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In Progress Odin demands blood! Let's revive the Viking Age in Crusader Kings 2!

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by Kayerts, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. Radisshu Prophet

    Radisshu
    Joined:
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    Messages:
    5,597
    I was just going to correct you on the "remorse" thing
     
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  2. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Messages:
    17,687
    Location:
    Ingrija
    Okay, do bitches have any uses in this game other than plopping up screaming larvae every year? I started by marrying my Danish king's 50 bastards to the hottest moorish 16 year olds each having 24+ in one of their stats, but the stupid whores do not appear in my council. WTF? The only reason I went for this racial treason is to have a better council (and maybe plop up some more screaming larvae, but that's beside the point).
     
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  3. Vaarna_Aarne Notorious Internet Vandal Patron

    Vaarna_Aarne
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    33,383
    Location:
    Cell S-004
    MCA Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    I'm not sure if Cognatic Succession would allow women to serve in Council... But generally bitches serve as baby factories and most important as stat boosters for your ruler, as half their stats are added to their husband's (and because this is an era where the pimp-hand was strong bitches hating you won't stop them from providing this bonus). There is also some heredity effects on stats, so having talented parents increases the likelihood of talented children, even though Guardian matters the most.
     
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  4. hoverdog dog that is hovering, Wastelands Interactive Developer

    hoverdog
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    5,591
    Location:
    Jordan, Minnesota
    Project: Eternity
    You do know that when you marry your female couriers to foreigners, bitches go to the their new pimps, not the other way around, don't you?
    You can marry matrilineally, that results in pimps riding to their hoes - it was a common exploit in earlier versions to have a pimpin' 25 skill council. This has been fixed, fortunately.
     
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  5. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Messages:
    17,687
    Location:
    Ingrija
    That much is obvious, duh. I was importing thirdworldian whores to my realm, as befits the Master Race. But apparently I can't put them to any use other than the most natural one. Well, unless I marry one myself and appoint her as spymaster only. I dunno, a shitty norwegian princess with a chance to get some claims once they get royally bumfucked at Stamford Bridge sounds like a better prospect than buying a marrocan love slave for her 25 intrigue.

    They aren't that keen now, sadly. Every male of semi-decent stats is already a chancellor or a steward or a marshal, not even the cunt of a princess of blood is good enough to make them change jobs. Which is quite a dubious "fix", methinks, I am adamant a lowborn councilor of some shithole in the middle of nowhere would wet himself in joy if offered to bang his way into an illustrious royal family. "Ambitious" my ass. So how do I get myself a 25 skill council I rightfully deserve?
     
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  6. Luzur Prestigious Gentleman Good Sir

    Luzur
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
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    34,147
    Location:
    Swedish Empire
    well thats what a direct translation results in.
     
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  7. Radisshu Prophet

    Radisshu
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Messages:
    5,597
    Yeah, but we both know that's not what the people had in mind when they named the landskap
     
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  8. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    880
    Yeah, that part's dumb.

    Male talent tends to be hard to pry away. One thing you can do if you're reasonably powerful is invite a high-statted foreign claimant to join your own court, then conveniently forget your promise to fight the Holy Roman Empire on his behalf. Also, if you invite him to your court, he becomes your courtier, and as his liege you can order him to matrilineally marry your daughter if you want. (I'll get a steward this way later in the LP, actually.)

    As for women, your analysis seems solid, and claims tend to trump stats in a normal game. If you have the opportunity to conquer the Eastern Empire by campaigning with your dick, that's usually a good move.
     
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  9. Saark Arcane Patron

    Saark
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,511
    A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    Some women, that is your wife or mother, can become spymaster, but that's it for the lesser gender. Basically they're there to provide the passive stat bonus. Since most people go for trophy wives to push stats, you don't want her to be the spymaster though, since they almost always die when you're attacking someone with deep pockets, since they're trying to assassinate you. Better sacrifice these stupid Courtiers. You also get both the spymasters intrigue bonus+half your wives if you keep her in the kitchen.

    It conveniently provides a proper amount of cash if you constantly remarry when someone tries to kill you though, since they go through your new spymasters rather quickly (unless the have abysmal stats)
     
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  10. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Messages:
    4,822
    Just caught up with this, fantastic LP. Hope this continues.
     
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  11. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    880
    III. GODS' FRIENDS, AND THE WHOLE WORLD'S ENEMIES!

    Last time, Thord was finishing a war against the Tavastians, when back home a treacherous countess rose in rebellion and paved the way for the Swedish invasion of Norrland. Things do not look good for our hero.

    1. The Storm Gathers

    Show Spoiler

    Now Thord has a difficult choice. He can stay in Finland and complete the conquest of Uusimaa, which will give him a much-needed fleet, but he might be Jarl of Nothing when he returns home. Or he can abandon the conquest now and rush back to defend the fatherland. It's a risky move, but he opts to finish the Finnish. Our army is at half strength from fighting their alliance, and even if he sent the men home now, there's no guarantee that they'd be able to defeat the Swedes when they get back. Having ships will give us a few more options in the war, which is important, because right now our list of options looks like this:

    and that leaves something to be desired. Onward!

    [​IMG]

    Thord finishes the siege and takes the enemy's surrender, claiming Uusimaa for the Norsemen. He then dismisses his army, his final order to return home and then rush to Vasterbotten. He hopes to rally enough warriors there to make a stand against the annihilating armies of King Anund.

