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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. Vaarna_Aarne Notorious Internet Vandal Patron

    Vaarna_Aarne
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    MCA Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    :(
     
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  2. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
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    Yeah, the achievements of our bear-bros are not to be overlooked. :salute: Different playstyles, though. Vaarna seems to be more about nation-building and sustainable growth, whereas I'm more about nation-smashing and perpetual waaagh.
     
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  3. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
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    Odin = cunning but brutal
    Thor = brutal but cunning
     
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  4. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
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    V. MOST UNTRUSTWORTHY LEADER OF THE INFIDELS

    In which words are backed by STEEL WEAPONS

    1. The jarl is dead. Long live the jarl.

    Show Spoiler

    Following Thord's death, Gungnir is acclaimed jarl by the chieftains. None question his right to rule. He is Thord's firstborn, his right hand, and the most fearsome warrior in all of Norrland.

    [​IMG]

    The only pic I could find was from The Future, but here are a few things to note:

    A. His base stats are all good to great.
    B. He has four green (virtuous) traits, no red (vicious) traits, plus bravery. (Green traits, bravery, and justice will make your subjects love you; red traits, cowardice, and cruelty make them hate you.)

    All considered, this is absurdly good, even in light of our superior breeding program. We'll probably get a leader with better stats some day, but Gungnir is quite possibly the most charismatic leader the Norsemen will ever see. I could make him murder a Viking dude's parents right in front of him, and all he'd say was, "hm, that Gungnir is a little rude!"

    Right now, this is largely meaningless, because his only vassal is Mayor Pussolini of Uusimaa. We will, however, eventually find a use for all this goodwill.

    C. Gungnir's got a lot of half-Turkish half-siblings. This will become a theme in the north, inasmuch as AI-controlled pagans will only marry other pagans, and "Tengri" is by far the largest pagan religion at present.

    This pagan solidarity is more than a little silly. Tengrism and Norse paganism have considerably fewer religious or cultural connections than, say, Christianity and Islam, and those guys are not exactly bros. Basically, CK2 treats "pagan" as a catch-all term for "those other fuckaroos." (Which is admittedly consistent with the medieval usage of the word.) Anyway, what this means is that by the middle of CK2's 13th century, about half of any remaining northern pagans are usually wearing turbans.

    D. His wife, Yelizaveta. She's awesome. I showed her off in a previous update; her stats are ridiculous, and she's since converted to the True Faith. A few of her rivals say she retains ties to the Orthodox religion of her parents, but those are most assuredly nothing but the bitter slanders of the envious.


    2. A Cunning Plan

    Show Spoiler

    Gungnir's first act as warchief is to gather up all his father's captains and announce that he has a secret plan to save the Norsemen from Swedish aggression. He refuses to reveal anything about his plan, saying only that it will require great wealth.

    Over the coming years, Gungnir's captains will hear very few additional details about Secret Master Plan against the Swedes, leading many to suspect it goes like this:

    However, their new jarl has proven himself many times over, so they permit him to hoard up his gold like a filthy southron merchant.

    The next thing Gungnir does is assume responsibility for raising his little brother, Mjolnir. Since Thord was running elective succession and was the sole elector, no one else was considered a true contender for the succession. That means that Mjolnir isn't resentful about our inheritance, which is good, but our relationship will be even better if we tutor our bro. Also, the kid's got talent and might make a good heir.

    Next, you may recall Gungnir was Thord's chancellor. His recent promotion leaves that role empty, so we promote a talented underling. Gungnir quickly begins training him at the Viking school of management, which mostly involves punching the stupid out of him.

    [​IMG]

    It works surprisingly well. This is clearly the start of a long, successful partnership with a promising new

    [​IMG]

    Nevermind, that guy's fired, hello Mr. Ulfsson.

    Anyway, that's mostly it for the changing of the guard. There is the small matter of avenging our father's death, but it is indeed a small matter, because Thord got his ass kicked by a little girl. Let's address that:

    [​IMG]

    Six months later, at the end of the siege, Gungnir bravely breaks down the castle gates, and charges through a hail of thrown dolls and stuffed bunnies to face his fearsome foe. He defeats her in a contest of riddles:

    And that's it for the Tavastian tribe. Gungnir, who respects worthy adversaries, eventually has little Tuija married to a minor branch of the family. Young Thord (son of Gungnir, son of Thord) will end up marrying her cousin, who is also named Tuija. At Eketra family reunions, everyone calls everyone else "you."


    3. Eternal Friend of the Swedish Peoples

    Show Spoiler

    Gungnir returns home from war and takes stock the realm he has inherited:

    [​IMG]

    But what's that to the south?--oh. Oh no! Sweden is having a civil war. How sad that so proud a nation should shed its own ahaHaHAHAHA EAT SHIT MOTHERFUCKS!

