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spacehyena

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My intentions going into this is chart the growth of a merchant family in Gotland from 1066 out. To determine where I wanted to take them, I did a little ferretting around the internet (mostly from Wiki and the 1911 Britannica) for some history on the region. The history is pretty cool and so I'm going to sum some of it up before going into the introduction.

Gotland in 1066

At this stage, Gotland had been subject to the King of Sweden for at least a few centuries. It had been Christianised 36 years earlier by St Olaf on his way through, building a church in the town of Visby. Visby was an important trading town, distributing goods from the East that had come out of Russia throughout Europe. Its governance was republican, and the influence of Sweden remote: there was no Swedish judges or officials on island, and Sweden had no control over Gotland's assembly. However, Gotland paid an annual tribute to Sweden.

What happened then?

Visby became a key power within the Hanseatic League, serving as a depot for eastern Baltic countries, particularly Novgorod. It became fabulously wealthy. Its trading links can be seen in a number of curious archaeological finds. For instance, a huge amount of Arab coins have been discovered in caches around Gotland, the total being almost as much as the number which have been found in the entire Muslim world. Another example is a runestone which was found near the Black Sea, which a Gotlander had made on the death of his business partner. A ballad from the time sang that:


“the Gotlanders weighed out gold with stone weights and played with the choicest jewels. The swine ate out of silver troughs, and the women spun with distaffs of gold.”


Whatever the truth of that claim, it was enough to attract the eye of the Danish King Valdemar IV. A Danish force invaded in 1361, routed Visby's defenders and plundered it. The story goes that he placed three beer barrels where the Danes had breached the wall and told the Gotlanders that if these weren't filled with gold and silver within three days, he would turn his men loose. A 19th century imagining of this event by Hellqvist is included below:

640px-Valdemar_Atterdag_brandskattar_Visby_%281882%29.jpg


The 1911 Britannica describes the next stage of Gotland's history [which you'll agree sounds awesome]:


From this blow it never recovered, its decay being, however, materially helped by the fact that for the greater part of the next 150 years it was the stronghold of successive freebooters or sea-rovers [never was there a more wretched hive of scum and villainy] — first, of the Hanseatic privateers called Vitalienbrödre or Viktualienbrüder, who made it their stronghold during the last eight years of the 14th century; then of the Teutonic Knights, whose Grand Master drove out the “Victuals Brothers,” and kept the island until it wassold to Queen Margaret of the Kalmar Union [in 1490].


So from Swedish trading town, to powerful member of the Hansa, to pirate island, to Teutonic stronghold, and back to Sweden. BEST ISLAND EVER.

So what do I want to do with it?

First I should just say that I'm actually not particularly good at this game and have never actually made it to the end of the time alotted - partly because I rarely find time to play and want to start anew. Now I've finished my studies and can find a bit of extra CKII time... So, my objectives:

  • Survive to time limit. I've added in the Sunset Invasion DLC which i've yet to experience, so if I make it that long should make for an interesting endgame...
  • I want to build a grand Thalassocracy (a state with a primarily maritime realm) that rules the Baltic and challenges the Mediterranean republics (wonder if I'll be able to form the Hanseatic League?).
  • Build a bitchin' manse, and try and maintain the stability of my maritime utopia. Keep Gotland on the map!
  • I like the idea of pirate islands and 'Temporary Autonomous Zones' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporary_Autonomous_Zone) - while there's not an obvious way to play this way in CKII, I want to at the least diversify the human population of Gotland (or at least of my court) with marriages to all sorts (including, presumably, Aztecs).
  • Have fun with the new DLC and record it in this AAR.
  • WIN THE CONTEST

The next post will be out in the next day or two, wherein I'll introduce my leading man. Hope you enjoy.
 

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spacehyena

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Chapter One: Lost Son of the Griphuvuds

**You’ll have to forgive me as I’m away from my screenshots and so no endless pictures of character sheets :p. Just wanted to post the introductory stuff I’ve been working on. Although using ruler designer to make my guy was fun, the result was that I didn't have any parents or children or anything. As a young guy, it didn't really make sense why someone who was apparently an orphan could suddenly become Grand Mayor of Visborg. So... Elaborate backstory to the rescue.

