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Wednesday, March 04, 2015
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1444-1448
And so a new campaign begins. I have full intention of using mid-game modding if I run into any major balance problems I wasn't aware before. The goal of campaign is to conquer South-East Asia, I'm not sure how far into Indonesia, India, and China my idea of "South-East Asia" will extend.
The entire region lives in shadow of Ming, who fortunately can't rival any of us, but unfortunately hate us all since we're Buddhists and they're Confucians. I don't start as the weakest country in the region, but many others like Bengal, Shan, and Ayutthaya are quite a bit stronger.
So day one I took the mission to conquer one of Lan Xang's provinces, rivaled Lan Xang and Champa (my only choices in the whole world), declared war on Lan Xang, and sent some diplomats to improve relations with Ayutthaya.
Pegu allied with Lan Xang and joined the war but didn't really do anything else about it. Meanwhile while sieges were going on slowly I managed to get royal marriages and alliances with Lan Na and Ayutthaya. Lan Na looks better as a target than an ally, but I'm in a fairly weak position, so I can't be too choosy.
I took one province from Lan Xang (one I had mission for) and vassalized the rest of them, then attacked my second rival Champa right away. This time I annexed them and released - that actually generates slightly less AE than vassalization in this patch somehow, and same religion vassal is far easier to mannage than a Hindu vassal. I also had mission to take one of their provinces, and holding it for one day is good enough apparently. Maybe they'll be kind enough to convert their 3 provinces to Buddhist while I wait? That would be good.
While I was doing all that I setup another alliance and marriage with Tibet.
So now that's first phase of expansion is done, I ran instantly into second problem - my only available rivals are Ayutthaya (my most important ally, and the only nearby country not bothered much by my expansion so far since we were allied all that time) and Ming (ridiculously huge, even if I integrated all my vassals). WTF? Literally any other country in the region would make a ton more sense as a rival than these two - Shan, Pegu, Malacca, Aceh, Brunei, even Bengal are about the right sized and not very fond of me.
So my reward for defeating all my rivals is one or more of:
• losing my only important ally (and for all I know the game will decide to just break this alliance right away)
• getting into conflict (even if not war right away) with world's greatest superpower
• losing all power projection (by the way if you end war by annexing or vassalizing your rival, you get 0 power projection out of it as well - so I have far less than I'm suppoed to have if the game had some QA phase)
Basically the new rival system is as much a disaster as people said, even if you're nowhere near Ming-sized.
I'll try to give it my best - right now I need to take some time to replenish manpower and reduce war exhaustion a bit. Hopefully the rival system won't just explode in my face. The best thing which could happen is Ming randomly losing mandate of heaven and collapsing - one of its three successor states would be much more sensible as a rival, and it would reduce existential risk all countries in the region are under considerably, at least until Europeans decide to show up and we're back to square one.
I can't currently fabricate anything (except on Khmer who are a vassal of Ayutthaya and not directly DoWable), and Ming (not the greatest idea ever). My trade is all in Canton trade node, so I can't fabricate any trade conflicts either, except against Ming (and we all know how that's going to end), but maybe there's some way to do it by building a few more light ships and moving them around.
If all other expansion options fail, I could always go against Ayutthaya, which feels like a horrible idea, even if it didn't require -1 stab to DoW against royal marriage.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1448-1468
Given the choice of rivaling Ayutthaya and Ming, I went against Ming and embargoed them, since I really dislike breaking useful alliances.
I decided to wait a bit, ran into my first nationalist rebellion in my one conquered province. It wasn't hard to defeat the rebels, but all this got me into another bug in the new patch where you'll be paying for nonexistent army reinforcements if your army is under full strength and your upkeep is below 100%. This patch is seriously awful.
While I was waiting, Ming got peasant war. I hoped they'd lose all their armies to peasants, and then I could move it, get some provinces, release Zhou as vassals, and have vassal cores over 1/3 of China. Unfortunately while they lost most of their armies and manpower, they were allied with Ayutthaya and Lan Na, so I'd be going into the war alone, and that's way too risky.
All that waiting lasted until 1458 when Zhou finally broke out of Ming. Unfortunately they were huge (I hoped they'd be breaking out one province at a time, but that's not how it works), and 21k rebel army became their new national army - nearly twice as big as mine. And to make matters worse I didn't have a free diplomat the day they broke free, so they managed to get into some alliances before I could DoW them. Oh well, time for some action!
Two allies they got were also my (former) allies - Tibet and Lan Na, so it was me and Ayutthaya vs Zhou, Tibet, and Lan Na. The war was really bloody - mostly Ayutthaya and Zhou blooding each other, and supply limit blooding everyone, as I tried to stay out of it as much as possible. I just blockaded isle of Hainan with my transport ships, and siege that out, and send my troops to siege Lan Na as priority targets.
It ended up with me taking just 2 Zhou provinces - one of them island of Hainan with no direct connection to my territory, and annexing/releasing Lan Na - this temporary ownership let me fabricate some claims on Pegu and Shan, which will be of much use later.
Oh and by the way, back to bullshit bugs - midwar the game decided that Zhou, Pegu, and Shan would actually be fine rivals for me - but since I can't change rivals midwar now, it decided to punish me with -1/month power projection due to not having enough rivals. Seriously... The game then changed its mind again, and decided that actually Pegu is not a good rival for me... Oh well - Ming, Zhou, and Shan it is then, for now.
Pegu and Shan even setup a small coalition against me. Coalitions seems to be working fine right now, there's one against me, another against Orissa, and that's it. They do something, but they're not excessive like in older patches. At least that's progress.
I decided to wait a bit so coring could finish, but my truces with Zhou and Tibet remained, then I attacked Pegu for my claim. Tibet decided to join that war anyway, WTF? At least Zhou didn't bother, but it seems they got called into war anyway, as their alliance with Pegu disappeared.
