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Saturday, June 18, 2016
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 01: January 769-May 770: The First Conclave War
It's time for some CK2. This time as Charlemagne, with a lot of mods, might be OP or broken or something:
• my set of usual CK2 tweaks - too long to list, but especially much more reasonable vassal limit
• a few new CBs (de jure duchy CB, and abolish title which is de jure over part of your land) based on Workshop mods with some tweaks
• Battle Prisoners (very high chance to capture commanders in lost battles)
• a few more Council Members (if you have council empowered)
• A New Holding For Capital (can build up to 6 holdings in your capital county, very expensive)
• Declare Friends and Rivals (more control over that system)
• Graal (some Holy Graal event chain, I didn't look inside due to spoiler warning)
• Same Gender Succession (make vassal follow your gender succession laws automatically)
• Unique Buildings (a bunch of extra buildings like Hagia Sofia, ruined Hadrian Wall etc.)
• Your Personal Castle (republic style extra buildings for your capital, as long as it stays there)
• some music/graphics mods
I intend to blatantly mod it mid-campaign if I don't like how infamy etc. work.
Every succession I plan to give away titles to about 3 primary heirs with console (can't really rely on the game to do it properly under any succession system), then I'll roll which one of them I'll play as.
Likely challenges include:
• inevitable rampant fratricide
• inevitable rampant factionalism due to Conclave DLC - especially elective succession factions
• unifying Catholic lands into something like a reborn Roman Empire
• upcoming culture shift from doomed Frankish culture to something permanent (most likely German, French, or Italian, but I wouldn't be too surprised by something like Greek)
• Umayyad blob, and possibly Abbasid blob
• Bringing Jesus to various pagans of Central Europe
• Nomad invasion
But let's not get too far. I start as 10/23/15/10/6 Zealous Diligent Brilliant Strategist - all hardcoded stats.
Day zero I need to make sure my vassals aren't too discontent, fire from councils everybody who is, then declare 5 tributary wars on all nearby counts to get easy 1000 prestige. I'll leave dealing with my brother Karloman and getting married for later, as there are events for that. I got Lombard wife (with very poor stats) by event and alliance with Lombardy pretty quick.
Inevitable rebellion came quite soon, with about 7k to my 3k troops. I used 5 tributaries, merc band hired for Jew gold to get to 6k, risked life of my king (who got craven trait for that effort somehow), and I was still below their numbers. It took a lot of complex maneuvering to group my armies with zero boats, and unfortunately there was no way to tell my tributaries to attach to me, so I lost a good chunk of their forces. Lombards called me into their holy war against Tripolitania first (notice how nobody on the map has ships at this point, map attached), so I couldn't call them in even for moral support.
I got it to the point of more or less stalemate - shattered retreat really messes up with quick decisive wars where catching half of enemy army separately would pretty much finish it, fortunately one of my counts captured heir of rebellion leader for +50% warscore, and it started ticking up after a year, so that somehow all worked out. Good, as I'd run out of money otherwise.
At this point first WTF happened - apparently I can't execute traitors without -10 penalty with everyone. What the hell game? Well, mod that. (also it's not a new thing, apparently it's been like that for a while) Not like it would help much - just costing me a ton of piety, and some random dudes would inherited traitors' lands.
By the way it's really hard to not have powerful vassals hate you:
• you have 4/5/6 powerful vassals expecting positions on council as duke/king/emperor
• you can't appoint any of them as your court chaplain, so you have 4 slots (I'm not sure about other religions, I wouldn't mind making vassal happy by making him a shitty chaplain, it's a relatively unimportant position)
• it's very unreasonable to appoint any of the bastards as spymaster (mine is my scripted mother), so that's really 3 slots
• so you'll always have 2-3 powerful vassals hating you as king/emperor due to lack of council slots
• you can unlock a few extra "advisor" positions on the council, but only if you give council some power, which I'd rather not do at the moment
• all that even assuming it's possible to find half-decent chancellor / marshal / steward among the powerful vassals - or that you're willing to suffer really shitty ones
As if that wasn't enough, 3 of my most powerful vassals all had scripted -50 hate me modifier for ten years from start of the scenario, so rebellion or two were inevitable. Not like putting haters on the council would do anything - my marshal who even quite liked me joined the rebellion as well.
Oh well, with first Conclave War out of the way, let's try to get some expansion going.
Powerful vassals can all join prison council
Lombardy can into crusades
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 02: May 770-September 772: United Francia
I reorganized realm a bit, I got event asking me to divorce Lombard Queen, but because it's vanilla and not a sensible mod there are almost no eligible women at start of campaign, so I kept her annoying my vassals a bit. Unfortunately so far there's been no children, so my heir is still Karloman's son Peppin. I can't gavelkind if I don't make a ton of babies - I guess I'll just go seduction focus as soon as focus timer ends.
My mother managed to get rid of Karloman, and his wife ran away to Asturias, giving me claim to kingdom of Asturias somehow, I have no idea how exactly that's supposed to work. I'd prefer Lombardy or Bavaria, but Asturias will do I guess. If I try to expand that far it will be awkward getting my troops around when the only people who know how to build boats are the Greeks.
All I've been doing was fighting vassals to reorganize realm a bit. I have shitty marshal, chancellor, and steward to make 3/5 powerful vassals happy - one of remaining two powerful vassals has 15 intrigue so he could be a sensible spymaster, but he's at -76 so no, I'll keep my mother as spymaster instead. Even then, I can't make any of them my court chaplain, so even going full Conclave I can't escape the hate. I could empower the council, but that would cost me +2 demesne size bonus, so I'd rather not.
Amazingly Lombardy's expedition to Tripolitania without boats worked somehow.
Meanwhile Byzantines got to 24% threat (decayed to 15% since then) and got massive coalition against them for taking grand total of 4 counties. Abbasids somehow got 9% for one county, but no coalition. All of this suggests that it's maybe not very well balanced.
I got event with Roland the awesome knight, I even landed him. Unfortunately he's Breton, but then again everybody is of dubious culture right now.
I think I should stop bothering my vassals for a while, get Asturias next, and keep following events as they're given to me.
Anti-Byzantine coalitions in 3 colors. I feel they should be by religion, not religion group, as Slavic+Tengri coalition is weird.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 03: September 772-July 777: Asturias and Saxony
Before going forward with conquest of Asturias (8 counties) I decided to test how the new infamy system works - instant 50% infamy (would be more, but capped at 50% per source), 12-county Pagan coalition against me (Germanic, Slavic, and Romuva), as well as Umayyads trying to setup their coalition.
Now that's bullshit on so many levels I just disabled infamy system before going forward. There could be way to balance it out, but that's too ridiculous, especially with gavelkind wars which will inevitably result.
Following Ronald I got Ogier the Dane as custom courtier with very good stats.
I got Asturias, unfortunately Saxony got my tributary count of Ostfriesland before I could do anything.
I managed to get event that started war with Saxony, and I wanted to make good use of it and DoWed a bunch of nearby pagans for one tributary and two counties. Their total armies were enormous somehow, as they called into it pretty much everybody in Poland, Bohemia and everywhere around. Fortunately these was all crappy light infantry.
Unfortunately war against Saxony counted as claim war, so I didn't take all the land - and I don't have access to free revocation of infidels, only revocation of tribal barbarians. That dealt with all tribal high chiefs and chiefs except:
• I couldn't revoke pagan temples
• I couldn't revoke subholdings in country of Ostfriesland they got by holy war, as subholdings were castle/temple/city, all filled with pagans
• former king of Saxony, now reduced to high chief wouldn't accept revocation
Well, I needed to revoke duchy of Saxony anyway, and get the war going.
Here's a fun sequence of bugs started:
• some host spawned, way before Viking Age (bug one)
• host captured high chief of Saxony
• my revocation was rejected, even though he was imprisoned (bug two)
• I won the war, but since I couldn't imprison already imprisoned character, we went back to where we started - and winning the war doesn't seize the title it was about (bug three)
• I tried again, had another rebellion, same result
I should probably just fix it with console.
Oh and my Lombard wife finally got pregnant, but I'm 35 and she's 30, so we probably won't have enough children to do much gavelkinding. Oh well, after Intrigue focus (to stabilize the realm) and Scholarship focus (to get research points) I'll switch to Seduction and get some extra babies going.
My current idea is to gavelkind 3-way:
• emperor + central lands - keep it all together
• Asturias + Aquitaine - fight Muslims
• Saxony + Germany - fight Pagans
Except of course I don't have those sons or titles yet. I can create empire of Francia already, but I'd prefer to go the fun way and form HRE - by the way there are two separate "form HRE" decisions in the game, this one is the good one and doesn't make it elective. But it needs having kingdom of Italy and I have no idea how to get them other than by random event which gives me claim to wherever Karloman's wife flees (in my case it was Asturias, or the worst option).
There's still a bunch of scripted events including some huge Saxon rebellion and confrontation with Umayyads.
Oh and some rebels are fighting in Bavaria to put my cousin Karl Karling on the throne. That would be fun if I had empire tier, right now that would make me lose Mecklenburg, as I gave my cousins some lands. Should I console-gavelkind between my nephew and 2 cousins if I don't get enough sons?
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 04: July 777-June 783: Gavelkind Succession is Secure
I don't think I'll be able to get HRE title by special decision, as that requires kingdom of Italy which I won't have this generation. I think the best way forward is to:
• imprison high chief of Saxony by console - I won 3 wars against him in a row, but I can't revoke in spite of multiple reasons for it (traitor and tribal barbarian) as he's imprisoned by some host - to revoke all his stuff and give it away to people of right religion and culture
• create empire of Francia title, so kingdoms can drift right into it (timer is set to 20 years)
• use console to make all my titles agnatic gavelkind, as I'll have enough mess trying to arrange inheritance even without this getting in my way. I'd normally do agnatic-cognatic, but it would be a bit silly in such early days. (West and Middle Francia are agnatic gavelkind, Saxony is agnatic-cognatic gavelkind, Asturias are agnatic elective)
• declare war on three nearby Slavic minors to make them my tributaries
I decided to push my cousin's claim to Bavaria, against united forces of Bavaria and Lombardy - after that my cousin died of consumption so I got Bavaria.
I got twin boys (Baldwin and Sicbald), and then one younger son (Tancred), making gavelkind succession secure, but I switched to seduction focus just in case anyway. I gave them duchies of Mecklenburg and Bourbon and county of Nantes for now, preparing the realm for vaguely 3-way division. My wife is 36 so I don't expect too many more children from her.
I discovered two interesting things:
• tributaries no longer end of tribute's death
• seduction is now much harder as hard rejected seduction just forbids retries, but I still got a ton of bastards, all acknowledged as mine (making my wife hate me), but not legitimized, as I have enough children. I keep giving my bastards small bits of landS anyway.
I faced 12k Saxon rebellion, but they were taking huge damage to attrition whenever they were not next to occupied territory, so I just unsieged whatever they sieged until they took a monthly tick until they bled to below 8k light infantry, at which point I crushed them in one battle.
Oh and Lombardy was fun. King of Lombardy died under suspicious circumstances, and he had 5 sisters who inherited after him - including my wife. They all got weak claims, but I can't push them as my wife got some county in Africa by gavelkind. Oh well.
First two counties went French already, so I'll probably just go French in generation or two as well.
Elsewhere Byzantine Empire is attacking sultan of Armenia to destroy his primary title (those new CBs are sweet), while Egypt is trying to become independent from the caliphate.
Very big font, and alliance with my sister in law ruling Lombardy.
Umayyads are converting Spain at ridiculously fast pace.
This culture map is very unstable.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 05: June 783-April 790: So much for DLC events
I took a special decision to become French, even though that put me at odds with the rest of the realm. It would change all the courtiers of my dynasty to French as well, but since I landed all my sons they remain Frankish.
I made my sister-in-law queen Adelperga of Italy my lover, unfortunately she's a bit too old for children.
I got on a pilgrimage hoping to trigger Graal mod, but nothing came out of it, and it can't be repeated except by shenanigans involving double religion switching which I'm not terribly interested in doing right now.
The duke of Leon decided to start a rebellion against Umayyads, asking me first to support him, which I of course did. That guy instead of sitting on ticking warscore, which would give him what he wanted in no time, decided to charge all the way to Africa and lose. For fuck's sake AI... I think that was the last of the Charlemagne events, from this point on it's just a regular game.
I guess I'll do it myself, I have a plan to destroy Umayyads in 3 wars. They are sultans of Navarra and Andalusia. First order of business is declaring a war for duchy Navarra to usurp the kingdom, right now they have 2/3 counties, and I have 1/3, so I can reduce them back to single kings and prevent them from ever getting emperor tier.
Fortunately Umayyad sultan died incapable in bed almost right afterwads, so I declared war for duchy of Aragon on his son. I captured him in battle, but instead of using that to force early peace I killed him together with all other infidels who couldn't pay ranson, leaving 13 year old in charge of Umayyad kingdom.
Unfortunately I made mistake of assaulting a holding, losing too many troops, so rebels decided to use that to attack me. It was a bit awkward again to group my troops without boats, but I managed to do it, getting half my vassals in prison. I'll decide what to do with them later. Probably just get their cash.
I had 5 legitimate sons, so it seemed like very awkward succession, but one of them died, so I could divide it like:
• West Francia + Middle Francia + Frisia (be emperor)
• Saxony + East Francia (deal with Norse / North Slavic lands)
• Bavaria + Burgundy (deal with Tengri / South Slavic lands)
• Aquitaine + Navarra + Asturias (deal with Umayyads)
or something similar.
Oh and one of my vassals managed to inherit some land in Africa somehow.
Rebellion for elective succession
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 06: April 790-October 793: Almost Western Roman Empire
I hate how much AI spams elective faction outside places where it was historically practiced - most infuriatingly in places like Byzantine Empire, so whenever I play it's restricted to three Germanic culture groups. It's still a stretch, as only German/Lombard/Swedish places had anything like CK2 elective, but I'm OK with that.
Unfortunately my vassals are currently mostly Frankish and German, so I got hit by a massive rebellion anyway. I let all of them who could afford it pay their way out of jail.
I thought I'm over with DLC events, but I got baptism of Widukind event, where defeated leader of Saxon revolt offered to accept Jesus. I don't particularly fancy foreigners with claims to my titles, so I invited him, and murdered him.
I couldn't get new Umayyad sultan of Andalusia killed, so I decided to pay half my prestige (going from 12k to 6k or so) to break the truce and attack him to abolish title of Andalusia. That did not liberate any land from Muslim hands, but it should be much easier from this point onwards.
My wife died, breaking my alliance with her sister and my lover Adelperga of Lombardy, so I married some lowborn Greek genius girl half my age, and pushed one of my son's Sicbald claim to Lombardy.
With the new education events, at age of 14 an event pops up where I can give my ward ambitious trait, but they'd become my rival. Or make the diligent or patient at some personal cost. For my oldest twins Balduin and Sicbald I've chosen ambitious event, which also made them my rivals. If I ended up dead in suspicious circumstances, I won't be too surprised.
