Medieval II campaign w/pics (pics)

in another thread i offered to take some screenshots of a medieval II campaign for faxon and offer some explanations, kind of a tutorial i guess. but im sitting here bored with no work today, so i figured i might as well go all the way and do a campaign write up. that way faxon and anyone else that wants to can see how different parts of the game work and some of the different things you can do.

im playing on hard/very hard difficulty settings. to go any easier makes the game too simple, but i dont like to play on the very hard campaign setting because it seems like the entire world is hard coded to attack you whenever possible. this creates a situation where you can secure a superior position and let the enemy factions waste all their resources on futile attack after futile attack, which actually makes the game much easier. so i set the campaign difficulty to hard, where imo the AI plays much more intelligently and it is much easier to maintain some semblance of realistic diplomatic relations with the rest of the world.

for my faction im choosing venice, since faxon put the idea in my head with his original thread. besides, i happen to like venice; they have relatively good looking heraldry, they have good late period technology with access to musketeers and strong siege weaponry, and they have faction unique armored archers and a faction unique type of heavy infantry with a shield and the 'effective against armor' trait. the faction selection screen says that the only thing they really lack is a good cavalry unit, but since i inevitably get offered a templar or hospitaller chapter house, thats not a real concern.

so, in the screenshot (you'll probably want to hit the resize button if you want to see anything) you can see the that i need to conquer 45 regions and constantinople in order to win. you can also see that i have 3 regions with 4 generals; unfortunately i dont like any of my regions very much, so my goal for the first ten turns of play is to call a crusade and set sail to the holy lands, where i will set up a new capital and gift all of my initial holdings to the pope.

now this is NOT something that i would advise a beginning player to do; im going to be giving up three provinces and voluntarily reducing my kingdome to one city, in which i will likely face relentless attack from the muslim factions. but ive been playing the game a looong time now, and this is something i sometimes due to increase the challenge of the game.

in order to finance this plan im going to gather support from the rest of christendom.

as you can see, ive sent my diplomat to the bologna and offered the holy roman empire trade rights, map information and an alliance. in return im demanding their map information and 2k in florin. this type of diplomacy in the early game is something a lot of people either ignore or are unaware of, but in the early game you can gain a significant amount of revenue selling alliances and map information to other catholic factions. here you can see me asking for 2k florin, and while the cocksuckers refused initially, we haggled for awhile and they ended up giving me 1400 Florin along with everything else i asked for.

and heres the reason why im able to get such a sweetheart deal from the bastards - venice starts with the #1 military ranking, which gives them a bit of clout. but to be honest it doesnt really matter who you start with, i've made quite a bit of money selling alliances with Denmark before, so just recruit diplomats and go nuts. getting trade rights with all the other factions is a priority anyway, might as well kill two birds with one stone.

ok, fast forward to the start of turn three, and ive only built one building: a town hall in venice. this is so i can recruit all the diplomats i'm going to need to make contact with the other european powers. i wont bother building anything else inmy original provinces since it is my intention to give them all to the pope anyway.

but here is what i have been up to. after sending a diplomat down to rome to give the pope map nformation and trade rights and an alliance, i ask him politely to call a crusade. he gives me a list of cities currently occupied by the infidels, and i flip through looking for jerusalem. for some strange reason its not available to crusade against, so i pick antioch, which is just as desirable a city anyway.

so now my goal is to get everyone i know packed up into a crusading army and on a boat bound for the holy lands.

the thing to remember about a crusading army is that they get a significant movement bonus, but if they dont make satisfactory progress toward their destination each turn they will fucking desert you without a second thought. this can be especially frustrating when travelling at sea because sometimes your boat will run smack into another faction's zone of control and refuse to move until the next turn. if that happens twice in a row, you've got some fucking problems. but its a chance im going to have to take, as walking my guys through on the land route takes about 5 times as long and is therefore not even an option.

so it took me five turns to get my boys down there, but i managed to do it with no desertions and they are outside the gates of antioch, ready to rock. i understand that during the actual siege of antioch in the first crusade, the crusaders sat outside the gates with inadequate food supplies and some of them may have resorted to cannibalism. from what i understand the accuracy of that is disputed, but regardless it seems a powerful arguement to have my fuckers build some rams and storm the city next turn.

