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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Music scrobbling and regular expression bias

May 22, 2012 - Music of the Spheres by guidedbycthulhu from flickr (CC-NC)
Once upon a time I used iPod, and I even wrote scrobbler for it. Of course no hardware lasts forever, and I much prefer Sansa Clip, which unfortunately doesn't record enough date to write similar scrobbler.

Anyway, physical devices are really mostly for outdoor use, and I got most of my music from Streamus before it shared the fate of most music services from as far back as AudioGalaxy of being outright destroyed because of copyright fascism. The only good site that wasn't outright shut down so far was Pandora Radio, which was instead locked to US IP addresses and requires far too much messing with VPNs - from London it's a fate not much different.

So now I'm mostly using youtube as music site. It has this mix feature which initially was dreadful, but after some training it got to be fairly decent. And apparently there's even Chrome extension which records what I listen to on Except of course youtube doesn't have ID3 tags, so it just uses a regular expression - apparently very simple regular expression.

I'm mildly annoyed by this. It's fun to record this kind of personal data, and it's fine it's in a random sample and some is missing, but this just has massive bias. Most common title format for youtube music videos is "artist - title", and those get recorded, but some use "artist: title" or "title - artist" or "title by artist" or some other format, and currently they all don't get recorded or get misrecorded.

For example during last hour I apparently listened to song titled "Taylor Davis" by such diverse artists as:
  • Circle of Life on Violin (The Lion King)
  • Let It Go (Disney's Frozen)
  • Doctor Who Theme (Violins)
  • Bolero of Fire (From Zelda OoT) — Violin
  • Duel Of The Fates (From Star Wars) Violin
This unfortunately can't really be solved by a better regexp, but has crazy big database of artists and songs, so it could just detect that and flip them back to right order maybe? It really just needs API for unstructured titles, in addition to its existing artist/title API, as client can't really do that.

There's also a function to enter artist/album when scrobbler can't guess, but it should seriously at least remember what I entered if I listen to same music again (or even better have some database so if some other person corrected music title, just use that). And seriously, it needs to support Cmd-V to paste the title, it's totally silly that the mini-dialog closes instead of pasting if I press Cmd-V.

And of course there's a lot of other music which doesn't get detected as music at all. So far I haven't seen any cases of non-music getting registered as music - which is probably the wrong direction to err, as it's much easier to correct extra data with delete button than to add data manually.

Well, it seems they released it relatively recently so they might fix it at some point. For now I'm going to be mildly annoyed that data it records about myself is biased (probably in pro-mainstream way, as happens with most bias).

On an off chance this interests anybody else, here's the list.

By the way,  should something like "Taking the Hobbits to Isengard - 10 HOURS" count as one song in the date? I'd think it should count as a lot of separate songs, based on how much one listened to it. This is somewhat niche, but it's just another example how data recording process has pro-mainstream bias.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

CK2 Modern Times: Holy Roman Speedrun AAR

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-28 15:16:49 UTC

Holy Roman Speedrun: Part 01: 1837-1840: Removing Kebab from premises

Here's campaign plan - start as Austria-Hungary, crush any attempts Prussia or Italians might have of unifying their nations, and take over all historical HRE territory in Germany, North Italy, South Italy, or Netherlands. It should be very easy and rather short campaign.

First two months:
• I have unmarried ruler, 2 unmarried adult sons, 1 9-year old, and 2 baby daughters far too young to marry away
• ask my vassals to pass free investiture (so I'll be stuck on low crown authority for current ruler)
• diplovassilize Baden, Saxony, and Bavaria (in quick test Bavaria wasn't quite as willing as this time)
• invide strong claimants to Protestant Mecklenburg and Wurttemberg, get them to go Catholic
• turn all nearby counts (3 German Protestant, 1 German Reformed, 1 Polish Catholic) into my tributaries to farm prestige. Send missionaries there to maybe get them peacefully
• use that 500 prestige (only British Empire, Hitler, and Stalin start with prestige, but it's so easy to farm anyway) to setup antipope
• improve relations with 18 year old Victoria, I got her to arrange marriage (matrilineal, but what I want is alliance) with my 9 year old son
• use minimod's "accept invite" / "bribe invite" trait to find best martial skill characters anywhere and invite them to my court, turns out "bribe invite" calculations are incorrect, and only one out of three bribes worked. Oh well, it was worth a try.
• Use all my starting gold to setup full knight retinue
• seduction focus, try to seduce all duchesses in my realm to get easy vassal opinion bonuses (it mostly didn't work)
• guess what I did with the Jews?

And of course it was time to attack pope. Unfortunately I can't take advantagce of my vassal pope until I find some way to farm piety.

Well, no matter, first I'll just do some casual tributary wars. Oh, this is neat - my new pope called for a crusade for Greece. Ottomans are about twice as strong as me, but at least I'll be getting some piety, which I can use to claim duchy of Sicily.

The whole affair is sort of a detour from my primary plan, but it's not the worst detour. That was really fucking close. And I don't mean the Ottomans, I had 30% contribution, Spain had 24%.

All that is somewhat irrelevant to my campaign goal, but it got me about 500 piety (which means 5 duchy claims, one of which I already got), crusader trait, and tons of land to distribute to vassals who are going to be much more loyal to me than assortment of Hungarians, Italians, Croatians, Bohemians, and who knows what else I'm currently ruling over.

How quickly can I get the rest of HRE? Am I going to outrun next crusade? (about 1870 presumably)

Oh and I masaged to convert people of county of Nassau, but its ruler is still stubborn old heretic, his chaplain is currently trying to convert it back.



Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-28 21:19:19 UTC

Holy Roman Speedrun: Part 02: 1840-1850: Imperial Italy.

I gave away new lands in Greece mostly to existing vassals, as this is best way to spread technology faster, and to be more flexible in terms of troop raising. It's going to be border gore sooner or later anyway, I might just as well accept it.

I wondered about counterattack, but Ottoman Caliph declared jihad on one duchy in Arabia held by Ethiopia, so that's one problem I won't have to deal with anytime soon. I guess they were successful at least, so it counts for something.

I also tried some educational policy to try to turn Hungarians into Germans ("duchy heir" trait, not my culture - those minimods are amazing). This is a thing that sort of should work, but in practice it's so much micromanagement to get RNG dice roll I rarely bother.

I got a bunch of duchy level tributaries in Poland/Ukraine region - Russian empire fell apart this time, and decided to press my pope-approved claim to duchy Sicily, and my vassal's claim to Mecklenburg, trying to rely on tributary armies, but they didn't really do much.

Otto Wittelsbach, Orthodox king of Greece, was rather annoying as I was clearly ruling over Greece, so I made sure he had an accident, then I helped his distant Bavarian cousin defend from infidel attacks by Egypt, then I usurped kingdom of Greece. That incorporated his lands into my realm, but left Orthodox Achaia independent. Oh well, we'll fix it later.

So Sicily and Mecklenburg done, now pope tells me that I should be in charge of Tuscany, which I just crushed anyway helping king of Piedmont-Sardinia get his claim on Pisa. After that I usurped that title (renamed it North Italy to be less silly), diplovassalized countess of Parma, leaving just 3 counties of North Italy independent and 1 French. Close enough - and one of my vassals pressed claim on county of Modena, and my chancellor and spymaster managed to convince the rest.

Now that Wurttemberg-Italy-Prussia alliance is no longer much of a problem, time to press my vassals' claims to Wurttemberg and Prussia, as well as some minor wars.

Oh and finally my younger son came of age and married empress Victoria, so I potentially had a lot of backup, assuming she find some time between constant rebellions - one unfortunate rebellion she lost is one that made Britain elective, but India stays primo, so they'll probably go their separate ways soon.

Anyway, unfortunately getting title of Prussia did close to nothing, as king of Prussia had a second kingdom of Poland, and in such cases his demesne stays with him, so:

• he kept everything he had in Poland, Germany, and Netherlands
• he kept duchies of Prussia and Brandenburg as personal demesne
• I already had Mecklenburg
• so I only got 2 counties in Pomerania, and 1 of Rugen

In the meantime I found an heir to throne of Denmark, so I gave him a barony as well as titular "kingdom of Cyprus", so if anything was to happen to his older brother, Denmark would join the empire. And it did.

Unfortunately the plot thickens:

• my vassal king of Prussia died, leaving Prussia to weak baby who's king of Denmark and titular Cyprus
• king of Poland is now next in line to all 3 titles
• did I mention that he's actually my son, and not in any way related to Hohenzollerns? if Danish princess was a bit more honest, I'd have just legitimized him and wouldn't be having any of these problems
• I arranged his marriage to my daughter, because no campaign is proper without at least some incest

Well, no matter. I got Malta (it revolted from under Britain presumably), managed to get king of Sicily killed, and it meant another duchy-level war. Then he had an accident, and civil war, so I attacked both sides, then usurped Sicily, and finally sent remaining dukes some gold as gesture of good will, and they swore fealty to me. Excluding French Corsica, 100% of Italy is in the empire, as it ought to.

Hannover is ruled by a little girl, so I can help with that at least, and with Hannover under imperial control I can now crown myself king of Germany. Unfortunately I'm pretty far from controlling all of it, and if my bastard son Liudolf dies I'm going to lose a lot of it.

Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-29 02:55:45 UTC

Holy Roman Speedrun: Part 03: 1850-1856: If anybody unites Italy or Germany, it will be Habsburgs!

Poland (formerly Prussia) was allied with France, and both were in civil war, so I attacked both:

• Poland for some claimant I found - I'm not entirely sure how he even got it, he was a son of claimant to kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia I landed before I noticed I can usurp it outright myself, and somehow he got a claim to Poland as well. I'm not complaining or anything - the whole business with inviting claimants speculatively has a lot of RNG involved.
• de jure France for Corsica (just to have 100% of Italy) - it's fairly pointless, but since they're allied with Poland I'm going to fight them anyway, and choice of CB (one county or tributary) isn't terribly important
• de jure claim on one of counties in Greece
• a bunch of tributary wars just to keep my sphere of influence expanding as I'm going to integrate tributaries in Germany soon. So Belgium, Netherlands, Latvia, Kiev, countries like that

I also had to help Victoria deal with endless rebellions - I could send someone to Britain to clean up rebels there, but I wasn't planning to go as far as send troops all the way to India.

