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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. Jaedar Arcane Patron

    Jaedar
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    Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Moar?
     
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  2. Cornflakes Novice

    Cornflakes
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    Yeah, work this week has not been as fun without occasionally taking this totally awesome diversion.
     
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  3. Occasionally Fatal Prophet

    Occasionally Fatal
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    Treading water, but at least it's warm
    Also awaiting update.
     
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  4. jonnypolen Liturgist

    jonnypolen
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    This lack of updates is making baby Thor cry!
     
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  5. Quetzacoatl Liturgist

    Quetzacoatl
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    Aztlán
    Ragnarök can be delayed even more should this lp continue updating.
     
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  6. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    He probably got the "a wandering preacher converted me into a shiite, oops" event and ragequit :smug:
     
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  7. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
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    Heretical lies. Rage is a perpetual state for the Viking people, not a reason to alter behavior. Besides, being a Shiite would be pretty great right now. Jihads and Iberian allies? Yes, please. Odin Akbar!

    Anyway, apologies about the long delay; my life is hurrd. Also, not making the update suck as much as the in-game events did is tricky. Nevertheless, a Viking boast: I'll have the update by Sunday night.
     
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  8. Vaarna_Aarne Notorious Internet Vandal Patron

    Vaarna_Aarne
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    Cell S-004
    MCA Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    Btw Kayerts, I've added a mod to the CK2 thread in Strategy Gaming. Haven't done much for Norse, but I've improved lots of other things.
     
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  9. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    Holy War is one of the best CBs in the game, yes. I can't imagine how incredibly boring it must be to sit there waiting for a province claim to pop, only so you can fight over ONE LOUSY PROVINCE. It's not nearly as convenient as bordering 3 or 4 different varieties of heretics and infidels so that you can always have at least one holy war going at all times.

    Also, it is actually important to promote the growth of heretics and infidels. Always try to ally with them, even passively, if you can: The more the heretics and infidels win, the more stuff you can holy war over. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Take his fish away, and tell him that he's lucky just to be alive, and he'll find a way to catch another fish for you to take away tomorrow.

    None of this apparently will help you any, since you can't do the Holy War thing, so you're stuck waiting a generation or two to bake a claim to something nice. At least you'll have plenty of revolts and civil wars to handle, since the moment you gank someone's kingdom, all their vassals are likely to revolt against the infidel.
     
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  10. Cowboy Moment Arcane

    Cowboy Moment
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    I think the various CBs became a lot more balanced with 1.05. With the ease of joining wars, declaring a Holy War is almost certain to draw the attention of every infidel in the immediate area. I've started a new game as the duke of Barcelona, and I'm fabricating claims against my raghead neighbours, because in the event of a Holy War, they call in the whole goddamned Iberian Peninsula, and I suffer instant and distasteful rape. Even in my advanced game as glorious Georgia, I'm hesitant to declare Holy War upon Muslims. Now, Orthodox on the other hand...

    And I think it's a great thing that the gameplay in CK2 changes so much depending on location and religion. As a random count somewhere in Ireland, you can't just invade anyone, but neither can your (possibly more powerful) opponents - and thus scheming, plotting, strategic marriages and assassinations become much more important than they are for an Iberian duke who's constantly at war with infidels. It's really fun to play the long con, marry your heir off to a rebellious Scottish duchess, declare war on Scotland over a minor claim to destabilize them, watch them fall apart, with your heir's wife taking the crown, and 50 years later their grandson inherits Scotland for you.
     
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  11. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    That may really depend on where you happen to be living, I suppose. I have seen a lot of religious defense joins, although usually they're commiting distasteful rape against someone else, which I actively encourage, since I try to encourage the spread of the infidel even while I bite chunks out of them.

    Yes, that could potentially be a problem as a Duke of Somewhere Unpleasant and Open. As Duke of Axum, on the other hand, I was in the Ass End Of Nowhere, so the only person to worry about was the Caliph, who I would gank anytime someone else distracted him.

    Yes, but the catch is that you can do all of those things WHILE YOU SMITE INFIDELS, since all those long cons are, well, long, and there's not exactly anything for you to do in the meantime. It's not like I was missing out on the scheming and plotting over in Ethiopia. It took a fair amount of scheming to make myself the Caliph, and only stab 3 people in the process. Soon I will have the Other Caliph, and I didn't even have to stab anyone for it this time (I stabbed many other people for totally unrelated reasons in the meantime, but nobody was stabbed in the process of acquiring this title).

    At this point I wind up stabbing more of my own people than any enemies, because they won't quit being pains in the asses. It's not even that they revolt, which would make this a lot easier. No, it's because if I don't stab them, they'll keep trying to stab someone else and disrupt my carefully organized empire. So when someone starts acting up and going about stabbing people, I have to stab him to keep the peace. About 80% of my assassination budget is now directed towards stabbing my own unruly vassals now. That, and the occasional necessary purge of the untermensch, to keep his bad genetics from spreading. I worked hard on creating my dynasty of superhumans!

    Once my plan to grab the other Caliph falls into place, I'll grab the Byzantine Emperor in the next generation, and then by that point the Mongols will probably have showed up, so maybe I can make myself Khagan.

    One thing the constant fighting is good for is achieving a necessary turnover of the King, since it isn't until your grandchildren that you'll be able to go for the title, so it can be best to hasten this process through valiant death in battle. I lose a lot of dudes that way, both intentionally and on accident. Even then, it's kind of a slow process: By the time I'm ready to take the title, the title is basically most of what's left, as the empire itself has been reduced to an eviscerated rump state. Sometimes I stab someone just to avoid waiting 10 years to go to war again, or combine a war, followed by a stabbing I had intended anyway, followed by another war immediately after the stabbing. And sometimes I stab someone just to see what happens, because I figure the AI must be stabbing random people on the other side of the map that appear to bear no real relationship to any reasonable objective for SOME reason, and I may as well get in on the random stabbing action. Once I stabbed a random Duke in France because I didn't like his face, and the entire thing blew up into a giant civil war about two months later. Was it my fault? I have no idea.
     