Current gavelkinding plan, more or less:
• Balduin - Saxony / East Francia / East half of Frisia / half of Pomerania
• Sicbald - Lombardy / Bavaria / duchy of Bourbon / half of Sicily
• Tancred - West Francia / Middle Francia / Burgundy / West half of Frisia / emperorship
• Louis - Aquitaine / Iberian lands (he's the only French one)
That means two of them can fight the Muslims, one can fight the Vikings, and one can try his best at holding the realm together.
I got two oversized vassals:
• Burgundy / Toulouse / Gascogne (Frankish)
• Alemannia / Bavaria / Austria (German, with claim to kingdom of Bavaria)
The Viking Age started. Shipbuilding is going great as well, as my vassals can raise 4 boats.
So far grand total of 7 counties turned French.
Viking Age. 3 blobs control pretty much all of it.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 07: October 793-September 797: Iberian Campaign
Kingdom of Lombardy got renamed to Kingdom of Italy by event, and I gave my other sons kingdom titles (Saxony, Navarra, and Brittany) as well so they don't feel left out.
Viking raids already started, but first I wanted to make sure Iberian emirs pay me tribute. I got about half of them, but sadly two remaining Umayyad emirs managed to gather 10k between them, so it's currently a bit of a stalemate with neither side being able to win. The wars are still fueling our ransom-based economy, and I'm enjoying seeing Muslims kill each other for me.
Italian revolt for elective succession against Sicbald started in zero time - I hate this mechanic, as it makes pushing anybody's claims except yours somewhat pointless. Almost immediately afterwards a faction pushing my other son's claim to Italy popped up. Then they started fighting each other, so he got away with that easily. Soon after he got third revolt - for increased council powers. Balduin of Saxony is facing similar issues with elective monarchy revolt.
The only thing I could do about this was send my son 500 gold so he could hire some mercenaries
I sent them about 500 gold each, but I couldn't do anything more than that. I wish lieges had some powers here - like if assassinating or imprisoning rebellion leader did anything.
I managed to diplovassalize all four counts in Brittany thanks to some bribes and my chancellor's good work. They were probably more useful as tributaries, but map painting instinct is strong in me.
With my children at age of 19, 19, 15, and 12, what could possibly go wrong if I make my son Sicbald my spymaster? He loves me at +98, in spite of being my rival. Last minute complication ensued, as my Greek wife just had a son Herbert. I think he's too young to include in succession order right now.
• Karloman's son Peppin tried to raise a host to attack me, he had a small accident so that's over.
• Abbasids got overthrown by I think a 3rd decadence revolt, now another dynasty has their empire and caliph titles, but it matters little.
• Landed Vikings aren't raiding much, but hosts already do. Apparently I can land the hosts by giving them a county or a duchy. Maybe I should do that, I have spare counties every now and then.
• Pagans are happily blobbing, my tributary Silesia might even form Poland soon
• Byzantines became lazy and stopped expanding after their first two holy wars
Number of French counties increased to 9.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 08: September 797-November 800: Father against Son
I declared tributary wars on pretty much everybody I could - English, Welsh, Irish, Scandinavian, Iberian, Polish, and Balkan minors - and also holy war for Jylland. The idea was that chiefs who would accept without a fight would wage war on chiefs who wouldn't, so I wouldn't need to do much. It turns out that was too optimistic and I needed to get ships from Italy to move my army to England. My youngest son Herbert became duke of Jylland as a result, and I got most of what I wanted as tributaries.
Revolt for elective in Saxony won. Unfortunately I got another revolt - much worse - for increased council power, involving my son Sicbald, king of Italy, who was also a spymaster. Unfortunately his ships were pretty much the only ones I had, stranding half my troops in England and Norway. Seriously, why would spymaster ever want to join a faction when there's such an easier way available to them?
In last days of the civil war, the now-Kerakid caliph declared holy war for Tripolitania. I don't have enough ships to do much there, but I could get some mercenary ships instead. Or I could die now, with another civil war happening just as I need to defend myself from the caliph... those lands in Africa were never particularly secure, so I'm not going to miss them too much if I lose them. In a few generations I'll have a lot more ships, so getting that back won't be too difficult.
• Tengri Alan emperor (still house Isauros) somehow inherited Byzantine Empire, so I organized a plot to restore Christian rule - infant son of Catholic Frankish girl I educated became the new emperor. That weirdly did not invalidate Pagan-on-Pagan-subjugation war Byzantines launched against Slavic Croatia. I don't think war invalidation rules were ever particularly clear.
• Apparently one of my bastards became Muslim and then decadent. I wonder what the whole story is.
• Catholic uprising is currently wrecking my tributary emirate of Leon
• I just barely recovered prestige I lost breaking truce with the Umayyads, but it was totally worth it. My first intentional truce breaking in I don't remember how many campaigns.
This revolt was very weak, I outnumbered them hard even with 40% or so of my army stranded. AI usually doesn't revolt in such cases.
Declaring war on almost everyone I could
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 09: November 800-August 804: Defense of Tripolitania
I got ill, so I thought that would be succession time, but I ended up getting better fast enough. It took very long time for boat levies to recover, but then caliph attacking Tripolitania was also taking his time, so I decided to defend it instead of giving in.
I gathered my army and 31 ships in South Italy (current max is 41, once I get to 100+ I should be fine), and tried to sneak them in, while over 10k stack of Arab troops were sieging it down. They finally figured out that they wanted to attack 10k on 9k, but I got reinforcements in the middle of the battle, and in any case we had way better commanders on our side.
Before shattered retreat, I would be able to crush them, unfortunately it wasn't, so I had to setup followup expedition through neutral Cyrenaica over to Egypt, where I took some holdings from rebels, but lost a lot of troops to attrition even trying my best to maneuver around it.
Between ransoms (including sultan of Egypt and a lot of emirs) and over 1600 gold caliph paid in reparations it was definitely worth it.
Unfortunately my son Tancred, who was supposed to get emperorship, died under suspicious circumstances. I gave his title of kingdom of Brittany to my fifth legitimate son 4 year old Herbert. Somehow Tancred's post-humous son Karl got included in gavelkind succession, no idea how, but grandchild succession was always a bit unreliable.
So now succession idea is:
• Sicbald - emperorship, Italy, West Francia, Burgundy (he went Frankish->Lombard->Italian)
• Louis - Aquitaine, Iberian lands (French)
• Balduin - Saxony, East Francia, Bavaria (Frankish)
• Herbert - Brittany, Jylland, not part of gavelkind roulette unless someone older dies (French)
• grandson Karl - some scraps, definitely not part in gavelkind roulette (Frankish)
Other fun events:
• Byzantium managed to win pagan subjugation war on duchy of Croatia, launched during brief time of Tengri emperor, but finished by Orthodox one
• Wessex got inherited by Germanic Anglo-Saxon duke
• Sicbald is facing revolt which isn't even pretending to be for elective or anyone's claim, just one to oust the ruler. That's new kind of bullshit in the patch and I should probably just remove them from the game.
Battle to decide Catholic North Africa
Same territory as before
Religion map more or less the same
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 10: August 804-March 811: Tripolitanian Deja Vu
I added Paris to my demesne by making its count revolt, but I'm keeping my capital in Vermandois.
I got both Umayyad emirs to pay me tribute. Two minor Catholic uprisings, and one by Muslim peasants won, but that changes fairly little, and Iberia is a safe front for me. It seems third Catholic uprising might suceed in Valencia next.
Meanwhile Vikings are a plague, so I pushed a bit into Sjaelland and got a few more counts to pay me tribute.
My second wife died, so I remarried, and got another son Gilbert, as well as two daughters. I'm starting to outlive my sons to whom I planned to give my realm:
• Balduin of Saxony - still OK
• Sicbald of Italy - still OK
• Tancred of Brittany - died assassinated, his posthumous son Charles has nothing but gavelkind claim
• Louis - died maimed, his 0 year old Simon inherited Navarra
• Rorgues - died in childhood
• Herbert - got Brittany and bits of Denmark
• Gilbert - got nothing yet
I'm not sure how many ways I'm going to do gavelkind roulette. I even got event giving me +1 health, so it might be a while until I need to decide.
Caliph did not learn his lesson, and attacked me again as soon as truce expired. Well, now I have 52 ships available, so it should be relatively easier, even if still somewhat awkward.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 11: March 811-June 814: Second War for Tripolitania
It looked like the second war for Tripolitania was going to be somewhat easier, with us having more ships and no civil war at the moment (of course death of Charlemagne might just throw it away anyway).
The biggest problem was that it would take very long time to gather troops in coastal areas and for ships to sail from North Sea to Marseille or South Italy, so by the time I can even start transporting them in batches Tripolitania can already be half occupied and have a doomstack roaming around. To both West (Tunis) and East (Cyrenaica) were possessions of sultan of Africa, and landing there would mean quite a lot of attrition. Even if I defeated doomstack invading Tripolitania, it would just shattered retreat back home to Egypt, and counterstrike to get them to surrender and not just white peace would mean difficult trip over high attrition desserts.
That meant I could do one of:
• just defend Tripolitania, potentially every decade, which would eventually get easier as shipbuilding industry increases, but I'm not expecting much realm stability after death of Charlemagne
• make sultan of Africa my tributary, so he helps me defend Tripolitania (at my age it would break pretty fast)
• holy war for Tunis (more valuable, somewhat safe place to gather my troops)
• holy war for Cyrenaica (less valuable, less safe, but helpful for counterstrikes)
Of all the options Tunis seemed most reasonable... And then I noticed that mother of 12 year old Byzantine emperor remarried to brother of sultan of Africa. And she was my ward after her father count of Mortain died childless, leaving me in care of his lands and daughter.
So I bought some fortifications (apparently it's possibly to build even in settlements currently occupied by enemy), and did simple defense and counterinvasion of Egypt. It took a lot of time, but it was easier than previously thanks to larger fleet.
Fortunately just as I was withdrawing troops from Egypt, alliance between sultan of Africa and Byzantine emperor "has broken down" - no idea why or how. In any case it was fairly straightforward to take Tunis.
I got another son Aimery, so now it looks like 7-way gavelkind (I'll do something more sensible by console). I have 3 adult sons, and everybody else is 6 or younger, so I'll probably give away some duchies, and setup 3-way gavelkind manually.
I've also discovered something interesting - Saxony got a lot of rebels, and I kept assassinating them. Once I killed last rebel leader without a heir, and king of Saxony (my son) against whom he's been rebelling inherited all his titles. That was nice.
In single lifetime I managed to get to legalism 3 (without any shenanigans), and passed Late Administration. I could literally pass primogeniture now if I was at peace and bribed 7 of my unhappy vassals enough.
In other news, Zoroastrian faith got wrecked hard enough that Manicheans (mostly nomads) are now majority. Nomads are doing fairly poorly - Wallachia, Khiva, Mordva, Perm, and who knows who else are all taking bits of it.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 12: June 814-September 816: Fall of Islam
At age of 72, stressed, with nearly every neighbour being my tributary, it didn't seem like I'd achieve much more, but I had a few more plans.
First, for some weird reason, the game would allow me to usurp kingdom of Africa, even though sultan of Africa still held half of it as vassals (is that a bug, or I just don't get the rules?) - is that because his only demesne county (outside recently conquered duchy of Tunis) was Atlas Mnt in kingdom of Mauretania?
But that was a small bit. The big plan was that now that I held land in de jure Arabian Empire in my demesne I could declare war on the caliph to abolish Arabian Empire. If that worked, it would be the biggest achievement yet, far greater than breaking Umayyads in Andalusia, Muhallabids in Africa, or pagans in Saxony.
I turned duchy of Cyrenaica into my tributary to get clear way to Egypt, unfortunately game decided to treat my tributary ally as -10%/holding to supply limit, so that backfired.
My tributary king of Sweden (I got pretty much all Vikings) even raided caliph's capital in Tyrus, but got wrecked by their doom stack.
Supply limit did not let me engage in doomstack chasing, and my fleet was too small to do any surprise naval invasion of Syria, so I just landed my troops in Tripolitania, marched across the desert, sieged down coastal Egypt.
Finally their doom stack decided to come to Egypt, and a single decisive battle decided fate of caliph's empire, leaving nothing stronger than Egypt and Khiva in Muslim hands.
Oh and I invited uncle of current sultan of Egypt who went Miaphysite somehow, so I guess I could press his strong claim to Egypt if I had time. I'll probably leave them be for now. Byzantines could wreck them, but so far they've been more interested in wasting time on embargo war with Venice and similar nonsense.
Because of losses in campaigns against Muslims and unhappiness over raised levies faction to increase council power got very strong, so I might face another civil war.
Making nearly all of Scandinavia into my tributaries did nothing to stop the raiding. Hosts keep spawning, and high chief of Skane, whom I cannot attack as we have truce can totally legitimately raid me. That should at least cancel truce, seriously.
I'm 74, so succession is definitely near. Current inheritance list is:
• son Balduin, king of Saxony, 38, Frankish
• son Sicbald, king of Italy, 38, Italian
• son Herbert, king of Brittany, 19, French
• grandson Simon (son of Louis), king of Navarra, 6, French
• grandson Charles (son of Tancred), 14, French
• son Gilbert, duke of Tunis, 8, French
• son Aimery, 3, French
Brave Swedish raid on caliph's capital
Most war had my troops in Egypt, theirs in Syria
Including tributaries, it's bigger than Western Roman Empire
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 13: September 816-May 818: The Last Will of Emperor Charles the Great
Emperor Charles died on 7 May, 717, at age of 76, days after launching a war to conquering Egypt for Miaphysite uncle of ruling Sunni sultan there.
That immediately led to the issue of 7-way gavelkind. Emperor's will to divide empire and 13 kingdom titles was as follows.
Primary heirs are:
• son Herbert, 20, French - kingdoms of West Francia, Middle Francia, including capital
• son Balduin, 38, Frankish - kingdom of Saxony, East Francia, Bavaria, and nearby lands
• son Sicbald, 38, Italian - kingdoms of Italy, Burgundy, and nearby lands
Secondary heirs are:
• grandson Simon, 8, French - kingdoms of Navarra, Asturias, Aquitaine, and nearby lands (if he was of age, he'd be one of primary heirs too)
• grandson Charles, 16, French - kingdom of Frisia
• son Gilbert, 10, French - kingdom of Africa
• son Aimery, 5, French - kingdom of Brittany
• Imperial title is not inherited by anyone. Unify family lands or ask pope for new title.
• All 7 heirs get a strong claim on empire title
• All 7 heirs get weak claim on everybody else's kingdoms
• All other claims between heirs are forfeit
• Imperial treasury of 4000 is divided, with primary heirs getting 1000 each, and secondary heirs 250 each
• All heirs and all tributaries joins war for Egypt. After that war is won, they have no more feudal obligations to each other.
• All existing wars (that is Saxony-Italy war over some counties in Africa they won't even keep) between heirs white peace immediately
All laws of empire of Francia become laws of each kingdom, overriding any existing laws. These are:
• papal investiture
• controlled realm inheritance
• high centralization
• no viceroyalties
• traditional status of women
• religious title revocation
• late administration
• balanced obligations
• no council powers
Demesne and direct vassals outside designated de jure jure territory must be given to whoever inherited them, but indirect vassals don't lose any land, so minor border gore will still happen.
