Is Offer Vassalage too strong?

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Tiax

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Here is the HRE when my character elected. As usual, the previous AI emperor has lost a lot of territory to rebels.
20210610200912_1.jpg


Here is the HRE less than ten years later.


20210610201639_1.jpg


I have not waged any wars, just asked everyone I neighbor nicely if they would like to be my vassal. I have the "True Ruler" perk that gives +25, and I offer them low feudal obligations. For some neighbors, I had to give a gift, but many accepted without any other incentive. With a few more gifts, I should be able to mop up the rest of Southern Italy, but then I'll probably run out of steam as there are no more neighboring dukes.

This feels too easy. Should I really be able to get every Duke in western Europe to join the HRE just by asking them nicely?
 
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The Norman Yoke

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Here is the HRE when my character elected. As usual, the previous AI emperor has lost a lot of territory to rebels.
View attachment 730563

Here is the HRE less than ten years later.


View attachment 730564

I have not waged any wars, just asked everyone I neighbor nicely if they would like to be my vassal. I have the "True Ruler" perk that gives +25, and I offer them low feudal obligations. For some neighbors, I had to give a gift, but many accepted without any other incentive. With a few more gifts, I should be able to mop up the rest of Southern Italy, but then I'll probably run out of steam as there are no more neighboring dukes.

This feels too easy. Should I really be able to get every Duke in western Europe to join the HRE just by asking them nicely?
I only learnt today you could offer them to start with certain exemptions, so was able to vassalise Barcelona after helping them out in some wars.
If you go through the diplo tree you can get the force vassalise cb, which will give you similar results so I don't think it's that overpowered to offer vassalage with low obligations. If you can't create a kingdom title you're also massively increasing your number of vassals which will make factions harder to handle
 
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Tiax

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I only learnt today you could offer them to start with certain exemptions, so was able to vassalise Barcelona after helping them out in some wars.
If you go through the diplo tree you can get the force vassalise cb, which will give you similar results so I don't think it's that overpowered to offer vassalage with low obligations. If you can't create a kingdom title you're also massively increasing your number of vassals which will make factions harder to handle
I don't think I could have conducted nearly this many wars with force vassalization CB in this amount of time, and even if I could, it'd be crushingly expensive and would give all my vassals a huge opinion penalty with me. I've vassalized more than 20 realms this way - there's no way you can win a vassalization war every six months for ten years straight.
 
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I don't think I could have conducted nearly this many wars with force vassalization CB in this amount of time, and even if I could, it'd be crushingly expensive and would give all my vassals a huge opinion penalty with me. I've vassalized more than 20 realms this way - there's no way you can win a vassalization war every six months for ten years straight.
The de jure hre one's you'd be able to get without offering low contract surely
 

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The de jure hre one's you'd be able to get without offering low contract surely
Yeah, most of them agreed to regular contracts, although I did need to offer low obligations to a few Czech and Polabian counts, as they had a wrong culture group penalty. I could have alternatively bought them off with a gift, but I was going to transfer them to a duke anyway, so it didn't matter to me what level of obligations they had. The Italian, Burgundian, and French vassals generally all needed low obligations, and some also required swaying or a gift. With the Thoughtful perk, all my gifts give like +150 relations, so even dukes who didn't really like me personally due to personality conflicts were easily bribed.
 

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I don't think it's overpowered as a specialization. Diplo vassalization only really works in specific circumstances, which the HRE happens to have a good position for. You're an empire, surrounded by same-religion duchies. (By contrast, in India, you're quickly blocked because every neighbour is some kind of kingdom, and kings get -50 to acceptance).

However, the "low feudal obligation" and "religious exemption" bonuses do feel like cheat mode. Once they're your vassals there are so many ways to modify the contract or even revoke. And religious protection can be immediately taken away without even using a hook, just by lowering the taxes. So why is it +60 if the new liege can immediately make it identical to the +40 option?

I think at the very least, the feudal contract should be "locked" after vassalization.

I do think it's realistic that feudal realms are a bit easier to vassalize than tribal or clan, because vassal relationships are feudal's whole thing. But maybe it should be a straight +20 bonus, with low obligations and religious protection (if applicable) automatically applied for everyone? I mean, instead of the +40 or +60 they get for it now. I think the need to crank up those obligations afterward will make for some interesting gameplay. "Spymaster!! Install cameras! I need hooks!"
 
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It's only too strong if Paradox has not made realm stability a major issue. And they still haven't.

The current patch did a great job of cascading faction demands, but what we really need is for the first faction demands (that start this chain) to fire more often.

That way you can vassalize as you please, it just makes it harder to keep your realm together without more management and politics.
 