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  12. Cowboy Moment Arcane

    Cowboy Moment
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
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    4,394
    1.05 also added relationship penalties for distance from capital, so after becoming Basileus, you'll probably spend the rest of your game pacifying revolts.

    By the way, does anyone know the exact requirements for being able to declare a Holy War? For instance, as an Orthodox heretic, you can declare it against normal Orthodox, but not against Catholics. I assume Catholic heretics can similarly wage holy wars against normal Catholics. But what about pagans? Who can you declare holy war against as a pagan? Does it matter what kind of pagan you are?
     
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  13. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    Haven't found it to be a problem. My ubermensch dynasty and ubermensch advisors and ubermensch wife pretty much boost my diplomacy bonus through the roof: I can keep at least 40+ with even the most unruly distant vassals out in Iberia. No, it's usually the peasants which revolt, and since vassals can't even wipe their own asses without me doing it for them, I'm the one who gets to raise their legions to put their revolt and gain a relationship bonus for squashing their rebels. Besides, between the culture and religious penalties, most of the more distant ones don't even have armies to revolt with. I can see how this might be a problem to people who didn't start an ubermensch breeding program early on, though.

    No, my problem is that the keep trying to stab each other. Not ME, mind you. That would make sense. No, they just try to stab each other. It's actually more annoying than if they were trying to stab me, because at least that would have some kind of coherent sense and logic to it. But no, they love me. They stab each other. I've had maybe a handful of noble rebellions, usually from the more mismanaged portions of the dynasty (which I resolve by stabbing them), or foreignian nobles(which means I can revoke their titles and hand them out to fambly). Long as they're not revolting more often than once every 6 months, a rank 20+ spymaster can keep things under control. No, the real problem is that because they're all such ubermensch, they're very annoyingly good at stabbing each other. It's gotten to the point where I've started preemptively stabbing anyone with the Deceitful or Ambitious traits that are in line to become a ruler, and thus have a budget for stabbing people, on sight; just because THEY NEVER FAIL TO TRY STABBING SOMEONE, and succeed all too often. I have no less than *5* dukes presently cooling their heels in the dungeon simply because if released, they immediately get all stab-happy. I am just waiting for their heirs to grow up so I can arrange for them to be married off to someone nice, so their duchies don't fall apart without the spouse bonus, so that I can then have them killed while trying to escape and hand the matter off to their heir until the stabbing starts again.

    Honestly, I already stretch from the left side of the map to the right side of the map: That part isn't getting any worse. Fortunately, I was able to institute the Feudal Tax, thus keeping the Stasi well-funded. Grooming the Spymaster is probably the most important thing in the Empire, followed closely by the Chancellor: These two family lines are pretty much the glue that holds the thing together. That, and peasant revolts. Love peasant revolts: I use my own vassals' troops to squash their peasants, keeping them indebted to me. One of the few perks of being both a minority culture and a minority religion: The peasants hate you, they revolt often, land yields no troops for ages, they don't convert easily, and so this keeps your vassals weak and indebted to you for squashing their peasants. Being Nasty Foreigners of an Alien Culture (there are no related cultures to Ethiopian) makes the peasantry hate you, so they revolt fairly often, allowing you to squish them for +rel. Using their own troops. I use vassal troops for stormtrooper work, too, so they they die, and I don't have to keep them around for extended sieging, which in turn keeps them weakened and unable to revolt against me.

    A Holy War may be declared against Heretics and Infidels. So, Orthodox Heresy can declare against Orthodox and Muslims, but not Catholics of any stripe, because Catholics are Christian and not-Heretic to you. Shiite can declare against any Shiite Heresies as well as any Christians, but not against Sunni of any stripe. Pagans do not have holy wars. Ever. Against anyone. They suck. Managing this complex religious mess is quite a challenge: Ideally, you want to support anyone you can Holy War against, against anyone you cannot Holy War against, so, as Orthodox, you want Muslims to defeat Catholics and other Orthodox, none of which you can pronounce holy war against, because if the Muslims win, then you can take the land from the Muslims for yourself...the danger here is that you don't want to weaken the Muslims so much that they start losing steadily. Killing Pagans is best for you because Pagans can't Holy War and therefore will never succeed on their own, and so are pretty much worthless in your machinations. It is important to obstruct the efforts of those you cannot Holy War against, when they fight Pagans, though: If you are Orthodox, and Catholics are fighting Pagans, you should support the Pagans if possible, but if Muslims are fighting Pagans, you don't care: In fact, you want the Muslims to win, sort of, because Strong Muslims benefit you...as long as they are not strong enough to kill YOU!
     
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  14. Derper Prophet

    Derper
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    Aaaargh
    Sunday evening came and went...
     
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  15. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
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    I'll have none of your patriarchal geographic imperialism, sir.

    (Update incoming; doing edits now.)
     
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  16. Ulminati Kamelåså! Patron

    Self-Ejected
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    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
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    880
    VI. WITH SPEAR AND HAMMER

    First two subsections are somewhat mechanics-laden and may serve as a refresher, if you've forgotten what's going on. The third lays out our strategic goals for the next age of enlightenment, and action finally starts in the fourth.

    1. Sweden Under New Management
    Show Spoiler


    By blood and guile, Gungnir's machinations have placed him on the Swedish throne.

