Start as Haesteinn of Haestening Dynasty. You will start with just one county, Montaigu, in Western France. But don’t worry, it seems that Count Haesteinn brought 3000 of his Viking followers with him and a large quantity of gold. You will also have a lot of Prestige, to begin with. So use these to your advantage.
Before unpausing, choose a Martial Lifestyle, focusing on Strategy. Also, you don’t need to spend gold on Men-at-arms because having 3000 soldiers early on; your forces are far superior to other counties except, of course, the king of France (so better stay away from him).
The First Invasion
At the start, you are surrounded by several kingdoms, including the Kingdom of Brittany and the Kingdom of France. If you make the mistake of attacking them, then you’ll die and end early.
Apparently, the King of France is an ally of the King of Brittany, so attacking either of them will bring forth the wrath of their ally and could wipe you out.
So instead of attacking these kingdoms, why not focus on the County of Leon at the Edge of Western France. The Baron here only has a couple of hundred troops, far inferior to your Viking horde. It should be a piece of cake.
Don’t think of a valid casus belli since you are the Viking invaders. Basically, you can invade every county in France.
Where to next?
So the next question is since the Kingdom of France and Brittany will bring forth destruction to you, where will you invade next?
The answer is Ireland. Since Ireland is basically composed of several chiefdoms during this time, you would expect big forces to counter you. Basically, desmond and Thomond will go down without a fight. Connacht will also be easy to take (but I didn’t). Ormond and Ossory will be allied with the High Chiefdom of Meath so that you can stay away from them.
The objective is to perform a blitz in these counties with minimal losses. The problem I encountered after is that these are of different holding types. The solution is simple: I gave the titles to my son.
But if Ireland is too far and wants to focus on France, you can skip this part.
Becoming a Vassal of France
The dilemma is, should you stay as a Viking horde, or should you kiss the King of France and become his vassal. I chose the latter.
I chose the King of France as my DIRECT liege, instead of some duke of France. Why? Because you will never become a duke if you are under someone else’s duchy. If you didn’t attack Leon and Ireland early on and chose to become a vassal of France immediately, you will be under the duke of Aquitaine and become a baron. The trick for this not happening is to have other holdings and transferring your capital there for a while.
Having your capital transferred to Leon or desmond will mean that you will become a Direct Vassal of the King of France. In other words, he is your ONLY boss. Because the crown authority is low at that time, you can still attack another duchy, as long as you have a valid casus belli.
Also, don’t forget to change religion to Catholicism. This will allow you to invite Catholics to court (since you are in France and Catholicism is the main religion).
Invasion of the Kingdom of Brittany
This is the time to attack the Kingdom of Brittany.
Since you are a vassal of the Kingdom of France, then your liege won’t object to attacking the Kingdom of Brittany, even if the latter is an ally of the former. Brittany won’t have much of a resistance. They would only have around 700-800 Levies at that time.
Congrats, now you will have the Duchy of Brittany, and now you are a Duke.
Use your Family
The next step is not using your military prowess to take over France; rather, by carefully inserting your bloodlines into other houses.
The following tips and tricks are useful.
1. use your daughter to marry someone with claims, using matrilineal marriage. This means all children will be under your house. Furthermore, the husband will relocate to your court. Hence you can use his claim to expand.
2. Use your daughter or sister to marry the prince of France. It is not necessarily the heir of France’s kingdom, but rather the other sons or grandson of the King of France. This will ensure that one of your nephews will have a claim on the throne. With a little luck and sway (scheme), their opinion of you may be high enough that you can use matrilineal marriage, and your nephew will be part of your dynasty.
3. Use your sons to marry the daughter of some nearby kings or duke, with a big army. Marrying off will automatically grant you an alliance (by blood); hence look for those kingdoms with an icon of “potential alliance” in the marriage window.
In my scenario, my sister Vigdis married Prince Carloman of West Francia. Because Prince Louis (the other Prince of France) is disfigured, he can’t marry and wound have children. Hence Prince Carloman is the potential heir of France.
Use Schemes / Intrigue
This will take careful planning.
