Crusader Kings II Spirit-all

garion333 wrote:

That there is a lot of war. Don't let wars distract you completely from the domestic front as that's really the crux of the game imho. War exists, but unlike EUIII you aren't meant to stay in it perpetually, just, oh, half the time. :P

Oh, I know. I don't WANT to be perpetually at war. It just sort of happened, especially in the second game. In my first game, it was more to see how it would work and because I thought I could easily pick up a couple of Moorish counties that were rightfully mine.

In the second game, I have been almost constantly at war, but I only initiated war one time, and then only because the entire country was in chaos and I saw an opportunity to move from Duke to King. Basically there the wars went:

1. My liege the Scottish King attacks Norway and drafts my armies. My guy is actually the general of one of the main armies but I have no actual control of anything.
2. The King dies and Duke A-hole attacks his son to try to steal the crown.
3. In the chaos, I declare war to try to claim the crown from both the son and Duke A-hole.
4. I win and the Buchan boy unsuccessfully rebels.
5. England declares war on me for Northumberland, and I quickly capitulate and sell out Northumberland.

Hopefully, I'll be able to spend the rest of my King's syphilitic life repairing relations domestically and shaping Prince Andrew into a decent human being without the need for more wars. I'm just concerned that there will be more rebellions or that either England, Norway, or Norway's allies to my west will see my weakness and try to crush me before I can consolidate my new Kingdom.

EDIT: A quick question about the software itself: Is the big "Register" button supposed to disappear when you have properly registered the game and linked it to your account at the Paradox forums? I had previously ran into issues registering EU3 on the Paradox forums, so I took my code and registered there while the game was still downloading from steam only to then be confronted with an in-game register button after the fact. It isn't a big deal if the button doesn't go away, but I wanted to make sure my game was properly linked.

The Register button never goes away in my experience -- registration does nothing on your local machine, just on the Paradox forums, and I don't think it's going out to Paradox to check every time you start up. It's just there as a Mildly Annoying Reminder.

Is there any reason that most of the stuff that is in my Dimense is giving me 0 tax income?


Just seems odd that I get nothing from all of that, perhaps I am missing something?

Click on the county and then hover over the income display for your holding to see the breakdown of the tax rates and penalties. The likeliest thing is if you conquered them recently, then you'll have major tax penalties for a few years before they start producing. The other major cause is wrong holding type (i.e., if you've got a bishopric or a city as a personal holding).

If you're Catholic and they're Shiite that'll also give you a hefty negative modifier, send out the inquisition.

Especially if you refer to them in that manner...

Okay, waiting helped on a few of them, I will see about converting the others.

I am kind of stuck right now. My king is 45, I am going to lose 50% of my holdings on succession, I've created all I can create in terms of titles (about 4, which brought that 50% number down from 75%). And I can't seem to declare war on anybody.

The picture is still just like the one above, I have de Jure claims on Faro and the Men-something or other that would get me the rest of that side of the Iberian peninsula, but whenever I try a Jihad instantly gets called on the Kingdom that encompasses Caceres and South, so when the armies of 14k+ show up they just steamroll me.

I'm not really sure how to proceed.

Also can't fix the succession issue because my Crown Authority isn't high enough to change succession laws to something that doesn't result in losing all those titles.

$10 on Amazon. Buckled. Gonna give it a shot tonight.

Prederick wrote:

$10 on Amazon. Buckled. Gonna give it a shot tonight.

One thing to do is to keep an eye on the various Muslim rulers to see when they're at war with someone else, so they're less likely to answer a call from the emirate that you're attacking. Also, it will get easier once the holy orders (e.g., the Templars and the Hospitallers) start being founded, and you can use some of that piety you're accumulating to call them up for your wars on the Moors. Try to build up some cash reserves so you can hire mercenaries as well in times of need.

Okay I ended up getting it down so that all I lost was the Kingdom of Portugal (definitely shouldn't have created that). Which is a problem because Lisboa and Sevilla were my most profitable provinces. My king lived until the age of 70, giving me plenty of time to build up a war chest of about 900.

