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

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Gen. Marshall

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Oh, I know that feeling.
It seems I am both a certain Ryan as well as a certain General George at this moment.
 

Avindian

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We're not the same person?

Then who am I?

You're asking the wrong person (or are you?) :D

Oh, I know that feeling.
It seems I am both a certain Ryan as well as a certain General George at this moment.

I felt really bad for Tom in that AAR -- he was like four different people at once.
 

Avindian

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So after a quick test, it looks you like guys were right -- I can't call the Kaiser into an independence war. Blast. I'll have to think of something else.
 

Avindian

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You can only call your "liege" against an independent target, such as holy wars, another kingdom, and so on. You cannot call him against one of his vassals.

Good to know.
 

Avindian

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Any chance we'll see a family tree soon?

A fine idea! Here's a collection of trees, family or otherwise.

familytreev.jpg

100 years of Hohenzollerns (minus a few)

firstwife.jpg

Wife #1 of Friedrich III

secondwife.jpg

Wife #2 of Friedrich III

These actually give me an idea for a contest!

1. What important but short lived figure does not appear in the family tree?

2. Why not? (This will require a bit more game knowledge.)

Please answer one question or the other, not both; each question constitutes a character.

I'm going to start playing soon, so answer quickly!
 

generalolaf

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2. Because they're a dead end and therefore aren't displayed in the tree by default.

Yes, I answer questions in a wierd order. :D
 

Avindian

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2. Because they're a dead end and therefore aren't displayed in the tree by default.

Yes, I answer questions in a wierd order. :D

You are so very, very close. I'll give you another shot.

EDIT: I'm going to start playing now, but I'll only play until Friedrich is dead; that probably won't be very long. :) Please do keep guessing, every one!
 
Last edited:

Michaelangelo

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I see the Hohenzollern family really likes the name Friedrich. :p

Every time you have a contest in this AAR I completely blank-out and can't remember anything that happened. :blush:
 

generalolaf

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You are so very, very close. I'll give you another shot.

EDIT: I'm going to start playing now, but I'll only play until Friedrich is dead; that probably won't be very long. :) Please do keep guessing, every one!

A dead end *and* deceased?
 

Avindian

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I see the Hohenzollern family really likes the name Friedrich. :p

Every time you have a contest in this AAR I completely blank-out and can't remember anything that happened. :blush:

I'm surprised the first question is the tricky one.

A dead end *and* deceased?

You're so ridiculously close -- I'll give it to you. :) The part you had wrong was by default. I changed the filters so the tree would fit on one screen(ish). Dead males with no children are excluded (hence, Eugen doesn't appear. And no, Eugen is not the answer to the first question.) Elizabeth, one of Friedrich I's daughters, had a bunch of sons, but they're all Capets (one of them King of France!), so I left them out too.
 

DisgruntledLemming

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I've already answered one, but going back through the initial chapters has lead me to the answer.
 

Avindian

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Oh dear I know this one.
May I try? Please? :D

I wanted to answer but I couldn't. Since I answered the previous one.

I've already answered one, but going back through the initial chapters has lead me to the answer.

If I don't have an answer by tomorrow evening at 10 PM, I'll give it to Gen. Marshall, who PMed me with the correct answer. Come on guys, this one is really easy! I'm practically giving away a free character!

EDIT: The deadline is come and gone. Gen. Marshall, you get another character! (It was Konrad. Too obvious?) generalolaf, I need your names too; you can post them in thread or PM me. I'm working on an update now -- should be up in an hour or two.
 
Last edited:

Avindian

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Chapter 16: A tale of four sons

30 June 1292, Schloss von Hohenzollern, Nürnberg

Friedrich III drummed his fingers impatiently on the desktop. The 100 year jubilee had come and gone, and with most of his children grown or nearly so, the Graf von Nürnberg spent most of his days dealing with builders at the castle. He was too old to wield Gotteszorn; in fact, he'd already given the glorious blade to Xavier as a symbol of trust in the heir's judgment. The truth was, his lands mostly ran themselves. Oh, from time to time he'd have to make "difficult" decisions, but Friedrich had the uncanny sense that his subjects, vassals, even his sons were all just waiting for him to die. Friedrich remembered waiting for his own chance to rule when his grandfather died, so he could sympathize. Nonetheless, it seemed, at the very least, ungrateful of his kin to hover like vultures. A true Hohenzollern would be useful to the end of his days, and the Crusader intended to do just that.

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Forming a hunting party was still well within his capabilities. Planning for the hunt had even improved his stewardship, so much so that he turned to diplomacy as his next challenge. A man who does not seek to improve himself is already dead, Friedrich mused to himself. In the end, the wolves were found and slain. Another victory for House Hohenzollern, if a small one.
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10 December 1293, Passau

Xavier von Hohenzollern raised the visor of helm for just a moment. He could just barely make out the Bohemian cavalry massing in the fields of Schaumberg. They were making no secret of themselves, that much was certain.

