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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Derahan

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Everyone must pay their debts sooner or later, regardless of what they owe.
 

tnick0225

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Oh man, finally caught up with this. Still great reading.

At first I assumed you were giving the heretic leaders Czech names for flavor purposes, but they apparently actually have them. Is that because Bohemia is supporting rebels, or because they are the closest protestant country or something?
Glad to hear you've caught up and enjoying it!

As far as the heretic leaders, I don't know why they have Czech names. I think Ragusa is a little closer than Bohemia, but may be wrong on that. So it very well may be that the Emperor is really supporting the rebel movement, which if that's the case I have to hand it to the AI for being sneaky and keeping me on my toes.

I'm glad you let Urbino stick around a bit longer. They may be ungrateful jerks that should kiss the feet of the Sforzas who raised them up, but not too long ago they were the only nation that was willing to stand by Milan's side.

Oh, and one more thing....DAMN THE FRENCH!
I didn't want to completely kill them off, as they may prove useful in the future. But also wanted to weaken them enough at the same time to where they won't be much of a threat as well, so the peace I gave them seemed perfect for what my goal was. I doubt that Duke Giulio will come back into the fold anytime soon as he's still rather unhappy with the Sforzas.

And yes Damn those French! Lol, hopefully they'll be a little more useful and reliable in the future.

Everyone must pay their debts sooner or later, regardless of what they owe.
So very true!
 

JerseyGiants88

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tnick0225 said:
I didn't want to completely kill them off, as they may prove useful in the future. But also wanted to weaken them enough at the same time to where they won't be much of a threat as well, so the peace I gave them seemed perfect for what my goal was. I doubt that Duke Giulio will come back into the fold anytime soon as he's still rather unhappy with the Sforzas.
I also like how it has created a balance of power in southern Italy with the competition between Urbino and Naples. In most games it is just Naples either running southern Italy independently or, if they do get defeated, being taken over by some outside power (usually France or Spain). Should lead to some interesting decisions for the Sforzas when, inevitably, another war breaks out between the two.
 

volksmarschall

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I also like how it has created a balance of power in southern Italy with the competition between Urbino and Naples. In most games it is just Naples either running southern Italy independently or, if they do get defeated, being taken over by some outside power (usually France or Spain). Should lead to some interesting decisions for the Sforzas when, inevitably, another war breaks out between the two.
I agree! Personally, I enjoy "balanced" games where I, through unintentional, intentional meddling (through wars of liberation or such), try to maintain competitive balances of power because I think it makes the game more fun than stomping over the AI and creating a super blob that can very easily consume the world. Plus, it makes for a great AAR and high level writing and reading interest!
 

tnick0225

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Chapter XLV - Lowered Power of the Barons

@JerseyGiants88: Well I am just happy southern Italy hasn't been taken over by a foreign power. I'm not too sure if the Sforzas will care a whole lot if Naples and Urbino start duking it out again. But we will see. I'm sure they'll fight one another again once they recover from this war.

@volksmarschal: It has made things interesting. And that "balance" kind of stays throughout the game, all of which has really been pretty unintentional. There's even some alliance groups that pop up later that have the same balance which makes me laugh a little.


~~~~~
Chapter XLV - Lowered Power of the Barons



The peace with Urbino would usher in a year of peace, and as some in Milan would say a feeling of optimism. As the city celebrated well into the start of 1521, it was growing ever more apparent that Milan was growing into the epitome of Sforza power. The citizens themselves now almost fully accepted their Duke stifling out the last quiet whispers of the old Ambrosian sympathizers. Even though the people of the city of Milan were growing to adore the aging Giovanni, the citizens of the outlying provinces, such as those with Protestant leanings (Treviso, Verona) and the recently conquered Mantua were less that adoring. Nevertheless, even those people had begun to regard Sforza as a wall of safety against those from the outside.

As the people’s optimism and celebrations rose, shouting their Duke’s name aloud in the bars and inns throughout the city, the mood in the Sforzesco was slightly more subdued. There was still the threat of Bohemian interference via the Protestant militias as Jiri was still alive. There was the age old French question as well. The alliance was still in its infancy between Giovanni and Louis XII and the fact that French support against Urbino never manifested itself, raised doubts within the Sforza inner circle. However, even though there were all these questions lingering one fact was becoming clear, the Hungarians in the form of Louis XII’s brother in law King Albert von Wittelsbach.

“Louis sent his apologies for not being able to uphold his end of the bargain,” Lamberti said slowly when the Council convened for a formal sessions late in June of 1521. By this point the celebratory atmosphere in Milan had died down, and things had returned to normal, although the optimism was still evident everywhere besides the Castello Sforzesco.

Giovanni grunted, “We didn’t need his help anyway now did we?”

“No, we did not,” Lamberti said smiling just a little; glad Giovanni hadn’t fallen to the side of other councilors who thought canceling the French alliance would be a god-send. “The Habsburgs are still displeased with us, however.”

“Aren’t they always?” Sforza Maria sighed. “Regardless, without knowing for sure whether Louis will defend us should we need him, and seeing that without a doubt our largest threat is Austria, I had Captain Testi formulate some new ideas to keep the Armata prepared.”

Testi, who usually remained silent in these meetings, spoke up, “We have all too often relied upon peasants to carry the brunt of our wars, with no rewards for their services. Your son and I, my lord, have decided it would be a good idea to offer commissions, promotions, sometimes as officers and even commanders to those whose service on the field of battle is great. It will help boost morale, tradition, and give the lowest of the low something to fight for besides protecting their families.”

Giovanni nodded, “A commendable initiative. The nobles will not be all that happy with such a thing though.”

“Furthermore,” Testi continued, “I’ve instituted a set of military drills to make the Armata di Lombardia a more permanent fighting force. Twice a year men sworn to service will take part in training for a month in between reaping and sowing seasons, to build upon the same morale and traditions that having a corps of lowborn officers will have.”


Once again the Duke nodded as he turned to his son, “What made you come up with those ideas?”

“It’s what the French have been doing for a generation,” Sforza Maria answered.

“The nobles will not be accepting of this I fear.”

“Your grace, if I may?” Moscati spoke up. “Galeazzo, your father, began attempting the slow turn of centralizing authority, slowly trying to pull the power out from local landholders. We could in essence complete what his initiatives started, by mediatizing all the Barons in the realm. They can hold their prestigious titles, but no power. Make taxation flow not from the hands of these lesser nobles but bureaucrats whose only loyalty is to you.”

“Sack the Barons?” Giovanni pondered aloud. The power it would give him within the realm would be astonishing. The local lords that had been around for centuries with their own petty feuds and alliances would be crippled, and waste away until there was none left. “This would definitely help in ushering in Captain Testi’s reforms. How much money would we stand to gain from this?”

“A sizeable amount, my lord,” Moscati answered.

“With the level of adoration amongst the masses of Milan, father, I doubt the Barons would be able to seek any sort of punitive recourse against you either,” Sforza Maria reassured.

Giovanni leaned back in his chair, and rubbed his chin, “Invoke my order, stripping all Barons of the right to collect taxes from my subjects forthwith.”


The day was June 25, 1521, that the Barons in the Duchy of Milan would forever be stripped of their long held rights and privileges. They were turned into simple prestigious land-holders that would hold onto the title of Baron, as those mediatized families began to struggle to find a new place in a changing world. Six months after the sacking of the Baron’s power, taxes began to steadily increase from the provinces, seeing the largest increase occur in Cremona.



