Just reread my post, and holy cow it's long. I'd just like to state in advance that I've read the manual, I've read all of Meneth's excellent guide and I have performed many forum searches, and I am still unable to answer the questions below. I do promise I've tried to avoid creating yet another plea for help on the forums, but it's come to the point where these issues mean the game is no longer fun for me. My lack of understanding means that even though others say CKII is a logical game with strict laws and rules regarding succession etc. it nevertheless appears, to me, to be very random. So thanks in advance for reading and answering (I hope!)
Can anyone tell me what determines who my heir is?[/B] Not the heir to the kingdom, or the heir to my duchies or whatnot, but the next character I will play as when my current one dies. As far as I can tell, it's completely random! Most often it's my firstborn son, but often I'll have a natural-born son and my heir is my brother or my uncle. Why??
I guess another question related to this would be: Do succession laws in a kingdom have any effect on who my heir is? I've seen mention in other threads of elective succession being a good way to go because you can choose to have your more skilled son inherit the kingdom over the drunken, slothful imbecile who is currently your heir. But as far as my gameplay experience goes, choosing that better son does nothing other than move the inheritance of the kingdom away from your failure of an 'heir', and you will then lose it when you die and the kingdom is passed on to someone else.
Please help me, I'm so confused!
A few other random questions that I've been saving up for the last few weeks and that are now boiling over in frustration onto this forum post (sorry!):
1. Primogeniture laws, as I understand them, pass a kingdom on to your oldest eligible 'heir'. Can anyone explain to me the following situation: I take over the Kingdom of England as the King of Norway; England has primogeniture succession. But rather than my oldest son becoming heir to England, it turns out my grandson is first in line?? I end up killing him (botching the first few attempts and gaining the 'kinslayer' trait), and when I do my oldest son becomes heir to England? Why?
2. I've been attempting to gain claims through marriage recently, but this is proving to be an incredibly frustrating process. Obviously if I invite a male with a claim into my court and press it, he gains the lands, so that's a no go. From the guides I've read, you're supposed to marry claims into your kingdom, so I've tried marrying claim-holding women to men of my dynasty, and claim-holding men matrilinearlly women, and waiting for them to have kids so I can press their claims because that is what I understand you are supposed to do. Trouble is, claims are not inherited unless pressed in war, so the kids of the 'claim marriage' don't actually gain claims upon their parent's death, and I'm back where I was before.
I've also tried pressing the claims before the parents die, with the plan of killing them off (or just waiting for them to cop it naturally) and then having their kid, who is of my dynasty, inherit the claim. The issue here seems to be that no matter what, the child of my dynasty never gets the claim - it always goes to another family member of the original claimant - no matter the succession laws of the realm - and I have to kill off his entire family before the person I want to be heir finally becomes one. I guess my question would be: can anyone give me an overview of precisely how to gain claims through marriage? I think I have succeeded once in about 50 hours of gameplay
3. Is there some way to get all my armies onto all my ships at once? Playing as Norway, with holdings and vassals spread out across all of Northern Europe, I avoid war as much as possible because it's an absolute pain in the bum to raise levies for any significant war effort. The fastest way I know if is to drag a box across all of my realm, and then tell an army to get into a set of ships; rinse and repeat 30 times, and I can finally start moving ships to where the war is. The required micromanagement makes me want to gouge my eyes out !
Thanks in everyone!