The good news is my biggest vassal revolted, a vassal that had armies twice as big as what I could raise, but I had a ton of money so I hired a bunch of mercenaries and put her in her place and then revoked her title to her Duchy. In a previous save when my king died earlier, at about 45, this same vassal revolted the instant he died so I had to deal with the double whammy of losing half my provinces then having 75% of the rest revolt.

I think for now I am going to try and stabilize a bit, lots of vassals hate me currently, then I can Usurp the title to Portugal and hopefully get that back quickly. I have about 500 in gold so I should be able to hire a bunch of mercenaries.

Still haven't taken care of that south west region, still held by some Islamic ruler. Anytime a Jihad gets called on me I just get steam rolled, although hopefully now that Portugal has the provinces that get smacked first I can let them soak it up a bit while I try and chip away at the Islamic presence.

Also currently Leon is quite large, about 50% of the peninsula, which I am sure will be an issue at some point but right now I enjoy the security of having a friendly neighbor who is big and can drop 10,000 men on anybody who shows up.

While I think I am doing pretty good in this game, I think I will do a ton better the next one now that I know that protecting inheritance is so bloody important.

I love reading the AARs for games like this. I really want to get this, but with my main system down and the game a bit of a big download I just need to lurk in the thread.

Maybe I should just get around to downloading EU3.


Oh wait, I hate how Steam doesn't show download sizes. According to Gamersgate this is just over 500 megs. Hmmm, achievable.

Neither CKII or EUIII should be huge downloads. It's hard to tell ya what you'll end up with cause I have all the DLC and whatnot, but they're about 1 gig a piece, installed.

Yeah, according to Gamersgate they're both in the 500 meg region, which isn't too bad. As it turns out my laptop won't play either though.

How is CK1 as a stopgap? It seems to have all the important mechanics.

CK1 is a fine game but the UI is a

I would never in my life suggest anyone go back to the original CK (unless you want to play the full Song of Ice and Fire mod, but even then ...). CKII is way, way better. It's not perfect, but it's got a working UI, which is more than the original game had.

Guess I'll bide my time till I get around to getting a new graphics card for the desktop. Just got a bit of a Jonesing for a grand strategy, and this sounds fascinating. I've got plenty to play in the interim.

Okay, game over.

Got another Jihad called on me, 20k angry Islamic warriors showed up on my doorstep and steamrolled me, then proceeded to steamroll essentially the entirety of the Iberian peninsula.

Well....time to start another game.

Is Holy Roman Empire as easy as it looks? They start off so bloody big.

If you are looking for something a little easier go to the UK.

You avoid the huge Islamic armies of Spain, and the complexity of elective succession/huge entity of HRE.

Poland was a pretty good one for me at first go, too. Only a handful of vassals, a large demesne with decent income, pagan neighbours you always have cassus belli to absorb, and Catholic and Orthodox neighbours who are generally too preoccupied fighting each other to launch an attack on you.

On top of all that, in 1066 Boleslaw II is young and unwed, and there are a few eligible duchessess and princesses around who are only too happy to marry a king, so you have the chance to really set up your line for success early on.

Feegle wrote:

On top of all that, in 1066 Boleslaw II is young and unwed, and there are a few eligible duchessess and princesses around who are only too happy to marry a king, so you have the chance to really set up your line for success early on.

Also you're only one letter away from founding a Polish Coleslaw Dynasty.

And with that I'm off to purchase this game. Y'all have convinced me.

The opportunity to rule a nation in Eastern Europe with a vinegared cabbage salad was just too much to resist?

Feegle wrote:

The opportunity to rule a nation in Eastern Europe with a vinegared cabbage salad was just too much to resist?

I mean...well...


So Prince Andrew's syphilitic dad keeled over and died when Andrew was six years old. Luckily for Scotland, Andrew turned out to be MUCH a better man than his father. After a period of initial unrest, where his regent paid off a few unruly Dukes, Andrew officially took control of the kingdom on his 16th birthday. The early years of his reign were marked by hunts, feasts, and other activities that made him popular across the land. Also on his 16th birthday, he married the Princess of Norway. To be quite honest, the two were a medieval power couple with high combined stats especially in stewardship and diplomacy and with bonuses for their various virtues almost across the board.

