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Monday, August 31, 2015

Tragic death of my Let's Play Civilization V as Germany series

So, this is awkward...

My Let's Play Civilization V as Germany series died a tragic death after 27 episodes due to save game corruption - game crashing to desktop on save game load. Not just the last save game is corrupt, quite a few saves and autosaves before it as well.

No idea what caused it, and the usual fixes like deleting game cache, reinstalling game and mods, and so on didn't work - I'm pretty sure save games are corrupted not game itself.

Earlier save games still work fine, but it would be a bit silly and confusing to redo already published episodes second time.

I'd say the series was fairly entertaining up to this point, with some very unusual strategies emerging that you don't normally see, and which are probably impossible on deity so I'd guess few other let's plays do this. By the time corruption happened I snowballed quite hard, so winning would only be a formality. So if you don't mind it ends abruptly at some point, enjoy the series anyway:

This isn't the first time I had Civ5 crashing, but previously workarounds (like deleting cache) worked.  It's rather discouraging to have campaigns completely corrupted, so I'll probably stop playing Civ5 and try something else instead.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

CK2 Republic of London AAR

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-17 13:49:00 UTC

Republic of London: Part 01: Founding of the Republic: 769-783

I modded the game a bit:

• removing some experimental stuff from previous campaign that didn't work too well
• removing localized nonsense like "Norge" and "Maharajas"
• adding decision for feudal lords to become doges - it also gives 500 gold as all patricians in newly created republic start with that much
• reversing a few republic nerfs a bit - nothing crazy, just good deal higher trade post limit, plots to seize trade posts enabled for doge and all patricians equally; all the merc/retinue/etc. nerfs still in place
• tweaking some AI faction settings, so AI can't go for elective succession faction unless it's Germanic - preventing ridiculous elective Byzantine Empire; and increasing rate for nomad independence faction (sadly I've seen very little evidence of this making any difference in simulation run, as even more frequent revolts would get easily crushed by OP khagans)
• allowing anybody to ask people of same religion to join any war, including faction wars
• I might continue mid-game modding depending on how it goes

So let's start. Charlemagne start, 2-count duke of Essex, custom character Beornwulf Lockhart with midas touched, greedy, diligent, ambitious, and of course a hunie (which does nothing). Exactly the kind of character who would be likely to start a merchant republic. 6/10/17/8/10, so decent but nothing crazy.

It's a good bit harder to start as custom doge, as underage children can't inherit after you, and even as young adults they'll have very low electability, so you'll need to have son early, survive quite long, and throw tons of money on campaign fund anyway.

Another difficulty is starting that early (as I didn't want to deal with ongoing Norse invasion or united England), republics only really get going at trade practices level 3, which will take forever, as there's no easy technique like scholarship focus to get economics tech points.

Speaking of techs, here's full list of events/decisions that give economy tech points:

• adopting mutazilite trait as Muslim
• burning down holdings as nomad (and that already got nerfed hard)
• spymaster stealing tech
• having Jewish steward
• expelling Jews (which has a chance of giving some negative points)

You can also get some small amount from buildings - universities in cities or some nomad buildings. It's probably much easier to get tech points as Muslim nomad than anybody else because Muslims and Nomads are not overpowered enough, right? On the other hand tech levels in nomad capital gets wiped out completely whenever they settle, so I guess that makes it fair, sort of.

Not like military or culture tech points are that much easier to get. You get good chuck of either from scholarship focus, you get some military points from fighting battles, and they have a few more events, but it's really not that easy to influence. Probably the most important thing is to keep one technology underleveled, as that will enable sending spymaster to research foreign technology, even if your average tech is way higher than anybody else's on the map, and points you get this way are random. So sandbagging church infrastructure or cavalry or tolerance or whichever tech seems least important is probably the way to go.

Anyway, first order of business is borrowing money from the Jews (I'll have to pay it back eventually, Jewgold got nerfed to ridiculous degree and in any case I'd need to be king tier to expel them), upgrading mansion, city of London, and castle of Westminster, building some trade points, waiting one month for game to register my income, then getting married (otherwise you'll get much lower royal aid duty).

Full set of family palace upgrades would take 100 years to finish, minus small discount based on construction technology (which I can't even really pick anytime soon as trade practices is way more important), so it's important for palace to keep getting upgraded at all times.

Council members sent to:

• improve relations with Charlemagne (good relations give discount for trade post buildings)
• train troops in London
• collect taxes in London
• research tech someplace in Byzantine Empire ruled by a lowly count without much intrigue
• improve relations with the Pope

Focus on business (obviously), ambition to amass weilth, then to become married, then to have a son. Plotting to kill whichever patrician has lowest intrigue as I'm going to inherit gold after them.

Normally I'd rush into tons of wars for some early expansion, but my forces are not that impressive, I'm not going to have any gold to spare for mercs anytime soon, and I am expanding - with trade posts.

Money was tight, but I decided to hold a summer fair anyway, but just once and nothing interesting happened there. I organized an expedition to faraway lands, and it was fairly successful, bringing a lot of gold. Then I built a ridiculously large tower, making me an architect and offending both my bishops who think it's too similar to Tower of Babel or something and used it as an excuse to pay money to the pope instead of me.

So far I got 4 patrician families killed.

One of them had family (I think he was the dude who would be duke of Essex if I wasn't playing with custom characters), so nominated his son to bishopric, got bishop killed, and then when patrician's child grandson inherited the house, I got the kid killed as well. Unfortunately it seems that some distant family member got the gold, not me as usual.

I'm not quite sure how it works - sometimes I get the money, sometimes I don't.

I had one bishop revolt when I tried to rightfully imprison him, that ended quickly for him.

Oh well, 5 years into it, it's time for some local wars. First, make counts of Surrey and Surrey my tributes, then seize city of Sandwich from count of Kent.

I tried to execute plot to seize a trade post, I ended up paying 500 gold for it, but patrician paid some ridiculous amount by events (1050 if I understand the events), ending up -825 in debt, and somehow outbid me. Apparently the mistake was trying to get the plot going at less than 150% support. You can fire it at >75% paying some crazy cash, then it gets cheaper at 100% so I did that. Apparently that only starts bidding war, real target is 150%. Oh well, I would have no idea if I didn't read the files. That's a ton of gold lost.

And I managed to get excommunicated, as pope -1 dislikes me. I got next pope to +28 and asked for excommunication to be lifted, but got refused from a maybe. I thought it would simply end with papal succession, but apparently not so.

Oh well. Time to do some more fighting - two counties of Greater London duchy are held by duke of Mercia, that can't be tolerated.

And then I got hit by embargo war by duke of Kent declare embargo bribed into this Venice. I crushed them, collected Venician gold, and then seized the rest of Kent where I already had a city. Also Charlemagne was toying with idea of disbanding my trade post until I convinced him otherwise thanks to my high stewardship. I guess it's time to keep that spare treasury for mercs, it's not a safe world for republics.

Annual income achieved - 320, second highest after caliph's 340. Venice, Genoa, and Amalfi are very far behind.

My biggest problem is that I'm excommunicated, so that's -5 diplomacy and -30 with all my Catholic vassals, and therefore my plots have very little support. I got pope to +98 by using both my chancellor and my chaplain and taking event choice to get rid of my cynical trait, but I still need 50 piety to ask again, and my piety gain is slow.

My max army is respectable 3k, which makes me stronger than anybody in Britain, but that's not that much. If Charlemagne ever decides to really embargo me, it will be a huge setback as 4/7 of my trade ports are on his side of English Channel.

Weirdly of his titles Middle Francia is gavelkind, West Francia and Aquitaine are elective, so I don't expect his realm to survive.

Oh and by the way, I don't know if it's a new bug or something I didn't notice before - plot power displayed is wildly incorrect, by like 4:1 sometimes. That's in addition to old issue of characters being marked as bribable when they aren't.

I haven't noticed anything terribly unusual in the rest of the world so far, but let's give it some time.

