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Tod's CKII Thing

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MesserTod

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Post Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:31 pm

Tod's CKII Thing

So I've got an itch I want to scratch, something I want to try.

Crusader Kings II is a medieval "history sandbox" where you play as a ruler during the dark ages of Europe. And it's a very very interesting game.

Each religion works slightly differently, and depending on where you are on the map and who exactly you are, different things are likely to happen. If you are truly unlucky (or lucky, depending on how you view it) you might end up dealing with a hole to hell, the birth of the antichrist, or becoming the target of a crusade or jihad. And needless to say it's got a lot of replay value for those who like to do that kinda thing (hint: I like doing that kinda thing).

Now, some people go onto Youtube and create Lets Plays of this game, and while that's good for them, I don't quite have the voice for that (plus, the game likes to crash randomly) so instead I'm taking a different route.

On the Paradox forums, there's this section dedicated to AARs (After-Action Reports). They're all written accounts of games told from the point of view of the character played. I may not be able to record a game, but I can certainly write a story, so that's what I'm going to attempt to do. If it works out well, I might continue it on Tumblr or the Paradox forums, but for now I'm going to keep it here, so only you guys can see how bad I am at this game.

So this'll be a project. I'll play the game, take plenty of screenshots, write a story and post it in intervals of maybe 10-20 in-game years, depending on how much really happens.

As for what exactly I'm going to do in the game, I decided to start with a challenge that's on the Paradox Forums themselves as part of a short-lived "Character of the Week" challenge series. Specifically I'm going to do a challenge based around Duke Gospatrick Dunbar of Lothian. The Paradox forums did a pretty good job with the flavor text for the event, so I'm just gonna copy it onto here:

Gospatrick Dunbar, Duke of Lothian, 15 Sept. 1066: The only Anglo-Saxon duke outside England, Gospatrick is a vassal of King Malcolm III and his realm straddles the Scottish Lowlands. You have numerous options here, such as backing one of the King's relatives as a pretender, attempting to take the throne yourself (quite possible via elective succession or a strong faction), expanding into Northumberland whilst England is in chaos, or simply remaining loyal to the Dunkelds and hoping to be rewarded for your efforts. You can even choose to stay Saxon or become Scottish. All in all, a very interesting position and perhaps the most unique starting character in Scotland. If you want to notch things up to 'expert' difficulty, fight a successful war for independence and try to remain so.


As for the challenge criteria:

Critical conditions: Must maintain a Celtic culture (Scottish, Irish, Welsh, or Breton)

Win conditions: 1) Must hold the Kingdom of Scotland
2) Must also have the Duchies of Orkney and Northumberland
3) Must have 2 of the following three kingdoms: Ireland, Wales, and Brittany
4) Must have 3 of the following duchies: Normandy, Flanders, Slesvig, Sjaelland, Vestlandent, and Ostlandent
5) All rulers in the British isles must have a Celtic culture


If you don't understand what that means, I tried making a visual representation and failed miserably, so I hope it becomes clear eventually.

As for how often I'll update, I'm not going to set a schedule or anything, but I'll try to make them semi-consistent. I'll also try to make them decently-sized so it's not three posts in a row of "Nothing really happened because X."

I'll post a more thorough intro sometime tonight, explaining the challenge in more detail (and with more pictures).
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Post Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:41 pm

Re: Tod's CKII Thing

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This is Duke Gospatric of Lothian. He is a hip, young ruler in Scotland. His wife is a redhead and so are all of his children. Ah, genetics...

The Duke has some traits, which you can see under his stats. From left to right we have his education (the little blue square), which makes him a mediocre diplomat, and other defining traits such as Lustful (the red circle with the flaming heart), Zealous (the white fist), Ambitious (the thought bubble with a crown), and Cruel (the blue fist). Zealous and Cruel are both mostly opinion modifiers, Ambitious is a fairly good stat that makes our liege hate us, and Lustful is one of the Deadly Sins that makes us make more babies (which is a good thing).

This is the "pre-game" so to speak. I'm going to do a once-over of all the important screens so you recognise them when they appear later.

But first, some information!

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As you can see, he's Catholic, which comes with some perks and some disadvantages. For instance, there's a Pope who can do a lot of things, however, only HE can do these things. You can't really do them yourself. In addition, there aren't any special casus belli (reasons for war) like there are for other religions, namely Pagans and Indian religions.

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He's also a member of the Dunbar dynasty, which is frankly quite tiny. Our Duke is the oldest living member, and the others are all his children. The Duke's father is the only other landed member of the family, which means before him, the Dunbar were all lowborn. This means there's not going to be any kinsman trying to claim our lands quite yet, but at the same time, there's very little room for alliances.

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This is the Duke's council. The council consists of a Chancellor, who's useful for flattering people and falsifying documents for war, a Marshal who's good for training troops, a Steward who collects taxes, a Spymaster who sits in the corner occasionally whispering "yesssss, YESSSS" to himself (he helps you kill people!), and a Court Chaplain, who can convert heathen or infidel provinces as well as pleasure the pope. Overall, the council is eh, except for that Marshal, who's basically a god of war with that stat. The Spymaster might be an issue, as spymasters who dislike their liege tend to help others in killing them...

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This is the Law screen, which has the laws of the land, the most important of which being the Succession Law. If you can't read the text, the Duke has Agnatic-Cognatic Gavelkind, which basically means all the titles the character holds is divided amongst ALL of his sons on death. If he has no sons, it's divided amongst his daughters. If he has no kids, it defaults to Primogeniture (the closest relative inherits). In order to offset (or fuel) the chaos of dividing the lands among death, Gavelkind allows for the character to hold 30% more land than other succession laws.

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This is the technology tab. Nothing much of note here, and I probably won't focus much on this over the course of this run.

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This is a fun tab. From here we can see exactly how many men we can raise as an army, and how many we get from our vassals. If we were to go to war, we could raise up 1441 troops

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And 36 ships. War in CKII is mostly a numbers game, in that if you have more numbers than your opponent, you usually win. There are other factors too, but they won't make a difference if you're coming at someone with twice their force.

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This is the Plots tab. This is where YOU sit in your room, in the dark, trying to figure out how best to make "accidents" happen. It also gives you a helpful list of recommended plots. Here we see that we can revoke a county (since it's in our de jure duchy), kill some count (that we're in line to inherit from as their liege), kill our wife (a very popular alternative to divorce), and try to get a claim on Scotland (a good way to end up in a dungeon somewhere).

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This is the College of Cardinals, a useful tab for someone who wishes to control the Papacy. I don't think we're gonna see much of this tab in use, unless an antipope shows up or something.

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Finally we have this corner of the screen, which tells us lots of numbers. From left to right, we have how much money we have (67 ducats isn't a lot, by the way), how much prestige we have (prestige helps others' opinions of us, and is half of our characters score), how much piety we have (piety makes the pope like us, and is the other half of our character's score), Our demesne (we hold 2 buildings personally, but we COULD have 4), Realm size (the total number of buildings under our rule), and total score (basically when our character dies, his blood runs into a cup somewhere and is converted into numbers for this slot).

There's also messages and building information, but that's boring. Let's go to the state of the world in 1066!

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This is the size of our lands. That yellow splotch is the capital of our liege, and it indicates that we have a casus belli on him (and only him, apparently).

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Here's the British Isles. Wales and Ireland are discombobulated, but that's pretty normal. Scotland exists, but isn't yet united. England exists, but what you can't see here is the two separate invasions happening. The ruler of Norway and the ruler of Normandy are currently racing to try to kick the current King of England in the balls. Whoever wins gets the kingdom, and unless God flies down himself to oversee the rule, there's likely to be chaos following the war. Fun times ahead.

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Here's France and Iberia. France is pretty big, and is a force to be reckoned with, but not THE force to be reckoned with. Perhaps later in the game, though. Right now, the scariest thing coming from there is the Duke of Normandy with his invasion army. Iberia, on the other hand, is fucked up. All the green is Muslim and all the yellow is Catholic, so there's some holy warring going on there that might or might not resolve itself.

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This monstrosity is the Holy Roman Empire. It's big, it's grey, and it's going to fuck you up. This IS one of the forces to be reckoned with, and we are not going toe-to-toe with them unless something truly goes wrong.

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Eastern Europe is in relative shambles

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As is Scandanavia, but Norway holds some power, which is why they're warring for England.

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Finally, we have the Byzantine Empire. The biggest kid on the playground who also happens to have a fetish for blinding and de-testicling its prisoners. They're the extent of our diplomatic range, according to the game, so they're where I'm going to stop. Beyond these powers we have Africa, Siberia, Arabia, and India, but unless something comes up, we effectively know nothing about those lands. However, something is sure to come up, so don't worry.

And that does it for the pre-game. Next time I post, it'll be as the Duke. I hope you all enjoy this!
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Post Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:59 pm

Dunbar Domination (Tod's CKII Thing)

I am Duke Gospatric of Lothian. It is the Year of Our Lord 1066, I am the Chancellor to the King of the Scottish throne, I have four children, two sons and two daughters, and I own two castles overlooking two provinces in this great nation under God.

But I want more.

I dare not say it out loud, but I desire the throne of Scotland. My cousin currently holds it, and while he has been kind to me, he is not of my family's direct lineage.

I will put the throne of the Scots in Dunbar hands if it's the last thing I do...

But these things take time, and baby steps must be made. First, some housekeeping. I fire the unlanded Spymaster who has taken a recent disliking to me, and appoint one of my mayors, who isn't quite as good at the job, but at least he won't kill me in my sleep.

I ask him to give me a survey of my demesne and offer his advice. His first note is that while Lothian is under Gavelkind, my two sons are both in line to inherit. My elder son, Dolfin, whom I granted a county when its last owner died, is in line to inherit the capital, while Waldere, my youngest son, will inherit my other county. The spymaster advised in no uncertain terms that the future would be much easier if one of them were to have an accident, so that the land stays under one ruler.

I told him to move on and forget this talk of murdering sons.

He then talked about my wife, who he said holds little value since she isn't a member of a great house, holds no alliance value, and isn't a good steward. The mayor stated that it would be better if I found a woman who was a daughter of a ruler, and who could do more than count to ten. I took his advice to heart and made a note that a divorce might be necessary in the future. To be frank, I've grown tired of Etheldreda's constant complaining, and perhaps a change is in order...

But not right now. Right now, I had more pressing issues.

The Mayor went on to say that of all the things I could be planning, taking back the third county in my capital duchy, Teviotdale, might be the most prudent. I agreed and asked him if I might be able to get some support from the local nobility there.

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He told me I'd have better luck assassinating the king.

At that, I dismissed him, content that I had enough advice to work with. I gave him his orders to listen for any word of would-be attackers and he left to do his job.

Next, I brought in the Steward, and asked him what I could do about the mediocre financial situation. The first words out of his mouth were "Tax the nobility," and I decided that was as good an idea as any.

