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Crusader Kings III can be an intimidating game, especially if you’re new to the medieval strategy drama world of CK3. Our Crusader Kings 3 guide currently only focuses on how to get started, especially if you play the console version of Crusader Kings 3 and need to know how to play Crusader Kings 3.
If you need a beginner’s guide to Crusader Kings 3, here are five crucial crusader Kings 3 gameplay tips to follow when you complete the Crusader Kings 3 tutorial.
Ruling a kingdom and bringing glory to your dynasty requires not only military skill, but also cunning and personal charm – you never know when your half-brother might plot to kill you as a faction of vassals disgruntled prepares a rebellion. Even if you do everything right, your success is not guaranteed. That said, you can at least prepare yourself not to immediately find yourself with your head on a pike… U
Especially if you’re starting in the 867CE bookmark, figuring out what happens when your current character dies should be first on your to-do list. Crusader Kings 3 campaigns take place on centuries, so this will happen often – and until you unlock more advanced laws, which can take hundreds of years on their own, you’ll probably be stuck with Confederate Partition or Partition Estate, which means your land will be divided among all of your eligible children. It can be frustrating when you take over, usually as an Elder, as you risk losing a lot of hard-earned provinces to your quarrelsome siblings in each generation, but that’s part of the core design.
Your kingdom is meant to be quite unstable at first, expanding and fracturing again and again, and becoming more stable as you progress through the legal innovations of the period. Eventually, you will be able to name an heir to inherit everything. Until then, focus on building up your capital, your retinues of men-at-arms, and the overall renown of your dynasty. Your siblings can’t take them away from you! I mean, unless they kill you. Which can happen – but you might end up playing the part of the murderer, so it’s not over yet! As long as your dynasty survives, so will your save file.
Managing (and pruning) the family tree
In the meantime, there are things you can do to make the succession less painful. Sending your… “less favored” kids into battle over and over again, or directly murdering them if you have the sadistic trait, can ensure you don’t have to cut the cake into so many pieces later.
There’s also a perk in the learning tree that lets you take a vow of celibacy if you don’t want to have any more children.
Just be careful to keep at least a few eligible descendants around – “one heir and one successor” as they said back then…probably. You never know when your eldest might unexpectedly drop dead from disease or poison, and being left without an heir means it’s game over.
Control your vassals
It really is your main concern as a leader, and you should treat it that way. If you see a powerful faction forming against you, first determine what they want. If it’s just a lowering of Crown authority or taxes, and you’re not ready for a civil war, it might be best to just give in to their demands. If they want independence, or install your asshole cousin on the throne, then it’s almost always better to fight. But first, hover over their opinion number to see why they’re mad at you.
Focus on those with a lot of troops first, because if you manage to get them to abandon the faction, you might be able to reduce its strength enough that the other members can’t declare war. Sending gifts, using the Sway system, and giving everyone what they consider their “rightful” land are all great ways to improve opinion.
Seduction also works if they are attracted to figures of your gender – whether you adhere more strictly to church doctrines or are described by later historians as “very good friends and roommates”. If that doesn’t work, you can try increasing your dread trait to the point where they’re all too scared to challenge you.
That being said, you generally shouldn’t bother trying to convince rivals who already have an opinion score below 50. You’re probably never going to make them happy, and it’s better to find a reason to arrest them, or cause them to have an “accident”. Putting hooks on a character by sending your spymaster to dig up their dirty little secrets, or getting a wedding ring, will also prevent them from joining factions. Speaking of what…
The benefits of marriage
Even as a lowly duke, with the right alliances, you can challenge an emperor. This is where having a lot of children can come in handy, especially if they aren’t actually eligible to inherit your throne – most of the world is annoyingly patriarchal at this time, so girls don’t generally don’t count towards dividing your assets when you die unless you live in one of the more equal societies or don’t have a son.
Your best bet is to find strong leaders with kids of the same age and opposite gender as yours and start making matches! If you need a little extra boost, you can use the Sway scheme on your potential ally. You may also find a perk in the Gallant Lifestyle that increases the chances of your offers of marriage being accepted, even if the target is of a higher rank than you.
Keep in mind that these alliances can break if one of the engaged couple or your current character dies, so don’t pin your hopes on befriending just one family. You should try to have a variety of powerful allies at all times. Of course, no one wants a brother-in-law who keeps asking for money, so if they’re constantly dragging you into their own expensive wars, it might be time to break off the engagement.
Finding the Joy in Failure
This is perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give to any new Crusader Kings player! The Middle Ages were full of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies. Even the most impressive empires in history have experienced bitter grief and humiliating defeat in the wake of their legendary victories.
Don’t think of Crusader Kings 3 as just a simple challenge to beat, like achieving victory in Civilization. It’s more of a medieval sandbox and role-playing game about generating awesome stories that you’ll remember and share for years to come.
Some of our all-time favorite campaigns were the ones where everything that could possibly go wrong happened. After all, would Game of Thrones even be interesting if Ned survived and the Starks conquered the Seven Kingdoms without setbacks? It’s those moments of darkness and struggle that make your turns of glory and revenge worth it. Plus, each time a dynasty ends, the next one you start will be wiser!