Merchant republic

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The Republic screen

Merchant republic government.png A Merchant Republic is a realm that can engage in coastal trade. The elected ruler is called a Grand Mayor, Doge (pronounced [ˈdɔːdʒe]) or Grand Prince.

A Merchant Republic has many unique features compared to a normal city. Merchant Republics were added in Patch 1.09 and are made playable by The Republic DLC. Merchant Republics can be independent, or vassals of a higher liege.

Republics of duchy rank or higher automatically become merchant republics if their capital is a coastal county title. Thus, a king can create a vassal republic by granting a duchy title to a lord mayor of a coastal county.

The five families[edit]

Each Merchant Republic has five leading families, each headed by a Patrician who vie for control and conduct trading throughout Europe, the Mediterranean and beyond. Each family builds Trade Posts and assembles Trade Zones to build income, and has a Family Palace as its base of operations, complete with levies and the ability to recruit their own retinues. Each Patrician is a vassal to the Merchant Republic, and can conduct warfare and plotting independently of the Doge as well as hold cities and baronies or even their own vassals. If any one of the five families ever dies out, another family will rise to take its place.

Doge election[edit]

Main article: Patrician elective

Doges rule a republic, and since republics elect their leaders, the Doge must be elected. They are not so much elected as chosen, however, from one of the five Patrician families. Each family head has a Respect score below their picture in the Republic screen. The highest score at the current Doge's death wins. The score is affected by age (higher is better) and Prestige. However, if you don't have much of either, then use some wealth (from your trading posts) to start a campaign fund to add to your chances of victory. The Respect score is calculated with the following formula:


Respect = Age^2 + (2 \times Prestige) + (5 \times Campaign fund)

The campaign fund can be increased or decreased by hitting the plus and minus buttons next to the coins on The Republic screen. While your current Doge is alive, you can always take money out of the campaign fund, but when he dies and your successor takes his place, the money is used up.

For the duration of his reign, the new Doge will receive the capital county, the top-tier Republic title, and any title(s) of the same tier as the Republic title. Furthermore, all vassals that have contracts with these titles are transferred as well.

Warning: As of 2.4.1, a merchant republic can be destroyed and converted to feudal if an elected patrician is landed and holding onto a non-coastal province. It is unclear at this time if this is intended or a bug. This "bug" can be circumvented by losing an election. When you lose the election, the newly elected Doge will keep the government as type "Merchant Republic" and not type "nogovernment". When that Doge dies and you reclaim the leadership of the Merchant Republic, you will maintain its government. Using this tactic of alternating succession, you can continue to maintain the republic until you move the capital to a coastal province or choose to change to Feudal monarchy by winning a successive election.

Of course, for better control, try to land patricians with coastal counties.

Effects of dogedom[edit]

Being a doge is almost always advantageous. Firstly, you get a huge lump of cash from taxes on your fellow patricians and other vassals. This lets you beat them in the trading post game. Also, since you are considered a king (or, as the case may be, a duke or emperor) rather than a baron, it is easier to convince women to marry you and therefore raise the male count (more male family members, more trading posts, more money). Note that you still have to pay the same amount for noble marriages. It also increases dynasty Prestige, which translates into a much easier process to get your son elected Doge (because of starting Prestige). Finally, you are able to declare wars, just like other leaders, including embargo wars against whatever republic is bugging you at the time. Finally, the other patricians can't go to war with you over your trade posts, though you can't go to war with them either.

Laws[edit]

King-Tier Merchant Republics may set their own Crown Laws if independent. The highest Crown Authority merchant republics can have is Limited Crown Authority. Doges and Patricians pay taxes at the same rate as burghers, but pay 50% less tax to their liege. Patricians do not benefit from demesne-size increases due to title tiers. A Patrician has a base demesne limit of 1, while being Doge gives a +1 demesne bonus.

Patricians holding onto counties are affected by the succession laws of the counties' de jure kingdom if the kingdom title exists and is not held by their merchant republic. This translates into greater uncertainty as patricians can have their holdings divided up by gavelkind; the holdings may also have a different successor from the one determined by Agnatic Seniority. The minor title of Designated Heir does not overrule the kingdom's succession laws.

Republics and wars[edit]

Patricians and Doges build trade posts in any coastal county, as long as it is reachable by sea and not owned by a rival republic. Building trade posts within feudal realms can cause tensions, however. They can declare an Embargo war to raze the trade posts. Doges might approach independent rulers with proposals to ally in an embargo against a competing republic.

