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The Promised Land RELOADED #15

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

The penultimate edition!

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

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

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

Let’s try having him killed.

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

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

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

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

Or not.

Well, crap.

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

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

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

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

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

All right, boys, everybody on the boat!

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

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

All right, everybody back on the boat!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “pope” is apparently up to something unsavory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope War VIII: Rogue Pope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did they even get there?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The revolt armies gather near Semien and get crushed.

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

…who is now giving birth to my sons.

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

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

Also, check out Iskinder’s stats!  Yikes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And kids love dogs!

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

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

Victory.  For now…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

?Holy War theme song!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #14

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

Another day, another duchy.

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

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately, our buddy the pope has to spoil everything.

Pope War VII: The Pope Awakens

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course they are.  They’re always revolting.

I hate it when that happens!

Urgh.  Stay away from the fish.

This guy just cannot get enough of these leeches.

Can’t argue with results, though!

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

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

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

Meanwhile, I have pneumonia.

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

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

Again, though, the man gets things done.

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

This sounds like a song lyric.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Constantinople is finally connected by land to Jerusalem and Semien.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is it with these mayors?

Damn it, romantic poetry is hereby outlawed!

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

The spread of Judaism is coming along nicely, too.

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

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

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

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

However, a Mongol Empire revolt offers a tempting target!

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

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

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

There, that was much easier than going to Norway.

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

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

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

Goddamn if they didn’t take Norway!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mongols first.  Om nom nom.

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

?Holy War theme song?

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

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

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

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

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

Empress Berta is still merrily having kids at 41.

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

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

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

It’s super effective!

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

It’s making her somewhat cross.

But hey, we finally made it!  

Any wars going on?  Anybody got any wars?

Spreading Judaism continues apace.

And seeing all of Israel now requires maximum zoom!  

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

Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #13

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

The legend continues.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zauditu tries to cheat Death.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I finish Mesopotamia first, then work on the revolt.

A rather good multiple convergence smashes the main rebel army.

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

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

Pope War VI: Return of the Pope.

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

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

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

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

At least we’re getting the succession going.

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

Hurrah!  Another potential empress, named for her grandmother.

Christians are seriously worse than bedbugs.

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

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

Better luck next time, Pope Marinius IV the Holy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The war goes pretty badly for the Byzantines.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

At least he died.  Rabbis get shit done.  

Unfortunately the new king now hates me just as much. 

Well.  We know how to deal with that.

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

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

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

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

I like it.  Stick with what works.

Man, I should have sent a rabbi.

Didn’t we try that, like, yesterday?

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

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

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

Judaism now completely dominates Egypt and the Horn of Africa.

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

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

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

Poor Satan.  *sniff*  What a good dog.

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

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

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

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

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


Can’t go wrong with leeches!

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

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

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

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

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

Better luck next time, Caliph Mahmud II the Fat!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

?Danger Zone!?

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

Israelite armies are quickly laying siege to everything in sight.

I lose more stewards that way…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

?Holy War theme song?  Constantinople here we come.

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

Israelite armies lay siege to Thrace.

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

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

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

Duke Mamo, what did I just say?

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

The Mongols are steadily weakening. 

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


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

Uh oh.  Malaise!

That … seems plausible.

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

Delicious and effective!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #12

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

We return to the adventure!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Empress Zauditu is coming out okay, stats-wise.

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

Hurrah!  Our first Empress takes power.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My steward is … randomly giving me gold?

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

Someone has criticized me!  Zauditu ANGRY!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least the Mongols are still far off.

*Jaws theme plays*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Jaws theme gets louder*

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

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

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

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


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

Or consumption.  Could be consumption.

Good work, doc.

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

Well, that worked.  Fortunately Benaim is very gullible.

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

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

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

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

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

*da dum da dum da dum da dum*

Another chunk of Byzantine territory falls!

Unfortunately, I’m now extremely threatening.

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

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

Princess China is actually turning out quite nicely.

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

A fitting end for Duke Zula the Careless.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, FFS, you guys!

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



Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seems like a plan.

It actually works for once!

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

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

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

He may not survive, though.

Even my wise eunuch is helpless.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why not?  Join the party!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five for five.  The kid’s got moxie!

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

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

“What’d you do this weekend?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Keep this quack away from me…”

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

Okay, maybe Tefre knows a little bit after all.

Mmm, drugs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That didn’t take long.

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

With Christian strength scattered, things slowly turn around.

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

Better luck next time, Pope Lucius VI the Confessor!

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

Seriously, take a hint!

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

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

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

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

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

Poison seems more likely.  He does like his booze.

Or not.


Will somebody just kill this fucking guy?

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

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

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

Finally.  Rabbis get shit done.

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

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


“Oh, there he is now!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Better and better.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Emperor Ogbae is ready.

Current Year: 1205 AD.  Current Status: Vengeful.  


Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #10

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

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

Emperor Geteye The Holy: Craven, Cynical, Cannibal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They have pills for that now, I think.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once again, the Emperor demonstrates his maturity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope War III: Pope With a Vengeance.

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

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

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

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

Third time: not the charm.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victory!  But I will never be satisfied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She died almost immediately.  Oh, well.

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


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

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



Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #9

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six, Part Seven, and Part Eight.

Here we go again!

In our last issue, Gebereal the Wise had just crowned himself Emperor of Israel by creating a bunch of titles for prestige.  Unfortunately, this creates some problems — all those extra titles cause my vassals to hate me for hogging them all.  So the first step is to redistribute them, creating some subordinate kings to manage groups of vassals and generally cleaning things up.

Egypt is the biggest of the new kingdoms, and I make sure to keep it in the dynasty.  There’s also Nubia, which at this point is just basically Makuria, so I give it to the duke to keep him happy.  Then I work on the duchies, destroying some of them (you can destroy a title, but it makes everyone under it mad) and distributing others.

Much better.  Now not everyone hate me.

My next immediate goals are to a) seize the remaining Jewish holy sites, and b) take over the rest of the Arabian peninsula.  The next holy site, Damascus, is in Sulamid territory, and I have a truce with them.  But the Caliph is currently in prison for some reason, so it seems like a good chance to grab some territory there.  Let the holy war begin!

While that’s in progress, my new high priest decides the most pressing concern for a great holy war is … Pomerania.  I guess?  I’ll see what I can do after my war is over.

Armies are marching all over Israel as my vassals deal with their own rebellions or get rid of vassals they don’t like.  Not my problem, though.

This dog, man.  There’s no “send him to a farm upstate” button?

The Great Holy War for Pomerania isn’t going anywhere.  Love the mask on Przybyslaw the Unchaste, though!

The entire castle breathes a sigh of relief.

