Characters

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The Character Panel (v. 3.0)

Characters Characters are the most important feature of Base icon CK2.png Crusader Kings II, and what sets it apart from other grand-strategy games. Unlike other Paradox Paradox games, Crusader Kings II is not about nations or countries, but it is instead a character-driven strategy game. Much like a role-playing, this game has attributes, good and bad quirks, desires etc. These characteristics allow the game to focus on people, their families and their relationships; the interaction of thousands of characters with their own goals and personalities is the prime mover of the game.

Characters in Base icon CK2.png Crusader Kings II can be easily split in two categories. The first are the player characters: players use them whether in a singleplayer or multiplayer run. There are actions and events in-game that are restricted only for a player character.

The second category are the non-player characters: they are run by the AI and their traits, attributes etc play a major role in how they decide to act in the game. Like player characters, there are actions, events, and especially government types that are exclusive to non-player characters.

Most characters are members of a family - also called a dynasty. When the player starts a playthrough, they choose a character pertaining to a historical dynasty. The player's core objective in Base icon CK2.png CK II is ensuring their chosen dynasty grows strong and powerful, by having children and accumulating lands and titles.

But the game does not end when their first character dies, because the player takes control of their successor, and the following successor, and so on. Whenever the last living member of their dynasty dies or by the start of the year 1453, the game is over.

Attributes[edit]

Main article: Attributes

Attributes A character's attributes or skills are a major factor in determining the success of a character's actions and what they are able to to do:

Attribute Personal State
DiplomacyDiplomacy
  • Increases personal opinion bonus towards the character
  • Combined with the Learning learning attribute determines cultural technology points accumulated each month, if the character is not nomadic and of at least duke-rank
  • If the character is a Chancellor on their liege's council, this attribute is used to determine their ability
MartialMartial
  • Affects the character's skill as a commander
  • Used to determine the character's demesne levy
  • Used to determine speed of demesne levy reinforcement
  • Combined with the Learning learning attribute determines military technology points accumulated each month, if the character is not nomadic and of at least duke-rank
  • If the character is a Marshal on their liege's council, it is used to determine their ability
  • Used to determine the rate at which the character's armies recover morale
StewardshipStewardship
  • Combined with the Stewardship stewardship of a character's spouse is used to determine the ruler's maximum demesne
  • Combined with the Learning learning attribute determines economic technology points accumulated each month, if the character is not nomadic and of at least duke-rank
  • Increases the rate of provinces converting to the character's culture
  • If the character is a Steward on their liege's council, it is used to determine their ability
  • Modifies demesne income (+2% per point)
IntrigueIntrigue
  • If the character is a Spymaster on their liege's council, it is used to determine their ability
  • Increases plot power (and decreases the power of plots towards the character)
  • Makes the character's plots less likely to be discovered
  • Increases imprisonment chance (and makes the character harder to imprison)
LearningLearning
  • Combined with Diplomacy diplomacy, Martial martial, and Stewardship stewardship attributes to determine monthly technology points
  • If the character is a Court Chaplain on their liege's council, it is used to determine their ability
  • Gives the character piety (or equivalent) (0.02/month per point)

Traits[edit]

Main article: Traits

Traits Traits mainly affect attributes, though they can also give opinion modifiers, prestige, piety etc. They have a major impact on non-player characters as they are used to determine many choices the AI makes. Below are a few categories of traits:

Trait group Examples Description
Education Grey EminenceBrillant StrategistElusive ShadowMastermind Theologian Given to a character when they turn 16 years-old. It is determined by their upbringing and, generally, one of the largest bonuses to a character's attributes
Childhood AffectionateRowdyCuriousIdolizer Acquired by children during education, if the DLC icon Conclave.png Conclave DLC is active. Will eventually turn into one of several adult traits
Health IncapableLunaticPossessedWounded Affect a character's health and often lowers other attributes as well, increasing the chance of dying
Disease IllLeperPneumonicCamp Fever Affect a character's health, received usually through epidemics
Symptoms CoughInfectionMalaiseVomiting Symptoms which can be eventually diagnosed by a court physician as actual diseases, if DLC icon Reaper's Due.png The Reaper's Due DLC is active.

