Culture is an abstract representation of the ethnicity, language, and traditions of a province or character. Cultures are divided into culture groups, and cultures are considered closer to others within their group than to cultures outside it.
At game start, most realms will be relatively homogenous, with few realms containing more than one culture, and even fewer containing more than one culture group. However, as a realm expands, it will inevitably encounter other cultures and culture groups, which will give various penalties, both permanent and temporary.
Most cultures unlock cultural retinues and cultural buildings in castles, resulting in different army composition. Some cultures also unlock special events, decisions, government types or succession and gender laws. Some cultures also allow raiding, making them a potential menace to neighbours.
Most government types allows holding of tribes of the same culture with no penalties, except nomads.
- 1 Character culture
- 2 Province culture
- 3 Culture and conquest
- 4 Combat and the 3 Culture Bonuses
- 5 Character conversion
- 6 Province conversion
- 7 Tactics
- 8 Cultures and succession/ government type
- 9 List of Cultures
- 10 Powerful cultures
- 11 Console commands
- 12 See also
Every character in the game identifies with culture, and this affects their relations with other characters in the same realm. Within the same realm, characters have -5 opinion towards characters of other cultures, and -10 across culture groups (reduced by Tolerance Technology). In addition to affecting opinion, culture directly affects whether vassals will join independence and claimant factions. Cultural differences do not affect opinion between realms but do reduce willingness to accept offers of vassalization.
Cultures determine generated dynasty names and (along with religion) given names. Some cultures name realms after dynasties. If a dynasty controls multiple realms, only the head of the dynasty will do this, with other realms falling back to title names.
Graphical culture represents a character's ethnicity and ancestry. It is inherited from a random biological parent and affects portraits. Graphical culture generally has no direct effect on gameplay, but can help you determine who is a "hidden cuckoo bastard". This can be useful if you have the intrigue focus and hope to revoke a title.
There are three animal graphical cultures that have a game technical effect. Graphical bears and dragons can always eat prisoners, with fewer penalties compared to other characters. Graphical horses have a special option in the spouse horse gift event, which makes their spouse their lover. Graphical horses can also receive a random event where they follow a prophecy to climb a mountain, potentially giving them a powerful permanent modifier or artifact.
Every county in the game has a culture representing the major culture there. A mismatch between holder culture and province culture increases revolt risk. A ruler who would rather deal with more difficult vassals over peasant rebellions can choose to land vassals who share the conquered territory's culture.
For tribes, a culture mismatch also reduces demesne income and levies. To compensate, tribal rulers can assign their steward to the "settle tribe" job, one of the easier ways to change the culture of a province. Feudal and republican rulers get no penalties if they hold tribes in same-culture provinces.
A province with no holdings (i.e., a nomadic province) always has the culture of its owner.
Culture and conquest
Most CBs set a new administration penalty on holdings that change owners, reducing taxes and severely reducing levy reinforcements. The duration of this penalty depends on culture and religion difference. Holdings that do not change owners, but merely have a new liege, do not get this penalty.
Claim wars and invasions can set a hidden conquest culture on a conquered title of county rank or higher. For example, a Norman conquest of England might set England's conquest culture to Norman, reducing native vassals' opinion of Norman lieges (-20 Foreign Conquerer). This penalty can be removed by replacing vassals with new ones who share your culture, or by converting to the native culture (or any other culture).
One of the benefits of the conquest culture flag is that it increases chances of Province Culture Conversion. While Strong and Weak Claims wars grant the flag, Pagan and Muslim Conquest do not.
Combat and the 3 Culture Bonuses
There are unit types, and there are 2 types of cultural bonuses that can apply to unit types:
(1) Cultural retinue bonus that applies to specific retinue armies when raised, which is based on ruler's culture at the time the retinue are raised.
(2) Cultural building bonus that applies to all units of that type in that realm holding, which is based on *current* province culture. If a cultural building is built in the realm capital, retinue army units can also receive this bonus.
If both of the above bonuses are applicable to the same type of unit, the 2 different bonuses can stack on retinues in the realm capital -- even if the cultures triggering the bonuses are different.
