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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Konig15

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I'll go the long way, then. Except another update sometime between now and Monday morning! :D
 

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The Crusading Tradition
Henry the Saracen Slayer part III

It is the common fate of sons to be misunderstood by their fathers, and of fathers to be unloved of their sons, but it has been the particular bane of the English throne.
-John Harvey - Richard I, page 58

henryiiofenglandillustrow6.jpg

Henry II as rendered in Cassell's History of England (1902)

Ah, Ohio, is beautiful in the summer, yes? Even in the stinking city. Like I’ve always said I have no problem with Columbus except it’s a city, and I will always be a country boy at heart.

No good sir, I have no money.

Jimmy, I wasn’t about to give that bum money; he’d just spend it on illicit narcotics.

No, Jules but I have a very good inkling. And I trust my gut. I wouldn’t have let it get this big otherwise. Ha ha!

…Well I thought it was funny. Anyway, let’s go to Pochie and sip on the overpriced milk tea, shall we?

OK, I said I was gonna talk about Henry II and his conquests, so let me finish up while we’re walking.

We have to talk about two Saints of the Plantagenet Empire if we are to ever understand the fate of the realm: Thomas a Becket and Muhammad the Berber. Both were ambitious, brilliant men, but whereas Thomas a Beckett was more of a politician, Muhammad more of a spiritual guru, but both severed England well, as long as old Hank behaved himself.

Oh you guys know about Thomas a Beckett?

Beckett was in deed murdered after Henry stupidly exclaimed, “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest.” What you may not know is that for a long time he was a good friend and faithful servant of Henry, and that’s what makes his death so tragic. Henry simply didn’t mean what he had said, but rash words can cost people more than their pride. And not only did the murder of Beckett in 1170 cost the King problems in the realm…

…Oh yes, I neglected to mention that after the battle of Sivas, Henry departed from the east, never to return, within a month of Sivas, he had settled back in his court at Angers, where, a party, and probably a little tipsy, he said those famous words. Not only had Beckett been a good steward and diplomat, he was also the lifeline between Rome and Henry. Henry had to return most of the money he had been given for the crusade, which amounted to about 3,500 Pounds, but by this time, he holdings in Egypt were tightly secured and the Crown was making substantially more monies that it really needed…

beckettpo5.jpg

Murder of Thomas a Beckett

You see…well your right Jules, that is an extreme exaggeration, but the point is, even by the end of the Plantagenet Crusade, Henry was able to recover most of the costs by putting his own men in charge of tax collection, militia duty and even castle ownership. Many of the same nobles who bought Henry’s castles in England and France exchanged them for castles in far off Libya or Spain, or the Rumlands, where Henry’s eyes were not so watchful. This could have been a disaster for Henry, and in North Africa it nearly was. And then a miracle happened: Muhammad the Berber.

Muhammad the Berber was as important to Berber and Arabic Catholicism as St. Olaf was to Scandinavian Catholicism and St. Augustine of Canterbury was to English Catholicism. Did you guys see Voice in the Dessert a couple of years ago? No? It’s all about him, it’s a good movie. He was originally a Berber scout of some note, before finding himself walled up in Cordoba in 1156 by Henry’s forces. Supposedly he prayed to Allah, the Muslim God, asking him to give victory to the Muslims in their hour of need. When the city surrendered, he prayed to the Christian God saying if he was allowed to go home in one piece, he would follow Him all the days of his life.

Call it divine intervention, but Henry, like I said before, did not allow his soldiers to take one copper penny, not to ravish one woman. And I think this impressed the young Muhammad more than any prayers. Long story short, he took up the cloth, and became a friar. Now, Now, the rules were often bent for fellows like him, converts: he refused to change his name, stating that if it was a bad name, he would do his best to make it good enough for a saint. He was allowed to keep his wife, Marium, and by her he had seven children of which only two survived, and both their lines continue to this day. I know NOW the Catholics don’t allow any sex for the priests, but that was still almost 100 years into the future for Mo.

