The rise of the Hohenzollerns, 1192-1399: A mega campaign beginning CK2 AAR

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Avindian

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Michaelangelo

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That's certainly an amusing event. I'm surprised you made a profit with over-salted turnips and a talking donkey that doesn't actually talk. :p
 

Avindian

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That's certainly an amusing event. I'm surprised you made a profit with over-salted turnips and a talking donkey that doesn't actually talk. :p

I actually lost money, if you add it all up.

I think you may need to improve your own martial ability :ninja:

Maybe so.
 

Vrael_1492

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When doing the same event, I went with the name "Drunken Squire", the Bard as entertainment and 10% salt, and got (i think) 150 gold for it in the end :)
 

Avindian

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When doing the same event, I went with the name "Drunken Squire", the Bard as entertainment and 10% salt, and got (i think) 150 gold for it in the end :)

Nice! I couldn't resist the talking ass; even looking at the picture now makes me laugh.

EDIT: I am temporarily placing this AAR on hiatus until I finish my Japanese AAR. I should have more updates next week!
 
Last edited:

History_Buff

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Avindian

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DisgruntledLemming

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And you call this a hiatus? :D
Many AARs are updated once in a month, and it's not a hiatus.

If this is your hiatus... Hey, I ain't complaining. :
 

Avindian

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Avindian

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Chapter 7: The fallout of a failed war but successful dynasty

16 July 1224, Castle Nürnberg

Friedrich II, Graf von Nürnberg und Passau, Baron von Zollern, paced back and forth as he awaited the arrival of his Steward. His disastrous war against Ulm had bankrupted his coffers, and while a small part of him tried to argue that usury was a sin, for Friedrich II, an incapable realm was a much bigger sin. A mortal sin, perhaps. The Graf had plans for expanding Nürnberg into more than simply a county seat, but a proper Schloss, a palace worthy of a growing dynasty. That required money, and only the moneylenders would speak with him.

runningoutofcash.jpg


Folkhard von Ellwangen approached his liege, smiling, with a small leather pouch in his right hand. "My lord, I secured your loan!"

A relieved smile briefly danced upon the Graf's face, then dissipated as quickly as it had come. "Excellent, Steward. What are their terms?"

Unbeknownst to his liege lord, Folkhard had gotten 200 thalers for no interest from a charitable Catholic foundation. The crafty Steward wasn't about to let such an opportunity pass him by, however. "25% in five years."

Friedrich II frowned. "Which is?"

For a wonder, Folkhard restrained his greed. "About 250 thalers, Graf Friedrich."

"Very well. The terms are acceptable."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4 April 1225, Zollern

The new Baron von Zollern beamed with anticipation at his new home. While he'd formally requested it from his father, Friedrich "der Bärtig" von Hohenzollern knew he had earned this title. [1]

fritzbecomesbaron.jpg


There were two reasons he was pleased with his new title. First, he was... less than fond of his new stepmother. While the new Baron said all the right things at all the right times, the truth was he found Adelheid Flemens revolting, with a broad scar across her nose (a childhood accident was the formal explanation; the rumored cause of the scar was much more improper and vile). Bärtig was also irritated that the new Gräfin was much younger than he. Friedrich the Elder would never disinherit his oldest son, but Friedrich the Younger had no such security with Adelheid.

The second reason Bärtig was eager to rule in his new Barony was that, in truth, he was concerned about his ability to rule. By working hard in Zollern, he could improve his skills and talents so that, by the time he became Graf in his own right, he would be worthy of the responsibility. That this impression was so close to his father's was something he endeavored to keep secret. Friedrich II could tolerate many things in a man, even his own son, but insecurity was not one of them. The Hohenzollerns should be a family the rest of Europe wanted to emulate, in the Graf's view, and the Baron shared that view.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
15 January 1228, Castle Nürnberg

Friedrich II beamed with pride at the new baby daughter his wife had given him.

kassandraisborn.jpg


The previous three years had been a very stressful time for the Graf. [2] While his son was horrified by his stepmother (unfortunately, Baron Friedrich could not conceal his distaste as well as he thought), Friedrich II found himself missing his son's advice. Bärtig was still his Chancellor, but his work in Salzburg and his new Barony kept him away from Nürnberg. He'd appointed the Bishop of Ellwangen to be his Court Chaplain, avoiding Mayor Michael's wrath by appointing him High Almoner, only to see the Bishop die within weeks of his appointment from an illness. Mayor Michael returned to his old office a much more bitter and cynical man.

