Levies

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The levies screen

Alert levies.png Levies are non-professional troops that can be raised at time of war.

In Crusader Kings II, most of your military is based around levies. During medieval times, realms did not maintain standing armies, instead drafting peasants in times of war.

Holding levy[edit]

The holding levy is the levy of a particular holding, and it determines demesne and liege levies.

Their size depends mostly on the holding type, buildings, and the direct owner's martial skill.

Holding Levy = (Building levy) x (1 + Levy size modifiers) x (1 + Tribal land bonus)
  • Building levy is the sum of:
  • Levy size modifiers is the sum of modifiers from:
    • Martial skill: 5% * (martial skill - 10). This significantly affects the levy size, e.g. -50% at 0 skill and +50% at 20 skill.
    • Buildings bonus: Some buildings, such as the Castle Keep, increase levy size as a percentage modifier.
    • Train troops: A bonus from the Marshal, which is +2.5% per martial attribute point of the Marshal, when assigned to "train troops" in a province. Only applies to holdings directly held by counts, dukes, kingdom of emperors who assign their marshal to train troops on the province the holding is in.
    • Religion bonus: Some pagan religions have +10%, +20%, or +30% levy size modifiers.
    • Tribal incompatibility: Penalties for tribes if the holder and province have different religion or culture
      • -15% wrong culture or -25% wrong culture group
      • -15% wrong religion or -??% wrong religion group
    • Capital bonus:
      • If the holding's province is the same as its direct holder's capital, there is a +50% bonus if the holder is an independent ruler, and a +25% bonus if he is a vassal duke or king (no bonus otherwise)
      • If the holding's province is within the de-jure county containing the direct holder's capital, there is a +25% bonus if the holder is an independent ruler, and a +15% bonus if he is a vassal duke or king (no bonus otherwise)
  • Tribal land bonus gives +50% for each empty holding slot in the province (if the capital holding is a tribe).

Recently conquered holdings[edit]

If a holding's owner changes as the result of a war, a recently conquered modifier may apply, making it provide no levies for a year. After that year, levies reinforce slowly during a new administration period. The duration is the longest of:

Target religion/culture Same religion and culture Different culture Different religion Different culture group Different religion group
Lasts for 1 year 5 years 7.5 years 10 years 15 years

Raise personal levy.png Demesne levy[edit]

Demesne levies are levies from the holdings you directly hold (your "demesne"), depending on their holding levy.

While your demesne levies are raised, the holding levy of each of the holdings your directly hold is emptied and placed on the county the holding is in as an army. Until you dismiss them, you pay a monthly maintenance cost and the holding levy of your holdings reinforces more slowly.

Raise liege levy.png Liege levy[edit]

Liege levies are raised from direct vassals. They can be raised in any county controlled by the vassal, by selecting the county and pressing Z. They can also be raised in the vassal's capital province using the Military tab (F6).

The troop count of a vassal's liege levy is based on all holdings under the vassal, whether held directly by him or through other vassals, as well as laws, your direct vassals' opinion of you and the location of their capital relative to yours.

While liege levies are raised, they reinforce more slowly and your vassals pay maintenance cost. Your vassals' opinion of you slowly decreases while their army (not ship) levies are raised.

First, the number of troops that the vassal "could provide at most" is determined like this:

Troops Vassal Could Provide At Most = 50% × De Jure Modifier × Total Holdings Levy

Then the liege levy is determined like this:

Liege Levy = Troops Vassal Could Provide At Most × max((Opinion × Max Levy), Min Levy)

where:

