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Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Apparently it's really easy to change religion in EU4 to a completely different group now, all it takes is letting religious rebels take over one province and take 3 stab hit (really painful since your religious unity will be awful and that increases stab increase cost by a lot - and negative stability makes conversions harder, so there's no good way to approach this) and also a massive prestige hit (but prestige is ridiculously easy to increase, so that's the least of your problems).
I'm so tempted to do the ridiculous supercampaign:
• start as Timurids
• form Mughals, conquer all of India (moving your tech group up to Muslim tech/Indian units silly hybrid)
• conquer some Christian provinces, Orthodox Georgia is not that far away from your cores in south Iraq (which you don't have early game, but can reconquer easily enough) and Persia (which you have)
• vassalize some HRE electors
• become Orthodox HRE - or possibly flip to another Christian religion instead first and become HRE as that - Europe will be in the middle of religious war probably by then
• fully unify Holy Roman Empire
• somewhere along the way Westernize
Mughals have +50% religious unity +2% tolerance of heathens as second national idea, so it will be relatively easy enough for them to deal with all the religion flipping.
Any ideas what other things I could do to make that even more ridiculous?
Culture shifts are still require moving to a dominant culture, so it's difficult once you get rolling a bit. At best I could shift to Persian early game with some vassal releases, but that has horrible ideas.
Tartar, Russian, Greek, and Turkish groups are pretty big, so I might possibly shift to them. I think Mughal's primary Kanauji culture is not that big. Of these Russia and Byzantium are formable - and Russia has decision to move capital to St. Petersburg (I don't think I can move capital to Europe in any normal way). Unfortunately to culture shift I'd need not only Russian to be my dominant culture - but also to have capital in Russian province, and I think all of them are in Europe unless Muscovy goes on a colonizing spree, but if that happens, it's probably too late to plan conquest of Russia for someone in Muslim tech group.
I could possibly:
• vassalize Muscovy
• wait for them to colonize some Asian provinces
• then annex them
• move my capital there
• conquer enough Russian provinces to form Russia
• culture shift to Russian
• form Russia
• use event to move my capital to St. Petersburg
but that's a ridiculously fragile plan, and I'm not even sure if game mechanics support it.
Another thing - I'm not totally sure 1.5 is in playable state right now, I've heard they made AE and coalitions even worse than they were in 1.3 somehow (after 1.4 got at least that one thing right). Seriously Paradox, stop screwing with game balance every patch.
Fun and Balance minimod for EU4 1.5.0. Enjoy.
I might actually go for that Timurids-into-Mughals-into-Russia-into-HRE campaign if I find a bit of free time.
OK, so here's my plan: I want to start the game as Timurids (Sunni stepe horde in Iran/Afghanistan area on a verge of collapse), and restore Pentarchy as an Orthodox Holy Roman Emperor, with capital in Constantinople, fully unified empire, and holding every single holy city on the map (Rome, Jerusalem, Mecca).
I'm going to use my mod (linked). I plan to do the game without any cheats, I mean mid-game modding, but if my extremely convoluted plan for moving capital to Europe end up being impossible, I'll mod myself an event to do just that. Other than that the only mid-game modding will be as workaround for known bugs, so I might very well fail this. Wish me luck. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
EU4 Campaign: future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1444-1449.
These were busy 5 years, and new patch means new bugs, as always.
Day one I offered alliance to the Golden Horde and attacked Baluchistan planning to vassalize them. Then as soon as my diplomats returned I attacked Delhi (grabbing conquest of Delhi mission first, which gives me ton of admin points to core that if I win) and allied Ottomans as well.
My alliances were of no use in my small wars, but they instantly got me into their wars - Golden Horde got into some silly war against Kazan, and Ottomans inherited Algerian throne before the game even properly started, getting themselves into a war against Mamluks. Lucky bastards.
I took a few provinces from Delhi (and their ally Sind who were totally inconsequential in this story). The biggest problem is that they have worthless OPM vassal with a grand total of 1 base tax, and if I annexed them the next war I'd inherit their vassal, costing me a relationship slot. Fortunately Multan decided to declare war on them while they were fully sieged and forced them to cancel that vassalization, really helping me here.
Coring manually isn't half as bad when it takes just regular time instead of 20 years - vassal feeding in India will be hard since Indian states are Hindu and any vassals I release will be Muslim, and India has a lot of cultures, so even by legitimate rules vassals probably will not want any of these provinces.
I could convert them first, except I plan to flip to Orthodox (and then I want to have Hindus as Hindus, Muslims are a lot harder to convert), and before I get religious ideas I can't convert much anyway. Alternatively I could get some Hindu vassals in India, which might work a lot better.
Anyway, I peaced out Kazan as war leader for some spare change and breaking alliance with Qara Qoyunlu, then Ottomans peaced out Mamluks, keeping their PU intact. Now Qara Qoyunlu, the first big war. Bastard had 4 of my cores, massive army, and alliance with Oman. Unfortunately we get to the first bullshit bug of the 1.5 patch, and nobody wanted to join my attack on them. Console out, checking out WTF is going on.
For the Golden Horde it made some sense - they had significant War Exhaustion, so I just needed to wait a bit for it to cool down. For Ottomans - it was about their attitude towards me, and their attitude towards Qara Qoyunlu. The thing is - Ottomans had +150 with me and -25 with my target (because Qara Qoyunlu are Shiite and we're both Sunni). That was really annoying, but Qara Qoyunlu's alliance with Crimea inexplicably broke, so I went for it with just one ally.
That war took some serious tactical finesse to execute (with 15k of my troops sitting on Punjab in case rebels pop up, which they inevitably did), and burned my manpower to nearly 0, but I got all my cores and they're a lot more important than they might seem. But during the war the second patch 1.5 bullshit happened - Ottomans (over +150 relations, royal marriage, same religion etc.) decided that since Golden Horde is a great power (it isn't even really one, it barely became one because game changes its mind which mid-sized powers count as "great power" every month or so, so sooner or later that nonsense was bound to trigger), they don't want me to have a second great power alliance, and just broke it out of nowhere.
I totally get it if this modifier caused some sensible reluctance to start a new alliance, or if it was a modest relationship penalty, but WTF was that, seriously? At least I'm playing with 6 base diplo relations upkeep, so that useless royal marriage doesn't hurt as much. Hopefully that's the last new bug.
Anyway, plans for the future. As I said, these cores in South Iraq are actually super-important, since that's how I can rush to take over Mecca while it's held by someone irrelevant, before Mamluks or Ottomans grab it first. And I'll have a chance to opportunistically grab Jerusalem as well, but that's a long shot. I really want to take at least one of them, and take religious idea group, before I switch to Orthodox, so that will be 3-4 missionaries.
New patch completely rebalanced diplo point cost of various peace deal elements, and so far it's been extremely cheap - taking claims or cores is free, vassalization with my CB is free, what's there not to like (but releasing nations now costs diplo points, that will take some rethinking). I'm not sure if that's thanks to my awesome Horde CBs, or if I can get that as anyone.
Anyway, I want to have all Delhi's territories so I can form Mughals at any time, but I'd rather stay as a horde for a bit longer, not switch ASAP, to use CBs while I can. I don't want to upgrade my tech level as a horde, since that's massive waste of points, so if I have a ton of spare points, I'll just flip to Muslim tech group as Mughal, go for admin 4, and religious ideas right away.
I need 4 ideas from religious group before I can safely switch to Orthodox (4th gives +3% missionary chance, and Muslim lands are extremely hard to convert). On the other hand my 2nd national idea gives +50% religious unity and +2 tolerance of heathens, and that would insanely help my conversion (0% unity is far worse than 50% unity, it gives shitty modifiers and events until you get things in order, going down to 50% would basically avoid this issue completely), but 6 ideas will take a while to take, so perhaps doing some military ideas first, religious second, and delaying Orthodoxy would work better? I only really need Orthodoxy to become HRE, and that's probably still two centuries away.
EU4 campaign: future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1449-1462
Everything was going just fine, and the first succession somehow caused no problems whatsoever. Then my second khan died, a 6/4/4 baby was about to inherit the throne, and that baby got CK2ed and some very low legitimacy ruler took its place. Followed by another succession by infanticide a few years later, with just as abysmal legitimacy.
Rebels were spawning all over the place, my manpower was at about zero, so I took a sharp turn towards decentralization. I released Persia (by the way it's really annoying you have to release them as all or nothing - Persia had 2 cores on Sunni Khorasani provinces which they really shouldn't be getting in this deal), Iraq (I wasn't too sure about this one - it has 3 Shiite and 1 Sunni provinces with my cores and accepted culture, I probably could have held to it), and even sold one perfectly cored Sunni province to Baluchistan just because it had wrong culture, and these penalties I modded bite.
For the first few years expansion was going amazingly well, since nobody showed any desire whatsoever to honor any alliances, so I basically roflstomped Arabian peninsula - the only serious problem were the rebels. Persistent manpower shortage was also not helping - now that I released half my territory to vassals, my manpower supply is proportionally much lower, and it hurts pretty badly. Fortunately my vassals are doing a pretty decent job helping my Indian wars.
Even disabling "strategic interest" nonsense, they really nerfed vassal feeding. Nobody will ever buy anything of nonaccepted culture outside their group, or anything of wrong religion. Back in 1.3.2 just one of these was usually enough. I quite like that change actually, selling Protestant Turkish provinces to Orthodox Georgia in my previous campaign was a bit too easy, even if they only bought richer provinces of that kind.
My full set of relations is currently:
• Sunni Beduin vassal Hedjaz
• Shia Iraqi vassal Iraq (they don't all it "Iraqi", but seriously)
• Shia Persian vassal Persia
• Sunni Baluchi vassal Baluchistan
• Hindu Rajput vassal Dhundhar (that should be compatible with all western Indian cultures)
• useless alliance with the Golden Horde
Since religious groups matter so much, I'll actually need to vassalize someone who's both Hindu and of eastern and southern Indian group. I can't annex-and-release since that would make them Sunni. For eastern Indians that can be Orissa, for southern Indians I'm not sure - Vijayanagar is too big and Bahmanis both too big and Shiite.
The strict no wrong religious group rule is going to bite me, since Muslim sultanates of India started converting already, and every converted province will be massive pain to vassal feed.
Anyway, due to decentralization my idea plans changed. I need to take diplomatic as the first idea group for extra diplomat and +2 relations, then religious second. I'd like to annex Baluchistan sometime soon, and Hedjaz a bit after - non-Sunni vassals will probably need to remain there much longer, since my religious unity is hurting already.
I waited with forming Mughals until horde CB ran out of its usefulness:
• I can't attack Yemen since they're allied with The Mamluks, and my manpower can't take that.
• I fabricated some claims on Oman's last province
• I can fabricate claims over Qara Qoyunlu's provinces over Caspian Sea, but I couldn't use horde CBs on them since Persia sits between us (my vassals have 3 cores on their land)
• there are some hordes I could attack, but I don't have vassal slots, can't get ideas while I'm a horde (well technically I can, but I don't want to overpay for tech that much), and I'll need all the admin points I can get
• all of India will get free claims, which is actually decent in 1.5 as it costs 0 diplo points to get claimed province from the war target, and I will no longer need to hold border territories while I expand - I can sell as soon as possible instead
My expansion plans right now are all of Western Indian cultures and Oman's last province, and maybe some targets of opportunity over Caspian Sea or in Mamluk/Ottoman area, but that's secondary. Then as soon as I get 3rd diplo idea group (ideas don't cost extra for being in sucky tech group, so that's not that far away) and maybe annex Baluchistan I'll setup more vassals to eat all of India.
Conquest of India will probably take a few decades, but I'll need all those Indian troops and taxes to march North, conquer Orthodox land, and become the next Holy Roman Emperor.
June 1462: The horde settled down
December 1459: 2 wars against half of India
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1462-1476
Due to persistent manpower shortages I've been mostly declaring wars and then letting my vassals do all the fighting while my army is slowly getting rebuilt - mostly in India, but I forced Qara Qoyunlu to give Persia its two cores back (and the Golden Horde even helped in this one).
I've moved my capital to Delhi for +1 stab, unlocked all diplo ideas so now I have +2 tolerance for heathens and +50% religious unity bonus as one idea (definitely one of the best bonuses in game), and as it's reasonably safe for me to hold non-Sunni lands I started integrating Baluchistan and Persia. Spending points on tech feels painful with Muslim tech penalties, so I've been using as many as I can on ideas and buildings instead.
I got one more vassal in India - Kangra (northern Indian Hindu) joined Dhundhar (western Indian Hindu). I thought I won't need that since I cored half of northern Indian lands myself, but actually there's still a lot of them left - India is simply pretty big.
I'll setup one in the south and one in the east so they can eat all Hindu provinces (Baluchistan should finish annexation by the time I do that, freeing that 8th slot).
There seems to be a bug in that vassals completely ignore overextension while feeding (the mod sets limit at the same as independent countries, that is <50% OE after buying), which speeds up expansion somewhat (not that hugely), but that sure is a rebelfest.
Orissa is currently the most successful Indian state, not Vijayanagar as usual, but I doubt I'll have much trouble conquering all of India before 1500. The hardest part will be what to do with all those Shiite provinces none of my vassals will want.
After that comes the most convoluted part - switching to Orthodoxy. I have a few ideas how to approach this - Ethiopia, Georgia, and Russia are all possibilities, and hopefully by then I'll have 4 religious ideas unlocked for +3% missionary strength, and maybe I'll even have Jerusalem for +1 missionary.
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1476-1485
Integration of my Muslim vassals and conquest of India progress on schedule.
