Events of the fifth session:
The Death of Princes: Having accumulated 1000 prestige, I converted Ulfr to Norse, and demanded the conversion of my heir, Bersi, who immediately agreed. This done, I was ready to get rid of Ulfr, whose Depression clearly arose from contemplating his stats. Unfortunately, I forgot to pump up my election fund before hitting the suicide button, and lost the Grand Princedom for a few years. Even aside from this, it was not a good session for the Ynglings; I lost two other Grand Princes, and in only one of these three deaths did I manage to win the election.
Deaths of Ulfr, Bersi, and Asbjørn. Note the lost titles for Ulfr and Asbjørn.
Ut! Ut! Ut!: Around 890, the British Isles were in their usual state of meltdown: Both England and Scotland were aflame with rebellion, which was interfering with trade. Despairing of restoring order only through raiding the rebel strongholds, I reluctantly decided that a firm hand was needed; if the kings of Britain could not keep sufficient order in their own houses that an honest merchant could make an honest profit without worrying about bandits, why then the honest merchant would have to keep it for them. I therefore fired up the Kingdom Subjugation CB that our mod adds, against Scotland. (This CB, we later learned, does not work as we thought – when used against the Scandinavian Empire, targeting the Kingdom of Denmark, it handed over the Empire title! Currently it looks like we’ll just remove it from the mod. But Scotland is only one king title anyway, so it wouldn’t have mattered. ) With mercenaries, my army came to four thousand; the Scots could muster three thousand and some random AI stacks of a few hundred, and the Scots rebels were also about three thousand. I had occupied the crown lands surrounding the Firth of Forth and was well on my way to victory when 8000 English troops jumped into the war, Golle having settled his own rebels and being for some reason unwilling to have Ynglings as neighbours. At the same time Bohemia declared war for a border county and crossed the Elbe with five thousand men. Shortly thereafter the English captured my capital and some of my relatives with it, and were able to force peace; the reparations put me in the red and my mercenaries deserted, and I signed over the disputed county to Bohemia and went off in a sulk to raid Livonia.
The Saxon Crusade: As soon as Crusades were enabled, before any human (including Dragoon, nominally Papal Controller) could react, the AI Pope sprang into action. Demonstrating all its usual fine understanding of geopolitics (in particular, it understood that a Norse ruler held the holy grove at Braunschweig), it immediately found the target that would do most do demonstrate the might of the White Christ and the God of Hosts: Saxony, land of the knife-men. I had lost the Dogeship for the second time in the session, but it could hardly have mattered; the Pope himself had fifteen thousand men, and Bretonnia and Leon both joined. Dragoon, perhaps annoyed at this opportunism, offered to excommunicate Vaniver and thus remove Bretonnia from the war; in hindsight this would not have mattered, but at the time I did not know of the army the Pope had raised. I paid him 400 gold, and the Breton emperor was duly excommunicated; but, forewarned, he had raised his own Pope from some random French bishop, and was able to remain in the field. There is currently a war to settle just who is Pope in this here religion anyway, but that does me little good: With the core Saxon lands gone, Denmark was broken and scattered to the four winds.
Call me a pessimist, but that doesn’t look very winnable.
A Broken, Scattered Band: Denmark is now a Republic – not a Merchant Republic, but the unplayable kind. I was relegated to my old title of Holstein, which did manage to survive as a Merchant Republic, but currently this power comprises Sjælland and Norfolk – and Norfolk is under siege by some random count who declared a Holy War for East Anglia against what’s left of Denmark.
What’s left of Denmark. Still, not all is lost: The Ynglings have been defeated and driven into exile before, and survived by their wits and readiness with a knife. Western Europe is divided among many rulers; and in the East is still land for the taking.