Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rurik I "The Noble" 862-881

Fire-haired, father, foe
Rurik Ring Giver
Do the stones by his passing, sing his name still?
A man of away west

Battle-bells tolled long and low, beside the Volkhov banks
Norse, Slavs, Finns, scythed low
Oh old Nygardr, oh years past gone
The thane-seat still strains from Rurik's weight

Ravens tell and relate, the wars of Rurik
Ransom and ruin brought down upon the clans
All for fair Rus, Rurik's dream of Rus
A vision Odin's oracles foretold

Three sons he had, three thanes from his loins
Helgi with hair of spun silver
Anlaufr and Ormr, out of lust born
Rurik's burden became, a fear of sovereignty split

But Rus before then, before his sons would quarrel
Winds wailed as the kingdom was won
The dream discharged, Rurik decayed far too young
Rus, fair Rus, drank Rurik's life-water

A man of one hundred, would scarce wane as Rurik
But Rurik's bravery and boldness was too great
Rus, fair Rus, was within Rurik's grasp
Til Muscovy's meadows struck their blow

Meltskaya the Murderer, his name maintains its grasp
Smote Rurick savagely with sword and axe
Rurick tumbled to the turf, eyes closed tight
Meltskaya the Murderer, eye-closer

Olafr Odin-speaker spake Rurik's words
Rus, fair Rus, remained silent for Rurik's life
Wife Ingrjerdr went mad with grief, wailing and gnashing her teeth
Prince Helgi prepared for kingship

A year more Rurik moaned and lingered, Rus in his mind
Til no tomorrows would wake him
Rus, fair Rus, became a ravaged nightmare
Rurik passed too promptly to see his dream come to life

Out of Character

A mixed bag here. Rurik is a beast of a character, but he's in a surprisingly (to me) bad spot. Unlike the Norse rulers over in the British Isles, there is no Norse populace. Everyone is a Slavic or Finnish pagan, which makes all of your vassals crankier than usual. As such, I pumped my tech into Cultural Flexibility, which mitigates it somewhat.

Being Norse, I'm primed for war. So that's what I did. I took the Ambition to form Rus, which gave me a valid Casus Belli against anyone in that de jure kingdom. I expanded quickly as I could, picking off as many one and two county principalities as I could.

Rurik became Infirm at age 45 for no reason I could discern and it lowered his stats by two across the board. This was offset by his Quick trait, but it was still non-negligible. Maybe that's what eventually led to his head being caved in during a battle which I outnumbered my Slavic enemies by three to one. It was a totally freak accident but it screwed everything up; Spymaster Olafr af Pestovo took over, but the gains I'd made were hanging on by a surprisingly slim thread.

This is because I had to form the Kingdom of Rus before Rurik died. Once Rurik was dead, gavelkind succession was going to kick in and two-thirds of the realm were going to end up in Rurik's concubine sired sons' hands. Guess what happened? If you guessed that Rurik lingered as a mental vegetable for a year before dying with a scant month to go before I had the money to create the title, you're right!

Now King Helgi I is going to have to essentially start over to form Rus. He's also starting out at war with a rebelling Jarldom of Chud. It's a bad scene.

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