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    Default Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    LET'S PLAY


    What is Crusader Kings II?

    Crusader Kings II is a strategy game released by Paradox Interactive in 14 February, 2012. The sequel to Crusader Kings, which was released in 2004, CK2 is very similar to it's predecessor as well as it's sister games, Europa Universalis III, Hearts of Iron 2, and Victoria 2. These games are infamous for being open-ended, very complicated strategy games.

    Crusader Kings II is different from most nation simulator games in that, instead of controlling a single nation, you're in charge of a single dynasty (and you only control a single member of that dynasty at any one time). The goal of the game, such as it is, is to survive from 1066 to 1453 and, in the meantime, hopefully make your dynasty the most prestigious in all of the land.

    Crusader Kings II is in every way an improved sequel. It's easier in all the right ways, while having tons more depth. It has great music, great art, and has the most optimized game engine out of all the Paradox Interactive strategy games. You can go on crusades, prop up an Anti-Pope, make alliances, assassinate kings, and a bunch of other cool stuff.

    What's the deal with this LP?

    A lot of the fun in playing CK2 is in discovery. I've got the gameplay down pretty well, but there's a lot of stuff that I haven't done, just because I haven't thought of it. That's where you guys come in! While I have executive veto (not to mention doing most of the minor stuff in the game), I'll give you guys the chance to make suggestions and I'll ask you advice on the big, game-changing stuff.

    Version and Miscellaneous

    The version we'll be playing is 1.06b, the most up-to-date version. I have the Ruler Designer DLC, which lets us customize our initial ruler, as well as the first expansion pack, the Sword of Islam, which allows you to play as the Muslim dynasties in addition to the Christian ones.

    Speaking of which: this game is going to deal with Medieval religion since it's a historical simulation. All discussion of such should be left to a relevant historical or gameplay context. I have no problem calling in the mods if things get dicey.



    Introduction



    Chapter 1 - An Auspicious Start
    Chapter 2 - Forged in War
    Chapter 3 - Against the Mohammedans
    Chapter 4 - The Last War of the King
    Last edited by TooManySecrets; 2012-08-09 at 11:04 AM.
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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    Default Post 1 - Introduction

    Before you guys start making decisions, let me show you a quick tour of the game. Crusader Kings II is pretty complicated. It's easy to jump into it, but there is a whole lot of depth that takes a while to learn. If I'm not clear about anything, just ask.

    If you already know how to play CK2 (or don't want to read this exceptionally long post), just skip to the end. I won't be offended.


    After picking our starting character (King Stenkil I of Sweden) and our starting time (1066), we get to the main screen. Most of it is taken up by the map, as you can see. At the bottom right is our minimap. At the top right is a display for messages and things like money, piety, prestige, score, and the size of our demense. Don't worry too much about that stuff as I'll talk about them when they're important.

    At the top right is our character's portrait. Let's click on that.


    Nice beard.

    The character screen shows pretty much all the important data about the character. Age (39), dynasty (af Stenkil), all their relatives and wives/husbands, titles and claims, stats, and traits. Stats are what make your character good, or bad, at something. You can see them just to the right of the big character portrait. The stats are Diplomacy (how much other people like you and how willing they are to do what you tell them), Martial (ability to fight and raise troops), Stewardship (ability to make money), Intriguie (ability to uncover and complete plots, spying, and assassination), and Learning (ability to get new technology). King Stenkil has 6 Diplomacy, 11 Martial, 4 Stewardship, 2 Intrigue, and 3 Learning. These are pretty crappy stats.

    Those little pictures below the stats are traits. Traits modify your stats and give you various bonuses or penalties. For instance, that little picture of a flame is the Lustful trait. It increases King Stenkil's fertility (i.e. chance of having children), but it decreases his monthly piety gain. It also has the hidden effect of causing church members (bishops, the Pope, etc) dislike King Stenkil because lust is a sin.

    Okay, now we're clicking on that little crown up at the top of the screen.



    This is our council screen. Each stat has a council member. Diplomacy has the Chancellor, Martial has the Marshal, Stewardship has the Steward, Intrigue has the Spymaster, and Learning has the Court Chaplin. Each council member provides their stat to the ruler as a bonus. If you look up above again at King Stenkil's stats, you can see numbers in parenthesis. Those are the character's stats plus the bonus from council members. Spouses (wife/husband) also provide half of their stats. For instance, King Stenkil has a base Diplomacy of 6, but he gets 12 from his Chancellor, and 3 from his wife (who, herself, had a base Diplomacy of 6). While King Stenkil's stats are pretty crappy, his council members are on the moderately good to very good level.

