Category Archives: Song of the Dead

We Must Feed Our Sea: A Broken, Scattered Band

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.

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We Must Feed Our Sea: Freie und Hanse Stadt Holstein

Events of the fourth session.

  • Rebirth of the Old Gods: Clone reformed the Germanic religion.
  • Asturian War: I fought off an attack by AI Asturias trying to push my border back to the Elbe.
  • Among the Savage Balts: Looking to fill his council with supporters, and take advantage of that 20 Martial, Clone made me Marshal, promising not to use me to lead troops. Then he died… and in the ensuing chaos, raised an army, forgetting that I was no longer assigned to training troops. Naturally, I was immediately captured by a one-province Baltic count, and had to ransom myself at vast expense.
  • More Schrödinger’s Courage: Arni managed to gain and lose Craven one more time before his death, making three cycles in his life.
  • Freie…: Reaching the size limit, Clonefusion released me to my own devices.
  • …und Hanse Stadt Holstein: Free at last, I almost immediately formed a Merchant Republic, which somewhat drastically weakened me. I can no longer call up a tribal army, my levies dropped dramatically since I’m now getting city-castle-temple levies with almost no upgrades instead of tribal levies with lots of upgrades and the empty-holding bonus, and I have yet to build up a large trade zone or a powerful House. Still, it had to be done sooner or later, as the tribal strengths decrease relative to feudals with every passing decade; as well to do it as soon as possible, to give myself time to grow.
  • Danish Karma: The ruler of Jylland somehow became a Hindu, and managed to convert his county as well! I wasn’t able to assassinate him, but did take him on a raiding expedition as commander of the right flank; he promptly got captured, and is no longer first in line to inherit the Dogeship of Holstein. Unfortunately his heir is also Hindu.
  • Trade Law: As respectable, reputable merchants, the Ynglinga Hanse of course recognises the importance of property, and does not go raiding wherever the wind might take them. Indeed, so important is property to them, that when order breaks down in other countries, they devote considerable resources to helping the rightful rulers protect the possessions of their subjects. For example, when northern England was in revolt, dragon-headed Hanse ships immediately appeared in the Humber, whence they sent out surveying parties (perforce, these surveyors were heavily armed, to protect themselves from the banditry that is rife in unsettled times) to write down who owned what in the area, and then take all the moveable goods back to Germany. This was of course done purely so that the law-abiding majority of the English subjects in the revolting area would not have their possessions stolen by the rebels and used against their rightful sovereign; we feel certain that we materially shortened the campaign to bring down the rebels, by denying them supplies and support. The English can recover their goods, or an equivalent value in gold, by coming to Holstein and filling out forms F-97a, G20, and A2320 (in triplicate and German). This is to ensure that each cow, ducat, and slave is returned to the rightful owner; F-97a certifies the petitioner’s identity, G20 allows us to match them against our own bookkeeping system, and finally A2320 is to actually return the goods. Be aware that G20 requires the petitioner to provide their assigned case number, which our surveying parties would have informed them of. Regrettably some of our surveyors may have been a little unclear in their instructions, in part due to the surprising amount of arrows they encountered; we apologise for this lapse in customer service.

The death of Suni. In addition to being Infirm and Diligent, he had lost an eye, a hand, and his wits; though he only got around to appointing Glitterhoof chancellor twice. If I’d known Vaniver was going to enter a contest for most horses appointed, I would have unseated the horse a couple more times.

Player map, 879. Note the revolt against Golle in England, apparent power vacuum in Germany due to Yami Fenrir being away, and new player in Aquitaine.

