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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

LordTempest

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struggleforbritain.png


According to their national myth, the ancient Britons were descendants from the Romano-Trojan Brutus, who, with the aid of the Goddess Diana, journeyed to the isle of Albion and subjugated the natives. Brutus named the island Britain after himself, and he and his fellows proved to be enlightened rulers, establishing towns, cities and the rule of law. His successors included the legendary King Lucius, Britain's first Christian King and most famous of all, the warrior king Arthur Pendragon. King Arthur had slaughtered the Saxons, pacified the Picts, subdued the Scots, impaled the Irish and even routed the Romans. However the Angles were one enemy too many, and Arthur had to retreat to the isle of Avalon in order to recoup and heal his wounds. The Britons had been defeated, but the wizard Merlin swore that one day Arthur would return, and that Britain would be Briton once more...

In our timeline, the ancient Britons never did reconquer Britain. Instead they adopted a sort of defeatism and separatism from the rest of Britain which to some extent, exists to this day. Whereas the invaders turned outward and assimilated, becoming English and Scots, the Britons turned inward, and even adopted the labels of their conquerors: Wallia, the border people. The ideal of Brytanyets (or Britons) was replaced by that of Cymry (or "Compatriots") and even the legend of King Arthur was forgotten, only to be readopted by the English invaders as their own some years later. With such a defeatist outlook, it was only a matter of time before the Britons would be themselves subjugated by the English...

But what if someone had made a stand? What if the Britons turned outwards instead of inwards? What if they developed a sense of "manifest destiny", took up the sword and longbow and reconquered the lands to which are theirs by right? What if they had a leader, a man of justice, strength and strong will who was capable of guiding his people towards this goal? What if Arthur had returned, as a Gwynedd?
 

LordTempest

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generalolaf

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Following in anticipation of getting the game later this year.
 

WelshDude

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But,but,but I'm doing this!

Well, I'm uniting Wales. Or trying to. It's bloody tricky.
 

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But,but,but I'm doing this!

Well, I'm uniting Wales. Or trying to. It's bloody tricky.

Tricky is if Ireland unites and Scotland and England remain stable countries. You will have little room to expand.
 

WelshDude

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Tricky is if Ireland unites and Scotland and England remain stable countries. You will have little room to expand.

Uniting is enough trouble. Why the hell would anyone need piety or gold to become king?
 

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This is great fun to do.

My first ruler accomplished little; I don't think he fought a single war. His son became King of Wales, and (eventually) Ireland, however. This guy's grandson (the father having died) has just completed an Invasion of England :D

Edit: Kingship is associated in much of medieval Europe with a divine mandate; that's one reason why the Piety requirement is there (the few examples of medieval kingdoms being created, e.g. Sicily, tend to involve getting Papal approval). It isn't particularly appropriate for the Celtic nations, but then, it's not the only thing, and they are a peculiar case.
 

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Wow, thanks for the replies everyone! The AAR hasn't even started yet!

generalolaf: Welcome aboard! You should most definitely get the game, it's fun!

WelshDude: Ah, I see i've managed to finally drag you away from those Interactive AARs! It's great to have you aboard! As or Wales, it's fun to play if you get in early, make the right alliances and above all, have a very skilled Chancellor! In my test game, I waited something like 30 years just to get a claim on Gwent! Patience is the key.

HKFlash: Indeed. Welcome aboard!

Hroppa: Welcome aboard! I hope that the reign of my first Duke will be much more eventful than yours!

Now that we're underway, I think it would be a good idea to talk about what I intend to do. My first, last and only goal is to conquer all of the British Isles and form The British Empire (I've modded it in). Once I've done that the AAR will finish. I'm playing on Easy because I'm still learning the game, so all gameplay suggestions are welcome. I don't want to cheat, but I'm afraid at the very start I will have to add some claims for story purposes, due to the way wars work in CKII. Apart from that, I shan't. Now, onwards with the AAR! For Briton!
 

LordTempest

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Prologue:

Our story begins with a hunt, one which started out like any other. Hunting was a major pastime for many lords and for Bleddyn, the Duke of Gwynedd, this was no exception. Though he was of gentle birth, Bleddyn had had a hard life. Descended from the great warrior king Mareddud ab Owain, Bleddyn likewise had to fight and struggle to earn his place in the world. He was an odd man, in some was his personality was a bit of a contradiction: He was kind and gentle to those who knew him, but at the same time brusque to those who did not. He was the kind of person who knew what he wanted and was not above acting without scruples in order to obtain it, he was above all a diligent man with a most.. direct manner. This was a great asset when his goals were righteous and principled but more often than not they got him into a lot of trouble with the opposite sex, much to the chagrin of his poor wife.

