I'm really enjoying this read.
If it was up to me I'd prefer not having the story mixed up with gameplay comments. I do like the gameplay part aswell but would like it more if it was kept seperate from the main narrative.
But, wellwell. It's your story so write it the way you like. I'm still reading =)
BraidsMAmma: Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying it. I'm sorry you don't like the mixture of gameplay and history-book, though there is very little I can do short of eliminating one or the other. IMHO separating the two would damage the narrative flow, and be more like writing two separate AARs. I'm really more a narrative authAAR anyway, so I'm sort of exploring new territory here.
manunancy: Thanks for commenting. It's been several years since I took French, and since it was an attempt on my part to pick up a third language I doubt much of it has stuck with me. The only two medieval examples of the usage of "Krak" that were readily available to me were unfortunately both plural: the Hospitallers' Krak des Chevaliers and Reynald's Kerak des Moabites. So I was just sort of blundering around in the dark when it came to the grammar. But what you say sounds correct. It would be "le château du roi" after all, wouldn't it? So why not le Krak du Lion?
To all, the new update is nearly finished and I hope to have it posted within the hour.
No one had seen it coming. When Tiberias’ well-armed host arrived at their gates, the Knights Hospitaller had been caught totally unawares. Although they were an organization entirely devoted to the military defense of the Holy Land, the Hospitallers were ill-prepared to defend Baalbek against a prolonged siege, especially by those who ought to have been their friends. The Knights of St. John were now compelled to do battle with their fellow Christians, despite their stringent rules to the contrary.
It is said that when their elderly Grand Master Roger de Moulins heard the news that he immediately fell dead from a heart attack.
Actually I had seen this attack coming. In my first playthrough before the patch, Raymond stormed Baalbek right out of the gate in 1180. Madness. After the patch, I thought the AI must have been mended because Raymond took out his frustrations in a long, fruitless war with the Hashishin. I should have guessed that after he had concluded a permanent peace in Masyaf that he would turn right back like a dog to his vomit and attack the neighboring Hospitallers.
What was Raymond thinking? Was he just trying to exploit his de jure claim to the province? Never mind that the Hospitallers were quite literally the only thing standing between him and hordes of screaming Muslim jihadists. Never mind that they had aided him in his war with the Hashishin. So foolish.
In fact, this move was so stupid that it really should not have even been possible. There ought to be some sort of proscription against fellow Catholics attacking the holdings of the holy orders, or at the very least there needs to be a huge penalty for so doing. In my first playthrough, Raymond did receive the epithet “the Wicked,” but he otherwise got off scot-free after schooling one of the most important holy orders in all of Christendom.
But really, this was just so absurd. The garrison at Baalbek may have been weak and ill-prepared, but surely Raymond remembered the thousands of heavy cavalry and infantry that the Hospitallers could deploy on command. He had fought alongside them on numerous occasions. I had high hopes that the powerful Knights of St. John would be able to give Raymond of Tiberias a suitably bloody nose.
Then at this point I learned about another mechanism of CK2: in-game, the political entity of the Knights Hospitaller seemed to be totally unable to muster the piety to hire the recruitable Hospitaller holy order. Never mind that they should have free and automatic access to those troops on demand. They're supposed to be one and the same, for goodness' sake!
The Knights Templar were no help either. While a successful attack on the Hospitallers would damage the prestige of all the holy orders, the Templars were still the Hospitallers' main rivals in the Holy Land, and they were content to watch them be humbled.
Worst of all, Sibylla and Richard were not able to do anything about it. If the game had allowed me to roleplay King Richard the way I wanted to at that moment, he would have marched north and rampaged through Raymond’s lands like a maniac, setting fire to everything in sight until that fool Raymond was forced to stand down. But because Jerusalem’s crown authority was too low, vassals could still fight each other without any royal repercussions whatsoever.
The Crown of Jerusalem was under their constant protection... so why were the Knights of St. John not to be afforded the protection of the Crown in return?
Madness I say, utter madness.