Government type[edit]

Main article: Government

Government Government type is the political regime that a character lives under or rules by. It dictates the available succession laws and holding types a character is allowed to control. Each government type has unique mechanics. Tribes and nomads may change their government type to the other, more "settled down" forms:

Goverment Type Courtier Portrait Baron Portrait Count Portrait Duke Portrait King Portrait Emperor Portrait Required DLCs to Play
Feudal Feudal Feudal Courtier Feudal Baron Feudal Count Feudal Duke Feudal King Feudal Emperor Non-Christians rulers require either Dlc icon the old gods.png, Dlc icon sons of abraham.png or Rajas of India.png
Theocracy Theocracy Theocratic Courtier Theocratic Baron Theocratic Count Theocratic Duke Theocratic King Theocratic Emperor Non-player characters only.
Tribal Tribal Tribal link= Tribal Baron Tribal Count Tribal Duke Tribal King Tribal Emperor Non-Christians rulers require either Dlc icon sword of islam.png, Dlc icon the old gods.png, Dlc icon sons of abraham.png or Rajas of India.png
Iqta Iqta Iqta Courtier Iqta Baron Ipta Count Iqta Duke Iqta King Iqta Emperor Muslim rulers require Dlc icon sword of islam.png
Merchant Republic Merchant Republic Merchant Republican Courtier Merchant Republican Baron Merchant Republican Count Merchant Republican Duke Merchant Republican King Merchant Republican Emperor Republican rulers require Dlc icon the republic.png
Republic Republic Republican Courtier Republican Baron Republican Count Republican Duke Republican King Republican Emperor Non-player characters only.
Nomadic Nomadic Nomad Courtier Nomad Baron Nomad Count Nomad Duke Nomad King Nomad Emperor Nomadic rulers require Horse Lords.png
Chinese Imperial Chinese Imperial Chinese Imperial Courtier Chinese Imperial Baron Chinese Imperial Count Chinese Imperial Duke Chinese Imperial King Chinese Imperial Emperor Requires Jade Dragon.png and Han, Jurchen, Khitan or Tangut culture.
Confucian Bureaucracy Confucian Bureaucracy Confucian Bureaucratic Courtier Confucian Bureaucratic Baron Confucian Bureaucratic Count Confucian Bureaucratic Duke Confucian Bureaucratic King Confucian Bureaucratic Emperor Non-player characters only.
Monastic Feudal Monastic Feudal Monastic Feudal Courtier Monastic Feudal Baron Monastic Feudal Count Monastic Feudal Duke Monastic Feudal King Monastic Feudal Emperor Monastic feudal rulers require either Dlc icon the old gods.png, Rajas of India.png or Jade Dragon.png
Must be of a Tibeto-Burman culture and either the Buddhist or Bön religion.
Holy Order Holy Order Holy Order Courtier Holy Order Baron Holy Order Count Holy Order Duke Holy Order King Holy Order Emperor Non-player characters only.
Imperial Imperial Imperial Courtier Imperial Baron Imperial Count Imperial Duke Imperial King Imperial Emperor

Religion[edit]

Main article: Religion

Religion Every character in the game follows a religion. Religion has a major impact on their gameplay mechanics, such as marriage, government, opinions, traits and Casus Belli:

Religion groups Religions ( Heresies )
Christian CatholicOrthodoxMiaphysiteNestorian ( Cathar, Fraticelli, Lollard, WaldensianBogomilist, Iconoclast, Monothelite, PaulicianMonophysiteMessalian )
Israelite Judaism ( Karaite, Samaritan )
Islam SunniShiaIbadi ( Yazidi, ZikriDruze, HurufiKharijite )
Pagan GermanicReformed GermanicSlavicReformed SlavicTengriReformed TengriRomuvaReformed RomuvaSuomenuskoReformed SuomenuskoWest AfricanReformed West AfricanAztecReformed AztecZunistReformed ZunistHellenicReformed HellenicBönReformed BönPagan

( Old GermanicOld SlavicOld TengriOld RomuvaOld SuomenuskoOld West AfricanOld AztecOld ZunistOld HellenicOld Bön )

Mazdan Zoroastrian ( Khurmazta, Manichaean, Mazdaki )
Eastern HinduismBuddhismJainismTaoist

Culture[edit]

Main article: Culture

Cultures Culture is an abstract representation of ethnicity 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. A culture may unlock special buildings, events, specific succession or gender laws, and some of them allow raiding.

