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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

unmerged(19936)

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Thought you could sneak a new AAR by me?

Don't worry, by the time you get back from your vacation this AAR will be 3 pages long with nary an official update to be seen :rofl:

The pictures aren't showing up for me, so for the ai, I just pictured an antiquated arcade machine.
 

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Farquharson,

I've not read any of your adventures for a while :eek:o , but its nice to see you migrating across time periods. I'll be following your exploits.
 

Farquharson

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Wonderful! People have been replying while I was away!

Van Engel: Yes, I'm afraid I have turned from the true faith of EU2, but I don't regret it at all! :eek:

bluelotus: A glorious history of the Árpád family? Well, that's certainly the plan! ;)

Kaiser Ludwig: Thanks! This is the kind of helpful advice I was hoping for. Regarding assassination of the King, however, I've decided not to go that route, for role-playing reasons - Géza is after all suposed to be chaste, merciful and trusting!

Semi-Lobster: Thanks - I'm already loving it!

stnylan: I hope so.

Grundius: Beware - I only decided to buy CK after I started surreptiously reading CK AARs - no-one is safe from the creeping menace! :p

coz1: Great to have you reading! So far I'm finding it at least as much fun here as in The Other Place.

Paranoid Tsar: As I've said, I can't see Géza as a kin-slayer anyway. Three-toed sloths, on the other hand... Look out - the sloth-slayers are coming! :D

JRoch: Heh, heh! Another unsuspecting EU2 player lined up for Mind Manipulation! :p

Zeno: Well, I'm sorry for the wait, but as you see, I'm back. AND I've got the next update all ready! :)

siekel: I had kind of guessed that Paradox had hard-wired Salamon's childlessness. Still, Duke Géza doesn't know that, so we can pretend there's still some suspense, eh? ;) And BTW sorry for saying that you're AAR was finished when it wasn't! It is now, though, right?

Troggle: As you can see CK readAARs are much better behaved - less than one page and I'm back! Sorry for the picture hiccup - it was a temporary fault with my ISP, who provide the webspace where I host everything.

Garuda: Thanks - I'll hope you'll stay with this adventure.

And as I said, the next update is all ready...
 

Farquharson

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Chapter One: 1066-70
My Big Fat Greek Wife

The life of Géza Árpád, Duke of Slovakia, had so far been dogged by tragedy. First there had been the tragic death of his father King Béla of Hungary by the agency of half a ton of toppling solid oak throne whose centre of gravity seemed to have gone somewhat astray. Géza, who should have succeeded his father as king, had then found his place usurped by his cousin Salamon. Next had come his first marriage, to the Dutch noblewoman Sophie van Loon. After a short period of wedded bliss Sophie had died giving birth to their first child. Little Kálmán survived, but with a lifelong deformity - a hunchback heir to the throne of Hungary.

In 1065 Géza married again, this time to a Greek woman, Teophano Synadenos from the court of Byzantium, whose ample proportions couldn’t but remind the Duke of the great throne of Hungary. In Duke Géza’s daydreams, he often pictured his young cousin Salamon playing innocently near the throne, noticing just too late its hideous bulk lurching over towards him as the killer furniture sought to claim another victim. However it was not to be. Of course Géza’s spy mistress, the flamboyant schemer Borbála von Friedenthal, urged him incessantly to have the young usurper assassinated, but Géza was far too saintly a character to stoop to such methods.



Borbála von Friedenthal: deceitful, suspicious, Intrigue 11 "Why risk waiting?"​

We now join the good Duke Géza and his Greek wife in January 1068 riding home together from a New Year celebration at the home of his vassal the Count of Nitra*. This sumptuous event had not actually been organized by the Count himself, who was after all only thirteen years old. Rather, all the arrangements had been made by the Count’s able chancellor, the formidable Sára Omodej*. The Duke and Duchess had eaten extremely well, a fact now regretted most by the Duchess’s small shaggy mount who now toiled beneath her copious weight up the road leading back to their mountain stronghold of Trencín*. The Duchess herself had other worries on her mind:


Teophano Synadenos, the well-endowed Duchess of Slovakia​

Duchess Teophano: That Hontpázmány boy is such a stuck up prig, don’t you think darling?