After this episode I'll pick one of primary heirs by gavelkind roulette.
Ideas for what primary heirs would do:
• Herbert of West Francia - take advantage of strongest demesne into which a lot of ransom money was invested. Full civil war is pretty much the only way. Consider inviting some claimants into British duchies later, but for now there's zero ships to use.
• Balduin of Saxony - as technically older twin, he's heir for Herbert, Charles, Aimery, Simon, and Gilbert - everyone except Gilbert. If anything were to happen to them, that would result in fairly quick unification of the empire. In the meantime pagans to the East are easy pickings, those to the North somewhat less so. Probably worth it to take decision to go French, as Frankish is a dying culture. German vassal 3-duke of Alemannia, Austria, and Bavaria might be a problem.
• Sicbald of Italy - very small demesne and rare Italian culture would make it difficult, but friendly pope and possibility to form Holy Roman Empire are big bonuses. Italy has strongest navy, so it would be relatively easy to expand into lands of Muslim minors
Ideas for secondary heirs:
• Simon of Navarra - I'm seriously tempted to include him in the gavelkind roulette, and if he wins age him by console and give him appropriate traits. Obvious plan is to clean up Muslim minors. Big problem is 3-duke of Burgundy, Toulouse, and Gascogne.
• Gilbert of Africa - expand West by de jure wars. Strong Catholic Africa has obvious followup of trying to expand to Mauretania, then Spain or Mali. I could consider including him in roulette, and aging him a bit if he wins.
• Charles - there are 3 wrong culture dukes (Frankish, they'll drift Dutch not French) in Frisia, so just staying in power to inevitable elective succession faction will be a challenge
• Aimery - revoke all Breton count to have big demesne and hope for the best?
Other than Viking raids I'm not really expecting any immediate external threat. Charlemagne executed a few hosts before he died, but now that they're no longer Francia's tributaries, landed Vikings are going to raid in much greater numbers.
I can still adjust succession rules a bit before I continue as whomever roulette chooses. Any input?
Catholic rebels were somewhat successful in Spain.
French was somewhat successful
Nomads are getting wrecked this time. Any new nerfs in patch?
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 14: May 818: Modding Interlude
I discovered why AIs can't do anything - they let councils get a lot of powers, because that faction is really overpowered, and there's no mechanism for ever rolling back council powers, as council gets to vote on that and they'll always vote no unless you put way more effort than AI is capable of.
Afterwards, ruler does a few small things against will of the council, which generates ridiculous amounts of tyranny with everyone in the realm, and that in turns makes council members malcontents who'll vote down everything, and so it goes - they end up with either -100 with everyone, or just sitting there idle forever. I can see how humans would navigate that, but AI has no chance whatsoever.
• So far the only thing about Conclave DLC I like is shattered retreat, even though I was very skeptical initially.
• Infamy is worst idea ever and must be killed (done)
• lowered vassal limit is ridiculous (so I increased that a good deal)
• no-claim oust ruler faction goes against feudal character of the game (done)
• new education system seems to have fewer events than previous one. I'm undecided between them, in theory it could be good
• seduction nerfs annoy me, but they probably just had it coming
• and councils are completely unbalanced, even if they sound nice in theory
Crown authority laws could go up and down, so that worked fairly well, meanwhile council powers only ever increase, leaving AI rulers powerless.
As for mods:
• extremely high chance of capturing commanders who lost battle is far too easy to abuse, it enables ransom-based economy I've been running; something halfway between what mod does and vanilla would be better - getting stackwiped would probably mean getting captured, but during retreat most of commanders on losing side would be able to run away
• abolish title CB is a lot of fun, even if seriously overpowered
• Personal Castle is a neat little mod, unfortunately it forces keeping capital in one place, so if i tried to move it from Vermandois to Paris I'd lose benefit from all those special buildings (at least they'd remain there and wouldn't get autodestroyed as vanilla does with culture-specific buildings)
• I had no chance to get any events from Graal mod, as pilgrimage is once per lifetime
• declare friends and rivals mod is a solid addition to the game
• duchy level de jure CB is very good addition, and not that easy to abuse - there's way too many more powerful CBs in game already, so it's fine
• unique buildings - I built a few, but their impact has been too tiny so far
Setting up succession was easier than I thought, I wrote three custom decisions specific to that one succession (unify laws, get all claims, abolish Francia), and used targeted debug decisions "gain title" and "vassalize" to setup the map. I only needed console to switch characters, distribute money, and setup Aimery's kingdom, as he was unlanded so I couldn't just switch to him.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 15: May 818-March 820: Balduin, king of Saxony
I realized there was small bit of unfinished business. Charlemagne's 8 year old twin daughters as well as both daughters of our claimant for Egypt all needed marriages arranged for them.
• Bourgogne (8) - Byzantine emperor Leon (19)
• Judith (8) - future duke Reinhold of Bavaria (12)
• Thuriya (15) - baron of Lodi (16)
• Nura (13) - Konstantinos Isauros (24, grandson of past Byzantine emperor, no claims)
Anyway, let's do 7-way roulette, and if get underage character I'll just age him by console perhaps, or I'll try experiencing Conclave education system from the other side:
• 25% Herbert of West Francia
• 25% Balduin of Saxony
• 25% Sicbald of Italy
• 10% Simon of Navarra
• 5% Charles of Frisia
• 5% Gilbert of Africa
• 5% Aimery of Brittany
And 0-99 roll hit 30, so Balduin of Saxony it is, Charlemagne's oldest son!
As king Balduin I'm fairly average, with 7/8/12/9/7. Unfortunately I'm Frankish culture - I can't change that to French by special decision unless my capital is in Francia region, and I apparently already moved my capital as AI (that's why this damn thing should be a timer...) so I can't even move it to French province and change there. There are probably some shenanigans how to get culture changed, but nothing straightforward.
It was fairly important to keep vassals happy, especially early on - switching primary to East Francia to make fewer of them desire king title was a good first step. I tried to go on pilgrimage to trigger Graal mod, but it failed again. Initially I had triple-duke of Alemannia, Bavaria, and Austria, but he died almost right away, gavelkinding that into three, so that's much less of a problem now.
I signed up alliances with Herbert of West Francia and Sicbald of Italy, and I couldn't actually attack anyone, as nearly the whole world was in war for Egypt together. While waiting for war in Egypt to finish, I quickly grabbed 2 Norse and 6 Slavic counties of those who did not participate in the war.
By the time Egypt got taken for Christians (for now at least, most of the rest of his family and his heir are Muslim), other heirs to Charlemagne's lands signed their own alliances as well.
Charles of Frisia was already dealing with revolt against his alleged tyranny, meanwhile Simon of Navarra, Asturias, and Aquitaine was fighting a revolt which tried to replace him by that same Charles - revolt consisting of a triple-duke of Burgundy, Toulouse, and Gascogne, and as far as I can tell nobody else. That's the first time I see AI do a one-person revolt.
I think I'll just skip those silly fights and conquer or turn into tributaries Pagans to the East. It's really mostly a matter of managing attrition well. I'm not getting involved into any spy business either.
Going North would be much more difficult, as big Sweden, Lithuania, and Rus are blocking the way, so probably after I deal with Polish/Bohemian pagans I'll try to unify family lands. Or maybe one of them will die naturally and I'll inherit some of their lands without a war.
I could probably setup myself empire of Germania without too much trouble, I'm already at 75%, but it's a silly empire consisting of just Bavaria and Bohemia, East Francia and Saxony already drifted to Francia. Regardless, imperial title would be good to have.
East Francia getting bigger, but these are mostly very poor formerly tribal lands, so I'm actually weakest of the four
I'm Frankish, but I have no Frankish lands, and that culture is dying
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 16: March 820-June 824: What's the point of gavelkind without a little kinslaying
I took advantage of betrothal between Byzantine Emperor Leon and my half-sister Bourgogne to get third alliance in addition to my brothers Sicbald of Italy and Herbert of West Francia. Gilbert of Africa sent me alliance offer as well, and I wasn't entirely sure about it, but I accepted.
I didn't need to wait long to need that, as I got council power revolt immediately. Just afterwards revolt against tyranny of my nephew Charles of Frisia succeeded and I got title of not only kingdom of Frisia (as was expected), but all his demesne as well.
As I had excessive number of duchy titles now, I wanted to give Charles duchy of Mecklenburg, but he ran away to court of rebels trying to push his claim to Aquitaine and wouldn't accept invitation, so I setup merchant republic there instead.
Weirdly dukes who just overthrew my predecessor now had opinion penalty against me because "opinion of predecessor" between -10 and -28. Well, you guys just installed me on the throne, don't whine about it.
After that I took advantage of mercenaries and my allies to spread word about Jesus (or failing that, at least the idea of paying me) to Central Europe.
Meanwhile I was trying to make sure my nephew Simon is doing well, but that got horribly misinterpretted and I got false accused of horrible sin of kinslaying, just because he didn't know how to manage heights well.
Current dynasty status:
• Herbert - West Francia, Middle Francia
• Balduin - East Francia, Saxony, Bavaria, Frisia, Asturias, Navarra, Acquitaine (58% of de jure Francia)
• Sicbald - Italy, Burgundy
• Simon - died in a tragic accident
• Charles - landless (but I might give him something)
• Gilbert - Africa
• Aimery - Brittany
I could create kingdoms of Denmark, Poland, Pomerania, Bohemia, and Castille, but there's neither point nor money for that.
First gavelkind down
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 17: June 824-May 829: Iberian Campaign
Our Miaphysite claimant for Egypt Hatim died, and his Sunni nephew and previous sultan Hatim is back in power, as he only had two daughters and no sons to inherit after him. Oh well, it was worth a try.
I was worried about kinslaying, but Pope offered to just absolve me of it for 100 gold and 50 piety. Well, that was easy way out.
I gave my nephew Charles, former king of Frisia, duchy of Aragon. Then I moved my capital to Navarra so I could switch to French culture - unfortunately only by regular decision, not by special one which switches all my children to French as well, so I'll have same problem after succession.
Well, first order of business was declaring a lot of wars on Spanish minors getting my allies (West Francia, Italy, Africa, Byzantine Empire) in, then attacking by underage brother Aimery of Brittany so that nobody could help him. That reduced Karling realms to 4.
Aimery died under suspicious circumstances soon afterwards, with which I had nothing to do, and it gavelkinded between me and Charles - but I had too much demesne so Charles ended up getting all of that. I don't think there's any way to use console to discover true culprit, but I have my suspicions here.
Not like I didn't help my family - Gilbert of Africa had Sunni uprising with over twice the numbers of his army, so I took all my vassals' ships to help him there. Amazingly he turned from a Frenchman into a Berber. I get Sicbald being Italian, and the rest of the family split between French and Frankish, but this is just too silly.
Soon after Byzantine emperor Leon V died, which ended our alliance, and then throne went to his aunt Euphrasia, and then her son Leon VI. Who decided to attack Italy with de jure claim on duchy of Benevento - I don't expect us to win this, Byzantines will use the marvel of ancient technology - Great Albania-Italy Bridge - to cross their doom stacks with ease.
At the same time as I got revolt for elective in Bavaria. It doesn't look terribly threatening, but I'll be quite busy. At least campaign for control over North half of Spain is more or less ending.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 18: May 829-August 833: Tributaries
My brother Sicbald unfortunately lost Benevento to Byzantines before I even gathered my army. Crushing rebellion was closer than I expected, but I managed to do so. I wish I had proper fleet to coordinate my troops, but Sicbald inherited most of it.
Charlemagne had tributaries in Slavic region, Spain, Britain, and Scandinavia - so now that I got Slavic region and Spain covered, it was time to campaign in two other areas. I was fighting Viking raiders constantly anyway, so I might as well get them to return some of the loot back.
While I was busy with that Sicbald died, and he was succeeded by his younger son Damiano to both his titles (Italy and Burgundy) - I was confused by this at first as they were still agnatic gavelkind, but his older son Karl was captured by Byzantine emperor and had his balls removed, which also removed him from succession, in spite of already having 3 sons and 1 daughter. That is some serious gavelkind failure - even if he got disqualified I think his children should still count.
Anyway, they instantly got into a civil war to press claim for my nephew Charles, former king of Frisia, who's currently still duke of Aragon and Brittany. Weirdly they all reverted back from being Italians to being Lombards. I considered intervening, but by the time I was done fighting tributary wars (Rus and Finland still technically ongoing, but I'll probably just ignore them) it was over.
King Baudouin is now 55, frail and stressed, with two sons - Balduin, 37 (who somehow is excluded from succession and I have no idea why) and Frobert, 23, who's about to get everything. My third son Sigobert died earlier, and recently my wife died as well.
I'm at 66% control over Francia, and 75% over Germania, but I could create custom empire instead.
It's probably time to start considering my will - I'd probably just do straight West / East division unless I have some surprise baby who could get something fairly small.
That would mean 5-way roulette between:
• Balduin of half of my realm (Frankish)
• Frobert of the other half of my realm (Frankish)
• Herbert of West Francia and Middle Francia (French)
• Damiano of Italy and Burgundy (Lombard)
• Gilbert of Africa (Bedouin)
I'm really tempted to just add decision to make every dynasty member in my court French, as the whole business with repeatedly culture flipping every generation is just silly.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 19: August 833-November 837: War for West Francia
I used console to make my unlanded children and grandchildren switch from Frankish to French - the only reason they weren't yet was because I misunderstood how this button worked originally as Charlemagne.
That still leaves Lombard and Bedouin branches of my family, which will have to figure it out their own way.
As I was looking for countries which are not my tributaries yet, I noticed that the wife of my nephew Charles had claim to Mercia. Sure, I'll press that. Unfortunately Charles died with only two daughters (at least Mercia is cognatic-agnatic, so that would work eventually), so I remarried her to my grandson Sigeric just in case. Obviously she faced faction rebellion to overthrow her right away, fortunately for her we were allied so I could help her there.
I got ill on top of being frail and stressed, so I thought that would be it, but I got better and even stopped being stressed.
I thought I'd at least enjoy calm old age, but no such luck - another council power revolt. Then it turned out leader of the revolt was next door to my army returning from Britain, so it one 4520 vs 414 battle I captured him, and ended his rebellion pretty quickly, and I got money I needed to mass build shipyards everywhere I could.
I had a few adventurer hosts trying to get my titles, all Muslims actually not Vikings as I'd expect.
Herbert died in battle (helping me fight one of my wars, at martial 6 no idea why the hell he even bothered leading troops), leaving underage Edouard in charge. Well, it's time to unify Charlemagne's lands. Gilbert of Africa joined Edouard, and got himself captured, so I could have executed him and then only his 0 year old son would stand between Africa and me, but I decided to be family man and let him sit it out in house arrest, after which he was let go for free by peace treaty.
