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Thread: "For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity" - The Knights of St. John

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    Second Lieutenant Spuzzter's Avatar
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    "For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity" - The Knights of St. John



    Hello everyone! This will be a MMU KoSJ AAR starting in 1399. As of this writing it is the newest version available to players; that will change soon, due to the release of 'Divine Wind' in about two weeks. But, given that it'll take a while for a new version of MM to be released, I decided to start the AAR before I lose interest.

    I will follow several rules, outlined below:

    1) Very Hard difficulty, Normal aggressiveness, Historical lucky nations (everything else default)

    2) I will not convert state cultures: A typical first-move for KoSJ games is to convert to Greek culture, with a -5 stab hit that is easily recovered as a OPM; the AI typically does it as well. I will not do this: the modders took their time to make a brand new crusader culture group, and I'll honor their effort! By my reckoning, the 'Hospitaller' culture is meant to reflect the multi-ethnic character of the Order's membership, so I'll stick to it. Of course, this means I will not be able restore Byzantium, nor to form Greece.

    3) I will stay Catholic: by some clever manipulation of the gaming mechanics, it was possible for the Knights to become Orthodox; sometimes the AI does this accidentally, and it really is the best thing to do, gameplay-wise. But remaining Catholic is TOO MUCH FUN, so we'll just have to stay true to Rome.

    4) I will TRY not to change government types: If the Knights loses too much support, they get a rather nasty event converting their government to a despotic monarchy and effectively removing all their bona. This leads to three qualifications...

    a) I can only do so much to ensure the support of different European countries. Countries converting to Protestant or Reformed will basically kill my relations with me, in which case they will dissolve their priories (as happened historically).

    b) I want to remain as a religious military order, though as time goes on it will probably be impractical considering the AE needs I will accrue. Should this be the case, I will remain 'thematically appropriate;' if a theocracy is a religious dictatorship, I will remain as such! Ergo, converting to the more advanced forms of dictatorship, which must necessarily be done by switching to Absolute Monarchy at govt. level 27 (I think)

    c) If I do turn into a monarchy, I will edit .txt file to include 'KNI' as a country tag able to form Greece.

    5) I will NOT declare war on Catholic countries: ... unless they're excommunicated; and of course, if I'm dragged into a war by an alliance, then I have no problem with it.

    6) I will NOT be gamey!: No tactical reloading to avoid nasty events, or stuff like that. The game will be played as per the designer's intent.

    ... and of course, I will take any comments/criticisms/suggestions under thoughtful consideration.

    I aim to take Constantinople, destroy the Ottomans, capture Judea, and maintain total religious unity. And of course, try not to get annexed along the way
    Last edited by Spuzzter; 04-12-2010 at 14:36.

  2. #2
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Good luck! Hopefully the Banner of St John will become known and feared by the infidel.
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    Major Chris Taylor's Avatar
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    I like the realistic parameters you've set up for your effort. Looking forward to the first installment!
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    Slacker Extraordinaire Zzzzz...'s Avatar
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    Godspeed, dear Sir! Show those sissy Templars how to get the job done!
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    Lt. General lordreaven448's Avatar
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    i'm looking forward to this, here Spuzzter, have some pocorn while you play.

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    Duca di Firenze CJL78's Avatar
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    "I will NOT declare war on Catholic countries:"

    What about an excommunicated country? Hospigensian Crusade, anyone?

    So... first priorities? I assume Cyprus?

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    General gabor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJL78 View Post
    So... first priorities? I assume Cyprus?
    Isn't Cyprus a Catholic country? I mean the prov religion is Orthodox but the state religion is Catholic.

    Anyway, Spuzzter, good luck, you'll need it, a lot of it.
    If I can hint at sth, the Mameluks in MMu are relatively weak and OE doesn't target them, so...

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    Good luck! I am currently playing a game with Cyprus myself (with similar in house rules), so I know you will need it

    As I recall, the Knights Hospitalier were divided into several langues, which grouped the knights and recruits from particular countries. It would be quite awesome if you reflect this in the aar

    For Christ and Saint John! Go forth, and write some updates
    Last edited by Memento Mori; 03-12-2010 at 12:27.

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    Exactly, 8 Langues: Provence, Auvergne, France, Aragon, Castille, Italie, Angleterre (England) and Allemagne (Germany).

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    Colonel Memento Mori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zozo
    Exactly, 8 Langues: Provence, Auvergne, France, Aragon, Castille, Italie, Angleterre (England) and Allemagne (Germany).
    That's what they historically had, but when Aragon will be squashed by Castille, and Provence gets annexed by France (and, what's worse, after the reformation claims the souls of Englishmen), it would make sense for the aar to replace the obsolete langues by other catholic countries, such as Portugal, Austria or Poland.

