Ituk of Ili, Emperor of India: Part 16: 828-832

I had long truce with Khan of Khazaria, so I spent the money on upgrades instead of saving it for emperorship. Then Khazar Khan suddenly died, and I got 80% control over de jure Tartaria much faster than expected, except I couldn't afford it right away.

Supply of family members finally outran my ability to get new territory fast enough.

Anyway, it was time to rethink the strategy. Tengri religion, even reformed, has no future. I can't expand North/West due to atrocious levels of attrition, I can't expand South because Byzantine Emperor and Caliph are both too strong, and expansion to India is cute, but Caliph will probably holy war me and cut my realm in half - steppe part and Indian part.

Until recently it was not really possible to do anything about it, as Ituk of Ili was zealous, but teaching his son Sircan and his cynicism made Ituk realize that zealotry leads nowhere.

Maybe it's time to preempt all this and convert already? My options are:

* Sunni - the can't beat them, join them option - I'm still not convinced if sudden decadence Caliph got is a real problem, or just a glitch - right now it looks like the most powerful way to go. With +25% jizya tax in infidel provinces, and (from 0 decadence I assume I'm getting) +20% demesne income and +50% demesne troops morale - in pretty much the entire realm as my family holds most of it it gets even better. It would change me from Elective Gavelkind to Open succession, which means no more realm split.

* Orthodox - can't beat the Caliph? get help from Byzantine Emperor - sadly most special features of Orthodoxy are only enabled for Greek culture or even only Byzantine empire (or restored Roman empire) - if only there was any guarantee that Byzantines will even help, or that we'll succeed against Caliph even 2-vs-1
* Catholic - Francia is hypothetically another great power, but they're simply too far to do anything against the Caliph - it would protect me from at least Byzantine holy wars, and maybe I could get diplomatic alliance with Byzantine emperor? It will be long time until holy orders and crusades start, and I'm not sure if access to papacy is a good or bad thing on net.

* Hindu - caste system sounds horrible, as far as I can tell every character will have to change caste on their own. Politically India is ruled by mostly Hindu rulers, so they might come to my rescue.
* Jain - it might be fine for slow games, but right now I need to expand fast to protect myself from the Caliph
* Buddhist - that's probably best Indian religion to switch to, but other than duke of Kabulistan there aren't any Buddhist countries which could help me against the Caliph - Buddhist Maharaja of Bengal has some power, but Bengal is far away

* Slavic/Suomenusko/Romuva - if I could have enough time to convert my lands and get pagan homeland modifier, it would be sweet, but other than that, it's only good for migrating West and abandoning plan India completely. Long term that keeps me invasion CB, but the only countries I can invade are too powerful.
* Norse - that's extreme version of migrating West hard, Norse is a way better religion that Slavic/Suomenusko too. Norse invasion of India is actually quite reasonable, as India has great rivers which are made for raiding, and I'd be keeping invasion CB. Downside is that it doesn't help with Caliph problem at all.

* Zunist/Zoroastrian/Miaphysite/Jewish/(various minor heresies) - political dead ends right now

* Remain Tengri - any kind of change will inevitably result in major realm stability problems, at least temporarily - getting into this just after succession crisis does not sound like winning strategy. I might lose some territory to the Caliph, but then Caliph might get lazy and not attack, and even if I do, that's one duchy at a time - long way to go until it's really threatening.

As far as I see it right now most promising options are Sunni, Orthodox, and Norse. Going Muslim, Christian, or Zoroastrian gives me access to Jewish moneylenders so instant emperor title - or emergency money for mercs to prevent realm from falling apart during religious transition.
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