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Thread: The Rum Diary: A custom-ruler Rum AAR.

  1. #1
    First Lieutenant Avicenna's Avatar
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    Post The Rum Diary: A custom-ruler Rum AAR.

    Contents
    1. Situation & Options
    2. The Initial Campaign
    3. Absorbing the Minor States & an Introduction to Family

    Prologue

    I never thought this would be my life.

    I would have imagined a thousand thousand lives before this one. A life spent in the palace working alongside my esteemed uncle. A life out on campaign or quelling the typical court-intrigues - I wished nothing more than to be a loyal servant to the man who had given me so much.

    I failed him on every count.

    He was a man misjudged by so many. I am a testament to all his detractors of what a remarkable man he was, and now I am lost, and with it the truth...

    ...But it will not be lost to all. I stand here as a man possessed by the vices of anger and hate, but I will turn them into something beautiful - retribution. Those who need to suffer will suffer. That which needs to fall will fall.

    All large things start with small things. My life is no different. One quick tumble with the milk-maid is all that was needed to bring down an empire [or so I hope]. Reason if reason was needed for the perfumed lords of Anatolia to pay heed to their incense-spraying priests when they call for piety!

    I was the result of that indiscretion. My mother a harlot and my father a rutting cretin. He died green and as bloated as a toad, never knowing the name of his killer. I came into this world already a fatherless bastard, the matter should have ended there with mild embarrassment for his kin and undying shame for my mother. My uncle did the unthinkable and legitimised me - can you imagine the reaction! He was a man of importance, he had his own children - the presumption was that it was an act that was the manifestation of the grief he felt for his brother's death - he later told me that it was nothing of the sort. A man can have uses for those who the world is more than happy to ignore...

    My uncle kept me at his side at all times, though this was under the pretext of doing menial chores that arose, he always reminded me to keep an ear open to all that was said, and an eye open for all that took place. He ensured that even from an early age, the inner-workings of power were known to me, and in time they became my second-nature.

    Though you may not believe it, considering my position - be it political or geographical, my uncle was a Roman lord. A rather important one, truth be told. He was a general very much in demand. So much so that the widowed Empress wedded him in order to protect her son - little boys in purple robes cannot hold empires together - but strong men can.

    Ah, I get the feeling you perhaps believe you know who my uncle was at this point? Is it the family resemblance? I'm told we have the same eyes...

    ...Anyway, he was not a man who played up to court whispers and intrigue. He felt that was a task for me. I was a boy of eighteen trying to unravel the plots of those who had been plotting long before my uncle was even born. Needless to say I failed miserably.

    My uncle faced his problems head-on. He gathered his forces and marched against the Turks. 'Let the eunuchs have their games, they lack anything else to fiddle with' he told me as we headed out, he was sick of Constantinople and the endless charades put on by those who would happily see him dead.

    All was well until Manzikert. Manzikert. That name. Manzikert. Manzikert. Manzikert. That cancer in me. Manzikert. He will go down in infamy for a defeat that was not his own. He will be called the incompetent snake who killed an empire.

    It was not his doing. It was mine. I was so trusting. I believed that whatever happened in the capital meant nothing out here. I had reports the night before of dissent amongst some of our esteemed friends. Whispers of betrayal. I thought I knew it all. 'They would not attempt something out here!' I genuinely thought that with the Turk out in force, there would be no suicidal self-interest...

    ...And then came the battle. Half the army stays at camp, the other flees! This was the Imperial army! This was the raw will of the Roman Empire! They gave the emperor to the Turk and ran!

    I had been wounded in the battle. I was looked after by the Turk's own staff - though it was serious, I would survive. My uncle and the Turk went into discussions. They got on well - it was around this time we stopped calling him 'the Turk' and started calling him Alp Arslan. I was to be left with Alp - firstly I was still too wounded to march, and time was of the essence. Secondly I was to be the link between these two men, the go-between to assure all was well. There was no interest in further conflict, far from it.

    There were so many plans - so much had been agreed - the scope of it all was enough to make Alexander the Great shudder. This was to be an alliance that would change all.

    But it was not to be.