I’ve got the war against the Caliph won, but sadly the Jews have not conquered, or even gotten particularly near, Pomerania.

That was quick.  I guess someone didn’t care for an order of weird murderers.

As usual, winning wars generates threat, and that causes people to ally against you.  However, I think we’ve hit a tipping point — there aren’t enough Sunni rulers left to stop me, even allied.  If your threat goes really high different religious groups will work together, so we still have to avoid that — the Shia Caliphate and the Byzantines are both bad news.

The Emperor has an extremely mature relationship with his grandchildren.

The old Sulamid sultan has been replaced by an eight-year-old, so the truce is off.  I launch a holy war for Damascus, opposed by the usual crowd.

During the previous war, I captured one of the sultan’s sons.  He’s now grown up in my captivity, so I look into whether he can be convinced to convert.  At first he’s reluctant.

A small bag of gold, however, is apparently enough to overcome his theological reservations.  Welcome to the faith, Burhanaddin!  I marry him matrilineally to one of my nieces, in hopes his claim may someday be useful.

As expected, the combined armies of the remaining Sunni states aren’t enough to stop me.  It’s been a rough couple of centuries for them.

The moral authority of the Jewish faith grows as I now control four out of five holy sites!

Unfortunately the last one is waaaay over in what is now Byzantine territory, to the right of the Jarwanids.  That may take a while.  The Byzantines have really been making headway!

Even though my vassals are still busy fighting one another, very few of them are plotting against me.  Emperor Gebereal is beloved by all!

I can squeeze in one more holy war before passing 50% threat and triggering everyone in the world to work together to stop me.  I launch it against Banu Tanim, and just for fun hire the Zealots to help me.  Religious orders are happy to help in holy wars, though if you’re the attacker they demand to be paid.

I, uh, was not aware we had any particular beef with Oromo.  But I guess it would be a good time to strike, hypothetically.

There seems to be some rule that my rulers die in the middle of wars.  (Perhaps because I’m at war almost all the time.)  In any event, long live Emperor Kelile!

Hmm.  Emperor Kelile kind of sucks.  He’s a grandson of Gebereal, the son of my dead eldest son.  His stewardship is terrible, and he has no direct heirs.  Not ideal.

As usual, while the war goes on, the vassals start plotting against the new ruler.

Emperor Kelile is not enjoying his new job.  Shortly thereafter, he falls down some stairs and dies.

Well.  We didn’t like him much anyway.  Long live Emperor Geteye!

Emperor Geteye, back when he was a duke, had actually launched his own holy war for Tripoli.  Now I’ve inherited both.  Two for the price of one, not bad!

She only lost an eye?  Well, sign me up.

The first holy war ends in success!  

The second quickly follows.  I now share a border with the Byzantines.

Unfortunately, I am now threatening enough that everyone will band together to fight me, so we’re going to have to be peaceful for a while until that wears off.

In the meantime, we have a familiar succession problem to attend to.  While Emperor Geteye has a son, he has only one, and his eldest daughter Negasi has unwisely married non-matrilineally to someone not of my dynasty.  That means if the son dies and the daughter inherits, her children will be non-dynastic heirs, and I’m screwed.  Obviously I’ll try to have some more sons, but I also immediately work on killing her husband.  Unfortunately, once again, he’s quite popular.

Although Negasi herself is willing to help kill him, for a consideration.  Rough times in that marriage.

Stepping back for a moment, we can see that Israel is now one of the larger empires.  The Byzantines have expanded considerably in both directions, and France has finished taking over Spain and started on the North African coast, along with Italy.  Ireland is almost united, too!

I’ve got my Legalism up high enough that I can use Kingdom Viceroyalties.  This is a neat trick — you can bestow a kingdom on a useful vassal, but his heirs don’t inherit it, it reverts to you on his death.  That means you get to pick the next guy too.  It helps with vassal loyalty.

Emperor Geteye’s wife dies of depression, possibly because she can see the future and knows what happens next.  That’s okay, though, she was chosen for some reason other than high stewardship, which is just foolishness.

Well, crap.  Didn’t they learn anything the first time?

Pope War II: Pope Harder.

So, no sooner have I raised my armies and vassals for the war against the invading Christians then this shows up in my inbox.  Host wars come about when somebody who has a claim on your title — in this case my cousin Merille — has raised a mercenary army in a foreign court and launched them to take your land.  They’re pretty dangerous, since the size of the army is proportionate to the size of your domain.  In this case I’m facing 24,000 troops all of a sudden.  I add the Zealots to my shopping list.

Aaaand that’s the Byzantine Emperor piling on.  This is getting serious.  I quickly hire all available mercenaries in addition to my own forces.

My advance force, composed of my retinues plus vassal troops from Jerusalem, manages to defeat the Papal army’s initial thrust.  But Christian troops keep pouring into the Holy Land, and there’s no sign of the Byzantines yet.

Meanwhile, Merille’s armies have not so much invaded as materialized out of the desert sands.  I move against them first with the rest of my forces, since host armies are fragile — two or three victories will knock him out of the war.

As I launch my assault, I get the news that I have a second son!  This eases succession worries, since both boys would have to die before any children of Negasi’s inherit.  Not calling off the assassins yet, though.

I manage a couple of wins against Merille before he scuttles out of range.  I don’t have time to hunt him down right now, so I make a white peace, even though that means he lives to fight another day.  Things are getting busy up in Jerusalem.

A lot of Christians have showed up, and at least one large Byzantine army has joined the fray.  Fortunately, some of my vassals you were busy fighting one another have been caught up in the war, helping to bleed the enemy.

My combined armies arrive, doing an elaborate dance to avoid fighting separately but also not run out of food in any given province.  We start pushing the Christians back and retaking the castles they seized.

After several battles against the Byzantine’s, the crusaders finally commit to an all-out battle, and I concentrate all my troops to get the advantage in numbers.  Victory here finally tips the balance in the war, and I start hunting the rest of them down.

After I retake all the castles of Tripoli, Emperor Daniel the Fat agrees to a white peace.

A bit later, Pope Caelestinus the Holy (not the long-bearded fellow who started the war) finally throws in the towel.  Victory!  Or at least peace, which is like victory since I was the one being attacked here.

All this defense of the realm has left very few people conspiring against me, too, and my threat is slowly ticking downward.

Before I can plan my next conquest, though, cousin Merille comes back for another try.

This time, though, I’m not preoccupied fighting the entire Christian world, and I’m able to hunt his armies down and wallop them.  Cousin Merille spends the rest of his miserable life in my dungeon.

In spite of everything I’ve done, everyone suspects I’m a coward!  You can’t please some people.

