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when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die in infancy
August 31, 2013 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Crusader Kings II is a computer game in which you play as any one of hundreds of feudal lords in Europe in the High to Late Middle Ages. Hoping for your family to become just that little bit more powerful, you scheme against your liege, your vassals, and occasionally even your enemies. Meanwhile, at least half of the game's cast of thousands schemes against you. The game's potential for Shakespearean intrigue has made it ripe for post-game write-ups called after-action reports. With the recent release of The Old Gods, an expansion allowing for play as a pagan ruler, PC Gamer published its own series of after-action reports: Lords of the North. The game's thematic similarities to A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones have not gone unnoticed, either.

Lords of the North: 1 2 3 4

Playing the Game of Thrones: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Crusader Kings Chronicle, PC Gamer's previous AAR: Prologue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Wot I Think and abortive Sword of Islam AAR. The Sword of Islam expansion allowed for play as Muslim rulers. Later, The Legacy of Rome added flavor to the Byzantine/Orthodox game, The Republic allowed for play as republican aristocrats, and Sunset Invasion brought an Aztec invasion to the Iberian Peninsula and beyond.

Three Moves Ahead's podcast on the game. Related blog Flash of Steel on the humanity of Crusader Kings II, a response to a blog post by Rowan Kaiser on CKII and Fate of the World.

Some AARs from Paradox Interactive's forums:

We Can Not Sow, an Iceland AAR.

In the Shadow of Certain, Painful Doom, about Abyssinia.

Subject: Re: request for Leon lecture notes, a short León AAR with an interesting conceit.

The forum's collection of all its AARs.
posted by Rustic Etruscan (244 comments total) 97 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hat tip to zombieflanders, who collaborated on this one.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:50 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


My gaming PC is currently awaiting open-heart surgery, so I can't hop into steam and check my hours played for CKII, but it's in the hundreds. When I first start a Paradox game like Crusader Kings II or the Europa Universalis series, I tend to alternate between picking an interesting time and country and what-if'ing it for a few decades, and picking someone in a region I'm as familiar with and seeing what they can get up to without really knowing their history. I've never finished a game in the sense that I've hit the end date as set by the game. But I'm really looking forward to the ability to import CKII saves into EU4 and taking my Wendish Empire into the age of colonization.
posted by thecjm at 5:10 PM on August 31, 2013


If you haven't played Crusader Kings II yet, now is a great time to pick it up for cheap and give a little to charity at the same time in the Paradox Humble Bundle.
posted by teh_boy at 5:17 PM on August 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


Mefi's Own notmydesk reviewed the CKII Tamriel mod.
posted by zompist at 5:18 PM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Crusader Kings II is a pretty amazing game, more akin to a sim/tycoon game than a strategy game. I have 200+ hours easily in this game, most of it spent furiously navigating page after page of potential brides.

It is a daunting game though; for that I recommend TekkorGJC's excellent tutorial series.
posted by kyp at 5:24 PM on August 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


One thing that took a while for me to wrap my head around is that when you play as, say, Denmark in 1166, you're not "Denmark" -- you're the Ylving Dynasty, and a strong son (preferably no more than one, since those younger brothers can make things awful messy) is worth more than ten thousand troops. Playing it like Risk and trying to conquer Europe is just going to make your vassals ice your dumb ass and replace you with someone who knows what they're doing.
posted by theodolite at 5:35 PM on August 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh good. Now I can wrap my head around why this is so popular with the ASOIAF fans. I was picturing something more like Skyrim.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:53 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


This Let's Play of Ireland* is very instructive and quite interesting once it gets going (the beginning is all about the interface). He's good with tricksy ways to start wars (as all wars require a casus belli) and goes on and on about the qualities of the people he's playing as.

That Paradox Humble Bundle would be great if I didn't already have all the games on offer that interest me.
posted by ersatz at 6:22 PM on August 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chris Remo and Nick Breckon from the Idle Thumbs podcast did a webcast of their first playthrough of the game, starting here. I found watching it to be a fun way to get the gumption up to actually start playing the game.
posted by Phatty Lumpkin at 6:29 PM on August 31, 2013


Playing it like Risk and trying to conquer Europe is just going to make your vassals ice your dumb ass and replace you with someone who knows what they're doing.

You say that, but the game my girlfriend prepped for import to EU4 looked like this at the end.

Note: That's the Culture map, where light blue is old-style Norse - not Norwegian or Swedish or any pissant variant. Land and Religion are solid Scandinavia and Norse, respectively. And she started from tiny ol' Faeryar.
posted by kafziel at 6:29 PM on August 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hrm. Ned’s a Lord, meaning that he’ll be wanting to marry into one of Westeros’s powerful families: the Tyrells, the Arryns, the Baratheons, that class of people. If Ned was to marry someone beneath the Starks in terms of influence, I’d take a massive hit to my prestige – and prestige is the main measure of success in Crusader Kings II.

That's actually not the case in Westeros. Normally a lord would marry the daughter of a bannerman (lesser noble) to stregnthen ties within his fiefdom. Ned's generation was unusual for doing otherwise, which has been the subject of some speculation.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:43 PM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've played more of the ASOIAF mod than regular CKII. I like to use the ruler creator to replace Darry as ruler of the Bay of Claws and then start scheming for control of the Trident. Curious to hear what others have tried.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:55 PM on August 31, 2013


Damn you teh_boy, damn you!

Between humble bundles and Steam sales my free time for the next eleventy lifetimes is accounted for
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 6:57 PM on August 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, please permit me to recommend the hilarious Saltborn: A Crovan AAR
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:17 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


My favorite thing that's happened to me in the ASoIaF mod is either when Varys accused Littlefinger of corruption and Littlefinger demanded single combat to restore his honor, which Varys then won, or when Sam (in this timeline he never went to the Wall and is a total badass) started rampaging around the Reach trying to make sure all of his aunts had lands of their own.

Actually, it might be when Rickon's kid was (briefly) Lord of the Twins because he ended up in a marriage with the oldest Frey daughter. Sadly Rickon had 5 or 6 bastards and one of them ended up mucking the whole thing up.
posted by Copronymus at 7:23 PM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Those Playing the Game of Thrones links are like the best alternative-world ASOIAF fanfic that I would never otherwise read.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:28 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


While playing CK2 my Scottish queen had to murder her eldest two children to continue the dynasty (and the game).

What other games force this kind of moral decision? And so true to the period.
posted by schwa at 8:13 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


You say that, but the game my girlfriend prepped for import to EU4 looked like this at the end.

The downfall of the converters is that a completed save from the previous game is always going to be ridiculously overpowered as a starting nation in the next game. In addition to the official CK2/EU4 one, this is true for the fan-built converters for EU3, Victoria 2 and Hearts of Iron 3 as well. I think the best you can do to keep a conversion playable is to play with an eye for keeping things balanced rather than domination. For example, in CK2, you don't want to end up holding an unreasonable number of areas that turn into trade nodes in EU4.

I love the Paradox games. They may be buggy (they're way better about this than the Hearts of Iron 3 days, but the EU4 release included a patch to CK2 which blinded the entire male lineage of my dynasty in my Byzantine empire game, requiring me to edit the save files by hand to fix it) and a little hard to figure out but they are the source of endless entertainment. If you've ever gotten lost in Civ or Sim City or any strategy game, I can't recommend them enough, although I suggest you start with CK2 or EU4.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:31 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my gord. This paired with the Game of Thrones mod means I'll never sleep, will I?
posted by littlesq at 8:55 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not buying anymore cheap games! Stop it! I even downloaded that stupid Origin software, it's getting out of hand.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:57 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


While playing CK2 my Scottish queen had to murder her eldest two children to continue the dynasty (and the game).

That reminds me: My favorite character I've played so far has been Eleanor Dunbar, Duchess of Lothian, on Scotland's border with England. She inherited the title as a girl when her father died of a venereal disease. After her regency, she took an interest in science and got a nasty scar when her flying machine failed to fly. Meanwhile, she conquered Lancaster, taking advantage of one of England's constant civil wars, and northern Ireland, making herself Duchess of Ulster. By the time she was 45, she was the most powerful person in Scotland.

At this point, I noticed that one of the king's sons - the fourth or the fifth - was around my daughter and heir's age. If he were King of Scotland, then one of his children would become king, and if I matrilineally married my daughter to him, then that king would be a Dunbar. The trouble was that he was already married, and the pair had already had a son. This wouldn't do.

First, I invited the king's son to my court. Because he was nowhere near the head of the line of succession, he was glad to come. I then had his wife murdered and married my heir to him. Because he was nowhere near the head of the line of succession, he agreed to a matrilineal marriage. Besides, his two sons - his wife had given birth to another one before dying under suspicious circumstances - were of his own family, so he had no reason to fear the extinction of his branch of the Dunkeld family.

Those two sons died before they reached adolescence. No one found out why.

Meanwhile, the good old King Malcolm died, and his grandson, his late first son's first son, took the throne. Eleanor, who had previously continued her grandfather's tradition of loyalism to the crown, declared war to give the kingdom to her new son-in-law. The war lasted for five years. During that time, the boy-king's own spymaster had him murdered. The boy's uncle became king, but he couldn't restore stability. The Duchess of the Isles and the Duke of Moray launched their own rebellion in support of the new king's next-younger brother.

Eleanor won her war, crowning her hapless candidate, and the two of them crushed the Isles and Moray for daring to support such an obviously false pretender. Peace returned to Scotland at last.

She died old, around 70. The only more prestigious person in Europe was the Caliph of Egypt.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:03 PM on August 31, 2013 [19 favorites]


My first game I had a 5 year old child ascend to the throne of Ireland. The regent kept trying to kill me only to have it narrowly fail each time (the game tells you the odds, it was 20% to live each time) with increasingly outlandish plots.

Finally, he just rushed into the young prodigy's bedroom screaming and ranting "WHY WON'T YOU DIE" where I again had a 20% chance to live.

I did.

And so was born a legend.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:08 PM on August 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


The trouble was that he was already married, and the pair had already had a son.

I once did something like this with my dynasty's heir while trying to take over the petty Kingdom of Lancaster, which was ruled by a Queen in a childless marriage. One day my assassination plot finally succeeded and I went to arrange the marriage of my heir to the Queen only to find that she'd died of shock upon learning of the death of her husband (extreme stress, in game terms). My heir later died on the battlefield in a failed attempt to restore the petty Kingdom of Lancaster from the fractured pieces left over after the death of the Queen. Oh, what could have been!

I have never played any of the CK2 mods but it's so good at creating little micro-stories like this that I can definitely see the appeal.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:29 PM on August 31, 2013


Even as someone who's yet to play the game - too many bundles, not enough time - that Song of Islam article really is fantastic. I love RPS but somehow missed that one along the way.
posted by ZaphodB at 9:38 PM on August 31, 2013


I love CK2, but I am absolutely horrible at it. My first go round ended when I hired a group of Swiss mercenaries to help me fight off one of my vassals, then ran out of money to pay them back at the end of the war. Then Switzerland invaded.

I didn't do quite so poorly with the AGOT mod, being marginally better at Westerosi geography and politics than medieval European, but unfortunately I still started out as King Aerys I Targaryen and wound up six generations later as a petty lord whose greatest holding was Massey's Hook, an inconsequential peninsula off the Crownlands.
posted by jeudi at 9:44 PM on August 31, 2013


Hm. Reading an earlier telling of this story, I seem to have gotten several elements thereof badly wrong. The good old king was Duncan Dunkeld, and his grandson Duncan was fully grown when he took power. Duncan II was killed on his spymaster's orders, causing Duncan III, his son, the actual boy-king, to inherit. Eleanor's war deposed either this boy or his uncle (Duncan II's second son, another great-grandson of Duncan I), not his great-uncle.

His great-uncle would have been Giric Dunkeld, Duncan I's second son, the man to whose daughter I had married my son. I had her brothers murdered so that her sons would stand to inherit Scotland once her father was king. I also had Duncan II's second son murdered after the war to prevent any restive dukes from taking up his cause. All these murders occurred before their victims could leave infancy.

And speaking of restive dukes, the Duchess of the Isles did rebel, but her accomplice was the Earl of Fife, not the Duke of Moray.

In short, none of you should rely on my memory for anything.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:51 PM on August 31, 2013


How come have I never heard of this game before? It looks like Medieval Total War but with way more politics.
I'll know how I'll be spending the next month.
posted by drugstorefrog at 9:53 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


And of course Duncan II's second son would be Duncan III's brother, not his uncle. Duncan III didn't have an uncle, because Duncan II didn't have any brothers, because Duncan I's son didn't have any other kids. I'm fairly sure now that the war deposed Duncan III, not anyone else, and that Eleanor had Duncan III and his brother murdered once the war was over and the former was in Giric's dungeon. Unfortunately, that save game is gone, so I can't go back and check.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:59 PM on August 31, 2013


drugstorefrog: and no combat. There are battles, but you don't see them happen and have only the most limited control over them once they are underway. So really, aside from the setting this game is the opposite of MTW.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:02 PM on August 31, 2013


If you could replace the consistently underwhelming campaign interfaces in the Total War series with Paradox equivalents you might have the best game ever. I do sometimes miss the lack of tactics in the battles. They are resolved in basically the same way as a D&D role playing game handles combat. There's a set of attributes to describe each side, a process for determining who does what and when, and then a series of modifiers that can be applied to boost attributes or mitigate advantages. After that, it's basically watching dice roll.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:21 PM on August 31, 2013


You can nudge things a little bit more than that. It's true that the army with a sizable advantage in manpower wins 70-80% of the time; but you can cement an advantage or pull off the occasional upset by paying close attention to terrain, army composition, and command appointments.

You also have control of overall troop movements, so it's possible to win a war against a larger opponent by carefully and quickly defeating their detachments in detail before they can form up into Doomstack Voltron. The Kingdom of the Isles AAR is a master class in this technique.

But would I pay good money for a DLC that allowed for resolution of CKII battles in Mount and Blade maps or Total War scenarios?

Probably not, as the resulting game would consume my life and soul utterly.
posted by Iridic at 10:39 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is definitely a surprising amount of depth to the strategic game of tricking the AI into attacking you under bad circumstances and things like that. I meant more that once the battle starts, you have no real control over the outcome unless you want to retreat.

Hearts of Iron really takes this strategic maneuvering to an extreme degree. I don't even want to know how many hours I've spent setting up intricate traps for the Japanese Navy. I'm hoping the next version of that is as significant an improvement as the last two games have been.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:30 PM on August 31, 2013


Is this one of those games that I should start with the vanilla and then get DLC for later, or just get all the DLC at once, or should I wait for a Gold edition with all the DLC included?
posted by NoraReed at 12:55 AM on September 1, 2013


Or is each DLC a new scenario? Do they make other gameplay changes? I'm used to Civ-style expansions that change pretty much everything, so this is sort of confusing for me.
posted by NoraReed at 12:58 AM on September 1, 2013


For Paradox, the big DLCs are also the patches, improvements, etc. So in most all cases you'll want all the DLC upfront aside from cosmetic or music related stuff, which is clearly marked as such.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:43 AM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, the big DLC to look at are The Sword of Islam, The Legacy of Rome, The Republic, The Old Gods, and Sunset Invasion.

In the vanilla game, you can play as any secular Christian count, duke, king, or emperor on the map. I've spent most of my time playing as these people. You could play this alone and be satisfied.

The Sword of Islam allows you to play as any secular Muslim count, duke, etc. The expansion changes all those titles, but more importantly: 1) There is only one succession law, by which your most powerful son inherits; 2) You may attack any realm bordering yours for control of one county; 3) You may marry more than one woman, and indeed receive prestige penalties for not marrying the number of women befitting your rank; 4) You now have to worry about a rating called "Decadence," which increases when your dynasty has unlanded, unimprisoned men, which raises costs and decreases troop morale, and which can cause a massive war if allowed to rise too high.

The Legacy of Rome is less of a game-changer. It adds flavor to the Byzantine game and allows you to hire retinues, which are small but permanent standing armies.

The Republic allows you to play as one of the patrician families of any of the merchant republics on the map. Each republic has five such families at the game's start, and their oldest remaining member (or their designated heir) inherits the family manor upon the current Patrician's death. If your family's Patrician is also the republic's Doge, and the family heir loses the election upon the doge's death, then you continue to play - it's not game over, even if you have no territory on the map, because you have the family manor. The republican game focuses on dominating the other families in your republic by controlling the most sea provinces. You do this by controlling the most trade posts adjacent to a particular sea province. The more male members your family has, the more trade posts you can build, but the more money you have to pay out to maintain your family members.

The Old Gods does two things: 1) It allows you to play as any secular Pagan count, duke, etc., on the map, and 2) It adds a scenario, "The Old Gods," that begins in 867 A.D., some 200 years before the vanilla game's Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. You can raid provinces, take concubines, attack neighboring pagans for control of de jure duchies, and much, much, more. It's a huge addition to the game, probably the most significant one. Get this one if you can't afford any other.

Sunset Invasion is a fanciful add-on that allows for an Aztec invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. Like the Mongol invasion to the east, it may not occur, but if it does, it does so in the mid-to-late game. The idea is to shake up the western half of the map, which generally doesn't have much to fear from the Mongol invasion.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:54 AM on September 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


When Paradox released major DLC/patches for CK2, the game was patched even if you didn't own the DLC IIRC.
posted by ersatz at 3:34 AM on September 1, 2013


That's right. The biggest changes to the game - the faction system, navigable rivers, a bigger Africa, and so on - those all went to the vanilla game. You'll get them whether you buy the DLC or not.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:37 AM on September 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Crusader Kings II is a pretty amazing game, more akin to a sim/tycoon game than a strategy game. I have 200+ hours easily in this game

Whimper.

That's what I'm afraid off. I already bought the Humble weekly bundle and read the RPS reviews and it sounds like the sort of game you can sink all your spare time into. In fact, they compared it to Football Manager, which is already swallowing up much of what video game time I have...
posted by MartinWisse at 5:04 AM on September 1, 2013


Hat tip to zombieflanders, who collaborated on this one.

Bravo on an excellent post Rustic Etruscan, this is mostly your work. If I had one essential link to add, it would be the CKII Wiki, which is almost crucial to have on hand for novice players, because the only major downside to the game is that the tutorial is so woefully thin. The wiki, which was started and maintained by a well-known modder and member of the /r/paradoxplaza and /r/crusaderkings subreddits named Meneth, has almost all of the information that you need, as well as quickstarts. I recommend having the wiki open in a window to alt-tab to until you get the hang of things. It also has a cool page on interesting historical and "easter egg" characters imported from the official forums, which is one of my favorites. All the big names like Frederick I Barbarossa and Richard I (don't get me started on why I refuse to call him Lionheart) are in there, as well as names you might have heard from page and screen: Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (better known as El Cid), Rollo, Robert the Bruce, and more. It's a little behind compared to the official thread, but it's publicly accessible, while the forums require you to register your copy of the game before you can access them.

