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Thread: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

  1. #1

    Default Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Consider this a venting post. Playing as French (MTW Redux 1003). I'm doing quite well, having amassed all of the provinces that make up France proper. I have been a loyal supporter of the pope, even pulling off a successful crusade against the Moors when Pope-daddy asked for it. I am a middling power, not a steamroller by any stretch of the imagination. Then, four of my Catholic neighbours (HRE, English, Spanish, and those damn Italians) launch surprise attacks on my territory within just a few turns of each other. I successfully defend against two of them, but lose two provinces, which hurts my king's prestige big time. When I finally gather the forces to counter-attack, by land and by sea, I get a message from the pope that I must cease and desist from attacking Catholics! Okay. Fine. So, I play the good Catholic and pull my armies back (except in the provinces being invaded). Some turns go by and I manage to regain my lost territory. The aggressors continue to aggress — sinking some of my ships. Once again, I decide to retaliate — by sinking one measly English ship. Then comes that famous papal missive: "You've been excommunicated for your aggression toward other Catholics."

    What gives, you blathering papal blackguard!? They can attack me with impunity AND I CAN'T EVEN DEFEND MYSELF!?

    Now that I've calmed down a bit, I'll just say that this is one area that is heavily (and annoyingly) weighted against the player.

    Has anyone else run into this kind of papal skullduggery?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Yes, Cyprian2, that's a well-known imbalance, the Pope never seems to excommunicate AI-controlled factions (never at least when it concerns invasions of the player's provinces, not 100% sure about wars between two AI-controlled Catholic states).

    The only thing a player can retaliate with is the exploit of Pope's disability to protect more than one faction from your forces at any single time - capture a province from any given faction, receive a warning from the Pope, then you get 10 years to freely wage war on every other Catholic state in Europe.
    Last edited by Eraser; 08-05-2013 at 11:53.

  3. #3
    Member Member LordK9's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Yes; far too often and the Papal court is much more likely to break a treaty with you too making suicide attacks that mess up your alliance structure. Methinks the game designers really hated the Catholic Church. I quit one game (was a sure loss anyway but I don't usually do this) when the Egyptians were all powerful, were at war with my ally the Pope and myself --- and the papal forces invaded one of my provinces. Its more like later Machiavellian times in many ways when the papal states are at issue. Heck, in one game, I helped my ally the Pope get his province back from a mutual enemy and after the thanks message, he attacked me

    The AI also seems (at least to me) to have a huge advantage in naval warfare - I really believe enemy ships can move two areas, attack after moving, and attack your units the turn they enter - all things the player cannot do.

    EDIT: RE: Eraser - I have seen enemy factions excommunicated many times but never for attacking me. If anyone dares to defend themselves from a Papal attack (like take back a province just invaded), that faction will be excommunicated. Actually, this makes good sense. On the positive side, although i don't know the reason but suspect that it has something to do with sending priests to provinces with active heresies, the Pope will sometimes send you a thousand florins out of the blue.
    Last edited by LordK9; 08-05-2013 at 06:25.

  4. #4
    Member Member Gilrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyprian2 View Post
    Consider this a venting post. Playing as French (MTW Redux 1003). I'm doing quite well, having amassed all of the provinces that make up France proper. I have been a loyal supporter of the pope, even pulling off a successful crusade against the Moors when Pope-daddy asked for it. I am a middling power, not a steamroller by any stretch of the imagination. Then, four of my Catholic neighbours (HRE, English, Spanish, and those damn Italians) launch surprise attacks on my territory within just a few turns of each other. I successfully defend against two of them, but lose two provinces, which hurts my king's prestige big time. When I finally gather the forces to counter-attack, by land and by sea, I get a message from the pope that I must cease and desist from attacking Catholics! Okay. Fine. So, I play the good Catholic and pull my armies back (except in the provinces being invaded). Some turns go by and I manage to regain my lost territory. The aggressors continue to aggress — sinking some of my ships. Once again, I decide to retaliate — by sinking one measly English ship. Then comes that famous papal missive: "You've been excommunicated for your aggression toward other Catholics."

