TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Introduction, King John the Cruel (this post)
2. Edward III
3. Randolph the Conqueror, part 1
4. Randolph the Conqueror, part 2
5. The Second Anarchy, part 1
6. The Second Anarchy, part 2
7. Guichard Misruler, part 1
8. Guichard Misruler, part 2
... and 17 years to go.
Shakespeare wrote a number of plays about English kings. Together, most of them concern monarchs whose reigns span a historical range covered in Crusader Kings 2: 1327 onwards. Two plays concern kings after 1452: Richard III (seen in the play as a murderous power-grabber) and Henry VIII (seen in the play as the would-be victim of a scheming cardinal); these unfortunately cannot be examined in CK2. One play involves a much earlier king, John (1199-1216), who is written as a wrathful tyrant.
As a prelude, I will report on my attempt at the reign of King John in this post, but in the posts to follow I will work my way through Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI... or something like them. Unfortunately, there are no CK2 start dates past 1337. I was originally planning to play each reign beginning at its start date, but it looks like I'm going to have to start in 1327 as Edward III and hope the succession is at least vaguely recognizable. If the Lancasters displace the Plantagenets, as they did historically, I will reload as the Lancasters and keep playing.
Macbeth is too early for the game, or he would have shot straight to the top of my list. A shame.
This diagram shows the historical (loosely in Macbeth's case) kings of Shakespeare's plays and the times and durations of their reigns. The focus is on the era of Crusader Kings. The bulk of the AAR will start with Edward III and concern the span which in history held the Hundred Years War and part of the War of the Roses.
But now, King John. This is CK2 1.04 MLDO.
Originally Posted by William Shakespeare, paraphrased for CK2
04/06/1199. The ascension of King John. I am heavily overburdened with count and duke titles. My demesne max is only 7, but I have 19 counties; the safe duchy number is 2, but I have 6 duchies. I give away land by the usual means (search realm, men only, ruler no, prison no, same culture and religion yes, sort by best opinion, skip ambitious, award counties to people at the top of the list; give surplus duchies to most loyal non-ambitious count in region).
By the end of this process, I personally possess only Middlesex (capital), Lincoln and York (and the Duchy of York), Shrewsbury, Dorset, Somerset, and Hereford. I also retain the Duchy of Poitou for the moment, but none of the land in it. I plan to consolidate my demesne into a capital and two "power duchies" in which my highest-ranking vassals are baron-level. This consolidation will have to wait on rebellions, inheritances, or whatever else makes it practical.
Like the map says, current English territory in Ireland and France is quite substantial. As things stand, my immediate goal is to hold on until the end of the Short Reign years, consolidate my power with feasts and fairs, defend as necessary, and build up to hit France mid-reign for the choicest spoils I can. Toulouse is full of Cathars; not sure what significance that will have.
My council has been deployed to push for Legalism and Farming in my capital, and Bows in York. (The English bonus building unit is Archers.) My Spymaster is in London to Uncover Plots, definitely a no-brainer, and my Chancellor is cozying up to the King of Aragon, who has opinion 9 of me. Phillip II of France has -100 due to my land in his de jure kingdom.
16 Chancellor Earl Richard of Bedford
15 Marshal Duke William I of Deheubarth
16 Steward Earl Domnall of Leinster (lowest opinion, at -6)
14 Spymaster Duke Randolph I of Meath (highest opinion, at 100)
16 Court Chaplain Bishop Edward of Wenlock
Crown Authority is Medium, Investiture is Free, inheritance is Agnatic Primogeniture (and I'm thinking about making it Agnatic-Cognatic to make it easier for one of my children to displace Duke Arthur I of Anjou (currently my only child, Joan, is a bastard in addition to being ineligible under Agnatic). With that in mind, I've married a 16-year-old courtier (half my age) and hope to get some Plantagenet production going shortly.
England is fourth in army size, just behind France at 42,500. I assume better vassal relations will give me the edge, since England is third in realm size, with 212 holdings to France's distant, sixth-place 126. My most alarming vassals are Countess Isabelle of Gloucester (with 3 Welsh counties in her personal domain and opinion 9) and Duke Arthur I of Anjou (my nephew, heir to my throne, with 2 personal counties and 11 vassal holdings, holding opinion 14).
