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King of Men
Posted: Saturday, December 09, 2017 9:21:03 AM
 Legatus legionis

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Joined: 11/23/2007
Posts: 8,216
Location: Nowhere
For the seventh session, I abandoned the sinking ship of Holstein and took over Scandinavia from Clonefusion, who had left in frustration at his unending bad luck with rulers. The sensation was somewhat like getting out of an ancient Honda from the second millennium, and pushing down the accelerator on a Tesla; the feeling of immense power under your command is intoxicating. Scandinavia has 3000 men just in retinues, and can call up another 6000 from the demesne; that's before considering vassals. I don't think Holstein ever had 9000 men in the field at any time in its 180-year history, to include the invasion of Scotland and the Great Holy War for England.

  • Corporate Raiding: Naturally, with all this leverage, I immediately went looking for distressed assets to liquidate. Fortunately, in the current business environment, it wasn't at all difficult to find some; in fact, it appears that when you park 9000 men in a province, any local assets become distressed remarkably quickly. Across the session, as I acquired new equity, I held fire sales, wrote down goodwill, and took money out of pension plans - in this primitive age, with index funds yet to be invented, most people's pension plan is their children, and they are surprisingly reluctant to consider that they can just acquire some more. In this manner I acquired several thousand ducats, which I immediately reinvested in the business, ie my demesne. Shareholder value increased considerably.
  • Loot Boxes: While looking through the assets of my newly-acquired companies, deciding what to liquidate first, I came across no less than three keys to the Strange Chest you occasionally acquire. Two with gold, one with ancient, useless parchments. (I mean, for all I know they contained the vital information that the DNA of the herb moly is twisted into configurations that channel the fundamental force, and blunt the mental powers of the Jackal... but as Kuipy isn't playing in this campaign, that would still be useless.) Anyway, I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that Paradox allows gambling in these games.
  • Agent-Principal Problems: I made independent several counts who held land directly of me, in an effort to keep below 150 realm size; they were promptly reconquered by my vassals empire-building middle managers.
  • Activist Investing: Noticing that Scotland was having a revolt, I headed over there to help out Zirotron by raiding the rebels voting my shares for the incumbent Board. Unfortunately I hadn't paid close enough attention; it turned out that Ziro was the rebels. My bad! I apologised and started raiding voting against the usurper king instead, but to be honest I don't think I'm going to be very popular in Scotland for a while. However that may be, I do have to salute Ziro's ability to play tall; in Scotland the baronies would consistently yield 60, 70, even 80 ducats - immensely satisfying after spending years sieging buying distressed real estate in Eastern Europe for shillings on the ducat, and getting a measly 8-12 ducats apiece.
  • Hostile Takeover: The kingdom of Saxony is currently held by a branch of the Iverings, Vaniver's dynasty; it is obviously the rightful clay of the Ynglings. With the prestige of my raiding, I was able to declare a Kingdom Subjugation war, which is currently going quite well - although who knows what will happen next session, when Vaniver returns and, perhaps, decides to defend his kinsman. Fighting a player is quite a different affair. But whatever the outcome I will have burned large parts of Saxony to the ground and extracted all movable goods and some that their owners thought were nailed down, and thus marked my displeasure with the annexation of Jutland, which I had given to an Yngling to keep below the realm size.




    I don't know, maybe people see this all the time? It was new to me, anyway.



    Player map, 967. Vaniver missing this session, which is why France looks so empty; James (in Byzantium) dropped due to work changes. Notice Ranger expanding into Mali, and Ziro again in charge of Scotland. If anyone would like to join and pick up a slot, drop me a PM.