Unfortunately Edouard kept fairly annoying chunk of West Francia in his "Middle Francia" blob, leaving me with 75% of empire of Francia, 80% of tiny empire of Germania, no way to create HRE, but at least an option to create new empire. I thought I'd get all his lands within West Francia, and that I'll be able to recreate the empire.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 20: November 837-October 839: Empire of Francia Restored
My nephew Damiano, king of Italy and Burgundy, attacked Egypt for one county which it somehow got inside Africa. That seemed to be going fairly poorly, but I've noticed that Damiano went into hiding, leaving regent in charge.
Well, I have weak claim to both his kingdoms just in case, and his armies being busy only made it easier. He was allied with king Gilbert of Africa, but he has almost no ships, so he had to walk through Bridge of Gibraltar (oh those marvels of ancient Roman engineering), and by the time he arrived they were just free warscore.
That allowed me to restore the empire. I'm 61 and not sure what to do with it after I die. Of my three sons, my older is depressed and doesn't seem that likely to survive (fortunately he has 3 sons and 2 daughters), my second son is more promissing (with one son), and my third died already. Should I give my grandsons some land as well?
Meanwhile in Mercia, my grandson Sigeric managed to make a son with duches Aethelburg (formerly married to my nephew Charles with whom they had two daughters), so it seems Karlings will get Mercia sooner or later.
Holy War for what?
At age of 61 7-way gavelkind nearly reversed
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 21: October 839-August 840: Last will of emperor Boudouin
Baudouin was 61 and had 14 kingdoms, he still didn't have three of Charlemagne - Africa, Italy, Middle Francia - but got four new instead - Pomerania, Poland, Denmark, and Bohemia.
He was too old for more wars. The wealth had to be used to fund shipyard expansion all over the empire, for tournament, and time on fighting Vikings and unsuccessful seduction attempts.
King Aarif of Egypt proposed marriage between his oldest son Isa and Baudouin's granddaughter Frolaica, which got accepted, even though that implied no new attempts to restore Egypt to Christianity anytime soon.
Just before he died he started giving away titles to the heirs - Brittany and Bohemia to his sons, and after his bastard half-brother duke of Jylland died, Denmark to his grandson Sigeric.
Then he died. The will is as follows.
First son Baudouin and his sons gain all titles in Eastern half of the empire:
• older son Baudouin, 44 - Bohemia and Bavaria
• Baudouin's son Sigeric, 26 - Denmark, Saxony (married to duchess of Mercia)
• Baudouin's son Baudouin, 17 - Frisia, East Francia
• Baudouin's son Baudouin, 13 - Pomerania, Poland
Second son Frobert gains emperorship and all titles in Western half of the empire:
• West Francia, Brittany, Aquitaine, Asturias, Navarra
• once his sons Gaucher and Blotaire reach maturity, they are to be given away titles in similar way
Of 1200 imperial treasury, Frobert gets half, Baoudouin and his sons get 150 each.
All Baudouin's landed sons and grandsons at time of his death gain strong claim to empire of Francia, and weak claims to all kingdom titles in it. Their county level claims on each other are considered invalid.
Charlemagne's grandsons with king tier titles - Edouard, Damiano, and Gilbert - get their claims to Charlemagne's titles reaffirmed, but not to any new titles established by Baudoin.
Gavelkind roulette is 8-way this time:
• 20% Frobert of Francia
• 15% Baudoin of Bohemia
• 15% Sigeric of Denmark (26, French, married to duchess of Mercia)
• 10% Baudoin of Frisia (17, French, gay)
• 10% Baudoin of Pomerania (13, French, gay)
• 10% Damiano of Italy (37, Lombard)
• 10% Edouard of Middle Francia (19, French)
• 10% Gilbert of Africa (32, Berber)
Most difficult starts would probably be Bohemia, Denmark, and Pomerania, as each has demesne of just 2 undeveloped counties, no money, and unhappy vassals. Everybody else should be fine.
Oh and I did some interesting observations. Apparently the most successful religion, doubling in size, was Sunni. Ten biggest religions from start of campaign, number of counties:
• Catholic - 304 to 326
• Buddhist - 104 to 95
• Sunni 90 to 178
• Slavic 90 to 70
• Orthodox 90 to 86
• Jain - 78 to 71
• Hindu - 66 to 80
• Suomenusko - 69 to 64
• Germanic - 58 to 43
• Miaphysite - 57 to 42
Another factoid - both Baudouin's son named Baudouin are gay. I've been mostly playing straight white men, so that would be an interesting change - except massive nerfs to seduction focus in new patch together with small number of gay characters would probably make that boring.
Four vassal double-kings
Francia, Middle Francia, Italy, and Africa
French culture best culture
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 22: August 840-November 841: King Sigeric's and Joys of Gavelkind Succession
The gavelkind roulette rolled 45/100, so Sigeric of Denmark and Saxony it is. I'd say second most difficult outcome after his younger brother Baudoin of Pomerania.
At least he's not called Baudouin, 3 of 5 successors of emperor Baudouin are called Baudouin - this naming after parent / grandparent adds to flavour, but it gets confusing fast. By the way the trick where your name automatically changes when you change culture is quite cute.
As oldest son of Baudoin, who was oldest son of Baudoin, who was oldest son of Charlemagne, who was oldest son of Peppin - I'd have decent place in succession if something were to happen to other members of my family. But first I was facing 3 Saxon vassal dukes, each with more troops than me, Viking raiders (who would often do team building exercises here before heading off to loot wealthier lands), and emperor with weak claims to my titles.
I'm 3/9/12/9/14 fortune builder with cynical, erudite, diligent, and proud, 26 year old, French, married to Aethelburg, ruling duchess of Mercia, with one son Baudouin.
Under me are 4 vassal dukes - Holstein, Brunswick, Saxony, and Sjaelland, each except the last a good deal stronger than me - Saxony might not be the most civilized part of the world, but compared with Denmark it seems like it.
Well, first change primary title to Saxony to eliminate -20 desired Saxony, put them all on my council to eliminate -40, give them honorary titles for extra +5 from minor titles and +10 from regency, take 30% shot at befriending strongest of them, ally my brother in Frisia and father in Bohemia (I don't have high hopes for Pomerania), and start faction to put my father on the throne of Francia - a faction nobody joined.
I even sent my court chaplain to Sweden - the king is cynical and arbitrary and neighbours stronger country of missionary's religion (which as far as I can tell matters more than who actually sent him), so the chance is not completely tiny. He was given permission to stay, but then king of Sweden moved his capital silently forcing his return.
It didn't take long for matters to turn bad, with my brother who got better land in Frisia attacking me (he accepted alliance like a moment earlier). Well, let's see if my father, my other brother, and mercs paid by Jewgold can save me. We had 2k Bohemian, 1.5k mine, 1k Pomeranian, and 1.5 merc troops against 7k attackers. I invited a bunch of random characters with >20 martial to maybe help me.
Weirdly my uncle emperor Frobert decided to revoke Baudouin of Frisia's East Francia title, so that did a little to reduce imbalance of force. Unfortunately this sort of implies that emperor can freely revoke anybody's title when he has weak claim to it - I thought only strong claims allowed that.
Frisians decided to attack 3.3k vs 2.9k over Elbe, which they almost lost when reinforcements arrived on both sides - after which it was a formality, with a lot of money in reparations and ransoms coming to me as compensation.
Unfortunately the war didn't really end, as rebellion to put Baudouin of Frisia on Polish throne erupted halfway through it, and I was brought into it as an ally.
My wife also had rebellion to increase council power, but she wouldn't even ally me. Isn't that sad?
I got nominated as spymaster in Francia, and I immediately started working on getting rid of my Baudouin of Frisia. Next in line for it is my father, but it should eventually go to me.
After the war
That was fast
Battle to decide fate of Saxony
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 23: November 841-January 847: Mission to Sweden
I took ambition to acquire new title, got decision to ask liege for it, and I got county of Viscaya in Navarra - a bit far away, but taxes are taxes.
The fighting with my brother, king of Frisia didn't properly end with defeat of his invasion of Saxony, as he immediately joined rebels pressing his claim to the Polish throne. I got tired of it, took advantage of my position as spymaster, and got him killed - Frisia got inherited by my father, and with it its civil war for elective monarchy.
Then four months later my father died, leaving me with Denmark, Saxony, Frisia, Bohemia, Bavaria, very respectable demesne, ongoing rebellion, a lot of very unhappy vassals, and kinslayer trait (which this time pope didn't volunteer to forgive me). Unfortunately East Francia was still emperor's, so our side of the family only had 7 kingdoms, and mostly the less developed ones.
I was realm's spymaster, and the only people standing between me and emperorship were emperor Frobert and his two baby sons. Sounds easy, and I'd start with 80% plot power, however literally nobody showed any interest in making something happen about succession due to "political concerns", whatever that would mean. Often I wish AI logic was more transparent. What's their problem? If Frobert dies two babies are next in line, so it's 12 year free-for-all with vassals doing whatever they please.
I managed to get king Arnbjorn of Sweden and Finland accept Jesus. I tried to send similar missions to Avars and Khazars, both ended up less successfully. Sweden was in a civil war clusterfuck for a while, but it's peaceful now, and enough of them are Catholic that it should significantly reduce amount of Viking raids in a generation or two.
Emperor Frobert accepted faction demands to increase council powers, even though he could have easily crushed the faction. So far he got a grand total of one county from Muslims in Spain (how AI selects war targets anyway? it seemed like the worst choice possible), and is trying to get a duchy from Avars. Well, I tried to get Avars to accept Jesus peacefully, it's their fault now.
I wasn't that weak, so instead I spent all my time fighting vassals and helping my family member fight theirs. I defended my younger brother from faction for elective in Poland, and I joined king Damiano of Italy in his fight against elective, but I was too busy to actually send any troops, so he lost, and it seems like it will go non-dynastic next generation - mostly because he doesn't have any sons, just two daughters, and is somehow not interested in getting his nephews elected, possibly because he's Lombard and they're Italian.
King Gilbert in Africa was doing fairly poorly as well, but this time it wasn't vassals, it was a group of Muslim counts trying to abolish kingdom of Africa altogether. So it seems our dynasty might lose two kingdoms soon. Not the best performance from Frobert that he did nothing to prevent that.
In other news, I accidentally created Norman Merchant Republic by giving Norse mayor French province of Slesvig - I had too many duchies, and it was the most useless land. I'm seriously tempted to give them some Anglo-Saxon lands later to see English culture emerge.
I'm not sure if civil wars will ever stop - I make half-hearted effort to spread French culture, as to prevent -9 foreigner and elective succession factions (which are only enabled for Germanic cultures), but even Frenchmen aren't too enthusiastic about being ruled. Maybe I should just give council power to stop the fighting like my uncle emperor Frobert?
A brief pause in civil wars
Civil wars everywhere
The Norse started learning about Jesus
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 24: January 847-August 850: Ten Year in Uncle's Empire
I had son and two daughters so it was time to arrange some marriages for them:
• Baudouin - Ereleuva, daughter of king Damiano of Italy (he has no sons)
• Beatrix - Philetos, heir to Byzantine empire
• Charlotte - Ake, grand-nephew of king of Sweden and Finland, and potential future king
I got allied with my wife (seriously, high time) and king Damiano in addition to my brother Baudouin of Pomerania.
I did de jure conquest of Norse count on my border who managed to get out of Sweden, then I went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem hoping to trigger Graal events, but failed.
I tried to make some English and Scandinavian minors my tributaries, and I discovered that as a vassal myself I can make them pay money, but I can't call them into wars. Oh well.
Anyway, Frobert lost a lot of troops fighting Avars and was bankrupt, so I called favour with duke of Burgundy to join my faction to put better emperor on the throne, and wanted to press it, but I needed to be at peace first. Sure, it won't take longer than a year - unfortunately my ally died of poor health, Frobert got back his armies and money.
With Sweden being at least nominally Catholic and Norway and Adger being my tributaries, I had nobody to worry about from the Vikings except hosts.
It's been 10 years under rule of my uncle. It's time to do something about it.
Frisia and tributaries
Jesus doing well in Scandinavia
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 25: August 850-June 854: Avunculicide
In ten years under his rule, Francia got levy shifted feudal levy law, acquired five counties (one thanks to me), and empowered council's control over laws. Not a total disaster, but compared with previous emperors that's fairly poor.
I wanted to press my 1-person-faction's claim, but it failed "No realm title is occupied" check. Nobody's at war, the only occupation is Bavaria-Kempten de jure war between my vassals. Oh well, I have two more CBs: press claim for Francia, and press all claims. Somehow one would give me temporary rebel title, the other wouldn't. How does anybody figure anything about this game without console?
I hired a lot of mercs, so it was 13k vs his 16k, and in theory my allies were bringing a lot more. The war was fun, and I got to 100% fairly quick, but I couldn't press just yet as my rebel count (it's not like civil war means a break from Vikings and rebels) occupied some unrelated holding. And anyway, just winning Francia and leaving him with 7 kingdoms would be silly - he'd be one vassal with half my realm, and then he'd probably start a faction which half of my vassals would join because they're assholes.
I kept fighting until I managed to capture Frobert and his oldest son. I killed Frobert, avelkinding his lands 5-way, ransomed his son, and then as soon as I got the empire I started revoking kingdom titles - leaving them with just Navarra and Brittany, as they weren't worth it. And of course I left my brother with Pomerania and Poland as he took my side in this fight.
Last thing I needed to deal with was Umayyad holy war for Leon. Umayyads were doing pretty good job reuniting Andalusia, being at 5/9 duchies plus some random counties between two of them, and they were at 78% winning holy war for Leon, as Frobert prioritized saving his empire over one duchy, quite sensibly.
Emperor Sigeric was at 40, his wife even older, and with only one son it would be pretty boring gavelkinding if it happened right now. Probably time to go seduction focus.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 26: June 854-January 858: Reestablishing Imperial Glory
Thanks to my chancellor's opinion bonuses, I managed to get Byzantine emperor Philetos, betrothed to my daughter, to ally me - too late for the big war, but it will be useful.
King of the Avars was cynical and arbitrary, so I sent my missionary to him, and it worked. Then I sent a misionnary to the Khazars, and it didn't.
I tried to stuff my council with loyalist bishops (that mod that adds extra council positions is quite neat) to try passing new obligation law, which seems to have failed as I did it wrong somehow. For the time being I left council in power over laws, the most important laws have been passed long ago anyway.
Now that my control over the empire was secure it was time for new wars - first reestablishing my overlordship over south Britain, then crushing Muslims in Spain (as contrary to my expectations they've proven to still be a threat) and some random leftover Central European pagans.
I tried a strategy of giving newly acquired bishoprics to heirs of various wrong culture duchies, hoping they'd pass to me as all their heirs would be disqualified, and then I'd give them away to lowborn Frenchmen - unfortunately that doesn't seem terribly viable, as most managed to have pretty big extended families by now, or have at least one underage boy in the family who can inherit feudally but can't be granted a bishopric.
