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

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generalolaf

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I'd love to see this idea added.
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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If there's demand for it, I'll ask a mod for permission. For now, I want to see how popular this idea might be!
I'm going to go ahead and allow it. Just remember to set some firm rules about the time frame of voting/answering.
 

Avindian

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I'm going to go ahead and allow it. Just remember to set some firm rules about the time frame of voting/answering.

Thanks very much! Well, we'll have to time think about this anyway, since I've played a bit farther ahead, but if there is demand for it, I'll come up with something. :)
 

king hannibal

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I am happy that this can happen. I missed NRI, so it will be nice to participate in this way of AARing.
 

Avindian

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varetta

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I also want it!! :rolleyes:
PD: It would be interesting to add characters from other cultures, not only germans. With your language skills it always makes things more interesting and can help to explain global situation of your game. :cool:
 

Firehound15

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I also want it!! :rolleyes:
PD: It would be interesting to add characters from other cultures, not only germans. With your language skills it always makes things more interesting and can help to explain global situation of your game. :cool:

But the only way for that to work is if he/she mods the save file...
 

varetta

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But the only way for that to work is if he/she mods the save file...

I think that in CK you also can invite foreigners to your court...
 

Avindian

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I also want it!! :rolleyes:
PD: It would be interesting to add characters from other cultures, not only germans. With your language skills it always makes things more interesting and can help to explain global situation of your game. :cool:

Customizing characters again would be fun. It's not like I didn't get to do it twice during NRI. :p

But the only way for that to work is if he/she mods the save file...

He, thank you very much. :cool:

I think that in CK you also can invite foreigners to your court...

You can, but they'll still have the same name...

For the sake of simplicity, we'll stick to newborn children; if for some reason I switch cultures, that's fine and dandy. Otherwise, it's a bit too much editing for a game I'm not super-familiar with. :)
 

CivandEUIII

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For the sake of simplicity, we'll stick to newborn children; if for some reason I switch cultures, that's fine and dandy. Otherwise, it's a bit too much editing for a game I'm not super-familiar with. :)
I must go now, in the unlikely event of me getting to name a character, I might need a list :p
 

Avindian

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I must go now, in the unlikely event of me getting to name a character, I might need a list :p

I'll think about it. :)

Obviously, I haven't updated here in a bit. I'm finishing NRI, so you should get the first proper update early this coming week! Thanks again for your patience; I want to make sure I do this right.
 

Avindian

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Chapter 1: The Hohenzollerns go to war

I've decided to go with the format I've used in my past AARs for now; that is, mini-updates that take a snapshot of the world at a specific time combined into one larger update. I reserve the right, of course, to change things up from time to time. :) Let's get this AAR on the road!

12 January 1192, Nürnberg Castle

Friedrich I von Hohenzollern examined his steed with exquisite care. Better than most, Friedrich knew how important a reliable mount was in combat, and it was to combat he was returning. He'd held his new title for all of twelve days before the Kaiser called upon his service: a number of Italian nobles decided that the time to revolt was now. The levies of Zollern and Nürnberg were immediately placed at Heinrich VI's service. Friedrich knew how important his link to the Kaiser was; he'd even voted for stronger authority for the Kaiser a few days before.



In Friedrich's eyes, the best thing for the German states was unity. The Franks to the west were friendly at the moment, but that could change in a heartbeat. There were still pagans on the Pomeranian coast, while the infidel Muslims held considerable lands across the Mediterranean and in the Levant. Friedrich didn't even completely trust the Romans of Constantinople. For Friedrich, it was simple: what was good for the Holy Roman Empire was good for him. That was why he accepted the call to arms without a moment's hesitation.

His wife, Sophie, saw things differently. Friedrich didn't entirely believe in her tears at the news of his parting. The Graf von Nürnberg had been having a trusted associate taste of all his meals without her knowledge. A good judge of character (or so he thought), Friedrich did not consider more direct means of assault upon his person. Besides, even with his advancing age, the Graf knew he could easily handle anything short of a mutiny without much difficulty.

Satisfied that his horse Ragnarok was in the best possible shape, Friedrich drew his sword and scrutinized every inch of the blade. While he was expected mostly to battle with the lance, Friedrich reveled in the glories of hand-to-hand combat and after the initial charge almost invariably dismounted, if he was able. Since he expected to do this in every battle, he chose to wear much lighter armor than his comrades, focusing on mobility and flexibility as opposed to protection. Many thought him a little mad. Let them think as they will, Ragnarok. How many horses have they lost? How many friends have fallen in battle because of their cumbersome plate armor? Friedrich picked up a whetstone and began to sharpen his blade when a castle page approached.

"Yes, boy?"