A rough passage

Kettilmund was the last-born son of one of the old Houses of Gotland which had falled on hard times - the Griphuvud. His family controlled the trading post at Gotland, while the other families controlled Gotland's other posts. When he was 8, he was kidnapped by pirates while playing among rockpools. The pirates set sail with their cargo of kidnapped women and children for the slave markets in Iberia. Sold in Seville to a Moorish merchant, Kettilmund (‘Kett’ to his friends) was raised and educated there.

He worked his way up as a deck hand and then sailor aboard the merchant's trading vessels. As piracy was rife in the Mediterranean at that time, Kett saw more than his fair share of naval combat and coastal raiding. His real strength, though, lay in schemes and exploiting the petty and callow desires of others to achieve his own ends. In 1059, he led a mutiny against the captain of the ship he was sailing on, had those who supported the captain brutally killed, and embarked on a career of piracy. He prospered as a corsair, amassing a fleet of 5 keeled longships and over a hundred crew. One day, he happened across a Fatimid treasure ship, which he duly attacked and captured.

The haul was enormous. Enough for a slave-boy-turned-mutineer-corsair to begin to think maybe... maybe he could return home to his family. To make a new, comfortable life on that cold island he barely remembers, with its poverty, its smelly fish markets and stuffy patrician families... Where he could be free. More than free: powerful. In any case, he'd just stolen gold from the Fatimid Caliphate - if he wanted to live much longer he needed to put a continent between himself and the Caliph.

Return to Visby

Kett divvied up the loot among his crew. With his share of the loot, plus what he made from selling his other ships, he took a small group of those he trusted and sailed home to Gotland in a single ship. He was going to return home as a free man, who had made his fortune as a merchant and had returned home to share the wealth. He would reunite with his family and use this unimaginable haul to make a new life. He arrived home in 1064 to find his family home burned out. After his kidnapping, they had fallen further into poverty, and his brothers and sisters had perished, one by one, in vendettas or from disease. When his father died in the fire that consumed his family home (reportedly engineered by the powerful House Guldsmed), most though the Griphuvuds were a spent force. Kett resolved to restore his family to glory.

He used his gold to buy a number of ships, and gave the captaincies to the crew he'd brought back with him from the south. He proved to be a hit at the burgher's balls, where his mysterious background, charm, knowledge of foreign lands and his apparently limitless supply of heathen gold were a wonder to all. They also appreciated it when after a series of skirmishes, he personally defeated a band of Estonian vikings from Saaremaa who had been preying on their ships and raiding Gotlander villages, capturing their leader and beheading him at the end of Visby's pier. So it was that with the death of the incumbent Grand Mayor (and with him, the end of house af Stenkyrk), a former slave and pirate was elected Grand Mayor, the proprietor of the af Stenkyrk manse and the sole member of one of the Five Families of Gotland. Although rumours persisted that his vast wealth was ill-gotten, Grand Mayor Kettilmund of the Griphuvud was determined to stamp the influence of his dynasty on the history of Gotland, Sweden, and all of Europe. His first act in his new role was to marry the eldest daughter of the most powerful of the Five Families, the Stråbens. Old man Stråben became a staunch ally. He counseled Kett to strike at House Guldsmed, the second largest of the Five Families, and suspected in the murder of Kett’s father. Kett chose to stay his hand. For now.

Coming up next (real soon I swear!): pirate-hunting, religious conflict [can't wait for Old Gods!, adultery, and the patricidal and fratricidal rise of the most vicious, implacable Patrician in the history of Gotland.
 

spacehyena

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Chapter Two - Niklas the Wicked

Now; this is me in 1066 – without any family whatsoever.

1_1_zps3f7f7df7.jpg


As I mentioned, when I came into power, I married the daughter of the powerful Stråben family. Then I began making all the usual decisions: reshuffling and ordering my council around, setting research agendas, building public works, etc. Not long into the campaign, I decided to go on a Grand Hunt. A life spent on board a ship does not make for a natural hunter, however, and I deeply embarrassed myself in front of my patrician friends. It was perhaps because of this that on a mad whim - for I still had no male heir - I decided to go chasing off after a White Stag, who wounded me viciously on its antlers. I spent a goodly part of that year recovering. I'll kill that White Stag one day.

