Government type is the form of government that a character lives under or rules by. It dictates the available succession laws and holdings of a character, and some government types have unique mechanics.
There are several ways to change government type during the game. Special decisions allow tribes and nomads to become more "settled". Inheriting a title, or dying with a landed heir, can also result in the player experiencing a change in government type.
List of government types
|Government||Group||Description||Special mechanics||Settlements held without penalties|
|Feudal||Feudal||Feudal government is a government in which the realm is organised around the Feudal system, where power is delegated to nobles who are given grants of land in exchange for troops. Non-Christian feudal rulers require the appropriate religion DLC ()to be playable.||Not available to Muslims and (Bons or Buddhists) in Tibetan culture group||✓||If same culture|
|Iqta||Feudal||Iqta government is similar to feudal; it rules according to the Arabic Iqta system rather than the feudal system. Requires Sword of Islam DLC to be playable.||Requires title holder to be Muslim. Realm laws are changed by spending piety. Allows decadence.||✓||✓||If same culture|
|Monastic Feudal||Feudal||The Monastic Feudal government is unique to Tibeto-Burman cultures of either the Buddhist or Bön faiths, and allows holding Temples in addition to Castles. Monastic Feudal rulers can also construct Gompa Monastery buildings in Castle holdings. Playable with the appropriate religion DLC: The Old Gods or Jade Dragon for Bön; Rajas of India for Buddhism.||Must be (Bons or Buddhists) in Tibetan culture group. Realm laws are changed by spending piety. Gompa monasteries can be built in castles and are active only under this government form.||✓||✓||If same culture|
|Chinese Imperial||Feudal||The Chinese Imperial government, much like the ordinary Feudal government, revolves around vassals owing fealty to their liege, who in this case is considered to be the divine Child of Heaven, and ruler of all. The Imperial government is unique to those who would claim the throne of China, much to the displeasure of the head of the current Imperial Dynasty, who rules from China proper. The decision to adopt Chinese Imperialism requires the Jade Dragon DLC.||Capital move cooldown 200 months. No opinion penalties from wrong government. No opinion penalties from wrong religion even for marriage proposal. Cannot demand conversion. Can revoke duchies and retract vassals without tyranny. Requires Khitan/Tangut/Jurchen culture or Chinese culture group and primary title to be an empire that adopted imperialism. +1 Piety per month. +10 vassal limit. Cannot create Religious mandate law. Cannot be elective.||✓||✓||If same culture|
|Holy Order||Feudal||The most pious followers of their religion might join Holy Orders in an attempt to defend the faith from outside forces. Coming to the defense of any Lord or Lady who might be attacked by infidels, they are the stalwart protectors of the faithful. These orders have strict hierarchies, passing from one leader to next within the order. Since there is no dynastic persistence, holy orders are not playable.||Cannot imprison and revoke landed title without just reason. Revoking titles from (holy order holders) and revoking baronies and retracting vassals is considered just. Cannot create or usurp or be granted kingdoms and empires. Holy order vassals give full taxes and levies regardless of opinion.||✓||✓||✓|
|Imperial||Feudal||An Imperial government differs from its feudal counterpart by placing a larger focus on urban areas and a centralized court whose influence affects internal politics. It's available only to the Byzantine and Roman Empires. Councilors and Commanders hold a varying degree of influence, depending on their prestige and competence, which they can use to support or oppose the official heir of the Empire.
(NB: While defined as Feudal, this form of Government is essentially more of a Military Republic and several tooltips even use texts belonging to Merchant Republics, such as ones about usurping kingdoms)
|Capital move cooldown 2000 months. Cannot imprison without just reason. Does not get wrong government opinion penalty. Cannot create empires. Cannot usurp empires and kingdoms. Can retract vassals without tyranny. Cannot be granted a kingdom or empire from character with different government.||✓||✓||If same culture|
|Nomadic||Nomadic||Nomadic government is found in the steppes of central Asia in which the realm is not focused on keeping and holding baronies, but instead moves around in search of new grazing land for horses and other livestock. The only succession law is the Nomad succession law, in which the male relative (uncle, brother, son or nephew) of the same culture with the most prestige inherits.
Whilst nomads can have ordinary vassals, like in the Feudal system, most internal politics is centered around management of the other powerful clans in the realm, who can often rival or outshine the liege in terms of power. Nomadic rulers can only hold the Nomadic capital (a special holding type that is only available to Nomads and exists only in their capital province) without penalty, and gain benefits from having empty land in their realm (increasing their manpower and population, which they use to recruit troops for their horde). Requires Horse Lords DLC to be playable. Non-Christian nomads do not require the relevant DLC in order to play as rulers of certain religions (e.g. The Old Gods for pagans and Zoroastrians). However, if they convert to other government types without converting to a playable religion first, it's game over.