    Ahem. It seems our old friend King Anund has died. The peerage of Sweden was not impressed with his ability to somehow lose a war against some no-name barbarian, and so Anund passed away at age 33. Cause of death: old age, for he had outlived his nobles' good will.

    (There is a small chance that he wasn't actually assassinated. Apparently, after he lost the war to us like a losing loser who loses, he became both depressed and stressed. That takes a toll on a man (or loser)'s well-being. According to Viking historians, Anund's health declined due to his habit of staying up all night, making lists of ways he could be more like Thord. Also according to Viking historians, his last words were "damn I wish I didn't suck so much.")

    Anund is buried in a moving funeral attended by four people. The Swedes elected as their next king Duke Audvald of Smaland. You can see in the picture how well that went over.

    [​IMG]

    Gungnir's old captive, Duke Erik II of Uppland, was quite displeased with the outcome of the election. With his ally the Duke of Ostergotland, he is now leading 8 of Sweden's remaining 13 provinces in insurrection against the crown. Things look grim for King Audvald.

    While examining an old treaty that rules one Uppland county as property of the Jarl of Norrland, Gungnir remembers that Norrland is historically considered part of Sweden. Upon this realization, he is suddenly seized with patriotic fervor. HE MUST DEFEND HIS LIEGE!

    HOW DARE THIS TREASONOUS DOG DEFY THE DIVINE RIGHT?

    [​IMG]

    BACK, FOUL TRAITOR! WE FIGHT FOR THE KING!

    [​IMG]

    GOTTA SAVE AUDVALD GOTTA SAVE AUDVALD GOTTA SAVE AUDVALD

    [​IMG]

    WE'RE STEALING YOUR LAND BECAUSE IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO!

    [​IMG]

    Well, damn. Despite our patriotism, the usurper Erik wins the war and becomes king. His first act is to attempt to raise crown authority, presumably so that he can do all kinds of unpatriotic things. Naturally the coward seeks a guarantee of non-interference from Gungnir, Eternal Defender of Swedish Honor, before he dares do such a dastardly deed. Gungnir, Loyal Friend of the Swedish People, ignores his letter in silent contempt. But woe! The treacherous Erik has sent the letter on Opposite Day, and Gungnir's silence is taken as acceptance.

    * * *

    If it wasn't clear, what happened was this: we tried to make a land grab on the rebel duke's holdings in Halsingland, which lies within the de jure duchy of Norrland. But since the duke won his war before we could win ours, he became king of Sweden, and our war with Uppland was anulled. (The game does this during rebellions to prevent weird situations where you could otherwise end up at war with yourself.)

    Now Erik is king, and he's kind of upset with us, since we did technically declare war on him, and earlier we sacked his city, and we imprisoned him, and we held him for ransom, and also his mom apparently writes Gungnir fanfic. ("Taming the Barbarian: The tale of a passionate Viking warlord, and the beautiful Quen Mother who secretly rules Sweden--and his heart.") Also, since it's been at least three sentences since anyone screamed anything about Odin, I should remind you that we have some minor religious differences. Long story short, we are probably not at the top of Erik's bro list right now.

    At the end of the war, we voted in favor of medium crown authority. Medium crown authority is actually a major milestone for Swedish royal power, since it means the king can revoke infidels' titles--and in Sweden, "infidels" means Norse sympathizers. The law also gives him more troops to fight off any invading Gungnirs. This is essentially an anti-Viking law. Why did we support it?

    Because raising crown authority will piss off his vassals immensely. Take a look at Erik:

    [​IMG]

    He's a cowardly, lazy, angry, hunchbacked usurper at the start of his reign. He has a few redeming qualities, but after this law passes, he'll have -50 to relations with every vassal he has, maybe more. This should ensure another civil war, and therefore another shot at Halsingland for us.

    During our abortive war, we got this message:

    [​IMG]

    Canned Response Dude continues to be a bright ray of stupid sunshine. The Knights Templar are the Catholic Church's second order of holy knights, and as such they are holy terrors. We will not be slaughtering them any time soon. We will not be raising our voices at them any time soon. We will in fact be doing everything we can to avoid pissing them off. When a templar says "DIE!", we say "How dead?"

    Since the historical Knights Templar had such a huge impact on the works of conspiracy theorists, fantasy writers, and game designers--including elite ex-Codexian David Gaider!--some of you may be interested in a digression about the original article:

    Show Spoiler

    Much like the Hospitallers, the historical Templars were originally formed to guard Christian pilgrims during their travels to the Holy Land. One may well ask how much guarding the pilgrims needed. The answer is a lot; the First Crusade had rendered pilgrimages to Jerusalem feasible, but the rulers of the crusader states never had a very firm grip on their lands. A steady stream of unarmed and frequently wealthy travelers led to a massive influx in raiders between Jaffa (where pilgrims' ships landed) and Jerusalem. This resulted in a lot of robbing and murdering. Templars helped shut that down.