Sometimes, in his darkest moments, Xavier longed for the King's crown he'd been forced to relinquish all too soon. His heart burned with ambition, his one flaw. He simply couldn't understand why his father wasn't more aggressive in building up the Hohenzollern patrimony. When marrying off his cousins, Gisela and Giselbert, Friedrich III had gained exactly no new titles. Gisela's husband -- Simon d'Hauteville -- could offer a King's crown, but it was the crown of Sicily. The Hohenzollerns lacked any ships, which made such an adventure doomed before it even began. Yes, Xavier's father and liege had been named Marshal of Bayern. What precisely did that gain the Hohenzollerns?

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At least the current war made sense to Xavier. The King of Bohemia, related to the Duke of Aquitaine, supported his kinsman in a misguided attempt at independence. The King's first move was to occupy Passau, which forced Xavier to act.

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Xavier looked to his right. Having learned the lessons of wars past, the Marshal of Nürnberg had raised a force of heavy infantry and archers for his left flank. Johann and Ulrich had smaller forces in the center and right, respectively. Xavier's units would act as pivot; the center and right would swing towards the Bohemians on the pivot. The objective was to disperse the enemy cavalry, mostly lightly armed with bows and arrows, or even provoke a charge into Xavier's waiting forces.

It worked perfectly.

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Passau was safe, and Bohemia would be punished for their insolence.
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17 November 1294, Nürnberg

Friedrich III beamed as his victorious son entered the audience chamber. The Bohemians had surrendered, with their own army completely eviscerated, and even rejoined the Holy Roman Empire. The Kaiser himself had named Xavier to his personal bodyguard, a largely ceremonial but still incredibly prestigious position. Friedrich did his best to convince the Kaiser that Xavier and the rest of the Hohenzollerns would be even more useful as direct vassals, but Udo wouldn't hear of it. As much as Udo loved the Hohenzollerns, he also favored the Wittelsbachs. The Kaiser's biggest objective was stability.

As the Graf brooded over these thoughts, a number of peasants burst into the audience chamber, absolutely terrified. "M'lord! It's a dragon!"

Everybody now looked at Friedrich III. Peasants often shouted such things, and the liege's response was crucial. After a moment's thought, Friedrich waved Xavier over. With a wink, he drew Gotteszorn from his son's sheath. "No lizard could possibly oppose the greatest dynasty in Europe. My son and I will show the demon the Wrath of God!"

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The room burst into applause. Even the Kaiser laughed.

Of course, that didn't change that Friedrich was still staring daggers at his son-in-law.
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5 November 1297, Nürnberg

The writer groaned in frustration as he listened to yet another of Friedrich III's speeches. He did, of course, have the sense not to groan audibly.

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Wilhelm Schmidt was a fairly successful poet and playwright that had benefited tremendously from the patronage of the Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire. One of the downsides of such an arrangement was that, on occasion, a client had to take on projects of minimal artistic value. Wilhelm was caught in politics; the Kaiser couldn't afford to openly support the Hohenzollerns, so he did the next best thing. He played to Friedrich's vanity.

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Most of the time, his task was actually fairly pleasant. He liked most of the Hohenzollerns, and even the ones he didn't like (he thought Xavier a touch too sanctimonious) were interesting. The one exception, sadly, was Friedrich III. Friedrich spent most of his days delivering speeches in front of a mirror (and not very good speeches, either). Even a writer like Wilhelm could tell that Friedrich's glory days had long since gone. Unfortunately, no one had the decency to tell the Graf.

"Are you listening, man?"

Wilhelm cleared his throat. "Oh, yes, my lord."

"Good. I didn't pay you to sit there and rot. Do your job."

"Right." I wish you had just paid me to rot. It would have been more redeeming than listening to your drivel.
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18 April 1299, Nürnberg

When other children achieved manhood, they asked for gold, jewels, weapons, even a wench. Klaus von Hohenzollern, instead, wanted parchment, ink, and an abacus. He was obsessed with wealth -- a common Hohenzollern trait, to be sure -- but not for himself. He was in fact very charitable. Instead, all facets of economics were like mother's milk to Klaus. As a second son, Klaus's best hope for a useful career was as a steward, a position that Klaus coveted. His cousin Baldemar was still the Steward for Nürnberg, and Klaus respected that, but surely it would not be for long.

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Klaus's harelip and his social status made him, to say the least, a less than desired catch among the nobles of Europe. Klaus's wife, Kristyna, although a Princess of Bohemia, was a dwarf. He briefly considered his new step-mother and sighed.

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Brigida wasn't even his father's first choice when Klaus's mother, Alberade, died. Although Friedrich had married Alberade, he hadn't really loved her. The Graf simply couldn't love again, not as he had loved Christine. Instead, Friedrich had intended on marrying the Countess of Istria, before she decided to demand a matrilineal marriage. Friedrich simply couldn't accept that and chose Brigida instead.

