come to an end?  This is actually sort of annoying because I was winning and hoping for a big indemnity.

Meanwhile, I’ve inherited Ioseph’s own holy war, which is going quite badly.

Ioseph hasn’t improved much in five years.  His stats are good, at least, and he’s got a son already.

For the moment, anyway.

Speaking of physicians, I need a new one.  A forest dwarf sounds like a better bet than scab/bee woman.

Because he’s crazy, Ioseph gets to name his dog Lucifer.

Buuuut he draws the line at actually worshiping Satan.  I’ve heard stories about granddad.

Another revolt breaks out, as usual.  This one isn’t much of a big deal, though.

Not sure why this turns up now since I’ve held Cyrenaica for a while.  These provinces (there are fourteen of them, though two are not technically provinces) are my ultimate goal.  Controlling them all means restoring the ancient borders of the empire and claiming victory.  There’s a ways to go, though.

Aha!  It showed up now because one of my vassals grabbed some bits of the southern Mediterranean coast.  That’s looking tidier, anyway.

There’s actually a large Russian kingdom forming in the north, but they’re still tribal so they’re weak.

Around this time, these start turning up in my mailbox.  I believe Raymond de la Tour du Pin is the husband of one of my aunts, but everyone in the empire hates him, because I get invitation after invitation to have him killed.  Raymond, what did you do?

What the … what?  

This boils down to a tiny little duchy declaring war on me.  Since my threat is still high enough I can’t launch any conquests, it’s a welcome distraction beating the stuffing out of them.

Seriously Raymond, they wouldn’t be this mad for no reason.

Ioseph is following in granddad’s footsteps again…

Guys, look how old he is.  Just wait a few years.

My threat crosses the crucial threshold, which in this case is 75%.  Above that, I have to fight everyone; below that, Christians won’t join wars against non-Christians, so I only have to fight the Muslim world.  That, I can handle, so I launch another holy war against the Muradids.

I’m also working on killing the king of Aquitaine, so that I can install my own claimant.

My wacky schemes worked for once!  Unfortunately, the effect was for Aquitaine to fragment into little pieces, which is not what I wanted.  I’ll get back to them later.

Look, if you all can’t manage to kill him without me, you can’t be very good murderers.

Victory!  Another chunk of Egypt returns to Roman rule.

My threat is still too high to deal with the Aquitaine situation, but a revolt almost immediately breaks out against the Muradids, so I take advantage of that.  Revolt leaders don’t join coalitions, so they’re easy targets.

That dwarf is all right!

second Muradid revolt gives me the chance to grab even more land, although doing this kicks my threat back up to 100%, again.

When the Despot of Sicily dies childless, I have an excellent opportunity to finally take advantage of my Aquitanian claimant.  I make him the new king of Sicily, and then move to press his claim.

Burgundy is the biggest remaining chunk of Aquitaine, so I go for that.  Once again I’ll be fighting literally everyone.

It goes considerably better than you might expect.  This war makes me realize I basically don’t have to worry about threat anymore — while everyone forms up against me every time, most of them aren’t really in a position to help.  What happens is various armies lay siege to castles at the edge of my empire, while I assemble my forces by ship and blitz the target, assaulting their castles and smashing anyone who gets in my way.  It’s expensive in manpower but much faster than laying siege, and I have manpower to burn.  Typically, the target surrenders before their “allies” in the rest of the coalition can intervene.

This is … a dangerous realization, because it means the only things standing between me and constant war are truces and actually having claims on territory.  And as Roman Emperor I have a lot of claims.

My vassals have been doing solid work, too.  Gaul is really coming together.

Still working on stripping the council of having any say whatsoever over policy.

Fortunately, I can always count on loyal Glitterhoof’s vote.

Sadly, she dies not long after, having gone mad from syphilis.  G…glitterhoof, what were you getting up to?

At 34, Ioseph is now “the Wise” in spite of still being possessed and insane.  He’s managed to have a string of children, including at least one boy born in the purple, who is now heir.

Waaaait a minute, I’ve already seen this episode!

Sure enough, the Black Death is back, though we must have develop some immunity because it mostly stays in western Gaul.  Inspired by this, though, I start building a hospital in Rome to help protect the emperor, which eventually becomes the largest in the world.

The emperor does get sick, but it’s just food poisoning, and Dr. Dwarf is on the case.

Unfortunately he follows this up immediately with consumption.

This time, my little friend is less helpful.

Ioseph doesn’t let illness interfere with his … um, rabid dog beating.

Butt stuff: not always the answer, especially to lung disease.

But!  I have a new Despot of Africa, who happens to have a claim on the Kingdom of France!  I wonder how that happened…

War with France (and everyone else) quickly ensues.

Third time’s the charm, I guess, eh Demetrios?

France quickly falls before the might of the legions.

Definitely looking a bit more empire-y.

Orthodoxy is spreading nicely, too, with the few Catholic holdouts mostly concentrated in England.  Don’t worry, their time will come …


Current Year: 1035 AD.

Current Status: Insane but it’s not all that bad, really.


Content, Crusader Kings Series 3, Excluded, Games

Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Eight

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, and Part Seven.  Updates Wednesdays!

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.

Darker 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.



Content, Crusader Kings Series 3, Excluded, Games

Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Seven

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, and Part Six.  Updates Wednesdays!

New Basileus Methodios is finally an adult, and is ready to start racking up the piety in order to mend the Great Schism.  Are you ready for some humble prostration before the Lord?!

Step one: Theology focus, hoping for some good events.

Step two: Continue trying to convert Jerusalem to trigger the formation of my holy order.

My high-stewardship wife is a Catholic, but fortunately she’s willing to convert.  Why her title is “Khatun” I don’t understand, though.

Methodios is very down on the heathens.

Huh.  I guess we can add “God” to the “medieval stress relief” list alongside dogs, murder, and cheating on your wife.

Must … become … pious …

Step three in my piety plan is to win holy wars against heathens.  Fighting someone named “King Vukasin the Monster” seems like a good place to start.

