|Available only with the Horse Lords DLC enabled.|
Nomadism is the form of government of the migratory horse lords roaming the Eurasian steppes. Nomadic gameplay differs markedly from that of feudal lords or merchant republic patricians, although certain restrictions and mechanics are similar.
Without the Horse Lords DLC, nomadic realms are tribal instead. Indeed, nomadic and tribal governments share some similarities. Nomadism is also one of three playable non-feudal government types in CK2, the other two being merchant republics and tribalism.
Nomads get wrong government penalty for holding any of the regular holding types - castles, cities, temples or tribes. Empty holding slots in demesne provinces serve as grazing grounds for the nomadic population and armies. Uniquely among all government types, nomads do not have a demesne limit; a Khagan will be increasingly pressured to hand out excess nomadic counties - that is, counties with at most one holding - or risk revolts due to lowered clan sentiments or minor clans rising up. Vassal khans can hold as many nomadic counties as they like, while all nomads can hold as many counties with 2 or more holdings in them as they like.
Each nomad has a single capital holding. This holding does not provide taxes or levies, but does have a large number of potential buildings, which will give bonuses to population growth, taxes, fighting ability and supply limit, among other things. Nomads can move their capital more frequently than other rulers, and all buildings are carried to the new location (although some buildings may become inactive). Nomadic capitals have more building options based on their location, the terrain of the county and whether a trade post has been built in the county.
Nomads can only build temples, and not any other holding type. This is essential in order to reform the faith for Tengri Pagans (or any pagan religion which can be reformed). Without doing so, the holy sites only provide 5% moral authority due to being unsettled. When reformed, the temples do lock the province religion to the unreformed version due to holdings preventing the culture and religion spread which applies for empty nomadic provinces; such provinces have to be converted by Court Chaplains.
Nomads cannot build hospitals or forts, but can take over and upgrade hospitals built by previous county owners. They can also build trade posts on important Silk Road counties.
Nomads can pillage holdings in two ways:
- For holdings they own personally, they can right-click on the holding to issue a Pillage command. This gives 50 gold and 5 technology points in a random area (if pillaging a castle, city or temple) or 25 gold and 150 Population (when pillaging a tribe), and destroys two buildings within the holding.
- After a successful siege or sack, they might sometimes get an event which allows them to pillage; this gives 10 gold and 5 technology points in a random area, or 5 gold and 75 Population (when pillaging a tribe), and destroys one building within the holding.
Pillaging a holding with two or fewer buildings destroys it, freeing up another empty holding slot to further increase maximum population. The complete destruction of a holding will give 5 prestige (the event will happen a few days later). The culture and religion of the county will flip when all holdings are destroyed. The rewards will be between the normal 5 prestige and the following choices.
- Population boom (0.08% population growth bonus and 0.1% manpower growth bonus in the capital for 10 years, the modifier will move with the capital) if diligent or gardener .
- Throne of skulls (local modifier, +0.5 prestige monthly) if cruel or impaler .
- Nomadic rites site (local modifier, +0.5 piety monthly for 10 years) if zealous or possessed .
To pillage, one must be an independent ruler (this usually means that only the Khagan can pillage), and either own both the province and the holdings (if the province is owned by a vassal but the holding isn't, pillaging will sometimes not be allowed) or be the holding controller, while the holding has four or more buildings.
Pillaging also significantly increases the chance of a revolt (+30% from Rampaging Horde modifier), although completely destroying all holdings in the province will prevent revolts. As holdings are destroyed, the size of revolts in the province generally decreases; revolts from pillaging holdings are most dangerous while pillaging well-developed counties with many holdings. The Rampaging Horde modifier also reduces levy reinforcement by 100%, making holdings very vulnerable to sieges.
While in control of holdings during pillages, nomads will suffer reductions in liege tax from non-nomadic vassals.