The page cleared his throat. "My Lord, the Kaiser's representative is waiting to give you your orders."

Friedrich grunted assent, then waved the young man off. He sheathed his sword, picked up his lance, and mounted his horse. He followed the boy's path, excited for the noise and clamor of battle once again.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2 November 1192, Nürnberg Castle

Sophie von Hohenzollern looked about the castle with a distasteful cluck. She would have to get after the servants again; what was the purpose of having them if they could not keep even the modest accommodations of Nürnberg clean?

Unusually for a woman, she could read. In fact, if the truth were admitted, she was far better at reading and writing than her beloved husband. In a different age, she might have parlayed this knowledge into a superior position for herself, but in 12th century Europe, the best she could hope for was a powerful patrimony for her two sons and daughter. That didn't mean she entirely trusted Friedrich, of course, and more than once dreamed of marrying a younger man, or at least taking some... entertainment on the side. Still, she said to himself, she was far better off now than she had been a few years ago.

Because of her literacy, she could read her husband's dispatches back to the Castle, intended for Marshal von Hohenburg.



Not for the first time, Sophie sighed at her husband's unwavering loyalty to the Kaiser. With most of the Holy Roman Empire up in arms, there was ample opportunity for an ambitious man to seize some additional lands among those that had rebelled, yet Friedrich asked for nothing from the Kaiser. How can he possibly impoverish our children? she grumbled. She was the devious one in the family, which was a good thing for her husband, in her estimation. Let him go off and play soldier; I'll see to the real running of this county.
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2 January 1193, the court of the Imperial Chancellor, Leiningen

Konrad von Hohenzollern, the second son of Friedrich I, was completely entranced by all the beautiful scenery as the carriage rumbled through the countryside. He'd never left home before, yet found the adventure tremendously exciting. His mother accompanied him, but he completely ignored her. He was going to school, whatever that was!



Young Konrad had met the Bishop of Stams a couple of times before. The old man was always prattling on about something in a funny language, and he smelled funny too. Konrad didn't particularly care. While his older brother, Fritz, had to train to be a knight like Papa, Konrad got to see the world and learn new things.

He couldn't wait to see what would happen next!
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8 August 1193, Brescia

While the battle raged on farther to the north, Friedrich I waited impatiently at a side door. To pass the time, he chatted with his new Marshal.

"And you're certain my wife was improper with Hohenburg?"

Folkhard von Ellwangen nodded emphatically. "Oh yes, my Lord. I've heard all kinds of things about the Baron; perhaps you should have him executed, as an example that your power is not to be trifled with!"

The Graf frowned. "Such brutality is most un-Christian." His frown eased as his subordinate stiffened. "Besides, I'm quite certain that Sophie probably enticed him. It is normal for such a young woman to have such an healthy appetite when her husband is a chaste old man. I would be more surprised if she was faithful."

Marshal von Ellwangen immediately agreed with his superior. Of course, Baron Almerich had done absolutely nothing wrong as far as Folkhard knew. In fact, the Baron was hardly a young man himself. However, the new Marshal didn't care. He'd toiled for years under Almerich, hardly ever advancing in the service of the Graf von Nürnberg. He was convinced the Baron was jealous of him and was impeding his progress as a result. When the opportunity came to discredit his superior and seize the coveted baton himself, he wasted no time in spinning a tale to achieve his goals.



Folkhard deserved the promotion. He'd been with the Graf when Italian soldiers attempted to drive off the Imperial siege.



It was also his idea to approach some very "understanding" city elders with a gift of gold. The Marshal glanced up at Friedrich I, who was clearly getting agitated. The German noble turned to his Marshal and said out of the corner of his mouth, "Are you sure these foolish Italians can be trusted?"

"I am certain, my Lord. Look! The door opens!"

As Folkhard uttered those words, the door did indeed creak. As the Italian mayor of Brescia held his palm out for the gold he was promised, Friedrich decapitated him and ordered his soldiers into the city. "Let that be a lesson to you, Marshal. Once a traitor, always a traitor. Treason is the most unforgivable crime a man can commit short of heresy."


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17 November 1192, a tavern, Brescia

Within the city walls of Brescia, Friedrich did his best to appear pleasant. No matter how much he longed for the saddle or even a tent outside, he did not wish to appear rude to the Kaiser's new subjects. As expected, the required oath of loyalty to the Kaiser was proclaimed to the high heavens within moments of Friedrich's entrance into the city. He set down his tankard of ale and looked at the plump young barmaid across the room. If Sophie can... no. She is a woman, and is to be forgiven for her weakness. I must show her by example the life she ought to follow; if she does not do so, that is between her and God. He returned his gaze to his ale. At least he could indulge in that.

