• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

alscon

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This must be the worst day of your lives. Yet, for some reason, it doesn't seem to be the last. At least not yet.

They came in broad daylight. Funny, whenever someone mentioned the rumour of some strange cult spreading, you all expected them to conduct their business in shady corners, or at the very least at night. Then again, none of you have been even close to guessing how many of them actually were there. Their organization left nothing to be desired. Perhaps the attack was planned to be carried out exactly at midday, perhaps there was some signal you missed – either way, that was when your happy past became nothing more than a memory.

People drew their weapons all over town, and seemingly indiscriminately assaulted the person next to them. It was a massacre. Survivors of the initial attack fled, tried to barricade themselves in their houses, but to no avail. Doors were broken down, and more blood was spilled. Someone grabbed you and made you watch as your loved ones were slaughtered right in front of you, yourself powerlessly struggling to aid them. Then a sack was pulled over your head and you were carried away somewhere.

And so, all of you find yourselves seated at some table, hardly aware of your surroundings. Your fates today are very similar, but your lives up to this point have varied wildly. If you could see the others, you may wonder even more what your captors want of you. You have nothing to offer. Not more than those murdered on the streets, in their homes. Your attempts to know why have all been futile, long enough so that everyone is silently awaiting the next stage of their ordeal.

Then a prayer breaks the silence. At least it sounds like one – you have never heard anything like it. Will you find your end as the cultists' sacrifice? The cultist's voice drones on and on, delivers some kind of lengthy sermon, and at some point it entrances you. Your fears slowly dissipate, sobbing stops, and you begin to feel like the sack no longer engulfs you in darkness – but rather that it shields your light from the endless night reigning outside of the sack.

“Thus you are illuminated”, the priest ends. You recognize him as such now. He's not just some mad cultist. You were. A gigantic wave of guilt has crashed over you as the holy man's words permeated the fibres of the sack, reached your ears, which had heard nothing but lies before. You feel like you could bathe for eternity without ever being able to wash away the filth that has coated itself around the very essence of your being. Now most of you are breaking into tears, both immensely grateful and hateful of the revelation forced upon you.

The sacks are pulled off your heads, and you take in your surroundings. There are the other captives, and behind each of them one of the attackers, blood smeared over their faces. At one end of the table stands the priest, a bloody dagger in hand, bowing to another man, who thanks him profoundly. This other man exudes an aura of leadership and dignity, unwavering zeal burning brightly in his eyes. The man is soaked in blood, but he seems to have a somewhat familiar face. He resembles the town's lord.

The man smiles. “The truth is difficult to bear, I know. It was time for us to act. Welcome, Anonymous Council.

You may wonder about your purpose here”, he continues, having your full attention. “You are going to play a crucial role in the Illumination and Salvation of Mankind.”

You watch each other, puzzled. Mere hours ago, this man was responsible for the attack on the town, the deaths of your families, the destruction of all you have spent your life building. You would have strangled all life out of him at the first chance you got. But now – not that you would be able to – you have been illuminated, and the revelation shattered your desire for revenge.

“We all made sacrifices. I killed my brother. But what we ask of you is a far bigger one.” The man signals for the priest to speak.

The holy man's words explain what the Illumination revealed. That the world was once ruled by what he calls the Old Empire, and people lived happily under its prosperous rule. Until the Great Animal Calamity ravaged it. All of a sudden, beasts with human intellect arose all over the empire. Horses. Dogs. Bears. Cats. Elephants. Hedgehogs. Ducks. Even dragons. The empire crumbled, and a curse took hold of its people – making them both no longer able to distinct between human and beast, as well as allowing fertile unions between them.

This status quo has ravaged the world for centuries, until his own Illumination made the priest able to see the truth behind the illusion. He was entrusted with the divine task to save mankind, and exterminate all beasts. For this, he would have to choose a natural leader, ruthless and uncompromising towards his enemies; he found him in the former lord's brother. And he would form the Anonymous Council to assist him once he took power.

This council would be you. As to the unspoken question of “why you”, the priest immediately addresses it. “Desire to keep one's own power can corrupt all but the purest of believers. I was instructed that only those who had no personal power, whose sole care would be the Path of Salvation, could advise our leader. They should be random people from the town, who had all suffered under the Calamity. These people would cast aside their personal lives and be placed under divine protection, entering a state of immortal contemplation within this very room. Whenever the leader feels unsure, they are to provide advice on how to proceed on the Path.”

You feel the divine presence – again, just as you did during the Illumination. It is your calling, your fate, one you cannot refuse. You thought it was the worst day of your life, perhaps the last. No, it wasn't the worst. And it was only partly the last. It is the only true day of your lives. Before, you lived under the curse – from now on, you will “live” solely for the purpose of fighting it. You all nod in unison.