~~~~~​
“Ludvic how is it that you failed?” Emperor Jiri questioned the Protestant clergyman whose attempt at rallying the masses of Treviso against Giovanni Sforza had failed. “His forces were too occupied with Urbino; it should have been a simple victory.”

The priest bowed his head looking at the floor disappointed in himself. “I am sorry, your majesty,” he mumbled.

Jiri waved his hand and called for more wine. Michelleto, Moscati’s agent, and Premysl Otakar’s secretary grabbed the pitcher and filled the Emperor’s chalice with more drink. Over the past year, Moscati’s agent had been working his way into Jiri’s trust, periodically being called upon to bear the Emperor’s cup, and gaining access to meetings of the Order. The time to strike was nearing. He could feel it whispering to him. Moscati had seemed urgent in his last messages, hoping that he would successfully carry the mission out soon.

“If your majesty wishes I will return to Milan,” Ludvic said hoping to regain some semblance of favor.

Jiri shook his head, “No you were inept. I will send your colleague Premysl Otakar Harant.”

“Are you sure this is a wise idea, brother?” Premysl Otakar, the brother of Jiri and heir-apparent to the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Empire spoke up. “King Albert, is knocking on Prague’s door, surely he will be here to lay siege any day. Sending more of our men off on a futile mission such as these have been proven to be is ludicrous.”

Jiri shot a sharp look at his brother, “Sending our men to Milan will not weaken our walls.”

Premysl shook his head, and looked to Micheletto wondering if this was the night of the Emperor’s demise. “Your underhanded involvement against the Sforza is crippling us,” he said.

“When you take this crown you can change our trajectory,” Jiri scolded. “Until then stay silent.”

The heir to Bohemia stood, and walked out, heading back to his quarters. A few hours later Micheletto would join him.

“How much longer must I wait for you to do your job?” Premysl asked annoyed, and growing ever more concerned about how much progress the Hungarians were making.

“Not much longer. My masters are getting anxious as well, the time is almost right,” he answered.

“It will be too late by then,” the heir complained. “He’s already sapped our strength by sending them to bolster and anger the mobs in Milan. We have almost no men to even fight back against Albert!”

Moscati’s agent nodded in complete agreement. Bohemia was in a state of complete and total disaster. Many of its lands were being occupied, quickly swallowed up by the Hungarians. In Micheletto’s mind this was great news, his mission was to assassinate Jiri, but seeing the Kingdom of Bohemia broken, that would be an accomplishment all on its own. Should he kill Jiri as Albert von Wittelsbach reached the gates of Prague the downfall of Bohemia would be complete. Perhaps, even to the extent that the Prince-Electors would look elsewhere for salvation. No matter, it was obvious that when Jiri falls, the power of the Emperor would be weakened to such a point that no future Bohemian King would be able to interfere in Milan ever again.

The would-be-assassin would then work to calm the Prince's nerves. As the two spoke and at times argued about timing, the Emperor's new clergyman to confront Sforza, by name of Premysl Otakar Harant was mounting his horse along with other men-at-arms and knights. For, even though the armies of Hungary were bearing down upon Prague, Jiri, his gracious Imperial Majesty, was still hell-bent upon the forceful conversion of Milan.

 

volksmarschall

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It is nice to see the House of Wittelsbach doing well in-game, even from just a dynastic perspective!

tnick0225 said:
There's even some alliance groups that pop up later that have the same balance which makes me laugh a little.
Ah yes, going to war with a country expecting a quick and easy victory and not realizing they are in a coalition against you with much more powerful countries is never fun after you declare the war and realize what just happened! :glare:

I've never played as Milan, but that advancements in ideas giving +10% tax modifications is very nice, would you say that they have a powerful national idea set? Personally, I do think some nation's ideas are far superior to others...but I've never really played as one of the Italian states yet.

