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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

NorthernFalcon

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Game: IN 3.1
Settings: Default, except lucky nations off
Start: 1399
Nation: Brunswick

Special Rules:
+No annexation allowed. (I reserve the right to annex in the event I run into a stubborn OPM, or require it to complete a mission; but such will be allowed only if same nation is released within one month.)
+I will attempt to curb my use of the save/reload method to success, and will not reload any game, save for computer crashes; and I might use it if I accidentally do something stupid like click "white peace" when I meant to click "demand tribute" to end a 100% warscore war. But not if a battle goes badly.

Goals:
+Become emperor.
+Vassalize the HRE. Then... the world!
Alright, more specific. I'm vassalizing Germany; then I'm going to vassalize Italy; then France; then Britain; then Western Europe; then the Balkans; then... the WORLD!!!! Yeah!!!
+Grow the HRE. I want to make the HRE as large as possible. (This presumably means cutting down on the badboy.)
+Release/Create as many nations as possible. (Except Hannover. Sorry, that's my land. Go somewhere else. Now, if they were willing to form in Kassel... I might think about that.)



AAR will commence as soon as one of my attempts makes it past 10 years. (I thought this AAR would be a lot more fun if it didn't end in two years.)



Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Vision [1399-1409] (Part 2) (Part 3)

Chapter 2: Baby Steps [1409-1419] (Part 2) (Part 3)

Chapter 3: Why did the Chicken cross the road? [1419-1431] (Part 2)

Chapter 4: A Sign in Scarlet (well, Burgundy, anyways) [1431-1437] (Part 2)

Chapter 5: The Hundred Years War and other stories... [1437-1447] (Part 2) (Part 3)

Chapter 6: Consolidation [1447-1456] (Part 2)

Chapter 7: Things Fall Apart [1456-1467] (Part 2)

Chapter 8: Restoring Peace [1467-1477] (Part 2)

Chapter 9: The Defense of Nevers [1477-1489] (Part 2)

Chapter 10: Escape from the Pit--or not [1489-1501] (Part 2) (Part 3)

Chapter 11: Quickdraw!!! [1501-1506] (Part 2) (Part 3)

Chapter 12: Waffles [1506-1517] (Part 2)

Chapter 13: Religious Zeal [1517-1529] (Part 2) (Part 3) (Appendix)

Chapter 14: Return of the King [1529-1540] (Part 2) (Part 3) (Map)

Chapter 15: The Last Elector [1540-1549] (Part 2) (Part 3)

Chapter 16: Defending the Natives, Part I [1549-1556] (Part 2) (Part 3)

Chapter 17: Defending the Natives, Part II [1556-1562] (Part 2) (Part 3)

Chapter 18: Inca Expedition [1562-1571] (Part 2)

Chapter 19: Seeing Double [1571-1581] (Part 2) (Part 3)

Chapter 20: The Pillage of France [1581-1591] (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5)

Chapter 21: Ender's Game [1591-1601] (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4)

Chapter 22: Asserting Power [1601-1608] (Part 2)

Chapter 23: Shadows [1608-1622] (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5)

Chapter 24: Domination [1622-1635] (Part 2) (Map)
 
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NorthernFalcon

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While you wait, please enjoy these pictures of FAIL .

EU3_26.jpg


EU3_37.jpg


EU3_62.jpg


EU3_66.jpg
 

Didaa

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Well, good luck.
It's possible to see that you comitted a huge mistake
you can't attack one state from de HRE with bohemia as Emperor (except if you are France or ani huge nation)
 

Urcules

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Didaa said:
Well, good luck.
It's possible to see that you comitted a huge mistake
you can't attack one state from de HRE with bohemia as Emperor (except if you are France or ani huge nation)

I just love the idea of your AAR.
Diplo-vassalising will be difficult for larger countries within the HRE I think if you can't attack them ...
 

Sweboy

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Urcules said:
I just love the idea of your AAR.
Diplo-vassalising will be difficult for larger countries within the HRE I think if you can't attack them ...

