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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

unmerged(10971)

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In the Year of Our Lord one thousand sixty-six, Berthold von Zähringen, duke of Kärnten and Verona, granted his second son Berthold the county of Baden.

This is generally regarded as one of the less inspired actions of his life.

- - - - - - - -

Dynasty: von Zähringen
Title: Count of Baden (at least at the beginning)
Year: 1066 (if you couldn't tell from the introduction)
Patch: 1.05

Goals: Become Duke of Swabia, and then cause as much trouble for my elder brother Hermann as possible without directly inheriting his lands (that would be too easy) or killing him (that too),* thereby making mine the main branch of the von Zähringen family. Plus whatever comes up along the way.

Once (or I should say if) I get to 1400 or 1410 or sometime around then, I'll move everything over to EU2 (not using the conversion tool, which I don't like at all). I might go to Victoria and (less likely) Hearts of Iron after that.

- - - - - - - -

PART I: INHERITANCE THE HARD WAY



The first event of the game comes in January 1067, when (currently about 11 years old) Count Berthold's personality matures, and shows himself to be a conniver. Interestingly enough, that is how I will play him for much of this, not necessarily due to that event.

The next thing to happen is in November 1068 (boring early years), when a noble named Martin flees to my court from a distant land and I give him sanctuary. This gives him a claim on my title, for absolutely no other reason than to confuse me, apparently.

On January 28, 1069, old Berthold (the Duke) dies and is replaced by young Berthold (the Count)'s older brother Hermann. I get a claim on Kärnten, which will become important later on (much later on).

On October 25, 1070, the Pope calls for crusades to retake Jerusalem from the Muslims. However, everybody takes a look at the size of the Fatimid army and decides to pass on the opportunity.

In 1071, Berthold comes of age, and is discovered to be a brilliant strategist. Sweet. Too bad I'm not likely to end up in any wars.

I'm going to hold off marriage, however, until the eldest daughter of the Duke of Swabia comes of age. He doesn't have any sons, and if I pull this off correctly I'll get an easy duchy. If I don't, hey, that's what the "Send Assassin" button and a complete disregard for where my prestige and piety end up is for.

On June 29 of that year, a war veteran offers his services. I make him my marshal...

...and he lasts all the way until August 4 before he dies of old age. This will become a trend, as my marshals have an annoying tendancy to die of old age not long after being appointed. I don't know what it is, but I'll just go along with it.

Nothing happens until January of 1074. That's when Adelaide, the aforementioned daughter of the Duke of Swabia comes of age. My first request for marriage is declined, but on January 19, the Duke accepts my second proposal.

The first child of this marriage comes on October 13 of that year... and is a girl, Gerberga. Ah, well, we'll just try again.

The next one comes on October 7, 1075, and this time it's a boy. His name is Johann von Zähringen, and, God willing, the next Duke of Swabia. If God isn't willing, then I'll just have to be, if you get my meaning.

Unfortuantely, the Duke of Swabia makes the error of having a son not long after. He dies on November 27, 1078, before I can fix the error. But I still have a chance, as if he happens to die before his majority (and thus him having children) Johann will still inherit.

This gives me about 15 years to fix things. I'm not worried.

On June 4, 1079, a new tile factory is completed in Baden. That means I get more money, somehow.

On January 1, 1080, Berthold and Adelaide decide to have some insurance and get a second son, Hermann. Hey, the more the merrier.

Exactly one month later, on February 1, I finally get a chance to deal with the new Duke of Swabia. The assassin is sent, and it is successful. Yes, I'm found out and lose 100 presige and piety. I don't even notice that much, really.

In any case, Johann is now Duke, which creates the interesting situation where the lord is the very young son of the vassal.

Meanwhile, France is in the process of collapsing. The dutchies of Flanders, Burgundy, Aquitaine, Champagne, and Bretagne all break away, along with several counts. Germany is also grabbing a couple counties on the border. Ah, what a mess.

On April 22, 1083, I get a third son (!) named Albrecht. Hurrah, although I don't really need another one.

