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Thread: The Grand Dutch State - (Hopefully) A megacampaign AAR

  1. #1
    Second Lieutenant MasterWaldo's Avatar
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    The Grand Dutch State - (Hopefully) A megacampaign AAR

    This might be a wee bit ambitious for a first AAR, but we'll just see what happens.

    I'll be playing as Count Gilles van Renesse of Guines, a ruler designer created character with no traits besides Naive Appeaser. A blank slate. The overall goal of the game is, by the end of CKII, have an independent Dutch state I can move over to EUIII. Each ruler will probably have their own personal goals as well.

    I'm not sure what style this will be yet. I like "history book" type AARs, though that may be difficult to do as I'm playing. I like narrative style AARs, or diary/journal style, but that may be difficult to keep up. I'll probably bounce between the two, try and find a style I like.
    I plan on updating on major events, such as new rulers, major wars, etc, and every so often give a general update even if nothing interesting has happened.

    I am planning on making this a strong roleplaying game, probably largely based off the traits of the current ruler.

    I'll try and update semi-often, but silly things like life tend to interrupt my playing.

    First update should come soon.

    Hope you all enjoy. Suggestions and criticisms are welcome.


    Master Waldo


    Chapters
    Goals of this AAR

    The Beginnings of the Great Dutch State
    Prosperity, Bears, and the Death of the Duke
    Ambitions of the Son
    Unrest and Regents
    Expansion, Rebellion, and a New Crown
    An Overview of the World in 1160
    The Early Years of the Kingdom
    Triumph and Tragedy
    Alwin I: Betrayal and Return
    Alwin I: Return of the King
    A
    lwin I: No Rest for the Wicked
    1
    250-1275: What Goes Around...
    T
    urn of the Century: 1275-1300
    B
    onus: State of the World in 1300
    Last edited by MasterWaldo; 12-02-2013 at 01:08.

  2. #2
    Contrafibularitor DensleyBlair's Avatar
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    Sounds interesting! I'll keep a look out for more.
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  3. #3
    Second Lieutenant MasterWaldo's Avatar
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    House van Renesse
    The Beginnings of the Great Dutch State

    Though oft forgotten by the common Dutchman, the history of our great nation starts with a lowly, unassuming family in medieval Flanders. Johan van Renesse was the third son of a baron, with little hopes of amounting to much. Called into service by his liege to fight the rebelling Count of Guines, Johan proved himself a mighty warrior and capable leader. In honor of his service, the Duke of Flanders granted him the title and lands of the traitorous Count in 1060. Johan would rule for 6 years before dying, passing rule of the families new lands to his son Gilles.

    Click image for larger version

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    Above: Young Count Gilles van Renesse, on the day he inherited his title.

    Upon taking the title of Count, Gilles would also take a wife; young Judith de Melguiel, daugther of a an Occitan duke. He would prove himself a capable warrior by defeating a claimant to his father-in-law's title, before being forced to withdraw from the war in the face of overwhelming odds.

    In mid 1068, Gilles recorded in a letter to his chancellor that he had "grand plans" for his family, and was filled with "great ambition". This letter is often seen as a crucial point in the rise of the family to power.

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    Above: A snippet from the fateful letter. Historians are still a bit confused by the last sentence, but figure it is an odd translation from Old Dutch.

    On October 2, 1068, Gilles' first son was born, and named after his father. A second, Rodulf, would follow in January 1073.

    In early 1074, Gilles began plotting to take the title of his immediate liege, the Duke of Flanders, after the death of Duke Boudewin IV. Before long, the young Count had several key nobles in France backing him, including the Duke of Anjou, and the King himself. Letters and manuscripts have been found as early as June of that year, claiming Gilles as the rightful Duke. By March the following year, he had begun building a faction of supporters for his title.

    Gilles would once again become a father in 1076, with the birth of his third son Bavo, and again in 1077 with the birth of his first daughter, Judith. Helena would follow in 1079

    In 1080, shortly before a fateful war, Gilles accepted the position of Steward of Flanders. It is from this position, it is believed, that he gathered the funds necessary to fund his faction.