(3) Finally, there's a third type of culture impact that can improve combat performance: there are specific tactics that can be triggered based on the composition of the flank AND the culture of flank commander. This commander could be a third culture.
Every character will be born with the culture of their father if born from a patrilineal marriage or a concubine, or their mother if born from matrilineal marriage or out of wedlock. With very few exceptions, the only way to change this is via the child's guardian.
If a guardian owns land or has the same culture as his liege, he has a decent chance to change his ward's culture.
The mean times to happen are as follows:
|Diligent and Gregarious||30 months|
|Diligent or Gregarious||60 months|
|Diligent and Shy||120 months|
|Slothful and Gregarious|
|Slothful or Shy||240 months|
|Slothful and Shy||480 months|
As you can see, a culture change happens about 50% of the time if the guardian has no traits modifying the chance, as a child generally has a guardian for 10 years. If the guardian is diligent and/or gregarious, it becomes far more likely, as the normal distribution is then centered at 2.5 or 5 years; on the other hand, if the guardian is shy and/or slothful, culture change becomes quite unlikely.
So if you want to change the culture of your child, you should assign a guardian of the desired culture, in a court with a ruler of the desired culture, who has the diligent and/or gregarious trait.
Convert to capital culture
With Rajas of India, rulers have a decision to convert to the culture of their capital province. The decision costs 500 prestige. Vassals cannot use the decision if they have the same culture as their liege.
Every county has a culture at the start of the campaign, and this culture can be changed over time.
Spread from adjacent province
The most common event can trigger when a character has a county in his demesne not of his culture, and it borders at least one other province of the character's culture that is owned by a character (which could be the very same character) of the ruler's culture. Thus, it is near impossible to spread any culture to islands with this event, as they cannot possibly border a county of your culture unless it was present at game start.
|Ruler stewardship||MTTH to convert province to adjacent culture|
|Depopulation Level||MTTH||Optimal MTTH|
|1||75 years||23.7525 years|
|2||50 years||15.835 years|
|3||25 years||7.9175 years|
As you can see, as long as a character has high stewardship, he can convert counties to his culture rather quickly. While controlling depopulation is a little more tricky as it equals managing epidemics spreads, it gives an equally powerful reward. The conquest culture flag, which is conferred upon invading a province with the right CB as seen above, finally provides a 0.75 modifier, putting the final optimal MTTH to 5.9381 years.
Conversion to conquest culture
Some types of wars set a "conquest culture", allowing conversion to that culture even if there are no adjacent provinces of that culture. Like the event above, its MTTH is decreased with high stewardship, province depopulation, and steward mission to administer the realm.
CBs that use
vassalize_or_take_under_title usurp and set conquest culture on counties that cannot be vassalized, such as counties owned by rulers who also control land elsewhere:
- Holy War (which helpfully refuses to vassalize infidels unless the attacker is Muslim)
- Most CBs that target all land within a de jure title
CBs that use
gain_all_occupied_titles usurp and set conquest culture on occupied counties:
- Sanctioned Invasion
- Tribal Invasion
- Prepared Invasion
- Nomad Invasion
- Major revolts (Heretic Revolt, Religious Revolt, Liberation Revolt, Rise of the Shia Caliphate, Decadence Invasion)
The following CBs explicitly set conquest culture on the disputed title, allowing conversion of only the holder's demesne provinces:
- All claim wars set it on the claimed title(s), using the attacker's culture
- Crusades, using the winner's culture (often the most participating attacker)
- Sanctioned Invasion
- Decadence Invasion
Other CBs might not set conquest culture. For example, Border Dispute wars and Pagan County Conquest do not set it. Conquest culture can be seen in-game only with debug tooltips (
charinfo console command). It can however be inferred from the "-20: Foreign Conqueror" opinion from native vassals toward any liege of the conquest culture.
Tribal rulers can send their steward to Settle Tribe in demesne provinces for cultural conversion, the base MTTH for the conversion is 50 years. (Tripled if the ruler is a count) AI rulers do not send their stewards on this mission.
