The Dangers of Inheriting

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Kovax

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I was painfully reminded that inheriting a country is not all roses, there are a few thorns to be aware of.

England managed to end two long, costly wars, one against France with a White Peace, and the other versus Burgundy, in which Burgundy relinquished a few core claims. That left England with maximum War Exhaustion, and badly depleted armies insufficient to put down the multiple revolts in Scotland and Ireland, which they had been unable to gain automatic "mission" cores on due to the lack of two provinces held by Denmark. The English king passed away soon after, leaving the country in the hands of a relative with low legitimacy. I jumped on the opportunity, scrounging up the 100 ducats to seek for scraps of old documents, or created them if they didn't exist, in order to prove my sovereign's right to rule England. Note, it's normally rather unthinkable to invade England when your Naval Force Limit is 2.

Taking advantage of military access rights to Scotland (who were down to one province), I sent almost my entire army to the British Isles, one brigade at a time, enacted the spy mission, presented the documents, and declared war. England fell fairly easily, with barely any forces to contest it. A few bribes, an alliance, and military transit rights later, and Relations were back to positive (barely). Not even 4 months after the end of hostilities, my own king passed away. Unexpectedly, despite the "will continue" status showing for the status of the Personal Union, his son (4/6/5) inherited England. His low Administrative skill was inadequate to avoid an "OVEREXTENTION" penalty for all of the new non-core provinces.

That was the obvious and at least somewhat expected situation. What I had not anticipated was that England had put a ridiculous amount of effort into establishing colonies in the frozen wastes of northern Canada, and built a few colonies in the Caribbean as well, but had put no money into them due to the war and the economic collapse that followed. That left me with around 12 colonies with less than 100 colonists, all of them requiring money, but not generating any revenue because none of them had been completed. It also left me with a pirate problem, and a shortage of ships to guard my trade routes in order to gain tariff income if/when any colonies were actually completed.

In other words, the simple 100 ducat investment has turned into a massive money pit, and it will be decades before I can straighten out the finances, build ships to drive off the pirates, and burn off the Revolt Risk that's currently reducing the meager 10% of the displayed tax revenues that one actually gets from the non-core provinces down to essentially nothing. In the long run, it's a game-changer. In the short run, it's an economic disaster. Be careful of what you wish for.
 

Kovax

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Another campaign, another inheritance issue. I joined the HRE as an outsider very early in the campaign, and over the course of the next 3 decades, managed to force a PU on Savoy. Cleves suddenly and unexpectedly entered a PU as well, giving me 2 PUs before 1450, and I was looking forward to inheriting them as cores within the HRE. A couple of decades later, Burgundy's army got trashed in a war with France, France took 3 provinces, and after the humiliating defeat, the king of Burgundy was overthrown in a wave of violent revolts. Once more, my spies did their thing, and Burgundy joined the ranks of Kingdoms my king ruled (indirectly). The war wasn't kind to France either, despite them winning, and the British (who unified the isles quickly) decided to take full advantage. France lost Normandy and some remote holding in Spain to Britain, and as with Burgundy, the French king didn't survive the aftermath. Less than half decade after Burgundy, France joined the ranks of countries under my king's personal banner. To top if off, I added Lithuania (blobbed considerably from its initial size) to the list in the 1510s.

Almost another 100 years later, in spite of Relations in the 180-200 range, Prestige and Legitimacy around 100 for all but a couple of years (during Westernization), Trust rising quickly into the "Utter" category due to me putting down constant revolts in their territories, and my country having an army that's now almost 3x the size of France's or Lithuania's and more than 10x that of Burgundy, I still haven't managed to inherit a single one of them.

I could "integrate" them (possible after 50 years in a PU), but that would (A) give me a point of infamy for each province, and France has 26 provinces, (B) give me non-core HRE provinces in the case of any of the others, which in addition to the initial 1 Infamy per-province penalty, would add another +0.25 Infamy per province per year for the next 50 years. At this point, inheriting is the only viable way forward. The conspiratorial-style "randomness" of this game is frustrating at times, and I can naturally assume that I'll (eventually) inherit both France and Lithuania at the same time, which will pretty much guarantee an Overextension penalty and a shortage of Magistrates to rebuild the buildings lost upon transfer. My earlier hope was to inherit Burgundy and Savoy quickly, then annex a vassal to bring my infamy up at a controlled rate in order to lose the Imperial Throne, then exit the HRE so I'm not faced with that "Illegal HRE Province" penalty each month, and can begin annexing the rest of the HRE at my leisure. Getting 20+ points of Infamy in one shot, followed by further annual increases, would be catastrophic. The end goal is to absorb the HRE entirely, without BECOMING the HRE as would happed if I pass the remaining reforms, but this has already inflicted close to a 100 year delay in the process.
 
