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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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.

Don't forget I'd get the wrong demense penalty for income. I do agree with the landed sons thing, most of the time, but I've got plenty of sons, so it shouldn't (knock on wood) be a big issue.
 

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Only for the bishopric, not the barony.

True though, holding counties is much preferable to single baronies so you would probably end up giving those away regardless.

One warning though: If you ever grow to kingdom size, never give more than one ducal title to family members. The branches will intermarry, inherit one another and are natural allies.. including against you in rebellions. It gets ugly. (Upside with elective: You can just take over as your dynastic liege that just deposed you)

PS: If you go to the religion screen, do you have free investure (can you appoint successors to bishoprics)?
 

Avindian

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Only for the bishopric, not the barony.

True though, holding counties is much preferable to single baronies so you would probably end up giving those away regardless.

One warning though: If you ever grow to kingdom size, never give more than one ducal title to family members. The branches will intermarry, inherit one another and are natural allies.. including against you in rebellions. It gets ugly. (Upside with elective: You can just take over as your dynastic liege that just deposed you)

PS: If you go to the religion screen, do you have free investure (can you appoint successors to bishoprics)?

I do indeed have free investiture. The rest of your points are well taken; I'm hardly a genius at this game and am delighted to learn more. :)
 

Gen. Marshall

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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.

:blink: The man cheated while playing against little kids? It's a disgrace!

Nice update, by the way. This new election system will prevent your little empire from falling apart every time your liege dies. Won't the vassals elect a non-Hohenzollern, though?
 

Yenzen

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Well, electors and possible electees will always be one level lower (with the exception of an emperor such as the HRE, where it is both dukes and kings), so since Avindian is still a count that means mayors, bishops and barons.

Bishops are generally very pliable and cannot themselves be elected, mayors and barons will vote for you as long as they don't dislike you strongly.

In general he's very safe at this point (like the chapter strongly indicated). Duchies and small kingdoms are also easy to rig in your favor as there are usually very few electors. If you have electors of your dynasty, you can try electing them instead if you're strongly disliked, where you will take over them once you inherit. This is also a common way to get land back after giving it away to family members.

Empires and large kingdoms like the HRE or France can get a bit tricky though.. There are many (often powerful) electors, and the two runner ups get claims on the realm and can start factions for themselves as emperor/king.
 

Avindian

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:blink: The man cheated while playing against little kids? It's a disgrace!

Nice update, by the way. This new election system will prevent your little empire from falling apart every time your liege dies. Won't the vassals elect a non-Hohenzollern, though?

Thanks for your comments! I've been trying to find away to work in his "Arbitrary" trait, and this was the perfect opportunity. Plus, is it really cheating if you make the rules?

Well, electors and possible electees will always be one level lower (with the exception of an emperor such as the HRE, where it is both dukes and kings), so since Avindian is still a count that means mayors, bishops and barons.

Bishops are generally very pliable and cannot themselves be elected, mayors and barons will vote for you as long as they don't dislike you strongly.

In general he's very safe at this point (like the chapter strongly indicated). Duchies and small kingdoms are also easy to rig in your favor as there are usually very few electors. If you have electors of your dynasty, you can try electing them instead if you're strongly disliked, where you will take over them once you inherit. This is also a common way to get land back after giving it away to family members.

Empires and large kingdoms like the HRE or France can get a bit tricky though.. There are many (often powerful) electors, and the two runner ups get claims on the realm and can start factions for themselves as emperor/king.

When I played my first Brandenburg game (a while ago), I found myself HRE and... yeah... it was complete chaos. I've found elective monarchy relatively easy to manage myself, at less than an Emperor level.

EDIT: I've updated to 1.08 today (didn't get Sunset Invasion, though, if you're hoping for the Aztecs to invade).
 
Last edited:

Vrael_1492

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I've updated to 1.08 today (didn't get Sunset Invasion, though, if you're hoping for the Aztecs to invade).

I am not hoping for that...
 

DisgruntledLemming

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What?! No Aztecs?! This AAR suxorz, I am quitting reading this, good day sir! Enjoy your... Aztec-less Europe.

( ;) )
 

Avindian

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Be careful with elective monarchy, sometimes it can cause many headaches when trying to get your vassals to vote for your favoured son instead of some random baron :)

There is that; thus far (in gameplay terms) it's been pretty one sided, but that of course could change.

I am not hoping for that...

