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Saturday, August 15, 2015

CK2 Horse Persians AAR

Post 1 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-21 15:51:28 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 01: Ancestral Lands: 769-785

The story of Saoshyant and Persian restoration started with two unlikely people living in lands few Persians ever heard of - high chief Mieszko Sulima of Silesia, and high chieftess Dobrava Turov of Kiev.

He was strong, brave, gregarious, brilliant strategist. Some people claimed he was cruel, but these were obviously lies (9/20/9/12/6).

She was attractive, lustful, and proud grey eminence. Rumormongers claimed she was deceitful, but nobody should pay any attention to that. (15/6/7/15/9)

He was Polish. She was Volhynian. They were both ambitious, and cynical about the whole Slavic faith stuff they officially followed. Both were also total hunies, but that didn't really do anything this time.

What any of that has to do with coming of Saoshyant? It's a long story, and let's Mieszko tell the beginning.

I wanted to become king of Poland, while my wife Dobrava wanted to become queen of Ruthenia.

Subjugation of Polish territory was pretty straightforward, but there was no money for proper coronation. I tried raiding for a while, but that was just silly - there's no gold among tribes, and they rarely even had money to ransom prisoners I took. How about turning the whole region into tributaries instead?

That was remarkably easy, and tribal vassals were absolutely in love of my performance. I needed to defend my tributaries from rebellions and subjugation attempts by others, especially Avars. They all did well under my protection.

Dobrava was a bit jealous of my performance, so she tried to get some territory too. Her attempt at subjugating Radimichia failed with Dregovichia declaring war on depleted Radimichia and taking it first - even thought it was half occupied already. Not in any way discouraged she decided to attack Magyar horde which was severely battered by Khazars and revolters. And after khagan got overthrown, she attacked the new one. That's the spirit! What was left of the Magyars was crushed by king of Bulgaria.

Unfortunately maintaining a network of tributaries is difficult - not only I need to help them in their silly wars, I need to renew this relation after ever succession. I thought I'd use my once-in-lifetime subjugation CB, but it turns out now using subjugation in "become king of X" ambition also counts as launching once-in-lifetime subjugation. Seriously? That sounds like a bug, but I'm not entirely sure. Well, I'll just take some random Romuva counties, and otherwise try to make sure tribute keeps flowing from minor tribes.

Dobrava did not seem interested in just submitting to my rightful authority as her lord and husband, on the contrary she wanted to create a kingdom for herself - not even subjugating minor Ruthenian chiefs as would be easier, but attacking khagan of Khazaria, who could probably defeat all of us put together in a pitched battle. Now to be fair he was in 4 other wars at the time, but this seemed very foolish. Amazingly she actually won, and mostly on her own - not that it mattered a huge deal as Bulgaria got most of target duchy anyway.

Speaking of foolishness, my tributary high chief of Sorbia decided to attack Charlemagne. Of course I joined him. Why play Charlemagne bookmark if not to defeat Charlemagne? Sadly this war ended up inconclusively, as Saxon rebellion against Charlemagne won.

Well, hordes have been doing remarkably poorly so far, and I had very little to do with it.

Lands of Poland and Kiev. Tributaries get own color but no label

Ponies in a rout

Post 2 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-21 18:42:13 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 02: Why Does Everybody Hate Ponies: 785-795

If I can't just subjugate everybody left and right, let's do the kind of stuff feudals do. Invite some claimants, set up marriage alliances with Caliph, Emperor, and Charlemagne.

Rumors had it that my wife cheated on me with her marshal, and her 5th baby is not really mine. OK wife, this has gone too far, you're going to become my vassal weather you want it or not, women aren't even meant to lead any tribes, I'll use console magic if I have to. Which part of "agnatic" don't you understand?

Anyway, I hired spies to figure out if her kid is mine, but they didn't find anything suspicious, and I even confronted her and she was convincing about it's definitely mine. Maybe I'm becoming paranoid. Surely my Dobrava wouldn't do such thing.

And then that happened again? Well, I guess I'll have to trust my wife, it's not like any secret organization is going to release information on all adulterers in the world out of the sudden.

My son in law emperor Photios even called me into holy war against some rebels in Mesopotamia which ended inconclusively in a few days.

Anyway, with tributaries and vassals covering most of kingdoms of Pomerania, Bohemia, Poland, Lithuania, Ruthenia, Russia, and even bits of Pannonia, Finland, and Taurica, it's time to face the Khazar horde. I called 10k tribal troops just to be sure, and called both emperor and Charlemagne into this.

Unfortunately the interface is really stupid and it's really difficult to figure out how many troops a horde has. It's the same story as with tribals, just much worse.

It turns out pony armies are crazy overpowered - especially considering that I can't just easily outnumber them with infantry due to attrition. Defeating them wasn't terribly hard, I was so sad I couldn't just pillage their camp once I took it.

Well, I was at 100% but that was no reason to end the war. Why not continue bleeding their manpower (what is this, EU4?) while tribal vassals' rebellion against Khazars tries to win. I only peaced them out after Mordva got their independence.

And so my kingdom is great, I'm allied with Caliph, Emperor, and Charlemagne, and 12 different tribes pay tribute to me.

Meanwhile Alania horde fell completely to Sunni Armenia, Khazaria got crushed by pretty much everyone, so there's very little pony land left on this side of Volga river.

Elsewhere on the map, Saxony got Denmark and big chunk of south Scandinavia, mostly using its event troops from rebellion, and Byzantium got Venice by de jure county war, sadly destroying the republic.

I could setup a highly successful empire here - switch to any religion I wanted, feudalize, holy war all nearby pagans, and generally have this kind of fun. However, this is going to be a different kind of campaign. Big twist coming next, in case someone missed the title.

Ponies OP? Does not look like it

Post 3 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-22 06:15:30 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 03: Saddle Up and Ride Ponies to Victory: 795-807

So, it was time to choose - I could be a ruler of eastern Europe, turning tributaries into vassals, and tribe into feudal realm. Even if I crowned myself emperor, I'd still be living in a shadow of Rome. Or I could follow advice of my Persian concubine:

• use my prestige to call 20k tribal army, so people without horses are not left behind
• officially go Zoroastrian
• expel the Jews, as that's my only chance to do so until I settle again
• use special magic decision to become nomad and grab all tribal lands
• burn down all tribal holdings
• wait one day to get emperor level title (wasn't that supposed to be fixed in patch?)
• distribute 2/3 of the lands to new clans, all Polish Zoroastrians. I planned to code decision to assign clan leaders manually - to my former vassals, but I somehow ended up not doing so.
• survive 6 months of constant rebellions due to +20% recently burned land (6 months) on top of +5% burned the land (8 years). Oh wait, the revolts didn't happen. Not even one. No idea why. The % seems to be a lie.
• enjoy Zoroastrian faith being triumphant over Manichean heresy again

Oh well, time to start some wars. Inevitably one of my tributaries had a change of rulership, so I needed to remind them who rules there - and while I'm at it get some more grazing land for my ponies. I only have military organization level 2, and it's very far to even get level 3, so my light infantry horse would suffer massive attrition. Fortunately my tributaries wouldn't.

And let's get some lands from (Tengri feudal) Bulgaria, (Slavic feudal) Pannonia, Khazar horde, random tribes, (Sunni iqta) Armenia, sometimes calling in emperor's armies for help. By the way, my grandson will be next emperor.

A few assassinations here and there to speed things up. And I even built trade post at Black Sea end of Silk Road branch, but it doesn't seem to be making any gold.

That vas a lot of fun, until Mieszko died at age of 54. By time of his death 16k of 27k tribal armies still survived, to be joined by 17k ponies and something like 15k clan ponies.

He was succeeded by 23 year old Gierolt Sulima, brilliant strategist, adventurer, just, wroth, deceitful, cynical, brave, diligent, and lustful. And obviously a total hunie. Stats 0/24/11/14/1. What could go wrong playing at 0 diplomacy character?

I'll let Gierolt continue narration of story of Saoyshant in the next part.

Only counties fully turned into pasture get free change to Polish/Zoroastrian, any leftover temple blocks it

Post 4 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-22 12:50:37 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 04: Khagan Gierolt: 807-811

All my sisters were already married, so I couldn't do the right thing. But I could do something almost as good and arrange marriage with my niece, princess Kyriake of Byzantine Empire. That was good enough as far as religious obligations were concerned, and solidified my alliance with emperor - next in line being my nephew prince Leon.

I'll just quote from the ceremony: Like Ahura Mazda and Spandarmad at the time of creation, Emperor Gierolt and his niece Princess Kyriake have gotten married under the blessed auspices of Xwedodah, ensuring fullness and Order.

Dynastically it was a really good situation, my allies were Emperor, Caliph, kings of Lombardy, Saxony, Pictland, and Bavaria. Unfortunately wrong branch of Karlings was currently in charge, but there was always a chance it could change - king's grandson was married to my sister. So jealous, I'm just going to seduce her. At least that was the plan, apparently they really nerfed long distance seduction. I should just mod it back to how it was before, for now I'll focus on someone else.

And I tried somebody else, and apparently seduction got ridiculously nerfed.