Culture Groups Cultures
Altaic Avar, Bolghar, Cuman, Jurchen, Karluk, Khazar, Khitan, Kirghiz, Mongol, Pecheneg, Turkish, Uyghur
Arabic Andalusian, Bedouin, Berber, Egyptian, Levantine
Baltic Lettigallian, Lithuanian, Prussian
Bear Bear
Byzantine Alan, Armenian, Assyrian, Georgian, Greek
Cat Cat
Celtic Breton, Irish, Pictish, Scottish, Welsh
Central Germanic Frankish, German, Lombard, Suebi
Chinese Han
Dravidian Kannada, Tamil, Telugu
East African Ethiopian, Nubian, Somali
East Slavic Illmenian, Russian, Severian, Volhynian
Finno-Ugric Estonian, Finnish, Khanty, Komi, Mordvin, Nenets, Sami
Horse Horse
Iberian Basque, Castillian, Catalan, Portuguese, Visigothic
Indo-Aryan Assamese, Bengali, Gujurati, Hindustani, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Panjabi, Rajput, Sindhi, Sinhala
Iranian Afghan, Baloch, Kurdish, Persian, Saka, Sogdian, Tocharian
Israelite Ashkenazi, Sephardi
Latin French, Italian, Norman, Occitan, Roman
Magyar Hungarian
Mesoamerican Nahua
North Germanic Danish, Norse, Norwegian, Swedish
South Slavic Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Vlach
Tibeto-Burman Bödpa, Sumpa, Tangut, Zhangzhung
West African Mandé
West Germanic Anglo-Saxon, Dutch, English, Frisian, Saxon
West Slavic Bohemian, Polish, Pomeranian

Dynasty[edit]

Main article: Dynasty

Dynasty Generally, characters in the game are part of a dynasty. Dynasty is one of the most important aspects in Base icon CK2.png CK II; if a player's dynasty is left without a living character of count rank or above, it is game over.

A portion of dynastic prestige of the father and mother are given to a child when they're born. Dynastic prestige also affects the chance for character's to accept marriage proposals. Characters without a dynasty are called lowborn.

The icon above a character's portrait designates their level of kinship toward the player character:

Player Character You The current character controlled by the player
Heir(ess) Heir(ess) The player character's immediate successor to their primary title.
Close Relative Close relatives Siblings and half-siblings, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces.
If the player character's spouse belongs to the same dynasty, (s)he also has this icon
Distant Relative Other dynastic members Cousins and distant relatives
Bastard Bastard children Recognized but not legitimized children

Bloodline[edit]

Main article: Bloodline

Bloodlines Similar to, but distinct from the dynasty, are bloodlines. Bloodlines are inheritable modifiers, inherited from a single individual, which can grant prestige, piety, opinion modifiers, or special abilities. At game start, some bloodlines begin with the head of a dynasty, but these will diverge as the game passes. Bloodlines cannot normally be removed from a character (although they will gain them after the fact if a progenitor earns one).

Within the game, bloodline lineages are inherited in a more complicated manner than dynasties. They can be either patrilineal (father-inherited) or matrilineal (mother-inherited) in nature, and may or may not be inheritable through bastard characters and matrilineal marriages. Bloodlines fall into three categories: Historical Bloodlines, tied to specific characters born before or during the timeframe of Crusader Kings II, Saintly Bloodlines, derived from your ancestors being recognized for their piety, tied to Christians or reformed pagans with the ancestor veneration doctrine, and Created Bloodlines, which are tied to ambitions, decisions, or actions of a character.

