CK2 AAR - English Conquest of England

Author: detectivekr
Published: 2017-02-03
A story of a Norwegian family's failed conquest of England. (Game is Crusader Kings 2)
Welcome. The goal of this playthrough is to form English culture and conquer England, hence the title. Unfortunately, the process is a tad convoluted, and this ultimately did not work out for me, hence the "failure." But on the bright side, many other things did work out, but we'll get to that later.

We start as Alfr av Alfheim, count of Alfheimr and Akershus. Why are we starting in Scandinavia, when this is about the English? Well, that's where the convoluted process comes in. But first, some early failures.
Right away the jarl of Denmark conquers half my territory, despite assistance from the jarl of Sweden. Alfr is Ragnarr's grandfather, but the ruler of Sweden was engaged in multiple other wars and couldn't save poor Akershus from being conquered by the Danish.
This playthrough is actually my third or forth attempt at forming English culture and conquering England, and almost every time someone in Scandinavia would usurp all my titles as they united the respective Kingdoms. I decided it would be safer to fealty to one of the stronger dukes. For some reason I chose Denmark, my recent conquerors, mostly because they appeared the most powerful. Plus I wanted to reclaim Akershus, and it would be a lot easier to face 700ish men than all of Denmark's 4000.

Don't forget that Ragnarr is Alfr's grandson, and Alfheimr (my only remaining county) technically belongs to Sweden. This probably won't matter in the long run though.
Nah, of course Ragnarr took Alfheimr. Fortunately I had just recently reclaimed Akershus, so my game didn't end right there. So now I'm playing as Alfr av ALFHEIM, count of Akershus, vassal of my initial conquerors, and I don't control Alfheimr. My pride...it stings!
Well at least Ragnarr is my grandson, so the land is technically held by my family. Ragnarr is my daughter's son, so he's not of my dynasty, but close enough.

Oh wait, he gave the county to some child. Pride meter: [||--------] going on empty!
Here's a view of the world at the dawn of the Viking Age. The world is fairly typical for the Charlemagne start. Francia is united and suffering from Saxon rebellions, the Islam blob is terrifying, and everyone else is idly watching.

The Viking Age is crucial to my plans, however, as it unlocks several important things:

1. I get free ships

2. I can raid coastal provinces for cash and prestige, building up Akershus.

3. I can declare oversea conquests (of a single county) or invasions (of larger swaths of territory). The latter is very useful, but I'll be using the single county conquest to keep thing simple.
Alfr av Alfheim dies on my first raiding trip. Long live Kol av Alfheim! He start his rule at 19. I love playing as young rulers. So much can be accomplished in a single lifetime!
This event isn't important, I just found it amusing. You get it by having the hunting focus, and normally only have the first three options for names. The last is because Kol is cynical, so I get a religious appropriate name. Fenrir is one badass name for a dog! Good omen I hope.
Of course, naming your dog after your religion's devil figure maybe was a bad idea. Kol didn't have the greatest luck with lovers. In fact, that goddamn jarl of Denmark, my liege, kept seducing Kol's wives.
Yes, wive(s), plural. The jarl was caught every time, four times in fact, and each of those wives were imprisoned and executed for their infidelity. He also seduced Kol's concubines.

Pride meter: [----------] empty! Impotent!

I honestly hate the seduction focus for multiple reasons. It's irritating beyond all hell, and it's a huge waste of gold to hire spies after every pregnancy. Worse yet, the seduction focus produces a MILLION characters that just lags the game. Knowing that all those millions are the offspring of dickheads like the jarl of Denmark only makes it worse.
Fortunately the jarl of Denmark eventually died. Yes, he died a very happy, over sexualized man, but he was dead. That meant Kol was finally able to continue the av Alfheim bloodline in peace.

Also fortunately, when the jarl died, multiple Danish vassals took the opportunity to declare independence, Kol included. Now independent once more, and with two counties again! (Akershus and Vestfold).

