Part 4: Years of PeacePart 4: 20 Years of Peace
Over 400 ducats worth of loans are due in just under 2 years, and I know that there's a third loan that will be coming up shortly after those. There's more to worry about than just repaying those loans though. We lost 11 regiments of men in the war with Aragon and our army will need to be restored before we launch ourselves into any further major wars. Also, we're going to be finishing some research soon that will allow us to build structures in our provinces. We'll need money for that, too.
We're losing money on a yearly basis now, so unless we make some changes, those loans are going to get extended at even worse interest rates.
On the subject of our interest rates, I'm not sure what our banker has been doing, but the interest rates on our loans have skyrocketed. We used to only pay about .6 ducats worth of interest on them monthly, but our total interest payments have increased to 3.6 ducats monthly by the time our war with Aragon was over.
The first thing we'll do is cut the amount of maintenance we spend on our military. I can always just keep my ships in port to keep them safe, so I cut naval maintenance to the bare minimum. Maintenance for land forces is more important. I don't want my armies to be immediately wiped out if attacked by some unexpected rebels, so I leave their funding at about 1/3 of normal. This isn't enough for a real war, but it will be plenty to deal with any rebel uprisings.
I give some attention to my diplomatic situation along with our economic issues, and send some diplomats out to improve our most important relationships. I actually had a mission that required me to form a royal marriage with Portugal, so that gets completed.
And it is replaced by a new mission to continue the Reconquista by seizing some Moroccan provinces on the north coast of Africa. This will have to wait until later.
Official alliances are formed with our subject nations, and I Proclaim Guarantees on both of them. This warns any country that would try to invade them that Castille is guaranteeing their independence, and it improves our relations with them. I also trade rights for military access with our subject nations and Portugal. All of these actions increase our relations a bit for no actual monetary cost.
The missionaries we have in Granada, Almeria, and Gibraltar are costing us money in upkeep each month, too. I don't really want to reduce their funding and hinder their chances for success, so instead I move my National Focus to Granada by clicking the 2nd little crown icon at the top of Granada's province window. Since the effects of a national focus radiate out to all bordering provinces, The "Local Missionary Chance" buff that the national focus provides will help all of our currently placed missionaries convert more quickly.
I really wanted to get my cultural tradition higher before I started producing great people, but this sort of economic situation calls for a Master of the Mint advisor and I need to take what I can get. We get a 3 star Master of the Mint added to our pool of great men.
All of our 3 advisor positions are currently filled, so we need to replace one of them with the master of the mint. Our 6 star treasurer is quite good, so I don't want to lose him. I'm actually unsure of what would happen if we get rid of our banker right now. I don't want to risk our interest payments getting any worse than they already are, so I replace our 3 star Natural Scientist.
We can now increase our treasury slider without impacting our inflation, since our master of the mint gives -0.06 inflation reduction. Working within the limits of our master of the mint won't be sufficient though.
I increase our treasury slider past our master of the mint's ability to the point that we are generating .20 yearly inflation. If we didn't have our new advisor, we'd be generating .26 yearly inflation from minting the same amount of ducats. This is not the kind of minting that you want to maintain for a long period of time. If we keep the treasury slider here, we will end up with a total of 1% inflation within 5 years. We'll only need a couple years, though.
With our military cuts and the increases to our monthly revenue from minting, we're generating a very respectable number of ducats per year. We're going to need them.
Our Trade Tech level increase, granting us the ability to build marketplaces in our provinces along with buffs to our trade range and efficiency. Remember, Trade Efficiency effects you in 2 ways. It increases the % of the CoT's value that your merchants are able to take home. 1% trade efficiency also increases your merchant's chance to compete with rival merchants and gain or maintain seats in a CoT by .5% Trade Range dictates how far your merchants can travel to CoTs. If a CoT isn't within your range, you can't send merchants there.
