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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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WJS

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I'm going to start an AAR with the new Holy Fury in place: Ivar the Bönless.

The goal of this game is simple: Starting with Ivar the Boneless, reform the Bön religion.

Given that Bön is in Tibet and Ivar starts in Scotland, this ought to be interesting. I've played Ivar many times, and so I'm familiar with a number of ins and outs with the start, but that might all change with the new rules and map and everything.

A secondary goal is to reform religions all along the way to Tibet. What happens when there are lots of different flavors of reformed pagans everywhere?

(Get ready for a lot of Elective Gavelkind...)
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Starting with Ivar the Boneless, reform the Bön religion.
Even if you never update, the fact that this line got me to snort a raisinet out my nose has made it all worth it.
 

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I think that qualifies as a quixotic goal, if anything does. :D
 
Prologue

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Prologue: The Sons of Loðbrok

We are starting the game with Ivar the Boneless, Jarl of Suðreyjar, in 867.
upload_2018-11-13_20-9-3.png


(That's still an awesome title shield.)

Ivar is a fierce warrior, and that's a good thing, because he, along with Hvitserk of Jorvik, start the game leading the Great Heathen Army at war with Northumbria and East Anglia (and eventually all of the British Isles). However, this means there's a risk that he'll die early, but at least he's already got a full family to back him up (including Aslaug, his mother, and instant Court Völva).

upload_2018-11-13_20-19-48.png


His daughter Aslaug is married to King Bagsecg of Jylland, of House Jute. It is good to know, but there's not much to be done about that, and her children are of House Jute anyway.

But there are four sons, and their scheming matters in the early days.

The Heir Apparent: Sigtrygg
upload_2018-11-13_20-24-5.png


Sigtrygg is the oldest, but not always the best choice. He's already 29, so you'd hope his stats are better by then. Ivar's sons demonstrate some randomness, but I usually end up with Sigtrygg expecting to be given great things. But this time, he's Content. We'll see.

The Eccentric Uncle: Sigfroþ
upload_2018-11-13_20-27-19.png


Sigfroþ is usually decently competent, but better in support than as the heir. Still, he has rarely caused me trouble in the past, but is usually someone that can be trusted to support the Ivaring name. The military score is a shame.

The Family Rival: Barid
upload_2018-11-13_20-30-19.png


Barid is usually one of the best positioned to lead, and often makes a good argument to be selected heir. But, he's also the sort to take it personally if he isn't; he's often Arbitrary or Jealous. But, sometimes, he'll die quickly in battle. We shall see.

The Dark Horse: Guðfrið
upload_2018-11-13_20-34-6.png


Guðfrið is still a child, and still has decent stats. There's a good chance that he might just be the heir the dynasty needs, but it's never a sure thing.

In any case, it's vital to remember that I've got four sons and Elective Gavelkind, no matter what. There are ways around it, if Ivar lives long enough.

Also important to note are Ivar's vassals, as they will vote on the heir, and can provide their own instabilities.

upload_2018-11-13_20-39-14.png


Ketill Flatnose rules the Isle of Man, and is normally a solid supporter of Suðreyjar. He has one important resource that is sorely lacking in pagan lands at the beginning of the game, though, and makes him very valuable indeed: eligible daughters.

upload_2018-11-13_20-42-21.png


Olafr rules Dublin, but here we see one important change from the pre-Holy Fury game. He now has two counties: Dyflinn and Meath. He's also a bit harder to keep on side, as he's Ambitious, but also, he's a Yngling. That's the family of Haraldr Fairhair, and if I'm unlucky, Dublin will be inherited by a fledgling Norway. But that's a two-way street that can be of use. More on that later.

Because there's a more important change that Holy Fury makes: Another new county, with another new vassal.

upload_2018-11-13_20-47-13.png


Iona is its own county. And it's ruled by a Catholic priest. We all know who's really going to cause trouble for the petty kingdom. (But they've got a super cool title shield, too. Pity it's just a count's shield.)

But so far, after all this time, I haven't talked about how this relates to the Sons of Loðbrok.

upload_2018-11-13_20-53-5.png


Ivar is the oldest son of Ragnarr Loðbrok, and his brothers have founded their own houses, which are quite small. Björn af Munsö is the Petty King of Sviþjod, Halfdan Hvitserk is the Petty King of Jorvik, and Sigurdr Snake-in-the-Eye is the Petty King of Sjælland. A series of unfortunate circumstances, and Ivar, as the oldest, stands to inherit lands in Sweden or Denmark. Given that in this game, the goal is far to the east, this fact is important to note.

upload_2018-11-13_20-58-49.png


Very important.

