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Alert focus.png A focus defines the general development objective of a character. With the Way of Life DLC, adults can choose a way of life among ten focuses (two for each attribute).
Choose focus screen

By choosing a focus, a ruler:


All playable characters can have a focus, if adult and not incapable . Imprisoned characters can only choose Seduction, Scholarship, or Theology. Other restrictions are noted below.

After five years, it is possible to switch to another focus. This can be useful once you have exhausted the main benefits of a focus, or if you want to collect positive traits and character modifiers from multiple focuses.

AI characters choose their focus based on traits and government type, not needs. They rarely change focus after selecting one.

Focus Requirements Modifiers Traits & effects
Rulership focus.png Rulership - +3 stewardship
  • Random events include:
    • Opportunity to build a castle for only 400g (actual cost may vary...)
    • Stressed  or Depressed 
  • On success in events, chance to:
    • Gain Just , Diligent , or Ambitious 
    • Lose Arbitrary 
    • Level up stewardship education trait
    • Administrator  (+3 stewardship +10% moving Speed) lifestyle trait
Business focus.png Business - +2 stewardship

+10 town opinion

  • Occasionally starts a Mint Coin event chain.
  • Occasionally starts a Trading event chain.
    • Possible to establish a trading route, fulfilling achievement We're In Business
  • Chance to level up stewardship education trait
  • Architect  (+2 Stewardship, +1 Martial, +20% Siege) or Gardener  (+2 Stewardship, +1 Learning) lifestyle trait
  • Stressed 
Seduction focus.png Seduction
  • Not celibate 
  • Not monk 
  • Not nun 
  • Not Indian ascetic
+2 intrigue

+25% fertility
+10 sex appeal

  • Enables Seduce action to improve opinion, tumble, and/or become lover
  • Additional random events, including one for women to escape from prison
  • On success in events, chance to:
    • Level up intrigue education
    • Gain Lustful  or lose Chaste 
    • Gain Court Tomcat or Court Vixen (+1 intrigue, +10 sex appeal)
    • Level up to Aspiring Seducer, then Seducer (further improving sex appeal)
      • Choice to level up to
        • Master seductress  or Master seducer  (+2 intrigue,+1 Diplomacy, +50 sex appeal)
        • Hedonist  (+2 Diplomacy ,+1 intrigue, +20% fertility )
Intrigue focus.png Intrigue - +3 intrigue
  • Enables Spy On action, to discover plots or other imprisonment reasons
  • Enables Free from Captivity action
  • On success in events, chance to:
    • Level up intrigue education
    • Gain Deceitful  (or lose honest)
    • Level up to Amateur Schemer, then Schemer
    • Choice between
      • Level up to Master schemer  (+3 intrigue) lifestyle trait
      • Impaler  (+2 intrigue,+1 learning,+10% Morale Offense) lifestyle trait
Hunting focus.png Hunting Not Jain  +2 martial

+1 health

  • Enables Go on a Grand Hunt Decision icon hunting.png.
  • Moderate yearly chance to start an Epic Hunt
  • Hunter (+2 Martial ,+1 Diplomacy,+20% battlefield Pursuit) lifestyle trait
  • Lose or gain Stressed 
  • Gain Brawny  or lose Frail 
War focus.png War - +3 martial
  • Lets you challenge characters to duel
    • Valid targets are rivals, foes, excommunicated characters, and decadent characters
    • Wroth , Brave , Brawny 
    • Craven , Wounded , Maimed 
    • Choice between
      • Duelist  (+3 Martial,+5 Personal combat skill) lifestyle trait
      • Strategist (+2 Martial,+1 Stewardship,+20% Defense) lifestyle trait
  • Random chances to level up martial education
  • Random opportunities to gain leadership traits and/or teach them to your commanders.
Carousing focus.png Carousing If Muslim, must be one of:
  • decadent 
  • hedonist 
  • drunkard 
+3 diplomacy
  • Enables Invite to Carousing action, letting you host private parties.
    • Form friendships, sleep with guests
    • Lose Stressed  or Depressed 
    • Lose or gain Arbitrary  or Just 
    • Various character modifiers that increase diplomacy or opinion
    • Choice between
      • Hedonist  (+2 Diplomacy,+1 Intrigue,+20% Fertility) lifestyle trait
      • Socializer  (+3 Diplomacy,+10 Sex appeal opinion)lifestyle trait
      • Game Master  (+2 Diplomacy,+1 Martial, +10 Sex appeal opinion,+30% battlefield Narrow Flank) lifestyle trait
Family focus.png Family - +2 diplomacy