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I then gave him his orders, to personally see to the tax collection in the capital, and sent him away. The Marshal was next, and while he had little to say, he took to his job of keeping the levies on guard well, and I believe he will do the realm a lot of good.

Next was the Chancellor, who advised I begin planning to take neighboring counties under the King. I told him we had neither the funds nor the clout to do so, and sent him to appease my son, the Earl of Cumberland, who's been having tantrums lately and refuses to cooperate with me.

Finally, I brought in the Court Chaplain, and told him I wanted him to sail to Rome, and "tell the Pope of my adherence to the faith". I do not ask how he does his job, and I never have with the Chaplains. I simply tell them where to go, and they write back with news of happier bishops. I also gave him his orders for when he returned: To seek out the bishop of the capitol and convince him that I was a pious ruler as well. The chaplain then left with an air of overimportance, and I was honestly glad to be rid of him for a while.

I then dwelled on the Chancellor's advice, and wondered where I should expand to once I dealt with Teviotdale and boosted my income. I checked the ledger, and wondered if expanding into Søreyar would be suitable. They were relatively weak, and we certainly had more troops... Ah, but the next page over, it details their relationship with the King of Norway. That thought was soon set aside, and plans to expand within the kingdom were made. Once that was done, I decided I needed a break from rule, and I planned a vacation, a pilgrimage!

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Santiago is always a popular destination for the less wealthy, as it isn't too far to travel to, and for now it sits in Christian hands. But I decided to do better, and travel to somewhere farther away. Somewhere more central to the faith.

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Rome was the obvious decision. As much as I would enjoy the trip to the Holy Land, it is currently held by Muslim infidels, and I worry of the dangers of traveling there.

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Before I set out, a letter arrived from the King regarding an increase in the Crown Laws. I mulled over it for a while and decided I didn't care whether they were increased or not. Into the fire goes the letter.

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As I was sitting at the gates, waiting for my travel party, I thought of my goals and ambitions. After a long period of thinking, I decided I wanted to become important, and be written as a great ruler in the annals of time. Once I had accomplished that, the trip to becoming King would be that much easier.

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I set off, leaving my.... uh... wife... in charge. Perhaps it will be fine, she's not THAT bad...

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As I leave, I note that fighting has broken out along my borders. The English army is actually pushing back the Norwegians rather well. Perhaps there's hope for them yet.

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The trials were many and varied, but try as I might I just could not stay patient enough to solve them. I feel like an opportunity was lost.

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But I learned lessons elsewhere, and discovered the joys of charity.

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Soon we were in Rome itself, and we began our holy tour.

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As we were traveling, I was handed a book by a mysterious Italian. He looked learned enough, but the experience still shook me. I resolved to read the strange tome when I returned.

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As it turned out, the return was not all that far away. The trip seemed so short in hindsight...

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And as I returned, I learned the nobles had agreed to the new tax. Soon we saw a nice increase in our income. And then I turned toward the book

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The year passed, and still I read. Something was up with this tome, I felt it in my bones...

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My Chaplain wrote from Rome, saying that his pleasuring of the Pope was successful. I bid him come home quickly and continue his work here.

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I... umm... I studied the book? Again? There was something not quite right about it, and while I was on the verge of a success, my mind felt dimmer, like something was holding me back...

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When I had finished reading, I sat the book down and pondered whether it should be burnt. Surely the mysterious man who had handed me this tome was mad, or perhaps he was given it to him in the same manner it was given to me. Regardless, it was not safe knowledge for the masses. It contained information that blended heretical ideas with the scholarly truths of the church, and as much as I tried, I could not forget its words. In the end, I burnt the book after all, but it imparted its knowledge to me, for better or for worse. I felt filthy for days.

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News reached me via my Chancellor, Carrick had broken free from Søreyar. I mulled over the map he presented me, and asked him why Søreyar let this happen. He said he had no idea, but suggested that perhaps it was a sign from god that the land belonged to us. I took his hint and sent him off to do his petty document forging. I swear, the grown man giggled as he ran off.

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Life goes on, and even though I plan on being rid of her, I still manage to make my wife heavy with child. The news makes my plans no easier...

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More news, this time from my liege! He tells of an uprising on Moray, where the Duke there revolted when the King denied his demands for a change to an elective monarchy. The news intrigued me. I hadn't thought of a Scottish monarchy under the rule of the vote, but perhaps that was the way to the throne. It seemed much easier than conquering it by force, certainly. But I felt that now wasn't the time, the King was still strong, and the revolt would be crushed.

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My job as chancellor is to make others like my King, and in the wake of this revolt, I see now why the King had me flatter the duke of Moray. Sadly, it seems to have been for naught, but my skills as a diplomat are still secured.

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The news comes flooding in, and the more it comes the more certain I am that my King would end up winning. I give to order to raise our troops and march to his aid, so we can secure a footnote in the peace deal.

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The Chancellor writes back to me, telling me his work in Carrick is slower than expected, but his work on my son seems to have paid off, the child likes me a little better, it seems.

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Speaking of children, I am told my eldest daughter has entered the age where she is expected to be educated. I send her to one of my Mayors, secure that he will think more highly of me when he receives my daughter as a ward.

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The year passes again into 1068, and word reaches me of my troops joining the war against the Revolt in Gowrie. I remain confident in our success, as it seems we have a distinct numerical advantage.

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And indeed, my hopes were well placed. Victory came swiftly.

