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Content, Crusader Kings Series 3, Excluded, Games

Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part Two

Part One.  Updates Wednesdays!

When we left off, the brave founder of our dynasty had died, leaving his two-year-old orphan grandson in charge.  But that two year old is descended from the Emperor himself!

Time for a fresh quack!  Visiting holy sites is definitely a good qualification for being a doctor.

My regent, Arsenios, is the younger son of Taxiarches.  Fairy tales inform me that uncles being in charge of young heirs to the throne always end well, right?  But … dunno if I’m ready to murder him at age four.

(In retrospect I 100% should have murdered him.)

Here’s why I didn’t murder him — I’m trying hard to forge claims to more land.

And Arsenios, inconveniently, turns out to be the most awesome diplomat in the kingdom.  So I make him Magistros and dispatch him to forge some claims.  Maybe someone else will murder him for me?

He kind of sucks at everything else and he has a stupid haircut.

Taxiarches II grows up with the usual shenanigans.

Although around age twelve he has to spend some time in hiding until I convince Strategos Pantoleon the Seducer to cool it with the murder plots.

Still, he likes poetry and is turning out pretty well.  And, evil uncle or not, Arsenios has been doing a fantastic job forging claims!  

When another civil war breaks out, I could make a play for the Empire.  But I’d only get crushed.  Fortunately, Byzantine civil wars are like subways — if you don’t like the look of this one, another will be along in a few minutes.

Taxiarches II didn’t turn out to be quite the administrator I wanted.  But he’s happily married and ready to get to warring!

First target, Anatolia, where I have claims to both Dorylaion and Ikonikon.

Buuuut Uncle Arsenios is trying to kill me again.  Now that I’m grown, I can have him arrested, but since he’s a count that means a civil war while I’m already fighting Anatolia.

I settle for sending sternly worded notes to his co-conspirators, which knocks his plot power down under the 100% threshold.  That means I should be reasonably safe, and I can deal with him after the war is over.

Nooooo don’t go in the creepy basement!

Well, shit.

(Get it?)

So, in spite of all my efforts, Taxiarches II ended up getting murdered by his wicked uncle, just as the Brothers Grimm foretold.  Shockingly, said wicked uncle stands to inherit the throne!  What a twist!

Arsenios, I choose you!

Arsenios has managed to become better at diplomacy and even worse at everything else.  Wonderful.  Time for damage control.

My war against Anatolia has stopped, because Arsenios only has weak claims, and can’t press them against a strong ruler.  More importantly, I’m rapidly running out of dynasty.  With his only son dead, he has just the one child to be heir, and I have no cousins to help me run my extra counties.  To remedy this, I quick make sure my remaining unmarried sisters get matrilineal marriages for “Operation Breed Some Cousins”, and switch Arsenios to Family focus for “Operation Bone Your Wife”.

Unfortunately, the latter is somewhat impeded by the onset of gout, which is apparently going to be the family curse.

Dammit, I told you no eating cats!  My life isn’t worth it!

Meanwhile, in order to press my weak claims, I need Anatolia to be ruled by a child.  That means murdering my way down the line of succession.  I start with Strategos Ioustinos, with significant aid from his wife.

Whose name is, awesomely, Aikaterine Drakokephalos.

One down, one to go!  I wonder if Aikaterine will be up for helping me murder her son, too.

I’m Batman.

Batman has heart problems.

Also, how did the murderous Arsenios end up with a jolly nickname like “the Troubadour”?

That bodes poorly.  Also, the realm is wracked by civil war.  Again.

Tepid?!  Pregnant sow urine should be served chilled or not at all!

In the background, the Imperial army has an epic throwdown with the rebels.

Poor Arsenios didn’t get very long to enjoy the throne he murdered his nephew for.  Can’t say that I’m sorry, really.

Unfortunately, we’re going to run into serious succession problems if we keep losing rulers like this!  The future of the Katakylas dynasty rests on Arsenios’ daughter’s young shoulders.

Chrysogone, I choose you!

Chrysogone is doing … okay.  Her stewardship isn’t great, because someone decided to raise her as a warrior.  Maybe Arsenios was compensating for the death of his son?

Count Diogenes, of whom more later, immediately leads a rebellion against the young Duchess.

Fortunately, I haven’t had much to do during the regency, so I’ve saved up a considerable war chest.  My mercenaries make short work of the rebels and Diogenes and his friends go to prison.

Chrysogone is already thinking along the right lines, I see.

The Byzantines do not fuck around with prisoners, jeez.  I decide to hang on to Diogenes for now and let him keep his balls.

Chrysogone is a 10-year-old girl version of Liam Neeson.

But she ends up befriending the culprit!  What a twist!

I’m getting mixed signals from this kid. 

Alright, who gave her Atlas Shrugged as bedtime reading?

Operation Cousin Breeding has borne some fruit, though both my aunt and her husband are now dead.  (The latter of rebelling against me.)

Chrysogone finally comes of age.  She’s brave, cruel, and an incompetent administrator.  Not great stats, honestly.  I marry her to a high-stewardship husband to mitigate that somewhat.

“What do you love about me, Chrysogone?”

“Your administrative efficiency, Obeko.  It gets me hot and bothered.”

This turns out to be literally true?

Lustful: the negative trait I’m always glad to have.

All that hard work pays off!

Also, I’m sleeping with the Orthodox Pope now.

Hurrah!  The dynasty continues.

Expansion-wise, I’ve got one easy pickup left, the last county that’s de jure part of Cilicia, so I go for that.

My liege is totally uncool with accepting my unsolicited donations in exchange for a favor.  It’s definitely not like I’m going to want to marry a princess again!  (I totally would.)

Build a bridge out of him!

So, my uncle, Count Diogenes, hates me and is a traitor.  But for some reason he has a claim on Ikonion, a county adjoining my territory.  Since he’s already my vassal, grabbing him another county will add it to my realm.  Also, pressing his claims will make him love me.  So yes, Diogenes, I am very concerned about the injustice done to you!

Quack quack.

Pretty sure that’s not the Great Pox.

Given the doctor’s general incompetence, I restrain Chrysogone from taking the “let’s try something new” option.

At least he consulted some star charts first.  Gotta be safe.

Fortunately Chrysogone is a badass.

Prosecuting my expansion wars is an exercise in carefully maneuvering around the rebel armies as they hash out their beef with the Emperor.  Have fun, guys!  Good luck storming the castle!

But I manage it, and add another county under the rule of the grateful Diogenes.

Psh, I had measles, it was weak.

My vassals are getting shirty about so many wars, so I decide to calm down for a while.

With a few children already born, Chrysogone (only 23!) switches to studying the mysteries of gold in order to build up the ol’ war chest.  I spend the proceeds on improving my castles, for future wars.

Later, Jews!  See you in a few years!

And yet the Emperor still won’t submit to my totally reasonable bribes!

Clergy, man.  Always judging you.

I’ve got a claim on Dorylaion, next door to Ikonion.  But I’m still in a truce toward the guy ruling it, so I need to wait for a while and/or kill him.

We can pass the time by burning the witch Catholic!

To help with her stewardship, Chrysogone spends some time running an inn, I guess?  These names are all uninspired.  Where’s “The Rampant Dragon”?

At the very least we can have a poetry-reciting ass!

“I swear I thought they meant Jim Carrey!”

Note to self: verify all talking animals before advertising.

For two stewardship, I would do a lot worse.

A woman wants to be marshal!  And she’s awesome at it, so she’s in, whatever the stick-in-the-mud councilors might say.

In the background, Empire riven by civil war, thousands dead, blah blah blah.  Tuesday, basically.

Heeeeey, isn’t that the dude who wasn’t helping me when I was blackout drunk?

Guards!  Seize him!

I resent the implication that I had him killed.  I merely put him in the darkest, nastiest part of the dungeon with no food.  Technically, the rats are guilty.

Time to introduce Arsenios to the realm!  Although, frankly, with stewardship three he’s already a disappointment.  Plus he’s indolent, which means he’ll do badly with a stewardship education.  Who raised this kid?

Soooo my half-sister is sleeping with the dude I’m trying to kill?  A little help here, sis?

Chrysogone’s husband has died of something or other, so she goes abroad looking for a young hunk with an accounting background.

Immediately I start getting offers to try to kill him.  Just because you’re stuck with my stupid brother, Adosinda, is no reason to be jealous.

Hmm.  On the one hand, I do like burning witches.  On the other hand, Diogenes is personally indebted to me and has other useful claims.  I think he can live … for now …

One of the rebellions offers to let me on the team.  I consider it, but there’s not much upside.  I’ll keep my head down for now.

Chrysogone is slowly progressing toward basic competence!

There are now two simultaneous rebellions dividing the empire.  Honestly, do I really want to be in charge of this place?

One of the rebel armies uncouthly takes over my capital and captures all my children.

Tiberios takes the opportunity of being imprisoned to tell me he wants to become a monk.

Kid, you’re like eight.  You don’t know what you’re missing.

Eventually the revolt ends and I ransom my kids back.  Yes, yes, I love you enough to pay 14 gold a head.

Although frankly, maybe I should have let them keep Arsenios.  He’s turned out to be an incompetent diplomat, trusting, craven, and greedy.  Not exactly the makings of a great ruler.  

Kids these days, I swear!  He’d better give me grandkids ASAP.

 

Current Year: 837 AD

Current Status: Not Angry, Just Disappointed

 

Content, Crusader Kings Series 3, Excluded, Games

Pax Romana 2: Electric Boogaloo, Part One

It seems like every few months I get the urge to go back to Crusader Kings.  So far we’ve had Ethiopian Jews building a new Israel in The Promised Land RELOADED, and Viking warriors taking over most of Europe in How Do I Vike.  A bunch of the comments mentioned doing a Roman Empire playthrough, which I’ve read a few of but never actually done myself.  So let’s try it!