I sent my armies to restore tributary relations, disrupted by death of my father. It took 4 years, but I got tribute from 18 rulers, and conquered some small bits of land here and there. I even managed to get one county in Persia, but that was a weird case of subjugating a duke in de jure Georgia who happened to also have that Persian county.

There's no way to expand in Europe - the plan is to conquer various minor hordes and minor Muslim rulers to crush everybody standing between me and empire Persia, and anybody who dares to interfere with my trade with China (I control last 6 provinces only).

There are 6 different hordes - Uyghurs is meaningfully emperor level, Zhetysu let's call them kingdom level, but 1-county Kirghiz, 1-county Otuken, 2-county Tobol, and 3-county Khazars make a mockery of title system.

Post 5 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-22 12:53:16 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 05: Nobody else is allowed ponies: 811-821

It was time to eliminate competition for pony pastures. Uyghurs were somewhat powerful, especially their winter attrition - their capital was literally one province away from top right corner of the map, with mountain chain in between just to make it even more awkward. Everybody else, not even a big deal - all minor hordes got wiped out by either me or Uyghurs. Othen than that only OPM Khazaria, obviously emperor level like all the hordes, remains.

Due to lack of marriagable sisters, I married one niece, and made another one my lover. I have no idea why, but they did not like each other at all! This marriage was supposed to be divine, but it turned out to be totally hellish instead. I can't stand my wife's nagging about my affairs, so I keep spending time with other women with more positive attitude, and that only angers my wife more. I better focus on war instead.

Once ponies were pushed out of the way, it was time to cleanup Muslim minors standing between me and the Caliph. Caliph even tried to intervene, but it wasn't very enthusiastic. I wanted to expand into Silk Road, but every 2 province minor has counties in 2 different duchies, so truces keep blocking this.

I got a nasty event during river crossing when I had a choice between saving my horse and saving my wife. I saved her, and that really improved our relations. We became lovers, but she never got over my whoring days. Fine, I'll change my hobby from seduction to hunting.

Empire of Persia progress:

• Afghanistan - 0/8
• Baluchistan - 0/9
• Khiva - 9/16
• Mesopotamia - 0/25
• Persia - 8/32

It took me very long time to get even one day of peace, mostly deu to my habit of accepting any AI's dumb call to arms, like holy war for Tunis, which would then timeout for 5+ years as neither side had enough boats to get any decisive action happen. Actually second holy war for Tunis worked as sultan got captured in battle.

Now that I had a bit of peace, I moved my capital from Silesia to Tana, at Black Sea end of Silk Road.

I think it's time to restore Persian empire, over 170 years after its fall.

Post 6 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-22 22:50:16 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 06: The Great Pony Invasion: 821-829

Before doing anything else I wanted to check what "settling as feudal" actually does, and that complicated everything.

Apparently it makes me lose all the pastures, leaving me with one demesne province I choose to settle at (presumably if I did that just after conquering some land, I'd have that too), leaving behind one huge horde, setting absolutely shitty laws (0 feudal taxes etc.) and wiping out my tech, my camp, reseting it to whatever was in new capital. That's what happened when switching government type to nomad too - it wiped out decent laws I setup and reset them to something shitty. It's annoying to see that again same game.

All horde troops gets wiped out and you get some not amazing but somewhat reasonable number of troops - 140 light cavalry and 60 horse archers per empty province abandoned (with no special attrition immunity). That's about half of horde size from same amount of land. Weirdly tribal troops would survive all that. (but they disappear if you're at peace for full day ever)

Oh and you seem to keep provices you held directly if they have some holdings in them, so you can pay ridiculous amount of money to build temples everywhere, and keep all your clan's land at least. You'd be geting fewer event troops if you go extreme, but it makes sense to do so for a few provinces you care most for.

This is extremely disappointing, I thought I'd get to keep my clan's lands at least - and then other clans becoming my vassals or maybe each going its own way. Turns out none of that is going to happen.

So the button should not be pressed before you have really good feudal realm to settle into. Oh and it's very difficult to setup a decent one, as you can't demand anybody's conversion, you can't revoke titles for wrong religion, and you have extremely low vassal limit to work with (and you can't grant vassal kingdoms to feudal rulers).

One way around it all is to just revoke absolutely everything and redistribute it to content Polish Zoroastrians. Absolutely every feudal ruler would hate me at -100, but that only lasts 60 months, so it's really not a big deal.

Unfortunately there are two more problems - revocations are not instantaneous, so I'd get shittons of rebellions from stupid temporary penalties. And it'd cost 100 prestige per duchy, 50 per county, and 25 per barony. I don't remember what was the last time I did any significant mass revocation without a cause, but that adds up. To fully cleanse Arabian Empire after conquest would cost me something like 15k prestige.

I can't even try any incite to revolt, imprison, banish shenanigans, as they broken banishments, and fix I did that tries to restore previous functionality doesn't even work. So I could wait until I get to medium crown authority for clean mass revocation, or I could just slowly use demand conversion (extremely nerfed this patch, no longer possible except at total peace, and that almost never happens), plotting, education, sending missionaries around, and such techniques.

By the way, settle as tribe decision works very differently - it builds tribal holdings in every province of your clan, then all other clans horde get your horde. This makes drastically more sense to me., but I was already tribal, it would be silly to go full circle here. Actually, I guess it might be way faster to go tribal, spend 20 years increasing tribal organization, then go feudal vs go feudal directly and spend all that time getting your clans' lands backs.

Time to stop talking and subjugate the Caliph, vassalizing all his lands. Oh I could instead use invasion CB, which would instead grab all occupied holdings (plus what's in target de jure kingdom), but that requires being >90% of your max horde population, which would require not expanding for very long time, as my max seems to be growing really quickly.

The conquest part was absolutely trivial. Then I ended up with 42/23 vassals, most of them highly hostile.

Fine, I'll just provoke some of them to rebel, to clean up the realm. Oh, I forgot banishment in 2.4 is completely worthless. I absolutely hate this - and it's especially horrible with vassal limits. If there's a bunch of infidel counts in infidel duchy, I can't get rid of them no matter how many time they rebel. If they do, I can revoke duchy, and then I have to give it back to them or vassal limit will fuck me over. Banishment can occasionally get a lot of free land, but most of the time (at least in gavelkind lands) it will just get duchy + county + some gold. Is that unreasonable in any way? That's the only way the game will allow setting up a new vassal duke.

New CK2 stuff is generally highly moddable, but that revocation / banishment system is nearly as hardcoded as EU4. Well, it's one of those things which would have been infuriating a few weeks ago, but my CK2 scripting skills got way better, so I just recoded banishment system from scratch. It works pretty much like it used to - if your vassal is your prisoner and has traitor modifier (not just regular "plotted to kill someone" stuff that lets you imprison people but not revoke) you can press button to seize all their titles and gold and kick them out, and they'll hate it forever for it, but nobody else will care.

By the way, this is just another case of vassal limit amplifying mechanics which are somewhat less than perfect (duke traitor revocation here, transferring vassals to vassal kings before, rebellions against vassals, vassal lands gavelkinding apart, vassals overthrowing your freshly installed claimant without him being able to call you into it) - such minor problems were tolerable, but vassal limit turns them into total gamebreakers. I seriously haven't found any redeeming qualities of vassal limit yet.

Oh and another by the way, the game now wouldn't let me revoke even at prestige / tyranny cost. I have truce with traitors, so I can only do one title revocation, then I'll have to wait 10 years to do another, while keeping them in jail. Or release them, but then if I try to revoke another title in 10 years they'd revolt, so 1 title then truce. That's just nonsense.

I'm writing about modding and stuff, but what actually happened was a quick conquest followed by waves after waves of trying to crush Muslim rebellions and cleaning up assorted Muslim minors, and replacing large number of infidel vassals with Polish Zoroastrians double/triple dukes, to get even somewhere within distance of vassal limit. I'm surprised I even got it down to 26/23.

I probably wouldn't be doing this religious cleansing if the game didn't have vassal limit. I have to group duchies into multiduchies, and that seems like the only way.

Empire of Persia progress (74/90):

• Afghanistan - 8/8
• Baluchistan - 8/9 (Indians have the last one)
• Khiva - 13/16
• Mesopotamia - 24/25
• Persia - 21/32

So I could actually create empire of Persia title and restore high priesthood. For Saoshyant I'd need to get 90/90 and some large amount of piety.

I got 4 Zoroastrian holy sites, but only 1 of them is controlled by Zoroastrian priest. I really can't be bothered to do religious cleansing at barony level anytime soon. Oh and caliph was plotting and then resisting arrest, so he got banished from the realm as traitor, and as caliph became unlanded that means the end of Sunni caliphate.

Between Horse Persian invasion destroying the caliphate, king of Lombardy successfully conquering Tunis and Tripolitania, and Andalusia falling apart into countless tiny countries (even if mostly Muslim of some kind), Sunnis are not doing well. At least they managed to defeat every Shia pretender caliph this time.

