You are looking at the new High King of Ireland! Granddad would be so proud!

But let’s back up a bit.

Being a pre-teen ruler isn’t easy since everyone sees you as a pushover. Remember that childhood bully, Cobflaith? She was still making Murchad II’s life a living hell. One way a ruler tries to make himself feel good is to start a war, because penis or something, amirite?

Well, there’s always going to be someone with a bigger dong, even if they have to import multiple backup dongs from across the Irish Sea. These bastards you see above came rolling in to defend the County of Oriel when Murchad II tried to exercise his claim over it, and they Did. Not. Leave. Him. Th’fuck. Alone. They must have been medieval hemorrhoids because they were on Murchad II’s ass from one side of the Emerald Isle to the other until they got tired and went home.

But the childhood trauma remained. At some point Murchad II gained the compassionate trait which, as a ruler, is a real Achilles Heel. Any time Murch II had to do something ruler-y, it put stress on him. There’s three levels of stress, and when your character graduates from one level to the next, you have a mental break.

Nothing a little “marketplace therapy” can’t solve, right? So Murch II bought a cloak and lost some of that stress.

Fat good it did him, because he noticed his mom, having remarried since his father died in the War, wasn’t going to inherit the land of her husband, which meant that Murch II wouldn’t get a claim on it. Thinking the way a mentally anguished teen would, Murch II assumed that if his mom was the only one around, then she’d get the land, and when she died, the land would pass down to her only son and Liege? Simple!

Murch II had a 50/50 chance of taking out his step-uncle, and among the 9 vassals who could lend a hand, none of them would. Still, thanks to a competent spymaster who suggested we add a contact poison to a bag of coin and pass it off to Domnall as a gift, the step-uncle became an ex-uncle, and Murch II learned that nope, the land still wouldn’t fall his way.

That’s OK because the next few years were fine. They were fine.

Murch II became a trend-setter before Instagram, which is no big deal. He only has a couple hundred-thousand followers.

Huzzah! The young woman he had been betrothed to also got older, they got married, and were on their way to producing an heir!

Awww shit. Well, there goes the kid, the wife, and the alliance. Karma’s a bitch.

Murch II’s back at it with the stress, but can you blame him? This time he tried to sooth the pain with comfort food, which earned him the nickname “The Plump” (I am not kidding you, it became part of his official title). So once he had his breeches taken out a few centimeters, Ireland’s Favorite Son decided to team up with his childhood friend Ronchu and try for Oriel one last time.

Once again, Murchad II summoned his posse, and Earl Art summoned his posse, and they had a pretty violent dance-off, but Murch II’s moves we so much sweeter than Art’s and Oriel joined the Munster Crew As Had Been Foretold By Prophecy!

Except that in the wake, tragedy struck once more.

Without his best friend, an heir, or a wife, Murchad II tempted level 3 on the Stress-O-Metre before sitting himself down and setting a goal for himself. Nothing big. Nothing flashy. Just…becoming the High fucking King of Ireland is all!

Problem number one: He was broke. Problem number two: he had no kids to clean up his mess-slash-take over his legacy when he died. So he got himself a new wife from overseas, and lo! A son, named after Murchad II’s dad, who he never really knew on account of the fact that he got himself killed in battle.

With a goal, a wife, and a continuation of the dynasty more or less in the bag, Murchad II had one last task to take care of in order to feel like he really kicked the Universe’s ass: patching things up with That Bitch Conflaith. Rather than doing things the old fashioned way and having her killed, Murch II took the high road. He gave her a seat on the Council for a while, but when someone better came along, he fired her. Just as she was about to return to her bitchy ways, Murchad II started a sway campaign that intended to raise her opinion of him. These campaigns can make friends of enemies, and just like his governess always said, “if you can’t kill em with poison, kill em with kindness. And then use poison to finish the job.”

Sadly, the poison never made it out of the vial, because Conflaith died under her own power.

Bitch got the last laugh in the end. Fuck you, Conflaith.

Or did she? Murch II had nothing new going on, so he sat tight and kept an eye on the ledgers of the kingdom. He switched his focus to Stewardship so he could ramp up the taxes without actually upping the tax rate, and chose perks that increased the income even more.

Finally, the day arrived. When the 500th gold piece hit the treasury floor, he cashed out and bought the Kingdom of Ireland. The End.

Really, this was my most immediate goal, and I really didn’t think it would be possible. I started out with Murchad I and learned that being overly ambitious early on is a sure way to end up dead (and your son, too). Third generation’s the charm, though, as Murchad II went from being a Liege-in-training to the High King of Ireland. Although there is no “win” condition per-se in Crusader Kings III, the fact that I was able to make a goal, work towards that goal, not give up when I otherwise might have, and then actually succeed at that goal in a game as complex as this makes me happy.

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