    Well, obviously the author will have the final say on this, I'm just giving ides

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    Second Lieutenant Spuzzter's Avatar
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    @CJL78: Good point! I came up with the 'house rules' while on my way to work on the bus, so I guess I really hadn't thought them all the way through. I will allow myself to declare war on Catholic countries if they are excommunicated, but not for savvy political reasons (it being my chivalrous duty to liberate the oppressed from those who have abandoned God, of course ). I'll edit the original post to reflect this.

    @Memento Mori: Cyprus IS a Catholic country, and they haven't been excommunicated yet (though they did abandon their crusader roots for the greek)

    First update will come later today...

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    Crusader nations can be quite fun to watch, I'll be following.

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    Slacker Extraordinaire Zzzzz...'s Avatar
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    I forgot to ask. What kind of AAR would this be? Gameplay or History Book?
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    Second Lieutenant Spuzzter's Avatar
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    Gameplay, with a 1399 start, sorry I forgot to mention that before. I have a lot of respect for people who can do history book or other creative writing for their AARs, but by my nature I spend too much time over-analyzing things, including my EU3 gameplay. In a game with as much replay value as this, that can be dangerous! I might restart a game halfway through, just because I critique some opening moves! I'm sure that I'm not alone in this.

    Of course, I still like to play by some standards, as noted above. Also, I try to respect designer intent, though admittedly my own interpretation of what COULD have been might be a bit loose. I'll give you an example:

    The aforementioned event dissolving the order (the details can be found in the 'events' folder of anyone with MMP2) switches the culture of the Order to that of its capital; in our case, there is a 99.99% chance that this will be Rhodes, which is Greek. As you can read in the event notes, it's imagined to be a situation where a strongman takes over as a monarch, which I suppose would mean that the resultant political entity would be called something akin to the 'despotate of rhodes,' though it is still called 'The Knights'. If this were to happen, I have no problem with inserting the 'KNI' tag as one of those possible to form Greece, in addition to Naxos, Athens, Modea, and Achaea. If anyone has an issue with this, let me know; otherwise, I'll just insert this second amendment into original post.

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    Lt. General chals's Avatar
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    you shoud move your cap. to some better place(like egypt, alixsandria), becouse of goooood base tax, trade center, and will prob. be the most realistisk thing to do, apart from Jerusalem it self
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    Second Lieutenant Spuzzter's Avatar
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    Gosh that would be fun! I really never even considered that as a possibility! Were I to do that, and the event ending the knighthood occurred, I would effectively set up a Catholic Arab kingdom... wow.... but that would cost mucho $$$... and as you'll see, my strategy will begin with me in greece.

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    Second Lieutenant Spuzzter's Avatar
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    Opening Moves



    "I am not a man of blood; and God is my witness that in all my wars I have never been the aggressor, and that my enemies have always been the authors of their own calamity." - Tamerlane


    By the end of 1399, Christians were still reeling from their failure at the Battle of Nicopolis. Their loss could be attributed to the pride of a fading aristocratic warrior elite, who put their personal glory above the needs of the field. History, it seemed, would belong to the might of the Ottoman Empire.

    And yet, their power is not yet secure, nor is their ascendancy assured. To the east they face the threat of Tamerlane; to the west, the kingdoms of Hungary and Austria; to the North, the ever-expanding principality of Muscowy. And of course, right off their coasts, the brave souls of the Knights of St. John.

    Will the Knights be able to adapt to the changing tides of history, and succeed in their holy mission? I certainly hope so; otherwise, this will be a short AAR!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    The Knights face a daunting geopolitical situation at the opening of the game. They own one province that shares neither their state religion nor their state culture. The closest Catholic province is in Beirut, held by the Mamluk Sultanate. And of course, there aren't actually any provinces in the game that hold a majority of the Hospitaller culture, nor will there ever be. And of course, the ever-present danger of the Barbary pirates; their raids will prove to be quite damaging over the course of the game, and as an organized Christian response, the KoSJ can only hope to give as good as they get.

    Oh yeah, and the Ottoman Empire. Let's not forget them. Throughout the majority of the game the Ottomans will only get stronger, as they consolidate their control over Asia Minor and the Balkans. Whereas in Victoria's timeline they will be the 'sick man of Europe,' in EU3 they are one of the strongest countries in the game. Somewhat curiously, they rarely expand as they did historically: by the opening decades of the 16th century the Ottomans under Selim the Grim ringed the Eastern and Southern edges of the Mediterranean and dominated the Middle East; in the game, the Mamluks often remain a viable regional power right up to the end. You're more likely to see the Ottomans in Finland then in Alexandria (no joke).