Is this one of those games that I should start with the vanilla and then get DLC for later, or just get all the DLC at once, or should I wait for a Gold edition with all the DLC included?

The other folks have already addressed the content, so I'll just point out that in addition to stuff like the Humble Bundle, there are Steam sales on a fairly regular basis, roughly quarterly or whenever a major piece of DLC is released. You can usually get the core game and most or all previous major DLC for cheap (50%-75% off) when that happens, with cosmetic DLC also discounted but sold piecemeal.

I've played more of the ASOIAF mod than regular CKII.

One thing that should be noted about this game is that it is insanely friendly to modders, as evidenced by the ASOIAF mod. The reason for that is that almost everything is in plain text files that can be edited by anyone, and even graphics can easily be modified or replaced. And I'm not exaggerating when I say almost everything: just off the top of my head, you can edit counties, duchies, kingdoms, empires, cultures, religions, rulers (both names and stats), vassals, courtiers, casus belli, decisions, events, laws, fertility, longevity, army tactics, the colors on the map, and even the history. This is what enables such awesome alternate worlds to be created, usually with just a quick bit of graphics modding to really make things pop. A quick visit to the official modding forum shows an amazing amount of mods ranging from quick add-ons like cleaner borders, to gameplay balancing, to entirely new maps, and total conversions that deal with intricately-documented alternate histories and even Arthurian legend. I've been playing for a year, and some of these mods (particularly those last two) I'm just now reading up on.

I have to give major kudos to Paradox Interactive here for being so amazingly friendly to modders. There are entire sections of patch changelogs devoted to what they've done with the code to enable or simplify modding, and I've yet to see them interfere directly in a mod. Quite the opposite, in fact; for example, they created certain settings for incest/inbreeding specifically to make the ASOIAF mod more fun. That's a level of dedication and support to your players that I don't see very often.



Oh, and one more thing: whatever you do, try to avoid the discussions about why Jews aren't in the game. It comes up fairly regularly, and it almost always gets fight-y. I personally think it was a good idea to leave them out for a number of reasons, both for gameplay and history, and FWIW I was raised Jewish (albeit very liberal Reform), but there's small but vocal contingents that want them included for cultural/religious pride as well as the "realism" of stuff like moneylending and pogroms. Most of the major non-TC mods incorporate Judaism, but at best it's just there for flavor, and at worst it can be a bit off-putting even if it is attempting to be historically accurate.

posted by zombieflanders at 6:20 AM on September 1, 2013 [10 favorites]



I tried the demo of this game.

I didn't buy it.

Not because I didn't really, really, really like the demo, but because I knew that if I had it I wouldn't get things done that need to be done.

This thread makes me glad of my decision. Next time I can afford to take a 'game holiday' it's on my list of purchases.
posted by Jalliah at 6:30 AM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


A brief history of my spare time since forever: oh, hey Hearts of Iron, cool! What is this, Europa Universalis II, fun! Huh, there's a HoI2 now. And expansions. Jesus, Paradox, slow down, I'm still expansioning, a new EU3? Augh, there's expansion after expansion too. No way, they actually did Darkest Hour! Have mercy, this thing has enough user made scenarios for a lifetime...

Come back in 2 years, where you'll see me add to this list CK2 and Hoi3 after buying and catching up with them from, uh, next december holidays on, or something. I could probably squeeze some extra time if I feed by IV while sitting under the shower.
posted by Iosephus at 6:35 AM on September 1, 2013


Oh, and one more thing: whatever you do, try to avoid the discussions about why Jews aren't in the game. It comes up fairly regularly, and it almost always gets fight-y. I personally think it was a good idea to leave them out for a number of reasons, both for gameplay and history, and FWIW I was raised Jewish (albeit very liberal Reform), but there's small but vocal contingents that want them included for cultural/religious pride as well as the "realism" of stuff like moneylending and pogroms. Most of the major non-TC mods incorporate Judaism, but at best it's just there for flavor, and at worst it can be a bit off-putting even if it is attempting to be historically accurate.

Part of the tension there is that CK1 had Judaism, and CK2 does not. I wandered across that debate looking for a mod (or modding instructions) to make the Khazars more playable. (My background is similarly Reform and liberal; being part Hungarian makes me curious about the Khazars.) The threads I found instead were indeed a bit of a shit-show.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:08 AM on September 1, 2013


An excellent ongoing LP on the SA forums.
posted by Samizdata at 10:12 AM on September 1, 2013


And, ummmm, c'mon people! (not particularly MeFis)...

Just because The Series That Will Never Be Finished Even if George R.R. Martin Is Not My Bitch is really popular, not EVERY game with medieval politics and backstabbing should be noticed to be similar to it. I mean okay, Crusader Kings came out in 2004 and The Series I Won't Buy Books From Any More Since The Author Is More Concerned With Seducing New Readers Than Rewarding Loyal Readers came out in 1994. And it wasn't the first game to deal with such things by far, nor the first book series. And we were doing a similar D&D campaign back in, I think it was, 91 or 92.

So, what I am functionally saying is OTHER PEOPLE HAVE IDEAS TOO, DAMN IT, STOP MAKING EVERYTHING ABOUT WHAT YOU LIKE ALREADY, OKAY?

Sorry. Had to get that off my chest.
posted by Samizdata at 10:23 AM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Ummmm, yeah, I am a LITTLE bitter about the series being where it is, versus my ability to be patient and afford new books, so I can get a little frothranty on the subject.)
posted by Samizdata at 10:24 AM on September 1, 2013


FWIW, I don't like the ASoIaF mod. The politics are too stable and the map is hard to read.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:44 AM on September 1, 2013


I'm just waiting for a Romance of the Three Kingdoms game from Paradox.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:51 AM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Real fanboys don't need to read the map. They have it memorized.
posted by Justinian at 10:52 AM on September 1, 2013


An excellent ongoing LP on the SA forums.

That LP is great. A word to people unfamiliar with Something Awful's vulgarity filter: "Loving," "poo poo," etc., are not to be found in the original.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:51 AM on September 1, 2013


I have to give major kudos to Paradox Interactive here for being so amazingly friendly to modders.

The Republic was partially made to help modders too IIRC. Paradox certainly rank among my favourite publishers.

I'm just waiting for a Romance of the Three Kingdoms game from Paradox.

Yesssssss
posted by ersatz at 12:10 PM on September 1, 2013


Rustic Etruscan and Zombieflanders, if this game is even half as awesome as it sounds, I am blaming you two for my utter lack of productivity for the next three months.
posted by corb at 12:46 PM on September 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I REGRET NOTHING
posted by zombieflanders at 1:24 PM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm just waiting for a Romance of the Three Kingdoms game from Paradox.

It would be great to see a totally new game, but my guess is that the next one is Hearts of Iron 4. My understanding is that even though it was released in a genuinely abysmal state and required a number of patches before it was truly playable, it's by far their best selling game. Sengoku is probably the closest you can do in the Paradox universe, right now.

You could definitely imagine it as DLC, though.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:29 PM on September 1, 2013


I don't even want to know how many hours I've spent setting up intricate traps for the Japanese Navy.

I think I see you in the mirror sometimes.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:35 PM on September 1, 2013


Another reason why these games are so great is that the interesting storylines don't just happen to you, they're going on all around you as well. In my current game I happened to notice Spain and Portugal had gone to war. At the time they were the first and second largest colonial powers. It was approximately 1650. Within a decade, Portugal had been badly defeated and entirely annexed by Spain, resulting in a Spanish empire so powerful that it dwarfed everyone other than the Ottomans, but it was also massively overextended. Over the next 50 years I watched the sprawling Spanish colonial empire splinter apart as little rebellions grew into big ones and overwhelmed their ability to respond. Soon, France invaded them and took back some provinces in the Pyrenees. This really lit a fire under the rebels and within another 15-20 years, Portugal had rebelled completely, risen from the ashes of annexation, restored its Iberian borders, and was well on its way to restoring its original colonial empire, meanwhile, the once-mighty Spanish navy was a shadow of its former self and it had lost all of the gains it had made against France and all of its territories in the Netherlands.

All of this went on without my involvement while I was busy taking over the spice trade.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:36 PM on September 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


So: MeFi succession game, anyone?
posted by Iridic at 7:18 PM on September 1, 2013


Games bought and downloaded, now I just have to figure out why Steam's keys aren't working. Woe. I am ready for my new addiction, already! *shakes fist*
posted by corb at 8:59 PM on September 1, 2013


I want to read Mefi AARs from each of the Great Houses
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:15 PM on September 1, 2013


Damn all of you!!
It sounded good. I read a bit of that Irish LP. I bought the game.

So hard. So addictive. So much fun. So hard.

It is kind of like the first time you play one of the Civ games. "I'm hungry. got so rapped up in this I forgot to eat dinner. better get something to eat. WTF!! its breakfast time???"

Guess I won't be doing much sight seeing on my holiday.
posted by drugstorefrog at 2:51 AM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was playing through my first game last night. As my ruler (Iceland) got to his late 50's I decided to play through til he died.
Norway went into massive civil wars and he was called to lead an army against the pretender. This will not take long, I thought.

Now, entrenched in a bloody civil war in his early 60's he was made Marshall of Norway.
The head of a fractured army in a bloody civil war. He celebrated by hiring a dance troupe and buying all his vassals dinner.

Now in his 70's his side of the civil war was victorious, but a round of "unexpected" deaths killed off most of the remaining rulers.
Suddenly this 73 year old war veteran from Iceland is regent of Norway whilst around him the bodies fall.

His wife finally passes away and I think that soon, under my self imposed rules, I will be able to go to bed. He is betrothed to the 14 year old princess of Denmark. I assume that he won't live to marry. He also starts building a new Temple and starts an affair with his granddaughter in law.

By his early 80s his bride has come of age and is expecting her first child and the duke of Iceland has continued his hedonistic, gregarious party lifestyle, throwing hunts, feasts and fairs.
Whilst on a hunt he single handed kills the largest boar ever seen by Icelandic eyes.

The boy king of Norway has come of age and starts making laws. The civil war restarts.
The now 84 year old Duke of Iceland and Marshall of Norway is called back into battle where he distinguishes himself as a master of trickery and flanking.
Another child is born, his second with his 25 year old wife, something like 15th overall.

His eldest son and heir dies of old age!
He embarks on a war of subjugation of the duchy of Orkney under the assumption that he's probably related to (or has bedded) at least one member of the ruling family.
His wife, predictably gives birth, yet again.

More feasting, drinking, fighting and partying, as well as mentoring his three young children.
It is at this point (two hours on and thirty years of ruling) that I wonder if I will ever get to sleep.

He eventually dies, in his 90s in battle, with a flagon of wine in one hand and a sword in the other.

Thus ends the Saga of Sigfur of Iceland!
(This is also why I didn't really get enough sleep last night)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:56 AM on September 2, 2013 [8 favorites]


One of my favourite moments as Count, no, Duke, no, King of Wales was having to deal with this :

Iestyn Ap Gwrgant wants to get married.

That's 79 year old Iestyn Ap Gwrgant bothering me because he wants to get married. Average life expectancy is such that 80% of his children have died of old age, but Iestyn wants another shot.

It takes me a long time to find someone who wants to marry into that stupid name, but I finally find a French woman who has a lisp. And a hunchback. And is listed as an imbecile. And maimed.

Iestyn immediately celebrates tying the knot by kicking the bucket and now I have a deformed, mad old French lady wandering my halls, smelling of cheese. I offer her out for marriage, but the rest of Europe's leaders just snigger behind their hands.

I had to pay someone to have her stabbed.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 9:03 AM on September 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


There's an upcoming Cold War game from Paradox, but given it's one of those projects by a secondary studio (like Darkest Hour or For the Glory), it's uncertain how much of the feel for the conflict will it capture. And it uses the HOI3 engine, gross.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:40 AM on September 2, 2013


East vs. West looks really interesting, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high. I think one of the reasons Hearts of Iron took so many updates to get right was that the engine could barely handle decision making for all of the advanced types of units and that problem is only going to be magnified with Cold War-era technology. That said, I really hope it turns out well.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:57 PM on September 2, 2013


Finally got it to work. This is so, so good, but I understand what people are saying both about the time it takes and also the time you spend flipping through Europe's Most Eligible.
posted by corb at 3:44 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I once went, in five years of game time, from being on the verge of leading the independence faction in the Holy Roman Empire to victory over the Kaiser to having the last of my dynasty dying of stress after desperately trying to murder all of his heirs so he could start a new line.

This game... this game!
posted by Kattullus at 6:23 PM on September 2, 2013


I had bought this game a long time ago (on the strength of EU3). I had intended to play it for that whole time, but this post pushed me over the edge, so I started playing this weekend. I pretty much went into it blind, reading minimal documentation and such, and now I have some questions. First a little background:

I am playing as the Earl of Connacht (in Ireland), starting in the year 867 (or whatever the start of Old Gods is). I noticed that there's a de jure Duchy of Connacht, which includes my county and the neighboring County of Breifne. Upon closer inspection of Breifne, I found out that I was second in line to Earl of Breifne, after the current earl's young and only son. Sadly, a band of highway robbers that I assure you that I had absolutely nothing to do with no matter what foul rumors you might have heard murdered that poor young man, but not before he had had a baby daughter of his own. Tragically, and with similar assurances given, the daughter died in her sleep a few weeks later. This left me as Earl of both Connacht and Breifne, and so I proclaimed the rebirth of the Petty Kingdom of Connacht.

Eventually, I too died, and the old me's son became the new me. The new me was the old me's one and only child, so I don't think this mattered, but just to be clear: I had replaced Agnatic-Cognatic Gavelkind with Agnatic-Cognatic Primogeniture before this happened.

Soon thereafter, my scribes poking away in archives discovered that the Earl of the neighboring County Thormond seemed to actually be a mere pretender, and that in fact the rightful Earl of Thormond was, in fact, me (I again assure you that I was quite surprised by the incontrovertible evidence that I most certainly did not order anyone to fabricate). A war followed, in which I was victorious, making me now Duke of Connacht and Earl of Thormond. This all leads up to my first question:

At this point, I was told that my demense was too large ("3/2"). So, I decided to split off a vassal. At the start of my game, the order of succession to my throne was:

(1) My son (later the new me)
(2) My... fifth cousin or something like that, from another house in another county
(3) My... sixth cousin or something like that, of my house in my county
(4) His sons

At the time of my accession to Thormond, I (the new me) had had a couple daughters, the fifth cousin had not had any children, the sixth had not had any more, but his sons had had some children. So it was now:

(1) My daughters
(2) Fifth cousin from another house in another county
(3) Sixth cousin of my house in my county
(4) His children and grandchildren

My daughters were just babies, and my sixth cousin had been helpful and loyal, so I decided to make him Earl of Thormond.

My question is: Should I have done that? Or should I have tried to keep everything together by giving it to my eldest daughter? Or perhaps even a younger daughter?

Next question: I'm not really sure that I understand why I should let/make certain people marry (except out of the kindness of my heart). For example, I see why I would want to let male members of my own house who can't press claims on my throne marry - maybe they or their descendants will wind up in power in some far off place, increasing my house's power and renown. And similarly for female members of my house, if I can make the marriage matrilineal. Such a marriage might also be good if I can make an alliance from it.

For the other people in my court, not of my house, letting them marry might be good to bring a new, competent person into my house, who hopefully might have competent children. But let's say my court is getting kind of full of competent people. Why would it benefit me to let a lowborn person (or even a minor noble) who's not terribly competent marry? Just to get rid of them? Seems like it might be better just to hold onto them, unmarried, in case they're needed for some purpose in the future, but in any case it seems like it isn't likely to matter all that much in either case.

So, some random lowborn lady tells me she's looking to get married. Do I just set her up out of the kindness of my heart? Or callously ignore the request due to the potential for her being in some way useful later? Or set her up in some way that is beneficial to me for a reason that I currently don't understand?
posted by Flunkie at 6:25 AM on September 3, 2013


Speaking from my now FOUR HOURS of experience....

I think if you allow them to marry, at least the lowborn, you help make them happy and loyal to your court, thus less likely to leave to somewhere else. Or if you want to interfere with other house's lines...

I am seriously having withdrawal, being at work right now. This is a crazy addictive game. I'm just trying to warn you, people.

And I'm only on my second generation in Norway.

Also, this is a game you can (sometimes) play with kids. My daughter is very interested in the early betrothals of heirs. "No, he's nine! You have to marry him to a nine year old! She's nice. And kind! Look at her! Also from an important house!" She's also very pleased with the "My wife is pregnant" game status.
posted by corb at 6:32 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


in fact the rightful Earl of Thormond was, in fact, me

(...)

Seems like it might be better just to hold onto them, unmarried, in case they're needed for some purpose in the future, but in any case it seems like it isn't likely to matter all that much in either case.
This is how you know this game has kept me from sleeping.
posted by Flunkie at 6:33 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's nice. And kind!
I have been unable to bring myself to marry people away to people who are listed as "cruel".
posted by Flunkie at 6:35 AM on September 3, 2013


I have been unable to marry children away to people with terrible negative traits - but as I recall I did marry off badly the lady who I had entrusted my son and heir with, but who had murdered him to make room for her nephew.

It's also really interesting in the excruciating speed. When you've betrothed your heir to a really great princess of an allied power and are just waiting for them to grow up so the marriage can take place, time feels like it passes like molasses - like you're actually waiting for them to grow up. (Which makes their murders even worse.. *sob* Goodbye Harald, Prince of Norway!)
posted by corb at 6:39 AM on September 3, 2013


So, some random lowborn lady tells me she's looking to get married. Do I just set her up out of the kindness of my heart? Or callously ignore the request due to the potential for her being in some way useful later? Or set her up in some way that is beneficial to me for a reason that I currently don't understand?

For me, there's several reasons to keep someone in your court:

1) You inherit most or all the money from courtiers with no living children. It's kind of game-y, but every once in a while, I'll use the global character search function, arranged by opinion of me, to see if there's any childless unlanded people with a bunch of cash (usually 50+) that like me and hate their liege enough to come to my court. If it's a decent amount, I'll bribe them to come to my court. The fact that they have horrible accidents soon after is, as you have noted, completely accidental and often leaves me heartbroken, but resolute in doing good works with the money they willed to me. I once found a guy who must have been a former doge or something with about 700 gold, a Catholic in a Sunni court who was happy to depart the arid heathen climes of Sicily for the sunny beaches of the Lord's chosen in Galicia. He fell from a parapet and the entire court mourned his death, but all agreed that the improvements to my castle's fortifications were what he would have wanted.