Pride meter: [|---------]

You're not allowed to get many pride points for reclaiming essentially your starting condition, and technically I don't even have that, since the ancestral lands still belong to the Gautske pigchild.
But as they say, gotta look forward, not backwards. The Duke or Cornwall is suffering from a revolt and has lost a lot of men in the civil war.

One quick war later, Kol is the ruler of Cornwall, Vestfold, and Akershus. Despite conquering a feudal title, Kol unfortunately remains tribal. The "only" way to convert is to adopt the decision "adopt feudalism" which requires some annoying requirements:

1. Absolute tribal authority (wouldn't happen in Kol's lifetime)

2. Level 4 fort in capital (Akershus had this and more, it was by far the most developed tribal holding in the world by this point! Thank you, Christian rulers, for your cash and prestige!)

3. Be reformed pagan or non-pagan. Germanic had zero chance at being reformed by the AI. Kol did convert to catholicism via his concubine, but he still needed the tribal authority.

In other words, there was no chance feudalism would be adopted soon. Kol may have a shiny new castle, but he'll have to sit outside in his straw hut and just admire it for now.
Except I didn't have that patience, since gavelkind succession was about to make me lose Cornwall and Vestfold, and I couldn't move my capital to Cornwall to keep it, since it wasn't a tribal holding. So, some "gamey" tactics needed to be utilized. Vestfold was given to Kol's brother (which also granted him independence, since Kol was also only a count). Shortly thereafter, a Germanic revolt occured in Akershus, and I purposefully let them win. The rebels took control of Akershus, and Kol was left with Cornwall alone. This automatically made him feudal!

In retrospect, I should have given Akershus to Kol's brother, so at least the super tribe would be still be within av Alfheim hands. Oh well, the sequence of losing sacred ancestral land is certainly not a new experience for the av Alfheims at this point.
Cornwall has a fairly well developed castle for the time period. I renamed is Ny Alfehimr, which I THINK means "New Alfheimr" in Norwegian, but that's what I got from Google. Hopefully I'm not a huge dork and accidentally named it Penis Alfheimr.
It doesn't take too long before all of the duchy of Cornwall belongs to the av Alfheim family.

So why all the work for Cornwall? Well, as I alluded to earlier, the process to form English culture is shitty. Like, shitty enough that English culture will probably never form in 99% of games. It requires:

1. Formation of Norman culture, which requires a Norse ruler to own French, Occitain, or Breton lands. To my knowledge, the norse ruler must be top level or independent, and it must be before 1150.

2. After 1100, any Anglo-saxon provinces owned by a Norman king of England have a chance to flip to English. You specifically need the title King of England, not Duke or Emperor of Britain. So this means conquering enough of England to form the title, but not enough to the point where Anglo-saxon is completely replaced by Norman. Of course, you could play it safe by having Anglo-saxon vassals, but that foreign culture malus can be tough, especially around succession time.
No longer a count, now a duke!

Pride meter: [|||-------]
Not much else occurs in Kol's lifetime, but I'd say that's plenty. His son, Alfr II av Alfheim, now rules the duchy of Cornwall. FYI, Kol's brother still rules Vestfold as well, but not a whole lot has changed over there.
Norse rulers have the option to construct runestones for 100 gold. I thought I'd build one to honor Kol, as he accomplished the "hardest" part of my plan, which is escaping Scandinavia and becoming a feudal ruler in England. The British Isles are fairly secluded and safe, so I could relax a bit.

Besides, I had a long time to wait for Norman culture to develop, as the MTTH is 1200 months. So, on average, it will take 100 years for Cornwall to flip from Breton to Norman.
Some fairly good bonuses for building runestones! At this point I don't think it's worth 100 gold, but it is a "cheaper" way to get +10 opinion with all my vassals compared to bribing all of them.
Another screenshot of the world. The Islamic blobs are even more terrifying, and have made progress into France and Anatolia. Not a good sign of Christendom.

Oh well, I'm safe on the isles. Time to set to speed 5 and wait for Norman culture to form.
While I waited patiently, the Norwegian side of the family has been busy! All the brown provinces belong to the av Alfheim family.