I want to integrate and convert all Shiites first, since this way I can keep my religious unity high, and I won't be converting Hindus to Sunni due to my plans to go Orthodox later (and Hindus are much easier to convert than Muslims).
Orissa fell apart into countless rebellions, so I've been sweeping up OPMs as soon as they pop up. I also attacked Malwa OPM to finish them off, but surprise surprise they have two huge hordes backing them. I seriously need to get myself a pet horde now. In the mod hordes are a lot more annoying than in vanilla, and all hordes North from me are too big to just vassalize in one go.
What's worse Uzbek horde fell under PU with the Mamluks, who are also allied to pretty much all by neighbours in the West and are beating up Ottomans over and over. Ottoman lost half of their possessions in Balkans to various rebels, including pretty big Byzantium (without Constantinople). That's pretty good long term, since Mamluks don't get crazy military bonuses and special tech group like Ottomans would.
In India Muslim provinces are a big problem. I vassalized what was left of Shiite Bahmanis wasting my precious vassal slot, I had to hard core two provinces in Bihar, and I'll need to core at least 3 more to conquer all of India assuming I have no desire to have OPM vassals.
I'm thinking Tibet would be a good vassal. Their culture group holds 3 provinces I have claims on (1 in Tiben, 2 in Kochin), and it's sort of stretching things, but then I don't want to waste my claim to be the Mughal emperor. The big problem is that they have all the Eastern hordes backing them.
And to conquer Vijayanagar I'll need a vassal in South India. There are two OPMs there I could use for that - or I could just go for Vijayanagar itself after I steal some of their land first.
As India is heading towards complete conquest, it's time to look West. I'll need to get either Georgian or Ethiopian lands to get something Orthodox. Ethiopia is allied with The Mamluks, and Georgia is nearly all taken over by various hordes (who might convert them to Muslim if I don't hurry), so it doesn't look too great, but I'll figure something out. If all that fails, I'll need to conquer Russia or Byzantium in the Balkans instead.
Another ticking clock - HRE passed its first reform. If they reach sixth before I get there my campaign fails.
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1485-1525
The 1.5 patch apparently exchanged one set of bugs for another set of bugs. The good news is that you can now sell to your vassals minor islands and other land connected by sea zones, which really helped, and it would have helped speed up my conquest of India by maybe up to a decade if I knew that earlier. The bad news is that everybody can attack your vassals at will if you have truce timer with them and your vassal doesn't - that one cost me quite a few years when I vassalized a South Indian OPM, then Vijayanagar decided to conquer them anyway. Later Ethiopia decided to attack my vassal Yemen, fortunately that war white peaced. The patch also fixed the very exploitable option to enforce peace against countries you're at truce with, but that would have been the only workaround for all those vassal attacks (or probably not, new vassals are hard to get over required +100 opinion).
Anyway, one big block of alliances emerged to my West with unusually successful Mamluks (I'm still really glad it's not Ottomans, as seemed likely at first), various Muslim hordes, and a shifting assortment of minors; then another to my East with Tibet, Ming under Korea (which lets it ignore number of great power allies modifier and be much bigger than usual - Korea doesn't count as one, even with Ming under them), and an assortment of non-Muslim hordes. That made expansion very awkward since the only unblocked directions were in India (which I obviously took) and into South-East Asia (which would be pretty pointless map painting at this point - highly inefficient too, since there are so many culture groups there). I guess all of that is due to increased diplo relations limit - and I'm totally happy about this change, even if it makes my life difficult.
I aggressively took advantage of any openings in this alliance system. In 1495 (see the map) Mamluks and me were on the same side of one of the countless pointless wars between hordes, but their remote allies weren't so I attacked Yemen just to force them to break that alliance and return one core to Hidjaz so they'd be vassalizable next war. Another time I force converted Qara Qoyunlu to Sunni (probably unnecessarily), then vassalized them next time. I hoped that would make them want land across the Caspian Sea (same culture group and religion), but that doesn't count as sea for that (you can't build ships there, but you can fabricate claims to the other side weirdly, still not as bad as Persian Gulf counting as a unshippable lake in vanilla CK2).
Anyway, conquest of India fell a bit behind the 1500 target, and I skipped some really awkward remote provinces of wrong culture group (apparently Mughal claims to India never expire unlike fabricated claims - even though the tooltip provides expiration dates, moving forward each month), but eventually I did it, and after annexing Hedjaz went after Ethiopia, who somehow temporarily broke their alliance with the Mamluks. The coast was all Sunni and wrong culture group, but fortunately my vassal Yemen had claims all over it, so they took it anyway. During the second war I took the rest of their Sunni lands to give them over to Yemen, and a few Orthodox provinces to send and recall missionaries to, just to get some nice Ortohdox rebels.
And here comes the first mid-game modding: I was pretty sure I checked that, but apparently I can't flip to another religious group unless rebel's religion is dominant any more - and I can't let rebels roam the country conquering and force converting provinces one at a time because they are on very tight secession timer (that wouldn't even be viable here since Yemen sat between me and them and rebels can't build ships). That is extremely awkward - if I realized that I'd have played extremely differently and I'd have gone after Georgia and Ethiopia day one before getting to India at all, and I'd have sold all my possession to my vassal Persia. Oh well, nothing mid-game modding can't solve. :-p So I decided that you can actually accept religious conversion demands in such case, but that will cost you -100 legitimacy, -6 stab, and -200 prestige. Basically, enjoy your religious civil war for the next few decades.
And wow, that was painful. I started at 50% unity thanks to my ideas, but absolute minimum of stability, prestige, legitimacy, quite a bit of OE, and half of my country being non-accepted cultures (in my previous campaign Scandinavian and Russian cultures were all accepted so I had like 90% acceptance rate, and that was at vanilla's much lower penalty for non-accepted cultures) all together made it an even bigger rebel fest than my Protestant conversion of Scandinavia. Maybe I should scale all the nonaccepted culture penalty down from +5RR to +4RR for the future, it feels just a bit too harsh.
The only advantages I had is that this time I used math to prioritize conversions which give the fastest unity increase (I probably should have prioritized fastest reduction in rebel spawning rate instead), I had level 3 inquisitor (for a while at least, he'd dead now), and the game apparently didn't properly clean out my Muslim missionary chance modifiers, so conversion was pretty quick. It still crushed my manpower pool, forced me to take loans, and I had to accept local autonomy far too many times, costing me -25 prestige each time - which wouldn't be a huge deal if I didn't reset it my prestige -100 by starting the civil war started.
As things were doing a lot worse than I expected, I did a mass sellout of uncored provinces, and not just to my vassals - Ethiopia got its Orthodox provinces back since they were inland and uncorable, and Uzbek horde got another small province. By the way speaking of mid-game modding, my fix to disable protectorates didn't actually work, so Ethiopia is now Mamluk's protectorate, I refixed that properly and I'll upload it later, but even that doesn't disable existing protectorates.
Now I feel that just after not realizing how Orthodox rebels work in this patch, my second biggest mistake in game was moving capital to Delhi. That does very little since Northern Indian culture group is so tiny (and most of that is held by my vassal Kangra), and hordes (who are somehow all one big happy family) are so vast. It was definitely not worth that one-off +1 stability, not even remotely so, and switching it back now is really difficult.
Anyway, I vassalized Chagatai in the middle of my civil war (more accurately my vassals did all the work) and sold them a lot of Sunni horde provinces since Muslim on top of non-accepted culture is such a huge pain to convert. I'm not totally sure if that was a great idea.
Now that I have stability and manpower somewhat under control (prestige is still really low, but bounced back from persistent -100) I need to make plans for the future.
• I can't really annex any vassals for decades since 1.5 patch nerfed better relations over time modifiers, and negative prestige on top of that hurts that even more, so none of them will ever get over the fact that I annexed a bunch of countries.
• I can't get new vassals since I'm at the limit, and the next idea group I should take should still probably be a military one rather than exploration which would increase that limit.
• Now that my level 3 inquisitor is dead, conversion rate slowed down a lot.
• Mamluks-led alliance to the West is huge, and between rebels at home, negative prestige (meaning big morale penalties), no military ideas, and nobody willing to help me (Golden Horde feels threatened by me so won't join my wars any more, Ottomans have been beaten hard are are useless, nobody else big is close) it will be really hard to win any fights.
• Tibet and South-East Asia might be beatable, but I can't really vassalize or annex any of that. The best case scenario I can think of here is that I'd attack a big alliance of OPMs, have my vassals do all the work, then make each one of them concede defeat individually to farm prestige back into positive territory. That really looks like the only sensible option right now, now that I'm no longer at risk of being overran by rebels prestige is easy.
So basically the plan is to:
• farm some prestige in pointless wars to get it back from permanent -100 to permanent +100
• get back some legitimacy once my ruler dies (it should reset to +70 or so usually, but anything is better than 0)
• become defender of the Orthodox faith once that's safe for +1 missionary and some random bonuses (at some tech penalty)
• start some annexations as soon as possible
• holy war the Mamluks to get Jerusalem and get started on restoring the Pentarchy (progress currently at 0/10)
• get a border with Western nation as soon as possible - one civil war was obviously not enough, we'll need a second one
And small good news - HRE changed from Austria to Bohemia to Saxony with no more reforms, and now that reformation started it probably won't see any, so I don't need to rush there. Also revoking 6th and 7th reform now works correctly (revoking 7th would still require breaking all those vassalizations manually, but it's better than failing the campaign).
And small bad news - I have far bigger doubts that I'll be able to use trick I planned to move capital from Asia to Europe, since it relied on Russian colonization of Siberia and culture shifting to Russian. Unfortunately Muscovy was forced to release Perm, and it can't colonize without holding Perm's lands.
1525: my alliance network
1525: Mamluk alliance network
1485: Mamluks and me on the same side, great time to attack Yemen
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1525-1561
The game dealt with my lack of good expansion opportunities by giving me a 10 year regency. As far as regencies go, that one was in the relatively least painful time. Apparently annexed vassal penalty expires in 20 years (for some reason I was sure it lasts until full decay just as AE), so my vassals started to love me out of nowhere, and I used that time to annex Kangra, Koch, and Yemen. I even managed to diplovassalize Orthodox Funj (just North of Ethiopia), who seem to be new in this patch unless (not on the 1444 map, they spawn by random event). Bastards still won't share maps of all their territory with me.
Golden Horde broke their alliance with me as soon as our royal marriage expired, so I allied Orthodox and very powerful Muscovy instead. They might possible help me with Mamluk wars, since both me and Mamluks have 2 hordes each, and Muscovy is decently positioned to keep Mamluk-allied hordes busy.
The moment my king as inaugurated a 1535 was a time for war against everyone weak and powerless. My prestige recovored to just about 0 (by the way Mughal idea which gives -2% prestige decay is extremely bad when prestige is negative...), so some quick prestige farming in preparation for big war against Mughals was definitely due. First three targets - Kachar (to whom I incorrectly refered as Kochin is some earlier post somehow, east fringe of India), Ajuuraan (Sunni sultanate on East African coast), and the Golden Horde.
I peaced out Kachar and Golden Horde for some easy prestige, and then proceeded to take a lot of lands from Ajuuranan, Kilwa, and Mutapa - with goal of releasing Orthodox Kilwa as Orthodox country on the African East Coast. It didn't take long to recover prestige - I got to +100 by 1539.
Kachar got conquered by Shan, part of Tibet-Oirats-Shan-Korea-Ming alliance system, so my way East looked somewhat blocked now, but since direct attack on Shan would not bring Ming into the war, and Chagatai could probably hold back Oirats, I attacked anyway to break that network in case I needed to expand there in the future (which I probably wouldn't anytime soon, I can only have so many vassals and I need to prioritize Europe soon).
Surprisingly, out of nowhere damn Funj flipped to Sunni. That was fucking stupid - they had 64% Orthodox unity, zero rebel problems, so I had to investigate, and apparently there's Funj-specific event to go Sunni (AI chance 99%) or gain 1 stability (AI chance 1%) with pretty much zero prerequisites (stability less than +3, mtth 20 years). Seriously, WTF game? That's just extremely stupid - not only is this event retarded, AI takes the most retarded option - switch to wrong religion, or gain stability, yeah I wonder what would be the right choice...
Anyway, it was time to stop delayig and lead a frontal attack on the Mamluks. So I announced myself Defender of the Orthodox Faith (I love this mechanic), and went for it. Of course the game had the usual bug and Muscovy did not join the war disregarding dialog claiming they would, but Chagatai as competent enough at at least stalemating the enemy hordes, so I could disregard that part of the war completely and focus all fighting in the Middle East. Manpower loses were extremely painful, but without their hordes supporting them, and with Tunisia and Morocco being very slow at sending reinforcements I could overwhelm unsupported Mamluk armies, at cost of only all my manpower plus 10k more.
As spoils of victory I took Orthodox Syria as a vassal, and gave some one-off provinces to Chagatai, Iraq, and Funj. Notably missing from this list is Jerusalem - but the first steps towards reestablishment of Pentarchy have been taking by restoring Orthodox rule over Antioch. So far none of my Orthodox vassals had any successes at converting anything - as far as I can tell Funj never even tried, and Kilwa is trying but it's horribly unsuccessful so far. Muslim conversion penalties are pretty extreme.
While waiting for my manpower to recover I tried to attack Kazan horde - Muscovy was again of zero use, and with my advisor who gave -3RR dead rebels started spawning all over the place again, so I had to peace out Kazan for some spare change. Muscovy decided to rival me out of nowhere and broke our alliance - not much surprise here, EU4 AI is dumb like that.