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Kovax

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Another 50 years, and I STILL haven't inherited any of those 5 countries in Personal Unions, but Britain's king passed away and my ruler inherited them, along with their scattered empire and dozen-plus incomplete colonies. My next ruler was rather weak (4/4/5), and all of those British non-core colonies, plus my own colonies, provinces taken from the Golden Horde (including Astrakhan), and those from the Ottomans, Mamluks, and Syria, all combined to inflict an Overextension penalty. Chasing down a never-ending stream of rebels on scattered Caribbean Islands and remote corners of Scotland and Ireland, as well as the distant horde lands, gets to be tedious.

Meanwhile, the most vexing point is that France is the Protestant Defender of the Faith, and Burgundy is the Reformed Defender of the Faith, so I can't declare any wars on either Protestant or Reformed countries without breaking the PU with one or the other, and Burgundy at one point went to war as DotF with one of my vassals. I had to drag out my own conflict with Golden Horde for another 3 years until that was settled, otherwise I'd have been automatically dragged into a war in support of my PU partner against one of my own vassals.
 
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Kovax

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Well, that's enough of that campaign. Rage quit.

The presumed heir to that weak 4/4/5 ruler was a much more promising 7/8/5, and when he turned 14, I made the mediocre king a General in hopes of speeding up the succession. A decade later, around 1620, the heir died, and the king died only a couple of months later. A random noble took the throne, and I lost all 5 of those PUs, including the one that had been ongoing since the late 1430s. His heir is female, which would mean losing the Imperial Throne as well upon the next succession. The RNG giveth and the RNG taketh away. Game over, objective failed.
 

ktx2skd

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Ah, sad that ended, but we live & learn I guess, and this is kinda how it goes with us all sometimes when there's hardly a "you lost" screen :)

I recall always hearing the "inherit/continue" message being unreliable, as in both just indicate the union will not end, rather than a specific outcome. I personally thought "they will enter a PU under you" was reliable too, until recently I had it fail a few times.

On that note, I'd like to know if & who you united without spies, while playing who. I've been failing repeatedly over 2 or 3 campaigns in uniting either Austria or France as Castille, the claim just gets lost when their ruler dies. At least in 1 case I even loaded saves & waited or cheat-killed their ruler a few times and the same thing happened, but when I decided to test cheat-annexing more territory first, interestingly that specific union succeeded on first try... although I was bigger in land count, economy, & army to begin with...

As for inheritance, I recall a thread citing older tests that ruled out (maybe in too?) things from being factors into inheritance. I ran into it by some search, maybe try & find it for benefit? I do recall being smaller is an obstacle for inheritance, but not sure by how much. I don't know your exact country, but from the possible options there's hardly one of safe size, and that's comparative to my challenges in uniting. Inheritance would unsurprisingly not be easier.

This reminds of one time where Muscowy got united under me without me trying, and integrating them would've been lethal as they owned more than my infamy limit, and still expanding due to hordes near them XD

As for colonies, you can always just shut down their maintenance and risk their demise, as at least in the first scenario you can't afford, didn't expect, and didn't sign up for them after all. I don't think their population will drop under 10, aside from native/invader interactions. Also, note that overseas territory doesn't count for overextension.

Subjects against subjects... I had seen once "they are guaranteed by your vassal" before, but don't remember if I tried to declare war. Just to be clear, you think or you know your subject will drag you against your other subject? I know I've vassalized many people who are at war, and allied them hoping they ask for my rescue, but they never did, even though I think they're technically capable, but maybe the AI assumes "impossible" on my part? It wasn't ever subject versus subject though.
 

Kovax

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I was playing Hungary in that campaign, and Cleves entered a Personal Union willingly, as did one other one-province minor. All of the others were acquired by way of espionage, granting a quasi-legal claim followed by a war.

