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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Apologies for the lack of images in this post. When I started playing I hadn't yet decided to do an AAR, but there is one image at the end, and I promise more images in future updates, so bear with me.

Chapter 1: Urbino is Ours.

In the year of our Lord 1444, Pope Eugenius IV ruled over Roma, Romagna, and Avignon. He was not a very skilled ruler, having poor military skill and even worse administrative and diplomatic skill. Fortunately the papal states were home to many talented diplomats who would serve him well. Indeed, diplomats would soon prove more useful than soldiers in expanding the Pope's power and influence.

Eugenius made it his mission to conquer Urbino, whose lands he considered as rightly belonging to the papacy. However his hesitation cost him the opportunity to quickly annex Urbino. Despite having the superior army, Urbino had aquired an alliance and royal marriage with the king of Aragon. Aragon was already in personal union with Naples, and the Pope suspected this was part of a plot by Aragon to eventually diplomatically vassalize Urbino, and further increase his influence on the peninsula. This state of affairs could not be allowed to stand, but for now there was little the Papacy could do about it, Aragon was too powerful to take on at the moment. Eugenius excommunicated the King of Aragon, hoping to encourage other Catholic states to attack, and making him unable to defend Urbino. Unfortunately no one took the bait. France was still embroiled in the hundred years war against England, and Castille was finishing the reconquista.

Meanwhile the Papal diplomats were having great success in improving relations with the leaders of powerful European nations. When relations with Austria improved, The Papal State was welcomed into the Holy Roman Empire. They soon secured alliance with Austria, Milan, Savoy, and France. There was some tension, as France and Austria were rivals, and both of them resented the fact that the Pope was allied to the other. Still, the hard work of the diplomats ensured that both countries had excellent relations with the Papacy, despite this issue.

With these new alliances Eugenius felt confident that he would be safe from any attempted invasion by his neighbors. However before he was willing to attack Urbino he had to make sure his allies would back him up. Most of the monarchs of Europe enjoyed playing Truth or Dare at official state functions, and Papal diplomats managed to slip in questions as to whether they would support a war against Urbino, to which they all replied no.

Before long, the Pope was called to war by Austria. The Teutonic Order had attacked Pommerania and as Emperor, Austria was bound to defend him. On TO's side was Hungary and Mecklenburg. Austria invaded Hungary, while his many allies in the HRE assisted Pommerania in attacking mecklenburg and TO. While the Pope did declare war on the Teutonic Order, he didn't actually send any troops to fight. He did however give his Papal blessing, which seemed to satisfy his allies. Very soon the war was settled, Hungary and Mecklenburg would pay Pommerania a small amount, and TO would give up a single province to Pommerania.

During that war, Tuscany had declared war on, and annexed Siena. He took advantage of the fact that Austria was distracted with a major war, and was unable to defend an imperial state. Tuscany's growth was a threat to the Pope and would have to be dealt with eventually.

Soon after the war with TO was concluded Eugenius died. The college of Cardinals elected Clemens VII to replace him. Clemens, often known by his nick name "Guilty Spark" was an average administrator and military planner, but a slightly above average diplomat. He was certainly an improvement over his predecessor at running the place. He was, however, under the influence of England and would not excommunicate a national sovereign or call crusades without permission from the King of England. His main goal was to accomplish the mission Eugenius had set out, to annex Urbino, and for now that mostly meant keeping his diplomats at work.

France soon called them to war against Burgundy and Burgundy's ally Savoy. Although they were allied with France and Savoy, it was clear which ally was more important, and Clemens accepted France's call to arms, ending his relationship with Savoy. No troops were sent, but its the thought that counts. When the war was ended, France had handily beaten his oppopnents, taking a single province from Savoy, and taking a few from Burgundy.

When the war concluded, Clemens began to plan an invasion of Urbino. Once again Diplomats were sent to discern if the Papal allies would assist. They were reluctant, but the diplomats reminded them that the Pope had joined Austria and France in their own wars. True no troops were actually sent to fight in either war, but the silver tongued diplomats told tales of Papal armies fighting glorious battles. Soon, France, Austria and even Milan agreed to join the war. As expected Aragon joined the war in defence of Urbino. Castille, having his own anti-Aragon agenda, decided to send subsidies to the Pope during this war, which would prove invaluable.

France, Milan, and Austria all sent the bulk of their forces to Iberia to invade Aragon, but in the meantime, the Papal armies were alone in Italy. They were a bit stronger than Urbino's army, and just about equal to Naple's army. Pope Clemens himself lead the army, hoping to wipe out Urbino's forces before Naples could arrive, rather than fighting them together. Unfortunately it did not work out that way. Naples arrived in time to save the Urbinese army and together they beat the Papal army. Clemens tried to retreat North to Milan, but the enemy army chased him down. The entire Papal army was wiped out, down to the last man. Clemens himself survived only because he disguised himself as a nun, and the enemy army ignored him.

Clemens fled to Romagna were he put the Castillian subsidies to use, and began recruiting a new army. Meanwhile the Urbino/Naples army laid siege to Roma. Soon the wall fell, and Roma was occupied. Urbino/Naples moved to invade Romagna. Being highly outnumbered, and not wanting to lose another entire army, Clemens moved his army north to Milan to keep it intact, and allowed the enemy to lay siege to Romagna. As the months passed one Aragonese province after another had fallen, and eventually the Pope convinced him to agree to a white peace.

Now Urbino was in the war alone. The Papal army was not fully rebuilt and was not strong enough to fihgt Urbino, but when the Austrian and French armies showed up in force, the army seiging Romagna was wiped out. The Papal armies moved to invade Urbino, while his allies liberated Roma. Soon the war was over and Urbino was forced into full annexation by the Papal State. Despite losing his entire army, and having his capital occupied, the Pope still achieved his goal in the war due to the assistance of powerful allies. Bringing rivals France and Austria into a war on the same side demonstrated that the Pope was a force to be reckoned with.

Although Milan had attacked Aragon, his armies were notably absent in the later years of the war. It seems Tuscany was up to no good again. Tuscany had once again taken advantage of Austria's distraction to declare war on another HRE member, this time Modena. Milan was allied with Modena and joined the fight against Tuscany. Even as this war still rages on, a Tuscan spy was discovered fabricating claims on Romanga. It seems his next target was aleady chosen.