War against France ended miserably, I lost 25k vs 20k battle, and then duke whose de jure claim I've been pushing died, making all this inconclusive. Oh well.

My wife tried to kill me. I barely escaped alive, I threw one of her co-conspirators in oubliette and took away his duchy (playing without free banishment of traitors, it was a bit too easy), the rest of the plotters agreed to end their silliness.

Well, with all that out of the way, last remaining thing was de jure wars on 8 heretic counts in Germany. Some were my tributaries, so it cost a bit of prestige, but really -50 for attacking a tributary but +200 for making someone tributary first, it's not even close.

And that's it. I got everything I wanted plus Denmark and Greece, in about 19 years under first ruler (who was almost killed by his wife). It would take some time to ensure empire's religious and national unity, but it was pretty damn quick without using any exploits.

Pretty much the only techniques which could be considered even borderline tricks were:

• using my 3rd son as a daughter and non-dynastically marrying him to empress Victoria (not like that did anything, she was too busy fighting rebels to help me)
• sending missionaries to tributaries in Nassau and Thuringia - I converted peasants in Nassau, and some people, but neither ruler switched, so basically it did nothing whatsoever. It sounded like such a cool feature, maybe it makes too little difference after all?
• giving that kid titular kingdom of Cyprus so when he inherited Denmark he'd stay in the realm - that was much safer than giving him landed kingdom
• giving every inland duke one coastal county so I could raise all troops in one location and ship them wherever I wanted

And really, are they even particularly unusual?

Other empires:

• When I let game run for 200 years from same start date, Russia was extremely strong. And this time, just look at the screenshot.
• Victoria is doing OKish, and I helped her a bit, but really not to any huge degree.
• Ottomans are doing extremely well - they even managed to survive independence revolt which was 2/3 of their vassals including Egypt, somehow, and expanded a bit into Persia. Obviously they lost Greece to crusade, but that's pretty much to be expected
• France, Spain, Sweden/Norway, Portugal, Persia, Ethiopia etc. - they seemed to have almost no stability problems

Some campaign conclusions:

• Generally I'm quite happy with stability range of blobs - in old versions of the mod they collapsed almost right away, now some are very stable, some still collapse, there's a wide range of possible performances. If I let game run for a few more generations things would definitely get a lot less stable
• Vassals caused almost no issues. They were a bit grumpy initially, but then they got land from Ottomans, and even for ones who got nothing I got +20 from prestige, +10 from free investiture, no penalty from usual medium crown authority, bonus from long reign, all together they generally liked me. I still used chancellor, spymaster, titles etc. to manage them, but nothing crazy was needed.
• The only vassal problem was with my (completely unnecessary) seduction spree - my wife wanted to kill me and various husbands of women I seduced were happy to join, plus a few random grumps
• It was a quick fun campaign. Not every campaign needs to take a whole month. Next time I'll try some more challenging start (as it doesn't get any easier)

Holy Roman Empire reunited after brief Napoleonic interlude

All other empires are so stable, probably because everybody who wanted to rebel came to Russia. Something like half of emperor-tier characters are Russian rebels.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Modern Times mod for Crusader Kings 2 - Literally Hitler release

Hercules Outside by TinyTall from flickr (CC-ND)

Here's new release of Modern Times mod for Crusader Kings 2 (Steam WorkshopDirect 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...
I didn't add any event troops for Hitler or Stalin, they already start with huge empires under them, awesome CBs, and decent amount of prestige and gold. Giving them event troops on top of that doesn't seem necessary (but they might still get some in the future if I change my mind). 

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 War

So 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
Or perhaps as some minor vassal who wants to use the war to reach independence?

1878 - Treaty of Berlin

Ottomans 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
can you finish national liberation? The Balkans never accepted Ottomans oppression as de jure rule - could you maybe even recover Orthodox Empire with capital in Constantinople as new Rome?

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?
I'm aware Victoria was actually House Hannover, and after her British royal house was Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which got renamed Windsor. It's simplified for same of gameplay to avoid losing game to non-dynastic heir.

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.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Modern Times mod for Crusader Kings 2 - Empress of India release

Cat by Moyan_Brenn from flickr (CC-BY)

Here's new release of Modern Times mod for Crusader Kings 2.

Direct download.

Map changes

  • Victoria is double-empress of United Kingdom and India. Empire of India is de jure all of India. Have fun surviving inevitable Indian rebellion - at least you're de jure their liege so in the worst case you can at least pick up pieces afterwards.
  • De jure map is now somewhat less ridiculous. This especially affects Ottoman Empire, Russia, and India which shouldn't fall apart to independence factions in the first year, but it got tweaked in many places. There are still silly places, but vanilla is full of them as well, it's sort of impossible to fix completely.
  • Everybody should have reasonable historical capital as much as possible.
  • King/emperor level characters have generally 2-duchy demesne, unless their capital duchy is particularly big.
  • There are some extra vassal merchant republics (Pomerania, Provence, Hamburg, Pisa, Gloucester, Venice, Genoa, Ancona, Crete) to play as.
  • Non-Ottoman Turkey and Persia/Iran downgraded from empires to kingdoms. Free City of Danzig downgraded from duchy to county.
  • Religion/culture map is more reasonable, especially in Western Europe, which should mostly contain Catholics/Reformed/Protestants in correct places, and mostly of sensible culture. Cultures and religions are currently same for all start dates, so events like end-of-WW2 ethnic cleansing not modelled.

Other major changes

  • New religions - Protestantism (works more or less like miaphysites, with autocephalous heads) and Reformed (+4 stewardship bonus, no religious head). They see each other as heretics and can holy war, but Peace of Westphalia holds between them and Catholics. They don't really have any special features yet. Any ideas?
  • If you have Sunset Invasions DLC enabled, Americans might come with their armies, as they actually did twice in 20th century. OK, currently they're just vanilla Aztecs, but imagine they're Muricans. Disable the DLC if you don't want that chance.
  • Ottoman Empire gets Mamluks as vassals to stabilize them a bit. Once it is destroyed they go back to Egypt.
  • All holding slots in non-tribal areas are filled with extra castles and cities (and a temple if there wasn't any). At least Western Europe should be very well developed at this time, and building a new holding with not a single building in it is sort of not worth it at this point. This interferes with mechanics which need empty slots (like business focus castle building and holy order castle building), so perhaps I'll scale this down a bit later. There are still empty slots in tribal/nomad areas.
And of course a lot of assorted bug fixes and minor tweaks.

How my tastes diverged from the rest of humanity

This is probably way too personal for this blog, but what the hell.

Anyway, this didn't happen overnight, but somehow step by step things I enjoy drifted far past the normal nerdy territory into something that's just weird. And not just in one domain, which would be perfectly reasonable, it seems to have happened to pretty much everything I like.

Here's a bunch of examples.


I never had a TV in my life (that didn't stop BBC's TV licensing from sending people to harass me), but I used to really love movies. I've seen nearly everything on IMDB top 100. Unfortunately somehow I lost my abilities to watch movies. I just end up alt tabbing to something else ten minutes in. And it's not like I don't enjoy them - if I end up watching some in a situation where social convention prevents alt-tabbing, I often quite like them.

It would be obvious to suggest that I just have some issues with concentration, but I can watch whole day's worth of Let's Plays or Mythbusters or Star Trek reruns or (before it got cancelled) Colbert Report just fine with no issues whatsoever. Except of course I'm watching them at 180% speed, and I find slower speeds really uncomfortable. Movies I can't watch at any speed.

As for various TV series, I just have no interest in vast majority of them, but I don't have urge to alt-tab comparable to what I have with movies (at any speed).


I feel nearly physical pain when I hear men singing. It's not that I don't enjoy Justin Bieber or One Direction, whenever youtube decides to play it on shuffle, it's like someone punched my ears and I absolutely have to drop everything I'm doing and turn this fucking crap off. And it's not just some particular artists - as a good approximation it applies to every male vocalist.

I can find a few exceptions to this pattern. Most often it's ones whose voices are very heavily computer-distorted and generally pitch-shifted, or someone who's not technically singing like Peter Hollens, I can totally enjoy that. There are also some exceptions I can't easily explain, but generally I have extremely strong and completely instinctual negative reaction to all male singers, and I think I always had it.

That still leaves the female half of popular music, at least anything which would work as Dance Dance Revolution song. Here's my data from before my iPod died in an accident involving cat and a lot of water. maistream-o-meter tells me that was 13% mainstream, which is like Sophie Ellis-Bextor level - not exactly mainstream, but nothing too crazy.

Of course it only diverged further.

Then I decided everything sounds better at 140% speed (without pitch distortions). Faster Katy Perry or Metric isn't exactly that unusual right? Or high speed AVbyte, or Malukah, or The Guild... And a few days ago I discovered Nightcore, obviously at 140% as well, which inspired me to write this post.


I've been doing my best to avoid paper books, mostly going for audiobooks if possible. Before I figured out how to keep pitch normal I could only go to 140%, after I figured out how to speed them up without messing up the pitch it want up 170% (no particular reason why it's a bit slower than videos, these things evolved independently). If there's no audiobook I'll just go for kindle, and for paper as last resort, as paper is really inconvenient, and I want to give my eyes some rest from so much computer use.

Anyway, as for content I almost exclusively read (disregarding medium) nonfiction. So what about things like Game of Thrones? It's really a nonfiction documentary of a place which just happens to be imaginary. Books like The World of Ice & Fire cross this line even harder, but most scifi/fantasy is more about the world than about characters, which makes it at least halfway nonfiction.

Of course every time I read (or for that matter watch) anything, it's alt-tab to some wiki for context, because linear narratives are so 19th century.

A lot of books I ended up reading like Harry Potter or Twilight (sure, I know, mainstream as hell) I did because I first read some fanfiction happening in some universe, and then I checked context on a wiki somewhere, and as that was interesting I went for source material last.