I think Jerusalem definitely needs to have their crown authority set a little bit higher at the start. My complete inability to intervene in this rampant internecine warfare made me feel as if I was playing one of the petty kingdoms in Ireland or something, not a fully-established crusader state. Instead, the only way for the king and queen to be able to intercede would be if they had a direct claim to any of Raymond’s lands (and thus a casus belli).
Well to heck with that. Attacking the Knights Hospitaller should be a casus belli in and of itself. Period.
This is one example of how unbalanced de jure claims can be. They are a wonderful, innovative game feature, but they definitely require a lot of tweaking. So, rather than tinkering endlessly with save-game files to remedy this situation, I thought I’d try to find a way around things with the in-game mechanics. There was no way I was going to allow Raymond to get away with this.
Sibylla immediately sent the Chancellor to work on developing a claim to Baalbek. That way Richard could have his war of vengeance.
The Spymaster was sent to Tripoli in the vain attempt to establish some spy networks there in preparation for an attempt to “unofficially” eliminate Raymond, but that proved to be a dead end. The man just wouldn’t take to being murdered.
Meanwhile, the Chaplain was dispatched forthwith to seek an audience with the Holy Father. His mission was to attempt to persuade the Pope of the true piety of the King and Queen of Jerusalem and the injustice of Tiberias’ cause. Hopefully the Chaplain could curry enough papal favor to launch a church-sanctioned military intervention against Tiberias, or at least a formal papal censure, maybe an excommunication?
The Chaplain returned from the Holy See a few months later with mixed news. He had enjoyed several long audiences with Pope Clement and had convinced him to support Jerusalem’s cause. Unfortunately, the old pope had then almost immediately died, being succeeded by some twit who anachronistically named himself Pope John Paul. This new pope possessed a great deal of contempt for all temporal sovereigns and had refused even to give the envoy an audience.
So now His Holiness was a nutjob who wouldn’t even intervene to save the embattled Knights Hospitaller. Come on.
By now Krak des Chevaliers itself was under siege. Raymond had taken and occupied all the holdings in Baalbek and was pushing to defeat the last major Hospitaller stronghold, formidable though it was. Ridiculous.
My meager efforts to intercede had proved to be too little, too late. Raymond didn’t have a direct claim on the Krak itself, but once it was taken he could force the Hospitallers to surrender their other lands to his control. The siege of the Krak was lengthy, but Raymond was patient, and he soon obtained both the peace treaty and the lands that he had so greedily sought.
Baalbek was lost. The proud Order of Hospitallers had been shamed.
I was frustrated to no end. There had been next to nothing I could do, but I was determined not to let this pass.
Sibylla was absolutely beside herself and Richard was seeing red. At some point in the future, the Chancellor was bound to forge a proper claim to Baalbek, and then the royal retinue would march north to bring the pain to Raymond and give the Hospitallers back their lands. Or maybe that twit-faced dunce of a Pope could be convinced to hit Raymond with some kind of sanction. I was bound and determined to do something.
For now however, there was little that could be done besides waiting for the councillors to fulfill their missions.
It was time to move on. There were other pressing matters to attend to.
Prince Godfrey had turned six years old, and as such it was now time to provide him with an education. Some stuffy old bishop requested the privilege of being the boy’s tutor, but Richard quickly sent him packing. No anemic clerical education would do for a son of Richard Cœur de Lion! No, the boy would learn the finer points of knighthood from his dear old dad himself. If you’ve got a solid King and Queen, having them personally educate their heirs is really the only way to go, because that way you have so much more influence on what traits they receive.
It was also about time to ensure that Godfrey was betrothed, because finding a bride with the requisite degree of both rank and personal ability can be ever so difficult. With Godfrey’s nuptials secure, Queen Sibylla could then rest easy for the next decade while the children matured, without having to rush to find an appropriate match for the Prince.
The first stop on the royal agenda was the Byzantine Empire to see if they had any princesses of the right age for Godfrey. The Byzantine alliance had been very useful for Sibylla’s father King Amalric, and it would be good to renew it to help maintain control of the Christian lands in the Near East. Regrettably, the Basileos didn’t see things the same way. When Jerusalem’s royal envoy formally requested the hand of a Byzantine princess for Prince Godfrey, the Emperor laughed in his face and said that Jerusalem already had a living Byzantine princess. He mockingly inquired what had been done with her for the kingdom to be seeking another.
