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Medieval 2 Strategy Discussion
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Topic Subject: Pleasing the Pope? Double-standard?
posted 04 August 2011 12:43 EDT (US)   
I'm relatively new to M2TW after playing RTW. It seems that M2TW is more challenging both on the battle and campaign maps.

One issue I'm having is keeping the Pope happy. For the most part, I do what the Pope asks me to do unless it seriously conflicts with my present goals. However, the Pope seems to continually stick a fork in my eye. Here is the situation:

I'm playing as England. I took York, but then turned my attention on the mainland rebel settlements, starting with Antwerp. So, I secured the 4 northern rebel settlements and then turned my attention to the Irish and western English settlements. I was planning to then take out Scotland and Inverness, but Scotland had just allied with HRE, who I allied with because they were very strong militarily and too close to my empire for comfort--I wanted to focus on attacking France without being dogpiled, if I could help it.

Now, the thing is, meanwhile France had gotten excommunicated while my main force was to the North and both Spain and Milan attacked France with strength. Milan occupied Paris and then France vassaled to Milan, ending the war. That threw a wrench into my plans, because Milan was very strong militarily also.

While I was building up military to attack Milan/France, Milan/France attacked me. I am happy about this because then I can counterattack without seeming the aggressor. However, as soon as I throw back their armies and siege Paris, in comes the Pope with a "don't attack for 7 turns or you're excommunicated" warning. And I'm like "he started it!"

So, instead I turn my attentions on the remaining Northern French cities. In swoops the Pope again with the same warning.

Then the Pope dies and the Milan cardinal gets elected as Pope and, while I am not excommunicated, my favour with the Pope is at 0.

So, I figure, to heck with the Pope for now, excommunicate me if you want, I'm going to mop the floor with France/Milan and then revisit the situation. The English/Spanish/HRE power block seems to be working out well, as HRE is busy with Denmark and Poland, Spain is busy with Portugal, and I'm focusing my attentions on France/Milan, planning to sweep East through Venice/Sicily after that before backstabbing HRE once I'm strong enough.

Anyway, earlier in the game I was at about 6 or 7 favour with the Pope, but it went steadily downhill thanks to Milan/France attacking me? That sucks imo. Scotland also attacked me and I beat them back and took Edinburgh, much to the Pope's displeasure, argh.
posted 04 August 2011 14:24 EDT (US)     1 / 9  
Your favour with the Pope was zero because you probably had terrible or abysmal relations with Milan.

When it was at six and went downhill did you get commanded by the Pope to cease hostilities? That would explain alot if you had attacked even just one army/settlement. If they were always the agressor, did they have better Papal relations than you? If not, the Pope just hates you. I would not suggest rampaging through Europe unless you plan to destroy the nations with the Preferati until you have one and then destroying the Papal States. Don't worry, they come back. If you have high Papal Favour with the new Pope, ask for reconciliation, but be prepared to pay a hefty sum. Alternatively, instead of attacking the catholic nations, befriend them. For each five hundred florins paid in tribute, your relations will improve one level i.e. abysmal to terrible, terrible to very poor, very poor to poor, poor to average, average to good, good to very good, very good to outstanding and outstanding to perfect. If you do this to the Pope, the number of crosses will increase as well.

Nulla ut Caseum Pellentesque
Nothing like a bit of cheese - Me

Mors Lator = Zoto888. In case I've ever mentioned that name.

My Gravatar is a response to Punic Hoplite's
posted 04 August 2011 14:42 EDT (US)     2 / 9  
When the pope issues a cease and desist order it's more about whose land the fighting is on than who the aggressor is (I think) - so if there was a French force on your lands you could always attack it, if your force was on French lands and they attacked you it'd count against you.

Are you on a particularly hard difficulty setting?

Training priests is always useful with the pope, as is building churches whereever you can. I think it counts against you to have high heresy levels in your lands, but I wouldn't swear to it.

Did the Scots, French etc have any diplomatic links with the pope? That tends to mess things up rather, to the point some people avoid allying with the pope due to it being overpowered.
posted 04 August 2011 15:26 EDT (US)     3 / 9  
I always ignore the Pope in the early game. The first crusade is nearly always called on Antioch or Jerusalem, but even if it is called on you it will be so early in the game that few factions are likley to respond. After the first crusade is called, that gives you a while to get yourself reconciled before another crusade can be called.

As England I would focus on blitzing Scotland at the start, giving you a secure homeland, then you can turn all your attention towards mainland Europe without worrying about fighting on two fronts.

