This is my first ever attempt at an AAR for any game so any feedback is gratefully received. My general goal is to become King of Italy but I shall see where the characters take me. I am not going to play ahead so will write up each bit after I have played it. I am playing 1.05c vanilla.
Part I – The Duke, His Wife, His Lover and His Brother
September 1066 - Greetings, noble scribe. I welcome you to my fair castle of Ivrea where I shall put on a small feast in your honour. I am Duke Pierre of Savoy, Count of Savoy and Piemonte, a realm which though modest encompasses both the highest peaks of the Alps and the gentle plains of northern Italy.
First let me tell you a bit about my family. I am the 3rd Duke of Savoy following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather. I am also no less a great-grandson of a King of Italy on my mother's side. This is an honour and status I will strive to bring about again.
Now to introduce myself. I am admittedly quite young at a mere 19 years of age but full of vim and vigour. I am already well schooled in the ways of war and people might say that I am a tough soldier. I am ambitious as you might have gathered to promote and improve the fortunes of my noble house. Although ambitious, I am not overly proud and feel that I have the common touch to get on with most people even the occasional peasant! That said I am not without guile and a pleasant manner can hide some of the tricks that I like to play. These skills are also useful when it comes to wooing the fairer sex, at which I am quite adept.
My first act as a ruler in my own right (I succeeded as a child in 1060) must of course be to cast aside my many tavern wenches and find myself a noble wife who can produce an heir. My chancellor has produced a list of eligible princesses. Unfortunately he is not able to tell me for certain if any of them is especially comely. This is a problem as I could not suffer a plain wife. Fortunately, my lands are on a crossroads and we get many visitors passing through who bring news of events across Europe. Tonight I was entertaining the ambassador of the new King of England, William (known as the Conqueror), who was on his way to Rome seeking Papal favour. I was able to ask him if he knew of any beautiful (and eligible) princesses. He told me about the Princess Ximena of Navarra. Although not a classic beauty her elegance and knowing looks have made her the object of affection for many courtiers who have written countless poems in her honour. I must have this Princess! I will send an envoy tomorrow.
Now to my realm. My Duchy theoretically consists of 6 counties but I only own two of them myself and the other 4 are currently independent. I must rectify this at once! I think I shall begin with the Prince-Bishop of Valais. A poor clergyman cannot put up much of a fight!
November 1066 - I asked one of my other would-be-vassals the count of Geneva to assist my war against Valais. He refused! I shall remember this. Nevertheless my troops are marching north. I have 500 men while the Bishop can only muster a meagre 150
January 1st 1067 - Today is my 20th birthday. We had a lavish feast where there was much food, wine and dancing. During the dancing, I was paired with Jeanne my brother's wife. It felt like something sparked between us and later that evening I gave her a good tumble between the sheets. I should make it clear that this doesn't mean I have stopped going to my wife's bedchamber. I easily have the energy to keep two women satisfied. Of course, I suspect my brother Amédée may be upset if he finds out but it his own fault if he cannot keep his wife satisfied.
Feb 1067 - I think I am falling in love with Jeanne. We have the most passionate romance perhaps aided by the fact we have to keep it secret from my brother and my wife. We make love in the wildest places - behind the battlements of the tallest tower, in the minstrels gallery of the great hall and even in the Privy (although that was perhaps not the best idea due to the foul odours). In other news, the Holy Roman Emperor has made me Master of the Hunt. Perhaps he recognises my brilliant qualities and I am set for further promotion.
March 1067 - The Holy Roman Emperor has raised crown authority to limited. Perhaps that title was actually just a way of keeping me sweet.
November 1067 - My little war did not go so well. As predicted I easily took out the bishop, but the castle was a tougher nut to crack. I didn't quite have enough troops for the siege so I decided to hire some mercenaries. My mercenaries marched up to Valais, at which point I ran out of money and the mercenaries defected to the bishop. Luckily he is in a man of god so was willing to accept a white peace.
In better news, today I became a father for the first time, not through my wife but through my sister-in-law. I have decided to legitimise the child and baby Oddon (named after my father) will become a full member of the House of Savoy. My brother is not best pleased but I think he would have been fairly unhappy whatever I did.
January 1st 1068 - My 21st birthday was rather more subdued than my 20th. We had a modest feast accompanied by what seemed like a glaring contest between my wife (glaring at Jeanne) and Amédée (glaring at me). I didn't really feel like drinking and had an early night.
This will be my last few weeks at home for a while anyway as the Emperor has raised my troops to go and fight the Muslims for Sardinia.
