Chapter 1 of Local Boy, A United the Kingdoms Run

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Following the inexplicable disabling of steam achievements in Chapter 4 of Marriage and Daggers I have elected to suspend play on that run until I can figure out a way to re-enable achievements.

To keep playing at something I have decided to start a new run for a different Steam achievement for Crusader Kings 2. Nevermind that whatever bug befell my last run will probably just happen again.

Get your bugs to bug out here.. Amazon affiliate

See my Steam Profile Page for where I am at with the Achievements.

Here follows then the first chapter of another of my Chronicles of a Crusader King:

Local Boy Makes Emperor – United the Kingdoms

For this playthrough I will go back to my roots. I will start as a character situated in my own real life local county, the County of Herefordshire in England. Well on the Charlemagne bookmark the welsh have this county and it is called Ergyng instead of Herefordshire.

Starting as a count in Britannia immediately suggests going after the United the Kingdoms Steam achievement, so that is what I will do.

United the Kingdoms

The United the Kingdoms Steam achievement requires me to “hold the kingdoms of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland”. The exact wording does not mention the Empire of Britannia which is the de jure empire that can be formed from these kingdoms so presumably just having the four kingdom titles is enough.

Let us see who I am for starters..

Local Boy Game Start

Count Brochfael of Ergyng (Herefordshire) of House Morgannwg

So that is me now, Count Brochfael. I am, in 769 AD, a 39 year old Catholic Welshman who is content, lustful, cynical yet brave but otherwise rather untalented. I have a son, Gwriad, who is quite similar though schizophrenically envious and content at the same time.

Count Brochfael of Ergyng (Herefordshire)

My father is the Petty King of Glywysing an independent duchy of just two counties, mine and his. I am his only son and heir. Also he is old so that is a promotion waiting to happen right there. I have an uncle who is an independent count of Gwent, a neighbouring county.

Father and Liege of Brochfael

769 AD – The Strategic Situation

Wales is divided into eight different tiny independent kingdoms while to the east a relatively big blob of Anglo-Saxons is united under King Offa of Mercia.

Weirdly almost all of these petty rulers in Wales have legendary bloodlines. There is the blood of Caradoc and the blood of Vortigern liberally dispensed among them. Sadly none my own house has even a drop of either bloodline. Perhaps I can get a sip through some shrewd marriage shenanigans.

769 AD – Opening Moves

I select the war chest ambition and the rulership focus since I don’t see myself going to war soon or getting up to any sneaky schemes so I may as well stockpile cash while I wait for Dad to kick the bucket.

I want to get a wife, preferably a local welsh lass with a potential inheritance but Wales is a sausage fest at game start. The only available welsh girl is the eight year old daughter of the Count of Builth.

She is too young for me but I can betroth her to my 19 year old son so that is what I do. She has the Vortigern bloodline but I don’t think it will pass to her children without a matri-lineal marriage or bastardy.

For myself I get the 22 year old daughter of an Irish chieftain. There are two elder sons before her in the line of succession there so she is not likely to inherit anything but then again stuff happens.

I notice that I can flip the inheritance rules away from gavelkind so I pick tanistry. I understand that it is a good succession law only available to celts though I have no experience of using it myself yet. It has some of the advantages of feudal elective in that you can pick your heir but there is no risk of electors choosing an heir from another dynasty.

Now that I have switched to tanistry I am getting a prestige penalty for having unlanded sons. A reminder that gavelkind is not without its advantages. Optimally I should have put off switching to tanistry until I had more heirs and more counties which is when its benefits might actually count for something.

I make the usual opening appointments and then unpause to let time fly.

While the clock runs I think about my immediate aims. My larger aim is to unite Wales under my banner. But before I will do anything towards that I am waiting for dad to die so I can inherit what is his. The first few years will be uneventful.

January 773 AD – A Sister

I just stopped the clock to see what is what when I notice that my old dad has married a lowborn girl a third his age who has given him a daughter, my half-sister. Eventually I might be able to get her matri-linearly married off to a lost son of Vortigen or Caradoc to carry one of those special bloodlines into my house. Good going dad! You old perv.

I set the clock going when my pervy dad stops it and tells me to stay out of any factions or he will spread embarrassing slanders about me. That is a bit rich coming from an old goat slobbering over a girl young enough to be his grand daughter!

Blackmailed by an Old Pervert

December 773 AD – Expecting

My wife is pregnant. Spare heir incoming.

Slow Fever seeps into South Wales. I go into quarantine though my county is not yet affected. Better safe than sorry. I just hope I don’t eat anyone important.

March 774 AD – Slow Fever

Slow Fever is now affecting my father’s county but he is not in seclusion. Perhaps he will get sick and die now? He is 65, how much longer can he last?

July 774 AD – A Spare is Born

My wife gives me a son.

November 774 AD – Food

Slow Fever has still to reach my county but we are running out of food. I open the gates to allow a restock. Dad has another daughter but she has a harelip, a mutant. He is in seclusion because of the Slow Fever. Perhaps they will eat the mutant? One can only hope.

January 776 AD – Racing Death Slowly

I catch Slow Fever. I notice Dad has cancer. Who will die first? The race is on.

