Events of the sixth session:
The Wolfpack Gathers: After the disastrous Saxon Crusade, Denmark was drastically reduced in power, and every one-province count from the Weser to the Vistula gathered around to feed on, as they thought, the corpse. In the main I was able to fend them off, sending raiders as far afield as Kiev in search of income not protected by large empires. But the steady drain of constant war against two to four counts at once, depending on who I’d recently been able to siege down, meant that I could not improve my position either by building or by expanding.
The Great Heathen Army: Clonefusion, meanwhile, was having somewhat better luck. After a lengthy buildup of his strength, he launched a Great Holy War for England with about 24000 men, to which I joined my 4000 – partly for the greater glory of Odin, and partly because England is a rich target for raiding and if their army was going to be busy, I might as well spend some time in the area checking out the monasteries and other tourist attractions. Unfortunately, Gollevainen was eventually able to gather together over thirty thousand men, mostly by the use of Holy Orders – there are, of course, no HOs in a Norse army; our camp followers are all women of virtue. It seemed to me that some swift maneuvering by Clone’s doomstack might have brought victory even so, as the English army was not fully concentrated when it came into visibility; but for whatever reason Clone left his Great Heathen Army besieging London, and was thrown back into the sea.
Throwing the Fattest One Out of the Sled: At length, frustrated by my inability to either end the wars against my liege, or get any advantage from being under Denmark, I declared war for independence. This is still ongoing at the end of the session, but only a matter of time.
Shareholder Revolt: However, the Holstein Independence War – which is, let’s observe, a war of a three-province merchant republic against a five-province oligarchic republic – is about to become entirely irrelevant. Clone, frustrated with his immense bad luck with ruler lifetimes, has decided to “spend more time with his family” and “improve his golf handicap”, leaving the Norse Empire without a CEO at a time of great difficulty. The recent antitrust blocking of the acquisition of a competing concern – intended to restore the company’s flagging fortunes by unleashing a cross-North-Sea synergy – has left the empire without a strategy for restoring competitiveness, and both the board’s trust in the CEO and the shareholders’ trust in the board have been weakened; there are even rumours that a cut in the dividend has been considered as a way to conserve a “war chest” for future operational expenditures.
Corporate Merger: Fortunately, the Board has found a candidate willing to step in and undertake a turnaround, even in these difficult circumstances; a man of great experience in guiding Norse Republics who have fallen upon hard times. The new CEO has stated that he will return the empire to its foundational competencies of aggressive cross-border marketing, corporate raiding, and involuntary labour management. There may be an implicit critique here of the previous chief’s commitment to grand acquisition schemes, a suggestion that these glorious visions led him to take the eyes off the ball of [i]actually making money[/i] from the company’s fundamental strengths. Whether or not this is so, any reciprocal mutterings about “rats leaving a sinking ship” will be grounds for discipline up to and including immediate termination .
 Please note, when an Yngling uses the word ‘termination’, he is not talking about your employment. And yes, the Scandinavian Empire is an at-will state.
Players 935, excepting Vaniver who was absent this session, and Sauron and Ziro who both left before I could take the screenshot. So, to be more accurate, two-thirds of the players in 935.