2) You should be on the lookout for prospective councillors until your council is full of people with 15+ stats. It doesn't hurt to have some "spares" around for when they die of severe stress or smallpox. Also, stats of both parents help determine development, albeit less so than education, so your courtier breeding program benefits from people of good stock and...oh dear, I'm sounding like a eugenicist again. This game, man. Anyway, the only exception to that rule is people with high intrigue. If anybody with high intrigue doesn't worship the ground you walk on--literally, in the case of reformed pagans--they're a potential plotter against you or your family. If you can't keep them happy, marry them out, preferably to someone you want to plot against (can you tell I prefer the Dune-style wheels-within-wheels intrigue?).

3) You should always have a bunch of people with high martial scores and/or good army traits (the ones in orange). The combat in this game is very dependent on the leaders of your armies and their flanks, even if they're not that great. When you put together your armies, make sure you assign somebody to each position, and having good courtiers and vassals can really make the difference in close fights.

She's nice. And kind!

I have been unable to bring myself to marry people away to people who are listed as "cruel".


Every once in a while, I run a game or a certain ruler as a roleplay, and it can really break up the monotony of a period of low activity. If I'm lustful, I have ALL THE AFFAIRS; if I'm zealous, it's holy warrin' time; if I'm cruel, everybody gets the oubliette.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:59 AM on September 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


The key to marriage is to remember that the primary goal is to ensure that whenever you have a role to fill, be it an heir, a general, a councilor, someone to hold a title, or whatever comes up, you have someone in your family who will be able to fill the role without screwing things up or starting a war with the Golden Horde. To this end, one common technique is to marry your daughters to anyone with the right set of attributes, via a matrilineal marriage, so that you can have as many family members with the best traits such as Genius, etc.

I did this in my Byzantium game and after ~200 years my dynasty has about 100 members and has direct ownership of 3/4 of the provinces in the empire. Anyone who is outside of your dynasty is largely irrelevant except as a potential mate. If a foreign leader asks to marry a commoner, I tend to say yes for the boost in relations.

Another key thing is to always educate your own children. This gives you the opportunity to make decisions that will reflect which of your attributes they inherit. If you have someone else educate your children, the child's attributes will come from that person rather than yourself. This is especially key with your heirs because if you end up with a Weak, Slothful or Gluttonous attribute, you're setting yourself up for a big succession fight.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:13 AM on September 3, 2013


In my latest game, I was looking for a guardian for Emmerich Wilhelmiden, the orphaned child duke of Austria. When a Saxon general with a 33 in martial skill popped up in the directory, I didn't waste time with questions; I simply packed the boy off to Hamburg and spent the next couple of years building wooden walls around the mound of dirt that was 9th century Vienna.

And then Emmerich acquired the "Slothful" trait, depressing all of his attributes by a point. This would have been bad enough, had his stats been increasing as they should have under the tutelage of an unexampled martial genius; but on inspection, I found them all to be on the dismal side.

I took a closer look at my teacher's C.V. and discovered not only that he was lazy himself, as well as cruel, gluttonous, and proud; but he also boasted the "Possessed" trait, and had all this time been galloping ever deeper into psychosis. His base martial score was actually a respectable but not particularly brilliant 13; it had been bolstered 20 points because he apparently received tactical advice direct from "the Voice of Jesus." Which was all well and good, but I doubted if it was the sort of thing you could teach.

A bit ashamed at having sent my young ruler to the post-Carolingian equivalent of a backwoods cult, I recalled little Emmerich and placed him in the royal court of Bavaria, in the care of his liege's eldest son, the kindly bastard Arnulf Karling. Emmerich flourished, becoming a generous and pious young man; and if his laziness kept him from developing the gentler arts of statecraft, he was eminently-suited for command by the time he came of age, married a Greek princess, and returned to Austria.

Within two years, Emmerich had divested Arnulf of his lands in Moravia. (Emmerich did have the stronger claim, but Arnulf found this poor consolation). Two years after that, King Karlmann died, and Arnulf, who now hated Emmerich as much as was mechanically possible, ascended to the throne of Bavaria. King versus subject! Mentor versus pupil! The bastard prince versus the cult survivor! Who will emerge as the greatest power between the Alps and the Baltic?

(I don't know yet. That's where I left my save last night.)
posted by Iridic at 8:47 AM on September 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Hmmm... upon closer inspection, the "fifth cousin or something like that, from another house in another county" is actually my third cousin four times removed, and he stands in line to my throne before my "sixth cousin or something like that, of my house in my county", who is actually also my third cousin, but only twice removed.

I don't know why, but I have a sinking feeling that my dear third cousin four times removed from another house in another country is not long for this world.
posted by Flunkie at 10:21 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good lord, does this come with a free topological sorter for inheritance rights or do you have to keep track of it all manually? I -could- borrow a whiteboard from campus for the xmas holidays, I suppose.
posted by Iosephus at 12:44 PM on September 3, 2013


Hovering over the coat of arms for any title will give you the next 3 in line for succession.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:48 PM on September 3, 2013


And clicking through the ledger (one of the tiny buttons on the lower right side) will bring you to a page listing all of the possible inheritances of your court.
posted by Iridic at 3:35 PM on September 3, 2013


CK2 has the unique (dubious?) distinction of being the only video game I've ever played that rewards ownership of Moynihan's Introduction to the Law of Real Property (contains a brief encapsulation of historical tenure, seizin and the incidents of tenure; discussion similar to that in Hopkins [1896]). If that tickles your curiousity, Google Books has lots more [Whittaker, 1914] obsolete legal texts that famously go into greater detail [Blackstone, 1836 ed.] or more directly compare the US system [McAdam, 1910 ed.]) And there's even more on the Internet Archive: here's John Adam's copy of the Treatise of Tenures [1738 ed.]

I even found my Wills and Trusts text handy, for its table showing degrees of consanguinity (as well as a more modernly worded historical perspective on development of systems of inheritance).
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:00 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


You're gonna love the demense laws of mods like Project Balance, which are not only more nuanced and granular, but also differ between cultures and types of government, e.g. the ERE's theme system.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:13 AM on September 4, 2013


So I went out and got this game because of this thread (thanks, Humble Bundle!). It turns out, I'm really bad at this game. I started in Ireland, and I own three counties in my Petty Kingdom. I can't attack other counties around me because they're all my cousins. Which actually brings me to my first "OH WOW" moment in this game.

I'm about three years into me reign when my half-brother approaches me. He wants a wife, he says. Why am I still not married. I think to myself, you're an adult, dude, make it happen yourself, but I don't say it. Instead, I pick him out a wife, a nice noble lady from Norway, which seemed prudent because they were starting to eye England and I didn't want to get anywhere near that. So, half-brother married, everyone's happy, and I forget all about it.

A few years later, the King of England comes calling. The Norse are invading and he wants my help. I see this as a great way score some points with the larger Kingdom next door, so I say, yeah, I'll be right over. I send my troops over, and instantly they start laying siege to the first village they come across. WHOA, HANG ON GUYS. I try to send them to fight side by side with the English army closest to them, and they start fighting the English. Furthermore, the Norse are listed as my allies.

And it dawned on me that I had a blood connection to Norwegian court, and not only that, but the girl I married my half-brother off to? She's a princess. No, THE princess. So when I entered the war, it assigned me to the side my family was on, Norway. So I puttered my army around for a bit, and then sent them home to deal with a disobedient vassal while Normandy and Cornwall started their own campaigns in England.

Eventually, England turned away the much stronger Norwegian army and are at peace. Hilariously, the King of England still has a net positive impression of me. Turns out my little experiment with foreign wars barely made a dent in the overall thing. Go figure.
posted by gc at 6:32 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's really, really important to accept that you are going to be bad at this the first time out of the box and just have fun playing and learning.

I, as the King of Norway, was going strong for three generations, until I ran out of money on four ill-fated assassination attempts (which seem like a good idea, but rarely go well). That left me unable to bribe my vassals into being satisfied with my rule, so a faction developed calling for the elevation of my brother. Rebels! War can be the only answer. Until the Swiss, those warmongering bastards, invaded my country - two royals of their house left me fighting a two front war. My own troops had been decimated with internal fighting, and having already had to resort to moneylenders to pay my mercenaries, I decided I couldn't fight a three front war as well. I would be the noble sacrifice for glorious Norway. Brother, take my country, I will retire to my dukedom. He was, after all, part of my dynasty! But wait. Brother was not as sound martially speaking, and a cowardly surrendermonkey to boot. Welcome my new overlord, Rikissa of Sweden.

I also have a faction with 500% support, but am having difficulty figuring out how to exploit it.

But damned if I'm not having a good time. Even though I've only played through a hundred years and refuse to tell you how many hours. (the betrothals! The betrothals!)
posted by corb at 6:55 AM on September 4, 2013


I, as the King of Norway, was going strong for three generations, until I ran out of money on four ill-fated assassination attempts (which seem like a good idea, but rarely go well).

I almost never pay for assassinations unless I have a lot of money and a really badass Spymaster. It's so much easier to plot, especially if their spymaster isn't a big fan of theirs and you can bribe them. If you are going to pay for a direct assassination, make sure that your Spymaster is in the province they are physically located in, because it's not necessarily on their capital. Check the location in the top right of their character sheet or right-click on their portrait and select "Go to location." It's best if you pause the game, move your Spymaster to their location, trigger the attempt, and unpause after you succeed (after however many attempts) or fail.

I also have a faction with 500% support, but am having difficulty figuring out how to exploit it.

Are you the leader of the faction? If so, you have to trigger the demand via a decision in the Intrigue tab. At 500% your liege should just accede to your demands, but be ready to fight.

But damned if I'm not having a good time. Even though I've only played through a hundred years and refuse to tell you how many hours. (the betrothals! The betrothals!)

"She's the Princess of France and Midas Touched, but she only has a weak claim and is a Clubfoot."
"He's a Genius, but lowborn and a Gluttonous Indulgent Wastrel."
"She's a Duchess, but she won't marry my son unless he has land, but their kids will be part of her court."

Yeah, marriage is almost a game unto itself, and making sure they get the best education can be tough.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:27 AM on September 4, 2013


Are you the leader of the faction? If so, you have to trigger the demand via a decision in the Intrigue tab. At 500% your liege should just accede to your demands, but be ready to fight

I am, but for some reason it says I need to hold the capital as a needed factor for making that decision? I'm not sure why, as you'd think at the point you hold your liege's capital, they kind of have already acceded to your demands or the war has already started...
posted by corb at 7:36 AM on September 4, 2013


Yeah, marriage is almost a game unto itself...

One interesting challenge is to try to let your children marry for love. If they don't already have a sweetheart on the court, pick out a match of their own culture with complementary traits, regardless of rank or stats.

You might also try to enact gender-blind elective succession; champion the rights of the peasants; favor universities and cathedrals over barracks and keeps; appoint only the most just and charitable ministers to office; and found republics right and left. Then you can sit back and bask in the arrows adoration of your nobles!
posted by Iridic at 7:45 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


found republics right and left

It's funny, but having at least one vassal merchant republic is actually not a bad idea. As long as you can keep the Doge(s) happy while you're taxing them, you will profit quite nicely. Especially outside the Mediterranean, where there's little to no competition in the early years. Meath, Flanders, Gotland, and Santiago are IMO good places to set up shop. Doges always have a -20 opinion modifier, so I usually grant them an honorary title like Cupbearer with a lifetime positive opinion modifier and bribe them or use the Chancellor's Improve Relations skill when necessary.

For those that don't know how to create a vassal republic, the easiest way is to conquer the capital (e.g., Dublin in Meath, Brugge in Flanders, etc.) of the duchy that it's in, and while it's part of your personal demesne assign the mayor of a city within the capital the county and then the duchy. This requires you to be a King or Emperor, of course, and it won't work well in the 867 start until you've improved the Trade Practices tech level in that capital county, but once it gets going, there should be a noticeable increase in your income.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:30 AM on September 4, 2013


Yesterday was my first day of "work" in ten days and I had to "work" at home. While normally diligent and self motivating, I wasnt feeling it. Needless to say I stayed up til 2am playing CK2 ignoring family and friends. Like gc, I tried Ireland, based on the Wiki recommendation, and ended up sort of stuck in corner randomly marrying innocent bystanders. Then I wanted to be close to the action with the invasion of England so I had the Duchy just south of London. Boy, was I close to the action. Those games went for 100 years each.

I really should delete this game from my computer.
posted by shothotbot at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


When deciding who should educate a child, does it matter to take into account how many children are already in that home (wards and/or their own children)? Or how many children they have that are being educated elsewhere?
posted by Flunkie at 11:13 AM on September 4, 2013


When deciding who should educate a child, does it matter to take into account how many children are already in that home (wards and/or their own children)? Or how many children they have that are being educated elsewhere?

Not as far as I'm aware of, as guardians can only educate two children each. The biggest factors in education are the stats of the guardian, the traits of the guardian, and the type of education of the guardian. The stats determine how likely those stats will increase in the ward, with higher being better. The traits determine what traits the ward is likely to have (more below). The guardian's education determines the likelihood of the ward's education being the same upon coming of age, where each stat has four tiers of corresponding education, such as Brilliant Strategist (highest martial) or Indulgent Wastrel (lowest Stewardship). So, if someone with the Grey Eminence education is a guardian, the highest chance will be that they will get that education, followed by the lesser Diplomacy, with small but not impossible chances that they will get a random education in another area.

Some traits have additional effects on wards as well. Diligent and Gregarious both make it more likely to switch a ward's culture, especially in combination. Conversely, Slothful and Shy make it less likely. I find this useful for courtiers of mine acculturating heirs of conquered foreign vassals who don't hate me. IIRC the same goes for Zealous and Cynical for converting religions. Also, if you are someone's guardian, you get events with the a probability or certainty of assigning them traits, especially those that you have, which is why it's suggested that you teach your heir(s) unless you have a vassal or courtier with better stats, desirable traits, and/or education.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2013


I really should delete this game from my computer.

My husband's statement on this game was, "I'm not even sure we should have it in the house. Now I know what gun control people feel like." (not a derail! Just a joke!)


Also, on the education front, I personally found it really useful to marry people in my court that way to ladies with the highest stats out there, because they would come and could be used for childrearing.

Which is really horrible of me, I suppose. OH GAME WHY DO YOU BREAK MY MORALS SO.
posted by corb at 11:33 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Which is really horrible of me, I suppose.

Oh, you want awful? On the day your liege's heir turns six, pause the game and offer to tutor them yourself. Proceed to choose the worst possible decisions whenever an education event pops up. By the time they come of age, they'll be a drunken waste of flesh - and they'll think kindly of you to the tune of a lifetime +25 "Mentor" bonus.

(Admittedly, this tactic leaves too much a bad taste in my mouth, and I'm more likely to try the reverse. It's very satisfying to turn historic pricks like Simon de Montfort, Ezzelin da Romano, or Raynald of Châtillon into humble Saint Francis types.)
posted by Iridic at 11:54 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there a dune mod?
Please let there be a dune mod...
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:23 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there a dune mod?
Please let there be a dune mod...


Sadly, no. Someone started one...last year, maybe? It even looked promising, with decent mapping of the politics and religion, with decent artwork. Unfortunately it apparently never got past the planning stage.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:50 PM on September 4, 2013


Mo vassals, mo problems.
posted by shothotbot at 8:17 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


But damned if I'm not having a good time. Even though I've only played through a hundred years and refuse to tell you how many hours. (the betrothals! The betrothals!)


Please rest assured (unless you'd rather go sleepless, quite understandably): we get it and understand (but cannot speak to your immediate family members).
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:44 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was excommunicated in the first game I tried after getting the bundle. WTF
posted by Brocktoon at 11:07 PM on September 4, 2013


My wife led a rebellion against me and then I got hella invaded. I'm watching the tutorials before I try again.
posted by NoraReed at 3:38 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


You've got to keep your wife - and the Pope - happy. If you send your chaplain to Rome, he can run some Pope-interference for you.

Oh, also: the taint of tyranny lasts a long time, so if you've been jailing people unjustly, the mods will really take note of that.
posted by corb at 4:43 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


if you've been jailing people unjustly, the mods will really take note of that.

Are you playing the MetaTalk expansion pack?
posted by shothotbot at 5:39 AM on September 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


A few more questions (thanks in advance):

(1) I haven't yet been able to figure out how to assign a commander to a flank. Either it already has a commander, or it just doesn't get one. How do I assign one?

(2) I've read (I think in a wiki) that if you have more than 20 or 30 courtiers, they'll be less likely to reproduce. After having had 20-30 courtiers, I suddenly found myself with like seventy. I think this corresponded to when I inherited a second county (which I immediately farmed out to one of my sons), or perhaps when soon thereafter proclaimed myself "petty king" rather than "count". What's the deal here? Is seventy just the new way things are? Or will they naturally attrit down to the range of 20-30? Or should I actively cull them, by marrying them out and such? Or is having a way larger pool more advantageous than having children (I had been trying to breed geniuses and such)?

(3) I forget what question #3 was. I wish this game would let me sleep.
posted by Flunkie at 7:25 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think you can't assign commanders until you get to a higher crown authority. I haven't figured out how to do this, because you need to not be in a war to raise crown authority, and I've been in wars since 1105. Now I understand the Hundred Years War.
posted by corb at 7:29 AM on September 5, 2013


I haven't yet been able to figure out how to assign a commander to a flank. Either it already has a commander, or it just doesn't get one. How do I assign one?

As corb pointed out, you need a higher crown authority, at least Limited.

Assuming you have that, each levy or retinue is an individual unit. For the purpose of this example, say you're a two-province Duke, with one province being held by a vassal Count. You can raise your personal levy from the castle that is the top-level holding in your county, as well as vassal levies from the other holdings in your county, as well as from your vassal Count (which includes their vassal(s), but doesn't really matter for this). That should come out to three units. March all of them into a single province and combine them, at which point you have an army with three flanks representing each unit. At that point, you can click on the commander's button to (re-)assign one to each flank. Note that you can only assign commanders for the amount of levy/retinue units being combined, up to three. If you only have two units, you can only assign commanders to two flanks.

I've read (I think in a wiki) that if you have more than 20 or 30 courtiers, they'll be less likely to reproduce. After having had 20-30 courtiers, I suddenly found myself with like seventy. I think this corresponded to when I inherited a second county (which I immediately farmed out to one of my sons), or perhaps when soon thereafter proclaimed myself "petty king" rather than "count". What's the deal here? Is seventy just the new way things are? Or will they naturally attrit down to the range of 20-30? Or should I actively cull them, by marrying them out and such? Or is having a way larger pool more advantageous than having children (I had been trying to breed geniuses and such)?

It sounds more like you inherited the court from the other county. Since courtiers covers both spouses and children, it adds up. You don't have to get rid of them, but as I mentioned upthread, you should try to marry out those with high Intrigue scores and/or that hate you. That guy with 17 Intrigue and a -40 opinion because you're Cruel and Envious and a different culture will join a plot against you. Also, definitely run a eugenics program for courtiers with good inheritable traits (those in heart-shaped icons) or high stats, as they'll be useful for a number of reasons:

1) Potential vassals. That Content (always useful for vassals) Midas Touched courtier with 19 Stewardship might switch a county's culture to yours in just a few years. Just make sure they don't have claims on any of your titles.
2) Potential Councillors or generals. See my post upthread.
3) Marriages for claims. Especially useful when a ruler has been deposed and killed and children with claims are still alive. If you want them to remain under your control instead of an ally, they either have to be of your dynasty, a vassal (even a baron/bishop/mayor is fine), or the claim has to be part of your de jure title.
4) Marriages for alliances. I think this only works with members of your dynasty, though.

