- Crown authority represents the centralization of powers to the monarch,
- Investiture decides who shall nominate Catholic bishops: the Pope or the king/emperor.
Crown laws always apply within their de jure realm, even if those provinces are part of another realm (exceptions occur in the case of different religions). Thus, if a province in another de jure kingdom is conquered, and there is a king of that kingdom, their crown laws will apply to that province. If parts of the realm belong to unincorporated kingdoms, the crown laws of the primary title apply instead.
The aspects of crown law that apply specifically to vassals will be based on where the vassals have their capital. It is entirely possible for a vassal to be getting the opinion modifier for high crown authority for example, while most of his holdings are in a kingdom with lower crown authority.
Crown laws can be put up for vote at any time as long as the realm is not ruled by a regent, not in a civil war, or crown laws haven't been changed prior under the current ruler, and it is not a tribal realm.
Crown Authority decides how much power the king has over his vassals, and affects several aspects of the realm. It is a Crown Law and determined on a per-kingdom/empire basis. It determines:
- How much levies vassals are obliged to provide. This starts at 0% with Autonomous Vassals, and increases by 20% per level, to a max of 80% with Absolute Crown Authority. This overrides both opinion and levy laws as long as it is higher. Higher crown authority thus means that the player are able to call on larger levies in times where their vassals dislike them, e.g. after a succession.
- How many levies vassals may raise for their own wars. Vassals must leave 20% per level of their demesne levy troops in their holdings, as if they were garrison troops. When raising levies from their vassals, however, dukes get the benefit of crown authority without suffering the opinion penalty from their counts.
- Increases the king privileges at each level of crown authority.
- The opinion modifier from vassals, which makes them less willing to provide tax and levies, and more likely to join factions due to low opinion.
- The inclination of vassals to join a faction to lower crown authority.
There are five tiers of crown authority, ranging from no crown authority to absolute crown authority. As authority increases the monarch becomes more powerful, while his vassals' opinion of him decrease as they lose some of their privileges.
Newly created kingdoms default to Limited Crown Authority if created by a duke. Additional kingdoms created by existing kings or emperors get the crown authority of the current primary title. This makes it often advisable to switch one's primary title to the kingdom with the highest level of authority before creating a new kingdom.
When increasing crown authority, all de jure vassals of the crown title will get -30 opinion with you for 5 years.
|Vassal opinion||Privileges of the King||Succession Laws||Minimum Levies||Requirements|
|Autonomous Vassals||+5||Gavelkind, Feudal elective||0%|
|Limited Crown Authority||-5||Title revocation.||Ultimogeniture||20%||Legalism I|
|Medium Crown Authority||-10||Free revocation of titles from infidels and heretics, no war between vassals.||Seniority||40%||Legalism II|
|High Crown Authority||-20||Titles only passable within realm.||Primogeniture||60%||Legalism III|
|Absolute Crown Authority||-30||Vassals cannot go to war.||80%||Legalism V|
No Crown Authority Law
This is the default for independent counts and dukes if the de jure kingdom which they belong to does not exist (or if the de jure kingdom exists, the king is of another religion). It functions in most respects like Minimal Crown Authority with two important exceptions: titles may be revoked, and any succession law may be chosen. This means that before forming a kingdom, it is possible to adopt primogeniture succession (and often very desirable as well, as the adoption will no longer be possible under low Crown Authority). Independent counts and dukes can convert to a religion different from their de jure king to escape the Crown laws of their de jure kingdom, if it exists. However, if converting to a religion which is considered by their de jure king to be heretical or infidel, the de jure king may declare holy wars.
Also called "Minimum Crown Authority", this is the weakest level. There are no minimum levies. Titles of vassals may not be revoked. The "Institute Elective Succession" faction becomes available to top-level vassals - making efforts to lower crown authority very attractive to ambitious dukes.
