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

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Avindian

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What about Passau? Has Ordulf got children of his own now?

Thanks for reminding me! At some point during this last update, Ordulf dies, and his son Ekbert is Count of Passau. Ekbert's young (under age, but I don't know how old), and he's Ordulf's only kid. We'll get more on Passau in the next update.
 

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I'm starting to wonder if Ludwig II is a little soft in the head. You've rebelled against him and plotted his murder multiple times, yet he keeps giving you titles. He's practically asking for you to usurp him. :p

Well, Ludwig is a Wittelsbach. They were always a bit cukoo-bananas.
 

Avindian

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Brian Shanahan

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That's my experience in game, anyway. :)

Never interacted with them in-game myself. My three serious games have been Munster (training game, abandoned for pastures new), Granada (abandoned because I married too many over four generations. Way to many sibling and cousin revolts) and Castillian Leon (I was Castille, united the three kingdoms by Assassin, and changed to Leon as it had enough Realm power to go Primogeniture).

Strangely in my current game one of my vassals owns a county in Hungary (I brought him in simply for martial, he was an unhappy second son, and by pure chance he inherited five years later).
 

Avindian

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Never interacted with them in-game myself. My three serious games have been Munster (training game, abandoned for pastures new), Granada (abandoned because I married too many over four generations. Way to many sibling and cousin revolts) and Castillian Leon (I was Castille, united the three kingdoms by Assassin, and changed to Leon as it had enough Realm power to go Primogeniture).

Strangely in my current game one of my vassals owns a county in Hungary (I brought him in simply for martial, he was an unhappy second son, and by pure chance he inherited five years later).

I can't tell you how many false starts in CKII I've had; I've yet to play a game from 1066 to 1453 (compared to EUIII, where I've done it at least a dozen times).

:confused: Three Anna's? :rofl:

Three? There's Poppo's wife and my new daughter, but where's the third?
 

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Michaelangelo

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Well, Ludwig is a Wittelsbach. They were always a bit cukoo-bananas.

Well it certainly explains why Ludwig gave a whole bunch of titles and is now trying to revoke some. It's good to see that crazy European rulers are being portrayed correctly then. :p
 

Avindian

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Well it certainly explains why Ludwig gave a whole bunch of titles and is now trying to revoke some. It's good to see that crazy European rulers are being portrayed correctly then. :p

There are sane European rulers? :p
 

Avindian

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Yes, but its like Darwin awards, you don't mention people who don't do dumb things to deserve the reward. Only honorable mentions. :D

That makes sense. ;)
 

Avindian

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Avindian

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Chapter 14: The ultimate betrayal

30 November 1276, Passau

It is a common, but erroneous, assumption that assassins typically wear hoods or wear dark cloaks. Such items of clothing inevitably draw attention to a person in the wrong setting, rather than divert it. Most assassins, at least the good ones, look much like the one standing before Friedrich III. The Graf von Nürnberg saw an average man. He was average height, average build, cheaply clothed but not ragged, with a thoroughly unremarkable accent and style. Friedrich didn't even know the man's name, or even that the figure was indeed a man.

Friedrich felt some pangs of conscience; he'd impressed upon his son the importance of justice while awaiting news of a foul deed committed by somebody in his employ.

xavierisjust.jpg


It was especially troubling to target a boy so young. Ekbert was even his cousin, as he was the son of the recently departed Ordulf. Yet without Passau, Friedrich III knew that he could never challenge Ludwig II again. First, he'd tried to interest some of the disenchanted citizens of Passau to support him.

killingmycousin.jpg


Unfortunately, there simply weren't enough willing participants. Friedrich III had all but given up hope when he heard back from the mastermind of the conspiracy to strike down Ludwig II. Isabella de Beaumont was quite happy with her chosen killer's talents, and announced that Ludwig II would only survive another month. When Friedrich III expressed his frustrations to Isabella, she promised to pass along his problems to her friend. Friedrich was contacted a few days later. The price was high -- 150 thalers -- but he promised results. He would meet the Graf in at the tavern in Passau in a couple of hours.

Friedrich nervously looked about the tavern before addressing his employee. "Is it... over?" The assassin merely nodded. Before Friedrich could say thank you -- or even decide whether or not "thank you" was an appropriate response -- he was gone. A couple of minutes later, the Chancellor for Passau entered in tears.

"The Graf is dead! May God have mercy on our souls. Somebody send for Friedrich III; he is our liege now."

The new (and old) Graf von Passau quietly slipped out of the tavern.

therealmisreunited.jpg

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
31 March 1277, München

The killer had been less accurate about the death of Ludwig II. He indeed died, but it took three months instead of one. Nonetheless, Friedrich III felt a grim satisfaction at playing a small role in eliminating one of his fiercest enemies.

wittelsbachs.jpg


With Ludwig's death, part of Friedrich seemed, for the first time in a long time, calm and at ease. Part of it was no doubt his sense that his wife would be able to deal with his shortcomings as a steward of the county funds.

friedrichiiiscontent.jpg


He was also delighted with his daughter, Konstanze. She'd grown up well, if a bit cynically (perhaps too many discussions with Poppo?). She made an inspired match with Blayve d'Hauteville, lending even more prestige to the Hohenzollerns.

konstanze.jpg


Since the d'Hautevilles were such a large family, they'd expressed no objections that Konstanze wished to remain in Nürnberg and have her children carry on the Hohenzollerns. Blayve was also a talented administrator and would find gainful employment among the service of Friedrich III. The proverbial "win-win situation", in other words. Blayve joined the other councilors of Nürnberg as Court Chaplain.

thecourtreviewed.jpg


The other new face was Berengar. Prince Svein had died the year before after a long illness. Berengar was a very different man. Like Marshal Poppo, he was a man without a famous family. He'd traveled to Nürnberg after hearing of Poppo's promotion. The realms of the Hohenzollerns were becoming beacons for those talented men without family or connections. Berengar wasn't quite as skilled a diplomat as Svein, perhaps due to his lower class origins, but he was loyal, fierce, and incredibly bright.

With this body of men serving the Hohenzollerns, how could Friedrich III fail?
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15 October 1277, Nürnberg

Of course, one of the reasons family-less men journeyed to Friedrich III was his love of the simpler things in life: alcohol, gambling, and violence. The Graf constantly had contact with men of the "lower sorts" as some of his detractors called them. He often preferred their company to that of the snootier men of society, like his son-in-law Blayve. His tastes were just different.

Yet something changed in him as he grew older. It all began when he caught Xavier in the passionate embrace of one of the scullery maids.

xavierischaste.jpg


Friedrich had meant to teach his son moderation with a stern lecture; instead, Xavier began to shy away from any but the most idealistic of romances. While a noble thing for a knight, for a scion of an aspiring great house, that was a terrible lesson. The head of the house of Hohenzollern analyzed his decision and began to wonder exactly how much damage he might have done to his son. Friedrich never thought about most choices he made -- he simply picked what felt right to him. Now, he began to realize that such a policy was, at best, ill-informed.

nolongerarbitrary.jpg


Friedrich grew much more careful and introspective, and it could not have come at a better time. The Khan of the Golden Horde had embraced Islam, and with the motivations only religion can provide, had conquered considerable swaths of eastern Europe and Asia.

mapfeaturinggoldenhorde.jpg


Friedrich hardly ever thought about his Orthodox "cousins" who lived farther east. Ever since the Schism, the average Catholic simply forgot about his brethren. Only the most vociferous theologians bothered to consider them for even a moment. With the Mongols an ever greater threat, Friedrich III found himself praying for non-Catholics for the first time in his life.
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4 May 1278, Schloss von Hohenzollern

Friedrich III was broken in a way he'd never been broken before. He was supposed to be happy, to be thrilled that he'd found a new partner to share his life. Instead, his soul was completely empty.

The whole scandal began when Xavier took ill. He was a growing boy; these things happened. Surely, he would get a better in a few days.

He didn't.

Friedrich was hysterical. He immediately suspected Ludwig II's son of sending a spy after Xavier. However, the Spymaster couldn't uncover any such plot. He promised to investigate, and he did to his utmost, with no success. The Graf tried to get his mind back on his realm -- he planned to build a new castle in Nürnberg to commemorate 20th year as Graf -- but his son just got worse and worse. Friedrich grew increasingly agitated, and finally decided to go and see his son. Christine had insisted that Xavier's sickness would only spread. Friedrich walked in on something much worse, the most horrible sight a father can imagine.

His wife poisoning their son. His response was swift and brutal.

christineisexecuted.jpg


When Berengar found Friedrich a new wife, the Graf simply nodded with a glassy gaze. Alberade was physically attractive, mature, and an unrepentant glutton. She wasn't terribly bright, but she wasn't chosen for that.

She was chosen for her last name before marriage.

alberade.jpg

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14 June 1278, training grounds outside Schloss von Nürnberg

As Xavier von Hohenzollern walked towards the stables, many of the castle ladies sighed. He was every woman's secret -- or not so secret -- fantasy. He was strong, outgoing, ambitious, brave, just, and one of the most virtuous men in the entire realm. The only thing that bothered him were the lingering effects of the poison his mother had administered.

xavierbecomesaman.jpg


Unfortunately for the women of Nürnberg, he was promised to Princess Anna of Croatia. He was also a loyal soldier of his father Friedrich III, and the Hohenzollerns were at war again. His father had tried to reason with the Wittelsbachs, to allow Alberade to become the new Herzogin; sadly, he refused. Xavier was troubled that nobody had risen to support his father, but his was not to reason why, but only to do as his father commanded. He was a good son, and a better warrior. [1]

factionformed.jpg


waragainstbavaria.jpg


He would take the right flank of the Nürnberger Army; his father held the center while Marshal Poppo commanded the crucial left flank.