March 776 AD – New Life and Old

My wife Una is preggers again. I’m still sick and so is Dad.

May 776 AD – I win!

I win the race! Count Brochfael perishes of the Slow Fever while his father Petty King Rhys still fails to die of cancer. I am now the son of Count Brochfael, Count Gwriad of Ergyng.

Brochfael Dies, Gwriad Inherits

Count Gwriad of Ergyng

So now I am Count Gwriad son of Brochfael. I am only marginally more competent than my predecessor being a better steward. My betrothed is nearly of age at 15. She is frail but gluttonous. On the plus side she is diligent. She is third in line to the County of Builth.

I pick up the same focus and ambition as my father Brochfael to hustle up some cash while I carry on waiting for aged Grandfather Rhys to kick the bucket.

I become Count Gwriad

Let’s get that clock ticking..

October 776 AD – A Beautiful Bastard

I’ve not been idle waiting for my betrothed to come of age. I’ve been nailing the court tutor Arianrhod! And now she has given birth to a daughter, a genius daughter. A bastard of course, but I will legitimise her. I have no other children to complain about it so why not?

A Genius Bastard Daughter

My chancellor earns his pay by fabricating a claim on a county in Powys to the north.

Pengwern Claim Fabricated

January 777 AD – A Wedding and a Funeral

My betrothed Ystradwel comes of age and we marry. I am arranging a matri-lineal betrothal to my genius misbegotten daughter, Rhiannon, when gramps finally dies of the cancer. As his heir after my father I am now Petty King of Glywysing and an independent ruler.

Married

March 777 AD – Budding Kingship

King at Last

Becoming Petty King of Glywysing flips me out of tanistry back into gavelkind because that is the succession rule for Glywysing. The title also gives me a de jure claim on two neighbouring independent counties. One of them, Gwent, is ruled by a kinsman. I declare on my kinsman since the other count has an ally he can bring in against me.

Sorry Cuz

August 777 AD – Three to Four Counties

It is an easy win although I have to blow some savings on mercenaries to ensure victory. I am now a Petty King with three counties to my name on a par with the strongest kings in Wales although that is not saying much.

Since I have the mercs on retainer it will make sense to get my money’s worth out of them by declaring on the other count. His ally is only an independent count with a single county. The ally is quite far away too, being in Ireland.

As I am about to declare war on him I check to see if he will accept an offer of vassalisation and he will. He has the content trait so will make a good vassal.

Now with four counties to my name I feel confident in putting my levies and the mercenaries forward to collect on a fabricated claim on a county to the north.

This county, Pengwern, belongs to the Petty King of Powys. My original county Ergyng is de jure in Powys too. I will be a step closer to being able to make legitimate de jure claims on Powys and usurping the duchy level title. I declare on him.

Declaring on Pengwern

May 778 AD – A Lucky Betrothal

The war for Pengwern is concluded successfully and I dismiss the mercenaries. Having five counties subject to me makes me the strongest of the Petty Kings of Wales but further expansion will be tricky unless I can get some more claims.

King Ascendant

By an amazing stroke of luck the nobody boy whom I matri-linearly betrothed to my genius daughter solely on the basis of his quick genes has inherited the Duchy of Aquitaine!

It is too early to count those chickens as my daughter is still only one years old and the new Duke is only eight. A lot can go wrong before they can pair up and start breeding up Morgannwg heirs to Aquitaine. Still it is a nice result.

Betrothed to the Duke of Acquitaine

November 778 AD – Money Grubbing

I need to lay off the money grubbing as it is making me unpopular with my vassals and courtiers. It will be a few years before I can switch over to a diplomacy focus. I sweeten up my spymaster with a gift and an arranged marriage. The rest can learn to love me on their own.

February 779 AD – PTSD

It seems I have developed PTSD from my earlier warring. I am presented with four options for how to deal with it. I think it is worth agonising a bit over which choice to make as they each have quite different and strong influences on my game. The choices are:

  • Alcohol fueled cynicism
  • Depression
  • Celibacy
  • Stressed out raging with a risk of depression
PTSD

Becoming a cynical drunk sounds fun but in game terms it comes with a lot of strong penalties with only a little buff to Intrigue from Cynical to sweeten the pill. Even worse I am already Cynical so even that buff is irrelevant. Pass.

I think I can rule out depression too. This is because the only advantage to it is to gain the ability to commit suicide when I want. Being able to time one’s own death can be useful but I want to stick around for at least another fourteen years given that my heir is only two years old. So depression won’t have even a potential benefit for a long time.

The fourth option is to gain Wroth and Stressed with a small chance of also getting Depressed. The only buff in that steaming pile of penalties is a buff to Martial from Wroth. A better option than the first two I guess.

Celibacy is oddly interesting. It has opinion buffs especially with priests and a buff to monthly piety gain too. The cost of course is absolutely crushing infertility.

Normally I always say the more offspring for heirs the better, even with gavelkind succession, and would see that as quite a strong penalty. However in my situation I currently have an only daughter with the genius trait and a wickedly fortunate matri-lineal betrothal to a Duke. She is a heir I would really like to be even though she is a girl.