As vassals somehow weren't interested in starting a civil war, I took advantage of the time I had to take Middle Francia. That's a lot of unhappy family members who blame me for revoking titles which should have been rightfully mine anyway. At least one of the popes decides to officially erase my kinslaying, as greater good of Christianity demanded it at the time.
Meanwhile my brother Baudouin, king of Pomerania and Poland, pressed his claim to kingdom of Brittany over one of my cousins. Pretty good for a gluttonous homosexual drunkard like him.
And to make gavelkind happen, I got myself a bastard son. Somehow game decided to make him my heir over my older son. No idea why. My brother Baudouin got himself two sons, so we could have some kind of gavelkind here.
Another fun fact, caliph managed to create custom "Kingdom of the Sunni Caliphate", which got 3/4 of de jure kingdom of Jerusalem - normally kingdom of Jerusalem is special and can't drift, but custom kingdom creation script wasn't informed of it.
Other than that, king of Egypt, king of custom Medina, king of Arabia, king of custom Khorasan, and a ton of dukes all try to fight for what used to be Arabian Empire.
Two kingdoms still out of empire, both wrong culture group
Missionary work was somewhat successful
A lot of Frenchmen
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 27: January 858-July 864: African and Roman Campaigns
It was time to bring Western Mediterranean under our control - getting kingdom of Africa from my distant cousin Gilbert, who somehow managed to adopt Berber culture, and crushing various infidel rulers.
Meanwhile I had only one legitimate son and two daughters, and that son died of illness. He left me two grandsons, but one of them died of illness as well. The only choice was to leave the realm no my cousins, or to spend more time seducing other women than fighting wars.
My love life was was fairly fruitful, but the children (and alleged children) are all far too young to do much ruling, so if I were to die anytime soon, the vassals would take over the realm. Edvard is 6, Benoit 3, Sigeric 2, and my grandson Sigeric 2.
I tried sending missionaries to pagans in the East, without much success. There was a bit of a controversy regarding papal succession, into which I intervened. Weirdly popes in Rome managed to rebuild Aurelian Walls, making it nearly as difficult to take as Constantinople, but overwhelming force and some patience can deal with any wall.
My cousin was attacking my grandson, so I used enforce realm peace function for the first time ever, first stacking the council with loyalists. Council on its own decided to pass a law to reduce city taxes - resisting change is one thing, but this kind of active sabotage now?
I kicked all obvious malcontents out of the council, but there's so much shady dealing there I might have just as well not even tried - of 12 members, my chancellor bought 5 other votes in addition onto his, while some advisor got another into a smaller group with 2 votes, leaving only a minority of 4 councilors voting independently.
Someone tried to poison me, but one of my dukes saved my life. As far as I can tell, he then called that favor to start vote to reduce city taxes, even though he's feudal? I think he's the one with two advisor voting block, but I don't have proper notifications setup for this kind of council business.
As long as council forms blocks, there's little hope of reverting to more direct forms of rule, or to more sensible vassal obligation laws.
Denmark, Sweden, and Finland got more or less Christianized, but between Norway and hosts Viking infestation is still quite strong.
Next matter is going to be incorporating Italy - it went elective, and its king has only daughters, but somehow I'm 3rd candidate with most votes, which allows me to press my weak claim. This opportunity might not happen again anytime soon.
There also seems to be some kind of a bug, probably with one of the mods (unless that's some Conclave mechanic, but it disagrees with what tooltips say), allowing me to change succession at will, without even any council involvement. So I could go primogeniture or even absolute agnatic in all my titles (but only one such change per lifetime per title).
My oldest daughter is married to Byzantine Emperor, so that's sort of tempting to make her my heir, unfortunately it's a regular marriage. Then again, I'm playing with succession-by-console anyway. I'm tempted to go agnatic-cognatic, even though tooltip says I'd need Notable Status of Women law (and tolerance level 5, I'm only at 2) for it first.
Catholicism is doing OK
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 28: July 864-July 869: Family Unification
It seems that my nomad nerfs went way too far in the new patch, so I decided to tone them down, and then turn countries ruling over pastures into hordes - these would be Sunni Bedouin 3-king of Khiva/Cumania/Turkestan, and Buddhist Tocharian duke of Kumul. Serbia somehow got a few pastures in Crimea, but I let them keep them.
I was also really confused by why I could change to agnatic-cognatic or even true cognatic, even though tooltip said otherwise (with high tolerance tech unlocking it). Apparently high tolerance unlocks it for characters who can't normally access them like Muslims, and Nomads, everyone who could previously can do them otherwise. That still doesn't explain two mysteries:
• why I could go true cognatic - code says it's locked to max tolerance tech, or Cathar/Messalian/Basque, and I do neither
• why it's not bothered by a lot of my vassals hating me
Is it enforcing realm peace changing the rules of succession laws? I'd get it if council could vote on them, but apparently it doesn't, unless they have full authority.
In any case I decided to take advantage of the bug to go agnatic-cognatic with all my titles, and make all adult (or close to it) brothers, sons, and grandchildren of previous king available for gavelkind roulette. That means my daughter married to Byzantine emperor is not eligible for the roulette, but her sons might be.
Oh and according to tooltip factions can't trigger at all during wars (seriously?), so I don't need to care about factions the tiniest bit, I just need to stay at war forever and that's it. I played it so many times, and I always thought AI is just more reluctant to press that button during wars, but apparently it's just blocked, wow.
Of course almost immediately I discovered that tooltip lies, getting 40k on my 27k faction rebellion for elective succession in Denmark of all the things, in spite of starting a few silly tributary wars here and there. Well...
At least the faction war wasn't too difficult, even if it took a lot of micromanagement.
My plan previously was to press my weak claim to Italy, as I was 3rd in line with one electoral vote. Unfortunately while still at one electoral vote, reloading the game pushed me too far down, so now I couldn't press it - but after two non-Karling kings of Italy (Damiano's son died, and his oldest daughter is just a duchess with nondynastic heir) somehow I still got high enough in line of succession to be able to start the war.
That got me a good deal over my vassal limit (even generously modded), but I can give my 5 sons and one grandson kingdom titles even if they're too young to rule.
Oh and because I changed succession laws in 12 titles, every change worth -10 with every vassal for 12 years (it really should just apply to ones with de jure land, like obligation laws / crown authority laws changes do), giving me ten years of -120 with everyone.
My daughter married to Byzantine emperor still didn't have any children, but second one married to duke of Provence had 2 sons and 2 daughters already. I don't think any of them should take part in gavelkind roulette, but then we'll see how it goes. I'm also not sure if I should include any more distant kinsmen in the roulette - probably just those at kingdom tier.
Meanwhile some Norse guy married to West African woman got elected to Swedish throne, so I holy warred him, as that was just too annoying, hoping that (together with half his realm being Catholic, and missionaries being sent his way) it will convince him to accept Jesus. That didn't, and neither did Catholic pretender's faction revolt which I supported. So Scandinavia is back to its Norse ways, but with so much of its population Catholic I don't think it will be that difficult to get it back.
Sultan of Khiva settled, bascilaly splitting it into iqta Khiva and nomad Khiva, with same color on the map, and they even had their Khivan-Khivan de jure war.
The most unusual event was that Rome went French, so French cardinals, not Italian will now receive electability bonus, pretty much guaranteeing French cardinals forever.
Oh and Muslims are slowly reassembling - sultan of Egypt got second title of Nubia.
We could restore Roman Empire at some point here
Rebels rushed too fast, everyone just got -120 opinion, so they could easily wreck me if they waited a month or two first
Scandinavia back Norse
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 29: July 869-February 875: Holy Roman Empire
I'll need five more years before -120 relation penalty due to going cognatic-agnatic wears off.
Oh and in Scandinavia there are 3 rulers:
• king of Sweden / Finland - Germanic Norse, married to Berber West African woman
• king of Norway - Germainc Norse, married to Croatian Slavic woman
• 3-count who somehow stayed independent - West African Norse (after mother), married to Croatian Slavic woman
Removing diplomatic distance filter somehow made West African women really popular. But they're not even Mande, they're Berber, and there's very few West African Berber counties.
Well, there was second Catholic claimant for Sweden, so I helped him, this time successfully, leaving Sweden with Catholic rules with Germanic heir, and Finland with Germanic ruler with Catholic heir. All of them Af Munso dynasty.
Soon my tribal high chief vassal inherited random bits of Sweden and Finland, and some Catholic Finnish uprising took over south Finland.
I made sure my heirs have some kingdoms to rule, but that instantly led to revolts, so I enforced realm peace second time, saving them from wars they were losing at -84% atd -97% (Navarra's claim and weirdly seniority succession). That let me change succession laws in Italy from Agnatic Elective to Agnatic Gavelkind - annoyingly it doesn't match the rest of my realm with Agnatic-Cognatic Gavelkind, but I can live with that.
I wanted to have some peace time, but I got increased council power faction. Rebels had 57k troops - more than I've seen so far. I only had 32k and 128 ships. Rebellion was that big mostly because succession law changes penalty stacked x13 instead of being only applied to relevant vassals, which is really a bug, but it's neither first nor last.
Key to winning the war was as usual logistics:
• I always have much higher supply limit than any rebel leader thanks to prioritizing military organization
• I use ships to move troops (even ships for just a third of the army are pretty good)
• I move in minimum number of big stacks
• I prioritizing sieges of easy targets - which not only generates easy warscore, it inevitably makes AI split its armies to unsiege them, while my sieging army has long evacuated elsewhere
• I invite highest martial characters from all over the world and making them commanders of my armies
• my allies and tributaries, even if they are of little significance to main operations, are really good distraction
• my demesne located in Frisia is really great central location for gathering troops
• once I got to more or less stalemate situation, I quick assaulted easy targets for easy warscore - something AI never does (except as Mongols many patches ago)
After crushing the rebellion, I pressed button to form Holy Roman Empire, which basically renamed and recolored the empire, weirdly keeping coat of arms of Francia. It cost me a ton of money for basically no value, and pope got 4 more counties from dukes of Ferrara and Ancona (I gave him Orvietto earlier), and they didn't even got any claims for that. Oh well.
My heirs currently have:
• bastard son Evrard - Africa (and bit of Mauretania)
• bastard son Benoit - Andalusia
• bastard son Sigeric - Aquitaine (and duchy of Cordoba and Meuretania)
• bastard son Bohemond - Bohemia+Poland (and bit of Avaria)
• bastard son Gerhard - Bavaria (and bit of Italy)
• legitimate grandson Sigeric - Asturias (and random bits around it), heir to duchy of Mercia after my 70 year old wife
The way I divided lands is a bit border-gore-inducing.
As Beatrix is 33 and she had so children with Byzantine Emperor yet, I'm probably going to have roulette between these six.
Three remaining vassal kings (brother in Poland/Pomerania, cousin in Navarra, and distant kinsman in Britany) all took part of the rebellion, which cost them their top level titles as well as place in gavelkind roulette.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 30: February 875: Conclave AI Performance Analysis
The campaign has been going for about a century, so let's see how councils are doing in various realms.
Here's number of powers on scale of 0 to 8, 2nd is war declaration and most important. Nomads have max of 7 laws for some reason, and tribals start with 0 but gain them with tribal organization.
For some countries I checked councilors as loyalists/zealots/pragmatists/glory hounds/malcontents (that's approximate order of liege-friendliness) as well, but that was a bit much work - for most countries councillors with bad attitude have small majority.
• HRE - 1 power, 1/2/3/4/2
• Byzantine Empire - regency, 7 powers, 0/0/5/2/8
• Scotland - max tribal organization, 7 powers, just some money away from going feudal
• Avaria - low tribal organization so 2/2 council powers, and councillors were voting to get it to zero
• Sweden - no council laws available
• Nubia/Egypt - 7 powers, 0/1/2/4/1
• Caliphate - 6 powers, 1/0/3/4/1
• Medina - 2 powers, regency, 0/1/6/2/0
• Arabia - 5 powers, 0/0/1/1/8
• Khiva - 7 powers
• Khorasan - 2 powers
Pagans - most were at zero tribal organization somehow, and every time tribal organization increases council gets new powers:
• Serbia/Taurica - feudal, 0 powers, 1/0/2/2/0
• Finland - low tribal organization, 2/2 council powers
• Wallachia - low tribal organization, 2/2 council powers
• Mali - no council laws available, 1/1/4/3/0
• Rus - no council laws available
• Ruthenia - no council laws available
• Lithuania - no council laws available
• Norway - no council laws available
• Rajputana/Malwa - 6 powers (not in order)
• Kosala - 0 powers, 0/1/2/2/0
• Karnata/Andhra - 6 powers (not in order)
• Bihar - 2 powers
• Punjab - 5 powers
• Khazaria - all 7, 0/0/3/4/3
• Khiva - all 7, 0/1/2/5/0
• Mongolia - all 7, 0/2/1/0/3
In other words, even with some serious anti-Conclave nerfs (limiting elective to Germanic cultures, completely removing "oust ruler" faction, extra advisor positions on councils, and higher vassal limit), councils completely wrecked pretty much every AI in the game.
I'm not entirely sure what ought to be done - it would probably start with full council law reset, and major reduction in AI willingness to join factions. Should council laws be rearranged so councils start by fairly minor powers first, like let's say:
• vote on laws
• execution (nerfed pretty hard already)
• banishment (nerfed to the point it's useless anyway)
• revocation of titles
• granting titles
• full authority (powerful vassals cannot be fired, elective succession locked if instituted)
With council members not being able to join factions ever if council is content, regardless of law level?
It might be a bit complicated to mod that.
Also I'm wondering if I should maybe do something else fun after succession, like a way longer roulette. I thought about all descendants of Peppin, emperor of Franks, but other than Bedouin Messalian duke Nizam Qadirid of Socotra there aren't any. Maybe just roll all kings and higher?
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 31: February 875-February 878: The Last Will of Emperor Sigeric
I was pondering ways to fix Conclave without basically removing it from the game, and a fairly obvious solution would be to give all council members some liege opinion bonus for every council power law passed. And probably a smaller opinion bonus for other vassals, as everybody seems to be joining council power factions, not just councilors.
Unfortunately it would take some scripting to base opinion on both council position and law at the same time, so I opted for simpler idea of:
• all vassals get +5 per council power
• five main council positions increased their liege opinion bonus from +10 to +40
Emperor Sigeric ruled for a few more years after that, and divided the realm as follows:
The realm is divided as follows (with loose duchies and counties going to whoever is nearest):
• son Evrard - empire, West Francia, Middle Francia, East Francia, Frisia
• son Benoit - Andalusia, Africa
• son Sigeric - Aquitaine, Burgundy
• son Bohemond - Bohemia, Poland, Pomerania, Denmark, Saxony
• son Gerhard - Bavaria, Italy
• grandson Sigeric - Asturias, Navarra, Brittany (and he'll inherit Mercia from his grandmother)
• all male heirs get strong claims on the HRE, daughters get weak claim, all other claims on each others are cancelled
• Pope Anastasius III is granted independence in his realms
Bohemond is actually the weakest of six heirs as these lands are worst, but generally it's a reasonably balanced division with limited bordergore - of course it took way too long to set it up by console, what game tried to do was both a massive eyesore and totally unfair.
