Characters are the most important part of Crusader Kings II, and what sets it apart from other grand strategy games. Unlike many Paradox grand strategy games Crusader Kings II is not about nations or countries, but is instead a character-driven strategy game. Much like a RPG Crusader Kings II has attributes, good and bad traits, etc. Together they make the game about people and their relationships, and the interaction of thousands of characters with their own goals and personalities is the prime mover of the game.
Characters in Crusader Kings II can be most broadly be placed in two categories. The first is player characters, these are of course the characters players use whether in a singleplayer or multiplayer game. There are some actions and events in the game that are restricted only for a player character. The second category is of course non-player characters, they are used by the AI and their traits, attributes, etc play a major role in how they decide to act in the game. Like player characters there are actions, events, and especially government types that are exclusive to non-player characters.
- Main article: Attributes
A character's attributes or skills are a major factor in determining the success of a character's actions and what they are able to to do.
- Main article: Traits
Traits mainly affect attributes, though they can also give opinion bonuses, prestige and piety, etc. They have a major impact on non-player characters as they used to determine many choices the AI makes. Below are a few categories of traits:
- Main article: Government
Government type is the form of government that a character lives under or rules by. It dictates the available succession laws and holdings of a character, and some government types have unique mechanics. Tribes and nomads can change their government type to the other, more "settled down" forms.
- Main article: Religion
Every character in the game follows a religion. A character's religion has a major impact on their gameplay mechanics.
- Main article: Culture
Culture is an abstract representation of the ethnicity and traditions of a province or character. Cultures are divided into culture groups, and cultures are considered closer to others within their group than to cultures outside it.
- Main article: Dynasty
Many characters in the game are part of a dynasty. A portion of dynastic prestige of the father and mother are given to a child when they're born. Dynastic prestige also affects the chance for character's to accept marriage proposals. Characters without a dynasty are called lowborn.
|Close relatives||Siblings and half-siblings, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces.|
|Other dynasty members||Cousins and distant relatives.|
|Bastard children||Recognized but not legitimized children.|
There are several different objectives in the game, which are goals a character can attempt to achieve.
|Ambition||A character's specific personal goal|| |
|Focus||A character's general development aim|| |
|Faction||Organized group of vassals, united against their liege for a common purpose|| |
|Plot||Scheme where multiple co-plotters cooperate toward a specific goal|| |
- Main article: Realm
An independent realm in Crusader Kings II is the highest judicial structure a character is part of. Every realm is ruled by one independent ruler, who under him has a number of vassals. He is typically the most powerful character within the realm.
If anyone outside the realm has a Casus Belli upon any character within the realm, he has to declare war upon this independent ruler. On the other hand, depending on the realm's law, characters within it can declare war upon independent rulers outside the realm, and the rest of the attacker's realm will not be involved.
A sub-realm refers to all titles a character holds, and the vassals below them. A duke within a kingdom, for example, is the ruler of a sub-realm consisting of his duchy and all his vassals.
- Main article: Levies
Demesne levies are levies from a character's personal holdings. Their size depends mostly on the holding type, buildings, and the character's martial skill. While they are raised, the character pays a monthly maintenance cost and they reinforce more slowly.
- Main article: Economy
The primary source of income for a character is usually the personal holdings of their demesne. Though courtiers and rulers may have also gain wealth through minor titles and being on a liege's council
Stewardship skill plays a large role in a character's demesne income. Personal and spouse stewardship influence a character's demesne limit, while the skill of a character's steward improves income in a province if the steward is assigned there to raise taxes. The total (state stewardship) gives a boost to all demesne income.
Some buildings increase the tax income of holdings.
- Main article: Prestige
Prestige is increased in a variety of ways. Any given title will gradually increase the holder's prestige. A high Diplomacy skill will slowly increase Prestige, as will having vassals. Creating or usurping titles will also give a lump sum of Prestige, and some traits give Prestige per month. Winning battles and sieges earns significant prestige, divided primarily among the flank leaders, but also among the unit owners. Wars fought under most casus belli give a significant prestige boost to the winner and major participants, and cost the loser prestige. Tribal rulers may gain Prestige by assigning their steward to Build Legend. Patricians get 1 Prestige per month for every 2000 gold they have (caps out at 6000 gold).
|Name||Creation||Destruction||Usurp||Hold directly||Vassal holds|
- Main article: Piety