Archive for Crusader Kings Series 1

Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Crusader Kings Series 2, Excluded, Games

How Do I Vike, Part Two

Part One.

The ongoing slapstick adventures of a band of serial arsonists in the frozen north!

When we left off, I’d picked off some of the surrounding counties, but Denmark was growing dangerously large on my southern border.  But there’s also some matters of succession to deal with.

My eldest daughter, Gurli, is turning out pretty damn well.  I set her for a stewardship education, in hopes that she’ll pick up Midas Touched from Ormr.

Unfortunately, Gurli has three siblings, including the depressed 6-year-old Astrid.  With Gavelkind succession, this is going to cause serious issues.

There’s still a few easy targets to pick off, though.  As Duke of Nidaros, I have a de jure claim on the County of Nidaros, which is currently held by an 11-year-old.  My troops make quick work of the war, and my not-yet-kingdom expands further.

Gurli, at 14, is known for her bravery!  Ormr despairs of teaching her to be a coward like himself.

When she finally achieves adulthood (after acquiring ANOTHER sibling) she has very solid stats, with Cynical, Brave, Ambitious, and Diligent, though sadly only a so-so administrator.  I find her a husband ASAP.

Meanwhile, I continue my expansion against the heretics to the east, usurping a High Chiefdom (Duchy) from them.  That gives me two duchies, so all I need to do is accumulate enough gold to declare myself King of Lapland before Ormr dies.

Unfortunately, the quest for more money takes its toll on the body.

And people are conspiring to kill my wife.  Which is … fine, actually, since I need her to stop having children I can’t afford to give land to.

Ditto when someone, probably one of her siblings, tries to kill my daughter Astrid.  Go forth, children, and slaughter one another!  I’ve also managed to grab the missing county out of my duchy in the east.

Once again it’s time to debase the currency!  You’d think people would stop falling for that.  It puts Ormr, at 51, tantalizingly close to his goal of becoming king.

Sadly, though, it’s not to be.  Ormr’s currency manipulation is discovered, and soon afterward he dies of sheer embarrassment.  As you can see in the “lost titles” section, this is not a good thing for the new Duke.  (Petty Queen, technically, which is a Duke-level title.)

Gurli (who has already outlived one husband) has severely reduced resources, having only one county to her name along with the primary duchy.  Worse, while her various siblings who got counties have mostly become her vassals and will thus at least contribute to her wars, the Duchy of Kola has broken away entirely.

In retrospect, I probably should have immediately declared war on Kola and settled the matter.  Instead, I decided to try and be clever — Queen Þordis (pronounced “thordis”) has no heirs of her own, which means Gurli is her heir by default.  So, I try to have her assassinated.

Meanwhile, Gurli manages to fall in love with her husband, and produce a son shortly thereafter.  So at least succession is more or less going in the right direction.

And suddenly great events are afoot!  The Viking Age beings, which means that every Norseman suddenly wakes up to find he knows how to build ships.  Finally I can get on with some proper viking, instead of just pillaging my neighbors.

To address the issue of my highly negative prestige, my mother takes it upon herself to build a giant statue of me.  Aww, thanks, mom.

Irritated by my inability to kill Þordis, I launch a war for Kola, but she swears loyalty to Karelia, a larger kingdom further south.  They send enough armies north that Gurli’s much-reduced forces can’t handle it, and I scrape out a white peace.  Thwarted, I keep the assassins coming.

Gurli manages to improve her mediocre administrative skill on a trip to the far-off Isle of Man.  Not Midas Touched, but it’s a start.

I start organizing a raid to go seize some treasure.  In the meantime, I grab another county in the west, inching toward the tip of the peninsula.

My half-sister cheerfully proposes that she should marry my son.  Um, ew.  We’re Norse, not Valyrian.

My first proper raid!  Five hundred brave men in nine ships make their way down to the Channel, looking for easy targets.  The ideal is to find single-county realms — once your army is there, they can’t raise troops, so they can’t really fight back effectively.

We land in Sussex, which is its own country at this point, and start taking everything that’s not nailed down.  This being Crusader Kings, “things that aren’t nailed down” actually has a specific numerical value — if you look at county description in the bottom left, there’s a line representing how much of the loot is available to steal and how much is hidden within fortresses.  I don’t have the manpower to besiege the castle yet, so I settle for what’s easily portable.

The chief of the county I just finished subjugating rebels against me, so my Kid’s First Viking gang comes home to deal with him.  Fortunately it’s not difficult, and this time I get to revoke his title instead of just making him a vassal.  I’m back up to two counties!  I head back out, this time to Ireland, looking for more loot.

Then this shows up in my inbox.  That’s the Queen of Denmark, and it turns out she’s declared a full-scale subjugation war against me.  This is definitely not good.

My raiding party hurries back, and I call in my tribal allies.

Unfortunately, Denmark is a lot stronger than I am.  My underdog strategy from the Israel days — avoiding battle and freeing recently-captured castles — works poorly here, because most of my holdings are unfortified tribes, and the terrain is harsh.  If the enemy were Christians, I’d have more options, but these are fellow Germanic tribesmen.

In the “seriously, who cares” department…

Well, crap.  I do what I can, but it’s not enough.  Ex-Queen Gurli is now officially a Danish vassal.  Worse things can happen, I guess.  The Danish queen seems well-disposed to me, and even offers me a council seat right away.  Let the plotting begin.

Burn the witch!  You’d think the Byzantines would have closer problems to worry about.

Okay.  If we’re going to get out from under the Danish yoke, we’re going to need to reconsolidate power a little.  I plot to kill my youngest sister, Rögnfrið, since she has no heirs and the county she inherited from Ormr will thus come to me.  Everyone is eager to help!

This may alarm my remaining siblings.

On the plus side, you can’t argue with results.  That’s three counties.

Gurli is heir to quite a few titles, as it happens.  Five siblings left.

Before I can do anything about that, though, there’s the small matter of surviving the flu and whatever insanity my doctors come up with.

Eh, I’ve seen worse.

Whew.  Okay, what next?

Apparently not very much.  Gnupa, one of Gurli’s brothers, apparently took exception to her “murder all the siblings” policy and decided to strike first.  Because the succession is by election, rather than the eldest, the youngest brother Guðfrið takes the throne.

He’s Zealous, Brave, Temperate, Proud, and Homosexual.  At least his fighting and stewardship are reasonable.  Unfortunately, I’m back down to two counties, one inherited and Guðfrið one already had.

I decide to stop playing nice, and revoke the title from Gnupa, who killed my big sister.  He rebels, of course, and the war is briefly interrupted by some weird political change in Denmark, but ultimately I throw him in prison.

With Gnupa’s two titles now mine, I move against Ingrid of Westrobothnia, another sibling.  She doesn’t have enough troops to put up much of a fight…

Oops.  Apparently I forgot to tell Guðfrið that he shouldn’t fight in the front lines, and he got himself killed in battle.  The electors choose Ingrid as his replacement.  Of the children of Ormr, only Ingrid, Þordis, and the imprisoned Gnupa are left.

Ingrid, unfortunately, is just terrible stat-wise, and she already has syphilis.  Fortunately for the dynasty’s sake, she has two children and one bastard.  She’s also managed to get up to five counties due to running out of siblings.

The electors decide the traitorous Gnupa should be heir.  Ingrid says the heck with that, and has him hanged on the spot.  At this point, I notice that while being tyrannical is going to piss off my vassals, I don’t have all that many vassals worth mentioning.

With Þordis not part of the realm, she has no supporters, and the succession is between Ingrid’s two children.  I can live with that.

Given that she has syphilis, Ingrid asks her doctor to do what he can.  Always a smart move.

He decides that “what he can” means “amputate one of my legs”.  This is a well-known treatment for syphilis, I’m sure.

Ingrid dies almost immediately thereafter.  However, the electors change their votes at the last minute, so the throne goes not to one of Ingrid’s young children, but rather to the adult daughter of her elder sister Gurli, High Chieftess Gloð.  Once again titles are scattered to the winds and the realm is a mess.

This has to stop.  Gloð has only three vassals — Ingrid’s two children and one stranger — and they’re all weak.  It’s time for a Reign of Terror.

I revoke all their titles at once, leading them all to rebel against me.  But everyone’s weak from the constant wars, so I bring in a gang of foreign mercenaries and smash them, one by one.

This takes a while, so I have to keep busy.  Burn the witch!

Finally, everyone is subdued, and I’ve got the five counties that comprise my realm back together again.  My cousins are in prison, and the Queen of Denmark is busy fighting a bunch of wars.  Paying my mercenaries has drained the treasury completely, so Gloð rounds up what troops she can and sets out to burn and pillage!  Once I build my strength, then we’ll see who’s the vassal…

Current Year: 815 AD.  Current Status: Honestly Still Not Much Of A Viking

Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Crusader Kings Series 2, Excluded, Games

How Do I Vike, Part One

People seemed to enjoy my last Crusader Kings II write-up, The Promised Land RELOADED, so now that I’ve finished Persona 5 I thought I’d do another one.  I asked Twitter what I should play, and the response was in favor of being a Viking, so it’s time to figure out how to vike.

Some of the same caveats as last time — I usually don’t play CKII to “win” but for fun, so my decisions are often sub-optimal by hardcore player standards.  This is actually my first time playing as a tribal, pagan ruler, so I’ll be learning on the job more than usual!  I’ve also never played with the Monks & Mystics expansion, so there’s probably some new stuff there as well.  Lastly, it’s a historical game, so real-world stuff pops up — please don’t assume I’m actually in favor of burning Christians in the name of Thor!


Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED Series

In The Promised Land RELOADED, I play as the Ethiopian Jews of Semien in Crusader Kings II, attempting to build the Third Temple, recreate the Kingdom of Israel, and stay out of the clutches of my doctors. 

Part One: In which the Petty Kingdom of Semien becomes part of Abyssinia.

(769 AD – 779 AD)




Part Two: In which I get a visit from Death herself and acquire a few more counties.

(779 AD – 801 AD)




Part Three: In which Semien regains its independence, and I fail to achieve immortality.

(801 AD – 915 AD)




Part Four: In which I expand, fight rebellions, and fall into the hands of doctors.

(915 AD – 940 AD)




Part Five: In which my daughter is the spawn of Satan, and the Arabian Empire collapses and I reap the profits.

(940 AD – 974 AD)




Part Six: In which my borders reach the Mediterranean, I surmount a succession crisis, and face a jihad.

(974 AD – 1017 AD)




Part Seven: In which I survive further jihads and an attack by the Byzantine Empire, take Jerusalem, and go mad.

(1017 AD – 1063 AD)




Part Eight: In which I defeat my first Crusade, build the Third Temple, and create the Empire of Israel.

(1063 AD – 1095 AD)




Part Nine: In which I wage holy war, survive the Black Death, and eat people.

(1095 AD – 1123 AD)




Part Ten: In which the I wage even more holy wars but the Jews fail to take over India.

(1123 AD – 1155 AD)




Part Eleven: In which I survive a difficult regency and unite the Arabian Peninsula.

(1155 AD – 1205 AD)




Part Twelve: In which I fight the Byzantines while the Mongols approach.

(1205 AD – 1236 AD)





Part Thirteen: In which the Mongols turn out not to be that big of a deal, and I take Constantinople.

