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Thread: The Chronicles of the Golden Cross Redux

  1. #221
    Honourable Saxon Thegn AlexanderPrimus's Avatar
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    Lord Blekinge: That's definitely an option, although it would require three revolts at the least (Tripoli, Tortosa and Tiberias), since only one title may be revoked per revolt without a reputation penalty. Also, I'm not sure but I think dukes who lose their last county can take one away from a vassal count. I saw it happen in Scotland. If that's the case, I'd have to find a way to get Beirut and Tyre/Sidon away from him as well, because they're his vassals. Provoking a revolt is a good way to weaken a strong vassal, but I don't think it would finish him off.

  2. #222
    Alexander, just a thought about Aethellan; why not do it as a novel, but use the CK2 game engine as a tool to create interesting scenarios within the novel, so you don't have to think up entirely new stuff, and just have to interpret the CK2 events in a plausible way?

    As always, great AAR. I'm cracking up at how the "reasonable" crusader lord is going insane with CK2's AI. Hopefully they can patch that soon.

  3. #223
    Honourable Saxon Thegn AlexanderPrimus's Avatar
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    SplendidTuesday: Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying the story. Re: Æthellan, that is the general idea, yes. Or at least the eventual goal.

  4. #224
    Manners Makyth Man Demi Moderator Lord Strange's Avatar
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    Oh the cookie is often placed in your signature as a sign of approval from those few of us around AARland who offer them to the AARs we enjoy.
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  5. #225
    Von Strohm Kolonel's Avatar
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    Awesome read! I've been catching up on your AAR while "working".
    Consider me subscribed.
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  6. #226
    Honourable Saxon Thegn AlexanderPrimus's Avatar
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  7. #227
    Honourable Saxon Thegn AlexanderPrimus's Avatar
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    THE PAPER JIHAD




    1191

    With word spreading like wildfire of the Caliph’s new jihad, the kingdom made haste to prepare for the coming onslaught. Richard and Sibylla’s personal levies were mustered at Jerusalem, and new requests for indulgences were sent off to the Pope to build up the piety necessary to once more call up the jilted Hospitallers and their Templar brethren.

    An inspection of the royal castles revealed that they were still not up to the level I felt would be required to indefinitely hold off an assault of the magnitude I was expecting, but Jerusalem lacked the time and money required to make the necessary upgrades. The treasury was still fairly well stocked with the emergency funds I had prepared, but all that money was sure to go out the window if Jerusalem had to support troops in the field during a prolonged conflict. And time was a luxury we simply did not have – the entire kingdom could be conquered in the months it would take to upgrade the castles further.

    I wasn’t ready yet.

    Khalifah al-Nasir had vast resources at his disposal: both a large demesne and lots of vassals to call upon. If he brought the full might of Mesopotamia crashing down on Jerusalem, it was doubtful I would survive without help. The tension in the kingdom was palpable.

    But then I took a step back and noticed something. There was no little conflict icon in the corner of the screen. What had happened? I was sure I had gotten the message that the Caliph had declared a Jihad. Then it dawned on me. I had made a rookie mistake. As the de facto head of his religion, the Caliph can declare jihads just like the Pope can call crusades, but that doesn’t mean he intends to fight them himself. The Caliph was calling upon all of Islam to take up the crescent banner and battle for Jerusalem… but no one had taken him up on his offer, as yet.

    He wanted someone else to fight me.

    I actually laughed. Al-Nasir probably could have defeated Jerusalem if he had made the attempt, especially if he brought in some of his allies, but apparently he was too timid to try it on his own. I was amazed that the rest of Islam did not take the Caliph’s declaration more seriously. Jerusalem was an obvious target.

    But I wasn't complaining. The extension of the tenuous peace was a welcome relief. I sent the soldiers home. Good thing I hadn’t wasted the piety in calling up the holy orders yet. Still, this was an important wake up call. More than anything else, what the kingdom needed was more money and more troops.

    Sibylla sent out orders to further reinforce the royal strongholds and provide for additional training facilities to recruit larger quantities of soldiers. In addition, several of the kingdom’s more prominent cities received further upgrades to increase their size (and thus also their income), which also unlocked more upgrade options for their lucrative markets.

    If any of the neighboring Muslims did decide to take the Caliph seriously, Jerusalem would be ready.

    If only every jihad was as timid and weak-livered as this one.

    ***


    1192

    As the next year dawned, Jerusalem reaped some more unexpected successes from the prolonged time of peace and prosperity.

    First off, Sibylla gave birth to yet another child, a second son who was appropriately named Richard after his father. The kingdom now had the proverbial "heir and a spare."