    Now he has made the dark god Loki the patron of House Eketra, and from out of the shadows, his cultists come to openly worship the Trickster as Odin's equal.

    Gungnir's faith in the Traitor God of the Norse pantheon might have earned him the wrath of his people, if he had not won a kingdom with the Red God's own cunning. Or if the Bale-Smiths had not pledged their service to House Eketra, giving him the most talented assassins guild outside of Alamut. As things stand, the Norsemen shrug off their king's peculiarities with manly fortitude.

    The Christ-Men are not so manly. Gungnir is now a king, but he is one of many in the brutal North, and many of the many want him dead.

    Having declared his intention to strip all Christian nobles of their titles, and with the support of over four thousand Viking warriors behind him, Gungnir takes stock of his new kingdom . . .

    [​IMG]

    The previous Swedish kings have lost territory to both Norway and Denmark, but what's left is still a ton of new land for us. We'll also soon be getting a regular income.

    There are really only two major problems with Sweden: First, it's currently full of Swedes. Specifically, Christian Swedes. This is not only a source of political instability but also of military weakness, because only pagan provinces can form warrior cults. At this point, warrior cults will double or triple the troops we can raise in every province in Sweden, so we really want to bring our new subjects to accept the Runic Testament.

    The people won't convert unless we send forth our priests to bear the Word of Odin. Our righteous priests won't be very effective at present, because their warnings of the cold pits of Hel that await the wicked are undercut by asshole Christian priests, who like to reassure the people that being wicked is "cool" and "definitely won't lead to any cold pits." Long story short, in order to build a stronger Swedish Defense Force, we need to boot out their old religion and therefore their old priests and thus their old rulers. So it really is for the good of Christian Sweden that we purge all Christian Swedes in it.

    A second concern is that CK2 imposes limitations on how many counties you can personally administer. We're near that cap now, so once we start taking land from our dishonorable Christian vassals, we're going to have to give other land away to honorable Norsemen. That means we have to figure out which land we want to personally keep.

    The relevant mechanics are reasonably complex, but the important thing is that noble vassals pay 0-30% of their income, while they give 60-100% of their soldiers. Soldiers are more important to us now than money, but we still probably want to keep the rich provinces for our own.

    Here's a map of tax income from shortly before when Gungnir seized power; red means poor and green means rich:

    [​IMG]

    The Swedish lands have a much greater economic output than our core Norrland counties. This is not tremendously surprising, because a one-legged hooker has a much greater economic output than our core Norrland counties. However, Loki has granted Gungnir a vision of the future, and it is inexplicably full of civil war and unpatriotic behavior on the part of his Christian vassals. So we don't want to give up all our (militarily strong) Norrland holdings until we've converted some of Sweden. Our plan is thus to make an initial grab for the rich Swedish coast along the Gulf of Bothnia, handing out provinces in Finland and the Swedish interior to our loyal champions and Bale-Smiths.


    2. Of Lands Afar
    Show Spoiler


    Other than being full of Swedes, the other major problem with Christian Sweden is that it's surrounded by Christians. Here's an overview of our new neighbors:

    Norway's recovered from a second Trondelag rebellion and somehow has a badass king again. Gungnir has his doubts about their god, but House Yngling, at least, seems perfectly capable of rising from the dead. However, with our new vassals (such as they are) and our rehabilitated Finnish allies, we could match their numbers in a straight fight. Right now, they're locked in a war with Scotland that will hopefully continue to make them irrelevant for a long time.

    To the south we've got Denmark, which is rich, strong, and generally unpleasant. The good news is that the king sucks, and all but two provinces are owned by the powerful Duke of Skane. Since the king can actually raise fewer troops than the duke, the threat of a Danish invasion is minimal. Better yet, the Danes are currently involved in some massive clusterfuck of a war to depose the Queen of Rus'.

    Across the Baltic, there's the Holy Roman Empire, by far the most powerful Catholic state in the world and at this point an impossibly strong juggernaut. Fortunately, they're still far away, so hopefully they'll leave us alone.

    Everyone else who's relevant, I covered in the map update; to recap, Bjarmia's badass, Poland's badasser, and Rus' is among the worst of all possible asses.


    3. Novus Ordo Seclorum
    Show Spoiler

    The Norsemen have vanquished their greatest foe, but five more rise to take its place. Gungnir has his schemes for the Norsemen's future, but it is the stalwart Mjolnir whose words shape the people's vision.

    Mjolnir believes that with the immediate Swedish threat to our survival gone, our new goal must be to build a Norse homeland capable of weathering any assault the Christ-Men dare to raise against it. Mjolnir vows that one day a Norse king shall rule over a unified North, and the sound of Viking boots shall shake the Slain God in his tomb, and Viking hammers shall shake the world to its foundation.

    Gungnir thinks that plan sounds pretty cool. (His other plan had been to make Mjolnir Pope. After that speech, he feels his bro is a little too Grumpy to resist the temptations of Dwarf Heresy. Mjolnir might be the Pope these Catholics deserve, but he's not the one they need right now.)

    With Mjolnir's goals in mind, our immediate priority is to complete the Ymir Reformation and to Norsify the nobles of the realm.

    Long-term, expansion's going to be hard and slow. We don't have holy wars, so we're going to have to pay for every new claim we get with sweat or blood. We unfortunately can't repeat our previous trick to claim any additional crowns, since our formidable surrender-based strategy only works on rulers who outrank Gungnir. As Gungnir is a king now, the only potential overlord in the neighborhood is the August Emperor of the Romans, Kaiser Poppo. And while Gungnir is brutally cunning, murdering the ~30 prince-electors of the Reich is a bit much even for him.