(1236 AD – 1286 AD)




Part Fourteen: In which I continue to battle the Byzantines, and my vassals take Norway.

(1286 AD – 1344 AD)




Part Fifteen: In which owning Norway turns out to be kind of a pain.

(1344 AD – 1380 AD)





Part Sixteen: In which I take Rome, a chunk of India, and the Middle Ages comes to a close.

(1380 AD – 1453 AD)

Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #16 — Finale!

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six, Part SevenPart Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part ElevenPart Twelve, Part ThirteenPart Fourteen, and Part Fifteen.

The Middle Ages are drawing to a close!  But there’s still time for a war or two … or three … or four …

Emperor Lema is now the masked head of the Empire of Israel.  Aside from a drinking problem and a lack of children, he’s doing okay.

His friend/enabler, the castrated King Berhanu the Handsome of Norway, keeps inviting Emperor Lema to parties.

Given my high level of threat after the seizure of Tripoli, five years of peace seem like a good plan.  We can dream, can’t we?

I return from the party hungover for the next year.  That’s a good party.

Also, King Berhanu apparently despises me for being a drunk, despite being the one who organized the drinking binge?

Aha!  As you may recall from last time, I hired the wiliest Jew in the world and sent him to Rome to “prove” that I have an ancestral claim on it.  That’s now paid off!  You’re living on my land, Romans!

In addition, Pope Sergius a) has a measly 7,000 troops, and b) is not part of the grand alliance against me.  So forget five years of peace.  We’re taking Rome!

I genuinely don’t know what will happen with this, I’ve never attempted it before.  But it’s good revenge for all those crusades.

I send over a boat and 30,000 men.  The actual war is … pretty short.

Rome is now part of Israel!  Meanwhile, Emperor Lema decides to devote all his time to playing wargames, which is clearly a very silly thing to do.

I’ll be ready for that killer nun when she turns up, though.

The Pope declares a war to try and get Rome back.  Fair enough, I suppose.

My heir (officially my first cousin, in reality my half-brother due to dad’s shenanigans) has come of age.  His stats are okay but he really needs to do something about that hairstyle.

The war against the Pope is weird.  The Pope still has an Emperor-class title, even though he doesn’t have any actual land or holdings for me to besiege.  So I can basically just wait around for his armies to show up and then smash them.  

Looking at his character, he’s still apparently hanging out in Rome.  Can’t we just arrest him or something?  He has a crapload of money to pay his mercenaries, too.

Eventually some substantial Papal armies turn up, but I beat the tar out of them.

That’s what you get for picking on the Smurfs all those years!

Pope Sergius still has plenty of money, but now he has to pay me some as indemnity.  Feel free to try again whenever you like, sir!

Okay, now maybe we can have peace.  Also my heir still looks like a crazed hobo.  I’m having heir hair problems.

Two rounds of getting killed in India are apparently not enough for the high priest and my vassals.

Emperor Lema is having crippling phantom nose pain.  

I mean, I already don’t have a nose, how much worse could the surgery make it?

Good work, doctor!  My lack-of-a-nose is feeling much better.

“Hey, I’ve been a little out of it, and … you guys conquered where?”

C … Can I have an elephant?

While celebrating at one of Berhanu’s parties, someone apparently set me on fire.  First of all, can we not find out who and, I don’t know, chop off their head?  Second of all, no more parties for me, this is getting out of hand.

The wound healed almost immediately, leaving me even more horribly scarred.  On the plus side, I’ve managed to have two daughters.

Israel now definitely has the biggest font, followed closely by Chawda.  (Which will always make me think of that Simpsons episode about pronouncing “chowder”.)

Yeah, no.  The last party I got set a bit too much on fire.

Why are all my vassals suddenly such party animals anyway?

Another adventurer.  Where are my damn ninjas?

Hey, it actually worked for once!  That makes me like 2 for 500 in terms of peace.

Well, crap.  I was hoping that taking over Rome would dissuade them somewhat.  Oh well.

Pope War IX: The Pope Jedi.

Adventurer-dude helpfully turned up around the same time.  Fortunately I’m now wise to the clever Christian plan to take over Jerusalem by invading Norway, and dispatch some troops there ASAP.

Large battles still break out in Greece, but I’m more on top of it then last time.

The armies invading Norway are pretty small, so 40,000 angry Jews makes quite an impression.

This brings the count to two for Greece and seven for Jerusalem.

Does this woman have the best name ever?  It’s possible!

With my threat down to 49%, I can declare war for those two stray Mongol counties and only have to fight the Mongols and a few co-religionists.  I have false claims, too, so it shouldn’t stir things up too much.

The Mongols are clearly past their prime and quickly surrender.

Now only the county of Antioch remains in the middle of god damn it the Curse of Archa has struck again!  Where the hell is Scooby-Doo when you need him?

Fortunately, my vassals are on the case, quickly launching a holy war to take it back.  Good work, Count Negasi.

Another Shia jihad?  Make it quick, I’m trying to watch this!

I tell my daughter Abeba to become ambitious, even though it will make her hate me.  Parenting is hard sometimes, but it’s all worth it when you take control of a child with good stats after you die.  I assume this is how it works in real life too.

They didn’t even get close to Arabia this time.

The conversion of the empire to Judaism is mostly complete, though I’m going to have to speak to the mapmaker about that terrible kerning.

Even some of the Norwegians are getting with the program!

The Cursed County falls, again, this time to my vassal.  Just stay put, would you?

Princess Abeba has turned out … not terrible, but not ideally.  She’ll need a high-stewardship husband for sure.

I recruit Chainai of Diksmuide for the job because a) he has good stats, and b) he has a silly name.

One of the past adventurers is causing trouble again, so I decide he should be done away with.  Apparently everyone at his court agrees.

Ah, the viper trick!

I guess some collateral damage is to be expected.

Noooooo Chaninai of Diksmuide!

She remarries Shabsai of Yotvata, which is a pretty silly name, I guess.  To add insult to injury, though, she managed to have a daughter with the aptly nicknamed Duke Merille the Unchaste.

Dammit.  What in my history makes these people think this is a good idea?

Geez, Rabbi.  That sounds bad.

I like this rabbi!

I mean, I still have cancer, but at least I’m well-fed.

Brave Sir Robin Emperor Lema insists on rolling the dice.

Hey, that’s not new at all!  We literally tried that hundreds of years ago.  Seems to work, though.

My adventurer friend turns up and finds a huge army waiting for him.  Honestly I shouldn’t bother having them killed.

Even ground-up hobo scabs can only keep cancer at bay for so long.  Long live Empress Abeba!

She’s still only so-so, but at least she has a legitimate son now.

Unfortunately, childbirth was difficult.

The rabbi thinks I have syphilis.  Is that … a common problem caused by childbirth?

Rabbi Negasi’s treatments may not work, but his diagnoses are right on the money.

My old friend Beruhana the Handsome of Norway has been replaced by King Beruhana II, Son of Satan.

We seem to be moving back toward traditional remedies, here.

The empress has been understandably distracted, but the war against the adventurer finally comes to an end.  I dig in and wait — it’s about time for the vassals to get unruly.

Unfortunately, the ongoing progress of her disease has driven Empress Abeba mad.

Is is really paranoia, though, when they really are all plotting against you?

I catch one of the dukes at his treason and order him locked up.

Shockingly, this actually works instead of starting a war.  One down, twenty to go…

Thankfully, China isn’t included in the game, so they can’t invade me.

I’m in need of a new doctor, what with the ongoing syphilis.  

Sure!  That sounds promising.

…if he served many rulers before, what happened to them?  

Our “pope” is an incurable gossip.

It’s … possible that this is the insanity talking.

Okay, Shanoi, work your magic!

Well, that made me paranoid and possessed.  How about trying something that doesn’t drive me more insane?

Okay, that one burned my hand off and made me really angry.  I think maybe enough with the magic?

Let’s try some actual medicine, please.

He cut off my face?!  Do I look like fucking Nicholas Cage?

That’s it.  To prison with this asshole.

I’m making my mom court physician.  She may not have mystic knowledge but she doesn’t cut off people’s faces.

Mom doesn’t get to do much, though, because Empress Abeba immediately dies, sad and mutilated.  Long live Emperor Bekele!

Bekele is only six, so we’re in for a long regency.

At least he’s learning to take bribes properly.

My vassals are seriously restless.  In an effort to subdue them, I find the sneakiest Jew in the land, and make him spymaster in spite of his questionable choice in hats.

Yeah, that doesn’t work.  Notice how there’s no list of vassals on the second line?  That’s because there’s so many they wouldn’t fit.

That’s, um, all of them, isn’t it.

On the plus side, Rome is now Jewish!  Maybe I should move there.

Ooooookay that’s a lot of guys.

Is this really the time?

I mean, gout seems unlikely to me, but I’m not going to tell grandma that.

Grandma?  Did I do something wrong?

This war seems completely impossible.  If there were a final boss of wars, this one would be it.  I am reduced to guerilla-style tactics, keeping a single army in the field and shuffling it around between three or four major rebel armies, beating them when they’re isolated and hurriedly freeing the castles they’ve taken to keep my warscore up.

The only thing that makes it even possible is the monstrous treasury Bekele inherited from his mother and grandfather, over 25,000 gold.  That means I can hire tens of thousands of mercenaries, although it still doesn’t come close to making up the numbers, and the gold starts disappearing rapidly.

Bekele comes of age as a warrior, unsurprising since he spent his formative years in the midst of the biggest war ever.

What do you think, grandma?  The flu?  Maybe some chicken soup is in order?

A good portion of my blood, grandma?  Dear lord!

The treasury is getting low, and I’m starting to think I’m going to need to concede the war and finally give the damn council some authority.  I make a last-ditch effort, assaulting the rebel capital and getting the war tipped temporarily in my favor.  Apparently unaware of my weakness, the rebels agree to peace.  

After half a decade and 20,000 gold in mercenary fees, the realm is restored!

Sorry, rabbi, we were all a little busy.

Bekele’s wife, Empress Mahrene, is insane but an excellent steward.

Some time passes in peace.  I have one more county I want to take from the Byzantines, but first I brace for the inevitable.  And there it is.

Pope War X: Indiana Pope and the Last Crusade.

The levy of Syria is so large (over 75,000 men) that there’s literally nowhere I can summon it where it won’t immediately start to starve.  (Hilariously, Syria owns the Orkney Islands north of Britain — I summoned troops there to quell a local revolt and all 75,000 turned up, somehow…)

No, once again I draw the line at vials of my blood.  Mom’s experience with the mystic arts was not a positive one, either.

The Christians invade all over the place, but aren’t very strong anywhere.  It’s more like playing whack-a-mole then a proper war, although of course they’re bothering Norway again.

The French turn up and making a sporting try for Constantinople, but I’m ready for them.

My troops are used to this sailing-to-Norway business now, too.

Not the best war for the Christians, all things considered.

Final score of the Crusades: Jews 10, Christians 0.

My final target is Antioch, the last outpost of the Byzantines in the middle of my realm.

(I note with some pleasure that the Curse of Archa appears to have been broken.)

Surrounded by my troops on all sides, it’s not much of a war.