    Without the constraints of a disciplined withdrawal, the desperate Vikings quickly stream across the gulf in small watercraft. Thord arrives at Fortress Bjartra and waits, counting the stragglers as they come in. What he sees does not please him. The next day, he gives the word for a second muster.

    [​IMG]


    2. The Rain of Ruin

    Show Spoiler

    Soundtrack

    He's too late. Anund's men have massed into an unstoppable army of over three thousand men, and they're almost here. If a certain whoredog countess hadn't rebelled against her rightful jarl, Medelpad would have slowed them down long enough for Thord to gather recruits in the north and build back his warband for a counterattack. But that's not the world we live in.

    [​IMG]

    In this world, we have a problem.

    [​IMG]

    We don't have enough time to withdraw the troops in Angermanland by land, and we don't have enough ships to evacuate them by sea. (Norse army stacks are huge and can't be split, which is a problem in view of our extremely limited shipyards. Again, this is why Uusimaa was so crucial. If we'd had a few more months . . . )

    It's time for another difficult choice. The Swedes are marching an army we can't stop into our homelands. If we fight, we'll lose, and with these numbers, we'll barely dent theirs. Losing our army at this point means losing the war. Losing the war means losing the game.

    Since we can't fight them, we don't. Thord tasks Gisla with leading the women and children to Pohjanmaa, where they will find refuge among their new Finnish sisters in the faith. The warchief offers the sick and wounded the choice of attempting to flee with them, or of picking up a sword and facing honorable death at his hands. Every man or boy who can fight, he takes with him.

    As for the army in Angermanland, there is no escape. Thord sends them to bolster the garrison within Bjartra, commanding them to fight to the last breath of the last man. Months later, he will be proud to hear they followed their orders.


    3. On Surrounded Ground, You Must Plot

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    At the head of his remaining band of 1800 warriors, Thord looks down at the approaching waves of Swedes, then turns north. He leads what remains of his army all the way around the Gulf of Bothnia, rowing over the Aland Islands in small boats. He leaves a small company under Gungnir to besiege the castle there, guarding his retreat, then crosses on to tear out the heart of Sweden with his primary strike force. Sodertalje will fall, he vows.

    [​IMG]

    It's risky as hell, but it's the only thing he can do. He's hoping Anund's army stays in the north and leaves his men to set Sweden ablaze. Norrland has only thick-walled castles, separated by vast distances; Sweden has soft cities and bishoprics, bunched close together. Thord's army is barely half the size of Anund's, but that might not matter. If he does enough damage, Anund might accept a truce.

    In the north, after a year-long siege, Bjartra falls. Over a thousand brave men, starved and slain by Anund's vengeance. Valhalla's burning.

    In the south, the Northmen retaliate by sacking Anund's capital. We gather what gold we can from the royal treasury, but there is no joy in it. Thord only grunts, "On to Uppland."

    [​IMG]

    As for our plan, it was a good one, but it failed. Hearing the news of the lunatic Viking raid, King Anund brings his furious warhost down to drive us out. By the time our scouts see them coming, we have no time to escape across the Sea of Aland. We may be trapped.

    (I can't find my screenshots for the next year, so bear with me as I recount what happened from memory.)

    Thord abandons the siege of Uppland, heading back to Sodermanland. There he stops running and simply stands by the shore, waiting, as Anund's armies draw closer. His men think him mad until they see the dark sails on the horizon. The shipwrights of Uusimaa have been hard at work, and Thord's steward there has dispatched a fleet to rescue his jarl.

    The dragonships arrive. Vikings are leaping onto the ships before they've even docked. Weary veterans are laughing and swinging from the masts as they sail toward the rising sun. The army is saved.

    I count this as a victory. My hope is that now that we have a fleet, we can use our superior mobility to alternate between liberating our holdings and raids on the Swedish heartland, until we can force a truce without ever having to fight.


    4. On Desperate Ground, You Must Fight

    Show Spoiler

    It doesn't work, though. The Swedes have had time to bolster their garrisons in occupied Norrland, drawing recruits up from the south to vanquish the Viking menace once and for all. They have sunk their teeth into our homeland and will not easily let go. We defeat the weakest of their garrisons in Lappland after a short siege, but by the time Thord completes his second siege of Castle Lycksele, the Swedes' vast army has crushed our own outpost at Sodermanland. Anund turns north to return to Lappland, forcing us to take to the seas again. And while we flee, the war score slowly crawls toward the doom of Norrland.

    Now the foe's army is running loose over the whole north. Valhalla lies in ruins. Vasterbotten is fallen. Lappland is under siege. After two long years of running from the foe, even the bravest of Thord's veterans begin to feel despair.

    The warchief stands high in the hills, looking toward Lappland and the doom that comes.

    This is it. He has no more chances left. Failure means death. Success may mean death. Stroking his old spymaster's skull, the warchief initiates one last plot . . .

    What happened here was this:

    Lacking other options, we sieged the traitor countess's castle. It was weakly defended, so even with my depleted army, we finished before the Swedes took Lappland. Since that was her only holding, and we occupied it, she had no choice but to surrender. I then banished her. Banishment really is considered the greatest atrocity you can perform in CK2--getting caught sending hired killers, or covered in your king's blood, are both held as lesser affronts by the nobles. Even execution is considered milder.

