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This Isn't Even My Final Form!
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Jul 6, 2011
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Chapter 1: Not Even Out the Gate and Already I'm a Liar


The coat of arms of House Hohenzollern. The motto roughly translated into English as Meh, I can take 'em. It's probably not German of 1066 accurate, but I only speak modern German. Well, English, but I can nod my head and say the right Teutonic sounds and most Germans just assume I'm retarded.

I'm okay with that.

This is my first AAR ever, version 6.3.2. I have most every DLC, except Conclave which I pick up later in the AAR, and I've the Aztec Invasion turned off. No Monks and Mystics, as trying to update my HIP to later editions causes a total game crash.

I decided to emulate Wiz's awesome Hohenzollern AAR from way back, and mixed it up with the tones of Saltborn and Flamboyant Schemer. It'll be my own thing as I attempt not to die horribly, despite my incompetency at this game (350 hours and I still don't know what I'm doing, with HIP especially, despite my love for it). I hope it'll be amusing to watch me flounder around, if nothing else.


When my father died, aside from his castle and a bad sense of fashion, he left me this map.


Personally, I think the world's too big. Everyone knows that, aside from Rome, the only places that matters is the Holy Roman Empire. That yellow thing.


Ah, that's much better. Plus, you can totally see my home of Zollern! It's to the left of that M in Roman. See? I circled it for you.

My name is Friedrich von Hohenzollern, lord of Zollern. Someday, that's a name that's gonna matter. But for right now, I think I'll get a haircut.


I decide to fix up my estates. I'll focus on business. Learns the ways of the wealthy burgher. And in so doing, I'll make money. I'll set my sights on... say, 500 gold coins in my treasury? That'll be a fair start. And it's more than father ever had.

When father died, he had this council assembled—a mix of people I respect and people I sort of wonder how they still remember to breathe. I'm pretty sure Diethart's already forgotten how at least seven times and I've only really here for, what, a month now?


To help with this my lofty ambition, I put my council to work, except the local morons, Dudo and Diethart. I keep them at home. I've already ordered one of the courtier woman to walk them every afternoon just to keep the rugs safe.

The light blue on the map below is Swabia, and I'm a vassal of its duke, Rudolf.


Duke Rudolf doesn't like me because I'm only 16 years old, but for some reason he's cool with letting me bang his daughter (eight years down the line, I admit, but still).

Someday I'll be a duke like him. Or maybe my son will. A nice duke with a nice little duchy, a hot wife, and a boatload of cash coming in every day.

This down here is Rudolf's boss, the Emperor Heinrich Salian. He's a craven puppy with large eyebrows but a big heart, if I'm reading this report right. Dudo wrote it for my father so that makes it kinda suspect.


On the plus side, I am a dog person.

Lacking anything to do, I become the founder and sole member of the Prosperity Club. I figure I should help remind my duke, and future father in law, that he should avoid being poor due to selfless reasons (and now because I want to squeeze every last dowry penny I can from him, no sirree).


I also send out a call for a physician. Dad didn't have one, so maybe that's what helped kill him so young.

Next step: install an awesome regent in case I go on a vacation. Someone who won't pee on the carpet.

Like my steward Enricho. Love that guy. Don't think I've ever seen a man so midas touched before. The man can make gold appear as if from thin air. (Note to self: never mention him to the clergy, just in case.)


Also I notice that Diethart, the chaplain, is startling proficient with swords, but not at being a priest. I'm really not sure why dad hired him for that job. I make him a commander of my armies, just in case he turns out to be a savant or something. Plus, it gives him something to do.

Oh! And guess who's answered my call for a physician.


The man was a genius, unlike my borderline retarded current chaplain, Diethart, whose only real talent was hitting things with a sword. Guess who just earned himself two new paying jobs and a fancy new hat?

Also, due to a clerical error because my chancellor is illiterate, I had to fire Diethard twice. This made him sad, and that man's like a little puppy at the end of the day. I gave him some money and let him run around in the forests around Zollern, pretending to be master of the hunt.


