Blood on the road to Mecca
As you will remember the Ottomans warned me in the last turn, which leaves me in a waiting position until I can DoW confidently or I get called by allies or guarantees. I'm hoping the Austrians will attack the OE eventually, and that would give me a very good chance.
Government Tech 9 is reached in 1501, I take National Bank as second NI. Now I can reduce inflation at 0.1% per year.
I realise I can recruit Men At Arms in Apulia, so I start building up an Italian guard to help in the eventual war with the Ottomans. I also build a carrack to give a bit of strenght to my paltry Med fleet.
In 1503 I get a 'Dramatic currency devaluation' event. The choice is more inflation or less inflation, prestige and stability. I choose the latter, which puts me at 'only' 10.1% inflation.
Later that year Austria adopts the Counter-reformation... not a moment too soon judging by the speed of protestant expansion. Note how even Apulia went protestant
Between 1500 and 1506 the Ottomans get involved in short wars against unthreatening countries like Golden Horde (they have a hidden province somewhere in Siberia), Hungary, Georgia. Only a war along with Astrakhan agaist Tver/Muscovy is significant. The northern powers come out badly from it, especially Muscovy, who loses half of the territory to newly-released Ryazan.
Meanwhile in the east Rajputana keeps growing at the expense of Khorasan and Durrani (I didn't get invited to this war, Khorasan got involved through a guarantee on Durrani I think).
In 1507 I receive another 'Dramatic currency devaluation' event. I choose the double stab hit again to lower my inflation to 6.8%. I imagine the National Bank must be triggering these. Not that I complain, the inflation reduction is worth the stability sacrifice in the long run. On the other hand, a look at the 'inflation top chart' shows the 3.2b AI is quite relaxed about quantitative easing
In October 1507 I receive a call to arms from Astrakhan against Novgorod-Riga-Ukraine. I join on their side, and so does the OE. This war seems to take the OE's war exhaustion as far as it can get, 12.50, and sees Novgorod lose three provinces a year later.
In 1508 I push the slider towards innovative. I think I just need one more to be able to westernise.
Just a few months after having signed peace with Novgorod, Astrakhan DoWs Tver, so here we go again. The OE once again participates and sends troops north, but the WE doesn't go beyond 12.5%.
Ottoman exhaustion is not going to get any better for me, so I start preparing for an eventual DoW after this war. To spice things up I fund a few patriots in Tabouk with some spare money...
The war ends in 1510, with Tver losing one province. Four of my Persian provinces become cores and Persian culture is accepted, which should help the economy. A new king ascends and is immediatelly enrolled as general. After more than 10 years with not real wars my army tradition is rather poor, any king will make a better general than anything I can recruit at the moment.
After building a few more regiments I am finally ready to call the Ottoman warning in early 1511. Pskov, the northern OPM, is the chosen target, stab-hit free and more likely to draw Astrakan on my side.
It works: Astrakhan and Khorasan join me, Muscovy, Novgorod and the Ottoman Empire rush to defend Pskov.
I immediately focus on besieging the Ottoman Arabian provinces while defending the northern border. I'm hoping Astrakhan will keep the Ottomans busy and that my lack of WE will give me an edge against their superior army and tech.
For a while I manage to hold the relative small Turkish armies crossing the border...
Quite a few of them actually...
Although the Ottoman forces eventually push through in big numbers.
I even lose my entire Italian guard in a nasty overrun I have to start recruting replacements in Egypt.
My Mediterranean fleet manages to sink the 4-galley blockading flotillas the OE has placed around my coast, one at a time. It's not strong enough to fight against the main 21-galley Ottoman support fleet though.
Progress is also slow in the north. In April 1512 I sign peace with Muscovy ceding Moskva to Astrakhan, hoping this will release Astrakhani resources for the southern front. Shortly afterwards Austria calls on a crusade against the OE, but no-one dares DoWing
Things get ugly as Ottomans armies storm through Iraq and western Persia. Astrakhan leaves the war for good signing peace with Novgorod for Alania and 25 ducats. Well, that's one gold province no longer in Ottoman hands, but a longer commitment of Astrakhan in the war would have been far more useful. They also renew their alliance with the OE a few months later, which is worrying.
It's not until the Turkish armies start losing some steam after attrition and assaults in 1513 that I can begin to repel them. I consolidate all my cavalry to attack enemy stacks and all my infantry to recover lost provinces.
Which seems to work against infantry or small cavalry armies...
But even my king and all my cavalry are not good enough against a solid Ottoman cavalry army led by 6-shock Osman Even with defensive bonus any encounters with him end up in butchery...
Luckily Osman goes north to deal with a huge Georgian revolt, which gives me the chance to get back all my provinces and finish the last siege in Ottoman Arabia in 1515. At 16 WE (and the Ottomans' clearly capped at 12.5) I decide to cash my gains as things are only likely to get worse with more and more rebels.
I sign a 36% WS peace with Novgorod, which is quite happy to end the war parting with someone else's provinces Sadly I can't get Medina in the deal to completely eliminate Ottoman presence in Arabia.
After 90 years at last I complete my first mission!
The Syrian homelands are now united, and I'm free to DoW again! Now I'll need to make sure I'm ready for the Ottomans in 5 years' time, because they'll certainly come back for their cores.
Other than the painful victory over the Ottomans, the biggest achievements this turn have been 3 successful conversions and halving my inflation, thanks to the National Bank and the two currency revaluation events.
Syria in 1515
Allied with Astrakhan and Korashan.
Monarch: Padishah al-Ashraf II (4a/8m/8d)
Army: 43 (22/21/0)
Navy: 18 (1/0/9/8)
Mamluks: Allied with Hedjaz, Najd and Adal. CB on Syria. Guaranteeing Yemen and Iraq. Warned by OE, Syria.
Funj: Allied with Yemen and Swahili. Leads PU with Swahili. CB on Hedjaz. Guaranteed by Sokoto.
Algiers: Allied with OE, Durrani. CB on Castille and Fez. Guaranteed by OE. Guranteeing Yemen, Najd, Hedjaz, Fez and Oman.
Tripoli: Allied with Najd, Castille. CB on Syria. Guaranteed by Sokoto and Songhai.
OE: Allied with Bosnia, Serbia, Sibir, Algiers, Astrakhan. CB on Austria, Syria. Guaranteeing Yemen, Oman, Hedjaz, Syria and Iraq. Warning Georgia, Hungary, Novgorod, Yemen, Hedjaz, The Mamluks.
Najd: Allied with Yemen, Tripoli, Khorasan and the Mamluks. CB on Syria, Oman. Guaranteeing Iraq. Guaranteed by Oman, Algiers and Fez. Warned by Syria.
Iraq: No allies. CB on the OE, Syria. Guaranteed by OE, Yemen, Oman, Najd, Fez and the Mamluks.
Hedjaz: Allied with Oman, Adal and the Mamluks. CB on OE and Yemen. Guaranteed by OE, Algiers and Fez. Warned by OE, Syria.
Khorashan: Allied with Syria, Najd and Durrani. Guaranteeing Shaybanid, Chagatai, Kashmir, Durrani. Warning Shaybanid.
Qara Qoyunlu: Annexed by Astrakhan.
Durrani: Allied with Khiva, Khorasan, Algiers and TE. CB on Syria and Rajputana. Guaranteed by Khorasan.
Khiva: Allied with Kazakh, Durrani and Kashmir. CB on Syria, Shaybanid, Khorasan and Deva Bengal. Guaranteed by Astrakhan. Warned by TE and Syria.