TL;DR - The Kingdom of Hungary wanted to create buffer states between them and the Golden Horde to avoid another invasion. So they set up 2 vassal states in Wallachia and Moldavia. Eventually both revolted and became independent.
Bassarab, in Wallachia:
In Wallachia: Basarab became ruler of Wallachia in 1310, he revolted against the Kingdom of Hungary in 1325 and took the Banate of Severin from Hungary (de facto independent). The independence was still unrecognized by Hungary. When Michael Asen III attacked Serbia he supported the Bulgarians but were defeated at the Battle of Velbazhd in 1330. The same year, with the Wallachian army defeated, Charles I of Hungary invaded Wallachia with 30.000 men, he was allowed to take Targoviste and plunder Wallachia with no ressistance, but when he was returning home the Wallachian army of 10.000 men awaited him at the Transylvanian passes, where the Wallachians ambushed and almost annihilated the royal troops in the Battle of Posada. But the Kingdom of Hungary wouldn’t recognise Wallachia as independent until 1344.
According to a contemporary account: The Wallachian army, led by Basarab himself, probably numbered less than 10,000 men and consisted of cavalry, infantry archers, and some locally recruited peasants. When Charles saw his best knights being killed, without being able to fight back, while the escape routes were blocked by the Wallachian cavalry, he gave his royal robes and insignia to one of his captains, who died under a hail of arrows and stones, and, with a few loyal subjects, made a difficult escape to Visegrád clad in dirty civilian clothes.
I can see 3 missions made out of this:
- Independnce! → Capture Severin.
- The Southern Thrust → Help Michael Asen III attack Serbia.
- The Battle of Posada → Gan independence for good.
Bogdan, in Moldavia:
Dragos was made ruler of Moldavia by the Hungarians in 1345 (one year after Hungary recognised Wallachia’s independence). He was succeded by his son Sas in 1353, who was then succeded by his son Balc in 1359. But around the same time, another Romanian, Bogdan, who has been the Duke of Maramures (inside Hungary, Transylvania) since at least 1342 (first mention of him). He fell into conflict with King Louis I of Hungary and requested the support of a Romanian knez (Count) below him in 1349. Giula refused, and Bogdan invaded and took his lands. King Louis I of Hungary demanded Bogdan restore Giula’s lands but he refused. Bogdan stood in disgrace with the King of Hungary, but none of them were able to make a move against the other.
Learning that the Romanians in Moldavia were opposed to King Louis I’s authority, when Sas died in 1359, Bogdan left Maramures and went to Moldavia where he took command of the already existing Moldavian revolt and defeated Balc, who fled for Hungary. In retaliation, Louis I of Hungary confiscated Bogdan’s domain in Maramureş and donated it to Balc. In retaliation, Bogdan declared Moldavia independent from the Kingdom of Hungary
In retaliation, Louis I of Hungary launched several expeditions against Bogdan I (but their dates cannot be determined, we can only know that they took place between 1359-1365) that ended in failure and Louis I of Hungary eventually recognised Moldavia’s independence.
I can see 3 missions made out of this:
- Establishing Powerhouse → Bogdan I fights his own count, Giula, that is loyal to the King of Hungary.
- To Greener Lands → Bogdan I leaves for Moldavia with his army, to support the Romanian rebels against the newly coronated Balc.
- Showdown → Displesed with Bogdan’s declaration of independence, the King of Hungary finally has a pretext to wipe out Bogdan for good, coming with an army in Moldavia.
(The King of Hungary attacked multiple times, but having multiple missions of the same thing would be repetitive)
TL;DR - It’s year 1633 (the actual campaigns take place in 1310/1345) and a native Moldavian named Grigore Ureche narrates the “origin of his people” to Władysław IV in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The intro narration could begin in 1633 at the start of the Polish-Ottoman War of 1633-1634. Knowing he will have to face the Wallachian and Moldavain troops who are loyal to the Ottomans, one of his advisors, Grigore Ureche, who is of Moldavian origin, starts telling him about the story of his people, how they became a free people.
Mission 1 Intro:
Władysław IV: Grigore.
Grigore: Yes, my lord?
Władysław IV: The war with the Turks is about to begin, in order to reach the Ottoman territory I will have to cross Moldavia and Wallachia, you were born there, weren’t you? Tell me about these vlachs, maybe I can convince them to side with me against the Ottomans.
Grigore: Yes, my lord. But my people do not call themselves, vlachs, that what they are called by others, it comes from an old germanic word for “stranger”, my people call themselves “romanians” from the latin “romanus” meaning “citizen of the Roman Empire”, we still consider ourselves of Rome. And our country that you call “Wallachia”, we call it “Țeara Rumânească” meaning “the Romanian land”.
Władysław IV: Enough with these details, I want to know if there is a way to make the romanians switch sides.
Grigore: My people have a way with wars for independence, you see, before we were under the Ottomans we were under the Hungarians, it all began when the Hungarians drove out the Mongols, in order to secure their eastern border, they organized the native population in a client state, but that would only last until 1310 when Basarab revolted and attacked Severin. Basarab would not be the first romanian to revolt against the Hungarians, Litovoi revolted in 1277 only to be killed and replaced by his brother, Bărbat, but Basarab would be the first to succeed.
→ In the actual mission, you could begin with an army and some villages, and your goal is to capture a heavily fortified town (Severin).
Mission 1 Outro:
Grigore: And so Basarab captured Severin. The Hungarians would not let this treason go lightly. They prepared their forces, but bid their time, waiting for the perfect time to attack.
Władysław IV: Hmm, so they can’t be trusted as a vassal state.