    What gives, you blathering papal blackguard!? They can attack me with impunity AND I CAN'T EVEN DEFEND MYSELF!?

    Now that I've calmed down a bit, I'll just say that this is one area that is heavily (and annoyingly) weighted against the player.

    Has anyone else run into this kind of papal skullduggery?
    Probably your territory was much bigger than the other factions'. If this was the case the Pope turns a blind eye on any warfare the smaller faction wages against a bigger one. Once playing as the Danish and having initially only one province I managed to capture almost half of HRE until I got a warning from the Holy See.
    As for Pope's surprise invasions, I found that if the Pope attacks you and you repel his first onslaught (or, in case of a naval attack, the Pope's ship is sunk) the Holy Father is likely to ask for peace at once or, if you sue for peace, he mostly agrees.
    Last edited by Gilrandir; 08-05-2013 at 15:42.
    Quote Originally Posted by Suraknar View Post
    The article exists for a reason yes, I did not write it...

  5. #5

    Cool Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Pope do this always.
    Pope usually excommunicate factions which controled by AI. BUT when they attack u they dont get any warn but if u do this u get.
    and Aı can attack u in the see without any ships, that is so weird.
    But if u allied with Pope thing a little bit turns to u as I experienced. Unless he cancels treaty he dont excommunicate u.
    But but but who cares Pope. If u are superior erase his kingdom.
    Last edited by ferdi; 08-05-2013 at 17:24.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilrandir View Post
    Probably your territory was much bigger than the other factions'. If this was the case the Pope turns a blind eye on any warfare the smaller faction wages against a bigger one.
    That could indeed be the case. I have seen AI factions excommunicated for attacking me, but it's fairly rare. My main frustration with the whole thing lies in the fact that the aggressor can CONTINUE to attack me while I am prohibited from fighting back (especially at sea). So, my ships are just supposed to be sitting ducks? Seems like the other faction should have the same "prohibition" as I do.
    Quote Originally Posted by ferdi View Post
    Pope do this always.
    Pope usually excommunicate factions which controled by AI. BUT when they attack u they dont get any warn but if u do this u get.
    Exactly. It's weighted against the player, I guess, for optimum challenge.
    and Aı can attack u in the see without any ships, that is so weird.
    I've been wondering about this, but I don't think it's actually the case. More likely, AI ships have the option of moving after the player -- just as in land battles when they are able to move reinforcements from neighbouring provinces when attacked.

    Well, I decided I didn't care too much about being excommunicated. My king has six prestige and all of my best generals are loyal to the bone. My armies are poised for invasion on several fronts. There's a bit of unrest in my provinces, but nothing that can't be fixed by adjusting taxes. The Spanish collapsed in a civil war and the Italians sued for peace and then a marriage alliance after their own civil war. Now my only enemy is the Germans and -- let me say -- it's good to be evil.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilrandir View Post
    Probably your territory was much bigger than the other factions'.
    +1

    This is why early on, at least in the vanilla game, the HRE and sometimes the French, being the bigger catholic factions, often get excommunicated even if it's they who were attacked, lost territory and are only retaliating - being AI or player controlled has no bearing on this AFAIK.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyprian2 View Post
    Once again, I decide to retaliate — by sinking one measly English ship. Then comes that famous papal missive: "You've been excommunicated for your aggression toward other Catholics."
    The Pope treats invading a province or sinking a ship as an act of war and will excommunicate a larger faction based on any combination of two of these events (the ten year rule applies).

    It can be cheated however... but you will need a war on two fronts or more fronts - and you seem to have that sorted. If you invade one faction and get a warning, just attack another faction (or sink one of their ships) and you will get another warning. The Pope can only manage one active warning at a time, so the first is forgotten... leaving you free to attack the first faction again. To me this seems like a rather low tactic, in that it's an exploit I wouldn't use, but YMMV.
    Last edited by caravel; 08-07-2013 at 17:17.

  8. #8
    Member Member LordK9's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Funny how things tend to work out. The other irritation with ships is that even one fleet can destroy your trade network while you are prohibited from doing anything without the excommunication thing (although, truthfully, I garrison in such a way that it rarely causes me problems).

