NOTE: This is copied from a post by generalolaf from the Paradox CKII forums on 23-11-2011
The point of this thread is to help beginners and vets alike find a ruler that they may find enjoyable to play. I didnt see a similar discussion on Steam so I took it upon myself to copy this great post and put it here for more people to see. The original post can be seen on the Paradox forums here
There are some blank slots/headers since either the op abandoned the thread or is still waiting for entries. Feel free to add suggestions for other rulers here and also pease go to the op thread as well.Why You Should Play As Any Particular Character in CK2
This thread served the purpose of giving people ideas for playing countries in the EU3 forum. Since I started playing CK2, I've noticed the lack of a similar single thread here, and so I've decided to make it myself.
Basically, what this is is a 'directory' of characters, with their starting dates and realms and reasons why they're a good game, challenging, fun, easy or whatever. This should serve the purpose of allowing people to get ideas for games without having to post their own thread.
I'll do some entries, but I obviously can't go through playing every polity there is to play (besides the fact I still don't have SoI and can't comment on any Muslim characters at all!). Because of that, I'm going to ask that, as in the EU3 thread, people submit character names/starting dates/realms and some short reasons why people should play them, and I'll try to add them all to the first post (hopefully we don't run out of space!). Hopefully, together we can build a fairly comprehensive and organised list. I've done some framework for the Catholic characters to show how everything will eventually be organised (by top level liege).
Bear in mind most characters available at the Stamford Bridge start (15 September, 1066) are also available at the William the Conqueror start on the 25th of December the same year if you prefer.
Characters used for Nintz's CK2 Games of the Week have their names in gold, and a link to the relevant challenge in the description.
Christian CharactersCatholicAnatolia, Kingdom of (inc. independent duchies)
---Roussel de Balieul, Duke of Charsianon, 1072
: A Norman mercenary captain in Byzantine armies, who, after Manzikert disaster, for short period of time created an independent Duchy of Charsianon in Anatolia. Try to rewrite history by creating an independent, long living, Catholic Kingdom of Anatolia.Antioch, Duchy of
---Reynald de Chatillon, Duke of Antioch, 1153-1160
: Historically, an opportunist who married for land, tortured bishops for money, and broke treaties for profit. He was one of the major stumbling blocks to peaceful coexistence between the Muslims and the Crusader States. After his capture at the Horns of Hattin, Reynald was berated for his "maleficence and perfidy" and beheaded by Saladin himself. In game, this is a tough spot. Reynald is a Skilled Tactician with four of the seven deadly sins (and Deceitful besides!) and a 0 Diplomacy. He controls two of the three counties in the Duchy of Antioch, with the third being held by the dreaded Assassins. Raynald never swore fealty to the Byzantines, and he proved a fractious vassal of Jerusalem. If you follow that path, be prepared to be dogpiled quickly by Holy Wars. Aragon, Kingdom of
---Sancho I Jimena, King of Aragon, 15 Sept. 1066
: A one county Kingdom in the Pyrenees, your extensive de jure claims over the eastern Iberian Peninsula offer great opportunities for expansion without disturbing the wasps' nest that is the Andalusian Muslim factions to your south. Your likely first wars will be against the weak, small Muslim states of Lleida and Calatayud. Take the rest of the peninsula for yourself, and the world is your oyster.