That was a much easier war than one against Zhou. Pegu got vassalized, one of Shan's province got taken and released as Taungu. Like before, Ayutthaya did most of the fighting, but this time they decided that enough is enough and white peaced to recover their manpower and WE. I can't say I blame them for it.
As for future plans, I can't really go North (Ming or Zhou) or South (Ayutthaya) since everybody is allied with everybody else. I could go against Shan, but we have a truce right now. The easiest targets would probably be in India - Muslims lost most of their holdings, to Hindu rebels overthrowing their formerly Muslim governments (presumably, country tags stayed mostly the same, but they're mostly no longer Muslim), Vijayanagar, Orissa, and various minor powers. I guess if I waited long enough Vijayanagar and Orissa would probably conquer most of it, which is another reason to move there soon.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1468-1479
I opportunistically attacked Arakan in spite of zero manpower to have my vassals conquer their capital province.
That got me back into waiting mode, since to my North were my 3 rivals - Ming, Zhou, and Shan - all allied with Ayutthaya to my South (whom I wanted to keep as an ally), and Orissa, who blobbed quite a bit and had ton of allies in India.
On the upside there was a sizeable coalition against Orissa already, so I decided to join it, wait for Orissa's truces to expire, and then I went after one of Orissa's provinces, which I released as Bengal after moderately bloody war. Bengal has cores on 4 other provinces too, so hopefully I'll be able to do something about that.
The next logical target was Koch - in a nice alliance with tiny Assam, Kachar, and Nepal. Could I just vassalize the entire region in one neat war?
As usual, I was desperately low on manpower, and to make matters worse 6k rebels spawned in Arakan (a province I couldn't walk around in any way). So I waited for rebels to win, negotiated local autonomy with them, hired 5k merc infantry, and went for it.
I got everything I wanted - 9 vassal provinces total, leaving Koch with just one. And just like before, my manpower is depleted, alliance networks are very dense, so I don't have any amazing expansion routes, but I'll figure something out.
My new rivals are now Ming and Zhou - Shan is too small, and the only remaining options are Ayutthaya (my allies) and Vijayanagar (too big, don't want to piss them off early). The game really should offer Orissa as possible rival - they're about similar strength and we really want each other territory, but the rival system is what it is.
Currently there's a coalition of Shan and Orissa against me - Orissa holds Bengal's remaining core, unfortunately I don't have any CBs against them, so that core might get wasted. Shan is not directly attackable right now as they are allied with just about everyone.
One really disappointing thing is that I cant' seem to be able to justify any trade conflicts against anyone. The restrictions are too strict, at least in my circumstances. So far I got zero value out of new DLC features.
I'd say if I got my manpower to recover and my vassals integrated, I'd probably be third strongest power in the region behind Ming and Vijayanagar. I think I'd be slightly stronger than Orissa, Ayutthaya, Zhou, and Aceh (except for my permanent zero manpower problem), and definitely stronger than Brunei and Shan. Things are going well.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1479-1492
I didn't have much time for EU4 lately, but South-East Asia remains unconquered so it's time to give it another go.
PU between Ayutthaya and Sukhothai broke, so I offered the vulnerable OPM vassalization, which they accepted with some bribery.
Then the long wait started, waiting for vassals to be annexed, for military tech to reach level 4 (which would allow armories, and more manpower), and maybe some opening in the tight web of alliances.
Finally an opening happened - a Ming/Shan/Korea vs Zhou/Ayutthaya/Tibet/Oirat war. I declared war on Ming for their only province I bordered, and of course completely ignored the war target for the first few years while Ming and their enemies were busy bleeding each other out while I was force vassalizing Shan. Eventually I took the detour for Guangxi, and Ming wasn't really in much mood for fighting after that so they just gave it to me to go away, which at least had a nice side effect of getting rid of my border with Ming. Unfortunately my new vassal Shan stayed in their other war for many more years, and lost one province to Tibet - annoying, but not really a huge deal.
All that finally got my power projection over 50, with +1/month to all monarch points! My allowed rivals changed every couple of years, at that point Ming, Orissa, and Vijayanagar.
Which was all really convenient, since India was the only direction I could expand. First Koch - now reduced to a OPM without any allies, and quickly conquered. Next Orissa - serious blob with a ton of allies (total army slightly larger than mine, both my allies busy fighting Shan so wouldn't join), fortunately spread out somewhat some I wouldn't have to face them all at the same time.
I won the war, vassalized Kangra and Delhi, took 3 provinces from Orissa, who then became too small to be my rival, but at least I got my power projection up to +100.
I'm now the largest power in South-East Asia, and that brings me on inevitable colision course with my two remaining rivals Vijayanagar and Ming - both of whom have higher military tech and larger army than me.
Fortunately there's still a lot of minor countries in India, so I'll probably be able to find some opening there.
Some random points:
• my manpower situation is no longer desperate thanks to spamming armories (it's still quite bad)
• there's no trade game - whoever controls Malacca controls South-East Asian trade, and I'm nowhere near it, so I just collect in Canton and Bengal nodes with fleet divided in about half between them.
• I have only about 50% religious unity - fortunately I got an inquisitor so I started converting. I considered religious ideas, but +3% missionary strength is pretty far down, and I need admin points to unlock second idea group at some point.
• I'm already over my relationship limit, even though I increased it to 8 in the mod - apparently no number is high enough, so I'm going for diplo ideas which will give me +2 relations eventually
• I also thought about military ideas, but armory spam will take a lot of points
• It's really annoying how Hindus are now separate religious group, and my cousins can't marry my Hindu vassals. I agree with this change on gameplay grounds, but it still annoys me a lot.
• Other than Sukhothai none of my vassals are terribly fond of me, so it will be difficult to convince them to get annexed.
• Tibet is in diplovassalizable size (looks huge on a map, but it's just a few very low base tax provinces), and loves me - unfortunately they flipped from monarchy to theocracy at some point, so I can no longer royal marry them
• Do Muslims in India ever win? I think I've seen Vijayanagar, Orissa, or another Hindu power push the Muslims out of most of India in pretty much every game, even though Muslims had way better bonuses than Hindus pre-1.6.
