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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Pigzhu275

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Hello and welcome to my first attempt at playing EU4 outside of the 1444 starting bookmark. 1530 is not one of the recommended bookmarks, but it is at this time that I think Europe is a complete powder key and, as such, this can be a really fun time to get in on the action. The First Ottoman-Habsburg war is ongoing as the Ottomans start to reach the gates of Vienna, the Ottomans and Spanish have become immense powers that send shivers down the spine of neighboring OPMs and the 30 year war is soon to begin. But we will not be playing a prominent power in this setting, but instead the Knights of the Order of St. John.

For anyone returning, I have put up chapter links! For newcomers, just keep reading the introduction which follows the links... don't skip to Chapter 1!!

Table of Contents
Introduction
Chapter 1: The Chronicle of l'Isle Adam 1530-1535
Chapter 2: Like Knight and Day 1536-1550
Chapter 3: Time is Running Out 1551-1571
Chapter 4: The Sub-Saharan Crusades 1571-1587
Chapter 5: The Road to Jerusalem 1587-1600
Chapter 6: Into the European Theater 1600-1625
Chapter 7: The Crusader States Reborn 1625-1648
Chapter 8: Of Dreams And Nightmares 1648-1670
Chapter 9: Yesterday's Friends, Today's Enemies 1670-1694



Introduction to the Knights

The Knights have long been driven out of the Holy Land, and even Rhodes has fallen to the Great Turk. While without a land to call their own, the Order of St. John did not fade away, and continued its work across Europe. In 1530, Spanish Emperor Charles V granted our monastic order the lands of Malta and Tripoli. Historically, the Knights actually turned Malta into a great forttress which would repel the Turks, and in later years actually gained colonies in the Caribbean before eventually falling into decline and falling under French and finally English control in 1800.

In this AAR, I will instead be attempting to revive the Knights and defeat the immense Ottoman Empire to reclaim the holy lands to form the Kingdom of Jerusalem. I believe that this will be much more challenging than a typical Knights 1444 play through because the Ottomans are at their height of power compared to earlier bookmarks.

With such a daunting task ahead of us, we need a ruler that is exceptional and can look at the Ottoman threat without fear. Luckily, the Knights starts with just one such a ruler.



Grandmaster Philippe de l'Isle Adam (4/4/5) is not only an incredible starting ruler, but he starts as a general with unbelievable abilities of 6 fire, 5 shock, 5 maneuver and even 1 siege. If that also wasn't enough, we also start with an incredible admiral at the head of our navy and our capital is incredibly defensible should we be able to construct a large enough navy to defend it. The biggest problem is that the Grandmaster is quite old; he is already 66 and could die quite soon. We also are rather poor, with only 13 national development, so if the Turk attacked no matter how great our general might be, we would be overwhelmed by numbers alone.

As we are starting in 1530, some of the ideas are already chosen for us, as seen below:


Armed with the holy war casus belli, I immediately gathered l'Isle Adam and the 5000 knights of Malta to prepare themselves for their first steps in the reconquest of the Hold Land.
 
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Tom D.

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Now that is indeed something unusual, starting in 1530. It looks like you discovered a hidden gold mine in a tiny state where nobody knew about. That's an immensely difficult situation to start in, but I'm sure that with already the right ideas you'll be able to conquer the heretic lands.

That means I'm subbed by the way ;)!
 

Pigzhu275

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Chapter 1: The Chronicle of L'Isle Adam
1530-1535

As the Knights of St.John readied themselves for war by recruiting 2000 additional men for the upcoming crusade, Grandmaster l'Isle Adam pored over the national finances and shook his head wearily. The Knights controlled only two fairly poor provinces with a combined 13 development, so before expenses the country was only making 1.71 monthly ducats. The maintenance of fortifications of Malta alone cost 0.7 monthly ducats (1 base, -10% for defensive idea group, -20% for monastic order government rank) and army and naval maintenance meant that the country was running quite a substancial deficit right from the start.



There was no other option; the fortifications at Malta had to go. Newer fortifications could be built once the Knights had expanded a bit and could actually fund its defenses. For now, the best defense was a good offense.