Granting of titles
Nomads automatically demote county's capital to a barony, causing the county title to be grantable only to Nomads. Thus, they cannot create vassal theocracies or merchant republics (unless there is already a vassal coastal count-tier republic present or the county somehow keeps its capital holding). When Nomads conquer a county (invasion, county conquest, or obtained by revoking the county), an empty slot is created by default to be the county capital. (If the county already has 7 holdings, one of them will not be displayed in the province view until more space is available, but will otherwise function normally). Nomads cannot change the county capital. Nomads can only have baron vassals, except higher vassals obtained via a subjugation war or succession.
Population and manpower
The maximum Population of a clan (before modifiers) is given by [((Number of empty holding slots in the khan's demesne counties) x 1000) - (maximum Manpower )]. The current population increases by 1% of the difference between current and maximum population each month, or decreases by 1% of the excess if it exceeds maximum population. Population provides income (nomad tax) based on Stewardship and buildings at the nomad capital. The Invasion CB requires a population of at least 30000 and at least 75% of maximum population, while the Subordination CB requires at least half of maximum population. The nomadic capital has buildings which increase the maximum Population and Population growth.
Formula to find out time in months for the population to reach a certain percentage :
time = ( ln( (1-%) Maximum population) - ln(Maximum population - Current Population ) )/ ln( 1-Growth Rate )
- It takes about 128 months for 10% of max population to 75% of max population at 1% growth rate : (ln(0.25)-ln(0.9))/ln(1-0.01) = 127.5.
- It takes about 23 months for 50% of max population to 75% of max population at 3% growth rate : (ln(0.25)-ln(0.5))/ln(1-0.03) = 22.8.
Population also contributes to Manpower , which increases to a maximum of 1/5 of current Population . Manpower increases monthly by 9% of the difference between current and maximum Manpower . Manpower is used to raise and reinforce horde troops, permanent armies of cavalry similar to retinue troops. Each army unit requires 250 manpower to maintain, regardless of the unit type, unlike how retinue-cap usage varies. Creating and maintaining horde regiments also costs prestige, wealth or Piety, depending on the type. New regiments start at half strength, unlike retinues.
Unused Manpower also provides nomad tax.
- Counter-intuitively, as your Population increases, your maximum Population actually decreases, as your maximum Manpower also increases.
- If Population growth is a concern, consider reducing or halting military activities; a great decrease in Manpower (from replacing casualties) can cause Population gains to stop or even lower Population.
- In past versions of the game, if the maximum population is too high, you will not be able to launch invasions (since the game won't be able to calculate percentages). The limit is 2^21 which is about 2.09 million. It can be attained by having empty counties comprising the whole of Europe and the steppes. As of patch 3.2.1, it is possible to have over 6M population with the only problems being prestige/game score overflow.
Casus belli and Warfare
Nomads have several powerful casus belli available to them:
- They can conquer any adjacent county, even if the target shares religion. However, non-pagans can only use this CB on other nomads and tribals.
- If their population is at least 50% of maximum, they can (for 300 prestige) attempt to subordinate an entire neighboring duchy, vassalizing the target if non-nomadic and below king-tier, while usurping all titles otherwise.
- If their population is at least 75% of maximum and at least 30000, they can (for 100 prestige) invade an entire de jure kingdom.
- They can humiliate another nomad to steal 300 prestige and 25% of the target nomad's population.
- Finally, once during a character's rule (once per century for immortal characters), a nomadic ruler can subjugate an entire non-nomadic realm, obtaining the top title and all vassals in one war regardless of size. Only Khagans may subjugate empires.
Note that if a Khan or Khagan is forced to abdicate due to a non-nomadic vassal rebellion, and the same character then regains the title, the Subjugation CB can be used again. This may not be intended behavior.
Reaching the 75% threshold for using the invasion CB can take a surprisingly long time, since population growth slows down asymptotically as it nears the maximum; it takes about 4.5 years to go from 50% to 70% of maximum population. To get the required population, focus on nomadic capital buildings which increases population growth. There is also an event (after destroying all holdings in a county via pillage, and the character is Diligent ) which allows population growth.