    Like the other Christian military orders, the Templars possessed relative legal autonomy and answered only to the Pope. As the baddest of badasses among the local Christians, they provided military support to the crusader states and were involved in many future religious wars.

    Presumably this was upsetting news for Mosul governor Imad ad-Din, who had JUST invested in a company of demon mercenaries!

    Now, you may well ask why every hack writer from George Lucas to Dan Brown has had a boner for the Templars, as opposed to the Hospitallers or the later Teutonic Order. What made the Templars unique was the extent of their non-knightly activities.

    See, while the Templars were legitimately good at kicking infidel ass, that wasn't the only way they occupied themselves. As the guardians of the Temple of Jerusalem, they gathered or were rumored to have gathered a wide array of Christian relics, including a shard of the True Cross, the Shroud of Turin, the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear of Destiny, and the Holy Grail. In more secular concerns, they were considerably more financially inclined than the other Christian military orders, and they received donations from across Europe. Depending on how loosely you define your terms, they may have invented international banking or multinational corporations. The order itself eventually became quite financially and politically powerful.

    Two hundred years after their founding, their wealth led to their downfall. Eventually, Philip IV of France noticed that the Templars had a lot of money and then also noticed that there was a lot of stuff he wanted to buy. He did the obvious thing and had their lands seized, their coffers plundered, their papal sanction revoked, and their leaders burned at the stake. Kind of a dick move, although he did use a pretty cool opening line for the Templars' arrest warrants:

    The Templars were a secretive, wealthy, powerful religious warriors with access to many Christian relics, and Philip purged them under charges of blasphemy and witchcraft. Consequently, today they're the go-to guys for any conspiracy theorist who wants to talk about ancient occult lineages, as well as the model for any fiction writer who wants to talk about big-dicked wizard knights.

    Since I mentioned elite Codex poster and Hero of the Internet DGaider, it occurs to me that the Grey Wardens in Dragon Age (elite autonomous secretive mystical warriors who were purged by a jealous king) are a lot closer to the historical Templars than the bros Dragon Age refers to as "templars." This is probably because the Wardens are based on Jedi, who are themselves the most famous fictional derivatives of the real Templars.


    For those who skipped that: as with the Knights Hospitallers, the Knights Templars were historically associated with the crusader states, and as with the Hospitallers, CK2 gives zero fucks about historicity. In-game, Templars are identical to Hospitallers: another order of international Christian badasses, fully capable of mopping the floor with us. Let's hope we won't be seeing them any time soon.


    4. Hope Is The First Step On The Road To Disappointment

    Show Spoiler

    As expected, the Swedes do not take to Erik's rule. Things in Sweden quickly get out of hand:

    [​IMG]

    Curiously, in the past two years, Erik became hard-working and stopped being a coward, which means at this point he's a pretty decent king. Fortunately, his vassals are still pissed about the usurping tyrant thing, so the civil war rages on.

    Also note that Norway is descending into chaos. The imprisoned Duke of Trondelag died, and his heir is free, and moreover has inherited his father's issues with authority. Also, for some reason there's this ineffectual boy king on the Norwegian throne--I hear stories that there was a double royal murder a few years ago? Tragic news, that.

    Anyway, the target of our land grab is still in royal hands, so let's try waiting a little longer:

    [​IMG]

    Ah, there we go. Our other former prisoner, Count Azur of Halsingland, is bitter about Erik's failure to defend his landskap from the vile Viking menace during the last war. He therefore declares his independence, and is promptly invaded by the vile Viking menace. Didn't think that one through, did you?

    All right, dickhead count, we've got you this time. You have nowhere left to run. The Vikings are coming. This is gonna be--

    [​IMG]

    Shit. Shit! FALL BACK, MEN! FALL BACK!

    Remember those Templars? It looks like they found an employer.

    The templars wouldn't work for King Erik. Erik's actually the grandson of the historical Erik the Heathen, and he only pays lip service to the church. But apparently Count Azur is considerably more pious. I forgot to check his piety before declaring war, which is a very bad omission to make as a pagan. And since we attacked him, the Templars won't even charge Azur upkeep--they're thrilled to have the chance to defend a righteous Christian lord against infidel aggression.

    This is another reason why playing as pagan is such bullshit--we're at our full strength, fifty years into the game, with eight provinces behind us, and the weakest single-county Christian we can find--some dipshit who's already at war with someone else--is still completely capable of kicking our ass.

    We can't fight the templars even with our united army, but the situation isn't completely lost. Our best bet here is a Fabian strategy; eventually, Erik (our best friend in the world) is probably going to crush Azur's rebellion, which will end our war. We just have to hold out until then.