November 6th 1068 - Well that war didn't last long. I marched my troops to Provence ready to set sail when we heard the news the war was over. I'm not really sure what happened but by all accounts Genoa has now taken over the north of Sardinia.
Today I became a father again and this time by my wife! We made it up somewhat before I left as Ximena was nervous about me going to war (or maybe she wanted an heir to keep her status if I died). This time it's a girl called Adele.
May 1069 - Nothing much has happened lately. I have tried to address my poor financial position by putting up city taxes. My income is still meagre though. Lombardy and Carinthia have gone to war over Padua but not sure how this helps me. There must be something I can do!
9th August 1069 - Jeanne has had another child this time with my brother. He has decided to call the child Amédée after himself, clearly trying to make a point in case anyone wasn't sure.
February 1070 - The Duchess of Upper Lorraine has asked me to join a plot to kill the Kaiser's son. Why not? I have nothing better to do (well except impregnate my wife again). The other week my half-brother Gerhard asked me for a title. He must be joking with all these mouths to feed!
22nd June 1070 - My son Antoine was born. This is not entirely the good news it seems as I have gavelkind succession which will split my meagre demesne in half. I would like to change the succession law but I have another problem with the new Mayor of Turin who dislikes me. I have tried plotting against him but cannot find any other plotters. Aha! I have it I shall flatter this man by making him cupbearer. Then he will surely like me! My plan has worked a treat and I have brought in elective succession to keep my realm together. I have chosen Oddon (the rightfully legitimised) as my heir (well you didn't think I would choose Amédée did you?) and have betrothed him to the child Countess of Cremona.
2nd April 1071 - Another child with my lover, Helie (a boy). I have decided to acknowledge rather than legitimise this time.
15th October 1071 - Another child with my wife - Mathilde
25th October 1072 - I've found of late I have become increasingly charitable. While this is no doubt a good thing it may explain why I still have very little money.
11th December 1072 - My lover wants me to join a plot to kill my wife. This is a really difficult to decision to make but in the end I am going to go with my lover. Maybe I can find a new wife who has lots of money or titles!
19th August 1074 - My chancellor has managed to fabricate a claim on the Prince-Bishopric of Nice. I have built up a small war chest of 120 ducats to hire mercenaries. Surely this war must go better? Surely!
20th August 1074 - Unfortunately I have just discovered that Nice is subject to Genoa so may have to go back to plan A - attacking Valais
18th May 1075 - My plan of attacking Valais has also failed. Apparently I don't have enough prestige to lead my armies against Valais. Well rather than do completely nothing I will start to improve my holdings with a castle village in Ivrea.
29th August 1075 - My nephew Amédée, son of Amédée is ready for education. I have decided to put him in the charge of my wife. This should distract her from hating me so much and it will annoy my brother when his son starts speaking Basque to him!
18th September 1075 - My wife has produced another daughter Amelie. Again this will hopefully stop her hating me quite so much.
August 1078 - I have had another child with my wife, Beatrice. My brother asked me to put his wife in the stocks. Err no... How can I sleep with her behind his back if she's locked up?
March 1079 - My own wife is not talking to me as she found out about the plot to kill her. I was rather talkative one day after a few too many drinks and now the whole court knows.
She came into the throne room with all the children in tow and just glared at me in silence.
“Ah you’re going to put on some entertainment. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? Or maybe a song? A song about what a glorious Duke I am? Or a song about the mountains maybe? There’s always so much going on in the mountains. These hills are alive with the sound of…. of…..goats.”
She stalked out and hasn’t been seen for some weeks.
1st January 1080 - Today is my 33rd birthday. It is also only a couple of months until the 20th anniversary of my succession as a child. I ask my chancellor to put together a grand celebration, highlighting my many achievements. He pauses for a second, "Well Sire, we could put on a childrens' party". Hmmm.
1st March 1080 - Today is my 20th anniversary. I sit back to reflect my situation. Have I added any new territories - no. Have I made any desirable alliances - no. I have less prestige and piety than when I started. But at least I'm still here and I have built a castle village and a wooden palisade! And I have had 7ish children who will all hopefully form many successful branches of the House of Savoy. I have a wife who hates me except when we're in bed together, a lover who likes me but hates my wife and a brother who hates me but is too weak to do anything about it. And I still have many years to fulfil my ambitions.
As I proceed over to the children's puppet show I turn my mind to something else. Which children are mine by my wife, which are mine by my lover, which are my lover's by my brother and which belong to random relatives? I really should try to find out one day.