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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Introduction, King John the Cruel (this post)
2. Edward III
3. Randolph the Conqueror, part 1
4. Randolph the Conqueror, part 2
5. The Second Anarchy, part 1
6. The Second Anarchy, part 2
7. Guichard Misruler, part 1
8. Guichard Misruler, part 2
... and 17 years to go.

Shakespeare wrote a number of plays about English kings. Together, most of them concern monarchs whose reigns span a historical range covered in Crusader Kings 2: 1327 onwards. Two plays concern kings after 1452: Richard III (seen in the play as a murderous power-grabber) and Henry VIII (seen in the play as the would-be victim of a scheming cardinal); these unfortunately cannot be examined in CK2. One play involves a much earlier king, John (1199-1216), who is written as a wrathful tyrant.

As a prelude, I will report on my attempt at the reign of King John in this post, but in the posts to follow I will work my way through Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI... or something like them. Unfortunately, there are no CK2 start dates past 1337. I was originally planning to play each reign beginning at its start date, but it looks like I'm going to have to start in 1327 as Edward III and hope the succession is at least vaguely recognizable. If the Lancasters displace the Plantagenets, as they did historically, I will reload as the Lancasters and keep playing.

Macbeth is too early for the game, or he would have shot straight to the top of my list. A shame.

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This diagram shows the historical (loosely in Macbeth's case) kings of Shakespeare's plays and the times and durations of their reigns. The focus is on the era of Crusader Kings. The bulk of the AAR will start with Edward III and concern the span which in history held the Hundred Years War and part of the War of the Roses.

But now, King John. This is CK2 1.04 MLDO.

William Shakespeare said:
Philip II of France has a subject with a claim on the Kingdom of England. Philip II can call Austria to war. John makes his landless bastard half-brother Richard his Marshal. English Angiers revolts for France. John's niece marries Philip II's son. John is excommunicated for his treatment of bishoprics. Philip II declares war for the Kingdom of England.

Arthur I, Duke of Brittany and John's nephew, is captured by the English. John executes a captured Austrian noble. Arthur I dies in English captivity. Some of John's vassals are angered by Arthur I's death and rebel. (This may have something to do with the incompetence of John's Spymaster, Hubert.)

Marshal Richard is given command of the main army. John unsuccessfully attempts to get his excommunication lifted. Some of the rebellious vassals are peaced back into the kingdom. John is assassinated. The war ends inconclusively. The new king has better vassal relations (no excommunication, no tyranny).

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04/06/1199. The ascension of King John. I am heavily overburdened with count and duke titles. My demesne max is only 7, but I have 19 counties; the safe duchy number is 2, but I have 6 duchies. I give away land by the usual means (search realm, men only, ruler no, prison no, same culture and religion yes, sort by best opinion, skip ambitious, award counties to people at the top of the list; give surplus duchies to most loyal non-ambitious count in region).

By the end of this process, I personally possess only Middlesex (capital), Lincoln and York (and the Duchy of York), Shrewsbury, Dorset, Somerset, and Hereford. I also retain the Duchy of Poitou for the moment, but none of the land in it. I plan to consolidate my demesne into a capital and two "power duchies" in which my highest-ranking vassals are baron-level. This consolidation will have to wait on rebellions, inheritances, or whatever else makes it practical.

Like the map says, current English territory in Ireland and France is quite substantial. As things stand, my immediate goal is to hold on until the end of the Short Reign years, consolidate my power with feasts and fairs, defend as necessary, and build up to hit France mid-reign for the choicest spoils I can. Toulouse is full of Cathars; not sure what significance that will have.

My council has been deployed to push for Legalism and Farming in my capital, and Bows in York. (The English bonus building unit is Archers.) My Spymaster is in London to Uncover Plots, definitely a no-brainer, and my Chancellor is cozying up to the King of Aragon, who has opinion 9 of me. Phillip II of France has -100 due to my land in his de jure kingdom.

Council members:
16 Chancellor Earl Richard of Bedford
15 Marshal Duke William I of Deheubarth
16 Steward Earl Domnall of Leinster (lowest opinion, at -6)
14 Spymaster Duke Randolph I of Meath (highest opinion, at 100)
16 Court Chaplain Bishop Edward of Wenlock

Crown Authority is Medium, Investiture is Free, inheritance is Agnatic Primogeniture (and I'm thinking about making it Agnatic-Cognatic to make it easier for one of my children to displace Duke Arthur I of Anjou (currently my only child, Joan, is a bastard in addition to being ineligible under Agnatic). With that in mind, I've married a 16-year-old courtier (half my age) and hope to get some Plantagenet production going shortly.

England is fourth in army size, just behind France at 42,500. I assume better vassal relations will give me the edge, since England is third in realm size, with 212 holdings to France's distant, sixth-place 126. My most alarming vassals are Countess Isabelle of Gloucester (with 3 Welsh counties in her personal domain and opinion 9) and Duke Arthur I of Anjou (my nephew, heir to my throne, with 2 personal counties and 11 vassal holdings, holding opinion 14).

06/20/1199. My mother, Elinor of Saintonge, dies at 77. I inherit the County of Poitou. With my new demesne limit of 8, courtesy of my cute little not-particularly-talented Italian wife, I keep it. I've decided on the duchy I'd like to consolidate along with York: four-county Hereford. I already have two of its provinces, and the other two are controlled by counts. The title is one of 15 that I can create when I please. Counties will cost me $200 (all Paradox game currencies are dollars!) and the Kingdom of Ireland will cost me $400 (and 200 Piety, which I don't have and don't expect to get; my monthly Piety is +0.48); not forming the Kingdom of Ireland is probably for the best as counts and dukes in Ireland would just scheme for it.

09/16/1199. I marry a drunk teenage girl courtier to a Cornwall mayor, just clearing out the trash before it's too old to get rid of. She's a falconer too, but otherwise unremarkable. The mayor's ambition was marriage, but he likes me no better for helping him out. Relatedly, how come vassals don't react favorably when I spend money to build up their holdings?

Some other girl hits on me and I go for it, becoming Lustful. My Piety gain is only +0.20 a month now, but the fertility is worth it. Philippe II has created the Duchy of Berry and I can usurp it, but I am saving my money for an emergency mercenary fund. I am worried about the implications of France's levies being concentrated on the mainland while mine are split across the channel.

01/05/1200. The King of Norway marries one of my inconsequential courtier girls. She's Lustful, but Deceitful. I don't think that's a good combination.

04/06/1200. Remember Countess Isabelle? She just created the Duchy of Gloucester and is now its Duchess. This is not ideal. Earl Robert requests the Duchy of York. Given that York is part of my long-term demesne strategy, I don't give it to him. If he rebels, I will strip his title and all York will be mine.

01/24/1201. New Marshal, Domnall of Desmond. Skill 18.

12/05/1201. I've held a fair, a hunt, and a feast this year. 4,000-strong peasant revolt in Ulster, with all Irish vassals mobilized to put it down.

01/24/1202. Domnall of Leinster creates Duchy of Leinster. My Steward slot is vacated and I reluctantly put him in it. He doesn't like me (-33 opinion) but he's a talented man (skill 18). My feast had eleven refusals to attend and one refusal of the wine, so not really a success overall.

04/10/1202. I have made Duke Domnall of Leinster my Seneschal and sent him a gift. There is a mysterious wave of courtier deaths that I hope is unrelated.

07/30/1202. Queen Consort Agnese gives birth to a daughter. My first trueborn child! She suggests the name Phillipa, but with King Phillipe II my nemesis it doesn't seem right. I have her christened Agnes.

09/05/1202. Richard of Bedford wants to lower Crown Authority in England, and he's plotting with Phillipe II to do it! He's my Chancellor too. Unbelievable. I recall him to Cornwall, send Domnall of Leinster to arrest him (successful), and appoint Earl Hugh of Norfolk (skill 16) as the new Chancellor (he is immediately sent to Barcelona to continue influencing Aragon).

With the plot inconclusive, no further action against Bedford is justified. Shall I leave him to rot in prison? On reflection, I decide to banish him, taking $160 and his title to Bedford. I make Duke Arthur I my Keeper of the Swans to soften the blow, since he's my (holistically) worst revolt risk. Poitou is given to a humble English knight in his forties.

11/27/1202. I am organizing a grand tournament. Feast is missing from my intrigue list and I need to take people's minds off my tyranny. My bastard half-brother Geoffrey drops dead at 43; nobody cares.

01/14/1203. Northumberland declares independence. The county, by itself. Seriously?

06/12/1203. Northumberland war wrapped up. Their 2,500-man army evades my 11,000 men, but their holdings in Northumberland, being easier to pin down, are stormed and destroyed. (Typical garrison 1,000.) The Earl is imprisoned and his title stripped. Northumberland is not part of my demesne strategy, so I grant it to a Content man, Paul of Warwick, whose opinion of me shoots up to 96.

To prevent people from getting ideas about my future pet duchy, I create the Duchy of Hereford and keep it. To avoid going over two personal duchies, I grant the Duchy of Poitou to the humble Count Robert.

The tournament, delayed by the war, is back on.

08/14/1203. My firstborn son is delivered during the tournament. His name is John. In celebration I release Richard, formerly Earl of Northumberland.

Two Frankish knights are wounded during the tournament. The winner is another Frenchman, Raymond de Thouars, and he's an extremely unlikely champion: a landless 46-year-old Kind Grey Eminence with Martial 4. (His wife is a Grey Eminence too, and her Martial is a point higher than his.) The runners-up are Englishmen. One is unmarried and I give him a teenage wife.

I'm told a heresy has been eradicated in Wiltshire.

Duke Arthur I is attacking Maine and there's nothing I can do about it. He must have had a plot boiling there because I don't think Medium Crown Authority permits him to do a naked land grab. I think I hear history repeating itself.

12/09/1203. Holy crap! My Court Chaplain just tried to convert me to Catharism. Arrested. New Court Chaplain: Edward of Sussex (skill 16). The vacant bishopric has been given to a Trusting Mystic named Philip.

I wipe out my savings building improved Castle Cities in Hereford and Middlesex. In game terms this is a terrible idea because they'll never pay for themselves in my reign, but it felt right somehow.

I consider killing my bastard daughter, but decide not to because I am now Honest.

Under other circumstances, Catharism would have been an interesting choice. England's always had a distance from Catholicism that set it apart from the rest of Western Europe. But I'm trying to wait out my Short Reign years and endure my tyranny, and I'm already wrong culture in English France, directly bordering an angry and powerful right culture king. I can't burden myself with being wrong religion too.

06/01/1204. Typhoid Fever in Gloucester. It makes me focus on the truly important things in life. My new ambition is to amass wealth.

12/20/1204. Mary of Cornwall creates the Duchy of Cornwall for herself. She's not a threat. Free monthly Prestige for me!

01/01/1205. Joan comes of age as a Dutiful Cleric. As a bastard she has little value to me. I marry her off to a Frankish bastard Crusader for no particular aim.

There's another peasant revolt in Ireland, this one involving 3,300 men under arms. The usual Irish levies are mobilized.

07/31/1205. Agnese gives birth to another daughter, named Adela.

09/01/1205. Peasant uprising in Northampton. Crushed as usual. I command the center personally, and things are slightly hairy for the central army because I'm not really much of a military leader. Still, no harm done.

A baron in York dies without an heir. I grant his title and a wife to a content man at my court, the new Baron Gregory of Richmond.

I discover a Cruel and Ambitious girl among my courtiers and marry her off to a Scandinavian before she can cause any local trouble. She is also Lustful and a Poet, and I'm sure she'll leave a colorful trail of borken hearts, but the last thing I need is a vassal with a capable, fecund Spymaster wife.

11/06/1205. Duke Domnall I of Leinster lies dead. He was dangerous but useful. He will be missed, although with a tinge of relief. He is succeeded by his three-year-old daughter, with her mother regent until her majority. My new Steward is Mayor Albert of London (skill 14).

The Duchess of Gloucester is plotting to lower crown authority. She has the support of Phillipe II, who has somehow gotten people to call him "the Noble." Marshal Domnall of Desmond, who has Martial 19 and is not to be confused with the deceased of Duke of Leinster, travels to Gloucester and takes her into custody in the middle of a feast she's holding. She is also pregnant.

This is not ideal; I would have preferred to fight her and cut down her holdings. She has three counties under personal control. The plot justified an arrest, but nothing else. I can't afford the tyranny hits to remove titles. If I release her, Phillipe II will probably ally with her again. I'm just going to have to keep her in the dungeon. She is only 33.

01/06/1206. Duchess Mary of Cornwall accuses Duke Hugh of Norfolk of treason. I rebuke Mary, but send her a gift.

Typhus appears in Northumberland.

The Duchess of Gloucester gives birth in the dungeons. I release her infant son as a gesture of mercy, and to get him away from her.

02/17/1206. A count declares himself Duke of Oxford. One-province demesne, non-threatening.

03/01/1206. 3,700-strong peasant rebellion in France. The usual countermeasures. I command the left flank.

The Earl of Maine dies without an heir. Jordan of Waterford, selected for his contentment, is given the county and a wife.

My Chancellor finally reports our first diplomatic success in Aragon. He has improved my relations with the Count of Rosello... who is imprisoned.

07/04/1206. Duke Hugh reports a further diplomatic victory in Aragon, having influenced King Borrell I favorably. Borrell I is six years old.

The Duchess of Gloucester dies. Her heir is the baby I released from the dungeons, just half a year old. Her regent is a young woman with syphillis and Diplomacy 0, which I hope means people will be less eager to plot with Gloucester for a while.

07/24/1206. Phillipe II declares war for a claim on Tours. On paper, I have 4,000 more soldiers than he does. I also have a rainy day slush fund of $800 for mercenaries.

Full mobilization. Ireland and England will land troops near or into French concentrations. Levies in France are falling back to Saintonge. Mercenaries will be part of a subsequent wave. Staying away from personal command this time on the grounds that this war will be extremely dangerous.

Alfonso the Noble of Castille has refused our call to war.

Typhus in Gloucester.

10/01/1206. King Phillipe II's army of 13,000 engaged north of Tours by around 20,000 English, almost obliterated in Battle of Cloyes (10,000 French losses, 4,000 English losses). Another 12,000 English have just landed in Rouen, where they are menaced by 16,000 incoming Frenchmen. A detachment of yet another 15,000 English soldiers, having marched north from Saintonge, is diverting back to the coast for naval transport to reinforce Rouen.

Ledger says we have 9,000 more men than they do.

11/17/1206. The battle in Rouen is narrowly won by the English before reinforcements arrive (9,000 French losses, 6,500 English losses). The French have another army of 15,000 in the area, but 27,000 English are marching on it. 12,000 French are besieging Bourbon. Bourbon's garrisons are in the 2,000 range so I'd rather let them keep those 12,000 men out of battles in the north. This war is going to be won on casualties.

Ledger advantage now 10,000.

12/22/1206. The third major battle of the war shatters the northern French army. 12,000 French losses, 4,000 English losses. Duke Arthur I of Anjou is marching the victorious 22,000 English survivors to Tours to relieve Duke Robert of Poitou, who is taking the 18,000 men guarding Tours through friendly territory to relieve the 12,000-strong French siege of Bourbon.

Peasant revolt in Wiltshire. Diverting a force to deal with it.

Ledger advantage now 18,000.

01/01/1207. No weather or seasons in CK2. War in January it is.

A French army of 13,000 has been spotted in Chartres and Duke Arthur is diverting to engage. They move on Tours, and Arthur catches up with them there. Victories in Bourbon and Tours yield a combined total of 8,000 English losses to 21,000 French losses. This should be nearly the whole remaining French army. Meanwhile, a few minor nobles lead 4,500 men to victory over the Wiltshire rebellion's 3,500.

Consumption in Gloucester. Unhappy place.

Ledger advantage now 29,000.

06/01/1207. The English armies mass as 30,000 men under Duke Arthur and storm all holdings in Bourges and Nevers. Phillipe II offers peace and nearly $1,000, which I accept. The war lasted nearly a year.

I immediately declare a counterwar for Vexin. Only the aggressor is bound by truces. Vexin is one of two claims I can press for the Duke of Normandy. The other is Eu, and while Eu is coastal, Vexin is more developed, belongs to Phillipe II's personal demesne, and borders Paris. It's a penny-ante claim when I'd like to crush France once and for all, but it's what I've got.

I raise levies from France but leave elsewhere alone, except for ships. At great expense ($800), I employ 9,000 mercenaries belonging to the White Company and the Great Company. I'd rather keep my vassal levies fresh for any wars I can manage with my neighbors while France is truce-bound.

Ledger advantage now 35,000.

I fund a writer who aspires to chronicle the glory of the Plantagenets.

07/17/1207. Baron Hugh of Tottenham leads 13,000 Englishmen to siege Vexin. 7,000 Frenchmen besiege Rouen. I break the mercenaries out of the Vexin siege to relieve Rouen, cycling 8,000 levies from elsewhere in France to reinforce Rouen as well. The French also bring more levies into Rouen, but the battle is a decisive English victory, with 2,500 English losses to 7,000 French losses.

The Vexin siege is reinforced to 12,000 men, the supply limit of the province. Duke Arthur is given command of 8,000 to mop up French armies along the north coast. He performs adequately in Eu, attacking a force half his size and destroying most of it. Survivors are pursued into Amiens and wiped out completely.

Ledger advantage is now 42,000.

01/16/1208. French dreg levies rise. Arthur keeps busy.

Duke Sylvester I of Lancaster dies. His daughter's regent is a bishop.

03/25/1208. My army is the largest in the world, exceeding the Byzantines by 50 men. With few French soldiers remaining in the north, Arthur takes a holiday to put down peasant rebellions in Ireland and England.

08/01/1208. Princess Adela has Consumption. Princess Agnes is six now and I send her to my Court Chaplain for a religious education. Arthur and his army return to France and march to Vexin to help storm the remaining strongholds. 12,000 Frenchmen have massed in Bolougne and I have no immediate plans to deal with them.

Joanna of Anjou is discovered plotting to kill my heir. I ask her not to and she stops.

11/01/1208. After another holding in Vexin is captured, Phillipe II offers to meet my demands. Vexin is taken, peace returns, and the levies stand down.

Princess Adela has recovered from her illness. Queen Consort Agnese is Depressed; I give her a gift, but it doesn't seem to help.

12/17/1208. Ducal claim wars declared in Ireland on Tyrone and Tyrconnel, both one-province independents. Vassal claims are great. Sure, they may make the vassal too powerful down the road, but even having those claims in the first place is a great asset. You can always banish the next holder of the titles 30 years later.

Irish levies raised to fight the Irish wars.

01/09/1209. They caught the tail end of my levies in Kildare and it looks like I may lose a battle there.

Duchess Ela of Deubharth is plotting with King Phillipe II to lower my Crown Authority. Marshal Domnall travels to Wiltshire and imprisons her. Given my options, this is another indefinite imprisonment like the Gloucester affair.

For reasons that are unclear to me, my wife is plotting to kill Duke Arthur's daughter. Arthur and his titles may be dangerous in the future, but his daughter is a Plantagenet. I demand an end to the plot and she accepts.

07/03/1209. Siege armies are sitting patiently on the Irish provinces. The war is won; I just need to run out the clock. Typhus appears in Northumberland.

The Earl of Mortain accuses Domnall of Desmond of treason. I tell the Earl of Mortain where he can stick it.

08/29/1209. Prince John, my heir, is six. I send him to Duke Robert of Poitou for a martial education. Duke Robert is a Brilliant Tactician and a Hunter, yet Humble. Observers disagree about whether he is Slothful or Patient. He has a Genius daughter who is Prince John's age, and I betroth them.

I empty out most of my prisoners, keeping only a Cathar heretic and the Duchess of Deubharth in the dungeons. The many French dignitaries I collected in the Double War for Tours and Vexin are ransomed, except for one bishop who is released for free.

Typhus in Ulster.

01/14/1210. I order Duchess Ela of Deubharth thrown into the oubliette.

05/01/1210. The county seats at stake in the Irish wars have fallen.

I spend a staggering $1,200 to build bigger keeps in York, Lincoln, and Middlesex.

Typhus in Thouars. Smallpox in Dax.

07/01/1210. The Countess of Bourbon is discovered plotting to kill one of my courtiers. The courtier in question is a Cruel, Hunchbacked Impaler. I see no reason to intervene.

Measles in Norfolk.

10/18/1210. Disaster! Duke Hugh I of Ulster dies unexpectedly at 34. His was the claim I pressed in Ireland; both wars end inconclusively.

Hugh's heir, Rose of Ulster, shares his claim. I march the armies out, stand them down, and declare the wars anew, this time for Duchess Rose, who at 18 shouldn't be dying of natural causes before the provinces can be taken. I have plenty of time; the treaty with France won't expire until 1217 for Phillipe II and 1218 for me.

My long struggle for friendship with Aragon has gotten nowhere in particular, so I redeploy my Chancellor to Fabricate Claims on Connacht. Connacht is a good province to capture because its Count is also Duke of Connacht, with a ducal claim on another province.

12/01/1210. This time I am drawing my Ireland army from the west coast of England.

Peasant revolt in Evreux. Local levies are rounded up to strike back.

01/11/1211. The rebellion is put down and once again my armies are camped around Irish castles.

03/16/1211. Baron Hugh of Tottenham dies. He was a leader well above the importance of his title in the Double War. His heir is four years old, and Ill.

07/03/1211. The Earl of Warwick accuses my Chancellor of treason, but I am not interested.

08/09/1211. Princess Adela turns six. She has Martial 3, which is pretty good for her age. I send her to Duke Arthur for a warrior's education. Another royal son is born, named Andrew.

11/05/1211. Jaffa and Ascalon have been retaken by the Saracens. I'm guessing France isn't delivering the Crusade support it used to. The Iberian kingdoms aren't taking off either.

Building a Castle City in Shrewsbury and a bigger keep in Hereford. Legalism spreads to Middlesex, switching focus to Majesty.

Typhus in Leinster.

11/22/1212. The Irish territories are taken. The wars are over. Only Connacht and Breifne remain outside my grasp.

I buy Agnese ruby earrings and we fall in love. She is still Depressed, but at least she's pregnant.

02/23/1213. A peasant rebellion in Maine is handled the usual way.

04/05/1213. A royal son: Reginald.

06/14/1213. Aragon is ripe for the plucking. They can only raise 10,000 men, and I'm well at the top of the standings with the capacity to field more than 80,000. They're also in a war with similarly-sized independent Provence.

There are three provinces I can take on behalf of English dukes in France: Bearn, Foix, and Gevaudan. Bearn is the richest, best positioned, and most able to provide soldiers, but both Bearn and Foix will go into the power of the already strong Duke of Gascogne, while Gevaudan will only be the second province of the Duke of Auvergne. Gevaudan is my choice.

War is declared, and the local levies raised.

12/12/1213. The Earl of La Marche has stormed the county seat in Gevaudan, but with enough losses that reinforcements are marching in before any further assaults. Two Large Keeps finish construction.

Prince Andrew asked me about the birds and the bees at the tender age of two. The experience made him Deceitful.

02/08/1214. Majesty increases in Middlesex, switching to Spiritual Art. The Pope has called for a crusade to recapture Ascalon. Another Large Keep completes. The Duke of Oxford dies.

Aragon claims protection from France. They answer the call! Massing soldiers in Rouen...

05/29/1214. 28,000 English soldiers from northern France and the southern and eastern coasts of England are marching from Rouen through Vexin to Paris, where they will storm all fortifications and bring a quick end to this war.

10/08/1214. I swept Paris, but it didn't have any warscore effect. My army is down to 16,000. Meanwhile 14,000 French soldiers have destroyed by occupying force in Gevaudan and are sieging the holdings. Another 4,000 French soldiers are camped out in Auvergne. I'm swinging the fleet around Ireland to pick up its coastal levies.

12/21/1214. Bolstered by 8,000 Irish levies, three staggered fleets of around 80 ships each are transferring the army to Bordeaux, where they will march inland to the disputed area. The French army in Gevaudan is suffering attrition and down to 10,000 men. The French have landed 2,500 men in Essex and local levies are being raised to respond.

A Large Castle City is complete.

03/31/1215. The French armies flee Gevaudan. The largest is now 8,000 strong. Aragon has fielded an army of 8,000 in the Gascogne area.

Oh no! I have syphillis!

06/09/1215. The small French army has been destroyed. The large one has withdrawn. Toulouse is fielding a couple thousand men, not that I care. The English army is now on the march to Gascogne. The 5,500 soldiers raised to combat the French landing in Essex have, after a bit of a chase, been successful and are sailing to France to form the core of a force which can respond when the 8,000-man French army reappears, probably hoping to reclaim Paris. They will be bolstered with inland levies from England.

08/29/1215. Even as my army for the defense of captured Paris assembles and the French army marches to Paris as predicted, the King of Aragon is shaken by the loss of his army in Gascogne and offers to meet my demands. The war is over and Gevaudan is English. The levies and fleets are demobilized.

Interestingly, it looks like in 1213 Phillipe II died. His successor is Louis VIII, a king with absolutely no England peace treaty. (Also, his highborn wife has no parents. How does that work? Is that where debutantes come from?) France is at a low ebb and I believe it's time once again to take one of their provinces. Chartres borders Paris and will give me the land necessary to usurp the Duchy of Orleans.

I also have a claim on Breifne in Ireland. My ledger advantage against the French is something like 58,000, so I have no problem committing Ireland's soldiers to a smaller war at the same time. As for the continent, the soldiers come from the west coast of England. Not for the first time, I wish for an autokatabasis interface.

Typhoid Fever in Saintonge.

10/15/1215. Louis VIII is captured in Vexin, ending the war in my favor almost as swiftly as it began. The king and a count are ransomed; a bishop is set free.

12/16/1215. A Large Keep is completed. I begin assorted building projects in my core areas. Farming advances come to Middlesex, finally. I reassign my Steward to farming projects in York.

05/01/1216. I am now known as John the Cruel. Not Cruel, by the way.

The Count of Tours, my half-brother, usurps the Duchy of Berry. This gives him a claim I can press on the other half of the duchy.

France owns the Duchy of Toledo. Not sure why. Looks like it dates back to 1214.

08/10/1216. New Steward (natural causes): Geoffrey, Earl of Essex (skill 14).

09/12/1216. Breifne's lord surrenders. I usurp the Duchy of Connacht and grant it to the Count of Tyrconnell, whose claim I pressed for Breifne. The levies are stood down, war is declared for Connacht County, and the levies are raised again.

Elevating that Count has the beneficial side effect of splitting the dangerous Duchy of Ulster, which was enlarged by the conquests of Tyrconnell and Tyrone. Promoting a subvassal out of vassalage to their lord your vassal ought to make the lord who lost a vassal angry with you, but it doesn't.

11/19/1216. The Duke of Connacht dies, ending the war inconclusively. Old people are so troublesome. The levies march out, disband, war is declared, they rise again.

Measles in Sussex.

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01/08/1217. King John I the Cruel is dead of apparently natural causes. He was 50 years old. His successor, John II, is 13 years old and shows modest aptitudes in Martial, Scholarship, and Diplomacy. He is Kind, Shy, Content, and Arbitrary. The only possible pretenders are his brothers, aged 7 and 5. John II is betrothed to Catherine de Courtnay, daughter of Duke Robert of Poitou; her statline as a 13-year-old is 17/10/17/13/14. She is Charitable, Gregarious, Just, and a Genius. After granting Somerset and Dorset Counties to Content courtiers to deal with reduced demesne limit, there is no significant risk of noble rebellion. The war on Connacht continues and there is every reason to believe that Ireland will be unified shortly. For the next three years, John II will continue to be the ward of Duke Arthur I of Anjou,

The boy king's council:
Chancellor Duke Hugh I of Norfolk (16)
Marshal Earl Domnall of Desmond (17)
Steward Earl Geoffrey of Essex (14)
Spymaster Duke Randolph I of Meath (13)
Court Chaplain Bishop Edward of St. Peters (17)

John I reigned for 18 years, during which time the only noble rebellion of note was Northumberland by itself, and that's stretching the phrase "of note." He successfully dealt with Phillipe II's plots against England, kept himself (just barely) in the good graces of the Church, and presided over a time of massive positive cashflow. His building projects were respectable, although not ambitious enough to include new cities or castles. He gained six counties for England, and lost none. (The map above highlights changes in county ownership over the course of his reign.) His career score was 3,333 (3238.5 Prestige/94.5 Piety).

All hail John I the Cruel, King of England, Duke of Hereford and York. The king is dead. Long live the king.

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The historical John I died a few months earlier, leaving his child heir Henry III with a much-diminished England. All but nine of the French counties had been lost by 1205. No conquests had been made in Ireland. The Pope had excommunicated him. He had imprisoned Arthur and may or may not have ordered his execution. Rebellious vassals and the scheming French king forced him to sign the Magna Carta, lowering crown authority. Even then, they continued to rebel, seeking his overthrow. He reconciled with the Pope, but could not save his power or himself.

CK2 said:
[PRINCE JOHN and DUKE ARTHUR are playing chess. Enter DOMNALL.]

DOMNALL. My Lord, the King hath news he must impart.

PRINCE JOHN. What might it be? The hour is late.

DOMNALL. - Dark things.

ARTHUR. Best go.

[PRINCE JOHN walks with DOMNALL OF DESMOND.]

PRINCE JOHN. I spoke with Cath; in private vouchsafes she
My father now is dispossessed of wits.
It is not said in hatred or sedition
But sorrow at the passing of the man.

DOMNALL. His passage shall be thorough soon enough.
He fears tonight he breathes his last on earth.

PRINCE JOHN. O damn you! Tidings utmost foul enough
Without your heartless speech.

DOMNALL. - Your pardon, please,
A gaoler I, no tender maid or poet.
Even now the wheels of state are turning.
I dared not say the words for Arthur's ears.

PRINCE JOHN. Hath Arthur not proved himself ten times ten?
And count that number, Earl, in Frenchmen's corpses.

DOMNALL. In bygone days our gravest awful fears
Were risen Anjou and curs'd Gloucester's plots
The duchess dead, the king still pricks his ears
For whispers of your Arthur's darkest thoughts.

PRINCE JOHN. Fah! The man is sound.

[They arrive at the king's bed.]

DOMNALL. Soft, Highness, he is not well.

[DOMNALL parts the curtains, revealing KING JOHN.]

KING JOHN. My dearest boy, you are too late for me
To tell you all the thoughts I had in mind

PRINCE JOHN. Father -

KING JOHN. - Hush, each minute shall I need
To speak to you the few things that I must.
Owest thou the crown the loot of Connacht
Finish thee the wretched Irish war.
Trust not the dukes and barons, vassals all
Will plot with slipp'ry France as like as not.
And on that topic, always bend your mind
To continental conquests and to France
The king of Aragon shall likewise not
Hold any land that is not yours to take.
Above all, this I charge you strictly do:
Take any counsel Catherine might give
For she is wise beyond a girl's small years
And surely she was sent to us by God.

PRINCE JOHN. She is dear to me, just as are you.

KING JOHN. Domnall, if the devil should come for me, arrest him.

DOMNALL. I shall.

KING JOHN. Thank God. And let no priests in with their censers,
They'll poison my corpse.

DOMNALL. As you say.

PRINCE JOHN. I'faith, you can mean none of this.

DOMNALL. I mean as much as I am able.

KING JOHN. This kingdom many times hath Domnall sav'd
If he cannot save me, my time is come.

PRINCE JOHN. But it must not be now; I'm but a ward!

DOMNALL. Peace, my prince, all flesh must fail.

[There is a silence.]