    [​IMG]

    Medelpad falls.

    [​IMG]

    Then Angermanland. Uh, Erik, no rush bro, but could you finish up that civil war? Sorry to hear about that, by the way; I have no idea why anyone would want to rebel against you.

    [​IMG]

    In a few years, all of Norrland proper has been taken by the knights. This is becoming a problem.

    Also, weird message on the screen there--why was our chancellor fabricating claims on Danish Skane? Must've been a mistaken assignment.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, three years later, Halsingland is defeated by our good buddy King Erik, thereby turning him back into Our Most Hated And Unpatriotic Foe, Erik the Traitor.

    Gungnir sees the threat the Templars pose. He can read the writing on Bjartra's walls. He can delay no longer. It is time to execute the Cunning Plan.

    Or, it would be, except for one snag. Notice what's going on in the Baltic states. It's hard to see on this map, because I was using the de jure ducal view, so I'll explain:

    Given our relatively small dynasty, we have been marrying our female relatives matrilineally to elderly male courtiers, using the temporary heir trick to gain a dowry when possible. This produces more dynasty members. More importantly, this and a few inheritances have brought us over 200 gold in the past few years, which will be vital for Gungnir's Cunning Plan. Unfortunately, this marriage strategy means we are without allies.

    The primary use of female relatives in CK2 is as bartering chips--you use them to get marital alliances. I'd been avoiding that because pagan alliances suck, but recently, I decided that even a shitty pagan alliance might be better than a shitty dowry, or a few more shitty dynasty members.

    So Gungnir married a sister to the high chief of the Zemigalians. The chief rules two provinces, one in Courland, and one in Livonia. The king of Poland is currently trying to take the Livonian one, so Gungnir's bro-in-law called for my help in the war. We don't really have troops we can afford to lose, but Gungnir offered him his moral support.

    It turns out that moral support is less useful for stopping armies than military support. "Don't worry, you did the right thing," Gungnir tells his bro helpfully, as they prepare his statement of surrender.

    But there is hope for the pagan peoples. With this war over, Gungnir can finally put into action his Cunning Plan To Save Norrland From The Swedes.


    5. GET 'EM

    In Which They Are Got

    Show Spoiler

    Unfortunately, the Cunning Plan is delayed again when Gungnir's beloved Russian bride Yelizaveta abandons the jarl and flees to the court of King Erik (who is the most unpatriotic man alive, and indeed less patriotic than some men who are dead).

    Gungnir is stunned. Judging by the letter she left, his wife's faith in Odin's power has been shattered by the sight of the Templars' effortless conquest, and her faith in Norrland has been shaken by Gungnir's abandonment of his one ally in the world. Yelizaveta has renounced the gods. She has returned to the Christ-faith, and to the Christ-Men. She begs Gungnir to join her. She says this is the only way she could think of to save him.

    [​IMG]

    The cruel old jarl has spent his entire life fighting, but this is what seems to break him. Oh, he is just as steady as ever in court; he is not so far gone as to neglect his duties. But he spends much of his time over the next months locked alone in his private chambers. From Uppland comes a stream of letters from Yelizaveta, professing her continued love for her husband--but pleading, begging for him to renounce his gods and embrace Christ. She writes that Norrland is doomed, that the last three wars should show this beyond doubt; that for all the Vikings' deceit and brutality, their efforts at conquest will come to nothing; that in the end, they will stand alone, forsaken by their friends and their false gods. Gungnir reads all this and broods over it, staring blankly at the papers on his desk. He sends not a single reply.

    None of the Norsemen foresaw this betrayal, and none of them could have foreseen its effect on Gungnir. They had thought Yelizaveta loyal, devout, as faithful as a true Viking woman. She had fooled them all. Indeed, she had seemed to take naturally to the worship of the Norse gods--she loved the stories of Odin's disguised wandering among men, and her rivals even whispered she secretly followed the forbidden Cult of Loki. Well, perhaps she had; perhaps her faithless heart found something that resonated in the tales of the Traitor God. Perhaps she had viewed her time among the Vikings as mere "disguised wandering."

    In the dead of winter, Jarl Gungnir finally breaks his brooding seclusion. The people are relieved; he seems to come back to life. There is even a great feast at Bjartra for all his captains, where he seems as merry as ever.

    On the last day of the feast, he turns serious, and invites to a private council the leaders of his warbands, his councillors, the strongest of his champions: all the most important men in Norrland are gathered.

    Soundtrack



    6. Come at the King, You Best Not Miss

    Show Spoiler

    Well, that's certainly one way to keep from being conquered by Sweden's new pet holy knights. Like some sort of proto-samurai, Gungnir chooses to face annihilation on his own terms? . . .