I suspect the nibble away approach is not allowed under your rules, since you aim only to vassalise and not expand your own lands. Can you take provinces in a peace and then make them into vassals after the peace?
 

NorthernFalcon

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Sweboy said:
I suspect the nibble away approach is not allowed under your rules, since you aim only to vassalise and not expand your own lands. Can you take provinces in a peace and then make them into vassals after the peace?

Yes, as long as the country did not exist beforehand. It would be far too troublesome to ask, say, France, to release Champagne in a peace deal, then declare war on Champagne (who at this point would be allied with me, or at the very least +200 relations and guaranteed) and vassalize it. I could try to diplo-vassalize, but... I haven't had too much success with that in past games.

I will be expanding my own territory, just not annexing. A two-province Brunswick, even as the HRE, can't possibly take on France/Spain/etc. I'm tempted to call this the "Autobahn" game for reasons you'll see later.

Early sights are set on Westfalen and Thuringia.
 

NorthernFalcon

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Chapter 1: The Vision

EU3_69.jpg


King Heinrich III was awakened from his sleep early in the morning of October 14, 1399, to the startling sight of an angel at the foot of his bed. He instantly jumped out of his bed and fell to his hands and knees and begged forgiveness for his sins.

"Peace, be still." The angel held a flaming sword, which he then tapped on each of Heinrich's shoulders. "Now rise, Heinrich III of Brunswick." Knees still quaking, still half-asleep, Heinrich did as was commanded.

"God has chosen you and your descendants for a great task. Your children will be Emperors of that great Christian Empire founded by Charlemagne, and they will restore the throne to its former glory. Your children will rule over kings! All of Europe will quake at the name of the House of Brunswick. They shall defeat the Muslim. They shall convert the pagan. God has blessed you indeed!

"By you and your children's hand, all people will be free. Loose the bonds of the oppressor. Allow all peoples to have a King of their own blood.

"The blessing of God will remain upon your house so long as you preserve the independence of all kings and thrones. Go and fulfill your destiny!"

And just as suddenly as the angel had come, the room was dark again. Heinrich lay awake in his bed, pondering the events that had just happened.

* * * * * * *

Brunswick in 1399

EU3_67.jpg


EU3_68.jpg


* * * * * * *

The old King may have been blessed by God, but he wasn't stupid; the Kingdom was in no shape for a conquest spree.

Nor were the resident gurus any help.

EU3_70.jpg


There was a reason he hadn't hired them before, and he saw little reason to change.

The first thing that he had to do was instruct his son--he had been on the throne for 26 years already, and the head of hair on his head was completely white.

* * * * * * *

Letters to August, my son

To my son: I sorrow that I will not be alive much longer to see the glories which you will accomplish with the crown of Brunswick on your head. But in this letter, I am leaving my wisdom to you, gleaned from my many years in charge of this kingdom, your kingdom, your home.

Surely you have heard of the angelic vision I received on that fateful October day, and surely you thirst for conquest.

The very first rule to engaging in conquest is to have a strong army.

EU3_77.jpg


The first rule to having a strong army is to have wealth.

Now wealth comes from many places, but only two should ever be of significance to you--citizens and merchants.

EU3_75.jpg


The more people you rule, the more tax you receive. Ours is unfortunately a rather small kingdom right now, and the only way to get more people is with a strong army, something you cannot have until you have more money--and so the circular logic goes.

This leaves you but one option to pursue wealth--merchants. I have thus sent instructions to my assistants to pursue merchant-friendly policies, and already we have seen great growth in that regard.

EU3_71.jpg


EU3_72.jpg


Treasure the merchants, my son, and they will bring you wealth beyond your dreams. But wherever there is wealth, there will be vultures. Treasure the merchants, but rule them wisely.

The second rule to engaging in conquest is avoid wars you cannot win.

EU3_74.jpg


Vaclav of Bohemia is a wise, powerful man. He has defended the empire from many foes for many years, including our very own kingdom.