Bleddyn's half-brother had been the late Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, the last King of all Britons[1] and like so many of his forebears, a great warrior who forged his kingdom through iron and blood. Bleddyn was not fond of Gruffydd - the fact Bleddyn was landless while Gryffydd owned all the land in Wales may have had more than a little to do with this - and sought to make Gruffydd's lands his own. Bleddyn, along with his brother Rhiwallon (Gruffydd's other half-brother) and a trio of southern Briton nobles plotted to kill Gruffydd and seize his lands for their own, with more than a little assistance from the English King, Harold of Godwinson. Harold and Gruffydd were enemies, soon to face off on the field of battle. Bleddyn assumed that Harold would win the upcoming conflict and arranged for members of Gruffydd's own "most-trusted" bodyguard to kill their master, in the event of a Saxon victory. The battle never occurred; Gruffydd made a "tactical withdrawal" from the might of the Saxon army and was slain by his own bodyguard shortly afterward. Whether it was Bleddyn's plot or Gruffydd's cowardice which provided the impetus we will never know.

In any case, Harold had got wind of the plot somehow, and saw to it that Bleddyn and his cohorts were richly rewarded. Wales was divided up into five pieces and split between the five lords: Bleddyn received the lions share, Gwynedd and Ynys Môn[2] while Rhiwallon was given Powys to the east. Southern Wales was naturally divided up between the three southern lords. Bleddyn's actions may have been selfish and treasonous, but by coming to an agreement with Harold he had inadvertently saved the Britons from (further) Saxon domination.

That was three years ago now, and with his demesne safe for the time being Bleddyn looked forward to putting the past behind him and returning to his hunting. Rumour had it that a large white stag had been grazing in the forests and grasslands near Gwynedd and Bleddyn hoped to be the one to kill it. Little did he know that the past would very soon come back to visit him.

ck28.png


After a days search, Bleddyn spotted the white stage, grazing peacefully on the grasses to his north. His third son Madog, who was part of the hunting party, spotted it too, and gestured to his squire for his longbow. The Duke moved to stop him, and gave Madog an icy glare. This was to be His kill.

ck210.png


Bleddyn drove his steed forward slightly, ordering his hunting party to stand down. As if on cue, the white stag galloped away towards the dense trees away from Bleddyn. Bleddyn gave his steed a mighty kick and followed in hot pursuit. The deer ran faster and faster through the clusters of trees as Bleddyn's steed galloped faster and faster in pursuit. The terrain favoured the deer. Bleddyn saw his chance and drew an arrow from his quiver, he aimed his longbow and fired, he missed. Enraged, his hand searched madly for another arrow, he turned his head behind him to the quiver on his back, oblivious to the danger ahead of him. Bleddyn sighted an arrow and grasped it, but before he could turn around to fit the arrow to his bow the back of his head met with the sturdy branch of an oak tree. The impact was strong enough to knock him off his horse and could have well killed him. Bleddyn was fortunate and survived, however the knock put him into a dazed state. The stag stopped its flight and returned to Bleddyn, it circled him, like a hunter circling its prey. Bleddyn was powerless to stop it, if the stag wanted to kill him it well could have.

It didn't. Instead the deer lay directly in front of Bleddyn. He could hear a voice emanating from the deer, he didn't know whether he was mad, delusional, dreaming or if this was all for real. The voice spoke to him, it sounded familiar, very familiar. It was almost identical to Gruffydd's voice. It told him to be not afraid, for this would not be his death, but the first day of the rest of his life. The voice spoke once more, it spoke of the Britons, of their destiny:

Our people are divided, our homelands occupied but all hope is not lost! Those murderous Saxons, plague upon our people, will suffer a great calamity in the days and weeks to come. The time is now Bleddyn! Take up my banner! Take up the sword! Unite our people and drive the Saxons from our lands! Avenge me Bleddyn!

The voice stopped, it had spoken all that it intended to say. Bleddyn was perplexed, was that voice really Gruffydd's? Or had he imagined the whole thing? Bleddyn did not know, he was still in a daze. He heard a second voice, this one was different to the first, it was much deeper. It spoke:

Bleddyn! Reform your sinful ways! Your people have a great destiny, the fulfillment of this destiny begins now, with you! Your heirs will be Kings and Queens, Emperors and Empresses. They will conquer lands both near and far, they will bring the the light of the true word of God to the darkest reaches of the world, in search of Avalon. You will not live to see these events, but you will have the chance to shape them. Set an example for all your people to follow, the fate of the Britons depends on it!

