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What does it mean to be a saint? What does it mean that someone is a saint, a ruler in particular? Do holy rulers never expand their realms, never declare a war on their own on an adversary? Do they live in cold austere cells in their royal or lordly castles? Do they abolish all taxes and open their treasuries to the poor or do they add new fiscal burdens on their subjects to finance the war in the Holy Land or to fund the construction of new cathedrals and abbeys? Speaking of which, do they give a half of their provinces to the church or outright hand them over to the Pope as exempt lordships? Do they abdicate and live out the rest of their years as monks when they reach old age? The answer to all of these questions is: some yes, some not. Each one is different and has different tasks to accomplish, a different role to play. They have one thing in common, though: a calling. One that they answer.
The Lives of the Saints
In this AAR, we will be doing something different. We will not be covering the rise of a dynasty through centuries, from relative obscurity to the heights of fame... or vice versa (for indeed it is possible for a family of royal stock to devolve to nearly common peasantry, while we are all equal before the Lord). We will be travelling through centuries and places, zooming in on the mediaeval saints. We will not be trying to replicate their historical lives (unless for flavour and familiarity, where possible and where nothing else makes significantly more sense). Instead, we will be loading up the character in CK2 and seeing where we can take it. Some things will be very similar, others may be vastly different. There may not be the arrow or axe that interrupted the thread of life or it may hit or fall more speedily. There may be different fights, different challenges... and the difference may prove insignificant in the end for it is principle what matters. Will the saint still be recognisable? Will we even manage to play a character who might possibly be the material for a saint? In the end we will not know, but we may as well take the journey.
Note from the author: I would like to thank the folks who were with me through my first AAR (this one). There wouldn't be this one without their kind reception and encouragement. The idea finalised somewhere near the end of the discussion of that AAR. Like the above introduction says, we will not play long enough to see the future generations of the family (if any) gather the fruits. Works which are interrupted by death will be left unfinished. There will not be a huge blob 200 years later. I will not be taking any of these games any further than the character's death, although I may reload if if it happens too early (or, in some cases, too late, as with someone who died young). It will also be a balancing act between replicating some of the choices in line with the general idea of where the character went historically and where the character might have gone in such circumstances as currently true in the game, which may be different and justifying or even requiring a different reaction. This is alternative history. Events may and most likely will happen decades earlier or decades later. Empires will fall that have survived, different ones will form, wars will be fought by different opponents, some characters will not be born, others will just not die in the battle that didn't happen or of the illness that didn't catch; and we have less control over the development of a character's personality traits than we do of our lives. It will be a tale but not a narrative; on the contrary, a hands-on gameplay. If this goes well, I might start a different cross-epoch AAR, focusing on different types of characters, e.g. the most memorable rulers, the underdogs, people who should have succeeded but didn't etc.
The first instalment has arrived:
King Louis IX (Capet) of France
King Louis IX (Capet) of France