Ever since The Old Gods came out, I’ve been wanting to play as Hrolf de Normandie, the founder of the dynastic line that eventually begot William the Conqueror. One can consider Hrolf the beginning of a line that would eventually utterly change England, and indeed the political scene of Europe, for ever.
For anyone interested, I own all the DLC so this could be a good example to see the different DLCs’ effects in-game.
Here’s some small historical context – you can skip past if you find this kind of stuff boring and you just want to skip to me being a badass raider, I won’t judge you. Promise.
“Rollo of Normandy”‘s identity is somewhat shrouded in mystery, as his true identity is difficult to pinpoint thanks to rather lax record keeping. Two prime candidates exist for his identity: the son of a deposed Danish nobleman, his brother was executed by the Danes, whilst he was exiled to a life of wandering; or, the first born son of a small Jarldom in Norway.
I like to think it’s the former of the two, simply because it’s way more badass. Paradox has seemingly agreed with me on this, as the historical character of Hrolf (the Norse spelling of the name) exists as a courtier in the Duchy of Holland. The other candidate (likely being around 7 years old at the 867 start) exists as some kid in Norway, so we can forget about him. Actually, no. Maybe I’ll kill him? End history’s questions once and for all? That would be cool.
In-game, Hrolf has been given the dynastic name of “de Normandie” as a nice little nod towards history, but I want to make that reality!
I’ve had to do some mild modding of the game so as to make him playable; namely, I’ve given him the county of Westfriesland in Holland, making him independent of the Norse Duke there. I’ve also made him of the Norse Pagan religion once again because the game has, for some reason, decided to label him as a Catholic (when, in truth, he likely only adopted Catholicism once settling in Normandy). I mean, what kind of fun would it be if I couldn’t raid and collect endless amounts of booty and women?
A couple rules first:
1. I won’t cheat to the best of my ability.
2. I won’t save scum. Unless I mess something up for stupid reasons based on me being a moron. Then again, how will you know? I’m not recording this. You’re not the boss of me! Still, I won’t.
So, some AAR goals. These are the things I will attempt to achieve within my play-through. It will be a fairly dynamic play-through, and I’ll try and incorporate as much role-play with regards to my character’s actions as I can, so if I fail a goal I won’t Alt+F4 and commit Seppuku. Right, here they are:
1. Raid and be an awesome Norse badass. Experience playing a Norse in CK2 to its fullest. Conquer stuff, kill prisoners, make noble women concubines, you name it.
2. Possibly aim to take the Duchy of Holland. Clearly, the current Norse Duke of Holland has betrayed the old ways and adopted the dreaded White God worship, with all their fancy hats, prayer books and silly languages… His title is an insult to Odin, thus it must be removed!
3. Conquer as many De Jure counties in the Duchy of Normandy as possible before Hrolf de Normandie dies.
4. [Edit: Thanks to the information of redditor One0Eyed0King, I’ve laxed this one. I don’t need to form the Duchy of Normandy anymore, as Rollo never properly did.] Before death, form the Duchy of Normandy, and make it my main title. My aim, ideally, is that by the end of his life Hrolf is the owner of two Duchies, thus his children will split them up, allowing me to continue to play as the one in charge of Normandy.
5. Keep being a badass. Conquer some stuff, raid, maybe conquer some places in Spain and put Norse Pagans there? Also awesome.
6. Eventually except the Norman-ization of my dynasty. For thus uninitiated, in a recent patch to the game, an event is included that allows people of the Norse culture to adopt “Norman” culture if they have their main holdings in French, Breton or Occitan lands. This is for the purpose of keep things somewhat historical, as that’s exactly what happened to the Norse conquerors of Normandy in real life.
7: I guess accept that blasted White God that those Catholics seem to like so much… I’d have to endeavour to marry my line into the English line at some point so as to get a claim. OR, even better, I could actually do a proper style Papal Invasion of England, just like William did.
8. Continue on with being an awesome Norman. Rule England, all that jazz.
9. Eventually accept the English conversion of my Norman culture. In the same manner of the Norman conversion event, as long as the year is at least 1100, any Normans who hold land in places of de Jure England will eventually be able to adopt the new English culture in the “English Culture Melting-Pot” event.
10. Then, finally: be an awesome Englishman. Maybe form the Empire of Brittania? Conquer Europe? Put my dynasty on as many thrones as I can? I like that. Imagine a de Normandie on every throne in Europe. Ahhh, it’d be glorious.
So, expect the first section of my AAR to come soon; it’ll introduce Hrolf, talk about his starting abilities and his stats and his situation, and then do some delicious raiding.
Hope you enjoy it!