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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Introduction

Bullfilter

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Introduction

Welcome to my second AAR. The first, Talking Turkey: Alternate History from 1936 is a Hearts of Iron 3 (TFH) AAR which is well under way (it started in January 2017 and has so far won a range of awards since then). Please have a look if you might be interested :).

This AAR (apart from being for a different game) will be very different in nature to that one. I have hardly played this game (CK2) at all and am just reading a couple of CK2 AARs, but have decided to learn with the assistance of an AAR, rather than using the security of being more familiar with it before I embark on an AAR! If it means I crash and burn or make some newbie mistakes along the way, then so be it.

In doing this, I hope to also create a place where others who are new to this rather complex game may also pick up some pointers from some of the more experienced and masterful CK2 players who inhabit this forum.

So this AAR will follow the gameplay, ask plenty of questions seeking advice (especially to start with) but also use the rich source of narrative story-telling and character development available in CK2. I will write the main story as a ‘Court Scribe’ (or series of them over time), chronicling events and developments and doing so ‘in character’. Gameplay related questions will be either as the Editor [Ed. Always written this way] or in subsequent reply posts for tactics discussions and hints separate from the chapters.

While I will try to keep the chapters flowing, my other AAR will be played and written simultaneously, so this one is likely to be regular but a bit more leisurely in pace. I hope that will make it an ‘easy read’ to keep or catch up with.


Blood and Battle!

Objectives

Before I slip into character, I will outline a few broad objectives for myself. They may well change over time, and bear in mind I’m setting them without being very familiar with the game or how it normally plays out.
  1. Learn the game and help other newbies (through my travails and readers’ advice) to do so too.

  2. Entertain: once into the swing of things, I like to write a lively tale, mixing drama and humour in among the gameplay and narrative commentary.

  3. Survive for as long as possible without crashing and burning: I think I will need your collective help for that, so if I do survive you can share in the glory!

  4. Expand the Realm: (of course!); perhaps even seek to recreate the Kingdom of Rus if survival and prosperity are achieved first.

  5. Take a warlike approach: it looks like the German/Norse tribal characteristics pretty much require that, so hence the title ‘Blood and Battle’!

  6. Prepare for the Mongol Invasion: if I last long enough and in good enough shape, try to ready the realm and rally neighbours to provide the immovable object to the irresistible force of the Mongol Hordes (I haven’t played or read of them in an AAR, just in history, so am assuming that they will be an existential threat in this game).
That will do for now! I’ve decided to play this in ‘Ironman’ mode: it seems only fitting for a Viking warrior king and dynasty – even if I don’t really know what I’m getting myself in for! For anyone who may be interested, I have the following DLC: Sword of Islam, Sunset Invasion (but set to Inactive), Sons of Abraham, The Republic, Rajas of India (but set to Inactive), The Old Gods and Legacy of Rome. I’m not really across the pros and cons of them all, but bought them up cheap in a sale earlier this year! *All other DLC except Jade Dragon and Holy Fury plus its associated patch since added.

See the next post for the Contents page.
 
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Contents

Bullfilter

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Contents


Introduction
Chapter 1: For Odin’s Glory and the Rurikid Dynasty! (1 January 867)
Chapter 2: The Great Survey (1 January 867)
Chapter 3: Odin’s Favour (1 January – 8 July 867)
Chapter 4: Fire and Axe (8 July – 31 December 867)
Chapter 5: The Second Thing of Rurik’s Reign (31 December 867)
Chapter 6: Might is Right (1 January – 8 April 868)
Chapter 7: Toropets Must Fall! (8 April – 26 September 868)
Chapter 8: Hermóðr’s Spirit (26 September – 25 November 868)
Chapter 9: Loki at the Helm (25 November 868 – 16 June 869)
Chapter 10: Britannia Ho! (17 June 869 – 10 April 870)
Chapter 11: Finding Hálsbitr (10 April 870 – 19 August 870)
Chapter 12: Of Gods, Men and the World Tree (19 August 870 – 10 March 871)
Chapter 13: Walls and Wolfhounds (10 March 871 – 1 June 872)
Chapter 14: A Very Bloody Business (1 June – 31 December 872)
Chapter 15: More Blood on the Axe (1 January – 18 July 873)
Chapter 16: Ambition (18 July – 16 August 873)
Chapter 17: Blood on the Ice (16 August 873 – 15 May 874)
Chapter 18: Friendship is Fleeting (15 May – 21 December 874)
Chapter 19: The Plots Thicken (15 January – 3 March 875)
Chapter 20: A Council of War or a Council at War? (3 March 875)