Mission 2 Intro:
Władysław IV: What then? He got his independence but the Hungarians would not forget this.
Grigore: Then, Bassarab became arrogant, he saw himself independent and started dwelling into international politics, he supported the Michael III of Bulgaria agains the Serbs, it was almost his undoing.
→ In the actual mission, your troops have an ally, and you have to defeat the Serbs, afterwards, reinforcements arrive and you have to retreat with Bassarab (at least he should escape) before you are found and killed.
Mission 2 Outro:
Władysław IV: I’m sure this is the moment the Hungarians were waiting for, with his army scattered he would stand no chance against the full Hungarian army.
Grigore: The Hungarians were just as sure my lord.
Mission 3 Intro:
Władysław IV: So, what happened then?
Grigore: Rather than facting the enemy army directly, and you will see this is a running theme among our people, Bassarab picked his battles, he knew he could not face the Hungarian army head on, so he had to improvise, avoid them until he found an advantageous terrain and the Hungarian army unaware. His army of conscripted peasants could not compete with the Hungarian knights, at least not head on.
→ In the actual mission, you being in Wallachia, with various towns: Poenari, Campulung, Argesi, Targoviste (the capital), the Hungarian army invades with Paladins and Champions, you have mainly Pikemen and Archers. You have to avoid the Hungarian army on the map (they will go and destroy each town, you can try and ressist but won’t be able to do much), while recruiting troops for your main army. And hopefully upgrade to Halebardier and Arbaletist. Then there is a narrow passage at Posada, you will have to prepare your forces and hold your army there, when the Hungarian army with vast superior numbers retreats, you will have to fight there. With your Halebariers on Paladins and Arbaletist on Champions.
Mission 3 Outro:
Grigore: When Charles saw his best knights being killed, without being able to fight back, while the escape routes were blocked by the Wallachian cavalry, he gave his royal robes and insignia to one of his captains, who died under a hail of arrows and stones, and, with a few loyal subjects, made a difficult escape to Visegrád clad in dirty civilian clothes.
Władysław IV: And that was the end of the Hungarian dominance over Wallachia?
Grigore: No, my lord. The Hungarians would not recognize Wallachia’s independence until 1344, when they left Wallachia alone to create another vassal state between themselves and the Golden Horde. History repetead itself.
A map for reference:
Mission 4 Intro:
Władysław IV: That is Moldavia, correct?
Grigore: Yes, my lord. Dragos was made ruler of Moldavia by the Hungarians in 1345, but unlike Bassarab, he was loyal, his son Sas and grandson Balc were equally loyal.
Władysław IV: How did Moldavia became independent then?
Grigore: Because of another disloyal ruler, Duke Bogdan of Maramures, he was not even in Moldavia but in Transylvania, yet he fell into conflict with King Louis I of Hungary but none could make a move against the other. In order to have a strong and loyal army, Bogdan seeked first to secure the loyality of those below him, and so he came into conflict with another romanian, count Giula, who refused to support Bogdan reaffirming his loyality to the crown of Hungary.
→ In this mission you play as Duke Bogdan and have to defeat Count Giula, also a romanian.
Mission 4 Outro:
Władysław IV: Wouldn’t King Louis I punish this violation?
Grigore: He demanded Bogdan restore Giula’s lands but he refused, using whatever pretext he tought best to avoid open rebellion and bide his time.
Mission 5 Intro:
Władysław IV: It seems the king and duke were locked in a stalemate.
Grigore: Yes, my lord, each of them waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike against the other. The perfect time for Bogdan to strike was in 1359 when Dragos’ grandson, Balc, would be crowned prince of Moldavia. There was already an existing revolt in Moldavia, against the Dagosesti dynasty. The king of Hungary would not be concerned as he knew the new prince would be loyal to him. Little did the king know, taking advantage of the instability caused by the death of Sas and the inexperience of his son, Balc, Bogdan set his eyes to become the new prince of Moldavia, crossing the Carpathians with an army and taking the command of the revolt.
→ You play as Bogadan, cross the Carpathians into Moldavia and try to convince various nobles to support you instead. When you have enough support you march on the city of Suceava and capture it. Balc flees to Hungary.
Mission 5 Outro:
Władysław IV: An ambitious man this Bogdan was. It was at that time that Bogdan declared independence?
Grigore: No my liege, he still needed a legitimate reason. When Balc fled for Hungary, Louis I confiscated Bogdan’s domain in Maramureş and donated it to Balc, this was the justification Bogdan needed to declare Moldavia independent from the Kingdom of Hungary, each of them could accuse the other of not respecting their oath of vassalage without losing face.
Mission 6 Intro:
Władysław IV: Now the story begins to be similar to that of Wallachia, what happened next?
Grigore: The Hungarians sent three armies, unlike Bassarab’s recently defeated army in Wallachia, Bogdan’s army was more than ready to fight the Hungarians attacks. And Bogdan pushed back the Hungarian army, again, and again.
→ You play as Bogadan, now prince of Moldavia, waves of Hungarian armies come from the Carpathians, you have to protect your cities (Suceava - the capital, Baia, Siret, Iasi) and defeat the Hungarian armies.
Mission 6 Outro:
Grigore: And that is how we became independent, my lord. We would enjoy roughly a century of independence until the Ottomans came from the south, we weren’t incorporated into the Ottoman Empire without a fight, and due to our stubbornness remained vassal states who would have to pay yearly tribute to the Sultan, and although we had certain rulers that rose above and successfully resisted the Ottomans, we could not compete with the might of the Ottomans, and we soon found ourselves under the claw of the Ottomans again. David does not always beat Goliath. But times will change my lord, in time, it will.
What do you think?