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Thread: In the Shadow of Certain, Painful Doom: Abyssinia

  1. #101
    For the first time since starting to play CKII, I find myself actually hoping for a Byzantine intervention.

    Keep up the great work, philo. I've really enjoyed this AAR -- so much so that you inspired me to start my own (vanilla) Abyssinia game, and to work on a mini-mod that would help fix some of the issues the Ethiopians face that you and others have highlighted. (That said, I'm sure you've seen Korbah's North African Expansion mod, which is considerably wider in scope than my meager effort, so I may or may not release it after all.)

  2. #102
    Alternate Historian Machiavellian's Avatar
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    Wow... so what happens now?
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  3. #103
    Damn you and your cliffhangers! Damn you to monophyiste hell!

  4. #104
    Quote Originally Posted by Philo32b
    In the stunned silence that follows, as cynical as I am, I begin to think there really is a God—a Monophysite God—and He hates me.
    Priceless.

    I suspect you'll somehow manage to weasel yourself out of this mess. A Monophysite God is not finished with you yet.

  5. #105
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    You were not right with saying that the leaderless right flank adopted no tactic. In the first picture, it is clear to see that they decided to 'shoot nowhere'.
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  6. #106
    Quote Originally Posted by principiis View Post
    For the first time since starting to play CKII, I find myself actually hoping for a Byzantine intervention.

    Keep up the great work, philo. I've really enjoyed this AAR -- so much so that you inspired me to start my own (vanilla) Abyssinia game, and to work on a mini-mod that would help fix some of the issues the Ethiopians face that you and others have highlighted. (That said, I'm sure you've seen Korbah's North African Expansion mod, which is considerably wider in scope than my meager effort, so I may or may not release it after all.)
    Thanks! And thank you also for pointing me to Korbah's work. I had not noticed it. I was amazed at the extent of the mod, completely surrounding the Sahara desert.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machiavellian View Post
    Wow... so what happens now?
    Quote Originally Posted by hopelessnoob View Post
    Damn you and your cliffhangers! Damn you to monophyiste hell!
    Quote Originally Posted by Holy.Death View Post
    Priceless.

    I suspect you'll somehow manage to weasel yourself out of this mess. A Monophysite God is not finished with you yet.
    Thanks, Machiavellian, hopelessnoob, and Holy.Death! Yes, the Monophysite God is not through with making the trials of Tesfaye as painful as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athalcor View Post
    You were not right with saying that the leaderless right flank adopted no tactic. In the first picture, it is clear to see that they decided to 'shoot nowhere'.
    LOL, you're right. Nice catch! I guess we're just lucky that Selassie didn't have the central column pointed at the same empty space as the right flank.
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  7. #107

    Chapter 16


    I am Tesfaye Zagwe, Count of Sennar. Nothing is fun.

    This turn of events has shaken me to my core—and this is from a guy that has been through a lot of bad crap. I still want to survive, but some part of my will has been broken and I lose my wrothful temper. This is probably bad. When you are craven and shy, sometimes you need the blood to boil to kick you into action.

    In the council chamber, the rebels are trying to remember exactly the crimes against us as part of their “trial.” Crimes against the Ethiopian culture and the Monophysite religion are, of course, at the top of the list. Making ourselves beholden to a foreign power comes in second. (So I’m getting this complaint from both emperor and peasant!) Extremely heavy goat taxes. (I don’t have enough wroth left in my being to glare at the mayor, who was the biggest advocate for this.) Finally is the county’s failure to keep the well clear southwest of town. (What? This is the first we have heard about this; do they think we can read minds? I am going to die because some well is crusted over with dirt.)

    All along, the rebels seem pretty settled on a guilty verdict. But they do have enough decorum to allow me to speak out in my defense. Unfortunately, I can only gape and open and close my mouth. I think I moaned once. They don’t look impressed.




    Now that he gets to wear the marshal’s helmet, Nikodemos actually likes me a little.

    Then Nikodemos jumps in on my behalf. To my horror, he begins by chastising them for asking me--their lord--to answer to mere riffraff in such a manner. Their indecency has caused me to go into shock with disgust. I come very close to fainting at this point, which would have probably been the end. But I manage to hold on. Surely Nikodemos has taken leave of his senses! Judging by their faces, the mayor and bishop seem to be of the same mind as me.