+1 health
+25% fertility

  • Improve relations and possibly become lovers:
    • With spouse
  • Improve relations and possibly create a friendship:
    • With sibling
    • Between two close dynasty members
    • Between two minor children
  • Improve relations only:
    • With parent
    • With child
  • On success in events, chance to:
    • Level up diplomacy education trait
    • Gain proud  (or lose humble)
    • Level up to Family Man or Family Woman (+10% fertility)
    • Level up to Family Patriarch or Family Matriarch (+1 diplomacy, +20% fertility, +5 church opinion)
    • Option to additionally gain a lifestyle trait: Socializer  or Game Master 
Scholarship focus.png Scholarship - +3 learning
  • Tech point events are more frequent (e.g. spymaster study technology)
  • Enables decision to Build an observatory Decision icon build observatory.png, which can give:
    • Deceitful , Diligent , Stressed , +1 learning
    • Choice between:
      • Stars: military tech points, Cynical , Zealous , Brave , and Scholar  lifestyle trait (+3 Learning)
      • Weird: cultural tech points, Paranoid , Lunatic , and Mystic  lifestyle trait (+2 Learning, +1 Stewardship)
Theology focus.png Theology - +2 learning

+20 church opinion
+1 Health

  • Lets Christians Go on a Pilgrimage Decision icon catholic pilgrimage.png:
    • Pilgrim  trait
    • 2-3 random events that can give other traits, mostly positive
  • From rare random events:
    • Choice to become Zealous  (including a hidden choice by visiting a controlled holy site)
    • Choice to become Cynical 
    • Choice to gain Sympathy for the religion group of a random infidel in your realm
    • Choice to gain Theologian  lifestyle trait (+2 Learning, +1 Intrigue)
    • Lose Stressed  or Depressed 
  • Return from religious seclusion (quite frequent event) to be a better person (Gaining 100 piety each time or choosing to lose specific trait). Choose between losing (Gluttonous , Slothful , Drunkard , Lustful , Chaste ). Additional options may be available in specific circumstances (including losing Blinded , Leper , Syphilitic , Lunatic , or gaining Possessed ). Blinded  and Leper  both require supernatural events to be activated.

Collectible character modifiers[edit]

You can only have 1 lifestyle trait, and personality traits often disappear once you have more than 6. Character modifiers, in contrast, can be collected in large numbers.

Many focuses feature a level up mechanic, in which you first gain character modifiers, and then have the opportunity to gain a lifestyle trait.

