jueves, 5 de septiembre de 2013

The Curse of the Crusader Kings

(I really wanted to put screenshots but somehow nothing seemed to work).
With summer vacations about to end, and being one of those “slow day” with nothing to do, I decided to download a game (yes, I’m a terrible person) about which I had heard a lot, Crusader Kings II.
I buy most of my games, and I say most because I hate demos and ever since I’ve had the option to test a game before buying it I’ve done so, so I downloaded it plus the Sword of Islam, Republics and Character Creator DLCs.
And by the one-in-three true God it was a good game.
It was around 2PM on the 2nd of September when I made a character loosely resembling me (but with some other good traits like strong or attractive, which I had to compensate with some other bad ones in a rather “gamey” way) and made him king of Navarre. 
The first thing I did was marry the daughter of the King of (Alto) Aragon, thus ensuring an alliance with the only Christian kingdom not big enough to absorb me. It didn’t go well, for one of my bad traits was lustful, which meant that I couldn’t say no when given the option to have a lover (my initial idea to behave more or less morally in the game would fail completely, as will be seen in the rest of the text). Anyway, lustful also meant that I was more fertile, and as long as kids kept coming the marriage “worked” (very historically accurate).
With the alliance with (Alto) Aragon unharmed by my affair, I decided to make amends with god by invading the infidels of Saraqusta (Zaragoza). I almost got crushed by its stronger Muslim allies, and had to wait until Galicia, León and Castile started wars with them to invade the rest of one-county-only Muslim independent realms. After that I usurped the Duchy of Aragon, making me a respectable King (of Navarre) with two duchies (the aforementioned Aragon, which is part of a kingdom of the same name, and Navarre, which is also a duchy of the same name), which allowed me to betroth one of my daughters to the son of the King of Galicia and my son and heir to the first daughter of the King of Leon (trouble would come from here later), allying myself with two of the other three Christian kingdoms of the peninsula (not counting Alto Aragon).
The remaining kingdom was Castile, and as only the huge XXXXXX emirate was left of the infidels, I decided it was time to press my ducal claims on Biscay (as it belonged to the duchy of Navarre) and declared war on my Christian brothers in the West; I also took advantage of a rebellion by the Count of Asturias-de-Santillana (now known as Cantabria) to take over that county too and then I married my other daughter to the prince of Castile, because fuck you, Castile.
By then the Moors in the South were divided in one of those occasional and inevitable civil wars that afflict feudal realms, and I took the chance to usurp the duchy of Toledo and its three counties and give them to my son, the one married to the heir of the Kingdom of Leon… but then I saw: The former queen of Leon had died at the ripe of age of 40 (assassinated? Natural reasons? Both very likely) and the 44-year-old King had taken a new 16-year-old wife (yep, 16) who had borne him a new daughter and a son. A son. A male heir who’d steal the Kingdom of Leon from my future grandson!
Man, this game makes you a total asshole; I had the baby assassinated (ex post facto rationalization: I had to kill him to avoid a civil war between him and my grandson). I tried to kill the paedophile king, but he was just too-well protected, so I had to kill his new son, and another one, and another one (and two daughters I spared, because I’m not *that* much of a dick) until the old bastard died of natural causes at 55 and the unification of Navarre & Leon was secured.
And then I realized it was 5AM. I won’t get a lot of sleep anyway, so let’s keep playing.
Everything was looking pretty good, except for the fact that my heir was crap. He wasn’t inbred or imbecile, just hadn’t inherited any of my good traits, nor had any of my six children (earlier in the game, when I was more idealistic, I had changed my succession laws to elective full cognatic, meaning I could choose between any of my sons and daughters. As a side note, Basques are the only ones who can have full cognatic succession, the rest are limited to agnatic or agnatic-cognatic), but then luck smiled on me: The Pope called a crusade, and I *promised* to participate in it, which made the Pope like me enough to grant me a divorce from my oooooold wife (almost 40!), who had refused to submit to me after invaded her father’s realm pressing a ducal claim that was technically hers and became an independent queen (bitch…).
Anyway, I got myself a 20 year old Egyptian miaphisite (what could go wrong with marrying a non-white non-catholic person in a medieval Iberian realm?) who was strong, a heritable trait that makes you fertile, which meant I soon had a bunch of heirs who had inherited my genius trait. I also used the Crusade to invade Valencia, because if we can’t distinguish Iran, Iraq, Lybia and Syria, I guess 1oth century peasants couldn’t distinguish Jerusalem and Valencia.
Finally, after I annexed some realms to the east (Duchy of Barcelona) and the West (the remaining Kingdom of Castile, once the daughter I had married there died) and eliminated all opposition to a black woman running the country (Obama and Hillary? Bunch of whiners), I insured that my dynasty would inherit Leon by having my first ordinary son’s first son marry my genius daughter from my second wife, basically forcing my two wives’ descendants to inbreed (that was an awkward Christmas dinner) and then died at 76 (ancient!).
Now that I had a relatively non-sexist and democratic kingdom ruled by an African-Navarrese person of gender spanning two-thirds of the 11th century Iberian peninsula, I was full of ideas: Form the Empire of Hispania, maybe invade Britannia or Scandinavia, marry my heirs to the HRE or Byzantium…
Oh, fuck. It’s 7PM. I’ve been playing for over 30 hours straight. I’ve forgotten to have lunch, dinner, breakfast and lunch again and have passed out from lack of sleep several times.
I saved and quit the game, grabbed the first thing I could to eat and went to sleep, only to wake up at 4PM (4th of sept.), 18 hours later. I took care of some chores for the reast of the day and went to bed at a reasonable time, and today I’ve cut and pasted the game into a pendrive and given it to a friend for safekeeping until Christmas or next summer, when I’ll buy the game and hopefully binge on it a little bit more responsibly.
Anyway, if you have more free time and self-control than me, get the game. It’s really good, like, heroin good.

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