    That was convoluted. I wasn't sure it'd work until it did. Here's how it went down in-game;

    Rewind to July of last year, when Gungnir was still just a jarl. Yelizaveta has by far the highest intrigue score in Norrland, so despite the natural hit to life expectancy associated with being spymaster, I figured it was worth risking the wife for this mission. She is sent to build a spy network in Uppland. (This adds her intrigue bonus to any attempted assassinations in the province.)

    Months pass. When the time comes, Gungnir swears fealty to the king--the land is too good for Erik to pass up, so he doesn't.

    Now, the duchy of Norrland is part of the de jure kingdom of Sweden. Since Gungnir is jarl of Norrland, his new oath of fealty makes him one of the high lords of the Kingdom of Sweden. Sweden operates by elective succession, so as a high lord, Gungnir gets to vote on the heir to the throne.

    I have him vote for himself. Unsurprisingly, the Scourge of Sweden is not very popular among the other Swedish electors, so Gungnir is somewhat of a dark horse candidate. Or a pale horse candidate.

    Gungnir's lack of support among the dukes turns out to not be a problem--it simply means that we have to purge all other candidates, and perhaps a few of the other electors, until we are the only potential successor left alive.

    Then Erik comes down with a bad case of murder and dies.

    [​IMG]

    Murder is a terrible illness, one of the great plagues of this age. Signs point to it being a genetic disease, as Erik's young son immediately sickens as well:

    [​IMG]

    And his daughter, too, how tragic! Perhaps if they'd said their prayers to the Death God, he would have spared them from this terrible disease.

    [​IMG]

    But what's this? The pandemic has spread west to the old duke of Vastergotland, who is now king! Perhaps this plague is in fact a curse, a curse on whoever wears the Swedish crown! When Gungnir figures this out, he heroically swears to take the crown for himself. This burden shall be his alone to bear.

    (The last of the elector dukes (and candidates) is well-guarded and in the countryside. Normally, your spymaster has a six-month cooldown before he can be reassigned to a new location, but because I sent Yelizaveta to Uppland six month before I made my move, I can now redeploy her to kill off the last contender for the throne.)

    [​IMG]

    It takes three tries, and I get caught twice. But after Yelizaveta one-shotted the other three rulers, I'm definitely not complaining. Also, note that we can't assassinate the current king, because we are the current king.

    Gungnir has climbed over a heap of royal corpses and onto the throne.

    Long live the king!


    7. From Ymir's Flesh

    Show Spoiler

    Soundtrack

    Oh, but it doesn't end here. You didn't think it'd end there, I hope. Did you think Gungnir was merciful? Mercy is a shield worn by the weak.

    In-game details:

    You may recall that just after Erik's ascension to the throne of Sweden, he called for an anti-Viking law to raise the authority of the Swedish crown. Under the expanded royal powers, the King of Sweden was given the unrestricted right to revoke infidels' titles. We supported this increase in crown authority, in part because we knew it would set off a rebellion.

    The other part is this: now that Gungnir wears the crown, the law rules every single Christian in Sweden as an infidel.

    It is the gods' will that we purge the unbelievers and seize their lands for our own.

    OTHINUS VULT!
     
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  5. kazgar Arcane

    kazgar
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    It is a shame, that I have but one brofist.
     
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  6. Jaedar Arcane Patron

    Jaedar
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    Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    That is some cunning brutality all right.
     
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  7. genericola Novice

    genericola
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    The awesomeness of this update has forced me to stop lurking and proclamation it's awesomeness :bro:
     
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  8. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    Hah, that reminds me how I, as a king of Denmark, stole the throne of Sweden from under the nose of my own son from the swedish queen. He was a primary heir to both kingdoms, but I couldn't wait until my current king and his hated wife both die. Being an owner of one of the swedish duchies (courtesy of all those pagan dukes who kept going independent giving me a chance for a holy war over the head of mrs queen consort of Denmark), I naturally elected myself, while everyone else kept supporting my heir... until at one point they all suddenly had a change of heart and switched their support to some 3 years old nephew of the queen, likely for just a few days as they tend to. But at this precise moment, the assassins were dispatched, the kid bites it, and Svend of Denmark is suddenly the sole heir, if only for a moment until they elect my son back... except that Svend has a plot to murder his wife ready for a decade already, waiting for just a right moment to put it into action. One click more, and before the electors realise they have to pick a new candidate, Svend of Denmark is a new swedish king. Imagine their butthurt. Too bad there is no autopause IRL :smug:
     
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  9. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    I disagree. There wasn't all that much brutality at all. I think this is more a case of brutal cunning than cunning brutality.
     
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  10. CappenVarra phase-based phantasmist Patron

    CappenVarra
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    Now that was epic :salute:
     
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  11. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
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    Incredible update. I read it over twice to fully appreciate the extent of Gungnir's cunning brutality. What's next after this? I wonder who will be the next victim to be slaughtered in our glorious WAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!