 
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Chapter 2: Armies are Useless

While Tuscany's war with a few other Italian states continued to rage on, the Pope used this oppurtunity to deal with a matter of church hierarchy. It seemed a cardinal had made his home in Firenze and was socializing with the local Aristocrats. The last thing Clemens wanted was for the Church to fall under the influence of Tuscany. As the Pope he could obviously just replace the cardinal, but that sort of thing makes it look the it was a mistake to appoint him as a cardinal in the first place and would cause people to doubt the infallibiity of the Pope. It was better to deal with these matters in another with was arranged for the cardinal to be bribed and move his home to Ancona, where he could be put under the influence of the right people, and maintain the church's independence.



More good news came soon after. Tuscany's military power was broken, they were thoroughly defeated by the alliance of North Italian states that were fighting against them. They were forced to release Siena and Pisa as independent states, this left them with only Firenze under their control. In order to protect against further Tuscan explansion, the Pope reached out to Siena with a military alliance which was accepted.



The delight at Tuscany's complete reversal of fortunes was so great that the Pope had a heat attack. His successor, Paulus II, was an excellent administrator, but he was a below average military planner, and he seemed to have no idea at all how to handle diplomatic affairs. His lack of diplomatic skill would be a major weakness for the papacy, as diplomacy had been its main avenue to expansion.



When Paulus first ascended to the Papal throne there were major internal matters to deal with. Unrest in Ancona was at extremely high levels, and separatists wanted Urbino to once again become an independant state. The Pope ignored the issue for a as long as he could but eventually an organized rebellion took place. The Papal Army was sent in to wipe them out.



The Papal army won a very narrow victory and managed to dissuade separatists for the time being. In other news, the Pope had recieved a letter from Iberia. It seemed Aragon had wanted to marry off their heir to the heir of of Castille, but Castille had rejected. This was good news. A united Iberian power with ambitions in Italy would be very dangerous.



Some time later, Milan ended its Military alliance with The Papacy. Possibly they had ambitions of conquering Papal territory. Still, with both France and Austria as allies, there should be no serious danger to the Papal State from Milan.



In a short time the Papacy was called to separate wars by both France and Austria.





The Papacy of course accepted his allies calls. Following the policies set by his predeccesors, he would join a war without out actually fighting, just to stay in the good graces of his allies. However Venice screwed with this plan. Since they were allied with Burgundy against France they sent their army to Romanga to fight the Papal army, and they completely wiped it out. Once again the Papal State must rebuild its army from scratch. Venice seemed to have no interest in occupying any Papal provinces, and they soon sent their armies northward. Both wars were quickly and decisively decided in favor of the Papal allies.

Some time later Siena came to the Pope requesting assistance in a war they had started against Tuscany. Although the Pope would like to see Tuscany finished off once and for all, this seemed like a bit of a risky war due to Tuscany's alliance with England. Still he foresaw a glimmer of a chance that a unified attack by Siena and the Papal army would be enough to beat Tuscany's army, and they could win the war before England arrived. It was a badly miscalculated decision to join Siena in the war. Pretty soon the war turned out like this.



The pope had fled to Avignon, the only territory still under his control. Seeing that the war was lost he tried to make peace with Tuscany but they were not interested in anything he had to offer, they only wanted annexation of Siena. Which led to the question, why wasn't the war over now that Siena was occupied?

As the months passed on, the Papal coffers began to run dry. All the Pope's advisors were fired, there was simply no way to pay thier salaries when his most valuable provinces were occupied. Eventually Siena agreed to be annexed, and Tuscany was once again gaining power. The Pope was fortunante that Tuscany made no demands of them. Still they had lost a lot in the war, their entire army was destroyed, their treasury was running very low, all the Pope's advisors had found jobs at fast food chains, where the pay was more reliable. It would take awhile to recover from this war.

 

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Chapter 3: The Pope's Weapons

After the disasterous war with Tuscany and England, Pope Paulus decided that placing his faith in armies was a mistake, and for the next several years The Papal State had no standing army. The Pope used the tax funds to construct improvements in the lands he ruled and make them more productive. He encouraged education, and was soon joined by a new generation of educated men, just recently graduated, who would assist him in the administration of the Papal State.



One day a pilgrim came to see the Pope, asking for him to pray to God, so that the people of Abruzzi could gain independence from Naples. He told the Pope how their Umbrian culture was different from the culture of their overlords. The people of Abruzzi would always be picked last when forming teams to play sports, and they would get their heads shoved into toilets by the Neapolitan aristocracy. When the Pope heard of these injustices, he told the pilgrim that Abruzzi would soon be liberated from Naples and be put under the Pope's own protection.

The situation in Naples had changed somewaht in recent years. They were no longer in personal union with the crown of Aragon, but now had their own monarch ruling them. They were allied with Aragon, as well as Milan and Ferrara. The Pope sent the order to declare war on Naples. When asked by an aide how they were going to fight a war with no standing army the Pope replied, "For men a sword or a spear is a weapon, for a king other men are his weapons, for the Pope kings are his weapons."

The Pope made travel arrangments to hide out in Avignon for the immediate future, and sent word to France and Austria that they were now at war with Naples.



When the war started Ferrara and Naples quickly sent armies to lay siege to Roma, while Milan sent their army to attack Romagna. A fleet from Aragon soon showed up to drop off an army in Ancona.



Meanwhile in Iberia the massive French and Austrian armies invaded Aragon facing little resistance. The Pope began recruiting a small army of his own, in Avignon. He was adamant that the French and Austrians should not get credit for winning this war, and he must march victoriously into Abruzzi, when the time came.



In Italy Ancona had fallen to the Aragonese invaders, but a French vassal was make gains in occupying MIlan's provinces.



MIlan soon recognized that they would be no match for the force that was invading their land, they quickly agreed to concede to defeat to the Pope, and bowed out of the war. The Aragonese army soon move to Romagna to continue the siege Milan had started. The French vassal army also moved to Romagna to do battle with them. They enjoyed numerical superiority, and for a time it seemed they might win the battle. But the Neapolitan army had just finished its siege and occupied Roma, they sent their armies to join the Aragonese army and together defeated the French vassals.