On December 27 of that year, the aforementioned collapse of France ends when Raymond Bernard of Carcassone decides he wants France for himself. He defeats the tititular king and takes that title. Aquitaine and Champagne decide to rejoin the kingdom.

The next event isn't until 1087 when, on January 9, Berthold dies of pneumonia and is succeded by the 11 year old Duke of Swabia. That goal is finally complete.
__________
*That is not to say that there will be no killing in this AAR.
 

Veldmaarschalk

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Another attempt to create Donner im Baden :)


But what do you have against us Dutchies ? :rofl: Why are we always breaking away or are the duchies breaking away ;)
 

unmerged(10971)

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Veld.: I'm remaining loyal. Don't blame me that the French suddenly got a rebellious streak. :p

EDIT: Oh, now I see what you're saying. But they're French, I'm just giving a French spelling of the English pronunciation. Or I just messed up. :eek:o

This took a while to write, as I was darting back and forth between Germany-Costa Rica and this.]

PART II: SWABIA-ING THE DECK


"The rulers of the Mark county bathing came out from a Nebenlinie of the aristocracy sex of the Zaehringer... The late Middle Ages saw the development of bathing."
--Automatic translation of a German Wikipedia article.



On January 26, 1087, we developed the techniques of annual sailing. Without a coastline or ports. I suppose we'll be doing the sailing on the Bodensee?

On May 13 of that year, it became discovered that Gerberga was a sissy. Yes, that's exactly how the game put it. Apparently the game defines a person's traits by how their elementary schoolmates name them.

Remember when I wanted to knock out the other line of the Zähringen family from any sort of prominence? Well, they just split from Germany without a war. I feel like changing that.

Since I already have a claim on Kärnten, I declare war, which brings Germany in on my side. I don't care much, and just let the King deal with Hermann.

During the war, on April 13, 1088, one of my regiments says that they wish to return home, as they have done their duty. Interestingly enough, I don't have any regiments in the field at this time, so I, of course, agree. Not that it does anything.

Hermann's power is broken on June 6, 1088, with Kärnten, Verona, and Padua going to the King of Germany. Yeah, I could have taken something, but that would have been too easy.

On July 23, one of my vassals wants me to switch to Feudal Contract. Okay, why not? Either way works for me.

On August 12, 1089, my steward (who has a martial education) decides to use his education over his job and wrings out some extra taxes from one of my counties. I get a rebellion there (CK style rebellion, with nothing actually happening, but it could be worse.

On March 7, 1092, Johann finally finishes his education. It turns out he's a hopeless spender, and my monthly income drops from 11 gold to 8 gold. That's nice.

This also means it's time for marriage. I look around, make a few requests, and finally settle on Cathèrine, eldest daughter of the (independent) Duke of Burgundy. Said Duke shares my idea, and the marriage is held on July 25, 1092. Huzzah, and all that.

johann1-catherine1.jpg

They make such a nice couple, don't they?

The first child of this union comes on July 11, 1093: His name is Bernhard, and he is destined to be the next Duke of Swabia, God willing.

On December 9, a miracle worker agrees to cure my chancellor of an illness out of the goodness of his heart. This he does, and the Chancellor is quickly feeling well again.

Four days later, he is dead of completely unrelated old age. I guess that's how it works.

Child #2 for the Duke and Duchess is Ute, a daughter, born May 17, 1094. I'm already trying to figure out who she could be married to eventually.

Child #3 (good heavens, these two are breeding like rabbits already) comes into the world on March 14, 1095. It is a son, Werner, destined only to be disappointed that his older brother is Duke and he isn't much of anything.

A major reorganization comes to Swabia on April 28, 1096. I take the Breisgau, properly an integral part of Baden. Now, I can only control 2 counties without difficulty, and I now have five. So, three will have to go.

Württemberg is first, becoming a bishopric under Ordulf. I wait a bit for the next two as I get a wife for Johann's older brother Hermann. I happen to notice a Wittelsbach (recently disposessed of their lands in northern Bavaria) who would work well. So, on May 30, Hermann von Zähringen and Adela Wittelsbach are married. Two days later, Hermann becomes the Count of Ulm.