Duke Géza: Really my sweet, what a way to talk of the Count of Nitra.

Duchess Teophano: Well he is! Just look at that mansion he lives in - it’s... it’s palatial!

Duke Géza: Well, he is a Count after all.

Duchess Teophano: And you’re a Duke, dear - but our home is nothing but a hovel in comparison!

Duke Géza: Well, it’s... cosy, I’ll give you that. But set amid such wonderful scenery!

Duchess Teophano: Can’t you have it extended a little, darling? Just for your own cuddly sweetie-poohs?

Duke Géza: Of course I’d do anything for you my dear - but money doesn’t grow on trees you know.

Duchess Teophano: Speaking of which dear, you are going to let me be steward now aren’t you? I’ll be ever so good at looking after everything I promise.

Duke Géza: Ahem - well, yes I suppose I did promise once Rózsa* got married you could have a go...

Duchess Teophano: Oh darling! I’ve just had such a wonderful idea! Why not just revoke the Count of Nitra’s title - then you could live in that nice palatial home!

Duke Géza: Now dear, that doesn’t seem quite fair...

Duchess Teophano: Oh please, darling? Please, please, please, please, pleeeeeease!

Duke Géza: Well I suppose we could give it a try. We’ll need to get Matild onto it though. Otherwise that wily Sára Omodej won’t let the Count do anything.

Duchess Teophano: Oh darling, you’re so... so... dukely!

Duke Géza: Dukely? Whatever will you come up with next, dear...

And so, as soon as the Duke and Duchess got back home to Trencín, Géza’s own extremely shrewd chancellor Matild Lauri* was sent to Nitra to persuade the Count of Nitra that being a Count wasn’t really all that exciting and perhaps he would like to grow up to be something else instead. Especially since he was afflicted with such a terrible stutter.


Matild Lauri: vengeful, honest, Diplomacy 10​

Chancellor Matild Lauri of Slovakia: Greetings excellency! I trust you and all your family are well?

Count Lampert Hontpázmány of Nitra: I... I... I...

Chancellor Matild: Well I’m so glad to hear it, excellency. Now I’ll get straight to the point - your liege Duke Géza has decided to revoke your title, so you won’t have the terrible worry of that responsibility hanging over you any longer - doesn’t that make you feel good?

Count Lampert: I... I... I...

Chancellor Sára Omodej of Nitra: The Count strongly objects my lady. Such a demand is unprecedented!

Chancellor Matild: Really? But let the young lad speak for himself!

Count Lampert: I... I... I...

Chancellor Matild: I’ll tell you what, excellency, let’s make it easy for you. All those in favour of renouncing all claims to the title “Count of Nitra” say “Aye”.

Count Lampert: I... I... I...

Chancellor Matild: Excellent, excellency. I told the Duke he could count on your full co-operation! Heh, heh! Well, that’ll be all for today, I think. The removal carts will be round tomorrow. Don’t feel you need to take everything with you though - any contributions left to the Duke’s household will be gratefully received...


The new ducal palace in Nitra​

And so the poor young Count had to move out, and the Duke, and more particularly the Duchess, of Slovakia were overjoyed to move into their new palace in Nitra. However, despite the increased revenue to the Duke’s coffers the Duchess still didn’t feel they were as wealthy as a Duke and Duchess ought to be. Later that year she came home full of excitement with an unexpected purchase:

Duchess Teophano: Géza darling, you’ll never guess! You know you’re always saying money doesn’t grow on trees?

Duke Géza: That’s right dear, it certainly doesn’t!

Duchess Teophano: No darling, you’re wrong! Apparently it does - look!

She holds out her hand which contains some small objects.


Duke Géza, peering intently at the objects: Acorns?

Duchess Teophano: Magic acorns, darling! I bought them from an old peasant woman I met by the roadside. Apparently, money will grow on the trees that grow from them!

Duke Géza, worriedly: Wait a minute, dear. You say you bought these... “magic acorns”?

Duchess Teophano, faltering slightly: I... I thought you’d be pleased darling...

Duke Géza: How - er - how much did you pay, exactly, dear?

Duchess Teophano: Oh dear... You don’t think she was lying do you, darling?

Duke Géza: How... much?