    Instead, we can build up our armies by continuing to rescue Finnish tribes from the constant struggle of being Finnish. The Swedes also have some ducal claims on Norwegian and Danish-occupied land, which Gungnir can patriotically liberate in the name of the Fatherland. (And by Fatherland, I mean the land his father dedicated his life to destroying.)

    Our ultimate goal for this phase is the Danish heartland, the richest and best land in the North. When our longships fill with Danish gold, and our hands are red with Danish blood, and the proudest kingdom in Scandinavia lies beneath our heel, then we shall call ourselves Guardian of the North and indeed The Pagan Lord.


    4. Unswedish Acts of Disloyalty
    Show Spoiler


    Right then, let's get to fightin'.

    The unpatriotic Christian lords do not take well to the news of the Ymir Reformation. The lords not present when Gungnir announced the purge--and there were many--either flee the country or begin gathering up small bands of rebels in the countryside. Many messages are sent, laying plans for an uprising. Gungnir decides the plans need work. He should know; the Bale-Smiths ensure he is the final recipient of most such overtures.

    The rebels are divided, but they are many. They name as their leader a dead woman: Countess Birgitta of Medelpad, the first Christian martyr to stand against the Terror of the Gulf. Rumors circulate that the Pope himself has blessed the Birgittines and will soon canonize their patron. Gungnir, who'd been there, remarks that she had actually been spearized. None of the Christians think this is funny.

    First to stand against Gungnir is Vastergotland. Vastergotland shall be first to fall.

    [​IMG]

    Princess Astrid of Vastergotland calls to her allies and most are silent. Only Uppland and Ostergotland join the rising, and so shall they join the fallen.

    For their part, the rebels go into battle with hope of glory but not of victory. The seek to become a symbol of defiance. What they actually become is a symbol of the folly of opposing the Old Gods. The resistance is slaughtered, and not just by Norsemen: Christian knights are made to lead the charge against their former countrymen.

    One year after Gungnir took the throne, the rebellion is all but crushed. The Birgittines tremble. Gungnir's grasp over Sweden tightens.

    Valhallan Ascendancy is off to a strong start! Our luck seems to have changed, and things are finally going our


    5. The Empire Strikes Back
    Show Spoiler


    Soundtrack

    [​IMG]

    Shit.

    The Holy Roman Empire is big and bad. When I play as a Catholic, I treat them as the final boss of CK2, because if you conquer them, the game is essentially over. In the hands of a capable human, the Reich is all but unstoppable. In the hands of an AI who thinks that having a navy makes you like dick, it's still extremely dangerous.

    I'd thought we were safe with Denmark and the Baltic acting as a buffer, but apparently the islands of Oland and Gotland were close enough to catch the Kaiser's eye. And Gotland is the wealthiest province in all in of Sweden. The False Emperor wants it, and he is sending his marines against our new holdings . . .

    Well, that sucked.

    In addition to becoming Duke of Smaland, the False Emperor gains a second title in this war: Turd Lord of the Norse Shitlist. The Reich is now our most hated enemy, and given the difficulty of destroying it, it is likely to remain so for some time. The Brothers Eketra are displeased.

    [​IMG]

    For his part, Gungnir curses Poppo, he curses his house, and he curses his empire, promising that seven generations of vengeance shall rain down upon the Germans.

    I would like to get started on the first part of Gungnir's promise by sending the Valhallan diplomatic corps to arrange a special agreement with Kaiser Poppo. Specifically, he should agree to die. It's a hard sell, to be sure, but our diplomats are very persuasive.

    However, as part of the peace settlement, the Kaiser has recognized us as ruler of Sweden and promised to respect the sovereignty of the Valhallan state for the next ten years. In CK2, all treaties are personal in nature. This means that if Poppo dies, the agreement will not be binding on the next kaiser, leaving him free to attack us immediately.

    The upshot of this is that the 49-year-old Kaiser will be spared for now, but I wouldn't spend too much time planning your outfit for his 60th birthday party.


    6. The Devil Cites Scripture
    Show Spoiler


    The Birgittine rebels were heartened by the news that the mighty Emperor of Romans had joined the war against the infidel. They are now disheartened by the news that he has been bought off with two small islands. They are further disheartened by Gungnir's order to tear out every rebel's heart.

    With our armies still intact, we crush the uprising, and Princess Astrid is forced to the negotiating table.

    Soundtrack

    [​IMG]

    She finds that we do not negotiate with traitors.

    Mjolnir drags Astrid in chains before the High Seat of Bjartra. Gungnir's full court is in attendance. "Rejoice, Astrid, for your redemption is at hand." The king calls an old Christian chaplain to his side, and after a few moments takes from him a Bible. Gungnir opens it and begins to read.

    If thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.

    [​IMG]

    And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter crippled into life, than having two feet to be cast into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.

    [​IMG]

    And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into Hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched.

    [​IMG]

    For everyone shall be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice shall be seasoned with salt.

    Then Gungnir throws her in the dungeon. Ungrateful for the redemption we offer, Astrid soon attempts to escape.

    [​IMG]

    Those who cannot be redeemed by mercy shall be redeemed by ordeal.

    Astrid is thrown into an even deeper hole, to help her think even harder about her sins.

    But there are other unpatriotic Enemies of Sweden in our midst. I cannot fathom what would make these scum betray their true and rightful king, but I know what will make them stop. Astrid's co-conspirators must be laid low, as must all who defy the Word.