Mo went home to North Africa, a rough place En-Nassaria, where he preached the gospel from memory, and five times, yes five times defeated the local Imam in debate, and by 1170, he had convinced the ruling elements of the city, including the Imam, to convert to Christianity. They trekked to the sea, and there was much rejoicing as for 10 days, people came, and camped and were baptized one by one. Now there is one story that the Muslims in the city, and it was virtually all the Muslims who remained, shut the doors against the new Christians and would not let them in. Well, according to this story, Muhammad came to the door, knocked on it loudly and commanded it to open. At that moment, a terrible earthquake stuck, collapsing the gate and killing 7,000 people in the city, and none of the new converts outside. Now, the earthquake is not in dispute, but was Muhammad the Berber there? I will leave that up to you

But that story was believed by Henry, who, eager to appease the Pope after the death of Beckett, sent money and supplies and by his death, the Berbers had, almost to a man converted to Catholicism. I believe the numbers today are 5% non-Christian?

St. Muhammad was considered such even in his own lifetime; such was his conviction, decency and all around goodness. He worked tirelessly for the conversions of the Arabs around the Berber areas too, but Henry would not give him any financial support for that as religious policies were to show tolerance towards Muslims and let the priests do their own thing. Nonetheless, St. Muhammad the Berber wandered the desert for almost 30 years from his conversion to the day he set foot in the city of Tlemcen in 1190, where he said St. Augustine of Hippo bad him go in a dream. There he preached for several months, until a large crowd gathered. Some wished to convert; the others swore to kill any who deserted the faith of the Prophet. It is said that the converts were larger, but the fires of fanaticism burned in the Muslims so hot they killed them all systematically. Meanwhile, they seized St. Muhammad and tore him to pieces with their bare hands as he tried to bless them. They tore out his tongue. At the cathedral in the city, where he is buried, on the spot of him martyrdom is the relic of the Tongue of St. Muhammad. It is said that it still salivates and who ever touches the spittle of the saint will be granted great wisdom. To each his own I guess. In any case, the murderers of the martyrs were sold stricken with leprosy and kicked out of the city; they came back after supposedly crying out to St. Muhammad and begging his forgiveness for their sins. With their rapid healing, the entire city converted. With some prodding by the local magistrate and clergymen I might add.

berberfacecj0.png

A modern rendition of what St. Muhammad might have looked like as a young man

Now there’s the issue of the East. A very surprising thing happened in the Levant. That the Greeks rejected the Catholic views of Fliloque and other such non-issues is no one’s surprise, what is, is how readily the other Christian variants so readily adopted Catholic beliefs. The Turks and Persians in Tabriz, the Syrians in Lebanon, the Nestorians in Mosul (that would the Arab name for Nineveh), they all converted and reconciled to Rome within a decade of the conquest, and what in unexplainable is why the Arabs would convert as well. Truth be told, it wasn’t THAT hard to figure out.

Henry made a compromise with Rome: they would put a pro Roman Patriarch in Antioch and Alexandria, and in turn, the Patriarchs would have full leave way in administration of their territories. And Henry in turn leaned on him HARD to conduct services in the vernacular, so unlike the services elsewhere, one did not need to know Latin or Greek to understand the sermons. Knowledge of what your priest is saying is generally a good thing if you want to get your neighbor to come in with you.

So the Antiochian Catholic Church had three services a day in the cities: one in Latin, one in Arabic, and one in Syrian, and likewise the Alexandrian churches had three as well, only sub Coptic for Syrian. And so the Peoples of northern Mesopotamia, one and all, kissed the Pope’s as….ring, kissed the ring.

But not all was peaches: the "Angevin Curse" of infighting between father and sons, is infamous amongst the Plantagenet rulers. Trying to divide numerous lands amongst numerous ambitious children resulted in many problems for Henry. He gave over many of his lands in France to his son Henry the Young King, but Eleanor, that bitch, turned all her children against their father except for John, the youngest. It got so bad Henry had to lock her away in a convent until he died, and even this did not stop the viper
In 1173, Young Henry and Richard moved against their father and his succession plans; trying to secure the lands they were promised. While both Young Henry and Richard were relatively strong in France, they still lacked the manpower and experience to trouble their father unduly. He should have executed his son for treason, but I guess in the end, he was the Saracen Slayer and I’m not.

