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Posted: Saturday, May 20, 2017 5:50:31 AM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

A Lengthy Prelude

So It is now once again time for me to try my hand at not being horribly maimed and surviving an Ederon Multiplayer game. This is my Third attempt at continuous survival until 1945, and hopefully not the last. The First attempt, as the Great Empire of Tyria, went down in through a massive diplomatic Error on my part, Attempt Number 2 ended when the monster I helped to create turned on me and consumed me alive. Now were back, and this time, I think its time for a little less talking, and a little more fightin' so to speak.

The rest of this Prelude will be mostly gameplay chatter and Theory, the Narrative Portion proper will be in subsequent updates (With little Gameplay tidbits and commentary after).

We are starting with Willem Skirstag, Though I'm a bit indecisive on the Surname, the character will be remaining the same. He a Norse count of Kiev, effectively replacing Dyre the stranger completly and holds all 3 of Dyre's starting counties. I went with a heavy martial focus, becuase I'm in Pagan country and were going to need to make several key moves to secure my borders. However, the Key in this build is Paranoid, which means that even in a hostile court like Willem has, Player and AI plot success has a rather significant Malus, and I've done some extensive testing in this regard.

After all, your not crazy if they really are out to get you, and after my Showing in Croatia Game 1, and my assistance in Enabling the English Empire in 12 Years, I think people are going to take me a bit more seriously this time around, so it never hurts to be safe.

The rest of course is stacking as much martial as I can possibly get, as well as another little trick for this starting zone. I took Holy Warrior, and Inspiring Leader both fairly powerful, and Holy Warrior especially helps me win battles. Now those savvy with the combat system know, that I'd actually be far more powerful if I took zealous to unlock the religious fervor tactic, which effectively would allow me to negate anything the Defensive Pagans around me could possibly do. Unfortunately, Zealous is to great a cost as I want to be able to switch out of Paganism. That and I don't want to burden King of men too much. Willem here wins most battles I fight with minimal losses, and If I roll a good siege commander I'm effectively golden on the warfront. Because of this I opted for Duelist, becuase while the other lifestyle traits are more powerful, The Personal combat bonus means Willem can lead armies without constant risk of death.

Now for our Surroundings. This is of course, a Screenshot taken before my character was moved from Prussia so Dyre still has his territories. I am surrounded by my most hated enemy, defensive Pagans. I despise Baltic and Slavic pagans for one reason, that infuriating 80% defense on home religion provinces bonus that is frankly only there becuase they are boring as hell to play compared to the real pagans. We do however have a valuable asset in our fight against arbitrary combat bonuses, and thats Willem, the Slav Slayer, who has enough martial and is a powerful enough commander that he shreds apart armies so long as he fights at a 2/3 ratio. He also can beat Rebels that outnumber him 2/1.

The main AI to watch here is the Magyars, They start with 10k Event troops and are at war with Bulgaria, our second major AI. Khazaria is also, very very important to the balance of this region. What usually happens is the Magyars will win their war, and then turn and beat on the Khazars, going down to roughly 6k troops, still too strong for our blood. This does mean however that If I cant even break the Magyars with my insane martial and a small Merc stack, No other player can either, So I can safely tuck myself under them if another player attacks me, my threat grows too large, or I come into a large amount of gold to fabricate claims on the Crimea and Ruthenian vassals of Old man Arpad.

The Khazar's are our likely target for prepared Invasion, with Bulgaria a close second. Now I can win against Bulgaria but its dangerous and I'm fairly sure will miff the Greek and Romanian Players quite a bit. Our immediate AI 'Friends' are the Dukes of Turov, Chernigov and Smolensk. They aren't particularly worth taking at this stage in the game outside of the prestige and that fact that If I don't, someone else will. There are far more valuable golden geese to chase however.

To the North is Rurik, and I love Rurik, want to know why? Hes Germanic, So that means no 80% Defensive Bonus. He gets a levy bonus sure, But he is also an AI, and he likes to war everything that moves. Sooner or later those event troops disappear, and hes Open for a good old fashioned surprise subjugation war. A War, that if we Win, effectively makes us the master of Russia. There is one small sticking point however, a Player in Tver. So depending on how I'm feeling and what might be in the air, the North might just not be worth it.

To the west we've got the Prussians, Poles and Bohemians. Now, the Polish player has done a good and also a horribly stupid thing here, He started as a vassal of the Moravians. Now this is good if you were planning on say, Mass Subjugation War all of Poland and Lithuania since you have a boss taking the heat. However, that boss is also a huge liability, becuase everyone's friend the Magyars are still here and they almost certainly will declare war on them at some point effectively ripping the kingdom in half when they do. Moravia's pagan vassals do no favors either as they love to revolt away and refuse to provide much if the Moravians are attacked, Like say a prepared invasion from Scandinavia or one of the other Norse players with designs on that valuable Kingdom of Bohemia.

To the south we have the populous mess that is the former Byzantine Empire. Now I'd like to think that the Rus Raid on Byzantium is what killed the Empire in this alternate timeline, so naturally they'd all be a bit miffed at me for participating, but the Lion cares not for the opinion of sheep, and there are many weak rulers here waiting to be county conquested into the ground or raided into oblivion. Unfortunately were going to have to pick one or the other, as I need to stay under realm size 50 to prepare invasion and get a potentially bigger prize. Once thats done however, the shattered remnants of the Byzantine Empire are fair game.

Out final target zone is the Levant, yes you heard me correctly, The Levant. The Abbasid Empire is also dead, and that means the various dukes are all fighting each other for some semblance of power. Now becuase they are weak, and becuase ole Willem is a capable commander, I can Land my prepared Invasion anywhere here and win, Egypt for example can only raise 3k on a good day while a prepared Invasion/Mercs/Levies give me almost 10. You can see where this is going, I have my pick of the liter here if I choose to bother, and its very tempting to say no to a free Kingdom of Persia or Egypt, since having these regions locked down means the ability to convert to more powerful religions to play the marriage game and to convert into Eu4 with. Coptic being the better long game choice for Eu4, and Messallian being better for Crusader Kings.

Of course another option exists, to go even FURTHER east and find the Graveyard of Empires. A Land so harsh they say they worship the sun itself, a Pagan religion so mediocre most people have forgotten it even exists and yet, allows one to remain unreformed through the use of Ultimogeniture, Have a lovely 20% Heavy infantry bonus and of course, Tribal invasion with the right culture. Perhaps if the other options don't seem appealing enough we may yet praise the Sun.

We could also go far West, abandon Russia entirely and Invade France, Asturias or Britain, and start over there, but I think you can guess from the Title of the AAR that doesn't seem very likely Tongue

No matter what we decide naturally, there will be plenty of Blood and Plunder. Round is already in the chamber, Just gotta pull the trigger.
Posted: Friday, May 26, 2017 7:23:33 PM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

Blood for the Fields (867-872)

Baldr Hrothgarson had spent the entirety of his Life at war. Exiled from his home for his failure to slay the Troll Grendl Baldr found himself south in Miklagard seizing the wealth of the create city of the Cross Bearers with Rurik and Dyre. Success had come at a Price that day, and Dyre, a fateful friend had died, leaving Baldr to sail north and land in Konugardr where Baldr had decided to settle.

The People were foreign, but they respected wealth, and strength, but Baldr knew he would never have been content with such small parcels of land and gathered his men and marched North, into the great forests in the north to find more wealth.

This Chief Pergrubrius was weak, and had no children or allies and yet expected to be able to surrender to Baldr without ceding his hands. Baldr had other ideas for such a weakling, His lands had men waiting to fight in real war, not wallow away in some forest, so Perbrubrius was arrested, and Baldr had him set upon by a bear while his Sworn Swords were made to watch.

This brought the fear into them, But also their men and gold, and thats all Baldr cared about in the end. More Men meant more potential to subjugate these foreigners around him. It was not enough to settle, Baldr would rule these weaklings.

Next was a Chief who dared to lay claims to the lands dividing Yatviagi and Konugardr, he didn't last long either, and would later die, embarrassed and hidden away behind his high walls only for his lands to fall one by one to Baldr's own companions.

Baldr was not a fool however, and the old Man of Arpad to the south had died, leaving his ambitious son to conquer the lands of Avaria, though he too had a hunger for war and instead of settling marched north to subjugate the lands surrounding Konugardr. Soon Baldr would be next for these Horsemen and so action was taken, temporary action but action nonetheless.

The King of Moravia was weak, but he was a King of the Cross Bearing faith of the south and this could mean the difference between life and death should the Horsemen march North. That was a means to an end of course, and there was still more conquests to be done.

Now as Baldr looked upon his Men he knew he would be telling them where to march to war once more. There would be no Peace for Baldr or his men until all his enemies were dead, and their blood feeding the crops of his new home.

And when this was done and all his enemies slain before him, would Baldr name himself King, and his Throne would be made from the Bones of those who would deny him such a claim.



Session 1 is Over, It only lasted a short 5 Years due to technical difficulties regarding the Starting Save and Mod, but already we see quite a few developments.

To Start with, I've managed to Triple my Realm size through the Subjugation Wars against Yatviagi and Lesser Poland. I also Conquered Plock and Cherson for the Glory of Odin effectively putting me in First Place. I am however no longer independent for fear of Galich who is actively cheating by declaring Subjugation wars for free on all his neighbors without the ambition. Typical Cheating Paradox AI Rolleyes, Naturally of course, I was terrified, but I have a plan to deal with them.

Elsewhere Most people have formed their initial duchies and have begun to gather gold, prestige and children to expand. South Spain I believe expanded but he was absent from both screenshots. South Italy expanded into Italy only to be thrown out by a mob of peasants, And Athens attempted to conquer someone only to be beaten off by a superior commander. Egypt however has also expanded a bit putting him in second place at least for the moment, though that can change at the drop of a hat.

England, France, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Anatolia, Georgia, North Africa all did not appear. We still never found someone for North Germany. If you're interested in filling any of these spots, by all means we could use the players.

Otherwise not much to talk about, Once people have the time to actually enact their real opening plays (Myself Included) There will probably be a far different looking map.

Posted: Sunday, June 04, 2017 4:21:03 PM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

War, Conquest, Victory (872-897)

The smell of coming battle had filled the air. An Eerie Silence had Gripped both sides as armies slowly marched into place. It was cold autumn and Baldr knew well enough that his invasion had caused his foes to miss their harvest.

He was after all invading the Kingdom of Bulgaria and Kingdom of Galich intending to bring all the peoples of his new homeland firmly under his own control. With him were token forces from the Avars and the Duchy of Athens who Baldr has promised lands in exchange for their financial support.

It had been a long road so far, filled with battle and this one in particular would be just another in a series to annihilate the Bulgarian army, and allow him to seize control of the Kingdom. Now it would be joined yet again, Baldr looked to his men, he wasn't one for speeches or the dramatic, only for the battle. "Lets go Kill them!" he yelled, and soon it was joined.

King Vladimir of Bulgaria had just about given up hope. Even with half of greece Joining him in the defense of his country the Invasion of the Magyars and now the Norsemen after them had broken his country, his family and the Bulgaria Empire he had strived for. Again and again the Norsemen seemed to be without Number, and those traitors in Athens had come to their aid each time.