Two days after my wound, I was attended by a papal emissary. He was apparently upset I had a pagan on my Council. Well, Christianity only came to Gotland three decades ago, there is a relatively limited talent pool… Ordinarily I would have rebuffed the request, but as it happens the Councillor in question doesn’t like me very much…

1_2_zps80d88d22.jpg


Lord Tengil ‘the Liberator’ of Othem is, as you can see, a decent warrior, and also quite the spymaster. He’s also a religious zealot who holds onto the Old Gods. I can see the Papacy’s play here – a popular noble convert would do a great deal for converting the masses of the island. I imprison the heathen, make him convert to Catholicism, then release him and remint him as my spymaster. He still mad tho. I make him an Inquisitor and give him 20 gold sovereigns to bind him to me. I make one of the Patricians of another family Marshal (for the opinion boost) and problem solved. Shortly after, Erik the Heathen declared war on the King, but I troubled myself not with the affairs of the homeland.

The Guldsmed-Griphuvud Vendetta

1_3_zps7eb09295.jpg


You can see the Five Families of Gotland above. The Stråben I married into, and the Patricians of Houses Hejnum and Gildehusen are important members of my Council. My chief concern are the Guldsmed, who don’t seem to like me much and are more powerful than I would like. Curiously though, my spymaster comes to me with the following news:

1_4_zps7a5147ea.jpg


After considering my options, I decide to imprison this seventeen-year-old schemer, because I didn’t like the idea of someone that dastardly in charge of the House. No, I thought I'd imprison him, and he'd eventually die, and the House would go to someone less dangerous. If I’d only known then what I know now. Following this, a series of events sees my wealth, demesne, and personal prestige grow – not least being my new sweet scarred look:

1_5_zps9c053864.jpg


I also inherited a barony and found a lost ship. Things were good. But eventually we all face dark times.

Shortly after the imprisonment of his son, old man Guldsmed (confusingly, his name is Kettil as well) pulls the old "didn't-invite-you-to-ball-then-when-you-show-get-thrown-in-mud" trick. You think he would have been grateful I'd stopped his son from killing him but noooo!

1_6_zpsdc4acaa4.jpg


All of a sudden, those whispers about them being responsible for the death of my father become all too believable... I'd already imprisoned his oldest son, for trying to kill his father the year before. If I offed the father, let the heir rot, and killed the youngest son, I'd have wiped House Guldsmed from the map.

There was a hitch however- Kettil Guldsmed was well liked, and it was difficult finding people to agree to kill him for me… Until I had the genius notion of asking his youngest son Niklas, a deceitful, cynical little shit who apparently coveted his father's seat at the head of the family. He agreed, no doubt rationalising that his elder brother would die in prison eventually.

Adding Niklas to the plot gave it some critical mass. Shortly thereafter my spymaster Lord Tengil the Liberator (which is, I think we can all agree, an awesome name) approached me with a genius plan involving a basement full of manure and blowing the head of House Guldsmed to smithereens. I agreed. Everything went off without a hitch - the father exploded, my name unsullied - except for one detail. Shortly after I heard the explosion and knew the plan had succeeded, the head of the Watch came to me, and informed me the heir of House Guldsmed had died in my dungeon of apparently "natural causes". The very same day.

1_7_zps3b8809d6.jpg


1_8_zps89bf255b.jpg


I knew the family was dysfunctional but I... One thing was clear. Niklas was a ghoulish but very capable young man and that I had better keep a weather eye on him.

1_9_zps688ad2b0.jpg


And in every shadow.

1_10_zps253a77aa.jpg


Especially now he was head of a family I was involved in a vendetta with.

1_12_zps5995f71e.jpg
 

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I loved the last part, Can't wait to see more!
 

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Chapter Three: Niklas Guldsmed Strikes Back

It's 1096 A.D. It always shocks one to learn that one's friends have betrayed you, particularly at an advanced age. As I awaited a response from a lowborn courtier on one of my plots to steal a trading post from the Gildehusen family, I learn that one of my captains has been selling cargo entrusted to him. This particular captain was one that I'd brought with me from the Barbary Coast. I had lost 50 gold, and a friend. These sorts of events tend ones mind to thoughts of the past.

ck2_128_zps79493ab0.jpg


I think back a few years to my young family. Let me introduce you to some of my male heirs... Peder Kettilmundsson - steward and heir, his lovely wife the Miaphysite. The more this godforsaken island sees of the outside world, the better - its for that reason I've wed my sons to beautiful women from across the Earth.