    As the game begins, the Ottomans are at their weakest, and are engaged in a war with Tamerlane, leading the eponymous Timurid empire. Historically, Timur ravaged Asia Minor and captured the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, who died in captivity (possibly by suicide). In the games this rarely occurs; Tamerlane (a ridiculously fantastic general) dies very early, and the Timurids suffer a bunch of debilitating events that lead to their eventual dissolution into several successor states. The Ottomans typically come away with a bit of territory, marking the beginning of their expansion. And of course they are an administrative kingdom, and a historical 'lucky' nation. Simply put, the longer you wait to take them down a notch, the worse off you will be.

    Compared to their truly dismal opening state in vanilla EU3, the Knights of MMP2 begin will several unique bonuses designed to reflect their history. They definitely punched above their weight; maintaining one of the most powerful navies in the Mediterranean as well as good relations with most of the Christian world, even after the Protestant Reformation. Again, this rarely happens in the game, as the AI sucks at keeping their navies alive.

    The opening mission statement of the KoSJ:



    ... and its effects:



    Grand Priories are provincial decisions that can be made by countries with 25 ducats and sufficient relations with The Knights. The provinces receive a special 'KOSJ Priory' flag that remains even if the province switches hands, and if the conquering AI country has sufficient relationship requirements, they WILL (with 100 certainty) maintain the Priory. More Priories allows the Knights to establish more 'Langues' or (as they are known in the game) 'Tongues,' the greater number of which will confer special tax and manpower bonuses upon their capital province. The members of each Langue were associated with a different region of Europe, though things were changed around as the fragmented kingdoms of the Middle Ages consolidated into the countries we know and love today.

    Another historical note: the official languages of the Knights were Latin and French, thus 'Langue' being the name of their organizational unit (meaning both 'language' and 'tongue' in French). Of course, everyone spoke Greek, and the Knights typically maintained good relations with the populations over which held sovereignty.



    Impressive, isn't it? This does highlight one distinct advantage of the KoSJ: they are in the Western European tech group, and will thus maintain research at a pretty good clip with the neighbor bona. Unit-wise, the Muslim tech group holds a pretty distinct advantage in the first part of the game, though things even out at tech level 16.



    The Knights' opening NIs are geared to winning battles, with a superior military on a unit-to-unit basis. Of course, this doesn't matter for much land-wise through the beginning of the game, when 3 Knights infantry units will be up against an Ottoman military ten times its size; but with the right advisers they can maintain a distinct naval advantage, which will be key to their success. I made my opening slider move toward centralization, with the 'social discontent' event firing (-10 prestige and a hit in faction relations, though none have formed yet)



    ... wait a minute, what is he doing?



    WAIT A MINUTE, WHAT IS HE DOING?!?!?!?!
    Last edited by Spuzzter; 04-12-2010 at 14:15.

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    Awh, a screaming cliffhanger ending! I love these!
    You know an AAR will be epic when the author himself is questioning the sanity of his decisions in huge letters

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    Second Lieutenant Spuzzter's Avatar
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    I aim to please

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    Second Lieutenant Spuzzter's Avatar
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    Round 1

    or,

    How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Timurids


    A bunch of Knights chilling in Rhodes, watching their dogs


    I think it's fair to say that I'm following a pretty unorthodox strategy. Why would I ditch one of the best military NIs in the game, when I had two Naval ideas; moreover, why did I pick up an NI that favors a moral economy, when it's generally suggested to build up a trade empire as a minor nation? Why am I declaring war on the Ottomans?

    To the first point: there are generally two types of military NIs: those that improve combat effectiveness, and those that improve logistics. Elite Regiments definitely falls into the former category, which really isn't what The Knights need to be effective against the Ottomans. They start at 5 quality, receive a morale boost from their government type, and a discipline bonus from the Tongues located in their capital; without ER, I'm still operating with a 133% discipline.

    The flipside is that I'll probably have less than 10k manpower for the first century or so; greek provinces are pretty wealthy, but they're sparsely populated, and the constant warfare (I'll be following a scorched earth policy) doesn't help. Neither, of course, will the inquisition... by the time I grab Thrace and get into Turkey, the situation will improve. Assuming, of course, that I'm able to do all of that.

    I am going to be at war quite a bit, and when I'm not I'll simply be recovering. I won't have time for silly things like trade, nor will I have the luxury of peaceful aggrandizement; my wealth will come at the expense of others. Guild Privileges helps with both AE and production income, which suits my needs just fine. Keeping naval ideas is important for beating up the Ottoman navy in the beginning of the game, as well as providing some protection against the Barbary pirates, who can be quite nasty as time goes on.