However if I have any more children who are boys then she will go the back of the queue and the probability will be that I will not get to play her. I don’t really need to worry that she might die and leave me without any heirs either as my extended family have plenty of sprogs to follow after.

The one other thing that occurs to me is that celibacy might actually be reversible if I join the Benedictines or Dominicans since taking and renouncing vows of celibacy are one the tricks they can pull. I am not 100% sure the game mechanics will allow me to renounce celibacy acquired from a source other than these societies but it seems there is a reasonable chance that is possible.

So there it is I choose celibacy. And since I am choosing celibacy I follow it up by joining the Benedictines. This will help me improve the quality of Rhiannon as she grows and develops too. And so I take precious Rhiannon on as my ward.

For another angle on this my young wife has the Vortigen bloodline. Given it is a patri-lineal bloodline the only way she can pass it to her offspring is if they are bastards or she has them through a matri-lineal marriage. If I am celibate then she may get horny enough to cuck me and so produce little Vortigerns unrelated to me that I can safely marry into my clan.

I am going to cool off on the warring for a bit. I have a ducal claim I can press on a neighbour but I will let my levies replenish before going after it. It will help to save up some money for mercenaries too. Let the clock run!

November 779 AD – The Just

After passing some fair judgements I have acquired the trait Just and the epithet “the Just”. Hail King Gwriad ‘The Just’ of Glywysing!

The Just

January 780 AD – Pilgrimage

While waiting for some building work in my capital castle I go off on a pilgrimage to the burial site of St. Patrick leaving the governance of my realm in the loving hands of my mistress and mother of my child, my court tutor and regent Arianrhod.

Off to See St. Pat

July 780 AD – Character Building

I complete my pilgrimage and along the way became gregarious and patient. Nice.

March 781 AD – Premonition of War

The King of Gwynedd has fabricated a claim on my county of Pengwern but, quid pro quo, I can make a ducal conquest on one of his counties. I expect a war between us will come at some point soon. In the mean time I go into seclusion to do penance for my sins. Maybe I can get God on my side!

March 782 AD – To Celibate or Not to Celibate

I rank up in the Benedictines. Now I get the ability to take a vow of celibacy and renounce it. I check my Descision options and indeed I can renounce the celibacy option I took when I had PTSD back in Feb 779 AD.

I stay celibate though for the reasons given earlier. But it will be handy to have the option should Rhiannon die before me so that I have the chance of making a replacement heir.

August 782 AD – Platonic Love Triangle

Hilariously my wife challenges my mistress to a duel if she will not admit to not being my lover. My mistress confesses apparently oblivious to the fact that I have been celibate for years.

My mistress is my mistress no more but that is okay I still have the heir I wanted from her. For even more fun my wife has the “suspected of adultery” and “unfaithful” opinion penalties against me. One would think that is a bit late for all that since my heir is my legitimised bastard and I have been celibate for years.

Even I suppose I did sire the bastard before we married so that technically isn’t adultery, although we were betrothed.

Wife’s Opinion of the Celibate Adulterer

November 784 AD – From Friend to King

I make a friend during another bout of doing penance which fulfills the Make a Friend ambition that I had. I have only one ambition open to me now, Become King of Wales.

The Become King ambition is a lot stronger for pagans than it is for Catholics due to the unlimited use of the subjugation casus belli that it grants them. As a Catholic all this ambition does for me is potentially allow me to fabricate a claim on the title and create it for a lower cost. Oh well better than nothing.

It is about time I renewed my attempts to unite the lands of Wales under my rule. Not so long ago I switched to the War focus to help build up the levies I can raise. And now the available levies are only a whisker short of the maximum number available to me.

All the years spent working on my character in the Benedictines has helped my vassals rethink their dislike for me so they will be amenable to lending me martial support. Only one annoying Bishop who has me for a rival will sit out a call to war.

The best Casus Belli I can use at the time to get some more land is the Ducal Conquest for Ternyllwg. It is quite expensive in terms of Piety but being a celibate Benedictine all these years has helped save up enough for it. I am all set so I pull the trigger on King Caradog of Gwynedd.

Ducal Conquest Declared

With my ally the Count of Builth joining me, my levies and vassals I have the advantage of numbers though not overwhelmingly. At the beginning of hostilities I have 1.4k vs Caradog’s 1k. I still have a small cash reserve for mercs. I will not be joining my troops though Caradog is leading his.

December 784 AD – Small Forces

Caradog marches on my County of Pengwern to besiege it. I decide not to engage him there as he will gain the defensive benefit of the river. Instead I march to Ternyllwg with the intention of besieging it. As it is the target of the war occupying Ternyllwg will do more for my warscore than occupying Pengwern will do for Caradog.

However when my forces arrive I notice Caradoc has a small force of reinforcements moving to join the main force in Pengwern. From where I am I can intercept the force in the county of Perfyddwlad so I abandon the siege to do that.

Small Force Interception

January 785 AD – First Blood

The small force is engaged and easily routed. First blood goes to me. My forces now return to besieging Ternyllwg.

April 785 AD – An Inconvenient River

Caradog’s main force has finished besieging Pengwern and is now marching for Ergyng presumably to besiege it too. I am nearly done with the first castle of Ternyllwg. When I am done I will intercept Caradog’s army in Ergyng. There he will get no defensive terrain bonuses so my force should win with its slight advantage in numbers.