Sunni Zealots appear in Gibraltar, angry over the presence of our missionary. One of our armies is sent to battle them and wins easily, even with our lowered land maintenance.
Our first 2 loans come due and we have more than enough ducats to pay them back. Now that they are paid off, some of our monthly interest expense is gone.
Our Government Tech level increases, giving us access to our first National Idea, along with the capability to build churches. Churches are wonderful. Each one increases your monthly stability investment by 4. Recovering from stability losses more quickly means spending more time investing ducats into research. Ideas are very powerful, and I'll take a look at some of the ideas that are generally considered "top tier" picks for a first idea.
To assign a national idea, you can click on the little red banner with the lightbulb on the main game window, or manually head to the Government tab in the national menu. Click on one of the empty Idea slots at the top and it will bring up a list containing all of the ideas that you can pick from.
Military Drill gives +1 morale. Keep in mind that every battle we have been in up to this point has hinged on who ran out of morale first. Our loss of 11 regiments in the war with Aragon was completely due to their morale being empty. Also, consider that our armies have something like 2.5 morale at full maintenance right now. Increasing that by a full 1 point is a significant increase.
National Bank gives +0.10 inflation reduction. I don't think I need to describe how good this is after describing how the master of the mint worked earlier. Right now, the amount that we're minting is increasing our inflation at .20 per year. With the National Bank Idea, we could mint the same amount and cut the rate that our inflation is increasing at by half.
+3 cultural tradition per year would not give us an immediate benefit, but it would keep us stocked with talented advisors through the entire game. They do die in time, after all, and need to be replaced. To illustrate how this is useful, the difference between a level 1 and a level 6 master of the mint is the same difference as having the National Bank idea or not. We won't have as many spare magistrates to commission paintings with now that we need to use them on constructing buildings.
I love National Trade Policy. +10% Trade Efficiency is not just an increase to your trade revenue, but +5% compete chance as well.
Shrewd Commerce Practice gives +10% compete chance. Sometimes you just need the extra compete chance. This could potentially be a good one for us so we can start trading in the more developed CoTs with some success.
I decide on taking Military Drill. The loss of our army in the war with Aragon was enough to convince me. We're in a a period of peace at the moment, but I can foresee so much more war in Castille's future that I know it will pay for itself.
I begin using diplomats on the "Expand Influence" diplomatic option. This adds the targeted nation to our sphere of influence. For each nation in our sphere of influence, we gain +1 to our ruler's diplomacy skill for the purposes of diplomatic interaction with other nations, as well as +.05 extra yearly magistrates. I'm going to want to sphere as many nations as I can for the magistrate bonus alone, but the diplomacy boost is extremely powerful as well. I start by adding Sicily and Sardinia to our sphere. Once I get more diplomats, I add the tiny catholic nations on the west coast of the Balkans to our sphere as well: Montenegro, Ragusa, and Albania. The other effect of being in our sphere of influence is that if another country "meddles" with nations in our sphere through diplomacy or war, we get a casus belli against the offending nation.
Once our third loan comes due and is paid off, I reduce the amount that we are minting a bit to slow down the rate at which we're building inflation.
I'm being continually reminded by this little button that we have buildings to build, and with our loans paid off and some spare money in the treasury I decide that its time to invest in a few. Click on the red banner with the saw and hammer to come to the construction ledger page:
I decide to build a couple of markets first, so I click on the Trade Building tab. Markets increase the trade value of a province's trade good by 10%. It'd be nice if there were a column here for Trade Value, but there isn't. I sort by Production instead, because I know that Production is directly related to Trade Value. We need to keep in mind though that Toledo produces gold, which has 0 trade value. Salamanca's production value is a little misleading as well. That province is unique among all our provinces because it is home to a University, which gives it a bonus +6 production unrelated to the trade value of its grain. I queue up markets to build in Andalucia and Asturias by clicking where it says "1. Marketplace" at the end of their rows in the ledger.