    Romanos IV was usurped and blinded by the same vipers who deserted him. He died alone and in the dark. The alliance was dust. Alp was furious. I was still at camp. It could barely be said I existed in Greek lands - I have existed thanks to and through what was now a dead man.

    Alp gave me a choice.

    I took his faith and I took his task. It was many years before I was ready, both in skill and in Alp's trust. Though he liked me, it was another thing entirely to give such a man a task of such magnitude... but in the end he felt he was right to think it could work.

    I was, for a lack of a better word, rechristened. My name died with Romanos. Alp gave me the name Kilij. As a son of Rum, he felt it only appropriate that it be my name.

    I was to head an autonomous region in Anatolia, the Rum-lands. I was to, with my inate knowledge, exploit the weaknesses of the Greeks, I was to convert their lands and I was to bring down that soft with rot 'Roman' Empire.

    I am Kilij of Rum and I will avenge my uncle. If I cannot it will be my son's task. If they cannot it will be their son's task. But it will happen. The year is 1077 and this is the beginning of my campaign.

    Last edited by Avicenna; 26-10-2012 at 03:04. Reason: Added a contents bit for the one person who reads this [thanks, one person!]

  2. #2
    First Lieutenant Avicenna's Avatar
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    Situation & Options


    This is the land I have been granted to hammer at the Greeks with. While behind closed doors I shall always be subordinate to Alp, out here I am independent. Out here I answer to no man. Not even Alp.

    There are Greek lands to the north, south and west of me. These will be my expansion routes:

    The north holds the last remains of Greek rule, along with their increasingly-lonely friends the Georgians. I will look to pounce on the Georgians as soon as appropriate. Trebizond will have to wait until the Greeks are weak, which should be a regular occurrence with the eunuchs making the decisions as usual.


    To the south are the independent lands of Armenia Minor and Antioch. Case in point of the decay of the Greeks, they have even forgotten their oldest of sayings: 'united we stand, divided we fall'. My only issue with these two desperate entities is whether I'll be able to get to them before the plethora of Muslim brother-states do.


    And then there is the final stage - the west. Greece-proper will prove difficult if they possess a modicum of unity. If they prove weak I can push through to the Peloponnese before they've finished their bickering over who will get which title in the next sordid plot, let alone pulled theirselves together enough to defend their lands... Perhaps Southern Italy one day...


    To the east are my benefactors, the Seljuks. While I count them as friends, friendship is not something to count upon. Nor is it something I expect to last though the generations. They are fractious by nature and while their father may have the most complex and glittering designs on the west resting on the fortunes of Rum, I do no expect his children to care for this at all. More than likely, when Alp dies, this venture dies. It is with this in mind that I must act with ferocity and decisiveness. I expect an attack from the east just as much as any attack from the west. Friendship buys time, not safety.


    My realm was divided thus, in order to provide a sense of security for the Turks, the east was doled to two Turks I selected from Alp's most trusted friends. While he has put untold faith in me, nothing mortal is infinite, and he has taken out security in the form of these trusted friends. The small touch of colour to the north is a Greek count who earned his position by opening the gates to a vital city. Personally, I think he is a snake. Alp felt he would be a beacon to other Greeks of the rewards for submission to him. I cannot allow Alp's creatures to be everywhere - I knew I had no chance with the Turks, so I bribed him with a duchy he desired. He also submitted to the faith - something he refused to do for Alp. A small victory for me, I feel.


    These are the men who call me their lord. They are the picture of the future of Rum - Greek and Turk, united by Islam.


    Alone in this world I trusted one man - now dead. I do business with a man I like, and enjoy the company of, and am indebted to, but I am still the bastard boy and a dead emperor's creature. What he has given he can take again. I must make sure I take enough that he cannot possibly carry it away with him.

  3. #3
    First Lieutenant Avicenna's Avatar
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    [At this point I'm off to make sure I actually have something to write about. I've never attempted anything like this before, so please leave feedback if you're so inclined!]