I allied myself with what's left of Byzantium instead - Morea and Monastir. That will give some legitimacy to my claim that I'm the real Holy Roman Emperor when I diplomatically convince them to accept my overlordship and hand over the imperial crown.
I passed the time getting into small wars since my manpower did not want to recover, but my crusade against Nogai somehow pulled the Mamluks into it (they allied themselves after the war started). Fortunately the Mamluks were in even worse shape than me, so I got Judea for Syria, Izmir for Byzantium (they didn't want to be vassals since they were too distant) and a huge amount of lands for my hordes.
Fortunately after a few more wars against minor hordes I sold Byzantium some provinces in Caucasus, and that was enough to convince them that I'm the rightful overlord they were always looking for.
Pentarchy progress: 3/10
HRE progresss: Byzantium as vassal has a lot of symbolic significance, but nothing else
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1561-1578
I didn't really want a lot of new Muslim vassals, so I expanded the hard(ish) way - conquer, deal with overextension while my missionaries work, sell to my Orthodox vassals. The game does not like that much.
I changed the mod to reduce diplomat and merchant travel time by x5 - I pondered that before, and yeah, vanilla numbers are really annoying for no good reason. That should just go into the mod.
The list of most powerful countries is more or less, since I wasn't paying much attention to situation in Europe:
• Mughals - obviously
• Ming - that's the biggest Ming I've ever seen, usually they collapse fast, this time they've taken a lot of territory from hordes, annexed Tibet, Dai Viet, and other minors in South Asia, not sure if lucky or game changed
• Chagatai - bigger of my my two personal hordes
• Spain - they got Naples, Silicy, and some colonies, nothing out of ordinary, bug very big, also has the most powerful fleet
• Venice - expanded into Balkans, Crete, and Cyprus, got somewhat pushed out of HRE, but has second most powerful fleet after Spain
• Russia - it's like 1.5x Lithuania, very strong Perm completely cuts them from Siberia
• Poland/Lithuania - about the usual size, eaten Teutonic Order but not much else
France, Burgundy, and England are doing OK, but didn't even unite their regions yet. Sweden and Hungary are a bit bigger than usual, but they aren't really global powers either way. Within HRE, Austria, Milan, and the Hansa are most powerful, but Saxony is the emperor. Protestantism did even poorer than usual - total of 10 countries, the only significant ones are Norway, and 3 electors. Reformed has just 2 OPMs. That's quite nice since it means votes within HRE will probably be split along religious lines.
A funny thing is that my vassal Byzantium somehow westernized, but I'm way ahead of them in tech. At start of this chapter I was 12/13/11 and leading country is Milan at 14/14/14. (and by the end of it I'm 13/13/11 and Milan is 14/14/15). That's somewhat worrying military gap, but I expected worse, and part of the reason is my getting full offensive idea group.
The biggest challenges on the way into Europe is my total lack of naval power, having to avoiding taking on multiple powerful countries at once (since one on one it's relatively easy), and not generating ridiculous massive amounts of AE which would prevent me from being elected emperor. later
Anyway, I've been progressing bit by bit into Anatolia, Crimea and Egypt when I got the mission to restore the Pentarchy which gave me claims on all its 5 target provinces! I already conquered Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandia - the problem were ones in Christian hands. Bulgaria held Constantinople (they were Orthodox but showed no interest in converting it) and it was allied with Spain. Papal States were backed by Venice and France - and Venice additionally by Poland/Lithuania for a nice alliance chain of doom.
Not only Spain and Venice had two biggest fleets in the world, I couldn't get even a single fishing boat there, since I still haven't discovered a way around Africa, and not a single province on Mediterranean coast was my core. All the land routes went through Russia (my rival) or Crimea (who hated me even more) - so I had to get some kind of access through Bosphorus.
It was time to play CK2 style. Bulgaria was only allied with Spain, so if I could break that I'd have an easy victory. First, I did everything to make Bulgaria love me since they felt threatened by me weirdly - bribes, guarantees, marriages, sending diplomats, full arsenal of means until they agreed to an alliance. Then I waited for the "number of great power allies" modifier to make them break one of our two alliances, assuming they'll prefer their coreligionists, and that didn't take long. I got military access from Venice and moved half of my armies into the Balkans. Then I declared war against Kilwa, broke royal marriage and military access with Bulgaria (it annoyed them somewhat, but they got over it - maybe I should have skipped that royal marriage altogether, but as of this patch completing diplomatic idea group gives you stab-free divorce), and called Bulgarians to help me in my war. Since the dishonorable scum predictably refused, I personally led charge against them instead.
The game decided to be an asshole and threw 3 unrelated stability reducing events in a sequence (seriously, wtf, this is even worse than the comets). And of course as many rebels spawned as you can imagine at -3 stability and >100% OE (which I couldn't unload while it was converting, but it wouldn't have been a big deal without those bullshit events).
But disregarding such trivial matters, Constantinople is now mine, so I have a foothold in Europe, and Pentarchy progress stands at 7/10.
I have 5 missionaries: 1 base, 1 from religious ideas, 1 from defender of the faith, 1 from Mecca, and 1 from Jerusalem (which I mean to offload to Syria, but can never quite get to it), and I'll get 6th if I conquer Rome, and 7th if I restore Pentarchy (and hold all its provinces myself, vassals don't count for this).
By the way, this patch gave Rome and Mecca completely ridiculous "religious center" -5% to conversion modifier which makes conversion borderline impossible. For Mecca I can barely make it since it has just 6 base tax (-3%, then -2% because Sunni, Bedouin are accepted - total of only -10%), but Rome has 14 base tax (-7%) on top of the usual -2% non-accepted culture (-14% total). Constantinople has -2% for non-accepted culture, -2% Sunni, and -7.5% due to base tax (and flipped Sunni by magical event - total -11.5%).
These modifiers are completely ridiculous and nothing would have stopped Rome or Mecca from changing religion historically. Plenty of religious centers did that. Anyway, with inquisitor, 3 stability, 100% patriach authority etc. I can stack modifiers to just get barely within range of converting Rome, but this is seriously dumb.
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Emperor Timur: state of the world, 1578
So now that Constantinople is mine, it's time to consider areas of expansion and possible goals. I have 1 free vassal slot, and no realistic shot at emperorship or pentarchy just yet, mostly due annoying amount of water standing between my troops and Europe.
• South-East Asia - that would be some easy conquests, but due to mix of cultures they have over there it would require at least 3 vassal slots
• extremely powerful Ming - I could probably beat them up, but that would cost me a ton of troops, and then I could do what, release vassal Tibet? The only reason I might want a vassal Tibet is if I was going into South-East Asia, and it's not time for that yet. Releasing pet Chinese minor would be more promissing, but that will have to wait until I control way to China via South-East Asia. Sending troops through Tibet, or Mongolia would hurt my manpower a lot, and I don't want to build fleet which can match Ming, I'll need all the ships I can get in Europe soon. To make things even more brutal, they're apparently close to completing defensive ideas, for even more enemy attrition.
• Perm and Russia - my hordes could probably defeat them, but the question is what do I do with their lands. There's a mixture of Uralic Orthodox, Tartar Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox - and it would take 3 vassals to cover that. I should probably annex Qara Qoyunlu and reconstitute them as an Orthodox horde. That still doesn't help me on my way to Balkans, since Poland blocks the whole path, but Poland might be more amenable to letting my troops through than Russia.
• Balkans through Bosphorus - now that Bulgaria lost Constantinople I wonder if I could diplovassalize them. I probably shouldn't have made and then break that marriage, since right now that would be awesome, but taht was the best shot I'd get at Constantinople. The damn penalty only decays over 75 years (well, a bit faster thanks to better relations over time modifier, still very long). Probably won't be possible, but worth keeping in mind.
• Attack over Mediterranean - my lack of ports on that side and lack of way around Africa kills that idea for now pretty convincingly. This is also becoming harder and harder as my tech falls behind and Europe is so powerful these days
• North Africa - there are 3 Tuareg provinces on the way, but the rest is same culture group as my vassal Syria. Or I could release someone else instead to speed things up a bit. Anyway, that's the most promising direction right now, and it will be historical for a reconstituted Roman Empire to own North Africa. Even if I don't annex that, some fleet to distract my enemies would give me a lot of extra mobility.
• South Africa - the moment I get to see how to sail around it some action there might happen
• India - since Spain apparently got a mission to get a presence there, it might decide to attack. Or Ming might. And England got a claim on Malabar somehow. I don't think anybody else has any chance, but I shouldn't leave it completely undefended.
Important things to aim for:
• get admin tech 14, then go for expansion ideas for 2 more vassal slots - that will open a lot of options
• wait for a route around Africa to be revealed so I can send my ships around maybe - no idea how fast that happens
• annex some vassals with Mediterranean ports to start building my second fleet
• free some vassal slots (I have 2 Muslim hordes, Muslim Funj next to Orthodox Kilwa is same culture group, 2 Orthodox Arab group vassals, generally not very optimal setup, but it needed to be done at its times) and reorganize that along more sensible line - all vassals Orthodox, one per culture group - Chagatai is the only one I'm fine leaving as Muslims because they're so huge - they're an useful counterbalance for Ming and Perm/Russia and converting all that would not be much fun.
• get land route to Constantinople and Greece. There are 6 countries standing on my way which need to be pushed aside
All of this is just preparation work for the big push into Europe, and it's a lot of work, but unified Roman Empire looks closer than ever. And I think I'll just add myself an event to move my capital to Constantinople at some point, the only legitimate way I knew of (by moving my capital to Russian culture province in Asia, then forming Russia, then getting decision to move capital to St. Petersburg) is pretty much not doable in less than a century, and even that would be an extremely long shot.
It doesn't really matter much if I get my capital in Europe or not, but the campaign would feel incomplete otherwise.
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Emperor Timur: 1578-1592
First, a quick rant about culture groups - which were irrelevant until recently but between 1.5 patch's restrictive vassal feeding system and my mod's higher revolt risk they actually matter now. Different regions have drastically different granularity - just somewhat blobbed France has 6 completely different culture groups (French, Iberian, Italian, German, Celtic, and Basque), but all lands from Crimea to Kamchatka are same horde group? And all of Africa except Arab North is one group? Just 4 groups (Chinese, hordes, Arab, African) cover like half the old world map and include some extremely puzzling countries, but then Basque gets its own group, huh?
Seriously game, pick one granularity and stick with it. Folding all of French/Iberian/Italian cultures into one group, folding all Slavic/Baltic into one group, and merging those weird ones like Basque, Finnish, Celtic etc. into their neighbour's groups would probably help more than hurt, especially if the game toned down on all the culture unions (you can see how much Ukrainians love being ruled by their "culture union state" Russia recently). And while Chinese can stay a single group (with more cultures than just Han and Cantonese), it really needs to lose Japan, Korea, and probably Manchu. Turkish also doesn't really belong with Arab group, but that might have some gameplay excuses. And Africa should have more than one group. Other than that, the map doesn't look too bad.
Anyway, the campaign. During this time I accidentally screwed up two minor things - I sold some provinces to vassals and lost my border with Byzantium with its -10% tech discount, and then Bedouin fell below 10% so they're no longer accepted culture, and Mecca is no longer convertible, so I had to cancel that after it was 30% converted. I'll just wait for an inquisitor and try again.
Anyway, I expanded in three directions - North Africa, Russia/Perm (possibly a bad idea, weakening Perm might make Russia expand into its land, right now they balance each other), and South-East Asia (as soon as I unlocked exploration ideas for extra vassal slots).
In North Africa I setup Tripoli as vassal, and cored some cheap Egyptian provinces the hard way instead of setting up another and gave them to Tripoli pre-cored, so they'd accept Egyptian as a culture and would eat expensive ones like Cairo later (I still need to turn them Orthodox frist). The fight is pretty one-sided since Muslim powers there are weak and infighting, and even Portugal took that opportunity to get Ceuta. All of that is mostly to give naval shield to my future operations in Europe - and it's much closer from Tunis to Rome than from Alexandria to Rome.
In the steppes I setup a OPM Orthodox Tartar Kazan - I though they'd be a horde, but apparently not, they spawned as a duchy, which is actually a lot worse for me, since I like those extra horde troops. Right now that part of the world is not a big deal divided between slightly bigger Russia and slightly smaller Perm, but if Russia (which has never expiring claims to half of Perm and half of Lithuania due to unification) conquered all that it could be a massive pain. Russia already allied Bulgaria, and Bulgaria must be either my ally or my target, since they're blocking all paths out of Constantinople. My method - mostly fighting Perm as easier target with no allies, is probably bad, since I should keep Russia-Perm in balance, rather than helping Russia take over. The big reason Perm and Russia are so powerful is due to me beating up all the minor hordes, which they then gobbled.
And that leaves South-East Asia. I sort of screwed that up. I attacked Karchar to setup an easy vassal - they were only allied with somewhat remote Khmer - but that pulled an alliance chain of all of South-East Asia into the conflict while I had only one of my armies there. 24k vs 70k-ish is pretty bad odds, even with some tech advantage. Except of course AI showed complete lack of coordination and I managed to destroy half of their forces in a series of one-sided 24k vs 10k battles before my vassals and my second army showed up and finished off the rest of the enemies which was at this point down to just a 30k stack. Vassals are far more useful now that they were in EU3. I'm seriously impressed by how good vassal AI is these days - they're not doing anything amazing, but wow I remember how useless it used to be. So as planned, I took Pegu and Kachar as vassals, and a bit more land for each of them. I need some care with annexations there, since I built my embassy in Darrang between Kachar and Tibet (now controlled by Ming), and loss of borders causes loss of embassy.
Fortunately between the two my vassals covered half of South-East Asia in claims so feeding will be easy, unfortunately Ming already took a sizable portion of it, and will take more unless I hurry.