You remember our buddy Burhanaddin, who converted to Judaism for a little gold.  He has a claim on the Sulamid Sultanate, so I set him up as a Viceroy King and launch a war to press his claim.  (Giving him a title first is important — if he’s not already my vassal, he’ll just become independent if we win the claim war.)  I knew he’d come in handy!

On the succession front, the good news is that Negasi’s husband is dead, though my incompetent assassins can’t take any credit.  I quickly remarry her to someone safe, but the bad news is that she had three children, who are non-dynasty members in the line of succession and therefore threats.  I get started on trying to get them killed.

Then, things start to go wrong.

February 1115.  That’s a long way from here, though, right?  *nervous laugh*

My war against the Sulamids comes to an abrupt halt as Burhanaddin dies, negating his claim.  I can try again with his son, but first a gang of my vassals decides this would be a great time to fight yet another civil war for increased council power.

To arms!  Hmm.  That’s actually kind of a lot of vassal armies.

I rack up some victories against the rebels, but bad news continues to trickle in from the north-east.

Yeah, yeah that looks pretty bad.

As the plague approaches, Emperor Geteye bravely decides to seal himself up in his palace with the court and try to ride it out.

“Don’t worry, guys,” he shouts through the gate.  “It’s just a precaution!”

“How’s the war coming along?  We beat those rebels yet?”

“Guys?  Guys?”


In point of fact, while I have an advantage in the war, it’s getting hard to fight at all.  The supply limit for each province is adjusted based on season and other factors, and with the plague raging it’s rapidly adjusting to zero, so both sides armies are starving.  I eventually offer the rebels a white peace just because my army can’t move anywhere.  (Also by that point most of them are dead.)

Inside the castle, food begins to run low.

Definitely starting to get a bit peckish.

I mean, I don’t know if it’s time yet to resort to cannibalism.  But … eh, why not?!  OM NOM NOM.

Man, good thing we still have plenty of traitor!

I’m not sure how we keep getting news, but it’s all bad.

Somehow I don’t think more knightly orders are what we need at this point.

Because I am now a storybook villain, I’m apparently hiring a witch to kill my inconvenient grandson with poisoned candy.  Sadly, this attempt fails, presumably thwarted by seven dwarves.

Yeah, about that … everything …

August 1119.  Maybe a light at the end of the tunnel, as the plague’s original path is slowly dying out.

Europe is still pretty screwed but Israel is looking a little better.

I caught someone else attempting to steal food!  Only somewhat later did I notice that it was Negasi’s eldest son, who I was trying to kill anyway.  OM NOM NOM.

Just as the plague is dying down, camp fever breaks out.  How is there anyone left to spread camp fever?

Ironically, having survived the Black Death, Emperor Geteye begins to succumb to old age.

After eight years in seclusion, I finally open the palace gates again.  How’s it going, everybody?

“Being a cannibal” is apparently an opinion penalty on the same order as “being lazy” or “having a bum knee”.  But other cannibals like you!

Anyway, I now have three sons, and Negasi has only one left.  (Yum.)  Things look good for the succession.  Time to get back to conquest, if there’s anybody left in the army!

Current Year: 1123 AD.  Current Status: Still hungry.




Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #8

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six, and Part Seven.

Making some progress this time!  Strap in!

King Aman the Wise was in pretty good shape when we left off.  Three sons, working on some claims to the remaining bits of Israel, and a strong military.  Also insane.

I have a false claim to Negev so I go for that right away.  The ruler of Wadi Musa and I still have a truce from the last war, so I have to wait that out or assassinate him.  Also, my vassals are getting uppity again.

I get lucky in Negev and capture the enemy leader in the first battle, so that wraps up nicely!

My heir, Prince Gebereal.  He’s not quite the badass his father is, but he’s acceptable.  He also has two sons already.

I need control of two more duchies to complete Israel.  This one, Oultrejordan…

And this one, Galilee.  Irritatingly both contain territory controlled by several different countries, making a simple holy war to take them impractical.

To avoid having to wait out the truce with Sheikh Samir, I try to kill him.  Truces in CK2 are always with a person rather than a country, so they disappear if either party dies.

The crown prince continues to do yeoman work on the succession.

Afework the Blind, who drove the king mad, dies of old age, so I hire a new doctor.  King Aman decides to go with an actual doctor this time instead of some weird mystic or prisoner.

Afework was also my court rabbi, so I need a new one to spread Judaism to Jerusalem.  I enlist stupendous badass Feodor the Wise.  Frankly I’d marry him to one of my daughters if he wasn’t celibate.

Good lord, Gebereal, give the woman a rest!

I’ve managed to work my way up to Tolerance 5 — one more step to Full Status of Women, another campaign goal.

Losing an eye would serve you right for kicking a kitty.  (Obviously I let it follow me home.)

Best trait ever.

The Emir of Banu Tanim has taken over a second province in Oultrejourdain, so I declare holy war on him to get them both.  I prepare for another tough fight, since he has lots of friendly Sunni neighbors.

Sheikh Murad the Strange joins the fray, but surprisingly few others.

My own forces are led by Duke Sisay II the Tormentor, who is almost as good a fighter as the king himself.

There’s that insanity cropping up.  Aside from seeing his household servants as furry vermin from time to time, though, King Aman mostly holds it together.

I think the crown prince and his wife have too much free time.

The war is quick and surprisingly tame, with only a few countries joining in.  A few revolt armies crop up, but are easily dealt with, and my spymaster is doing a fine job keeping the vassals down.

I have acquired a dog!  Due to insanity, I get to name him Satan.

Dammit, how am I supposed to make peace in the Middle East if I can’t get a cat and dog to get along?!

See, guys?  How hard was that?

Okay, I lied.  This is the best trait ever.

The ever-helpful Duke Berta of Ascalon declare a holy war for Tiberias while I’m still waiting for the truce to run out.  Good luck, buddy!

Then comes the bad news.  You’d think the Christians would be more grateful for all the time I’ve spent womping the Muslims, but no, here they come.

This guy is pretty foul-mouthed for an elderly pope.

Armies begin to assemble from across Europe.  Duke Sisay II has grown even more awesome since last time!

Unfortunately, in spite of Sisay’s prowess, I lose the initial confrontation, and things go quite badly for a while.  The primary papal army besieges Ascalon, while I sneak around the edges, smashing the smaller contingents and re-taking fallen castles.

Quite a few nations have responded to His Holiness’ call, unfortunately.  I’m not sure how I manage to get slaughtered so badly at Harbijah.

Meanwhile, Egypt has been infected by some kind of contagious madness!  Are we sure Afework is dead?

The Dancing Plague spreads quickly as the war rages on.