Caveats!  I play CKII in a somewhat suboptimal way for roleplaying and amusement, so if you’re hardcore I apologize if it frustrates you.  CKII touches on various real-world religions and topics, so please don’t take too literally any comments about burning heretics and so on.  Lastly, as a logistical note, my plan is to post these every Wednesday, so check back weekly!

As usual, this is a game where we set our own goals.  This time that’s pretty easy — I want to reestablish the Roman Empire!  That involves being a Christian Byzantine Emperor and taking over some old Roman territory, which is a pretty tall order.  If we get past that, we can try to reclaim the old borders of the Roman Empire, which is most of Western Europe and Britain.  Yikes.  Well, you gotta have dreams!

Here’s the world of 769 AD.  The most notable feature, from the Byzantine point of view, is the huge Abbasid empire that dominates the Islamic world.  That could be a serious problem in relatively short order.

To found our hopefully mighty dynasty we have Strategos Taxiarches Katakylas of Nikea.  Side note: I think it’s a rule that almost all Byzantine names and titles work as Pokemon.  “Taxiarches, I choose you!”

Anyway, Taxiarches is an excellent warrior and a mediocre administrator, while being absolutely crap at diplomacy.  He’s zealous, greedy, chaste, and gluttonous.  Chaste isn’t a great trait for a dynasty founder, and may explain why he’s unmarried with no children at age 31.  Fortunately, now I’m in charge, and we can fix that!

Step one: acquire wife.  I find one with good stewardship to make up for my deficiency in that area.  She’s not super fond of me but I don’t see how that’s relevant.  (Note: Unlike in my viking game, I’m not played in a gender-neutral world, since it would make my political conquest of the Byzantine Empire considerably more complicated.)  Anastasia, welcome to Nikea!

Step two: choose the “Groom an Heir” ambition and the “Family” lifestyle, both of which provide fertility bonuses, for Maximum Sexytimes.

Step three: profit!  (Stealing underwear may have been in there somewhere, too.)

With that underway, we can get back to politics.  Here is Nikea, in bold, aggressive pink, just across the Sea of Marmara from Constantinople.

Thankfully, unlike in my viking game, we are not stuck with God-damned gavelkind inheritance.  It’s good old-fashion Agnatic-Cognatic Primogeniture for us!  (This is standard-issue Game of Thrones inheritance: the oldest son inherits, with women eligible only if there are no males in the direct line.  So the succession runs Robb-Bran-Rickon-Sansa-Arya.)

Unfortunately, we have another problem.  While I have a duke-level title and four counties, I am not technically a Duke.  Instead I am a Strategos.  This is more like an administrator, appointed by the Emperor, and the title will revert to him on my death.  This is obviously less than ideal.  So my first goal try and build up a power base during Taxiarches’ lifetime that he can pass on to his children.  That means a) holding as many counties as possible personally, rather than through vassals, and b) trying to get myself a “real” duchy in my own right rather than one granted by the Emperor.  The latter means taking some territory and creating it myself, probably.

First, though, we’ve got to get ourselves a quack.  Always need one of those.

The Basileus (Emperor) is quick off the block, declaring a holy war immediately.  I cautiously raise some troops to try and get in on the looting.

This goes wrong immediately as my vassals rebel, demanding more power.  Fucking vassals.

Unfortunately, they get the better of me, and I don’t have money for mercenaries.  Fine you guys can have bathroom breaks, I guess.

Drakokephalos is a pretty awesome name though.  Means “Dragon Cove” maybe?

My liege apparently appreciates my efforts, though.  He names me to his council and then offers me a favor in exchange for my vote.  A favor on your liege is pretty valuable, so I’m happy about this.

The only thing Taxiarches the Fat loves more than war is shopping!

Anything that divides the Muslim world is good for us here in Byzantium.

My wife manages to produce a suitably male offspring on her second try.  Now we’re getting somewhere dynasty-wise.

The only thing Taxiarches the Fat likes better than shopping is drinking in front of his council until he passes out!

The Emperor has an unmarried daughter, who will inherit at least a weak claim on the whole Empire.  Normally she wouldn’t marry someone as lowly as my son, but I nudge the Emperor in the ribs and say, “Hey, you owe me one, remember?”  So the infant Konstantinos is betrothed to an Imperial princess.

Unfortunately for Nikephoros, I am not yet prepared to delve into the dark arts.

Also my “rival” is just the dude who saw me drunk, so I don’t really need to turn to black magic to get rid of him.

The Emperor is mad at the Jews.  This happens a lot, honestly.  The Jews probably just have vacation homes somewhere nice.

At least one of them is coming to be my replacement quack, so they can’t be THAT banished.

Who’s up for a nice game of tyzkanter … tzykantr … horse-net-goal!

To get things started expansion-wise, I recruit an awesome diplomat and make him Magistros, then set him to forging claims against some exterior neighbors.  The Emperor intermittently enforces a no-internal-wars policy, unfortunately, at least when he’s strong.

Soon enough this pays off, and I can go steal some land from the Armenians!

Fortunately, they are quite weak and I easily win, getting a second country under my personal rule.  My Magistros goes to work forging more claims.

For my next trick, I start picking on my own nobles.  In order to revoke their titles without everybody hating me, I have my spymaster gin up some accusations and then call them out.  This is good because a) they’ve already revolted against me, so screw them, and b) when Taxiarches dies, his son won’t be Strategos, so if I want to hold on to Nikea I need to own it personally.

Orthodoxy and Iconoclasm continue to war for the soul of the Empire.  My official position is “whichever the Emperor wants” since I don’t want to get excommunicated.

That is one good looking apostle!  Honestly, I just need stewardship, since I’m going to have to hold a lot of land personally before we’re done.

Things are looking good, though!  My clever spymaster has let me accuse yet another noble of treachery and seize his land, giving me three of four Nikean counties.  Meanwhile, my magistros has forged claims to two more counties in Cilicia, so I can take them off the Addauids!

And Konstantinos is turning out pretty well.  Everything’s coming up Katakylas!

The war drags on a long time and some of my vassals are pissed off at me, but otherwise it’s going okay.

“Come on back, Jews!  The Emperor definitely won’t repeat this cycle once or twice a generation!”

Victory!  I now hold three out of five counties in the Duchy of Cilicia, which is enough to usurp it from its current holder.  Unfortunately, I can’t do that while the current holder is at war, and he’s at war with like four different people.  So we’ll wait.

Meanwhile, Konstantinos turned out great, and married the Princess Anthousa as promised!  Now I need them to breed, which means their descendants will inherit their mother’s claim on the Empire, which I can use to take over when the Emperor is weak.

Which actually happens quite a lot.  Two simultaneous revolts break out, and I try to stay out of the line of fire.

I’m not sure if it’s because there’s a teenaged girl as Basilissa, or because she’s engaged to her uncle.

Taxiarches suffers the consequences of his gluttonous lifestyle.

Ahh, the old rat-cure!  Not so good actually.

Let’s stick with the flatulent goat.  That’s much safer.

Konstantios is ready to take over the throne!  He’s a spectacular administrator, though not much of a warrior.  And his wife is pregnant!

Well, shit.  No sooner am I exulting than Konstantinos dies of consumption.  The rest of the court, including his pregnant wife, are secluded from the illness but starving to death.  Prepare the emergency backup son!

Well, she managed to have the baby, also named Taxiarches, before also dying of consumption.  I quickly bring the infant to my court.

However, Cilicia is finally at peace, which means I can usurp it!  Now I’ve got a Duke-level title (Doux) that won’t disappear with my death, ensuring my successors can retain their vassals.

Taxiarches is getting old, and the land is ravaged by smallpox AND consumption.  He has his grandson, his emergency backup son, and some daughters.

For the moment, anyway.  Plagues, man!

On the plus side, as Doux of Cilicia, I have de jure claims against the two remaining counties, and the new, weaker Emperor doesn’t mind me attacking my neighbors.  So I start a war to get them to pay proper tribute.

Well that’s … certainly a thing, that happened.

Sadly, before I can finish the war, gout catches up to Taxiarches.  Still, not a bad career at all — from one personal county to six, and claiming a duchy to serve as a power base.

Taxiarches II, I choose you!

Unfortunately Taxiarches II is only two years old.  So we’ve got a long regency to look forward to …

 

Current Year: 795 AD

Current Status: Toilet-Training

Content, Crusader Kings Series 2, Excluded, Games

The How Do I Vike Series

In How Do I Vike, I play as Norse pagans in Crusader Kings II, attempting to unite Scandinavia under my banner and spread the worship of Odin and Thor!

Part One: In which I don’t actually become a Viking.

(769 AD – 783 AD)

 

 

 

 

Part Two: In which I deal with succession issues, get conquered by Denmark, and start learning to set things on fire.

(783 AD – 815 AD)

 

 

 

Part Three: In which I free myself from Danish rule, create the Kingdom of Lapland, become a Viking for real, and have an immortal dog who eats people.

(815 AD – 857 AD)

 

 

 

Part Four: In which I pledge myself to dark powers and devour my own children.

(857 AD – 882 AD)

 

 

 

Part Five: In which I reform the Germanic religion and adopt feudalism.

(882 AD – 905 AD)

 

 

 

 

Part Six: In which the kingdom threatens to break apart.

(905 AD – 936 AD)

 

 

 

 

Part Seven: In which I harass Robin Hood and deal with seniority succession.

(936 AD – 969 AD)

 

 

 

 

Part Eight: In which I have another mad queen and inch closer to my dream of empire.

(969 AD – 1006 AD)

 

 

 

Part Nine: In which I establish ultimogeniture succession, create the Empire of Scandinavia, and name my horse chancellor.

(1006 AD – 1042 AD)

 

 

 

Part Ten: In which the invasion of England begins.