KING JOHN. A hundred thousand died for my sweet chance
To set my crown on kings of Anglefrance.

[KING JOHN dies softly. DOMNALL removes his circlet and draws a sheet over the body, then gives the circlet to PRINCE JOHN, who hurls it to the ground.]

PRINCE JOHN. O God! Grief! Thou couldst have spared him!

[PRINCE JOHN flees, inconsolable. DOMNALL replaces the circlet on KING JOHN's covered head. Curtain.]
 
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Alternating between two AARs at the moment. This one's not as popular as the other one. I'm a bit surprised (I thought this one had more potential), but them's the breaks.

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William Shakespeare said:
Edward III is victorious in a defensive war with Scotland. He falls in love with a Countess in his realm. They are both married to other people. They enter into spousal murder plots. They are unsuccessful, she is upset, and he gives up on her.

England goes to war with France. The king's son, Prince Edward, leads the army to victory despite being personally conflicted about the morality of war. (Prince Edward uses the pelican as a Christian symbol, connecting the belief that pelicans peck themselves and feed their young their blood to Christ bleeding on the cross for the sins of humanity.)

Historically, Edward III stabilized the kingdom, fought inconclusively with Scotland, pressed a personal claim on the French throne with partial success, and had an exceptionally long reign. During this time the Black Death arrived, and the Papacy relocated to France.

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02/01/1327. Edward III ascends to the throne at 15, with his father Edward as Regent. Edward the father is the former King Edward II, who has just now been deposed by an invasion by Edward III's mother, Isabella.

Things aren't going so well compared to the end of my King John I. There are only four English counties in France, and while all of Wales is now part of England, only half of Ireland is. Scotland has gained a county along the border as well. England is sixth in realm size behind the Ho-Ro, the Ilkhanate, the Golden Horde, Egypt, and France.

Just like when John came to power, I'm hugely overburdened with personal duchies and counties. Unfortunately, there are no intuitive power duchies; the king's holdings are split messily across several de jure duchies and none are complete. By the time I've finished distributing titles, I retain only the Kingdoms of England and Brythonia, the county of Middlesex as my capital, the Duchy of Lancaster and two out of its four counties, the Duchy of Gwynned and two out of its three counties, and two out of three counties in Somerset (duchy uncreated). Some counties have strategically been given to nobles unlikely to have heirs so I can expand back up later (infirm, celibate, old, etc.), but I'm also expecting a reasonable amount of conquest. Ten duchies are uncreated, along with the Kingdom of Ireland.

Council:
Chancellor Earl Robert of Oxford (17)
- improving relations with Pope John XX
Marshal Mayor Eustace of Swansea (18)
- spreading Bows III to Dorset
Steward Earl John of Surrey (14) (need to get some better stewards in here)
- spreading Farming III to Dorset
Spymaster Baron Thomas of Shaftesbury (17)
- uncovering plots in Middlesex
Court Chaplain Bishop Randolph of St. Paul's (13) (ugh)
- spreading Spiritual Art III to Middlesex

No current CBs on Scotland. In the long term, they'd be great for an invasion request. A handful of small-time claims in Ireland and several ducals in France. Crown Authority is Medium, Investitute is Free, Feudal Taxation is None and Church Taxation is Minimal. Succession is by Agnatic Primogeniture. Catholicism only has around 66 moral authority and the pope is old and weak. I might go heretic or establish an antipope. If I can grab the Isle of Man, that would be a nice Papal seat.

I am 15 years old, Diligent, Greedy, Honest, and Gregarious. The Intrigue penalty for Honest is going to hurt like hell, I suspect.

France doesn't have CB on me. I'm a little worried about the threat of excommunication or similar, but even so, I think it's best to come out of the gate strong. I'm going to wage war in Ireland.

01/01/1328. War for Connacht is going well, although a successful early storm of the county seat cost me 5,000 men out of 8,000.

Came of age as a Dutiful Cleric, making my Intrigue problem even worse. Marriage options are terrible. My new wife Petronilla is English and 16, but that's where the positives end (except, perhaps, for her Scholarship, which is decent at 11).

04/19/1328. Okay, this is weird. I pressed a noble's claim for Connacht, but with the war won, he is not my vassal. He likes me (100), but won't consider vassalization. Being King of Ireland might help, but that's a question of Piety. I'd need something like six Indulgences.

Oh well, nothing to do but press a ducal on Tyrone.

07/10/1328. War with Tyrone is going roughly how you'd expect given that Tyrone is around 2% of my realm size. The siege is slow, though.

My father wants to be Court Chaplain. It would be a one-point step up, but I don't dare put him in a better position to plot, given his claims and my low Intrigue. Denied.

Shortly after that, he asked for land. No way did I give such a likely pretender land, of course. I suggested a clerical career. Of course, he just asked to be Court Chaplain and I turned him down...

The AI really needs to learn that you can't accomplish anything by raising 22 men against a siege of 7,500.

12/23/1328. James I declares himself Duke of Leinster. His duchy doesn't include Leinster County, still under the control of Earl Muiris.

01/21/1329. I've become Stressed. Fertility -10% and effective Intrigue now a horrible 1.

Heir born. His name is Randolph. I don't believe England ever had a king named Randolph. Fingers crossed, though!

09/13/1329. The (Celibate) Duke of York dies without issue. My Stewardship still sucks, so I appoint another Celibate to the County and Duchy of York and hope for some beneficial stat changes before he pops it.

Thomond, an Irish independent county, has invaded Connacht. Looks like they'll win. Nothing I can do about it.

Indulgence cost has turned out to be $487. That's not going to be easy to pay another five times.

An aspiring Spymaster presents himself. He's two points better, but four years older. I decide to stick with the Baron of Shaftesbury. Hope this doesn't come back to bite me in the ass.

10/22/1329. Tyrone is conquered. Next: Tyrconnell!

Earl Robert of Oxford dies. New Chancellor: Earl Muiris of Leinster (14). Not great.

01/11/1330. The new lord of Oxford declares himself a duke.

05/31/1330. Norfolk has become a duchy.

09/15/1330. Petronilla wants me to fire my Marshal (skill 19). I refuse, of course. Going to need that 19 against France.

Cornwall has become a duchy.

02/28/1331. France has developed the option to press a ducal claim on Dax. Time to start watching my back.

05/30/1331. Duke of Ulster dies, Tyrconnell war ends inclusively. Damned Ireland.

Preparing a Grand Tournament.

Just realized Winchester is a bishopric. There goes Somerset as a possible power duchy.

08/19/1331. The tournament is over, won by Robert of Aylesbury, who is notable only for being a Hedonist.

A princess is born, named Aveline.

08/15/1332. My brother John has come of age as a Thrifty Clerk. I marry him to a French princess, Isabelle.

09/01/1332. 5,000 peasants revolt in Powys. They are put down by neighboring levies.

Duke Hugh of Cornwall holds only Devon. He asks for a vassal transfer of Cornwall. Because Hugh is Ambitious, I deny him. If he revolts, I will hand his duchy to the Countess of Cornwall, who is not Ambitious.

03/19/1333. Petronilla wants to become Spymaster. Her Intrigue is zero. John wants a title and there's nothing I can comfortably give him.

04/27/1333. Princess Margaret born.

05/30/1333. John demanded a title. Church, I told him. This is probably going to come back on me.

06/10/1333. I've become a Duelist.

Gloucester has become a duchy.

Pope John XX, at the age of 84, has decided that Christendom should Crusade for Antioch. I have no immediate plans to do so.

12/17/1333. Court Chaplain Randolph has gone Waldensian. Hard to blame him, with this stupid Crusade on, but I've got the Piety to take Ireland's crown as soon as I get the money together, so I throw him in the dungeon. In his place, I appoint Prince-Bishop Geoffrey of Worcester, who is a Genius (skill 16).

06/01/1334. My sister Eleanor has come of age as a Mastermind Theologian. I arrange a matrilineal marriage for her to keep that 19 Scholarship in the dynasty. Hopefully her children will inherit that and not her Harelip. Her new husband, Irishman Aed MacDomnall, wants to be Steward, and he deserves it (skill 15). I grant him the post.

09/24/1334. John and Isabelle have a daughter, Anne. Isabelle likes me fine, but John resents his lack of power. Their children could have claims on England, France, and Brythonia.

09/22/1334. Duke Alan of York wants Earl Henry of Lancaster as his vassal. Alan is Celibate, so it would be a temporary arrangement, but Alan also has an excellent opinion of me (100), and it wouldn't split Henry's two-county holdings, so there's nothing to gain. Denied.

Isabelle has been persuaded to abandon a plot to kill Prince Randolph.

01/08/1335. Court Chaplain Geoffrey wants $170 to improve Religious Flexibility in Middlesex by 1. I refuse, as the money has the immediate goal of satisfying my Amass Wealth ambition and paying for the Kingdom of Ireland, whereas Religious Flexibility has no prompt benefit.

01/23/1335. At long last, I am the King of Ireland. No independent Irish nobles are willing to swear fealty to me. Time for some wars.

02/07/1335. Prince Randolph is six. The Duke of Aquitaine offers to foster him, but he sucks. Because Randolph shows an early talent for Scholarship, I give him to my sister Eleanor.

05/28/1335. Geoffrey dies. I appoint Prince-Bishop Alexander of Durham in his place (19 skill).

08/10/1335. Prince Gerald born. Under the laws of Brythain, he will inherit Gwent by Gavelkind. Looks like I better change that law.

War for Tyrconnell won, finally. I brought over some levies from England to assault the castles.

I rejected a wench's advances, hoping to become Chaste and pick up some Piety, but no such luck.

11/05/1335. War for Thomond won.

France has slipped past us in army size. Now would not be an auspicious time to go to war.

Desmond has been peacefully vassalized after a gift of $80.

12/15/1335. John and Isabelle have a daughter, Beatrice. Another treason-bomb princess.

The Duke of Leinster is now also the Duke of Munster. I smell future plots and demands for the throne of Ireland.

06/30/1336. Leinster concedes defeat in a Crusade against Antioch. So that's where my levies have been going.

Presently the Count of Breifne, who claims the Duchy of Connacht, is at war with the Count of Connacht. These are the last two independent counties in Ireland, and when their war ends, I will pressure them to swear fealty to me.

01/12/1337. My sister Joan became an Intricate Webweaver. She's not that impressive. I marry her away to Calabria.

I don't know why counts feel they have the right to ducal titles when I personally control the majority of the de jure duchy they're in.

New Pope: Hyginus III. He doesn't like me. He's young and Strong. Time to kick some money his way. Papal money gets crazy fast because of Indulgences, but if you catch them right as they ascend, you can get away with a $20 gift.

Calabria tries to call us into a war with Africa and Naples. I decline.

The Duke of York dies without issue. I grant my brother John the County and Duchy of York. I may live to regret it, as it does not erase his "denied a title" opinion modifier. I take comfort in the fact that his opinion is 99 for now.

Brythonian Crown Authority is Minimal, so I guess instituting Primogeniture there will be a multigenerational project. Or I could try to find a different power duchy.

08/20/1337. Princess Aveline is sent to learn Scholarship from Court Chaplain Alexander.

The Breifne-based Duchy of Connacht was all set to lose the war with the County of Connacht (-75 warscore), but then captured the Earl of Connacht in a decisive battle, got the usual total victory for holding the enemy leader captive, and claimed Connacht. Now what would have been a divide-and-conquer case for peaceful vassalization is a two-county independent ducal mess.

I declare war for Connacht on behalf of a Steward in Tyrconnell who traces his fealty back to me (eventually). Once I take Connacht, I can usurp the duchy and have a claim on Breifne, which I'll probably need, since I doubt the war will make the current duke want to swear fealty to me.

12/26/1337. Having destroyed the enemy Irish armies in the field, I leave 2,200 men in Breifne to maintain the siege and move the remaining 10,000 or so to Connacht for assaults.

02/01/1338. The Duke of Connacht surrendered Connacht when its county seat fell. I usurped the Duchy and granted it to the claimant, Magnus. As expected, Breifne was not a willing vassal. His successor might be, but unfortunately my Intrigue situation does not make assassinations practical. War is declared for Breifne on behalf of Earl Magnus of Connacht.

The Queen has caught Typhoid Fever.

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06/01/1338. King Edward III is dead, having contracted Typhoid Fever from Queen Petronilla. He was 26 years old. His successor, Randolph I, is 9 years old and seems to have the makings of a decent scholar. King Randolph's personality is a mystery (no traits). The former Edward II (Randolph's grandfather) and Gerald of Gwent (Randolph's brother and now Count of Gwent) may rise as pretenders. The war on Breifne continues and there is every reason to believe Ireland will be unified shortly. The Regent is Baron Thomas of Shaftesbury, who is a Greedy, Cruel, Webweaving Impaler. His Patience and Diligence only make him more alarming.

Edward III reigned for 11 years, during which time the only rebellion of any kind was a peasant rising in Powys. He declared himself King of Ireland and conquered nearly all of independent Ireland, gaining five counties for England and losing none. He donated heavily to the Church, overcoming the rift with the Pope caused by the English policy of Free Investiture. His career score was 2,508 (2423.5 Prestige/84.6 Piety).

All hail Edward III, King of England, Brythonia, and Ireland, Duke of Lancaster and Deubharth. The king is dead. Long live the king.

2h6c8kg.gif


CK2 said:
[PETRONILLA sits on her throne, rendering royal judgement to two petitioning FARMERS.]

FARMER 1. In Christ I beg Your Majesty bend ear;
From me this man hath taken lawful land.
Soon harvest comes, and with it ruin sure,
Save I reclaim what right belongs to me.

FARMER 2. Good Queen, he lies, and poorly that as well.
An ancient stony fence proclaims the truth:
These lands my fam'ly held before the time
Of good King John the Cruel, the scourge of France.

FARMER 1. That Baron, Thomas, he has seen no fence.
But ask him, then shall you hear truth indeed.

FARMER 2. He lies, he lies for a farthing!

FARMER 1. - Slander!

PETRONILLA. Compose yourselves. This matter offers not
A question that could vex or bother me.
I do decree henceforth you both shall hold
Each other's lands, and trouble me no more.

[The FARMERS shout in protest.]

PETRONILLA. Bailiffs!

[Enter MEN AT ARMS, who push the FARMERS out.]

FARMER 1. I'll burn my fields.

FARMER 2. I'll burn mine first.

[Exit FARMERS. Enter EDWARD, with SWANSEA and SHAFTESBURY.]

PETRONILLA. Oh Edward, if I'd known before this time
Thy frays in Erin over safely were
I'd never have sat judgement in your stead.

EDWARD. 'Tis just as well, my love, for they are not.

PETRONILLA. What? Connacht not sworn over?

SWANSEA. Breifne made a mess of it for sure,
He captur'd Connacht's Earl upon the field.
Six months of hard-fought sieges gone to waste.

SHAFTESBURY. Unlawful would have been our aid if granted.

PETRONILLA. Oh, law, what is the law to England's king?

EDWARD. Another iron shackle, as thou know'st.

PETRONILLA. Put not such worry on a royal face.

[EDWARD takes his throne.]

EDWARD. Fair Queen, this chair is like the Baron's rack
From which we learnt the truth of Isabelle.
One pulley holds me fast with kingly needs,
And t'other binds me tight in Christly arms.
The chains, my dear, are made of time itself,
So cruelly short, our time upon this earth.
Thus, in preparing England for my son
I must prepare myself for Peter's gates.
Therefore the tithes, therefore the acts of law,
Therefore my Christian treatment of the Earls,
Though they be Irish, not good English men.

SHAFTESBURY. But if the time runs short, you must embrace
That swiftness which is conquest by all means.

EDWARD. Such conquest would make me a King in Hell.

SHAFTESBURY. Thou couldst unite the isles withal!

EDWARD. - Enough!
Lest time run short, this weakness clot my veins,
I'll have thee swear to me, complete my work:
Bold Swansea, thou must draw our veil upon
That stubborn duchy, Connacht of Erin.
And Thomas, guide my son howe'r you can;
To thee I grant his Regent's post anon,
Though God forbid you take it swiftly up.

SHAFTESBURY. God forbid.

SWANSEA. Long live the king.

[PETRONILLA takes EDWARD's hand. Curtain.]
 

jmberry

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Funny how John's reign wound up very succesful while Edward's was cut short.

EDIT: Oh, BTW, are you naming you're children or just accepting the suggestions?
 
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Saithis

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Interesting approach, very different from your usual AARs.
 

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jmberry, I'd say John's reign wound up holding a roughly even keel, and looks good mostly because of the spectacular historical collapse to which it can be compared.

I accept whatever name I'm given unless I don't like it. That's only happened once so far (not wanting to name a Princess Philippa while fighting King Philippe).

AlexanderPrimus, I always try to start with a clever premise, on one level or another. Fortunately, there's no shortage of clever premises.

Saithis, true enough. My normal approach wouldn't work with the subject matter. I'm capitalizing on CK2's personal scale, which is the place it intersects with Shakespeare. It's not enough, at least not for this, to have a tactic in mind or a score to declare, there needs to be a life full of events.


Now that I think about it, it's possible that Edward III was assassinated. I hope the promised "cause of death" feature doesn't demystify causes of death too much. I mean, sometimes it's obvious that a sword killed the king, but other times there's a margin to split between disease and poison and it's not really known until much later, if at all, which is the real culprit.

2hqax5c.png


Historically, we're still in the reign of Edward III, and war with France is still a major feature of the next century. We'll see.

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06/01/1338. Revolt risks seem to be mostly under control. I'm taking a calculated gamble on the duchies of Ulster, Leinster, and Cornwall, each of which has an ambitious Duke. Rather than give them bribes and honors, I'd like them to rebel so I can strip them of a title each and let them die in oubliettes.

As a show of mercy, I strip imprisoned Waldensian Bishop Randolph of his title to St. Paul's and set him free. St. Paul's is given, by lay investiture, to Content courtier Ralph d'Ufford.

Present council:
15 Chancellor Earl Muiris of Leinster (County)
- improving relations with the Pope in Rome
19 Marshal Mayor Eustace of Swansea
- spreading military technology in Dorset
15 Steward Aed MacDomnall (husband of my aunt Eleanor)
- spreading Farming III in Somerset
17 Spymaster Baron Thomas of Shaftesbury
- uncovering plots in Middlesex
19 Court Chaplain Prince-Bishop Alexander of Durham
- spreading Spiritual Art III in Middlesex
- my guardian for another six years

The former King Edward II and his household have departed to Ulster. Treason is probably involved.

07/10/1338. I have become Zealous.

07/18/1338. I am no longer Zealous. Alexander took my bible away and told me to go play rather than read it. Interesting choice for a scholar and a man of the cloth.

Edward II seems to be bouncing from Irish court to Irish court now. I hope he's not gaining plot followers this way.

08/29/1338. Earl Muiris has died, leaving the Steward spot vacant. I appoint Mayor Humphrey of Chesterfield (skill 14) in his place.

10/02/1338. Ulster rebels! Three counties raise the Ulster banner in the north of Ireland.

11/08/1338. Levies from the west of England have eradicated Ulster's armies and are laying siege to their capital.

Petronilla, still only 26, is married off to a German count.

Breifne submits. The army camped around its holdings moves out for Ulster Tyrconnell.

02/27/1339. The new Ulster army is caught in Tyrconnell, beaten, pursued to Tyrone, and destroyed.

Peasants rise in Bordeaux, 5,000 strong.

04/24/1339. The peasant uprising in Bordeaux is crushed by a combined army drawn from France and the aftermath of the battle for Tyrone. Victorious, this army sails with the Bordeaux fleet back to Ireland.

Princess Margaret is sent to Steward Aed MacDomnall for an education in management.

10/10/1339. The pope's opinion of me improves.

09/03/1340. I have become Kind. Dammit Alexander, don't do this to my Intrigue!

09/06/1340. Alexander promptly beat the Kindness out of me. I don't want to endorse child abuse, but he's probably made me more likely to survive assassination and plot attempts for the rest of my reign.

12/27/1340. The Duchess of Ulster surrenders. Brian of Tyrone is granted her duchy. She is released, retaining the County of Ulster.

Baron Thomas of Shaftesbury, Spymaster of England, is appointed as my Regent. That's strange, because he already was Regent.

01/24/1341. Ireland belongs to England. Scotland is embroiled in a Crown Authority war and the Earl of Westmorland has a claim on Cumberland. Time to press that.

02/23/1341. Spiritual Art increases to III in Wessex. Shifting focus to Legalism III.

Drawing armies from all western and northern holdings with coasts. I intend to assault Cumberland and conclude the land grab before Scotland's civil war is over.

05/31/1341. 20,000 English levies make short work of Cumberland and the Scottish king accepts peace at full occupation of the county (warscore 47).

I order new cities built in Somerset and Dorset. Not ideal, as the full duchy would be impossible for me to take into my demesne due to the church county in Winchester, but cheap, as these are less developed provinces than my power duchy material in Lancaster.

The kings of Aragon and Leon are excommunicated. France is attacking Leon. France has roughly a 20,000-man ledger advantage over England so I doubt the war will weaken them enough to make them a target.

Given the disparities, I think I'm going to need to eat Scotland before I can go toe to toe with France.

10/09/1341. I order the release of a hedge knight that Eustace of Swansea believes is a bandit. Anything for Piety. I'd buy an Indulgence, but unfortunately the pope won't sell them to minors.

02/10/1342. There's a war in Ulster as the Earl of Tyrconnell seeks to acquire the County of Tyrone. I could make an arrest, but choose not to interfere.

Farming III appears in Somerset. I move my Steward to Derby, which still has Farming II.

Gilbert of Northumberland has put together a claim on Dunbar. I may press it at the end of my truce with Scotland if I have nothing better.

10/08/1342. New city begun in Chester.

06/10/1343. New cities in Somerset and Dorset complete.

11/19/1343. Earl Henry of Lancaster has finished construction of a castle. I am all the more interested in consolidating the Duchy of Lancaster for myself.

12/20/1343. I have become Humble. Piety!

12/23/1343. Bishop Alexander tells me not to be so Humble. That wasn't much Piety after all.

01/21/1344. I have become Honest. Intrigue hit. Do not want.

04/24/1344. The Duke of Leinster wants Desmond County as his vassal. He already has two duchies and two counties. Obviously the correct answer is "hell no."

10/23/1344. Aed MacDomnall has died. Duke Brian of Ulster is my new Steward. The remainder of Princess Margaret's education has been given to Mayor Eustace of Swansea in recognition of her emerging aptitude for war.

A city is complete in Chester. City begun in Derby.

01/29/1345. The Regency is over. I have become an Honest Mastermind Theologian. I marry a Dutch baron's daughter, Badeloge van Zutphen, for her Quick mind. She has no grandparents. Is that creepy?

Aunt Eleanor, she of the 19 Scholarship, is left single by the passing of Aed MacDomnall. She is only 27 and there's still time for her to have children. I can't find anyone outside my court willing to marry her matrilineally, so I pair her off with an aging courtier.

05/09/1345. Preparing a Grand Tournament. I am hoping to exploit the goodwill generated by the tournament to usurp Lancaster and Westmorland. Lancaster will lose last title this way and be a non-threat, while Westmorland will still be grateful for my assistance in the claiming of Cumberland.

This may trigger rebellions by some of my more Ambitious subjects, such as the Duke of Cornwall, which I will further exploit. With my new majority and my new wife, I can add three more holdings to my demesne without penalty. I intend to shed Glamorgan when necessary. Somerset and Dorset are also expendable.

06/12/1345. The Pope's opinion of me has improved.

Badeloge is hoping for a daughter. I want a son.

07/26/1345. The tournament has begun, and Eleanor's new husband has died in a tournament accident. She has moved to Gloucester. The only courtier I have left to offer her is Celibate. Ah well, there goes that cadet branch.

08/29/1345. The winner of the tournament is Lawrence Butler, of the influential Irish Butler family. He is a Tough Soldier, Arbitrary and Cynical but Kind, and he is serving his brother, the dangerously disgruntled Duke James of Leinster, as Spymaster. James is also the father of Queen Mother Petronilla. Let's hope Lawrence's victory clears up his Depression.

Second place goes to Gregory of Canterbury, the Steward of Kent. A Brilliant Strategist who is Temperate, Kind, Just, and Celibate, he would be a model knight if he weren't also a liar and a coward.

Third place goes to Art ua Domnaill, a man of astonishing personal contradictions. He competed in the lists despite having two wards to raise and troops to train in Tyrconnell, where he is Marshal. 40 years old, he came of age as a Fortune Builder but his natural talents have made him an expert in war (skill 15). He is Ambitious and Envious, but Humble. He is Wroth and Brave, but his passion is scholarship. It's no surprise he's Stressed.

Baron Thomas of Shaftesbury, once Regent and still Spymaster, warns me that the Duchess of Ulster plans to accuse him of treason. I will of course dismiss her. If Shaftesbury wants me dead, I'll die.

09/22/1345. I revoke the county of Westmorland and keep it for myself. Cornwall, Leinster, and the Baron of Tottenham all develop small revolt chances. Probably best to wait on Lancaster for now.

11/12/1345. Badeloge is pregnant.

I will, at least for now, create the Duchy of Somerset and give Deubharth to the Earl of Dyfed. Laurence of Dyfed, now Duke of Deubharth, is a man of many traits, but among them is Content.

So my personal duchies are Lancaster (3/4) and Somerset (2/3, but the third is a bishopric). The Somerset arms are a very snappy red dragon on a silver field. I think the dragon is holding a spear. How much need a dragon has for a spear, I hadn't really thought about until now.

05/01/1346. I've become a Duelist, like my father before me.

That reminds me, Edward II is still alive. He's the Court Chaplain in Gloucester. Isabella Capet, still married to him, died three years ago. His ambition is to remarry, so for the hell of it, I send him a woman roughly half his age from among my courtiers. He is not grateful.

06/11/1346. A royal son is born. His name is Mark. Now I want a daughter.

One of Edward III's less celebrated acts was a failed attempt to raise Crown Authority in Brythonia to Low. I am picking up that torch. Investiture is Papal in Brythonia, inheritance is Gavelkind, and generally its Crown Laws are not satisfactory.

11/01/1346. A city is built in Derby.

04/08/1347. Duke James of Leinster is too dangerous. I have named him Court Jester in an effort to provoke him. Should he revolt, I will cut him down.

Good advice from my wife on military issues has made me Content. Uh oh Intrigue!

Duchies of Kent and Hereford created and distributed to content, regional one-county Earls. I'm doing this for the prestige.

08/19/1347. My sister Aveline comes of age as an Elusive Shadow. She is Shy, Deceitful, Patient, and a lesbian. Her Intrigue is 19, and I think it's probably best to marry her for an alliance... a quite distant alliance. The Duke of Lombardia rejects her, but the Duke of Normandy accepts.

01/02/1348. A couple of years ago a new king took the Scottish crown. I think Scotland is still fighting the same Lower Authority war. The ledger rates their army at 7,200 men. I declare war for Dunbar.

Earl Henry of Lancaster accuses Mayor (and still Marshal) Eustace of Swansea of treason. I rebuke him.

04/20/1348. The first movement into Dunbar, with an assortment of northern levies entering by foot, finds itself up against a large and quickly raised Scottish army. Even as English reinforcements pour in, they are narrowly repulsed. A second strike with coastal levies from the southeast landing on the Dunbar shore is victorious.

Legalism has increased to III in Middlesex. Next focus: Popular Customs in Chester.

06/14/1348. I have a couple of Scottish prisoners, but their Martial ratings are high enough that I don't want to release them before the end of the war. I relax security on a Bishop, but he makes an intrepid escape attempt. Not wanting to harm a man of the cloth, I take no punitive action.

The Scottish have produced another 5,000 men from someplace. It looks like their civil war is settled. I have taken the extraordinary step of bolstering my second army, raised from the south, with a personal levy from Westmorland. I prefer to avoid using personal levies when possible, to keep an emergency reserve for widespread rebellions.

09/08/1348. The relief army is beaten! The Scots mass on the coast opposite Ulster and when the dust settles they have 4,500 men pursuing my fleeing 2,500. I will have to raise every levy I can. Glad I wasn't leading that army. I try never to risk the royal in battle unless it's a calculated, controlled effort to get rid of a Craven trait, gain Brave, or gain Crusader.

The siege of Dunbar remains ongoing.

The Duchy of Leinster rises in revolt.

01/18/1349. All known enemy armies in the field have been destroyed. There was a spate of brutal fighting around Ulster, with Leinster marching north just as the Scots tried to cross the Irish Sea, but concentrations of Englishmen crossed over to Ireland on the royal fleet and outmassed all opponents. Leinster's three provinces (which, again, do not include Leinster) are under siege, and so is Scottish Teviotdale.

Farming has advanced in Derby and my Steward has relocated to Westmorland.

I release a newly captured Scottish bishop as a show of mercy.

05/30/1349. Princess Margaret, Elusive Shadow, marries the Duke of Tyrol.

I've had to regroup, as the Scottish have unexpectedly produced more soldiers. The Dunbar siege is in danger.

A royal daughter is born: Princess Margaret.

07/20/1349. We lose Berwick briefly but win it back again. Unfortunately the defenders had been resupplied in the interval.

I am stripping the Leinster sieges to 2,000 men apiece so that more men may fight on the Scottish front.

12/08/1349. Sieges are progressing. My second army on the Scottish front is boat-hopping 7,500 men to crush Scottish armies wherever they rise. On their travels, they discover a 5,000-man rebellion in Insse Gall.

01/19/1350. I combine the armies in Dunbar and assault Berwick, the county seat. It falls, King Alexander of Scotland agrees to part with it, and the war with Scotland is concluded. The armies are loaded onto ships for Ireland, where they will finish the Leinster sieges.

04/18/1350. Prince Mark is afraid of the dark. Somehow, I manage to turn his fear into Diligence.

05/01/1350. The Duke of Leinster surrenders. I revoke the Duchy of Leinster, give it to the Content Earl of Leinster, release Duke James now of Munster from prison, and name him Court Jester. Let him revolt again. I'll take another of his titles. When the old man dies, his successor won't mind having just one county and just one duchy.

I am surprised France hasn't declared war for Dax. They have the claim, and they have a decisive military advantage.

05/24/1350. All my Scottish prisoners have been ransomed or released.

Construction of a new city has begun in Middlesex.

Bishop Alexander has saved me from a kidnapping! What an atypical career he's had as a mentor.

07/18/1350. I've paid a famous writer to chronicle the glory of the Plantagenets to date. Maybe he can be one of Shakespeare's sources.

10/12/1350. Randolph I Plantagenet of England is now known as "the Great." It must have been the chronicle what done it. I haven't done anything particularly great lately except slowly creep over 3,000 Prestige courtesy of all my held kingdoms and vassal dukes.

01/14/1351. The Duke of Brabant has had me excommunicated! In response I set up Bishop Ralph of St. Paul's as Anti-Pope. Catholic moral authority plunges to 46, with an ongoing loss of 0.1 per month. The Pope would have to lift his Antioch crusade to call one against me, right?

Still the same Pope, by the way. Hyginus II. I knew he'd be trouble sooner or later.

I recall my chancellor from Rome and order him to improve relations with France.

03/05/1351. I create and grant the Duchy of Northumberland to the Earl of Cumberland, now that there is finally a Content young Earl in the area.

Prince-Bishop Eric of Winchester is my new Court Chaplain.

06/04/1351. After a flurry of bribes, Brythain approves Low Crown Authority. The money from church taxes is pouring in. Having an antipope is pretty cool so far.

08/27/1351. Princess Margaret dies at the age of 2. Queen Consort Badeloge is pregnant, though, so there's more where that came from.

