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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

The Thanasiad [CKII LP] [NO 56k]

Moderators: Stofsk, Thanas, PeZook, Keevan_Colton

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Thanas
PostPosted: 2015-01-24 12:36pm 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 26914
INDEX

1. Introduction
2. REMOVE ARAB
3. ZE GERMAN
4. Matthias
5. The Decision
6. The Quest for the Purple
7. Consolidation
8. Holy Wars, stabbings and pirates, oh my.
9. Beware of Dwarf Race Drivers
10. The Saga of Cethegus and Gyla
11. Rome Sweet Rome
12. Sankt Manuel
13. The Dream of Imperium
14. Belisarios I, The Conquering Scholar
15. Julius II., the Unremarkable
16. Traianus II Part I: The Death of Islam
17. Traianus II Part II: The Scourge
18. Traianus II Part III: "Soft"
19. Aurelianus the insane Omelette-Eater
20. Gallienus the Mongol-slayer
21. Claudius the Liberator
22. Meletios the accidental Emperor
23. Julius III the Shadow-Ruler
24. The restoration of the Rhine Frontier
25. Wining the peace
26. Romanos & Julius - the last true Feudal Emperors







The Thanasiad or: How I learned to stop worrying and embrace castration

"Do you know what the realm is? The thousand blades of Rome's enemies. A story we agree to tell each other over and over, until we forget that it's a lie. But what do we have left once we abandon the lie? Chaos. A gaping pit waiting to swallow us all. But no, chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, and never get the chance to try again; the fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is." - Petrus Baelus, Sicilian political theorist.


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The world in the year 867 was ripe for the taking. It was the perfect time for a noble house, the remains of Roman sicily, to start the climb towards glory.

To the north, there was the ever hungry kingdom of Lombardia, which had just a little over a century ago swallowed up the Exarchate of Ravenna. Although its south had rebelled over and over again, the small duchies that seperated it from Byzantine Italy were little more than puffer zones. To the west, Sardinia and Corsica had fallen. To the south, the Banu el Aglhab had conquered the Exarchate of Carthago. After sacking the city, to add insult to injury, they had built a new Capital called Tunis near it. Egypt had fallen to the Banu Tulum sultanate, leading to much suffering and population reduction in the once sprawling cities of the Empire. In the east, the Abbasid Caliphate, though weakened, still remained the premier Islamic power. In the north of Thrace, Bulgarian hordes awaited another chance to rip even more territory out of the empire. Already the Khan was using the skull of a former Emperor as his personal chalice.

And further North of Italy, the greedy Franks, always squabbling and divided, awaited their turn to look south once more.


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The crest of the house was - in true Roman fashion - a Golden Imperial Eagle upon red.
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The head of the house was a 19-year old Greek Noble named Ioannis. He was of towering intellect, a bit wounded, somewhat lustful and definitely gluttonous. Some called him a bulbus maximus, others referred to him as a Fatty Nerd.

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His realm consisted of the remains of Roman sicily - the barren island of Malta and the city of Syracusa.

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Syracuse, once the home of many a greek tyrant of note, was now a rather poor county composed of one Fortress and two towns. The influx of Arab settlers had shifted the local culture and religion. It was now more common to see Arab camel cavalry instead of the glorious kataphrakts.

Together with Malta, this county produced a mere 1.2 gold surplus a month.

Yet, despite this dire situation, hope had arisen for the empire. A young, strong emperor, with a penchant for blinding his enemies and slaying Bulgarians, had recently usurped the throne.
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The young men, creatively named by his parents King King of Kings, had gained the throne with the help of a horde of viking warriors. He even had married a barbarian princess from the North, something that was not well-received among the nobility, though nobody dared to lose their eyes and balls for speaking out of turn. Privately, Duke Ionannis cursed himself for not hiring some of the barbarians himself. If all it took was bedding a female warrior....

Yet the King King of Kings is not the hero of this tale. Let us introduce the villains.


