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Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #3

Part One and Part Two.

I’m going to have to start doing these in a little less detail — so much crazy stuff happens in this game I’d be here all night!

When we last left our heroes, my daughter Habesha had cancer.  It turns out she’s also possessed!  And an awesome spymaster!  (And shrewd and deceitful.)  I kind of want to know more about this character.

I’m still part of the Kingdom of Abyssinia, though by dint of falsifying claims on other nobles in the kingdom and then taking their land, I’m rapidly becoming the biggest landholder after the king.

That’s me in light brown, the king in dark brown, and Duke Wededem in green.  I can’t declare war on the king without fighting all the other nobles at once, so I concentrate on trying to get land of Wededem.

In the meantime, the king takes Berbera, extending Abyssinian rule all the way to the Horn of Africa.

Then, dickishly, the king decides he likes Gondar and revokes my title to it!  I have to agree or go to war, and going to war doesn’t seem on quite yet.  But I’ll get it back if it takes a century or two…

My doctors continue their reign of terror.

Seriously, guys?

The king’s demands for my lands have put me on notice.  It’s time for Semien to be free once again!  I launch a war of independence and win, with heavy mercenary support.  Unfortunately I’m now surrounded by hostile Abyssinia.  This is going to take some work.

I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of these rabbis.  

The newly crowned King Mekonnen died soon afterward, presumably of sheer exhaustion.  Long live King Bekele!


Right then.  Long live King Yacob!  

(Seriously, long live, we need one of these guys to last more than a year.)

Because the Abyssinians are Miaphysite Christians, I can declare Holy Wars against them and don’t need, like, a reason.  This has the downside of having other nearby co-religionists come to their defense, but we’re surrounded by Muslims anyway.  So after some long and extremely expensive warring I manage to grab the Duchy of Afar, which takes the wind out of Abyssinia’s sails.

My favorite part of this war: early on, I captured the Abyssinian king’s entire family, including seven or eight children.  As the war dragged out and my treasury ran low, I ransomed the kids back to him, one by one, to get enough money to keep paying my mercenaries.  What a great dad!

A long, tense, and hard-to-follow sequence of wars commences.  If this were a history book, this is the part where you’d start to lose the thread.  I fend off a war of revenge from Abyssinia, but one of the Sultanates that makes up part of the massive Abassid Empire comes and starts nibbling at my northern border.  To forestall this, I assassinate the sultan, and then his son, leaving a five year old in charge.  He swears eternal revenge which definitely won’t be an issue later.

King Yacob: a deep thinker.

As the Semien/Abyssinian Wars continue, interrupted by brief truces which usually end in assassinations, I get the upper hand, and also promote Semien into an official kingdom!  It is, finally, good to be the king.

Glancing at the Abbasids at one point, I discover they are at war with somebody named “Maharaja Dundaka III the Mutilator of Varman”, which may be the best name ever.

Yacob and his wife continue their passion, even though he’s now in his 70s.  Note the tooltip — 10% chance of death.  Also, why does it give you prestige?  Is the whole castle watching?

Somewhere in here, the boy-sultan grew up and launched a war of revenge specifically against Yacob, not even for territory.  He ended up spending some time in the dungeon until I could raise the money for a ransom.

Yacob lived to a ripe old age and much success.  Perhaps I’ve broken my streak!  Long live King Kafa!

Turns out Kafa was already comatose in bed when he took the throne.  Long live King Gebereal!

The Tujibid Sultan, all grown up, comes at me again, but this time I fend him off and end up with a sultan’s ransom.  I continue to pick away at Abyssinia, though they still hold Gondar. 

For a guy called “the Hideous” he looks okay to me.  Although he is also possessed, which apparently runs in the family.

Finally, after not quite a century, Gondar returns to its rightful owners.

Soon afterward, Semien’s victory is complete!  Abyssinia is expelled from Africa.

The bad news is that the Abbasids, while they have become the Issamids, are still far too gigantic to challenge.  This is going to present a problem.

The new king, Loua (who is only like 45 at this point) decides he’s had enough of this and would prefer to live forever.

