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Thread: How to stabilize your realm

  1. #1

    How to stabilize your realm

    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.

    Marriages
    - 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.

    Your dynasty
    - Keep them in your court as much as possible. This gives you control over their lives, who they marry, etc.

    Honorary Titles
    - Keep them in reserve and hand them out to those who are plotting to rebel.

    Demesne
    - Obviously, you don't want to exceed the demesne size.

    Crown Authority
    - 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.

    Intrigue
    - 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.

    Technology
    - Focus on researching noble customs.

    War
    - 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.

    Prison
    - Grow your dungeon.
    - Hold a reserve of prisoners and release them to boost vassal opinion when necessary.
    - Revoke, revoke, revoke.

    Miscellaneous
    - 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.
    Last edited by djCynic; 06-03-2012 at 18:39.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by djCynic View Post
    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 you 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.
    - 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.

    Marriages
    - Have matrilineal marriages as much as possible.

    Wards and Educate Child
    - Avoid bad heirs (this is obvious).
    - 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.

    Crown Authority
    - 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.

    Intrigue
    - 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.

    Technology
    - Focus on researching noble customs.

    War
    - Use mercenaries and personal levies as much as possible. Use vassal levies only when necessary.
    I would agree with most of this in a long term situation.
    Realistically, you want to tax your vassals, but not a whole lot (small city taxes or something similar).
    I would create new kingdoms and duchies, but make sure you don't have any titles within the new duchies (as you said). Typically if you keep the two strongest duchies in a kingdom/empire you should be okay.
    The other thing I would note is to not expand too rapidly. Although it is kind of difficult with the way treaties and claims work, if you take too many territories in too short of a timespan, you risk having too many dukes/counts on your frontier dislike you, which only causes problems. I like to try and convert religion/culture because it makes things a lot easier later on.

  3. #3
    Okay, so I added a few things. I am hoping that maybe this will be somewhat of a guide if people add to it.

  4. #4
    Lt. General Stolen Rutters's Avatar
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    I like it! I plan to adopt these techniques to my strategy.

    (After reading the wiki page of William the Conqueror, I have followed his historical precedent of only letting each ruler hold one county. This keeps the rebellions during regime change consistently small enough to crush. Adding some of these hints should make this even more peaceful.)
    ----
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  5. #5
    Great guide! Thanks for sharing!

  6. #6
    Things need to be a little more fluid than you're picturing I think. Some quick examples:

    1. Not making duchies is a solid approach if said duchies could significantly splinter your realm. You will reach a size though where 5-10 counties pose no threat at all, at which point a duchy isn't such a bad idea as it converts 3-5 annoying vassals into one slightly less annoying vassal.

    2. Tournaments can have some pretty bad negative events. Such as making your ruler realize he's gay. You might want to have at least one son first...

    3. Mercenaries are great in the early years, but they become totally insignificant compared to vassals in the long term.

    4. Slaying close relatives can be good or bad depending on your reason for doing so

    etc

    You have a decent list for the early years though.

  7. #7
    <i>- Revoke, revoke, revoke. </i>

    That's why I DON'T try too hard stabilize my realms. Sometimes I persecute a vassal until he rebels. Especially if he is ambitious, holds two or more duchies, or is related to me a little TOO closely. Sometimes I persecute several vassals at once.

    The best time to revoke is when a traitorous vassal is languishing in your dungeon after you crush his/her pathetic little rebellion. They can't join any plots there, either. And once they're old and sick enough that they're not dangerous, ransom 'em for profit. Or maybe just ransom 'em immediately so they can rebel again and get you another "free" title! Nothing like using their own coin to pay the troops who bring them to heel again.

    I use high crown authority to make my dukes & doges do my fighting for me. Most of my personal demesne and barons are held in reserve to crush those vassals who get uppity and forget who is boss. If they _really_ hate me, they may get to spend YEARS besieging a town in some obscure corner of Iberia or the Levant. Do whatever it takes to get their always latent treason out in the open.

    Honestly, I feel like this game has done more to make me understand the mindset of an Ivan the Terrible or Louis XI than anything I've ever read.
    "What for you bury me in the cold, cold ground?"

  8. #8
    That's pretty good but you got to tax your vassals (they need to pay for the privilege of collecting what is, after all, your money).

    Also, use your vassals soldiers as often as possible. They will have fewer soldiers to cause mischief and you'll have more to keep order.

    Finally, don't be afraid of rebellion. Rebellion is good as it usually happens at the beginning of a reign and allows a new leader to replace the dead wood (or soon to be dead wood) with people that will be thrilled you've elevated them.

    Make sure to keep a cadre of loyal dukes for each reign so that you don't have everyone rebelling at once and if you are about to get a rebellion, call up the rebellious vassals levy. Always keep enough money around to hire mercenaries if you need to. Also be prepared to send your kids to be educated by the rebellious vassals, send them a gift or give them an honorary title. Send your extra heirs to the church so they can't cause you grief later.

    With all of that though, almost all of your suggestions were spot on, good post.
    Last edited by TerribleTodd; 05-03-2012 at 20:40. Reason: I simpli cant spel

  9. #9
    Grand Prolonger of Autumn 大長秋 Lord Canterbury's Avatar
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    Good list... though I would suggest bit of a priority list, as some things are more important than others... my rough guide of priorities would be something like:

    1 - Understand that one of the most important limiters to growth in CKII is stability - this is not a world conquest game - you need to bide you time and choose when you are stable enough to grow.
    2 - We a ruler dies, you WILL have instability. You main priority should be to INSTANTLY follow restore stability. (as per the steps below)
    3 - Don't exceed your domain limit. Give away your less valuable counties.
    4 - As a king,don't hold more than two duchies. Give extras away.
    5 - Give to content types if possible. Avoid ambitious types.
    6 - When giving away counties make sure that you also transfer vassalage to the de jure duke.
    7 - Give away holdings to people who already have high opinions of you... especially younger people who might then be you ally for the next half century.
    8 - If you vassals plot against you, don't be afraid to try to imprison them. You will either safely tuck them away in a cell, or force them into rebellion at a time of you chosing.
    9 - Once you defeat a rebel, you can strip a title off them and give it to someone else - the beneficiary of the new title will love you, and can help organise internal borders along dejure lines.
    10 - When you have a new king, make sure you hand out all your honorary titles.
    11 - When you have a new king, don't raise crown authority... if you need to, wait until you have the long reign bonus.
    12 - You can safely tax your mayors into space... but don't bother taxing feudal vassal.

    I think if you do the above then things should be relatively stable without have to worry too much about the other ways to maintain stability.
    "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd." - Voltaire.
    "The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt." - Bertrand Russell.

  10. #10
    Despot of Saratoga Puritan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djCynic View Post
    Okay, so I added a few things. I am hoping that maybe this will be somewhat of a guide if people add to it.
    You should see about adding this to the wiki as you go. it'll get lost too easy here. Though I think the wiki is still in the catch 22 stage atm.
    A multitude of rulers is not a good thing. Let there be one ruler, one king.

  11. #11
    General Grumpalodian Aardvark Bellay's Avatar
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    djcynic had a very good post, but others had some good arguments as well.

    The wiki:
    crusaderkings-two.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Strategy_Guides (there it should (!) be added imho)
    [Micromod] - Old Building Names (Pre-1.10-building-names for CK2)

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  12. #12
    Crusade! go on a crusade with your liege leading troops and bring there your vassals. do this and pay attention on their life, no need to fight epic battles, everybody will get the "crusader" trait and +30 opinion for "both crusader"

  13. #13
    A Crusade is one of the best ways to unite a realm. You don't even have to win the Crusade, you just have to step foot on the Crusade's target. [There are plenty of Inconclusive Crusades, or you can White Peace.] You are relatively insulated from foreign Christian realms attacking during the Crusade as well.

    "I came, I saw, I bonded"

  14. #14
    How to have a stable realm: Have strong ALLIES. So when your new king inherits, give some land to one or two _strong_ or medium vassals. Make sure you have 2 or 3 vassals that are powerful and love you (relations >90). There WILL be rebellions, no way around it, it's the middle ages, everybody wants your throne/land/etc. If two or three strong vassals love you (bribe, title, release prisoner, arrange marriage, send ward, gift holding, transfer vassalage), you will get lots of levies from them (cheaper than hiring mercs or using troops from your personal demesne. Levies are free, no upkeep, they will pay for your war!). So winning a civil war will be fast and won't cost money. Use the land you get from rebellions to make everybody else happy. Conquer new land and postpone any unpopular decisions until your vassals are weakened by inheritance or until most of them love you anyway. If you want to revoke titles, make sure you have enough land to bribe the rest of your vassals.

  15. #15
    Using chancelors to increase relations helps alot as well.

  16. #16
    I do create/usurp/take king titles and duke titles because I like the prestige effects; however, the exact questions of "if" and "when" are situational.

    You have to be careful of duchies merging or growing too large. But if they rebel, take them revoke their duchy title, give it to one of the original duke's counts and you have a friend for life [i.e. 0-60 years give or take]. When choosing between which count to give the duchy to, give it to the content one. If you do not have a content one [with the duchy gift you are probably still safe for a lifetime, just not the next succession], give it to the one who has an heir who is between the ages 4-8. Make sure you have that kid educated by someone who is content and is diligent so that content trait sticks. I also try to pick guardians with few traits but content, in the assumption that if an event fires for a guardian that has 4 traits, that it is a 25% chance that thecontent one will fire, instead of 10% for ten traits, but I am not exactly sure how that mechanic works. But I know that this system works. I call them "you-will-be-a-duke-education-camps" and I am sure they are lots of fun for the kids.

    I have had many peaceful successions, including a child succession with a female heir where the lowest vassal opinion was a -18.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Canterbury View Post
    7 - Give away holdings to people who already have high opinions of you... especially younger people who might then be you ally for the next half century.
    This last point cannot be overstated. During a succession, take a look at all the vassals' opinions. Some will already be loyal, some will be horribly rebellious, and there will be some who are in between. Use what you have land/honorary titles/gifts to strengthen support you already have or the border line cases. If they are a lost cause then they are a lost cause. Don't waste resources on them.

  17. #17
    What's your opinion on levy laws?

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by louie97 View Post
    What's your opinion on levy laws?
    Only raise them when all your vassals are already at 80+ opinion.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by louie97 View Post
    What's your opinion on levy laws?
    Personally I max out levy's except with cities and bishoprics. That only comes with a -5 opinion penalty, and gits rid of the -20% levy penalty of the previous law.

  20. #20
    Captain death&d3cay's Avatar
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    I agree with everything except taxing your vassals (I think it is perfectly manageable to have a minimum tax) and creating new titles (to me prestige is everything, and if you are not accumulating prestige at the highest rate possible you are not 'winning').

    Other than that, this is a fantastic guide. I've been saying from release that Vassal Relations are to CK II as Stability is to EU III. It's nice to see others saying the same.

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