He is good; he is fair; he is just. And thus, while he will defend us, he will also oppose any attempts to expand our own possessions. Know his power well, and know that you are overmatched if you seek to go against him.

EU3_74.jpg


But know that as much as he is strong, he is also old. Not as old as me, but we went hunting together once in the days of our youth. The lesson here is: Defeat the strong through politics; defeat the weak through your soldiers.

Do all in your power to make sure the next Emperor will not stop your expansion plans. Perhaps you can try to seize the crown for yourself!

That's all that you need to know, my son--two simple rules. Follow them and strength will be in your arms for many a days.

Befriend the strong. Befriend the weak. Anger only those you are about to invade.

May the boon of God be ever with you.

Heinrich

* * * * * * *

Wenches

"Hans! Hans!"

"Yes, my liege!"

"Find me the five prettiest maidens in the Kingdom and bring them here."

[A few days later...]

"I have found the maidens, your highness."

"Good. Tell them that they are my adopted daughters and from henceforth they shall use the royal name."

"Alright." [turns to leave]

"Halt!"

"Yes, my liege?"

"Send one each to the kings of Denmark, Saxony, Brabant, Austria, and Palatine. Offer them to each in marriage."

"But didn't we just take these wenches off the street and clean them up a little?"

"I thought I told you they were of the House of Hannover."

"Yes... right. As you have commanded, my liege."

EU3_79.jpg


* * * * * * *

August Heinrich I

EU3_82.jpg


And so it came to pass, on August 3, 1400, that Heinrich the Third of Brunswick passed, and his son August, in honour of his father, ascended the throne with the name of August Heinrich the First, King of Brunswick.

August was a wise Monarch, and thus before making any sudden changes to the government, instead allowed his father's policies to play themselves out.

EU3_85.jpg


He soon found that he had to mint significantly to support all the merchants his father was sending out.

EU3_84.jpg


So August organized a job fair on October 14, 1400, and after much debate, selected two Masters of the Mint for his Royal staff, in order to control the soon-to-be rampant inflation.
 
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Chapter One: The Vision

Messages from God

EU3_86.jpg


One year later, August felt his nation's economy had improved to the point that he could afford a larger army, which resulted in a visit from the Prophet Nathan, who informed him that God was pleased with the state of the army, and had rewarded him with Prestige. Nathan then feasted with the King for a day, before informing him that God's new mission for him was to arrange a Royal Marriage with Oldenburg.

"Hans! Hans!"

"Yes, my Lord."

"We need another wench."

Nathan looked startled. "But, my liege, surely you don't think God will be fooled..."

"If the King of Oldenburg, whatever his name is, accepts her, then will God?"

"Mmm.... yes."

"Carry on, Hans."

EU3_88.jpg


Nathan returned a few days later.

"What mission from God do you bring today?"

EU3_88.jpg


"I see. Hans?"

"Here she is, my liege."

"What, so soon?"

"What else do you call me for?"

"True."

"Where shall I take her this time?"

"Hesse. And be quick about it."

"Yes, my lord."

EU3_90.jpg


Nathan returned a few days later.

"Ah, Nathan. What news do you bring from God today?"

EU3_91.jpg


"Again? You know, Nathan, I'd be a lot more enthusiastic this missions if the rewards God gave me actually meant something--as I don't have bad reputation to lose, do I really get anything out of this?"

"I'm sure God would give you real rewards if you gave up real family members."

"I'm sure I'd marry off my real sisters if Father gave me any. Hans!"

"Yes, my liege. Another wench?"

"Good. You understand."

"But, my liege..."

"What is it, Hans?"

"I'm afraid there are no more beautiful and marriageable wenches remaining in the Kingdom."

"Are you saying that the women of this kingdom are inferior?"

"Of of of course not, my liege."

"Then you will have no trouble finding another woman?"

"Not at all, my lord."

[Hans goes out into the woods, kidnaps a witch, dresses her in an elegant gown.]

EU3_92.jpg


Oops, wrong button.