    Btw, Kayerts, can we get a look at the current map?
     
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  12. Ulminati Kamelåså! Patron

    Self-Ejected
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    Many brofists for the righteous slaughter of swedes!

    OTHINUS VULT!
     
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  13. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

    GarfunkeL
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    Insert clever insult here
    Damn, that was some fine writing and a great plan!

    :bro:

    I really enjoy the combination of IC and OOC. Keep at it BRO!
     
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  14. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
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    Glad you guys liked. :love:

    Sure, good call.

    THE WORLD OF KING GUNGNIR
    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    Land area is misleading here. The newly acquired part of Sweden (i.e., the Swedish part) includes only the southwest; while it's about a fourth of our land, it's now 60% of our provinces and around 80% of our total holdings.

    Other things to note:

    The Duke of Bjarmia has become the Finnish standard-bearer, which is a little odd, since I think he's Russian. He has 7-8 provinces and, prior to our recent acquisition, was the most powerful pagan in the north.

    Poland's kicking ass. Boleslaw the Bold is still king; he's in his mid-80s. Forget the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; motherfucker has seized the day and formed the Polish-Novogrod Union. This is concerning, since we want the Baltic states to stay independent as long as possible. That will make later land grabs easier, and more importantly, we really don't need another superpower on our doorstep. Not much we can do right now, though; Poland's way too powerful for us to fight.

    Speaking of unusually competent AIs turning into superpowers, that happened. Check out Rus'. Back during the Vidar War, the Grand Duke of Rostov unified most of House Rurikovich and created the kingdom of Rus'. I don't think I've ever seen that happen this early. It's not an immediate threat, since we have some pretty thick buffers. That said, seeing the rise of the Third Rome by the end of this century would obviously put a damper on our future plans, such as our plan to not die horribly.

    [​IMG]

    In the south, the Reich has marched down the Italian peninsula. The emir of Mosul is somehow winning against both the Seljuks and the Eastern Empire. This is somewhat consistent with actual history, since the ruler of Mosul of the time was Imad ad-Din, founder of the Zengrid dynasty. (To relate him to someone most people have actually heard about, he's the father of Nur ad-Din, who was the overlord of Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, a.k.a. Saladin.) And the Seljuk empire is now split.

    [​IMG]

    In the west, France rules the western Med, a third of Iberia, and Tunis. The Sultan of Mauretania is fighting a civil war against the powerful emir of Marrakech. Despite this, the native Spanish kings are demonstrating their amazing ability to suck by somehow losing ground to Islam.


    The main thing to note about the world is that it is small enough to fit beneath our heel.

    As for what's next, I think I'm going to try a (relatively) quick and (extremely) stupid alternate history update, showing what would have happened if Gungnir had set his sights on a different title. After that, well, you'll see.
     
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  15. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    880
    ALTERNATE HISTORY: OUR SPIRITUAL LIEGE

    Soundtrack

    1. The man who has nothing can still have faith.

    Show Spoiler

    In the last update, we managed to crown ourselves king of Sweden. Sweden, however, was not the only crown we could have seized.

    This update will be showing off a retarded alternate timeline, with the help of some wacky game-breaking mechanics. You won't lose any context if you skip it, but I think it's amusing.

    CK2 lets anyone of less than royal rank offer fealty to any king or emperor, and I think literally everyone will accept. The reason we chose Sweden was that we were a de jure Swedish elector. That opened up a path to the throne, paved with daggers though it was.

    We aren't a de jure elector of any other kingdom, but there is exactly one king-level title in the game for which that doesn't matter.

    [​IMG]

    Meet our new spiritual liege. All hail Dwarf Pope Dopey I!

    In CK2, the papacy works as an elective monarchy. However, it is also a landless, purely titular title, which means that (a) it has no de jure territory associated with it and (b) it cannot be destroyed by conquering it; there will always be a pope.

    Thus if we reload from a save where Norrland never joined Sweden, and if Gungnir instead swears fealty to the dwarf pope:

    [​IMG]

    Then, as a duke-level vassal to an heirless ruler, Gungnir is considered a possible heir to the papacy. This doesn't normally matter, because CK2's papal succession is hard-coded to ignore any heirs, and normally it just randomly pulls a tiny pope out of the Pope Hat when the old one dies.


    2. A moment of dwarfery spawns a lifetime of heresy.

    Show Spoiler

    Despite accepting our oath, the Pope is not Happy. (Happy is his brother.) However, he has high ho-pes for his new Viking vassal and is willing to work with him.

    Sadly, after giving his oath of fealty to the Dwarf Pope, Gungnir discovers the unthinkable: the Pope himself is a heretic of the foulest sort. The very day Gungnir is sworn in, he walks in on the Pope entering a strange mood and attempting to claim a workshop. THIS WILL NOT STAND.