---Alfonso de Barcelona, King of Aragon, October 16, 1174
: At last the quarreling Jimena are contained in what remains of Navarre, but their legacy continues to poison the unity of the Iberian Catholics. Portugal, Castile, and Aragon remain divided even against the united Almohad Caliphate (Sultanate ingame). House de Barcelona is a young house surrounded by greater powers and with few friends. But you are Alfonso the Troubadour. Such a magnificent name demands a demesne to match. Perhaps even Gondar should owe fealty to Aragon... Barcelona, Duchy of
---Ermengol d'Urgell, Count of Urgell, 15 Sept. 1066
: Start your Reconquista from the safest county in Spain - but beware of Jihads targeting your liege. Make sure you have the power to defend against them before they happen.Brittany, Duchy of
---Konan de Rennes, Duke of Brittany, 15 Sept. 1066
: Last legitimate male of his dynasty in 1066. He threatened to invade Normandy as soon as William's army had crossed the Channel, which he promptly did as promised. At the end of the year he donned a pair of poisoned riding gloves and collapsed dead, most probably on William's orders. His premature demise meant the end of the de Rennes dynasty; he was succeeded by his sister and, after her death, his brother-in-law. Your first priority is to marry, have children and continue the de Rennes male line. Start forging claims on Cornwall, Wales and Ireland, then begin your wars of expansion. In many ways, Brittany in 1066 is the ideal tutorial playground.Castille, Kingdom of
---Sancho II, King of Castille, 15 Sept. or 26 Dec. 1066
: Why play as El Cid when you can play as his liege? Use a young Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar to command your army as you plan to bring Iberia under your realm. Your brother is not exactly on good terms with you and the usual Muslim infidels are everywhere. Can you avoid Sancho's historical fate? Croatia, Kingdom of
---Dmitar Zvonimir, Duke of Slavonia, 1066 and King of Croatia, 1081
: Can you revert history and prevent the extinction of House of Trpimirović, preventing the Hungarians gaining rule over Croatia by succession since his wife is Hungarian princess?Denmark, Kingdom of
---Svend, King of Denmark, 15 Sept. 1066 - 1074
: Historically he feuded with Haldrada and had little success in military affairs and fathered an impressive twenty or more children. To reflect this he starts with many children to secure alliances and inheritance and a claim on England. Whether you attempt to reunite the North Sea Empire, create the Kalmar Union or restore the Danelaw you've got plenty of options open. You can start the baltic crusades early and take your share of the pagan land. You start with a small but stable kingdom and if you're lucky the Holy Roman Empire will neglect to counter your growth in the north allowing you plenty time to become a great northern empire. The Huskarl (housecarl) retinue adds some strong muscle you can put to good use. With reasonable goals and a little luck the north is yours! Duklja, Duchy of
---Mihaljo I, Duke of Duklja, 15 Sept. 1066
: Starts independent - needs one province to create Serbia. Easy right? Well not when both of those provinces are in the ERE. One is owned by your 9th son (that's right 9th) The other by the heir to the ERE not a man you want to get on the wrong side of. Can you form Serbia and go on to unite the Slavic kingdoms? Edessa, Duchy of
---Baldwin, Duke of Edessa, 1100
: Just south of Rum, in 1098 Edessa forms, as an independent Frankish Catholic Duchy, Surrounded almost completely by good Muslim neighbors. The preferred start is 1100 as the 1098 already starts you in the low end of an established house, while with the 1100 start you assume the role of Baldwin here, a sucessful Crusader who inherited the family lands of Edessa, historically he ends up as the King of Jerusalem, through unknown relations to the King Baldwin I, he passes the other suitors and obtains the throne. Now I'm not sure how it would work in game as in the trees they are not related, but it would be interesting trying to install Baldwin II, as the King of Jerusalem or simply trying to stay alive as Edessa. Quite a challenging start, probably requires quick fealty swearing to Jerusalem. England, Kingdom of
---Harold Godwinson, King of England, 26 Sept. 1066
: Yes, he's at the Stamford Bridge start as usual, but with the most recent patches his odds went from underdog to David versus Goliath. This start a few days later knocks Hardrada out of the war with a victory at Stamford leaving you a decent force to attempt to turn back the Norman tide. Even so expect for William to put up a ferocious fight and never make the mistake of fighting him on open ground - even mighty huscarls don't fare well against the Norman knights.
---Henry I, King of England, 3 Aug. 1100
: Last of the de Normandie kings of England. Can you make sure your house doesn't shatter into pieces and honour The Conqueror's legacy? Or is the house of de Normandie destined to die out like it did in reality? (Actually there are 2 other kings who are direct descendants of William the Conqueror, however since they both born to other houses he practically is the last norman king of England.)
---Henry II Plantagenet, King of England, Jan 1. 1155
: Start off the Plantagenet dynasty and the Angevin Empire on the right foot and see if the sons you birth end up any better than the ones Henry spawned historically.Alternative: 1.1.1187 bookmark: The Lion In Winter, CK2 style. Henry had established himself in both England and the continent, but at a high personal cost. He is estranged from his wife and 2 sons, and historically died within 2 years after his sons rebelled. Although Richard is the Lionhearted, let the old lion roar one last time in his twilight, and put his house in order before he departs.
---Edward Plantagenet, King of England, Hundred Years War start
: Unfortunately Edward III doesn't have the traits he should, but you do begin with a strong claim on France (via your wife) and a powerful, centralized realm. Your son and heir, the future Black Prince, is a young boy and ready to be tutored to greatness, whilst France will often be divided and thrown into various civil wars -- forge marriage alliances with Scotland and Brittany, wait for an opportune moment and then pounce.
