The provinces that may be raided are:
- Neighbouring provinces. You get the gold and prestige immediately.
- Provinces where you have ships in adjacent sea zones (or major rivers, for Germanic pagans). The loot will be transferred to the fleet, and will be added to your treasury when the fleet docks.
Culture, Religion and Government
Since 2.4, you can raid if one of the three conditions above allows you to raid. The tooltips "Rulers can raid infidel neighbors for loot" is in fact incorrect. You can raid anyone who is not your liege, your vassal or your tribute/suzerain. If your vassal (it seems to happen with nomad vassal clan) raids you, you can arrest him infamy-free.
- Culture that allows raiding : Norse (not other North Germanic), all Altaic, Hungarians (Magyar).
- Religion : Hinduism, Germanic, Slavic, Tengri, Romuva, Suomenusko, West African (including all reformed forms of these religions).
- Government : Tribal, Nomad.
For example, Catholic Norwegian Feudal cannot raid, but Catholic Norwegian Tribal, Germanic Norwegian Feudal and Catholic Norse Feudal can raid.
Vassal doesn't mind if his troops are raised for looting (only while sieging). Vassal will be angry for each 60 days when his troops is moving or when his troops are looting free loots after all holdings have been sacked.
To raid, simply set troops into raiding mode by clicking the "Toggle Raiding" button. This may only be done in friendly territory. Armies containing mercenaries cannot raid.
Raiding free loot
Even a small band of raiders can ransack the countryside for loot. The base available loot in a province is roughly 2/3 of the total annual income for all holdings in that province. Of this loot:
- some is protected by walls. The protected amount is equal to the sum of the fort levels in all (un-sacked) holdings in the province, multiplied by the number of holdings.
- the remainder may be looted freely, by leaving raiding troops in the province
The speed of looting depends on the size of your raiding party (up to 500) and the "max loot" in the province (regardless of whether it is protected by fortifications or already plundered). It takes 100 days to fully loot a province, although your raiders will usually have to pause when they encounter fortifications.
Loot every 4 days = (Max loot) × min(Raiders, 500) × 0.04
Sacking a holding:
- Loots a large amount of money (roughly double the annual income of the holding). The formula is:
Looted Gold = (1.5 * Holding Base Income) + (0.02 * Total Buildings Cost)
- Lets more of the free loot be gathered.
- Cause a penalty on demesne income and prevents from sacking again for 3 years.
- Has a 10% chance of destroying a random building in that holding.
- Has a 5% chance of destroying the holding entirely, if the holding has less than 4 buildings. The capital holding can't be destroyed.
- Always destroys any building or holding currently being constructed.
- Has a chance of imprisoning any courtiers in the province.
- May trigger an event giving the Viking trait, if raider's religion is Germanic or reformed Germanic.
- May trigger some special raiding event chain.
Germanic pagans are the best raiders
- 769 start date: the "Viking Age" sometime between in 793 and 867, giving independent rulers of Norse culture free shipyards in all realm provinces with the correct culture. Coastal provinces in the independent ruler's demesne (not held by vassals) also get free shipbuilding technology.
- 867 start date: only Germanic pagans begin with ships.
- Germanic pagans have the unique ability to navigate major rivers such as the Rhine
- Rivers are no longer navigable once the average fort level of the adjacent provinces exceeds MAX_RIVER_MOVEMENT_FORT_LEVEL. This is defined in the defines.lua file and is set to 10 as of 2.4.2.
Raid rich provinces
- Use the economy map mode to identify rich provinces
- Within tribal areas, the provinces worth raiding are the ones with temples (holy sites)
- Consider distant targets such as Venice
- Come back after the loot bar refills
- Sacking gives a large lump sum of holding loot, frees additional province loot for raiding, and captures courtiers
- Focus on with provinces with city/church capitals (e.g. merchant republics, minor republics and theocracies)
- If your religion or government type allows taking concubines, consider distant targets such as Constantinople
- Come back after 3 years
- AI rulers will not raise levies in provinces where you currently have troops, even if they outnumber you
- Each liege (duke, king, emperor) should be weak or distracted by war
Flee when threatened
- Appoint a commander with the Organizer trait
- Retreat into ships
- If caught in a hopeless battle, order retreat (right-click a destination) rather than waiting for morale to drop
Raid and sack before war
- This lets you take on a sequence of small armies, rather than one large army, because:
- Enemies will not have the aid of allies during the raid.
- Enemies (AI) will not raise troops in provinces where you have troops.
- If your army is large enough, you can even sack the holding with the levies still unraised, killing them without a battle.
- Remember that getting 100% warscore requires winning a "major battle" or occupying all enemy territory.
Raid and sack during war
- Use a single army in "raid mode", then switch to "occupy mode" immediately after sacking (and order a fast assault).
- Or, put both a "raid army" and an "occupy army" in a province, with the raid army arriving first. Immediately after sacking, order both armies to move out, then order the occupy army to stay.