    March 18, 1081 would see the beginnings of a fateful step for the van Renesse family. Another ambitious count, Robrecht of Zeeland, made claim to the Duchy of Flanders, and rebelled against Duke Blodewin VI. Gilles would fought a few small battles for show, but would largely stay out of the war, letting his liege's levies deplete.

    Click image for larger version

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    The beginning of greatness.

    May, 1081. It seemed like the Zeeland claim had come to a stalemate. The Duke's armies were defeated, but Robrecht's forces were unable to overcome the garrisons at Brugge. Count Gilles began issuing orders in secret to call his levies, when an unexpected event happened. The nobles of Flanders received letters from King William the Conqueror of England, proclaiming his mother Mathilda to be the rightful Duchess of Flanders. Within months, Flanders was overrun with thousands of Englishmen, who quickly defeated the Dutch and French armies. By March of 1082, Queen Mother Mathilda was declared Duchess of and independent Flanders. However, the Dutch nobles would not accept her as a legitimate liege. The next 2 years were spent putting down Count Robrecht, who still claimed the title.

    By 1085, things had calmed down in Flanders. Robrect had been defeated. Gilles had fathered another daughter, Sigerda. Young Gilles II had come of age, and was married to the daughter of a German duke.

    A promising heir for a promising dynasty. {OOC: Reached my attachment size limit, thus the link change :P.}

    Gilles wasn't content with calm though. In early 1085, he and his faction (no other nobles had joined, but he did have a lot of peasants) brought their claim to Duchess Mathilda. After a year and a half of fighting, Gilles would win the title from Mathilda, and be named Duke of Flanders. Unfortunately he would lose Gent in a short war with England, but he acquired the counties of Yperen and Boulogne in a series of wars to solidify the duchy and replace non-Dutch rulers. By the beginning of 1092, most of Flanders was in Count Gilles's hands.

    Flanders in the beginning of 1092.

    The state of the world in the beginning of 1092.


    To be continued....

  4. #4
    Contrafibularitor DensleyBlair's Avatar
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    Nice update - a solid start for the van Renesse dynasty Here's to more success in the future!
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    Keeper of the Converters Idhrendur's Avatar
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    Nice!

    Incidentally, if you put [ IMG] [ /IMG] tags around your latter links, the images will be displayed in-line, like your former ones.

    Edit: If things go rather well, do you have any plans for ways to limit your power? It seems to be the general opinion that it's easy to 'win' far too early (I don't find that to be true, but I'm not really that good, either).
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    How do you plan on converting? I thought the two converters are still works in progress and don't really work properly yet?

  7. #7
    Second Lieutenant MasterWaldo's Avatar
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    Idhrendur
    Nice!

    Incidentally, if you put [ IMG] [ /IMG] tags around your latter links, the images will be displayed in-line, like your former ones.

    Edit: If things go rather well, do you have any plans for ways to limit your power? It seems to be the general opinion that it's easy to 'win' far too early (I don't find that to be true, but I'm not really that good, either).
    I tried that, but the screenshots I play at 1920x1080, so the screen shots are quite massive. In the future I'll edit them down, just pick out the interesting stuff, etc., but it was 3 in the morning and I wanted to get a post up.

    As for limiting myself, I'm going to try to focus on roleplaying, and have that help determine my play style. So wars of expansion will mostly be limited to ambitious characters, if I've got a low diplomacy I'm not likely to make an advantageous marriage, etc. I also have the Holy Roman Empire to the east, France to the west, and England to the north, so any real expansion will have to coincide with a) a character that would likely do so and b) one or more of those countries with inner turmoil. I don't think the Free Dutch State would stand up well to an HRE doomstack .


    zenkmander
    How do you plan on converting? I thought the two converters are still works in progress and don't really work properly yet?
    It will be a while before I'm ready to convert, so hopefully that gives them time to work on them. I'll try them in whatever state they're in, and if things don't work out correctly, I'll try my hand at modding it to be as close as possible.

  8. #8
    Imperial Vicar of the HRE Ruwaard's Avatar
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    A good read, though I really hope that Flanders will reconquer (one of the capital towns) Gent (I won't call it Ghent) on the English.

    Though to IMHO the Van Renesse ideally should start out ruling Zeeland (Renesse is a village in Zeeland and the dynasty is from Zeeland).

