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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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That's my house.

I've tried a couple AARs before, and some didn't pan out for one reason or another, but I kind of felt like they were all too dry and serious, so I'm going to try and be lighthearted and a little bit sillier. I can't promise humour, but I'll try one way or another. I don't figure this AAR will last too long, considering the AI doesn't last longer than a decade or two regularly. I'll be playing as the Satrapy of Karen, the only duke-level title held by a Zoroastrian, who is surrounded by powerful, angry Muslims. Without further ado:

Chapter 1: Holy War for Dummies



My father was a Zoroastrian. His father was a Zoroastrian. His father was an athe-- well, my point is, Zoroastrianism is a tradition. It's something in our blood, or at the very least in the water. I will not stand idly by as the very foundations of everything that I hold dear is pulled out from under us like a large, cartoonish rug. My name is Vandad Karen, and I'm screwed.



There is one other independent Zoroastrian, the Marzpanate of Gilan. To the north I am surrounded by relatively powerless Tengri leaders, to the South powerful and wealthy Mulsims: The Abbasids, Samanids, Saffarids.



See, at this rate, there's not going to be any Zoroastrians in a good twenty years. I'm pretty much the only Zoroastrian left who hasn't bent knee to the Muslim menace. I own some lands around the Caspian, but I'd like a vacation home along the Iranian Gulf, and on the way, I might take a little detour and clean up the place. That is to say, wholesale slaughter. Shah Vandad, I like the sound of it.



I declare a Holy War against the Muslims of Tabaristan, and won shortly after. They had no army, and I assume, no government, so I don't quite know who I'm declaring a Holy War to. I now control a nice southern Caspian coastline. It's a sight for sore eyes.



Finally my wife is pregnant. Hopefully she will give me a s



I'm so mad I could declare war on someone. Specifically, the count rebelling from the Samanids, Isma'il. He looks nice and juicy, and any chance to knock the Samanids down a notch is one that I'm going to take. Frankly, they scare the ever-loving crap out of me.





Isma'il quickly made amends, and now he stands at my border pointing and making faces, and it's getting on my nerves.



I decide that I am wasting my money sitting on it, and since I'm either too stupid or poor to build anything else, I build a Barracks.



Isma'il is ruffling feathers with the Samanid Sultan again, and is particularly vulnerable-looking this time. I declarea Holy War to reclaim the last county of Bukhara.



We beat off the Muslims with a stick at Ishtikhon, but they didn't seen to care. At all. I had to occupy almost the entire country before they would even begin talking. Anyway, after I finished occupying all his holdings, he rolled over.



Overall it was a pretty sweet deal. Makes me look good, and I got Bukhara.



The count of Yagbuid is revolting from his liege, the Cuman Sultan. Perfect! I could completely annex him when I win. I immediately declare a Holy War for Turkestan and begin walking north.



...
 
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BogMod

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Great start I hope you can keep the successes going!
 

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Chapter 2: Zoratrianism



At least in the wake of all this crap, my wife is pregnant. That's nice.



Apparently, the common folk have taken to calling me "The Kind". I begin to wonder if they've even met me, but then I remember that I don't talk to peasantry.



Since I won that Holy War against Isma'il, I own all of Bukhara. I decide to add Satrap of Bukhara to my long list of titles.



Aha! My wife finally gives birth, and it's a son. I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to properly educate him before I die.



Mayor Goshtab of Zanjan comes to me, and is whining about how I'm draining their pockets, as if I weren't aware. I remind him that my haircut was paid for in full by last month's taxes. He was less than amused, and began freaking out. I told him yes just to shut him up, and he went and told everyone. I guess I'll just wait until they aren't paying attention to raise the tazes again.



I just got the county of Rayy indirectly when my vassal conquered the single country Muslims who were there. I would have myself, but I just took all their land in 867, and if I tried to do it again, everyone would get all pissy.



I see that the Satrapy of Tabriz is busy twiddling their thumbs being vulnerable, and since they're Muslims, I see no problem killing them all wholesale. I attack Tabriz and we send them retreating into Azerbaijan, where they meet up with a peasant army.





Danger in Dailam. A prominent priest named Mazdak misspelled Zoroaster as "Zoroater", and refuses to admit he is wrong. Hordes of illiterate peasants have rallied by his cause, and have began calling themselves Mazdaki Zoroatrians, decrying the traditional beliefs and calling for great religious reforms. Mazdakis have gotten so angry at the perceived "percecution" that they have set farms across Dailam ablaze. They must be uprooted as eventually as possible.



I continue beating up Tabriz and I siege Gilan (which was unfortunately taken from a Zoroastrian ruler). I rip several Turks from their bedchambers and hold a public execution to make an example of them.

With the war going as it has, I feel fantastic!

 

Khalep

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Very interesting so far. I've tried my hand at the Zoroastrians a few times myself, but always ended up running into a brick wall of unbelievers at some point. Good luck and do keep it up!
 

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Very interesting so far. I've tried my hand at the Zoroastrians a few times myself, but always ended up running into a brick wall of unbelievers at some point. Good luck and do keep it up!
Thanks! Eventually, I'm going to run out of small Muslim realms to chew on. Wel'll see what happens then. I mean, eventually, I have to fight either the Saffarids or the Samanids.
 

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Chapter 3: Karen Stronk



As I lay in bed wailing from the bottom of a bucket, I recieve news from Rayy, and apparently the Tabrizi have called an ally from the south: The Dulafid Emirate, and they are certainly threatening.



Yesterday I opened the window and looked at a cloud. I feel much better.



I take back Rayy when the Dulafids are distracted, and I beat them at Firuzkuh and Rostamrood.





At Rostamrood, I caught the Satrap's elderly friend, and he capitulates, giving me all of Tabriz.



I decided to add, again, the Satrapy of Tabriz to my list of titles.



We are powerful, but not safe. The Samanids and Saffarids still terrify me.



The Samanid Sultanate has almost 11k troops, not to mention the allies they could call in defense of a Holy War. The very thought scares me nearly to death. Nearly.



I wake up in the middle of the night, with Death whispering sweet nothings into my ear as I sleep.



I think my vassals are beginning to get angry about all this fighting. It's just a hunch, but somebody sent a bunch of pizzas to my house yesterday.



As is the longstanding tradition in my family, I became well after being sick for a week. It happens so often I'm not even going to mention it anymore.



I decide to build more military infrastructure in Akhur, since my military is still frighteningly small.



My army is bigger than it was, with 6500 possible and still 1646 event troops leftover, but it's still smaller than the Samanids or the Saffarids, and seriously, those guys are always angry.
 
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Rabid

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Rest for a while, then strike north? Your only hope is to avoid fighting the major Muslims until you've blobbed enough or they're in a huge war (preferably a civil war). Anyway good job in not getting annexed yet :p
 

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Where did you see the number of troops he can call up?
 

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Rest for a while, then strike north? Your only hope is to avoid fighting the major Muslims until you've blobbed enough or they're in a huge war (preferably a civil war). Anyway good job in not getting annexed yet :p
Yeah, Turkestan has caught my eye. And thank you!

Where did you see the number of troops he can call up?
That's in the View Realm Tree tab, the button is next to Family Tree and Dynasty in Character sheet. Hover over the percentage next to anyone's name to find their levies.
 

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Interesting. I see that the Dulamids and the guys in Azerbaidzjan are also still independent, so possible prey if you don't feel like going up against the big ones. There should be some Zoroastrian counties left in Azerbaidzjan too, to speed up your recruitment. Consider saving up some money for mercenaries; if you add 3000 horse archers to your 1600 special events troops and 6500 levies, you can beat those Samanids. Plus, horse archers rule.
 

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Interesting. I see that the Dulamids and the guys in Azerbaidzjan are also still independent, so possible prey if you don't feel like going up against the big ones. There should be some Zoroastrian counties left in Azerbaidzjan too, to speed up your recruitment. Consider saving up some money for mercenaries; if you add 3000 horse archers to your 1600 special events troops and 6500 levies, you can beat those Samanids. Plus, horse archers rule.
Thanks for reading! As of this next update, I'm fighting around Azerbaijan. The count in Shirvan is Zoroastrian, though, so I can't declare war as of yet.
 

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Chapter 4: The Shirvani Betrayal



My son turns six and my wife starts bugging me about getting my son out of the house, to see the world. She suggests I send him off to be with my half-sister, but just to spite her I decide to handle his education myself.



To the West, a Marzoban in Azerbaijan is busy getting subjugated by the Muslim invaders, and I offer a hand. I figure, since he's really close to accepting vassalage, even though he isn't de Jure under me, and he doesn't like me much, the +50 opinion boost might help. So, what I do is, like a basketball player whose teammate is getting invaded by Muslims, I lend a hand.



To my great pleasure, the enemy falls into my trap, going through the small mountain path in Tabriz, and we surround them and kick their collective arses, flanking them from both sides.



After handing Yazidid's arse to him on a platter, he leaves Khosrau alone, begrudgingly. I go to talk to Khosrau about the vassalization, but he shuts me down, after all I've done for him.



Dick. I'm so mad about it that all of my hair suddenly turns grey and wispy.



I went outside and found Farzad ripping apart a rat while two of his friends pointed at him menacingly. I talked to him about it, and I told him that even though rats are gross, something something yada yada yada. Anyway, after my two-hour lecture on kindness and the three-hour tangent about the problems with his generation, I think I convinced him.



While the mayors aren't looking, I raise the taxes back to normal, and I am making about 2 bucks more per month.



Since I have verified that none of my vassals care about what I do, I decide to rewrite my inheritance: I allow all of my vassals to vote in an heir, and luckily, they vote in my dumb kid. My daughter and wife are furious, but I have no idea why.
 
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Amodelsino

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This is actually really entertaining. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes, especially since IMO the Zoroastrians are the hardest group to play out of the new additions.
 

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Chapetr 5: How Important Could an S be?



Since my vassals are a little bit less uppity lately, I've decided to declare a Holy War for Hamadan on the Dulafid Emirate. I figure he's unpopular enough that, at the very least, the Samanids, Saffarids, and Abbasids stay out of it.



My wife is pregnant again. Thankfully I switched away from Gavelkind, so if it's a boy I don't have to worry about realm-splitting inheritances.



To add insult to injury, a Mazdaki Zoroatrian named Mehrzad has led an armed unsurrection in Tabriz, giving me another 4000 enemies to deal with.



Or so I thought. Luckily, the Muslims were walking through the area, and got attacked by the peasant horde. This brought the peasants down by ~1000 and the Muslims by half.



My wife gives birth to a worthless son named Babak, which seems fitting, because of the military victory won there. Nonetheless, he is a little scamp who will never amount to anything.



My hostage, a vassal to the Dulafids, the Sheikh of Luristan, died in the dungeons. Well, to be fair, he never made it to his cell, but he did die on the stairs down, so I'll give him that.

Anyways, I've been fighting around the Dulafid Emirate, kicking arse and taking names, and I think he's about to surrend-

 

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A kind conqueror whose prisoners fall to their death off dungeon stairs, who curses and who doesn't care for his own children? Human nature is full of contradictions.
 
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A kind conqueror whose prisoners fall to their death off dungeon stairs, who curses and who doesn't care for his own children? Human nature is full of contradictions.
It's all about outward appearances. And it's like Ivan the Terrible, it's the archaic usage of the word. In this context, kind means "a horrible monster".