Duchess Teophano: A... a hundred gold pieces, darling... But I thought they’d pay for themselves in no time, really...

Duke Géza: A HUNDRED GOLD PIECES!? But that’s practically our entire treasury! You’ve spent our entire treasury on a handful of acorns!

Duchess Teophano: Oh dear... And she was so convincing, really she was. Perhaps I’d better plant them anyway - just in case...

Duke Géza: Yes, do that dear - do anything you like. As long as you get out of my sight for a while...

We should now turn our attention to the wider affairs of the Kingdom of Hungary. Young King Salamon’s main preoccupation at this time was the bringing of the light of the gospel to the pagan Pechenegs to the east. Just as Stephen I had transformed the pagan Magyars from an unruly tribe of unwashed hooligans into a flourishing Christian kingdom only seventy years beforehand, so everyone had great hopes that High Chief Kabuksin of the Pechenegs would soon follow suit. To hurry things along, King Salamon had sent several armies to help liberate the Chief’s people from the error of their ways. So had the King of Poland, the Prince of Galich, the Prince of Polotsk and the Emperor of Byzantium. In fact, liberating the Pechenegs seemed to be all the rage these days.

The trouble was that Salamon was, of course, totally inept when it came to actually liberating any of the Pecheneg provinces. Duke Géza and his younger brother László Count of Bihar decided they had to act fast before all the Pecheneg territory was swallowed up completely by other well-meaning liberators. While Duke Géza mobilized his own army in Nitra, László also raised some troops in Bihar.



László Count of Bihar, Géza’s able younger brother and vassal​

They then marched together and laid siege to the Pecheneg fortress of Tirgoviste. By the time they had captured it, with some help from some of King Salamon’s own forces, it turned out to be the only remaining Pecheneg province. Duke Géza, as principal instigator of the whole operation, was duly awarded the liberated land.


The former territories of the Pecheneg tribe showing how they were divided up​



The Kingdom of Hungary in 1070, showing Duke Géza’s new capital in Nitra and his newly conquered lands of Tirgoviste​

The Duke returned at the head of his victorious army to Nitra in a state of elation, to be met by his wife Teophano in a state of even greater elation. Firstly she was holding in her arms her first son, Sándor*, born while the Duke was away on campaign - a little half-brother for the hunch-backed Kálmán. Secondly, she led him proudly to a stand of trees near their sumptuous home. On drawing closer, the Duke noticed that they were oak trees - but the acorns growing on them were each held in place by a little cup of pure gold. Apparently not all the poor peasant women in Hungary were fraudsters and con-women.

Meanwhile the Duke’s cousin King Salamon continued to display outstanding ineptitude in practically every department. Most notably, in four years of marriage he and his young German Queen Jutta had failed to have any children at all. This suited Duke Géza the current heir to the throne very nicely, and was useful ammunition in discussions with his spy mistress Borbála, who continued to bombard him with ever more ingenious schemes for doing away with the King before he should produce an heir of his own.



King Salamon of Hungary - handsome but hopelessly inept​

*Pronunciation Guide

NB in Hungarian the stress is always on the first syllable of a word.

Nitra = nee-tra
Sára Omodej = shah-ra oh-moh-dey
Trencín = tren-tseen
Rózsa = roh-zha (zh like “s” in “measure”)
Matild Lauri = mateeld low-ry (rhymes with dowry)
Sándor = shahn-dor
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Excellent fun indeed - especially the negotiations.

Oh, and dukely!!!!!
 

bluelotus

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Good update:)

Little correction : next time write Rózsa instead of Rozsa ;)
 

Van Engel

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Good ol' Farq style. :D And plus this is my 1100 post. :D
 

unmerged(10727)

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I've got to get some of those Magic Acorns!

Nice to see you get some land from the Pagan. Usually that area has a bad habit of turning purple.

That might have been the best "revoking of a title" scene ever. Looking forward to the next update!
 

Grundius

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Perhaps he should use the duchess as catapult-ammunition for taking down a pagan fortress or something...

Great update Farquharson, looking forward to the rest.
 