• Ming lost a bit over half of Zhou cores, but that's about it - it's holding on to everything else quite well. I expected them to collapse by now after Zhou rebellion succeeded.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1492-1506
As usual this session started with a consolidation while I waited for 3rd diplomatic idea so my relationship limit would increase to 10, and for some of my vassals to get annexed.
Finally it I got to some fighting time. First, I vassalized Malwa, easy.
Next, the only two coalition members against me - Vijayanagar and Orissa - got into a silly fight over some OPM, then Jaunpur decided to attack Orissa, so I decided I might just as well join the fun. Oh and attack Jaunpur while I was at it and their buddies Multan.
Orissa and Jaunpur happily joined the highly exclusive club of my vassals, and Multan returned all Delhi's cores, which made Delhi as well as Kangra so happy they basically asked to get annexed.
Next in line was OPM Kashmir, which I quick conquered, reaching the border of the known world (showing how silly map mechanics are in EU4).
Ming is now falling apart in another series of peasant wars, I'm bordering two huge hordes (Timurids, Oirats) which might decide to attack unprovoked at any time, and Vijayanagar is consolidating South-West half of India just as fast as I'm conquering the North-East half.
I wish there was some way to do partial Westernization - OPM Khorasan I'm bordering has Muslim tech. Unfortunately neighbour tech bonus got nerfed so hard it doesn't give me any incentive to keep them alive - in 1.5 I probably would.
Next steps will be some of:
• Clean up remaining OPMs in India.
• Maybe ally some hordes.
• Attack Vijayanagar to get them to return cores to my vassals and get back some power projection which is falling too fast. (unfortunately they are too strong)
• Try to diplomatically maneuver dense Chinese alliance network
I really need religious idea group, since inquisitor alone doesn't do enough, but that might take until 1550s or even later before I unlock admin tech 7 and 4th religious idea.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1506-1523
First, I mid-game modded the game to restore neighbour bonus values from the previous patch (I'm sure I'll remove other Westernization penalties eventually, I just want to see them in context first).
Now it was time to work around alliance networks. I married and allied the Oirat horde... instantly running into another bug since "Oirat has no knowledge of Dai Viet" (even though they took the marriage and the alliance just fine), so they have "unknown" attitude towards me and won't join my wars.
Oh well, time to try something else:
• I attacked Multan (dragging Kazakh and Chagatai hordes into it)
• I called Tibet into arms, they refused
• I attacked Tibet, Oirats and Ayutthaya agreed to join that one, while Zhou and Manchu joined Tibet, breaking Ayutthaya-Zhou alliance.
Awesome, except now I have a lot of wars I don't particularly care for. Manchu horde is enormous, but hopefully too far to intervene, everybody else is sensibly sized.
Chagatai sent their stack to Multan, but they got dealt with easily, and Multan accepted awesome idea of being my vassal. I don't really need them, but at least it stops Vijayanagar or Timurids from conquering them.
Manchu sent their doom stack all the way through Kashmir to Bengal Delta - which ended up much less doomy than when it left its homeland, then they saw my stack sitting in next province and decided to nope and went back home the same route they came.
Neither Tibet nor Zhou put much fight, and Tibet soon accepted my overlordship.
So I waited a while to recover and recruit bigger army. A while back I took a mission to build an army up to 75% of my force limit, which retrospectively was a huge mistake - I had enough manpower to recruit such army, but not enough money to keep it at full upkeep.
I so wanted to attack Vijayanagar, and I had to do it eventually, since my power projection was down to just +61 and having it fall below +50 is miserable, unfortunately they had military tech level 7 and I was at only 5, and their army was slightly bigger than mine.
Finally my crappy 2/1/2 king died and 5/6/1 successor took the throne. It also increased my legitimacy from 30 to 100, and got my income into very solidly positive territory. Unfortunately my inquisitor died soon after, and theologian, even with monastic education, is not enough to convert much. I can't wait to get religious ideas.
Oh well, if I can't attack Vijayanagar, I can at least attack Zhou now that they're not allied with anybody except Oirats. And now that Oirats are at war with me, they finally discovered me! Nothing helps build positive relations better than a quick fight, right? (we're still Buddhist and royal married, so they'll most likely accept re-alliance).
Oirats decided to park their stack in Tibet, so I occupied all of Zhou quite easily, took half of their lands and setup Buddhish Xi dynasty there. Contrary to my predictions Oirats are actually a bit hurt over that war, and wouldn't reestablish alliance right away. Oh well.
Vijayanagar still looked too scary, and I had mission to improve prestige (it was extremely low as I was accepting every rebel demand for local autonomy to save manpower; and due to a series of shitty events), so I attacked Mewat and Khorasan. I got them to concede defeat, but that wasn't enough to win the mission as I was hit by another -33 prestige event. Oh well.
Maybe I couldn't fight Vijayanagar, but I really needed that power projection, and Ming had no army due to permanent rebellions. Good enough. There's only this tiny awkward problem that we're both allied with Ayutthaya.
I forced Ayutthaya to release Khmer to diplovassalize them - turns out 4 provinces is way too big for that somehow (seriously, guessing what is and what isn't vassalizable is way too painful in this game...), so load game, conquer 2 of these provinces, release instead (together with 1 Khmer core I already had and didn't even notice...). Oh and I also took target province from Ming directly for Xi.
And now Ming is no longer a valid rival (fuck's sake... ), but at least Timurids are.
Oh and I lost half my fleet in this war, but I still sunk every single ship Ming and Ayutthaya had together. Naval warfare is way bloodier than it used to be in old patches.
So truce timer with Zhou ran out, and they got a quick alliance with Ayutthaya. I attacked Zhou, and now that truce timers don't work defensively, Ayutthaya joined their war, just months after our last one.
I vassalized what's left of Zhou, returned two remaining cores to Khmer (Ayutthaya will still be just a bit too big to force vassalize after that).