The Grandmaster also appointed himself an heir in the case of his demise. He decided that granting the position to a member of the merchant class would help fill the coffers for war, and the appointee, named Raphael (1/3/5), thankfully has an aptitude for military command that will come in useful in later years.



Allies will be needed if we are to bring down the Great Turk, but all the emissaries sent abroad return home dejected. None of the major powers have any interest in the minuscule Order of St. John; even the Spanish, who granted us Malta and Tripoli earlier this year simply see us as more of a liability than an asset against foreign powers. For now, we are on our own.

With the national finances at least somewhat balanced and the new recruits trained, the Grandmaster sends the Knights to war.


Our navy seeks shelter at Malta since it is outnumbered by our Tunisian foes, which allows us to cut maintenance but means that we are throwing all our hopes on the success of our armies. The Tunisian army sweeps down the coast and bears down on us, surprised by a crusader invasion but confident in their superior numbers. L'Isle Adam readies his men; monks bless the men and prayers are recited the saints. As the Muslim force begins their charge L'Isle Adam takes control of his knights and leads them to battle.



It is victory for the Knights of Malta! The enemy is broken and forced to retreat southwards in disarray. While the enemy still retains a sizable force, we hastily recruit another regiment of mercenaries at Tripoli and strike the enemy at Thubaqt. This second battle results in much higher proportional casualties for the Tunisians since they did not have a chance to reinforce their losses while we did, and their army completely dissolves. Even so, the Tunisians quickly levy a smaller force near their capital at Tunis. One final attack completely annihilates their army. Since Tunis is a fairly small nation, we can spread out our men and cover every major region to prevent new armies from being built, and we siege down the cities before regrouping the men to siege down the fort at Kef and the capital city.

With the final sieges ongoing, Grandmaster L'Isle Adam takes a moment to see if the Ottomans have made any significant moves. Unfortunately, it seems that they are completely decimating the Austrians to the north.


Luckily, the Ottoman-Habsburg war should serve to distract the Ottomans from expansion into North Africa, at least for a little while.

The war with Tunis comes to a close, and the Sultan is forced to kneel at the feet of the Grandmaster and unconditionally surrender. We demand nothing less than their complete annexation.


Hearing of the fall of the Sultanate of Tunis, the neighboring minor nations begin to rush to form a coalition towards us. Sensing that his window of opportunity was about to close, the Grandmaster immediately declares war on the small Malikate of Djerid before it can join the coalition against the Knights.

Even though the national coffers are bleeding money at this point and we completely disregard rising corruption, we decide to maintain the fort at Kef just in case enough nations join the coalition that we need it to hold the enemies off so that we can pick our fights with our superior leader.



By 1534, Djerid is crushed. We vassalize the malikate, and since the neighboring Touggourt had decided to invade Djerid as well upon seeing us crush their meager army, we are drawn into a war with them to protect our new vassal.



A historical event fires which gives us +25% defensiveness in Malta, which would have been a lot more useful if we actually still had a fort there.


The Knights ride once more to battle, and completely crush the enemy forces at Ghadames before surrounding and obliterating their remaining forces at Laghouat.

While the campaign is ongoing, the Tunisian peoples decide that now that our army is busy warring it would be an opportune time to reclaim their independence. Some relative of the deposed Sultan whips up the emotions of the people and raising armies that would seek to place him on the throne of Tunis.


Grandmaster l'Isle Adam quickly hires more mercenaries and, leaving only one regiment behind to prevent the defenders at Touggourt from resupplying, gathers his men to march on the three rebellious armies. By crushing the enemies quickly, the Grandmaster hopes that he can destroy them while they are still divided into three comparatively weak groups. Many more loans are taken, but we succeed in crushing the rebels and completing the siege of Touggourt.


Once more, we force force a malikate to kneel at the foot of the Grandmaster and declare his allegiance to the Order of St. John. We also demand heavy recompensation, and grab 99 ducats of tribute from the malikate in the peace treaty. This will help in paying off many of the loans that we had to take over the last few years of conquest. Even so, we are still in a destitute economic state, corruption is still rising (now at 1.33 but rounds up to 2), our new vassals are eager for any opportunity to rebel, and manpower is depleted.

