Category Archives: We Must Feed Our Sea

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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Not an AAR: Tenth Session

Much delayed events of what turned out to be the final Crusader Kings session:

  • Reconquest: It was slow work as I had to do it one duchy at a time, but I managed to reconquer about half of Norway.
  • The Black Death: It didn’t reach quite everywhere, but as shown in the map, the rats from the east were well on their way to the Bay of Biscay when their advance was interrupted by session’s end.
  • Second Baltic Crusade: When Heaven demonstrates Its wrath, men become desperate; the brain-addled Christians, in particular, decided that the Plague was their god’s way of telling them to spread their faith at the sword’s point. (Admittedly this is very consistent with the rest of their dogma. Our scholars of comparative religion have yet to find a stimulus that they do [i]not[/i] interpret in this fashion.) They therefore declared the Crusade for Svea Rike; for complicated theological reasons this came precisely thirty years after the end of the Crusade for Norway.
  • The White Death: For reasons best known to themselves (perhaps they were complicated theological ones), the Crusaders launched their invasion of Scandinavia just as winter was beginning, which was also just as the plague was arriving. This is evidence that the disease is a blessing sent by Hel, to cleanse the human race of stupidity; the Norse armies did not need to lift a finger in actual defense, per se. It’s no joke to fight in Norway (or Sweden) in winter in any year, but in combination with the plague it turned out to be ludicrously deadly. I merely parked my levies on my fleet, out of range of the attrition, and occasionally landed for long enough to mop up a stack that had started fifteen or twenty thousand strong. This did have the unfortunate side effect of giving my king scurvy, from being at sea for months on end, but that was basically our only casualty in this war. We were, however, interrupted by the session’s end before I could reach 100% warscore, so the crusade will convert into EU4, with perhaps slightly unfortunate effects on the defensibility of Scandinavia. Nevertheless I remain optimistic; the peninsula is also well suited for defense by a strong fleet, which I have, and decades of investing the income from raiding have given me forts in mountain and forest provinces which suffer from hard winters.
  • Vox Popoli, Vox Diaboli: We had decided to start voting on whether to convert to EU4 after 200 years, and this session we passed that threshold. This incident actually demonstrates one of the ways that games allow us to explore unlikely corners of theory space. Game theorists and social scientists have demonstrated mathematically that democracy needn’t always have optimal outcomes, but of course this is just airy theorising with no application in the real world – until you start playing games, that is; then you can tweak the rules to construct the weirdest imaginable coalitions, preferences, and utility functions. Our rules had apparently created one of those corner cases in the parameter space of democracy that you can obviously never get in real politics, and there was a majority for the wrong decision: We are converting to EU4. Hence my silence for the last few weeks, I’ve been frantically upgrading the converter to deal with the latest DLCs. Incidentally, when I get rich I’m going to buy a large amount of Paradox stock, get myself onto its board, and make it my mission in life to fire the idiot who changed all the savegame keywords. Failing that, I hope he at least had to hunt down a bunch of hardcoded string literals in half a dozen different source files.

Advance of the Black Death; also showing the successes of Norse arms in our reconquest of Norway and defense of Sweden.

Final political situation. Note the many remaining strong AI realms, due to our strict realm-size limits; the player realms are Eire, Aquitaine, Leon, Nordriki, Saarland, Africa, Great Moravia (the Hungary-ish brown blob), Rus, Lazuli (the Balkan realm in imperial purple), Varingia (grey Ukrainian power, south of Rus), Hedarabia (south of Egypt), and Mordor (into which one does not simply walk). Some of the dynasties have outlier kingdoms granted to brothers or younger sons, which count for custom score and may in some cases convert as personal unions, but even so there are multiple power vacuums in this map. Presumably they will be rapidly filled in EU4.

The corresponding starting situation in EU4 – the conversion may get some final tweaks but the borders won’t change much, if at all.