“Just ask around, guys!  I’m sure someone knows how to live forever.”

Apparently living forever is very expensive.  I like to imagine these guys are out partying it up with the money.

Sadly, Loua did not secure life eternal.

However, his reign is long and successful!  The Abyssinians are wiped out, and the Hafizids are soon to follow.  The Pope has called for the Crusades, which I’m hoping will weaken the Issamids a bit, although the First Crusade apparently went to Saxony.  Step One of the master plan, secure the Horn of Africa, is complete.  But fighting our way toward Jerusalem is not going to be easy…

Current Year: 915 AD.  Current Status: Apprehensive.

Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #2

Part One.

The continuing adventures of the Gideon Dynasty.

When we last left our heroes, Abyssinia had just taken out most of the Shirazids, and I was looking to take the lands of Gondar, my immediate southern neighbor.  Unfortunately I lack a good claim on Gondar, so I set my chancellor to falsifying the appropriate documents and wait.  

The Iconoclasts appear to have taken over the Byzantine Empire, which is interesting historically if not particularly relevant to me.

Not much left of Orthodoxy!

King Oda Gosh of Abyssinia has died, and the throne has passed to his brother Ayzur.  Unfortunately there’s a lot of Solomonids so getting someone from my dynasty on the throne is going to take a lot of work.

King Ayzur wants money for his warchest, but I’m not THAT loyal.  I need that money for my own wars!

Gondar follows my lead and swears loyalty to Abyssinia.  That doesn’t mean I can’t attack them but it makes it a little riskier.  I switch to trying to forge a claim on Gojjam, since they’re still independent.

Duke Gideon Gideon claims to love his daughter Semhar!  This will become important later.

More formerly independent counties around Damot swear loyalty to Abyssinia.

King Ayzur decides to kick off a war with the Arwadids, across the straights in Arabia.  Not a terrible move as long as the Abbassids don’t get involved.  I cautiously send some troops to loot while avoiding the main armies.

Once again the computer sucks at warring.  It happily lets small enemy armies unite rather than crush them.

Also, I start building a hospital in Semien, on the grounds that it might help with disease and such.

Overqualified Jews in search of employment keep randomly turning up at my court, which is fine with me!

Then things get … weird.

That seems normal enough.  Might lead to “It’s good to be the Duke!”

A nun, eh?  Well, being friends with Christians doesn’t seem like it could HURT.  There’s a lot of them after all.  Sure, she can stay!


Or she could turn out to be fucking Death incarnate.  Obviously I have to challenge her to a chess game, since my young Duke apparently only has a 20% chance of overpowering a nun with a dagger.

Fortunately she likes chess.  Although I notice she doesn’t actually promise to spare me if I win.

I … uh, don’t actually have very good stats for chess …

Duke Gideon Gideon, having apparently lost his queen, bets his daughter’s life in order to get it back.  Double or nothing indeed!  Honestly though, getting a queen back is pretty strong, right?

Apparently not.  

Sooooo Duke Gideon Gideon dies under “suspicious circumstances” along with his daughter Semhar, leaving his 10-year-old son Mekonnen as the sole surviving member of the family.  Though what Gideon did to merit a personal visit from Death is still beyond me.  Long live the Duke!

At this point, King Ayzur’s war is still blundering along, not really getting anywhere.  I’m looking at a six-year regency, which is unfortunate.  But my chancellor finally has some luck, and forges a deed to the county of Gojjam!

Thankfully, my regent and council approve immediate war.  I hire some mercenaries and crush Gojjam in a very short campaign.  Hurrah!  The first real addition to my domain!

The remaining country next to Gojjam quickly swears fealty to Abyssinia.  Ayzur wraps up his inconclusive war, but in his weakened state one of his new vassals demands a change to elective monarchy!  I would actually happily join this rebellion, since I want elective monarchy too, but nobody asked me.  I’m always last picked for the team, sob.  So I guess I’m a loyalist.