Family pride meter: [||||------]

Oh wait, the family still doesn't own Alfheimr. Damnit, I guess that means resetting the family pride meter to 0. Someday, someday.
Alfr II av Alfheim died after an uneventful rule. Long live Kol II!
Starting early in his career, the young child-duke declares war on the neighboring duchy of Wessex. Why? To install Kol II's lunatic mother on the throne. Yes, she has the lunatic trait, she's not just a weird mother.
I was HOPING this would mean inheriting the entire duchy when she died, but obviously nothing works out liked planned, and all the other neighboring dukes declared war on Kol's mother for their piece of pie.
Despite assisting her in the wars, they were all lost.
The natural response to all this failure is to just ragequit. Except Kol II is stuck within the video game, and I'm not personally going to ragequit over losing just one backwater duchy (that I technically never owned anyway), so Kol II was left with no options but to vent his rage on his enemies.

I've never actually seen this trait before. That's pretty awesome. Scandinavia has a lot of cool flavor!
Anyway, Kol's mother never lost the claim to the duchy despite losing all the counties to the neighbors, so a repeat war to claim the duchy was done. Shortly later, Kol's mother died and he inherited two counties and one vassal.

That vassal was the Anglo-saxon Cerdicing family, the original rulers of Wessex. They didn't like Kol too much. But Kol had a martial of 36 (the highest I've ever had on a played character), so Kol had a ton of troops. Enough that even at -100 relations, the Cerdicings dared not to revolt.
The marriage is not important, I just liked the way he referred to Kol. "Strong beserker Kol." Not noble ruler, not despicable member of Greek plays, but "strong beserker." You just know everyone on the British Isle had heard of Kol and his angry antics to put his lunatic mother on the throne. That's a good reputation, it's better to be feared that loved, right?
Speaking of Greek plays, it seems Kol's son, who had left earlier to join the personal guard to the Basileus, has returned from Greece. Seems like he made some friends, too!
FINALLY. FINALLY. Norman culture has formed! Now, to be fair, it took only 70 years, but that's still a long time to wait for something that may never happen.

But, the wait has only just begun. It is barely yet 900 AD, and English culture cannot form until after 1100 AD. That's a long time to be generic brand French.
Oh well, looks like some fun things will keep me distracted in the mean time.
Kol II dies after more than doubling Cornish territory, and it was also under his rule that Norman culture appeared. It was under the first Kol's rule that Cornwall was even conquered. The Kols have brought good tidings to the av Alfheim family. We'll see if Lendel can do the same.
Well, like any son that has a lot to prove by living up to his father's name, Lendel immediately starts declaring a bunch of pretentious bullshit to show off. Oh well, I like the stats, keep at it Lendel.

FYI, this "true Christian knight" is also the homosexual ex-Varangian. lol
In my spare time, I had been sending my chaplain to the various pagans. I actually managed to convert Sweden, which is excellent, since that meant fewer Viking raids. Though I suppose I deserved those raids, considering how much wealth I acquired via the same means...
The Norwegian side of the family continues to do some good work! Now that side of the family has their own Duke as well, Duke of Iceland. A few more are also vassals to the Trolli family, and a scattered few are independent counts in Norway.

But the av Alfheim family still doesn't own Alfheimr. Actually, I don't think the av Alfheim's ever own that county ever again. Permanent shame!
Lendel av Alfheim dies after uniting the southern coast of England under the Cornish banner. Long live Drogo av Alfheim! What an awesome randomly-generated name, too: Drogo. Time to make some awesome things happen, like pouring molten gold on people!
Against all odds, the eastern Islamic blob exploded! Despite Paradox's efforts to make this occur more frequently, in the vast majority of my games, the Abbasids rule indefinitely.
Another rare finding, the Suomenusko faith is reformed, by the Russians never-the-less.
Since the Crusades were unlocked earlier, the Suomenusko faith also unlocks their Great Holy Wars. They promptly use this to conquer Catholic Sweden. Damnit.
Drogo has managed to conquer more of southern England, but the av Alfheim curse strikes once more. Now Drogo faces not just an invasion from the Germanic pagans....
....but also an Adventurer with claims on all the Cornish lands! And they'll occur in the same year! Fortunately separated by a few months, so if I'm lucky ("lucky" in the av Alfheim sense), I'll manage to defeat one before the second threat strikes.
Which I manage to do, of course, otherwise this AAR would have ended here.

But you probably already knew that, and that killed all the suspense! Well, good for you, but believe me, that was a suspenseful year for me!!
So, good news and bad news.

Good news: Drogo's son manages to conquer a few more counties in England, and is able to form the Kingdom of England! Only remaining requirement is to wait until year 1100, a short 93 years away.

Bad News: Drogo's son is named Bill. Yes. Goddamn Bill is the one to form England, and will forever be listed on that title's history page. Children in this world will learn about the first king of England. Bill.

Bill wasn't Drogo's firstborn, and he had a stupid randomly-generated name, so thinking it would be harmless, I gave him a different name. Not that Bill is a bad name, but it's no Drogo. Anyway, good ol' av Alfheim luck decreed that Bill's older brothers would die, and of course Bill would inherit the throne.

But I'm not going to let something petty like a name stop me from forming the title, so long live King Bill, first king of England!
Here is a cultural view of the British Isles, at the time of England's formation. As you can see, about half of it as Norman, and the other half is Anglo-saxon. Plus plenty of Anglo-saxon land outside of av Alfheim control, so I'm not too worried about the culture going extinct before 1100.
Not too long after, Bill dies and his son, Radulf, takes the throne. Now that's a name that I can respect. Prove me proud, Radulf!
Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, the Byzantines took advantage of the fractured Abbasids by taking the holy land. This activated the Jihads. Good luck, purple phoenix.
Also on the other side of the continent, but a tad more North (but not by much), the av Alfheim family has managed to form the king of Norway. But since England is more important, the dynasty map still shows up as English red :-)
Anyway, as you saw, Radulf took the throne as a child. Not a whole lot happened in his lifetime, I slowly took parts of England, but not too aggressively since I wanted some independent Anglo-saxon rulers to be around, just in case.

Well, I guess one important thing happened. Several crusades occurred and failed, except the last, which I decided to participate in. Since I was the biggest contributor, I won the title.

Not exactly part of the plan, but I'll take it! Besides, I can give the kingdom to some family member later, once I've converted the land to Catholicism. But no point in granting independence to Andalusia just yet, otherwise the Umayyads would just eat them up again, av Alfheim alliance or not.
Here are the combined lands of Norman England as Radulf II takes the throne.
During the succession period, the Umayyads decide to declare war, which ultimately works out excellently. You get a +75 opinion boost with all your vassals for defending against heathens, and I was able to amass a huge army. Plus I was allied with France and Aquitania, so the Umayyads had no shot. Well, they had a chance, they did have 45k troops. But you know what I mean.
In the middle of the war, Radulf II dies and his son Radulf III takes the throne. Once again I am able to take advantage of the +75 relations bonus, which is all the sweeter since he is a child with an ambitious regent.
Hahaha, I'm starting to feel a little bad for the Umayyads now. Not too long after Radulf III's becoming a full adult, another crusade was called. Naturally I fought to win the titles, and more of Iberia was mine. I mean, uh, more of Iberia to give to av Alfheim relatives later, when it's safe. I promise!!
Oh right, there is that minor detail that the Kingdom of England was actually ruled by a the Norman Duke of Cornwall. I could have moved my capital to London once I acquired it, but I liked staying in Cornwall for whatever reason. Besides, I named all the castles in the duchy after my old Norwegian holdings. Like hell I was going to give up Penis Akershus, Penis Alfheim, and Penis Smaland to someone else! Err, I mean, Ny Alfheim.
And then, shortly after 1100 rolled around, English culture appears as anticlimatically as only the English can. I didn't even get a pop-up showing it. I just happened to catch it when scrolling around on culture view. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I'm guessing I would have gotten the event if I actually had an anglo-saxon province in my demesne, but I didn't, so I guess one of my vassals got the event.
By the time Radulf IV takes the throne, almost all of England is now under av Alfheim control. Also note that it's not Radulf III passing off the throne, but RALPH the third. As in, three rulers all shared that name. What a quality name for a middle ages ruler, right on up there with Bill! SMH.
Just another shot showing the world as it exists during this succession period. I took Galicia in a holy war, for that sweet Catholic holy site. France reclaimed Navarra from the Umayyads, which had retaken it between Crusades.
Here is a cultural view of England. As you can see, Norman culture is fairly widespread, even now spreading to Iberia. I had to make the decision of whether I wanted to adopt English culture myself.

If you look closely, you'll see that I moved my capital to Derby, so that I could use the decision to adopt local (English) culture. This was the only way I could do it as a current ruler, as there was no melting pot decision like the Norse -> Norman switch. Bug? Intentional?
Radulf IV's short rule was my experimental period, to see if I liked being an English King to many Norman Dukes. Overall, it wasn't very fun, so I made the decision to abandon English culture and stay Norman.

That means, technically speaking, my entire goal has failed. Yes, I conquered England, and yes, England culture formed, but I honestly cannot be bothered to convert that many vassals (and land) to the new culture. Just way too much of a hassle. My AAR is a failure!!!

Pride meter: [??????????] goal accomplished? failed? whatever, time to move on.
Seeing as I refuse to be English, I don't really deserve to be King of ENGLAND. So time to be something more. But I'll need more land for what I have in mind, and fortunately a crusade fired just as I was forming new plans.
It's ridiculous to think this is the same game where the Islamic blobs once ruled most of the world, now down to a moral authority of 22%. I love how dynamic CK2 can be!
Took some more land in a holy war, but having this many vassals was starting to become worrisome. Several factions were growing in size, and it was becoming more tricky to keep all them loyal. To make matters worse, some of the vassals DID switch to English culture, others did not.

I had the ominous feeling that a large civil war was on the horizon, made all the worse that my land was split by water, thus splitting my potential forces.
Before any civil war could erupt, however, I managed to usurp the Empire of Hispania from the Umayyads.

Yes, in a game where I set out to make English England, I am now the Norman Emperor of Spain, and I don't even have all of England under my control, as those two independent pink dots in England show.
But Hispania isn't really fitting title in my eyes.

Fortunately, Norman culture and the Empire of Hispania share a common color, so I decided to rename the Empire to Normandy. Once committed, I fully commit!

I also divied out the kingdom level titles to my relatives, except for the Kingdom of England, which I kept for myself. There was a definite disproportion of power, however, as the King of Andalusia was definitely a lot larger than the other vassal kings...
Oh well, for now, the King of Andalusia loves me since I granted him a bunch of titles. I'll worry about him later. First I need to make another King my vassal.

The Pope.
Remember when the Norman (Hispanian) Emperor conquered Rome? Oh yea, those were the times.

It got me thinking. Norman culture is listed as being in the "Latin" cultural group. Maybe the av Alfheims can reform the Western Roman Empire and make it all Norman? With the Pope as the vassal, might as well try to form the HRE.

New goal, set!
Having the Pope as a vassal is obscenely good for multiple reasons.

1. One, you can spend a bit of piety and relations to declare war on any Catholic county or duchy you want. Saves a lot of time on needing to forge claims.

2. GOLD
France had their own anti-pope, they formed it nearly a century ago. But I wanted all that French money, so time to depose the imposter!
Yes, thank you France, yes I will take all your bishops' money.
I've been keeping a secret from you. Not too long after the Empire of Normandy was formed and the Pope was vassalized, a certain someone approached Emperor Wymund with a marriage proposal.

That person being the Empress of the Eastern Romans. She married Wymund's son, and not even matrilinearally!! Which means Wymund's grandson would inherit bot empires.

Pride meter: [||||||||--] oh the anticipation!
Which, he did! Wymund's son... Ralph... continued to rule the Empire of Normandy, while his son's son inherited Byzantium! The av Alfheim family now controls Norway, England, Iberia, and the Eastern Roman Empire!

I love failing at AARs.
Actually, just as things were looking really good, failure became a really good possibility. That damn king of Andalusia and his cronies finally declared a civil war for independence, and I feared my fortunes were going to slip away from me.

Naturally the Byzantines assisted in the civil war, but even with their assistance, the war was very tense. The scattered few loyal lands in Iberia did not provide many forces, so I was forced to abandon the area and stomp out the rebels in England first.

Byzantium had more than enough forces to take on the Iberian troops, but the AI prioritized wherever my armies were, so they came to assist in England, which was mindlessly sieging.

Oh, the King of Aragon is technically in a seperate war, as I tried to imprison him (one of the intrigue events gave me a reason to do so). I had hoped that imprisoning him would weaken the independence faction. Instead, he escaped arrest and declared war, which set off the fuse for the full blown civil war.
Normally dying in the middle of the civil war would be disasterous, but in this case, it was a blessing in disguise. Ralph (for fuck's sake, the combined ruler of two empire is named Ralph...) took the throne. Which means I could personally control both my Norman forces, and all of the Byzantine troops as well.

Well, as I said earlier, Byzantium had more than enough troops to make the war exceptionally easy, so the tension level went dramatically down. Ralph was also Greek and Orthodox, so there was low risk for the Greek provinces to revolt, which I absolutely did not need to happen at this time.

I was able to squash both rebellions and revoke essentially every kingdom level title. Which I promptly replaced with viceroyal kings, since they are hell of a lot easier to manage.
So, with the civil war officially over, it was time to make some important decisions.

- Do I grant one of the Empires independence to an AI member of the av Alfheim family? Or do I keep both titles? If so, do I switch back to the Empire of Normandy? and slowly let Byzantium drift into that title?

- Do I stay Norman culture? Do I stay Catholic?

Considering I've already changed plans multiple times, originally English England, then Norman HRE, I figured a third change wouldn't be out-of-order. Time to reunite the former Roman provinces.

Ultimately I destroyed the Empire of Normandy so that it would drift to under de jure Byzantium. I decided to stay Greek, since more provinces were Greek. I decided to stay Catholic, since that meant more catholic land to feed the Pope, which meant more GOLD!
Being anything but Orthodox as Byzantium really hurts, though. I legitimately felt bad making that decision, especially for gameplay reasons. I'd rather everything turn Orthodox, but it would be a lot of money to lose.

Perhaps as a way to punish me for making Byzantium catholic, the game puts Emperor Ralph to an early grave, and the very young Neophytos takes over.

A very young, Orthodox neophytos with now mostly-Catholic vassals.

A very young Neophytos that is slowly accumulating multiple viceroyal titles, with no way to give them out, since his regent disapproves.

A very young Neophytos with most of his vassals with negative opinion, if all else due to the "too many held duchies" malus, due to the above.
Oh, and a very young Neophytos with Jihad on his lands, with every Muslim ruler joining.
But like before, this was a blessing in disguise, since that at least fixed one of my problems. The Jihad gave me the +75 "defending from infidels" opinion boost, so at least another civil war was staved off for the time being.

But that Jihad was no walk in the park either. The combined enemy forces easily outnumbered the Byzantine forces, made no better by all of their forces being focused in the Middle East, and all of mine being scattered across the continent. Miraculously, I was able to snipe them one at a time, and just as some of my armies were being depleted, reserves from Iberia or England would return.