    Council members can also be sent on one of three missions. That's what those little pictures below each of the numbers are. Each missions provides a base bonus and has a chance of an additional good or bad thing that has a chnace of happening. The higher the stat of the council member, the better the base bonus, higher the chance of good things happening, and the less chance bad things happen. Missions are stuff like improving diplomatic relations, converting populations to your religion, improving the rate of different types of technology, increasing the amount of troops available, and increasing the chance of assassination.

    Let's go on to the next screen, the little gavel.



    This is the laws screen. It let's us set the laws of the realm.

    At the top is our current succession laws - Agnatic-Cognatic Elective. Agnatic-Cognatic means that both males and females can inherit, though males have priority. Elective law is probably the best succession law in the game, as it lets our nobles (including our character) vote on the the next ruler. Unless your vassals are pissed at you, they usually will go along with who you choose. We can change succession laws, they there are restrictions and we can only do it once with each ruler. Agnatic means that only males can inherit, while Absolute Cognatic means that males and females are both equal (unfortunately, Absolute Cognatic is only possible for Basque culture, though that's easy enough to mod). Gavelkind divides our lands equally among all children, though the eldest gets the best title. Seniority means that the oldest living member of the dynasty gets it (Note: dynasty, not child). Primogeniture means the oldest living child gets it. The pictures to the left are our current heir and the pretenders.

    Below that are more laws. Since we're a king, we have Crown Authority and Investiture. Higher Crown Authority let's us boss around our vassals more (and do stuff like take away their titles because we don't like their face), but for obvious reasons it also makes our vassals upset. Investiture dictates the rules of succession for Church lands. Right now it's Free Investiture, which means that the King chooses the Bishops. Papal means that the Pope decides. For obvious reasons, the Pope likes Papal Investiture more and will sometimes nag kings to change it.

    Taxation is pretty self-explanatory and it's exactly what you think. Levies is the number of troops the various kinds of vassals are required to give. Feudal vassals i.e. castles give large numbers of troops but low amount of tax. Cities give large amounts of money but low troops. Churches give large amount of troops and money, but if the Church vassal likes the Pope more than they like you, they give their money to the Pope instead of you. In general, it's better to have your vassals like you more than having higher taxes/levies, since you end up getting more money and troops that way.

    Let's get on to the next screen, the little cogs.



    Technology in CK2 is very different from most games. The Medieval times had no concept of the scientific method, which means that technological growth is pseudo-random. Having higher Learning, setting focuses on a certain technology, having council members on missions, and having higher associated stats (Martial for Military, Stewardship for Economy, Diplomacy for Culture), all increase the chance of a breakthrough, but it's all ultimately random.

    Secondly, technological advancements are on a per-province basis. So, for instance, our capital province might have the best castle, archer, and legalism tech, but some random province in the middle of nowhere won't have any tech at all. This does mean that soldiers raised in different provinces have different bonuses.

    In general, don't worry too much about tech. Unlike other strategy games, it's relatively hard to just tech up the tech tree.

    I wonder what that sword and helmet icon is?



    It's military! What a surprise!

    From this screen, we can raise both our armies and the armies our of vassals. We can control both of them on the map, but our vassals get angry if we use their soldiers for too long (except in certain circumstances, such as defense wars against infidels or heretics). We can manually select each province on the map and raise soldiers directly from there, but this is much easier.

    Soldiers cost money to keep raised and we can't declare war when we have raised soldiers, so we don't want to have soldiers raised up in peace time, unless we're forcibly putting down rebellions.

    From this screen we can also hire mercenaries (which cost money to get and money to keep) and holy orders (which cost piety to get and money to keep). Both of these provide temporary forces. Other rulers can also hire mercenaries and holy orders, so if they have them, we can't get them. Right now, there aren't any holy orders, yet.

    We can also raises fleets. Fleets are just used for transport. There's no naval battles, luckily.

    Next is the dagger and message button.



    This here is the intrigue screen. From here we can see which of our vassals are threatening to revolt (none of them), our prisoners (none), and any plots we know about (also none). We can also make decisions, that range from the personal (going on a pilgrimage, asking the Pope for forgiveness) to the national (holding grand tournaments, feasts, etc) as well as inviting randomly-generated characters to join our court.

    The real draw, however, is Ambitions and Plots. Ambitions are things like "Amass Wealth", "Have a Son", "Inherit Norway". Ambitions are sort of self-imposed mini-quests. If we fulfill them we get bonuses, which range from bonus prestige, piety, or money to increases to our stats. Plots are more like full-blown quests. They're stuff like "See Queen Maria of Sweden dead" or "Revoke the County of Vastmanland". Plots have Plot Power - our character asks different people to back their plot. If enough other characters back the plot, the Plot Power increases, which increases the chance of the plot working. In addition to whatever the plot set out to do, every successful plot also increases your Intrigue.