ck2_107_zpsec895d7b.jpg


This is Dyre - a diplomat and a scholar, with a genius Castillian princess for a wife.

ck2_108_zps35b506df.jpg


Daughters are trickier due to the need to ship them off, and the inability to marry matrilineally as a non-noble family. With a view to seeking an ally in the region, I marry off one of my daughters to the Polish Duke of Kuyavia.

ck2_111_zps423b9746.jpg


Not long after doing so, one of my son-in-law's Dukes revolts. I do what I see as my duty as the father-in-law, and help out where I can - by invading and taking the lands of this revolutionary! Holy war! For he is some sort of pagan, I gather.

ck2_112_zps8d86fe5f.jpg


Annoyingly, my liege has the same idea and declares a holy war at the precise same moment, with the result that I'm fighting two wars against the same person. I continue to fight and just pray that the end result is I get the land.

ck2_115_zps0413adec.jpg


A year into my war for Kurzeme, my son Dag comes of age - another steward. These things are important in a merchant republic. I foresee great things in his future - perhaps the next Griphuvud Patrician, after Peder (I don't care for Dyre).

ck2_117_zps81594fb2.jpg


Eventually, the King of Sweden peaces out for the province of Memel. Not being much of a warrior, I continue my fumbles for the province of Kurzeme with the help of mercenary bands… for years. Even with my income, I am rapidly running out of money. Thankfully the Pope steps in to help out.

ck2_119_zpsf3e78330.jpg


ck2_120_zps5f8a05df.jpg


ck2_121_zps0715429b.jpg


Victorious, I remake Kurzeme as the Kurland, under the righteous rule of me, Grand Mayor Kettilmund! But, for a merchant, I can't manage my lands too well, and need to palm some off. I decide to give the city of Kurland to my son Dyre -> far, far away from me.

ck2_125_zps418360d5.jpg


I continue selling off my multitudes of daughters to the aristocracy around the world, and receive a hefty prestige bonus from a Princely marriage. Its smarter to marry locally, gain alliances, but when one has dark dealings in one's past, gaining honour and prestige is the order of the day.

ck2_129_zps36f6e167.jpg


Speaking of alliances, as my twilight years approached, I paid heed to the mayoral race for the first time in many years. My discoveries were somewhat worrying: my own son was fourth in the running, and my old nemesis, Niklas Guldsmed, was first by a wide margin.

ck2_135_zpsca8423e6.jpg


Guldsmed seeks to kill his nearest opponent, which initially suits me fine. I meanwhile work on gaining prestige and pumping money into the electoral race to ensure the success of my son Peder. But I begin to feel a tinge of guilt: Stråben is my wife's brother, after all. I can't get Guldmed or his confidants to stop plotting, but I can damn well stop members of my council, like Sigmund Puke here, to stop plotting with him. Bloody Sigmund Puke!

ck2_137_zps1d33f3ae.jpg


I've had enough of Guldsmed! Time to deal with him once and for all! He's too crafty to kill, but I have a reasonable shot at imprisoning him for his plot against Patrician Straben.

ck2_139_zps05a20967.jpg


Hahahaha!!

ck2_140_zps9ed782b7.jpg


With Guldsmed locked away, I can concentrated on spreading Republican ideals. I create the Republic of Kurland, with myself as Grand Mayor, and my son Dyre managing the day-to-day affairs of Kurland as Lord Mayor.

ck2_138_zps172c5620.jpg


Then it came… The beginning of the end. In my hubris, I am shocked to learn that the Hejnum family has outplayed me at Estonian trading post I tried to seize.

ck2_141_zps476ca67b.jpg


Not to be outdone, I took on a 300 gold debt to pay off the merchants… But to no avail. Embarrassed, I retreat to plead with my creditors. And swear to return to take down the Hejnum. I take out my frustrations on the jailed Niklas Guldsmed. Haha, how do you like that, fool Guldsmed! I have the Småland Trade Post now!! Nothing can stop me!!

ck2_147_zpscb3467c8.jpg


And then, just like that, it's over.

The downfall of House Griphuvud, an outcome that would set back this fledgling thalassocracy back a decade.

Perhaps I was concentrating too much on dominating the trading lanes with insufficient attention on the electors of Gotland… Perhaps I felt too smugly secure that my chief rival and uber-nemesis, Niklas Guldsmed, was locked away in a dungeon. They wouldn't elect a felon, would they?

