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Let's play Crusader Kings III - Part two

Karlmann "Two Kingdoms" Karling

· Video Games,CK3,Recaps

Crusader Kings III is grand historical simulation in which the player takes on the role of a medieval ruler and their dynasty, blending roleplaying with traditional strategy map conquest through marriages, alliance-building, intrigue, and warfare. This is the second part of a multi-part recap of a Crusader Kings III game that I played from September 2020 through March 2021. The historical start date of the campaign was 867.

Last we saw Arnulf, he was duke of Bavaria after having been King of East Frankia for all of two seconds before deciding to submit to Ludwig, the self-proclaimed king of Bavaria, in order to avoid an embarrassing defeat to Lothaire of Lotharingia. I'm sure you're all keeping track of that.

As happens to everyone eventually, Arnulf died. He was 57 years old, and getting a little bit stressed, but he died of natural causes. A bunch of his friends had died in battle, including his half-brother no-longer-a-baby Karlmann, and even though he was always down to feast, no amount of partying could wipe away the stain of that time he had his own cousin murdered and everyone found out about it. Or the fact that he, uh, had his oldest daughter Gertrude married to baby Karlmann and then had a bunch of niece-granddaughters and nephew-grandsons before Gertrude was caught cheating on Karlmann and Arnulf had her put in jail. Parenting is hard.

But, before he died, he successfully incited a rebellion against his liege, so he died as King of Bavaria. Lotharingia held on to East Frankia for a few years, before it became independent again, ruled by a king named Sigebert, who rang in every decade by trying to take over Bavaria, to no avail.

When Arnulf died, his son Karlmann took over. Unlike his dad, who was a little dim but good in battle, Karlmann prized learning above all else. He became king in the middle of defending against Sigebert, and fought that war to a white peace, aka a stalemate.

He never quite forgot the sting of that humiliating non-victory. So it was with the goal of putting Sigebert in his place that he set about arranging betrothals between all of his kids (he has four of them) to the most powerful allies he could find. Literally he had his 3-month old son betrothed to the 33 year-old queen mother of the Byzantine empire. Because sometimes a guy just needs to raise an army to declare war on Sigebert and reclaim the crown of East Frankia. I'm sure the Byzantines aren't dealing with anything major in, uh, 919. (In actual history, they were dealing with a coup, but needless to say, Crusader Kings 3's simulation laughs at actual history the second you hit play.)

Anyway, Karlmann's strategy paid off. Now he's king of Bavaria (primary) and king of East Frankia (secondary.) I'm sure this won't cause any problems when he dies.

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