    Let's click on that pen and paper.



    Darn, I was hoping for pen and paper games. Instead, it's the Diplomacy screen.

    As you can see, can't really do much here. That's because these are the diplomatic options for ourself with ourself. It's basically just setting up marriages in our court.

    Let's click on my son and do diplomacy with him.



    As the prince is our subject, we can grant him landed titles (like Baron, Count, Duke, etc), as well as honorary titles (which give bonuses like prestige and money to the character). We can also give him money to make him like us more. Imprisoning a character stops them from doing Plots as well as decreasing their Diplomacy stat (for obvious reasons). If we had the money, we can also try to assassinate him. If we had enough piety, we could ask the Pope to excommunicate him. We also have the same marriage options as before.

    Let's click on somebody who isn't our subject.



    The Prince of Norway! We could Declare War on him, if we had a reason. In CK2 (like Europa Universalis III and Victoria 2), you need a reason - casus belli - in order to declare war. Different casus bellis give different results. We also have the same marriage, assassination, and excommunication options. If we had enough piety, we could also request an invasion from the Pope, which gives us a papally sanctioned casus belli.

    Let's go on to the next screen for now.



    Nice mustache.

    The religion screen tells us which church holdings are our vassals and how much they like us and the head of the religion. It also lists the head of the religion - we're Catholic, so it's the Pope - and the head's moral authority. If moral authority gets too low, people start doubting the Church and heretical religions start increasing. Moral authority is used whenever the Pope excommunicates someone or authorizes an invasion. Careful maneuvering can get a member of our dynasty elected to the Papacy. We can also set up an anti-pope, which both protects us from excommunication and any bishop who likes our anti-pope more than the real pope, sends their money to us. The Pope can also call for a Crusade, which lets any nation of the same religion declare war on the Crusade target.

    Muslims and Orthodox Christianity also have a similar religion screen with some differences. Orthodox can't declare crusades, doesn't have anti-popes, and bishops always send their money to their liege lord and never to the head of the church. Muslims can declare jihad, which is equivalent to crusades, and the Muslim caliph is also the head of the religion.



    The last screen is the Character screen. This lets us find every single character in the game, see what their stats and traits are, and see what their rank is. It's mostly useful for searching for potential spouses or if you just want to see how many people are actually running around in the game that the AI is controlling.



    Jeesh, that's a lot to take in. Let's take a break by ruining some poor guy's day.



    To the north of Sweden is a number of independent, one-province rulers. Angermanland, which is north of Medelpad, is held by Chief Thord. Notice how the Declare War button is selectable? Let's click on that.



    We have two casus bellis. Since Chief Thord is a filthy Norse pagan (before you ask - no, you can't start the game as a pagan), we can simply declare a Holy War and take his lands. Christians have the Holy War casus belli versus all pagan religions and Muslims, while Muslims have the Holy War casus belli versus all pagan religions and Christians. Holy War is nice since we take all the titles held by the ruler and his vassals - if we win, it's all ours. On the other hand, the people of the province don't take kindly to being invaded by infidels, and we'll get reduced tax income and levies for a long time. Around 50 to 100 years, depending on circumstances. We also can only declare Holy War on nearby provinces. We can't declare war on the Seljuk Turks of the Middle East, for example (unless they're the target of a Crusade).

    We can also press De Jure Claims. Basically, since King Stenkil is the King of Sweden and Angermanland is part of what the common law recognizes as Sweden, we can declare war in order to press our claim. If we win, we don't take his lands, but we force Chief Thord to swear vassalage to me. So, let's do that.



    After the declaration of war, we raise up our armies and the armies of our vassals.



    Then we send our soldiers against Chief Thornd's force, which we outnumber 3 to 1.



    We fight them. (Don't worry about fight mechanics. More soldiers is better, certain types of troops are better against other types, characters with higher martial are better leaders, but since we can't control what types of troops we get right now or who are our leaders are right now, it doesn't really matter)



    Then we siege his demenses.



    Then ask him to surrender. Since he has no more soldiers and we have control over everything he owns, he accepts and swears fealty to King Stenkil.



    Though Angermandland is still Chief Thornd's, since he swears fealty to me, he needs to pay taxes and give us soldiers when we ask for them.






    Anyways, this has been an exceptionally long post, but Crusader Kings is an exceptional game. Most of the posts are going to be much shorter than this, but I think it's good to have a reference post if anyone gets confused about gameplay.

    Here's the map of Crusader Kings II. It's big. And we can play almost any Count, Duke, King, or Emperor on it.




    So, here's where the interactivity of the thread comes in. I've got some suggestions about where we want this thread to go and you guys can vote on it. If you want to make any suggest other options, I'll add those as well.

    1. We can try to unite the minor, squabbling provinces of Ireland into a kingdom and then try to unite all of the British Isles under our rule.

    2. We can try to finish the Reconquista of Hispania, kicking the Muslim rulers out of Spain while fending off attacks from France to the North.

    3. We can try to recover the glory of Rome, uniting Italy into one nation again, facing the dual threats of Muslim rulers and the belligerent so-called Holy Roman Empire.

    4. We can try to turn the tribes of northern and eastern Europe to the ways of Christianity, uniting them into a cohesive and single people as a bulwark against the invading Khans.

    5. We can try to recover the glory of Rome for the true inheritors of the empire - the Byazantines. The Western Empire is falling apart and it's up to us to replace the emperor and take the place we deserve.

    6. We can try to play as a minor noble in the Caliph's dynasty, seeking to fight the infidel crusaders from the outside and the increasing decadence of the Muslim dynasty on the inside.

    7. We can try to play as one of the tribes of Africa, looking to prove our worth to the world at large.

    There's also stuff we can do that's added on to the other things such as...

    A. Going heretic and starting the protestant reformation over 400 years early.

    B. Become Crusaders, retaking the Holy Land

    (Option A goes well with option 1 since we're far enough away from other people that we won't get immediately crushed, while option B goes well with option 3, since Italy is in a good position to influence the Pope and go on crusades. That being said, you can mix and match as you want)

    Voting is open now and goes until I say it doesn't. :I
    Last edited by TooManySecrets; 2012-07-09 at 09:22 PM.
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    I think I'll cast my vote for one of the moorish states in spain. It seems like it would be interesting to try to halt the reconquista and then spread Islam up through the rest of Europe via France. Though my main reason is that I just got Sword of Islam so all things Muslim are shiny and new.
    Last edited by Weezer; 2012-07-09 at 10:53 AM.
    At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman, and these hills, the softness of the sky, the outline of the trees at this very minute lose the illusory meaning with which we clothed them, henceforth more remote than a lost paradise.
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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    I'm going to vote for operation: Ireland!
    It's my blood calling out to me, I suppose.
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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Quote Originally Posted by Weezer View Post
    I think I'll cast my vote for one of the moorish states in spain. It seems like it would be interesting to try to halt the reconquista and then spread Islam up through the rest of Europe via France. Though my main reason is that I just got Sword of Islam so all things Muslim are shiny and new.
    Meh, I find things a lot less interesting when the AI ends up doing them 8 times out of 10.

    The Sultanate of Aquitane rarely does very well but it does act as a buffer for happy Muslim Spain.
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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Question: are you dead set on starting in 1066?

    If not - I'd like to suggest starting in 1100, right after 1st Crusade conquered Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Jerusalem was formed. For extra challenge I suggest starting as Count of Edessa. Or Count of Tripoli, in 1109.

    If you already decided to start in 1066 - try Count of Lubeck and either become the Holy Roman Emperor or King of Denmark. Good luck with that :)

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    New option! Play as Wales, if possible. If not, play as Sicily!
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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Seeing as I'm already well on the way of United The British Isles via Ireland (House au Brian, now kings of Ireland, Scotland and Wales), I'd say you should do something in Spain. My spain map is basically become overrun by the French, while the Spanish Christian Kingdoms have floundered.

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    I say either go with the Reconquista, or play as a small but ambitious German count or duke, whose family desires to take the reigns of the Empire, even if they need to nudge it to the brink first.
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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    I say pick up a Muslim lord, and try to reforge the Roman Republic as a Muslim Caliphate.

    Conquer the Issamites' so-called Holy Siege, Rome.


    (FYI: Issa is the arab name for Jesus)

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Go Ghana, conquer Spain and France before they can return the favour.
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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    So, votes so far:
    1 - Spanish Muslims
    1 - Ireland
    1 - Crusader State
    1 - Count of Lubeck
    1 - Wales
    1 - Sicily
    1 - Something Spanish
    1 - Spanish Christians
    1 - Germans taking over HRE
    1 - Muslim Roman Empire
    1 - Ghana

    Now, with some executive interpretations of the votes (e.g. "Something Spanish" adds votes to both Spanish Muslims and Spanish Christians, etc), we get this:

    2 - Spanish Muslims
    2 - Spanish Christians
    2 - United Kingdom (starting as Ireland or Wales)
    2 - Muslim Roman Empire (starting in Sicily)
    2 - Lubeck taking over the HRE (Pomeranian being a half-way point between German and Polish culture)
    1 - Crusader States
    1 - Ghana

