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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Epic! Though I am not sure that a war horse would run away when hearing a horn.

Even the best trained war horses can and have gotten startled from time to time.

Friedrich.... Dead....? It can't be!

Now, it's up to the young Konrad to rule his father's county, or will a steward take his place? The house of Hohenzollern is too fragile for comfort right now, and it might be a good thing that Konrad doesn't enjoy combat as much as his father did.

Yes, I suppose it is. :)

I guess the baby name choice is for the next one after this post!?! :)

I've already played into the 1220s (or six chapters), so you'll have a bit of wait.

I didn't know you could marry owls. The name Hedwig makes me think of Harry Potter every time. :p

A worthy end to a great warrior. Hopefully Friedrich's heir will be just as capable and lead the Hohenzollern family to greatness. :)

Me too. :)

I should finish up the next chapter of my Japan AAR on Monday, which should have this slated for Tuesday.
 

Avindian

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History_Buff

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Very interesting read. I was unaware you had started a CKII AAR. I have never played this game before so alas, I will probably be no help at all. However, If this is anywhere near as good as the two NRI AARS, I suspected I will enjoy it immensely. It might even be the AAR that makes me decide to go out and buy the game.
 

Avindian

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Very interesting read. I was unaware you had started a CKII AAR. I have never played this game before so alas, I will probably be no help at all. However, If this is anywhere near as good as the two NRI AARS, I suspected I will enjoy it immensely. It might even be the AAR that makes me decide to go out and buy the game.

Glad to have you along! What convinced me to buy CKII, apart from the time period, were the dev diaries. I've never regretted a purchase from PDS, and this game is no exception.
 

Avindian

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I've given it some thought, and I'm going to go ahead and update to 1.7 (I'll probably also get LoR at some point, but not right away). I've kept my save game in case something goes wrong. You won't notice any gameplay differences until Chapter 6.
 

Avindian

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Chapter 4: The sword is mightier than the pen

1 January 1203, Castle Nürnberg

Konrad von Hohenzollern, Graf von Nürnberg, looked at nobles feasting in his honor with a mixture of suspicion and dread. Konrad had never wanted to be a noble, never wanted to be a war leader, and now he was both of those things. He'd hoped against hope that the archivists would discover that the ages of he and his brother had been unfortunately reversed. After all, Fritz, the Baron of Zollern, had been studying directly under Father. Konrad had been educated abroad until the brief regency that preceded his formal coronation.





Chancellor Engelbrecht, Mayor of Fürth, was a good teacher and capable steward. He'd further kindled the flame of knowledge within young Konrad, who was noticeably more diligent in his all-too-brief studies.



Marshal Burchard von Querfurt was another capable advisor and subordinate, winning three consecutive battles against the Count von Kempten. The war against Kempten was certainly going better than the unfortunately doomed Crusade for the Holy Land.



Yet, no matter how much Konrad trusted and liked his chief advisors, the truth was that a Graf was expected to lead, and now that he had reached his sixteen birthday, Konrad had to do exactly that, despite a lack of aptitude in the military arts.



Instead, Konrad had paid more attention to Mother's lessons, for he had inherited some of her charisma and deviousness, yet accepted most of Father's principles and lessons.



In any other realm on Earth, Konrad von Hohenzollern would be a valued member of the court. He was a well rounded scholar, painfully shy, but filled with a passion for justice. He was kind and generous to all his friends and family, great and small, and had fully embraced the traditions of chivalry and courtly love. All in all, a wonderful part, and in many areas, an asset to his county. Yet, the question remained:

Was he good enough?
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4 January 1203, Berlin, Brandenburg

Sophie von Hohenzollern, for just a moment, felt the pangs of loss. Although her husband had been absent from her side for most of his life, she found herself growing to love the man she'd once married strictly for political reasons, and now he was gone. As the pain briefly flickered across her face, she steeled her resolve to focus on the mission she was on. After she'd learned that she wouldn't be Konrad's regent, she decided to travel around the Holy Roman Empire to find a suitable mate for her oldest son.

That was what brought her to the court of Otto II, Herzog von Brandenburg. Otto had been handsome once, but the vagaries of age lined his face, especially his long, white beard. Sophie smirked when she thought of the beard, for that was exactly why she'd targeted Brandenburg. His second child, Elizabeth, was also second in line for the Ducal Throne. Therefore, if she and Konrad were to wed, their children could potentially inherit the Duchy, a very appetizing thought.



Sophie hadn't hesitated to use her... womanly assets to win over the old coot. Her overly pious husband would certainly have objected, but she saw no harm in using what God had given her to secure her children's future. She hadn't even sinned yet, technically, and really had no intention of doing so.

The Herzog's chamberlain approached Sophie as she considered her tactics. "Gräfin Sophie, His Grace approves of the betrothal contract between Konrad and Elizabeth. God go with you."

Sophie curtsied and scribbled a note to her son. Wouldn't he be pleased with his new bride-to-be?
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9 March 1203, Foyer, Castle Nürnberg

Braslav gnawed on a piece of bread as he waited for Marshal von Querfurt. The stout Bulgar had waited for years to finally become Captain of the Bulgar Band. In their last battle, the Band had been beaten quite badly out on the plains of Rus' and had only recently regained enough strength to be effective. His Band's reputation had been sullied and, more than anything else, Braslav wanted to prove that he and his men were still every bit as dangerous as they had been under Boris, the old Captain.

His thoughts flitted for a moment to the Band, camped a few miles away. He'd heard that Nürnberg was suffering some manpower issues, but two or three other German nobles had the same problems, including Nürnberg's enemy, Kempten. He trusted his Lieutenant as much as any other man, but mercenaries are not in the habit of waiting around for long periods without work or pay. He'd been at the castle for three days waiting to speak to the Marshal, who'd been handling recruitment while Konrad was out in the field.

Finding a worm in his bread, he studied it carefully for a few moments before throwing it away. Got to get some better food, he thought to himself. A page respectfully approached Braslav and coughed to get his attention. "Captain? The Marshal will see you now."

"Thanks, kid." He flipped a thaler towards the boy and walked into the Marshal's office.

Marshal von Querfurt sat at a rather imposing desk, made all the more imposing by the scarred individual sitting there. "It's Captain Braslav, right?"

"It is, Marshal."

"How was your trip?"

Braslav grimaced. "Can we skip the chatter? I've got a thousand hungry men who need to get paid."

The Marshal smiled without the slightest trace of humor. Although Captain Braslav didn't know it, the Marshal was insulted that he had to hire mercenaries at all. Burchard knew that Konrad wasn't fit to lead an army, but he was the Graf, and the ancient traditions of German lore demanded that a prince lead his troops. The Marshal's only consolation was the Konrad didn't like it much either. He'd purposefully kept Braslav waiting because he knew something the Bulgar didn't: nobody else was going to hire him after the debacle near Kiev. "Then to business, Captain. Are your men fit for a siege?"

"Aye. We've just had four new companies of engineers from Constantinople join."

"Good, good. Your men are veterans?"

"Except the rookies, yeah."

"Your price?"

"150 thalers."

The Marshal choked on his wine. "150 thalers?! You don't lack for guts, Braslav."

"That's my price."

"I've got a better price for you: nothing. I round up your men and draft them into the army. How does that sound?"

Braslav snorted. "You think they'll follow a German? Not bloody likely."

The Marshal got up and paced. "25 thalers."

"I don't get out of bed in the morning for less than 100 thalers."

"50 thalers and I don't execute you for being such a pain in my arse."

Braslav thought for a moment. 50 is pretty good, enough to pay my men and get some more food, but I think he's desperate. With 75, I can get some new armor for my men. "75, and it's highway robbery."

Outwardly, the Marshal sighed. Inwardly, he was downright giddy. I've got 119 thalers to play with; I can keep them for an entire year, or close to it, for that price. "Fine, you rogue. 75." He threw the bag of thalers in front of the mercenary Captain.

"You've got a deal."


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5 June 1204, Kempten

As the garrison commander surrendered, the men of the Nürnberg army cheered. Even Konrad had to admit a certain delight in watching the capital of the County of Kempten fall. He made himself a mental note to give some additional honors to Baron Almerich, who had ingeniously blackmailed a man in Passau into coming up with enough cash to keep the Bulgar Band for another few months.



The victory made him forget, momentarily, the absolutely miserable time he'd had as a soldier.



He'd seen so many horrible things that, privately, he'd considered ending the war. Men were butchers, and did not deserve any kindness from him or anybody else. Braslav's murderers were the worst of the bunch. The only thing that kept him going was his father's legacy. If he could win this war, he might prove himself a capable warrior after all.
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6 May 1205, Kempten

The army of Nürnberg retreated solemnly from the field they'd held for almost a year, and returned with an additional unexpected burden. What eventually defeated them was not betrayal by the Bulgars, as many had feared, but the Graf von Kempten's ties to the Graf von Loon. Although Konrad's army had won a couple of victories, his inept leadership and the sheer size of the opposing force finally relieved the County of Kempten from siege by Nürnberg. However, even in defeat, the soldiers felt some pride in their Graf that they hadn't had before.

Konrad proved to be an indifferent horseman, which surprised nobody. Instead of riding into battle, he typically followed his father's example and dismounted when there was combat. His sheer courage inspired many of his soldiers to fight where they might have fled or surrendered. Konrad von Hohenzollern hadn't actually killed anybody yet -- he was generally kept safely back from the line -- but earlier that morning, he'd found himself in one-on-one combat with the General of the Loonish army. At first, Konrad held his own against the enemy General. For about two minutes, neither could gain the advantage. Konrad was younger and quicker, while the General of the Loons was more skilled and experienced. It was that trickery that enabled him to win the bout: he tripped Konrad, pinned him with his shield, and lacerated the prone Graf's right leg, completely severing the hamstring.



Konrad couldn't walk at all, and the other injuries he'd suffered before his knights rescued him meant he'd probably never be seen in public again. Worse still, other... parts were severely damaged. That meant that Fritz would inevitably become Graf von Nürnberg someday, as he would never have children.

The Hohenzollerns suffered an incomparable blow.
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30 April 1207, Castle Kempten

Konrad von Hohenzollern was completely humiliated. He'd done everything he could to salvage the war, but the Loons were simply too powerful a foe. The first thing he'd done was convince all the feudal lords under his control to increase their contributions to the Nürnberg armies.



Still, by April 1206, there was simply no more manpower to be had, and the entire Bulgar Band had been eliminated through sieges and long battle. Only Captain Braslav remained, and he was returning to Bulgaria to find more troops. Desperate for soldiers, Konrad hired Thomas de Montagu's "Saxon Band", but by December the treasury was exhausted and they turned coat. Konrad chose a new Marshal -- Gottfried von Naumburg -- but it wasn't enough.



Part of Konrad was relieved that Otto von Kempten would accept a White Peace, but most of him was simply ashamed.



If he didn't do something dramatic, and soon, he might lose the respect of all of his men.
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23 February 1210, Castle Nürnberg

The last few years of Konrad von Hohenzollern's short life were uneventful and largely miserable. A win at the Grand Tournament had partially restored the Hohenzollern prestige, enough that Elizabeth, his sister, was able to marry the King of France, securing a powerful ally for Nürnberg.





The Bishop of Ellwangen, the man who was to marry Konrad and his new wife, had turned to the Cathar heresy; Konrad was forced to imprison his trusted friend, and although he eventually released him, it took him months to find a new priest who would officiate at the wedding.



The new Court Chaplain, Gerlach von Hohenburg, filled in, and Elizabeth and Konrad were wed on 22 July, 1209.



For Konrad, that was the final straw. Legally, his marriage was never consummated because he couldn't. Elizabeth, who was a better warrior than her husband, did as much as she could to ease Konrad's shame, but in the end, he simply couldn't do it. With Elizabeth's understanding, he killed himself on 23 February, 1210, although officially the cause of death was his injuries. It was a family secret, and only Fritz would ever know. After all, suicide was a mortal sin, and if the Pope found out, the Hohenzollerns could be finished.



The two titles of the Hohenzollerns were united once again, in the person of Friedrich II.

Would Friedrich live up to his father's legacy, or down to his older brother's?
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Konrad's fate, sadly, was much bleaker than his father's. We'll hear the beginning of Friedrich's story this weekend!
 

