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Introduction and Rules

quicksabre

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Hello! I am planning to run a semi-interactive AAR (rules approved by @Qorten) where the goals and personality of each monarch are directed by a different commenter. Format will be varied depending on what the events inspire me to write, but will probably largely be informal narrative or history book. Here are the rules:

Each update will cover one monarch, unless I need to break up a monarch’s reign into multiple posts.

At the end of a monarch’s reign, the first commenter to reply can describe what the next monarch’s goals and personality will be (Edit: If you are the first commenter and don't want to participate, that's fine too. Just leave a note saying that you are skipping your right to describe the monarch, and the second (or third, etc) commenter can do it). I will interpret these goals and personalities based on 1) the detail of the description (the more detailed the description, the more nuanced the monarch will be) 2) the relevant monarch stats and perks. For example, if my monarch’s goal is to ‘attack France’ a poor monarch might just DoW within a few months of taking the throne, while a good monarch might work to create an opportunity to fight them on favorable terms. Alternatively, if the monarch is described as ‘a patient man looking for an opportunity to reduce the might of his French rival’ I will take a more cautious approach regardless of the monarch stats. Feel free to get as nuanced or simple as you like! Also, feel free to describe bad monarchs! One of the things I am excited for in this play through is having to deal with more setbacks than I do in a typical gameplay-oriented playthrough.

When describing a monarch, please describe personalities and goals only. I plan to play each monarch through before posting an update, so you won’t have an opportunity to give input on specific events. I will do my best to make decisions based on the vision of the monarch you described, however! Also, I take all responsibility for bad player decisions.

You may post a short ‘first’/‘reserved’ message to hold the spot to give yourself time to edit the post and write a more in-depth description of the monarch if you want. Please don’t use this to hold a spot while you go do something else. If it has been more than a few hours and I notice a ‘reserve’ post is still up, I reserve the right to open the floor again.

I would like to keep this first come first served for now, but if you want to participate and find you are unable ever to get the first reply to describe a monarch, message me and I will reserve it for you. If I have reserved a spot for you, I will message you. Please post within 24 hours or let me know if it will be longer.

I will be playing as Denmark because I feel that there are a lot of opportunities for different styles of gameplay - Land game, naval game, colonial game, Protestant, Catholic, trader, HRE, diplomat, etc. all seem like viable options for Denmark. Further, Denmark is powerful enough that I don’t feel I need to be playing optimally for the game to run smoothly, but also isn’t so powerful that I can stomp everyone no matter how crazy you all decide to make the Danish kings. Finally, the fact that I could make a silly reference to Hamlet in the title sealed the deal.

I will not be playing on ironman, but I will let you know if I do anything that would be disallowed (save scumming, console, etc). I don’t plan to do anything that would be disallowed by ironman, but depending on where this goes I’d like to have the option, at least, of changing things for the sake of the story. Since there are no specific goals for this run I don't know how long it will go, but I hope we have fun along the way!

Edit: I should probably mention that I have all DLC except Dharma, and am not using any mods.
 
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quicksabre

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Here is our first mad monarch:
Danish Diplomacy.png
King Christopher III Von Wittlesbach, King of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and overlord of Holstein.

England, Lithuania, and Poland consider him their enemies. He has relatives on the thrones of the Palatinate and Bavaria. The complexities of ruling so many kingdoms leaves little room for other strong alliances, however.

Here is the starting situation. Pretenders have risen up in Gotland.
Denmark Starting Situation.png

What will this King's reign hold for Denmark? For the world?
 

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A cunning slimeball that attempts to unite the Wittelsbach lands under his crown while also attempting to ally France in order to establish a beachhead on the British isles at the expense of his English rival.
 

Idhrendur

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I'll definitely be following this. Probably always too behind to suggest motivations, but still enjoying.
 

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I will try to follow, but may well not be able to actively participate.
 
Chapter 1 - King Christopher III, 1444-1471

quicksabre

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Chapter 1: King Christopher III Von Wittelsbach: The Christian Viking.