EU3_93.jpg


"My Lord, it appears the people of Thuringia have been insulted by our offer of a bride."

"Why is that, Hans?"

"They seem to have discovered that I simply dressed up the witch of the woods in a gown and offered her as your sister."

"But the King married her, right?"

"This news was not discovered until after the wedding."

"Good. They were first on the attack list, anyways. Good job. Take a holiday. You can have the witch's old house, if you wish."

"Um... thank you, my lord."

[Nathan walks in]

"Ah, Nathan, good to see you again. Will it be another marriage, this time?"

EU3_94.jpg


"Oh. Something different. Nathan, do me a favour. Look at our map of Germany on the wall."

"Am looking, my liege."

"Now, tell me; how do I get a sea-port without annexing anyone?"

"Well, if you look carefully, the port of Mecklenburg is the only sea-port within a thousand leagues of here that is not a capital city. In order to get a land-route to Mecklenburg without annexing anyone, as was God's specific orders, you could take first the province of Thuringia, then the province of Bamberg, followed by Franken, then you could engage in a Bohemian campaign against Sudety, Erz, and the Lausitzes, and finish it off by seizing Potsdam and Ruppin."

"Hmph. Well. I'll consider that. Thank you, Nathan. My guards will show you the way out."

"Oh, but I've been here so much recently that... um... alright."

[Guards grab him by the shoulders]

* * * * * * *

Empire Politics at its finest

EU3_102.jpg


After Vaclav of Bohemia promoted the Prince of Mantua to an electorship, August knew he had work to do.

EU3_103.jpg


Thus, many, repeated bribes were sent to the Archbishops of Mainz and Trier.

EU3_106.jpg


But it was only after he promised them that they could wear the Imperial crown for a couple of minutes if they chose him that they finally agreed to vote August in the next election.

* * * * * * *

EU3_120.jpg


EU3_121.jpg


And so over the next few years August forged many relationships with prominent merchants in the wealthiest trading markets in Europe.

And thus August grew in wealth and strength.

* * * * * * *

EU3_126.jpg


A minor court incident briefly interrupted August's reverie. And though he strongly considered embracing the reputation--after all, what other badboy did he have to burn while he waited for Vaclav to die?--he eventually realized that he lived in a kingdom where it took four months, without any investment, to go from +2 stab to +3. Thus he executed the perpetrator and sent his regards to the family over their loved one's poor timing.

* * * * * * *

Not more than three months later, he was glad he did.

EU3_128.jpg


EU3_130.jpg


Now THAT is more like it!

August immediately set out to building a real army. Or at least one that could do a half-decent job of protecting the empire in the event it faced any serious threat.

* * * * * * *

The First National Idea

EU3_135.jpg


The kingdom's sages came to August a year later while he was in the process of building an army and informed him that the scientific progress of the kingdom had been such that he could now choose some sort of "idea" to guide the national spirit and that all of this would mean something in the whole realm of things.

EU3_136.jpg


As all he had been thinking of the past year was the army, he chose that, and the scholars left marvelling at the the king's wisdom.

* * * * * * *

Decade in Review

EU3_137.jpg


Thus after one and a half years of training, the king finally felt like he had a military force that was capable of defending the empire from most threats it might face.

EU3_141.jpg


The finances of the kingdom were in solid shape...

EU3_142.jpg


Giving him the ability, if he so desired, to field an army that could compete with the big boys.

EU3_143.jpg


(At least it's on the first page now, right?)

* * * * * * *

As it came time for the 10-year anniversary of the Vision, August Heinrich the First of Brunswick called the nation together for a grand celebration. He also promised a big bang...
 
Last edited:

NorthernFalcon

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Elsewhere in the world...

EU3_99.jpg


Naples ended up paying Rome some ducats after this one.

EU3_100.jpg


No, not Avignon! Anyone but Avignon!

EU3_101.jpg


Dear Castille: consider calling the crusade before you truce out next time.

EU3_111.jpg


This amuses me. Even if Aragon would annex them a few months later.

