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    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Davisx3m

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I love all the small conversations xD
 

Farquharson

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Enewald: Great to have you along.

stnylan: No, Friedrich's not done yet - not by a long way! :D

The_Guiscard: Have no fear - Azzo will be back! ;)

coz1: You never know - he certainly doesn't want to let Il Padrino down! :eek:

J.Passepartout: Actually Il Padrino was never sick - he just died of old age.

jordarkelf: Yep - I like Elective Law but you need a decent-sized realm and dynasty for it to work properly.

Tommy4ever: As jordarkelf says, Friedrich found himself with Elective Law once he was Duke of Lombardia - that's caught me unawares a few times in past games. :eek:o

gabor: Yes, probably Arnie is some kind of child-sorceror. If only I was Papal Controller I could sort him out... :mad:

Davisx3m: Well, here's a few more coming right up!
 

Farquharson

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Chapter 5 (1078-84)

Friedrich Da One

Friedrich von Hohenstaufen was now Duke of Lombardia, having been named "Da One" by the late Il Padrino, Lombardia's former Duke. Suddenly, Friedrich had a demesne of three provinces, one of them the extremely wealthy County of Lombardia, two vassals, both sons of Il Padrino and reasonably loyal, and an income at least twenty times what he had been used to. Suddenly all sorts of possibilities opened up to him. First, let's take a look at Friedrich and his court just after his accession to the ducal throne.


Now that he was in the money, Friedrich's first project was a Cunning Plan he had had in mind for some time, for which the time now seemed ripe.

Little Rudolf von Bonngau was delighted by the visit of his Auntie Hildegarde, Friedrich's mother and Spy Mistress. He didn't often see members of his family since he had been sent as a fosterling to the County of Metz. Rudolf's father Herman Count of Pfalz was fairly naïve, but his friend Folmar Count of Metz had taken naïvete to new and unexplored heights.


Hildegarde almost felt a twinge of guilt about murdering her seven year old relative in cold blood, but it was all in a good cause.


Herman and his wife were both 29 and didn't seem likely to have any more kids, so Friedrich felt secure in the knowledge that the County of Pfalz was now part of the Hohenstaufen inheritance. Nevertheless he did have some disquieting nightmares about small children dripping with blood and screaming that he would go to hell. He tried not to take them too seriously.

Later in 1078 Marta's illness started to go the same way as Friedrich's had, much to the delight of young Arnold the Acutely Annoying, who hoped very much that he had been the cause of it as everyone thought.


The following February, Friedrich and Marta's eldest child Katharina also fell ill after being coughed on by Arnold. By now the fosterling didn't have any friends in the court at all - everyone agreed that he needed to go before he caused any more trouble.


Friedrich's court was now von-Tirol-free, well, apart from his Marshal the zealous Father Giselbert, but he obviously wasn't any problem. But Marta was still gravely ill. In August of 1079 she finally passed away. Friedrich was grief-stricken. Of course he quickly hurried out to find a new wife, one who could replace Marta's skills as a Steward, but Tiburge from the Duchy of Flanders could never take the place of his beloved Marta in his heart. She was also 30 years old so was unlikely to provide him with any more children, but Friedrich didn't care. All he could think of was whether he was being punished for the murder of little Rudolf von Bonngau.

For her part, Tiburge was not particularly happy in Friedrich's court. She enjoyed her work looking after the Duchy's finances, at which she was extemely good, but Friedrich was a cold husband and the couple usually slept apart. It wasn't long before she found a warmer welcome in the arms of Friedrich's Marshal, the zealous but sadly lapsed Father Giselbert. Friedrich got suspicious when he started seeing them together and saw that Tiburge had suddenly become much happier, but what could he do? He knew he could never make Tiburge happy himself.


But what of the rest of the family during this time? Alas, they were not faring much better than poor Friedrich. Gebhard and Adolf, Friedrich's two eldest sons, were still constantly fighting with each other. The trouble was that it was usually Adolf that won. Gebhard also began to show stress symptoms and became increasingly weak-willed and arbitrary. Clearly he was destined to become a pawn of the barons, and would be totally unsuitable as a ruler.