Family trade zones. I'm very exposed to Charlemagne's whims.

Start before pressing become republic button

Republic doubled in size but it's still pretty small

Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-17 19:15:59 UTC

Republic of London: Part 02: Norse menace: 783-803

I made duke of Wessex my tribute, finished researching the stars, finally got Pope to lift my excommunication, and got to trade practices level 2.

Time o go on pilgrimage, to Jerusalem. I became zealous, greedy turned into charitable, I became a pilgrim. And all that put together finally meant that I can get 150% plot power to seize some trade posts! And of course that means I can now take city of Bury on Suffolk for myself, not for some patrician.

And apparently one of my bishops became a cardinal, which if I understand the game means I can no longer get excommunicated, for a while at least.

I thought about it for a bit, and decided to press some city claims for my patricians, however much I hate the bastards. Sadly that won't even get me "+100 pressed my claim" bonus, which would be really useful for having them help me plot against other patricians.

Out of nowhere Charlemagne offered to marry his younger son with my daughter - well, I'm not going to refuse an ally, and I really depend on him not declaring embargo war on me for no reason, so very much yes.

My second daughter married king of Asturias. Weren't feudal rulers supposed to be unwilling to marry doge's relatives or something?

Somehow Charlemagne's older son Sigeric inherited all 5 king titles (1 gavelkind and 4 elective with separate electorates). This is really awkward, so how about I invite his brother Pepin and press Pepin's claim to Lombardy, no idea why he has it.

It's even more fun as kings of Francia and Asturias will do all of the fighting (hopefully), and I'll get all the credit. Isn't this awesome?

My daughter queen of Asturias died in childbirth, so I made sure to arrange betrothal of grieving king with my younger daughter. Unfortunately it's elective so getting my relatives on the throne is not guaranteed.

Viking era started and I had multiple raiders appearing in London. So far they're just an annoyance, but this could ramp up. Like, ridiculous annoyance - I'm getting fresh raiders every fucking month or two. So there's no way to leave England and send my troops to Italy or anything like that, or it would get all looted. At least my son-in-law's war for Italy was won without any effort on my part. Not that it was of much use, he lost it almost right away to faction.

Unfortunately game fucked up hard, infinite looping on monthly tick, something cardinal related:

[characterinteraction.cpp:3974]: Ancelmes chosen to be Cardinal
[characterinteraction.cpp:3988]: Ancelmes was funded by 127 from Tierri Louping for the position as Cardinal

Right, so console kill everyone named Ancelmes, did it help? Nope. How about I console switch to Tierri Louping and make him stop funding cardinal elections? Oh, that worked for now.

Sweden tried prepared invasion of England against Mercia. I joined the war, hired some mercs, and made sure it's not going to work for them. Pretty much the whole Britain joined this war.

My annual income peaked at 730 (before family dues), but endless warfare and raiding managed to reduce it to about a number closer to 650.

Republic of London expanded to 8 counties of England and 7 standalone cities. Our trade network is vast, and most of it is in my hands - some of it due to plots, but mostly mortality rate among patricians is that high.

The plan right now is mostly to expand my dominance over England, Wales, and Brittany, and hopefully get Republic of London to kingdom tier. Scotland, Ireland, and Saxony are tribal, so really awkward to expand as a republic, and I plan to keep good relations with Karlings and the Pope.

I don't have any good CB to punish the Norse, it's really far from military organization 4, and they keep coming and coming. It would be good if Karlings at least conquered Saxony, but they're not even interested in that.

I got some kind of permanent army - 400 Huscarls retinue and 1500 merc company, as my levies are not too great as a republic. Retinue limits come mostly from buildings in family palace, territory I hold is rather small.

So far nobody shows any interest in abandoning their tribal/nomad ways.

I could bribe someone to interfere with Venice or Genoa (under Italy) with embargoes - Amalfi (under Byzantine Empire) is pretty much untouchable for now. On the other hand the furthest Italian republics got so far was Valencia, and I don't want to start long distance expeditions as long as Norse keep coming, so maybe I should leave it for let's say 50 years down the road.

Much border gore

And here it begins

They go back to Lombard rulers almost right away but name change persists

Pretty sure we have biggest trade network

Almost all mine, thanks to former owners' premature demise, what a weird coincidence

Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-17 22:00:59 UTC

Republic of London: Part 03: Grand Mayor Beorhtric of London: 803-812

Grand Mayor Beornwulf went on fighting spree, but he didn't last long, dying at age of 52 of severe stress, or at least that's what doctors of the era called it, who knows what really got him.

He was succeeded by his son Beorhtric - midas touched, hunie, genius, charitable, kind, honest, patient, arbitrary, and paranoid 18/15/29/8/14.

Fortunately as a republic, there's no risk of succession crisis, it's just whoever spends most on bribes.

And so as Beorhtric I conquered more land, built observatory to observe how stars avoid pagan homeland attrition, went on a pilgrimage to Rome this time, got military organization up to 3, allowing me to get pretty number of decent huscarls (one newly recruited unit got sadly wrecked by raiders before it was able to leave the capital).

It's really cute as I got majority of Brittany without using ships even once so far in the campaign. Alliance with France is the answer in every game. Well, maybe not HoI4. Unfortunately Karlings lost elections, reducing Charles II to just king of Middle Francia, and some Nibelunging is now ruling as emperor of Francia. The whole thing is elective so it's really hard to get any marriage alliances going. My nephew and my sister who are heirs to kingdom of Asturias made inbred baby. Oops. I really wanted some alliances and almost nobody else wanted to marry a relative of a doge.

I have 40% of England, 50% of Wales, and 50% of Brittany.

Annual income is up to 1040, even after spending on retinue and mercs a huge amount is left. As a comparison Byzantine Emperor gets 480, Caliph 350, Emperor of Francia 230, and Pope 210.

Post 4 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-18 17:54:04 UTC

Republic of London: Part 04: Most Serene Republic of London brings light of civilization to Scottish barbarians: 812-828

I got on boats for the first time this campaign, to prevent 1200 Norse strong host from sieging my city in Brittany. I wish there was a way to build a bridge, not necessarily Cornwall to Brittany but at least Dover-Calais. After that I did it a lot - as that was the only realistic way to whack Norse raiders. Fortunately I have 4k levy with appropriate number of boats just in London, so I can be on sea right away if I need to.

I really wanted to speed feudalize Scotland, so I invited someone with strong claim, gave him a spare castle I had in Brittany, and pressed his claim. It costs me one castle, and feudal Scotland could potentially be a powerful opponent, but I have no time for waiting. First I tested that all with console to see that it would actually work, who knows all the finer points of government type changing mechanics in 2.4.

Obvious alternative would be to make Scotland king-level merchant republic instead, but that could get into clusterfuck worse than Norse infestation.

Oh and while I wasn't looking Saxony is now Catholic and feudal, and more interestingly so is very blobby Serbia/Bulgaria - I though they'd go Orthodox, but no. Muslims have been pushish against nomads a bit too, but nothing major.

By the way, look at this fun screenshot - my rivals are apparently four kids, aged 3-9. I wonder who's going to win. It seem they believe slanderous rumors that I supposedly had something to do with accidental deaths of their parents. Dumb kids.

Scotland being brought to civilization, now it was time for Ireland, unfortunately that has to happen one county at a time, but fortunately civilized Irish will be part of the republic right away. I got 4 counties by claimant, created Ulster, pressed de jure claim on last chief in Ulster - unfortunately he shows no interest in turning into a mayor, and I can't revoke his county - it says my other vassals wouldn't care as he's a barbarian, and simultaneously that my crown laws don't allow revocation - I'm on limited crown authority, which should. Right now, he's in one person independence faction. I wish there was a way to bait factions to trigger.

King of Asturias tried to holy war some Muslim rebellion, and I even accepted his call to arms, but that ended inconclusively pretty much right away. That border is where it used to be, Byzantines did a bit of holy warring, but nothing major.