In 1182, the Plantagenet children's aggression turned inward. Young Henry, Richard and their brother Geoffrey all began fighting each other for their father's possessions on the continent. The aggression was exacerbated by French rebels and the French King, Philip Augustus. This was the most serious threat to come from within the family yet, and the King faced the monastic tragedy of civil war. However, on 11th June 1183, Henry the Young King died. The uprising, which had been built around the Prince, quickly collapsed and the remaining brothers returned to their individual lands.
“He cost me much, yet I wished he lived to cost me more.” That’s what Henry said about his rebellious son. I hope someday I can love someone like that.

The final battle between Henry's Princes came in 1184. Geoffrey of Brittany and John of Ireland, the youngest brothers, had been promised Aquitaine, which belonged to elder brother Richard. Geoffrey and John invaded, but Richard had been controlling an army for almost 10 years and was an accomplished military commander. Richard expelled his fickle brothers and they would never again face each other in combat, largely because Geoffrey died two years later, leaving only Richard and John.

The final thorn in Henry's side would be an alliance between his eldest son, Richard, and his greatest rival, Philip Augustus. John had become Henry's favorite son and Richard had begun to fear he was being written out of the King's inheritance. In summer 1189, Richard and Philip invaded Henry's heartland of power, Anjou. Defeated, Henry II met his opponents and agreed to all their demands, including paying homage to Philip for all his French possessions.

Weak, ill, and deserted by all but an illegitimate son, Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, Henry died at Chinon on 6th July 1189. His legitimate children, chroniclers record him saying, were "the real bastards." His eldest remaining son, and conqueror, was crowned Richard I of England on 1st September 1189.

What was the good news? As the Greek Empire fell apart under the misrule of Andronicus Comnenus and then the infamous Angeli family, many of its pieces in the east defected to the relative safety of the Plantagenet Empire, the internecine fighting contained to France. Most of the Rum Provinces converted by Henry’s death, after the spilling of much blood and ink, and I do mean that quite literally. And in Ireland, the province of Meath was handed over to Henry directly in 1167 by the Scots, followed by the annexation and vassilation of the other four Irish provinces. Henry was unable to add the title of High King of Ireland to his extensive title lists, but Richard the Lionheart would.
 

Saulta

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An excellent update :) Can't wait to see more!
 

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Pitiful end for Henry.
Just a question: you are not going to change the 'historical' part of the game in any way? I mean, will Richard die in 1199 and will the throne go to Lackland? I would consider leaving Rick alive... But that's just me. :p
Very nice update ;).
 

Konig15

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Sorry for the lack of updates. I just got a holiday job and my time is limited. I will try to have an update ready by Saturday. Wish me luck!
 

Konig15

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The Crusading Tradition
The birth of English Byzantium part I

Several months later…

Theresa, I must say it’s great seeing you again! Now that we’re finished with lunch, what do you want to do?

Hear a story?

Well, I do like hearing myself talk! Ha ha ha! But seriously what do you want me to tell you?

How about I tell you about the fall and rebirth of the Greek Empire? I’ll give you a summary, ask for dates if you wish.

Alright here goes: once upon a time, the Greek Empire was the most powerful civilization in Europe. But they fought over it, squandered it, and finally lost it. But it was a slow process.

In the 11th century the Greeks controlled Greece, Armenia, Serbia and Bulgaria. But after the defeat of Mantzikert, most of Anatolia, that is, the part of Europe past the Bosporous* was lost to them, only to be recovered with the reluctant help of the First Crusade. Under the Commenian dynasty, much of the Empire was restored, especially with the help of Henry II of England who…

…OK you know that. But after Manuel the Great died his son was deposed by his cousin, who was deposed by the infamous Angeli dynasty. Now, you have to understand that the first Angeli, Isaac, was a poor leader in times when good ones were needed. He basically offered the army a huge pay raise, which he was unable to give, the army deserted, and the Hungarians attacked, stripping the Empire of all the gains of Manuel the Great’s conquests. He had conquered all the Balkans and a good chunk of Hungary. And worse, they “liberated” Serbia, and the Bulgars rebelled, and then just to add more fun to the mix, there was some sort of spat between Isaac and Queen Tamar of Georgia. And guess what happened? Invasion, again. Only the tax monies from the English Rum kept the Empire alive, but just barely.