In typical AI fashion, Ayzur starts laying siege to rebel castles, while right next door the rebels are laying siege to the nearest loyalist castles.  Which happen to be mine.  *headdesk*

My capital may be occupied by rebel troops, but at least the Duke is grown up!  Even if he has only managed to become a mediocre bureaucrat.

I marry him off as quickly as possible, since I desperately need some sons.  Sela seems like a better choice, even if she doesn’t like me.

Good news, my wife is pregnant!  Bad news, my land is still occupied, and now a powerful Abassid faction has declared war on Abyssinia, which is leaving Ayzur a bit overtaxed.  I’ve got my own tiny forces together, and I’m doing my best to liberate my castles to weaken the rebels.

A son!  If only there were a few less rebel troops about.  Fortunately, a few Christian allies have sent troops to help fight the Abassids.

Me liberating them from rebels apparently encouraged the people of Semien to return to the faith!

Ayzur finally gets the rebels to surrender.  Unfortunately, he’s losing the war with the Abassids rather badly, and I haven’t got much to throw in the balance.  On the up side, my wife gives birth to twin girls!

King Ayzur finally gets up the nerve to fight the Abassid army, and I pull together my troops to help.  We have a slight edge in numbers.

As we’re trying to force an engagement, a Monophysite rebellion breaks out!  That’s, uh, poorly timed.

We finally manage a showdown while the Monophysites rampage.  Victory!  

Ayzur crushes the impudent peasants before the Abassids can regroup, then settles in to retake some castles.  In the meanwhile, I’m recovering my strength and eyeing Gondar, which was so unkind to me while it was in rebellion.

Apparently the lesson didn’t take because another Monophysite revolt breaks out.  And yet another Muslim prince has declared a holy war for Abyssinia.  But I’ve generated a false claim, and quickly defeat the men of Gondor Gondar and add it to my realm!

The Abassids have finally been convinced to give up their war, but the Qadir are more stubborn.  Meanwhile, my steward is planning long-range training expeditions.  Keeping his eye on the ball, I guess.  I certainly need the money.  And it turns out quite profitably, giving me both cash and increased stewardship.

My youngest son has the flu …

…there’s another Monophysite rebellion …

…and one of my daughters has cancer.  This pretty much feels like an average day now.

My clever chancellor forges a deed to the other half of Gondar, and I take it with the aid of more mercenaries.  So my coffers are pretty empty, but I’m up to five counties, which makes me one of the stronger nobles in Abyssinia.  Progress!  Unless of course the Abassids come back to kick our asses.

Current Year: 801 AD.  Current Status: Cautiously Optimistic.




Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED

This is my attempt at a text-and-images Let’s Play, of sorts, documenting one of my adventures in Crusader Kings II.  I may adjust the format as we go along, let me know if you have any suggestions.  Clicking images should embiggen.

A few caveats!  I am not a super-expert CKII player, nor do I really care to be — I tend to be in it more for the story than anything else.  So I may behave sub-optimally from time to time!  (I may also explain more than needed, since my assumption is that not everyone reading this plays.)  Also, CKII is a historical game, so we’ll be dealing with some real-world stuff here — countries, religions, even a few people.  Generally I’ll try to be sensitive but if it bothers you when I declare holy war against Orthodox Christianity on behalf of the pope, or whatever, this is probably not the best thing to be reading.

CKII is a game with no real defined end goal.  You pick a ruler and a starting time, and you play as successive rulers of that dynasty, until you die out or the game ends in 1453.  I usually try to pick something to work toward to make things more interesting.  I’ve done a bunch of fun stuff, but one previous playthrough was kind of a bust — I wanted to play as a Jewish ruler, with the goal of re-establishing Jerusalem and rebuilding the Temple, only to have a game bug screw up the events that were supposed to make that happen at the last minute.  I have now gotten over my annoyance enough to try again!  (This time I’m not using Ironman mode since a) I don’t care about achievements and b) this way I can reload or use the console if I get blocked by bugs again.)

So!  Can we get back to the promised land … AGAIN?  Let’s find out.