Vladimir knew well enough whispers spread in his camps, that if Athens had sided with the Norsemen that Perhaps there was more to it. Those were the words of ignorant peasants and unread mercenaries however, House Lazuli was honoring no claim to Rome or Conquest but his own ambitions, likely so he could sit at the table and take an undeserved Chunk of Land he had no business desiring in the first place.

The Norsemen however were far worse, The stories of Baldr, and how he would become so long in the fury of battle he would actually devour entire soldiers whole was just one tall tale of a man whos reputation of a barbarian conqueror was growing. This was no Atila the Hun, angered over a marriage turned false, this was a man who's only desire in the world was to bring war to all he could and now he had turned south.

Vladimir could see the tale playing out before his eyes as the armies clash in front of him. Outnumbered four to one the Bulgarian lines folded quickly, as they had before. This time these was no escape however, they were on the Crimean Peninsula, here the Norsemen would hunt them down one by one until Vladimir and any generals he had brought with him north were dead or captured.

By the time the battle was settling ahead of him, three horsemen had arrived in the poorly guarded camp and dismounted. One was but a child, a boy of twelve, the New Duke of Athens, whose father had died of disease after making his deal with the devil. The Second was a burly Avar man, not the Leader, but the general sent as his leader was but an even younger boy. The Third was Baldr, clad in Mail and furs, with streaks of blood or dye having been run through them.

The Conqueror dismounted and spoke "Your coming with us 'King Bulgar'

King Vladimir spoke the only words he could "I Surrender"

Then the monster of a man frowned, "Your coming with us, 'King Bulgar', But only your head".

His Bulgarian was terrible, but that wasn't the concerning part of his words. From fear or reflex Vladimir drew his sword, he wasn't a fighter but he would die standing if it came to it. The Norseman raised his own weapon, a hefty axe stained with blood and notched on the back of the blade.

Vladimir stabbed out, trying to catch the Norseman off guard but he simply stepped to the rise, Rose his axe and brought it down before Vladimir could pull away. Then he laughed, a hearty laugh that sounded almost monstrous given Vladimir's new situation. Then the Axe came again and found the King's neck.

The King of the Bulgars fell, his crown rolling onto the packed grass. Baldr set his axe down and picked it up, brushed the grass from it and put it on, laughing. "It will do"

After the battles of Kheron, Moldavia and Vidin the Bulgarians had folded to Baldr, and the Galich had folded before that. Victory had been bittersweet however. Having such great lands under his control but a court filled with foreigners did not make for a stable rule, and this meant the wars needed to stop.

Battle had changed Baldr however, no more was killing simply for loot and conquest, he had becoming addicted to the rush and fury of taking another man's life. Now trapped in court, Baldr had begun to grow restless, and had blacked out and attacked courtiers in a blind rage several times. Something needed to be done, more war, more conquest more killing.

That was the only answer, truly, as another incident and Baldr feared that his next outburst could harm his only son, or his three daughters, which would make all of this effort for naught if none remained to inherit what Baldr had fought so hard to conquer.

In the Following years, the Hunger for Killing had consumed Baldr to such an extent that it was said the gods themselves punished him and struck him with leprosy. Such an act of the divines however drew Baldr only further into darkness. Years after his great conquest Baldr would continue to stalk his own court, and don a mask to hide his corrupted and decayed features.

Even children werent safe from his hunger, and from the Great Conqueror's neck and clothes hung a collection of skulls from his various kills.

For House Hrothgar However, this man was still it's founder was still responsible for making them the most powerful force in the World, feared from Ireland to Cathay for Baldr's skill in battle and his Brutality in victory. While for the Moment Baldr stilled lived, when the great Beast of the Black Sea would pass, it would be up to his only son Jorn to continue his Legacy of conquest, reform and establish a true dynasty, or to perhaps fail and lose everything his father had fallen so far to achieve.

Since people were Curious I'm going to use this gameplay bit to describe how exactly I became King and hit the Realm size Limit in Session 2. I'll add pictures in post to help explain it but at the time of writing this the deadline for the AAR is in two hours and I wanna make sure I finish.

I started with Kiev as I described in the first part, with the ability to go basically everywhere.

First things first, I declared war on the count of Cherson, and this was for the most part is irrelevant, mostly to snag some land so I don't have to take it from Khazaria later.

Simultaneously I also declared a Subjugation war on the duke of Yatviagi, who has no children in the TOG start.

This means when I win the war, and with 23 martial I will win it, I can imprison the new 'count' of Yatagai, and execute him. Thus getting both his counties and the troops within for free.

Next I take the Ambition to become King of Ruthenia and pick off low hanging fruit, the High Chief of Lesser Poland just lost a war so He was a good target. I continued to do this until I hit 49 Realm size or the session was about to end, The Session was ending first so I swore fealty to Great Moravia incase I couldn't make the session or Galich would declare a Subjugation war on me (Which would effectively game over me)

Coming out of some player diplomacy this session I secured some financial aid from Blayne and Yami who both wanted a cut of the Bulgarian Job.

Simply Put, What I did was use the prestige and gold i accrued from warring my neighbors to declare an invasion of Bulgaria on the King of Bulgaria. Then, fueled by event troop and mercenaries I declared a Subjugation war on the STILL DUKE ruler of Galich as well as the King of Bulgaria.

Because the Duke of Galich is still a duke, Subjugation war takes his top tier title since we are equivalent, effectively meaning I Drink his Milkshake, steal all his vassals and leave him as an overdemense limit count. Sometimes I get lucky and I also steal his event troops, but that didn't happen this time.

Once Galich was locked down and Bulgaria had been beaten a few times, I enforced 100% on Galich, and formed the Kingdom of Ruthenia, mostly becuase I was showboating at this point, I coulda done this all as a Duke.

I assaulted every county in Bulgaria that was NOT in the Kingdom of Bulgaria. Tribal Invasion and Prepared invasion have the same victory condition, giving ALL occupied land to the invader in addition to the Kingdom in question. So by 100% occupying a Kingdom even if you declared for like, 4 counties, can net you the ENTIRE kingdom, very powerful.

Once we won, and winning is easy when your living off assault gold and loans from your allies I enforced peace, took all the land and dolled it out as best I could.

From there I moved my capital to Moldau, and changed culture to Avar, which enables the Atlantic special ability to declare Tribal Invasions. Now at this stage in the game Tribal invasion is worse than prepared invasion, but I just used prepare invasion and dont have the event troops anyway. It also means rulers of the same religion can come in, just like Prepared Invasion, but without event troops its harder to deal with.

However Khazaria has no rulers of the same religion that can come in, they are all alone. So I conquered them with it, and took even MORE land most of it I had to spit out.

All of this leaves us with the player Empire I posted at the top of the gameplay section here. The Empire I formed before dolling out the land and declaring war on Khazaria you can see below.

Something Interesting I would like to note, was this was actually plan B. The Primary plan and the plan I proposed to my faithful allies involved dealing with our opponents one at a time.

This mostly consisted of declaring the prepared war on Bulgaria, assaulting the holdings i talked about, ect. Then once I enforce peace on Bulgaria I pause. Reasonable after all, I just won a major war.

Then I lower all troops, leave mercs if I've got the gold at least for the moment.

Then declare Subjugation on Galich while i'm still a duke. Raise ALL troops which includes the entire Kingdom of Bulgaria's levy (Around 8-9k) Walk into Galich and assault him down for the win.

The problem I discovered with this plan was that while it was more reliable, the fact that over demesne limit combined with troop maintenance can put me upwards of 900 Ducats in debt meant I'd be exposed to be warred by any tom dick or harry with a merc stack, and if my faithful allies or some other play found this was their only chance to deal with the Monster of the east, They'd have plenty of time to do it before I got myself back in the black.

Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 4:08:26 PM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

Religion Shopping (897-919)

The Chronicle of Baldr's conversion is a long and confusing tale, and not all true. There are many stories, none official that tell the tale of how Baldr the butcher decided to abandon the old ways and adopt a faith of abraham. This is just but one tale.

Baldr, in a brief moment of self awareness sent out word that he would convert to the faith that could cure his afflictions, both of the mind and body.

Years would pass, but eventually those with ambition in their hearts and an inclination towards the spirit began to arrive in Crimea to spin tales of salvation, and the afterlife.

First was the followers of the Greatest, from the Faraway province of Hispania joined by a delegation from the Nile.

They spoke of Salvation if only Baldr and his people praised Allah, their god almighty. They spoke of the great conquests that had been achieved by their righteous prophet as well as the laws of inheritance and governance they would share.

Baldr asked these people "What is the price for such a god"

The Delegation returned with an answer, that the People of the Rus would abandon both Drink and Pork, that they must praise Allah through the day, and that they must fast when ramadan appears.

Baldr grew displeased, and sent the delegation away, stating "Drink is the Pride of the Rus" and no more beyond that.

Next came the Christians, with their cross and prayer.

The Christians promised brotherhood, and companionship and salvation to almighty heaven if Baldr would convert. He could keep both pork and drink, and all that was required was to bow to the authority of the faith.

Baldr asked "Where should I pledge such loyalty"

Then the Christians had come into conflict, for there was many places he could bow. The Italians demanded the Pope be the one he bend the knee, The Greeks, their Patriarch in constantinople and soon neither could agree on anything. This displeased Baldr who sent the Christians away, if they could not agree on worship, why should he embrace their squabbles?

Next came the Messallian delegation, a priesthood of both men and women. Like their fellow followers of the Cross the Messalians preached salvation for only prayer. They stated that Baldr had a demiturge of great power within himself and that only through intense prayer could it be driven out, and aid his afflictions.

How the messalians proposed he do such a thing became the problem, for they proposed that Baldr should marry and lay with his own daughters. Baldr loved all his children deeply but not in such a way that he would bring more children through them. The Messalians too were sent away.

Next came the Jews of the Khazars. The Jews however claimed that God had been the one to inflict such injuries onto Baldr for his sin, and that it would be a way to test his faith should he convert. Baldr then asked by what authority they could make such claims. The Jewish delegation spun a tale of great cities being destroyed and holy kingdoms of the past. Baldr asked where is such land now, and the jews could only respond that it was lost, to the Romans and to the Mohammedans after that.

Baldr told the Jews "If you do not have any true how, then your god clearly does not love you, and so he will not help me, Begone"

With that all the religions around Baldr had been dismissed but one, a humble Delegation from the east with shifted eyes and strange furs. They spoke and said they were from beyond the horse peoples to the east, from great Cathay. They spoke tales of a great Emperor beyond the Horizon who had conquered the known world.

Baldr asked what faith these strange men followed and they informed him it was one of christ, but of two christs. The weak christ that the Christians of the West and adorned their crosses was said to be separate from Christ the God, a great warrior that protected his faithful and would lead them during the end times.

The followers of Nestor did not speak further of their own virtues, only of the plight of those who came before. The Muslims were stated to be liars, that their great religion was not stable, and that Baldr's many daughters had no worth beyond cattle. They stayed the Christians of the West could no agree on a doctrine becuase their souls believed it false. That the Messalians to the North were heretics who simply wished to engage in their carnal desires. This left the Jews, who the Nestorians did not need to say much, only that for such a vengeful god, it had done quite little to Baldr when he conquered their people and scattered them yet again.