Non-nomads get the "Liberation" CB on nomads, which targets a whole duchy and has no cost, similar to a Holy War. AIs are more likely to use this on duchies with castle or city holdings, as such counties will not have nomad agitation after being conquered.
While not unique to nomads, the CBs which make the target a tributary are more useful for Khagans as it helps with clan sentiment (and thus, improve opinion with vassal khans). Tributaries also cannot join in defensive pacts, something Khagans with high threat can consider.
Nomadic troops are primarily horde troops, which like retinues are not counted as levies. When fighting other nomads, the primary ways to gain warscore are occupying enemy nomadic capitals and winning battles. This becomes an issue when large defensive pacts form against the nomad.
A county counts as nomadic (for the purposes of determining number of clans) if it has 0 or 1 holdings. This includes the nomadic capital. For example, a county containing a single temple would count as nomadic, as long as the nomad does not have their capital there. If the nomad then moves their capital to that province, it would no longer count as nomadic, altering land demands and the maximum clan number.
Independent nomadic rulers (usually called Khagans) always hold an empire-tier titular title. Their nomadic vassals (usually called khans) hold titular kingdom-tier titles which denote their clan, which the Khagan also holds one of. Nomads are not allowed to change their primary title.
Up to 9 clans may exist in a nomadic realm; the maximum number of vassal khans a Khagan may have is 8. The number of vassal clans increases by one for every 5 nomadic counties in the realm, reaching the maximum at 40 nomadic counties. Vassal clans do not count towards a Khagan's vassal limit. They also do not pay taxes to the Khagan or provide levies.
The clans will demand a certain amount of land from the ruler that is dependent on the total number of nomadic counties, once the clan limit rises above 1. This demand is 2 at 5 nomadic counties, 3 at 6 nomadic counties, 4 at 7 or 8 nomadic counties, and 66% of the number of nomadic counties, rounding up, thereafter.
During wars, a Khagan can ask his vassal clans to join in the war. The vassal clans can decline, but at a steep prestige cost and decreased opinion from the Khagan. Khagans may not call vassal clans into wars when honouring requests to join wars from allies or tributaries, or when the vassal clans are already at war with the Khagan's opponents.
If the Khagan holds too many nomadic counties (defined as a county with one or no settlements), his nomadic vassals will be upset. If he is significantly over the limit, there is a high chance of a minor clan revolt erupting in a demesne province. This involves a very large army appearing led by a landless character, similar to a religious or nationalist revolt. On success, the minor clan takes all held territory and becomes a new nomadic vassal clan. It is usually acceptable to immediately surrender to these revolts, as they are very difficult to overcome and the consequences of defeat are minor. Minor clan revolts will not occur once the realm has 9 clans.
After a successful minor clan uprising, the event troops from the rebellion are not disbanded, and can be used by the new khan in other wars.
Clan Sentiment forms a large part of vassal khans' opinion towards their Khagan and each other. You can see the clan sentiment of each khan at the Clans screen. There are no caps on how high or low clan sentiment can go. However, opinion adjustments due to clan sentiment are capped at +100 and -100 respectively.
Clan Sentiment is influenced by:
|Positive Clan Sentiment||Negative Clan Sentiment|
|For Khagan only||Loyal Clan created through splitting +20 (lasts 100 years)||Vassal khan not on council -5|
Rival khan on council -3
Too much land relative to other clans -20 per county
Not enough grazing land
Too many clans -15 per clan over limit
|For all clans||+0.005 per Prestige above 500
Close relatives marriage ties +20
Same religion +10
Chancellor job Improve Clan Sentiment (Propaganda Effort) +10 (lasts 5 years)
Clan Gathering Hall building in Nomad Capital, up to +19
Blood Oath +25
|-0.05 per Prestige below 500|
Feud with Blood Brother -15
Splitting and absorbing clans
A Khagan may choose to establish a new clan and vassal khan by giving out a county and its associated Population , either from his own clan (i.e. his demesne provinces) or his vassal khan with the most Population . As one can imagine, the vassal clan does not welcome this division of land; every province taken from a vassal clan in such a manner will lower the clan sentiment towards the Khagan by 20.