  • Total Holdings Levy is the sum of all the levies(red bar) of all holdings of the direct vassal and all vassals under them (which thus includes all bonuses listed above). Note that this is not computed based on the vassal's demesne or liege levies, and thus neither the opinion of sub-vassals towards their top liege nor their opinion towards their immediate liege nor the sub-vassal's de-jure modifier are relevant.
  • De Jure Modifier is based on the location of the vassal's de-facto capital relative to the liege's de-facto capital. It was introduced with Patch 2.0 to represent the lower authority of a ruler over vassals located in non de jure part of the realm.
Vassal's de-facto capital in De Jure Modifier
De-jure County containing liege's de-facto capital 100%
De-jure Duchy containing liege's de-facto capital 75%
De-jure Kingdom containing liege's de-facto capital 50%
De-jure Empire containing liege's de-facto capital 35%
Otherwise 25%
  • Opinion is the opinion modifier of the vassal toward their liege, transformed into a percentage.
  • Max Levy and Min Levy are determined by laws corresponding to the vassal's government type.

Note that the levy calculation is updated only at the start of the month, so for instance transfering a vassal results in his levy being immediately impossible to raise since he's no longer a direct vassal, but the levy of the vassal you transfered him to won't increase until the next month.

Also, the military dialog and its tooltips are highly misleading, since they list the number of troops that a vassal "owns", which is completely unrelated to anything else in the tooltip and dialog. That value is the amount of non-ship troops that the vassal could raise from his demesne and vassals if he went to war himself, which is not used in any way to compute the levy you could raise from him, and can be either higher or lower (since the opinion and de-jure modifiers are different).

Laws without Conclave[edit]

Without Conclave, maximums are determined by demesne laws, while minimums are determined by crown authority. If no crown laws apply, as is often the case for independent dukes, the minimum is 0%.

Feudal Levies

(Non-Muslim)

Minimal
  • Max levy -40%
  • +10 opinion
Small
  • Max levy -30%
  • +5 opinion
Normal
  • Max levy -20%
Maximum
  • Max levy -0%
  • -5 opinion
City Levies Minimal
  • Max levy -50%
  • +10 opinion
Normal
  • Max levy -35%
Large
  • Max levy -20%
  • -10 opinion
Maximum
  • Max levy -5%
  • -20 opinion
Temple Levies

(Non-Muslim)

Minimal
  • Max levy -50%
  • +10 opinion
Normal
  • Max levy -40%
Large
  • Max levy -30%
  • -10 opinion
Maximum
  • Max levy -20%
  • -20 opinion
Iqta Levies

(Muslim)

Minimal
  • Max levy -40%
  • +10 opinion
Small
  • Max levy -30%
  • +5 opinion
Normal
  • Max levy -20%
Maximum
  • Max levy -0%
  • -5 opinion
Crown Authority Autonomous Vassals Limited Medium High Absolute
Crown Law Minimums 0% 20% 40% 60% 80%

Laws with Conclave[edit]

With the Conclave DLC, both minimums and maximums are determined by realm laws.

Navy[edit]

When requesting ships from a vassal, the percentage is doubled. For example, a vassal who provides 20% of their soldiers as levy will provide 40% of their ships.

Strategies[edit]

Levy.png Levies are easy to get plenty of as long as you have a strong demesne and/or your vassals like you. Your priorities should therefore be:

Maximizing demesne levies[edit]

  • Invite the best Marshal you can find and have him "train troops" in your capital
  • Hold a large demesne
    • To increase your demesne limit: improve your stewardship skill, choose a spouse with high stewardship, increase centralization law, consider gavelkind succession (+30%), obtain a kingdom (if a grand duke) or another duchy (if a duke).
  • Have a large capital duchy
    • Each province you control in the same duchy as your capital receives a bonus to levies (+15% if a vassal, +25% if independent)
    • Change your capital to, and have your marshal "train troops" in, the province with the best buildings
  • Upgrade holdings in your demesne, starting with your capital and other provinces in the same duchy.
  • Consider holding extra baronies in your capital, as it will benefit from the Marshal's "train troops" along with your capital holding. Also, you might get bonuses to levy size based on your status (+50% if independent ruler, +25% for vassal dukes and kings)
  • Improve your martial skill, and consider training your heir likewise
  • Research relevant technology. This won't give you more levies, but it will make them stronger.