Gradually, the war swings in my favor, and I finally assemble enough troops to drive off the main Papal army and parry the increasingly desperate Christian assaults.  I’m defeated in the “Battle of Gloucester”, which causes me to look over at England.  Sure enough I seem to have a tiny army there?!  I think they were mercenaries who switched sides from lack of pay…

Pope Innocentius the Wicked refuses to make peace, even though he’s now losing badly.  I have patience, though, and am not going to repeat my mistake of sailing to Spain to finish a war faster.  Finally, after a few more wallopings, he agrees to a white peace and the crusade ends in failure.

Peace at last!  My vassals are contented.  Duke Berta even managed to take over Monreal, leaving only Tiberias and two northern counties to complete Israel.  With the truce expired, I launch the war for Tiberias.

That goes smoothly!  Only two more to go.  I launch a war for the next one!

Sadly, Tiberias is Aman’s last triumph.  He dies after a long, successful reign, outlived by both his loving pets.  Long live King Gebereal II!

King Gebereal is about where we left him, stat-wise.  He’s devoted himself to learning and science.  His father’s war goes on, but the vassals are much more restive under the new king.

Still a better idea than hiring random imprisoned magicians, though “Tariku the Sea-Devil” isn’t the most promising name for a doctor.

King Gebereal’s oldest son dies at 21.  Fortunately, he has three brothers, one of whom already has a son of his own.

The new Duke of Aswan, Negasi II (successor to the mighty Sisay II) is a die-hard rival of the new king and hates him with a burning passion.  That’s not ideal, so I send for my assassins.

This apparently results in JUSTICE.

Tariku passes his first test with flying colors!

His second test, maybe slightly less so, but it’s better than deformed elephant brains or whatnot.

In spite of the efforts of my assassins, Duke Negasi manages to survive to raise a revolt against me, and gets quite a lot of friends to help him out.  This is a serious civil war, with the majority of the dukes lining up against the young king.  I quickly hire every available mercenary company, but it’s still tough odds.

On the plus side, I did not die of pneumonia, which is something!

One advantage to hiring mercenary companies is that you get to use their characters as generals.  Sometimes they are pretty awesome, like this fellow.  My combined army confronts one of several rebel forces and is victorious, but there’s a lot of work left to do.

As you can see, quite a bit of Semien has turned against me.

Even as rebel armies descend from the north, King Gebereal steadfastly continues his study of the stars.

Deep questions.

Duke Negasi manages to get himself killed in battle, which at least saves some money on assassins.  Unfortunately the war goes on.

My army takes heavy casualties but scatters rebel forces one after another.  Gradually the king regains the upper hand and proceeds to hunting down the remaining enemy.

Chalk up another Duke, a different Sisay!

King Gebereal has triumphantly concluded that the earth moves around the sun.  He chooses to publish his findings, and the hell with what the religious authorities think!

The revolt finally ends.  No white peace this time — half the great lords of Semien go to prison and have titles revoked.  I do some judicious redistribution, creating new dukes and giving them authority over the rebel lands.

King Gebereal turns his attention back to Israel now that his revolting vassals are safely in jail.  There’s one last county to take before the new kingdom can be created.  Unfortunately, since the last war finished on his watch, Gebereal has a truce with Sultan Sulayman the Butcher with nearly five years left to run.  I try to assassinate the sultan, but his court likes him so it’s not likely.

The death of my son Aman led to a discovery of one of those wacky family mix-ups.  I had married him to a young woman named Zala because of her awesome stewardship, without really thinking about it …

But she turned out to be the last wife of old King Aman.  TFW you accidentally marry off your son to his grandma-in-law, right? #FirstWorldProblems.  I have a good laugh and find Zala a more suitable husband so she can produce additional offspring.

While the truce runs down, I decide to stay at peace for a while and try to increase the realm’s prosperity, saving up money for great events to come.  Meanwhile, Zala embraces heresy, but I’m able to defeat her in theological debate and she recants.

The succession is looking nice and clean, with all the women married to safe husbands.  Fortunately, peasant revolts don’t count against “See the Realm Prosper”, and I don’t run into any major wars.

Finally, my new court rabbi (one of my sons) gets through to the stubborn people of Jerusalem!  This is a prerequisite for both my goals — creating the Kingdom of Israel, and rebuilding the Third Temple.  I can’t do the former until the truce runs out, but I can work on the latter.  Since I control Jerusalem and it’s now Jewish, the only remaining obstacle is to build 1500 piety.  I’m at about 1000, so not far to go!

King Gebereal’s dog, Faithful, is not nearly as good as King Aman’s dog Satan, and likes to attack people at random.

At 1200 piety.  The king dedicates himself to the theological arts to prove his worthiness!

…pretty sure this is unrelated.

I start taking every possible decision to become more pious.  Passover is celebrated, finally.

After five years, the realm is thriving and the old sultan is dead.  I’m at 1450 piety, so I wait a little longer before starting the final war for Israel.

After getting to 1500 piety, first I carefully save the game.  In my previous playthrough, this is where I ran into difficulty.  After beginning construction, my king died, which canceled the completion event but wouldn’t let me start over either.  This time, I’m not in Ironman mode, so I can fix that if it happens again.

Let the construction begin!

That done, I launch the war (a simple de jure claim war) against the Sulamids.  Judaism is suffering from low moral authority at the moment due to other Jewish rulers (that is, my vassals) losing their attempts at holy wars.

The Sulamids are quickly defeated, and the last piece of Israel falls into my hands!  With the conversion of Jerusalem, all the conditions are now in place.  Time to press the button!

Hurrah!  Dance party time!

I quickly switch my primary title to Israel.

There’s another step I want to add, though.  Currently I happen to be king of two separate kingdoms — Semien and Israel.  The combined realm is getting pretty large and the number of dukes it requires is high.  What I’d really like is to become Emperor of Israel, which would allow me to have kings as subjects and do some consolidation.  That takes 8000 prestige, and I have 5500, so it seems achievable.  Before that, though, we want the Third Temple finished.

It doesn’t take much longer!  Another goal down.

With the Temple rebuilt, Jews can have a high priest again!  In CK2 he functions a bit like a Jewish Pope, able to declare Great Holy Wars and similar.

Importantly, the high priest is my vassal, since I’m king of Jerusalem.  So he should be inclined to do what I want.

Jews even get their own slightly creepy religious order to match the Assassins and the Templars!

With that all done, I start creating titles.  There are a bunch of kingdoms and dukedoms that I can create, because I own all the land that composes them, but I haven’t done so because it’s expensive and I’d have to find someone to give them to.  Creating them gives me prestige, though, and by spending a bunch of gold I’m able to conjure my way to the magic number of 8000!