Wondering whether or not there was still a coalition against the Knights, the Grandmaster sent forth diplomats to neighboring nations. He was particularily interested in whether Algiers was part of the Coalition, since if it wasn`t then that was the next logical location for expansion.


Oh...
 

Tom D.

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Impressive conquests, but indeed 'Oh' for that... That was unexpected o_O. But I'm very eager to discover how you'll be able to work around it.
 

blitzthedragon

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I'm rooting for ya, man! It's not often I see an AAR with a 1530 start date, much less one that starts with a weak minor taking on the juggernaut that is the 16th century Turks.
 

RyuDrago

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Well the start was explosive, but well there is the need to calm this coalition. Algers being OE vassal is good as they couldn't dow you, so I think the priority is woo Spain, Venice and Austria...
 

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Good first moves, except one small question: Why did you take another vassal (Toggourt) instead of giving the lands to your existing vassal (Djerid). I would have assumed this would have been easier to deal with regarding Liberty desire (less armies, more autonomy, only one vassal to annex).

I assume you're accepting Tunisian culture now?
I agree that Spain and Venice should be a priority to ally with. Maybe France as well? (I don't know if you still share the same culture group as in 1444).

Anyway, very interesting, unusual and ballsy start. I'll make sure to follow this. :)
 

Pigzhu275

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To all following, the second chapter will be coming out by tomorrow evening at latest.

Impressive conquests, but indeed 'Oh' for that... That was unexpected o_O. But I'm very eager to discover how you'll be able to work around it.
Thanks Tom. I am a little sad to discover most of North Africa is already under the Ottomans' hold and worried I won't be able to blob anywhere. There seems to be a new 'X country has powerful friends' diplomacy modifier already which makes it even harder for small countries to get allies now :(

I'm rooting for ya, man! It's not often I see an AAR with a 1530 start date, much less one that starts with a weak minor taking on the juggernaut that is the 16th century Turks.
Thanks for the support dragon!

Well the start was explosive, but well there is the need to calm this coalition. Algers being OE vassal is good as they couldn't dow you, so I think the priority is woo Spain, Venice and Austria...
Well ironically enough Algiers being under the Turk, and Tlemcen being under Algiers (what... since when can vassals have vassals...) means that there arent enough minor nations around to coalition me as long as I can get my two vassals under control. Of course long term this means I have very few ways to expand. I agree that wooing the great powers is a necessity for me pretty soon.

Good first moves, except one small question: Why did you take another vassal (Toggourt) instead of giving the lands to your existing vassal (Djerid). I would have assumed this would have been easier to deal with regarding Liberty desire (less armies, more autonomy, only one vassal to annex).

I assume you're accepting Tunisian culture now?
I agree that Spain and Venice should be a priority to ally with. Maybe France as well? (I don't know if you still share the same culture group as in 1444).

Anyway, very interesting, unusual and ballsy start. I'll make sure to follow this. :)
Nice thing is I start with Tunisian accepted since I start with Tripoli in 1530. I actually worry more about Maltese becoming unaccepted once i expand more since the Knights are actually Occitan French culture... too bad that doesn't give a diplomatic relations boost with France though. I probably should done the peace deal with Touggourt differently; not only should i have integrated them into Djerid so I have only one ally, but I could have taken a province so that I would be able to get a border with Mzab and attack them as well. Oh well... :oops:
 

Tom D.

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Well ironically enough Algiers being under the Turk, and Tlemcen being under Algiers (what... since when can vassals have vassals...)
Never, that's probably a bug.

Occitan French culture... too bad that doesn't give a diplomatic relations boost with France though
Doesn't it give a +25 opinion modifier because "same cultural union" or something like that? I thought so...
 

Pigzhu275

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Never, that's probably a bug.


Doesn't it give a +25 opinion modifier because "same cultural union" or something like that? I thought so...
There are a few things which would normally be impossible under normal gameplay circumstances which pop up when you try odd start dates. I have a feeling since they arent played much there isn't much double checking going on. I actually like this, it means there is tons of interesting gameplay possibilities out there; imagine playing as the vassal`s vassal by choosing to do a 1530 Tlemcen run:p

I just checked my game and unfortunately my relations with France only have one modifier, +25 from same religion and that's all:(
Too bad or I would rush for an alliance with mes frères francophones.
 

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Chapter 2: Like Knight and Day
1536-1550

In 1535, The Knights were in a fairly delicate state; the nation was deep in debt and drowning in loans, the two newly acquired vassals would rebel as soon as truce timers expired in a few years, and we basically still had an economy of less than 2 monthly ducats before expenses. Fixing the economy was obviously first on the Knights’ plate.

Even with army maintenance down to the minimum, the fort at Kef mothballed and so forth, we are still bleeding money. What do we do? Of course we decide to spend money! We use the money to fund conversions. By converting all the Sunni provinces into catholic provinces they will become contributing members to our empire instead of hotbeds of revolt risk.



Playing as a theocracy wasn’t something that I had done before attempting this playthrough. I absolutely hate the monarch generation mechanic for this government type so far (who wants 30+ age heirs, no ability to expand a dynasty or make royal marriages, and you don’t even get the ability to supercharge leaders like republics can?), but I have to say that the clergy estate bonuses and papal favor can be absolutely godly playing as a catholic theocracy. Speaking of papal favor, by managing to scrape up enough ADM monarch points, we adopt the devoutness idea, and it immediately pays back dividends with a +2 yearly papal influence boost, +1 tolerance in catholic provinces, and increased legiti- i mean devotion. With each successful conversion giving one time boosts in papal influence and devotion also providing papal influence, we are starting to get quite a few papal favors.



We need more money! We build up the development of the cloth industry in Tripoli and the fishing industry of Malta by 2 and 3 respectively since these two provinces are the lowest in terms of autonomy.



Castles will do little to hold back the flood of Turkish Infidels; let us instead us the funds to invest towards building a great crusader host.

Since l’Isle Adam still draws breath, he decides to continue to expand the realm and declares a crusade against the minor neighboring sultanate of Fezzan. We must take initiative and seize their lands before they fall under the Ottoman yoke. We use our first 50 papal influence to gain the enact papal taxes, which gives a nice +15% national tax modifier boost. We are saving up our administrative points so that we can begin centralizing the Tunisian provinces so that we can reduce autonomy over time below 75% and, more importantly for now, we can also grant the lands to our estates.



1541: the crusade against Fezzan draws to a close. The Algerians have integrated Tlemcen to the west; how long until the Ottomans integrate the Algerians as well? For now, we are safe since the Ottomans have no claims or borders with our lands.



While it was inevitable, it is still depressing to hear that L’Isle Adam has passed away. The mercantile candidate, Raphael de Rohan, is elected as Grandmaster (1/3/5). We put forward another mercantile candidate as heir, Johannes Paulus de Penthievre (2/1/4), because choosing your candidates based on how much money their relatives has is becoming the official state policy at this point.



The Sultan of Fezzan is completely defeated, but the Grandmaster decides against completely annexing or subjugating the tiny nation. After all, just beyond the borders of Fezzan lay the Ottomans and keeping Fezzan alive and independent makes them into a nice buffer zone which prevents the Ottomans from growing envious of our land… sort of… we hope. More importantly, we can declare war again in a decade and beat Fezzan like a Tunisian Pinata for cash to fund our crusades.



Word reaches the Grandmaster of a mad seer which has called into question the authority of the clergy. While it pains us to need to invest ADM into hunting down and dealing with this threat, doing so allows us to curry favor with the clergy of our realm. Happy clergymen results in higher taxes, cheaper stability, more papal influence and more devotion (which turns into more taxes and papal influence… hey, I feel like there might be a pattern here). Hm, I think my vassal truce timers might run out soon. On a side note, that impending civil war doesn’t look so good…



Okay okay… I’m sorry I destroyed the fort but I’ll build a new one eventually.



You know your country has a dismal past when this qualifies as a time when the country ‘is doing well’. Guys, please stop embezzling what little we can save away or I won’t be able to build that new fort anytime soon.

In 1546, the Grandmaster receives a word of good news for once as our first alliance offer arrives!



Hm… our historical friend has come to us once more. The emissary makes convincing arguments

Emissary: ‘We hate the ottomans; you hate the ottomans; let us hate together’

Grandmaster: ‘You make a good point, but aren’t the Ottomans right on your border and preparing to invade you right now? Why would I want to get involved in that?’

