Retiring a character
Retiring a character is the tactic of causing the player's character to die, in order to immediately play as the character's heir. This may be considered gamey and does not work in real life.
When a vassal rebels against failed imprisonment or title revocation, they use a CB that forces abdication. You can use this to your advantage and surrender intentionally. It is best if you initiate the war with justification, so your heir does not have negative "inherited opinion" from vassals.
Forced rebellions use an Overthrow ruler CB. Upon surrender, your current character will abdicate all titles to their heir (heirs?) and become a courtier.
Abdication does not transfer wealth or artifacts. It is recommended to gift most of your wealth and artifacts before surrendering. If your heir is your firstborn, the simplified form of primogeniture used by courtiers should transfer the remaining goods eventually.
Khans refusing absorption do not use the Overthrow Ruler CB, but instead the Install Self as Khagan CB. Losing this war results in being executed, which has the advantage of transferring wealth and artifacts correctly. However, you will be demoted to king tier, so this is only recommended if you have the power to reinstate your clan as rulers of the khaganate.
A suicide decision is available to adults with certain traits. It is accessed by right-clicking the player character's portrait.
With The Reaper's Due, it requires being Depressed or Incapable (characters who are Immortal have a different version that requires being Depressed or over 100 years old). Begins an event tree, letting you choose among several methods which have different chances of success depending on your character.
Suicide by poison, hanging, or falling will lower general opinion by -50 (inherited by your heir as -25). However, if you have a rival, you can aim for an honorable death in a duel (which you secretly intend to lose). Likewise, Incapable characters can receive assistance to disguise their suicide as an unsolved murder.
You may be able to gain the Depressed trait by:
A failed hunt or a boring book (from the 'bored' event chain) can give the depressed trait.
Death of a loved wife
This technique can be used if your character is male, with the kind or charitable trait, and none of (kinslayer , celibate , or eunuch ).
Marry a woman who your character likes (50+ opinion):
- Hover over characters in your "marriage ties" list to see your opinion of them
- Any woman of your religion who has 20+ diplomacy and no incompatible traits
- Note that "foreigner" (different culture) penalties are waived between spouses
- Or, seduce a woman to make her your lover (+40 opinion)
Do not remarry. 64 days after her death, you will receive an event that lets you choose between lustful /incapable or depressed.
Death of a friend or lover
With The Reaper's Due, a set of "mourning events" can occur after the death of a lover, friend, or rival. The lover and friend versions each have an option with a 50% chance to become depressed. It is only possible to get a mourning event once every 10 years.
Encouraging plots against your character
If you believe there is a plot against you, either:
- Fire your spymaster.
- Anger your spymaster, hoping that he joins the plot.
- Try to discover the plot, then appoint a plotter or conspirator as your spymaster.
Do things that make AI plots likely:
- If you have a lover, get them married to a someone who hates you.
- Anger your heir, your heir's spouse, and your heir's parents.
- Gain rivals:
Tyranny is a quick way to make all your courtiers hate you. Unfortunately, it also makes your vassals hate you, which is dangerous as it encourages factions and the opinion malus from vassals is partially inherited. A safer method is to anger your high-intrigue courtiers by repeatedly granting and revoking an honorary title.
Lead troops through a province that is suffering an epidemic disease.
With The Reaper's Due, an alternative is to lead troops aboard ships to get Scurvy , though it often takes several years. It is possible to get Scurvy while you already have another disease.
Fire your Court Physician, or anger them to make successful treatment less likely (perhaps by repeatedly revoking and re-granting the title of physician).
With Way of Life:
- With the Carousing focus, invite known cannibals to your parties, or at least potential cannibals.
- With the War focus, duel characters who are your rivals, Cruel , Impaler , or (characters of another religion who are in any Warrior Lodge). The War focus also prepares you to lead troops effectively in battle, which is something you may be more inclined to do if you want your character to die!
