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Thread: Dukes under a King more powerful than Kings themselves

  1. #1

    Dukes under a King more powerful than Kings themselves

    Because the duchy limit doesn't apply to dukes, the Byzantine Empire in my current game has one person controlling 5 or 6 duchies. When she declared war on my Egypt (one of the top 5 strongest countries in the game right now) she was able to raise way more troops than me. That hurt, but I was at least able to get a white peace. I'd like to control 5 or 6 duchies...

    Not necessarily complaining, because we have William the Conquerer as a historical example of a Duke toppling a King. I was offended though because I always feel like other Christians don't appreciate my tireless service in destroying the infidel.
    Last edited by jossief; 21-02-2012 at 10:08.

  2. #2
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    Yeah that is hardly ahistorical. Plenty of examples of Nobles being way more powerful than kings. The real power is usually behind the throne not in it.

  3. #3
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    It is certainly possible. I once was in a situation (due to gavelkind) where I had one duchy left, while some vassals had 3.

  4. #4
    Regent-Custodian of the Light riknap's Avatar
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    well, the Duke of Aquataine was certainly a lot more powerful than the early 11th century Capetian kings.

  5. #5
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    Welcome to the Feudal System.

    At least this is a better goad to create duchies than "Realm Duress".

    I do agree that there should be a limit to the amount of duke titles that one person can hold without penalty. Maybe 1/4 the amount of holdings, modified by primary title: Duke (1.0) King (0.75) or Emperor (0.5) and perhaps further modified by some of the laws, like crown authority?
    A multitude of rulers is not a good thing. Let there be one ruler, one king.

  6. #6
    Few days ago I was massively upset about this as well, with further testing now I am developing successful methods to manage my realm nicely within 2 duchy limit, I found many tips in this forum and some with my own R&D. Here is a list of what I know so far, perhaps some of this might be something useful to you in slowly turning the tables and establishing yourself as a mighty king.

    Initially I thought it would be much better not to create duchies as it brings in more problems than it is worth. Now I think different, duchies is good, the more the better as long as you let everyone know you're the king. [well I admit AI cannot 'know' that but at least you know ]

    With the below tips in my current game I am 6th in the world, I am nothing like the 'Holy' roman empire which has 601 holdings but still good and exceeded my own expectations with 141 holdings in my realm and 42K troops.

    * As stated above, after some painful learning progress, now I find as the King, (playing Ireland under Agnatic Primogeniture) keeping only 2 duchies in my direct control and a demesne of 6 to 11 holdings is quite possible and easy to manage.

    * Without exception, each noble in the realm, shall have one (and only one) county (could be 2 or more holdings) in their direct control. Do not ever give the full Duchy with 'include lower titles' option checked, giving them several counties. Always give the first county and then duke title. Then give the remaining counties to others, as explained below.

    * If you don't monitor your vassals, in time, (even if wars between vassals are prohibited) some vassals *will* expand with to marriages/plots.

    * Use every opportunity to rightfully imprison any vassal that has the potential of expanding, after all, in prison they cannot make new children and cannot plot against you. (prohibiting children is a valuable tactic only for 'new noble's as explained below)

    * Never grant any land to 'existing noble's, always grant land to 'new nobles' who have no family/dynasty - so when they die, it all goes back to you without incurring any tyranny or vassal relationship penalty.

    * Never stay over your demesne limit, even 1 extra holding causes problems [i.e. having 11 holdings, while you should have a max of 10]. So give it away, as quick as possible, always give away the holding with least troop count.

    * Always try and grant land to GOOD CANDIDATE vassals who:
    + are of your culture
    + are of your religion
    + have 'content' trait.
    + ideally, WITHOUT lustful trait, WITH celibate or at least chaste trait
    + are as old as possible, so that they will conveniently die and return your holdings back to you

    Sometimes you simply can't find new nobles with content trait, and you urgently need to get rid of some holdings due to demesne size limit - in these cases, for "temporary parking" purposes, grant it to some eligible NEW NOBLE over 80 - 85 years old.
    In those 80+ aged people, ensure they are NOT ambitious. Ideally they also should not have envious, deceitful traits and a high intrigue/martial skill. Basically their part in the play is to rule for a few years and then die, to perfect this, they do not need high intrigue/martial skill or any enviousness.