Emissary: ‘Oh come on, we are the only ones who will ally you who is even close to great power status! Spain and the other major powers won’t help a run down nation like the Knights when the Ottomans come for you! Help us and we can help you!’

Grandmaster: ‘...Thank you for the offer.’

We decide that suicide jumping with our historical friends into the impending ottoman invasion doesn’t sound appealing and decide to forge a new path for the Knights of the Order of St. John.



An event to spread translated bibles occurs, and we of course burn the heretical priest and his bibles for a +20 relations modifier with the papal states. We also had been improving relations over time for a +100 boost. Not only does this provide huge modifier boosts to our papal influence gains, but we complete the ‘influence in the curia’ mission and forge an alliance with the holy father in Rome as well. Now that this chapter has devolved into a ‘How to Min-Max Papal Influence with the KnightsTM, I might as well showcase the next set of rewards from the holy father.



+15% national tax still ongoing, we go for the next big economic boost by gaining a formal holy note of forgiveness for our most decadent use of national loans and gain the equivalent to a free master of mint and discount on our interest expenses.

We receive another alliance request at this time. The duke of Corsica is eager for an alliance, and we accept this offer on the basis of ‘eh, nobody is going to attack Corsica, and even a few extra regiments of allies might slightly dissuade people from attacking us.’

We begin the process of turning Tunisia into a proper province and begin allocating the regions to various estates. Finally, between autonomy having fallen over time and getting autonomy exempt bonuses via estates, we have begun turning a positive balance in the treasury. We also have reached ADM tech 10, so we are able to consider what we would like to choose for our third idea group. Choosing expansion is actually a good option since we could colonize the saharan desert and open up routes of conquest into sub-saharan africa, but then again a diplomatic idea which boosts our diplomatic reputation could also be essential to gaining allies. Choices, choices.

Our fledgling empire was starting to take shape, and as we passed the 4.5 ducat mark of income before expenses, more than double what it was just after our conquests only a decade ago, I had hope that we could rise again to challenge to Ottomans some day. We used some of our excess prestige to forcefully satiate the liberty desire of our vassal: Touggourt. Djerid had fallen below 50% liberty desire on its own, so there was no risk of a vassal uprising any time soon. Integration would come soon. To be sure, the difference between the Knights of today and that of a decade ago was like night and day.



Uh oh, protect us Corsica and our most holy father!
 
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Tom D.

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It seems your very lucky that you weren't attacked already by some nation. Are you really not able to ally Spain/France? Maybe start improving relations with the Ottomans, that might help?

Is there actually a specific reason why you choose to begin in 1530? It's so unusual that I'm very eager to discover.
 

Pigzhu275

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It seems your very lucky that you weren't attacked already by some nation. Are you really not able to ally Spain/France? Maybe start improving relations with the Ottomans, that might help?

Is there actually a specific reason why you choose to begin in 1530? It's so unusual that I'm very eager to discover.
I don`t think there has been much luck involved with me not being attacked so far. In the 1530 start, the Ottomans spend the first few years embroiled in the Habsburg-Ottoman war, and afterwards the AI tends to target the nearest, weakest targets first. They have pretty wide borders so after I blobbed a bit there was bound to be a few nations weaker for a little while for them to go after. That`s one of the reasons that I left the Sultanate of Fezzan alive too. With Algiers being a vassal and spain also busy warring other nations, no one else cares about my lands right now.

Once I get a bigger army now that the economy fixed i might actually be able to get an alliance soon. Especially with my next round of papal favour will get me the papal legate for +1 diplo rep.

I chose the 1530 start just because when I first got into EU4, i read the wikis and AARs extensively, which covered most major nations. If I play England, I will inevitably recall what is supposed to be optimal play or compare myself with others when writing, but if I choose a 1530 Knights run or my Tumbuka 1444 run, then I just get more into the game and feel more relaxed writing. Feel free to leave any suggestions for what nation and time i should choose to do an AAR after this one ;)
 

guillec87

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subbed!
 

atwix

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A historical event fires which gives us +25% defensiveness in Malta, which would have been a lot more useful if we actually still had a fort there.
*smiles*

Okay okay… I’m sorry I destroyed the fort but I’ll build a new one eventually.
*grins*

subbed.
 

iisbroke

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I'm really liking your AAR. Knights playthroughs tend to interest me because they have such hard starts, and also have good potential. I'm basing that off of EU3 as I don't own EU4 but I'm making an educated guess the difficulty hasn't changed.
 