And with that, I am Emperor Gebereal the Wise, of Israel!  It’s such a nice purple color too.

Not that I plan on stopping there.  Being emperor lets me control a larger realm, and having the high priest in my pocket should allow me to declare “crusades” to seize big chunks of territory.  There are still two Jewish holy sites to reclaim — then, who knows?

Current Year: 1095 AD.  Current Status: Imperial.





Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #7

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart Five, and Part Six.


In our previous episode, King Berta the Lecher had narrowly circumvented a succession crisis created by his eldest daughter Senalat and her husband Iyasu.  Murder was involved.

Semien (my home county, rather than the country as a whole) is doing great!  I get the chance to add another holding slot to it.  This is very expensive but worth is, since I can build a castle there.  I already have three castles in Semien, and each provides a bunch of troops.  The key is that one ability of your marshal is to increase troop strength in a specific county, so stacking castles in your capital helps a lot!

Senalat still hates me, but has had no more children.  With two of my sons in line of succession ahead of her things look good.

Unexpectedly, her husband inherits the Duchy of Wag!  

This gives me a chance to end the threat for good.  Previously I was having trouble assassinating Iyasu because he was well-liked by everybody at his court.  As Duke, he has a much larger court and a bunch of annoyed vassals who will help with the plot!

Although this is always a risk.  Stupid mayors.

Even King Berta’s legendary sex appeal can’t overcome the negative opinion from attempted murder, alas.

While I’m waiting for my assassins to do their work, I grab one of the two remaining counties at the mouth of the Nile.  I feel a little bit bad about fighting “Halil the Affable”, actually, he seems like a nice guy.

Finding myself in need of a new steward, I discover everyone in the kingdom sucks.  Fortunately, there are now at least a few Jews kicking around Europe (they get generated as visitors from time to time) so I can go looking for one who’d make a good steward and entice him to my court with a bag of gold.

Zula is some kind of weird mystic I picked up in the desert.  His diagnostic skills aren’t great.

Coughing is rabies, headache is measles.  Got it.

So glad I hired Zula…

Doc, here’s a hint.  It’s always cancer.

Zula manages to stave off King Berta’s cancer with some kind of magic red powder.  Also, what kind of idiot servant randomly tastes the king’s medicine?

The last Nile county had been disputed for a while.  Now that the war is resolved, I can press my own claim on it!

It’s a pretty straightforward war, since I have a forged claim instead of having to declare holy war and risk intervention by others.

One of my vassals jumps the gun and declare a holy war for the Sinai, which is mostly owned by a Spanish sultan.  Good luck, I guess?

Sure, we’ll give the herbwoman a shot.

My assassins, annoyingly, have not had a chance at Duke Iyasu.  However, my spymaster discovers he is trying to kill me, which is almost as good.  It gives me the chance to arrest him without everyone hating me for it.  As usual, that fails, but his rebellion is going to be short-lived.

The old herbwoman died soon after taking office, which frankly is not much of a testament to her skill.  I installed the most learned man in the land, who happed to be some random courtier.  He seems a dab hand with the cow dung.

Finally, Duke Iyasu is in prison, where there’s no danger of his fathering non-dynasty sons.  

In addition to cancer, at 59 Berta is sliding into senility.

With the king not long for this world and the war for the Nile finally finished, I have a quandary.  I have a claim on the nearest province of the Sinai, but if I don’t at least attempt to fight for it, it will end when the king dies.  But the Veremondo Sultanate is embroiled in several wars that will make taking them on somewhat difficult.  I decide to go for it and declare for my claim.

Very nice.  That’s exactly the trait I want in an heir, allowing me to have lots of land in my personal demense.

Once again, I enlist strange women into my council because the duke currently doing the job is mediocre.  Welcome Lady Zenia!

The problem with fighting the Veremondo Sultanate is that their Sinai territories are already occupied by enemies, and their main territories are all the way over in Spain.  However!  I have recently acquired the mouth of the Nile, which means I now have Mediterranean ports!  (The Suez Canal not being built for another thousand years.)

Whatever the sultan was expecting from the war, I bet it wasn’t seven thousand troops suddenly landing in his capital.  No one expects the Spanish Abyssinian Inquisition!

A couple of revolt armies crop up back home, but it’s nothing my vassal troops can’t handle.

At this somewhat inconvenient juncture, with most of his army in Spain, King Berta dies.  Long live King Aman!

King Aman is shockingly competent compared to his father, with excellent stewardship and solid martial prowess.  I immediately set him to focus on having children to establish a succession.

Aman’s wife Makeda is no slouch, either, and tops the list of potential stewards.  (With my gradual increase in the status of women, they can now be stewards, which helps expand the talent pool.)

Unfortunately Makeda almost immediately dies of cancer.  Aman goes looking for wife number two.  In the meantime, the war is coming along, with the peasant revolts settled.  

Then things get sticky.  Several more nations join in, and I lose a battle or two.  More ominously, a large coalition of my vassals is looking rebellious.  I’m still ahead, on the balance, so the sultan agrees to a compromise peace.  My army from Spain sets sail back to Semien.

Not quickly enough, however.  Huge chunks of Semien rise in revolution against the new king.  I raise my vassal troops and hire all available mercenaries.

The war is a mess, with several large rebel armies forming.  My captains on the way back from Spain begin blowing into the sails to make the ships go faster.

My main army finally returns, and I begin the arduous task of bringing the rebels to heel.  My older sister Senalat finally, finally dies, after about twenty years with syphilis.  

I have the upper hand, but the war is still raging and it’s draining my strength.  More importantly, it’s draining my treasury — I’m out of money after paying mercenaries for so long.  It pains me to let rebellion go unpunished, but I agree to a white peace and everyone goes home status quo ante.  At least the realm is at peace again, and I can wait a while for my armies to rebuild.

Are there no just like, normal doctors?  Why are we reduced to ransacking the prisons?

Peace is building up my treasury again while my armies recover.  Aman hasn’t managed to have any sons yet, but his succession looks good — he’s got a brother with a son, and sisters in safe marriages.  So I’d like to have a direct heir, but it’s not urgent.

My spymaster dies and everyone in my kingdom is terrible, so once again I go abroad with a bag of cat treats money.  Welcome, Shlomo of Philippopolis!  I marry him to a half-sister to keep him loyal.

My chancellor having forged a claim, I go to war for Sinai, held by one of the smaller Muslim states.

Note, at this point, that my bank balance (top right, the first number) is 974 gold.  I make about 40 a month, and consider 2,000 in savings to be huge.  150 gold is literally a king’s ransom.  600-700 buys a new castle.