It takes me a while to figure out what to do with Fürstenberg. Finally, I notice a noble in my court, named Heinrich von Eurasburg,* who turns out to be perfect for the job (read: I have no use for him in Baden). He becomes count on August 14.

On January 29, 1097, a supposedly evil omen is seen in the sky. A few gold thrown around makes people change their mind on the matter.

However, it may in fact have turned out to be evil. Seven days later, Cathèrine gives birth--but the child does not survive. Thankfully, the mother does, so they can continue to go with the Irish method of family planning.

On October 27, sadly, another tragedy strikes the family, as Werner dies an infant.

We have a replacement, though. On June 5, 1098, the next child is born, Richwara (a daughter).

On November 12, the decision is made to have Bernhard grow up learning the ways of the military. Works for me.

On May 28, 1099, the next Ducal child is born. It is another daughter, Osterhild. Daughters are nice, but it would be good to have another son (hint hint)...

On August 11, the Duke's youngest brother Albrecht completes his education and turns out to be a masterful theologian. He becomes a bishop in my court, but only after his marriage to the niece of the King of Bohemia. Keep in mind we haven't gotten the "Clerical Celibacy" advance yet.



And so the 11th century ends. But ah, Swabia has only begun.
__________
*Anyone happen to know where Eurasburg is?
 

Veldmaarschalk

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Eurasburg is close to Munich. I never heard of it. :)
 

EvilSanta

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"Thankfully, the mother does, so they can continue to go with the Irish method of family planning."



Really nice,humor is always welcome in this dark world.
 

unmerged(10971)

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[I think I'll just trim this down to a few stories interspersed throughout the reign of the von Zähringens. The other one was getting a bit tiresome, and when I forget to save the history log (which happens often) I end up without anything to work with for a long stretch...

In fact the first story is in one of those stretches, but I can work well from memory here.]




The first story: Johann in the South of Italy

It happened, that soon after the Year of Our Lord 1125, the Saracens came into the lands of the King of Sicily, and took them, and threatened the southern reaches of the King of Germany, and even the holy city of Rome itself. The Pope needed a man to retake those lands, and restore them to Christian rule. But the many kings of Christendom were fighting in the Holy Land, and the Pope would not take them from such a holy action.

- - - - - - - -

During the days of Count Berthold, Baden was little more than a minor village away from the Rhine. But the transferrance of the court of the Duchy of Swabia there after the inheritance of Johann saw its importance rise.

Above the town still stands the castle of Hohenbaden, now merely a ruin but then the main fortress of the area. In it, in the Year of Our Lord 1128, Johann was holding a grand court with the several counts of his land.

The first to speak was Otto von Hohenstaufen, the count of St. Gallen. He was a skilled man, but his loyalty could not be relied upon at any time. He had little of importance to speak of, and the next person came up.

This was Ascanio, the Bishop of Württemberg, and he had more important thigns to speak of. "My lord, I come with important tidings. Allow me to tell you all of this.

"I was ten days ago in my office attending to some matters, when a messenger came to me with the Papal livery. This was, of course, important, and so I let him speak first. So vital was his message that I dropped all other things and came to you to give it. This is what His Holiness Pope Stephen X wishes for me to say to you:

"'As you may know the lands of the King of Sicily have been of late overrun by many various heathen rulers. It is of great importance that these be driven from Italy. But all the various kings of Christendom must themselves deal with heathens of some sort or another. So I ask and do not command, that you, Johann, Duke of Swabia and count of Baden, raise your armies to the south and crush these enemies. If you accept then God shall be with you.'"

Johann nodded. "I am not sure what to make of this. It is not a thing to be taken lightly. Whether or not I am to be the one to lead the armies against them, I must decide. I shall tell you tomorrow, good bishop. Give me this night for prayer and discussion with the others."

- - - - - - - -

Johann's most beloved wife Catherine had died five years previous, and he had mourned greatly; but as time passed, another caught his eye. He had first learned of Giovanna di Canossa, daughter of Cornelio the Duke of Tuscany and Spoleto, from an Italian traveller going north to the Bishop of Mainz. While of only moderate beauty, he learned of her as one, as the Italian somewhat facetiously said, like God Himself: just in all affairs under her control, but also with no lack of mercy.