Speaking of east, where is the goal?

upload_2018-11-13_21-1-26.png


Tibet. In particular, the five holy sites we will eventually need to hold are Balkh in Transoxiana, Gilgit, Hvamna, Purang in Guge, and Lhasa in Ü-Tsang. We've got a trek ahead of us.
 

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The Kingmaker

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Very interesting. What route do you intend to take? Inherit your brothers' Scandinavian holdings, sail northeast to Bjarmaland, cut across the Urals and through a handful of grouchy khaganates, and then clip through the Tarim Basin before taking a hop, skip and a jump into the Himalayas?
 

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I'm going to play it by ear. I figure inheriting Sjælland and/or Sviþjod will be the quick ticket off the British Isles, then it gives me a chance to reform Germanic, and use that boost to cut through the Baltics and Russia. I may or may not reform Romuva and Slavic along the way. Getting through the steppes will be the toughest, but I'm thinking sailing by river to take lands on the Caspian, then find a way across Transoxiana to Tibet.

Certainly I'm going to reform religions to help me along the way to my goals. If I end up stuck in the steppes for a long time, I'll have to mess with/reform Tengri.

Also, I'm always up for suggestions and commentary.
 

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Chapter 1

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Chapter 1: The Great Heathen Army

First things first: check the Council, get everyone married, make sure you know who's doing what.

First, that priest is my spymaster. This is not a good thing, but I let it slide for now. My mother would be a much better choice, as she would be a Loyalist and has a higher Intrigue, but since I'm going to kill my brother, he'll be more amenable to that. I can also send that priest abroad, that way.

I take the Intrigue focus and join the Wolf Warriors. Both important.

I pick Barid for my heir for the time being. Sigfroþ becomes Court Tutor. Sigtrygg... doesn't need to be at court, so I marry him to a genius priestess in Lithuania. My mother tutors Guðfrið.
I marry a genius priestess in Poland.

I start plotting to kill Sigurdr Snake-in-the-Eye. Thankfully, his wife is the Catholic daughter of King Ælla of Northumbria, so she's happy to help. And you think you've got a bad relation with your in-laws?

But still, the most important thing that's happening right now: The Great Heathen Army. I have wars to conquer East Anglia and the Scotland portion of Northumbria (the Duchy of Lothian, really). I figure I had best focus on one at a time, and Northumbria can be better. The CB is an Invasion, so if I win, I take Lothian, and any other province I've occupied. That means that if I can reach 100% before Jorvik, I can take over pieces of Northumbria that Jorvik then can't.

Olafr of Meath also immediately declares war on Tír Chonaill.

But early on, tragedy!
upload_2018-11-13_22-19-40.png


Now I'm angry. I lose an early battle. I had split my forces, but that was folly. I shall adjust. And in that battle, I claim a trophy.
upload_2018-11-13_22-25-21.png

(Renamed because I can, now.)

And yes, as a Wolf Warrior, I am angry.
upload_2018-11-13_22-30-3.png


And yet, I also receive good news!
upload_2018-11-13_22-22-11.png
upload_2018-11-13_22-28-4.png


Letting rage for his mother's death fill his soul, and the joy of his newly pregnant wife raise his spirits, he spins like a predator when he hears Aslaug is back at court. "Aslaug is DEAD!" he roars, brandishing his knife. "No, Ivar," Ketill replies, "This is Aslaug your daughter."

Taken aback, he turns to his little girl, returned to court. "Why? What brings you here?"

upload_2018-11-13_22-37-4.png


"Hmph. Now I'm glad I want him dead."

Rallying together the troops back in the Isles, Ivar pulls everyone together and marches against the main forces arrayed against him in Argyll. With newfound purpose, he charges into the enemy, personally killing King Gwgan of Seisyllwg, and capturing King Eadmund of East Anglia. He thinks for a moment of slaughtering him there, to Odin, but instead makes him sign a peace treaty granting all of East Anglia to Ivar.

In November, Olafr successfully conquers Tyrconnell and comes to join Ivar against Northumbira. Jorvik has won his war; Lothian remains for Ivar.