    But his delivery seems to work, and the tirade actually seems to cow them. They look even a bit sheepish. Nikodemos goes on to remind them that I am a vassal of the Emperor of Byzantium. They bridle a little at that, but he continues: “You may not like this fact. You may hate it. But it remains true nonetheless. Do you know what that means for you?” The rebels look hesitant. The trial was not supposed to be much of an interaction. “It means that if anything happens to his vassal, Lord Tesfaye, Basileus Michael—your emperor—would send his soldiers here and take revenge on the townspeople, all the townspeople.” Nikodemos talks now as if he is having to reteach a simple point to a dull child he is tutoring. “Because all of them are responsible for not stopping you. So when his unending thousands of soldiers arrive come pouring into the county, they will have their justice. Usually it is slaying all the men and selling all the women and children into slavery. Basileus Michael prefers that approach because then the proceeds pay for the soldiers to come here. Very tidy.”




    Fear my liege and his countless men, rabble! ...though the discipline of the Imperial Army has gotten a bit lax.

    The rebels now look as though they are craven now, too. One of the more astute points at Nikodemos and says, “What about you? You ain’t vassals of the Basileus.” Nikodemos reminds him that he is Greek and Orthodox, and the Basileus will take very poorly to any Greek Orthodox mistreated by non-Greek heretics. “He is a scholar, you know? He is working on a treatise that enumerates all the ways in which a man can die from torture.” The rebels are looking at each other nervously given this new information that their lives are forfeit if they harm me or any Greeks. Geteye and Gebereal, the two Ethiopian Mononphysite councilors, edge back, trying to look as Greek as possible.

    In the end, it appears that Nikodemos’ silver tongue has saved us and the rebels leave us alone in the council. He has even convinced them that they cannot hinder in my rule, since that would provoke Basileus Michael’s wrath as well. To show everyone that they are still in control they still man the castle walls themselves and stand around in the town square glaring at townspeople and bullying them. Aside from the angry looks they cast at me, though, I am free to conduct my life much as before, hoping that this yet-one-more sword over my head does not fall.





    Their retribution on me thwarted, the rebels need someone upon whom to vent their anger and to show that they are serious. They trump up charges against Abrihet Ambassel, and on the grounds that she consorted with the foreigners, they execute her in the town square. Abrihet was an arbitrary, yet kind and honest woman, the sister of one of the most renown Monophysite theologians in my county, Eremias Ambassel. She was indeed one of my courtiers, but aside from her brother’s having served as my son’s tutor for a short time, she had had no real connection—or not moreso than anyone else—to me or the Greeks at all, and this was well known. Any sympathy that my subjects might have had for this rebellion begins draining away. Kedebe’s political acumen is evidentally nowhere near his military abilities.




    I have no idea who the guy on the right is.

    I gain the patient trait for my “careful manuevers in this battle.” I suppose this is patience waiting for “The Drunkard” to provide the protection he promised as my liege. Perhaps if I introduced him to the local tej he would take more of an interest in the safety of the region.





    In the midst of rebels causing our lives to be harsher than they otherwise would need to be, life goes on. Yemrehana Krestos Zagwe comes of age as a Mastermind theologian. Even more important than my bastard half-brother, though, my son Tesfaye will soon come of age as well. With him will be our next opportunity to rise above the ruin that has befallen the Zagwe Dynasty. We will have another chance for an alliance, and another chance at acquiring military help to gain new lands. That is, of course, if the rebels in control of the county don’t suddenly decide to kill us all first.
    Last edited by Philo32b; 07-05-2012 at 16:35.
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  8. #108
    What can't tej solve?

  9. #109
    I just wanted to say that I read through the entire AAR up to this point in one sitting and that I really enjoyed it . Most AARs have their third kingdom title going by page 6, and war takes up an increasingly large amount of their content. In this AAR, I can actually keep track of your council and the nature of its members. It would almost be a shame if the Zagwe were to become successful at some point.

  10. #110
    Quote Originally Posted by SaintEsteban View Post
    What can't tej solve?
    Indeed! Tesfaye's grandfather understood that much better than Tesfaye.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwebbie View Post
    I just wanted to say that I read through the entire AAR up to this point in one sitting and that I really enjoyed it . Most AARs have their third kingdom title going by page 6, and war takes up an increasingly large amount of their content. In this AAR, I can actually keep track of your council and the nature of its members. It would almost be a shame if the Zagwe were to become successful at some point.
    Thanks, Zwebbie! That is one advantage to being a helpless ruler in the middle of nowhere--you get to know your people better, even if they all hate you.