10/01/1351. Baron Thomas of Shaftesbury, 50 years old and still Spymaster, wishes to arrest Prince Gerald of Gwent on suspicion of attempting to assassinate my child heir, Prince Mark. I give him permission to do so. It works.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot I can do with him. Can't banish or revoke title because technically he's the Duke of Deubharth's vassal, not mine. Assassination wouldn't mesh with my terrible Intrigue (and Shaftesbury is losing his edge in his old age too, down to skill 12), execution would imperil my delicate moral standing, releasing him would just let him start plotting again (and he has claims on all three kingdoms), and while excommunication would be easy (thanks, Antipope Evaristus II!), it would also be very expensive in Piety (100!) for very little potential gain (he has only one county and it's in Brythonia).

The only thing to do is leave him stuck in prison for life. He is 16 and my full blood brother.

Incidentally, I consider and reject a war to claim the Papacy. Controlling a Pope recognized by all Catholics would be great, but Rome is a long way away, the Pope controls several counties, and there's a $5,500 Papal war chest ready to hire all the mercenaries.

10/09/1351. Prince Gerald thrown in the Oubliette. Shakespeare's going to have fun with this one.

12/10/1351. A royal daughter is born. Her name is Ela.

02/14/1352. France is crusading for Antioch. The ledger rates France at 40,000 troops and England at 97,000. I feel like it's got to be now or never. War for Gascogne!

03/11/1352. One of my vassals requested another excommunicated (Earl of Bedford vs. Earl of Northampton). I had the excommunication lifted but it cost me 50 Piety. Not cool. Too busy with France to deal with it now.

Massing in Bordeaux, where my holdings are. Making secondary landings in the north. First priority is to destroy French armies, since at 40,000 it'll be easy for them to concentrate dangerously.

03/29/1352. Engaging 4,000 French in Rouen through a direct landing. Another 4,000 are nearby. A 20,000-man English army waits in Bordeaux to roll out for assaults in Gascogne when I judge French manpower to be low enough to prevent any effective counterattack.

Joan of Ulster has concluded a massive coup in the north of Ireland and is now Duchess. As I previously revoked her title, she is inclined to rebellion. She has displaced Brian of Ulster from my court to hers, removing him as my Steward. I have replaced him with Martin of Meath (skill 19).

Additionally, Shaftesbury has retired as my Spymaster. (Not sure exactly why he's no longer in the position or eligible for it.) He was slipping anyway. My new Spymaster is my wife, Queen Badeloge (skill 16).

So it's with some trepidation that I'm sending Badeloge to Ulster with instructions to develop a spy network. My plan is to use my banked $400 to assassinate Joan of Ulster if possible. This could all end in disaster.

... But it works. First try. Joan dies, my involvement stays secret, and her successor has no quarrel with me. From -94 opinion in the Duchy of Ulster to +88.

05/26/1352. City completed in Middlesex.

I can see 6,000 French soldiers in the north, but they don't wish to engage. Four sieges of 10,000 Englishmen each along the Channel coast. No French counterlandings in England, Wales, or Ireland. 35,000 men in Bordeaux are looking at maybe 10,000 new French levies, probably dregs, scattered through the south.

The French army now ledgers at 65,000.

06/12/1352. Prince Mark has turned six and will be educated by Duke Martin of Meath. Hopefully this won't make him Irish. Not the end of the world if it does, though. We have as much Ireland as England. Not sure if that's mathematically true, but I don't expect serious problems there. Willing to risk it because Martin is a skill 20 Steward.

07/10/1352. French crusade for Antioch successful. Crap. Catholic moral authority back up to 64. I have a devious idea: in September I can deploy my Queen and her spies to Paris, assassinate the French king, and trigger succession instability in France.

Just got to hold out.

I have become Zealous. Total modifiers: +2.99 Piety a month.

I've broken off 15,000 men in the south to chase French armies as they rise. Dangerous to split the party, but I don't feel I have a choice. If they can mass successfully, 35,000 men won't stop them.

08/09/1352. France calls the Ho-Ro. This shit's not winnable anymore, is it? I'm going to try and get enough knockout power together for a quick white peace and/or a shot at assassinating the King of France.

A combined 29,000 French soldiers are scattered around the Gascogne area. Pulling my Bordeaux armies back together.

Badeloge is pregnant. She'll be going to Paris pregnant. This is madness.

09/15/1352. In the midst of this adversity, with Badeloge two weeks from her mission to Paris, we fall in love all over again. We are only 23 and 24. Shakespeare wrote this instead of Romeo and Juliet, instead of Edward III, instead of Macbeth. This is going to be his greatest work. However this turns out, people will be enthralled for a thousand years by the terrible saga of Randolph the Great.

10/06/1352. After many attempts, the assassination is complete. Several were revealed. I'll wait and see how total the collapse is. If it's not definitive, I'll assassinate the new king. He has only one heir. I might be able to tap the succession out completely. When I say tap, picture maple syrup, the spigot hammered into the trunk of a tree, the thing drained dry.

12/10/1352. I killed another king, and the situation was good. Then I got greedy and killed again. Now a new line of Capets controls the French throne and the French nobles seem pretty okay with it. The next heir isn't a Capet, but my Piety is shot and my assassination success chance is in the toilet.

01/09/1353. Showdown in Evreux. I've landed all the northern armies there and the southern are on their way.

01/30/1353. Victory in Evreux. 47,000 men marching on Paris, and damn the attrition.

03/17/1353. A royal son is born: Prince Randolph. I guess he's smuggled out of Paris with the English army. I can get the Queen out of there in April.

09/04/1353. The Queen stayed in Paris for a while during assaults in Paris and Evreaux. The last thing she did before she left was discover a homosexual nobleman. With our coffers low, we chose to blackmail them.

And then Badeloge came home, to uncover plots in Middlesex and be safe.

Petronella Butler, Queen Mother, died just a week later.

10/01/1353. I have hired 3,500 mercenaries to bolster the flagging assault force in the north of France, which is down to 16,000 effectives. No significant Ho-Ro opposition; it appears they're in the war in name only.

I like my chances now.

01/09/1354. Army back down to the south, 11,000 strong, to relieve Perigord from a French siege of 4,500. If I can capture a province in Gascogne and break France's warscore for target possession, I should be able to claim victory.

Ho-Ro galleys spotted tooling around.

The French have landed 800 men in England.

03/20/1354. 5,000 peasants revolted in Cornwall but were put down by 9,000 of my personal levies on their way to Gascogne. Perigord was relieved. A combined force of 20,000 will take Marsan, and we can only hope that will settle things.

The present French king is excommunicated, which can only be helping things. Somehow, he still has his court in fully-occupied Paris.

06/01/1354. The war is over. A quick assault in Marsan forced the issue as I'd hoped. Unfortunately, the newly released duchy of Gascogne is not our vassal! I need to start reading the fine print on these wars. (I didn't check his chain of allegiance beforehand. Thought he was one of ours though.) Nor will he join me after a gift of $20. With relations with Franch shot stone dead for the time being, I move my Chancellor to Foix to improve relations with the Duke of Gascogne on the off chance that he can be persuaded.

Duchess Margaret of Norfolk dies at 34, riddled with syphillis. In life she was a petty but persistent schemer and I had to ask her to end many plots.

Prince Gerald died in prison and I inherited Gwent, but I'm going to lose it again on succession because Brythonia is still Gavelkind.

07/01/1354. Building a Great Keep in Derby.

09/30/1354. Purchased an Indulgence from my Anti-Pope. Ambition: Paragon of Virtue. The assassinations hurt my Piety enough to unlock the goal, and my +3 a month and more than $500 in revenue a year should make it workable. If each year pays for an indulgence, that's more than about 55 Piety a year. I may be able to hit 500 in eight years.

Or I can declare war on Scotland for Teviotdale. With Teviotdale and Dunbar I can usurp the Duchy of Lothian, break up an English vassal duchy by awarding it, and later press a ducal claim on the County of Lothian.

War it is!

11/30/1354. France calls us to arms against Egypt, which is fighting to retake Antioch. They also happen to be fighting an excommunication war on behalf of the Roman Pope against Holland, and we'd be called to that too. Denied. 100 Prestige is a small price to pay.

After initial fighting, I have 10,000 men from northern England and northern Ireland joined together in Teviotdale.

12/10/1354. The rest of Ireland is piling into Teviotdale. I'm hoping for quick assaults.

05/04/1355. Teviotdale is fully occupied, with 11,000 men left. The Scots have 5,000 men tied up sieging Orkney, and Moray has revolted as well. Meanwhile we put down a peasant rising of our own in Ulster. Warscore 47.

06/29/1355. Humphrey of Chesterfield, my Chancellor, has been repeatedly accused of treason. I haven't listened. I hope it isn't true.

I'm sending a boat north with vassal levies who will destroy Scotland's army in Orkney. Battlescore is battlescore wherever I find it, and if Scotland fractures, so much faster the conquest.

08/15/1355. Initial battle in Caithness won. 1,000 Scots troops survive and are pulling back to Ross. We will pursue by fleet.

The Duke of York, Edward IV, has been excommunicated by the Anti-Pope. As he is young and not especially loyal, I am considering sending Swansea to imprison him.

09/16/1355. After the Scottish stragglers are shattered in Ross, Scotland cedes Teviotdale. The Duchy of Lothian can't be usurped... because Scotland never created it. I form it myself, give it to the Count of Northumberland and Dunbar, and break him out of the Duchy of Northumberland in the process.

Duke Edward of York evades capture. But that's why I left my levies raised! Along with reinforcements from the inland, they are marching to stifle York's territories. He will be considerably reduced.

Duke Martin of Meath has plotted repeatedly against me, sometimes for the throne of Ireland. So far he has dropped the issue when confronted.

03/06/1356. All three of York's provinces are under siege, though one of them isn't where you'd expect (it's York, Lincoln, and Wiltshire).

Badeloge is pregnant again. And she's taken up poetry. I've had good queens but she is the best.

10/06/1356. A royal daughter is born: Princess Anna.

York surrenders. He has three counties, two baronies, and the duchy. I strip the County of Wiltshire and execute him. This turns out to be a bad idea, as we are both Plantagenets. I become a kinslayer and the rest of the dynasty gets -25 opinion towards me. I can take it though.

Uh oh, the Ho-Ro has a claim on England and 200,000 men under arms. The Kaiser has an opinion in the 20s but I don't feel safe enough. I shift my Chancellor over there.

Some basic housekeeping with ministers and technology. I'll spare you the details.

11/11/1356. Building a city in Somerset.

01/05/1357. My French vassals are invading independent Gascogne. I'm so proud of those guys.

Been waiting a decade for the Count of Bedford to die so I can create the duchy and award it to his son. I like to make young dukes; they're grateful longer. Still waiting, though.

05/07/1357. Teviotdale rose but we handled it.

The Kaiser likes me better now.

09/21/1357. Badeloge is pregnant again. We're still in love.

12/20/1357. Princess Ela is six, and her education is entrusted to Duke Edward of Norfolk, who has recently warned me about my Chancellor and been rebuffed again. I am hoping that Ela will grow up to be a great diplomat.

I have become Diligent.

01/23/1358. Court Chaplain Eric dies and I replace him with the Bishop of Monmouth (skill 16). It's his dream come true.

02/04/1358. Duchess Anne of York is yet another noble telling me that Chancellor Humphrey is plotting against me. Finally unable to ignore so many warnings, I imprison him, replacing him with Duke Edward of Norfolk (skill 18). Humphrey is quickly released, and he retains his title as Mayor of Chesterfield.

04/23/1358. A royal daughter: Princess Hawise.

11/09/1358. Oxford accuses Swansea of treason but I don't believe a word. Swansea is 63, the same age as the Count of Bedford, and still sharp (skill 19). I send him a wife half his age.

A city is completed in Somerset.

Why does the Kinslayer icon feature strawberries?

03/03/1359. I send gifts to Agen and Dax, not to improve opinion, but to help their war efforts in Gascogne. It looks like the French Duke of Antioch wants something in Gascogne too.

03/25/1359. Prince Randolph is six and I accept the Earl of Dax's offer to educate him. Dax is a Kind man with a Midas Touch.

04/22/1539. I bring entertainers to court to help me romance Badeloge.

Annual income is over $600. We can raise ten times France's army and have almost caught up to its Realm Size.

11/29/1539. Cathars in Middlesex! I heard something earlier about Lincoln converting back to Catholicism and was surprised it had ever been something else. Clearly all the religious upheaval is strewing some fallout.

Lord Spiritual Monmouth has been sent to Middlesex to fix this.

02/10/1360. Chancellor Edward has been implicated in a plot to assassinate an Earl. I offer to arrest him but evidence cannot be produced. His relationship with me is undamaged.

By the way, my relations with my council are 100, 100, 100, 100, and 88. And that last one is Monmouth, and he's literally just jealous. Randolph the Great.

03/03/1360. But then that thing with the Chancellor happens again, and this time he's in jail. I release him, but the Duke of Lothian has replaced him as both Chancellor and Princess Ela's mentor.

05/02/1360. Norfolk is at it again. He gets away with it this time. Other times I like to claim Not My Business when vassals try to assassinate each other, but this time I'm stuck doing things about it because refusing assistance is a Piety hit and I need that Paragon of Virtue.

My grandfather, Duke James of Munster, is still alive, still Court Jester, and presently considering a revolt.

02/09/1361. The Roman Pope is Incapable.

Duke Edward of Norfolk died in prison after making further assassination attempts.

06/04/1361. The Baron of Tottanham, a malcontent in the past, is revealed as a Cathar! Sadly, there isn't much I can do about it. He refuses to convert, and imprisoning him would be tyrannical. I don't think the problem is worth assassination. Hopefully the Court Chaplain can handle him.

10/11/1361. Duchess Anne of York is, with Swansea's help, imprisoned for plotting to murder a child. I'll just keep her locked up. Her heir is a six-year-old girl of a different noble house. Not entirely pleased to let York slip away from Plantagenets, but maybe the next time I have to swing an axe, it won't make me a Kinslayer.

05/05/1362. Paragon of Virtue accomplished. Next: Amass Wealth, which will be an easy ten months of normal revenues.

Cathar madmen attack my Chaplain in Middlesex. My capital is a lawless den of heresies.

Prince Mark has come of age as a Diligent, Deceitful, Proud, Wroth, Arbitrary Fortune Builder. I marry him to a Russian Genius and grant him Gwent, which takes Monmouth out of my court.

My replacement Court Chaplain (for Monmouth) is Gerald of Winchester. He's an Impaler. That should stop the Cathars.

07/30/1362. Famous writer, family chronicles, etc.

Some new Khan is supposedly gathering an army in the east.

10/09/1362. Princess Anne is six and will be mentored by the Earl of Dax.

Middlesex has converted back to Catholicism, but I'm leaving Gerald there for a while to convert characters who are still Cathars. The Baron of Tottenham, mainly.

12/31/1362. Duke Hugh of Hereford wants control of the Earl of Essex, who holds both Essex County and Hereford County. Of course I say no.

02/03/1363. Mayor Eustace of Swansea, Marshal of England, lies dead. He was 68 years old. He weathered countless accusations of treason and imprisoned countless traitors. He was Brave, Honest, Humble, Diligent, and a Brilliant Tactician. Despite his duties, he was not cruel, although he could be unpredictable and spent a lot of time on recreational hunting.

Filling his extremely large shoes is Duke Laurence of Ulster, who shares some but not all of his best qualities.

05/10/1363. I have Amassed Wealth.

Truce with France expires next year. Truce with Scotland expires the year after that.

11/05/1363. Duke James of Munster has died. His heir, James II, is 58 and has direct title only to the Duchy of Munster and the County of Ossory. Problem mostly solved; Ossory is de jure within the Duchy of Leinster, but so long as Desmond remains independent it should balance out. The biggest issue is how much the Duke of Leinster is upset by lacking Ossory.

Noted London-area Cathar Baron Alfred of Tottenham has been named Court Jester. I want to strip his title because his infant daughter is also a Cathar. Somehow her philosophical convictions, at a year old, threaten the established social order, and yet she is too young for me to ask her to convert to Catholicism.

03/01/1364. Great Barracks projects begin in Derby and Middlesex.

France is at war with the Ho-Ro. This summer, I plan to attack. Hopefully that will still be ongoing. Even if it's not, France should be depleted.

05/02/1364. Princess Hawise is six and will be educated in stewardship by Duke Martin of Meath.

Earl Godfrey of Bedford dies at last. The Duchy of Bedford is created and granted to his son and heir. I have no more duchies left to create.

Duke James II of Munster is trying to kill his wife, I think because she is too old to bear children and he has only one son.

06/01/1364. Truce with France expires. They are defending in excommunication wars with Holland and the Ho-Ro. I can attack for Saintonge or Toulouse.

I have to be fast, because if the excommunicated king (Amedee, the hapless man left on the throne after the three royal assassinations of 1352) is deposed, I expect it would cause my war to end inconclusively.

Toulouse is slightly richer and has five holdings to Saintonge's three. Saintonge, however, is my choice. The fewer holdings will be faster to storm, and Saintonge being coastal will make it more defensible and reduce France's ability to ferry soldiers to England/Wales/Ireland.

War for Saintonge!

The vassal wars for Gascogne appear to be busts, by the way. Dax is the only one still fighting and Gascogne is retaking its holdings unopposed.

06/28/1364. Prince Mark, my heir, has been excommunicated by the Anti-Pope at the request of Duke Laurence of Deubharth. Outrageous. Of course I demand that it be lifted. That's the future King of England. Evidently Deubharth is upset that Mark's fief is in his de jure duchy.

Levies from Cornwall and Kent are reinforcing English Aquitaine. I expect the first assault will be ready sometime in August.

07/14/1364. Former Spymaster Thomas of Shaftesbury is dead.

A further 7,000 soldiers drawn from the shores of St. George Channel are bound for Saintonge to reinforce the 16,000 already there.

09/13/1364. Fleets are returning to England for reinforcements from the Irish Sea area. The first assault was successful, but more than 13,000 English armsmen were lost.

10/20/1364. A second assault is successful. More reinforcements inbound. I think we're building the siege engines out of bones at this point.

12/06/1364. Saintonge fully occupied. Peace (for Saintonge) refused. 13,000 men are marching inland to Angouleme to cause further damage. Angouleme was selected for its absent levies; its county seat has a garrison of only 1,500 men, which is small for this era.

12/25/1364. I have Amassed Wealth again. Construction begins on a Great Keep in Chester.

03/05/1365. Angouleme's capital is taken at terrible cost, leaving less than 4,000 English effectives. Send more troops!

07/03/1365. With another holding taken in Angouleme, King Amedee is willing to make peace. Saintonge becomes part of the English Duchy of Aquitaine.

Truce with Scotland expires in September.

Anti-Pope Evaristus II himself was an army leader in at least some of the Saintonge War assaults. Forget everything you've heard about the unworldly, detached clergy! 64 years old, he still has Martial 16. Doesn't actually care about scholarship (5) or diplomacy (3).

09/28/1365. Truce with Scotland is up. Unfortunately, I don't have a Request Invasion on them. I'm not sure what's going on there. Does the king need to be excommunicated? Does low Catholic moral authority pose a problem? Should I be smaller than my Invasion target?

Whatever's going on, I have decided to wage a quick war for Lothian County, then turn my attention to Rome. It's time the English Papacy was legitimized.

Hmm. A new French king has ascended this month, Jaspert. I might fight him too. On the other hand, technically the French are our allies because Amedee (deposed in the excommunication wars) is married to my sister, Princess Aveline of England. Perhaps I should call the French in the Papal war (maybe they'd even answer it) and then attack them when it's over.

06/07/1366. After several large battles on the border, Lothian is assaulted and the war is concluded favorably.

Great Keep and Great Barracks begun in Dorset and Somerset respectively.

Hyginus II, the Pope of Rome, is Incapable. This can only help. War for the Papacy is declared, levies are raised, and France is called.

06/13/1366. France refuses assistance. Oh well, we know what's going to happen to France in a few years.

09/28/1366. 30,000 English troops have arrived in Ovieto in a series of staggered voyages designed to minimize attrition. More are on the way. An estimated 85,000 vassal levies have been raised. 13,000 soldiers of the false Papacy are camped in Rome.

12/01/1366. Ovieto is completely conquered. We are marching on Rome, with further reinforcements from the sea.

A rebellion of 4,000 peasants in Tyrone is under control.

The Baron of Tottenham has died, but left his Barony to his Cathar daughter, who is now four.

02/25/1367. Papal army destroyed in Rome, Rome half taken, new Papal levies (mercenaries?) rise, but nothing threatening.

Prince Mark has fabricated a claim on Wiltshire. Why? I mean, he's going to be king of all of it.

05/08/1367. The Papacy is claimed for Evaristus II. The real, authentic Pope (and still Bishop of St. Paul's) would be willing to offer me an Invasion claim on France. I will recharge my levies and think about it.

07/14/1367. All levies have been released. We have around 60,000 effectives, with a theoretical maximum of 110,000.

Peasants suppressed in Ormond.

09/05/1367. The King of France is excommunicated, fighting to claim Gascogne, and ledgers at 23,000 troops. Sometimes there really is no time like the present.

War... for France.
 
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I'm going to have to play it by ear. The victory outcome of Invasion is tied to holding control, and France has a lot of holdings. If I can get all of the counties, that's probably good enough to be a total success. If I can get half of every duchy, also good (because I can take the rest of the kingdom in duchy wars). These outcomes strike me as preferable to total control of a region. I'm not here to redistribute the baronies.

12/24/1367. I've gone with a southern strategy for now, starting several large but sub-attrition sieges in provinces near English Avignon.

Princess Ela has come of age as a Scholarly Theologian. I marry her to Duke Charles of Savoie and invite him to the war. He accepts.

02/21/1368. A battle in Limosin kills 13,000 French soldiers. A further 7,000 are maintaining a siege in Gascogne. A landing was made on the southern coast with the intent of marching on those 7,000, but as it turned out our numbers weren't satisfactory and that army has dug in for a local siege of its own rather than relieve Gascogne.

All levies are deployed to Occitan. Company of St. George, Lombard Band, and Navarrese Band hired.

12/25/1368. My Pope is dead. The new Pope doesn't like me as much. I send him $20 and my Chancellor.

The French are scrambling dreg levies. A couple of county sieges have completed. My ledger advantage is something like 45,000.

01/16/1369. Derby and Middlesex complete castle improvements.

03/17/1369. Prince Randolph has come of age as an Amateurish Plotter. I marry him into Denmark's royalty and grant him Glamorgan.

11/11/1369. The Earl of Dax dies, leaving Princess Anne without a mentor; she is given to the Earl of Northumberland, who is only 18 but clever with money.

A castle improvement is completed in Chester.

01/12/1370. King Amedee offers peace. I feel I have not yet taken enough territory and decline.

09/01/1370. Peasant revolt in Lancaster. I raise my personal levies in the Lancaster area to put it down. Don't lead the army myself, though. Situation in France too delicate to risk dying now.

09/22/1370. Princess Ela has died.

01/13/1371. King Amedee offers peace and I deny him again. Gains are strong so far, but I want to maximize the war's impact and France ledgers at under 3,000 soldiers right now. At the very least, I can take the whole south.

I can now enforce demands through warscore, so I can make peace on my own terms when the time is right.

I have a significant emergency fund from ransoming captured French nobles and clergy.

09/03/1371. The French have cobbled together 10,000 men and driven off one of my armies in central France. I have raised my dreg levies and all my personals. France no longer accepts Enforce Demands, but I think the situation is still under control.

10/27/1371. Two major battles have been lost in central France, but the French army is down to 6,000 and I don't think they can afford my counterattack. Survivors of the last wave are gathering to stand against the French in La Marche. If they can hold out long enough, around 17,000 new levies will be arriving at Saintonge and hopefully can relieve them. Worst case, they can still smash the French army.

I have hired the Swiss Company.

11/06/1371. The French army has turned away from La Marche, sparing my remnant but forcing the relief column to hunt them down.

01/22/1372. The French army has been destroyed. An epidemic of Consumption is complicating matters, reducing enemy province supply limits to below their garrisons in some cases, leading to mandatory siege attrition. Because of this, I am forced to concede that Carcassone is not vulnerable at this time.

07/24/1372. I have hired the Catalan Company. I believe I have the weight of numbers in the center.

I failed an assault in Vivarais and lost 10,000 men.

08/27/1372. The Ho-Ro is conducting an excommunication war on France. I had better wrap this up, unfortunately. Just raised my dregs again, but will take peace when I can.

Amedee has been oscillating between accepting and rejecting Enforce Demands. Right now he rejects.

10/01/1372. Princess Anne came of age as a Midas Touched. Married to the Duke of Orleans.

12/01/1372. Today King Randolph is known as more than Great and Holy. Today he is King Randolph I of England, the Conqueror. King Amedee has surrendered the French crown.

I was granted personal and total claim to eleven conquered counties and their holdings. I created Barons, Mayors, and Bishops freely. I took Poitou as a power duchy (I control three out of four provinces, with the fourth being Saintonge under the Duchess of Aquitaine) and retained Navarre and Bearn. (I relinquished Somerset County and the Duchy of Somerset.) The rest of the counties were given to new English Earls.

As holder of the crown of France, I also gained the fealty of every vassal in Amedee's lands, with two important exceptions: those areas technically in the domain of the Kingdom of Burgundy (which no one claims as such), and Amedee's Duchy of Valois.

Here's where things get weird. Amedee was still a king... of Navarra. It seems my great grandfather, Phillipe IV, claimed the title in 1285 and it's been with Capet kings ever since. Ordinarily, my ownership of Navarre might give me the means to usurp it, but the Kingdom of Navarra is a titular title, lacking de jure lands. So King Amedee is a king still, in "Navarra," which is large ducal vassal Burgundy plus his personal demesne in Valois and most of Champagne.

But the excommunication war continues. The Holy Roman Empire has 160,000 men. Navarra has 6,000. When Amedee is deposed, the peace treaty will be over, and Navarra will tremble. England is now equivalent in size to the Empire, and outmatched only by the Golden Horde. Projected army maximum is nearly 180,000.

I have invited claimants on Brittany and Gascogne to my court. Together, these wayward duchies total another nine counties. The wars will be small and easy. (Gascogne can't put down 4,000 peasants.) Brittany is claimed by Arthur de Droux, and Gascogne is claimed by the twin brothers de Etampes.

The French nobles seem to like King Randolph just fine. No low opinion problems at all.

You know, once I sort out the continent... I'm thinking Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Oh yes, and granting the Duchy of Somerset took the Bishop of Winchester out of my Court Chaplain post. I've brought in Bishop Paul of Burton (skill 21) as a replacement and asked him to represent me to the new Pope.

12/10/1372. After just a few days of peace, I am ready to support Gilbert de Etampes as Duke of Gascogne. On the off chance that he goes independent, the press claim modifier and the de jure liege modifier should get him to accept vassalization. Right? Right.

Drawing on French levies. I want to give the English levies some time to cool down; some of those raised-too-long penalties are in the thirties.

03/01/1373. I'm stealing rebel sieges on two out of four Gascogne counties. (The fourth is noncontiguous Charolais.) I also have an army sitting on a Gascogne vassal barony in Rouergue.

The young new Earl of Leicester is Ambitious. I transfer his vassalage to the Duchess of York. Burying the problem doesn't always work, as we saw in Ulster, but it's a strong quick fix most of the time.

I ransom the last of my captives and spend heavily on various castle improvements. This unlocks Amass Wealth yet again and I take it.

07/13/1373. The Pope likes me (100). I bring my Court Chaplain home to make progress on Legalism IV in Middlesex. This is a long road, but I can do something meaningful here since my culture tech modifier is 76. (Military 74, Economic 82. I'm also working toward Bows IV and Farming IV.) My Chancellor goes to Germany to lobby the Emperor (opinion 34).

09/12/1373. My heir switched from Mark to Randolph for a while, I guess as as result of something that happened when the Invasion was complete. Now it's back to Mark. Not clear on why.

04/23/1374. Peasant unrest in Flanders, mobilizing my personals to deal with it.

Princess Hawise has come of age as a Fortune Builder. She is now betrothed to the child king of Bohemia.

06/27/1374. Arthur de Dreux, brought to my court for his claim on Brittany, demands to be made Chancellor. He's actually quite good (skill 18). I grant his request. As Duke of Brittany, he should be my direct vassal and remain my Chancellor.

09/30/1374. Gilbert is installed as Duke of Gascogne. He remains my vassal. This adds 17 to my Realm Size and joins four new counties to England. The former Duke is one of his vassals, but being old and Incapable is unlikely to cause trouble.

Time for that war on Brittany. This one may actually involve battles. Supposedly they can arm 14,000 men. The ledger gives me ten times that, but I'm still trying not to burden my English and Irish vassals with levy demands.

We can call in France, I mean, Navarra, to the Brittany war. I do it just to stick Amedee with the Prestige hit. I also call Denmark. Might as well get what little use I can out of these allies. Denmark honors, France doesn't. No surprises.

France is a hotbed of vassal wars, and when things calm down a bit I plan to raise French Crown Authority from Low to Medium.

03/31/1375. Getting great assistance from Denmark in Brittany. They have two armies of 11,000 men each, and they're battling and sieging. Brittany's armies are gone and I'd say it's all over but the sieges.

Prince Mark seems to be trying to assassinate Prince Randolph. I avoid taking sides.

Duke Gilbert of Gascogne's twin brother dies. His young, healthy twin brother with (presumably) all his claims. It's a wicked world.

06/01/1375. Prince Mark is excommunicated at the request of the Duke of Deubharth. Of course I order it lifted, but this is the second time Duke Laurence has done this. For now I will just add his death by old age to my evening prayers.

The new Queen of Navarra is 12-year-old Alienor Capet. Her heir is the ex-king, now recommunicated by abdication.

09/01/1375. Prince Randolph has died. He was 22. It could have been Typhoid Fever or it could have been assassination, given that his brother Mark tried to assassinate him about five times that I know of.

06/23/1376. Brittany is given to Arthur de Dreux. He remains my vassal and I reappoint him as my Chancellor. As Chancellor, he is sent to the Papal court.

I'm attempting to raise Crown Law to Medium in France.

I have a subject on whose behalf I may claim Scotland, but Scotland is a kingdom and I'm not an emperor, so he'd go independent. I could fight Scotland over a disputed barony in Lothian, but Scotland is a distant fourth in army size right now (I'm tied with the Ho-Ro and the Horde; second only to the Horde in Realm Size though), and I don't really feel like fighting 40,000 men over a barony while inviting controversy in France.

Then again, Thomas is old and his death may shorten a truce. Might as well take that castle.

War!

07/29/1376. Medium Crown Authority approved in France. Duke Guy of Flanders is unhappy about it, but I send him $20.

09/10/1377. Duke Laurence of Ulster dies. My new Marshal, replacing him, is Duke Lothaire of Bourbon (skill 16).

War with Navarra for the County of Sens. I have a Navarra claimant, but the same independent king problem as Scotland. Only worse, because with enough stolen counties I can usurp Scotland. Sens will make my territory contiguous (presently Rheims and Verdun are separated from the rest of English France) and give me two out of three counties in the Duchy of Champagne.

The Pope wants Papal Investiture, but I am such an incredible religious scholar that I can "decline on theological grounds."

10/23/1377. Converging French armies on Sens.

I finally grow tired of Duke Martin of Meath and his constant plotting and have him imprisoned on the testimony of a vassal. His replacement Steward is Earl Andrew of Northampton (skill 20). And come to think of it, wasn't it Andrew who told me Martin was a traitor?

