Part 30: Suggested Character ListSuggested Character List
With so many choices, sometimes you'll stall out on just trying to pick who to be. Clearly, I support an Irish count or duke for a first game, but who else is fun to play? These are just some of my suggestions based on character's who I've started as. I'll add to this list from other people's suggestions, too. If you know of a character who believe is interesting, post them here in a similar format and I'll add them to the list. Work in progress.
Character: Herbert Karling
Holding(s): Count of Vermandois
Description: As a member of the House of Karling, Herbert is a direct descendent in name from Charlemagne. He begins as a simple count, but has some potential inheritances due to his marriage. As a direct vassal of the King of France, its possible that if you stay on his good side that you'll be given a council position or even granted a Duchy.
Holy Roman Empire
Character: Werner von Habsburg
Holding(s): Count of Aargau
Description: Werner's point of interest is that he is the only playable member of the house of Habsburg in the earliest start date. He is a direct vassal to the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and its entirely possible that by supporting the emperor you'll be able to gain a Duchy title, and from there become elected Emperor yourself at some point. As the Emperor, you'll be able to expand your personal demesne so that even if your family loses the position of Emperor through the elective system, you'll still remain a powerful Duke or King within the Empire.
Character: Alberto d'Este
Holding(s): Duke of Lombardia; Count of Lombardia, Padua, and Pavia
Description: A powerful duke in Northern Italy and vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor. You can betroth your heir to the duchess of Toscana right off of the bat, and then when he comes of age, make him a count of one of your provinces. He'll finalize the marriage on his own. Making him a count is important, because otherwise the Duchess of Toscana may appoint him as a successor to a bishop once he's in her court - this would remove him from your line of succession. Your heir's children will then rule both Lombardia and the Duchess of Toscana's realm. This is a large amount of territory and allows you to easily pursue the title for King of Italy. Remain in the Holy Roman Empire and try to become the Emperor, or break away when the opportunity prevents itself to be an independent Italy.
Character: Count Ulrich von Weimar I
Holding(s): Count of Krain and Istria
Description: Reload until your character gets the ambition to obtain the Duchy of Carinthia. You can easily invite your cousin to the plot and the Duke of Verona will back down 99% of the time, making you the Duke of Carinthia from the very start. Spend your time getting allies in preparation for the Duke of Verona attacking you and you can rescind his claims and get Aquilea as your vassal, setting you up with a nice powerbase. After that, I usually fabricate claims on Venice and assassinate my way into the strongest castle there as the county capital. From that point on, you've got a huge amount of directions you can go in and a lot of freedom.
Character: King Boleslaw Piast
Holding(s): King of Poland, Duke of Lesser Poland, Count of Krakow, Cieszyn, Opole, and Sandomierz
Description: A strong independent Kingdom in Eastern Europe. You start with a fine demesne with potential for growth, and you have a decent chance to inherit the Duchy of Mazovia since its holder is sickly and has poor fertility. You border Pagan powers which you can holy war against once you build up your strength. Your initial direct vassals are relatively loyal.
Character: King Alfonso Jimena IV
Holding(s): Kingdom of Leon, provinces of Leon and Salamanca
Description: You start with brother Kings on either side of you. You can either fight with them against the Islamic powers to your south, or fight against them to consolidate your strength in the north first. Intrigue and assassination against your brothers can be a powerful and underhanded method of expansion on this start. Holy Wars against the Iberian Muslims can become dangerous when all of their nearby brothers of faith come to their aid.
Character: Sergios Spartenos
Holding(s): Count of Napoli
Description: The only Greek ruler left on the Italian peninsula, this start provides a clear goal: liberate your fellow Greeks in Sicily and the heels of the boot, then unite Italy and convert it to Orthodoxy. This start would normally be brutal, being surrounded by Catholic, Norman/Italian rulers, but it is easily circumvented by swearing fealty to the Byzantines. You start with a tiny dynasty and family, with only a brother and nephew at the game's start.
Character: Eadwin Hwicce
Holding(s): Duke of Lancaster
Description: Lancaster is the single most powerful duchy in England after the Norman/Norwegian Conquest and the AI inevitably declares independence, sparking a hundred years of civil war. Now you get to do that! Spend the first few years building up your holdings, improving relations with the surrounding dukes, and watching Harold Godwinson waste your levies. Once those darn foreigners have conquered England, declare independence and let decades of brutal civil war that permanently end the dream of a unified England the fun begin! Alternately, Wales is right next door for easy expansion.
Character: Gilla Brigte Airergaidil
Holding(s): Earl/Count of Argyll (the game seems to get confused)
Description: As the sole Scottish-culture vassal of the Duke of the Isles, and de jure considered to be a part of the Kingdom of Scotland, your position is pretty precarious. On top of that, your heir isn't even considered to be of your dynasty, which means some elective succession or child-murder is on the cards if you're going to survive past your first ruler. That said, you have numerous paths to greatness: wresting control of the Isles, expanding into Ulster, and eventually conquering Scotland is one potential path, but you could also try swearing fealty to the king of Scotland instead and working within your larger neighbour. Historically it was a descendant of Gilla Brigte - Somhairle or Somerled - who broke Norse power in the west of Scotland. In spite of the stacked deck against you this isn't quite as difficult a starting character as it would seem. I had my first game of CK2 post-release with him, and it went very well.
Character: Sven af Sverker
Holding(s): Duke of Östergötland
Description: You're a Christian Duke with a Norse father right on the fault line between Christian and Pagan Sweden. The powerful Norse Duke of Uppland has a claim on the crown with a civil war nearly guaranteed. If you pick the "William the Conqueror" start date you are in the middle of the war of the two Eriks since the King of Sweden unfortunately happened to die of pneumonia. You have the chance to either fight for Christian supremacy in Sweden or turn back to the ways of your ancestors to ensure Pagan supremacy in the north. If you do go Christian you have lots of heathens around you to war against. As Pagan you will have a tougher time as the lands you actually own are Christian and you do not have the pagan troop buildings.
Abyssinia / Horn of Africa
Character: Negus Zaré
Holdings: Duchy of Axum
Description: CK2 Nightmare Mode. You start with zero technology, terrible holdings, and as an independent duke right next to the mighty Shia Caliphate. You're also an Orthodox heretic just for icing on the cake. But, the House of Solomon remained on the throne until 1974 and still exists today, so there's got to be some way to survive, right?