But as I lay dying, my son Peder was passed over, and Niklas Guldsmed was released from my dungeon by his apparently innumerable allies, to become the new Grand Mayor of the Republics of Gotland and Kurland.

ck2_154_zps4ee9a383.jpg


As I passed away with my family gathered all around (even Dyre) I mouthed my final words through chapped, peeling lips: "Reclaim the family name... Get Guldsmed". And so I passed.
 

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Chapter Four: Griphuvud in Exile

So it was that Peder took over and aimed to preserve what was left of his family. With Visby firmly in Guldsmed hands, the Griphuvud departed quietly in the night. The Griphuvud family had a number of holdings. The younger brother, Dyre, was the Lord Mayor of Kurland. Not wanting to cramp Dyre's style, but also wanting to put some distance between himself and the new Grand Mayor, Peder took his court to a Griphuvud coastal city on the Estonian pirate isle of Saaremaa, which his father before him had conquered in his younger years. Niklas Guldsmed wasted no time in pursuit, declaring war on the Livonian Duke who held the rest of Saaremaa.

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Peder's wealth of brothers was a drain on family resources. He had to contain his family from multiplying further somehow. He decided to start first by making his booksmart but gormless brother Sten court chaplain when Stenkil, the incumbent, stood down...

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Niklas Guldsmed's ambitions were soon on display, as he entered into Swedish political intrigues, attempting to lower Crown authority, even as he was warring with the Livonians. Frustratingly, his little war cost the Griphuvud a trade post.

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His plans weren't all perfectly executed however, and in the end, House Griphuvud profited from the Guldsmed's excursion. Scant attention had been paid to the casus belli for his war on Saaremaa… but whatever it was, Peder gained authority over the whole island of Saaremaa.

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Saaremaa, or Ösel as it was now referred to in proper Svenska, was now Griphuvud territory. Peder proceeded to use his new base to strike at the cities of the mainland Baltic states and expand the Griphuvud empire while waiting for Guldsmed to cark it.

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The Öselians, who were referred to throughout Scandinavia as Víkingr frá Esthland , would be invaluable allies in this regard - but alas, they aren't too keen on Peder yet, and he has to rely on his own levies. Perhaps as a result, it didn't go as smoothly as he would have liked, but when he finally took the city of Jenika in Latgale, Peder gifted it to Sten, who wanted a title, and far be it from me to deny him.

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Guldsmed's hubris led him to build an enormous ship on the public purse. Deceptive cove that he was, Peder organised some sabotage. Guldsmed swears bloody revenge: Peder laughs.

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His laughs are shortlived when he realised he'd signed off on his brother's hare-brained scheme to split the Republic of Kurland away from Gotland. Now, even when he becomes Mayor, he'll be inheriting a land divided. Curses!

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Then his mother died. Peder longed for some good news.

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The circle of life. His daughter, who he had named for his mother, came of age. Peder decides to wed her to Venetian Doge, in the hopes of currying an alliance with his Southern cousins.

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Then, suddenly, finally, after 10 years in the shadows, the Griphuvud clan is restored to high office in Visby.

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Niklas Guldsmed had died in suspicious circumstances… Knowing the Guldsmed's I have reason to suspect the chief beneficiary of the death…

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To be continued (very soon!)
 

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Chapter Five: Power and glory, kid.

An end to the vendetta...
Peder's son, Holmger, comes of age. He had a silver-tongue and a good heart, albeit over contented with his lot, and thinks himself Italian. Peder considered designating him his heir… But he decides to wait to see if any other rising stars in Griphuvud will present themselves.

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Speaking of silver-tongued, a drink-mad, lowborn courtier gets Peder besotted. The resulting child is legitimised into the Griphuvud clan, causing much consternation...

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Deciding that he must reunite the realm, Peder is forced to declare war on his brother Dyre, Grand Mayor of the Republic of Kurland.

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No hard feelings, bro!

Kurland falls easily. In the ensuing rest period, Peder has a chance encounter with the evil Patrician Egil of Guldsmed, patricide and one of his brother's chief rivals for the mayorship after he dies. Peder refuses to shift the mayoral barge for him.

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Before he died 22 years previously, Peder's father Kettilmund had told the secret of his childhood. That he'd been kidnapped by slavers, and forced into years of drudgery. So it is that when Egil and Peder, adrift in the sea, are kidnapped by pirates, Peder knows all too well what is in store for the two of them. It is a fate he cannot consign even his greatest enemy to.