Of course this route doesn't always work. After some MLP fanfics I decided to watch some MLP, and that was definitely not for me.

I mentioned fanfics here, but I haven't read many, mostly because it's fairly difficult to filter out good ones from huge volume being written, and unfortunately the same applies to fiction books (nonfiction filtering by subject or by author's Daily Show interview quality is reasonably accurate).

I had decent amount of success finding good content by reading for short story collections, as they tend to be pre-filtered well, and in worst case, it's a short story, so not huge loss of time if it ends up sucking.

For movies IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes etc. are fairly decent at finding out good ones (unfortunately I can't really watch movies any more), I don't think there's anything even remotely reasonable for books. I've heard that once upon a time one could have relied on various awards like Hugos, but that was before SJW vs Puppies shitstorm. 

Video Games

I literally spend more time modding video games than playing them. And now I'm recording about half of what I play for fun.


My idea of good food is something like this:

You can find more pics here and here. Because I decided to make tons of pics of everything I eat (about 1/3 of the days this year have full photo coverage).

Compared with other things, it's only moderately divergent, if you ignore this photo aspect.

What I eat would probably approximately match what someone who vaguely doesn't want to eat gluten would, except I don't give a shit about gluten, it's just coincidentally mostly present in foods I don't find particularly tasty. Or approximately like food someone who wants to eat sort of paleo, except rice is sort of paleo, and ice cream is sort of too delicious, and coffee is sort of too necessary to skip.

And it continues...

These are some relatively publishable things, but it's just as divergent if not more in less publishable ones, and it only seems to be getting more so.

Sometimes rest of the world seems to catch up with my preferences, like it figured out wikis are awesome after I spent way too much time trying to tell the world so, and it seems to be finally figuring out that religion is kinda bullshit, and people are slowly figuring out that Ruby is the best programming language and static typing is for losers.

I'm not sure if this is any kind of pattern, or it's just that if I have enough tastes divergent with mainstream a few of them will happen to just randomly become more mainstream with time, and others even less so.

By the way, none of these differences seem to be causing any serious problems.

Oh and there are a few things where my preferences seem to very mainstream - like cats.

CK2 Modern Times: German Unification AAR

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-02 14:13:28 UTC

German Unification: Part 01: 1837-1841: Finayl years of king Frederick II William

It's time to give Modern Times another test run. This time in Victoria bookmark, trying to unify Germany as Prussia. It will show if I need any special mechanics for German unification.

Outline of the plan:

• vassalize Protestant minors (mostly) peacefully
• holy war Reformed minors
• switch to Catholic, vassalize Catholic minors (mostly) peacefully
• somehow marry into Austrian line if possible - if that fails get Germany as imperial title instead and take Austria by force
• blob into other territories which were vaguely in HRE sphere like North Italy, Alsace, South Baltic Coast and so on by any means necessary

Well, so time to start.  I'm 66 year old king of Prussia, with 3 sons (2 of them historical) - aged 27, 40, and 41, and 5 daughters. Unfortunately my daughers are all aged 37-45, so they probably won't have many babies.

This setup sort of makes sense - assuming king married someone about his age, his wife would be far past childbearing age by now, but it's worse than many other start dates.

Anyway, there's no use for my daughters to stay at home, so I sent them to marry (fairly old and already with heirs) dukes of Hesse, Hannover, Belgium, Wurttemberg, and (the relatively youngest one) emperor of Russia.

I married daughter of king of Denmark, and got my sons to marry daughters of duke of Bavaria, king of Piedmont-Sardinia, and duke of Bohemia.

It was time to work on unification. Anhalt, Lubeck, and Hamburg. Weimar and Thuringia accepted as soon as my borders grew a bit. Hannover didn't waste time either, and diplovassalized Oldenburg, which was de jure under them. All this leads to the question - isn't this way too easy?

Mecklenburg was de jure Prussia, but they wouldn't accept vassalization, or even a marriage, so I found a claimant and pressed his claim.

Catholic Tuscany managed to conquer Greece in a crusade. Denmark tried to holy war Reformed Netherlands, and I even technically joined that, but I had no intention to send any troops.

I managed to increase crown authority to medium, but as soon as war with Mecklenburg finished I got a faction revolt. Well, the Jews are obviously responsible for that, so take their money and throw them away, as I clearly lack a war chest. Fortunately what I don't lack are allies.

Fortunately I didn't need to spend war chest just yet - rebels had 17k troops to my 12k, but mine were more centrally located, and my allies actually sent troops to help me.

Well, time to clean up vassal situation. What the hell are they? Polish? Pomeranian? Lithuanian duke I had under me had a tragic accident before, while trying to setup another faction.

With rebel armies crushed, it was just a matter of time until their holdings got sieged down. Unfortunately old king didn't live that long, succeeded by his second son, king Wilhelm - 0/10/11/13/12 slothful, lustful, cynical, and ambitious midas touched.

Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-02 14:51:27 UTC

German Unification: Part 02: 1841-1846: North German Confederation

King Wilhelm's first decision was welcoming back the Jews. Apparently I no longer need to wait 20 years for that, if succession happens first. They got about 1/3 of their money back. It's supposed to be more like half, but with big chunk of my realm in rebellion no recompense was needed for Jews in rebel territories.

By the way I'm not the only one who's going all Habsburg - empress of Spain is married to emperor of France, and her son (fathered by the script) is married to empress Victoria of United Kingdom. A few assassinations, a few pressed claims, and that would be the biggest blob in Europe since fall of Roman Empire.

With UK likely to go Catholic, I'm not convinced this Protestantism thing has much future - so I sent my sons to be educated by pope and king of Sicily (both diligent and gregarious), and my daughter to be educated by my wife.

Apparently by older brother had similar idea and converted to Catholic, maybe by his Bavarian wife. I let it slide. And apparently he managed to convert my other brother, who was count under him (both inherited from Lithuanian duke who died in tragic circumstances).

Oh and apparently "heir educated with foreign culture" is now -25 to all vassals. Come on now. Well, not a big deal, pope took zero time to convert him, so I could recall him.

I still have one good reason left to remain Protestant - a chance to diplovassalize various Protestant German dukes. Actually, console time - is there any way in hell they'd accept it from a non-de-jure king? No? Well, so much for that plan.

For now time to divide Prussian lands between various German Catholics, in preparation for succession.

Unfortunately king of Sicily failed with my younger son, who turned into Italian Protestant. I recalled him and got my brother to continue his education instead.

Well, while I'm still Protestant, it's time to deal with damn heretics in Netherlands and Nassau (also allied with Parma by marriage, and Switzerland by shared heresy).

And after that, duke of Bavaria died, and his underage son got the title. For sake of Bavarian people his adult sister - who just so happens to be married to my brother - would be much better ruler. Now my nephew is next in line to the throne. Unfortunately Bavarian winter did not agree with my troops, so very few came back from the campaign.

My wife had a bastard with my son (not hers), but it's all in dynasty, so it's no big deal.

I awkwardly got 10k reformed uprising, which I ignored for now, as rebels have 0 siege tech.

I have much more important task to do - duke of Hannover died, leaving slow kid in charge. Time to invite heir, give him duchy level title (the only one I had was awkwardly Brandenburg, but I want to move out of this crappy tech capital anyway), then wait for duke of Hannover to have accident. And Hannover is mine, without a single soldier lost. It's pretty good outcome, as they're same dynasty as UK, at least for now, UK's heir is non-dynastic.

Now that we border Bremen, it accepted vassalization.

This leads to me controlling just 51% of kingdom of Germany de jure territory, which means I could create kingdom title, and Protestant Hesse and Wurttemberg would accept vassalization (with some bribes), and then Catholic Baden, and Bavaria would accept my son. Except I need 200 piety and that's still a bit away (3 years at current pace). If king of Netherlands died, I could holy war him for easy piety, but for now we have 8 more years of truce.

I could also get crowned king of Poland if I had necessary piety - that would be useful, as former Russian periphery is currently mostly independent. I'm not sure which empire level title I'll be able to get first (well, not counting waiting for 400 piety). I have 23/59 (48 needed) of Germany, and 24/67 (54 needed) of Commonwealth. France holds 10 counties in de jure empire of Germany, so I could barely squeeze it without fighting France. Going for Commonwealth title would mostly count on Russia falling apart some more.

Then again, my grandson already has weak claim to empire of Russia, and my son is betrothed to daughter of Austro-Hungarian Emperor, so either could work, given some luck.

Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-02 23:10:48 UTC

German Unification: Part 03: 1846-1855: Germany is well worth a Mass

As I needed to wait 3 years to get enough piety to get second kingdom title - also 3 years for reformed rebels to siege down anything - it was good time to look outside Germany.

And somehow I got a bunch of piety out of nowhere, so I created kingdom of Germany and diplovassalized remaining Protestant minors - Hesse and Wurttemberg - instantly.

Anyway, Krakow, Mazovia, and Latvia happily became my tributaries, but Samogita was surprisingly vicious with their martial 25 duke, and Livonia somehow cobbled together 10k troops.

My wife's father, king of Piedmont-Sardinia, got really jealous of my performance, so he attacked Pope for Ancona and called me into it. So far Tuscany got Lucca, Piedmont-Sardinia got Parma, while Modena is still independent, so it's going much more Italy is divided between Piedmont-Sardinia, Sicily, Pope, Austria-Hungary, Cyprus/Tuscany, not France (in Corsica). Of course none of that did him much good, and it ended up in white peace.

So now it was just a matter of waiting some time for my king (born in 1797, so pretty old by now) to die, so a Catholic heir can take over. And unfortunately my Catholic son died, giving me a choice of Catholic grandson baby or Protestant adult son as heir. That seriously can't do.

Backup plan time, let's find some Catholic county in the realm (especially if it has decent tech) and see if any unfortunate accidents happen to its owner. Count of Trier dide. Unfortunately his heir went into hiding like a coward instead of facing alleged assassins like a man... well, like a 3 year old baby technically.