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In addition, we captured one of their military leaders, a bishop of the duchy of Moray. I swiftly ransomed him off for a modest sum, and the rebels agreed to the terms. Our money problems are beginning to fade away.

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Amidst the war, a courtier stands up and claims to be a better Court Chaplain than Bishop Fergus. These hopefuls come every once in a while, and more often than not they're correct in their superiority to my current advisors, but keeping the landed vassals happy tends to be more important, so I dismiss him.

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The armies of the rebellion defeated, I order my army to move into Ross, while my liege sacks Moray. If we're lucky, we can siege Ross' castle and gain some more money from the spoils of war.

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Soon after, my wife gives birth to another boy, further complicating the inheritance. I keep these thoughts from her, however, and she seems pleased.

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News from Søreyar comes in, and it seems they have a revolt of their own. I ponder if they have the ability to weather the storm, since they let Carrick defect so easily.

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And just before Christmas, we break the castle, looting some money and breaking the revolt even more.

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And with that, the King is able to imprison the Rebel leader and quash the rebellion. The land is back at peace for now, and we finally have the basis for expansion. All we need are those documents from the Chancellor, who keeps sending me little lies he thinks I won't see. His work in Carrick goes slowly, and it irritates me, but I have no better candidate for his job, and so I wait...

And wait...

And the year ticks over yet again. It's 1069, three years after my pilgrimage, and I'm no closer to the throne than I was when I set foot in Rome. But I am strong, and I steel myself with dreams of glory, and I hope...
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Post Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:20 pm

Re: Dunbar Domination (Tod's CKII Thing)

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My waiting bores me greatly. I check up on my Chancellor and discover he STILL hasn't made any progress. A brief chat with the rest of the council present cements my worries, the Chancellor is simply not good enough for the job. But there aren't any better men in my realm, and we're too close to being financially stable to spend money on bribing other men to come to my court to replace the landed fool.

The waiting continues...

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My liege, however, is not content on waiting either, and swoops in on the Argyllian revolt, hoping to grab some land for the country. I assume he has superior forces than the revolt, but I don't bother to actually check. It makes no difference to me who controls Argyll right now.

Back at home, I managed to make my wife pregnant again. I pray for a daughter and set back my murder plans even farther.

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The Marshal, meanwhile, has apparently found a mysterious man on our grounds. I see no reason to doubt the man's tale, and it makes very little difference to me, so I order him released. Eadulf isn't very pleased with the decision, but we are on good terms, so it doesn't weigh heavy on our relationship.

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The waiting has made me restless but lazy. I declined the falconer's request to inspect the birds in favor of planning our expansion again. The court seems to think better of me for it, for some strange reason.

My wife gives birth to a daughter as the year passes by. Thankfully it's a girl, and I haven't ever been more pleased.

I begin to doubt the pending decision to kill my wife. The plans keep getting set back farther and farther, and I don't think I have the stomach for it.

Not to mention what everyone will think if I'm found out!

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The year ticks over, and a peace is forged in the lands of Argyll. They now rest under the heel of my liege, and their revolt on Søreyar is crushed. I continue to wonder at how strong Søreyar must be if it couldn't handle Carrick or the Argyllian Revolt before both were taken from them. It's strange, indeed...

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Looking at a new map of the realm, Scotland looks to be nearly united. Søreyar and Carrick are the only other independent Scottish realms not under our king, and the only county under foreign rule is Katanes, which is held by the Norwegians. I idly wonder what will happen first, will my liege come to blows with Norway over Katanes, or will I take the throne and do it myself?

Soon I'm drawn to thinking about my plans for my wife, and I call my spymaster over to talk. I ask him whether it's truly a smart idea to go through with it, and he waves his hands in front of his face.

"Yes, yes, killing your wife and marrying into an alliance would be an indisputable positive, but there are bigger things afoot right now."

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He hands me a list of people in the court of Teviotdale who have expressed a willingness to support me if I ever decide to take the title from my Earl. The news surprises me, since four years ago nobody was willing to join even for a small "gift." My Spymaster's toothy grin widens, and I realize that he's branched his work outside the capital, and managed to fix this situation for me. I thank him for the news, and I give him a healthy raise, and then I get to planning.

I contact the people, who all reaffirm what the Spymaster claimed, and soon I had a powerful enough force to demand the land be given to me. I send the letter and the signatures, signed and sealed with the Lothian crest, and I wait on pins and needles. Wresting land from vassals is never a smooth operation, and more often that not blood has to be shed. I have my Marshal call the levies early, and move them in towards Teviotdale in preparation.

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As I thought, he wasn't keen on the idea of surrender. I swoop in with my army before he can even call his men to arms, and soon we have his castle surrounded.

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But somehow we're not enough to siege it! The walls are too well defended, and we simply cannot gain any progress. I order the marshal to call on my vassals' men, and they join the fray.

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But even THAT'S not enough! The full forces of the Duchy of Lothian cannot hold ground against the castle of a mere earl?! This is complete madness!!

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Unfortunately, I have to give the order to hire a Saxon band of mercenaries. With their numbers, we begin to make progress, but the extra men take their toll out of my treasury.

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The year ticks over, the siege continues, but my Marshal has died. He was a great man at his job, and he is greatly mourned. The rest of the men pale in comparison, and some of the candidates don't seem to know which part of the sword you're supposed to hold. It is a sad day in Lothian, indeed.

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Time ticks by, and soon the castle falls to my forces. Once it falls, the remaining holdings are much less well fortified, so I disband the mercenaries. Thankfully, my steward was able to collect a tithe from the capital, so we fight on with a secured treasury.