But the monies were tight. See, there once was a douche named Raynald of Châtillon. He was a powerful baron in the court of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Raynald was rich, rich as Nazis, but he was greedy, so he went out and raided caravans, and worse, assaulted the city of Mecca itself. Mecca? Islam’s birthplace, holiest city in the world to the five or six Muslims left on this planet. Raynald was HATED by Muslims, who back then were quite numerous, well armed and famously homocidal.

At this time, there was a rising star in the court of the Abbasid Caliphate. We know him as Saladin, and he was a no bullshit kinda guy. People said a lot of good things about him on both sides. Saladin was building an army in his capacity as Vizer to the Caliph, who in the tradition of all pious Muslim leaders was to drunk, stoned and stupid to leave his harmen. If only Popes had such a lust for life; then we’d never know the joys of Immacualte Conception or Transubstantiation! Yes, I know, that was a cheap shot. Point is Saladin was really in control and making the most of it.
It was at this time that Raynald, once again, raided a rich caravan and had its travelers thrown in his prison. Saladin demanded that the prisoners and their cargo be released. The newly crowned King Guy of Jerusalem appealed to Raynald to give in to Saladin's demands, but Reynald refused to follow the king's orders. Have you seen Kingdom of Heaven? Then you know what happened next.
Saladin marched across Jordan surprising the English garrison there, and proceed to beat the shit out of the Crusaders at the battle of Hittin and then retook Jerusalem. Henry II of England was not pleased. His realm was under attack, and his reputation was looking bad. He was trying to organize a Crusade to retake the Middle East and end the Caliphate once and for all, but he died fighting his sons.
But the Crusade went forward. The Kings of Europe cried in one voice: Oh woe Muslims, fuck you and fuck your God. We are going to beat the living shit out of you. But in the end, the burden of war would naturally fall to merry old England and her new king, Richard the Lionheart….

*Whether Anatolia is Europe or Asia seems to largely depend on whether you consider Turks to be European or not. Since the Turks never Turkified Anatolia in this world, Greece extends at least Kurdistan, and thus, Anatolia down to Antioch is considered Europe.

Note: Sorry for the lack of updates and pictures, but I’m getting this puppy back into action!
 

Konig15

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The Crusading Tradition
The Birth of English Byzantium II:

richardlionheartbl5.jpg

Richard the Lionheart

Richard the Lionheart! Theresa what shall I say about the old poof?!

Well, at least that’s what they say anyway. Anyway, back to the story:

You know I really don’t want to get into the Third Crusade. What’s interesting is what comes AFTER, yes!

To make a long story short, most of the kings didn’t comes, Frederick Barbarossa died in Selaph River, Richard was a bit smarter and went the long way around with the help of the Royal Navy, which he founded to transport his Crusaders to the Holy Land. Now there had been English Fleets before, but these ships were owned lock stock and barrel by the king himself. It was a massive undertaking, mostly they purchased the old fleets of fishermen that had been used by Henry II, but new ships were put to commission and were picked up by the Holy Fleet as they went by. In total over 200 ships of various types made their way to the Middle East.

Here’s the timeline of what happens:
Richard sets out in 1189, and right as he gets to Gibraltar, Grenada rebels from Aragon. Richard can’t resist: he storms the city and annexes the region to English Andalusia.

Richard heads to Sicily, drinks too much and sacks Messina freeing his sister Joan who had been and imprisoned after her husband had died

Then Joan’s ship, along with the army’s pay went aground on Cyprus, and in a move only an early movie villain would do, Isaac Commenus, the self appointed despot of the island imprisoned her, Richard’s fiancée and took all the money for himself. Then he gave the finger to Richard. Not a good idea. Richard conquered the island in days, and promising not to put the rascal in irons, made the prick wear chains of silver. Richard then added Cyprus to the possessions of the Plantagenet Empire. And there, for once, was great rejoicing.

Deciding Joan was bad luck (and indeed women on ships are! Ha ha ha! I’m kidding, I’m kidding, please let go of my testicles!) …Ow, thank you, I really wanted kids. Ahem, Richard sent her back to England.

Long story short, Richard beats the living hell out of Saladin time and time again, retakes Jerusalem, and is about to put Baghdad under siege when, Philippe Augustus, in a move that will be oft repeated in French history, stabs an ally in the back by announcing he’s going home. Richard nearly has an aneurism, and has to agree to a white peace with Saladin.