  4. #4
    I'm not following any Muslim AARs right now so this just made the list Nice start to the game but those Seljuks look scary!
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  5. #5
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    This seems like a great AAR and i will be following! good luck

  6. #6
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    While I generally disapprove of the destruction of in-game Byzantine Empires, I can certainly make exceptions for well-reasoned or well-written AARs. So let's see how you fare (and I wonder if you'll have to face Alexios Komnenos, or if his scheming for the throne will come to nought in this timeline).
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  7. #7
    Irken Tallest Arilou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    While I generally disapprove of the destruction of in-game Byzantine Empires, I can certainly make exceptions for well-reasoned or well-written AARs. So let's see how you fare (and I wonder if you'll have to face Alexios Komnenos, or if his scheming for the throne will come to nought in this timeline).
    Bah, he's not destroying the Byzantine Empire as much as passing it to it's rightful heirs
    "Man is free; but his freedom does not look like the glorious liberty of the Enlightenment; it is no longer the gift of God. Once again, man stands alone in the universe, responsible for his condition, likely to remain in a lowly state, but free to reach above the stars.."
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  8. #8
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    Wipe them out. All of them.
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  9. #9
    First Lieutenant Avicenna's Avatar
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    The Initial Campaign

    You can always trust a Greek to make any given situation worse. I had made all the necessary plans for an expedition into Armenia Minor when news came to me of a palace-coup gone wrong. The Emperor was still alive - to the dismay of what seemed to be a large proportion of the Empire. No sooner had my scouts been sent into Armenia Minor than they were called back. Our army was indeed on the march - but it was heading west, not south, to somewhere I didn't think I'd see for at least another decade - the Sea of Marmara.

    To their misfortune, I had spend quite a bit of my youth in Nikaea, and I yearned to return as their lord. While Samos was itself a prize worth having, Nikaea had the sentimental edge, as well as putting Constantinople in even more discomfort.

    It would appear that the civil war was doomed to be more of a fizzle than a bang. Despite Nikaea being core provinces of the Empire, their lord failed to muster more than a thousand levies. Perhaps his position in the hearts of his people was not as secure as in previous years? He was fat, friendly, and with pretensions to the Imperial throne - every Greek's friend. He had also been one of the snakes who slithered around my late uncle, releasing his poison when he came back to Constantinople after Manzikert. I will not let personal vendetta get in the way, far from it, I will harness it and let the blows come down on him harder - the defeats sooner. A little example of my hate put into practice, I have started lacing my arrows and blades with a poison - one that is of no use on the battlefield, but which will cause excruciating death in the weeks after, even from the smallest of cuts...

    And the defeats did indeed come quickly. A particularly good day for me, after a short skirmish we were able to trap and annihilate their army - I even managed to spot that old fool in the battlefield, whether or not my arrow got through his armour I cannot say, but as he snuck off as he encircled his forces, it was still lodged in place...
    Not only good news on the battlefield - I received a letter telling me we had squeezed enough funds out to either provide defenses for two fortresses, or one training centre... you would presume I favour offense over defense, no? I in-fact favour the third option that my Turk advisers had not thought of - a merchants quarters. We will beat the Greeks at their own game, and when we drain their coin away from them, we will begin our real campaigns against them. The best defense is a strong offense, and there is no stronger offensive than an economic one. When we win the trade war they will be dead in the water.


    I am nothing to anyone. To the Turks I am an outright outsider, the usurper to a position one of them should fill. To the Greeks I am the creature of a barbarian warlord. I have no friend in this world. I have taken wives I do not love to have children who will know me as a ghost, someone both there and not there - certainly not a father. I must be on my guard at all times, anyone could be my downfall, and I have so much to do...

    I know I'm not wrong...


    It was a short campaign, but a hard-fought one none-the-less. I was denied my reward of stripping the bloated toads title from him by my own hand, or rather quiver. He had died in unbelievable pain, or so I was told by his daughter, who I took the surrender from. She wrote me a sweet letter capitulating to 'the pale Turk'... she is the sort of Greek I wish to save, the sort who has been crushed underfoot by eunuchs and perfumed schemers. The Empire must die in order to be reborn. The heart is diseased, it cannot live with it or without it - it is integral to it's life, but is the one thing killing it.