Retiring your character for your new heir
- When your heir is something like 10-12 (this is assuming you want succession as they turn 16), look for characters with the strongest Personal Combat Skill you can find and antagonize them through the various tools at your disposal (Antagonize, Plot to kill, Cuckoldry etc) until you make them a Rival; avoid characters that have traits that make them turn down Duels, such as Craven. With two 12+ attributes, you can also educate children to be Ambitious and they'll instantly become Rivals (gift them equipment and make them Commanders to improve their PCS)
- Make sure you can switch Focus when your heir is ready to take your place, so that you can can switch to War Focus to Duel people. Basically, don't switch Focus when your heir is 14 if you want him to succeed you upon turning 16)
- Assuming you have at least two 12+ attributes and own Conclave, 1 or 2 years before your heir is ready, look for whatever brat in your realm has just turned 14 (or is about to) and educate them. You want to make them Diligent through the personal sacrifice guardianship event so that you gain Stressed. Your heir is usually a good candidate because Diligent is a fantastic trait and it will also improve their chance of getting a better education
- About a year before your heir is ready, look for a province ravaged by a disease. Lead troops there until you get sick, and if it doesn't happen when your heir is about to reach adulthood move from there to the sea (if available) for a good chance of getting Scurvy
- At the same time, find a garbage Court Physician and move him to your court. You want a character with low Learning, Learning Education lower than 3, no traits such as Scholar or Renowned Physician, and traits like Lunatic, Stressed, Drunkard, Blind etc.
- If you manage to get sick, immediately pause the game, fire your competent Court Physician and hire the garbage one. Award them and Revoke whatever honorary title you have available until their opinion of you goes to -100. This and the above traits will make sure you get the Ill-Treatment modifier
- If you still couldn't manage to die at that point, switch to War Focus and Duel your stash of Rivals, and if you don't mind the risks, lead troops into impossible battles
Comparing Death to Abdication
In most game situations, as in all known real life situations, you will eventually die, and there is nothing you can do about it. The default mode of retiring a character, is to wait for them to die.
Therefore, the default motive to retirement is not to retire eventually, but to retire sooner.
Since the objective is speed, ways of getting your character killed can be compared to each other, and to abdication, in terms of speed, reliability, and side effects.
Attempts to die by disease, murder plots, dueling, and battlefield defeats are unreliable questions of random number generation, like many things in the game. Diseases can be survived, murder plots can fail, and duels can be miraculously won, or you can be spared by your opponent, and impossible battles can be retreated from safely. All of these unfortunately fortunate outcomes can happen over and over again, for years. One duel can be taken instantly by switching to war focus, assuming a rival has been antagonized (or, for zealous, characters, excommunicated) beforehand. This could end in instant death for you, but this is unreliable.
Aside from that first duel, all additional attempts to die of disease, murder plots, duels, or defeats, involves sitting around, or running around, and waiting to die - which is exactly what you would be doing anyway, even right now, as you sit and read this wiki, waiting to die.
If you already have the depressed trait, suicide can solve your problems very quickly. As long as you can make it look like an honorable suicide, these problems will not be passed along to your heir. However, if you do not have the depressed trait, getting it takes time. Experienced players who do have this trait tend to lose it very quickly to good relationships with spouse/lovers or other lovers. So, when an opportunity arises to become depressed, the player should consider whether they wish to seize upon it to retire. These opportunities, however, cannot be instantly summoned.
Even when blessed with depression, attempts to die in a duel, like everything else, can fail. The "suicide by duel" option gives you no choice as to which rival you attempt to duel, so if you have any personal combat skill, you may end up with more failed suicide attempts.
Just Give Up
Opportunities to abdicate, on the other hand, can be instantly summoned, as long as you have enough direct vassals and intrigue that you discover their plots, and can attempt to arrest them for these plots. If you succeed, you can ransom them for gold, and if you fail, you will fail immediately, they will raise their flag in rebellion immediately, and you will be able to abdicate - immediately. Just make sure you've given all your gold and artifacts to your heir.
It may be tedious to transfer wealth to a yet-unlanded heir, as you may have thousands of gold, and can only gift them gold 15 pieces at a time. The use of the console commands "cash -1000" to subtract 1000 gold, and subsequently, "cash 1000" to add 1000 gold to your heir upon assumption of the throne, can save long minutes of repetitive clicking. Any number may be specified in place of 1000.