- Sep 11, 2009
Well I always intended to wrap up my Latin Empire AAR before moving on, but I just couldn‘t pass up the opportunity presented by the new expansion. Those who remember my Crovan AAR may feel discouraged that I should start again in a similar region, but I couldn‘t resist the title. Unlike Saltborn, I shall be writing very closely to when I am playing, rather than playing several decades ahead. Thus, you will get the opportunity to influence the direction I take, loosely role-played as my character seeking advice from the Althing, a proto-parliamentary institution that developed in medieval Iceland to settle disputes between chiefs.
Furthermore, I shall be playing with Dorrit‘s Iceland is the Most Biggest Country in the World mini-mod, which I created just for this AAR. It just adds Icelandic as a culture, makes the Duchy of Iceland part of de jure Kingdom of Iceland, and adds a titular North Sea Empire, which I hope to form(needs three kingdom titles, at least one in Britain and one in Scandinavia). I‘m also playing with The Old Gods, so we won‘t actually see Icelandic for several updates.
Anyway, let‘s get down to business:
In 867, Iceland is divided between two chiefs: Ingólfr Arnar(a household name in modern Iceland for being the first permanent Nordic settler in Iceland) ruling the western half, and Garðar Svavarsson(a nobody that wikipedia tells us just stayed for one winter in Iceland but still tried to put his name on it(Garðarshólmi. I wonder why it didn‘t stick...)), ruling the eastern half. I shall be taking the eastern half, but making my own ruler to usurp Garðar‘s place.
Trivia: The Sturlungar, founded by Hvamm-Sturla, were an influential family in Iceland in the early 13th century and played a major role in the Icelandic civil war period. In fact, the period is generally called Sturlungaöld, or Age of Sturlunga. This Sturla is a few centuries early, but I do not think historical accuracy will be one of our major concerns.
Sturla is a brilliant strategist, specialized in Heavy Infantry warfare, strong as a mountain and ugly as a rock, lecherous, gluttonous, patient, arbitrary, cruel and a blubbering drunk to boot. The perfect viking, really.
Note also how many vassals I have. Yes. Zero. Nil. Núll. Most barons in the game are more powerful than I am. This will be Fun.
Trivia: The etymology of “Sturla” is not entirely clear. It may have its roots in “styr”, meaning war or discord, but the ending –la is often used to denote something small. So Sturla may mean warrior, mean man, or little fighter. In modern Icelandic, “sturlaður” means “mad” or “crazy”. A fitting name, I’d think.
The first order of business is securing the succession. I find a lovely maid in the house of Chief Ketill of Mann, named Þordunn. She shares my patience and talent for strategy, and possesses a fiery passion.
She also hates my guts. Apparently, being Strong does in no way make up for having a face that could turn milk sour and food into Icelandic national cuisine.
And these are the more palatable examples.
Now let’s take a better look at our situation:
Ah. So not only is the Chiefdom suffering from an awful lack of talent, but apparently everyone is deeply regretting following me into settling this barren island. I wonder why?
“This looks like and excellent place to settle down and establish an agriculture-based lifestyle!” – Not a Sane Person
However, word reaches my ears of a seeress, a völva living in a run-down hut several days ride from civilization(and yet she’s my neighbour). Such a woman has powers beyond the kens of mortal men, and so I invite her to my court so as to benefit from her prophetic visions. When she arrives, however, I find her to be an irresistibly attractive young woman of only just over 22 winters of age. I immediately take her as my concubine, earning myself her undying hatred.
After my conquest of the völva’s… secrets, my lecherous behaviour and ghastly visage are becoming the talk of the
But though sticks and stones may break my bones, words will never be repeated when I have the speaker’s tongue cut out. I begin to dare anyone to speak ill of my visage by strutting about and showing my snout into everyone’s faces. Apparently people now consider me proud.
Anyway, a quick look at the finances reveals that we have no finances. No, really, I get like half a coin every month. This must be rectified.
My mother told me the best way to earn money was to save money. Sound advice, right? At the current rate, I will fulfil my ambition in oh about 83 years.
It is at this time that I recall the ancient words of my clan(that’s to say, I just thought of them last night).
We Can Not Sow.
No, really, we can’t.
Not Pictured: Arable Land.
So we take what others sow. Let’s review our options.