Pretty much all my vassals hate me due to constant annexations - "annexed vassal" penalty goes up to -200 for oldest vassals, and I'd probably be better off releasing and reconquering them if I really needed that relation slot. Sadly 5 year truce timer covers that, unlike in (early versions of) EU3. Oh well, I might still release Assam and Kachar (8 base tax total between the two) instead of wasting those slots forever.
Xi and Zhou both have 6 cores in Ming, unfortunately I no longer border Ming. So - justify trade conflict time! Unfortunately with Ming fleet being sunk in the last war they don't have enough trade power for that, so I put my trade fleet to port for 1 monthly tick, which was enough to send diplomat to setup that trade war justification, then trade fleet can go back to trading.
I still want to crush Vijayanagar, but they are not military tech 8 while I just got to 6, so it's a fairly poor idea.
I'd say once I conquer or vassalize all of India, China, South-East Asia, and Indonesia, the campaign will be over. I guess that should happen by 1600 or so.
Timurids blobbed a bit too.
All allies gone, at least I have vassals to keep my company.
Very little religious conversion.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1523-1531
I released my two oldest vassals Assam and Kachar - 4 provinces with 8 base tax total, and not worth bothering with except by direct conquest.
As predicted, even if with a bit of delay, Oirats sent for another royal cousin, and then accepted alliance. Thanks to our war they have friendly relations instead of unknown - apparently royal marriage, alliance, war on same side, and shared borders all put together were not enough but a quick war on opposite sides was.
My Muslim tech OPM neighbour I left alone for some tech bonus got vassalized by Timurids, and will likely soon get annexed. Not cool. I conquered one of few remaining OPMs Mewat instead.
Meanwhile Ming returned to being rivalable. This would be more tolerable if I didn't automatically lose my "longtime rival" bonus to power projection.
I wanted to declare war on Ming as soon as our truce was over, but trade conflict CB would expire even faster than that. WTF game? It takes as long to justify a trade conflict as it does to fabricate a claim, then you have one year to use it? Such an annoying design.
Anyway, second trade conflict justification worked, so I got into another war against Ming and Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya had to release Pattani and get cut down into force vassalizable size. Ming couldn't really even defend themselves between permanent peasant war, Manchu invasion, and me, Xi, Zhou, and Oirats attacking from all sides.
It cost me some diplo points, since returning cores is not officially part of trade conflict's war goals, but I ended up cutting Ming a bit, Zhou getting 4 provinces, and Xi getting 1.
And of course Ming is no longer rivalable, again, only to become rivalable after I annexed Tibet a year or so later.
For a small detour I declared war on Assam and Kachar, for one province from each.
And now I got to military tech 7, which means some artillery in my army, and that I'm only one tech behind Vijayanagar for the time being. And I also got admin tech 7, and first religious idea - permanent CB against heathens and heretics, which is basically everyone except Oirats and Ayutthaya.
My religious unity is at dismal 55%, but I finally got level 2 inquisitor to do something about it. That something will be mostly waiting 10+ years for admin points to unlock 4th religious idea which finally gives some conversion bonus, even assuming I don't lose any more points in the meantime.
Between level 2 inquisitor (I had all level 1 advisors for all game, except level 2 military advisor briefly), newly recruited artillery units, and lower income due to higher revolt risk (now that my legitimacy is only 66 after some annexations, and my -3 revolt risk advisor died), I'm seriously in red again with full maintenance.
It looks like really good time to attack Vijayanagar, especially since now I can take provinces as deep as I want, and don't need any claims thanks to it being a holy war.
Oh and Orissa went Sikh somehow, with only 1 Sikh province. That's new in this patch.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1531-1541
And the great holy war with Vijayanagar started right away. The glorious holy warriors decided to fight for half the wages, and take the tactics of splitting into 4 groups which look threatening enough that Vijayanagar stays in a doom stack while attrition does its job. By the way Dai Viet ideas give +1% attrition to all enemy stacks.
An event letting me to build a palace for +20 legitimacy popped up, so I took a loan and build it. Now I'm in black even with fully funded troops.
My vassals weren't anywhere near as cautious as me, so I lost a bunch of early battles, but my holy warriors kept formation, and by the time I let them attack me - over river crossing obviously - they were down from 44k troops and 20k reserves to just 30k troops. 70k vs 30k ended about as well as can be expected, even with their tech advantage.
Meanwhile Manchu became Qing, which got them up a tech group, but also led to instant peasant war somehow.
The war with Vijayanagar was going pretty well, of course I got second "nobles demand compensation" event in a decade - having a choice of either minus yearly income and -1 stab, or -2 stab. Fuck you, game!
I ended up with 6 provinces, where I spawned Gujarat and Berar, and 17k manpower deficit. Time to consolidate regiments, and finish off Kachar and Assam.
Now I had two nice targets in mind - Ayutthaya unfortunately reconquered Pattani., they they were over the damn vassalization limit again. Ming fortunately was torn by rebellions and completely defenceless (with 43k manpower reserve but 0k troops).
It was a fairly uneventful war which ended in Zhou getting their last 3 cores, and Xi getting 1 more (4 to go).
After the war Ming is no longer valid rival, but Vijayanagar is back on the list... Oh and now Ming is back on the list... Game, make up your mind!
Another army consolidation, and I'm down to 43k troops + 8k reserve (most from good event). Fortunately Vijayanagar is down to 17k + 14k reserve, so perhaps it's a time for another war in India.
Campaign victory conditions progress:
• India - Vijayanagar needs to be crushed at least two more times just to be sure, as they are military tech level 9 and still pretty powerful. Timurids have a bunch of provinces in Indian region, and I'd probably get crushed if I tried to attack them right now, especially since I have zero visibility in Timurid territory.
• China - Ming has no chance of getting back up. Qing has a few border provinces and the largest army in the world currently, which might be a bit pain to take.