Their victory was short lived however. One province after another fell to the French and Austrians, including the capital of Aragon, and they too were forced to concede defeat. After this the full force of the Papal allies came flooding into the Italian peninsula. As planned, the Pope himself would lead the army into Abruzzi, although he would send one regiment to liberate Roma. The Austrians had another war to deal with and so their armies were not present during this phase of the war, but the French more than handled the job.



Ferrara soon faced a complete and utter defeat at the hands of the French. Thye were forced to sign a humiliating treaty, where the ruler of Ferrara must wear a chicken suit at all state functions. This greatly enhanced the image of power that the Pope projected, by forcing the ruler to do such a thing. The Neapolitan army was also crushed by the French, and soon they had no choice but to surrender Abruzzi to the Pope.



The Pope received a an offer of alliance from Pisa. The Pope accepted hoping this would be a measure to keep the growth of Tuscany in check. Hopefully it would not go the same way as that ill fated alliance with Siena.



A Philosopher was gaining popularity, who was preaching ideas that seemed to contradict Church doctrine. Many bishops and cardinals looked to the Pope to denounce this philosopher. Much to their surprise the Pope endorsed the Philosopher and even spoke of new interpretations of religious doctrine, that would not contradict what the Philosopher was saying.

Many of the traditionalist members of the clergy were displeased with the Pope's decision and defected to the Waldensian heresy. With the influx of many welathy clergymen, the Waldensian heresy began to grow in strength until they were prepared to openly revolt agains the Pope's authority.



The Waldensians had foolishly split up their forces into 2 armies, and tried to lay siege to 2 provinces at once. Both armies were approximately the same strength as the Pope's own army, and he believed victory could be achieved by taking them on one at a time. First they attacked the rebels in Ancona, and after a very close battler, the Papal army won a narrow victory, and the rebels dispersed. Having taken significant casualties they needed to to wait a few months to build up their forces before taking on the remaining rebel army.

When they were back at full strength the Papal army attacked the rebels in Abruzzi, and after another close battle the Papal army was defeated and forced to retreat. The available manpower in the Papal State ws nearly depleted and it would be a very long time until they were back at full strength, although the rebel army was replenishing its numbers at an alarming rate. Soon Abruzzi had fallen and the rebel army marched on Rome itself, and there was little the Pope could do to stop it. It would be very unfortunate if this heresy was able to take root in this ancient and holy city.

The Pope's luck began to change when France declared war on Burgundy. The pope accepted the call to arms without hesitation, but added a note saying he would probably be unable to send much assistance in the war, because he was facing a massive uprising of heretics. France decided to assist the Pope and send an army to Roma to fight the heretics.



After the heretics were defeated on the battle field, the French army returned North to ultimately defeat Burgundy in the war. Meanwhile the Pope sent his army to lay seige to Abruzzi, and take out the last Waldensian hold outs. The province was restored to his control, and no heretics were offering armed resistance at the moment, but the heresy had taken root in Abruzzi, and it would take time to completely stamp it out. Until then civil disobediance and non violent resistance were common, and greatly reduced the productivity of the province.

 
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Chapter 4: Taking Down Tuscany

One day a diplomat from Ferrara arrived, asking for diplomatic access through Papal lands. The Pope reviewed the the situation, Tuscany had declared war on Ferrara to take the province of Modena, and their ally Naples had joined Tuscany in the war. Ferrara itself was occupied, but Tuscany itself could not achieve their goal until Modena was occupied. Ferrara wanted access through Papal lands so they could bypass the army laying siege to Modena, and attack Tuscany's capital Firenze.

The Pope allowed them to pass through Romagna, and soon Ferrara's army was laying seige to Firenze. Tuscany had no choice but to break their seige of Modena to defend their capital. The tiny Ferraran army was forced to retreat into Papal lands to avoid the much larger Tuscan army. Tuscany asked for military access from the Pope, so they could chase down and annihilate the Ferraran army. The Pope took great pleasure in denying that request. With his actions, the Pope halted Tuscany's expansion, during what should have been an easy victory.

They remained at a stalemate for years to come. Every time Modena was under siege, Ferrara could threaten Firenze, forcing Tuscany to break the seige and return home. The Ferraran armies could escape to Papal lands, and supplies could be brought into Modena so they could survive the next seige.



A new Pope ascended to the throne of St Peter. Like his predecessor, he was an excellent administrator, and focused much of his attention to building improvements and making the lands he ruled more productive.



In a surprising move the electors had chosen the king of Bohemia to be their new Emperor. It seems they had lost confidence in Austria. Perhaps they were looking for someone who was capable of defending them from outside forces, such as the ever growing threat of France, and wanted someone who spent less time serving the Pope in his Italian wars. Bohemia was a decent choice, being a powerful nation who might provide some measure of protection to the HRE states, but was far less entwined with the Papacy, politically. Still the Pope felt it would be wise to get on the good side of this new emperor and sent diplomats to improve relations between them.



The Pope recieved word that sailors had brought back a terribl sickness, which had already spread throughout the whole city. The Pope made the decision to quarantine the city to keep it from spreading, and pray to God for the sickness to pass.



As the Pope began to centralize more and more direct control in the hands of the Church, the local aristocracy began tofind itself with less power and fewer privileges. They demanded the Pope give them more local authority, which the Pope denied. He made it clear that his supreme authority was not be questioned. Despite losing much of their politcal power, these old families still had much personal wealth, and would stir up unrest against the Pope.

Despite the many years that had passed, Tuscany was still at war with Ferrara, and the war had not changed one bit. They were still in a stalemate. The Pope thought this would be a good time to strike at Tuscany. Conveniently, the Pope's staff "discovered" documents giving the pope a claim on Siena, currently held by Tuscany. According to the documents, Emperor Constantine gave the Church authority to rule over that land after betting it in a game of Poker, and losing to the Pope of the day, Julius I.

With this claim in hand, the Pope declared war on Tuscany, who called Naples into war with them. The Holy Roman Emperor, surprisingly, did not join the war to defend Tuscany, nor did Austria join the war to aid the Pope. It seemed a major war had already broken out in Germany, and both were busy. No matter, France would offer more than enough assistance, and even Pisa sent a single regiment to aid the Papal army.