By his 26th birthday, Andrew was beloved across the land. He had 4 daughters and a young son named Alex. His queen was currently the heir to the entire Kingdom of Norway, and his eldest daughter was betrothed to an English prince. Life looked good. He used his personal charisma to unite the Dukes of the land more tightly under his rule (Royal authority moved up from none to Low) and only had to deal with one dissenter ( the King that his father had supplanted). As in all things, Andrew dealt with the situation fairly and with an even resolve. The dissenter's armies were swept from the field. The prior king was captured in the battle, but at the end of hostilities Andrew simply freed him and allowed him to retain all his former lands.

Next up, Andrew decided to push the Norwegians off the northern tip of Britain by reclaiming the last piece of the Duchy of Moray, the county of Caithness. This was a sensitive issue given he would be fighting vassals of his father-in-law, but Scottish pride demanded it. War was declared and the northern tip of Britain was quickly taken. Andrew had no interest in taking anything else from Norway, so the Scottish army took up a defensive posture until his father-in-law finally relented. (I really like that they fixed the issue of war vs. far off lands from EU3. Since my casus belli only involved taking back this one piece of Britain, I was able to eventually "win" simply by holding and defending it for an extended period of time.)

At the end of the war, the Kingdom of Norway had been booted from Britain. (personal counties now 4) Andrew surveyed his Kingdom and next turned his eyes towards the education of his children. Upon Alex's sixth birthday, it became clear that he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. (He had the imbecile trait and his stats were literally all 0's) The king seriously began to worry about the succession, and the future of the realm. Under Scottish law, Alex was his only viable heir as all of his other children were daughters. Some even suggested knocking the poor prince off to prevent his eventual rise to the throne. Unfortunately, that would leave King Andrew's brother Bernard as heir to the throne. Due to an earlier marriage to English royalty Bernard was currently living in Bedford, England as the husband to the Duchess of Bedford.

As the years went by no more sons were born to King Andrew and Alex was turning into a monster like his grandfather, but without the brains. Depressed about familial issues King Andrew turned to the expansion of his Scottish realm. Neighboring Scotland to the west were the Duchies of the Isles and Galloway. They were independent duchies of three counties each and were held by an independent Duke of Norwegian descent. However, these were historically Scottish lands, and the nobility strongly desired their return to the Kingdom. Over the next several decades, King Andrew systematically reclaimed these lands for the Scottish Crown. At first, war was necessary, but as King Andrew became known as "the Just" and grew in prestige, the remaining minor lords of these lands eventually willingly joined his Kingdom. (Over the course of his 55 year reign all of Britain north of Northumberland became part of the Kingdom of Scotland. Andrew kept 7 provinces for himself including the four provinces of the Duchy of Moray that were his original birthright.)

Next time I post, I'll describe all of the shenanigans that transpired as Andrew and his court attempted to find a more suitable heir than his imbecile son, Alex and the chaos that ensued upon Andrew's death.

Edit: I will try to remember to hit F12 and grab some pictures next time as well.

I love these reports and can't wait to hear about the succession!

EDIT: Sorry for editing again, but I wanted to fix the picture with the correct one. Previously, I had mistakenly linked one that should go with my next post.

Having already discussed the glorious side of King Andrew's long reign, it is now time for a slight rewind as we look back at the life of his "imbecile" son, and the difficulties that he created for Andrew's line of succession.

Prince Alex

As previously recounted, on his sixteenth birthday the young King Andrew married Signe, Princess of Norway, and the heir to the Norwegian throne . Their love was passionate, but the results were disappointing to observers of the court who feared a return to chaos should Andrew die young like his father. Their union just produced daughter after daughter. Then came the glorious news. Andrew had finally had a son. Seeing great things in the boy's future, the king named him Alexander. Unfortunately, his joy was short lived.

Upon the boy's sixth birthday, Andrew took on the responsibility of personally mentoring his son. However, it quickly became apparent that Alex was simply not playing with a full deck. No matter how patient Andrew was, Alex often ignored his instruction entirely. Worse still was the young lad's uncanny ability to learn the wrong lesson from almost every one of his life experiences. Andrew quickly came to accept that Alex would never be a master statesmen or a leader of men. Unfortunately, the truth ended up being much worse.

