Introducing CK3 – Vassals

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Hello everybody, my name is Havoc and I craft guides & reviews for strategy franchises such as Total War and Paradox. Today I’ll be collaborating with Paradox Interactive to bring about a set of tutorials on Crusader Kings 3. In this tutorial I am going to dig into Vassals, what they 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 relatively 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. What Can Vassals Do? Much like in Crusader Kings 2, vassals provide two crucial resources to their liege in exchange for protection: Levies and Taxes.

Levies provide 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. 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 more.

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. 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, although that will decrease their opinion of you. Lowering each will obviously increase their opinion. 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 gift 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. It’s an effective way to handle your vassals individually. One final way to keep your vassals in line is Diplomacy, both as a CK3 character skill and your own ability to play. 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. And just keep an eye on vassal’s opinions. More often than not it’s a simple solution to appease them, and happy vassals will ensure they don’t try to plant a knife in your back later on in your campaign. That’s all for a quick look at Vassals in Crusader Kings 3.

In the next tutorial I will take a look at Provinces and how to manage them, so be on the lookout for that video in the near future. If you haven’t already, check out and subscribe to Paradox Interactive’s YouTube channel for more videos. Thanks for watching, this is Havoc, and I will see you all in the next tutorial..

As found on YouTube