so thats just what i do. here you can see how i've deployed my army - a line of infantry with heavy cavalry on either side, and light cavalry on the flanks. archers directly behind the infantry and my general in the back. i like to deploy my men like this when possible since the infantry protects the missile units, the cavalry is in good position to charge into the enemy's flanks and the general is close enough to the melee that the infantry gets a
morale bonus. unfortunately, in this battle the enemy is hiding behind a fairly significant set of walls:

so it really doesnt matter where i put my guys. as far as the strategy goes - i outnumber these guys by about 3 to 1, so there isnt really much of a chance of losing. i could have autoresolved this, but i'm controlling the battle for one reason - i dont want my cavalry fighting if it can be helped. the reason for that is that militia spearmen are comparatively cheap and i will be able to train replacements for any that die in antioch after i take control.

cavalry, on the other hand, are very expensive and i wont be able to train replacements until i gain control of a castle. furthermore, most of the fighting here will be close quarters melee in confined areas, which is not where cavalry excel. i will save them for a possible field battle in which they will be much more effective.

so here my guys are breaking down the gate:

and here they are fighting through afterwards:

directly after that screenshot, most of the enemy routes, fleeing to the city square where i kill their general:

and annihilate the rest of his troops, gaining victory:

the pope catches wind of this and pops a huge boner, fortunately im on the other side of the world right now, safe from his advances. in lieu of touching my faction leader inappropriately he hands out florin and experience for the units that participated:

you can see the boxes on the left hand side of the screen, each one of those is a new trait or retinue for one of my generals. if i recall correctly, each of them got a templar and a hospitaller added to their retinue and a 'noble in rule' trait, so they all gained 2 command and 3 or 4 chivalry. as you can see, crusading is a pretty good way to build up your generals.

Dude you can rest assured this is appreciated, at least by me. Looking forward to the rest.

also, lol @ "while the cocksuckers refused initially..."

no problem man, if you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

so here i am giving venice to the pope:

after which my diplomat will escape his clutches with all due speed and continue to travel europe selling alliances and map information to anyone and everyone he can. (to be honest, i already have 4 or 5 other diplomats doing the same thing, the quicker i can get trade rights established the better)

so now here i am sitting in my new capital of Antioch with a significant cash flow problem:

part of that will be alleviated when i disband the boats i used to sail here, but the real problem is that i have a huge army, which i desperately need, but control only one city, which is nowhere near developed enough to pay for it.

anyway, i feel good about meeting my ten turn goal; i've established a new kingdom in antioch and given away all those boring old provinces i didnt much care for anyway. my goal for the next 10 turns is probably going to be to capture the castle of acre, directly to my south. it might be under rebel control, but theres a pretty good chance i'm going to have to take it from the egyptians by force. which, btw, reminds me of the sticky tactical situation i'm in - i have one city, an almost entirely muslim populace, an army that will quickly drain my treasury and pretty much sandwiched between turkey and egypt, two powerful factions that are predisposed to hate my guts. kind of rough, there's definitely a chance my fledgling crusader state could get wiped out before it stabilizes.

i'm trying out the selling map info and alliances thing, on turn 1. I sent my diplomat to Bologna but the HRE will only pay about 500. how did you manage to get 1400 Florin?


faxon, the amount you get isnt consistent from one attempt to another. for example, i got 1400 from the hre, less than 500 from sicily, 2k from milan and like 700 from the french. on the next game the amounts may all reverse themselves and one of the factions might even tell me to piss off. it just depends on a lot of things, including the capability of your diplomat, and seems to have a large random factor associated as well.

also remember to look at their wealth rating in the upper right hand side. if it says bankrupt they cant give you any florin no matter how sweet the deal :(

Alright thanks man. One other question I have is do you keep a family member in Venice so the city can train more diplomats? Or is there some way of queing diplomat recruitment

when you begin your campaign there is an option you can select to allow you to control settlements without governors. manage all settlements i think it is called. i always play with that option enabled. otherwise it hinders the gameplay a great deal, after you start expanding you are going to have several times the number of settlements as governors and you will want your leaders out fighting battles instead of sitting around anyway.