I forget what question #3 was. I wish this game would let me sleep.

When I first got really really into it, I actually had dreams about playing the game. So even sleep may not help.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:03 AM on September 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Holy cow, that was disastrous. Everything was going so well.

I had a two-county duchy, plus two other counties. All four counties were each ruled by their own earl - me and three of my four sons. My fourth son, the eldest and my heir, was married off to a countess in another county so that his son would inherit both what I had and that fifth county. Everybody in the realm thought I was great.

Then my eldest son died, in his late thirties, leaving my heir as his four year old son. Then within like a month I die of old age.

So now all of a sudden I'm a four year old petty king with three uncles, all of whom hate me and all of whom have armies right next door. All of them were listed as having a chance of rebelling; one was listed as having a "178%" chance!

I was able to finagle their opinions of me upwards in various ways, and two of them were no longer listed as threats to rebel, with the former 178% guy down to 38%. I couldn't figure out any way to appease him further, so 38% for only one uncle didn't sound all that horrible. However, he soon rebelled anyway.

He charges in, and I call up everyone I can. It's close but the battle is going well, and when it gets down to about 200-300 soldiers on each side, it becomes clear that I'm very likely to win. Phew!

Then, just about when the battle is about to finish up, and I'm feeling good, an unrelated independent earl from another neighboring county declares war and marches in with 2,000+ troops.
posted by Flunkie at 10:34 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy cow, that was disastrous. Everything was going so well.

A fair summation of CK2 (I love this game).
posted by ersatz at 1:26 PM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bad news: I couldn't get it to launch on my work computer.
Worse news: I spent the afternoon getting it to work.

Oh well. Does anyone know what happens after you agree to help someones war or crusade? Are you expected to do something? Does anyone keep track of what you do?
posted by shothotbot at 1:42 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really, really love this game. The only (minor) flaw I have with it is that it does not have a really good initial guide or helpfile. I understand that I'm going to make mistakes, but I'd rather not fail because (as is currently the case for me) I can't understand how to make three armies, all attached to each other and occupying the same space, turn into one larger army with three flanks.

In terms of helping with someone's war, I think you can not send troops and it's fine, but it just means you don't get much of the spoils.

Think of it like the countries that sent two guys for our "Coalition of the Willing" for Iraq. "Yeah, bud. I'm here for you. Totally. Hey, uh, you two, you're not doing anything, right?"

In other exciting news, I have finally regained the title that my idiot brother lost, of King of Norway. Once the kingdom disintegrated, I was able to start fabricating claims for other counties, then started frantically going to war. Hakon of Norway was 60! He had just instituted primogeniture! If he wanted to pass a kingdom to his son, the time was now! So I started amassing gold and land until I could declare us "a nation once again" at the ripe age of 65. Then my son promptly died. Fortunately, I have a grandson - but he's only 12. Already the vultures are circling. I have to build the country up and get him betrothed to some powerful allies before my brothers come calling again....
posted by corb at 2:51 PM on September 5, 2013


Bad news: I couldn't get it to launch on my work computer.
Worse news: I spent the afternoon getting it to work.


You have been assimilated.

Oh well. Does anyone know what happens after you agree to help someones war or crusade? Are you expected to do something? Does anyone keep track of what you do?

Wars and Crusades work a little differently. For starters, you don't actually have to do anything if you agree to join an ally's war. You can just say "sure" and go about your own business and nothing will happen if they lose. You get a bit of an opinion boost if you agree (and a malus if you don't), although at least with the AI the person whose assistance is requested gets an opinion malus no matter what. Now, if you do decide to join the war, whatever participation in actual battles and/or sieges you are a part of becomes a percentage of the contribution to that side's victory or loss (note that this is different from warscore, which represents the total direction of victory or loss for both sides and their allies). If your ally wins, the percentage of your effort is the amount of Prestige that you get. So if the ruler that called you in wins and would get 200 Prestige, and your contribution was 20%, you'd get 40 Prestige. With Holy Wars, you should also get a bit of Piety as well, but I could be wrong. Winning or losing a Holy War does add or subtract from your religion's Moral Authority, which is what determines the prevalence of heresies and the spiritual leader's power.

Catholic Crusades (and Muslim Jihads and Pagan Great Holy Wars; there is no Orthodox version) are a whole 'nother ball game. First of all, when a Crusade is called, you're not automatically a part of it. A banner appears in the top left corner that you have to click on to bring up the menu to join the Crusade. Once you're a part of it, the same contribution percentage for wars applies, but instead of everybody getting a percentage, only the top contributor to the war gets the prize, i.e. every single holding (barony/church/city) and county in the targeted kingdom, as well as the Kingdom title itself, even if you're a Duke or Count. Everybody else goes home with a bit of piety and prestige but nothing else, while the religion itself gets a huge boost in Moral Authority. The losers get roughly the opposite, unless you're the poor bastard that had that kingdom. For Catholics and Muslims, anybody who commanded a flank that participated in the actual fight on the contested land, even if it was just for a couple days, gets a cool Crusader/Mujajid trait, which makes everybody that was a part of the war or a religious leader like you a bunch.

Now, I know you didn't ask this, but dealing with winning a Crusade (like seizing claims or Holy Wars, just on a grander scale) is a nightmare in micromanagement. In other words, if you're the winner, congratulations! You now have a bajillion holdings and are likely far over your demense limit and all your vassals hate you and you can hardly collect taxes, YAAAAY! Okay, not really. First of all, the game is paused as soon as you win, and you should pause it manually so that when you dismiss the Congrats on Your Crusade dialog it stays paused. Now, dismiss any armies that are in your fresh new territory unless you need them for another war. Next, distribute all the vassal-level baronies/churches/cities by right clicking on them and selecting "Create New Vassal," which is admittedly tedious but relatively quick. And as a bonus, every new Bishop you create gives you piety and IIRC an opinion bonus with the religious leader. After doing all of that, you still own enough counties to put you well over your demesne limit, but by way less. Now comes the more tedious process of assigning unlanded courtiers--usually they're required to be dudes because the patriarchy rules, literally--to be Counts. The main things to look for here are high Stewardship for culture conversion, the Content trait so they don't covet your titles, and lack of claims or inheritance (BTW all of which apply to regular territory handouts, not just this instance). To make sure they have no claims, check their character sheet; to make sure they're not next in line for a title, hover over their portrait and make sure it doesn't say "Heir to the County/Duchy/etc of [X]." If you run out of courtiers, or at least ones that you want to give territory to, that Piety boost should put you high enough to "buy" courtiers with Piety via the Invite Holy Man decision in the Intrigue tab.

Once you've assigned all the counties that you want to give away, you're basically done. If you're like me however, you prefer dealing with several Dukes rather than a whole passel of Counts, so if you've got the cash, create as many duchies in that new kingdom as you can. Choose one Count in each duchy (the de jure duchy mapmode makes this easy) using the same Stewardship/Content/Claims criteria and grant them the Duchy title. If you feel so inclined, and there's a coastal county with a bunch of cities, you can make a vassal republic using the steps I mention upthread. Anyway, now you can unpause and hope to God/Allah/Odin/Ahura Mazda that they don't take advantage of the fact that it'll take a couple years for levies to even start to form in all those captured territories for at least a couple years. Squeezing the for-now heathen peasants of a different culture for taxes will be near-impossible, too.

Have fun storming the castle Holy Land!
posted by zombieflanders at 3:01 PM on September 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


Wait! Don't go yet! Help me, zombie-wan-Kenobi! You are my only hope!

...though you've given us so much, I feel a little guilty. :)
posted by corb at 3:17 PM on September 5, 2013


Also I kind of want to call these out as fantastic, but sadly I'm not sure if would make sense unless you're an addict like those of us still posting.
posted by corb at 3:18 PM on September 5, 2013


Ditto, corb. I've been favoriting all of these as they've appeared in my Recent Activity feed. I've spent something like seven or eight days on these games, according to Steam, and I'd somehow never considered inviting good courtiers to my court. zombieflanders knows how the game is played.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:24 PM on September 5, 2013


Once you're a part of it, the same contribution percentage for wars applies, but instead of everybody getting a percentage, only the top contributor to the war gets the prize

Just realized I didn't make this bit clear. In the Crusade, everybody has a percentage in terms of contribution (you can see this by hovering over that banner in the top left), it's just that the only percentage that matters is the highest one. I still think it's worth it to join a Crusade/Jihad/etc. for the traits and/or bonuses, and if you're worried about losing a ruler or heir or just want to cycle through as many vassals and courtiers as possible for maximum opinion, just switch them in and out after a couple of days in the contested land. Once you've done that or an enemy army is incoming, you can assign the best generals you want and leave your army or armies be.

Wait! Don't go yet! Help me, zombie-wan-Kenobi! You are my only hope!

Not to worry, I'll probably be here for the whole 30 days.

...though you've given us so much, I feel a little guilty. :)

Aw shucks. I don't mind at all. I'm glad to help, and you can always check the CK2 Wiki if you need te quick fix, plus it'll help with the lack of tutorials you mentioned.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:25 PM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


What I'm doing right now is inviting the disaffected not-quite-claimants to my court (on the wise advise of zombieflanders), and then once they're in my court, marrying their daughters off to my kinsmen, on the off chance that eventually they may reclaim their throne and bring my dynasty with them to the farflung reaches.

Zombieflanders
, can you explain to me like I am an idiot how to make three armies in the same province join together such that they are all three flanks of the same army?
posted by corb at 3:31 PM on September 5, 2013


corb, there should be a button shaped like =><= in the upper-right or upper-left of the box that appears when you drag-select the three armies in the province. You drag-select by holding left-click and dragging the box that appears over the units you want to select.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:34 PM on September 5, 2013


After that, you should be able to select the flanks' captains if your crown authority permits it.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:36 PM on September 5, 2013


zombieflanders knows how the game is played

And I'm not even close to being the most obsessed, except maybe here on MeFi. Let me introduce you to the thread all about generals and battles, which will undoubtedly make your head spin. I still don't get it completely, which is kind of OK because (1) there's actually some stuff in there that doesn't apply due to recent patches, (2) there's actually nuanced disagreement between posters, and (3) I'm thinking "I failed Algebra II the first time around, and you want me to think about math when I game? Y'all need Jesus."

I do obsess over my armies, though.

can you explain to me like I am an idiot how to make three armies in the same province join together such that they are all three flanks of the same army?

When all three units are in the same province, drag-select them like you would files in a folder or desktop, and when the army box comes up, look for a button with two arrows facing each other.

On preview, yeah, what Rustic Etruscan said. Of course, the next step in the obsession is wanting to create armies out of a huge army with dozens of units...
posted by zombieflanders at 3:39 PM on September 5, 2013


YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST.

Now off to defend my claim. Stupid nephews! I want you to be strong for my line, but why must you try to usurp my throne!
posted by corb at 3:40 PM on September 5, 2013


Oh, something cool that's not immediately obvious: if you're independent (i.e., you have no liege), you can rename any holding or county in your territory. If you have the latest DLC, you can also customize the names of duchies and dynasty titles.

This has no in-game effect whatsoever, but it's nice for role-playing purposes. In a former game, my Duke of Brittany was a pious megalomaniac; after he conquered Ireland, he laboriously renamed every county, castle, diocese, and town after obscure Breton saints.
posted by Iridic at 3:46 PM on September 5, 2013


The only (minor) flaw I have with it is that it does not have a really good initial guide or helpfile.
The only major problem I have with it (which is the same problem I had with EU3, by the same company) is that the user interface absolutely sucks.

For example, I should be able to quickly and easily search for people matching criteria that I want. Instead I have to go to the horrible character browser, which allows me to slightly narrow down the people I have to look through, but which:
  • Doesn't always work! For example I've seen women that don't get listed if you say "search for women". I've seen unmarried people who don't show up if you say "search for unmarried people". And yes, I'm certain that it's not because I've selected some other criterion which is eliminating them; for example if I change "unmarried" to "all", without any other change to my criteria, this unmarried person suddenly shows up in the list.

  • In many or even perhaps most situations, doesn't narrow things down to a reasonable number of people, even if it should be simple to specify criteria that would narrow it down to a small number, leading to you needing to scroll through a billion people, the vast majority of whom could've been quickly and easily culled from the list if the game designer had bothered to implement a simple checkbox with an obvious criterion.

  • And then that scrolling through a billion people is fragile and fraught with peril, especially if you're using a touchpad. Tap just a little too slow and you'll never make it through the list before you fall asleep. Tap just a little too quick and it suddenly flies down by... who knows how far! Maybe it was only a few characters. Maybe it was a page of characters. Maybe it was several pages! And worse than all that, maybe even you accidentally clicked in the scroll bar instead of on the scroll bar down arrow, and because the game designers have made that behave unbelievably stupidly, you've suddenly jumped down to virtually the end of the list, instead of it acting like a "page down".
There's all sorts of crap like this, where things that you want to do all the time over and over, and that should be extremely easy to do if the game designers had bothered to put any effort at all into UI design, are actually highly manual, almost unbearably slow, and error prone to boot. It takes ten minutes to do something that should take three seconds. And you're going to be doing that same sort of thing over and over and over throughout the game. It's terribly frustrating.

This is exactly the way EU3 was too. And Paradox seems to basically not care about fixing it. I remember EU3 going through several releases, and whenever anybody brought up on their forums that it would be nice if they dedicated some time to fixing this crap, company officials basically responded dismissively and/or condescendingly if at all.
posted by Flunkie at 4:08 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Doesn't always work! For example I've seen women that don't get listed if you say "search for women". I've seen unmarried people who don't show up if you say "search for unmarried people". And yes, I'm certain that it's not because I've selected some other criterion which is eliminating them; for example if I change "unmarried" to "all", without any other change to my criteria, this unmarried person suddenly shows up in the list.

Try not to click on the rings when your ruler needs to be married, but open the character browser. It seems to show more people that way.
posted by ersatz at 5:15 PM on September 5, 2013


I know it doesn't address the interface problems you're mentioning, Flunkie, but The CK2 Matchmaker might provide you with the granularity you're looking for.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:20 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The tutorial does show you how to combine armies, embark them on boats, etc.
posted by shothotbot at 5:22 PM on September 5, 2013


Yeah, after they said it I remembered it coming up in the tutorial, but the tutorial kind of froze up for me at some points when I didn't do exactly the thing that it wanted to. Some sort of text based version that you could click on would be great.

But really that's just a minor complaint, I love this game and am going back to it RIGHT NOW.
posted by corb at 5:28 PM on September 5, 2013


Thanks zombieflanders, that tool looks like it will help out a whole lot.
posted by Flunkie at 5:31 PM on September 5, 2013


but The CK2 Matchmaker might provide you with the granularity you're looking for.

Oh man, you can mess with text files of player characteristics? Lets see how R likes the dark ages!
posted by shothotbot at 6:17 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


So far I have restarted about 10 times, and generally I always have a game that I look forward to playing after work, however this game is quite the opposite. Yet I still end up playing it anyway. Last night I tried to imprison a duke of mine, with a +100 favorable rating of me, after he plotted to kill my son. He summarily rebelled and laid waste to my levies. Sigh.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:15 PM on September 6, 2013


Wow, check this guy in my court out:
  • Envious
  • Gluttonous
  • Infirm
  • Lustful
  • Possessed
  • Proud
posted by Flunkie at 10:45 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is it just me or are the tutorials hopelessly broken? One of them tells me I should re-marry, as my wife is dead. But she seems very much alive, and hates me. Quite possibly because I treat her as if she was dead. I can see how that might put a bit of a crimp on the old marital relations.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 12:20 AM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm one of those people who often restarts in games, but I think that the advantage of this game is actually /not/ restarting or going back to saved games to redo things. Because everything happens generationally, you have a lot of time to recover from mistakes, and in fact, that can be part of the fun. For example: losing Norway then recovering Norway felt way better than if I had never lost it.
posted by corb at 9:38 AM on September 7, 2013


There is a game mode called "Ironman" which doesn't allow you to restart from an old save. This is actually the only way you can earn Steam achievements if that's your thing.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:52 AM on September 7, 2013


Wouldn't that mean you could never close the game, though?
posted by corb at 10:01 AM on September 7, 2013


There is a game mode called "Ironman" which doesn't allow you to restart from an old save. This is actually the only way you can earn Steam achievements if that's your thing.

This hasn't been implemented for CK2 yet, although I believe it is for EU4. According to the devs, it will be in a patch released by Christmas.

Wouldn't that mean you could never close the game, though?

I don't think so, from what I can tell it basically means you have one savefile for that game that is saved in Steam's cloud so that you can't modify it. You can quit and reload, but it saves so frequently (I saw someone say with every event, war, and decision) that it wouldn't save you from big missteps.

I could be wrong, though.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:16 AM on September 7, 2013


Yeah, sorry, I've been off in EU4 land lately. It basically means that you can't reload from a previous save. It will save automatically based on a number of various triggers and if you leave you can only reload the most recent one. I don't think it actually prevents you from loading the old ones but they are no longer considered "ironman" saves.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:15 PM on September 7, 2013


I've been playing a French game starting out as Milo Trencval, a scheming Occitan who became Duke of Toulouse after a palace coup in 1066. He set the pattern for the family by marrying a neighboring duke's first daughter and then murdering any interrupting sons. In this way, his son would inherit another duchy for the family. The Trencvals thus married and murdered their way to control of all Aquitaine but the Duchies of Bourbon, Poitou and Aquitaine itself.

France, in the meantime, had suffered a number of terrible civil wars. Milo stood aloof from the first, in which the tyrannical Duke Robert of Burgundy seized the crown from the child-king in Paris and subsequently had the boy's brother beheaded. In his brief time on the throne, Robert established elective monarchy as the law of succession, but this failed to placate those dukes who would not tolerate his execution of a Capet, and another civil war, in which the Trencvals claimed to have played a decisive role, restored that family as Kings of France. The Dukes of Toulouse were favored loyalists for a while.

The Dukes of Burgundy, by contrast, fell into ignominy for a generation, but they slowly conquered their neighbors in the country's northeast, becoming the most powerful force in the north other than the royals. The dukes of France - not of Aquitaine, to the south - despite the restoration, continued to elect France's kings, but they continued to elect Capets, preserving the appearance of a free choice while returning, in fact, to hereditary inheritance. Eventually, sometime in the 1120s or 30s, they elected old Queen Blanche.