    With regards to the second point, the Ottomans will be distracted at the beginning of the game, and I'll be able to grab Morea (at least). They start with the Byzantines as a vassal, but this can be a little weird: sometimes they break free, sometimes they don't; sometimes they get thessaly, sometimes they don't. It's not crucial to our success, but if the Byzantines break free with Thessaly, that means that the Ottomans won't have direct access to Epirus. And of course, the BE is much easier to beat up than the OE. In my current game, I've been quite lucky in this regard (as we'll see).

    (NB: the truce is meant to refer to the Battle of Nicopolis, which occurred in 1396, three years before the game's start. It doesn't expire until 1409, and that's too much time to sit around and do nothing, dangit!)



    The KoSJ advisers can be really great. The 'Knight Commanders' typically have some problems getting employment, but if you're doing a lot of naval fighting they really make all the difference. Early naval fights are not decided by actually destroying ships, but through destroying the morale of the enemy. In the Mediterranean, you may very well be dodging in and out of ports to attack weaker naval attachments and avoid nasty stacks; the Knight Commanders help on both points. So use them!



    Capturing ships will allow you to even the scales against the Ottomans on the water. This can get quite costly, so don't be afraid to delete some ships for the sake of your pocketbook. Jump back and forth between ports so that you can repair any damage you incur, as well as take out minor Ottoman fleets. Asking your Christian neighbors for military access will help here. Finally, maintain vigilance to prevent the Ottomans from landing...



    ... though some will probably get through ...



    ... but don't worry! If you can beat the army and keep the seas clear, they won't have anywhere to run; a pretty good way to destroy a couple of units.



    There will be a bunch of these events, but it's not a big deal for the Knights with their small size. I'll gladly take the stability hits over dishing out money, for the most part. Some ask for a flat tax, others are proportionate to your income; that is to say, I may only be asked to dole out half a ducat to make the whole thing go away, which isn't a problem.



    If the Privateer option is available to you, strongly consider it. It bumps up infamy a bit, but there are some pretty great benefits; especially for the Knights, who always have it available (with Naval at 4). And what are these benefits?



    How about 100 ducats? Does that do anything for ya? While the privateers are active there will be pretty frequent string of events giving you money; most are just around 5 to 8 ducats, but occasionally you get bigger amounts. Note that the Privateers are just a general option, and don't have anything to do with the Barbary Pirates; though they do hurt the Ottomans, so I guess it's indirectly related.

    Anyway.



    I love these events. I used to always go for the 'gold for silence,' which gives you 15 ducats risk-free; however, 10 ducats for a punitive raid is such a bargain! And what are the benefits?



    Meh... anything else?



    Not bad, not bad.... is that it?



    NICE! Of course, there are some risks associated with the raids; you may lose prestige through a failure, and a particularly nasty event where you must pay 50 ducats in ransom or else face a stability hit. But what's life without a little risk? I believe naval / espionage - related NIs help your chances, though I'm not sure.



    You want these events, though there is only so much you can do to promote them. Many of the German states will turn Protestant during the Reformation, typically leading to the dissolution of priories. Nothing much you can do about it, though I suppose you could launch a diplomatic offensive as soon as you realize a country has converted, but that's easier said than done. If France converts, you're well and truly screwed.

    Now then, the war itself:



    As I said earlier, I got really lucky. The Byzantines broke their vassal status early, with Albania remaining independent. Thus, the Ottomans have no direct military access to Epirus; Morea, as a vassal, gets dragged into the war. They are easily occupied. The Timurids actually made it all the way to Thrace, and were actually able to grab Sivas out of the peace deal; though as you can see, they quickly dissolved. In the future the Ottomans will probably have little trouble expanding to the East, though I haven't played the game that far yet. Suffice to say, the Ottomans had enough difficulties that Bulgarian patriots sprung up around the Balkans and were successful in occupying several provinces, even transferring ownership of Macedonia to Albania (not quite sure why, though I suppose it's because they're in the same culture group). The Ottomans will PROBABLY take these provinces back, as time goes on... Albania is a pushover. But it's a nice situation for the time being. To be honest, I've never seen the Ottomans do so poorly in the beginning of the game (nor Albania to have done so well)

    And so we wait, until...



    The Turks are beat up enough that they just want to stop fighting and go home. And so:



    With that, the first round of warfare is done. Here is a quick look at the update geopolitical situation, with The Knights gaining a foothold on the mainland:



    I'm left with 9 WE and a few points of infamy. Note that the Byzantines are engaged in the reconquest of Achaea, and are currently fighting the Venetians (who typically guarantee independence). Can anyone guess what this means?
    Last edited by Spuzzter; 04-12-2010 at 22:02.

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