Focus Long-duration modifiers Opportunities
Rulership focus.png Rulership
  • Levels:
    • Amateur Steward (+1 stewardship)
    • Steward (+2 stewardship)
    • Administrator  (+3 stewardship)
  • By becoming Administrator , can also get:
    • Respected Ruler (+10 vassal opinion), with 8 stewardship
    • Legendary Wisdom (+1 monthly prestige), with 12 stewardship
    • Great Raja Dharma (+2 stewardship), if Jain 
  • Province modifier Quarry decreases construction cost for 80 years
  • Random
  • It helps to have many direct vassals, because some events have vassal requirements:
    • A drunkard vassal
    • Two vassals who hate each other
    • A burgher and a non-burgher
  • Respected Ruler and Legendary Wisdom do not require continued Rulership focus.
Business focus.png Business
  • Levels:
    • Aspiring Trader (+1 stewardship)
    • Trader (+2 stewardship)
    • Gardener  (+2 stewardship, +1 learning)
    • or Architect  (+2 stewardship, +1 martial)
  • Tower:
    • Great Tower (+1 monthly prestige and +5 general opinion)
    • Province modifier leaning_tower (city_tax_modifier = 0.15)
  • Maze:
    • Fountain, Extravagant Fountain (+.5 or +1 monthly prestige)
    • Pavilion (+3 general opinion)
    • Magnificent maze (+1 diplomacy)
    • Aspiring Gardener (+1 stewardship) - can upgrade to Gardener , separate from Level progression
  • Trading:
    • Business Contacts (+10 town opinion)
    • Province modifier Trade Route (increased tax for tribes, cities, and castles)
  • Random
    • With MTTH 2 years, an event chain is picked from among the ones you are eligible for
    • Tower or Maze chains will not be picked if you already have a lifestyle trait
    • Trade, Tower, Maze chains are mutually exclusive, completing 1 disables the other 2.
    • Tower is not available to tribal or nomadic rulers
  • Must not be leading troops
Seduction focus.png Seduction
  • Levels:
    • Aspiring Seducer (+15 sex appeal)
    • Seducer (+30 sex appeal)
    • Master seducer  or Master seductress  (+2 intrigue, +1 diplomacy, +50 sex appeal)
  • Random
    • Bodyguard lover (+1 martial and +10% plot discovery chance)
    • Maidservant Lover (+1 intrigue and +10% plot discovery chance)
  • On success, e.g. in targeted seduction:
    • Court Vixen or Court Tomcat (+1 intrigue, +10 sex appeal)
  • For opinion boosts: seduce characters who are lustful and have unattractive genetic traits
  • For tumble attempts: seduce characters with a clear kitchen-meeting strategy
  • To be safe if you leave a note: don't seduce unlanded spouses of rulers
Intrigue focus.png Intrigue
  • Levels:
    • Amateur Schemer (+1 intrigue)
    • Schemer (+2 intrigue)
    • Master schemer  (+3 intrigue)
Hunting focus.png Hunting
  • From Going on a Grand Hunt Decision icon hunting.png:
    • ...
  • From epic hunt:
    • The white <animal> eludes me... (+1 martial)
    • Master hunter (+1 martial, +0.1 monthly prestige)
    • Hunter  (+2 martial, +1 diplomacy)
  • From pet dog:
    • Pet hunting dog (+1 health, +1 diplomacy)
    • Training your dog removes Frail , adds Diligent , or adds 1 health
    • If lunatic  on death of dog, allows constructing Pyramid in capital (-5% revolt risk)
  • Grand hunt:
    • Must be male
    • Must be Christian or Pagan
    • You can do 2-3 hunts per season.
  • Epic hunt:
    • Random opportunities
    • White [stag, bear, tiger, or lion] depending on location
  • Pet dog:
    • Random
    • Training your dog does not require continued Hunting focus
    • You only train the dog once, so if you want the extra health, become diligent first
War focus.png War
  • Levels:
    • Warrior (+1 martial, +1 personal combat skill)
    • Great Warrior (+2 martial, +2 personal combat skill)
    • Duelist  (+3 martial, +5 personal combat skill)
  • Chance when you win duels and in random events
  • Must be at peace to duel
Carousing focus.png Carousing
  • Carousing levels:
    • Carouser (+1 diplomacy)
    • Dedicated Carouser (+2 diplomacy)
    • Hedonist  (+2 diplomacy, +1 intrigue) or Socializer  (+3 diplomacy)
  • Gaming levels:
    • Apprentice Boardgamer (+1 diplomacy)
    • Game Master  (+2 diplomacy, +1 martial).
  • You level up in carousing each time you host a party
  • To make gaming more likely, invite a Game Master  as a guest
  • Must be at peace to carouse
Family focus.png Family
  • Levels:
    • Family Man or Family Woman (+10% fertility)
    • Family Patriarch or Family Matriarch (+1 diplomacy, +20% fertility, +5 church opinion)

Chance on success in focus events:

  • It helps to have a family large enough that you have a valid target (or pair) for each event:
    • Sibling; parent; child; spouse; 2 minor children; 2 adult relatives
  • Kind  helps in many events
  • Seduction level helps in spouse event
Scholarship focus.png Scholarship
  • Studying the Stars (+1 learning) if you cancel the focus
  • Heliocentrist Scholar (+2 learning) or Scholar  (+3 learning)
  • Weird Scholar (+1 learning, +1 stewardship) or Mystic  (+2 learning, +1 stewardship)

From building an observatory Decision icon build observatory.png

Theology focus.png Theology
  • Levels:
    • Religious Studies (+1 learning)
    • Religious Philosopher (+2 learning)
    • Theologian  (+2 learning, +1 intrigue)
  • Christians can also collect the special Pilgrim  trait


Consider your attributes and traits[edit]

  • Improve low stats first, because ambition events improve your base stats
  • Hone your strengths to get a council position
  • Level up your education (Diplomacy -> Family, Intrigue -> Seduction or Intrigue, Stewardship -> Rulership)

Managing traits[edit]

Focuses are a fairly easy way to gain positive traits and lose negative or less desirable ones:

  • Lose Arbitrary  and gain Diligent , Ambitious  and Just  from Rulership
  • Gain Greedy  from Business
  • Lose Chaste  and gain Lustful  from Seduction
  • Lose Honest  and gain Deceitful  from Intrigue
  • Gain Diligent  or +1 health and lose Stressed  and Depressed  from Hunting
  • Gain Brawny  and Brave  from War
  • Lose Stressed , Depressed  and Arbitrary  or gain Just  from Carousing
  • Gain Diligent , Brave , Cynical , Zealous  or Paranoid  from Scholarship
  • Gain Pilgrim  from Theology (Christians only)

However, some focuses can also cause characters to gain negative traits.