Farquharson

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stnylan: Kingly, princely, dukely - makes sense, right? ;)

J.Passepartout: The poor Count of N... N... Nitra! Of course, Duke Géza had to step out of his merciful character slightly to agree to this ploy, but at least he wasn't there in person to witness the Count's humiliation! :D

bluelotus: Thanks! I've done one better and gone back and edited the last post - just to confuse everyone who looks back to see what you're on about! :D I also changed Trencin to Trencín, which I noticed I'd also missed the accent off. Please keep reading and correcting!

Van Engel: Congratulations that man! (*sigh*... :rolleyes: )

Paranoid Tsar: I must say I was a bit taken aback by how quickly everyone rushed to tear the Pechenegs to pieces! Do they always disappear so fast? And they did turn mostly purple as you can see - I only managed to grab a slice for Hungary by the skin of my teeth! :)

Grundius: Well I'm focusing on siege warfare, but such innovative ideas as wife-hurling are still a long way off I suspect. :D

Thanks to all for following - next update in a few days.
 

coz1

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Good thing those trees ended up bearing some fruit - otherwise, the Duke's wife seems a terrible spendthrift. Never an easy thing to deal with. To bad about the Pechenegs - at least you got a little something out of it. And as for the king - just assassinate his male heirs - that should do it without resorting to regicide.
 

Semi-Lobster

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Well there's always more places to expand to Farq, I'm sure the Arpad's will come up with something, afterall, if they don't, nothing will happen! ;)
 

unmerged(28944)

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My of my, Farq strikes in CK and has made his mark! I'm still laughing on the revoking of the Count's title! :rofl:

Can't wait to see how the history of Hungary comes alive in your handling! :D
 

Farquharson

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coz1: Assassinate the king's male heirs? Er, well - Duke Géza is the king's male heir. So if, as siekel maintains, Salamon is sterile, getting to the throne is going to be kind of easy! :)

Semi-Lobster: The great thing about CK, it seems to me, is that things are always happening, even if nothing of any great importance. It's still fun to watch. ;)

Draco: I don't know if the history of Hungary is going to "come alive", but it's certainly never going to be the same... :D

Behold, Chapter Two approacheth...
 

Farquharson

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Chapter Two: 1070-80
Schemes, Dreams and Little Darlings

The Ducal Palace, Nitra, September 1070.

Borbála von Friedenthal, spy mistress of Slovakia: My Lord, here they are - the plans for my latest Flamboyant Scheme!

Dramatically she unrolls a parchment covered with complex drawings and scribbles

Géza Árpád, Duke of Slovakia, with a slight sigh: Hmmm - that looks very interesting, Borbála - what is it, exactly?

Borbála: A killer escritoire, my Lord! Tis a veritable masterpiece, even though I say it myself, Sire. Picture the scene... Young King Salamon opens the lid in preparation for doing his lessons using his newest acquisition when - ZAP! - a poisoned dart flies out from a concealed compartment, striking him in the neck. Within minutes he lies dead. Duke Géza of Slovakia is proclaimed the new King of Hungary!


The killer escritoire - an artist’s impression​

Duke Géza: Ahem, yes. Very... flamboyant...

Borbála: I knew you would be impressed, my Lord! When can the construction begin?

Duke Géza: Well, now Borbála, let’s not rush into things. First of all, how do you actually plan to get this... killer escritoire into the hands of my cousin King Salamon? Whoever gives him it will surely be put on trial for high treason!

Borbála: Yes, my Lord, I had of course thought of that. The King will be induced to purchase this piece of furniture from an old peasant woman whom he meets at the roadside, who claims that it is a magic escritoire - one which will actually write his lessons for him! Young Salamon will almost certainly fall for this ruse - after all, Hungary is simply crawling with such old peasant women peddling their magic wares by the roadside.

Duke Géza, dubiously: Er... yes, perhaps. And how much would this project cost exactly? I know money grows on trees now, but it seems to grow awfully slowly as far as I can see.

Borbála: Er... yes, my Lord - as always you have in your wisdom hit on the trickiest aspect of the scheme. The artifact will of course have to be of the highest quality - fit for a King, in fact. The finest materials, fashioned by the most skilled artisans, transport costs, etc, etc. Not forgetting the preparation of the poisoned dart and the delicate engineering of the release mechanism. Then of course the silence of all those involved in the scheme will have to be bought. It won’t come cheap I’m afraid, Sire.