"BY GOD JOSEPH, THAT'S KARLING MUSIC."
The Karlings. Ever since that Frankish barbarian had freed Rome from the grasp of Rome, they had bred and multiplied like Rabbits. Currently no fewer than four of them lorded over the north.
There was Roi Charles III the bald of France:
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Louis II of Lombardia
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Lothaire II of Lotharingia (another creative name)
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Ludwig II of Germany
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Another cadet branch ruled in Baiern and the alpine region. However, since those and other mountain Germans were well known to be primitive and primarily occupied by shitting in canyons, they were regarded as the smaller (though smellier) threat.

Far more worrying were the three Devils:
- the Abbasid devil, who could claim descent from Mohammed himself
- the Banu Tulum devil who had so cruelly cut off the Empire from its grain
- The Banu el Aghlab devil which had recently taken sicily.

As was typical of a fatty nerd(tm), Count-Duke Ioannis lacked a certain focus in life.
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There were several options:
- the suckier version of intrigue
- seduction
- hunting
- the suicidal martial
- drinking&whoring
- family
- prayer
- scholar
- business
- suckier version of business

He wondered which one he should choose?



The business of state was well in hand already, for despite his lack of focus Ioannis still consumed large quantities of food. He had also developed a strange affinity for heathen wine, which further emptied the coffers.

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His steward, whose abilities could best be described as average, was sent to istan polis to suck up to further diplomatic relations with the Emperor.
His Marshal was ordered to whip as many peasants as possible into fighting shape.
His Chancellor, one of the arab immigrants which polluted the countryside but were quite good at math, was ordered to squeeze the peasants to the point of starvation collect the just tithes.
The Spymaster - who for some reason still held a grudge - was ordered to keep an eye on all those pesky arabs at court.
The Ecclesiarch was nowhere to be found, for the last diocese had fallen to the arabs a few months ago. He had absconded to Sparta with the entire choir boys.


Another issue was the marriage question. To this, the duke had ordered agents to search the courts of Europe for one suitable person. Today the agents had returned with one promising candidate.
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Needless to say, the arguments were flying high.
"A German? The peasants won't like that".
"Why can't you marry a nice helenic girl?"
"But she was so good at maths - I think she should be able to teach you a thing or two about money, my lords."
"A German teaching a Greek about fiscal issues? Preposterous."
"And there is that frightening accent..."
"Be glad that she is not named Angela".

This settled the issue. Agents were dispatched with a suitable bribe (three young arab slave boys) for the Bishop to consent to the marriage. While the Count-Duke was preparing himself for a GERMAN to trample all over his precious books, an agent arrived from the border.

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"My lord, the dogs of Tunis have declared war on us. They intend to conquer all of Sicily."

After much howling, the Duke's voice cut through the chaos. "SILENCE. ASSEMBLE THE GLORIOUS MEN OF ROME."
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The Marshal made his report. "My lord, we have close to 750 men assembled. FOR GLORY."
The Duke nodded and whispered to his spymaster. "How large is the invasion army going to be?"
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"....Well fuck me."
"...but the German hasn't arrived yet, my lord."

******************

Any questions/comments?
What focus and what strategy shall we attempt? Besides pray that the King King of Kings arrives to our rescue, for otherwise this will be a very short LP.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2015-01-24 12:38pm 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 26914
As for the version I am running, all of the DLCs plus the Historical Immersion Project. I chose that mode because without it, the Byzantines just run over everybody and it wouldn't be much fun to be Emperor when all the challenges are already gone.
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GuppyShark
PostPosted: 2015-01-24 06:31pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2005-03-13 07:52am
Posts: 2327
Location: South Australia
I hope the fleet is being funded well in this period... it is a long walk to Sicily from Constantinople for any reinforcements the Emperor offers.
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phred
PostPosted: 2015-01-25 06:06am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2006-03-25 05:33am
Posts: 864
I would suggest focusing on the less sucky business, and see if you can make enough to pay some people with sharp pointy objects for backup.
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The Vortex Empire
PostPosted: 2015-01-25 03:17pm 