    * Never give land to anyone ambitious. Never give land to pretenders (2nd sons etc) let them whine about it. Recommending church career to annoy close relatives is great if their intrigue is not really high. For those who have really high intrigue skill, promise some land then eliminate them with spymaster otherwise they might eliminate you. If you are taking prestige hit due to unlanded sons, (this prestige loss level is normally low enough to ignore BTW) and if this is a problem at your current level, give them one 'holding' with lowest troop count (do not give county as that will let them access bishopric/city resources as well) . Note that this is for controlling 50 holdings in your realm. If you have only about 3-6 holdings do NOT give one to your whining son(s).

    * As soon as some vassal is going over the limit of one demesne, take action if possible, if not, keep an eye on it and do something about it ASAP. Do not let them grow to 3-4 holdings.

    Generally it is better to have good relations with vassals, however sometimes for pruning purposes I intentionally grow my BadBoy -so to speak- high (e.g. I banish one or two vassals that were on the watch list). This angers ALL vassals but if you manage this well, the only ones that will actually ATTACK you is the ones that already had some bad feelings towards you. Which is better than attacking them and taking a hit. You get one free revocation this way (to remove the Duke title in most cases) If necessary use one paid revocation for taking the count title as well, then bring in a 'new noble' who will be happy that you gave them land, then grant duchy as well and they will adore you [+100] even though rest of the realm is furious towards you. Now you can repeat this a few times, the first Duke you just gave the duchy will not like it but his relation level which was +100 can go down only so far. Once the cleaning is complete you will have 2-3 new happy dukes, all with content flag.

    GOOD CANDIDATEs sometimes do a very bad thing and produce children who may have wrong ideas (i.e. holding on to your holdings which you granted to their father for safekeeping purposes). You should clean them out before they too can reproduce and multiply your risks. The reason we go with NEW NOBLEs is that they cannot pass the holdings to anybody but you.

    This style unfortunately requires assassinations sometimes. I initially did not want to use any assassination at all, or at least limit it to 2-3 times for each ruler's lifetime, however I gave up on that limitation as it is
    1. dumbing down the game
    2. AI *is* using assassinations, so I am starting to believe it is not such a cheap shot and more like fair game.

    Hope there is something new here and you find it useful.
    Last edited by themrwho; 21-02-2012 at 15:02.

  7. #7
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    Whenever your rebellious dukes inevitably rebel, you take one of their duchies and give it to one of their vassals. That breaks up their power nicely. Can only do that with 1 county when they're not dukes.

  8. #8
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    Response to OP: While dukes can get as many duchies as they want, kings get to have unlimited king titles. Kings also get to keep dukes as vassals and claim duchies for their dynastic members whilst keeping them + their new holdings under the leash.

    Response to themrwho: The tips are good, except I quite disagree with the discouragement of letting vassals reproduce. This is, in fact, something to be encourage as you'd want to have as many family members as possible so that you can spread your non-direct holdings to as many people as possible (ideally, one county per famly member).

    Dukes expanding and becoming blobs is an inevitable issue. It can be pretty convenient to have dukes declaring war on other countries (i.e. Muslims) and add land to your realm. While blobby vassals can be a worry, they can easily be crippled and kept under control with some strategic assassinations and revokation of titles. Vassals that have gavelkind succession also are not an issue in the long run as they'd divide their holdings into obscurity.

  9. #9
    Regent-Custodian of the Light riknap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ywhtptgtfo View Post
    Response to OP: While dukes can get as many duchies as they want, kings get to have unlimited king titles. Kings also get to keep dukes as vassals and claim duchies for their dynastic members whilst keeping them + their new holdings under the leash.

    Response to themrwho: The tips are good, except I quite disagree with the discouragement of letting vassals reproduce. This is, in fact, something to be encourage as you'd want to have as many family members as possible so that you can spread your non-direct holdings to as many people as possible (ideally, one county per famly member).

    Dukes expanding and becoming blobs is an inevitable issue. It can be pretty convenient to have dukes declaring war on other countries (i.e. Muslims) and add land to your realm. While blobby vassals can be a worry, they can easily be crippled and kept under control with some strategic assassinations and revokation of titles. Vassals that have gavelkind succession also are not an issue in the long run as they'd divide their holdings into obscurity.
    that is actually a rather bad idea, you know, since you're basically inviting more trouble than its worth.