Another year, another pregnancy. It seems like this is happening regularly now. I'm too caught up in the war to even care for very long about my shoddy plans, so Etheldreda stays happy and living. Later, when the baby is born, we will see that it's thankfully another daughter.

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The steward who sent me the tithe asks for permission to employ more... down-to-earth tactics to ensure money flows smoothly. I give him the okay, and true to his word, the money does indeed flow.

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And thus, two years after the war begins, it ends. The Earl of Teviotdale loses his last title, and becomes another nameless courtier in Lothian. I, however, reap the spoils and celebrate, for this represents my first real military victory. Granted, it was against one of my own men, and not one of the King's men, but it still counts. In addition, it means I now have total control over all of my duchy. No petty earls eating up men and money in my lands, it's all under one theoretical roof.

And I couldn't be happier.

I dismiss the levies and sit back to relax for a while. I ask for the latest news from the spymaster, and he says that something rather interesting occurred just as our war ended.

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He tells me the Norwegian war on England has abruptly ended, without a clear victor. I am quite surprised by this news, as I had expected Norway to at least occupy some lands before they were beaten out by the Norman duke, but apparently not. Not once have my men seen a Norwegian flag fly over English borders, and so ends their claim on England. I feel a bit sad for our Norwegian neighbors, but at the same time, England stands under an English king, which means it might be easier to take later.

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On that note, the Spymaster continues to say that the Norman invasion is ongoing, but is doing so rather slowly. It's been six years, but the duke has barely managed to siege more then the duchy of Kent. The capital of Winchester has fallen, however, but at this stage, it's unsure how much that might mean for the war. I still expect Normandy to win, as the initial news of their numbers was simply unbelievable. Some of my men estimated that he drew in more than 15,000 people for his invasion. But that was six years ago, so those men could be anywhere by now...

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Looking closer at the news confirms my initial suspicions. The famed "Hard Ruler" of Norway had died, and with him his claim. The report said nothing more than the fact he died maimed and crippled, so I inferred that he had been leading troops during one of his ill-fated assaults on England, and lost a leg during the battle. Such wounds can hurt for far longer than most, and it's possible that lost limb cost him his life. In any case, Norway has a new ruler, for whatever good that does me.

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The leaves change color, and as the red on the trees grows, so does news of a red-flag revolt against my liege. Rebels are rebels are rebels, I suppose, and I see no reason why I should have to worry about a revolt against the King in Dunbar...

Wait, Dunbar?

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I call a map of the demesne, and scream. The court is frozen solid in their seats. Dunbar is in MY lands!!!!!

My eyes shift west and I scream again, louder this time. While I wasn't looking, my liege had swooped in and taken Carrick. My inept Chancellor had cost me my chance to do battle against a weak country, and now the newfound Earl of Carrick has the chance to secure alliances within the realm.

This is bad.

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And to make matters worse, our levies are not yet fully replenished from the war with Teviotdale, and we don't nearly have the men to fight off the rebels, nor do we have the money to support more mercenaries.

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But just as my worries were boiling over, my liege's men march into the offending county and begin quashing the revolt. I breathe a sigh of relief, and I retire to my room for several days.

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The Chaplain allows some church men into the castle, however, and they accost me for money. I see no way to get peace so I oblige them and let them leave with a percentage of my treasury.

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And as 1073 begins to turn to 1074, the rebellion is defeated. The land is at peace, and I decide to do some administrating in the land.

First I scour my new land in Teviotdale for men. Thankfully the cities and bishoprics are well staffed, and I find the men I need. In one swift motion I send letters to my Chancellor and Chaplain informing them that they have been replaced, and I appoint two MUCH more suited men to their positions, and I keep the Chaplain in the capital, tending to the ex-Chaplain, and I send my new Chancellor to Carrick to forge those documents. He took to his task with an air of professionalism that I couldn't help but appreciate.

Things are beginning to look up.

In fact, things are looking up so much that I decide to create a proper celebration.

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A feast should do the trick. And a proper feast, with all the nobles of the land in attendance.

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While mulling over the food possibilities, I decide that this should be a show of my temperance to the people of the land. Sadly, I couldn't keep up much of a show of temperance, and I kept squirreling away little snacks here and there from the menu.

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I invite all my vassals, high and low, to come.

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But one of the mayors bluntly refuses my gracious invitations. The bastard.

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Everyone else agreed to come, though. And the party begins!

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As the feast drags on, someone is bound to complain. Apparently my show of temperance wasn't enough for them, and they complained about it to my face. Heathens, the lot of them!

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Regardless, people enjoyed the feast, and left happy. I felt that this was a good idea in the long run.

Soon after, however, boats bearing Norse crests are spotted outside the capital, and viking raiders run in to loot the capital. Thankfully, the levies were replenished, to fighting them back was easy and bloodless (for us, at least).

The steward then offered me a letter with another tithe enclosed. This prompted thoughts of more long-term improvements...

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The treasury is finally in a stable state, and I made the decision to begin improving my castles. First I give the order to raise the walls around the castle. It won't be by much, but it'll be enough to keep some invaders out.

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Speaking of war, my liege finally decides he wants the island capital of Søreyar. It's been almost four years since the war for Argyll, though, so who knows what might happen.

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Ah, I had almost forgotten, Søreyar and Norway were still buddies. Apparently the death of the claimant on England hadn't broken off any alliances, so Norway came to the aid of the three-province minor. My liege was in some proper trouble now.