And it doesn't seem like you can catch a break with these Protestant zealots! :eek:
 
Last edited:

TheDeaconBosco

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So Jiri's new agitator has the same exact first and second names as his brother, you know it's pretty funny how EU IV's name system mananges to encompass more cultural names than CKII but that in exchange there's more repetition throughout thoses names. But then again due to my OCD, I'm kinda fixated about names, whatever the weather.

But enough about me, seems like Bohemia's such in a destitute state that Premysl may not even become emperor, who did the electors favor at this point of the game, tnick?
 

tnick0225

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It is nice to see the House of Wittelsbach doing well in-game, even from just a dynastic perspective!

Ah yes, going to war with a country expecting a quick and easy victory and not realizing they are in a coalition against you with much more powerful countries is never fun after you declare the war and realize what just happened! :glare:

I've never played as Milan, but that advancements in ideas giving +10% tax modifications is very nice, would you say that they have a powerful national idea set? Personally, I do think some nation's ideas are far superior to others...but I've never really played as one of the Italian states yet.

And it doesn't seem like you can catch a break with these Protestant zealots! :eek:
Yeah the Wittelsbachs have been doing pretty good so far, there for a while Bavaria was leading a PU with them but it was short lived. Had they united Bavaria and Hungary that would have added a whole new dynamic to the game, and given Austria someone else to worry about which would have been nice.

As far as Milan's national ideas I don't really have anything to compare them to yet, as this is still my first and only play-through (well I messed around with Orissa for a day) but I'd say they're NIs are probably average. Although they do get one The Age of the Condottierre which reduces the cost of mercs by a nice chunk if I remember right, so that could be really beneficial. And the 10% National Tax modifier will definitely come in handy as we need more money! But seeing as I don't really any other nation's ideas I can't say whether Milan's are powerful, average or weak, so if one of the readers knows please answer :)

But yeah darn Protestant rebels keep cropping up! Be nice if they'd quit that silliness. Probably won't happen until my missionaries are strong enough to start converting Verona and Treviso.

So Jiri's new agitator has the same exact first and second names as his brother, you know it's pretty funny how EU IV's name system mananges to encompass more cultural names than CKII but that in exchange there's more repetition throughout thoses names. But then again due to my OCD, I'm kinda fixated about names, whatever the weather.

But enough about me, seems like Bohemia's such in a destitute state that Premysl may not even become emperor, who did the electors favor at this point of the game, tnick?
Yeah Jiri's agitator shares the same name as his brother. I thought about leaving the cleric's name out of the text so it wouldn't cause any unnecessary confusion, but figured I'd probably be better off mentioning it anyway so that when his name does pop up on a screenshot no one thinks its the actual heir. So hopefully it doesn't cause any confusion to the readers. But you are right there is a lot more repetition in the names in EUIV but I think that is accurate for the time period anyway.

As far as who the electors are favoring I do believe its still Premysl, the Bohemians. Jiri has pretty much stacked the deck full of Protestants as I think at least three or four of the electors are Protestant at the moment. And I doubt they'd vote for a Catholic nation, and since Bohemia has been the most powerful Protestant state in the Empire, they probably won't turn their backs on them yet. However, Bohemia is losing ground quickly so that could change at any time...
 

volksmarschall

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...As far as Milan's national ideas I don't really have anything to compare them to yet, as this is still my first and only play-through (well I messed around with Orissa for a day) but I'd say they're NIs are probably average. Although they do get one The Age of the Condottierre which reduces the cost of mercs by a nice chunk if I remember right, so that could be really beneficial. And the 10% National Tax modifier will definitely come in handy as we need more money! But seeing as I don't really any other nation's ideas I can't say whether Milan's are powerful, average or weak, so if one of the readers knows please answer :)
That just means I'll have to play as Milan then and find out for myself instead of always using a royal marriage with them on the hope that their already old king from the beginning of the game dies off before an heir and I get to inherit or PU Milan for a foothold in Italy right off the bat! :p
 

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I was finally able to catch up on this. I'm enjoying this very much. Great job!
 

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Chapter XLVI - Assassinations

@volksmarschall: Oh yeah guessing that old ruler is Fillippo Maria Visconti at game start? If you do a Milan game I'd suggest starting when Francesco Sforza is Duke he has great stats too! Or you could go a different route and play as the Ambrosian Republic after Fillippo Maria's death. But I was looking at the EUIV wiki and actually think Milan's NI's are pretty good. Forgot that there was an earlier one that reduced Idea cost by 10% which is helpful as well.

@Eber: Glad you got a chance to catch up! And that you are enjoying it so far.

