Princely elective

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Princely elective is the succession law of the Holy Roman Empire.


  • Only available to the Holy Roman Empire or its random world counterpart.
  • Succession law can only be changed if emperor has Max Centralization and either Abolished Council (with DLC icon Conclave.pngConclave) or Absolute Crown Authority (without DLC icon Conclave.png).
  • Princely Elective gives +20 vassal count.
  • The emperor’s close family members (landed or not), any claimants to the title, and all high-tier de jure vassals can be candidates.
  • Electors consist of the emperor and seven de jure vassals, with certain titles prioritized.
  • Candidates will be disfavored if they are impious or follow the wrong religion.
  • Emperor can only influence voters if they have been Holy Fury.pngcrowned.



A Holy Roman Empire with princely elective succession will always have 8 electors, including the following:

  • The emperor
  • Seven prince-electors, with priority given to one set of titles in the table below. Which setup is used depends on the following criteria:
    • If the empire is formed for the first time in the Charlemagne start date (769), the region in which one's capital is located determines the setup for the rest of the game.
    • If one's capital is located outside of any of the listed regions, the game will default to the Germania setup.
    • In any later start date, even if the empire is recreated, the Germania setup will likewise be used.
Capital region Prioritised elector titles
County tier Duchy tier
Germania (default) Köln Mainz Trier Bohemia Franconia Saxony Brandenburg
Francia Amiens Reims Anjou Aquitaine Burgundy Normandy Champagne
Italia Rome Ravenna Genoa Latium Milan Tuscany Pisa
Iberia Santiago Cordoba León Barcelona Castille Portucale Seville
Britannia Kent Worcester Durham Mercia Meath Albany Gwynedd

If any of the prioritised titles either have no holder or are no longer de jure or de facto vassals of the empire, high rank vassals of the emperor will take their place, with priority given to vassals of the emperor's religion over ones of the same religious group, and to theocratic vassals over feudal ones. In a random world, all prince-electors will be chosen this way.

Note that theocratic voters (in the default German setup Köln, Mainz and Trier) have double the voting strength of feudal electors if Papal Investiture law is in effect.


Valid candidates are:

  • The emperor's close family.
  • De jure dukes and kings (based on their primary title).
  • Title claimants.
  • Not the child of another candidate, unless that candidate is married to the current title holder.


Virtue and piety[edit]

  • Aim for traits which please Christians and/or improve church opinion: These traits improve opinion of the electors, and are generally beneficial as well (especially the Seven Virtues).
  • Childhood education: Humility and Duty tend to produce virtuous children.
  • Your intended heir can gain piety by serving as Court Chaplain, or by ruling an area with upgraded church and hospital buildings.
  • Join a DLC icon Monks and Mystics.pngmonastic order.


  • Try to have dynasts control elector titles. While dynasts may not vote exactly like you, they are likely to vote for another dynast at the very least. Consider converting the theocratic elector titles to feudal.
  • Help your dynasty members achieve beatification: this boosts the piety of all living members of the dynasty.

Strategies as emperor[edit]

  • Use Free Investiture, especially if you prefer to be impious: Papal Investiture gives clergy electors greater voting power, and with Holy Fury.png, Papal Investiture means that the Pope can potentially hold you hostage with demands during every succession.
  • Keep the electors weak, so that you may more easily compel them to vote your way.
  • Avoid being an uncrowned emperor, as you cannot influence other electors until you are crowned.
    • Nominate an adult
    • Your intended heir can be crowned while serving as a vassal king
    • Don't start a major war from your deathbed

Convert religion[edit]

  • Only vassals sharing the same religion with the Emperor can be an elector, so converting to a small religion can be advantageous, if one can deal with the infidel opinion penalties.

Strategies as a vassal[edit]

  • Aim to hold a priority title. Becoming an elector will let you vote, let you see how other electors view you as a candidate, and let you influence other electors with favors.
  • Befriend the emperor: If you are nominated by the current ruler, other voters who like the emperor are likely to vote for you as well.