At the start of the war, the Pope split his army to lay siege to Firenze and Siena. The combined Tuscan/Neapolitan army was still laying siege to Modena, trying to hurry up and bring that war to a conclusion. The much larger French came down on them like a hammer.



Soon the French army had crushed Tuscan and Neapolitan forces, and moved down the penisula to lay siege to Naples itself. Many loyal students got caught up in the war enthusiasm and wished to join the war against the Pope's enemies.



The war was already under control, and he had little need for soldiers with France watching his back. Well educated administrators would be more important after the war had ended, so the Pope asked the students to continue their education. Meanwhile Naples had fallen to the French and were forced to sign a peace treaty. The anulled all alliances with Tuscany, Aragon, and MIlan, leaving Naples politcally isolated, at least for the time being.

Tuscany itself had fallen completely under the control of the Papal and Pisan armies. While it was tempting to annex them outright, the Pope forsaw difficulties and adminstrating the region, due to huge local unrest. Instead he made the Tuscany swear fealty to the Pope and accept him as overlord. They would maintain control over local affairs, but they would cease any agressive wars of expansion, and join the Pope in any wars he called, as well as paying a tax to the Church. With this treaty signed, Tuscany's expansion was halted for good.



The Pope was disturbed to hear that there was a new religous movement gaining momentum in the Northern regions of the HRE. For now only a few states had converted, but if the emperor doesn't do something, it could continue to spread. Most alarming was the conversion of Brandenburg to this new Protestant faith. Brandenburg was growing into a sizable power in the North, and may have the military strength to spread the faith beyond their borders.



No doubt related to this Protestant reformation was a growing disrespect for the Papacy. Rumors were being spread that the Pope was some sort of power monger. He decided to embrace the reputation. If they already believed he was a power monger, he would show them how much power he was capable of mongering.
 

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subbed

Good job so far.
 

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subbed

Good job so far.
Thank you. In terms of writing AAR's I'm still pretty knew to this so I'm trying to find my voice, but I think its going okay so far. In terms of gameplay I think I've done pretty well, its my first game after playing the tutorials and the Papal State is not too strong at the start. Focusing a lot on diplomacy has definately paid off.
 

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Chapter 5: Expansion and Integration

After defeating Tuscany, and forcing him into vassalage, Pope Benedictus was increasingly interested in assuming more centralized control over the region, but knew it would be difficult without the cooperation of the local Aristocracy. He sent diplomats to smooth over relations.



Disasterous news reached the Pope, due to the entrenchment of Protestantism, the price of fish was plummeting. Yet another reason why this heresy must be stamped out, not just for religious reasons but for economic one as well. There are villages across the mediteranean whose entirey livlihood depends on selling fish, and this will bring about complete ruin on them.



The Waldensian heresy was mostly stamped out, after its initial uprising decades ago, yet many within the Church still secretly propagate this heresy. The Pope put more effort into crushing this heresy once and for all, but the heretics proved surprisingly good at evading detection.



The Pope gained a claim on the province of Bari, currently held by Naples. The claim was gained by a recent dodgeball game, where the King of Naples and his army played against the Pope and his army. Each side bet one province to give up if they should lose. While the King of Naples claims the bet was just a joke, and he wasn't serious. However the Pope believes he has enough witnesses supporting him to press the claim. He began making preparations for a war with Naples, but before he could declare war something else interrupted.



France had declared war on Brittany, who was joined by their allies Castille and Savoy. The Papal State joined the war without hesitation. Genoa was also allied with France and joined the war. In the early stages of the war France sent most of their forces to invade Brittany itself. But when a Castillian army tried to invade via Bearn, a portion of the French army was sent to meet them in battle and it drove them back. Savoy sent an army to occupy Genoa. Meanwhile Genoa's army was parading around Northern France, possibly enjoying the sites and local cuisine.



The French army eventually sent a large enough force to wipe out Savoy's army, and prevented Genoa from being occupied. Savoy was soon forced to bow out of the war. Several of Brittany's provinces fell to the French army, and Castille made a last desperate attempt to help them, this time sending a larger army than the previous one. It too was no match for the French.



With Brittany completely occupied, the war continued to drag on, as the French began a full scale invasion of Castille. The Pope had important business to deal with, which could not be accomplished during the war. SO he sought a white peace with Brittany, which was accpeted. France was slightly upset with the Pope seeking a separate peace, but as always, the Papal diplomats smoothed over relations.



The Pope began negotiations to fully integrate Tuscany into the Papal State. He made a deal with the local aristocracy, to grant them various titles and offices within the Church, thus fully integrating them into the Church hierarchy. The negotiations would take several years. In the meantime Austria had been elected as Holy Roman Emperor again, after the lackluster performance of Bohemia.



The Pope was preparing to finally press his claim on Bari, and declare war on Naples. Noticing that he was allied with Castille, he decided to postpone the war a couple years, until Castille was in no position to join the war.



France had dealt a serious blow to the Castillian army, and occupied so many of their provinces, they had no interested in defending Naples at this time. However MIlan and Hungary would honor their alliances. On the Pope's side, France, Austria and Pisa would all join the war, as well as their loyal vassal Tuscany.



There was a time, in previous wars, when Naples could overwhelm the Papal army. Those days are long gone. This time the Pope had the advantage. After their defeat, the shattered remains of the Neapolitan army fled to the bootheel of Italy, while the Pope's army laid seige to Bari. The Tuscan army laid seige to Napoli. Austria and Hungary shared a border, and immediately fighting broke out between them, but Austria had the upper hand. Milan sent some of its armies East to assist Hungary, but they were swiftly beaten and forced to retreat.



Terrible News was received, Pope Bendictus had died, while leading the siege of Bari. Many people saw this as a a sign from God to end the war, and stability dropped, but the new Pope, Innocentius, continued on what his predecessor had started.



The French finally finished their war with Castille and could bring their army into this war in earnest. They began their invasion of Milan. Even Pisa was feeling courageous enough the send their army to attack Milan. Meanwhile the seige of Bari was over and the province under Papal control. The Pope's army moved south to crush the last remains of the Neapolitan army, and then they began laying seige to another province.