While Alex was still a young lad, his maternal grandfather, the King of Norway, passed into the great beyond. Most of Norway then passed into the hands of Alex's Norwegian aunt. (Norway was an elective monarchy, and most vassals chose to pass the crown to Queen Signe's sister instead of giving it to the now distant Queen of Scotland) However, as part of that transfer of power, young prince Alex became the Count of a Norwegian county and moved with a regent back to his mother's birthplace. Without Andrew's supervision and influence, Prince Alex grew into a cruel, selfish little monster despite Andrew's best intentions.

As Alex grew into manhood, King Andrew became increasingly depressed about the long term future of the Kingdom. For the next several decades, he poured all of his efforts into strengthening Scotland's position and building the glory of the Kingdom. Through wars and diplomacy he added the Duchies of the Isles and Galloway to the Kingdom of Scotland and kept several choice counties for his family's personal estate, including Argyle and Galloway. (Already discussed in my last post.) On the home front, Andrew began great building projects across the Duchy of Moray including several expansions to the area's castles and the development of great cities around those castles.

The Unthinkable

As Scotland grew into a great power, Andrew grew increasingly concerned about handing over power to his son Alex. In his faraway Norwegian court, Alex had grown into a man whose incompetence was only matched by his selfishness and cruelty. Thankfully, there was a ray of hope. Alex had produced a single son, young Arthur. In order to shield the boy from Alex's influence, Andrew had the boy brought back to Scotland and took it upon himself to properly mentor him. Arthur turned out to be everything his father was not. He was extremely capable and under Andrew's tutelage became the model of what you would want in a future king.

Then someone from court approached Andrew with an unthinkable idea. The Kingdom would be much better off with young Arthur as the future king. It was suggested by many that Prince Alex should have a mysterious accident. At first Andrew was horrified. How could he sanction the killing of his only son? Could he accept the outright murder of his own flesh and blood? As time marched forward and Arthur developed into a model example of everything Scotland needed, King Andrew actually began to consider the possibility. Adding to the pressure was the King's younger brother, Barkley, currently the Duke of Bedford, England and married to the English King's eldest daughter. Barkley was becoming increasingly agitated at the thought of his imbecile nephew ascending to the Scottish throne and privately threatened to forcefully remove Alex from power for the good of Scotland should Alex become King.

Eventually, Andrew came to the conclusion that it was in Scotland's best interest for Arthur to ascend to the throne of Scotland instead of Alex. King Andrew had lived the life of a saint. Surely God would understand this one heinous act to secure the future of the Kingdom of Scotland and its people. The decision was made. The die was cast. Alex would be killed in his sleep for the good of Scotland. Arthur would become heir to the Scottish throne and lead Scotland to a glorious future. The actual act went off without a hitch, but guilt gnawed at Andrew's conscience. No matter how much Andrew told himself that it was for the good of Scotland and no matter how wonderful Prince Arthur was, Andrew was sick with regret.

Punishment from Above

When Prince Arthur died of smallpox a year later, King Andrew was beside himself. In his heart he truly believed that this was God's punishment for his sins. By his own hand, he had no sons. Now, through God's will he had no grandsons. The future of the realm was with his brother Barkley, who had always been a jealous, petty man. Andrew surveyed his mighty kingdom and wept for its future.

He spent the last of years outwardly stoic. He was King Andrew the Just, architect of the modern Kingdom of Scotland, beloved by all except for himself. Internally, he loathed himself for what he had done. He now believed that by ignoring the virtues that had helped him create his mighty Kingdom, he had cursed both it and himself with one incredibly vile misdeed. He spent the rest of his life repenting and praying for the future of Scotland. As he lay ill on his deathbed, his prayers were seemingly answered. Word had reached him that his brother Barkley had passed. King Andrew passed soon thereafter.

The Ascendency of a New Light

With the death of Barkley, King Andrew's prayers had been answered. The Kingdom was spared, for Barkley had a humble, unassuming son who would grow into a great man upon ascending to the throne of Scotland. King Richard wasn't the saint that his Uncle Andrew had been, but he had been well-educated in the English court and at the age of fourteen was about as prepared as one can be to become King. His maternal grandfather was the King of England. His paternal grandfather and uncle had both been Kings of Scotland. He knew well what was expected of him.