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Brigida was a fine woman, if a bit of a mystic. She was completely obsessed about omens of death, real or imagined. She was a brilliant scholar and proud of it, but all of her talent was devoted toward her odd hobby. The Pope had nervously allowed the marriage after Brigida had convinced him that she was still a firm Catholic.
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24 August 1300, Wien

Klaus was frustrated. He had no role in his father's court, and his recent request for a title of some kind to prove himself was denied.

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Friedrich's excuse was "the recent unpleasantness" with the Knights Templar.

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A few years ago, Grandmaster Simon had planned to use his connections with the Church to forge a claim on even more Hohenzollern lands. Friedrich spent 50 thalers to convince Simon's Chancellor to abandon the project, but was henceforth wary about dividing his lands. At least, that was what he told Klaus. In reality, Friedrich preferred Klaus stay behind the scenes, to work for the Hohenzollerns in secret, while his elder brother got all the accolades and the glory. Klaus was naturally upset, but there was little he could do. There was a point when Klaus could have turned to Brigida, but she'd died while in a coma. Worse, she was pregnant when she died. 20 years ago, that would have destroyed Friedrich, but the Graf was getting increasingly cynical in his old age. He simply married an even younger wife -- Cecilia of Denmark.

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Cecilia was unremarkable in almost all respects. Her one dominant trait was her zeal for Catholicism. She considered it her Christian duty to marry Friedrich the Crusader, despite the massive disparity in age.

Klaus's one chance to earn a title for himself came when the Chancellor of Nürnberg reported a successful claim on Provence -- but unfortunately, the County of Provence. If Friedrich had secured the Duchy, he promised to make Klaus a Count. The Kaiser forbade Friedrich from pressing his claim to the County of Provence, completely derailing Klaus's dreams of greatness.

Klaus had one more chance: his infant son, Philipp. He'd done what Xavier could not: produce a male heir. Of course, Xavier continued to build up his own image by brutally putting down a peasant revolt.

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It would be safe to say that serious resentment was building between Xavier and Klaus.
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10 November 1302, Ulm

Xavier, on the other hand, had absolutely no idea of his brother's feelings. Either one, although Ludolf was no threat to anybody.

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Ludolf was the very definition of below average; brighter than Eugen, but not by very much. Ludolf's one contribution to the Hohenzollerns was marrying Sybille de Geneve. Sybille immediately used this connection to demand the Hohenzollerns help install her friend Judith as Duchess of Savoy.

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As always, Xavier was the instrument of his father's rule. Friedrich III had been seriously ill twice in the last six months, yet still fathered another son, Burkhard.

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Xavier's new baby brother -- forty years younger -- was a cause for joy, as nobody expected a man of Friedrich's advanced age to produce another son. Xavier had yet to meet his brother, as he'd been marching west for Savoy since before little Burkhard was born.

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The Hohenzollerns never turned down their friends, even when it might be self-defeating. Such was the strength and the curse of Xavier's family.
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19 December 1306, Schloss von Hohenzollern, Nürnberg

Xavier von Hohenzollern -- Graf von Nürnberg, Passau, Ulm, Salzburg, und Monferrato -- bowed his head as the priests sent his father to rest.

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Friedrich III had been granted a peaceful death, free of any pain, something any man could envy. He'd reigned for nearly fifty years -- as long as his grandfather had. Yet he also left a realm that appeared stagnant. The prospects for the patrimony of the Hohenzollerns seemed doomed to contraction. The Kaiser's decrees forbade any violence between nobles of the Empire, which prevented any serious expansion. The Wittelsbachs had cemented their own rule over Bayern so firmly that even the modest dream of becoming Herzog one day was probably unattainable for Xavier. The retinues of the Hohenzollerns were sizable -- 2500 men strong, including the finest archers in the Empire -- but there was simply no way for Xavier to exercise his will. When Ludolf's wife had surrendered for a white peace, despite certain victory, she'd inadvertently set back Hohenzollern momentum, perhaps permanently. There was no honor in a white peace, not for a new family (a mere century hardly qualified as an ancient family in the Empire).

Xavier also had another serious challenge. He had three younger brothers -- Klaus, Ludolf, and Burkhard -- but no sons of his own. That meant that one or all of them might challenge his rule. Xavier's sole child, his lovely daughter Christine, had yet to reach maturity, and there were concerns that no German would ever swear fealty to a woman.

Would there even be Hohenzollerns in another 100 years? Xavier prayed that there would be, but the answer was far from certain.
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I'm waiting for the contest winners to send along their preferred names before I play again; sorry I had to cut out so much of the Savoy war, but I ran out of screenshots. :) In reality, I really am concerned about my ability to expand at this point. I can't honestly see how I'll take Bavaria at this point without a complete collapse by the Wittelsbachs, and I doubt very much that would happen. At least that means I'll have loads to do when I get to EU3. (As a reminder, I'm playing CKII to 1399, not 1453).
 

Gen. Marshall

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I love it when plans don't come together :cool:

I'm actually surprised as well that no one else guessed that. But that might be the reason I did guess it. As for the names? I've come up with an.... original new name for a girl.

Male: Maximilian von Hohenzollern
Female: Frederika von Hohenzollern