(1042 AD – 1083 AD)

 

 

 

 

Part Eleven: In which I inherit Austrasia, complete the conquest of England, and survive the Black Death.

(1083 AD – 1122 AD)

 

 

 

Part Twelve: In which I add Scotland to the bag, fight off a Crusade, and sleep with my horse.

(1122 AD – 1162 AD)

 

 

 

 

Part Thirteen: In which I complete the conquest of the British Isles and win a Great Holy War for France.

(1162 AD – 1199 AD)

 

 

 

Part Fourteen: In which Germany and more of France fall before the Scandinavian juggernaut.

(1199 AD – 1233 AD)

 

 

 

Part Fifteen: In which I break the power of the Mongols and take Italy.

(1233 AD – 1280 AD)

 

 

 

 

Part Sixteen: In which I declare victory.

(1280 AD – 1307 AD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Content, Crusader Kings Series 2, Excluded, Games

How Do I Vike, Part Sixteen FINALE

Part One, Part TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart Ten, Part Eleven, Part TwelvePart Thirteen, Part Fourteen, and Part Fifteen.

When we left Empress Grima, she’d just taken over Italy.  For reasons I’ll go into below, I decide to wrap up the campaign after one more Great Holy War, so let’s try and get there!

Getting there alive may be harder than planned.

That’s especially unfortunate because my heir Ulfhildr has turned out to be Dull, which hurts her stats badly.

On the religious front, Catholicism has been knocked way back, as I start spreading Odin-worship to Italy.

And just because people are trying to kill me is no reason to be bummed!

A Spanish revolt offers a nice opportunity.  The revolt leader isn’t part of the grand alliance and isn’t covered by a truce, so I can grab a duchy off him with a quick holy war.

Needless to say things are wrapped up quickly.

It’s starting to get hard to fit my empire onto one screen!

In the far east, my vassals have fought all the way to Moscow.

Ulfhildr comes of age.  She’s not terrible, but she didn’t live up to her early promise, unfortunately.

Shortly thereafter, Grima dies a natural death, bringing her epic reign to a close.  Smashing France, Italy, and the Mongols is a pretty good career!  Ulfhildr also looks almost exactly like her.

Conveniently, that cancels the truce with the Spanish revolt, which is still ongoing!  I quickly start a holy war with them and grab Savoy.

The last Christians in England, a band of Catholic hold-outs in Surrey, finally come over to the winning team.

In spite of her mediocre abilities, Ulfhildr is now “The Sword of Odin”.  I’ll take it!

Since my truce with Spain proper is broken as well with Grima’s death, I start a holy war against them too.  This means fighting the whole world again, but I’m not very concerned.

As expected, the war comes to a conclusion long before most of the allied forces can even show up.

Rome, meanwhile, has fallen to the Byzantines!

I end up with a revolt of my own, but since France and Scandinavia stay loyal, it’s pretty easy to crush.

There have been so many of these the game has literally stopped counting.

I kind of wish I could cede the throne to my older sister Elin, actually, because she’s become amazing, with a martial score approaching the likes of Ottarr or Genghis Khan.  I make her my marshal and general instead.

Once the revolt is over, Ulfhildr tries for five years of peace, to raise her stewardship and prepare for the upcoming crusade.

Inexplicably, though, the Aslamids in Spain declare war on me, to contest the claim of some random temple holding in the middle of nowhere.  What?

It doesn’t go well for them.  If they couldn’t beat me with the entire world on their side, why do they think they can do it alone?

I already hold the Empires of Scandinavia, Germania, and Brittania.  I could usurp Francia now — the current holder no longer has any land in its territory.  The problem is that I’d then get it with laws intact, including succession laws, which would be a pain to change and could result in my realm breaking up.  No thanks.

Since Spain so helpfully abrogated their truce with me, I counter-attack and grab another duchy off them in a holy war.

Things are looking cleaner by the minute!

Another holy war, this time to grab some stray Italian territory.  Irritatingly I don’t get it all, because some is occupied by their other enemies.  We can sort that out later, I suppose.

Odin and Thor are everywhere triumphant!

Ulfhildr’s heir is coming along.  Hopefully he’s smarter than his mother.

My sister Elin, in her forties but still a mighty warrior, leads a campaign against the Byzantines to claim part of Croatia.

I’m getting ready for a Great Holy War of my own, but the Pope beats me to the punch.  Apparently he wants his fancy house back.

Pope War III: The Search for Pope.  (Considering I endured something like 10+ crusades in my Jewish game, three is not so bad!)

Fortunately there just aren’t that many Catholic powers left.  He’s got the crusading orders and a few steppe nomands.

Bjorn, Nonsense Doctor.

“It’s cancer, Doctor Bjorn!  What should we do?”

“Off with her leg!”

Actually not a bad recovery time, all things considered.

“I prescribe 1,000,000 CCs of dog!”

The crusade drags on.  The Pope no longer has any territory for me to attack, so it’s just whack-a-mole whenever his various armies decide to have another try at me.

Do diplomats really get weather-bitten?

The Crusade finally ends.  Thanks for the donation, your holiness!

With that accomplished, I can finally launch my own Great Holy War for the heart of Spain.

Duchess Elin, now known as The Lionheart and fightier than ever, leads my forces to the front.  Honestly, though, the hardest thing is getting everyone there without starving.

A peasant revolt breaks out in Poitiers literally as my giant army is marching past.  That seems like a bad time to revolt, guys.

The actual war is pretty brief.  Half the fun is getting there, I guess.

That’s a lot of Scandinavia!

On the other side of the world, the Byzantines seem to have fractured badly, too…

But, I think it’s about time to bring our Scandinavian adventure to a close.  Astute readers might notice that the game doesn’t require you to end before 1453, so I technically have about a hundred and fifty years left.  So why stop here?

Well, basically, because I’ve won.  I’ve long since completed my initial goals of uniting Scandinavia, reforming the German religion, and becoming feudal.  I figured taking over France would be the endgame, but we rolled over them and just kept on going.  With my last holy war having gutted Spain, there’s literally just no one left who can stop me.  My levies total about 200,000 men — the biggest remaining powers, like Jerusalem, the Byzantines, and the largest of the Muslim empires can barely muster 30,000.  

Also, as you might be able to tell from this section, things get a little less interesting story-wise at this point.  If I kept going, it would just be more of the same — holy war after holy war.  They’re kind of boring to play, too, since it takes way more time to gather up my armies and deliver them to the target then to actually win the war.  

So, let’s call that an empire!

My dynasty score of 244,678 is in the same range as the one from my Israel game.  If I played out another hundred and fifty years, it’d probably be higher, since I’m holding something like four empires now!

Let’s take a look at our kings:

Top to bottom, left to right.  Standouts include Gloð, whose 52-year rule prepared the way for the infamous Ottarr to reform the religion and convert to feudalism, plus eat his children; Luder-Udo, whose record 62-year reign cemented the power of the Empire; Gorm, who crippled France, and Grima, who presided over the final ascension of Scandinavia to ultimate European superpower.

My strategy of ultimogeniture worked pretty well, too.  After Wulfhild changed the succession laws, we had a few regencies, but nothing catastrophic, and plenty of very long and successful reigns.

It’s fun playing with Gender Equality turned on, too, even if it creates a few weirdnesses succession-wise.  Viking warrior-queens for everyone, and thanks for reading!

Current Year: 1307 AD.  Current Status: Victorious!

Content, Crusader Kings Series 2, Excluded, Games

How Do I Vike, Part Fifteen

Part One, Part TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart Ten, Part Eleven, Part TwelvePart Thirteen, and Part Fourteen.

Last time, the death of mad Emperor Rikulfr had left seven-year-old Grima on the throne.  Regencies are always tricky.

Isn’t she a little young to be making this decision?  Eh.  Burn the witch!

Burning people alive is apparently an okay call for a seven-year-old to make, but imprisoning Catholics requires council approval.  Bah.

Fortunately some Catholics are less liked than others.

This leads to an empire-wide Catholic rebellion, more or less as intended.  Always good to stomp on the vassals to keep them in line.  Some peasants throw in for good measure.

Honestly, just burn all the witches.  You don’t even have to ask.

Also, Ale apparently is gender-fluid?  At least in terms of his mode of address.

The rebellion is pretty short-lived, and I march in and burn down their capital.

Don’t worry, little peasants, I’ll be sure to turn up and, um, hear your grievances.

At 13, Grima has cynical and kinslayer, and her stats aren’t great.  Fortunately, most of her angry vassals are in prison.

The empire is looking better than ever, though!  My vassals have really made solid progress in the north, with the independent Russian states rapidly being squeezed between me and the Mongols.

Genghis Khan is dead, and while the new Khan is no match for him in terms of military skill, the empire is still powerful.

So I can either be gay, or into my cousin.

Gay it is!  Ironically, “Lustful” and “Homosexual” cancel one another out in terms of their effect on your fertility.

You know what they say, 27th time’s the charm!

Finally, Grima’s regency ends.  

Her stats are highly underwhelming, unfortunately.  We’ve got some studying to do.

She marries Steinn, commander of the Varangian Guard, an excellent steward and a decent warrior.  That’ll help some.

Now that I don’t have to worry about my council, I can strip the lands from my Catholic vassals and redistribute them to proper Germans.  Generally when I do this, I search for people who are a) part of my dynasty and b) have a high opinion of me.  Since Grima is a lesbian, and thus gets +30 attraction from other lesbians, this sorts them all to the top.  So my new vassal rulers are basically the Lesbian Brigade.

Old, blind doctor Ale actually provides sensible remedies.

Francia still has this weird island of territory in the middle of my empire.  Honestly, that’s just untidy.  So we’re going to have to take care of it with a Great Holy War.  This means fighting the entire world, more or less, but I’m used to that by now.

Fortunately, my vassals are eager to join in the fun!

