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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Dar al-Islam, Part Sixteen: The Kalmen-Tulunid War

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Fustat is ours, Hakam! But remember; Ra’uf still has thirty thousand men in the west, and that war is now over. We are about to be flooded by Tulunid counterattack.
I will kill each of those men with my own bare hands!

Well, we have problems closer to home. While we’ve been laying siege to the citadels of Fustat, those thirty thousand men have taken Benghazi, Senoussi and Cyrenaica.

An even trade!

I would agree, mostly. However…

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Mobs of rabble rose in Fustat the very moment we moved into the Sinai to finish the job. Meanwhile, your Grand Vizier has been hard at work sowing discord and unhappiness among those loyal to the Sultan.

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At the same time, your wife Zaynab has given birth to a little girl, named Nabila.

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But the war marches on. They are crushing us in the west, while the Sinai falls easily to your forces.

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The rabble in Fustat is easily dealt with. All that remains is a confrontation between the two massive armies. The Tulunid forces triple our own. There are no more allies to call.

Suddenly:

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Boom baby! The Akbarid and their Sicilian allies are taking advantage of the moment to declare their independance from the Tulunid Dynasty and young Ra’uf’s rule. The Tulunid armies are lessened by this betrayal, but they are not out. Nineteen thousand men remain, just to the right of the screenshot there, and they march towards the Nile. But some battles need not be fought.

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Between our glorious victories and the sieges of Fustat and the Sinai, Ra’uf is totally and soundly beaten. Ra’uf surrenders to you, Sultan Hakam.

I like the sound of that!

I knew you would!

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We do have a slight hiccup, though. The Akbarid war of independence carries over to us, now that we control the throne from which they are seeking independence.

I am Sultan of Egypt! Nothing can stop me!

What if I told you the Hassimid have also declared war upon you. They don’t seem to approve of any old guy coming along and taking the throne. They call you a pretender to the throne!

Those backstabbing swine! This will not stand! They are the ones who helped me make my claim on the throne!

Actually, this might be even more trouble than I thought. The map of Egypt looks something like this:

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Holy. Shit.

Yeah, I think we are in trouble. In fact, I feel like my previous ‘BOOM BABY’ was perhaps premature.

Hey, you know what worked last time?

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There, no more claimant.

I don’t think that will work, Sultan.

You sure?

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I… Well… Good job? And hey, now you have a son to secure your lineage!

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Oh, twins! That’s cool! And then your other wife, too!

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Three sons, all in the same week! That’s pretty crazy. Also crazy? This:

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Can I get (another) BOOM BABY!

BOOM BABY!

However, there are two things you should be aware of. While we were at war, an African warlord took the province of Djerba from the Akbarids, and he remains in control – and the Byzantines took Sicily back.

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Honestly, I don’t care much about Sicily anyway. But Djerba will be an easy take!

Unfortunately, there remains a great deal of unrest at home, with many angry factions surrounding the political court of the Kalmen Sultanate.

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Though perhaps what you have learned in your studies will help you assuage their hostility.

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Everything would be better if everyone were Egyptian…

What are you going to do, convert their genes?

Convert their what?

Don’t worry about it. Worry about this:

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This is a disturbing turn of events. However, your son and heir (also named Hakam) has been a bit lethargic lately. He has no drive, no desires.

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And you were wounded in a minor skirmish in Tunis.

No I wasn’t!

Uh…

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I don’t trust that notification. Looks shooped. I would know. I’ve shooped a few woops in my time.

I don’t even have photoshop, and you don’t know what that is! You cannot use being ‘possessed’ as an excuse to break the fourth wall with stupid internet memes!

I can, and I will!

NEXT TIME: Hilarity Ensues

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2013 in CK II, Snarkangel Plays (The Tags)

 

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Dar al-Islam, Part Fifteen: Throne of the Sultan

*sigh*
Yet another tiresome succession war in Egypt, with Sicily, the Akborids and the Hammids all fighting for the throne. As a Miaphysite Christian you have almost no support from your family and vassals, so we aren’t getting involved in this one. Your penchant for branding the people of your court as heretics and imprisoning them is not helping.
There is no God but Yahweh, and Jesus is his message!

