Friday, 21 November 2014

A Potted History That Brings Us Up to Date

Ok, it turns out that the place I have been calling Kaybala, is actually Kabylia.... but it remains the dumping ground for dynasty members who I want shut of.

And skipping through the previous narrative, I noticed that I forgotten one very important figure in the history of the Republic, and that is Constante 'the Great' who ruled from 1247 to 1265.

Essentially it was he who took the reigns followed the divorce wars from my former vassals, he guided the ship during the turbulent heresy crisis on Sicily, and made the first in-roads north into the Kingdom of Italy. He also had 11 children, and can with some justification be called the father of modern European monarchy, as the majority of those children were married in the royal houses of Europe, including one of his sons to the Queen of Bavaria, a match that has proved most useful.

'The Great' is a term that gets attached to a large number of rulers in the game, and often I am left wondering why, as most of the time when I see this label, I comment sardonically, 'Yeah Great Twonk more like.'

But it is a label that is truely fitting for Constante, not least because of his canny ability to achieve the most unlikely arrests, 12% and the like, without the need for civil war.

However perhaps the most remarkable thing about him was that he had the trait slow. And he wasn't just slow, he was almost imbecilic. His highest trait was a 6 in stewardship, the rest were 3s and 4s, and this includes the stat bumps from the mansion. Yet, I only noticed this as those incredibly small numbers shrank with age.

It is true that he was blessed with exceptional counselors, and a string of talented wives, and perhaps, having grown used over time to having to make do and mend with less than stellar Dukes I have just got into the habit. Yet at no time did he play particularly did differently to the more talented, if anything he manged his vassals more ably, and more wisely, perhaps because he wasn't always trying to push water uphill in order to prove his greatness.

And there is another piece of the story that I forgot to mention.

Shortly after the divorce wars, the Duke of Cyprus re-founded the Kingdom of Cyprus. Which consisted of the island of Cypria and the Duchy of Archia. Having fought on the losing side on a number of occasions during the divorce wars, I find myself wondering why he thought we would not be more than a little annoyed if he started a merchant republic in Greece. We had already stamped out a similar project attempted by the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

I am guessing that he inherited his brain from the Duchess Barbara - who would have been his great, great, great grandmother - because that is precisely what he did.

As soon as I spotted the first trading post, on the island of Lesbos, I went into full on over reaction and launched an embargo war, the point of which was simply to warn him that unless he closed the place down I would destroy him. The tactic had worked with Jerusalem, I didn't see why it wouldn't work with Greece. But of course I forgot that his is related to the Duchess Barbara, who was never one to take the hint, was blinded - that didn't work, banished - that didn't work, she married her way back in, was imprisoned two of three times - she had balls I will give her that - though of course had had actually balls I would have cut them off - even with my squeamishness - just to finally get through her thick skull that she should stop what she was doing, and just get on with the business of making money, and enjoying spending it.

So we fought a relatively short war, he sued for piece, and make signals that he would shut the merchant republic, by moving a few borders, changing his vassals around, that sort of thing, but he didn't actually shut it.

I let things lie for a while, and was hopeful that it was going to die a death without any help from me, as the trading posts stayed at one or two for years. Then suddenly they began to spring up along the southern coast of Turkey and in the Holy land, six or seven of them in quick succession.

Enough was enough, he only had six counties in his mighty kingdom, what was he going do?

And indeed he could do nothing, I took all his holdings, and left him like that, refusing all offers of peace, for 18 months. And then despite being a tough-minded, robber baron, I finally offered him the chance of peace, when his money ran out, and he fell ill from stress.... well he is family after all... the poor love spent all the money he had building retinues to try and retake his holdings, only to have them wiped out by a boat load of mercenaries on a jolly.

Yet still he refused to shut down the merchant republic.

Then in a strange turn of events, the Lord Mayor of the merchant republic launched a revolt - either for independence or a coup. Either way was fine with me. I gifted the King of Cyprus the money to rebuild his finances, sent a few troops of my oan, and finally after a decade or so, and two ruinous wars - for the Cyriots - those wars hardly cost me a penny - it was all over I was back in control of all the trade in the Med.

And it has stayed so ever since.

And you'll remember the Duchess Augusta, and her Heretic husband, who were attempting to take over the state by stealth, using intermarriage and the feudal system.

Well, just at the point it was about to pay off for them, he got himself involved ina plot to kill some lowborn or another, managed to skip arrest a couple of times, but was finally caught and banished. He ran off to her court, at which point I arrested him again, and she rebelled - or rather was provoked to rebel by my retracting vassalage. I sent the troops in, expecting a long and cmplicated war, in which she called in allies, and the whole thing to drag on for a few years.

But no.

I knocked over her two retinues of 250 men each, and she sued for peace, and then she and her husband went to live in Kabylia with his son, and were never heard of again.

Which brings me to Italy.

The conquest of Italy began partly out of a desire to try and form the Empire of Italy. But mainly because having fought my way across Greece and North Africa, and then decided I couldn't give a monkeys about either region, the only place left was Italy.

And compared to those other theares, Italy was cheap to fight in. With no shipping costs, a narrow front, and I finally got to use my retinues - which until then had been primarily for home defence.

The war was largely sporadic at first, Ancona was taken, then Latium, then the Pope was kicked out of Rome, then invited back - for which he paid a very large sum of money - then half of Pisa, a bit of Tuscany, and so on. Sometimes the war was pushed by claims, at other times I would take the city and return for the county, but in general it was a well mannered affair with prisoners ransomed, and those who couldn't pay ransom released.

That is until the arrival of ing Fresco II, and his brother Gelantte, in 1233.

Gelante annoyed me greatly when he used his position as king of Croatia - he held 2 counties - to alter the borders of my holdings in Bosnia and Dalmatia. A brief war put him back in his box.

But my chief loathing was Fresco.

Ok by now I have taken half of his Italian lands, and I have sponsored and aided Bulgarian rebels, who have taken the kingdom of Bulgaria from him, and there are some other niggly things, like aI have his daughter prisoner and won't ransom her, but what pushed my buttons and changed the whole tone and tenor of the Italan wars was when Fresco was paid a bribe not to burn down my trading post in Sardinia, took the money, and burnt it down anyway.

From that moment on, I decided that from now on, if a Karling is cuaght on Italian soil, no argument, no deals, young, old, infrim or fit, they will be executed. And this applies to anyone married to a Karling or having the remotest connection to the Karlings.

And that is the way the war has gone ever since.

And as the Dukes get older, the wars grow more frequent with the changing of the guard, and the death toll in the Italian branch of the Karling clan mounts ever higher.

 Gone are the dreams of an Italian Empire, the plan now, if plan there ever was, is to take enough land to claim the Kingdom of Italy, and then destroy it, and set all the vassals free. pretty much the model that was carried out in Greece and North Africa.

Leaving me to retire to the republic of Sicly and count my money.

Oh one minor landmark of note - well major to me - is that my prestige score for the game went over the 500,000 point today.... which was nice.


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