My vassal Kafnai, Count of Assab, dies without a valid heir.  As king, I’m the default heir for everyone with land, so I inherit his county.  More importantly, I inherit his treasury, and at this point I discover that Kafnai, aka best vassal ever, had saved up something like twelve thousand gold for a rainy day.  This is like when the uncle you didn’t know you had dies and leaves you a mansion!

I immediately start spending Kafnai’s gold on upgrading my castles.  I get the chance to put a sixth castle in Semien and deck it out with all the trimmings; that one county alone now produces more than 7,000 troops.  I also get myself some retinues, which are permanent paid troops.  Woo!

With Sinai subdued, the Veremondo Sultanate is taken over by a seven-year-old, so I renew my war for Farama.  This time there’s no third parties to interfere and I don’t need to ship my army overseas.

The only fly in the ointment is that Aman has been unable to have any legitimate children.  He has two bastard daughters, and as a result his actual wife is increasingly unhappy with him.

With Farama secured, it’s time to move into the Holy Land proper.  The Hajurid emirate is conveniently also ruled by a kid, so I declare holy war for the duchy of Ascalon, the biggest chunk of his country.  This is going to bring in every neighbor with an army, so I raise all the troops I can.

The battles commence!  As expected, a lot of countries join in.  Fortunately they don’t work together well, so I’m able to fight them piecemeal a lot of the time.

Shlomo, meanwhile, has been doing sterling work as spymaster, and hardly any nobles are conspiring against me at all.

Finally!  It turns out to be a girl, but at least it’s a direct heir of some kind.

The war for Ascalon is long and fierce.  Most of my wars feature one or two big battles, this one has more than a dozen as I repeatedly smash the enemy armies and am occasionally caught off-guard.  A revolt army is kicking up trouble, too, but I ignore them until I’ve got this locked down.

Finally, Ascalon is mine!  Kind of ugly that it’s not connected to my other territory but we’ll clean it up later.  That revolt army still needs to be put down, too.

Also, I’ve acquired a male heir!  My lover had a son, who I legitimized.  This was the last straw as far as my wife is concerned, though, and now she hates me.  But we know how to deal with that problem…

I crush the peasant rebellion, as my old rival / UST partner Duke Iyasu finally dies in prison.

My wife, who is now Duchess of Wag in her own right, is not very popular there.  Her own spymaster is willing to join the plot against her, for a consideration.  This is why you keep your spymaster happy, folks.

Classic spouse-murder technique!

For once it goes off without a hitch, though.  Time to find a new wife to get some backup sons.  Pity she won’t be as good a steward as Zauditu, though.

Glancing up at the map, France and their Aragonese allies have almost completed retaking Spain from the Muslims, while the Byzantines expand northward and Italy creates a North African coastal empire.

I’m waiting out a few truces to press my war in the Holy Land when the Caliph throws down on me again.  I’m pretty confident this time, since my armies are in good shape.  Bring it on!

At this point, supplies become an issue in warfare.  Each county can support a certain number of troops — 40k or more for prosperous counties, down to 4k or less for barren ones.  Putting more troops then that in a county means you take attrition losses as long as you stay there.  This means that once your armies get above a certain size, you have to split them up or eat the country bare.  But splitting up also means tactical opportunities for the enemy!  (The old military maxim of “March divided, fight concentrated” definitely applies here.)  It’s tricky to manage.

Quite a few countries has responded to the Caliph’s call…

The war goes really badly for a while, for reasons that I don’t fully understand.  I keep losing battles that I ought to win, on the numbers — maybe there’s some really awesome commanders on the other side?  Note here that one of my defeated armies has chosen to flee all the way up the coast to Ascalon.

Fortunately, I have a considerable advantage in numbers and coordination.  In spite of some freakish defeats, I’m able to retain control of Arabia, and eventually convince the Sunnis to back off.  It costs me more than I would like in terms of troops, though.

I crush a Samaritan revolt on the way back home …

…and then another one literally days later.  You’d think they’d have learned their lesson the first time.

A quick false-claim war for Eilat connects my Holy Land territories to the rest of Semien!  Progress.

Count Berta, who I entrusted with Ascalon, jumps the gun a bit and launches a holy war for Jerusalem.  I’d be fine with that if he won, but the computer isn’t very good at warring.  At least he’ll deplete enemy troops, I guess.

One of my half-sisters is married to someone named “Oromo Zumbo”, which is pretty awesome.  Shlomo, my faithful spymaster, sadly dies of old age.

Once the Count of Ascalon fails, I decide the time has come to launch my own war for Jerusalem.  Here we go!

Uh.  This is unexpected.  I’m in mid-war when this arrives — that fellow there is the Emperor of Byzantium, who apparently has decided that he wants Ascalon in the name of God.  Things just got very exciting.

Suddenly the holy land is a mass of marching armies, including Count Berta’s, who takes this chance to declare another, unrelated holy war.  I concentrate on fighting the Muslims, stalling the Byzantines as best I can.  Fortunately, Byzantine armies take some time to arrive by land or trickle in by sea.

The armies of the Sunni states are mostly smashed, while the Byzantines retreat and then return with fresh troops.  That’s fine — I need to take Jerusalem to win, but only have to hang on to Ascalon.

I have another son, too, with my new wife!  That’s my succession more or less sorted.

After quite a few big battles, Jerusalem is finally mine!

There’s still some big Byzantine armies kicking around though.  I decide to fight the war to the finish, since unlike in a Crusade/Jihad, the Empire will owe me a huge reparations bill if I win.

Gebereal, my legitimized-bastard son, takes after his father and becomes an awesome steward.  I quickly marry him to get the next generation going.

Both founding Israel and rebuilding the Temple require that Jerusalem be Jewish, so I deploy the Court Rabbi at once to begin conversion.

Gebereal obliges almost immediately with a grandson, who he names after me.  Aww.

(Unrelated, but one feature this game really lacks is a “nag children about grandchildren” button.)

I’m forced to invade Byzantine territory, losing quite a few men in the desert, in order to bring this war to a quicker conclusion.

When my Court Rabbi dies, I go abroad looking for a really good one.  I end up with Afework the Blind, who had his eyes gouged out somewhere along the way but still debates a mean Torah.

Okay, no.  I draw the line at giving random witches vials of my blood.  You do not get to be my doctor.

In fact, when I look at people I’ve already got, Afework the Blind has the right traits!  A blind doctor seems a little … odd, but we’ll see how it goes.

The Byzantines finally give up when I start taking their castles, and agree to a thousand gold indemnity.  Very nice.

Soon afterward, now-independent El-Arish falls.  Semien now extends mostly unbroken from Jerusalem to the Horn of Africa.

Okay, Afework, time to show off that high learning.

I mean, I guess what should I have expected from the Court Rabbi?

