Crown laws

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The crown law screen

Crown.png The two crown laws decide what authority the king or emperor of a realm has:

  • Crown authority represents the centralization of powers to the monarch
  • Investiture decides who shall nominate Catholic bishops, the Pope or the King.

Crown laws always apply within their de jure provinces, even if those provinces are part of another realm (Exceptions occur in the case of different religions). Thus, if you conquer territory in another de jure kingdom, and there is a king of that kingdom, their crown laws will apply to those holdings. If parts of your realm belong to unincorporated kingdoms, the crown laws of your primary title apply instead.

The aspects of crown law that apply specifically to vassals will be based on where the vassals have their capital. It is entirely possible for a vassal to be getting the opinion modifier for high crown authority for example, while most of his holdings are in a kingdom with lower crown authority.

Crown laws can be put up for vote at any time as long as you don't have a regent, you're not in a civil war, you haven't changed a crown law with that character, and you are not tribal.

If the Conclave DLC is activated, Crown Authority is split into its component laws (now found under realm laws). Investiture remains largely the same as before.

Crown Authority[edit]

Crown Authority decides how much power the king has over his vassals, and affects several aspects of your realm. It is a Crown Law and determined on a per-kingdom/empire basis. It determines:

  • How many levies your vassals are obligated to provide. This starts at 0% at Autonomous Vassals, and increases by 20% per level, to a max of 80% at Absolute Crown Authority. This overrides both Opinion and Levy Law as long as it is higher. Higher crown authority thus means that you're able to call on larger levies in times where your vassals dislike you, for example right after succession.
  • How many levies your vassals may raise for their own wars. Vassals must leave 20% per level of their demesne levy troops in their holdings, as if they were garrison troops. When raising levies from their vassals, however, your dukes get the benefit of your crown authority without suffering the opinion penalty from their counts.
  • Gives the king privileges at each level of crown authority.
  • The opinion modifier from vassals, which makes them less willing to provide tax and levies, and more likely to join factions due to low opinion
  • The inclination of vassals to join a faction to lower crown authority

There are five tiers of crown authority, ranging from no crown authority to absolute crown authority. As authority increases the monarch becomes more powerful, while his vassals' opinion of him decrease as they lose some of their privileges.

Newly created kingdoms default to Limited Crown Authority if created by a duke. Additional kingdoms created by existing kings or emperors get the crown authority of the current primary title. This makes it often advisable to switch one's primary title to the kingdom with the highest level of authority before creating a new kingdom.

When increasing crown authority, all (de jure vassals of the crown title?) will get -30 opinion with you for 5 years.

Vassal opinion Privileges of the King Succession Laws Minimum Levies Requirements
Autonomous Vassals +5 Gavelkind, Feudal elective 0%
Limited Crown Authority -5 Title revocation. Ultimogeniture 20% Legalism 1
Medium Crown Authority -10 Free revocation of titles from infidels and heretics, no war between vassals. Seniority 40% Legalism 2
High Crown Authority -20 Titles only passable within realm. Primogeniture 60% Legalism 3
Absolute Crown Authority -30 Vassals cannot go to war. 80% Legalism 5

No Crown Authority Law[edit]

This is the default for independent counts and dukes if the de jure kingdom which they belong to does not exist (or if the de jure kingdom exists, the king is of another religion). It functions in most respects like Minimal Crown Authority with two important exceptions: titles may be revoked, and any succession law may be chosen. This means that before forming a kingdom, it is possible to adopt Primogeniture Succession (and often very desirable as well, as the adoption will no longer be possible under low Crown Authority). This is of greater significance to rulers who follow the Indian religions, as the other succession laws available to them (gavelkind and ultimogeniture) can be adopted at lower Crown Authority. Independent counts and dukes can convert to a religion different from their de jure king to escape the Crown laws of their de jure kingdom, if it exists. However, if converting to a religion which is considered by their de jure king to be heretical or infidel, the de jure king may declare holy wars.

Autonomous Vassals[edit]

Also called "Minimum Crown Authority", this is the weakest level. There are no minimum levies. Titles of vassals may not be revoked. The "Institute Elective Succession" faction becomes available to top-level vassals - making efforts to lower crown authority very attractive to ambitious dukes.