Enrique III gets sick and a bad event pops up. I can either take a slider move towards Aristocracy or a slider move towards Decentralization. Those are both in the opposite directions of where I want to take those sliders. I opt for taking the move towards Aristocracy because Decentralization is by far the worst slider position in the game.
Our first few buildings finish construction after a year, and I queue up a couple more markets and churches as I have the magistrates and money for it.
France diplomatically annexes one of its vassals. Keep in mind, many of the other little nations in the middle of France such as Orleans, Berry, Alencon, and Bourbon start as French vassal states and they will all eventually get diplomatically annexed by France. France is already quite strong and it will only get stronger at this rate.
Our Production Tech increases and we get access to the construction of Constables. My top priority is now to construct constables in every province as the ducats and magistrates are available. Constables give a +25% direct tax increase to the province they are built in, which means they will increase the annual (census) tax I get at the end of the year. If I build a constable in all of my provinces, my total annual census tax will be 25% higher than it is right now. This is a good bonus, but the main reason that I want to get constables up everywhere is that at Production Tech 8, we get access to Workshops and they have to come after a constable. Workshops give the province they are in +1 tax, which means +1 monthly tax and +1.25 yearly tax (due to the constable). They pay for themselves very quickly and are quite good this early in the game. It'll still be a while before we get to Production Tech 8, but it's good to be prepared.
Our first batch of constables finishes, and more are queued up as magistrates become available.
Our economy is now robust enough once more that I can turn the treasury slider all the way down. We accumulated 0.7% inflation during all this minting, but with our master of the mint on the job we'll slowly work that down. At this rate it will take a little over 11 years to completely erase that inflation.
Here is what our annual budget looks like right now with the treasury slider at zero.
Its that time of the decade again, and we get another slider move. I move us towards Free Trade again. We're starting to develop a bonus to our compete chance, which is nice. This is probably a good opportunity to go into further detail about these policy sliders. These are just my suggestions, and other people might have different opinions on slider moves.
- Centralization/Decentralization: Centralization is always better. Centralization gives bonuses to Tax, Production, Inflation Reduction, extra Magistrates, and other goodies. Decentralization literally doesn't give anything worth mentioning. This is a high priority slider for spending moves on.
- Aristocracy/Plutocracy: This slider is actually an interesting choice, because both extremes are good. This slider's fate is sort of locked with your Mercantilism/Free Trade slider, though. In order to generate spy agents, you need to have either Mercantilism or Plutocracy. Thus, Mercantilism/Aristrocracy and Free Trade/Plutocracy kind of go together. Aristocracy gives better bonuses for combat and diplomacy while Plutocracy mostly helps your economy.
- Serfdom/Free Subjects: Serfdom can be good in some situations, but I would never actually spend a slider move to go towards it. For example, non-western nations really need to westernize in order to remain competitive later in the game. The process of westernizing slams you with gigantic stability hits and giant increases to the cost of increasing stability. If you start with high serfdom and plan on westernizing, leave your serfdom slider moves for last so you can take advantage of the bonuses to stability cost that it provides. In any other situation, Free Subjects gives you some wonderful bonuses to your tech research rates and those bonuses outweigh its negatives.
- Innovative/Narrowminded: You have to be at least a bit Narrowminded in order produce some missionaries. Narrowmindedness also gives you a large bonus to your stability costs. Going fully Innovative can further stack you towards out-teching other nations, but this can honestly wait be the very last slider you touch.
- Mercantilism/Free Trade: Full Mercantilism gives you a tremendous boost to your ability to compete in CoTs in which the majority of trade going through them is yours. Full Free Trade gives you a healthy boost to competing in any CoT. Being Mertantilistic decreases the trade values of all of your colonial goods (tobacco, coffee, sugar, spices, etc.) by 50%. Free Trade increases the trade value of your Grain by 80%. Ultimately, Free Trade is always going to be better unless your country gets absolutely gigantic AND you activate all 3 of the big Triggered Modifiers that require mercantilism. I might explain what I mean by that at some other time unless someone beats me to it. The amount of revenue that you can gain through trading makes this a high priority for slider moves.