    One month later and the political landscape had shifted in a way I hadn't anticipated. The emperor was dead, not deposed. It would seem their game had got out-of-hand... I doubt they had even wanted him dead, they're cats with their prey, they hadn't got the chance to bat him around enough before he expired... His successor was not a greedy lord but in-fact his baby-boy. Stranger things have happened... but seldom in Constantinople. Whether he lasts long enough for his name to be remembered depends entirely on who his mother takes into her bed-chamber. too incompetent and it will be for nothing, too scheming and he will be dead in a year. Sadly Constantinopolitans only come in incompetent and scheming. Poor boy.

    The Seljuks are playing up again, rising up against Alp... they won't find a more accommodating ruler, that is for certain. While I adore Alp, it is always best for both of us that he is busy. I work best when my domain is not being trampled underfoot by half-a-million hoofs...

    I think Armenia Minor has had all the borrowed time it shall ever have... Rum shall have access to the Med!

  10. #10
    Good to see the seljuks are busy. Good luck destroying the infidels in armenia
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  11. #11
    Major roplox's Avatar
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    Following this. Awesome start. I just don't get it that your character has pale skin but arab clothes.
    Finished AAR's': "Lion of the North"

  12. #12
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    First of all, I'd just like to thank those who have read/commented on the thread so far. I've wanted to write one for EUIII/CKII for the longest time [I had a bitchin' Hungary EUIII game that I still kick myself for not AARing...], I'm not glad and relieved that anyone has an interest in it! So thank-you for at the very least sparing my blushes as the tumbleweeds blow through...

    Quote Originally Posted by roplox View Post
    Following this. Awesome start. I just don't get it that your character has pale skin but arab clothes.
    Ah, I'll use this a a chance for a quick synopsis:

    My character is a custom-ruler. He was the right-hand man and bastard nephew to Emperor Romanos IV. At Manzikert he was too wounded to march back with Romanos, but was privvy to the secret peace agreements between Romanos and Alp. On his uncle's death he stayed with Alp.

    He 'went Turk' so is culturally Turkish and religiously Sunni.

    Alp granted my character his Anatolian conquests and gave him the task of taking the rest of the empire.

    Basically he's a ethnically Greek, culturally Turk, religiously Sunni, and has the mother of all chips on his shoulder...

  13. #13
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avicenna View Post
    [/b]Basically he's a ethnically Greek, culturally Turk, religiously Sunni, and has the mother of all chips on his shoulder...[/B]
    You're not wrong about that chip - the general tone, the personal animosity towards the duke of Nikaea, those poison-tipped arrows...

    Here's someone with a huge, personal, score to settle, and a very interesting mix of views on the Byzantine Empire (there's a lot of hate, but also quite a bit of affection, and the somewhat muddled idea that the Empire needs saving from itself by being converted - at the sword - to Sunni rule and the Sunni faith). I like the ambiguity of your character and I wonder what will happen to the tone of this story once he dies and one of his sons takes over - presumably without the same heavy baggage of a grab-bag of conflicting emotions.

    Looking forward to more.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    You're not wrong about that chip - the general tone, the personal animosity towards the duke of Nikaea, those poison-tipped arrows...

    Here's someone with a huge, personal, score to settle, and a very interesting mix of views on the Byzantine Empire (there's a lot of hate, but also quite a bit of affection, and the somewhat muddled idea that the Empire needs saving from itself by being converted - at the sword - to Sunni rule and the Sunni faith). I like the ambiguity of your character and I wonder what will happen to the tone of this story once he dies and one of his sons takes over - presumably without the same heavy baggage of a grab-bag of conflicting emotions.

    Looking forward to more.
    Thanks! It seems that once you decide your game is an AAR, plenty of fantastic things happen! I'm about a decade ahead now, and one or two particular whoppers spring to mind...

    You're right on his mixed feelings. He was brought up in a wealthy family, and was brought up to innately love the Empire. But he has seen the Empire at it's worst - Manzikert and the betrayal afterwards. He is the abused child - it is the confused love-hate relationship of a black sheep son. He feels the Empire died with his uncle, who he idolised. The Empire has lost it's legitimacy, and he is attempting to have it reborn - getting rid of the schemers and plotters and eunuchs and giving what he thinks the Greeks need for unity - Islam, as well as reinvigorating their strength with a Turkish flex of muscle.

