|Empire of California|
|Coat of Arms|
|Location within the region of California (center)|
The Empire of California was founded in the year 2421 by Elton 'the Lawgiver" Yudkow. The first Yudkow emperor was a political genius; he expanded the empire, established the authority of the empire, and managed to organize the many philosophies of the region into a religion centered around the imperial throne. The next few Yudkow kings expanded on the first emperor's work, and turned California into a sprawling empire that stretched from Baja to the fringes of Cascadia. However, a series of incompetent rulers shattered this prosperity into disarray. Once the dust settled, 5 independent kingdoms - Gran Francsisco, Baja, Socal, The Valley, and Jefferson - had emerged in California and left the emperor effectively powerless outside the palace walls in Sacramento. As a "figurehead emperor", the emperor lacks any real physical power while remaining the head of the Cetic situation. There is little he can do.
In this situation, would it be possible for a Yudkow emperor to restore the empire to its former glory? Or has the Mandate of Heaven already spoken?
Strategy Guide Edit
Starting as the Emperor Edit
On the face of it, the Emperor of California appears to be in the weakest position on the West Coast, controlling a single province in Sacramento whilst surrounded by five full-sized kingdoms. Although holding the Empire title, the Emperor is unable to launch De Jure wars due to the 'Figurehead Emperor' penalty, limiting the Emperor's ability to seize scraps of land whilst the kingdoms fight one another and negating the advantage of holding a top-tier title.
The Emperor is actually in a much stronger position then he appears. Emperor Elton starts with a number of relatives, making it easy to form alliances with the various Kingdoms (everybody wants to marry an Emperor). By allying with several, and maintaining good relations, it is possible to defeat any of the other kingdoms in a war. As of horse lords, the easiest route is to ally with one of the kingdoms (preferably Jefferson or Gran Francisco) and then attack a third kingdom in a tributary war. Tributaries will almost always answer a call to arms (as well as paying you money), so once you have one tributary you can begin attacking all the other kingdoms in order to render them tributaries as well.
By the time most of the kingdoms are tributaries (Baja can be ignored for now, it's too small and far away), the rulers of the various kingdoms will have started to die off. This means there are claimants floating around. As the kingdoms are De Jure part of the Empire of California, pressing a claim on behalf on an unhanded courtier will still result in the kingdom becoming a vassal. It gets better: due to the way the Cetic religion works, Californian rulers will spend a great deal of their time on pilgrimage; this means there's a regency and weak claims can be pressed. It should thus be possible to re-unite California long before the Russians and Japanese show up.
One thing to bear in mind is that it's never worth invading Death Valley; in spite of the culture difference, as you're their de jury liege they'll peacefully accept vassalisation as soon as you've re-taken at least one of the kingdoms.
Restoring Imperial Power
Restoring imperial power is a decision which removes the 'Figurehead Emperor' trait. This lets you wage De Jure wars (which will probably be academic by the time you meet the conditions) and takes away the vassal opinion penalty. The decision requires a realm size of 80, 6500 Prestige, 2500 Piety and 100% Cetic MA. The realm size will be more than met part-way through conquering the Californian kingdoms. The easiest way to meet the prestige and piety requirements educate your male relatives as Mastermind Theologians, so that they can safely use the Restore Cetic Teachings decision (if you have low Learning and try this, you risk an event which takes away 100 prestige, 150 piety and, most damningly, 5% Cetic MA). This can also contribute to MA.
There are a few other ways to increasese Moral Authority. Each controlled holy site contributes 10%, but only three are controlled by default. One of them is in the Gaian territories to the North (which can be cut through like butter with holy wars, further increasing Cetic MA). The last site is in Las Vegas, which is part of Socal, but at the start of the game there is no temple holding in the province. You can build this as soon as you've incorporated Socal into your empire. The five holy sites, combined with 20% for being an organised religion will take you to 70%, and with luck you'll be able to move up to 75-80% through Cetic teachings and gain another 8% through traits (the Emperor of California is the head of the Cetic religion). This will put you four Holy Wars away from Restore Imperial Power.
The Harem Empire Edit
The final point to consider when pressing claims is that your form of Government (Agnatic Seniority) almost guarantees that your ruler will be an adult male. If you press female claimants to the kingdoms, their succession laws will switch to Ennatic Gavelkind. If you then always choose the 'seducer' focus for your rulers, and seduce the various queens, it is possible to have your entire realm consist of five vassals who all have the 'lover' +100 opinion bonus. You can then have sacramento as your only domain province (it's on the interstate and has enough holding slots for four castles, so this is viable), and still be able to put max levies and normal feudal tax to make up for the inefficiencies of large vassals (not that this will matter as the only realm comparable to a restored California is the HCC, which will still be weaker and is like the HRE worrying about Rajasthan in vanilla).
- As shown in the title history, the first legendary emperor of California was Emperor Norton I. During his lifetime, the eccentric Norton claimed the title of "Emperor of America" and became well loved in the City of San Francisco. Unfortunately for him, he suddenly died penniless on a San Franciscan street corner after suffering from a period of illness. At urging of notable town people, he was given an emperor's funeral.
- Emperor Elton Yudkow is a reference to Eliezer Yudkowsky, a Bay Area researcher influential for founding the contemporary "Rationalist Movement" through LessWrong.org
- Relam's title is actually based on original first flag of Californiain 1846 as actual short-lived Republic before its annexation by American Government.
- 2046 region's area code could also possibly reference to the year (1846) where Californian short-lived independence existed.