Then it was tons of fun - getting claimants, intervening in civil wars on the right size - especially helping kids get titles. Then I proclaimed kingdom level Most Serene Republic of London, unfortunately all the pledges of allegiance from minor dukes I expected did not come. Only one count submitted.

No matter, London Islands will be mine, even if it takes a while. Or maybe not, I setup trade post in
Ostfriesland, so I can seize city from Saxony, then if I seize the county I could holy war all of Scandinavia and finally get rid of this infestation, but I'm not sure if that's going to be possible, as there are strict rules for coastal county seizing for republics, and I'd rather not get into war against Francia just to cover minimum distance rules.

OK, console checked, I can seize Ostfriesland in two wars, but that's still not close enough to holy war Sweden. Oh well.

By the way, here's an example of brilliant CK2 writing style: "Duke Aethelred the Usurper has declared Gallowayan-Scottish Revolt De Jure War over Clydesdale on Paul of Scottish Revolt". What's going on here? Took me a while to parse that.

Annual income up to 1300.

Still too much border gore

Post 5 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-18 21:51:30 UTC

Republic of London: Part 05: Prince Mayor Beortnic almost unified London Islands: 828-835

I wondered about fabricating claims, but costs are ridiculously high as they scale with my income - so I'd be paying 1663 per duchy title, or more as campaign goes. That's just silly.

I got a city in Ostfriesland, as staging ground for eradication of the Norse plague, which already started spreading to northern coast of Scotland, all united under Sweden for now. I can intervene in independence rebellions, but only of people of same religion, so I wouldn't be able to directly help break it down. And I wouldn't hate it if someone tried to break down Francia a bit too.

Getting second king level title in Ireland and some bribes meant that I got the rest of it peacefully, and I've been unifying London Islands towards the North as well.

Prince Mayor Beortnic "the Mad" got to within 5 counties from restoring the first imperial republic since ancient Rome, before dying at age of 60. He will be remembered for his innovative legislation such as banning pants.

His son and heir is prince mayor Beortnic II "the Wise" is midas touched, hunie, genius, architect, patient, kind, cynical, shy, paranoid, greedy, deceitful, and stressed 6/13/27/19/13.

He had a bunch of tech points saved, ruling as grand mayor of Powys, so he immediately reformed trade practices up to key level 3, greatly increasing trade post limit.

The future is mostly unifying the islands. I think I'll rename kingdom level titles as:

• England - East London
• Ireland - West London
• Scotland - North London

Not sure what to call Wales and Brittany yet. Sheep London and Baguette London? I'm not even sure what they eat in Brittany. There's Polish dish called "Brittany style beans", but I'm pretty sure it has nothing whatsoever with actual Brittany.

Then Norway would be Snow London, Italy would be Pope London, Jerusalem would be Jesus London... I'll think of it when I get there.

More seriously, I really want to know if making king of Sweden my tribute would stop raids by his vassals, or just by him directly (I assume it does at least that much). If so, that's an easy way to stop the raids. If not, well, just burn them all like Jesus would.

Another idea would be to force emperor of Francia to pay me tribute, as that would really annoy his vassals and possibly trigger some rebellions. Oh and also bring me some money, that's always nice.

I tried to invite claimants to various coastal duchies - Gascogne is pressable, but not sure if that's worth it, I'd much prefer Normandy or Flanders as they're easier to defend.

I'm only one scholarship focus away from military organization 4, which is about the expected pace. London is 8/10/8, not even close to Constantinople's 10/13/12, and only a bit ahead of 6/6/6 most of Catholic Europe got to.

Another question is to go free or papal investiture. It wouldn't be too difficult to install pope of my choosing, but I really don't want any kind of long distance operation while norse infestation continues.

Post 6 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-19 01:12:16 UTC

Republic of London: Part 06: Imperial Republic of London: 835-840

I got to 80% of counties required to form empire level republic, but I still was quite far below 400 piety. What's the easiest way to gain piety? Fighting pagans obviously. And I just got military organization 4 while fighting for the last county I needed for the title, so it won't even be too bad.

Norse infestation was getting to ridiculous levels, like 3 attacks per month non stop. I could have 2 full time norse disinfection teams just for the islands (and leaving my possessions on the other side of the channel undefended, let alone foreign trade posts), and that would not even be close to enough.

What's worse - due to vassal levy nerf there's no way in hell to use vassal levies for that, and even if vassals had big enough levy they spawn at 0 morale. This is bullshit, they should spawn at least 25% or so, it's so dumb I can't kill 20 norse raider squad with vassal's 300 troops just because they spawn at 0 morale and instarout. Of course the idea that maybe my vassals could do it themselves... that's just too silly to even consider, that kind of AI doesn't exist.

And they suffer no consequences even if most of the raiders get wiped. It should really cost them buckets of prestige to lose whole expedition like that.

Well, Swedish blob gavelkinded into Sweden, Norway, and Denmark - in a way that has little relation with de jure borders, but that's a minor issue. Time to get some lands from Sweden, and get some tributes back from the other two. It's probably mostly stuff stolen from us anyway.

Norway had decency of surrendering without a fight, unfortunately this also answered my big question - random chiefs under my tributary king of Norway can still raid me as much as they want. Fuck. And I thought that's an elegant way to deal with the norse.

The Pope was cool and sent me 200 gold for my holy war effort. I mean, that's like how much I make in 5 weeks, but still.

And then I upgraded the republic to emperor level. That and some bribes was enough to convince duke of Moray to swear fealty. Then Catholic rebels managed to win rebellion against Norse invaders, getting 3 counties (one de jure Orkney/Norway), and they swore fealty as well. There's just this annoying 6 county Scotland which I can't usurp as apparently republics can't usurp kingdoms/empires.

Oh and I can claim the whole kingdom of Middle Francia for my pet Karling. I guess that's one way to weaken Francia, even if it's a really awkward inland title. He's also 71 years old and childless, so it wouldn't be in any way surprising if this ended inconclusively due to death of claimant. He used to be married to my aunt, no idea why he never remarried. He's even been landed for quite a while as mayor.

Or I could invite any other weak claimant, there seems to be loads of them. None for anything more convenient like Normandy.

There's also strong claimant for kingdom of Saxony willing to come to me, but me have 7 more years of truce, so that might end up not working out.

Trying to bait AI by splitting half of my forces to boats. Strangely didn't work, I had to ferry all my troops to his side of the river.

Post 7 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-20 00:09:48 UTC

Republic of London: Part 07: Anglo-Saxons back in Saxony: 840-849

So my plan for dealing with Norse infestation by making them my tributaries didn't work. This feels like a bug, but not much I can do about that. Now even if it worked, I'd still be facing landless hosts, but it would still be a lot less than now.

Another thing - it seems that now I can reach all major rivers. Not sure if that's because of new patch (2.4.3 vs 2.4.2 previously), or it's doing its search algorithm from different starting position and it doesn't run into search depth limit or whatever that problem was.

Anyway, I decided against attacking Francia for now. The Norse kept coming. Once I had two stacks landing on same province same day. Fuck's sake, this is ridiculous.

I tried to get king of Scotland killed, unsuccessfully, and I helped king of Norway crush revolt against high tribal authority. The faster they go feudal the better for me. I tried helping king of Denmark as well, but he got a stack of multiple revolts, so screw him.

As for the no-raiding rules, vassals of someone who's my tributary can raid me, but vassals of someone who's allied with me at war can't, so if I keep them as my tributaries and keep them permanently at war that can disable raiding.

Leader of Catholic revolt which crushed Norse in Scotland and whom I later bribed to become my vassal died, so I inherited his lands and 3320 event spawned troops. That's the first time I had that happen.

I invited king of Saxony's son and gave him a spare barony. He had strong claim, so I thought I'd be able to get Saxony - the only thing stopping me was truce. And Saxony was being attacked by host which was winning, so it seems like maybe I won't even need to wait the whole truce timer. Sadly second host attacked same time, and Brandenburg over some silly county war, so none of them could get 100% warscore even though they had like 200% between three of them.