The first problem is that there, uh, aren’t that many Jewish rulers.  We’re going to start at the earliest possible date, 769 AD, because we need a LOT of time to get this project done.  There are definitely easier ways (starting with the Kazakhs for example) but this one seemed fun.  So we will start as the Duke of Semien, a tiny little Jewish state in the middle of absolutely nowhere.  (One of the teeny ones to the right of Kassala.)

Yeah, see?  Middle of nowhere!

The other problem is that being a Jew is not exactly a popular choice in 769.  They’re the tiny little blue patch.

Tiiiiiny little blue patch.  This poses a couple of problems.  First of all, everybody around us is going to have an attitude penalty (in CKII, attitudes are numerical values from -100 to 100, and Infidel is -20) and basically not like us.  Second, it’s going to be hard to find people to marry.  Third, and most importantly, anybody who isn’t Jewish, which is everybody, can declare a holy war and come and take our land.  More on that in a minute.

Here is our King (actually Duke, but he calls himself a King) Phineas Gideon.  He is 46 years old with a son who has apparently formed ex nihilo, since he’s never been married.  His stats are pretty crap, to be honest, but we’re going to have to put up with a lot of that since we won’t have much choice in terms of wives, mentors, etc.

Here’s the Prince, Gideon Gideon.  He’s 14 and a bit better, stat-wise, except in terms of Stewardship, which is of course the one that we want the most.

Our initial goal is going to be to accumulate a lot of gold, so that we can use mercenaries to punch above our weight and take over some neighbors.  So we set Phineas Gideon to studying the mysterious ways of commerce.

Gideon Gideon will be tutored by Tessema, a random courtier who happens to be awesome at Stewardship.  We’d really really like it if he learns the Midas Touched trait from him.

Phineas needs to get married, because one son is never enough.  There is exactly one woman in the entire world willing to marry him, so I guess Senalat will have to do.  Fortunately she happens to be an awesome diplomat at age 16, which may come in handy.

Our council mostly isn’t bad, except for our Steward, who completely sucks at his job.  Fortunately, we can just replace him with Tessema.  He won’t like that but he’s not powerful enough to do anything about it.

On the to-do list, eventually: change away from Gavelkind inheritance, which will be problematic once our realm gets bigger.  Not urgent though.

Military: pretty poor.  Admittedly it’s 769 so everyone sucks, though.  We could use some more castles.

Ultimate goal!  We’re … a long way off from that.  But you gotta have goals.

Last important step before unpausing the game is to swear fealty to the King of Abyssinia.  Seems sort of counterproductive, I know, since ideally we want to be king, right?  But Semien is just not big enough to go it alone, and Abyssinia is our biggest neighbor.  Swearing fealty means that Abyssinia itself probably won’t attack us, plus provides a little protection against other people.  On the downside, the King might take our land or execute us, but one thing at a time.

King Oda Gosh accepts our request!  We are now part of the not-very-mighty Kingdom of Abyssinia, and none too soon.

We assign our councilors to their tasks and get working.  First goal, as I said before, is to build up some gold.  I also sent away for a Court Physician, and found this cynical rabbi named Amare.  (This is my first time playing with Reaper’s Due, so I have no idea about this part!)

Every year we can celebrate Passover!  But it’s expensive so I usually don’t.  Sorry guys.

King Oda Gosh is pretty quick off the block.  Not more than six months have passed before he’s declared a holy war against Berbera, which is off to the right of the screen there.  We’re not actually obligated to help, but it looks like a good prospect, so we’ll go along in hopes of some loot.

I’m in the middle of besieging Berber castles and the peasants are asking for money for their like … dance social?  Sure, why not.

Hmm.  I’m not an expert, but this bodes poorly.

What do you think, Rabbi?  Gout, huh?

You had one job, Amare!

One.  Job.

Predictably, diseased beaver secretions failed to help Duke Phineas, and he died shortly thereafter.  Thankfully, Gideon Gideon is almost 16 (the age of majority) and thus will have only a short regency.  That leaves me in a poor position, though, with only one family member to my name.

On the plus side, Gideon Gideon gained Midas Touched when he reached adulthood!  This will help with his crappy stats.

