Click here: djCynic's Guide to Achieve Realm Stability
So after several hours of playing a CK2, I have learned some important lessons on how to stabilize your realm, which I list below. Some of what is listed is slightly speculative. Please add to the list.
Duchies and Kingdoms
- Don't create additional duchies or kingdoms. While they give a temporary prestige bonus and casus bellis for quicker expansion, in the long run they cause more instability within your kingdom, as vassals will attempt to acquire these titles via rebellion or some other means. Additionally, if you own any provinces within a duchy, the duke or duchess of the region may be upset by this fact. Do not usurp titles if you don't have to, for the same reasons as above. Also, don't create duchies in regions that you plan on being apart of your demesne. This may cause you to hold too many duchies.
Handing out titles
- Don't give out county titles to your dynasty members. Even distant relatives have the potential to claim your throne. Only give them bishoprics, baronies, and cities to your dynasty members (I never had a problem with revolts by doing so).
- When handing out land titles, keep them down to one title only, unless if it is your heir. Hand out multiple titles to your heir as this will help him accumulate prestige, which will make succession easier.
- Avoid the ambitious trait like the plague. Do not give out titles to ambitious courtiers. Give titles out to content courtiers without envy. Look also for traits that are compatible (craven will dislike brave for example). Avoid courtiers who have the seven deadly sins.
- Avoid Envious courtiers.
- When conquering infidel territory, don't hand out county titles first. If you do this, the count will want all the bishoprics, baronies, and cities if you do this. Hand out lower titles first.
- Do not allow vassals to accumulate territory. Revoke titles when the opportunity arises.
- Have matrilineal marriages as much as possible.
Wards and Educate Child
- Avoid bad heirs (this is obvious). Avoid the seven deadly sins.
- Educate your heir to be a grey eminence. (Although I always raise heirs with Midas touched, diplomacy skills help with opinion I hear).
- Do not allow your wards to acquire the ambition trait unless if they are the heir.
- Send your daughters to Dukes and Counts for a +20 opinion bonus.
- Become ward to the heir of a duchy or county for a +20 opinion bonus.
- Keep them in your court as much as possible. This gives you control over their lives, who they marry, etc.
- Keep them in reserve and hand them out to those who are plotting to rebel.
- Obviously, you don't want to exceed the demesne size.
- I prefer medium crown authority as this prevents vassals from acquiring each others lands. Switch to medium as soon as possible.
Taxes and Levies
- Do not tax your vassals.
- Don't slay close relatives and don't expose plots of murder by your relatives unless if you don't mind the -25 opinion penalty.
- Hold tournaments as soon as possible.
- Assassinate vassals who are likely to revolt later on.
- Focus on researching noble customs.
- Use mercenaries and personal levies as much as possible. Use vassal levies only when necessary.
- Do not keep vassal ships around as this will also anger your vassals.
- Send people you don't like off to war. Death is obviously not guaranteed.
- Grow your dungeon.
- Hold a reserve of prisoners and release them to boost vassal opinion when necessary.
- Revoke, revoke, revoke.
- Overall, I believe that having a kingdom involves balancing expansion versus stability. For example: 1. You can expand faster by creating duchies as this gives you ducal claims. In the long run, this may create more instability. 2. Having a matrilineal marriage with a title claimant can be useful. However, any dynasty members with land titles are potential pretenders to your crown. Keep this at a minimum. 3. Looking for claimants to duchies can add a lot of territory to your kingdom. However, this causes a shift in power, as dukes can wage war against you using all of his vassals.
- Basically, don't surround yourself with vassals who have vasts amounts of power. Keep your vassals in check.