The leader reacts immediately, and places two maps on the table for you all to see. “Come today, we are the only illuminated place on Earth, all beasts having found their deaths today. I will certainly not see the day of Salvation, but I can lay the foundation for our bright future. And this is what we will have to face.”

The beasts have dominion of vast expenses of the known world. You shudder at the sight of the map. Truly the name of Great Animal Calamity fits well. Human realms are no longer united as they were in the days of the empire, but splintered into many, divided by ruler, culture, faith. Some live in unity and apparent harmony with beasts. The divine task is set out for you. Your lives have ended; your purpose begins.



********************

Welcome to my newest AAR! If you've read my last one, then you will find that this one will differ in style. While Ubbe's saga was character-based, I am going to cover bigger gaps of time between updates here (or I would never be able to even come close to finishing it :p). Instead, our great leader (who it is will depend on your choice) will present his successes, his failures, a short overview of the realm at the end of each chapter.

The premise is what this AAR is all about – I am playing in a random world, with the animal kingdom cultures added. And the goal is to exterminate every last one of them, wipe their culture off the map. It's going to take a while, not to mention that it won't be easy. Should we fail to end the threat before the renaissance, then there shall be a conversion to EU IV. Once Earth has been cleansed – should that happen – we have to fight the root of all evil and purge the stars in Stellaris...

The game will start in 769, all DLC are active. No savescumming, but also no ironman – the console may cover bugs, but most of all I will likely change the names of the deities and religion. Also no mods but cosmetic ones - Blue Duke and the almiron (IIRC) font from Decorus Visum.

Game rules different from the random world standard:
  • Chinese Invasions: All – well, who's to say that there are humans in China...
  • Supernatural&Absurd events: unrestricted – I mean, there's no other option here.
  • Defensive pacts: Off – it is a merciless world, and no man shall stand at the beasts' side unless he betrays us and allies them
Characters will never marry any animal – if I notice a faithful with a wrong partner, he will be excommunicated if the religion allows it. Humans with animal culture are to be accepted as merely misguided.

The religion (whatever it will be - therefore also its leadership - depends on the first vote) is warmongering, has the doctrines of blood sacrifice and unrelenting – but the only humans to ever be sacrificed or raided are those who shelter beasts or cooperate with them.

Of course, the only ruler starting as this religion will be whoever our leader is.

And have no fear, magic will not play any role ;).



As to the interactive part – you are the Anonymous Council. All you can do in this world is to provide valuable counsel on which alternative to seize on our path of destruction.

Why? For the style of narration I wish to try for this AAR. Every update will be somewhat similar to the introduction (save for the violence towards the advisors), with the current ruler presenting what happened in the past, then presenting his options and asking for advice, (hopefully) written in reflection of his traits. As the Anonymous Council, you only know what he's telling you, which will (mostly) be true...


Every vote will take the same form as the first one: The ruler will present at least two options concerning the general direction of the realm (such as attack X or Y, heir education, succession law etc.). You can cast your vote for either option via a bold comment of your favoured one. The ruler will then follow the advice which gets the most votes at the time of the tally. Should two options get the same amount of votes, then his traits will decide which one he'll pick. Feel free to shortly explain your choice, but don't debate it too much. You are not a character affected by it.

Any comments other than casting the vote are appreciated. As I'm experimenting with the style, any specific comments to that even more so :).

And this will be the first vote: Determining in which world we are. I have generated three possible worlds with slightly different parameters, and you will now have your pick, with a small explanation of the situation. So, back to the narration for now:



**********


The leader leans over the map, ready to explain. “You are not entirely randomly chosen, I must admit. None of you have ever left town, or am I mistaken?” None of you say anything. The most-travelled man you have ever spoken to was the priest, for some of you the lord. Any ware from far away had seen multiple local hands if it ever found its way into yours. “Then here we see the gigantic task set for us:



“Nomadic dragons threaten the east around the Himalayas. Their many raids have led to parts of the cats to their west to adopt their ways. The cats are as split as their scaly brethren, but control lands from Gujarat to the frozen wastes in the north. West of them, hedgehogs rule everything from Persia to the White Sea, a massive expanse of land mostly in the hands of medium-sized realms.

Then come the empires. Dogs may rule most of Arabia, but their biggest presence is within the West Germanic Empire. That the emperor is Anglo-Saxon doesn't change the fact that this unholy empire is a huge threat to human purity, and we need to be wary of it. Yet their strength is inferior to the Hallowed Bear Empire, another misleading name. In fact, in this abomination bears and horses live together. Mostly formed by equines, this realm possesses enough power to advance against the splintered states of misguided humans around it, and I fear many generations will be lost to that monster – even if the horses overthrow the bears.

To the west of the empires lie the duck kingdoms in western and central Africa, while western Europe is completely dominated by small bear-states. The British isles are nearly entirely ruled by elephants.