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Back on the home front, people are upset about the taxes. I privately imagine sending them a great big royal finger while I give the order to continue the castle upgrades with improving the fortifications.

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And then some progress!

My Chancellor had done his job well, and I immediately send a herald to Carrick to warn him of my boot coming for his ass.

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Sadly, it seems his ass is not only bare, but protruding and waiting. The kicking then commences.

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It just keeps getting better and better, Carrick's forces come at us in almost single-file, allowing us to flank them on both sides.

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Surprisingly they were almost able to push through the center, but regardless they fell to the cavalry in the flanks.

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After several rounds of skirmishes, their forces are finally ended once and for all. Carrick will soon be mine.

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My liege, however, has issues. A LOT of issues. his army was chased out of the capital, and his occupation is being challenged. Eventually the remnants of the Scottish army will have to face that Norwegian death-stack, and it will not be pretty.

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Meanwhile, we agree to have someone compose a small snippet of our family's achievements. We don't let the pride go to our heads, though, as we're still only several people strong in the Dunbar dynasty.

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The year is 1077, and Carrick falls to our superior numbers. Celebrations abound!

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But the real party poppers are being saved for this moment, when I can create the duchy of Strathclyde. All that's stopping us from creating it and giving us a free claim on Søreyar is the cost.

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The year ticks over, and my eldest daughter comes of age. She was taught the fine skills of a money-counter, and makes a decent spymistress, to boot, so I start to look for nearby alliances I can forge with her.

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.....

Ummmmmmm, what?

It seems... That Normandy's War with England has ended, but not as I had thought.

England still stands, but so does Normandy. Apparently the duke from France wasn't able to hold England, and lost the vast majority of it back to the old ruling dynasty. It happened so quickly I never even noticed it. This puts Normandy in a very awkward situation, as they're now sandwiched between two major powers, a vengeful England and a hungry France.

I guess we're not going to try for a Norman alliance, then.

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Instead we settle for a future alliance with the Welsh Duke of Deheubarth. Perhaps he can be of some use later.

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And with my daughter married off, the treasury swells to the point where we can create that duchy.

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And so I become a double duke, ruling over Lothian and Strathclyde Galloway. This addition to my titles makes me the strongest vassal of Scotland by far, and we now own most of Scotland south of the capital.

Perhaps now we look into that elective monarchy idea...
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Post Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:51 pm

Re: Dunbar Domination (Tod's CKII Thing)

I decide that now might indeed be the time to go about with the plans to convert the Kingdom to elective Monarchy. I call my spymaster over to talk about starting the faction, and he brings me more good news.

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There is already a faction for elective monarchy, lead by none other than the duchess of Moray, the only other ducal-level vassal in Scotland. Her family was also the one to start the last revolt for elective monarchy about a decade ago. It seems Moray has come back to try its hand again.

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I look at the numbers for my liege and I think carefully about this decision. Of his 2352 levy, my men make up a significant percentage, but not an overwhelming percentage. If we join, it's likely we'll have superior numbers, but it won't be a cakewalk.

After careful deliberation, I decide to throw my hand in with the Duchess. Who dares, wins, after all.

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The decision seems to be a good one. Combined, our men are more than double our liege's men. Now we can build up our forces while our king's tied up with Norway, and spring the faction on him when his war is lost.

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... Or we can declare war the day after my papers are signed. That's good too, I guess. I am now part of the Scottish Revolt, a Duke under the temporary Queen of the Revolt, Queen Druoch of Moray.

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In a show of complete nonchalance, Our now ex-liege spends money to create the Duchy of Albany, a title that he himself will likely keep.

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I call my men up, and Druoch calls hers. She sends her regiments to Atholl, and I send mine to Fife. The capital of Gowrie sits between us, and we can convene our troops there whenever we wish if we decide to siege the King's castle. For now, however, we wait, watching for movement from the King's army in Søreyar.

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While we wait, my second daughter comes of age, and I find a nice Norman duke to care for her, the Duke of Calabria. I'm unfamiliar with the duchy, perhaps it's French?

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.... Apparently not. It seems a Norman family somehow got hold of a duchy on the southern tip of Italy. I have no idea how this happened, and I'm unsure of how useful the alliance will be, but I let it stay. The marriage has already been legitimized, after all.

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I decide to move my men into Gowrie, a much more strategically important location than Fife, and my men are briefly scared by the appearance of a 30-strong english fleet that acts hostile towards us. However, the ships pass up and over the Scottish peninsula in search of the King's men. We worry that the King of England has been called in to help the King of Scotland.

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Reports fly in, as our fears are confirmed, The English have sent 3000 men to bolster the Scottish ranks, and they begin their march towards Moray. I realize that since I'm sitting on the capital, they are likely to make a beeline towards my men in order to end the siege, and so I go into panic mode.

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I make the decision to call on the local Jewish banks, and take out a loan. It's a fairly modest sum, but it will be a while before we can pay it back. The loan will not please our church vassals, but it will provide plenty of mercenary manpower that we can use to weather this storm.

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Five thousand Scottish and English men meet 5200 Norwegian men in Ross before they can reach the Rebel capital of Moray. I order a detachment of men to help support the Rebel army marching towards the fray, and hope I'm not too late.

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What we find are the remnants of two armies, weak and broken by the Norwegians. My men make the call to mop up as much of the Scottish army as they can, and I breathe a little easier.

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Predictably, after their crushing defeat, the Scottish accept a peace with Søreyar. Søreyar remains free, and Scotland pays the ruler war reparations. The Rebel war is in the clear now!