• South-East Asia - remaining countries are defenceless
• Indonesia - not even started
I should probably make victory condition into an event. The main complexity is that Indonesia contains a few uncolonized provinces.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1541-1548
My awesome ruler recently died, to be replaced by 3/2/2 mediocrity, whose heir is a 2/2/1. I so wish I could plot against my children like in CK2 (before they locked that out too).
I reconsidered my options, and instead of Vijayanagar I went for Ayutthaya first, just getting two provinces to gain border with Aceh, and then went after Aceh right away - releasing Malacca and leaving the rest as is.
I finally annexed Zhou, and redistributed my merchants. Instead of half the fleet in Canton and Bengal, I moved my trade capital to Bengal node, merchant and the half the fleet are transferring from Malacca to Bengal, and the other merchant and other half the fleet is collecting in Canton.
Then it turned out dumber setup of collect in Canton, trade fleet and collect in Malacca, collect from trade capital in Bengal makes me a ton more money. I wish the feedback from reassigning merchants and ships was immediate (even if you didn't actually get that money until next month), it's so difficult to plan this otherwise.
That made Cantonese accepted culture, and between that and 4th religious idea it was time for some serious converting of Chinese people. Also for one more war against Ming, since truce timer just expired. And again, I fought peasants rebels more than regular Ming army - getting the last few cores for Xi so I could start annexing them and Berar.
And finally I vassalized Ayutthaya and sold them their two provinces back. The war wasn't too impressive but with that I finally got 100% control over 1 of 4 target regions.
As it's over 100 years since start of the game, larger part of the map got revealed... And wow, Timurids look even more threatening than on screenshots, and with almost no revolt risk. Muscovy expands into Siberia, but it's not too crazy speed like in vanilla.
I'm finally starting to see the results of campaign of religious conversions. Right now I'm mostly focusing on Cantonese provinces, once Xi annexation finishes and Han (presumably) becomes accepted, I'll do those too. No idea if I'll even be able to convert Muslim non-accepted culture provinces from Central India - Europeans back in 1.5 had a ton of decisions for extra missionary strength, I don't really have many.
So far I've been delaying a war to crush Vijayanagar, since other targets were much easier, but it's really time.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1548-1566
This war against Vijayanagar was much easier - they're apparently so deep in debt they couldn't afford army more than half their force limit. Crushed them, setup Bahmanis as new vassal.
I took a long break in fighting after that. My king died, to be replaced by a really shitty one, who soon after died too, without a heir, so a decent 6/3/2 noble from Oirat's dynasty and zero legitimacy replaced him. That's what I became - a technically Buddhist Vietnamese empire, ran mostly by (half of them Confucian) Chinese people, ruled by an Oirat king, and controlling mostly Hindu (and somewhat Muslim) India.
Speaking of Oirats, they got beaten hard by other hordes and were now seriously considering joining my empire. (then they got some Ming provinces and changed their mind)
Next step according to the plan was conquest of Aceh, but Brunei got there first. This was somewhat unfortunate, as I could walk the strait to Aceh itself, but to get Brunei as well I'd need transports, and I disbanded them all for budget reasons. Fortunately whole Brunei army was on Aceh, so I could recruit just 5 transports (and capture 6th in a battle) and land troops on Brunei unopposed. Aceh joins the vassal club (awkwardly they also had cores on 4 Malacca provinces, so they got these as well).
This led to an awkward situation:
• A fun coalition against me was set up - Vijayanagar, Brunei, and Makasar (no idea how I'll ever get a CB for Majapahit ever), making further expansion in India or Indonesia awkward.
• Ming was fully occupied by Oirats, Mongols, Japan, and peasant mobs, so there wasn't anything for me to even attack.
• Timurids were way too big to even consider
• Thanks to my near zero legitimacy the realm was pretty awkward internally (it's amazing how 100% power projection gives +1 legitimacy/year, this bonus is massive, but still it's just so far to go)
Eventually I got bored with waiting, and just holy warred the coalition and took a few more provinces.
Ming was still pretty hopeless. Mongol horde took a bunch of provinces. I hoped they could be convinced to get diplovassalized, but they think they're too big now, and they desire half of Northern China, without claims or anything of course.
I've noticed that Majapahit has just enough trade power that if I stop most but not all of my fleet I can just barely get them >20% while keeping myself >10% (that took like five save loads to figure out how many ships I need to keep operating, seriously game, give instant fucking feedback on trade, I don't want to alt tab to a spreadsheet for stuff like that). They joined the vassal club as well.
Qing then conquered Mongols completely. They're still a horde, and they have even bigger army than Timurids. That will be fun. I thought decision to form Qing switches them to a monarchy, but apparently it just changes their tech group - did I restore 1.5 behaviour incorrectly? Oh well.
Oirats and Japan took a lot of Ming provinces, and Oirats even got one they didn't want (via province defection event due to high war exhaustion) and sold it to me. I set up vassal OPM Shun there.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1566-1578
I realized I'm basically controlling the whole civilized world of South-East Asia, surrounded by hordes from all sides - Timurids, Chagatai, Oirats, Qing, and then assorted minors after that. Getting from my lands to nearest non-horde countries like Muscovy, Armenia, or Oman would be an amazing journey.
I decided to finish conquest of Indonesia first, so I attacked Vijayanagar-Brunei coalition as soon as truce timer was out, and Makasar in a separate war (since they left the coalition). Vijayanagar somehow became war leader of that, but lost every single battle. Brunei actually put up decent fight since I was hauling my troops a few at a time with my tiny transport fleet, but it ended like it had to, and now I have full control over Indonesia! (unless Europeans start colonizing, but as far as I can tell they haven't even circumnavigated Africa so far).
I've noticed Timurids lost half their troops, so I looked more closely - and they were getting their ass handed to them in a way against 3 province minor Genoa, with no allies. WTF? That really had to investigated, and it turns out Austria was in this war before, but bailed out. OK, now that makes sense, I was seriously worried for a moment game balance was totally broken.
