Folks, prepare yourself for another monologue by yours truly!
Last time, I promised to talk about Crusader Pandas, but that would be silly, so I won't. Instead, I'll inform you about the workings of the Council. Just like in Crusader Kings, the Council consists of five characters who serve as your advisers; the Chancellor, Steward, Marshal, Spymaster and Lord Spiritual. Their primary attribute is added to your own for purposes of government. (E.g. the Diplomacy skill is the primary attribute of the Chancellor.) To make it more balanced, characters now have an additional attribute called Learning, which is the primary attribute of the Lord Spiritual. Also unlike Crusader Kings, you can appoint your direct landed vassals to your council, not just your courtiers. Women can normally not serve as councillors, although the spouse and mother of the ruler can be Spymaster.
The main new Council related feature in Crusader Kings II, however, is the ability to send your councillors on various jobs (three per councillor) out in the counties. Many of these jobs are very powerful if used correctly. The chance of a good outcome is dependent on their skill. To give some examples:
Head Local Inquisition (Lord Spiritual):
The Lord Spiritual converts a province or local character to his religion.
Train Troops (Marshal):
The levies replenish faster and can grow beyond their normal max size.
Fabricate Claims (Chancellor):
Chance that you get a claim on a local title.
Oversee Construction (Steward):
The build time of improvements and new holdings is much reduced.
Study Technology (Spymaster):
Chance that a tech level spreads to your capital.
Ponder this until the next dev diary.