    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!
  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, December 17, 2017 8:43:51 AM
     Legatus legionis

    One Year Membership MedalTwo Year Membership Medal

    Joined: 11/23/2007
    Posts: 8,216
    Location: Nowhere
    Events of the eighth session:

  • Poison Pill: As the seventh session ended I was in the middle of a hostile takeover of Saxony, which at that time was going well. Unfortunately the Saxon board of directors rallied, and passed a poison-pill addendum to their charter, such that if any shareholder with more than ten percent of the shares attempted to acquire a controlling interest, the other shareholders would be issued new stock, drastically diluting the would-be acquirer. And additionally, Vaniver and Gollevainen both joined the war on Saxony's side, and I could not siege quite fast enough to reach 100%; so I white-peaced.
  • By-the-Numbers Sequel: I admit that you've probably seen this movie before, but that's ok, you're still going to pay for your ticket. I invaded England on a Kingdom Subjugation CB; Vaniver joined on the English side; I wasn't able to destroy the gathered armies of Christianity, including their very annoying camp followers, the famous HOs.
  • Late Fees: I'm told that Blayne had an arrangement with Clone whereby he would give one gift per session, and then Venice would not be raided. This insurance premium has not been paid since 935, in spite of several dunning letters, so I got some repo men together and set sail for the Med to collect the late fees. Unfortunately, it seems that the Adriatic neighborhood has really gone downhill lately; they've got a new landlord - Dragoon made Venice tributary - and he's jacked up the rent and cut down maintenance. A really rough crowd has moved in; and Blayne has apparently spent money upgrading the siege hail, the immense catapults throwing a mix of rocks and incendiaries that protect Venice from intruders by sea. Long story short, my repo men ran into some Venetian backstreet gangs (back-canal?) and came home without the money they'd been sent for.
  • Subsidiary: In order to concentrate on my principal areas of focus, and also because I was over the realm-size limit, I have spun off the Kingdom of Nordriki, giving the shareholders a one-for-one share dividend. The initial stock market response has been very positive - the two companies have a combined market capitalisation about 10% over what they did as a single company - indicating that the investors agree with me that this will enable both companies to concentrate on their strengths.
  • Empire Building: My middle managers, to their credit, keep trying to expand my market share; this session saw, among others, the Fourth Vestfoldian and Fifth Alfheimr Conquests of Insee Orc. Admittedly Insee Orc remains under Scottish sovereignty, but you have to give some points for identifying the most-synergistic strategy and then committing whole-heartedly to it.
  • Aggregate Demand Shortfall: The Black Death washed over Europe, drastically reducing the number of consumers for my products and hence my revenues.
  • The Gathering Storm: While nothing definite has been decided, no infallible edict has been handed down from the throne of St Peter, still there is a strong sense in the air that the next Crusade must be in the Baltic.





    Europe at the height of the recession.



    Players, 996. Notice Finland released, Pruthenia conquered, and new player 'Gamechanger' on my eastern flank. Golle suffered a rebellion and was reduced to a kingdom within the British Empire, but the rebel was a kinsman and he'll switch to playing him when the new session starts, so no permanent damage. Hadogei absent this session, and Jerusalem collapsed as a result.



    Political map of Europe, with two interesting characters. Top is my current Doge, whom I managed (at last!) to get elected in his twenties, and who is also Quick. With, I hope, a thirty-year career ahead of him, I hope to make him a Sea King; so far I've never gotten higher than Ravager with something like sixty raids. This current one has five raids so far (after the dozen-or-so it took to get Viking, which is MTTH rather than deterministic), but they do accumulate. The second character is an old Yngling battleaxe: A scarred, one-handed Shieldmaiden who has survived two husbands. This by way of warning for anyone considering a crusade in the Baltic: This is the sort of opposition you'll be facing.