Anyway, back to expansion. A few wars, annexations, and vassal releases later here's my new setup:
• Orthodox Tripoli in North Africa (African culture group, accepts Egyptian and Berber but not Maghrebi, so there are 5 unfeedable provinces there and I can't really finish off Mamluks yet)
• Orthodox Kilwa in East Africa
• Orthodox Greek Byzantium in Constantinople, Caucasus and random provinces here and there
• Orthodox Turkish Candar in Anatolia
• Orthodox Tartar Kazan in Ukraine
• Buddhist Kachar and Pegu in South-East Asia
• huge Muslim horde Chagatai
• 2 free slots - one will probably go to Ayutthaya, the other one I'm not sure, I could probably diplovassalize Ethiopia once I get rid of Mamluks, but that's not priority direction. Diplovassalizing Bulgaria would be a lot more useful, but might be difficult.
I gave away 100% of Qara Qoyunlu to Byzantium, Kazan, and Chagatai, and half of Funj to Kilwa - my missionaries are pretty busy right now.
Syria I kept so I'm at 70% Pentarchy completion and I finally have a small fleet in Mediterranean. They're not of that much use yet, since all my potential enemies are way bigger, and I'm already a lot above my naval forcelimits trying to maintain two fleets. I started mass building shipyards but that's 30 diplo points and 225 gold per +1 naval forcelimit (it's 3rd building), not too cheap.
By the way I'm always way below my land force limit after very early game - currently at 109 in four stacks of 245 force limit - sensible stack size is limited by supply limit, and number of stacks that can engage at once is limited by your leader limit (which I'm exceeding anyway), so there's really not that much value in building all those extra stacks which have to stay in reserve anyway. With naval units I'm usually much closer to force limits, since light ships more or less pay for themselves.
Another small things - expansion ideas which I took for diplo relations limit also give me 1 colonist and 1 merchant. I really don't understand trade system, I'm making a ton of money from it, but I could probably make a ton more if I had some clue. The fact that they change it by a lot every patch, and they plan to change it even more in upcoming new DLC isn't helping. For colonization I had a grand total of 2 possible provinces in Africa, I probably won't get any value out of it, but I might just as well send someone there.
So my plans right now:
• Finish off South-East Asia
• Finish off North Africa
• Attack Russia allied with Bulgaria - Russia holds 4 Tartar provinces I want for Kazan and one of them stands on my way to Balkans. I could also use that war to force Bulgaria to give Edirne back to Byzantium, and that would definitely shrink them into diplovassalizable size at no AE
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1592-1602
Ming contrary to my predictions fell apart due to constantly spawning rebellions. They seem to have some funny modifiers like +5RR The Mandate of Heaven Lost (but then -3RR Celestial Empire, so it nets just +2RR I guess), on top of the more usual ones like +6RR negative stability, +3RR legitimacy, +5RR non-accepted culture, +1.17RR religious unity etc. And then they got civil war for global +10RR, and +3RR bankruptcy, so it was pretty clear what's going to happen - the same thing that usually happens when the game starts, only 150 years later. So far they lost Zhou, Annam (in North Vietnam, first time I see them), Lan Na, Bhutan, Mongol Khanate (who didn't survive long, Oirats got to them), and more are sure to come.
Someone should tell AI about "create vassals" button, since that's the only way anybody could hope to survive this kind of turmoil.
Autthaya is now my third South-East Asian vassal. That's actually still not enough, since nobody will ever take Sunni lands there - neither as Sunni nor as Orthodox - and (Hindu) Champa is in Malay culture group, so the only way to get it all would be to annex Champa, release as Orthodox, then convert all Sunni Malay provinces and hand them over... Pretty messy, and now that Ming seems like much less of a threat probably no longer necessary.
I conquered Achaea and Kaffa for Byzantium to get it one step closer to connecting all these lands - it's really funny how nobody seems to care about all my conquests since they're in different culture group and different religion. I'm not 100% sure if it's owner religion/culture that matters or province's. I think it's the owner.
I got Inquisitor for +2% missionary chance and random event for another +1%, so I'm back to converting Mecca, and everything else is Orthodox with no exceptions. Now I feel maybe I was too quick to give away all those Muslim lands to vassals, but it doesn't really matter.
In the middle of my minor wars with Perm and Morocco I noticed that Russia got itself into some massive European war over Ostpreuussen. Winning side: Poland, Lithuania, Austria, Venice, Ansbach, and Brunswich. Losing side: Russia, Sweden, Bulgaria, Livonian Order, Teutonic Order. And I wouldn't even need to fight them all - just Russia and Bulgaria. That was as good a chance as I'll ever get, so I went for it.
What I didn't notice was that Russia had tech 12/13/16 vs mine 14/14/12 - 4 military techs ahead. Also fully defensive for some nice attrition. My horde seriously underperformed, losing battles at 2x advantage. For some crazy reason I only had 1 of my 5 stacks there (1 in Morocco, 1 in Bulgaria, 2 in India) - and Russian doomstack of twice my size was happily walking around. In a shocking show of competence Russian 49k stack cornered my 27k, but then the entire United Nations intervened - Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, Austria, Venice, even Bruswick didn't want to miss the action. 123k vs 49k, so far the biggest battle of this campaign, and we weren't even in the same war.
Even after losing battle of Polotsk, Russia still had very big army and huge manpower reserves (and that's a very small Russia compared with how big it can get, and after patch 1.5 nerfed their ideas), so any frontal engagement was out of the question. Instead I kicked Bulgaria out of the war, forcing them to give Edirne to Byzantium, break their alliance with Russia, and give me some spare change. I also upgraded my military tech and got new cavalry and artillery while waiting. Russians regroups, attacked Byzantine stack sieging Kasimov, so I rushed helped them in only slightly outnumbered battle of 31k vs 36k - and of course I lost convincingly. Their 2/6/2/2 general and heir has a lot to do with it, probably as much as their tech advantage. The difference is that my second army was just coming from Bulgaria (I got 20 transports by then), and they weren't about to get any reinforcements, so the tide will turn sooner or later.
Then in battle of Ryazan I had 30k-23k advantage, I still lost. And then again in battle of Kostroma at 40k-25k advantage. It really looks like high time to westernize, or at least treat these fights more seriously instead of counting on my vassals to do it for me, and maybe I should annex Chagatai after all since they look less amazing than they did fighting other hordes. My third stack arrived from India under third general, and proceeded to get itself beaten at 26k-19k. It's really embarrassing, but Russians are going to run out of manpower eventually while mine is still nearly maxed out. Fortunately that was about it, and Russian army fell under two simultaneous wars and I got the last of their soldiers in the battle of Moscow.
Then I started getting call for peace and war exhaustion ticking up fast each month, so I ended up that war taking only 3 provinces (also 4 from Perm and 3 from Morocco in addition to Edirne I already mentioned).
And just after I finished my war, the other alliance finished theirs, releasing Ryazan which I quickly allied with to diplovassalize. Meanwhile Walachia got 2 of Bulgarian provinces. I'm not sure how exactly, but now that Bulgaria lost all its coast, I plan to diplovassalize Walachia instead, into the vassal slot which just got freed by annexation of Candar.
And that's it for today, next time I'll be finishing off South-East Asia while waiting my diplomats try to arrange some diplovassalizations. Hopefully some opening in European alliance networks shows up soon - my troops were so awful against Russia I really don't want to get into any fights with multiple major Western powers at once.
In other news Sweden went Protestant really late for no obvious reason, since they're like 90% Catholic (just look at the map) - if it wasn't for that, Protestantism would be pretty much over as soon as I arrive in HRE.
Future Roman empire marches towards Rome. That blue dot is Ryazan. That annoying gap on my way to Constantinople is Poland and Walachia.
Look at all the colors where Ming used to be
Coming soon: Restored Pentarchy
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1602-1608
I was keeping busy fighting South-East Asian minors and finishing off Mutapa when I noticed that France (already much less bloby than usual) was being beaten really hard by Spain and its buddies. Which was pretty important, as France was the only significant country backing the Pope. That's as good a chance as I'd get, so I got military access from Milan to land all my troops, and attacked with overwhelming force. I mean, really overwelming - battle of Romagna was a 82k-20k slaughter. I've learned my lesson from the Russian campaign, and spamming shipyards worldwide allowed me to have a sizable transport fleet in the Mediterranean with some protection - not good enough against Spain, Portugal, or Venice perhaps, but perfectly adequate against a few minors.
There was a risk that France's allies like Naples, Saxony (the emperor) and various minors might join, especially if they managed to block the sea before I landed all my troops, but nobody except Corsica and Muenster (the German one, not the Irish one) actually bothered to show up, and my fancy strategy of massively overwhelming force ruled the day.
Of course just as I suspected, Rome is completely impossible to convert, even with an inquisitor, high patriarchal authority, and all the other aid I can think of.
While I was busy fighting France, Russia decided to conquer Perm. It's not exactly unexpected development, since what's left of Perm is so weak, but Russia needs to be dealt with at some point. Or not - Ottomans, Ming, and France fell over without any help, and the only country I really had to fight the hard way in the whole game were the Mamluks. After they take over Perm, the only directions they have are settling Siberia, or going against Sweden, Lithuania, or me - none of these are particularly good prospects.
I diplovassalized Wallachia and Ryazan as planned, but now it's time for some annexations - I'll need 2 more slots to complete South-East Asia, and 3-4 for electors. Tripoli, Kilwa, Kachar, and Ayutthaya are on the shortlist for annexation in a decade or two, but that still leaves a few slots since Ryazan, Kazan, and Walachia are un-annexable due to distant overseas (unless I annex Byzantium first), Byzantium is needed for western arms trade bonus, Chagatai just hates my for all my previous annexations (but with good timing I might be able to turn that), and I still need Pegu to annex Khmer and Annam.
Pentarchy progress: 8/10 - I guess I'll need that damn Witchcraft act to convert Rome and Constantinople after all. The thing is - if I pass witchcraft act, and then my inquisitor dies mid-conversion, I'm doubly screwed. I'll think about it after I annex Byzantium, which will only happen after westernization (and hopefully after I get Byzantium's cores from Venice, I'm still far from continuous land route from India to Rome, but that's 0AE way to get progress on it), so that's still long time to go.
Westernization progress: border with highly advanced Siena established, I might need to fall another tech or two behind to start. This needs some planning as I need 0% overextension too, but so far I've been keeping low-OE border provinces to keep Holy War CB in North Africa and South-East Asia. I'll also need big reserves of monarch points, manpower and money, but that should be relatively easy actually. I wouldn't even be surprised if westernization turned out to be easier than Timurid dynastic succession civil war (one where I released Iraq and Persia) and Orthodox conversion civil war.
Emperorship progress: I have a border with the empire, and level of AE getting there generated was very modest. I'm not sure where I want to fit that in grand scheme of things.
HRE unification progress: so far away.
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1612-1623
What's the best thing to do while westernizing? If your answer is anything less than conquering China and half of Japan, then you haven't been really following my play style. I was just the right amount of tech behind the pope in Ancona, so I finished all my business with Morocco (Spain and Portugal got the rest), East Africa, (mostly) South-East Asia, got to 0 OE, and pressed the magic button. I wanted to do a bit more conquering in South-East Asia, but for some reason Portugal allied itself with Aceh and Majapahit (it has a small colony there, so it makes some sense), and that might trigger an alliance chain up to Spain, and then to Auvergne, Burgundy, Toulouse, and Savoy... yeah not really. There's a lot of one-off provinces left over from unfinished conquests since I was really in a hurry. I'll clean up the map later.
While I didn't want to get in fights against Europeans, China was a completely different matter - as soon as I pressed westernize button, I got CB on everyone in East Asia (thanks to my expansion idea group). So why the hell not use it. Somehow the recently released Zhou had military tech level 5 - that's weird as everybody else around is closer to 9-11, and even Aztecs are at 6. So two stacks of 30k each, vassals as backup, and beating up Zhou to release Xi and get a few extra provinces.
Then Ming. They were losing a war against Oirats, so there was basically no fight, one quick one-sided battle, then carpet siege - and I didn't even have enough troops to carpet siege all of it at once. The only trouble was that I was at 92% OE while converting provinces to sell to Xi. After than war, releasing Shun.
Then it was a bit harder to invade Ouchi (one of independent daimyos) and otherwise unified Japan, since my only fleet there was a bunch of outdated transports, but Western half Japan conquered in double war, then released Orthodox Ouchi. Second war will be far easier since I made sure to take all of Japan's minor islands in one go.
Then back to get most of what was left of Zhou and taking two province from Manchus while at it. Then a quick war to annex and release Champa for sake of having a Malay culture vassal, which wil be useful in the future if I can convince Portugal to disengage from Indonesia - or if not I can always feed them random leftovers.
The wars were all trivial, and early on westernization seemed just fine - but then my stability went from +1 to -1 and my OE went from 0% to about 100%-ish, for a total of +8RR... Yeah, I probably overdid it, but it's more fun this way.
Unfortunately my tech is just 17/14/14 (I got all that admin tech just after I westernized to university fast, that was definitely not a good idea since that lowered westernization speed from 30/month to 28/month, and I had no reserve for increasing stability back, but initially westernization seemed really easy) while tech leaders are getting up to 18/18/18.
I have a new idea group unlocked, but I'll need to be teching now, especially military tech, so not sure what to use it for.
Oh and meanwhile Russia conquered most of Perm and started colonizing Siberia fast - got 4 provinces already, so I need to deal with them as soon as possible. Saxony managed to pass 2nd HRE reform. Apparently now only reforms 4th and onwards are bad for the members, 1st-3rd are good, in previous patch only 1st war good, 2nd reform was already bad for the members.