Now I just need to survive another fifteen years or so.  I’m sure this cheese-eating eunuch will help!

This week on As The Empire Turns, Emperor Bekele’s illicit lover China reports that High Priest Berhanua is trying to seduce Empress Maharene!

Emperor Bekele makes his lover China marshal of the Empire, but not out of favoritism.  She’s just the fightingest Jew in the land.

Nobody is even plotting against me!

Uh … lesson learned, I guess?

Joke’s on you, Tewodros, by the time you’re ready to attack the Middle Ages will be over!

Emperor Bekele even has an heir, who is frankly pretty bad-ass.  The future looks bright.

And with the dawning of the year 1453, the game finally draws to a close.  My final score apparently compares favorably to the Capet dynasty.  Hooray!

The rulers of Semien/Israel.  (Top to bottom, left to right.)  Clear standouts include King Aman and Emperor Gebereal, who took Jerusalem and crated the Empire, Emperor Ogbae, Empress Berta, and Emperor Lema.  Emperor Bekele technically takes the high score, but his is padded somewhat by my creating a bunch of titles in the final days.  Emperor Fethee gets the record for shortest reign with 24 days, Empress Berta for the longest with 51 years.  Not a bad 700 years!

The final state of Israel, including Norway, Rome, and a chunk of India.

The final state of religion.  Judaism spread far and wide from where we started, including to India and Iceland!  Amazing what seven hundred years of ceaseless holy war can do.  (I’m also curious about all these Hindu steppe peoples.)

Thanks for reading, everybody!  I had a great time with this, and I hope you all did too.

Current year: 1453 AD.  Current Status: About Ready for the Renaissance.





Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #15

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six, Part SevenPart Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part ElevenPart Twelve, Part Thirteen, and Part Fourteen.

The penultimate edition!

When we left Empress Berta, she had chest pains and an infected wound, but was gamely continuing with her hunting career all the same.  Like so many of her ancestors, she was obsessed with catching the mystical white lion, which serves as a metaphor for the unattainability of —

Never mind, she actually caught the damn thing!  It only took five hundred years.  I consider letting it live, but it gives a pretty sweet bonus, so we’ll do the wall/head thing.

Adventurers are like roaches.  Stomp on one and two more turn up.  Do I have a good XP reward or something?

Let’s try having him killed.

This always bothers me.  The fact that, as Empress, I’m trying to kill some guy who has announced his intention to seize my throne seems like … pretty obvious?  Most people would say, “Yeah, that’s about what I’d expect,” right?

Owning Norway has actually turned out to be kind of a pain, what with the Catholic revolts and all.

Having caught the mystical lion, Berta’s old hunting wound finally heals.

All right, maybe we can head this one off at the pass.

Or not.

Well, crap.

Guifre takes his sweet time about actually showing up to the war, though.  In the meantime I recruit a new doctor renowned for immense wisdom.

He’s actually … ridiculously awesome.  Wow.  If he wasn’t celibate I would marry him.

Fortunately, while the adventurer armies scale with the size of your realm, they seem to top out around 40,000 men, which is much too small to bother me now.  Guifre and his host are duly crushed when they finally show up.

The new Basileus is not super impressive, and my threat is getting low, so it’ll be time for another war against the Byzantines soon.

Except, of course, one of my vassals in Norway dies, bequeathing me some territory and a war against Svea Rike at -60%.  If I lose, I have to pay thousands of gold in indemnity.  I’m going to have to go to Norway, aren’t I?  Dammit.

All right, boys, everybody on the boat!

Compared to actually getting there, winning the war is ridiculously easy.  The King of Svea Rike looks kind of disappointed, possibly because of his dumb mustache.

Then I realize, argh, winning the war kicked my threat way back up again!  The Byzantines are safe for a while.

All right, everybody back on the boat!

(Well, only my retinue.  The levy soldiers just sort of melt into the ground when you dismiss them on friendly territory.)

Helpfully, the high priest calls a Great Holy War for a kingdom in the middle of India, and all my lemmings vassals immediately sign up.

While they’re doing that, I’m dealing with the county of Archa.  If you’ll recall, I conquered it before, and it mysteriously reverted to its former allegiance without a fight.  Now there’s a revolt there, so I’m conquering it again.

The actual conquest is pretty easy, but there’s something weird going on.  The barons are independent, which almost never happens.  I have to fight three more (very short) wars to restore them to their proper relations with the count.

Better.  You all work for me and don’t you forget it!

The big purple blob.  Still picking away at the remnant Byzantine and Mongol territories, though it’s slow going due to the world-wide alliance against me.

I am … not sure what’s going on with this event.

Empress Berta’s reign is going well, she deserves some me time.

Also, did Bogoris really need to burst into my study to tell me to relax?

The “pope” is apparently up to something unsavory.

A little too unsavory for his own safety, I guess.

My heir, Prince Gebereal, has outlived a second wife, although the first one was was kind of an accident.  He’s going to need some help with stewardship, so I go shopping abroad.

Misrak is gay, but Gebereal already has two children so lower fertility isn’t crucial.  Otherwise she’s ideal!

These are way less impressive then they used to be.  “Yawn, another jihad?  Wake me up when they get here.”

Never did figure out what was causing those, but I guess it doesn’t matter!

My local troops handled this by themselves.  Basically we just called the cops on the invaders.

Okay.  Now this is a hell of a lot more worrying.

Pope War VIII: Rogue Pope.

“Don’t worry, guys, we’re on the way to help!”

Considering that the Pope declared a crusade for Greece, I concentrate my forces in Greece.  Like a chump, it turns out.

Halfway there, the Norwegian forces decide to stop off in Rome and give the Pope a taste of his own medicine.

This doesn’t go particularly well, but it gives me ideas.

Even in the middle of war, life goes on.  Empress Berta secures herself a sexy new high-stewardship husband as Christians lay siege to Constantinople.  

It’s a tough fight.  The challenge is that the armies can’t gather in one place without starving.  Fortunately, this means you can feint — I move forward, and the enemy moves to crash-concentrate, gathering all his forces but abandoning some of his sieges, and then I cancel my move.  This helps buy time and cost the enemy troops as I move more of mine up.

It’s hard fighting, but I’m getting the upper hand.  Unfortunately, two problems crop up.

First, Empress Berta dies, after one of the longest and most successful reigns in my history.  Fortunately, her son is already an adult and quite competent.  Long live Emperor Gebereal II!

Second, all my hard fighting in Greece is being undone by a bunch of Crusaders laying siege to the castles of Norway, which count against my warscore.

How did they even get there?  

“The Pope’s declared a new crusade for Greece.”

“Great.  Boys, we’re headed to Norway!”

Emperor Gebereal II recruits a talented pilgrim as his new doctor.

The final battles of the campaign for Greece play out.  In the meantime, we check in on Prince Lema, our new heir.  He’s got excellent stats, one son, and his wife has died, so he could use a new one.  He’s also scarred and disfigured so he wears a creepy mask.

I secure an excellent wife, Kelile, for him from abroad, but he refuses to marry her.  Since his original wife was a countess, their son is now a count, and is acting as his father’s direct liege.  And since Prince Lema loves his son, he refuses to leave his court for mine, where I could force him to marry.  Grr.  I get him a wife he will agree to marry, and poor Kelile hangs around my court, lonely.  More of her later.

The battle in Greece is effectively won, but we’re still at -1% warscore because of all the lost holdings in Norway, so the pope won’t make peace.  I heave a sigh and load up a ship with 40,000 men to go sort things out.

I didn’t even know I owned … whatever these islands are.  Part of Denmark I guess?  But apparently I do.

After disembarking a huge army and storming a few castles, Pope Leo IX the Confessor finally agrees to quit it.  That’s seven crusades for Jerusalem and two for Greece you’ve lost, guys.  Take a hint.

Without the threat of the Christians to unite them, the vassals pull their usual hazing of the new monarch.

This revolt is not so bad, considering.  Crucially, Syria stays loyal, and they’re enormous.

In the middle of the war, Emperor Gebereal II engages in some … stress relief.  Note that Alaworld is my daughter-in-law, married to Prince Getachew, who is Gebereal’s second son.  It’s good to be the Emperor, I guess?

The revolt armies gather near Semien and get crushed.

Uh … hmm.  This would concern me a lot less if I wasn’t sleeping with his wife.

…who is now giving birth to my sons.

Also, I’m pretty sure I just got roofied by a witch.  No wonder Gebereal is stressed.

The rebels are finally beaten.  Look, Iskinder, I know you’re disfigured, but maybe try a mask that doesn’t make you look like Darth Vader?

Also, check out Iskinder’s stats!  Yikes.

Okay, god damn it.  Archa has mysteriously left my control again.  I swear that county is cursed.  Or possibly bugged.  Either way I’m calling the Ghostbusters.

Pro tip: discovering that your lover has syphilis does not automatically cause you to stop having sex with them.  You have to do that manually.

The Byzantine Basileus has left the defensive pact against me, so it’s time for war!  Not holy war — first I’m going to deal with the annoyingly little blob of red hanging out in the middle of my domain, which I have a de jure claim on.  That has the benefit of raising threat less, too.

Emperor Gebereal II’s recent experiences have soured him on humanity.

The war goes well.  The Byzantines seem increased disinclined to fight to the finish for little bits of land, so once I’ve occupied them they just give up.  Fine with me!

A period of peace follows as I wait out the truce and threat.  In the west, Francia is having issues with Hispania that look like some kind of rash, and Italy and England are separate again.

And kids love dogs!

Hmm, I feel like that kind of does make you a coward, right?

My threat is below 50%, so I can claim the Cursed County of Archa and trigger only a war with some Muslims, rather than the entire world.  This time I’m claiming it on behalf of vassal, maybe that will help.

Victory.  For now…

My heir Prince Lema has become a drunk, and still doesn’t have any children.  Troubling.

My second son Prince Getachew has died of syphilis.  He has two children, both of whom are really mine, and they come after Prince Lema in the line of succession.  So no cause for worry yet.

This is the point at which I discovered I was still sleeping with Alaworld.  Awkward.

My vassal King Berhanu the Handsome of Norway has gotten himself castrated somehow.  He seems to have managed to have six children first, though.

In the meantime, I’ve taken a new lover, Kelile, who was supposed to be married to Prince Lema.  Emperor Gebereal just has a thing for his sons’ wives I guess?  She’s zealous, wrathful, and paranoid, so I can see why having her around is relaxing.

In the meantime, I’ve been pondering.  I’m really sick of being crusaded at, so I’m wondering if something can be done about it.  I’ve come up with a plan.  Step one is to hire Menashe, who is the Most Diplomatic Jew in the World.

Step two is to send him to the Papacy to forge a claim on Rome.  That seems plausible, right?

I’m starting to think Emperor Gebereal II may be Typhoid Mary here.

Although he still has the “Thrill of Illicit Love” modifier … after his lover died explosively vomiting …

Let’s not think too hard about that.  Hey, look, a Byzantine revolt!

Time for a holy war for Tripoli, avenging my one and so far only defeat in battle, all those years ago.

?Holy War theme song!?

Having launched the war, Emperor Gebereal II dies, possibly of Ebola.  Long live Emperor Lema!

If you compare to earlier, you can see that becoming emperor gets Lema a mask upgrade.