06/20/1199. My mother, Elinor of Saintonge, dies at 77. I inherit the County of Poitou. With my new demesne limit of 8, courtesy of my cute little not-particularly-talented Italian wife, I keep it. I've decided on the duchy I'd like to consolidate along with York: four-county Hereford. I already have two of its provinces, and the other two are controlled by counts. The title is one of 15 that I can create when I please. Counties will cost me $200 (all Paradox game currencies are dollars!) and the Kingdom of Ireland will cost me $400 (and 200 Piety, which I don't have and don't expect to get; my monthly Piety is +0.48); not forming the Kingdom of Ireland is probably for the best as counts and dukes in Ireland would just scheme for it.
09/16/1199. I marry a drunk teenage girl courtier to a Cornwall mayor, just clearing out the trash before it's too old to get rid of. She's a falconer too, but otherwise unremarkable. The mayor's ambition was marriage, but he likes me no better for helping him out. Relatedly, how come vassals don't react favorably when I spend money to build up their holdings?
Some other girl hits on me and I go for it, becoming Lustful. My Piety gain is only +0.20 a month now, but the fertility is worth it. Philippe II has created the Duchy of Berry and I can usurp it, but I am saving my money for an emergency mercenary fund. I am worried about the implications of France's levies being concentrated on the mainland while mine are split across the channel.
01/05/1200. The King of Norway marries one of my inconsequential courtier girls. She's Lustful, but Deceitful. I don't think that's a good combination.
04/06/1200. Remember Countess Isabelle? She just created the Duchy of Gloucester and is now its Duchess. This is not ideal. Earl Robert requests the Duchy of York. Given that York is part of my long-term demesne strategy, I don't give it to him. If he rebels, I will strip his title and all York will be mine.
01/24/1201. New Marshal, Domnall of Desmond. Skill 18.
12/05/1201. I've held a fair, a hunt, and a feast this year. 4,000-strong peasant revolt in Ulster, with all Irish vassals mobilized to put it down.
01/24/1202. Domnall of Leinster creates Duchy of Leinster. My Steward slot is vacated and I reluctantly put him in it. He doesn't like me (-33 opinion) but he's a talented man (skill 18). My feast had eleven refusals to attend and one refusal of the wine, so not really a success overall.
04/10/1202. I have made Duke Domnall of Leinster my Seneschal and sent him a gift. There is a mysterious wave of courtier deaths that I hope is unrelated.
07/30/1202. Queen Consort Agnese gives birth to a daughter. My first trueborn child! She suggests the name Phillipa, but with King Phillipe II my nemesis it doesn't seem right. I have her christened Agnes.
09/05/1202. Richard of Bedford wants to lower Crown Authority in England, and he's plotting with Phillipe II to do it! He's my Chancellor too. Unbelievable. I recall him to Cornwall, send Domnall of Leinster to arrest him (successful), and appoint Earl Hugh of Norfolk (skill 16) as the new Chancellor (he is immediately sent to Barcelona to continue influencing Aragon).
With the plot inconclusive, no further action against Bedford is justified. Shall I leave him to rot in prison? On reflection, I decide to banish him, taking $160 and his title to Bedford. I make Duke Arthur I my Keeper of the Swans to soften the blow, since he's my (holistically) worst revolt risk. Poitou is given to a humble English knight in his forties.
11/27/1202. I am organizing a grand tournament. Feast is missing from my intrigue list and I need to take people's minds off my tyranny. My bastard half-brother Geoffrey drops dead at 43; nobody cares.
01/14/1203. Northumberland declares independence. The county, by itself. Seriously?
06/12/1203. Northumberland war wrapped up. Their 2,500-man army evades my 11,000 men, but their holdings in Northumberland, being easier to pin down, are stormed and destroyed. (Typical garrison 1,000.) The Earl is imprisoned and his title stripped. Northumberland is not part of my demesne strategy, so I grant it to a Content man, Paul of Warwick, whose opinion of me shoots up to 96.
To prevent people from getting ideas about my future pet duchy, I create the Duchy of Hereford and keep it. To avoid going over two personal duchies, I grant the Duchy of Poitou to the humble Count Robert.
