Neither Holy, Nor German
The player’s country:
- is Holy Roman Emperor
For this achievement, Austria is a natural choice since they start as Holy Roman Emperor. The goal is to revoke or otherwise remove Free City status from all eight of the initial Free Cities and designate seven non-German one-province minors as Free Cities.
The name of the achievement is a play on the below quote which was used to describe the Holy Roman Empire.
Eliminating the German Free Cities
There are three useful ways to get rid of the German Free Cities.
- Revoke Free City status in the Diplomacy menu. This costs 5 Imperial Authority, and gives a -100 opinion penalty with that country.
- If the Free City conquers a second province, it ceases to be a Free City. This can be done by allying a Free City and going to war with one of its neighbours, transferring occupation of a neighbouring province to the Free City, and giving that province to the Free City in the peace settlement.
- Annex the Free City. This doesn't have to be the player's nation; by transferring occupation, the Free City's single province can be given to an ally to avoid Aggressive Expansion.
Right away, Austria can ally Memmingen and forge a claim on Augsburg (not a Free City), and give the conquered province in the peace treaty, revoking Memmingen's Free City status with no Imperial Authority reduction. After that, Ulm can be allied and a claim fabricated on Ravensburg, though conquering this province requires revoking its Free City status to avoid the stability hit. Similarly, Ulm's Free City status will be revoked upon conquering Ravensburg.
Creating new free cities
From there, Austria will need to find or make seven non-German one-province minors in the Empire and convince them to become Free Cities. In ascending order of difficulty:
- A friendly or threatened republic should accept right away.
- A one-province nation released in a peace settlement. (This works even if the country has multiple cores, as long as the war target(s) only hold one of them.) These nations will be monarchies by default, but will have a large positive Trust modifier from being released in peace. (Forcing the release of an existing vassal does not give the large Trust modifier.)
- Create a Client State republic with one non-German province in the Empire, and release it from vassalization. Austria will need to overcome the -200 opinion malus from breaking vassalization, but that fades over time.
- Building up Trust, Diplomatic Reputation and opinion modifiers with a one-province monarchy. It's technically possible to do this with a Theocracy, too, just not very practical.
It's possible to make a one-province monarchy anywhere in the Empire by or using Return Province on any Empire province with a defunct country's core (and no existing country's core except the player's own) on it, although that probably shouldn't be necessary. It's also possible to conquer the territory of a one-province minor, defunct or otherwise, and release it as a vassal. Releasing a country either of these ways or, by a successful use of Demand Unlawful Territory creates a monarchy with the baseline amount of Trust, so it's no easier than building up Trust and opinion modifiers with an existing one-province monarchy.
It's possible to create all seven non-German Free Cities without needing to build up Trust with a one-province minor.
- Lucca and Siena are eligible to become Free Cities right away (although it might not be best to give it to both right away, to tempt Florence into giving Austria a casus belli.)
- Force Ferrara to release Modena. Austria can forge claims on Ferrara right away to have a casus belli.
- Force Burgundy to release Luxembourg. Austria can forge claims on Franche-Comté right away, or get them from a common day 1 mission by setting Burgundy as a rival. This needs to be done quickly, so that the Burgundian succession crisis event chain doesn't happen, either giving Austria Luxembourg as a core province or giving it to Castile which would make the war much harder.
- Force Florence to release Pisa. By not setting one of either Lucca or Siena as a Free City right away, Florence will usually conquer one. If they do, Imperial Liberation allows Austria to release both Pisa and the conquered Italian minor. If Florence ends up with only one province after Pisa is released then they can also be made into a free city.
- Force Milan to release Parma. (Milan is often aggressive early on, allowing Imperial Liberation, or Brescia can be returned to Milan in a war with Venice, allowing forged claims.)
- Force Provence (or whoever else holds Barrois, it's a turbulent region) to release Bar. (Pass the first Imperial reform to use Imperial Ban on Provence. Barrois is frequently conquered by Burgundy or France, at which point Imperial Liberation works.)
- Force Genoa to release Corsica. (There's no easy way to do this; Genoa is on the other side of Italy and doesn't typically expand in the Empire much at all.)
- Mantua and Montferrat are often conquered, so whoever conquers them can be forced to release them with Imperial Liberation.
All of this will need to be done before 1490, or else the player will need to prevent the Shadow Kingdom event from removing Italy from the Empire or resort to making and releasing Client State republics.