12/26/1377. County seat of Sens is mine. 11,000 of my vassals' armsmen guard it.

The Pope calls for a crusade on Darum. It might be workable. Currently Darum is controlled by Syria, which has successfully split from Egypt. Syria has an army of just under 10,000 and no useful allies.

The Hospitallers are presently unable to provide a fighting force, and the Teutonics are engaged by Genoa. The best choice is probably a careful selection of vassal armies from Ireland and southern England. Maybe some mercenaries. Could tag along to ineptly command a less pressured army and get the Crusader trait.

Can't do anything about it right now because I have levies raised for the war with Navarra, and with levies raised I can't declare a new war, not even a crusade.

04/28/1378. Duke Jean of Toulouse is unhappy. I name him Master of the Hunt rather than consolidate his duchy further. He's in his sixties; I won't be paying that salary long.

More castle improvements, Amass Wealth ambition selected again. Amass Wealth might need to scale amount required to revenue for balance. (Church tax revenues have been much more terrestrial since the end of the antipope situation, though.)

09/16/1378. Queen Consort Badeloge, Spymaster of England, is dead. She and Randolph the Conqueror loved each other dearly until the end. The demise of this Kind, Temperate, Shy, Content assassination expert and Poet leaves England without a Spymaster, and King Randolph one county over the demesne limit and single. No one killed so many kings of France as Badeloge. In addition, she bore six children, three of whom have died untimely. She was 50 years old. She may have been murdered.

I remarry immediately, of course, to 17-year-old Alienor de Dampierre, an Elusive Shadow who is Brave, Honest, and Cruel. She will help save me from my deadly 1 Intrigue. Randolph the Conqueror can write rings around any pope, but never remembers to let the taster sample his food first.

My replacement Spymaster is Baron Nicholas of Estella (skill 21), who is Kind and Shy, but Patient and Deceitful, and some say not only an Elusive Shadow, but a Mystic as well. He is from Navarre, and appears to be the founder of his own noble line. His wife is a Basque.

Duke Martin of Meath has died in prison. He is succeeded by Maurice, a man too stupid to plot against me.

11/07/1378. Duke of Champagne dies. Sens war ends inconclusively.

10/02/1379. Irish levies are doing well in a redeclaration of the Sens war.

The King of Scotland is offering aid to plotters in my realm. Nothing serious yet.

New wife is pregnant.

10/12/1379. Sens is surrendered to the Duchess of Champagne... but remains in Navarra. The current heir of Champagne is a vassal of mine, but sadly the Duchess is not. However, I have deprived the Queen of Navarra of a capital and a personal holding, and that counts for something.

Actually, she moved the capital back to Paris. Not sure how much of a sacrifice that is.

12/16/1379. A young London artist accepts $72 to paint a portrait of me for the ages. It's about damn time!

Duke James of Munster wants me to transfer Desmond to him. Munster still contains Ossory and would be a dangerous oversize province. In times of trouble, Munster and Ulster could make a serious bid together for the Irish crown. Because of all this, I turn him down.

01/12/1380. I decline the opportunity to have an affair with the twentysomething Duchess Sybilla of Kent.

The ants are having a picnic in Syria. I think some lucky also-crusaded will take Darum before I could.

Alienor bears me a daughter, Eleanor.

07/15/1380. I revoke the Earl of Lancaster's title, uniting the Duchy of Lancaster under my direct control. I give up the County of Navarre to stay under the demesne limit and accidentally lose access to my chosen Spymaster. I replace him with the Queen (skill 19), since she's developed an interest in the position.

08/04/1380. Sweden takes Darum. Catholic moral authority is back up around 65.

Nevers has gone Cathar. I dispatch my Court Chaplain.

11/09/1380. Duke Arthur of Brittany dies. This leaves my Chancellor spot open. I appoint Duke Edward of Norfolk (skill 15). He is sent to Rome to keep the Pope happy.

12/29/1380. Queen Alienor is growing into the Spymaster position and now has Intrigue 20.

03/08/1381. Prince Mark has to be talked out of plotting for the crown of Brythain. I'm 52. Somebody should learn to be patient.

Peasant revolt in Poitiers. Suppressed.

08/06/1381. Duke Lothaire of Bourbon has quit as Marshal. Not clear on why. His replacement is 23-year-old Duke John of Cornwall (skill 19).

04/11/1382. Nevers has abandoned Catharism. The Court Chaplain is recalled to Middlesex.

I revoke Saintonge and grant away Bearn, then toss around an honorary title and a bribe to keep the peace. I have consolidated two four-province power duchies. All hail King Randolph I of England, the Great, the Holy, the Conqueror, Duke of Lancaster and Poitou, Earl of Dorset and Wiltshire, whose capital is London in Middlesex.

01/02/1383. Princess Hawise marries the King of Bohemia.

City construction begun in Poitiers.

01/20/1383. And Bohemia is claiming the Ho-Ro. I haven't been called yet. Do they really think an English princess is the only edge they need?

04/25/1383. Princess Isabel is born.

06/02/1383. Court Chaplain Paul of Burton dies. His replacement is Laurence of Reims (skill 19), who is sent to Desmond to suppress Cathars there.

06/27/1384. New city begun in Lusignan.

01/01/1385. New city completed in Poitiers.

03/16/1385. The Duke of Toulouse has managed to expand considerably and now also controls the Duchy of Bourbon as well. He is potentially rebellious, so I make him Court Jester. The French levies will conquer him, he will be imprisoned for life, and the Duchy of Toulouse will be revoked and given to someone else.

In Navarra, the Duke of Burgundy has become Duke of Valois as well, but the Queen still holds every county in Valois personally. I think a civil war would be too close to call, which is interesting. If I can find some way to short-circuit the Titular Kingdom of Navarra, I might be able to offer vassalizations.

Gave $80 to the increasingly dissatisfied Prince Mark.

06/11/1385. The child king of Denmark, Fulk, is claiming Glamorgan through his dead father, Prince Randolph. We have ten times their 20,000-odd army and they're having a civil war.

I press a ducal claim on Glamorgan.

After a crisis of faith, I am no longer Proud.

07/13/1385. Prince Mark has been excommunicated at the request of Duke Laurence of Deubharth for a third time. The Pope refuses to recommunicate him. This is a crisis, and Court Chaplain Laurence of Reims is recalled from Cathar Desmond to assist Chancellor Edward of Norfolk in lobbying the Pope. I have plundered my fund for a final holding in Poitiers to buy an Indulgence. A less Cynical man than Pope Alexander V, who has more time for his falcons than his faith, would already have been swayed by my Piety.

07/20/1385. The Duke of Toulouse revolts! French armies are mobilizing.

09/20/1385. Duchess Sybilla of Kent, who might have become a less pious king's lover half a decade ago, dies.

Glamorgan's holdings have fallen. I will stick around until the Danes realize they have no hope of taking it back.

40,000 men are sieging various counties out of the Duke of Toulouse's six. His death will gavelkind away half of them and a duchy to other family members, so I might execute him rather than removing a title.

12/29/1385. An assault fails in La Marche, with the near-total loss of a force of 18,000 (12,000 of which were survivors of a successful assault in Bourbon). I've raised personals from the Duchy of Poitou to reoccupy La Marche while its garrison is still depleted.

02/03/1386. Humphrey of Brecon successfully persuades me to install him as Steward in place of the Earl of Northampton. Northampton has skill 22, but Humphrey has skill 24 at the age of 16.

Peasant revolt in Gloucester has been crushed.

02/25/1386. New favorite Humphrey of Brecon has been given the education of Princess Eleanor, my first child by Alienor. Also, I have set him up with a French wife his age.

05/03/1386. Duke Otton of Auvergne is young and ambitious. For now, I name him Master of the Hunt.

La Marche has fallen. I'm just going for county seats.

07/03/1386. New city completed in Lusignan. Revolt in Perigord.

11/17/1386. King Fulk gives up Glamorgan and the war with Denmark ends.

Glamorgan army ships out to France and marches on peasants in Perigord.

Carcassonne falls, siege army moves to Melgeuil.

12/20/1386. Rouergue falls. Based on supply limits and army sizes, I am moving the army from Rouergue to Melegeuil and diverting the army from Carcassonne to Vivarais.

New city begun in Poitiers.

12/31/1386. Phillipa of Tottenham has been imprisoned for plotting to kill her sister, the Baroness of Tottenham. Fearful of discovery, she attempted to assassinate my Spymaster the Queen as well, but was fortunately unsuccessful. Phillipa is also a Cathar.

06/14/1387. Duchess Peronelle of Normandy has proven to be a persistent plotter. I'm not taking action against her yet (beyond demanding an end to the plot every time one is uncovered), but I don't understand it. She wants to lower Crown Authority and so forth, but her line is terminal. If she'd killer her husband and married matrilineally, she'd be in much better shape. Don't know why she wants to plot against me instead.

10/01/1387. Duke Edward of Norfolk is being implicated in assassination attempts. I refuse to do anything about it, as I feel he is vital to my efforts to persuade the pope to lift Prince Mark's excommunication.

11/19/1387. Vivarais is taken.

02/02/1388. Thanks to the efforts of Laurence of Reims, Prince Mark is at last reconciled to the Curch. Laurence has been moved back to Cathar Desmond, and Chancellor Edward has been sent to the Kaiser's court.

I just noticed the Golden Horde holds Corsica, Genoa, and Nice. They're isolated possessions, not the leading edge of a solid front, but still.

07/18/1388. Assorted castle construction in my power duchies. $800 spent.

Reims/Verdun levies raised to assist in the Toulouse war. It's mostly won, with every county seat in my hands, but the stubborn double duke is still scuttling his small armies around.

09/10/1388. The Duke of Toulouse makes a peace offer that doesn't involve his imprisonment. Denied.

09/30/1388. Cathars in Middlesex. Court Chaplain will be recalled to Middlesex as soon as possible. Heresy in the capital is always more serious.

11/19/1388. The Duke of Toulouse is in Perigord's prison. This is a peculiar twist.

Prince Mark has been accused of attempted assassination. Like Pontius Pilate, I wash my hands of the affair. Mark is not a virtuous man (Deceitful, Arbitrary, Wroth, Slothful, Proud), but he is the future of the realm. His heir, my grandson, is a respectable shadow of my own accolplishments as a scholar. Either my subjects are for Mark, or they are against the Plantagenets.

12/26/1388. City completed in Poitiers. That's all the holding slots in my principal 9 demesne provinces (Duchy of Lancaster 4, Duchy of Poitou 4, capital at Middlesex 1) filled.

02/17/1389. I spoke too soon about that grandson through Prince Mark, Michael Plantagenet. He just tried to kill me. For now, I am confining my reprisal to finger-wagging.

03/31/1389. The Toulouse War is won. The Duke of Toulouse is stripped of the Duchy of Toulouse, becoming merely the Duke of Bourbon. He remains in Perigord's dungeon, however. If released, will he be remanded to my custody? I doubt it. And he's only 38. My successor will probably have to fight him, and he still has four counties.

04/25/1389. Princess Isabel is a Genius! I turn her education over to Humphrey of Brecon. I think her Stewardship might wind up hitting 30.

Realm Size 398, by the way. Just 78 behind the Golden Horde.

09/08/1389. Peasants suppressed in Thouars.

12/24/1389. We have almost ten times Navarra's army and the truce has expired. The fighting should be a formality; the question is the claim.

The Queen of Navarra is Queen Consort of Aragon in a patrilineal marriage, so it's kind of a pressing issue. The kingdoms might be joined when she dies.

Taking the crown of Navarra on someone else's behalf, as discussed before, will do no good. I have two pawn claimants, but they'd just go independent under the power of the title.

Sens and Champagne are still good long-term prospects, and Sens is still set to be inherited by one of my vassals when its Countess dies. This means a war for the Duchy of Champagne would not be optimal. I'd be winning what's already going to fall in my lap.

Apart from Troyes in Champagne, only the Duchy of Valois is controlled by the Queen of Navarra. If I can take Valois, and Troyes falls in a future struggle for Champagne, the Kingdom of Navarra will have no direct counties and should be permanently extinguished. All the rest of "Navarra" will become the Duchy of Burgundy, and that can be Offer Vassalizationed or pawn-claimed, and then I can start thinking about assembling the Kingdom of Burgundy. (I'd just need two more counties, and I could beat them out of Savoie if I couldn't take Savoie over directly.)

But whose Valois claim can I press? The answer is astonishing: Amedee, formerly King of France, father of the Queen of Navarra, is willing to join my court along with his wife, my sister Aveline, and serve as my pretext for the English conquest of Valois. I am happy to give him the duchy in return.

War for Valois! French levies raised!

06/18/1390. Court Chaplain Laurence is dead. His replacement is Bishop Paul of Charroux (skill 21).

A deceptive peace grants Amedee the Duchy of Valois... but the County of Macon. Macon isn't in Valois. The actual Duchy of Valois remains with the Queen. I'm not at all sure what happened there.

07/30/1390. One last army is marching to Flanders to put down a peasant rebellion. When I stand that levy down, I'll check my Navarra war options, although of course I will not exercise them during the treaty phase.

People are trying to assassinate Prince Mark. So far they have not succeeded. I choose not to interfere.

Normandy has declared a private war for Paris.

10/01/1390. I have war options for the individual counties in Valois but none for Valois itself. I consider it more or less inevitable that Navarra will usurp the title back.

Making the best of the spoils, I usurp the Duchy of Burgundy and award it to the Count of Charolais. The Navarran Duke of Burgundy is now Duke only of Dauphine.

The Sens succession situation has been resolved in favor of Navarra. They call Queen Alienor of Navarra "the Ironside" now.

10,000 Norman soldiers are sieging in Navarra, so at the very least they'll keep the enemy levies busy and depleted for a while.

11/11/1390. I can claim Argyll for the Duke of Ulster. I don't want to make Ulster stronger, but it's the only Scotland claim I have that will add to my realm. Scotland is diminished, but still a kingdom, and that protects it considerably from my depradations.

Best of a bad situation. War for Argyll!

12/01/1390. The Kaiser likes me (86). Chancellor moved to Rome for Papal business.

Armies massing in Galloway. Scotland is also fighting a civil war with Moray; it's probably too much to hope for that succeeding. If it did, I might be able to strike at Moray, usurp Scotland, and wrap up the island.

05/21/1391. I suffer the worst single defeat in Randolph's reign in Lothian, 18,000 Scottish losses to 34,000 English. Occupations in Galloway are more valuable in warscore, though, and I have more soldiers on the way.

Middlesex reverts to Catholicism. I have sent the Court Chaplain to Desmond, which is still Cathar. Essex has gone Cathar as well.

Aveline, Duchess of Valois, sister of Randolph the Conqueror and wife of Amedee the former King of France, dies.

09/10/1391. Lothian retaken, Galloway's last holding stormed, Scotland concedes. They have reabsorbed Moray, though.

The Duke of Bourbon is released from prison. I have no legal grounds to toss him in my own slam, and the pope won't excommunicate him. His death will break up his holdings, but he's only 41 and I'm worried about the situations he could create for my heir. With a sense of deja vu, I ask Queen Consort Alienor to establish a network of spies in Bourbon and assassinate him.

This works, although it takes two tries and my involvement is revealed. Successor Lothaire II is not happy with me, but a gift of $20 goes a long way toward making him okay with it. The holdings fracture as predicted, removing a major vassal threat in France.

There should probably be a cooldown on assassinating a particular target. At least a day. Maybe like diplomacy: "assassins have been dispatched and will report in x days." Similarly, assassination could stand to have more of a negative impact on Paragon of Virtue status.

Also in footnotes: Pope John XX, who held the Papacy during part of the reign of Edward III, would have been known as John XXII in his own time because of this.

10/01/1391. Following hostile action by the Ho-Ro, Denmark has been reduced to the Duchy of Sjaeland.

11/05/1391. Building Small Universities in the cities of Middlesex (London and Chelsea). I should have done this a long time ago, but I was distracted.

12/16/1391. Building Great Barracks in Saintonge.

03/12/1392. Repeat assassination plotter Earl Louis of Eu is in prison again.

03/26/1392. Duke Edward of Norfolk is plotting to kill my great-grandson and direct firstborn descendant, Michael Plantagenet the Younger. Of course I ask him to stop, and he does.

Mental note: my young daughter Isabel is a Genius and roughly Michael's age. She's technically his great-aunt.

04/11/1392. Prince Deodat of Aragon is one year old and stands to inherit both Aragon and Navarra.

My Spymaster Queen is now safely back in London uncovering plots.

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07/01/1392. King Randolph I, the Great, the Holy, the Conqueror, Dread Sovereign of England, France, Ireland, and Brythain, is dead of advanced age, concluding a 54-year reign. He was 63 years old, and had held office since 06/01/1338, when he was nine years old (and had "the makings of a decent scholar"). You know how many English/British monarchs reigned as long as Randolph the Conqueror? Four, and three of those were after 1760. His successor, 46-year-old King Mark I, is a sinful and troubled man who has already been excommunicated three times and provokes profound distrust in many important vassals. Even Mark's Russian wife despises him. Mark's son Michael and grandson Michael have the credentials to pretend to multiple kingdom titles.

Randolph gained an amount of land unprecedented even by William the Conqueror, nearly all of it through pressing his Invasion claim on France. His first wife was responsible for the murder of three French kings. In addition to France, he claimed the Duchy of Brittany, liberated and later claimed the Duchy of Gascogne, seized the Duchy of Lothian, the County of Argyll, and the County of Cumberland from Scotland, and unified Ireland by conquering Breifne. He also raised and legitimized Anti-Pope Evaristus II, reconciled with his ex-royal brother-in-law Amedee after the conquest of France, shielded his son Mark from religious persecution, and established a new area of personal holdings in Poitou at the expense of traditional royal influence in Somerset. Randolph's conquests were mirrored by massive building projects and widescale technical innovations. His career score was 13,585 (12,200 Prestige/2,508 Piety). (The numbers don't quite add up; not sure why.)

All hail Randolph the Conqueror, King of England, France, Byrthonia, and Ireland, Duke of Lancaster and Poitou, Great and Holy Sovereign. The king is dead. Long live the king.

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CK2 said:
[The throne room is draped with bunting, as for a feast. Enter and exit a herald, calling for BADELOGE. Enter DEUBHARTH, who produces a vial of poison and pours it in the drink on the arm of the queen's throne, glances at the audience, puts his finger to his lips, and exits. Enter RANDOLPH and BADELOGE, and various NOBLE MERRYMAKERS, who take their seats.]

RANDOLPH. A toast, I say, for this small revel here.

MERRYMAKER 1. My king, lead on! We'll gladly follow you
To France, or Spain, to Heaven, yes, or Hell
Or if, we must, the bottoms of these cups.

[Various cries of agreement, merry laughter.]

RANDOLPH. Thy beauty, Badeloge, and our arms
That won a glad new France and England old,
And bards of Wales, and ships of Ireland,
And four fair kingdoms like such doughty ships,
Which sail on smoothest seas of finest wine,
To steer their courses by the breath of God,
And thy beauty.

MERRYMAKERS. - We'll drink, aye, we'll drink!

[The toast is drunk. The merrymakers are oblivious to the following.]

BADELOGE. My life on earth has only minutes more.
'Tis poison in this cup, 'tis aconite.

RANDOLPH. Then dearest, why thy calm? Raise all alarms
Unless thou jest with me.

BADELOGE. - No jest, the truth.
But stop thy lips, and freeze thy heart a trice.
I'll name the scoundrel who has done the deed.

RANDOLPH. The oubliette for him, in this demesne
I've all the dungeons in the world to spare.

BADELOGE. Oh no, sweet saint, write not of my life's end
In Deubharth's pen, nor on his wretched bones.
When John of York thou kill'd, didst thou not weep?
Enough blood flow'd these past few months in France
To drown three kings, leave ev'ry farm
In Somerset bereft, and ev'ry bone
Of all past wars uncover'd by the flood.
We shan't bequeath to Mark the sorest shame,
The knowing of his loving mother's death
As murder foul, done by his feudal liege.
He'd hasten down the shadow'd path to hell,
His faith is weak already. And no more
Need die on my account, that ledger's full
Of England's glory, true, but also pain,
A hundred thousand threads of richest hues
Sing'd roughly from the cloth of earthly life,
And though the garment sewn shall please the Lord,
The tailor's work has been a sad affair.
Not that for thee, my love, but this instead:
A wake that stirs no ghosts from evil tombs,
Nor fairies from their lands in Annuvin,
A funeral that has no shocking tale,
A mourning time that comforts without harm.
In ev'ry story, is there not an end?
Then let this be my happy final page:
That wedded to a saint, I bore his sons,
And daughters too, and never made them cry,
But dry'd their childish tears, and spar'd them strife,
In parting made no accusations grim,
For in my blessings lay so many thanks,
What else had time to pass my lips?

RANDOLPH. - I see
That still thou art the wisest of us two.
But feel my heart, beneath my breast, it beats
So frantic'ly I feel as though I die
With thee as sure as I were poison'd too.
Thy speech I dar'd not halt, I knew thou spoke
The truest words that I have ever known,
As ever it has been, for I have dwelt
Too much in the next world, and not enough
In this one, where thy sight's more clear than mine
And thou hast done the better work indeed,
For fear'd I always, and now know for sure,
For all my books and discourse, study lacks
The flame that mov'd the Savior on his course
And bore him smokelike up to Heaven, no,
Thy gifts are those that pleaseth God the most,
Those eyes that readeth hearts, that heart which soothes,
That mercy, greatest form of pious love
Which spareth we poor sinners in our deaths.
If ever there was mother such as thee,
'Twas only holy Mary, she alone
Can sit beside thy grace, and know thy heart.
But I have try'd my all to match thy worth,
Though fallen sadly short as I now see,
My tear-stain'd eyes will follow thee above
To thy reward, too tender for this vale
Of baser sorrows, baser hearts, and time
Which helpless stands before thy timeless love.
O Badeloge, I but lovest thee,
Adorest thee I do! Remember me
To Jesus Christ when him thou meet'st at last,
As him who lov'd thee past his mortal heart
As much as any fleshly sinner could
Though 'twas not enough.

BADELOGE. - It was! I die,
But happy, glad indeed to know I was
Thy happiness itself, thy thunder roll
For thou were lightning, I thy trumpet blast,
For thou as king and sage enraptur'd me.
The fingers cold upon my heart have clos'd
To mark my death, but stronger far there is
Thy grasp so hot with life, which holdeth not
This trice, but all my wond'rous days with thee.
The devil could not snatch me from that grasp,
The reaper cannot cut my heart from thine.

RANDOLPH. Then wait for me, my Queen, in thy reward
When duty's done, I'll join thee far away.
Together we shall make a trice of life
Eternity shall be our time of love.

BADELOGE. A watch I'll keep by holy Peter's gate
While forging thee a circlet out of stars
And when thou com'st, I'll coronate thee then
So England's king may smile down on his fief.

RANDOLPH. That shall be the only crown
To stir my heart henceforth.

BADELOGE. Now leave me here, concoct some idle sport,
Let all imagine simply that I sleep.
Perhaps the wine was strong, as oft it is.
All wines are strong within this blessed life.
Then thy return shall rouse me not, and soon
A part of truth discover'd. Let it be.
There's none to say I was not merely old.
Mourn briefly, but thy duty neglect not,
For it shall be my pastime up in Heav'n
To marvel at thy glory down on earth.
No angel will outshine thee, this I know:
The halo of a saint snuffs flaming swords,
Thy tender soul and scholarship shall teach
Compassion to a host of howling fiends
And send them back to God to be redeem'd
When thou arriv'st above, fear not to see
Repented devils guided by thy crown
Which I hath made for thee, but thou hast worn.
The wearing is the nobler of the twain.

RANDOLPH. This final parting closeth out our lives
Though duty stay me in the vale of tears
All future business shall be waking death,
Thy absence make a purgatory earth
Which I'll endure to see thee once again.
From this day onward I will not delight,
But when we meet again, a song will burst
Unbidden from my heart and ne'er desert
My joyous lips, that kisseth thee once more.

[BADELOGE makes as if to speak, but dies. Beat.]

RANDOLPH. [to MERRYMAKERS] By god, let us pursue our manly arts!
Set up the lists, show me the feats of war
That won me France entire!

[MERRYMAKERS cheer, general revelry, exeunt omnes save BADELOGE, curtain.]
 
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William Shakespeare said:
Richard II, angered by feuding between Duke Thomas of Norfolk and Henry, Heir to the Duchy of Lancaster, banishes Thomas and Henry. When Henry's father dies, Richard II takes his titles. Richard II is now unpopular because of his tyranny, his Greed, and his war with Ireland.

A cabal of English nobles backs Henry's claim to his inheritance, and by blood to the throne. The rebellion is successful and he becomes Henry IV, first king of the Lancaster cadet branch of the Plantagenets. Richard II is imprisoned and later assassinated, damaging Henry IV's reputation, and he hopes to go on Crusade to get positive opinion modifiers.

Henry IV is prevented from Crusading by defensive concerns related to Scotland and Wales. He has acquired opinion penalties with several Earls. His son and heir, Prince Henry, is a Lustful Drunkard or possibly an Underhanded Rogue. The discontented Earls plot with neighboring kings and revolt.

Prince Henry is given a critical command in the civil war, and is victorious in a major battle. Both the King and the Prince capture important prisoners; the King orders his prisoner executed, but the Prince releases his. A separate noble rebellion is settled by Prince John, a younger son of the king, who imprisons the leaders.

Henry IV is in poor health and dies. Prince Henry becomes Henry V; his first act as king is the eradication of a den of thieves in London.

Historically, Richard II's childlessness allowed a cadet branch to take the throne, although the issue was forced by low vassal opinions and the dangerous power of the Duchy of Lancaster. Although the principal Lancaster/York struggle would take place after the Crusader Kings time period, this is its earliest beginning.

Henry IV fought alongside the Teutonic Knights before becoming king. While exiled he lived in France. His reign had many of the same problems as Richard II's, with major rebellions and general unrest. Rumors persisted after Richard II's assassination that he was secretly still alive and would return to the throne.

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07/01/1392. King Mark is not beloved. After many more vassal transfers than I'd like, there remain four rebellious Dukes in France: Aquitaine, Auvergne, Normandy, and Flanders. There are also five dissatisfied barons, but they're not powerful enough to pose a serious threat and the issue there is mostly Catharism.

My Piety is terrible and I'm worried about Papal interference, having already endured three excommunications. Spiritual Art will help over time, but I send my new Chancellor and Court Chaplain to Rome to once again make my case to Alexander V.

I replaced my council completely, having the resources of the kingdom at my disposal:
18 Chancellor Mayor David of Parthenay
19 Marshal Duke John of Cornwall
25 Steward Humphrey of Brecon
20 Spymaster Duke Alphonso of Oxford
22 Court Chaplain Bishop Paul of Charroux

I have granted Prince Michael my old County of Gwent.

Most of the realm compares me to my father and finds me gravely wanting. One way or another, I will solve this problem. I have blazoned my shield black with a central silver pale, and in the pale is written THEY DOUBT IN VAIN. Unlike Randolph, who personally sieged nothing but stacks of books, I will be on the front lines holding the kingdom together.

If I weather the succession crisis, I'll look into taking Scotland and/or Navarra. Fractured pieces of Italy have left the Empire and might also be good targets. Savoie is a natural conquest if I can start putting Burgundy together. I have a personal claim on Bourgogne.

08/07/1392. Duke Art of Leinster dies. He was a persistent plotter for the Irish throne during my father's reign, and I wouldn't be sorry to see him go, except that his successor is Ambitious. This could bring civil war to Ireland, which I was hoping would be a tranquil power base for subduing malcontents in France.

The Duke of Ulster has five counties in England in addition to his four in Ireland, although two have local counts. He is also the Duke of Kent. He is loyal for now, but this may be a problem later.

08/27/1392. Auvergne rebels! Principal forces for suppression will come from the Royal Duchy of Poitou.

09/25/1392. Leinster rebels! It's only one province though. I'll suppress with local Irish levies. I am leaving Ulster's levies alone for the time being because I can't afford to anger its powerful duke.

King Mark's Army, around 12,000 strong, has assembled in La Marche, drawn from Poitou and nearby vassal levies. It is commanded by King Mark in the center, Duke Amedee on the left, and Duke Albert of Ulster on the right. Mark is an enthusiastic incompetent (Martial 6, the others have 18 each).

10/02/1392. Flanders rebels! Rather than draw from the nearby Duchy of Normandy, which might anger its Duchess into rebellion, a cautious patchwork of levies chosen for political reasons is drawn off England, including the full yield of all my personal holdings there.

10/28/1392. Auvergne's army destroyed, Auvergne under siege.

12/28/1392. Auvergne's county seat captured, white peace with Auvergne. King Mark's Army is marching to Nevers, which has risen with Flanders. An English landing on the Flanders coast is currently outnumbered, but reinforcements will be landing shortly if they can hold on. Leinster is under siege, but almost 3,000 Leinster soldiers are marching into Teviotdale unopposed.

01/11/1393. Landing in Flanders defeated; 2,000 survivors are regrouping in Boulogne, with further arrivals to reinforce them there.

02/09/1393. The foreign Duke of Lombardy now supports Flanders.

03/20/1392. The Leinster army has been destroyed in Shrewsbury by levies awaiting transport. Leinster will not yet accept white peace. I am concentrating levies for an assault in Leinster to knock them out of the war.

04/23/1393. The Duke of Leinster accepts arrest after the fall by assault of his county seat. I revoke his title, but with no suitable recipients (recall that Ossory, the other province of the duchy, is controlled by the Duke of Munster thanks to my great-grandfather James Butler), have to sheepishly give it back, for a pointless -20 opinion hit. On the bright side, if he rebels again at a more convenient time I can look into more permanent solutions.

05/06/1393. Duke of Leinster thrown into an oubliette. 12,000 English troops from the siege of Leinster land in Flanders. No sign of the Lombards. One Flemish army is visible, with 9,000 men.

06/29/1393. Named the Duke of Ulster Master of the Hunt.

A new Pope has been selected, Paul II. He's only 26, so it will pay to be on his good side. I give him a gift of $20.

08/01/1393. Under attack by 10,000 men in Nevers, I frantically pull in reinforcements, including men from the Duke of Orleans, whose opinion of me is -30. The enemies are Lombards, and more are on the way. With the armies stretched thin, I order the sieges in Flanders abandoned and the northern Flemish army struck.

The Duchess of Normandy is currently still fighting Navarra, which I assume is why she has remained loyal so far.

08/17/1393. I am attempting to withdraw from Nevers.

09/02/1393. I have extricated myself from the Nevers army during its retreat to Bourges and am now commanding 20,000 men in the north. We will march south and attempt to engage and destroy the remaining 18,000 Lombardians.

09/11/1393. 7,000 Englishmen caught in Bourges by the Lombardian army are pulling back.

09/15/1393. Duke Alphonso of Oxford has successfully requested that Pope Paul II excommunicate me. Not again! I'll need 50 Piety to even ask him to lift it; that'll take a year and a half unless I can somehow scrape together Indulgence money. Rebellious sentiment is now widespread.

If my Chancellor hadn't inadvertently insulted Paul, I wouldn't be in this mess.

Calling in Sjaeland, formerly Denmark.

Lombard army is down to 17,000.

10/11/1393. Flanders calls Ferrara into the war.

10/26/1393. I have personally engaged the bulk of the Lombards (10,000) with 28,000 men.

The Duke of Ulster has died; his child heiress is not considering rebellion at this time. He was only 23 and in good health, so somebody recently in possession of $50 is in need of a hearty handshake.