Well I really liked the whole idea of establishing a Crusader kingdom and going from there, sounded like something historically accurate (First crusade), not to mention just being extremely kick a$$. Also I've recently read an awesome novel set in the First Crusade (The Iron Lance by Stephen R. Lawhead), and that got me all wanting to recreate the period. So I decided to do it as well... I've set up my Crusader Kingdom in the Holy Land. It's also 4am now. Fuck. This game really needs a clock in it!

now that i control antioch i need to get a move on building it into a formidable kingdom. the first step i take is to build a church and a basic set of roads.

after the church is built ill recruit a priest and get started converting the populace to christianity, which will improve my public order. after that i want to get basic trade established with a marketplace and a port. after that i can take a look at my public order - if the face under the city name remains yellow, or worse turns blue or red, i will probably make the morale bonus buildings (inns, churches, barracks, town halls, etc) a priority. otherwise i'll continue developing trade. i will, however, NEVER build farms. the reason being that cities get a bonus to population growth based on the level of farming they have. they also get a population growth bonus due to trade, chivalrous governors, public health, and many other factors. and the higher your population gets, the more squalor you develop, and the more squalor you develop the lower your public order gets. farms are the only population growth providers that cant be destroyed if your population gets out of hand. imo if you build high level farms in a city like antioch youre just begging for a public order nightmare in the later stages of the game.

here the muslim community starts their own crusade-type campaign, the jihad. fortunately its not against me. yet.

and here egypt has come to me begging for trade rights:

with any other faction i'd be pretty happy to just accept the proposal, although id probably try to sell them map information and an alliance and squeeze some florin out of them. egypt is a different story, however. i know that sometime very soon i'll be crusading on jerusalem, which will bring us into conflict. so it would be pointless to ally with them, seeing as i'd have to break the alliance in short order and i would take a reputation hit when i did it. i also dont much care about trade rights since we'll be at war very soon. so instead of a treaty i offer them a ham sandwich and point them towards the door.

a couple turns after taking antioch, the public order has settled down enough that i can move on to conquer acre. acre is going to be a pretty important territory for me; its a castle, so its going to be the primary production center of the higher quality military units, and its centrally located between antioch and jerusalem, the two most important provinces i will ever own. its also within a turn's movement of jerusalem, which will be pretty handy for defending against the eventual jihads. unfortunately there is no significant opposition, so this battle will get autoresolved.

here the pope decides its time to call in a couple favors. you get these missions from time to time, from either the pope or the council of nobles, and sometimes it can pay to carry them out. this time the pope happens to be asking me to do something i need to do anyway, so its very likely i will complete this mission. what's nice is that he will also see fit to give me a reward, and since im thankfully waaay out of congratulatory handjob range that reward will come in the form of florin.

this is my buddy counselor bartholomew. as you can see, he has a trait (superb administrator) that gives the province he governs a 10% increase in trade revenue AND a +3 to public order. thats pretty much awesome, so i can almost gaurantee this guy will spend the rest of his natural life within the walls of antioch.

now the hospitallers let me know they want to build a chapter house in antioch. im actually counting on either these guys or the templars to make up the bulk of my heavy cavalry, seeing as i wont get access to equivalent units for a long time to come. unfortunately, since i will be building all of the buildings that give valor and armor bonuses to the military units in acre, i also want the chapter house to be in acre, so that the knights get the benefits of those buildings without having to be retrained over and over. so i have to decline them this time and wait for them to offer the guild house in the correct settlement.

theres the pope. hes pretty happy i converted the nonbelievers, so he shows me his creepy 'o' face and ends along those florin he promised.

were on turn 20 now, and were catching up pretty well after the 10 turn head start we gave everyone else. now its time for another crusade, and this time we'll be going after jerusalem itself. fortunately for me, the egyptians are totally fucking unprepared:

there is a huge disparity between my attacking force and their defending force, and their only available response to my invading army is to beg me to leave them alone:

after a quick autoresolve the pope and i celebrate the success of another crusade and the leader of my crusading army finds a relic to boost his nearly totally irrelavent piety score:

just like in antioch i occupy the city as opposed to sacking it or exterminating the populace, because i plan to control this city for the rest of the game and it makes no sense to do long term damage to it for short term gain.

there are the fruits of my labors in as far as the selling of alliances goes. you can see that i have map information from most of europe and alliances with all the catholics except england (diplomat already on the way) and scotland, who live on an island in the middle of the sea of fat fucking chance im sending a boat up there for the purpose of trading fish liver oil with those glentrotting jockies. i still need to get relations started with russia, but theres a diplomat already on the way up there, it just takes forever to get him there. i guess what im trying to say is its a damn good thing im back in the black, cause im pretty much out of factions to sell alliances to:

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I think they were starving and disease-riddled during the first siege already, though I may be wrong.

speaking of crusades

you can download to mod for med 2 called stainless steel that fixes a lot of the problems as well as allow you to play as the TEMPLAR knights

it is crazy hard to play as them though