He was a teenager who was now suddenly the King of Scotland, Duke of Moray, Duke of Albany, Duke of the Isles, and Duke of Galloway. In addition to these titles he inherited land from his uncle. Lots of land. The four counties of Moray, the county of Strathern in the Duchy of Albany, two counties in the Duchy of the Isles, and the county of Galloway. The one thing he couldn't inherit was the adoration that the Scottish nobility had for King Andrew. They were unhappy that a teenager that had spent much of his short life in England was now returning to Scotland to rule over them. They were also unhappy that he held so many titles that they coveted for themselves.

To his young eyes, it seemed that what made them the most unhappy was the simple fact that he was not their beloved King Andrew. Wise beyond his years, he realized that he could never be their Andrew. He needed to be his own man, and to show them that both they and Scotland would prosper under his rule. He began by granting the title of Duchess of Albany to the Countess of Gowrie. She was the granddaughter of the King that his grandfather had supplanted and tensions between their two families had always been high. Next, he distributed the title of Duke of Galloway to another unruly count that had been perfectly content to be a vassal of the great King Andrew, but was less than excited by the ascension of young King Richard. The Duke of Lothan was granted the chancellorship, another honorary title, and a nice gift of treasure. Small payoffs to other petty lords also helped to smooth the transition.

Treachery and Rebellion

While King Richard was still decidedly not beloved, these gifts seemed to pacify his unruly subjects for a bit. However, it wasn't long before his spymaster uncovered a plot by the new Duchess of Albany to kill Richard and attempt to reclaim the throne for her family. Richard attempted to imprison her, but this only led to open revolt. The Count of Atholl and the Earl of Fife joined the new Duchess of Albany in open rebellion against the King. Now, King Andrew's years of building and economic development in Moray served his successor well. Richard was able to call upon his personal troops to handily put down the rebellion without having to anger his other vassals by calling upon them for military aid.

At war's end he had both the new Duchess of Albany and the Earl of Fife in his prison. Looking to the future, King Richard decided to be lenient on those who had participated in the rebellion while making an example of the Duchess of Albany. The Earl of Fife was released without further punishment. While the ringleader was also released from prison, her title to the Duchy of Albany was stripped and bestowed upon the Count of Atholl in exchange for a pledge of loyalty to the crown. The crisis was over and a grand feast was held to celebrate. By summer's end, most in Scotland had accepted that their new ruler was not only there to stay, but may actually be worth following.

A Grand Opportunity

The next year Richard received word that his grandfather, the King of England had passed away three months before. Richard's twelve year old cousin had ascended to the throne and reports from around the realm indicated that England was in chaos. A few counties around Gwynedd in the west of England had declared independence. England's three counties in Ireland (the Duchy of Leinster) were similarly rebelling for their independence. Richard perceived this as an opportunity to regain the county Northumberland. This would please his vassals in the south who considered it their birthright and regain Scottish land that had been lost to England in the chaotic days before King Andrew had ascended to the throne and brought stability to Scotland.

As preparations for war began, a letter from his sister arrived with the news that their mother died. It was like a punch in the stomach for Richard. He traveled to England to stand side by side with his sister Anne as his mother was layed to rest. His cousin, the new King of England, failed to even attend. While in Bedford, he learned from Anne that England was in chaos. Their English grandfather had ruled with absolute authority, and most of the Lords were bristling with anger under the rule of their cousin. He had angered them further by demanding large numbers of troops to put down the rebellions in Ireland and Wales, and had done little during his reign to mollify the Lords of England. Anne urged Richard to think bigger than a fight for Northunberland. She explained that England needed a true leader and that as the grandson of the dead King, Richard had a valid claim to the throne.

As he traveled back to Moray, Richard mulled over Anne's words. Dare he even think it? Should he, who had recently inherited so much, also vie for the crown of England? By the time he returned home, fate had decided the issue for him. The Irish and Welsh were both already putting up quite a fight, and then Richard received what must have been a sign from God. The Pope had excommunicated his cousin, the boy-king of England. In Richard's mind this could mean only one thing. He was destined to rule Scotland AND England.