11/05/1393. Main Lombard army destroyed. Marching south to confront the remaining 6,000 Lombards, who are fighting an odds-and-ends English reinforcement column from Occitan numbering about 3,500.

11/08/1393. Orleans rebels! No immediate plan at this time, focusing on Flanders.

Relief column routed in Limousin, 4,600 Lombards remaining.

12/16/1393. Second Lombard army destroyed. Biggest visible enemy threat is Orleans, with a 15,000-man army marching north. Pulling a new round of levies, including from Ulster.

I suspect the Duchess of Aquitaine will revolt soon but there's not a lot I can do about it at the moment.

02/14/1394. Enemy armies have been caught by superior English forces in Evreux and Tours.

03/14/1394. Enemy presence in the field has been devastated. My battlefield leadership has not yet made me Brave, unfortunately.

I am weighing the pros and cons of assaults in Flanders. If I can spare the men, knocking Flanders out of the war would be a huge victory.

04/18/1394. Massing in Chartres to take advantage of the stripped levy. Only the 1,000-man garrison remains in the county seat and it's the ducal capital of Orleans. Combined with my crushing victory in Tours, it should settle that rebellion.

Essex is once again Catholic. The only remaining Cathar province is Desmond. Scotland continues to struggle with Cathars and Waldensians.

8,000 men from Ireland, Northumbria, and various places in the South of England are on their way to Flanders.

05/31/1394. With the storming of Chartres, the Duke of Orleans accepts White Peace.

07/02/1394. Berry revolts! I have plans to take Brugge by force first, though.

07/26/1394. Amass Wealth complete. I could buy an Indulgence, but I'm going to let it ride for now. I'm getting +1 Piety a month, and in 5 months I'll have enough to test the lifting-my-excommunication waters.

With two county seats stormed, including the ducal capital at Brugge, Flanders accepts peace, ending the dangerous foreign involvements of Lombardia and Ferrara.

My 16,000 men are marching on 12,500 Berry soldiers in Reims.

10/09/1394. 50 Piety, Pope won't lift my excommunication. Purchasing an Indulgence with what would otherwise be my rainy-day mercenary fund.

The Indulgence costs more than I expect. I take a $200 five-year loan.

11/16/1394. My youngest daughter Juliana has died of Pneumonia. She once plotted to murder my only son. Michael is now my only living child. My wife is too old to bear more.

12/09/1394. Berry accepts white peace after a major defeat on the field from which only 1,000 of their men retreat. The realm is now nominally at peace and I stand down the armies. The crisis will not be over, though, until the revolt risk in Normandy and Aquitaine is addressed.

Normandy has lost its war with Navarra. This is three misfortunes: Queen Alienor of Navarra won't be losing territory, England won't be gaining territory, and the Duchess of Normandy may consider herself free to revolt.

The Pope continues to refuse to lift my excommunication. The crisis will also not be over until I am recommunicated.

01/21/1395. Duke Laurence of Deubharth is invading Gwent to take it from Prince Michael. Nothing I can do.

Brittany has been involved in a weird civil war for... decades, I think. It's no coincidence that both of these problem areas are in Brythonia, where Crown Authority is Low.

03/05/1395. The Duke of Leinster has died in an oubliette. His heir a four-year-old Stutterng Legitimized Bastard, and though he doesn't like me, he has no plans to rebel.

03/30/1395. I am attempting to hold a Grand Tournament.

06/15/1395. Duke John of Munster, together with Normandy, Aquitaine, and Orleans, has declared a plot for the throne of Ireland!

I attempt to lawfully arrest Orleans for his former rebellion, Marshal Duke John of Cornwall assisting, but fail. With the assistance of the Duke of Oxford, I assassinate the Duchess of Aquitaine. A further assassination attempt on Duke James of Munster fails... and is revealed. I lose 50 Piety.

The Duchy of Gloucester and the Duchy of Aquitaine have been unified as a side effect of my assassination of the Duchess of Aquitaine.

06/20/1395. King Mark of England is assassinated. His three-year reign was one of England's most troubled. His successor, Michael I, is a better man, but he inherits a fractured kingdom and his own county, Gwent, is under ducal attack. His son Michael has been assassinated as well, leaving the Plantagenet kings of England with no heir, although his wife is young enough to potentially have more children.

Mark could not handle the pressures of repeated excommunication, his sinful reputation, and the Ambitious French dukes. He was also plagued by foreign intervention and an inability to distinguish himself on the battlefield. He dreamed of reconciling with the Pope and winning over his nobles with a tournament, but neither would come to pass. His career score was 1,573 (1,539 Prestige/34 Piety).

Another chapter in the civil war, King Michael I. This could seriously be the end of the (royal) line, which would give us an exciting dynastic change. (The game's preferred succession would currently have me playing as Duke Fulk of Sjaeland, who you may remember is the son of Randolph son of Randolph the Conqueror, the brother that King Mark assassinated when he was a prince. Fulk is presently imprisoned by the Holy Roman Kaiser.) Or Michael could be the man who pulls it together where Mark couldn't.

Laurence of Deubharth refuses a surrender of Gwent and instead ends the war peaceably. I slap a vassal on it and transfer control to him anyway. I do the same with Wiltshire and the Duke of Gloucester, and am now under my demesne limit. I also have no further personal provinces in lawless Brythonia.

Munster, Normandy, and Orleans are in open revolt. Munster and Normandy are allied in a war to grant the Duke of Munster the Kingdom of Ireland. Orleans is separate. It's interesting that an arrest attempt can do that.

Duke Otton of Auvergne is my worst revolt risk. He is Ambitious, wishes to be King of France, and objects to my cowardice and Cruelty. Duke Guy of Flanders has similar issues, but shares a bond with me because we are both Scholars, which is peculiar because he is also an Imbecile. Perhaps he enjoys the illuminations. I name him Seneschal as well; I'd really rather not refight the Flanders war, particularly since Flanders has 13 Allies, and as we've seen, at least some of them answer calls.

I've reorganized the council yet again, but it's mostly the men my father and grandfather chose before me:
19 Chancellor Mayor David of Parthenay
20 Marshal Duke Lionel of Aquitaine
- successor to the Duchess that King Mark and Duke Alphonso assassinated
- much nicer than she was! Wroth and Paranoid, but Kind and Content
25 Steward Humphrey of Brecon
- still a prodigy at 25
- still raising two English Princesses
20 Spymaster Duke Alphonso of Oxford
- had King Mark excommunicated but remained indispensable
22 Court Chaplain Bishop Paul of Charroux

The plan is to knock out Munster, which will drop Normandy. Then I'll strike Orleans, assuming the new Duke doesn't want peace. Assorted levies raised, particularly in Lancaster, Hereford, and Ulster. I will lead personally and see what dynasty rises after the Plantagenets, I mean, see if I can get rid of this Craven trait.

I might actually let the succession make me Fulk. Hamlet, anybody?

07/02/1395. Looks like Orleans is staying in the war.

Armies are clashing in Kildare.

07/30/1395. Munster's army is beaten and we're marching on Ossory, the ducal capital. Seriously regretting Mark's decision to give Desmond to Munster as a vassal, but when this war ends, I plan to confiscate Ossory and return it to Leinster, restoring the balance of power in southern Ireland. Somewhat.

09/03/1395. Normandy has 14,000 men in Middlesex. I intend to make Munster submit before any of those sieges can complete.

09/29/1395. Auvergne rebels again. Not much I can do about it right now.

11/01/1395. My army marches from Ossory to Thomond, catching and thrashing 5,000 of Munster's men.

Rebels rise in Middlesex... and are a problem for nobody but Normandy. The memory of the Cathars makes London restive (Heretic Stronghold).

11/22/1395. The Duke of Deubharth's wife has died, and he is Incapable. Let's reflect on how long he lived and how much trouble he caused for Princes of England.

12/20/1395. The Duke of Cornwall dies. His successor is a child.

I've taken several holdings in Munster and won decisive battlefield victories, but the Duke will not accept even White Peace (which I'd settle for about now).

After distributing a number of gifts and offices, the only duke still considering rebellion is Guy of Flanders, the Imbecile Scholar.

02/19/1396. Princess Eleanor, my aunt, has come of age. Under the tutelage of Humphrey of Brecon, she has developed a Midas Touch, as well as Honesty and Patience. There are no good marriages for her at present (she doesn't convey an alliance, so ideally she either broadens the line matrilineally or pleases a vassal), so I leave her in reserve.

We are assaulting in Ormond.

03/05/1396. After Ormond's county seat falls, the Duke of Munster agrees to a White Peace. So much for taking Ossory away; maybe later. I am personally leading 11,000 men from the siege to Poitou, where my holdings in Poitou will reinforce them and we will attack the enemy armies in France (Orleans 13,000, Auvergne 3,500). After that, it looks like both their capitals will be vulnerable to assault.

With Normandy threatening to revolt again, I send Duke Alphonso to assassinate the Duchess. It works perfectly. The heir isn't of her line either, ending d'Evreux dominion in Normandy.

Guy of Flanders continues to be my worst potential problem. I'll assassinate him next if he doesn't revolt first.

03/15/1396. Flanders revolts!

04/09/1396. Duke John of Munster has arranged my excommunication!

I've pulled in soldiers from Aquitaine to help me fight Orleans. Toulouse is having a civil war. Brittany's civil war is still going.

Duke Laurence of Deubharth finally dies. His successor does not like me.

05/11/1396. Orleans has called Ancona. Flanders has called Ferarra.

06/26/1396. Connacht revolts! Problem for later.

08/04/1396. York revolts! Problem for later.

09/13/1396. Gascogne revolts! Problem for later.

Assaulting holdings in Chartres to knock Orleans and Ancona out of the war.

10/28/1396. Orleans accepts white peace. Marching remaining 10,000 men to Flanders, where 9,000 enemy soldiers await. I'll find reinforcements somewhere.

11/11/1396. An Indulgence is purchased at enormous cost. I am $200 in the hole, hoping for a loan. Lack of funds is hurting army morale.

Spymaster reports possible espionage opportunity in Evreux, but I turn it down and order him to Brugge. When I have money again I will assassinate Guy.

11/21/1396. Loan accepted. We have cash again. I'll assassinate when I hit $50.

12/01/1396. Actually, I should save assassination for after recommunication. If my advisors can't manage to sway the pope, I can purchase another Indulgence or give him an (expensive, mid-Papal-career) gift.

12/10/1396. Connacht army destroyed after a landing at Ormond. Marching to their capital at Breifne.

01/17/1397. Berry revolts!

03/02/1397. Connacht has accepted a White Peace after losing the capital in Breifne.

04/13/1397. A York army has been destroyed. 16,000 men marching to assault York.

I'm going to put my Spymaster back on Uncovering Plots when I can move him again in May. Somehow, chances to assassinate Duke Guy of Flanders remain terrible. How hard can it be to assassinate an Imbecile Naive Appeaser?

05/13/1397. Normandy revolts!

I think by now all the wars to depose King Mark are over, but why didn't his death end those wars?

08/16/1397. York accepts White Peace. I'm down to 10,000 men.

09/11/1397. Northampton revolts! This is the first county-level revolt.

09/26/1397. The civil war in Brittany is finally over. The Duchy changes hands internally. Breton levies are almost completely tapped out, but I manage to squeeze out 700 men.

The continent is too dangerous for my depleted army right now. I have sailed back to Essex to challenge Northampton and reinforce with mercenaries.

11/06/1397. Northampton's army is beaten but they're not yet willing to surrender.

The new Duke of Brittany is a major revolt risk.

11/11/1397. Queen Alienor of Navarra declares war. Surrendering will turn the crown over to Duke Fulk of Sjaeland, my successor.

After careful consideration, I accept. The current situation is untenable. So much for Fulk as Denmark, though.

King Michael steps down. His two-year reign was no improvement on King Mark's. King Fulk grants him the County and Duchy of Sjaelland. Fulk is Weak, Excommunicated, and imprisoned by the Kaiser, who refuses to ransom because of his claim on Verdun. I would give Verdun to the Ho-Ro in exchange for freedom, but unfortunately it is controlled by the rebel Duchy of Berry. Fulk has heirs; precedence will go to his child son Randolph. Michael's career score was 647 (322 Prestige/325 Piety).

Imprisoned, excommunicated, most of my council stuck in the armies, six noble uprisings... it's a dark time for England. My new far-flung Danish territories (Estonia, Samogitia, Sjaelland) are more liabilities than anything else. This string of reigns may be England's Second Anarchy.

11/17/1397. New council:
23 Chancellor Duke Henry of Somerset
- in Rome to plead with the Pope
21 Marshal Earl Amedee of Macon
- yes, that Amedee
- leading an army
18 Steward Duke Gilbert of Lothian
- replaces the more talented Humphrey for political reasons
- leading an army
19 Spymaster Duke George of Meath
- in Brittany to assassinate Dukes
19 Court Chaplain Bishop Gilbert of Halton
- leading an army
- badly needed to lobby the Pope

After assassinating six Dukes and Duchesses in Brittany (and being exposed twice), it has become apparent that I have no silver bullet there. The replacement still dislikes me and I'm just going to have to deal. Bleeding off my Danish provinces gets me under the demesne and duchy limits. A round of gifts and offices leaves my rebel threats relatively low.

However, the problem is the present wars: Auvergne, Berry, Flanders, Gascogne, Normandy, and Northampton.

12/02/1397. Aunt Eleanor pressures me to marry her off. I waste her on one of the Baltic Earls.

06/28/1398. I've pacified Northampton and requested better accomodations from the Kaiser. If he oubliettes me, maybe I can die promptly and let my heir take the throne without the problem of excommunication.

I've extricated my council members from the fighting and am now Training Troops in Middlesex and double-lobbying the Pope.

The levies are all but tapped out. My richest recruiting is in the Baltic. I would cut provinces loose in surrenders, but surrendering also lowers my Crown Authority. Another possibility is granting the Kingdom of France to someone else; would that transfer the wars of independence in France to them?

07/17/1398. Earl Amedee of Macon rises against me. Yes, still that Amedee. In his place as Marshal I appoint the Baron of Warwick, skill 23. The Baron is in an army somewhere and I can't find him.

08/28/1398. I have assembled 12,000 men in the Middlesex area. At least 2,000 more can be had in Occitan country. I will bolster them with mercenaries and land at Bourgone, march in reinforcements from Aquitaine and Bourbon, and pacify Gascogne (army in the field: 8,000). With this done, I will fold in what I can from Gascogne and Toulouse, as well as 1,400 men from a barony that the deposed Michael owns in Navarra. Not ready to make concessions below White Peace yet.

Mercenary options and my finances are both poor. I hire the 1,100 men of the Breton Band.

09/21/1398. A polarizing speech by a vassal worsens most of my problems.

10/21/1398. The army of Gascogne is being confronted. I have Humphrey of Brecon's demand for the Stewardship.

11/17/1398. Somerset revolts! This takes the Duke of Somerset out of my Chancellor spot when I badly need the Pope persuaded to lift my excommunication. I replace him with the Duke of Slesvig (skill 19), but he's stuck in the army for now.

11/28/1398. Brittany revolts!

12/16/1398. Munster revolts!

12/21/1398. Gascogne accepts White Peace. I raise Gascogne's levies.

While in prison, I make someone cry, but later I feel bad about it and become Kinder.

01/15/1399. Scotland declares excommunication war. I surrender.

01/27/1399. The ascent of King Randolph II, age 7. After distributing land, titles, etc., I'm in the best unrest situation I've been in for a while, except of course for all those wars already taking place. Among the titles I'm forced to give away: Westmorland and Derby, half of Lancaster. Agony.

New council:
19 Chancellor Duke Richard of Dheubarth
20 Marshal Duke Lionel of Aquitaine
24 Steward Earl Humphrey of Dorset
- I gave him land too!
21 Spymaster Duke Gilbert of Lothian
- He's stuck in the siege of Thouars.
22 Court Chaplain Bishop Paul of Charroux

Present wars: Somerset, Macon, Munster, Normandy, Flanders, Brittany, Berry, Auvergne.

No Dukes are rebellious.

The King is being educated in Intrigue by Duke George of Meath.

02/28/1399. Macon calls Navarra into its war. Amedee and Alienor have a very strange history together.

04/14/1399. Just as my 17,000 men arrive at Macon for a hasty siege, Amedee dies peacefully at 64 and that war ends. Navarra is back out of the picture for now.

05/06/1399. Princess Isabel comes of age. She is a Lesbian, a Genius, and no particular use to me. I marry her to a courtier her age.

05/26/1399. The Kaiser is supporting Duchess Aignes of Connacht in a plot to take the throne of Ireland. Neither will back down. I imprison her, a risky business without my Marshal to assist (he's stuck in the war), but it works.

07/24/1399. A "friendly" local army is preventing me from assaulting holdings in Bourbon currently occupied by Auvergne. Diverting to the Brittany front.

Aignes of Connacht dies.

11/10/1399. Sending my brother Gilbert to be educated in Scholarship by the Duke of Sjaelland.

03/24/1400. Various enemy armies have been beaten, but I'm down to 7,500 men. "Friendly" siege disruption continues on multiple fronts, but I don't have the men for assaults anymore anyway.

08/04/1400. Burgundy revolts! But it's tiny, it's just Charolais. When did that happen?

09/26/1400. Normandy calls Lombardia. Raising dreg levies everywhere I can.

12/22/1400. Somerset's sieges in Dorset have been reversed, but White Peace is refused. I can't spare the men to assault or even siege their holdings. Redeploying to Ireland.

04/19/1401. Somerset accepts a White Peace.

Enemy gains in Ireland have been retaken, but Munster refuses a White Peace and I cannot spare a siege.

My sister Mary has been sent to learn war from the Duke of Aquitaine.

Assorted prisoners are ransomed and released.

06/24/1401. Navarra has started a war for... all my kingdoms. Well that's bad.

09/02/1401. My guardian dies. I seek further education in intrigue from Randolph the Conqueror's second wife, the one he never really loved.

10/28/1401. Brittany has accepted White Peace.

My armies are being eradicated by larger forces. There's a Norman landing on Ireland and Navarra has a comparatively massive presence in France.

King Randolph II has Consumption.

11/13/1401. Given his ill health, and England's terrible position in the wars, Randolph II is forced to abdicate. His career score was 627 (601 Prestige/26 Piety).

Taking power is Capet Queen Alienor the Ironside of Navarra, who changes her primary title to France. Randolph II remains important as Duke of Poitou and Lancaster. The newly reconstituted France has many of the problems of the old England, as all the rebellions are still going, but the advantage of relatively fresh levies and better relations with the nobility. The Queen's power duchy is Valois and she controls a handful of other things as well (Macon, Angouleme, Troyes, and three baronies).

You remember Alienor, of course. She's the daughter of Princess Aveline Plantagenet, who was the daughter of King Edward III of England and Petronilla Butler of the Munster Butlers. Her father was Amedee, former King of France, who came to power after the infamous Randolph and Badeloge Triple Assassination and was excommunicated and deposed as Randolph the Conqueror claimed France, ushering in the unlikely Navarran twilight of the Capets. (Amedee would later go over to Randolph's court hoping to seize Valois from Navarra, only to be made Earl of Macon instead, although he briefly claimed the ducal title in name. During the Second Anarchy, he revolted with Alienor's assistance for Macon's independence, but died of old age before the war could be won.) She was married to the King of Aragon until he died in 1391 and left her a son who will carry her titles out of the Capet line if he's not killed first. She married a second time, matrilineally, and has a younger Capet potential heir. She's a Wroth, Gluttonous liar, she's under a lot of pressure, but no one can deny she's a Brave and Just Master Theologian. Her career score thus far is 2,687 (2008 Prestige/679 Piety).

New council, surprisingly familiar:
20 Chancellor Prince Consort Ademar of France
20 Marshall Duke Jean of Brittany
25 Steward Count Humphrey of Dorset
21 Spymaster Duke Gilbert of Lothian
15 Court Chaplain Prince-Bishop George of Reims

Current wars: Berry, Normandy, Auvergne, Flanders, (tiny) Burgundy), and Munster. Present strategy is to coalesce a large army, sail to Ireland, and knock Munster out.

No nobles are overt revolt risks at this time.

The capital is now Paris.

11/29/1401. Some English nobles are starting to consider declaring independence. Giving control of Dorset to the Duke of Somerset has the unfortunate side effect of taking Humphrey out of the royal sphere of influence. In his place, Andrew of Northampton is appointed, but his skill is only 18. A variety of other concessions are made (notably, around $200 in bribes and the appointment of Michael, former King of England, as Cupbearer).

Burgundy offers White Peace and I'm happy to oblige.

12/01/1401. Gilbert of Lothian dies, and his successor Ralph is a Diplomatic wizard (34 skill). I don't hesitate to appoint him. Replacement spymaster is Duke Henry of Connacht (16 skill).

12/24/1401. Berry offers White Peace and I accept.

03/16/1402. Flanders accepts White Peace. I've been so effective on the continent that I've decided to change my plans and deal with Munster last.

08/04/1402. Normandy accepts White Peace.

The lords of Bedford have died out, and I grant the province to Prince Charles, son of the assassinated King Antoine of France, who reigned less than two months during the Triple Assassination.

08/17/1402. The Duke of Auvergne dies, possibly in a combat in Auxerre. The Auvergne War is over. Only Munster remains.

A fleet is assembled at Nantes to ferry 11,000 French troops to Ireland.

09/14/1402. Being France calls for a new tech strategy. The Frankish bonus building is for heavy cavalry, with a few light cavalry thrown in. Although it's a long way off, I start researching Cavalry Melee Weapons IV. For Economics, similarly, I go with Farming IV. For Culture, Paris is at 2.9 Legalism making it the easiest decision the tech system can offer.

The soldiers have landed on Ireland. Soon the final chapter on the Second Anarchy will be written.

09/23/1402. Let the record show that Count Andrew of Northampton was the first to plot for the Kingdom of England. I asked him to stop.

11/08/1402. Munster accepts a White Peace. The wars are over, the armies and navies at rest. The horrors of the Second Anarchy of England are finally over, albeit at a price many Englishmen are uncomfortable with.

I dispatch the Spymaster to Barcelona and kill Prince Deodat. The line of succession is now Capet, and will favor my Brave and Trusting son Guichard. My involvement in the assassination is discovered.

Deodat would have (at least potentially) brought Aragon into the realm, but in the service of a different noble house, and while I'm going to load up as whoever's King of England, I feel each monarch should work toward their own interests and the preservation of their dynasty.

11/13/1402. There's one last thing to wrap up: 4,000 rebel peasants in Estonia.

The King of Aragon tried to have me poisoned. Not sure whether ex-King Michael, now Duke of Sjaelland and my Cupbearer, helped or hindered.

It's strange how many of England's ex-kings are still living. Excommunication is the culprit, of course. Edward III (Edward the Confessor doesn't seem to figure in regnal numbers in or out of the game, or he'd be Edward IV) and Randolph the COnqueror died of old age, and Mark was assassinated, but Michael is as described above, Fulk is still rotting in a Ho-Ro prison but now has no titles to anything (though his claims amount to the whole set of kingdoms), and Randolph II is now (thanks to the royal holdings established by Randolph the Conqueror) the powerful Duke of Poitou and Lancaster.

I only need two more provinces in Burgundy to create the kingdom. A war with Savoie and a war with Naples should do it. Something to think about in the longer term.

11/18/1402. I forgive the King of Aragon his assassination attempt and do not retaliate.

01/04/1403. The peasants are suppressed. At last, the combined kingdoms are truly at peace. For now. Wars between vassals notwithstanding (Dax is trying to claim Gascogne).

France has the biggest realm in the world (495 Realm Size), the highest Score (17,486, but which kings does that sum up? France-primary only?), and the second-biggest army (half the size of the Imperial Army, but give it time to recover).

It's the end of an era. A decade of nightmares is over, but so are 248 years of Platagenet rule in England.

fk5ze0.png


Even a situation rated pointlessly easy by the difficulty meter can plow you under. No lie.

2ajq0r8.gif


Louis VIII came the closest to what Alienor accomplished here. He was briefly the King of England, but later had to sign a document retroactively negating his reign. (The English rationale was that he had never been formally crowned.) That happened at the end of the reign of the historical King John, so we've kind of come full circle. That would have been about 180 years ago.

fc07xj.png


(The First Anarchy was 1135-1153, before the reign of King John.)

CK2 said:
[FULK is in his cell.]

FULK. O jailer, can you tell me of the days
Gone by outside this dank abode I have?
Prometheus am I, here chain'd and gnaw'd
But vultures do it not, 'tis doubt and fear
As Mark abjured upon his shield so black
With lightning in its center rudely pal'd.
Or so they tell me; how far can I see
From underground, or can I stretch my arms
Between these bars, these fingers catch my crowns?
Would that I could shake dirt from out these nails
Onto the soil of England where they march
To and fro, to and fro, over again
News jumbled in the telling, or the lies.
A king am I, a king in darkness fell,
Or only poorest of the fools, and scorned
With mocking tales that he's a rightful king
One day his phantom kingdom sound, the next
All sundered, gone, and scattered wide across
Another web of fickle, jeering lies.
This must be purgatory, emperor,
No man hath power thus, to damn my soul
To oceans of uncertainty, and stone
My only window to the vastest fief.
Is there a true world still, beyond these stones
Or has it drop't away and darkly gone?
Is this all that is left to be king of?
These stones cannot be moved, behind them lurks
The devil's grin, or nothing there at all
And I, poor fool, imagine kingdoms rich
And trumpets loud, and all mine birthrights true,
Where only heartless fairies strut and reel,
Or angels without mercy bleed the clouds,
Or jailers laugh at home to tell their wives
How they have in the darkness led a fool
To think himself a king above the ground.
Not even beetles will hail me, I'll die
In this damp burrow, tomb of slime, life-crypt
Unless I bring my rescue close at hand.
Come, guards! Take messages! Attend! Attend!
I charge my vassals all to aid me now
In war with Romans, for my freedom dear,
Fought so hard, 'twere like as they believ'd
They'd not arriv'd too late to rescue Christ.
Thou devil, sound that trumpet judgement-loud
Though through thy wicked grin beyond the stones,
And fairies, ride the beetles to my side,
I'll cough you out a banner for the fray.
Angels, if you bleed the clouds above me,
Let some trickle down to quench my thirst. [beat]
Jailer, can you tell me of the years?

[There is no response. Curtain.]
 

gbuchold

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Reading the thread title I expected something irreverent like "The Bard's Tale", I didn't expect the Bard of Avalon! Caught up reading and your writing style is really interesting (and quality). Are you going to continue on with Alienor and see if Randolph II has it in him to try to lead a rebellion for his crowns?
 

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Consider this a retroactive addition to the Second Anarchy, which wasn't quite over after all.

gbuchold, I considered playing as Duke Randolph II, but decided against it. I've played ahead of this update and I think my choice of Alienor has been vindicated. Her rich personal history narratively justifies her primacy, and subsequent events have explained why Randolph the Younger would elect not to press his claims.

Royal concerns during her reign involved obtaining Scotland and Burgundy, and perhaps somehow standing against the Holy Roman Empire if conditions were right (maybe for the liberation of Denmark?).

01/04/1403. Alienor united the kingdoms back in 1401, but only now does the chaos of the Second Anarchy seem to be over. Only time will tell whether the incredible Capet reversal lasts. There's half a century to go (until 1452), and Alienor has been a Queen since the Holy Roman Excommunication War with France/Navarra, which deposed her father Amedee when she was 12. That was June 1st of 1375. She is 40. Mysteriously, her second duchy is Bedford, where she holds absolutely nothing. Middlesex is Duke Randolph II's capital, not hers.

I am considering wars. I have no immediately productive claims on Scotland; I could make some Stewart nobles independent but that's it. Assembling Burgundy, however, is a matter of claiming just two more provinces in its de jure area. I can start a war with Savoie for one of them. If I claimed it for a current vassal (Bishop Manasses of Doornik), he'd remain my vassal and Geneve would be part of France... I think.

01/11/1403. Castle improvement projects begun in Valois, mainly a Great Keep at Melun.

I'd need five Scottish provinces to usurp the crown. Probably the best way to do this involves somehow prying out two duchies. I can shelve this for later.

I've invited two contenders for the Duchy of Savoie to my court. If they're members of my court, will Savoie join France when they take it? As I recall, that's how Randolph took Brittany and Gascogne.

02/15/1403. I have arranged a betrothal between the dangerous Duke Randolph Plantagenet and Etienette Capet, my Ugly five-year-old half-sister. I've also matrilineally married my chosen candidate for Savoie, Dietmar Montefeltro, into House Capet. Unfortunately, my sister Beatrix is in her mid-thirties and might not manage to bear him any children. Dietmar is a Temperate, Patient Grey Eminence, but I chose him mostly for his age; at 31 he is less likely than an older man to die before the war is concluded, and more likely to stick around longer being grateful that I pressed his claim.

Savoie can raise 16,000 men. I can raise 133,000. They may call a couple of minor allies, such as Ancona, but all in all I feel little hesitation about plunging France back into war.

03/17/1403. I grant Prince Charles of France the Duchy of Bedford at his request. I'm not getting much use out of it myself.

04/08/1403. 23,000 men marching on Savoie. They have a few thousand.

05/16/1403. Legalism in Paris rises to III. Switching focus to Cultural Flexibility, as my constituent cultures are pretty diverse (Frankish, Occitan, English, Welsh, Breton, Irish, Scottish, Basque, Dutch).

Enemy army of 7,000 dispersed in Savoie.

05/16/1403. Assaults begin in Savoie.

George of Reims has badly hurt my standing with the Pope.

06/23/1403. The new Duke of Hereford is ambitious. I send him $20 and make him Master of the Hunt.

Occitan reinforcements are marching to Savoie.

07/20/1403. Excommunicated at the request of Duke Guy of Flanders. I name the Prince Consort, who is also Bishop of St. Denis, my antipope. He is a Grey Eminence, Cynical but Kind, born on the wrong side of matrimony and as Wroth and Gluttonous as I am. He's also only 29 and currently Depressed. A filthy feast of ortolans should cheer him up. Never before have I seen the opinion modifiers for Lover and Anti-Pope stack. Catholic moral authority has dropped back down to 51 (I think it was up past 70).

Duke Guy is Ambitious and Syphilitic these days. I think they must be related.

11/01/1403. I am pregnant with a Papal baby. This is so wrong it must be right. Dirtiest Anti-Papacy ever.

12/25/1403. Princess Etienne will be educated in Scholarship by Duke Guillaume of Dauphine, and Prince Pierre by Duke Richard of Berry. These are mostly political decisions, particularly in the case of Dauphine, which rivals Poitou-formerly-England as a dangerous duchy.

Hard fighting in Savoie as further reinforcements race to support depleted assault remnants against 10,000 enemy soldiers.

01/31/1404. Victory in Savoie thanks to the reinforcements and improved defense in the mountains. With occupancy in Savoie subject to brutal attrition, I am assembling a separate army to attack elsewhere.

03/24/1404. Improving a baronial keep.

06/02/1404. I bear a son. His name shall be Amedee, after his grandfather.

07/29/1404. Queen Alienor has perished unexpectedly, perhaps due to a combination of childbirth and Illness. She is succeeded by her Capet son Guichard I, with Duke Ralph as Regent. Her career score was 2,743 (2,057 Prestige/686 Piety), but presumably most of that was from her tenure as Queen of Navarra, and it was considerably reduced by the 500 Prestige spent to appoint an Anti-Pope.