“Hey, guys, have you ever actually read this thing?”

The Muslims have gotten the jihad ball rolling, but fortunately not in my direction.

“I mug the monk and take all his piety!”

Aha!  The holy city is holy again!

This, in turn, triggers the formation of the only Orthodox Holy Order, the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre.  They’ll join my team for future holy wars, but that’s not the most important reason I’m happy to see them.

Speaking of holy wars, this one turns out well, and I grab two counties of coastal Serbia.  Granting the temples to fresh bishops gives me MOAR PIETY.

And I now have a better claim to Serbia than its former “king” does!

Slowly but surely, I’m subduing the Balkans.

Here’s the real reason I’m happy to see the Holy Sepulchre.  Donating money to them grants me piety on a one-for-one basis, which is a far better return on investment than anything else I can do.  And it’s repeatable, immediately.

So, basically, being rich equals being pious, now.  And I’m very rich.

Oh, yeah.  I am pious as balls.

With the world convinced of how god-damned holy I am due to dropping a wagon full of gold on the doorstep of the Holy Sepulchre, it’s time to mend the Great Schism!  We’ve got plenty of moral authority and I still control all five sites of the Pentarchy.

Sorry, Your Holiness.  That’s check and mate.

Much of the Christian world immediately converts to Orthodoxy, Catholic moral authority is shattered, their holy orders disappear and there’s no longer any danger of being targeted by a crusade.  That means this will be my first playthrough without having the Pope come after me!

Methodios is now known as “the Saint” for his holiness.  With piety accomplished, I switch him back to family focus to try and add some more children.

Not that I’m done with holy war!  There’s still land to take in the Balkans.

Time to look toward my next goal, which is proclaiming myself true Roman Emperor, heir to Caesar and Constantine.  Taking Lombardy has brought me a long way toward that goal, but we’re not there yet.  I still need Venice and the rest of Croatia, which are controlled by small Christian nations and should be easy enough.  But parts of Antioch and Alexandria are still in Muslim hands, as is the entire Duchy of Tunis.  That’s going to be a little harder.

I’m going to try and get this done in Methodios’ lifetime, though, because he already has the 3,000 prestige needed.  Prestige is easier to get than piety, but it’d still be convenient.

One holy war down, anyway.

My brother has decided he would like to have my daughter killed, which is actually kind of convenient because I wanted his county back anyway.

Perfect!  Have fun in prison, bro.  That’s what you get for messing with my kids and also having land I want.

The empire is growing nicely, especially in the far east where my vassals are pushing out the frontiers against the heathens of the Caucasus.  

I set my chancellor to forging a claim on Venice, while some of my vassals continue the fighting in the Balkans.  I’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Tunis is conveniently held by the Talalids, who are relatively weak.  However, they have an alliance with the Muradids, who are extremely strong.

The best way to cause trouble there is to assassinate the Muradid Caliph, so I start trying that.  No shortage of eager helpers in his court.

This works poorly.  Not only does he refuse to be assassinated, the Muradid Caliph quickly takes over Tunis.  So we’re going to have to fight him one way or the other.

And, to make my job even more fun, there’s a plague coming!  I’m not sure why Methodios thinks he predicted it though.

A Muradid revolt breaks out, and I decide to use the opportunity to grab the county of Archa, which is the last piece of Antioch I need.  Hopefully between the plague and the revolution they’ll be too busy to fight back.

And, as an added bonus, I get a shot at the Caliph!  Come on, viper, I believe in you!

Nice.  Anything that sows confusion in the ranks of my enemies.

Because he’s paranoid, Methodios is convinced that the plague is here for him personally.

Honestly, judging by its trajectory, he may not be wrong.

My war-plan is a success, though!  Soon after I seize my target, plague sweeps through the region, killing everyone and making it impossible to keep armies in the field.  So I continue to hold Archa by default as the warscore ticks up.

Methodios wisely decides to seal himself in the palace to keep the plague away.

Probably a good plan, to be honest.

Get me some adorable fluffy cats!  For … um, examinations.

I asked about the plague, and Strategos Fluffykins says he didn’t do it.

I declare her official cuddlebug of the Empire!

Poor Belisarios’ love is unrequited and he has to settle for being “friends”.

Okay, seriously guys.  Cats are not the problem.

Enough with the cats!  I am the god-damned Emperor around here, and I say Boots is Grand High Patriarch!

Food is running low, though.  High Patriarch Boots, bring me back some rats or something!

Who’s a good kitty?

The new Caliph, who is eleven, finally gives up the fight since basically everyone is dead anyway.

Oh, so hiding in my palace while the people suffer and die makes me a coward, is that it?

Good times, good times.

While most of Europe is still pretty plagued, Anatolia is recovering, and I cautiously emerge.  Everyone is mad at me for some reason.

Hmm, promising you say?

Holy crap!  I make him chancellor and send him to forge a claim on Venice, which he accomplishes immediately.

I’m still threatening enough that attacking Venice is going to piss off the rest of Christendom.  However a) most of them have the plague, and b) Venice is a single-county realm so it should be easy to storm.

As predicted, it’s a short war.

Getting there!  Venice and Antioch are off the shopping list.  That leaves Alexandria, Croatia, and Tunis.

Croatia’s going to be annoying, since it’s held by three different people.

One of them is a single-county realm, though, so in spite of high threat I can rush it down like I did Venice, before any allies get involved.


Taking Tunis, meanwhile, means fighting the Muradids, who I still have a truce with.  The easiest way around that is to kill off the Caliph.  That’s an expensive poisoning, but it’s good to be the Byzantines, who are basically the Lannisters of medieval Europe.

I have to assume we poisoned him with pure gold.

With bureaucratic niceties out of the way, the holy war can begin!  Fleets and armies from across the empire converge on Tunis.

The first Muradid counter-attack gets bushwhacked by a peasant rebellion army on the way over.  That’s just embarrassing, guys.

I get my score to 99% without any Muradids actually coming out to fight.

