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 at least seven of the eight 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 four 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.
- Revoke the Privilegia does this automatically and for no cost in relations or imperial authority to all free cities in the empire.
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.
The reluctance depends mainly on the following modifiers: Monarchy: -50, theocracy: -100, merchant republic: -1000, having a militarist ruler: -1000, a subject: -1000
The possible methods are:
- 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 opinion modifier from being released in peace. (Forcing the release of an existing vassal does not give the same effect.)
- Building up Trust, Diplomatic Reputation and opinion modifiers with a one-province monarchy.
- Returning a HRE province to a non-existing nation, and following the previous method.
Waiting until Diplomatic tech 23 to create custom subjects doesn't prove helpful, as all custom subject republics automatically switch government to merchant republic. Releasing any nation as vassal doesn't help either, because the vassalage needs to be broken, which gives -200 opinion modifier. The easiest way is probably conquering non German land, coring and adding it to the empire, and releasing non existing nations by giving up one province at a time. The released nations will always be monarchies, and with the chance for a militarist ruler, multiple tries might be required.
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.