Oh. So now we’re blending Miaphysitism with Islam. THIS CAN ONLY END WELL. Mix that with your growing temper…

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And we are going to have a problem.

It’s cool. I’m calm. I’m. Always. Calm.

Sure you are, Hakam.

I even made us a new dynasty banner! That old crescent-moon-and-stars thing was too Muslim.

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Why a ship? Do you have a fondness for ocean travel? Are you planning on building a sea-faring empire?

Sure, let’s go with that. In the meantime, let’s take some land back from Sicily.

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Oh God damn it child! Make up your mind! Wasn’t Alia the one who converted you to Miaphysitism in the first place?

Yeah, but she converted back to Islam, so I thought I’d go do the same.

Just like that?

Hey, I am twelve years old! I have no idea what all this religion stuff is about!

Good point. In any case, we’ve landed troops on the island of Sicily itself, trying to force the islanders to give up their hold on Makuria. Unfortunately, Sicilian allies have landed at Alexandria.

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Now that I’m Muslim again, I should probably release those not-actually-heretics from my dungeons.

All twelve of them? That would be a good idea, yes. What about the Sicilians?

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I’m not that merciful!

Clearly. So twelve releases, three executions. Busy day!

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I… You…

Are very bad at this whole religion thing. Even for a child.

So hey, remember the Seljuk Turks? Well here they are, carving an empire out of the Aral Sea.

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If they head west, they are going to run headlong into the Samirid Dynasty, which took over from the Abbasids a few decades ago. The Samirid Empire might be strong, but it is facing down against some tenacious Byzantines, and faces an incredibly powerful Holy Roman Empire. A third great power arrayed against the Samirids might tip the balance of power in the Middle East.

In our favour?

Perhaps. Who knows what Egypt might grab if the Samirids collapse? But there’s no guarantee this will happen. And there’s no guarantee the Kalmen Dynasty will gain anything at all.

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Well happy 16th birthday, Hakam! What are you going to do first?

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You know what? This isn’t even exciting any more. So many Kalmen men have had such an ambition, yet failed to act upon it.

Don’t worry. I have a plan. First: Kill the only Tulunid heir of age.

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Second: do the same to the Sultan himself.

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Third: in this moment of Tulunid weakness, discreetly suggest myself as an alternative to the prepubescent Ra’uf. The Sultanate of Egypt would be safer in the hands of the Kalmen Dynasty.

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That is disgustingly clever, Hakam.

I know!

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Now we wait. We wait until Ra’uf is distracted by war.

Like this one?

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Precisely.

They have thirty-two thousand men!

We can raise fourteen thousand on our own. Include our allies and the mercenaries our vast treasury can support, and we will outnumber the Tulunid armies.

Let’s do this shit!

Raise the levies! Raise the fleets!

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Isn’t it beautiful?

It surely is. Praise Allah for giving me this strength.

The Hammids have joined the war on our side, too!

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A combined force of Kalmen and Hammid troops march on Fustat, capital of the Tulunid Dynasty. Two vast armies clash outside the city of Cairo. Camel riders, drunk on wine, ululate their war cries and crash into the enemy lines. Emir Hakam draws Muammar Tulunid, the Sultan’s uncle, into battle and slays him.

Dust and sand clog the eyes. Screaming floods the ears. The battle is long, a slog through fifty thousand mutilated bodies. Hakam pauses only when Koriaur Tulunid, his own cousin and Marshal of the Tulunid Sultanate, lies bloody and broken at his feet, slain by his sword.

NEXT TIME: The Great Egyptian War

P.S. Hakam’s a total badass, with a Martial stat of 21. That’s hardcore.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in CK II, Snarkangel Plays (The Tags)

 

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Dar al-Islam, Part Fourteen: … And On and On

Well okay Haroun (again), let’s get going. And please do not die on me!
I don’t intend to! In fact, I have big plans!

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Wait… Let’s read that again. Namely, let’s read your name.

Haroun the first? Did your grandfather not count?

Guess not!

Well sure. Why not? I’m just happy to see another Kalmen leader with the proper ambition in life! Unfortunately, like so many Kalmen before, you have a succession crisis to deal with.

