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The character screen

Unkown character.png 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.

Attribute Personal State
Icon diplomacy.pngDiplomacy
  • Increases personal opinion bonus towards the character.
  • Combined with the learning attribute determines monthly cultural technology points accumulated each month, if the character is non-nomadic and of at least duke rank.
  • If the character is a council member is used to determine their ability.
  • Increases state opinion bonus towards the character.
  • Increases the opinion bonus of gifts
  • Gives character prestige (0.01/month per point)
  • Used to determine vassal limit
Icon martial.pngMartial
  • Affects the character's skill as a commander.
  • Used to determine the character's demesne levy.
  • Used to determine speed of demesne levy reinforcement.
  • Combined with the learning attribute determines monthly martial technology points accumulated each month, if the character is non-nomadic and of at least duke rank.
  • If the character is a council member is used to determine their ability.
  • Used to determine the rate at which the character's armies recover morale.
Icon stewardship.pngStewardship
  • Combined with the stewardship of a character's spouse is used to determine the characters maximum demesne.
  • Combined with the learning attribute determines monthly stewardship technology points accumulated each month, if the character is non-nomadic and of at least duke rank.
  • Increases the rate of provinces converting to the character's culture.
  • If the character is a council member is used to determine their ability.
  • Modifies demesne income (+2% per point).
Icon intrigue.pngIntrigue
  • If the character is a council member is used to determine their ability.
  • Increases plot power (and decreases the power of plots towards the character).
  • Makes the character's plots less likely to be discovered.
  • Increases imprisonment chance (and makes the character harder to imprison)
Icon learning.pngLearning
  • Combined with diplomacy, martial, and stewardship attribute to determine monthly technology points.
  • If the character is a council member is used to determine their ability.
  • Gives the character piety (0.02/month per point).


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:

Trait group Examples Description
Education Brilliant strategist.pngElusive shadow.pngGrey eminence.pngMastermind theologian.png Given to a character when they turn 16 determined by how their were educated, generally one of the largest bonuses to a character's attributes.
Childhood Rowdy.pngCurious.pngConscientious.pngIdolizer.png Received by children if the player has the Conclave DLC. Will eventually turn into one of several adult traits.
Health Wounded.pngPossessed.pngLunatic.pngIncapable.png Affect a character's health and often lowering other attributes as well, increasing the chance they may die.
Disease Ill.pngTyphus.pngLeper.pngPneumonic.png Affect a character's health, received usually through epidemics.
Symptoms Infection.pngVomiting.pngMalaise.pngCough.png Symptoms which can be eventually diagnosed by a Court Physician as actual diseases.

Government type[edit]

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.

Goverment Courtier Baron Count Duke Kingdom Emperor
Feudal government.png Feudal Portrait courtier.png Baron Feudal.png Count Feudal.png Duke Feudal.png King Feudal.png Emperor Feudal.png
Iqta government.png Iqta Portrait courtier.png Baron Iqta.png Count Iqta.png Duke Iqta.png King Iqta.png Emperor Iqta.png
Nomadic government.png Nomadic Portrait courtier.png Baron Nomadic.png Count Nomadic.png Duke Nomadic.png King Nomadic.png Emperor Nomadic.png
Merchant republic government.png Merchant republic Portrait courtier.png Baron Merchant Republic.png Count Merchant Republic.png Duke Merchant Republic.png King Merchant Republic.png Emperor Merchant Republic.png
Republic government.png Republic Portrait courtier.png Baron Republic.png Count Republic.png Duke Republic.png King Republic.png Emperor Republic.png
Theocracy government.png Theocracy Portrait courtier.png Baron Theocracy.png Count Theocracy.png Duke Theocracy.png King Theocracy.png Emperor Theocracy.png
Tribal government.png Tribal Portrait courtier.png Baron Tribal.png Count Tribal.png Duke Tribal.png King Tribal.png Emperor Tribal.png


Main article: Religion

Every character in the game follows a religion. A character's religion has a major impact on their gameplay mechanics.