And I finally mostly figured out how the damn trade system works (and I really wouldn't if I had vanilla merchant speed, that makes testing basically impossible), so my income during westernization was actually very solid. I can also see how ridiculously unfair it is for everybody who's not Western European - and even for Asians, Kashmir is pretty much the worst of all trade nodes (small and with zero incoming arrows), and Northern Indian is one of the worst culture groups, so I want to shift capital, and then culture shift to capitals' culture (which can only be done if that's my dominant culture).
Basra and Persia nodes are relatively decent - balancing good connectivity with zero competition from Western Europeans. And then I could also make Persian my primary culture since it's dominant (8.3% share).
Next biggest culutre is Turkish (7.2%) which would be absolutely amazing, since Constantinople is a perfect trade node - and Arab/Turkish is one of those crazy culture groups which cover half the map. Then if I dominated Samarkand node (that is if I annexed Chagatai - except for Kazan pulling a bit of trade power downstream), Gulf of Aden (close to done already, Venice has a few ships only), and Malacca (not yet, but that's an easy conquest other than their alliance with Portugal) I could funnel basically 100% of Asian trade into Constantinople with my 3 merchants, and then autocollect as that would be my capital. It would make amazing sense, except I'd need to sell a few Persian provinces temporarily to some vassal to make Turkish dominant.
The downside is that 100% of Turkish provinces and 100% of Constantinople provinces are in Europe region, and I can't move my capital there, but I'm probably going to just do that by magical event anyway, for flavour reasons.
Third biggest culture is Bedouin (6.4%), which is in Basra, Gulf of Aden, and Alexandria nodes. Alexandria node is awful, but Basra and Gulf of Aden are fine. I'd need to offload a lot more provinces to make Bedouin dominant, but that's doable.
Other ideas would be going back to my original horde culture group - Tartar will be huge once I annex Chagatai and Kazan, possibly dominant. The downside is that its trade nodes are so awful, so I'd need to move my capital elsewhere soon after.
And then there's my original idea of conquering Russia, moving capital to Russian culture province in Asia, culture shifting to Russian, forming Russia, using special Russian decision to move capital to St. Petersburg in Novgorod node. Russian is a big culture group, so it would be dominant if I conquered Russia. Novgorod node needs 5 merchants to steer decent amount of Asian trade into, so that would basically be "... and then move capital to Constantinople anyway", but at least I'd change continent in a completely legitimate way...
Except when I tried that with some console cheats to integrate Russia first to test that out, the game instantly crashed on "Form Russian nation" decision, with nothing useful in logs, so yeah, I'll probably just give myself a special event to go Constantinople.
Pentarchy progress: Westernization unlocked Sunday Schools decision, which gives extra +1% missionary chance, and that with 3 stability and surviving Inquisitor would let me slowly convert Rome. Except I'm not going to do that just yet since the inquisitor is unlikely to survive long enough, and then I'm screwed.
Emperorship progress: None yet.
Political map - Russia getting big, France and Ming shattered.
. China and Japan conquered while westernizing
Religion map. Rome still Catholic.
Trade nodes. That green in North India is my capital's worst trade node on the map.
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1623-1627
Here's global threat assessment:
• East Asia - low urgency, my tech edge will only increase, I can wait however long I want to, the problem is Europeans can get entangled in alliances with Asian powers (as Portugal is already doing), or Russia might reach them
• Western Europe - medium urgency, I'll narrow the tech gap eventually, but HRE is in a really bad state with small number of dominant regional powers; I need to opportunistically look for any openings like ones for Constantinople anh Rome
• Russia - high urgency, they're far ahead of me in military tech, they'll only tech faster than me until my current awful 3/3/1 ruler dies and my 3/2/6 heir takes over, and they're getting huge amount of territory very fast in Siberia. Russian national ideas are totally overpowered with -10% tech discount negating half of Eastern group penalty, a ton of military bonuses, a free settler (in addition to one from expansion ideas) etc. If they reach Oirats or Manchus (in a few decades) they'll be able to grab huge amounts of easy territory there as well. Russia is currently allied with the Hansa, which is very strong but fairly distant. If they realigned instead with let's say Spain or Austria, that would be far more pain.
So I took one year to make final preparations like finishing conversions, increasing stability to +2, getting Sunday Schools for +1% missionary chance (so Rome can be converted now if my inquisitor doesn't die in 22 years - a few fort upgrades and patriarch authority increases plus stability +3 and that becomes actually doable), waging a quick war to take half of what's left of Ming for my Chinese vassals, starting annexation of Walachia, upgrading one diplo tech and ordering a fleet of 10 galleons that just became available on it.
Then I moved 60k to Russian frontlines, with some backup troops coming from Rome, Persia, and India and went for it. The Russians conveniently divided their forces into two big stacks, one of which crossed a river to engage a slightly smaller Byzantine (Western tech 17) stack in Kasimov. I joined, and with that battle won at 2:1 numerical advantage the war was on to a good start.
I chased the damaged stack to Novgorod, but then on its second retreat it went to Nizhny Novgorod, a bit east from Moscow, straight to join the other Russian stack. I threw everything I had into this battle - that was actually risky since numerical superiority with inferior troop quality can very well lose anyway, especially at lower combat width (which fortunately was not the case here) - fortunately it turned out that the fleeing stack just kept running past their allies, so it was very one sided, and after that Russian resistant wasn't very strong.
While battle of Nizhny Novgorod was about to begin, Hansa who I expected to land its troops via Russia's Baltic ports instead came all the way around to the Black Sea with 13 big ships and 7 transport to land in Yedisan. My fleet of big ships wasn't yet ready, but I had a ton of random crappy galleases, transports, one outdated big carrack, and various vassal fleets nearby - galley spam is a very legitimate strategy, and I just unlocked new ship types a year ago, so some losses wouldn't be that awful as I meant to replace those ships at some point anyway. Of 103 ships which took part in the battle on our side we lost 23, but Hansa lost all 20, as well as 7k troops on board. Fortunately my vassals had good sense to join the battle, otherwise it would have been unwinnable - vassal AI seriously improved recently. Russia and Hansa still had 59 ships between them, but these were mostly light ships, which AI prefers to keep protecting trade, and my 10 galleons were about to be built, so second landing attempt was pretty much out of the question. And as both Poland and Sweden were Hansa's rivals and wouldn't let its troops through, Battle of Gulf of Odessa that effectively kicked Hansa out of the war.
As everything was going so well and it was just a long wait to carpet siege Russia, I attacked Japan and Manchu too. Japan was very one-sided, they had 5k troops total, and were left with just their capital after the war. With Manchu I spread myself too thin, lost a big battle early on, and even after I turned the tide I peaced out taking just 2 provinces for Shun instead of prolonging this unnecessarily to get more.
Just after all that I started annexing Tripoli and Kazan. I'm not 100% sure how timeout on "annexed vassal" modifier works. It says it's 20 years, and I've seen it reset to 0 so it definitely works, but my vassals seem to have much longer memories than that (unless my sense of time is completely off - I've been expanding very fast, and playing in short burts does weird things to memories) - does that mean it's only cleared when I don't annex anybody in 20 years, and every time I annex another vassal, timer for all annexations gets reset? For everyone else it doesn't matter all that much since same religion, royal marriage etc. add up to a lot, but I don't see how Chagatai could possibly be annexed unless that penalty goes down by a lot.
Coming next, I'll probably clean up Korea, Brunei, Oirats, Khmer, and Zhou while waiting for either my truce timer with Russia, or some opening in the West.
By the way, I'm totally fine with Russia settling Siberia - it's not like Chagatai will settle it, and if they setup enough Russian provinces, I'll have Russian as accepted culture eventually. I just need to take over Russian provinces as fast as they're adding new ones.
My attempts at putting my king in harm's way so far failed.
Duchy of Ryazan finally getting somewhere
China pretty convincingly conquered
Orthodoxy spreading to China and Japan
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1627-1639
I started converting Rome and while I was at 60% my inquisitor died, so I took that damn Witchcraft Act after all. In addition to permanent +1 revolt risk and -10% better relations over time it also hits me with a decade of +10% technology cost, which is extremely painful right now, as I'm not really catching up fast enough.
I've been mass annexing everybody I can, so my legitimacy is pretty close to 0, and revolts are pretty common. And since my East Asian vassals are all overextended and at low religious unity (Xi even got a civil war for some time), I keep having to help them fight their rebels as well, so that's what's been mostly going on.
I did some amount of cleanup in East Asia when I noticed that Portugal and Aceh lost their alliance. That wasn't particularly important, but I might just as well. Meanwhile I built decent fleets in both Indian ocean and Mediterranean and annexed Walachia and Tripoli, so it was time to strike into Europe.
The most important target is of course Venice, which holds 8 Byzantine cores, but Venice is allied with Poland/Lithuania, whom I don't particularly want to fight. Fortunately I have cleansing of heresy CB, and that does not allow war leader change, so I can attack any of my neighbours to get into war with their allies without worrying about war leader changing and triggering a massive alliance chain.
So target one: Tuscany. Allies: Hungary, Ferrara, Venice. Also pulled into the war: Saxony as the emperor. Total of 123k troops and 108 ships. Technically much less than my side, but then I can't even get half of my armies into Europe safely, and they all have military tech 19 to my 16 (except Hungary who's Eastern tech 16).
Tuscan army wasn't hard to defeat, and Venetian army was somehow stuck on Naxos, which they weren't particularly interested in unblocking with my whole fleet sitting there (that meant leaving the rest of Mediterranean up to Venetian ships), so I went after Hungary first, with battle of Muntenia opening the war for good. Then a short but bloody campaign against Hungarian and Saxon army kicked them down to 76k troops. I wanted to get Hungary out of the war as soon as possible, but I sent my only free diplomat to fabricate claims on Rhodes instead. Anyway, when the diplomat came back, Hungary was still in a mood for more fighting, so I got military access from Austria and Milan instead to give myself more freedom of operation (then I noticed that apparently when at war against the emperor, I can freely walk around HRE, I did not know that).
Saxony was only a 3-province minor, so I could either vassalize or force convert them. I decided conversion would be much more beneficial long term, assuming they won't just flip back next day.
Weirdly I was notified of a battle of Seychelles where my two fleets of 101 trade ships total protecting trade in Zanzibar and Gulf of Aden trade nodes clashed with Venetian trade fleet and destroyed it. Enemy down to 50k troops and 74 ships. Catholic rebelled in Rome, but my army was still standing just next to it, so that was not a big deal.
Then my really good heir got died by an event while my shitty 66 year old ruler keeps on ruling.
Anyway, back to the war. Hungary took extreme beating before they'd even consider white peace, and the best I could get out of them was 200 gold. Then Venice was extremely stubborn and wouldn't give me anything whatsoever, but it turns out it let alliance leader Tuscany negotiate for it, so I forced it to return 4 of 8 cores to Byzantium. Interestingly, alliance leader can give away only occupied cores, in direct negotiations you can also take other cores - that obviously prevents a ton of exploits.
I did a quick war to get Rhodes from the Knights whose only ally was Venice, diplovassalized Bulgaria, and then my ruler finally died and was replaced by a random noble with 3/0/3 and 20 legitimacy, about to go to 0 due to annexations of Shun and Ouchi. That's still better than a baby being born just before the king dies and suffering through 15 years of regency, but still very annoying.
Next target: Russia. For a while they were allied with Sweden, but now just with Livonian Order, Riga, and diplovassalized Perm. A border with Livonian Order might let me convert and force vassalize elector Pomerania.
Pentarchy progress: 9/10. Rome converted, I'll annex Byzantium after I get the rest of its cores back in next war against Venice.
HRE progress: Saxony converted (they have 3 provinces - one Orthodox, one Catholic, one Protestant), realistic plans for vassalizing Saxony and Pomerania in about a decade, other electors might be a bit too big.
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1639-1645
So it was time to go after Russia. They were allied with Livonian Order and Riga, and Aceh joined them in coalition against me - a shame, since I'd otherwise just annex them outright sometime soon.
With narrowed technology gap and much more adequate amount of force used, it wasn't too hard. The Russians again divided their army into two big stacks. First in the battle of Moscow (since Moscow is isolated Russians moved their capital to Novgorod instead) Russian attempt to break the siege failed, and first Russian stack was reduced to running away around the place. Then in the first battle of Bashkortostan another Russian stack was sieging Chagatai territory, and Chagatai attempt at breaking the siege failed miserably, but since Russian stack was stationary there in open land I just formed a doom stack and wiped them out.
Russians with Livonian support managed to gather another stack in Novgorod, but AI mobility is pretty poor so I kept them there with some maneuvering until my doomstack assembled for a total wipeout. My first idea was to expand West towards Livonian Order since that was a way to get Pomerania, but Moscow itself was worth so much warscore I only got a few provinces and decided to cut Russia in half instead.
Then I've noticed that Ming westernized - too late, I waged a quick war to take 3 out of their 6 remaining provinces for Xi.
Pretty much as soon as my truce with Saxony and Tuscany expired I repeated cleansing of Tuscan heresy. This time neither Hungary nor Venice joined (a shame since I'll finish annexing Byzantium in 1648, and Byzantise cores will be wasted) , so the whole coalition was Tuscany (occupied due to another war), Ferrara (occupied by rebels), and Saxony (with whole 6k troops remaining). That's a bit underwhelming - I force converted Tuscany and Ferrara, vassalized Saxony, and that resulted in a snap elections which were won by the Palatinate - a much more dangerous enemy than Saxony could ever be. That's accidentally the biggest victory of Protestantism since they got Sweden - handed to them in an Orthodox-Catholic war. And somehow Saxony convinced Bavaria to flip Orthodox just before that, so there are now 4 Orthodox HRE members.