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Boo!

It was inevitable, really. I mean, how many Kalmen Emir’s have died in the last eighteen months?

Four. Four dead Kalmen leaders in a year-and-a-half. That is a lot of claimants left lying around, vying for the throne! Now Ra’uf wants to take a slice of the pie. That slice just happens to be the whole damn thing.

In fact, this is just one big mess of messiness, this is!

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A few brief battles and your brothers forces are pushed west. However, he still has a large army marching up and down the Nile, hitting the levies we raise to reinforce our two armies. It’s a massive pain in the ass.

However, your loyal subject Hanri has managed to scrape together an army nearly one thousand strong, and lays siege to Hayya.

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With Ra’uf currently in the Nile Delta fighting your troops, Hanri has plenty of time to siege the enemy fortress. It doesn’t take long to capture the city.

Meanwhile, in the Delta, Ra’uf has been captured in battle. He is now your prisoner.

Only one thing to do then.

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That does solve the problem, yes. However, I think you have a different, slightly more pressing issue.

What would that be?

You died.

Did I?

Yup.

Damn! That sucks. Kalmen blood seems to be pretty weak these days.

I agree. Also, stop talking.

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Well that’s one succession dispute ended. Time to prepare for the next one!

Hakam! You’d best be ready. You’ve got tonnes of gold. Hire some mercs!

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This is bad, isn’t it?

I wouldn’t go that far.

Well, okay. Yes. It’s very bad.

Meanwhile, I have no idea what you’re doing.

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I don’t know what Miaphysites even are!

So wait, you’re a Christian now? Well, stranger things have happened. But I have no doubt you are going to lose this war now, as your subjects reject the notion of a Christian Emir of Alexandria. I mean, just look at this war:

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Sure, we’re winning (sort of), but your enemies are many and I don’t think you can keep up. They are gaining ground fast, and attrition is on their side. There really is nothing you can do, Hakam. More and more of your lords are joining against you. You’d be best off if you simply White Peace your way out of this war.

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Well that’s annoying!

Isn’t it though? To see the beautiful Kalmen Emirate broken apart like that is jsut shameful!

Thanks

Just don’t let it happen again!

I’ll just save up my strength and declare war to take that land back!

No can do, Hakam! The new Tulunid Sultan, Sharif, has instituted Medium Crown Authority in Egypt. His vassals can no longer declare war on one another.

Then I’ll have to see Crown Authority lowered, won’t I?

Or you could just take the Sultanate itself!

Either one! Or both!

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I think you meant ‘bestest Sultan’!

Damn right I did!

NEXT TIME: The Bestest

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in CK II, Snarkangel Plays (The Tags)

 

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Dar al-Islam, Part Thirteen: The Dynasty Marches On…

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Another Kalmen Emir passes on.
So. How’s it goin’ Is’mail?
Hold on, BRB!

What?

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Oh. Well sure. You do that then.

I will!

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Is’mail and Zaia, BFF’s?

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Oh dear!

I’m fine!

You sure?

Never felt better!

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Piety is more important than life anyway.

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I’m surprised you managed to do it at all! I mean, after being stuck on a deserted island with little food, then being forced to travel the desert on foot, I’d probably just give up.

Allah gives me strength!

Clearly!

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You’re lucky there wasn’t a succession dispute while you were gone! Those seem to happen with upsetting regularity.

Nah, it’s all good. I got this.

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Ayup. That is unsurprising.

So, uh… Haroun! How are you?

Pretty good!

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That’s pretty awesome, actually! So is your ambition:

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It’s about time we had another Kalmen leader with the right ambition!

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That is decidedly not awesome! In fact, I do not like these implications at all! Hang in there, buddy! You’re young, you’re spry, you’re –

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Dead.

Well shitting dick nipples!

Let’s do this again. Hi Ra’uf!

Hi!

You have an issue to deal with.

That’s unfortunate!

It is!

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Curse those infidels!

Yes, well. You’d best get your Court Imam into the proselytism business.

No, wait. You can’t do that. BECAUSE YOU ARE DEAD.