Then Adolf fell in love with Friedrich's other fosterling, Ursula von Hohenzollern, daughter of the Duke of Swabia. Perhaps there was something to be happy about in the family at last? But the fleeting moment of happiness didn't last long.


It was now that Friedrich found himself thinking increasingly about Il Padrino, and his last words to him: "Justa donta letta me down, boy." It seemed to Friedrich that he had been letting the old man down badly. What had he managed to achieve in the four years since he had died? And what exactly had Il Padrino expected him to do anyway? Perhaps he had been talking about territorial expansion?

It was then that Friedrich noticed that his neighbour the Bishop of Trent had been excommunicated. This was surely his chance to expand the Duchy whilst simultaneously making atonement for his sins. Perhaps if he were the one to visit judgment on the heretical Bishop, the Almighty might lift his heavy hand of judgment from Friedrich. The Duke quickly grabbed a claim on the Bishop's title and declared war.

Victory was never in any doubt, but alas…


By April 1083 the Bishop had ceded his title, the Duchy had grown by a province, and Duke Friedrich had been carried back to his ducal residence on a litter. He would never fight again.

Nevertheless, Friedrich now sensed that he was on the right track. Surely this was the destiny that Il Padrino had foretold for him. The next thing was to get shot of his liege, Prime Prat King Heinrich. Friedrich was soon openly rebellious.

Languishing in his bedridden state, Friedrich's thoughts began to turn to his own death. Who would be "The One" to succeed him? Well, it was currently one of the d'Este boys, Hugues, with his brother Fulco the Few-fingered a close second. Obviously that wouldn't do at all, so Friedrich quickly sized up his own sons, decided that Adolf seemed like the best bet, and made him Count of Chur. But he was still only second in line after Hugues d'Este.

By this time Friedrich was totally ignoring the fact that Lombardia was still nominally part of King Heinrich's realm. It was time to clarify the situation for all concerned.


And while change was in the air, Friedrich made sure of Adolf's inheritance by changing the new independent Duchy of Lombardia's Succession Laws to Salic Consanguinity. The d'Este boys were not at all happy about this, but they were still loyal.

However, Friedrich was still ridden with doubts. Would Il Padrino have made all these changes? Was this really what he had intended? Or was he letting the old man down further and further? But then, one day everything finally became clear.


 
Last edited:

Kanil

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Il Padrino seems to have not one, but two very large noses.
 

dublish

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When Adolf inherits, you should totally have him marry that Hohenzollern chick. Hohenstaufens and Hohenzollerns are a winning combination in my book. :)

Also, it occurs to me that while you have territories in modern Austria, Italy, and Switzerland, you've yet to get your hands on anything in Germany! Quit slacking off!
 

Murmurandus

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Time to kick the bucket during some gigantic war and leave the realm to an underaged son... ;)
 

Kurt_Steiner

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It was an offer he could not reject...:D
 

stnylan

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Got to love the madman :)
 

J. Passepartout

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I have always thought, and I am being entirely serious, that it would be very interesting to have auditory hallucinations, as long as I was able to maintain a stable front towards real people. Glad to see that our hero thinks likewise.
 

AllmyJames

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Liking the update! Madness is always entertaining in a ruler!
 

Farquharson

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Kanil: You're right! I think there's an artist working for Paradox with some kind of nasal fixation... :D

dublish: They did of course fall out with each other, plus she was older than Adolf so she left to marry the Duke of Alsace before Adolf was even old enough to marry her. :(

jordarkelf: Too right - the stuff of [Crusader] Kings... :rolleyes:

The_Guiscard: That's what makes CK such a great game for AARs - you don't actually have to make up anything, just tell it like it is. :) It also means that even while the game is going down the toilet, the AAR can still be great fun! :D

Murmurandus: Well Gebhard and Adolf are both almost of age so Friedrich will have to die very soon to leave an underage heir. Still - in this game anything is possible... :eek:

Kurt_Steiner: Absolutely - now all Friedrich's problems have disappeared now he has Il Padrino to guide him once more. Now everyone else's problems have begun...

stnylan: At one time I did think that CK seemed to throw up an unrealistic proportion of crazy rulers, until I noticed how many of Europe's rulers really were mad at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, for example. Mind you, by that stage it was probably more due to centuries of inbreeding than anything else.