Emperor Lema’s stats are solid.  He hides his face because he’s scarred and disfigured, but he’s also brave and diligent.  Also a drunk, but you can’t have everything.  Still only the one, dead son though.

He quickly brings the war against the Byzantine rebels to a satisfactory conclusion.

Much better.  And the vassals aren’t plotting against me too badly yet.

Next time — the exciting conclusion of The Promised Land RELOADED!

Current Year: 1380 AD.  Current Status: Full of Ebola.

Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #14

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six, Part SevenPart Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part ElevenPart Twelve, and Part Thirteen.

Another day, another duchy.

Empress China the Bewitched, in spite of her bewitchment, is Israel’s longest-serving ruler.  Under her enlightened, speaking-in-tongues leadership it is more powerful than ever.

An event finally triggers that I’ve been shooting for for a while — Sinai is the only holy place without a temple, so I need some new land to build one on.  It only took like three hundred years!

Now all the holy places of Judaism have their own proper rabbis.  Moral authority is maxed.

There’s a new Basileus of the Byzantines, who is married to a extremely creepy-looking woman.  I guess she’s blinded, but she really just looks like a zombie.

Anyway, he is no longer part of the pact against me, so that means ?Holy War Time?!

Unfortunately, our buddy the pope has to spoil everything.

Pope War VII: The Pope Awakens

This turns out to be an extremely serious crusade — instead of dribbling in by ship, the crusaders arrive by land and attack Constantinople.  And the Byzantines are still fighting in force.  It quickly becomes clear that I can’t take them both, even with mercenary and holy order support.  

Fortunately, the Basileus is willing to make peace, possibly because he’s replaced his creepy wife.  Cue ?Holy War Theme Song, Bummer Remix?.


Even then, things look pretty dark for a while.  That’s a lot of crusaders.  I try to get them to fight at a disadvantage, and distract them from their sieges.

In the middle of this mess, Empress China dies, exhausted, at 71.  Long live Empress Zauditu II!  She’s going to need that military skill.

There’s an enormous battle for which I somehow get no credit at all.  Warscore is weird that way.

After some extremely tense fighting, I finally get the crusade under control and chase them out of Constantinople.

One downside of this style of recap is I can’t recount how tense some of these wars are.  This one was a nail-biter, believe me!

Empress Zauditu II has excellent stats, although her diplomacy is lacking.  What she doesn’t have is any children, and since she’s 48, it looks like her brother Fethee will inherit.  Of her four brothers, the two middle ones have already died.

Ominously, her treasury is nearly bare after the long, expensive crusade.  Hopefully the vassals aren’t revolting…

Of course they are.  They’re always revolting.

I hate it when that happens!

Urgh.  Stay away from the fish.

This guy just cannot get enough of these leeches.

Can’t argue with results, though!

Duke Abai the Merry sounds like a jolly old soul, but he’s actually a syphilitic lunatic.  He’s also plotting against me, so I try to throw him in prison.  This fails, as it almost always does.

Shortly thereafter, a blind guy declares a revolt as well.

Thaaaat’s a big one.  And the treasury is still empty…

Meanwhile, I have pneumonia.

Again with the god-damned leeches!  Not all problems can be solved with leeches, Afework.

You know what?  I changed my mind.  Go back to the leeches.

Again, though, the man gets things done.

I’ve smashed several rebel armies, but my forces are getting weak and they’ve got more men in the field.  Fortunately, Mengesha the Blind loses his nerve and asks for a white peace, which I eagerly accept.

This sounds like a song lyric.

With the larger rebellion over, Abai the Merry will now be perpetrating his zany shenanigans in prison.

One of my nephews is both “Slow” and “Midas Touched”, with I think makes him like Rain Man?

Since I didn’t actually take any territory, my threat is still down, and I don’t have a truce with the Byzantines.  You know what that means: ?Holy War time?!

The Byzantines put up a stiff fight but without all of Christendom turning up mid-war I’m stronger than they are.

Victory!  Only a thin strip now separates the two parts of my empire.

Four parts, I guess.  Or five.  I always forget about the others.  Unfortunately I am once again super threatening and so I have to wait a while.

Here’s a weird one.  King Dawit III dies, and is succeeded by …

…King Dawit II.  Are they counting down?  Was there an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine?

Actually, I think what happened is that the Syrian and Mesopotamian monarchies combined.  The result is my largest vassal, and bears watching.

In Western Europe, France has almost absorbed Spain, and the combined Ireland/Italy kingdom is now called “England”.

I meant to send my spymaster to Damascus to scheme, but I accidentally send my court rabbi there to preach instead.  Oops.

Empress Zauditu II, now 60, decides to try for five years of peace.  In my experience this virtually guarantees war.

Ah, there is it.  Wait.  Who is this guy again?

Turns out he’s the Ecumenical Patriarch, sort of the Orthodox Pope.  I, uh, hope he’s got some allies or something, because he’s outnumbered about thirty to one.

Another adventurer headed my way.  Let’s see if we can head this one off at the pass.

He’s not very popular, so we have a shot at him.  In the background, you can see the Ecumenical Patriarch’s tiny army getting pounded into paste.

She looks a bit like that nun that’s always murdering me.

That’s how we deal with adventurers in my town.  More evil overlords should learn that lesson.

This baffling war ends with the Patriarch paying me a considerable ransom.  Were you just in it to ruin my five years of peace, jerkface?

I hold a seder just to check something.  Apparently we still say, “Next year in Jerusalem”, even though the capital is now in Jerusalem.

Empress Zauditu II is reaching epic levels of martial prowess in her old age.  Three of her younger brothers are now dead, though.  Fortunately they have plenty of children of their own.

My husband gets the flu, has his treatment horribly botched, and dies.  Fortunately I can always entice a fresh one in from abroad.

Once again we’re ready to take a swing at the Byzantines without the whole world getting involved.  But they’re allies with the Empire of Francia, which gives me pause.

Never mind.  Francia is in the middle of a revolt and the emperor has only twelve thousand troops to his name.  ?Holy War time?!

Irritatingly, some of my troops muster near Constantinople and get jumped by a big Byzantine army.  But the war overall goes pretty easily.

Basileus Eustratios the Confessor has had a very long career consisting mostly of me kicking him in the teeth.

Constantinople is finally connected by land to Jerusalem and Semien.

Okay, this time surely we can manage five years of peace!

(Right after I stop those raiders from burning Constantinople.)

Nope.  A tasty chunk of Khotan revolts, and I jump at the chance to grab it, unprotected by the grand defensive alliance.

It wouldn’t have mattered in any event, since Empress Zauditu II died shortly thereafter.  Since she had no children, she’s succeeded by her younger brother.  I like the sound of “fabulous riches”.  Long live Emperor Fethee!

Honestly Fethee only had about three thousand gold.  Disappointing.  His oldest daughter is 17 and fortunately not yet married, so I don’t have to murder an inappropriate husband.  

She’s also a lot whiter than her father?  I guess she takes after her mother.

I secure the services of Nissim of Horodnia for her in the traditional fashion.  (That is, inviting him over for dinner and then forcibly marrying him on pain of death.)

Turns out to be a good thing, too!  Emperor Fethee apparently couldn’t take the excitement.  Long Live Empress Berta!

Berta’s stats aren’t ideal, since I didn’t get to raise her.  But at least she’s young.  I hire an insane rabbi just to be on the safe side.

In spite of the thirty-year age gap, she wastes no time.  Meanwhile, the war decreed by her aunt goes on against the Khotan rebels.

I’m never super-upset by this, but especially not now, since I’m expecting a vassal revolt at any minute.  Emperor Fethee may be the only ruler who didn’t have to fight one.

It took a lot of death, but we got there.

And we have a son!  Definitely a good start for Empress Berta.

Duke Kifle is plotting something, so we go through the whole farce.  Guards, rebellion, war.  Can’t we just skip to the part where you end up in jail?

What is it with these mayors?

Damn it, romantic poetry is hereby outlawed!

As I crush the Duke of Axum, the other vassals are surprisingly quiet.  Good vassals!

The spread of Judaism is coming along nicely, too.

Hmm.  Duke Afework’s romantic poetry apparently worked better on my sister Princess Falasha.

Why are so many of these dukes called “The Ill-Ruler” anyway?

Empress Berta is doing nicely — brawny, brave, and charitable, with two sons so far.

There’s a new Basileus, but he’s still in the pact against me, so no holy war yet.

However, a Mongol Empire revolt offers a tempting target!

We can’t do … somewhere even vaguely nearby?  No?  Okay, Norway it is.  Have fun storming the castle.  I’ll be here where it’s warm.

Unfortunately, the Mongols work out their differences before I can win my war, and their revolt disappears.  I consider going to fight in Norway, but what would I even do with Norway if I had it?

Instead, I take advantage of another revolt to grab the county of Archa.

There, that was much easier than going to Norway.

Enthusiasm for the northern adventure is strong among my vassals, though.  Good luck, guys.

There’s a lot of them helping, but Charles II the Monster (which is my new band name) is helping on the other side.  Francia is still surprisingly weak.

Huh.  That’s going … better than I expected.

Goddamn if they didn’t take Norway!

So, the Empire of Israel now includes the west coast of Scandinavia and half of Iceland.  Awesome!

In revenge, the pope declares a crusade for … somewhere else, for once.

Aw.  I guess owning Norway wasn’t as fulfilling as she expected.

This view shows my vassals.  Syria has gotten kind of alarmingly large.

Speaking of Syria.  No, you may not have more vassals.  You have such a large … realm already.

Empress Berta takes up hunting on the theory that judicious murder might cheer her up.

My husband, Emperor Nissim, promised to build me a statue.  Turns out it’s a grand monument to fuckin’.  Teen boys across the realm rejoice as I decide not to tear down the Emperor’s erection.

That’s the way to Empress Berta’s heart — not through romantic poetry, but grand public statuary.

Emperor Nissim, having completed his masterwork, dies almost immediately thereafter, though not before impregnating me one last time.

I remarry someone closer to my own age, after checking out his stats, of course.

Wait.  I took that county over, right?  Was that a dream?

Apparently I took it over, I granted it to a guy, and then a foreign king inherited it and … somehow the same guy got it back?  Huh.

My son and heir, Gebereal, has turned out quite nicely.

Unfortunately, in my haste to get him a wife with good stats, I accidentally marry him to a 66-year-old woman.  She can teach him some tricks, I guess.

Okay.  For realsies this time, five years of peace.  I can do this.  I’m strong.

Nope.  I’m weak.  Simultaneous Mongol and Byzantine revolts!  Time to get to work.

Mongols first.  Om nom nom.

The Byzantine’s war is only at 12%, so I try for them too.

?Holy War theme song?

A quick victory!  Slowly moving toward my goal of taking all of Anatolia.

Prince Gebereal’s wife dies, shockingly.  I find him someone a little more suitable this time.

Empress Berta is feeling better.  Maybe she was sad about being left out of the Norway trip, and some more holy war is what she needed?

Another revolt means another opportunity!  I actually have a real (that is, forged) claim on Taron, so I don’t even need to get all holy on them.

Considering their land is mostly occupied by Hindu kings and Mongols, I would imagine so.

Empress Berta is still merrily having kids at 41.