His cousin Karlotte had passed on to the next world, dying of pneumonia, leaving Norbert, his second son, in the care of Wulfhilde, his sister. While Wulfhilde was a devious lass indeed, Friedrich II had really wanted Norbert to pick up some of Karlotte's better qualities, like her passion for justice and her love of knowledge. The Graf worried that, perhaps, Norbert wouldn't get these key lessons from Wulfhilde.

Perhaps worst of all, what had begun as love (or at least tolerance) rapidly became disgust.

thenewhorriblyscarredwi.jpg


Friedrich II, unlike his son or anyone in his court, actually knew how Adelheid had gotten her scar. He'd assigned his Spymaster, Baron Almerich, to that very task shortly after they were wed. She'd been kicked by a mule, breaking her nose. The reason she had been in the stables in the first place was because she'd become very familiar with a stable boy before her legal marriage to Friedrich. That still infuriated the Graf von Nürnberg und Passau. The stable boy had been killed, of course, for while Friedrich was slow to anger, his rage was swift and furious. Every time he looked at Adelheid, he was reminded of her infidelity. The Pope was unlikely to grant a second divorce, and so Friedrich II had quietly stewed until Adelheid had produced a beautiful baby girl.

Naming her "Kassandra" (he wasn't sure why, but it seemed appropriate), he completely forgot about his wife the moment he looked into her eyes.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
16 July 1230, Salzburg

While Friedrich II von Hohenzollern was no military genius, in marrying off his daughters, he showed impeccable taste, or so it seemed to his new Chancellor.

The Grad married his oldest daughter, Gertrude, to King Guitard I of Aragon.

gertrudegrowsup.jpg


Gertrude was not an especially talented girl, and the Chancellor had no idea why King Guitard was so taken by her, but a powerful alliance was forged out of the union, an alliance which might some day be of great value to the Hohenzollerns. Yet his second daughter, Sofie, proved to be even more of a catch.

sofiegrowsup.jpg


Sofie ended up marrying a Prince of Yngling, who was so eager to leave his native Norway that he married matrilineally and became the newest Chancellor.

princesveinisupserman.jpg


Prince Svein was, to put it uncouthly, a bastard, and completely unwanted in Norway. But Norway's loss was Nürnberg's gain, and the brave and ambitious Prince was an absolute genius at diplomacy, helpfully balancing out the incompetent Steward of Nürnberg, Mayor Michael. (The death of Folkhard von Ellwangen to the Great Pox was singularly ill-timed.) It was Svein who, while still courting Sofie, helped convince Herzog Ludwig to revoke the County of Kempten from the Graf von Ulm.

ameasureofrevengeonkemp.jpg


While Svein had also tried to get this same title awarded to his prospective liege, he was unsuccessful there. Still, Svein used his charm and diplomacy to win another major boon for the Hohenzollerns: he not only convinced the moneylenders to extend the loan, he did so without any increase in interest. When the moneylenders returned, Friedrich II was more than capable of paying off the loan. Even Bärtig liked his new brother-in-law, a pretty fantastic trick since Svein had taken his position at court.

Of course, nobody knew about the 100 thalers that Svein quietly pocketed, as the loan interest had once been the old Steward's. He was brilliant and cunning, a rare combination.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
16 November 1232, Castle Nürnberg

Friedrich II beamed with joy at his two sons. Bärtig, Baron von Zollern, had slowly developed into a capable administrator, so capable that he was able to contribute meaningfully to the new Stone Wall erected for Castle Nürnberg. His younger son, Norbert, came of age, proving himself a true warrior, both in open combat and in the more shadowy aspects of war.

norbertgrowsup.jpg


Norbert's only flaw was his unattractive visage; that made his marriage to the equally ugly Barbara von Rohrbach little more than a naked grab for land, as this marriage would give Friedrich II a weak claim on the county of Käkisalmi in Finland. The Graf was uncertain as to whether he would press this claim vigorously or not, but he at least had the option. Norbert was a soldier like his grandfather before him, and although his pride in his prowess occasionally irritated his subordinates, he was still the perfect representative of the Hohenzollerns on the holiest and most glorious mission yet.