In other campaigns, I've "accidentally" inherited Bohemia (that was NOT amusing, since Austria wanted the HRE provinces back), England in one and Scotland in another, and a host of smaller countries, generally 2-3 per campaign, with typically 10-20 Royal Marriages for the majority of the time. In my latest game, playing Burgundy, Castille unexpectedly entered a PU with me, and I only had around 8-10 Royal Marriages at the time. You can expect it to happen at least once in almost every campaign, if you spam Royal Marriages, but you can never depend on it. Worse, I have NEVER entered a PU with a vassal upon the death of their king, despite having Royal Marriages with a moderate number of them in most campaigns.

From what I've read, size doesn't affect inheritance, but relative ARMY size does. Wreck a county's army totally to enforce a Personal Union, pump a pile of money into gifts to boost their opinion of you, and if you get back to decent Relations before their army is rebuilt, the odds of inheritance are often pretty good. Once they've got their troops back up to strength, it's a bit less likely.

As for "guaranteed by your vassal", I've faced the situation a couple of times before, and in each case, the vassal honored the guarantee, dragging me into a war against a country (or countries) I didn't want to fight. I've also allied after a freshly-entered PU, or got called by a vassal, who was LEADING a war, on at least two occasions, so I prefer to keep a country fully occupied until they're no longer involved in other wars, and only then vassalize them. Junior members of a war coalition cannot call allies into a war, only the war leader can do so, from what I understand.

One example of how to deal with the issue was a mission-inspired war against Ragusa, which was allied to Wallachia and Byzantium, all of which were already at war with Venice. I fully occupied both Ragusa and Wallachia, but did not settle with Ragusa for well over a year, until Venice and Byzantium ended their war, otherwise I might have vassalized Ragusa only to have it annexed by Venice.
 
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ktx2skd

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It seems you do not utilize the "Claim Throne" function, which is where my issue lies. I used to be able to utilize it effectively the more I learned about it, but recently it's been failing quite consistently. Maybe it's a 5.2 thing that I'm only now starting to realize.

As for army size... on first glance if I try to extend that logic to success of claims, then it wouldn't make sense due to my cheat-annex test noted earlier, but then again my sample size was too small. I ought to test it better when I find time.

As for uniting vassals, well, I wouldn't be surprised if the game had an exception on that. If we'd wanna know this for sure, we'd need a test where a save would be loaded containing many married vassals, cheat-diplomats and prestige to cancel all vassalages, and then cheat-kill-ruler many times to see what happens, then repeat the test but using only the cheat-kill-ruler step, and compare. I'd personally do all of this without un-pausing, and, I know heirs beyond the currently showing are generated on the spot, instead of being stored in the save, I mention this because I've once wanted to mess with ruler's life for a reason I can't remember, and I found out my ruler had 10 heirs in a row all between 25 and 40 in age. Knowledge of things that make this chain of children occur more likely might help to avoid cheat-un-regency in case heir is too young, and I do like minimizing the types and amount of cheats or abnormalities used in any test.

I'd like to note that at least on my side, the cheat for killing rulers stops working against a certain country after X uses. I think I tried the ruler-killing event too and they both break together I recall...

Fun thing about unions and vassals, I do know you *can* send a spy on another person's vassal, enter a war, and you can negotiate a union with the overlord, but in reality you will be uniting the vassal with that negotiation, and you'll legit end up with a country that is a subject vassal to one realm, and a junior in union to another realm. You can also excommunicate some vassal, go to war, and again the CB will apply on the overlord in negotiation, but this time you'll be vassalizing the overlord instead of vassalizing the vassal. On that thought, you know if Castille ever vassalizes a Muslim Granada, it would be a window to legit annex Castille using Holy War CB, despite being a non-heathan.

[...] so I prefer to keep a country fully occupied until they're no longer involved in other wars, and only then vassalize them [...]
That is my approach too, exactly because of the Venice situation you've mentioned. I'm looking forward to run into your guarantee/DotF in my game-play though :)

[...] Junior members of a war coalition cannot call allies into a war, only the war leader can do so, from what I understand.
Almost. It seems in addition to the war leader, the war target can also call allies (edit: I mean if after they handed over leadership they ally someone). The thing is the situations I complain about were similar to your Venice situation, and my newly acquired vassal *is* the war leader most of the time, and yet they don't call me for defense. I recall as a human I can make the call when I loaded from their perspective (maybe I should double-check), but I wonder if the AI is just unable or just dissuaded because of an improper "impossible" rating, after all when attacking AI vassalized by AI, overlord always joins as far as I remember, and if the vassal wasn't allied, a human overlord is forcibly dragged into the war without an option of refusal.
 
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