Which Nation to Choose
Out of the advertised pre-made characters Bjorn Ironside who starts as Duke of Uppland and forms the kingdom of Sweden is one of the easiest starts in the game. He starts with insanely good diplomacy stats so his starting vassals all have high opinions of him and he can leverage that diplomacy to VERY quickly expand then form the kingdom of Sweden it’s also very easy with bribes and gifts to then absorb all of Danemark and Norway if you go down the middle tree of diplomacy to get True Ruler as a perk.
It’s entirely possible to form the Empire of Scandinavia in 1 life time with him using this tactics and he have good stats accross the board.
Another who is a very easy start is Rurik the Norse Ruler of Gardayaki. He starts out the gate with all the prerequisites to form the Kingdom of Novgorod, really good stats, an acceptable heir and a really good wife with an inheritable trait and the ability to use to ally with Bjorn Ironside if you need a strong alliance (which you shouldn’t).
That said if you are looking to learn and willing to start a bit more challenging. My suggestion would be to start as the duke of Prussia or Samogtica and try to either form the Kingdom of Lituania or Livonia (with the Proclaim Terra Marianna decision).
The reason I’m suggesting this is because Lithuania with the baltic pagans are probably the best place to learn the fundamentals of the game without too much difficulty while having all the core mechanics to deal explore.
You’ll have vassals to manage, but as long as you are careful they should not be problem neither lithuania or livonia are too large as kingdoms go too so as long as you take the necessary steps to keep vassals in line and are careful with expansion they are easy to form and hold.
Their native religion Vidilism also has holy sites that are either within your kingdom’s region already or very close, allowing you to pursue devellopment and technology to eventually reform your religion and then feudalize from the ground up.
Both Lithuania and Livonia are also by no means weak as a kingdoms once you start snowballing them and once you form them it’s relatively easy to expand outward to form the Southern Baltic empire which is a relatively small empire in a region with a lot of easily conquerable tribal counts and dukes.
Out of the two Livonia is the harder to form but it’s definitely stronger because the special decision to form it gives you viking longships allowing you to raid just as effectively as vikings which is a huge boost to your wealth early game before you feudalize.
That said Lithuania while easier is still nothing to sneeze at. It has a lot of good land to build income and military buildings. The holy sites while not the best in the game are also pretty good.
You’ll have to deal with raiding and invading norsemen and slavic neighbors nipping at your heels but both are great to learn how to protect your realm and bringing them to heel is a great goal for later in your playthrough.
It won’t be as easy as say Bjorn or Rurik as both are hideously well positioned at the start along with being Norse which is the strongest culture in the game at the moment.
But Lithuania has great growth potential and it’s well positioned to experiment and learn the game without having too many obstacles to prevent you from feudalizing and forming an empire.
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