Although he also dabbles in the occult.

Well, he was right about the cancer.  What now?

Literally in the midst of his cancer treatment, Aman is hunting the White Lion.  That’s dedication!

So Afework sent me on some kind of mystical drug-fueled vision quest…

Which actually cured my cancer!  And also drove me completely insane.  Hmm.

Another quick war adds Acre to my Holy Land territories.  Soon, all the kingdom of Jerusalem will be under my control, and then we only need to convert the city itself to Judaism to create Israel!  But there’s more work to be done after that…

Current Year: 1063 AD.  Current Status: Stark Raving Mad.



Content, Crusader Kings Series 1, Excluded, Games

The Promised Land RELOADED #6

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart Four, and Part Five.

Back into the fray!  This bit coming up turned out to be particularly war-filled.

Somewhat appropriately, my Marshal kicks things off by inventing the tank about a thousand years too early.  Sadly you can’t actually use it.

Our liege for the moment in King Mamo, and his vassals are causing trouble.  I send my spymaster to get dirt on them and convince them to stay out of factions.  This one is stressed, insane, has syphilis, and homosexual, so I imagine it’s pretty easy.

King Mamo becomes brave via thought experiments.

I start the war against the Yusufids, but Caliph Abdul decides to join his co-religionists.  Fortunately he has a lot of other things on his mind, though.

In the meantime, King Mamo grooms his eldest son Tengene to be heir.  His stats are progressing nicely for age 12!

My half-sister wants to be on the council.  A woman!  Scandalous!  I would happily support her, but she’s actually not a great choice for steward compared to the guy I already have.  A sad day for women’s rights.  (But more on that subject later…)

The Yusufids swear loyalty to the Muhallabids, bring them into the war.  Unfortunately for the Yusufids, they basically don’t show up.

Another victory!  The borders of Semien march north down the Nile.

Not wasting time, I go for Aydhab, the last county south of the Tujibids.  It’s de jure part of the duchy I just took over, so I have a reason for war that won’t drag a bunch of neighboring countries in.

Prince Tengene turned out to be pretty smart, and he’s doing a good job as my spymaster.

Meanwhile, King Mamo continues his pursuit of the legendary White Lion and decides he’s found his purpose in life.

Strange things are afoot in the wider world.  France is slowly taking over Spain, and the Byzantines are working their way back into Italy.

A random Khagan from the middle of Russia wants his son Crazy-Eyes to marry my daughter.  He has an impressive number of umlauts, but I say no.  He proceeds to offer every single one of his fourteen sons.  There’s no “Take a hint, dude, it’s not which son that’s the problem” button.

Then, disaster!  Losing the war, the Shehzadids spitefully decide to murder Prince Tengene, who apparently was not that great a spymaster after all.  I have two other sons, but they’re already ruling their own territories, which makes them much harder to groom.  Grr.

It’s a little late.

As the war against the Shedazids drags on, my angry vassals get together and demand more power.  I’m not about to grant that, of course, so they take up arms.

Fortunately it doesn’t last.  In the first siege I capture the son of the leader of the revolt, and he submits almost immediately.  Everyone goes to jail and loses some titles, to be redistributed to more loyal followers.

Soon after, the Shehzadids concede the point, and my borders inch farther north.  The path to the next target, the Tujibids, is clear, though I need to spend some time rebuilding my strength first.

?I will never be satisfied!?

Sometimes, all you need to do to get someone to stop trying to overthrow you is ask nicely.

With the army back up to strength, I declare war on the one-handed Emir of the Tujibids.

Eh, why not?  He literally can’t be worse than some of the other guys.

By the way, if you’re wondering what happened to Jahzara the Demon-Spawn from last time, she apparently became a Jainist monk in eastern India.  Waste of great military talent.

Dude, seriously.


Prince Berta, now heir to the throne, follows his dead brother’s footsteps both in the “becoming spymaster” department and in the “figuring out which vassals are gay” department.

The Tujibids are duly crushed.  Now we’re getting somewhere!  It presents a new problem, though — the patchwork of little countries is actually much harder to take over, since you have to declare war on them one-by-one.  (You can do it simultaneously, but most of them aren’t actually tiny countries but small outposts of larger countries, so I don’t want to fight them all at once.)  The mess left over from the Arabian Empire is still getting sorted out.

At this point I manage to outsmart myself, or alternately allow roleplaying to coax me into poor decisions.  I’ve been working on increasing the status of women during this playthrough (with the ultimate goal of having female rulers) so moving to Agnatic-Cognatic succession seems like the logical stuff.  For those of you unfamiliar with obscure inheritance terminology (shame on you!) this means that instead of only males being in the line of succession, women can inherit if there are no male children.  (But males always have precedence.  This seems to make sense, because my eldest son has three daughters.

Note that in the new line of succession, Berta’s daughters come before their uncles and great-uncles.  However, I’d forgotten about a wrinkle that would cause much trouble later, which I’ll explain when we get there.

A consequence of expanding quickly is that people can form alliances against you.  Sometimes this is bad, other times it just means a bunch of wimpy countries joining together and remaining wimpy.  This, fortunately, is one of the latter times.

Jeez, I can’t see how that could go wrong…

Since I still have a truce with the Tujibids, next on King Mamo’s hit list is Banu Judham.  A very complicated war ensues, in which another sultanate has also declared a holy war for the same territory, resulting in a sort of race to knock down the Banu Judham castles.

Prince Berta is a shockingly good spymaster.  He seems to dig up dirt on everyone, almost immediately, and as a result my vassals are more obedient then they have been in years.  

I realize that I’ve managed to marry one of my daughters to her first cousin.  Shelbyville here we come.

Here we go again.

But King Mamo the Hunter isn’t going to let mere pain stand between him and the White Lion!

Again.  Could be worse!

Hmm.  Ideas?

“First, do no harm,” right?

Finally he resorts to massage.

When that fails, though, it’s back to good old scab-powder, which works its usual magic.

Look at this mess.  (Counties with cross-hatches are occupied by invaders.)  Every castle within a hundred miles is a smoking ruin as four or five different wars play out simultaneously.

Finally things calm down a bit.  I end up with Alexandria, on the Mediterranean, but with someone else holding all its component baronies.  At least I get Cairo too, pushing ever farther northward.  I’m still not sure why I didn’t get the other Banu Judham county…

With the fall of Cairo (I think) the Caliph decides enough is enough.  This bodes poorly.  A jihad (in the game, this is historically inaccurate) is the equivalent of a crusade, which attacks a kingdom-sized chunk of land and invites all co-religionists to come help out and get piety rewards.  Hopefully they’ll target some Christians and not me.