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Amtep

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Yeah but it IS a bit weird when a neighbour accepts vassalization and then immediately joins an independence faction. If you wanted to be independent so bad, why did you accept?
 
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Yeah but it IS a bit weird when a neighbour accepts vassalization and then immediately joins an independence faction. If you wanted to be independent so bad, why did you accept?

See it this way:
If a ruler - who can mobilize 10.000 MAA - asks you - who can mobilize 2.000 MAA - nicely, it sometimes is not a good idea to answer "No way.".
In this situation a "Yes, of course." would be better. So you get time to form alliances with others, that want to be independent, to have a better position to negotiate. ;-)
 
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I don't think it's overpowered as a specialization. Diplo vassalization only really works in specific circumstances, which the HRE happens to have a good position for. You're an empire, surrounded by same-religion duchies. (By contrast, in India, you're quickly blocked because every neighbour is some kind of kingdom, and kings get -50 to acceptance).
With the change to factions, independent dukes and counts are much more common. I was able to pick up about half of the territory of France because so many dukes had declared independence from them.

I don't object to things like being able to integrate an isolated count who is totally surrounded by the HRE. Or even being able to diplo-vassalize my son who was Duke of Tuscany. But it feels unrealistic that a Duke of Aquitaine who holds most of Southern France should agree to join the HRE in exchange for a bit of gold.

The problem is that if you can diplo-vassalize one neighbor, you can probably diplo-vassalize every neighbor, so once you cross a certain threshold of positive modifiers, you can just vacuum up everything within reach. Maybe if it required a bit more investment - like a marriage alliance, it wouldn't feel so strong.

I'm not really convinced that faction pressure would be a sufficient balance here. Would we say that a bug that allows you to auto-win wars of conquest is not a big deal because you're just risking more factions?
 
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With the change to factions, independent dukes and counts are much more common. I was able to pick up about half of the territory of France because so many dukes had declared independence from them.

I don't object to things like being able to integrate an isolated count who is totally surrounded by the HRE. Or even being able to diplo-vassalize my son who was Duke of Tuscany. But it feels unrealistic that a Duke of Aquitaine who holds most of Southern France should agree to join the HRE in exchange for a bit of gold.

The problem is that if you can diplo-vassalize one neighbor, you can probably diplo-vassalize every neighbor, so once you cross a certain threshold of positive modifiers, you can just vacuum up everything within reach. Maybe if it required a bit more investment - like a marriage alliance, it wouldn't feel so strong.

I'm not really convinced that faction pressure would be a sufficient balance here. Would we say that a bug that allows you to auto-win wars of conquest is not a big deal because you're just risking more factions?
Yeah the dukes of aquitaine and occitan being so strong at game start does make it hard to keep France together. But what did stop them historically breaking off? Did they have lots of struggles to keep their own holdings together that just isn't included at game start?
 

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Yeah the dukes of aquitaine and occitan being so strong at game start does make it hard to keep France together. But what did stop them historically breaking off? Did they have lots of struggles to keep their own holdings together that just isn't included at game start?
I think the difference is that CK3 makes Aquitaine a de jure kingdom, which makes sense in 867, but was quickly integrated into France in real life, and had faded from consciousness by 1066. Thus, dukes of Aquitaine would have been more concerned with securing their autonomy (low crown authority, favorable vassal contract), rather than with securing independence from an illegitimate liege, which is what CK3 models.
 
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Put yourself in the shoes of the AI rulers. If anything I've found the swear fealty option much more powerful (especially in pagan settings). When you can choose between potentially losing your domain to a realm you have no chance of beating in a war, why not become their vassal. In a feudal setting manipulating your feudal contract for council rights takes you a LONG way in developing your domain. As a pagan, this will protect you from most risks associated to being a pagan such as getting raided.

Let me give you on of the best examples of Swear Fealty in a pagan setting. Start as Manding in 867 (Africa). You will start with 2 of the 3 strongest African Counties (the Gold Mines of Mali). Immediately on game start, Swear Fealty to Ghana. The King of Ghana starts with 3 Manding Counties. He will give these away to 3 counts them offer them to you as vassals. From there you are in one of the safest possible positions to raid and generate enough gold to start building the Gold Mines of Mali. You can also fabricate a claim on Bambuk to lock down the final Gold Mine. You will have a 10 year truce with your liege from the vassals he gave you. During this time you will easily end up stronger than your liege and you can choose to fabricate a claim on Ghana (avoid giving him the means to make the kingdom of Mali, he starts with 8/9 required counties) or just go for independence. TL;DR by swearing fealty you have eliminated all early game risks associated to being a pagan and will be able to develop at an insane rate.

If the AI was more aggressive and ambitious, I would cruise along every game as a vassal; cheering my AI liege on as they conquer the world.
 