Jedi Master


Joined: 2006-12-11 10:44pm
Posts: 1432
Location: Rhode Island
Indeed, money seems like a nice thing to have.
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LaCroix
PostPosted: 2015-01-25 03:23pm 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2004-12-21 01:14pm
Posts: 3259
Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe, Terra
Money is about the only thing helping us now. And then it needs to find its way into the right hands. Preferrably strong hands, with weapons in it.
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Esquire
PostPosted: 2015-01-26 12:28am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2011-11-17 12:20am
Posts: 726
We don't have any other alliances, so about the only options open are to hunker down, wait for reinforcements from the Empire, and stock up for mercenary hiring fees. Although it occurs to me that we should probably find a new court priest and set him to work converting our citizens to the True Faith.
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LaCroix
PostPosted: 2015-01-26 08:55am 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2004-12-21 01:14pm
Posts: 3259
Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe, Terra
Esquire wrote:
We don't have any other alliances, so about the only options open are to hunker down, wait for reinforcements from the Empire, and stock up for mercenary hiring fees. Although it occurs to me that we should probably find a new court priest and set him to work converting our citizens to the True Faith.


"What a glorious idea - giving gold we might need for sellswords to the church, and probably having to deal with religious unrest on top of a looming invasion? Whom are you working for, again, Sir?"

"But..."

"War is coming, and you will find it hard to defend a city when half of the people want you dead!"
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Esquire
PostPosted: 2015-01-26 11:41am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2011-11-17 12:20am
Posts: 726
"Religious unrest is exactly my concern, Sir; as matters stand we cannot be sure that the people would not welcome the Muslims as liberators."

(Plus, I think conversion in CK2 is free and doesn't raise the local revolt risk, although I could be wrong.)
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phred
PostPosted: 2015-01-26 09:02pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2006-03-25 05:33am
Posts: 864
Is there any reason we can't convert, and join the Tunisian dogs in spreading the glory of Allah? Not that I'm advocating such a policy, mind you.

But surviving more than 3 turns would be really nice.
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The Vortex Empire
PostPosted: 2015-01-26 09:20pm 

Jedi Master


Joined: 2006-12-11 10:44pm
Posts: 1432
Location: Rhode Island
phred wrote:
Is there any reason we can't convert, and join the Tunisian dogs in spreading the glory of Allah? Not that I'm advocating such a policy, mind you.

But surviving more than 3 turns would be really nice.

And abandon the faith that has carried us since Constantine the Great, damning us all to hell?! What blasphemy is this?!
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Jub
PostPosted: 2015-01-26 09:24pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2012-08-06 07:58pm
Posts: 1609
Location: British Columbia, Canada
It is possible that emptying the coffers to hire mercenaries will fail to yield us enough forces to defend ourselves, might it be possible to bribe them into attacking elsewhere?
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GuppyShark
PostPosted: 2015-01-27 06:28am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2005-03-13 07:52am
Posts: 2327
Location: South Australia
This bickering is pointless.

Duke Thanas will provide the Emperor with the location of the Arab armies by the time our situation is perilous.

We will then crush the invasion with one swift stroke.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2015-01-27 08:31am 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 26914
REMOVE ARAB

With the invasion army bearing down, the Duke ordered a full evacuation to Malta.
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In Malta, he was met with his wife. As she was despised by the populace due to her Germanness, it was decided to forego a special tax (which would have only added 1 Gold piece anyway, due to Malta being a barren rock).
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Instead, it was decided to recoup most of the lost prestige by appearing generous.

While the duke enjoyed his war honeymoon in Malta, things on the mainland turned more and more dire.
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UPPITY LOCAL ARAB PEASANTS.

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And soon the arab army stormed Syrakus. Within a few days siege, the entire county fell to them.

The Basileus, instead of sending help, used this situation to extort promises from us to back his attempt to tax us more.
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With no way to prevent the sack of Syrakus and being stuck on this bloody island, the Duke had a lot of time on his hands.
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...which was put to good use.

After a few more weeks, word came that the King of Kings King of Kings had assembled his fleets and was sailing to rescue us.
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....only to have the first attempt met by twice that many arabs. The battle went terribly, with no survivors.

"And then, when the ideas of surrender were discussed openly, we heard the news. The Emperor had arrived. He had sailed with a fleet and an army all the way from Constantinopolis. All the way down to Greece and across the open sea they had rowed upon a desperate request for help and made landfall at Kroton. We knew then that we were saved." - Annals of the Sicilian isles IV, 32.