Scratch that, my force begins to move to engage in Ergyng but I see Caradog will get a defensive bonus from a river contrary to my expectations. So I cancel that march and march to Pengwern instead to lift the occupation there. As it has only just been taken the garrison is tiny and easily defeated. Caradog’s siege in Ergyng continues.

June 785 AD – Return to Ternyllwg

With Pengwern liberated my forces return to Ternyllwg to siege the rest of the holdings. Caradog is still working on the first holding of Ergyng.

October 785 AD – Anticipate the Enemy

I have completed occupying all the holdings in Ternyllwg while Caradog is still working on the second holding in Ergyng. I march for his capital county Rhos. Perhaps when Caradog finishes in Ergyng he will move to Ternyllwg to lift my occupation. If I am quick I might be able to get there first in order to leverage the mountains for a defensive bonus.

December 785 AD – Too Slow

Caradog does indeed march to Ternyllwg when he is done in Ergyng but I am not quick enough to break off my seige to intercept. He would get there first and gain the strong benefit of the mountains. I stay in Rhos then. Perhaps I will capture some of his notables besieging his capital holdings.

June 785 AD – Rethink

I have Rhos completely occupied but gained no prisoners. Caradog meanwhile has liberated Ternyllwg and returned to re-occupy Pengwern. I now march to Ternyllwg to put it back under occupation.

I am thinking it might be better to hire some mercs to gain a decisive numbers advantage. Then I could aggressively take his force in the field rather than play this game of occupy, liberate and re-occupy. I am not losing but I am not winning very fast either.

Ternyllwg’s garrisons have not had time to replenish so I can bring them back under occupation rapidly.

August 785 AD – Reinforced

I am still re-occupying Ternyllwg when Caradog marches to Rhos to liberate it. I have had enough playing around so I blow some cash on a mercenary band and get them to join my force in Ternyllwg. Together we will smash Caradog’s force whatever defensive bonuses he may get.

September 785 AD – Brute Force Attack

Combined with the mercenaries my host now numbers over 2.6k while Caradoc has only 0.9k. With my vassals grumbling about being in the field so long and the mercenaries bleeding me of cash there is no time to waste. Now is the time press the advantage.

March to Victory

My forces march from Ternyllwg to Rhos to intercept Caradog’s army there. He will get a defensive bonus from the hills but my overwhelming numbers should carry the day. And they do.

Victory!

Caradog’s force flees the field. Until they can reform I must get as much of his territory under control as possible. With my large force I will prefer to storm rather than starve defenders.

December 786 AD – Coup de Grâce

I have Ternyllwg completely back under control and Perfyddwlad partially back under control when Caradog’s reduced and reformed force reappears heading for Ternyllwg. I intercept him there and deliver another crushing defeat. That is it, I am at 100% war score against him. I enforce my demands and take Ternyllwg.

Ternyllwg Usurped

The only wars for titles I can make now are border dispute wars. These are considered unjust wars and incur opinion penalties with the pope and all landed characters of the same religion.

I am not really in position to wage any more wars right now anyway. My levies are depleted and I have not so much cash either. I will bide my time for now. Hopefully my chancellor can serve me up a fabricated claim to use instead of a border dispute.

Let the clock run.

December 791 AD – Worries for Rhiannon

Five years have flown by without much happening of note. I hear odd bits of news of a certain King Ragnar Lodbrok making a name for himself among the barbarians of the distant lands. But that is of no consequence to us here.

My precious daughter and only heir, Rhiannon, is growing up marvelously being very accomplished and having an excellent albeit ambitious character. One day she will make a great Queen of Wales, if she lives…

Envious minds are bent towards her, scheming. I have already warned off my aunt from plotting against the life of Rhiannon and now there are more rumours of plots. Frustratingly there are no more specific details on who exactly is plotting.

I could put her in hiding but that I think will cancel her lucky matri-lineal betrothal to the Duke of Aquitaine. It would be a terrible shame to lose that especially as at 15 she is very nearly ready to make it a marriage. I’ll never get a better match for her.

Speaking of good matches my half-brother has had a daughter named Llecci. I presumed to arrange a betrothal for her and found a distant son of House Builth available for a matri-lineal. The boy doesn’t stand to inherit anything but he has the Genius trait and the blood of Vortigern.

I would especially like to weave that bloodline into my house for the opinion bonus with Anglo-Saxons it grants. If my own house is ever to rule all these islands then we will be ruling over a lot of Ango-Saxons.

Vortigern Bloodline

February 792 AD – Luck Runs Out

Rhiannon’s lucky betrothal is off. It seems the Duke was not so lucky since he died of pneumonia at about the same time I was worrying about putting Rhiannon in hiding.

The Quick is Dead

I get another betrothal for her to a young Lombard of House Gausian who also has the genius trait. The boy is unlikely to inherit anything though but at least their children will be wizards.

August 792 AD – A Very German Reformation

The Germanic barbarians have reformed their heathen religion under the rule of King Thorolfr of Saxony. Why could they not just become Catholics?