Obviously Queen Sibylla’s stepmother Maria Komnena was not an option. She was already married to Balian of Ibelin and was pushing forty anyway. Moreover she had been a perpetual thorn in Sibylla’s side for years.
Come to think of it, maybe I didn’t want a Byzantine princess after all.
After a few weeks of wasted time in Constantinople, Queen Sibylla’s envoy headed farther west to the Holy Roman Empire to inquire about obtaining a betrothal between young Prince Godfrey and a German princess. After all, if negotiations with one claimant to the Throne of Caesars doesn’t work out, why not try the other?
A month later, word arrived from the illustrious Kaiser himself, one Friedrich von Hohenstaufen.
The illustrious Frederick Barbarossa sent Sibylla and Richard his warmest greetings, but also his regrets. He informed Jerusalem’s royal sovereigns that alas, contrary to popular belief, German princesses do not grow on trees. Barbarossa’s own children were all long since fully-grown and married off. The wife of his eldest son Heinrich had in fact recently given birth, but to a boy – named Frederick after his grandfather. The King and Queen of Jerusalem were more than welcome, he continued, to wait and pray that one of his many children produced a daughter, but unless they were prepared to make Godfrey wait a very long time for his bride to come to maturity, Richard and Sibylla ought not to hold their breath.
Barbarossa closed his epistle with more words of mingled candor and courtesy, pledging a polite desire to one day fulfill an old vow he had made to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he would thus greet their royal personages in person. Given the fact that Barbarossa was now pushing seventy years of age, his making the long trek to Jerusalem by this point seemed to be completely out of the question, but it was nonetheless a courteous thing to say.
The royal envoys had failed once again. There were no girls of the Hohenstaufen bloodline available, and certainly no weak-willed Welf or Wettin would do, not for the son and heir of the legendary King Richard and the exquisite Queen Sibylla.
Therefore it appeared there would be no fine and fetching Fräulein for Prince Godfrey either. A shame.
But then something completely unrelated drew the Queen’s eye.
The garb of Barbarossa’s messenger seemed familiar and particularly noteworthy: a white surcoat bearing a black cross. Some of the Templars’ men-at-arms recognized the man. When pressed, the imperial envoy confirmed that he belonged to a small holy order of knights: the Brothers of the German House of St. Mary. Until recently, they had been based at Acre, but because of the prolonged peacetime in Jerusalem, he and many of his brethren had decided their work in the Levant was done and had returned home to the Empire.
Once back home in the Fatherland, they had obtained the official sponsorship of the Kaiser himself. Barbarossa readily expanded and reequipped their order, and sent them forth to fight the pagans on his eastern border. The Kings of Denmark and Poland were also quite eager to employ their services and they rewarded the new Order’s success with some of their newly conquered lands.
So the Teutonic Knights had been established, and they had already impacted Europe in a big way.
I was excited when I got the message that the Teutonic Order was now available to recruit, assuming that they would prove a big help in bolstering my armies. After all, one can’t complain about another 7,000 heavily-armed elite soldiers. Unfortunately, I discovered to my chagrin that the Deutsche Ritter cost about five times as much piety to recruit as their Templar and Hospitaller brethren. I assumed this was because the other two orders were my direct vassals, while their Teutonic counterparts were either independent or directly sponsored by the Holy Roman Empire. What was more, they were perpetually in service to just about every major power in central and eastern Europe, so even if I had enough piety stored up I wouldn’t be able to bring them on board.
Then yet another missive arrived at the royal court, this one bearing ill tidings from the east.
The Abbasid Caliph al-Nasir had pronounced a Jihad to retake the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
It seemed as though Jerusalem would be needing the services of those holy orders fairly soon after all.
A silly situation indeed. Things like that should really be blocked, as you say, or punishable by a pan-Christendom beatdown on the perpetrator and performable only by a seriously irrationalised ("The voices told me to invade! AHHAHAHAHAhAHAhahahAA!") AI ruler. Still, it makes for an interesting story, and I hope Sybilla and Richard can rectify the mess in short order. Any other candidates for betrothal to Godfrey?