When King Christopher III Von Wittelsbach was chosen as King of Denmark in 1440, he knew little of Scandinavia. Chosen at least as much for the local nobility's belief that he would be easily controlled as his blood relation with his uncle the recently deposed King Eric, he was initially held in contempt by much of the nobility. But to their eventual dismay, King Christopher was cunning, ambitious, and unscrupulous (if also frequently brash and abrasive), and willing to take unusual measures to achieve his goals (most notably, for example, keeping a woman as his chief military advisor, or attempting to stoke something of a 15th century national identity in Scandinavia through reference to a pagan past). He was also one of the greatest battlefield commanders of his age. Christopher's long-term goal appears to have been the unification of the lands of the House of Wittelsbach under his own line. But domestic concerns distracted him for the first decades of his reign, and strong support for the successors of Bavaria and the Palatinate hindered his attempts to claim those thrones for himself. For much of the early part of his reign, Christopher had to be content with just the family holdings.
Bavarian Inheritance.png
1446, King Christopher inherits a bit of land in Germany, which he will use to fund his campaigns in Denmark and England.

The Early Decades
In March 1445 Christopher's Uncle Eric left his stronghold in Gotland and landed an army in Skane in an effort to retake his throne from his nephew, but was soundly beaten by the young king. Christopher followed his victory in the field by sailing to Gotland, besieging his uncle's castle, and brutally putting his uncle's supporters to the sword.
Battle with Eric.png

The victry proved Christopher's skill in battle and willingness to fight for his right to rule, something the local nobility were unwilling to tolerate for long. In 1447 local lords began agitating for more power. In response, Christopher seized their lands, sparking rebellions throughout Denmark, which were brutally repressed. Those lords that did not rebel were gradually brought into an elaborate court life that, while expensive, kept them occupied and close at hand.
State of Denmark2.png
[Just in case I thought my five shock one siege general in 1444 wasn't good enough, the game gave me some extra infantry combat ability.]

Dealing with nobility.png
[Yes, this happened a couple years later while I was already at war with England. I figured something like this takes time to set up, though.]

Despite these successes, King Cristopher recognized that his rule was tenuous. To prove the legitimacy of his Bavarian house in the eyes of his Scandinavian subjects, he concocted a scheme to rekindle a rivalry across the North Sea and link himself with the old Scandinavian kingdoms in England. Shortly before Eric had landed in Skane, Christopher secretly sent envoys to France to negotiate the conditions of Danish entry into the newly rekindled fighting of the Hundred Years War. Meanwhile, he prepared for the coming conflict. Based on experience gained during his campaigns in Skane, King Christopher's chief advisor and confidant, Katarina Arenstorff, developed new infantry pike squares and prepared the nobility for war.
Preparations for war.png
The relationship between King Christopher and Arenstorff was scandalous, to say the least, and many contemporaries at court suggested that his unwillingness to get married and produce an heir was due to her influence. Modern histories debate the nature of their relationship, but generally agree that Christopher's unwillingness to get married was due to the fact that he had someone specific in mind - Princess Adel de Valois - rather than an attachment to his advisor. Indeed, the idea that Christopher would do something romantic at the expense of the political flies in the face of all of his other actions. [Gameplay note: I developed tech 4 with it's all-important tactics bonus right before going to war, but forgot to take a screenshot]

Christopher secretly moved his army to Orkney and secured access through Scotland. Although Scotland and Denmark had their differences, Scotland's recent humiliation at English hands made them more than happy to allow the Danish army through to fight their common foe. In 1449 half of the English army was shipped to Brittany in an effort to retake English continental holdings. The English plan had been to quickly ferry the rest of the army across as well, but before they could they received notice of Denmark's alliance with France and declaration of war. The English army on the continent was destroyed as the Marches came under siege. When Northumberland fell a year later, Christopher caught and destroyed the remainder of the English army in the field before moving to secure most of northern England.