    [​IMG]

    Banishment pisses off all my vassals. I have cleverly circumvented this penalty by having no vassals, since (remember) my land sucks too much for anyone to build anything here. Oh, I do have some pussy mayor in Uusimaa who's wringing his hands over this abuse of Jarly power, but fortunately I have a solution if he causes trouble: I can banish him, too! Eat shit, pussy mayor!

    Anyway, in CK2, as in life, being a tyrant is not only fun but indeed borderline heroic. It gives me not just the titles but also the gold previously possessed by the banished party. With these new funds, Thord can now afford to hire the Victual Brothers, the only mercenaries in all the world cutthroat enough to sell their swords to the Norse Lord of Norrland.

    [​IMG]

    (Limited options for mercenaries is another thing that sucks about being a Norseman. In addition to the worst land in the game, my "two" options here are the two most expensive mercenary units in Europe. The Victual Bros cost a full 300 gold to hire; for comparison purposes, the weaker troops hire out for 75 or less. The only other merc unit that shows up as a theoretical option for me is the Varangian Guard, i.e. the elite Viking bodyguards sworn to the personal service of the Eastern Roman Emperor. Until I sit on the throne of Constantinople, they're not going to be helping me out.)

    The Victual Bros are an anachronism here. They were an actual historical entity, and "God's friends, and the whole world's enemies!" was their actual battle cry. In reality, though, they were a guild of piratical privateers who mostly raided Denmark, mostly on behalf of the Hanseatic League, and they didn't exist until the late 14th century.

    But you know what else is ahistorical? Fucking Swedes ordering a fucking purge on fucking Norrland in 1101. I'm not complaining about the Bros, apart from the fact that their rates are ridiculous. Money's going to be tighter than Thord's asshole.

    [​IMG]

    On that end, Freyja's husband died during the war, so I name her as my heir. Then I marry her to some random geezer for a 17 gold dowry. What's that, you say? Whoring out my daughter on the cheap? Who's doing that? Anyway, my foray into familial prostitution will let me pay the Bros for another seven weeks. I only regret that I have but one daughter to give for my country.


    5. The Whole World's Enemies

    Show Spoiler

    Soundtrack

    Thord gives the Bros a short time to build up their morale after their harsh voyage north, but while he's paying their wages, he can't afford to wait until they're fully recovered. They can stretch during the long march to Lappland.

    [​IMG]

    (Confusingly, Thord's marshal is also named Anund . . . )

    The Swedes see Thord coming and try to flee. Foolish Swedes. We are Odin's fury. You cannot flee from the Allfather. Whatsoever is under the whole of heaven is his.

    That went well. The pirate-Viking onslaught breaks the pride of Sweden. The few survivors flee to Vasterbotten, seeking refuge in the fortress they have taken there. Thord gives chase and slaughters them to the last man.

    Anund is raising a second army in the south, but that is not our most pressing concern now. We only have funds to pay the Bros for a few more weeks; we need to take back our castles before we run out of gold. We don't have another daughter to whore out, people.

    If we regain our castles, we'll be able to start rebuilding our armies and win the war after the Bros are sent home. That bishop we caught gives us a little money, but not enough for two long sieges, and I am suddenly reminded that I don't have to pay dead mercenaries' wages. We will be retaking our core territory by storm.

    [​IMG]

    The assault on Vasterbotten goes as well as it could have. We waited as long as we could, so we only lose four hundred men, most of them Bros. With only four gold left in the treasury, their deaths feel like a gift. We're going to have to rush them south for a final assault on Valhalla, then dismiss them immediately, or else risk them turning on us.


    On our arrival in Angermanland, we have a stroke of luck: our steward dies. He was a good steward, but he had no heirs, and his death gives us desperately needed gold. We can now pay the Bros for a few more months.


    [​IMG]

    This is the strongest of the occupying armies, with nearly a thousand men manning the high walls of Bjartra. Since we can now afford it, we take some time sieging them first--the few survivors of the battle at Lappland carried word of their defeat to the south, where Anund is now readying a second army. Now that we can pay them a little longer, we shouldn't be completely reckless with our Bros; they'll be needed to fight off the second wave.


    6. Beyond the War

    Show Spoiler


    While we wait, Gisla sends troubling news from the east:

    [​IMG]

    The old allies of the Kvens, the powerful Karelian tribe, have staked a claim on our Finnish holdings. We can only hope they do not press it immediately; we have already come back from the dead once, and we are ill-equipped to face another enemy.

    Also:

    [​IMG]

    The pussy mayor from Uusimaa is now sobbing about the burden my war taxes have imposed. So he decides it a good idea to haggle with an angry Viking warlord, one so impoverished that he just condemned his own daughter to a life of hookery. I am not so sure of this, but who am I to question a pussy mayor?

    When he hears the news, ex-Chancellor Dan clutches his dagger and mutters some nonsense ending with "...pro patria mori." The old man has become increasingly erratic since murdering Birgitta, prone to strange proclamations in the slow tongue the Christ-Men favor. Thord can only pray his old friend finds glorious death in battle before his mind fails completely. To the mayor, he sends a polite refusal, planning a more permanent response when the realm is not fighting for its existence.

    [​IMG]

    A few weeks later, sad news comes from the east. Thord's beloved Gisla has joined the valkyries. She apparently left to Thord over forty gold; I am not totally sure why she refrained from mentioning the overflowing wealth in her Cassoulet Fund, some of which could have been diverted into a Fund for Saving Our Daughter From Random Geezer Dickings.