Limited Crown Authority[edit]

At Limited Crown Authority, the king gets the ability to revoke titles. This ability is extremely important, as you can freely strip a single title from any vassal that rebels, thus allowing you to redistribute power in a way that makes the realm more stable. This level is also sometimes called "Low Crown Authority". This is the highest level unreformed Pagans and Merchant Republics can attain.

Medium Crown Authority[edit]

At Medium Crown Authority, you can revoke titles from infidels, heretics, and (if Pagan or Indian) followers of related religions. Instead of having to deal with their large opinion penalties, you'll be able to redistribute their titles to vassals who like you much more. This ability is crucial if you cannot demand religious conversion (due to low opinion, particularly for zealous  characters), your religion has low moral authority, or if you plan to convert to another religion.

Vassals will no longer be able to go to war against each other. This prevents a single vassal from growing too powerful, and also helps redirect their ambition toward external expansion. However, there are two exceptions. Vassals of vassals can still rebel against their lieges (usually with factions). Vassal kings can ignore the rule if their primary kingdom is not a de jure vassal of the empire.

Enables the possibility to change succession law to seniority.

High Crown Authority[edit]

Upon passing High Crown Authority, titles can no longer be inherited by anyone outside the realm, so you will no longer lose parts of your realm due to inheritance. Foreign nobles will no longer be able to snag your lands from right under your nose, and inheritance gets more predictable.

Plots of sub-vassals against their lieges are disabled at this Crown Authority Level, as are plots of dukes to weaken each other. This further reduces the amount of fighting between vassals. The only remaining possible intra-vassal wars are counts attacking their lieges directly, without using a plot.

Enables the possibility to change succession law to primogeniture.

Absolute Crown Authority[edit]

Absolute Crown Authority (also called "Max Crown Authority") gives one final privilege: vassals can no longer go to war (except to rebel) at all. This means that your vassals will no longer be able to grow powerful by taking land from outside the realm, and makes them thus more manageable. The drawback is of course that you now cannot grow that way either; you will personally have to start all conquests. It also does not work for any king vassal unless they are your de jure vassal.

Enables the possibility to enact Imperial Administration to Imperial, if you also have Majesty tech level 5.


Investiture laws are Crown Laws that only apply to Catholics; no other religions have them. The choice of law represents the historical conflict between the nobility and the Pope about who should nominate (invest) the local Bishops. Investiture law decides if the Pope appoints bishops, or if their liege does.

Papal Investiture[edit]

When a kingdom or empire uses Papal Investiture, bishops will be generated randomly. With Sons of Abraham, rulers in good standing with the Pope can spend gold and piety to nominate a bishop.

The historical investiture controversy began in the eleventh century. After the year 1000, the Pope will have a negative opinion of kings with Free Investiture and occasionally request they switch to Papal Investiture. Catholic kingdoms start out using Papal Investiture, and can always switch to Free Investiture, but cannot switch back to Papal Investiture before the year 1000.

Free Investiture[edit]

If you've got Free Investiture you'll be able to appoint the successor to any bishopric that is your direct vassal, and every subject within your de jure kingdom will be able to do the same. This makes vassal bishops considerably happier with their lieges, as they are grateful for having been appointed, and they therefore get +10 opinion with whoever their liege is. Former courtiers that you appointed will have an additional +50 opinion toward you. Any vassal you have that himself has bishops as vassals will also be happy with you, as he now has control over his bishops. You'll thus get +10 opinion with most of your vassals. Free investiture will also enable you to appoint an antipope.

However, the Pope will be quite unhappy with this state of affairs. You will get -30 opinion with the Pope making you much more vulnerable to excommunication. In addition, every time a new king gets the throne the Pope will request, generally within a few years, that the investiture laws are changed to Papal Investiture, which will give you the option to comply (which will raise the moral authority of the Church by 2%), refuse (reduces MA by 2%), bribe the Pope (costs 200 gold), or if you have a Learning skill of 16+, refuse on theological grounds (gives you 1 piety). You'll also use twice as much Piety for any Papal action such as requesting excommunication, divorce, and invasions.

This means that over time, Free Investiture does have the potential to be a moderate money drain. However, as long as your realm is moderately large, the gold needed for a single Papal bribe is unlikely to be more than a couple years' income at most. The largest disadvantage to Free Investiture is the much increased risk of excommunication, and as long as you have political enemies and a lack of traits the Church likes you can easily end up excommunicated, giving every Catholic in the world a casus belli against you and reducing all your vassals' opinion of you by 30.