By this time, Milo's grandson Centolh was married to the Duchess of Bourbon, who would join any war of his, and he had cajoled the Duchess of Aquitaine, who also ruled Poitou, into joining any faction he led. Aquitaine was all but united. Under the right circumstances, France's entire southern half could go to war against its northern half.

Now Milo, for all his faults, had loved to study history, and he had dreamed that one day his family would restore the Kingdom of Aquitaine to its independence; but by Centolh's time, the family's moral degradation was complete, and Centolh dreamed not of forging his own crown, but of stealing one from Queen Blanche. His moment came when Blanche sent all of France's military might into Spain to help the Jimenas fight an invasion from North Africa. It was a disaster. Her army returned small and broken and vulnerable.

As it entered Gascony, Centolh, having no legitimate claim to France, declared war against Queen Blanche, and his army slaughtered the broken French column. The following war in the north dragged on for eight years. Blanche never won a major battle. Centolh seized the throne. The French dukes considered him a foreign conqueror, as he was an Occitan: He consolidated his power by marrying his heir to the King of Spain's first daughter. The Capets, who owned much land that legally belonged to their neighboring dukes, lost all but one county in a series of wars.

Centolh I, as he now styled himself, conquered Provence, which had won its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in his father's time, in the hopes that the claimant he installed there would be one more loyalist when the French dukes finally rebelled. He would be disappointed: When the French dukes rebelled against his son Centolh II, the Duke of Provence joined them. Centolh II won that war and jailed the rebels, but he recognized that, with three sons of his own taking their own parts of his land, the dukes' successors would have an easier rebellion.

So he had his wife's brothers murdered. His wife inherited Spain from her father; when she died, she passed Spain to their son, who became Centolh III on his father's death.

France, Castile, Leon, and Galicia are in the hands of a family of usurping bastards. I can't wait to see it fall apart.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:44 PM on September 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I decided to start a new game as a minor scots lord.
The Lord of Buchan, who in fact starts out as a child.

My first lord spent his life patiently producing heirs of unparalleled excellence (strong, brave, just, gregarious and altogether wonderful human beings) and arranging a series of high placed marriages, with an eye to becoming the Duke of Moray!
Fairly limited ambitions really.

After several civil wars, none of which he was really involved in, he dies.
His heir, who has inherited every single virtue except patience notices that his liege, Duchess of Moray, Princess Helen of scotland is now single.
He kills his wife, and proposes a marriage.
Rejected.
Next step, marry her daughter.
Also Rejected.
Next step, marry her granddaughter.
Rejected.
He finally achieves a betrothal to the fourth eldest daughter, and just for luck betrothes his son to the fifth eldest daughter.

Now that's all very well, but these girls are a long way to being in line for the Duchy of Moray.
Having learnt a lesson from his patient father (or rather a counter lesson) he begins plotting.
Two years later Princess Helen has lost a daughter and two granddaughters in a series of freak accidents as well as a husband and two newborn sons.
Her palace is apparently chock full of poisonous vipers, loose railings, very deep baths, toxic wine and in one case a large group of careless archers.
She finally dies in a freak manure explosion leaving a very angry eight year old who strongly suspects that the old man who kept trying to marry her, her mother, or her grandmother (and who is now married to her sister) is quite possibly behind all this.

Despite the fact that she completely despises the earl of buchan her regent invites him to be Chancellor of moray.
She then dies of the Moray families congenital "convenient accident" Syndrome, albeit whilst yelling my name to anyone who would listen. Her sister is now duchess, married to me and has never hated anyone more.

She finally turns 16 and goes through with her betrothal with a 65 year old man who is known to have murdered pretty much her whole family, and produces two sons who are now heir to moray.

The only remaining problem is that they are not also my heir, or at least... not yet.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:41 AM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been playing a French game starting out as Milo Trencval, a scheming Occitan who became Duke of Toulouse after a palace coup in 1066. He set the pattern for the family by marrying a neighboring duke's first daughter and then murdering any interrupting sons. In this way, his son would inherit another duchy for the family. The Trencvals thus married and murdered their way to control of all Aquitaine but the Duchies of Bourbon, Poitou and Aquitaine itself.

Ah, yes, The Acquitaine Gambit. It's my preferred method of operation as a French vassal when playing a 1066 game.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:01 AM on September 9, 2013


Curious what everyone's favorite means of making money are? I see a lot of assassination attempts being talked about, and I know those cost. I'm sitting on several great secondary heirs, but can't seem to get up enough money to be able to assassinate my way to them. (Then again, that may have something to do with the fact that currently, I made the mistake of hiring a mercenary band and then running out of money, at which point, they overtook the country and took it for themselves.)
posted by corb at 7:11 AM on September 9, 2013


Another parallel-universe Darry is underway, as AGOT mod was updated and old saves rendered unsafe. I used the Crowned Stag starting point this time around.

I used ruler creator as per usual. This time I went for the Great Man Gone Wrong approach, and jacked up his stats and genetic traits by taking on all kinds of grievous personality traits and health issues. I also take "widowed" and "maimed" and go childless at start -- because so far as I can tell pre-created children don't get their parental traits, it provides a potential backstory of how and why this person acquired their negative traits, and it provides an early gameplay challenge of keeping the initially disliked ruler alive longer than might normally be required for a maimed ruler, until he recovers from his grief and can get married and produce an heir.

Traits for the progenitor of my house:

Charismatic Negotiator
Skilled Fighter
Knight
Strong
Quick
Attractive
Authoritative

Maimed
Widow(er)
Patient
Lustful
Greedy
Stubborn
Gluttonous
Rude
Cynical
Arbitrary
Deceitful

Things have gone differently than I'm used to in and around the Riverlands, this time around. Cat Stark rules in the North and keeps trying to prop up Rob Stark as Lord Paramount of the Riverlands. She's basically taken up arms against House Tully, which is bizzare in character but has had the interesting effect of temporarily splintering off various Lords' holdings (including mine) as independent and without a higher liege-lord while remaining neutral during the recurring conflicts, and then being roped back in when it ends.

So far I think the Riverlands have gone back and forth between them twice -- none of the Lords are dying in these short wars, which is a sad nod to real history -- but the de facto borders of the Riverlands continue to shrink from its maximal de jure footprint with each shift. It's an interesting turn of events to say the least.

So far, I've married Margaery Tyrell and produced a daughter and then two sons. My daughter is the apple of my eye -- high stats, quick, charismatic, skilled swordswoman, strong diplomacy and intrigue. My eldest son is strong, with low stats and no other traits. My second son is quick, attractive, extremely high stats, very high intrigue, etc.

I'm terribly worried something tragic is going to happen to my eldest son. As well as my daughter's eventual brothers-in-law.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:23 AM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Curious what everyone's favorite means of making money are?

I'm curious about this too. Currently my rudimentary approach is to focus on building up the tax-producing buildings in the demense holdings under my direct rule (i.e. the castle towns and attached improvements).
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:27 AM on September 9, 2013


All of the murders done in my post above were plots, except for one.
Plots are free except for the occasional gift to get some of the more reluctant to join the plot.
Oh also, my lord had a monstrous 26 personal diplomacy, so he was very persuasive.

As a minor earl I have very little cash. I make, if I'm lucky maybe 50 gold a year?

Although I have heard that courtiers who die heirless will leave you all their cash, so you could perhaps invite a wealthy prince to your court and then force them to remain unmarried.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:59 AM on September 9, 2013


The fortunes of the Dukes of Austria have been stymied by a bad case of Can'tGetAClaimitis. Meanwhile, the Count of Tirol keeps denouncing me to my liege and getting my ass jailed, which can't be good for my health. Someday, and soon, I will take Tirol, and then I will give it for an appanage to the most moronic of my children.

In the meantime, I have launched a breeding program by marrying a Dutch commoner with a high diplomacy score to a clever young cadet of House mac Ailpín. By the year 1250, my plans will culminate in the Kwisatz Diplomach, a chancellor capable of manufacturing claims on all counties simultaneously.
posted by Iridic at 8:11 AM on September 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Curious what everyone's favorite means of making money are?

I'm curious about this too. Currently my rudimentary approach is to focus on building up the tax-producing buildings in the demense holdings under my direct rule (i.e. the castle towns and attached improvements).


That's one method. Here's a bunch of others:

1) Taxation: It's the slow way, but becoming familiar with demesne law is crucial to maintaining steady income. Here's the wiki entry http://ckiiwiki.com/Demesne, but basically you can choose to adjust each of the tax leves for feudal (Baron/Count/Duke/King), clerical (Bishop/Archbishop/Prince-Archbishop/King-Bishop), and burgher (Mayor/Lord Mayor/Grand Mayor/Prince Mayor) vassals*. However, as the ancient saying goes (I believe it was coined by Socrates): mo' money, mo' problems. Higher taxes mean lower opinion, so balance how much income you want with how much you want to be liked. Also, there's a difference with Catholics and Investiture. With Papal Investiture, the Pope likes you but you get no taxes from your clergy and you can't appoint bishops (useful for removing any non-immedeate heir from a line of succession). With Free Investiture, you can appoint bishops and you get taxes from your clergy as long as they like you more than the Pope, but asking the Pope for favors costs twice as much because his opinion is lowered.

2) Inheritance: I'll just repost what I said above, which is that you inherit most or all the money from courtiers/vassals with no living children. It's kind of game-y, but every once in a while, I'll use the global character search function, arranged by opinion of me, to see if there's any childless unlanded people with a bunch of cash (usually 50+) that like me and hate their liege enough to come to my court. If it's a decent amount, I'll bribe them to come to my court. The fact that they have horrible accidents soon after is, as you have noted, completely accidental and often leaves me heartbroken, but resolute in doing good works with the money they willed to me.

3) Raiding: This is something that is only available to Pagans, which means you have to have the Old Gods DLC. If you're a pagan, you have the option of switching between normal armies and raiders. Again, the wiki entry http://ckiiwiki.com/Raiding does a good job of explaining, but the TL;DR is that if an army is a raider, you can land put them on boats and send them to non-Pagan lands provinces to loot gold (and occasionally take prisoners for ransoms or human sacrifice).

4) Trade: This is only available to Patricians, which requires the Republic DLC. This involves building trading posts for income and waging battles to defend your posts and destroy competing republics' posts for trade dominance.

That's the big ones from off the top of my head, but if I think of anything else I'll post it.


* These are the terms (in increasing rank) for feudal Catholics. Republics, Muslims, and Pagans may have different terms, but are the same level. You can tell what rank they are by the ring surrounding their portrait: nothing for courtiers, bronze for holdings, silver for Counts, silver with blue banners for Dukes, gold for Kings, and gold with purple banners for Emperors.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:21 AM on September 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


BTW, for anyone looking for a list of the terms listed in my footnote, by culture or religion, here you go. It's definitely a handy reference for dealing with all those Jarls, Wâlis, Khagans, and Shahs.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:14 AM on September 9, 2013


Inheritance: I'll just repost what I said above, which is that you inherit most or all the money from courtiers/vassals with no living children.

One variation, effective but difficult to invoke: the "Everybody Comes to Rick's" gambit. Basically, by virtue of your ruler's membership in a culture whose homeland lies at some remove from your court, you become the beneficiary for all the wealthy exiles produced when that homeland goes to hell. An example-

My lord Bernat, Count of Limousin, was an oddity among the nobles of southern France for his comparatively exotic Catalan affectations, the fruit of his maternal heritage and the influence of a charismatic Gironese tutor. Bernat was well-liked enough on his own merits that I felt no urgent need to dent his prestige by switching him over to Occitan.

That came in handy after I downloaded the first Sword of Islam patch, which granted Moorish Spain a plethora of excitingly unbalanced conquest mechanics. Suddenly, Aragon, which had been doing quite well, was reduced to Empúries in a flurry of religious wars. Dozens of Catalan refugees started showing up at Limousin, the only territory north of the Pyrenees whose ruler spoke their language. I never had to click the invite button once.

Even better: most of the refugees were some combination of old, wounded, maimed, ill stressed, depressed, or suicidal, and many of their heirs had perished in the siege of Barcelona. I never had to click the "plot" button once - the inheritances just gushed in on their own.

When Empúries fell and the last concentrated gold of Christian Spain flooded Bernat's pockets, I had as much money as I could spend. Too bad that when the Moorish juggernaut finally crossed into Aquitaine, there were literally not enough mercenaries in the game to turn them back.
posted by Iridic at 10:41 AM on September 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Let's say you have two sons, Elder and Younger, and Elder has a son, Elder Junior. Nobody has any other children. Elder dies before you do. In my experience (using agnatic-cognatic primogeniture), Elder Junior becomes your heir instead of your (now) oldest son Younger becoming your heir.

This often doesn't work out well, because Elder Junior is often a little kid when you die, while Younger is a grown man and pissed off that he's been screwed over.

If I remember correctly, in real life, there are/were places that did it this way, but also places that would have had Younger become your heir instead of Elder Junior - i.e. "heir" really only matters when you die, and Younger inherits because he's your oldest son at the time of your death. Rather than "being your heir" being some sort of thing that is passed to your heir's heir upon your heir's death.

Is there a way to change to doing it the other way? That is, so that Younger, and not Elder Junior, would become your heir upon Elder's death?
posted by Flunkie at 11:56 AM on September 9, 2013


The only way I can think of doing it is to just go Elective, nominate Younger, and hope that a majority/plurality agree with you.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:06 PM on September 9, 2013


Doesn't ultimogeniture do this? If you only had two sons.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:07 PM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Doesn't ultimogeniture do this? If you only had two sons.

I thought ultimogeniture also counted grandchildren, but according to this post on /r/crusaderkings, you may be right.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:13 PM on September 9, 2013


That makes sense to me from a pseudolegal standpoint, as the grandson is claiming through his elder father's right of primogeniture.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:17 PM on September 9, 2013


Sometimes when I think about how much I've done, it's hard to believe it's only a hundred years.

Having tried and failed to consolidate Norway again, I took the hilarious steps of betrothing my son to the King of Sweden's daughter, then swearing fealty to said King for the express purpose of creating a faction to nominate the little Princess for rulership. Now, all of his vassals hate him and I have him on the run - but unfortunately, he's also in three other wars, which means that even though I can't see a single army of his left, I don't have the 100% required to make him surrender his throne. I can only hope the others give up and let me take him fully out.
posted by corb at 12:41 PM on September 9, 2013


Let's say you have two sons, Elder and Younger, and Elder has a son, Elder Junior. Nobody has any other children. Elder dies before you do. In my experience (using agnatic-cognatic primogeniture), Elder Junior becomes your heir instead of your (now) oldest son Younger becoming your heir.

This often doesn't work out well, because Elder Junior is often a little kid when you die, while Younger is a grown man and pissed off that he's been screwed over.

If I remember correctly, in real life, there are/were places that did it this way, but also places that would have had Younger become your heir instead of Elder Junior - i.e. "heir" really only matters when you die, and Younger inherits because he's your oldest son at the time of your death. Rather than "being your heir" being some sort of thing that is passed to your heir's heir upon your heir's death.

Is there a way to change to doing it the other way? That is, so that Younger, and not Elder Junior, would become your heir upon Elder's death?


Have Elder Junior smothered in his crib. Problem solved.
posted by kafziel at 1:19 PM on September 9, 2013


I am about 100 years in on another run in Ireland. I am now the King of Ireland though I only actually control / am liege of 8 or so of the Irish counties. I also have have a small foothold in Wales. The king of England came over with about 20000 men so I let him have what he wanted. Last night the king of Scotland is supporting another claim on one of my counties with a more manageable 5000. I saw this lot off when he called in France when I had to, had to go to bed. I guess I am hoping to defeat the French, which should be possible if there are no more reinforcements. I have another thought of sowing dissent in the Scottish court and hope he gets distracted, but hope is not a strategy.

I am not a big game player, but I find the dynastic aspect of this gamer really compelling. It is all a bit out of your hands but you think about inviting nice girls to court for your grandson and when I am waiting for something to happen I will scan around for people with high stats to invite to court just in case.

I still do not totally understand the game but the empirical element is part of the fun.
posted by shothotbot at 1:22 PM on September 9, 2013


Curious what everyone's favorite means of making money are? I see a lot of assassination attempts being talked about, and I know those cost. I'm sitting on several great secondary heirs, but can't seem to get up enough money to be able to assassinate my way to them. (Then again, that may have something to do with the fact that currently, I made the mistake of hiring a mercenary band and then running out of money, at which point, they overtook the country and took it for themselves.)

Assassinations are expensive. I've only done them a few times, and mostly when I've drawn income from all of a big kingdom. Plots are the cheaper alternative, and they feel better from a role-playing perspective. You find a court's most corrupt members and together you fling a child off a battlement.

I don't know whether you've seen this, so I'll mention it here: You can choose any of the plots that appear on your Intrigue screen, but you can also plot to murder almost any character in the game by bringing up their character sheet and clicking the black knife-and-envelope button in the lower-left. Some rules restrict whom you can plot against, but the only one that comes to mind is that you can't ordinarily plot to kill your own children.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:39 PM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, something unexpected just happened, and I'm not sure what the implications are or what reasonable options I have for dealing with it.

I'm the King of Ireland. Three Irish counties are outside of my rule (all Norse); three others are in vassalage to me, to two of my brothers; the rest are directly mine. I have no other holdings anywhere other than Ireland.

One of the three countries in vassalage to me is held by a brother of mine who is, at this point, something like eighth to the Irish throne. Some time back, I (well, I think my father/"previous me", but I'm not 100% sure) arranged a marriage of him and a daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor.

She just inherited, and is now Empress. My young niece (who, to be clear, is of my dynasty, not of the dynasty of the previous Holy Roman Emperor) is now heir to (A) the Holy Roman Empire and (B) a backwater Irish county in my kingdom.

So, having members of my dynasty as future Holy Roman Empires sounds really great to me, but: As soon as the inheritance happened, I got a warning saying that the inheritance chain for the county that my brother is earl of looks like it will leave my realm upon his death.

So when my niece's last parent dies, she just rips that county out of the Kingdom of Ireland, and it becomes part of the Holy Roman Empire? And now I've got the HRE in my midst? That... doesn't sound so great, same dynasty or no.

Am I understanding this correctly? If so, is there anything I can do to prevent or at least mitigate this, short of killing my own family or pissing off the Holy Roman Empire? Like maybe somehow convince my brother (or later my niece) that they don't particularly want this county anymore?
posted by Flunkie at 3:44 PM on September 9, 2013


Well, if your crown authority is high enough, you can revoke it, incurring tyranny, and then give it to someone with less risky heirs. I don't know if you can have your chancellor forge claims on your own vassals' territory. If you can, you could get a claim on the county and then revoke it free of tyranny penalties.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:51 PM on September 9, 2013


You find a court's most corrupt members and together you fling a child off a battlement.

The things you do for love.
posted by ersatz at 4:33 PM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Princess of Sweden set up after grueling five year war.