The Crusade for Jerusalem.

joiningthecrusade.jpg


Christendom had finally taken notice of the new Golden Horde. While nobody really thought they could threaten Europe, the fact that the Golden Horde could, in fact, threaten the Muslims made the decision to go after the Holy City a logical one. Friedrich II intended to go himself when his new martial training was complete, but in the meantime, Norbert would be the Crusader Knight sent east to face the infidel. [3]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Bärtig means "bearded"; it's a handy way to differentiate Friedrich II from his son without incurring too much confusion.

[2] He actually gained the trait "Stressed."

[3] This little event (the second part of a chain) gave him the Intrigue he needed.

increasingmyintrigue.jpg


Therefore, he's now working on Improving Martial.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A bit early, I suppose, and if you're that upset, I'll be happy to delete the update. ;) I should get in at least one update a week, probably two, for a while.
 

OneWingedDevil

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A bit early, I suppose, and if you're that upset, I'll be happy to delete the update. ;) I should get in at least one update a week, probably two, for a while.

Well, I wouldn't say it was well timed given my test tomorrow, but I'll just have to live with it. :)
 

Avindian

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Well, I wouldn't say it was well timed given my test tomorrow, but I'll just have to live with it. :)

Hopefully you still did well on the test; if not, blame the Hohenzollerns. That's always my philosophy!
 

Avindian

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Test was difficult, but I feel I did well. Blaming the Hohenzollerns shall therefore wait until after I get the grade back.

Understood.

I should have a new update tonight.
 

Vrael_1492

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Avindian

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Chapter 8: Of soldiers both wooden and flesh

22 January 1233, training fields outside Nürnberg

Norbert von Hohenzollern had never been in pitched battle, yet the very thought of engaging the infidel scum who presumed to own the City of God excited him as few other things had. Norbert was given the right flank of the crusader army; 888 men strong, including some of the finest archers the realm had to offer.

thecrusadingarmy.jpg


The army was very oddly designed from a purely classical standpoint, but Marshal Gottfried had method to his madness. The Muslims were known to favor light horse above all else; therefore, Jakob would lead a heavy cavalry column in the center of the line. The strategic assumption was that the Muslims would be funneled into the center by the lighter troops of the left and right flank, encircling the enemy army. Norbert, for what it was worth, thought it would be a sound plan. Unfortunately, it turned out that the glorious crusaders would never even make it to Jerusalem.
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30 August 1233, Salzburg

Svein of Norway beamed as his hard work came to fruition; the Kaiser's diplomats formally agreed that Nürnberg properly had title to the Bishopric of Salzburg.

salzburgclaimagain.jpg


It had been a very interesting year for the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The Kaiser was now, if it could be believed, King of England in addition to Kaiser. England had fractured under the weight of internal rebellion, but the Kaiser promised to bring order and stability back to the British Isles. Graf Otto von Ulm formed his own faction to depose Herzog Ludwig von Bayern; he even had the gall to propose that Nürnberg join, a proposal met with the laughter and disregard it deserved.

The highlight of 1233 for most Nürnbergers was the birth of Norbert's son, named Friedrich after his father and grandfather. Friedrich II had intended to make his grandson's birth a celebration for the crusaders heading out to Jerusalem, but with Chancellor Svein's fabrication, the crusaders were ordered to return to Nürnberg in preparation for war against Salzburg. The Pope was disappointed, but understood -- the Nürnberg contingent wasn't likely to be decisive one way or the other.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
16 February 1234, Nürnberg

Friedrich II nodded to his left and right, indicating where his guards should wait for him. He entered the hovel trembling in anticipation, as he was sure to score a tremendous victory for both himself and his family.