Oh and contrary to my predictions I actually got to 90% population, so if I just waited 8 years I could get all holdings, not vassalize them, but that's much more awkward CB, and I enjoy civil wars :)

Oh and I somehow got 16.7k gold - good part of it was gold seized during banishment, but it was all kind of income really. That's up to 35 temples, so if I wanted I could build a temple on every pasture my clan currently holds (34/100), and then I'd keep all that. That's probably not worth it, but a more modest version of just building up temples on Silk Road provinces might be worth considering. Of course that assumes a lot more about feudalize decision than is probably warranted. I should probably console test this method before I spend all my gold on it.

In real history Muslims were small minority for many centuries more, in game peasants change religions like  fatties change diets

Silk Road. Pony performance is dismal - only two provinces of extremely rich Silk Road were taken by Uyghurs whole campaign, it's defenseless feudal OPMs sitting on bags of bitcoins and nobody even raids them

Post 7 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-23 16:07:16 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 07: Pony Shrines: 829-834

I've been rushing through different stages instead of taking it slow and enjoying it.

There was really no reason to burn down tribal holdings and go horse so early - it was fun gameplay being a leader of tribal tributary league. And there was no real reason to subjugate the whole caliphate at first reasonable opportunity, before even cleaning up Muslim minors and conquering Silk Road. Now there is a decent reason to go feudal fast - damn vassal limit - but if I really wanted I could just mod it to be less ridiculous.

This is quite different from my previous campaign, where I had just one long shot to get claim to Byzantine Empire.

Now one reason I didn't stay longer at each stage was how transition made most of early stage gameplay irrelevant. There's no point developing your tribal holdings if all of them get burned down. There's no point getting more pastures and upgrading your camp if all that gets immediately lost when you press the settle as feudal button. Some kind of smoother transition would be nice. I don't have perfect solution (and base game doesn't even have tribal to nomad transition, the one I coded is all my fault), but keeping nomad camp tech progress on settling down not reseting all laws are obvious thing the game could do better.

By the way tribal to feudal, or tribal to merchant republic gameplay would probably be awesome smooth transition in this patch, way better than any transition in any CK2 version. Tributaries have so much potential - they should probably nerf their power level a bit, but instead allow some level of influence in neighbour countries like supporting factions (initiating them would go too far), and making random claimants you press who won't become your vassals become your tributaries instead, so there's some point in doing so.

Anyway, first order of business was testing feudal transition and pony clan land demands. So building a temple on my land works, then it makes that temple primary holding, and there's no easy way to get free city/castle - even if I build tribe as secondary holding and press upgrade button, that only turns this into castle, no free city. So the whole operation would cost temple+city+tribe cost, or over 1000 gold per province versus 100 gold per province for conquent, building tribe, then pressing special upgrade button.

Having temple or anything else for that matter as secondary holding does not reduce clan demand for grazing land, but making it primary does - somehow clans don't want to turn all of conquered caliphate into pastures. I thought about giving some pastures to feudal vassals so they could do cheap upgrade, but I can only give them land where some holdings exist, so it would promote temple to primary anyway, and achieve nothing.

All this suggests there's no need to rush the transition. Who am I kidding, I know how it's going to end. Every time I decide to take things slow, it ends up the same.

So, first fund temples along Silk Road (and other places I want to keep), and then declare tons of wars - finishing off Muslim minors, get tribute from tribes which ought to pay me, and burn down more Russian tribes so I can convince other clans to move there and leave anything south of Kiev and Silk Road to me. Oh and get de jure claim for that last Persian county Indians hold.

Feudal vassals already hate me, so why not piss off the clans as well, by absorbing one clan I settled in Crimea, and creating a merchant republic there instead. All of Crimea except one county had settled holdings already, so I built one extra temple, and now it wil all remain with me. The game definitely needs more republics - emperor destroyed Venice with de jure county CB, leaving just Genoa and Amalfi.

I also revoked two counties located south from Silk Road from another clan. My clan relations are not too great now, but they're still really impressed by me prestige and all the tributary wars, so it will probably be fine.

I finally managed to hunt down the white bear - my father was on hunting focus whole life, and failed this over and over, I mostly whored in my young age, only later I started hunting - and it worked. I'm sure my whoring experience was helpful here, somehow. And yet, once I trapped the bear - I decided to let it go.

Let's focus on something else, like scholarship, and build an observatory.

Byzantine Empire went elective, and elected some ridiculous duke over my nephew. Seriously, factions for elective needs to die, they are totolaly ridiculous anywhere outside HRE/Scandinavia area and fuck up gameplay hard. Sure, HRE is elective, but vassals shouldn't be allowed to just do that by one easy faction ultimatum - especially since reverting it is too hard for AI, and all that screws with dynastic politics.

Well, my wife has weak claim on the Empire, but that's not pushable. Not that it would help me, my primary heir is with some concubine, so I wouldn't get it, and pushing claimant won't make it dynastic back.

I guess it's time to write the last chapter in Persian-Roman wars. My wife's getting Constantinople regardless of their silly laws.

Post 8 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-23 22:29:39 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 08: Spartans would be disappointed: 834-846

So it's time to invade Greece. This is the awkward CB where I'd get direct control over all occupied territories - otherwise only de jure Greece which is definitely not enough, so it's not just a matter of crushing imperial army and ending war fast. It's carpet sieging EU4 style - except assault button actually does something.

There's second big problem of huge number of disease outbreaks - there's way more of then this patch than before, killing random courtiers by disease is probably their idea of performance improvements.

And another problem was my nephew's almost-emperor holy war on Armenia. I wanted him to win this, but his troops were awkwardly considered hostile, so it required a lot of care.

Emperor used standard strategy of "split army in half, get wrecked twice".

I was just carpet sieging Byzantines, and then I got hit by fucking adventurer war with 30k stack. I fucking hate those magic troops, and that prevents me from peacing out Byzantines indefinitely. I can't even go fight him as my whole empire has a grand total of 42 boats - oh and he spawned on other side of Suez - so if I played without mods I wouldn't be able to do so even if I somehow got the boats.

And there was another adventurer queued, with 20k fuckers. To annoy me even more, all their troops are attrition proof, which is massive bullshit so far from sea. Oh and I got Miaphysite uprising in a province with 0% revolt risk. All this takes way longer than just carpet sieging all of Byzantine Empire.

At least I had time to use the werly built Greece-Italy bridge to carpet Sicily, and I gathered those boats (I raised them for spying on Byzantine troop movement initially) to get Venice too, but not bothering with minor islands.

Well, this results in very awkward demesne size of 353/1. Weirdly I'm not much over vassal limit at least.

Oh, while studying the weird I apparently turned me into a lunatic. It's worse than lover's pox. I got so insane I decided to settle in Constantinople and become feudal. And wow, that performance. It's worse than I've ever seen on paused. Fortunately save and restart worked.

By the time I gave all lands away, and including all pastures which were now ruled by vassal level priests, I got to 78/42 vassal limit. Sadly there's no way to pass imperial administration for +25 limit.

I spent a ton of money on building new holdings, creating new titles (so many vassal 3-dukes and vassal kings), and recruiting imperial army of 5k pikemen, 1k archers, and 6k light cavalry. And I have to pay for all of that with gold? Better expel the Jews first.

After that I decided to get some peace time (tribal light infantry finally retired), just so I could demand conversions.

And it was fun peace time. My 27 year old son asked to be bertothed to my 1 year old daughter. That's the most patient case of incest I've ever seen, but no.

I complained how I wish remaining clans split when khagan settles down, and it didn't take long to have independence war 5-vs-3 clans. Rebellion obviously lost, as vast majority of rebellions do, but I don't expect horde to do well if it keep going like this.

I felt a bit sad about giving up one of my two imperial titles, so I got a new one - now I'm emperor of Persia and Arabia. Actually, screw Arabia. Actually this was a massive fail, as I forgot that I need to press destroy title before pressing settle as feudal button - that switches to completely ridiculous agnatic gavelkind. And there's apparently no console command to destroy titles, so I need to code this manually.

Anyway, that was pretty quick, so it was time to restore high priesthood, and I got holy order The Immortals - sadly they did not want to become my vassals. And high priest immedialy declared holy war for arabia, against king of Abyssinia who has 6 counties there. Why even bother? I thought they'd go against Oman, who holds 4 remaining counties in Persia, and 5 in Arabia for that matter. Or even invade India maybe?

I got into great holy war as well as some minor holy wars, and wow, my troops got ridiculously low. Especially since I have no intention of using my event troops or imperial army in any wars anytime soon - they're just there to make vassals behave. At least Holy Order is free, for now.

Game decided that since I'm 78/42 over vassal limit it will reduce all vassal levies and vassal taxes to 0. You know what game? I tried to tolerate this mechanic, but fuck that. It's completely ridiculous and never did anything good.

Some damn raiders burned down holding I was trying to build in Cieszyn. I forgot raiders are even in the game, they were too afraid of my ponies to get anywhere near me until now.

Well, my plan to reduce my vassal count finally started coming to fruition - I got a bunch of tribal holdings built, which I then upgraded to castles (not always possible, province must be my religion for it - well, fuck). And I can't grant baron the whole duchy, so I have feudal vassal. Oh come on! What the fuck is the point of "make primary holding". And this is something that worked fine previous version. Can I even play this game without having to mod something every 15 minutes?