    Obviously, you can still voice your opinion for something specific (e.g. "Taking over the HRE, but as Duke of Burgundy). Also, since there's interest in Spain, be aware that playing in Spain is very hit or miss. If France decides to go on a Crusade in Spain, then they'll either kill me (if I'm Muslim) or take over half of Spain before I take over even one county (if I'm Christian). You don't want to go to war with France.
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Quote Originally Posted by TooManySecrets View Post
    You don't want to go to war with France.
    Actually, in my experience, it's not that hard. Key to success is right timing. King of France has too many powerful vassals (Duke of Toulouse, Duke of Flanders, Duke of Normandie and mega-monster Duke of Aquitaine) and they're just waiting to rebel. Just wait for them to raise their ugly heads and start your own little war of independance.

    I did that two times, in my 1.04 game as Duke of Flanders (I already had all of Ireland conqurered; I sieged and took Paris and Orleans and King called it quits and let me go; he was already fighting 3 more independace wars with Aquitaine, Normandie and Toulouse, and Duke of Anjou decided to start his war of independance few weeks after me) and again in my 1.05 game as Count of Carcassonne (at the moment of rebellion I was already half way to becoming Duke of Gascogne; this one was tricky, 'cause I rebelled against Duke of Aquitaine while he was rebelling against King of France).

    Ofcourse, in 1.06 it might be harder. Well, my Becoming-Burgundy-game is still waiting to start, I'll tell how it went

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Quote Originally Posted by netzach View Post
    Actually, in my experience, it's not that hard. Key to success is right timing.
    Huh, in most of my games France has blobbed up pretty quickly, usually because it take over all of Spain. The HRE seems to fail more often, but that could be because I often set up antipopes or spread heresy, which sends the moral authority of the church plummeting (at least I know antipopes do). With all those small minors, the HRE implodes due to heresy (the best was when the emperor himself turned heretic - yeah, his vassals weren't happy).
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Come on people! Vote for Muslim Sicily --> Muslim Roman Caliphate!! What is great about Italy is that we have plenty of options to pick from once we have united Italy.

    Depending on who's weak and who's strong, we can potentially expend in France, against the Holy Roman Empire, against the Byzantine Empire or even turn upon our fellow Muslims if we feel they are ripe for a picking.

    We can intervene to halt the Reconquista, or break the Crusades' back. Help to the collapse of the Empires!

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Fine, I'll change my vote to Muslim Sicily. Maybe I'll buy the game myself and do my own african warlord thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    If we are going more specific, I say dig up the Hapsburgs if they exist this early in game, and see about creating the empire they had in real life. That is, Holy Roman Emperor, ruler of Hungary, Spain, Netherlands, and so on. Then, years later if you don't implode, go ahead and mess with the save to give you massive political and religious uprisings throughout the entire empire.
    Happy Trixie Appreciation Day!



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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
    If we are going more specific, I say dig up the Hapsburgs if they exist this early in game, and see about creating the empire they had in real life. That is, Holy Roman Emperor, ruler of Hungary, Spain, Netherlands, and so on. Then, years later if you don't implode, go ahead and mess with the save to give you massive political and religious uprisings throughout the entire empire.
    The Habsburgs exist. Count Werner of Aargau, a minor province in Upper Burgundy. He also doesn't start out with a harelip, so there's that.

    EDIT: I'm probably going to end voting sometime today. Right now, Muslim Sicily is in the lead, but that could very quickly change.
    Last edited by TooManySecrets; 2012-07-12 at 05:02 AM.
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    I'd like to see a heretical Ireland. It would amuse me.
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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    I wonder, have the cap of Court Member been removed from 50?

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Quote Originally Posted by Cikomyr View Post
    I wonder, have the cap of Court Member been removed from 50?
    From what I read, there's a soft cap of 30. After you have 30 court members, court members with 4 or more children can't have more children.

    Why do you ask?
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Just hoping, if we play Muslim Sicily, that we take up Elective Inheritance and have lots and lots of sons, naming all of them rulers of some lands or another, except the designated Heir (who will be the one with the best stats/claims).

    With 2-3 wives, I hope it'll work out well

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    Why, is "I want this land for my son" a legitimate casus belli?
    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Frankly, a Wizard can suck even more than a Fighter could ever dream of sucking. A Fighter can stab himself to death, but only a Wizard could Plane Shift to some horrible far realm to be tortured for an eternity of insanity.


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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Why, is "I want this land for my son" a legitimate casus belli?
    Definetly not.

    But it would be fun to see the entire lands of Europe ruled by the same dynasty at every level and provinces. We could even try to beat Ghengis Khan's record of highest % of direct male descendants.