  9. #9
    Second Lieutenant MasterWaldo's Avatar
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    Couple updates coming soon. Got several good hours of play in, need to sort through the screenshots and figure out how to present it.

    Also, be sure to check out the AAR newsletter that apparently exists:

    Last edited by MasterWaldo; 11-11-2012 at 07:32.

  10. #10
    Second Lieutenant MasterWaldo's Avatar
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    Prosperity, Bears, and the Death of the Duke
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    In late 1092, Duke Gilles of Flanders, fresh from claiming and solidifying his new title, looked to strengthen his position in Europe. He was surrounded by all sides - France to the west, the powerful Holy Roman Empire to the east, and a land hungry England across the channel, and in neighboring Normandy. Luckily for him, he had sons who needed wives and daughters who needed husbands. Over the course of the next ten years, he married them off into powerful families: his son to a Scottish Princess, his daughters to a Swedish Duke, the King of Navarra, and the son of the Kaiser. By waging a series of wars (which he offered his support, though rarely his troops), and sending his chancellor around to offer goodwill, Gilles quickly gained a powerful group of fast allies.

    Sadly, Gilles wife Judith would die on August 2, 1095, of Great Pox, or syphilis. It is widely believed that she contracted this in the line of her duties as spymaster. After being turned down by the Countess of Lincoln, Gilles would marry the daughter of a baron who was well known for being quite good with money.

    Peace reigned in the Duchy of Flanders for nearly two decades. During this time, Gilles dedicated much of his wealth toward improving his demense, improving castle walls, building training grounds, aiding the building of villages. His investments paid off, and the realm prospered. However, Gilles was a man of ambition, and was not content to sit around and grow old. The loss of Gent to the English during when he took his throne was something he could never forgive. He kept vigilant watch across the sea, waiting for a sign of weakness when he could strike.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thanks to Gille's policies of building and growth, the Duchy would flourish under his rule. (Book of the Taxes of the Realm, circa 1100)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    His change would come in 1109, as England raged with civil war over crown authority. Before he could make his move however, tragedy struck. On February 14, 1109, while riding with his son-in-law Karloman, Duke Gilles was attacked by a bear. While Prince Karloman managed to scare it off, the Duke had been badly injured. For several weeks, the realm feared for his life.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The bravery of Prince Karloman is remembered even today in traditional folk songs and poetry.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The bear attack did not kill Gilles, but he would never fully recover from it. In his last letters he complained of the pain and fire he felt from the claws of that bear, leading medical historians to believe that a slow burning infection set in.
    Despite his rapidly declining health (or perhaps because of it), Gilles longed to see Gent in his family's hands. On October 9, 1109, he would press his claim on the county, and call his banners. He sent letters to his allies in Scotland, Germany, and Spain. Though Scotland refused to join, Navarra and the Holy Roman Empire came to his aid. As thousands of Dutch, Spanish, and German troops marched on the county, Gilles led the army, despite barely being able to ride anymore. And despite his declining health, he proved himself a capable warrior, defeating an English army and leading the Siege of Oudenarde. Following a particularly heroic defeat of an attempted sally, Dutch writer Rolof van Huus would begin his magnum opus The Chronicles of the House van Renesse, a 35 year work that would detail much of the history of the early Dutch state.


    Sadly, on Christmas Eve 1109, Gilles I, Duke of Flanders would breath his last. The infected wound from the bear attack , in addition to the numerous small would and general filth of the battlefield, overcame him at last. He would never set foot in Oudenarde, nor see the return of Gent to the duchy, though he left an heir as ambitious as he was, and very capable.
    Last edited by MasterWaldo; 12-11-2012 at 09:23.

  11. #11
    Second Lieutenant MasterWaldo's Avatar
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    State of the Byzantine Empire in 1109.

    This doesn't really have anything to do with the Duke, I just thought it was kind of interesting.

    The reign of Gilles II should be up sometime tomorrow. For now, I am sleepy and must depart.

