Learning and Study
Early on in 774, I’m presented with the opportunity to build an observatory. This will set me back 25 gold, which I wouldn’t normally baulk at, but I’m keeping the purse strings tight for inwards investment. I remind myself that my first priority is getting to Legalism III; the economic growth comes second. If I don’t have full control over inheritance everything could fall apart between generations.
I finish the observatory in July 774, which gives me the ‘Studying the Starts’ trait and +1 Learning. I’m now up to 12 with the Scholarship focus I chose previously.
One year later in July 775, I gain the ‘Diligent’ trait, giving me +1 to all skills, most crucially Learning and Diplomacy, which are now 13 and 16 respectively.
I push forwards with my studies in January 776, setting me back another 30 gold (although I’m not struggling for cash). There are no immediate benefits, but one year later I “feel that I am getting closer to understanding the universe”, which apparently has practical military applications because I immediately gain +100 to military tech, shaving the best part of a decade off an tech level up.
In July 776, I decide to supplement my studies with aid from my Spymaster, who I send to Ludrava, a county of one of the nearby kingdom of Pratihara. This turns out to be a fruitful arrangement, as I get +50 economy tech four years later in 780 and +50 to culture in 781. These both reduce the time I’ll need to get to Trade Practices II and Legalism III, respectively.
The observatory continues to payout in a big way in 778. In January, “it seems clear to me now that the laws that guide the movement of the start must also be reflected on Earth in some way…”; I gain +1 Learning and +100 military tech. In July, I realise “the Earth is round, and it revolves around the Sun”. Take that, Copernicus! Despite my groundbreaking work, I continue my studies in secret so I don’t upset any of my Temple vassals – I may need to rely on my piety/karma to raise my Holy Order and declare subjugation wars in the future, especially with the Buddhists next door. (Never thought I’d be wary of a Buddhist.) Nevertheless, I gain the ‘Scholarly’ trait, giving me +3 to Learning. I’m now up to 17, more than double my base stat!
Small gains, big result
These incremental boosts to Learning and Diplomacy have reduced the time to hit Legalism III by almost nine years!
Shantideva – Mlechchha Conflict
The Raja Shantideva of Vanga (ruling the kingdom immediately to my south), for reasons unknown, declared war on me in November 774. Having raised my levies, I realised the vast majority were Heavy Infantry; luckily, my military tech boosts mean I can advance my Heavy Infantry tech, giving me a slight edge on the battlefield.
Our armies were fairly evenly matched (his was slightly larger), but an early win at the Battle of Madan Kamdev on my southern border decided the outcome of the war early in October of 775. Starting out with approximately equal numbers (1335 to 1368), Shantideva’s forces were halved to 660, while I lost less than 300.
After two years of victories across the plains of the Indian north-east, I mastered plains battles, standing me in good stead to push for total victory after nearly five years in the summer of 779. The gold was put to good use in continuing to build my economy.
Death and Illness
This was a tricky decade for my health. It all started during the Shantideva – Mlechchha Conflict; I became stressed in October 775, hitting my Intrigue and Stewardship. The latter skill change was particularly disappointing as it would affect my kingdom’s economy to a certain degree.
Things got worse from here. I became depressed in October 781. These things don’t always have a cause, but the war and perhaps the death of my daughter-in-law, Narpal Bhar, had taken their toll. I suffered a -1 hit to all skills but Learning.
A couple of months later the royal latrine took a pounding as I contracted a nasty bout of diarrhoea; I’d thankfully hired a court physician, Khodadad, some years earlier, who helped out on this front! Turned out this was just a sign of something worse, though – cancer.
Stress, depression, months of diarrhoea, and cancer, all in the space of seven years. Ooph. Khodadad offered me treatment for the cancer. He’s a renowned physician, and I did invite him here after all, so I tell him “My life is in your hands”, opening myself up to experimental treatment.
Khodadad promptly rocks up with a plate of powdered scabs. No, really. I huff this (what else would I do with it), which miraculously works (at least temporarily), giving me +3 to all skills for a year. Result!
As mentioned, my son’s first wife died during this terrible decade. During this time she gave me two grandsons (Balavarman, as mentioned last time, and Salasthamba) and a granddaughter (Yajiyavati). I’m so going to need to deal with the gavelkind succession laws before any of them inherit!
Given that ultimogeniture is still an option, I thought it worth trying for a genetically superior grandchild. I betrothed my middle-aged son to a five year-old genius; in a decade or so I hope for a genius grandchild.
While that little genius is maturing to become a wonderful daughter-in-law, I had to choose the focus of my existing grandchildren. Balavarman gets Thrift and Yajiyavati gets Duty, both of which will benefit economic matters in their (potential) future as ruler.
Economic growth continues to be slow, but steady.
- Castle Towns built in four more counties, meaning all of my counties now have a Castle Town.
- Castle Walls built in one county, which will hopefully give me a little more time in the event of a siege from the assholes down south.
- Castle Town II built in my capital county.
Gains in my economic growth were not obvious, but did seem to be there.
Unexpected income gains
Over the course of the war with Santideva, I saw great gains in monthly income, but I’m not entirely sure why. I would have expected a dip in monthly earnings due to levy costs and, indeed, this is what I initially saw. However, there were a couple of years with income above +14 gold per month. After the war finished, my monthly income was back to levels seen before the war i.e. lower.
Having done some digging, it seems that there is a bit more to being custodian of the Silk Road than I’d initially thought. If I raise levies and make them raiders, I can raid neighbouring Silk Road provinces to block the trade. The backed up trade should benefit me and give an income boost to my own counties, perhaps up to 300% or more.
That said, my levies weren’t raiders during the war. They were most definitely formal armies. Perhaps sieging has a similar effect? I’m not sure, but hopefully I’ll find out. Otherwise, this huge gain in income during the war is a little inexplicable! There’s a lot going on in the background regarding income that isn’t obvious to me.
My economy is growing, albeit slowly. Hopefully gains will compound, though, so I’m hoping to see significant gains in the lifetime of my heir. I expect I’ll have to deal with at least one succession crisis before I manage to hit Legalism III and reform inheritance laws appropriately.
In the meantime, I feel I should start focusing on securing my legacy and concentrate a little on family ties. Maybe I’ll get a claim or two out of it and, if not, an alliance.