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Peder saving Egil that day on the pirate ship was a momentous day in Gotlandska history: the vendetta between the Guldsmed and the Griphuvud was at an end…

Peder's Twilight Years

With the mayorship in hand and the vendetta with Guldsmed finally at an end, Grand Mayor Peder I of Griphuvud could now consider his rule over Gotland consolidated. The succession also seemed reasonably assured - Peder's brother Dyre, having once more sworn allegiance to Gotland, and having grown a considerably impressive hirsute facial appendage, was expected to win the Mayorship on Peder's death by a large margin. He also had another brother waiting in the wings who was similarly long in the tooth.
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It was time to look abroad. First, Peder assisted King Bertil with his conquest of Latgale - where his brother Sten was mayor of the main coastal town.

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Perhaps it was in the excitement of battle that Sten was able to remarry without my permission…

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While Peder approved of his decision to seek his womenfolk from far-away lands, one had to wonder whether she was just window dressing, given his sexual preferences... Well, people are complicated...

***N.B. Love this aspect of Republic!! My multicultural, multiethnic TAZ is proceeding very nicely!

Following the conquest of Latgale, Peder set his sights on Finland after it broke away from its Norwegian liege lords - allowing him to net a coastal city.

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One of Peder's sons, a great warrior named Torkel, died unexpectedly at 25.

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This was a bit of a blow, as Peder was considerably consoled to learn that one of Torkel's sons (named after his old grandad) was some sort of genius. An heir apparent, methinks.

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Peder's crusade (figuratively speaking) against the pirates of the region netted some winnings, which he promptly used to refurbish the family manse, which was beginning to look somewhat tired after 65 years!

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Unfortunately, he did not live to see it complete. Nor did his brother, Dyre, who had similarly carked it. Dag, the third son of Kettilmund Griphuvud, took the mayoral race.

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Coming up next: the very short reign of Grand Mayor Dag I of Gotland and a foothold on the British Isles...
 

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Chapter Six: The short but glorious career of Grand Mayor Dag I of Gotland

As you can see from the last screenshot, Dag is a competent steward; which got him appointed to the King's Council. Not one to neglect his duties to his holdings and his family, Dag embarked on a radical expansionist agenda, which he begun firstly by cornering the lucrative trade lanes of Denmark.

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With the sea lanes in Denmark now dominated by the Griphuvud family, Dag was free to begin to make some inroads into the Atlantic. He sent a mighty fleet of Vikings, along with a large company of mercenaries. He landed and quickly took the City of Aberdeen from a rebelling Scottish lordling.

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The great manse of af Stenkyrka (the house was still named for the great family it had formerly belonged to) was upgraded, and was clearly superior to the other families. Dag upped the money spent on campaiging, to ensure the heir apparent Holmger would succeed him.

However, he had not counted on the sudden illness that overtook him.

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This time, the mayorship went to one of the petty houses, in Griphuvud's estimation: the Gildehusen. No matter. The Griphuvud had a trump card up their sleeve:

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Peder Torkelsson: Super-genius. The task of Holmger would be simple:

  1. continue to maintain Griphuvud dominance within Gotland and Gotlandska influence without;


  1. ensure that his extremely talented nephew would, at some stage proceed to Grand Mayor.

A powerhouse such as Grand Mayor Peder II would be could achieve great things - perhaps even The Most Serene Republic of Sweden... And beyond.
 
Last edited:

spacehyena

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Chapter Seven: The Darkest Years of Gotland (thusfar)

The new guy, Holmger, gets to work on some cities to the West, with a nightmare force of his Öselian reavers sweeping down on the town of Cornwall.

ck2_246_zpscbcc8ccc.jpg


Meanwhile, the mad new Gildehusen Grand Mayor quickly declares independence, and not long after a huge force of Danes invade the motherland. A regime change meant he succeeded. Gotland is now independent - shame that it was a Gildehusen that achieved this feat.
The new king of Sweden seeks to embargo Gotland…

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Holmger designates Peder Torkelsson [the 'super-genius' from the previous post as heir, and looks around for similarly gifted spouses to improve the family line… A Dutch genius named Gerberga seems to fit the description…

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Shortly thereafter, their first child is born.