Of course just modding that "make primary holding" decision won't work. It only works for nomads with empty holdings, regardless of what tooltip claims. So I just modded decision to revoke all titles from those priests, and now that I have both temple and tribe/castle I can finally press "make primary holding" as it was always intended to. This was supposed to solve all problems with deciding which barony is primary, but it did no such thing.

If I ever play nomad again, I'll definitely code some other way than this silly way I planned to use (build temple, build tribe, switch primary to tribe, press tribe to feudal button for free city). It seemed very elegant, as I'm mostly using existing mechanics, except:
• it doesn't work
• even if it did, it's ridiculous number of clicks, so I'll be better off if I just code the whole thing from scratch
• and it gets you way over your vassal limit if you try that for a year or two

After all that was done, and I created a bunch of vassal kings and multidukes burning through almost all my money (3500 left at that point), I was down to 47/141 vassal limit. I could maybe do something with it, but I just the mechanic, so +100 vassal limit it is.

And then, infirm of old age and wounded while trying to build a flying contraption, emperor Gierolt died at age of 62, to be succeeded by his 4th son Przybor. And this fucking gavelkind, seriously?
• His older brother Goszczon became titular duke of Greater Poland, with demesne actually all of Thrace, including the capital, and one off county in Seleukeia
• his younger brother Dytryk became king of Poland, with demesne seized county of Krakow. Vassals probably don't love it, but that kind of gavelkind makes way more sense than what I've seen before.
• 5 other brothers died, 1 in battle, the rest of various natural causes.

Do I have to mod every fucking thing every 15 fucking minutes? That's the second dumbest gavelkind I've ever seen, so I'm just going to grab all that and manually redistribute the titles instead. I can't even.

Successful invasion

Gavelkind is just So Fucking Dumb.

Post 9 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-24 18:02:36 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 09: First Black Polish Saoshyant: 846-851

First, I fixed succession. I took back everything game decided to give Goszczon. Then I tried to give him something else - but game would not allow that because the really really fucking stupid "can't give anything to your primary heir if gavelkind" rule. I have no idea how to mod that out. Gavelkind is unfixable mess in terms of implementation, as well as being completely ahistorical.

Anyway, I wanted to have a divine marriage. Unfortunately:

• My father stopped sleeping around and turned to hunting and scholarship in old age, so all my sisters were too old, except one who was 6
• All his sons tried their luck as mercenary captains, and somehow that bans marriage. I'm pretty sure mercenaries could marry and have children just fine historically
• All cousins were married already
• None of major foreign realms or major vassals seem to have anybody worth marrying

Ah screw that, I'll just find 4 girls I like, marry one of them, and make the rest my concubines, who cares what everybody else thinks. Divine marriages will resume next generation.

Anyway, it did not take long to get independence league revolt, which actually decided to march on my capital instead of politely waiting for my fleet to crush their stacks one at a time. It didn't help them much. Using banishment button (not in vanilla) I actually got vassal number below the limit (not counting +100 bonus I'm playing with now). Not that it would help much - all the 3-dukes will just gavelkind apart next generation anyway.

Oh and by the way, all the Great Holy War provinces I occupied got unoccupied when I died as I'm not warleader, so my participation was not inherited. Minor problem, I rejoined right away, planning to send my troops there as soon as I deal with the rebels. Oh wait, Great Holy War just disappeared. I'm not even sure what happened. High priest is somehow vassal of my brother who was part of the rebellion, so maybe that's what happened? If it failed, I should have gotten a message at least, and there's nothing in moral authority either way, so it wasn't lost.

No matter. Time to get obscene amount of prestige and piety by holy warring leftovers in Africa, Arabia, and Silk Road, and making all tribes in Balkans and Ruthenia my tributaries, like they were always supposed to me. Well, tribes that border me at least, if khagan of the Polish Horde wants to get tribute from places like Novgorod and Pomerania, I'll leave it up to him. I'm not entirely happy about my border with the Polish Horde, especially that one clan that grazes its ponies in Eastern Pannonia disconnected from the rest of the horde, on what's generally my side of the border, but we decided to part ways in this way, and there's no need to break that arrangement, at least for now.

Tributary wars are fun, as many minor tribes will just surrender a few days after DoW, for 200 prestige.

I became the Saoshyant. My empire is now pretty close to Achaemenid borders - biggeset differences are that I control a good deal of Silk Road and steppes more than they did, and I don't control Indus valley.

Somehow high priest was not terribly impressed my that, and complained about my observatory of the stars. Doesn't he understand I need to watch the stars so I get military tech points, so I can get military organization 4 to bring the true religion to pagans? What's so difficult about this?

My brother Dytryk who tried to marry my 1 year old sister when he was 27, but got refused by my father did not relent, and asked again. Well, if he's that persistent this must be true love, and not creepy at all.

Another minor story - I caught one of Kurdish counts doing sinful things with one of my courtiers - and they weren't even brothers! I exposed them, leaving it up to his duke to decide what kind of punishment that deserves.

My wife was cheating on me with Count of Naxos, so I decided to challenge him to a duel. Unfortunately he refused. There was also an option to poison him, but that's missed.

I've been having a lot of trouble by raiders - they're more annoyance than a real threat. Raiders from Bulgaria I eliminated the easy way. Vikings are hard to do anything about, especially before military organization 4, and Uyghur horde is just so damn far - even though now my boats can reach Caspian Sea, so it's somewhat less crazy.

I'm tempted to turn Lombardy, Pope, Indus valley kingdoms, and any of the Balkan tribes that somehow escaped this into my tributaries. Sadly I can't do that to Karlings or Umayyads yet. For that matter all hordes - Polish, Uyghur, and OPM Khazars should be paying me tribute, but it's probably not worth pressing the issue.

But for now, it's time to enjoy the peace and feast.

Infested by pony raiders and Buddhist rebels

I need to look at the stars to learn how to avoid Pagan attrition, because logic

Post 10 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-25 12:27:58 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 10: Emperor of Persia, King of Kings: 851-863

It was time to enjoy peace, calling a feast, and even a grand tournament - something I very rarely do. There was surprising amount of people wounded, maimed, or even killed during the tournament - mostly nobodies, but also duke of Nobatia whom I plan to crown as king of Nubia at some point.

I got medium crown authority - fortunately going feudal set it to low not zero - and revoked Khorasan from Muslim rebels who got it from my appointed duke, and while I was at it I gave holy site and county with it to the high priest. Apparently I can't give him as a theocracy any duchy level titles because he already has a duchy level high priesthood. Not a fan of this mechanic.

My now 41 year old brother finally got to marry our 16 year old sister. True love waits. He even managed not to make any bastards in this time. He literally has patient trait, which explains a lot. Also arbitrary, which explains the rest. And she died of illness in a year, but they managed to make a baby boy anyway. True to his preferences, he asked to marry 1 year old niece. Come on, you're 42, this seriously creepy. I declined that one, but if he'll ask again in 15 years, who knows.

It was time to establish more tributary states. I only had 6, and only Serbia and Pannonia send me tribute worth anything. I'm the only true emperor, and they're just kings, dukes, and counts. This is only right.

Technically, khagan of Polish horde, khagan of Polish revolt, khagan of Uyghur horde, what was left of Byzantine Empire (Catholic now, thanks to elective being dumb), and khagan of OPM Khazaria are also claiming emperor level, but that's all really silly. Maybe if Karlings with their 5-way kingdom decided to claim that, that would mean something, or ever Lombardy, Andalusia, and Karnata sort of, but none of them has imperial pretensions.

The only countries I absolutely needed to wipe out of the map were Muslims, as revenge for what they did to Persia. Everybody else can just acknowledge my superiority and send some gold and other than that do whatever they please.

Oh and baron in the only province I took from Indians claims to be legitimate king of Rajputana and Malwa. I'm not necessarily going to intervene in every conflict between different Indian rulers, but since we're going to war anyway, and Malwa is too far inland to make a tributary, I'll see what I can do.

Then it turned out that one of the countesses in Malwa was a rightful queen of Kosala. Then it was a similar story with Delhi - except my claimant died prematurely so they'll stay independent for now, and Rajputana - which I originally made a tributary, but rebels overthrew their king. So many coincidences.

King of Sindh was Muslim, so that needed to be taken in a holy war, but I don't really plan to use holy war CB much - it's just for damn Muslims and Pagan tribals (and maybe for cleaning up border gore). And yet, even with my casual approach to expansion, more and more land keeps coming under my control.

Also sadly it turns out none of Indian rivers are navigable, except first tile of Ganges. I'm not sure if that's working as designed, in code it looks like they should be navigable, and on map they look like other navigable rivers, did my Seuz Canal break them maybe, or were they broken in vanilla too?

