• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

This thread is more than 5 months old.

It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose. If you feel it is necessary to make a new reply, you can still do so though.

unmerged(6777)

Field Marshal
Dec 10, 2001
12.470
5
This AAR is about the first six or seven years of a Saxony game I played with one of the most recent beta test builds of Europa Universalis III. It is told largely as a story; however, I will insert game-specific details in green text like this, as well as some supporting screen shots which I will label with gold text where appropriate.

While not a long story, I will present it as a series of short instalments which should be a manageable length to easily read in a sitting. Also, I have taken a few minor liberties with accuracy to make the story more entertaining to read. Don't take everything I say at face value (although I won't write about anything that is blatantly false.

With that said, here is the first instalment -- the introduction and an overview of the things I did at the beginning of the game, prior to un-pausing. In most cases you won't need to do all of this stuff right away; but I had a specific goal in mind that I wanted to achieve as rapidly as possible. To do so, I spent some time right at the beginning to get me moving more quickly in that direction.


Here is a zoomed-out political map of the region. Saxony is the light purple highlighted country a little above the center of the map.

1453_saxony_political_map.jpg

* * * * * * * * * *​

Friedrich's Ambition - Part I

It was on May 30th, I the year of our Lord 1453, that Friedrich II of Saxony first heard the dreadful news of the fall of Constantinople to the Turk. Rather than berate the eastern Romans for their failure to secure that once-proud city, or to criticise his Holiness the Pope for his failure to incite the faithful against the heathen scum call The Ottomans, Friedrich looked far closer to home for his culprit.

In matters of the flesh, he reasoned, it was the duty of the Holy Roman Emperor, in the person of young Ladislaus of Austria, to protect Christendom from the scourge of the east. Had Friedrich been Emperor, he would have united all of the many German States in his worthy cause, and met them with pike and lance on the battlefields of the Middle East.

But no, Ladislaus had not done that, nor his father before him; and now there was a palpable storm cloud to the east that would take God-only-knew-what to stop. Hungary was already embroiled in the war; but could not look to its western border for aid. When the Turk moved, it would be Hungary and her allies that would have to serve as the bastillion of Christendom.

Or…perhaps not. What if a new Emperor rose to Germany's sacred throne who was willing to thwart the Muslim hordes? If Ladislaus would not fight, perhaps they were not worthy of the Seal of the Emperor. Perhaps someone more worthy of that mantle should be crowned, and take up the sword of Christ against the enemy.

As one of the seven hereditary electors of the Holy Roman Empire, Friedrich took his duty seriously. Upon the death of the Emperor a diet would be held, and he and his six equals would elect the next Emperor -- the ruler who would unite all of the German States and bend them to his will. In his castle, on that darkest of days, Friedrich secretly determined that this would be the case, and that he, himself, would be the next to wear that golden crown.

Had he mentioned this to anyone else, they would surely have laughed at Friedrich's secret ambition. How could a ruler of lands that encompassed only four provinces seek to gain the crown, when the Austrian crown held eight? How could an upstart with an army that numbered only two regiments -- one thousand infantry and a similar number of knights and their men-at-arms -- seek to challenge the awesome Imperial might?

[Saxony army of 1k medieval latin infantry and 1k latin knights]

A close-up of Saxony in May 1453, showing the geographic terrain of the four-province country and a few of the surrounding provinces.


1453_saxony.jpg

Quite simply, Friedrich thought. To win the crown one did not have to win the field. One merely had to win the support of a simple majority of the electors. He would, of course, cast his own vote for himself. To achieve his own election, he need simply convince enough of the others to support him so that no other State could receive a greater share of the votes. This was the stuff of politics and back-room dealing -- at which Friedrich was very adept -- and not a contest of brute force.

[Friedrich II, King of Saxony (a feudal monarchy) Admin 7, Diplo 6, Military 3]

Of course it would not merely be so simple as dispatching a few envoys (although this he would also do) because the various rulers were notoriously unreliable in their dealings with one another and their opinions could change with the beating of the heart. No, he would need to achieve a degree of power, and to demonstrate his worthiness. He would need to establish family ties and national alliances to bolster his cause. He would need to maintain an impeccable reputation and achieve a measure of prestige. In short, he must almost act as Emperor before ever he would wear the crown.

And, because the Imperial throne was held for life, young Ladislaus must die. Friedrich, being a devout and faithful man, would not undertake to depose the Austrian monarch himself. He would strive to achieve the rest, and let God choose whether he was worthy when the time came.

To that end, Friedrich took stock of his nation. Each of his four provinces boasted a modest castle, which he took great care to ensure were fully garrisoned. His lands, while not rich like some of those in the west, were sufficient to meet his modest needs. By being frugal, he need not take any of his monthly taxes and use them to mint gold. His annual tithes amounted to nearly twenty ducats; and this was more than enough to pay the half-ducat monthly maintenance requirements of his small army and still leave enough to put a modest amount aside in his treasury for times of greater need. Indeed, his treasury already held the vast sum of nearly forty ducats already!

[Monthly income 4.2d and annual tithe 19.2.1d. Army maintenance of 0.4d/mo. Set budget to 0 treasury thus allowing a monthly deficit that is covered by annual tithe and thus 0% rate of inflation.]

Thus, he reasoned, he could avoid siphoning any of his monthly tax income -- slightly more than four ducats -- and devote all of it towards researching new technological advances that would keep him competitive with his neighbours. To date, he had managed the affairs of his realm by himself; but if his plan was to come to fruition he decided that he would need to employ at least one or two advisors to assist him and supplement his skills. To that end, after some consideration, Friedrich settled on two worthy nobles who would join him at court.

1453_court.jpg

The first was a talented artist by the name of Gilles Binchois. His steady flow of masterpieces, when displayed, would make the public much happier about living in such a magnificent realm. Although the cost to hire him was exorbitant -- four ducats! -- and the salary he demanded of nearly half a ducat each month was as much as the cost to maintain the Saxony army, in the long run the increased stability in the realm would be worth it. [Hired a skill 4 artist, 4d +0.4d/mo salary to give +12 monthly stability investment]

The other advisor to join the court was, admittedly, not nearly so skilled a man; but the budget could only support a limited degree of extravagance. Alexander Arnim was reputedly a competent treasurer and would help to contribute somewhat towards improvements in the field of trade. His three-ducat honorarium was a bit steep, but he required little on a monthly basis in wages. [Hired a skill 1 treasurer, 3d + 0.3d/mo salary to give +3 monthly trade tech investment.]

Needless to say, an army of a mere two thousand souls would impress no one -- in fact it was perilously small even to dissuade any neighbours with less-than-honourable intentions from initiating hostilities. To rectify this, Friedrich ordered the recruitment of one thousand more knights and their aides to be conducted in the capital province of Meissen where the nation's army was currently located. Although this would necessitate the training of much of pool of able-bodied men, more would come of age and be willing to fight in the future.

The cost of this initiative was high, leaving barely enough gold in the treasury to see the ruler through the balance of the year -- provided that he skimped somewhat on the monthly needs of his existing army. They would grumble somewhat, but he'd make it up to them later and ensure that their needs were fully met before he would ask them to engage a foe.

[National manpower pool of 1447 men, with max of 2157 and monthly replenishment of about 100 from the provinces. Used 1000 to recruit 1 more regiment of latin cavalry at a cost of 16.7d. After that, and the advisors, I have a balance of about 14d to carry me through the rest of the year. I set army maintenance to about half, hoping I don't get involved in a war during the remaining 7 months of the year.]

1453_military_maintenance.jpg

Having thus determined that his immediate needs were met, Friedrich carefully allocated his monthly tax income fairly equally between research in the four fields that he felt would be most beneficial to the long-term interest of the country: new advances in government, production, trade and land-based military equipment. He did not feel it necessary to invest at all in improving his country's stability, since he trusted that his new advisor, Gilles Binchois, would be more than suitable for that task; nor did he bother to consider any innovations in naval technology (for what use would his land-locked country have for those?).

[Set budget: 1.2/mo government; 1.0/mo production; 1.0/mo trade; 1.0/mo land; 0 naval, 0 stability, 0 treasury. Monthly deficit approximately 1d against annual tithe of 19.2 should give about 7 ducats left over -- not much, but I'm a small and relatively basic country so that's not too bad. Note that I begin the game (as do most European nations) with trade tech 1 that allows me to send merchants.]

1453_budget.jpg

While the small amount of remaining gold would need to be horded to pay his advisors and at least somewhat placate the military, there would come a time in the future where he hoped this would all have been worthwhile. Although he looked wistfully at the idea of sending a merchant to the wealthy center of trade in Lubeck, there was no such person available at the time to be funded, nor were the realm's domestic policies favourable towards such efforts at this time.

Although Friedrich knew his people would be somewhat upset by his actions -- they resented any change, it seemed -- he instituted a slight shift in his nation's policies towards free subjects and away from serfdom. Oh well…that would give Binchois something to do. In the long run it would help to improve the country's productivity, the morale of the troops, and the might even help to make the general public less inclined to listen to any other nations' agents. Of course this would mean that the lower classes would expect a little more in their pockets when being asked to join the military, and they would be somewhat harder to impress in general.

[Stab drops -1 to a value of 0 as DP change +1 free subjects giving slightly increased production efficiency, higher land morale, better spy defence, but also higher cost to recruit infantry and higher stab investment requirement.]

[Domestic Policies are now: Aristocracy/Plutocracy -2, Innovative/Narrowminded +1, Mercantile/Free Trade -3, Land/Naval -1, Quality/Quantity 0, Serfdom/Free Subjects -3 (was -4).]

[0 merchants in pool and DP and stab level makes gain rate only 0.85 per year -- also DP really doesn't favour competition so will have to ignore trade centers for now (even if I could afford the 2+ ducats per attempt to send them). Maybe later…]

1453_domestic_policies.jpg

Having devoted his attention to any domestic affairs that seemed to demand it, Friedrich now turned his attention to the far weightier problem of how to fulfill his desire to be crowned the next Holy Roman Emperor. To do this, he would need to curry that favour of at least one more elector than any other possible candidate might have. While it was possible that he would emerge victorious in the case of a tie in the voting, the chances of this happening were exceedingly small. Friedrich lacked the prestige and size to win the deciding vote.

It was a moot point, anyway, since it was widely known that the current front-runner was the ruler of Baden who enjoyed the support of three of the electors. The three remaining electors had differing opinions, with none of them in favour of Saxony. Friedrich's southern neighbour, the King of five-province Bohemia, would vote for himself since the cultural differences tended to keep him at the fringes of the rest of the electorate. The ruler of Brandenburg, to the north, would also push his own cause. The archbishops of Cologne and Mainz seemed firmly in support of Baden; as did the ruler of the Palatinate. And finally, the archbishop of Trier was a known supported of Hesse -- although in the Empire, such things were known to change (and frequently at that!). If Ladislaus were to die tomorrow, Baden would clearly hold the balance of the votes and would gain the Imperial crown.

HRE_1453_voting.jpg

Lacking the funds to supply suitable gifts that might sway the princes of the Church; Friedrich decided to focus his immediate attention on improving his relationship with the monarchies since this could be achieved by cementing bonds in blood. Although he knew this would involve a great risk for the future of his realm if there were quarrels over succession, the risks were outweighed by the reward; and thus he dutifully set his hand to making three proposals of marriage between members of his immediate family and the bloodlines of Bohemia, Brandenburg, and the Palatinate. These he would send using three of his five available diplomats, giving them the fastest horses available, and then await a reply.

As an afterthought, he inked one final marriage proposal to the Emperor himself. Although he sought the lad's overthrow, it was foolhardy in the extreme to fall into displeasure of the Imperial court. Besides, he reasoned, if he was to gain the crown it would not be through war; so this gesture would keep the Emperor happy and give him less reason to suspect anything untoward -- although surely Ladislaus was aware that the electorate was not currently in favour of seeing another Hapsburg on the throne. It would be interesting to see what the Emperor did about that…

[Sent royal marriage proposals to Bohemia, Brandenburg, Palatinate, and Austria. Kept 1 diplomat available in case of need.]

A map of the Holy Roman Empire
Member states are in dark green, electors in middle green, and Emperor (Austria) is light green.
Because my country is an elector but not covered by the fog of war, my middle-green appears lighter than the others.

the_empire_1453.jpg

If you would like to comment, please use the comments thread since this one will be closed so it's easy to add new instalments to later. :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • 1
Reactions:

unmerged(6777)

Field Marshal
Dec 10, 2001
12.470
5
Friedrich's Ambition - Part II

As spring turned to summer, and summer to autumn, Friedrich continued to bide his time and had little to do other than tend to the basic needs of his realm. That is not to say that he was entirely idle.

The late-May overtures he had made to Bohemia, Brandenburg, the Palatinate, and Austria were all enthusiastically embraced by their respective recipients. Within the month, arrangements had been made for no less then four royal marriages that would cement the blood ties between each of the royal houses. Indeed, Friedrich's diplomatic efforts were so well received that the house of Brandenburg was moved to offer an alliance with their southern neighbour -- an offer that Friedrich was happy to accept as it further guaranteed his northern border and gave him greater security in the event of war. With this new closeness between the two realms, Friedrich was delighted to find that he was now assured of Brandenburg's vote if the Emperor were to die and a new election was held.

[RM and alliance with Brandenburg resulted in +200 relations and was enough to change Brandenburg's elector vote to support Saxony.]

The Emperor, too, was favourably disposed towards his elector. A diplomat arrived in mid June bearing a dispatch, complete with Imperial seal, with Ladislaus' offer of alliance. Friedrich's first impulse was to tear the document to shreds; but he governed his passions and agreed to the offer. There could be no greater security to his realm than to be directly allied to the Emperor. Not only did the house of Habsburg directly control more territory than any other state in Empire, making Austria wealthy and strong; but Ladislaus also enjoyed the benefits of the Imperial levies. States in the Empire did not pay taxes or tithes to their Emperor. Instead, their fealty was expressed by offering up the lives of their men. The Emperor had access to vast reserves of manpower and could, if necessary, field vast armies without paying the punitive costs for maintaining an army that was far too large for his realm. In effect, the Austrian army was the army of the Empire; and in times of great trouble it could grow to eclipse any other nation in the known world.

In fact, it was for precisely this reason that Friedrich sought the Imperial crown. Unlike Ladislaus, he intended to raise a great host and send it to crush the deadly Ottoman threat in the east. The regiments, flush with the pride of serving the prestigious Emperor, would march into battle with great fervour in their hearts. It was rare that they would quit the field while a single man remained hale enough to wield his sword.

[RM and alliance with Austria. Austria isn't an elector so no vote is gained; but the Emperor gains a huge manpower bonus and has a maximum land support limit that is based on the number of members of the HRE. For example, Saxony is able to field up to 6 regiments in 1453 and pay regular maintenance costs, while any additional regiments would cost significantly more to maintain (it would be ruinously expensive). It also adds about 100 men per month to its manpower pool. With 41 states in the Empire, if Saxony was the HRE it would gain something in order of 2500 men per month to its pool, and would be able to field in excess of 80 regiments at regular maintenance costs (though it should be noted that Saxony's economy still couldn't possible pay that kind of maintenance….but it could probably maintain about 20 regiments if it devoted most of its income to doing so. It would be ruinous to the economy over an extended period of time, but it is still a tremendous advantage).]

[Also, the morale of armies is affected by the prestige of the ruler. The Emperor receives a small annual prestige bonus which, combined with other increases in prestige, can result in very high morale armies that are extremely unlikely to break in combat.]


With these new alliances secured, Friedrich felt that it would be prudent to publicly declare his willingness to support the two realms. In September, he sent two of his diplomats to formally declare that he guaranteed the independence of the realms of Austria and Brandenburg, and that would look have a very dim view should any nation initiate any hostilities towards them. Granted, neither realm was particularly in need of such a guarantee; however, in the event that an enemy declared war against either, Friedrich's reputation would suffer no slight should he be forced to declare war in their defence; nor would his public be unduly upset should he do so.

[Guaranteed independence of Austria and Brandenburg, giving automatic casus belli against any country that DOWs them. This reduces the stab hit and reputation loss (i.e. badboy points) if I needed to DOW someone on a defensive call to allies.]

The only other things of particular note during this time was the incorporation of the newly recruited regiment of knights into the nation's army, and the general lightening of the public's mood as the fantastic artworks of Gilles Binchois began to circulate. [Stab +1]. A feeling of peace and contentment began to permeate the realm of Saxony, and Friedrich earnestly looked forward to January when his annual tithes would be received and he could begin the delicate political dance of swaying one or more of the Archbishop-electors to his cause.

This peace was shattered in November, when a messenger arrived from the Emperor bearing a formal request that Friedrich honour his new alliance by declaring war on the country of Croatia. Friedrich was exasperated with his Emperor. Why, he wondered, did Ladislaus occupy himself by declaring war -- with winter fast approaching, no less -- on the tiny Croatian realm when he should be flexing his might against the Turk? Nevertheless, he did not wish to gain the reputation of being an oath-breaker, nor did he wish to anger the powerful Emperor, so he dutifully agreed to the request and made his formal declaration of war. Another of the Emperor's allies, the Imperial state of Baden, did likewise.

Even though Friedrich quietly vowed that no army would march to that distant, doomed realm, his public was dismayed to hear that Saxony was now at war. This unexpected upset undid all of the good works of Herr Binchois, and it would not be until the New Year's Day unveiling of the artist's latest work that the public sentiment would return to its former general level of contentment.

[Austria DOWs Croatia and I get call to allies. Since Austria initiated it, I get a -1 stab hit for honouring the alliance without having a CB against Croatia. Stab investment gives +1 in January, putting me back to +1 overall stab. Baden also honours alliance. I can't be bothered to send troops that far away since Austria will easily destroy the one-province nation.]

Friedrich remained fairly idle in the early months of 1454, contenting himself with several diplomatic moves that were more geared towards the future than the present. He was able to reach an agreement with his Brandenburg ally that would permit him to move the Saxony army through that realm whenever he desired. Although such an agreement would not have been needed should their realms be united against a common foe, Friedrich felt that it might be necessary, sometime in the future, to be able to do so during times of peace as well. Saxony's separation from the personal lands of the Emperor might also present a problem if Friedrich needed to support his ally more actively in the future, so a similar agreement was reached with the Bohemian monarch whose lands lay in between. The Emperor was also happy to accept such an agreement

[Arranged military access with Brandenburg and Bohemia. MA is granted by allies when they are at war together against another country; but it is not granted during peace. This can lead to regiments being stranded away from a smaller realm after a peace, and it's better to secure such agreements in advance of the time that you might need them since you never know if there might be a problem later with relationships or lack of available diplomats. Better safe than sorry; however, this does mean that I can't DOW any of them without first formally cancelling access. Note that this isn't a reciprocal agreement, and that they would need to ask me for access (or I would have to offer it) before they can move troops through Saxony.]

After Ladislaus personally commanded the Imperial army on the field of battle and routed the much smaller Croatian force, Friedrich read reports about the progress of the Emperor's siege with morbid fascination. The large Imperial army, containing plenty of infantry, ensured that the poor one-thousand-man Zagreb garrison would not last long. Indeed, the capital fell in mid May and Croatia became just another province under the Hapsburg thumb.

[Austria defeats Croatian army, sieges the capital, and captures the province in May. Austria demands annexation, Croatia (the country) is destroyed, and the province becomes part of Austria. Note that you don't get "reports" about siege progress and battles of other nations' armies (although you can change your message settings to give pip-ups that tell you about the battles) but the fog of war is lifted over territory that belongs to an ally, is immediately adjacent to an ally, or contains or is adjacent to an ally's troops or ships. This meant that I could easily watch the progress of Austria's army and siege.]

While this brutal annexation signalled the cessation of hostilities and returned Saxony to a state of peace, Friedrich barely paid any heed to the news as he was preoccupied with one of the most important decisions he would make during his entire lifetime. The industrious nobles who had been devoting their energies towards improving the nation's government had suggested that the time was ripe for Friedrich to make a formal pronouncement about the overall direction and destiny of the realm. It would, they said, be a momentous occasion that would have far-reaching and long-lasting implications for Saxony's future; but that he must be careful in making is proclamation since, once made, the public would be confused and upset if he -- or his successors - later changed this policy.

This opportunity presented Friedrich with something of a quandary. He could espouse one of several ideas that might benefit the country militarily, but if he lacked the finances to support it then the benefits might be meagre indeed. He contemplated thoughts of national conscription that would allow him to draw upon a far larger number of men for his armies, but he did not foresee a need for this in the near future and he would enjoy an even greater benefit of this type should he achieve his desire to become the Holy Roman Emperor. Similarly, he could proclaim the institution of a "Grand Army" that would increase the number of regiments that his nation could support; but he would be able to do even more than that should he be elected to the Imperial throne. He could order his army to conduct regular military drills, giving them greater confidence on the field of battle. His army could even receive special training, making them more efficient at overcoming the defences of enemy fortresses. These, and many other thoughts, passed through his mind. While all would be beneficial, he finally concluded that the time was not yet ripe to adopt a militaristic approach. His problem, he decided, was that he lacked the financial muscle he would need to support any such efforts.

He therefore turned his musings towards things that might improve his realm's income. The number of different ideas that passed through his mind were many; but he finally concluded that the change that would be most beneficial in the long run would be to expand the government's bureaucracy to better, and more efficiently collect taxes from his realm. The increase in income that this would generate would not be huge; but even a small improvement would eventually produce great results. His mind made up, he made the official proclamation in May.

[Saxony's research investment in government tech results in Level 1 being reached. This allows me to choose my first "national idea" from a list of 30 different ideas, each of which gives me a nice bonus in some area. Once selected, there is a nasty stab hit if you change it later, and it will probably be another 40-50 years before I will reach the government tech level that will unlock my next "national idea slot" so I have to choose carefully. I settle on "bureaucracy" which gives me +5% tax income from all provinces -- not much, but it adds up over time to quite a tidy sum of cash. Saxony needs money if it's going to send gifts to try to influence the electors, and it needs cash to buy and support a larger army, so that seemed the best selection.]

Here I am deciding which national idea to choose. Screenshots don't display the mouse pointer but I am currently hovering it over the "bureaucracy" idea that is at the top of the "State" column, which causes a tooltip to appear below it that shows the effects of selecting that idea. Also on the screen you'll see that I opened my ledger and went to the page where I could review my country's income in each of several categories, both for this year and the previous year. While you won't see the ledger very often in this AAR, it is an invaluable tool with an amazing number of built-in context-sensitive functions that make it a breeze to manage larger (and/or more advanced) realms. Also notice the small lightbulb alert at the top of the screen, reminding me that I have an empty idea slot that I can fill. Alerts will remind you of all sorts of useful things that new players, in particular, might forget.

1454_national_idea.jpg

Friedrich's only other action of note in the first half of 1454 was to open his treasury and order the recruitment of a third regiment of knights. They would be needed, he felt, should Saxony become embroiled in war; and although a larger military would be more expensive to maintain, it would act as something of a deterrent to any nation that envied his lands. The cost to enlarge the army meant that Friedrich would have to wait until another annual tithe before he could begin to consider sending gifts to the Church Princes; but he was a patient man who knew that he must first ensure his realm's security before he could pursue more lofty goals.

[Sent 16.8d to recruit 1k cav regiment, leaving only enough in the treasury to pay the maintenance and advisor salaries for the rest of the year. I'm buying cavalry instead of cheaper infantry because they tend to dominate most battlefields during the early years of the game. Later, as my land tech increase, I will shift to infantry since they become far more dangerous. The only down side to large cavalry armies is that they are much worse in sieges (takes much longer) and are essentially useless in a siege assaults.]

On the 28th of July, an emissary arrived in Friedrich's court with an intriguing proposal. It seemed that a number of northern German cities and towns had banded together to form something they called the "Hanseatic League". This was not a proposal of limitary or state alliances, but rather an offer to join a mercantile conglomeration that ensured greater trade revenues for all, and allowed each participant's merchants to better compete for business in the world's great centers of trade.

While Friedrich lacked the necessary funds to help establish his own merchants at present -- and his nation's policies did not particularly favour their efforts -- he knew that he would eventually want to address this situation. He was jealous of the wealth that poured into the coffers of nations who engaged in active trading; and sooner or later he would embark on these sorts of ventures. The short term gain would be miniscule, and the sense of empowerment would make it somewhat harder to content his subjects; but to refuse the offer would greatly entrench his aristocracy's position. While not in itself such a bad thing in some respects, empowering the aristocracy would virtually guarantee that trade would never be a meaningful part of his nation's economy; so Friedrich decided to accept the offer and Saxony officially joined the Hanseatic League.

[Historic Event: The Hanseatic League. Accept gives DP adjustment of +1 to towards free trade, +3% stab cost, +10% merchant compete chance, and +20% trade income modifier. Declining gives +2 DP shift towards aristocracy. Unlike EU2, events don't auto-pause the game and I am able to open my domestic policy interface to review current setting prior to making my decision. I choose to join.]

Here is a screen shot of the event message. The drop-down tooltip is showing the effects of accepting the deal as I hover my mouse over it (remember, screenshots don't display the mouse pointer so you don't see it). When I hover over the decline option I see a tooltip with those effects. You'll notice that I have paused the game and opened my domestic policy interface to review my DP settings before making my choice. I can easily drag the event message anywhere on the screen so it doesn't obstruct my view of the interface. The main map is currently in political map mode.

1454_hanseatic_event.jpg

Friedrich was content that his actions over the course of the past year or 18 months were beginning to bear fruit. It would probably be years before his goals might be achieved, but at least it was a start. By early November of 1454, public contentment reached an all-time high in the realm (thanks, again, to the excellent efforts of the court artist Gilles Binchois) and Friedrich eagerly awaited the annual tithe. Soon, he felt, he could take the next crucial step towards bringing his ambition to fruition.

All of that changed on November 21st when a mud-splattered rider in Brandenburg livery clattered into the palace courtyard, leapt off his horse, and raced up the steps to Friedrich's throne room.
 
Last edited:

unmerged(6777)

Field Marshal
Dec 10, 2001
12.470
5
Friedrich's Ambition - Part III

As the first snows of the winter swirled around the castle towers, Friedrich II stood in his throne room and gaped at the Brandenburg diplomatic emissary. "What is this madness!?" he blurted, before bringing his emotions in check.

Madness indeed. What could possibly be going through his ally's mind to launch a war when the northern provinces of the Empire would soon be locked in the icy winter's grasp. He could sympathise with the Brandenburg monarch's hunger for more land, and he even understand why Silesia presented an excellent target. Bohemia's small, poor vassal had no military to speak of. The reason for this could be the punitive taxes it paid to its overlord; or perhaps the wily Silesian ruler was simply taking advantage of his alliance with Vladislav I, knowing that the powerful and wealthy Bohemian monarch would come to the aid of its underling neighbour.

Whatever the case, Friedrich had no doubt that if he were to involve himself in this war it would be no easy task to re-establish the peace. By itself, Brandenburg seemed unlikely to be able to overcome the Bohemian state. It was larger, and wealthier; and Vladislav I had the reputation of being a competent military mind. If he took to the field, he might even be able to overcome the combined might of Brandenbug's alliance.

Friedrich had no illusions about his own ability to command. The art of war was not his strong suit; and while he would lead his army if he must, he did not relish the idea. He was woefully unprepared to wage a war, with the treasury more or less empty and his army being given only the most meagre level of general maintenance. The troops' morale was extremely low, and it would require several months of full financial support before they would be even remotely interested in participating in a battle. If the Bohemian army decided to attack the lands of Saxony instead of heading north to Brandenburg, things could get very ugly indeed.

In fact, with Brandenburg fielding a somewhat large army than his own, it seemed likely that Bohemia might try a quick, smothering attack into his realm in order to achieve a victory. If successful, his southern neighbour might be able to demand gold -- or even worse, land! -- which would further enable him to prevail against the instigator of the war.

Whatever the case, it was likely to get ugly for Friedrich's realm; particularly as he had always had an excellent -- if somewhat inactive -- relationship with the Silesian monarch. While Friedrich had guaranteed Brandenburg's security against its enemies, this did not give him a good reason to declare war in support of his ally's aggression. Friedrich's subjects would be outraged if he suddenly plunged the realm into war against a former friend, particularly without a just cause.

His first inclination was to let his warmongering ally fight his own battles by himself; and yet he knew that to refuse his support and break the alliance would damage their relationship to the point that it would take years to repair. If Friedrich's ambition was to become the Emperor, it would be foolish to alienate the only other elector whose vote he had already secured. True, perhaps he could curry favour with Bohemia and gain his vote instead; but as the old saying went: "a bird in hand is worth two in the bush". No. Regretfully, he must support his ally if he was to realise his dream.

So it was that on November 21st, 1454, Friedrich agreed to commit his realm to the war. He also learned from the diplomat that Brandenburg's other ally, the small state of Anhault, would also be supporting the cause -- although Friedrich doubted that the one-province country would have any impact on the eventual outcome since it, too, did not maintain a standing army. He lamented the fact that Brandenburg did not enjoy the same favour that he did with the Emperor. An Imperial alliance might have brought then entire weight of the Empire to bear on Bohemia; but Ladislaus would not send his troops to Friedrich's aid when it was not truly Saxony's war.

[Brandenburg DOWs Silesia. Bohemia honours the alliance with Silesia and joins the war. Anhault honours the alliance with Brandenburg and declares war. So do I. Only direct allies of the two initial countries involved in the war are called, so none of my allies will be asked to honour a call to arms. Due to lack of casus belli and excellent relationship with Silesia, I suffer a -3 stability hit that will hurt my tax and production income and could lead to provinces revolting if the war lasts very long and I can't recover my stability.]

We receive a call to allies. The map is currently showing our diplomatic relationships with our neighbours…this will change once I agree to this madness.

1454_call_to_allies.jpg

Here is the same diplomatic view immediately after honouring the call to allies, Notice that we are now also automatically allied with Anhault (it is light cyan in colour) for the duration of the war. When we return to peace, Anhault will be removed from my alliances once more. Also note that the "at war" (flames) and "troops at less than full maintenance" (the 3rd one) reminders have been added at the top of the screen. The other two reminders are that I have an empty advisor slot and that there are advisors available for hire (the empty chair message….but I can't afford that in my budget right now) and that I am running a monthly budget deficit (the pike of gold…I am intentionally relying on my annual tithes to support my economy to avoid minting gold that will cause my national level of inflation to increase).

1454_war_declared.jpg

While the ale-houses of the realm were full of upset citizens angrily debating Friedrich's declaration of war, the Saxony monarch spent that evening hastily preparing his realm for the unexpected war. He was aware that Bohemia maintained a standing army of about one thousand knights and two thousand infantry; but he had no idea what other forces might be stationed in the more distant province of Ratibor. He doubted that the Bohemian monarch had a similar military funding program to the one that he was employing in Saxony, so it was likely that his new enemy could order his forces into action immediately.

He wondered at the state of Bohemia's treasury and fiscal policy. Would Vladislav I have enough gold to hire mercenaries to help him fight his war? Would he be willing and able to take a loan and pay the interest rates charged by the moneylenders? Friedrich hoped not; but he did not doubt that his neighbour would take that step if necessary. If it came to it, so would Friedrich; but he would try to avoid that for the time being and hope that Brandenburg would be the first target of any Bohemian advances.

Friedrich's first task was to prepare his army for action, so he immediately issued instructions for his soldiers to receive the full level of maintenance that they desired. With virtually no gold in the treasury, he could not afford to pay this increased support so his next action was to order a change to his nation's budget. This would divert a portion of his monthly tax revenues to be minted into gold and placed in his treasury. Over time, this would cause a degree of inflation in the realm; but he hoped that it would only be necessary to do so for a month or two until the annual tithes were paid.

Next, he sent instructions to his armourer to ready a suit of armour for him. For the first time in his life Friedrich would take to the field in person -- a necessary action since his troops would otherwise be forced to rely on only a basic level of command that was unlikely to be as well-versed in the art of war as the Bohemian army would be if Vladislav commanded them (and he surely would). This wasn't to say that Friedrich was all that confident in his own abilities; but they would have to suffice until the crucible of battle taught some of the junior officers the traditions of battle.

Finally -- and reluctantly -- Friedrich signed an edict calling for special war taxes to be levied throughout the realm. This would require his citizens to pay half as much again as their usual annual tithe but increased the risk of a popular uprising in opposition to this added hardship. Still, what other choice did he have?

[Set military land maintenance to full. Adjusted budget to allocate enough income to the treasury slider to pay for the added maintenance. Converted Saxony's monarch to a leader (stats: fire 1 / shock 1 / siege 0 / manoeuvre 0 which isn't very good but I have no military tradition and Friedrich's monarch stats have only a military 3 rating). Imposed war taxes giving +50% annual tithe but I may now receive random events that react to this in a bad way.]

Several days later, the news was grim. Reports coming from the border suggested that the Bohemian army was on the move towards the southern Saxony province of Dresden; and that Vladislav I was commanding them in person. It was expected that they would arrive and lay siege to the provincial capital in early December. It was also known that a second army of one thousand knights had been rapidly assembled in the Bohemian capital. Their nearly-instant appearance meant that they were mercenaries who would likely begin to move as soon as they had organised themselves into a cohesive body. Friedrich knew that he must curb his impulse to march his army to the defence of Dresden. His thousand-man garrison would simply have to hold until the Saxony army's morale had improved.

To the north, it was reported that Brandenburg was on the move as well. Several armies were making their way southwards, with their ruler leading the way, but already it was known that the vanguard was headed towards Silesia and would be offering no direct assistance to their reluctant ally. It was frustrating, but expected. Friedrich would have to accept the consequences of his honour and ambition.

A screen shot showing various armies on the move. The tool tip in the bottom left corner appears when I hover my mouse over another country's army. Here I can see the size and destination of the Bohemian army, and who (if anyone) leads them. Notice that the low maintenance reminder has disappeared from the top of the screen because I have set my maintenance level to full. I had just been reviewing Bohemia's diplomatic relationships, which is why the colours of the diplomatic map have changed to reflect its view of the world.

1454_bohemia_moving.jpg

As expected, Friedrich received word about two weeks later that the Bohemian army had advanced into Dresden and laid siege to the capital. Worse, the enemy's mercenary knights were also advancing from Bohemia, as were two more regiments of mercenary infantry. Vladislav was committing his entire army -- and treasury -- to bringing Saxony to its knees as soon as possible. Friedrich shuddered to think of the cost to hire and maintain the hireling armies, but continued to resist the urge to respond in kind. The only good news was that winter was beginning to settle into Saxony's lands which would cause at least some measure of damage to the hostile forces. Friedrich prayed for the weather to worsen in the hopes that the resulting attrition to the enemy armies would do some of his work for him.

Meanwhile; the army of Brandenburg had begun its siege of Breslau, the Silesian province and a second army was also on its way to join them. The third Brandenburg army of two thousand infantry was also on the move and it appeared that its destination would be the northern Bohemian province of Lausitz. Friedrich prayed that this would be enough to cause Vladislav to withdraw from Dresden, although he knew that it was somewhat unlikely. Lausitz would hold long enough against a smaller Brandenburg army, giving the enemy time to complete his own siege before returning to defend his own lands.

On New Year's Day, 1455, Friedrich reviewed the latest reports. The winter was hitting somewhat harder in Dresden, already resulting in nearly one thousand casualties to Vladislav's siege forces. The city's garrison was holding well, and could be expected to do so for at least several more months. Friedrich was thankful that when he finally did order his army to march to relieve the city he would face a weakened opponent. At least his own army needn't worry about the weather. The citizens would help to ensure that they were warm and well fed, provided that the crown continue to pay for their upkeep.

Here is a screen shot from January 1st. I have switched back to geographic map mode where you can see that Dresden is experiencing "normal" winter weather conditions. Leipzig and the Bohemian provinces have only a "mild" winter at present, and several other provinces are experiencing no winter weather conditions at all (it is assumed that a very mild winter has no ill effects). At the bottom left of the screen you will see the siege information that appears when you select one of your provinces that is under siege. The winter is causing double the normal attrition rate and has already reduced the Bohemian siege force by 902 men. At the bottom right you will see the enemy troop details because my mouse is hovering over the siege force. At the top right you will see a small siege icon has appeared beside the province name in the outliner. I can hover over this to get most of the same information in a tooltip that I would see in the siege screen. The outliner is (in my opinion) probably the best of the many new "user-friendly-oriented features of EU3.

1455_dresden_siege.jpg


Reluctantly, Friedrich realised that he must set aside his political aspirations for the duration of the war and concentrate on defending his nation from Bohemia's determined attack. Using the nineteen ducats he received from the annual tithes and additional ten ducats from war taxes, he issued orders for a new regiment of infantry to be recruited in Meissen. Since these would need at least half the year to be assembled and ready for battle, he also assembled a regiment of one thousand local mercenary infantry which were immediately incorporated into the Saxony army. It would be at least two or three months before their organisation would reach a peak level; but his own regular forces were still somewhat low in morale so this would only delay his counter-attack by a month or so. With Dresden still holding firm, he could afford to wait and let the enemy army be whittled down by attrition.

It was later that month that one of the things Friedrich had dreaded occurred: word of his peasants' displeasure. He was unsure whether this was in direct response to his war taxes, or whether the war and lower stability level of his nation was at fault, but the peasants would need to be dealt with. Luckily, they were not threatening outright revolt -- at least not yet -- so he need only decide whether to commit himself to a policy that was somewhat more in favour of either serfdom or free subjects. With greater freedom they were less likely to escalate their actions, so he chose to let them be and give them what they wanted.

[Random Contextual Event: The Peasants are Getting Uppity. Choice of DP move between +1 serfdom or +1 free subjects (and no stab hit either way!) so I allow the +1 free subjects since I wanted to move that direction anyway to improve army morale and spy defence, and don't mind the slightly higher stab regain cost and infantry hiring cost that's entailed. If I recall correctly, moving towards serfdom will make event-driven peasant uprisings more likely, so this should also help me a little in that direction. All in all, not too bad considering some of the other events that can happen at lower stability and with war taxes.]

Here's a screen shot of the event. Again, I have paused the game to check my DP settings and the effects (tooltips that appear when I hover my mouse over a slider) before making my decision. Notice that I have my outliner set to display army recruitment and that my infantry regiment will be ready in 45 more days. There is also another (!) army of 1000 mercenary infantry marching from Bohemia.

1455_peasants.jpg


Towards the end of February, Friedrich began to consider whether it would be worthwhile testing the enemy's resolve. His army's morale was nearly at its peak, but all reports from Dresden suggested that they would be able to hold out for several months more. If he waited a little longer, his newly-activated infantry regiment could be added to the army and with a little luck it would be a longer than normal winter that would further hinder his opponent. Considering that the siege force had recently been enhanced by yet another regiment of mercenaries, Friedrich decided to be patient and content himself with monitoring the situation as closely as possible.

Sadly, the first days of March saw the arrival of warmer weather in Dresden, followed shortly by a report that the city's defenders were beginning to run short of water. While they could probably continue to hold out for at least a few more months, the situation was becoming more urgent. It was a second report, received in early April, that finally spurred Friedrich to action. The city was now running short of food and would only be able to hold out for another month or two. Some of the defending garrison had perished, and it was only a matter of time before the walls would be breeched. Even so, it was not until near the end of the month that Friedrich finally mounted his horse and began leading his men towards the field of battle. Hopefully, by the time they arrived (and with April's pay in their pockets) they would enthusiastic about defending their country.

On the morning of Sunday, May 8th, 1455, Friedrich's army began to pour out onto the field where the Saxony monarch would test his mettle, for the first time, in battle against the King of Bohemia.

Here is a portion of a screen shot, showing the food shortage in Dresden. This is visible in the siege screen, but can also set to appear as a pop-up message on the screen and as yellow text that "floats up" from the location of the siege (I don't like too many message pop-ups so I only set it to appear as floating text). I can hover over the siege window (or the icon beside the province name in the outliner) to get an estimate of how much longer they are likely to be able to hold out.

1455_food_shortage.jpg

Here is a full screen shot showing my army on the move in late April. Since I have selected it, I get the details of the army composition in the upper left of my screen. Notice that the mercenary infantry regiment is a different colour than my regular forces. This is useful, later, when I may want to disband them. Mercenaries cost double the normal monthly amount to maintain, and do not contribute at all towards military tradition gained from battle or sieges (more on that in a future instalment). You'll notice that the movement arrow is partially gold, indicating the progress of their march. I can also hover my mouse over them to find out their expected arrival date. The outliner also shows them in motion (the green arrow beside the army name) and has the same tooltip. If I wished to, I could easily rename the army to whatever I choose. I'm just too lazy to do so when I have only one or two armies.

1455_on_the_move.jpg
 
Last edited:

unmerged(6777)

Field Marshal
Dec 10, 2001
12.470
5
Friedrich's Ambition - Part IV

It would later come to be known as the "First Battle of Dresden": a vicious back-and-forth series of skirmishes that would last for more than three weeks. Although Friedrich was forced to engage his enemy time and again across the Elbe river, he was able to avoid crossing points in the wooded portions of the province and engage the foe in open fields that would lessen the opposition's advantage. It seemed that the Bohemian king was not as competent a field commander as Friedrich had initially feared.

That isn't to say that Vladislav I was a push-over. He had a sizable army that had maintained a very high morale in spite of the losses it had suffered during the long months of the siege. Gradually, encounter after encounter, the willingness to fight began to lessen on both sides. Friedrich feared that his own army might lose courage before his enemy broke; but he placed his trust in God (and in the fates) and was finally able to spur his men on to victory.

In the aftermath of battle, Friedrich took stock of his situation. The cost in lives had been fearsome for both sides. More than two thousand of Saxony's brave soldiers would never fight again -- nearly one third of Friedrich's force -- while the Bohemian army was cut in half with more than three thousand men going to meet their maker. The morale of Friedrich's remaining men was poor, with several of his regiments having suffered horrendous losses; and he knew it would be pointless to order his army to pursue the foe as they retreated to Plsen.

Battle is engaged May 8th, 1455, and lasts until May 31st. During that time the morale of both sides slowly decreases and it is by virtue of a number of lucky die rolls that the Saxony army defeats Bohemia. In spite of Vladislav I's higher mil rating in his monarch stats, Friedrich has a slight (+1) die roll advantage in the shock phase of battle. It's likely that the bulk of Vladislav's advantage was in a high manoeuvre or siege rating (or both), neither of which came into play in direct field combat. The enemy army breaks and retreats to the Bohemian province of Plsen; but the morale of my army makes it pointless to pursue since I'm just as likely to lose a second engagement.

This first screen shows the battle details screen (lower left) on the first day of combat. I opened it after battle has started so the first day's casualties have already been deducted from both sides. You get handy floating red casualty numbers that appear after each day above the two forces, and the details screen offers comprehensive tooltips when you hover over the small "X" or "/" symbols that show the deployment of each regiment. Combat resolution is quite complex but is all handled automatically by the game (there isn't a tactical component to EU3).

Note that I have set my outliner (upper right corner of the screen) to display field combats when they occur; so the battle in Dresden is now listed there with a summary of total forces on both sides. As usual, there's a detailed tooltip available if I hover my mouse over the entry. If I click on it I am taken to the location of the battle and the combat details are opened automatically. Have I mentioned how much I love the outliner?


1455_dresden1.jpg

Here is a screen of the battle summary I received when the Bohemian army broke and began to retreat. My strategic decision to wait to engage was partially based on the fact that not all regiments are able to engage all other regiments. Each one has a "range" that is determined by its unit manoeuvre rating, which limits which enemy regiments it can engage. The means that a smaller force can prevail (to a degree) over a larger force, if the smaller force has full 1000-man regiments and the opponent has many half-strength regiments. For example, each of my regiments that was able to attack an enemy on the first day of combat would inflict damage based on the full 1000 man complement, whereas the attacks made by each Bohemian regiment only inflicted damage based on the number of men that had survived the siege attrition -- often only 750 or so men. This meant that I was able to bring slightly more force to bear directly, in spite of being outnumbered by two regiments and 10% total force.

By itself, my force would not usually have been enough to win the battle (although it would still have inflicted good casualty levels), but I was extraordinarily lucky by getting favourable a field (plains) in spite of the province being primarily forest; and I also had a few very good random die rolls (I had several 6's, 7's and 8's whereas Vladislav only had a couple and also rolled a few 0's and 1's). I fully expected to lose this battle but was hoping for a bit of luck since I didn't want to lose Dresden if at all possible. In this instance, things ended up going my way.


1455_dresden_aftermath.jpg

Friedrich decided that his best course of action would be to hold his army in position, giving them a chance to regain their spirit after seeing so many of their comrades fall in the bloody fields of Dresden. It would also provide time for some measure of reinforcements to arrive from Saxony's provinces to replenish the losses. Had his coffers been fuller, Friedrich would also have considered promoting one of the promising young junior officers to the rank of general. For the present, though, he would have to continue to lead them in person.

Saxony's manpower pool was able to reinforce the army at a rate of about 200 men each month. With the morale so low, it would also take at least a few months before they would be able to engage an enemy force that had any sort of morale level. The even odds and high casualty rate from this single battle was enough to push military land tradition from 0% to 14%! If only I had been able to afford the 22 ducats (roughly) to hire general. The cost to hire generals is based on national income and the number of existing generals in the field; and their leadership stats are heavily influenced by the army tradition level. I wouldn't have had a "great" general with only 14% tradition, but I would stand a decent change of getting one that was at least as good as Friedrich and I would then have been able to remove him from command so I wasn't risking his death in combat (something that can be very nasty!).

Not much more than a month later, as his army was still licking its wounds, Friedrich was surprised to see a messenger in Imperial livery ride into the camp. The diplomat dismounted, strode purposefully towards him, bowed, and then presented a scroll. Friedrich licked his lips as he broke the Imperial seal and read the few brief lines…

To Our dearest ally, Friedrich II, ruler of the lands of Saxony;

It pleases Us to offer you the great privilege to honour your pact of alliance with Our realm once more; and to take up arms against the weakling nation called 'Bosnia'.

Ladislaus
By the Grace of God, Holy Roman Emperor
Archduke of Austria

"Oh shi...!"

"The scoundrel's allies want no part of it," the messenger interrupted. "Albania, Morea, Montenegro, and Wallachia have all stated that they will not cross so powerful a foe as my master."

"Ah. How wonderful, I am sure. However, did the Emperor, perhaps, forget that we are already…"

"Loyal Bavaria will, of course, take up the Emperor's noble cause," the diplomat continued, arching his eyebrows in a manner that suggested that Saxony would be wise to follow suit.

Friedrich cast his eyes skywards, imploring God to rid him of his power-hungry liege, and then gave a deep sigh. "So be it. You may inform Ladislaus that Saxony will honour its word; but you might remind him that we are already fully engaged in war and will therefore be unable to send our army at this time. Perhaps if the Emperor were to…"

"I shall ride with all haste to convey your message at once!" gushed the not-so-interested noble. He turned, vaulted onto his horse, and was gone before Friedrich could even formulate a suitable curse.

So it was that Saxony entered a second undesired war at the behest of its Austrian ally, causing further distress to the public since, once again, Friedrich had no real quarrel with Bosnia to assuage his people's concerns.

Austria DOWs Bosnia. Bavaria and I honour the call to allies, resulting in a -1 stab hit for not having a casus belli. All of Bosnia's allies refuse its call. I glare angrily at my monitor.

Friedrich's mood did not improve until some ten days later when he received word that the Bohemian province of Lausitz had fallen to Brandenburg's forces. A portion of this army, he learned, was marching on the capital province of Bohemia; while the balance would remain there for a time -- at least until a handful of men could be recruited to man the garrison.

This pleased Friedrich because the Bohemian monarch had split his demoralised army shortly after its arrival in Plsen; leading half of it back to stand in defence of the capital. Friedrich has been wondering whether he dared attack this smaller force, but had feared to leave Dresden undefended once more until he had replenished his own provincial garrison. If Brandenburg was willing to press the attack, so much the better.

Two weeks later, Friedrich was positively beaming! The latest dispatches reported that Vladislav had engaged the Brandenburg army; but had been cut down on the field. With no suitable adult heir, a regency council would now rule in Bohemia until the new monarch was of age to be crowned. Although the battle still raged in the province, this tragedy would undoubtedly strike panic in the hearts of the his enemy's citizens and might even demoralize the enemy armies. Better yet, it would a long time before he would need fear to face a ruler at the head of a force.

Seizing the initiative; Friedrich immediately divided his own army. He would personally take a portion of it to face the leaderless enemy host in Plsen, while the balance would be sent to assist his ally's forces in the Bohemian capital or to mop up whatever enemy remained if Brandenburg was repelled.

Glee, as I watch the battle in Bohemia, see that Vladislav I has fallen, and receive notification that a regency will now rule in Bohemia. They will lose -1 stab for having their leader die in battle, and if I recall correctly they will also lose some prestige which will hurt their armies' morale.

We reorganise the army into two portions. This is easy to do since the tooltips give all of the necessary details and it's simply a matter of assigning regiments as desired.


1455_split_army.jpg

Now I've ordered each army to march. By selecting both (a simple matter of dragging a box around them with my mouse) I can see the movement arrows for both, as well as a summary of their total strength. If I want more information, I can either select them individually, hover my mouse over them, or use the outliner tooltips.

1455_split_marching.jpg

The news from Bohemia in early August was somewhat sketchy. Friedrich wasn't sure which of the opposing armies had been victorious since both were reportedly on the move towards Lausitz. Presumably whichever side had won was pursuing the other; but the second Brandenburg army that had previously been protecting the province had moved in support of the siege of Breslau so Lausitz was devoid of troops and only lightly garrisoned. The matter would not become clear until later, though Friedrich would come to rue his decision to press his own attack, rather than to halt in his tracks to better assess the situation.

Even as Friedrich's vanguard made first contact with the enemy in Plsen, a messenger arrived to report that the other half of his army had arrived in Bohemia to find the province devoid of troops and had initiated a siege of the capital. It would take many months for the small force to bring the city to its knees, but Friedrich hoped that they might later receive support from at least a portion of the Brandenburg army once it had concluded its affairs in Breslau.

Perhaps it was this distraction that led to Friedrich's downfall in Plsen. Even though his enemy had no general of any note; the army was courageous, persistent, and devilishly good at obtaining the advantage on the field. Try as he might, nothing he did would dislodge them; and his exhortations failed to inspire his troops as it had in the First Battle of Dresden. Tired and downhearted, his troops were unable to carry the day. Whether he wished it or not, by September 9th Friedrich found himself leading his army back towards Dresden in utter disarray, the enemy force following hard on his heels.

Worse news would reach him a week later, before he had even returned to his lands. Apparently it had been the Bohemian army that had won the earlier battle in the capital and then chased the Brandenburg army back to Lausitz. There, a brief battle had ensued, resulting in yet another victory for the enemy force; and the remnants of Brandenburg's regiments were in full retreat back to their land. It had then taken the victorious army only a few brief days to retake the woefully undergarrisoned province, and now the enemy was on the march towards Dresden!

Suddenly Friedrich realised that his small, demoralised army would soon be caught between hammer and anvil…

A screenshot following the battle of Plsen, with Friedrich in full retreat after his army has broken. This was another very close battle; but his time -- even though the Bohemian army had no leader -- I was not lucky enough to get favourable terrain and I had a number of very bad die rolls in a row.

Just below the battle report message you can see my other army beginning the siege of Bohemia. I have the outliner set to show my sieges, so this has been added to the list along with an indication (in %) of the progress. As usual, a tooltip will give me precise information if I hover the mouse over that line in the outliner and I can click on it to take me directly to the siege on the map and open up the siege view interface. I can also just click on my siege army.

You'll also notice a small message notice near the bottom left of the screen, telling me that there's a diplomatic message ( a request for military access) awaiting my response. Whenever a message notice appears on the screen, there's also an audible cue to let me know it's there in case I didn't see it. If I fail to respond in 30 days I will automatically decline the request, and the message will blink for the last few days just to let me know time has almost expired. This is a great new feature in EU3 that reduces the "pop-up message spam" that I occasionally found annoying in EU2, allowing me to wait a little while before I react to a proposal or message. Only historic and random events are "forced" as pop-ups; and these aren't frequent enough to be a problem (even in frantic MP wars).


1455_plsen.jpg
 
Last edited:

unmerged(6777)

Field Marshal
Dec 10, 2001
12.470
5
Friedrich's Ambition - Part V

After the thrill of the victories in the spring and summer of 1455, Friedrich's defeat and withdrawal that autumn dispelled any illusions he might have had of a rapid conclusion to the war. As soon as he arrived in Dresden, he ordered the army to withdraw to Meissen. He could have ordered the second army to lift the siege and march back home; but they would never have arrived in time to assist him, and he would lose any possible advantage from the year or conflict. With his southern province's garrison once again at full strength, he hoped that they would be able to hold throughout the winter and let God and mother nature do what his army could not.

Meanwhile, he would winter in Meissen and continue to take in whatever reinforcements he could find to replenish his losses. A period of inactivity would restore his army's morale; and he would then bide his time and plan a counterattack in the spring. He fervently hoped that the Brandenburg monarch would finally complete his siege of Breslau and begin to move on Bohemia in force. With luck, that would draw away at least a portion of the attackers from Dresden.

As his army began to march back to the capital it was engaged by the pursuing Bohemian force, forcing him to once again order a retreat. At least this time there were only minimal losses. So it was in the last days of September that his depleted army finally arrived, tail between its legs, in the Saxony capital.

Perhaps God had not turned his face from Friedrich's cause entirely, for the first frosts of winter came early that year -- a surprise dusting of snow in October that would make life miserable for the enemy siege forces that were already encamped around the provincial capital. More good news arrived from the east, as he learned that one of his ally's armies was marching on Lausitz once again. In its eagerness to trap the Saxony monarch, the Bohemian regency council had left the province defenceless again and the meagre garrison would last only a few scant days before it would be occupied by Brandenburg once more.

On November 6th, yet more good -- and yet disturbing -- news: Breslau had fallen to the armies of Brandenburg. With nowhere to run, the Silesian monarch had been brought at sword-point to the bargaining table where he had been forced to cede his lands to the Brandenburg crown. Silesia was no more! Friedrich frowned at the thought of his ally's regicide; but his anger was tempered with the thought that those armies would now be free to move on Bohemia.

There was also word that the citizens of Moravia, the most distant Bohemian province, had risen up in rebellion against the council. Miraculously, some four thousand peasants had banded together into a rag-taggle army and were trying to gain control of the province. With luck, the enemy would withdraw to face this new combination of threats and leave Saxony alone for a while to lick its wounds and rest.

Nov 6: Brandenburg captures Breslau and issues peace terms to Silesia, demanding annexation. Having no alternative, the one-province minor country agrees and is destroyed. Breslau is now part of Brandenburg; but this extremely hostile action causes a sharp drop in victor's reputation which hurts his relationship with all other countries in the world. Also, I notice that rebels have sprung up in Moravia.

Here's a screen shot taken on the day of Silesia's annexation. You can see the rebel army in the south-east, and one of Brandenburg's armies has just arrive to lay siege (again!) to Lausitz. My own small 2nd army is still besieging Bohemia (progress shows as 13% in the outliner), and the enemy army is once again besieging Dresden.

If you look closely, you'll notice that I refused a peace offer from Bohemia (they demanded my entire treasury) because I'm hoping that I will still be able to turn the tide of the war once I take Bohemia's capital and Brandenburg's armies begin to supply somewhat more active support.


1455_silesia_annexed.jpg

By December, 1455, winter had taken a firm hold in Dresden and was also beginning to have a similar effect on Friedrich's second army as they laid siege in Bohemia. The latest reports had Lausitz back under Brandenburg's occupation, and a sizeable portion of that army was now marching to assist the Saxony siege force. In counterpoint to that good news, the defending garrison in Dresden was already beginning to suffer from water and food shortages and it was becoming increasingly unlikely that they would be able to hold out long enough for Friedrich to more than marginally reinforce his main army in Meissen.

After some consideration, he decided that he would leave only a tiny portion of his force in Bohemia and instruct the rest of that army to join him in Saxony's capital. There, he would combine his forces and then strike at the Dresden siege in the early days of spring. There was only a trickle of new men volunteering for the army, and any reserves of militia had long since been incorporated into his remaining forces. He hoped it would be enough, and reluctantly ordered that special war taxes be added to the annual tithes again at the end of the year.

Despite the war and increased taxes, the mood of the public seemed to improve early in the new year -- perhaps as a result of Gilles Binchois' latest masterpiece -- and a large contingent of the Brandenburg army had braved the winter weather to join Saxony's siege in the Bohemian capital.

And yet again, good news was followed by bad. The defenders of Dresden were unable to hold the walls against the massed Bohemian army, and the province fell into enemy hands on the 22nd of January.

The siege of Bohemia continues (now at 63%) but I have lost control (but not ownership) of Dresden to the enemy. Notice that this change in control is displayed in the outliner by placing the Bohemian flag beside the province name. I won't actually lose ownership of the province unless I cede it to Bohemia as a term of a peace agreement. My manpower pool (the left-most item in the top bar) is now fully depleted because I am only receiving about 91 men per month (occupied province and lower stability) and all of these are immediately used to replenish my under-strength armies. It will currently take me 3 or 4 years to bring them all back to full strength since I've suffered a lot of casualties in my battles. Fortunately Bohemia isn't much better off.

I haven't yet take any loans to purchase mercenaries since I am trying to conduct this entire war using regular forces and a minimal treasury budget. If things get much worse I'll do so; but I'm holding off for now in the hopes that Brandenburg's forces and my own general strategy will suffice -- thus preserving a much healthier economy for the future. I also want to avoid the risks of taking loans and then being unable to repay them. If I go into a cycle of bankruptcy, it will take my much, much longer to try to take the Imperial throne.


1456_dresden_falls.jpg

As Friedrich had hoped, the Bohemian army was on the move within hours of Dresden's fall. What surprised him was the reports he received as to their destination: a portion of the army was marching north towards Leipzig and the balance were said to be moving on Lausitz which had, yet again, been left undefended and under-garrisoned by its controller. Friedrich could only assume that the unusual disregard for the Bohemian capital was due to the large multinational siege force that was now assembled there. With no hope to dislodge their enemy, the regency council was trying to induce the siege force to withdraw in defence of their own lands.

Friedrich hoped that his ally would not fall for that ruse; but since such matters were beyond his control he sent a prayer heavenwards, donned his armour, and led his army down the well-worn road to Dresden. If the enemy was not going to leave an army to defend it, nor wait until a garrison of its own could be raised, Friedrich would move against it in force as soon as the last enemy army had departed. Soon he would liberate his people, and then turn north to attack the much smaller, more manageable army that was on its way to lay siege to Leipzig.

By the end of February, Friedrich stood on the field near the walls of Dresden, watching the few defending enemy garrisons being put to the sword. He had ordered the assault on the very day he had arrived, and it took surprisingly little time for his men to win the day. Just to the north, the defenders of Leipzig would be able to hold out for a year or more against the under-strength enemy force, giving him plenty of time to allow his troops' morale to recover from the day's efforts and then resume the offensive.

In this screen shot we are assaulting the small garrison of Dresden. Only the infantry component of my army is involved in the attack since cavalry are only useful for field battles. In a decade or two (depending on research investment) I will be able to recruit artillery regiments which greatly accelerate the progress of siges and can also participate in assaults (though somewhat less effectively). Of course it will be very soon after that when new technology will also allow larger fortifications, so these things tend to remain somewhat balanced between enemies of equivalent technology. Some leaders will also be able to contribute to sieges, making it easier to break down the walls and assault the defences.

When a fortress falls, it takes a period of time for the new controller to recruit a garrison to defend it; and until the force is replenished it is very susceptible assault. Once I regain my city, I will need to wait a while before my own garrison will be in place -- or I can risk letting it fall back into enemy hands if I move my army away before that. This is what has been happening in Lausitz which, as you can see, is yet again about to change hands as the bulk of the Bohemian is assaulting it too. Annoyingly, my joint siege of Bohemia hasn't progressed very much…most likely because the majority of the siege forces are cavalry.


1456_dresden_assault.jpg

With Dresden once more in Saxony's hands and the majority of the Bohemian army seemingly now more preoccupied with carrying the war to Brandenburg soil, Friedrich allowed his army to rest for several months. His army had regained some of its strength, and was in excellent sprits when he finally led it north to engage the small enemy force that was camped outside the walls of Leipzig. On July 1st, 1456, he engaged the enemy and routed it, chasing the small band of survivors southwards where he engaged them again, briefly, in Dresden (which had had about one third of its normal garrison by restored by that point) and then chased them once more to Plsen.

It was during the first march that Friedrich received the excellent news that the province of Bohemia had finally surrendered to his army (bolstered by a large Brandenburg force). He smiled to think of the turmoil in his enemy's capital, and at the damage that such an occupation would cause to the enemy's prestige and therefore to its armies' morale. Not wishing to risk seeing it recaptured, he ordered his small cavalry army to remain there for the time being; but he was not at all surprised to see learn that the Brandenburg army would be marching north in all haste to deal with the enemy forces in its own territory.

He was not particularly concerned at their departure, since there were only two small enemy armies remaining in the south: the one that he was presently chasing, and a second one that was reputedly attempting to wrest the province of Moravia back from rebel hands. Friedrich would not be in too great a hurry to send his armies into Brandenburg lands, for it had been their idiocy that had started all of this…and he only required their ruler's vote to fulfill his Imperial ambitions. Who cared if he had one province more or less? Perhaps it would be a fitting punishment for regicide. What Friedrich wanted to do, more than anything, was to extricate himself from this war before the mental anguish and exhaustion took a toll on his own people and led them to start revolts of their own.

I capture Bohemia, defeat the army in Leipzig, and chase the army south. War exhaustion is now beginning to get very near the point where it will result in revolt risk in my provinces.

Here is a screen shot showing my successful (but long!) siege of Bohemia. Even though my force is smaller than the Brandenburg armies that helped with the siege, control of the province goes to be since I was the one to initiate the siege. At the very bottom right you can see a small Bohemian army besieging Moravia which had fallen into the hands of the rebel army somewhat earlier that year.

To the north, Bohemia has managed to raise some more armies -- most likely by taking loans and hiring mercenaries since I don't recall seeing them recruiting -- and is besieging Breslau, Neumark, and the Brandenburg capital. Brandenburg has recaptured Lauritz (yet again!!!) and has made several unsuccessful attempts to dislodge the Bohemian forces.

Losing control of your capital results in a loss of prestige which, in turn, causes a reduction in the morale of your armies. Bohemian forces should now be easier to defeat in the field, but that's Brandenburg's problem for the most part. I didn’t want this war, and I only need the elector's vote so if he loses a province or two I don't particularly case as long as I am at peace.


1456_Bohemia_siege_over.jpg

For the curious, I haven't recruited any more regiments because I am at my country's "maximum supportable regiments" limit -- something that is determined by your country's size, domestic policies, and at least one national idea. Exceeding this value is possible, but extremely expensive in terms of monthly maintenance. I am also paying double the usual support cost for my mercenary regiment, and my army is at full support. This consumes virtually my entire annual tithe at present, leaving me nothing at all to spare without minting money and causing inflation. I also lack the manpower to recruit forces of my own so any new regiments would have to be mercenaries, adding even more painful monthly costs that would overburden my economy.
 
Last edited:

unmerged(6777)

Field Marshal
Dec 10, 2001
12.470
5
Friedrich's Ambition - Part VI

The summer of 1456 saw yet another glorious victory for Friedrich's increasingly confident army as the last stragglers of the Bohemian army were engaged and annihilated in Plsen. As Saxony's monarch settled in for the siege of the provincial capital, he sent a small contingent of infantry to reinforce the cavalry regiment in Bohemia. He did not want to risk having the enemy army that seemed near to finished its siege of Moravia to turn north and defeat his single cavalry regiment in the Bohemian capital; and even with this reduction in his own force he would have more than enough men remaining to deal with the provincial garrison in fairly short order.

Indeed, this was precisely what happened. With Moravia back under the thumb of Bohemia's regency council, their army of some twelve-hundred men headed directly towards the capital, where they were handily defeated in a two-week-long pitched battle near the city walls in late July. The demoralized dregs of the army slunk off towards the northeast where they were promptly set upon by a large Brandenburg army that was recovering from yet another surprising defeat as they attempted to force the main Bohemian army away from their siege of Neumark.

By October, Friedrich's forces had managed a breach of Plsen's defenses but he chose to wait for their inevitable surrender rather than launching a bloody assault against the garrison. It would have brought the siege to an end much sooner, but he wished to preserve his forces in the event that Bohemia decided to turn its forces' attention back towards his own country. As long as they remained thoroughly entangled with Brandenbug's force, Friedrich would remain content.

In November, word reached the siege camp that Breslau had fallen to a Bohemian army. With no other army even remotely close by, Friedrich left a mere two thousand men to finish the siege and marched with the rest of the army to the Bohemian capital. He anticipated -- correctly as it would turn out -- that the Bohemian force would move from there in an attempt to recapture their citadel.

Friedrich arrived in the province a scant ten days ahead of the Bohemian vanguard. There, his newly-recombined army fought the second-largest engagement of the war and emerged bloodied, but victorious. More enemy armies were beginning to move southwards, reportedly pushed back by a concerted offensive from the Brandenburg armies. The ambitious Saxony ruler had begun to prepare his retreat to rejoin his force in Plsen, if necessary, when that province's defenders finally opened their gates and surrendered.

Sensing an opportunity, Friedrich immediately sent one of his diplomats to Bohemia's regency council with a proposal. Saxony, he stated, had wanted no part in this war in the first place. Nor, he suspected, had Bohemia. It was a matter of duty and honour, both of which had been fulfilled -- indeed more than fulfilled. Too many of both countries' youths had gone to their graves already. For honour to be satisfied, Friedrich must demand some compensation, in the form of the ceding of the province of Plsen and a modest payment of 50 ducats of gold to his treasury. This was, he assured them, a far better offer than they had any reason to expect; but it was not in Saxony's nature to be excessively punitive. In exchange, Saxony would withdraw from the war and Bohemia could seek its own revenge on the perpetrators of the conflict.

Perhaps the council saw that the writing was on the wall. While they might have prevailed against Saxony or Brandenburg, they would not succeed against the efforts of both. On December 20th, 1456, the necessary documents had been drawn up and sealed; and after two years of bloody war Saxony was at peace once more.

December '56: our army, with Friedrich bravely in command, defeats the main remaining enemy army in defence of the Bohemian capital province. On December 19th, Plsen falls under our control. December 20th, we sue for peace, demanding Plsen and 50 ducats -- a 14% war demand compared to a 28% war score. They accept. Some time earlier (I didn't notice exactly when) Austria had made peace with Bosnia -- taking Hun province -- so that war (and my non-involvement in it) was over too.

Here is a screen shot I made as I begin assembling my peace offer. My war score isn't especially high since I've only barely won more battles than I've lost, and I only control 2 of his 5 provinces. You'll notice that at this point I've ordered my army to join me after the successful siege of Plsen. There is a defeated enemy army retreating from Bohemia, but I only have a little more than 1100 men left and I am aware of two more armies marching towards me. Things could get ugly, and I didn't want this war in the first place.

Bohemia managed to sneak around Brandenburg's forces, capture their capital, and is now laying siege to Neumark; but they are now otherwise fairly well contained to the south. Brandenburg has yet again recaptured Lausitz (!!!) and Breslau. They have an army attempting to recapture their capital, and their main army (which recently retook Breslau) is on the march -- presumably soon to be headed northwards to beat up on the Bohemian siege army. Everyone's forces are fairly diminished, so once I'm out of the picture the war between the two will probably be fairly evenly matched with a slight advantage to Brandenburg.


1456_peace1.jpg

Here is a screenshot showing the Bohemian accepting my offer. I meant to take one of the actual peace proposal assembly; but I guess I was too excited about my recent field battle victory and the prospects of peace so I forgot.

Notice that my red border has changed to add Plsen to my country (since it has now been ceded to me) and that its name now appears as one of the provinces in the outliner. The war reminder alert flag has disappeared from the top of the screen; but there's a new alert there now: one that is warning me that there is a risk of revolt in one of my provinces. I can hover my mouse over it to get a tooltip listing of my provinces that have a revolt risk greater than 0% (including the exact revolt risk %). In this case, the alert is for Plsen which is not all that happy about becoming part of my realm when I have no claim for it. Combined with my climbing war exhaustion, it now has a small risk of rising in rebellion so I will have to keep a close eye on it. Over time, the war exhaustion will recede provided I remain at peace.


1456_peace2.jpg

With his new found wealth, Friedrich's first act was to promote one of the junior officers from the campaign to the exalted position of General. It would take one of Friedrich's diplomatic emissaries to interview all of the candidates and select the most suitable, but Friedrich was happy to pay the twenty two ducats necessary to complete to process and supply his new military leader with new equipment that befitted his station. The worthy young man's name was Friedrich Rank, a cadet who had shown great promise in all of the arts of war. Should the winds of war blow over the country again, it would be Herr Rank who would lead Saxony's armies onto the field.

We spend 22.5 ducats and 1 diplomat to recruit a general. This turns out to be Friedrich Rank (there are just too many Friedrichs in this story!) who is a 2/2/1/1 leader.

Because I had 25% tradition at the end of the war, he ended up being a better general than my converted ruler; but hiring him also reduces my tradition by 20% of its value (down to 20%). While I remain at peace, tradition will continue to fall on a monthly basis. When at war, I gain tradition for fighting combats and winning sieges; and the rate that I lose tradition is slower. The higher my tradition, the better a general I am likely to receive when I hire one.

1456_general.jpg

Friedrich ordered a second general to be hired several days later, providing him the ability to field two well-led armies at any one time without risking his own life and the stability of the realm. It was somewhat more expensive to commission the man, one Joachim Schönfeld, and he was not quite as competent as General Rank; but Saxony's ruler felt that the added security this afforded outweighed the expense.

Hired a second general 1/0/1/0 for 24.6d.

With somewhat lower tradition (20%), this second general wasn't likely to be as good as the first. There is a measure of luck in the stats as well. Again, our tradition drops by 20% of its value (to 16%). Further, each additional general you hire costs more than the previous one did. This cost is based on annual national income, usually limiting poorer nations to only a couple of legitimate leaders other than the ruler. The cost is capped for very wealthy nations; but is subject to inflation.

In early January of 1457, as the armies were marching home from their campaign, Friedrich sat down to take stock of his position. His country was by no means wealthy, but with a little extra income and no small amount of gold still left in the treasury; Friedrich felt he could splurge a little and hire a noted philosopher by the name of Bruno Foscalo. While many argued that these twisters of thoughts were of little value, there was a general consensus that wasting money on maintaining one as a court advisor must be indicative of great wealth and forbearance, earning his employer no small amount of prestige for as long as he could put up with the idiot's insane ramblings.

Hired an advisor: Bruno Foscalo, a skill level 4 philosopher. Cost of 10d + 0.4d/mo. He gives +2% prestige per year which will increase morale and improve diplomacy.

It had been a while since Friedrich had last reviewed the overall state of the Empire. With some of the recent wars, several former states had been absorbed into others, bringing the total number of members to only thirty six. Interestingly, the relationship he held with several of the electors seemed to have improved over that time, due to his generally honourable ways, and the prestige gained from his recent military accomplishments. Baden had fallen out of favour, and he was surprised to learn that the vote of the electors would likely be split if a new Emperor needed to be crowned.

The Palatinate was now his only serious competitor for the Imperial crown. Oddly, while that state was also an elector, it seemed that it would be inclined to support Saxony rather than itself. Those pushing for the Palatinate to sit on the throne were Cologne, Mainz and his ally Brandenburg. This annoyed Friedrich to no end, since it had been precisely for the reason of maintaining good a relationship that he had just spent two years at war. Perhaps they were distressed about his separate peace with their common foe; or maybe it was more a sense of general mistrust that a ruler has when he knows that he has broken the general rules of conduct and might need to watch his back for a while.

Whatever the case, Friedrich felt somewhat confident that by spreading a little gold in each of these states' direction, he might win at least one of their votes and thus break the tie. Of course even a tie vote was likely to see Saxony gain the crown, as Friedrich's state was larger and more prestigious. Nevertheless, his ambitions were strong enough that he would not content himself with "probably" becoming the Emperor. He must ensure it!

The electoral situation in January 1457. We have 3 of 7 votes currently secured if there was to be an election. The Palatinate also has 3. We need one more -- and the death of the current Emperor -- to secure the vote.

1457_HRE_vote.jpg

Friedrich decided to wait a few months before taking any actions. He wanted to rebuild his armies and build up a somewhat larger treasury before he began to try influencing the vote of the other electors. He also needed to formulate the best possible approach to winning their trust and respect. To that end, the prestige he would gain by keeping Bruno Foscalo around for any length of time would be invaluable to his efforts; but would require time to come to fruition.

This policy of patience ended up being a very fortuitous one for Saxony's ruler. Less than a month later, a dispute erupted between the Palatinate-Hessian alliance and archbishop of Mainz. Friedrich never did learn whether this was theological or territorial in nature, but the Palatinate's military aggression soured that state in the eyes of all others, turning Brandenburg's support to yet another candidate, and placing the vote of the beleaguered archbishop of Mainz firmly in Saxony's palm.

Friedrich could hardly believe his good fortune. Without a single action or ducat spent, he now held five of the votes! That night, and for many long nights thereafter, he fervently prayed to God that Ladislaus would meet with some untimely end. Sadly, and for some inexplicable reason that eluded his grasp, God did not answer his prayers.

During the daylight hours, Friedrich contented himself with keeping up to date on the ongoing struggle between his ally and former enemy; and advidly following any news he could get on the progress of the Palatinate's war against the Archbishop. What Friedrich feared the most was the latter's annexation at the hand of the Kurfurst; and he added a new prayer to his nightly litany that the valued elector remain safe. Several months later, God answered this prayer…in the negative. Mainz was absorbed into the Palatinate.

Just as Friedrich was deciding how best to express his displeasure in a letter to that evil nation's ruler, there was the sound of a horse galloping into the courtyard. Curious, Friedrich peered out of his window and down onto the scene. His heart leapt for joy. The lathered horse, nearly dead on it feet, bore the unmistakable livery of the Emperor.

Was it possible?

Could it be?

Was the Emperor…

DEAD?

Let's see. Until a new elector could be named by the Emperor, the remaining six electors would be the only one eligible to vote. Even with Mainz destroyed, Friedrich still held three. The Palatinate's dastardly act would surely incur the wrath of other electors, so it seemed impossible that any other state could challenge him. Yes. He must surely still be the first in line. And the message was important…important enough to risk killing a valuable steed. Oh happy day! Surely this meant that he was being called, with all haste, to assume the Imperial mantle.

Friedrich raced to his throne room with less decorum than had been seen in his realm for the more-than-thirty years of his rule. He plopped himself down on his throne and waited for the steward to announce the visitor.

"Milord…an ambassador from Austria is requesting an audience with…"

"SHOW HIM IN!"

Ah….Emperor! God had finally answered his prayers!

The mud-splattered rider made as dignified an entrance as was possible, and knelt at Friedrich's feet. Friedrich bid him rise, and deliver his message.

"War," gasped the man, and then he collapsed.

There was a very long, uncomfortable silence that seemed to permeate the entire castle. Finally, in tones that were as icy as the mid-June day was hot, Friedrich instructed his servant to bring some cool water. "And wine," he said as an afterthought. "Oh…and tell my manservant to send for my sword as well."

As the others rushed to comply, Friedrich spied a document tucked into the unconscious man's belt. Getting as little mud on himself as possible, he eased it from its place and inspected the seal. It was the Imperial seal. With sinking heart, he opened it.

To Our dearest ally, Friedrich II, ruler of the lands of Saxony;

It pleases Us to offer you the great privilege to honour your pact of alliance with Our realm once more; and to take up arms against the weakling nation called 'Montenegro'.

Ladislaus
By the Grace of God, Holy Roman Emperor
Archduke of Austria

"Oh shi..!"

This time, no one interrupted him.
 
Last edited:

unmerged(6777)

Field Marshal
Dec 10, 2001
12.470
5
Friedrich's Ambition - Part VII

It would not be until the end of October, 1457, that Ladislaus would finally appointed a seventh elector of the Empire. Undoubtedly he had had some difficulty finding someone willing to take on this position -- not because no one wanted it; but rather because most did not want it from him. The Emperor's propensity to prey upon -- and usually annex -- his smaller neighbours did little to endear him to the other States, even if the target had (so far) not been his subjects. In the back rooms of power there were whisperings that usually began with the words "Who dost thou think will be next?"

For his part, Friedrich II of Saxony had tried to remain aloof from such discussions and focussed his attention on trying to generate a little extra income for his realm by dabbling in trade. Having been a member -- albeit an inactive one -- of the Hanseatic League for more than two years, he thought that perhaps he should try to take advantage of this agreement. To that end, he personally financed a handful of ventures to the nearby center of trade in Lubeck. Competition was fierce, though, and in nearly half a year of trying (and some dozen ducats later) only two of his realm's merchants had managed to establish themselves in business. Still, it was a start.

Rumours from abroad said that Ladislaus had not let the Imperial armies when they had departed for the south, but that some hireling was at their head instead. This struck a particularly painful chord for Friedrich because not only was he now praying thrice per day for the Emperor's untimely demise, but he had also just learned that his own top general (Herr Rank) had been thrown from his horse during training, only to be trampled upon by a herd of startled sheep. The resulting concussion had proved to be fatal.

It was, therefore, with perhaps less sunny a disposition than one might have expected that he greeted the news that the ruler of Friesland had been appointed the seventh Imperial Elector. Friedrich's only brief moment of happiness came when he realised that he had a somewhat distant cousin -- though the lass was truly hideous of feature -- of a suitable age to be wed to one of the new elector's closer kin. He promptly wrote a letter that was part congratulatory, and part wedding proposal. He forced himself to not pray to God that it be accepted, and to his utter non-astonishment, the reply came back in the affirmative. Even better, the assurances that came along with it convinced Friedrich that his new brother-in-law umpteenth times removed would now give him his vote.

Yes, I honoured the annoying Emperor's call to allies against Montenegro, suffering yet another loss of stability, and then managed to arrange a royal marriage with the newly-appointed elector of Friesland.

If an elector is eliminated (annexed) the position will remain vacant for a short while, and then a context-sensitive event will offer the position to one of the other members of the HRE. Depending on that country's relationship with the Emperor, he will either decline (worsening the relationship with the Emperor and even risking being cast out of the HRE in the future) or accept. Given the reputation of Austria after several annexations, there were a number of refusals before a candidate was found.

By the time of this screen shot, I have recovered some of the stability I lost for the baseless declaration of war I had to make against poor, doomed Montenegro. The main map is in Imperial Map Mode. I have 4 of 7 votes and will be the Emperor if Ladislaus dies.


1457_seventh_elector.jpg

It would take until the spring of 1458 for the Emperor's general to march south to Montenegro with the Imperial army of nearly eighteen thousand men, defeat the fearsome two-thousand-man army that timidly opposed it, and capture the capital. Friedrich assumed that all of this unnecessary time was simply the general trying to keep himself as distant as possible from his ruler; but it was aggravating in the extreme because, try as he might, Friedrich simply couldn't convince the doomed ruler to accept on offer of white peace with Saxony.

Perhaps he was just being ornery, or perhaps he was hoping that rebellions might spring up to distract his enemy. One did spring up, as it happened. Some three thousand ungrateful wretches in Plsen took up arms but were quickly crushed by Herr Schönfled and the Saxony army.

Friedrich's neighbours finally brought their hostilities to an end, with both countries having fought back and forth over every inch of land before realising that their tenaciousness might cost them both of their realms. Rebellions were becoming commonplace in their provinces, with public sentiment running strongly against the continued waste of life, and eventually Brandenburg agreed to pay the sum of 13 ducats as an apology for having started the entire mess in the first place.

Beyond this -- and some odd chanting heard from Friedrich's bedchambers at night -- nothing unusual was to happen until March of 1459.

For some reason, Ladislaus got it into his head that seven was an inauspicious number and decided to appoint an eighth elector of the Empire. This burden was to fall upon the shoulders of the ruler of Mantua. Luckily, he had a daughter of suitable age -- and hardy enough disposition -- to make the journey northwards to join Friedrich's extended family. While this would not guarantee the new elector's vote, a little bit of gold, sent at an opportune moment, might do so. Friedrich still enjoyed a comfortable majority of the vote, and was thus content to wait for the time being.

1459_HRE_vote.jpg

Having thus further imperilled his possible succession to feed his desire to become Emperor, Friedrich began to be seen less and less frequently at church, and was heard making strange intonations in his highest tower (which was kept locked at all times) at all hours of the night. In August of 1459, Friedrich chanced to be looking out of that very same tower's window as a rider came into sight. As soon as he recognised the livery he began casting about urgently for a crossbow. Sadly, he came up empty and was later coaxed down to his throne room to receive the mud-splattered (and confused) emissary.

Wordlessly, Friedrich broke the Imperial seal on the document he had been given.

To Our dearest ally, Friedrich II, ruler of the lands of Saxony;

It pleases Us to offer you the great privilege to honour your pact of alliance with Our realm once more; and to take up arms against the weakling nation called '_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ '.

Ladislaus
By the Grace of God, Holy Roman Emperor
Archduke of Austria

"Um…"

"His Royal Highness was running a little short of time," explained the diplomat, with no small measure of embarrassment. "I must have taken one of the form letters that hadn't been filled in yet."

Friedrich arched his eyebrows, while wondering if this might allow him to politely refuse his liege's request without sullying his reputation.

"It should say 'Ragusa' there, my lord."

"Oh s...."

We honour the call to allies and join Austria in its war against distant Ragusa, taking yet another -1 stab hit. My war exhaustion is still running high due to my non-participatory involvement, but I want to preserve my reputation and relationship -- particularly since Austria continues to grow. I am careful to ensure that there isn't a large alliance arrayed against the Emperor, since his reputation is now getting dangerously close to encouraging other nations in the world to treat him with a measure of hostility. Luckily he hasn't been interested in attacking other members of the HRE…so far.

Although Friedrich had agreed to honour his alliance with the Emperor yet once again, not a single soldier of Saxony would venture beyond the country's borders. By early autumn, the gradual replenishment of the military had once again brought each of the regiments up to its full complement of men. Slowly, but surely, the small German realm had recovered from its half-decade of turmoil.

Nevertheless, it was with a remarkable degree of self control that Friedrich descended the winding stairs from his tower to greet the latest Austrian messenger on October 1st, 1459. Or perhaps it was simply forlorn resignation?

"I greet you in the name of the…"

"Who is it now?" interrupted the despondent Friedrich.

"Milord?"

"Who is the war to be with this time?"

"Err…"

"You know this is really beginning to irk me. He hasn't even finished this war against Ragusa, and barely a day has gone by in the past half-dozen years when he hasn't been attacking someone. I've even heard that there are rebel armies starting to spring up in his lands."

"Yes, milord. In fact…"

"And he doesn't care?"

"No longer, milord. He rode out to face one such army just a week ago. He said he should do it because the General is busy in the south…"

"I trust you're not here to ask me to go rebel-hunting for him?"

"No milord. I'm here to inform you that there will be a diet and that, as an elector, your attendance is urgently requested." The messenger burst into tears, undoubtedly misinterpreting the expression on Friedrich's face. "I'm sorry to be the bearer of such unhappy tidings, milord; but Ladislaus is dead, at the hands of the dastardly rebel army."

There was no misinterpreting the whoop of joy -- the explosion of pent-up rage and years of thwarted ambition -- that followed this pronouncement.

October 1st, 1459: we have been elected as the new Holy Roman Emperor.

With his seat on the Imperial throne secured, the first of Friedrich's greatest desires had come to fruition. As to what he did with his newfound power, that is another story all together…


Here is the screen shot from that fateful day when Friedrich II of Saxony became the next Holy Roman Emperor. He received four votes (one from himself, and one from three of the other electors. Four other member states each received one vote each from the remaining four electors. Believe it or not, but Ladislaus died leading one of his armies against a band of rebels in Hun. :D

1459_elected.jpg

The Emperor receives from rather nice bonuses, shown here in the tooltip that appears when you hover over his shield.

1459_emperor.jpg
 
Last edited:

Wetew

Pistrix! Pistrix!
71 Badges
Sep 23, 2006
5.620
2
  • Victoria 2 Beta
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Sword of the Stars
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • 200k Club
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • East India Company Collection
  • Hearts of Iron Anthology
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Diplomacy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
Magnificent :D

Is it possible to become an elector-state when you play with Baden or any other member of the HRE?
 
Last edited:

otacu

Second Lieutenant
5 Badges
Jul 4, 2006
155
0
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
Hallsten said:
In the screen with the electors there's a number next to the shield of each elector (70, 170, 200), what does this mean? Is it the weight of each elector?
I guess it's the relations value with you.
 

unmerged(5361)

Taskenspiller Extraordinaire
Aug 15, 2001
474
0
Visit site
Looking good Mr T! :) Excellent intro to the game and informative screenies.

Screenies leads to questions though.. what does it mean that your house painter has been active for 23 years even though you just started the game? Indication of how long he's got left before he'll die?

Do the skill levels of the advisors increase (or decrease) during the course of gameplay?

Looking forward to seeing what national ideas Friedrich will go for and of course whether the Imperial Seat will indeed move North... :)
 

Registered

Procrastinator extraordinaire
38 Badges
Oct 23, 2003
3.516
7
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 200k Club
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • For the Motherland
  • Crusader Kings II
  • East India Company
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • For The Glory
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
Does the difference in the size of the HRE between this and this pic meant aht the HRE can change, or is it just a difference in setup?
 

unmerged(62900)

Private
Nov 22, 2006
21
0
Registered said:
Does the difference in the size of the HRE between this and this pic meant aht the HRE can change, or is it just a difference in setup?
I can't see any difference in size of the HRE. :confused:

edit: Ups, now I see: Vlaanderen, Artoise and so on. :)
 

Registered

Procrastinator extraordinaire
38 Badges
Oct 23, 2003
3.516
7
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 200k Club
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • For the Motherland
  • Crusader Kings II
  • East India Company
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • For The Glory
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
Sir Richard said:
I can't see any difference in size of the HRE. :confused:
Look at Vlaanderen and Artois.


EDIT:BtW, what were your graphics settings this time MrT?
 

Brownbeard

Hostile native
59 Badges
Apr 26, 2004
2.961
892
www.index.hr
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Pride of Nations
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Knights of Honor
  • Surviving Mars
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Commander: Conquest of the Americas
  • Deus Vult
  • East India Company
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • For The Glory
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Supreme Ruler 2020
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Warlock 2: The Exiled
What are those little buildings in Leipzig and Erfurt? Some kind of provincial improvement.

And that light green on the bottom of the map... is that a Croatia?
 

rybka

Colonel
2 Badges
May 6, 2005
891
38
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV
Dear god eastern europe looks awfull ;)
Can i complain?
Some of things i metion are really small changes (name changes so maybe it is worth to make them?)
- berlin on oder river?
- oder river looks like it is not oder river at all
- Lodz was completely insignificant city in eu period, enough said that in 1777 it had 265 inhabitants, this province shuld be called krakow or sandomiria (polish sandomierz)
- the separate silesian duchy should be in ratibor (which probably should be called Oppeln or Opole), breslau was part of bohemia unlike ratibor (oppeln)
- lublin - the city is located on the right side of the vistula river so it could replace province starting with Ga (Galicja?), which is south of the proper Lublin province)

i understand your target group is west europe, but why not at least have proper names of provinces? it wouldnt cost so much. surely changing rivers would be more work
 

Kamzel

EU Enthusiast
15 Badges
Apr 2, 2004
251
0
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Deus Vult
  • Diplomacy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
rybka said:
Dear god eastern europe looks awfull ;)
Can i complain?
Some of things i metion are really small changes (name changes so maybe it is worth to make them?)
- berlin on oder river?
- oder river looks like it is not oder river at all
- Lodz was completely insignificant city in eu period, enough said that in 1777 it had 265 inhabitants, this province shuld be called krakow or sandomiria (polish sandomierz)
- the separate silesian duchy should be in ratibor (which probably should be called Oppeln or Opole), breslau was part of bohemia unlike ratibor (oppeln)
- lublin - the city is located on the right side of the vistula river so it could replace province starting with Ga (Galicja?), which is south of the proper Lublin province)

i understand your target group is west europe, but why not at least have proper names of provinces? it wouldnt cost so much. surely changing rivers would be more work

The map historical accuracy is very bad, sadly... :( Borders are bad, rivers are bad, province names and shapes are very bad... :(

Will those things improve before release?
 

unmerged(6777)

Field Marshal
Dec 10, 2001
12.470
5
Hallsten said:
In the screen with the electors there's a number next to the shield of each elector (70, 170, 200), what does this mean? Is it the weight of each elector?
My relationship with that elector.


Jarlen av Juks said:
Screenies leads to questions though.. what does it mean that your house painter has been active for 23 years even though you just started the game? Indication of how long he's got left before he'll die?

Do the skill levels of the advisors increase (or decrease) during the course of gameplay?
At the start of the game there are lots of historical advisors, some of whom have already be active in a court for some period of time. There is no way to know precisely when any advisor (or ruler or general or admiral or...) will die. Most advisors will last between 20-40 years and do not change in skill level during their lifetimes. Highly skilled advisors can also allow certain fun (i.e. nice) random contextual events to trigger.


Registered said:
Does the difference in the size of the HRE between this and this pic meant aht the HRE can change, or is it just a difference in setup?
Yes. It's dynamic and it can definitely change. This is governed by contextual random/historic events.

Registered said:
BtW, what were your graphics settings this time MrT?
The one was 1280x1024 with 4x antialiasing but shadows off. Since Johan agreed to host my screenies for this one, they will all be bmps instead of jpgs.

Brownbread said:
What are those little buildings in Leipzig and Erfurt? Some kind of provincial improvement.

And that light green on the bottom of the map... is that a Croatia?

Yep...special province improvements. Some provinces will get them if they were very prominent historically, even if they lack the technology level to contruct them. It also helps with the early game balance.

Light green...um...I don't recall. Might be Croatia.

rybka said:
<map complaints>
Kamzel said:
<more map complaints>
Sorry, not my area of expertise so I won't comment. I just use the map I'm given and have fun playing the game.