Timurids will needed to wait, first I need to get Shun some territory before Qing takes over all of North China. Beating Ming again was really simple. Japan took two Chinese provinces, and I wanted to kick them out of China. Unfortunately just taking those two, sinking Japanese navy and blockading Japan was not quite enough. I was worried maybe I'll have to wait for whichever military tech level is necessary to drop some bombs, but more traditional invasion of Kyushu and Shikoku while their armies were stuck on Honshu and in Korea was enough.
By the way I had pretty big plans for diplovassalizing Oirats or Mongols or both, and going from there, and it was all quite promising but failed miserably in the end.
Anyway, Vijayanagar. The fighting is pretty straightforward these days, the interesting part is mostly vassal setup. I ran out of large releasable countries, so what I'm going to do is vassal feeding. Except now that Hindu and Buddhists are in different religious groups my vassals won't take anything unless I convert it first, and even then only if it's in the right culture group. Fortunately I have all of East Indian provinces, and all but one North Indian, so two vassals and a ton of missionaries will do. Even more fortunately Vijayanagar took religious ideas and got rid of all Muslim and Sikh provinces, so all their territory is relatively easy to convert Hindu land. Unfortunately I recently annexed Aceh, and I'd really like to send my missionaries there to convince the locals to stop supporting terrorists. Some prioritization will be necessary.
Oh and while I was fighting Vijayanagar, I accidentally attacked Qing. I joined coalition against Qing to discourage them from expanding, but Japan took advantage of that and started a punitive war with some really shitty timing. And Japanese army was still divided between Korea and Honshu, with all their transport still being on the bottom of the ocean. Yeah, totally awesome timing Japan.
So, first Qing War - they start with 80k troops, 30k reserve, and 30 ships (way over their force limit of 64, not sure why). In theory our side has 190k troops, 114 ships (and it would be nice if war summary also showed manpower totals, but it doesn't, I have 40k and Japan has 30k so it's probably over 100k total). Unfortunately my troops are kinda busy in India and Aceh.
I didn't want to commit any troops just yet, but the least I could do was sinking Qing fleet in one battle, then resuming trade protection.
I finished war in India quickly, with 100% OE I can't offload until I finish Qing. I was so tempted to go all in, since Qing was losing so hard - unfortunately while Qing was down to 17k troops, 2k manpower, and 4 ships hidden in port, rebels were spawning stack after stack - at their peek they had 95k in my territory, and total during that war was probably about 150k.
Even after I spawned the vassals, between 82% religious unity and 30 legitimacy, my realm is not in a great state. All my expansion routes are blocked by my missionaries:
• I can't annex Indonesian vassals as I can't convert all those Sunnis fast enough, and rebel spawn rate is insane
• I can't feed Indian vassals as they won't take unconverted provinces
• I can't make new vassals as I'm at the limit already
• I can't just annex random wrong-religion wrong-culture provinces by force as I already have far too many rebel problems
• I shouldn't really go over relationship limit, being in Chinese tech group and already so far behind in everything, definitely not more than 1-2, and in any case I don't really have any good vassal options
So if my king dies and my legitimacy resets to 100 (unfortunately heir is really awful), or I get another inquisitor, things can go really well really quickly. Otherwise, expanding Shun is about the only viable option.
I could annex Orissa, Nepal, and Majapahit as they're Hindu so they won't be too hard to integrate - unfortunately Orissa and Nepal really hate how I can't annexed all those vassals and are unwilling to get relationships into sane territory.
The last remaining options would be either to vassalize Ceylon (which recently rebelled from under Vijayanagar), and feed it Hindu provinces, or sell some already cored provinces to Nepal or Orissa until they accept a new culture, then sell them uncored Hindu provinces of that culture. That's pretty messy. (or the same technique with my Sunni vassal Jaunpur and 3 border provinces I want to take from Timurids, but they have some weird cultures so that probably wouldn't work even in theory).
Right now the game made a sensible rival selection of Timurids and Qing, but that power projection calculations is weird... I only get +5 for forcing Qing to return 5 provinces to my vassal... It will be gone to +0 before truce expires. It's all really miscalibrated.
At least Qing horde got pushed back
Southern Chinese people all converted, Indians still stick to their Hindu gods
Qing got itself into some serious trouble
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1578-1589
I decided to consolidate my control over Indonesia by annexing Majapahit and Makasar, then attacked Ceylon and Ming.
Brunei got Makasar (at least they're same culture group, so they might be able to deal with rebellions somehow), Orissa got Ceylon, and Shun got what was left of Ming except their capital. I also force converted Ming to Buddhist since I had some warscore left.
I started annexing Shun right after that - they're only at half their max size, but it will already take 7 years to annex all of that.
Oirats broke our alliance due to their lust for my lands, so I divorced them to free another vassal slot. Then I attacked Vijayanagar - the war was simple enough, but the peace settlement was pretty nasty - I setup two tiny vassals, and kept two provinces (base tax 1 and 2) temporarily for myself until missionaries could deal with them, and then I'd hand them over to my vassals.
Something was telling me it was a good time to deal with Timurids. Could it be that they had 125k troops to my 114k and it irritated me? Could it be that they were my only valid rival and my power projection was down to +80? Could it be that they were the last real challenge while all other wars feel like just mopping up rebels? Whichever reason it was, the first Dai Viet Crusade against Timurids has begun!
I started with my traditional strategy of sinking their fleet and locating my armies sensible distance away from the frontline. For some extra fun Timurids faced Kashmiri rebels right away, but it was mostly attrition which killed them.
As some point they got Kashmir which was already half sieged by rebels, but they didn't really bother my missionaries working right under their noses much.
I let them bleed a lot before engaging. Unfortunately my vassals never got the memo on how to wage a proper holy war, so my warscore went down to -41%. When I went all in, I (at one point barely) won a series of brutal battles, and we were down to my 73k (not counting useless vassals) vs their 38k troops. (sadly 40k of my troops were in Aceh and whatever is the island Majapahit is on, on rebel patrol duty).