Our work is cut out for us; but if we illuminate our widely splintered neighbours, we should be able to gather enough strength to exterminate one small state after the other, before moving against and shattering the behemoths. Not forgetting another one – the dragon khans had united under a jade one a century ago, and rule a massive realm to the east.”




“Very few powers have emerged strong after the fall of the Old Empire.

In India, we have three beasts: the nomadic horse-lords in the north-east, the smaller bear-states of the north-west and the cats in the rest – either nomads or under the Snugglesian king.

Ducks dominate the middle east and the eastern half of Africa, while elephants are in the west, as well as Iberia. Elephant Africa's north and half of Iberia are under the Panacidea Empire, but compared to the other one this empire is fairly weak.

The Blessed Dog Empire dominates eastern Europe. An eastern Europe which has mostly hedgehogs in the east and dogs in the west.

Dragons rule most of Europe between elephants and dogs, and a jade cousin of theirs has established a massive realm in the far east.

As I see it, if we advance aggressively and decisively, extermination should proceed fairly smoothly in the future. Snugglesia and the empires may be dangerous opposition, but as long as the abominations remain mostly split, we should triumph and cleanse the world.”




“More or less powerful kingdoms control most of the world. As they all oppose us, that doesn't make the Path to Salvation any easier. Although at least the African and Iberian tribes are free of animal influence.

Dragon and elephant nomads are forming the borders to the unmolested tribes in Europe and the middle east though, and they are not to be underestimated. Eastern Europe is hedgehog territory as much as central east Europe is dominated by cats. As if the weakness of the Celtic Empire wasn't enough, there's a majority of dragons in it, too, and these damned beasts have landed on the other side of the channel recently as well.

The east is clearly in animal paws, claws, hooves, whatever. Only the kingdom of Meriia is relatively free of beasts. Else we have horses between elephants to the west and bears in the east, just as we have dogs in southern India. And we have the Holy Bedouin Empire. They reached their lofty title after subjugating vast parts of duck territory. Only because the birds ruling to the west and east of the Ural had set out to put one of their number in charge of a powerful empire to the far east.

We will have a long struggle in front of us to establish ourselves as a regional power first. And by then, who's to say the kingdoms haven't united? But we are chosen to illuminate the world, and as such we will not fail.”



_________________________



In which world is it set?

Option 1
Option 2
Option 3


Voting is open until Friday, 1st February, 22:00 CET.

Mild interactivity approved by Mr. Capiatlist
 
Last edited:

alscon

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Any place referred to by geographical terms will be done so in our terms, for clarity. When speaking about the realms, their name will be used.

I've done some localization concerning the Prohominist faith and added the ability to raid into the save (thought that was covered by warmongering, but oh well). Speaking of which, as the base faith is Hellenic, I have made a minimod to re-enable the decisions that a random start would usually disable, namely the creation of the Hellenic societies and holy order. I'll only fiddle around with the files some more if it becomes necessary though.

Here come the informations about the religions of this world (present at the start) - their corresponding tooltip, in spoilers. There's no need to look at them; it's here so that those interested can familiarize themselves with the surrounding faiths to gauge their behaviour.







 
Last edited:

stnylan

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I think 1 or 2.
 

Sailormarsfan1701

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Apr 8, 2015
229
15
This must be the worst day of your lives. Yet, for some reason, it doesn't seem to be the last. At least not yet.

They came in broad daylight. Funny, whenever someone mentioned the rumour of some strange cult spreading, you all expected them to conduct their business in shady corners, or at the very least at night. Then again, none of you have been even close to guessing how many of them actually were there. Their organization left nothing to be desired. Perhaps the attack was planned to be carried out exactly at midday, perhaps there was some signal you missed – either way, that was when your happy past became nothing more than a memory.

People drew their weapons all over town, and seemingly indiscriminately assaulted the person next to them. It was a massacre. Survivors of the initial attack fled, tried to barricade themselves in their houses, but to no avail. Doors were broken down, and more blood was spilled. Someone grabbed you and made you watch as your loved ones were slaughtered right in front of you, yourself powerlessly struggling to aid them. Then a sack was pulled over your head and you were carried away somewhere.

And so, all of you find yourselves seated at some table, hardly aware of your surroundings. Your fates today are very similar, but your lives up to this point have varied wildly. If you could see the others, you may wonder even more what your captors want of you. You have nothing to offer. Not more than those murdered on the streets, in their homes. Your attempts to know why have all been futile, long enough so that everyone is silently awaiting the next stage of their ordeal.

Then a prayer breaks the silence. At least it sounds like one – you have never heard anything like it. Will you find your end as the cultists' sacrifice? The cultist's voice drones on and on, delivers some kind of lengthy sermon, and at some point it entrances you. Your fears slowly dissipate, sobbing stops, and you begin to feel like the sack no longer engulfs you in darkness – but rather that it shields your light from the endless night reigning outside of the sack.