Duke Géza: How much, Borbála? Just give me some figures.

Borbála: Errm... well, my rough ballpark estimate comes to around... five hundred and seventy-five gold pieces, my Lord.

Duke Géza, choking: WHAT??? We can’t afford that much, you imbecile! The treasury currently holds... let me see... exactly forty-two gold pieces.

Borbála: Well, couldn’t we, you know... save up...

Duke Géza: Save up my Aunt Fanny! The whole thing is preposterous! And anyway, as I keep pointing out, Salamon and Jutta have so far had precisely zero children. It’s quite clear that the King is not going to produce any heirs of his own. We simply have to wait and I will inherit the throne quite naturally. Killer escritoire, indeed!

Borbála: I might remind you that King Salamon is several years younger than you, my Lord. If you wish to sit on the throne of Hungary yourself, it may not be prudent to simply wait.

Duke Géza: Yes, yes. Well, actually I’m quite happy being a Duke for the moment. Young Kálmán will certainly be King even if I am not.

Borbála: Then I fear my talents go to waste, my Lord.

Duke Géza: Nonsense! You know I rely on you to keep me informed of the undercurrents of the realm, Borbála. Your role is absolutely vital!

Borbála: Very well, my Lord. In that case I suppose I had better go and monitor some undercurrents... Good day!

Rolling up her parchment once more she leaves the room in a huff.

Duke Géza, now alone: And yet... it might be nice to sit on the throne of Hungary... But no! What am I saying? There must be a hundred better ways of spending our money...

And so Duke Géza of Slovakia put all thought of murdering his own cousin to the back of his mind and concentrated on making the Duchy of Slovakia the wealthiest, most advanced and happiest duchy in Hungary. Actually, it was currently the only duchy in Hungary, but never mind that... In any case it was not long before another route to the throne presented itself. Within a month Borbála was back:

Borbála: My Lord - I bring news of an undercurrent!

Duke Géza: Oh yes? More peasants drowned in the Danube again is it?

Borbála: Nay, my Lord - I speak of... dark undercurrents of intrigue and treachery!

Several crashing notes of organ music are suddenly heard from an unknown source

Duke Géza, looking around in alarm: Goodness me! I thought everyone in Slovakia was happy these days!

Borbála: In Slovakia, yes, my Lord. But there are rumours abroad... Vid Guthkeled*, Count of Bacs*, vassal to the King has died and his son Keled has inherited his title.

Duke Géza: Well, that hardly seems like the end of the world - the old codger has had one foot in the grave for years.

Borbála: Never mind the old codger, Sire. Count Keled is the one to watch. Tis common knowledge that he takes a sceptical view of Salamon’s claim to the throne. He has sent an offer of an alliance with you, my Lord, saying he is prepared to join you and any others who are like-minded in open revolt, to overthrow the usurper and establish, as he puts it, the rightful heir on the throne.


Count Keled - somewhat disloyal...​

Duke Géza: Hmmm... Does he now? And tell me, Borbála, this... dark undercurrent of intrigue and treachery * pause for sudden organ music again * - does it run deep throughout the whole realm?

Borbála: Ah, well... no, not as such, my Lord. Really just in Bacs, actually.

Duke Géza: A case of one bad apple spoiling the whole Bacs, eh? Heh, heh, heh!

Borbála, poker-faced: I fear this is no jesting matter, my Lord.

Duke Géza: Ahem, no - of course not. The trouble is, even if the Count of Bacs were to support me in open revolt, what about all of Salamon’s other vassals? Wouldn’t they support him?

Borbála: Most, yes, my Lord.

Duke Géza: We’d be hopelessly outnumbered, in other words.

Borbála: Most probably, yes, my Lord.

Duke Géza: Ah well - I think we should decline the offer then. It was worth considering, though - good work, Borbála.

Borbála: Perhaps we could have Count Keled assassinated instead, my Lord? I have this idea I’ve been working on...

Duke Géza: No, thank you Borbála. I think we’ll just leave well alone for the time being. Just... keep monitoring the undercurrents, Borbála.