After this bloodbath I blockaded all their ports except Sidon in Mediterranean (I'm not sure if blockading right away is better - it mostly increases their war exhaustion at cost of my trade income).
I also unlocked offensive idea group and its first two ideas during the war, but a bit after main fighting (Timurids are behind me in military tech - even Chinese tech is better than Nomad given enough time).
Anyway, while my defence was going pretty well, the offence was going very poorly. Even mostly beaten Timurids were strong enough to crush my tiny vassal stacks who were trying to siege their lands. I lost the battle of Roh due to horrible maneuvering. Just after that I gathered damaged armies, won battle of Punjab, and pursued them deep into their territory to crush them for good.
Of course the game decided that even completely crushed with zero army, under nearly full blockade, with big war exhaustion, and generally losing everything, Timurids were still somehow at +31% against me because it does not scale battle warscore by battle size properly, and they won some early battles against my vassals. And Timurids offered me a peace deal where I'd pay them a shitton of gold and other concessions for peace. Seriously? I rejected it without even reading, and the game decided to -1 stability me for it. What the fucking fuck? OK, I don't normally do that, but that's basically a bug so console, +1 stability back and fuck you warscore engine.
I got it up to -21%, but it would take forever to actually get it to +10% where I could get at least concession of defeat, so I just white peaced that one. The war did not go great for me, but the hope is that it went a lot worse for them. And since they got into war against Uzbek horde before I peaced them out, they won't be able to reduce their war exhaustion for quite a bit longer.
I'm not sure if that counts as a success or not. If everybody and their dog now gangs up on Timurids, they might never recover. If it's just Uzbeks, they might end up getting vassalized, and then Timurids will recover while I'm busy elsewhere, and we're back to where we started. I expected a lot better outcome (I only need 3 provinces from them, I thought I might be able to get them all in one war), but perhaps I just wasn't ready for this war, with realm in state it is.
Anyway, annexation of Shun completed, but there were still parts of China not under my control, I quickly vassalized OPM Ming for their cores. Now that they're Buddhists, they're going to love me soon too.
The good news is that conversion of island on which Majapahit was located (I think that's Java...) is nearing completion, and converting Confucian Chinese people from former Shun will be easy, so one of two stacks currently on rebel duty can be released to front lines. And with my king being 54 years old, a succession (with only average claim, not strong) restoring some of legitimacy might happen soon.
There really isn't that much of China left to conquer, and neither Oirats nor Qing are likely to put up massive resistance. On the other hand dealing with Timurids is a lot harder than I thought, and unless I get an inquisitor converting all the Muslims in my lands is pretty slow process as well.
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1589-1599
All my vassals from India sent armies for the war with Ming, but the way was over before they even got there, so I decided to give them another chance to fight by declaring war on Oirats right away. A few border provinces taken for Ming, no big deal.
While I managed to get Java converted, I still had ton of rebellions in heathen parts of India, Aceh, and even a few among Northern Chinese heretics, and very low manpower, so I didn't feel too comfortable with war against either Timurids (truce timer still 1 year away) or Qing.
Throwing some money to support Mongol (and when they failed Shun) nationalist in Qing, and Persian nationalist among the Timurids (who were still fighting some silly wars so never recovered from their war exhaustion) on the other hand sounded like fun, even if in my experience little usually came out of that support.
Qing was fun - their capital Beijing was isolated (other than by boats), they had tribal succession crisis, and pretender rebels held Beijing. So basically their crisis was permanent until pretender happened to die of heart attack or something, with neither side being able to do anything ever.
Unfortunately Timurids then won all their wars and started reducing their war exhaustion and rebuilding their army, but quickly coming back. The 2nd Dai Vietian Crusade against Timurids has been called! I also considered a trade war or a conquest, but the upside of conquering large border territory and setting up significant vassals there was too tempting.
Their army so far was up to 51k with no reserve, and mine up to 92k also with no reserve - and only 53k of that committed to the frontlines as I wanted to keep a stack in Aceh and another in North China.
This time I instituted full blockade of the Persian Gulf day one. This time I didn't want to let them win countless small battles and get a ton of warscore, so I kept my stack close to fighting and we both threw all we had at battle of Makran which started as a minor skirmish between Orissa and one of their smaller stacks - my 59k prevailed against their 40k. I didn't pursue them, so they regrouped, and soon I had to repeat the performance in battle of Kandahar - my 50k winning against their 41k.
Persian rebels which I supported throughout the war didn't do enough, but soon tribal succession crisis triggered. I didn't feel like I have enough strength to push the fight to total victory, so with just 3 provinces (all Timurid provinces counting as India) taken and 258 gold I let them fight rebels instead.
Finally a minor success came out of my support for rebels - Shun spawned up in 2 Qing provinces, Buddhist and instantly allied to me (as I paid for their rebellion), but then instead of getting diplovassalized as I planned they decided to break our alliance day one because they desire my provinces. If so, it's time for a war day one.
Between two bloody wars against me, my extremely generous funding for Persian rebels (at one point I was paying more than 40 gold/month for rebel support between Qing and Timurids while my army was getting just 30 gold/month), tribal succession crisis, lack of legitimacy of their new government, and the usual religious and cultural differences of a large empires, finally Timurids are falling apart to endless rebellions. I've seen countries go back from this kind of crises, but I plan to keep pushing as soon as our truce is over.
Qing succession crisis continues, but it's nowhere near breaking them, it's just a permanent stalemate.
I'm missing 9 provinces in India and 3 in China for complete victory. In a sense the outcome of the game is guaranteed, but I so want to see my effort to make Timurids fall apart come to fruition.
Elsewhere in the world:
• Austria passed 4th imperial reform
• Japan fully unified
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1599-1607
Timurids got instantly DoWed by Muscovy, which was fairly weird as Muscovy didn't have any claims or any other obvious reasons for that. Then Oirats declared a holy war on them.
Weirdly, Qing pretender rebels from Beijing decided to cross the border into my territory as soon as religious zealots in Liaoxi spawned, defeated zealots for me and marched on into Qing territory.