The tournament, delayed by the war, is back on.
08/14/1203. My firstborn son is delivered during the tournament. His name is John. In celebration I release Richard, formerly Earl of Northumberland.
Two Frankish knights are wounded during the tournament. The winner is another Frenchman, Raymond de Thouars, and he's an extremely unlikely champion: a landless 46-year-old Kind Grey Eminence with Martial 4. (His wife is a Grey Eminence too, and her Martial is a point higher than his.) The runners-up are Englishmen. One is unmarried and I give him a teenage wife.
I'm told a heresy has been eradicated in Wiltshire.
Duke Arthur I is attacking Maine and there's nothing I can do about it. He must have had a plot boiling there because I don't think Medium Crown Authority permits him to do a naked land grab. I think I hear history repeating itself.
12/09/1203. Holy crap! My Court Chaplain just tried to convert me to Catharism. Arrested. New Court Chaplain: Edward of Sussex (skill 16). The vacant bishopric has been given to a Trusting Mystic named Philip.
I wipe out my savings building improved Castle Cities in Hereford and Middlesex. In game terms this is a terrible idea because they'll never pay for themselves in my reign, but it felt right somehow.
I consider killing my bastard daughter, but decide not to because I am now Honest.
Under other circumstances, Catharism would have been an interesting choice. England's always had a distance from Catholicism that set it apart from the rest of Western Europe. But I'm trying to wait out my Short Reign years and endure my tyranny, and I'm already wrong culture in English France, directly bordering an angry and powerful right culture king. I can't burden myself with being wrong religion too.
06/01/1204. Typhoid Fever in Gloucester. It makes me focus on the truly important things in life. My new ambition is to amass wealth.
12/20/1204. Mary of Cornwall creates the Duchy of Cornwall for herself. She's not a threat. Free monthly Prestige for me!
01/01/1205. Joan comes of age as a Dutiful Cleric. As a bastard she has little value to me. I marry her off to a Frankish bastard Crusader for no particular aim.
There's another peasant revolt in Ireland, this one involving 3,300 men under arms. The usual Irish levies are mobilized.
07/31/1205. Agnese gives birth to another daughter, named Adela.
09/01/1205. Peasant uprising in Northampton. Crushed as usual. I command the center personally, and things are slightly hairy for the central army because I'm not really much of a military leader. Still, no harm done.
A baron in York dies without an heir. I grant his title and a wife to a content man at my court, the new Baron Gregory of Richmond.
I discover a Cruel and Ambitious girl among my courtiers and marry her off to a Scandinavian before she can cause any local trouble. She is also Lustful and a Poet, and I'm sure she'll leave a colorful trail of borken hearts, but the last thing I need is a vassal with a capable, fecund Spymaster wife.
11/06/1205. Duke Domnall I of Leinster lies dead. He was dangerous but useful. He will be missed, although with a tinge of relief. He is succeeded by his three-year-old daughter, with her mother regent until her majority. My new Steward is Mayor Albert of London (skill 14).
The Duchess of Gloucester is plotting to lower crown authority. She has the support of Phillipe II, who has somehow gotten people to call him "the Noble." Marshal Domnall of Desmond, who has Martial 19 and is not to be confused with the deceased of Duke of Leinster, travels to Gloucester and takes her into custody in the middle of a feast she's holding. She is also pregnant.
This is not ideal; I would have preferred to fight her and cut down her holdings. She has three counties under personal control. The plot justified an arrest, but nothing else. I can't afford the tyranny hits to remove titles. If I release her, Phillipe II will probably ally with her again. I'm just going to have to keep her in the dungeon. She is only 33.
01/06/1206. Duchess Mary of Cornwall accuses Duke Hugh of Norfolk of treason. I rebuke Mary, but send her a gift.
Typhus appears in Northumberland.
The Duchess of Gloucester gives birth in the dungeons. I release her infant son as a gesture of mercy, and to get him away from her.
02/17/1206. A count declares himself Duke of Oxford. One-province demesne, non-threatening.
03/01/1206. 3,700-strong peasant rebellion in France. The usual countermeasures. I command the left flank.