My husband Steinn sadly dies, but I manage to trade up to a much superior model.

The combined forces of Christendom turn up and get a solid kicking.

The young new Emperor of Francia is willing to surrender at 86%, which is unusual.  Still, I’ll take it!

There, much cleaner.

Of course, now I need new vassals to hold all this land for me.  Summon the Lesbian Brigade!

At 18, Grima is already “the Glorious”, in spite of her stat-line.  Most of her vassals are unhappy, though.

More like, “Sigh, husband, you have performed your boring but vital function.”

England is almost entirely free of Catholics and back on the path to Valhalla.

On the other side of the empire, though, the Queen of Pomerania is Catholic and refuses to recant.  Surprisingly, she meekly assents to be stripping her of all titles, rather than starting a war about it.

Let there be a new, gayer queen!

“Guys, I know the last 27 times ended up with heads on spikes, but sooner or later she has to run out of spikes, am I right?”

One of my vassals apparently had his wife burned at the stake.  Harsh.

But sure, he can marry my sister.  I mean, he needs a new wife, right?  And she never seemed flammable.

Best doctor.

Sadly, he kills himself not long afterward.

My vassals are busily shredding the remains of Francia, now that I’ve cut them down to size.

I was a little worried about drawing a Crusade, but apparently taking back minor Italian islands is more important than France.  Or possibly the Pope is scared of me now?

Speaking of France.  The King of France hates me and threatens to rebel.  I can’t lock him up, because he hasn’t done anything, but I can try to kill him, and there are so many people willing to help.  The assassins are standing in line.

Uh-oh.  They’ve finally decided to take a shot at me.

On the plus side, they’re no longer quite the monsters they once were.  The Mongols spawn at the eastern edge of the map with a stack of 100k+ troops, which gradually gets worn down through their conquests.  Their ordinary troops are much less formidable.  So this is, at least, doable.

Here’s the doomstack.  The biggest difficulty (for me) is that the Mongol event troops are immune to attrition, so they never have supply issues.  This is a problem, since we’re fighting in the east, where supplies are pretty scarce.  While I have more troops then they do, if I try to concentrate them in one place they’ll starve to death.  The Mongols don’t have this issue, so they don’t have to split their forces.

Meanwhile, the King of France finds out about my plot to kill him (possibly because I told literally everyone) and goes into hiding, which makes it trickier.

To make matters worse in the Mongol war, the fortifications in the east pretty much suck, which means the Mongols can take almost everything by storm.  So the war gets way down in the negative side for me very quickly, and I have to do some fancy footwork to avoid losing outright.  I finally lure the main Mongol army north, while my army lives aboard ship in Lake Ladoga (which does not require supplies).  The battle is tight, but I pull it out.

Grima doesn’t let it get in the way of a sapphic wilderness tryst or two, though.

Yes, guys, this is exactly the time.

Two can play at the game of assaulting castles, and I get the warscore back to neutral by rapidly seizing a bunch of Mongol territory around the lake.

When they come back north, I’m ready for them.  One army confronts the horde while another rapidly frees the castles they took, pushing my score back up.

Finally.  This is one of the hardest wars I’ve had to fight, due to the supply weirdness, in spite of my having an overall advantage.  It would have been impossible if I hadn’t been able to stash armies aboard fleets.

However, the result is that I’ve broken Mongol power for good.  With the last of their spawned troops mostly slaughtered, they’re reduced to relying on their conquered territory for soldiers, which isn’t much of a threat.

Oh, yeah.  These guys.

Since King Oddr is in hiding, I turn to another dissatisfied king, who is also hated by all and sundry.  We take him by surprise, so he goes down easy.

Back to trying to kill Oddr.  It should be easy, with this much help!  Just dogpile him, guys!

 

At 28, Grima is improving.  She’s picked up hunter, humble, and diligent, and her martial and stewardship have both reach at least average levels.  She has one daughter so far, and I’d prefer a few more.

She also brought one of the teenage girls she keeps seducing back to court.

With the Mongol threat dealt with, it’s time to settle Brittany, which is still owned by Spain.  This involves basically the entire world going to war with me, due to my high threat, but I should be able to rush Brittany down before anyone can really do anything about it.

And we may be able to pry King Oddr out of his spider-hole!  Life is good.

Through copious expenditure of lives, Brittany’s castles fall before any enemy armies get close enough to do anything about it, and Spain concedes the point.

Unfortunately, all my attempts to kill Oddr have come to naught.  Since he’s plotting against me, I declare him an enemy of the state instead, and get ready to fight the inevitable rebellion.

While that’s a charming tactic, we’re already at war with him.  So it’s a little late.

A gang of vassals decide to throw their hats into the ring as well.  Because she’s kinslayer and lesbian, Grima is consistently pretty unpopular.

Fortunately, Scandinavia proper and much of England remain loyal, so I have plenty of troops to work with.

I smash the rebels in the east and lay siege to Denmark.

Pretty soon, Oddr once again stands alone.

But not for long.

Grima decides to try for five years of peace, to let the realm recover a little bit.

Pretty sure Grima’s familiar with the whole “attraction for another woman” thing.  Sword of Odin sounds pretty good, though…

Hmm.  I suppose that’s always a risk.

Religion-wise, things are coming along!  Catholicism is being steadily pushed back, along with the Orthodoxy the French Emperors brought over and the Sunnis from Spain.

Again, Þora?  Well, if you insist…

Uhoh.  But, wait, no.  That’s not how that works.

The capital gets a drilling ground!  This is actually a spectacular bonus, since I have four castles there and it generates over ten thousand troops.

On one of her viking expeditions (which still count as “peace”) Grima gets a sweet epic drop!

Weirdly, the Bashah of Spain has become a Catholic!

And the Mongol Khan has become Orthodox.  What’s going on?

At 41 Grima is doing better.  She’s got four children, and has picked up Viking, Zealous, and Kind.  She’s under a lot of stress, though.

I’ll be friends with anyone named Vesei Priest-Hater!

Honestly, I don’t begrudge my husband an affair or two.

But she’s apparently determined to win him back.

My eldest daughter dies in childbirth.  Going to check on her kids, I notice that my dynasty has gotten kind of enormous.  The family tree is pretty hard to make sense of now!

Five years!  Whew.  Time for some wars.

I consider taking Burgundy off the Aslamids, continuing my subjugation of France.  But if I’m going to fight all of Christendom, I’d prefer a more ambitious target…

That’s right, Pope!  Odin is coming for you!

King Oddr, in spite of my attempts to murder him and his current imprisonment, is happy to join in the fight!  What a guy.

With the Byzantines in the war, some large armies gather in Italy.  My vassals are eager to help, though.

Chaos in Italy!  These crusades certainly are lively.  Unfortunately at this point my screenshots got cut off because my hard drive was full with CK2 screenshots and saves!

TL;DR — we won.  Rather easily.  At this point there’s not much left that poses a real threat!  So Italy is mine, finally linking distant Serbia to the empire by land.  My threat is through the roof, but I almost don’t care anymore.

Another treasonous king meets his end.  Someone should name me Kingslayer, right?  Much easier than fighting revolts, especially since everyone always seems to hate them.

And another king goes to jail for embracing Jesus.  I wonder why he’s so eager to be on the wrong side of history.

Testing the theory that I no longer have to worry about threat, I go to war with Spain again for a chunk of southern France.

It goes pretty badly for them, despite having literally the entire world on their side.  Hmm.

Victory!  My empire now extends into Africa, which was previously part of the Kingdom of Italy.

While Grima has declined a bit with age, her total troop strength is now over 140,000.

Her heir, Princess Ulfhildr, is coming along too!

Current Year: 1280 AD.  Current Status: Queen of the World.

 

 

 

Content, Crusader Kings Series 2, Excluded, Games

How Do I Vike, Part Fourteen

Part One, Part TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart Ten, Part Eleven, Part Twelve, and Part Thirteen.

Last time, Emperor Gorm was riding high after his conquest of France, in spite of constant Catholic revolts.

While I wait for threat to go down, I raid Brittany again.  This time, though, when the Aslamid army comes to try and kick me out, I raise the levies of France and smash them.  How dare you try to stop me from burning down your cities, sir?

This exploit earns Gorm official Viking status!  Though honestly he’s more a conqueror than a raider.

There, everything nicely aflame, as is right and proper.

My vassals are so content that hardly any of them are plotting treason!

It’s now been thirty years since the last Great Holy War, so we can have another one.  I don’t mean to pick on the French, but they’re looking increasingly weak.  My threat is still high enough that other Christians will join them, even if they are Orthodox, but I think I can handle it.

Germanic War For Germany!  Christendom lines up on one side, Pagandom on the other.

The main French army turns out to be over here in Nantes.

I finally run them to ground and take an early lead in the war.

Wars with lots of allies are difficult to keep track of, and hard for me to fight in my usual meticulous style.  I don’t like losing troops to attrition, for example, but it’s hard to avoid when ally stacks you don’t have control over are eating all the food.  You just have to make the best of it and try to do damage as quickly as you can.

Not a great time, guys.

France and Germany are a total mess of marching armies.

For the most part, though, I’m getting the upper hand.

The army of Jerusalem has decided that their contribution to the war will be laying siege to Dyfed.

Victory is ours!  Praise Thor indeed.

Once-mighty Francia is now crippled enough that hopefully my vassals will start grabbing bits of it.

Oh, don’t worry guys.  I haven’t forgotten about you.

Gorm’s mother finally passes away at 71.  No one commanded a bloodthirsty legion quite like her.

My threat is now sky-high of course.  I decide to try for five years of peace to let things cool down a bit.

In spite of Catholic treachery, the true faith is spreading nicely once again.