“Thus you are illuminated”, the priest ends. You recognize him as such now. He's not just some mad cultist. You were. A gigantic wave of guilt has crashed over you as the holy man's words permeated the fibres of the sack, reached your ears, which had heard nothing but lies before. You feel like you could bathe for eternity without ever being able to wash away the filth that has coated itself around the very essence of your being. Now most of you are breaking into tears, both immensely grateful and hateful of the revelation forced upon you.

The sacks are pulled off your heads, and you take in your surroundings. There are the other captives, and behind each of them one of the attackers, blood smeared over their faces. At one end of the table stands the priest, a bloody dagger in hand, bowing to another man, who thanks him profoundly. This other man exudes an aura of leadership and dignity, unwavering zeal burning brightly in his eyes. The man is soaked in blood, but he seems to have a somewhat familiar face. He resembles the town's lord.

The man smiles. “The truth is difficult to bear, I know. It was time for us to act. Welcome, Anonymous Council.

You may wonder about your purpose here”, he continues, having your full attention. “You are going to play a crucial role in the Illumination and Salvation of Mankind.”

You watch each other, puzzled. Mere hours ago, this man was responsible for the attack on the town, the deaths of your families, the destruction of all you have spent your life building. You would have strangled all life out of him at the first chance you got. But now – not that you would be able to – you have been illuminated, and the revelation shattered your desire for revenge.

“We all made sacrifices. I killed my brother. But what we ask of you is a far bigger one.” The man signals for the priest to speak.

The holy man's words explain what the Illumination revealed. That the world was once ruled by what he calls the Old Empire, and people lived happily under its prosperous rule. Until the Great Animal Calamity ravaged it. All of a sudden, beasts with human intellect arose all over the empire. Horses. Dogs. Bears. Cats. Elephants. Hedgehogs. Ducks. Even dragons. The empire crumbled, and a curse took hold of its people – making them both no longer able to distinct between human and beast, as well as allowing fertile unions between them.

This status quo has ravaged the world for centuries, until his own Illumination made the priest able to see the truth behind the illusion. He was entrusted with the divine task to save mankind, and exterminate all beasts. For this, he would have to choose a natural leader, ruthless and uncompromising towards his enemies; he found him in the former lord's brother. And he would form the Anonymous Council to assist him once he took power.

This council would be you. As to the unspoken question of “why you”, the priest immediately addresses it. “Desire to keep one's own power can corrupt all but the purest of believers. I was instructed that only those who had no personal power, whose sole care would be the Path of Salvation, could advise our leader. They should be random people from the town, who had all suffered under the Calamity. These people would cast aside their personal lives and be placed under divine protection, entering a state of immortal contemplation within this very room. Whenever the leader feels unsure, they are to provide advice on how to proceed on the Path.”

You feel the divine presence – again, just as you did during the Illumination. It is your calling, your fate, one you cannot refuse. You thought it was the worst day of your life, perhaps the last. No, it wasn't the worst. And it was only partly the last. It is the only true day of your lives. Before, you lived under the curse – from now on, you will “live” solely for the purpose of fighting it. You all nod in unison.

The leader reacts immediately, and places two maps on the table for you all to see. “Come today, we are the only illuminated place on Earth, all beasts having found their deaths today. I will certainly not see the day of Salvation, but I can lay the foundation for our bright future. And this is what we will have to face.”

The beasts have dominion of vast expenses of the known world. You shudder at the sight of the map. Truly the name of Great Animal Calamity fits well. Human realms are no longer united as they were in the days of the empire, but splintered into many, divided by ruler, culture, faith. Some live in unity and apparent harmony with beasts. The divine task is set out for you. Your lives have ended; your purpose begins.



********************

Welcome to my newest AAR! If you've read my last one, then you will find that this one will differ in style. While Ubbe's saga was character-based, I am going to cover bigger gaps of time between updates here (or I would never be able to even come close to finishing it :p). Instead, our great leader (who it is will depend on your choice) will present his successes, his failures, a short overview of the realm at the end of each chapter.

The premise is what this AAR is all about – I am playing in a random world, with the animal kingdom cultures added. And the goal is to exterminate every last one of them, wipe their culture off the map. It's going to take a while, not to mention that it won't be easy. Should we fail to end the threat before the renaissance, then there shall be a conversion to EU IV. Once Earth has been cleansed – should that happen – we have to fight the root of all evil and purge the stars in Stellaris...

The game will start in 769, all DLC are active. No savescumming, but also no ironman – the console may cover bugs, but most of all I will likely change the names of the deities and religion. Also no mods but cosmetic ones - Blue Duke and the almiron (IIRC) font from Decorus Visum.

Game rules different from the random world standard:
  • Chinese Invasions: All – well, who's to say that there are humans in China...
  • Supernatural&Absurd events: unrestricted – I mean, there's no other option here.
  • Defensive pacts: Off – it is a merciless world, and no man shall stand at the beasts' side unless he betrays us and allies them
Characters will never marry any animal – if I notice a faithful with a wrong partner, he will be excommunicated if the religion allows it. Humans with animal culture are to be accepted as merely misguided.

