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clean up, typos fixed: eg → e.g. (2), muslim → Muslim, higher then → higher than
We'll go for this first though it's interchangeable with the next. You want to find a wife on day 1 because most of the AI are also unmarried and will very quickly start snatching up the best wives. Quite simply, you want a wife that is Midas Touched/Genius/Strong/Lustful. Unfortunately you probably won't get this so we will get whatever we can. More than likely,you are a terrible ruler with awful stats and your wife will be tutoring your heir(s), therefore it's vital she not be as awful as you.
You can use the marriage rings to try to find a high stewardship wife, if you can find one that is same religion/culture then even better. But don't worry too much about religion as it's fairly simple to get her converted. Marriage is the only time you can consider different religions so use it as best you can. Go to your character finder and just look for unmarried women, sort by stewardship. The nice thing about genius is due to its stat bonuses they will tend to be at the top anyway. Pick one that hopefully is at least Quick or Strong. Don't worry too much about them despising you for religion
eg Zealous/Muslim as we'll deal with that.
It's worth taking a significant hit in stats for a similar culture wife with at least a good genetic trait if you are playing in vanilla as the accidental conversion of your heir to Maghreb for example would have weird consequences. Luckily as a small guy you could recover from it but if you can avoid it by taking a hit in overall stats with the promise of a decent genetic trait then go for it.
=== Rebuilding Your Court ===
By now you have every barony (or a couple rebelling vassals we will deal with after we unpause if not) and dropped, one way or the other, everyone who hated you that wasn't incredibly useful in some way. If you are over your demesne limit you will need to create some vassals. This may also, if you are lucky, save you some time in finding new courtiers to fill your now desolate court. More than likely though they will be just as crappy as the last ones. These new ones will not only not know that they are plucking the keys to their new barony out of the corpse of their predecessors but also have a +20 from granted baronies. While we're here, it's time to pick your capital - it should be in this preference order: any province you have with more than 1 castle, any province with more than 3 holdings, or the highest legalism progress you have. If you have a province that has a whole level or 2 of legalism higher
then it may take precedence over the others. Theodosia in the Crimea area for example starts with +2 legalism which is incredibly good compared to the surrounding areas. Also account for your future wife's stewardship bonus before determining if you need to drop baronies.
Dropping baronies in this case (and in general as you expand hopefully), should be done in the following order:
# Counties outside your primary duchy, non-culture/religion counties
Muslim rulers will have other considerations: mosques don't have an income penalty and give piety; Jizya significantly increases income, especially in cities (decreasing the penalty); some cities in
muslim regions are significantly developed. It is harder to make a definite order, so use your own judgement and compare income and future potential.
If you are lucky then some of these auto-created vassals will fill a slot or two of your council. Probably not, either way it's time to do probably the most tedious work which is to fill your council with some talent. This will become much, much easier later on when claims are a dime a dozen as claims will help a ton in getting random courtiers to come work for you. Initially, however, you are completely at the mercy of the RNG. Open up the character finder, men/my religion/not ruler(doesn't work to filter out baron-level rulers as of 1.06 but hopefully will some day)/unmarried (helps in finding younger/unattached courtiers). Sort by the stat you want, work your way down.
=== Marry your Council ===
As your new, and hopefully highly talented, council members arrive and you assign them their new jobs immediately marry them to a highly talented wife similar to the way you did for yourself on day 1. I tend to marry them to their respective stats
eg a super grey eminence wife for my chancellor. The reason you do this is twofold: your court is now deserted and those wives will be used to tutor future actually useful courtiers and sometimes even wives. Don't worry about religion as you did with your wife.
=== Conversion of Superwives ===
Once you get to the point where you own at least an entire duchy of coastal provinces without conquest modifiers, you are now officially a monster yourself and unlikely to be wiped out. I will leave this guide at that point, as you are not a small fish any more and should be able to pursue normal avenues of conquest/expansion.
I hope this guide helps and feel free to post any feedback in the [[Talk: