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Stuyvesant

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- OR -

How I thought I was clever, but got played like a fiddle by the AI


Introduction

Hello, everyone. I was recently indulging in my favorite pastime in CK (messing around with Byzantium in the 1337 scenario) when a sequence of events occurred that I thought was noteworthy enough to write up.

This will be an AAR in the strictest sense of the word: an action occurred and I will report it. There won't be any narrative, nor are there any amazing feats of gameplay. On the bright side, it'll be short. ;)

A note about the screenshots: I didn't take any while playing, so I had to reload savegames and take snaps after the fact. Some don't match actual dates perfectly, while others are outright mockups (I had to manually fire some events to get the event texts). All described events did actually happen, I promise.

So, without further ado, let's get started:


Chapter One

Here’s a brief story about events that transpired in Byzantium. You could say it started whenever Paradox set Byzantium’s inheritance law in the 1337 scenario to some variety of semisalic. But for convenience’s sake, let’s say it starts with this dude:


The late Emperor Michael Palaiologos. His daughter Eudokia will feature prominently later in this tale

As you can see, Michael’s dead at the start of this story. Being dead, he no longer has friends or rivals, but rest assured that he had a great deal of rivals while he was alive. In fact, Michael collected rivals the way Imelda Marcos collected shoes. Also note the ‘Realm Duress’ trait, which caused all sorts of fun with the vassals, rival or not.

Michael fathered a fair number of kids, but most of them died before he did (and please note, Michael was dead at age 29 – longevity does not appear to be a Palaiologos trait). Michael had an underage son, but Byzantium having semisalic somesuch inheritance law, the blasted Rubenids were waiting in the wing to take over the Empire, if anything untoward were to befall the little tyke.

Speaking of untoward: I had managed to estrange Michael from his wife, which meant no more kids were forthcoming. However, others made up for the lack of spousal visits to the Emperor’s bedroom.



“The door to your bedchamber suddenly opens”… Michael dodged the first attempt, but two times’ a charm and that left us with Michael dead at 29 and his son Leo on the throne at the tender age of 8.


Screenshot is from a few years later, but the general situation in the game was the same. Bless his heart, little Leo already has the ‘Suspicious’ trait. I suppose seeing your father killed in the comfort of his own bed might do that to you…

As you can see in the screenshot, there’s a Rubenid as my direct successor. And then it’s his brothers and then God knows what. Distinctly lacking is any kind of male Palaiologos.


If I can’t nurse little 8-year old Leo to adulthood and hitch him to a suitably fertile wife and get him to spawn some male offspring, this sour-looking fellow will take over the Empire and I’ll be looking at the ‘Game Over’ screen
 
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Stuyvesant

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Chapter Two

A few years had gone by and I’ve been doing all I can to protect little Leo (choosing the wussy ‘No thanks’ or ‘Can't We All Be Friends?’ options for all the events, for example. I don’t think I ever got one of the hunting events during his reign, but he would’ve damn well stayed home if any had happened). Leo’s only surviving sibling, his older sister Eudokia, was appointed spy master in hopes of preventing the fate that had befallen their dad. She had a nifty 16 intrigue rating, which would later increase to 20 once she finished her education, so she seemed like an obvious choice to guard her little brother’s life. Filial devotion etc.

Speaking of life, it’s been pretty uneventful, except for the fact that Leo inherited the Duchy of Bohemia (and assorted bits of Germany). While it was nice to get some purple splotches in Central Europe, it did nothing for my inheritance situation, of course.

Sometime later, I got excited when I noticed a new face in my court:


Could it be? A distant relative to the rescue?

Sure, he was a few points short of being a half-wit and his looks fell on the ‘hideous’ end of the CK spectrum, but hey! Who cares about the looks when he has The Name!?

Sadly, he turned out to be a country cousin. He’s no actual relation and he’s not in line for the succession. We were back to needing Leo to spawn and while the boy was now a few years older, that possibility was still years away. Not to mention that I greatly preferred to have an orderly succession, meaning no underage heir, which put the goal posts/comfort zone even further into the future. Did I mention yet that this whole succession business was stressing me out?

Being a wee bit tense, I cast about for alternatives. I needed some sort of backup plan, so not everything is riding on Leo’s puberty-stricken life. I looked hither…


Leo’s big sister

And thither…


God, he’s awful, but beggars can’t be choosers. He might be Obi-Wan to Leo’s Leia.

At this point, a lightbulb started to dimly flicker in my head. I must admit that I thought I was quite clever at the time. Warning bells ought to have been going off at full blast for that.
 
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Stuyvesant

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Chapter Three

The Unholy Trinity

Recap of my (perceived) problems: Leo is underage and years away from producing an heir. No other family members are available as backup heirs. Demetrios the Fat-headed is a non-starter. Eudokia will only add to my problems if she marries, as her kids will compete with the Rubenids to take the Empire away from the Palaiologoi.

The idea in my head went something like this: Eudokia can trace inheritance. Her kids will not be Palaiologoi, though. Unless… She is matched with Demetrios. Even though he’s not family, his kids will share Leo’s last name. And with Eudokia as their mom, they’ll be in line for the succession. The game only cares about that last name, so I’ll be able to play on with a Demetrios offspring if Leo dies before he fathers an heir. And because Eudokia is already of marriageable age, I can expect a backup to Leo much quicker than if I wait for Leo’s maturity.

I felt rather pleased with myself and before you can say ‘Bob’s your uncle’, Demetrios was Leo’s brother-in-law. And in no time at all, Eudokia was knocked up.


Ah… I feel so much better already.

