Some lessons to take away from our Roger d’Hauteville session so far:
- When you are able, grab counties with similar religions and culture. These will begin producing taxes and levies much sooner than those of other cultures and religions. This was the basis of my decision to grab Napoli before going after the Muslims. If you are in an area where you expect Holy Wars to be declared on you, you do need to make sure that you don’t deplete yourself on these same-religion conquests, though. As soon as you are weak, you will be attacked.
- Be aware of the de jure situation as you expand. You will want to ensure that you can usurp or create Duchies and Kingdoms as you go. Since Roger is a Count and vassal to a Duke, he can’t yet create a duchy, but once he gains his independence, he will be able to create the Duchies of Sicily and Capua, and usurp the title for Duke of Calabria. Upon creating the Duchy of Capua, he will gain a de jure ducal claim on one county independent, Capua, who being of the same culture, may assent to a vassalization request. If not, they should be very simple to conquer, and would be producing in a short five years. In addition to the de jure Ducal situation, the de jure kingdoms should be surveyed as well. With my current holdings, i am only one county away from the possibility of forming the Kingdom of Sicily, and the de jure claim on Capua can and will make that a reality. Usurping/Creating all of these titles will cost money (and in the case of the King title, Piety) so i will be spending only where absolutely necessary. In any case i am well prepared to jump up the feudal ladder because i have used the de jure maps as a guide throughout.
- When hiring mercenaries, use them for as many quick strikes as possible before dismissing them. I was able to use them to squash a rebellion, and take three one county independents in little more than a year. Doing so means less up front costs for mercenary hiring, and more money means lots of good things.
- Being a vassal only sucks sometimes. Roger’s success depends upon his liege in the very early going. Were Roger independent as a two county Count, i have no doubt that he would quickly be attacked by Palermo and many of the African nations. As it is, my liege is better than an ally, because he cannot possibly decline to assist me. Further, being a vassal does not bind me diplomatically, so i was able to declare war on a broken Palermo on my own.
- Check for new councilors after each conquest. Every new land in your demesne means new potential council members, and keeping your council operating at maximum efficiency is definitely a goal worth working towards.
- Welcome claimants (and everyone else) with open arms. Claimants give you a jumpstart on putting together a good council, and once you are a Duke, you can look at pressing the claims of those in your court to expand your realm. It can be a pain to cycle through the titles to see who is available, but doing it every couple years or so can turn up some good results.