Even more unfortunately it turned out that king died, and his son got Saxony, took his barony with him, and stopped being my vassal. I'm not sure what inheritance rules are - I feel he should remain my vassal, but I've seen this before so I'm not really surprised.

That king got overthrown by Norse host (which was already over 90%) six months later - sadly his father didn't live a bit longer, I'd have just pressed his claim and Saxony would be his and safe under my protection. So I holy warred Saxony's biggest duchy, and went on some serious holy war spree. He got reinstalled by faction demand a year after losing the throne to host claimant, but by then it was too late.

Sadly my holy war spree ended prematurely with duke of Brandenburg going Catholic while I wanted to get the whole South Baltic Coast up to Estonia converted and conquered. Oh well.

And then I got 12k strong Widilkung Saxon rebellion, designed to wreck Charlemagne, presumably. That was easy to crush, and the best thing is that it didn't automatically end at 100% warscore, so I could keep Norway (who also took over Denmark) as permanent war ally, and so reduce number of raiders by a lot. The way it works is that I still get popup when such raiders arrive, but they can't ride so they're not hostile and they gtfo right away. That's like half of all raiders I guess.

Well, I pressed some other guy's claim to Saxony instead, and king of Scotland finally died, so I pressed that as well. Now I have 2 feudal vassal kings, and for some reason I also have strong claim to kingdom of Scotland so I can revoke that (and I see no reason not to, wrong government type wrong culture group king level vassals are nothing but trouble), but not to Saxony. No idea how it works exactly. Is it because one is de jure under my empire and the other isn't?

Oh and that kid in charge of Saxony now has weak claim to Bavaria, so if I end up conquering Bohemia (which I'm sort of planning to do, but it's not a priority) and things align, I might take Bavaria for him as well. Or maybe not. I'm not super interested in blobbing as fast as possible - I just want to spread Jesus and trade along the coast, and especially eliminate any Norse or anybody who might plausibly get conquered by the Norse (like South coast of Baltic). Francia and Bavaria aren't exactly helpful in my wars against the Norse.

Right now newly Catholic Brandenburg is getting wrecked by 3 different wars, so they'll probably fall apart and I'll resume christianization of Baltic coast. My truce with Sweden which lasted whole episode expires in a less than a year, so I'll just get duchy of Holstein from them. That's not much at all, but we got to start somewhere.

In other news, my second wife is such a slut! She slept with some random mayor, and then with my son (with previous wife, so no incest here, technically).

Francia got Navarra in holy war, and Byzantium got Tripolitania. That's pretty good performance.

Republic's annual income got to 1830, divided about equally between demesne income, trade income, and city tax. Tribute and church/feudal taxes are fairly insignificant. I wonder how high it would be if it wasn't for constant raiding. I stop 75%-90% of raids depending on how busy I am, but many of my trade posts are abroad and they get raided even harder.

Fun narrative events. It was probably supposed to trigger for Charlemagne like ages ago.

Post 8 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-20 05:04:43 UTC

Republic of London: Part 08: Grand Prince Byrhtnoth: 849-856

Widukind rebellion is actually a highly relevant mechanic, as it blocks conversion of Saxons into Dutch (in de jure Frisia) and Germans (elsewhere). I don't care between Saxon and Dutch as they're all West Germanic, but Saxon (West Germanic) to German (Central Germanic) would double all foreigner penalties, so that would be bad. Fortunately it seems that this conversion is locked by owner being central germanic (Frankish or German mostly). Charlemagne culture conversion rules are very complicated and somewhat silly.

And since I'm a republic I can't just count on my vassals converting to my culture - new mayors will mostly be locals, and claimants I'm pushing are mostly of other cultures as well. That's not to say there will be zero culture conversion to Anglo-Saxon, just much less than on a feudal playthrough.

I revoked kingdom of Scotland so at least that problem is over. And then it was just waiting that last year for truce with Sweden to end, so holy wars can resume. Unfortunately grand mayor Beorhtric died of severe stress at age of 57, succeeded by his son prince Byrhtnoth. Elusive shadow, hunie, genius, charitable, deceitful, kind, patient, just, 19/11/12/25/12. Good stats, but mostly in wrong place.

Well since I was already on theology focus I decided to end Widukind's rebellion and go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem before continuing holy wars. On the way I managed to get brave, ill, and wounded.

Oh and apparently getting scholar trait via random theology event prevents building observatory and getting tons of tech points. If I only knew that before clicking this choice. Oh well.

So I started a bunch of holy wars. Sadly while I was at high warscore against Denmark (for Orkney) and Sweden (for Holstein), king of Sweden died, so Holstein war disappeared.

I even helped emperor of Francia defend against Muslim holy war for Navarra (well, morally). Even newly baptized Bohemia decided to join that, for some reason.

Game bugged out a bit, and all my fleet levy disappeared. I definitely dismissed it while in owned port, and even if I didn't only half of it should. Really annoying.

While I was waging tons of wars in South Baltic and dealing with endless Norse raids, independence revolt against emperor of Francia erupted. Well, I definitely need to join on their side, even if I'm not sure I'll be able to send many troops to help. I got instantly hit by Romuva revolt, obviously.

The war was successful. It somehow glitched in the middle, and instead of Francian Revolt (and me) vs Francia (and Asturias), she lost her rebel empire title and it was only duchess of Alemannia (and me) vs Francia (and Asturias). No leaders on any side died, war continued, so no idea what the hell. There were tons of glitches in the past (no idea if fixed) when rebellion leader died during rebellion and that led to all kinds of strange behaviour, but nothing here.

My efforts at bringing Jesus to Saxony, Pomerania, Poland, and Bohemia have been fairly successful, and I made Nytria a tribute, mostly so they stop joining holy wars on the wrong side. Somehow Khazaria managed to get some bit of Baltic coast, but that wasn't direct conquest, they subjugated duke of Kiev and Courland.

Slavic/Romuva areas are massive border gore, unlikely orderly Catholic world, which until recently was just London Islands (admittedly they were fragmented for very long time), Francia, Bavaria/Italy, Pope, and Asturias. Actually that's not even true, Serbia/Bulgaria, Avaria, Krain, Slavonia (but not Croatia) are also Catholic, it's just not something I usually think of part of Catholic world.

Culture spread is almost nonexistent - a few Welsh counties is all I've got. Nothing in Ireland or mainland Europe. Charlemagne emergent cultures like Italian, French, Andalusian, and even a bit of Russian and Dutch are spreading nicely.

That culture shift was probably why Francia fell apart - revolters were all Frankish/German, and emperor was French, with French/Occitan vassals remaining loyal (and a few small Frankish/German vassals who probably felt too weak to join the faction).

Religion maps mostly follows rulers' religions. Other than Balkans being Catholic and Orthodox/Byzantine fragment of Africa there's nothing unusual. There were briefly some Catholic heresies here and there, but I haven't seen any lately, and +51% moral authority from won holy wars pretty makes it fairly unlikely any major heretical movement will arise.

The plan is to continue conquering South Baltic coast. It might seem that Bohemia is a good distance away from the sea, but it's much much easier on my CBs and truce timers to do broad front expansion and then cleanup the borders than go strictly along the coast. Holy War CB is rather strict and awkward CB, it's like the opposite of EU4 where it's the easiest one to use.

And if on the way I can help some people oppressed by emperor of Francia, I'll do so too, but it's really not the priority, I'm not even trying to sow discontent - the chancellor is mostly improving relations with the pope, as my chaplain is busy converting heathens.

Of course I'd much rather conquer the other side of Baltic, but Norse are unified under monster 3-way kingdom, and even when that gavelkinds, it's still one family, so it can go back under one ruler.

Oh and it would be cool if I could give some of conquered pagan lands to some holy orders to continue conquests. I know this mechanic is in the game, but it presumably only happens after holy orders which happen only after crusades, and that can't happen before 1090. Well, technically it can happen in year 900, but Christianity needs to be in deep trouble, like Zoroastrians holding Constantinople level of trouble, and that somehow doesn't seem very likely this campaign.