Fulk, formerly King of England, has been released from Roman jails and is now Baron of Tottenham. It is a comparatively lowly post (and one with a history of heresy, unrest, and treason), but for Fulk, I feel it qualifies as a happy ending. When I wrote his soliloquy, I assumed he'd be a prisoner for the rest of his life. Now he is in the good former-English-King-present-French-noble company of Michael and Randolph II (although they, of course, remain dukes). With the death of Alienor, Randolph of Poitou is much less inclined to hate the new order.

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This time, the Second Anarchy is really over. I'm a decade ahead of this and yet to see the same chaos erupt. Next update: the first Capet King of England-within-France.
 

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William Shakespeare said:
Henry V as king presents himself by turns as an idealistic dreamer and a ruthless tyrant. He launches an invasion of France and is successful. He marries a French princess, Catherine of Valois, who hopes that England and France will be culturally united.

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Historically, the king had associated with heretics while a prince, and on his ascension disappointed them by not introducing greater religious tolerance. Henry V died unexpectedly after having extracted the concessions that made him heir to France. Perhaps it was dysentery, but it was certainly convenient for French independence. Henry V had survived, almost miraculously, an arrow in the head as a teenager.

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07/29/1404. Munster and Flanders are critical revolt risks. Samogitia and Gwynedd might also rise. The young king's Intrigue is on track to be poor and his Stewardship is absolutely terrible. He is Trusting, Brave, and Arbitrary. His further education is placed in the hands of Duke Lionel of Aquitaine, in the hopes that he will at least be capable in war. The Council remains unchanged and the war in Savoie continues, with three 10,000-man French armies campaigning independently.

City Taxation is Minimal in France for some reason. Got to fix that when the Regency is over.

The Court Chaplain is once again trying to end Cathar heresy in Desmond.

In retrospect, Alienor's reign probably belongs to the Second Anarchy, and Guichard's still might.

08/16/1404. Duchess Isabel of York has conspired with the Pope (the actual one, not my father the Anti-Pope), Connacht, and Scotland to present me with a demand for the English throne. I'm going to try assassination as a quick fix.

Assassination fails, possibly because my Spymaster is party to the plot. I lack the money to try again. I move my Marshal in, but I don't have the 10 Piety necessary to make an arrest.

War to retain the throne of England!

Castille calls me to arms for some stupid Iberian crap I don't care about. I decline. Bigger problems!

My new Spymaster is Duke Christopher of Normandy, called the Wise (skill 24). I'm going to use assassination to solve my problems wherever I can.

10/17/1404. Munster revolts! Got to deal with Savoie before I can handle the rest of this.

10/31/1404. Flanders revolts!

Two assassination attempts on Isabel fail, and my involvement in one of them is revealed. Unfortunately, the Spymaster is tied up in an army somewhere and can't assist directly.

The Pope has sent military formations totalling 6,500 men. The answer to the question "how many divisions does the Pope have" is not zero. On the other hand, if I need warscore against the Roman Pope, I can get it by beating up nearby Papal Venaissin.

The Scottish are my biggest problem, and they're tied to the York plot. Anything I can do to knock out York will help. Levies are being raised all over England, Ireland, Wales, and France, as well as the far-flung Danish provinces. One of the armies in Savoie has been gravely depleted by the departure of men belonging to the traitors. Gwynedd may yet revolt. The Duchess of Samogitia has been named High Almoner and is satisfied for now.

There are Monophysites in Finland, but that's someone else's problem.

11/05/1404. An attempt on my life has been foiled.

11/30/1404. Munster has 9,000 men, too dangerous for my local forces right now. They will be pulled off Ireland to assist elsewhere.

30,000 Scotsmen are besieging various provinces in the north. Another 14,000 have landed in Evreux, and my personal levies are being diverted to rendezvous with the Danish levies against them.

4,500 Yorkists in York. A priority and probably not much of an obstacle.

Hard to say what Flanders is doing, but they seem to have at least 10,000 men in the field.

12/13/1404. Flanders has called Normandy into its war. Disaster. I lose the services of Spymaster Duke Christopher in favor of Count Godfrey of Navarra, skill 16 and leading soldiers in Agen, where he is suffering from Illness and a Wound. This also disrupts my plans to deal with the Scottish army near Paris.

Flanders has also called Poitou and former King Randolph II. Needless to say, the situation is very grave indeed. How is a Syphilitic Naive Appeaser Imbecile such a brilliant strategist?

I am now seeing 16,000 Flemings on the march.

A further attempt to assassinate Isabel of York fails and is exposed.

12/21/1404. The Spymaster is extricated from fighting in the south and sent to York.

Duke Guy of Flanders has called tiny, Charolais-only Burgundy into the war.

Irish armies have been caught by superior Munster forces in Kildare and have no choice but to make their stand.

Attempting to rally a combined army in or around Paris.

Attempting to rally a combined army in or around York.

Armies in Savoie further depleted by treachery.

01/28/1405. Savoie is marching spoiler forces from Sundgau to prevent my concentration in Savoie. When my smaller army attempts to march from Neuchatel to Savoie, the larger contingent in Sundgau moves to cut them off.

Assault begun in York.

Moving to engage 14,000 Flemish soldiers in Reims with a combined 21,000 from Paris and the Danish territories.

2,200 survivors from defeat in Kildare are being evacuated to York.

02/27/1405. Total victory in Reims. Holding taken in York. Large army has covered small army's withdrawal in Neuchatel, allowing concentration of forces in Savoie.

Continental Scottish army sieging in Auvergne. Not sure how they chose that target.

03/04/1405. Gwenedd revolts!

Another holding taken in York. Two assassination attempts on Isabel fail but are not discovered. Marching 18,000 men on 12,000 Normans in Paris.

The most critical wars are:
- Savoie, where a White Peace would not be a victory.
- York, which involves Scotland and other conspirators.
- Flanders, which is now a large alliance.

03/27/1405. Isabel successfully assassinated. This knocks Connacht, Scotland, York, and the Roman Pope out of the war. Connacht is considering his own rising; I offer him an honorary title.

04/14/1405. Holdings in Savoie fall, moving siege army to Bern. Savoie warscore 79.

04/13/1405. The Countess of Forez is plotting to kill my uncle and refuses to abandon the plot. It's not worth worrying about. He's only my Anti-Pope father's brother.

Assembling a fleet to ship the army that stormed most of York to Flanders.

Victory in Paris.

04/30/1405. Duke Jean of Brittany, my Marshal, has died. He is replaced by Duke Lionel of Aquitaine, skill 22, currently leading a landing of 17,000 men at Brugge.

I'm not aware of any nobles disgruntled enough to declare independence at this time.

Moving to engage 5,000 Flemings in Reims.

4,000 peasants revolt in Vendome.

06/07/1405. Oops, Bern isn't part of Savoie, it's just similarly colored (and rebelling from the Empire). Moving the siege army to Neuchatel.

Victory in Reims.

08/26/1405. Several holdings taken in Brugge, Flanders warscore 33, Duke Guy refuses White Peace. Moving siege army to Artois.

Savoie army evades my forces in Savoie. Moving to Geneve, part of the Duke's personal territory.

Duke Lionel has been extricated from the army in Flanders and will be available to assist arrests.

09/30/1405. Levies dry for the most part. I hire the Catalan Company to help assault Artois.

11/15/1405. Duke Guy of Flanders accepts White Peace. Dare I believe the worst is over?

To-do list for the army:
- Savoie
- Munster
- Gwynedd
- peasants in Vendome

12/11/1405. The Duke of Champagne has the Duke of Normandy excommunicated. La la la, I see nothing, nothing...

12/20/1405. I have become as English as my guardian, Duke Lionel of Aquitaine. Perhaps when I come of age, I should change my primary title. Then again, my personal holdings are in France.

01/08/1406. Peasants in Vendome crushed. 11,000 men moving to relieve Savoie's siege in Bourgogne. When their 8,000 have been destroyed or chased off, we'll storm holdings in Geneve and put an end to this mess.

03/09/1406. The Roman Pope demands a Crusade for Antioch. Strangely, the Anti-Pope is just as eager that I should crusade. Maybe the Popes are racing each other for it.

04/16/1406. The new Duke of Champagne will be my friend if I give him $20. Deal.

05/26/1406. "I'm going to be the bestest Pope ever when I grow up." So Oedipal.

07/31/1406. Savoie war won at last... but the new Duke is not my vassal, nor is he willing to be. Could have saved myself some trouble there. Why did it work with Brittany? Oh right, Randolph the Conqueror was king of Brythonia. Well, at least I have a friendly neighbor.

Marching 6,000 survivors from Savoie to the coast, where they will join assorted English levies in combating the Welsh, who have taken over a bishopric in Worcester. After that, Ireland. After that, peace (I hope).

Randolph II has become Frankish and calls himself Raoul II now. Funny how these things work out.

01/16/1407. Gwynedd accepts White Peace after losing their capture of Worcester and a couple of armies. Onward to Munster.

01/21/1407. Duke Ralph of Lothian dies. He was a spectacular Chancellor, but something strange was going on in his duchy, as his son Ralph III is released from his dungeon to become the new Duke of Lothian. My replacement Chancellor is Duke Hugh of Hereford, skill 22.

My new Regent is routine plotter Earl Andrew of Northampton. Gosh I hope he doesn't abuse his position.

02/27/1407. Earl Godfrey of Navarra, my Spymaster, is assassinated. He was only 20 years old. His replacement is Duke Christopher the Wise of Normandy, skill 24. Christopher is excommunicated, and I'd like to do something about that, but my Piety is a joke after having been caught so many times trying to assassinate Duchess Isabel of York, the Pretender Queen of England.

03/13/1407. The Earl of Northampton is plotting for the English throne. I ask him not to. I told you he would.

Munster's army destroyed in Leinster.

04/07/1407. The army splits to long-siege Ossory and Thomond. Defenses are enormous in this era. Thomond has more than 4,000 men in the county castle.

Levies raised to sit on Ormond and Desmond.

09/18/1407. Duke Raoul of Poitou and Lancaster comes of age. He's feeling rebellious, but I offer him Derby as a vassal and that cheers him right up. He looks like he'd be a decent king. He is Proud and Deceitful, Kind and Charitable, and a Brilliant Strategist.

12/16/1407. On the word of Duke Deodat of Burgundy, I imprison the Earl of Northampton for treason. Can't have a serial plotter as Regent; his base plotscore as a councillor and Regent must be terrifying. Replacing him as Steward is Duke Ralph III of Lothian (skill 17).

My new Regent is Duke Christopher the Wise of Normandy, and his Stewardship is poor. To stay under the demesne limit, which I deem worthwhile given the perils of vassal unrest and my limited present levies, I have to grant away Macon.

Duke Raoul remains slightly discontented.

10/01/1408. Munster offers surrender. About time.

Peasants have revolted in... Novgorod? It looks like Duchess Juliana of Estonia, age 8, has been busy. I send armies from Ireland to deal with it.

My pet duke of Savoie was deposed (and killed) about a year into his reign. What a waste that war was. Somehow the usurping snake has a truce with us. I don't believe it... it's the previous ruler! We got taken for a ride on that one. Intrigue beats conquest every time.

Duke Raoul seems to be comfortable with his lot in life for now.

01/07/1409. Desmond is still Cathar. Vendome and Gloucester have gone Cathar. Novgorod is Sunni, but of course it is.

02/02/1409. I've come of age as a Tough Soldier. I marry a talented courtier who can shore up my weaknesses in Stewardship and Intrigue. Like any kid turning sweet sixteen, I've got money saved up for a Grand Tournament and as many Indulgences as possible.

I strip Duke John of Munster of the Duchy of Leinster and keep it for the time being. I would have taken Ossory, but the worm has managed to make Ossory his last county! The Butler family is determined to be inconvenient.

02/20/1409. My Piety has reached the lofty heights of 2. I am very, very sorry that those assassins revealed my name three or four times. Very sorry indeed.

None of my rightful arrests are worth it. All the rebels have positive opinions of me now except the Duke of Gwynedd, and he's old and not especially powerful. I can see how Raoul could be angry with me in the future, and he's certainly a potential threat, but I can't justify potentially starting the civil war cycle again over that. It's time we rallied around peace, brotherhood, and my holy biological father the Pope.

03/02/1409. Okay, that dedication to peace was short-lived. I've convinced myself that I can Crusade for Antioch successfully. Egypt is fighting Syria, nobody else is crusading, and my ledger advantage over the rest of the world is considerable. I'm the only one in six figures. (The Byzantines are almost gone and the Ho-Ro is fighting to keep Bavaria from leaving.) I'll just round up some Occitan levies, sail from the Mediterranean ports, and assault the coastals. I'll pour in reinforcements, wait out any counterattacks, and win. I'm Brave, I'm Tough, I'm Ambitious, let's do this.

04/03/1409. Whoops, didn't mean to cancel the tournament. Oh well, this is more important.

04/12/1409. Duke John of Munster dies.

I am arranging to personally command the first army in. Raoul and a number of other wavering dukes are coming too. The Crusade will bind us together.

06/01/1409. We've landed in Antiochaea. Enemy numbers look dangerous. The boats are heading back for another 16,000 men.

06/16/1409. Religious unrest in Desmond. I imagine the Crusade is illustrating the difference between Catholicism and Catharism a little too colorfully.

07/14/1409. Lobbying the Kaiser is working. He's a young man and winning him over now could keep the Ho-Ro off our backs all the way to 1452.

Reinforcements picked up and on their way.

09/20/1409. Principal holding in Antiochaea occupied, but we're moving to Alexandretta until the local Typhoid Fever dies down. 18,000 men after reinforcements, but attriting fast. We lost several thousand to assorted countersiege tactics. The boats will be back with more men.

11/29/1409. Typhoid has spread to Alexandretta. Quite possibly we brought it ourselves. Outbreak in Antiochaea still ongoing. 8,000 men inbound, shortly to be followed by another 7,000. Attrition terrible. Returning to Antiochaea.

12/07/1409. Marshal Lionel, Duke of Aquitaine, has died and been replaced by Duke Richard of Berry (skill 21). Lionel was my guardian during my Regency and he made me the Tough Soldier I am today.

03/20/1410. Assaults in Antiochaea win the day. The Crusade is a success. I reorganize my personal territories, now claiming only the Duchies of Antioch and Valois, their constituent counties, and two baronies in Valois. When Egypt's wars are over (probably a long wait), I'll usurp Antioch's ducal title.

The Grand Tournament is back on.

The child Duke of Northumberland has a claim on Galloway County that I might be interested in pressing later.

Scattered patches of the Empire have rebelled under the banner of Denmark. Assorted noble revolts have brought the Empire down to 278 Realm Size.

There are only seven living Capets. I should make some heirs already.

07/05/1410. Stephen of Spafford has won the tournament. He is a dark horse. Employed as a Chancellor by the Duke of Meath, he took time off from Fabricating Claims in Ossory to compete. At 44, he is not martially accomplished, and in fact is known mostly for the stutter that makes him "S-s-s-steven of S-s-s-spafford." He is a Greedy, Drunken coward, a Cynic, and Content with that sad lot in life. But he is also a brilliant plotter (Intrigue 20), which might explain his victory.

Second place goes to Gregory of Emly, exactly the sort of person you'd expect. He is the 40-year-old husband of the Duchess of Champagne, and Homosexuality and Bastardy have not stopped him from becoming a formidable warrior (Martial 20). He has many virtues, none of the cardinal sins, and a keen natural intellect.

Third place goes to the mysterious Henry d'Anjou. He is 28 and has a claim on Achaia. His wife is imprisoned in Cephalonia, I assume for espionage. His Shy Humility and Chastity hide a Cruel and Arbitrary side, but he is a Brilliant Tactician all the same (Martial 19).

The tournament is over, and I am exploiting any goodwill it generated to do something that Kings of England have wanted to do for a long time: raise Crown Authority to Medium in Brythonia.

08/03/1410. Earl Domnall of Desmond has declared his independence from the Duke of Munster. He has also professed allegiance to the faith of the Cathars. I am confident Munster can put him down, but if not, I will sweep in and chop his heretical head off. I can do that now. That Crusade generated astronomical Piety.

I am, however, dissatisfied with my Court Chaplain's work in Munster and have replaced him with Bishop George of Beauvais (skill 21). He has been sent to Antioch, which like most of the non-Catholic world is Sunni.

11/26/1410. Medium Crown Authority approved in Brythonia.

12/07/1410. Antiochaea converts to Catholicism. That's how it's done. Chaplain moved to Alexandretta.

Proposing Normal City Taxes under my primary title (France).

12/23/1410. Normal City Taxes approved.

01/04/1411. I believe my best current war opportunities are a province from Scotland (Galloway to the Duke of Northumberland) and Holy War for Horde Genoa. (Did I mention the Horde still has Genoa?)

Although the Duchy of Genoa won't contribute directly, it will at least assist my quest for Burgundy, being nearby and coastal and probably decently built up, not to mention close to the apparent epicenter of new technologies, Northern Italy. Truce with dirty rotten Savoie doesn't expire until 1416. I have no claims on Naples. I unfortunately also have no claims on Papal Venaissin.

Scotland is an even longer-term prospect. If I claim a province now, I'll still need four more for the crown, and they're a lot harder when the crown is yet to come.

01/28/1411. Wife is pregnant, finally.

Munster has 3,000 men parked on Desmond. Desmond has 500 men parked on Ossory. I think Munster can handle it.

03/13/1411. I'm asked to release the Earl of Northampton and he promptly dies.

Gloucester converts to Catholicism. Neighboring Gwent has gone Cathar, though.

It looks like being English-culture has cost me all my Frankish Knight buildings. I wonder if they'll reappear for a Frankish monarch.

07/11/1411. I've had a heart-to-heart with the Duke of Gwynedd, and he supports me now.

It occurs to me that once I have the Pope on a leash, I can excommunicate Scotland and invade. Possibly.

Complicating the strike on Genoa are French lands bordering the Horde in the north. However, with ten times their armies on paper, I am willing to let it ride. I will raise Flemish, Norman, and Breton armies and assault Genoa and Nice.

Duke Guy of Flanders likes me now. His current abilities are 0/1/0/0/0. How does he eat and breathe?

08/29/1411. A royal daughter is born: Constance.

11/03/1411. The Genoa war is over, just like that. The Horde has no fight in it these days. I grant away the counties, but keep the duchy for now. Still waiting on the Duchy of Antioch.

Make way, world, I'm installing a Pope. Occitan levies will take a barony the Pope happens to control in Marsan and of course Papal Venaissin. Irish levies and a contingent from the eastern coast of England will sail for Rome, possibly to be joined by the Occitans later.

I seem to be wavering on choice of heir between my young half-brother Pierre and my elderly distant relation Charles son of Antoine.

04/22/1411. Prince Michael (the former king) is allegedly trying to assassinate people, notably Prince Edward, youngest son of Randolph the Conqueror, made Earl of Middlesex by Duke Raoul. I do nothing to stop him.

The war is going well, although the Rome army had to start in Ovieto because of Typhoid in Rome and Spoleto.

07/27/1412. My Chaplain has been badly beaten in Alexandretta. Pick up a crutch and get back out there. That's my future power duchy.

08/09/1412. A peasant uprising in Desmond has made the war a much closer contest.

12/13/1412. Consolidating Occitan and Rome armies for attack on Rome. Warscore 77. Several Papal defeats in the field. Diverting some additional soldiers to deal with a small (2,500 men) peasant uprising in Archa, the inland province of Antioch.

02/01/1413. The Papacy is claimed.

Neighboring vassal levies have been mobilized to deal with an uprising in Amiens.

Scotland's king is excommunicated already, but I can't get an invasion unless he's larger than I am (quite the reverse) or I have a claim on his title (sadly, I don't). However, there must be some things I can do with a pet pope.

04/21/1413. All rebellions put down.

Small University begun in Paris.

05/25/1413. Powys has flirted with Catharism but converted back. Catharism in Ireland has spread to Thomond. Chaplain transferred to Archa.

The Scots seem to have dealt with their Cathar problem.

Consumption on the English/Scottish border makes war for any purpose unwise at the moment.

06/18/1413. I am no longer Deceitful.

Nice is a province of Catholic Mongols, while Genoa is populated by Italian Sunnis. It's a more cosmopolitan era than people think.

07/16/1413. Mongolian Corsica has gone independent. Might as well claim it.

09/09/1413. Looks like the Horde beat me to it. They must have sailed invasion armies from either the Baltic or the Black Sea. Maybe both. I turn around and go home. The war will be inconclusive as soon as the Horde finishes it up.

Duke Edward of Norfolk has died. He was an old man. I don't recall how he was maimed, but he was.

12/24/1413. Pierre Capet has come of age. He seems like a decent man, but he has Pneumonia so he may not be around much longer. His Ugly Twin sister Etienette is betrothed to Duke Raoul of Poitiers; I encourage them to marry. She is a Brilliant Strategist and quite formidable all around.

01/04/1414. Pierre Capet marries a dangerously old (31) Countess with a claim on Fourcalquier, one of the Burgundian provinces currently held by Naples. It does not give me any immediate claim, perhaps because he has gone to her court, but hopefully their children will justify expansion into Burgundy. Fourcalquier plus any province from Savoie equals throne of Burgundy, which makes all the rest possible.

Raoul agrees to marry Etienne.

02/09/1414. Prince Michael is trying to assassinate his own daughter. I have no idea why. She shares his Plantagenet blood, he doesn't have a younger male son... some people just like to stab things.

I am claiming Sjaeland for Earl Roger of Fyn, an existing landed vassal in my realm. This is a war with the Empire, but the Empire is a shadow of itself, ledgering at 36,000 men and still fighting to retain major constituent nations. I will assault the relevant provinces and peace out as fast as possible. If necessary, I will countermarch against Ho-Ro attacks in the French interior, but I think they're busy. I see 13,000 men in their capital, Celle; perhaps I'll fight them for the warscore, and to advantage the rebel nobles. A fractured Empire will offer me more possibilities.

Castille has gone Fraticelli. Claiming four more provinces, which I think I could do in a Holy War for the Duchy of Castille, would allow me to usurp the throne. Not right now, obviously. War with the Empire.

04/28/1414. Initial fighting going well. That capital army has been sharply reduced and dispersed.

Duke Ralph, my Steward, has some expensive ideas about new financial practices and I'm willing to fund them.

05/01/1414. There's that Inconclusive on Sardinia. I can always take it from the Horde later.

05/05/1414. I grant the Knights of St. John permission to establish the Krak des Chevaliers in Archa. This is a great opportunity for me to make defensive wars to keep Antioch a bit easier.

06/23/1414. The Duchess of Aquitaine is dead.

08/20/1414. The war against the Empire is won, but the lucky now-Duke goes independent. He immediately starts a war for Holstein, giving me no chance to offer vassalization, although I doubt he'd accept it. I ate a truce with the Ho-Ro for that?

Sigh, declaring on Scotland to add Galloway to Northumberland.

At least the Empire was reduced. I'm hoping their rebels will win independence wars because of how I destroyed that army in Celle.

Flanders and Dauphine are trying to claim Hainaut, which ordinarily I would support, but they're doing it at the expense of rebel Denmark, not the Empire.

12/02/1414. Royal daughter born: Anne.

Fighting around Galloway is rougher than I'd hoped. We are the victors... for now.

05/22/1415. We've now won several major engagements with the Scottish.

Gwent has reverted to Catholicism.

I am now known as "the Ill-Ruler." It's because of my Stewardship, I think.

05/01/1415. Now storming Galloway.

Peasant revolt in Dyfed. Local levies dispatched.

In the midst of End Plot actions on several plans by Irish Dukes and Duchesses to become King or Queen of Ireland, I notice my Spymaster using "humors rot in your living body" when addressing me. His opinion of me is 36. He is excommunicated, and as a favor, I request it lifted.

09/11/1415. Scotland war settled, Galloway exchanged. Four more provinces before I can usurp the crown. Albany and Moray are both four-province duchies.

Ulster has declared on Scotland. I believe they can outmuster Scotland at the moment, but Scotland will probably have better endurance. It looks like if Ulster wins, the massive Greater Ulster duchy will join an independent Ulster Scotland. That would be bad. I send Christopher to assassinate Duchess Sybillia. He is successful, ending the war. She was only 22. Oddly enough, Christopher himself is now Duke of Ulster... and Normandy... and Kent. And holder of a lot of counties. Starting to feel like I've been played.

Christopher is a traitor (from past wars). He will be angry about it, but I can arrest him and/or revoke a duchy. Duke Richard of Berry is sent to Ulster to arrest him, and is successful. I then strip him of Normandy and award it to the Duke of Champagne, not an ideal choice but the only other man with land in de jure Normandy. Christopher will rot in the dungeons; hopefully his succession will be a mess. Maybe I should force Ireland gavelkind to stop people from building up megaterritories. Maybe England too. But then the crowns could be gavelkinded away from me. Tough choices.

New Spymaster is Queen Consort Blanche (skill 22).

Christopher has redeclared the war, apparently possessing his own claim on Scotland. I may have to assassinate him in the dungeons. His claims list doesn't have the Scottish throne in it, though, just Albany. Still not entirely sure what's going on here, but definitely willing to kill people over it.

I assigned Blanche to Paris to Uncover Plots, but I can switch her to Spy Network in a few months and clean Christopher out of the dungeons. His 13-year-old son might also be worth her attention.

09/29/1415. Duke Guy of Flanders dies at last. His successor, Julien, declares war immediately upon succession. His only reasons are his Ambition, resentment of Medium Crown Authority, and Title Claims. His war is for the entire amalgamated Greater Ulster mess, he has a claim on the throne of France, and his father was severely mentally retarded. Success for Julien would be terrible for the kingdoms. I won't be merciful. Flanders remains able to call a long list of duchy-sized foreign allies.

I'd like to assassinate Julien, but I can't reassign Blanche for another six months and my base chances are unsatisfactory (20 success/50 exposure).

11/15/1415. Currently sitting on isolated Flemish Nevers with 9,000 men. 22,000 men massed in Eu against what looks like around 12,000 Flemings in the Flanders area.

Vendome returns to Catholicism. The only remaining Cathars are Irish (Desmond and Thomond). Four counties are still Sunni (ex-Horde Genoa, Novgorod, and two in Antioch).

01/01/1416. 24,000 men landing in the enemy capital, Brugge. Their army of 12,000 appears to be marching to relieve Nevers. I have raised enough levies from central France to outnumber them.

Christopher the Wise has died in the dungeons at 34. Greater Ulster has now been split into Kent/Normandy and Ulster-plus-Suffolk-and-Argyll. Under the circumstances I feel these are reasonable duchies. The war continues for the whole shebang, though. I guess if Julien manages to win (I don't think this is likely), he will take all associated titles, and it's small comfort that this won't let him grab any kingdoms.

01/13/1416. 27,000 men in Nevers. The enemy has wisely pulled up short in Auxerre with 12,000. Leaving 4,000 men in Nevers to bottle up the 3,000 county garrison, the 19-year-old Earl of Blois marches north to destroy the Flemish army.

03/15/1416. Earl Phillipe of Blois catches the Flemings in Sens and is victorious. Casualties are 4,000 (ours) to 10,000 (theirs). He is now mopping up.

I could deploy Blanche to assist an attempt on the life of Julien of Flanders, but at this stage I would prefer to win the war, imprison him, and strip him of his lone ducal title.

04/08/1416. The Earl of Blois has eradicated the Flemish army and returned to the siege of Nevers, where Duke Guillame of Dauphine has taken command.

Rallying a relatively small (around 10,000) northern army in Evreux to deal with any further Flemish levies. They have 1,600 men running around in the north.

05/05/1416. Peasant revolt in Paris. The northern army, under the command of three talented Norman mayors, is redirected to face these 5,000 peasants.

06/03/1416. The uprising in Paris has been put down.

08/07/1416. Duke Fulk of Gloucester has usurped part of Aquitaine. Neither duchy is a threat to me.

I send the Queen $20. I want her opinion of me to be as high as possible because at present I have no son to inherit. My successor would be Prince Charles, who is 63. Having a son is my great ambition, but despite the Queen having a high opinion of me (93 after the $20), we are not in love.

11/23/1416. I was wrong earlier, it looks like the Kent/Normandy thing has caused Kent/Normandy to drop out of Julien's war claims. Huzzah.

After a chase all over France, the Norman mayors catch 3,000 Flemings in Vexin and eliminate them.

11/29/1416. Duchess Margarida of Auvergne has died young (23). The duchy is now held by a three-year-old boy whose heir, Aimeric de Chatillon, is also his regent.

The sieges have taken several Flemish holdings but it's time to finish this. I am bringing the mayors to Brugge for assaults on the fortifications. Typhoid Fever in the area may complicate things.

12/01/1416. Thomond has converted to Catholicism. More concerned in the short term with my personal holdings in Antioch though.

01/19/1417. After several successful stormings in Brugge, Julien surrenders. He is imprisoned and stripped of his ducal title. Tempted as I am to trade Antioch for Flanders and gradually screw the Flemish counts out of their counties, it seems more prudent to redistribute it. I grant it to Count Helie of Gent, a Genius but Content.

Unfortunately, Nevers remains in the Duchy of Flanders. This is because Nevers is joined into the duchy at county level -- the Count of Bolougne is also the Count of Nevers.

Prospects for war are as follows:

- The Burgundy front: nothing productive against Savoie, except possibly breaking off an independent Geneve and trying to tempt it into vassalization. No claim on Papal Venaissin in Provence, and that war would be a mess anyway, screwing up my relationship with Popedad. No claim on the rest of Provence, controlled by Naples. No claim on Bern, fighting for independence from the Empire. No claim on Burgundian provinces still in the Empire. No claim on a Burgundian province in Lombardy. I think my vassals are falling down on the job here. If you're a count or a duke, it's your responsibility to fabricate claims. Then, if your claim is useful to me, I press it with the might of the whole realm, you get a demesne province, and I get closer to claiming another title. Without your participation in this process, your holdings will be gradually eaten away by plots, marriages, and internal wars. This has been a public service announcement for my vassals.

- The Golden Horde: Horde Corsica is still ripe for invasion. It wouldn't be a serious step toward either the throne of Italy or the Duchy of Sardinia (otherwise controlled by Aragon), but Corsica is convenient to a lot of Mediterranean destinations and could join levies with Genoa and Nice. Alternately, I could carve large parts out of the Horde in holy wars on the north coast, with Livonia probably being the most fruitful (and a tidy addition to French Estonia).

- The Holy Land: I'm inclined to wait for a crusade before conducting further adventures in the Middle East. Antioch lies in the de jure kingdom of Syria, rather than the jackpot de jure kingdom of Jerusalem. I'd need seven more provinces to claim Syria, coastal Syria is too fragmented, and the Duchy of Damascus would be inland and absurdly vulnerable, especially without control of Jerusalem and direct routes inland.

- The Holy Roman Empire: Looks like it's on its last legs. It ledgers at 15,000 men and large parts of the empire have declared independence. Germany is around 70 provinces and the Empire is closer to 80, so claiming either for myself is unlikely, but on the right pretext I could enter a war with the Empire and kick it in the face until its rebels win, fragmenting my most dangerous neighbor. My best prospect for this is a lame war over a barony.

- Scotland: Excommunicated. I don't think I really care. I could chop out an independent or two but it wouldn't get me measurably closer to the Scottish crown.