Side story: this young Muslim woman I’d captured, Ide de Bissy, was a) pretty awesome at stewardship and b) reasonably friendly, so I recruited her from the dungeons.  A bag of gold encouraged her to give up her faith and join the winning team, and I married her to one of my sons.

Though almost immediately thereafter, Gorm decided he wanted her for himself.  This feels like a novel, right?

I continue to raid Cyrenaica, though it gets a little dicier now that it’s part of a big Muslim empire.

And the Pope has finally gotten smart enough to keep a big mercenary army standing around.  Hard times.

Instead, we move on to Antioch, which is also rich and inexplicably independent!  Perfect.

Thankfully, these don’t count as breaches of the peace, or I’d never get to five years.

Build a bridge out of him!

The commander of the Varangian Guard is preparing an attack against me.  Hmm.

I need help fan-casting the role of Duke Guillaume II, Son of Lucifer.  Look at that craggy face!

Dogs: good for what ails ya.

Antioch also proves to be nicely flammable.

Made it!  Five years and not a single war.  Maybe I’ve kicked the habit!

Or not.

I was waiting to see if the Catholics would come back at me with a Crusade, but instead they’ve decided the most pressing issue is freeing the island of Corsica from its oppressors.  Have at it, guys.

My adventurer friend finds himself trapped like a rat.

More in the story of Ide de Bissy — now happily married to Prince Styrbjorn, with two children.  But she has to watch as her sister Almodis, who refused to give up her faith, is sacrificed to the gods.  This thing writes itself!

I am the cynicest!

You have to zoom out quite far to see the whole empire now.

Threat’s still above 50%, though, which means any war would face both Christians and Muslims.  I raid Corsica to pass the time, forgetting that there’s a war going on there, which makes things a little inconvenient.

Oh good, here comes the next event on the doomsday calendar.

My heir, Rikulfr, has turned out … so-so.  He’s got okay stewardship, but his martial is terrible.  He’s stubborn, ambitious, just, and craven.  Not ideal.

I marry him to a martial lady in hopes of making up for his deficiencies.

Only one guy is plotting against me!  Can you really have a conspiracy of one?

While I wasn’t paying attention, my vassals have actually made good progress taking over the Baltic coast.  However, we now share a border with the Mongols in the far east.

All in all, Gorm has been a pretty awesome emperor!  And, he thinks, why shouldn’t that reign continue forever?

I send Buðli, my general, out to look for eternal life.  His awesome martial ability will clearly be of great help.

Gorm is prepared to spend the whole treasury, if that’s what it takes.  And it turns out that’s pretty much what it takes.

Huh.  He … actually found something?

Wow.  Forget eternal life, I’m making her a general!

What’s a little blasphemy in the pursuit of eternal life?

Rikulfr has questions.

Shockingly, Djeneba seems to have all the answers!

All right!  Eternal life, here we come.  

This may be the world’s most expensive antelope.  Scandinavia is now officially bankrupt.

And it ate my fingers.  And now Djeneba’s gone.  Well, that was the entire GDP of my country well spent!

Maybe I should have been less worried about eternal life and more about this guy.

“Not especially blessed” is code for “fingers were eaten by a sacrificial antelope.”

Rikulfr immediately sets out to raid the Pope, since Dad spent literally the entire national treasury on trying to live forever.  It’s a time for penny-pinching in Scandinavia.

“Sorry, Bernard.  You are indeed wise, but I literally can’t afford you.”

Once I get a little money coming in, I’d like to have a holy war with the Aslamids, who are now my biggest threat.  Unfortunately, I’m not pious enough.

The Jomsvikings can solve that!  For a donation, of course.

Now I’m broke again, but the holy war can proceed.

Oh, don’t you guys start!

Fortunately the revolt is conveniently placed like a speed bump on the way to the war.

The main problem turns out not to be the Aslamids, but keeping my guys alive in disease-ridden southern France.

In a familiar story, I have a daughter, but my wife dies in childbirth.

I lure another high-stewardship young woman to my court with a sack of gold, then forcibly marry her to the Emperor.

“Wait, I have to marry who?

“The Emperor.”

“Why me?”

“Because you are the greatest accountant in the land!”

The main Aslamid army is duly crushed, and the holy war ends in victory.

Once again, I’m super threatening, but the Aslamid territory in France is now cut off from their main base.

Meanwhile Genghis Khan is rampaging across Asia.  He’s almost as good a general as Ottarr the Brute.  Keep at it, Genghis, you’ll get there!

With some money in his pocket, Rikulfr can finally afford a doctor, and settles on this creepy blind guy.

Just in time, too, because he has syphilis.  Okay, Ale, work your magic!

That … kind of worked.  I’ll call it a win!

Maybe not.  Is it time to fight Cthulhu again?

Rome at least is burning nicely.

Plus it’s way easier to get home now!  Unfortunately, the vassals are conspiring against the now-mad Emperor.

The young king of England was plotting against me.  Everyone is plotting against me!

I head over to England for a quick showdown.

With that resolved, the remaining factions are weakened, and I set my spymaster to work digging up dirt on my vassal kings.

On the plus side, Scandinavia proper is once again purged of Catholics, and England is getting close!

And the empire has a satisfactorily large font.  My vassals continue to pick away at the remains of Francia.

…why does encouraging my dog to kill my courtiers give me prestige?

The King of England meet his end at the Great Blot, like so many kings before him.

Unfortunately, the new queen also hates me, mostly because I am a drunken, syphilitic lunatic.  And because she wants a seat on my council.

As a result of increasingly dubious mystical/medical experiments with Ale, Rikulfr puts himself out of everyone’s misery.  His youngest daughter, Grima, is only 7, so once again we’re in for a regency.

Grima’s looking so-so, but it’s hard to tell at this age.  Will she survive to become empress?

Current Year: 1233 AD.  Current Status: Growing up.

 

Content, Crusader Kings Series 2, Excluded, Games

How Do I Vike, Part Thirteen

Part One, Part TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart Ten, Part Eleven, and Part Twelve.

In our last installment, Emperor Oddr had apparently been driven barking mad by his time in the Varangian Guard, but that hadn’t stopped him from taking over Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

One of my Jarls has challenged me to single combat!  Since I took care of Cthulhu, I’m pretty I can handle him.

My chances of winning are very good!

But not good enough, apparently, since I’m wounded and forced to yield.  What the hell, Oddr?

Fortunately it heals quickly.

Princess Ystradwel is a pretty awesome name.

This scares me for a second, but Aquitaine is owned by the Spanish Muslims now.  Have at it!

Some more vassals revolt, but I capture their leader in the first battle, so it’s over quickly.  It’s Dad’s old friend Sveinn!  He and his buddies are Christians, so I get to take all their titles.

Princess Ystradwel finally shows up, in kind of an inconvenient spot.  My armies sail over to meet her.

Bringing her to battle is a pain, since there are bad roads and low supplies in the east.  I manage it eventually, though.

Soon enough, she’s banished and her gold swells my coffers.  Try again anytime!

Oddr arbitrarily decides to stop being arbitrary …

…considers sleeping with his daughter-in-law days after her wedding (though she’s no Glitterhoof) …

…and is accused by his daughter of murder, which he is only sort of guilty of.  I mean, I did throw the guy in prison for life, but technically I didn’t kill him, right?

Another host army turns up …

…and I have cancer.  Some days, you just can’t win.

Fortunately, we can take care of the cancer by swallowing live fish…

…and take care of the host army with stabbing!  So that’s all right.

Okay.  France is kind of a mess, being currently split between “France” and “Francia”, which is confusing.  But it means that if I’m going to attack, now’s the time.

The Empress of Francia is definitely looking weak.

Time for a Great Holy War!  This is where the Empress turning Orthodox helps me out a lot — only other Orthodox rulers can help her, and that means basically just the Byzantines, who are too far away.  

The Great Holy War begins!  And I basically march straight to Paris with no resistance whatsoever.  

In fact, the French agree to surrender without even a token battle.  

I mean, if you read my books, you know I’m not one to run down French military prowess.  But way to play into the stereotype, guys…

Praise Tyr for this, um, glorious victory!

However, you can’t argue with results.  I’m now on the continent with a vengeance.  I spend some time (seriously it takes like an hour with the game paused) handing out new territory and reorganizing my vassals as best I can.

Oddr’s main goal now is to live as long as possible, given his illness, so that his youngest son Gorm will have the chance to grow up a bit.

Almost immediately, my vassals start declaring wars against each other and everything else in sight.  I have the “External Wars Only” law but I don’t think it works properly, since they still fight each other a lot.

Oddr starts to gather his own forces for some raiding, but he’s quickly losing his grip.

Sadly, Oddr dies less than a year after his greatest achievement, leaving me with an eight-year regency for his son Gorm.

Gorm is looking reasonable, stats-wise, but his vassals are going to kick up a fuss.

Following Dad’s example, he sends raiders to burn down Cyrenaica.

This … feels like something out of a 90’s PSA, right?

Ahhhh!  Stranger danger!  Stranger danger!

I should say so.  Not enough PSAs end with “…and then he was taken away and beheaded.”

Learning to take bribes gracefully is an important skill for a young emperor.

Venice still flammable?  Just checking.

Very slowly, I’m reclaiming my land from the Catholic usurpers.

Although they will not give up with the rebellions!  Take a hint, guys.  There’s a reason it’s the twentieth rebellion, and it’s not because the other nineteen went great.

Good to have you on the team, Mom!

Seriously great, because Mom is pretty awesome.  However, she keeps trying to teach me about stupid Christians.  

Her attempts to make me religious don’t stick, though.

14-year-old Gorm’s worst fear: the Catholics are revolting, using math.

Gorm comes of age.  He’s just, diligent, and cynical, though his stewardship education didn’t go as well as I’d hoped.

The best available spouse in the kingdom is my niece.  Which, no.  So we go shopping elsewhere.