- Offensive/Defensive: I prefer Defensive. Later in the game, forts can really become a pain to siege and having extra siege skill on your leaders is nice. The +25% fort defense is pretty huge. It would make a level 4 fort equivalent to a level 5 fort, on top of increasing the overall time to siege it by 25%. This could be the difference of over a year.
- Land/Navy: Both extremes can be good, but the naval extreme is better for most nations. I would only ever max out land if you were going to focus on being a continental power with no or few colonies.
- Quality/Quantity: Quality is always better, but I would move the Centralization, Free Trade, and Land/Navy sliders first.
This time, we get an actual honest to goodness good event from a slider move. Our move towards free trade has attracted a great trader that we could appoint to our court as an advisor. At this point, I'm thinking we should employ him and look into expanding our trade revenue.
One look at my court screen and I immediately know which slot he can fill, too. Our French banker Hubert isn't going us any good at the moment since our old loans are paid off and I have no intention of taking new loans any time soon. I politely dismiss him and replace him with our new Trader.
I get started by setting merchants to autosend to Alexandria. Alexandria is a good CoT to try trading in early if you can't compete at the bigger ones in Europe. All of the little landlocked HRE nations don't have sufficient trade range to reach it by land, so the number of potential competitors is a bit lower.
To illustrate the value of boosting the compete chance of your merchants, take a look at our current monthly income for investments with just our merchants in Andalucia. We'll take a look at this later after we manage to get a foothold in some other CoTs.
Our 6 star Treasury advisor writes The Wealth of Nations in like 1411 AD and gives us a huge additional temporary boost to our Trade Tech research. Just our advisor and this modifier together give us +33 monthly investment to trade technology.
Our merchants get placed in Andalucia and their position there seems to be pretty rock solid. They aren't going anywhere. I start to feel a bit more confident, so I try autosending more of our merchants to the biggest CoT in Europe right now: Venice. They manage to fill it up and hold their spots. I autosend more to Liguria and Lubeck and while I start losing a merchant here or there, it seems possible for us to actually maintain 4-5 spots in all of these CoTs at once. If you are trading in at least 25% of the known world's supply of a particular good, you get a passive bonus for it. Trading in all of these CoTs starts showering us with passive bonuses for trading in all sorts of goods.
More constables go up and more are ordered to be constructed. After a few more years, we will have them in every province that we own.
We gain the ability to construct docks. Docks are great because in addition to leading to the higher level of naval structures, they give a bonus to production. After the constables finish, I queue up some docks in our highest production coastal provinces.
A boundry dispute! This is another random even that can fire at any time. Its a wonderful thing to see when it happens to a province that you want to take. Gaining a core on a province will give you a Reconquest CB to take it from its owner for 0 infamy. In this case, the event triggered on one of Aragon's provinces. We don't need to do things that way with Aragon, and I don't want to hurt my relations with them so I just settle the issue.
General Gomez dies from natural causes. We recruited him right before the war with Aragon, and it has only been about 10 years since the end of that war. Generals don't seem to have very long natural lifespans.
Here's another look at our monthly income for investments after getting our merchants placed in all of those CoTs. Quite a bit higher than before. This is also why tiny nations can sometimes seem to have a disproportionately large army. If they are a small nation with really exceptionally good sliders for trading, they can just mint some of that monthly trading income to pay for their army and make up for the fact that they're probably only getting 10 or 15 ducats per year from census taxes on their one province.
Are annual census taxes are getting pretty high due to all of our constables.
Poland falls victim to a bad event that can happen to nations that are very far into serfdom. I'm pretty sure they are going to have revolts popping up everywhere for the next few years.
In the early 1420s we gain another slider move and it immediately goes into Free Trade. Our bonuses are starting to look pretty good.