NEXT TIME: I have another Haroun

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in CK II, Snarkangel Plays (The Tags)

 

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Dar al-Islam, Part Twelve: My Cup Overfloweth (and by Cup I of Course Mean Dungeon)

Dude. Seriously:
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Thirty prisoners!
I’m so excited!

Excited? Uh… why?

Think of all the ransom money I can get!

Oh. Ransom. That is much better than executing everyone!

Why would I do that?

I was having flashbacks. The last time someone was excited about having prisoners, it resulted in some beheadings, –

Ah!

– blindings, –

Yeesh!

– torture, –

Oh my!

– and castrations!

Eeeeew!

But you’re not Joffrey. You’re Khalil, and you’re much cooler than that. So about the ransoms. That might not be a good idea. A lot of those captured lords really hate you, and would rebel immediately if given the chance.

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Well, leave them in their cells. Let’s see the rest!

It’s all like that, at least as far as family goes. I think your family’s hatred of your father Is’mail bled over onto you. And since his reign was so short, I’m sure some your uncles want their shot.

Nope! The throne is mine! I’m keeping it.

Good spirit!

Meanwhile, at age 79, Sultan Latif of the Tulunid, Sultan of Egypt, has passed away. His son, Zaia, wishes to continue the tradition of Tulunid Sultans marrying Kalmen daughters, and wishes to have Asenet bint Is’mail as his wife.

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Can’t say no to that!

Well I suppose you could. Don’t do that by the way. Tying your family to the Tulunids is a great way to maintain power in Egypt and North Africa. Especially when a happy Zaia wants to make you Court Calligrapher!

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Sweet deal!

I know, right? You get to write and draw and everything!

I’m important!

You sure are, Khalil. I mean, just look at all the land you control!

This is the Direct Vassals mapmode, not independent states. We are still vassals of Zaia Tulunid

I’m not actually sure how we got that little bit of Abyssinia back. Marriage shenanigans, I’m sure. Either way, you control all of Egypt sans Fustat. The Tulunids are having a bit of an issue, however:

Back to the independent lords mapmode

Prince Ahmad has made a play for Zaia’s throne, instigating the 2nd Tulunid Succession Crisis. Which wouldn’t be much of a problem, except that Sicilian peasants have risen in a bid for independence of their own. The Tulunid Sultanate has powered through far more dire straights than these, so I wouldn’t worry.

I won’t.

Well, maybe you should. Just a little. Ahmad is asking us to join him in his play for power.

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I’d suggest declining. We have a lot invested in Zaia (three of his wives are Kalmen). Besides, if we went to war to place Ahmad on the throne, we’d gain nothing at all.

Let’s stay out of it then.

I agree! This gives us a nice breather. We should see how the rest of the world is doing.

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Damn, that is some major blobbing! Look at that Arabian Empire (the Abbasid Dynasty)! That is huge! They nearly wiped out the Byzantine Empire!

And the Holy Roman Empire! East Francia, Lotharingia, West Francia and northern Italy have all been absorbed.

Norse Skotland nearly has the entirety of the British Isles under its control. Skotland at one point controlled almost all of Scandinavia, but repeated wars of independence have set them back on that front.
The Umayyad Dynasty hasn’t changed much since the beginning of the game. It falls apart every now and then and loses land to Leon and Castille, but then the Spaniards fall apart and the Umayyads take their land back.

Rus at one point controlled Lithuania, but quickly lost it.

Wait.

What just happened?

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The Abbasid Dynasty has come to an end! The Mubarak family has control of the Arabian Empire. Who are these people? Why haven’t I heard of them? And how did they get control of the most powerful empire in the world?

And most importantly, –

Can we trust them?

Exactly. It seems the Hashimid dynasty thinks not, and has split off. That’s a huge chunk of the Arabian Empire. In fact, that’s almost all of Arabia proper.

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To make matters in the east worse, a man named Seljuk has descended from the steppes into Turkmenistan and Khiva. His horde may press into Mubarakid and Hashimid lands.

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I suppose we’ll see how this plays out.

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Oh.

Well, as long as he stays over there he won’t be a problem for Egypt.

What are the chances he’ll stay ‘over there’?

Uh…. Do you really want an answer to that question?

Can’t say that I do.