Baldr was impressed but skeptical, asking for proof of this great eastern emperor. The Nestorians obliged with a artistic depiction of the heavenly person, adorned with script Baldr had not yet seen. Then the Nestorians had given Baldr a gift, spices and medicines from the east that calmed his mind and eased his pains, and so Baldr agreed to convert, as all the other religions preached faith and the Nestorians brought substance.

Baldr would baptise all of the Rus in the proceeding months, bringing them into the Fold of Christ. The Miracle Baldr had been hoping for would come shortly, though it would not be what he expected, though deep down he had hoped for it.

Baldr would die in battle but a year later, against some rebellious Slavics who refused to see the word of Christ, he was cured of his ailments, and now resides among the angels in heaven, his mind at ease.


Not really much to say here, I converted to Nestorianism this last session and thats basically it.

I have some reasons for it though so I suppose that'll do for this segment.

Because Confusion is no longer the Head of the Norse brotherhood, the Religion and it's loyalties have shattered and any hopes of reformation now lie with me or King of Men, I am fairly far away and King of Men so far has not been successful. The Advent of the Crusades and thus holy orders arriving enmasse for the Catholics makes this an even larger hill to climb, as staying pagan has now become a massive liability.

The Muslims would love to have me, as they are short on friends. I do not like Decadence very much however, or Open succession, so unfortunately the Muslim faiths would not be possible

Another possibility was Zunist but the Saffarids being successful in Persia has made that plan too difficult to continue with.

Now there are also the Messalians to the North, and while tempting (its a far better religion than nestorianism in ck2) I would actually in fact like my provinces to be mostly nestorian so that I may easily convert back in Eu4.

So why Nestorianism? simply put, Third Rome's orthodoxy buffs, of which Nestorianism also benefits from. In my opinion this is a good default religion to sit with unless I go catholic, as the moral authority should remain fairly low, and so the provinces I convert will flip back to whatever I choose in a timely manner.

Or I invade the middle east and take my holy sites, but thats again, up in the air.
Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2017 5:00:26 PM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

Return Policy (919-938)

Once the Reign of Baldr the Butcher had come to a close it was revealed that mostly everyone who converted to Nestorian did so more out of fear of their ever falling apart warlord than actual devotion. This included Baldr's own son, who once again began to openly worship the old gods in open, though the Nestorians for the most part were allowed to go about their business.

Sensing Opportunity the Irish, Italians and Germans and the Normans all sent their prospective missionaries and this time the Orthodox and Muslims didn't much bother. Jorn himself was fairly tolerate but not particularly inclined to zealotry. He was far more inclined in the conquest of the remainder of the Rus as well as the Baltic tribes and so allowed the missionaries to work in his land without much thought.

Meanwhile Jorn's conquests spoke for themselves, topping his father through the subjugation of the Rus, whos Nordic Ruler's had given way to Slavs. At the same time as the surrender of rus news of a new discovery of Vinland far to the west arrived and so Jorn took credit for both achievements even though one had absolutely relation to the other. Shortly after the conquest of the Rus the Christians eventually regained their hold upon house Hrothgar and Jorn converted

As an Act of Tribute to the Faith Jorn relinquished almost all of his conquests to the newly Christianized Stienn the Frog and thus bringing an entire christianization of all the Rus. Beyond that Jorn sent his own missionaries to his close ally the Khan of Great Moravia who at the insistence of his friend converted to the Catholic faith, thus delivering Pannonia and Bohemia to the Catholic faith not through force of arms, but by the words of a friend.

So another Sunday, another session writeup. This session involved me learning, the Hard way that secret religious cults are terrible forever and should be exterminated with fire and sword. I was forcibly converted back to Germanic, and finally after converting back to Catholic and fixing my succession law I was converted to Slavic, only to again convert back (And i'm now trying to fix the succession laws again)

Otherwise I had a boring session, I helped out my Northern Neighbor by Subjugating Rurik's Grandkids and raising him up to a Kingdom. I got started on a Cadet Dynasty in Prussia, and started to Land the Knight's Hospitallier to serve as a buffer against the Muslims in Anatolia. Not much going on really.

So since I dont have much to talk about at the Moment, lets talk Score.

As you can see, I'm in the lead, by a fair amount followed by the Nubia Player, Firehound. This mostly speaks for itself, We both have very strong and expansive Empires at this point and being Pagan i've had access to some special CB's that have allowed me to Boost my score for an initial kick. Now this lead can indeed fade over time if I dont keep expanding but do remember, as the game goes no there will be less easy AI, and the game will either shift into a developathon or the Real big dynastic wars will start which can of course disrupt this status quo quite a bit.

Now this is why I proposed the achievement and Victory card system, since as you can see, the Third most successful player in my Opinion has been Mark(Italy), and hes not on the list at all. In fact according to score the 3rd player is James, which is fair, he just recently became King of England and handed off the land to Hadogei. Next is Yami one of the players I uplifted and who has lost to one crusade and alongside me, beaten another. Both these players are very weak compared to Italy however and really the only thing Italy will be able to do is go crusading in Spain and North africa to farm up another prestige and piety to catch up.

Last is Zabuzak who while under Khan had dismantled much of Karlingdom and now has been sitting in a state of civil war under Ai control, naturally becuase of all the Coups whats happening in Bavaria is something I like to call Score Incest. Because these overthrows are primarily occurring between family members Zabu gets the score from the wars no matter what as well as all the prestige from the battles and so forth. Now it hasn't benefited Bavaria THAT much but you'll note nobody else is on this list, so there is indeed an effect and it can be quite significant.

Now my moves forward here are fairly predictable, I'll keep crusading the baltic for free score and dynasty land as well as Anatolia, while making more friends. The lack of any really solid threats in Central Europe (The North German Slot is a revolving door) Means I have effectively become 'the Commonwealth' as far as my diplomatic position, so its of value to me to be friends with as many people as possible as the Commonwealth Issue is well known, If I'm attacked/Betrayed by some power on one side of me, the others simply wont care. Since the Size limits rather correctly keep me from Blobbing out of control (Without Size Limits I'd have all of Bulgaria, Hungary, My Current Lands, most of the Baltic and now Russia) I cant murder my neighbors, so its best to get alone.

For Firehound his moves are also fairly obvious, Finish up in Egypt, and then work his way towards Jerusalem and Arabia where he will no doubt come into conflict with Emperor of Mordor. An Alliance with AI Persia helps Firehound quite a bit here but any sort of Muslim civil war would likely draw in myself eager for some free crusader land or Greece/Italy who have a vested interest in keeping their underbellies Mohammed Free.

Jame's Ireland is in a far more interesting and awkward position than either me or Firehound. By Uplifting Hadogei he has effectively make a player more powerful than himself. I'm of course no stranger to this patented play, It got me killed last game. Hes not of course without Options however. Ireland-Scotland is an ok base to move elsewhere but if James wants to be successful he needs to leave the British Isles and get to Scandinavia, which is controlled by a Player now, or Land somewhere in Germany/Spain. Its also possible he flips into a republic which would give him an abundance of soft power, especially with Irish sea being the best Trade Zone in the game in Ck2.

Yami, Is in an awkward spot. Hes Hungary and surrounded by Mark in the West, Greece in the South, Myself in the North and Bavaria where the rest of us arent. Now were all lovey dovey here in the Balkans for the Moment, but If Yami wants to not fall out of the top 5 in Score hes going to either need to move on Poland, which would jeopardize our friendship, Greece, which would make the gateway to Europe weaker, or Italy, who while not a score leader, is still the de-facto leader of Central Europe at the moment. Classic Hungary dilemma, everyone around you is just as strong if not stronger than you and unfortunately, they all have friends.

Last in the Top 5 is Zabuzak who truly has most of Central Europe open to him. I say this of course assuming that there is no Mark-Yami conspiracy to remove Bavaria from the map, but basically Bavaria has free reign to crusade his way into Hungary for PVP and eat away at Pommerania/Saxony/Denmark/Germany for all eternity basically. Right now of course hes in a fairly weak position and his army if fairly weak, but this is something that can change fairly quickly especially if the Western Europeans or Muslims make a deal with the devil and enable Germany to truly rise.

Posted: Sunday, June 25, 2017 4:43:23 PM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

Interlude (938-962)

So I dont really have much to talk about today, 1 becuase I forgot to take too many screenshots and 2, becuase the Session was mostly hunting Rebels in my own lands, In Marks lands and in the Duke of Prussia's lands. So we'll briefly cover what we did do that was significant.

The Kingdom of Denmark has now converted, Denmark controls a Norse Holy Site, and by now being Christian they can no longer be subjugated, making reforming the Norse faith that much harder. Combined with the conversion of Sweden a session early by England most of Scandinavia is now Christian, can call Christian Holy Orders, meaning the Pagans still there like King of Men have quite a bit harder job.

On a similar note the King of Pomerania was converted. Now if I had Mil Org level 4, I wouldn't have bothered as I could have just declared a holy war and taken some actual land from the guy, as well as conquering the remainder of Poland and the Steppe. Technology however can be fairly slow and random at times, so I settled for getting him into the Catholic faith. Pomerania is a fairly developed kingdom with most of its dejure lands, so in the future it promises to be a valuable inheritance for any who can snag it. Personally I'd like it since it makes a nice Western Border what with the Elbe River and all but its not exactly free Land, Germany is to the Immediate South and Hungary-Bohemia is threatening to push into Poland is isolate it.

I also tried to become immortal only to get the significantly less good Reincarnated Ruler. Little Skuli here is now a Child Ruler of my Kingdom which is going to make things difficult in the next session. When he finally reaches Adulthood, IF he reaches adulthood he has the potential to be quite the powerful ruler, but thats a big if. I'm still at the top of the scoreboard and for the moment a bit more vulnerable than I'd like thanks to the regency. I've got a war chest ready to go though so eventually I'll be able to do something with kiddo.

Our Empire is starting to feel the Weakness of the Crimea Slot. While Georgia is thankfully not being played at the moment, Pagans in Poland and Lithuania have made expansion here painful, I have Hungary to my south that cant decide on a religion and Russia, which I helped to Uplift to my north. I have goodwill with all of these players, but I cant eat Good Will, So i'm stuck waiting for more Military Tech, the Coming Crusade or going east into Anatolia and Georgia which will no doubt but me into Conflict with the Muslims.

Further still I have a fairly mediocre core area, Crimea is a mere 5 Province duchy, its not particularly strong. I do own all the castles within but holding slots take time and money to acquire and building tall means less land that can sit effectively under my yoke. Russia's winters also hurt a fair bit as despite having 149 Realm size I'm trailing in the Economic and Military Department. To make up for this I can use Tributes and can continue to develop Crimea into the sky to hopefully fix both my manpower and economy issues.

On the bright side, Once I can establish a powerful enough colony elsewhere, Or Prussia gets its act together I can switch since Ruthenia has a nobility comprised of about 60% my family. While Ruthenia will stay the primary focus for Crusader Kings 2, I need score, as Italy and Mesopotamia are catching up to me rather rapidly, So Sacrifices will need to be made.