Chapter 21: Family Matters (4 March – 5 July 875)
Chapter 22: Sword, Sea and Sack (5 July – 26 December 875)
Chapter 23: Shadow and Sunlight (27 December 875 – 5 March 876)

Chapter 24: Odin Watches Over All (5 March – 18 April 876)
Chapter 25: A Viking Travelogue of Italy (18 April – 9 October 876)
Chapter 26: A Pisa Cake? (9 October 876 – 5 January 877)
Chapter 27: Taking Stock and Changing Course (5 - 6 January 877)
Chapter 28: Njörðr’s Bargain (7 January - 21 June 877)
Chapter 29: The Madness of King Rurik (1 July 877 – 5 January 878)
Chapter 30: Who will Raid the Raider? (5 January – 11 August 878)
Chapter 31: Of Axes and Men (11 August – 31 December 878)
Chapter 32: A Russian Spring (1 January – 14 June 879)
Chapter 33: Dawn of a New Age (14 June 879)
Chapter 34: A New Power in the Land (14 - 27 June 879)
Chapter 35: Odin Owns You All! (27 June – 11 October 879)
Chapter 36: Ambition, Battle, Blood and Fear (11 October 879 – 12 January 880)
Chapter 37: Ingria - the Crossroads of the North (12 January – 14 June 880)
Chapter 38: Twelve Days that Shook the Realm (14 June – 9 November 880)
Chapter 39: Necessity is the Mother of Invention (9 November 880)
Chapter 40: A Hard Fight (9 November 880 – 9 October 881)
Chapter 41: Burtasy or Bust (9 October 881 – 19 April 882)
Chapter 42: Finish the Finnish (19 April 882 – 3 April 883)
Chapter 43: A Bloody Homecoming (3 April – 31 December 883)
Chapter 44: Home and Away (31 December 883 – 31 December 884)
Chapter 45: Tragical Mystery Tour (1 January – 2 May 885)
Chapter 46: A Stake in the Game (2 May – 31 October 885)
Chapter 47: The Crow Calls (1 November 885 – 25 March 886)
Chapter 48: Love, Hate and Marriage (25 – 27 March 886)
Chapter 49: Money, Matrimony, Patrimony and Acrimony (27 March – 18 May 886)
Chapter 50: Blood, Battle and Bereavement (18 May 886 – 16 April 887)
Chapter 51: Weddings, Wars and Warlocks (16 April – 5 July 887)
Chapter 52: Soldiers of Fortune (5 July – 5 November 887)
Chapter 53: A Beacon in the Darkness (21 November 887 – 28 March 888)
Chapter 54: Brotherly Love (28 March – 31 July 888)
Chapter 55: A Baltic Holiday (31 July – 31 December 888)

Note: I am now relying on Threadmarks, so this index currently only extends to Chapter 56. :)
 
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Bullfilter

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Reserved
 
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stnylan

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Learning through AAR can be fun, as I have found out myself in Victoria II :)
 

Bullfilter

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Learning through AAR can be fun, as I have found out myself in Victoria II :)
Thanks for the encouragement and welcome to the Saga! I will do my best to juggle two AARs at once, but each will provide variation to the other.
 

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Glad to see you trying CK2 out @Bullfilter!:) It is a great game with great opportunities for a good story (HoI3 is also great, but in another way). I will see if I can follow this one, and perhaps I can catch up with your Turkey AAR soon as well. Limited time has preventing me from doing it yet.

I have some experience with CK2, but since it's a PDX game my ~300 hours should make me a newbie.:p I can not promise any master advice, but I will gladly attempt to teach you something.
 

Bullfilter

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Glad to see you trying CK2 out @Bullfilter!:) It is a great game with great opportunities for a good story (HoI3 is also great, but in another way). I will see if I can follow this one, and perhaps I can catch up with your Turkey AAR soon as well. Limited time has preventing me from doing it yet.

I have some experience with CK2, but since it's a PDX game my ~300 hours should make me a newbie.:p I can not promise any master advice, but I will gladly attempt to teach you something.
Thanks for your support - l'll certainly need the advice! Yes, I thought in the end I should give the game a proper go, and (fool for writing that I am and despite telling myself I wouldn't), of course it had to become an AAR! Ah well, once more into the breach, Dear Friends! :eek::D
 

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I give you the trait Brave :D Only because the full-blown alt-WWII is ready to burst inside your Turkey.

Good idea here. And though I am not good with this game (now too peaceful by nature, except as a Viking for some reason) I heartily endorse #5 and I think it usually necessary whether Viking or not.

Probably wise that you didn't choose a 1066-start as a Grand Prince for your first game.:)
 

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Best way to get two birds in one stone, learn the game, and make an AAR about learning the game! :)

Good luck.
Cheers!
 
Chapter 1: For Odin’s Glory and the Rurikid Dynasty! (1 January 867)

Bullfilter

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Chapter 1: For Odin’s Glory and the Rurikid Dynasty! (1 January 867)

Here follows a modernised account based on the chronicle of Gumarich der Schreiber, court scribe and keeper of the scrolls for King Rurik of Holmgarđr. It is annotated and presented in the idioms, procedures and graphic representations of the Crusader Kings II universe and historical reconstruction method [Ed. Ahem ;)]. The chronicle unfolds as a mixture of historical observations, gossip and conversations recorded by Gumarich and between key figures at court and various 'external' advisors and correspondents. Some are known to history, some are now anonymous. The trove of recently discovered scrolls has become known as the Blut und Schlacht (Blood and Battle) Saga. It tells the story of the Rurikid Dynasty, starting with King Rurik’s reign in 867 AD.


An illustration believed to be a representation of Gumarich
Schreiber,
found with the store of recently discovered scrolls
from the early period of King Rurik’s reign.

The Realm – an Overview

The map below shows the realm of the ‘Petty Kingdom’ of Holmgarđr as it stood at the beginning of 867 AD. It is surrounded by many independent realms, chiefdoms, dukedoms and kingdoms. It sits between Russian, Norse and German influences. Holmgarđr at that time had access to the Baltic Sea, Lake Ladoga (to its north) and some of the great Russian river systems. Gumarich noted that in time, much more would need to be discovered about these neighbours, their disposition towards the King, strengths, weaknesses and motivations. But for now, the King's advisors must take stock of their own realm and see to its welfare.


Taking the wider context first, we know Holmgarđr was part of the de jure (?) ‘Kingdom of Rus’. While that great kingdom did not exist at the time the Rurikid Saga began, its concept was known and could be aspired to. Naturally, other such potential entities surrounded it.


And looking even further out, imperial concepts also existed to make the minds of rulers feverish with ambition and (more often than not) delusions of grandeur inspired by an inflated belief in their own abilities. Even the pettiest chieftain in the vicinity of Holmgarđr could dream of one day being the conquering hero who would create the great Russian Empire.


The Kingdom of Holmgarđr has a Germanic cultural tradition, is Pagan and is organised on a tribal basis. These tables summarise these key national characteristics.


[Ed. Q1: I have highlighted which of these seem to be of significance, and may be substantially different from other types of CK2 societies. Of these, vassals not minding if levies are raised; rulers losing prestige if at peace for too long; the use of prestige to build tribal holdings; not getting vassal tax from tribal government vassals and ‘De Jure Law effects ignored’ seem especially significant. Though I don’t really know/understand what the last one means or exactly how it would manifest in-game. Any key observations, hints etc on how important any of these are and what should be taken out from them would be useful.]

King Rurik and His Family

Gumarich wrote that Rurik was “a master of strategy, brave as a lion and driven to achieve great heights. Quick of wit, warm of personality and generally well-liked. A just ruler who is respected by all. A master horseman in battle.” Even if there is some license to be taken with this description, Rurik appears to have been an impressive character. He was 37 years old as Gumarich wrote of him in January 867, so he was already seasoned and experienced by that time.


Rurik’s heir is the 17 year old Helgi Ruriksson, Marshal of Holmgarđr. He was clearly the son of a previous wife (given the current queen, who we will meet soon, is the same age as Helgi), but Gumarich’s notes shed no light on Helgi's mother's name or background. We are aware (when fully translated) the chronicle will mention more detail of the young Helgi’s personal characteristics and attributes in subsequent chapters (an overview can be seen in the illustration below), but for now the main thing to know about him is that he is very fond of his father, Rurik’s opinion of Helgi seems healthy enough (for a tough and demanding father to his teenage son), and he is not yet married.


Rurik’s courtiers are firm in their advice: finding a wife for Helgi is a top priority. Of the prospective brides on offer, Gumarich recorded that all but two were considered lowly born for the Prince of a even a 'petty' kingdom. Marriage to whom would have resulted in a major hit to Rurik’s prestige, a difficult thing in such a reputation-based social system. And none of the lesser noblewomen are from neighbouring or nearby locations where a claim or alliance seemed to be of much value [Ed. Though I could have been wrong in that of course :confused:]. Both the potential 'peer' brides are daughters of Chief Ketill of Mann. Both are of good Norse stock and seem to have a reasonable mix of personal characteristics.

Jorunn Kettillsdottir (at 26) is a little younger than her sister and has more good qualities than bad. Seven years older than Helgi, but that matters not. Gumarich described her reputation as being “a master manipulator and weaver of intrigue and arbitrary in nature. But honest, charitable of heart and a contented woman happy with her lot in life.” The King hoped she would make a good match for Helgi. And produce some heirs in a hurry! The Isle of Mann is distant (between Britannia and Ireland) but should also be fairly secure and not present any difficult entanglements for Holmgarđr in the future [Ed. Or so I boldly assume ;)]. A marriage proposal is sent, with good reason to expect it will be favourably received.


Rurik's wife, the young Queen Ingjerđr (17 years old in January 867) must have only recently married him, but Gumarich’s chronicle sheds no light on her background. Her regard for Rurik is reasonable, but could be higher. She is also Rurik’s Spymaster, so seeking an increase of her regard for her liege seemed a wise course - as both his wife and Spymaster. Gumarich noted Rurik was soon looking for opportunities to do so. More detail on her will be explained later in the Saga.


State of the Realm

Rurik’s kingdom contained five vassals in 867 AD. Four are tribal chieftains, the fifth a cleric. Most were noted by Gumarich as being either neutral or well disposed towards their liege. However, as chieftains in a tribal society, none of them contribute taxes to Rurik, though the cleric Porolfr (the Godi of Tikhvin) does. Clearly, most income will need to come from other sources (looting, trade etc). The attributes and motivations of these important personages would need to become well known by the King.


[Ed. Q2: Any tips or suggestions as to how to review them and what to look for when doing an initial review?]

A report summarising some key statistics for the realm at the beginning of the Rurikid Era was found among Gumarich hidden scrolls. The potential army size (2,066) and fleet (40) is straightforward. The 676 troops and 40 ships displayed on earlier kingdom maps [Ed. Described as ‘event spawned’ in the mouse-over, so presumably just scenario starting forces] are already in place. The treasury of just over 1000 gold seems healthy [Ed. Let me know if it’s not!] and there is a very small monthly surplus - of negligible size. This may change after a few minor titles are awarded. Gumarich had made some marginal comments on some of the other statistics, which is fortunate as they may not have been so clear to the novice and uninitiated observer!


[Ed. Q3: The Demesne Size seems to have plenty room for growth for now. I will check these current holdings over in a subsequent chapter. The Vassal Limit lists only 4 out of a permissible 16 – does that means only Chieftains (ie not Clerics) count in this number? Prestige seems very important in this society – 30 seems quite low, but is this about normal for a game start? Looks like I’ll need to nurture it and look for opportunities to boost it. Not sure how much Piety is worth in a religion that doesn’t have a head! Other than adding to a game point score, does there seem much use for pursuing it in this context? Any thoughts, tips or hints welcomed.]

Of course,the level of technological development was rudimentary at this time in history and advances were slow . It would be some time before any of these areas could be improved, but every long march begins with a single step.


Helgi, as Marshal, had provided a quick summary of available forces in January 867. A closer examination of the arcane mechanics of raising levies, preparing for war, retinues, shipbuilding, hiring mercenaries and keeping bloodthirsty tribal chieftains happy will have to await another day!


So too will the mysteries of the kingdom’s Pagan religion. Godi Porolfr would no doubt be consulted at some point. At least it appears he was well disposed towards his King.


Council Tasks and Decisions

The start of the year 867 saw the King’s Council already fully appointed. By Gumarich's descriptions, at face value, all seemed to be well suited to their responsibilities. But all were idle, "taking their winter's ease at the King's Court" and needed to be put to work. As a new King, in this case Rurik decided to make some quick decisions:

“Good King Rurik set his Council to task with a Magisterial Hand. Some Councillors stayed with their Liege Lord to help exalt the homeland. Others were sent further afield, beyond the Kingdom’s borders, on missions more dangerous,” recorded Gumarich. “Her Majesty Queen Ingjerđr travelled as Spymaster to Kalevan in the High Chiefdom of Estonia to attempt to discover learned tomes of Arcane Knowledge.

Chancellor Hrörekr was sent on a mission most clandestine to create a legitimate claim on the Chiefdom of Toropets, which the King did sorely covet. Its possession would join the Kingdom proper with its southerly county of Smaleskya, which sat in dangerous isolation, prey for the wolves and vultures that surrounded it.”



“In Holmgarđr, Marshal Helgi oversaw the training the levies. Seer Porolfr zealously sought to increase the piety of the people. Steward Alfgeir saw to the building of prestige in the realm through the description of the legendary exploits and achievements of the esteemed Rurikid Dynasty.”


The council also recommended other decisions be taken, but the King was not yet persuaded to take all of them and in some cases sought more advice than his Council alone could provide. One such suggestion was to hold a "Great Blot". This would cost 50 gold, which seemed quite affordable at present, but its benefits were not immediately clear or obvious. The King reserved his opinion [Ed. And he would warmly welcome any advice on its value or best timing, given it can only be performed every ninth year].


A "Vassal Inheritance Warning" was also issued, but the befuddled Gumarich professed not to really understand the warning nor know what – if anything - to do about it! Nor did the King's Council seem any the wiser. More study of this arcane subject was ordered.


Importantly, King Rurik – ambitious as he was - pondered carefully what his initial ambition for the realm should be. Gumarich noted that he "sought further deep counsel on this most important matter". Rurik apparently had no great interest in piety or becoming known as a paragon of virtue and ‘Holy’ king. And while another child would of course be welcome - and a daughter would be useful for dynastic marriages - he hoped "for nature to take its course quickly and repeatedly" in that regard. And again, it seems Rurik had no great craving for increased piety at this stage in his life "his best friends were Sword and Spear, to be Borne into Battle with a Strong Arm and atop a Swift Steed," so Gumarich helpfully explained.


Becoming Exalted, to both seek great prestige and gain more in doing so, sounded more appealing and would help retain the loyalty of his vassals. Though would the need to build prestige inhibit his ability to build his demesne in this tribal society? The mystical lure of becoming acknowledged as the King of all Rus was also tempting for one as ambitious as Rurik. If achieved, it would gain him very great prestige and an apparent free hand (as a good Pagan Ruler) to declare war to subjugate any part of the prospective realm. But he was also advised that once declared, this ambition could not be revoked, so he must be sure the timing would be right to make it. He was not yet fully informed enough to decide between these two prestigious options and would think hard on it.

[Ed. Q4: Am I right in assuming that you can only have one ambition at a time? So choosing one that cannot be cancelled prevents seeking any others for the rest of the ruler’s life? Whereas if one of the more limited ambitions were chosen, it could be achieved and perhaps the dream of a united Rus pursued later?]

Rurik’s council also pointed out that he could “Press de jure Ducal Claims”. But other scholars had noted that under the realm’s tribal customs, “De Jure Law effects are ignored”. There was some confusion as to whether this was talking about the same set of circumstances, or something different. Certainly, an actionable claim on Toropets in particular would be very useful.


While the Chancellor had been sent to see if he could fabricate (er, discover) a claim on Toropets and the Lawspeaker researched the issue of de jure ducal claims under tribal customs, Gumarich recorded that the King sought to see if Chief Sviatopolk could be ‘persuaded’ to join the realm voluntarily. But the Chancellor advised there would be no chance of that and it hardly seemed worth bothering. So he didn’t. While the power differential was in Rurik’s favour, differences in religion and culture told against acceptance, while the rank difference was not sufficient to be persuasive.


Finally, the Council suggested some vacant minor titles should be allocated, but especially the office of Regent, which was allocated to the Queen to further demonstrate the King’s trust and foster mutual esteem. Most other titles that could be allocated were, mainly to vassals or courtiers whose loyalty looked like it could do with a boost.


So ends the first part of the Rurikid Blood and Battle Saga. Any learned comments are most welcome. Apart from noting any advice arising from this first episode, the next chapter will examine things like the state of the counties that make up the realm, current holdings/buildings and building plans, and the realm's laws. [Ed. Plus whatever people think are other things that should be delved into at game’s start.]


May Odin’s Spear smite the unworthy, to the greater glory of Rurik and Holmgarđr!

[Ed. The game won’t be progressed until I’ve had a chance to consider any comments or advice and complete the initial review of the realm, after which the action will start.]
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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I am a bit rushed for time, so I can't properly answer your questions. Plus its been a while since I played CK2 for an extended time, so I might mis-remember things.

Q4 is easy however - only one ambition at a time.

Also low prestige is perfectly ordinary at game start.
 

Bullfilter

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I am a bit rushed for time, so I can't properly answer your questions. Plus its been a while since I played CK2 for an extended time, so I might mis-remember things.

Q4 is easy however - only one ambition at a time.

Also low prestige is perfectly ordinary at game start.
Many thanks - it takes a village to raise a newbie :D! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and provide the first answers.
 

Bullfilter

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I give you the trait Brave :D Only because the full-blown alt-WWII is ready to burst inside your Turkey.

Good idea here. And though I am not good with this game (now too peaceful by nature, except as a Viking for some reason) I heartily endorse #5 and I think it usually necessary whether Viking or not.

Probably wise that you didn't choose a 1066-start as a Grand Prince for your first game.:)
Best way to get two birds in one stone, learn the game, and make an AAR about learning the game! :)

Good luck.
Cheers!
Thanks to both of you for your support :)
 

Saxon125

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I may not be a newbie to CK2, but its nice to see a AAR specifically for newbies to the game, I wish you luck. :)
 

Idhrendur

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I'm not great at CK2, but I have a decent grasp of the mechanics. Thus, answers and thoughts:

1) I'm not sure on this. I'd guess that normally, even though Rus isn't formed, its laws still influence you. But in this case it doesn't.
2) Their relationship value is the biggest thing. With low relations, they're more inclined to plot against you, rebel, or generally be unhelpful. At high enough levels (60, I think), they'll abandon factions on their own. As well, check for the size of their holdings. Overly powerful vassals are a recipe for disaster.
3) Only count-level vassals count against the allowed vassals. In this case, that means the cleric doesn't count, but if given a full county they would. Prestige is super-useful as a tribal, but low values are normal and there are many ways to boost it (raiding is very very effective). IIRC, piety isn't terribly useful.
4) Correct. However, the 'become king of Rus' one is exceedingly powerful, what with the unlimited CBs.

Other thoughts:
  • Blots are extremely useful for raising your prestige. Though is you don't have any prisoners, that value is limited. As a norseman, it's helpful to hang on to prisoners for the sake of future blots.
  • 1000 gold sounds pretty good to me, though it's easy to spend it fast.
  • It's worth checking out your holdings and getting an idea of what you can build, what it'll get you, and what it'll cost you. I'll have more to say when you do that review.
 

Macke11

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It looks like you have yourself a good start!:)

I was about to answer your questions, but @Idhrendur did it just before me.;) The only thing I'd like to add to his post is that blots can also be used as a tool to execute prisoners without getting tyranny penalties, since the sacrifice is an accepted part of the Norse culture.
 