|Capital move cooldown 120 months. Cannot construct castles and cities. Calls nomadic vassals to wars. Does not recieve levies or taxes from nomadic vassals. Realm laws are changed by spending prestige. Revocation allowed even without laws. Raiding. Cannot demand conversion. Cannot change culture. De jure law effects ignored. Males can take up to 3 concubines. -4 Commanders. Vassals give max levies and taxes regardless of opinion. Tyranny actions against non-nomads do not incur tyranny penalty with nomads. Nomadic vassals do not take up vassal limit. Ignores religious differences regarding marriage proposals and concubinage. Can pillage owned non-nomadic holdings. Can settle in castles to become feudal, in tribes to become tribal, in coastal cities to become merchant republic. Can abandon provinces.|
|Merchant republic||Republic||Merchant republic is a government in which the realm centers around trade, and leaders are elected from the five patrician families rather than inheriting according to specific laws. Within each family, inheritance is by Seniority, where the oldest member of the family inherits. It is formed when a coastal province has a city as its capital, and the burgher holding the county title receives at least a ducal title. Requires The Republic DLC to be playable.||✓||✓||If same culture|
|Republic||Republic||Republic is a government in which the ruler is elected from the citizenry. Because there is no dynastic persistence between rulers, Republic governments are not playable.||✓||✓||If same culture|
|Confucian Bureaucracy||Republic||Used only by the Western Protectorate. Because each new governor is appointed by China, this government is not playable. In games without Jade Dragon, this government only exists in the 769 bookmark and from February 1227 onwards.||Cannot revoke titles and/or imprison without just reason. Does not get wrong religion opinion penalty. Does not get wrong government opinion penalty. Cannot demand conversion. Cannot create kingdoms and empires. Cannot inherit titles unless from appointment. Non-nomadic vassals give max taxes and levies regardless of opinion. Characters with this government are generated with stewardship education and have same culture and religion as the emperor of China.||✓||✓||If same culture|
|Theocracy||Theocracy||Theocracy is a government in which the realm is ruled by the clergy in the name of religion. Rulers are appointed or elected from the clergy. Since there is no dynastic persistence, theocracy governments are not playable.||✓||✓||If same culture|
|Tribal||Tribal||Tribal is a government which is settled but doesn't construct advanced holdings. The only succession law available to unreformed pagan tribes is the Elective gavelkind law, which splits the realm between all the sons of the ruler. Like nomads, tribes benefit from empty land in their realm. Non-Christian tribal rulers require the appropriate religion DLC () to be playable.||Tribal vassals take up vassal limit. Can build tribes that cost prestige, but cannot build cities and castles. Allows decadence if Muslim. Allows raiding. De jure law effects are ignored. Males can take up to 3 concubines. Cannot revoke titles from tribal vassals of different religion without tyranny. Taxes and levies from tribal vassals or calling them to arms is determined by tribal organization and independence.||✓|
|Landless||Landless||Landless government refers to people who have no rule whatsoever. It is usually the result of save corruptions when found in a living non-adventurer, and it is called "nogovernment" in code. As such, it is never playable.|
There are several ways to change the government type of the player character or succession line.
Among feudal governments
The three basic variants of feudalism are determined by religion and culture:
- Muslims use Iqta
- Bön or Buddhist rulers from a Tibeto-Burman culture use Monastic Feudal
- All others use standard Feudal
Chinese Imperial government can only be adopted by decision. It can be abandoned by having a heir of an ineligible culture, which will create an event where you can choose between converting your heir to your culture or abandoning Chinese Imperial Government. When adopted, the empire title becomes a titular title.
(Roman) Imperial government can only be adopted by having the Byzantine Empire (or Roman Empire) as primary and having Imperial elective succession. The government will change automatically the next time the game checks government eligibility, e.g. after a save and load.
Between government groups
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|→||Settle as a Tribe in <tribal holding or capital>||To use a nomadic capital, it must have a lv2 council building||
|→||Settle as Feudal in <castle or mosque>||Muslims may use a mosque instead of a castle|
|→||Found a Merchant Republic in <city>||Players are limited to coastal cities|
|→||Found Merchant Republic||
|→||Inheritance conflict||Inherit a higher tier title, or die with your heir holding a same rank title.
Note that you cannot grant a kingdom to a ruler with a different government type, so you'll have to arrange for your heir to be independent and able to create the kingdom title themselves, or perhaps press a claim for them instead.
|→||Any||Settle a son||Conquered settled land||Strangely, inheriting a khaganate does not change your heir's government to nomadic. Vassal clans remain vassals but are not very useful.|
|Any||→||Inherit clan from vassal||Empire rank. Nomads exist.||
Strangely, inheriting a clan changes your government type to nomadic.
(Does the khan have to be of your dynasty? Because of the claim war outcome, the succession rules, or both? Does this actually work in the same version as the method above for going in the opposite direction??)
|→||Abdicate to mayor||Duke, coastal capital||This method is very fragile and requires taking advantage of several game bugs.|
|→||Break Chinese Imperialism||Emperor, Jade Dragon DLC||This method also requires taking advantage of several game bugs.|
|Any||→||Any||Console commands||Not ironman||The command |
|Any||→||Any||Select another character||Not ironman||While loading a game, you may select another character before clicking "Play". The |
The rule that you must play as your primary heir is rather arbitrary, and voluntarily switching play upon succession may feel better than abusing the game over escape hatch (below).
|Any||→||Any||Lose all titles without dying||Another dynasty member is playable||Rather than getting game over, you may be transferred to play as another character — even a ToG adventurer! (Works only in previous versions)|
|Any||→||Form the Hansa||
You may switch to a new title when:
You may switch to a new character if a dynasty member becomes a ruler due a Crusade: