Look over there! Hordes models!
* Baron of Most Massive Destruction
* Baron of Most Massive Destruction
We should probably try to find the murderer. You may not be safe!
It was you!?
He was 59! Some members of your dynasty lived until they were 80!
God damn it… Fine. Whatever. You want to be Roman Emperor? All you need is Croatia.
I don’t know if that’s true.
Immediately we run into trouble in Aquileia, but equally immediately we have reinforcements on the way.
But then, that’s how it goes when you control half of Iberia, all of Africa, all of the Middle East (sans northern Persia, which remains Seljuk), all of Anatolia, most of the Balkans, and Italy. The Kalmen armies are an infinite horde of well-equipped, experienced veterans fuelled by hate and faith.
Though the battle is won, the Lotharingian army outmanoeuvres the Kalmen forces and gets into Northern Italy.
But it doesn’t matter.
So guess what?
Are you ready for this? Are you ready to push that button?
ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH FOR THE MUSLIM ROMAN EMPIRE?
Well, okay. That description makes no sense, since it’s supposed to be available only to the Byzantine Empire. So allow me a moment to make up my own version…
There, I think that works much better!
Now let’s take a look at our GLORIOUS EMPIRE!
Dat imperial purple. I only wish it had changed our name to ‘Roman Empire’ or something similar.
I have no idea. There’s not much left to do, honestly. We’ve steamrolled everything that got in our way, and I don’t really want to keep doing that on and on until the game ends and we own all of Europe. Time to transfer over?
Actually, it’s that steamrolling I take issue with. I need to remind myself of the original goal; colonize Texas as Muslim, because that’s just hilarious. I don’t want to just cakewalk my way through EU IV, so I’m going to nerf the Muslim Roman Empire. We have no use for Mali…
… and Hungary.
None of these are particularly important, so we aren’t losing much. Of course, it is precisely because they are unimportant that I want to rid of them – they are cruft I don’t want to deal with any longer.
So then. Let’s resign, shall we?
Look on the right-hand side. The great leaders of the Kalmen Dynasty. Man, do I ever miss Koriaur. And Yahya. And Hakam. Those were some fucking great times.
The leaders from Sultan Hakam onwards. Really goes to show just how bogged-down the game has become since taking over the Caliphate.
Also note the score. I beat the Crusader Kings II ‘high score’ marker, with three centuries left to go on the clock. Damn.
Oh God, that is a really ugly version of Imperial Purple (and it’s even worse in-game). I think I’ll go back to the Arabian Green we had before…
Ahhh… much easier on the eyes. Guess all that ‘Roman Empire’ stuff was for naught, eh? Oh well, I needed something to do to occupy my time.
Still sick, eh? That’s a shame.
The Papacy mustered a levy just in time for the retinue of ours to attack it. Then the Knights Hospitaller muster just north of the city.
But that is of no matter to us. The City of Rome is ours!
We still have six more holdings in the province before we can say we ‘own’ Rome, but we’re damn close!
Susa, a small Duchy just north of our Italian holdings, has joined on the side of the Papacy (duh). Is this just the beginning? Will Susa’s support snowball into the destruction of the Caliphate?
Probably not, considering…
Yeah, I can’t even claim this one as another ‘skin of my teeth’ thing. No one else wanted to help Rome defend its walls against the Muslim horde. No one cares about the Pope.
Alexandria has served us well for centuries, but Rome will provide a far more central location for us to expand our growing Mediterranean empire. This does have one major downside though; the tech level in Rome sucks compared to the mighty technological marvels in Alexandria. We’re back a few levels of tech on everything. Which sucks, but with our genius councillors we can rocket ahead once again!
Hey, that’s slightly more like a word!
After being stressed and ill for a year, it’s good to see you back on your feet!
Not yet. There are two things you need:
You need the Duchy of Croatia from the Lotharingians, and the Emirate of Sicily, which you recently gave away to your son.
He won’t like that, and neither will the rest of your vassals. But you could do that. Or you can die, let him inherit everything, and he’ll have the necessary parts (except Croatia, which you can take now, no problemo).
Well… we have a truce with the Lotharingians for another eight years. I kinda stole Venice from them, so we need to wait for that truce to end before we can take Croatia from them.
I don’t think the game is checking for that. It only cares if you’re the Byzantine Emperor, which you are. This would make sense if I had edited the Mending of the Schism decision, but I haven’t! It’s not on the list of decisions you can make, but these events keep popping up anyway!
While we wait for the truce with Lotharingia to expire, we can invade a few other places. Burgundy would be a good choice – a lot of good land across the Alps, in southern France and modern-day Switzerland.
Or we could go further into Iberia, taking land from Gascogne.
Yeah, I guess it was. Why would I want land in France? I feel like I’m conquering stuff for the sake of conquering stuff, just to have something to do. So let’s take Iberia; declare the Invasion of Andalusia!
A naval invasion of Valencia is the last thing they expect, I’m sure. Yet here we go!
The war progresses with stupefying ease. They [robably didn’t expect us to march along the coast and come at them from the North, from Italy. But we did.
And just like that, Andalusia is ours, and our hold on southern Iberia is almost total.
This is the mapmode on which you assign your spymaster to steal technology.
And it’s empty!
And that means there is no one with any technology to steal! Alexandria is the most technologically advanced nation in Europe!
Very cool! So I’ve been thinking…
Well, in addition to the titles of Caliph and Padishah, you are also the Byzantine Emperor, yes?
And the Byzantine Empire is simply the eastern half of the Roman Empire – in fact, historically in this period, it was simply referred to as the Roman Empire, even if it didn’t control Rome itself.
Well, we very nearly control the city of Rome.
(Oh yeah, I forgot to mention… The Kalmen Caliphate inherited a bunch of Italian provinces, and the Lotharingians – former Byzantine Emperors – lost control of the rest, so I nabbed a bunch of small single-province nations in quick order.)
(Also: Would someone please deal with those damn Vikings!)
Yes indeed. And with only a small edit in some of the game files, I could make it so that you could, in fact, form the Roman Empire yourself. As a Muslim. Ahistorical? Yes. Awesome? VERY!
I told you!
Uh… calm down Aksil.
I told you to calm down! Just take a break Aksil.
Sadly, all that stress has taken a brutal toll on your body.
No matter how sick you might be, Aksil, the world carries on. Aquitaine is suffering from a brief civil war. They are going to win – of that there is little doubt. But while this war rages on, we can snag a chunk of Iberia for ourselves.
I’ll take that as a yes.
That’s a pretty hefty Piety hit. But we can take it (we have 1700)!
The war progresses nicely…
Stop stressing, man! Just take a few deep breaths.
See? Nothing to worry about. We won! It was a little sketchy at the end there, when both Germany (which has replaced the Holy Roman Empire) and Lotharingia (Byzantium) joined to defend their brothers of the faith. But it was too late; other than a few skirmishes in Italy, Lotharingia contributed nothing to the war.
You might want to get that checked out by a doctor…
Since you remain stressed and infirm, I guess that means I’m in charge? Cool!
Let’s get some retinues into Italy, in preparation for the Holy War for the city of Rome. Because declaring that will bring in every Catholic in Europe against us, and even we cannot take all that. Not even close.
But it’ll be awesome, right?
I thought so!
Our armies prepare outside Rome…
Yeah, that’s not suspicious. Don’t mind us, Pope Formosus! We’re just… here to observe. Nothing more!
Pay us no mind, Pope!
No wait, I lied.
Now I just need to take Rome before Lotharingia, Germany and Aquitaine (which is slowly patching itself back together) swarm me. Kalmen armies muster on the borders, just waiting for the chance to invade. They won’t win, but they will hopefully hold the Christians at bay long enough to take and hold Rome.
P.S. This game has been a cakewalk ever since I accidentally inherited the Caliphate. There have been a few close calls, but now the game has devolved into ‘Kalmen Takes The World’.
The Kalmen Caliphate is unwieldy and an unfun. At any given moment, I have two or three peasant revolts, and Anatolia continues to be a disgruntled thorn, demanding independence every five to ten years.
The game itself has devolved into an endless chain of ‘click OK’ on a new message’ every few seconds, and it has slowed the game to a crawl. So many ‘important’ messages that I cannot skip or turn off, each one requiring a second or two of my time to make disappear – only to be followed up only moments later by another one. It’s getting incredibly frustrating to run an empire this large. I may just rush through forming the Roman Empire and taking Iberia, and export the game to EU IV early.
West we go! There’s nothing very interesting between us and Iberia, but once we get across the Straight of Gibraltar, hoo boy!
Aquitaine is the most powerful nation in Europe at the moment, what with the Holy Roman Empire looking like this:
So uh, hey. I just noticed something odd…
Well that’s nice. Now we have a tiny little province in the middle of the Seljuk horde.
You can say that again! Please don’t, by the way.
I hate you and everything you stand for.
How did I not notice this?
I need to pay better attention…
Well, okay. That makes things much easier! Let’s start our westward march, and get ready to fight Aquitaine!
That’s… good to hear. How’s that moving west thing going?
I figured it would be. The Kalmen Caliphate totally dominates Africa, the Middle East and Greece. Nothing can stop us now.
Well, nothing but jealous wives.
Aren’t dynastic politics fun?
I know, that’s why I used it!
Word has reached me that, somewhere in Europe, a man claiming right to the throne of Byzantium is mustering forces. You should prepare to fight off a potentially massive force. He will also have access to the newly-formed Knights Templar.
How are you going to deal with all these new and sudden threats, Aksir?
Sure yeah. Let’s go with that.
Please don’t tell me you’re diving in…
God damn it, Aksil! That is not what I meant!!
Good job. Important information gathered.
Please don’t speak.
I can see that.
At least you improved your Intrigue. Which, granted, may have had something to do with this?
When did you get the Varangian Guard on your side?
Oh yeah. It’s easy to forget that one. Especially in moments of utter crisis.
What are you going to do?
Good plan. But I might have a better one…
See that? That’s Rome. The brown stuff is Lotharingia, formerly Italy, formerly the Byzantine Empire. They are Orthodox, so they probably won’t join the Crusade for Jerusalem.
And that green? That’s us. Right on Rome’s borders. Raise a few fleet levies and ship a massive army into Italy and sack Vatican City! That’ll show ’em!
Calm down, calm down! Maybe Lotharingia has changed rulers? I haven’t been paying attention, so maybe they are Catholic after all. But that’s not a problem. We got this, you and me!
See? It’s all good!
And hey, you now have a pretty cool event available! You can claim Constantinople!
As do I! And congratulations, you are now automatically the Sheikh of Constantinople, in addition to any other titles you may have held.
Well, the city has an ancient and grand tradition. On the other hand, Alexandria has been the capital of the Kalmen dynasty for 250 years, except for a few short years under Yahya I, son of the great Koraiur I, founder of the Kalmen dynasty. Yahya ruled from Makuria for one short generation before the capital was moved back to Alexandria upon his death.
Coolio. But there’s one strange thing…
Did you convert to Orthodox Christianity while I wasn’t looking?
Are you sure?
I only ask because, well…
Huh. I guess we found a bug. That event really needs to check the religion of the ruler in addition to the title held. Or make the Byzantine Empire title Orthodox only.
Speaking of the Byzantine Empire, they aren’t even Italy any more.
Lotharingia. Which would normally exist north of the Alps.
Your Greatness has even been recognized far beyond the (admittedly large) borders of your Sunni Caliphate! Powerful and learned men come to join your court.
That you are, Aksil!
Okay, we seriously need to finish securing Arabia and Mesopotamia so we can return to our main goal of taking Iberia.
Easy! The biggest trouble you have on your eastern border is that damned Sh’ia Caliphate, the hateful Itijid. They control much of Mesopotamia. Declare an invasion and take it from them! This will be a huge blow to their power, weakening them in future confrontations, but it will also tidy up your borders and give you the land that belongs to you.
I bet we’ll have Anatolians clamouring for independence as soon as we do…
Damn right! But so very worth it.
I do. Let’s get it done!
Four months into the war, and there is no sign of Itijid troops anywhere. OUr forces have mustered and march into Sh’ia lands with impunity.
Then, nearly a year into the invasion of Mesopotamia, the first combined army of the Itijid is spotted:
My thoughts exactly! What happened to the Itijids? I haven’t noticed any wars that would have weakened them. I have no idea where all their troops are. But it doesn’t really matter. Before that battle is even over, we’ve won.
Immediately following their hilarious defeat, the Itijid Caliphate collapse into warring factions. If ever it needed to be done, it would be now.
Because that was disgustingly easy!
Well if it makes you feel any better…
But It’ij escaped again.
And once again, we bounce from one major war right into the next. An early battle is coming to a head north of Acre, and may prove decisive in these early days of this war.
Though victory comes to the Kalmen forces, these independence-seeking Anatolians refuse to give up. A long and gruelling war follows, with no more large battles to speak of.
Yes. Yes, it really is. Meanwhile, with the province of Kermanshah now declaring its independence from you, the Itijid are trying to take the province. This means they are hostile to you, and your armies, should they meet, will clash, but you are not technically at war.
Basically yes. You can attack their armies, but that will merely weaken you in the wars you are really fighting.
Also: Norse Vikings have seen these constant wars as a chance to raid Sicily and Tunisia.
It’s more likely than you think!
Well… Uh… That war is over!
I have no idea. It just sort of… ended. Sometimes wars do that when the leader dies, but that’s not what happened here. All of a sudden they just… stopped wanting independence?
Nor do I. Call it a freebie and move on?
Not that kind of ‘move on’!
But… But… You’re leaving behind fourteen pretenders, all of whom hate your son! You’re going to have succession wars out the wazoo!
… Shut up. Stop talking, you’re dead.
We’ll see how he performs under pressure.
You have a war to deal with.
What did you expect?
Well that was a freebie!
You’d be a damned fool not to.
Well let’s take a look at the map of Europe:
You see, the Byzantines don’t control much of the land that once made up the Empire.
You may also notice the DISGUSTING MESS that is Europe and its borders. That is seriously ugly. Not like the Caliphate! Oh no, those borders are cleaning up nicely!
Well okay, Hungary is still ugly as sin. But that’s in Europe, so it doesn’t count! It won’d be much longer until all of Arabia, Mesopotamia and the Levant: Basically the Mashriq region (plus Arabia).
I swear, if I see an Easy Button come up, I will find a way to have you assassinated.
The Usurp button? I don’t know, let’s find out!
Perhaps. But we have more!
Well, we have a few more…
They are Christian – Orthodox, specifically (Monothellite to be even more specific) – and Greek. They don’t like an Egyptian Sunni Muslim ruling over them. There are also some Berber and Arab opportunists trying to ride the coat-tails of what they hope will be a successful rebellion.
I know! And it only gets worse, Hakam.
I know, right? Lucky for us, they are just as happy fighting each other as they are us.
There’s a lot going on here, but the gist of it is this: I have no idea who is going to win! We’ve made good progress in our first wars, but the Tunisian bid for the throne has put a huge dent in our numbers, and forced us into a two-front war. Never a good thing! A quick, hard strike against the Tunisians will get them out of the fight and allow us to focus on what really matters; that huge rebellion in Anatolia! Fleets are raised to transport one of our armies across the Mediterranean to Tunis.
Mission accomplished! (Mostly)
Adding to our accomplishments, a tiny little peasant revolt has been dealt with too!
I certainly hope so. It’s not much, but it’s something!
Speaking of something, uh… Emir Sadiq has died. Not sure how, or why, or when, but he did. And he was leading the independence faction.
It sure was! And honestly, the rest of our enemies fall with pitiful ease after that.
News from the east is not so wonderful. Our allies in the Seljuk Empire have lost control of their northern holdings and are embroiled in a civil war of their own. And the Sh’ia have made large gains in Persia and southern Arabia. It won’t be long until our two great nations clash once again.
We need to recoup, refresh our men and prepare to take Arabia from the unholy Sh’ia!
Don’t do exactly what you’re thinking of doing.
I hate this entire family.
Well… let’s start by raising and consolidating our troops. Lucky us, the Seljuks, despite their troubles, have agreed to join us in our war against the Sh’ia Itijid.
The war is harshest on the western shores of the Persian Gulf, where tens of thousands of men manoeuvre into position and destroy one another.
This may be the decisive battle of this war. That Itijid army was once thirty-thousand strong but was whittled down, and is led by Caliph It’ij himself. You, Caliph Hakam II, command the army coming up from the south.
As you join the battle, ten-thousand Sh’ia camel riders come from the east and ambush your reserves before fleeing back into the desert. It’ij escapes, but his eldest son is slain by your own son and heir, Prince Abil.
It’ij quickly leads his cavalry to meet with his marshal, and marches on your northern army with another force of twenty-thousand men. In your rush to reinforce the army of your nephew Basileos (a Greek boy), southern Arabia is left defenceless, and your armies there are crushed with ease.
But that army at the top of the screenshot is sieging the Sh’ia capital. If we can take the entire province, we might have the leverage to declare victory! Push, Hakam, push!
Ambush! Damn that wily It’ij!
With some quick manoeuvres and quick strikes, you regroup in Kalmen territory to make another push on the Itijid capital.
He is taking the bait! Should he engage the army in Kermanshah, your massive force in Baghdad will march to join in and crush this pretender Caliph once and for all!
Good luck, yo!
Good, because the rest of the world was not still while you were away.
Not for the Caliph! You have an Arabian Empire to unite!
Oh, ignore him! He hasn’t declared war yet…
While on campaign against some tiny lord, a bear attacked you!
It is! But don’t worry, you have a big strong man to save you!
But do you know what’s more dangerous than bears?
Last time we looked at Britain, it was a bit of a mess, with Norse Scots (called Skots, because they are Norse) and Danes tearing the Isles apart. In the last century it… has not changed much.
But let’s look at the religious map, too.
Yeah, I can see why the Pope would consider this problematic. At the games start in 867, the Catholics had pushed nearly all Norse from the Isles. Clearly they made a comeback, formed Skotland, which gained Norway (by inheritance) and Ireland (by conquest). Clearly they are not doing quite as well now; they’ve lost half of Ireland and all of Norway. But they have Pommerania!
Basically, the Pope is declaring a Crusade to fight a weakened Skotland and a powerfulish Denmark, which controls its own land, as well as parts of Finland. Neither one, nor both together, will stand up to the Holy Roman Empire should it join the Crusade. Because honestly? There really isn’t any other Christian nation. Western Europe looks like this:
Yes, that is Aquitaine and Toulouse fighting the Spanish for control of Northern Iberia, while the Muslim Balawids hunker down in the south.
Eastern Europe looks like this:
Poland in two parts, the Byzantine Empire in Croatia and Montenegro, and a big ol’ Rus on the upper right. Just right of the screenshot is the giant Seljuk empire, just sitting there.
And the religious map of Europe:
All that purpley-pink blotchyness in Anatolia and Greece is Orthodox Christianity. It’s so messy because I’m busily converting the Orthodox to Sunni Islam, one province at a time. Slow going.
Anyway, the Crusade!
Don’t worry. After a few minor skirmishes around Alexandria, Prince Zeyd is beaten and surrenders.
Please don’t say easy.
Yeah, I’ve never played as a character as powerful as a Caliph before. It has so far been nothing but plot discovered announcements and peasant revolts not even worth mentioning.
That said, the Sh’ia Caliph to the east has been growing quite rapidly!
With the Holy Roman Empire’s failure to commit to the Crusade, the Pope has no choice but to call it off.
Me neither, Hakam. Me neither.
The failure of this First Crusade for England has had far-reaching and monumental consequences. Western Europe is… Well, look at it!
You can say that again!
This is actually a good time to take back those Italian and Sicilian holdings we somehow lost somewhere along the way. The Holy Roman Empire is distracted and discordant, while we are stronger than ever! The Holy Roman Empire at full strength would certainly crush us, but as it is? Victory will be ours with little issue, I predict.
Lo and behold!
Don’t you dare.
I hate you so much right now.
Grump grump grump.
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