EU3_115.jpg


While we're talking about things you don't see every day...

Upon further investigation, Duldakir and the Ottomans are indeed at truce. Yes, Duldakir just whooped the Ottomans. Wow.
 
Last edited:

Throne

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Well, there's some progress, yes, yes, but no conquest. Why are you in lack of conquest? You have good income, two large armies, military drill, and perfect stability.

I am eagerly awaiting Brunswickian conquest.
 

Mattabesta

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about dunakir, in my last game as england they occupied the entiery of anatolia with the help of the timurd empire but then timur died and they ended up only asking for the relas of bulgaria.

any way gr8t aar one question: are you going to expand in the new world?
 
Last edited:

NorthernFalcon

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Chapter 2: Baby Steps

The Imperial Recorder

EU3_144.jpg


"Isn't that a -4 hit to stability?"

"Dude: I'm the Holy Roman Emperor! I have a two-province empire. I gain like one stability per month."

"Oh, right. And I suppose the money to send out spies is too valuable?"

"You're catching on."

EU3_149.jpg


"No, I'm not really surprised."

"Will they pay for their treason?"

"If I feel like it. Like right now, Saxony, an elector, would make a real good vassal. But one must finish this first war if one is to start a second."

EU3_150.jpg


EU3_151.jpg


Bremen fell after two months. Something about an 11,000 army assaulting their fortress.

EU3_152.jpg


Meanwhile, August was given the opportunity to further continue his policies of free trade, which he did.

EU3_153.jpg


However, this trader was a little bit less promising.

EU3_154.jpg


A few months later, August was informed that his kingdom's recent moves towards free trade had resulted in an invitation to join the Hanseatic league.

EU3_155.jpg


August accepted and changed the official name of the Kingdom to "Hansestadt Brunswick."

Meanwhile, the war was progressing nicely, albeit slower than desired...

EU3_157.jpg


as August annexed Oldenburg. Wait, what?

EU3_156.jpg


August: "If God really wanted me not to annex anyone, he wouldn't have told me to get access to the sea."

Nathan, of course, was furious, but handed the king knowledge of the sea as God had promised if August completed the mission. And, he brought more news...

EU3_158.jpg


"Again? Nathan, are you sure these messages are from God? I mean, is there anyone you're in love with?"

"Well, there is this cute farm girl I just can't stop thinking about..."

"Go marry her and cure your mind of its love-sickness."

"But I don't have a dowry..."

"Hans!"

"Yes, my liege."

"After you take that woman you... already have with you, to Anhalt-Dessau, give Nathan 10 cows to use as a dowry for the farm girl he wants to marry."

EU3_159.jpg


Well, I can't say I mind losing reputation after that annexation.

EU3_160.jpg


EU3_161.jpg


"God does have a point. I need to strength my position among the electors. Therefore..."

EU3_162.jpg


EU3_163.jpg


"Can't really argue with a casus belli and my besieging armies in the neighbouring province. Got to love that Saxon army, too. You're getting all this down on paper, scribe?"

"Yes, Emperor."

"Good."

EU3_165.jpg


EU3_166.jpg


"Rejected!"

EU3_168.jpg


And thus, the one-and-a-half year long war of expansion was ended with Brunswick double its previous size, and its coffers full of gold.

With the empire in favourable circumstances, Nathan the Prophet returned.

"Hear, O King! You have sinned greatly in the eyes of God! You have annexed a Kingdom, just as your father and his house was strictly forbidden to do, on pain of losing the blessing of God!"

"But Nathan, the war wasn't over yet! In fact, you've come just in time."

EU3_169.jpg


"You see, the old king of Oldenburg died in custody. (We had nothing to do with it, I swear...)"

EU3_170.jpg


"So I hereby pronounce you, Nathan the Prophet, Johannes the Fourteenth, Duke of Oldenburg!"

"Wait, what? I'm a servant of God. I refuse."

"But God came to me in a dream last night and told me that it was your new mission to ensure that the Oldenburgians lived pure, holy lives, as they had been slipping lately."