State of HRE electorate:
• Protestant - the Palatinate (emperor), Brandenburg, Oldenburg, Bohemia
• Catholic - Pomerania, Trier
• Orthodox, my vassal - Saxony
I can go to war against Palatinate right away, but they're backed by Sweden, Poland, Burgundy, Brandenburg, Provence, and Oldenburg. It's real nice that cleansing of heresy CB can't trigger alliance chains or I'd be in trouble.
My best idea right now is to diplovassalize 1-province Teutonic Order (a Catholic kingdom, not sure how), then cleansing of heresy against the pope to get Poland into the war, and force Poland to return Teutonic cores. (and later force Brandenburg to make them small enough to convert and/or vassalize)
Alternatively I could go straight for the Palatinate by attacking Siena (which would also get Milan, Savoy, and Venice into the war). Palatinate has 2 Saxon cores which would be really useful for cutting them down to size, even if that doesn't get me closer to being elected.
What I don't particularly want is my previous strategy of trying to get HRE member to release others - that costs a ton of diplo points now, and they're likely to get eaten back real quick.
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1645-1651
I beat up Russia for a few provinces, finished off Aceh, diplovassalized Teutonic Order, and proceeded to cleanse the Catholic heresy present among Finns and Livonians, both without any great power backing them.
In a repeat of Russian-Finnish War from another timeline, my numerically superior forces got beaten by Finland at Kexholm, even though in was flat, I had good general (so did they) etc. I'm still only military tech 18, and they're at 20, so that surely had something to do with it.
By the way my convoluted plan here is to first force Finland to go Orthodox, second force Finland to become a monarchy, third peacefully diplovassalize them at a grand total of 0AE. I can't do that to Livonians as they're a monastic state, and you can't revolutionary war that.
Even with that one battle not going according to plan, force conversion of both countries wasn't too hard. And then Poland/Lithuania decided to attack Livonian Order. That cannot be allowed to happen - they already hold 5 provinces which are rightfully my vassal's and now they want to conquer some from Livonians? No way! Conveniently my war fleet of now 26 galleons as well as Teutonic Order's fleet of 11 smaller ship were both conveniently already in the Baltic, sent to blockade Finland and Livonians.
The only question was which CB to use, and what would be the war goal:
• Defender of the Faith would let me force them to release Ukraine (which is half Orthodox, half Catholic) for 0 diplo points, breaking Polish/Lithuanian power forever. Or I could force them to return all of Teutonic cores in one go thanks to 25% discount. But it follows regular alliance chain, so all AI allies of Poland would join.
• Cleansing of Heresy CB has no discounts except forced conversion which I don't particularly care for right now. But if I attacked Lithuania this way it would not follow instant alliance chain, so AI would have to voluntarily join the war via call to arms, which might or might not happen, and I'd probably face a smaller number of enemies.
Well, I'll have another chance to cleanse their heresy, tech level difference isn't that huge (16-20 their side, 15-20 my side), and none of Polish allies have significant fleets, so I went for the hard one. Free Ukraine! Jagiellon go home! Ukraine for Ukrainians! Mughalmaidan!
Of course just a few days after I declared war Poland entered into an alliance with Venice, which enthusiastically joined the war while my galleons were all in the Baltic Sea or Indian Ocean. Ouch.
Total forces: 545k soldiers an 313 ships on my side (maybe half of them can make it to the frontlines), 280k soldiers and 118 ships on theirs - Poland, Lithuania, the Palatinate, Austria, Venice, Ansbach, Luneurg, and Magdeburg, on average enemy has slightly higher tech level. And unfortunately due to constant rebellions I can only really commit about 180k soldiers and 97 ships to the conflict, plus whatever my vassals could afford to send. If I could kick Austria and especially Venice out of the war early, that would make it far easier, but AI shows extreme reluctant to abandon its allies these days, it was so easy back in EU3.
Venice decided to throw away its ships against my fleet of transports and galleasses - not the worst idea on its own, except they did that in small batches instead of all at once, losing 33 ships without anything to show for it. Meanwhile Saxony and Teutonic Order predictably got overran, which wasn't completely worthless since at least they'll hold some of the enemy armies sieging for a long while. I ordered 5 more galleons and another shipyard just to make sure my accidental naval dominance remains in force.
In the North it was going much worse. Polish fleet sunk down Teutonic fleet and two of my blockading galleons (the rest were on the way to Mediterranean, as I didn't even notice Poland had a real fleet, and they couldn't come back fast enough), and in battle of Wenden my 87k troops lost to Polish 101k, mostly due to morale failure. That failure convinced me to choose quality idea group and get immediate one idea there, even if it will slow down my tech catchup a bit. (military tech level 19 is also really good, not sure if I did the right thing here)
And then, on May 31st 1650, the Pentarchy got unified, bringing about a new era of unified Christianity. Well, not really just yet, but hopefully sometime soon.
Well, back to the war. 138k enemy troops managed to crush Ryazan's 38k stack in Polotsk. Polish army chased that stack to Vladimir, where I joined the battle to prevent its annihilation, and that battle I lost again. I took that as a sign that I need extra 75k infantry (but then I merged a lot of regiments to get them back to combat ready faster for battle of Vladimir so I'm not that many regiments up, that did not help enough).
So far this war is going really poorly, but three things to consider:
• I'm pretty much war exhaustion proof (as defender of the faith I get constant WE downtick every turn, and WE since losses as proportion to manpower), they aren't, they're getting constant WE due to blockades and loses , and you can't reduce WE while at war in this mod (other than by events or by being defender of the faith).
• My manpower and money resources are pretty much infinite, theirs aren't.
• All 5 patriarchs agree - God is on my side.
Unfortunately the God did not seem terribly helpful just yet. I defeated Lithuanian 27k in Tambov, but then I lost 141k vs 107k battle of Voronezh, and my vassals got crushed in Tarnovo. Seriously, this is going awfully - even when I see some isolated stack, they always manage to reinforce it fast enough, so my tactical maneuvering is going horribly compared to all previous wars where I was able to get a good edge this way. So maybe it's time for another 25k more artillery, 25k more infantry, and another order of galleons.
About the only good news is that +25 legitimacy from Pentarchy and random stability event finally lowered my revolt risk to just 0.3% per province, so I can finally bring another 100k of troops from rebel chasing duty to the frontlines. I still need to keep 3 stacks in China, since Xi whom I left with massive OE (because the game is bugged and doesn't have any OE limit for vassal feeding right now, I meant the mod to have 50% OE limit for vassals just like for other AI, but that doesn't seem to work) can't handle Zhou revolts at all. Visually number of provinces I gave them at a time didn't seem that big, but they all have very high base tax, so yeah, I screwed that up, and they're at permanent nearly 200% OE and very negative stability. I've sent Xi 2000 gold so they can maybe spam enough mercenaries or whatnot to deal with it. Or I could just let them lose a few uncored provinces to Zhou for a while, core the rest peacefully, then I'd get all that back in another war. I was in too much hurry due to Ming suddenly westernizing, and I didn't want to setup Zhou as another vassal just for a few provinces since I can't annex anyone until 1668 (I need 20 year break in annexations so annexed vassal penalty expires, and I can finally get rid of Chagatai etc.).
And so the war continues. It will be at least six months before my newly recruited troops and troops relieved of rebel chasing duty reach frontlines and my existing regiments which retreated to Constantinople reinforce to full strength.
The war was extremely miscalculated - I thought I'd outmaneuver and destroy Polish and Lithuanian forces in Livonian territory before their allies even showed up (especially if they went to siege Saxony instead), and then go after Palatinate alone for second easy victory. Instead, current war score is -39, but I have full intention of winning that by overwhelming WE, then white peacing Venice and Austria out of it as soon as possible, then by my original strategy. The biggest danger is if I get that damn call for peace timer.
At least one part of the war is going amazingly well - Livonian Order territory is totally secure since Poland/Lithuania is focusing 100% of its forces on me, not on them, and Livonians and Finns have been converting their territory pretty quickly.
• While nobody cared about my other conquests which were either very remote or against Muslims, fights in Western Russia generate very large amount of AE in Europe (due to distance and same religious group) - especially in Bavaria which was the first independent Orthodox country in Western Europe. I'll need to reconsider if I really want to continue conquering Russia like that, even if they successfully colonize Siberia I don't expect them to be that much of a threat now. I could instead just beat up hordes in the East and setup an Orthodox horde so at least that won't fall into Russian hands - Russia without half of its European part, and without any conquered hordes really isn't that strong.
• Retrospectively +5RR for non-accepted culture I did in this mod is way too much - not counting buggy stuff like OE limit for vassal feeding not working, that's one thing I'm least happy about of all my changes. And my OE 101% bump smoothing was nowhere near good enough, I'll need to smooth than some more.
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1651-1656
At the beginning of the war in 1650 my forces were 545k soldiers and 313 ships against 280k soldiers and 118 ships. On January 1st 1652 it was 538k and 318 ships vs 188k and 114 ships.
I decided to strike at the heart of the empire to get concessions out of them, while bulk of the enemy armies tried to siege Ryazan's remote provinces, counting on Austria and Venice eventually getting tired of the war regardless of what I do, and that would leave Poland/Lithuania alone. Meanwhile my newly recruited armies gathered from India and Persia in Crimea.
Great Britain and Milan got into another war against the Palatinate, so I got an unexpected help in a way. Of course my strike against the empire failed miserably when Austria defeated me at Mainz. And then a series of battles in Poland and Crimea followed, with some wins by both sides. My force sieging Magdeburg, very close to victory, unfortunately got wiped out, setting me back my a lot.
Amazingly Teutonic order managed to siege a few provinces while Polish army war busy elsewhere - including Warmia where the entire Polish fleet was taking shelter, so I sunk at least that and sent 21 galleons from Baltic to Rome to join the rest of my fleet for a showdown with Venice. Showdown which ended up being completely unnecessary as Venice finally white peaced when I was about to wipe out their last stack in Krain. I probably should have wiped them out anyway, for some easy warscore since that would still count even after they left the war.
I ignored Austrian armies hoping they'd peace out out of war exhaustion, but they decided to attack me in Bohmerwald. Once they lost that, I blockaded their ports, destroyed all their armies at Krain, and white peaced. Sounds underwhelming but now the balance of powers turned to 420k soldiers and 320 ships vs 63k soldiers and not a single ship.
I mostly ignored Polish armies in Ryazan and started carpet sieging Magdenburg, Palatinate, and Poland (Lithuania was lower priority since it's under PU and that doesn't count as much as Polish provinces for warscore as far as I understand), but time for a showdown came, and I crushed their remaining armies in a few battles.
Somehow all my infantry ended up in the East and all my artillery ended up in the West, costing me some minor battles against what was left of Palatinate's armies, but they managed to get themselves into a war against Hansa while fighting me, Great Britain, and Milan... Yeah, that's not a good way to run the empire.
I decided to ally myself with Livonians - that's an honest alliance, since they're unvassavizable as a monastic state.
Finally after 5 years, 108 battles (even to the end, I had slightly negative score from battles), and with just 61k manpower reserve (of 450k max), I convinced Palatinate to return two cores to Saxony, Magdenburg to go Orthodox, and Poland to release Ukraine - which was a total fail since Ukraine got released as Catholic (even with Orthodox capital, they're about 50%-50% each religion), only got Lithuanian parts, not Polish parts, and they were still just barely too big for diplovassalization (45 total base tax, 40 is hard maximum for no obvious reason in the new patch). These new rules are total bullshit, so I'm going to just disable them since I liked 1.3.2's system a lot better (base tax penalty is quadratic, so you need to be really huge to diplovassalize anybody of that size), and then Ukraine will understandably be totally fine with being my vassal.
I left Poland and Lithuania with level of war exhaustion which will hopefully make them fall apart - and hopefully Ukraine and Teutonic Order will get some of that - and maybe some Orthodox kingdoms like Polotsk and Smolensk will spawn from Ukraine, as well as Mazovia, Silesia, and Moldavia (sadly all Catholic) from Poland? Maybe I'll support some rebels in both. It mostly depends on how much diplo power they have stored for reducing war exhaustion.
Palatinate is at two wars and facing high war exhaustion too, but I doubt anything will come from that.
Apparently someone conquered Oldenburg, so HRE is down to 6 electors - it would be really neat if one of Orthodox countries got the next seat, but I'd expect Palatinate to nominate someone Protestant instead.
Anyway, it's time to do some mid-game modding to give myself decision for moving my capital to Constantinople. I'll just copy Ottoman decision and make it switch my accepted culture to Turkish too - it's more for the sake of flavour than any serious power level either way, Basra would probably be close to optimal capital for me if one counts trade competition from Venetian light ships I'll be getting in Constantinople, and to remove hard limit on vassalization.
I'll keep +5RR for non-accepted culture for this campaign, even though this definitely gets lowered to +4RR for the next release.
EU4 campaign: Roman (and soon to be Holy) Emperor Timur: 1656-1662
Here are some facts:
• I converted all the Eastern world to Orthodoxy all the way to Japan
• I restored the Pentarchy
• I control Rome
• I'm moving my capital to Constantinople
• I peacefully convinced previous Byzantine Emperor to hand me over his crown
• I'm trying to convince Western Roman Empire to elect me as their emperor (1 vote so far)
I'm the damn Roman emperor already, and the tag should reflect that! It's time to switch tag to Byzantium as part of my special decision to move my capital to Constantinople. No doubts about it here. Also with new decisions, new ideas and so on - mostly for flavour reasons, in terms of power level +3% missionary chance I'm getting from Byzantine ideas would have been amazingly useful before, now not as much. I also lost 2 claims on still unconquered Indian provinces (Bhutan and Kashmir) but got 4 cores held by Venice instead, which is nice, but doesn't really change where this game is going.
