Arslan of Ili, Emperor of India: Part 4: 778-782: What can I even do with all those steppes?

I actually got a brilliant idea how to solve my problem of getting permanent war - why not revoke that Cuman Tengri chief I recently subjugated? He'd probably revolt, and screw tyranny modifiers, it's not like my sons will care... Oh, I can't revoke from character I have truce with without a reason? I had no idea... Oh well, goodbye event troops.

I did some more raiding of Khiva, as I was really short on money, and I did fairly poorly, now that Khiva was at peace it had enough troops to force me to loot one province at time, not two. Too much time wasted on game of cat and mouse with their stack there. And then mid-raid two counties split from Khiva without a war. My guess is that he folded to independence league ultimatum. Then not much later Samarkand gavelkinded away.

Raiding took about two years - it's much less efficient than blitz raiding of half of Europe's coasts Norse can do. I got about 200 gold in the raids, and about 100 more from randoms, got level 1 in castle infrastructure, and even started upgrading some provinces capital (big mistake as it turns out).

My southern border is so fragmented that if I wanted to reach India, it wouldn't be too hard. However, that's not the plan - the plan is to conquer the steppes first.

So I got two 2500 tribal armies - and then I had to lower tribal organization from high to medium, as I could get only 241 levy troops, instead of up to 2979 ally vassal troops. I hate calling allies as vassals mechanic, but levy nerfs got just ridiculous by now. This by the way is another demonstration how awful the idea of vassal cuddling is - this kind of shitty levy is what I get with +100 opinion from all my sons and lowest opinion count was still over +80. I'd get more levies from a building or two in my capital than multiple duchies worth of vassals.

The war took very long time, mostly due to very slow travel time, and I totally miscalculated how much money it will cost and how little prestige I'll make out of it - I've spent 150 gold and 300 prestige on buildings, and now I'm at only 363 prestige (I need 500 to start invasion), and I got bankrupted during last months of the war (after I subjugated king of Khazaria's part of Cumania, but not high chief of Itil yet), in spite of sacking multiple holdings, and even capturing one dude for small ransom. That disbanded my 5k tribal armies (well, a bit less than 5k by that point). I even got 1k troops from building legend, but I had to disband them too since it would take them like a year to reach frontlines, and I was bankrupt already. Tribals are just ridiculously poor.

As I'm now double high chief, my vassal limit increased to 18 and my demesne limit to 7, so I'm fine with both.

My vassals in Western part of my realm don't like me much, and I have double-chiefs who are same dynasty as king of Khazaria. I want to do something about that at some point.

I already got 2 Tengri holy sites, but there are no easy ways to get any of the 3 remaining ones. I'm even fabricating claim on one in Turkestan, but that will take forever. Of course if my ruler dies, one of his sons will be able to subjugate either Turkestan or Khazaria (the last one is way too far in Pannonia), but then if my ruler dies anytime soon, it will be civil war clusterfuck, as two sons will get a duchy each, and western vassals will probably rebel day one.

Now I sort of want to conquer Oshrusana, wrong holding type be damned, as it would give me great base for looting deeper south. There are still 3 chiefdoms in Cumania I don't hold (2 Magyar, 1 Turkestani), but I don't care about them all that much.

Oh and I control 31/71 of de jure empire of Tartaria - I'd need 57/81 to create it, in addition to 2 kingdom titles and buckets of gold.

My realm in terms of stability is (everybody is Tengri at least, and at least same culture group if not culture):

* 5 - directly held
* 9 (3+3+3) - held my my sons
* 2 (1+1) - other Karluks
* 6 (2+2+2) - family of king of Khazaria, two of them claimants to high chiefdom of Itil
* 9 (3+2+1+1+1+1) - other foreigners
* 3 temple baronies

So plans for the near future are some of the following:

* get lucky with claim on 3rd holy site, reform Tengri faith - I'll need extra 2% religious authority for that, but that's just 2 sacked mosques - high chief of Kimak losing holy war to high chief of Kirghiz is the main reason we're below 50%
* expand south into Khiva and maybe even further for more lootable territories
* plot revocation from unreliable multicounts, and generally opportunistically clean up the realm without going full tyrant mode. At least I don't think I have any need or reason to go full tyrant. Half of my realm being held by foreigners, supported by foreign king, is pretty bad. A few tribes I don't really care about that much.

Then further plans depend mostly on managing to reform Tengri faith or not, as without it I don't really have that many good CBs. I can county conquest different religion Pagans to the North/West, but that's not terribly useful. I want to conquer Turkestan and/or Khazaria, but I have neither subjugation nor invasion on them. I can invasion on various countries to the South (except not enough prestige for it), but that's really awkward due to all the feudal holdings there.

If I manage to reform Tengri faith, I can holy war the hell out of de jure empire of Tartaria, and going feudal will be relatively smooth. This is really sweet, since then I can even tribal invade Persia, and do the whole Zoroastrian fun.

If I don't, maybe I could go Buddhist? That would definitely close the door to restoring Persian Empire on the way to India, but then I've been making pretty big detours anyway.

I thought I'd have more sons by now. It's been 13 years with 4 women, and it only resulted in 3 sons and 4 daughters. Maybe it's time for some younger concubines?

I guess I could work around lack of sons by betrothing my daughters matrilinearly and giving their husbands land, but that's much less reliable way to ensure your dynasty succeeds due to concubines and elective gavelkind. Still might be worth a shot.
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