A local notable sat down alongside the Graf. "Whatsa matter, pal? *hic*" A huge grin was plastered on his face. The very sight revolted Friedrich, but he forced himself to at least return the smile.

"Thinking of my wife, noble sir."

Immediately, a conspiratorial look crossed the notable's visage. "Ahhh, yer lookin' at *hic* Frieda. She's a fine woman."

"She is that, I am certain." Friedrich looked pained as he considered the situation. "Why is it that God gives us such urges, but forbids us to act upon them? Can He not ease one or the other?" He looked at his companion, who had fallen blissfully asleep. Friedrich sighed and got up. He'd done his best for today, to make nice with the locals. He went back to his headquarters.



"Marshal?"

Marshal von Ellwangen stood over a detailed map of the area.



"Yes, my Lord?"

"How goes the Kaiser's campaign?"

The Marshal sighed. "Not well. Our own successes notwithstanding, he is greatly outnumbered all throughout northern Italy."

"That is unfortunate. Do we have new orders?"

The Marshal shook his head. "Not at the moment. We are to garrison Brescia against any effort to retake the city."

"Then that is what we shall do, Folkhard."
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8 December 1193, Nürnberg Castle

Baron Almerich von Hohenburg couldn't help but feel a little vindicated as he planned the castle's defense. The moment my liege needs somebody to defend his home, does he turn to that rat Folkhard? Of course not! Like everybody else in the county apart from the Graf himself, he knew that Sophie had been loyal. He didn't blame Graf Friedrich. His liege was busy fighting the Kaiser's foes in northern Italy, as was right and proper. Now, the Herzog von Bayern, a base coward if there ever was one, used this opportunity to stab the Kaiser in the back.



Almerich knew Ludwig II and hated him. They'd fought over a woman in years past, and the matter had not ended well. He and Friedrich were nominally equals, in reality, as both were Barons in Fürstenburg. Therefore, when Friedrich requested his assistance, it was a formal request, and Almerich knew that, too. He still responded without a second's hesitation when the call went forth. He liked Friedrich much more than Ludwig.
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14 August 1195, München

Friedrich von Hohenzollern, Graf von Nürnberg and Baron von Zollern, fumed quietly as the ceremony continued. This is a waste of time; I could be serving God by crusading against the heathens, yet Ludwig insists on this... formality.



When young Fritz's tutor had grown ill and died, Friedrich asked for -- and received -- permission to return to Nürnberg and take over his son's education himself. Fritz was the heir to the throne, after all. That meant he needed a strong military education, as his father had received.



Instead of teaching his son the finer points of swordplay, he was swearing fealty to a new liege. He was humiliated at his failure to the Kaiser. He owed everything to Heinrich VI, but at the Kaiser's hour of need, Friedrich had to soothe the ego of a vainglorious tyrant in München.



What really galled Friedrich was that, in a lot of ways, he liked Ludwig. If Kaiser Heinrich had ordered him to swear fealty to the Herzog von Bayern, he would have in a moment. Ludwig was a fiery zealot, hardworking and patient, with his one weakness a passion for food. That a mere clerk could defeat the most seasoned veteran in the Holy Roman Empire was another slight to the proud Friedrich. As the priest in attendance finished the Lord's Prayer, Friedrich made a quiet vow of his own. He would be a dutiful Graf to His Grace Ludwig II. He would fight the Herzog's enemies as his own. He would raise his sons to be obedient to their earthly liege as well as their divine one. He would even try to get along with the so-similar yet so-hated man that usurped his place in the Empire.

For now.
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With NRI done, I'll try to get back to a much more regular update schedule. As always, questions, comments, or concerns are always appreciated!
 

CivandEUIII

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Nice update, but since this bloke's such a Christian, does Ragnarok really make sense?
Anyway, good luck with trying to survive the anarchy that is the HRE at the start of the game! :p
 

Avindian

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Well, this is an interesting progression... How do you intend to get out of being a Bavarian vassal, though?

By usurping his title, obviously. :grins evilly:

Nice update, but since this bloke's such a Christian, does Ragnarok really make sense?
Anyway, good luck with trying to survive the anarchy that is the HRE at the start of the game! :p

Why wouldn't a Christian find the death of a bunch of Norse gods pleasing?
 

king hannibal

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Good update, I feel like CK will facilitate characters better.
 

Avindian

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DisgruntledLemming

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Well, this is an interesting progression... How do you intend to get out of being a Bavarian vassal, though?

How about not getting some random duke with a claim on his county annexing him before he goes anywhere? *Shrug*

Good update, and a bit of a slow start for the mighty Hohenzollerns. (Which I actually liked!)