Posted: Sunday, July 02, 2017 5:07:51 PM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

Skuli's Crusade (962-960)

King Skuli of Ruthenia was quickly proving to be quite the capable ruler. The Boy was already quite ambitious but as he matured into adolescence he developed a clever wit. Something that was previously unheard of in the Hrothgar dynasty which traditionally was filled with Brutish Warrior Kings, or inept warrior kings. Skuli marked a change of pace from the Barbarian rule of ages past and a new type of control over Russia for the future

The first of the King's notable achievements would be when a papal envoy arrived in Crimea to speak of the coming crusade. The Holy father had a list of multiple targets consisting of Bohemia, Hungary, Jerusalem, Norway and Sweden. Upon hearing the news Skuli, still young and not quite tempered broke out laughing. The Papal envoy was clearly in Crimea to enlist Ruthenian aid in a third crusade for Hungary, as if the first two worked so well. Skuli was not interested in such a crusade and instead suggested the growing Muslim presence in Hispania should be struck down instead, considering it was far more of a threat than the relatively live and let live Avars in Carpathia.

The Holy Father agreed and called a Crusade against Andalusia and the Ibn Matte Dynasty. For the first time a Crusade had been called against a major power and had a real chance of success thanks to Andalusia being relatively isolated from the Muslim world.

The war would be long, and hard and most of the fighting was done over Valencia and ironically enough Rome, as the Muslims saw the best way to force the pope to call the crusade off was to hold his lands hostage. The entry of the British and Ruthenians however swung the war dramatically. Skuli had enlisted the Templar and Hospitallers to fight in his name, and becuase of this played host to over 10,000 troops in Spain at one point, seizing the Island of Mallorca and later putting siege to the Muslim capital itself.

The British Meanwhile brought 8 thousand Men just as the war was turning to favor Jesus. The Andalusians folded and the land returned into the capable hands of the catholic faith.

Perhaps out of spite, or simple stupidity the Holy Father in Rome granted the entire kingdom to a mere Child, stiffing all the Crusaders of any gains and by simple convenience benefiting the Irish. Because young Rois was only a girl, and the title of Andalusia was in contention by rebels to the south the Girl and her Papal regent council could not properly claim the Kingdom and so the entirety of the land fell to her Liege, the Duke of Albany, whose own master was the King of Ireland. Skuli, now a man grown had not even managed to be recognized as a Crusader by the Pope and now was stiffed out of Land he won for the catholic faith, Livid, the Young King left the Mediterranean and began to campaign North, with more loyal allies

In the Lands of Perm however, Disaster would strike for young Skuli, as the Kingdom of Perm, a target of a joint war with his Russian brethren to the north was not quite so easily defeated. When the Snows came Russian and Ruthenian troops deserted, starved or defected enmasse and Skuli himself was soon lost, many expected he died bravely in battle, though it was of course possible the young King succumbed to the cold.

So, I'm a bit miffed about last session. I did all the hard work last session and Ireland basically got the Kingdom for free becuase of the quirks of the title system. Rois should have gotten the Kingdom of Andalusia and been made independent, I was betrothed to her and thus would have inherited the Kingdom in a few short years. Sadly this didn't happen becuase Andalusia was in a civil war. This is what people mean by the crusade system needs work. There really should be Temporary titles created if for whatever reason the Kingdom title cannot be taken.

Naturally becuase little Rois was not independent and was not surrounded by councillors who just received land from her, she found a dagger in her back fairly quickly, and all the land fell to James of Ireland. Thus screwing me out of the Reconquista Achievement. Needless to say I'm

But moving on, After we lost Andalusia to a bug and the 10 Achievement Points it would have come with, We marched North to help out Golle and hopefully unite Russia. Turns out, it didn't go so well, Russian attrition is murder, combined with the Disorganized Pagan attrition and the AI's tendency to play "Lol You cant catch me ne ne ne nah nah nah" we ran out of troops fairly quickly despite having a large initial economic and military advantage. We'll return to Perm at a later date when I've properly got holy orders to win this war for us.

Skuli, my best ruler since Baldur died in battle out in that frozen hell, and I received possibly the worst ruler anyone had had in this campaign so far, Not a single stat is above 8, and He started with Kinslayer. This of course did not stop me from conquering all of Poland and releasing it with some distant cousins. Now i've got to survive this ruler long enough to produce a competent heir Then I'm going to have this ruler take a long walk of a very short balcony.
Posted: Sunday, July 09, 2017 4:21:26 PM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

Deus Vult (962-999)

After the rather unfortunate death of King Toki, who was left on the field of battle after taking a blow from a hammer, his Firstborn Son Strykar ascended to the Throne. Unlike Toki Stryker was actually competent and in a few short years return Ruthenia to it's rightful place as the greatest power in the world.

Skilled in most things but especially the ways of subterfuge Stryker would be in a position to bring peace within the Kingdom without ever bringing his army to bear. Through aiding the Rus in their wars and establishing A few tactical alliances with surrounding powers Strykar managed to keep his dominant position in Eastern Europe secure for at least another generation, which would free the Kingdom to pursue other goals.

The Crusade for Jerusalem would be one such goal, as the Pope of his own voilation decided that now was indeed the time to liberate the holy land from the Infidel. With the Hedarabians busy in India and the Empire of Mordor having made themselves a Pariah due to their rampant expansion the smaller Levantine dukes would lose control of the Holy City and large swaths of coastline nearbye.

For his participation in the Crusade Strykar was named King of Jerusalem, though Strykar himself had no intention of guarding such lands, and gave them to his Brother, Earning himself levels of prestige all would be envious of.

Strykar in such a short time had established himself as one of the greats, perhaps greater than Baldr, in fact probably greater than Baldr due to Stykar knowing how to do more than simply swing a hammer. Time would of course tell if such fortune would last for Humble Ruthenia.

Not much to really talk about here, This Session I helped Golle(Russia) Take Perm, an utterly massive AI empire, unfortunately Golle did not have any brothers or dynasts to hand off the extra land to, which I suppose brings up the Topic for today.

Post-Realm Limit expansion, has ended up being a thing alot of us are struggling with including myself, which is good, as its working as designed. Simply taking land after hitting 145 Realm size really doesn't work anymore, as the land you'll take will be in such small amounts that releasing it leads to Adventurers or AI minors gobbling up the the bits you left.

The Two strategies that seem to work instead are, Total Wars, and Playing the Dynasty game hardcore. Since this is multiplayer you cant really expect a single marriage plot to go through so you need to put your dynasty Everywhere and take the opportunities as they come. This has been the primary strategy of our England Player who has spread his dynasty into virtually every region and has seized the Kingdoms of Denmark and Asturias. However due to his spreading, and due removing a large amount of blood from my wife while I was Skuli, I had decided to do something about it in an effort to protect my allies and declared War on England, in what would be a series of wars to eviscerate his dynasty. Luckily however Hadogei came to the Negotiating Table, so we'll see if there will indeed be peace in our time.

The Alternative Method is mine, which involved going to war for large amounts of land very quickly, usually entire Kingdoms, then once the land is unified, giving it to a dynasty member and spitting it out. This has been my plan of action in Poland and Jerusalem and will likely be my strategy going forward in Anatolia, Alania and the Steppe. This does involve going over the size limit however for a few years, and while right now the Size limit modifier doesn't do anything its unfortunately something i'll still have to do in the future becuase Pagan lands simply cant be marriage gamed, and all of my expansion Areas are Pagan. On the bright side if King of Men Reforms his faith then he is a great target for a Crusade, which is a free Kingdom in itself.

Posted: Sunday, July 16, 2017 4:19:51 PM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

When the Snows Fall (999-1037)

It is said that some items are only worth what is paid for them. Strykar had declared his interest in seizing the Kingdom of England, and with his great successes in the Crusade and battlefields of the Baltic, had the reputation, troops and gold to win such a claim, and bring the English into the Hrothgar dominion. The Von Britannia's however had come to the table, offering their most prized dynastic possession, the Sword Vengeance.

England Bending the Knee, and submitted before Strykar was tempting of course, but to avenge Skuli the Young would be all the more tempting. Stryker agreed to the British Terms, throwing his lot in with Prince Charles of Middlesex in exchange for his Vengeance, and an Assurance the Von Britannia dynasty would make no more moves to Strykar's allies in Italy, Greece and the Russias.

With his Vengeance Complete Strykar moved onto more intellectual and domestic life, joining the Hermetic Society and fathering two children. Within the society Strykar made many friends of a variety of religions but also many enemies. The Great Wealth of Ruthenia could be funneled into his hobby and so that had given him an edge on the lowborn and less nobility within the Order.

Soon this would come to a head, as Strykar was visiting a Colleague in Greece he was imprisoned and left to Rot in Count Georgios of Abydos' dungeon. Strykar would write letters asking friends and family to assist him but no aid would come. Eventually Georgios took notice of his insolent Prisoner and Tortured the King to Death.

Stryker's two Sons did not fare with better luck, within a year of each taking the Throne they were assassinated and soon the only viable Candidate for the Throne would be Stryker's brother the Former King of Jerusalem who while not the best ruler, could at least hold the realm together following the death of King Strykar.

Were getting close to the First Conversion Vote so this may be our Penultimate Update. First Order of Business, we added the Kingdom of Alania and the Remainder of Khazaria to our Dynastic Territory, drawing our border with Turkestan. In the West, the Kingdom of Poland and Kingdom of Lithuania are hard at work expanding the Dynasty, Poland even inherited France for a Brief moment but alas it was not to be.

To help protect my dynasty, as well as to deal with a rising problem in the North, Being the Great Catholic that I am, convinced the Pope to Ride North into the lands of the Long Winter so that we may kill the Norse Empire in the Cradle. Golle has also been doing his Part, as one of his Dukes has inherited the Kingdom of Denmark, granting him control over the Sound Toll. The Final Nail is that Wars with England and Scotland have Isolated the Norwegians Diplomatically, which puts them in a rather awkward situation.

This provides a good opportunity to talk about Pagan Reformation, the Benefits, the Downsides and of course when you should do it.

So, first off, in this Campaign we all started Feudal, so there are no event troops in play here. I started Norse myself to make use of the Prepared Invasion CB to get a head start on everyone. Clonefusion, our Former Denmark/Netherlands Player quitting thwarted all of Mine and many other's plans to Reform the Norse Faith, leading to my conversion of Nestorian and Later Catholic as well as a few others.

Reforming the Faith and the ability to do so puts one in a very interesting situation. Effectively you determine if you want a particular pagan religion as a viable option for conversion or not. In Ck2, Reformation grants Great Holy Wars, (Which Norse, the only real viable religion to reform, can control) Better Succession Laws, and better conversion rates/resistance.

In Multiplayer, the most important aspect here is the Great Holy Wars, better succession laws are nice but you can game them a bit so they aren't Critical. So when you reform your faith your basically saying one thing to everyone. "Yes I want my own Crusades", So Naturally were all a bit inclined to take action at such a Declaration, The British Player has extra incentive since "Yes I want Crusades" for him will probably sound more similar to "Great Heathen Army Coming for you Lol" This is why its important to Negotiate and find friends before you push the button, becuase doing so can actually hurt your religion more than it helps.

Reforming removes the Pagan Homeland Penalty, which means that Nations that aren't Minmaxing their mil tech like me cant Invade your territory without taking absurd losses from attrition. Reforming of course removes this protection, which means everyone and their mother can now happily declare holy wars on you for little repercussion. Since there is only one norse realm on the map, there is no help that can come in the event of massive war, and thus King of Men finds himself in Vaniver's situation a century later.