Absorbing a vassal clan will return all counties in the khan's possession to the Khagan; the khan will be reduced to a courtier. This act will lower the vassal khan's opinion of the Khagan by 70; the khan would almost certainly revolt unless he is imprisoned. Also, if the absorbing is done without a valid reason, other vassal clans would also deem the action tyrannical, resulting in lowered clan sentiment. Absorbing a clan after defeating a traitorous khan allows the Khagan to redistribute power between himself and his vassal khans.
Blood oath and feuds
Every khan or the Khagan can swear a blood oath to one fellow khan. Once a blood oath is established, the two khans or Khagan & khan will have increased clan sentiment towards each other, and cannot refuse a call to arms when the other character requests for it. The blood oath lasts until either character passes away. On the Clans screen, the blood oath is represented by a green line linking the two characters.
Feuds may be declared in the same way. However, there are no limits to the number of feuds a khan or Khagan can have, and feuds can last for generations. Feuds allow khans to raid each other; a Khagan feuding with a vassal khan cannot raid the vassal khan. On the Clans screen, a feud is represented by a red line linking the two characters.
Note that the blood oath and feuds are separate from rivalry; it is possible for a blood oath khan to be your rival, while a rival khan will not automatically be in a feud with you.
Granting clans independence
Khagans can grant independence to clans which are at peace. However, as the realm has shrunk, the Khagan may have to give out nomadic counties to remaining vassal clans or start a new clan.
The only succession law is the "Nomadic succession" law, in which the male relative (uncle, brother, son or nephew) (female relatives usually cannot inherit) of the same culture with the most prestige inherits, with sons having priority. Additionally, a vassal clan chief (khan) can inherit the Khagan title if his clan has significantly more prestige (and/or population?). If this happens, the former khaganate's clan becomes a vassal khanate. Children cannot inherit the khaganate, although they can become khans. The child will likely get a strong claim, which can be pressed immediately, though it must be done so by directly declaring war on the new Khagan (with regent and council approval); this war is very difficult to win as the Khagan will call in all other vassal clans as allies. However, in the rare situation whereby the Khagan has no vassal clans, if his successor is a child, the child can become Khagan.
Adult male relatives can be sent out to be mercenary leaders, allowing them to accumulate considerable prestige and wealth. This gives khans a way to influence succession, but carries risk of injury. A less risky way of earning prestige is through honorary titles, particularly the Designated Regent title. Alternatively, if the male relatives are not Muslim, using prestige penalties during marriage (by marrying a lowborn courtier to an undesirable candidate) is one way to damage their chances of becoming heir.
With Holy Fury, powerful nomadic rulers can force the adoption of Open succession during the reformation of their pagan faiths, by adopting either the Agnatic Clans or Enatic Clans doctrine.
- Note: There is a commonly reported issue where once succession has occurred since the clans doctrine has been enacted it will revert to Nomadic Succession straight after the current ruler has died. There is no option to revert back to Open afterwards. This may be due to Paradox's intent on keeping Nomads as a certain play-style.
Vassal breakaway on succession
When the khagan dies, all vassals (of count-tier and above) get a choice to remain a vassal or go independent. Vassals can be disallowed to go independent by setting nomadic realms to "stable" in the game rules.
AI vassals are more likely to choose independence if they are non-nomadic, have low opinion of the (dying??) khagan, or are Ambitious . Vassals in larger khaganates are also more likely to choose independence, making it difficult to blob.
The succeeding khagan will have just cause to reclaim the land:
- If a nomad chooses to become independent, the new khagan gains a personal claim on all of their demesne provinces. These claims are strong, allowing use of the Claim All CB.
- If a non-nomad becomes independent, the new khagan gets the opinion modifier "-50 Declared Independence", allowing free use of the Nomad subjugation CB. This opinion is added toward both the newly independent ruler and toward their dynastic courtiers/vassals, so the war can usually still be pressed after a succession within the newly independent realm.