I made the mistake of ordering Dudo to do the paperwork to give Diethard the gift money, resulting in the loss of nearly a year's worth of income. That's coming out of Dudo's salary. (I'd have him executed at this point, but I checked for like a month, and there's no one in Zollern any better than him at the job, which honestly frighten me a little.)

In the meanwhile, I went to go meet Werner von Habsburg, Landgrave of Aargau, to see if he wanted to join my prosperity club. He's a individual concerned with money and stewardship, much like myself. He'd make a find addition. Plus, his home is just a little to the south.


I... may have gotten lost on the road south to Aargau. And spent a week chasing a family of badgers for food. Diethart actually saved me. He was out pretending to be master of the hunt just when the badgers had finally rallied against me, and found me right in the nick of time.

God bless that man and his sword arm. I can no longer exactly begrudge the 15 pieces of gold Dudo ended up giving him. It's payed for Diethart's loyalty, so I guess it was worth it.

Speaking of factions, someone reminded me I lead one and prompted me to hold a meeting.

All two of us meet up, and I decide that my father in law, Duke Rudolf, is a pretty swell guy, so I tell my nameless club associate there that I think so.


There's an awkward silence afterwords, but then my fellow gives me a polite clap. Bam!

Told you I was the best.

Ah, and then my work in business pays fruition as I patronize a local guild. I'm practically a trader already! I feel my skills with money rising—heck, the duke might even hire me for steward!


Plus Zollern gets more prosperous, and that's good. Means happier people. Right now, I'm living the good life.

I've increasing fortunes, my bride-to-be is the duke's daughter, and my country is prosperous. Life's damn good. Praise Jesus, whose earthly representative is the Pope in Rome. So long as we have each other, our fortunes are forever well!

And then the Emperor sets up an anti-pope.


And see, Christendom doesn't take kindly to that. And while the non Holy Roman Empire world might as well not exists, there's kind of a lot of Christians outside Germany. They have swords and knives and bows and oh hey look are they gazing our way?


And do you know what's even better?

When the duke, your soon to be father in law, invades Fürstenburg, which belongs to the Duke of Carinthia. Fürstenburg is the one just to the east of Zollern. If I stand on top of my castle I can sort of see it. And they have a lot more guys than us.


And then they ride to Zollern and siege my goddamn home. I try to send out Dudo as human bait and maybe distract them until Swabia's army (that's them down on the left) arrives to help. He nearly drowned leaving in the moat outside of Zollern, so we brought him back in and had to rethink our plan.


A straight up fight it'd have to be. My marshal wonders if I'm crazy, and I give him the only response that makes any sense.



I could not, in fact, take them.
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High humor in this! I hope that's not the end.
Not the most auspicious start, but a fun one!
It's always great to see this, and have someone post. It reminds us all of our moments exactly like this--but we don't want to show it to the rest of the community. Thanks for the smiles and laughs, and for making me recount my own memories of similar situations from CK2!

Chapter 2: This Time with Spirit

9th December, 1070 — 23rd September, 1073​

After my heroic defeat, I found myself bound for Ulm to courageously wait out the war. Ulm. In case you didn’t know, this is Ulm.


I think I can see my house from here.

Ulm also happens to be where my soon to be father in law, Duke Rudolf, lives. I’ve been trying to avoid that, though. I don’t want him to see me and give me this disappointed, “I can’t believe I let my daughter betrothe you” look.

Speaking of my wife-in-waiting, Adelaide—well, turns out the servants talk. The priests especially. And when you’re sneaking around so that Rudolf doesn’t see you, you tend to hear things.

Terrible things.


I hate my life.

I considered breaking the betrothal then and there. Maybe find a wife who, I don’t know, would actually bear me children.

Then it occurred to me that I’m still staying in Rudolf’s castle, and that my home is pretty much gone, and that maybe he’d take offense to me giving up his daughter after four years of waiting. I’d just have to get her really drunk and hope for the best I guess.