The Earl of Maine dies without an heir. Jordan of Waterford, selected for his contentment, is given the county and a wife.
My Chancellor finally reports our first diplomatic success in Aragon. He has improved my relations with the Count of Rosello... who is imprisoned.
07/04/1206. Duke Hugh reports a further diplomatic victory in Aragon, having influenced King Borrell I favorably. Borrell I is six years old.
The Duchess of Gloucester dies. Her heir is the baby I released from the dungeons, just half a year old. Her regent is a young woman with syphillis and Diplomacy 0, which I hope means people will be less eager to plot with Gloucester for a while.
07/24/1206. Phillipe II declares war for a claim on Tours. On paper, I have 4,000 more soldiers than he does. I also have a rainy day slush fund of $800 for mercenaries.
Full mobilization. Ireland and England will land troops near or into French concentrations. Levies in France are falling back to Saintonge. Mercenaries will be part of a subsequent wave. Staying away from personal command this time on the grounds that this war will be extremely dangerous.
Alfonso the Noble of Castille has refused our call to war.
Typhus in Gloucester.
10/01/1206. King Phillipe II's army of 13,000 engaged north of Tours by around 20,000 English, almost obliterated in Battle of Cloyes (10,000 French losses, 4,000 English losses). Another 12,000 English have just landed in Rouen, where they are menaced by 16,000 incoming Frenchmen. A detachment of yet another 15,000 English soldiers, having marched north from Saintonge, is diverting back to the coast for naval transport to reinforce Rouen.
Ledger says we have 9,000 more men than they do.
11/17/1206. The battle in Rouen is narrowly won by the English before reinforcements arrive (9,000 French losses, 6,500 English losses). The French have another army of 15,000 in the area, but 27,000 English are marching on it. 12,000 French are besieging Bourbon. Bourbon's garrisons are in the 2,000 range so I'd rather let them keep those 12,000 men out of battles in the north. This war is going to be won on casualties.
Ledger advantage now 10,000.
12/22/1206. The third major battle of the war shatters the northern French army. 12,000 French losses, 4,000 English losses. Duke Arthur I of Anjou is marching the victorious 22,000 English survivors to Tours to relieve Duke Robert of Poitou, who is taking the 18,000 men guarding Tours through friendly territory to relieve the 12,000-strong French siege of Bourbon.
Peasant revolt in Wiltshire. Diverting a force to deal with it.
Ledger advantage now 18,000.
01/01/1207. No weather or seasons in CK2. War in January it is.
A French army of 13,000 has been spotted in Chartres and Duke Arthur is diverting to engage. They move on Tours, and Arthur catches up with them there. Victories in Bourbon and Tours yield a combined total of 8,000 English losses to 21,000 French losses. This should be nearly the whole remaining French army. Meanwhile, a few minor nobles lead 4,500 men to victory over the Wiltshire rebellion's 3,500.
Consumption in Gloucester. Unhappy place.
Ledger advantage now 29,000.
06/01/1207. The English armies mass as 30,000 men under Duke Arthur and storm all holdings in Bourges and Nevers. Phillipe II offers peace and nearly $1,000, which I accept. The war lasted nearly a year.
I immediately declare a counterwar for Vexin. Only the aggressor is bound by truces. Vexin is one of two claims I can press for the Duke of Normandy. The other is Eu, and while Eu is coastal, Vexin is more developed, belongs to Phillipe II's personal demesne, and borders Paris. It's a penny-ante claim when I'd like to crush France once and for all, but it's what I've got.
I raise levies from France but leave elsewhere alone, except for ships. At great expense ($800), I employ 9,000 mercenaries belonging to the White Company and the Great Company. I'd rather keep my vassal levies fresh for any wars I can manage with my neighbors while France is truce-bound.
Ledger advantage now 35,000.
I fund a writer who aspires to chronicle the glory of the Plantagenets.
07/17/1207. Baron Hugh of Tottenham leads 13,000 Englishmen to siege Vexin. 7,000 Frenchmen besiege Rouen. I break the mercenaries out of the Vexin siege to relieve Rouen, cycling 8,000 levies from elsewhere in France to reinforce Rouen as well. The French also bring more levies into Rouen, but the battle is a decisive English victory, with 2,500 English losses to 7,000 French losses.