Pigzhu275

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New chapter coming out in a few hours.

*smiles* *grins* subbed.
Glad to have you both along for the ride :)

I'm really liking your AAR. Knights playthroughs tend to interest me because they have such hard starts, and also have good potential. I'm basing that off of EU3 as I don't own EU4 but I'm making an educated guess the difficulty hasn't changed.
Thanks for the interest. I haven`t played EU3 so I can`t really compare, but I would imagine that the difficulty would be different (though tough to say whether more or less so) since many of the game`s mechanics are different. Why don`t you take a look if the Knights can be played in 1530 in EU3... i`m really curious :D
 

iisbroke

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They only have Malta at that start. I know at earliest start they are on Rhodes and unless you get an alliance with a big power the Ottomans kill you quick. To be fair I was also playing Death and Taxes modification when I last played them some years ago. Was still a fun playthrough. Managed to survive the initial Ottoman attack, barely. Slowly took land away from them. Oddly enough due to being on Rhodes I had Greek Culture, so whenever I took Greece I was able to form that kingdom. Then as I took more land from them, being Greece, I was able to form Byzantium again, which had fallen early on. Then I spent the rest of the game trying to reform the Roman Empire. They're a tough nation at start but very fun to play.
 

Pigzhu275

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Chapter 3: Time is Running Out
1551-1571

Up until this point, the Knights hadn’t managed to do much more than construct a christian version of Tunis; there was still no way we could go toe to toe with the Ottoman juggernaut. Considering that we have national ideas such as Reconquista of the Sea, I think that giving the ability to raid like the Berber states, only against non-christians, would have been a nice touch to making the Knights more a thorn in the Ottoman side. Alas, this is not to be. Back to our current dire state, while the Ottomans did not yet have a border with us, it was only a matter of time before they annexed Algeria and began fabricating claims. For now, the Ottoman’s might would be directed elsewhere. By this, I of course mean they decide to beat on Austria again.


RIP Austria

While the vassal swarm of the Ottomans is quite terrifying to behold, the fact that they have eight vassals will actually be beneficial to us in the long run as it pretty much stagnates their diplo tech development by being so far over their relations limit. That fact won’t be of much encouragement if they attack us though.

Our nation is also starting to become a leader in military tech because of Grandmaster Raphael de Rohan’s (1/3/5) guidance. Unfortunately, the Grandmaster passes away of old age and the new Grandmaster, Johannes Paulus de Penthievre (2/1/4), quickly reveals that himself to be slightly less effective as a ruler than his predecessor. Perhaps auctioning off the position of Grandmaster to wealthy merchants should be reconsidered…



I retract that previous statement.



Affirmative action is a wondrous thing! Everyone is glad to welcome the first African Cardinal. More papal influence (+0.50 per year) is also a nice welcome boost.



Most of our provinces have been allocated to estates so that we can maximize the income and manpower that we are gaining from the high autonomy regions. This happens to make Tunisia gloriously vibrant to behold in the estates tab.

Extensive thought is given to what should be chosen as the third national idea group. Do we go with diplomacy or influence to have an easier time allying France or Spain? Should we go with something economic to actually have enough money to make an army to repel the Turks? I eventually decide to do something I’ve never done before: I will take part of an idea group and drop it partways through to adopt a different group.



In 1556, dire news reaches the court of the Order of St. John! Vienna has fallen and now belongs to the Turks! This is most horrible news since it means that the Ottomans will be able to costlessly westernize within a few years through the Western Focus decision once separatism has dissipated. The Austrians are also unlikely to be of much use as a bulwark against Islam from now onwards now that they have been crippled with the loss of their capital. Thankfully, a small coalition forms with the Commonwealth at the helm which should dissuade further Ottoman westwards expansion.