    Speaking of which, Thord is now unmarried, and a random geezer, so he should probably be dicking some idiot's daughter. After allowing him a generous grieving period that drags on for almost twenty minutes, we find this hottie:

    [​IMG]

    Sarica and Thord are married, and Thord gathers even more money for his war chest:

    [​IMG]

    I wonder what our daughter thinks about us acquiring a small fortune while she acquires a case of Geezer Herpes. I bet she's happy for us.

    The instant remarriage isn't just me being an asshole; it's a weird gameplay necessity. In the event that you survive your wife, CK2's mechanics force you to remarry more or less immediately. Your wife gives bonuses to your stats, including raising limits to how many holdings you can personally own; when she dies, you not only lose all her bonuses, but you get considerable realm-wide penalties for exceeding your new, lower limits. So most of the time, you have to find a replacement wife before the first wife's cold, or else risk your realm collapsing while you grieve. I imagine this leads to awkward family conversations, e.g.:

    Anyway, with his lovely new wife freshly arrived from the Seljuk Empire, Thord would like to show her around her new home. Unfortunately, there is currently a hostile army inside it, since if you recall, we're in the middle of a fucking war. Let's get back to that.


    7. The Restoration of Norrland

    Show Spoiler

    Thord, taking his sense of hospitality very seriously, storms the castle.

    [​IMG]

    Resistance is fierce. 2500 Victual Brothers die, but at the end of the day, the Raven Banner flies over Bjartra.

    (This wasn't just about Thord wanting some stylin' digs for getting his bone on. The Victual Brothers are expensive, and after we take Bjartra, it doesn't make sense to keep them at their exorbitant rates; the native sons of Norrland should be mostly sufficient to repulse Anund's second army. Killing off the bulk of the Bros ensures we have a small but sustainable force of auxiliaries for the rest of the war.)

    Thord looks within the ruins of his home. There is nothing left of his. His banners are torn and burned, his warhounds butchered for food during the first siege, his own tribe's warriors slaughtered shortly thereafter. He comes before his old shrine to Odin. It is long since ashes. And in seeing this, he sees that none of this matters. Because now he needs no prayers to invoke the Allfather's fury. He goes to carry it into Swedish lands.

    [​IMG]

    However, before he can invade, Anund's second host arrives, and to my surprise, it is larger than our own depleted force. Thord laughs. He is out of men, but he can yet rally the land itself to his cause.

    [​IMG]

    Much as he did in his very first battle, Thord attacks by defending, hiding his men within the dark forests of Lappland. The weakling southerners are no match for Lappland in winter, and as they tread the fearful ground where Anund lost his first army, they begin shivering with fear as well as cold. They hear hundreds of voices wailing. Are these the wraiths of the restless dead?

    By the time they realize it is the berserkers howling, half of them have dropped their blades.

    [​IMG]

    We dedicate these deaths to Odin!

    Freyr himself must have come to our aid, spreading his hand over our forests and sheltering our men from foe's blades. We lose 27 men against their 542, though the 27th is the broliest of the Bros.

    All this killing has made Thord feel young again, so on his return south, Thord swings by Bjartra to say hello to his delightful new bride, and specifically to the back of her head. Now in a substantially better mood, he prepares to return to butchering Swedes. At this juncture the brilliant Sarica coyly asks if he has any poetry to remind her of him while he is away. Inspired by powerful feelings, Thord improvises an entire saga on the spot, one that tells of the love story between his axe and the necks of his enemies. It is a passionate romance, though it ends all too soon. Sarica smiles politely and thanks him for his performance, then scours the closets of Bjartra to see if the Norsemen have anything resembling a medieval coat hanger.

    [​IMG]

    Apparently, they don't.

    [​IMG]

    The rest of Thord's men chase the fleeing Swedish host all the way to Kemi. This time, the Norsemen are not fighting in the shadows of Freyr's court, and they rely on the strength of their own arms. It is a far bloodier battle.

    We are victorious, but the Bros are now down to a quarter of their initial size. For them, that means the loss of brethren they've bled beside for years; for us, that means their monthly rate has become quite sustainable. Thord resolves to pursue a total victory over Sweden.

    [​IMG]

    The Swedes flee into the wastes at the roof of the world, preparing to make a final stand at the shores of the icy sea. Thord laughs and says they should hope the sea freezes this year, so that they have one more place to run. But before he can finish them, he receives word that a small Swedish detachment has struck Vasterbotten.

    [​IMG]

    The Swedes redouble their siege efforts as their scouts report Warchief Thord has turned back, and they are battering down the gate when the Norsemen appear out of the North. A few dozen manage to make it into the castle before Odin's fury is upon them. None of them make it out.

    [​IMG]

    On the home front, our daughter's husband finally succumbs to Geezer Herpes. We respond by remarrying her to an even older man, since this appears to be a good source of income. The other daughter will eventually be married to the senile, woman-murdering ex-chancellor Dan. I wish I were kidding.

    [​IMG]

    The core Norse lands finally freed, Thord gathers fresh recruits and prepares to invade Sweden. While he marshals the army in Angermanland, Sarica gives birth to a son. Thord names her Gundrun, after a mythological incarnation of vengeance in the form of a woman. What do you suppose is on his mind?


    8. The Wrath of Valhalla

    Show Spoiler

    Soundtrack

    The Viking host swarms out of Angermanland and descends into Sweden, finally ready to unleash the wrath of Valhalla. (No one except Thord and Dan actually calls our campaign that. Everyone else calls it "Operation Fuck Shit Up.")