**As a note this Chapter is a little long, I thought about splitting it in two, but really couldn't see the point in it, as its a series of events that should be connected. So hopefully it isn't too long.**


~~~~~
Chapter XLVI - Assassinations




“Your grace,” Captain Testi said, “we have completed building a new star fort outside of Parma.”

Giovanni nodded, Parma wasn’t the most important place in the duchy to improve the defenses in as it didn’t share a border with any overly hostile nations. Savoy was on its border, but do to wars with France, the former regional power was diminished to such an extent that it could barely keep an army of 2,000 in the field.

“While they were building the new fortifications, the University of Parma has instituted an Engineer Corps that will be dedicated to the Armata di Lombardia,” Testi finished reporting.


“Very good,” Giovanni answered. It was now the beginning of 1523, and reports of Premysl Otakar Harant’s presence in Verona had finally reached Milan. Giovanni wondered how many more times he and Captain Testi would have to march east to destroy the Bohemian led dissidents. He was even beginning to doubt Moscati’s agent Michelletto, who seemed either unable or unwilling to carry out his mission to put an end to Emperor Jiri’s reign. “Is the Armata di Lombardia prepared to march?”

Captain Testi nodded, “Of course your grace.”

“Good, we will begin our march to Verona to deal with this latest priest within a week,” Giovanni ordered.

“I think it may be better if your grace, stays in Milan,” Testi started, concerned that his Duke’s body was growing too old to deal with the stresses of war. “Perhaps your son Sforza Maria would be better suited to take command?”

Giovanni grunted, “It is better to leave him here to watch over his brother’s Matteo, Galeazzo, and little Cosimo. Perhaps if we were dealing with an actual war and not these Bohemian militiamen mixed in with peasants I’d heed your advice.”

“Very well,” Testi surrendered, still concerned. “I will begin preparing the Armata as your grace wishes.”

Testi left the room, leaving Giovanni to gather his thoughts for a few moments, when Lamberti and Moscati would enter the room. “So your grace, plans to march with the Armata?” Lamberti asked once inside.

“Of course,” the Duke answered. “What news do you have? Has Michelletto finally done what was ordered of him years ago?”

Moscati looked down for a moment, and then back up, “No…but the last letter we received from him informed me that his next would carry good tidings and the coronation of Premysl Otakar.”

Giovanni nodded, “Hopefully he finally carries this out. And hopefully the future Emperor will put an end to these Protestant rebellions as he has previously promised.”

“I’m sure he will,” Lamberti said. “However Emperor Jiri recently requested we release Mantua, as it was formerly an independent principality of the Empire.”


Giovanni slammed his fist down, sick and tired of this Bohemian Emperor. “Moscati, inform Michelletto to finish the job immediately. I don’t give a damn whether it is the right time or not!”

“He may already be dead,” Moscati coughed, “but very well.”

“We should prepare for the aftermath of Jiri’s death as well,” Lamberti said.

“We can handle that when I return from Verona. In fact, you can make those plans with Sforza Maria. He’s more than capable of making such decisions,” Giovanni said, dismissing the two councilors.

He would sit there brooding for a little while, wishing that Moscati’s man had killed Jiri long ago. Sadly assassins seemed to do things in their own stride rather than what their masters wished. Once again Giovanni would have to march to the heretical enclaves of Verona and Treviso to deliver a brutal message about treason, and the cost the Empire would pay for meddling in Milanese internal affairs. It was something that the Duke was growing tired of, and was beginning to feel that perhaps being a member of the Empire was not as beneficial as it had been in the past.

~~~~~​
Emperor Jiri, his brother Crown-Prince Premysl Otakar, and Michelletto, sat inside the palace in Prague as cannon roared throughout the day and night. The Hungarians under the leadership of King Albert von Wittelsbach had come, and they had no intention of leaving until they sacked the city.

“How did they get cannon?” Jiri asked meekly.

“Apparently from their cousins in Bavaria, it would appear,” Premysl answered, watching Michelletto who had been silent most of the night.

“Damn these princes!” Jiri exclaimed. “Do they all hate me?”

“Not all, but most it would appear,” Premysl answered again. Michelletto stood to the side pouring more wine, making the prince wonder if he should even be drinking from the same as his brother. Was tonight the night? It would be suiting if it was.

“How did things come to this end?”

“My brother, you were hell-bent on the destruction of the Sforza. You sapped our strength; you spent our entire treasury, all of which has led to Albert being able to overrun our lands.”

“You hate me too, brother?” sneered the Emperor, feeling the scorn in Premysl’s voice.

“How could I not have disdain for a man who has destroyed a nation that our father raised to greatness?”

Jiri eyed his brother suspiciously, as anger rushed to the forefront. Another thunderous clap of cannon boomed in the distance. “What would you have done differently brother? Would you have allowed our Empire to fester in religious disunity? Allow the Sforza to gain ever more power?”

Premysl sighed, as he noticed Michelletto step away from wine and turn to face the back of Emperor Jiri. “I would have been more diplomatic, I would have entertained the Sforza’s wishes. I would have maintained their friendship as our father had to counter the strength of the Habsburgs. Instead all you’ve done is alienate our old allies which has led to the Hungarians being able to occupy and burn our lands…”

Premysl trailed off as Michelletto moved quickly, brandishing a dagger and slipping it into Jiri’s neck. The Emperor’s eyes shot wide open as he felt the cold steel cut, looking straight at his brother Premysl with the accusation of treason burning deep within. The Crown-Prince stared back, surprised by the quick graceful movement of Michelletto, as his Jiri’s body began to slouch as his neck poured and sputtered blood.

“I thought you’d use poison…” Premysl croaked, his mouth dry as his heart began to race knowing that the weight of the world was just placed upon his shoulders.

“I’ve wasted too much time,” Michelletto said slowly. “You must go to the walls, raise a white flag, and surrender to Albert before he destroys the city.”

“And what will you do? The guards will know he was murdered,” Premysl stated concerned that his own complicity would be known.

“Take the guards,” Michelletto said. “I will clean up, and leave while you are speaking with Albert. You will never see me again.”