During the war, a final agreement between the Church and the Tuscan aristocrats was reached, and Tuscany ceased to exist. New flags and uniforms were handed out to the former Tuscan army, even as they were laying siege to Napoli, and at once they were now part of the Papal army. Even the Lombard culture that was dominant in Tuscany was acepted as an integral part of the Papal State.



Milan having recognized it was completely outmatched in this war offered up a peace deal to the Pope. Since he was feeling particularly generous, the Pope accepted, rather than force them into a more punitive peace deal.



The Pope recieved word of yet another religious faction emerging in North Germany. The Emperor ought to crack down on this sort of nonsense before it leads to chaos.



Finally Naples accepted defeat. The province of Bari was turned over to Papal control.



This was a major turning point for the Papal State. The Pope had declared an expansionist war, and won it, without the capital being occupied. The Papal army was stronger than ever, and the Papal State was finally growing into a mid sized power.

 
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Chapter 6: Retake Ferrara

Using the newly aquired tax base from the recent incorporation of Tuscany into the Papal State, the Pope ordered the construction of a fleet, and an increase in the size of the army. The Pope sought to be an unmatched power on the Italian peninsula, but still had a ways to go before matching the power of Venice. The Pope began devising the next step to gain supremacy over the peninsula.



The Pope was in theory the overlord of the duchy of Ferrara, but in practice it acted as an independant state. Feeling that he had justification for declaring war, to reassert his authority over Ferrara, the Pope sent word to his allies to prepare for war.



Austria decided to sit out this war. HRE elections have become very close in the recent decades, and Austria only managed to win the last election with 3 of the 7 electors supporting him, because the HRE is fractured into so many factions. The slightest thing could tip the balance back to Bohemia. The last thing he needed was to join in an aggresive war against an HRE state. That sort of thing could damage his reputation with the electors. The best he could do is remain neutral and not actively go to war against the Pope although even that was a bit of a risk for him.

France however would be joining the war, and would provide more than enough muscle to achieve the Pope's aims. Pisa would join as well. On Ferrara's side was Venice, the one Italian power whose military still outmatched the Papal army. At the beggining of the war, the Papal army immediately attacked the Ferraran army, which they greatly outnumbered. However the Ventian army soon showed up to assist, and their combined forces were able to beat the Papal army.



Forced to retreat down the Peninsula, the combined army lead by Ferrara made their way into Papal lands. In a daring move, the tiny Pisan army laid seige to Ferrara forcing the Ferraran army to return home. For a time these two armies played cat and mouse, but the French armie were on their way, and would soon invade Venetian lands.



While the larger portion of the French army invaded Venitian controlled provinces, a small part linked up with the now recovered Papal army to win a decisive victory against the Ferraran/Venetian combined army. From then on Ferraran and Venetian provinces could be occupied without resistance.



Even after occupying many of their mainland provinces, the Venetians were stubbornly refusing many of the harsh demands the Pope wished to place on them. Due to their complete and overwhelming naval dominance, a few provinces, including the Venetian capital, would be completely unreachable by the Papal forces. However neither side wanted to drag out the war for too long, so Venice offered to make a monetary payment, which the Pope accepted.



Ferrara was forced to recognize the Pope as his overlord. From this point on Ferrara was a vassal in name and in reality.



The Pope's expansion northward was beginning to make a few people nervous. Pisa ended their alliance with the Papal State, and entered into alliance with Milan, hoping to keep the Papal expansion in check. The Pope was not terrible concerned about their dinky little alliance, but there were powers that the Pope was worried about upsetting, notably Austria. For the time being the Pope would delay further expansion in Northern Italy and turn his attention to other matters.



Horrible news reached the Pope, the protestant reformation had now reached its tendrils into the heart of Italy. One province after another converted, and now the heretics were within spitting distance of the Holy City itself.





This was an incredibly disturbing turn of events, however the Pope was soon distracted by other events. He had his annual ping pong match with the King of Naples to prepare for. They were rivals after all. The king of Naples suggested betting a province on the outcome of the match, to make things interesting, but after losing to the Pope he renegged on his agreement and so they went to war.



Both Austria and France would join this war, as well as Ferrara. Naples was allied with Hungary and Aragon. Hungary was beaten down seriously by the Ottoman Empire not too long ago, and they had little interest in fighting another war at this time, so they would not be joining. Aragon would join, and would even bring their vassal, Corsica, into the war with them.



In the early stage of the war, Naples fled from the Papal army, being outnumbered, and so the Papal army began laying siege to Salento, while the Ferraran army laid seige to Napoli. In a short time an Aragonese army arrived on the Peninsula, and together the Neapolitan and Aragonese armies attacked the Ferran army.



The Papal army was forced to halt their siege to assist their allies. After winning a decisive battle against the Neapolitan forces, they could resume their siege without interuption. Meanwhile in Iberia, France was wiping out what little Aragonese forces still remined to defend their homeland, while both French and Austrian armies laid siege to provinces.



The Pope was not feeling particularly vindictive so once it was cleared that Aragon and Naples no longer had any fight left in them, he made a very generous offer to take the one province that was righfully his, and a small sum of ducats.

(I meant to take another screenshot to show the new borders after the war, but must have forgot somehow. I guess you'll see it next time.)
 
Last edited:

DKM

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If this is meant to be comedy then you're certainly doing a great job! You have me laughing at the absurdity of some said things.
 

34625197

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Thanks DKM. It makes this more enjoyable knowing someone likes reading the AAR.

Chapter 7: The Reformation has Teeth



A new Pope had taken the throne of St Peter. No sooner had he assumed the office of the Papacy, then he received word from his vassal in Ferrara. It seemed both of his provinces had converted to the reformed faith, and even worse, reformed rebels were now up in arms to overthrow the d'este family who ruled Ferrara. Already Modena was occupied by rebels, and now they marched on to Ferrara itself to crush the much smaller Ferraran army.



Fortunately the Papal army arrived in time to crush the rebels, and maintain the Ferraran Duke's control over the region for a little longer. While the Papal army was occupied, Protestant rebles in Siena grew emboldended and began openly declaring that the Pope was a dope, which greatly persuaded the people to turn against him. When the Pope sent armies to investigate this matter and bring the rebel leaders to justice, all they found were people whistling inconspicuously. And so unrest continued to grow.