Have you tried getting your own Pope? Choose a city, build the best religious building possible and spam priests. Eventually you should get a Theologian's Guild in that city and combined with some of the traits/ retinue the higher tier religious buildings provide you will probably get a fair few Priests who become insta-Cardinals so long as there is a space in the College of Cardinals.
posted 04 August 2011 18:26 EDT (US)     4 / 9  
I haven't tried getting my own pope yet, as I'm concentrating on learning expansion first.

I'm playing M/M

How does one not attack catholic factions as England? Wouldn't that lead to a very spread out empire (i.e., not good in terms of divide and conquer)?

I felt the natural opening for England would be to take out Scotland, giving a secure homeland (as suggested above) and then into battle against France, followed by either expanding into the Spanish peninsula or Eastward against either HRE or Milan. You have to go pretty far South and/or East to start attacking someone who is not Catholic.

I had better relations with the Pope (about 6 on average) than France (who had been excommunicated) and Milan (who had been excommunicated). However, after Milan/France attacked me, their relationship with the Pope increased and mine decreased significantly.

When I saved, and Milan got an elected Pope, Milan was at max relations and I was at min relations with the Pope.

I feel like Milan took me to diplo school in terms of manipulating the papacy against me while simultaneously attacking me.
posted 05 August 2011 05:28 EDT (US)     5 / 9  
My guess is that Milan weren't excommunicated when they attacked you, you just didn't see them getting reconciled. Then again, in an England campaign I played once where France were excommunicated, they suddenly got reconciled when they were down to just two territories (Paris and Rheims), so strange things can happen I guess.

As for expanding overseas, crusades allow you to do that. Just make sure you get to the Holy Land in the early game when Egypt and the Turks will still be fairly weak. The units you get access to during a crusade will stay with you afterwards, so use them to fend off attacks while you build up your own Kingdom of Jerusalem and can recruit better units. Alternatively, Spain also makes a nice target (so long as the Moors still hold land there) being closer to Britain, but on the downside you will not be able to extend far without coming into contact with fellow Christians i.e. Spain and Portugal. It works out good in the long run though because you can conquer Spain then attack France from two fronts or conquer France and attack Spain from two fronts.
posted 05 August 2011 06:14 EDT (US)     6 / 9  
If you want to attack Catholic factions either wait unitl they are excommunicated or go to war with them but make them start it, i.e. send assassins to kill a faction leaderand when they fail and are killed they should go to war. Then if you get a Pope he may hate them enough to excommunicate them if they attack you.

Nulla ut Caseum Pellentesque
Nothing like a bit of cheese - Me

Mors Lator = Zoto888. In case I've ever mentioned that name.

My Gravatar is a response to Punic Hoplite's
posted 05 August 2011 10:00 EDT (US)     7 / 9  
I have a very good strategy. It works best if you go on a crusade and do it in the holy lands.

Once you capture the city/castle in the holy land, obviously the Pope will be pleased with you, but that doesn't matter. Build religious buildings and upgrade them, train spamming priensts while doing so. I had about 15-20 in my last campaign. Seriously, because there are so many, the region will turn Christian very quickly, which gives the priests very good traits IE "Has seen his work change the lives of many" and stuff instead of the bad ones they get when sitting still in Europe.

You won't have to wait long for them all to become cardinals. And all will have 8+Piety. Last time the wasn't even a papal election, because I had all the cardinal spots. It automatically went to me and I got the pope loved me.

Also, building chapels, citadels, etc makes him like you.
posted 05 August 2011 11:33 EDT (US)     8 / 9  
Great, thanks everyone. I'll give more thought to conquering way out East. I like the raiding thread too, so that is something to consider.

I started a new game and have managed to take 3 of the Northern French cities while keeping my papal relations at least average. The Pope doesn't like France all that much, having excommunicated them once already, thanks to France starting war against me. I had to pause a couple of times in my wars against France and Scotland to avoid being excommunicated, but then continued to press on. Now Denmark has attacked me getting excommunicated as well and Milan has been excommunicated, so it looks like I should be able to continue expanding through their empires, which is good.

I'm hoping though to get at least one good stack heading out east to do some raiding and to go on crusade when called.

I like the strategy of spamming priests out there and will give it a shot.

posted 09 August 2011 07:42 EDT (US)     9 / 9  
Instead of capturing a city in the east as part of a crusade in order to train priests there, you can also just send a shipload of priest to Muslim territory (Moors are nearest). Their piety increases while they're converting the population to Christianity and they'll make fine cardinals..
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