Imperial coronation had to be celebrated so I sent 1000 gold to Champa, Chagatai, and Ryazan, and 500 to each of my smaller vassals, some celebratory gold to rebels in various countries. Then I declared war on merchant republic of Finland to install some duke on the throne, preferably my cousin.
It took Poland and Lithuania zero time to get their war exhaustion from 20 to 0, showing what kind of bullshit this mechanic is, and how it really needs to be disabled altogether (paying diplo points to reduce WE faster is one thing, paying diplo points to instantly go from max to zero is just such nonsense).
Rebels that spawned during the great war and which I was cautious to leave alone made Chelmno defect to Teutotic Order, but nothing else came out of all that rebel support. I guess either +6% is way too low or the mechanic is completely worthless as long as WE can be freely reduced, or both.
Newly installed king of Finland understandably was grateful enough to accept my overlordship with some heavy bribery.
It was time for some more easy peripheral wars while my manpower was slowly recovering - Manchus and Russia. Inconveniently Livonian Order was allied with both Russia and me. Conveniently, I changed my mind about my alliance with Livonians being of use to me.
All wars were going really well - Manchus lost 11 provinces where I'd setup Orthodox Mongol Khanate, Livonians gave back Memel to Teutons, and Russia lost all its European provinces except Novgorod and Arkhangelsk. The biggest fail was when Russia-allied Hansa war fleet went all around Africa, landed on Borneo (which I completely ignored), and sunk most of my fleet protecting trade in Basra with their much superior ships.
By the way nonsense like that just confirms that disabling naval attrition was the right way. It's absolutely impossible for human player to do such thing in vanilla, not even remotely.
While at war with Russia I got a random events that gave me a choice between 25 army tradition or 175k or so manpower - apparently my recovery after war with Poland is going to be a lot faster than Poland would like it to be. Poland has slightly negative prestige, so with some luck their PU with Lithuania is going to end and that great Commonwealth will be shattered forever.
I finally reached tech levels 20/19/19 - nearly on par with Europeans, as most advanced countries are at 21/21/21 (which is still one year ahead of time). That means my limit of free leaders increases drastically from 1 to 3, and I ordered construction of a hundred new ships of all kinds, to replace obsolete models which were apparently only good for Hansa's target practice. What makes most difference to my naval superiority is that now half of my trade fleet is in Mediterranean instead of all of it being in the Indian Ocean - so during wars I can use them for fighting, and they're pretty decent thanks to large numbers.
The next two targets were Venice and Korea. Korea had two Manchu culture provinces which my Mongol Khanate also wanted (Manchu in in Chinese not horde culture group, I sold Mongol Khanate some pre-cored Manchu culture provinces so they'd accept Manchu), and Venice had 4 of my Byzantine cores. Venice's allies were Poland (truce), the Hansa (truce), Naples (somewhat worrying), very small Switzerland (less worrying), Pisa (guess who's going Orthodox next), and Ferrara (irrelevant).
Their alliance had 98k troops and 207 ships, of course completely uncoordinated, so they got down to 3 ships before first siege even completed. The wars were fairly uneventful other than for some fancy naval manoeuvring since I didn't really have naval superiority day one, only after sinking enough of enemy ships, and I achieved all my goals (4 Venetian and 2 Korean provinces, converting Pisa to Orthodoxy).
Next step: Poland/Lithuania. The good news is that they somehow got prestige so bad their PU won't survive that, and their only allies are Switzerland (truce) and the Palatinate (I can pretty much ignore them, I got everything I wanted from them for the time being). I don't plan to give anything to Ukraine, since they're only -14 away from accepting vassalization, so maybe once I annex a few more countries, they'll be awed enough to accept the inevitable. The goal is just restoring Teutonic Order's possessions currently held by Poland.
Another interesting question - do I want to get into colonial conflict against Portugal and Spain? It doesn't seem very relevant for my main objectives, and they aren't getting much of my trade (Italian minors get a lot more), but it's so tempting.
Other interesting bits:
• OPM Zhou defected from Ming and they're Orthodox - their only province is Buddhist, but majority of their cores (within Xi) are Orthodox.
• I can't annex anyone until 1668 so the annexed vassal penalty clears, but then annexationfest will resume. After annexationfest I'll be able to get involved in HRE politics more seriously, right now I'm just out of vassal slots.
• There are zero Shiite and Shinto provinces, Hindus have one Portugal-allied country, eliminating Sunni might get more realistic once I annex Chagatai since that's the biggest Sunni blob.
• France is not quite as weak as it seems, they have significant possessions in the new world.
EU4: (Almost Holy) Roman Emperor Timur: 1662-1673
First a war against Poland to get Teutonic lands back - the Palatinate was much more annoying than I expected them to be, but it was pretty easy overall, so 3 provinces added.
Then a quick one against Siena to get it to convert, without trying to extract any concessions from its allies (Milan and Savoy) - Milan fought a surprisingly close battle in Siena in spite of nearly 2:1 odds against them. That's what military tech 22 vs 19 does (most of Europe is at about 20). By the way all that is largely due to this mod having EU3-style republican elections, so republics will typically have some edge in tech over most monarchies.
By the way one of the reasons I'm getting into so many small wars is to reset truce timers. I don't particularly want to face a repeat of that huge war with Poland/Lituhania, Austria, Venice, Palatinate, and some OPMs all at once - making Siena Orthodox might not be a huge deal, but now Milan and Savoy won't join any war in the next five years.
It's a bit silly how I've only now noticed this - in this patch you pay diplo points per province for forcing release nations (unless you use special CB like defender of the faith) - but now this removes cores of releasing nation. Before it was diplo points free, but released nations would usually get reconquered fast. Now it's more expensive but more permanent. So it might be worth it to get into fights against all major HRE powers to make them release all the OPMs at some point after all.
Anyway, Hungary beat up Venice and forced them to release Albania (promptly converted to Orthodox) and Montenegro, and now Hungary, Poland, and Sweden completely cut my approach West, so I'll need to beat up one of them at some point.
Then came wars for some Asian territory against Oirats, Manchus, Russia, forced conversion of what was left of Venice (backed by Ferrara), and forced conversion of Naples (who were supposed to be backed by Poland/Lithuania, but got betrayed instead).
All of this so far was horribly unambitious, so I sent 3 diplomats to start annexing vassals, and declared war on the emperor, conveniently allied with 3 electors (Pomerania, Hainaut, Brandenburg), as well as Sweden and Brabant.
Unfortunately none of the elector allies decided to show up, Sweden got beaten up by Northern vassals (it looks impressively huge, but that's just because of really stupid map projection Paradox uses), so I got them to release 3-province Hesse. Two things I learned - tooltip lies (it says it costs you 0 diplo points to release a country if you occupy it, but it costs full price of 16/province), and that countries that release nations lose cores unless it's in the same culture as their primary (not just culture group).
An interesting issue was what I'd do with Xi. It was a failed state with 184% OE - it was totally unable to handle all that even with me sending them loads of money and providing huge number of rebel-fighting troops, so I pretty much had to annex it. Nearby there were two stable vassal states - Mongol Khanate and Champa. I gave Champa some Han provinces so they'd accept Han culture, and attacked Zhou - only to realize that's actually Cantonese. Oops, white peace.
Then I attacked Ming to gave its both Han provinces to Champa properly. That will also covers two of Xi's many uncored provinces which are Han, the rest is definitely Cantonese.
I started a quick campaign against Russia for just one province before I start annexing Razan, and something really funny happened - Orthodox Magdeburg declared war on Orthodox Bavaria to convert their Catholic vassal Brunswick to Orthodoxy - setting up a huge war involving Hansa, Austria, Hungary, and an assortment of HRE minors. It was time to defend the faith, against.. let's say Hungary.
Of course just as this war started Xi got annexed, and together with my previous conquests that increased my OE to immediate 240%. Oops. I white peaced them for no value, and even my siege of Riga which was almost done (so I could convert them right away) I had to abandon for the time being because I couldn't deal with this kind of rebelfest.
Then I sold whatever I could. I got Champa to accept Han, and Mongol Khanate to accept Cantonese - except in all that rebelfest I accidentally sold them (Han, 14 base tax) Beijing, messing everything up even more. There was so much OE left that I gave back two cores to Zhou - I'm sure I'll reconquer them at some point.
Then Ukraine decided to call me to arms in its reconquest of Podolia. I thought I'd be war leader so I accepted, but nope - total waste of time. I pretty much gave up on my hopes they'd ever accept diplovassalization by now, so what I accomplished was splitting Poland/Lithuania into 3 about equally sized countries (or I will once Polish king dies and PU breaks due to negative prestige from constant wars against me).
Finland, Bulgaria, and Xi annexed, Ryazan in progress. Due to some silly wars I missed my window of opportunity to annex Chagatai, which was the one I wanted the most - I'll need annother 20 years annexations-free window to give that another try (that or release them, conquer piecemeal, and feed to Orthodox Mongol Khanate in same culture group if I'm really annoyed by all that).
All that frees 4 vassal slots, which I should use to expand in Europe - except so far all my attempts at getting myself in a war against HRE electors are failing miserably. I could also try to setup a vassal Denmark to get a border from the North, or just unfairly beat some random countries since my AE in Europe is currently at 0.
EU4 campaign: (Almost Holy) Roman Emperor Timur: 1679-1684
So while waiting for Ukrainians to warm up to the idea of vassalization and annexations of Champa and Teutonic Order to complete, I decided to conquer Zhou, and convert Hungarians to the true faith. Seriously, even the pope agrees, why are they so insistent on remaining in error?
Meanwhile, I've noticed Portugal gave up on their attempts to steal my money in Gulf of Aden, and Netherlands united as fairly significant HRE power, which will need to be broken up later.
Zhou war was completely uneventful. With Hungarian war, Hungary, Milan, Bohemia, and some minors (Riga, Siena, Montenegro) took the Catholic side.
My Roman army I sieged Siena. Milan tried to break the siege with smaller but more technologically advanced force, but failed. I quickly wiped out Hungarian navy, and then Milan landed their troops in Africa. I couldn't prevent their landing, but I managed to sink their fleet before they could withdraw.
Sienna, fell, but some time later Milan attacked in Siena again, and this time they won, and I had to withdraw my armies from Rome to Africa while Milan began sieging Rome. Rome is pretty close to untakable - level 5 fort, and level 2 unblocked coast, March for 3x defensiveness (slows down sieges) and a variety of minor modifiers. It can survive decades under siege, so I ignore Rome and Saxony (extremely slowly sieged by Bohemia) and focused on Riga and Hungary only.
Meanwhile I allied myself with what's left of Venice, in preparation for another vassalization. Diploannexing Venice is the easiest to connect my lands in Asia to HRE, so I started working on Venice and a bit on Naples.
Riga was a big surprise - somehow they had 2100 gold stashed, so I took that in addition to converting them, then I converted Hungary, took their 100 gold, and rivaled them as well to make Venice think better of me.
Just after the war, with Ukraine now as my vassal, it was time to take Poland/Lithuania and their buddy Austria. Not only they had cores Pomerania and Ukraine both considered rightfully theirs, Austria absolutely had to be cut down to size if I ever wanted to unify HRE.
After a few easy wins against uncoordinated Polish and Lithuanian came epic 117k vs 73k battle against Austria in Ostmarch (with reinforcements coming from both sides until the last day), then it was time for a slow war of attrition. Somehow Poland integrated Lithuania mid-war, even though the PU was supposed to break on king's death.
Then an awesome thing happened - my king died, my legitimacy went straight from 0 to 100, and that impressed Venice and Naples enough that both agreed to be my vassals just like that.
It took a long while, but I got Austria to release some minors, and Poland to return all territory I wanted. That's not that amazing, since Poland ate Lithuania and it still blocks land route to HRE by one province - and blocks route through Black Sea, while Austria is still huge.
It also hurts me a huge deal how much diplo points returning cores and releasing countries now costs - all while conquering claims is totally free.
Coming up next: force conversion of Bohemia and Brandenburg, followed by diplovassalization, followed by winning imperial elections.
• Mongol Khanate
• Pomerania (elector)
• Saxony (elector)
EU4 campaign: Future Holy Roman Emperor Timur: Accidental World War 1684-1687
First, I reduced diplo cost of non-wargoals to 40%, because it was silly how ridiculous new cost of releasing countries and especially returning cores is (and I did nothing with it this time). Yes, that also means diplo cost of force vassalization or taking nonwargoal provinces is lower (things where I'm totally happy with vanilla values), but there aren't enough settings to set these separately.
Anyway, I got into a bunch of wars:
• cleansing of heresy in Brandenburg - it pulled Hesse, Muenster (both on cleanse-me list), and Norway (who cares) into it. Palatinate had no balls to defend Brandenburg, even though they were allied.
• fabricated claim on Mali - sadly neighbouring over lake doesn't count for holy wars
• fabricated claim on Sicily to get them to return cores to Naples
• holy war on Hausa - which got a last minute alliance with Spain I didn't notice - who pulled Portugal into the war, so I'm at war with half of the world. Oops.