The Vexin siege is reinforced to 12,000 men, the supply limit of the province. Duke Arthur is given command of 8,000 to mop up French armies along the north coast. He performs adequately in Eu, attacking a force half his size and destroying most of it. Survivors are pursued into Amiens and wiped out completely.
Ledger advantage is now 42,000.
01/16/1208. French dreg levies rise. Arthur keeps busy.
Duke Sylvester I of Lancaster dies. His daughter's regent is a bishop.
03/25/1208. My army is the largest in the world, exceeding the Byzantines by 50 men. With few French soldiers remaining in the north, Arthur takes a holiday to put down peasant rebellions in Ireland and England.
08/01/1208. Princess Adela has Consumption. Princess Agnes is six now and I send her to my Court Chaplain for a religious education. Arthur and his army return to France and march to Vexin to help storm the remaining strongholds. 12,000 Frenchmen have massed in Bolougne and I have no immediate plans to deal with them.
Joanna of Anjou is discovered plotting to kill my heir. I ask her not to and she stops.
11/01/1208. After another holding in Vexin is captured, Phillipe II offers to meet my demands. Vexin is taken, peace returns, and the levies stand down.
Princess Adela has recovered from her illness. Queen Consort Agnese is Depressed; I give her a gift, but it doesn't seem to help.
12/17/1208. Ducal claim wars declared in Ireland on Tyrone and Tyrconnel, both one-province independents. Vassal claims are great. Sure, they may make the vassal too powerful down the road, but even having those claims in the first place is a great asset. You can always banish the next holder of the titles 30 years later.
Irish levies raised to fight the Irish wars.
01/09/1209. They caught the tail end of my levies in Kildare and it looks like I may lose a battle there.
Duchess Ela of Deubharth is plotting with King Phillipe II to lower my Crown Authority. Marshal Domnall travels to Wiltshire and imprisons her. Given my options, this is another indefinite imprisonment like the Gloucester affair.
For reasons that are unclear to me, my wife is plotting to kill Duke Arthur's daughter. Arthur and his titles may be dangerous in the future, but his daughter is a Plantagenet. I demand an end to the plot and she accepts.
07/03/1209. Siege armies are sitting patiently on the Irish provinces. The war is won; I just need to run out the clock. Typhus appears in Northumberland.
The Earl of Mortain accuses Domnall of Desmond of treason. I tell the Earl of Mortain where he can stick it.
08/29/1209. Prince John, my heir, is six. I send him to Duke Robert of Poitou for a martial education. Duke Robert is a Brilliant Tactician and a Hunter, yet Humble. Observers disagree about whether he is Slothful or Patient. He has a Genius daughter who is Prince John's age, and I betroth them.
I empty out most of my prisoners, keeping only a Cathar heretic and the Duchess of Deubharth in the dungeons. The many French dignitaries I collected in the Double War for Tours and Vexin are ransomed, except for one bishop who is released for free.
Typhus in Ulster.
01/14/1210. I order Duchess Ela of Deubharth thrown into the oubliette.
05/01/1210. The county seats at stake in the Irish wars have fallen.
I spend a staggering $1,200 to build bigger keeps in York, Lincoln, and Middlesex.
Typhus in Thouars. Smallpox in Dax.
07/01/1210. The Countess of Bourbon is discovered plotting to kill one of my courtiers. The courtier in question is a Cruel, Hunchbacked Impaler. I see no reason to intervene.
Measles in Norfolk.
10/18/1210. Disaster! Duke Hugh I of Ulster dies unexpectedly at 34. His was the claim I pressed in Ireland; both wars end inconclusively.
Hugh's heir, Rose of Ulster, shares his claim. I march the armies out, stand them down, and declare the wars anew, this time for Duchess Rose, who at 18 shouldn't be dying of natural causes before the provinces can be taken. I have plenty of time; the treaty with France won't expire until 1217 for Phillipe II and 1218 for me.
My long struggle for friendship with Aragon has gotten nowhere in particular, so I redeploy my Chancellor to Fabricate Claims on Connacht. Connacht is a good province to capture because its Count is also Duke of Connacht, with a ducal claim on another province.