At this point, both France and Spain are the biggest hopes of desirable allies against the Ottomans, but both are still 30 to 40 points away from agreeing to an alliance…even at max relations improvement. Austria and the Commonwealth are even harder to ally because of further distance. Taking a diplomatic idea group will only bridge 10 points of this gap through increased diplo rep, so we must blob in order to eliminate the large army strength and navy strength penalties for being so small.

This will be done by colonizing through the Sahara so we can reach the technologically inferior, heathen, and most importantly rich lands of the Sub Saharan West Africans.

We take the Native Repression Native policy since the +20 colonist growth bonus will nearly double the colony speed compared to what the other options give us. We need to reach our targets quickly, after all.



It will take a few years to colonize the two provinces of Tajhari and Djado, so we decide that using a Conquistador to explore Sub Saharan Africa. We find that even with full army maintenance and colonist maintenance, we are still turning a profit! This means that we can make our first investments into infrastructure and build a workshop in Tunis and a church in Bizerte.



The Air seems different down here; must be all the fog. Any way you can let me go through your lands so I can clear all that?



Well I must say I am not getting involved in that European drama. I hope the Ottomans decide to get involved like they always do I can breath freely for a decade more. Sidenote: the Commonwealth dropped out of the Ottoman coalition since the Turks had directed conquest into far East regions the last few years.



As we continue to explore West Africa, the African Cardinal asks if he can have even more power by becoming a minister. We might as well go for a record and go for first African cardinal minister since we already achieved the first African cardinal milestone!



Ha.



The Turks are unstoppable and have so far balanced rising coalitions masterfully. Not only did they crush the Venetians immediately after the Commonwealth left the coalition, but after the Venetian war they had exactly 49 AE with the Commonwealth to keep them from from joining again. As seen above, a small coalition of insignificant HRE minors and Austria has popped up again. The Turks simply respond by wheeling around and declaring war on the Safavid Persian Empire, who will no doubt struggle in vain before falling in defeat.

Within our own meager empire, we have finally switched from ADM to DIP focus, because we will soon be dropping the Exploration idea group (2 ideas in), get our refund, and switch to another diplomatic idea group.



The old Grandmaster, Johannes Paulus de Penthievre (2/1/4) is dead! The new ruler, Raimundus de Vaudemont takes command of the Order of St. John in 1562. After a ‘donation’ to the Order is made, Petrus Raimundus (2/1/4) is named as the next heir. For some reason of another, every ruler we get seems to have high military skill, so by now the Knights have emerged at the forefront of military technology and are at mil tech 13. Note: Ottomans are at mil tech 11, as are many European nations. I hope our superior weaponry is enough to scare off the Ottomans.



Seems about right.



When you have such massive ahead of time penalties (and other penalties as well), you might as well divert your monarch points into development. This was actually something we needed, and investing in military development in Kef just 4 times is equal to 1200 manpower, +1 forcelimit and increased manpower recovery. More crusaders is good… no its not enough, prepare the nobles!



With all the poor Tunisian land gifted to them, the Nobility is both influential and grateful to the Grandmaster. This is something that we can take advantage of, and we demand military support from the nobility and use it to increase mil development in Thubaqt, Tripoli, Tatooine and Zuwarah by 2 each. Estates like when your develop their provinces, so funny enough they are back to being as content as before I demanded their aid. Our colony in Tajheri is complete, so we more onto the second one at Djado.

Our truce with the pinata has expired, so we decide to whack them to see how much gold falls out.



Within a couple of years, our second colony should be complete. We can actually declare war with the African Sultanate of Air any time now because of our religious war casus belli now that we have a border with them… but what’s the rush? Why don’t we finish up the colony first. Otherwise, we need to leave a few thousand knights keeping the natives of Djado from destroying the colony. Anyways, it’s not like we are in any immediate dan-


Okay...it`s okay...maybe they won`t attack if we are friendly.
QUICK SEND A TREATY!!


Okay we got this! We've been improving relations too, so maybe we can get up to +100 and then-


*BLAM*
 
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MiniaAr

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Interesting times ahead. ;)

By the way, I like your take on the North African Cardinal minister. Though I'm not sure he's the first one. During Roman times, Africa (Tunisia, Lybia, Algeria mostly) was a catholic diocese before Islam came.