What follows next is the stuff of legend. Richard is captured by Leopold of Austria of the way back to England, and the German Emperor holds him for ransom. John misrules, Robin of Locksley becomes Robin Hood, Philippe stabs Richard in the back and tries to take over English France.

But here, the bitch of Aquitaine, Richard’s mother totally redeems herself. The German Emperor demands a payment of 150,000 marks. Eleanor doubles it to get Richard back immediately.

Then Richard came back. Richard overthrew his brother, married off Robin of Locksley to Maid Marian:

kingrichardks7.gif

From this day forth, all toilets in the Kingdom will be known as…Johns!
Nooooooooooooooo!

He beat the every living crap out of the French, it was blitzkrieg man! And then he did the unthinkable: He made Philippe HIS vassal. The Plantagenet Empire was now free of any pretense of loyalty to France. In 1197, Richard united the Irish under the English banner, forming the first British Empire and making Richard High King of Britain:

britishflaghz7.jpg

Rule Britannia baby!

Interesting thing, despite the movies, English knights never actually wore the British Emblem (and technically it wasn’t a flag until 1701) as a tunic over their armor, rather, only for ceremonial purposes did even the bodyguards of the King wear them. Blue dyes were expensive!

Oh, and if Richard didn’t invent the St. Patrick’s cross out of his ass, no one knows where else it comes from, but damn I like it!

Well Richard ruled over a peaceful kingdom, even as the Greek Empire crumbled to dust.

In March 1199, Richard was in the Limousin suppressing a revolt by Viscount Aimar V of Limoges. Although it was Lent, he "devastated the Viscount's land with fire and sword". He besieged the puny, virtually unarmed castle of Chalus-Chabrol. Some chroniclers claimed that this was because a local peasant had uncovered a treasure trove of Roman gold, which Richard claimed from Aimar in his position as feudal overlord.

In the early evening of March 25, 1199, Richard was walking around the castle perimeter without his chainmail, investigating the progress of sappers on the castle walls. Arrows were occasionally shot from the castle walls, but these were given little attention. One defender in particular was of great amusement to the king — a man standing on the walls, crossbow in one hand, the other clutching a frying pan which he had been using all day as a shield to beat off missiles. He deliberately aimed an arrow at the king, which the king applauded.

However, another arrow then struck him in the left shoulder near the neck. He tried to pull this out in the privacy of his tent but failed; a surgeon, called a 'butcher' by Hoveden, removed it, 'carelessly mangling' the King's arm in the process. However, the wound swiftly became gangrenous. Accordingly, Richard asked to have the crossbowman brought before him; the man turned out to be a boy. This boy claimed that Richard had killed the boy's father and two brothers, and that he had killed Richard in revenge. The boy expected to be executed; Richard, as a last act of mercy, forgave the boy his crime, saying, "Live on, and by my bounty behold the light of day," before ordering the boy to be freed and sent away with 100 shillings. Richard then set his affairs in order, bequeathing all his territory to his brother John.

Richard died on Tuesday, April 6, 1199 in the arms of his mother; it was later said that "As the day was closing, he ended his earthly day." His death was later referred to as 'the Lion [that] by the Ant was slain'. His last act of chivalry proved pointless; In an orgy of medieval brutality, the infamous mercenary captain Mercadier had the crossbowman skinned alive and hanged as soon as Richard died. He was 41.

1200nd3.png

World of 1200
 

Konig15

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There seems to be a derth of interest.

Did I do something wrong?! :confused:
 

Konig15

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To anyone left to read this:

Do you want me to continue? Do you just want an abriviated version? I'll give until the end of the week, and then if no one responds, I'll give this one up. I like this story, it would be nice to know what I've done wrong here though.
 

Konig15

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Well, I will continue. Bad news is my computer is currently on the fritz so when an update come, well... your guess is as good as mine. But, unless I lose all data, it will come.
 

Konig15

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The Crusading Tradition
The Birth of English Byzantium part III

kingjohnlacklandsv4.jpg


Ah Theresa, don’t leave yet! This is the last part of the story I swear!

How much do you know about King John?

What do you mean, ‘he became king?!’ Oh geez.