Choose your lifestyle trait carefully[edit]

  • Master seducer  or Master seductress , if you want a very large family. Compared to the level-2 character modifier, it gives +20 sex appeal and a special bedding option.
  • Master schemer , if spying is crucial to your strategy. Compared to the level-2 character modifier, it makes spying significantly faster.
  • Administrator , if your stewardship is 8 or higher, and you want the +10 vassal opinion

Use the Business focus before you get a lifestyle trait[edit]

This lets you get the tower and maze events, for some really good character modifiers.

Choose complementary leadership & lifestyle traits[edit]

  • Administrator  stacks with Organizer .
  • Architect  stacks with Siege leader .
  • Most combat specializations go well with Strategist  (+20% defense) or Hunter  (+20% pursuit).

Change focus depending on your needs[edit]

  • Troops: War gets you demesne levies. Seduction helps form NAPs and Carousing helps turn NAPs into alliances. Intrigue gets you faction members.
  • Cash: Business lets you invest in potentially lucrative opportunities. War gets you loot. Intrigue gets you ransoms.
  • Vassal opinion: Carousing (+100 from friendships), Rulership (+20 from just , diligent , respected ruler), Business (+8 from tower and pavilion), War (+20 from brave , strong ), Scholarship (+20 from brave , diligent , and possibly more), Theology (+5 from Pilgrim  Pilgrim for Christians). Even Intrigue helps, by giving +3 realm opinion per rank of prisoner released for 30 months, or by letting you replace your vassals.

Use a sequence of focuses to improve your health[edit]

See also: Health

  • Seduction to improve health in many ways
    • Establish affairs with kind/diligent characters: if you are not getting along with your wife, lovers can invite you to a getaway. This gives you +1 health for 1 year, and perhaps more importantly, can remove stressed/depressed. The event will trigger more often if you have many lovers, if your lovers are kind , and if your lovers are diligent .
    • Establish affairs with old/dying characters: can find a Lover's Memento (+0.5 health), if you have The Reaper's Due
    • Establish rivalries with jealous husbands, if you plan to duel while using the War focus
    • Establish a large family, so your Court Physician can more easily gain the Renowned Physician  trait and the "received professional praise" opinion modifier
  • War or Hunting for chance of Brawny 
    • More chances if you duel, at the risk of Wounded  or Maimed 
    • Best in or near the Byzantine empire, where there are many blind characters: they are unlikely to win duels.
  • Scholarship and/or Rulership risks Stressed  (additional risk for Depressed  for Rulership), but can allow you to pick up Diligent  and other great traits.
  • Carousing if you still need to de-stress yourself (or your relatives)
  • Hunting at old age (+1 health while focus is active, +1 health for dog's lifespan, +1 health permanently for training dog while diligent)

Avoid peacetime focuses when war is likely[edit]

The following focuses are more useful when at peace:

  • Carousing focus: "Invite to Carousing" requires peace.
  • Theology focus: "Go on a Pilgrimage" (Christian) requires peace.
  • Hunting focus: "Hold a Grand Hunt" requires peace. The demesne levy boost is useful before war, but less so during war.
  • War focus: "Challenge to Duel" requires peace.

Furthermore, some focuses are less useful if you plan to lead troops:

  • Business focus: most events won't fire while leading troops
  • Seduction focus: targeted seduction tombola is skipped if leading troops
  • War focus: training events (MTTH) won't fire while leading troops
  • Family focus: events to improve relations won't fire while leading troops

Consider not only whether you plan to initiate a war, but also whether you are likely to be pulled into one:

  • Your factions are likely to rebel
  • Your provinces are likely to revolt, especially with dangerous religious or liberation revolts
  • Your allies are subject to faction rebellion
  • Your allies are likely to go to war and request help. They will request help until combined strength is 1.5 times the enemy's.

See also[edit]

Personal attributes