The religion (whatever it will be - therefore also its leadership - depends on the first vote) is warmongering, has the doctrines of blood sacrifice and unrelenting – but the only humans to ever be sacrificed or raided are those who shelter beasts or cooperate with them.

Of course, the only ruler starting as this religion will be whoever our leader is.

And have no fear, magic will not play any role ;).



As to the interactive part – you are the Anonymous Council. All you can do in this world is to provide valuable counsel on which alternative to seize on our path of destruction.

Why? For the style of narration I wish to try for this AAR. Every update will be somewhat similar to the introduction (save for the violence towards the advisors), with the current ruler presenting what happened in the past, then presenting his options and asking for advice, (hopefully) written in reflection of his traits. As the Anonymous Council, you only know what he's telling you, which will (mostly) be true...


Every vote will take the same form as the first one: The ruler will present at least two options concerning the general direction of the realm (such as attack X or Y, heir education, succession law etc.). You can cast your vote for either option via a bold comment of your favoured one. The ruler will then follow the advice which gets the most votes at the time of the tally. Should two options get the same amount of votes, then his traits will decide which one he'll pick. Feel free to shortly explain your choice, but don't debate it too much. You are not a character affected by it.

Any comments other than casting the vote are appreciated. As I'm experimenting with the style, any specific comments to that even more so :).

And this will be the first vote: Determining in which world we are. I have generated three possible worlds with slightly different parameters, and you will now have your pick, with a small explanation of the situation. So, back to the narration for now:



**********


The leader leans over the map, ready to explain. “You are not entirely randomly chosen, I must admit. None of you have ever left town, or am I mistaken?” None of you say anything. The most-travelled man you have ever spoken to was the priest, for some of you the lord. Any ware from far away had seen multiple local hands if it ever found its way into yours. “Then here we see the gigantic task set for us:



“Nomadic dragons threaten the east around the Himalayas. Their many raids have led to parts of the cats to their west to adopt their ways. The cats are as split as their scaly brethren, but control lands from Gujarat to the frozen wastes in the north. West of them, hedgehogs rule everything from Persia to the White Sea, a massive expanse of land mostly in the hands of medium-sized realms.

Then come the empires. Dogs may rule most of Arabia, but their biggest presence is within the West Germanic Empire. That the emperor is Anglo-Saxon doesn't change the fact that this unholy empire is a huge threat to human purity, and we need to be wary of it. Yet their strength is inferior to the Hallowed Bear Empire, another misleading name. In fact, in this abomination bears and horses live together. Mostly formed by equines, this realm possesses enough power to advance against the splintered states of misguided humans around it, and I fear many generations will be lost to that monster – even if the horses overthrow the bears.

To the west of the empires lie the duck kingdoms in western and central Africa, while western Europe is completely dominated by small bear-states. The British isles are nearly entirely ruled by elephants.

Our work is cut out for us; but if we illuminate our widely splintered neighbours, we should be able to gather enough strength to exterminate one small state after the other, before moving against and shattering the behemoths. Not forgetting another one – the dragon khans had united under a jade one a century ago, and rule a massive realm to the east.”




“Very few powers have emerged strong after the fall of the Old Empire.

In India, we have three beasts: the nomadic horse-lords in the north-east, the smaller bear-states of the north-west and the cats in the rest – either nomads or under the Snugglesian king.

Ducks dominate the middle east and the eastern half of Africa, while elephants are in the west, as well as Iberia. Elephant Africa's north and half of Iberia are under the Panacidea Empire, but compared to the other one this empire is fairly weak.

The Blessed Dog Empire dominates eastern Europe. An eastern Europe which has mostly hedgehogs in the east and dogs in the west.

Dragons rule most of Europe between elephants and dogs, and a jade cousin of theirs has established a massive realm in the far east.

As I see it, if we advance aggressively and decisively, extermination should proceed fairly smoothly in the future. Snugglesia and the empires may be dangerous opposition, but as long as the abominations remain mostly split, we should triumph and cleanse the world.”




“More or less powerful kingdoms control most of the world. As they all oppose us, that doesn't make the Path to Salvation any easier. Although at least the African and Iberian tribes are free of animal influence.

Dragon and elephant nomads are forming the borders to the unmolested tribes in Europe and the middle east though, and they are not to be underestimated. Eastern Europe is hedgehog territory as much as central east Europe is dominated by cats. As if the weakness of the Celtic Empire wasn't enough, there's a majority of dragons in it, too, and these damned beasts have landed on the other side of the channel recently as well.