She promptly dies of illness after one year. Now to start the process again of: marry my son to heir, then raise a rebellion in her favor.

I love this game so much.

Rustic Etruscan:
Thanks! I am now happily plotting away! Carriage accidents, here we come!
posted by corb at 4:51 PM on September 9, 2013


Well, if your crown authority is high enough, you can revoke it, incurring tyranny, and then give it to someone with less risky heirs. I don't know if you can have your chancellor forge claims on your own vassals' territory. If you can, you could get a claim on the county and then revoke it free of tyranny penalties.
Thanks, it looks like you can at least ask your chancellor to try (I don't know if it will ever give it to you), so I'll be doing that and hoping for the best.

Another question: If I give my son an earldom when he is an infant, then when he turns six, do I get to decide who educates him, or will his regent decide that?
posted by Flunkie at 4:59 PM on September 9, 2013


And, more specifically: I want to decide who educates him because I want to educate him. So if I get to decide, but it has to be someone from his court, that's not what I"m looking for.
posted by Flunkie at 5:03 PM on September 9, 2013


Generally you get a veto. Your son/his regent would have to really hate you not to switch to your choice, which would be their liege's choice. I can't remember offhand whether you may choose yourself as an educator, but since your choice would probably be among your own courtiers (as in marriage proposals), and you belong to your own court, you should be able to pick yourself.

Why did you give your son an earldom so young? In my experience, sons are fine for keeping around your own court until they reach majority, but it's possible I didn't find the right circumstance.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:06 PM on September 9, 2013


Just make sure that, even if you get a claim on that vassal's county, you have Crown Authority a step above Minimal. Otherwise you can't even revoke traitors' titles.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:08 PM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why did you give your son an earldom so young?
I haven't. But if I'm able to get that county away from the HRE's clutches with minimal hassle, I'm going to have to give it (or something) away to somebody (I'll be over my demense limit). I'm not sure I want to give it to the other brother I mentioned (he's already got two, and I'm not sure that I want him to get much more powerful), and I am sure I don't want to give it to my third brother (who is in my dungeon due to rebelling against our father, getting our father killed in battle, and subsequently continuing the rebellion against me).

I think I'd like to keep things in the family, if possible, so I guess I might give it to some distant cousin, but I'm considering giving it to my infant heir (unless there's some serious problem with that, such as giving up control over his education).
posted by Flunkie at 5:16 PM on September 9, 2013


As a word of caution, if your succession law is gavelkind, you may not be able to give anything to any of your children. You could have done that in earlier versions, but the update that came with The Old Gods changed gavelkind to make it significantly harder for the primary heir.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:24 PM on September 9, 2013


Gavelkind sounded pretty crappy to me, so one of the first things I did was change to primogeniture.
posted by Flunkie at 5:29 PM on September 9, 2013


Oh man. So this whole "inviting people to court, then killing them" looked really good to me (as husband looked on horrified). I had no problems getting them to my court. I had no problems killing them. But I did have problems where their money disappeared on their death instead of going to me. I googled to see if anyone had written online about the problem, and someone said that it was because they had no title so they couldn't be my heir- is that fixable by giving them BS honorary titles? Or does it have to be landed titles? The problem with that is that they would then leave my court and make it less easy to kill them. (I also invited a coterie of old women with high intrigue scores who are my go-to murdresses)
posted by corb at 5:21 AM on September 10, 2013


They need to be childless as well.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:58 AM on September 10, 2013


(I also invited a coterie of old women with high intrigue scores who are my go-to murdresses)

I may have to create the Crow family and give them a high Intrigue score, thus creating an explanation for 'a murder of Crows.'
posted by ersatz at 6:13 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


They're childless and don't seem to be showing up as having heirs, though it's possible brothers or parents were still alive..
posted by corb at 6:15 AM on September 10, 2013


Found it in the release notes for a patch from June:
- Fixed a bug where the liege would always inherit a courtier's gold
- Improved the gold inheritance check to look for siblings and grandchildren if necessary
I don't know how I missed that. I tend to cull from the old and never-married/chaste, so I guess I avoid that issue so much that I didn't notice.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:34 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


This game has a great way of generating interesting stories. My petty king of Munster successfully consolidated Ireland under his rule (took about thirty years all up). He was very randy so I had to find a way to deal with all his children. The oldest was shaping up to be a good leader. The younger children were all pretty pissed off about primogeniture (and they were all landless which was a big drag on my prestige).

The solution: all the female children were married off to Spanish royalty - not powerful enough to usurp Ireland, but powerful enough to dissuade Scotland or England from trying anything. The pope declared a crusade on infidel-held Portugal. My king rounded up the entire Irish army and charged directly for the enemy's largest force. The Fighting Irish were decimated, but won the battle and so the war.

I was hoping for some much-needed cash and indulgences from the pope ("Kinslayer" is a hard reputation to remove), but it turns out that the king's contribution was enough to be granted the Kingdom of Portugal, and personal control over all the counties therein. Way over the demesne limit (24/6), I usurped a bunch of local dukedoms and transferred them to each extra son. None were powerful enough to upset the others, and so all my problems were over. Until the Sultan of Mauretania invaded Portugal.

Hopelessly outnumbered, the king nevertheless gathered the remnants of the Irish army to make a bold last stand. And then communications started coming in. The King of Castile (a son-in-law) wanted to help smash the infidel. The King of Leon (another son-in-law) volunteered. Other rulers pitched in. The 61-year-old maimed former Petty King of Munster ended up leading a 30,000-strong army directly into the heart of Granada.

Another knife-edge battle. My king fell to the sword of the Sultan himself, but the army was victorious and the Sultan sued for peace. A fitting end, and now his son is the head of a very stable Irish-Portuguese dynasty.
posted by Paragon at 5:25 PM on September 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm still playing my first game, on the son of my first king, who's gained the title "The Cruel," though I'm not sure why. Around the age of 55 I started to realize, oh, HRH Cruel is about to kick off, and I should really figure out who's next in line. Murchad the third turns out to be a really shitty guy. He's a lazy, wrathful, scheming idiot, seriously doesn't have a single good trait. I discover a plot of his to kill me. He couldn't be confronted about it, because he simply wouldn't hear it. So two years dungeon. Eventually I let him out; he's blood, and he's next in line, so what can you do?

And then he goes and kills his newborn niece.

I actually thought about this one long and hard. He went to the dungeon immediately, of course, and after a long bout of soul searching, realizing that I had someone raised some strange children -- my first born, a daughter, is a brilliant strategist, because Jesus tells her what to do. Yeah. And my second son, my youngest, is by all accounts a sweet guy, but gay, and it's a goddamn miracle he had a kid to begin with. So I execute the murderer in the family, leaving my youngest son as heir to the throne.

Long story short, I'm 75 and still kicking, leading the charge as I slowly bring the counties of Ireland under my control. My daughter stays quiet, and my son, god bless him, has cranked out three more kids somehow.

Oh, and I have a strong claim on Norway. Which part, you ask? All of it. All of Norway. And a tiny, tiny army with which to take it.
posted by gc at 6:08 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've got all counties in Ireland now, and just recently my first in Britain. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall, but I'm already vaingloriously looking ahead to my conquests on the continent. So, I need to learn about something I have only been on the receiving end of so far: ships. I have searched the wiki for "ship", "ships", "navy", "navies", "fleet", "fleets", "boat", and "boats", but have found only minor incidental mentions.

What's the deal with them? I see you can build shipyards, and can raise your own ships or your vassals' ships like you can armies. But beyond that:

Are there different kinds of ships? It looks like (at least so far in the game) there are just "galleys". I am used to the vaguely similar game Europa Universalis, wherein there are many different specific types, but more importantly four different main types, with the most important distinction being between transports (which can carry troops) and warships, which cannot.

How many troops can one ship carry?

Can I declare war while my navies are raised (unlike while my armies are raised)?

Does keeping my vassals' navies raised cause them to dislike me (like keeping their armies raised)?

No mercenary troop seems to have even a single ship. Is this the way it always is, or does it change throughout the game? Or is there some other screen I should be looking at besides the typical mercenary screen (like, privateers or something)?

Can I put commanders in charge of fleets, like I can in charge of armies? If so, does it use the same "martial" stat? Do any of the martial-related perks apply? Are there other perks that are specific to naval warfare?

Any other points of interest about ships?
posted by Flunkie at 8:00 AM on September 11, 2013


Oh, also: There are some water zones that troops can go across without ships (presumably with implicit small boats). In Europa Universalis, if you parked a ship in such a zone, enemy troops would not be able to cross it. Is there anything similar here?
posted by Flunkie at 8:07 AM on September 11, 2013


Are there different kinds of ships? It looks like (at least so far in the game) there are just "galleys". I am used to the vaguely similar game Europa Universalis, wherein there are many different specific types, but more importantly four different main types, with the most important distinction being between transports (which can carry troops) and warships, which cannot.

No, there's just the one kind of ship, a transport. I think the 3D unit models change based on culture (i.e. Norse get longboats, Italian get galleys, etc).

How many troops can one ship carry?

100.

Can I declare war while my navies are raised (unlike while my armies are raised)?

Yes.

Does keeping my vassals' navies raised cause them to dislike me (like keeping their armies raised)?

Yes.

No mercenary troop seems to have even a single ship. Is this the way it always is, or does it change throughout the game? Or is there some other screen I should be looking at besides the typical mercenary screen (like, privateers or something)?

There are specific naval fleets that would be listed in the same screen, but I've never seen one that had both troops and ships. As for why you're not seeing them, I'm assuming you're playing an 867 start? I don't think there are any naval mercs available then. If you're playing a 1066 or later start, try sorting the mercs by total strength and there should be a couple with ~100 ships. If not, it might be a cultural/religious thing. Also, naval mercs are relatively cheap to hire but extremely expensive to keep employed, and if you're completely land-locked, may show up some distance away.

Can I put commanders in charge of fleets, like I can in charge of armies? If so, does it use the same "martial" stat? Do any of the martial-related perks apply? Are there other perks that are specific to naval warfare?

No on all counts.

There are some water zones that troops can go across without ships (presumably with implicit small boats). In Europa Universalis, if you parked a ship in such a zone, enemy troops would not be able to cross it. Is there anything similar here?

Not to my knowledge, no. All crossable straits are treated as land movement with severe penalties for attacking armies and/or bonuses for defending armies.

Any other points of interest about ships?

When used with raiders, the number of ships determines the amount of gold that it can take on by a factor of 10. So if you have 10 ships, you can load up no more than 100 gold (and equivalent Prestige) from raiding.

Personal ship levies are determined by both the Shipbuilding tech slot and the Castle/Town/Church Shipyard buildings. You can't build ships without at least one level in the tech, and as with armies, it costs money to keep them raised (although IIRC they're cheaper). Vassal levies are a percentage of those factors same based on their opinion of you.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:28 AM on September 11, 2013


A qualifier for the ship capacity: it is per fleet. So if you raise a fleet with 5 ships and a fleet with 3 ships, you can load an army of 500 on one and 300 on the other, but you can't load an army of 800 unless you combine the fleets as you would armies.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:36 AM on September 11, 2013


Is there naval combat, or are they only for troop transport / loot transport?
posted by Flunkie at 9:00 AM on September 11, 2013


Unfortunately there's no naval combat.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:41 AM on September 11, 2013


Paradox's justification is that naval warfare wasn't a consistent strategic concern for your average European monarch during the time period. Which...maybe, maybe not.

It is true that formation actions fought between experienced admirals didn't happen with much regularity until the 16th century, the heyday of the galley fleets led by Hayreddin Barbarossa and Andrea Doria. War galleys were insanely expensive in real life, too, and for a given power to endure the loss of ships incurred by extensive campaigning required the boundless pockets of a Suleiman (who controlled the trade between three continents) or a Charles V (who could draw on all the gold of the New World).
posted by Iridic at 10:28 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another thing I can't find any info on: I just got a message saying that the King of Skotland is planning on invading me. It gives a date like two years in the future, and as long as he plans to invade me, I am not allowed to declare war on him (which I actually did want to do, but I guess I'll just use this opportunity to build my troops back up a bit instead).

What's the deal with this? I imagine it might give him some kind of bonus, perhaps troops or allies? Or else why announce it in the first place? Surely not merely to prevent me from declaring war on him now?
posted by Flunkie at 12:35 PM on September 11, 2013


That's a Norse Prepared Invasion. It's a special CB that means that they get randomly-generated armies of ~10k-20k in increments of ~2k-5k for up to two years (although it can be less). That's what's happening in England at the 867 start, based off the historical Great Heathen Army, but any Norse ruler can call one. If they win, they get the duchy or kingdom they claimed plus any occupied territory. If I were you, I'd be saving up money for mercs and bribing your vassals to get as big an army as you can, and to take advantage of as many good generals and terrain tactics, like making them attack you across water or through amphibious landings, as you can.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:49 PM on September 11, 2013


10-20k, huh? Well, I sure hope they're dumb.
posted by Flunkie at 12:57 PM on September 11, 2013


Oh man! This game!

Having struggled my way up, plotted, killed, and warred, I finally settle into place after an advantageous marriage with my wife finally Queen of Sweden. Except, despite her high affection for me, and the fact that I technically have a crown on my head, I can't actually do anything. I can't influence her or get her to join me or agree. Not even to make our son inherit! I settle on a "But baby, it's me!" defense with regards to attempting a faction for primogeniture. By god, I want to be king more than I have wanted anything before in a game. Someone must settle on the throne.

Upon my gentle request for her to make our son her heir, she has the audacity to raise armies against me! Go figure. Well in that case, I suppose I won't look too hard the other way when the ladies sidle up. Take that! Except that just as I started winning ... she lost another war for the crown. Now I live with a lady who hate my guts as a traitor.

It's okay, though. She still has two duchys. I have one duchy. We can combine them. For our son. He'll be all right. Except it's gavelkind succession. She wants to give our second son a duchy! No. Never. By god, my heir is going to have a shot at the throne. Whatever it takes!

...which is the long version of the "Why I am short one son, and up one 'Kinslayer' trait" story.
posted by corb at 2:39 PM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


My king finally kicked the bucket at 82, after becoming King of Ireland and uniting most of the island (Ulster belongs to Scotland at the moment, and the eastern strip is its own duchy, which when they stop fighting in England I plan on absorbing). I brought in two counties after I became king, but within a year they had splintered into their own faction (I had raised Crown Authority and they hated me for it). A brief civil war ensued, I over powered them with some not cheap help from a few Swiss entrepreneurs, and gave the duchy to my second son. I think I ended up letting the traitors die in my dungeon. No one said anything.

Meanwhile, my (new) king the homosexual now has six children, not counting the one his brother killed, so I don't know if he and his wife found an understanding or what, but I'm looking forward to using them as council members and anchors into other countries. On top of that he's kind and fair and gregarious, and other rulers love him.

Furthermore, pursuing a claim in England has landed me a small three county de jure duchy, which is constantly under attack by EVERYONE ELSE IN ENGLAND. I honestly don't know what to do with it, because the vassals aren't under my direct control, so I can't give them the boot and put family in power. My army is spent and recovering, and I've sort of written off the English holdings, waiting so I can press my Ulster claim, and also the Isle of Mann, because hey why not.
posted by gc at 5:24 PM on September 11, 2013


(This is probably the best $10 I've spent in a while. I know there are other games in the Humble Bundle, but I couldn't tell you a single one aside this one.)
posted by gc at 5:28 PM on September 11, 2013


By the way, let me offer everyone a #protip. No matter how much of a good idea it may seem, do not give any land to the Pope. He will never be your vassal, and it will pass down from Pope to Pope. And hypothetically speaking, were you to war with him, it only takes a few months for him to land a 22,000 person army.

Hypothetically. Yeeeeeees.
posted by corb at 5:37 PM on September 11, 2013


(This is probably the best $10 I've spent in a while. I know there are other games in the Humble Bundle, but I couldn't tell you a single one aside this one.)

EU3 is my most-played game on Steam and certainly worth a look if you dig CK2. Also, if you want to take England, take Scotland or Wales first to shore up the necessary army.
posted by ersatz at 5:55 PM on September 11, 2013


Some things I've learned:

-Gavelkind is the pathway to perpetual civil wars. Primogeniture is much easier to manage, as long as the vassals are fighting each other not you.

-Improve your own county seat first, and a lot. If you have the capacity to raise more levies than your individual vassals they'll never bother you for fear of getting stomped. You may need to stomp them a couple of times before they learn this.

-Keep an eye on your vassals' opinion of you, and their overall power. Bribes work best with smaller vassals, honorary titles with larger vassals.

-Drop your spymaster into the territory of the vassal with the most power and the lowest opinion of you. They'll ferret out any trouble before it gets bad.

-You can and should fabricate claims on your own vassals' territory - they're easier to fight than other rulers, you can weed out problem vassals, and you can consolidate duchies under your own rule (contiguous personal holdings are essential).

-Before you declare war on an enemy ruler, check their list of allies to ensure that they can't call in the big guns. Right after a civil war is a great time to do so, because their levies will be depleted and their vassals demoralised.

-In war, hit their biggest army first (or try to cut off the smaller armies before they join together). You'll get a big warscore % jump. Keep hitting it until it's too small to do any real harm, then besiege their county capital to round it up to 100%.

-Marry your direct heir to clever courtiers rather than other nobles. The stats boost is better than a potential alliance.
posted by Paragon at 6:10 PM on September 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you are interested in seeing what it's like to run a really big empire, the Byzantines have some special abilities in this department. The most interesting one is that they can revoke duchies at any time without incurring tyranny penalties or inciting revolts (beyond any started by the person you took the title from).
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:35 PM on September 11, 2013


By the way, let me offer everyone a #protip. No matter how much of a good idea it may seem, do not give any land to the Pope. He will never be your vassal, and it will pass down from Pope to Pope. And hypothetically speaking, were you to war with him, it only takes a few months for him to land a 22,000 person army.

Possible exception to this rule: A Crusade for Jerusalem with a strong Fatimid or other large Muslim Kingdom/Empire. It's almost guaranteed that it will be the target of a Jihad, and in the rare case that c. 1100 Catholics are strong enough to take it on the first go, they are almost never able to hold it when that happens. Sometimes the best thing to do is just follow the steps I outline for Crusades above until you get to the part where you grant Counties and Duchies. If you've got the gold, create the duchies for Prestige, but then grant all the land to the Pope for massive Piety and relations bonuses so you can excommunicate/divorce/implement Free Investiture/be a sinner to your heart's content. All of the glory (you'll still be King/Queen of Jerusalem!), none of the fuss, and the Pope will let you run roughshod over anywhere you've got claims for. If he loses it in a Jihad, too bad so sad, he'll just call another Crusade in a couple decades, when you will have hopefully grown in power and have an easier go of it.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:45 PM on September 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've been doing Spain-- I started as Leon and now have most of the east and west parts around it. Some of my nobles started a faction to give me most of Portugal and just handed it over to me because they liked me better than the Queen, so that was pretty neat.

