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Let's Play: Crusader Kings II

I finished the "Learning Scenario" for Crusader Kings II (CK2), and have started my first real play through of the game.
It might be fun for me to do a "Let's Play" of this game, taking screenshots and telling the story of my game as I go.
I am sure I will make plenty of mistakes and have my dynasty end tragically, but that is half the fun!

CK2 is basically a medieval Europe character strategy game. While most strategy games tend to focus on the army and land acquisition aspect, CK2 is more focused on all the characters in the world - the barons, counts, kings, bishops, popes, courtiers, etc. You play as a Dynasty, and as long as your heir inherits at least a county, you continue to play even after your characters death.  Life for these characters is full of intrigue, tragedy, conquest, manipulation, piety, and plunder.

So, without further ado, my CK2 LP!

First off, the basic world covered by CK2. It actually extends a little more into Africa and Asia (particularly with DLC content), but most of the land available is shown here, in the character selection screen. You have a choice of several start dates, but I chose the default date for the vanilla version of the game, 1066 AD.

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Comments

  • 211 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • edited June 2015 Posts: 722Vote Up0Vote Down
    I chose to begin with one of the rulers of the independent realms in Ireland. Two major reasons affected my decision of where to start.  From a practical point of view, Ireland is considered "newbie island" in CK2.  The realms are all independent (liege you need to worry about), and relatively isolated, reducing the risk of invasion.
    The choice of which realm in Ireland I had pretty basic non-gameplay reasons behind it. A quick google showed the most likely origin of my Irish ancestry was from what is now known as County Clare (who knows if my actual ancestors really did come from there, but without doing hours and hours of geneology, it is a good enough for me).

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    Post edited by BakaKuma at 2015-06-28 16:59:29
  • In CK2, this region of Ireland is Tuadhmhumhain. Please don't ask me how it is pronounced. You can see it in light green in the following picture. The darker green is controlled by one of my start characters vassals, so I will collect taxes and levies from that land as well. The brown land indicates land I have a claim to in some form or another. Having claim on land provides a casus belli, or justification for going to war. In this game, the only way to declare war is with a casus belli.

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  • Here we have the actual start character, King Murchad of Mumu.
    There is a lot of information (not all of which I have figured out), but some of the important basic information:
    He's 39 years old (meaning he probably only has a decade or so of life yet). He is currently unmarried, with one son who is also his heir. So, when he does die, his titles will pass to his heir.  He currently holds two titles (which I don't remember off the top of my head, but will be to land he owns). He has two living siblings. 
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  • edited June 2015 Posts: 722Vote Up0Vote Down
    Before anything else, lets go get a haircut.

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    Annnnd much better, very stylish now  ...

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    Post edited by BakaKuma at 2015-06-28 18:25:22
  • This game looks very cool. Keep posting!
  • There are broadly two ways to play your ruler - strategic gameplay vs role play. In the former, you focus on what will best get you your gameplay objective (dynasty surviving to the games end date, or conquering a certain territory, or whatever).  In a role play style, you look at the attributes your ruler has (more on those in a bit) at make decisions based on what such a ruler would do. Of course, these syles aren't really either/or, so most sessions will probably be some combination of the two.

    For this playthrough, I want to lean towards to role play end of the spectrum. So, let's have a look at what kind of person King Murchad is:
    A Patient, Lustful Tough Soldier who is Cynical and Deceitful.  This should be fun...

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  • You'll note that thanks to being Cynically Lustful (Lustfully Cynical?), I'm losing Piety every month, which is basically the currency of the Church system in this game.  Something tells me I won't be hanging out with the Pope too much...
  • One of the things each character will have is an ambition. You can view the ambitions of characters to get an idea of what their goal may be. For example, if I had a neighbor whose ambition was to become King of Ireland, I would definitely be on the watch out for them to try to take over my lands.

    For your character, you get to select what your ambition will be. Each ambition has a goal, and some reward for achieving the ambition.

    Since I'm a single lustful SOB with killer 'stache, let's see if we can find ourselves a wife ...

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  • Heh...that's awesome.
  • I neglected to get a screen capture of my wife hunt, but I found a Nevarran (I think) princess and sent a request, which was accepted.

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  • Let's have a look at some of the important people to King Murchad.  Oh, at this point, it is worth pointing out that I am technically a Duke (by game mechanics), ruling a Duchy. All the Irish Duke's call themselves Kings however, and the game refers to them as "Petty Kings."

    Anyway, first here is my boy:
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  • He's 18 and unmarried so lets find him a wife. Here we are proposing a match (which later got accepted):
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  • Next up is our council. The members of your council each have a couple different roles.  First, they each correspond to one of your stats, and for State matters they add their stats to yours. So, if you don't have good diplomacy but have a Chancellor with really good diplomacy, you can have more success with your diplomatic relations.  Secondly each councilor has different missions they can do. For example, your Spymaster can attempt to uncover plots, or build a spy network in a territory.

    You'll notice the number next to each portrait. This is a rating of what that character thinks of you. It ranges from -100 to 100. Generally, if it is positive, it will have various positive effects, and if it is negative it will have negative effects.  It looks like, other than my Spymaster, they don't think too much of me. Including, if you look closely, the Steward, my son Brian. Well then.

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  • If you recall from above, there was a county to my south which I had a strong claim, giving me a casus belli to declare war.  After quickly taking a peak at his available levies, I decided to get the party started!

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  • edited July 2015 Posts: 722Vote Up0Vote Down
    From the military page, we can raise our levies. You can raise a levy from your demesne (that is, the counties you directly control), as well as from your vassals.  You will get all the available levy from your demesne, but only a fraction of those from your vassals. How much they give you is based on the current levy tax, as well as how well they like you.
    Furthermore, levies come from what are called holdings, and there are three types of holdings: castle, temple, and city.  Each holding is held by a different type of character. Castles are held by feudal rulers - barons, counts, dukes (like us), kings, and emperors.  Temples (referred to as bishoprics for us Catholics) are held by religious figures, such as bishops.  Finally, cities are held by mayors.

    My current vassals and their available levies are below. The bishop will not provide me with any level. For Bishops, if they like the Pope better than you, they will only supply levies and taxes to the Pope...

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    Post edited by BakaKuma at 2015-07-01 01:13:30
  • I send my troops, and after a short siege, the war is won! The Count who ruled the territory now becomes my vassal.
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  • Meanwhile my Spymaster has unveiled a nefarious plot to kill my son ... by my Spymaster.  Well, at least he is being honest with me ...

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  • LOL, talk about fabricating job qualifications.
  • "Man I really like this cushy job, but I just can uncover any plots. Wait a minute, I have an idea!"
  • The posts so far cover my first play session. I have a bunch of screen shots from my second session to put up over the next few days.
    As a preview, I'm titling it "The Lover, the Grumpy Norwegian, and the Kind Elderly Neighbors"
  • That's the most honest spymaster ever. He's a keeper.
  • BakaKuma said:

    Oh, at this point, it is worth pointing out that I am technically a Duke (by game mechanics), ruling a Duchy. 

    I'm pretty sure some water and vinegar would clear that right up.:)

    or...that's fancy talk for taking a crap.

    "Honey, what are you doing in there?"

    "Just 'ruling a Duchy,' Babe. Go back to making sandwiches now." :)
  • Side Note: While it's not my type of game, I'm loving your play-by-play - it does look fun.
  • I figured this game is not the kind everyone has the time / patience / inclination to play, but since it is notorious for telling interesting stories that it would be a good candidate for trying a let's play. Glad you are enjoying it.

    (At one point, I asked on a gaming forum, "Why is the suggested plot to kill my wife?"  The answer was, "Because Crusader Kings")
  • Also I ended up naming a couple of my sons "Frel Dar" and "Big Smooth". I also named my heir's son "Than" ... Much hilarity ensued. Only one of those 3 are still alive ...
  • How did the other two die?  Inquiring minds demand an answer.
  • Ooh...oooh,  Did "Frel Dar" "Find some." because if that is what happened, this may be the  best game ever.
  • Hmm, perhaps he did ... from a certain point of view ...
  • edited July 2015 Posts: 722Vote Up0Vote Down
    So let's see where I left off ...
    After my Spymaster self reported, I figured I should look at the other characters in my Kingdom.
    One of them is this fellow, my vassal Ragnvald, the Earl of the county of Urmhumhain.
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    Post edited by BakaKuma at 2015-07-09 02:55:10
  • Vassals provide you with taxes (money) and levies (troops) for counties in their demesne (di-mein).  Unlike counties you control, they only give you a percent of their taxes / levies (based on the current laws. However, you personally have a limit to the number of counties in your demesne, so vassals are necessary.  Vassals, in turn, can have their own vassals.

    Now looking at old Raggy, I see a few things I don't like.
    His opinion of me is -22, meaning he is not going to be giving me the taxes/levies that he owes me.
    Furthermore, his current ambition is the become king of Ireland. That is most certainly counter to my wishes.
    But, most heinous of all, he is Norwegian.

    He must go.

    Here is a breakdown of his opnion of me. You'll note he has the "ambitious" trait, which usually does not make for loyal vassals and council.
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