Premysl Otakar Podebrand would be confirmed by the Prince-Electors as the next Emperor shortly after the death of Emperor Jiri

Premysl nodded, and left the room gathering men to ride with him. As they made their way through the streets of Prague the horses hesitated with each percussion blast from the cannon. It was a nightmare, the loudness of the cannon’s thunder, the images of flame rising from various neighborhoods. Screams coming from the distance, as a rider went out of the gate holding a torch and a white flag as some men blew their horns to gain the attention of the Hungarians.

The roar of the cannons ceased for long enough that Premysl felt it was time to ride through the gate with several of his guards in tow. The Hungarians answered back with their own horns and a rider flanked by two others bearing the banners of Albert von Wittelsbach came forth. Premysl, the man who was now, de facto Emperor and King of Bohemia sat upon his horse facing his foe King Albert.

“I am, Premysl Otakar Podebrand,” he stated upon seeing the torch-lit face of Albert.

“Emperor Jiri sends his brother?” Albert sneered, “I will speak to no one but the Emperor.”

“My brother is dead, your majesty,” Premysl retorted. “So by rights I am the King of Bohemia, and have the power to give you what you seek.”

Albert eyed him suspiciously, “How do I know you speak the truth?”

“Because my gates are open, come to the palace if you wish to see Jiri’s dead body.”

The King of Hungary shook his head. “A trap for sure.”

“Do you not hear the bells?” Premysl pointed out, his heart starting to slow its race in his chest. “Tomorrow at noon, we shall meet in St. Vitus Cathedral, so that we may discuss terms of peace. Until then let there be a cessation of violence.”

“Very well!” Albert roared, as he turned his steed around and rode back towards the torch-lit Hungarian battle lines.

~~~~~​
Giovanni and the Armata di Lombardia had finished routing the Bohemian led rebellion in Verona. The battle had cost over 2,300 men due to the rebels skirmishing tactics. But, nevertheless, they broke and routed. Premysl Otakar Harant the rebel leader was still at large, however, and rumors said he had taken refuge in Verona itself. With that in mind Giovanni led his men towards the city, which happily opened its gates for the Duke of Milan. He entered, at the head of the Armata, with the faithful and loyal subjects that were still left lining the streets, happy to see their leader free them from yet another heretical take-over.


The Bohemian cleric Premysl, was indeed in Verona, sitting inside a house of a fellow Protestant family. As he heard the Duke’s procession make its way through the streets he picked up his bow and made his way through an alleyway and entered an empty building and made his way to its rooftop.

“May God steady my hand,” he breathed as he took aim, and let the first arrow sail. It missed the Duke and hit a knight in the leg to Giovanni’s left. The Duke stopped and looked at the man in shock. As they stood around waiting to react, Premysl took aim once more and let another arrow sail. This time it struck true, hitting Giovanni just below his left collar bone. As he rocked in his saddle, another arrow hit him in the calf, piercing into the horse which bucked in anger sending the Duke of Milan flying.

The crowd erupted into chaos, as Premysl dropped the bow and disappeared, taking flight, hoping to be out of Verona and the rest of the Duchy of Milan by nightfall. He hoped he would not be caught and that he would return to Prague as a hero, fulfilling the wishes of Emperor Jiri. Little did he know that his master had fallen to same fateful blow of an assassin.

~~~~~​
It was September of 1523, and Giovanni’s maimed and feverish body lay in his chambers of Milan. Physicians came in and out trying to end the infection that had resulted from his two wounds. But the Duke’s body was growing frail, and it seemed his end was near.

“Will my father survive?” Sforza Maria asked, looking at the sweaty body of the Duke.

“I fear he lacks the strength to make it through the night,” one of the physicians answered.

Matteo whimpered at that, he was now 15 years old, and still a weak willed child, missing the Sforza passion and anger that was all too apparent in his younger brother Galeazzo. The youngest son of Giovanni, Cosimo Sforza who was nine took solace by following Galeazzo around helping him take their collective anger out on servants in the Castello.

“We must prepare to name you the Duke,” Lamberti whispered into Sforza’s ear. “I will gather the people to prepare the coronation in the duomo.”

“He’s not dead yet,” Sforza muttered.

Lamberti shook his head, through all the trials and tribulations Sforza Maria and his father had faced the disagreements over policy, the two had always shared a mutual respect and love for one another. Apparently the bonds of father and son could survive minor disputes. “We will need to be prepared anyway,” Lamberti whispered yet again and left the room to Sforza Maria, Matteo and the physicians.

“Listen…to him,” Giovanni grunted and then coughed shortly thereafter.

“But father, you will recover,” Sforza answered.

“The people…” he could not gather the strength to finish as his eyelids closed sending him back into a state of feverish unconsciousness.

The two older children sat in their father’s bed-chamber watching and waiting, when shortly after sunset Duke Giovanni Maria II Sforza would be pronounced dead by the physicians. Matteo would burst into tears of sorrow, while his older brother the soon to be Duke sat rigidly, knowing with a bit of apprehension that his time had finally come to take the reins of Milan as its new Duke.