So after 12 years of campaiging my list of tributaries includes 26 current and at least 5 lapsed tributaries. These are (I'm sure I forgot a few):

• Pope (lapsed)
• Catholic Byzantine Emperor (lapsed) - he's losing independence league war to Greek Zoroastrian duchess, I should probably intervene there
• Kings of Lombardy, Serbia
• High chiefs of Bohemia (lapsed), Moravia, Croatia (lapsed), Volhynia (lapsed), Ryazan, Severia, Radimichia, Kryvia
• Chiefs of Trencin, Galich, Mstislavl, Mozaysk, Pronsk
• Maharajas of Kartana, Gujarat, Orissa, Bihar, Bengal (even if he doesn't quite get it yet)
• Rajas of Saurashtra, Gandhara, Akara-Desarna, Medantaka, Dahala, Uch

Of course all their tribute put together isn't worth even half of what large feudal taxes pay.

Oh and I managed to remove all Muslims from the may except from Spain / Mauritania region, and weirdly two counties in Brittany. There's still random Muslim count vassals here and there.

I got military organization level 4, for total of 15/15/15, and I have nowhere left to spy for tech. Back when I was a nomad I seriously considered settling my capital somewhere else than Constantinople - Basra looks nice, or Muscat maybe - but that was based on idea that my nomad camp's tech will stay. As it gets completely wiped out, Constantinople is again, the only reasonable choice of capital.

Decent amount of tribal territories have gone feudal (I removed restrictions on unreformed pagans, but did nothing else to help with this) - Denmark, Nonway, Pannonia, Novgorod, Perm, Songhai even. Weirdly Scotland and Ireland did not. Polish horde has been expanding a bit into tribal lands, in direction away from me. Uyghur horde is busy with civil wars and raiding my Silk Road provinces, other than that they haven't really done anything. OPM horde is gone, finisded off by a minor high chief.

Persian influence over Mediterranean

Persian influence over India

Muslims could get eliminated before 900 if I really prioritized that. Anyway, caliph is gone so they can't jihad. Africans started going feudal.

Post 11 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-26 23:54:40 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 11: India is basically East Persia: 863-869

Let's take a break to discuss Way of Life.

Scholarship focus is really powerful. It costs some gold and five years off other focuses, but it gives 230 military tech points over 5 year. I did it only once (first ruler was tribal and poor, second studied Necronomicon for culture points but mostly flavor), and I ended up with military organization level 4 in just a century.

Seduction focus is also crazy powerful - and not just for me, majority of my rulers' wives and concubines had at least one bastard each. You can make tons of bastards, then selectively legitimize any with good traits, or just one to work around gavelkind. They'll sadly be of mother's religion and culture, and have -1 dip penalty.

Intrigue focus is really good for making sure vassals stay out of factions, if for any reason you don't plan to just trigger civil war for fun.

Theology allows pilgrimages for Christians - Muslims have them anyway, and everybody else doesn't get any, so that's less useful. And you can get event that lets you switch to heresy which would be hard otherwise.

I'm not sure I used other focuses for anything good. Hunting is mostly silly chases of white bear or another white animal, war allows challenging rivals to duel, but the only time I did that he chickened out anyway. Business gets small amount of cash by events, but it doesn't seem significant, and carousing never led anywhere other than some +10 opinion here and there at random.

It feels like they had cute idea for some of those, and then added some filler to get up to 10.

Anyway, time to get Delhi for my claimant's child as my original claimant died during my first attempt, create Nubia, liberate the rest of Silk Road from Uyghur horde, and turn everybody who isn't one yet into my tributary - primarily Abyssinia and Pope. And maybe I'll even help Zoroastrian duchess of Sardinia revolt against Catholic Byzantine Empire.

Apparently if someone else takes over the horde, liberation war becomes invalid, which feels like a bug - like I would care who's in charge of the ponies, especially if I'm already occupying target provinces. No matter, I got the rest of Silk Road on the second try, that was first foreign operation where I sent my imperial army. Horde wasn't even that bad, but attrition definitely was.

By the way supposedly I can request crusades level wars, but I don't see any way to do so. I thought I just needed to be at peace, and Great Holy Wars needed to be enabled, but that's apparently not enough.

I continues the same policy: opportunistically push claimants in India, other than that turn the whole world into my tributary.

By the way, my conquest of half of India was remarkably clean: no silliness like inviting claimants, giving them baronies, then pressing their claims. I just push claims of already landed vassal claimants, and I had maybe a few de jure wars on random counts. No holy wars, except on Muslims and these were one duchy and one county total.

And strangely I got hit by lower crown autority faction. I have 19.6k demesne troops, 26k retinue, 12.4k event horde (58k together), as well as 53k from loyal vassals, approximately 85k from tributaries, and enough gold to hire crazy amount of mercs - at least in theory, it seems only two 1750 companies are available, everybody else is too tiny to matter or already hired.

They have 53k. They're led by my... cousin's son married to my niece, I guess, is there a word for that? High priest, two Indian usurper vassal kings (who overthrew claimants I installed), and a bunch of local rules who really should be grateful to me.

Nasty revolt

Tributary armies are crazy big, sadly none are close to rebels

Post 12 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-27 13:36:57 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 12: Death of the Saoyshant: 869-873

Emperor Przybor the Saoshyant led charge against traitors in Greece, and got maimed in the battle, while at the same time getting consumption which was ravaging the countryside. At age of 58 it was not a good sign.

It was complex operation - half of imperial army was near the capital fighting duke of Athens, half was near Uyghur border, fighting king of Khiva, levies were divided between India - fighting rebel kings, Persia - fighting rebellious high priest, and Mediterranean strike force - preventing rebels from gathering their forces.

The weirdest part of the rebellion was when rebels hired holy order, who fought my pagan tributaries in Balkans, but of course wouldn't fight me.

The emperor survived maiming, crushed them, and showed a lot of mercy - rebel leader died, so by the time it was over rebellion was led by his child son, who was no real traitor, just victim of circumstance. The kid even got another duchy taken from actual rebels (and his kinsman). Indian kingdoms were returned to Indian rulers, hopefully more loyal this time. Other titles seized from rebels were given to other local rulers.

Przybor's surviving children were 6 sons and 6 daughters (one quick attractive son and former heir died in childhood) - married brother-sister, and got as their lands:

• Malowuj and Ludmila - kingdom of Nubia (aquired in holy war)
• Mszczuj and Agnieszka - the empire, demesne in Thrace, Nikaea, and (seized from rebels) Epirus
• Borzyslaw and Zwinslawa - kingdom of Khiva (seized from rebels)
• Niezamysl and Dobronega - duchies of Azerbajan and Armenia (seized from rebels)
• Sambor and Jadwiga - duchies of Sarkel (formerly Polish horde pastures) and Cilicia (formerly part of imperial demesne), and (by annoying gavelkind) county of Philippopolis
• Zelibrat and Rycheza - kingdom of Georgia (seized from rebels)

Actually this plan was result of miscalculating sons by one (come on, that could have happened to anyone) and not realizing that there was already vassal king of Armenia, otherwise they'd all get king level titles.

Interestingly previous king of Georgia took some land from rebellion clan under Polish horde. It was just 3 counties, but it suggests a big war might be coming. Polish horde lost two counties in Meissen as well, but they've been expanding North instead. With feudalization progressing, hordes might be running out of easy targets, and that leads to increased fighting between clans for limited grazing lands - something that was never a problem when horde could always expand outwards.

And a few short years later, maimed in battle against traitors, and never recovered from consumption, emperor Mszczuj the Saoshyant died, to be succeeded by his second son Mszczuj.

Post 13 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-28 00:01:52 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 13: Restoring Father's Empire: 873-883

Emperor Mszczuj's first task was restoring tributary relations, disrupted by death of his father. He ignored some remote lands like Bohemia, Trencin, Moravia, and Pannonia, but otherwise declared war on everybody who'd dare to stop paying tribute, as well as annouced his intervension in Indian affairs, intending to replace kings of Telingana and Maharastra, as well as restoring some de jure borders.

He gave them two months to reply before raising his armies - and 11 rulers submitted to his overlordship without any fight, leaving him with only 25 simultaneous wars to win. Fortunately tributary wars don't have ticking warscore and few rulers fight them to the end - some understand the inevitable before any fighting, most submit after one battle, just a handful is stubborn enough to fight until 100%.

Speaking of tributaries, there's a weird case of king of Denmark and Pomerania being personal tributary of khan of clan Dunin. This isn't even a case of former khagan, the Dunin were never leading the horde - it was two Sulima rulers, then clan Wratyslawicz after Sulima clan settled down, then khagan from clan Jablonowski by faction demand and his brother after him. It looks really weird because it says "Dunin" on the map in Denmark/Pomerania, but not over actual lands of clan Dunin, mostly in North/East Pannonia on wrong side of horde/feudal border.

War with Lombardy was hardest, as they deployed biological warfare in Genoa to reduce its supply limit to almost nothing, then stood one province behind that with their whole stack. I tried to bait them, sent small unit to Genoa to siege it, but they wouldn't go for it. Then I left Genoa with city sacked back onto boats, hoping they'd siege it back, but they just went in as soon as I was far enough, assaulted, and hid back behind line of poison gas.