The speed of the conversion primarily depends on the steward's stewardship skill, and the mean time to happen is as follows:
|Steward stewardship||MTTH to convert province|
With Monks and Mystics DLC, rulers can send their steward to Administer Realm to increase the speed of cultural conversion of Spread from adjacent province or Conversion to conquest culture in demesne provinces.
The effect of the steward's mission to Administer Realm is as follow:
|Steward stewardship||MTTH multiplier|
A province that has prosperity level 2 may get an event allowing the ruler to fix its culture for 100% of yearly income. Doing so also converts the province's religion and removes the nomad agitation modifier, if relevant.
The province must be the ruler's crown focus province. The event is more frequent with high stewardship skill and high learning skill.
The base mean time to happen for the event is 40 years. (Doubled if the ruler is not independent) The optimal MTTH of the event is 13.9471 years. (Independent ruler with 18+ stewardship, 18+ learning, Smart , Diligent , Architect or Administrator or Scholar or Gardener , and at least a level 3 education trait on stewardship, diplomacy, or learning)
There are special events allowing some cultures to give rise to new ones, and allowing these new cultures to spread quickly within the old ones. If certain conditions are met, human players can convert themselves and some of their courtiers by right-clicking on their character portrait and selecting the Convert to new culture decision.
- Norse splits into several cultures starting in 950.
- Province flipping stops if the top liege is Norse and holds either an empire or multiple kingdoms (it doesn't matter which ones) or if the province owner's head of religion is of Norse culture.
- Ruler flipping stops if the top liege is Norse and controls Uppland (Sweden), Akershus (Norway), and Sjaelland (Denmark).
- Provinces can flip back to Norse after 1150.
- Norse does not suffer 'foreigner' penalties with its child cultures.
- Norman is formed if a Norse ruler owns a Frankish, Occitan or Breton province.
- English is formed if a Norman ruler owns an Anglo-Saxon province in the region of England after 1100.
- Lombard (flips to Italian): Lombard rulers and provinces exist until well after the 1066 start date. They are MUCH more common in 769, however. MTTH reduced to 30% of original time if province owner is Latin culture group.
- Dutch culture is formed by event from Frankish, Frisian, or Saxon provinces in the duchies of Holland, Gelre, Brabent, and Flanders. MTTH halved for all 3 cultures if province owner is Dutch.
- Many cultures only appearing in the 769 Charlemagne and/or 867 Old Gods start dates:
- Visigothic splits up into Castillian, Catalan, Occitan, or Andalusian unless controlled by a powerful Visigoth ruler (emperor or multi-king) or if province owner's head of religion is Visigothic (the province himself owner need not be Visigothic, only his religious head). There is a province-based event to flip in 850. Will become Castillian, Catalan or Occitan if province is non-Muslim, specific culture is selected by region. A province owner of the new culture for that region halves MTTH. Will become Andulasian if province is Muslim, and in region custom_andulasia. A province owner of the Arabic culture group halves MTTH.
- Suebi flips to Portuguese, if non-Muslim. Portuguese province owner halves MTTH.
- Saxon flips to German (or Dutch) once Widukind rebellion has happened, unless controlled by a powerful Saxon ruler or if both province owner and his head of religion are Saxon (flips to Dutch if in the duchies of Holland, Gelre, Brabent, and Flanders). MTTH halved if province owner is German.
- Frankish flips to French, or Dutch if in the duchies of Holland, Gelre, Brabent, and Flanders. To flip to French, the province owner must have either Frankish culture or any culture from the Latin group. A province owner with Latin culture group halves MTTH. The player conversion decision is titled "Embrace the Carolingian Renaissance".
- Pictish flips to Scottish unless controlled by a powerful Pictish ruler (emperor or multi-king) or if province owner is Pictish
- Frisian (flips to Dutch if in the duchies of Holland, Gelre, Brabent, and Flanders). MTTH halved if province owner is Dutch.
- Ilmenian, Severian, Volhynian merge into Russian when ruler is either:
- not an unreformed pagan OR
- not of East Slavic or Finno-Ugric culture OR
- already Russian
Stoics: Civilize Province
Members of the Stoic Intelligentsia (the monastic order for Hellenics) may convert a county's culture by spending devotion.