NEXT TIME: An answer to that question

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in CK II, Snarkangel Plays (The Tags)

 

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Dar al-Islam, Part Eleven: This is Winning (Suck It, Charlie Sheen!)

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Damn! Good work, Nuraddin!
Thank you.

So, uh… Listen carefully, because things are about to get confusing.

Uh oh!

Not in a bad way. Well, probably not in a bad way.

Okay, so it’s time for some family tree silliness. Here is the family tree for your half-brother, Firuz Kalmen, sheikh of Cyrenaica (which you own). Note his Grandparents:

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See Koriaur Kalmen, your Grandfather and the founder of the Kalmen Dynasty almost ninety years ago. See also, Caliph Al-Muwaffak. Muwaffak’s daughter Hanifa married your father, Yahya, sometime before Koriaur’s death, which is why I didn’t mention it; she was already dead by the time I started playing as Yahya, but they had Firuz at some point, obviously.

This gives him a minor claim on the throne of Caliph. Which would not be an issue of substance, were it not for two things: the Abbasids are falling apart, faced with civil wars since the death of the last Caliph.

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And:

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Latif Tulunid is pushing Firuz Kalmen’s claim on the throne. This could be a chance to make humongous gains for the Kalmen Dynasty!

Sounds good.

Let’s get in there!

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Uh… Guess not? Well, better introduce myself to Is’mail.

I actually really like your plan, yo! I mean, if Latif’s pushing the war anyway we might as well join in right? Sure can’t hurt! Let’s do this! Why aren’t we doing this? I’m bored. Let’s go go go!

Dear God, please shut up. I hate you already.

That’s not very nice let’s fight some Abbassids together we’ll be brothers in arms! That will make us friends.

Please. Please. Please shut up. You’ve got issues at home to deal with now. Mainly, your brother Yahya (named after your Grandfather) fucking hates you. I cannot imagine why. But he will almost certainly revolt and make a grab for the throne if you don’t do something soon.

Send him gifts! Everyone loves money, and Dad left me tonnes of it!

Didn’t work. He went from hating you, to slightly less hating you. But he still hates you. A lot.

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Um, lol? Dad already raised the armies and hired mercs to take on the Abbasids. I think I got this one.

Even you could win this one, Is’mail. However, your half-brother Latif (named after the Sultan – this is getting confusing) has joined Yahya against you. This won’t mean much, since you still triple their numbers. Then, another of your family members, a distant nephew, joined in as well.

They were all easily defeated, but their allies, who have acted dishonourably towards you, may be arrested.

Let’s do that then!

Right.

Well…

They all evaded capture and started rebellions of their own.

Then I’ll beat them too! Easy-peasy!

Which has spawned more rebellions.

Should I be worried yet?

Not really. Well, except for the whole ‘you jsut died’ thing.

What, what?

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Oh Khalil…

Yeah yeah, I know. Put down the many, many rebellions my father spawned.

Then take on the Abbasids!

Yeesh, don’t remind me!

Yeah, without Kalmen troops, Latif has been having a hard time of it. He’s winning, but barely. And every rebellion you crush spawns two more. Every time you try to imprison another rebel, he rebels again! This is a disaster!

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Without Kalmen support, Sultan Latif could not take on the mighty Abbassid Empire, and the result was a draw, a White Peace.

So hey, fun fact: The Kalmen Dynasty is now 100 years old! Sadly, this centennial celebration is marked with bloodshed and succession disputes. There hasn’t been a lot to say about them though; they are mostly uneventful rebellions, but by the time my massive army can put them down, a second smaller rebellion has sprung up on the other side of Egypt! These have been going on for almost twenty years in game, but I have nothing to say about them because they are so petty.

Well, I have one thing to say; TWENTY YEARS! Latif Tulunid has fought and won two wars against western African nations in that time! All this war has caused disease to fester and spread in Egypt, and the people are starving!

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Also a peasant revolt in Atbara, in the Kingdom of Nubia. Which you control.

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This is all very annoying.

I know. Trust me, I know.

Next Time: Mopping up (and dealing with all these prisoners!)