His Religious Allies against Catholocism, the Muslims of the Levant cant even give him money to support him, and are too far to send troops, meaning he is isolated. Either from complacency or not being aware that I'm no longer playing mr Nice Guy, both have found themselves on the Receiving end of a Russian Crusade. I don't want to sound mean here, but this is basic situational Awareness, I am in 1st Place in terms of Score, I will be actively trying to keep people off of my hill, and Fast Expanding Nations such as Muslim Spain or Norse Norway are threats to that lead, Italy is looking for any way to enhance his score, and the British Wonder Twins are going to be looking to eliminate any potential Colonizers in Eu4.

So in this case, even taking my own realm and incentives out of the equation and just considering the English Bloc, Which consists of Spain, France, Britain at least dynastically is far more powerful than Sweden and Norway Alone. reforming becomes a bad, almost suicidal prospect. Now if Clonefusion Stayed or the reformation came Earlier, likely Norway, Ukraine, Russia, and Denmark/Netherlands would all be Norse which would put pressure on the Catholics to be the ones converting as Norse is simply a better religion in Ck2. Vaniver would also likely still be alive, and Catholic would end up split between Norse Converts and Muslim conquests, opposed to our somewhat more historical Christian Europe.

Basically, Convert before you lose all your friends to the Siren's call of other religions. As far as Norse, Zunist and Tengri are all concerned you need to reform as soon as possible and get as many people as possible on the Pagan train to weaken Catholicism as much as possible. The Muslims will likely clean up the ones who refuse to convert. Assume reforming will draw the Ire of someone and more likely multiple people and so be prepared to fend off a Crusade and if you cant do, that, negotiate, there's always a few dissenters unhappy with the religious status quo that would probably be more than happy to convert and support you if they knew they had comrades.
Posted: Sunday, July 23, 2017 10:38:35 AM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

Swept Away (1037-1058)

King Dyre, the Brother of Strykar and the Exiled King of Jerusalem would immediate set to working correcting the situation of the Empire. Though early into Dyres reign, disaster would strike at a more personal level, as the Messalians of Finland usurped the title of Eastern Christianity. As Dyre was a Nestorian such an insult was devastating, but in a catholic realm and surrounded by Catholic advisors and family Dyre would keep is opinions on such an event to himself.

By the End of Dyre's reign it has turned out there simply wasn't much time to develop the home country between crusading and coming to the aid of his Italian, Russian and Greek Allies. By the end of it all however Dyre found some time to develop the Capital in Crimea and build a great tower to guard the Dnieper River. A modest achievement considering the conquests of his predecessors but the start of something perhaps more substantial.

Such times of course were not to last, after the passing of the Crown of Dyre to his son Magnus once again House Hrothgar found itself under siege by Raiders from the North and Muslim Invaders from the south. For the most part these raids were minor, but the civil wars plaguing faraway Italy, were far more important and demanded attention. In Russia and Great Moravia further civil wars had drained the Horthgar treasury and manpower eventually leading to the Lord of Mordor thinking that Eastern Europe was now weak enough to be taken in the name of Mohammed.

Magnus and his Russian allies to the North once more rode south to the Aid of House Lazuli, honoring an ancient alliance that had been forged by the steel of Baldur. The Muslims found stern resistance in the combined arms of Greek, and Russian Steel and soon were pushed back hopefully for the last time.

So despite Popular opinion in favor of converting, We are being thrown back into one more session of Ck2. The Highlights of this last session will in all likelihood mean another Crusade, and more cleanup by me. So as the last Ck2 Update, I dont have much to really say, So I guess my thoughts on how our rules worked out this time and how the game transpired.

So first off I originally switched to the Ruthenian Slot as King of Men allowed players to play Estonia and Lesser poland, both spots just a hop skip and a jump away from my own location. There was also Finland which would mean that the Estonia player would be pushed south into Easy AI territory. Now while I probably could have committed to ruining one of my neighbors days, I was directly in the middle of them both and if I expended myself too much, I could found myself at the receiving end of a very unfortunate subjugation war for all my marbles, So I opted to move to Kiev.

Now seemingly unbeknownst to most people, Kiev starts with Event troops, and In the original save that was rather haphazardly put together, I started with them despite not being Dyre the Stranger, I also got 30 boats for free to raid as I wished. Dyre's boats enabled some of my more ambitious strategies, including Prepared Invasions of Andalusia, Or, France. With the new save and the one we eventually used the event troops disappeared so I had to adapt to plan B, a Local strategy. The Initial Plan being a day 1 Subjugation War on the Romanian Player. Due to both being counts, Winning the War (And with my absolute monster of a starting ruler, I would win) would give me 6 counties in the first few years of the game and two duchies. Subjugating the rest of Ruthenia at my leisure would bring me up to 49 realm size where I could Invade some weak follower of Christ and take large swathes of lands.

What actually happened was Romania was a no show, and so his slot was not created, The magyars, bugged by the new mod became Nomadic again except without thier normal titles, bugging the AI. Poland also failed to show as well as estonia meaning my prefered starting zone, Prussia could have been taken. The AI magyars went beserk declaring Subjugation wars on all the land around them, and so I enlisted the Aid of Greece and Great Moravia to help me bring them and the largest AI realm between us, Bulgaria, down.

The rest is history, But this is where luckily the rules came into play, as for the most part, they saved the game, or ruined it depending no your perspective. Due to the 150 Size Limit, I could not annex the Magyars or Bulgaria wholesale, nor could I keep the Land I would take from Khazaria, or any land I could take in Anatolia. The size limit effectively stopped me from conquering all of Ruthenia/The Caucuses/Anatolia, with the door open to march as east as game would let me. Running into the size limit prevented this and prevented what would have been a massive Hegemony in the east.

Elsewhere the player I would say I had the friendliest intentions with, Clonefusion, our Netherlands player encountered that lovely Ck2 AI and after weeks of practicing his opening play, was hoist by his own petard and ended up resigning from the game after a failed play for Denmark. This of course would change the religious dynamic in Europe, as I trusted Clone to reform the Norse Faith as soon as possible, and together with King of Men and a few others, dismantle the abrahamics before they could get thier holy orders and crusades. Clone's death and thus the failure of the Norse religion meant it was time to go shopping, and lo and behold, DDRjake had posted a Development Diary about the great new Orthodox religion mechanics in Eu4, Hello Nurse!.

Now, admittedly, Nestorian isn't Orthodox, but its Unique, and depending on how the Catholic world turned I could pivot into Messalian to keep the dynasty secure through some careful wincest. Luckily that wasn't necessary, and so I only needed to breed a small nestorian community in my lands for this moment, where I would break of my little chapter of Catholicism into the Church of the East and have a private religion, with guaranteed defender of the faith that doesn't have the diplomatic downsides, but orthodox mechanics.

Elsewhere Khan once again impressed with his complete dismantlement of Karlingdom, and Alongside Mark, caught up rather quickly in forming some Player Kingdoms. Sadly Khan also needed to resign leaving the powerful and important germany spot to languish without a player, and yet even now his influence is felt, House Dizneigh still holds the Throne of Germany even though its currently being threatened by the Perfidious Vi Britannia. The Muslim players also did fairly well, owing much of their success to simply having better religions for conquest, and Finally England and Ireland reached Kingdom status through co-operation.

Now something to point out here is we are 200 years into the campaign and some players still have just recently or still have not stabilized their Kingdoms. This is the point people make about Ck2 not being balanced, or the skill disparity. If there were no size limits to restrain players a bit most of these players would be dead, or permanently beholden to other players for the rest of the campaign. Even My own sphere may be loyal now, but becuase I am not at such a size that I am truly unkillable, its not hard to gather a coalition, and so I have incentive to make friends with all of my neighbors, which has left me relatively safe and alone, barring a foreign Jihad.

Overall I think the map ends up splitting very well,. There are no truly dominant positions on the board unless you count the Dynastic Empires of Hrothgar, and Vi Britannia. Persia is powerful, as it always is, but it is not undefeatable, Trebizond, is AI and yet is still a formidable opponent, and the restrictions on conquest have kept the Middle East from being united under one great Caliph. preventing Jihads deep into the Catholic Homelands. Italy similarly is in a position ready to dominate central europe and yet due to the size limit, is prevented from blobbing enough to solve its chronic rebel syndrome. Without the levies from places like Africa, the inherited and diverse dukes of Charlemagne's empire are more than happy to continue to faction and cuase problems for what otherwise would be a powerful empire. My own expansion is also held in check due to the size limit, as while my dynasty might control all that land in that screenshot, what I can directly manage is only a third of that land, effectively keeping Slots like Great Moravia, Germany, Trebizond and Greece alive. So I'd call the size limits a success, though with the attitudes on conversion I think its pretty clear unless in future versions we add some actual incentive to stick around, most people would be content to blob till rubbing up against the size limit and then converting, as EU4 provides a far better board to play PvP.

Posted: Friday, August 18, 2017 5:52:34 AM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

Requiem and a Dream (1075)

So last AAR I talked about my own experience and in general how I felt about things and my logic during Ck2. This will be more of an overall evaluation of everyone else and how the game played out with our ruleset, and the geopolitics created by a few events.

Fair warning this ones going to be Long. Read it in Chunks if you care, or skip over it. If someone was missing some words on their AAR and lost an achievement for it Kom, Consider the excess beyond 500 as Charity from me to fill out those aars that missed the mark.

For reference and not to make things look prettier than they really are here is a map fairly close to what will be the final Conversion into Eu4.

Is this Ugly? Yes, Oh my god its ugly. But we'll be talking about why the map looks the way it does in a bit. For Sanity sake I'm going to be breaking up How our ruleset (And playgroup) affected each major dynamic of CK2, Dynastic Politics, Diplomacy/Warfare(Pve and Pvp) and Development. Afterwards i'll go over problems we had and how I think we can improve on them next go around. I'm going to gripe a lot in this post but I do think this conversion did work out, and that ultimately Ck2 wasn't as horrible as it usually is.

But I like being negative, and the only way you work to fix things is by bringing up the problems with them.

Dynastic Politics:

The Unique Special sauce of Ck2 is the only real reason to bother playing Ck2 in a megacampaign. Without Dynasty's assassinations and that sort of thing Ck2 just ends up being a more erratic version of Eu4, or Hearts of Iron 4.

In this I think our ruleset was fairly successful. Size limits are the only reason in my opinion this worked, I've said before there's little reason to inherit something in Ck2, when you can just conquer it. Limiting player size down prevented me from just stuffing my face on Eastern Europe until I became a Superpower, It stopped Mark and Khan from splitting Carolingia in Half, and kept the Muslims from doing what they usually do, IE splitting the Middle east, India and the Near East between them like its the 18th century.

Notably the largest dynastic 'politicking' that was ultimately done was done by myself and Hadogei, and I would specific 'Our British Player' but Hadogei cant seem to figure out what he wants to play Tongue. So I'm going to say, Our Leonese Player, as thats what he is on the conversion.

Hadogei has been playing the dynasty game nonstop since the opening, he's put his dynasty everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. Hes done a very good job of it, and its why hes converting second place in score. Me, being the incredible Ck2 player that is so good at the game he lost control of his primary kingdom in the final 30 minutes Wink also spread my dynasty to a decent extent.