War.png
Above: France was already winning the war soundly when the Danish arrived, and thus the treaty that brought about Danish entry was not as favorable as it might have been. Fortunately for Denmark, Christopher was never one to actually pay attention to a deal once it was on paper. Below: Reinforcements would not be enough to save Richard Plantagenet's army from King Christopher's veteran pike squares.

In June, 1451, just two years after entering the war, Christopher made peace with England without the consent of his French allies. He secured a foothold in the old Danelaw and minor war indemnities. France was, of course, unhappy with the situation, but eventually decided to maintain the alliance. Christopher had already married Princess Adel and both kingdoms were interested in making further gains against the English.
Peace.png
The Danelaw returns to the British Isles.

The next decade was relatively quiet. In an effort to reign in the Swedes, Christopher created the Danish Constitution, an effort that largely backfired, consolidated his holdings in England while staking claims on the surrounding areas, brought Frans Gersdorff to court alongside Katarina, and unsuccessfully tried to push a claim on Bavaria. He also had a son, born in November 1455. [I'm sorry, I lost a bunch of screenshots I tried to take in this decade. Thankfully nothing too crazy. I took all of the monarch points and the Swedish rivalry with the Scandinavian constitution event. I decided Christopher would be unwilling to back down at the expense of his own legitimacy. There was a regency for Bavaria, and I tried to claim their throne, but because the ruling dynasty was technically the queen regent (of another dynasty) it wouldn't let me since the ruling family was not of my dynasty. Then The Bavarian Prince came of age at 15 with a 3 year old son ( :eek: ) with a strong claim, so once again I couldn't claim the throne due to the strong claim. Christopher also apparently had his spies in England listening in on peoples' confessions, which seemed appropriate. Also look at that heir! No hunting allowed for him. I also picked up a cardinal and annexed Holstein to clear up another relationship slot.]
Danish Court.png

In the early 1460s Christopher's fellow Wittelsbachs went to war over the territory of Oberpfalz. In 1463, Christopher openly declared for the Elector of the Palatinate, who was at that point losing the war, hoping to be able to gain a large foothold in his family's German lands. Danish intervention undoubtedly saved the Palatinate, but the Elector was unwilling to press the war and made peace shortly thereafter. A disgusted Christopher tore up his alliance and turned his attention back to England.
1463.png
[I tried to go after the Wittelsbach lands and this was my best opportunity... It didn't even give me Vassalize as an option, though. At least Christopher's English adventures went well (spoiler alert).]

Although Katarina died of influenza during the war with Bavaria, Christopher continued her military reforms. Not only did he introduce the Arquebus to his army [Mil tech 6 with another nice tactics bonus], he laid the foundation for an aggressive military doctrine that would influence Danish military leadership throughout the early modern period. [Also, just to make Christopher even MORE of a badass general, he got his 6th shock pip while drilling between the wars. I also took the +1 combat modifier from your capital's terrain (farmlands), so I was frequently getting net +5-6 on my shock rolls against England].
offensive.png

Determined to put his new military doctrines to the test, Christopher looked to press his claims in England. Rallying French and Scottish support by promising extensive in Normandy and Ireland, respectively, Christopher declared war on England in 1467, rushing his army south to London to catch an English force there while the English were still mustering. The result was a complete rout of nearly half the English army.
1467.png

A year later, in 1468, Christopher caught the rest of English pushing north as they tried to intercept a Scottish army in the Marches.1468.png

By the end of 1469, London had fallen.
1469.png

The war would last nearly a year and a half longer, but from there the war was decided and it was mostly mopping up. Nothing else that could happen would radically change the outcome.
Frederik.png
[... Oh.] King Christopher III dies in Wales shortly after the surrender of the last English stronghold in the area.

On February 15th, 1471, King Frederik I von Wittelsbach ascends to the thrones of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. His father left him with a strong army (although admittedly much of that strength was Christopher himself), a stable economy, and good alliances. But he also left the 15-year-old Frederik with a won war. How will the young king conclude his father's conflicts? What will he do with his father's conquests? Will he manage to placate the Swedish nobility and hold the Union together? What does HE want out of this life?