Germanic Pagan Reformation

October 792 AD – Gloucester Wanted

Rhiannon comes of age and what a lovely she is. To celebrate the occasion I will declare a war and lead my troops from the front.

Rhiannon Comes Of Age

I can only get border disputes on my fellow welsh kings but the pope will grant me a claim on the independent County of Gloucester. That will do.

Next Stop Gloucester

February 793 AD – Gloucester Won

The County of Gloucester is soon won which is good. Also I survived which okay I guess.

Gloucester Won

Gloucester is populated by Anglo-Saxons so now no doubt I will have to endure stupid jokes insinuating that I have amorous affections for sheep from my new subjects.

A Welsh King in Scotland

It is when I am looking at this first foray into multi-cuturalism for my hitherto pure Welsh kingdom that I notice a fellow Welshman is a king up in the north between the Anglo-Saxons and the Picts. And he has the blood of Caradog. Perhaps we can get some marriages and alliances further down the road.

I need a new regent so I give the job to my daughter Rhiannon. It will be good experience for her for when she rules after me.

April 793 – Fabricator

A cheeky Earl in Mercia has fabricated a claim on one of my counties, Pengwern. I fabricated a claim on that same county too but years ago so surely my fraud has precedence?

Fabricator

It does make me wonder how long it will be before I have to face invading Anglo-Saxons. They have been quiet up until now. Perhaps they are provoked by my taking of Gloucestershire?

September 793 AD – A New Suitor

The lombard boy who is betrothed to my daughter and heir has come of age so they can marry. Can marry, but I am getting cold feet because he has since become a shirt-lifter.

He has a few other vices too being gluttonous and arbitrary but I might cure him of those with my Benedictine powers. I don’t believe I can pray away the gay though. He may have a genius matching my daughter’s but the gay may mean no grandchildren and so no heirs for my heir. I’ll find someone else for her.

You can’t Pray Away the Gay

I realise now that the fact that Rhiannon is a girl and not a boy represents a great opportunity for weaving a legendary bloodline directly into the main line of my dynastic house.

Most, if not all, legendary bloodlines are patri-lineal which means they are only passed down by fathers not mothers who have it. As a girl then she can marry a boy with a legendary bloodline matri-linealy and thus fuse her house name with his bloodline.

So I should in fact prefer to marry her to a bloodline over even genetic traits like genius or tasty title inheritances.

I spend a good while exploring for a possible mate with a suitable bloodline. In particular I want blood of Caradoc or Vortigern but in the end all I could get that was willing and able was an oldish Karling prince with no titles but that prestigious Karling bloodline.

The fact that he is a bit old may be an indirect benefit. The odds are pretty good that he may produce an heir and then die leaving Rhiannon young enough and fertile enough to produce some heirs with another character with a different bloodline or other desirable traits. Prince Grifo Karling it is then.

Grifo and Rhiannon Marry

December 793 AD – A Marriage to Verona

There are still rumours of a plot on Rhiannon’s life but my spymaster has nothing to say on the matter. I always tend to think such plots indicate that the spymaster himself is in on it.

The chap I have in the job is a kinsman though not one well placed in the line of succession. There is potential motive there. I sack him and give the job to someone else. Perhaps the new man will tell me what my kinsman will not.

In other news my chunky half-sister’s fiance has come of age so they can marry now. Her betrothed had become Duke of Verona while he was growing up. So now through this matri-lineal match a branch of our dynasty Morgannwg will gain the Duchy of Verona through any children he gives her.

Half-Sister Marries Duke of Verona

May 794 AD – Shropshire Development

The Benedictines have granted me their highest rank Conversus. I set a church building in Pengwern since I can now get them half price. Pengwern is a bit empty of holdings having only one castle out of its four slots so it could use some development.

As an aside the county of Pengwern is called Shropshire in real life. In game the county capital of Pengwern is called Wenlock which is a village in real life Shropshire that I have visited.

I think if the culture of the game county changes from Welsh to Anglo-Saxon or English then the name will change to Shropshire. Ditto for Ergyng becoming Herefordshire.

October 794 AD – Coin Flip for Depression

A friend dies and the game offers me the choice between having a drink in his honour or having a chance of getting depressed. I do believe having the trait Depressed unlocks the ability to commit suicide.

Being able to commit suicide is more useful than you might think particularly now that I have an extremely high quality heir who has come of age. She is pregnant with her first Karling too.

The dice rolls against me, I don’t get depressed.

Depression Potential

My new spymaster is attacked and seriously injured investigating this mysterious plot. So indeed something is rotten in my kingdom.

In retrospect I wish I had given the job of spymaster to someone a little more expendable. Ubald might be lowborn but he is a genius, married to one of my house and a pretty good court tutor too. I would be a bit sorry if his injury would deprive me of his services.

Spymaster Attacked

The old Karling married to my daughter is ill too but it is too early to say how seriously.

January 795 AD – Baron of Clifford

The mother of my daughter Arianrhod has just died of the flu. When she left me following my wife confronting her it seems she went and married the Baron of Clifford a vassal of mine in Ergyng. She gave him a son so my daughter has a sibling. Perhaps he will have some interest for us later.