- Iberia: Leon's gone Fraticelli. Unfortunately, the provinces involved aren't terribly defensible (inland south Iberia mostly) and would be wrong religion/wrong culture and quite possibly Heretic Strongholds also. Defending the Faith against Leon would be more attractive to someone not already rolling in Prestige and Piety. I could fight Castille for the Duchy of Navarra, but it would go independent (which is pretty crappy for the King of Navarre), and Castille is my ally. I could fight Aragon for Rosello or a Barony in Melgeuil, but what I really want out of Aragon is Sardinia, and I don't have a good claim for that. Aragon is in a war with Muslims, but it's aggressive (they're assisting a Trinacrian claim), so I would have no problem attacking them. Their army is one of the world's biggest effectives, clocking in at nearly a tenth of mine, but with two ongoing wars I don't see them having much success against me.

- Italy: I could claim most of Trinacrian Sicily for a vassal bishop, but it would go independent.

With all this in mind, I have decided to Fabricate Claims on the County of Provence. It's inelegant, but with my vassals letting me down I need to do this myself. Only two provinces to go before I can claim Burgundy, which will allow me to absorb Savoie, Bern, and maybe a few other things. Provence is coastal and would join Nice and Genoa to the rest of France. It would also isolate Neapolitan Forcalquier. Naples is small and basically unable to defend its Burgundian holdings.

In the meantime, I should wage what small wars I can. Horde Corsica, that Melgeuil barony, and something with the Holy Roman Empire. Possibly Scotland for the hell of it.

War declared on the Golden Horde for Corsica. Hey, I just noticed the Horde controls the baronies of French Novgorod. This is interesting as it makes a future Holy War for the Duchy of Novgorod more attractive.

01/24/1417. The Duke of Champagne, who is also nominally the Duke of Normandy, has died. His heir is 2.

17,000 men have shipped from the west coast of France in two fleets, staggered to reduce attrition. They are bound for Horde Corsica.

02/06/1417. Prince Charles' wife has died. He has one daughter, who is past childbearing age and has one son, who is in the priesthood. Things are not looking great for the Capets.

05/10/1417. Queen Blanche wants me to remove Duke Hugh of Hereford from his post as Chancellor. Hugh is my best shot at Fabricating Claims on Provence. This is a very tough call, Burgundy against the potential of a better heir. Ultimately, Burgundy is more important for now.

Reinforcements from Occitan are shipping out to Corsica, where a siege is in progress. I hope to storm every holding and end the war swiftly.

06/17/1417. Castille tries to call us into its wars, which are a Civil War against Tyranny (Castille defending) and a Holy War against Fraticelli Leon. I'd rather let Iberia stay fragmented. I eat the Prestige hit and decline.

The county seat of Corsica has fallen, as well as a barony.

The Duke of Norfolk has died. His successor is unremarkable, 17 and more or less loyal.

07/11/1417. I agree to a military investment project proposed by Duke Richard of Berry.

09/01/1417. Princess Constance will be trained in Intrigue by Queen Blanche. This repairs the damage caused by the Duke Hugh incident and then some, but we are still not in love and she is still not pregnant. She is 30. I may have to divorce her and remarry a Lustful young courtier at some point. Despite the Queen's Intrigue and Spymaster post, I will be on the lookout for opportunities to have affairs.

10/09/1417. Peace with the Horde. Corsica is given to France. I fill the baronies and grant the county to Adam of Chelsea, a loyal young courtier. The Golden Horde no longer holds territory east of Lithuania or Bulgaria.

My brother, Prince Amedee of the Papacy, has become my heir. He is a much better choice than Charles -- for one thing, at 13, he's fifty years younger. He is Kind, Just, and Proud, but unfortunately for our dwindling dynasty, he is also a Homosexual. I think for the long-term good of the Capets it will be necessary to find matrilineal marriages for my daughters.

11/09/1417. Typhoid Fever, running wild through England and Flanders, has spread to Paris. This puts nearly all of the royal family in grave danger.

Prince Charles has become heir to the kingdoms again. GET OUT OF MY HEAD CHARLES

12/03/1417. Julien of Flanders complains about his prison cell. It is with great pleasure that I throw him in an oubliette. I have never seen a more nakedly treasonous vassal.

01/18/1418. Typhoid Fever outbreak over in Paris. It seems we dodged that bullet.

I am enlarging the Paris University.

02/08/1418. I have been given a mysterious book.

Princess Anne has developed a stutter.

03/30/1418. Duke Hugh of Hereford has died! His successor is 50, Ambitious, and considering rebellion because he does not control two counties in his duchy. Because of his age, I would rather fight him than give him the vassals. In addition, my new Chancellor is Earl Jocelyn of Hereford (skill 22), and turning over his fealty would keep him from my cabinet.

I have made the Duke of Hereford my Court Jester and will delay further wars until he is dealt with.

04/03/1418. Duke Maurice of Hereford declares war! That was prompt. Levies in adjacent counties have been raised. Duke Raoul of Poitou is personally involved.

The Ho-Ro has settled its civil wars mostly favorably and usurped Sjaelland. Crap. On the bright side it looks like Silesia and Bohemia broke free.

04/28/1418. Earl Domnall of Desmond is considering rebellion due to his Zealous Catharism.

Hereford's two counties are besieged.

06/24/1418. Small University begun in Compiegne.

09/20/1418. An Earl in Estonia wants me to deal with an assassination attempt by Duke Christopher of Ulster, who has recently come of age as a Kinslayer. Christopher is narrowly loyal to me (opinion 24) and while Ulster is not the powerhouse it used to be, it's still big. I wash my hands of it like Pilate.

09/26/1418. Jocelyn of Hereford fabricates successfully in Provence! The expense drives me into debt, but it should be worth it. I move him to Forcalquier, since I won't get a ducal on it just by taking Provence. Once I shut down Hereford and get my cash reserves in the black, it will be war with Naples.

10/01/1418. I still do not understand this mysterious book.

10/10/1418. Troyes and Northampton have some kind of assassination dispute. I refuse to get involved.

10/21/1418. I accept a five-year loan of $200, putting me at $100.

10/31/1418. The mysterious book has made me a Mystic.

11/02/1418. Julien of Flanders is dead. His successor is one year old, has no obvious defects, and controls only the County of Brugge under Heile of Gent. I'd say the ugly legacy of Guy of Flanders has been put to rest.

02/13/1419. The Duke of Aquitaine is dead. His child heir is 9.

03/05/1419. Duke Henry of Somerset denounces Duke Richard of Berry. Richard is my Marshall, and Somerset is not a powerful duchy. I ignore the accusation.

Still refusing to interfere in the Troyes/Northampton assassination attempt affair.

03/26/1419. A Muslim subject in the Antioch area has been converted to Catholicism.

04/05/1419. Hereford surrenders. Revoking his title would be a waste, since I'd have to either give up Antioch and somehow pry counties away from two counts, or give up Hereford and in the process autotransfer those counts to the new Duke of Hereford. There's nothing wrong with the heir, so I'll just let the 51-year-old traitor Duke Maurice die in prison.

War for Provence! Levies have been raised from the general area, including a thousand Mongols out of Nice, led by the English Earl Gregory.

06/13/1419. Naples has called Bohemia into the war. We have been repulsed from Provence but have an army standing in Forcalquier. 3,300 Neapolitans are marching up from their home territories.

I am raising Irish levies to strike at Naples proper.

Desmond has been taken over by Munster.

08/08/1419. The Duke of Connacht accuses Richard of Berry. Denied.

We won in Narbonne initially but now we're in trouble again. Reinforcements from Aquitaine are on the way.

12/01/1419. I have landed the Irish in Provence instead.

Peasant revolt in Agen.

12/21/1419. Desmond has gone Catholic at last. No Cathar counties in France at present.

01/01/1420. Peasant revolt in Forez.

03/04/1420. Peasants suppressed for now. Consolidating anti-peasant armies into sieges. Planning to assault holdings in Forcalquier.

04/20/1420. My Court Chaplain has died. His replacement, Prince-Bishop George of Reims, is dispatched to the Holy Land in his place, but with little hope (skill 15, a significant step down).

06/10/1420. Victory over Naples. Provence is given to a loyal Englishman in his thirties named Alfred. One more Burgundian province and I can create the kingdom and absorb Savoie.

If, post-Burgundy, I can manage claims on Lombardy somehow, they would be very attractive given the high level of technological advancement in northern Italy.

06/29/1420. The levies are down, and I'm planning the next war.

Mallorca is trying to depose Aragon, and the disputed barony in Melgeuil is part of rebel Mallorca. While I can attack Mallorca for Rosello, this would be worthless because Aragon is already on it. Oddly, I can't demand the barony from Mallorca. Not sure why. Their war looks doomed, and either way it resolves in a reunited Aragon, so I can come back to this later when Aragon is in control again.

It slipped my mind earlier, but I have a truce with Scotland and shouldn't attack anyway. I think it's left over from the Galloway war. When the time comes, though, if I can get one more province in the Galloway duchy, I can ducal the last one, and the same situation applies to The Isles. With both together, I can take the Scottish crown. Absent useful vassal claims, though, this would involve two claim fabrications and four wars, and I'm not sure I have the time left for all that before 1452.

Truce with the Horde, truce with Naples (and waiting for claim), Savoie war will make more sense later, no good opportunities against the Empire and it's started to be dangerous again (although from here out I think I will rely on deterrence rather than diplomacy to keep the peace with the Ho-Ro).

07/17/1420. I offer vassalization to Roger of Fyn, who now controls only Fyn. You may remember he went independent following a war with the Empire. He returns to the French fold, making Sjaelland French. He is not, or not yet, the vassal of the Duke of Sjaelland, who is still Prince Michael, the former English King.

08/20/1420. Duke Richard of Berry is trying to take Luxembourg County. Good for him. Luxembourg also has other holdings... in Bohemia and Moravia? Hmm. Striking while Luxembourg rebels from Bohemia may be the edge Richard needs to succeed.

08/29/1420. Oops, looks like the Ho-Ro just reabsorbed Bohemia, which peaces out Luxembourg's wars. With no other good wars on the table I'm seriously thinking about bloodying the Empire.

A war to add Jylland County to the portfolio of an existing landed French vassal would apparently give us the excuse to reclaim a couple of baronies in Samogitia and Estonia which are controlled by the Empire despite lying in French territory. But damn it all, we have a truce with the Emperor until mid-1424.

09/03/1420. The wife of the imprisoned traitor Maurice of Hereford has died. She was a de Dreux. The de Dreux family was installed in Brittany by Randolph the Conqueror and continues to control the duchy.

4,000 peasants have risen in Nice, and nearby levies (mostly from Forez) are gathering in Provence.

09/16/1420. Pregnant wife. Hoping for a son.

12/09/1420. Princess Anne turns six. She is Quick of mind, but a Stutterer. She will join her sister Constance in learning Intrigue from Queen Blanche.

The rebels in Nice have been suppressed.

Monophysite Kexholm, one of the last outposts of any form of Orthodox Christianity, is currently losing a war with rebels. Unfortunately, their religion is too close for a Holy War. I could have some Excommunicated Ruler wars in Scandinavia (mostly with Sweden), but not to any useful end.

02/24/1421. Duke Richard of Deubharth denounces Duke Richard of Berry. Apart from them both being old, Berry is an essential cog in my realm and Deubharth is successor to that excommunicating fiend, Laurence, who was significantly responsible for the downfall of Plantagenet England.

03/19/1421. With the death of his wife, Duke Ralph has withdrawn from his Stewardship post. I didn't know that could happen...? In his place, I appoint the de Dreux Duke of Brittany, Conan V, who is 16 years old and has skill 21.

04/18/1421. Queen Blanche gives birth to a daughter... and a son. Eleanor Capet shows signs of Guy of Flanders Disease (Imbecile), but there are no evident problems with Henry Capet.

04/24/1421. I have developed a drinking problem. My Stewardship is now 0.

Poland, which had reabsorbed Silesia, is in the grip of a Crown Authority civil war.

05/28/1421. Aragon wraps up the Mallorca war. I still can't claim the Barony of Montpelier, but I could take Rosello if I felt like it.

I feel like it. War for Rosello!

Aragon ledgers at 7,500 soldiers. France clocks in at 304,000. I don't see this being a difficult war.
 

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06/18/1421. The wife of Duke Helie of Flanders has died. I offer him a courtier.

French forces massing in Navarre and Carcassone. A suitable siege detachment is sitting on the Barony of Montpelier.

07/04/1421. George of Reims is dead, leaving my Court Chaplain position vacant again. I appoint Bishop Laurence of Famia in his place, but my prospects for converting Archa are worse than ever (skill 13).

08/27/1421. Elizabeth of Castillon is plotting to kill her sister, Queen Blanche. I consider letting the plot go unchecked but decide in the end to intervene so that Blanche's death won't disrupt the educations of Princesses Constance and Anne.

10/21/1421. As a large French army assaults holding after holding in Rosello, Aragon surrenders.

11/05/1421. The Sultanate of Africa has a little over a tenth of my army. I could declare a Holy War for Tunis and have six of the ten provinces needed to claim the Kingdom of Africa. Further conquests in Kabylia or Cyrenacia could seal the deal.

War for Tunis!

The Ho-Ro is allied with Scotland, but I don't think they can manage a successful backstab while I take Tunis. Scotland only has 13,000 men and the Empire can't quite muster half my force.

11/19/1421. A lowborn woman has plotted to assassinate the Queen and been exposed. Apparently she was afraid her attempts on her brother's life would be discovered.

Levies have been drawn from Brittany, the north of France, and parts of the south of England. Four fleets are sailing staggered to Tunis.

11/26/1421. The Duke of Gwynned dies. His successor, Alice of Canterbury, seems adequate. She is the mother of Duke David of Oxford, but there's no danger of a subsequent union because David is a de Vere by his father.

12/12/1421. Troublesome Prince Charles denounces Richard of Berry. I shout him out of the palace. If I die suddenly, Charles is likely to be the primary threat to young Henry.

01/02/1422. Duke Guillame of the powerful Duchy of Dauphine has died. His successor is loyal, but not as loyal as I'd like for such an influential territory.

We have made a landing in Kabylia. Soon we expect to be fighting 23,000 African soldiers.

03/29/1422. Battle in Kabylia won. Africa now ledgers 17,000. Preparing assaults in Tunis, the Sultan's capital.

Duke Conan of Brittany has given up a plot for Brythonia.

05/22/1422. Queen Blanche has died, depriving me of a Spymaster, a tutor for my eldest daughters, and an inconsistently productive baby factory. She was never happy on the throne and I never loved her.

Duke Helie of Flanders will be an excellent Spymaster (skill 27), leaving me free to remarry for Lust. But failing to find any 16-year-old girls with those delicious flames, I "settle" for something even better: Irmengard of Krain, a 16-year-old Genius.

Duke Henry of Connacht has also died, just after getting his own excommunication lifted. Squeaked into heaven, I guess.

The princesses in training are divided, Constance to Helie and Anne to the new Duke of Connacht, who is granted a vassal transfer of Connacht County. All this bumps his loyalty considerably.

I am upgrading the University in Compiegne.

05/29/1422. Helie believes Blanche was murdered. I believe I don't care. Perhaps her sister or that commoner girl she exposed six months ago got her, although I have no idea what they stood to gain.

I have the perfect gift for my new wife, who is a Genius and only slightly over half my age: $20.

07/21/1422. Africa surrenders Tunis after 6,000 additional French troops arrive from Occitan. A Holy War for Egyptian Cyrenacia will get me the African throne if I wait until they pacify Tobruk.

I will usurp the Emirate of Tunis when Africa is at peace. Most of Tunis has been granted to new landholders in the usual way, but Irmengard is a boon to my rock-bottom Stewardship and thanks to her I am able to hang on to a couple of coastal territories. This will presumably be a temporary arrangement, probably more temporary than the conquest/culture/religion modifiers that make these provinces useless for the time being.

The Horde has recovered enormously and can now field an army of similar magnitude to mine.

Catholic moral authority is back to 80. No further Crusades yet. Apparently the Church is satisfied with Antioch, which implies an extreme veneration of Paul and his first preachings.

Prince Charles is somehow my heir again. He's nearly 70.

07/31/1422. The new Duke of Dauphine has died. The new new Duke of Dauphine is 17 and Content. He has opinion 100 of me right out of the gate. I wish him and his Harelip long lives.

The Earl of Connacht appears to be making a successful bid for independence from the Duchy of Connacht, having called in several English Dukes. Having just given that fealty to the Duke of Connacht, it is a little peculiar that I can't intervene. An "intrarealm wars" mapmode would be nice also.

08/17/1422. I could take Galilee from Syria. Naples truce appears to have been terminated by the ascension of a new Neapolitan monarch, but I still don't have that Forcalquier claim.

09/06/1422. Genoa has gone Catholic at last.

10/13/1422. Vassals are excommunicating each other.

I'm going to bide my time, and take Galilee when Syria goes to war elsewhere. They only ledger 35,000, but it's a long voyage, attrition is dangerous, and a lot of those provinces are pretty built up.

No progress in Egypt/Tobruk war.

12/16/1422. My dumb Drunken antics have Wounded me.

01/03/1423. A county in Tunisia has converted to Catholicism.

Duke Conan of Brittany is proving to be a persistent plotter. There's always (at least) one...

01/29/1423. Irmengard is pregnant. Let's get some Capet Geniuses out there.

04/04/1423. My Wound has healed.

04/28/1423. Helie persuades me to hunt a bear. Le Pacte des Loups-type shit ensues. We both survive, and it brings us even closer together than we already were as fellow Drunken Mystics.

08/17/1423. Richard of Berry denounced again, this time by the new Earl of Gabes. Even if Richard really is plotting, he's going to die of old age soon enough.

Syria is at war with Crete. Not the best opportunity but it will do.

With Galilee from Syria and (subsequently) Ascalon from Egypt, I can form the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Seven more provinces in the de jure kingdom of Syria (possibly Tripoli and Aleppo) could see me forming the Kingdom of Syria as well.

08/30/1423. Irmengard gives birth to a daughter. She wants to call her Eleanor, but I don't need another daughter named Eleanor. I could name her after Irmengard, but that's an awfully Germanic name for an English-by-choice King of France. I settle on the name "Ermine" as a sort of anglofrancisized alternative.

Brythonia is still Agnatic-Cognatic Gavelkind, and Princess Constance will break it out of the realm on succession if I don't do anything. I don't have the High Crown Authority to institute Primogeniture there and I can't get it, having already moved it up to Medium. As a devious stopgap, I shift it to Agnatic, so that female heirs won't get it. This solves the problem for now.

Prince Henry is once again my heir.

10/08/1423. Irmengard wants to be Spymaster. At skill 20, she'd have a shot in most kingdoms, but Helie is up to 28 Intrigue now.

10/21/1423. My loan is paid off.

For some reason I have jurisdiction to upgrade the Krak des Chevaliers. I hope this doesn't mean the Hospitallers aren't doing any work on it themselves. Really, some Papal money should be flowing into the project, but I doubt it is.

Hmm, I have a vassal claim on Venaissin. Should Formosus II die, I will definitely consider pressing it.

The Duke of Genoa has died. His successor is a child.

Egypt has completely won the Tobruk war and it should peace out soon. Egypt ledgers around 26,000 men, so the war for Cyrenacia shouldn't be too hard.

11/05/1423. And there it goes. War for Cyrenacia!

Nine fleets from coastal England and Wales are bound for war with Egypt.

01/07/1424. First fleet arriving. Terrain-wise, it's all desert, but Cyrenacia County is central and coastal, so I'll land there in force, defend, and assault. Looks like Egypt has a local presence in the 16,000 range.

03/01/1424. The Egyptians are hanging back in Syrte, so I'm beating up holdings in Cyrenacia. Diversifying landings to cut down on attrition.

Peasant uprising in Reval. Where? Estonia. Dealing with it using local levies.

Duchy of Tunis usurped and given to Alfred of Gabes. I had the Earl of Bizerte in mind, but noticed just in time that he has episodes of demonic possession.

04/15/1424. With landings in Benghazi and Tobruk, Cyrenacia falls. All its holdings are parceled out to Content young Englishmen, including the newly created Duchy of Cyrenacia.

The Kingdom of Africa is usurped. It is Gavelkind, which I switch to Primogeniture, and has no Investiture law, so I select Free. Crown Authority is Absolute.

Peculiarly, a large chunk of my titles, including four kingdoms (England, Africa, Brythonia, Ireland), are now listed as being lost on succession to Prince Amedee of the Papacy....

07/12/1424. It takes two battles and intervention from Samogitian levies to put down the Estonian peasants, but it is done.

Duchess Juliana of Estonia, age 23, is not happy about my succession law changes. I grant her the fealty of the Earl of Reval, which goes a long way to repairing her opinion of me.

07/23/1424. Holy crap, it looks like the Duchy of Connacht was victorious. The Duke just revoked the Earl of Connacht. The Duke is a young Plantagenet, by the way, named Laurence.

07/28/1424. Claim on Forcalquier established.

Prince Amedee is leading Papal soldiers in Portugal, assisting the Kingdom of Portugal against attack by Mauritania. Maybe he will die. If not, when the war is over and his whereabouts are more consistent, I will send Helie to arrange his death.

Narbonne/Rosello assassination controversy. Not my problem.

Given that the Empire could present me some difficulties, I send the Chancellor to the Kaiser's court for the time being. (Also, there are no more useful quick grabs at the moment. I may re-orient claim fabrication to Scotland in a year or two.)

War for Neapolitan Forcalquier!

09/24/1424. Archa converts. Next stop: Alexandretta.

10/27/1424. Forcalquier has been won. Mahdia is distributed to a new vassal. The Duchy of Provence is waiting on peace in Naples and the Kingdom of Burgundy is waiting only on the money.

10/31/1424. Prince Henry has become my heir, and Prince Amedee no longer stands to all my kingdoms but France, although he remains on pretender lists for Africa, Ireland, and England. I think the deal here is that if Charles inherits, he'll forfeit everything but France to Amedee, but if Henry inherits, he'll take it all. Clearly I should assassinate Charles and/or Amedee.

11/05/1424. The Duke of Deubharth has died. His successor, Gregory, is a Content Legitimized Bastard.

12/25/1424. Pope Formosus II wants me to change my Investiture laws to Papal. Where Randolph the Conqueror could shut this down on theological grounds, I have to resort to the weight of my money. The $200 consolation prize to my personal Holy Father sets back my plans for the Kingdom of Burgundy by a year. Thanks dad.

01/27/1425. Rebels crushed in Ormond.

02/08/1425. Irmengard bears a son. She wants to name him Henry, but I already have a Henry. I choose the name Randolph, which has a fine history of defying troublesome Popes.

Naples is at war with Syrte and, um, the Empire. They have two counties.

03/30/1425. Rebels crushed in La Marche.

04/16/1425. Duke Raoul of Poitou urges me to imprison Earl Jocelyn of Hereford. Raoul has been angered by my tinkering with the succession, and I can't afford to ignore his advice. It's also true that Jocelyn has plotted for the English throne despite being a mere Earl.

My new Chancellor is Duke Henry of Somerset (skill 19).

I award a few honorary titles to deal with the succession law damage, most notably Seneschal to Duke Raoul.

04/27/1425. The Duke of Meath denounces Richard of Berry. I do not act on it. Whatever the truth, I can wait for him to die.

07/02/1425. Truce with Scotland expires soon. Moray is trying to break away. My wars with Scotland suck, but an excommunication war would give me the excuse to stamp on them and let Moray break free. Moray probably wouldn't be any particular use to me, though, and Scotland is plenty weak already. Plus, they might call the Ho-Ro. On reflection I'm pretty convinced it's not worth it for now, but I should get my Chancellor working on claims in the Duchy of Galloway when I can move him (October).

Rebels have been crushed in Gabes.

08/07/1425. Duke Richard of Berry is denounced yet again. I am done carrying water for him. He is replaced as Marshall by Duke David of Oxford (skill 22).

11/01/1425. The Earl of Hereford dies. Hereford is inherited by 14-year-old Duke Humphrey of Genoa.

Duke Henry of Somerset, Chancellor of France, is Fabricating Claims for Clydesdale. With Clydesdale I will have a ducal claim on Carrick, and then I will need only conquer The Isles to claim the throne of Scotland.

11/11/1425. At long last, I am the King of Burgundy. I don't presently have a claim on Savoie, but I can look into inviting claimants to my court. Their conquest will be mine, since Savoie lies within Burgundy.

12/12/1425. Even after being given a wife and $20, my favorite candidate (the Dwarf Seighard Montefeltro, because he is young) for the Duchy of Savoie will not join my court. Time to go to the second-stringers.

Prince Amedee happens to be marching through Bourgogne, apparently taking the long way back to Rome. I am now hesitant to assassinate him, as the problem is no longer immediate.

12/24/1425. I invite Savoie claimant Azzone Drugeth, who is 50, to my court. Fortuitously (?), Seighard has just inherited, and at 20 he is unlikely to die while the war is being waged. I wish I could say the same for Azzone.

War for Savoie!

12/25/1425. Helie denounces Conan of Brittany. It's absolutely true that Conan has been a plotter, and Helie is critical to the health of the realm. I permit Conan to be imprisoned, replacing him as Steward with Duke Godfrey of Northumberland (skill 20).

01/31/1426. Munster is attacking Moray. I don't think they can pull it off. If they do, however, that plus the Galloway stuff will get me the Scottish crown.

08/22/1426. Conan of Brittany and Richard of Berry have died in the dungeons. Perhaps they killed each other.

The Savoie war is going decently well, but could stand to go faster.

10/02/1426. Peasants crushed in Bordeaux.

11/02/1426. Duke Deodat of Burgundy has died. Deodat II is Ambitious; for now I give him the Earl of Macon's fealty.

12/01/1426. Medjerda has gone Catholic.

I have a potentially rebellious baron in the Paris area, and I would be delighted to take his holding for myself. (I could give away Tunis to stay under my demesne limit.) He is now my Court Jester.

03/04/1427. Prince Charles is dead! This Sunday: an extra-grateful Mass.

04/08/1427. Savoie falls. There remain three Burgundian provinces outside my realm: Bern and Aargau in the Empire and Schwyz in Lombardia. Much of Savoie is Tech IV territory and should help my realm's advancement.

I have excellent war prospects:
- In October my Horde truce expires and I am inclined to smang Livonia.
- I can press Munster's claim on Moray with the might of the realm.
- I can take Schwyz from Lombardia.
- I can look into liberating Bern and Aargau from the Empire.
- I can still attempt that Galilee thing.
- Perhaps I should start slapping Maruitania.

Only Dyfed County remains culturally Welsh. However, English culture has yet to spread to the continent, and in Ireland only Dublin is English.

War for Moray!

04/21/1427. Prince Henry, the Heir Apparent, has been sent to the Duchess of Estonia to learn Stewardship. Hopefully she will also be pleased by the trust I place in her. Poor stupid Eleanor, his unlucky twin, has been sent to the Duke of Ulster for purely diplomatic reasons; she will learn nothing.

08/22/1427. Bows IV have come to Paris.

01/24/1428. Some kind of complex intrigue is going on with Christopher of Ulster, but he's not in trouble yet.

War going well, but slowly. Scotland's field armies defeated.

Two peasant rebellions in Cyrenacia have been smashed by Mediterranean levies; now those men are sailing for Scotland.

The Moray war will give me a ducal claim on another Scottish county, Buchan. Huzzah.

02/04/1428. Another daughter born. Again the Queen would like to name her Eleanor, possibly because nobody wants to remember Imbecile Twin Eleanor. I have her christened Ada.

02/25/1428. Princess Ermine shows early signs of Greed.

04/11/1428. The Duke of Tunis has died without issue. I distribute his holdings anew.

04/20/1428. Scotland surrenders. Now only Clydesdale and Buchan stand between me and the Kingdom of Scotland. Murdoch the Pious, current King of Scotland, is old enough that his death may give me a quick opportunity for another war.

I create the Duchy of Upper Burgundy and break the dangerously large Duchy of Dauphine by granting it to a four-county vassal of Dauphine. Now Upper Burgundy is Dauphine's equal and neither is as dangerous to me.

Oh my goodness, I've got a vassal claim on Caithness, and it's ducal. Clydesdale is no longer necessary. My Chancellor will instead Fabricate Claims on Aragon Cagliari, with which I can claim the Duchy of Sardinia.

Denmark, which is a considerable piece of the Empire and also nowhere near Denmark, has risen against the Kaiser.

05/10/1428. War for Caithness!

Irish armies and fleets diverted to put down a peasant rebellion in Ulster.

05/31/1428. Ulster rebels dispersed.

09/03/1428. Orkney surrenders Caithness. One province until Scotland.

Naples is still hanging on against the Empire somehow. They have absorbed Lombardy, I assume through inheritance.

09/08/1428. Now's a good time to swipe Bern from the Kaiser.

War for Bern!

01/05/1429. Cagliari claim fabricated. Chancellor redeployed to Parma so that I can snake the Duchy of Modena.

Menorca is rebelling from Mallorca which is rebelling from Aragon. Sheesh.

02/15/1429. Irmengard was plotting to kill Prince Henry. Obviously she favors her own son, Randolph. I've convinced her to stop for now.

06/01/1429. Peasants rise in Tunis.

Warscore around 50, but the Kaiser won't budge. It's just one province!

09/03/1429. Princess Ermine placed with the Duke of Dauphine for political reasons.

Lots of back-and-forth fighting in Bern and Jylland.

12/02/1429.
After a massive landing in Jylland (why Jylland? Because it's Imperial territory with a French barony in it), the Kaiser surrenders. Bern is absorbed into France.

The Horde is having a succession crisis. It's time to strike Livonia.

War for Horde Livonia!

04/20/1430. The Duke of Upper Burgundy dies without issue, reuniting Upper Burgundy and Dauphine. Crap.

No sign of the Horde's armies so far. Sitting on coastlines in Livonia.

07/01/1430. The Mongols land 7,000 in Samogitia. Time for more reinforcements. I wisely did not raise my levies in vulnerable provinces, so I expect they can hold out as long as necessary.

08/01/1430. Peasant uprising in Gent.

09/04/1430. Gent pacified.

The Duke of Bourbon has died. His child heir is a Legitimized Bastard.

Consumption outbreaks are interfering with the war.

09/22/1430. Maurice of Hereford finally dies. I think he spent a decade imprisoned. His successor is a sinful man, and I could excommunicate him if I felt like it, but I don't see the necessity right now.

Naples has made peace with the Kaiser, but is still involved in a Byzantine war for Paphlagonia.

11/05/1430. Prince Michael, once briefly the King of England, is dead. His successor is his 18-year-old daughter Anne, who is now Duchess of Sjaelland. Anne is an Imbecile with a surprising 10 Scholarship.

11/11/1430. Tobruk has gone Catholic.

11/24/1430. Duchess Alice of Gwynned denounces my Court Chaplain. I dismiss her accusations, but name her High Almoner, as her loyalty is wavering.

12/05/1430. Princess Constance came of age at some point and got married. Not sure I remember that happening. She's 19 now.

I mention it because Princess Anne just turned 16. She may have a stutter, but she's Quick and an Elusive Shadow. I think the best thing I can do with her is insinuate Capets into the Ho-Ro succession. However, the Kaiser balks at betrothing her to his 14-year-old son because of "political concerns," which is just about the most astute AI decision I've ever seen, if by political concerns he means a big fat Invasion CB.

12/12/1430. Anne is now betrothed to the 10-year-old King of Bohemia, who has a claim on the Empire.

Duke Raoul of Poitou has assassinated Michael, grandson of Michael, son of Stupid Anne. As far as I'm concerned, he's doing me a favor. I think he might be able to angle for inheritance of some of that Danish land picked up back in the King Fulk days, which would not be so good.

02/11/1431. I will personally give Prince Randolph an education in war.

02/28/1431. Prince Randolph is one Cynical six-year-old.

04/06/1431. Irmengard bears a daughter, Princess Maud.