Republic's annual incomes reached 2450, and if those damn Norse stopped raiding maybe they'd get over 3000? Who knows.

Due to confusing colors (Poland's is almost same as mine) and labels (Nytria is my tributary), this is probably easiest way to see territory of the republic

Just another day on Norse infested island

Emperor of Francia is oppressing someone? To the rescue!

Religion map looks pretty normal

Post 9 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-21 02:41:24 UTC

Republic of London: Part 09: Ponies for Jesus: 856-865

Successful independence revolt in Francia and loss of imperial army resulted in predictable free for all clusterfuck. I got duchy of Alemannia, king of Middle Francia was some distant relative so I helped him against Francia for some de jure county war, preventing me from grabbing a lot more land from Francia directly. Fortunately that ended quickly and I got duchy of Franconia anyway - and then I helped some Frankish rebel overthrow French emperor.

Against the Norse I got continental part of Denmark, as well as single county claim in the middle of Scandinavia as staging area for future holy wars. Scandinavia is currently gavelkinded 3-way but that goes one way or the other.

Ethnically diverse tribes of Balkans, Pannonia, and Poland all accepted Jesus of the correct kind, and a Catholic inherited duchy of Croatia and turned it into a kingdom as well.

Nomads are mostly united under two hordes - Khazaria (Catholic Khazar) and Mongolia (Manichean Uyghur). Khazaria's clans are all Catholic except one, so this doesn't seem like a temporary fluke.

That's unusually successful Catholic performance, and the weirdest thing about it is how little I had to do with it. Even most conversions in the region I expanded to happened independently from me - I think I had defender accept Jesus decision happen to me only once (duke of Brandenburg), and he then lost his country to pagan pileup anyway. Bohemia, Pannonian tribes, Poland, Khazaria - all of them decided to convert while I was busy elsewhere anyway.

I'm really tempted to invite some claimants to Byzantine Empire, convert them, and press their claims, to unify Christianity this way. Miaphysites/Monophysites/etc. mostly got wrecked by Blobbasids anyway, so they won't count, and I don't think there are any independent Orthodox states except Byzantium. At its best Byzantium can match my army, but I'd be attacking them during civil war anyway, as that's the only time I can press those weak claims.

The only place where Catholics are doing poorly is how Asturias got into civil war, which Muslims used as opportunity to wage their first successful holy war in the region, and Francia was in no position to help Asturias. The only right thing to do is to intervene in the civil war there to extend my protection to Asturias, then start reconquista.

Of other unusual things, Mali went feudal, then got conquered in a war by tribal claimant, so it's a tribal kingdom with castles in every province except capital. Of course the only thing holding it together are king's event spawned troops, so when they're gone one of feudal vassals will inevitably overthrow him.

My original idea (before Norse spam) was to getting Atlantic coast - from Asturias through Brittany, Normandy, Frisia, up to Denmark - basically the places I'm trading anyway. Somehow I expanded in a completely different direction instead.

Republic's continental possessions are very weirdly shaped

Catholicism did unusually well

2 big hordes emerged. Catholic Khazars currently losing holy war to Muslim pileup

Post 10 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-21 13:51:08 UTC

Republic of London: Part 10: Mending the schism, attempt one: 865-873

Catholic world was engulfed in so many civil wars, so I intervened in 3 of them at once - for Bavaria, Middle Francia, and Asturias. Bavaria/Italy split, and my sister married new king of Italy - that was arranged long time ago back when he was just 8 year old duke of Lombardy somewhat far down line of succession.

As Bavaria ended up being overlords of Genoa (no idea why, Italy would be more logical, it's definitely de jure Italy), getting Bavaria wiped out Genoa's merchant republic status. I feel it would make more sense if their 5 houses just joined our 5, merging the republics. Of course with level of patrician house attrition, it wouldn't take long before 10 goes down back to 5.

And then out of nowhere I got Italy for free - one of Bavaria's vassals got installed as king of Italy by faction demand. Heh.

Norse problem was solving itself - Denmark went Catholic, and they were losing subjugation war to Suomenusko pagans. I thought about intervening somehow, but whichever side wins, it's good for me anyway.

Muslims were having fun - Hispania was Shia and ran by Shia caliph - apparently it fell to Shia uprising, something I kept getting popups about but mostly ignored as it tends to trigger over and over and keep failing normally. That's the first time I've seen it succeed. And they were fighting holy wars against Abbasid Sunni caliph. Abbasids won, surprising noone.

I invited a lot of claimants to Byzantine Empire, got them properly baptized and as one of them turned out to have strong claim and was 3rd in the line, that was highest priority thing. Of couse I also sent my spies with some gold to try the backup plan - and previous emperor died, but I ended up overthrowing his daughter by force.

Of course newly installed emperor got instantly hit by multiple attacks:

• duke of Antioch's holy war
• some Orthodox claimant to Byzantine Empire
• Abbasid's invasion of Anatolia - oops

Well, it was fun war where caliph had big advantage over either Byzantine Emperor or the amount of troops my ships could carry, but thanks to some risky tactics and at massive losses to my retinue it succeeded.

And just to prove there's absolutely no relation whatsoever between effort and results Catholic emperor died of illness at age of 44, succeeded by his Orthodox son. The only evidence of 2 years of schism mended is Constanitnople itself, which is currently Catholic. If only he lived just one year longer (caliph got defeated a bit less than a year after emperor died), or if the game still allowed asking for conversion while at war. I understand why this nerf was added, but I don't like it at all.

I sort of want to attack both Muslim caliphs, but with my limited number of ships - all recruitable very far from the frontlines - it's somewhat awkward.

Oh wait, there's a 16 year old girl in my court with strong claim to Byzantine Empire, who just so happens to be betrothed to my 15 year old son. I wonder what's going to happen next? No prizes for guessing.

There's another problem that I'm finally getting sizable independence faction against me. That means I'll pretty much have to keep big merc chest from now on.

By the way I checked if building garrisons and for that matter forts protects more loot, but it doesn't. Protected amount is 4x total fort level of all regular holdings, fort level of trade ports and forts doesn't count at all, so I'm inherently extremely tempting target for the Norse. I'm not really sure why I can build forts in provinces I own which already have holdings, if they don't even protect from looting.

Unfortunately I can't find settings to make vassal levy spawn at some non-zero morale, which would help a good deal with damn infestation. It seems totally hardcoded :-/

I finished all my family palace upgrades in 869 - exactly 100 years after game start.

Schism was only mended for 2 years, but Catholicism is doing well anyway. Also the Shia doing unusually well

Next empress? Anglo-Saxon too, as she arrived underage with her father

Awkward landing. 9k stack got defeated just a few days before second one joined

Post 11 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-21 20:51:01 UTC

Republic of London: Part 11: Mending the schism, attempt two. Also totally not a demon spawn son: 873-883

The first Catholic emperor had decent chance of holding Byzantine Empire together, as he was Greek and male. His daughter is Anglo-Saxon and female, and that's big stack of relationship penalties with all her future vassals. And if she gets a daughter first... well, my retinue is staying there to help her once I win. Mending the schism takes priority over other things.

In any case, the most important thing for Romylia is to have a baby, preferrably a son, so seduction focus, and time to have some extramarital sex for greater glory of Jesus. God works in mysterious ways.

First attempt at seduction ended up with Romylia running away giggling after saying "Grand Prince Byrhtnoth! You are old enough to be my father!". She's so into me, otherwise she'd say "to be my grandfather". Obviously. And I was right, she was just playing hard to get, and didn't have any issue the second time.

And we had a son, unfortunately word came out that he's a bastard so I legitimized him, but he's still heir to the throne of Byzantine Empire. By the way our son Osmund got "suspected demon spawn" event, but the suspicions were obviously just baseless rumors. And his new nanny is totally not a witch. She's also quite cute, so let's make some babies. Sadly the nanny died pregnant of ill health, what an unfortunate coincidence.