  12. #12
    Contrafibularitor DensleyBlair's Avatar
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    Nice update - very enjoyable! As for the Byzantines, that's actually happened in my game as well, except the Fatimids got deposed so the Muslims have been enjoying perpetual civil war and independence from the Sultanate of Egypt (it's something like the Asimids) I wish you luck with expanding further
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  13. #13
    First Lieutenant PineconeKing's Avatar
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    The Fatimids always end up taking over Greece. It vexes me.
    All praise the great, benevolent yet malevolent King Pinecone, killer of threads and slaughterer of many bacon pasties!

  14. #14
    Keeper of the Converters Idhrendur's Avatar
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    Unfortunate that he died so soon, but it's good that you've continued to hold on to what you've got.
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  15. #15
    Second Lieutenant MasterWaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idhrendur View Post
    Unfortunate that he died so soon, but it's good that you've continued to hold on to what you've got.
    I feel like living for 11 months after being mauled by a bear, to die in battle due to those bear wounds, is a good way to go .

    Also, it's a little sad that he was attacked on Valentine's Day and died on Christmas Eve. Are there cards for that?

  16. #16
    Second Lieutenant MasterWaldo's Avatar
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    Ambitions of the Son: The Reign of Gilles II

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    "While my father and I didn't always see eye to eye, his death still came as a great blow. It was a great blessing that the Lord saw fit to give him another 11 months of life after the attack. But to succumb to those wounds in the midst of his great war; it just didn't seem right.
    It was then I decided my course in life. I would do what my father had set out to do. I would finish what he started, then bring fame and glory to our family name, so that he would be remembered throughout the ages. "
    - Memoirs of Duke Gilles II




    Duke Gilles II, 4 January 1110, following his coronation ceremony in his capital of Guines.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Though the realm mourned the death of Duke Gilles I, who had done much to further the prestige and prosperity of the land, the coronation of Duke Gilles II was met with great celebration. Gilles II had grown into an exemplary ruler, a skilled diplomat, and well rounded, virtuous man. He was strong of physique, kindhearted, charitable, temperate, and diligent. And he was every bit ambitious as his father, if not more so. He dreamed the same dream his father had - to take back the land the English had stolen in the van Renesse rise to power. Luckily, he was in the position to do so.

    "...The Germans fight bravely, and the Spaniards.... well, they are numerous. Father's plans have most certainly come to fruition.
    - Letter from Duke Gilles II to his brother Count Bavo, 10 April 1111


    On 20 April 1111, the control of the County of Gent was surrendered to Duke Giles II. Celebrations broke out throughout Flanders as the Duke returned triumphantly to Guines, having united the duchy under his rule.

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    Dutch forces fought bravely, but it was the aid of the HRE and Navarra that allowed them to overcome the English.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Giving the new county to his son and heir apparent Philippe, Gilles II lead the Duchy of Flanders through another decade of peace and prosperity, continuing his father's policies of investing in his holdings, and maintaining good relations with his allies. Flanders was a land renowned for its stability and quality of life. But Gilles was not content.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The Duchy of Flanders, 1116

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    "I am honored as a great ruler. But what have I done? I brought Flanders together, they say. I reunited the Dutch people, they say. But what of our brothers to the north? Yes, the Empire treats them well. The Kaiser even resides among them. But don't they long to be free? To be united with us, their brothers in the south? I envision a Dutch people united in a grand Dutch State, a state that will be the envy of nations. "
    - Memoirs of Duke Gilles II


    Gilles dreamed about recreating the Frisian Kingdom, which had been destroyed by Charels Martel some 400 years earlier. Dutch historians throughout the Medieval period and Renaissance would claim that the van Renesse family was descended from Aldgisl, the first Frisian King, though this is largely debated today. {OOC: When I used the Ruler Designer, I just hit random name, and wasn't aware there was an actual van Renesse family. For this AAR, just assume that they don't exist, or that this is a different branch of the family, or whatever you need to assume to let me mess with their history }
    Unfortunately for him, most of the de jure territory was under the control of the Holy Roman Empire. Gilles certainly wasn't going to outright wage war against the HRE. Besides the fact that such an attack would be suicidal, the might of the HRE had helped secure his title and lands. He would have to bide his time, and wait for the right moment to strike.

    Luckily, he didn't have to wait long.