Nomads and religion
The choice of religion is less important for nomadic rulers, and it is common to see nomadic realms with vassal khans following various religions. Players with the Horse Lords DLC can play as nomads of any religion, even if they lack the religion DLC; some non-Christian religious events are disabled if players do not have the religion DLC. However, consider the following:
- Being unreformed Tengri helps negate all pagan attrition, allowing easier expansion against pagans. Being Tengri also increases the Offense and Defense of your Light Cavalry, a common troop type for nomads. During the Tengri reformation, choosing a "Clans" doctrine (Agnatic or Enatic) will allow the nomad to adopt Open succession, removing nomadic succession's restrictions on culture and age (dynasts of other cultures can inherit, and children can become Khagan).
- Being Muslim means decreased opinion among brothers and half-brothers. You also have limited use of the Carousing focus.
- Non-pagan nomads can only use the County Conquest CB on other nomads and tribals.
- If starting in 769 and near the Holy Land (Magyars, Khazars), restoring the Jewish High Priesthood allows you to start Great Holy Wars earlier than any other religion.
- If starting in 867, reforming a pagan religion and triggering early Crusades/Jihads by the 900s allows the reformed faith to wage Great Holy Wars as well.
Nomads use a special set of nomadic CBs instead of having access to religious CBs. Nomads cannot demand religious conversion or get free revocation on infidels. However, they still suffer from the standard opinion penalties for differing religions.
Nomads have two special ways to convert to another religion.
- First, they can make their sons mercenary captains, who often convert to the local religion (of their army? their employer's capital?).
- They can also spend 50 piety to convert to the religion of another clan leader in the same realm every 10 years.
In addition, nomads can always have concubines, allowing easy access to the "adopt concubine's religion" decision. However, as this decision involves spending prestige, consider using the "adopt secret religion and then openly declare faith" method.
With Holy Fury, powerful nomadic rulers can choose desired attributes for their reformed pagan religion. Due to the special nature of the nomadic government type however, not all features may apply.
- Peaceful: +3 Demesne limit pointless (for Nomads), prohibition on raiding does not apply to nomads
- Unyielding: Garrison Bonus works for nomad capital (adds only a little), Levy Bonus doesn't (for Nomads at least)
- Dogmatic: Prohibition on interfaith marriage does not apply to nomads
- Cosmopolitan: Useless, as nomads can already interfaith marry
- Astrology: Cannot access Hermetic Society as nomad
- Polygamy: Can help creating close marriage ties with clans for alliances and Clan Sentiment, but having below the minimum of wives reduces prestige; unlike concubines, whos increases it
- Meritocracy: Doesn't work with nomad succession
- Equality: Can make Khagan succession safer with more adult spare heirs of both gender
- Unrelenting: Necessary against other unreformed pagan attrition, as nomads can't build forts
- Ancestor Veneration: No Eldership succession
- Religious Tax: Discourages pillage and/or converting counties to benefit from it
- A vassal theocratic Head of Faith (Autocephalous or Hierocratic) will have the -20 wrong government type opinion penalty, even when landed
Due to the lack of religious title revocation and the inability to demand religious conversions, as well as a reduced vassal limit (-10) and the wrong government opinion modifier, it is not recommended for nomads to have many vassals. However, nomads should have vassal barons managing coastal holdings in order to get ships (and to allow ships to dock in a county); vassalizing holy orders and religious heads can also be considered.
Nomads and technology
Nomads do not generate technology points; certain buildings at the nomad capital generate a small amount. As such, consider stealing technology from other realms to make up for the deficit. Pillaging castles, cities and temples will also give random tech points. Nomad tributaries contribute a small amount of tech points that they generate based on their attributes and ranks (starting from the Duke rank).
Each Nomadic capital has its own off map technology counter!
Nomads and laws
With Conclave, nomads only have access to the " Status of women" law and vassal obligations. Also, nomadic councils are fully empowered (although there is no "council authority" law; this means that powerful councilors can still be fired from the council), and rulers cannot reclaim any powers. Also, nomadic councilors can always join factions, and can form a particularly dangerous faction: the Overthrow Khagan faction.