A patrician or Doge with a trade post in a county gain a CB to seize a city in that county (nt to the vassal of the same liege). They also gain a CB to claim the county of any city they control, as long as they either control a neighbouring county at most two sea zones away as well.

Additionally, patricians within a Republic can declare war on each other over control of a trade post.

Two Republics can go to war for control of a trade post or a city.

Effects of religions[edit]

Any religion can form merchant republics and produce patricians. However:

  • Muslim patricians cannot hold mosques in their demesne without penalties. As a trade-off, Muslim patricians are unaffected by decadence, and still retain polygamy. This can make Muslim merchant republics produce more trade posts due to increased numbers of adult males. Muslim trade posts in non-muslim provinces will also get a + 25% income bonus due to Jizya tax.
  • Hindu patricians are still affected by their caste, and cannot hold castles in their demesne without opinion penalties. Patricians following the Indian religions can still take concubines.
  • Pagan characters usually start with tribal governments. They cannot convert to merchant republics unless they convert their religion, or reform it. However, pagan courtiers can be invited to your court if you are a pagan yourself, and granted a city, becoming burghers. From there, creating a merchant republic should be easy. Pagan patricians can still take concubines.

Nomenclature[edit]

These names are used for merchant republics.

Shield Rank Title Frame Ruler (Latin, Byzantine) (Muslim) (German)
Barony.png Barony Palace Baron Merchant Republic.png Patrician
County.png County City Count Merchant Republic.png Lord Mayor
Duchy.png Duchy Republic Duke Merchant Republic.png Grand Mayor Doge Wali-Emir
Kingdom.png Kingdom Most Serene Republic King Merchant Republic.png Prince Mayor Serene Doge Wali-Malik Merchant League
Empire.png Empire Principality Emperor Merchant Republic.png Grand Prince

Strategies for doges[edit]

Trade posts and family dues[edit]

Having extra adult male dynasty members in your court allows you to build additional trade posts. However, these same characters get a share of your monthly income as family dues. Worse, when they die, only half of their wealth can be inherited. There are several approaches to getting the most out of this system.

Exceed your nominal trade post limit:

  • Build trade posts during family reunions. Land most of your kinsmen. Ensure they keep breeding (important for republics, theocracies, and eventually for distant relatives). Then, once per generation: invite all your kinsmen to your court, build trade posts up to your limit, and get them out of your court again. Try to time each reunion to correspond with winning a holy war.
  • Let patricians build trade posts for you. When a patrician family dies out, their trade posts are distributed to the remaining families. As the doge, you will get some if they have at least four.

Reunite character wealth with the dogedom:

  • Nominate a rich successor. Open the "dynasty" page of the ledger and sort by gold.
  • Seize wealth from old kinsmen. Use the intrigue focus or excommunication for imprisonment reasons.

Managing patricians[edit]

Strong patrician families bring more wealth to the republic, but also increase the danger of losing elections.

Many players prefer to kill off patrician families, both to control elections and in order to farm trade posts (see above).

If you don't mind your patricians having some land, try to spread them out. Landed patricians measure distance from their own settlements rather than from the merchant republic capital. By spreading them out, you can help each patrician build a connected trade network undisturbed, while leaving the crucial capital region free for you to dominate.

Creation of merchant republics[edit]

If you are king-level or above, creating vassal merchant republics is a good way to gain money and ships. A merchant republic will form if you grant a county and then a duchy to a coastal mayor.

If you hold a city personally, you can right-click the city to make it the county capital. This lets you choose any courtier you control to be the first doge. You can choose whether to grant the local castle to the doge (he'll pay more in taxes while his family is in power) or arrange for him to have a vassal baron (safer vs factions).

When the lord mayor gains his ducal title, four Patrician families are created automatically and the republic can start creating trade posts. If the doge's dynasty already has a family palace (in an existing republic), the doge does not become a playable patrician and instead an additional minor patrician family is created.

