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Austria

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Rein in Northern Italy
One thing to be aware of is the negative effects of war with the {{flag|The Papal State}} and control of Rome. Wars obviously involve negative relations with the Papal State, and that reduces Papal Influence. More importantly, a Catholic owning Rome directly or through a vassal causes [[Triggered modifiers#The Occupation of Rome|The Occupation of Rome]] modifier that decreases valuable diplomatic reputation and gives an extremely large Papal Influence malus, while vassalizing the Papal State causes the [[Triggered modifiers#Subjugation of the Papacy|Subjugation of the Papacy]] modifier, decreasing diplomatic reputation even more, though without the influence penalty. The simplest way to deal with this is to forcibly annex Roma, but do it last, immediately before the player intends to use the [[Rein in Northern Italy]] decision. Once taken, a one-time event will fire very soon where the Pope asks for Rome back (long before the player has a chance to finish coring it or adding it to the HRE). If it is returned, the malus is removed. So capturing, enacting the decision, and then returning the province avoids the penalties.
The player can avoid accumulating Conquest of all of these provinces itself would provide a lot of[[Aggressive Expansion]] by handing off {{flag|Venice}}'s Treviso, Friuli, and Verona (as well as optionally return {{flag|Milan}}'s core Brescia) to {{flag|Milan}} and {{flag|Urbino}}'s Urbino, and {{flag|The Papal State}}'s Ancona, Romagna and Umbria to either (or both) {{flag|Ferrara}} or (and) {{flag|Florence}}. Rome can then be claimed through the [[File:Ab transfer vassal wargoal.png]] Transfer Subject age ability that allows the player to make claims bordering claims. But taking Rome without owning Umbria needs additional coring range, for example from diplomatic technology 7 or another province which is closer than Austria's starting province of Görz.Releasing {{flag|Aquileia}} from {{flag|Venice}} and {{flag|Urbino}} from {{flag|The Papal State}} and diplo-vasallizing them plus the return of HRE core Brescia to {{flag|Milan}} are actions which do not generate any [[Aggressive Expansion]] for the player. With a lot of luck separatist rebels can spawn and create cores - Ferrarese in Romagna and Urbinese in Umbria and Ancona. Return of core to HRE member is then AE free and reconquest of vassal's cores generate much less of AE then claim-based conquest. Return of HRE core Brescia from {{flag|Venice}} to {{flag|Milan}} is not necessary as it is already part of HRE, however returning the province back to HRE will decrease malus in Imperial Authority growth caused by HRE provinces in hands of non-HRE members.Any province can be given in peace deal to an ally too in order to lower AE (e.g. Romagna to {{flag|Florence}} or {{flag|Ferrara}}) but some luck is necessary then that AI will add the province to HRE.
Ultimately, preventing [[the Shadow Kingdom]] event means more Imperial Authority through more princes in the Empire, but it also means more wars to keep minor states in line, and potentially more princes to fall victim to the Reformation spread. Careful management will be needed to ensure that Austria can keep the Italian princes in line with the rest of the Empire. However, it may not be up to you or your ability to keep the Italian Princes in line. If the Burgundian Succession AND Hungary's Automatic Personal Union doesn't fire, the effort to Reign in Italy will allow the Reformation to run rampant in the HRE and will destroy whatever imperial authority you managed to save in Italy.
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