Anyway it turns out not one vassal has positive opinion of Romylia. I'll quote:

• -10 female ruler
• -16 short reign
• -10 imperial administration
• -10 medium crown authority
• -20 large feudal tax
• -18 foreigner
• -9 religious differences
• -10 adultress
• -5 lover's pox

OK, the last two are my fault, but even without them she wouldn't have an easy time.

And somehow she got hit by second Abbasid invasion of Anatolia right away. For fuck's sake, there should be some kind of a timer after failed invasion. Why the hell those fuckers not only get kingdom level CBs centuries before crusades/jihads happen, they can spam them one after another.

This was a much easier war as I was much better prepared, and as a result of caliph's crushing and rapid defeat independence faction triggered, including Yazidi Egypt.

Of course Byzantine Empire immediately hit by multiple rebellions, but that got crushed easily, especially with my help. Meanwhile king of Serbia went Waldensian so Romylia decided to holy war him right away without waiting for silly things like getting her empire in order. Sure, I'll help you with that too.

Francia continued getting wrecked. Norse adventurer got duchy of Gascogne. He's vassal of Francia, but still raids me every now and then, and he has pretty huge stack - nearly 7k, probably most any Norse ruler ever had. Liberation revolt got kingdom of Burgundy, reducing Francia to less than half of its original territory by now. And Shia caliph of Hispania decided it's a wondorful time to attack Francia. Come on, couldn't you attack Abbasids or something? As defender of the faith I had to join Francia.

Formerly Suomenusko king of Denmark decided to go Catholic just like his former Norse vassals. Well, I found Catholic claimant to all three thrones, and it was time to end this nonsense.

In the middle of all that I got succession, with Aethelric the Just, midas touched, ambitious, hunie, just, humble, kind, craven, paranoid, gregarious 12/12/24/7/14 taking control of the republic. He managed to finish off conquest of Scandinavia. Now there are no independent Norse rulers left, even if there's still a lot of Norse dukes left under 3x kingdom republic of Scandinavia. What made me do something as silly as setup single vassal with 3 kingdoms, not even gavelkind? Oh well.

Some Tengri clan got control of Khazaria, formerly Catholic horde, but fortunately empress holy warring him was enough to remind him of Jesus, so they're back to being Catholic. Well, ruling clan at least, various subclans I've seen had tons of religions over time including Tengri, Orthodox, and who know what else.

My cousin's son Morcar, husband of empress Romylia died after getting stroke due to nightmares. Rumors connect that with Romylia's son Osmund, but that's just silly. Romylia offered to marry some other Anglo-Saxon Catholic (not dynastic but his mother was my cousin), in a regular marriage. Oh well.

Romylia managed to get -50 tyrant, -10 too many duchies, -20 revoked vassal titles etc. +75 from triple crushed major revolt balances a lot of it, and if she ever get another revolt I'll definitely help her, even if we're not officially allied. And even though she's not popular, she managed to get half of her top level vassals Catholic already. It's good to be empress.

Mali is now fully feudal.

Just leaving 4k stack with 40 boats seems way better Norse raider protection than trying to raise local levies and catch them by land, even though it pisses off vassal that they have to pay for that. Hopefully once Norse provinces get converted, no more hosts will spawn, so I'll finally get my endless buckets of unlooted gold.

And now that schism has been mended and Norse infestation eliminated, it's time for casual trade game, right?

Norse eradicated

I'm sure the kid is fine

Schism mended

Some Anglo-Saxons in Saxony, not one in Ireland

Post 12 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-23 23:43:40 UTC

Republic of London: Part 12: Defending the Faith: 883-889

2.4.3 patch completely rebalanced missionaries to pagans. The most interesting thing is that missionaries are 5x more effective if one of their neighbours has military organization 4 (doesn't apply to Tengri/Aztecs as they don't get pagan homeland attrition mechanic). And 2x more effective when one of their neighbours of same religion as missionary is at least 2x more powerful than they are.

This is tested twice - first on accept/imprison missionary, then on convert/expel missionary, with similar weights in this case. So total effect is huge, even if not quite 100x.

There are also other interesting modifiers - for example already having vassals of given religion increases chance of adopting it, or having spouse/concubine/lover/child etc., but only at >=50 relation - so you could seduce a pagan ruler, then send a missionary to convert them. Well, not in vanilla, seduction focus is locked to same religion group, but I removed that restriction ages ago.

And if you see someone with sympathy for your religion, they'll never imprison your missionary and they're very likely to accept, but it's not a common trait.

The whole list of modifiers is very long and interesting, and it suggests a totally peaceful missionary game would be totally possible - and it could be a fun game as theocracy, if only they were playable. An interesting idea would be playing as Pope in some kind of Fall of Rome scenario, trying to get various barbarian hordes invading the civilized world to accept Jesus - and correct kind of Jesus, not any of the heresies which were rampant at the time (there were major kings who accepted Arianism into 670s and it probably survived here and there well into Charlemagne era).

Oh and Baltic group, Finno-Ugric group, and old Saxon culture are 5x less likely to convert, but Suomenusko Sami king of Denmark had so many modifiers stacked he did so anyway. I've seen Saxon conversions too, but I wasn't paying too much attention at the time.

Oh and I did some console tests - apparently even if I get the same character to be heir of Republic of London and Byzantine Empire, there's no way to actually inherit both -  the best I could do was to get Republic and weak claim for Empire, which I'd be able to push during their next civil war, and unite both realms like that. No real need to do that.

Anyway, empress Romylia seemed to have things under control so I focused on sending missionaries to my pagan neighbours. After 9 or 10 of them (I lost count) got throw into jail and only one sent to Ugra was allowed to preach and finally managed to convert its ruler, I decided to go back to old ways of resending missioraries with appropriate armed protection, while also generously extending my protection over various Catholic tribes of the Balkans and republic of Venice which somehow found itself completely unprotected.

I helped some Catholic rulers with their wars against infidels:

• duke of Toulouse needed to defend against Muslim attack (moral support only)
• empress Romylia was reconquering Cyprus (moral support only, caliph joined defending duke, but didn't send any troops)
• some Serbian guy had a host war against Waldensian king of Serbia (lost all troops before I even got there)
• Khazaria's defense against Mongolian invasion of Cumania (I saved their ass from certain collapse)
• emperor of Francia against his Norse duke of Gascogne's independence revolt
• Romylia against another lower crown authority revolt (I intervened to with overwhelming and completely unnecessary force, ended up in white peace anyway)
• Khazaria's defense against Muslim holy war for a duchy (intervened with force sufficiently overwhelming to hopefully turn it around, otherwise Khazaria would have lost as it had very depleted manpower after war with Mongolia)
• defending Catholic king of Serbia who just inherited it from Waldensian claimant rebel (unnecessarily overwhelming force used)

In the middle of Khazar war against Mongolia, Tengri son of previous khagan inherited. Fortunately I quickly sent a missionary to khazaria, and he switched to the true faith right away.

After crushing Gascogne revolt emperor of Francia forced duke to convert, leaving just count of Dax as last remaining foreign Norse ruler. And of course bastard tried to raid London - that's hopefully the last raid in this campaign, I like not having to deal with this crap any more.

Hopefully Khazaria's defence against Muslim holy war will end without any more intervention by me. Sending my armies that far down the rivers is expensive and awkward.

Catholic faith seems secure on Byzantine throne. Empress Romylia died in suspicious circumstances, so 14 year old alleged demon child Osmund Lockhart is now the new emperor. I've heard rumors that alleged demon child was supposed to lead to some really sinful geniuses, but he's just kind, humble, charitable, shy 6/6/6/2/5.

And apparently Shia caliph is now trying to holy war emperor of Francia for Navarra. I'll definitely need to do something about it too.

Last remaining Norse count still wants to raid. It's been long while without a single raid.