Limited Crown Authority
At Limited Crown Authority, the liege gets the ability to revoke titles. This ability is extremely important, as you can freely strip a single title from any vassal that rebels, thus allowing you to redistribute power in a way that makes the realm more stable. This level is also sometimes called "Low Crown Authority". This is the highest level unreformed Pagans and Merchant Republics can attain.
Medium Crown Authority
At Medium Crown Authority, the liege can revoke titles from infidels, heretics, and (if pagan or brahmic) followers of related religions. Instead of having to deal with their large opinion penalties, their titles could be redistributed to vassals who like you much more. This ability is crucial if the demand religious conversion are not accepted (due to low opinion, particularly for zealous characters), the player's religion has low moral authority, or if the plan is to convert to another religion.
Vassals will no longer be able to go to war against each other. This prevents a single vassal from growing too powerful, and also helps redirect their ambition toward external expansion. However, there are two exceptions. Vassals of vassals can still rebel against their lieges (usually with factions). Vassal kings can ignore the rule if their primary kingdom is not a de jure vassal of the empire.
Enables the possibility to change succession law to seniority.
High Crown Authority
Upon passing High Crown Authority, titles can no longer be inherited by anyone outside the realm, and will thus no longer lead to loss parts of the realm due to inheritance. This leads to a more predicable inheritance.
Plots of sub-vassals against their lieges are disabled at this Crown Authority Level, as are plots of dukes to weaken each other. This further reduces the amount of fighting between vassals. The only remaining possible intra-vassal wars are counts attacking their lieges directly, without using a plot.
Enables the possibility to change succession law to primogeniture.
Absolute Crown Authority
Absolute Crown Authority (also called "Max Crown Authority") gives one final privilege: vassals can no longer go to war (with the exception of rebellion). This means that vassals will no longer be able to grow powerful by taking land from outside the realm, and makes them more manageable. It does not apply to any king vassal unless under the liege's de jure empire.
Enables the possibility to enact Imperial Administration to Imperial, if you also have Majesty tech level V.
Investiture laws are Crown Laws that only apply to Catholics; no other religion has them. The choice of law represents the historical conflict between the nobility and the Pope about who should appoint the local bishops. Investiture law decides if the Pope appoints bishops, or if their liege does.
The historical investiture controversy began in the eleventh century. After the year 1000, the Pope will have a negative opinion of kings/emperors with Free Investiture, and occasionally request that they switch to Papal Investiture. Catholic kingdoms start out using Papal Investiture, and can always switch to Free Investiture, but cannot switch back to Papal Investiture before the year 1000, unless requested by the Pope as a condition for officiating a coronation ceremony.
Emperors who have Papal Investiture can only ask the Pope to officiate their coronation ceremony.
If the HRE has Papal Investiture, clergy electors under the Princely elective system have increased voting power.
If a ruler has Free Investiture, they will be able to appoint the successor to any bishopric that is their direct vassal, and every vassal within the de jure kingdom will be able to do the same. This makes vassal bishops considerably happier with their lieges, as they are grateful for having been appointed, and they will get +10 opinion with whoever their liege is. Former courtiers that was appointed will have an additional +50 opinion toward the liege. Any vassal under the liege that has bishops as their vassals will also be pleased, as they now have control over their bishops. Free investiture will also enable appointment of an antipope.
However, the Pope will be quite unhappy with this state of affairs. A ruler with free investiture has a penalty to acceptance of papal requests and is more vulnerable to hostile requests such as excommunication. Furthermore, after the year 1000, rulers with Free Investiture will get -30 opinion with the Pope and may receive a letter from the Pope demanding Papal Investiture. Rulers may choose to comply (this raises the moral authority of the Church by 2%), refuse (reduces MA by 2%), bribe the Pope (costs 200 gold), or if Learning skill of the ruler is above 16, refuse on theological grounds (gives you piety).
This means that over time, Free Investiture does have the potential to be a moderate money drain. However, as long as the realm is moderately large, the gold needed for a single Papal bribe is unlikely to be more than a couple years' income at most. The largest disadvantage to Free Investiture is the much increased risk of excommunication; as long as there are political enemies and a lack of traits which the Church likes, the player can easily end up excommunicated, giving every Catholic in the world a casus belli against them and reducing all Catholic vassals' opinion by 15.