I invite Asa to my court, casual-like, and then spring the news that she’s marrying the Emperor before she has a chance to run for it.

Duchess Sif the Butcher is trying to kill me, so we go to war to throw her in prison.

Conveniently, I get the chance to hold a Great Blot shortly thereafter.  Praise Odin!

Falki Son of Loki is next.  He absolutely hates me, for some reason.

He rebels as well, but I get him in battle soon after.  Convenient!

Shortly thereafter, though, Visby rises up in revolt.  It never ends with these guys!

These guys, either.  Sigh.

Stockholm Syndrome is setting in.

“Good luck with that.”  Except.  He’s my older brother.  And he’s invading me.  That may be taking politeness too far, Gorm.

Visby goes to prison.  Inconveniently, my brother Alfr invades Scandinavia by way of Serbia, so I have to put the army on ships and go and fetch him.

Alfr goes to prison —

— a bunch of vassals decide they would rather have Alfr than me —

— so Alfr loses his head!  Problem solved.

Of course, now I’m a tyrant and a kinslayer.  Whine, whine, whine.

One of my vassals manages to retake Zeeland, a Germanic holy site, bringing all five back under my control.  Good vassal!  Have a vassal snack!

Seriously, now my sister is coming after me too?  Learn from example.

Another vassal takes over Venice.  Which is … great, I guess.  But now what will I set on fire?

And now my niece wants in on the action.  Is it because I wouldn’t marry you?  Maybe think again about that haircut.

I revoke titles from some Catholic counts.  Most of them agree, but this one is either really brave or really stupid.

Honestly, man, at this point being of the same blood is kind of a strike against you.  This family!

With the threat from the Great Holy War finally expired, I grab Leinster off of France, just as Bjorg and Iliana show up with their armies.

Mom is almost sixty, but she still leads a host of bloodthirsty Vikings with the best of them.

I’m briefly confused that there’s both Princess Bjorg and Prince Bjorn in the mix.  Bjorn is unrelated, though, and he’s not at war with me, just looking to burn a few things down.  I can respect that.

“Who can you trust, if not your siblings?” Gorm thinks, as his own siblings declare war on him one after the other.

For the longest time these invasion forces don’t even show up.  I sit around with my troops in the middle of the ocean, waiting.  Come on, girls!  Time is money!

Eventually I find them way over in Finland, already freezing to death.  Pro tip: if you’re going to invade somewhere, might as well invade somewhere warm with nice beaches.  Once I’ve tracked them down, smashing their armies doesn’t take long, and soon they’re banished and their funds line my warchest.

With that finally wrapped up, I have a good chance to take some land off the Aslamids.  They’re having a civil war at the moment, so the time is ripe.

A quick holy war will bring in only other Sunnis as allies, and there aren’t many of those in the vicinity.  So here we go!

Wait.  Say that again, more slowly?

Gorm’s best friend dies young, and he takes it pretty hard.

That may be taking it a bit far.  He wasn’t that great.

Meanwhile, my armies bring the Aslamids to battle while we besiege their castles.

I also get the chance to usurp the Kingdom of France!  See, the title was held by the Emperor of Francia, and while I controlled all the territory you can’t usurp a title from someone who is at war.  Which, until now, has been always true for Francia.  But they’ve attained a brief piece, so I can deliver my official notice of usurpation.

And Gascogne is mine, too!  I spend a bit more time re-organizing my vassals in France.

A bit later, as I wait for my threat to subside, my vassals subdue the last of the Irish.  

I’m now served mostly by kings, rather than dukes.  I’ve created England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and now France, consolidating the duchies underneath them.  This creates powerful vassals, but it can’t be helped, since I need to stay under my vassal limit.  I’ve been trying to redistribute titles in such a way that each kingdom and duchy has the vassals it “should”, since this limits jealousy, but the vassals are always conspiring to ruin my neat arrangements by fighting and/or marrying one another.

Much of England and Ireland now follows Odin once again.  France is just a mess of Catholic, Germanic, Orthodox, and Sunni all mixed together.

At 34, Gorm is looking pretty darn competent!  He’s also managed to have six children.

Grima, his wife, is also quite awesome.

Seriously, you two.  That is enough kids.

I have also had about enough of these.

Current Year: 1199 AD.  Current Status: King of the French.

Content, Crusader Kings Series 2, Excluded, Games

How Do I Vike, Part Twelve

Part One, Part TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart Ten, and Part Eleven.

When we left Emperor Steinn, he’d taken over much of England, but Scotland, Wales, and Ireland still remained.

Steinn is also looking to further reform the government.  Specifically, switching to Imperial Administration would give me a much larger vassal limit, and allow for a “no internal wars” law, which would hopefully cause my vassals to redirect their energies into external conquest.  This becomes very useful as the threat of vast coalitions against me restricts my own conquering.

Ireland and Wales: still a mess.  They should welcome the civilizing hand of the Scandinavians!

My wife Empress Grima is the best field general in the Empire.  Love you, honey!

In between battles, though, she likes to keep up with the latest fashions.

Another county falls, beginning my gradual takeover of Wales.

For some reason the Duke of Northumberland is vassal to the King of Bohemia?

Humility is for losers.

Um.  Who wouldn’t want a romantic assignation with a much older, horribly disfigured woman?

Though there’s a terribly sad story here somewhere, the elderly, disfigured widow hopefully leaving wildflowers in the emperor’s tent…

Unsurprisingly, the King of Bohemia didn’t jump at the chance to defend Cumberland.  That’s all of England under my iron fist!

Scotland is united, but fairly weak, and run by a twelve-year-old.  It’s time to settle up with them.

For the first time, I use my power as Fylkir to declare a Great Holy War — essentially a Germanic Crusade.  If I win, it gives me the chance to take over an entire kingdom all at once, instead of just a county or a duchy.  The downside is anyone of the same religion can join the defender, so it’s a bit of a gamble.  I’m assuming the rest of the Welsh and Irish will join, but if the French throw in as well, things are going to get tricky.

The gods demand blood!

Somewhat to my surprise, only a few Welsh petty kings turn up to help the Scots.  The crusade is almost an anti-climax.

Victory is ours!  Praise Thor!

At a stroke, all of Scotland is ours, minus a few counties they still hold in Ireland.  It kicks my threat way up, of course, and I have to spend some time distributing all the titles to loyal vassals.

In the process, I discover that one of my sons is imprisoned by his own wife.  I’m sure he deserved it.

Most importantly, Britain now has a nice clean label!

My beloved wife/foe-mangler has cancer, but Doctor Vagn is on the case, and she recovers nicely.

As I wait for my threat to tick down again, the Pope decides to have another go at taking over Austrasia.

Pope War II: The Wrath of Pope!

Fortunately, about half of France is in revolt, so I’m hoping the largest Catholic power won’t have much to contribute.

And so it proves!  The French are fully occupied, so I’m only facing Italy and the Crusader orders.

Grima finally dies, sadly.  I get a new wife who’s a better administrator but not half as skilled at carving my enemies’ hearts out.

Since I’ve got some troops to spare, I send an army to camp on the Pope’s front lawn and see how he likes it.

Ambition: also for losers.

I prepare for a final showdown with the Papal mercenaries.

Poor Rikassa has not given up.  At least she sent me a sword!  Dudes love swords.

Taking over the Pope’s personal castles is shockingly effective at getting him to give up on the Crusade.  Something to remember for the future.  I take the victory and a nice chunk of cash.

Some of my vassals are turning Catholic again, starting with Ragnarr of Slupsk.  Another great name!

My son Oddr is all grown up!  He’s frail, ambitious, diligent and greedy, but most importantly Midas Touched.  While his martial is only fair, his stewardship is fantastic.  Well done, son!

Steinn tries for five years of peace, to give his threat a chance to tick down.

Which is ruined immediately by a rebellious Jarl who wants to murder me.  He’s just … angry, for some reason?  The revolt goes predictably poorly for him.

Oddr is quick off the starting block!

He has a second son just as fast, but this time his wife dies in childbirth.

Fortunately I find him a new, awesome wife.

Uhoh.

I’m not a doctor, but that seems unlikely.

On the whole, though, I like this doctor!

Oddr is off to prove his mettle in the Varangian Guard.

Rikassa is almost seventy, but she hasn’t given up hope of her true love.

This guy wants to be on the council.  Actually, he kind of looks like Abe Lincoln?  I’m just going to call him Abe of Lincoln.

As my threat continues to decrease, I set Venice on fire again.  Raiding isn’t “war” and doesn’t increase your threat, for some reason.

This feels like the start of a horror movie.  Also, what the fuck, guards?  Is “your guards are all drinking in the tavern” the medieval equivalent of “my cellphone gets no reception”?

Fortunately, Sveinn turns out to be a good sort.

Another of my Jarls has turned Christian!

Fortunately his heir has not, and everyone hates him, so he should be easy to kill.

There.  Much easier than fighting a war.

Don’t look so shocked, Steinn.  I mean, Jarl Dan?  Come on.

Steinn’s shock is apparently terminal.  He did a fine job, winning me my first Great Holy War and fending off a Crusade.

Oddr’s back from the Varangians, and considerably improved from the experience.

In fact, at 25, he’s pretty awesome overall!  Although he’s inherited his father’s regrettable taste in mustaches.

Threat is finally wearing off, too.

The raiders sent out by Steinn return from a truly epic vike!

“I’m King of the Whales!  Mwoooo!  Mroooo!”

*whisper whisper*

“Really?  Are you sure?”

*whisper*

“Well, that sucks.”

The options here are “kindness” and “envy”, but not “off with their heads”?  Sigh.

Now that I am the Whaleking I can claim Welsh counties de jure, which generates less threat.

France is still ruled by Orthodox Greeks, which makes their ruler a Basileus.  This may explain why they didn’t join in the Crusade, actually.