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Umm... I think the Leader notices that too, and wants to "celebrate." [NOTE: this is a pretty funny coincidence, since the Rebel Queen is our liege, it's giving us the "female" event for adultery. Since this is rather rare, there apparently isn't a male version of this event, so we probably end up calling the Queen "sir" a lot on accident. Hopefully she finds this cute.]

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"What took you so long, sir? I mean, madam. I mean... No, please don't, put the chains away. I mean, yes madam I'll get on my knees at once."

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Chain marks heal in about a day, but apparently my spear leaves wounds that grow for quite some time. I feel a bit dirty, but the Rebel Queen is certainly a much closer friend now than ever.

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Unsurprisingly, a Norman duke in Italy isn't very stable. Our alliance lasted for all of a year before he was murdered. In response, I decide to promise the widow to a Croatian king, since there are no more suitable alliances to forge.

The walls of Gowrie fall in time, and my men move towards Argyll, while my Queen remains in Atholl. December falls, and things are still looking up.

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What's more, our Chancellor has secured yet another claim on Fife. I thank him for his work and send him to placate one of my Earls, as I am no longer in need of claims until I press the one for Fife.

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A woman in my court (ironically named Bride) seems to be acting rather friendly towards me. Perhaps this is another opportunity. [NOTE: This is the "male" version of events.]

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Ah, how good it is to have power.

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Fife makes the laughable decision to fabricate claims on me! They are a one-county minor, and we are a double duke. I write to the Earl of Fife telling him that he may do as he wishes, but the Lothian hammer will not show mercy.

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I laugh myself to sleep with the news that the Earl of Fife has finalized his claim. May he crack his skull at the base of Stirling Castle.

By November, Argyll has fallen, and my army moves to Fife to weaken its ramparts in preparation for my future assault. Another chronicler arrives to document the Dunbar influence on the rebellion, and I once again agree to sponsor works that glorify my dynasty. And once again, my pride is kept in check, perhaps due to the fact I remain a vassal, despite my strength.

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My second son comes of age, and a golden opportunity arises. The King of Norway has an unbetrothed daughter. I jump at the opportunity and pledge my son to her, and cement a relationship with the powerful Yngling family. Now, once we take the throne, we might not see Norway come to Søreyar's side, and we can use them against other forces as well.

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It is the middle of 1082, and the last two sieges are underway. Soon we will occupy all of our former liege's lands, and he will be forced to give in.

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Curiously, another state has broken away from Søreyar. The Earl of Galloway, a double count, has declared independence and the Duke of Søreyar has given in. Very curious.

On the bright side, I still have a de jure claim on Galloway, and Galloway doesn't have any alliances with anyone of importance as far as I know.

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The happy thoughts fade quickly, however, as I realize that my Queen has been declared war upon by England. One of my holdings, the County of Cumberland, is still a de jure part of England, and so the King of England has declared war to take it back under his throne.

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The King marches north with 4500 men, and I don't have the funds for mercenaries.

And so I pray for deliverance, and hope...

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All at once, our war with Scotland ends. Our demands were accepted and the Kingdom is now run under the Elective Monarchy Succession.

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Wasting no time, I cast my vote for myself as the heir of Scotland, and after a few days I see no other nominations. With luck, perhaps I can use this succession law to put myself on the throne. With more luck, I might even be able to keep it.

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And thankfully, the war with England was not inherited by our liege. England is balked for the time being, and redirects its forces towards another war on its southern coast against an independent Kent, the last remains of the strange Norman state I noticed earlier. France seems to have reabsorbed its Norman lands, and now the last holdings of William the Would-Be Conqueror lie in those four counties. I doubt he'll be able to hold them for much longer.

I call my spymaster and marshal over and open my ledger. I ask them for our status and the statuses of our current targets.

The marshal tells me that the war against the Scottish King was kind to us, and we have 2574 out of a possible 2939 men. The spymaster says that Fife was terribly weakened by our siege and is still licking its wounds. They can call a grand total of 133 men out of 788 possible. Galloway, on the other hand, is stronger, with 1719 out of 1978 men ready to fight.

I grin, and look forward to the next two wars. We will press our claims on Galloway and then turn around to attack Fife, at which point our chancellor will go back to fabricating claims, possibly on the Isle of Mann. We will look to cement our position os the heir to Scotland, and maybe fix the situation with my wife... Maybe.
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Post Sat May 03, 2014 10:24 am

Re: Tod's CKII Thing

[Note: I'm going to try to cut down on the images for now since you've more or less seen all the regular events. For now, I'll limit images to interesting things like Crusades, reformations, or other big things]

As I called on my marshal to send out the war declaration, he told me of one small complication with the Galloway plan:

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We had a truce with Galloway for another four and a half years, and breaking it would be near-disastrous. Not only would it be crushing to our public image, it would blacken our relations with everyone from Spain to the Byzantines, and it would open the floodgates to possible rebellion. As enticing as war is, internal rebellion might spell immediate doom for us.

In addition, upon closer examination, Fife has gone under the protection of the Duke of Albany, so if we wanted to take it, it would have to be through him. It would be a slightly more difficult fight than I had expected, but in the end, I decided that it was the right course of action for us. We needed to expand, and Fife was ripe for the taking. I sent out the Marshal with THOSE declarations, and while waiting for the call to arms to arrive, I looked at other internal issues.

Unfortunately, my Spymaster tells me that our issues with our wife will be harder to deal with than we previously thought. He said he couldn't muster enough support for a viable plot, and I had to tell him to forget the plans for now. My wife would simply have to live.