The last player I will mention here is Blayne our greek player, who amplified the score despite doing basically nothing all game thanks to his own Dynastic Style, either unintentional or intentional. Other players have also played the game to some small extent but not nearly on the level on Hadogei, or myself.

There are, Ultimately 3 ways to play the Dynasty game in Ck2, and they aren't mutually exclusive, Because i'm me, i'm going to name each something fun to pander my ego, Catch and Release, Shrek, and Grey Goo. I believe i described these in an earlier post but its worth reiterating

#1. Catch and Release, is the most simple and easy way to play the game, its what I primarily did, I conquer lands, and then release them under my dynasty. Simple, effective and it gives me score as per King of Men's converter. It also gives me easy alliances whenever I desire them.

However this style is only enabled under the Size Limits of the ruleset, otherwise there is no reason to play Catch and Release with perfectly good lands. At least so long as taking said lands dont somehow many you a target. However, what enables this strategem, ultimately dooms it. If Size limits are hard and low, you will not be able to 'conquer' any amount of land unless you fabricate a ton of claims (Something that can cost upwards of a 1000 gold and much more painful levels of Piety and Prestige) or have a good CB on said land. For land that you can actually defend once you release it, this later cb is harder to obtain than you think. I'll cover this more later.

#2 Shrek, is slang for a 'Layered' approach. Everyone does this to some extent if they are playing the game smart. Yes, I'm saying your not playing the game properly if you don't do this. If your in multiplayer, like in Eu4, or HOI there are certain things you SHOULD be doing.

Layering your dynasty is again, fairly simple (most things in ck2 are) It consists of basically landing second sons, cousins, anyone with decent stats of your dynasty to slowly and progressively replace non dynasts under you. This helps make your realm more stable, allows your score to 'inbreed' within your realm (As you get score from the duchies under you and the Kingdom which is far more than just the Kingdom and the crownlands) and might occasionally mean your simpleton vassals provide you with an opportunity on occasion. This was Blayne's method of choice, generally players who aren't as confident tend to do this more, but its a good habit to keep, as it serves as to make your dynasty very, very hard to truly burn out of a region barring an Invasion or Holy War. The Score is nice too.

#3 Grey Goo, or any sort of derogatory statement you want to fill in is also fairly simple but requires a bit more effort on the part of the player. To properly make use of a Grey Goo Strategy you need to matri marry every female and every male of your dynasty as possible.

You quite literally must turn your dynasty into a Cancer upon the world and spread into every court, every realm and every title possible. Its very effective, especially becuase the AI often will agree to marriages it shouldn't and like cancer, has to be checked for before its too late. This was Hadogei's stratagem of Choice, and he would have taken the Game if not for mine and Mark's awareness of what was going on.

The most reliable way to counter this strategy is on the battlefield, as players who grey goo often cant get real alliances and tend to piss everyone off when they find out their Genius grandson is now Matrilineally married to some random courtier halfway across the world. Kill the main source of power for such a player and often it will take some time for the Goo to reconstruct itself and spread further, and in that time you have the opportunity to cull it and make your position safe.

#4. Now of course there is a fourth Option, Don't bother. If size limits are not enabled, just conquer and hold everything yourself. In Ck2 the greatest gains and losses are done through warfare, and relying on the AI for anything is the equivalent of trusting a saturday morning cartoon villain to have a modicum of competence. Since we had size limits enabled, this will not be covered in anymore detail, its fairly self explanatory.

Now as for how things played out. Quite simply nobody played the dynasty game, or more accurately, the vast majority of the players ingame Did not play it period. I cannot confirm or deny if Blayne intentionally layered his dynasty becuase he spent the entire game in civil war with it. Khan played it, but he left. Which leaves myself, and Hadogei, 2 out of 10(There are more than 10, but generally we maintained a minimum of 10) Players is a really bad ratio. So why didn't one of the most important facets of Ck2 get any attention by the players.

I have a few theories about this, Some are probably right to a degree and of course I could be missing something so with that in mind heres what I noticed.

Skill Disparity: The Demon of CK2 has come back again, It always will of course, becuase people cant be bothered to learn to play the game very well. I dont want to sound mean here, but Really, This round was basically a 10 Person co-op game. The Kingdoms of Panniona, Bulgaria and Rus were all uplifted by Myself. England and Ireland worked together to bring themselves up by thier bootstraps. Bavaria and Italy did the same and the Muslim players given infinite size limits would have split India and the Middle east Equally.

However, Ultimately Norway, Greece, Aquitaine, Finland and to some extent Rus, Moravia and Italy all spent long periods of time struggling against the AI. If this were Eu4, or there were no size limits, these players would be dead or subjugated by someone better than them, which is a shame becuase Ck2 can be a really fun game once you get to play the big boy games of power. Now Credit where due, Italy when it was stable was a powerhouse, and Norway and Finland did stabilize and Rus was finally getting around to breaking apart its disloyal vassals, but it took a while.

The Other theory I have is that 3 of the Players all of them great powers, were all not christians, Thus couldn't play the dynasty game anyway. Not much needs to be said about this, You cant spread your dynasty much when all of your brothers will openly try to murder you on succession, or worse, turn Decadent, or try and start Civil wars. You can do it with Norse, but Norse wasn't reformed before the first Crusade so they didn't have a prayer of being relevant.

The last theory is of course, there's no real incentive provided. The rivalry achievements are good, but ultimately being forced to destroy the title I think was a bad addition. I don't trust the AI, ever in Ck2. Players struggling to keep their realms together damn well aren't going to switch to another Kingdom to destroy a title while the slot they want to play breaks out in AI induced civil war. Then the Risk vs Reward aspect, nobody knew going in if every little point of score would be worth trying to get, and due to the size limits, the easiest method of getting the Rivalry achievements for Christians was effectively turned off becuase they cant take the land, form the kingdom and destroy it fast enough.


The meat and potatoes of Multiplayer. Anyone who likes multiplayer combat over diplomacy in Paradox games is lying to you or weird. And this is coming from someone who is terrible at diplomacy. Hell ask my allies, I wear my intent on my sleeve, never expect a backstab, and generally tend to be afraid of everyone, even when i'm in a position of strength. Diplomacy is the foreplay that makes the wars, and victories worth it. Of course if your the type of person that just likes to watch someone else squirm and suffer, I suppose diplomacy isn't for you, a Psychiatrist is probably more up your alley. Wink

In Ck2, Diplomacy tends to be dominated by Religion, Power Projection and Trust. In a campaign Players also become a factor, notably player absence, quitting and loyalty. All of these are tied together at the hip.


Religion generally serves as a guideline of who has the best CB's on you, and thus the people you should be wary of. There is a reason I played the way I do in Ck2, and why ingame I wont promote rival religions, no matter if I'm playing the Zoroastrians, Muslims, Norse or Christians.

Let me elaborate on this further. I called a Crusade on Andalusia in Session 3 was it? I think it was 3 or 4ish, partially for the achievement, but really this really was to take a rival out of the game. Muslims have access to the Invasion CB and can easily get the Jihad Cb provided they are working together. This is why I make my top priority to kill the Muslims first for the most part. An Invasion can hit you where you live. It can take all of your land, and leave you with nothing. You do not want this to happen. If your playing Catholic, Orthodox or Coptic, Your top priority should be putting the Muslim players in a position where your own religious Brethren are dissuaded from converting to Islam (Or other potentially dangerous religions) under penalty of death.

Ranting Aside, Ingame, We had, just that 3 Muslim Players, Technically Mordor started in Sicily, but even if he stayed he would have found himself dead fairly quickly there. So our three Muslims were Persia, Egypt and South Spain, Only really missing an Arabia player. We also started with Five Pagan Players, King of Men, Yami, Myself, Golle and Clone. Now as I said before, I have the diplomatic awareness of a dead snake, so I can be wrong here, but the general feeling at least on my end was Clonefusion was going to reform the Norse Faith, Clone confident to the last led me to believe that the Catholics would convert rather than be sacrificed to Odin.

Let me explain why this is important. Catholics are unique in that they have not one, not two, but SIX holy orders potentially. Thats a lot of Deus Vult. If you are playing anything Non Christian your top priority is to End Catholicism as rapidly as possible. Else as the game goes on Christians and their death stacks become more and more difficult to defeat. These holy orders also are free to hire on crusade, meaning while Catholics get basically just holy war most of the time, Their Crusade is the most dangerous one in the game, bar none. They will be coming at you with over 40k plus levies in the late game, and that can end even massive empires sometimes.

Clone, promptly screwed up his opening play and quit. The Norse Faith and the Norse Faith was left headless. I let a session Run by, and when King of Men failed to unify the faithful, I got the hell out of dodge.

Now I'd be lying if I didn't say I entertained the notion of replacing Clone as the Grand Pagan Poobah, however Ck2 being Ck2, didn't let me declare a subjugation war on Sweden, (I would have promptly asked mark for Zeeland after, and raided a few temples). The Game didn't let me, but was more than willing to let me declare subjugation wars on literally anyone else, Ck2 everyone.

Beyond this however religion did not have a large influence on the game. Size limits, and players quitting has alot to do with this. Ultimately the largest influence religion would have is it forced Vaniver out of the game, and Weakened King of men, prompting a response from his ally in Mesopotamia albeit too late to matter.

Power Projection and Trust

Power Projection is just how well you are able to exert your influence over other players. In ck2 this through primarily economic and military aid. This at least this game, Its a subtle thing, but when a nation is asking for gold and help during a conquer or civil war, specifically to a player instead of hoping for charity, Its clear who they belong to. Now there is sphere mechanics in ck2, and the Size limits prevented outright player vassal empires, but the influence remains. Players are more reluctant to turn on the hand that feeds them and ultimately this is how you control people weaker than you In ck2. This isn't to say they can betray you, but you lose a whole lot less being subservient to someone in Ck2 than in a game like Eu4, where Majors eat first and the Minor powers only get scraps.

Ingame with no player vassals, you lose absolutely nothing by shamelessly begging people for help. Nobody will invade you realistically, and ultimately you have no reason to betray the person helping you becuase your rubbing up against the size limit and a player feeding you gold is far better than an AI just sitting there.

Now like Dynastic Politics, there was little to no diplomacy going on. I mean it, I think I had more conversations with a single player more than everyone else had combined.

The reason why I dont think there was much diplomacy going on to be honest is a lack of player conflict. The points of conflict that did arise, IE my invasion of Andalusia is the only thing that really defined a diplomatic landscape to the game. There was a coalition to try and break the Catholic faith, but that fizzled, and there was a toothless pact between the Muslims to keep the other alive I'm sure, maybe with or without King of Men and Ranger involved.

Lack of player conflict comes from an Empty board and small size limits. Crusades ended the religious conflict in Andalusia fairly easily, I fought a war to scare Hadogei into giving me a sword becuase I wanted to send a message, there was a crusade for Norway and Sweden and a Jihad for Greece was called the Riders of Rohan, erm Russia came down in force to block it. That is it for PVP. None of the players rubbed into each other enough to make them fight each other, there was always plenty of AI to eat, and why attack a player when your size limit is already full to bursting.

Now I wont say this was an unhealthy environment, but it wasn't competitive, it was basically Co-Op. Compare the battle of the Titans, England vs Persia, or the Fimcomtoddmans vs the last alliance of Pavivion Khan. Or even historical struggles of England vs France. Greece and the Crusaders vs the Turks and Egyptians or Italy and the Holy Roman Empire disputes. It was 10 players, fighting revolts, AI and once in a blue moon, a Crusade against a player who unfortunately picked the wrong religion.