    Gungnir quickly moves to save the world from the threat of Dwarf Heresy. Now, I am told that no one tosses a dwarf, but overthrowing one is apparently still allowed:

    [​IMG]

    Vassals always have the option of trying to depose their liege and replace them with a preferred heir. Gungnir is now his own preferred heir to the papacy, so if we win the rebellion, Gungnir gets the Pope Hat!

    (Yeah. We are going to become the Norse Pope of the Catholic Church.)


    3. Fear denies faith.

    Show Spoiler
    There is a well-known quote about the Pope's military capabilities:

    If the Man of Steel had asked that during the medieval era, the answer would have been "so many divisions that he doesn't need multiplication." Beyond the orders of holy knights they nominally ruled over, medieval popes had a huge amount of political influence and could generally scrounge up an army or three if they needed one.

    CK2 popes, however, have an extremely poor sense of self-preservation. Declaring war on a pope will not cause him to use his Pope Powers on you. For Catholics, it doesn't meaningfully raise the risk of excommunication. For everyone else, it won't make him ram a crusade up your ass. Regardless of how big your invasion force is, the Pope tells his Catholic bros, "Don't worry, guys, I got this."

    In the Retarded Alternate Timeline, Yelizaveta died, and Gungnir remarried to the daughter of the Khan of the Cumans. The Cumans are by far the largest pagan faction in the game right now, and they're generally the one pagan alliance that's worth having. They aren't very useful to us in the primary timeline, because it takes an impractically long time to march from western Asia to Scandinavia, but they're close enough to Rome to be handy. As a bonus, they hate all Christians.

    Anyway, let's see if our allies join our righteous struggle against Dwarf Heresy:

    [​IMG]

    The High Chief of the Zemigalians says, "The Pope? What a dope!"

    [​IMG]

    Not to be outdone, the Cuman Khan responds, "Pope? More like poop!"

    [​IMG]

    Our navy's pretty limited in this timeline, so while we have ~5K troops, we have to take two trips around Europe to sail them there.

    Note that while the Pope will not call on foreign aid, he is perfectly willing to employ mercenaries. Since he's usually the richest man in the world, he can spam a shitload of mercs. Our saving grace here is that the AI generally won't have a single ruler employ a second troop of mercenaries while the first still lives, though, so we can work around that.

    [​IMG]

    Our runty foe has a barony in Benevento that we can siege while we wait for reinforcements from Scandinavia and our allies; we're going to need them to take on his Dwarven Slayers.

    [​IMG]

    The cavalry arrives. The Cumans land in Capua; we join them and march on Rome. I didn't take a screenshot, but our combined forces dwarfed the Pope's.

    You could say he was caught short.

    We would've kicked his ass to the curb, but it was already there.

    (HE'S A DWARF, YOU GUYS. THE JOKE IS THAT HE'S A DWARF.)

    [​IMG]

    We sack rome, partying like it's 476.

    [​IMG]

    Then we grab a few more holdings. The Pope actually tried to send a small army up to Medelpad to siege it, but our alliance's armies are a lot bigger than his, and his holdings are a lot weaker than ours. Pope Dopey is eventually forced to surrender.

    [​IMG]

    Bros, I present to you the Gothi of Rome, representative of Odin-on-Earth, the Vicar of Thor, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Temple: Pope Gungnir.

    Also we get a cool hat.

    Amusingly enough, the game gives you a papal name if you become pope, so Gungnir is now known as Pope John XIX. In view of the direction the primary timeline of this LP is about to take, my preferred faux-Biblical name would have been Pope Ezekyle. Alas.


    4. Faith is its own reward.

    Show Spoiler

    Gungnir is now the spiritual liege of every Catholic in Europe.

    This gets us . . . well, basically nothing. In CK2, if Catholic bishops like the pope more than they like their secular liege, they pay their taxes to the pope instead of their lord. (That's why the pope is usually so rich.) In our case, this isn't very helpful, since every single bishop on earth hates us for being Norse. And clergy get even angrier about the godless unbeliever thing than normal Catholics. (They don't get particularly upset about a godless unbeliever being the supreme representative of their god, though.)

    Furthermore, Paradox didn't anticipate the player becoming pope, so we don't have any interfaces to do any of the cool shit that the AI-controlled pope can. Which is a pity, because I was looking forward to excommunicating the entire Catholic church.

    (I haven't become Pope when playing as a Catholic. Anyone out there want to try? My guess would be that if you do, you will in fact be able to excommunicate whoever you like, and you'll also be able to approve your own invasions against other Catholics. You still probably won't be able to declare a crusade against Denmark, but you can't have everything.)

