I heard about the game via the Civilization community I lurk in (Realms Beyond), and I've jumped into a tutorial/showcase succession game running there - that thread is worth a look if you're interested in the game because Mist (who's captaining the game) knows what he's doing and has played the first turnset giving us a very thorough tutorial. Thankfully I'm quite far down the end of the list, so by the time my 10 years turnset rolls around I should have a handle on the game enough not to embarrass myself ;)
In the solo game I've started I decided to use one of Mist's other suggested starting points from our game planning thread - so I started off as Duke of Lombardia. Note that Mist describes this as a filthy rich dukedom & I still managed to crash the economy pretty quickly. Oh, and I got him excommunicated straight off because I changed to a set of laws that the Pope wasn't keen on. But that Duke died off fairly quickly (of old age), so that was OK as the heir wasn't involved ;)
So here's about 18 months worth of stuff from my game - first tho, a quick look at who's who:
This is my main man at the moment - Duke Fulco. He's average at war, a little crappy at intrigue and pretty good at diplomacy and stewardship. His liege is Heinrich of Germany, and he has one vassal (his big brother, who is also second in line to the dukedom after the child heir). You can see he is married and has 3 kids.
I picked his wife out because I needed a spy-master and she's got quite a good intrigue stat (she's even better at diplomacy, which seems to've slipped past my notice - I'm just learning my way around still and it shows). Note she only has 2 kids, one of Fulco's is a bastard. Also note she's friends with her husband, which is convenient but not really necessary ;)
I've fostered out the bastard, and put him into court education in the hopes he'll be useful to the heir Gabrino later on. The daughter will eventually get married off, hopefully making someone somewhere happy with Lombardia. Kids develop traits & stats as they grow up, and get educated which affects stats.
On the left there I'm looking at who my courtiers are - only men can be Marshals or Bishops, so you either have to grow your own or hope for someone eligible to decide to join your court. But for the other three positions you can try and marry your sons (daughters go away, remember) to a woman with decent stats in the area you want - hence Fulco with his spy-master wife. The main stat for a court position is added to your ruler's stat to affect things in game - like the martial stat affects how many troops you can have, so you want high numbers for you courtiers.
The main picture is a "relational" map and shows us Lombardia (my main county) and Pavia (the other one I rule directly) in the darkest green. Also Grisons in the mid-green, ruled by my vassal (keeps big brother occupied and out of trouble, and there's a limit to how much you can directly rule anyway). And the pale green are also part of Heinrich's kingdom of Germany (I think).
So over about 18 months from March 1092 what happened? Well, Fulco got ill rather inconveniently:
The wee red heart indicates that (the tooltip is offset). You can see that affects various stats, and carries a risk of death. A couple of times over 1093 (May & December) a miracle worker came by and tried to cure him:
(Tooltips are offset again, those are the three options in order). I paid up, hoping for the best, but had no joy. He eventually got better spontaneously in 1094 *phew*
Back in May 1092 we had a bishop arrive (just as well, I had no-one in my court with an ecclesiastical education):
Pavia was building stuff - finished a Royal Post in March 1093:
And started a Court of Justice:
Sadly the typhoid rampant in Lombardia meant everything was taking 900% longer time to build, and in April 1093 dysentry spread to that county as well. This means my economy is pretty shot, too, as the diseases also drive down income.
My kids are still growing though, and in Dec 1093 I was able to decide on Gabrino's future role in life:
He's heir, so I didn't think an Ecclesiastical Education was quite right (he'd end up only suitable to be a Bishop). And at the moment I don't have conquering plans (putting your army out in the field costs a lot of gold, and until the typhoid and dysentry die down I don't have much income from Lombardia). So court education it was, which will hopefully work out well (that fits you for tasks like Chancellor, Spy Master and Steward) and give me a well-rounded future ruler.
And that's 18months, or so - it's a neat mix of reacting to random events (illness etc) and of holding long range plans in my head (not that they're all that plan like at the moment - build up economy, go stomp on a couple of neighbours is the limit of the plans). J reckons he can tell I'm into the game, coz I keep forgetting to cook dinner on time ;)