Could the Hohenzollerns win by contest of arms what marriage could not?
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7 March 1281, Castle Erlangen, Nürnberg

Friedrich III had been free since July of 1279, but a part of him remained locked up. He'd grown even more listless since his failed attempt to seize the Duchy of Bayern. Duke Berthold II simply had too many soldiers and too many friends.

defeatedagain.jpg


Xavier started to worry about his father. He knew from Cousin Baldemar that the Graf had been depressed earlier in his life, and the last Xavier wanted was to be Graf too early. The title of Baron of the new castle of Erlangen was plenty to keep him occupied.

erlangenisxaviers.jpg


Friedrich had already been forgiven -- again -- by the Wittelsbachs, who'd named him Court Steward.

imstewardforsomereason.jpg


Xavier, an honest man and always believing the very best of people, couldn't understand why the Herzog von Bayern would be so foolish as to keep his father in a position of authority. Friedrich, being much more world weary, knew exactly why. Berthold wanted to control the Hohenzollerns, to dominate his wayward vassal. To throw Friedrich's failures in his face as often as possible. To ensure that the greatest threat to his power was in absolutely no position to challenge him. Friedrich actually admired the cunning of his rival, but for a time at least, Friedrich had lost interest in the Duke's seat in München.

After all, why should the Hohenzollerns be Dukes, when they could be Kings? [2]

waroncroatia.jpg

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[1] Yeah, I completely missed how factions worked until after I'd already played up to this stage. I should really have waited. :(
[2] It's a weak claim thanks to Xavier's wife, Anna.

One more update before I play again, which should come early next week. Things should start to clear up considerably in terms of obligations in the coming weeks, which means more frequent updates. :)
 

Michaelangelo

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The Wittelsbachs must be masters of the carrot and stick method, since they keep beating you up and then giving you titles and court positions. Either that or they truly are crazy. :p

A Hohenzollern king in Croatia would be awesome if you succeed. I'm just curious, but can you still be a vassal of the Wittelsbachs if you become a king or do you automatically break free?
 

Avindian

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The Wittelsbachs must be masters of the carrot and stick method, since they keep beating you up and then giving you titles and court positions. Either that or they truly are crazy. :p

A Hohenzollern king in Croatia would be awesome if you succeed. I'm just curious, but can you still be a vassal of the Wittelsbachs if you become a king or do you automatically break free?

Let's just say I can't answer that. :)

But you can answer these! (As he cleverly segues into a contest :))

Three titles are going to change hands in the next update. All will have either Hohenzollerns or people in the Hohenzollern court involved. One of the titles changes hands twice. All three are different levels.

That's three characters up for grabs! One is really easy, one is sensible but trickier, and there's about zero chance you'll get the last one.

(Oh, if you were thinking of guessing Brugge? Guess again. ;))

Let's say you have until Monday at 10 PM to guess. If you've already won a character, please give others a chance.
 
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EtzelHoveri

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I'm thinking that you will win the war to put Anna on the throne of Croatia(Kingdom), Xavier will die making Fritz III have Erlangen back(Barony), and then Fritz III will die and all of his Counties as well as Erlangen will go to his eldest daughter, I believe that is Konstanze(Barony and County).
 

Guilu

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Etzel's proposition sounds reasonable - too reasonable for something that we've been told should be unexpected.
Mmh. Croatia is conquered, the queen dies and her son inherits. Xavier also dies from illness or excess of knives in the back. And since I'm on a roll, Fritz dies too! from depression! The grandson takes all and swears fealty to the HRE to avoid being bullied by either empire.
I don't see you winning a crusade anytime soon, and Croatia won't be part of the HRE so you won't be able to enact revenge on the Wittelbachs. So those are the only Ducal and Royal titles that are accessible to you and we've been told there are three of different ranks that change hands.. wait.. Avindian.. you haven't been elected Emperor have you ? That would certainly make the "changes hands twice" requirement easier. If you've been elected emperor, I maintain that Xavier dies and you conquer the kingdom.

EDIT: Are you still going for Prussia at all ?
PPS: The emperor factor messes everything up! the Wittelbachs could be emperors and grant you the duchy you've been longing for! That's more likely than Fritz getting elected, as I'm pretty sure indirect vassals cannot be candidates.
 
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