Zealous.png Religion groups Examples
Christian Catholic.pngOrthodox.pngMiaphysite.pngNestorian.pngCatholic Heresy.pngMiaphysite Heresy.pngOrthodox Heresy.png


Judaism.pngJudaism Heresy.png


Sunni.pngShia.pngIbadi.pngSunni Heresy.pngIbadi Heresy.pngShia Heresy.png
Pagan Norse.pngSlavic.pngTengri.pngRomuva.pngSuomenusko.pngWest African.pngZunist.png
Zoroastrianism Zoroastrian.pngZoroastrian Heresy.png
Indian religions Hindu.pngBuddhist.pngJain.png


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.

Decision icon convert to local culture.pngCulture groups Culture.pngCultures
North Germanic Norse, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Central Germanic German, Lombard, Frankish, Suebi
West Germanic English, Anglo-Saxon, Saxon, Frisian, Dutch
Latin French, Norman, Italian, Occitan, Roman
Iberian Basque, Castillian, Catalan, Portuguese, Visigothic
Byzantine Armenian, Greek, Alan, Georgian
Celtic Irish, Scottish, Pictish, Welsh, Breton
Finn-Ugric Finnish, Sami, Estonian, Komi, Khanty, Nenets, Mordvin
Baltic Lettigallian, Lithuanian, Prussian
Altaic Turkish, Pecheng, Khazar, Bolghar, Avar, Cuman, Karluk, Kirghiz, Uyghur, Mongol, Khitan
Arabic Bedouin, Berber, Levantine, Egyptian, Andalusian
East Slavic Russian, Illmenian, Severian, Volhynian
West Slavic Pomeranian, Bohemian, Polish
South Slavic Croatian, Serbian, Vlach, Bulgarian
Magyar Hungarian
Iranian Persian, Kurdish, Afghan, Baloch, Sogdian, Tocharian
East African Ethiopian, Somali, Nubian
West African Mandé
Mesoamerican Nahua
Israelite Ashkenazi, Sephardi
Indo-Aryan Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Hindustani, Gujurati, Panjabi, Rajput, Sindhi, Marathi, Sinhala
Dravidian Tamil, Telugu, Kannada
Horse Horse


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.

Dynasty player.png Player character
Dynasty heir.png Heir Successor.
Dynasty close relative.png Close relatives Siblings and half-siblings, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces.
Dynasty distant relative.png Other dynasty members Cousins and distant relatives.
Dynasty bastard.png Bastard children Recognized but not legitimized children.


There are several different objectives in the game, which are goals a character can attempt to achieve.

Category Description Internal prefix
Alert ambition.png Ambition A character's specific personal goal obj_
Alert focus.png Focus A character's general development aim focus_
Alert faction.png Faction Organized group of vassals, united against their liege for a common purpose faction_
Alert plots.png Plot Scheme where multiple co-plotters cooperate toward a specific goal plot_


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

Raise personal levy.png 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.

Raise liege levy.png Liege levies are raised from direct vassals. The amount a liege can raise depends mostly on laws and the direct vassals' opinion of the liege.


Main article: Economy

Icon wealth.png 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

Icon prestige.png Prestige is a measure of how honorable and respected a character is. It contributes to Score on character's death.

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
Barony 50 N/A N/A 0.025 0.025
County N/A N/A N/A 0.1 0.1
Duchy 200 -200 50 0.2 0.2
Kingdom 400 -400 100 0.8 0.8
Empire 800 -800 200 1.6 N/A
Dynasty Prestige Values
Barony County Duchy Kingdom Empire
1 5 10 20 40


Main article: Piety

Piety.png Piety is a measure of how pious a character is. It increases by a variety of mechanics. It contributes to Score on character's death.

Karma.png Piety is renamed Karma for Hindus and Buddhists, and Purity for Jains, but is functionally identical for them.

See also[edit]

Personal attributes