Monday, 29 October 2012

Crusader Kings II Part 17.35201593: At last! Briefne is Mine!

Trying to survive the regency period
Nothing spells fun like having a child on the throne
Obviously the title of this post is pretty spoiler-ific, but before getting into tales of glorious conquest, let's start at the beginning of Heinrich I's reign because he had a lot running against him when he came to power. Hell, he wasn't even allowed to rule by himself, so his mother was appointed Regent until the lad came of age (the game allows me to make all of the decisions myself during this period, so I didn't need to worry about her meddling in affairs). It was a bit of a worrisome situation to be in because if there's one thing that ambitious medieval types like, it's children on the thrown. They're perfect targets for accidents, attempts at marginalizing, and just power plays in general. They see someone weak, and go straight for the jugular.

Planning an assassination
Sometimes you just have to
bring the hammer down on
troublemakers
The only consolation in this was that Heinrich was already 14, and it would only be a couple of years until he'd be considered an adult. He just needed to hold out a little bit longer, all the while trying to improve everyone's opinions of him. It was a rough ride, as a revolt broke out shortly after his father died. It was quashed easily, and Connacht's marshal was assigned the task of making sure no more of these happened during the remainder of Heinrich's regency period. Those jerks in Briefne even used the commotion as an opportunity to once again usurp the title of duke from my region. It would be a short lived changing of hands.

Once Heinrich reached 16, things calmed down a bit. A decent number of his nobles were at least tolerating him, and the members of his council seemed to think he was a pretty okay guy. About the only real problem that kept popping up was that one of my courtiers kept assassinating my spymasters, and these guys had pretty good intrigue stats, so it got annoying after a while, and I had to stop it by plotting an assassination attempt of my own on her. It took a little while to find co-conspirators for this because a lot of people had a high opinion of her, but eventually I found a couple, and we got to scheming. It took about a year, but we finally managed to bump her off through poison. Other than that, though, things were quiet in Connacht.

I took advantage of this time to start making political marriages wherever possible, including marrying Heinrich himself. The most important of these has established ties with Castille, one of the more dominant Spanish kingdoms. These sorts of marriages are something that I want to work on now because I'm probably only 100-150 years away from England starting to push hard into Scotland and Ireland, assuming it tries to expand. I want to make sure I know how to swing some powerful connections around so that I can push them out of Connacht, and whatever other regions I conquer when the time comes.

Death by poison
The assassination was an oldie
but a goodie
It also seems that the Papacy wants to reward Heinrich and his predecessors for throwing Connacht's weight, however minuscule it may be, behind its Crusades. It's been the easiest 400 gold that I've made in the game. I did make sure that it went to good use, spending it on upgrades for both of my castles so that I can increase both of their levies. I should also note that the castle I build and talked about last post is now vassal-free, as the guy died and I have yet to bestow the vassalage on anyone else yet. So, I have a far larger personal levy to draw upon right now since I don't have to worry about relations with whomever might normally be overseeing the castle as a vassal. With that, things have worked out pretty well with all of the free money raining in, and some newly freed up levies. It almost looks like a good time for an invasion. More on that in a moment.

During the early part of his reign, Heinrich was beset with a steady succession of dead bishops. There was nothing sinister about their deaths, they just kept dying of natural causes. Occitan kept freeing up more and more bishops for me to recruit, but I had to wonder about their quality after a while. It got to the point where the only guy available was a certified lunatic. He actually had a trait for lunacy. I hadn't even realized that was a thing in the game until that point. I wound up recruiting him for laughs, though. Figured it would be fun.

Most of my court didn't say anything, but my mayor eventually called out Heinrich on the matter, asking why I had a heretic as a bishop, and why the man was also in his council. First of all, he's not a heretic, Mr. Mayor, he's just crazy. Second, dem learning stats! They're really high. How can I say no to those? Eventually I did capitulate and replace him on my council, but again people in that role kept getting sick and dying, so I had to go and ask the bishop to retake the position. I'm guessing he didn't take the original firing all that well, because when I went to check on him now he had not only the lunatic trait but was now also a drunkard. Great! (Truth be told, I'm half tempted to make him a guardian of someone just to see what happens. Tee hee!)

Money from the Pope
Free money!
About the only other thing of note to happen during this time is that, for whatever reason, Heinrich started to identify far more with his Irish heritage, and eventually decided to embrace it, eschewing his German half. He changed his name to Enri I, and seems quite happy now.

Oh, and did I mention that I invaded Briefne? Well, I did. The first order of business was to usurp the title of duke back for Enri, which would also return my de jure claim on that region. With that out of the way, I promptly declared war on the county, and marched some 800 troops on it. At first it was a route, as my forces smashed their army, and laid siege to one fortification after the next until finally coming upon the castle of the count himself. This was a much closer battle than I was expecting, as their garrison was quite large, with almost 750 units in it. I only just outnumbered them, and thus was able to win the siege, forcing a surrender from the count.

The conquest of Briefne
Oh, and did I mention that I conquered
Briefne?
This brought Briefne fully under Enri's control, and forced the count to become one of my vassals. The guy is understandably angry, though, so I'll need to keep a very close eye on him. I've had my chancellor over there, trying to butter him up, and it's worked somewhat. I may even try to shower the guy with gifts and honorary titles just to keep him happy. The last thing I want is for him to start forming a faction, and then get an insurrection going. It may be unavoidable, however. He just has too many negative modifiers affecting his opinion of Enri, and I'm not sure any amount of gifts or sweet talk will sway him in the long run.

So, now I wait and watch. Maybe I can somehow get the count on side, and we can start having slumber parties and doing each other's hair. If not, maybe it'll mean another war, and if that's the case so be it. I'll just march on Briefne once more, and crush him. Assuming he survives the battle, I'll make sure he spends the remainder of his life rotting in prison.

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