I pack my raiding gear(Torches. Check. Battle-ax. Check. Helmet. Check. Pillaging handbook. Check), call up my entire levy of 291 warriors and set off towards Tyrconnel, Ireland. I find the Irish levy already assembled, all 317 of them, getting ready to aid King Ælla of Northumberland against the Heathen Army. But they will be no match for my strength and superior tactical skill.
Whoops lol nevermind!
Cue several months of building up my levy before setting out again. I can find which provinces are vulnerable by clicking them and checking their available levy. I see that Connacht is entirely drained, but once I arrive at their shores, I find out that they are all standing in the province. Having learned from my previous battle, I wait for a few days until they move out. Then I move in and steal everything that isn’t nailed down(that is, protected by the fort. Sieging even a small castle is beyond me at this stage). I raid Thomond, too, for good measure.
We move on to Desmond, but their response surprises us while we were distracted by all the exotic green blade-like plants that cover the ground in this land. I try to pass my blunder off as bravery. Surprisingly, many seem to believe me.
I return to Iceland with 49 gold, or about eight years’ worth of peaceful growth.
The following years pass by in much the same manner, though I find myself frequently forgetting my raiding gear at home and have to repeat the weeks-long journey to retrieve it before I can start looting the Celts(stupid “Toggle Looter” button…). Somehow, in the midst of making off with a particularly well-crafted Irish sock, I receive news that my wife has given birth.
Due to the logistical difficulties of encountering another person in Iceland, Icelanders developed a system to reproduce with the use of spores.
Trivia: Anlaufr means… I have no idea. Google is no help and I do not recognize the words, unless they mean “Without-Leaf”
After taking all the junk from those Irish too weak to defend themselves, I start to expand my operations are to the northern coasts of the Frankish kingdoms. I am in Boulogne, nicking a dress embroidered with an enchanting pattern of flowers, when word reaches me that my Steward had been killed by an angry mob of peasants while trying to extract taxes. I also find out that I do not have a single man in court able to even do simple additions.
To be fair, it may have been unwise to try and tax a people Who Can Not Sow.
My hot mystic woman bears me a son in October. She suggests that we name him Guðmundur. She’s so funny. I tell her his name is Þórmundur.
Trivia: Þórmundur means Hand of Thor. Guðmundur means Hand of God.
In February, I return to Iceland with my ships brimming with all sorts of loot from the Celtic and Frankish peasantry, netting me 70 gold and prestige. Looking over at the border, however, I see that Ingólfr has been raiding the Muslim Caliph himself. I swear to upstage him later and keep on harassing the Irish(you may assume that whenever I do not explicitly state that I am doing something else, then I am raiding the Irish).
Garðar Svavarsson, historical Chief of Austisland(which I have renamed to Austurland by now), is discovered to be openly plotting to have me murdered. Before I can throw him in the dungeon(hahaha just kidding, we don’t actually have dungeons, we just put them in an outhouse and take their clothes, then they can’t go anywhere without freezing to death), he is able to flee to the court of Chief Valdemar of Bedford, a vassal of the King of Jylland.
Meanwhile, I start to work my way south past Brittany, grabbing some Frankish wine and disappearing before their armies can respond. Feeling ambitious, I sail around Iberia and enter the Mediterranean only to see the Republic of Amalfí embroiled in a war of conquest. I seize the opportunity and raid the rich Italian coastline.
Just before I finish packing things up, the merchants’ army turns to drive me away, but I slip out of their grasp. A quick stop in Sardinia fills up the remaining empty space in my longboats and then I head home to cash in another 70 gold and prestige.
I don’t stay home for long, but immediately sail to the Baltic and land in Weligrad, just east of Lubeck. I outnumber the fort garrison by 3 men so I hope to siege them and claim some real loot for the first time, but an outbreak of sickness among my men stumps my efforts. I sail up the river Elbe to raid some German minors, frustrating any attempts by the East Francian King to corner me.
Another Steward dies, this time from natural causes, and I am forced to generate a random courtier in order to avoid employing a steward with 0 in stewardship. Thankfully, Sigbjörn turns out to be okay, at 12 stewardship.
That’s when I spot a golden opportunity for expansion:
Next time: Sturla meets the Muslims! The Greeks never expected the Spanish Invasition! How many times can Sturla forget his friggin' raiding gear? And finally, the first reader participation event! (As soon as the mods give the go-ahead, as I think you need approval for interactive AARs)
- Approved by Qorten
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