The Caliph isn’t required to surrender at that point, but he does anyway.  I’m getting the feeling the Arabian Empire is kind of a paper tiger here.

See this is how you crush a peasant revolt.  It’s all in the wrist.

I choose my new rulers from dynasty members who don’t already have land and have the highest opinion of me.  Since Methodios is attractive, this tends to mean the gay ones.

Prince Sabas is ready to be introduced to the realm!  He’s turning out okay so far.

Since I need to take more territory off the Muradids, that means killing off yet another Caliph.  I’m really thinning the herd here.

Unfortunately my threat is getting ridiculous.  The Muradids are big enough that they only join the defensive pact at the highest levels, but we’re getting there.

Man, you’d think the Caliphs would invest in some anti-snake defenses.  Mongeese or something.

In fact, it’s possible I could wipe the Muradids out completely.  There are only four male dynasts left.  I’ll give it a shot, on the theory that if they fall the empire might splinter and make things easy for me.

The chief of Hum, in the Balkans, is inexplicably not part of the grand coalition against me.  I take the opportunity to jump on him.

Chalk up another Caliph.  I’m not sure anyone in the empire believes the story about “bandits” at this point.

At last we have triumphed over the Humians!  Next stop, the Isle of Man.

Hooray for health-dogs!

Hmm, last time this happened they worked it out and became the best of friends.

Not this time.  That cat chases the dog somewhere and presumably devours it, since we can’t find any trace.

Oh well.  Cats, amirite?

But apparently my dog is still growing up … somewhere …

“The Emperor has the flu!  I need 20 pounds of toad, stat!”

My heir has come of age and immediately gone bald.  I secure him a wife who doesn’t mind.

Meanwhile, my vassal the Patriach has won a war against the remnants of Croatia, bringing them under my control!  Someone is getting a Christmas bonus this year!

It’s down to just Alexandria.  The Muradids have dropped out of the defensive pact, and they have two of the counties I need, so I go after them first.

This doesn’t take long.  Now there’s only one county to go, owned by the Talalids.  They are part of the grand alliance against me, but because the territory I need is so small, I should be able to rush them before anyone else intervenes.

The prince has rabies?

Did he find my dog?

What about the dog, damn you?  What do you know?!

Well, shit.  At least I foresightfully got Sybilla a safe matrilineal marriage to guard against this possibility.

Anyway, back to the Talalids!  It’s me vs. literally everyone, but literally everyone is a long way away.

As expected, the province falls long before the combined armies of the world can intervene.

There we go!  That’s the lot.

SPQR, MFers.

At 44, Methodios is now “the Glorious” and bears the ancient title Augustus.  Not a bad run at all.

But we’re not finished yet, by a long shot.  After all, the Roman Empire used to be much larger than this …


Current Year: 986 AD.

Current Status: Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Content, Crusader Kings Series 3, Excluded, Games

Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Six

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five.  Updates Wednesdays!

When we left off, my attempts to gain some territory were frustrated by threat generated from retaking the territory I already had.  Man.  Kinging is hard guys.

On the plus side, I get to hold a triumph!  

I’ve also got authority to grant titles now, which combined with the ability to revoke them are the most important rights to take from the council.  Their idea of who needs to have titles is usually at odds with mine.

While I wait for threat to tick down, it’s time for some more scheming.  After the war with Serbia I have two Serbian princesses in my dungeons.  A little gold convinces them to join my side, and they have tasty claims I might be able to exploit.

Conveniently, I have a couple of unmarried younger sons!  I betroth them to the princesses, in the hopes that they or their offspring will come in handy some day.  

My chancellor has managed to forge a claim saying that the Romans do, in fact, own Rome.  So that’s good.  But my threat is still pretty high, and the claim will only last as long as Emperor Michael does.

So if I start the war, I end up fighting the entire Christian world.  But the Pope only controls one or two counties — once his territory is fully occupied, the war is over.  I decide to go for it on the premise that I can blitz him before the rest of the Christian world gets its shit together.

The Pope hires some mercenaries to help out, of course, but things pretty much go as planned anyway and I’m able to give them a good beatdown.

Bingo!  No other Christian armies even got close.

Rome for the Romans!

That’s three of the Pentarchy under my thumb.  (Constantinople, Antioch, and Rome.)  The remaining ones are Jerusalem and Alexandria.  It’s time to start thinking seriously about mending the Great Schism, which would basically make Orthodoxy triumphant over Catholicism and remove much of the threat of a crusade against me.

Lombardy is Italy now, I guess?  It’s all gonna be Rome anyway!

Michael is getting on in years, which is kind of a shame because he’s come together nicely.  He’s a falconer, a hunter, humble, greedy, just, gregarious, diligent, and lustful, with above-average administrative skill and eight children.  Not a bad career!

Well, maybe I spoke too soon about just.

I was a little worried they’d head straight for me after I took Rome, but apparently not.  Awesome, guys, good luck!

One of those princesses decides she likes me better than the little kid she’s betrothed to.

Well.  Women have needs, you know?

I try for five years of peace, on the off-chance that Michael lives that long.

However, my clever chancellor manages to forge a claim on Alexandria!  Hmmmmm.

While my threat is still high, the big empire that dominates the Muslim world isn’t part of the defensive pact against me.  So really it’s only two smallish nations I’d be going to war with.  Worth it!

My stupid cowardly council thinks this is a bad idea, so I fire and bribe people until they go along with it.

Egypt is weak and fighting on several other fronts, so the war turns out to be pretty easy.  I told you, guys.


That’s four of the Pentarchy in my hands, now.  But Michael is 66, and our threat is too high to go for Jerusalem yet.  Plus Michael is unlikely to have enough time to gather the 2,000 piety needed to mend the Schism.  So we wait, for now.

I pass my twilight years gambling on chariot racing …

…assassinating interfering adventurers …

… and arranging promising matches for my daughters!

Finally, Michael’s best friend Maximos dies.  Since I’m basically waiting for him to kick the bucket at this point, I decide to help him along.  Who wants to live in a world without Maximos?!