"I don't remember him telling me..."

"Sire! Sire!" A messenger ran inside. "The Oldenburgians have just desecrated the St. Lamberti Church!"

"I'm on my way!"

And with that, Nathan, er, Duke Johannes XIV, took off on the fastest horse he could find to set those Oldenburgians straight.

"How much did you pay them?" August asked the messenger.

"Ah, just a ducat or two. You'd be amazed what people in a looted town will do for money" the messenger replied.

EU3_172.jpg


And so August rested, in order to burn off some reputation. It was fortunate that August was such a diplomatic Emperor that the citizens of the Holy Roman Empire quickly forgave him of his evil deeds.
 

NorthernFalcon

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The Interwar Years

EU3_176.jpg


After much bribery, Hesse accepted an alliance with the Kingdom of Brunswick. August had designs to have Hesse conquer Trier, for reasons that were yet unclear to his advisors.

EU3_177.jpg


And after much bribery, the king allowed Mecklenburg to be counted as an ally of the great kingdom of Brunswick once more.

EU3_178.jpg


The youngest son of Nathan the Prophet, erm, "Duke Johannes XIV", coincidentally also named Nathan, came to see the King and took up duties as the official prophet of the Kingdom of Brunswick.

There was little question whether the King would invade Trier or bribe them. The question was whether he could do so while getting Hesse to follow them into war. To which the answer was, "not with that reputation!"

And so the King waited.

* * * * * * *

Defending the Empire

EU3_181.jpg


King August was mildly annoyed, but accepted, on the condition that he would lend support in name only. After Genoa was annexed by Milan a few years later (must have been a war leftover from Vaclav's days in the empire), the opposing parties offered a White Peace due to the fact they had yet to fight the Brunswickians after five years of war.

EU3_184.jpg


With Brunswick's position in trade improving, the King was unfortunately spammed with trade agreement requests in 1414 (and 1413, and 1412). All requests were obviously ignored, as they were beneath the majesty of the emperor.

King August grew impatient at waiting for his reputation to cool off, and prepared a declaration of war against Trier.

EU3_186.jpg


After noting who Trier's allies were, he once again regained patience.

EU3_193.jpg


August was disturbed once again by Empire politics, when the Teutonic Order decided to invade the Hansestadt city of Riga. At first, he considered leaving Riga to it's fate, until his spies informed him that Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, and Brandenburg had all abandoned the Order due to its aggression.

EU3_195.jpg


As you can see, the war went fairly poorly for the Teutons. After the city of Riga fell, they agreed to become vassals, something that the Emperor was sure to undo as soon as the Teuton capital fell not more than a few months later.

EU3_196.jpg


Not much later...

EU3_198.jpg


Once again, the Emperor briefly considered leaving Pisa out to dry, before being informed by his spies that Venice's allies had all deserted her.

EU3_199.jpg


Venice regretted attempting to expand into Terra Firma.

Meanwhile, August regretted going hunting over the weekend.

* * * * * * *

Karl I Wilhelm

EU3_200.jpg


After being bucked from his horse, which resulted in a broken neck and fairly instant death, August's brother Karl ascended the throne, as August had no children.

EU3_201.jpg


After much debate, the Empire narrowly voted that the new King of Brunswick maintain the title of Emperor.

EU3_202.jpg


The war went poorly for the Venetians.

EU3_203.jpg


And as Venice refused the idea of vassalship, Karl Wilhelm decided to add Italian holdings to his Kingdom.

EU3_204.jpg


Treviso was swiftly added to the empire, which resulted in the hilarity of Brunswick gaining 7 points of prestige in the eyes of the world, as well as Brunswick falling utterly in love with itself.

EU3_207.jpg


Meanwhile, as Karl was not quite as charismatic as August was, he fired the lesser master of the mint and replaced him with a diplomat.

EU3_210.jpg


Shortly after, the Kingdom regretted having chosen Pskov to release as opposed to Gotland. As there was little prospect of getting troops to the scene of the battle in time, Pskov was abandoned to the Russian hordes.