Catholic emperors who have vassalized the Pope should consider having Free Investiture before their (and their successors') coronation by the Pope, so that the Pope can ask for a law change rather than independence (which is another valid and popular request).
- Unless often excommunicated, use Free Investiture for a steady increase in gold. With , emperors would want to use Free Investiture to have flexibility in choosing who to crown them, and to satisfy a papal request for Papal Investiture in exchange for coronation.
- Medium Crown Authority generally grants the best of both worlds.
- To control inheritance and loss of land, it's probably a good idea to invest in High Crown Authority.
- To change your laws to Seniority succession, Medium Crown Authority is required.
- To change your laws to Primogeniture succession, High Crown Authority is required.
- It's generally recommended to at least have Limited Crown Authority, unless the ruler and their heir have no reason to revoke vassal titles.
- If independent and a duke or count, and the de jure kingdom exists, consider converting to a religion that has "religious differences" to the de jure king's religion. Succession laws can then be controlled and will not draw the de jure king's attention by being a heretic or infidel.
Multiple Crown Laws in a Single Realm
It is possible that a Kingdom title does not get a set of crown laws of its own, but automatically receives those of its liege's title. This is displayed in the laws screen with the message in the format "The Crown Laws of <empire> apply in <kingdom>" where the law buttons would usually be.
If the kingdom is both a de facto and de jure vassal of its liege, its crown laws are the same as its de jure liege. Otherwise, the kingdom has and sets its own crown laws.
- The King of Italy is a vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor. The Kingdom of Italy has and sets its own crown laws, because the HRE is not its de jure liege.
- The King of Bavaria is a vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor. The Kingdom of Bavaria uses the same crown laws as the HRE, because the HRE is its de jure and de facto liege.
- The King of Frisia is independent and the HRE exists. The Kingdom of Frisia has and sets its own crown laws, because the holder has no de facto liege.
- The Holy Roman Emperor is also the King of Germany. The Kingdom of Germany has and sets its own crown laws, because the holder has no de facto liege.
- The King of France is also the King of Aquitaine. Both the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Aquitaine have and set their own crown laws, because the holder has no de facto liege.
Applied Crown Laws in two or more realms
A kingdom or empire's de jure territory is often held by different independent realms. Which crown law applies to a particular county at any given time can be seen by using the de jure kingdom or de jure empire mapmodes and mousing over the county in question.
These are the rules for which crown law applies in a county in order of highest to lowest priority:
- The de jure kingdom's crown laws inside its de facto realm.
- The de jure empire's crown laws inside its de facto realm.
- The de facto top liege's crown laws if the de jure liege title is held by a character of a different religion.
- The de facto top liege's primary title's crown laws if no de jure liege title exists.
- The de jure kingdom's crown laws in the realm of an independent duke or count.
- No crown laws apply, if its de jure kingdom and empire do not exist and its top liege is a duke or count.
- The king of France holds the county of Paris. The crown laws of France apply.
- The Holy Roman Emperor holds the county of Köln. The crown laws of the HRE apply.
- The Catholic Holy Roman Emperor holds the county of Paris and the king of France is Catholic. The crown laws of France apply.
- The Catholic king of France holds the county of Köln and the Holy Roman Emperor is Catholic. The crown laws of the HRE apply.
- The Sunni sultan of Andalusia holds the county of Paris and the king of France is Catholic. The crown laws of Andalusia apply.
- The Sunni sultan of Andalusia holds the county of Köln and there is no king of Germany nor a Holy Roman Emperor. The crown laws of Andalusia apply.
- The independent duke of Valois holds the county of Paris and there is a king of France. The crown laws of France apply, irrelevant of religion.
- The independent duke of Köln holds the county of Köln and there is no king of Germany nor a Holy Roman Emperor. No crown laws apply.