    In spring of 1120, the King of Bohemia, with the support of several dukes and counts across the Empire, declared independence. To the delight of Gilles, one of the rebelling Counts was the count of Brabant, a Dutch county neighboring Gent. Under the pretense of helping protect the Imperial throne, Gilles invaded Brabant, and quickly brought it into his realm. As a show of goodwill, and to prevent retribution from the Emperor for stealing his lands, Gilles then declared his support for Kaiser Gunzel, and went to war with the Kindgom of Bohemia. He proved himself to be a competent commander, and by 1125, the rebellion had been put down.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Gilles was an excellent diplomat, and his ambitions for a united Dutch state won his much love from his nobles.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Ruling as Duke was stressful for Gilles, and though the next few years saw peace for the realm, they were much less peaceful for the Duke. Popular folk lore tells of the tales of Gilles beating to death with his bare hands a spy that was caught in his castle, drowning his step-grandson, the heir to the County of Boulogne (which conveniently made his blood granddaughter heir) in a boating "accident", and of the days of mourning spent after his first born son, Philippe, heir to the duchy, died after a long illness. His only comfort at this time came from his closeness to his wife, and his second son Pierre, who had learned many of the virtues of his father. Gilles threw himself into preparing to jump on the Dutch territories, which he felt were his by right. He raised a person retinue of 500 elite men, to defend the Duke with their lives.

    Another chance would come in early 1133, when much of central Germany rose their flags in rebellion, attempting to take power from the Emperor. His son Pierre, as Count of Brabant, had made claim to the county of Hainaut, and Gilles jumped on the chance to press that claim. Though his armies would quickly occupy the county, the Kaiser refused to surrender the territory. Gilles led his troops bravely, winning much prestige, and even felling Berengar, a renowned German warrior.
    In February 1138, Gilles was stuck by a foe in Kleve, and lost his arm. Though the wound maimed him, he would survive, and by May of 1138, with the help of mercenaries and his Spanish allies, defeated the Kaiser's personal army as he attempted to retake Hainaut. With this victory he was able to secure the surrender of the territory.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    In the War for Hainaut (1132-1138), Duke Gilles II proved himself a formidable warrior.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    Despite his injury and advanced age, Gilles was not finished. During the course of the war, Zeeland and Holland, Dutch territories of the Empire, managed to secure their independence. In 1140, after his proposal of peaceful vassilization was turned down, Duke Gilles declared war on Count Arnulf of Zeeland. A week later, Duchess Agaete of Holland would make the same claim. On 30 March, 1140, Gilles' forces met the Duchess' on the fields of Tholen.

    The battle would rage on for two weeks until sadly, as the Hollander army retreated in defeat, an arrow struck Gilles through the throat, killing him. He was 71 years old.

    Duke Gilles II's body was brought back to Guines, and laid to rest beside his father's. Thus ended the reign of Gilles II, second duke of the Independent Duchy of Flanders.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The death of Duke Gilles II, popularly known today as the Father of the Grand Dutch State.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  17. #17
    Second Lieutenant MasterWaldo's Avatar
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    The reign of Duke Pierre should be up sometime tomorrow or Tuesday.

    Also, I am aware that Gilles II was technically Frankish. I didn't notice that till well after I took the screen shots, and for roleplaying reasons, have decided that he had a "I am my father's son" decision, taking up the Dutch culture again. I, uh, "rectified" this discrepancy later <_<.

    Stay tuned for the exciting history of the Grand Dutch State (I'm still not sure if I like that as the official name or not. I chose it because I'm trying to write this as a modern day Dutch historian looking back, and have no idea what state the country will be in by modern day).
    When I catch up with what I've played I'll give a quick world overview post. Nothing too terribly exciting is happening really, but there are a few things worth mentioning.

  18. #18
    Will Pierre take on a more Dutch name? Pieter perhaps?

  19. #19
    Contrafibularitor DensleyBlair's Avatar
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    Another good update Nice to know that Hainaut is in Dutch hands!
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  20. #20
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    Subscribed. You've inspired me to do more roleplaying in my own megacapaign AAR. Quick question, I know its already been partly addressed, but I've used the CK2->EU3 converter before and its messy to say the least. Will you be doing at least some touching up in between games?
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