Unlike the usual "overthrow liege" faction, the "Overthrow Khagan" faction has two unique features:
- An additional demand: the execution of the current Khagan.
- The faction can fire once it reaches 50% strength.
Changing government type
1. "Settle as Tribal": Converting to tribal is possible any time if the capital nomadic holding has a level 2 Baghatur Council building, which requires "Improved Keeps 2" technology. When becoming tribal, all nomadic demesne provinces get a tribe holding and remain under the control of the ruler. As of patch 2.6.1, when you choose to 'Settle as Tribal' as a Nomadic realm, your vassal clan Chiefs will settle along with you. Settling as tribal is the only way for nomads to keep their nomadic counties and nomadic vassals after changing governments.
2. "Special Action": To settle down, a tribal holding (for tribalism), a castle (for feudalism) or a coastal city (for a merchant republic) must be held by the Khagan or a direct vassal. Settling converts the new capital, as well as a number of other provinces depending on the nomadic population (one province per 5,000 population, up to a maximum of 19 nearby provinces at 95,000 population), to the nomad's culture and religion, and also gives the ruler a large stack of event troops in place of the now-disbanded nomadic armies (200 per controlled empty holdings). However, if adopting feudalism or merchant republicanism, all nomadic counties are abandoned, and a vassal khan will become the new leader of the remaining nomadic territory. If adopting tribalism through an existing tribe building, your personal nomadic counties will be kept, and all counties will now have a tribe building. By adopting a government, all current baron vassals in your (non-nomadic, even with empty capital) counties will become count-tier vassals and feudal by default. If you want republican count-tier vassals, you should revoke all cities and hold them personally before adopting merchant republicanism.
Your new top title after settling (thanks BFKelleher on reddit):
- If you have barony level vassals or no non-nomad vassals, you will settle as county level.
- If you have duke level vassals, you become a king of the de jure kingdom that you settle into.
- If you have king level vassals, you become emperor level and gain a titular empire based on the county you settled in.
- If you have an empire tier title that isn't the Khaganate, you'll keep that.
Your new demesne (thanks WrongJohnSilver on reddit):
- When settling as Feudal, you keep all non-nomadic counties and your nomadic capital county. All other nomadic counties are released to nomads. Baronies promote to capitals and barons to vassal counts, as before. So, to keep a larger demesne when you settle as feudal, personally hold baronies in the counties you want to keep.
DLC warning: Since Horse Lords allows you to play all nomadic characters regardless of religion, if you intend to change governments, make sure you have the necessary DLC () to play as characters of the religion. See Religion for more details. If you change government types without the required religion DLC, it's game over!
- To maximise the number of counties under your control after conversion to feudalism or merchant republic, consider leaving 2 holdings in counties which you intend to keep. Usually, such counties are found away from the steppes region.
- As such, if you intend to convert to feudalism or a Merchant Republic, prioritize conquests of developed counties. This approach will add fewer nomadic counties to your demesne, which will also reduce your vassal clans' demands.
- Remember that due to having fewer empty holding slots, your horde will not be as powerful. Also, holding counties of different cultures and religions may result in liberation revolts.
- This method allows you to restore the Roman Empire/reclaim the imperial borders or declare yourself the Samrat Chakravartin once you choose to settle down as feudal. However, do make sure that the required territory is all held by you, as vassal khans will leave your realm once you settle as feudal.
- As such, if you intend to convert to feudalism or a Merchant Republic, prioritize conquests of developed counties. This approach will add fewer nomadic counties to your demesne, which will also reduce your vassal clans' demands.
Similarities with Tribes and Merchant Republics
Like in merchant republics, children cannot be a Khagan, but can become khans. Prestige also helps in becoming a Khagan/Doge (although the potential heirs for a Khagan are restricted to male dynasts of the appropriate culture rather than all male dynasts).
- While gold plays a direct role in elections for the Doge, a Khagan may send gifts to his potential heir while the heir is a mercenary, to help with expenses.