Here is the situation in which Frederik finds himself:

The war:
7. war.png
His army:
5. miiltary.png
Diplomacy:
6. diplomacy.png
His court:1. court.png
And Danish missions:
4. missions.png
 
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quicksabre

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A cunning slimeball that attempts to unite the Wittelsbach lands under his crown while also attempting to ally France in order to establish a beachhead on the British isles at the expense of his English rival.
Thanks for starting us off! Christopher's rein was very successful with regard to the second goal. Much less so with regard to the first (I'm actually not sure how, mechanically, I could have pulled off assimilating Bavaria and/or Palatinate. No CB war to vassalize? But when I went to war with Bavaria vassalize wasn't even an option... I kept watching for claim throne or PU possibilities, but none presented themselves.)

I'll definitely be following this. Probably always too behind to suggest motivations, but still enjoying.
Glad to have you and I hope you enjoy! If you want to participate at some point let me know and I can reserve a spot for you.

I will try to follow, but may well not be able to actively participate.
Glad to have you regardless! And you are more than welcome to throw up a one-track semi-imbecilic king at some point if you don't have time for anything more complex. I almost think that could be just as interesting, especially as Denmark gets more powerful.
 

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I say that our dear Frederik should be a deal-maker, a conciliator, someone who will focus his reign on integrating the newly conquered lands of the Danelaw, developing the provinces of Denmark proper, and keeping the subordinate kingdoms within the fold. He should only conquer opportunistically, but never go on big wars of conquest like his father.
 

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He died in the moment of triumph - how romantic.
 

quicksabre

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Thanks! Glad to have you.

I say that our dear Frederik should be a deal-maker, a conciliator, someone who will focus his reign on integrating the newly conquered lands of the Danelaw, developing the provinces of Denmark proper, and keeping the subordinate kingdoms within the fold. He should only conquer opportunistically, but never go on big wars of conquest like his father.
Excellent! It seems like Frederik will make a good and wise king (fitting for his stats, I feel), even if his father would probably be disappointed with the way he resolves the English war... Looking forward to playing him!

He died in the moment of triumph - how romantic.
Indeed. Christopher III died as he lived - in command of his victorious army.


I will post an update tomorrow probably, unless Frederik dies tragically young, in which case possibly tonight.
 
Chapter 2 - King Frederik I, 1471 - 1489

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King Frederik ascended to the throne in the midst of a victorious war abroad but growing trouble back home. His ability to maintain control over his three thrones would define the central challenges of his reign, and his greatest successes were in the prosperity of the realm under his guidance.

As soon as he received word of his father's death, Frederick opened communication with England to end the war. Three months later, peace was signed. It was widely considered very generous, both to England and to France. Denmark only claimed the remainder of Scottish Marches and Northumbria, which could easily be integrated into local Danish administrative regions, while giving France all of Normandy. War indemnities were split evenly between Denmark and France. Frederik also did not continue his father's policy of sending privateers to English waters while not at war. Frederik hoped that such a treaty would lead to a protracted peace on the British isles.
English peace.png

But trouble was only beginning for Frederik. Back at home, the sidelined Nobility and Guilds saw Frederik's conciliatory nature as possible weakness, and decided to test the mettle of their new monarch. The Swedish Nobility, too, began to assert their independence.
disaster.png

Frederik moved his army back to Denmark and aggressively attacked Burgher and Noble strongholds, seizing their land for the crown, although not without making some token concessions. These actions firmly entrenched the power of the Danish crown while preventing all-out civil war.
disaster 2.png
[In-game, these two disasters happened a few years apart, as did the events shown here (as you can probably tell by the differences in loyalty). But in-history, I consider them all related].

