Randomly generate all of human history in this Crusader Kings 2 mod inspired by Dwarf Fortress

Dwarf Fortress has always been intimidating and complex. But if there's one aspect of it that brings me back again and again, it's that surreal moment of starting a new world and watching thousands of years of history play out in just a few minutes. Cultures rise and fall, religions spread and wane, and at the very end of this time lapse of history, your dwarf colony begins its own story. Thanks to Reddit user 'yemmlie,' that same feeling can be found in Crusader Kings 2.

"Basically the tool will generate, from scratch, a completely new history of humanity from its first exodus from Africa as a new mod to be playable in [Crusader Kings 2]," yemmlie explains. "These cultures will then spread throughout Europe, mutating and changing as they spread, words and language, religions, ethnicity, cultural ideals, laws, looting, river sailing, incest, religious heads, holy sites, wives, concubines and everything, all morphing, mutating and branching off as humans spread through time and land."

Traditionally, Crusader Kings 2 only lets you play with the historical building blocks of medieval Europe, but thanks to yemmlie's Crusader Kings 2 History and Map Generator, you can now create entirely fictional societies and landmasses to play out your murderous schemes for power. Like Dwarf Fortress, this tool uses procedural generation that you can tailor with some basic options to help influence how these new civilizations take shape, and when it's done, you can export the map to Crusader Kings 2. Instructions and latest download links can be found in the mod's subreddit, along with helpful threads to help you sort out any problems you might run into. 

The tool is still in beta and is therefore lacking in some features and has some stability issues, but after using it to generate my own map and history, I'm surprised at how easy and quick it can be. Generating a new map can take upwards of 15 minutes depending on your computer (my own map took significantly less time), but watching civilizations blossom out from a single point is really exciting. A window at the bottom also displays major historical events as they unfold with lines like, "In the year 808, after the death of Rigint, the Esri of Aladahidthe, the once great Aladahid Empire finally collapsed after years of decline." Getting that kind of intimate sense of history does a fantastic job of letting your imagination fill in the blanks. Even better, the tool works with other custom maps, so you can reroll the entire history of Game of Thrones' Westeros and Essos, for example.

I've only just begun my new campaign as Ner Tahamid of the Kahusa Empire, which is governed by a religious body of 'autocephalous patriarchs.' Honestly, I have no idea what that means, but I'm excited to find out. This is something that will probably overwhelm those who aren't interested in the idea of being dropped into the middle of a society that they have no understanding of. Because the language is randomly generated, it can be hard to grasp the social hierarchies that exist, making the learning curve even steeper. Personally, I love it. Yemmlie's tool does a wonderful job of evoking that same sensation of starting over in Dwarf Fortress and feeling lost and confused in a strange new world—something that Crusader Kings 2 has always lacked with its rigid recreation of historical Europe. 

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.