Though some of his schemes were thwarted, Michael has a pretty awesome career, adding all of Italy to the empire and capturing two more of the Pentarchy.  Getting closer to my goals!

Anthimos, I choose you!

Anthimos is 38, with decent diplomacy and so-so stewardship.  He’s my first emperor Born in the Purple, having spent his whole life in imperial splendor.  He’s humble, charitable, deceitful, and depressed.

This guy is diligent and trusting, which is probably why he’s willing to come to my court and ends up married to my daughter.

New quack!  Heretical sorcerer sounds great.

At first I thought this was going to be the nun-who-is-Death thing, but it turns out some monks just need money.  Happy to oblige!

The piety will come in handy, too.  It’s time to get serious about this Great Schism thing.  In addition to Jerusalem, I need 90% moral authority and 2,000 piety.  The moral authority won’t be hard — I’ll get +10% for Jerusalem itself — but the piety is going to be a stretch.  Anthimos only has about 500, and my options for getting more are limited.

I haven’t managed to forge a claim to Jerusalem, so that means it’s time for Holy War.  The huge Muradid Caliphate is busy with a civil war, so I’m optimistic that I’ll only have to face the Taids, who are small.

As I launch the war, I acquire a son!  Better and better.

There’s currently a plague in Jerusalem, so the land won’t support many troops.  This mostly works to my advantage, making it hard to the enemy to organize.

Soon I’m laying siege to everything in sight.  As I hoped, the Muslims are distracted with various internal wars.

Like many of my wars, it was surprisingly straightforward!

The last of the Pentarchy is under my command.  Whether I’ll be able to hang on to them is another matter, of course.

Moral authority has gone up, too.  So the only remaining obstacle is piety, but that’s a pretty high bar.  I get a bit of a boost from the holy war itself, and more from bestowing the newly captured churches on worthy vassals, so I’m now close to 1,000.

Although this … could be a serious problem.

But on to gaining piety!  The problem is, not being Catholic, my options are fairly limited.  There aren’t any Orthodox holy orders to donate to yet, and there’s no Pope to buy indulgences from, so I don’t have a great way of turning cash into holiness.  

Instead, I work on my churches.  Normally I don’t pay much attention to my church holdings, since the castles provide most of the troops, but you can upgrade them and they contribute piety every month.  I also start building some new churches, which will both contribute piety and give me a lump sum when I grant them to vassals.

If I could declare holy war, I could seize more churches and grant those, but my threat is over 50% so I’d have to fight the whole world.  Sigh.

I’m trying to be pious here!  I’m not hiring a witch as my doctor!

Instead I appoint Bishop Narses, who is learned as hell and shockingly handsome to boot.  He’s the George Clooney of the ancient world.

I shift my own focus to theology, in the hopes of getting more piety-granting events.

Because of his high learning Bishop Narses is shockingly effective at finding heretics.  Burn the Catholics!

Burn the witches!

You know what?  Just keep burning people until I tell you to stop.

Does friendship increase piety?  No?  Then what good is it?

Of course, I love … whatever the hell that is.  Is it food?  I bet it’s food.

Yes!  Ponder away!

Crap.  Anthimos is getting old before his time.  Must be all the praying.

When I said to keep burning people, I didn’t mean me, dammit!

I’m up to 1400 piety, but Anthimos is going senile at the age of 47.

Sadly, all my pious strivings are for naught, and poor Anthimos dies tragically early.  Not much of a career, but at least he got Jerusalem.  And the churches I built will continue providing piety to his successor, who unfortunately starts back at zero.

Methodios, I choose you!

Methodios is seven.  He was born in the purple, and is attractive and conscientious.  That’s promising, at least.

Unfortunately, we’re in for nine years of regency, and the vassals are plotting against me.

Can’t start being pious too early!

Methodios knows you just have to stand up to bullies.

Though he can be a little twitchy.

Orthodoxy is working its way into Italy.  I’ve sent the oh-so-pious Narses over to Jerusalem, because if it becomes Orthodox I get my own religious order, which would help a lot.

Consumption: also working its way into Italy.

Inevitably, my vassals rise up demanding more power.  Bring it on, fools!

Italy is in revolt, which means if I win, I’ll be able to switch them from a hereditary kingdom to an appointed viceroyal exarchate.

The big battle happens outside Constantinople, and I give the rebels a good kicking.

Victory!  I take the Italian crown from Erelieva, who hates me anyway —

— and bestow it as a viceroyalty on the appropriately grateful Symeon.

Methodios is fourteen, and has picked up diligent and stressed.  Turning out nicely!

And he manages to get through two more years without anything horrible happening.  He picks up ambitious, which is great, and his stewardship education worked out well.  His martial could be better, but all in all not bad.  

At sixteen, his piety is 332.  He should be able to make 2,000 before dying if I really try, right?


Current Year: 958 AD.

Current Status: Hopefully Not Foreshadowing.

Content, Crusader Kings Series 3, Excluded, Games

Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Five

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four. Updates Wednesdays!

Back to the Byzantine Empire, which is finally mine to command!

The new Emperor, Michael, isn’t much to write home about.  His stats are bad and he’s envious, humble, and greedy.  But he’s Emperor, and that’s what counts.

First up, a quick finish to the war with Serbia.  I’m steadily chipping away at the Balkans, which is on my eventual “restore the Empire” list.

Next up, new council.  My uncle Hypatios hates me but god damn is he a good steward.  

New quack, check.

Pay back the loan that dad “forgot about”.  We cool, Jews?

Speaking of religion, it hasn’t escaped my attention that the Muslim empires have remained shockingly united.  A quick glance at the map reveals why — in this timeline, apparently, the Sunni have totally crushed the Shi’a, who usually establish a stronghold in the Persia/Afghanistan area.  That’s … probably bad for me, especially once they get the jihads going again.

My next goal is to start working my way into Italy with an eye toward eventually taking Rome, which would seem to be the sine qua non of a Roman Empire.  The king of Lombardy is weak, and Capua is also a tempting target.  I need claims for Lombardy, though, since I can’t holy war against Christians.