February 795 AD – Prepared Invasion

I notice my Welsh rivals are raising forces and marching off towards the North of England. I investigate and find that they are marching to support King Aelfwald of Northumbria against a Prepared Invasion by Jarl Bruno of Bremen. Aelfwald is such a great name, do you know it means “elf-ruler”?

Jarl Bruno of Bremen

I think the prepared invasion will fail as it seems King Aelfwald has secured the support of a dozen rulers of these islands including the King of Mercia and half a dozen Irish lords and petty kings.

Perhaps I should join too and make a friend in the Northumbrian king. Or take advantage of the conflict to take some of my rival’s land while their armies are away…

King Aelfwald

The pope will grant me a claim on the petty kingdom of Sweisyllwg or any of its constituent counties. Such is the material benefit of a pious life. I don’t quite have the money or men to press a claim on it yet though. Perhaps after the Sweisyllwg army supporting King Elfruler has taken some casualties I may make a venture.

March 795 AD – Karling Blood

My daughter has given birth to a son, a son with the famous Karling bloodline. He is sickly but at least he has no deformities. Worryingly his Karling father has the Great Pox. I hope and pray he does not spread it around especially to my daughter

Speaking of Rhiannon I take the time now to make Rhiannon my court tutor in addition to being my regent. This isn’t simple nepotism as she actually is the best qualified by far and I want her son, the heir of my heir, to have the best possible education.

September 795 AD – Shrewsbury

The Church in Pengwern has finished building and it is called Shrewsbury. In real life the capital of Shropshire (Pengwern under the Welsh in game) is Shrewsbury. I have also been there in real life. Isn’t that fun? Every Crusader Kings 2 player should play a game set in their own local area just for this reason.

I use my Benedictine powers to summon a Holy Ascetic to staff the building with someone who is clean, capable and devoted to me. Hopefully he will like me better than the pope so I can get some additional taxes and levies from the new holding.

The Benedictines send me Einion the Pious who despite his pride makes a first rate appointee and is indeed liking me better than the pope. In fact all my vassal bishops do.

A New Bishop for a New Church

January 796 AD – A Capital Move

I have moved my capital from Cardiff in Glywysing to Gloucester. This gives me the option of converting my culture to Anglo-Saxon but I am not going to do that just yet.

If I did that I would lose the ability to make tanistry my succession law and it would annoy the greater majority of my vassals who remain welsh.

Gloucester is my richest and most developed county though so it will be a more suitable capital.

June 796 AD – War after War

The Prepared Invasion by Bruno of Bremen is about to fail as the Elf Ruler has his warscore at a 100%.

I still have not asked the pope for a claim on the petty kingdom of Sweisyllwg. I am thinking about doing it now when the current title holder King Meurig dies of food poisoning. Nothing to do with me, honest!

The new king is Dyfnwall his eldest son, a shy 15 year old boy. Gavelkind has left him with only one county for a personal demesne as the old king’s other two counties are given to his brothers. The pope will still give me a claim on the title.

This is probably as good a time as any to make my move on the title. I get the claim from the pope and declare war.

July 796 AD – Mustering

My muster is all assembled. It is composed only of my levies, no mercs hired and numbers 1.7k. King Dyfnwall’s host is an extremely feeble 0.5k but then all the lords of Sweisyllwg are children and their armies have been fighting the pagans.

It will be a very one sided fight, just how I like it. I even feel brave enough to take personal command of my army.

Marching to War

August 796 AD – First Battle

The first battle reaches its predictable result. Unless my opponent can bring in allies then the war should reach the same victorious conclusion.

December 796 AD – Plotter Uncovered

The war grinds on towards victory when my spymaster sends word that he has identified who is plotting against my daughter’s life. Finally! And I am not very surprised to discover that the culprit is my kinsman the Count of Gwent, who was spymaster before. Being spymaster was how he avoided detection for so long. Lucky for me his plot has not succeeded yet.

My army takes a detour through Gwent to effect an arrest. The Count evades arrest and goes into rebellion but my forces have him besieged.

Traitor Rebels

May 797 AD – Irish Relief

I grow impatient with starving my traitorous kinsman out of his lair so I order the castle to be stormed. It is a crashing failure and my forces return to the siege lines much reduced.

I receive news that the King of Sweisyllwg has brought in an Irish chief to aid him against me. Between that and the losses storming my kinsman’s castle I am now disadvantaged by numbers. I will have to hire some mercs after all

Allies from across the Sea

I get the Saxon Band as they are not too expensive and well composed for sieges. They make my numbers up to 2.1k, more than enough.

June 797 AD – Dyfnwall Reinforced

The Irish chief’s forces have reinforced the remnants of King Dyfnwall’s host, they now have 0.8k. Time to finish this before more allies are brought in. I order another assault on my kinsman’s castle.

The castle is taken but I must take the two remaining holdings to end his rebellion. I lost 400 men in the assault.

Reinforcements

Meanwhile King Dyfnwall’s host is attempting to liberate his county of Gwyr from my occupation.

July 797 AD – Newport

I have the City of Newport still under siege when I have word that King Dyfnwall’s host has liberated Gwyr and is now laying siege to my castle in Brecon.