(Without Conclave) If you want to change your child's culture, assign a guardian of that culture with the diligent and/or the gregarious trait. The guardian must be a ruler or in a court with the same culture. You can find appropriate guardians by right-clicking any character of the culture, selecting "show character relations", selecting "my culture", and typing "diligent" or "gregarious". With Conclave, use the Heritage childhood focus.
Assign high-stewardship characters of your culture as counts on the edge of your culture. They'll rapidly change the culture to their own, getting rid of the revolt risk.
Try to have a single county per character. As the culture change event fires on a character level, a single character owning more than one county makes it less likely to happen on a per-county level. This also ensures that your vassals are weakened, and unlikely to challenge your rule.
Try to have your vassals belong to your culture, as you'll get lower revolt risk and avoid the foreigner opinion penalty. Vassals with foreign cultures and located far away from your capital are much more likely to start independence factions.
Prioritize conquering same-culture provinces over provinces of a different culture. Prioritize same culture-group over different culture groups. You'll get less severe penalties that way.
Cultures and succession/ government type
- Under nomadic succession, having a different culture from the present head of the clan will disqualify a dynast from succession.
- Non-Celtics will no longer be able to use Tanistry succession once they inherit, unless they have a bloodline that allows tanistry.
- A culture from the Tibeto-Burman culture group is required for Monastic Feudalism.
- Chinese Imperialism requires Khitan, Tangut, or Jurchen culture or Chinese culture group. Upon inheritance, the successor will be given the chance to convert if their culture is not "correct".
List of Cultures
Note: the order is the one from 00_cultures.txt
|Culture||Culture Group||Base group ethnicity||Base ethnicity||Notes||Code|
|Lombard||Converts to Italian if in de jure Italy, Sicily, or Sardinia and Corsica||lombard|
|Frankish||Converts to French (except in Frisia)||old_frankish|
|Suebi||Converts to Portuguese if in de jure Galicia or Portugal and owner is non-Muslim||suebi|
|English||West Germanic||westerngfx||englishgfx||Created by events if Norman ruler controls Anglo-Saxon province in the region of England after year 1100.||english|
|Anglo-Saxon||saxongfx||Independent dukes are called petty kings||saxon [sic]|
|Saxon||Converts to German once Widukind rebellion has happened (which won't happen if Saxony remains independent of the Franks).||old_saxon|
|Frisian||Converts to Dutch if in de jure Frisia||frisian|
|Dutch||germangfx||Frankish, Saxon or Frisian provinces in de jure Frisia flip to Dutch||dutch|
|Norman||normangfx||Created by event if Norse ruler controls Frankish, Occitan or Breton province
Seafaring - receives 90% discount to raised ship levies
|Italian||italiangfx||Greater likelihood of being elected to College of Cardinals.||italian|
|Roman||romangfx||Can be restored by decision. Blind characters cannot inherit.||roman|
|Dalmatian||dalmatiangfx||Blind characters cannot inherit.||dalmatian|
|Outremer||outremergfx||Can be formed by decision.||outremer|
|Basque||Iberian||occitangfx||italiangfx||Enables Absolute cognatic gender law.||basque|
|Visigothic||Converts to Castillian, Catalan, Occitan or Andalusian depending on de jure kingdom and owner religion||visigothic|
|Arberian||Byzantine||easterngfx||byzantinegfx||Can castrate or blind prisoners via decision. Blind characters cannot inherit. Can also use "Restore Byzantium" decision.||arberian|
|Irish||Celtic||westerngfx||celticgfx||Enables Tanistry succession law.
Independent dukes are called petty kings.
All Altaic cultures can raid. All Altaic cultures can use Tribal Invasion CB if Pagan, and either Tribal government or Elective Gavelkind succession.
Mongol, Khitan and Jurchen (Horde cultures) are restricted to Agnatic succession. Without Horse Lords, Horde cultures can use Tribal Invasion if non-Christian.
Mongols can also use the "Become Genghis Khan" decision.
Khazars: Radhanite Quarter available for Silk Road Trade Posts
Turkish, Karluk and Khitan use dynasty name as realm title.