    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!
  • dragoon9105
    Posted: Sunday, December 17, 2017 9:37:01 AM
     Lieutenant General


    Joined: 8/25/2014
    Posts: 2,049
    I will have you know my properties are the best properties. The Absolute Best, Nobody is better. In fact we are so good we expanded our real estate market to Egypt, Greece and Africa and let me tell you those are some of the best lands you can get this side of China. The Absolute Best, I know becuase I oversaw the construction my self. The Pope, hes a great friend, he tells me all the time that he loves my properties and invests in them. Now would such a popular man like the pope ever donate money to something that wasn't the best. No of course not. Those Venetians don't know how good they have it, Im giving them the best deal those merchants could ever get, Honestly its not even a good deal on my end, but im such a great guy im giving it to them anyway. Also I'm running the MR Catholic contest pretty soon, its going to be great becuase im hosting it make sure to tune in.
    King of Men
    Posted: Friday, January 05, 2018 8:43:23 AM
     Legatus legionis

    One Year Membership MedalTwo Year Membership Medal

    Joined: 11/23/2007
    Posts: 8,216
    Location: Nowhere
    Events of the ninth session:

  • Monarch of the Ocean Sea: Having gotten the election as Doge in his twenties, Thorsteinn has had thirty years to spread the terror of his name; the black dragon-headed ships have drawn up on beaches from the Faeroes to the Crimea. In 1029 he was proclaimed Sea King by the acclamation of the leidang, giving him - in Yngling legal theory at least - the right to tax all ships that move upon the ocean sea, and all who live within three leagues of the coast. I celebrated by painstakingly raiding every coastal province in Scotland.




    Thorsteinn. Note the scars, the hook hand, the hard-learned caution with which he now approaches raiding.


  • Strategic Debt-Equity Swap: A new Crusade being in the offing, I was naturally worried that it might come to the Baltic; although the Ynglinga Rike is now, probably, a match for either France, England, or Bohemia individually, I would have great difficulty fighting all three, the more so if Scotland and perhaps Castille joined. Fortunately the Pope is currently under the muscular thumb of the Lotharing state that dominates Italy; and I was able to reach an agreement with Dragoon whereby I would give him a gift, and he would direct the Crusade elsewhere. At least, that was my understanding at the time. Dragoon seems to think that he was asking for a loan, as he was at that particular moment being attacked by a coalition of four other players worried about his power to, among other things, direct Crusades, and in dire need of money. With my princely gift, he was indeed able to maintain the field against them, and drive them off; apparently they had difficulty coordinating their armies, and were defeated individually. In any case Dragoon both sent the Crusade to Mali, and later repaid the gift with a handsome interest. It must be admitted, however, that this brilliant stroke of diplomacy may have somewhat annoyed the players of France, Castille, Venice, and England.
  • Jomsvikinga Saga: My very own Holy Order finally appeared, modded to be of a useful strength. (Let would-be Crusaders be warned.) I sent my third son Gudfrid to join them, hoping to bind this strong force to my family by making him its head. Alas, he slept with the wrong person, or possibly in the wrong position (the code of the Jomsvikings isn't against homosexuality, per se, but you'd better not be the bottom) and they burned him at the stake.




    Gudfrid. Obviously chastity and celibacy only applies to women.


  • Vertical Integration: Using my de-jure claim, I recovered Jutland from the Saxon kingdom.
  • Subcontractor Failure: One of my vassals attempted a Holy War for Holstein against the same Saxons; thinking that the war would be easy but I might as well help, I sent my raiders down to get some gold and take any opportunity they found to smash the Saxon armies. Unfortunately, as it was a Holy War, the Saxons had this time provided themselves with three Holy Orders, and any smashing went the other way. Holstein remains German and Christian.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Thorsteinn has accumulated 15000 prestige, and is quite unlikely to be able to use all of it in Kingdom Subjugations before he dies. Alas, his sons are nowhere near as good.
  • One Special Lion: Once again over the realm-size limit, I spun off Finland to a promising Yngling.
  • Yule Break: We've had a two-week break for the midwinter blot; in between hanging thralls and laving the æsir-images with horse's blood, I found some time to update my CK2 converter, which now works for the Japan patch and Cradle of Civilization - to include the new provinces, for which Paradox has not yet found time to update theirs.