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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in CK II, Snarkangel Plays (The Tags)

 

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Dar al-Islam, Part Ten: Not Winning

Good God, this is a mess!
Tell me about it!

Okay, I will! Here, the Caliphs forces lay siege to Biktorid lands, vastly outnumbering the Sultan’s army in Fustat.

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There is a peasants revolt in Sicily

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The Caliph has troops in our southern lands.

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And the Caliphs allies have troops marching on your Emirate capital of Makuria.

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So we’re fucked?

That would be an accurate summation, yes.

I beg to differ.

Well you go right ahead, but I doubt even you could pull this one out of the fire.

Pay attention. You might learn something. First, note that Ramadan is no longer Caliph, but Prince. Don’t ask me how that happened.

Alright…

Then just kill him!

Yeah, just kill him. I’m sure it’s that easy. He’ll just let you walk right up and-

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Huh. That was.. easy? What would you have done had that failed? Or worse yet, what if you’d been discovered?

You gotta take risks!

Well.. good work. But the war doesn’t end there.

No, but revenge feels good.

While it might feel good, it didn’t help at all. All of our gains in the south have been undone.

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Still, you’ve gained a lot of ground within Egypt, even if your gains without were short lived. Seriously though, look at this map of the dynasties in Egypt!

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Look how much of that you control! And Alexandria belongs to your son! The Kalmen Dynasty controls the vast majority of land within the Kingdom of Egypt. You are almost as powerful as the Sultan himself, while owning far more land and gold.

I have no desire to push for the Sultanate now. I’m old, and I would rather leave a strong dynasty for my son Nuraddin.

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They sound dangerous.

Not quite as dangerous as the Abassids, though. Because the new Caliph wants Nubia now!

Fuck it! Give it to them.

I thought you wanted to be King of Nubia

Yeah, that was something the AI chose for me, before you started playing as me.

Did you just break the fourth wall?

You must be imagining things.

Right. Well, uh… Not all is lost!

It’s not?

Nope! See, the Hashimid have broken off from the Abbasid Empire, giving the Caliph a humongous headache. He’s fighting a two-front war against some very powerful foes.

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Gather what remains of the army. We are taking to the offensive!

Good plan, Yahya! With a little luck, we’ll have our lands back, and we’ll give one giant middle finger to the Caliph while we’re at it!

That would be a nice way to go out.

Hey, don’t talk like that! You’ve got plenty of time. We’re turning this war around! We were on the verge of surrender just months ago! Now look at us!

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We’ve got the edge! A small one, but we’re winning!

Yahya?

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My father is dead. Give him some peace.

Hello Nuraddin.

Hello.

Your father left you one the most powerful dynasty in Egypt. What are you going to do with it?

I will do what my father and grandfather could not.

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I will be Sultan of Egypt.

Looking forward to it, buddy! But we still have a war to fight first. The Caliph has concluded his war against the Hashimids, ending in a White Peace. The Hashimids are independent for now. This means the Caliph can turn the might of his empire against us once again.

Problematic.

It is indeed, Nuraddin. However, Sultan Latif has been pushing them hard in the Sinai, while your fathers campaign in Abyssinia has crushed their will to fight. The Caliph, were he to pursue this war, would likely win. But he is unwilling to do so, and accepts Latif’s peace offering.

Good.

This should give us some breathing space. And what should we do with this breathing space?

Take Krete from the Byzantine Empire!

Yes! Wait, what?

Basileus Sebastianos, Emperor of the Byzantine Roman Empire, has declared a holy war for Sicily against Sultan Latif.

Uh, yes? And? Latif is going to lose that war.

But with the Byzantine forces in Italy, we can invade Krete no problem!

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Well, you’re making good progress. But, and this is a huge but, if he manages to bring his troops in from Italy, he will crush you. Decimate you! Steamroll everything you’ve got!

Well, with our armies in Krete and Latif’s in Sicily, we’ve got the advantage. Sebastianos is splitting his troops and losing both wars!

Latif Tulunid might just keep Sicily after all! And you might gain Krete for the Kalmen Emirate! I feel better about this plan already!

NEXT TIME: The plan goes ‘better’!

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2013 in CK II, Snarkangel Plays (The Tags)

 

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