I had him bring me a survey of our dungeons, and he told me we had only one prisoner worth anything, a cousin of the King who would make war with Albany strenuous. I told him to write up a ransom notice and exchange it with the king, who would later come with a paltry sum for the unlanded relative. It won't be much, but it would be enough to keep him from interfering with his warring vassals, which is enough for me.

In two months, our troops were safely sieging Fife, and making decent progress while the duke of Albany ran his troops about in confusion. A good start to a simple war.

As the year ticked by, word reached me that the king had finally raised up enough support to pass the increase in crown law that he submitted nearly twenty years ago. The change itself did very little, it only demanded that we, the king's vassals, devoted slightly more troops to the king's royal army. Not a very large blow to our power, and I let it pass without much thought. The only troubling thing that could arise is that it paved the way for further increases in crown law, which could ban inter-vassal war or inheritances outside the kingdom, which would indeed be a blow to our power, but I hoped that when that came to pass the Dunbar dynasty would hold the throne.

A year after the war with Fife started my steward actually came to me with a tithe! It wasn't much, but it was tangible proof that he was doing his job, so I thanked him, commissioned an upgrade to our militia training grounds, and returned to my job at the war.

Or at least, I THOUGHT I would. Instead my king had other ideas, like asking me to be his royal chancellor again. I was honestly loathe to return to work on the royal council, but the position is still quite prestigious, and it would put me in greater contact with the other nobles. Not to mention it would be an insult to the king if I refused it...

So in the end I agreed, and he sent me to another court to kiss boots and "improve relations." Thankfully I was able to leave the siege in good hands, and I was getting regular reports of its progress.

A month later the king handed me a notice that he was going to raise city taxes, and asked me to lend my signature. It certainly wasn't a crown law increase, and it directly benefited me with my income, so I gave him what he wanted. Shortly after he instituted the tax increase and our pockets got a little bigger.

In June, my youngest son returned from schooling, and told me all about how much he learned and how much he loved reading. He could read the Bible and all its verses, and was a rather enthusiastic theologian.

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I couldn't really stand it, so I married him off to the daughter of the king of France, getting yet another alliance.

Now November of 1084 was a eventful month. To begin with, word reached me of the fall of the County of Fife, and the duke of Albany himself met with me to surrender. Sadly, I wasn't exactly feeling my best that day...

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I learned that I had become sick! And on the day of their surrender, too! Oh, this will be the worst prom surrender meeting ever!

But the silver linings just keep getting bigger and bigger.

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We're in line to inherit the kingdom! Our plans have paid off, and we have the support of our lover, the ex-Revolt Leader Princess. Behind us in succession is Earl Malcom of Argyll (a simple count) and the Petty King of Søreyar, King Gudrød. Of course he has only himself in support since he's not a vassal of the king, but that still puts him in line. Sadly, my spymaster quelled any thoughts of "speeding up" our succession, saying that we would have better luck with our wife.

Soon after, our marshal died, succumbing to an old wound he took while training the troops in our capital. I didn't think much of it, since I was still trying to not puke over my chancellor's robes, but perhaps it was a sign...

You know, maybe I should think about investing in medicine. I know it's a crazy idea, but it's a new year, and I've heard the apothecaries have come up with a decent cure-all. I'll look into it tomorrow.

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Oh poo, it looks like I've died. I should petition God to not take my family seriously when they ask to be killed in illness.

But more troubling worries abound. My son inherited, but our succession laws have made things difficult for him. The worst thing by far is the fact he's lost the Duchy of Galloway to his younger brother, and many individual counties to the youngest brother. In addition, I doubt they'll be willing to support him in his bid for the kingdom.

Things might have just gotten a bit difficult
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Post Sat May 03, 2014 11:05 am

Re: Tod's CKII Thing

Okay, so I was going to play the game a bit more to see if I could make things work, but unfortunately things happened and I lost my most recent save file. What I've told you up until now is what I have so far. Here's what happened the last time I tried this (and what got erased):

1) Both the King of Søreyar and the King of Scotland descended on Galloway in war. Søreyar ended up taking the Isle of Mann, and the Scottish war didn't really end in the four years I was able to cover.

2) We got kicked out of the line of succession and we got kicked HARD. The King was able to land one of his own sons and got the support of Gospatric's kinky lover and the Duke of Galloway (our own brother!). At the current state, we were in third in line behind him and another duke.

3) Our daughter came of age, and we did an alliance with Norway because why not, that seems to be the thing to do these days.

4) Our spymaster dies of depression and we get ill (sound familiar?)

5) We die four years after our father, of the same illness, leaving our realm in the hands of a four-year-old.

Now, to talk about children in CKII... They're not really all that fun. You can't declare war as a Christian child, you're under a regency, so anyone with a weak claim (like the Duke of Galloway and the Earl of Fife) has a free reason to attack us, and you can't plot at all. No killing until you're 16, that's the rules. In addition, everyone and their mother hates you for being a child, so the chances of someone assassinating you are high.

And so this is what I'm going to do: I'm going to ask you what you want to see. I can continue the game from the death of Gospatric and see how that goes a second time, I can start an entirely new campaign elsewhere if you want to see someone not from the British Isles (And I can do it somewhere else if you'd rather see this kind of thing on Tumblr or something), or I can do nothing and let the LP wither. Let me know what you think, and I'll make a decision in a couple of weeks, after finals end.

I hope you had fun with this!
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