    Additionally, the Chaplain reported back that the locals in another of the provinces had finally seen the light and converted to Christianity. Sibylla and Richard were also greeted with the good news that new settlers were flocking to the Holy City from the west.



    A couple of counties in the royal demesne were now fully “Frankish” in culture (although this did create the oddity of Frankish counties that were somehow still Muslim bordering on Christian counties that were populated by native Levantine people). With Jerusalem beginning to more fully solidify its identity as a Latin Christian kingdom in the east, the probability of local rebellions due to differences in religion or culture was now substantially reduced.

    It was also time to reevaluate Jerusalem’s legal situation. Early in her reign, Sibylla had already called upon her supporters to increase Jerusalem’s crown authority, and she was barred from doing so again by game mechanics. Unfortunately, low crown authority was not going to be good enough.

    In my first playthrough, Baldwin IV had been able to increase the kingdom authority before Richard and Sibylla deposed him. However, in my more recent playthrough, for some reason he just wasn’t able to call upon the necessary support. It seemed Raymond, Reynald and their supporters were much more interested in strengthening their own power rather than that of their weakened leper king. Therefore, when Sibylla came to the throne she could only increase the crown authority from minimum to low, and not from low to medium as I would have liked.

    At low crown authority, the sovereign gains the ability to appoint generals and revoke titles (albeit with a reputation penalty). However, medium crown authority is so much more pivotal to a successful kingdom, especially in the case of Jerusalem. Once you acquire medium crown authority, your vassals are prevented from fighting with each other and you can freely revoke titles from vassals of different religions without penalty. Both of those abilities are absolutely key for Jerusalem, but Sibylla would have to do without for the time being.

    (You’ll have to pardon the following image. It was taken a few years on, so Godfrey and Eleanor are already depicted as adults.)



    Moreover, since the crown authority was still set at low, it would not be prudent to attempt to increase the feudal requirements of the clergy, nobility or burghers beyond what was traditional.

    Each of those legal advances provides de jure benefits such as an increase in tax income or a higher percentage of recruitable levies, but the accompanying hit to reputation tends to balance out any presumed benefit. After all, when your vassals don’t like you, they don’t pay as much in taxes or send as many troops.

    Those laws would also have to wait for future kings in less trying times.

    Meanwhile, there were still things I could do to improve my current monarchs’ prestige and power.

    With the threat of impending jihad abated and the Caliph revealed as but a paper tiger, Sibylla decided to treat the peasants to a royally-sponsored summer fair.

    All sorts of mummers, entertainers and fools were permitted to join in the festivities, but mystics, fortune-tellers and sorcerers were denied admittance. It simply wouldn’t do to have heretics and witches running rampant while the Queen was attempting to curry favor with the Church.

    When the local peasants requested admittance, the town burghers sought to deny them entry as well. The Flemish and Italian merchants who dominated the local trade did not want competition from the riff-raff. Courting the favor of these trade magnates could prove quite lucrative. However, Sibylla refused their request and admitted the populace anyway. Understandably, the peasants were very grateful and shouted the praises of their courteous and fair-minded King and Queen. The burghers were compelled to grit their teeth and endure the presence of their lessers, but since they ultimately turned a profit, they maintained no lasting ill will towards their sovereigns.



    During the festivities, an elderly monk approached the Queen to pay his respects. The old man thrust a heavy tome into her hands and babbled something incomprehensible before being run off by the royal guards. Intrigued, Sibylla set out that evening to study the dusty volume she’d received to determine whether the old hermit was a luminary or a lunatic. The book was filled with strange drawings and scribbles in some sort of coded language. The Queen couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but the study of the text did tap into her latent scholarly talents. Thereafter, Sibylla spent more time in the royal libraries cultivating her intellect. (In other words, she gained the “Scholar” trait.)

    Later in the year, it was Richard’s turn to provide his own brand of entertainment. The kingdom would host a grand tournament, the likes of which had never been seen before. Invitations were sent out, not only to all the worthy knights and barons of Outremer, but to Richard’s compatriots in England and France. All men of courage were invited to come forth and try their skill in the Holy Land. For many knights, the promise of a joint pilgrimage and tournament was its own reward.

    No expenses would be spared -- this was to be the most wondrous display of royal prestige in Christendom, the grandest joust ever seen.

    But just when the preparations were about to be completed for the tournament, nemesis struck yet again. The tournament would have to be postponed… indefinitely.

    For one devout Muslim had at last hearkened to the Caliph’s forgotten call of Jihad:

    Salah ad-Din.





    ***

  8. #228
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    I'm rooting for Saladin.