It was at this moment Bleddyn snapped out of his daze. Those words "reform your sinful ways" formed like an ominous echo in his mind. He was still unsure as to whether what he had just heard was real or if he had imagined the whole thing. He awoke to find himself in a sacred grove, one that would be familiar to those who worshiped the old religion. The white stag was nowhere to be found. In the distance Bleddyn could hear people yelling, it was the hunting party calling his name. His steed had long gone so he had to trudge towards the party on foot. Madog spotted the Duke and rushed to his side. He spotted the Duke's wound too, and sped him back to the castle for treatment. That night, Bleddyn meditated over what had happened to him in the grove that day. He was convinced that he had experienced an epiphany, a vision, and with his characteristic diligence strove to reform his evil ways. Tomorrow would indeed be the first day of the rest of his life, it would also be the first in the lives of many Britons, and the last for many Saxons.

ck29.png



Notes:

[1] i.e. King of Wales.

[2] AKA Angelsey. This is the little island sticking out from the Gwynedd demesne on the map.
 

WelshDude

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the last King of all Britons

The only. No other man has been (de facto and de jure) king of all of Wales at the same time.
 

LordTempest

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The only. No other man has been (de facto and de jure) king of all of Wales at the same time.
Yet...

You're also forgetting Arthur, who although we believe isn't real, the characters in the story (incl. the narrator) do.
 

OutsiderSubtype

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King of all Britons

Well, I didn't vote for him. :D

Seriously, though, I'm trying this same thing with the other Welsh duke. Managing your dynasty with him is really challenging at the start as you have only one heir and both of you are in your 50s.

A good chancellor and some luck with claims are definitely key. I got lucky and was able to press claims on all of Gwynnedd in one war.
 

Alex Borhild

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I recently started a Gwynedd AAR in CK1, so this should be interesting. CK2 looks fascinating, from what I've seen.
 

hoi2geek

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This should be interesting, Tanzhang.

Hopefully, all of the Celtic Nations (including Galicia), as well as England, will be united under the TRUE Britons.
 

LordTempest

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OutsiderSubtype: If you did elect him, he wouldn't be a King now would he? :D (at least, not in Wales. Perhaps in Sweden.) I'll be more then happy to welcome you aboard, despite your Duke's claims on Gwynedd's sovereign territory. :)

Alex: I certainly hope it will be interesting! CKII is indeed a fascinating game, not to mention addictive! Welcome aboard, I'll be sure to give your Gwynedd AAR a read sometime in the near future. :)

Hoi2geek: Okay, I'm going to be perfectly firm on this: Gwynedd will not be releasing The Philippines in this AAR :D

Welcome back, and I'll definitely be planning on uniting the Isles. As for our Celtic brethren on the mainland, I haven't really thought about invading them too much. Brittany however, seems to enjoy invading Wales so more likely then not Gwynedd will end up at war with them sooner or later. Galica is a whole different kettle of fish: I don't really want to get involved in Iberia but I may change my mind in the future.
 

hoi2geek

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Hoi2geek: Okay, I'm going to be perfectly firm on this: Gwynedd will not be releasing The Philippines in this AAR :D
So you've heard. I think CKII doesn't even include the Philippines (mainly focusing on Europe), so I'm not going to be worrying about that.

Welcome back, and I'll definitely be planning on uniting the Isles. As for our Celtic brethren on the mainland, I haven't really thought about invading them too much. Brittany however, seems to enjoy invading Wales so more likely then not Gwynedd will end up at war with them sooner or later. Galica is a whole different kettle of fish: I don't really want to get involved in Iberia but I may change my mind in the future.

However, you should consider the fact that Galicians are a Celtic people. So it's inevitable that any Celtic nation should try to take Galicia for the Celts.
 

morningSIDEr

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Great to see another AAR from you. You've set an ambitious goal in attempting to unite Britain under a Briton ruler, I'm looking forward to seeing how things pan out. Of course consider me subscribed.
 

LordTempest

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hoi2geek: No it isn't at all inevitable. This AAR isn't about uniting the Celtic people, its about uniting the Britons, driving out the invaders and reconquering their homelands (ie. the Arthurian Empire, so the British Isles). Britons may have fled to Galica, but it is as much a Briton homeland as parts of the East Coast of the US are Irish homelands because the Irish fled their homelands to settle there. In other words, not in the slightest.

MorningSIDEr: I was hoping you'd show up sooner or later! Hopefully they'll pan out well. ;)
 

Nate90909

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I look forward to more of this! Having negotiating my way through Ireland, I can see were uniting the Britons and taking the Isles will be challenging for Bleddyn!