    They pass by the lone castle on the Swedes' northern border in silent contempt. Thord's men are driven by five years of despair, fear, and rage, and there is simply not enough to burn here.

    But in Gastrikland, there is.

    [​IMG]

    In the last days of the siege of Castle Hamrange, the defending Swedes attempt a final, desperate charge, hoping to break past the Norse line.

    Five years later, after scouring the surrounding area for months, one kinsman of the Swedes who fought here finally gathers enough pieces of his cousin to bury.

    [​IMG]

    News of the carnage spreads south to Sodertalje. A shaken King Anund sends an emissary north, asking for peace. Viking honor prevents Thord from simply killing the messenger for his king's insolence. Instead, he sends a reply: "Sweden will be more peaceful when its cities are all ashes."

    Seeing their foe cannot be placated, the Swedes fight bravely on. The survivors of last year's slaughter at Lappland and Kemi finally come back from the Northern wastes and retake Vasterbotten. The day the news reaches Thord's camp at Halsingland, a howl of pure rage is heard around the gulf. Thord's thirst for Swedish blood has been growing for five years. Now, when he is ready to slake it on the Swedish heartland, he hears that he might have to turn back home again.

    Thord is remarkably disproportionately always angry. He splits his force, leaving Gungnir in command of the warband sieging Halsingland. The rest, he leads north against the men he let live a year ago, determined not to repeat their folly.

    Anund's scouts see them departing. Realizing that with the men in Vasterbotten, he might stand a chance to beat back the Viking invasion, he sends out his personal guard, the bravest knights in Sweden. He puts Prince Erik, his own kinsman and marshal of the realm, in charge of the rescue mission. Erik leads his forces around Halsingland and into the north, hoping to crush the divided Norsemen between two armies.

    [​IMG]

    But Thord's warband has already slaughtered their way through the Vasterbotten contingent. The jarl returns south, leading the advance guard. Meanwhile, Gungnir has left Halsingland and turned north to join his father. It is now the Swedes who are trapped between two armies.

    [​IMG]

    The Swedish army is crushed; Erik barely escapes capture, fleeing the field as a coward. He will never find Valhalla.

    In Angermanland, Sarica gives birth to a second daughter. Thord names her for the warden of the unrighteous dead, as a reminder that cowardice will not save the Christ-Men from the wrath of the true gods.

    Erik flees back to Sodertalje, telling Anund what happened in the North. Now the king himself rides out in a black rage, gathering the nobles of the realm to him. Count Azur of Halsingland joins him, half mad after seeing the devastation the Norsemen visited on his lands. Neither of them care whether they live or die.

    So they are presumably less disappointed when this happens:

    [​IMG]



    Thord hears his hated foe has taken the field. He embraces the berserkergang and lays about in an invincible frenzy, unable to feel pain, or indeed anything besides a very active desire to kill everyone on earth.

    For his part, Count Azur himself falls upon the Vikings in righteous wrath and soon finds himself cut off from his fleeing men and surrounded. One puzzled Norsemen knocks this Swedish idiot off his horse, then drags him back to the camps until they can figure out who he is. A man this stupid is clearly important.

    [​IMG]

    One of the false priests of the south is also taken.

    The Swedish counteroffensive is defeated, but it has left Thord with too few men to complete Operation Fuck Shit Up. Unable to strike deeper into Sweden, he marches back to Vasterbotten, to retake it a third time.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, the Swedes rally and drive the Norsemen out of Halsingland, then march north to Angermanland a final time. Bjartra is under siege again. Six years into the war, the troops are positioned almost exactly as they were during its onset. With one key difference:

    [​IMG]

    The Swedes have only half as many men as Anund's original army.

    Thord has already evacuated the Angermanlanders, this time to Medelpad. While he could win against the Swedes now, that would leave him with too few men to follow with a siege and cement his victory. He resolves to strike south by sea, bypassing the siege. Let the Swedes camp outside Bjartra, he thinks. We will complete Operation Fuck Shit Up, then regroup and slaughter their invasion force.


    If you're wondering why all our battles have been decisive victories, and yet the Swedes still have almost as many men as we do, and why Thord is having such difficulty maintaining an advantage, here's the difference between us and Sweden: while our fully mobilized realms would have fairly comparably sized armies, Sweden's are spread over 4-5 times as many counties, with ten marshals training troops instead of our one. Hence they recover from losses far more quickly than we can.


    Moving on:

    [​IMG]

    When both Halsingland and Gastrikland are his, Thord marches north to break the siege before Medelpad falls.


    Within the castle walls, Sarica waits. Her presence here has kept the refugees from Angermanland calm; they know the jarl will not allow Anund to capture his own wife. When she hears the warhorns, she orders her personal housecarls to charge out and meet their lord. For herself, she climbs up to the castle battlements and looks south, watching as Thord marches in to her rescue. She holds up the little hand in hers, and Thord's new son waves down to greet his father.

    [​IMG]

    She named him Mjolnir, meaning "crusher" in Old Norse. Thord wrote that he shall be the mighty hammer Thor will wield to crush the enemies of the true gods.


    As for the battle below, Thord wins, as he must. He then races to Angermanland to finish off the fleeing Swedes. The refugees follow, for the warchief has sworn that Bjartra will not fall again, and they do not doubt his word.