Castille seems to rebel every generation though and I have to say, marrying off my daughter to the heir to Hungary (who was king by the time the rebellion happened) was SUPER useful. They had about 3x as much army as me and basically came in and fought my war for me, saving me a lot of expense on mercenaries. Also, sending my daughters off to foreign courts keeps them out of the way so they don't join the factions my wives seem to constantly set up.

They seriously need more Spanish names though; it's hard to keep track of everyone named Maria, especially since the game wants to name all of my daughters that. Also I ended up with a Jimena Jimena, and I think I ended up with a Jimena Jimena II too. It's like Major Major Major Major for Castilian nobility.

There's one historical inaccuracy that drives me crazy and that's the "discovering a homosexual" thing-- it'd really be "discovering a sodomite", and the idea of sexual orientation as we know it now wasn't really a concept at the time. Every time that happens I want to congratulate my Councillor for inventing the concept of sexual orientation.
posted by NoraReed at 8:51 PM on September 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Having worked my way up to being a petty king I was poised to capture enough territory to claim the proper kingship of Ireland, only for my entire family to be more or less wiped out by a particularly bad outbreak of smallpox. Particularly the children. So so many dead sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews. Of course some half mad geriatric from a junior wing managed to survive to claim the title.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 9:30 PM on September 11, 2013


I started as an Irish noble again. This time, after being slammed by bigger powers as I consolidated, I swore fealty to the Holy Roman Emperor as soon as I pieced together a Duchy. I think this has helped to keep the riff-raff out and now I have almost all the counties and am ready to chip away on my goal of having Ireland conquer Britain. The HRE, however, has so many factions that an alert pops up once a minute.

A few random questions:
Does anyone know how to get a retinue? they sound useful but the option is not there for me.

When you change a law, how do your vassals decide which way to vote? Is there a threshold opinion I need to get them above?

After reading about the Gold-For-Courtiers schemes described above I noticed a mayor with a low opinion of me and 1000 Au. He had no family, but was from an elective realm (city?). He died but I didnt get his gold. Is that because it gets inherited by his elective successor?
posted by shothotbot at 9:06 AM on September 12, 2013


Does anyone know how to get a retinue? they sound useful but the option is not there for me.
You have a "retinue cap" that is determined by your size and power and whatnot (I don't know exactly, but mine's gotten bigger as I've gotten more powerful). Each unit in a retinue counts some amount against your retinue cap. You cannot get a new retinue unit unless getting that unit would not put you over your cap. It is likely that your retinue cap is currently small enough that every possible unit would put you over your cap, and therefore you can't get any retinue unit at all.

You can see what your retinue cap is by mousing over the scroll that's maybe a fifth of the way down the retinue screen. You can see how much any individual retinue unit would count against the cap by mousing over that unit (or maybe over the button next to it, I forget).
posted by Flunkie at 9:14 AM on September 12, 2013


Does anyone know how to get a retinue? they sound useful but the option is not there for me.

You need to own the Legacy of Rome DLC.

You have a "retinue cap" that is determined by your size and power and whatnot

And your Military Organization tech level. From the wiki:

Cap = (RealmHoldings*6 + BuildingBonus) * (1 + 2*MilitaryOrganizationRank)

Also, note that there are four default retinues (Shock, Defense, Calvary, and Skirmish) plus a retinue that changes based on your ruler's culture. The upside of cultural retinues is that they each have their own combat bonuses (see the link above), with some like the Cataphracts and Knights being particularly powerful. The downside is that they often cost more gold and retinue cap usage, and will disappear if your dynastic successor's culture is different than the now ex-ruler's.

When you change a law, how do your vassals decide which way to vote? Is there a threshold opinion I need to get them above?

I believe it's just a negative/positive thing based on the potential resulting opinion, but I'm not sure.

After reading about the Gold-For-Courtiers schemes described above I noticed a mayor with a low opinion of me and 1000 Au. He had no family, but was from an elective realm (city?). He died but I didnt get his gold. Is that because it gets inherited by his elective successor?

Yes.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:33 AM on September 12, 2013


Does anyone know how to get a retinue? they sound useful but the option is not there for me.

You need to own the Legacy of Rome DLC.


Hasn't this game done enough damage in terms of lost productivity and sleep deprivation?
posted by shothotbot at 9:41 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hasn't this game done enough damage in terms of lost productivity and sleep deprivation?

Dude, I am totally the wrong person to ask.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:57 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dude, I actually waited for my husband to fall asleep and then snuck downstairs last night to finish my war with Sweden before going back to bed.

I think we're all the wrong people to ask. :)
posted by corb at 10:31 AM on September 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


So I start up my game today, notice that my de jure claims are out of war, so I ask them to become vassals. They agree quickly, and almost soon afterwards, England and Scotland both declare war for different claims. I let the English claim go (a county in England de jury), and I'm managing to hold off Scotland in Ulster when my half-brother forms a faction to usurp my crown. Since I lose his support, Scotland takes out my troops and moves towards my capitol. So, thinking pragmatically (i.e., I want to stay alive), I surrender my crown, becoming subservient to my new liege, and Scotland loses their casus belli for war.

So I'm alive, but I only have five counties in the Petty Kingdom of Munster, losing the Kingdom my father -- our father! -- spent his entire life dedicated to founding. I'm over powered in terms of troops, but I shift my chancellor and my spymaster to my half-brother's seat of power to start scheming and sewing dissent.

And then my half-brother declares war on England.

I saw this happen when he raised his levies and mine did not raise. I figured out that he's at war, so I wait. I watch him pack up his army, sail across the sea, and land on English soil, and only when they're decimated by the ten-fold larger English troops do I swoop in and go after my claim, my claim to the Throne of Ireland.

I more or less hand his ass to him, and he abdicates his throne to my other half-brother, with whom I am friendly. So what to do now...
posted by gc at 7:35 PM on September 12, 2013


I just lost most of my kingdom after fucking up succession laws and then had like 3 kings in 2 years because of murders.

Also I realized that I have been spending a bunch of time hating the patriarchy and then coming home and playing Crusader Kings II, which is basically PATRIARCHY: THE VIDJAGAME
posted by NoraReed at 9:50 PM on September 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hey, you gotta know what you fight against. Every time you tick the matrilineal box and your proposal gets accepted, it's a win for equality (and more counties for you).

Which gives me an idea about spreading the Absolute Cognatic Basque succession laws...
posted by ersatz at 2:52 AM on September 13, 2013


Also I realized that I have been spending a bunch of time hating the patriarchy and then coming home and playing Crusader Kings II, which is basically PATRIARCHY: THE VIDJAGAME

Yeah, I have weird feelings too a little - most particularly, at the point where I started marrying off all my daughters only to older men - because I could betroth them early, get that guy off the market, and they were already a known quantity - I knew their traits, if they were good or bad. I started for a moment, to understand why in a certain kind of society, it would make sense to do that.

Then I remembered that thankfully, that isn't the society we live in now and though there's work to do, it's not that work. So my weird feelings are OK. :)
posted by corb at 3:42 AM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has anyone modded in enatic or enatic-cognatic succession laws? It would be fun to create an in-game Fempire.
posted by Kattullus at 4:12 AM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has anyone modded in enatic or enatic-cognatic succession laws? It would be fun to create an in-game Fempire.

Oh shit, y'all are gonna make me talk about mods and modding now? You do know that, once the Seventh Seal was broken, Hell was unleashed upon the Earth and that you will never, ever be productive again? Forever will you be chained to your PCs, cursed for all eternity to try to get that last CB, plot against that last vassal, and breed that perfect heir.

Sorry, got into the zone there. Okay, first things first, you have to register your copy of the game with Paradox to get access to the forums. You can find some mods elsewhere, especially ones like AGOT that have their own homepages and forums, but AFAIK 99% of them are only available at the official forums. Once you've done that, you have access to all the CK2 forums, including the User Modifications sub-forum. Second, you have to create a mod directory if there isn't already one there. AGOT includes an installer that will do this automatically, so if you've already installed it you should be good, and if you haven't it's not a bad idea. Otherwise, to create one just browse to your "Documents" (Vista/7/8) or "My Documents" (XP) directory, then the "Paradox Interactive" directory, and finally the "Crusader Kings II" directory, and make a new folder called "mod" and you're done. Now, whenever you download a mod (usually in ZIP/RAR/7Z format), just copy the folder and .mod file to that directory. Some of them will have multiple parts, but usually come with README files to help out.

I didn't see a mod that just simply added Enatic succession in, but there is the jokingly-named Misandry! mini-mod (do not read past the OP in this one, it gets stupid quick). It equalizes a bunch of things besides succession (councillors, generals, opinion maluses), but is relatively low-key. It looks like there are some other, more involved mods, but the only one I've tried that is also fully compatible with the latest version of the game is the well-known Project Balance, made by the same guy who started the wiki (and also a major contributor to /r/crusaderkings and /r/paradoxplaza...makes me look an poseur). PB is an overhaul mod, which means that it makes a lot of changes to a lot of things that covers a lot of ground. And when I say a lot, we're talking three posts at the start of the thread just to list all of the changes. Most of them are small, but laws are some of the big ones, and it does enable Enatic, although it has restrictions on use, so it's not just automatically available as it seems to be with Misandry! It also comes with a "Gender Equality" module that seems to cover the same councillor/general/etc ground as that one as well.

Now, playing with overhaul mods like PB (and CK2Plus and The Prince and the Thane) or total conversion mods (like AGOT and Elder Scrolls) is often a much different experience from vanilla. They remove familiarity with some aspects of the game while offering up entirely new possibilities like new traits, duels, always-available loans, and different armies and combat, to name a few. Some of them can be frustrating until you get the hang of it, almost like being a newbie again, except that most of the basic mechanics are still there. I put a couple dozen hours under my belt before I jumped in, but I'm usually the cautious type. I have a whole 'nother comment or three about other mods, but I think I'll wait a little bit so as not to freak you guys out.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:21 AM on September 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


Zombieflanders: "The first hit's free, kiddies!"

I shortened that for you!
posted by corb at 5:44 AM on September 13, 2013


Zombieflanders: "The first hit's free, kiddies!"

I shortened that for you!


Ha! And after I posted that, I imagined Katallus reading that and being all "But all I wanted to know about was Enatic succession..."
posted by zombieflanders at 6:01 AM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh, I hate the "Randomguy de Noparticularnote has decided to call himself a 'captain', says he wants your land, and now suddenly out of nowhere and literally overnight has four times as many troops as the Holy Roman Empire" event.
posted by Flunkie at 2:59 PM on September 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Has anyone modded in enatic or enatic-cognatic succession laws? It would be fun to create an in-game Fempire.

Your first daughter has inherited the Kingdom of France. This pleases Brd.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:50 PM on September 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Be careful with that, Rustic Etruscan. Your younger sons might start a Men's Rights Activist faction and then you have to add another mod that allows you to disown them.
posted by NoraReed at 5:02 PM on September 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


EXCOMMUNICATE THE LOT OF THEM
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:24 PM on September 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


also, what do I care about my sons, it's my daughters who inherit, sons are for alliances
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:53 PM on September 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh man! Now I can't wait for my game to be over so I can play yet another one with a different culture and a mod!

...no...sleep...until matrineal inheritance town...
posted by corb at 5:59 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok, damn you, I bought the whole lot, expansions and all, in a recent promo I saw. Not sure when I'll give it a serious ride, probably in a long weekend holiday here next month, for now I just read a bit each day through the manual, forum tutorials and discussions on the mechanics and concepts, it's quite rich food for the brain already.

Yes, Paradox's games (at least once you wait about a year or so until the serious bugs are fixed and the simulation models stabilize from the user input - CK2 is in, what, it's second year now?) are worse than crack, and the best strategy games I've ever found (sorry, Civ and SMAC). It's a one way road, made worse from the regular jump from game to game, in my case as I said all the way back to the original HoI and EU2. But. So. Much. Fun. The really amazing, both in numbers and depth, user contributed mods each game attracts regularly just works as a multiplier on both fun and addiction.
posted by Iosephus at 7:48 PM on September 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there an analogue for the "too many duchies" penalty at the kingdom (or empire) level?
posted by Flunkie at 10:38 PM on September 13, 2013


There is if you forgot that gavelkind can only be changed by High Crown Authority and you're on Low trying to push for Medium.

...she says, bitterly, having realized that all the duchies she accumulated no longer are allowed to make their own primogeniture rules and now I have to go by kingdom.

They won't even let me give titles to my sons other than the ones they're heir to.
posted by corb at 11:32 PM on September 13, 2013


This fucking game.

It's gotten bad. My third king, the nice gay one with a bunch of kids (have I mentioned how nuts that is? He not only has the trait "Homosexual," which drops his chance of having a kid 15%, but he's also CELIBATE, as is his wife. That's like a -45% chance of having a kid. HE HAS LIKE EIGHT OF THEM), ends up quietly resigned to vassalage under his awful 9-year old half-brother. Our brother-in-law in Scotland calls us to fight for a claim, and seeing an opportunity to build some bridges, I head on over and participate in a few sieges. It's actually going well, and I'm feeling good about the future.

Then my fat, incapable king dies, but not before his kingdom, what's left of it, goes into regency. Suddenly, I have no reason to fight in Scotland, so my troops come home. And then my half-uncle (King #3's half-brother) attacks, which, bee tee dubs, he's still NINE, and their well-rested force is too much for my band of tired warriors. So I hire some mercenaries, split my forces and start winning battles.

Until I run out of money and the mercenaries change sides. I concede to my half-uncle and become his vassal yet again while I try to figure things out.

Pluses here: I keep producing girls, so I might have a queen soon. And nothing else, this game is kicking my ass.
posted by gc at 12:13 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there an analogue for the "too many duchies" penalty at the kingdom (or empire) level?

There's no opinion penalty, but Gavelkind can be a nasty surprise, as corb pointed out.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:06 AM on September 14, 2013


I'm attempting a particularly dangerous path to attempt to fight my way out of Gavelkind - raising crown authority one step, picking the son I like the best who himself has the most sons, and murdering the others in the hopes that I will die before the inevitable revolts take the kingdom, leaving my innocent son to reap the benefits of my tyranny. Sadly, one son managed to flee to Greece, so I'm saving up money for the assassination to hopefully take pace. They may call me Halfdan the Murderer, but by god this kingdom will hold!

I feel like this shit has even taken place in the real life. Totally new perspective on medieval history!
posted by corb at 7:32 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there an analogue for the "too many duchies" penalty at the kingdom (or empire) level?

The best analog to "too many duchies" is probably that as an emperor, you won't make enough money if you don't organize your empire well. This is why the Byzantine ability to revoke duchies without penalty is huge - you can use it to organize your empire neatly into duchies which are neatly organized into kingdoms. An emperor with only kings as vassals will make a lot more money than an emperor with a number of powerful dukes. Money is more important the larger the kingdom because you need to be able to afford any necessary buildings in newly won territory, you need to be able to fund a retinue without going broke during its construction, hire mercenaries, etc.

Of course, like everything else in the game, there are caveats. I don't think Britannia really demands this approach due to its size, but if you're ruling one of the larger landed empires, Francia, Hispania, or a sufficiently large kingdom, it does. It may also be possible to arrange a given kingdom in a more optimal way for income due to local and/or personal modifiers and things of that nature.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:50 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I conquered half of Spain, died, and my son inherited a fractured country; it's like I have to start all over. Any tips on keeping all these duchies from splintering off?
posted by Brocktoon at 10:35 AM on September 14, 2013


It depends on why. If there was no war and it just happened as soon as the succession occurred, it has to do with succession laws as discussed above. I suggest primogeniture as the best starting point because it's the most familiar - the oldest legitimate male son is the sole heir. If it's a civil war, you can try to avert it with bribes as soon as the succession occurs, as well as by attempting to imprison faction leaders or those with highly negative opinions. My preferred way to ensure smooth transitions of power is to maintain my duchies as close to their de jure boundaries as possible, which eliminates a lot of potentially disruptive negative opinion modifiers for desired provinces and titles.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:45 AM on September 14, 2013


A vassal of a vassal of mine apparently nominated an heir for the bishopric in his county which will cause the bishopric to leave my kingdom upon inheritance. Is there anything I can do about this, short of getting the county under my direct control and nominating someone else? I thought maybe I could excommunicate the heir, which I assume would make him ineligible for a bishopric, but it seems the pope likes him too much.

If there's nothing to be done (short of getting the county under my direct control), and it eventually leaves my kingdom, how can I get it back? You can't declare war on anything sub-county, can you?
posted by Flunkie at 9:04 PM on September 14, 2013


You would actually have to declare war on whomever the bishopric's new liege turned out to be. De jure, all the holdings in a county belong to that county, and so you could wage a de jure war on behalf of your vassal. Of course, that new liege's liege's liege could be the Holy Roman Emperor, so be careful.

You can, in fact, declare war on bishops, barons, and petty burghers, should they somehow become independent. Those wars tend to be one-sided.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:09 PM on September 14, 2013


The problem with de jure is that it doesn't seem to always fix inheritance, so you'll still want to fabricate claims on it.
posted by NoraReed at 1:28 AM on September 15, 2013


More things you learn from trying:

No matter how tempting you think it might be to imprison your courtiers and banish them so you get to keep their money, when you are in the middle of a war and about to run out of funds, do not do it. And especially, don't do it three times.

Vassals gonna rebel! Otherwise known as why I'm now playing as the childless heir I didn't actually want inheriting.
posted by corb at 6:00 AM on September 15, 2013


A vassal of a vassal of mine apparently nominated an heir for the bishopric in his county which will cause the bishopric to leave my kingdom upon inheritance. Is there anything I can do about this, short of getting the county under my direct control and nominating someone else?

Assassinating the heir might help if he picks someone more amenable, but you might be just putting off the problem.
posted by ersatz at 6:07 AM on September 15, 2013


I've been trying to figure out why this would be the case:
An emperor with only kings as vassals will make a lot more money than an emperor with a number of powerful dukes.
... and I haven't yet been able to. Am I misunderstanding something or missing something here:

Let's say my realm contains a bunch of counties. I hold several directly, but the counts of the rest of those counties get (in total) X money from their holdings.

If there are no duchies, then from those counties that I do not hold directly, I get somewhere from 0% to 30% of X, depending upon my feudal taxation law.

If they're all in duchies, and presumably I don't directly own those duchies but at the very least I don't own the vast majority of them, then I get somewhere from 0% to 9% of X.

If they're in kingdoms, I can apparently directly own as many kingdoms as I like since there's no equivalent to the "too many duchies" rule, so I still get 0% to 9%. But if I split the kingdoms off into vassals, then I get somewhere from 0% to 2.7% of X.

If I make an empire, again, I can apparently still get 0% to 9% if I keep all the kingdoms directly, or 0% to 2.7% if I give them to vassals.

So why would I make a lot more money with kings as vassals than with dukes?

Also, this brings up related things that I don't really understand:

I understand why I would want to make a kingdom - better control over laws, better control over armies, and more prestige. But why multiple kingdoms (as opposed to just keeping the new lands under your first kingdom)? Just more prestige? That seems like it might not be a great tradeoff for the succession law mismatch.

And why an empire? Again, just more prestige?

And if I do make multiple kingdoms, why would I want to give any of them to vassals? Regardless of whether or not I make an empire.

Also, I just want to say thanks for taking the time to be in this thread and explain things - it's very helpful, and I appreciate it.
posted by Flunkie at 7:48 AM on September 15, 2013


In fact now that I think about it a little more, I don't really get "why duchies" either. They give you ducal claims and more prestige, but once you've got control over the entire de jure duchy, why not abolish the title completely, thus getting 0% to 30% of the counties' income instead of 0% to 9%? That seems better than a marginal increase in prestige.
posted by Flunkie at 7:52 AM on September 15, 2013


A vassal of a vassal of mine apparently nominated an heir for the bishopric in his county which will cause the bishopric to leave my kingdom upon inheritance. Is there anything I can do about this, short of getting the county under my direct control and nominating someone else?

This happens to me nearly constantly in my bigger games. A lot of the time you can safely ignore it because as soon as the new holder produces an heir, it will go away. This is typically caused by situations where one of the vassals has different succession laws from you. Check to see if the cause is merely that the new holder is childless before you start an assassination attempt.

The reasoning behind kingdoms vs. powerful duchies mostly comes down to the impact it has on your vassals and their modifiers. I guess it's more accurate to say that it's about maximizing your income while simultaneously minimizing the harmful impact of modifiers rather than just outright maximizing your income. If you organize duchies along your de jure boundaries and combine them into de jure kingdoms, you minimize the opportunity for negative modifiers which would reduce either your income or the stability of your realm (enough "Desires Province" or "Desires the Kingdom of X" modifiers and you have a faction, enough members and you have a rebellion, etc.). You may be able to make more money keeping everything as counties, but the negative modifiers that it comes with will eat you apart.

This is where size comes in, again: If you're playing Britannia, it won't really make any sense for you to release Wales or Scotland as vassal kingdoms, however, if you're playing Byzantium, you might want to vassalize Armenia, Anatolia, Hungary, etc. because when taken together it's a tremendous amount of land, way more than even an emperor can handle given their demense limits, and any powerful dukes would likely be in a similar position.

The decision of to whom to grant these titles takes on a new importance when you play like this. It's vital to have a big dynasty with lots of potential rulers with positive attributes to choose from, so you need to start your marriage program as early as you can. You don't want to have to choose between a family member with the Weak trait or someone outside you family when a big title comes up for grabs.

My Byzantine emperor personally holds the hometown Duchy of Thrace and a collection of fortified castles in border provinces and nothing else. There hasn't been any drama during a succession in 4 generations and it's not totally nuts that I might manage to restore the Trajan borders before time runs out.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:25 AM on September 15, 2013


On the subject of who you grant titles to... If you're clever, you can also have your vassals fight your wars for you. This works for duchies or kingdoms. If I have a family member with an Ambitious trait and a high martial score, I'll grant him a title on my border that comes with foreign-held claims. As long as they have the resources to do it from other holdings, they'll eventually go to war without your involvement to press their claims and take the territory. This can be an exceptionally useful tactic against large neighbors because your vassals are not bound by your peace treaties, so they can attack while you cannot.

I learned about this technique when I did it by accident while playing an England game and came back from an adventure on the continent to find that a vassal had gone to war against Scotland and claimed 3 provinces already.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:40 AM on September 15, 2013


I think it would be better for everyone, really, if I played for a few hours at work today so I can get a decent nights sleep.
posted by shothotbot at 7:16 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh, seventy year old celibate guy complaining that the wife I propose for him is past childbearing age.
posted by Flunkie at 8:32 AM on September 16, 2013


Your courtier has contracted consumption

Your courtier has contracted consumption

Your courtier has contracted consumption

Your courtier has contracted consumption

Your courtier has contracted consumption


My county is riddled with disease! I must send my steward there, surely he will know what to do!

Please save them, steward! I don't know what else to do!

Your steward has contracted consumption
posted by Flunkie at 8:42 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


May I put in a recommendation for the CK2Plus mod? It's one of the most popular overhaul mods, along with The Prince and the Thane (which concerns historical flavor and mechanics) and the aforementioned Project Balance (concentrates on, well, balance - along with a deepening of your legal options).

CK2+ contains a lot of little additions, tweaks, and integrated submods (new ambitions! access to loans!), but the main focus is on adding depth and intricacy to the political and diplomatic aspects of the game. There are greater benefits to raising crown authority, but it's more difficult to do so. Your relationships with your councilors now affects the enthusiasm with which they carry out their duties. Tougher demesne limits increase your dependence on your vassals, who are likely to league together if one of their number rebels. Holy wars cost piety, and mercenary prices are doubled, so you have to choose your conflicts wisely and work your alliances.

The most essential feature is the addition of persistent factions: a Court Faction that covets favors and positions, a Princely Faction that wants autonomy for its member nobles but can sometimes be mollified with feasts and tournaments, a Religious Faction that will praise you if you build churches and grumble if you sit out a crusade. If you flatter a faction successfully, they may grant you extra troop levies or a purse of gold; piss 'em off once too often and they'll throw their weight behind a pretender, or go to war in their own right to lower crown authority or imprison you as a heretic.

And of course, if you have a liege, you can join one of the persistent factions in their court and help make their life miserable.

Once you've logged some scheming time with CK2+, it's hard to play the game without it, especially if you choose to inject some new traits ("sensitive," "beautiful singing voice") from the eminently compatible Vanilla Immersion, Events, and Traits mod package.
posted by Iridic at 2:54 PM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Now, I've never been one for the Paradox games - too groggy for me - but my girlfriend is a big fan. She's partway through reading Clash of Kings, and decided she was at a point to be able to pick up the mod and give it a spin.

First person she zeroed in on to play? Craster. Who is, yes, specially scripted as far as marriage goes.

Craster's Conquest Beyond the Wall did not go too well though.
posted by kafziel at 5:44 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


And now she's playing as Gerrick Kingsblood in the time of Robert's Rebellion, again trying to be King Beyond The Wall. First thing that happened, Gerrick snagged up Jeyne Swann as a wife, and started eating up provinces. Jeyne hates her husband, due to that -75 "Wildling" modifier he has.

Then she married her nine year old son to Allyria Dayne. Who also didn't enjoy being shipped way up north. But, desperate for more family so as to do her politicking, she started looking for a husband for Gerrick's daughter, and found a promising young bastard of House Bolton ...

I'm just sitting here giggling the entire time. Again, she's only partway through Clash of Kings.

Also all those links could have spoilers.
posted by kafziel at 6:49 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Iridic got the ball rolling on specific mods, and even better, he picked one of the major ones that I haven't had much experience with. CK2Plus (or as it was known when I tried it, CK2+) was the second mod I tried after AGOT, and I'll be honest: it was really frustrating to use. Of course, this was over a year ago, before the first major DLC (Sword of Islam expansion) had been released, and so it was likely a combination of my n00bishness and massive changes to the game mechanics that made it unappealing to me. The modder who created it actually got hired by Paradox to work on CK2 (and possibly EUIV), which meant that he was only patching it for a while, but now that it's in the hands of the community again, it looks like some cool features are being added. As mentioned earlier, CK2Plus falls under the category of "overhaul" mods, as do the others he mentions.

Which brings me to CK2 modding as its own topic. There are several general categories of mods that I can think of: total conversion, overhaul, flavor, and graphical. Some mods are an amalgam of two different categories, but usually they cover just one. Many mods incorporate code or entire versions of other mods, or have sub-mods of their own, or like CK2Plus are a continuation from a previous mod or mods. Others are compatible with each other right out of the box, others require compatibility patches (usually shortened into the portmanteau "compatch(es)") to work with other mods. I'm going to break my analysis of mods down into several posts, because otherwise it's a freaking novella. And this isn't even comprehensive. Here's a full list with links and compatibility notes, which you should use because 1) like I said this is already War and Peace, and 2) it's much quicker than doing the linking myself. It's also got a less generalized breakdown, if that's your thing.

Anyway, for starters, there's total conversions, which as the name suggests use the base game but create completely different worlds. These are often adapted from other sources, but several are based on alternate histories and/or different time periods. This means new maps, new cultures, new traits, new events, new...well, everything. The Game of Thrones mod is just one of these, but there's several more. For instance:
Britannia 479: Based off of Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles novels, which are a retelling of Arthurian legend based in the history of post-Roman Britain/Wales and during the Saxon invasions from Northern Germany, but also including pagan Ireland, Pictish Scotland, the Christian Goths and Franks, and allied Britons from what is now Bretagne. Some Arthurian characters, some historical characters, and a much more localized and intimate map.

Elder Kings: Uses the world of the Elder Scrolls videogame world most recently popularized by the Oblivion and Skyrim titles. It's not currently compatible with the latest version, but apparently they're working on getting it up and running.

Lux Invicta: Imagines an alternate timeline where Christianity (and especially Catholicism) and Islam never gained the dominance they did in ours, resulting in paganism along the lines of late Roman-era Hellinism and Zoroastrianism thriving and generating major and minor sects of their own. This timeline has no specific deviation point from ours, there are many of them.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:21 PM on September 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Next we have overhaul mods, which keep the general map, history, and time period, but make many changes to the game in order to present a much more nuanced way to play the game. They may add or change cultures, or give you more options for laws and warfare and intrigue, or even expand on the choices you have for rulers. In addition to CK2Plus, there's a couple big ones:
Project Balance: As the name implies, PB is meant to change a lot of the stuff in the game that can make it over- or under-balanced. Warfare is based more on winning battles than sieging castles, but is harder to declare. For example, Holy Wars may require you to be Ambitious or Zealous, and there are "cooldown" periods where you can't declare certain wars at all, and will cost you prestige or piety. There are more crown and demesne laws, which have different effects and play off each other in interesting ways. The Intrigue menu now allows for summoning specific types of courtiers, and provides info on the decisions you can and can't make in warfare and diplomacy.

Some What More Historic: If you think that vanilla CK2 looks and feels a little boring, SWMH is meant to fix that by expanding the diversity of the game. It's not supposed to upend how you play; in fact, almost all of the mechanics it adopts are from PB, and supposedly most players that use one also use the other, and I very strongly suggest the combination (often referred to as PB+SWMH). Instead, it focuses on a variation of the map that provides tons of new and revised counties, duchies, and kingdoms. Many new rulers have been added to fill these, and current ones changed to reflect the updates. The map itself is more aesthetically pleasing, and terrain has been changed to better represent things like impassable mountain ranges and navigable rivers. It also makes both lands and titles much more culturally and historically accurate, so instead of the Byzantine Empire (a term coined in the 19th century) you have the Basileia Rhōmaiōn; instead of the Holy Roman Empire you have the Heiliges Römisches Reich; instead of England you have Angleland under the Anglo-Saxons, or Angleterre under the Normans; and so forth. If that gets a little confusing (the titles of foreign councillors can be really hard to determine), you can always download the "Speak English Damnit" sub-mod that reverts the naming scheme to something a little more familiar.

The Prince and the Thane: Where PB is about the mechanics and SWMH is about the world, TPATT is all about you. Or, more specifically, it's meant to make playing your rulers more interesting. There's more decisions to make, a revised combat system that depends very much on your generals and their tactics, and a very pretty facelift to the interface itself. It incorporates a number of existing and discontinued/absorbed mods, including SWMH (although a stupid ownership spat between the two modding teams means they're making their own solution going forward). It's also meant to be more historical, with the inclusion of English peerage (landless, titular titles like the Prince of Wales), a convocation of cardinals, the Investiture Controversy within the HRE, and an expansion of the Catholic military organizations past the usual Templar/Hospitallier/Teutonic orders. It's unfortunately not updated for the Old Gods yet, but supposedly work is ongoing.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:23 PM on September 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


If overhauls seem like they might be a little much to get into for now, flavor mods that don't change the game itself, but instead makes gameplay more eventful and diverse, are useful. They're meant to give you more options in playing your character without necessarily upending the way you play the game. Sometimes the results are big, sometimes they're small, but all of them are meant to feel like just that little bit extra. Some of the more well known ones include:
Additional Objectives 2.0: This adds more ambitions (the goals characters give themselves) as well as add a few plots to give your Intrigue menu a little spice. It's not a big change, but it can give you more to do with your ruler during the slow and boring times when you'd usually speed up the timer.

Mazdayasna Zarathushtrish: Strong enough to control a bit of land and several rulers when the pagans and 867 startdate were enabled, the incestuous sun-worshipping Zoroastrians finally became playable with the release of The Old Gods DLC. Far from the massive empire that controlled the Arab world for centuries before Islam's rapid spread, there's just a couple of rulers in northern Persia. For some reason (I'm guessing the Lannisterly lovin') they became second only to the Norse in terms of cool rulers to play as. Mazdawhatsawhoosits gives you more than the meager Saoshayant trait the devs tossed in. You can rebuild the famed city of Persepolis, raise armies of the famous Immortals (you may remember these guys from 300), and restore the fire of the Sun to a glorious new Persian Empire. Oh, and you totally get props from your people for keeping it in the family, marriage wise.

New Duel Engine: If your ruler is a general for an army or flank, occasionally you'll get events during or after the battle saying that your ruler gained a trait or something happened. If you're lucky, you'll be Brave or get to choose a military trait like Holy Warrior. If you're unlucky, you'll get Craven, or worse be rendered Incapable, and you may even be killed. But how does that happen? This mod adds in the how. Not only does it expand the traits you can get, but it also occasionally selects your ruler to engage in a duel with an enemy general. Will it be a fight to the death? Will you show them mercy? Or will you be the one at the point of a sword? It even makes tournaments more exciting. Note: This is incorporated in one form or another into several of the major total conversion and overhaul mods already, so check the info posts for them if you're using them.

Vanilla Immersion, Events, and Traits: VIET, as the author says, is pretty much designed to make the game more fun without changing the way you play. It's also modular, which gives you the chance to pick and choose how much you'd like to add to the game. The effects (both positive and negative) of traits and events are modified to even things out, and some new ones are added. It's the best overall of the flavor mods IMO.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:27 PM on September 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Now, CK2 may be a fun game, but it's also pretty easy on the eyes...for the most part. Sometimes there's just something that looks a little off or that could look a little better. Paradox knows this, and has released several DLCs for cultural character portraits, the coats of arms for dynasties and titles, and army units. None of them are essential, and indeed may be largely overlooked, but hey, they're dirt cheap during Steam sales. Still, it might not be enough. It certainly isn't for the obsessive modders, and so there's a couple of mods to make things all purty-like:
ARKO's Armories: A good number of counties, duchies, kingdoms, and empires (at least, the Christian ones) have unique coats of arms, as do many of the famous dynasties. You also have a lot of variety when designing your own custom dynastic heraldry or with the random generation of Muslim and pagan COAs. But for some people, that's not enough, and so this fills in a lot of blanks for both titles and dynasties, as well as adding much more variety for the custom and random COAs.

Cultures and Portraits Revamp/Portrait Realignment Pack: There's a bunch of DLC, of varying quality, that changes characters' appearance based on their culture and their heritage* for their portrait. It's not enough for some people, and so CPR and PRP make some additional changes. CPR is from the maker of VIET, and it used to be a flavor mod, but that part was incorporated into VIET proper. It mixes and matches cultural sets to increase variety and better reflect heterogeneous cultures. PRP is more of a collection of simple tweaks to existing sets rather than creating new ones, but may be more to some people's liking.

NBRT+: For a lot of people, the borders in CK2 are large and ugly and generally clutter up the map. For those people, there's NBRT+. It thins and sharpens the borders for a cleaner look, and makes county borders near-invisible for contiguous demesnes so that duchies, kingdoms, and empires look more unified. It also updates the graphics for rivers and trees and assorted terrain types to look really nice when zoomed in. It can take a little getting used to, but I find it hard to play CK2 without it now.
Last but not least, there a couple mods that don't really fit into any category, they just kind of tweak things around the edges. Stuff like the Misandry! mod I posted upthread, where normally-disabled things are enabled or small adjustments are made for ease of use. There are two that I use:
Keyboard Shortcuts and Interface Adjust: CK2 comes with a poor selection of hotkeys, and so this aims to fix that. Raising and dismissing levies, loading and unloading ships, all the stuff that takes just a couple seconds each, but can really add up over time. Once you get a handle on what keys do what, you'll realize how THERE'S SO MUCH TIME FOR ACTIVITIES!

Köppen Climate Classification: This mod adjusts income for each individual province based on the seasons and the climate of their location (i.e., Mediterranean, Taiga, etc). Completely unnecessary yet a perfect example of what people can and will do with modding.
So there you have it folks, mods galore. Feel free to ask me about any of them, or any interesting ones from the link upthread, and if I've played them I'll let you know what I think.



* One of the cool yet lesser-known things about CK2 is that characters actually have DNA. No, seriously, it even kind of models dominant and recessive genes. That's how your breeding programs work. Even cooler, it not only affects your traits, but your appearance as well.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:31 PM on September 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


Well I played all the way through for the first time. I started with one county and ended up with all of Ireland and Scotland. Once I became King of Ireland I bent the knee to the Holy Roman Emperor for protection. I had enough of the original England to usurp the English throne too but so many pieces had become de jure parts of Ireland I couldn't do it. I am sure some Irish patriots would love to see the wide band of green across Britain on the independent realms map.
posted by shothotbot at 10:27 PM on September 20, 2013


Of course I haven't played all the kings, but Poland seems to be perfect for new players (that want to play a king). Everybody loves you, and you can absorb the tribal Slavs next door pretty painlessly. Money seems to accrue fairly quickly too. On the flip side, new players should probably avoid Hungary. The vassals are constantly rebelling, the levies are very weak, and there are very few people with any decent skill level to act as councilors.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:47 PM on September 21, 2013


In real life yesterday I developed a toothache. Last night, I dreamt that I was searching for someone to marry my tooth away to matrilineally, so that it would no longer be my problem.
posted by Flunkie at 4:56 AM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is there any way to meter your play ala LeechBlock? No solutions based on willpower please.
posted by shothotbot at 1:32 PM on September 23, 2013


Maybe some kind of multiplayer where another player, who is also your most powerful vassal, helpfully rebels when you play more than you wanted to.
posted by ersatz at 8:49 AM on September 24, 2013


I'm curious about using the multiplayer features as a single player. ( I have a second Steam account, mostly to hold family/casual games that I dont want to make unavailable to others at home when I'm playing something else.) Might be fun to to try and role play both sides of an alliance vs the rest of the world. Although it might be too easy to break the sim through unexpected collusion.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:50 PM on September 27, 2013


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