The last, and probably most relevant outcome of Ck2 will be how developed players are.

This has already been griped about and discussed to death, so i'm going to try and keep this one 'brief'.

I'm happy with most of the conversions but ultimately I will say, there's a fatal flaw with developing in Ck2 for Eu4, In that outside of personal demesne its really random. The reason why its random is the vast majority of your realm will be AI, and you'll want to pour most of your gold into your personal demesne. If the AI even bothers to develop at all matters quite a bit. This is of course assuming there's no gold farming or exploits going on. Because of this randomness there doesn't really seem to be a way to reward players for developing properly, becuase a realm like Italy which spent the majority of its time ingame in civil war can convert 1st place in development.

Meanwhile Ireland which has sat quietly building holdings all game actually converts worse becuase the AI was too bothered fighting each other to develop. Honestly Im at a loss. Maybe with more players and warfare the AI's efforts or lack thereof would be drowned out more, or maybe it would get worse, I honestly don't know. My only advice for the future for this is get vassal wars off as soon as humanly possible, Most of your development will be coming from them, and you want them to be sinking all their gold into their lands not foreign wars. If Theocracies and Vassal republics are allowed, Go nuts, for obvious reasons.

Now onto something resembling Criticism.

Where did this game of Ck2 fall short?

Ultimately we did find success becuase ultimately, the same old problems of Eu4 in Ck2 did not actually happen this time. Of course this is likely becuase we took an axe to the ability for people to cause such an issue in the first place.

In my Opinion the Main issues this campaign had, and the reason we converted so early can be found in the lack of Player interaction.

People are presumably playing a Multiplayer Megacampaign to interact with other players, No?. So when you play 10 sessions of Ck2 and speed 2, and your spending more time keeping your realm from falling apart than actually playing multiplayer, its not really what your there for. Now knowing Eu4 and its much better mechanics for running a nation are there, waiting for you the temptation to put the bullet in Ck2 is ever present and there.

I'm not going to blame the Size limits for this directly, becuase ultimately while I now think 150 is too small, its not the major cause. The Major cause is players can freely reach the size limit without coming into conflict with other players.

We had 16 Initial Players signed for Ck2, arguably at the start. Of those 16, only 11 consistently stayed, With 10 being more expected becuase of absences and stuff. There are THOUSANDS of provinces in Ck2, Its entirely feasible for players to be constantly expanding all game and NEVER see each other.

Now had we more players, the 150 Size limit might be appropriate, this allows everyone to get a Small kingdom and some room to expand, or a Large Kingdom and very little to no room to expand. Ireland, Ruthenia and Italy were actively straining against the Size Limit. Ruthenia in particular bordered 3 other players and had it's dynasty border it in the remaining areas and it was still straining.

This brings up my initial point of why the map looks so Ugly. Egypt, and Myself had to release land inside our borders just to be able to retain our natural borders. Ruthenia's natural borders are the Black Sea, and the Various rivers around it. I couldn't expand far enough to reach the Vistula realistically but I sure as hell wasn't going to retreat away from the Don or Daugava as those make up the natural borders of my slot. Similarly, Egypt through controlling Egypt proper means his natural borders are Egypt and everything south of it, but he also wanted Indian colonies, so he had to release some provinces inside him. Italy as well couldn't unify the peninsula and control his African or Lotharingian Land, so a large chunk of southern Italy was left AI. If the British Isles were unied, I imagine dukes in the English and Scottish interior also probably would have been independent for similar reasons.

If all the players had been shoved into Western Europe, 150 would be perfect, it would allow for players to expand but ultimately they would come into conflict, and as players built taller that conflict with drift away and give way to dynastic politics to get additional score and the like. This didn't happen.

Here was the 200 Size limit map, showing how large player realms would be if everyone was given an equal chunk of land and every slot was filled, and nobody hurt each other. 200 is more than 150, So in theory these realms are supposed to be even larger than ours. So this compensates somewhat for each province not being fully developed

This is the same Map, The positions that were actually 'Played' are marked with a Star, Large areas showing a gap of Player influence are circled with red.

Roughly Half the Map is unplayed. This is an issue, and as you can see there are Red circles between players. Notably, There is a massive one in the Western Med, One in Central Europe (This is why I wouldn't shut up about filling the Germany spot) One in England (The West Med Circle can get bigger if you want to count Hadogei as England) One in between the Muslim players (I remember asking for India, Mali and Abyssinia banned from being conquered). One in Anatolia, which is also another AI hotspot in the game. And Finally one in Mongolia/Afghanistan which is to be expected.

Now I know the argument that checks this, "This Land should be held by dynasty members". I don't think thats valid. Ultimately people will conquer up to the size limit, and will stay there, and then try to find a way to conquer land for their dynasty. If they do not do this they are in an inherently weaker position to defend themselves, and with the way the final version of the Mod works, you either need a CB at this point to make large expansions possible, or a Claim on a large and intact Kingdom. Both Fairly rare.

The other issue is players leaving, which is an entirely different issue, but lets be honest here, one that can be planned around. Eu4 multiplayer often forces everyone into europe, and those that get eliminated get pushed out of the thunderdome to play again, balanced by expansion limits that prevent say, the new Mughals player from just eating Ming unopposed.

I'm not going to suggest forcing players to play in Europe for our conversion since people deliberately sat out of Ck2 assuming they could play in Asia, and other plays conducted no diplomacy becuase they assumed they'd be simply leaving for Asia, but for the future I feel this might be a better way forward.

To solve both of these issues next time, I'd recommend raising the Size limit up to around 200, and restricting players to areas of Europe depending on how many players there war. (With Rules forbidding them from holding land directly outside of a certain boundary).

So the Player map will ultimately look like this.

With the Black and Purple Zones only being filled after the White spots are completly filled. With a bias towards double filling White before putting people in Black, With Purple realistically only for players who intent to play a few sessions, cause some sort of big invasion in Europe and quit, unless we somehow jump from 10 players to 30 next game, which isn't likely.

I would also like to bring attention to the real lack of incentive from Achievements. Alot of this is might be from a lack of awareness of what Score will do and what it can be used for, but personally, I think Fun beats balance here. Ck2's about roleplay quite a bit, so getting players to behave like the actual rulers of these regions during the time, even if some players have it harder than others, I think is a fair tradeoff if the reward is score. Ultimately if people dont like this style of play they can just start in the ROTW with the Median score anyway, so I dont think theres a huge loss. Gutting achievements and Victory cards went a long way towards removing goals besides "Take EU4 Borders, Develop Core, Defend Core", Wait for conversion which is basically what everyone did besides maybe Hadogei
King of Men
Posted: Friday, August 18, 2017 9:43:29 AM
 Legatus legionis

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The Norse Faith and the Norse Faith was left headless. I let a session Run by, and when King of Men failed to unify the faithful, I got the hell out of dodge.

Well, you might have told me you wanted the reform so much; or even lifted a finger to help me with it.

Read my blog.
Norway Rome The Khanate Scotland Scotinavia Christendie the Serene Republic has always been at war with the Bretons False Empire Caliphate Persians Russians English Hungarians Oceanians Saracen Jackal! Death, death, death to the Frogs barbarians infidels necromancers vodka-drinking hegemonists Sassenach nomad menace Yellow Menace heathen Great Old One!
Posted: Friday, August 18, 2017 6:57:45 PM
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Well I did offer to do it for you, but the King of Sweden was for some reason immune to subjugation wars at that time.

When Clone was still around, I had told him Im not going to stay Norse after 900 AD unless it was reformed, so Ive more or less held to that, I guess there wasn't as much communication between you guys as I thought or expected.
Posted: Sunday, September 17, 2017 5:13:31 PM
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Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

Picking up the Peices (1444-1460)

Behold the great Kingdom of Varingia. Divided and weakened but not yet lost.

We have converted from Ck2 to Eu4, and So this is mostly serving as an introductory post. As the first Place Player from Ck2, I've got a reasonable position to start, My Dynasty controls Alania, Lithuania and Poland allowing me to purchase a Personal Union on Alania the most powerful of my neighbors that isnt a player. Within my borders I have several minors that I essentially get to annex for free, Turov, Galich and Kacharis. However there's a catch, My development for my size is horrible, I'm in third place with all the Minors inside me behind the Holy Roman Empire and Great Novogrod. Also, almost 90% of it is Catholic, while I am nestorian, So my expansion beyond core territory is effectively crippled at the start.

First order of business was to end a rather messy war with the Norse to the North. We were once Norse after all and the time for such religious frivolity abroad is over. After all I have an inquisition to Run, these Catholics wont burn themselves.

After the War, I ate my Minor's and established myself as the #3 Great Power behind Italy and Novogrod. Both of these Nations are my longtime allies so I feel fairly secure here, enough that my next move involves going east and conquering land for my PU partner Alania, as well as Vassalizing one of the steppe Tribes.

During this time I also punch monarch points out of Poland and Lithuania, becuase the Renaissance fired in Africa, and Daddy needs his Admin. I also took Religious Ideas to help with the aforementioned burning of Catholics.

In the Meantime the Vikings to the North have gotten themselves into a coalition war, drawing in my ally Novgorod. Novgorod didn't want the fight the war meaning my gesture to aid him more or less was useless.

In China there is rumbling and Thundering. Korea, Wu and Xi are all going at it for the heavyweight championship and it looks like Korea is the one set to win it. Of course there's always the Black Horse Candidate, Khan who might just walk into India and take it when all three are spent fighting each other.

In Colonial news, there is nothing to talk about. Ireland has been too busy expanding, Saarland is too busy having intimate relations with close family and Spain has been too busy dieing to find anything of worth. Though lets be real here, any sort of mythical land of Gold beyond the sea is fantasy, Truly. Look, Keep trading through Varingia for your overpriced spices and silk, You may not like it but at least you do not have to walk into Mordor for it. Everyone knows you do not simply walk into mordor.

This is the Empire so Far, Were now Established and hopefully after session 2 I can get back into the Rhythm of posting word updated and adding a bit more flavor into the AAR's. At the moment I can go basically anywhere, South into Anatolia, North into more steppe tribes, West into Poland and Lithuania and of course, East to search for mighty Cathay. However before any of this, I really do need to get my religious unity under control, as beyond everything else, My empire lives or dies at this point on being able to expand, and to expand I must have lower revolt risk.

King of Men
Posted: Monday, September 18, 2017 7:29:07 AM
 Legatus legionis

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Could you cross-post to the Pdox thread, please? An active AAR is a recruiting tool.

Read my blog.
Norway Rome The Khanate Scotland Scotinavia Christendie the Serene Republic has always been at war with the Bretons False Empire Caliphate Persians Russians English Hungarians Oceanians Saracen Jackal! Death, death, death to the Frogs barbarians infidels necromancers vodka-drinking hegemonists Sassenach nomad menace Yellow Menace heathen Great Old One!
Posted: Monday, September 18, 2017 7:12:25 PM

Joined: 5/22/2017
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As founding (and currently only) member of the Mordor Tourism Board I resent that statement towards your ally. We have some things you don't: meaningful sea access. And not cold.