I'll need to think who I'm going to include in roulette for the next round. These six definitely, but then again maybe I should roll between all playable king/emperor tier characters in the world (disregarding nomad minors with their ridiculously overstated titles), so I can see how well HRE does without my babysitting over a few generations?
There are many potentially interesting stories, which would probably take place in shadow of Karolingian HRE unless I roll India.
Oh and now that I'm actually wondering what's up with rest of the world, I patched gaps in de jure map by making kingdoms of Medina and of The Sunni Caliphate (which is a non-religious title, unlike actual duchy-level The Sunni Caliphate) part of Arabian Empire, and kingdom of Khorasan part of Persian Empire. I don't think it will matter, but it was just really weird de jure bordergore.
Big White Blob, now without Papal States
5 very powerful vassal multikings
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 32: February 878: Sultan Muzaffaraddin II the Bewitched Abd al-Qays of Arabia
Small aside - previously I tried to limit the obnoxious faction for feudal elective succession to just Germanic characters, but I messed up, and my restriction only applied to starting a faction, so all it took was having one Germanic vassal to start it, and then everybody else would rush in. Now joining faction has same restriction, so Germanic minority countries would be unlikely to spam it.
Here's roulette rules, in two steps, as checking exactly who's playable in every part of the world will take a bit of investigating:
• 40% one of six Karlings
• 10% Byzantine Emperor
• 20% king-level Muslim ruler
• 10% other king-level Christian ruler
• 10% king-level character in India
• 10% king-level pagan ruler
No nomads/dukes/etc. Rolled 67, so let's check sultan-level Muslim rulers:
• 20% Caliph (40, Bedouin)
• 20% Arabia (23, Bedouin)
• 20% Khiva/Cumania/Turkestan (33, Bedouin)
• 20% Nubia/Egypt (43, Nubian)
• 10% Medina (10, Bedouin)
• 5% Khorasan (56, Persian)
• 5% Mauretania (24, Visigothic) - this is hardcore mode,
And then I rolled 26, or Arabia.
Well, let's introduce our new character.
• Sultan Muzaffaraddin II the Bewitched Abd al-Qays of Arabia
• 10/0/5/0/18, already at -365.3 piety and 54% decadence
• mother was Abbasid, so mirza trait, but she's from very remote branch of Abbasids, not from caliphs
• sympathy for the Jews (which I can lose by kicking them out)
• scholarly theologian, dull (-2 to everything, but not hereditary at least), mu'tazilite, stubborn, charitable, just, craven, kind, stressed
• council powers over laws, wars, revocation, imprisonment, and granting titles
• zero centralization, free realm inheritance, not even religious revocation law
• technology 7/10/10 in capital of Sanaa, compared with 14/17/15 in Constantinople or 10/11/13 in Holland.
• has a Court Dwarf
• marriage alliances with Caliph, sultan of Nubia/Egypt, and emir of Kermanshah
• currently taking part in a fairly hopeless holy war to defend Muslim emir from holy war by multi-maharaja of Rajputana
As for state of Islam in general:
• Sunni moral authority down to 29.3%, mostly due to lost holy wars - with less aggressive HRE these will probably time out
• no heretics of any significance
• in the East Rajputana blob expanded quite far out of India, and even Zunist survived
• in Central Asia, iqta Khiva and nomad Khiva dominate
• border with Byzantines has been stable for very long time
• East Africa has leftover Christians, but quite few
• North Africa and Spain are nearly all lost to the Karlings, and Mali is still Pagan
Long term goal would be unifying Islam as empire-tier character, but unfortunately the first generation will probably be just getting realm laws in order, and reducing decadence.
Medium term goal would be to crush Medina and be strongest Sunni power in 900 when Jihads can start, so I can get kingdom worth of infidel land (most likely Anatolia) for cheap.
Here's just a bunch of screenshots, I'll get to the game soon.
Slowly coalescing from dukes to kings, but not even close to restoring Abbasid blob
Sunni is now regional religion of Middle East and Central Asia
Bedouin never got far
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 33: February 878-January 885: First Steps Towards Arab Unification
Well, first thing to do was turning non-aggression pacts into alliances - which didn't actually work as both Caliph and emir of Kermanshah changed their mind as message was in the way; but then I got my half-sister married to some of Caliph's relatives and alliance happened on second try.
I also managed to arrange betrothal of my 2 year old daughter Yasmin (4) to Orson Karling (2), son of the Holy Roman Emperor. This never stopped being a Karling game.
I will think to whom to marry my son and heir Idris (6) later - and there's so many other relatives thanks to larger number of wives that I don't even need to bother with seduction focus.
That war against Rajputana was hopeless, so I recalled my troops, and went on hajj - I didn't have far to go. After that I spent money on ramadan to lower decadence a bit.
Then I wanted to start 5 wars - big one against Medina and 4 small ones against random counts, which needed council support, but council was a bunch of whiny bitches, and UI for figuring out why was not very helpful. I tried packing council with my supporters, and it eventually worked - and once I got what I wanted I restored some haters to the council to make them leave factions. There's a lot of power to manipulate the council.
Hilariously, I managed to convince emperor Evrard to ally me thanks to my chancellor's good work. He joined my wars, I joined his fights against Sunni uprisings, for a while neither of us bothered to actually send any troops (not like he needed my help)... Until he actually sent some massive armies while I was at -73% warscore. I'd probably win that war on my own by the way, this isn't EU4, it's totally legitimate strategy to go very low with warscore.
In this short time I managed to pass 2 centralization laws, get 4 counties from Medina, 4 others from random one-county rulers in East Africa. Thanks to some of the fighting being against infidels, my decadence is lowered to just 26% and my piety is in somewhat positive territory.
The Hindu blob of Rajputana/Punjab/Sindh is attacking second time, for the rest of Kerman. It could maybe be stopped if I rushed to it with all my armies, but the best way is to keep growing in power to create counterbalance for them.
Well, why not speed up restoration of united Arab empire by inviting various strong claimants, like to emirates of:
• Jazira (Mesopotamia)
• Mesopotamia (Mesopotamia)
• Tripoli (Syria)
• Aleppo (Syria)
• Syria (Syria)
• Antioch (Syria)
• Cilicia (Anatolia)
• Hamadan (Persia)
• Kermanshah (Persia)
As well as assortment of weak claimants to everything else. For some reason there's huge number of claimants, weak and strong, all ready to join my court. In Christian parts of the world they'd all gavelkind into some counties or baronies and would stay in their older brother's realm.
I don't have that much land to give away, but expansion has been going at a fairly rapid pace, and I can always annoy some emirs into rebelling, or get some land from remaining East African minors.
Meanwhile in Karling lands, king of Africa/Andalusia died of pneumonia, and enormous Africa/Andalusia/Navarra/Asturias/Galicia/Brittany/Mercia blob emerged, not much smaller than entire Byzantine Empire.
Nubia is dealing with pretender Shia caliphate rebellion - I think it's the first one so far. There would be some strategic advantage to Shiites winning - I could either wreck them for land, or go Shia and try setting up own caliphate and holy warring all Sunnis. Then again, starting Muslim civil war right now while Hindus, Byzantines, and HRE are all ready to invade might not be the greatest idea.
Navarra blob is bigger than Bohemia blob.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 34: January 885-January 894: Syrian Unification
I don't think I can realistically get to 80% of any existing empire - big chunk of Arabian Empire is held by the HRE, taking over Byzantine would take at least 4 jihads, and Persian is only sort of in realm of plausibility.
On the other hand I could probably get 3 kingdoms and 8000 prestige, form custom empire, then get dukes to diplovassalize, and push various vassals' claims to other Sunni kingdoms to get relatively quick unification. After that I could probably figure out some way to usurp the caliphate. At least that's the best plan I can come up with.
As an alternative to that would be to switch to Shiite or something like that, and just holy war everyone left and right, with alliances to HRE, Byzantines, Hindu blob, or whoever would take them. Or I could even go Catholic or Orthodox for it. Probably not Hindu, caste nonsense that would result in would be unbearable. It looks like I'm surrounded by Muslims on all sides, but that kind of conversion would crush any moral authority left to 0, and it wouldn't be that hard to pick up what's left.
A nice potential idea is to start war to abolish Byzantine Empire and have HRE fight it for me - that would secure one frontier at least, but then again Byzantine Empire is pretty much the laziest blob ever, and I'll never have this CB against Indians where it would help more to break the blob.
A somewhat more gamey idea would be to start tributary war against the Hindu blob, and just sit on it. It has no ticking warscore (to be honest it probably should), and AI would probably just sit in its borders with troops raised losing time and money indefinitely. Of course if AI actually decided to move against me, I'd be in a lot of trouble as they outnumber me at least 2:1 even with my mercs.
Anyway, there was a lot of emir-tier pretenders whose claims I wanted to press. Unfortunately due to dense networks of alliances with everybody having 4 wives and tons of children to cross-marry, it was difficult to press them more than one or two at a time.
One of my courtiers whose claim to emirate of Tabriz I was in the middle of pressing launched host war for Azerbaijan in the middle of that.
Because of opportunism it all resulted in a good deal of border gore, but I hold 4x as much land as I initially did (53 to 213 holdings).
Sunni religion has still very poor moral authority (38%). For a while I even tried to get it going by sending missionary to Mali, king of which is married to my half-sister. He did not succeed. I'm cynical, with sympathy for the Christians, and even sympathy for the Jews. It might be a good idea to abandon obviously sinking ship.
Unfortunately I can't go Catholic due to lack of Catholic provinces anywhere near me, so I guess I could go Orthodox with some effort? Other religions are definitely not worth it - jumping from one sinking ship to another sinking ship is just silly.
Holy Roman Emperor's son Orson and my daughter Yasmin married. Hopefully they'll have a lot of children. Byzantine Emperor's marriage to sister of Holy Roman Emperor got nowhere, they're both 51, childless, and emperor spent almost all his life in hiding. Embarassing. His nephew will probably succeed him now.
• Pretender Shi'a Caliphate failed, as they do 90% of the time
• Karlings had to fight 24k Irish Catholic host with claim to West Francia, somehow, and of course Karlings won
• King of Italy declared de jure war on Pope over lands in duchy of Ferrara, Karlings won
• I got Golden Qur'an event, which cost me 228 gold
• HRE got itself elective revolt, with just Frankish and Lombard vassals as it ought to, HRE won (that seems to be the pattern of this whole campaign). Emperor punished Lombard Karling double-king of Italy/Bavaria by revoking barony of Este in county of Padua. Like seriously?
• Then 71 year old Edouard Karling, duke of Valois/Normandy, declared war for seniority succession (HRE won)
As for Karling vassal kings, two are in jail after supporting failed rebellions, and one died, gavelkinding into two.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 35: January 894-March 903: End of Emirate Era
I added Random Hordes mod, let's see if it does anything. It's supposed to spawn big hordes with fairly slow mtth.
Anyway, the date of potential start of jihads was just six years away. I've been mostly waiting, so I wanted to pass necessary laws and conquer all remaining Monophysites/Miaphysites/Tengri minors of Caucasus, as well as as many random emirs I could.
I got a Persian Shiite character in my court by event - he was probably the only Shiite in the world - so I decided to land him just to make things interesting, then I got him to educate one of my sons, and once the child became Shiite (but still Bedouin) I gave him some land so he's now my heir, just in case that would be something interesting to do. I probably should have waited for him to come of age, as now that he's landed that reset his guardian, so he can flip back. Oh well, it's a roulette campaign anyway.
And while I was at it, I landed some Jews as well.
Byzantines woke up and started resumed expanding into Bulgaria and Cilicia. Expansion into Cilicia was an epic fail as they had like 80% or so warscore, then its emir died, and one of my vassals inherited it, invalidating the war.
Byzantine emperor Philetos spent whole life in hiding, and never left to meet his wife Beatrix Karling, sister of the Holy Roman Emperor. He never remarried, and went Paulician instead - but his heir is his 65 year old Catholic sister - and after that her Avar Catholic daughter, currently unmarried. Right now anybody can take Byzantine Empire by just politely asking and having some patience.
As my wife were getting older I kept assassinating them and getting new ones. One of them cheated on me and got caught, so I executed her. Then another cheated on me, but somehow fooled my spies, so she survived.
One of my sons went decadent, with 6.2% decadence / year gain, and my attempts at getting him back on track failed, so he'll spend the rest of his life in jail.
So far I fot:
• 36% of Persian Empire
• 30% of empire of Arabia
• 19% of empire of Abyssinia
• some scraps of Byzantine Empire
• 7k/8k prestige needed to create my own empire
Oh and it turnes out I was completely wrong about jihads - they can start in 900 if one of key cities like Mecca, Jerusalem, or Cairo goes non-Muslim, but for North African cities on the list like Tunis (which has been Catholic for very long time now) start year is 1000. So there will be no jihads unless I decide to change my religion, or something like that.
And now there are no independent emirates left. What I didn't take fast enough, Caliph or Nubia did.
• merchant republic in duchy of Mecklenburg disappeared - its duchy level title got destroyed, no idea how - it wasn't revoked, previous mayor seems to still hold capital etc.
• king of Navarra/Asturias/Africa/Andalusia/Brittany/Galicia, duke of Mercia etc. declared independence faction revolt, it seemed for a while he'd win, but he got himself captured, so Holy Roman Emperor is firmly in charge, and his heir is married to my daughter, and they have a baby daughter already, so it's fairly likely my grandchildren will inherit HRE
• I tried some more missionary activity in West Africa, without success
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 36: March 903-October 905: Triumph of Catholicism
So with jihad plan failed because I didn't read the fine print, it's time to choose another religion.
The "go Shia and become Shia Caliph" plan failed, as the event-generated Shia character died, leaving just too few Shia characters to sustain the religion.
No matter, there's a backup plan going, but my allies keep calling me into stupid wars, which I now actually need to fight as I need to be at peace for that. Rebellions were excusable, but Caliph decided to attack Hindu blob - I was seriously sending boatload of troops there, but Caliph managed to get himself captured in battle first.
• get my wife murdered to free wife slot
• marry Cilen as secondary wife (only way to get her to my court)
• be at peace
• move my capital to Tengri province
• convert to Tengri
• this somehow made Cilen my wife, and my other 3 wifes concubines - this wasn't necessary step but it's convenient
• convert to Catholicism as I'm married to Catholic woman (concubine would also work)
• mass demand religious conversions from anyone who would accept (12 emirs converted, 8 didn't)
• caliph can't do anything about it, as he's married to my daughter, he'll watch helpless as his religion dies away
• this also makes me go gavelkind
• enforce realm peace, make all 4 of my kingdoms (Arabia, Persia, Syria, Mesopotamia) agnatic-cognatic gavelkind to match what usually happens
Almost same time, Byzantine Empire got inherited by Cilen's mother, who's Greek Catholic.
And in dynastic terms:
• my wife is heir to Byzantine Empire
• my daughter is married to heir of Holy Roman Empire
So all three biggest blobs on the map are Catholic and have very close dynastic ties. The only downside is that there are currently two popes, as HRE set up its own in Gelre.