Capua, on the other hand, is held by a Tengri chief.  That means it’s holy war time!

I mobilize the full force of the united empire.

Soooo I guess Uncle Dorotheos is a Satanist?

Honestly I’d like to be a member of the Hermetic Society or something, but I’m not eager to be a Satanist.  Satan can’t grant me much I can’t take with military force.

Christian holy wars!  I see no way in which this could end badly for the Byzantine Empire.  Come on and help out, guys!

Capua falls.  I make Uncle Hypatios a count, which seems to mollify him somewhat.

Uh oh.  Herbal remedies, right?

… is that herbal?

Boy do I have enemies though!  Let the traditional revolt against the new emperor commence.

The core of the empire has remained loyal, thankfully.  And my upgraded demense in Nikea produces a LOT of troops now.

At least the pope and his hordes are headed in the other direction.

The paper thing didn’t work, damn it.

Go back to goat flatulence, it’s always worked for my family.


The revolt drags on as I besiege the rebel castles, but I’m thinking ahead.  Specifically, I’m thinking of young Aunepert Alaschisling, who has a beef with his father and is willing to come hang out at my court.

Congratulations, Aunepert, you’re Despot of Georgia!  This definitely has nothing to do with the fact that you’re, um, the brother of the King of Lombardy and pretender to the throne …

(Spoilers it has everything to do with that.)

I finally manage to corner and crush the primary rebel army.  Die, rebel scum!

Generously, Uncle Hypatios is willing to help out with my crappy stewardship.

Quick, Nathaniolos Silvestrios, what do you think?


I have a new son.  The Byzantines have a weird notion called Born in the Purple, which designates children born to a sitting emperor.  They take precedence in succession over their older brothers, which can be a little dangerous if those brothers are ambitious.  But it gives a nice opinion boost.

Finally!  Off to prison with the lot of you.

What’s this?  I’m shocked to discover one of my vassal kings has been unjustly denied his rightful claim to the throne!

How dare you just … keep being king?  How dare you.

Conveniently, the Lombards barely show up to their own war.  My armies soon spread across the landscape, laying siege to everything in sight.

Oooh, I could use a fancy sword …

Uhhh, no.  Not that fancy.

Take that, Lombards!  That’s what you get for supporting your rightful king.

Much better.

Muuuuuuch better.

This is the best way of taking land from other Christians.  Forging claims to each county would take forever.

Unfortunately it kicks my threat way up, so I’m going to have to be cool for a while.

Five years of peace question mark?

Huh.  Turns out the guy who tried to recruit me to be a Satanist, is a Satanist.  What a twist!

Burn the witch!

Actually, that gives me Kinslayer, which I don’t want.  Throw the witch in prison!

He has the good grace to die almost immediately, so I can create a new exarch.

At some point I lost the ability to strip titles, so I spread some bribes around and get that back.  That lets me properly punish the various rebels still languishing in my dungeons.

This is troubling, though.  One of my duchesses has married the king of Middle Francia, and her sons stand to inherit land in the empire.  Unfortunately, we’re not legally advanced enough yet to outlaw titles passing out of the realm.  I quickly start trying to murder the sons.

I’m still too threatening (and being peaceful) to take much action, but at least very few people are plotting against me!

I am apparently the wicked stepmother from Snow White.

THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME is little kids apparently.

And the duchess is a widow now so I think I’m in the clear?  Maybe?  I’m not getting the vassal inheritance warning anymore …

Michael has improved his stats to at least average levels and picked up Hunter, honest, just, and gregarious.  Not bad!

He may be a little paranoid though.

Hmm.  Middle Francia is weak, and I have a claimant to the throne of East Francia, a large sub-kingdom.  I could pull the same trick I did with Italy — land the claimant, then push his claim.

I decide not to, though.  I need to stay focused on my goal of restoring Roman glory, not get bogged down in conquests in Germany.  (And it would keep my threat so high the whole world would ally against me.)

Prince Anthimos has some natural talent, but unfortunately he’s ended up with “Indolent”, which makes him a poor fit as an administrator.  I give him a diplomatic education as a second choice.

“Doctor, help me!  I’m pooping too much!”

“Here, drink this Potion of Pooping.”

“How can I ever repay you, Doctor?”

The Pope is under siege by an army of angry peasants, so this seems like a good time to pick on him.  I send my chancellor over to start forging a claim.

In the meantime I’ve formed an alliance with the King of Middle Francia, “Philippe the Ill-Ruler”.  What could go wrong?

He immediately drags me into a horrible, interminable war.  I guess I should have seen that coming.

I do get a new, awesome French wife out of the deal, at least.

And my indolent son marries an equally awesome Scandinavian.

By liberal application of bribes and appointing sycophants, I’m slowly taking power from my council and moving towards absolute rule.  I’ve got most of the important ones now, including granting and revoking titles, which are crucial because that’s where they’re most likely to disagree with me.  Declaration of war is harder, but usually the council can be talked into a good war.

Speaking of wars, this one is going kind of poorly in spite of my support.  Fortunately I don’t lose anything but a little prestige if it fails.

How did he get to be “the Bane of Lithuania”?  I want to be the bane of something.

Of course, the first casualty of war is always the truth.

But at least my threat has ticked down!  That means it’s time for MOAR WAR.

Or not.  

Thank goodness for quackery.

Now that that’s done with, MOAR WAR.


There.  Waaaaaaar.

I decide to start things off by picking on the Serbians a little more, and that goes badly wrong almost immediately.

Fortunately, a lack of cash convinces their Pecheneg mercenaries to switch sides, which makes things easier.


Then something complicated happens.  King Philippe the Ill-Ruler dies, which scotches my alliance.  But the duchess I was worried about earlier also died, and her son inherits both France and a bunch of land in my empire.  Which means a scattering of random counties now belong to France!  

To add insult to injury, the new king immediately gives one of them away to the Teutonic Order.

I get that one back with a quick de jure claim.  But to get the others means fighting Middle Francia, and they’re pretty big.  I’m betting they won’t show up, though.