    [​IMG]

    Here I'm raising my crown authority so that I can revoke the filthy infidel ex-pope's title, but note one major reason being pope sucks: the succession laws are hard-locked to be "Open Elective." You get zero control over who your heir is, and you can never change the succession laws.

    Out of curiosity, I looked at what would happen on succession via the "kill character" cheat. Apparently, under open elective, the game generates some random asshole when the pope dies. (And I do mean "generates;" the generated asshole has no parents. The Representative Of Christ On Earth takes immaculate conception to a new level, I guess. "Hey. Hey Jesus. You know how your parents didn't have sex? Mine didn't even have existence." "..." "Yeah. Owned.") The new pope has the same culture and religion as the old, but he doesn't inherit personal control of any land outside the capital. The new pope also ends up being of his own weird dynastic house, which no one else in the game has. Based on the previous pope, I assume the dynastic house is actually a dynastic cottage, where the pope lives with his six brothers, in between mining operations and demonstrating unsavory interest in bed-ridden women.

    Normally, the game ends if you die without a dynastic heir, but for some reason it lets you keep playing in the case of the papacy. Since the AI isn't smart enough to try the swear fealty -> depose liege trick, this may make it literally impossible for you to completely lose the game.

    But that doesn't matter, because the second major reason that being pope sucks is this:

    [​IMG]

    You get a pop-up like this about every two in-game days, and you have to dismiss them all manually. It makes the game unplayable. To add insult to injury, you don't get the option of rejecting these sinful scum, nor do you even get the gold from the indulgences they're supposedly buying. Either all of the supplicants are paying Gungnir in magical, disappearing leprechaun gold, or all the money is immediately diverted to a series of increasingly fashionable Pope Hats. Or maybe Pope Gold is legally considered Dwarf Gold, which as devout Norsemen, we know to be cursed.

    Anyway, I tried playing as Norse Pope for a bit, but the indulgence-spam makes it too annoying to stick with for long. I did get one amusing situation during my brief reign: I tried revoking the old pope's prince-bishopric. He rebelled:

    [​IMG]

    And I called in the Anti-Dwarf Squad to beat him again. Two months later, he sent me this:

    [​IMG]

    "Very grave sins." YES. LIKE DWARF HERESY.


    * * *

    Anyway, hopefully this was an amusing diversion. We won't be sticking with it, though. As rad as Norse Pope is, history has a far grander destiny in store for us.

    Next update will be in the "real" timeline, though it might be a while.
     
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  16. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

    GarfunkeL
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Insert clever insult here
    Funny quirk of the game engine. Pdox should probably prohibit non-Catholics from swearing fealty to the Pope in the first place.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
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  17. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Messages:
    4,397
    Location:
    In the Playground, reading LPs
    This has to be one of the most fun and most devious LPs on the Dex. Kayerts, you are a bro among bros.

    Love the Pagan Pope. Who's also married. To a pagan woman. It doesn't get any better than this.
     
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  18. Jaedar Arcane Patron

    Jaedar
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    6,539
    Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    That is an amusing bug.
     
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  19. The_scorpion Liturgist

    The_scorpion
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,056
    great stuff, loving the Pope-ex machine mechanics :M

    btw. when are you going to conquer karelia? you owe that to vaarna :bounce:
     
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  20. Quetzacoatl Liturgist

    Quetzacoatl
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,794
    Location:
    Aztlán
    Moar!
     
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  21. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    880
    "Pope Ex Machina" is a pretty great phrase.

    My original strategy would have had me trying to annex Karelia next, but the current geopolitical fuckup (the rise of the Tzar and the Potato) mean that I'm not really in a hurry to get an eastern border with Christendom. Also, uh, with our newfound royal power comes newfound royal responsibility, as you'll see next time . . .
     
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  22. Ulminati Kamelåså! Patron

    Self-Ejected
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
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    20,233
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    DiNMRK
    Clearly, your next job will be to annex Denmark, then set sails for the british isles
     
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  23. CappenVarra phase-based phantasmist Patron

    CappenVarra
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
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    Location:
    Ardamai
    Excuses, excuses... Karelia must be conquered!
     
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  24. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    880
    Denmark's just generally a rich, strong, compact, wonderful place to own, and we'll be hitting it as soon as that's an option. (So, claims + the ability to not lose wars against Danes.)

    But we shouldn't leave Poland alone for too long. Sitting back and letting it grow like a malignant, potato-shaped tumor will hurt us in the long run. Besides, to shrink from danger is not the Viking Way!

    EDIT: Uh . . . don't lose faith, bros! We will yet liberate Karelia from the yoke of Karelian oppression!
     
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  25. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    8,204
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    The real :decline: here is that the awe-inspiring name of Valhalla has abdicated in favour of the far less intimidating Sweden.
    Will you change it back?
     
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