CRUSADER KINGS 3 | Tutorial/Guide for Beginners – All About Vassals (CKIII)

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Hello everybody, this is Havoc with a tutorial on Crusader Kings 3. Today I’ll be going into Vassals. In Crusader Kings 3 you can only hold so much land before going over your domain limit. At that point, you’ll need vassals to expand your empire, and there’s a lot more to them than at first glance. Let’s get into what vassals are, what they can do for you, and how to control them. Let’s Dive In. What are Vassas? Vassals are land-holding characters who consider you their liege, or ruler. Out of the five hierarchy realms of Baron, Count, Duke, King & Emperor, only the first four ranks can be vassals, although a King as a vassal is somewhat rare. There are a few main classifications for vassals in CK3 that you will need to consider at all times: Strong Vassal – These are vassals who are either approaching or who have exceeded their Liege in power. Having a Strong vassal will incur an opinion penalty as they see you as weak and vulnerable. Powerful Vassal – These vassals hold the most soldiers and provide the most income.

Pay close attention to these vassals as they won’t be satisfied with just land, they’ll want a seat on your council. Eventually you will run out of council seats, at which point things get a bit trickier to satisfy them. Direct Vassal – A Direct vassal is one that serves you personally, excluding Barony-Tier ones. You are allowed a certain number of Direct Vassals, called – not surprising – your Vassal Limit.

Vassals of Vassals do not count towards this number. You can check and see how many direct vassals you can have by clicking on the Realm tab and going down to the Vassal Limit in the bottom right corner. Going above your Vassal Limit will cause reduced taxes and levies from all of your vassals, so it’s best never to have this happen. SHOULD that happen, you can transfer vassals so they are under another larger vassal.

To do this, right click on a larger vassal, go down to Grant Vassals, and choose any of your vassals as long as they are of lower rank than the one you are granting to. Your larger vassal will get a +40 opinion of you, and you’ve avoided losing money and levies. It’s ideal to find your weakest vassals to grant as they are contributing the least anyways, so handing them off will not affect you much at all. What Can Vassals Do? Vassals serve a decent number of purposes, but most importantly, vassals provide two crucial resources to their liege in exchange for protection: Levies and Taxes.

Levies are the bulk of most armies, made up of local militia and the most basic unit type in the game. Each holding provides a set number of Levies to their Holder each month, which in turn provides a set number of Levies to their Liege. Taxes function in much the same way, each holding will contribute to their King respectively. To see exactly how much each vassal is bringing to the table, again click on the realm tab on the right hand side, and vassals should show up by default. Under their name and vassal government type you will see the exact number of levies and money they contribute, and what percentage that number represents.

Vassals can – and in the case of Powerful Vassals – SHOULD serve on your Council. Your Council has a limited number of seats as mentioned, so it’s best to put Powerful Vassals in your council, even if they aren’t the best fit. Each Council position has a specific skill that it specializes in. Matching that with a vassal that has a high number of said skill will allow you to reap the most benefits from them, which in turn will help your kingdom run a bit more smoothly. What else can a vassal do? Well, a vassal can create a faction against their liege. Yes that means you. Remember that vassals are relatively independent and each has their own agenda to push when they can. A faction takes many forms, primarily when a group of vassals decides they want to put someone that ISN’T you as their liege, or when they just want complete independence, answering to no one but themselves.

Should their military strength reach the threshold limit, they can issue an ultimatum which is the only peaceful means of getting out of the situation. Denying that Ultimatum will lead to war, which will bring in all of the vassals that were part of the faction scheme. Some vassals cannot join factions even if they want to, reasons range from having an alliance with their liege, to being imprisoned or even underage. Lastly for this section, vassals can wage war with other vassals under the same Liege, and this is tied directly to your Crown Authority as you are about to find out. It is only at the High Crown Authority that a vassal cannot go to war with a fellow vassal unless they have a hook on their Liege. Note that while you cannot actively take part in a vassal war, you can request vassals to stop a vassal war. Their willingness is determined by a handful of factors listed on the screen. Their agreement is not guaranteed and you may be asked for something in return to gain their compliance. How do I Control My Vassals? There are several ways to keep your vassal in line, and Crown Authority is the first we will look at.

Crown Authority directly represents the authority a Ruler has over their vassals. Each level of Crown Authority increases the range of control you have, from increased taxes and levies, to who can inherit a title of your vassal, and even preventing a vassal war as discussed in the last section. To increase your Crown Authority, you will need to have a certain innovation or technology researched, and quite a hefty cost to your prestige. As you climb that ladder your vassals’ opinion of you will fall, so be mindful of your current vassal situation when you bump up to that new level. Vassal contracts are a new form of control to the Crusader Kings franchise. These contracts are only available for vassals with the Feudal Government type, Theocracy and Republics do not allow their contracts to be modified. Clicking on the contract button under your vassal in the Realms tab will bring up the contract screen, where you will see a range of customizable factors that affect your vassal. You can choose to increase the taxes & levies your vassal contributes, and you can see just how much those taxes or levies go up on the bottom right hand side.

There are Special contract terms available to Duchy-Tier Vassals and up, giving you a few unique options to higher level vassals, like Scutage, which increases the vassals taxes by 50% while decreasing the levy contribution by 75%. Last in the contracts are a range of rights you can give or force on your vassal, from religious freedom, to a guaranteed seat on the council, or forcing a certain succession right. Tweak and tune all of these factors to each vassal, depending on their opinion of you or to counter a certain situation. Be warned tho, any modification that increases a vassal contribution or limits their independence will be seen as an act of tyranny, causing ALL of your vassals to lose opinion of you. If possible, use a hook – essentially blackmail – to lessen the tyrannical effect on all vassals, although the vassal you are currently dealing with will still get that opinion hit no matter what. Diplomacy – both as a CK3 character skill and your own ability to play – is yet one more way to control your vassals, especially in the area of opinion.

Regardless of your character’s lifestyle choice early in your campaign, it is well worth switching to Diplomacy as your kingdom expands. Consider the Diplomat tree to gain more effective ways to sway your vassal’s opinion of you or open more ways to vassalize characters of lower rank than yourself. In regards to personal ability, keep an eye on your vassals opinions, especially the powerful ones. Hovering over their opinion number in the vassals tab will give a detailed breakdown of everything that is affecting that number, both positive and negative. For the sake of controlling vassals, there are a few ways to increase their opinion of you. Granting one of your titles is an easy way to gain a decent bit of opinion. The larger the title, the larger increase in their opinion of you. Keep in mind that giving away a title means you lose those lands, so this is only advisable if you are over your domain limit, or if the lands in that title do not generate much money…OR you’re desperate to keep that vassal in line.

Another simple way to appease a Vassal is by giving him one of your own direct vassals as mentioned earlier in the video. This is a simple way to manage an overabundance of vassals, as well as give you some easy out options to keep your bigger vassals in line. That +40 opinion modifier is crucial in larger empire management and could save a potential rebellion. That’s all for this tutorial on Vassals in Crusader KIngs 3. Hopefully you’ve gained a deeper understanding of them so that you can run your empire a bit more efficiently. I have no doubts there are a lot of questions I could not answer, so be sure to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to get to them.

If this is your first tutorial, the playlist will be frequently updated with more material, so be sure to subscribe and turn on the notification bell to stay up to date. Thanks for watching, this is Havoc and I will see you in the next tutorial..

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