Speaking of the war.


It turns out Rudolf’s army is finally taking the fight to Carinthia. My lands are still under their occupation, though. But I’m pretty sure we’re going to win at this point. We’ve got more guys and that’s pretty much all you need to ever win a war.

The war continues to wage. The defeat of Carinthia’s major army just ended up scattered bad guys all across the countryside (mostly my countryside!). While disorganized, they still robbed and raped. But on the plus side, I can probably expect a population boom, and that means more taxes.

Then a priest came to Ulm with a problem.


I convinced him that I was the Duke of Swabia and that I alone could protect his holy relic (that I can’t even protect my own home is entirely beside the point). Thus I came into possession of a crucifix with a sliver of the true cross within it. It made a fierce piece of jewelry, and granted me divine protection. With it, not even the Devil could harm me.

Also, Dudo, my deficient Chancellor, has a son. Which is one more than I have!


The mother denies this fact. I can’t say I blame her. If Dudo knocked me up, I don’t think I’d like to admit it, either.

As the war wanes, my marshal reports back to me. He’s seen a fatal flaw in how current armies work and thinks he has some ideas how to improve them. Or, as he puts it, “The order is all wrong! Pillage, then burn. It’s so simple!” At least I think that’s what he says.


How any of this makes sense when Zollern is currently under military occupation is beyond me. But I guess Boso’s ideas worked, so I can’t complain.

After two years of avoiding Duke Rudolf, the unthinkable happens.


Dudo claims the reason we won was because the Duke of Carinthia got held up at a masquerade ball.

I get to go home! That very same day, I’m told that my betrothed is ready to become my bride.


Duke Rudolf tells me that getting my home back is where 90% of the dowry went towards. All that work in the prosperity club is for nothing, aargh!

So. Now it’s time to fix up Zollern. The farms are pillaged, the castle looted, and the local city in ruins.

I can do this.

Know what else I can do?


This happens exactly once. Hereafter Adelaide suffers from headaches so bad that my physician declares her beyond even his skills.

And then, a bona fide miracles happens. She gives birth to a son, and I name him Volmar. Everything is amazing and—


No, no, no!

This can’t be happening. Volmar, my blood, my legacy—you can’t do this!

I refuse to leave his side. My county can rot. Everything I can, I do. I slam the door and won’t even let the nannies near him. My wife, Adelaide, is so distant. The lesbian whore has already given up on my son!

I hold him. Rock him. Kiss him. Tell him I love him. I press my sliver of the true cross into his chest and I pray for all I might. My boy is going so live, so help me god! So help me, Allfather. I don’t care what god answers me, so long as my boy lives.

A commotion at the door distracted me. I barely have time to react when my physician bursts into the room, shoving one of the nannies who I had commanded to let me and the boy alone.


Within days, my Volmar is alive, laughing, and just like any other baby boy.

I fall to my knees, crying, and thank this mysterious one-eyed Indian. I beg him to let me repay him. He merely holds up his hands and asks that I not punish the nannies for trying to keep him out; they were only doing what I told them to do.

It’s my fault my boy almost died. Had I only sent for Brother Ali Sher sooner, he’d’ve been spared so much agony.

I agree to his price.

And when he, in days to come, asks for funding to support his personal philosophical endeavors, I spare no expense for the man who saved my precious Volmar.


How giving money to a philosopher ended up making the county richer is beyond me. But hey, more gold to tax.

Towards year’s end, with winter setting in, I realize that life is amazing. I have a son bound for greatness. I have a (mostly) amazing council who appreciates me. The wonderful Brother Ali Sher. A county that grows rich under my tender care. A sliver of the true cross around my neck at all times, for Jesus is with me in all of those.

And then Satan attacked.

You could take on the devil, maybe,probably....almost certainly not.