I was waiting forever for either that plot to fire, or for the ridiculously old king of Netherlands to die (born 1772). And nothing came out of the waiting.

Sure, let's send my spymaster to check if Victoria (somehow went Reformed, with Catholic Bourbon heir) might possibly have an accident. She would? Interesting. Those damn Englishmen should switch to metric system, imperial measurements were definitely responsible for their shoddy balustrade construction.

I finally dealt with baby count of Trier and his sister when he got to age of 6 and decided he needs some education, but by that time my truce with Netherlands was nearly over, so I might just as well go for it first while I still can.

So, moving capital to Luxembourg, going Catholic, and politely asking various Protestant vassals to also end this Lutheran nonsense. Most complied without making any problems whatsoever. Duchess of Baden accepted vassalization. Duchess of Bavaria wouldn't, but since her heir was my nephew, I sent over my spymaster to pay get courtesy visit.

I had plenty of piety left, so I got myself third crown - that of Poland - and two Polish Catholic counts accepted vassalization for some monetary compensation. Most of that region is Orthodox by now.

That left just one really annoying country - duchy of Meissen (formerly Saxony), which was German, Catholic, and de jure, and he should just accept except he's bitter about no longer being duke of Saxony. Sorry, but I needed that title more than you did. I sent my chancellor to try to talk sense into him. If it fails, I'll just wait for his successor to take over.

My progress towards emperorship is:
• 36/59 - Germany
• 27/67 - Commonwealth
• 4/67 - usurping Austria-Hungary

I don't have a good way to complete 80% of any of them. I could also say screw it, and create custom empire title. That requires 8000 prestige, and I'm at 4169. At 200 prestige per won tributary war, I'd need 20, which is not completely trivial, mostly it depends how long I'd live, as I'm 58, and there aren't that many independent minors around me to push around a bit.

Succession question is currently fairly messed up, as my oldest son was really good character, and he died at age of 18. I thought about marrying into Austria-Hungary or France, but neither of them seem interested.

Catholics are doing extremely well. UK and Germany went Catholic, Greece fell to first crusade (next in a decade or so might very well take Jerusalem), North-West Africa got holy warred as usual.

Two younger brothers of emperor of Russia are in my court and they're both Catholic, so I could take a break form the war and continue mending the schism a bit more. One of them also just so happens to be matrilineally married to my sister.

Catholic stronk

Post 4 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-04 02:30:10 UTC

German Unification: Part 04: 1855-1869: Empire of Prussia

So with claimant to Russian throne married matrilineally to my sister, the next step was definitely putting a Catholic emperor on Russian throne. It could only end up well - either my dynasty gets Russia, or it falls apart even further to factions, and I can pick up at least some of the pieces. And then I noticed that he's 30, but she's 55, and they have no babies. OK, that's awkward.

Well, fortunately I have another Romanov, and 15 year old sister. Unfortunately she's still Protestant, so I need to wait a few months before she's of age so she can convert, and that means not accepting call to arms from king of Piedmont-Sardinia, as I won't be able to ask her to convert while at war. I get which exploity tactics this restriction is meant to help against, but I still don't like it.

Weirdly when I loaded the save later, I got second call to arms to same war by king of Italy, I thought you couldn't call someone against whom you had -30 dishonored alliance. Or was thas just for offensive wars? This one was some host attack. Sure, I'll accept this time.

Duke of Meissen changed his mine and accepted vassalization, even though he still didn't like me all that much, so that completes unification of core German minors - there's still all the periphery like Austria-Hungary, Netherlands, Alsace, Holstein, Switzerland and so on.

In preparation for war witth Russia I got tributary pledges from Livonia, increasing my number of tributary dukes on Russia-Prussia border region to 5.

Then it was war season - first Russia, then Belgian Brabant (and after duke's unfortunate accident Belgian Belgium), then various Russian pretenders - I helped him with pretenders a bit, but Russia kept falling apart - and I kept turning rebel dukes into my tributaries. All that was going really well, and my claimant was definitely winning with second wave of rebellions, and then he fell ill and died - without putting a baby in my sister's belly. Russia is now back to being Orthodox, so the only thing I have to show for it is that they lost a bit more land.

Now my heir and grandson actually has a weak claim to Russia, so something might still come out of it. And I didn't even have anything to do with it, my son decided to marry some Romanov girl.

My wife complained that some kid is ruling Piedmont-Sardinia, so declared war to put her on the throne instead, and got Austria-Hungary to do most of the fighting for me. It won't become part of my realm, as my younger sons would inherit it even if it goes well. Not that it mattered much - she lost it to rebellion clusterfuck and died soon afterwards.

Now that I had permanent demesne in Luxembourg and Holland I did some building - as well as building a few extra holdings here and there (mostly to settle claimants there).

I fell ill, which was obviously Jews' fault, and not in any way related to being 65 years old, so they got expelled again to fund my building spree. It turned out to be Jews' fault this time, as I'm still totally fine at age of 71.

As death seems imminent, I pressed my count's claim on Gelre, which ought to take 2/3 remaining counties in Netherlands - for some reason it only got duchy title and one county, Friesland remained Dutch even though it was in de jure Gelre. That was extremely unfortunate as I hoped my successor would be able to complete conquest of Netherlands in one war (and I need to eliminate Reformed Netherlands to usurp the title).

And then weird thing happened - Dutch revolt started in Brabant, but some British duke got king's last remaining county of Friesland, leaving revolt ongoing without anybody to revolt against. Presumably that's because he got called into another war, and temporary titles only end when they're at peace. Well, no matter, it's time to create 4th crown for myself.

I managed to get dukes of all my kingdoms to approve high crown authority. Newly created Netherlands started at high, so I got them to increase it to absolute. It didn't take long until Germans revolted against increased crown authority - rebellion getting crushed of course, but I was most disappointed my nephew joined the rebels.

Dividing spoils I gave city of Lubeck to another guy, who remained feudal. No idea why, city county was his only holding, and he wasn't heir or claimant to anything. It seems that they still didn't fix all the glitches. Well, I fixed that by console.

Speaking of glitches, apparently I can't revoke infidel titles without opinion penalty in spite of having crown authority between high and absolute everywhere. I've seen this glitch before, and it's extremely annoying. Of course I noticed it only after getting -20 with everyone. I'm not even sure if there's any console fix for it.

With rebellion crushed, I got to 8.5k prestige out of 8k needed to get custom empire title. Well, empire of Prussia it is. Having 4 de jure kingdoms right away is much better than any empire I could plausibly get. I even managed to pass kingdom viceroyalties, but that -20 due to glitch prevented me from passing absolute crown authority.

Next steps are pressing my daughters claim to Piedmont-Sardinia, and my sister's second husband's claim to Switzerland - she was empress of Russia before, so Switzerland is a bit of a downgrade, but at least she's used to the cold by now.

My heir has weak claim to Russia, so if I could get that as well - while subjugating buffer zone between Prussia and Russia - that would be some glorious font size.

With emperor title on 1866.10.26, I'm a bit ahead of history, but not too much.

As of interesting things happening in the rest of the world:

• There's independent Romania! Duke of Moldova under Russia holy warred weakened Ottomans, then created kingdom title, then took advantage of my intervention in Russia to join independence faction, to which emperor surrendered (I only disabled surrendering to claimants). First king of Romania was Orthodox, second is Catholic, I can't figure out why.
• Asian parts of Russia fell apart, unfortunately game doesn't have any way of introducing new nomads, so it's all feudal/tribal/iqta. Mongolia in this bookmark starts under China, which I make starting under (feudal) Xinjiang, so they're not nomads either.
• All coastal Africa west of Egypt is divided between Portugal, Spain, France, and Sicily as usual
• Ottoman Empire is really wrecked - between crusades and independent revolts they're reduced to tiny fraction of their former font size.
• Egypt managed to holy war Cyprus and Achaia, and is holy warring Athens. They're actually much more powerful than they seem as they start with vassal merc company Mamluks.
• UK is currently losing what little they got left of India, in another independence revolt. They even lost Ireland and half of Scotland.
• Some blobs like France, Spain, Persia, Austria-Hungary - tend to be much more stable than Russia, UK, or Ottomans. For France, Spain, and Persia, that's presumably due to vassals of same culture group and same religion, but why is Austria-Hungary stable too I'm not sure.
• I don't have any good ways to expand into blobs like France or Austria-Hungary. Well, let's not start a world war over this.

Post 5 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-04 14:36:10 UTC

German Unification: Part 05: 1869-1876: Russia is just misspelled Prussia

Emperor Wilhelm died at age of 72, succeeded by his 24 year old grandson Dietpold. First thing to do was to invite the Jews back, and check if pope will grant a divorce with his second wife, relative of some Scottish duke with awful stats and already 39 years old. As pope did not show any signs of allowing that, the only solution was to check alternative solution.

Major downside of Dietpold was that he had no siblings (and both his parents were dead, so not even tricks like remarrying his mother were possible) and only two very young children, so that meant no alliances. Neither France nor Austria-Hungary showed any interest in an alliance. Spain and UK aren't that bad I guess.

Of course rebellion was inevitable. Well, let's at least try to reduce its size by improving relations with a few of the vassals:

• give away Greater Poland to some gay cutiepie count of Lubusz
• press button to finish de jure war flr Breda - that makes duke of Belgium and Brabant happy
• press my vassal's claim to Switzerland to have loyal vassal king; and my aunt's claim to (what's left of) Piedmont-Sardinia for another
• send chancellor and spymaster around to convince a few potential troublemakers to behave
• have some feasts

The main downside of all this is that there's so little time between succession and inevitable rebellion. Or at least I expected inevitable rebellion, it didn't seem to have any interest in happening.

Are they that unwilling to rebel while country is at war? Well, in such case we can remain at war for a bit longer while getting some easy prestige by reestablishing tributaries on Russia-Prussia borders.

For that matter there's civil war in Russia, and my late Romanov mother would hate what's going on there. In her memory I need to save Russia from the war, by placing someone more competent on Russian throne, like let's say myself.