Post 13 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-24 04:39:06 UTC

Republic of London: Part 13: Rome is just another town in Republic of London: 889-898

Apparently Norse vassals of republic of Sweden/Denmark/Norway are still raiding left and right - Francia is hostile to 10 of them all at once. Well, I'll convert them eventually.

Anyway, I needed to help Francia defend against Shia caliph, but there's a much better way to do so than joining his war - declaring my own war on the caliph instead. That was not the best idea, as I lost 24k vs 17.5k battle really hard. I attacked with better generals but against defensive terrain. Sadly it was difficult to maneuver as he would not divide his armies and keep them conveniently coastal, and that seemed like a reasonable attack to try. Of all those troops only 4.2k survived on my side and only 9.3k on his. Did battles get a lot more bloody recently or something? All of that was levy, so relatively mediocre troops - my retinue was protecting missionaries instead.

Oh yeah, I can call to arms Byzantine Empire. That might be a good idea. Of course I unthinkingly chosen to call them into all wars, so they decided to help my missionaries instead of fighting the caliph. Oh well.

Alleged demon child Byzantine emperor Osmund came of age - midas touched, hunie, legitimized bastard, genius, impaler, lustful, envious, deceitful, ambitious, cruel, zealous, ill 10/21/25/32/21.

Grand Prince Aethelric died at age of 57, succeeded by 39 year old grand prince Beorhtmaer the Wise. Midas touched, genius, diligent, humble, honest, kind, greedy, paranoid. Notably not a hunie, his mother was definitely a cheating whore. Overall 18/14/29/14/15.

I got him married to princess Etiennette (what a lovely name) of Francia, who was a hunie, legitimately after her grandmother. Etiennette got pregnant right away, which paranoid Beorhtmaer suspected to be act of cheating, but there was no evidence of anything, it's just silly.

Well, it was time to reform the realm. Destroy all king level titles except Central London - I needed them to diplovassalize some counts and dukes, but they were all pointless now. Then pass laws of free investiture. There were some disturbing irregularities with papal elections, so I intervened to clear things up and extended my protection over the papacy.

New pope was much more serious about enforcing proper faith among my vassal kings, a few of them getting excommunicated. And then I ran into something weird - I could arrest kings of Italy and Asturias for it, but not king level mayor of Bavaria. Oh well, none of that matters terribly much.

A lot of pagan tribes adopted Catholic faith while I was busy elsewhere. Apparently other people's missionaries are better than mine. Oh well, it's fine either way.

Byzantine Emperor has daughter of his dynasty, so that's no major risk of losing the empire. Even if my dynasty did, it's all definitely Catholic.

I'm not entirely sure what to do next. My wife has weak claim to empire of Francia, so I could probably somehow arrange that my dynasty gets it (get emperor excommunicated, wait for civil war, press wife's claim?). Or maybe I could just incorporate it somehow into the republic. For a republic to get their ruling dynasty on 2 foreign empires pretty much accidentally, that's quality dynastic gameplay.

Assuming that happens, I don't know if there's any reasonable way to get dynasty's holdings unified. Invite some claimant from my dynasty, land him (woman can't rule a republic), nominate him as successor, then press (probably weak) claim as grand prince? That's a pretty slow process and claimant will probably have much worse stats than my current selection of whoever is best in entire dynasty. It might be faster to just eat the empires one duchy at a time.

Family lands. Francia might get added soon.

Post 14 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-27 05:59:20 UTC

Republic of London: Part 14: Jesus in Mongolia: 898-905

There were far too many good Christians still without adequate protection from the infidels. The pope tasked me with extending that protection, and I delivered.

There was some silly argument between pope and emperor of Francia which ended up in excommunication, but somehow that never resulted in any revolt against the emperor. Oh well, my wife will have to do without her own imperial title. Not that it would do much - Francia is elective (due to faction demand, I left that faction available for Germanic culture groups, at least no nonsense like elective Byzantium any more).

Serbia got back into Waldensian heresy as well as falling apart to independence faction, so I just dealt with it directly, fighting them until Catholic king got the throne back.

I kept sending missionaries to the pagans, but none of that worked, so I sent armed missionaries instead. That convinced one duke to accept Jesus, and a few others just gave me their territory instead.

Damn Norse count of Dax kept trying to raid me. There was much bigger problem - my spymaster reported to my that my vassal king mayor of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway is plotting against me, and when summoned to explain himself he decided to rebel - for which he got banished, and all three titles abolished.

Unfortunately what followed was weird:

• I could revoke some Germanic tribal titles
• Sometimes it would be blanked with "must have valid revocation reason"
• Sometimes in wouldn't even appear ("is currently immune to hostile actions")

All 3 had same crown authority, all are de jure my empire, I could find no pattern of any kind.

Fortunately the immune duke was not immune to good old plot, and his heirs did not inherit immunity. On the other hand they inherited his stubbornness, refused valid revocation, and led a rebellion, which finally allowed me to revoke a lot more Norse land for treason. There's still some Norse counts left here and there, so Francia will keep getting raided, but it's a reduction by like 2/3 from before the rebellion.

And somehow warscore for that war war completely bugged, I had like 20% from battles, 20% from occupations, nothing else (from ticker or prisoners or anything), and that somehow added up to 100%. Oh well.

Speaking of bugs, I had my money suddenly go from +3500 to -1000 (about 2 years income lost). No idea what the fuck was that - nobody died, nothing was inherited, none of my councilors stole anything, nothing whatsoever was in the logs. I just re-added that money as this looks like a dumb bug, but I wonder if that's actually a legit mechanic.

Oh and while I wasn't looking, steppes turned into a total border gore between 3 hordes - Khazaria (Catholic), Kulug (Manichean, smallest of them, but got somewhat bigger), and Mongolia (was Manichean, now Catholic).

Mongolia somehow conquered its way to Ugra, which was my only successful missionary work, and then khagan went Catholic. Of course that resulted in rebellion, as all other clans are still Manichean, but it seems that Mongolia will win this one.

I feel that I should just unlock crusades now. It is really ridiculous that I need to wait until year 1070 for them to happen, there should be some way to get them fast (other than losing Constantinople or Rome to the infidels).

Good font size

Mongolia went Catholic

Post 15 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-29 06:16:59 UTC

Republic of London: Part 15: Post-campaign notes

I feel it's time to finish it. Other than increasing font size, there's not much left to do.

Here are some post-campaign notes.


• Republics were presumably meant to be about rivalry between patrician houses. Nothing like that happened - patricians were all weak, and succession just required paying a lot of money into campaign fund.
• It was same with clans and hordes in my Horse Persians campaign. It's just way too easy to have your clan be completely dominant over all other clans, then you ignore all of that stuff.
• There were almost no conflicts between different merchant republics. I got hit by embargo war once. Nobody else wanted to accept my bribe to embargo war any other republic, Genoa disappeared when Italy accidentally fell under me, I made Venice my tributary for a while. That's all.
• I wasn't making any obscene amounts of money - about 2500-3000 annually. As feudal ruler of same size I'd be getting no trade income, but more feudal tax due to no -30 wrong government type penalty, probably 1500-2000 or so. That after investing tons of money into trade posts etc.
• You get a lot less vassal levies (as you can't go above low crown authority), a lot less own levy (as cities provide a lot less), and mercs/retinue got nerfed hard multiple times since 1.09.
• Not sure if income got nerfed (disregarding nerf via obvious trade post limit), but expenditures are much higher due to mercs/retinue nerfs, so republics no longer punch that much above their size. I've noticed this before while fighting other republics and the pope - they have buckets of money, but it matters a lot less than it used to.
• Republic played differently from feudal realm early game, late game not much.
• Always getting best character of your dynasty is worth cost of campaign fund.
• Republics are ridiculously stable. You can't go over limited crown authority, so there are never lower crown authority factions. There can't be any factions for different succession type or for claimants. So independence is the only thing your vassals can try.
• AI never plotted to take my trade posts. I think this plot is enabled, and maybe they'd even have enough support sometimes. Was my state intrigue too high, or did they always prefer other plots, or was it locked somehow?