In order to deal with this rising threat of Protestantism, the Pope convened a Council of Cardinals to meet in the Canary Islands, and decide on a course of action. The Pope spent most of his time getting massages and ordering room service, but it seemed the cardinals had come up with some sort of counter-reformation plan. The Pope gave a vague comment of approval and went back to enjoying his vacation in the Canary Islands.



Countries like France and Austria were quick to embrace the counter-reformation and began cracking down on heretics in their own lands. However this had unintended consequences. The French heretics fleeing persecution fled to Papal exclave of Avignon. It seems the Pope's own efforts to combat heresy were half hearted compared to the French.



It wasn't long before the Pope was called to another war by their ally France. The French King was out to conquer provinces held by the English, and Portugal had become the war leader somehow.



However the Pope had his own problems to deal with. Rebels had risen up in Siena and Firenze. Ostensibly, they were Sienese nationalists who wanted an independant state becuase of their distinct identity. But the Pope knew that was a load of garabge. Why would the People of Firenze fight for the cause of Sienese independence. Clearly this was the work of reformed heretics, who were simply using nationalism as a cover to get unwititng Catholics in the region to join their cause.



The Papal army engaged the rebel army in Siena, and both sides were just about even, but it looked like the rebels might just win the day. The Ferraran army showed up at the last minute to aid in a narrow victory for the Papal forces.



They took heavy casualties and had to wait a few months to rebuild their forces. When they were ready, the Papal forces engaged the rebels in Firenze. After winning another victory, the rebels were dispersed, and for the moment their was no open defiance of the Pope, within the Papal State. But the situation was far from stable.



In a surprising move, Castille allied Portugal and jumped into war against France. It was a foolish move, and they were no match for the French army. Meanwhile, another province converted to the reformed faith.



The Pope soon agreed to a white peace with Portugal. He than began his focus on integrating Ferrara into the Papal State. The Duke of Ferrara recognized his army was no match for rebels, and he preferred wealth and safety over political power which made him a target for rebels. The duke was prepared to hand over complete control of his lands to the Church if he could just maintain a few privileges for himself and his descendants. The exact nature of the deal would take time to work out, but when it was complete the Pope would take full control of fighting rebels, and stamping out heresy in those provinces.

Meanwhile another dispute had broken out between the Pope and the King of Naples.The King of Naples promised to give away a province to anyone who could guess how many jelly beans were in a particular jar, and it cost one ducat per guess. He was hoping to raise some quick funds, and was confident no one would guess the exact amount. When it was determined that the Pope had guessed correctly Naples renegged on their deal.



However the Pope wouldn't press his claim on the province just yet. France and Austria were both embroiled in their own wars and would not join him at this time, and Naples was allied to Venice, which would pose a bit of a challenge for the Pope to take on by himself. So he decided to wait for a better opportunity before going to war. Meanwhile, another province converted to Reformed!



With so many provinces of the Reformed faith, disaster was looming.



It seems the news of an impending disaster was too much to bear and the Pope left the world. A new Pope was selected, one the cardinals hoped would be up to the task of maintaining stability and stamping out heresy.



However his efforts seemd to have little effect.



However a bit of good news came, as the integration of Ferrara was finally complete.



With Venice being occupied by Ottomans, now seemed like a good time to press the Papal claim on Naples, with or without allied support. The Pope began making preparatiosn for war.



 
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ThetrueColt

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Subbed, it's always interesting to see the strife of the Pope's worldly realm.

When the reformation converted almost all my land in my last Papal run I quit because I couldn't muster up the spirit to deal with all the rebellions, let's see how you manage to cope with the situation.

The Canaries seem like quite the place for the counter-reformation to be formed :)
 

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Papal State AARs are always fun to read. :)

You would think that the Papal land would be the least likely to convert. :rolleyes:

Naples needs to stop putting up territory for bets or they'll run out of provinces. :p
 

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Subbed, it's always interesting to see the strife of the Pope's worldly realm.

When the reformation converted almost all my land in my last Papal run I quit because I couldn't muster up the spirit to deal with all the rebellions, let's see how you manage to cope with the situation.

The Canaries seem like quite the place for the counter-reformation to be formed :)
Actually I seem to not have too much trouble with rebellions, although I did get an advisor to reduce unrest by 3%, so that may have helped quite a bit. Its the loss of tax from different religion that's really anoying me. Firenze and its massive wealth converting to reformed really upset me.

Papal State AARs are always fun to read. :)

You would think that the Papal land would be the least likely to convert. :rolleyes:

Naples needs to stop putting up territory for bets or they'll run out of provinces. :p
I was quite surprised at how quickly the reformed faith spread through the Papal lands. And as for Naples, its too late for them to change their ways.


Chapter 8: The End of Naples

With Venice just getting out of a devastating war with the Ottoman Empire, the Pope decided to use this moment to declare war on Naples. With their only ally unable to help them, Naples would be easy pickings for the Papal Army. France and Austria joined the war, but by the time their armies arrived in Italy, the Pope had already defeated the Neapolitan army, and was sieging all 3 remaining provinces. With nothing worthwhile to contribute the French and Austrian armies went home. In order to punish the King of Naples for backing down on many bets in the past, he was forced to become a vassal.



A few months later, in protest of the vassalization of their former ally, Venice enacted a trade embargo on the Papal State. With their control of the flow of goods from the Middle East into Europe, Venice's trade embargo would have a serious effect on the Pope's income. The Pope called on his allies to join him in a trade war, to lift this embargo.



It was quite surprising that Austria joined the war, since they were already fighting a war within the HRE. Because of this France was the first one to reach Venice.



After the French wiped out the main Venetian army, the Pope assisted them in laying siege to many of Venice's provinces. A smaller French army was sent to the Netherlands to occupy the few ramaining provinces still owned by Burgundy. Although Corsica officially jouned the war on the side of Venice, they were smart enough to keep their army out of the fighting, and lucky enough to be spared occupation.

After being badly beaten, Venice agreed to lift the embargo and to pay 90 ducats, but to make the treaty even more humiliating, the Pope added conditions to the treaty requiring the Doge of Venice to publicly announce that he was a loser, and he only embargoed the Papal State because of how jealous he was of the Pope. The Pope's good mood at humiliating Venice was interupted by a message from France. It seemed the felt that the Pope owed most of his victories of the last century, including the most recent one against against Venice, to France. The French king wanted something in return for all the military assistance the French have given the Pope.