Johann was nearly sick from lack of love. With no wife, his surviving family dispersed in various lordships inherited or granted, he felt greatly alone. So he sent for her to come to Baden as his new wife, if Cornelio agreed. He did, and so she had lived with him for the previous three years.

giovanna1.jpg

Giovanna of Canossa

Johann saw himself as but the humblest of servants around the others in his duchy and his kingdom; he would speak to Giovanna first and the rest later before he decided.
 

Petrarca

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I like the vignette style of this last update. Interpolated stories along the life of the dynasty? Makes me happy.

Now on with it!
 

unmerged(10971)

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Giovanna smiled as the aging Johann walked in. "You seem somewhat more energetic than usual. Has something come up?"

"Indeed it has. You of course remember the stories of the Muslim invasions of Italy? It appears the Pope is eager to regain those lands, and needs my help. If you or noone else objects, I should find myself a crusader in those lands."

Giovanna, who had been relaxed, nearly jumped up. "Why would you need any help in coming to this decision? If the Pope calls then you must answer, I would think. I would be glad to come with--"

Johann shook his head. "You forget who you are. You are my wife, not one of my knights. Do not worry, you shall be well off here. And, God willing, I shall be safe even in battle. Bernhard--no, Sighard, Bernhard's too busy in the Breisgau--will have control while I am away. I am sure you can trust him."

Giovanna nodded. The two were sons of Johann by his previous marriage; the first was Count of the Breisgau, while the second remained in Johann's court, filling various duties as needed. He was only twenty-one years of age, but already showed a brilliant diplomatic mind, and had an all-around good disposition according to almost all those who spoke with him.

Johann turned to leave. "I suppose it's a matter of speaking with my sons, then. Bernhard and the other counts already showed approval before, but I have yet to speak with Sighard. Or Ernst, though he is barely of age."

- - - - - - - -

He gathered together those two in his study, and told them what had happened in court that morning. Sighard was first, and being both eloquent and outspoken began a speech:

"Father, I think this is an extremely important duty. Any Christian should be glad to take on a responsibility such as this, and you most of all. I know that Werner took after you most of all of us, but I can see that you are not too reluctant. The heathens in Italy are a scattered bunch who can be easily overrun one by one. I should think the army of Baden itself, along with your nephew Folkhard in Ulm for some reinforcement, will be sufficient for a large portion of the campaign. If need be I would have no difficulty calling for other counties to give their forces."

With Sighard putting the practicalities out of the way, Ernst came next. He was a knowledgeable warrior, and could fight with any opponent. But he was known for sometimes being a bit too soft, which usually did not become a problem but could. "If the Pope calls you, then go. I cannot think of much more than that."

Johann smiled. "Then I am in agreement. I shall tell the Bishop of Württemberg on the first thing tomorrow, and then prepare for the campaign."

- - - - - - - -

The regiments from Baden and Ulm gathered and set forth to the south. Johann intended to leave from Venice, but that had recently fallen into the hands of the Zirid tribe of North Africa. They were capable of raising an immense army and so Johann decided not to chance an attack there. Instead, the around 4,500 men went to Monfalcone, and boarded ships for Italy.
 

stnylan

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Short story idea is good.

You show a commendable fidelity! ;)
 

coz1

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This is excellent, JM. I like both styles. Seems the heathens have struck at the heart of Europe already. I'd say it's past time for a crusade if Venice is already taken.
 

unmerged(10971)

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Okay, I think I'm completely off writing CK AARs. The problems:

--It doesn't save the history automatically, causing me to rely on my very poor memory either to save the history file or figure out what happened (and thus leaving huge gaps I have to fill in somehow).
--It results in annoyingly stupid conquests and the like which are rather hard to give a realistic reason for in the AAR.
--It runs very slowly after 1150 or so, so getting a full game in takes forever.
--It also starts crashing constantly then.

The last is most important here, though, because the save games for this game all start crashing a year or so after I load it up. I can and hopefully will finish this storyline once I can get it worked out (kind of hard since it's from one of the gaps I mentioned at the beginning) but that's it.