Avindian

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Well that was kinda dark. :p

It was. Not 100% intentionally so, but I needed to explain why Konrad's reign was so short.

Nice, another land to the family's name. Having the King of France on your side is great, especially if you are going independent soon... maybe.

No new land I'm afraid... yet. :)
 

Avindian

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An unusual stroke of fortune enabled me to procure Legacy of Rome, so this will officially be an LoR AAR as well.
 

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And thus ends the sad story of count Konrad.
 

Avindian

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You are aware that you cannot actually call France to your aid, but only other vassals of your direct liege, right?

Yes, unless I'm attacked, right? That should automatically call France?

And thus ends the sad story of count Konrad.

It did get a little maudlin, didn't it?
 

Rendap

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Seriously gonna need the Popcorn for this! Keep the story rolling and I won't instigate a peasant revolt against you.... :)
 

Yenzen

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Yes, unless I'm attacked, right? That should automatically call France?

Calling allies can be done by suggestion of your ally or by your request. You cannot request any outside help for any purpose as a vassal unless you are effectively independent (for example in a fight for independence). Try looking at your allies screen, France should be in red pointing out that you cannot call upon them.

This is one of the major downsides of being a vassal, that you cannot really ally with any outsiders. I do however believe that your ally may randomly offer to help you, at least I seem to recall have experienced such while playing in Iberia (random duke vassals of france and HRE offering to help), likewise you can offer to help your outside ally (again, 90% certain here :-/), but they cannot request it of you.
 

Vrael_1492

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This is one of the major downsides of being a vassal, that you cannot really ally with any outsiders. I do however believe that your ally may randomly offer to help you, at least I seem to recall have experienced such while playing in Iberia (random duke vassals of france and HRE offering to help), likewise you can offer to help your outside ally (again, 90% certain here :-/), but they cannot request it of you.

If random dukes offered to help you, it might be to help attack of defend against the heathens.
 

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So, if you are say, Duke of Bavaria and you declare war on the HRE for Independence or Lower Crown Authority, you are then "independent" from your liege until the war ends, and you may call outside, also-independent allies in to your fight. But if you are a Count revolting against the Duke of Bavaria, your "liege" is technically the HRE, and you are not "independent".
 

Avindian

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Seriously gonna need the Popcorn for this! Keep the story rolling and I won't instigate a peasant revolt against you.... :)

I should have at least one update this weekend, so you won't have to wait too long. :)

Calling allies can be done by suggestion of your ally or by your request. You cannot request any outside help for any purpose as a vassal unless you are effectively independent (for example in a fight for independence). Try looking at your allies screen, France should be in red pointing out that you cannot call upon them.

This is one of the major downsides of being a vassal, that you cannot really ally with any outsiders. I do however believe that your ally may randomly offer to help you, at least I seem to recall have experienced such while playing in Iberia (random duke vassals of france and HRE offering to help), likewise you can offer to help your outside ally (again, 90% certain here :-/), but they cannot request it of you.

If random dukes offered to help you, it might be to help attack of defend against the heathens.

So, if you are say, Duke of Bavaria and you declare war on the HRE for Independence or Lower Crown Authority, you are then "independent" from your liege until the war ends, and you may call outside, also-independent allies in to your fight. But if you are a Count revolting against the Duke of Bavaria, your "liege" is technically the HRE, and you are not "independent".

Good stuff to know!

BTW, has anybody played LoR yet? Is it going to mess me up too badly? There's still two more updates until I play again.
 

DisgruntledLemming

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I should have at least one update this weekend, so you won't have to wait too long. :)







Good stuff to know!

BTW, has anybody played LoR yet? Is it going to mess me up too badly? There's still two more updates until I play again.

1.07 shouldn't screw anything up, and since LoR deals mostly with the Byzzies, I don't think it'll affect you unless you decide to become the ERE. XD

Only thing that may prove problematic is (if you are not on 1.07) the faction system or the Patriarch system for the Orthodoxes. Your fellow vassals may act weirdly as a result of the faction system.

And oh, if you get 1.07, depressed characters actually do get to commit suicide. >.> So that would have been appropriate if you waited for LoR. :p