Up until this point, I’d been largely neglecting karma, the Indian equivalent to the piety/purity mechanics seen with other cultures. This was to my detriment, as karma is useful in subjugating neighbouring empires; you do good for most of your life, turns out you can be an utter douche just once and you more or less break even on the moral scale. Indians get a subjugation casus belli, usable on de jure kingdoms held by other Indians. The target must also be in the same culture group as the user (Assamese in my case).
The subjugation CB requires significant karma to use. Getting the (war-winning) Followers of Arjuna holy order on your side also requires an investment of karma. Having noted this, I started taking steps to improve my karma to expand my realm.
The first was to make sure to hold a Diwali Feast every year – this costs 20 gold to host but grants 30 karma. I did have issues remembering to do this every year, unfortunately. If only there were an in-game alarm!
New Maharaja, New Rules
Shortly after making the decision to start stockpiling karma, I died (7th November 784). I become Salambha, my first son (present from the start of the game). His stats weren’t great, particularly a paltry 3 Learning, which really won’t help in my pursuit of Legalism III (to change inheritance laws) and Trade Practices II (for more trading posts).
Despite my need to focus on Learning, I also recognised that I needed to develop my karma, especially since I have to start from scratch as a new ruler. Sometimes the best option for the latter is not the same as for the former and, in this ruler’s lifetime, the latter took priority.
War, Peace, and Bengal
So the slow march to economic superiority continues!
Last time I noted that, as the custodian of the Silk Road, I could raise levies, convert them to raiders, and raid the first Silk Road province outside of my own kingdom in order to back up trade and increase tax modifiers on my own Silk Road provinces. As it turns out, the trade takes a while to back up and my neighbours are strong, so I couldn’t hold my raiders on the relevant county for long enough that the tax gains outweighed the maintenance cost of my troops.
However, it’s not just raiders that do this – wars anywhere along the Silk Road can back up trade due to sieges. What this meant is that I often saw spikes in my income during wars due to timely sieges. I believe this is what I saw last time between 775 and 778. This happened during a few other wars, as shown in the graph below.
I did manage to see some evidence for this during one of the many wars.
I continued to build gold-generating improvements in my holdings, including two more trading posts after researching Trade Practices II in December 794. In January 783 my monthly gold gain was +8.87. By January 824 (more than 40 years) it was +29.98. This is the first game of CK2 I’ve played with any focus on building a strong economy and, boy, does a good treasury make a difference!
Half-Century of Conflict
During the 55 years from 769, my dynasty took part in seven separate conflicts (the numbers below correspond to the numbers in the graph above):
- Shantideva – Mlechcha Conflict (November 774 – July 779): covered in Part 3.
- Mlechcha – Shantideva De Jure War over Srihatta (February 791 – July 793): Srihatta, a county off my southern border, proved a conflict point with Vanga for years to come.
- Succession crisis (January 797 – December 803): I tried to revoke the titles lost to my brother on succession (thanks Gavelkind), with predictable results.
- Shantideva – Mlechchha De Jure War over Srihatta (July 810 – July 812): Vanga is not content to allow me to continue to occupy Srihatta.
- Mlechchha – Shantideva Conflict (October 812 – February 816): Tired of Vanga’s shit, I made him a tributary. This was short-lived as neighbouring Pala pounced on the weakened state, but earned my ire.
- Mlechchha – Pala Subjugation War (February 818 – March 821): This surprisingly short war earned me the Kingdom of Bengal.
- Civil war (July 821 – March 823): I tried to revoke the title of “Mana Raj” from my vassal Raja Vapyata as he was becoming a little too big for his britches.
In the 55 year stretch, I spent some 24 years at war. I think it was worth it, for the end result, which was…
After relatively easily squashing Vanga’s ambitions not once, not twice, but four times, I set my sights on the neighbouring Pala after they quickly subverted my victory over Vanga (when I made them a tributary during war 5).
I spent a couple of years preparing – taking every opportunity to boost my karma – so that I could use my once-in-a-lifetime subjugation CB over my neighbour and raise the holy order of the Follows of Arjuna. This, along with my own levies, was more than a match for Pala. The war was swift and I gained the Kingdom of Bengal. What was less swift was the consolidation afterwards.
I’ve never been particularly adept at managing my vassals and generally tried to do just enough to get rid of all the annoying notifications at the top of the screen regarding my demesne. This time was a little different – I did some digging to tease apart the relationships within my court.
After winning the war, I notice that I’m very close to being able to research Legalism III. This will be very important for my continued legacy. So I wait it out, research the tech (yes!) and have the Lords of Kamarupa approve the institutions of “the Late Feudal Administration Law” and “the Regulated Inheritance Law”. The latter stops vassal titles passing outside the realm – great!
Now, I’ll need to make sure that all of my vassals have a positive opinion of me so that I can change the inheritance type.
This is complicated by the fact that I’ve just inherited a bunch of Buddhist vassals that hate my guts. However, I’m able to revoke titles from Buddhist vassals (of which I’d inherited a few) and take a -15 opinion hit to only Buddhist vassals (since I’m Hindu, as are most of my vassals). This seems like a pretty good deal, given what’s at stake.
So I start revoking titles, fighting the inevitable civil wars due to short-sighted idiots, and granting any extra Rajs (duchies) to some of my vassals (any more over the limit of two gives me opinion hits to jealous vassals). There are just a couple of thorns in my side at this point – one vassal that is mad because I imprisoned his child, another because I tried to murder him. Do I… murder them both? This is an ongoing issue across the two kingdoms!
Building a Genetic Legacy
Despite already having an heir (Balavarman III), I hoped to eventually enforce ultimogeniture in my kingdom and so continued to plan to produce a genius heir. I (Salambha) was already betrothed to a genius, Revakanimmadi, by my father (Balavarman II), having already lost my first wife Narpal. I married her in 790, once she was of age, and started popping out the “candidates”, as I like to think of them.
We went at it too hard. Salambha died in 796 fucking his wife – a better way to go, I imagine – and Balavarman III inherits the throne. Recognising his step-mother Revakanimmadi’s genetic superiority, he promptly marries her and picks up where his dad left off.
Dodging murder attempts on my wife, myself, a succession crisis and after producing multiple sets of twins, I finally do it 10 years later – my son, my genius son, Supratisthitavarman, born 3rd September 806.
The Situation in 823
The below shows the difference between 769 and 823 India.
There have been some significant changes since 769:
- Shantideva has been absorbed into Mlechchha, as well as a significant portion of Pala, which is but a shadow of its former self.
- Karkota has made significant gains in the west.
- Pratihara has fractured to produce Chauhan, but also gained Chawda, to produce two relatively equivalent kingdoms.
- Rashtrakuta fractured to produce a few small states around its remaining portion.
The difference between 769 and 823 for the rest of the world is as shown below.
Some initial (totally uninformed) observations:
- A couple of large blocs have emerged in Scandinavia (unsurprisingly) in Norway and Finland.
- The Iberian peninsula has been unified.
- Significant border gore in west and east Francia – thank goodness there’s no blob.
- The Byzantine Empire is relatively unchanged.
- The Abbassids are creeping both east and west, but remain outside of India for now!
- A few superior hordes are emerging on the steppes.
I hope to settle some of the intra-kingdom politics and consolidate my borders. After that, my sights are set on generating some CB on nearby titles…