    Seriously, though, having an extremely small scope is interesting because you have to focus on the details, and CK2 abounds in juicy details. The computer will happily tell you exactly what battle formation (or not!) a particular column of Tesfaye's men are taking as the rebels fill them with arrows. It even gives the rebel leader's name and age. (Although sadly there is no character you can look up in the people finder to correspond to a rebel leader. I wanted to look up and get some insight on why the 30-year-old Berhaunua Kebede was leading a rebellion when Tesfaye would have delighted in having a man of his capabilities as his marshal.)

    Thanks for your insights!
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  11. #111

    Chapter 17


    All those connections and she ended up in Sennar. Poor Agnes.

    As if finally too tired, at her well advanced age, to have to deal with the indignities of peasant rebels, the pious Agnes quietly passes away at 78 of natural causes. The wife and mother of former Kaisers of the Holy Roman Empire, sister to dukes, and the later wife of the last Christian King of Abyssinia, Agnes lived to see many changes in the world, some good and some bad. All of the good ones happened back in Germany, of course.




    And yet, my piety is less than his, much less. Life is not fair.

    My sordid chancellor Geteye also passes away, from syphilis, his body finally tired of living out his many baser desires. He died content with his depraved life. I will always be appreciative of him for helping me convince Basileus Michael to take me as a vassal, and this is why I kept him on in his role, even though Nikodemos was immensely more suited. I move Nikodemos—for whom I have great new-found appreciation—to the role of Chancellor and start looking for a Greek marshal.





    Nikephorus of Deuteron is willing to come to my court. He will do so in the vain hope that I will press his claims for some barony. I have many chancellors who came in the vain hope that I will press a claim on a county. Now I have someone willing to assign himself to this arid purgatory for a mere barony? The standards of the Byzantines seem to be slipping. In any case, maybe he can help us get rid of these damn rebels. It is only after he arrives that I realize his is craven, which is not what you would like to see in the head of your military. But given that our levee could not handle peasants, perhaps cravenness in our marshal is fitting.





    The rebels have taken to getting drunk on tej that they steal from the merchants and getting into fights and carousing at all hours of the night. Occasionally they light a building on fire, too. All of this further erodes support for their cause from the general population. They seem all too happy to be transitioning from peasant rebels full of righteous anger at ethnic and religious injustice to mere bandits. Spymaster Anastasios is having some of his local Ethiopian contacts drop hints about Muslim treasures in the north. He’s hoping that the rebels go off in search of the plunder which is absent here.





    “The Drunkard” has rewarded my “service” with the honorary title of Anthypatos. It signifies my inclusion into a class above the “patrikioi”, whoever they are. Given that I have done nothing for the Empire, I think Basileus Michael’s clear sentiment behind the award is, “I can’t fulfill my obligation to help you right now, so instead I’ll give you this empty title.” Still, it does feel good—I mean, he could have not helped me and not sent anything. Nikodemos tells me that the award comes with a beautiful purple inscribed tablet… which they will hold for me in the capital city for safekeeping. That’s probably just as well, the rebels would probably steal it.






    Sure enough, with instructions to improve my name with the bishop, the Chaplain Gebereal has only managed to sully my name with Bishop Afework. But he has also gone above and beyond the call of duty and talked with Mayor Abai, sullying my name with him, too. Then I notice he has tried to deflect blame from himself by signing Nikodemos’ name to these letters when even the messenger delivering them tells me they are from the chaplain himself. The new marshal Nikephorus hears of this and, being wroth, storms off to talk to the chaplain, saying that this is a capital offence and he had better make the bishop love me or his head will be stuck on a pole at the town gates. I love these Greeks.




    And he has the Zagwe condescending look, too.

    My son comes of age and assumes the responsibilities of an adult. I am quite impressed that I was able to father a son like him: charitable, brave, kind, and diligent, with no vices of any kind in his manner. He is masterful at intrigue and quite capable at diplomacy and the martial skills as well. His only drawback is his inheritance of his great-grandfather’s lack of care at stewardship and fiscal responsibility.

    He is fully Greek in his manners and Orthodox in his beliefs. Tragically, despite my deep affection for him he despises me for all my vices and failings. Perhaps one day he will appreciate everything I have done for our people. In the meantime, though, I need to get him married as soon as possible.