In a quick war I got 3 provinces from Vijayanagar, cutting them to vassalizable size, then I holy warred Chagatai, and released them as a Buddhist state. Unfortunately in current patch they get released as Buddhist, despotic monarchy, Steppe Nomad tech group, which is a really shitty combination. I'd much rather have them be horde, but with my tech instead. Oh well.
Even with just 44% OE, rebels were spawning like crazy, and I was seriously wondering if I'd rather take 4 more years of that, or just break truce with Vijayanagar, but there's even less way I could deal with -3 stability.
The good news that Persia finally spawned, and as my ally, and soon after Khiva, Afghanistan, an another Baluchistani province. The bad news is that I was in no state for any serious war, but at least the Mamluks joined the war, and soon after that Uzbeks, so my grand plan of breaking down Timurids was totally working.
My king died, which improved my legitimacy somewhat, but not really enough to make the difference, due to his average (40) claim.
My inquisitor died, but I've noticed my OPM vassal Khorasan was really fast at turning their one province Buddhist, so I gave them a bunch of already cored North-West Indian provinces to administer as well, hopefully they'll convert those too.
The day my truce with Vijayanagar expired I attacked them, force vassalized, and sold them back 3 provinces I took the previous war.
Since I no longer have any borders with Timurids I don't have any CBs against them - I'd need to hack through various spawned Muslim minors to even get to Timurids, who are happily losing 3 wars without any help. Not that it would be that hard to setup vassal Afghanistan or Baluchistan there.
But it's no time for it, I conquered everything I wanted except for 3 Chinese provinces. Qing unfortunately recovered quite a lot, and now are powerful enough to be my serious rival, which only makes me want to crush them more.
Elsewhere in the world, Brandenburg became the emperor after Austria passed 4 reforms.
Join me soon in the next episode, which with some luck will be the final one.
The map doesn't show quite how badly Timurids are being beaten now
3 more provinces to win!
India still only half Buddhist and zero progress in Indonesia
EU4 Campaign: Dai Viet: 1607-1609
Qing had 41k troops, 16k reserve, and 22 ships. It was not quite as one-sided as "wars" with Vijayanagar, but after two bloodbaths with Timurids, it feels a bit underwhelming. Their big advantages was that they were at military tech 13 versus my 10, and half of my army being away. They even managed to win one battle thanks to their better troop quality, and even battles I lost had pretty bad casualty ratios, but numbers did what quality couldn't, and so the rest of China was conquered, and the campaign was won on 30 October 1609.
Timurids are so doing miserably even human player would have hard time recovering from all that. They have literally 0 soldiers, 11.41 war exhaustion (their vassal Khazakh maxed it out at 20 already), 8 loans totalling 1246 they'll never repay (with monthly income after interest of 8.92, it would take them 12 years with zero expenditure ever). Even tiny 3 province Baluchistan with no allies happily joined the war to beat them up a bit as soon as their truce timer expired, and it's very likely Persia, Afghanistan, Ottomans, and everybody else will take advantage of that as soon as opportunity shows itself.
If I were to continue this campaign, there are many possible directions:
• Conquering Buddhist and Confucian territories of Mongolia, Mancuria, Korea, and Japan. If I fully conquered that, Han plus Vietnamese/Khmer/Mon would all together be just 21.2% + 5.7%. Han/Cantonese/Korean/Japanese/Manchu would all together be 21.2% + 29.8% instead. (Cantonese would no longer be accepted after these annexation unless I culture shift). In other words - I'd basically fully turn into China.
• Either waiting 20 years for annexed vassal timer to expire, then annexing all my wrong religious group vassals (Nepal, Jaunpur, Orissa, Vijayanagar) in quick succession, or unvassaling them, conquering, and releasing as Buddhist.
• Joining scramble for Timurid lands.
• Getting border with some Western country, then Westernizing. They might come to me in Indonesia for all I know.
• Moving trade capital one node downstream to Ceylon node, since I'd 100% own that once I annexed my vassals. Moving it all the way to Indus would not really be practical as I'd need 3rd merchant, and extensive conquests West, up to Persia and Oman.
• Getting border with Muscovy for new long term rival and anti-Christian edict (+1% missionary strength, +5% stab cost). It's just painful how few conversion bonuses I get compared with Muslims and Europeans.
The only thing which could screw me now is some sudden display of AI brilliance - Western countries are on average 5 levels in each tech ahead of me, but their AI can't really do this kind of long distance invasion.
And just to summarize, some ideas what to do with my minimod based on this campaign:
• definitely restore neighbour bonuses to tech to at least 1.5.x levels, possibly increase the cap from -25% to -50% or so if you're 10 levels behind
• definitely no westernization by size penalty
• fix Qing etc. settlement to change to despotic monarchy as in earlier patches, I forgot that one
• probably implement some kind of partial westernization
• just make monarch points matter a ton less, if I can come up with some ideas how
• advisor costs should scale scale by tech not by time, assuming implementation of that is not too difficult
• peasant war trigger conditions need some fixing, right now it happens because fuck you
• it would be nice if minor religions like Buddhist, Confucians, Protestants, Shinto etc. got at least some upsides, right now they're just awful compared to Christians and Muslims (and even Hindus), but I'm not sure what that could be without breaking things
One thing I won't be able to fix is power projection system - lack of rivals, rivals being enabled/disabled all the time, bugs when annexing or vassalizing rivals etc., but I could maybe tweak power projection values a bit.
These are the big things. There's ton of small things which could be improved as well, but I generally try to avoid micromanaging numbers.
Oh and one interesting thing - Muscovy was really keeping up on tech, more than usual. The reason is that my minimod helps republics a bit, and Novgorod is Eastern tech republic, so Novgorod was able to more or less keep up with Western tech nations on tech and Muscovy got a big neighbour bonus for that, and its national ideas give it -10% tech cost, which together get it nearly to Western tech level as well. But in games where Muscovy crushes Novgorod they'll be far worse on tech.