The Swedish nobility were not so easily dealt with, and would be the focus of foreign policy throughout Frederik's reign. By 1475, he had become convinced that the only way to coerce the Swedish nobles into cooperation was a show of force. Unwilling to turn his pikes on his own realm and risk outright civil war, however, Frederick chose as his target the Duke of Burgundy. Burgundy had been the target of aggressive posturing by Christopher III in an effort to woo the French, and Frederik hoped that by making good on some of those threats he could improve his realm's image and help subdue both internal and external threats. The French agreed to join the war in repayment for Frederik's generosity with the English treaty. Many in Denmark hoped it would be a relatively short and easy conflict. In December 1475, Denmark declared war with French support.
War with Burgundy (Dec 1475).png
[In-game, I needed more Splendor fast to get the 'Danish Subjects' age bonus in order to keep Sweden in line. After developing Copenhagen (see below), the easiest age objective seemed to be a humiliation war. Since I had gained 9 favors in the English peace, I could get France involved even without a promise of territory. I figured with their help, what could possibly go wrong?].

Frederik left the initial stages of the campaign to his general Bent Schack. Schack quickly moved into the low countries and secured Burgundian forts in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Unfortunately, Burgundy managed to catch France's armies before they could consolidate, crushing them and putting Paris under siege. Schack rushed south to help but the fortress at Rethelois blocked his path. The defenders put up a valiant defense and, unable to seize the fortress in time, Schack was forced to send word back to Copenhagen that France had reneged on their agreement and signed a separate peace with Burgundy.
France.png
France makes separate peace with Burgundy in January 1479, three years after the war began, claiming exhaustion from the war (a story that was demonstrated false when they later went back to war as soon as the truce ended - see image on right). After much deliberation, Frederik decides to continue the war without French support.

By the time the fortress at Rethelois finally fell 10 months later, Burgundy and her allies had swept around the back of Danish lines and put Amsterdam under siege. At this point, Frederik secretly moved south through Germany and took personal command of the army, leading his outnumbered forces to a narrow victory, relieving the siege [I didn't want to make Frederik a general, but between his 6 military skill and the Offensive bonuses, I figured he would be good. I was not disappointed. He also rolled 6 shock and I knew I needed him in command; I did forget to take a screenshot of the battle, though].
Protracted siege.png

The Burgundians retreated behind their fortress walls in Calais and Picardie, but rather than Pursue Frederick moved south and besieged Barrois. The Burgundians moved to retake Rethelois, which would have cut the Danish army off from their homeland. But undeterred, Frederik seized the fortress in only a few months in a masterful siege. A large force of Burgundian allied and vassal troops, moving to the relief of Rethelois, were intercepted and destroyed. This was the tipping point for the Burgundian war.
War with Burgundy - turning point (Apr. 1481).png
The Battle of Barrois, April 1481.

Eight months later, Dijonnais, seat of the Burgundian court, fell to Frederik. The Burgundian garrison at Rethelois, led by Schack, had held for over a year and a half, preventing any sort of relief force getting to the Burgundian capital. With the Danish army in Burgone completely cut off from reinforcements, many historians now consider this valiant defense the decisive battle of the war. Indeed, Frederik seems to have thought so as well, because following the war Schack was reinstated to his position as commander of the Danish army.
Burgundy is defeated.png
[I had a long debate about whether to try to relieve the siege at Rethelois or take the Burgundian capital ASAP. But since I was completely out of manpower and low on cash, I finally decided to go for the siege and give the garrison up for lost. If I could take the capital I hoped it would be enough to get my humiliation, especially since Burgundy would lose their ticking warscore. But the garrison held off for six months at 57%! True heroes.]