OK, here’s the long and short of it. Because Richard had no children, at least legitimate children, John was the rightful heir to the throne, his past treacheries aside. Now despite the Robin Hood legends, John was a very capable, efficient, and LITERATE administrator. But like the legends say he was suspicious, treacherous, avaricious man who did not respect traditional rights and privileges of the barons.

1202 was a momentous year for the new British Empire. In Venice, knights gathered for a new crusade against the forces of the Caliph of Baghdad. However the Doge of Venice, Enrico Dondola, blind from age and sheer wickedness, plotted to loot the greatest city in Christendom, using these knights as patsies.

BUT, it didn’t look that way, because John had done a very naughty thing. He had kidnapped his future queen Isabella from her fiancé Hugh X of Lusignan. She apparently wasn’t too unhappy at the situation, bearing John five children. The Barons were outraged at this, especially in France and used the opportunity to declare themselves vassals of France again. Philippe Auguste for his part declared himself no longer a vassal, as did the barons of Scotland.

Even so, the king of Britain commanded phenomenal forces. He controlled…oh about a third of the old Roman Empire. But John was so unpopular that even his most ardent supporters were half-hearted, and his enemies called him ‘soft sword’ for his military ineptitude. The Pope seeing an opportunity to take down the most powerful man in Christendom down a notch, provoked a fight over investiture of bishops, and then excommunicated the king. 17 years of constant warfare followed. John lost, that’s the beginning and end of it.

As you might be aware Theresa, in 1204, the knights of the 4th Crusade brutally sacked Constantinople, forever ending the Greeks pretense to being Romans. Here the local potentate, Sir Peter of Devonshire, AKA the Prince of Cappadocia used the opportunity of the City’s fall to ferment rebellion. While Queen Tamar of Georgia ruled, there was no danger to Georgian holdings in the Greek lands, despite constant troubles. Upon her death however…things took a turn.

In 1212, the broke and desperate ‘Latin Emperor’ whose name I have never even bothered to learn, made…shall we say a bad move. To gain the support of his subjects, he adopted Eastern rites, and declared the Patriarch of Constantinople equal to the Pope. Not a formal break with ‘Mother Church’ but it was close enough that the Pope instantly excommunicated him, and wasting no time, the prince of Cappadocia sailed into the Bosporus and put Constantinople under siege.

John, despite his troubles at home, saw a golden opportunity to salvage his reputation, and personally supervised the siege, though day to day operations were handed by the Prince of Cappadocia

On May 26, 1214, the Queen of Cities fell once again to a Latin army. The next day, John had himself crowned Emperor of the Romans (Romania claims including the Balkans, Anatolia, and much of the Middle East). So John sailed home, happy as a clam, unknowing that the barons were waiting for him and would force him to sign the Magna Carta the next year.

johnmagnacrt19635lgbp6.gif


Despondent over many things, John got dysentery and died on October 18, 1216, leaving the realm in a state of war and a nine year old son on the throne.

Churchill best summed up the legacy of John's reign: "When the long tally is added, it will be seen that the British nation and the English-speaking world owe far more to the vices of John than to the labuors of virtuous sovereigns."

God has a sense of humor I suppose. And John was the butt of one of those jokes.

1216su6.png
 

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I am ashamed to say I had not realised this was still ongoing - somehow I missed it.

The idea of John being a sort of cosmic joke I rather like, I must admit.
 

Konig15

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OK guys, I got something of a problem. I just seemed to have run out of steam on the storytelling front. The reign of my Henry III is GLORIOUS from a gameplay point of view. Wars abound! Conquests and conversions and even the largest real estate sale to date in that world! And yet, I don't know how to tell it without droning on and on about what a great king Henry had to have been (or rather how much money he could raise to pay for massive Pw3nage armies). He's frinkin Ghengis Khan only without leaving England.

Basicly England had no real competion anymore. The only real competion are the Hordes because everyone else is too small and petty to challenge the English jugernaut. So what should I do, if I might be so bold as to ask my readers? :confused:
 

stnylan

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If it is becoming not fun to do, I suggest you just bring things to a close.
 

Saulta

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Or you could put an incompetent king on the throne when Henry dies. One who would ruin everything that Henry has achieved. However, if you have lost interest it's better to do as Stnylan says. Trust me, I should know :eek:o