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We Must Feed Our Sea: Tribal Wars

Events of the third session:

  • Hornet’s Nest: In search of moral authority, money, and priests to sacrifice to Odin, I raided into Vaniver’s lands. Apparently this reduced his utility function below a satisficing threshold, for he raised a really immense amount of men for such a small incursion; really, I think it might have been cheaper just to let me loot the place. I retreated my raiders into Sweden, and Vaniver besieged Holstein for a month, until he realised that he was only hostile with my army, not my provinces – and also he was taking 20% attrition.
  • Years of Wolf and Raven: Like me in earlier campaigns, Clonefusion has found that it’s one thing to conquer Scandinavia, and quite another to keep the fractious Norse united. We had two savage civil wars ripping through the peninsula, in addition to the wars of conquest all across the Baltic; the wolves and ravens have no cause to complain.
  • Conquest of Pommerania: With much levying of tribal armies, I was finally able to bring Pommerania to heel.
  • Schrödinger’s Courage: King Arni, leading his army in battles against Pommeranians, Saxons, Norsemen, Poles, and Bavarians, had much opportunity to meditate on what happens to a human body when sharp metal is stuck through it; twice, in the heat of battle, he found his courage fading and gained the Craven trait. But, through focus on war and prayers to Odin, he also lost the trait twice, and was again leading the army in the epic Relief of Holstein and the ensuing Baltic March.
  • Gå Fjæra Hjem: There is a joke, which is in Norwegian and relies on cultural knowledge; it is probably not very funny to people who didn’t grow up in Norway in the second half of the twentieth century. In truth, even I, born a generation and a half later than its originator, and in a different area of the country, don’t find it that amusing. But although I don’t expect anyone to laugh, it may give some freshness to my tired old slogan about jokes and winter in Norway; so I’m translating it anyway as context. The story goes that, during the war (incidentally, even after two generations and much fighting, there is still exactly one “the war” in Norway, and I think in most of Europe as well), some men are sitting in a boat-hut in northern Norway, sharing a bottle and cursing the occupying Germans, as one does. Buoyed by liquid courage and camaraderie, each one details the vengeance they’ll take when the war is over, each one more dreadful than the last. At last the word comes around to Fridtjof, who has been quiet, and his friends egg him on to see what awful fate he can come up with to top Vegard’s blood eagle. Fridtjof moves his chaw around in his mouth, spits thoughtfully, and slowly drawls, “Waal, ah don’t care so all-fired mich about it. But ah do think, when the war is over, Jerry should kindly hafta walk the beach home”.From this we can infer, presumably, that it’s no joke to walk a Norwegian beach, filled as it is with treacherous sinkholes, flotsam, jetsam, laggan, and derelict, hardy little thornbush scrubs that clutch at your ankles and tear up your shins, and vicious seabirds that will defend their nests to the death. And, of course, the fiords make the trip vastly longer than it would be if you could just take a damn boat. In actual fact, the Wehrmacht garrison went home by train and then took ship across the Kattegat. In this respect they were luckier than my army. After my glorious victory in the Relief of Holstein, where each side mustered more than five thousand men, the shattered remnants of the army of the false “Kingdom of Saxony” retreated north across the Sound, with my tribal levies in hot pursuit. Unfortunately I had overestimated the stopping power of the defenses in the core of my overlord’s kingdom – Clone was, at this time, engaged in some fairly serious fighting against the wild Finns and against his own rebellious vassals – and the Saxons walked right through, crossed the Baltic at Åland, and got home to their Estonian capital unharmed. My own army was, of course, still in hot pursuit, and by now considerably bigger; so the Saxons, not particularly wanting to fight, marched south – towards Holstein. And that’s how my tribal levies came to complete a walking tour of the Baltic beaches.

Player map, 849. Note James and Hadogei both moved to Anatolia, and Hoonter quit from Catalonia, leaving a much less colourful western Europe; Vaniver and Dragoon have both released kingdoms in accordance with our realm-size limit, so that in terms of dynasties the coverage is more complete than it looks. Note also Clonefusion not in control of Norway, whose fractious lords are on their third revolt of the session.