    Sibylla, you might want to be more specific in your goals. Welcome to the social ladder of Sennar.

    I begin negotiations with the liege of Sibylla Tarchaneiotes for her hand in marriage. Sibylla is not too amazing, but she is not bad either. The aspiring poet is arbitrary, but she is also temperate, gregarious, humble, and honest. Of course, her best virtue is that she carries with her an alliance with her brother, a Doux who is also a vassal of the Byzantine Basileus. Sibylla’s not hating me is also something that endears her to me, but her opinion of me will doubtless change for the worse as soon as she arrives.

    Nikephorus would like to start discussing some possible infidel realms we could invade once we have acquired our new ally. I flatly refuse. Poor man—he does not get it yet. This is Sennar. Nothing goes as well as planned here. They usually go much, much worse. Why plan that far ahead? Our ally the Doux will probably drop dead of some rare illness right after the wedding.





    Things are looking good for the proposed wedding. Why does that make me nervous?





    Two things happen simultaneously that are both momentous in their own right, which makes me think they must somehow be connected.

    Nikephorus and Anastasios have relieved us of the rebel scourge, proving their inestimable value. Taking up Anastasios’ ploy with the rebels and expanding it, Nikephorus convinced the rebels that Anastasios has learned of infidel tribute treasure being held in a loosely-guarded town in Axum, where it will soon be transported to the Caliph in Gondar. I would not have thought the rebels so stupid as to fall for this, but they have grown extremely frustrated at the lack of anything valuable in Sennar, and this makes them gullible. As we watch the rebels leave town on their “raid”, Nikephorus tells me this is the last we will see of these rebels. I don't want to know the details. He does turn out to be correct.

    The day seems to be going well. Later on, however, for some reason it occurs to me to check on the hidden sacred knuckle bone of Severus. Unfortunately, it is now gone.
    Last edited by Philo32b; 07-05-2012 at 16:36.
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  12. #112
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    I wonder, how does a craven with 20 martial act?
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  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athalcor View Post
    I wonder, how does a craven with 20 martial act?
    When he wants to fight...he wins handily. When he doesn't want to fight, he succeeds in withdrawing.

    So...he doesn't fight much, but if he ever did, he'd easily win.

    It's like having a mesh of McClellan and R.E. Lee...McClellan for all times not in battle, and Lee for all times IN battle.
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  14. #114
    Quote Originally Posted by Athalcor View Post
    I wonder, how does a craven with 20 martial act?
    Yes, a good point. I had to put some thought into that. If he had the Brilliant Strategist career trait but only a martial score of 5, he would be someone very knowledgeable about strategy in theory, but unable to put it into practice because he is craven. Sort of like the old chancellor Geteye--perfect name for him, by the way--who had the Brilliant Diplomat trait but whose diplomatic skills were only 5; his addiction to his vices made him horrible at his job. But Nikephorus is different: The score of 20 shows that he really is masterful in combat and leading men in battle, both of which take an enormous amount of bravery. So either he is craven to everything else in his life but war, in which his mastery shields him from his fears, or it shows up only indirectly in martial matters, before or after the battle or war, perhaps. (I seem to recall that one of Napoleon's officers was craven before battles, but once the man heard the first cannonfire, he became a lion of a warrior with incredible ability.) We'll have to see how Nikephorus acts to know for sure.
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  15. #115
    Quote Originally Posted by TheExecuter View Post
    When he wants to fight...he wins handily. When he doesn't want to fight, he succeeds in withdrawing.

    So...he doesn't fight much, but if he ever did, he'd easily win.

    It's like having a mesh of McClellan and R.E. Lee...McClellan for all times not in battle, and Lee for all times IN battle.
    Got interrupted mid-post and didn't see this before I hit submit... Looks like we were thinking along similar lines.
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  16. #116
    Hm, I'm curious what happened to that knucklebone.

    Am I the only one picturing a bunch of monophysite cultists in some hidden cellar, plotting?
    Ftaghn! :>

  17. #117
    I imagine he'd be skilled as a strategist and tactician, but prefers to lead from the reserve force, leaving others in charge of the van. Not the most inspirational leader, but a successful one.