How dare you inherit the territory that I rightfully stole, kid!

I was wrong, and a few Middle Francian armies do show up, but badly weakened by their march across Europe.  So I smack them around and lay siege to the contested territory while I wait for them to return.

Better.  Now we are officially disentangled from Middle Francia.

But that’s kicked my damned threat back up and now everyone hates me again!  Argh.  Can’t a man depose the rightful Pope in peace?


Current Year: 929 AD

Current Status: Frustrated


Content, Crusader Kings Series 3, Excluded, Games

Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Four

Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.  Updates Wednesdays!

The long and glorious reign of Chrysogone Ironsides finally came to an end.  So what’s next?

The new Despot, Tiberios, is pretty crap as far as stats go.  He’s brave, trusting, and kind, and has four sons, though one is already dead.  But he’s got plenty of money and a united realm behind him, so it’s time to start working on the next step!

The next step, in this case, means reaching for the Byzantine throne itself.  It may take a while, though.

Or not?  Everyone is willing to chip in!  Having a fat purse definitely helps with the plotting.

That was … easier than I thought.  And the claim is hereditary, so if Tiberios dies we don’t lose it.  No time pressure yet.

Which is good, because it turns out that Tiberios, before becoming despot, had declared war on the entire Tengri world.  I don’t actually need the territory he’s fighting for, but I’d really rather not pay the huge indemnity for losing.  So I round up some troops and head over to see if I can fight them to a draw.

“Men, we’re going to dig deep, work hard, and fight the enemy to a bloody draw!”


The new empress is a little girl, and she’s getting rid of her troublesome vassals by giving them to me.  I’m not complaining!

She also makes me Chancellor, which I accept for the moment.  I’ll have to resign before I make my move for the throne, but I don’t know if that will be in Tiberios’ lifetime.

Unfortunately, the Tengri world is not playing for a draw, and they assemble to give me a smackdown.

At least we killed this guy!  Eh?  Eh?

Nobody cares.  With a sigh I concede the war and hand over a huge bag of gold.

That leaves me extremely in debt, although my income is quite high.  Being in negative treasury produces all kinds of bad effects, though.  Soooooo…

“How’s my favorite heavily persecuted ethno-religious minority?”

“We have so many sorrows.”

“Great, great.  Listen, I need, you know, just some cash until payday…”

With the help of the Chosen People I’m back in a slightly better position.  My son and heir is continuing the family tradition of poorly thought out wars against steppe nomads.  I really hope he finishes it up before I die.

Thanks to Chrysogone’s efforts, though, Anatolia is looking good!  My strength is getting to the point where I can contemplate rebellion, but first I’m going to need to save up a reasonable war chest so I can hire mercenaries to tip the balance.

If Tiberios dies before we get strong enough, Ioannes the Lecher is going to have to carry on.  He has definitely been … leching, I guess?  Alarmingly, while he has at least five sons, his only legitimate one is dead.  Fortunately I can always legitimize the bastards.

Tiberios, always honest, pays back his Jewish buddies.

I’m amused that my subjects address me as “my despot”.  Also, I’m saving up for war here, the peasants can wait!

The empress is current six years old, and ideally I’d launch my coup before she’s grown.

As long as the peasants feel safe, we can set old women on fire I guess.

Having resigned the chancellorship, I start a faction for myself, consisting entirely of me.  We’re building a movement!

Tiberios may be old, but he’s still kicking!

Also having sex with his wife.

I sympathize with this dilemma.  You know Ioannes is only going to end up in a back room with everyone else’s wives.  He’s irresistible! 

I’m not alone anymore!  My new best friend is Strategos Pankratios the Repulsive.

Honestly I think plotting to take over the empire is a little more stressful than the pursuit of wealth.

Fortunately, of the “medieval stress relief” trio of dogs, fucking, and heads of your enemies, Tiberios still has access to the second one.

Okay, several non-repulsive people have joined the movement, and I’ve got 1,100 gold in the bank.  Let’s do this.

That’s right, nine-year-old girl.  I’m calling you out.

Once more armies erupt all over the empire.  I’m a bit outnumbered, but I call in some mercenaries to make up the odds, and get the drop on a nearby portion of the Imperial forces.

A hard battle near Constantinople leaves me laying siege to the capital.  As always with mercenary armies, though, the question is whether I can end the war before the treasury runs dry.

Perfect.  This is exactly the time for that.

Dueling sieges, as the Imperial army works its way through rebel territory while I continue to take the capital holdings one by one.  The Ecumenical Patriarch joins the fray and promptly gets crushed when the Imperial army fails to support him.  Stick to praying, Father.

Meanwhile, a fierce battle rages between rebels and loyalists on Mallorca, for some reason.

I must have more gold to pay the heavily armed psychopaths who fight my wars for me!

The treasury is running low, but it’s time to roll the dice.  I hire a second big mercenary company and set out to try conclusions with the main Imperial army.

For the sake of future historians, any chance of having the climactic battle at a place whose name I can pronounce?

Now the war tips rapidly in my favor as I liberate the castles taken by the Imperials.  I chase down the fleeing remnants of their army and force another battle.

Victory!  The Empire is mine!

No, wait, I can’t declare victory while my castles are held by the god-damned Iconoclasts.  And the treasury is now almost empty.

Jews!  Buddies!  You know I’m good for it!

I race over to put down the rebellion before the money runs out or the Imperials get their shit together.

Yes, thank you, please rot in jail, so sorry must go.

Mwahahahahaha!  The throne is mine!

Now they call me “the Usurper”, which honestly is fair.  I usurp!  It’s what I do.

As Emperor, I automatically get Constantinople, as is right and proper.

As you might imagine, things are a bit of a mess.  I owe money to the Jews, and lots of my vassals old and new are pretty pissed off at me.  So I set to work reorganizing the Empire and preparing for the inevitable counter-revolution.

Hey, apparently we’ve got Antioch!  Go team!  That reminds me, though, to take a look at my goals.