* * * * * * *

The State of the Empire

EU3_213.jpg


The Empire has not lost any provinces (yet), and has actually increased in size by one, due to the conquests in Treviso.

Austria became an elector, due to close relations with Brunswick, made partly possible because of a request for military access during the Venetian war. (Austria repaid our kindness by voting for... Austria in the elections.)

EU3_215.jpg


Brunswick continued her stunning rise as she became the third-richest nation on the planet. (Well, Europe at least.)

EU3_217.jpg


That's right, we get more income from our vassals than from the year-end census tax.

EU3_216.jpg


As only 2,000 more men were recruited this past decade, our place in the world military-wise did not rise all that much.
 

NorthernFalcon

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Mattabesta said:
any way gr8t aar one question: are you going to expand in the new world?

Answer: Yes, if I get to it. The new world won't be a priority, but if I finish off Asia quickly enough, or if I have colonists to spare, I'll consider it.
 

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Great AAR!
 

Olaus Petrus

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Interesting AAR. You certainly have managed to make yourself important power in the Empire without annexing anyone. Not an easy achievement.
 

NorthernFalcon

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Chapter 3: Why did the Chicken cross the road?

1420--A picture book for children

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In the year of our Lord 1420, the King of Naples thought he could add to his many lands by conquering the city of Siena.

But the city of Siena was part of the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne, and so the great King Karl Wilhelm was sworn to protect its independence.

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Meanwhile, Karl continued the tradition of Free Trade established by his father and brother.

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August Talken, a trader attracted by Karl's policy of free trade, was however deemed incompetent, and allowed to pass on.

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The next year, the Kingdom of Wurzburg was found to be in great disorder, and Karl thought it was an imperial necessity to invade and restore order.

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Karl was also testing the loyalty of his allies. The King's pre-eminent intuition was confirmed by the betrayal by each and every one of them.

The King was shocked to discover that Bavaria and Osnabruck would defend this mess. He wondered aloud if they had paid the revolters.

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The revolters in Wurzburg were rapidly put down, and order restored.

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Meanwhile, Munster was made to pay for their poor decisions.

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Hesse was also made to pay for their treachery.

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But the empire began to feel the pressures of a three-front war.

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And thus Hamberg was lost to the Viking hordes.

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The premature death of valued Mint Master Sanc Amic resulted in there being no suitable replacement available.

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Thus Karl reluctantly hired a second diplomat to help his reputation.

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Brabant had supported Hesse despite their treachery, and thus were conquered, though reluctantly, as it was a cousin on their throne.

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Out of an act of great mercy by King Karl, Hesse was permitted to keep Nassau.

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Hesse promised to answer the call next time.

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With the northern fronts taken care of, Emperor Karl Wilhelm could finally focus on the southern frontier.

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Bavaria was made to pay. Ducats, that is.

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Finally, all that remained of the empire's enemies was but one--Naples. But while Naples was in bad shape, the war had taken a toll on the emperor's native land as well.

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While so many neighbours and allies betrayed the king, Karl never dreamed the nobles would also desert him in these most difficult times.

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The nobles found much support in the Bavarian occupation lands.

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Though they had the numerical advantage, the Bavarian rebels were defeated.

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But the Empire was stretched to the maximum. Naples was offered pardon for her sins if she restored Siena's independence, to which the King of Naples agreed.

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All these wars saw the emergence of a talented young officer who was permitted to lead the armies in stead of the King, who was now aging and could no longer fight in the field.

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Christian Ickelrath was not the greatest of generals, but he was competent enough and Karl Wilhelm trusted him.

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Meanwhile, Friedrich August Talken was honoured by all of Europe for his brilliance in managing Brunswick's trading activities. Given this...

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the honour was certainly merited.

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And so with the death of the final rebels, the kingdom rested after seven long, hard years of war.
 
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NorthernFalcon

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Did I Just Hear an Echo?