The east is clearly in animal paws, claws, hooves, whatever. Only the kingdom of Meriia is relatively free of beasts. Else we have horses between elephants to the west and bears in the east, just as we have dogs in southern India. And we have the Holy Bedouin Empire. They reached their lofty title after subjugating vast parts of duck territory. Only because the birds ruling to the west and east of the Ural had set out to put one of their number in charge of a powerful empire to the far east.

We will have a long struggle in front of us to establish ourselves as a regional power first. And by then, who's to say the kingdoms haven't united? But we are chosen to illuminate the world, and as such we will not fail.”



_________________________
option 3


In which world is it set?

Option 1
Option 2
Option 3


Voting is open until Friday next week, 22:00 CET.

Mild interactivity approved by Mr. Capiatlist
 

Sancronis

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Perhaps option 1? The true horror of the animal menace seems like it would be well represented by that.
 

Tumultuosus

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Option 1 looks really solid to me. But I wonder, were do you intent to start? India or the Baltic region would be "easy" choices, as you wouldn't necessarly start surounded by animals, but maybe you're looking for a challenge?
 

alscon

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Option 1 looks really solid to me. But I wonder, were do you intent to start? India or the Baltic region would be "easy" choices, as you wouldn't necessarly start surounded by animals, but maybe you're looking for a challenge?
I don't know yet. I'll probably do a random roll and then ruler-design the nearest human ruler, though not above duke-level. As he's going to be the only one with his religion, it won't be easy anyway, with no natural ally around.
I'd favour a challenge, in any case. Definitely more interesting :). Religion may be more important than culture to determine the difficulty, in any case - if the bears in Iberia aren't religiously united, Suebi Granada might be relatively easy, while expansion in eastern Europe may not. (Haven't looked at the religions yet :rolleyes:.)
 

Tumultuosus

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One more question, if you please; If you should take on playing a vassal of a kingdom or empire (like the "Celtic empire" in Option 3) do you intent to make use of a secret society at first?
And if so, how would one go and set that kind of thing up with the ruler designer?
 

alscon

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One more question, if you please; If you should take on playing a vassal of a kingdom or empire (like the "Celtic empire" in Option 3) do you intent to make use of a secret society at first?
And if so, how would one go and set that kind of thing up with the ruler designer?
Sure, no problem. No secret society, as I'm going to pick an independent ruler - I doubt the liege would appreciate a kinslayer seizing power from his rightful vassal by slaughtering said vassal and a seizable part of the population :p. Then again, that does answer your first question some more - I shouldn't pick a ruler too far from beastland. On second thought, if that would be possible anywhere, then in the Celtic Empire - I figure that in that specific realm, the empress has fairly little authority. So I may end up doing it - without a secret society - if the liege is weak enough in comparison.

Setting that up wouldn't be a problem though. You'd just need to pick your vassal, design him with the faith of your choice, and then use to decision to publicly practice your liege's faith day one. Then found your secret society. Optionally, restore the used piety/prestige with the console, and you are good to go.
 

alscon

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Voting has closed, and option 1 has come out on top. Time to see where the Illumination starts.

After having achieved the setup - that is, modified the faith to be as presented before (plus modded back in the decisions blocked in random start for whatever reason) and have a dragon rule China - here is the first ruler of the story.
My random roll gave a one province count in the kingdom of Asland, where the king personally holds the majority of the land. So I looked for a suitable candidate close to that place, kept his culture, but changed his faith. Then also that of the county. Here he is:
 
Last edited:

Sancronis

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Looks like there's a fortunate buffer of non-animals to unite before taking on those accursed hedgehogs. Or are we focusing on those hoof-ended legged tyrants to the north west?
 

Tumultuosus

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I'll admit I'm not up to date with the meta on how to beat the AI since at least the expansion that added the council. :oops: So I don't know the subtileties that will come with the opening move.
But let's have a look at your starting situation.

So you start in Anatolia. An OPM, but one surrounded by what appears to be several weak un-enligthened Human realms. To the west, an OPM that looks like a perfect first victim. To the north, a 2 PM duchy that shouldn't be too troublesome to handle. Ending the list of easy targets are "distant" OPMs in Sinop and south-western Anatolia.

The rest of Anatolia seems to be composed of small (3-5 counties) kingdoms/dukedoms, easy pickings provided you conquered the previously mentionned small fry.
Further east is what appears to me to be the first "real" obstacle that the enlightened will face: the D???????nusistani (hedgehog ruled) kingdom could be real pain if it intervenes during any of the previous wars, as it looks like they share their religion with a vast majority of the Anatolian chiefdoms.

Across the Bosphorus, there are 2 medium and 1 small sized kingdom, from smallest to biggest: Nat?tland, Asland and Davidia. I don't have a lot to say about these, except that Asland looks like it shares it's religion with one of the smaller Anatolian kingdom -BUT- and it's interesting, they seem rather isolated, with only the moldovan appearing to be of the same faith.
Davidia and Asland could be though to crack, as they potentialy share religion with the big baddy of the story, the Hallowed Bear empire.

Consolidating Anatolia is top priority, and after that, control of Greece shall grant a powerbase big enough to support taking on the Levant, as I think facing the Bears head-on will be reserved to mid-late game (unless some great opportunity happens). I can also see from the World presentation screenshot that most of Italy starts disunited, so it could be another venue for expansion.

Looking at the world in general, mastery over the mediterranean will open many opportunities, as all of Iberia+France starts balkanised.
 

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So if I have read it right that looks to be playing in a small pool of humans surrounded by horses, dogs, and hedgehogs?
 

alscon

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Looks like there's a fortunate buffer of non-animals to unite before taking on those accursed hedgehogs. Or are we focusing on those hoof-ended legged tyrants to the north west?
There is. As to your question: Well... it should be answered soon.

I'll admit I'm not up to date with the meta on how to beat the AI since at least the expansion that added the council. :oops: So I don't know the subtileties that will come with the opening move.
But let's have a look at your starting situation.

So you start in Anatolia. An OPM, but one surrounded by what appears to be several weak un-enligthened Human realms. To the west, an OPM that looks like a perfect first victim. To the north, a 2 PM duchy that shouldn't be too troublesome to handle. Ending the list of easy targets are "distant" OPMs in Sinop and south-western Anatolia.

The rest of Anatolia seems to be composed of small (3-5 counties) kingdoms/dukedoms, easy pickings provided you conquered the previously mentionned small fry.
Further east is what appears to me to be the first "real" obstacle that the enlightened will face: the D???????nusistani (hedgehog ruled) kingdom could be real pain if it intervenes during any of the previous wars, as it looks like they share their religion with a vast majority of the Anatolian chiefdoms.

Across the Bosphorus, there are 2 medium and 1 small sized kingdom, from smallest to biggest: Nat?tland, Asland and Davidia. I don't have a lot to say about these, except that Asland looks like it shares it's religion with one of the smaller Anatolian kingdom -BUT- and it's interesting, they seem rather isolated, with only the moldovan appearing to be of the same faith.
Davidia and Asland could be though to crack, as they potentialy share religion with the big baddy of the story, the Hallowed Bear empire.

Consolidating Anatolia is top priority, and after that, control of Greece shall grant a powerbase big enough to support taking on the Levant, as I think facing the Bears head-on will be reserved to mid-late game (unless some great opportunity happens). I can also see from the World presentation screenshot that most of Italy starts disunited, so it could be another venue for expansion.

Looking at the world in general, mastery over the mediterranean will open many opportunities, as all of Iberia+France starts balkanised.
That's a good read on the situation :). You'll have more information on it soon.

So if I have read it right that looks to be playing in a small pool of humans surrounded by horses, dogs, and hedgehogs?
That's right. And most of the horses are vassals of the Hallowed Bear Empire.


So it is time for the first chapter, still mostly introductory.
 
Chapter 1 - Beginnings

alscon

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Chapter 1 - Beginnings

You wondered how it would feel. Waking up from your trance, as you are called upon to serve as Anonymous Council. Then again – how did entering the trance feel? Theudis and Eugenios had left the room - and the next thing you saw was Theudis entering it again. As if only a second had passed. Yet, where there was a wound the last time, now is a scar. And instead of being blood-soaked, the count now had plenty of hedgehog hides on his armour.

He answers your unspoken question. “Five years, nine months. I saw no need to involve you earlier – our path was set.”

Eugenios, the priest who launched humanity's fight, enters next, and apologizes. “I basically had to force his hand.”


Theudis ignores him. “The gods tasked him as much as they did me or you. And I merely continued the same swift, decisive actions that had cleared Dorylaion of beasts. Well then, let me make my summary of the last years. Actually, my course for the next is already set as well, but you may guide my divine fury.”

“Initially, people resented my methods. Cowards that don't understand what needs to be done, all of them! My actual council – all recently enlightened, serving under my brother before – while capable enough, surely plotted my demise, or at least force me to grant them any powers. They have none and will get none during my reign. And I have won over Kyriake's allegiance by showing her the pleasures in gutting beasts. Others may whisper that I don't only gut animals.”


The count seems sure in what he says, and there's the same glint of pure determination in his eyes as you saw all those years ago. You wonder where the rumours come from. “Not entirely unfounded, these whispers”, Theudis goes on, grinning.

“In September 770, I set out on our campaign, Dorylaion thoroughly cleansed, to spread the light of Promelux. We had even found a good amount of non-cursed mounts to form a little cavalry. The Shervashidzeites – let me call them 'Ducklings' in the future – are a bunch of cowards. Their 'holy duck' commands them to a life of peace. At least they won't get in our way. We crushed the count of Prusa. I've led by example, taking the centre and slaying the weakling put in charge of their army personally.