    [​IMG]


    Across the gulf, two Finnish tribes see that we're occupied and declare war on us, seeking to claim Pohjanmaa. Pagans backstabbing pagans? This is an unprecedented act of aggression against a peaceful nation that has never hurt anyone!

    We never hurt anyone three times!

    But other than demonstrating the length and girth of their hate-boner, I'm not sure what the Finns hope to accomplish here. Maybe they're hoping Anund will keep us busy long enough for them to force us to the negotiating table. Maybe they're hoping that we're weary of eight years of constant war and will just give the land to them. Foolish Finns, Vikings are NEVER weary of war.

    That said, we'll deal with them later. Our castles in the east are strong and will keep them occupied for a while. Meanwhile, we've broken the last army Sweden can muster, and paved the way into its richest lands; after we retake our holdings, we'll be ready to win the war.

    [​IMG]

    We carve a path through their pitiful resistance on our final push south. Five months later, we are beating down the gates of Uppland. In desperation, the young Duke Erik rides out of his palace to face us.

    [​IMG]

    This proves unwise. Gungnir himself unhorses Erik, and Thord and his aged veterans plunders the ducal treasury. They have been here before; they know where to find the gold.

    Not to worry, Gungnir tells the captive duke, we're sure the king will put together a ransom on your behalf.

    With the wealthiest province in his kingdom now in Norse hands, and the most powerful duke of the realm held hostage, Anund faces the greatest humiliation a Viking or Swede can know: to leave a blood oath unfulfilled.

    [​IMG]

    The king finally admits that he cannot contend with the Allfather's favored sons. In defeat, he offers Thord over 200 gold as tribute if he leaves his kingdom. On hearing disturbing reports of Finnish advances from the east, Thord accepts. Gungnir, now chancellor of the realm, writes "vae victis" beneath his signature on the treaty.


    Sweden has been crushed. Its king is humbled, its castles smashed, its armies shattered, its lands are burning. It is a good day to be a Norseman.



    9. To The Pain

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    Far to the north, the Finnish alliance has been having an easy time of it, happily plundering their way through the Kvenish lands. They lay siege to Vasterbotten.

    The people of Vasterbotten have seen their province change hands seven times since this war started, which seems excessive, since having your province conquered just isn't interesting enough to merit doing it seven times. They pray for the Housecarls of the Old Jarl to save them.

    :M

    The Finns finally see the Viking host approaching to the south, and they laugh. They have five hundred more men than the mighty Jarl Thord, Slayer of Swedes. They move south to crush him at the gates of his own capital.

    They chase the Norsemen through Angermanland, past their fortress, past the river. As half their army stands on the opposite shore, waiting for the rest to cross so they can crush the jarl, they hear a blast from a loud warhorn. At this signal, the gates of Bjartra open, and Gungnir marches out with his hundreds. The Finns are now divided, surrounded, and then the Norsemen are upon them . . .

    [​IMG]

    We move north to retake Vasterbotten; this will be the eighth time it changes hands during this war. We free the county, but by this time, the remaining Finns have massed in Kemi.

    [​IMG]

    The host of the two great chiefs marches toward what should be an easy victory against six hundred men. Their scouts laugh as they see four hundred more coming north from Angermanland to join them, as though that will matter; these Norsemen are brave, but they are brave fools.

    [​IMG]

    What they fail to realize is that we have hidden a second army on ships in the gulf. The moment the Finns commit their forces on land, we come from the water.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At least today we sheathe our swords in honorable pagan hearts. May the Valkyries find more valor than madness in your struggle, brothers. Die well!

    The Battle of Umea ends the Finnish threat to Norrland. We sail north to Kemi and catch the exhausted Finns there as they flee there by land:

    [​IMG]

    Our castle walls here are still fully intact; the Finns meant to conquer, not to destroy. We spend the next year sieging Kemi. The year after, Pohjanmaa, too, will be freed.

    [​IMG]

    For the first time in fourteen years, all the realm lies in Viking hands.

    We now have the option to pursue a total victory over the Satakuntans, but unlike Sweden, they are too poor to pay us much tribute. Moreover, after what happened during our last Finnish adventure, Thord is wary of committing his injured army to fight for two more years, leaving his homeland undefended. We sign a truce with the high chief and send the men home.

    [​IMG]

    Fourteen years after the initial Swedish invasion, a scarred Norrland has crawled atop a mountain of corpses. We have wrung out a victory over half the nations of the north.

    We have little to show for our great struggle: we gained one poor province, a small fleet, and a few hundred coins, most of which went to mercenaries' wages.

    And we have over twenty thousand slain foes, each death a prayer to honor Odin.

    And glory enough to earn each of our men a legend and a place at the Allfather's table.

    And most of all, enemies: brave enemies, craven enemies, enemies weak and strong, dead enemies, and many who yet live. If there was any doubt before, the Norsemen now know the whole world is their enemy. The whole world wants them dead.

    But they will not get what they want. They tried--they sent half the north after us--but half the north failed. And the whole world will come to regret that failure deeply . . .

    Half the north rose against us, but with us is the whole of the Allfather's wrath.

    That's what we've won.
     
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  12. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
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    tl;dr: dudes tried to kill us but didn't, now we are nationalist pricks.

    Next update should be less grimdark and more ridiculous.
     
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  13. Vaarna_Aarne Notorious Internet Vandal Patron

    Vaarna_Aarne
    Joined:
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    MCA Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    Bravo with the timely mercenaries. They really should add more mercenaries for pagans, Victual bros are so expensive, but at least that means they're always available. I also didn't think about fooling the enemy to attack by placing men hiding in boats before, gotta remember to use that strategy myself.
     