    Player map, 1031. Missing Gollevainen in England, Ziro in Scotland, and Hadogei in Jerusalem.



    Political map, 1031. Note Finland released; I'll edit them the remaining worthless Finnish provinces and make the Ynglinga Rike lean and hungry once more.


    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!
  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, January 14, 2018 8:49:51 AM
     Legatus legionis

    One Year Membership MedalTwo Year Membership Medal

    Joined: 11/23/2007
    Posts: 8,216
    Location: Nowhere
    I am occasionally reminded that, although I am perhaps the most visible player of these megacampaigns, and so may be said to have something of a reputation, this does not come about because I'm actually any good; it's all persistence, showing up every week, and writing AARs. This was one of those sessions:

  • Not Yet Dead: With the excellent Sea King Thorsteinn on the wrong side of sixty and, alas, unlikely to reign much longer, I wanted to use some of his 15000 accumulated prestige on a few kingdom subjugations (a custom take-a-kingdom CB in our mod, 3000 prestige a pop). I therefore decided, as one does, to invade Poland; a subsidiary of Bohemia, spun out by Yami with a king of his dynasty ("von Borghest"Wink to satisfy the realm-size limit. Beating an AI kingdom is not difficult; I was confident in my ability to take on Yami as well, when he inevitably joined to protect his kinsman; unfortunately I had not reckoned with Dragoon deciding that he is the World Police, and sending 20000 men to protect the Catholic Succession in Poland. Consequently Poland is not yet dead.
  • The Svithjod Crusade: It had to come: The thirty-year cooldown ran out, and the Pope declared a Crusade for Sweden. With fifty thousand men on the march, and technology sufficiently advanced that attrition wasn't much of a factor, I had only one chance: Send my men south to Rome and convince the Pope himself that he was actually losing. Unfortunately Dragoon, though not part of the crusade, took exception to this and I had to retreat; after that there was nothing I could do to prevent the loss of my wealthy heartland.



    Diplomatic situation at the beginning of the Crusade.



    Not kidding about the fifty thousand.


  • Gjenerobringen: Obviously I wasn't going to let that stand. As soon as Vaniver had set up Sweden to his satisfaction, with Ivering Dukes and an Ivering King, I attacked. Vaniver, naturally, joined the war to defend his kinsman; my army was roughly equal to what he sent to Sweden, plus what the Ivering king could muster. However, his ability to maintain that level of mobilisation was superior. We fought back and forth for several years, during which I won three major battles but was unable to force Vaniver's army to quit the field; and even with several gifts from various player helpers my reserve of money and men attrited. I was at one point up to 70 warscore, but couldn't quite close the deal to make it 100; then Vaniver finally put all his knights on one flank and managed to actually win a battle, and I sued for a WP while I still had enough warscore that the AI would agree.



    Some victorious but unfortunately not decisive battles of the reconquest.


  • The Power of Balance: To his credit, Dragoon did apply the World-Police concept even-handedly; he invaded Sweden, beat the AI like a drum - in this case Vaniver didn't bother to contest the outcome - and then invited me to retake it from him, which I did. Thanks Dragoon.
  • Patches and Rags: While I was busy with all this, Scotland (subbed by Khan) snuck in an attack on my wholly-owned subsidiary, Nordriki, and had 80% warscore before I noticed. I joined the war, but not fast enough to prevent them getting to 100 - they were only two sieges away - and peacing out for Lappland. Now Lappland is actually an insult; the indigenous people who call themselves Sami were called 'Lapps', 'patches', from the alleged state of their clothing. And indeed those ten provinces are possibly the most worthless in the game. Nevertheless they make an unsightly hole in my tidy Scandinavian Empire and I fully intend that they shall be returned, and Scotland burned to the ground to pay the interest on the loan.



    Player map, 1054. Not shown: Scotland and Spain, Castille, Iberia, whatever-the-devil that peninsula is called; both subbed by people who had to leave early.


