Moral authority

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Moral authority and religious head

Moral authority is an abstraction of a religion's strength, unity, and respect. Your religion's moral authority and its causes are visible in the Religion tab, while other religions' moral authority scores are visible in the Ledger.


High moral authority increases the speed and success rate of most types of religious conversion, including the likelihood of Pagans accepting foreign preachers. It also increases the size of holy orders. Low moral authority makes the rise and spread of heresy more likely.

Some religious actions require a minimum moral authority:


Moral authority is primarily affected by control of holy sites and success or failure in religious wars. The personal qualities of the religious head (if there is one) also matter. A full list of factors that affect moral authority follows:

Effect Moral Authority Duration
Base for organized religion (i.e. not unreformed pagan) 20% Permanent
Full control of holy site +10% Permanent
Partial control of holy site (bishop has religion but liege does not, or vice versa) +5% Permanent
Full control of unsettled holy site (no temple holding in province) +5% Permanent
Partial control of unsettled holy site (no temple holding, top liege's religion and county holder's religion differ) +2.5% Permanent
Diplomacy of religious head +0.5%/point Permanent
Piety of religious head. Max 25%, which is reached at 1250 piety. +0.02%/point Permanent
Religious head controls holy site +5% Permanent (does not stack)
Antipope exists (Catholic only) -30%/antipope Permanent
Immoral Bad priest christian.png religious head -10% Permanent
Looted infidel temple while raiding +1% 20 years
Temple looted -1% 20 years
Built temple +1% 20 years
Neglectful head of religion -1% 10 years
Won/lost holy war +3%/-3% 20 years
Won/lost county conquest +1%/-1% 20 years
Won/lost crusade, jihad or great holy war +10%/-10% 30 years
Won/lost prepared invasion +5%/-5% 20 years
Won/lost religious/heretic revolt +1%/-5% 20 years
Successful/failed inquisition +2%/-2% 20 years
Successful/failed heretic dialogue +1%/-1% 20 years
Ruler converted to/from religion (only for conversion by decision or event, not "Demand Conversion" interaction) +3%/-3% 20 years
Ruler achieved "Paragon of Virtue" ambition +1% 20 years
Yielded to/defied Pope +2%/-2% 10 years
Yielded to/defied Patriarch +1%/-1% 10 years
'Rise of the Shia Caliphate' event +30% 50 years
Holy Order formed +5% 10 years
Holy Order expelled -5% 20 years
Deposed antipope +5% 10 years
Papacy instituted +10% 20 years
Patriarchy instituted +10% 20 years
We sacrificed the Head of a false Religion! +3% 20 years
Our Religious Head was sacrificed to Heathen Gods. -3% 20 years


  • The easiest way for pagans to increase their moral authority is to raid infidel temples and conquer infidel counties.
  • Give a holy site to the religious head (or hold it yourself if you're the Caliph or Fylkir). Catholics and Orthodox normally have the religious head controlling a holy site from the start, but other religions don't.
  • Ensure that your religion controls as many holy sites as possible. However, Jerusalem is a holy site to many Christian and Muslim sects; you will run the risk of triggering crusades and jihads early.
  • Getting moral authority high for the Indian religions is often not a priority (as they do not have heresies) and not an easy task (due to the absence of a religious head and great holy wars). Do note that Hindu rulers should aim to boost moral authority by securing Hindu holy sites, as their holy order (Followers of Arjuna) is notably large and can be used against non-Hindus. They can also sack non-Hindu temples as an alternative.
  • Encourage the Become Paragon of Virtue ambition among your realm's rulers. Each success gives +1% moral authority.
    • Hand out conquered temples/cities to characters who can select the ambition (less than 100 piety, not cruel or impaler), are likely to select it (zealous, learning education education), and are likely to achieve it (young and healthy, zealous, humble, content, chaste).
    • Avoid letting them select the "become councilor" ambition, or help them achieve it if they do. Let each ruler serve as your Steward/Spiritual until they switch. Alternatively, grant counties piecemeal, so each count is forced to employ all 2-5 of their baron-level vassals.
    • Consider spamming the "create priest" decision if you have excess piety. Each new character will have learning education and some will be zealous.
Universal concepts
Unique concepts
Religion groups