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Put yourself in the shoes of the AI rulers. If anything I've found the swear fealty option much more powerful (especially in pagan settings). When you can choose between potentially losing your domain to a realm you have no chance of beating in a war, why not become their vassal. In a feudal setting manipulating your feudal contract for council rights takes you a LONG way in developing your domain. As a pagan, this will protect you from most risks associated to being a pagan such as getting raided.

Let me give you on of the best examples of Swear Fealty in a pagan setting. Start as Manding in 867 (Africa). You will start with 2 of the 3 strongest African Counties (the Gold Mines of Mali). Immediately on game start, Swear Fealty to Ghana. The King of Ghana starts with 3 Manding Counties. He will give these away to 3 counts them offer them to you as vassals. From there you are in one of the safest possible positions to raid and generate enough gold to start building the Gold Mines of Mali. You can also fabricate a claim on Bambuk to lock down the final Gold Mine. You will have a 10 year truce with your liege from the vassals he gave you. During this time you will easily end up stronger than your liege and you can choose to fabricate a claim on Ghana (avoid giving him the means to make the kingdom of Mali, he starts with 8/9 required counties) or just go for independence. TL;DR by swearing fealty you have eliminated all early game risks associated to being a pagan and will be able to develop at an insane rate.

If the AI was more aggressive and ambitious, I would cruise along every game as a vassal; cheering my AI liege on as they conquer the world.
By this logic, should France, Poland and Hungary all also join my ever-expanding empire for free?
 

SIC_Zonz

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Jun 11, 2021
4
1
By this logic, should France, Poland and Hungary all also join my ever-expanding empire for free?
If I were them, I would. They have no chance of taking you down from the outside so they should just do it from the inside. Once again, they have to choose between potentially losing their domain or paying some taxes. Those taxes more than pay from themselves if you demand the Steward position on the council. By Domain I am specifically referring to the lands that their family has owned and developed for generations. As players, I think we can all agree how annoying it is to lose even a developed barony during succession.
 

Tiax

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If I were them, I would. They have no chance of taking you down from the outside so they should just do it from the inside. Once again, they have to choose between potentially losing their domain or paying some taxes. Those taxes more than pay from themselves if you demand the Steward position on the council. By Domain I am specifically referring to the lands that their family has owned and developed for generations. As players, I think we can all agree how annoying it is to lose even a developed barony during succession.
So, at the start of the game, should every character immediately swear fealty to their strongest neighbor, and repeat until the only independent realms are the starting empires?
 

Amtep

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If I were them, I would. They have no chance of taking you down from the outside so they should just do it from the inside. Once again, they have to choose between potentially losing their domain or paying some taxes. Those taxes more than pay from themselves if you demand the Steward position on the council. By Domain I am specifically referring to the lands that their family has owned and developed for generations. As players, I think we can all agree how annoying it is to lose even a developed barony during succession.
It's slightly different when your liege is not an ai but a player, who will make revoking your kingdom their #1 priority as soon as you join (especially if you have non de jure vassals)
 

Rubidium

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Yeah the dukes of aquitaine and occitan being so strong at game start does make it hard to keep France together. But what did stop them historically breaking off? Did they have lots of struggles to keep their own holdings together that just isn't included at game start?
The main thing is that they were only barely part of France anyway. They were essentially independent rulers whose recognition of royal authority was mostly nominal.

And of course, within a few generations, the Duchy of Aquitaine did break away (as Eleanor of Aquitatine dumped the king of France and married Henry II of England to form the Angevin Empire, where parts of it would remain until 1453). Meanwhile, Toulouse didn't go quite as far, but it did cultivate strong ties with the crown of Aragon, until it was conquered by more reliable northern French lords during the Cathar Crusade.

They weren't alone in that, of course. William the Bastard, before he decided to invade England, had already established a formidable military reputation beating up on his neighboring French vassals and even the King of France, Robert of Burgundy had basically forced the previous French king to hand over his duchy, and Flanders was a perpetual bone of contention between France, the HRE, and later England.
 

Furleppe

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It was too strong or too generous in CK2 and I still think it's the same in CK3. There were some weird cases in CK2 - you could load up 4th crusade start date and reunite Byzantium incredibly quickly with "offer vassalage" because of de jure status (only a few bribes required here and there). In CK3 this situation (if there was 4th crusade start date) would work out almost identical.

I would personally nerf it, maybe not by adding flat minus chance but by adding more variables and requirements. Maybe some events around it?
 

Sozey

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Jun 9, 2021
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But what did stop them historically breaking off?

They tried to become independent from the west francs. They voted Charles the child (don't know if it is right in English) as sub-king to keep them more independence and also tried to allie with the east francs. But didn't go well.