  18. #118
    Quote Originally Posted by TheExecuter View Post
    When he wants to fight...he wins handily. When he doesn't want to fight, he succeeds in withdrawing.
    In the words of Sir Arthur Sullivan...
    In enterprise of martial kind,
    When there was any fighting,
    He led his regiment from behind
    (He found it less exciting).
    But when away his regiment ran,
    His place was at the fore, O-
    That celebrated,
    Cultivated,
    Underrated
    Nobleman,
    The Duke of Plaza-Toro!

  19. #119
    I was wondering how is it possible to surivive as the Abyssinian King... I came to conclussion that since you can't hire mercenaries the only sure way is to invite a good cleric of Catholic faith who'll convert you to his religion. With Haar and Axsum to handle out to your vassals it's doable to convert all the most important subject (and, in fact, almost all court) in two to three generations. Because Holy Wars are often (for example, I was fighting decades long guerilla war against the combined Sunni duchies to the north) you have a lot of piety. Only problem is to survive for long enough for the Holy Orders to be created (I managed to go as far as 1145 year, with about 8500 troops). For some reason I wasn't able to swear fealty to the Emperor (even if during my game I converted to Orthodox faith, maybe because of the King title, but I am not sure).

    I think you should use plotting more - it'd be better if your wives will be chosen because of their stats, since children won't inherit their titles. On the other hand, marrying your sisters matrimonially with inhertiable claims of some coutries of the current rules of some lands could benefit you with some holdings. Fortune needs some help. If you aren't at war with your target you can send women by marring, I mean marrying, them to some important (plot-wise) courtiers who desire to be married. Before that you can gift females 20 gold, so with some luck you should have not one but two persons for your plot. I think it's worth a try, although I am not sure how much income you have, since Zagwe are now vegetating in the desert land of Sennar... Also, try to send your children to the Emperor, if he'll like you enough he might grant you some land. Since you are already of his religion and culture it can be worth a shoot.

  20. #120
    Quote Originally Posted by Held der Arbeit View Post
    Hm, I'm curious what happened to that knucklebone.

    Am I the only one picturing a bunch of monophysite cultists in some hidden cellar, plotting?
    Ftaghn! :>
    Nice! I very much like that image.

    Quote Originally Posted by aristos_achaion View Post
    In the words of Sir Arthur Sullivan...
    LOL, I'm not craven, I just don't like so much... excitement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Holy.Death View Post
    I was wondering how is it possible to surivive as the Abyssinian King... I came to conclussion that since you can't hire mercenaries the only sure way is to invite a good cleric of Catholic faith who'll convert you to his religion. With Haar and Axsum to handle out to your vassals it's doable to convert all the most important subject (and, in fact, almost all court) in two to three generations. Because Holy Wars are often (for example, I was fighting decades long guerilla war against the combined Sunni duchies to the north) you have a lot of piety. Only problem is to survive for long enough for the Holy Orders to be created (I managed to go as far as 1145 year, with about 8500 troops). For some reason I wasn't able to swear fealty to the Emperor (even if during my game I converted to Orthodox faith, maybe because of the King title, but I am not sure).

    I think you should use plotting more - it'd be better if your wives will be chosen because of their stats, since children won't inherit their titles. On the other hand, marrying your sisters matrimonially with inhertiable claims of some coutries of the current rules of some lands could benefit you with some holdings. Fortune needs some help. If you aren't at war with your target you can send women by marring, I mean marrying, them to some important (plot-wise) courtiers who desire to be married. Before that you can gift females 20 gold, so with some luck you should have not one but two persons for your plot. I think it's worth a try, although I am not sure how much income you have, since Zagwe are now vegetating in the desert land of Sennar... Also, try to send your children to the Emperor, if he'll like you enough he might grant you some land. Since you are already of his religion and culture it can be worth a shoot.
    Thanks for your comments. I like your idea of going after Christian Holy Orders, since Ethiopians get no mercenaries. If you are an Orthodox heretic, you can convert to Orthodoxy through the Intrigue menu. How do you convert to Christianity instead?

    I wasn't following you exactly when you were talking about plotting. You are talking about acquiring claims through marriage, right? That is a good route to go, but in Tesfaye's case, he doesn't have the manpower to win any war for any claims he might have. That's why he used marriage to get an ally.

    I didn't know a liege would gift you more land if they like you. I knew that you can ask for a duchy from your liege if you own a county in the de jure duchy. But you're saying that one's liege will just give you a county out of the blue?
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