The king of Blenistiistan could have been a danger for the near future – but the fool managed to bring the Ducklings to revolt against him while he attacked the duke of the south coast, another Duckling. Embroiled in these conflicts, I led the men onwards to seize his capital. We shouldn't have anything to fear from king Burim now.


As if there was anything left to prove to the Ducklings, I then went on and attacked Fatmir of Aranitiony, the duke north of us. He thought his advantage in numbers – he had around one hundred more men than we – kept him safe. An illusion I shattered. We prevented them from amassing their army with a first strike in Kios, then I brought duke Fatmir back in chains after he tried to besiege Dorylaion.


So much for the state of the realm – I've enlightened Prusa, Smyrna and Nikaea. The neighbouring realms have around the same strength as ours – at least, as long as it takes for the conquered to join our armies. We should decide where to aim our strength, but to that later.”

As Theudis ends his report, some of you nod approvingly. This man leads humanity's hopes well. He gestures for Eugenios to speak, announcing good news, and the priest obliges.

“The Hallowed Bear Empire is in turmoil. While Emperor Nanuk 'the Cannibal' – a travesty, for he has reportedly only eaten a man with the courage to rebel – initially had to reorganize his realm to effectively rely on his vassals' support (he started with 60/45 vassal limit), his neighbours sensed weakness and attacked. Those attacks were sadly all repelled, but spurred on many horses – Wise-nose in Denmark led a grand-scale revolt against him. Nanuk was killed during the war, and the empire has lost many vassals, while remaining strong.”


That could only be a good sign, if the monstrosity is already crumbling. Still, you know that elsewhere they would only combine their strengths. One of you mentions the 'Ducklings' again – and Eugenios falls into the same tone he used during his long sermon again.

“Naturally, the faiths. Knowledge about the false gods is important. Well...”

He drones on for a while, explaining the core beliefs, the nature and leadership of each religion, the impact on their behaviour. If it wasn't your divine task, you are sure you would have dozed off. What seems to be the most important for now is that there are the Ducklings to the east and south, and Daleians, Geldingites and Furdi to the west and north. (see post #2 for the religious tooltips)

“And before you ask, succession is secure. I remarried, a woman named Georgia, and she bore me another son and daughter. As for how to pass on power, the Duckling method suits our purpose well enough – my strongest son shall take over my duty. Ioulianos is my firstborn, Chintila and Pulcheria are my other children.


But that lies farther in the future than the purpose of our meeting today. The direction of our next expansion. As far as I see it, we have three options:



Option 1: We head east towards the hedgehog realms. Greece is in the hands of human warriors, so we should take over the weak Ducklings and begin to attack the hedgehog and dog kingdoms in the east.

Option 2: As there's no threat from the east, we aim towards Greece and the Geldingites. Being strong warriors, they can bolster our ranks for coming conflicts with the HBE. We would also be able to seize control of our old holy sites, strengthening the faith in the eyes of the infidel. But we wouldn't fight any beasts.

Option 3: Instead of heading further west, we could profit from the HBE's weakness and attack the newly-independent states, as well as expand along the Black Sea in Daleian lands to sooner or later face horses and hedgehogs. Unlike the other paths, no nation in that direction is particularly strong – at least for now.

I've said all I need. Time for you to choose the next step on the Path.” Theudis draws a dagger, and holds it over the map, ready to stab the next target.



_______________________________





In which direction should the faithful aim to expand?

Option 1 – East


Option 2 – West


Option 3 – North


Voting ends Friday, 15th February, 22:00 CET.


I'd also like your opinion on if I should enable holy wars and disable the conquest casus belli. Doing so from the start would have doomed any attempt to expand, but after the next few years it is definitely worth considering.
 

stnylan

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No views on the last question, but as to the vote I think option 2
 

Tumultuosus

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I choose Option 1 - East.
As you said, Greece is held by -misguided- humans, so it would be better to keep fighting the beasts, albeit I don't believe the realm will be strong enough to take on the Ducklings right after having absobed Anatolia. I believe it would be better to take the fight to the heretics (Geldingites) to strengthen the faith & the faithful before starting our all out reclamation of mankind's place atop the living sphere and cleansing of the corrupt abominations that are talking animals.

Gameplay wise, I think it makes the most sense to first become a regional power, then reform the religion (Note that if you are 100% sure you can take on Davidia quickly, then please, change my vote for Option 2 - West) after reforming the religion, you should be powerfull enough as to win "direct" holy wars reliably, so I think you can disable conquest whenever you have either:
-become a major regional power (I mean having hegemony in your home region, so ex v1.0.0 k_byzantion (rip, and please never awaken again) )
-reformed the faith

The trick here is that to achieve reformation you almost always need to be a regional power, so it should be a simultaneous event ;) (I hope it makes my position clearer)
 

alscon

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As I do think I'll be able to take on Dávidia as soon as I actually have a CB against them, the winner of the vote is option 2. Though as it's the general direction of planned expansion, there are likely going to be a few wars towards the east as well.