Duke Giovanni Maria II Sforza of Milan died on September 25, 1523, a month after the assassination of Emperor Jiri Podebrand
 
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volksmarschall

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tnick0225 said:
Oh yeah guessing that old ruler is Fillippo Maria Visconti at game start? If you do a Milan game I'd suggest starting when Francesco Sforza is Duke he has great stats too! Or you could go a different route and play as the Ambrosian Republic after Fillippo Maria's death. But I was looking at the EUIV wiki and actually think Milan's NI's are pretty good. Forgot that there was an earlier one that reduced Idea cost by 10% which is helpful as well.
To be honest, I really don't adjust start dates. The only time I'm not playing the 1444 start is when I play one of the later scenarios, and I usually stop after having "won" the scenario if you will. The only other times I adjust start dates is when I want to see how Paradox applied their stats values to leaders or generals I am very well familiar with just to see if I agree with their ratings! :p

tnick0225 said:
Duke Giovanni Maria II Sforza of Milan died on September 25, 1523, a month after the assassination of Emperor Jiri Podebrand
At least the Bohemians got a new emperor elected. I gather they probably dominate the HRE electorates in place of Austria as per usual, unless they are barely edging out the secondary contender? Well, hopefully your new ruler will be able to finally bring to an end those Protestant uprisings, unless you're planning a massive conversion for the tax and production benefits! :p

I don't recall in any of my games, even as Austria, that the immensity of the Protestant rebellions have been as severe as it appears to have been for you...unless the AAR coverage just makes it seem higher than normal. I once lucked out in a Spanish game as Reformed and Protestant areas spread, not a single rebellion! That helped since I was in a deadly struggle with the Ottos for control of the Mediterranean.
 

tnick0225

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To be honest, I really don't adjust start dates. The only time I'm not playing the 1444 start is when I play one of the later scenarios, and I usually stop after having "won" the scenario if you will. The only other times I adjust start dates is when I want to see how Paradox applied their stats values to leaders or generals I am very well familiar with just to see if I agree with their ratings! :p
Completely understand that. I thought about starting this from the 1444 start with the Visconti rule, but decided the Sforzas are a much more interesting start, and its only 6 years after the initial start date, so didn't really lose anytime.

I tend to move start dates forward a lot more in CKII, however, just due to the fact that new dynasties appear like the Plantagenets and countries like Naples, Jerusalem, Trinacria, and Rum show up which makes things pretty fun and gives the game a completely different feel than the older start dates.

At least the Bohemians got a new emperor elected. I gather they probably dominate the HRE electorates in place of Austria as per usual, unless they are barely edging out the secondary contender? Well, hopefully your new ruler will be able to finally bring to an end those Protestant uprisings, unless you're planning a massive conversion for the tax and production benefits! :p

I don't recall in any of my games, even as Austria, that the immensity of the Protestant rebellions have been as severe as it appears to have been for you...unless the AAR coverage just makes it seem higher than normal. I once lucked out in a Spanish game as Reformed and Protestant areas spread, not a single rebellion! That helped since I was in a deadly struggle with the Ottos for control of the Mediterranean.
The Electorate is actually a mess at the moment. Bohemia actually retained the Empire with only two votes, one of which was their own personal vote, I don't recognize the CoA of the second elector though. Alsace and one other voted for Austria. Brandenburg voted for Sweden (weird), and Saxony voted for Pomerrania I think...wish I had written down the votes...but oh well.

I do intend to stay Catholic, I just feel its more suiting for Italy to retain that than it is to go Protestant. Although I may at some point decide to be a lot more tolerant, but at the moment at least with Giovanni, I felt persecution was more suiting.

I've only had three Protestant Rebellions so far though, but they came in quick succession so that may make it seem like its worse or a lot more than normal. And I really do think verdas was unto something when he asked if Bohemia was supporting the rebels, just because of the Czech names of the leaders and the frequency of the rebellions. So hopefully with Jiri dead and Premysl Otakar on the throne that will come to an end and our new ruler (Sforza Maria Sforza) won't have to worry about them at all :)
 

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tnick0225 said:
I do intend to stay Catholic, I just feel its more suiting for Italy to retain that than it is to go Protestant. Although I may at some point decide to be a lot more tolerant, but at the moment at least with Giovanni, I felt persecution was more suiting.

I've only had three Protestant Rebellions so far though, but they came in quick succession so that may make it seem like its worse or a lot more than normal.
I have such the penchant for history that even in games that are really "make your own history" I have a problem with deviating so much from the historical baseline it just doesn't feel right to me. Playing as Spain or Austria, I'll never convert and always pick Embrace the Counter Reformation despite some of the penalties and keep selecting "Defender of the Faith" just because...

Or playing as Sweden or forming the Netherlands, have to become Protestant, possibly Reformed (Netherlands) if they ever start popping up in my provinces, just because it seems proper that the two champions of Protestantism in Europe historically remain so! :p The fact that the rebellions all appeared in quick succession explains the reason why it seems so bad. Even so, I usually haven't experienced that bad of a succession of uprisings in any game, except with a certain Byzantine game I'm writing about, just haven't gotten there yet... :glare:
 

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Sforza Family Tree 1523

@volksmarschal: I kind of feel the same way, about conversions in game, just doesn't seem suiting to turn Italy into a Protestant stronghold...