  10. #10
    Major kingsword's Avatar
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    This is a rather big problem and revoking titles one at time invite big problem unlike in the first game. Can't really say I appreciate how it changed. Dukes are blobbing way too much with assassinations and marriages right now and you cannot even confiscate their titles after a civil war. (-130 tyrant relation is absurd) They would be hanged, drawn and quartered for going against their king.
    The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise. - Tacitus

  11. #11
    Advantages of granting land to your own dynasty members:
    1. +5 opinion modifier -- negligible IMO
    2. Higher 'Dynasty Score' -- if you do not care about dynasty score, ignore this. -- negligible IMO
    3. (in the future) potential ability to press their claims *even if* you are not their de jure liege. To clarify this, here is the scenario: (Johnny being of your own dynasty)
      a. Johnny has a claim on a county/duchy/kingdom
      b. Johnny has NO HOLDINGS in your realm at all
      c. You invite Johnny to your court, start a war with your CB pressing Johnny's claim.
      d. You win the war, Johnny is now the proud owner of the claimed county/duchy/kingdom.
      d. If you are (at least) one tier above Johnny's new position, you are now his liege. (If it was a county and you are a Duke, he is now your vassal count; if it was a duchy and you are a king, he is now your vassal duke; not sure if it works the same way with kingdoms but I guess it should be, of course you need to be an Emperor/Empress)
      Now in the above scenario, if Johnny was NOT of your dynasty, he would have shaked your hand, said thank you, perhaps gifted a bottle of wine with his business card and took off.
      I can see having a gigantic dynasty with claims to known world and beyond could be a strategic asset; having said that, as I do not intend on steamrolling map I am perfectly fine with (fabricating claims) or (going with the 50% rule to chew slowly).
    Therefore none of the 3 above is a huge advantage for me.




    Now let's take a look at the
    Disadvantages of granting land to your own dynasty members:
    • You simply cannot use the method of stealthily eradicating (assassinate) their entire dynasty to reclaim all their holdings if it is your own dynasty
    Well, short list but that is enough for me.




    To put it bluntly, with the above game style, I use people as containers, their purpose is to contain holding(s) as long as their service is required; and once it is no longer necessary, they should leave without creating a scene. (preferably via death by natural causes as it sounds cool). Yes I know it sounds bad but I am a very loving and caring person in modern times

    BTW, before coming up with this Machiavellist method I tried to be a good family man:
    1) granting counties to cousin/auntie/uncles etc;
    2) duchies to brothers.

    Then I heartbreakingly experienced that
    1) once you give a county they want the whole duchy;
    2) when you give duchy, they demand other counties in it. You say give all counties and be done with it? No,
    3) then they ask for the second king title "you don't use it bro; no head can take two crowns!". I say, "I use them as rings, 20 fingers on me, you fool!".
    4) As an additional 'great dynasty benefit' extended dynasty members also provide free assassinations (assassinating you and your heir apparent)

    How can they assassinate the great leader of their own dynasty who [brag]conquered many counts, dukes and kings; wisely never spent a dime on fighting heretics; ruled in justice as long as it suited his own agenda; never delayed punishing any wrongdoings (to himself or his heirs)[/brag]. If they (AI relatives) don't act honorably why should the player do so....

    In many cases 80+ year old NEW NOBLE will conveniently die without producing heirs therefore you take it all back without spending any money/dishonorable_act_penalty_point on them; you just repeat the process.
    If they get crazy enough to attempt bringing a kid in this crazy medieval world; when they are 80+ and gone next year; is it a sin to send that child to angels; to say the least we are saving that child's soul from great suffering ahead.

    Now that I think about it; actually we should get both prestige and piety points for each soul we save, plus opinion boost with the Pope.


    EDIT - so with the above setup, once you (perhaps painfully - if you start big) get to the point of 1 vassal = 1 demesne system, only heaven lies ahead.
    EDIT - oh BTW, vassal levies = MAX; church levies = MAX; so that even if they ALL rebel; owing to the fact that they do NOT rebel at the same time; you use A's troops to put down B's rebellion; then use C's troops to put down A. Try never using your own troops, and keep them as reserves at all times. This way you will always be able to respond in case many many crazy servants (some call vassals) rebel at the same time.

    Another benefit of employing service of "one man dynasties" as your vassals: if push comes to shove you can quickly assaseliminate 3-4 of them quickly to take out 30K troops in the field; this is cheaper than fighting them with your troops [paying with levies] or mercs [paying with much much more gold than 50 per head].
    Last edited by themrwho; 21-02-2012 at 18:21.