If I had $5 burning a hole in my pocket, I'd pick it up, but there's so many other DLCs I'd love to get a hold of that Sunset Invasion is at the very bottom of my wishlist.


What?! No Aztecs?! This AAR suxorz, I am quitting reading this, good day sir! Enjoy your... Aztec-less Europe.

( ;) )

I'll just have to kill off Eugen then. :D
 

DisgruntledLemming

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There is that; thus far (in gameplay terms) it's been pretty one sided, but that of course could change.



If I had $5 burning a hole in my pocket, I'd pick it up, but there's so many other DLCs I'd love to get a hold of that Sunset Invasion is at the very bottom of my wishlist.




I'll just have to kill off Eugen then. :D

...*Activates Defense Death Robots*
 

Avindian

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...*Activates Defense Death Robots*

I think that's just slightly cheating, wouldn't you agree? ;)

(When you find out how Eugen turns out when he grows up, all I can say is, I didn't plan it that way.)

Working on the update now!
 

Avindian

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Chapter 9: A new title, a new heir, two tremendous losses

Author's note: I ended up combining two more chapters again, when I discovered that about 40 screenshots I'd taken involved poachers in some way. The following update is entirely poacher free, as this is neither Scooby Doo nor the Hardy Boys. There are bigger things afoot than poachers. You'll get a normal (maybe even normal+) update tonight, along with a shorter one later this week; that'll mean more playing time before I can update again. Enjoy (or don't, if you're a big fan of poachers)!

11 June 1238, Ulm

Svein Yngling was quickly proving himself to be the most proficient Chancellor in the history of Nürnberg, as he'd fabricated a claim against the hated Hohenzollern rival, Otto von Ulm.

revengeonulm.jpg


Although Svein was no military genius, even he knew that the expanded retinue meant a greater chance of success this time. In addition, Otto was no longer Graf von Kempten, which gave him half the resources, while Friedrich II had a third county now. All of this was excellent news.

Svein's primary concerns had been domestic, but every single noble in Nürnberg, Passau, and Salzburg confirmed Bärtig as the new heir. There wasn't even a moment's hesitation, which profoundly relieved the Norwegian nobleman. Friedrich II was considered one of the greatest Grafen in Nürnberg's admittedly short history, and he'd earned the trust of most of his vassals, as well he might. Svein had tried halfheartedly to get his own name raised as a candidate, but he knew he had no legitimate chance. That was alright with him; he'd turned a horrendous handicap (being a bastard) into a non-issue through sheer competence, and now he was arguably the second or third most powerful man in all three counties. His wife adored him, his father-in-law trusted him, and even his own father had had a kind word or two for him of late.

Svein couldn't have been happier.
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21 July 1238, a camp halfway between Nürnberg and Ulm

Gottfried von Naumburg, Marshal of Nürnberg, was jubilant as well. His brilliant diversionary tactic had distracted Ulm's forces, and now the far superior numbers of Nürnberg could be brought to bear.

buyingsometime.jpg


It was brutally simple. A small raiding party had threatened an advance on Ulm, then retreated toward the relative safety of the Barony of Zollern. While that happened, men from all three counties gathered together quickly and quietly near Castle Nürnberg. Otto von Ulm had, in fact, called the Swiss into the war, but Gottfried knew that the Alps would prevent a quick reinforcement. If he could crush Otto's forces before the Swiss arrived, then Ulm was doomed. If need be, Friedrich II had pledged his entire fortune -- some 140 thalers -- to mercenary bands. With that kind of support, and just enough time to do what needed to be done, the Marshal had gathered a huge army and marched on Ulm.

consolidatingmypoweraga.jpg


All told, his army consisted of just over 4000 men, not counting the small contingent farther to the west. He would lead the center of the Nürnberg line, while his two most talented lieutenants, Jakob and Magnus, held the flanks. All three units were relatively equal, for Gottfried's approach was quite simple: charge at full speed into enemy lines, then mop up what was left.

aworldofhurtcomingtoulm.jpg

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22 December 1239, Castle Nürnberg

Friedrich II was so full of Christmas cheer he thought he would burst. He'd asked a company of guards to reenact the Great Battle of Teck in detail for the Christmas jubilee; given how successful his troops had been, that was going to be one hell of a show.