So Borbála kept monitoring the undercurrents, which were, it must be admitted, rather few and far between, while Duke Géza and his good wife concentrated on boosting the prosperity of the duchy. More magic acorns were procured from old peasant women and planted in other provinces, and a library was built in Nitra. Meanwhile, the Duke’s prestige grew by leaps and bounds. When a new star suddenly appeared in the skies over Hungary in 1074, the Duke reassured the superstitious peasantry that this mysterious omen signified nothing less than a new Golden Age approaching for the Kingdom of Hungary - under the faithful hand of the Árpád dynasty, of course.

By 1076 the Duke’s prestige far exceeded his somewhat meagre treasury, and at Duchess Teophano’s instigation he decided to revoke another title. Ince Balog*, Count of Gemer*, was the unfortunate victim this time, being the vassal with the wealthiest lands. He was however rather older and wiser than the Count of Nitra had been, and he was not afflicted with even the hint of a stutter. Indeed he was an energetic fellow, renowned, as Chancellor Matild Lauri herself was, as a Gruff Diplomat.



The Count of Gemer - a Gruff Diplomat
Even gruffer than Matild?​

In April Matild visited the Count of Gemer and the two had an extremely gruff conversation. As the gruff banter went back and forward, their voices became ever deeper and throatier, until at last they could barely speak. The Count managed one last retching refusal and Matild realized she had met her match. This man was, if anything, even gruffer than she was. The Duke now had a claim on the Count’s title, but Balog remained defiant.

A few months later, hearing that the Count was suffering from a spot of laryngitis, Chancellor Matild hurried back to Gemer to confront him once again. In her very gruffest voice she laid her case before the Count, who now didn’t stand a chance. After only five minutes he capitulated and silently scratched two words on a slate and held it up for Matild to read: “I QUIT”. The County of Gemer would henceforth be ruled directly by Duke Géza.



The Kingdom of Hungary, showing the Duke of Slovakia’s lands in 1080​

We must now turn to the Duke’s immediate household, for he and the Duchess had been anything but idle during this time when it came to making up for King Salamon’s ineptitude at keeping the Árpád dynasty alive. Little hunchbacked Kálmán was growing up, receiving a court education, being snubbed by his fat stepmother, killing pets in self-imposed isolation, being harassed by his playfellows and generally having a happy, well-balanced childhood. He was obviously destined to become a good and wise King of Hungary.

It will be recalled that Teophano had also given Duke Géza a son, Sándor, born in 1069. So adept was little Sándor at beating up his older stepbrother that it was decided to give him a martial education. The only thing his teachers reported was that he always tried to get back at others - it seemed like a good sign.

Not content with producing one heir to the throne, however, Teophano gave birth in 1072 to another son, János*, and in 1075 yet another, István*. János seemed like a contented, loving little child, so he was sent for an ecclesiastical education. Always seeking compromise rather than conflict, he was the only one who treated poor deformed Kálmán at all nicely. In return, Kálmán showed him how to kill pets. To his horror, János discovered that he actually quite enjoyed joining in with this perverted pastime, and consequently began to suffer from stress. The future royal family seemed to be shaping up nicely.


*Pronunciation Guide

Vid Guthkeled = veed gooth-keh-led
Bacs = batch
Ince Balog = een-cheh ba-lohg
Gemer = geh-mer
János = yah-nohsh
István = eesht-vahn
 
Last edited:

coz1

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The killer furniture seems to be a bit of a running theme in Hungary. Who knew? Perhaps a poisened bedpan...or I hear fire pokers are quite deadly on their own accord, much less when wielded by a person's hand. ;)

I'd watch out for all those revoked titles (true - only two so far I think). That will surely effect loyalties.
 

Maccavelli

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lol im really enjoying this AAR lets hope u keep giving us ck AAR after your done with this one.
 

stnylan

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The perils implicit with buying magic items from old peasant women at the roadside...

All you need now is for one of the children to go batty and you'll have the finest royal-familty-to-be that Christendom has ever seen.
 

unmerged(15337)

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If I ever visit Budapest I will have to check the furniture very carefully before I sit down. :p

Poor Borgala! She's just trying to be helpful, and Geza refuses her plans every time. Too bad.

I don't have the game, so I'm just wondering -- what are the consequences when you revoke a title like that? Surely you can't get away with such a blunt power play very often?