Unless Paradox was feeling especially cruel and makes the hole spit out Aztecs, then your f****d (Jk I know Sunset Invasion is off, but still)

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Well, if Satan is unleashed then you surely have no hope unless you have the holy hand grenade. :p
I wonder where will this hilarious journey take me? Meh, I'm sure it will be a fun ride, Consider me subbed! :D
Take that, disease!
Indeed...good thing you have that relic.
Chapter 3: My Name is Friedrich von Hohenzollern, and I Fight Demons
23 September, 1073 — 28 May, 1077​



How to deal with you…


Yep. That’s a demon hole alright.

I assemble my council to try to find solutions. Initially, the idea is to exorcise the hole in Jesus’ holy name, using the power of my holy relic to channel God. However, Brother Ali Sher helpfully informs that, although he is a master of all things philosophical, he never received an education in exorcism.

The only other person with clerical experience here is Diethart. And while I did consider sacrificing him to the hell pit, I eventually realized Satan would just toss him back because who wants Diethart?

So I went with the next best thing.


Plan C is using my wife’s black hole of heart to try to suck all the life out of Hell itself.

I helped shovel the gravel, too!

And I don’t mean to say I told you so, but—


I briefly considered changing my house’s motto to “Actually Defeated Satan,” but thought that might be a little much.

Instead, I decided to don a new hat to symbolize my martial prowess over the forces of darkness and fire.


My father-in-law is so impressed with my powers than he makes me Marshal of the whole duchy. I can’t blame him. I am kind of amazing.

Plus, he actually pays me.

What isn’t amazing is the Duke’s new capital, Württemberg.


AKA the richest county in southern Germany, which I had my eye on trying to claim. It puts him within spitting distance of Zollern. My council, all hard at work up there, refuses to even look at this disgraceful move.

Duke Rudolf and I sort of just stare at each other for the better part of a year, until Enricho approaches me with an offer that’s too promising to turn down.


Yes, yes, and yes.

Now, this is bound to cost a pretty penny. But you gotta spend money to make money, and an exclusive trade route to an excotic foreign land?

Sign me up and have all my money!


I even recoup a third of my investment before leaving port!

Now, where exactly is this port?

Venice, you say?


Fun fact: the Doge of Venice has like infinite gold and an army roughly ten times the size of mine.

Okay. Well. Screw you, Doge Domenasshole. I’m gonna travel to a foreign land and make a ton of money! I leave Marshal Boso in charge and tell him to feed the chickens and walk Dudo twice a day.


Where are we going, by the way?

Eastern Spain, just west of Barcelona? That sounds absolutely wonder—


—aaand it’s a war-torn Arab emirate.

Enricho, I’m starting to wonder if you have my bests interests in mind.

But you know what? Okay!

I can work with this. I just gotta play it cool, offer the Enur my finest gifts, and not piss and spit on the local inferior religion. Do this and I’ll walk out of this with a boatload of gold and exotic Muslim… I don’t know, wine?

I greet the Emir myself as best I can. “My name is Friedrich von Hohenzollern, and I fight demons.”



Enricho nearly cost me there. But I’m doing this well.

But for every down, there’s an up

Up: the priests all got murdered by that invading army, which means no coming back home with me and tattling to the bishop that I opposed them.

Down: my horse caught dysentery.

But you know what? For a Muslim, Emir Yusuf isn’t actually so bad. We’ve a lot in common. We both enjoy fancy fats, both wish to enrich our realms, and we both hate homosexuals (Adelaide, please, let’s have another child!).


Seriously, he’s not a bad guy. Maybe Muslims got an bad rep they don’t deserve. I think we could really get along.

But can I go home now? I’m sort of getting sick of the whole war-torn Muslim emirate chique.


I recoup all my expenses, too! And this is just gonna keep on giving year after year. The added prosperity is like a rising tide that lifts all boats, which means more to tax. Nobody complains since they’re all rich now anyways. (I think I saw a peasant with a tiger fur cloak.)