War was declared and the full mass of Scotland's armies were raised. 9000 men were nothing to sneeze at, but they wouldn't be fighting small duchies and tiny Kingdoms as they had during his uncle's reign. They would be fighting the armies of the Kingdom of England. So just to be safe, Richard dipped further into his personal fortune and hired 5000 mercenaries to bolster the Scottish forces. His two grand armies marched south into the north of England and began systematically sieging English counties.

The largest resistance was met at the beginning of the war. Even with large armies off fighting in Ireland and Wales, his cousin managed to bring almost 8000 soldiers to bear to meet Richard's force. They fought valiantly, but were eventually crushed both by the sheer number of Scottish forces and by the superior training of Richard's personal forces. The English army in Ireland withdrew to attack Scotland, but the Scottish mercenaries were sent to meet and decimate them. Once these initial forces were crushed, England was unable to ever mount a serious defense. They would raise 2000-3000 troops, but these were quickly hunted down and destroyed by the mercenaries and forces of the Scottish realm while Richard's personal force continued their sieges. Richard was further helped as both Irish armies and armies from Brittany began sieging English counties. (The former as part of their war for independence, the latter because of the excommunication) Richard's sister Ann remained officially neutral in this conflict, but as the Duchess of Bedford played a pivotal role by fighting a private war against the Duke of York (the English king's chancellor and biggest supporter) which surely lessened the Duke's ability to fully support his King.

Then it was all over. Richard was the King of both England and Scotland.

Scotland after the War of English Succession
(The conflict in the southeast was Anne versus another vassal and some peasants mid-revolt.)

The 2370 troops are still there from Brittany. One of the other stacks in southern England are the Irish. Up in Scotland you can see a couple of my vassals mixing it up with each other. Meanwhile over in Ireland, the free Irish Duchies are also fighting amongst themselves.

Next time, we'll probably take a look at the domestic side of Richard's rule, and also deal with our cousin (the former English King), Anne's growing power, the Welsh, and the Irish.

Having united Ireland and Wales under the same banner, defeated a few rebellious vessels. I decided to join in a crusade for Andalusia to win some flavour with a few folks. I hired the 2 Holy Orders that were aviable and sailed off with over 14,000 men figuring that surely some other more powerful nation would send along a lot more men in a long drawn out war. But no, it was a quick war and I got Andalusia, the only problem is that leaves me with 41 demises, my limit is 8. I got some titles to give away! This is going to take a while to sort out.

Very interesting, Jason, thanks.

Laying the Groundwork for Lasting Peace

When we last left King Richard, he had just succeeded in his bid to claim the English throne from amidst the chaos of his young cousin's reign. Once the hostilities had concluded, Richard surveyed his new realm which encompassed most of the island of Britain. (see image in previous post) He now turned to the task of making sure that it did not all crumble beneath his feet. First, He brought together his advisors to gauge the mood across the realm. Thankfully, all of his Scottish vassals were still quite pleased with his rule despite the grinding war of sieges that was necessary to claim England.

On the other hand, his new English vassals reportedly had very mixed opinions about their new situation. Some were relieved to no longer be under his cousin's arbitrary rule and were quite content with the new state of affairs. Chief among them were the Irish of the Duchy of Leinster who had suffered under the direct rule of the former King. Other's had a more guarded opinion. In this camp were vassals such as the Duchess of Northumberland. She was happy to be rid of the old King, but unhappy that these new developments would undermine her attempts to acquire Scottish lands that she believed to properly be part of the Duchy of Northumberland. In an attempt to placate her, Richard named her the Keeper of the Swans and made sure she received financial compensation in the form of a fat sack of gold for the destruction that the long sieges of the war had brought to her lands.

The final camp included the former King himself and his chancellor the Duke of York. They were infuriated by their fall from power, and the likelihood of peaceful reconciliation seemed very low. In spite of this, Richard felt that he needed to try. The Duke of York was an extremely competent man, so Richard actually extended an olive branch and offered him the position of chancellor of the realm. The Duke accepted and actually seemed quite pleased with his new position. In the case of the former King, Richard attempted a show of friendship and good faith by not stripping him of any of his other titles or land despite pressure from the church and his Irish subjects to do so.