  12. #12
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    5 or 6? That's nothing :O In my ongoing Duke of the isles -> Ireland & Scotland, I noticed a danish duke, who had no less than 8 ducal titles, and was about to inherit 3 more from his mother. (Denmark had won the war for England, and conquerored a huge chunk of the baltic). At some point, he decided he wanted to be king of Denmark. So he stomped the current king. This has left the map looking a bit weird, with half o England being in the hands of the new danish king, and half of Denmark being in control of the old danish king (now king of england).

    Been very entertaining to watch, and I'm atm looking into getting a claim on england
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  13. #13
    I always enjoy slowly taking control of a Kingdom as a Duke. As the Duke of Toulouse I managed to gain all of the Occitain ducal titles under my control through claims and marriages. I ended up controlling half of France myself and the King accepted any marriage proposal I made, likely due to fear of pissing me off and starting a civil war he would certainly lose.

  14. #14
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    If you are king, you can usually press for a de-jour ducal claim.

    Don't let your dukes get that powerful. I haven't had that issue. Yeah it angers them but better to anger them while they're small and relatively powerless than to wait for them to get massively powerful and angry for some other uncontrollable reason.

    Still, it'd be nice if a duke's vassals would start to grumble of they hold more than two or three duchies. I get why it's different; a king can give away duchies and still exert control over them. If a duke gives up a duchy title it's basically gone forever unless he gives it to his heir.

    Maybe the problem is that the AI is too keen to hold onto duchies rather than land their heirs? I mean it's usually a pretty good idea, even for a duke, to give their son a duchy. If only because they will end up with far more gold and prestige in the long-run.
    Last edited by Harle; 21-02-2012 at 17:35. Reason: Clarity

  15. #15
    Hehe, I agree with you all, but as independent King of Egypt, there was not much I could do to prevent this Byzantine multi-duke from growing too powerful.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by themrwho View Post
    Advantages of granting land to your own dynasty members:
    1. +5 opinion modifier -- negligible IMO
    2. Higher 'Dynasty Score' -- if you do not care about dynasty score, ignore this. -- negligible IMO
    3. (in the future) potential ability to press their claims *even if* you are not their de jure liege. To clarify this, here is the scenario: (Johnny being of your own dynasty)
      a. Johnny has a claim on a county/duchy/kingdom
      b. Johnny has NO HOLDINGS in your realm at all
      c. You invite Johnny to your court, start a war with your CB pressing Johnny's claim.
      d. You win the war, Johnny is now the proud owner of the claimed county/duchy/kingdom.
      d. If you are (at least) one tier above Johnny's new position, you are now his liege. (If it was a county and you are a Duke, he is now your vassal count; if it was a duchy and you are a king, he is now your vassal duke; not sure if it works the same way with kingdoms but I guess it should be, of course you need to be an Emperor/Empress)
      Now in the above scenario, if Johnny was NOT of your dynasty, he would have shaked your hand, said thank you, perhaps gifted a bottle of wine with his business card and took off.
      I can see having a gigantic dynasty with claims to known world and beyond could be a strategic asset; having said that, as I do not intend on steamrolling map I am perfectly fine with (fabricating claims) or (going with the 50% rule to chew slowly).
    Therefore none of the 3 above is a huge advantage for me.




    Now let's take a look at the
    Disadvantages of granting land to your own dynasty members:
    • You simply cannot use the method of stealthily eradicating (assassinate) their entire dynasty to reclaim all their holdings if it is your own dynasty
    Well, short list but that is enough for me.




    To put it bluntly, with the above game style, I use people as containers, their purpose is to contain holding(s) as long as their service is required; and once it is no longer necessary, they should leave without creating a scene. (preferably via death by natural causes as it sounds cool). Yes I know it sounds bad but I am a very loving and caring person in modern times

    BTW, before coming up with this Machiavellist method I tried to be a good family man:
    1) granting counties to cousin/auntie/uncles etc;
    2) duchies to brothers.