Since my sister, Vigdis, married Prince Carloman of France, using Martrilineal marriage (how I did this, I have no idea. I may have had a hook or their opinion was high enough or he wasn’t the primary heir, so the king of France agreed to this). I waited for them to have a son. You can offer guardianship to him after if you want so that he will transfer to your court. Btw, your nephew will be under your dynasty. His name in my scenario was Angelbert Heistening.
So the Line of Succession for the Kingdom of France will be Prince Louis (Primary heir), then my nephew Angelbert (I don’t know why Prince Carloman wasn’t the next in line).
This is the tricky party.
You want to kill them all so your nephew will become the Heir of the Throne.
Luckily, for my part, Prince Louis died in a battle on Feb 881, he was 18.
Next, I planned the murder of King Louis II of France. You need a very good spymaster to support this scheme. Furthermore, it would help if you had allies and good opinions from other vassals.
Finally, after several months, King Louis II died under suspicious circumstances (by me, of course!)
My nephew, Angelbert Heistening, is the new King of France!!!
Take the Throne of France
Now, my nephew Angelbert is the new king.
Patience is the key to take over the throne. I waited for him to be engaged in several wars against neighboring kingdoms. Furthermore, by this time, I have allied with neighboring kingdoms. Remember, even if you are allied with several vassals, they won’t help you fight against the throne; hence find allies outside France.
When I saw 6000 troops from the Kingdom of France were engaged in a fight against other kingdoms and somehow got depleted, I use the best casus belli to take over France.
I am the head of the Haestening Dynasty; hence, I have a claim to the throne. I acted fast, attack Paris head-on, and captured several valuable family members, including Prince Carloman of West Francia. I eventually won the battle.
I am now the King of West Francia.
France was divided between the Kingdom of West Francia and the Kingdom of Aquitane.
My nephew Angelbert become the King of Aquitane. You have 2 options, wait until the truce ends before taking over the Kingdom of Aquitane or break the truce and becomes a tyrant.
I chose the latter. After 2 years of waiting for me to form allies and reinforcements, I broke the truce and attacked the Kingdom of Aquitane. My nephew lost and was killed, of course, and I consolidated power in France.
I am now Finally the King of West Francia, Brittany, and Aquitane.
Keep Vassals Happy
Since I became a tyrant, my vassals’ opinion wasn’t good. Here are a few tricks on how I controlled them.
1. Sway (scheme) them to improve opinion.
2. Offer council positions (this improves a lot)
3. Focus your chancellor on domestic affairs as this improves vassal opinion by +10
4. Switch lifestyle focus to stewardship and administrator. Get the branch with likable and positions of power.
5. Ask them to change religion to Catholicism. If they refuse, throw them in prison. They can’t revolt there.
6. Revoke titles (if they will allow you).
7. Invade/plot to kill them.
Create the Empire of Francia
Since you now hold 3 dejure Kingdoms (Brittany, Aquitane, and West Francia), while King Lothaire III holds the Kingdom of Burgundy, you can create the Empire of West Francia.
What you need is 800 gold. Just wait, and don’t spend on unnecessary things.
Alas, you are now the Emperor of Francia.
Expand and Enjoy the Game
Being the Emperor, there is nothing left to do but expand.
Luckily, one of my Vassals, Duke Karel III, has claims on the Kingdom of Italy. With the use of 1500 prestige, I invaded the Kingdom of Italy. With my allies from the Kingdom of Lothargia and the Kingdom of Bavaria, I conquered Italy with ease.
Duke Karel III becomes the King of Italy, and still my vassal (Wow!!!).
I also created other titles like the Kingdom of Brittany. I gave the Kingdom of Aquitane to my heir and son, knowing that he will inherit the Empire and the Kingdom of West Francia when I die. His brother will become the King of Brittany and his vassal.
So what now? You can expand to the west and conquer the Infidels occupying Hispania. Or Expand north to the dejure kingdom of Britannia. Nothing is impossible for the Empire of France!
I hope you enjoyed this guide!
I hope you enjoy the Guide we share about Crusader Kings III – From a Viking to an Emperor of France: Tips and Tricks; if you think we forget to add or we should add more information, please let us know via commenting below! See you soon!
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