Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Context of the Game

As I mentioned in an earlier post my earlier games were mainly playing as the Earl's Desmond - I did have a few tries as the Count of Norfolk, and few attempts at various European Counts, but I mainly played as the Earl of Desmond.

The Irish Earl's have the advantage off being independent - meaning that they do not have a liege lord, who requires money off them and can end your game by revoking your title, and winning any subsequent war because they are the Godwin's, or the Karling's or any of the other mega families, that can crush an lowly count with a click of their fingers.

Having got hooked on the standard game I started buying the DLC's when they were in a Steam sale, and one of the DLC's I purchased allowed you to play a merchant republic.

Now there is a way in which you can go from playing the standard feudal game, to becoming a merchant republic. And if you have an understanding of how the various holdings work, the laws of succession, etc, it is easy to do. The problem is that is practice it is decidedly difficult to create the circumstances.

One method is you conquer two duchies, in one you make your son the major of a city, you give him the county and then grant him the Duchy - this sets up the merchant republic. You then either need to change the succession laws - or only have one son - to a form of elective succession and rig the election by controlling all the castles, cities and bishoprics, counties, duchies.... and come to think of it you might also need to be a king, because you have to be one feudal ranking higher than the lord major (your son).... and if you really want to do it right, you are best killing every other male in your dynasty just ot be on the safe side.... and.....

Well in short it is in principle easy, but in practice almost impossible to achieve.

And it becomes totally absurd when you try and set it up because your ruler is in his 60's, on the assumption that he is about to die, and he then goes on to live until he is 77. And you realm is crippled by all sorts of demesne penalties, and the Lord Major starts voting for people other than himself to succeed, and starting factions to promote that other person.

Which is not to say it can't be done. I have managed it - partly by accident a few times - but then run into the problem of what do you actually do in a merchant republic?

I mean, I know you build trade posts and in theory make lots of money. But what about the other families? How do you stay in power? How do you grow?

I watched a few 'how to' videos online. And read a few bits and pieces on forums and blogs, trying to get a basic grip on what a merchant republic is, and more importantly how to play as one.

A couple of things that none of them mentioned.

As the Doge of a merchant republic you have no power.

You can't forcibly convert anyone.
You can't revoke their title.
You can't imprison someone who castrates your cousin.
You can't stop counts over throwing dukes.

Well OK, you can - if you can catch them plotting something, you can imprison them and then you can do all those things - and of course their is always the idiots who want to make a point by saying 'no' when you ask them to stop joining in plots.

And you can always plot to have them killed.... but other than that....

Oh and there is no matrilineal marriage.....
And, no feasts.... so no opportunities to make friends.... and you lose the opportunity to improve vassal opinion....
And you take a permanent hit for wrong government type, if you go down the path of feudalism for you growing empire - in order to prevent your cousin being castrated.....

But you make a loot of money.... and you spend a lot of money....

And we get ahead of ourselves.

It should be pointed out that this current game was my second attempt at playing as the Amalfi.

The first ended after about 20 years, when I accidentally spent half of my war budget buying a princess for a 67 year old courtier, who promptly died, and the princess buggered off before I could marry her to anyone else. Leaving me facing 15,000 Byzantine troops, who soooooooo wanted me to swear fielty.... sod that....

So when I started again I had a basic idea of what would happen in the early game.....

Or so I thought.....


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