Free Investiture is generally preferable over Papal Investiture due to the boosts to vassal opinion. +10 opinion with your nobles can at times make the difference between rebellion and loyalty. The massive opinion boosts from bishops (+10 for law, +50 if appointed by you, +50 if you choose a content courtier) make them much more likely to pay taxes to you rather than a pope.


Investiture law decides if you or the Pope appoints Catholic bishops. Free Investiture makes your vassals happy, and Papal Investiture makes the Pope happy. Crown Authority decides how much power the king has, but incurs major opinion and rebellion penalties.

The following is recommended:

  • Unless you often get excommunicated, use Free Investiture
  • Medium Crown Authority generally gives the best of both worlds
  • Go to High Crown Authority if you're often losing land to inheritance
  • If you want to switch to Seniority succession, you'll need Medium Crown Authority
  • If you want to switch to Primogeniture succession, you'll need High Crown Authority
  • At least Limited Crown Authority, unless you're certain that you and your heir will have no reason to revoke vassal titles
  • If you are an independent duke or count, and your de jure kingdom exists, consider converting to a religion that has "religious differences" to your de jure king's religion. You can then control your succession laws and will not draw your de jure king's attention by being a heretic or infidel.

Multiple Crown Laws in a Single Realm[edit]

It is possible that a Kingdom title does not get a set of crown laws of its own, but automatically receives those of its liege's title. This is displayed in the laws screen with the message in the format "The Crown Laws of <empire> apply in <kingdom>" where the law buttons would usually be.

If the kingdom is both a de facto and de jure vassal of its liege, its crown laws are the same as its de jure liege. Otherwise, the kingdom has and sets its own crown laws.

Some examples:

  • The King of Italy is a vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor. The Kingdom of Italy has and sets its own crown laws, because the HRE is not its de jure liege.
  • The King of Bavaria is a vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor. The Kingdom of Bavaria uses the same crown laws as the HRE, because the HRE is its de jure and de facto liege.
  • The King of Frisia is independent and the HRE exists. The Kingdom of Frisia has and sets its own crown laws, because the holder has no de facto liege.
  • The Holy Roman Emperor is also the King of Germany. The Kingdom of Germany has and sets its own crown laws, because the holder has no de facto liege.
  • The King of France is also the King of Aquitaine. Both the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Aquitaine have and set their own crown laws, because the holder has no de facto liege.

Applied Crown Laws in two or more realms[edit]

A kingdom or empire's de jure territory is often held by different independent realms. Which crown law applies to a particular county at any given time can be seen by using the de jure kingdom or de jure empire mapmodes and mousing over the county in question.

These are the rules for which crown law applies in a county in order of highest to lowest priority:

  1. The de jure kingdom's crown laws inside its de facto realm.
  2. The de jure empire's crown laws inside its de facto realm.
  3. The de facto top liege's crown laws if the de jure liege title is held by a character of a different religion.
  4. The de facto top liege's primary title's crown laws if no de jure liege title exists.
  5. The de jure kingdom's crown laws in the realm of an independent duke or count.
  6. No crown laws apply, if its de jure kingdom and empire do not exist and its top liege is a duke or count.

Some examples:

  • The King of France holds the County of Paris. The crown laws of France apply.
  • The Holy Roman Emperor holds the County of Köln. The crown laws of the HRE apply.
  • The Catholic Holy Roman Emperor holds the County of Paris and the King of France is Catholic. The crown laws of France apply.
  • The Catholic King of France holds the County of Köln and the Holy Roman Emperor is Catholic. The crown laws of the HRE apply.
  • The Sunni Sultan of Andalusia holds the County of Paris and the King of France is Catholic. The crown laws of Andalusia apply.
  • The Sunni Sultan of Andalusia holds the County of Köln and there is no King of Germany nor a Holy Roman Emperor. The crown laws of Andalusia apply.
  • The independent Duke of Valois holds the County of Paris and there is a King of France. The crown laws of France apply.
  • The independent Duke of Köln holds the County of Köln and there is no King of Germany nor a Holy Roman Emperor. No crown laws apply.
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