battleofteck.jpg


He honestly couldn't be happier, this Yuletide season of 1239. He'd reward Sveined by entrusting the second in line for the throne, Eugen, to him for his education. He had a new Steward, Augustin; a new Court Chaplain, Hartwig; and his son, Norbert, finally seemed at peace with himself and the world. Service as Bishop of Schaumberg had done him very well, and he'd even consented to serve as Friedrich's new Spymaster. With the gloriously successful Gottfried as Marshal and Svein as Chancellor, he was surrounded by men he was genuinely fond of, as well as impressed with intellectually and practically. Even his attitude towards Adelheid had changed; what had begun as cold, calculated statesmanship had gradually grown into love. He'd finally forgiven her for the indiscretions of youth.

fallinginlovewithmywife.jpg


His favorite part of the Christmas season was how miserable Otto von Ulm's was surely becoming. God had truly provided for him what his own talents could not. The Champion of Nürnberg was also God's champion.
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3 December 1243, Rome

Kassandra von Hohenzollern succeeded where armies of the most fearsome soldiers in the Holy Roman Empire had not: she'd broken her father's spirit. For a man who now held four counties, that was something of an achievement.

ulmisminenowhahahahha.jpg


Kassandra (Kass, as her family privately called her) was a very energetic and enthusiastic teenager. Unlike her older sister, or even her mother, if she didn't get what she wanted, she just tried ten times as harder the next time. If her father weren't completely bald, he would be white as ghost with the amount of negotiating and diplomacy it had taken to settle the court after Kass had taken an unhealthy liking to her "Uncle Svein." She'd met Svein Yngling when Eugen was sent off to his lessons for the first time. What was initially a harmless infatuation grew into an obsession, as she was repeatedly told that Svein was her uncle and wanted nothing to do with her. The one positive light out of the experience was how much more adept Svein had become at diplomacy dealing with a teenage girl.

thecouncilofawesome.jpg


At a feast, Norbert praised Daddy's name, calling him one of the finest men the world had ever seen.

radicalizemuch.jpg


Only Kass burst out laughing. She'd never entirely liked her older brother, thinking him stodgy and boring, but she'd never thought him a sycophant. With a captive and horrified audience, Kass spun embarrassing yarn after embarrassing yarn about her father's weaker moments. Many of the nobles, who genuinely loved her father, tried their not best to fidget and look for the exit. She was of Hohenzollern blood, after all. They didn't want to be rude. Yet those were only minor incidents compared to the debacle in Rome.

truechristianknight.jpg


Friedrich II was called to Rome to be knighted by the Pope for his unfailing service to Christendom. It should have been the crowning achievement for an already accomplished nobleman. Instead, it was his greatest humiliation. She began her evening by repeatedly kicking her younger brother Ordulf under the table at dinner. Ordulf did his best to ignore her, but more than once looked up at his guardian -- Marshal Gottfried -- with tears in his eyes. When she tired of abusing Ordulf, she then began to drink copious amounts of alcohol -- she'd wailed for ten minutes straight when told, as a 15 year old, she couldn't have any. Adelheid looked completely lost as to how to deal with her daughter. Friedrich II fared no better.

Then, incredibly, it got even worse. Furious with her for even attempting to restrain her excesses, she struck her mother repeatedly. Even the Pope was incredibly uncomfortable at this point. Friedrich, for the first time in his entire life, simply couldn't control himself. He brought down his mailed fist on the table as hard as he could; the exquisite table, made of aged mahogany, fractured at once. The entire thirty foot long piece of furniture trembled, and as the shockwave rippled through it, a leg simply gave out, and the table came crashing down on his daughter's leg. Some shrapnel lodged deep within her leg, and a flying splinter cut her nose. The Pope's surgeon had no choice but to amputate her leg. While Friedrich II kept his knighthood -- and wore the title "Ritter Friedrich" happily for the rest of his days -- the actual memory of the celebration was so tragic that he never mentioned it again.
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1 July 1245, Castle Nürnberg

The moment Kassandra turned 16, Ritter Friedrich II von Hohenzollern, Graf von Nürnberg, Passau, Salzburg und Ulm, married her off with indecent haste.

kassandragrowsup.jpg


Kassandra had not matured in the slightest since the debacle in Rome, but she had gotten much more dangerous. Friedrich married her to the King of Serbia, Djordje I, in an attempt to get her as far away as possible. That had been over a year ago, and the Graf finally felt comfortable enough in her absence to begin working on a plan of his own: reclaiming the Barony of Waging, so that he might make it the capital of Salzburg.

claimingmytrueinheritan.jpg


Jaroslava was a 12 year old girl -- even younger than Kass -- yet had more than a hint of his daughter's fierce bravery and determination. Jaroslava's parents had been very close friends of Otto von Ulm, who'd died while his war with them was still going on. Jaroslava was just barely out of diapers when that happened, yet her parents had emphasized again and again how terrible the Hohenzollerns were. When her father was killed (in reality a tragic accident, but her mother embellished the truth more than a little), Jaroslava swore a blood oath to get even with the Hohenzollerns. At the same time, she had no children, and there was no left in her line after her; if something happened to her, Friedrich II would become the new Baron of Waging. To all outward appearances, she was the perfect vassal. Unfortunately for her, Norbert, the Spymaster, knew what she'd sworn, and convinced his father that the only course now was eliminating her before she could command any more respect.