By the way there's civil war just as expected, except not that one. My aunt, queen Cothilda of Piedmont-Sardinia, togethher with dukes of Samogita, Prussia, Koln, Saxony, and Wurteberg fights against rebellious duke of Susa, supported by dukes of Baden and Meissen.

OK, Russia war, gathering 40k troops, both Russian claimants have about 10k each, what could be easier. On my way I could make sure Baltic minors are my tributaries. And I lost a battle where I landed in Livonia and Estonian army joined and ambushed me, lost tons of troops to attrition while landing in Aaland, 20k coming back home way before ever reaching Russian soil. Fortunately I have 7 tributaries now to do at least some fighting for me.

I waited a bit for levies to recover before launching second expedition. With levies called on October 1st, they were only gathered late January. It's pretty slow, even using great rivers to gather troops - and that was without anybody from Italy.

And finally the inevitable rebellion came - dukes of Pomerania, Brabant/Belgium (he loves me, so presumably he was forced to join the faction), Bryansk, Lithuania, Azov, Polotsk, Smolensk, Mordva, Pereyaslavl, Chernigov, grand mayor of Holstein, and countess of Kartli/Kakheti.

It would actually be somewhat hilarious to let them all go, diplovassalize Brabant/Belgium back (he'd probably agree immediately), press some claimant to Pomerania, destroy Russia title, and just be vaguely satisfied that I wrecked major power. The only non-Russian land I'd have lost without easy way to get it back would be merchant republic of Holstein.

That implies it was a huge mistake to let the Jews back. There's no doubt who's responsible for all this.


• Pope called second crusade for Greece, seizing Achaia and Cyprus for himself from Egypt
• Duchess of Savoy apparently slept with everybody in the empire - I was getting notification of her getting caught with someone new about once a week. At some point that should become no longer newsworthy. The most annoying thing is that she never tried to do anything with me, but that's surely just due to my high piety, and no other reason, right?
• Austrian parts of Italy are in rebellion. It would be most convenient if Lombardy became independent.

Post 6 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-06 17:40:15 UTC

German Unification: Part 06: 1876-1885: Gender lottery determines fate of Germany

All rebels got crushed, then they got away with accepting Catholicism.

I created a few more kingdom titles - full list is Netherlands, Germany, Prussia, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Perm, Crimea, and Volga Bulgaria. Muscovy maybe to follow. The misspelled Prussia title got destroyed as silly and as worthless due to its zero crown authority.

I've been a bit jealous that everyone had duchess Romilda of Savoy except me - and most of them in public, so I switched to seduction focus to rectify this situation. She wasn't exactly the most challenging possible target - literally next day after getting pregnant with my baby I found her in bed with one of my courtiers. Who am I to judge?

With +50 two major revolts crushed and almost everybody Catholic realm seemed fairly stable, so I proceeded to cleanup borders at least somewhat - pressing claims where there were good ones, and turning into tributaries minors on whom I didn't have any.

Austria-Hungary fell apart a bit. Not as much as I hoped for, but I got Olomouc, Salzburg, and Transylvania.

Well, I need to have better access to my lands in Piedmont-Sardinia than crossing Alps while taking massive winter attrition. Karvuna and Ottomans would provide some convenient ports on Danube. Teutonic Order happily agreed to become my vassals, so these were some extra free troops for it if I ever need them.

While I was fighting some minor wars with Ottomans and to subjugate Caucasus emperor of Austria-Hungary died, leaving a kid in charge, and it turned out two of my cousins had weak claim. Well, time to make sure Katharina's husband has an accident, remarry her matrilineally, seduce her just in case, and press her claim.

By the way due to game bug it's impossible to invite characters married matrilineally to court:

• you can't invite women if they're married
• you can't invite men if they're married matrilineally

The first of these two rules should only apply to regular marriage - so you'd be able to invite head of the family, whoever that is, but they messed it up. This is a bit awkward, as it slows down seduction speed by a lot.

In any case, I managed to put her on the throne, carrying my baby.

Now the biggest mystery is if it's going to be a boy or a girl. If it's a boy (and openly my son, not any silliness like passing it as her husband's) - I can designate him as my heir, so he'll get both empires. If it's a girl, I can arrange betrothal with my youngest son Adalbert who's only 2 right now. Downside of that is that if Adalbert marries his half-sister, resulting family tree will look more and more like Spanish Habsburgs.

In other news, I managed to get to absolute crown authority in my empire (most kingdoms are still only at high). So far only Netherlands has free investiture, and all 4 bishops under me love the pope and would not want my help getting that job.

Opinion of the pope is currently: +10 state diplomacy, +25 crusader, +10 zealous, +20 piety, +30 head of religion, +10 had a feast (wait, pope can invite bishops from other countries to the feast?). Even without temporary modifier that's +95, and likely next pope is a crusader too.

Egypt is mostly broken, kingdoms of Africa and Sicily ran by two Bourbon brothers (Sicily went gavelkind, seriously?) keep expanding there. Bourbons lost Spain to inheritance, and Marakech got independent but it's Castilian Catholic in charge there.

Sunnis are getting wrecked on all fronts - their only successes were getting Wallachia back from my tributary king of Romania, and eliminating Miaphysite Ethiopia.

Current pope has 3470 gold, most I've seen in a while. Of course that's still not enough, minimum request is 3675. Seriously, can't I ask for less gold?

Catholic stronk

This area was half Ottomans half UK

Few Germans but a lot of Italians

Post 7 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-07 06:03:43 UTC

German Unification: Part 07: 1885-1893: Caliphs and Popes don't like me

So I had a son with my cousin, empress of Austria-Hungary, unfortunately she decided to pass our little boy as her husband's. That was no reason to stop trying, so we had another daughter, whom I betrothed to my 1 year old son. So far she's too busy leading troops to have another baby.

Pope who loved me was so close to getting enough money to give me a donation, and then he died. The new one was so outrageous that he even accused me, the paragon of virtue with over 2000 piety, of trying to murder him! Everybody loves that slanderous bastard because he took part in previous crusade, and he's fairly young for a pope, and doesn't seem very accident prone, so I might end up getting excommunicated sometime soon. I'm definitely not going to see any money.

I ran into another annoying bug - this time it seems that vassal fleet disappears (while troops are on it) when vassal tries to revoke a county and vassal under him revolts. That's such fucking bullshit. Seriously, how many fucking bugs like that the game has? Anyway, this means I shouldn't be trying to save my vassals' money by calling just enough ships into service, just call them all.

I did some small scale fighting when Ottoman caliph decided to holy war me in Anatolia, where I barely had 6 counties (and was in process of getting 2 more). This was awkward as inland ones were recently taken and very easy for invaders to siege, preventing any ticking warscore - and their attrition was too high for me to move my armies there.

I already had my retinue in place - but my retinue is mostly archers and light infantry - it's much weaker than regular army of similar size.

There were plenty of fun battles like them attacking 35k vs 76k, or 41k vs 73k. Somehow in spite of numerical superiority in battles on our side, we just barely managed to win them - and that before my army started falling apart to attrition. I had to be very cautious while they were throwing wave after wave of troops. Too bad there's no way to get total war losses statistics like ones I can extract from EU4 saves, but I'm reasonably sure they had at least 2:1 in numbers, if not more, all with their annoying "0% decadence because Paradox can't balance decadence" bonuses.

I finally somehow won, suffering huge losses - the strategy was to survive first few waves, then follow the coast and assault their land - as every duke joined the jihad separately, their castles had just garrison; and finally to move my stack, attrition or not, to assault back what they've taken and get some ticking warstore.

Unfortunately successfully crushing a jihad doesn't give me any monetary reparations, and my Romanov cousin decided to lead independence revolt against me. Of 80k or so troops I sent, only 25k survived jihad, and 5k of that was holy order which I needed to disband.

I had 5k of my 26k retinue left, and if I somehow gathered all levies, own and vassal, I'd be able to get about 30k - actually a lot less than that, as many loyal vassals were scattered all across the realm and it was pointless trying to raise troops in deep Russia where they'd be surrounded by rebels right away.

Fortunately rebels were very indecisive, wandering aimlessly around Russia while I had time to gather my armies, rebuild retinue, siege down grand mayor of Lubeck's holdings, then moved to Novgorod, and finally crush them in a battle for Novgorod.

Weird thing was that I was pressing one of my duke's claim to Romania, and war was parked at 100% while he was part of the rebellion. I expected it to end inconclusively in such case. In any case, I ended war for Romania while he was in jail, then I banished him and took Romania for myself.

After the rebellion got crushed - it was far easier than jihad, I banished all rebels and gave away all their lands to various (hopefully more loyal) Germans, with duchies being handed over as viceroyalties. My various cousins got quite a few viceroyalties too, but even they won't be getting any feudal lands.

The experiment with peaceful coexistence with Russians failed (well, some Pomeranians, Mordvins, Danes, and who know who else also took part). (Catholic German) Duke of Croatia who broke away from Austria-Hungary some time ago accepted diplovassalization during jihad, and then took part in independence war because AI rules for those two things have nothing to do with each other. I released him without bail, as he was too poor anyway, and it's good policy to release one person after every rebellion, as vassals love that, but modifier is not stacking.

Kebab jihad

The Ruskies are clearly working with the kebab

Post 8 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-08 21:04:07 UTC

German Unification: Part 08: 1893-1899: What are you doing font, stop!

Maybe I should have stayed Protestant, religious heads are nothing but trouble so far. The problem isn't even getting my bishops to love me - +100 is definitely achievable, the problem is the awkward mechanic that if they like pope as much as me (+100 and +100), they won't accept becoming antipopes.

Popes meanwhile start at +20 piety (it's nearly impossible for someone without maxed out piety to become pope), +30 head of religion, about +10 state diplomacy, and generally have tons of traits which bishops like - as bishops elected one with best traits anyway. I guess I could spend silly amount of money to get most sinful people elected as cardinals, but I somehow doubt that would do me much good. Actually, I have no idea what the hell is going on in college of cardinals, and I never had any idea in any game. It seems like an irrelevant feature (other than ensuring popes have good stats).