12/01/1210. This time I am drawing my Ireland army from the west coast of England.
Peasant revolt in Evreux. Local levies are rounded up to strike back.
01/11/1211. The rebellion is put down and once again my armies are camped around Irish castles.
03/16/1211. Baron Hugh of Tottenham dies. He was a leader well above the importance of his title in the Double War. His heir is four years old, and Ill.
07/03/1211. The Earl of Warwick accuses my Chancellor of treason, but I am not interested.
08/09/1211. Princess Adela turns six. She has Martial 3, which is pretty good for her age. I send her to Duke Arthur for a warrior's education. Another royal son is born, named Andrew.
11/05/1211. Jaffa and Ascalon have been retaken by the Saracens. I'm guessing France isn't delivering the Crusade support it used to. The Iberian kingdoms aren't taking off either.
Building a Castle City in Shrewsbury and a bigger keep in Hereford. Legalism spreads to Middlesex, switching focus to Majesty.
Typhus in Leinster.
11/22/1212. The Irish territories are taken. The wars are over. Only Connacht and Breifne remain outside my grasp.
I buy Agnese ruby earrings and we fall in love. She is still Depressed, but at least she's pregnant.
02/23/1213. A peasant rebellion in Maine is handled the usual way.
04/05/1213. A royal son: Reginald.
06/14/1213. Aragon is ripe for the plucking. They can only raise 10,000 men, and I'm well at the top of the standings with the capacity to field more than 80,000. They're also in a war with similarly-sized independent Provence.
There are three provinces I can take on behalf of English dukes in France: Bearn, Foix, and Gevaudan. Bearn is the richest, best positioned, and most able to provide soldiers, but both Bearn and Foix will go into the power of the already strong Duke of Gascogne, while Gevaudan will only be the second province of the Duke of Auvergne. Gevaudan is my choice.
War is declared, and the local levies raised.
12/12/1213. The Earl of La Marche has stormed the county seat in Gevaudan, but with enough losses that reinforcements are marching in before any further assaults. Two Large Keeps finish construction.
Prince Andrew asked me about the birds and the bees at the tender age of two. The experience made him Deceitful.
02/08/1214. Majesty increases in Middlesex, switching to Spiritual Art. The Pope has called for a crusade to recapture Ascalon. Another Large Keep completes. The Duke of Oxford dies.
Aragon claims protection from France. They answer the call! Massing soldiers in Rouen...
05/29/1214. 28,000 English soldiers from northern France and the southern and eastern coasts of England are marching from Rouen through Vexin to Paris, where they will storm all fortifications and bring a quick end to this war.
10/08/1214. I swept Paris, but it didn't have any warscore effect. My army is down to 16,000. Meanwhile 14,000 French soldiers have destroyed by occupying force in Gevaudan and are sieging the holdings. Another 4,000 French soldiers are camped out in Auvergne. I'm swinging the fleet around Ireland to pick up its coastal levies.
12/21/1214. Bolstered by 8,000 Irish levies, three staggered fleets of around 80 ships each are transferring the army to Bordeaux, where they will march inland to the disputed area. The French army in Gevaudan is suffering attrition and down to 10,000 men. The French have landed 2,500 men in Essex and local levies are being raised to respond.
A Large Castle City is complete.
03/31/1215. The French armies flee Gevaudan. The largest is now 8,000 strong. Aragon has fielded an army of 8,000 in the Gascogne area.
Oh no! I have syphillis!
06/09/1215. The small French army has been destroyed. The large one has withdrawn. Toulouse is fielding a couple thousand men, not that I care. The English army is now on the march to Gascogne. The 5,500 soldiers raised to combat the French landing in Essex have, after a bit of a chase, been successful and are sailing to France to form the core of a force which can respond when the 8,000-man French army reappears, probably hoping to reclaim Paris. They will be bolstered with inland levies from England.
08/29/1215. Even as my army for the defense of captured Paris assembles and the French army marches to Paris as predicted, the King of Aragon is shaken by the loss of his army in Gascogne and offers to meet my demands. The war is over and Gevaudan is English. The levies and fleets are demobilized.