Honestly I can have five years of peace whenever I want, guys.  I’m really more of a social conqueror.

A surgeon-poet?  Well, poetry is banned, but I suppose I can make an exception.

So, is the prescription poetry?  Because if it is I’m not sure I can take it.

It’s super effective!

In addition to chest pains, Empress Berta now has an infected wound from a hunting expedition.

It’s making her somewhat cross.

But hey, we finally made it!  

Any wars going on?  Anybody got any wars?

Spreading Judaism continues apace.

And seeing all of Israel now requires maximum zoom!  

Current Year: 1344 AD.  Current Status: Peace Is Constant Agony.

Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #13

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six, Part SevenPart Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven, and Part Twelve.

The legend continues.

When we left our, our heroine Empress Zauditu was trying to prepare for Genghis Khan’s Mongol invasion!

Giant Mongol armies go wandering by as they fight the Byzantines.  Mongols basically ignore attrition, so they can form huge armies compared to normal powers.

However, old age catches up to the great Khan and he dies, leaving Ogodei in charge.  Ogodei is scary, but not quite as superhumanly awesome as his predecessor.  So that’s something. 

Hoping to encourage the Mongol Empire to fall apart, I try to kill the Khan.  It’s a long shot, because Empress Zauditu sucks at intrigue.

She’s also in need of a new high-stewardship husband.  A gift entices Avomai of Lais to my court where he is duly wed.

She still misses her beloved husband whats-his-name though.

The Mongols win their war against the Byzantines and grab a huge chunk of territory on my northern border.  They don’t seem inclined to come for me, though, immediately starting another war against the Indians.

Meanwhile, the Byzantines are ruled by a new Basileus, Meletios the Lewd, who wears a creepy mask to conceal a facial deformity and is heavily scarred, but still apparently a master seducer?

My old rival, Agathe the Terrible, apparently died of pneumonia.

Uh-oh.  I guess I couldn’t dodge the killer nun forever.  Chess it is, then!

Checking out her stats, I notice she counts as my courtier?!  I quickly arrange a marriage between Death-Nun and my bastard cousin Loua while the chess game is in progress.

We should hurry up so you can get to your wedding!

Eugenia and Loua are happily married!  I would say that was a quick wedding, but by the game clock what happens is that the chess game takes about two weeks.

Zauditu tries to cheat Death.

She draws the line at betting the life of her daughter, though.  Who needs an extra queen?

I do, apparently.  Damn.  Long live Empress China!

Shortly after this, I get the message “Eugenia vanished without a trace.”  Poor cousin Loua is heartbroken. 

At least Empress China doesn’t need a regency.  She’s still trying to kill Khan Ogodei, and sets about preparing for the inevitable vassal revolt.  The vassals basically need to be taught a sharp lesson once per reign, I feel like.

The Calpih is attacking the Mongols, which doesn’t strike me as a tremendously smart move, but what do I know?

In spite of the efforts of my spymaster, vassal factions are reaching the boiling point.

One of the more powerful ones has apparently acted dishonorably toward me.  I couldn’t tell you how, but it gives me the chance to lock him up.  He rebels, of course, but hopefully it weakens the faction.

Nope.  Now I have two separate wars, one against a vassal rebellion and one against breakaway Mesopotamia.

I finish Mesopotamia first, then work on the revolt.

A rather good multiple convergence smashes the main rebel army.

Unfortunately, Empress China is now possessed by the devil, which people find a little off-putting.

It’s like every couple of decades, “Look out, here they come again!”

Pope War VI: Return of the Pope.

I’ve got the rebels on the ropes, but Papal armies are already landing in Beirut.

Soon the Holy Land is once again crawling with Christians.  I gather my forces to crush the last rebel army and knock them out of the war.

Then we get some … weird mechanics.  I’m at 100% warscore, which should allow me to win the war immediately.  However, the rebels have their own rebellion, and they’ve occupied some castles, which blocks me from declaring victory.  (I think because if I did, the rebellion faction would disappear.)

So, I have to go find the rebels’ rebels and crush them too.  Come on, people, I have Christians to fight!

At least we’re getting the succession going.

Finally.  Everyone goes to jail where they won’t cause any trouble, and I can concentrate on hunting down annoying crusaders.

Hurrah!  Another potential empress, named for her grandmother.

Christians are seriously worse than bedbugs.

Slowly cleaning them out, though more keep arriving by ship.

Empress China has acquired the nickname “the Bewitched”, presumably as a reference to being possessed and not the old sitcom.  She’s doing pretty well, less martial than her mother but a better steward.  Still not much of an intriguer, though.  Her husband/kidnap victim seems to have acclimated to his situation.

Better luck next time, Pope Marinius IV the Holy!

The high priest retaliates by calling a holy war for Aragon, which is owned by the grandson of my old ally King Jacques the Monster.  I sense this will go poorly.  But my vassals eagerly sign on!

Yeah, this is the problem with the whole Great Holy War thing.  See Kaiser Arnulf of Francia on the list?

Yeah, Francia’s pretty big.  Not eager to take them on.

Also, Ireland is now called Eire and continues to take over England.

Obviously, if I get the chance to name a puppy Satan, I’m going to name it Satan.

Judaism continues to spread throughout the empire, mixed in with various Muslim heresies.

My plot to kill the Khan is going nowhere.  I strip some titles from my various rebellious vassals, though I leave the viceroys with their kingdoms, since I get those back when they die.  Annoyingly, they take a long time to die.  Can’t I just forget to feed them?

King Desta of Mesopotamia hates me (possibly because I threw his father in prison?) and is working on fomenting another revolt.  I decide to have him killed.

Good for you, Empress China!  Whatever gets you through the day.

Khagan Ogodei is old and infirm, so he doesn’t look like he’ll be a threat anytime soon.  Plus he’s still at war with the Byzantines.

Basileus Meletios, on the other hand, has been severely weakened by a revolt.  My threat has dropped low enough that I can fight him without fighting everyone else, so time to grab some more Byzantine territory!

Holy war for Aleppo!  (Not to get topical, but it’s always weird seeing the same names in CK2 that you sometimes see on the news…)

The Kaiser’s wife just … dropped by?  Um.  Sure, sounds good to me!

Sadly I can’t convince Kaiser Arnulf to actually form an alliance with me, which is too bad because literally nobody could stop us.

The war goes pretty badly for the Byzantines.

The Mongols have a new Khagan, who is not nearly as threatening as the last two.  They’re actually looking pretty weak now.  

Victory is mine!  But a couple of adventurer armies are incoming.

I’m a bit surprised by this, I thought we’d seen the last of them…

While I can’t attack the Byzantines again for a while, I take advantage of yet another revolt to zerg-rush some territory in the east off the revolt faction.

I am not shocked.  Honestly I’m a little more concerned by the nearly 30,000 men who just marched out the Sahara desert to come fight me…

do need a doctor…so let’s hire the crazy sorcerer!  I like that logic.


I muster to fight the first adventurer army, while the second one lands on the northern coast and Orthodox peasants revolt.  Another typical week for Empress China.

The, uh, “pope” is helping me poison this guy?

At least he died.  Rabbis get shit done.  

Unfortunately the new king now hates me just as much. 

Well.  We know how to deal with that.

His wife is willing to get in on the assassination action, for a suitable consideration.

Hilariously, I can now imprison my “pope” friend for his role in the old king’s death.  

Glad to see Empress’ can get in on these hunting trysts as well.

Princess Zauditu has grown up rowdy and willful, so we’re going to teach her about war.

I like it.  Stick with what works.

Man, I should have sent a rabbi.

Didn’t we try that, like, yesterday?

“I know Empress China tried to kill me yesterday, but who could be behind this attempt?!”

The new king is nine.  He kind of dislikes me for murdering his father (more accurately, for trying to, since he doesn’t know I succeeded) but he’s not my rival, so I let him live.

Israel has grown large!  But so have my ambitions.  I think my new goal is to take Constantinople and try to get all of Anatolia under my rule.

Judaism now completely dominates Egypt and the Horn of Africa.

There’s a new Basileus in town, David the Holy, which means the truce is off.  And my threat has ticked down far enough that the Byzantines have left the alliance against me.  You know what that means.

Holy war time! ?Holy War theme song plays? I push north from the random county I acquired toward Constantinople.

This time the Byzantines put up more of a fight, and we have some pretty epic battles.

Poor Satan.  *sniff*  What a good dog.

I could build him a pyramid!  It costs a fortune, though.

I’m busy, dammit!  The Byzantines managed to pull off a victory and I need to beat them down.  Can’t you jihad some other time?

Oh.  Never mind.  (Capturing the enemy monarch means instant victory.)  I guess you can go ahead and jihad after all!

Getting closer.  I march my armies off to meet the Muslim invasion.

Don’t you hate it when you throw a jihad and nobody shows up?


Can’t go wrong with leeches!

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m covered in leeches, but I just don’t feel sexy anymore.

Princess Zauditu turned out nicely!  Now to capture find her a husband.

Hey, there’s actually a decent guy in the kingdom for once!  Guards, fetch him immediately!

Not cancer after all?  Or did the leeches do the trick?

Most of the Shia states are far away, up in the Russian steppe, so their armies trickle in very slowly.  My guys wait around and draw straws for who gets to smack them when they show up.

Better luck next time, Caliph Mahmud II the Fat!

The steppe is kind of a mess, actually.  The Mongols have a breakaway state called Khotan apparently, but they’ve also got a big chunk of territory down in India.

Meanwhile, the King of Italy has somehow taken over the Kingdom of Ireland!

With a truce still to run with the Byzantines and threat still high, Empress China decides to try for five years of peace.  Historically my success rate for this is not high.

The King of Mesopotamia has come of age but still isn’t fond of me.  Only three more years before he forgets about me murdering his dad though!

A dilemma.  I could make him spymaster, which would improve his attitude, but he’d still be pretty angry.  But he’d be so good at it!  I decide to refrain for now.

Prince Yacob, the only other child of Empress Zauditu, embraces the religious life.  Since Empress China has a bunch of children, he’s unlikely to inherit.

In spite of the whole dad-murder thing, King Tariku is willing to stop plotting against me if asked politely.

Shockingly, five years actually pass relatively uneventfully!  The realm prospers!

Plus, now my truce with the Byzantines has expired, and my threat has fallen low enough that they aren’t part of the alliance anymore!  You know what that means …

Hmm.  Gonna wait just a little bit longer, until they get this revolt worked out.  I don’t need a three-sided conflict confusing matters.

Empress China needs a new husband, and she settles on Kifle Gideon, a distant cousin with a military genius nearly on par with Genghis Khan.

Annoyingly, a gang of vassals is hovering just at the edge of the danger zone.

?Danger Zone!?

But the revolt is over!  ?Holy War theme song?

Israelite armies are quickly laying siege to everything in sight.

I lose more stewards that way…

Victory!  Basileus David’s wife has donned the creepy mask of shame.

We’re now literally at the gates on Constantinople.  Unfortunately, vassal revolt seems imminent.

Somehow, though, they never quite tip over the edge into rebellion.  I bring King Tariku in as spymaster, which placates him and gives me access to his 21 intrigue, and he gets to work digging up dirt on the others.

You’d think the size of my empire would dissuade these guys.