When the crusaders got to Wien, paying homage to the Kaiser as was their duty, they disbanded and returned to their homes. Friedrich II desperately wanted to attack Salzburg right away, but his vassals had other ideas, and to calm them down, he agreed to wait for at least a couple of months. Norbert was devastated and listless, having lost his way. Jerusalem had given him purpose -- a purpose now denied him. He'd locked himself in his room in the Castle Nürnberg ever since his return in January. When his wife tried to bring their new son in to cheer him up, Norbert muttered and sent them away. Friedrich II was worried for his son.

That was why, when Marshal Gottfried recommended he try wargaming as a way to distract Friedrich from the troubles of the world and simultaneously improve his Martial skill, the Graf von Nürnberg und Passau leapt at the chance.

improvingmartial.jpg


Friedrich II, despite the objections of his wife, eagerly threw himself into his new passion. He barely had time to send his daughter Kassandra with his sister Wulfhilde to begin her education. The moment he heard of a tournament for his glorious armies, he immediately entered it.

thetournamentofawesome.jpg


The guards of Friedrich II entered the poor little hovel and examined it for enemies. Satisfied no assassins were hiding under the floor board, the most powerful man in Nürnberg joined the youngsters at play.

tobattle.jpg


Initially, his valiant wooden soldiers did quite poorly, but thinking fast, Friedrich II invoked the "Graf von Nürnberg Addendum", a little known codicil that immediately declared the present leader of the county the winner of the tournament.

gloriousvictory.jpg


The young boys, absolutely terrified by the enthusiastic whooping of a man in his forties, simply bowed in submission and quietly gathered their soldiers and left. One of the boys was heard to remark "I think we'll have an age limit next year."

For the Champion of Nürnberg (so Friedrich II declared himself), his thoughts turned to Bayern. Perhaps if he were Chancellor, he could use his office to convince people to join a faction of his own later on.
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27 January 1235, dungeons of Castle Nürnberg

Gebhard had wanted nothing more than to be a soldier for Salzburg. Prince-Bishop Kuno was, in his eyes, God's personal representative, and Gebhard, born into a small God-fearing family, wanted nothing more than to serve. Now, he was regretting that decision.

The hated Friedrich II von Hohenzollern had declared war on Salzburg in early 1234.

declaringwar.jpg


Gebhard wasted no time in joining the army; he quickly rose through the ranks and was given the right to command one of the Salzburg garrison's center, a most prestigious assignment. He'd hoped that Friedrich II's new son, Eugen, would distract him, but alas, it was not to be.

eugenisborn.jpg


After capturing Schaumberg, which the foul interloper claimed belonged to Nürnberg as part of the County of Passau, Friedrich's army turned south to attack the garrison at Dürmberg. There, Gebhard's army was easily defeated. With no general on the right flank, Marshal Gottfried of Nürnberg charged with his massive army, while the Nürnberg center routed Gebhard's own troops, enabling the Nürnberg right and center to then turn against the Prince Bishop's personal guard, situated on Salzburg's left flank.

easyvictorydurmberg.jpg


Gebhard, an honorable man, believed that Friedrich II would simply ransom him back to the Prince-Bishop. The Graf von Nürnberg "claimed" that Kuno didn't have enough thalers to ransom his loyal general. In any case, he was to remain in the dungeon until they worked out what to do with him. Gebhard was quietly praying for deliverance when he heard the unmistakable rattle of armor that announced the approach of his guards.

"Gebhard! Get up!"

The proud Salzburger rose with dignity. "Yes, what is it?"

The guard cleared his throat. "Since your liege has refused to pay a proper ransom to his glorious lordship, Friedrich von Hohenzollern, Graf von Nürnberg und Passau, Champion of Nürnberg by right of conquest, you have been sentenced to death for your crimes against God and the people of Nürnberg."

Gebhard was horrified. "I have never heard anything so ridiculous! I know my liege would not abandon me; these must all be horrible lies told by your swine of a G-" The Salzburger was unable to complete his tirade because he found his head and shoulders most unfortunately separated by a sword.

gebhardismurdiddlyurdle.jpg


One of the guards turned to the other and said, "Uh, Hans, weren't we supposed to hang him tomorrow?"