    I'm still unsure whether I'll mod the game to allow for an Empire-tier Rum or a Turko-Greek cultural synthesis [along the lines of the Norman-Saxon English event].

    And you're right with the sons. Being Muslim, there's plenty of them, and they all have very, VERY different appearance, attributes... opinions... and of course this will come out soon enough...

    I think the next update will be north-eastern conquests, the one after SOMETHING MASSIVE, then an update dealing with like, 5 of my kids coming of age at once, then SOMETHING EVEN MORE MASSIVE.

    It's all happening in Rum, let me tell you...

  15. #15
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    Absorbing the Minor States & an Introduction to Family


    The next task on my list was the suppression of the independent states to the north and east of Rum. I left the northern conquests to my able Turk-Doux Saltukid, who must have the mountains in his heart as others have the sea, as even as a horseman no longer in the open-land he outwitted the mountain-men time-and-time again. While success is always appreciated and rewarded, I should take care that he does not acquire too many titles… Prestige goes to a Turks head as wine does to a Frank.

    Something I forgot to mention previously, Armenia Minor had come to the aid of Nikaea during their absorption into Rum, their Doux had been captured and had been languishing in a cell ever since. I promised him he would be released as soon as he could muster a decent release-fee. It was not purely for his wealth that I had kept him around, he could not believe who I was when I visited him in his cell, the distain for the bastard-boy turned to shock as it had dawned on him what he was witnessing. I think if Romanos had stood in front of him – cheating death and even worse than necromancy, gone Turk, he would have had an easier time believing it. He had had his own role in my uncle's downfall - he had given aid to those who betrayed him and knew of what awaited Romanos...

    Once he realised who I was in all senses – both Rum sultan and Romanos’ nephew, he couldn’t wait to tell me what had been happening since Manzikert. While Romanos had been blinded, his children had been spared and packed off – though nobody knew where, or whether they had truly been spared at all. This came as a shock to me, I had spent a lot of time with them in my childhood and this revelation had shocked me. I’d presumed they’d have been dealt with… perhaps I’d spent a bit too much time with my Turk benefactors and was too used to their ways of dealing with problematic dynasts…

    When he had my money I released him... and followed him home with my forces. In no time at all we had taken his lands and titles away from him, and I left him in debt and living off of his wife - for in the new order I have embraced, there can be no greater shame.


    I haven’t spoken of my family yet, have I? Most of my life is cold and hard – there is very little enjoyment to be found. That can’t be said of my children. My children and their upbringing is as much a part of my lifes-work than any campaign – what will be the point of any of this if after I’m gone it goes to the Danishmends or the Doukas? We will be a different family, with different rules and different rulership. I can only hope that in this Anatolian vipers nest they are more me than their environment…

    The highlighted provinces are the lands I turned my attention to next, can you spot them? I cannot say I have the best maps...



    More-and-more Alp's realm seems to have fallen to petty bandits and small-time chiefs presuming autonomy. Alp is a wise man - wise enough to not begrudge me bringing tranquility to these turbulent lands... His wisdom is a Turkic sort - strength proves legitimacy. Right now, he is weak and I am strong, he will understand...

    ...Or he would have done. Alp is dead and has been for some time. I still have a streak of naïvety in me - I'd had reports of grim tidings for House Seljuk, but couldn't quite believe Alp could be dead... It had always seemed the man didn't have it in him to do something as cliche as die...

    His grandson was reigning, it would seem. Alp's own son having been killed before Alp's body had as much as gone cold. It would explain the total break-down in Mesopotamia, which was never a stronghold for him. Seljuks held their heartland and not so much as a farmstead more.


    The first of my hand-picked handlers has died. The Danishmends had proven infinitely less effective than the Saltukids... Though as a ruler it is always hard to decide whether it is better to have vassals who excel or ones that are stagnant. One a threat and the other a burden...