Eurasia

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As a Tribal you want to think offense. You may have noticed by now a lack of castles. Your advantage is offense, offense, offense....

And you are Brave. Ironman? Wow.

Also Elective Gavelkind can be !!FUN!!.

I do not wish to give too much advice because I don't know if you like surprises and if you want to min/max which can be boring. So I will watch and giggle evilly.
 

Bullfilter

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I may not be a newbie to CK2, but its nice to see a AAR specifically for newbies to the game, I wish you luck. :)
Thank you for tuning in! :)
If you ever see me missing something obvious or about to do something dumb by accident (as opposed to deliberately) just holler! :D
1) I'm not sure on this. I'd guess that normally, even though Rus isn't formed, its laws still influence you. But in this case it doesn't.
Thanks - I think it will take me a while yet before I figure out this aspect and what it means practically.
2) Their relationship value is the biggest thing. With low relations, they're more inclined to plot against you, rebel, or generally be unhelpful. At high enough levels (60, I think), they'll abandon factions on their own. As well, check for the size of their holdings. Overly powerful vassals are a recipe for disaster.
Useful, thanks, especially on a rough benchmark on what 'good' is. Most of mine are below that to start with, but at least they don't hate me - yet! :p
3) Only count-level vassals count against the allowed vassals. In this case, that means the cleric doesn't count, but if given a full county they would. Prestige is super-useful as a tribal, but low values are normal and there are many ways to boost it (raiding is very very effective). IIRC, piety isn't terribly useful.
Thanks for confirming. I have some room to move then to start with. Yes, prestige does look very important, and it also makes sense historically and culturally.
4) Correct. However, the 'become king of Rus' one is exceedingly powerful, what with the unlimited CBs.
OK: I just need to decide now whether I should do it sooner or later. But I think Rurik does indeed covet the title! Especially if it means plenty of (enemies') blood and battle!
Other thoughts:
  • Blots are extremely useful for raising your prestige. Though is you don't have any prisoners, that value is limited. As a norseman, it's helpful to hang on to prisoners for the sake of future blots.
  • 1000 gold sounds pretty good to me, though it's easy to spend it fast.
  • It's worth checking out your holdings and getting an idea of what you can build, what it'll get you, and what it'll cost you. I'll have more to say when you do that review.
All very useful advice too - thanks so much for taking the time. :)

It looks like you have yourself a good start!:)

I was about to answer your questions, but @Idhrendur did it just before me.;) The only thing I'd like to add to his post is that blots can also be used as a tool to execute prisoners without getting tyranny penalties, since the sacrifice is an accepted part of the Norse culture.
Thanks for the heads-up: didn't even know you could either take, hold or sacrifice them! There will be blood! :eek:

As a Tribal you want to think offense. You may have noticed by now a lack of castles. Your advantage is offense, offense, offense....

And you are Brave. Ironman? Wow.

Also Elective Gavelkind can be !!FUN!!.

I do not wish to give too much advice because I don't know if you like surprises and if you want to min/max which can be boring. So I will watch and giggle evilly.
Thanks mate - I know I said before (on another thread) that I'd wait before launching a second concurrent AAR in a new (for me) game, but ... and reading your Road of Queens (still catching up) inspired me too. It seems like a good deal of fun, and not as sober as a WW2 to the death as in my other one, so a good counterpoint. :)

I hadn't noticed about the castles yet - county review will be the next task - so thanks for the alert. And I do intend to take an aggressive line. Is the lack of castles something that needs to be addressed in the near term, or just worked around (ie 'toujour l'audas'), do you think? How much worse is Ironman than normal? If it just means it's more difficult to keep saving then replaying I'm fine with that, as any victory an AI can get is well-earned in my book;)! And I haven't really gripped up some of the intricacies, implications or importance of the various inheritance laws yet, but am sure that will come with a bit of practice. This really is my first serious game of CK2, so I'm really a rabbit caught in the headlights! :oops:

Evil cackle noted, but then I have the collective wisdom of my dear readers to help as my secret weapon :cool:
 

Idhrendur

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  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Tyranny - Bastards Wound
It'll be more clear when you do the country review, but you're limited in what you can do about the lack of castles. At least while remaining tribal.