With peace apparently taking hold across the land, the next summer the King decided to hold a grand tournament to bring his Scottish and English subjects together in celebration. It was a smashing success and served to help break the tension between his new and old vassals. The tournament also served as an event for a very important announcement from the Queen.

The Beauty of Denmark

Years earlier, shortly after Richard first ascended to the throne of Scotland, some of the first advice that he received from his new chancellor was "Marry well." It had been a poorly kept secret among the vassals that King Andrew's long successful reign was predicated not only on his own extraordinary ability but also on the diplomatic and stewardship skills of his wife. As princess in the Norwegian court, she had learned how a ruler should deal with a large kingdom and had helped pass on that knowledge to her young husband Andrew. This was knowledge that he wouldn't have received from his scoundrel of a father.

Upon taking the throne, Richard attempted to emulate his uncle's model for success by scouring the kingdoms of Europe for a princess that he believed to be his intellectual equal. He found her in Denmark. Margaret was the youngest of the Danish king's daughters and was renowned for her intelligence and grace. (Ed. Note I honestly don't remember her actual name as I write this on my laptop and I currently don't have access to the desktop that I play on.) Richard petitioned her father for her hand and received it shortly thereafter. Like many royal marriages of the time, their's did not start with love. However, they first grew to respect one another and eventually fell truly in love with each other.

Before Richard's War for English throne, their union produced a princess. Then Richard spent several long years away leading his armies in the sieges of England. Since his return, they had rekindled their romance. At the closing ceremonies of her husband's grand tournament, she announced to all in attendance that she was once again with child. The new year brought the birth of his first son, Malcolm. The Kingdoms of England and Scotland now had a proper heir, and the people rejoiced. . .

At least most of them.

Deception & Murder

To most observers, the Duke of York seemed content in his new role as chancellor of the kingdom. However, internally he simmered with hate and resentment towards Richard. He longed to return his former king to power. He wanted to put that uppity bitch Ann, the Duchess of Bedford and Richard's sister, back in her place for the humiliation he suffered at the hands of her armies during Richard's battle for the throne. He also hoped to restore his own status in the kingdom. To these ends, he hatched a plot to kill King Richard and help his former liege retake the throne, but the former king was hesitant because of the ongoing troubles caused by his disgraceful excommunication. In spite of this, the Duke of York believed the time to act was now. As Prince Malcolm grew up, the window would slowly start closing. If he struck and assassinated Richard now, he believed that he would become the regent for the infant king. From there he could control the Kingdom.

Even if he was passed over for the regency, the realm would be thrown into chaos as an infant ascended to the throne. Surely, this chaos would finally prod his former liege into a battle for the crown. Either contingency would be a win for the Duke of York and for English freedom from Scotland. Unfortunately for the Duke, Richard's spymaster uncovered the plot because of the loose lips of the cursed housemaid he had enlisted to help poison the king. Thankfully, position has its privileges, and the Duke of York heard of the plot's failure before he was personally implicated. This gave him time to flee the court in Moray and return to York. When Richard's men came to arrest him, all they found was an empty room.

Back in York, the Duke mustered his troops in open revolt. He would not be imprisoned by the Scottish King and his dogs. Unfortunately, the Duke's luck ended with his safe escape to York. Richard was able to quickly muster his personal levies to reconquer York and imprison the Duke. Not only did the hoped for general revolt across England never materialize, but his former liege didn't even rise up in revolt to support him. While York's personal armies were substantial, they were crushed by those of Richard. The Duke was imprisoned, and the Duchy of York was revoked.

Wales, Ireland, and Empire

Between the good will gained from his grand tournament and his show of force in quickly putting down the Duke of York's revolt, Richard's standing across the realm was steadily on the rise. The next few years were ones of peace and prosperity. Richard expanded and improved his castles and cities in Moray and even had a brand new castle built in honor of his son, Prince Malcolm. He also became the proud father of another girl and a second son that so resembled his father that Margaret insisted they name him Prince Richard.