Maximizing vassal levies[edit]

  • Keep your vassals happy — especially the ones who can provide the most troops.
  • Once you have factions under control, focus on increasing the opinion of vassals whose opinion is already near or above (min levy / max levy). Increasing opinion up to that point does not increase the levies they provide.
  • If your vassals don't like you, consider increasing minimums. If they do like you, consider increasing maximums.

The way the levy is calculated means that the vassal structure between your direct vassals and the owner of the holdings makes no difference to the amount of levies you can raise. For example, a king can raise the same levy from a duke vassal regardless of whether the duke has the barons as direct vassals or there are counts in between.

However, the choice of actual direct vassal is very important, since the "de jure modifier" and opinion will differ, potentially resulting in up to 8 times more levy. Thus, it is beneficial to put as many holdings as possible in indirect control of vassals with a high "de jure modifier" and opinion. For example, the levy of a king would be increased by transferring all count vassals outside of the de-jure duchy containing the capital to the duke holding that duchy (assuming that duke's capital is also within the de-jure duchy).

The choice of the actual people holding the actual baronies, cities and castles is also very important, since their martial score influences the holding's levy and thus your liege levy, possibly resulting in doubling the levy by switching from a low to high martial holder.

Setting ideal levy laws[edit]

You can increase the levy law to make your vassals be obligated to provide more. However, if their opinion is already low, this will not pay off. Below are the opinion values at which it'll be beneficial to increase or decrease levy laws. In the case of Catholic clergy, it is advisable to set their levy law to Min.

Nobles[edit]

  • Min -> Small gives more as long as opinion is at 10 or above
  • Small -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is at 15 or above
  • Normal -> Max gives more as long as opinion is at -5 or above
  • Max -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is below -10
  • Normal -> Small gives more as long as opinion is below 10
  • Small -> Min gives more as long as opinion is below 5

Burghers[edit]

  • Min -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is at 18 or above
  • Normal -> Large gives more as long as opinion is at 28 or above
  • Large-> Max gives more as long as opinion is at 38 or above
  • Max -> Large gives more as long as opinion is below 28
  • Large -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is below 18
  • Normal -> Min gives more as long as opinion is below 8

Clergy[edit]

  • Min -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is at 35 or above
  • Normal -> Large gives more as long as opinion is at 45 or above
  • Large -> Max gives more as long as opinion is at 55 or above
  • Max -> Large gives more as long as opinion is below 45
  • Large -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is below 35
  • Normal -> Min gives more as long as opinion is below 25

Analysis[edit]

If you're a Catholic realm, be reminded that Catholic clergy are unreliable when it comes to taxes and levies, since they'll withhold levies from you and pay taxes to the Pope if they like the Pope more than you. In this context, it may be prudent to lower your levy law for clergy. The increased opinion will also increase the probability that Catholic clergy will pay taxes to you.

Raising levy law will only ever help you if your vassals already like you. As such, running high levy laws is not always a good idea. However, at these opinion numbers you're unlikely to hurt any other aspect of your realm, so as long as you benefit levy-wise from raising levy law, you probably should. It should also be noted that due to the last step of Noble and Iqta obligations increasing levies by more than any other step, Max levies are usually the ideal point for maximizing feudal levies.

You should also do what you can to keep all vassals above 0 opinion. Granting them titles, running tournaments, granting their wishes, making them councilors, etc. Each point of opinion will increase the percent they're willing to give by 4/5.

You will only ever benefit levy-wise from crown authority if you were already getting below the new minimum percent. For example if you're getting 25% at Medium Crown Authority, and raise it to high, the minimum will now be 30% and you'll be able to raise more levies. If on the other hand you were getting 35% before and you raise your Crown Authority, you'll now be getting 5 percentage point less.

Don't forget that if you intend to raise your own levies, increased capacity translates into greater expenses. Plan accordingly.

See also[edit]

Holdings
Settlements
Special holdings
Concepts
Warfare
Troops
Battles