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Why, is "I want this land for my son" a legitimate casus belli?
    Having a big dynasty increases your chances of having some distant family inheriting some random land.

    I haven't got into it, but there's two types of marriages. The normal type, patrilineal, in which the child has the dynasty of the father. The other type, matrilineal, has the dynasty of the mother. However, the inheritance mechanic doesn't care about that. So, if I marry my son to a princess of the Holy Roman Empire, then their children could inherit the HRE (depending on how things work out, of course). The characters you play as is your direct inheritor, but if someone dies without heirs, it goes through the dynasty by default. So, my heir might not inherit the HRE, but if his cousin dies without an heir, he might. Plus family members are free allies.

    Too long, didn't read; having family members in good positions is a good thing.
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    I just want to repeat that Spanish Christians sound good.

    If you afraid of that not working, go for a minor HRE guy. Someone mentioned the Hapsburgs? That could be fun.

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    This game is 75% off on Steam RIGHT NOW.
    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Frankly, a Wizard can suck even more than a Fighter could ever dream of sucking. A Fighter can stab himself to death, but only a Wizard could Plane Shift to some horrible far realm to be tortured for an eternity of insanity.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    This game is 75% off on Steam RIGHT NOW.
    Btw recently released Sword of Islam DLC is also 75% off
    Quote Originally Posted by Random movie night quote
    Banana grey is the most awesome color ever!
    STEAM ID

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    Default Re: Let's Play Crusader Kings II

    Quote Originally Posted by Cikomyr View Post
    Just hoping, if we play Muslim Sicily, that we take up Elective Inheritance and have lots and lots of sons, naming all of them rulers of some lands or another, except the designated Heir (who will be the one with the best stats/claims).

    With 2-3 wives, I hope it'll work out well
    Muslims aren't allowed to change succession laws. They're always open agnatic which means the son with most land inherits. So its basically the same as elective except only your sons are viable candidates and only you're allowed to vote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Why, is "I want this land for my son" a legitimate casus belli?
    Holy war is basically the same thing. Muslims can basically declare war on anyone, have better tech, can choose which of their sons they want to succeed and can execute their relatives for free. So they're essentially 'easy mode'.
    Last edited by Closet_Skeleton; 2012-07-13 at 08:23 AM.
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    Default Part 1 - Chapter 1 - An Auspicious Start



    An Auspicious Start


    "The year is 1066. My family, de Barcellona, has been the dukes of the self-same realm ever since Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, took it from the Mohammedans. For 200 years we have held fast against the Moors and our gallant defense has been rewarded with nothing. While the incompetent lords of Castille, Leon, and Galicia were granted kingships with the blessings of the so-called Emperor, my family was denied the honor and glory that was rightfully ours. The greatest insult came when the Moors launched a grand siege of Barcelona in 985. My ancestor, Count Borell II, pleaded with the sniveling Capet king of France for help, but he was met with only silence."

    "We beat back the savage invaders and we declared our independence from all others. The Capets were not the legitimate rulers of France - they were cowards. When my father told me of our history, I swore that I would make my family great. I would beat back the Mohammedan invaders and I would make those who had betrayed my family pay."

    The Starting Map
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    World Map


    This is the map of the world and all it's independent rulers. The Duchy of Barcelona is the little brown part in the north-east of the Iberian peninsula.

    Religion Map


    This is the map of the religions of the world.

    Tan - Catholic
    Orange - Orthodox
    Bright Green - Shi'a
    Green - Sunni
    Light Green - Zoroastrian
    Grey - Norse
    Blue - Tengri
    Brown - Suomenusko
    Off-Reddish - Romuva
    Red - Minor pagan

    The colors that seem to be only one or two counties are heresies. That bright orange in the Orthodox area is Bogomolists and the light green, almost white, in the Sunni area is Druze.



    That dour chap was our starting character, Alfons I de Barcelona. Here's his stats:

    (Ignore his wife. I forgot to take an earlier screenshot)

    Alfons was made with the Ruler Designer DLC1, so he has pretty good stats for a starting character, as well as great Stewardship. Stewardship is pretty much the the most important stat in the game. Money is the most important resource, so having more of it is always a good thing. The forum regulars on the official forums joke that it's the only important stat, but that isn't true (which they'll usually prove by showing their Martial 5 leader getting beat by an army less than a quarter of it's size). Alfons is also Quick (that speeding bullet trait), which gives a bonus to all stats and can be inherited by his children. Overall, a good character, which is good, because we'll need it.