    Then I heartbreakingly experienced that
    1) once you give a county they want the whole duchy;
    2) when you give duchy, they demand other counties in it. You say give all counties and be done with it? No,
    3) then they ask for the second king title "you don't use it bro; no head can take two crowns!". I say, "I use them as rings, 20 fingers on me, you fool!".
    4) As an additional 'great dynasty benefit' extended dynasty members also provide free assassinations (assassinating you and your heir apparent)

    How can they assassinate the great leader of their own dynasty who [brag]conquered many counts, dukes and kings; wisely never spent a dime on fighting heretics; ruled in justice as long as it suited his own agenda; never delayed punishing any wrongdoings (to himself or his heirs)[/brag]. If they (AI relatives) don't act honorably why should the player do so....

    In many cases 80+ year old NEW NOBLE will conveniently die without producing heirs therefore you take it all back without spending any money/dishonorable_act_penalty_point on them; you just repeat the process.
    If they get crazy enough to attempt bringing a kid in this crazy medieval world; when they are 80+ and gone next year; is it a sin to send that child to angels; to say the least we are saving that child's soul from great suffering ahead.

    Now that I think about it; actually we should get both prestige and piety points for each soul we save, plus opinion boost with the Pope.


    EDIT - so with the above setup, once you (perhaps painfully - if you start big) get to the point of 1 vassal = 1 demesne system, only heaven lies ahead.
    EDIT - oh BTW, vassal levies = MAX; church levies = MAX; so that even if they ALL rebel; owing to the fact that they do NOT rebel at the same time; you use A's troops to put down B's rebellion; then use C's troops to put down A. Try never using your own troops, and keep them as reserves at all times. This way you will always be able to respond in case many many crazy servants (some call vassals) rebel at the same time.

    Another benefit of employing service of "one man dynasties" as your vassals: if push comes to shove you can quickly assaseliminate 3-4 of them quickly to take out 30K troops in the field; this is cheaper than fighting them with your troops [paying with levies] or mercs [paying with much much more gold than 50 per head].
    You forgot a disadvantage! Once you have several vassals of your Dynasty and a Realm size of over 100, you will have 20 to 30 year long succession wars and do nothing between taking the throne and dying other than putting down rebellions and imprisoning your kin. I am confused and cannot figure out how to make sense of vassals of your dynasty being so ambitious and rebellious. A large kingdom ruled by a Dynasty as vast as the modern Saudi one would be completely uncontrollable in-game. I think that succession wars need to be tweaked a bit.
    Last edited by James_Manring; 21-02-2012 at 20:32.

  17. #17
    There are absolutely supposed to be dukes more powerful than kings in this time period.


    Also, its pretty easy to manage a little bit of negative opinion, so a King can easily hold 4 duchies, plus ans many kingdom titles as he wants.

  18. #18
    Oh I suppose yes. And I've seen screenshots of people with 5 Kingdoms. I guess I try to be a good King too much. I want my vassals to like me, but they reward me by plotting to lower crown authority and wasting levies warring on each other (vassal vs liege, so despite Medium CA). Ah the joys of being King.

  19. #19
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    I have a pretty cool example.

    In my current game within the HRE, the Salians (who are no longer in control of the HRE) possess the Kingdom of Burgundy title and also the duchies of: Burgundy, Upper Burgundy, Dauphine, Provence, Savoie, Aquitaine, Anjou, Berry, and also Brittany.

    The HRE, whom the Salians are under, on the other hand...he personally possesses the Duchy of Thuringia.

  20. #20
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    Since somebody mentioned younger sons, in my experience, lower title succession engineering is a risky business if you play without assassinating people, revoking land without a good basis etc., you may as well end up giving up your vassal titles abroad instead of bringing foreign titles in if the foreign landed mother dies first. Obviously the same applies to juniors in gavelkind. But you could marry off those junior sons to foreign heiresses to pack the world with your co-dynasts without any risk. (You could then switch to seniority succession and start integrating.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kluska View Post
    I have a pretty cool example.

    In my current game within the HRE, the Salians (who are no longer in control of the HRE) possess the Kingdom of Burgundy title and also the duchies of: Burgundy, Upper Burgundy, Dauphine, Provence, Savoie, Aquitaine, Anjou, Berry, and also Brittany.

    The HRE, whom the Salians are under, on the other hand...he personally possesses the Duchy of Thuringia.
    When Henry VII (von Luxemburg) was elected emperor he was a simple count of Luxembourg who had had to become a French vassal to get protection. There had been a couple of counts before him but they had only been Kings of the Romans, not Emperors (due to not being crowned by the Pope).
    Last edited by NewbieOne; 21-02-2012 at 23:47.

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