Count Friedrich: I fight demons, and I make mad gold.

I even give some to Enricho as my way of apologizing for embarrassing him in front of Emir Yusuf.


And Duke Rudolf, mistaking Dudo for a jester, thinks I have the greatest sense of humor. Thanks, Dad! (He lets me call him that now.)

When I asked Marshal Boso why Dudo wasn’t back home, he told me that he’d been training Dudo to walk himself. And he did. All the way to Württemberg, which is kinda impressive for a man with a clubfoot.

With things going so well, I decide to hold a meeting of the prosperity club. They should all be so impressed with my business skills and—


What the hell, Count Lantbreht? Trying to kick me out of my own club? Well guess what—there’s only two of us, and that means I get my way! (Stupid Democracy!)

Honestly, I don’t know who thought up the idea of voting, but they were stupid. Voting never ends well. Germany elects her emperors via the vote of her dukes, and you know what that got us? Heinrich Salian (you know, that guy with the pet antipope).

Just as the meeting is getting on, and I’m trying to set my agenda, a mysterious figure waltzes into the room and takes a seat. He introduces himself as Count Uto of Ulm, the man who took over the old Duke’s castle when he left for Württemberg.


Rumor has it Uto dedicates himself to the art of seduction. But with a hairline like that, I can see why his prestige is the stuff of Greek tragedies.

He claims to be a big fan of my work, slaying demons and earning gold from Spain. Which is already a given, because I’m me. He wants to be rich like me, which is a lofty goal, considering that his entire treasury amounts to four gold coins and his grandma’s secret recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies.

The man is remarkably honest about all of this. I was tempted to try to pry the cookie recipe from him, but that’d be kinda mean of me.

But he and Count Lantbreht and me make three. I’ll have to make sure the two of them don’t get along too well, lest the good Count try his earlier stunt again and succeed.

The meeting adjourns, but I resolve to keep an eye on this Uto of Ulm. People with alliterative names are not to be trusted.

And then I get a letter from my friend, Emir Yusuf.


“Who knew being the emir of a war torn nation would be this expensive?” Yusuf no doubt wonders.

Reluctantly, I send him a modest sum to help his war. No sense letting my best trading partner die literally months after we both made the deal of our lives.

Besides, with my current income, it’s pocket change. God, this is just amazing. Look at how much money I make a month!


666 prestige is because even Satan’s like “damn son, major respect.”

As I’m living high on life as Count Friedrich von Hohenzollern, Fighter of Demons, Earner of Wealth, I receive the worst news of the year.

Brother Ali Sher the Wise, trusted friend, and savior of my only son, is no longer with us.

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With that prestige, maybe a dark spirit will come over you like Saul, then you'll need to find a harpist who you'll have to keep a watchful eye on. :p
With that prestige, maybe a dark spirit will come over you like Saul, then you'll need to find a harpist who you'll have to keep a watchful eye on. :p
With what happens next, I wouldn't be surprised.
The alternative title for this AAR was "It Gets Worse," but I'm pretty sure that was taken.

I'm waiting to see what Count Friedrich's reaction will be when he realizes what sort of war his hard-earned gold has just helped fund :p
As I recall, it was a Christian Adventurer or something. I didn't exactly pay much attention. I was trying to earn money. By the time anything like that would happen, Friedrich would be too busy working on his murder garden, buuut that's a matter for next chapter.
Chapter 4: Murder Garden
12 June, 1077 — 26 January, 1081​

Brother Ali Sher is given the finest funeral I can afford and buried in my family plot. He is as much a brother as I’ll ever have.

When the ceremonies are concluded, I send word out that I seek another physician. I dare not be without one.


“Abrahil the Wise.”

“Ali Sher the Wise.”


They’re the exact same person! Ali faked his death and came back as a white man—he’s even wearing one of the hats from my armory!


If Brother Ali faked his death, he must have had good reasons.

Okay, “Abrahil the Wise.” I’ll play along.

