- +10% National tax modifier
- −10% Shock damage received
- +20% Fort defense
- +15% National manpower modifier
- +10% Morale of armies
- +10% Cavalry combat ability
- −15% Core-creation cost
- −10% Stability cost modifier
- +10% Goods produced modifier
- +5% Discipline
As 1444 opens, the Ayyubid princes have recently managed to overcome their local rivals and former vassals, the Artuqids, and solidified their hold over their small principality by the Tigris.
- Main article: Hisn Kayfan missions
Hisn Kayfan missions focus on expanding into their immediate area.
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Hisn Kayfa's starting position is quite hard considering the size of neighbouring countries, but with a few careful steps it gets considerably less hard. Playing on normal difficulty one should consistently be able to secure an alliance with Dulkadir at game start. Go ahead and do that. The second diplomat should be put on improving relations with the Ottomans. By simply improving relations the player will almost always be able to get a royal marriage with them. After getting about 120-150 relations the Ottomans will turn friendly, and the player will be able to get an alliance with them. This is key.
It is recommended to develop the capital with the early monarch power, to increase the forcelimit and to increase income and loan size. However, try to not spend too much military power. Early military tech difference is huge.
By simply building infantry to the forcelimit and by hiring both the ruler and the heir as generals, the player will get the "Prepare for war" mission, which grants permanent claims and some morale boosts for the army. On top of that one also gets the generic "Build to forcelimit" mission that gives even more morale.
After having developed the capital enough, one should be able to select Aq Qoyunlu as a rival. They will always be the first target, so picking them as a rival will give the player some nice power projection later. Dulkadir always rivals Aq Qoyunly, and is once they have a claim willing to help in any war againts them, if you promise them land.
While waiting for the Ottoman alliance, look carefully at Aq Qoyunlu's alliances. Common allies are Karaman, Anizah, Candar, and, god forbid, the Ottomans themselves. If they only have a single ally, the player should, if they have decent army management, be able to outmaneuver them and win in a 2v2 war. With a bit of RNG and good micro it is quite possible to win 2v3 as well. This is the single most important war of the campaign, and it might mean a restart if the player is unlucky or messes up.
Some general tips for the war:
- Only fight the enemy if they are split up or while being the defender in the hills with a decent general. Time is better spent sieging.
- Prioritize sieging down Diyarbekir. Once that is done, the war can be ended any time the player wants.
- Make sure to be the siege leader of Diyarbekir. Also make sure to secure any other land Dulkadir desires if the war is won. They controlling it will prevent the player from taking it.
- It is completely fine if Dulkadir gets sieged down and knocked out of the war, as long as the siege of Diyarbekir is under control (9 units required to maintain siege). It is actually preferred if they leave since all the taken money will then go to the player in the peace deal.
- If the Aq Qoyunly capital fort is mothballed when the war is started, the player will be able to march over it and group up with Dulkadir. This very is useful if they are allied with Karaman, and the player is able to siege their capital down faster than the enemies are able to siege down Dulkadir's. That way they can be white peaced to drastically reduce the enemy troop count.
- Declare war for Mardin and siege it down at the start of the war to get ticking warscore.
- Of course do not give Dulkadir any of the promised land.
If Aq Qoyunlu is allied to the Ottomans, all is not lost. The Ottomans will eventually declare war on one of Aq Qoyunlu's Turkish allies, which they are almost guaranteed to have. Make sure to declare war at the exact time this happens, calling in Dulkadir, and make sure to occupy all provinces the Ottomans desire, as well as Diyarbekir, because the Ottomans may still vassalize them if they control their capital.
Provinces taken in this war should be, in order of importance:
- Mardin (protected by your capital fort, correct culture)
- Rakka (can be released into Syria)
- Diyarbekir (Center of trade, correct culture, has a fort)
- Urfa (correct culture, protected by the fort in Diyarbekir should one keep it)
- Mush (protected by fort, rebellious but rebels always leave for other armenian lands, so no downside from rebellions)
Release Syria from Rakka. Yes, one misses out on the second mission by not controlling all of Al Jazira, but Syrian cores are better than permanent claims. And trust me, a subject who consistently brings 1-2 regiments in war, with their own manpower and loan pool is worth so much at this stage.
After the war, sit idle in the capital and wait for the cores to finish. If receiving subsidies, feel free to drill and to hire a cheap advisor. Grant away provinces to estates and do the interactions for some extra monarch power once they are cored and stated. The Ottoman alliance should already have been obtained at this stage. If not, the increase in development should make it possible. Manually set possible Ottoman war targets to hostile to increase the chance of being called to war.
Once the Ottomans have 10 favors with you (which takes 10 years from when the alliance was signed), expect a call to arms against a Turkish minor. When this happens, make sure to send all of the troops off to help in the war. Losing manpower is not an issue. Deathstack troops on forts, and carpet siege smaller provinces. The goal is to get as much war participation as humanly possible, which translates into a lot of favors. Do NOT give occupation to the Ottomans. It is to the player's advantage if they grow as little as possible, and by occupying the land they intend to take it makes it so the small nations take longer to conquer. It also means more wars, which means more favors. Speaking of favors, after the war the player should have plenty. If all cards are played correctly, expect 30-40 favors from just a single small war.
Now, everything is set up. The Ottomans will help in any war the player wants, as long as they do not have too much debt. The "Prepare for war" interaction can be used to great effect if they are just shy of accepting a call to arms. By continuously honoring calls to arms and by spending some of the gained favors from the wars, trust can be gained. This makes the Ottomans less likely to turn on the player, and increases their willingness to join them in offensive wars. This will ultimately mean that the Ottomans will become the player's personal attack dog, willing to join any war the player feels like fighting.
Now, the basic steps of the tutorial are complete, and the Ayyubid dynasty is once again a force to be reckoned with.
Some notes and tips for further steps:
- Try to always keep Ottoman relations as high as possible to make sure to not lose the alliance.
- Try to block off the Ottoman northern push by conquering Georgia. If able, take Trebizond as well.
- Another advantage of having Syria as a vassal is that whenever joining an Ottoman war againt The Mamluks, they will transfer occupation of core Syrian lands to them, meaning they will not conquer The Levant, meaning it is up for grabs for the player.
- Declare war on Qara Qoyunlu as often as possible, and always let the Ottomans do all the heavy lifting.
- While in a war together with the Ottomans, they will deal with the rebel stacks.
- Renaissance spreads automatically to the middle east through Venice, and then The Mamluks. Keep positive relations with all neighbours who have renaissance to get natural spread. This way there is no need to development boost the institution.
- Hisn Kayfa is able to form both The Mughals, The Mamluks and The Timurids.