"Maybe, but he was getting on my nerves. We'll just say he tried to escape."

"If you say so. What's for dinner at the guardhouse?"
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
29 May 1236, Salzburg

Friedrich II's worries seemed to melt away. He found the death of Gebhard surprisingly therapeutic, and his victory over Prince-Bishop Kuno was all the sweeter.

stressisgone.jpg


Recognizing his superior skills both on the battlefield and in scholarship, Herzog Ludwig fulfilled Friedrich's dream by making him Chancellor of Bayern.

friedrichbecomeschancel.jpg


He produced yet another son -- Ordulf -- despite the weird attempts of Norbert's wife to throw herself at him.

ordulfisborn.jpg


eeeeeewwwwww.jpg


The only thing which still troubled him was Norbert. He'd become more and more secluded from his family (perhaps accounting for Barbara's... enthusiasm towards her liege). With two more sons, Friedrich did the only logical thing: honor his son's wishes, appointing him the Bishop of Schaumberg after usurping the title from the now title-less Kuno. [1]

sweetdelicioussalzburg.jpg


norbertisabishop.jpg


Everything was going beautifully for the Hohenzollerns; Friedrich added another county to his realm, and one which might, in the future, enable him to challenge Ludwig for the Duchy of Bayern.
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10 May 1237, Nürnberg

Chancellor Svein looked nervously at the crowd of nobles in front of him. He didn't know why this particular duty had fallen to him, but nonetheless, it was his to carry out. He unrolled the scroll and began to read:

"Dear Lords and Ladies of Nürnberg, Passau, and Salzburg,

God has shown his favor to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and all Christians with our glorious victory over the infidels. Jerusalem is once again in the hands of those who revere Jesus and his message to the world! Hallelujah!"

crusadewin.jpg


Svein muttered to himself, No thanks to you; we never even got to Jerusalem, even after you put together a second army to attack. Then, after the crowd finished cheering, he continued.

"We are a wise and glorious people, my friends, and such a wise and glorious people deserve a wise and glorious leader. I, the Champion of Nürnberg and your humble Graf, hear your pleas for order and stability. What if something were to happen to me? Who would rule you then?"

The crowd looked aghast for a moment, with occasional cries of "May you live a thousand years!", "May God preserve you!", and "I never really thought about it." (The last one came from a couple of bored looking nobles; Svein, in his mercy, did not report this last bit to his liege.)

"I believe, firmly, that the Hohenzollern lands must remain in the possession of one person, as we have but one God and one Kaiser. We had a system for this in the days of yesteryear; why have we abandoned it? It is my will that we return to the ancient traditions of Charlemagne and the Franks; let us elect our leader, from now until forever!"

electivemonarchy.jpg


After that, Svein closed the scroll and waited for the inevitable questions. He was not long in waiting, as a particularly fat Baroness rose her hand. "Chancellor, whom may we elect?"

"Anyone."

That triggered another thoughtful silence. A second hand raised. "Who can vote?"

"All nobles of the realm holding the rank of Baron, Mayor, or Bishop, as well as Friedrich himself."

A third hand timidly went up. "The thought of thinking for myself frightens and confuses me. Can't I just vote for whomever the Graf does?"

"Well, yes, I suppose, but --"

An audible sigh of relief went through the crowd, and they dispersed. Svein shook his head in despair and went back home himself.
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[1] From a gameplay perspective, I did this to get Norbert out of the line of succession; I was trying to get around Gavelkind by getting rid of all of my other male heirs, but later decided that Elective Monarchy would work just as well.

I'll have another chapter for you this weekend, so keep an eye out.
 

Yenzen

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My inner gamer doth protest at the idea of giving away titles (particularly baronies) when you're not at your demesne limit. Also, sons who are landed tend to perform.. questionable marriages.

Well I can understand the roleplaying aspects though.

Anyway, you'll be happy with elective for the most part. Unless you're an absolute tyrant, they will vote for you.
 
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