“These are descendants of Faithful.  They will guard you well, but never skip a feeding.”

The remaining Irish and Welsh are weak enough that my vassals are getting in on the act, seizing land for themselves.  Since I’m limited by threat, I’m totally fine with this.

I can now declare myself Emperor of Brittania as well!  This doesn’t actually do anything for me (except make my vassals jealous) but it increases my prestige gain considerably.

About that making my vassals jealous, though…

Sveinn!  I thought we were friends!  You saved Dad that time!

Not cool, bros.  Not cool.

Parchment and ink are ruining today’s youth!

Also, apparently Oddr did something evil while in Byzantium?

Wait, what?  I call shenanigans!

Okay, Oddr, what the fuck did you do down there?

Seriously?  What’s next?

Oh.  Um, sure?

Once again, plague == sexytimes.

Meanwhile, the revolt has turned out to be easily the worst in my history, taking years to get under control.  I finally chase the rebels armies out of Scandinavia and sack their capital in Scotland, bringing the terror to a close.

In the process, Luxembourg has somehow gained its independence?  Fortunately, its ruler sees reason and agrees to rejoin the realm without a fight.

On the plus side, Scandinavia is almost completely purged of Catholics!  And Britain is coming along.

At 34, Oddr is slightly less effective and a lot weirder.  His youngest son is only 1, so I’m hoping he lives a while yet.

Oh, dear.

I don’t want to leap to judgment, but that seems bad.

“The peasants are revolting!”

“Yes, and they’re rising up against their rightful masters!”

Honestly I think this is just a duty of my family line.  Once every few generations, an av Nordland is called on to defended the mortal world against Things from Beyond.

Even the beautiful young women who apparently abound in the woods have turned on me!  Attack!

*comes to, covered in blood*

“Guys, I think I have a problem.”

To take his mind off things, Oddr declares a holy war for the biggest kingdom in Ireland.

I like that the previous chancellor is annoyed at being fired, but not more annoyed at being replaced by a horse.

In spite of his attractiveness, no one will marry Glitterhoof.

However, largely thanks to Glitterhoof’s skillful diplomacy, the holy war comes to a successful conclusion.

I make my eldest son Viceroy of Ireland, in hope that he will subdue the remaining Irish without my help.

Oddr is just crazy enough to go for this.

For a change of pace, I head over over to burn down Cyrenaica instead.

One of my vassals has apparently acquired Serbia, possibly while high.

Connacht has been taken over by a Germanic adventurer, who wisely agrees to become my vassal.  So that’s most of Ireland in the bag.

Who could resist that silky mane?

Definitely good to be the Fylkir.

This confused me.  At first, I thought it just meant Essex would turn Catholic, which isn’t so bad.  But it’s much worse than that.

The entire realm has turned Catholic!  By Odin’s beard!

That’s a lot of work to do over again.  I think the Society of Jesus is to blame for this…

Current Year: 1162 AD.  Current Status: Surrounded by Catholics!

 

 

Content, Crusader Kings Series 2, Excluded, Games

How Do I Vike, Part Eleven

Part One, Part TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart Nine, and Part Ten.

New Empress Þora continues the conquest of England!

First, though, she has to see someone about her syphilis.  The ol’ fish cure works wonders!

A Great Blot is next on the list.  The gods demand blood!  Like her father, though, Þora chooses to spare Princess Asa and avoid being labeled a kinslayer.

Lesbian Þora doesn’t mind watching two dudes make out at all.  Only homosexuals are sympathetic to homosexuals; there are no allies in CK2, apparently?

Although Hjalmar’s passionate making out might be a little gross for unrelated reasons.

Before we can get to conquering, there’s some housekeeping to do.  The King of Denmark, though vassal to the Empress, has gotten too strong and is plotting against me.  My attempt to arrest him fails miserably, so war it is.

It wraps up nicely.  Vassals need periodic kicking if they’re going to stay in line.

My son Steinn is only six, physically weak, though his stewardship shows promise.  I need Þora to live long enough for him to become an adult for taking the throne.

With the King of Denmark in prison, he’s an easy mark for my assassins.  His son seems more pliable.

Now the Countess of Norfolk is trying to kill my son, though, and that can’t be allowed.

Her attempts to stay out of prison go poorly.

With all that resolved, it’s back to merry old England.  Now that I’m Queen of England, I have de jure claims against all the remaining counts.  This raises threat less than a pagan conquest, which is handy.  Normally it would mean that I would only get the count to swear fealty, rather than claiming their land outright; however, since they’re all Catholics, I have the right to strip them of their land anyway once they’re my subjects.

I can just ask them to become subjects, too, but apparently “definitely going to get killed” doesn’t outweigh religious and cultural differences.

A sad fate for my gay best friend Toste.  His wife has a great mask, though.

Þora’s husband has died, so she needs a new one.  Since she’s too old for more children, she can safely marry for love good stats.

I send her out hunting to maintain her health as long as possible.  In addition to needing to give Steinn a chance to grow up, she has really excellent stats.

The Count of Sussex is for some reason allied with a sultanate in far-off Spain.  Shocking no one, they don’t show up when I kick down his door.

No reason to worry about violent, murderous fanatics.

Jeez, Þora, you only married the guy for his stewardship score.

Great.  Thus far I’ve avoided the attention of the Pope and his band of heavily armed psychopaths, but it couldn’t last, especially since I keep burning Rome down.  Here we go.

Pope War, The Motion Picture.

Still keeping syphilis at bay!

My troops gather across England and Scandinavia.  Unfortunately, though predictably, France has joined in the Crusade.  This will be my first confrontation with them, and I can’t say that I’m looking forward to it.

Wait, what?  I’m cured of syphilis?  I didn’t think that was a thing.

Frisia is simultaneously at war with France, and their army provides some unintentional assistance.

One French force attacks Austrasia directly, while the other heads north for Denmark and Sweden.

I corner the northern army after they’ve suffered through the rough terrain for a while, and give them a good beat-down.

Once they’re beating a hasty retreat, I sail back to Austrasia to confront the rest of the enemy forces, now including some Germans and other hangers-on.

In the very definition of “not helping, bro”, my eldest son Folki decides this would be an excellent time to try and press his claim to the throne.  I can’t even plot to kill him!  I’ve got a while before he gets his shit together, though.

Once I’ve gathered enough troops, I smash the Crusader armies and liberate the castles they’ve taken.  There’s now a French army loose in England, though, and a peasant revolt in Iceland that’s going untended.

Aaaaand here comes Folki.  Well done, son.

The revolt in Iceland is getting dangerously close to actually achieving something, so I ship 9,000 troops up there to put a stop to it.

Hurrah!

Boo.

In the background, my combined armies arrive in England to thrash the French and Folki’s troops.

Okay, even if it cures cancer, I can’t approve of eating cats.

Welcome home, son!  I kept your room just the way you left it.  But you’ll never know, because you’re staying in prison.

Back to France to round up the smaller Crusader armies that are causing trouble.

Really?  Iceland again?

“Yeah.  Look.  It’s not going to go any better this time.”


The French continue to put armies in the field, and I continue to smash them as the warscore ticks up.

Not a bad Crusade, if I do say so myself.

Thanks for the cash, Pope!  See you in thirty years!

Is she cheering on Yngvar or the girl?

Age is taking its toll on Þora, but I’d like her to hold on for a few years yet.

As payback for the whole Crusade thing, I head over to burn down Rome again.

Since Luder-Udo’s purges, we’ve knocked back the Catholics quite a bit, and spread Odin-worship in England.

Okay.  Anything you can do about cancer?

That didn’t work.  How about a mystical treatment, then?

Much better!  Maybe don’t be so hard on the guy, Þora, he did just cure cancer.

Once Rome is aflame, Venice is next.

That’s some good Viking!

And my son has come of age, apparently!  And chosen an extremely regrettable mustache!

Given that she’s a lesbian, I’m shocked it took her this long to get tired of them.

At 66, Þora is losing her stewardship, but is a better fighter than ever.  Her eldest son died in the dungeons, but Folki, improbably, has become King of Denmark.

But not for long.  I inherit when he dies childless.

His wife gives birth just a little too late.  So long, suckers!

In England, I’m grabbing a county owned by Scotland, so the war takes a little while to win.

Before I can finish, Þora dies.  She didn’t get to take quite as much of England as she wanted, but fighting off a Crusade takes up a lot of energy.

Fortunately, Steinn is all grown up and ready to take the throne, with heirs of his own!

He’s not quite the all-rounder his mother was, with great stewardship but weak martial skill.  He’s also a secret Christian!  I put a stop to that at once.

In spite of Steinn’s hidden indiscretions, the true religion has an increasingly solid grip on the empire.

“I am great!  Wait, it costs how much?  I’m not that great.”

Scotland concedes the point.  Almost all of de jure England is now under my control!  

Taking a break from that for a minute, I take this chance to seize a piece of Brunswick that contains a German holy site long lost to the Catholics.

Germanic moral authority is running a little low, actually, mostly because my vassals keep losing wars.  Get your shit together, vassals!

Next up, crushing the Duke of Essex for plotting against me.

Better get on with it, though.  There’s a storm a-comin’.

Take that!

And that!  Surely the favor of Odin will protect us from the Black Death!

(Spoiler alert: no it will not.)

Steinn bulks up as a result of training his dogs.  Serious guys, dogs are like a panacea.  Dogs for everyone!

I can fit in a couple more conquests before the end of the world.

Here we go.

Hello darkness my old friend…

Are you sure it’s the flu?

The enemy has vaulted the channel.

While watching the Black Death, I noticed that there’s a huge empire of Manicheans at the eastern end of the map.  Awesome.


Steinn frantically builds a hospital.

And recruits a skilled new doctor.

Uhoh.

Really?  What are the odds of that?

Pretty good, apparently.