J.Passepartout: Right. OK. Well, I'm sure that's a very normal thing. No, really. No, I mean, really really... :rolleyes:

AllmyJames: Well, yes, but sometimes I just long for a normal ruler. I can't believe I'm less than 20 years into the game and look how messed up the house of Hohenstaufen is already! :eek:

Well, I've just been playing a few more years and, not to give anything away, it only gets worse... :D No update yet though.

Thanks, as always, to all for reading and posting.
 

Farquharson

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Chapter 6 (1084-87)

Adolf Sorts it Out

Friedrich I Duke of Lombardia had had a difficult few years, wracked by doubts about his destiny as "Da One". Now however all his problems were over - Il Padrino had returned and was going to guide him on the path to glory and fame. In August of 1084 the Duke of Verona followed in Friedrich's footsteps and declared independence from King Heinrich. However he was much weaker than Friedrich and might easily be defeated in a war. Friedrich decided to consult his mentor.

Friedrich: Il Padrino, I need your advice - the witless Duke of Verona has declared independence. Should we go to war to take some of his land?

Il Padrino: Some? Hey, you gonna take alla offa his land, Friedrich! Donta thinka small!

Friedrich: You mean take his Duke title? But I haven't got enough prestige for that, Il Padrino.

Il Padrino: Donta worry, son. Ayya gonna show you how you getta lotsa prestige.

Friedrich: Wow! That sounds wonderful, Il Padrino! I can't wait.

Il Padrino: Justa waita leetle beet. Notta long.

Just then Guntram, Friedrich's fourth son comes into the room.

Guntram, looking around in puzzlement: Er - hi Dad. Who were you talking to?

Friedrich: Oh, hi Guntram. Me and Il Padrino were just having a little chat about how I can become Duke of Verona.

Guntram: Er - you and Il Padrino?

Friedrich: Yes, isn't it fantastic, son? He's come back!

Guntram, looking around: Um… Dad, Il Padrino isn't here. He's dead, remember?

Friedrich: Sure he's here! *taps his head* He's in here.

Guntram: Right, Dad. I see…


Meanwhile Katharina, Friedrich's eldest daughter, was now old enough to marry. Unfortunately she still had pneumonia and wasn't expected to last out the winter, so finding a husband for her was something of a challenge. This was a pity, since Friedrich badly needed the prestige that his eldest daughter's marriage would bring. The solution was simple - he forced his wife's lover, Giselbert von Tirol, to marry her. However, as if in response to this, the von Tirol Curse once more reared its ugly head that winter.


Amazingly, Giselbert managed to get Katharina pregnant, only for her also to succumb to the Curse.


Friedrich was still desperately looking for ways to gain prestige in order to claim the Duke of Verona's title. He was building a library in Trent, which helped a bit, then in July 1085 his eldest son Gebhard married Konstanze von Bonngau, eldest daughter of Herman Count of Pfalz. Although this ensured that Pfalz would definitely be inherited by the von Hohenstaufens, it didn't bring in much prestige.

By this time all of Friedrich's sons were aware of his conversations with Il Padrino. Most of them just hoped that nothing too disastrous would come of it, but Adolf decided that it was time to take things into his own hands. He had a Cunning Plan, but in order to put it into practice he needed help from one of the d'Este boys. Fortunately, Fulco the Few-fingered had recently become rebellious and was easily drawn into a plot against his liege. One night he slipped quietly into Friedrich's chamber while the Duke was just dozing off to sleep.


Fulco: Hey, Friedrich! Itza me! Il Padrino!

Friedrich, sitting up in excitement: Il Padrino! How wonderful to hear from you again!

Fulco: Howza da prestige, Friedrich? You gonna get dat Duke of Verona title pretty soon, huh?

Friedrich: I don't think so, Il Padrino. Still a long way to go.

Fulco: Donta you worry, Friedrich. You gonna get lotsa prestige, very soon.

Friedrich: How, Il Padrino? Tell me how!

Fulco: Dey gonna love you, Friedrich. Dey gonna worship you!

Friedrich: But HOW?