---Kadoc, Earl of Cornwall, 15 Sept. 1066
: the last Cornish Earl of Cornwall. He's still around in 1066 (both Stamford Bridge and William the Conqueror start) but will disappear in a couple of months, like in history. While he's supposed to be descended from the ancient Kings of Dumnonia, he starts as a guy with just a wife and brother, daughter and some nephews, with a dynasty officially founded by his landless father. Apart from Ralph de Gael (Earl of Norfolk), he's the only ruler in Britain with the Breton culture. You can form the Duchy of Cornwall as soon as you make the money.
---William Marshal, Earl of Dyfed, 1204 scenario or 1197 onwards
: The greatest knight who ever lived sits on an earl's throne in Wales. Bring him and his fledgling dynasty greater glory still.
---Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, 1225
: Leader during the barons' war against King Henry III, he became the de facto leader of England for a short time before his death in battle. Starting off as a simple earl, making Simon's rise match that of history might be a challenge, but one worth a try.France, Kingdom of
---Geoffrey Plantagenet, Duke of Anjou, 2 Jan. 1129
: Play as the founder of the Plantagenet Dynasty and try to claim England from your small duchy! If his bast-ard trait is removed, which it should be, since he wasn't illegitimate, you can marry Matilda, the daughter of the still-living Henry I of England. This will give any children born to you a claim on the kingdom of England. If you play your cards right, Henry will die without a male heir, leaving the kingdom to Matilda, who is your new wife. This means that your children will inherit England!
---Philippe I Capet, King of France, 15 Sept. 1066
: You are under-age, have a demense of two, and have several vassals more powerful than you. The Duke of Flanders wants independence, the Duke of Normandy is waging a war for the English throne, your uncle the Duke of Burgundy wants to become King of France himself, and the Dukes of Aquitaine and Toulouse are just way more powerful than yourself. Can you repeat history and survive and prosper against all odds?
---John I, King of France, 15 Nov. 1316
: Your dynasty is almost as weak as in 1066, but you don't have giga-vassals. However, you are surrounded by Castille, Aragon and the HRE. If you dies and your uncles doesn't manage to have children, you have the hundred year war. If not... there are only a few English counties left in South France and you could have Britanny and Savoy easily. Sadly, the regency preceding his rule has been replaced by him living longer, so by beginning at the above said date, you are not a newborn.
---Guilhem de Poitou, Duke of Aquitaine, 15 Sept. 1066
: Form the Kingdom of Aquitaine, if you can break free from France and avoid the dismemberment of your realm from gavelkind.
---Eudes II, Duke of Burgundy, 1153
:The former spouse of Louis VII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, has helped the English king to inherit the whole of Aquitaine, practically 1/4 of France. Half of the de jure kingdom is now in hands of the Plantagenets, and they also look at Toulouse with greedy eyes. As a loyal vassal of the good, but not so skilled Louis VII, help to defend the remaining French realm and reconquer the lands that rightfully belong to the Capets! Of course, after the French crown and lands are secured, you can stop being (or pretending to be) a loyal servant and take the crown for yourself.
---???, Duke of Flanders, 15 Sept. 1066
: The wealthiest provinces of France with the option to go HRE whenever you wish, one or two counties away from forming Frisia, some fine relatives.
---Guilhelm IV, Duke of Toulouse, 15 Sept. 1066
: A very interesting character that allows for very plausible switches into alternate history. IOTL, the counts of Toulouse (Toulouse, IOTL, was a county, not a duchy) and the kings of Aragon were very close until the rise of the Montforts and the Albigensian crusade, when Simon de Montfort defeated the combined forces of Aragon and Toulouse at the battle of Muret. With a closely linked Aragon and Toulouse, you could potentially become the king of Aragon, and end up with a disunited Spain. There could be a Hispanic Portugal and Castile in the far west, and a Occitanian Aragon that spreads along the Mediterranean coast from Provence in the east to Murcia in the west, and stretches from Sicily in the south to Gap or even Vienne in the north.
---Raimond de Toulouse, Duke of Toulouse, 1 Jan. 1187
: With the Cathar heresy at full height, you can choose to crush it, or join it.
---Herbert Karling, Count of Vermandois, 15 Sept. 1066
: the last living descendent of Charlemagne and a count near Paris.