I had barely enough prestige to form new empire, but I lost a lot of it during these shenanigans.
Dashed white lines all the way
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 37: October 905-April 913: What the Hell, HRE?
I got most of the emirs to accept Jesus, but the rest needed some convincing by force, and I could use some land to give away to my sons, as the new gavelkind tradition demands. I took advantage of the fun mechanic that if I get faction leader to refuse revocation, whole faction rebels (does it work on faction members too?), even if they're way under strength they'd normally be at.
And now that decadence no longer matters, I wanted release my decadent son Uways on condition of him accepting Jesus. Except I got called into my ally's war before he could reply, and so he autorefused. I seriously dislike this forced delay + demanding conversion being locked to peace time. It's not like he even knows if someone called us into some distant war or not in his prison.
After revolt got crushed it was fairly tedious process to redistribute lands:
• grandson Husam in Mesopotamia (Sunni, turned into Catholic Prince-Archbishop somehow, even though his capital was a castle - I fixed that by console, but one of his provinces ended up with temple as top tier holding anyway)
• son Muhammad in Damman and Nefoud (Catholic)
• son Uways in county of Semien (was Sunni and decadent back when big titles were divided out, so he got smallest scraps after he finally took Jesus way out of prison)
• son Ali in Mosul (Shiite, later Catholic)
• son Nizam in Syria (Sunni, waiting for him to come of age to convert)
• son Muzaffaraddin in Arabia and Damascus (Catholic)
• grandson Uways in Azerbaijan (Shiite, then Sunni, then Catholic)
• merchant republic in Tripoli (Bedouin Catholic, but their capital is Levantine Zikri, so they'll probably flip sooner or later)
Count of Mecca became Catholic, so Jihads triggered. Ironically Caliph can't do anything about Mecca as we're allies - and even after he broke our alliance we still have non-aggression pact.
My wife inherited Byzantine Empire. She instantly did a stupid thing and tried to revoke duchy without cause and without council support, from faction member or leader, getting into a self-inflicted rebellion. Oh well, I'll save her ass.
Our daughter Shogofa is now heir to Byzantine Empire, so everybody hates her as she's female ruler with female heir, Avar Catholic into Bedouin Catholic.
Random Hordes mod did something, and duke of Smolensk, weirdly feudal ruler of two Slavic counties deep in pagan lands, got 15k free troops and some CBs. He managed to get himself incapable trait almost immediately. Fortunately from point of view of good storyline he died, 2 counties gavelkinded between brothers, and the one who inherited event troops decided to subjugate all of Rus, so far doing well.
Serbia went Catholic somehow, but was getting wrecked by Slavic uprising, so I sent some troops over to help. And then during second Slavic uprising his Slavic son inherited it anyway. Oh well.
Myself, I got my first Fraticelli uprising - who the hell are Fraticelli? Oh that 32 martial commander who's leading all armies is apparently one of those.
Meanwhile one of Karling vassal kings went Cathar and led rebellion for increased council authority, failing miserably. Holy Roman Empire is performing really well.
And after that emperor decided to retract vassal from faction leader, which got nearly the whole empire into revolt against him. At least visually it looks like HRE is going to get wrecked and there's not much I can even do to help.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 38: April 913-September 920: Fall of Holy Roman Emperor Evrard Karling
I thought it was certain that Holy Roman Emperor Evrard would lose to revolt of 2/3 of his realm, and I doubted I'd make it in time to make a difference, but out of sense of duty to my daughter's father-in-law I organized expedition to help him. It turned out that he was actually doing quite well (he had troops raised before revolt, and they stayed even though they shouldn't, while revolters couldn't raise half their troops as they were already raised by Evrard - normally revolters' levies autodisband no not sure what exactly differed this time), but my help made some difference crushing rebels in Italy. I was rewarded for it with a lot of ranson gold.
Unfortunately Orson Karling, heir to Holy Roman Empire and my daughter's husband, died, and Evrard's second son Arnoul was next in line to inherit the whole empire over Orson's children. By some inexplicable reason Arnoul was Irish, even though both his parents are very French and there are no Irish provinces in HRE. Later, and I'm not sure how, Arnoul went back French.
Of course Evrard turned out to be a total retard and did the same thing again. Well, it's self-inflicted, and now you're on your own, and without levy glitch to help you. After Evrard got deposed my grandson Bernard got Middle Francia, Italy, and Poland, while his uncle got the empire. Berdard's younger brother meanwhile got absolutely nothing because gavelkind makes sense. I got a betrothal between Bernard and his aunt / my daughter Shameem.
In any case there was much more tempting business, as both Medina and Caliph had revolts against them, and I wanted to make various remaining Monophysite/Miaphysite minors my tributaries before Sunnis got to them. Technically still having non-aggression pact with the caliph I managed to get kingdom of Medina and half of caliph's lands.
For a while Sunni religious authority was very high, but it tanked from 70% to 0% almost overnight, probably when bonuses due to my holy wars 20 years ago expired. Catholic moral authority wasn't doing too well, with -30% antipope, -10% pope has wicked priest trait, and no Jerusalem, but once I started wrecking Sunnis it got to 100% all right, and conversions are going at good pace.
The only problem is that my son Nizam grew to be a zealous Sunni he won't do the sensible thing of accepting Jesus. He's in line to inherit kingdom of Medina, with two Sunni holy sites in it. That would mess things up a lot, so I guess I can send a missionary to him until he figures it out.
Feudal horde from Smolensk conquered Rus, which made huge chunk of formerly tribal territory feudal. Afterwards it engaged in some minor fights with its neighbours, slowly losing event troops. There were supposed to be some extra CBs, but maybe they only apply to original character (who died incapable), and unlike event troops are not inherited? It has 11k out of 15k event troops, so it will probably just be a regional annoyance. King Sviatopolk is unfortunately zealous Slavic, so no point sending any missionaries to him.
My wife Cilen, Byzantine Empress died, leaving our daughter with throne of Byzantine Empire, so I married Cilen's cousin Gulcicak who was next in line, but so far she just managed to have a secret bastard daughter with count of Bahrein.
I'm considering swearing fealty to my daughter Shogofa - together our family's empire would be nearly as big as the HRE - so far I didn't press new empire button, to leave this option open, being 5-king for now. On the other hand, if she loses the throne somehow, or marries regularly, the whole thing will look silly.
Or I could simply include her in claim list in my will, and let the next generation figure it all out.
Cleaning up Sunni leftovers
Second self-inflicted fail
Aftermath of the revolt, my grandson got quite a bit
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 39: September 920-November 922: The Last Will of Sultan Muzaffaraddin
I tried to pass controlled inheritance law in sultanate of Medina to match my other sultanates, but I forgot that reloading save resets AI, so it failed even though it seemed guaranteed to pass based on council positions. Oh well, not a huge deal.
I setup merchant republic in Basra, forgetting that Fars is already next to it.
New Pope Anastasius IV called a synod to judge previous wicked pope Innocetius III the Accursed, who was judged guilty as he was. Antipope Gregorius IV in Gelre laughs at it all.
I went on another pilgrimage, hoping to trigger that damn Graal mod, but it failed one more time and instead I got ill, and died soon after returning.
Of course gavelkinding made a ridiculous mess of it, so I needed to adjust it to look nice.
The realm is divided as follows, including previously granted emirates:
• son Muhammad - sultanate of Arabia, emirates of Saana, Damman, Nefoud
• son Uways - sultanate of Persia, emirate of Axum, liege over lands in Africa and Caucasus
• son Ali - sultanate of Syria, emirate of Syria, and Damascus
• son Nizam (Sunni) - sultanate of Mesopotamia, emirate of Jazira
• son Muzaffaraddin - sultanate of Medina, emirates of Arabia, and Sinai
• daughter Shogofa - she already has Byzantine Empire
• (deceased son's) Idris's son Husam - emirates of Mosul and Mesopotamia (under Mesopotamia)
• Muhammad's son Uways - emirate of Azerbaijan (under Persia)
• Muhammad's son Muzaffaraddin - emirate of Tigris (under Mesopotamia)
All of them gain strong claims on all 5 sultanates, but all other claims are forfeit.
Sons each get 400 gold from royal treasury. Retinue goes to primary heir Muhammad.
Roulette for next round:
• 10% Holy Roman Emperor Arnoul
• 20% other Karlings (there are 7 of them at king tier)
• 10% Byzantine Empress Shogofa
• 20% five king-tier Abd al-Qays
• 10% other Christian rulers (Avaria, Sweden, Scotland, and some minors)
• 10% someone in Indian (10 king tier characters)
• 5% Sunni caliph Jalil
• 5% other Muslims (Nubia, Khorasan, Mauretania, two Khivas)
• 5% various pagans (horde chief lost almost all his event troops, so not much point prioritizing him)
• 5% one of merchant republics
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 40: November 922-July 928: Basilissa Shogofa Abd al-Qays
The roulette went 35/100, so it's 15 year old Bedouin Catholic empress, youngest child of king Muzaffaraddin and basilissa Cilen, ruling over a mix of Catholic and Orthodox Greeks. The weirdest thing is that Tyrnovo in Bulgaria has 24k army, a good deal larger than her 20k army (HRE has 55k), and that was liberation revolt, not even that random horde mod.
Council full of malcontents got full power, and all the laws favouring them they had any control over - at least they don't have control over the better half of the laws (imperial administration, religious revocation, duchy viceroyalties, controlled inheritance, high centralization). And as if they did't have enough reason to hate foreign girl on the throne, vassals hated her even more because they disliked her mother before as well.
Born in purple, fussy, cynical, just, ambitious, 8/6/11/7/8 before even getting education, with claims to all 5 kingdoms of her brothers. Somehow I got diplomatic education focus, which not only sucks, it's incompatible with being fussy. At least I used to be curious, and that apparently gets saved.
I instantly had to deal with 3 hosts pillaging, and tried to tweak council and get some vassals to consider converting. I wanted to press the button to go Greek, but it's actually beneficial to stay Bedouin and have unique Bedouin buildings built in the capital (since I removed them magically disappearing on ruler culture change) in addition to existing Greek buildings.
Before year passed, I got Charismatic Negotiator and Fussy turned into a choice of either Diligent (which I picked) or Greedy, getting me decently balanced character of 14/6/11/9/11.
Nobody with any position wanted to martilineally marry me, except for some of my underage kinsmen, so I got myself Welsh genius, not totally lowborn as he was grandson of two different dukes, but relative to Roman Empire pretty close to it.
And because I desperately need a male heir, I'm try it with other men as well to increase my chances. I got pregnant with 23 year old attractive Symeon, but once his still attractive 46 year old father Helias found me waiting for Symeon at the stream. Sure!
My brothers were already fighting, and I was only 5/14 towards restoring the Roman Empire. I got Roman Empire from my mother, but somehow my brothers screwed me out of the other half of my rightful inheritance. I don't mind them being kings, but it's ridiculous they would not accept overlordship of Roman Empress.
I had good idea for some minor wars, but my council was still mostly whiny crybabies, half of whom said there was no glory in my cleanup of Balkan minors, the other half that enemies I wanted to fight were too strong and numerous. I went with glory hound faction:
• ally my brother, king of Arabia
• there's civil war going on in Egypt/Nubia, and one of Abbasid weak claimants to both is Catholic, so go for Nubia
• attack my brother for Syria (he's supported by my another brother in Persia)
• attack my brother for Medina
• attack my infidel brother for Mesopotamia
• attack caliph for emirate of Jerusalem
• all while defending against some adventurer trying to get Sicily
• and that Slavic 24k army (to my surprise these were real troops, led by 21 martial leader, not tribal light infantry crap) sitting next to my capital decided to attack me - with CB to abolish my empire - while my troops were all very far away and depleted from all the fighting
In a bit over five years I managed to:
• get two sons and a daughter (the youngest even with my husband, the older two with Symeon)
• make my council obedient
• got 4 kingdoms worth of land
• crushed that Slavic host
• spread Catholicism to a lot of vassals who are really attracted to my art of seduction - Jesus works in mysterious ways
• got two more duchie from Roman Restoration todo list
Meanwhile that pretender, so called Holy Roman Emperor, got overthrown and his one month old son is ruling it.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 41: July 928-February 939: Unification by Marriage
Speaking of bugfests Paradox games are, even two years after initial release - whenever you load the save, council positions are recalculated - and in a dumb way - so that content character with +100 opinion of you will randomly be glory hound or something else silly. This is really infuriating as now you can't declare wars you wanted unless you rearrange your council every time you load the game.
Oh and by the way, apparently I can't freely revoke vassal titles from Orthodox characters? When did that change?
The realm needed a short break from wars, and I needed a break from seducing everyone. I focused on scholarship, only campaigned in Balkans a bit, and managed to kick the Sunni caliph out of the Holy Lands, leaving him with just Shiraz in Persia.
I invited Arnoul Karling, overthrown Holy Roman Emperor over, and made him count of Veglia. Because of mess of succession laws in the HRE, he was next in line to some kingdoms. And then I sent some money to make sure something happens to young Hamelin - and Arnoul indeed inherited Poland and Galicia, unfortunately he fell out of my realm. Well, that was worth a try at least.
Just after Balkan wars I had to deal with peasants and adventurers - I was sort of tempted to intervene in HRE civil war with abolish HRE CB, but by the time I restored order it was all over.
I wanted to take a break to look for the Holy Graal, but it failed to trigger again. I double checked, the mod was broken. Now that I fixed it, event chain started. So far I got Lancelot as a commander, and book about Graal, but no actual thing.
My Sunni brother somehow got me to owe favor to him, and used it to ask me to declare for his claim to Persia. That's just ridiculous and is not happening, unfortunately that somehow made my council discontent for two years.
Usurper-controlled Western Roman Empire was too stable, so instead I turned East and South, where navigable Don, Volga, and Suez Canal made it far easier to expand Roman influence than it was in ancient times. The priority was crushing the leftovers of Sunni Caliphate, and getting Persia. Unfortunately my weak claimant to Egypt died, his daughter didn't inherit that claim, so I need to do it the slow way.
Meanwhile I was looking at arranging some marriages for my children, and sister of Western Roman Empress got landed, and was now available. Well, what if something were to happen to empress and her son... and now my oldest son Mukhtar (13) is betrothed to new HRE empress (21). Quite a few things could still go wrong, but there's a decent change Karling-controlled Western Roman Empire and Abd al-Qays controlled Eastern Roman Empire will finally reunify.
If marriage doesn't work out, there's always abolish HRE CB
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 42: February 939-April 943: Roman Marriage
My brother sultan of Arabia died, and it was time to integrate the rest of my father's land into Roman Empire.
As I was sending my armies there anyway, I thought I'd grab an easy duchy from Hindus, but that somehow turned into a war against half of India.
Let's look at imperial couple, relevant traits:
• Melisendre Karling - homosexual, chaste, maimed, frail, slothful, 7/0/5/4/6 naive appeaser
• Mukhtar Abd al-Qays - homosexual, diligent, ambitious, 8/10/16/6/10 midas touched
This is what Roman unification depends on.