    Let the hammer of the wicked be broken: (Jeremiah 50:23)

    [​IMG]

    No weapon formed against me shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against me in judgment, I shall condemn. (Isaiah 54:17)

    [​IMG]

    I tread upon the lion and adder. The young lion and dragon I trample underfoot. (Psalm 91:13)

    [​IMG]

    I have wounded them, and they are not able to rise. They have fallen beneath my feet. (Psalm 18:38)

    [​IMG]

    I tread down the wicked; they are as ash beneath my feet. (Malachi 4:3)

    [​IMG]

    Let every hidden snare in my path be exposed. (Jeremiah 18:22)

    [​IMG]

    Let no man deceive me. Expose all false brethren to me. (Matthew 24:4, 2 Corinthians 11:26)

    [​IMG]

    I am the Anointed, and I am given great deliverance. (Psalm 18:50)

    [​IMG]

    Behold, I will stretch out mine hand on them, and will deliver them for a spoil to the heathen. (Ezekiel 25:7)

    [​IMG]

    I will cut them off from the People, and I will cause them to perish out of the whole earth: I will destroy them; and they shalt know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 25:7)

    [​IMG]

    And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD when I lay my vengeance upon them. (Ezekiel 25:17)

    [​IMG]

    O Adversary, you have lost the war in heaven.



    7. I Continue To Be Wrong About Everything
    Show Spoiler


    The Ymir Reformation nears completion. The last straggler is Azur of Halsingland, fighting his fourth and final war against Gungnir. He has no holy knights this time, and soon he shall have nothing at all. But in the last days of the siege comes grim news.

    [​IMG]

    Grand Duke Halfdan of Skane just declared war on us. He has more muscle than us on his own, and he's backed by allies and wealth to hire mercs.

    Gungnir knows he must bring the fight to the Halfdan; he cannot delay half a moment. He orders his men over Azur's walls; the half-starved defenders surrender after a half-hearted fight, begging for quarter.

    Azur himself waits in his chambers for his hated foe's entrance; hours after the castle falls, a minor Norse captain comes to inform him that he is to be taken to the dungeons in Uppland, as Gungnir cannot be bothered to deal with him now.

    Meanwhile, the Swedish fleet is raised. The full might of Gungnir's armies sail forth from Halsingland, led by the Lords Eketra.

    [​IMG]

    Gungnir calls to his Zemigalian allies and they answer, eager for vengeance upon the Christ-Men.

    [​IMG]

    Halfdan rules three-fourths of Denmark. Wealthy, powerful Denmark has one great weakness: a fleet in the Sound can strike at three-fourths of the kingdom. Gungnir aims to intercept the Danish armies before they can muster in one place. A quarter of Halfdan's men die before they can join forces with their duke.

    It is no matter; they shall soon be reunited.

    [​IMG]

    We engage the main army at the Battle of Lacko. We have only a slight numberical advantage, but we have the Lords Eketra, the finest generals of two generations. The favored of Odin cannot be stopped. Gungnir slices through the Skanian ranks like his namesake. His men are no less fierce, and one frothing berserker cleaves the Halfdan into Quarterdans. Seeing their leader cut down, the remaining Skanians flee to Smaland, where our waiting Zemigalian allies finish the slaughter.

    Young Halfdan II will carry on the war, but he will not have victory.


    8. The Shield of Valhalla
    Show Spoiler


    Speaking of alliances, while our earlier policy on allies ("fuck 'em") served us well in the past, the recent invasions have made Gungnir rethink it. The new Valhallan kingdom is beset on all sides by barbarians, infidels, and traitors. The Norsemen have the strength to move the world, but even they need a place to stand.

    As it happens, Mjolnir's sister Thokk has just come of age. She is thoughtful, gracious, talented, and one of the beautiful women in the world:

    [​IMG]

    All of which means that someone from a more important gender might give us an alliance if we let him stick his dick in her. Gungnir declares Thokk his heir, making Valhalla her dowry (as far as any potential suitors know). Then he starts trying to whore her out.

    None of our nearby options are strong enough to fight off an invading kingdom. I decide to relax the "nearby" and "fight" requirements--we're looking for a deterrent more than an actual ally. If we can scare off would-be invaders, we can handle our wars of aggression on our own. We just need to find the biggest, meanest motherfucker around.

    Problem is, there is no one sufficiently mean or sufficiently motherfucking. The Khan of the Cumans would be a good option, but he and all his sons are married. It's the same story with the Duke of Bjarmia. None of the other pagan lords are worth considering.

    Fine. If we can't find a marriage opportunity, we'll make one.

    [​IMG]

    We're going to make a deal with the devil to ward off our demons.

    Michael Doukas is the heir to the Eastern Roman Empire, and his father, Basileus Kallistos, is very, very old. The Christian heir to the most powerful country in the world would normally have nothing to do with us, except for two things:

    1. Through mechanisms which could fairly be called Byzantine, Michael was appointed steward to the doux of a minor noble house, unrelated to the imperial family. As a councillor, Michael's liege is the doux, not the Emperor. This is important, because it's his liege who evaluates marriage proposals. The doux doesn't really give a shit about who his steward marries; whatever happens, he won't be gaining an alliance.

    2. Michael's dear wife Euphrasia recently tripped and fell on a knife twenty-three times. (She was very clumsy.)

    The compassionate Gungnir offers his deepest condolences to House Doukas in their time of grief. But perhaps a lovely young bride will help take poor Michael's mind off his tragedy?

    [​IMG]

    Good choice, Michael. It's what Euphrasia would've wanted.

    If she were capable of wanting anything. Which she isn't, because she's a human sieve.

    Whoops, sorry about going on about that, Mike-bro. Well, if it makes you feel any better, at least she died painlessly. Unless knife wounds are painful, which, now that I think about it, they probably are. Shit. That probably doesn't make you feel better, does it?