- Khans may feud with each other, just like patricians, and the feuds may also last for generations.
- Like patricians, khans will expect a place on their liege's council. The Khagan will suffer an opinion penalty (via lowered clan sentiment) with any khan who's not a councilor.
- Like patrician houses, clans can go extinct if there are no suitable heirs left in the dynasty. However, since nomads have a stricter succession than patricians, it can be easier to render a clan extinct.
- Just as patricians have their family palace, nomads have their nomadic capital, although nomadic capitals can be sieged.
- Unlike a merchant republic, a nomadic realm does not have a fixed number of clans; the Khagan can create clans as desired. However, the Khagan must consider some factors:
- Having only few clans may allow khans to become relatively powerful vis-a-vis the Khagan. But, the Khagan may find it easier to placate the khans.
- The Khagan cannot have too many clans (maximum number can be seen at the Clans screen); excess clans will cause clan sentiment to decline.
- Up to 8 vassal khans may exist in a nomadic realm.
Like all tribals, nomads can raid for loot and prestige; they can find it hard to raid in faraway coastal areas due to a lack of ships.
- Consider giving away coastal holdings to direct vassals and building coastal temples in order to get ships.
- Note that nomads cannot set up vassal merchant republics.
- Nomadic provinces benefit from empty holding slots as well.
- Nomadic councilors can always join factions as well. However, the "Overthrow Khan" faction is more dangerous as the Khagan will be killed if he loses the war declared by this faction.
- Like tribal lieges, nomadic Khagans call their vassal khans to war like allies, instead of raising them like regular levies.
Nomads have a unique way of earning Grace: sending horses to China. The nomad can stop sending this form of tribute at any time, but if stopped, the particular character cannot offer to resume the sending in their lifetime. Sending horses earns the nomad +2 Grace monthly, but reduces manpower gain by 15%.
Nomadic realms around the eastern part of the Steppes lie in the shadow of the Dragon; it may prove beneficial to keep tabs on the activities of the Chinese emperor and the Western Protectorate.
- Keep the dynasty strong: As the head of a clan, make sure you have lots of sons, so that your (potential) heir has many brothers. Preferably, your heir should be the oldest brother among your sons so that his younger brothers are still in the line of succession, until he takes over and churns out his own line of sons.
- Keep an eye on the culture of male relatives, as having a different culture will disqualify them from succession. For this reason, allowing male dynasts to marry landed women of a different culture is risky as the branches may adopt the foreign culture.
- Keep the counties with the largest number of empty holding slots for yourself: This will ensure that your horde is the largest in the realm.
- Hand out counties in such a way so that vassal khans would not be able to form duchies which your demesne counties are de jure part of.
- Prestige is more important for nomadic rulers: As prestige affects clan sentiment (with no caps for clan sentiment; opinion adjustments due to clan sentiment are capped at +100 and -100 respectively), be sure to keep your prestige high.
- In particular, weigh your options carefully whenever you can potentially lose a lot of prestige.
- Consider prioritizing Population increase: The Invasion CB requires 30000 Population and that Population is at least 75% of maximum. As such, keeping population growth high is a good investment.
- Understand nomad CBs: As nomads do not get religious title revocation, it is important to know which CBs put land directly under your control. Aim to usurp titles rather than add vassals; exceptions could be made for coastal realms (particularly merchant republics) as they can provide ships for overseas expansion.
- Consider dominating the Steppes region: In later start dates, free holding slots may be harder to create as holdings take longer to be totally destroyed through pillages. Being the only nomadic realm in the region can ensure a high maximum population , which leads to high population and manpower , allowing you to fight bigger feudal realms.
- Keep the number of vassal khans down to a minimum: The more vassal khans you have, the harder it is to please them all. With a few powerful clans, you can more easily find a blood oath brother who has significant military power, and have more leeway to pick competent courtiers as councilors. Powerful khans may also expand the realm on their own. However, with Conclave, remember that vassal clans with too much land can become Malcontent, making it difficult for you to take actions if they remain on the council.