India was nontrivial as well as it was a fight of 10k levy vs 20k in hostile holy orders alone, and total enemy armies closer to 50k. The levy was supposed to prevent India from being overrun until reinforcements come from beyond Suez Canal, but I could never send any - subjugating tribes was easy, but king of Lombardy and sultan of Africa were stubborn, and when I finally crossed Suez Canal (ignoring those two bastards for a while) king of Abyssinia was just as stubborn and I had to recall my troops to deal with 30k adventurer who spawned in Turkestan out of nowhere. Somehow Indian levy, small as it was, won a lot of wars just fine, but that idea of restoring every single tributary relation in one go was a classic case of overextending myself.

Five years later, after emperor decided to let the armies stand down, there were still 7 wars ongoing - five tributary wars (Africa, Lombardy, Bengal, Orissa, Lanka) including two which were being lost (kingdom claim on Telingana, and de jure county claim on Nagarjuna). But there was more important thing - the high priest called for Great Holy War against heretic Uyghur horde for Cumania.

It was not time for peace yet. In addition to Great Holy War, and 7 ongoing wars, emperor called for a lot more wars - mostly lapsed previously restored tributaries, and a few more de jure border tidying. The most problematic was claimant war for Telingana - where warscore ticked against me even thought I occupied a good chunk of target kingdom. Reloading game didn't help, but after a good while ticking warscore went from -110% to 0% (I was way above 100% from battles and occupations, but not close to 210% needed to overwhelm the buggy ticker).

The Polish Horde subjugated Sweden/Norway, but it lost most of its horde troops, and was getting wrecked from all sides - by cancel tributary war (agaisnt khagan, even though they were tributaries of Dunin clan, not khagan - it's presumably some weird bug here), two duchy liberations, adventurer, and claimant faction. A few years later, after all that settled down, the horde decided to settle down in the worst possible place - deep arctic 1-holding zero tech Kola. Weirdest thing is that it set him to agnatic-cognatic gavelkind, but I got agnatic gavelkind whet I settled. At least I got low crown authority, and they got zero.

Ruling clan of the Polish horde went Suomenusko, and while 4 other clans remained true to the faith, that was really unacceptable and invalidated all arrangements for good relations with the horde. My brother king of Cumania (who's losing it hard, but at least he keeps the horde away from Wallachia), and my vassal king of Wallachia (who's winning it) immediately launched their holy wars against Polish horde.

My brother died in battle, and my sister-wife died in childbirth, so I married his sister-wife to be my new sister-wife. I don't think any language has words to describe this.

3 tributary wars are still ongoing - against Orissa, Africa, and Punjab (which I subjugated once already). All those tributary wars in India feel futile - as soon as I wreck someone's army enough and convince them to become my tributary, next day faction notices that they don't have any army and installs a new claimant. Even in kingdoms I don't intervene there seem to be more cases of succession by faction demand than succession by inheritance.

And I'm also getting way too many Viking raiders - I would understand if they were Norse counts I can counterwreck for it, but almost all are just random hosts, and that feels like bullshit.

I feel it's time to fight the hordes.

You settled down where?

Great Holy War - I wish it was Andalusia instead, that's small amount of crappy territory

So far futile attempts at tidying up borders in India

Post 14 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-28 13:06:16 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 14: Peace at last: 883-890

No hope for peace anytime soon - instead emperor declared 3 county de jure wars, 1 barony de jure war, liberation of Zhetysu against Uyghur horde, liberation of Greater Poland against Polish horde, and another batch of tributary wars in addition to 3 which were still ongoing, two of them for a decade already.

Somehow one of two holy wars my vassals were waging ended inconclusively, but the other didn't. No idea what's going on, overlapping wars are buggy. No matter, the real goal was not even getting that territory - it was wrecking their horde so that my vassal's holy wars can succeed and so that one of clan leaders of true faith can take over the horde.

I managed to win with Polish horde, but those losses to horde troops even in battles won, and then to winter attrition on top of that. Very painful.

And wow, that war bugged out hard. Everything in Greater Poland was pasture, except for indepdent barony in Gniezno belonging to the Immortals. All other provinces were occupied by my vassal king of Poland, in their unrelated holy war which ended up inconclusively when mine started, but were counted as my occupations (for ticking warscore etc.). Somehow after winning the war I got empty county of Gniezno and nothing else - but Gniezno already had Immortals' castle in it, which was the only holding, but not primary holding. The whole thing was just so silly.

And revolt I wanted happened - not claimant revolt I expected, independence revolt instead. And game bugged out again - faction leader was some tribal chief, but faction supporter was nomad clan. This apparently meant that tribal leader could not call clan in his faction in any way - not as vassal, not as ally, nothing. Game apparently did not consider non-nomad rulers having nomad vassals, that's why they gave them all ridiculous emperor level. And yet it can still happen.

It was also time to rearrange the imperial army. Instead of 20k Constantinople, 20k Silk Road, I went for 15k Constantinople, 15k India, 10k Silk Road - as Uyghurs were reduced from dangerous to annoying, and levy provided by my Indian vassal kings for whom I was a "foreigner infidel" was clearly insufficient, and I had no intention to do any kind of ethnic and religious cleansing of India.

I pressed claim on kingdom of Lanka - unlike other situations the claimant was unlanded, wife of one of my counts. I think that means it will be inherited into the realm, but then you never know with inheritance.

Wars dragged on really long, queen of Orissa was fighting for 17 years, until she finally surrendered. Even king of Lombardy sent his troops to India over Suez canal to help me with this (that so reminds me of EU4), it was that exhausting for everyone.

And the question - was it worth it? I have 28 tributaries, but tribute from most is meager, and I need to reestablish tributary relations over and over - currently Abyssinia, Lombardy, and Punjab (which I made a tributary twice during my reign) stopped paying tribute. Perhaps it would be better to cleanse the borders with some holy fire of Ahura Mazda?

I can't even convince my vassals to vote for high crown authority due to levies raised for that long, and due to my policy of non-interference in Indian religious and cultural affairs. Next time Indian vassal kings rebel, I might reconsider that policy.

Anyway, elsewhere in the world Empire of Kola got hit by pretty quick and unsurprising independence revolt - revolt leader OPM duke-priest of Prussia even accepted diplovassalization somehow. If "empire" of Kola was at more reasonable level, like a duchy, I'd just offer them my protection, but I can't as long as they have such silly pretenses.

Polish Horde got inherited from Suomenusko khagan by Zoroastrian khagan of same clan, but they keep getting wrecked by everyone, they lost my brother's second attempt at getting Kipchak - this time as liberation CB not holy war CB, but result was the same. What I need the most there is Reduce Border Gore CB.

Constant disease outbreaks were getting really dumb, so I backported disease nerfs from 2.4.3 beta patch.

There was also a bug in my coding - I tried to make it so that culture unique buildings don't automatically disappear if ruler of another culture inherits, and that you can build them based on either your culture or province culture - due to weird way camel buildings were coded everybody can build them. Oh well.

I think it would be better to make it all just one building behind the scenes, and change what it's called and what bonuses it gives based on province owner's culture, like in civ5. Right now most of my demesne can build Polish hussar buildings (due to my culture), Greek cataphract buildings (due to province culture), and Arab camel buildings (due to bug).

Next in line to Immortals is Polish guy, so maybe I'll be able to diplovassalize them.

I'm going to enjoy at least enough peace time to host a Great Tournament, and to hopefully pass high crown authority. After that

The font was much larger until Lombardy fell out of tributary relation

Indian borders still need tidying up.

De jure drift 50 year for duchy into kingdom and 20 years for kingdom into empire produces nice results

Post 15 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-28 19:06:18 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 15: Conversion of India: 890-898

First order of business was hosting a grand tournament to celebrate first day of peace in my 17 year reign. I even managed to get second place. My spymaster king of Armenia managed to get himself killed - was that some kind of failed plot? To celebrate the peace I held a feast, and tried to get my vassals to vote for high crown authority. Close but no.

Let's try another time. Year of peace and quiet, feast, vote. Fucking peasant revolt erupted mid-feast, which autocancelled damn thing. I cannot express how much I hate this "fuck you because some peasant revolt" mechanic. At least EU4 has decency to not treat peasants as being at war.

So third year of peace, third feast, third vote, still nothing. I managed to convince some of my Indian vassal kings to convert to true faith at least, and by fourth year of peace and fourth vote my vassals finally approved to much needed expansion of crown authority.

That was all nice, but my tributaries were falling away year after year of peace, and raiding was getting intolerable. Tributaries can't raid me, but as soon as they have succession raiding starts, so I'm constantly being harassed by Uyghur nomads, Slavic/Suomenusko Pagan tribals, and Viking hosts. I can't do much about about Viking hosts, but the other two problems are solvable. Weirdly Polish clans did not attempt to raid my lands yet.

Not to mention I have 5 sons, and only 1 of them got kingdom of Bulgaria after my cousin died without an heir, so I need at least 3 more kingdoms somewhere, and those damn tribal lands are pretty tempting target.

Well, so let's start:

• in India a few de jure wars, but mostly lapsed tributaries
• near Silk Road, liberation of Altay duchy
• in East Africa, holy war against duchy in Nubia held by king of Abyssinia
• in North Africa, holy war against rebellion against my tributary sultan of Africa, just in case they win (they didn't, war became invalid, whatever)
• in tribal Europe - holy wars in Serbia, Croatia, Pannonia, Bohemia, Ryazan, and a few tributary restorations where holy war would be awkward
• in Italy, restoring tributary king of Lombardy

Notably missing on this list is any kind of fight with the Polish Horde.

This war season was much shorter, so afterwards I took a break for a feast - and I managed to convince remaining Indian vassal kings to adopt the true faith. India will accept true faith without any use of force - no vassal revocation, no holy wars (except Muslims, but that should be obvious), none of such nonsense - just good old persuasion and maybe a bit of gold here and there.

It will take generations for this conversion to go from kings through dukes and counts to burghers and peasants, but it's a start.

Grandmasters of the Immortals apparently magically turn Persian on election. I'm not sure how the hell that even works - Catholic holy orders are not culture locked, so I turned them Polish by console, and diplovassalized them as is only proper.

At age of 45 emperor Mszczuj became infirm, and at age of 48 he became incapable, leaving the empire to his sister-wife, the heir (child of a concubine) still being 14 at the time.

His heir, prince Dobieslaw, is being tutored by duke of Hamadan. Giving away both regency and education of my heir to AI... I gave them both some gold just in case.

The emperor died just weeks afterwards, but it was nearly a year of regency left - weirdly with some random dude being appointed as regent, not his father's sister-wife.

Well, so now the education/regency lottery - I got diligent, then my guardian died. Let's find someone else, actually my previous guardian's son seems like he best person for the job.

Then I got ill. And fucking peasants rebelled, so I couldn't even hold a fucking feast to celebrate my coming of age. Fuck that shit. I'm going to mod it so feasts can be held at "war", just not quite yet.

So emperor Dobieslaw is:
• 10/15/17/12/9
• fortune builder
• genius
• hunie, saoshyant descendant, child of concubine
• kind, deceitful, charitable, patient, brave, diligent
• ill

Dobieslaw's sister and future wife Krystyna is just 12, but that's no reason not to get some concubines for now.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the world, Empire of Kola fell apart almost completely, reduced to 1 barony, and 1 vassal count-priest with 1 tribe under that priest. That's the sorriest empire I've ever seen. That's worse than even standard castle/city/temple OPM. And that priest-count is de jure under one of my dukes, so I'm going to reduce them to barony at soon as I have some time.

Kings are Zoroastrian, peasants are not

Post 16 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-29 21:38:54 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 16: Crusader Kings: 898-902

First order of business was modding the game so I can have my birthday party, peasants or no peasants. Condition should say something like "not at war (except peasant revolts, they don't count, also not being called into a war I don't care about, etc.)", but it's easier to just remove it for now. I'm not entirely sure it will work - feasts and tournaments are just cancelled in case of war, but for example Diwali uses different coding and will continue but won't invite vassals who are at war - which if you are at war means all of them. It might turn out to be too messy to solve for something relatively minor.

While I was at it I also cleaned up some other issues, like removing camel training grounds from places where they were not supposed to be. Speaking of modding - you know what the game needs the most? Ability to join foreign independence faction rebellions (and possibly other factions rebellions), just to screw with other countries.

Oh well, now that birthday party was successful, and peasants were crushed, as well as Vikings harassing Constantinople, it was time to hold Grant Tournament.

By the way I only just checked the code, and only Christians and Pagans can hold grand hunts. That's 5 years of focus of previous ruler wasted.

Year 900 came, and the Pope decided to declare crusading time. There's no caliph to do the same silliness on Muslim side at least.

Gavelkinding made a stupid mistake of giving my brother holdings in Nikaea, so I fixed that, wrote a letter cosigned by tons of other vassals explaining to him why he should hand it back. My dumb brother refused. Sadly game doesn't have Fixing Gavelkind CB. I gave myself back the other two counties he got by gavelkind by console. This wasn't the dumbest gavelkind of all times, but he's a landed duke and he's not even of age - and the only reason he's not a king of Serbia is that Serbian rebellion ended too early so our father could only get one of two Serbian duchies. One duchy should be enough. And he got Serbia as soon my wars with pagans got finished anyway. Not that it matters -  +400 granted tons of titles lasts just 10 years, -50 usurped a title lasts lifetime.

Now that's dealt with, it's time to burn tribal pagans with holy fire as raiding prevention strategy. 19 holy wars, 3 tributary war, or something like that, but all in one border belt from Croatia to Muscovy. Fighting the whole world all at once was just silly.

Oh and apparently my vassal merchant republic of Venice - as OPM as they get - decided to make Byzantine Emperor their tributary. That's just sweet.

My friend and distant kinsman princess Beata was not connected enough to get good marriage, and it's agnatic so women can't hold land, so I married her matrilineally to some hunie bastard Dobrogost Ciolek, and gave him kingdom of Ruthenia. I love it that I added the hunie trait - it's a hint that someone has interesting lineage even if their name means nothing.


• Beata - king Leszek of Bulgaria - king Goszczon of Bulgaria - emperor Gierolt - khagan Mieszko and duchess Dobrava
• Dobrogost - (bastard of) duke Spyto Ciolek - (mother) Chrysogone Isauros - Leon Isauros (the almost Byzantine Emperor, whose loss to elective faction resulted in Byzantine Empire getting overran by the Polish horde) - (mother) Wszebora Sulima - kgahan Mieszko (and concubine Farrin)

So this random bastard is actually descendant of two of the greatest houses in history, not that many generations ago. That's almost like Jon Snow.

CK3 should totally generate an in-game pseudo-wikipedia of all that, it would be so awesome.

Also if I'm reading charts right, that makes them "third cousins twice removed", which isn't exactly Xwedodah, but it's better than someone completely unrelated. (I never learned this "Xth cousin Y removed" terminology, in Polish that would simply be "distant kinsman" or maybe "distant cousin").

I did it a bit more - matrilineally marrying distant kinsmen to random bastards and giving them land.

And I gave duchy of Moskva to Polish Zoroastrian genius Abbasid. I should probably setup get some pet Karling vassal king somewhere.

Anyway, good thing I didn't overdo the warring as Pope declared crusade for Greece. I had no intention of waiting for him - I hired holy order, my demesne troops, and just sailed to burn down Rome before anybody gets any dumb ideas.

Joining the pope were king of Middle Francia (not Karling, Karlings got reduced to East Francia and weirdly Mercia), king of Burgundy, two holy orders, some dukes, and somehow even Irish tribal high chiefs and chiefs (they built bridge to Wales but not one to Greece yet). That's the first time ever I'm seeing tribals on a crusade.

It was actually much more painful than I thought - I sieged Rome a bit, but then I tried to wipe out stacks in landings, sadly I lost 25k on 14k landing on stack that tried to siege back Rome which I feel I should have won.

It was actually way better performance, and I ended winning it by 59% occupations (5/11 papal holdings), 28.8% battles, and 12.5% ticking warscore from controlling Greece. If I didn't sail for Rome right away, it might have lasted years.

I only managed to restore 3 tributary relations - to be fair a lot of my father's tributaries have been outrgiht conquered instead. Time to remind everybody - especially the Pope - of tribute due to be paid.

Oh and my sister-wife came of age, and is already pregnant with some count's bastard. Not to mention one of two daughters I had with my concubines isn't even really mine. Usually I'm on the other side of this. Did Zoroastrians marry their sisters because even if their sister-wife was unfaithful, child born would still be at least a nephew? Oh well.

Limited war - peripheral ones (Mari, Kryvia and Pomerania) are just tributary wars so hopefully won't require too much effort

Post 17 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-07-30 23:51:26 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 17: I don't even need to blob, vassals do it for me: 902-913

(I totally fail to be consistent between episodes when I'm writing first and when third person. Especially when I have to go meta and talk about modding or there's a succession...)

Anyway, after celebrating the wedding with my cheating sister-wife with a big feast, I decided to go on much more serious fighting spree. Declaring war on every single country in India, on Uyghurs, Pope, Byzantine Emperor, 3 Catholic kings, Abyssinia, duchy of Berbera which somehow got independent from Abyssinia, and random tribal (or recently feudalized) chiefs. These were mostly tributary wars, just holy warring in East Africa, liberation from Uyghurs (got to eliminate all nomad raiders - bastards often raid pretty far from their borders), and a few county claims in India.

There was a brief opportunity to intervene in Byzantine civil war, and install some Zoroastrian lady as Byzantine Emperor, but wedding feast was more urgent, and then it was too late.

As usual quite a few foreign rulers, including Pope, Byzantine Emperor, Karling teenage king of East Francia, and assorted minor dukes and chiefs agreed to pay tribute without any fight. These are the best wars and something tells me they'll nerf amount of prestige you can get from such free wins in next patch or two, as it's currently obscene - 2-3k prestige in a week of waiting for their surrender at zero effort is really silly, especially since relation bonus from prestige maxes out +20 for 2k, something that's ridiculously easy to get. I got to 28k already in 14 years of rule without any kind of prestige farming, that's like 2k/year.

I got twins with my sister-wife - one inbred, the other one genius. That's a very good reason to try going primogeniture. Fortunately the inbred twin didn't live past age of 4. Weirdly now that my vassals are all of true faith, they all like me, and the realm is overall much more peaceful, with aggression directed mostly outwards not inwards.