"Sire!" A messenger appeared.

"What is it? Speak!"

"Siena is under attack!"

"Again?"

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"What are your orders?"

"We'll help them out."

An adviser interrupted. "But, your Majesty, the Kingdom is in shambles!"

"The Holy Roman Emperor is to defend all his subjects at all times. Not just when it is most convenient. Dispatch our armies at the soonest possible date."

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The King was shocked to discover that Wurttemberg had joined Milan in their aggression. As they were the nearest target, Wurttemberg was the first to pay.

Three and forty days later... [I kid you not]

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Note the Milanese troops in Treviso.

The following spring...

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"Sire! Bad news! The Teutons have invaded Riga!"

"Again? But I'm busy beating the snot out of Milan."

"Riga will surely fall without your assistance."

"Tell them my troops will be on the way once I'm done with Milan, but given the distance between Lombardia and Riga, they may have to hold out for a while."

"Riga will be grateful for your continued support, I'm sure of it, my liege."

"Messenger!"

"Yes?"

"No, not you: I wanted messenger number two! You're supposed to be going to Riga!"

"Right away, sire!"

Huffing and puffing

"My Lord!"

"Go to Ickelrath and tell him to speed things along in Lombardy."

"Already on my way, Emperor."

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The empire was temporarily distracted by a conflict between the clergy and a well-known philosopher. The King did not care about the outcome, and was heard to have flipped a coin to determine the winner. Either way, the instability it brought the Kingdom was unwelcome.

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Milan fell a few months later, in August of that same year. Peace was granted in exchange for Ancona and Liguria.

Sadly, Milan did not fall quickly enough.

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"NOW THEY SHALL PAY!!!"

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King Karl Wilhelm I raised a third army to help destroy the Teutonic Plague upon the Empire.

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While the troops were being raised, Johann Schutze, a Talken disciple, had become talented enough that the King granted him a regular pension.

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Facing a wrathful Emperor Karl, the Teutons stood little chance, and were found begging at the Emperor's feet all too soon.

Karl demanded Warmia merely to spite them.

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With peace restored to the Empire, Karl quickly restored Ancona, Genoa, and Riga to power. As Ancona had been out of power so long that the old dynasty had died out, Karl's favourite nephew was granted their throne.

* * * * * * *

Farewells and Hellos

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Shortly thereafter, some merchants decided to leave the Kingdom. Karl blamed the war, and hoped that he could get a rest from further war in the near future.

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Galt, the Emperor's last good diplomat, kicked the bucket not much later. After a state funeral, and discovering that there were no diplomats available, a position was made available to Johann Karl Eickenroth, a scientist, mainly because his middle name was the same as the Emperor's first name.

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Eickenroth persuaded the emperor to invest solely in Production Science, claiming that if he left all his money in his hands, he would deliver a scientific advance known as a "workshop." Karl Wilhelm was intrigued by this idea and granted Eickenroth his entire research budget.

* * * * * * *

Guess Who's Hot Now?

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The King was honoured by a delegation from France, who came to promise their first-born of the king, Princess Marie, in marriage to his son, the Crown Prince of Brunswick.

Only three days later...

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The King was honoured yet again, and accepted an alliance with England. He was surprised by this sudden increase in status accorded by the major powers of Europe, and decided to take a few days off to examine the progress the kingdom had made in the last decade under his rule.

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"Um... sire? What are you doing?"

Gets up, brushes himself off, tries to look innocent

"Nothing..."

"You know that those are irreplacable, imperial documents, right?"

"Which is why I wasn't doing anything."

Makes slashing motion across neck

"Of course you weren't doing anything. I was mistaken. Apologies, my liege."

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"As the Ming and Timurids are legends that have not yet been proven to exist, I actually have the third-largest army in the world."

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"Clearly, I'm making room in the Empire for all peoples. God would be proud of me."

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"I didn't know I owned a gold mine."

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"Halfway to Habsburgs!"

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"All that, and you still can't make me out on this map? Ickelrath, do something about that!"
 
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