A couple of practice games later and I worked out the mechanics - or thought I had - and decided to get to work establishing a new world order.
I chose Ireland in 1066 like all the guides said. To make sure my journey to the throne of the emerald isle gets off to a good start I took advantage of the "ruler designer" - the Irish deserve a demigod in charge so I racked up the stats and traits. Handsome, smart, diplomatic military superstar who's a genius. It couldn't get better than that. LET'S UNITE SOME LANDS PEOPLE!
So it turns out when you heap loads of positive traits on a ruler it adds on to their years. A lot. So instead of my super Sexy warlord I got an old man, who very quickly found that he couldn't do much of anything. A lot of the court people had relatively poor stats as well, and no one abroad wanted to come over. I decided to get married and try and squeeze out a kid wih some of papa's positive traits thinking it'll just be a do-over. Under false pretences I manage to lure some hot young lusty bimbo from the arse's end of nowhere, France, who will now never trust anyone again, straight down the wedding aisle. She would serve her purpose though, right? Wrong. Wouldn't you know it, the guy drops dead, his life and reign cruelly cut short... at the age of 60 odd, approximately two months into the reign.
Luckily, when cherry picking my God's attributes I chose to start with a son. IT TURNS OUT that when you make a son on the ruler designer they get none of the father's positive attributes. Also, since I'm now the grand total of zero years old, I'm not allowed to run the country. How much danger could I possibly get in? I can't even lift my own head. So we get regent Mr McAwful Mustache, based on his stats and portrait. He does nothing. Nothing at all but sitting on his mustachiod ass, collecting my cash. I've put the speed up to times five, which is still like a snail with a club foot as I desperately try to get to age 16. Some stuff happens, and I click through it. You'd think having no control because of the regency would mean I paid attention to the pop up things. You'd think wrong. I FINALLY hit sweet sixteen with all the attributes of a serial killer and make my first move.
The guides said to take control of your home region's city and church so I did. The current occupants were less than thrilled. The Bishop came quietly, albeit whispering hatred about me but the mayor giy wouldnt budge. None other than McAwful Mustache, who wanted to keep on his cash cow to the sweet life. So the church doesn't give me much soldiers, and hes got roughly the same numbers. But those sixteen years in regency meant I had some cash - a band of ugly, smelly, but somewhat reasonably priced mercenaries to the rescue! My band of outcasts chased McAwful around some counties until eventually defeating the army, then lay seige to the city. I clasp my fingers in an evil pyramid of revenge, as it falls without a problem. I won! I got back my city... MY city... where I'd killed all of my soldiers. The realisation hit me like an fat guy opening the fridge door. The cash is gone, so with it the mercenaries, and I'd just killed all of my soldiers in a bid to get my own city back. There's only one person to blame: McAwful Mustache. I read the warnings this time but I'm pissed at this point and too far gone, so I just double down. I execute McAwful Mustache, so that's the end of that.
Except now I've got one county, no vassals, no cash, no army and everyone in court hates me like a stole all of their potatoes.
I think I need to start again. This is a very emotional game.