Khitan and Jurchen can use the "Adopt Chinese Imperialism" decision
|Bedouin||Arabic||muslimgfx||arabicgfx||Uses dynasty name as realm title.||bedouin_arabic|
|Berber||berbergfx||Uses dynasty name as realm title.
Can always raid for loot. Seafaring - receives 90% discount to raised ship levies.
|Levantine||levantinegfx||Uses dynasty name as realm title.||levantine_arabic|
|Ilmenian||Converts to Russian if owner is not an unreformed pagan, not East Slavic or Finno Ugric, or is already Russian||ilmenian|
|Pomeranian||West Slavic||easterngfx||westernslavicgfx||pommeranian [sic]|
|Persian||Iranian||muslimgfx||persiangfx||Uses dynasty name as realm title.||persian|
|Sogdian||Independent dukes are called petty kings.||sogdian|
|Kurdish||Uses dynasty name as realm title.||kurdish|
|Saka||Independent dukes are called petty kings.||saka|
|Ethiopian||East African||muslimgfx||africangfx||Independent dukes are called petty kings.||ethiopian|
|Daju||Independent dukes are called petty kings. Can always raid for loot.||daju|
|Mandé||West African||muslimgfx||westafricangfx||manden [sic]|
|Nahua||Mesoamerican||mesoamericangfx||mesoamericangfx||Horde culture: can use Tribal Invasion if not Christian (or if Pagan, and either Tribal government or Elective Gavelkind succession, with Horse Lords installed) restricted to Agnatic gender law. Can always raid for loot.||nahuatl|
|Ashkenazi||Israelite||easterngfx||byzantinegfx||No provinces have these cultures, but courtiers with them appear by event.
Radhanite Quarter available for Silk Road Trade Posts
|Bengali||Indo-Aryan||indiangfx||indiangfx||Uses dynasty name as realm title||bengali|
|Nepali||bodpagfx||Independent dukes are called petty kings. Can always raid for loot.||nepali|
|Tamil||Dravidian||southindiangfx||southindiangfx||Uses dynasty name as realm title||tamil|
|Horse||Horse||horsegfx||horsegfx||Can be created through the Conclave or The Reaper's Due version of the events where a Lunatic ruler appoints his horse the realm chancellor or Court Physician.
|Cat||Cat||catgfx||catgfx||Can be created through the absurd "Mittens the Spymaster" event chain, for a Lunatic ruler who has a pet cat
You might want to convert to one of these powerful cultures, especially if you have a sprawling empire and most of your vassals will consider you a foreigner no matter what you choose.
Before jumping the gun with retinues, check the old thread at PI forums https ://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/comprehensive-retinue-comparisons-for-horse-lords-2-4-x.872371/ for latest known comprehensive analysis of retinues in general and cultural ones in particular. There's a lot more to retinues than unit's base strength and numbers, and most retinues that look strong at first glance reveal themselves to be shamefully inefficient once troop composition and flank tactics are taken into account.
Also, perhaps more importantly, mind your location. Changing culture of the land itself in not an easy process and the penalty of not matching the culture of the lands you hold (less levies, less taxes, no access to cultural buildings) often outweighs the advantages of a different culture. Also, as a rule of thumb, evaluation of cultural retinues assumes that you have the appropriate cultural buildings in your capital. If your capital does not share that culture (and thus cannot support those buildings) your new retinues will end up being notably worse than expected. Fortunately, generic ones are always a solid backup choice.
|Culture||Succession allowed||Warfare advantages||Other|
Superior leadership traits
|Byzantine (group)||Castration or blinding
|East Slavic (group)|
|Tibetan||Absolute cognatic (some)||
There are a couple of console commands that can help to force culture change:
- "culture <Character ID> <Culture>" - Changes the culture of the targeted character (use the charinfo function to find a character's ID number).
- "event 55000 <Province ID>" - Will convert the province's culture to the culture of the county's owner. Note that <Province ID> corresponds to the numerical "ID" number listed in the chart on the Provinces page.
- "event 55001 <Province ID>" - Brings in settlers.
- "event 925 <Character ID>" - Converts the county where the targeted character is located to the culture of their liege.