Best I can do is check every now and then if maybe their opinion of pope is a bit under 100. Currently modifiers would stack up to +95 if pope didn't have theology focus. For a brief time previous pope had that, and I could have setup an antipope. I didn't want that, as pope loved me, had just nearly enough money to send me some, so I was waiting for him to accumulate more (his income was crazy, so it would take just a few months, it's just that popes tend to spend money very fast too), unfortunately he died just a bit too early, and next pope hates me.

By the way, so far I've been sitting on tons of money all campaign, and so far I haven't used mercs even once. I used it mostly to build stuff in my demesne, to build a few extra holdings (it feels somewhat silly that even at such a late date so many holdings slots are empty, maybe mod should add them, at least in Europe), for levy upkeep, creating titles, a bit on spying related bribe.

And now that I think of it, maybe it would have been better to not fight the jihad. If I instantly surrendered I'd have lost 6 counties in area of the world I don't care terribly much for anyway (2 in duchy of Anatolia were in another war, so my ordering buttons I would have kept those), and some moral authority, but I'd have never had my retinue and levy reduced to the point where vassals thought they can overthrow me. I could then literally DoW Ottomans for 4 of them back next day, which would be a quick and easy war.

In any case, it was time to cleanup some borders, help my cousin empress of Austria-Hungary against rebels, counterattack Ottoman caliph, and press claims of one claimant to Norway and Sweden, and another to Sicily and Africa. Oh and while I'm at it, to extend tributary network to Cyprus, Venice, and Uzbekistan. The hard part is gathering armies for war, so once I do so, I might as well use them.

Before I pressed king of Norway/Sweden's claim, I married him matrilineally to some German girl, so resulting children will hopefully be of more agreeable culture. This was of course a silly mistake, as it send him to her father's court - which would be fine except it was in Austria-Hungary not in Prussia. Seriously, couldn't the game warn me about such things, so I don't have to fix them by console?

Oh and due to interface being fucking stupid what I thought was war for county was war for barony, and what I thought was war for duchy was war for county. I hate UI for all Paradox games, no exceptions. If barony, county, and duchy are named the same, or nearly the same (and that's without dumb localized names), call the war "for county of Kujawy" vs "for duchy of Kuyavia", not "for Kujawy" and have me guess which level game decided to give Polish and which level game decided to give Latin name for the same fucking thing.

Or sometimes game doesn't even bother - with county of Alania in duchy of Alania in kingdom of Alania, with custom empire of Alania thrown in just in case if nomads start there (which they do in most bookmarks).

While I was at war with king of Africa he inherited all lands in kingdom of Switzerland, but not kingdom itself - king of which is now limited to one barony. So much for absolute crown authority preventing that.

The war was another case of massively overextending myself. Cyprus and Ottomans sieged out nearly all my holdings in Anatolia, getting me to nearly -80% at one point from just occupations. The plan was sort of "win one big battle against Cyprus, they accept being my tributaries, then join my war against Ottomans", but that somehow didn't come even close to working - instead they threw all their money at mercs and decided to siege my holdings with Ottomans (allied by marriage to Persia, and in other ways to half the Muslim dukes) being in literally next province and preventing engaging them separately.

Fortunately Ottomans had decency of crossing Danube to engage my troops, while Cyprus stayed behind, so it wasn't too bad.

In any case, kingdoms of Sicily/Africa as well as Norway/Sweden are now in the empire, while Denmark, Prussia, and assorted minors are its tributaries. Somehow I even managed to get Uzbekistan to be my tributary with like 5k of Russian levies.

Unfortunately now instead of huge "Prussia" dominating the entire Europe I have a bunch of smaller and weirdly placed "Prussia"s.

I don't plan to repeat this intensity of warfare anytime soon. There are currently 5 Christian empires, all Catholic, and I'd like to unify them all - especially Austria-Hungary and France, as they are the key to massive font size.

Oh and all this time I was on seduction focus - so I have a lot of children to marry into other royal houses, which might result in my dynasty getting other thrones at some point.

Post 9 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-12 00:07:19 UTC

German Unification: Part 09: 1899-1905: Kebab Removal

This dreadful font problem had to be addressed, but I doubt I'll be able to do anything until I unify Prussia with Austria-Hungary, and that's two generations away.

For now the system is fairly straightforward:

• with Christian majors, marry my way into all their families
• with Christian minors, whenever new ruler ascends the throne, if I can press claim to incorporate it into my realm, I do so; otherwise I make it my tributary. This applies to Christian minors everywhere - including as far as Ireland.
• with kebab, remove it from the premises

My cousin Katharina, empress of Austria-Hungary had two children with me - and I don't expect more as she's 41. Friedrich married daughter of prince mayor of Cyprus, which is somewhat questionable from traditionalist point of view, even if it is politically reasonable. Our daughter Berchte married my son and heir Dietrich. Holy Xwedodah can happen in every religion, assuming we're discreet enough about it. For now that means Cyprus won't be my tributary, as I'd rather avoid any conflicts with my cousin.

Sunnis scored a huge success with Persian Empire being inherited by a Sunni son of previous Shia ruler, but then we decided to end their nonsense - I took Mecca and Medina, pope called for a crusade on Jerusalem, which is now ruled by Knights Templar.

My wife died, and the new one I got cheated on me right away, getting slow and sickly girl - which was so obviously not mine I don't know why she even tried to pretend otherwise.

Pope died, and I was just barely bribe one of my bishops to challenge the conclave.

And soon after, emperor Dietpold died at age of 60, leaving the empire to his son Dietrich and his sister-wife Berchte, second in life to the throne of Austria-Hungary.

No idea why it says "Anjou" on Templar-owned Jerusalem

Heretic lands slowly join the right religion

Post 10 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-12 02:35:17 UTC

German Unification: Part 10: 1905-1910: Caesaropapism

First order of business for new emperor was finishing wars started by his father, reestablishing dominion over various minors, and fixing arrangement between emperor and pope. That was simple enough. Other than finally collecting church taxes, I'm not doing much with this arrangement.

Next was a much more interesting problem - empress Constanza of Spain was married in a regular marriage, so her heir was non-dynastic. This means that she was totally OK with marrying her heir and only daughter to my distant cousin in a regular marriage. And since she's 46, this means Spain is going to join the dynasty in two generations.

Just in case I found a weak claimant to Spanish throne and matrilineally betrothed him with my oldest daughter. So far I have 4 daughter and 1 illegitimate bastard son, so there's a chance Spain will join the realm this way.

As I'm still young and likely to have a legitimate son that plan is problematic - especially since it seems pretty much impossible to get all vassals to stop fighting and like me > 0 to go true cognatic and have her be my heir. The realm is transitioning from feudal to imperial one, and remaining feudal dukes really hate this process. I'd almost welcome a major rebellion or two to speed up the transition.

My mother-in-law empress Katharina of Austria-Hungary had no more babies, but her son (and my brother) started making some, which is awkward, as my sister-wife might not get strong claim if there are too many people in front of her in succession order.

The mystery why Knight Templars in charge of Jerusalem have "Anjou" on the map turned out to be simple tributary situation. They're obviously being attacked my the caliph.

Post 11 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-14 03:49:29 UTC

German Unification: Part 11: 1910-1919: Removing kebab from Arabia

I wonder how many successful independence revolts are actually real, and how many are just glitches. Head of claimant faction revolt (not independence) against Austria-Hungary somehow lost his temporary title, and the other duke in the faction got independent peacefully.

Unfortunately for my dynastic plans I had a legitimate son, whom I cannot marry into any foregin country of significance - I currently have dynastic plans which might get Spain and France for my dynasty.

Empress of Spain's only daughter got married to my distant cousin, then the empress died, so now a girl of my dynasty in next in line.

Emperor of France had just one daughter - who had two children so far, both betrothed in the right way to my children. So if all goes well, France will be inherited by my heir, or at worst by another member of my dynasty. Of course there's a risk that emperor's wife dies, and he remarries and has a son this way.

Austria-Hungary is obviously going to go to my sister-wife after some minor misunderstandings with our brother.

Next in line to the throne of United Kingdom is my (unfortunately nondynastic) nephew.

Princess of Portugal meanwhile married some Jew as her second husband, and both her children are Jewish. Now she's with third husband and it's somewhat likely they'll convert back to Catholic during their education, but who knows.

Somehow one of my vassal usurped kingdom of Romania from under me. It's probably some weird plot mechanic, as he had only 1 duchy in it, so regular usurpation wouldn't work. Apparently I can't revoke it (despite my claim) as it's under de jure Austria-Hungary which doesn't allow revocations.

Not a big deal - I have 16 kingdoms in my name, 7 vassal kingdoms, and 1 vassal major viceroyalty. I created that one - titular kingdom of Naples - to break down Papacy a bit, as it was way too big. Triple-duke of Ferrara, Achaia, and Cyprus got it, count of Spoleto got some minor viceroyalty, so Papacy is now reduced to Latium and vassal merchant republic of Ancona.

Well, with Europe being dealt with by slow dynastic processes, it was time to remove kebab from all the premises - including premises of their last holy site in Baghdad. Persian emperor went Shiite again after being inexplicably Sunni for a while, and it was rather awkward to try to conquer Persia, so I just made him pay me protection money.

After some good kebab removal king of Romania attack viceroy of Wallachia which I just freed from kebab oppression. That cannot be! The only way to ensure Romania will not be under this family of traitors is to kill them all! Unfortunately somehow Bourbon queen of Africa was in line before it ended, so I stopped at that.

Anyway, that's the plan:

• Kebab will all be removed
• France and Spain will probably join the dynastic lands soon
• Austria-Hungary might go to my wife, depending on how long different people will live. Or if that fails I can continue vassalizing whichever rebels glitch out of it, I already control a pretty good chunk.
• I don't have a good way to incorporate United Kingdom into my realm - for that matter their name is really silly, they don't even have all of England, as Kent joined Prussia by inheritance

Font got a lot better, but still only covers half the country

What the hell is going on here?

