Here's new release of Modern Times mod for Crusader Kings 2 (Steam Workshop, Direct download).
It focuses on applying extra polish to a set of interesting starts. They're all marked as such in interface when starting the game. Here's some interesting characters to start as, for variety of difficulty levels.
Of course these are just some suggestions, there's a lot more other interesting characters to play as.
2015 - Modern Times
- Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - your newly proclaimed caliphate got to a good start, but it's surrounded by Christians, Jews, Shiites, and even Sunnis who just won't acknowledge your rule from all sides.
- Vladimir Putin, tsar of Russia - there's Soviet Union to reunite, what else can be said?
- Petro Poroshenko, king of Ukraine - can you recover Crimea? Or maybe set your ambitions higher and reunite Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian Commonwealth under different rulership?
- Nicola Sturgeon, queen of devolved Scotland - for how much longer Scotland will suffer under English yoke?
1991 - Fall of Soviet Union
- Lech Wałęsa, king of Poland - finally free of Soviet domination, can Poland into empire?
- Dzhokhar Dudayev, chief of Chechnya - odds you're facing aren't good. Can you survive the inevitable onslaught Yeltsin is going to launch at you when he runs out of vodka?
- Nursultan Nazarbayev, khagan of Khazakh horde - the great horde is finally free from rule by settled people. They will remember what it meant to fear the horse lords!
1979 - Iraq-Iran War
- Ruhollah Khomeini, shah of Iran - Iran was just the beginning, can you spread Shiite Islamic revolution beyond it, perhaps even recovering holy places from Sunni heretics, and reestablishing the Shia caliphate. Newly reestablished holy order of Hashshashim is here to help you remove heretics. Also you need to make sure Israel is removed.
- Saddam Hussein, sultan of Iraq - Iran needs to be stopped, and the whole Arab world needs to acknowledge your enlightened leadership. Also you need to make sure Israel is removed.
1948 - Cold War
- Jawharlal Nehru, samwat chakravartin of India - India is finally independent from the British, but your vassals are not fully committed to single India project, and many would rather be on their own. Can you keep India together, while also subjugating Pakistan?
- David Ben-Gurion, king of Israel - you're vulnerable from all sides, with no friends in the known world, and you can't even banish any minority to take their gold. Newly reestablished holy order of Zealots will help you, but will that be enough?
- Joseph Stalin, emperor of Soviet Union - with Hitler gone, you're the last horde invader in the world. And was it really wise to leave those Central European countries independent?
- Konrad Adenauer, kaiser of West Germany - after disastrous World War, can you reunify German lands?
- Wilhelm Pieck, king of East Germany - German workers in West Germany are oppressed by evil capitalists. Are you going to do something about it?
1939 - The Greater War
- Adolph Hitler, kaiser of Germany - as horde invader, you get free kingdom level CB on anyone for 500 prestige. Can you use this ability to get Lebensraum?
- Joseph Stalin, tsar of Soviet Union - as horde invader, you get free kingdom level CB on anyone for 500 prestige. Can you use this ability to spread Communist Revolution?
- Ignacy Moscicki, king of Poland - and you're stuck in the middle between those two...
1922 - Fall of the Ottomans
- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, sultan of Turkey - with Ottomans Caliphs gone, Turkey has just a shadow of its former influence.
- Alexander Karađorđević, king of Yugoslavia - there's still a lot of kebab left...
- Michael Hainsich, king of Austria - after disaster of the Great War, quarrelsome peoples of the Balkans are left without civilizing guidance from Vienna, a guidance which should be provided even without Habsburgs in charge.
- Józef Piłsudski, king of Poland - Poland is finally free, as first step towards reestablishing the Commonwealth.
- Vladimir Lenin, tsar of Soviet Union - bring rule of the proletariat to oppressed workers of the world, without help of any special CBs.
1914 - The Great WarSo far I couldn't come up with any good mechanics for WW1. Supposedly next patch comes with pacts system, which might be enough to setup something interesting. Until then, just determine goals you want, get some allies, and have a good war as:
- Wilhelm Hohenzollern, kaiser of Germany
- Raymond Poincaré, emperor of France
- George Windsor, emperor of United Kingdom and India
- Nicholas Romanov, tsar of Russia
- Victor Emmanuel Savoy, emperor of Italy
- Francis Joseph Habsburg, kaiser of Austria-Hungary
1878 - Treaty of BerlinOttomans have been removed from tiny part of Balkans, but it only just begun. As characters like:
- Milan Obrenović, king of Serbia
- Alexander Battenberg, king of Bulgaria
- Carol Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, king of Romania
- George Glücksburg, despot of Greece
1861 - Kingdom of Italy
- Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France - as nephew of great Napoleon, can you achieve what he failed to complete? Or are you going to lose all armies to winter attrition and lose your throne as well?
- Victor Emmanuel Savoy, emperor of Italy - Italy is mostly unified, but there are are still Austrians and unruly Pope to deal with. Will Rome me new capital of the world?
- Francis Joseph Habsburg, kaiser of Austria-Hungary - between newly unified Italy which wants to seize your lands in Venice, and Prussia which wants to destroy your influence among minor German states, you need to act fast or be left behind as second rate power.
1837 - Victorian Era
- Victoria Windsor, empress of United Kingdom and India - Victoria leads the greatest empire the world has ever seen, but will her empire survive where all states as vast and diverse failed in the past?
- Ranjit Singh, maharaja of Punjab - as one of few remaining Indian rulers not yet under British "protection", can you not only survive, and perhaps even usurp the title of emperor of India from Victoria?
- William Orange-Nassau, king of Netherlands - rebellious Belgium needs to be reintegrated into Netherlands. After that, your Reformed religion is poorly viewed among both Catholics and Protestants, and you need allies as minor power stuck between France, British Empire, and emerging Prussia.
- Otto Wittelsbach, despot of Greece - Greeks are finally free, but what is Greece without emperor in Constantinople?
1818 - Fall of Marathas
- Stanisław Wodzicki, count of Kraków - as last independent Polish leader squeezed between Russia, Prussia, and Austria-Hungary, can you lead Poland back to independence?
- Frederick William Hohenzollern, king of Prussia - national sentiment demands unification of Germany, and you'd rather see it under your not Habsburgs' rule
- Victor Emmanuael, king of Piedmont-Sardinia - Italy has been divided and under foreign rule for centuries. You're the best hope it ever had to become an independent power.
- Mamhud, Ottoman caliph - even with some minor setbacks, your empire is near its greatest extent. European powers desire your lands, and many of your vassals are of dubious loyalty. Will you join the ranks of great powers, or will you watch as it collapses into irrelevance?
Other changes from previous release
- A lot more historical rulers, assorted bugfixes to existing ones.
- Redone technology map. Regions should have sensible technology levels now, and historically important cities like London have extra technology bonus over rest of their region.
- To prevent big countries from collapsing in first year, independent king/emperor/pope level rulers start with some gold, prestige, piety, traits, vassal traits etc. as appropriate. Impact of this should be relatively minor after a few years into the game, but it gives AIs some breathing space to organize their countries, get some alliances etc.
- Many interesting historical characters get +1 or +2 health, as with historically accurate ages and CK2's medieval life expectancies they'd die too early. It's much more fun to kill Hitler than Hitler's nephew. This applies to many of characters mentioned above.
- More de jure map tweaks, especially in Central Europe. For example Prussia becomes East Germany and moves de jure borders after WW2.