So, has anyone else ever tried to achieve total "victory" in this game by turning every realm (that can be negotiated with) into a puppet kingdom?

1) make alliance,
2) assassinate the leader at the top of the stack,
3) demand province containing the lieutenant (not at the top of the stack) who is now in charge,
4) (optional) have lieutenant offer his/her own country vassalage

With Diemed and Taeghas you have to gift them a lieutenant of your choice (stacked under another unit) and kill both the original leader and lieutenant to make it work, and it's hard to keep some of the nations alive (such as the one taken over by the Gorgon, which can only be saved if your turn takes place before theirs so you can offer them a territory before the computer recognizes that they are dead). Also, you can only get Rhoube if you're playing as an elven realm...

But dang is it fun!

Especially if you put mages and priests in charge everywhere. By the end of the game (if you can keep everyone alive and make them play nice with each other), you can easily have 20+ mages and priests at level 20.

So, am I the only one who's ever tried this? Hard but rewarding (easier with a thief, such as Llytha Damaan, what with the free assassination action). And great replay value--you choose who lives and who dies.

~Tlesis Comorhe