Trade posts:

• Vanilla's trade post limit is ridiculously low, but even much increased (to 50 at maxed out palace and trade practices 3, it would go to 75 at trade practices 8, but tech level that high probably wouldn't happen ever) there's always tons of space to build new trade posts. Game would need tons of republics to generate real conflicts over it, not like 4 total.
• Enabling plot to seize trade post was nice, but even without it, I could plot to eliminate other houses instead and randomly inherit 1/4 of their trade posts anyway. It was more useful for connecting my trade zone.


• Once you get to king level, republic's methods of expansion are mostly holy wars and inviting claimants. Little difference from feudal rulers.
• Before that, trade post to coastal city to coastal county CBs were a lot more interesting.
• Ability to join any war of people of same religion was huge and purely positive.


• Norse raiders were ridiculously obnoxious. I didn't necessarily want to blob, but if I didn't I'd just spend all time chasing raiders.
• I wish I could raise vassal levies at nonzero morale, it would be easiest way to reduce raider annoyance without changing power level of anything much. I couldn't find any way to mod this.
• Missionaries sent to pagans actually do something now, sometimes. Their chance of success is low but no longer crazy low.
• De-tribal-izing conquered lands by giving each county to a different person is just way too easy now. You can only convert tribe to city/castle if it's right religion - unless it's your capital, then it's always possible. Detribalization was ridiculously hard before 2.4, but maybe they went too far here.
• Sadly everybody chooses castles not cities, because they can't be merchant republics.

Possible changes:

• Completely get rid of trade post limit?
• Massively buff patrician houses by drastically nerfing campaign fund (or even disabling it), and making houses hard to kill somehow, like by pregenerating some cousins for each new house? That would make losing a lot of elections likely, which sadly means AI would fuck up the whole country, and that's not particularly fun.
• Buffing patricians without making elections hard to win reliably would be more desirably, but how the hell to do that? Buff base family palace? Somehow incentivize giving them land? No idea what would even work.
• Taking away or at least restricting (to let's say duke or lower, kings/emperor can be pushed but they would not be your vassals afterwards) republic's ability to invite claimants and push their claims would be huge gameplay change. Of course then you'd just holy war even harder.
• Giving feudal coastal dukes option to form merchant republic which AI would take based on traits would probably be necessary to generate enough republics.
• Should republic's vassal get a lot more factions and plots available to make things less stable? Adding new factions types is a lot of work. Faction blackmailing you to become a king would be fun.

Mod builder design patterns

Norwegian cat by Moyan_Brenn from flickr (CC-BY)

OK, so here's a problem I have, in simplified version. There's a game, and I want to build a bunch of mods for it. Mod builder looks like this:

class FooMod < ModBuilder
  # tons of methods for different modifications and analyses

  def build_mod_files!
    # various commands to transform game file and create new ones

Where ModBuilder is base class, instantiated with path to base game, then we call #build! telling it where it should output generated mod. #build! in base class does all the boring admin stuff and calls #build_mod_files! in subclass to do all the stuff that's specific to particular mod.

This pattern has been quite successful for me - you can check a lot of Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis 4 mods of various sizes built I made with it in this repository. There's also similar code for some other games like Medieval 2 Total War and Factorio in my various repositories on github.

I guess it suffers from problem that FooMod class can easily become quite monstrous, but in the grand scheme of things I can live with it.

Multiple mods problem and obvious solution

So here's the problem with the pattern above. Sometimes I want to play with multiple mods. This works just fine as long as they avoid modifying same files, but that's not always possible - often one file does so many things completely unrelated changes will end up editing it.

The only easy way around it is to merge both mods. This can't be reliably done by third party tools like diff3 as they have no idea about semantics of conflicting files, it needs to be done from within mod builder, something like this:

class FooBarMod < FooMod < BarMod
  def build_mod_files!

Which would work reasonably, as individual commands are generally semantically aware and would apply just fine, and mod builder makes sure if you sequence multiple modifications of same file, it will use modifier version, not one from base game, in subsequent commands.

Except Ruby doesn't have multiple inheritance, so this pattern wouldn't work due to language limitations.

There's also a problem that there's no guarantee that these mods won't conflict in some way, as we're throwing all their methods and instance variables into same object.

Mixin solution

What else can we do?

module FooModMixin
  # tons of methods for different modifications and analyses
class FooMod < ModBuilder
  include FooModMixin
  def build_mod_files!
    # various commands to transform game file and create new ones

One solution would be to create one mixin per class to emulate multiple inheritance. Then FooBarMod will just include all relevant mixins and run them. There's an annoying issue that it will inherit multiple #build_mod_files! methods, so that still needs some hacking around to call them in right order. That might very well be the simplest solution, but it's not very elegant.

It also keeps the problem of possible conflicts between mod methods and instance variables.

Metaprogram multiple inheritance into ruby

It's ruby we're talking about, we could fake multiple inheritance with some method_missing trickery.

Of course it keeps the downside of not avoiding potential conflicts.

Multistage solution

Mod builder can already handle modding modded game, so it could just mod the modded game:"game/path").build!("build/foo")"game/path", "build/foo").build!("build/bar")

Then as long as we tell the game to load mods in correct order - bar overriding foo in case of conflicts - this will just work. Of course it's very easy to mess this up, and games are often unclear on how they resolve conflicts between mods - for example Europa Universalis 4 will load mods asciibetically so if you want to force some load order you need to put some number of spaces in front of your mod's name. Workable, but not too elegant.

Multistage solution followed by merging by file copy

A variant of this is to merge mods manually by copying the files to same directory in order which will resolve conflicts:"game/path").build!("build/foo")"game/path", "build/foo").build!("build/bar")
system "cp -rf build/foo build/foo_and_bar"
system "cp -rf build/bar build/foo_and_bar"

This is fairly reliable, as it doesn't depend on game resolving the conflicts.

Delegation instead of inheritance

What if just delegated things abound instead of using inheritance?

class FooMod
  def build_mod_files!(builder)
    @builder = builder
    # mod specific commands

builder ="game/path")

This has nice benefit of making it easy to split huge mods into multiple components, but suffers from @builder. littering the code. We could set @builder in constructor or in #build_mod_files! - either way we need to do that, as other methods of FooMod will do work by calling @builder's methods, and we definitely don't want to rewrite them all to take builder as extra argument.

Delegate then delegate back

This seems silly, but it isolates various modifications really well and avoids littering the code with @builder. everywhere.

class FooMod
  def build_mod_files!(builder)
    @builder = builder
    # mod specific commands
  def method_missing(*args, &blk)
    @builder.send(*args, &blk)

builder ="game/path")

Separate classes for individual modifications and whole mods

This looks a lot like going all the way back to fake mixin, but it isolates instance variables and methods to individual mods instead of throwing them all together, so it can avoid some conflicts.

class FooModification < GameModification
  def build_mod_files!(builder)
    # mod specific commands

class FooMod < ModBuilder
  def build_mod_files!!(self)

With GameModification base class doing just the kind of @builder setup and delegation as is done in previous example.

It would be really easy to compose them, and mods would be isolated:

class FooBarMod < ModBuilder
  def build_mod_files!!(self)!(self)

Nice thing about this is that it's so convenient a single mod can easily split itself into tons of GameModification subclasses, isolating different parts. And if different modifications need to share some analyses, they can subclass or mixin from shared codebase very easily:

class FooModification < GameModification
  include UnitsAnalysis
  include ProvincesAnalysis
  def build_mod_files!(builder)
    # mod specific commands
    # can run any analyses from included mixins freely

Any good solution I missed?

All these solutions have one or more of these downsides - poor isolation, extra boilerplate code, or added complexity.

The last one is probably most sensible, as boilerplate code is limited thanks to automated delegation, extra complexity can be hidden in base classes, and individual mods will generally be fairly straightforward and as isolated as you want them to be.

I guess I now need to rewrite all my mods to follow this pattern.