There was actually a band of Lombard dissidents that invaded Milan during the last update that I left out of the AAR lol...they were harassing Savoy, and crossed into our territory and I had destroy them. There just wasn't any real way to make sense of that situation so I decided putting it in would be kind of weird and awkward. Like why would Lombard Patriots attack fellow Lombards? Luckily the Protestant rebellions haven't been too dangerous, and hopefully I'll get my missionary strength high enough to actually convert Verona and Treviso so I won't have to deal with those anymore.


~~~~~​

I've decided that since a new generation led by Sforza Maria Sforza is now about to take the throne of Milan, that I'd once again post a family tree as I imagine it.

Now in the previous family tree I posted, I had some historical Sforzas intermingled with the Sforzas that exist in-game. I've had to delete the historical ones to fit the in-game ones in. Which is why I am now posting a new updated family tree.


Giovanni Sforza had four kids, Sforza Maria (25 years old) the oldest, Matteo (15 years old), Galeazzo Maria (13 years old), and Cosimo (9 years old). Ages are as of the year that Giovanni died, if I remember the age differences correctly. I list them all as brothers due to those age differences. Really no other way to explain it, and in a way this family tree due to EUIV's succession system gives off a few spoilers...or does it???

The Montefeltros though not as great a dynasty as the Trastamara's still get put in the family tree due in large part to proximity and how prevalent they have and will be in our current narrative. I thought about adding the Castillian royal family as well since we are married into that dynasty, but as I think about it, they haven't really been very integral to our story...yet. Should they come to the forefront then I may flesh that out as well.

Over on the French side things are fairly straight-forward. I debated whether or not to include the Hungarian von Wittelsbach family into it, as they are married and allied to the French Sforzas. I decided after playing another 20 years into the game last week, that they need a place as they'll drop in and out of the narrative, and become ever more entangled with the Sforza family.

With all that said, there aren't many changes to the tree. Just fleshing out some in-game things at the expense of the historical members of the dynasty. I use this tree quite a bit when writing to help me from losing track of who is who, and hopefully it helps the readers in the same way.

 

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...you know, after playing some Assassin's Creed II the other day, I wonder if Caterina Sforza will make any appearances here... :p
 

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...you know, after playing some Assassin's Creed II the other day, I wonder if Caterina Sforza will make any appearances here... :p
You know, I tried my hardest to find a way to slip in Caterina and even Ludovico. I unfortunately never really found a satisfying way to fit them anywhere into the story. I think I may have mentioned them in passing as just background fluff, but never much more than that.

Caterina, however, was quite the interesting woman in history. Definitely didn't fit into the gender roles of those times.

Speaking of Assassins Creed II, whenever I google images revolving around the Sforzas I get inundated by pictures of that game! Lol...seems like the assassination of Galeazzo Maria is a mission in it?
 

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Chapter XLVII – Duke Sforza Maria Sforza

Chapter XLVII – Duke Sforza Maria Sforza​



The coronation of Sforza Maria Sforza as the Duke of Milan followed the same traditional ceremony as had the coronations of his forebears. The new Duke would ride into the Cathedral’s square, with the citizens of Milan shouting, “Viva il Duca!”. He would climb the podium that had been erected facing the Cathedral, and sit as Lamberti gave a short oration that encompassed a brief eulogy to the late Duke Giovanni Maria II, as well as singing the praises of Sforza Maria. Seven of the leading families with their designated heads, bestowed upon the new Duke the invested him with the ducal insignias: scepter, the standard, the sword, the cap, the collar, cloak, and seal. That was followed by two men from each of Milan’s six gates, stepping onto the podium to turn over the keys to the city. Then, the remaining noble families would step forward proclaiming their fealty to the Sforza, the final two to do such was Marchese d’Ivrea of Pisa, and the Marchese of Modena Ercole Farnese.

After d’Ivrea finished his oaths of fealty, Farnese would kneel, and then state, “All these men here, they merely pledge allegiance to your grace. You and your family, have protected Modena from dangers greater than any of us could imagine. I am humbled to serve such a family, and such a lord. Therefore, to go a step further than any of my fellow lords would dare go, I hereby forfeit my titles and my lands to you, your grace, so that we may be forever one with the greatness of Milan.”

Lamberti leaned over Sforza Maria’s shoulder and whispered something in his ear. The young Duke than stood, “Farnese, you do us a great honor.”

Farnese continued to kneel as Lamberti stepped forward and removed the chain bearing Modena’s seal from the Marchese’s neck. “Do you accept this honor, your grace?” Lamberti asked.

“I do,” Sforza Maria took the chain in his hands, and looked down at Farnese. “But you may keep your lands, and serve us as a Count. If your family so desires to bear the titles of Marchese you may.” Sforza Maria then placed the chain back upon Farnese’s neck, “Rise my faithful Count of Modena.”


Farnese rose, as the two embraced, and the crowd erupted once more into the roar of “Viva il Duca!”. Duke Sforza Maria then stepped from the podium as the nobles and his councilors followed suit cutting a path through the celebrating crowd, entering the Cathedral with the citizens flooding in behind the procession. Within the Cathedral a brief Te Deum[SUP]1[/SUP] was heard, ending the official coronation ceremonies on that day the 26 of September 1523.

~~~~~​
Six months had passed after the coronation of Sforza Maria. The time was spent travelling the duchy, from the provincial and largely rural areas of Cuneo, to the ports of Verona and Cremona. He spoke with local Podesta’s along the way, all the while being guided by none other than Geronimo Lamberti. While they travelled the young Duke would think of certain things and bring them up to see what Lamberti would say, one such topic of conversation centered around the fact that the Sforza family had still not been “officially” invested as the rightful rulers of Milan by the Emperor or the Pope.

“But the people have proclaimed the Sforzas rulers, your grace, so the whole purpose of Imperial or Papal investiture is moot,” Lamberti counselled.

“Francesco, my great-grandfather used to say, by the authority of the people…” thought Sforza Maria aloud.

“Yes, indeed…and what other authority is more powerful than that of the populace?”

Sforza Maria fell silent for a while, “Perhaps we could force the Pope to at least make it official…”

This surprised Lamberti more than anything he had seen or heard from Sforza Maria. “You mean attack the Pope?”