    1Overall, this DLC is a bit "meh". It's a point-buy system, but your points are your age. Unless you want to start with a 50 year old character, you need to optimize a bit. Luckily, the costs for everything is in an editable file, defines.lua. I used the default defines for the purposes of this play-through, though.

    When we start the game, the first thing I notice is that Alfons is unmarried. No wife means no kids means no dynasty which means we're going to have a short game. I open up the character screen to find a suitable wife.



    The top choice is pretty nice. Good stats all around, great Stewardship, she's Midas Touched (the best education you can get for Stewardship), and she's also a Genius (which she might pass on to our children). Very nice! Let's just send a proposal and wait a sec...



    She's celibate. Great. That means she can't have children.

    Yeah, not marrying her.



    Instead, we're marrying Natalia, who has almost as good stats and will actually give us children. Since Natalia is a courtier, i.e. doesn't have any titles, and Alfons is a duke, marrying her gives us a prestige hit. However, (a) having characters with good stats is more important than having high prestige and (b) right after a marriage we can get an event that let's us either take her dowry (which gives us money) or refuse the dowry (which gives us back most of the prestige we lost).

    "My lord, I promise to be a good and loving wife, to support you in all things, and to honor your family."

    "To you Natalia, I promise my devotion and my loyalty. I will be happy to spend my life with you."

    I always cry at weddings.



    Here's a view of the local area around us. The duchy of Barcelona should be pretty obvious to see. Urgell, Rosello, and Empuries are our vassals. The rulers I've marked with a red dot are Muslim rulers. To the north is France, to the north-east is a tiny bit of the Holy Roman Empire (HRE), and to the west is the Kingdoms of Navarra, Aragon, and Castille (Najera there is about to forcibly be made a vassal of Castille or Navarra).

    "The first thing I must do to properly bring glory to my family name is to take the lands which rightfully should be mine. The duchy of Barcelona has de jure claim to Tarragona and Lleida, but those lands were taken from us by the Moors. It is time to correct that."

    Tarragona and Lleida are held by Sheikh Yusuf of Lleida. As he's a Muslim, we can declare Holy War on him. However, since version 1.04 (if I'm remembering correctly), Holy Wars give a chance to all other nearby rulers of the same religion as the defending ruler to join into the fight. Holy War would let all those red-dotted countries gang up and fight us all at once. Not a good plan. However, as Alfons stated, Tarragona and Lleida belong to us de jure, so we can us that as a casus belli instead.

    So we do.



    No, normally, a de jure claim makes whoever owns the land our vassal. However, since the ruler of Tarragona owns two counties, instead of making him our vassal, we just take it from him. Hurray!




    The war is pretty easy since we outnumber Yusuf's forces almost 2 to 1. In fact, it takes more time chasing down his army than it does beating it.

    While we're fighting, we get a message from the King of Aragon.



    Now, Barcelona isn't Aragon's vassal, but we are in the de jure lands of Aragon, which means we can vote when the King of Aragon tries to change kingdom laws. Higher crown authority is great ... as long as you're the king. It stinks for the vassals. So, we're going to ignore King Sancho right now.



    During the game, you get events like these. Sometimes they automatically give you a trait, sometimes they automatically give you a trait if you choose to get it, and sometimes it's just random. This event didn't give me a trait (I chose the second option), but I just wanted to show it off in case I get one that gives me a significant trait at some point.



    Anyways, we won the war. Tarragona is ours. After every war, there's a truce period. You can break the truce, but you lose prestige and people of the religion of the person you're breaking the truce with get angry with you. Truces last for 10 years and I'm fine with waiting that out, right now.


    "I have struck a blow against the Mohammedans, but while my own men showed unquestioning loyalty during this war, the loyalty of my vassals have been called into question. If I am to lead my family to glory, I'm going to need to put somebody in charge who I can trust ... me."



    Revoking the county (or dukedom or even kingship) of a vassal basically takes their title from them. It's a good way to consolidate power. You can do it through plots, or you can do it through diplomacy. However, unless the vassal is a traitor (you imprisoned them for a plot or because they rebelled), than revoking their titles through diplomacy makes people start viewing you as a tyrant. In general, try to avoid that.

    My intrigue is high enough that the initial plot power of the plot is 100%. However, even though it's that high, I still need at least one other person backing my plot. I give some gold and an honorary title to some baron in my realm...



    ...and then I start revoking my vassal's titles.





    I don't do it all at once, since most of the time when you're revoking titles, the vassal decides to go to war with you. I basically revoke one title, finish the war, wait for my levies to increase a bit, then repeat.



    "The year is 1073. Barcelona is now united under my rule. The Moors still control Lleida - I will honor our truce for now - but never before has my family's rule been this consolidated. What is ours, is ours and no other's."