The French king presented a very disadvantageous trade agreement to the Pope. Although he was not pleased to do it, the Pope signed this treaty. He sensed that it would be more and more difficult to keep France on his good side, as the Papal State expanded to the north, and keeping this alliance at all costs would be important for the security of the Papal State.

A few years later Austria called the Pope to war against Bohemia. The archduke of Austria was attempting to restore a personal union with Bohemia, after the Bohemian lands broke away from his rule. A war against protestants was something the Pope could get behind, and he hoped that in the future Bohemia could be converted back to Catholicism, if it was ruled by an Austrian monarch.



Early on in the war Nuremburg sent an army to invade the Papal State. They were easily wiped out by the much larger Papal army.



After that victory the Pope made a bold move to lay siege to Bohemia itself.



While the war was going on, it occured to the Pope that they needed a stronger a response to the Protestant heresy, and so he convened the council of Trent. Here Catholic bishops and cardinals debated the finer points of theology. These arguments became heated, and soon led to all out drunken brawls. All the bishops who took part in the brawl were given a time-out, and good and orderly bishops were rewarded by the Pope with ice cream. Using these methods the Pope maintained some amount of order during the council. Even with those measures the council still descended into chaos occasionally.



Sensing the Catholic church was in disarray, due to the disorderly Council of Trent, the Protestant forces chose this moment to issue their demands. Those with the reformed faith demanded an end to their poor treatment in the Papal States. Tens of thousands of men were ready to take up arms for this cause, so the Pope reluctantly agreed to a policy that was more tolerant of heresy.



After the walls of Bohemia fell to the Papal siege, he withdrew his army back to Italy to try and keep this religious turmoil in check. Austria was well on its way to victory and had forced Bohemia back into a personal union.



It was not long before the Reformed were once again complaining about their treatment. Despite the Pope's edict of tolerance, many low level amdinistrator continued to suppress the Reformed faith, and in many cases they used violence to force people to convert. Wishing to maintian stability and avoid a general uprising in his lands, the Pope took greater efforts to see that heretics were not oppressed, and he even punished administrators who perpetrated such oppression.



The old Pope had finally passed away, and the Cardinals chose as his successor someone less tolerant of heretics. The new Pope, Gregorious XIII, fully embraced the counter-reformation, and soon put missionaries to work converting people back to the Catholic faith.



The King of Naples, wishing to take advantage an inexperienced pope, challenged him to a one on one game of basketball. If the King won, Naples would no longer be a vassal of the Pope, but if the Pope won the game the King would abdicate and Naples would become fully integrated in the Papal State. For once the King of Naples did not try to avoid honoring his bet when he lost, but quietly went into retirement.



MIlan had made war with Venice recently, in a bid to increase its power in Northern Italy. Aside from taking a single province from Venice, Milan also forced them to release Aquileia as an independant state. Aquileia was incredibly vulnerable, and turned to the Pope for protection from its strong neighbors. The Pope decided to accept the alliance for now, but to break it if it became inconvenient.



The Pope was delighted to learn that his efforts were having some success, and that Firenze had converted back to the Catholic faith. It seemed that Protestantism had reached its highwater mark in Italy, and Catholicism was back on the rise.

 

DKM

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1 - How much more do you need for the Kingdom of God?

2 - I would start supporting rebels in either Sardinia or Sicily if I were you. It would allow you to seize more Italian land as well as cull Aragonese ambitions.
 

34625197

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1 - How much more do you need for the Kingdom of God?

2 - I would start supporting rebels in either Sardinia or Sicily if I were you. It would allow you to seize more Italian land as well as cull Aragonese ambitions.
1. I've still got like 10 more provinces I need to declare the Kingdom of God, the necessary provinces are mostly in northern Italy. I basically need to annex Milan and Venice to do it. Unfortunatley France has Liguria and Cuneo(now Coni), which are required for the Kingdom of God, so its not going to be easy to get them back.

2. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

freedomna

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Been stalking this thread since you posted it, it is an enjoyable and funny read (I lost it at the Jellybeans in a jar).
 

34625197

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Been stalking this thread since you posted it, it is an enjoyable and funny read (I lost it at the Jellybeans in a jar).
Thank you very much.


Chapter 9: Backing the Wrong Horse

One day the Pope received an audience that was requested by a young man from Verona, of the noble family Montague. The man was exiled from his home city, due to some absurd rule banning the murder of opposing noble families. The man wanted to return to his home city to be with his one true love. While the cause was a bit dubious, the Pope decided he could turn this into some sort of justification for war against Venice, who currently were in control of the city of Verona.



The Pope was joined by his usual allies, France and Austria, although his new ally Aquileia had decided to sit this one out. Still it would be more than enough to take on Venice and his ally, the rump state of Burgundy.



Pope Gregorious' conversion efforts had made great progres and now the religous turmoil had ended. There were still a handful of Protestants in Papal lands, but it seemed like the worst was over.



After being occupied by France, Burgundy offered 200 ducats in a peace deal, which the Pope gladly accepted. Although he had no idea how critical those ducats would be in the near future.



After having every single province occupied, Venice agreed to enter into vassalage under the Pope. Although if they had paid attention to history they knew what was going to happen in approximately ten years.



We all knew this day was coming. In fact many were surprised it hadn't happened sooner, since France and Austria were rivals. This was the day the Pope had to make what may be the most important decision in the history of the Papal State.



France wanted to subjugate Lorraine, and as Emperor, Austria would protect them. It was time to choose, France or Austria. Lorraine was Protestant, and the Pope approved of France conquering them, and eventually converting them back to Catholicism. Austria had kept the faith, but had done a terrible job at promoting it in the empire. Austria even went to great lengths to win the affections of the Protestant electors. The Protestant German Emperor, the Pope called him behind closed doors. From a moral standpoint, the Pope believed in standing with France against Austria.

The decision to support France also made sense from a practical standpoint. Expanding north in the HRE would no doubt bring down the ire of Austria eventually, and make the alliance untenable. They may as well end it now. The Pope was confident in his decision to side with the French after looking at estimates his staff provided about the military strength of both sides. It seemed France's side of the war was stronger, but it was close, so the Papal army would have to do its part to ensure a victory.