  9. #9
    Member Member Gilrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Quote Originally Posted by asai View Post
    If you invade one faction and get a warning, just attack another faction (or sink one of their ships) and you will get another warning. The Pope can only manage one active warning at a time, so the first is forgotten... leaving you free to attack the first faction again.
    In my experience you never get a second warning. The first holds while you can wreak havoc elsewhere.
    Quote Originally Posted by Suraknar View Post
    The article exists for a reason yes, I did not write it...

  10. #10

    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    If you don't get another warning, it's probably because the catholic faction you attacked is bigger than you are - but the attack still "resets" the Pope. I definitely remember seeing second warnings. I'm desensitised to the effects of the pope, but even I used to get annoyed being told turn after turn that I must "cease hostilities".

    As I said it's not an exploit I've used much. I would tend to prepare and then just invade the provinces I wanted to retain and accept excommunication. If you are ready and willing to fight, excommunication offers many opportunities. There is always some silly AI faction who will declare a crusade and it's often initiated from a province where it's easy enough to backdoor the chapter house. Your neighbour disintegrating into civil war then leaves some easy rebel conquests/bribes.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Quote Originally Posted by asai View Post
    As I said it's not an exploit I've used much. I would tend to prepare and then just invade the provinces I wanted to retain and accept excommunication. If you are ready and willing to fight, excommunication offers many opportunities. There is always some silly AI faction who will declare a crusade and it's often initiated from a province where it's easy enough to backdoor the chapter house. Your neighbour disintegrating into civil war then leaves some easy rebel conquests/bribes.
    I like this idea of welcoming excommunication as a means to a bloody end. It's just as you say in my Redux French campaign: once I welcomed excom, I realized that most of my Catholic neighbours couldn't stand up to me, and now I've got carte blanche to do whatever I want.

    Is it true, then, that if the player's position is strong enough, the AI factions will generally ignore the pope's call for a crusade? Seems to be the case. I've been excom for about ten years now -- and nothing. As you've said, asai, I'd actually welcome that message "such and such faction has launched a crusade and it's headed for your province!" because it could mean some very quick political disintegration for my enemies.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    It's a strategic game and every situation can be exploited. If you get excommunicated you are free of the pope and factions which attack you can be crushed and overrun - the more you do this the more likely the pope will be to ask for crusades against you. The trick is to prepare your forces so that you have enough reserves to invade and hold enemy provinces, defeat AI crusades and take advantage of the outcome.

    Excommunication is rather simple - the "broken cross" Christianity is quite simply a different religion. So the effect on your provinces is the same as that of an orthodox/muslim/pagan invader in catholic territory - your faction leader's faith does not match the faith of the provinces. The difference of course is that no buildings or agents, nor any other factors (occupation, faction leader's piety) can convert the province, so the penalty for being of a different religion remains until excommunication ends. This can be offset as ever with good spies, high dread governors and happy buildings. As ever, high piety governors have a negative effect as all of your generals switch to the "broken cross" (excommunicated faith christian) religion.

  13. #13
    Member Member Gilrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    Quote Originally Posted by asai View Post
    The trick is to prepare your forces so that you have enough reserves to invade and hold enemy provinces, defeat AI crusades and take advantage of the outcome.
    In case of an excom holding the enemy's provinces becomes more difficult as they are prone to rebel against the infidel and sometimes the loyalty of such a province remains zero no matter how much troops you billet there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Suraknar View Post
    The article exists for a reason yes, I did not write it...

  14. #14
    Member Member LordK9's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerning the Dastardly Pope and His Double Standards

    I try to avoid it unless I have the troops to take out the Pope in two or so turns. Then I keep a minimal garrison and when he reappears, I destroy all the buildings and leave (that'll show him! :) ). Speaking of the Pope, in a prior discussion, it was mentioned that the papal States rarely do well. I recently had a game where the Pope had all of Italy, nearly all of western Europe, all of the Iberian peninsula, all of North Africa except Egypt, and much of the Balkans. Alas for the poor pope (and the Mongols), they don't get glorious achievement points so I still kind of won.

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