Green kebab is obviously unhealthy and needs to be removed from the premises

Post 12 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-15 02:52:03 UTC

German Unification: Part 12: 1919-1926: Richwara, peasant general

I continued kebab removal, but warning about independence faction strongly suggested caution with my troops.

I briefly thought about getting second empire title in Scandinavia, just so I can clean up leftovers in Iceland, Jylland and Finland (11 counties total), and I was just at 80% of its territory owned, but then Sweden went de jure Prussia after 20 years so now I'm below that minimum again.

Faction warning at 70% is pretty decent level - I don't recall ever getting faction revolt without warning, but it's in range I should start getting cautious at. Well, at least as far as risk of revolt goes. This number has little to do with reality, and >200% liege strength faction rebellion I got last time was actually a bit weaker than me, not even counting tributaries, allies, and merc reserve.

Portugal went to a queen with non-dynastic heirs - Sephardi Jews both, so it looked like at easy thing to make it go to my dynasty, but somehow kids were in some merc company's court, and I couldn't arrange any marriages because tooltip said I can't be at war with that merc company (even thought neither of us was in any war, so it's one more bug). And now that the queen is dead Portugal is Jewish, and boy king won't marry for political reasons.

Various grand mayors under me really wanted to embargo Cyprus, but that seems pointless now that there's tributary options in the game. Oh well, it's been so long since I had embargo war, I might as well do it this one time.

Next time I allowed the Jews back for a day, I used all that money, plus money I accumulated over time to go on massive building spree -

I got Jon d'Arc event with some German peasant woman Richwara showing up, at 33 martial (19/33/7/1/3 total) with some extra modifiers on top of that, who will probably see no combat, because I need a marshal to train troops in my demesne so vassals stay in place a lot more than a bit more combat bonus. By the way, weren't you supposed to be able to assign marshal to lead your troops according to dev diaries?

There were a bunch of events where I always took her side (like I have anyone else with such stats?) and became zealous, got some mil tech points, as well as some piety/prestige.

Weirdly I even got event where all the peasants were so happy I had -5% revolt risk nationally - which is basically irrelevant in current patch, but there were patches where it would have been massive.

On the other hand a lot of nobles and clergymen got angry at me for supporting her. -25 angry, -50 angry - it seems events randomly piss some people off.

By the way yes it was obviously my first idea to seduce her, but she's celibate and chaste, so that probably wouldn't work.

Well, eventually there was event which allowed me to make Richwara a noble, and that seemed to end the chain, or at least I didn't get any more events after that. And I sort of expected vassals' penalties to keep stacking indefinitely until they rebel.

And then, at early age of 41, emperor Dietrich died for no obvious reason, leaving the realm to 15 year old Poppo.

Poppo's mother could become empress of Austria-Hungary, if only people were dying in better order. Well, there's still a chance this will happen. Poppo's betrothed Matilda is second in life to throne of France. So Poppo could get anywhere from uniting all three realms to getting his regent zero crown authority and revolt wrecking everything.

Of course game totally fucking disregarded my designated regent, as it tends to do. What the fuck is even the point of designating a regent if it always does so? Can I at least fix it by console somehow?

This one count must feel weird. If Xinjiang or Uzbekistan attacked him, it would be extremely difficult to send help. Eventually Yugra got integrated into Prussia, shortening the distance somewhat.

OK, I get it, you don't like Republic of Cyprus. They both sent me this within a few days of wars ending.

Post 13 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-15 16:24:00 UTC

German Unification: Part 13: 1926-1937: Three Generations of Simultaneous Emperors

Richwara, 33 martial skill peasant girl, somehow magically disappeared without trace as soon as emperor Dietrich died. I'm not sure if she died of something, or was taken to heaven (or hell, depending on whose version is right), or disappeared into game code somehow, as game doesn't have an option to search dead characters without living families or landed titles, at least none that I know of.

And weirdly in a few days regent switched from silly regent to one which was actually designated. I guess Poppo must have had a regent as a count, and only got one designated for whole empire after he got the empire.

In any case, regent was a little shit and wouldn't let me do basic stuff like assigning decent commanders, giving away viceroyalties I inherited, going back under vassal limit etc. I'm not talking about declaring wars left and right or changing laws - these make sense to require regent confirmation, but the game is really silly with regencies.

There were still 4 wars to finish - against Ottoman revolt, Persian revolt (ended inconclusively as they white peaced), claimant to Greece, and defending against host invasion of Egypt.

I really wanted my damn vassals to rebel, so I started 23 wars at once. I skipped 3 tributary wars for Denmark, Iceland, and Jylland, as I hoped to maybe get some claimants there sometime - pressing tributary wars against stubborn counts in arctic winter isn't excatly fun.

I had enough wars that I finally decided to do something about that ridiculously tiny war icon list and resized it to twice the size. It's huge pain with all Paradox titles that they express all UI element sizes in pixels, and they default to sizes which are sensible on very small resolutions, so they're all consistently way too small for anything decent like 2600x1600. I know it would be too much effort to provide dynamic scaling, but at least one extra preset for big screens would be nice, wouldn't it? Screenshot included.

By the way I discovered an annoying bug - my script to fix title laws must do it dynamically on campaign start, as Muslim vs non-Muslim titles have different laws. So Egypt which I usurped from Muslim ruler (who lost all lands in it) is now gavelkind - which prevents me from ever destroying any titles, and rules for changing. Fixing it with allows_laws console command still gives me -40 opinion to every ruler within de jure Egypt - including kings of Africa, Greece, and Sicily who have no business owning any lands in it, but do. Oh well, I can live with it.

Oh wait, it also gave -40 to a lot of people who have absolutely no business getting that -40. Unfortunately that's not the first time I've seen this bug.

Not sure if there's a better fix, to be honest I don't like different succession rules for different titles as game mechanic - they should just follow empire's laws.

Unfortunately my dynastic politics failed a bit - my grandmother empress of Austria died, so my uncle now has the throne, unfortunately there are so many of his kids in the line that my mother's weak claim is not possible to press.

With France it's a bit more awkward - my wife's brother inherited it, and after he had accident instead of my wife, my 0 year old son got France. That's really really awkward - I wouldn't mind if he got the throne at age of 16, but 0, that's going to cause issues.

Well, let's see what I can do about Austria. Emperor's heir is in my realm and and the whole line of succession is with him. So first assassinate viceroy over him, so I get him as direct vassal. Then manufacture 4 "major rebellions" to get +100 with everyone for 10 years, so people would actually join my plots.

Kinslaying spree which followed was the biggest I had in quite a few campaigns - targets which were in Austria-Hungary would come to my realm upon inheriting, then die as well. I had to draw charts to even manage that all. Unfortunately by the end of it my mother inherited county of Aden, and while I've been on kinslaying spree, even that has its limits, so I declared rivalry war on Austria-Hungary instead.

Unfortunately she wasn't even in line - after my uncle was his boy son, and then me, because agnatic-cognatic inheritance jumps over women to their sons. I don't particularly like this aspect of it. Weak claims can be pressed as long as claimant is 3rd of better in line (disregarding other conditions like regencies, underage kings etc.). But in this case I'm in line while my mother has claim, so neither of us can use it!

Then, after I imprisoned my uncle as result of war and executed him, my mother got back into line of succession. What the hell is going on here?

Anyway, I simultaneously sent troops and assassins to make sure my bother gets the throne, as this is ridiculously frustrating by now. Assassins failed to get anywhere, and as for troops, there was no army left on opposite side to fight - like 500 out of 35000 or so. He even hired two holy orders of 2.1k each to also not fight me.

And so at the end of it, Christian countries are:

• Austria-Hungary - held by my 51 year old mother, soon to be mine
• Prussia - mine
• France - held by my son and heir (4 now)
• Spain - held by a boy of our dynasty (Castilian culture, but you can't have everything)
• United Kingdom - my nondynastic cousin is there, and two family members have weak claims, so with some luck it could also join dynastic lands
• Denmark - added to my list of kingdoms, one county to clean up
• Finland - added to my list of kingdoms, a lot of cleanup left to do
• Greece - vassal, a few counties left to clean up
• Alania - filthy Orthodox tribals
• Portugal - pope will soon get it, and that means I'll get it

I'm pretty sure 3 direct heirs emperors is the most I ever had - setting up 2 is fairly common, but 3 is unusual. Well, that's only because my father died unusually young, and because game decided to resolve same dynastic situation in opposite ways:

• in France son (my heir) before mother (my wife)
• in Austria-Hungary mother (my mother) before son (me)

If it consistently went for sons, 2 empires would be mine, 1 my heir's. If it didn't jump through generations, it would be my mother, me, and my wife. I don't know if there's any logic - succession tooltip for Austria-Hungary changed over and over.

Of interesting events elsewhere:

• A fairly small monophysite Ethiopia became independent. At least it's not kebab.
• Pope declared crusade against Jewish Portugal. So far nobody joined him.
• That tributary war with Turkestan/Uzbekistan is way too hard - they're sieging my siberian holdings and my enclave of Chuy in Far East, it's totally not worth it in hindsight
• there's yet another independence revolt against United Kingdom going on - I'm tempted to join on rebel side, and then pick up what's left same as I'm doing in Ireland now.

Huge UI improvement with twice as much space for war icons

His loyalty is commendable, but this is really awkward

The font is straight at least, but it could move left a good deal

Post 14 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-17 18:05:34 UTC

German Unification: Part 14: 1937-1946: Wasn't something big supposed to happen like now?

Multiple revolts against my mother's rule in Austria-Hungary erupted immediately. Fortunately I removed this silly option for AI to fold to faction demands, as otherwise AI would fold to at least one of 6 or however many there were in the end (not all simultaneously).

Weirdly my son ruling France had extremely uneventful time so far.

There was much more interesting thing going on with empire of Britain - 7th or so independence revolt. Sure, I'll join rebel side, and then ask the pope to officially make me overlord of all dukes, as they clearly need protection. Somehow newly independent dukes didn't willingly submit, but as I already had my armies in place, it wasn't a big deal to make them so.