A load was off my shoulders. Months passed quickly. Eudokia turned into an ‘Elusive Shadow’ with the aforementioned 20-point intrigue rating, providing formidable protection for Leo. Leo himself was now 14 and I was slowly starting to envision a future with an adult Emperor, complete with a wife (and hopefully male heirs) of his own. More happy news followed when Eudokia gave birth to a son, Isaakios, meaning my backup plan was now complete.

And not a moment too soon!


Poor guy. He mostly met his siblings at their funerals, his father was brutally murdered when he was only 8 years old and now Leo himself is dead before even escaping puberty.

Whew! Good thing the backup plan was in place! Without it, I would’ve been screwed! At least I managed to keep things in the family and keep playing.



Isaakios, AKA The Backup Plan. Firing smoothly on all cylinders.

Okay, the ‘Not a moment too soon!’ blurb was a little melodramatic. Little Isaakios was already a year old, but still, that was a pretty close shave. Thankfully, we were still in the game. Oh, and look: Isaakios already had a successor himself: his dad! Good old Demetrios. The fat-cheeked git might find his way to the throne yet.

Leo bought the farm, but thanks to my foresight, the Empire was safe from foreign clutches. Job well done, time to give myself a pat on the back, right? Right. Except…
Except for this little detail. Concerning Leo’s demise:



Why…

That…

Little…

Bitch!

Okay, so I knew this as soon as Leo popped his clogs (I figured the way I presented it here was more artistically pleasing). I must say that this is the most impressive thing I’ve ever witnessed in one of my CK games: Eudokia the über-Spy Master coldheartedly murdering her own little brother so that she could put her own infant son on the throne. Pretty much as soon as she gave birth to the little bundle of joy. Talk about motherly love trumping sisterly affection…

FIN
 

wolfcity

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Holy crap that is one of the coolest things I have ever seen in CK.
 

Stuyvesant

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Thanks, gentlemen! :)

Enewald, I still have to play further along with that game, but I seriously doubt anything anywhere near as neat will occur (so far, Isaakios' reign has consisted of seven years of absolutely nothing). So I'm planning on leaving things as they are, ending things on a high - as long as you don't look at it from poor Leo's point of view. ;)
 

Cornelius Rex

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Talk about motherly love trumping sisterly affection…
ROTFL. Indeed :).
 

loki100

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ha, not only do I get to comment on your AAR, but to stand in utter awe at just how cute CK can be with its events ... that was awesome --- are you sure you weren't channelling a certain, temporarily retired, female demon?
 

Stuyvesant

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More feedback...

That was....

Wow! Go Eudokia. What else can I say?

My jaw would have hit the floor when I saw that.
Pretty much my reaction. Actually, I had an idiotic grin on my face and had to go tell my wife (she indulged my sense of awe ;)).

Its things like this that make me love CK. :D
Yup. And the cool thing is that I was not playing this game with any expectations or goals in mind, it was just a bit of mindless relaxation and then Bam! this happened. :)

ROTFL. Indeed :).
I was thinking: "Not only is she incredibly good at this intrigue stuff, she's also his sister! Who better to take care of Leo!" And then she goes and kills him. :)

ha, not only do I get to comment on your AAR, but to stand in utter awe at just how cute CK can be with its events ... that was awesome --- are you sure you weren't channelling a certain, temporarily retired, female demon?
Let's call it my AARette, given its diminuitive size. :) Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that was awesome. But no, I wasn't channelling any demons - more like Mother Teresa. Boy, was I channelling up the wrong tree! I'm sure Astarte would be very proud of Eudokia.

Wow.

Just wow.

And I thought the women in Suenik were mean....
And the thing is, she isn't even batshit crazy or anything. No Messianic complex, not schizophrenia. Mildly stressed, I believe, but that predates lacing her brother's hot tot with arsenic...

Haha, it's great when CK throws up a sequence like this.
Sure is. The way all these pieces came together for this event to happen... When I ran my savegame to take the screens, Eudokia had a girl, so predictably, as soon as I killed off Leo I was looking at the 'Game over' screen. Every little bit fit together to create this sequence and weave the narrative.

It's like Agrippina the Younger all over again!

Very good AAR - nice and concise.
I hadn't even thought of that, but it fits quite nicely! Except that Claudius at least got to enjoy life for a while... Leo wasn't even done popping zits yet. ;)

I've often entertained the idea of writing an AAR, but I never found a story that worked for me. This thing really wrote itself - and it was short enough that I could actually stick with it. :)

And how often can you experience such an unexpected combination of events in a game you've been playing off and on for the last 7 years? :)
 

Alfredian

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All in the best tradition of succession to the throne in the Roman/Byzantine court. If you played until Isaakios came of age he would probably send his mother strait to a nunnary (or get assassinated by her).
 

morningSIDEr

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Wonderful stuff, very well written, I have to applaud such bloodthirsty backstabbing. She certainly did prove an elusive shadow.
 

Stuyvesant

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All in the best tradition of succession to the throne in the Roman/Byzantine court. If you played until Isaakios came of age he would probably send his mother strait to a nunnary (or get assassinated by her).
Actually, I have played ahead a few years and absolutely nothing has happened - proof that I stopped the AAR while the going was good. :) Of course, Izzy is not grown up yet, so who knows what would happen then... (and one more side note: Of Eudokia's five kids, three are already dead again - that Palaiologos un-longevity is rearing its ugly head again. Certainly makes me wonder if Isaakios will even get there)

Wonderful stuff, very well written, I have to applaud such bloodthirsty backstabbing. She certainly did prove an elusive shadow.
Elusive shadow, indeed. No 'Kinslayer' trait for Eudokia. And that stress I mentioned earlier? That had cleared up remarkably fast, too. Not only is she astonishingly good at what she does, she has absolutely no qualms about it, either.

Amazing! And how Byzantine it is!
<Drumroll> Very nicely done. :) And yes, it is very fitting. This sorry little episode could not have happened in a better place.
 
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