Aside from the Papal State, France also got his allies Switzerland and Aquileia to join the war on his side. France's opening move was to have his massive army march in and attack Lorraine's capital.



Meanwhile the glorious Papal navy, with some help from Aquileia, sunk the entire Austrian navy.



Wurttemberg sent a tiny army to attack Ferrara, but were crushed by the much stronger Papal army.



However the battle did drag on for days. When the battle was over, all the soldiers rushed to use the toilet, because they had been holding it in the entire duration of the battle. While they were occupied, the cowardly Austrian army attacked and wiped them out entirely.



While things seemed bad, the Pope was confident that France would be strong enough to ensure a victory, and everything would turn out fine. His confidence was shaken when he received the terrible news. Austria had called their own allies to the war, which included the major powers of Castille and England. It seems France had declared Austria a co-belligerent or something. The odds of winning the war did not seem quite as good as they did when the war started.



The Austrian side had approximately twice as large an army as the French side. This didn't even take into account that France was soon drawn into another war, against Milan and Aragon. Milan opportunistically declared war on Switzerland to claim a province they held. France courageously came to the defense of his ally even if he was in the middle of a devastating war.

Milan marched into Switzerland basically unopposed, as the Swiss army was already busy fighting the war against Lorraine. Milan itself was soon to become a battlefield for French and Austrian armies. A smaller Austrian army began to lay siege to Papal lands, and there was little the Pope could do until his army was rebuilt. France it seemed was also desperately recruiting new regiments to try and stave off the massive dogpile he was now facing.



Maybe the situation is isn't as bleak as it seems.



That map only depicted the Pope's own enemies, it didn't even show the other war France was facing right now. It became all too clear that France was completely screwed and would certainly lose the war. The Pope's main priority now was to keep his lands safe, and get out of the war in the best position possible.
 
Last edited:

Michaelangelo

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Well that took an unfortunate turn. Then again, you should never count the BBB out. They have a way of turning even the bleakest situation into victory. I guess all you have to do is appease Austria and get out of that war before they crush you.
 

34625197

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Chapter 10: The Unholy Dogpile

Once France recognized that Austria was the main threat in the war, he turned his attention away from invading Lorraine, and move the larger portion of his army to invade Austria itself. Meanwhile the English had sent an army down to Italy, and began laying siege to Papal lands.



France soon aborted his invasion of Austria and pulled back his main force to Milan, where the French army did battle with a massive, Austrian/Bohemian/ English combined army. However victory was not to be had for the French that day, as they were incredibly outnumbered. Meanwhile the Danes marched their army south through the entirety of the HRE, because they found transport ships to morally objectionable, and finally arrived in Italy. Tthey decided to attack the weak Aquileian army.



With the French defeat in Milan, the Austrians pushed forward and began laying siege to French controlled provinces. To make matters worse the Pope's own lands were begginning to fall into enemy occupation. The Castillians, who were late to the war because the Castillian king forget to set his alarm clock, finally appeared and began laying siege to Papal lands. But the Papal army was finally built up again, and it was time to strike back.



France was desperately recruiting new units to stave off this massive invasion force, but it just wouldn't be fast enough to win the battle raging in the heart of his territory.



The Papal army, led by Pope Gregorious himself, won its first victory against the Castillian invaders who were attempting to occupy the Holy City. Gregorious would soon earn a reputation as the Battle Pope for his victorious battles in this war.



Aquileia had taken quite a beating from the Danes and decided to make peace on as favorable terms as possible, rather than wiaitng for their entire country to be occupied. It only cost them a small sum of money.



Many of the Pope's advisors recommended he make peace as well. But the Pope was not ready yet. He saw the larger portion of the enemy army invading France itself, leaving very little remaining in Italy. He was sure he would be able to liberate the Papal lands and get out on more favorable terms, if he just liberated the occupied provinces. He soon led his army to another victory over the Castillians.



The Pope then lead his army to liberate Firenze from occupation, then went back to Siena to win another victory over the Castillians.



Things would go reasonably well for the Pope in Italy for the rest of the war, but France itself was doing poorly. While the main war was taking a huge toll on France and depleting his manpower, Aragon and MIlan were occupying the undefened French provinces.



The Papal army had been blockading the Austrian port ever since its victory against the Austrian navy early on in the war. Unfortuanately the Castillians finally decided show up, and they were able to sink the entire Papal navy. It seems that they had no admiral in command, and therefore nobody was in a position of authority to order a retreat. Every ship captain in the fleet was waiting for someone else to retreat first. And so they all met a grisly end.



Switzerland finally had enough and made peace with Milan and Aragon, ceding the province to Milan that they had a claim on, as well as negotiating on behalf of France to return a core province to Burgundy, thus ending one of France's two wars. Switzerland also decided to bow out of the main war, paying a small sum to Lorraine. Now it was just the Pope and his vassal Venice who were in this war on France's side.



The Castillians were making huge progress in southern France, assisted by the Austrians and the English. The French could still put together decent sized armies but they were just a bit too small to fight off the invaders, so they faced one defeat after another, as more and more French territory was occupied.



Finally France acknowledged their inevitable defeat and gave a up a few provinces as well as paying a sum of ducats to Lorraine. By sticking it out to the end, the Pope let France absorb the costs of defeat, rather than paying Lorraine himself if he had made a separate peace. Although he didn't have to pay any reparations to Lorraine, the war was very costly requiring the Pope to once again rebuild his entire army, and this time he must rebuild his entire fleet as well, which would be very expensive.



No sooner had the war been settled then the imperial diet passed another reform granting more power to the emperor. It seemed the Protestant princes were quite pleased with Austria fighting a war to protect one of their own against France. Despite his defeat France had put a hell of a fight. The Pope still beleived the ultimate goal of the church, which was to push the influence of the Papacy northward and convert the heretics of the HRE, would still be feasible with France as an ally. He just needed to carefully orchestrate wars between France and Austria where France didn't get dogpiled to such a degree.

Still those plans would need to wait for several years, and the Pope had to get internal matters settled. There was the rebuilding of the fleet to worry about, and a loan that needed to be paid off. But soon the Archduke of Austria would get what's coming to him.