    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!
  • King of Men
    Posted: Saturday, January 20, 2018 7:19:13 AM
     Legatus legionis

    One Year Membership MedalTwo Year Membership Medal

    Joined: 11/23/2007
    Posts: 8,216
    Location: Nowhere
    Events of the eleventh session:

  • Paying the Dane-Geld: Although Dragoon prevented me from conquering Poland last session, the need for his intervention apparently scared Yami; it is true that the Bohemian and Polish kingdoms together would have some difficulty fighting me, if those were all the players in the war. We therefore reached an accommodation: Bohemia is my tributary, which saves me the trouble and expense of actually sending tax collectors across the Baltic, and in exchange the various Borghest kings sit their thrones securely. (At least from the Ynglings.) There was another timeline once, where Poland was a fief of the Ynglings; it didn't work out so well, in the end, but it was none of the Poles' fault. There weren't many of them left, when the Chinese nuked Nuremberg. "Poland is suffering from a fantastic amount of overstretch; it has been bled totally dry. It has no manpower left, no supplies, no oil, and is trying to support an army of 400 divisions of which 60 (!) are armoured. Its dissent is 30%. These days I think very carefully before ordering Polish troops to attack, because the casualties cannot quickly be made good"; these are the occupational hazards of spending a decade in a global total war as the expendable front-line vassals of the Ynglinga Rike. Perhaps this time will be better.
  • Great Holy War: I finally managed to unleash the Great Holy War for Saxony that I've been planning for several ingame decades. Saxony is rightful Yngling clay, and currently held by an Ivering; additionally it contains the Norse holy site at Braunschweig, meaning that a successful war would give me two achievement points rather than one. Vaniver chose not to dispute this one; even so, the AI put together quite an impressive army, equal to what I invaded with at 14k. However, that took time and allies, and by the time it was ready to fight I had assaulted enough castles to give me the victory.



    Alfgeir leads his men in a very satisfying victory against the Christian defenders of Saxony.


  • The Swedish Inquisition: Speaking of Iverings, there are still some quite powerful dukes and counts of that ilk left over from the Crusade. Being followers of the White Christ, they are quite vulnerable in the majority-Norse Ynglinga Rike; in effect the only ones annoyed when I revoke a title from an Ivering are the other Iverings. I did however have to spend some time managing my council, as every time someone became malcontent he would block my revocations just to be difficult, and apparently buy enough favours to take half the council with him. I ended up making Nordriki independent again just to get rid of king Bersi - I was also well over the realm-size limit, and in fact still am, so it was somewhat convenient as well as satisfying to be able to fire him not just from the council but the realm. The Inquisition is not yet ended, but the power of the Iverings has been vastly reduced with just one civil war to enforce my edict, and the spread of the religion of slaves has been contained and partly rolled back.
  • Ut! Ut! I now found time to turn to the Scots infesting the northern part of Scandinavia, and begin the process of chucking them out with a holy war for Norrland.
  • Vox Popoli, Vox Diaboli: I handed out the Saxon provinces to various Ynglings, carefully following the Duchy boundaries to make nice holdings that could in principle become viable Holy-Roman-Empire minors (or even an elector in the case of Braunschweig); unfortunately I forgot to make the castles into province capitals first, and so they were all handed out as "Grand City of Foo". Thus they became Republics, and inland ones at that; and my grand design of Yngling Saxony was gone, thanks to this damn "democracy", within a generation. Apparently if you give the peasants a vote, they don't feel obliged to use it as you intended, and will elect completely random nobodies!






    Player and political maps, 1082. Note the Ynglinga Rike stretching well down into Germany - sadly, most of this will have to be made independent again so as to comply with the realm size limit. Also note Khan in Gaul and Egypt. Hadogei missing again from Anatolia; sadly, we may be about to lose him, his presence has been very sporadic recently.


    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!
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