Lets Play / Rome AA Risen

The year is 1066.

In the West, as the last of the Viking raids died away, new kingdoms had already staked their claim to the legacy of Rome. France, England, Leon, Castile and Navarre all used Latin as the language of government, and laid claim to being successors to Rome in their various territories and domains. The king of the Germans, Heinrich von Franken, also claimed the title Emperor of the Romans as heir to the Western Empire.

However, in the East, the real Roman Empire remained. Romanion for the previous half century had been in a state of flux. Since the death of Basil II in 1025, a succession of weak emperors who barely remained on the throne had sapped her strength. The formally powerful Roman fleets had shriveled to nothing, and her elites openly plotted for the throne. The weak Emperor Konstantinos IX died in 1067, leaving the throne to his son, Michael VII.

Michael VII proved as inept as his father, and many hoped and prayed the Empire would be delivered by Prince Alexios Komnenos, a popular and powerful noble from Anatolia. Their hopes seemed dashed, however, when Alexios was wounded in distant Syria, and lay languishing in agony. As Alexios breathed his last, all eyes turned to his son, a 16-year-old boy, on whose shoulders the future of an ancient empire rested...

And this was only the beginning of a tale of glory, of corruption, of intrigue and valor, that would span centuries...

Found on the Paradox Forums at: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?t=319347

This work provides examples of:

  • Beware the Nice Ones: In the case of Basil III Komenos, this trope is oh so very true. Basil is honest and kind to a fault, but he is also responsible for bringing Spain under the Kommenid banner. Even after being wounded. Several times.
  • Big Book of War: Many Emperors write one of these. If running Romanion counts as war (it does), then nearly all the Emperors have written one.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Empire the Kommenids forged crumbles to invasion and infighting, leaving behind various successor states. But the Kommenid line endures, and in the Gaelic-dominated British Isles, a direct descendant of those Emperors is about to begin a new chapter of glory.
  • Death by Origin Story: Alexios Kommenos, the ancestor of the Kommenid Emperors, dies in the first chapter of Rome AA Risen, courtesy of a Saracen arrow.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: In-universe, Demetrios Megos the first Kommenid Emperor is definitely an example of this. An adulterer (after his first wife's death) and warmongerer, Demetrios is nonetheless a saint in the Greek Orthodox Church, and is in his grandsons dreams portrayed as a holy messenger.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Similarly, Emperor Manuel, one of the most infamous of the Kommenids, is (rightfully) portrayed as a mass murderer, borderline sociopath, and trickster. However, the Rome AA Risen histories gloss over the fact that he knew that he was weakening the Empire, and the fact that he departed from it out of his own power.
  • Karma Houdini: Manuel Kommenos, one of the most infamous Emperors of the Kommenid line, a murderer, cheat, and adulterer, slips away from the Empire out of his own power, and becomes a monk.
  • Lethal Chef: After abdicating and leaving to a monastery, Emperor Manuel can't figure out what non-lethal spices make a good stew.
  • The Emperor: Several; this is the Byzantine Empire, after all. Even more numerous are would-be Emperors.
  • The Horde: Subverted; Romanion believes most foreign armies to be this, but none really count as a true "Horde". The closest are the Cumans, who aren't much of a threat after the first few chapters.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: At the author's last count, there is easily nearly two hundred characters, most of them related to the Kommenos family.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Seljuk Turks have declared war on Romanion, Empress Zoe is assassinated, and who should come to reinforce the Empire than the Normans in Alexandria, led by Edmund "Black Adder" of all people.
  • Professional Killer: There are many, many assassins in this story. So many that many emperors aren't even sure whose payroll the assassins will end up on.
  • Shout-Out: A fair bit:
    • The Hashashin responsible for the death of Empress Zoe Komnenos? Altair.
    • The House of de Normandie, sent to assist against the Seljuk Turks, has an unexpected member: a certain bastard Prince Royal of England called Edmund, who has taken to calling himself "the Black Adder"...
      • Bonus points for being accompanied by Lord Percy and Baldrick.
  • Vestigial Empire: By the end, Kommenid Byzantium falls to invasion and infighting, with a remnant "Western Roman Empire" surviving in Iberia. It's described however as but a mere shadow and more "Spanish" than Roman.