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We Must Feed Our Sea: Rough Traders

Although my original plan was to conquer some bits of Denmark and Norway to be, as is my wont, a North Sea power, the rapid advance of Clonefusion – who by the plan would have been pushed eastwards to make a Baltic Sea power, basically Sweden – and the slowness of my own expansion has made me reconsider. With my power centered on the area where Denmark juts out from Germany (hence, obviously, the name ‘Jutland’) and, more relevantly, where the Elbe runs into the North Sea, I’m basically the Hanse; except with Norse culture and Germanic religion. Nu, the Hanse were traders, but they were by no means above raising a fleet of a hundred ships and bombarding their way through a tariff barrier if they thought they were being denied a profit. Conversely, the Vikings preferred to raid, but they would trade with sufficiently well-armed targets. My new ambition, therefore, is to convert out of tribalism as a Merchant Republic, centered on the Elbe; and to the extent there’s competition for the North Sea profits… that’s why they call the Ynglings the Rough Traders.

As a first step, once the Viking era began I went merrily a-raiding in England; since there was no effective resistance I decided I might as well settle, and got myself Norfolk as a first step. And so was England born! Pace Kipling, this is exactly how England became “Anglo-Saxon” in the first place; I see no reason such a hallowed tradition should cease just because they are kinsmen I’m raiding and not weak-livered Celts. (And anyway I’ve made some progress converting Germany to Norse culture.) A good start on a future Dane-Law, although at the moment I own somewhat more Dane-Law than actual Denmark. Additionally, this raiding brought Odin’s moral authority up above 50%; since Clone currently holds three holy sites, I expect a reformation any year now.

I supplied snakes and manure for several of the plots against the various Karlings, and was thus instrumental in the falling-apart of the Empire; once it was gone, I joined Clone’s Scandinavia, the better to stand united against the followers of the White Christ. I fought several wars to expand my rule, with varying success. My western border is on the Rhine, in that I hold Mainz and Køln, but my subjugation war against Pomerania ran into some difficulty when I died in the middle of it, became feudal (I think this was bugged, and intend to edit it back), and lost my tribal army. Embarrassing, the more so when the aforementioned Rhine cities chose that moment to rise in Catholic revolt, which it took the united resources of the whole Scandinavian empire to put down. Nevertheless this was done, and the oak groves hung heavy with priests and other outside agitators for a year afterwards.

I lost two rulers this session, and the current incumbent is unfortunately not the most frightening dragon-head in the ship-shed:

Deaths of Olaf and Arni.

Jarl Suni; not the sharpest sword in the armoury. Not the most eugenic stud in the breeding program. Not the best example of Yngling superiority. Not the most illuminating metaphor in the library.

Players, 825. Oddman subbing for Golle, Achab for Ziro.

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We Must Feed Our Sea: Second Attempt

This is the second time we have started a megacampaign named “Song of the Dead”, and although I do not say we have become exceedingly efficient at it, still it went quite fast this time around. We did make some changes: We are starting in 769, and because of the realm-size limit we reached the conclusion that evening out the number of holdings per province, and forbidding tribal starts, was not really necessary. Additionally we have added a number of new achievements, from the bread-and-butter Little Mermaid – hold Sjaelland at designated checkpoints – to the crazily ambitious Zionist Occupation Government, requiring a Jewish dynasty from outside the Levant to form Israel.

I am playing as Holstein, part of Saxony; not quite my usual Norway, but close enough, and holding to the true faith. It may be worth pointing out that the tribe of Saxons is named for their characteristic weapon, the ‘seax’, a single-edged knife or short sword worn at the hip. The word survives into modern Norwegian as ‘saks’, meaning scissors; but in Charlemagne’s age of axe and wolf it retains its original meaning. The Indo-European root means “to cut”; so the demonym “Saxons”, meaningless to our ears, might be translated into modern English either as “Knifemen” or “Cutters”. Of course, I myself am a highly-civilised product of the twentieth century, and would never dream of anything so inefficient as killing my enemies one by one with quiet thrusts to the kidney; I mention the etymology merely as a point of interest.

Last time several people ended up playing in near-isolation due to the realm limit and some dropouts; this time we packed Western Europe with player slots, to ensure interaction. My immediate neighbours are Clonefusion in Sweden, Vaniver in Holland, Yami Phoenix in Bohemia, and Yami Fenrir (I have no idea how we ended up with two ‘Yami’ nicks; what are the odds?) in Bavaria. All expanded more rapidly than I did; I chose my ambition to become king of Saxony at an unfortunate time, just before Charlemagne declared war for the kingdom. However, as there is general agreement that the AI Karlings must go, there will likely be some opportunities.