I can mend the Great Schism, the split between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  This requires very high moral authority and piety, and control of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Rome.  That’s a tall order, but we’re going to try!

Restoring the Roman Empire is even tougher, requiring control of most of Italy and the Balkans.  That’s going to take some doing.  But we’ve got a good five hundred years to try.

In addition to his extramarital excitements, Ioannes apparently wants to marry my granddaughter to my grandson.  Son, let me explain some things to you.

I take some proactive measures against rebellion, arresting and fighting the vassals who hate me the most.

Fortunately, my marshal thwarts the first attempts on my life.

Now that I’ve got the throne and don’t have to worry about the Emperor switching sides, I settle in to being Orthodox and suppressing Iconoclasm.

But this is going to keep happening, isn’t it?  Oi.

A revolt finally happens, but it’s only a small one, and easily crushed.  Perfect.  Various vassals go to jail and the realm is more secure.

They’re plotting against me, but they don’t have the power to actually do anything about it.

Seriously, son.  Is this like your fetish?  You need help.

Do we even have rabies in Anatolia?

I didn’t need that blood anyway.  It was holding me back.

With the realm reasonably secure, I cautiously work on expansion, starting with this unsightly outpost of Bulgaria.

I mean, it’s better than rabies.

My oldest supporter!  All these years and I never told him about that thing on his face.

The death of one of my dukes forces me to start the Bulgarian war over, this time paying more attention and pressing my own claim rather than a subordinates.  Being Emperor is hard, guys.

Wonderful!  I love Leontia and her band of heavily armed psychos, and I hear — is wonderful this time of year!

I arrange a marriage for Ioannes’ stupid daughter so he’ll quit it with the incest fantasies.

Apparently his fetish was all that kept him clinging to this world, because he dies immediately.

Because Ioannes managed not to have any surviving legitimate male offspring, the new heir is the son of my next-eldest son, Michael.

Bogomilist heretics, now?  Is that some sort of clown-based religion?  (It is not.)

Nice guy vassal just wants Constantinople, baby.  Come on!

The Bulgarian war finally ends in my favor, and I race around mopping up all the minor rebellions that popped up while I was busy.

To simplify my life, I start endowing viceroyal kings with big swathes of territory to govern.  This means the land comes back to me when they die, so I can grant it to someone else.  It keeps them grateful and less powerful.  Plus they get the awesome title of “exarch”.

At 76, Tiberios tries to fit in one last war with the tiny kingdom of Serbia.

Sadly, it’s not to be, so his grandson will have to finish it for him.  Though Tiberios’ actual reign was pretty short, due to his mother’s longevity, he built on her work and finally reached the ultimate prize of the Imperial throne itself.  Now let’s see if the next generation can manage to keep it!

Michael, I choose you!  (Okay, that one doesn’t quite work.)


Current Year: 898 AD.

Current Status: Always Be Usurpin’.

Content, Crusader Kings Series 3, Excluded, Games

Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Three

Part One and Part Two.

The reign of Chrysogone Ironsides continues!

Buuuuut maybe not for long?

Is “itchiness” really a pregnancy complication?

Children cause cancer now.

That will definitely help.

But Arsenios comes through!  Nagging works wonders.

I guess it was “not-enough-grandchildren-itis”.

So the duchess was just like … mugged?  Rough forest!

After six children, Chrysogone’s young hunk dies, presumably of exhaustion.  Since she needs a spouse with good accounting skills to keep the realm running, it’s time to go looking for lucky suitor number three.

She settles on Zula, who is a good administrator and a fantastic warrior.

Meanwhile, her eldest daughter is betrothed to the king of Middle Francia, who is only five but may be a valuable ally someday.

France is kind of a mess at the moment tbh.

Time for some game theory.  The first part of my plan, get a hereditary duchy so I’m not dependent on the Emperor, has succeeded.  I’m already at the limits of the amount of land I can personally hold, though.  The next step is to become a king, which will allow me to have duke-level vassals.  The kingdom I have the most land in is the relatively small Kingdom of Anatolia, which includes Cilicia but not Nikea.  It doesn’t current exist, so I only need 50% of its counties to create it, which is eleven.

So!  I forge a claim of Dorylaion and get to warring.  Fortunately the Emperor is too weak or distracted to currently stop me from attacking other vassals.

Turns out my old friend Diogenes has a claim to Tyana!  Since he’s already a count, taking it for him will mean he stays as my vassal and add it to my realm.  Diogenes likes me a lot for pressing his claim, although Chrysogone secretly hates him because she thinks he’s a witch, even though she let him off the hook.

Chrysogone is getting stressed and unhealthy, so I set her to hunting to improve her martial and health.  Hopefully she’ll get a dog.  Dogs are better than antibiotics.

“Okay, this time he’s definitely a witch!”

“How do you know?”

“I asked him, and he was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m totally a witch!'”

“Hmm … I’m still not convinced.”

Next up is Chaldea in the north.  Yet another major revolt is going on, so I carefully side-step the rebel armies on my way up there.

One of my daughters has turned out awesome, so I marry her matrilineally to a Karling heir.

While he’s a bastard, he has all sorts of potentially useful claims that his children can inherit.

Just when I’ve got the war against Chaldea nearly won, another revolt breaks out and I lose all my progress.  I guess my guys just politely go home when the Chaldeans say they’ve got better things to do?

Instead, I go for Sozopolois, which my chancellor has forged a claim on.  Getting closer to the eleven I need.

Three husbands are not enough for Chrysgone Ironsides.

Speaking of which, Zula managed to get himself killed in battle, so I guess we’re on to contender number four!

Aman may be old, but he’s got that sweet, sweet bookkeeping skill I can’t resist.

Nice!  A dog to help keep me alive!

Things are a little confused.  I’m besieging Sozopolis, the rebels are in Constantinople, and for some reason the Ecumenical Patriarch has laid siege to Nicomedia?

Also some of my vassals are super pissed about me using their armies for too long.

On the plus side, I caught the mythical white stag!  No big D.