Also, poor Hospitaller dude looks so sad on that picture. Makes me want to wrap my arm around his big manly shoulders and comfort him. Don't worry, Hospitaller Dude. It's just a temporary setback!
I have to disagree a bit about declaring war on the holy order - while no one in the Jerusalem in his right mind should even think about it, conspiring and destroying knights of Christ did happen in the history. King Philip IV the Fair of France was fighting both the Pope and the Knights Templar. Of course, attacking the holy orders should require more power (like control over the Pope or good standings with him), but nevertheless it should still be possible. I am not sure if excommunication and fighting your own vassal is possible. Other than that you should be able to request your vassal to stop wars (similar to End Plot request) or meet the King's wraith as enemy of the Crown and traitor to the Realm.
The Almighty does test his beloved Kingdom greatly.
Well the royal pair doesn't have the authority to do anything. Their vassals and leaders of men will only shake their heads upon the suggestion that they go out and stop Raymond. This is not what a King is for, they say. A King leads us against the heathen, but it is beyond his rights to meddle in the affairs of the lords of the realm! And who knows what injuries and insults the order has committed against Raymond? Isn't it his right to teach them a lesson? He is the lord of those lands after all! Even the Pope refuses to help the Hospitalliers, and isn't he always right? The knights, they have lost their way and are now punished!
Morsky: I concur. Re: Godfrey's potential brides, let's just say there'll be a fun surprise in a few years. And I got a nice laugh when I read what you thought about that poor Hospitaller. Too funny. "It's going to be okay, big guy."
Holy.Death: Thanks, I'm glad you enjoy the AAR's unique style. As for your comments re: attacking the holy orders, I don't disagree that pulling a Philip the Fair should be possible. However, the key thing to remember (as you pointed out) is that Philip was only able to disenfranchise and slay the Templars once he had intervened in the papal succession, appointed a French pope and ensured that the Papacy was moved to Avignon. With the Holy Father as his pawn, it would have been much easier for Philip to attack an important Christian establishment like the Templars. For the likes of Raymond of Tiberias to be able to successfully attack the Knights Hospitallers while the whole Kingdom was surrounded by angry Muslims... it just wouldn't happen. I agree, there needs to be an "end war or else" request that lieges can drop on unruly vassals.
Subcomandante: No kidding. I'm sure my vassals were rationalizing the situation with exactly the sort of rhetoric you posed. But it doesn't mean I have to like it.
Last edited by AlexanderPrimus; 06-03-2012 at 01:09.
Jerusalem is supposed to have weak central authority. Raymond may die in the war against hte Caliph. How long before the truce with Saladin runs out? Can the Kingdom hire everone , defeat the Caliph and still hire everyone again for Saladin?
It's a bit rich a country that has no border declares war and will march across Saladin's lands without so much as a protest. Does Raymond have a daughter? Here's a quick war, a decisvie battle, the capture of lots of enemy nobles including the Caliph, lots of money by way of peace and lots and lots of prestige to apply to raising crown authority and title to various counties.
Chief Ragusa: Eh... I'd say Jerusalem should have weaker authority at the start, not weakest. Baldwin IV had minimum kingdom authority when I started in 1180. Sibylla has since upgraded it to low. Unfortunately, only one such change may be made during a monarch's lifetime, so any further strengthening of crown authority will have to wait until Godfrey succeeds. In my first playthrough, Baldwin managed to upgrade his authority before his deposition, so that Sibylla was then able to move it up further to medium, but in my more recent playthrough Baldwin was deposed before he could muster up enough support for the reform. Granted Jerusalem should not have super-strong crown authority (it's no Angevin England after all), but under minimum crown authority, the realm is basically in chaos. It's like Ireland-type chaos. You can't even appoint army generals under minimum authority. You can't prevent internecine warfare until medium. And given that Richard is king-consort, I would expect him to make some serious efforts to strengthen his authority.
can see your frustration with the game mechannics but its making for a great roller coaster ride. Raymond really is a pain in the ... and proving unwilling to get himself killed. And now the whole kingdom is back under threat