Some events of the session:

  • The Burning Axe: We turned off diplomatic range so the players could all interact; this had the side effect of making every possible pagan form a defensive pact against the Franks, and mustering 18000 men when Karl tried to invade Saxony. He backed off.
  • Put Not Your Trust In Princes: Holstein starts with two count vassals, both of which, for inscrutable reasons, have the Duke as their heir. One of them was foolish enough (or perhaps foresighted enough) to plot to get a claim on my title; I didn’t bother with the oubliette but just executed, since my only other vassal of note was about to get the chop from my assassination plot. Thus I was able to rapidly get three counties under control, which with tribal levies is a fairly nice army this early in the game.
  • Dannebrog, Storm-Utslagen: Unfortunately, I used that largish army to seize, among other things, Slesvig from Denmark. Shortly thereafter, there was a new king of Denmark, he had a lot of prestige, and between tribal levies and the Tribal Army decision there were six thousand men coming to retake Slesvig. Not expecting this, I had put my levies in their way; thus I lost not only the war – easy come, easy go – but also most of my power base. It does recover, but this meant I was unable to help my liege in what followed.
  • The King Who Knelt: My AI liege decided to attack some minor one-province counts to expand Saxony, and was promptly faced with the same tribal armies that had just killed most of his main vassal’s levies. Saxony lost the war for Brandenburg to the one-province count of Lubusz, got beaten up by some other county with two hundred levies and 2500 tribals out of nowhere – and then Karl declared war for the kingdom, with his threat cooled sufficiently that we didn’t get half of Europe springing to our defense.
  • Baptism by Fire and Sword: The Karlings seem curiously eager to make us undergo that ritual where they pour water on your head; to the point of threatening war if we don’t. It may become necessary, as a tactical concession, to take the cross temporarily. I hear they at least give you a new set of clothes for it, so it won’t be a total loss.Players in 788 – most of them, anyway. Ignore the big white blob, we had Khan play as Karl since he didn’t want a permanent slot and he could keep the AI from doing anything egregiously stupid. A couple of players dropped out before I took the screenshot, but it shows at any rate the difficulty of my position, squeezed into northern Germany between several players who have expanded rapidly.

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Our Doom and Our Pride: Baltic Drama

This session, which ran from 1485 to 1511, had considerable Events and much Drama; my AAR is in part a report on action which is still ongoing in the forums, and whose outcome is not yet fully decided.