By the time Sozopolis falls, my hard-working chancellor has forged claims on two counties in Paphlagonia, which is a very silly-sounding name.

I take my doctor’s advice and lay off a little.  Not long afterward, she dies unexpectedly.

Time for a new quack!  Bring on the mercenary limb-chopper!

Control of the two Paphlagonian counties gets me to the eleven I need.  Long live the Kingdom of Anatolia!

Except I can’t afford it.

Fortunately, Jewish merchants are always happy to lend me money!  Although why that should be, I have no idea.

Hurrah!  One step up the ladder!

And the next step is pretty clear: as a queen, I can forge a claim on the whole Empire, and then start a faction to install myself as Empress.  I’m not nearly strong enough to do that yet, but we’re getting closer.

Hmm, that may be jumping the gun a little.  Call back later.

I manage to pay back my loan to the Jews.  “Wait, people actually do that?” say the Jews.

Meanwhile, I now have de jure claims against all the other counties in the Kingdom of Anatolia I don’t hold yet, so I don’t need to keep forging documents.  I set out to take them one by one.

Why do all these doctors keep telling me to fast?  Are they fat-shaming me?

Hey, maybe their empire has broken up a bit!

Or it could be way bigger than ever.  Sigh.

Okay, this time it’s actually cancer.

Having achieved her goal in life by creating the kingdom, Chrysogone insists on trying something exciting.

Apparently this means removing my eyeball.  But it cured my cancer!

At 51, Chrysogone is doing pretty well, and sporting a badass eyepatch.

And she’s high on vitamin dog!

Hmm.  Dog’s got his work cut out for him.

Maria: “I have a confession to make.  I’m secretly Orthodox.”

Chrysogone: “Uh … so am I.  So is everyone.  It’s the official religion of the empire.”

Maria: “… why have I been worshiping in the basement all this time then?”

Uhoh.  My underwhelming son Arsenios is dead.

Apparently his daughter murdered him to seize the throne?  A commendable show of initiative, I say.

The new heir is decidedly ‘meh’, but at least he has a better hair situation going on than his older brother.  He’s also got two sons, which is promising.

This dude Aetios has been a pain in my ass ever since I, um, conquered and usurped his duchy.  Having forged a claim against his county, I demand it back, and he wisely goes with the program.  I give it to Tiberios to run, just to get him started.

While I might forgive my granddaughter for murdering my son, she also hates my guts, which makes her dangerous to keep around.  So while I’m cleaning house I send the guards for her, too.  She manages to raise a rebellion, but I quickly crush it and throw her safely in jail.

Hey, and no more pus oozing from my eye!  Winning.

I’ll gladly take money for favors, at this point.  Who knows if Chrysogone will even be around to repay it?  

I have no idea who this guy is, but I want him on my team!

What do you think, WebMD?  Rabies, huh?

Hmm.  Maybe it is rabies!

Surprise it was smallpox.

Meanwhile, the wars continue.  I’m pounding it into the heads of the local dukes that I am now queen in this vicinity.

Hey, it worked for cancer.  Let’s let it ride!  I got another eye, don’t I?

Hmm.  This time all it cost was my sanity.

Ironically, the smallpox just went away on its own.  Woops!

I asked the Emperor for some more land, and he just gave it to me?  I guess he likes me!

Count Stephanos is being uncooperative, and hates my guts.  Time to have somebody pay him a little visit.

Fortunately for me, everyone is willing to help!  It’s gonna be a team assassination guys.


Double crap!  

Finally.  Maybe next time we should go straight to poison and skip “manure explosion”.

Chrysogone is 60, and only getting wilier.  She’s outlived two sons and a daughter so far.

Aaaaand chalk up another husband to the score.  I head over to the shelter to adopt a replacement.

This guy’s bookkeeping is almost too good.  And his name is “Radbot”.  

“Are you a robot?”


“The weird thing is, she did that even before she was insane…”

Good work, Radbot!


Sergios has fucked up one time too many.  Time for a new quack!

A guy who plucks out eyes, you say?  Tell me more!

Medieval stress relief: either dogs, fucking, or gloating over the skulls of your enemies.

So, the patricidal Agne died in my dungeons, and apparently her aunt Leontia is pissed off?  I mean, she did murder your brother, dear.  We have a firm stance on that in this house.

Uhoh.  Despot Radbot has a virus.  He’s started DDoSing Chinese porn sites.

And Chrysogone may finally be losing her grip.

I want to know if she lost another chalice in the woods, or if she’s looking for the same chalice twenty years later.

The Theme of Nikea was destroyed when its owner rebelled, so I managed to recreate it as a proper duchy and lay claim to the wayward fourth county, which went astray back in the first generation.  Most of the rest of Anatolia has accepted my rule!

Well, she’s my best friend, but God forbid peasant children have nightmares.

Leontia was apparently so mad at me for letting Agne die in the dungeons that she ran off, got married, and started a band of mercenaries.  Which, let’s be honest, is awesome.

I’m getting more powerful, but I’m hesitant to make any moves towards the Emperor because I don’t know how long Chrysogone will last.

She’s 70 now, and fading a bit due to being infirm and insane.  But the wars go on!

I like to have multiple baronies in my capital to stack troop bonuses, so I revoke this one without a good reason.  That makes everyone mad at me, but I figure I’ll be dead soon regardless!

Nooooo Despot Radbot!  Has anyone tried turning him off and turning him back on again?

Chrysogone finally settles down with a nice Jewish boy, who happens to be possessed.

The medium pink is me, now covering most of mainland Anatolia.

My heir’s heir is Ioannes the Lecher, who has four sons so far, though only one via his actual wife.  Still, at least the dynasty will continue.

Chrysogone’s remarkable reign finally comes to an end at 73.  She took power at 9 and ruled for 64 years, created the Kingdom of Anatolia and conquered something like fifteen new counties; survived six children, measles, cancer, smallpox, and infection; and outlived five husbands.  That’s quite a run!

Tiberios, I choose you!


Current Year: 876 AD.