Why create republics?[edit]

Upsides to having vassal merchant republics:

  • They pay you lots of taxes
  • They provide a lot of ships (especially important in early centuries)
  • Their trade posts increase the income of nearby coastal cities
  • Patricians may offer to pay you to marry noble women in your court
  • No opinion penalty for higher crown authority
  • They have their own crown focus, so the capitals are more likely to prosper

Downsides:

  • They provide few troops, compared to feudal vassals
  • Doges do not approve of your feudal government: -20 "Wrong government type"
  • Matrilineal marriages are not allowed
  • Can become very powerful if your kingdom is small

Choosing a location[edit]

Prefer... Reason
High "trade practices" technology More trade posts and more income per trade post
A holy-warred duchy Can grant all the county seats directly to the doge, rather than transferring counts or lord mayors under him
A titular duchy No king will "desire control" of the republic (once you are emperor).
Titular duchies that naturally make good republics are Amalfi in Campania (South Italy) (can only be created by republics); Visby (Gotland) in Sweden; and Socotra near Arabia.
A small duchy You are limited to 10% of your realm being controlled by vassal burghers, and you may wish to create more vassal republics.
Three de jure duchies are a single province: Venice; Genoa in Italy; and Mann in Scotland.
A kingdom you will not create No king will "desire control" or have de jure claims. If you are near your vassal limit, this should be a small to mid-size kingdom (such as Taurica) or one whose lands you can distribute across other existing vassals.
A small kingdom No king will "desire control" or have de jure claims. If the kingdom existed in the past, you may wish to help the republic create it, lest you be vulnerable to a Liberation revolt. De jure drift can turn titular kingdoms into de jure kingdoms (especially Genoa, Pisa, Cyprus) or shrink existing ones. Lanka (5 coastal / 5 provinces), Brittany (6/6), Aragon (6/6), Wales (7/8), and the many small kingdoms in northwest Iberia. Note that kingdom titles cannot be granted directly to rulers of different government types (though as an emperor you can still grant a second duchy to a doge and hope he creates the kingdom himself).

Venice, Brittany, Castille, Navarra, Asturias/Léon, and Galicia are all de jure kingdoms consisting of a single duchy. Additionally, the titular kingdom of Cyprus can be created by Catholic  rulers (including heresies) with control of Famagusta.

A title whose de-jure capital is coastal Avoids a bug where the doge may move his capital inland and becomes a non-merchant republic. (Click the title and see which county is centered, or hover over the suspected capital in the de jure map mode for the title's rank.) All the aforementioned single-county duchies are coastal.
Not close to other vassal republics Both merchant republics can build trade posts freely
Large, contiguous trade zones create more income
Fewer inter-republic wars
Close to large feudal vassals Feudal vassals often cannot provide enough ships to transport the troops they provide. You can load the feudal vassal's levies onto the merchant republic's ships. At the same time, the feudal vassals can quickly provide troops to fend off dangers such as marauding Vikings.
Near your demesne Trade zones boost city income and spread technology
Outside the de jure empire containing your capital Outlying vassals provide much smaller liege levies, but still pay full taxes

Choosing a doge[edit]

Prefer... Reason
Content  Opinion and loyalty
Same religion and culture Opinion and loyalty, carrying over to future generations and all starting patrician families. Can construct trade posts at lower cost.
High stewardship High income on which to pay taxes
High demesne limit means more city/castle income can be directly taxed by you
Can be your steward, for an opinion boost, and a chance to fine him for stealing if he is greedy (only without Conclave).
High diplomacy Patricians pay full taxes to the doge
Can construct trade posts at lower cost
Lustful  Adult male courtiers belonging to a patrician's family contribute to trade post limit
Has sons under 16
Major dynasty New doges will bring gold and sons, and will tend to have more prestige. All of these factors will help them quickly expand the family trade network.
This family will win most elections. If you grant the first doge several castles and cities, it's nice to have these settlements paying taxes directly to you.
New doges may bring claims you can press, which is especially useful with Karlings or major infidel dynasties.
Already owns a city Taxes from this city will flow to you rather than the local count
If coastal(?), expands the region where trade posts can be built cheaply
Existing treasury will help him start a trade network
You can instruct him to marry a specific woman before making him a doge, so he doesn't waste cash chasing prestige

Choosing a family member will greatly increase your dynasty prestige (seniority succession means many doges), increase the size of your family (thanks to the wine cellar in the family palace), and help you in your own elections. On the other hand, you run the risk that your preferred primary heir -- or worse, an ambitious family member with a claim on your primary title -- will inherit the patrician palace through its seniority succession.

Keep in mind that each dynasty can only control one family palace. If you try to set up two dynasty members as doges, the second will not become a playable patrician, and will start with five vassal patricians instead of four.