At this point, though, things are going pretty badly for the new Duke.  Our heir is King Oda Gosh, which means if Gideon dies we lose the game.  Also, the war has taken a decided turn for the worse.  The Shirazids (the green country including Harer, between Abyssinia and Berbera) have declared a holy war for Aksum, the core territory of Abyssinia.  They marched over into Berbera, where Oda and I were laying siege, and crushed both our armies.  So at this point Oda’s capital is under siege by a large Shirazid army, while he runs around desperately trying to recruit more men.  I am standing still lying in wait, but if the Shirazids win the war Abyssinia will be crippled and I’m probably screwed.

Oh, also, on reaching adulthood Duke Gideon Gideon turned out to be gay.  Definitely less than ideal dynasty-wise.

Gideon Gideon decides to console himself with “family”, which in this case means “sexing”.  In spite of his natural inclination, he’s managed to acquire a wife (once again the only woman in the kingdom) and is hard at work trying to acquire some sons.

There’s also a measles epidemic spreading fast.  Hopefully it does some damage to the enemy.

In spite of being gay, Gideon Gideon falls in love with his own wife!  A hopeful sign.

The war is still going very poorly, though.  Aksum is now occupied by the Shirazids, and their army continues to rampage throughout Abyssinia.  Our forces have recovered somewhat but are still waiting in their castles until the odds get a little closer to even.

However!  Fellow Miaphysites from surrounding countries rally to Oda’s side and send some armies over.  We quickly raise our troops and lead them to join the fight.  (Red armies are bad, gray are neutral to us, green are ours.)

As is so often the case, one hard-fought battle completely changes the course of the war.  We quickly liberate the castles and towns in Aksum and pursue the retreating enemy back into their own territory.

Unfortunately the Jews of Semien are not, uh, particularly warlike in their abilities.  We’re going to have to work on that guys.

As we reduce the Shirazid castles, good news!  Gideon’s wife is pregnant.  Maybe the dynasty will continue!

In addition to capturing some castles, we got a visiting Sheikh as well!  This is very good, he will bring a fine ransom.

Seriously, Amare?  Seriously?

Aaaand he’s been joined by the entire peasantry of Semien.  You’d think that being a Jew surrounded by hostile religions was hard or something.  We’ll get our Court Rabbi on setting people straight ASAP. 

Hurrah!  Gideon: The Next Generation.

On the downside, my wife contracted dysentery and died shortly thereafter.  Not one to waste time mourning, the Duke searched for a new wife, but this time there were literally no women in the world willing to marry Duke Gideon Gideon.  Fortunately, for a little cash you can “Present Debutante” which creates a new woman from scratch.  Long live Duchess Semhar!

My prisoner complains of his accommodations, which reminds us that he exists.  Now that the war is over, we ransom him back and pad our treasury.

For being gay, Duke Gideon Gideon keeps falling in love with his wives!  Later he fell in love with her again, and it stacks, meaning he had DOUBLE LOVE.

Then, for a while, things went relatively peacefully.  One of the small countries south of Abyssinia fell apart in civil war, and Oda Gosh grabbed half while the Shirazids grabbed the other half.

Semhar acquired an interest in romantic poetry, which we encouraged because it made her lustful.  Not long after, she gave birth to a daughter.

Oda Gosh, getting bored, declares war on the Shirazids again.  This time, because we’re not simultaneously fighting Berbera and he has some allies, it goes much better.  The AI is not super-good at fighting wars — it prefers to sit around besieging castles, rather than confronting the enemy even with a 2-to-1 advantage.  Not how we’d do it if we were in charge, but at least we get some loot from taking cities!

We win the war and take most of the Shirazid territory.  They won’t be much of an issue from here on out, I think.  Also, between the ransom and the looting, I’ve acquired a reasonable amount of gold, enough to pay some mercenaries for a bit.  So I set my chancellor to forging claims against the Duchy of Gojjam, just south of me, in hopes of getting a quick little war going.

Will it work out?  Who knows!  Tune in next time.  Current Year: 779 AD.  Current status: Still alive.