In desperation, the arabs made to meet our Lord and Master in battle.
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But this time, they were up against an army of the finest Roman soldiers. After a five-day battle, they broke.
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The Army of our Lord and Master chased them and annihilated them to the last man, then began sieging the arab holdings.

With the arab army annihilated, it was time for our own army to spring into action. So we sailed and attacked the newly built and badly-defended capital of Tunis.
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It fell quickly, having only 200 soldiers to pit against our 800. The loot was rich and we captured the wife of the arab dog and all his family.
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Due to our successful conduct in the siege operations, we were now widely known as diligent and Just. We promptly ordered new decrees to bear our new name "Droungarious Ioannis the Just of the House of Thanas".

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A child was born unto us. Sadly, a girl.

With Tunis captured, we relocated back to Sicily and started sieging our capital. Meanwhile, raiders from the north attacked the arab dogs as well, annihilating a levy and sacking a rich city.
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Served them right.

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Our wound healed.

With the loot in store, we asked the local jewish merchants to chip in. After an outrageous loan (100 ducats at 10% interest) we had enough money to buy the cheapest mercenaries available, 1000 heavily-armed bloodthirsty bulgarians.
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It was at this point that the arab dog pleaded for peace with our Lord and Master and his wish was granted. But this was not the end of the war for us, for we had already decided to press our claim to Messina.

And so it was, that on a rainy day, our forces and the remainder of the arab forces met near Castru.
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They could not match our heavy Bulgarian infantry, which swept all before them.
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We now quickly besieged Messina, which put up little resistance due to the city already having been sacked by the Imperial Army. A few battles later...
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and mainly due to us still holding his family and heir...
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The Arab dog pleaded for peace with us.

The great war was over.


Our real now included the great city of Messina.
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...while northern Italy had just risen in a revolt for independence against our just Lord and Master....while he still had forces present in their territory. This was not very smart.

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Messene, war ravaged and plundered seven times over, was poor and destroyed.
But it was ours.
The population was orthodox ruled by muslim masters. We quickly had those exiled and replaced them with our own courtiers.

But our vassal, the Count of Malta, was displeased with us. Maybe our wife had exhausted his patience with lectures about financial soundness? He had joined a plot against us.
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This would not do. The plot was broken up, the lesser ones executed and he was imprisoned.
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What should we do with him?
Execute him (thus getting his title and money), banish him (thus getting his title and money) or ransom him (will never happen due to him being dirt poor).

Our laws might need a little overhaul.
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...and in totally unrelated news, this happened:
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There also was the question of further strategy. What should we do next? Try to manufacture claims on lands to the north, east or west? Build up for the next great war against the arab threat?

At least we had money now, for ransoming the family and other nobles back to africa gave us a nice surplus of ~300 ducats, of which 202 remained after paying of the loan and collecting a tithe.

****************
So this went pretty well but it was a close run thing. When the Emperor arrived, warscore was at -93%. Still, we persevered. Thoughts about the next moves?

EDIT: Also, holy shit, I never noticed before how strong the Imperial levies are and how good the Imperial commanders are - and this was without the varangian guard. They just annihilated a force of near equal size while taking less than 1200 casualties.
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LaCroix
PostPosted: 2015-01-27 10:12am 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2004-12-21 01:14pm
Posts: 3259
Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe, Terra
How many friends does that traitor have, and how powerful are they? If they are of import, show mercy and only banish that rotten soul from the realm.

Concerning the laws - all that counts is the royal blood in their veins. And keeping the realm together - gavelkind will not do in the long run. I'm not sure if ultimogeniture would be a good idea, it tends to bring stability due to long(er) reigns (barring the occasional dagger in the back).
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2015-01-27 10:17am 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 26914
No friends and no power.