    * * *

    It may be of interest to know that a Greco-Viking alliance is not entirely ahistorical. Toward the end of the Viking Age, Basileus Basil II established the Varangian Guard, a personal Viking bodyguard, on the grounds that having a Viking bodyguard is completely fucking awesome. The other reason was that personal loyalty was the core value of Viking culture,[1] whereas "Byzantine" is a modern synonym for "treacherous." Basil considered the concept of an imperial guard that wouldn't betray and murder the emperor to be a novel twist on the tired trope of getting betrayed and murdered.
    __
    [1] As the thread has demonstrated in the case of the loyal and patriotic Gungnir.

    Later emperors were so impressed by the Vikings' unprecedented ability to not suck at their jobs that they made them an imperial institution. Surrounding the emperor with a wall of gigantic, berserk, fanatically loyal axe-murderers did wonders for his survivability on the battlefield. To ensure a steady supply of recruits, a tradition was established whereby, on the death of an emperor, the Varangians were allowed to plunder the imperial treasury, taking with them all the gold and jewels they could carry.[2] Indeed, the great wealth gained during the palace-plundering was how Harald Hardrada, last of the historical Viking kings, gained the wealth that funded his ascension to the Norwegian throne.
    ___
    [2] That version of the story comes from Snorri, who's not the most reliable source. It seems dubious, since there are some obvious problems with giving bodyguards fabulous prizes for failing to guard the emperor's body.

    * * *

    Anyway, in-game, this marriage was somewhat of an afterthought, but it ended up being one of the more important acts of Gungnir's reign. The alliance itself is in name only; the odds of Kallistos or Michael defending our infidel ass from other Christians are low. But even low odds are enough to scare off our enemies.

    The Eastern Emperor is the most powerful man in the known world. No one, not even the Kaiser, wants to fuck with him. If that means staying away from some frozen northern backwater, so be it.

    The Skanian invasion is the last defensive war we'll fight for a long time. Thokk will protect Valhalla from invasion for a generation. If Gungnir is the spear of Valhalla and Mjolnir the hammer, she is surely the shield.



    9. The Last Trick
    Show Spoiler


    Soundtrack

    [​IMG]

    The Skanian host was broken at Lacko, but Halfdan's wealth buys his son a second mercenary army, gathering at his capital at Nasborg. When Gungnir hears the news, he sails for Nasborg immediately. This will be the final answer to those who challenge his right to rule. It is time to tear out the heart of Skane. It is time to win the war.

    Gungnir's fury is like nothing the Norsemen have ever seen. He descends on Skane in a bloody rage, the old man ramming his spear through twenty Danish hearts. Mjolnir beats a path toward his brother, but even he cannot keep pace with the wrath of the king. Dane and Norseman stare in awe, and none can question that he is a True Viking King. Whatever god he worships, Gungnir must be the greatest champion of Odin.

    [​IMG]

    Odin agrees. He claims Gungnir for his own. At the height of his glory, as the Skanians break and flee from the last battle of the war, a stray arrow catches Gungnir in the eye. No man could ask for a better time to die.

    Tonight, Gungnir leads the Einherjar. May his cunning do as much for the slain as it did for Odin's faithful on earth.

    The Spear has fallen. Tomorrow, we bring down the Hammer on his foes.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
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  18. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    880
    The game makes it pretty quick to "wait" in relatively little real-time. I think the impact on game balance (i.e., making it ludicrously unfair) does draw out the interesting phase of the game. Playing as a Christian, I found that holy wars got kind of boring by midgame; they were something to do in my down time, and they made my kingdom stronger, but I never really felt a sense of danger.

    Anyway, never fear. Cünning brütality will supply the Norsemen with some new options for expansion soon enough.

    Oh--how'd you become caliph, by the way? Isn't that title open agnatic?
     
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  19. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2005
    Messages:
    9,302
    Very nice. This is why you can write an LP about your doings, and I can't: You've managed to spin a grand tale out of what amounts to "not a hell of a lot happened". I take it that much of that new land of yours dodged the "newly conquered" penalties due to your method of acquisition, which is both a blessing and a curse. One problem I've found with acquiring lots of territory that I have to replace the leaders of that quickly is the difficulty of coming up with enough spare nobles to man them. Do you just conjure the nobles out of thin air somewhere, or were there not actually that many duchies in Sweden to replace?

    That marriage ploy you're pulling looks suspiciously like the one I've done: I married my own Price off to a Byzantine Princess, with the plan that the grandchildren will then get a claim on the Empire, allowing me to add "Basileus" to my Caliphs. The process of getting them to agree required that I perforate the original Basileus's vital organs, because he didn't like me, but his son readily agreed to the deal. After this, noticing that my current war, a claim war, had essentially run down, having occupied the desired territory completely and was just now waiting for them to finally agree that I had won, I disbanded my armies and started up a new Holy War in Iberia to fill the void left by an absence of actual warring. Suddenly, I get the Emperor actually calling me up to help him with something: Apparently, the Empire had exploded into civil war yet again. No problem, I think: This happens all the time. I agree to help, figuring I won't actually have to do anything. At this point, the ENTIRE MAP EXPLODES, as half the purple on the map turns green. I'm thinking "Okay, no problem, the Empire always explodes into civil wars all the time, and the war score's only at -2, and, well, it's not really MY problem, and honestly, I have no idea where the hell to even begin stepping into this clusterfuck even if I really wanted to, I'll wait and see where/if any lines of battle form.".

    Before I could possibly even have gotten an army there, the war instantly ends. They've actually managed to depose the Emperor. That practically never happens. Apparently he managed to get his fool ass captured in battle. There goes my alliance. Oh, well. I know where my next Holy War is now.

    You going to manage to grab the Empire this way? It looks like you'll manage to pull it off without even having to commit much violence. Apparently the Emperor doesn't realize this Minor Doux has just sold the entire Empire off to Norsemen.