  • Finnish Knives: The relentless expansion of the False Empire continued with a demand for the two French vassals of mine that were left over from the Second Baltic Crusade. At the same time Ireland demanded the return of its naval bases in Iceland, and Novgorod decided to take the opportunity to round out its Finnish border. With Varingia supporting its allies, the war was clearly hopeless, and Saarland was persuaded at knife’s-point to break its historic alliance with the Ynglings and switch its protecting Great Power to Novgorod – and incidentally pick up Sjaelland to add to its collection of islands. Against such a coalition resistance was clearly futile in the long term. Fearing worse terms if I extended the fight, I acceded after some brief fighting in Germany.
  • Rough Trade: With the alliance broken, Saarland was free to raid me, and vice versa. We had some discussion in TeamSpeak of whether raiding is actually harmful; we eventually figured out that yes, it does give you devastation, same as other kinds of looting. Still, this is not that damaging; and for a while I thought it was just free money. Now if that were true, then in some sense mutual raids are just trade: Both of us get more money. Of course, it would be a very rough trade, what with the whips, chains, slaves… But as they say in Finland, rough trade is best trade!
  • Spanish Intervention: Searching for allies, my eye fell on the two very small player realms in the West, Leon and Poitou. After Leon lost to AI (!) Andalusia, and Poitou was beaten by AI Aquitaine, these countries have not been significant factors in player diplomacy; but there wasn’t any reason they couldn’t be restored. I accordingly offered Leon an alliance, and sent troops to Iberia to help it defeat Navarra and invade Galicia. We had some success with this, and Leon has made a modest recovery; however, until it decisively beats Andalusia and recovers its cores in Spain, it will be a very minor power. Andalusia, showing unusual good sense for the AI, is currently allied to Ireland and to the HRE.
  • Unbalance of Power: Indeed, the size of the neon-blue Empire has not gone unnoticed. At the end of the session, what we had was an alliance between Mark, by far the largest player, with more than 1500 development, and Dragoon, third-largest with about 700. Additionally Gollevainen, second-largest player, was allied to Dragoon. Further, Mark and Dragoon had recently been at war with Yami and taken territory, and were fairly open about their plan to eventually partition him. It was therefore clearly necessary to put together a coalition against Mark, ideally one which included Dragoon. Negotiations for this, however, broke down, as Dragoon refused to backstab Mark, preferring if necessary to end the game.
  • Terms of Surrender: Dragoon offered the following terms to the European powers, as a modus vivendi to continue the game:
    <quote=Dragoon>Me and Mark are resolved to Win the game in Eu4 if that becomes an option. All Terms War or Otherwise are Rejected, I’m with the Holy Roman Empire. I hope I don’t have to see any of you against us on the battlefield.Here are our Terms.1. Great Moravia is to be Partitioned, This is unavoidable. I can see about bringing Mark around to apologize for being a Dick to Yami once we are all on friendlier terms.
    2. King of Men’s Territories in Germany split between Mark and Myself at our discretion.
    3. France and Spain are Mark’s spheres, and Players there are considered under his protection. Foreign Colonies in these regions are not to be tolerated.
    4. All Lands East of the Elbe and Carpathian Mountains are dictated to by my Area of Influence, The Remains of Lithuania, Pomerania and Poland shall go to me, and my Current Border Deal with Golle I will honor.
    5. An End to All Piracy and Coastal Raiding in Europe.
    6. Ireland and Saarland is are not to be attacked, over their Northern Islands and Territories, and they will be allowed to take Southern England unhindered. Do as you wish in regards to America and beyond.
    7. The Establishment of a Permanent European Diplomacy Room of a similar vein to the one the Asians have where Disputes, Trade agreements, Border Swaps, Institution Development and such will be discussed.
  • The End is Not Yet: In view of this dominant alliance, I called a vote on whether to end the campaign and return to Crusader Kings for another go. The vote is very close, still hanging in the balance in fact; it will depend, I think, on the outcome of this session, which may be the last.
  • The False Emperor: During the vote, Vaniver pointed out that Mark had been well over the realm-size limit at conversion, with 289 baronies as against the limit of 150. Although Mark says he openly bragged about this, and mentioned it twice to Dragoon, both GMs somehow managed to miss it, and to think that the 800 development the HRE had in 1444 was merely a quirk of the converter. Some discussion ensued on how to handle this. A rollback to 1444 with the HRE split in two was one possibility, but nobody liked it. Mark pointed out that, if he had released a large nation before conversion in order to get under the realm-size limit, he could then have bid for a personal union with it and gotten the development that way; against this, it’s not clear that he would have won that bid. I eventually ended up with a compromise which I am sure will please nobody: The HRE returns many of its recent gains to Germany, France, dez Neigh, Aquitaine, and Serbia, and its remaining northern territories are split off as a vassal.
  • No Man Knows the Day or the Hour: We will play this session; it is not clear whether there will be a next one.

Europe in 1511, after editing the HRE. Loon is an HRE vassal.

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Our Doom and Our Pride: The German War

As my sinuses are clogged, preventing my narrative genius from coming out of my brain, I return to the events-of-the-session format.

