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
Each Merchant Republic has five leading families, each headed by a Patrician who vie for control and conduct trading throughout Europe. 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.
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:
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
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.
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
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.
These names are used for merchant republics.
Creation of merchant republics
During game play, Merchant Republics can be created by liege lords or rebellion. When the burgher of a coastal city gains a 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.
If you are king-level or above, creating vassal merchant republics is a good way to gain money and ships.
Why create republics?
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
- 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
|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
|Content||Opinion and loyalty|
|Same religion and culture||Opinion and loyalty. Note, though, that a grand mayor of a different cultural group than his holding might change to his capital province's culture (though the seniority succession for patricians mitigates this: a doge is likely to be relatively old when he is elected which means you don't have to deal with him for very long).|
|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 (event 75098).|
|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.
How to create a republic
If you personally hold both a coastal county and a city in that county, e.g. after a holy war, you can create a vassal republic in three steps:
- Grant the city title to a courtier (or any mayor in your realm).
- Grant the county title to the mayor. (The city will become the county's capital, demoting the castle to a minor barony.)
- Grant any duchy title to the lord mayor.
If you only hold the county, you can skip the first step and grant the county to the local mayor, but then you have less control over who the first doge will be.
If the lord mayor controls enough land to create a duchy on their own, you can skip the last step and wait for them to earn enough money (which can take him ages).
Effects of religions
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.