I managed to convince the council to surrender their powers to grant and revoke titles, and a group of traitors including a lot of my family members took it as a pretext to revolt. It was not the most clever timing as my 15k merc and retinue stack and 20k HRE levy were passing through traitors' capital in Baghdad when they decided it's best time ever to try blackmailing me.
I replaced some emirs with viceroys, and mostly took cold cash. My Waldensian brother lost his titles, and Lancelot got them instead, as a double-viceroyalty.
By the way, the reason I did so much ethnic cleansing as Karlings, replacing everyone with Frenchmen, wasn't so much for -10 foreigner opinion penalty (or a bit less with tolerance tech), it's because foreigners are far more likely to join all kinds of factions.
The only thing they had going for them was that I spent all my gold on building castles, cities, and churches in two duchies captured from the nomads, building up my retinue, and building up my demesne.
Accidentally declaring war on half of India
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 43: April 943-May 952: Short Tragic Life of Empress Reshawna
Custom kingdoms are a bit bugged, and their drift to de jure empires is not recorded in save game. I got a bit tired of applying the fix manually every time I load the game, so I made all 3 (Medina, Sunni Caliphate, Khorasan) titular. It's mostly for aesthetic reasons, and will have little effect on the campaign. I then destroyed titles of Medina and kingdom of Sunni Caliphate, and switched everything else to primogeniture, as gavelkind and viceroyalties interact in weird ways.
And at age 19, my son Mukhtar, best hope for Roman reunification in centuries, fell ill and died. He left his wife pregnant, but she died in suspicious circumstances soon after birth, leaving infant girl Reshawna, my granddaughter, on Western Roman throne. Unfortunately she got murdered at age of 5, destroying all hope for peaceful Roman reunification.
While waiting for Reshawna to grow up I was trying to move Roman borders a bit closer to Indus river. Navigable river are much better for defense than the mountains and desserts between Indus and Mesopotamia.
I was also helping my tribal tributaries fight nomads, as they can settle nomad lands without investing ridiculous amount of money.
Another pretender Shia caliph decided to raise in Khorasan. Egypt is getting wrecked by multiple attacks by my vassals.
I'd like to just abolish HRE, but I'm 44 so I'm really close to losing +50 attraction to master seductress, while -60 upset by me going primogeniture is still going to last a while longer.
The safest way is to wait for both modifiers to expire, crush a rebellion, and strike HRE when it's in state of civil war.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 44: May 952-May 957: Rome vs Rome
The inevitable post-menopausal rebellion happened, and I was quite prepared, except I forgot to save money, and my budget went pretty close to zero after rebels stopped paying me taxes, but I still had to pay mercs, retinue, and demesne levy.
My vassals managed to abolish title of sultan of Egypt, so together we subjugated most of it. Shia caliphate won in 3 counties in Afghanistan, but I took 2 of them right away. It's still dangerous, as they could start holy order, enable jihads, and generally be obnoxious to everyone, so destroying their tiny caliphate is a fairly important thing.
Emperor Clotaire died, leaving his 4 year old son Godefroy on the throne, who decided to attack me for some douchebag's claim on Firenze. It's 62k their troops vs 55k mine (+9k tributaries).
First, I need to crush this attack, then I need to shatter the pretender's empire.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 45: May 957-October 959: There's Only One True Rome
HRE timing was pretty awful, as my troops were away fighting in deep steppe and in Afghanistan over previous two or three years, and they attacked just as they were coming home.
The war took until November 958 and took place entirely in Italy. Of course the same day peace treaty was signed, I declared counter-war to abolish HRE. That war was even easier - they had less than 20k troops left, and I managed to trap them over winter in 33% monthly attrition province - whichever way they wanted to escape, I'd start move there making them cancel, then I'd cancel as well. They surrendered second war without a single battle.
And now Western Europe is a Karling mess. I can't find a single claimant willing interested in helping me restore Roman glory, but there are other ways.
The only complications were Hindu uprising and vassals getting back to form a faction.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 46: October 959-June 968: Rome for the Romans
It would come as no surprise that next steps were free investiture, install my pope, get him to acknowledge my claims to whichever duchies I felt like claiming.
Then I got alliances with:
• Aquitaine/Burgundy - until their ruler died, then instant backstab
• Leon/Africa/Navarra/Brittany (he also got Galicia almost immediately) - that cost me 500 gold, which is the biggest bribe I ever paid in any campaign, but was totally worth it
and invaded targets of opportunity - focusing on coast and England.
I executed two kings because I wanted to shorten truce or gavelkind their realms, but eventually I ran out of truce-free enemies. I got claimants for Bohemia and East Francia, other than that I just got a lot of loose duchies - I managed to get crown of Wales this way.
One of the wars was Leon's war on Middle Francia's antipope, in which I helped as I had truce with them otherwise anyway. Removing the antipope by force means 50 year no new antipope timer, or something like that.
Meanwhile, I got kings of Rus and Norway to accept Jesus - these two were probably the strongest remaining pagans, so that's a big win. Unfortunately Rus went back Slavic next generation, but it's much easier to convince someone with Catholic capital, so it should be salvageable. Catholicism is completely dominant so far. The only other religion that did anything were the Hindus.
After a lifetime of getting Graal events I got basically nowhere. I'm not a big fan of this mod.
Plans right now:
• there's rebellion for Bavaria going on. I don't have a claimant, but at least I don't have a truce with the rebels, so I could snipe another duchy
• former king of Bohemia is next in line to Denmark/Saxony/Pomerania - but he'd need to be king-rank to remain in the realm when inheriting - I could give him some titular viceroyalty like Cyprus maybe. I made mistake of not getting this rule back when I had a chance to inherit a lot of land once, instead I lost county in Croatia. Or I could just ignore that, current target is just 21
• my assassins can't get anyone, anywhere - on the other hand they're really good at managing unruly vassals
• current vassal king of Bohemia is happy enough, but current vassal king of East Francia is really angry as I executed his son. I'm probably going to have to fight my barbarian vassals a couple of times before I stabilize that part of the empire
• it looks like total border gore, coming from combination of preexisting Karling border gore, and me trying to grab as much Roman land as fast as I can opportunistically
Some much needed purple. Leon are our friends, for now.
And now we even have the same pope
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 47: June 968-January 973: Emperor Zeyd
Empress Shogofa waged very successful campaign in Western Europe, getting to the point of controlling 41% of de jure HRE, as well as a lot of lands de jure silly mini-empires.
As soon as the war ended, her vassals rebelled, including strangely the pope and the ecumenical patriarch, who both somehow got independent in the process.
She died at age of 65, when the war against the rebels was just starting.
She was succeeded by her second son, emperor Zeyd:
• age 46
• married to some nobody, with one son and one daughter
• born in the purple
• scholarly theologian, pilgrim, zealous
• brawny, charitable, gregarious
• content (how do I get rid of that?)
Zeyd no longer has any Karling alliances, as king of Leon is married to his cousin, who's not related enough, but there's daughter soon to be of marriageable age.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 48: January 973-January 977: Outdoing Justinian
The first order of business was obviously crushing the rebellion. Rebellions are trivial once you have sufficient fleet.
After that I had ton of claimants to press. King of Denmark/Saxony/Pomerania was hiding, so there was no way to get him killed, and have his brother (whom I made titular viceroy of Cyprus) inherit. So instead I got him excommunicated, used depose ruler CB, and that worked just as well.
I captured and executed king of Italy/Middle Francia/Frisia, then I could press separate claimant wars to his three children who got that by gavelkind.
• Leon/Galicia/Navarra/Brittany/Africa - he's almost single-handedly blocking official Roman restoration; really hard to deal with him as his branch of family was separate from other Karlings for very long time, so my vassals don't have any claims, and all of these kingdoms are primogeniture. I should have gotten all of Tunis and ability to usurp Africa, but somehow war gave me Tunis without one county, so I'm one county short of majority there. Fastest I could possibly do this is one war per his kingdom.
• Bavaria - I'll be able to usurp that once timer goes off (titles can't be usurped by button if recently usurped by war)
• Aquitaine - I don't have any claimants, but if I take Barcelona I should be able to usurp what's left
• West Francia/Poland - no shortage of claimants for both; West Francia I could even usurp if I took one more duchy
Right now all my Karling claimant vassals are happy, but I don't like blobs with -60 granted viceroyalties, -10 imperial administration, so I've been giving their vassals king-level viceroyalties (some titular, some not) to reduce their realms. This doesn't generate any relationship penalty, and as soon as that vassal dies I can reuse the viceroyalty on someone else.
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 49: January 977-June 991: Restoration of Roman Order
Karling kingdoms were still far too numerous, with 5+2+1+1 crowns. To deal with that better than wait a century for truce timers I supported all the plots, rebel factions, and other intrigue I could think of to undermine them - ending with 8 year old Jewish Karling boy on the 5-throne once - of course he instantly got wrecked by tons of rebellions, which I supported one at a time.
I divorced my old wife, and at age of 51 I betrothed my 7 year old vassal Karling queen of Andalusia, Frisia, and Bohemia, next in line to Middle Francia and Italy as well. My daughter I betrothed to heir to vassal kingdom of Bavaria. Amount of intermarriage between Karling and Abd al-Qays dynasties has been very high.
All English dukes rebelled against Leon, I supported that, then took them all over - leaving just a 3-countess who accepted diplovassalization from my viceroy, so all of England and Wales (and small bit of Scotland) are all in the empire now, with king of Scotland (who also controls a third of Ireland) being a good ally.
I got kingdom of Brittany as viceroyalty, and helped one of two simultaneous rebellions for kingdom of Galicia against Leon - somehow after duchess of Portucale won the other rebellion became rebellion against her, and after she crushed that rebellion, the rebel became independent. Anyway, both their duchies taken, so now she's only a queen by right of 5 year usurpation timer.
I was running out of piety, as every claim, every usurpation, and my divorce cost 100 each, so I did some minor holy warring in Baltic region, as well as getting a few new tributaries, as previous tributary areas like Pannonia were now incorporated into the empire.
At this point I ran out of ideas - all the Karlings were Jews, excommunicated, or just waiting for usurpation timers, I tried sowing discontent (I use it due to lack of anything better to do, but this seems like an extremely weak action), bribing people into joining plots, sending money to anyone fighing them, even befriending foreign spymasters. All useless, it was either breaking truces (and I did it once this campaign when I absolutely had to crush Umayyads, and that's enough) or wait the truce and usurpation timers out.
I went carousing focus to try some partying, as that's peace-locked (fortunately seduction isn't), but nothing terribly interesting happened.
I got a real fun event chain where I tried to cheat to win chariot race, over and over, it all failed miserably and resulted in riots and general mayhem, but at least I got some stats for it. Not like it's hard to get chariot-related riots, I'm getting them pretty often.
Fortunately my vassals noticed a Jew without allies having a ton of lands, so I send everybody who would attack the Jew chests with gold.
After long campaining:
• Karlings are reduced to Jewish 3-king (2 of which would be usurpable if he was ever at peace), king of Poland, and duke of Austria
• Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia, Russia are tributaries or on way to be conquered
• Punjab is in Roman hands
• expedition to West Africa got some land there
• I miss literally 1 county in Tunis to perform full Roman restoration
If my vassals could either win their wars, or stop fighting the Jews, I could maybe assassinate their king, right now defending vs infidels / defending vs foreigners / defending my titles etc. modifiers make his vassals unwilling to join any plots.
Fairly close to Roman borders at largest extent
Indian border is secure, other than that one annoying county multiple of my vassals tried to take, but lost to their Hindu allies from India
Maximum Gavelkind: Part 50: June 991-December 999: Emperor Fadil of Rome
Halfway through campaign I gave +5 vassal relationship bonus per council power, and increased five main councillors' relationship bonus from +10 to +40. That turned out to be an overkill, so reducing these to +3 and +25 respectively.
That meant I needed to be more proactive with vassal management. Fortunately it's easy:
• find a grumpy duke
• get them killed, having baby inherit
• ask pope for claim
• revoke, vassals don't object because pope said so, I never had baby refuse
• grant someone as viceroyalty, so without the ridiculous stacking penalty
With king level vassals this wouldn't work, but I could give their vassal dukes king-level viceroyalties, making their realms smaller and smaller as time goes.
And in August 992 emperor Zeyd died at age of 65, succeeded by his only son Fadil, and wow, he's crap:
• indulgent wastrel (level 1 stewardship)
• greedy, slothful, deceitful, humble, cynical, arbitrary
• married to someone who doesn't matter
• 3 sons, 2 bastard sons, 2 daughters
Fortunately personal castle gives rulers bonuses (via events) based on custom buildings in their capital (similar to merchant republic's houses), and Constantinople is as developed as any city would ever be. And arbitrary is very easy to turn into just by hosting a feast.
I did a bunch of minor warring, getting Poland, Scotland, and a bunch of tributaries. My faction management delayed the inevitable for a few years, but in August 994 I got hit by independence faction with ridiculous 120k troops with against my 75k.
I did the usual thing - ship all troops to central location, then move around the coast and wreck any rebels with 5:1 or better ratio.
The most annoying thing about the rebellion was how a lot of vassals broke free by magic during it, but I just used console to fix that, and net result was probably some border gore reduction, as I didn't remember whose vassals they were, so I transferred each of them to whoever was their de jure liege.
And finally on 27 December 999, after making tributaries of nearly all the minor rulers to the North, and taking over last two counties in Persia, emperor Fadil was at peace and announced Roman restoration to all the world. Nobody doubted truth of this. The only imperial lands still not controlled were 5 counties by Karling Jew in Iberia, currently being conquered by one of my vassals.
And that's the end of the story.
Some notes on Conclave:
• Conclave is unbalanced as hell, and doesn't add to the fun at all. Next time I'll probably play with it turend off unless they get it rebalanced.
• Every council member who's not a loyalist or zealot is basically a malcontent.
• It's total bullshit that pretty much every time you'll simultaneously get "enemy is too weak" from glory hounds and "enemy is too strong" from pragmatists (when you're like 100x stronger than the enemy). Fixing pragmatists to not be such cowards would maybe help here.
• This sort of forces stacking the council with content landless courtiers to get anything done. There should probably be 6 month timeout before you can fire councillor you just appointed to reduce gamey shit, but only after councils basically work.
• I wish vassals did some factions to put some claimant on the throne - that would fit feudal theme of the game better. All the increased council power, reduce crown authority, elective succession, oust ruler etc. are just bullshit. This used to be fine, many patches ago, where nearly every succession you'd have rebels by factions supporting other claimants. Like in real history.
• Things like favors could work if they were integrated properly with the rest of the game.
• All numbers like opinion modifiers, prestige costs etc. are ridiculously unbalanced. CK2 was never terribly good at it, but it's getting worse with every patch.
Persia is in Roman control, India is too divided to cause issues, especially with imperial army on Indus
Africa and Iberia still have leftover rulers who don't acknowledge Roman overlordship
Northern rulers are mostly Roman tributaries
Missionary activity was reasonably successful