  • Naval Superiority: At the end of the previous session I was out of manpower and at war with a coalition of three semi-powerful AI states: Germany, France, and Alsace. Between them these countries had forty thousand men in the field, while my army was down to fourteen thousand – and as noted, no manpower. However, of those forty thousand, thirty thousand had decided to besiege the capital of my vassal Bornholm, in Fyn; presumably the plan after that was to enter unfortified Sjælland, then Skåne and my economic heartland and force me to the peace table. This excellent plan foundered on the splendid Yngling navy, although in truth it would have foundered on any navy whatsoever, since Germany and Alsace are landlocked and France hadn’t built any ships. My otherwise-useless galleys from the conversion sat in Öresund and blocked both straits from Fyn, leaving my heavy ships free to finance the war by raiding the North Sea coast. With thirty thousand men trapped on Fyn, my army could fight on reasonably even terms with the Alsatian stack still on the loose, and with the various rebel militias that Germany mustered to the defense of its homeland. I ended the war by taking Lauenburg, connecting my Baltic with my North Sea coastlines.
  • Baltic Disagreement: I had a claim on Kønigsberg, left over from a random inheritance in Crusader Kings; as the city was held by AI Lithuania, I shrugged and said “why not”? Unfortunately there turned out to be a good reason why not: Dragoon considered the whole of the Baltic states, even to the coast, to lie within his sphere of influence. “Stay on your side of the Baltic”, quoth he, and was not impressed when I rejoined that that is my side of the Baltic. (I observe that the Baltic shore, being continuous, doesn’t in fact have ‘sides’; you can walk dry-shod from Stockholm to Kønigsberg, if you’re patient.) I was not prepared to tangle with Varingia at the present time, and backed down, taking money but no territory.
  • End of the Long Night: The First Baltic Crusade, at the beginning of the century, prospered much better than the Second, and seized Norway for the religion of slaves. I had gone some way towards rectifying that in Crusader Kings, retaking Norway’s economic heartland (I mean, such as it is) in the eastern valleys, and its military and cultural core in Trøndelag, in successive Holy Wars. However, the Second Baltic Crusade did manage to prevent me from a full reconquest, or from declaring a Great Holy War to plant the oaken groves in Christian territory. Now, with Leon and the von Britannia dynasty in collapse, I was able to attack a diplomatically isolated Norway and force it to its knees in a single swift campaign, seizing the Faeroes as a naval base and imposing my sovereignty over the whole of Scandinavia once again. Incidentally this brought me to four vassals: Bornholm, Dauphine, Kotivarsa, and Norway – just one away from the Splendor objective of five.
  • Naval Supremacy: With my manpower recovered, I turned my eyes west. The same First Baltic Crusade had delivered strategically-important Iceland to Eire, which presumably intended it as a base for colonising North America. This would place them in competition with my ally Saarland, and – now that I had the Faeroes as a base – also with myself. Moreover, James had several times tried to bully Saarland into giving up the colonisation project, demanding the handover of Shetland, and later of the Canaries. It seemed to me that it might be an auspicious time to demonstrate that I will not stand for this sort of treatment of my allies; and besides, Iceland is anciently a possession of the Norwegian crown, and thus my rightful clay. (And having Norway as a vassal gave me a conquest CB.) I built up my army and navy slightly, then looked for the correct moment; it came when the Irish navy tried to occupy the same spot of ocean that the Yngling Navy was, at that moment, upholding my sovereign rights in. I should note that Yngling custom and international law differ slightly on this point. International law (as practiced by Christian countries) holds that waters more than three sea-miles from the coast are open to all; Yngling custom holds that our navy extends our sovereignty wherever it goes. There are some other differences of a similar nature; for example international law recognises property rights for Christians, while Yngling custom recognises only temporary rights of management, to end when we find it convenient to come and get our stuff. But I digress. The dragon-headed ships beat the coracles like a drum, first driving them into an Icelandic port and blockading them there, then – when my army arrived to take possession – following them to the Orkneys and sinking the last Irish ships when they were again driven out of port by my army. With complete naval supremacy I could split Ireland into its constituent islands and fight each one separately, and I was getting ticking warscore from Iceland. However, there was no need. James tried once to throw my army back into the sea; failing, he cold-bloodedly cut his losses and offered me Iceland in a peace treaty. Not wanting to be perceived as greedy, and having made my point, I accepted.

Battle of Sutherland, the only major clash of the armies. Note the difference in tactics and discipline.

European players at the end of the session. Hadogei was absent and is not shown in Leon.

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