When my cancer plays up again, I go back to Tengene, and this time he gives me some mercury!  What a good doctor.

A strange woman with a martial score of 20 shows at my court.  This time, I’m happy to grant her request, since my current marshal is pretty terrible.  Welcome, Lady Tavavich!

Now Duchess Falashina wants to be marshal, too!  Unfortunately she’s pretty bad at it, though still better than the previous guy.  I’ll keep Lady Tavavich.

A quick war with the Tujibids after the truce expires restore contiguity to Semien.  I set my chancellor to work forging claims on the counties by the mouth of the Nile, so I can take them without starting massive religious wars.  The only power that’s REALLY frightening, though, is the Sadiqids of Persia, who are fortunately Shia and won’t participate in the jihads.

King Mamo the Hunter finally succumbs to cancer after a long and glorious reign.  Long live King Berta!

Now we have problems.  King Berta is excellent at intrigue and has literally devoted his life to seducing women, although he somehow has only one bastard son.  He completely sucks at war, though, which is disappointing.  

More alarming, though, I now realize the consequences of my earlier decision.  Since Berta has only legitimate daughters, his heir is the eldest, Princess Senalat.  Unfortunately, she’s already married, and to someone not of my dynasty!  The problem I alluded to earlier with Agnatic-Cognatic succesion is this — if a daughter seems likely to inherit, then you need to either marry her to a dynasty member or do a matrilineal marriage, which will make her children dynasty members.  Unfortunately, since Berta wasn’t heir and had land of his own, I couldn’t control her marriage, so now if she has a son he will not be of the dynasty and inherit everything!  This would be game over.

I immediately start taking steps to deal with this problem.  Step one is to legitimize Loua, my bastard son.  As a male, this puts him ahead of Senalat in the succession.  That still doesn’t make me comfortable, though — he’s young, and if anything happens to him before he breeds, we’re in trouble again.

Unfortunately, doing this causes my wife to hate me.  (She actually hated me already for being a horrible lecher.)  Since that means she’s probably willing to help kill me, and it reduces the potential for more sons, she has to go.  Send for the assassins!

Hmm, wait.  Maybe not?

Nope.  Definitely assassins.  Though there’s some weird math going on here for those numbers to add up to -100.  I think some things trump others.

Keren was apparently very unpopular, so it’s not long before I get my chance.  Manure explosions, the old stand-by.

Searching for potential new wives, I find one who is awesome at stewardship (the key skill for wives) and is an old flame of King Berta’s who still loves him!  Welcome Queen Kelile.

King Berta just can’t stop falling in love!

On the war front, I’ve managed to grab one additional county in the north.  But I’m still more worried about succession.  Senalat’s younger sister are both married safely (to dynasty members or matrilineally) so even if Loua dies their sons will be okay to inherit.  Killing Senalat would be one solution, but you’re not allowed to assassinate your children, and simply imprisoning and executing her would make everyone in the country hate me as a tyrant.  Instead, I try to assassinate her husband.  If he dies, then I can remarry her safely or leave her as a widow.

Unfortunately, the inconvenient husband is very popular and difficult to assassinate.  I try to invite him to my court, but he’s happily married and refuses to come.  This is in spite of his massively favorable opinion of King Berta, which turns out to be because he’s gay and super-attracted to Berta’s wiles!  Unfortunately, Berta doesn’t have the option to take one for the team and seduce him, which leaves us at a stalemate.

I’ve been holding off on more wars, expecting a major revolt from my vassals at some point.  Unfortunately King Berta can’t act as his own spymaster.  It finally arrives, with the dukes once again demanding increased power.

Fortunately, I have a pretty good army ready, King Berta’s crappy military stats notwithstanding.  The revolt is led by the Duke of Makuria, so I spend most of the war laying siege to his castles and crushing his armies.  In the meantime, my bastard son Prince Loua has turned sixteen and gotten married.  If he can just sire some sons, we’ll get through this yet…

Oh, dear.  I’m still hip-deep in the rebellion with the Caliph drops the entire Sunni world on my head.  I quickly hire all the mercenaries I get my hands on and set about trying to finish things with the rebels, while Muslim armies lay siege to the castles in the north of Semien.

And, of course, it never rains but it pours.  Prince Loua dies of pneumonia without offspring, which makes Senalat heir again.  Once again the sword of Damocles is poised over my dynasty!

Queen Kelile comes through with a son, which removes the immediate threat.  But his older sisters are almost certainly going to plot to kill him.

A Sunni uprising chooses the absolute best time to join the fray.

Finally, my main force catches up to the rebel army and smashes it, which spells the end for the rebellion.  Once again, half my dukes go to jail, although Makuria promptly dies and leaves everything to his son.  I immediately turn the army north to fight off the hordes who are smashing castles left and right.

There’s quite a lot of them, but fortunately Semien is rather large at this point.  Since they’re attacking all of Egypt, it takes a long time to build up enough victories that I’d have to concede, so I have time to go liberate my castles.

As the march goes on, beloved high-stewardship Kelile gets dysentery.  

Some large battles result, but thing pretty much go my way.  Fortunately, being attacked by infidels makes all your vassals suddenly very friendly, which in turn makes them send more troops.  Soon the main Sunni armies are crushed and driven off my soil.  

Unfortunately, the queen dies.  I quickly pick a new wife, still eager to get some backup sons in play.

King Berta will literally just fall in love with anyone.  Which is appropriate, I guess, for someone nicknamed “the Lecher”.

Unfortunately, Nyala produces a daughter, which doesn’t help the situation.

After their armies are smashed, the Caliph agrees to a white peace.  (Peace with no victor.)  I could have pressed for total victory, but the rewards for winning against a jihad are actually pretty small, so this is fine with me.  Egypt is safe, for now.

Nyala gives birth to another daughter.  In the meantime Senalat has given birth to a son, Teka, who is now second in line for the throne after Kelile’s son Aman.  This calls for drastic measures.

That takes care of that problem.  

The Duke of Makuria, apparently have not paid any attention to what happened to his father, refuses to stop plotting against me, rebels, and ends up in prison.

Senalat’s second child is a daughter, which is no threat, and she now has syphilis.  Hopefully this means she’ll die quickly.  Still nobody wants to help me kill her husband, who is still in love with me, although somewhat peeved I murdered his son.

Finally, Nyala has a son (and another daughter at the same time!).  There’s no guarantees until Senalat dies, but I’m probably out of the woods.  Note to self — watch daughters’ marriages better!

Makuria is subdued, again, and another county in the north falls.  Soon I’ll have completed my conquest of the Nile and start moving on my ultimate goal, the Kingdom of Israel.

Current Year: 1017 AD.  Current Status: Relieved.