September 797 AD – Monmouth

Newport surrenders and I begin laying seige to Monmouth. The real life town of Monmouth is only about thirty miles from where I live, is that not fun?

Ubald my trusty spymaster has died of cancer. Brecon continues to defy King Dyfnwall.

November 797 AD – Plotter Surrenders

The would be murderer of Rhiannon has surrendered and I have him in my dungeon. In view of his crimes I revoke his title and order him to take vows. On release from prison he goes straight to work for my foe King Dyfnwall of all the places he could go. Is there no limit to his treachery?

Anyway with my kinsman’s rebellion defeated King Dyfnwall will soon just be another vassal count. My army marches to relieve the garrison of Brecon.

My host outnumbers that of King Dyfnwal by two to one. They are crushed.

April 797 AD – A New Kingdom

After some months of mopping up the war is won with the capture of King Dyfnwall in battle. Enforcing my demands secures for me Dyfnwall’s duchy title. He and his brothers are reduced to my vassal counts.

Demands Enforced

I have enough territory now to fulfill my ambition to become king of Wales but I don’t quite have enough cash yet to make the title. I can probably get the remaining independent lords of Wales to bend the knee to me when I do make that title. So I reckon it is worth the interest to get a jew loan for the cash requirement to make the title rather than save up for it.

So it is done, I create the title Kingdom of Brythoniaid. Hail King Gwriad ‘the Just’ of Brythoniaid! I have fulfilled my ambition to become King of Wales, or Brythoniaid as apparently we are calling it.

Kingdom Title Created

My new ambition is to Become Exalted Among Men for which I need 2000 piety. Easy enough for a holy bloke like me.

As anticipated my ally the Count of Builth and the son my former foe King Beli of Gwynedd will both now swear fealty to me. King Hopkin of Cornwall however declines.

It is at this time I decide to rid myself of Prince Grifo, my daughter’s husband. The great pox has driven him mad, though thankfully he has not infected anyone important. There is no shortage of people willing to help, including his wife, so it should be over quickly.

I am beginning to organise my coronation when I am told that the Count of Brycheiniog is trying to fabricate a claim on one of my titles. Another traitor so soon?

Oh well I raise my levies to arrest him. He slips the noose and takes up arms against me but my force has him trapped in his castle. My forces are depleted from the recent war so I’ll starve him out rather than break in to get him.

Another Traitor

May 797 AD – Mistimed Coronation

I have to have my coronation outside the rebel’s castle rather than somewhere nice. In hindsight I should have gotten the coronation out of the way before arresting this treacherous count.

July 797 AD – The Cure for Pox

Grifo is put out of his misery and I am not implicated. Time to find Rhiannon a new, less poxy, husband. Now that I have Wales my thoughts turn to gaining the other titles needed for the United the Kingdoms Steam Achievement. And perhaps I can get some of those titles through a strategic marriage since I should marry off Rhiannon again.

Ideally I’d go for the Kingdom of Mercia or Northumbria but there were no suitable candidates. In the end I get Rhiannon married off matri-linealy to a courtier in the Petty Kingdom of Wessex.

He is an extremely remote relation to the current boy king but despite that remote connection he is next in line due to the house being extremely depleted of living members. Rhiannon will take a prestige hit from the match and the man in question is a mess of vices but once he has delivered a son he may go the same way as Grifo.

Of course the current King of Wessex must die too and die first. To that end I start plotting an assassination and happily find no shortage of willing helpers.

January 800 AD – Title Harvest

Due to manpower shortages the siege of the traitor Count of Brycheiniog’s holdings drags on for years before he finally surrenders to my judgement. I strip him of his title and then let him go.

April 801 AD – Wessex

The plot to kill the King of Wessex is dragging on too long. He is of age now, married and could start producing direct heirs any moment. I expedite the affair by seeding the king’s court with accomplices and offering financial incentives. Very soon I get the desired result.

The young king is dead but I am found out as being responsible for it. No matter the filthy drunk married to my daughter has inherited the Petty Kingdom of Wessex. Even better he has given my daughter a son of my house who will inherit after him. Just as planned.

My halo is slipping rather badly having now arranged two murders for material gain. Well in fairness to myself the first murder was halfway a mercy killing.

July 801 AD – New Wessex

I have been letting things be when it occurs to me that since I have a grandson who will inherit Wessex I may as well kill off the new King of Wessex too.

This new king of Wessex, my son-in-law, is not my vassal so Wessex yet remains independent. His son and heir, my grandson, is my vassal however so I believe when he inherits Wessex his new domain will fall under my sovereignty with it. Why wait for that to happen naturally? Also as a bonus my daughter will available for another marriage…

Again I am plotting the murder of my daughter’s husband. What will she think of me?

January 802 AD – Small Pox in Wessex

Small pox has spread to Wessex. This might do the work of killing the king of Wessex for me but equally it might Rhiannon too. They have closed the gates so that might help.

April 802 – West Francia Alliance

King Karloman of the scattered realms of West Francia wants an alliance. Of course I agree.

Oh he is at war defending against a Prepared Invasion lead by some barbarian called Ragnar Lodbrok or something. That is why Karloman wanted the alliance. Well I agree to help but I won’t actually send help.