04/16/1431. Princess Eleanor has become Consumptive. Since she is an Imbecile, I am all for the disease.

With Mongol armies in the 15,000 range showing up, I am grabbing quick Estonian reinforcements. This is me doing the opposite of the thing I called wise earlier. There are rebels in Novgorod, but I can't deal with them just now.

05/01/1431. My Court Chaplain has died. Bishop Maurice of Ariana is his replacement (skill 14). Still trying to convert Alexandretta.

05/18/1431. Reinforcement headed for Livonian front from Irish Sea area.

Duke Guy of Champagne is unhappy. I've named him Keeper of the Swans (don't trust him as Cupbearer).

There's a Crusade for Tyrus, which will be an excellent opportunity if I can wrap up my other engagements in time.

08/03/1431. Although the Mongols won some battles, they could not sustain the commitment of forces. I massed in Saaremaa and assaulted until they gave in. Livonia is now part of France.

Most of the territories were distributed. I kept Tartu with an eye to giving it to one of my sons. The same will likely happen with Tunis.

Now sailing for Novgorod, which is still held by rebels.

08/18/1431. Bizerte has gone Catholic.

11/05/1431. Peasant uprising in Mahdia.

I'm bringing longbow ranges to Valois, mostly courtesy of ransom money for captured Mongol mayors.

01/14/1432. Crusade for Galilee!

02/14/1432. Ralph III, Duke of Lothian, has died. His successor Ralph IV is acceptable.

03/12/1432. I have developed a claim on Parma.

I forgot to actually declare war on Syria. Levies down, start over.

Prince Randolph has become Diligent. I'm sure he'd never forget to declare war on Syria.

07/08/1432. The Duke of Gascogne denounces Helie of Flanders. I dismiss the accusations but make Gascogne my Cupbearer.

10/09/1432. Assaulting as manpower allows in Tyrus. Beirut is full of Castillians, but they haven't taken any holdings yet. I'm banking on being the most effective crusader at the dance.

11/29/1432. Some of my vassals are fighting private wars for Galilee, which complicates things. Raoul is particularly enthusiastic, and a veteran Crusader of course.

The Duke of Burgundy has died. I send $20 to his Ambitious successor.

01/06/1433. Pope gave me $200.

02/10/1433. Alexandretta goes Catholic.

02/17/1433. Crusade won, with a catch. I got everything but the county seat in Beirut. This does not bode well for my plans to form the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Nonetheless, Egypt is in a number of wars at the moment, and I feel the time is right to take Ascalon. I might not get Beersheeb, which is currently independent.

Naples is in a completely new set of wars, including another with the Empire.

Titles from Galilee distributed. I have moved my Court Chaplain in as well.

Murdoch is 60 and still hanging on. It's not quite Scotland time yet.

Aw nuts, I'm still truced with Egypt until April next year.

Astonishingly, despite everything, the Pope has grown to dislike me (over my Drunkenness, Free Investiture, and his own possessive feelings about the French crown). Catholic moral authority is at an all-time high of 100.0, but I know he's going to do something stupid and force me to torpedo it again.

04/12/1433. Prince Randolph is Ambitious, and currently my heir. He might be a handful once he comes of age.

05/25/1433. I have imprisoned known Kinslayer Duke Edward Fitzgerald of Norfolk for repeatedly attempting to kill the Duke of Galilee. I wouldn't mind, except that Edward is Galilee's heir.

Samos has gone independent. If I hit it fast, I can snag Beirut. Ducal claim. Only need the county seat.

War for Beirut!

07/01/1433. Stupid Anne of Sjelland has died, and sure enough, Raoul of Poitou is her heir. He now has 30 vassals, three duchies, and some large number of personal counties. Bad.

08/20/1433. Raoul has been excommunicated. I know I should be pleased, since it will cause trouble for him, but all I can think is "This is the thanks a dedicated Crusader gets?" It's also true that Raoul fielded part of the army that put Formosus II in Rome... I think. I might not have raised his levies for that one.

10/27/1433. Inconclusive peace in Beirut war. It appears Samos won its independence.

Redeclaring!

11/17/1433. Tyrus has gone Catholic.

12/06/1433. Edward of Norfolk to oubliette. Nothing personal, just better if he's out of the way. Prospective child heir doesn't look like he'll be trouble.

01/15/1434. And sure enough, Edward of Norfolk dies.

02/07/1434. Duke Geoffrey of Livonia (skill 26) replaces the needy, plotty Duke of Somerset as Chancellor. Princess Ada is sent to learn diplomacy from him. I don't care if Somerset's not happy.

02/10/1434. I wish people would stop denouncing my Spymaster.

04/13/1434. Corsica has gone Catholic.

05/14/1434. Samos gives up Beirut. I am back on track to claim the Kingdom of Jerusalem after a single Holy War with Egypt for Ascalon.

Mauretania has fallen to Portugal and Aragon.

Leinster has gone Cathar.

In October I can attack Naples.

War with Aragon for Cagliary and the Duchy of Sardinia.

05/05/1435. Two major battles appear to have eradicated most of Aragon's field armies. Cagliari has been assaulted.

The Duke of Aquitaine has died. His child successor presents no immediate problems.

06/14/1435. Prince Randolph has become Arbitrary.

Peasant rebellion in Limousin.

08/11/1435. Limousin rebels quelled.

12/10/1435. Cagliari is won, Cagliari is distributed. When an internal war involving Mallorca is over, I'll be able to usurp the Duchy of Sardinia.

01/06/1436. Prince Henry is the heir now. I guess I'll be wondering who the real heir is right up until they ascend.

02/27/1436. Hello, Egypt, it's a Holy War for Ascalon.

Inconveniently, Typhoid Fever is sweeping Ireland. Finding levies elsewhere...

03/22/1436. Mahdia has gone Catholic.

05/31/1436. Duchy of Sardinia usurped and given to Earl of Cagliari.

07/23/1436. Prince Randolph has become Gregarious.

08/11/1436. The war is won. Ascalon is mine, the Duchy of Ascalon is mine, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem is mine. The territories are distributed to loyal young vassals. I'm starting to run out of unlanded Content people.

The Pope likes me even less now.

Murdoch is still hanging on at 63, but he has Typhoid Fever.

08/25/1436. War on Naples for Parma.

09/19/1436. My son-in-law through Princess Anne, King Ruprecht of Bohemia, has just launched a well-supported civil war for the Empire.

02/17/1437. The Duke of Northumberland is dead. His child heir is non-threatening. He was my Steward; his replacement is Earl Martin of Beersheeb (skill 17).

I exchanged armies with Naples. I had spares. They didn't. Sieging Parma.

Murdoch has recovered from the Slow Fever! At this rate he'll live to see the truce end.

04/18/1437. Prince Henry comes of age and is given Tartu County. Princess Eleanor, the stupid one, comes of age and is married to the grateful Duke of Burgundy, whose bloodline she will pollute. Princess Maud is six, and the Queen will teach her.

07/31/1437. Duke Helie of Flanders, Spymaster of France, has died. His successor, Matias, is a good candidate for Spymaster except that he is Ambitious and disloyal... so, a bad candidate. The other best choice, tied with him for 22 Intrigue and Ambition: Spymaster is Laurence of Connacht, an Ambitious Plantagenet who triumphed mysteriously over an alliance of dukes with one province to his name. I do believe I will settle for letting the Queen (Intrigue 20) be Spymaster.

I am advised that Helie was murdered. It doesn't surprise me. He was unpopular, and constantly getting denounced.

08/24/1437. Prince Randolph has become Honest as a result of my tolerance for his dangerous parkour exploits.

Gabes has gone Catholic.

11/10/1437. I have fallen Ill. I'm 44 and it's entirely possible I'll die.

01/08/1438. Peasants rise in Darum.

05/08/1438. We now have the technology to build Large Universities. Saving my pennies.

David of Oxford has launched another military overhaul program.

08/25/1438. Parma taken, war over. Keeping Parma personally for now. Rebels quelled in Darum.

10/21/1438. Raoul of Poitou, once King of England, is dead at 47 following an illness. His heir is an Ugly and sinful son of 11 years, whose regent is his mother, Etienne the Ugly of House Capet. Raoul was a Francophile, even as Guichard is an Anglophile. They crusaded together, but Raoul became Proud and Cruel in his later years. He amassed land at any cost, and he bore the strawberries of a Kinslayer to prove it.

12/25/1438. Wracked by Pneumonia, I am forced to grant away Tunis. I give it to my Court Chaplain, replacing him with Bishop Mark of Beit Khefya (skill 20). Mark is sent to Leinster to stamp out the Irish Cathars yet again. My Chancellor is ordered to Fabricate Claims on Orkney, not a very productive assignment, but there are no good diplomatic targets; all my large and even medium neighbors are tearing themselves apart.

Livonian peasants suppressed.

03/29/1439. Beirut peasant revolt suppressed.

I begin an affair with Eleanor, not my daughter Stupid Eleanor of course, but Countess of Provence.

05/15/1439. Scottish truce over. War for Buchan! Which king will die first?

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07/20/1439. King Guichard of France, called the Ill-Ruler, is dead. His successor is Henry II Capet of France, who is 18, culturally English, and hopelessly poor at Intrigue. He has a silly moustache and an idiot twin sister. King Guichard's career score was 19,515 (16,300 Prestige/3,215 Piety), with a large part of that being due to his successful Crusades and formation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem (which does not include Jerusalem).

Despite his inability to manage assets, Guichard was the brilliant warrior his name implies (Guichard = "battle-hardened"). He made Anglo-France the greatest nation in Europe, enlarged the realm on every front, and claimed the thrones of Jerusalem, Burgundy, and Africa. His masterstrokes gave English nobles land in Italy, faced down the Golden Horde and the Holy Roman Empire alike, and smothered noble rebellions, bringing a decisive end to the Second Anarchy. He built universities in Paris and longbow ranges in Valois and Antioch. Under his guidance, the Duchy of Antioch Christianized. He had no virtues and no sins, only victory. He struck down Sultans.

His death by illness came less than a year after the death by illness of his brother Crusader Raoul of Poitou. A Mystic in his later years, Guichard believed that his soul and Raoul's were somehow connected.

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Henry II is a dubious successor. Many believed that his brother Prince Randolph, child of the Genius Irmengard rather than dead Queen Blanche, would be the one to take the throne. There is a tremendous amount of discontent in the realm. Another time of turmoil may be coming, perhaps even one which shatters the generations-long dream of forcing Scotland into the united kingdoms.

Guichard may have had his problems, but those are awfully big shoes to fill.

[shakespeare]
CK2 said:
[GUICHARD's sickbed. Enter IRMENGARD.]

IRMENGARD. Your hour's nigh, I think, so make
Your last requests, and quickly.

GUICHARD. The ice lies German in your veins,
You have the passion of a stone.

IRMENGARD. 'Tis stone that props the world, Guichard,
'Tis stone that builds the future.

GUICHARD. Then, my stone darling--

IRMENGARD. - No.

GUICHARD. - My Queen--

IRMENGARD. Correct.

GUICHARD. - Hear this request.
Bring me Eleanor at once,
The Countess of Provence.

IRMENGARD. Why, so you might make her womb
Congested as your lungs?
Spare her that contagion vile,
You are no pagan king, to kill
A heap of slaves for after death;
No harems wait in Heaven.

GUICHARD. In Antioch I thought of Heaven,
In Rome I thought of Heaven,
Here let me think of other things.

IRMENGARD. Be less a fool. Your son
Will need loyal subjects everywhere,
And no less in Provence, so thus,
Give no plagues to that foolish girl,
And perhaps she'll recall your touch
With a sweet, biddable fondness
That goes easy on your boy.

GUICHARD. - Which?

IRMENGARD. Henry, I think. 'Twill be crisis.
Older's wiser, though but little.

GUICHARD. Leave me now.

IRMENGARD. [beat] Why?

GUICHARD. No owl shall stare on me with gimlet eyes
While England's king of France so sullen dies.

[Exit IRMENGARD.]

GUICHARD. They lie who call it summer, though 'tis June,
A golden harp spins lies in every tune.
A darkness draws itself together here,
And brave men would be better hush'd by fear.
Sweet wines go sour, sand blots out the sky
My heart cough'd out, my lips and eyes gone dry.
To England bear my body, thence to Hell,
Where I shall pray for melting snow. Farewell.

[Business with coughing blood, GUICHARD dies, curtain.]
 

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Time to finish this.

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William Shakespeare said:
Henry V dies unexpectedly. His successor, Henry VI, promptly loses a major war with France and accidentally alienates an important duke. Another noble persuades the king to wed a French girl who will plot against him. Henry's Spymaster's wife is caught performing black magic and banished. Repeated peasant uprisings occur, and the Duke of York goes to war for the English crown, supported by several nobles. Henry makes peace on the terms that York will be his heir (I don't think this can happen in CK2). Vassal armies led by Henry's wife assault York's holdings, capturing him and his son. His son is executed; York himself is tortured and executed. Another Yorkist pretender, Edward, rises and becomes king, but after offending some of the nobility, he is the target of a civil war backed by French intervention. This war is successful and Henry is restored, but it is followed by yet another wave of rebellions in favor of returning Edward to the throne. Edward is victorious, and in the aftermath, the new ruling dynasty cleans house with an indefinite imprisonment, an execution, a banishment, and two assassinations. The new Spymaster involved in the assassinations, Richard, is plotting for the throne...

Historically, Henry VI had periods of Incapability, and while he claimed the French throne for a time, his claim was never recognized by the French nobility. His shortcomings were compensated for by his extremely talented wife, but he was no match for the combination of the French fighting to reconstitute an independent France and his own vassals plotting to overthrow him. He did manage to build two universities.

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07/20/1439. Okay, this isn't going to be easy. Henry II is Shy and Content. His Intrigue is 1 and his Diplomacy is 4. A wife is badly needed to shore up these issues. Many nobles are unhappy, and although I can please some of them with vassal transfers I kept in reserve against this day (that's why you never unite your vassal duchies until you have to), and others with titles and bribes, the bottom line is that I'm looking at a minimum of a continued war for Scotland during a modest succession crisis with dramatically deflated (because of opinion modifiers) levies.

My cabinet came with me from the Livonian hinterlands, boasting single-digit ability scores. A complete replacement has followed:

23 Chancellor Duke Geoffrey of Livonia
- improving relations with the Duke of Connacht
- hoping I can do this from Connacht even though the Duke is in Paris (see below)
21 Marshal Duke Leonard of Flanders (loyalty questionable for now)
- held in reserve for important arrests
24 Steward Earl Gilbert of Tunis
- researching economic tech in Paris
22 Spymaster Duke Laurence of Connacht (loyalty questionable for now)
- uncovering plots in Paris
20 Court Chaplain Bishop Mark of Beit Kfeya
- persecuting Cathars in Leinster

The most outstanding revolt risk is Brittany, where 16-year-old Duke Jean V de Dreux is likely to rise against me. Everything's a house of cards though, and in the short term I'm particularly concerned about disloyal nobles in sensitive state security positions.

Preserving French levies for war with Brittany, but drawing a new wave of English levies for Scotland.

I have proposed marriage to Adele de Melun, a courter in Chateneuf-du-Pape who is 17 years old and has 17 Diplomacy and 17 Intrigue. Auspicious.

Prince Randolph will now be educated by the Duke of Livonia. Randolph is Ambitious and it looks like he's a major risk to be a pretender in a couple of years (he's 14). When the time comes I think it'll be best to give him a county and then pledge him to a duke, burying him under a layer of fealty and insulating me from that Ambition.

07/26/1439. Marriage concluded. I took in money to pay for it but have still depleted my coffers enormously with bribes to potential rebel nobles. In his last years, Guichard was saving for Universities and had more than $600. Now it's $200, even after marriage aid duty.

08/01/1439. Small peasant revolt in Liviimaa, not even 2,000. Local levies are dealing with it.

08/15/1439. Safed has gone Catholic.

Fighting remains fierce in Scotland. 23,000 men have sailed up from the English coasts to reinforce.

08/30/1439. Princess Ermine has come of age as a Detached Priest. She is thoroughly unimpressive. I offer her hand in marriage to the dangerous Duke of Brittany.

09/05/1439. The Duke of Brittany accepts. We are now Allies. While his opinion of me has not improved, I hope the Alliance will make it harder for him to revolt against me.

09/08/1439. And there goes the declaration of war from Brittany. Raising French levies...

09/22/1439. Diplomatic mission to Connacht successful. I am now in much less danger from my Spymaster.

03/01/1440. Brittany has landed in Samogitia for some reason. Thanks to loyal armies from the Skaggerak, crushing them will be no trouble.

04/16/1440. Although the Livonian rebellion has been put down, Brittany's 3,000 soldiers in Samogitia are avoiding confrontation. Rather than try to chase them down, I am diverting the 8,000 French troops in the northern theater to Scotland.

06/03/1440. Scotland surrenders Buchan and I usurp the Scottish crown. However, Murdoch remains a king; Scottish kings have also been kings of Norway since 1420. I'd overlooked this, and it means I won't be able to turn around and offer vassalization to disorganized Scottish dukes. I remain de jure king of Scotland, though, so any wars for its territories will deliver the land to me. Unfortunately, I can expect each war to give me a truce with a Norwegian king. Tricky. Outstanding Scottish provinces belong to three de jure duchies: Galloway, Albany, and the Isles.

Welsh culture is no longer influential anywhere.

12/19/1440. Due to vassal infighting, I am forced to name Earl Godfrey of Navarra (skill 27) as my new Marshal.

02/08/1441. Prince Randolph comes of age as a Theological Mastermind of extremely uneven expertise and opinion -66. True to my word, I give him Tartu and transfer his vassalage to the Duke of Livonia.

Brittany surrenders after the occupation of its southern coast and the destruction of its 4,000-strong main army by my personal levies in Valois. Jean de Dreux is stripped of his ducal title, which is given to his vassal, the aging but Contented grand-nephew of Edward III's Queen Petronilla, Raoul Butler.

03/26/1441. I am torn between a tournament and a war with Naples, whose stubborn constant wars have kept me from usurping titles I ought to have in my realm. For once I come down on the side of peace, declaring a realm-wide occasion on a scale not seen since the Fall of Rome. The tournament will bring together knights from Ireland to Novgorod, Scotland to Tunis, Rosello to Parma, and even most of the Holy Land.

05/04/1441. Peasant revolt suppressed in Derby. Some people just don't like tournaments.

05/28/1441. Reginald of Boston has died in a tournament accident. He was nobody important. Gregory of Lacroix, a Spymaster from one of the Tunisian Earldoms, has been maimed in a tournament accident, not entirely surprising given his Weakness, age (48), and unsavory reputation as an Impaler.

06/30/1441. Tartu converts to Catholicism. Nice work, Prince Randolph.

The Ho-Ro has settled its enormous war, with the long-lived Kaiser Meinhard still on the throne.

07/16/1441. Baron George of Netza (in Bizerte, in Tunis), a 50-year-old dwarf with a Maghreb wife, has won the tournament. Despite his disadvantages, he is hard as nails (Martial 19). Second place goes to lonely, Shy 51-year-old Humphrey of Gein, an unremarkable English courtier in Paris. Third is won by Duke Laurenc of Auvergne, 28 years old and a complex man who deeply desires to be the Spymaster of France (but with 16 Intrigue, probably never will). Mark and Marcau of Comborn (no declared relation) have been maimed in what I hope is the final accident of the tournament. They are unimportant courtiers from Limousin.

Northumberland has a new Duke, 16 years old and dangerously Ambitious.

08/15/1441. The Duke of York dies. His successor is in his thirties and has -7 opinion, which I consider tolerable in these difficult times.

08/30/1441. I am prepared to endow a Large University, only to find the cities in the Paris area expanding their walls instead. An understandable choice in these troubled times.

I would declare war on Naples for Schwyz, which would go to an existing French duke and include two minor holdings in Modena, but it would hit me with the 100-Piety penalty for declaring war on a realm defending against heathens. Naples is always so inconvenient.

I could hit Aragon for the rest of Sicily, but my neighbor the Horde outnumbers my army by a solid 80,000. I think it's time to sit back and have feasts and things.

10/23/1441. I have personally quelled the peasants of Jaffa with levies sailing from Antioch.

My grandfather the Pope despises me, but he's 67 and has to die sooner or later. Murdoch now of Norway is in a similar position.

12/05/1441. Nice, Genoa, and Provence sail to Corsica and put down yet another peasant uprising.

Bourges and Berry are having a civil war; confusingly, their arms are identical. Adding to the confusion, Bourges has called the Duchess of Orleans and Berry has called the Duke of Orleans. No idea how that works.

I am preparing a feast.

02/10/1442. A royal daughter has been born, named Emma.

03/16/1442. The feast is finally over. It resulted in a shocking amount of bad feeling, but overall seems to have successfully eased tensions with the nobility. I am known for my Justice after resolving the murder of a servant at the feast with a demand for blood money.

A peasant rebellion in a Cyrenacian province has been suppressed by levies from Tobruk, Gabes, and Mahdia.

04/18/1442. Duchess Juliana of Estonia has died. Her successor is Juliana II, a 16-year-old Plantagenet who I sadly do not have any appropriate husbands for. Estonia is waging a war for Monophysite Kexholm; as Juliana II is loyal, I wish them luck.

There have been rebels in Venaissin for a while now and I would be delighted if they pried it away from the Pope. I have no wish for an Avignon in my territory.

11/19/1442. I could fight Syria for Jerusalem proper and probably take it, but I think the benefit would be limited. I'd rather just build a theme park in Jaffa and call it Jerusalem.

I am asking the lords to vote in Free Investiture in Brythonia (finally) and lower Crown Authority in Africa from Absolute to High.

12/08/1442. Both legal changes are approved.

01/03/1443. Beersheeb has gone Catholic.

03/09/1443. I've been invited to a plot to lower Crown Authority in Norway. It's an interesting offer, but I don't care to waste a war on that when I have three wars for provinces waiting. (Albany for 4 provinces, Galloway and the Isles for 2 each.) I'm not sure how backing the plot could interact with my truce situation.

09/23/1443. The Duke of Genoa dies; his child heir is 2 and loyal.

New Duke of Poitou-Lancaster-Sjaelland, a 16-year-old Ugly Plantagenet. He's a bit disloyal but I think I can bring him around, definitely a better option than fighting his megaduchy in these terminal years of the game.

02/02/1444. Princess Ana has come of age and been betrothed to the child King of Bohemia.

02/20/1444. Estonian war for Kexholm successful!

At tremendous expense ($400+), I have sent a gift to the wealthy and restless Duke Amedee of Poitou.

04/02/1444. And Amedee declares his war, which I have just financed. Raising levies all over the place.

06/08/1444. Duke of Hereford has died; successor acceptable (just barely).

Amedee is holed up in besieged Poitiers, and I intend to root him out.

07/25/1444. Spymaster Duke Laurence of Connacht has had me excommunicated. This is a clear sign that he can no longer serve. I have replaced him with Duke Reginald of York (skill 20), imprisoned Connacht, and raised the Bishop of Sidon as an Anti-Pope named Anicetus II. Catholic moral authority has dropped to 80.

10/30/1444. The war with Poitou is won. The Duchy of Poitou is stripped and given to Boson of Lusignan, who is currently imprisoned by Amedee now of Lancaster and Sjaelland. I don't know how that's going to shake out, but he was the only other landholder in Poitou at the county level.

The Baron of Chateau-Gontier is somehow styling himself the Duke of Orleans in some listings, notably the tally of restless nobles, on which the presence of dukes always makes me uneasy.

I bribe the new Duke of Connacht. This is no problem since as usual, an Anti-Papacy makes insane Church Tax revenues roar into the coffers.

A fleet is on its way to Archa to suppress peasants.

12/05/1444. Duke Boson of Poitou is released. Amedee is going to stay in prison indefinitely, though.

01/15/1445. Archa suppressed. Last of the levies down. It would appear that a title handoff in Naples will delay both of my ducal usurpations there (Provence and Modena) until 1448.

01/25/1445. Amedee dies, and I pacify his successor, Margot of Lancaster, with a transfer of the Earl of Fyn's fealty and $20.

02/17/1445. New Duke of Gascogne. He's 20 and loyal.

02/21/1445. Jaffa has gone Catholic.

04/17/1445. A royal son is born, named Henry.

Prince Randolph now claims that he stands to inherit the Kingdom of Brythonia due to its Gavelkind traditions. I thought that was fixed last dynasty. Going to keep an eye on that.

Peasant revolt crushed in Ossory.

07/10/1445. Building a Large University in Paris. This is purely for legacy; it's too late to do me practical good.

09/09/1445. Latgale has gone Catholic.

11/01/1445. Horde succession crisis. If it's prolonged I might start a Holy War for Courland.

11/11/1445. Horde succession crisis has enlarged in scope.

I buy the Queen ruby earrings and throw in $20. Love results.

11/17/1445. War for Courland! Calling up Scottish levies.

02/25/1446. The Horde calls Bukhara. I'm shakin'!

Actually, I do want to finish this promptly. Reinforcements on the way.

03/19/1446. I am no longer Shy. Well it's about damn time.

04/30/1446. Irish troops suppress peasants in Caithness.

The Duke of Ulster dies; acceptable successor.

08/08/1446. I avoid denouncing Duke Art of Leinster as a heretic despite the recommendation of my Court Chaplain.

01/02/1447. Queen Stepmother Irmengard (remember her?) is trying to kill Prince Henry, my heir. I ask her not to.

War with the Horde going decently. They took Novgorod, but I've got half of Courland.

02/28/1447. Duke Boson of Poitou dies. No problems with his successor.

04/06/1447. Princess Mathilde has come of age as a Misguided Warrior and for diplomatic reasons I offer to betroth her to the nearly-legal Duke of Saxony.

I dunno what political reasons, exactly, but it feels clever and political. Maybe it'll give me a wedge the next time the Empire is falling apart. Hopefully that's soon!

Actually, now that I look at it, the Ho-Ro is under the lash once more with the death of Meinhard; child Kaiser Otto is contending with several declarations of independence including an attempt by the de Luxembourg king of Sicily and his Piast wife to unify Sicily and Poland.

I'll have to see how those things develop.

Large University started in Compiegne. Won't be done before the end of the game, sadly.

05/02/1447. Cyrenacia converts to Catholicism.

10/24/1447. The Horde surrenders Courland. I swipe the Duchy of Courland, and as an added bonus, the Kingdom of Lithuania. The Duchy and one of its two provinces are distributed.

Mallorca is declaring independence from Aragon, and part of Sardinia rises with it. I declare war, hoping to quickly unify French Sardinia.

Venaissin is no longer held by rebels. Damn.

02/13/1448. Prince Emma will be tutored by the sinful Duke of Ulster. The decision was political, but he's still a talented man. If Emma winds up on the throne a sinner, her religious handicap will be offset by my useful antipope.

Ada, one of Irmengard's children, has died. She was only 20, but she was Ill. Strangely, she was unmarried. Was I supposed to do that? Whose court was she in?

02/26/1448. Sardinia's last county is transferred from Mallorcan fealty to the French duke of the region. There is peace.

04/16/1448. The Duke of Galilee has died; infant successor poses no problems.

05/20/1448. Duchies of Provence and Modena usurped and distributed (along with, sadly, the royal County of Parma). War declared on my grandfather the Pope for Venaissin.

12/05/1448. The Pope surrenders Venaissin. War with Naples for Modena.

Parts of Africa, the Holy Land, and the Baltic are now culturally English.

12/13/1448. Prince Randolph has died of an Illness. I had nothing to do with it, but it's convenient all the same. I even get Tartu back.

03/02/1449. The Duke of York has died. My new Spymaster is the Duke of Kent (skill 20). The new Duke of York is 4 years old any loyal.

My money situation is completely insane. Nerf Anti-Papacies.

06/01/1449. A royal son is born, named Eric.

I have lost an assault in Modena, but reinforcements are on the way.

10/16/1449. Duke of Meath dies; successor acceptable.

Rebel peasants crushed in Beersheeb.

03/01/1450. Modena is won. Peace with Naples.

Murdoch is still hanging on. He's 77.

04/22/1450. Ulster peasants suppressed, people trying to assassinate each other, excommunications, the usual.

As you may have guessed from my acceptance of a truce with the Pope for Venaissin, I don't plan to reunify the split Papacy. There's a new Pope now, and no truce, but my plans haven't changed.

07/07/1450. A royal daughter is borne, named Blanche.

I disrupt yet another plot to kill Randolph Capet, son of the deceased Prince Randolph and the very much alive Duchess Juliana II Plantagenet of Estonia. Narratively, this Randolph's interesting lineage justifies his eventual ascension to the throne post-game.

They call me Henry the Just.

10/08/1450. There is no longer time for a productive Scottish war. You win, Murdoch the Pious of Norway and formerly Scotland.

Peasants put down in Breifne.

Dauphine and Upper Burgundy are separate duchies for the moment, but each other's heirs. I elect not to press Upper Burgundy's claim on Imperial Aargau.

12/03/1450. My beloved Queen Consort is dead. It appears she was killed by a disgruntled Sunni Levantine Zealot at my court in Paris, Abdul-Lateef mn Port Bonnel. I have no idea what he stood to gain, or why he wished revenge on Adele, who had absolutely nothing to do with the conquest of the Levant.

As a good Christian and a Just king, I refuse to act against Abdul-Lateef without evidence.

In need of a wife to help me run the Ten Kingdoms, I propose to the Attractive Juliana II of Estonia, once again uniting the lines of Capet and Plantagenet.

12/30/1450. Peasants suppressed in Ross.

01/14/1451. Prince Adam of Galloway is rebelling against Murdoch and I am taking a chance on hitting him. Maybe I have time to make a difference in Scotland after all. I've brought another Scottish Prince to my court, this one with a claim on Galloway, but I can't press it until Adam's situation is settled, I think because the duchy nominally lies with him.

Leinster converts to Catholicism at last. Court Chaplain relocated to Tunis. Prince David of Scotland, that Galloway claimant, wants to be Court Chaplain but that's not why I brought him to Paris.

02/26/1451. Abdul-Lateef has died, presumably of old age. His mysteries will remain unsolved.

03/25/1451. Adam has inconveniently become King of Norway; even in death Murdoch thwarts me! Even assassinating Adam wouldn't clear the way fast enough to consolidate the Isles. All I'll get is Innse Gall.

04/17/1451. Prince Henry will learn war from the Duke of Ascalon.

06/12/1451. Kifle the Ill-Ruler, former High Chief of Bjarmia and Monophysite, has fled to my court. It is 1451 AD and a former Ethopian ruler has found political asylum in Paris despite his unorthodox (har har) religion.

08/02/1451. Tunis converts to Catholicism. Court Chaplain to Benghazi.

11/07/1451. Just under the wire, Scotland surrenders the Duchy of Galloway. Weirdly (I assume because of Adam's personal holdings), I get the Isle of Man but not Innse Gall.

01/01/1452. Oops, I couldn't remember whether you get 1452 itself. Apparently you do.

Screw it, I have a year to work with and ten times the manpower -- I'm eating Aargau.

War for Aargau!

05/15/1452. Duke of Ulster dies, new Duke acceptable, princess being educated transferred to care of Duke Mark of Aquitaine.

10/02/1452. Aargau is won, and there is peace. A few scattered peasant revolts put down.

01/01/1453. And that's the game. Final score is 51,731 points, which of course is not adjusted for shorter overall campaign time, nor inclusive of King John's reign, and I'm sure Henry the Just has a few good years left in him.

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In honor of all the updates without comments, I'll leave this without a summing-up.

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William Shakespeare said:
When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man’s estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
’Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.