I mean, under the circumstances, why not roll the dice?

That was unexpected.  A hand for being cured of the Black Death isn’t such a bad deal!

Sadly, my young daughter isn’t as lucky.

“Lucky” in air quotes.

Also, is it me, or is there a chunk of Eastern Europe where the plague is being kept at bay by smallpox?  Maybe everyone is already dead.

So the peasants are all “let’s blame everything on the Jews!”, as usual.  I’m not going to put up with that, obviously.  But (I don’t quite realize at the time) the consequence are quite dire — they’re going to refuse to pay taxes for ten years.

Nothing like catching the Black Death, being maimed and getting an infected wound to stir up the old lustful thoughts!

And Grima’s into it, apparently.  Ew.

Against all odds, Steinn survives!

Some peasants launch a revolt, put together an army, and then all immediately die because of, you know, the Black Death.

Finally the plague recedes, heading back east to whence it came.  It’s weird to say this, but honestly this wasn’t such a bad Black Death.  I didn’t have to eat anybody!

“Yarr, I finally tracked down the white beast what took me hand!”

“Sire, wasn’t it your doctor who –”

“Yarr, shut your pie-hole!”

I’m strongly tempted to jump France while they’re weakened.  The only thing that stops me is that the peasants are still mad about the Jews, and I have no money at all.

However!  Somehow, an Orthodox dynasty has taken over mostly Catholic France.  This will turn out to be most useful in the future.

Instead, I do what I always do when cash runs low — sail overseas and set fire to things!

Current Year: 1122 AD.  Current Status: Not Quite Dead!

 

Content, Crusader Kings Series 2, Excluded, Games

How Do I Vike, Part Ten

Part One, Part TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart Eight, and Part Nine.

The realm is at peace, and we can’t have that!  Emperor Luder-Udo, now undisputed ruler of the Scandinavian Empire, searches for someone to fight.

It’s 1042, twenty-four years before the scheduled defeat of the King of England by William the Conqueror.  That’s not going to happen in this timeline, though, because a) there’s no Normandy, only a gigantic France, and b) there’s no King of England.  England is badly divided into a bunch of very small realms, many of them single-county, with the six-county realm of Essex being the largest outside Scotland.  All in all, a good place to take over!

Essex is ruled by Queen Sithmaith the Dragon, who sounds awesome.  I could call a holy war against her, but that has a strong chance of drawing in other Catholic powers — certainly the rest of England, and possibly France.  Instead, I decide to do a single-county conquest, using my Norse pagan conquest powers, attacking Essex itself.  Hopefully if I grab the capital of the biggest realm right off the bat, the rest will fall without much trouble.

Essex mobilizes its scanty forces as a fleet full of Vikings descends on them, this time to stay instead of just to raid.

Meanwhile, Duchess Saga, the Sword of Odin, has attempted to escape my dungeon using her “female charms”.

Essex doesn’t put up much of a fight, and soon I’m laying siege to their castles.

Victory!  We have our first toehold in England.

On the political side, steady work has stripped the council of most of its powers, and I’m finally ready to declare absolute rule.  A few quick bribes get the majority of the supine councilors on my side.  L’etat, c’est moi.  Now I can change laws without worry about pesky “voting” or “other people’s opinions”.

Luder-Udo himself is surprisingly marginal, stats-wise.  At 36, he’s attractive (check out those hollow cheeks!) kind, charitable, and humble, as well as deceitful and shy.  His diplomacy is at least above zero now, but it’s still not great.

Most of the vassals are miffed, so further conquest needs to wait a while.

Saga the Sword of Odin finally meets her end, appropriately, as a sacrifice to the gods.

Luder-Udo decides to raise a monument to his own awesomeness.

Specifically to his own beauty.  Oh yeah, people of future generations.  You know you want some of this.

Future scholars will definitely have their work cut out for them attempting to glean wisdom from those words.

While I wait for my vassals to unrustle their jimmies, I pass the time by burning Venice down again.  They’ve managed to get themselves an army, this time, but not enough of one to stop me.

Luder-Udo follows in the footsteps of his ancestors!

Essex has already given up on Jesus and converted to worshiping Odin and Thor.

Luder-Udo is now known as ‘the Pious’, for some reason.  He also has seven children, so the future of the dynasty is pretty set.

And even grandchildren!

Oh.  Hmm.  Turns out I might have married my son to his first cousin?  Oops.

That was a mighty vike indeed.  And everyone’s chill again, so it’s time to grab some more territory.

I’m actually well-suited to conquering England in its current state.  I can conquer any county adjacent to one of mine, or to the sea, and it only raises threat minimally.  One by one is the slow way to take a place, but it’s the only option when the place is badly divided.  Also, since each conquest leaves me with a ten-year truce afterward, I can switch from one target to the next to avoid waiting.

All that said, I go after Suffolk, ruled by Glaschu of East Anglia, also called the Dragon.

As expected, he can’t put up much of a fight.

Next up, Northhampton from Lachtnene the Fat!

The only tedious part of this process is having to regather the army in Scandinavia each time and sail it down to England.

Tormod has caught syphilis from his wife/first-cousin.  He’s having a rough life.

Fortunately, he’s not heir.  My heir Þora (“thora”) is looking pretty great, actually, with high stewardship and martial.  She’s lesbian, diligent, ambitious, lustful, wroth, and zealous, all positive traits in my book!

Tormod, meanwhile, ends his brief career.

Þora is actually the next-best commander in the empire, but I keep her off the front lines for obvious reasons.

Warwick falls to the advancing Vikings.  Look at all those tiny, delicious little realms…

Hooray for the people of Suffolk!

With my truce with them expired, I snag Bedford from Essex.

My daughter, presumably knowing on which side the imperial bread is buttered, surprises me with a statue of my handsome self.  Well played!

Oxford falls.  Since no one in England has stepped up to be king, I’m going to have to do it.  I’m at 6/13 required counties so far.

Þora has a serious beef with my doctor, for some reason.

Worcester is next.  Wales is a separate kingdom so I don’t want to go too far west yet.

I briefly pause when I discover one of my dukes has become a Catholic!  That obviously can’t be allowed to stand, and another minor purge commences.

Skulking, as I often do.  I mean.  Who doesn’t?

Poor inbred Ylva has not turned out super well.

Luder-Udo’s beloved empress has died.  He tries to drown his sorrows in lustful wenches.

Uhoh.

I’m Batman!

While I fight the war for Westrogothia, another Catholic has married my daughter! I fear for the children’s souls.

Much better.  

Capturing the arch-heretic brings the revolt to a close.  Plenty of land to redistribute, since I can strip Catholic vassals completely.

Unexpected, one of my vassals inherits what’s left of the Kingdom of Austrasia!  It looks a little lonely there in the midst of Francia, but more land is always welcome.  Other vassals are starting to nibble at the small German states on the northern coast.

Another revolt breaks out as I strip more titles from the Catholics, which includes a fair number of the new vassals in Austrasia.  Should have thought of that before you were forcibly joined to the team by the death of your liege, suckers!

Some of my grandchildren who were led astray are willing to return to the correct path.

Others continually propose horribly incestuous marriages.  No marrying your first cousins, guys!

France is still powerful, but continuous castle-building and English conquests have gotten me close to 17k myself, so they’re no longer completely out of my league.

Luder-Udo is 62, but he’s still got the touch.

What did I just say about cousin-marriage?

One of my daughters, unfortunately, refuses to give up her Catholicism.  I don’t want kinslayer, so she can just stay in the dungeon.

Enough with the incest, you scandalous wenches!

Screw those guys.

Back to conquest!  Lincoln falls.  Unfortunately, I’m now big enough to generate threat each time I do this, so I have to space them out a little more.

I have to subdue a couple of unruly barons, too.  Meanwhile, France has two simultaneous revolts.  It’d be a good time to attack them, but I’m not really prepared for that yet.

The realm is growing nicely, though Scotland is still biting my style.

At 66, three of Luder-Udo’s children are in prison, two are dead, and one is a duchess.  He’s somehow even less diplomatic, but his success is undeniable in spite of his mediocre stat-line.

Þora is doing nicely, and has two children in spite of being a lesbian.

The counties of England continue to fall like dominoes.

Oh dear.  This is especially bad since Luder-Udo can’t last that much longer.  Good luck, doc!

A new son makes things even worse, since if she dies he’ll have a long regency to contend with.  Ugh.

After a long reign, Luder-Udo is finally succumbing to the ravages of old age.

York falls.  Why is York so large anyway?

One of my more troublesome vassals has recreated the Kingdom of Denmark.  So far it’s been held by Tyke the Evil, Freyja the Unfaithful, and Sturla the Evil.  Not a great record there guys.

Luder-Udo has picked up the “Brawny” trait at 72.

Derby falls!  I need one more county to make myself King of England.  Will Luder-Udo live to see the fruits of his victory?

I read Luder-Udo’s response in the voice of Sean Connery from SNL Celebrity Jeopardy.

Yrsa!  Just because I have a new grandson doesn’t mean you get to marry him!  If you need to get laid, go out hunting, that usually does the trick.

Lancaster provides county number thirteen!

I hurry around looking for stones with swords sticking out of them.  All hail Luder-Udo, King of the Britons!

“I’m king of the what, now?”

Counting from his majority, Luder-Udo ruled for 59 years, a spectacular example of what I meant by the benefits of ultimogeniture.  He never wanted anyone to make a fuss over his accomplishments, which is why he proclaimed himself King of England and raised runestones dedicated to his own beauty.  His reign was short on drama and bizarre stories compared to someone like Ottarr, but much more successful in terms of taking over England.

Þora, for her part, just needs to live long enough that I don’t have to worry about a regency for her children.  And there’s the continuing conquest of England to attend to…

Current Year: 1083 AD.  Current Status: King of the Autonomous Collective!