Interestingly, it looks like in 1213 Phillipe II died. His successor is Louis VIII, a king with absolutely no England peace treaty. (Also, his highborn wife has no parents. How does that work? Is that where debutantes come from?) France is at a low ebb and I believe it's time once again to take one of their provinces. Chartres borders Paris and will give me the land necessary to usurp the Duchy of Orleans.
I also have a claim on Breifne in Ireland. My ledger advantage against the French is something like 58,000, so I have no problem committing Ireland's soldiers to a smaller war at the same time. As for the continent, the soldiers come from the west coast of England. Not for the first time, I wish for an autokatabasis interface.
Typhoid Fever in Saintonge.
10/15/1215. Louis VIII is captured in Vexin, ending the war in my favor almost as swiftly as it began. The king and a count are ransomed; a bishop is set free.
12/16/1215. A Large Keep is completed. I begin assorted building projects in my core areas. Farming advances come to Middlesex, finally. I reassign my Steward to farming projects in York.
05/01/1216. I am now known as John the Cruel. Not Cruel, by the way.
The Count of Tours, my half-brother, usurps the Duchy of Berry. This gives him a claim I can press on the other half of the duchy.
France owns the Duchy of Toledo. Not sure why. Looks like it dates back to 1214.
08/10/1216. New Steward (natural causes): Geoffrey, Earl of Essex (skill 14).
09/12/1216. Breifne's lord surrenders. I usurp the Duchy of Connacht and grant it to the Count of Tyrconnell, whose claim I pressed for Breifne. The levies are stood down, war is declared for Connacht County, and the levies are raised again.
Elevating that Count has the beneficial side effect of splitting the dangerous Duchy of Ulster, which was enlarged by the conquests of Tyrconnell and Tyrone. Promoting a subvassal out of vassalage to their lord your vassal ought to make the lord who lost a vassal angry with you, but it doesn't.
11/19/1216. The Duke of Connacht dies, ending the war inconclusively. Old people are so troublesome. The levies march out, disband, war is declared, they rise again.
Measles in Sussex.
01/08/1217. King John I the Cruel is dead of apparently natural causes. He was 50 years old. His successor, John II, is 13 years old and shows modest aptitudes in Martial, Scholarship, and Diplomacy. He is Kind, Shy, Content, and Arbitrary. The only possible pretenders are his brothers, aged 7 and 5. John II is betrothed to Catherine de Courtnay, daughter of Duke Robert of Poitou; her statline as a 13-year-old is 17/10/17/13/14. She is Charitable, Gregarious, Just, and a Genius. After granting Somerset and Dorset Counties to Content courtiers to deal with reduced demesne limit, there is no significant risk of noble rebellion. The war on Connacht continues and there is every reason to believe that Ireland will be unified shortly. For the next three years, John II will continue to be the ward of Duke Arthur I of Anjou,
The boy king's council:
Chancellor Duke Hugh I of Norfolk (16)
Marshal Earl Domnall of Desmond (17)
Steward Earl Geoffrey of Essex (14)
Spymaster Duke Randolph I of Meath (13)
Court Chaplain Bishop Edward of St. Peters (17)
John I reigned for 18 years, during which time the only noble rebellion of note was Northumberland by itself, and that's stretching the phrase "of note." He successfully dealt with Phillipe II's plots against England, kept himself (just barely) in the good graces of the Church, and presided over a time of massive positive cashflow. His building projects were respectable, although not ambitious enough to include new cities or castles. He gained six counties for England, and lost none. (The map above highlights changes in county ownership over the course of his reign.) His career score was 3,333 (3238.5 Prestige/94.5 Piety).
All hail John I the Cruel, King of England, Duke of Hereford and York. The king is dead. Long live the king.
The historical John I died a few months earlier, leaving his child heir Henry III with a much-diminished England. All but nine of the French counties had been lost by 1205. No conquests had been made in Ireland. The Pope had excommunicated him. He had imprisoned Arthur and may or may not have ordered his execution. Rebellious vassals and the scheming French king forced him to sign the Magna Carta, lowering crown authority. Even then, they continued to rebel, seeking his overthrow. He reconciled with the Pope, but could not save his power or himself.
Originally Posted by CK2, paraphrased for William Shakespeare