The Reign of Emperor Thomas: Crusader Kings 3, AAR #13 (FINAL)
Emperor Thomas comes into the Brittanian throne at the incredibly youthful age of 24 after his father Basileus Eogan passed away due to complications with obesity. Interestingly enough, many of the past Irish monarchs have dealt with stress by retreating into the comfort of food and drink along with the revelry of parties and celebration.
The only other ruler of Brittania (Alba) that ascended to the throne at such a youthful age was the legendary Empress Brigid, who was the first Empress and reuifier of the Island Empire of Brittania. Big shoes to fill for the newly crowned monarch, but before Emperor Thomas can fulfill his destiny, he will need to deal with the domestic restlessness that comes with every new succession.
This will be especially difficult for Emperor Thomas as the Alban Empire now spans the vast majority of Western, Northern and Eastern Europe (not the central portion dominated by the Catholics), the bridge to Asia and parts of North Africa. It is a vast Empire that will require quite a great deal of intrigue and diplomacy (and a subtle show of force) to keep intact.
Unfortunately, the Emperor Thomas is not so much inclined towards the more tangible aspects of statecraft. He follows in the footsteps of the Learning lifestyle... however, in stark contrast to his esteemed predecessors, he has chosen to pursue knowledge in the Spiritual and Divine spheres by following the Theologian path. Previous leaders have chosen to pursue the Scholarly or Medical paths.... time will tell if the choice is relevant for to good stewardship of the Alban Empire.
As with every new leader, Emperor Thomas facing a powerful faction who is agitating under the perceived weakness of the new ruler. The Alban Empire in its conquest of Constinople, is now no longer predominately Cathar in faith. The new large addition of the Turkish, Grecian and Balkan states has led to a large population of the Alban Empire now living under the banner of the Orthodox faith.
So, most of the domestic unrest now comes from the newly integrated lands of the East, with the Greek Orthodox Populist faction holding enough sway to potentially demand independence from the Alban Empire within a few years. This can not be allowed to happen, the lands were only just integrated into the Alban Empire under the rule of Emperor Thomas's father, and to lose them so quickly would be a humiliation for the Briann dynasty.
By a very strange quirk of fate, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Populists, the Ecumenical Patriarch Radbot, calls England home and is of Irish extraction! I guess that is the trait of most populists to be something other than what their followers believe them to be, but to successfully convince them into thinking that they are one and the same!
This meant that any uprising might be easier to quell than first thought! If the ultimate leader of the seperatists resides isolated from his "subjects" in the heartland of Alba, then it would be an easy thing to allow the unrest to take shape and then just lop off its head!
So, no concessions were made to the Orthodox Populist faction. Let them come and taste the steel of the Alban Empire. They will soon learn that their leader is but a populist puppet and that the Cathar way of the world is much more preferable and inclusive than following a leader who has no care for them!
So, this was going to be a pretty one sided revolt. In most of the Orthodox and allied states in the Balkans and modern day Turkey, there were only levies of peasants being raised. Meanwhile, their only noble sponsor was the heretical Ecumenical Patriarch Radbot... alone and isolated on the Alban heartland!
Emperor Thomas will easily put this rebellion down... but it is quite sad to see that so many of the common folk have been decieved by the populist Ecumenical Patriarch.
With only 5000 troops at his disposal against the might of the Alban Empire (nearly 90000 professional soldiers), the Ecumenical Patriarch was doomed. There was no way that his stronghold would last longer than a couple of months against the massed armies of Alba and Cathar. That is not even taking into account the technological superiority and professionalism of the Alban armies!
The Ecumenical Patriarch Radbot was quickly taken prisoner and the doomed uprising was nearly at an end....
... however, the peasants of the East still didn't take the hint and continued their rampage amongst the Eastern holdings of the Alban Empire. With a heavy heart, the Emperor Thomas sent the main army to the field against the peasants.
It was a slaughter, as the peasants tried to flee from the oncoming armies, they tried to lay siege to Constantinople, the jewel of the East. The Alban army cut them down and forced the populists to surrender and return home.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Radbot was released... however, the first thing that he did was to deceive a new batch of commoners. This time, he started to raise a faction in Croatia, the Croatian Orthodox Populists. Sigh, will the people never learn that these populists are not the idols and heroes that they are looking for...
Well, at least this time, the Emperor Thomas has had time to prove his mettle... the Croatian Orthodox Populists are not likely to gather much momentum, and at an appropriate time, the Ecumenical Patriarch Radbot might meet with an unfortunately accident so that the people of the Balkans can truly see the enlightenment that the Alban Empire and the Cathar faith brings to their society.
Sadly, the grand dreams of Emperor Thomas was cut short. Crusader Kings 3 has a hard cut off date in 1453 and the game threw up a game over screen. This was the only way that the Alban Empire could be defeated before uniting the entire European mainland under the enlightened Briann dynasty.
Crusader Kings 3 is such an epic game! So full of emergent stories and struggles.... it is hard to believe that this was only my first play through of the game... a epic that emerged from the tutorial beginning!
I will take some time to process this... I felt so attached to the Cathar/Alban/Irish empire and the Briann dynasty. The legend of Empress Brigid, and the humble beginnings of the Irish backwater kingdom that finally united Britannia and then forged onwards to become the most powerful empire in Europe.
Starting again with another little backwater kingdom feels like such a faraway experience to managing the intrigues of a continent spanning Empire. I will take a short break from the game so that I can grieve the end of the experience, maybe I will head into space to do a space empire in Stellaris!