There was a minor crusade for what little was left of Jewish Portugal, which I joined just to get the trait. There already was a Catholic claimant, so it wasn't of terribly much use anyway.

British emperor (it's still called "United Kingdom", but this name is increasingly silly - it's about 2/3 of England, 2/3 of Scotland, 1/3 of Wales, and maybe 1/10 of India) decided that he doesn't like my pope, so he setup his own instead, in India. Then both popes died within a month of each other, and two new popes came up.

Ottoman Empire is so battered Yazidi revolt and Knights Templars tok good chunk of what was left. Now Persia seems to be falling apart without my protection too.

Spanish branch of Hohenzollern dynasty is uninterested in joining their empire to our 3. There's a 7 year old girl next in line to the throne, so if she married my 13 year old son, we'd get very close to all of Europe. Unfortunately political concerns and they have zero interest in marriage alliance with either Prussia or France (as checked by console).

So far, nothing happened in decade where it semes like something shouldn't. In particular Austria didn't get Anschlussed.

By the way I just noticed something. I thought I'm doing some inbreeding operaton, but I'm not. Here's official family tree:

• mother: empress Berchte, daughter of empress Katharina and Gerlach
• father: emperor Dietrich, son of (another) Katharina and emperor Dietpold

Here's one with real_fathers command:

• mother: empress Berchte, daughter of empress Katharina and emperor Dietpold
• father: emperor Dietrich, son of (another) Katharina and count Walther

Disregard two Katharinas, I should probably mod name pool to be larger. Apparently both my parents were secretly bastards, but my grandparent is still emperor Dietpold - just on mother's not father's side. Isn't Way of Life awesome?

Pics attached on both versions.

Finally a good font

Very nice placement

Germans are uniting so well everybody wants to join the party

Family tree, official version

Family tree, unofficial version

Post 15 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-18 08:54:12 UTC

German Unification: Part 15: 1946-1955: German Lands United

Pope granted me absolution for sin of kinslaying by event, and for very cheap. Well, one sin down, time to sin some more.

After my wife died, I married oldest daughter of king Desta the Liberator of Ethiopia. She converted Catholic but it tooks designating her my regent, keeper of the swans, and a lot of gifts. Well, it was time to send my spymaster to learn about lands my new wife comes from, being interested in your spouse is important in a relationship, right? Unfortunately somehow that got misinterpreted by him as plotting on his life, and he challenged me to a duel. I was so offended by this slander I just killed him in it.

My wife somehow hated me for all of it, so I usurped her title (she was Catholic now so it was fine), and divorced her. Somehow one of the dukes didn't join the realm during usurpation, so that had to be finished by force.

Soon afterwards she had an accident, so I got all her land duchies as well, which got redistributed to various distant cousins. Divorce step wasn't actually necessary in all that.

I tried to get another wife, after this brief marriage failed so miserably. Unfortunately almost nobody was willing due to "political concerns". I ended up marrying duchess of Pecs - a Hungarian minor which broke away during revoltfest in Austria-Hungary.

As my son turned of age, I console switched to him for a second to arrange marriage with oldest daughter of emperor of Spain. He also has a son, so it's not a cascade of 4 empires generation after generation, but it's a start.

I stopped fighting major wars for a while. I did embargo war against Cyprus for 3k gold, which at this point isn't even that huge, and some minor border cleanup wars.

Somehow British emperor was my rival, so I challenged him to a duel and killed him as well.

I tried something nice - there was a girl with weak claims to Persian and Ottoman empires, which were both constantly in state of civil wars, so weak claims should be pressable. So I married her to my courtier, asked her to convert, unfortunately I couldn't actually press her claim as both empires are agnatic. Oh well.

I tried with another one, who at least had hereditary claim. Probably nothing will come out of it, but who knows.

My mother died at age of 68, finally unifying Austria-Hungary and Prussia (or more like Prussia-HalfOfTheWorld). My wife duchess of Pecs accepted vassalization as she was now de jure, and with all of Austria-Hungary being under my control I destroyed this silly title.

And just a month later emperor Poppo died as well, leaving the realm to young Liudolf and his wife Beatriz, who might or might not become empress of Spain.

For now I'll keep France as second empire title, as it has absolute crown authority, unlike Austria-Hungary (and earlier Russia) which were at useless zero.

Unfortunately France's demesne laws were inherited, not Prussia's, so it has feudal administration, so I'm at 25 lower vassal limit while I really need some more. How the hell people play with vanilla vassal limit again?

Prussia was organized with mostly double-duke vassals, so it was fine. Austria-Hungary wasn't really that big. France is huge and has single-duke vassals. I guess I could just let vassal levy penalty and relation penalty of being way over the limit happen, wait for rebellion, then rebellion would bring me back under the limit and then I would be able to reorganize my realm.

This hacky strategy sounds better than assigning vassal kings to people I don't like.

Font should be even bigger if P started it Paris

That was easy

This is the most ruthless I've done in long time

What do I do with all those vassals now?

Post 16 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-10-23 21:10:51 UTC

German Unification: Part 16: 1955-1964: Unification of Europe

I gave away my extra demesne (it's now weirdly shaped with 4/4 Holland, 3/3 Valois, 4/5 Hannover, and Loon in Luxembourg). but stayed way over vassal limit to provoke some revolt.

Apparently I can't expel Jews any more, as I have whole Jewish province in Ethiopia.

Also apparently I can get "courier wants to join holy order" events even for infidel courtiers, and it costs me good chunk of piety to say no.

It took a few months for ridiculous penalties for being over vassal limit to hit, getting my vassal levy and vassal tax to literally zero.

I got lower crown authority revolt, which was unfortunately way too small.

AI used some high level strategy of hiring all holy orders it could and put them in provinces I was in to make my troops die to massive attrition.

When I got warscore with that up to 60% and lost some of my troops (I had zero vassal troops or mercs to fight with) I got hit by independence revolt - which was also far too small.

Fine, people who were loyal can get major viceroyalties. Of course I could have started with that and saved myself a lot of trouble, but then how would I know who are loyal vassals?

My wife princess of Spain died after having just one son. Even if he survives I doubt he'll get usable claim.

Oh, what is this? Emperor of Britain is trying to revoke some duchy? I need to help oppressed Englishmen overthrow this tyrrant. And once that's done, next king in line is underage? Surely my cousin would be a far better British Emperor than than. Well, there was another problem that he was facing elective succession faction same time as my war, and that could not be allowed.

Weirdly placing new emperor on British throne ended anti-papacy under Britain, as antipope was now under vassal king (previous emperor also had some kingdom titles in India), not emperor directly, and that somehow makes him no longer antipope I guess? Maybe only independent kings and emperors can have antipopes, not vassal kings.

Well, I got former British emperor excommunicated as soon as he came of age anyway, just in case.

After that it was customary campaigning to make sure my claimant keeps the throne, keeps inheritance laws, and keeps all the lands - including first major campaigning in India.

I crushed two major revolts, leaving him with two duke-sized ones which he can handle just fine.

I don't have any easy way to unify all 3 empires held by my dynasty - and one branch is Castilian not German, but the campaign is definitely won at this point. In worst case I can always go seniority succession.

Ottomans got reduced to 5 counties, 2 being holy warred at the moment. Unfortunately I never had opportunity to fully remove kebab from premises, but close enough.

Persia - Shiite again - in falling apart, and daughter of one of past emperors with weak claim had Catholic son, so if anything were to happen to her, and another war to happen to Persian Empire, it will be pressable claim.

India is divided between about 10 blobs, one of them British possessions. If I somehow inherited British Empire I could probably make them all my tributaries.

For campaign conclusions:

• German unification was totally doable within CK2 mechanics without doing any special "national unification" stuff like free CBs on people of same culture. The only unusual trick was changing religions halfway through.
• I think Italian unification would be more difficult to pull off.
• So as for two new religions I added - Protestantism and Reformed - failed miserably. There are fewer of them left than Waldensians (grand mayor of Holstein went heretic somehow) and Yazidis (0% authority does that).
• Religious divisions mattered for gameplay a lot, but mostly Orthodox/Catholic. Protestant/Catholic and Reformed/Catholic mattered here and there like with OPM Denmark which I wanted to usurp for decades but couldn't (eventually I got Iceland and de jure claimed Denmark's last county via Iceland).
• This is vanilla problem, but there's really not enough incentive to start major wars against major countries. I'm not talking WW1 level, just Alsace War level.
• Supporting rebels was huge win. Tributary system was huge win. Way of Life mattered less than usual, but it's still a win.

Political setup:

• Everybody starts much too unstable - especially British India and the Ottomans. That's somewhat due to most of their land being non-de-jure - and my decision to setup locals as vassal kings in India. I don't want to go to other extreme and make it super-stable but it definitely goes too far. Not sure what to do, especially with India.
• I could do something fancy like having Victoria hold half the India and having other half as tributaries, but that arrangement wouldn't survive first succession.
• Maybe Kazakhstan etc. should never be part of Russia/Soviet Union, just nomads tributary under it? That's the only way to keep nomads in game.
• I should probably scatter some duke level merchant republic vassals around the map for extra fun.

As for de jure map:

• Byzantine Empire probably should go, with Ottoman Empire becoming de jure in most of it (it already lost Croatia, Sicily, and Venice). Maybe I should simply reuse e_arabia as Ottomans (they currently use e_seljuk_turks)? If so, k_anatolia would become modern Turkey. That would more or less fix it.
• I could make all of India de jure e_india, and then make Victoria double-empress of United Kingdom and India. Or 4-way empress of United Kingdom, Deccan Empire, Rajastan, and Bengal Empire. Indian kingdoms should probably not become de jure e_britannia. I could put English Protestants in charge instead of locals, but that would basically kill off Indian religions and cultures.
• I'm tempted to kill off k_lotharingia, with Luxembourg going to Netherlands, and Alsace, Lower Lorraine going to Germany, and Upper Lorraine to France. I don't think it serves any purpose like that.


• Should this mod have American Sunset Invasion?

Good font size, but placement leaves much to be desired.