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  14. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Ships generally let you pull some nasty tricks. The AI seems to hate using its own fleet, I think because of the upkeep costs. But if you're only using the realm's fleets, your vassals are paying the price. I suppose that hurts your infrastructure in the long-term, since they won't have as much money to develop their land, but the economic footprint is far outweighed by the benefits of having a fleet when you need one.

    As for mercs, pagans theoretically can hire other mercs, some of which are reasonably priced. The Pechenegs and various Russian companies are willing to hire out to pagans, for example, but we're just too far out of the way right now. We'd have to move our capital further south to get them to work for us.

    The bit about "hiding Gungnir's forces within the castle" is another trick you can pull, by the way; if an enemy army is near a county, and you want to lure them to attack, you can dismiss the home levies of that county, then send them back out once the battle is joined.
     
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  15. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
    Joined:
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    Location:
    In the Playground, reading LPs
    I love this LP.
     
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  16. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
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    8,203
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    :love:
     
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  17. Luzur Prestigious Gentleman Good Sir

    Luzur
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
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    Swedish Empire
    [​IMG]

    ODEN! OOOODDDEEEEENNNNN!!
     
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  18. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

    GarfunkeL
    Joined:
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    Insert clever insult here
    Awesome LP, can't wait for more updates!
     
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  19. Jaedar Arcane Patron

    Jaedar
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
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    6,533
    Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I like this lp. It is quite good.
     
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  20. Occasionally Fatal Prophet

    Occasionally Fatal
    Joined:
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    Excellent LP. METAL AS FUCK.

    Although actually, I've just been listening to this:
     
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  21. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
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    Messages:
    880
    IV. THE END OF WAR

    Last time, I promised this would be ridiculous. But then I realized that prior to the Age of Ridiculousness, a lot of things happened, some of which eventually became important. Trying to pack that into one post was making it unreasonably huge, so instead, here's a larp-heavy interlude. Skip it if you're not into that; the next update will be more eventful.

    1. Story time: Norse Mythology!
    Show Spoiler

    Soundtrack

    When we left Thord, he had just finished the 15-year conflict that became known as the Vidar War. The name comes from a Norse myth about how the world will end:

    Norrland now exists in a state of perpetual wrath. Its people believe they will face eternal war from the rest of the world. They see themselves as the heroes of the Ragnarok, besieged by the legions of the unrighteous. Like those heroes, they know they are doomed. The only question that remains is how many of their foes they will give to Odin before they are hacked apart at last.

    When he faces the same question, Odin's answer will be "all of them." Old Thord greets the twilight of his reign and hopes to do as well as his god.


    2. Shadows Will Come

    Show Spoiler

    The neo-Vikings had now gained a reputation that stretched across the north. From Iceland to Rus spread tales of an iron jarl and his men of steel. Most of Christendom heard these stories and resolved to leave the heathens to their icy wastes. But there were some who heard of the Norsemen's glory, and thought how much more glorious it would be to conquer them.

    The first of the new threats emerged in 1106, when the Vidar War yet raged. The King of Churches had called for a crusade to sweep the Moors from central Iberia.

    [​IMG]

    The Moorish leader, the Emir of Valencia, called in allies from Beja, Sevilla--even mighty Mauretania heeded the call. But for all their power and zeal, they could not stand against the scourge that the Church-King had summoned. It seemed all the princes of Catholic Europe joined in the Second Crusade--all save for King Anund, who was already fighting against a few heathens who somehow had not realized they were beaten.

    The beleaguered Spanish kings were soon joined by the lords of France, led by the Grand Duke of Aquitaine, who crossed the Pyrenees in such numbers that he shamed their king into joining the crusade. Not to be outdone by a lesser monarch, young Kaiser Poppo of the Heiliges Romisches Reich joined in, and then the emir knew that no matter how well he fought, or how many Christians he killed, the war was lost. The Reich's armies were without number, for the Kaiser could raise levies from his vast territories faster than any nation in the west could kill. Outside of Catholic Europe, the Reich was reckoned less an enemy than a force of nature: you could not fight it; you could only prepare.

    When the storm passed, all the kings sailed home, now brothers in arms. Christendom's eyes turned outward. And one set lingered long on Norrland.

    King Torfinn, called the Cruel, was the savior of Norway. He had inherited a broken nation: Hardrada had wrecked Norway's armies upon the shores of England, and his heir Olaf had seen his kingdom ravaged by Finnish hordes. Young Torf, barely a man, had inherited a battered land and the hatred of his most powerful vassal in Trondhjem. None were surprised when half the realm rose in rebellion against him.

    [​IMG]

    Torfinn, however, was not merely a king, but a god among men:

    [​IMG]

    He had more talent and rage in him than any other Christian ruler on earth. Much as Thord was doing to the east, Torfinn built a nation out of bones, mortared with blood and ash. He'd married his brother to a Danish princess, and cut short the Trondelag rebellion with Danish steel. When the rebel duke lay in chains, and Torfinn had run out of enemies to crush at home. When he had run out of enemies at home, he wasted little time in joining the crusade for Calatayud, where even the kaiser sought his counsel. After the glorious victory over Valencia, he was scarcely off the boat when he determined to bring a unified Norway's armies back to Britain. Torfinn succeeded where Hardrada failed, and Norway's borders overflowed and spread over Scottish lands.