Fun fact: my previous spymaster, Anaudat the Unfaithful, was actually the wife of the last adventurer, who was hanging around unemployed while her husband languished in jail.

My heir, Countess Zauditu, is pretty formidable, but has no children at age thirty.  Once again I need a “nag your kids for grandchildren” button.  Fortunately, she has four brothers, so I start making sure any of their daughters are in safe marriages.

Is that, like, relevant?  Or just … a thing?

Sadly the mighty Kifle died fairly quickly.  Husbands, man.  Deciding to go for a diplomat, I invite Bustenai of Zagreb to my court for completely non-sinister reasons.

Moms: never gonna stop correct their sons’ table manners.

This is excellent.  I wish Empress China weren’t already so old.

There’s a new Basileus.  Visarion, I like it, very Game of Thrones.  But he’s still part of the alliance, so we can’t hit him yet.

Arnault’s little war goes real badly for him when he finally gets around to launching it.

Aha!  Not only has Visarion left the alliance, but he’s fighting three wars at once.  Seems like an excellent time for …

?Holy War theme song?  Constantinople here we come.

Once again, “asking politely” proves an effective tactic for getting vassals to stop conspiring, even King Dawit the Tormentor.

Israelite armies lay siege to Thrace.

While the war is in progress, Empress China decides it’s time to do some gardening.  She’s an old woman now, you have to keep busy!

Shockingly, Basileus Drogon Visarion surrenders without me even smashing all his castles.  Fine with me.

Constantinople comes with cool unique walls, which apparently didn’t help them much.  Normally I redistribute my conquests to vassals, but I’m keeping this one.

Duke Mamo, what did I just say?

Still no children from Countess Zauditu, my heir.  I suggest that she start sleeping around, it worked out for Mom.

The Mongols are steadily weakening. 

Wait, why does he have ten normal children and one crazy-eyes one?


At this point, Empress China is now the longest surviving monarch in the history of the Gideons, as well as easily the most prestigious.  She is brave, wroth, diligent, trusting, ambitious, possessed, a gardener, a kinslayer, a poet, and has the “lover’s pox”.  Aside from non-breeding heir Zauditu, she also has four sons, and her brother (possibly half-brother?  Mom was getting around at that point) is Grandmaster of Zealots.

Uh oh.  Malaise!

That … seems plausible.

Pretty sure that’s not how you treat gout.  But it sounds delicious!

Delicious and effective!

New Basileus!  But he’s still part of the alliance, so we have to wait.

Great Holy War for where?  Why are we always attacking the most random places?

That’s a long fucking walk.  And I’m sure it’s just cold and wet there.  You guys have fun.

Meanwhile, Ireland and England are a mess.  The Kingdom of Ireland exists again, but Italy still holds most of the territory?  Weird stuff going down.

Things are pretty peaceful in Israel, though.  Even the vassals have stopped kicking up a fuss.

The realm grows ever-larger!  Next step is to clean the Byzantines and Mongols out of Anatolia to make everything nice and contiguous again.

Current Year: 1286 AD.  Current Status: Tidying Up.



Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #12

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six, Part SevenPart Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, and Part Eleven.

We return to the adventure!

When we left off, Emperor Ogbae had just sworn eternal vengeance against the Byzantine Empire, who had managed to grab the Duchy of Tripoli.  He’s working on rockets, apparently.

I just need a bit of time to build up my forces and treasury, and we’ll see …

…or not.  Who is Negus and why is he mad at me?  Wait!  I need context for this assassination!

Well, crap.  Emperor Ogbae died as he lived, surrounded by constant violence.  Long live Empress Zauditu!

Unfortunately Empress Zauditu is nine years old.  She and her sister Misrak are Ogbae’s only children.  At least this resolves my potential succession problem — now that I’ve got direct control of Empress Zauditu, there’s no worry about her getting an unsuitable husband.  Of course, first we have to live through the regency.

Predictably, half the dukes in Israel are plotting against the young Empress.

Empress Zauditu’s rival, the Basilissa (another great title!) of the Byzantine Empire, is also quite young.  Now I want a story about the two of them growing up being friends and then becoming rivals…

Isn’t that the guy who had granddad murdered?  I’m going to go with let’s not trust him.

Before too long the inevitable revolt breaks out.  Seriously, these things are like clockwork.

What a mess.  Once again, it’s hard not because it’s a particularly bad revolt, but because with a child-Empress my power is weak.

FIST FIIIIGHT!  Seble clearly doesn’t remember what happened to Prince Jima.

Again with these assholes.  I’m having deja vu.

In a shocking bit of good sense, the rebels immediately offer peace.  Since I’m underage and won’t get to strip their titles anyway, I accept.  Let’s get those Christians!

I’m just gonna … not tell my doctor.  I’m sure it’s fine.

This is probably fine too, and not ominous foreshadowing at all.

Pope War V: The Pope Strikes Back does not go particularly well for the Christians.  With the rebels on my side, I’m able to meet them at the beaches and throw them back.  Again.

Ooh.  It’s really tempting to go for the battle-hardened lesbian Jewish Empress of Israel here.  But I do need her to breed.

Empress Zauditu, at the very least, swings both ways.

Hakeem is your cousin, Zauditu.  Although that probably doesn’t matter, does it.

At least she’s not spending all her time thinking about sex.

And she’s gotten over her teenage angst!  Ahead of the curve, that girl.

Empress Zauditu is coming out okay, stats-wise.

Her younger sister Misrak is actually somewhat better, which is nice since she’s heir until Zauditu has kids.

Hurrah!  Our first Empress takes power.

Her education turned out very well, making her an awesome fighter.  She could have a bit more stewardship, though.  But we can get some of that from a husband!

I would very much like to marry Mael the Wise, who has the hereditary Genius trait.  Unfortunately he’s sworn to a life of celibacy.  What a waste.  Instead, I pick a mayor who knows his way around the treasury.

Empress Zauditu still has her father’s long-term goal of taking on the Byzantines, but I need to build up my forces first.  I decide on a quick “starter war” with what’s left of the Turkic Company.

King Jacques the Monster of Galicia wants to sign a treaty.  Maybe he’s like, a monstrously good king?  No, he’s just insane.  But why not!

King Dawit the Seducer puts the moves on me.  But I’m not falling for it.  When your nickname is “the Seducer” it must make playing innocent sort of tough.

My younger sister Misrak comes of age, but isn’t all that great after all.  She tries to assassinate Empress Zauditu, but I convince her to stop.

Succession is looking good.  I keep an eye on the girls to get them into safe marriages.

I’m just about ready for war with the Byzantines, but some adventurer is coming to mess with me, so I decide to deal with him first.

King Jacques the Monster offers a formal alliance.  How did he get my number, anyway?

I raise my forces, ready for the adventurer’s army to arrive.  Some peasants pick the absolute worst time (for them) to rebel.

The adventurers only have enough ships to get dropped off 8,000 at a time, where they’re promptly slaughtered.

My steward is … randomly giving me gold?

Oh, now I see her game.  Crafty.  But I think the price for Jerusalem is a bit higher.

Someone has criticized me!  Zauditu ANGRY!

Our bold adventurer ends up in prison.  Throw him in the rebel cell/pile of skeletons!

Time to get serious.  We’d ultimately like to take the Bishopric of Ganjnameh, the fifth and final Jewish holy site, but we’re going to have to work our way there.

First I declare Holy War for Kermanshah on the still-underage Empress.  At least with the Byzantines, I don’t have to worry about other countries coming to help them.  And King Jacques the Monster is willing to pitch in!

Friendly troops gather to repel the expected Byzantine attack in Israel, while another army heads over to Kermanshah to lay siege.

Finally.  I was beginning to wonder if that mayor was too into his ledgers.

At least they’re in love, while the war rages on.

Nine months later, we have a daughter!  Our second Empress, if all goes well.

The war turns out pretty well.  Last time, the Byzantines zerg-rushed me, but this time they arrived slowly and got crushed piecemeal.  Fighting in difficult terrain helped, too.  Victory!

Basilissa Agathe turned out to be a so-so fighter but her intrigue is monstrous.  This is somewhat inconvenient, because I now have a ten-year truce with her, and the easiest way to get around that is to have her killed. 

Empress Zauditu, unfortunately, is … not much for scheming.  So that’s probably not on.

At least the Mongols are still far off.

*Jaws theme plays*

This again.  But hardly anything comes of it.  The Shia kingdoms have been pretty badly battered between the Byzantines on one side and the Hindus on the other.

That’s not flattering, that’s creepy.  The other Emperors didn’t have to put up with the shit.

I actually fight the jihad all the way to the finish, since it’s so weak, thus assuring the moral ascendancy of Judaism.

Opportunity presents itself!  There’s a revolt against the Byzantines, which conveniently controls the region I want.  I’m still at peace with the Empress, but not with the revolt faction, so I can declare a quick holy war.  The downside is if the revolt wins or loses before my war ends, my war is canceled and I get nothing.  So it’s a race!

A race which I win handily by spending lives like they’re going out of style, reckless assaulting all available fortifications.  What’s a few thousand soldiers between friends?

A random woman turns up at my court wanting to be spymaster.  She’s pretty good at it, and she likes me, so why not?

I discover, unexpectedly, that I now own territory in the Byzantine mainland.  As best I can figure it out, these counties also belonged to the guy I just beat, so I got them as kind of a bonus.

All five Jewish holy sites are secure!  We’re not done with the Byzantines yet, though.

King Dawit the Seducer is plotting against me.  Unsurprisingly, though, he’s easy to blackmail.

These guys never learn.  I mean, it’s called the Tenth uprising for a reason…

*Jaws theme gets louder*

That’s … a lot of guys.  Also, one of his vassals is Varzakk Calmandana, Chief of Tsagaannuur.  And people accuse fantasy authors of strange names.

Oh, no, I’m not falling for that one.  I remember what happened to (pause to check) my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather back in Part Two!  No nuns-who-are-Death-incarnate for me, please.

Having evaded the killer nun/Death, things are going pretty well.  Even my vassals are mostly not plotting against me!  Now that the truce has expired, I launch another attack against the Byzantines, who are still weak from the just-ended rebellion.

Meanwhile, there’s another problem to deal with.  After more than a decade, Empress Zauditu has only one child.  Clearly Mayor Benaim is not up to snuff.  I decide to start encouraging all the other mayors who always seem to be hanging around.


It’s not heart problems, it’s just lust!

Or consumption.  Could be consumption.

Good work, doc.

If I’m going for sin, no sense in restraining myself.

Well, that worked.  Fortunately Benaim is very gullible.

“He’s got your eyes!  Well.  Someone’s eyes.”

With two children to maintain the succession, I turn my attention from family to rulership.  

This time the Byzantines barely show up to the war.  You guys are no fun.

I guess they are also at war with Italy and Aragon.

This is like the TV playing in the background of the disaster movie as the protagonist gets ready for work.

*da dum da dum da dum da dum*

Another chunk of Byzantine territory falls!

Unfortunately, I’m now extremely threatening.

I kind of want to grab those little bits of Muslim territory, but if I try literally everyone will go to war with me.

Yet another mayor offers to teach my daughter how to fight!  Sounds good.

Princess China is actually turning out quite nicely.