    ...what? ;)
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  9. #229
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    I was just thinking to myself what a welcome anti-climax it is that al-Nasir had not actually declared war when suddenly I read of Saladin's decleration! Worrying stuff but it sounds as if you have strengthened the kingdom following that early scare from al-Nasir. Hopefully it is enough.
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  10. #230
    He, of all people...

  11. #231
    That's entertainment. You didn't mention a certain nobleman once during the update. Hope you've used the time to do upgrades to forts. Third Crusade, here we come.

    You can still organise a Grand Tournament, only the Saracens will be the targets. It's called a Crusade!

  12. #232
    bezrodniy kosmopolit Morsky's Avatar
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    Oh my. *gets the popcorn* This should be exciting! And I'm rooting for you, AlexanderPrimus, though I'm certainly not above speedily switching sides in case the war goes tits up for God's Own Kingdom. (Principles are for people who don't have 50 000 ululating Saracens at their front door. )

    Also, that culture change event is certainly interesting. Is that just for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, or can any foreign ruler in any land use it? Or just foreigners in conquered Muslim provinces?

  13. #233
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Dunno which is a worthier rival: if Salah ad-Din or Ghassan Massoud. Let's hope that good old Richie does a short work of him. Or else...
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  14. #234
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    great end of post twist, as with others I was thinking you'd got away with it and could concentrate on matters domestic and ... oh whoops

  15. #235
    I have spent time the last few days reading this whole thing and I have to say its the best CK II AAR I have read. Please do keep up the good work. I have also learned a few things about the game from reading so thank you on that note.
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  16. #236
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    How big is Saladin's realm? A map of your territory and his would be appreciated.

  17. #237
    Manners Makyth Man Demi Moderator Lord Strange's Avatar
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    If only Saladin would turn up to the tournament!

    A joust between the Lionheart and him would be glorious!
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  18. #238
    Honourable Saxon Thegn AlexanderPrimus's Avatar
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    RESPONSES

    Saithis: You would. Wait... what?

    morningSIDEr: That's kind of how it turned out in-game. Oh, this jihad is a non-starter. Phew. Now let's spend some money on upgrades... Gah, Saladin! Hopefully it's enough to fend him off.

    Holy.Death: The one and only. Accept no substitutes.

    Chief Ragusa: By "a certain nobleman," I assume you mean Balian of Ibelin? He has kept a rather low profile this time around, hasn't he?

    Morsky: I am to please. Re: the culture change event, it happens randomly when your liege is a different culture than your populace. As far as I know, it can happen anywhere. Oh, and save some popcorn for me. It's one of my wife's favorite snacks.

    Kurt_Steiner: Considering Salah ad-Din has been dead for over 800 years by now, I'm going to go ahead and say Ghassan Massoud.

    loki100: Thanks, I was aiming for some appropriate gravitas there.

    Sematary: Thank you, I'm very pleased to hear that. Glad to have you aboard.

    The_Archduke: Well my friend, I unfortunately forgot to take any more mapshots before about 1199 or so, and those show rather more about the future than I'm prepared to reveal at this point in the story. All I can offer is the old map from the first update, although not much has really changed other than Jerusalem's acquisition of Madaba. Saladin's territory extends a little bit farther to the northeast, and a lot farther south in Egypt. You can also see his eastern border with the Caliph near the eastern edge of the shot. Hope that helps. I'll do my best to get you another map shot when it's feasible.

    Lord Strange: You know, in actuality the game refunds the money you spent on the tournament and tells you it'll have to be postponed because you're now at war. I sure was glad to get my money back.

  19. #239
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    How many men can you field right now? Any idea about how man Saladin has? Will you be able to take any land if the war goes well?

  20. #240
    Saladin can field... Well, let's say a lot. He owns everything from Syria all the way Tunisia, iirc. He should be able to field around 40k men, no? Likely even more - which is why turning this war into a drawn-out fight of attrition would be the worst case scenario. Levies replenish much faster than the measly reinforcement speed of mercs/holy orders, and Saladin's stacks would batter Jerusalem into dust, even with 15,000 Knights. Mind you, it would be difficult to do so, and Jerusalem would most likely be able to get enough warscore from battles to WP before that ever happens, but if Saladin's AI proves more cunning to drag it on, or a doomstack catches one of the orders off-guard, then...

    Well, at least Richard and Sibylla can go live in Jolly Old England, where Richard inherits the throne and vents his anger by beating up those Franks and uniting the French crown.

    But to be frank, I'm not really worried, at least mechanically. 15,000 Knights should be more than enough to beat Saladin's forces up and force a WP, save for nasty dogpiling and shit happens.


    Also, I'm fervently rooting for Saladin. Go, Saladin, go! God wills it!

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