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This child, and those that follow, will hopefully follow in their parents genius footsteps and stamp the name Griphuvud on world history. The current head of the family, based in the family's conquered strong hold of Ösel (formally Saaremaa, aka Oeselia), is not quite as impressive. Some crusading adventures in the Holy Land had left him maimed.

ck2_251_zps6bcf6e78.jpg


On council matters, he appointed his brilliant heir Peder to the post of Chancellor. His wife, at least, had an excellent head for intrigue and as such was made the Griphuvud Spymaster…

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In terms of mayoral positioning, Holmger was respected, but nothing to the level of old man Stråben. However, Filip Stråben was getting quite advanced in years, and even if he spent a year or two in the mayorship after Gildehusen, he wouldn't likely last much longer.

ck2_256_zps9f9f9073.jpg


In terms of trade power, Guldsmed were by far the greatest threat, with Straben, Hejnum and Gildehusen largely confined to 1 or 2 trade zones. I was happy nevertheless that Griphuvud dominated the Baltic.

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The war against Sweden goes considerably downhill when the Danes join the Embargo War.

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I tried to lend succour to the conflict, but even the might of the Öselians could not destroy the powerful Danes. I swear a blood oath that the Danes shall be destroyed.

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Needing to expand my holdings to bolster the military power of Gotland, I (perhaps foolishly) send my brilliant heir Peter to Lietuva to fabricate claims.

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Someone in the Stråben family has been up to no good - Gildehusen dies relatively young in office, and old man Str[a]ben takes over.

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St[a]ben immediately aims to strike a blow at the economic power of Griphuvud, by ordering we relinquish control over a number of trading posts. Makes sense- Str[a]ben has barely any to its name these days. Holmger is able to talk his way out of this little bind, thankfully.

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Sorry little heir… Perhaps if you'd managed to fabricate that claim we wouldn't need to be having this conversation…

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Sweden goes to war… against Gotland. Again. Motherf…! I'm not even control of Gotland's armies, leaving us vulnerable to the military power of Sweden.

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I don't mind all that much, as the Swedish trade is wholly dominated by my old rivals in Guldsmed. Nevertheless, Stråben manages to secure an inconclusive end to the war. Sweden tries again a few years later for piece of the Gotlander pie…

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As it’s a territorial war I'm a bit more interested this time, dispatching some mercenaries to the mainland.

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The Swedish king guys and Gotland is preserved. Peder (super-genius) has a frisky young wife, who bats eyelids at Holmger. Of course, its not appropriate, given Holmger's subpar skillset.

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I make a de jure play for Zemgale, next to Kurland. It's 1147 and the territorial power of Gotland is notably lacking. The Poles aren't keen to give it up however…

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I take the fight to them.

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It fails. I whitepeace out, then soon make a sneaky attack to bolster my Scottish holdings with an attack on a rebelling province, which in turn leads the Scottish king to launch a separate war on me...

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Sadly, yet another inconclusive ending. Holmger is proving more than a little ineffectual. The war against the King of the Scots continues.

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While I've been off fighting wars in Britain, the Danes have usurped the Swedish crown. My blood oath against them does not look to have many prospects of success just now…

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Having fought off the Scots, Holmger launches another attack in the Baltic, this time against the to take the county of Memel. Again, shit goes wrong…

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I launch yet another war in Lithuania. My kingdom, my kingdom for one more holding!

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Finally, the perpetual failure Holmger accedes to the Grand Mayorship.

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With an extra holding, I seek out a talented courtier to promote… Sten, a courtier in the Mayor of Jenika's court, is about to get himself the Barony of Visborg...

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Meanwhile, Holmger finds himself a young mistress, this time not attached to his heir… Sure, why not.

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Crusade for Aragon… I make a solid contribution.

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Wahey!!

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Unfortunately, through some mechanism I don't understand, I'm not allowed to keep it - its given to some other family. Holmger just can't seem to get a break.

Speaking of which, the now all poweful Danes declare war.

ck2_310_zpsf15f5fc4.jpg


Then, the inevitable happens:

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'Given up the ghost' indeed. Well, good riddance. You've left a shitpile on the young Peder Torkelsson's hands. To make things worse, we lost the Grand Mayorship again…
 

StLeibowitz

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One of the most enjoyable Republican AARs I've read. Keep up the good work!