Unfortunately for Norbert, there was simply nobody in Waging who had any interest in politics. [1] He convinced one courtier of her distasteful vendetta, and he offered to join the plot against her, but nobody else would act. Norbert tried to use Adam, Bishop of Ellwangen, in a plot to get her excommunicated; instead, poor Adam died of stress, torn between his lawful liege (Friedrich II) on one hand and condemning a 12 year old girl to Hell. Friedrich still ordered his son to continue to find something he could use against her.

Then the worst possible news came into his audience chamber.

"Hello, Daddy! Did you miss me?"

kassywhackingherhusband.jpg

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28 June 1246, Rome

It was a measure of her growing maturity that Kassandra von Hohenzollern (who'd kept her maiden name even after marrying again) was even invited to the huge celebration in Rome. The Muslims had called a Jihad to retake Jerusalem, but had failed miserably. Of course, her new husband, as Court Chaplain of Nürnberg, could hardly be excluded, which meant she had to come too.

anewhusbandforkasseoj.jpg


This time, her father let her marry who she wished -- a lowborn scholar who, between bouts of reading and writing, was the drinking champion of no less than eight taverns in Nürnberg, and reveled in food even more than his new bride -- and even let her remain in Nürnberg, for she had married matrilineally. Privately, and not for the last time, Friedrich II wished she'd been born a man. She was twice the schemer her older brother was, and had absolutely no scruples. Her husband, despite his office, did not take his religious vows seriously, and he was the only man who'd even made her briefly pause in something she wanted to do; quite an achievement, to say the least. She was not a man, unfortunately, and if Friedrich formally named her Spymaster, he'd be the laughingstock of the Holy Roman Empire. He'd already lost some respect from his liege for refusing to drink at a grand feast; at least the Kaiser still trusted him.

The moment Kass heard of her father's predicament, she'd offered to go to Waging and kill the "little cow" herself. That earned a look of horror from her father and a stern lecture from her older brother. Even Bärtig, the one member of her family she could actually tolerate, seemed shaken by her blood lust. She was actually trying to help, yet none of the so-called "men" in her family had the guts to do what needed to be done; they'd rather see a "rival" of Jaroslava's do the deed. That Bärtig couldn't see that either was, for her, the biggest betrayal of all.

She knew exactly how to deal with traitors.
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8 May 1247, Castle Nürnberg

Even the most insane conspiracy theorists never dreamed that Kassandra (whom a few, very impertinent, lads had dubbed 'Kass the Bloody') would kill her own brother. Officially, the cause of death was drowning.

theheirisdead.jpg


Bärtig loved to swim, even in cold water. He'd even narrowly drowned once a couple of years ago, but thankfully, Norbert had been along and saved his brother. As a way to patch things up with her brother, Kassandra had planned a picnic for after his latest swim, but Bärtig never made it. Friedrich II was convinced it had been a genuine accident; everybody was. Only one person thought differently.

thenewspymaster.jpg


Emelrich von Hohenzollern was the son of Chancellor Svein and Sofie von Hohenzollern, and one of Friedrich's grandsons. While he had not inherited his father's talents at diplomacy, he had inherited his mother's at espionage. He also, unfortunately, shared his aunt's lust for food, although thankfully not drink. Emelrich, through some carefully cultivated contacts, learned that Kass lied about the picnic. A castle gardener spotted her and her brother enjoying lunch; when they left abruptly, the gardener (a savvy man, if not a rich one) noticed a bottle of wine had barely been touched. He'd intended to share some with his wife that evening, but their cat knocked the bottle off the counter and shattered it. The feline lapped up a bit of the wine.

It died ten minutes later.