• fabricated claim on Albania - annoying 1 base tax province on my way to HRE
• overseas expansion into Majapahit - if Portugal wants a war, their allies are without protection, and they've been leeching surprising amount of trade from me
That is - a lot of tiny weak countries, and distant Spain and Portugal and all of Americas under them. (map below is after I peaced out Hesse)
Spain and Portugal had complete naval dominance all the time, and have been sinking my smaller groups of ships all over the world, from my tiny South American colony in Grao Para all the way to Indonesia, with Mediterranean and Baltic as well.
Spain and Portugal landed all their troops in North-West Africa. I tried twice to break naval blockade to secure landing of troops there - first time I gathered 144k troops, which got crushed by enemy 111k in mountains of Al-Djazair, and then my fleet got captured it a 86-126 ship battle and mostly sunk, with remains blockaded in Rome.
I was a lot more successful fighting in Hausa/Mali region, but sieges were slow as my blockading fleet got all sunk. I also took my troops fighting heresy wars in HRE to destroy army of Netherlands under Breda and Utrecht - that was 54k stack gone, and first good news in the war.
Fortunately all other wars were going much better, so I gradually shifted my armies to Egypt by land, and took an attempt at breaking through enemy sieges - unfortunately to get there my troops had to cross brutal desert, and by the time they got to frontlines they've been already significantly depleted and facing numerically and technologically superior armies.
As if that wasn't enough, my trade fleet got into a losing fight with enemy fleet, and the enemy decided to burn my colony in Tuat.
Eventually African deserts proved to be as brutal to my enemies as they were to me - Spain and Portugal grouped pretty much all their troops (120k or so) in Gafsa, where they were losing 15% a month to attrition. Gafsa fell, but their depleted troops scattered, and my third attempt at breaking through succeeded.
Spoils in the wars:
• Brandenburg is now Orthodox, and happily allied to me (soon to be vassalized)
• Hesse is now Orthodox
• Muenster is now Orthodox
• Sicily returned 2 provinces to Naples
• Mali lost one province
• Hausa lost 3 provinces, where I'm setting up Orthodox vassal Benin - unfortunately contrary to my expectations it looks like they won't buy that Mali's province because there's wilderness between them. They were also forced to break alliance with Spain
• Majapahit annexed and setup as Orthodox vassal
• Albania annexed
• Spain and Portugal forced to break their alliance - and both have horribly depleted manpower, so they're unlikely to repeat that performance next time
My manpower is doing really well actually - my enemies were fighting African heat more than me.
On the other hand I lost over 100 ships of all kinds, and rebuilding my fleet is slow.
Next I want to conquer Kongo and sell that to Benin (that's coastal so it should work as far as I know). I thought I'd be able to just have one big African vassal, but I might need two.
Unfortunately I don't have any more vassal slots, so no idea what I'll do with that province taken from Mali. I could presumably settle wilderness between Benin and Mali, and after that's cored sell it to Benin - but that would take a decade or so most likely.
I don't want to annex any vassals until Chagatai's vassal annexed counter resets, but I might release one or two over my diplo limit if I have to.
I'm pretty close to emperorship with soon to have 3 vassal electors, but Palatinate just won new elections last year, so it will probably take a decade or two until new elections.
I have free idea group, and I'm not sure what to do with it. I have more free admin points than anything else, but it's still not that much, and admin ideas (other than religious which I already have) are worst of all.
Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1687-1695
I did a quick conquest of 2 leftover Mamluk provinces. I considered coring them, but they annoyingly had +100% coring cost from Berber Traditions (because Tunisia had them before, not because of Mamluks), so I went over my vassal limit and released Tunisia. This will significantly increase protection of North-West Africa in case of another war against Spain and/or Portugal. On the other hand it will make my North-West African provinces distant overseas for all the penalties it causes.
I had a quick war against Kongo to grab half of it, then I forced converted Sweden to Orthodox, using this war as an excuse for some land grab in Hungary - to be distributed between Venice and Ukraine. Venice now accepts both Serbian and Croatian cultures, so I'm tempted to do some more land grab in the future, but then that's not particularly important land.
Brandenburg accepted vassalization, so now I'm just one heart attack away from being the next Holy Roman Emperor. Too bad EU4 doesn't have plots.
Then I attacked Bohemia to convert them, bringing Milan, Palatinate, and a bunch of minors into the war. I had my troops split between Saxony and Venice, while they had a 110k doomstack in the middle. Fortunately they decided to attack me in mountains of Salzburg, and since battles in mountains proceed much more slowly (due to low combat width) I managed to bring all the reinforcements and that pretty much won the war.
While the big war was going on I noticed that Hausa was still guaranteed by Spain - fortunately I peaced them out one month before Spain the last time, so I just declared war before Spain could do anything. Good thing I remembered to, as Spain and Portugal reestablished their alliance as soon as truce timer expired.
In my Bohemian war, I converted Liege and Bohemia, and got Milan and Palatinate to release some minors. I could now diplovassalize Bohemia, but I have enough votes, and I'm already one over vassal limit.
Then all of a sudden everybody started fighting everybody else, so I declared defender of the faith against Poland (due to them joining a Norwegian reconquest of some Swedish provinces) to make them release Moldova, Smolensk, Polotsk, and Austria to release Salzburg (didn't I do that once before?).
The emperor is unfortunately just 29 years old, so waiting for new elections will take forever. On the other hand, it's just 6 provinces, so I could maybe force vassalize them in a few wars instead.
I took exploration as my next idea group for second colonist, all for West Africa. I'm not even sure why I bothered, it's all fairly pointless map painting there.
In 1699 vassal annexed penalty timer expires, so I'll finally be able to annex Chagatai and other vassals I no longer need. Mass annexations will also massively deteriorate my relations with my elector vassals, so it would really suck if new elections happens exactly when our relations will be at their lowest.
Annoying thing: Smolensk has 2 provinces: Orthodox and Catholic - and it went Catholic. Polotsk has 2 provinces: Orthodox and Reformed - and it went Reformed (first country ever to do so this campaign). I'm sure there's some logic for it, but I'm really unlucky with it.
I have nice road to HRE in the South, but in the North it's really awkward. To go from Constantinople to Pomerania I first need to either take ships through Black Sea or cross Caucasus by land. Then I need to go all the way around Poland through Moscow to Neva, then take ships to former Teutonic lands, then again to Pomerania. I'm really tempted to just go for some blatant land grab up there, since my AE in Europe is so low - Moldova, Polotsk, and a few Baltic coast provinces should be enough without making people hate me too much, but then I really don't feel like coring any of that, and they have awkward mix of cultures (Romanian, Polish, Old Prussian, Estonian, Latvian etc.).
EU4 campaign: Almost Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1695-1705
I had truce timers with everybody I wanted to fight, so I passed the time fighting Korea (I couldn't take more due to culture issues, but one of their provinces was claimed by Mongol Khanate), Kongo (annexed), and Mali (they have ridiculously rich provinces, Timbuktu is 14 base tax).
Then I attacked Palatinate under some silly pretext - the only goal being splitting the Palatinate even more in case I need to force vassalize them to trigger early elections. I got them to release Frankfurt quickly and called it a day.
I didn't really want any serious warfare, so I just quickly converted Moldavia, Polotsk, and Smolensk to Orthodoxy.
I ran into a silly bug - vassals are not supposed to buy provinces they can't core, but Benin bought one (there was path through my colony), and they were my key to annexing Mali, so I had to go 2 over my vassal limit.
Russia and Mali got into an event-driven coalition against me, so I holy warred Mali for a few more provinces, including border with Kanem Bornu. Russia got a lot of warscore fighting my technologically inferior vassals in Asia, but it was pretty much irrelevant - they got overwhelmed, and sieges matter more than battles anyway.
I took 4 more provinces from Mali, waited for end of the month to get CB against Kanem Bornu, released Songhai, and attacked Kanem Bornu on the same day (should work until end of the month actually), even though I no longer had that border after releasing the new vassal.
Meanwhile another batch of vassal annexations is ongoing - I annexed Naples already, and Chagatai, Mongol Khatate, and Majapahit are in progress. I'll probably just annex everybody who's not an elector if possible. Unfortunately that gives a pretty big penalty to my relations with my vassals, so hopefully elections won't trigger exactly when my vassals decide that they hate my after all. I probably should diplovassalize Bohemia after these annexations just to make sure I win even if one of my vassals decides to hate me.
There isn't that much challenge left in the game, I mostly want to see my massive plan for unifying HRE (elections, then all the reforms) actually working.
EU4 campaign: Almost Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1705-1725
Palatinate got reduced to 3 provinces in a few wars (not just with me, other countries figured out the opportunity as well), and they lost any interest in defending the empire, so I have to wait for new elections to occur naturally (seriously, I so need CK2 style plotting in this game).
Meanwhile I annexed a bunch of vasals, conquered Mali, Kanem Bornu, Korea, Ryukyu (it looks like a bug that I didn't get expansion CB on them, so I took -1 stab hit to get them just for completeness sake), and even some countries in Europe - Sicily, Polotsk, and Smolensk since I was at 0 AE all the time. There are currently zero non-Christian countries in the Old World. There are 5 pagan countries in the New World, and I have CB on all of them since I finished exploration idea group, but none of them is anywhere near any coast, so that's of relatively little use.
I'm making insane amounts of trade money - with merchants in Malacca, Samarkand, and Gulf of Aden transferring trade nearly 100% of riches of Asia flow towards Constantinople, and I capture them first in Basra (with 0% competition), then again in Constantinople (not much competition since I annexed Venice and Naples).
My current vassal setup:
• 4 electors - Bohemia, Pomerania, Saxony, Brandenburg
• 1 in Asia - Korea
• 3 in Africa - Tunisia, Songhai, Benin
• 2 in Central Europe - Ukraine, Moldavia
I think if I became emperor I could unify all empire except Austria and maybe Hansa really quickly, since most other big HRE countries (Palatinate, Milan, Netherlands) got beaten hard recently.
It's also the first time I've seen independent colony - Canada became successfully independent from Great Britain. Not much else is happening in the New World.
EU4 campaign: Actual Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1725-1733.
I'm running constant wars to remodel HRE into a bunch of small Orthodox countries - during one of such wars previous emperor died and I got elected the new one.
Getting IA is really easy - releasing countries and converting them both generate a huge amount. So I can easily get majority of votes for reforms - but not unanimity necessary for 7th reform (Austria almost definitely won't agree, a few others are maybe).
I'm trying a new strategy that wouldn't work in previous patches:
• Diplovassalize random countries in HRE (so far - Bavaria, Hesse, elector Hainaut, Pisa)
• Vassals almost always vote for you, so you get a lot of free votes this way
• After 6th reform vassals within HRE don't count for diplo slot, so you can vassalize pretty much the entire empire this way except for big countries
• Except royal marriage is required to diplovassalize, and before current patch breaking it cost -1 stab, and massive relations hit. Now royal marriage expires as soon as ruler expires, and there are no penalties for refusing to get a new one.
So far I passed reforms 3 and 4, kicked Burgundy from all HRE lands, Poland from half of their HRE lands, and very aggressively converted and split HRE countries.
As the next step I'm going to fight Austria. I sort of want 3 wars - one to release Styria, one to convert them, and one to release all other minors they took, but that won't be strictly necessary.
And apparently someone managed to successfully sabotage relations of my neighmours with me (-50 on top of everything else), which translates to a pretty major penalty to passing reforms.
The only interesting war was with Hansa , who had massive naval superiority in the Baltic, and level 5 coastal forts everywhere, so it was pretty hopeless before I build a new Baltic fleet of 40 two-deckers just for dealing with Hansa. A bit overkill, but I have a lot of money.
Another trick I'm using - I did not join the empire. If I understand correctly, that means I'm excluded from prohibition of internal HRE wars after 5th reform, which is pretty much totally broken (it works both ways, but HRE OPMs probably won't attack me). The main downside is massive -100 to elections, but it's only a big deal if you're trying to get elected without vassalizing electors, which I never bothered with. There are also some minor downsides, like no free claims when you take HRE provinces from non-HRE members, but clamis are worthless anyway (if these were free cores like they should it would be a completely different matter).
HRE Unification Progress: 4/8 reforms
EU4 campaign: Holy Roman Emperor Timur: 1733-1741 (the end)
The endgame was quick. Russia tried to sabotage my relations with HRE members, so I beat them up and forced them to release Perm (not that it did anything to my relations) - now their capital is deep in Asia. I also split Poland because they were annoyingly getting involved in HRE matters.
Reforms 5 and 6 passed without any complications, then it was just a batter of diplomacy and bribes to convince Austria to agree to the 7th reform as well, but I did it even with -50 sabotaged relations. My provinces provided pretty much infinite amount of imperial authority, so that was never a problem.
That was a fun campaign:
• starting as a Sunni Timurid horde
• surviving endless succession wars by temporarily decentralizing the country
• settling down as Mughals, turning to Muslim tech group, and conquering India
• going Orthodox (with a little mid-game modding)
• westernizing and conquering China at the same time
• restoring the Pentarchy
• getting Byzantine emperor to hand over his crown
• completely eliminating all non-Chrisitan religions (except for a few native American tribes)
• becoming Holy Roman Emperor and unifying the empire
The only thing I didn't bother with which would be somewhat relevant were Byzantine missions to get all of Italy and Western Islands (Corsica, Sardinia, Baleares).
Two things I planned didn't work, and I had to do some mid-game modding:
• going Orthodox (the method I wanted to use only worked in old patches)
• moving my capital to Europe by forming Russia and using unique Russian decision for it (quick testing showed that the game crashes if I try that, it would have been viable otherwise)
I guess I could probably do all of that faster. I took a huge number of unnecessary detours on my way.
Anyway, it was loads of fun, and that's probably going to be my last EU4 campaign, at least for very long time (and a few DLCs or mods).
Orthodoxy is dominant