The Jihad did completely empty most of my levies, going from over 130k to less than 10k. I may have won the Jihad, but was now quite vulnerable, and certainly in no position to continue expanding.
Never before has the age pop-up been more comforting to see. That atrocious regency was over, and I could distribute the extra ducal titles (which I had 7 of at the time). I could also give away those extra king titles as viceroyals again, so that I had fewer scheming vassals under me.
Of course, stomp out one problem, and another rises to replace it. It was nearing the time for the Mongols to invade, and I needed to prep up the Empire for their arrival.
Two things being shown here. First is the slow reclamation of Roman lands. The second is the excellently named Pope, which of course of the av Alfheim dynasty. Only the av Alfheims can achieve such a prominent position which such a... hilarious... name.
Oh, speaking of the av Alfheims, the Norwegian side has been busy again. Since I turned my attention to Asia Minor, they took the opportunity to conquer the rest of the British Isles. Then Gavelkind promptly split them into two kingdoms.

Oh, and the Isle of Man, which was my vassal merchant republic, had an av Alfheim branch as one of the patricians. Somehow that branched intermixed with the Norwegian branch, and ultimately ended up in their hands. I don't even remember that happening!
As forewarned, the Mongols have arrived. But at this point I'm not terribly worried, I can put out at least 100k troops with a poor martial ruler, and much more with an at least competent ruler. The mongols spawn with around 100k event troops, but need to cut their way through the remaining sultanates, so they shouldn't be too bad by the time they border me.
Neophytos started rule in a very tumultuous time, whereas Theophilos takes the throne in a much more stable time for the Empire. The Mongols have conquered most of Persia.
Perhaps most amusingly about this version of Ilkhanate is the religion they've adopted. I had sent missionaries earlier hoping to convert them to Catholicism, but I guess the Dharmic rulers won in that regard. Still, it means fewer Islamic rulers around to declare Jihads on me, so I'm not complaining!
Naturally, just as the Ilkhanate is slowing down and appearing less of a threat, round two of the Mongols has to arrive.
Again, very fortuitously, the two branches of the Horde decide to attack each other. They proceed to burn through their event troops, and I proceed to sigh in relief.
Poor Islam, though. I've never seen their moral authority go this low. They had actually managed to make a resurgence after the 22% I showed you earlier, but a combination of their failed Jihad, several holy wars, and my collecting of their holy sites really put them into decommission.
At this point, only the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula remained in the hands of Sunni rulers, as well as a scattered few duchies in Africa. Naturally, either I or the Ilkhanate will continue to take land from these weakened rulers.
The peak of the av Alfheim accomplishments!

Pride meter: [||||||||||] max!

This is the first time I've ever managed to achieve this. Not only that, but I'm a good ways towards restoring the old Imperial borders. It's probably something I can accomplish in the remaining 200 years!...
...but I'm running out of steam. It's already becoming a huge pain in the ass to manage an Empire this large, with multiple peasant or religious revolts occurring every couple of years. The game is also crawling for me at this point, no doubt due to the millions of bastard offspring from the Jarl of Denmark.
I think this is a good point to stop this AAR. With the Mongols pacifying each other, there are not many threats remaining besides a disastrous civil war.

I may continue this game later and achieve the imperial borders, but right now I don't have the patience to play the game through all the lag.
Here is a final cultural view. Norman culture continues to slowly spread in both Iberia and England, with only a single province converting to Greek. The Empire of Normandy may not live on in name, but certainly in culture!
Definitely the highest score I've achieved in the game yet, helped by this being the farthest I've ever played. I usually stop around 1100, since the game starts to really slow down (in both speed and remaining goals) and become less fun.

I played this on ironman mode. Achievements from this run:

- All three popes (have two antipopes)
- It's better to be the emperor (become emperor after starting as count)
- Prester John (as catholic, border miaphysite Abyssinia)
- Protector of Holy Places (own Rome, Jerusalem, Mecca, Medina)
- Legacy of Rome (restore Rome)
- Merchant Prince (have over 20,000 gold)
- Dragon Blood (score > 50,000)
- Divine Blood (score > 100,000)
- Turbulent priest (assassinate priest that likes pope more than you)
- By the gods (obtain the theologian trait)

Check out another AAR:

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CBR Mk 2.1 Part 84: Sticking the Landing (1/3)

Images: 50, author: Coiot, published: 2017-09-20