December 804 AD – Bungling

My conspirators against the life of the King of Wessex have made several attempts but have bungled all of them so far. Worse he is tipped off that I am after him and has gone into hiding.

September 805 AD – Bloody Lovely Incest

An internal dynastic match has been suggested to me. It is proposed that my grandson Uthyr and my cousin Alys should be betrothed to each other.

Leaving aside the incestuous ickiness of the suggestion there are some other interesting things about the proposed match. My grandson Uthyr has the famous Karling bloodline from his father the dearly departed Prince Grifo. And my cousin Alys has the Caradog bloodline through a matri-lineal match I made for my aunt, her mother.

That matri-lineal match for my aunt means her daughter Alys carries my dynastic name Morgannwg. So my grandson and cousin can marry matri-linealy and all their children will still have Morgannwg for their dynastic name.  

And if they marry matri-linealy then both bloodlines will be passed on to their children! Let me say that again, all their children will have both legendary bloodlines.

So those are the pros, what are the cons? The obvious risk is mutant children from an incestuous pairing. However I have checked their family trees and they are not too closely related so it should be safe enough.

The main con actually is that poor Alys is ugly and she will likely pass that ugliness on. And that is assuming that Uthyr can even bear her hideousness long enough to get on her.

I accept the match with fingers as crossed as their children’s lineages will be.

The Hapsburgs of Wales

September 806 AD – Bedford and Oxford

For Rhiannon’s other son, whom is due to inherit Wessex, I arrange a betrothal to a daughter of the Count of Bedford and Oxford, who is a vassal of Mercia. So far he has no sons and only one other daughter who has pneumonia.

Through this betrothal the odds are good for the titles of Bedford and Oxford to pass from Mercia to Wessex and then to my kingdom of Brythoniad. Wheels within wheels.

October 806 AD – Purge the Heretic

I am still feeling pretty smug about the prospects for my house from the recent betrothals when Fraticelli heretics in Dyfed rise against me. They have quite a large force numbering 2.1k. I can only raise about the same.

Of course they are only peasants and fanatics so the force is mostly composed of light troops whereas I have mostly heavy infantry and pikemen. I have no money to hire mercenaries having spent it on churches, though I could borrow some.

Fraticelli Rebels

December 806 AD – Heretics Purged

My army engages the heretics in Dyfed. Their archers deliver some nasty stings but once the lines close my heavy infantry butchers them. I accept their surrender and execute their leader.

I’ll do more than cut the head off the snake I’ll mix my metaphors by pulling it up by the roots too. I send to Dyfed my marshall to keep order and my chaplain to guide the populace back to the one true faith.

Heretics Crushed

January 807 AD – A Holy War Too Far

King Karloman is making another demand for me to honour our alliance. This time he is not defending against a prepared invasion he is attacking pagans in Bohemia. I agree to join his war but once again I will send no actual troops. I don’t have many ships for getting across the channel anyway.

August 807 AD – Divine Madness

The strain of waiting for the plot on my son-in-law, the king of Wessex, to hatch is getting to me. He knows I am after him and is still in hiding. The plot has many well placed conspirators but he is beyond reach. I am getting old too. I look so old. Perhaps he will out live me. And then I lose my mind.

The Madness of King Gwriad

May 809 AD – Counter Plot

My spymaster tells me that my son-in-law Eafa of Wessex is reciprocating my plot against him by plotting against me. How is that for filial devotion?

Unlike his cowardly self I will not hide myself away. He’ll find no collaboraters in my court either, all my subjects love me. Or most of them love me. Well some of them like me.. a bit.

Speaking of plots, the Count of Perfeddwlad plots against ugly Alys and will not be persuaded to quit. Ordinarily I don’t stand in the way of plots against ugly people, any family tree will benefit from some pruning, but I have plans for her. I would arrest him but he is not my direct vassal, the Duke of Gwynedd has that honour.

Or did.. Since the duke has neglected his duty to put a stop to the plot I have had my good friend the pope give me a claim to his duchy and then I usurped it from him cleanly. Now that the perfidious Count of Perfeddwlad is my direct vassal I can arrest, siege and imprison him in the usual way.

January 810 AD – Happy 60th Birthday!

Today I am 60 years old. I have had a long life and a long reign in which I have united all the welsh people into one kingdom. Some may call me a tyrant, an usurper and a murderer but I did what I did for the good of welshmen everywhere and also the pope and jesus. Amen.

Happy 60th Birthday King Gwriad!

April 811 AD – Uthyr and Ugly Alys

Uthyr comes of age and marries his kinswoman ugly Alys. May they have many many non-mutant children!

Uthyr and Ugly Alys Marry

August 811 AD – A Poetic End

I read some poetry but I didn’t like it and it made me depressed. Goodbye cruel world!

Goodbye Cruel World

Click here for Chapter 2 of Local Boy where we will follow the career of Queen Rhiannon of Brythoniaid.

Don’t follow in Gwriad’s footsteps if you are feeling down! Click here to cheer up, you old misery – Amazon affiliate.

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One response to “Chapter 1 of Local Boy, A United the Kingdoms Run”

  1. Nick says:

    Nice my dude

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