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Not An AAR: Ninth Session

  • Another Such Victory: At the beginning of the session I was at war with three players in a Crusade for Norway, and the warscore stood at 74% against me. Two crusader armies (Ukrainian and Italian) were besieging southern Norway, and a third (Leonese) was skulking about the east side of the Jotunheim (the mountain range that divides western and eastern Norway; in Crusader Kings it is impassable to military units), apparently not quite sure whether to go for my capital and accept the attrition (it’s no joke to fight in Norway in winter), or to go east into Sweden and return in the summer. However, I had secured support from several people, and sufficient money poured in that I was able to hire more mercenaries. At the same time Hadogei made up his mind and the Leonese army, seven thousand men, came north towards Nidaros, challenging my main stack – five thousand strong – to fight. Since I had three thousand men offshore in boats, where I had been getting ready to sail south to recapture some of the occupied land, and since Nidaros attacked from the south is a strong defensive position – mountains and a river – I decided to accept battle. That was a mistake. Not because I lost; on the contrary I was well on my way to beating the Leonian army. However, that took time, and the crusading players, realising that they were about to lose a large amount of warscore, Took Steps; in particular they ordered their armies to assault the sieges they were in. That cost them heavily, but the occupation of Akershus tipped the warscore to 100%, mainly by losing me the “holds Norway” ticking warscore. The AI, for once, was on the ball, and the Pope forced the peace through before I could finish trouncing the Leonese. For reasons entirely unclear, the Pope also awarded the victory to Leon, which had fought one and a half battles with me, rather than Italy, which had occupied several of my provinces.
  • The Forty-Year Night: Norway now languishes under colonial rule, a Christian “King” of the von Britannia family. Of course, such a person has only the form, not the substance, of kingship; submitting, as they necessarily must, to the Pope on Earth and to their god in Heaven, they are not true sovereigns, but subordinates – servants, not masters. A king of the Norse faith is genuinely sovereign, admitting no superior; even Odin, the giver of victory, is only first among equals in the host of brave men who will meet the ice-giants on Vigrid field. However, theology aside, it is a fact that Norway is now a colony; I trust that in this timeline the liberation will require only forty years, and not four hundred as in ours. (Note for those not familiar with Norwegian history: During the national-romantic revival of the 1850s some historians began to refer to the union with Denmark, from 1397 to 1814, as the “four-hundred-year night”; I don’t think you would find anyone doing so unironically these days, but ironic or not it is an expression I think most Norwegians would recognise.)
  • The Viking War: I was left with a claim to Norway; since Hadogei didn’t keep the kingdom as part of his played realm, but handed it out to a relative, I was able to press the claim almost immediately with a good chance of success, since I’d be fighting the AI. Indeed this came very close to working. However, the AI, being under attack by a character of the true faith, was able to attract one of the Hel-damned Holy Orders that infest the Christian world like lice; with ten thousand fighting men, and the mountains of Norway for a bastion, they were able to draw out the fight for a considerable time. I did eventually manage to bait them into attacking me across a river into a mountain, with reasonably equal numbers and good commanders on my side. But my shout of “Victoglory” was premature; I won the battle but ran out of money before I could complete the sieges I needed. My mercenaries promptly deserted, and I accepted a white peace.
  • The Nidaros War: King Anlaufr, “The Sword of the Allfather”, died of cancer before I could renew the war against the colonial regime. His son Snorre (named “the Sword of Frey” for his successful wars against the breakaway lords in Sweden) had only a weak claim, which I could not press; I perforce fell back on a Holy War for Nidaros, which is not yet over. Nidaros is my traditional capital in this timeline, and also contains the third holy site, which I need to make myself Fylkir. Unfortunately, while I’m superior to the Norwegian kingdom on its own, the entire von Britannia family seems to have joined the wars in High Germany, and to have combined their armies under Norwegian command – which, upon my declaration of war, promptly brought home all eighteen thousand men from whatever they were doing in Germany. Some testing in single player reveals that this is a mistake on the AI’s part; my armies are sea-mobile and don’t have to fight if I don’t want to, and it’s no joke to wander around above the supply limit in Norwegian winter. But attriting them down is going to take a while, and meanwhile the risk of Leonese or Irish intervention looms.

I needed some money for the Nidaros War, and decided to go get it from my erstwhile enemies, the kings of Leon. It turns out that the cockpit of Europe is living up to its nickname at the moment; northern Germany is a chaos of contending armies – in the middle of which my raiding stack is quite calmly helping itself to a couple hundred ducats. My raid only makes me hostile to the Leonese, who apparently have other things to do with their main forces at the moment; so my army is sitting there in the middle of the war, besieging a random castle, with a dozen armies walking by giving friendly waves – “Oh hai, raiding the Leonese? Kk not my problem, thxbai”.

King Snorre, “the Sword of Frey”. A formidable character even with only half his rightful kingdom.

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