Fulco: You gonna walk onna da water Friedrich.

Friedrich: Yes, but… wait. You mean really walk on water?

Fulco: You gonna walk acrossa da Lago di Como, Friedrich. You getta prestige BIG time!

Friedrich: Wow - that's sounds great! But - do you really think I can do that?

Fulco: You arra Da One Friedrich.

Friedrich: Oh, right. Of course.

Fulco: You gonna walk across in da full armour, Friedrich.

Friedrich: Sure - I'm The One, right?

Fulco: You arra Da One.

And so the announcement was made throughout the realm. Nobles and commoners alike were invited to come to the Lago di Como on the appointed day to witness the Spectacle of the Century. Adolf watched with satisfaction as his father, sick, bed-ridden and crazed, was helped down to the lakeside to stumble clumsily into the water. The water soon became deep and Friedrich thrashed onwards, desperately trying to raise his feet above the surface. Then gradually he disappeared from view, leaving a trail of bubbles on the water's surface. After a while, the bubbles stopped.


Thus ended the reign of Friedrich I. His son Adolf, aged 15, now took the reins of power. Selfish, stubborn and cowardly, he was not particularly well-liked by anyone, but he was generally tolerated. Only Fulco the Few-fingered knew that he was the one behind Friedrich's demise, and he wasn't telling. At least, not for the moment. However, he soon realized that he had a certain degree of leverage over Lombardia's cowardly new Duke.


Things seem to go well for young Adolf for a while after this, but then Fulco of the Few Fingers came back looking for money. Stubbornly, Duke Adolf refused and Fulco declared war.


This of course was a fairly stupid move on Fulco's part. Apparently he had temporarily forgotten that he was blackmailing the Duke about being a kinslayer, not threatening him with military action. As Adolf's armies bore down on Fulco, he suddenly remembered this and offered a few gold pieces for peace. Adolf refused. He was determined to get rid of the faithless Fulco for good, along with the dark secret that he had arranged his own father's murder.

Unfortunately Fulco now remembered the dark secret and soon it was no longer a secret at all. When it reached the ears of the Pope, he was so shocked that he had Adolf excommunicated.


And so Adolf was no longer allowed to go to church. Not that he had specially enjoyed it anyway. The good news was that the County of Grisons was back under his control, and also he was now old enough to marry. It so happened that the currently heirless Count of Capua, Serlo de Hauteville, had a daughter who had just come of age as well. Fortunately Adolf's marriage request reached him before the news of Adolf's excommunication and he accepted the offer.

Adolf and his new bride Alberanda had much in common. She was cowardly and trusting just like he was, and they spent many happy hours together discussing cowardly trusting matters. However Alberanda had just moved to what may have been the world's sickest court, and it wasn't long before she succumbed.


And so the hopes of House Hohenstaufen now rested on a selfish, stubborn coward who had just been excommunicated and his sick wife. But what of Adolf's four brothers? Perhaps they were showing more promise?

Gebhard, now aged 17, was stressed, mainly because his cruel, stubborn wife Konstanze, heiress of Pfalz, hated Adolf and was threatening to leave the court. So far she had given Gebhard one daughter.

Ludwig, aged 15, was showing some promise since the miracle-worker had been by to cure him of his illness. The main problem was that he was still skeptical and suspicious, and he also didn't like Adolf much.

Berenguié, aged 12, had recently become a zealous heathen-bashing fanatic. Needless to say he really hated his excommunicated brother Adolf.

Guntram, aged 13, was showing the most promise of all. He had the makings of a great statesman, however he was still suffering from stress. Seeing the way the wind was blowing, in late 1086 he committed suicide. It was probably a very wise decision.
 

Jestor

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How delightfully dysfunctional! :)
 

jordarkelf

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What a delightful death.

Excommunicated, making a ploy for Italy... are you SURE you're deviating from the historical path? :D
 

Murmurandus

Crusader for Fun and Profit
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Trusting Coward... I wonder if he will ever have a heir...;)
 

AllmyJames

Editor-in-Chief
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Oct 24, 2007
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Ooh dear. That didn't end so well for 'Da One'. Damn funny though! :D

Good luck with those boys...