Emelrich thought about sharing his suspicions with Grandfather, yet knew that he couldn't actually prove her complicity. It might have just been bad wine. Friedrich II was overcome with grief anyway, and had had a difficult time choosing a successor. The most logical choice would have been Eugen, the third son. Unfortunately, Eugen had his own problems.

thetroublewitheugen.jpg


Nobody knew what had caused Eugen's unfortunate condition, but he was completely incapable of even comprehending what a Graf was, let alone being one. Ordulf was much too young still, so Friedrich II had to turn to his grandsons.

longlivethenewheir.jpg


Fritz was Norbert's son, which unfortunately meant he'd inherited the... less than attractive features of his father. His visage was sometimes channeled usefully -- he was nearly his father's equal with a sword at the age of 13 -- and sometimes not -- he'd beaten two or three peasants to death in a fit of rage. Friedrich II was far from convinced that Fritz was the ideal candidate for the position, but until Ordulf matured, Fritz was as good as it got. Friedrich II hoped to live many more years yet, perhaps give him time to groom Ordulf as a ruler, the way he'd carefully cultivated Bärtig.
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15 April 1249, Castle Nürnberg

Two things were eminently shocking about Kassandra von Hohenzollern for anybody who knew her: one, that she'd attended the funeral. Second, that she'd looked sincerely grieved. Still, where age had not tempered some of Kass's less desirable qualities, motherhood had. She even named her daughter Adelheid, after her mother (her first son, Peter, was named after her husband's cousin). So when her mother died of pneumonia at the age of 40, Kass broke down in tears. She might have come to blows with Adelheid more than once (usually literally), but that didn't mean that, in her own warped way, Kass didn't love her mother.

wifenumberthreecomingup.jpg


If Kass was distraught, Friedrich II was completely devastated. The wife he'd grown to love, more than he'd ever loved any other woman, was gone. Even though she wasn't Bärtig's mother, she loved him like one, yet remained strong when her husband was nearly catatonic. When her husband tried to have a 12 year old girl killed -- twice, and unsuccessfully at that -- she stood by him and helped him pray for absolution. [2] When her favorite son, Eugen, turned out to be a complete buffoon, she still loved him every bit as much. And now she was dead. It had taken every last bit of Friedrich II's courage not to kill himself.

How could he go on now? All of his worldly success meant nothing. He had four titles, a knighthood, a loving family, and even a new infant daughter, Alberade. None of it seemed to matter any more.

Even if he recovered from this last terrible blow, how much longer would he have under the very best of circumstances?
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[1] There were two possible people available to plot against Jaroslava, and her spymaster wasn't the least bit interested.
[2] The plot failed -- the one guy who did join got drunk and blabbed -- so I decided to go for the direct approach and assassinate her. Didn't pan out.

Next update should be early next week; I'd like to start my Netherlands AAR (check it out, it's in my signature!) before I play more for this one.
 

varetta

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Contest winners (approved by Mr. Capiatlist):
Sirce: Casimir/Cassandra.
Prince of Savoy: Eugene/Sophia

Did you receive my names? Or they have not been approved by some reasons? :blink:

Anyway, great update. :cool:
 

Avindian

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Did you receive my names? Or they have not been approved by some reasons? :blink:

Anyway, great update. :cool:

I did, but remember, I'd already played a good bit ahead prior to the contest. I did forget about putting them on the OP, so I'll do that now. :D
 

Michaelangelo

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Friedrich's got quite the spirited daughter there. She's certainly more interesting than some poachers. Not as interesting as an Aztec invasion though... ;)
 

Avindian

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Friedrich's got quite the spirited daughter there. She's certainly more interesting than some poachers. Not as interesting as an Aztec invasion though... ;)

Very true, very true. The poachers thing kind of drives me nuts, because no matter what option I choose, I'm always wrong and somebody hates me for it. :(
 

DisgruntledLemming

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...I am more than slightly offended. The child I named turned out to be an imbecile...

raeg.

I would have elected Eugen just for the heck of it. But that's just me...
 
Last edited:

Avindian

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...I am more than slightly offended. The child I named turned out to be an imbecile...

raeg.

I would have elected Eugen just for the heck of it. But that's just me...

I almost chose him, but you can't. The game literally prevents you.

The child I named is a bloody psychopath... CK2 reminds us how bad that times are with minor noble family (soon to be major I hope) :D.

Yes, it certainly can be.

The early returns indicate a less than ideal record in naming characters. I hope that won't discourage future entries! Nothing I can think of for a proper contest at the moment, but I'll be writing an update for you guys Monday which will get me caught up with playing time, so maybe something will come to me.