Victory - Dec 1481.png

Although the war had not gone to plan, it was enough to secure Frederik's strategic objecting of maintaining hold of the Swedish nobility. Not content with this tenuous progress, however, Frederik also established a new Danish diplomatic corps, focused in particular on the crown's relationships with its various and diverse constituent holdings.
Danish Subjects.png

Although the war with Burgundy tends dominate historical accounts of Frederik's reign, it was far from the only event of importance. In 1472, Frederik married the Scottish Princess Margret, ending tensions between the two realms while complicating the status of Orkney and the Faroe islands. While such an alliance was, arguably, favorable (although also arguably unfavorable, given its eventual consequences) to the Danish king, their heir was born a mere three months after and at the time the marriage was widely regarded as a marriage of courtly love as much as politics. Indeed, Frederik had met the princess a year earlier while touring the Scottish Marches as part of his efforts to better integrate the Danelaw into his realm.
marriage.png

Frederik's reign is mostly remembered for his foreign policy, in large part due to the legacy of his diplomatic corps. But while these achievements are mixed - a 'generous' peace with an old rival, a protracted war for little gain, and love marriage that resulted in the loss of territory for one of his kingdoms - his domestic achievements are usually highly underrated. In addition to curbing the power of the estates, Frederik made substantial progress integrating his English possessions, pacified his Swedish subjects, took in Byzantine scholars, patronized education and the arts, and oversaw the creation of new trade deals and the expansion of the Danish merchant marine.
domestic2.png
Frederik's domestic achievements also include large-scale expansion of the capital and funding the construction of new markets, churches, and workshops across Denmark.

Frederik's reign would not last, however, and with it fell also the von Wittelsbachs in Scandinavia. In 1487, fever claimed the life of the child of Frederik and Margaret.
death (1487 June).png

Soon after, Frederik himself succumbed to a burst ulcer, leaving a power vacuum and no clear heir. In 1489, the Danish nobility invited King Christian I de Valois, Frederik's maternal cousin, to take the thrones of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Margaret, who had angled for the throne herself, did manage to take Orkney and the Faroe islands with her when she left [technically I lost these territories right after the event 17 years earlier, but it seems like a better explanation that they were lost in a power struggle between the Scottish Queen with her claims and the new French king]
Christian I.png

Danish court at the ascent of Christian I de Valois:
end Court.png

The situation in Europe
end Europe.png

The Danish army.
end army.png

Danish ideas
end ideas.png

Splendor and age objectives. I had planned to start Denmark's Golden Age under Frederik, but he died just before I was going to do it. Will Christian I lead Denmark there instead? Or does his reign point in another direction?
end Splendor.png

Danish technology
end tech.png


What kind of ruler with Christian I be for Denmark? Will he be able to hold the kingdoms together and lead them into the new century? What challenges await?
 

Gruekiller

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Well at least this opens the door to dynastic shenanigans with France down the road... Pity the poor Wittelsbachs.
 

stnylan

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Well Sweden is controlled for now - but for how long?
 

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Christian I de Valois as of french descent wants strong ties with france. He is still filled with anger about the scottish taking land of denmark plotting to take it back. further more he sat his eyes on the whole of the British isls. He fears the rise of Moscovy and plans to hinder or crush them at possible occasions. His domestic policy is of unification and centralization.
 

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Well at least this opens the door to dynastic shenanigans with France down the road... Pity the poor Wittelsbachs.
I know! I was really hoping to keep them around for a while. But I'd already made up the narrative about the lovematch based on the way the events played out so I didn't think Frederik would go to the maid. But at least Frederik's legacy is one of prosperity, unity, and culture and his memory is that of a kind and loving ruler (brutal war notwithstanding).

Well Sweden is controlled for now - but for how long?
What do you think could possibly go wrong? :)

Christian I de Valois as of french descent wants strong ties with france. He is still filled with anger about the scottish taking land of denmark plotting to take it back. further more he sat his eyes on the whole of the British isls. He fears the rise of Moscovy and plans to hinder or crush them at possible occasions. His domestic policy is of unification and centralization.

I love to see where this journey is taking denmark.
Christian I is not one for half measures it seems! We will see if he can fulfill his ambitions or if he bites off more than he can chew. Glad to have you aboard!

I may not be able to get an update out tomorrow, but it should be by Thursday at the latest.