Beside, I approve of the whiteness. It was a good move.

Meanwhile, my spymaster Humbreht in Württemberg (who I swear wasn’t there to spy on wife when she goes to visit her family) comes to me with juicy news.


Blackmail and extortion is its own reward.

Meanwhile, after giving “Abrahil” his old hat, I find he’s back to his usual tricks. Of course I oblige him.


Zollern is becoming the cultural capital southern Germany. Our wealth rivals Württemberg’s.

Before long, my son, Volmar, gets to that age when all he does is ask questions. I need to educate him. And who else could I trust to be his tutor than Enricho, my midas touched steward who makes gold appear as if from thin air? (I instruct Volmar to, like me, never mention Enricho to the clergy, just to be safe.)


My son is bound for greatness. He’s a Hohenzollern, after all.

Then Dad dies of depression.


The man had one son and four daughters. I can’t say I blame him.

Especially not when his only heir was Berthold.


Say hi to the new Duke of Swabia, my liege and brother-in-law.

Berthold’s an abysmal excuse for a man. He’s a hair better than Uto as far as rulers go. Or, well, a full head of hair, but you get the idea.

He has no grasp of money, he can’t keep his mouth shut, and he’s illiterate. The one thing he can do with some level of skill is swing a sword. He even likes to go out and pretend he’s hunting animals. He’s basically the Diethart of Swabia. Were it not for the council his father set up, the realm would already be ruined.

The man finds little love amongst his vassals, myself amongst them. Under his rule I have no doubt he’ll run Swabia into the ground. Of course, since Swabia is located in the mountains, our ground is still pretty high.

Which is when I get word that Duke Berthold’s just purchased a massive pile of shovels.


It was the only rational option.


Everyone agrees.

Berthold has no son. In the event of his death, the crown of Swabia goes to the Holy Roman Emperor, Heinrich Salian (you know, that guy with the pet antipope.) Heinrich will be obliged to hand it back to a loyal vassal or, at least, someone with a claim to the land.

Someone like Volmar von Hohenzollern, grandson of the prior duke.

So we powerful men of Swabia bide our time and wait for an opportunity to get rid of this wastrel of a duke.

It may take days, weeks, or even months before such time arrives. In the meanwhile, I’ll have to act normal. I wonder what to do—and then it hits me one morning.


My garden sucks. And it’s making castle Zollern look bad. This just won’t do.

Nobody suspects a thing.


I conscript Chancellor Dudo to help. Marshal Boso has been taking him for walks in the gardens, so if anyone expendable knows about the grounds, it’s Dudo.

As we work, we get to talking for once.

I learn a lot about the man. For example:


I have no idea why my father didn’t make him court chaplain with those abilities. Maybe it’s because Dudo’s got a club foot and those are kinda gross.

Can’t say I disagree.

I try not to think of the incompetency of my forefathers and work instead on my garden.


All the family statues were of me, because I’m the only member of my family who ever amounted to anything.

I try to impress my wife by building a romantic pavilion and bringing in the most exotic flowers. She informs me she has a headache and to please put my pants back on.


But whatever. My garden is finished and it’s amazing.

I considered doing more of this. Working day in and day out to have the greatest garden in all of Germany.

But then again, due to years of training, Dudo keeps peeing out here, and I don’t want to deal with that day-in and day-out.


My name is Friedrich von Hohenzollern, Fighter of Demons, Bringer of Wealth, and Amateur Gardener.

The only spot of bad news this whole time is a missive from Greece regarding the encroaching Turkish hordes.


The ironic thing here is that Muslims hate alcohol. Learned that from my bro Emir Yusuf.


But Greeks, like the French, are renowned for their indulgence of all thing booze. I’m sure all the Byzantine Emperor needs is a sufficiently long straw in order to defeat the Turkish hordes.

It’s distant matter, anyhow. What’s important is saving Swabia from itself.


Someone’s shit outta luck.