    Sadly, it really doesn't. The main bottleneck to waiting is not even the wars, they're just kind of a background activity. The main real-time bottleneck is dynastic management and running the Stasi so as to keep the nobles from screwing everything up by killing each other. There are plots to defuse, wayward branches of the fambly to prune, and people to throw in the dungeon. You absolutely cannot fast-forward through all this or you will miss something important, and the way I'm running it, if I miss anything, the entire thing will collapse on my head. In fact, I suspect the Holy Wars are actually essential to my empire's stability, since they bleed off the strength of the nobles as I use their troops as stormtroopers. And are a good way of maiming and killing undesirable nobility. Every timely KIA I achieve saves me like $150. Although one trick you can use to perform helpful mass purges is the "appoint commander" trick: Raise a levy inside your killing ground, appoint the desired victim to command it, then kill him. Repeat until you have run out of people you need to purge. You can summon and kill many nobles that way, without having to move your spymaster.

    I exploited "all your children get claims on your titles".
    1. Marry a current or former Caliph's daughter to myself/crown prince. This will result in her receiving a "pressed" claim that is inheritable by her successor (namely, my son or grandson) when the Caliph buys it, a process I may or may not hasten.
    2. Produce heir.
    3. Wait for heir to grow up.
    4. Die gloriously in a holy war somewhere. Wait for mother to cark it.
    5. Violently overthrow existing Caliph by pressing aforementioned claim.

    This is the ONLY way to acquire Agnatic Titular titles that you cannot usurp or recreate. I am presently waiting for the maturation of this against the other Caliph, so once my current ruler gets his ass wasted in one of my many wars, his son takes over and I get the other Caliphate. My grandson will acquire the Empire in the same way. By then I should have reduced it to a crippled rump state that cause much problems when I replace the few remaining nobles. And finally...the end boss itself, HRE. Taking over a huge Catholic empire will be the hardest part since I will not be able to just trivially boot out all the existing Catholic nobility. Hopefully they revolt against me so I can eject them. That, or hell breaks loose when a wandering preacher turns me into a Shiite, which would be both convenient and inconvenient. On one hand, I'll be able to holy war vs. Catholics, but on the other hand, there will be the mess of trying to convert the entire empire back to Islam after having laboriously turned it Monophysite. But I'd get to use the Mamluks again, I suppose, since they are a property of the Caliphate.

    Now that you know this gambit, I expect you'll be using it a lot: It's way better than fabricating claims when you're playing the long game: you can jack entire Kingdoms or even Empires this way, then use your Pagan status to kick out all the Christian nobles, a problem I have with taking over Catholics. Check the list of claimants, as well as the immediate officeholder's children, to see who has a bakeable claim: It needs to be inheritable. The officeholder's children won't have a claim yet, but they will once he bites it, whether or not you cause that.
     
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  20. Jaedar Arcane Patron

    Jaedar
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    6,542
    Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    For Sweden and Valhalla, crush the danish dogs!
     
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  21. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    880
    Ha, yeah, it definitely feels that way. But the game's sort of designed to work like that, no? The whole grand strategy simulation is rich on the whole but shallow in each of its component parts. So the fun part of the game is in the tension you build up prior to open conflict. The war part of the game isn't that interesting in itself, but it's kind of cool to have a huge, oppressive neighbor on your doorstep that makes you scrutinize your every move.

    Anyway, in-game events should get interesting in the update after the next.

    At the very beginning of the game, I spent all my starting piety and a good chunk of my starting gold inviting nobles and clergy to court. A good chunk of the gold that funded Gungnir's assassination spree came from inheriting their lifetime earnings; the few that managed to breed gave me a nice crop of nobles to choose from. Also, Old Thord had a lot of kids from his second wife. I'm trying to avoid giving out land to dynasty members, though.

    Right. Remember, everyone hates pagans. A royal liege would never marry a princess to me. I doubt even that doux would have given me one of his own daughters, much less an heir. As for our new brother-in-law getting deposed, well, if a sufficiently formidable contender appears, our spymaster should suffice to make him disappear.

    I suspect that if I'd really wanted, I probably could have had one of my rulers married to some third-in-line Greek princess, then arranged for her rapid promotion to Empress and eventually had an emperor for an heir. But I played a decent number of Christian games before trying pagan, and from that I concluded that murdering your way onto the throne of Constantinople was the least interesting way to break the game. (Though it sounds like your attempts have been cooler than mine.)
     
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  22. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2005
    Messages:
    9,302
    I prefer the opposite approach, giving out land nearly exclusively to dynasty members. In the short term, this can destabilize your realm as immediate dynasty members are claimants to your throne, but in the long term, that's a +5 rel penalty that never goes away, PLUS a significant starting Prestige bonus that will anchor your realm's stability. Once your dynasty is sufficient spread out that only a FEW of them are immediate claimants to the throne, and these you seat in shitty duchies with long-lasting conquer penalties that won't produce any kind of profit or army to revolt against you with. As an Ethiopian, there are no other sources of Ethiopian culture anywhere on the map, and as an unusual religious heresy, I'm probably as unpopular as Pagans are. With the fact that my dynasty is the most enormous in the world, it's a massive Prestige Farm, as all those people collectively hold hundreds of Duchies and Counties, thousands of Baronies, and dozens of Kingdoms (apparently the count includes dead people). This means that even a fresh dynasty noob spawns with hundreds of Prestige, and this prestige is important to maintaining order as it grants a rel-bonus to all. Others here seem to avoid this, as seen in Xenomorph's House Spartenos, where after over a hundred years longer than mine, his House is about a quarter the size in living members and less Prestigious....and as a result, his nobles (and not just the unruly new Catholic ones) regularly revolt against him. Me? No noble revolts. The dynastic rel bonus and the Prestige Farm keeps things orderly. Not to mention my habit of preemptively stabbing anyone with the wrong traits. It's a lot cheaper and easier to have them killed while they're still a baby than to stab them as a Duke.