Objectives[edit]

Objectives There are several different objectives in the game, which are goals a character can attempt to achieve:

Category Description Internal Prefix
Ambition Ambition A character's specific personal desire obj_
Focus Focus A character's 5-year self improvement goal. Unlocks special events to enhance attributes or acquire lifestyle traits.
Requires the DLC icon Way of Life.png Way of Life DLC
focus_
Faction Faction An organized party of vassals united against their liege for a common purpose faction_
Plot Plot A conspiracy designed by a plotter and their backers to achieve a specific goal plot_

Realm[edit]

Main article: Realm

Realm An independent realm in Base icon CK2.png Crusader Kings II is the highest political structure a character is part of. Every realm is ruled by a single independent ruler, also called top liege, and a group of vassals. The independent liege is typically the most powerful character within their realm.

If any character outside a realm has a Casus Belli (a "motive for war") upon any character within that realm, the claimant is forced to declare war upon the independent ruler. However, depending on the realm's law, a character within it can wage war upon independent rulers outside the attacker's realm, while other rulers of the claimant's realm will not interfere.

A sub-realm refers to all titles a character holds, and their vassals. For instance, the Duke of Essex who lives in the Kingdom of England, is the ruler (liege) of a sub-realm consisting of his duchy and all counts and barons below him.

Levy[edit]

Main article: Levies

Raise Personal Levies Demesne levies are levies mustered from a character's personal holdings. Their size depends mostly on the holding type, buildings, and the character's Martial martial skill. While they are raised, the character pays a monthly maintenance cost and they reinforce more slowly.

Raise Liege Levies Liege levies are mustered from a character's direct vassals. The amount a liege can raise depends mostly on demesne laws and the direct vassals' opinion of their liege.

Wealth[edit]

Main article: Economy

Wealth The primary source of income for a character is usually all personal holdings within their demesne, though courtiers and rulers may also gain wealth through minor titles or by having a seat on their liege's council.

Stewardship Stewardship skill plays a large role in a character's demesne income. Personal and spouse Stewardship stewardship influence a ruler's demesne limit, while the skill of a character's steward improves income in a province if they are assigned there the job to Raise taxes. The total state stewardship gives a boost to all demesne income.

The following buildings increase the tax income of holdings:

If the character is a Patrician or has access to the Silk Road, the Trade Post holding becomes available to improve even further demesne income.

Prestige[edit]

Main article: Prestige

Prestige Prestige is a measure of a character's honour and respect. It contributes to score on character's death.

Prestige is increased in a variety of ways. Any given title will gradually increase the holder's prestige.

A high Diplomacy diplomacy skill will slowly increase prestige, as well as by having vassals.

Creating or usurping titles will also give a lump sum of prestige, and some traits give prestige bonus per month.

Winning battles and sieges earns significant prestige, divided primarily among the flank leaders, but also among the unit owners. Wars fought under most Casus Belli ("motives for war") give a significant prestige boost to the winner and major participants, whereas they decrease the loser's prestige.

Tribal rulers may gain prestige by assigning their steward the job to Build Legend.

Patricians get +1 prestige per month for every 2,000 wealth they possess (it caps out at 6,000 wealth).

Titles: Prestige Gain / Loss
Name Creation Destruction Usurp Hold Directly Vassal Holds
Barony 50 N/A N/A +0.025 /month +0.025 /month
County N/A N/A N/A +0.1 /mo. +0.1 /mo.
Duchy 200 -200 50 +0.2 /mo. +0.2 /mo.
Kingdom 400 -400 100 +0.8 /mo. +0.8 /mo.
Empire 800 -800 200 +1.6 /mo. N/A
Dynasty Prestige Values
Barony County Duchy Kingdom Empire
1 5 10 20 40

Piety[edit]

Main article: Piety

Piety Piety is a measure of how pious a character is. It increases by a variety of mechanics related to religion. It contributes to score on character's death.

Eastern Religions Piety is renamed Karma for Hindus, Buddhists and Bön, Purity for Jains, and Te for Taoists, but is functionally identical in-game for them.

See also[edit]

Personal attributes
Objectives
Other