- If you wish, create multiple, but weak, khans: On the flip side, if your realm can support a large number of clans (>5), use that to create many weak clans. Creating many clans also makes it easier for you to give away land without any clan being able to form duchies which your demesne counties are de jure part of.
- An extreme example would be to create 8 vassal clans, each with one county with few holding slots. This prevents minor clan revolts while ensuring that the vassal clans are unlikely to have a successful revolt even if they band together in a faction. However, this method does not allow you to convert to a merchant republic or feudalism directly without losing your nomadic counties.
- Try to ensure that vassal clans are roughly of equal strength to each other as a vastly weaker clan is easy prey for strong clans.
- Pay attention to your vassal khans' wars: Remember that you may not call vassal clans to a war if they are already at war with your target.
- Use the blood oath on a vassal khan who is relatively strong in your realm: However, powerful khans may not accept the proposal.
- Should you manage to imprison a powerful khan, they cannot refuse the blood oath offer.
- Weigh the pros and cons before making a realm a tributary: Since tributaries cannot be raided, consider the capacity in which a neigbouring realm will be more useful as. Nomadic realms should become tributaries (unless you intend to humiliate them for prestige and population), while richer realms should be made available for raiding.
- Note that your tributaries cannot join in defensive pacts against you. If you intend to grab land from specific targets, consider making your other neighbors tributaries.
- At the same time, be sure not to let your tributaries drag you into wars you don't want; if you are a Khagan, you cannot call vassal clans into such wars.
- Quickly establish land borders with wealthy realms: Raiding can provide not just income and prestige, but also artifacts and technology (by sacking holdings), and the returns on a province with several expanded holdings will be better than one with a single basic tribe.
- If possible, shift your capital to a coastal province with a Silk Road trade post: The additional building options can help make a difference in your population growth and income.
- Use your steward to oversee construction, as some buildings (such as Sheep) have a long construction time.
- If you control many Silk Road trade posts, the Minter will increase their value considerably.
- As a vassal khan, if you aim to become a Khagan, plan ahead: When rebelling against your khagan, remember that your Khagan can call other vassal khans and tributaries to war (unless you lead an "Overthrow Khagan" faction with many fellow Khans supporting you). To ensure success:
- Aim to be the most powerful clan in the realm. This will usually mean that you and your Khagan are the only clans in the realm. If powerful enough, you can replace your Khagan's dynastic heir to become the next Khagan.
- Note that you cannot easily grab land from your Khagan's tributaries, as vassal khans cannot use many nomad CBs against their Khagan's tributaries.
- Revolt upon the succession of a new Khagan, since some types of tributaries expire upon a suzerain's death.
- Plot to kill off adult male relatives of the present Khagan, after becoming the most powerful khan in the realm, but not enough to succeed the Khagan outright. The Khagan title would be passed to you when the present Khagan dies.
- Stay as a powerful vassal khan: If possible, establish a blood oath with your Khagan, so that you are less likely to suffer hostile actions from your liege, and expand so that your clan and the Khagan's clan are the two most powerful clans in the realm. AI Khagans are more likely to accept a blood oath if their clan sentiment of your clan is moderately high and your military is at least as strong as theirs. More importantly, vassal khans can hold as many nomadic counties as they like, do not have defensive pacts against them, and can easily pack their councils with competent courtiers (provided they don't pick up count or duke vassals). However, note that khans cannot pillage holdings.
- Also, aim to be the only vassal clan your Khagan has; with only 2 clans in the realm, you are also likely to win a revolt war if the Khagan wants to take your counties to create a new clan.
- Use targeted assassination plots to render clans impotent or extinct: Remember the nomadic succession laws (only male relatives may inherit clans; only adults may become Khagans). If a powerful vassal khan is poised to succeed you as Khagan, remove the khan's heirs until a single child is left as heir. Getting the vassal khan killed will then result in the child becoming khan. If you so wish, finish the child off to make the clan extinct. The clan's possessions will then be handed over to you.
- Nomad agitation, a mechanic that makes it difficult for non-nomads to permanently conquer nomadic land.