My vassal kings in India did not care much for my policy of no holy wars in India, and declared a lot. There's this "convert to attacker's religion" button guys, use it and you'll be safe. I intervened in civil war in Punjab, which resulted in frozen war lasting next decade.

Other than that I have no claimants for anything in India left, not even counties. Was there like a big marriage divide between West India and East India? Maybe West India was primarily Hindu, and did not want to marry anyone outside their caste, while East India was Buddhist and casteless so they just married each other instead? I allowed all religions to marry each other, but Hindus with their castes won't even marry other Hindus of a different caste, so they're a hopeless case.

My best friend Beata died, but she had a baby son who's in like to throne of Ruthenia. Hopefully her line will continue on the throne there.

I went right after the Polish Horde - more to wreck their numbers so my vassals can do all the conquering that to directly conquer them. This worked pretty well against the Uyghurs who couldn't defend against my vassals after getting their numbers crushed, and eventually got crushed by my cousin who's now new king of Mongolia. Unfortunately my vassals still don't feel strong enough to take on Polish Horde, and ones in the region mostly rule over recently feudalized shitty lands which yield few troops, so that's not so surprising.

Then I tried to make Norse kingdoms into my tributaries. That was massive pain, and probably not worth it, as raiders are homeless hosts, not their counts. Maybe I should just cleanse their whole damned realm with holy fire? They should appreciate it, it's cold as in hell over there. There's also minor annoyance of Indian raiders, but horde and tribal pagan riders are gone at least.

The High Priest decided to call Great Holy War - against Abyssinia. That was fairly a silly Great Holy War as Abyssinia was collapsing to every kind of rebels simultaneously, so I could just pick the pieces at my convenience. Oh well, I let my vassals do all the fighting. Duke of Alexandria got all the land, but somehow not the king title, so I gave it to his liege king of Egypt instead - that way reduces border gore somewhat.

I went on seduction spree, which sadly was not as discreet as I wanted. I had a son with queen of Rajputana. The king found us out, but he didn't know if it's his or not. Then the king had an accident, so my son is now in charge there.

Then there was similar story with grandson of king of Anatolia, who was really mine, except there were some nasty rumors, so now my son who quickly double inherited thinks I'm somehow responsible for his supposed father's death (grandfather died of old age). Damn conspiracy theories.

At least the true faith is spreading - of infidel rulers in the realm there's only king level Ecumenical Patriarch (can't do anything about that), 2 Indian dukes, 16 infidel counts (including weirdly one Sunni double-count in Baluchistan), and some number of barons. Even peasantry in India is finally adopting the true faith.

I tried to send a missionary to king of Mali to spread the true faith where it's unlikely my armies ever will. King of Mali tolerated the missionary for a while, then decided to expel him after all. Well, it was worth a try.

I also got Kabyla for my younger son in some over overdue Muslim cleansing - I might end up reaching Mali after all someday.

I have some hopes of passing primogeniture. The only vassal who doesn't like me in ambitious grand mayor of Cherson, and he's in bribe range. Rebellions against my vassals still happen, but not as often as during first years of Persian overlordship over India. About half of my vassal kings passed primogeniture already, and there's significant agnatic-cognatic minority as well (mostly India which started this way, but a few others that presumably switched like Poland and Armenia).

India borders cleansed by my vassals

2 infidel counties left in East Africa, one being holy warred now

Post 18 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-07 03:25:08 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 18: Persian Empire from Britain to Bengal: 913-922

I wish this game had higher zoom setting, so I could show how different aspects of the world change - religion, culture, and so on.

Oh and apparently I can't siege down holdings of countries that try to raid against me - many Indian dukes tried that - I could crush their armies as they were hostile, but my plan to burn down their castles and execute their families for this didn't work.

My cousin and spymaster king of Mongolia got murdered, leaving it to my kinsman Wieslaw, king of Khiva, who's incapable inbred. Incapable inbred double-king, that sounds like a recipe for success. By the way with levels of marital infidelity in the game nowadays, we know at least one kid is not a result of cheating. Unless of course that particular sister-wife cheated on her brother-husband with their uncle or something, that wouldn't even be that unusual.

He eventnually died at age of 7 and now my brother has kingdoms of Mongolia, Bulgaria, Khiva, and duchies of Azerbaijan and Armenia under him. All agnatic primo.

My genius son Milosz has been crippled for life in "curiosity never killed anyone" event. That is a bit of a problem, as I have many daughters but few sons. Oh and I finally managed to pass agnatic primogeniture.

Most Indian kingdoms outside the empire got reduced to really sorry state. I pushed some unlanded Zoroastrian lady's claim to what was left to Andhra as it was in civil war. She still needs to win civil war, and she got hit my holy war from my tributary Lanka. I thought I'd be able to at least offer to join her civil war, but no for some reason. Oh and she's currently married to one of my counts, but her heir is some Hindu dude from previous marriage anyway, so there's very little chance that would get into my realm. Oh well, it was easy intervention. At least she agreed to be my tributary without any fight.

After I made her tributary I attacked rebels against her with some claim CB, and joined her defensive holy war against Lanka.

This got interesting a bit later, as by that time she controlled minority of de jure Andhra. So once 5 year timer expired, I usurped that from her, offered her vassalization (+200 pressed my claim, -50 usurped title, totally makes sense), bribed one of the other dukes and got him to accept too. One remaining count didn't, but I'm sure that will somehow get arranged eventually, and he's true faith so it's all good. Then I gave the title to some duke so Andhra to increase size of Andhra a bit. It's massive border gore anyway.

King of Bihar lost all his de jure territory anyway, so I usurped that and gave it to one of Indian dukes too. That leaves 6 independent Indian kings and a handful of dukes and counts - king of Kamarupa even dares to not have a border with me, so can't pay me tribute, even though I'm sure he'd love to.

I resumed expansion into Muslim leftovers in Spain and Northwest Africa, and my list of tributaries or planned tributaries includes all former Karling kingdoms (France got inheriting Kent) as well as Mercia (they somehow got island of Rugen in Pomerania).

Considering amount of bordergore and imbreeding in my dynasty, we've gone full Habsburg already.

The biggest eyeblight is my border with Poland, which can only be cleaned up only one duchy at a time.

Post 19 - Originally published on Google+ on 2015-08-15 15:51:53 UTC

Horse Persians: Part 19: The End: 922-925

After khagan of Polish Horde died in a tragic accident, a Germanic heathen succeeded him, so that required cleansing fire.

Nearly all rulers in Francia, Scandinavia, and India submitted to my overlordship at one time or another, even if constant succession crises in their unstable realms meant that there's constant need to reestablish that relationship.

Zoroastrian religion and Polish culture were spreading rapidly in the empire - except in India which remained under local rule.

The empire reached unprecedented levels of power, able to field armies over 200k strong even disregarding mercenaries possible to hire with immense imperial treasury.

House Sulima reached 126 living members, and there were a lot more people descendant of its founders - outside the empire including kings of Lombardy (legit marriage), Denmark (legit marriage), and Saxony (affair with some distant kinsman).

Most of imperial land was considered solidly de jure Persian territory, or drifting towards it.

It would be difficult even for AI to screw that up somehow.

Anyway, let's get to post-campaign notes:

• Nomads are crazy OP, and worst of all ridiculously stable - vassal khans' only ambition is becoming new khagan, not independence. They really need some mechanic for their realms to fall apart more often, maybe increase clan chance of joining independence faction instead of claimant faction?
• There's also a problem if leader of independence faction is not a nomal - in such case they can't call nomad vassals into it. This really needs to be fixed.
• I feel they finally got tribal gameplay right. So just turn off nomads, and everything will be awesome.
• Tributary CB is sort of OP, but at the same time it provides some fun CB that's not blobbing. The only such CB before this version was embargo and depose antipope, and they were really narrow. I wish there was Punish Raiding CB of some kind at least.
• I wonder what's the best way to farm tech points. I barely got to 19/18/16 in Constantinople, and much less outside capital. Mil is somewhat farmable by fighting a lot and scholarship focus, others very little, and even spamming buildings (universities and monastic schools) does relatively little. There's presumably some tricks I'm missing, and I'd really like to know them.
• My Suez canal hack is not good enough. I wonder if I could just make it normal sea zone by expanding Gulf of Suez a few pixels, and make Farama-Pelugia/Sarquihya a bridge? That's a lot messier mod, but maybe it would do what I want.
• Silk Road had minimal impact on anything
• I don't like new commander system much, I get 1 ruler + 8 commanders, so if I want to lead armies too I only get enough for 3 stacks, and if I don't want to lead them (and it's pretty much always a mistake to lead armies) just for 2 stacks. That's a lot of pointless leader reassignment.
• I vaguely have a few new campaign ideas, but they'd all need some serious scripting to change starting setup. Something along the lines of shattered start.
• I wonder what fun new government types could be modded into the game?
• I still feel addition of India is pointless. It basically conquered itself, but rest of the world gameplay was barely affected by this. They don't even have ship technology to use Indian levies to fight in Africa or Arabia, even disregarding Suez canal completely.

India all taken or tributaries except that one remote kingdom in the East

Indians really love their families

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