Varangian Adventure: Claiming new lands
Unique to the Norse religion in Crusader Kings III: Northern Lords is the ability to select Varangian Adventure as your goal during wars. As mentioned, you’ll first need to reach fame level 3/Distinguished to unlock this option.
Varangian Adventure is limited to just count and duke-tier rulers during the Tribal Era, and the prestige cost does become more expensive with each successful adventure. Likewise, it can’t be used against cultures that can also adventure (i.e., other Norse), or against neighboring rulers. But, when you get the ball rolling, it’s a truly impressive and powerful tool.
Once you activate it on a viable target, up to 2,000 special soldiers will spawn in your capital. Imagine having only 600 soldiers at the start, and then getting thousands of shield-bearing and axe-wielding Vikings?
Note: The special troops can be increased depending on the number of same-faith and same-culture counties you control solely on mainland Scandinavia.
It’s extremely likely that you’ll conquer the target nation of your Viking Adventure. Once you enforce peace, three things will happen:
- You’ll immediately switch your capital and de jure counties to the target duchy.
- Any vassals you have become independent.
- All remaining holdings under your control are given away to upstart warlords (i.e., randomly-generated characters).
It’s essentially a fresh start in a new land, not so different from Rollo taking Normandy, Rurik capturing Novgorod, and Roger d’Hauteville conquering Sicily. The fun part is that you even get to keep hundreds of Viking Adventurers as part of your military forces. These units are even inherited by your heir upon succession.
Anyway, I was presented with many targets from Prussia and Courland to Novgorod and Hungary (the Byzantine Empire was too far away). I decided to curb the Anglo-Saxon threat by targetting Alfred of Wessex. Since Jarl Halfdan was my ally, and he controlled Jorvik (York), it was a done deal. Alfred’s forces capitulated within a month. Jarl Orm of Småland was now the Jarl of Essex.
Since my previous lands were under the rule of disparate tribal chieftains, they were easily gobbled up by Bjorn Ironside (who quickly created the Kingdom of Sweden). That was fine given that my new focus was England. However, I do think you can make a few moves early on, such as assigning vassals from your dynasty, so that they, too, get counted as independent rulers. You’ll be able to retain your alliances with them, bound by blood (or marriage) before the Varangian Adventure split comes into play.
All right, let’s talk about the establishment of the Danelaw and other decisions.