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Good Starting Character?
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If you want easy, just pick one of the nations in the Holy roman empire. The big down side however is you will have a hard time getting independence from them when you want it, unless your goal is to become the emperor.
The most recomended that I see however on the main Crusader kings 2 forums is one of the counts or duchies in Ireland.
The King of Galicia is pretty fun, your young your unmarry you have claims to tons of christian lands or can crusade against the Muslim down south and have a chance of internal revolt or joining the civil war in Leon on either side.
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definitely play as one of Spanish kings to learn about the game, Leon, Castille, or Galicia.
Close enemies, relatively safe space too, the french will probably leave you alone in your spanish corner, making your only enemy your brothers and the islamic southern neighbours.
It's not going to be "easy", but it's definitely going to be a good learning. You can get beaten by your brothers, heirs assassinated, or swallowed up by the larger islamic sheikdom like Mauritania.
A good first move to make if your king is unmarried is to marry him with the princess of the holy roman emperor, making an alliance, the emperor will definitely keep sending on reinforcements to help you if you asked. Just make sure you always join his wars too, just say yes, don't bother sending any troops since he will just win easily anyway, just don't get on the emperor's bad side.
I totally agree with the starting with a Spanish King , particularly Castille. There will be a lot of family bickering since your brothers are also neighboring kings. It leads to a lot of interesting situations. Also, you should watch this youtube video series. They help a ton, and he even plays as Castille. Here is the first in the series:
Assassinate your brothers to get their kingdoms before they have kids. Spain is pretty easy in this game. You don't have to do anything special to take the Sunni lands either. Just declare war and take like 3-4 counties.
William the Bastard starts off pretty strong.
I know it's pretty damn weird to eat people.
I actually would recommend starting as a county in Ireland. Combat happens on your terms, and you are on an island away from everyone else so you can take things at your own pace.
Ireland's gained the nickname "Tutorial Island" because of that. I think it's a great place to learn the basics. This was my first Paradox game too, and I played about a dozen games up in Ireland to figure out what was going on.
There is no Irish king at the start of the game, only 2 Dukes (3 if you include the Earl of Dublin who usually becomes the Duke of Meath within the first 10-20 years), which means there's no real large power to push you around. As far as foreign influence, you're usually left alone. England is invaded by the Normans and the Norse and then is usually too busy with civil war to ever pay attention to you. Scotland? I've occasionally seen the Duke of the Isles invade Ulster, but it's not that common and they usually have their own issues to worry about. Everyone else is too far away to really care.
Things definitely happen slower. If you're looking for action right off the back, Spain is just a chaotic mess of awesome. Up in Ireland, you'll be only making like a ducat a month, you have a levy of around 300 at the start, and your ability to go to war is limited by a lack of claims. But rising up to become the High King, and uniting the Island does make for a good first challenge. And then if you feel confident you can always try invading the "big island" for a challenge.
Most people recommend starting as the Duke of Munster, or the Earl of Dublin. They're definitely the de-facto powers. They're the easiest to expand at the start. My personal fastest time to becoming king was in 18 years as the Earl of Dublin, so there's definitely an argument for them. (did it without using mercs too! although that was back in the days when you could steal El Cid and his 27 martial score away from the Castilians. Stupid 1.03 patch nerfing matrilineal marriages!)
Personally, I think if you were starting out, it might be easier, to go up to one of the northern counts. (Tyrconnell, Tyrone, Ulster, Oriel, Breifne), Munster and Dublin both have large families with lots of brothers and cousins to keep happy, and Munster's vassel in Ormand revolts every other tuesday. None of the northern counts really have large starting families (Tyrone in particular starts as the only one in his dynasty), which makes the infighting less complicated. And it doesn't really put you at a disadvantage anyway, because you can find a wife and start the family right away, so that takes care of the heirs issue, and because there are no potential Irish brides at the start you can't marry into other families anyway, so most of your expansion will come from waiting for your chancellor to fake a claim regardless of where you start.
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I had a blast starting as the Duke of Champagne in France. Too many sons made life interesting at first, but claims came fast and easy and by the fourth generation I was able to win the War for Independance and usurp the title from those rotten Capets. Now into the nineth generation and I've got de jure France, the south-eastern half of the Iberian peninsula (including Aragon), and have started expanding into Mauritania. Loving every minute of it...
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