Why conquer when diplomacy is just so much easier.
Posted: Sunday, September 24, 2017 5:27:15 PM
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Joined: 8/25/2014
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Staking our Claim (1460-1485)

The Sad Truth of Varingia is, in the times between 1035 and the 1400's the economic and military might of the Kingdom had been severely diminished in comparison to the other powers of Europe. To the North Great Novgorod could play host to a 50% larger army, and naturally the Holy Roman Empire, the perpetually collapsing Kingdom in Italy had grown to become the premier power of the World. Varingia meanwhile was mired in religious conflict between a Nestorian upper class and a Catholic, Orthodox and Slavic peasantry all one step away from war with eachother.

King Vraka av Island however had looked beyond such petty disputes and instead to the future for Varingia. The Personal Union with Alania had enabled his influence to reach into Asia potentially, and Kiev had grown into a thriving metropolis under his reign. If the technologies of Africa and Scandinavia could be brought into his Empire, Varingia could remain a world power despite its issues, and use such an advantage to make up for its rather poor heartlands.

To achieve these aims, King Vraka attacked the Sultanate of Trebizond to his south, Securing Baku and other vital territories from the nation while it was locked in battle with the Lazuli Dynasty. Becuase of the Well timed entry of Varingia to the war, there was minimal fighting done by Alania or Varangian troops, and so the war was relatively bloodless, with most losses being attributed to campaign attrition in the caucuses mountains. This move had two benefits, first, The Southern border of Varingia now was well and truly secured by the mighty Caucuses mountains, meaning that the Empire of Mordor to the south would experience great difficulty if it ever wished to threaten the Russian Steppe. The second advantage was the annexation on Northern persia had given Varingia territory in Asia, allowing the Empire to now stretch it's influence into the spheres of both the East and west.

The war in the Caucuses had enabled Varingia to now become involved in the continuing Samanids-Mordor wars. Like with Trebizond, King Vraka involved himself and exploited an exposed northern frontier to quickly cripple his greatest threat in the Steppe, Winning the Khan of the Sevencids the territory taken from his dynasty well over a century ago. While much of this territory was frankly worthless, it would mean now that Samanids could be easily crippled through the seizure of Fergana and it's surrounding lands, splitting the Persian lower half of the Empire, and the more traditional steppe lands to the North.

With success in the east, the time had come to set eyes on the west, King Vraka had died leaving his young daughter on the throne. This of course had meant a pause in Vraka's conquest, but young Queen Kira's talent for war had meant army reforms, mainly the widespread adoption of cannons into the army would come swiftly. Varingia would not need to wait long to introduce such technologies onto the battlefield to great affect. Alongside the dawn of the renaissance in Russia, the Varingian Military, hardened from years on the steppe would be ready for its first challenge.

Coming to the Aid of Varingia's close ally, the Holy Roman Empire, the Lazuli Dynasty had hoped to reclaim rightful roman territory in Bessarabia and possibly Crimea. Those ambitions however were utterly smashed when the Varingian Army, led by Ovtay Tundava completly and utterly annihilated the Lazuli army outside Kiev, the new Capital of Varingia. With this victory, Varingia while not the richest or largest of the known powers of the world had proven that it would in fact not go quietly into the night. The Medieval Era had ended, but with the dawn of Gunpowder, the Varangian Era had only just begun.


Session 2 has Ended and we are still alive, Which is good. As you can see i've done a fair bit of expansion mainly through my vassals. Mordor has rather generously fed my vassal quite a chunk of territory, and Alania has been fed the top half of Trebizond. Of course becuase all of my vassals are Nestorian they are more busy with conversion work than actually providing me gold and manpower. Conversion work I am happy to take however. Beyond my exploits in the East, I have cut half of Poland off and integrated it into my empire and am in the process of doing the same for Lithuania. Varingia will not rest until it strides across both the Baltic and Black Seas, to make up for my horrible development situation I really have no option but to devour all the AI around me. Truly.

Posted: Sunday, October 01, 2017 5:40:01 PM
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The Eagle Rises (1485-1511)

In the late 1400's Varingia, with it's ambitions in the Baltic Sea had decided to throw its support to the Natural rivals of the Yngling Empire. The Saars, Irish and Novogrodians to the North all had reason to hate the vikings, either having been made glorified vassals in the past, Had their rich coasts raided, or lands unlawfully seized by vikings 'Right of Conquest'. However, Varingia honors it's friends and marched North to War, even knowing there would be no Gain for itself.

The War could best be described as a slaughter, Superior Troops and Numbers within the Russian Army offset any advantage of leadership the vikings might have had. In three major battles along the Elbe Varingia would win, eventually destroying half the Viking army at Hamburg after a close victory in Lauenburg. Forged against the Lazuli, It was affirmed, the backwater, unstable lands between Moravia and Novgorod had reformed themselves and once again could count themselves among the greatest of Powers in the world.

Victory in the Field would lead to Victory in the Faith. At the start of the century Varingia was a diverse mess of Catholics, Pagans, Orthodox, Messalians and Tengri peoples. The Effort of the Nestorian Church to integrate all of these peoples had been successful, and what once had made the Empire weak, was now making it strong. Varingia's religious unity, once at a measly 10% was now complete, which would allow the Empire for the first time to expand.

Such Ambitions of course would wait, as the Sammanids, a power in Central Asia had attacked Varingian allies in Mordor. When the Beacons are lit and aid is asked for Varingia rides out no matter the cost, and so the army marched East into the rising sun to face off against the steppe Horde. It would ultimately be a costly fight in terms of manpower and gold for Varingia, but Mordor would handle the majority of fighting and so would pay more.

Because of this it was only Natural Mordor take all of the gains this time, As the last war against the Samanids had yielded large swaths of territory to Varingia. Now the debt, had been paid and the two Empires of the East could operate as equals.

With connections to the east reopened through warfare, tales of China, and of great Betrayals of the order and Mandate had reached Europa. China, once great and indivisible was in the midst of a civil war that the world had never seen. The Xi, and Tianlan, who had previously agreed to an order in the east had turned against each other again, as the Tianland attacked the Xi when they were at their weakest. In response to this grevious and dishonorable act, the Holy Father in Rome demanded God see Justice done, and called for a Crusade to bring China into the Catholic fold.

Varingia meanwhile would spend this time expanding into Poland and Lithuania, making it's empire strong for the wars to come.


So Session 3 has ended, and there's a bit of controversy going around. The Holy Roman Empire (That Empire you see in Glorious Light Blue) has achieved dominion over all of Europe. Great Moravia, was the first target in our combined sights and he did not even bother to combat us, selling Illyria and Poland to us for a truce that ends in 1517, Where The Nation will likely lose Bohemia and parts of it's core territories next.

In response talk of Coalitions and Surrender Votes had begun but was cut short by diligent research by Vaniver that discovered mark had started Eu4 with far more development than he should have becuase King of Men was being attacked by a Crusade (>.>Wink and I was having technical issues. So now the point of contention is what to be done.

The Asian Players do not want a rollback, as is typical for Asia in most things to say "Its your problem don't involve us". Unfortunately it is everyone's Problem, And the other options, IE nerfing Mark puts him at risk to just be killed by Coalition becuase of the sudden weakness and Playing it as it lies through not having any other option which has obvious problems I don't need to reiterate.

In Other news I did fantastic, My religious unity is fixed, and I'm as powerful as great Novgorod to my North, and thanks to my ideas and easy access to AI, will only get more powerful over time.

Posted: Sunday, October 08, 2017 6:28:30 PM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153

The Art of the Stack Wipe

So the last session of Eu4 is over, and we are restarting However what brought us to this inevitable end. Several factors really, mostly it was Mark complete and utter size breaking the balance of power in Europe wherever it went. However Mark alone could not stand against the fury of every European Power. For Mark was the Crassus of our great Triumvirate.

However, I was the Caesar. My army was the finest in Europe and for good reason. Lets explain how.

Picture is not entirely relevant but funny. I was curtailing the Nobility, this drew quite a response when everyone saw what was going on in Russia at the time.

I will point out that bending over backwards to the nobility was a vital part of the build, However I'm not experienced enough with estates and accidentally had the bastards take over, Hence the situation you see before you. Had I kept them in charge I would have gotten the extra 10% Morale in combat which would have make my dominance on the field even worse.

The idea, was born talking with Clonefusion of exactly how broken a Pure Fire build could be. Everyone knows fire is dominant in the lategame for two reasons, their pips become more competitive than shock, and Fire comes first in battle phases, which can mean alot as it weakened frontlines and thus makes troops unable to do much. The later point is the focus of this build.


This is important when applied later on.

The first thing I will bring attention to is my ideas. I have a massive 20% bonus to fire in my traditions. Thats simply put insane, but useless unless used correctly. Defensive is the best set in my Opinion to take, becuase Morale especially in the early game is crazy good and when you pair it with a good tradition can produce quite the nice level of power.

Now, Fire isn't good in the early game, you say. No, No it is not nearly as good as it is in the late game, But that doesn't mean its bad necessarily. Why?

Fire Comes First

20% Morale and 20% Fire together mean with at least some initial fire, I have a huge edge over armies that dont have such bonuses in the first Phase. I do my damage in Fire, weaken the strength of the enemy line and cuase a nice hit to morale, Hold the line for Shock, and then by the time the second and third fire phases come I've caused a health bit of damage. Mostly Morale damage, but its not nearly enough to get stack wipes like I've been.

Enter my Waifu, St Michael. Orthodox Religion pairs nicely with basically everything becuase it can turn on the discipline whenever it wants. Combined with a discipline or Moral advisor this raises our bonus total to

5%-10% Discipline
20%-40% Morale (If we kept noble Republic)
20% Fire

The Morale-Discipline Combo is the key here, Stacking a 30% Morale Advantage on Someone is huge before 1550, But it gets better, With the Fire Bonuses and Discipline we do MORE damage during the fire phase, giving us a huge morale advantage and from this we get results.

One of our stackwipes against the Norsemen, As you can see, I have almost 12k Cannons ready to fight here. Providing even more shock to that initial hit. Once I caught the Norse army there was no escape, thier morale fell to zero before they could retreat and they wiped.

But Dragoon what if someone has a shock based set? Thats really good in the Early Game surely they could

Yep. Yami's set which had the 20% Shock bonus could do virtually nothing to me either. I wiped a almost 80 Divisions during the War, and bounced stacks that outnumbered me initially the Fire/Morale combo is crazy good early on. As Fire becomes more important than Shock I would have become virtually unstoppable on the field. With mark feeding me gold to maintain my costly army future wars would be similar affairs.

So with this I'll leave you, and remember Kids,

Fire Comes First
King of Men
Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2017 7:42:07 AM
 Legatus legionis

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Joined: 11/23/2007
Posts: 8,493
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So I'll just note that in both your screenshots your army strongly outnumbers the other, and you have a better leader too - in fact you were engaging my reserve stack, which didn't have a leader at all.

That said, maybe we should tone down the Artilleryman a bit for the second EU4 round? Big Grin

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Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2017 7:49:59 AM
 Lieutenant General

Joined: 8/25/2014
Posts: 2,153
Well to get stack wipes I'd bother taking Pictures of you need the numbers advantage for that additional first phase punch.

With more equal numbers I was still winning handily unless really outnumbered, See the Fights with Mali for example. (Which I did not take screenshots of unfortunately)
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