For TO the path is:
- Vassalize several electors and build up your power base in the east while you wait for the Reformation. If you want to make the game really easy use this time out of the Empire to conquer all the provinces you need to form Germany later without Unlawful penalties.
- Become Prussia and turn into a monarchy as soon as it fires, making you electable to become HRE.
- Your vassals will vote for you, hopefully you have enough to secure the vote.
- Become HRE as soon as the current one croaks.
- Add your Baltic provinces to the HRE once you are Emperor.
- Depending on how much expansion you did into Germany, turn into Germany as soon as you pass the Prussian military reforms.
- win / invade China.
Well, there is easier path : Move capital to Berlin. To do that, PU brandenburg, inherit it, and move the capital. BANG you are in HRE.
Well, anyway it is still best to disband HRE... No more infamy for unlawfull imperial provinces.
So with regards to the HRE, is it best to be the emperor and not a member? I am Scandinavia and I have four out of seven electors vassalized so I am always going to be the emperor. Is there any reason for me to join the empire? What would the advantages be, and what would the disadvantages be? I don't have the money to use my magistrates effectively so I have been having my provinces join the HRE to get my prestige back up (I accidentally used the +8 cultural tradition, -10 prestige thing three times when I meant to commission paintings). Is there any downside to adding my provinces to the HRE? As for my situation, I rule the Baltic, I rule North America, I am colonizing South America, a very powerful France is my Ally and a powerful Austria is my rival. I am a little worried about England but we don't fight. Oh and I am technologically backwards (I am an honorary member of the eastern tech group) and have very high inflation (29) due to having to mint to keep my empire together through centuries of war, rebellion, and religious strife.
The main advantage to joining as scandinavia will be the ability to inherit with cores inside the HRE despite your culture group.
"Monarchy can easily be ‘debunked;' but watch the faces, mark the accents of the debunkers. These are the men whose tap-root in Eden has been cut: whom no rumour of the polyphony, the dance, can reach - men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire equality, they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." C.S. Lewis
The Russians in Imperium Offtopicum: The Peshawar Lancers