And the laws matter a lot. I think we need to raise taxes on those who can't resist and get more people to provide stuff for us. As to the succession laws, ultimogeniture sucks. If we change, it would be to elective or primogeniture.
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FaxModem1
PostPosted: 2015-01-27 01:33pm 

Sith Marauder


Joined: 2002-10-30 07:40pm
Posts: 4683
Location: In a dark reflection of a better world
"Your Grace, we should continue taking the rest of the island, while the barbarians are fighting the Byzantines."
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The Vortex Empire
PostPosted: 2015-01-27 05:37pm 

Jedi Master


Joined: 2006-12-11 10:44pm
Posts: 1432
Location: Rhode Island
Execute him, no need to leave an enemy alive when they may come again in the future. As for the future, I believe we should continue securing the rest of Sicily.
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TheHammer
PostPosted: 2015-01-27 05:41pm 

Jedi Master


Joined: 2011-02-15 05:16pm
Posts: 1390
He's a damned good soldier... Be a shame to see that go to waste, or worse end up in a foreign army. Can you revoke his title and keep him around with compulsory military service as punishment for his crimes?
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2015-01-27 09:32pm 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 26914
TheHammer wrote:
He's a damned good soldier... Be a shame to see that go to waste, or worse end up in a foreign army. Can you revoke his title and keep him around with compulsory military service as punishment for his crimes?


He's guaranteed to start plotting against me because he will hate me at -100 after I revoke his title.
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Dominus Atheos
PostPosted: 2015-01-28 01:33am 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2005-09-15 09:41pm
Posts: 3121
Location: Portland, Oregon
What was he plotting in the first place?

Also, do we have any other county level vassals?
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2015-01-28 02:31am 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 26914
Dominus Atheos wrote:
What was he plotting in the first place?

Also, do we have any other county level vassals?


He had a negative opinion and wanted my land? As to other vassals, no, he is the only one.
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Dominus Atheos
PostPosted: 2015-01-28 03:23am 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2005-09-15 09:41pm
Posts: 3121
Location: Portland, Oregon
Oh right, you haven't played this game before. The vast majority of plots in this game are "kill random lowborn courtier #4", are you sure his specific plot was to take our land? If you go to the Intrigue tab and the Plots subtab that will display all the plots we know about.

Also if you mouse-over the opinion display, the tooltip will list all the positive and negative factors of his opinion towards us. Although it looks like that guy has the "Ambitious" trait which is an instant -50 modifier to his liege lord (us).

Anyway, if we don't have any vassals we can totally execute or banish him with no negative consequences since the only people who would be said non-existent vassals.
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Kinyo
PostPosted: 2015-01-28 05:04am 

Redshirt


Joined: 2011-10-19 04:48am
Posts: 48
My liege, though I would not be so brazen as to tell you how to govern your realm I see three immediate issues for which I would offer my advice.

The most immediate issue is the upstart vassal currently sat in your dungeon. Leaving him within your court leaves a man with an axe to grind within striking distance. I would advocate stripping him of his title and then disposing of him in an appropriate manner. Better the meager revenues of Malta entering your coffers than someone who is no loyal and ambitious beyond his station.

Secondly there is the payment to the Jews. This will need to be repayed as soon as is possible, lest it be viewed that you are in the pocket of the local moneylenders, and it should be somewhat easier now your personal domain has been expanded.

Finally Sicily is poor and it's people fearful of war. It's castles need new walls and it's towns investment. The walls will make people feel safe and they will repay your kindness by actually paying their taxes instead of hiding and burying it. Larger towns also mean more people and more taxes and, as you know, men do not march to war for free.

Commanding increased revenues allows you to command greater armies without fear of the treasury being depleted. Before long you will have the men to drive the infidels out of Sicily and then can look at taking back old Carthage.

(I'm not sure what your mod changes in terms of building as I play vanilla myself but wall and towns are always my first builds to get money in my pocket. Filling up the demense limit also helps but watch for the drop when switching from gavkind. Also I'm not sure about the opinion modifiers for mods but loans do cause temple vassals to not like you in vanilla.

Towns and castles are key as you get 100% of revenues from your domain and a percentage from cities dependant on tax level. Temples are not a guaranteed source of income which is worth taking into account.)
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LaCroix
PostPosted: 2015-01-28 06:20am 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2004-12-21 01:14pm
Posts: 3259
Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe, Terra
Thanas wrote:
No friends and no power.

Then, as the say, "Off with his head!"

Thanas wrote:
And the laws matter a lot. I think we need to raise taxes on those who can't resist and get more people to provide stuff for us. As to the succession laws, ultimogeniture sucks. If we change, it would be to elective or primogeniture.

I would think some excentrism within the laws would be endeering, but then, priomogeniture is proven to work...
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