Random Byzantine count who I conquered has apparently usurped some territory up at the top of the Black Sea?

A fitting end for Duke Zula the Careless.

Another Byzantine revolt breaks out.  Since the revolt faction isn’t a member of the grand alliance against me, I take the chance to grab another couple of counties.

I, uh, may have mis-clicked and made the King of Nubia my court jester.  Also, the new “pope” is a dwarf so I made him court dwarf.

Wait, you were supposed to be forging a claim on his title, not making friends!  God damn it.

Still picking away at the Byzantines.  The Mongols are fighting the Rashtrakutas, in the east.

King Kafa is plotting against me.  I guess he didn’t like his cap and bells.

Princess China comes of age, not as martial as her mother but quite a bit wiser, though just as poor at scheming.  Time to find her a husband, ideally one with high stewardship.

The Jews of the realm are somewhat lacking in that regard.

I go searching abroad.  No likely candidates are willing to agree to a matrilineal marriage.  However, a few good ones, like Zakkai of Ramnic, are willing to come visit my court!

Yeah, turns out?  Once you’re at the Empress’ court, you don’t get a choice about whether to say yes to her marriage proposal anymore.  Mazel tov!

With virtually the entire world ready to ally against me, I wisely decide to try to go for five years of peace.

Shortly thereafter, the Rashtrakutas fall to the Mongols, and Genghis Khan declares war on the Byzantines, the only thing separating him from my territory.  Time to start preparing for a confrontation with the horde …

Oh, FFS, you guys!

Current Year: 1236 AD.  Current Status: Standing Alone Against The Coming Darkness.



Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #11

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six, Part SevenPart Eight, Part Nine, and Part Ten.

Our protagonist, Emperor Gondar the Holy.  Could be a better steward, but not too bad.  Four daughters so far but one died of plague.

This seems like the most profitable holy war, since it gets me three counties.  Always tricky to get the last few counties efficiently.

Another daughter!  Now that I have Full Status of Women this is fine.  (Without it, vassals dislike female rulers.)

My wife, Empress Zauditu, asks if I’m having an affair with General Zauditu Zauditu.  I consider tell her I was honestly just confused, but end up going the passive-aggressive route.

Holy war for Basra ends satisfactorily.  On to the next target!

Well, maybe not.  Have to let that tick down a bit first.

If you recall from last time, I was trying to get all my vassals to like me so I can change the succession law to Absolute Cognatic, where women inherit equally.  Standing in my way was Viceroy Tefri, currently rotting in jail for rebellion.  So I get some friends together to help kill him.

Seems like a plan.

It actually works for once!

His replacement is Vicereine Abrihet.  Did you know there was a female form of “viceroy”?

After distributing some judicious bribes, all my vassals like me!  Unfortunately, I need them to all be at peace for a minute, which is rare.  There’s not much to be done about it, either, so I just have to wait and take the chance when it pops up.

I have a son, finally, who becomes heir.  He’s going to be pissed if I change the law…

He may not survive, though.

Even my wise eunuch is helpless.

Gondar is only in his early 40s, but he’s already not looking well.

Definitely having my doubts about the eunuch.  Also, is my wife wearing a weird mask now?  

One of my dukes dies without an heir, handing me his revolt-in-progress, which he’s losing badly.  I’m not actually sure what would happen if I lose, so I don’t take the chance.  Fortunately my troops arrive before the war ends and quickly smash the rebels.

…or I would, except Emperor Gondar dies.  Long live Emperor Ogbae!

…who is three.  This is not going to be pretty.  Really regretting not getting time to change that law.

Ogbae, or his regent, quickly shuts down the revolt in progress.  But there’s worse to come.

Kafa the Lewd and a gang of vassals declare a revolt, and with the Emperor being a toddler, loyalist forces are severely diminished.

The best choice for Marshal is dad’s old flame, Zauditu Zauditu.

It’s not the worst revolt I’ve had, but I’m particularly weak, and I lose an early battle.  Fighting to get things back under control …

Really?  Jihad against a four-year-old?  Honestly I guess that’s the best time.

Why not?  Join the party!

I’m now fighting four wars simultaneously.  Doughty Aunt Debre leads my armies against the rebel hordes.

One down.  Maybe the rebels and the Shia will kill each other.

Come on, come on, I got plenty for all of you!

Two down.  It’s possible the rebels actually did stop this one.

Ogbae seemed … a little young to be breeding?  Turns out it was a different Ogbae.  It’s a common name!  

Also, note that Aunt Debre was kicking rebel ass while pregnant, apparently.

Three down.  Emperor Ogbae throws a tantrum because his regent won’t let him strip titles from his imprisoned vassals.  “But I wanna!”

Note that the tormentor is Ogbae’s younger brother Jima.  I, uh, wouldn’t torment the Emperor if I were you.

Four down.  The Shia Jihad is still going, but not making much progress.

The Grandmaster of the Zealots is a cousin of mine, and he’s come to help!

My army finally makes it up to Kirkuk and starts liberating castles.

Five for five.  The kid’s got moxie!

Emperor Ogbae is now eight.  He wisely decides not to join the holy war for Poland.  These high priests have big dreams.

In fairness, Poland is ruled by someone called King Swietoslaw II the Evil.  I’d probably want to go fight him.  Although he specifically has the Sympathy for Judaism trait!

“What’d you do this weekend?”

“Crushed religious rebellions.  You know, tween stuff.”

Tempting.  But Tefere isn’t that bad, really.

At twelve, Ogbae needs a tutor.  Given that he’s likely to spend his entire life fighting, he chooses a warrior.  Aunt Debre is awesome but insane and Zauditu Zauditu is depressed, so we go with Debre’s husband Ogbae, who has lost an eye since we last saw him.

For some reason we’ve got some breakaway counties.  I think what happened is one of the revolting rebels lost a revolt of his own and one count got independence.  Once Emperor Ogbae comes of age, we’ll see about that.

Maybe start a little smaller, guys.  “Great Holy War for Uncle Bob’s Farm”, or something?

Irritatingly, the moral authority of Judaism is eroded when these holy wars fail.  Get it together, guys!

Ogbae feels tired, which is obviously a sign of gout.

“Keep this quack away from me…”

Emperor Ogbae is actually turning out shockingly well for a boy who’s father wrote him off.

Okay, maybe Tefre knows a little bit after all.

Mmm, drugs.

The Emperor’s brother, Prince Jima, is … not so good.  He’s “dull”, and he’s rivals with the Emperor to boot.  I’d say he’s the jock to Ogbae’s nerd, but Ogbae is way better at fighting too.

Time has only made Aunt Debre more violent, and still insane.  Although Khalil, the new “pope”, is not far behind.

Emperor Ogbae is fifteen when I get the bad news.  Again with these fuckin’ guys.  Can’t you crusade for somewhere else for once?

Pope War IV: Live Free or Pope Hard.  (Not the best of the series.)

Do they like, coordinate these things?  That seems out of character.  This is the Sunni caliphate this time.

Finally.  Welcome to the throne, kid.  Things are, uh, great!

Unfortunately, Uncle Ogbae provided Emperor Ogbae with only a mediocre education in the art of war.  In spite of that, he’s done pretty well for himself, with solid stats across the board.

Things go badly at first, as I manage to lose a battle in spite of a significant advantage in numbers.  I think I have too many light infantry, which is an Ethiopian thing.

Duke Daniachew the Evil, I get that you have to live up to your nickname, and usurping territory from little girls seems like a good way to do it.  But have you noticed the holy land is overrun with giant Christian armies?  Now may not be the time!

That didn’t take long.

I concentrate my armies and manage to get two-to-one odds for a decisive battle.  The Sunnis are busy laying siege to something though.

With Christian strength scattered, things slowly turn around.

Dumb brother Jima has come of age, and he’s not much better than he was as a kid.  He also hates me, and he’s next in the line of succession.  I decide to have him killed, so if Emperor Ogbae dies without a direct heir one of his more talented sisters can take over.

Better luck next time, Pope Lucius VI the Confessor!

Guys, maybe revolting right next to my capital where all my troops hang out is a bad plan.

Seriously, take a hint!

Okay.  After one major revolt, seven minor revolts, one Crusade and two Jihads, Emperor Ogbae is finally in charge.

He’s got a daughter already!  But the realm has gotten a little messy, so we’ll have to clean that up.  First a little redistribution of titles.

Everyone pretty much likes Emperor Ogbae, so to finally change to Absolute Cognatic he only needs the realm to be at peace for a minute.  

Basically everyone is willing to help me kill Prince Jima.  It’s going to be the first assassination by consensus.  

Aunt Debre, predictably, is first out of the gate.  Unfortunately, Prince Jima is uninterested in the view and ignores the balcony.

Poison seems more likely.  He does like his booze.

Or not.


Will somebody just kill this fucking guy?

I’m starting to have a bad feeling about this.

At this point I’m picturing Prince Jima as Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther, blundering amiably along while assassins frantically take shots at him.

Rabbi Mamo decides to try the balcony thing again.  You’re the rabbi, I guess…

Finally.  Rabbis get shit done.

To add to the farce, this popped up after the previous event but before Prince Jima had died.  So presumably while he was falling.

“Duke Geteye!  Welcome to Semien, I hope you’ll spend some quality family time with Prince Jima!”


“Oh, there he is now!”

While this nonsense was going on, Emperor Ogbae was busy with clean-up operations.  I attacked the breakaway provinces to remind them of their proper allegiance, and finally went to war with the Abd Al-Qays to clean them out of Arabia.

It’s not unprecedented, we has this one before!  Although I guess that was hundreds of years ago, it’s probably faded into myth by now.

Okay, I like Tefere.  He doesn’t whip out the diseased badger secretions at the drop of a hat.

Emperor Ogbae has a son!  Though if the Absolute Cognatic law passes, he won’t be the heir.  Hopefully he’ll be cool with that?

Progress!  My vision is coming together, provided my vision is a big purple blob.

At twenty-five, Emperor Ogbae has three daughters and two sons, and is shrewd, ambitious, charitable, just, gregarious, and has typhus.  And is a poet.  Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

Fortunately even typhus is unable to slow him down for long!

Claiming some more territory.  The nice thing is, I now have de jure claims on most of it, since I own the duchies and kingdoms.  So I can take the pieces one at a time without triggering holy wars or building up much threat.

This Turkic Company territory is tricky, though.  They’re Orthodox, so a holy war would bring in not the shattered remains of the Sunni states, but the Byzantine Empire.  I wisely decide to just forge a claim on their land instead.

Finally, for about thirty seconds, there’s peace in the realm!  I hurriedly take the chance to push through the Absolute Cognatic law.  Hurrah!

You can see the new order of succession!  A lot of vassals are mad about this, but they’ll get over it.  The key now, though, is to watch my daughters’ marriages carefully to maintain dynastic heirs.

Spreading Judaism is coming along.  The old Monophysite/Miaphysite territory in particular has been mostly converted.

Jewish “popes” get their hands dirty, unlike those pansy Christian popes who just declare crusades from Rome.

Hmm.  On the one hand, Ambitious is an excellent trait.  On the other hand, if my daughter is my rival she may try to kill me.  I decide to risk it.