“No,” the Duke of Milan answered, “Perhaps an ally of his, like Siena. Draw him into a war, sack Bologna, and trade the investiture of Milan for his right to continue ruling the Romagna.”

Lamberti eyed his lord and master for a moment in silence, when Sforza Maria continued, “We still hold power over matters of religion in the Duchy, if we were to force the Pope to bow to us, and would that not make us de facto rulers of Christianity. The power to choose our own Popes, the power to dictate anything we wish to the rest of the Kings in Europe?”

Lamberti’s shock at the ambition of this was beyond anything he had imagined Sforza Maria capable of. Was this sort of crazed ambition, drive to harness the world some natural way of all Sforza? Or was it due in part to his tutelage of the Duke when he was younger? "I don’t see how such a thing would be allowed to come to pass. No one would recognize you as the head of the Church, your grace. Thinking such things is disastrous.”

“They wouldn’t have to recognize us as such,” Sforza Maria continued. “The Pope would owe his allegiance to us, however, and therefore seek our permission for any number of things he wishes to enact. Just think about it, Lamberti, it could be our way towards elevating Milan to the forefront of the world.”

That was just one of the more ambitious ideas the two would talk about during their trek throughout the lands of Milan. Other things would be spoken of too, such as how to make the French honor the alliance in the future. What would happen should the King of Castille suddenly without an heir. Which as far as the line of succession was concerned, reports had it that technically Sforza Maria was the most legitimate current heir to Castille.

Things passed by in peace during those months of visiting the various lords and city leaders of Milan. By April of 1524, the two men would return to Milan, where they would be greeted by the first trial of Sforza Maria’s reign. King Louis XII, had joined a war within the Holy Roman Empire. The war in question was the Wurzburgian-Wurttembergian Punitive War, in which the French joined on the side of one of Louis’s cousins the Duke of Wurttemberg. Shortly after the King of France threw his hat into the ring and taking leadership in defense of the Duke of Wurttemberg, he sent a letter requesting that Milan join in as well.

“He wants us to fight a war with him, when he couldn’t even lend his own men to our cause against Urbino?” Sforza Maria asked his councilors.

“Yes,” Lamberti answered. “I say we join the war, best not upset Louis.”

“I agree,” the Duke responded. “But we will not send our men. We will keep the Armata di Lombardia here in Milan, just as Louis kept his army in France when we needed his aid.”


Lamberti nodded not wholly agreeing with his lord’s assessment.

“Besides, many of the Princes of the Empire are sided with Wurzburg, correct?”

“Yes, my lord,” Lamberti said as he mentioned Hesse and several others that had sided with the aggressor. “What would you like me to write to Louis?”

“Tell him we support his defense of Wurttemberg. But, seeing as I just came to the throne there are other matters I must attend to before being able to march off into Germany. Tell him we are dealing with more Protestant rebels or something.”

The meeting would once again adjourn, with Sforza Maria venturing into the realm of foreign politics for the first time in his tenure as the new Duke of Milan. Far away, however, in another Catholic Realm, the Council of Krakow was convened at the behest of the Pope, and current target of Sforza’s ambitions. It was a meeting of leading Catholic clergy to discuss the rising threat of Protestantism and how best to curb the heretical preaching of its lay-men. Out of the Council would come the Church’s first major response to Protestantism, as well as some much needed reforms that would be enacted in an attempt to stem the tide of parishioners leaving the Church’s flock.


[SUP]1[/SUP] ~ Wikipedia link to listen to the Gregorian Chant version of the Te Deum as was mentioned at the end of the part regarding Sforza Maria's coronation.

~~~~~​
Its a good time to take a look at the rest of the world.


The Ottos are having issues, largely due to the fact that Poland, Lithuania and Hungary have all been tag-teaming them, along with the occasional Venetian war against them. If Leinster conquers Tyrone we may see Ireland appear. Norway has been gobbled up by Sweden. And in Northern Germany Munster is consolidating power.

Other than that, Castille is about to form Spain, and the Balkans are well Balkanizing. We have a Bosnia, an Epirus, an Achaia or is that Morea? I can't tell the name one of the two I suppose. Also Bulgaria has appeared. So seems like the Ottos may be in decline already only a quarter of the way into the 16th century.

Next is the one and only screenshot I have of this period that involves portions of the map that we cannot see. Sorry for its lack of largess...


I don't really know what to say about this part of the world. Except that the Timurids are making it look very very ugly. It does look like Orissa and Shan have teamed up against Bengal pushing it up into Nepal and portions that were probably once Tibet. Ming has lost control of Zhou.

Off the screen Oman is getting bigger, and Iraq is a nation. So Asia is seeing some changes while we more or less ignore it and focus on our little slice of lovely Italy. Should be interesting to see what happens around the world if Europe ever decides to go exploring and colonizing, because as of right now the only colony is a Portuguese one in Africa.
 

ScribleScrable

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Sforza Maria certainly is bold, but I hope he doesn't bite off more than he can chew.

That being said, deposing the pope and forcing Europe to kneel before a Milan sponser pontiff is a brilliant plan. I still haven't gotten around to buying EU4, so am a bit clueless on the game. Are thereantipope and excommunication CK2-type mechanics available?
 

JerseyGiants88

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Oh man, I am so rooting for the King of Castille to die soon. A War of the Spanish Succession featuring Milan and the Sforzas would be great. As long as you don't have to fight France I like your chances. Also, don't count the Ottomans out quite yet. I've seen them looking pretty crappy well into the 16th Century and then suddenly blow up into an unstoppable juggernaut.