    The Vikings respected Torfinn. How could they not? He was the most powerful lord on this side of the sea, with cunning and bloodlust to match the mightiest of the Norsemen. Even more importantly, he had slain almost as many Christ-Men as Thord had. Many times during the long war with Sweden, the jarl had sent Gungnir to treat with Torfinn, hoping that sufficient flattery would divert his gaze from Norrland. Gungnir called him a god-king, worthy of his own saga. He called him an enemy the Norsemen could be proud to have. (There was no higher praise among the Vikings.) And for a time, the great king smiled at this ridiculous barbarian's antics.

    But something had changed Torfinn in Iberia. He had beheld how easily his brothers in faith had cut down the best of the infidels, and he knew it was a sign of his god's will that Christianity cover the whole earth. Religion, previously a weekend hobby for Torfinn, became his obsession. He dreamed of repeating his triumph in the west, of leading armies of holy warriors to purge the taint of false gods from every corner of the earth.

    The nearest place taint could be found was in the dark forests of Norrland. Gungnir did his best to remind the Norwegian king of their long years of friendly rivalry, but none of Gungnir's words could compare to the Word of God.

    So he determined it was time to give Gungnir's knives a try.


    With Torfinn slain, his Danish alliance lost, and the wages of zeal revealed to be death, the Norwegian national spirit is broken again. Torfinn's 15-year-old son inherits not only his father's kingdom, but his father's hatred for infidels, and therefore a second sprig of mistletoe from Gungnir's garden. The next king, newborn brother to the last, is going to grow up hating us. However, in time he might forgive us for killing his family, whereas his family would never forgive us for being infidels. [3] Moreover, the weak new king will soon be mired in a civil war that will last years.
    __
    [3] Zealots get REALLY angry about religious differences. A Catholic murdering a zealous Orthodox rival's wife and executing his son still won't piss him off as much as the filioque clause does.

    The last threat to emerge are the holy knights:

    [​IMG]

    "Let them come," Canned Response Dude says. I'm not sure where his confidence comes from. My best guess is raw stupidity, because these guys are bad news.

    The Knights of St. John, or Knights Hospitallers, are 7.35K warriors worth of pure pain. Worse, as their names suggest, half of their number are mounted knights. Knights are the most powerful troop types in CK2, capable of easily overrunning half again as many of their number in infantry. It's impossible for anyone but French or German rulers to produce knights in any noteworthy quantities, and the Holy Ordos are the only concentrated source of knights game.

    Holy knights are specifically a problem because they don't work for us. In fact, they work exclusively against people like us; they will only fight non-Catholics. (Or peasant rebels, since God hates poors.)

    Historically, the Hospitallers were affiliated with the crusader states, as well as several islands in the Med. They would later become known variously as the Knights of Cyprus, the Knights of Rhodes, and the Knights of Malta. You may observe that all those places are part of the glorious land of WayTheFuckOverThereia, but CK2's Hospitallers are perfectly willing to hop across Europe for the purpose of ruining our shit. All it takes is ~130 piety to hire them, too; in some situations, they charge their patron upkeep, but if he's defending against vile servants of darkness (e.g., us), then they work pro bono.

    What all this means is that fighting pious Catholics just got a lot harder. Even without help from their patron, the knights alone can easily destroy our combined armies. Until we've got 10K+ Norsemen to spare fighting hired holy goons, we want to stay the hell away from these guys.


    3. Only the Dead Have Seen the End of War

    Show Spoiler

    K bros, that catches us up. Our enemies are either defeated or dead, everything's awesome. Thord is a legend, or in the court of Sweden, a laxative, inasmuch as the very mention of his name makes everyone shit themselves. We've got at least a ten-year window before anyone tries to fuck with us again, and Gungnir's been busy:

    [​IMG]

    So, after letting our men rest at home for a year, we begin a war for Hame, which will unite Uusimaa with the rest of the realm and put an end to the Tavastian Finns. Their current chieftain is a foe such as we have not yet seen:

    [​IMG]

    A LITTLE GIRL. Good god, is this the end of Thord? Sure, he's risen from nothing to conquer six provinces, survived rebellion, and thrown back multiple invasions, but what if she runs him through with a knitting needle?

    Ha ha! Get it, Thord?

    Thord?

    [​IMG]

    Well, shit. I mean, yes, he probably died from complications arising from being so old that he was legally considered a mummy, while living in an era when the average life expectancy was 4. But I prefer to think he was fighting some climactic final battle against the Tavastians and sought out his counterpart among the enemy ranks, who then beat him to death with her teddy bear.

    So passes Thord. Tune in next time for the reign of Gungnir Thordsson, called "the Wise" by his people, "the Trickster" by history, and "Most Untrustworthy Leader of the Infidels" by his enemies.
     
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  22. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

    GarfunkeL
    Joined:
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    15,456
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    Insert clever insult here
    Excellent update but the blood-thirsty crowd demands MOAR!
     
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  23. Occasionally Fatal Prophet

    Occasionally Fatal
    Joined:
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    Treading water, but at least it's warm
    Another quality report. I add another cry of MOAR!
     
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  24. Merkwürdigliebe Arcane

    Merkwürdigliebe
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
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    2,794
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    Third Reich from the Sun
    It's good to see some one carrying the pagan flag high. I accidentally my own files so that one isn't going to continue.
     
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