    Anyways, during those years, Alfons I got his wife pregnant twice (a boy and a girl) and the Court Chaplain was able to convert the remaining Muslim barons in Tarragona to Catholicism.



    The King of Aragon continues trying to raise Crown Authority so I ... I ... that's not the King of Aragon. That's the Queen of Aragon.

    Interesting. Queens, while not rare, are pretty uncommon. It seems King Sancho died without a male heir. Let's check out the character page of Queen Urraca.



    Wait, the Queen of Aragon is married to the King of Navarra? That's not good. Their children stand to inherit both Aragon and Navarra. Granted, those kingdoms are pretty small - individually the size of the current Duchy of Barcelona or a bit smaller - but combined, with a dual monarch, that could be a bit annoying to have on our border.

    "Unless there is a way to have this work for us. The kinglings of Aragon and Navarra are almost as incompetent as those to the west, but the addition of their lands to ours would be of great help to my quest. Aragon and Navarra have had two children - a boy and a girl. I will send a messenger to the rulers, offering my son's betrothal to the girl. With any luck, they will accept."



    A betrothal is a promise of marriage. When Alfons' son and Queen Urraca's daughter reach marrying age, they will be married. Betrothal can be broken, but hopefully this one won't be.


    "With that out of the way, it is time to continue expelling the Mohammedans from Hispania."



    The war with Sheikh Abu-al-Malik (whose county I marked with a red dot) is pretty uneventful.



    About the only thing of interest is that I hired some mercenaries. Mercenaries are pretty nice - for an initial hiring cost plus additional money each month, you get a pretty huge number of soldiers. For instance, I'm hiring 1500 mercenaries, which doubled my army. I probably could have done the war without them, but Albarracin had called in some help from the other Muslim rulers, some of whom had sent that army into Tarragona. I probably could have taken Albarracin and then kicked the Muslims out of Tarragona pretty quickly, but why take the chance at failure?



    See? Look at all those allies. It's good we ended this when we did.



    I also take Calatuyad. I don't think that we're going to see another easy war against the Muslims for a while. Calatuyad was the last independent Muslim ruler (in our area) with a single province under his control. Even then, we almost didn't win the war, because his allies were able to bring in 3 times the amount of troops I had (and that's including mercenaries). I took Calatuyad right before their armies got there and then immediately sued for peace.

    In other news...


    Children also get trait events, but it's the parent (if they're under 6 years old) or guardian (if they're over 6 years old) who makes the decision for them. This even gave Alvarez the Diligent trait, which is nice. In addition to being a virtue (which means Church members like Alvar more), it also gives a +1 bonus to all stats. Nice.



    Now, King Antso has four children. Two of them are bastards, though, so they don't get a chance at inheritance. That leaves his daughter and son (with Queen Urraca). Prince Gartzia is ahead of Princess Elida.

    "Killing a child is not something that you do with on a whim or with an easy mind. Though it makes my heart heavy, for the good of my family, Prince Gartzia must die so that the Princess might inherit the two kingdoms."

    Alfons' intrigue is relatively high, but even he only gets around 40% base plot power. He's going to need a lot of backers. He starts giving out gifts of money to various courtiers and barons, when I notice something. One person in particular is willing to get in on this plot.




    That's right. The Spymaster of Navarra. The person's whose job it is to find plots has agreed to back my plot. He alone gives a whopping 158% plot power to the plot of killing the prince.

    I think Gartzia is going to have himself an accident very soon.

    Character Sheets
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    Map
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    World Map


    We're slowly expanding. Hurray!

    Religion Map


    Nothing has really changed on the religion map either. Orthodox Christians are getting kicked out of Sicily, Norse is losing ground in Scandinavia, and a few small heresies have popped up (Cathars in Wales, Fraticelli in Lotharingia).


    Elsewhere
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    William the Bastard was able to become King William the Conqueror. Though he's now putting down rebellions in various places in England, he's so far still been able to keep his holdings in France.



    The kingdom of Rus has been formed. Poland (and Denmark...) have started to expand into the pagan nations of the Baltics.



    The Shi'a Caliphate has shattered pretty badly, though why I don't know. It's probably a temporary situation, but if it stays that way, it should make the Crusades easy (if we're able to finish the Reconquista in time...)


    Current Score
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    I intend to cement the chance of eventually inheriting Navarra and Aragon. However, where do we want to go in the meantime?

    1. Start moving against the other Christians nations in Spain. Without their lands, we can't take back Spain!

    2. Continue pushing against the Muslims. It is our destiny to take Spain back from them!

    3. Something else?!
    Last edited by TooManySecrets; 2012-07-14 at 08:18 AM.
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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