    You sure of that? I married the Emperor's and Caliphs' daughters. I'm a filthy heretic and infidel. Catholics don't mind me so much, but admittedly I have not actually married any important Catholic nobility, none of their stats have been up to snuff and most of my marriages are for stats to maintain my ubermensch dynasty...at this point, most of my breeding is now occurring within my own dynasty, as my stats tend to outclass most of the others: Base-10 across the board is common now, with the most carefully groomed lines being selected to run the Stasi, the most important organization in my empire, because without the Stasi, the entire thing collapses into squabbling, murder, and civil war. As for a royal liege would NEVER marry a Princess to you, well, that's not necessarily true. A Princess can be rapidly demoted to "Someone I don't actually care about", in one instance where I acquired a Caliphate: Specifically because Caliphates are Agnatic Only, the death of the old Shiite Caliph with only daughters resulted in some random Emir becoming Caliph...and he couldn't give a rat's ass about the old Caliph's daughters, who were sold off like a firesale. I wasn't even responsible for the death of the last Caliph: Although he had good base stats, he suffered from a case of, well, Imbecility. Strangely, he managed to produce a genius-level daughter in his dying years, which I snagged immediately because the new Caliph didn't give a crap about the former Caliph's daughter...but she came with a nice claim that I will soon be able to press for myself. I actually acquired the Sunni Caliphate first, despite its distance from me, much in the same way you did: I noticed that the Caliph had married off a high-quality young daughter to some random Sheik's heir, who subsequently contracted a fatal case of murder, leaving said minor Sheik in possession of a Caliphate Princess that he didn't care about, and so he sold out the Caliphate to me.

    Yeah, that's actually kind of an awkward way to do it. If your wife is an Empress, you lose the spouse bonus. Since those massive stats are the glue holding my Empire together, losing all points from everything would probably result in a massive implosion in short order. In your case, you may not be strong enough by that point to overthrow the Emperor by force of arms to install yourself, though, and the Empire is a long-ass ways away. I actually COULD have arranged for my Princess to have been promoted to Empress quite rapidly merely by stabbing 2 Emperors, but that's not what I wanted to do because the loss of the spouse bonus would have been disastrous for both of us, and both Empires would have collapsed into civil war under such an arrangement. As it turns out, it didn't matter, the Emperor was subsequently overthrown in a hilarious WTFpwned moment like 3 months afterwards, as some crazy Countess decided to overthrow the Emperor, and the Empire just exploded as over half of the Empire decided to side with the Rebels and the Emperor got his fool-ass captured. While I did side with the Emperor to honor my obligations as an ally, I honestly had fuck-all of an opportunity to do anything, being that I was already involved in two other wars at the time and figured that just honoring my obligation to declare war was enough...not that it mattered, because the war just suddenly and spontaneously ENDED when he got his fool-ass captured somehow, probably because the AI likes to raise piecemeal legions and march them crazily all over the place, which doesn't work well when the Empire has exploded into confetti. The AI also doesn't really do a good job matching Counties to Duchies, with the result that random Dukes own random counties everywhere, and are often quite pissed at the Emperor for holding what they feel is their rightful stuff. Me, I run an orderly ship: A Duke holds one duchy, and all the appropriate counties thereof, which keeps them happy. I myself avoid creating Duchies out of my personal demesne, which prevents the "YOU HOLD TOO MANY DUCHIES RARGH" penalty, allowing me to temporarily hold onto a duchy as working room when claiming crap. I also hover like a hawk to make sure people are appropriately married off and that no Duke is in a position to inherit an inappropriately large number of Duchies without contracting a fatal case of murder, not to mention avoiding the formation of too many Counts. This large number of Dukes also provides a good breeding pool for my ubermenschen. Which is good, since I have to murder an awfully large number of people to maintain order, and occasionally have to purge an entire branch just to avoid a fusion explosion.

    Well, just murdering your way to Constantinople is one thing. Doing it as a filthy heretic or infidel, on the other hand...well, you saw Xenomorph's gigantic explosion when he made an Orthodox into the Kaiser. My plan to acquire every single Imperial title available in the entire game: Kaiser, Basileus, both Caliphs, and all 3 Khagans, not to mention as many Kings as I can get ahold of. Gotta catch 'em all!

    Yeah, about that: That can be a bit of a problem: According to the datafiles, Court Clog actually impedes the ability of your courtiers to reproduce, so it is best to purge the untermenschen and ennoble the rest ASAP to keep the court roomy and the important courtier lines breeding. You can intentionally sabotage other familes by unloading the untermenschen on them. Some of them you're just stuck paying waste disposal fees on, though. The useless old ladies can be impossible to get rid of otherwise, as they are past sell-by date, so no one wants them, but their stats are so terrible that they cannot be used as tutors or anything else...and they will harm your court as above by clogging it and impeding reproduction if the size exceeds 30.
     
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  23. Merkwürdigliebe Arcane

    Merkwürdigliebe
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    2,794
    Location:
    Third Reich from the Sun
    Whats the deal with the coat of arms of the kingdoms?
     
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  24. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    880
    How do you mean?
     
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  25. XenomorphII Prophet

    XenomorphII
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,139
    Why is the CoA for the HRE showing Hamburgs CoA instead of the Black Hawk/Falcon/Bird thing on Gold Background, and why does Norway/Sweden/Denmark have non standard CoAs as well. That would be my guess at any rate. Decided to mod them to suit your tastes more?
     
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