One of my asshole vassals (vasshole?) dies and bequeaths me his territory and a holy war that’s 92% lost.  If I lose it I’m on the hook for a huge ransom!  My troops frantically march to battle as the score ticks upward…

The score reaches 100% while the battle is in progress.  Fortunately, the enemy don’t demand my surrender at that instant, and a day later their forces are crushed.  Whew.  It turns out we’re fighting Socotra, that tiny little island there, so I send over an army and smash it.

“What’s the worst that could happen?”  Why would you ever say that?

My heir Princess Nishan has turned out pretty well!  I quickly marry her matrilineally to a rabbi.

When one of my vassal kings gets caught being naughty, I once again go to war with him to convert his kingdom to a viceroyalty.

“I am pretty great, after all,” he says, as rebel armies spring up across the empire.

Better and better.

Then the most annoying possible thing happens.  My eldest daughter dies of food poisoning, but not before having two daughters of her own.  They are now my heirs, but are not under my direct control.  They’re three and two respectively, so fortunately they’re not married yet.  Once they turn six, I can offer to educate them, which will bring them to my court where I can keep an eye on them.

Rival or not, Emperor Ogbae, I’m pretty sure this is not the healthiest way to react to your daughter’s death.

Crazy dude must have died while I wasn’t looking.  I feel like I had a Sea-Devil once before and he was pretty good, why not?

After nearly twenty years of war, Emperor Ogbae has united the peninsula.

Abroad, Poland continues to grow and Ireland is still taking over England.  There also appears to be a Kingdom of Africa now.  

Emperor Ogbae is now plentifully provided with sons.  He’s shrewd, ambitious, charitable, brave, just, humble, diligent, and kind, but also a kinslayer and a poet.  I decide to try for five years of peace, to build up a war chest for my confrontation with the Byzantine Empire.

What remains of the Persians have been squeezed north between the Byzantines and the advancing Hindus.  Almost the entirety of the Russian Steppe has been converted to Islam, though.

Aunt Debre, greatest warrior of her generation, sadly dies of depression at age 69.


No doubt emboldened by the old battleaxe’s passing, the Byzantines decide to get things started.  So much for five years of peace.

As expected, they’re very tough opponents.  It doesn’t help that the war is for a relatively small bit of territory, so they start storming my castles before most of my troops even arrive.  After a couple of battles, they pull off the victory — I think that’s the first war I’ve flat-out lost in the entire game.  Grrrrr.

The territorial loss is pretty minor, but I will not forgive.  The Byzantine Emperor is an old man and his heir is a little girl, there should be a chance coming soon.

Emperor Ogbae is ready.

Current Year: 1205 AD.  Current Status: Vengeful.  


Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #10

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six, Part SevenPart Eight, and Part Nine.

Now that the pesky Black Death is over with, back to warring!

Emperor Geteye The Holy: Craven, Cynical, Cannibal.

You can see the plague has not been kind.  The tombstones represent counties that are still partly depopulated.

The King of Egypt is plotting against us!  I actually don’t care much, except that it gives me an excuse to arrest him and take his title, so I can turn Egypt into a viceroyalty.

He rebels, as expected, but it’s a pretty short war.

Once that’s over with, I get ready for more expansion.  The plague has left me a little light militarily, but the same is true of everyone else.

Last time, our attempt to use a captive heir to press a claim on the remnants of the Sulamid sultanate was thwarted by the unfortunate death of the claimant, and then interrupted by the apocalypse.  However, he has a surviving son, Ezana, who I have made Count of Mecca.  Ezana inherited his father’s claim, and he’s a member of my dynasty, so we definitely want him on that throne.  

While I’m fighting the Sulamids and their various allies, the Kohen Gadol (high priest) declares a holy war against … Rajputana?  Much as I’m fascinated by the idea of a Jewish crusade for India, I kind of wish he’d focus on targets slightly closer to hand…

As is par for the course for my Emperors, Geteye dies mid-war.  He apparently wanted to tax his people into space?  Long Live Emperor Tekle!

Emperor Tekle is dipomatic and learned, but not very good in martial and stewardship.  He’s devoted himself to seducing women, which is not the most useful thing to be doing as he already has three sons.  I redirect his energies into rulership instead, which helps a little.

The vassals are plotting against the new emperor as usual.  Duke Tefre the Chaste of Ascalon is particularly angry, both because he’s a rival and because Emperor Tekle slept with his wife.  (Dude, what did you expect, being “the Chaste”?  Women have needs!)  Fortunately, there’a a wealth of blackmail material on him.

They have pills for that now, I think.

The war against the Sulamids is a success, and Ezana is installed as King of Syria, subservient to the Emperor.  That’s very convenient, since taking their remaining territory would otherwise have meant two or three more wars.  I do like a neat empire.

I’ve finally gotten my Tolerance technology up to level 6, which allows me to legally give women full equality.  The best part of this is that women can now lead armies — I can always use more talent in that area!

I would like to switch to Absolute Cognatic succession, which means that men and women are totally equal in succession rights.  (As opposed to Agnatic-Cognatic, where women inherit only if there are no male heirs.)  This is possible now that I have Full Status of Women, but requires a relatively peaceful realm, so it may be a while.

Also, it may cause problems for me.  The trouble is that even with full equality, the default marriage type still assigns children to the father’s dynasty.  Characters outside my control could therefore easily end up marrying a potential heir in a way that would cause her to have non-dynastic children.  If I manage to make this happen, I’m going to have to keep a close eye on my granddaughters marriages, probably by betrothing them early.  (You can do matrilineal marriage, but the AI tends not to.)

At this point, the holy war for Rajputana is not going terribly well.  A bunch of my vassals have joined up, but they’re not really accomplishing much.  I decide what the hell, I’ll go help out, and throw my hat in the ring.

Where the heck are we going again?  It’s that orange kingdom labeled Devid.  Not that far away, actually…

Emperor Tekle’s eldest son Gondar has come of age.  He’s not terrible so far.  I’ll get him married and having children as soon as his bride is old enough.

Having assembled an army and a fleet, I set out for India!  Most of the allied (blue) armies have decided they would rather walk.

Upon landing, the natives seem somewhat hostile, although the Kohen Gadol’s army is busy laying siege to something.

We win a few victories on unfamiliar territory, but there’s a lot of Indians joining in the war, and my army is a bit worn down.

I lose a big battle, though allied contingents are starting to arrive, and I debating whether it’s worth calling vassal troops up to try to salvage this war.  I mean, I would like an Indian kingdom, but I don’t need one…

Hilariously, with Full Status of Women, my best choice for a new commander is Princess Negasi the Unfaithful, aka my father’s oldest daughter, whose children he murdered and ate.  I guess she’s channeled her anger productively!

Before I can commit more troops to India, my vassals come knocking.  Why does this always happen when I’m on vacation?

As rebellions go, this is a pretty bad one.  My army gets back on its boats and hurries home, and I raise loyal vassal and mercenary troops.

In my absence, the war in India starts to go sour, as allied armies get clobbered by the resurgent Indians.  It’s so hard to find good help these days.

On the plus side, I smash the main rebel armies in relatively short order and lay siege to their capital.

In your face, Duke Teruworq II the Fat!  Actually, he looks pretty slender to be honest.  The usual confiscation of titles and redistribution ensues.

Emperor Tekle has become a drunkard, possibly because he’s not interested in women anymore.  He has still managed to sire three additional children, though!

The war in India is now going very poorly, and I decide it’s not worth trying to rescue.  *sniff* I didn’t really want an elephant anyway.

Eventually the Kohen Gadol throws in the towel.  Maybe next time.

Once again, the Emperor demonstrates his maturity.

Maybe this incident should inspire you to make some lifestyle changes?

With my threat fallen off a bit, I launch a quick holy war and seize the center of the Arabian peninsula.  

All this warring has really run down the treasury, so Emperor Tekle decides he wants a period of peace and prosperity.  This last for about five minutes until I see a chance to grab some more land.  Can you be like … an alcoholic, but for other people’s land?  (I think that’s just called “king”, honestly.)

Whatever his vice is, Emperor Tekle isn’t feeling good about it.

I mean, that does sound like something Duke Bworo the Usurper would do.  He’s always usurpin’.

Jesus Christ!  And his buddies.  Are coming to take my land.  Again.

Pope War III: Pope With a Vengeance.

Poor Emperor Tekle cannot even with this and promptly dies.  Long live Emperor Gondar!

Emperor Gondar’s not too bad, although he could use better stewardship and he’s managed to have no children in the past twelve years.  That’s not encouraging.  He has five brothers, though, so I’m not in danger if he dies young.

A cheese-eating eunuch, eh?  Sign me up!

Without a bunch of other wars to distract me, my armies are able to meet the crusaders at the shoreline and beat the crap out of them, so the war goes pretty well.

Third time: not the charm.


Fuckin’ … vassals, man.  Why do I even have vassals?

Wait.  His name is Geteye, and he only has one eye?  Bwahaha.  

General Zauditu and Princess Kess now top the list of the most martial Jews in Israel.

The rebellion goes about as well as such things usually do.  Sorry, Geteye, maybe you’ll find your eye in the dungeon!

I change up the structure of the realm a little bit, since I’m over the vassal limit and it’s causing problems.  I strip the duchies from a bunch of the rebellious dukes and assign them to other dukes, then put the former dukes as subordinates of the new ones.  It’s annoying to have to concentrate power like that, but it makes them easier to manage.

Now that the Indian distraction is out of the way and the inevitable revolt is over with, we’re back to conquering Arabia.  Holy war for Baghdad!  The Kufahyids are the only really serious Sunni power left.

Also, the Byzantines have made serious inroads into Persia.  It’s increasingly looking like I’m going to have to fight them at some point, which I’m not looking forward to — that’ll be tough.

Emperor Gondar finally manages to have a kid!  It’s a girl, but since she’s the only one she’s first in line of succession.  Will we end up with our first Empress?

Nobody seems to want to help the Kufahyids in their war, so it goes pretty well for me.

Victory!  But I will never be satisfied.

You’re next, Emir Ghalib.  On to Oman!

M … maybe don’t beat rabid dogs in the yard?  Don’t you have people for that?

Seriously, what is it with these Emperors and little kids?

More allies turn out for this war, but it’s not enough.  I’m trying to figure out how to take over the remaining land in the fewest possible wars.

Meanwhile, overseas, France is still huge, Poland is growing, and Ireland is taking over England.

The Byzantine Emperor is powerful, with 66,000 troops.

But at this point, Emperor Gondar the Holy is not far behind, with nearly 60,000.  He also has managed to have four daughters.

Unfortunately, one of them managed to catch the plague.  Dammit, Kayla, the Black Death is so last century!  Where’s that eunuch?

She died almost immediately.  Oh, well.

I’m actually getting close to everyone liking me enough to change the succession laws, though peace in the kingdom is still going to be tough.  Also, one of the rebellious nobles is hanging on in prison, and naturally hates me.  I decide to have him quietly murdered.


Finally, Judaism is getting quite popular!  Winning lots of holy wars helps with that.  My court rabbi goes from county to county converting people, while I wait out the truces to finish off the remnants of the Arabian Empire.  After that, a confrontation with the Byzantines seems inevitable…

Current Year: 1155 AD.  Current Status: Conquest-aholic?