I should have mentioned this earlier, but I've been getting all sorts of alliance offers throughout the game that I've had to reject over and over again. Lithuania, Hungary, tiny nations in the middle of the HRE. They all want me to ally with them, but none of those alliances were of any value strategically so I turned them all down. Burgundy is a powerful nation though, so I take a look to see if there's any merit in it. They've recently been in a war with France and they are allied with Portugal. France is going to become a a danger to me as our borders meet and they continue to grow. It could be helpful to have a powerful ally that borders them on another front. Also, they are allies with Portugal so this could prove to be a powerful little alliance bloc.
I accept their offer and immediately begin strengthening our relations with a royal marriage, sharing military access, and a gift.
Over 15 years have passed since the war with Aragon ended and I still haven't repaired the military. We are way under our forcelimits for both the army and the navy. I decide that its time to start building up again to prepare for future wars.
To help finish our military buildup a bit more quickly, I go move the treasury slider to just under what our master of the mint can handle without gaining inflation. New infantry, cavalry, and heavy ships get queued up all across Castille.
While we're building our new troops, Land Tech 5 is successfully researched and we get access to new troop types.
Going to the military tab of the national menu and clicking on our preferred infantry unit brings up this list, showing our new options. We are upgrading from Latin Medieval Infantry to Men-at-Arms. The extra tick of morale defense on Men-at-Arms over Longbowmen appeals to me.
Burgundy enters a war with the small republic of Danzig and requests assistance. I'm eager to see where this alliance will go, so I accept their request. Declining a call to arms from an ally is never a good thing, anyway. It would have cancelled my alliance with them and I would have received a huge hit to my prestige. Our subject nations follow our lead and join the war.
I check the war overview to see if Burgundy actually does need some sort of physical help winning. Hahahah nope. I just use this opportunity to enact war taxes for as long as I can.
Our Trader advisor passes away after only a few years of service, unfortunately. What's worse, it requires naval tradition as well as cultural tradition to attract a new trader, and there are no replacements available to hire.
Instead, I use the 97 cultural tradition that I've built up to hire a replacement master of the mint. Our old master of the mint has been in our service for 23 years and I want to have a lot of economic flexibility going into our next major wars.
Burgundy seizes victory with a nearly 200,000 man strong force behind them, then boldly demands 2 ducats from Danzig.
We now have a fully staffed army and navy. Our finances look extremely good and we shouldn't have any trouble, economically, going into our next wars. The next update should start with a war against Morocco to fulfill our Reconquista mission.
Its 1428 now, nearly 30 years since the beginning of the game and 20 since the end of our war with Aragon. Let's take a look at how things have progressed so far.
Morocco has turned on its allies and seized land from Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. It'll be interesting to see who is going to come to their aid in our next war against them.
Burgundy has managed to maintain a link between its provinces in southern France and its rich Flemish provinces in the north. England conquered all of Ireland very early on except for one province which was seized by Portugal. This caused the relations between those 2 nations to deteriorate over the years until England broke ties with Portugal. England has just declared war on Portugal recently to try and seize their Irish province. Portugal hasn't called me into the war, but if England tries to come poke around in Iberia I'll step in whether I'm asked to or not.
Thanks to our investments in economic buildings along with our merchants placed int the richest CoTs in Europe we've managed to top the list for Income.
Most of the Islamic nations are still ahead in tech, since they start at a higher tech level than the European countries. Castille is competitive in tech levels and sitting right about where all of Europe is - except for one exception. The little administrative republic of Aachen has shot ahead of not just the other European countries, but all of the Islamic countries. I'm pretty impressed.
We are neck and neck with France for the largest standing army in Europe. It makes me feel a bit safer to see our new ally Burgundy on the first page.
We have even less to worry about on the naval side of things. Only Venice can match our number of ships, and most of theirs are galleys. Furthermore, Aragon and Portugal follow up right behind us with large fleets of their own. We're safe from attacks by sea.
More to come later.