During this extended time of peace, the realm also prospered on the international front. As Richard's prestige grew, so did his opportunities. The independent Irish county of Dublin was the first to peacefully join his kingdom. Next, the independent Welsh counties around Gwynedd accepted his offer to rejoin England as vassals of the realm.

He now ruled the entire island of Britain. His chancellor openly compared him to the emperors of Byzantium and the Holy Roman Empire. Inwardly, Richard thought it a bit silly to compare his island kingdom to those mighty empires. However, his wife swayed him on the issue. She astutely pointed out that the added prestige of being an emperor and the closer binding of England and Scotland would make it much more difficult for his disgraced cousin to ever reclaim the English throne. She argued that this move would secure Malcolm's birthright to ALL of Britain. Richard relented to this reasoning, and in a lavish ceremony was proclaimed the Emperor of Britannia, King of both England & Scotland.

The newly born Empire of Britannia


As his wife and chancellor had predicted, as an emperor his prestige had continued to grow. This, along with the continued peace and prosperity of his lands over the next several years allowed his ministers to first convince the Duchy of Ulster and then the Duchy of Munster to peacefully join the Empire. The chancellor was sure that he could also convince Connacht to peacefully join the Empire, but the Duchess of Connacht was too busy fighting off a claim to her title to even consider meeting with the British.

Peaceful Expansion of the Empire

Everyone seemed jubilant about the expansion of the young Empire. Well, almost everyone. Some of the common rabble of Munster bristled at what they saw as weakness on the part of the Duke of Munster as he bowed to a foreign emperor. Before long, they took up arms under the call of "Ireland for the Irish." Almost 1500 of them revolted and stormed the local keep. They fought with bravery against the Duke's forces, and he appealed to the Emperor for help. Not wishing to subject his personal army to the long march from Moray, the Emperor called up troops from the Duchies of Ulster and Leinster and handily put down the revolt. (Game note: I JUST figured out that you can call up individual vassal's forces from the county screens. I previously thought your only choices were the one's in the Military subscreen. (i.e Your personal levy, your vassal's levy, and the entire Realm's levy of troops) )

Death of a Pope

In 1156, the Pope died under suspicious circumstances and a new one rose to take his place. From his castle in Moray, Richard took little notice. He was beloved by his local bishops and was mostly detached from the intrigue in the Church that often dominated gossip on the Continent. Unfortunately, the new Pope's rise awakened a sleeping domestic enemy. The new Pope had welcomed Richard's cousin back into the arm's of the church and granted him forgiveness for his sins.

With his excommunication now over, by 1157 the former king now felt empowered enough to finally make his move to regain the Kingdom of England. Unfortunately for him, it had been too long. Richard's rule had been too prosperous for most of the other English vassals, and his crony the Duke of York was still rotting in an imperial prison. No one rose up to aid him in his fight for the crown.

Richard didn't even bother to raise the forces of the realm for this fight. This was personal. Emperor Richard was now in the prime of his life and was the backbone of the Kingdom. His popularity had soared across the kingdom over the past decade. As he marched his personal forces south from Moray, he was met with a carnival like atmosphere in almost every county along the way as crowds massed along the route for a chance to see the Emperor. The actual defeat and imprisonment of his cousin became an afterthought and was easily accomplished without incident.

After the uprising was defeated, Richard opted to allow his cousin to continue to hold most of his titles. However, he did strip the title of Duke of Leinster from his imprisoned cousin and used it to reward an Irish count for his earlier support in putting down the peasant rebellion in Munster.

In the years after defeating his cousin a second time, the Emperor's prestige continued to grow along with his fortune. By 1161, the remaining counties in Ireland had agreed to peacefully join Richard's British Empire. He also had become commonly known throughout Europe as Richard the Great. In the back of his mind he was a bit suspicious that his wife had a hand in starting that nickname. This suspicion was bolstered when he heard that its use had originated back in her homeland of Denmark.

At the end of 1161 life in Britain was good, but would it last?

The Empire of Britannia's place in Europe circa 1161


Steam summer sale has CK2 franchise @ 75% off. That includes the latest expansion, which was kinda surprising since it came out just a couple weeks ago.