On the 9th of November, Queen Eufemia gives birth to a daughter. "Aha, the stars are auspicious, Aslaug returns to us!" Ivar proclaims.
"But I am Aslaug, father," her adult daughter reminds.
"Ah, yes... Eufemia, Aslaug is a name promising one to the gods. What is that name, for your faith and people?"
"It is not a concept we rely upon, but I will give her the name Wieslawa. For glory."
upload_2018-11-13_23-12-19.png


"Glory... glory glory..." Ivar mutters.

Ivar fumes as he marches across the land, some days barely coherent to his fellow men. "Where is my son?" "He's fallen in battle, and died of his injuries."
upload_2018-11-13_23-20-16.png


upload_2018-11-13_23-15-28.png


But, as the war drug on, the entire realm of Christendom descended on Ivar and his dwindling forces, until he decided enough was enough, and sued for white peace on 5 April, 869.

Revenge incomplete, he looked back and realized, there might be more to life than his glory, than avenging the great losses his family endured.

upload_2018-11-13_23-32-6.png
 

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The Kingmaker

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Well that certainly didn't take long :)
 
Chapter 2

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Chapter 2: The Great Pillar; The Great Conquest

Not defeated, but chastised, Ivar took stock of the situation. He realized he needs to do more for the gods, and put his trust in them.

upload_2018-11-13_23-35-22.png


His piety was met with instant success.

upload_2018-11-13_23-43-42.png


Temporary, but useful. He looked at his neighbors. Although they had banded against the threat of invasion, they were left hurting, and Ivar remained the strongest militarily in the area.

Next, his family. Aslaug and Barid were dead. His son-in-law was killed by his brother. Aslaug the Younger was married to Olafr of Meath's son and heir, keeping that vassal faithful. Also, his son Guðfrið came of age:

upload_2018-11-13_23-46-57.png


A master of intrigue. Useful. Sigfroþ remained heir for now, but his youngest was promising. He then spoke to his spymaster, Bishop Feradach, to hear about the progress on Sigurdr's end.

upload_2018-11-13_23-49-42.png


Ivar crushed a table in frustration. Not only had Sigurdr's wife not make an attempt on her hated husband's life, she even bore him another son, and was pregnant yet again. No. This would never do. Ivar fired Feradach, put Guðfrið in the role, and plotted to remove him from power. Sigurdr will have to wait. He found a new commander to come to court.

upload_2018-11-14_5-6-14.png


In the meantime, the ever-despised bishop returned his reply:

upload_2018-11-14_5-14-40.png


Expected. Not a problem. Easily accomplished. More warriors flocked to Ivar, and he started thinking about how to expand, if Denmark is not to happen for now. He invaded Airgialla, in Ireland.

Then, he looked to East Anglia, and the lands he conquered there. Still officially, they were owned by Eadmund, who was still rotting in Ivar's dungeon. Strip the title from him, next, but do it officially. Oh, he's not allowed to simply do it while he's in prison? No matter, ransom him then take the title. Ivar seriously considered mutilating him, instead, he simply bided his time, took his money, then his title. Eadmund gave up Norfolk without a fight. Ivar granted it to Guðfrið.

Still, thoughts turned to Ælla, murderer of Ragnarr, and knew that no matter what, he had to reach out against him. So, he found that he had gone into hiding, but that he still needed to eat so much...

upload_2018-11-14_5-49-21.png


Airgialla taken, his army moved on to Ulaidh. Interestingly, Ulaidh's soldiers had all moved out; they all left for Wessex. A certain Haesteinn of Upper Brittany was invading. Ulaidh conquered, he moved on to Tír Eoghain.

Moving his base of operations to Ulster, Ivar went back across the strait to take Nofant from Strathclyde. Haesteinn's invasion failed. Then Ivar took Breifne. Laigin.

In the meantime, Ivar had great success getting rid of Eadmund and his entire family. One by one, they each had an inexplicable accident.

In the meantime, Eufemia had an announcement.
upload_2018-11-14_6-59-53.png


Another heir. How would he keep his lands together? He ruminated on this as he marched on Laigin, and turned his network to Sigurdr once again. He had taken Jylland and still held Sjælland and Skåne. King of Ireland or Denmark would keep them together. King of Ireland and Denmark would not...
 

stnylan

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Leave a series of kingdoms led by your dynasty in your wake?
 

daird

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Well, this should be interesting. As the song goes, "Got a long way to go, and a short time to get there..."
 

WJS

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So Aslaug Sr. has met her end. What has become of Lagertha in this start?
I don't believe Lagertha exists in the game. Ragnarr is listed having only been married to Aslaug, and only having the five sons.