    My consolidation of what had for a millennia been staunchly Roman lands and my subsequent expansion has earned me a nickname amongst the shocked Anatolians as well as the realms around me - I am now known as 'the great'. It is a title Romanos would have one-day earned, I am sure of it - and one that I promise myself no future Roman Emperor will acquire.


    We have been living too long in an ad-hoc capital - in which truth-be-told has been an ad-hoc realm. There can be no-doubt with Alp gone and the Greeks so weak that this realm will disappear any time soon. I have made the decision to move to create a permanent court. Ikonion will make a fine capital to this Anatolian realm.


    I press the claims of two of my Doux to finally mop up the final remains of the small autonomous Armenian lands.


    The Campaign for these lands started in late 1089 took no longer than a few months. Once the rabble they mustered was routed it was more a matter of taking to their clan-chiefs and petty-magistrates and explaining to them that Rome has gone, the Seljuks are gone, and that one simply cannot be independent of the Rum Sultanate! It was all over before 1090.

    One of the Armenian clan-chiefs spoke out-of-turn when they were brought to us: 'This is your time, Pale Turk. The world will come and greet you, Dark Greek. A bastard-boy will lead true-born men down ancient streets. He will be everything and nothing. He is everything and nothing. Bastard blood is tainted blood. Bastard blood has no loyalties. These ten will make you. These ten will break you. You, O Pale Turk, or Dark Greek? Ye cannot be both. Rum cannot be both. This will be your life's work - a dichotomy!' and he turned, laughing. These mountain-men are awful and always will be, but he knew things he couldn't possibly know and I couldn't help but take it to heart...

    It was on the road back to my new capital that I got news of impending visitors... It would seem that the Bishop of Rome would be bringing the might of Christendom 'to greet me'.


  16. #16
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    What, the Pope actually listened to the Byzantines when they requested aid in reconquering Anatolia, instead of marching for Jerusalem instead? That's a fairly shocking display of common sense. Well, regardless of the reasons, this should prove to be a bit problematic for you, depending on the level of enthusiasm for the affair ('For Jerusalem!' does make for a better rallying cry than 'For some dusty small town in Central Anatolia!').

    Let's see how you handle this curve ball.
    Hollow Little Reign - A brief Crusader Kings tale about family ties in Byzantium.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    What, the Pope actually listened to the Byzantines when they requested aid in reconquering Anatolia, instead of marching for Jerusalem instead? That's a fairly shocking display of common sense. Well, regardless of the reasons, this should prove to be a bit problematic for you, depending on the level of enthusiasm for the affair ('For Jerusalem!' does make for a better rallying cry than 'For some dusty small town in Central Anatolia!').

    Let's see how you handle this curve ball.
    I know! You know the faction in the forums that moan about ahistoricity are right when the Pope actually sanctions a crusade for Anatolia...

    I don't want to over-state it, but this crusade is like, the most beautiful and perfect thing ever. It was one of those moments where you think 'this is why I play this game'. This crusade - it was like being unexpectedly kissed by a beautiful woman...
    ...
    ...
    ...I think that is proof is proof was needed that I play this game too much and invest too much time into it. Que sera, sera...

    Also, thanks for the steady feed-back, Stuyvesant - it's much appreciated.

  18. #18
    Good luck with that crusade. Won't other Sunni rulers join you in your attempt to defend Anatolia?
    Werewolf's resident villager...

  19. #19
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avicenna View Post
    I know! You know the faction in the forums that moan about ahistoricity are right when the Pope actually sanctions a crusade for Anatolia...

    I don't want to over-state it, but this crusade is like, the most beautiful and perfect thing ever. It was one of those moments where you think 'this is why I play this game'.
    Allow me a brief moment of immodesty and point to the link in my sig - a quick story of an event I encountered in CK (the First) that completely blew me away. Enough, in fact, that I actually sat down and chronicled it.

    Anyway, yes, of all the Paradox games, Crusader Kings in particular (either incarnation) can really throw some magnificent things your way - some of which make absolutely no sense whatsoever (but are still awesome), and some which just write a story all by themselves.
    Hollow Little Reign - A brief Crusader Kings tale about family ties in Byzantium.

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