Not having a liege will help you avoid bankruptcy as he forces you to mobilize. But having vassals help you get accustomed to some of the game mechanics. This is one of the reasons Apulia is a good starter. You start as a duke with no liege. You're also fairly isolated from immediate threats.
Upon starting the game you'll be faced with something like this:
From the top left going right:
-Clicking on the coat of arms (aka a "crest") for the province owner
will take you to that faction's diplomacy page.
-Clicking on your Leader's Portrait
will take you to their status page where you can see their Martial, Diplomacy, Intrigue and Stewardship ratings, as well as any other bonuses, loyalty (not so important if you're the highest ranked noble in your realm), and their relationships with other characters.
was introduced in the Deus Vult (DV) expansion (want to know why everyone's saying "God wills it!" in Kingdom of Heavan? It's the English equivalent of the Latin "deus vult"). It's a general indicator of how well-run and stable your kingdom is. Negative is bad, positive is good. You cannot directly influence this like you can in EU. It has an effect on the events you receive.
lets you build things, pay for certain diplomatic missions and does a bit of other stuff. You get it primarily from your provinces and taxes. You can also get it through events and pillaging.
is an idication of your popularity, power and fame. Win a tournament: it goes up. Too cowardly to hunt a boar in the woods: it goes down. While the major increases you see will probably be event-driven, you tend to get a lot from your province improvements, marriages, wars. It helps you diplomatically. It'll help you claim and grab titles, and get and keep vassals. It also influences events.
shows how religiously famous you are. While prestige is a measure of your fame in the temporal realm (i.e. in the world of secular states and kingdoms), piety is its equivalent in the spiritual realm. It helps lower your reputation (more about that in a second), helps you avoid excommunication and a few other things.
lets you go out with sexy, sexy 70-year-old Queen Victoria if you watch it until the 1800s. Control and + or - increase or decrease the game speed.
were introduced in DV. They let you know when you've got an open court spot, when your demesne is too large for your ruler's abilities, when you've got someone available for marriage (that one's a bit buggy), and when a vassal has low loyalty (maybe another I'm forgetting).
-Clicking on Your Coat of Arms
lets you access your own diplomacy screen. You'll get a quick overview of your vassals, claims and demesne stats. There you can also change your laws (including your inheritance laws), your research goals, your court ('ministers' if you want), your budget and some other actions.
It's pretty important, so here it is:
If you're really lazy you can click on Your Glorious Leader's
portrait here, instead of 3cm to the right to get to their character sheet.
are any counts or dukes under your tutelage. Duke's have a squared shield (kings have a squared shield with a crown at the bottom). Counts have a tapered shield. The vassals of your vassals aren't listed here - you'll need to use the ledger for that (...if you have DV - if you don't you get to surf the map looking).
is your demesne's monthly income. To adjust this based on taxes go to your treasury/budget screen.
is the total number of soldier's you can muster (including your vassal's armies).
is the number of provinces you hold as your ruler's own land.
relates to your leader's intrigue and your demesne size. If you have a larger demesne than your ruler's intrigue allows your efficiency will suffer (each century will also let you hold more provinces). To ameliorate this: go lose a war or give some land to a vassal. Low efficiency can cause lots of negative events (including the Stressed
trait for your ruler that lowers his/her attributes, the Realm Duress
trait for your ruler that lower your income and may cause vassals to break away, the development of robber bands and smugglers and other things). I don't advise staying below 80% for long.
-"We have an honorable Reputation
" is one of many stages for your reptutation. Reputation is your badboy score. A worse reputation and your vassals will lose loyalty and you may get more declarations of war from other rulers. You can get a clear picture of what the actual number is by looking at a vassal's loyalty rating. It will have a negative number based on your reputation - divide that by 0.4 and you've got your number (i.e 1.2 would be 3 badboy).
You'll accrue a negative reputation by grabbing titles, starting wars and increasing your demesne. Piety, time, relinquishing claims in peace settlements, and creating vassals (and occasionally events) help decrease it. When your ruler dies the successor will inherit 1/3 of his/her predecessor's reputation.
let you see what land you can potentially grab. To declare war on Christians you need to have a claim on the ruler's title. You can declare war on Muslims at any time - once you siege and 'liberate' their province you'll get a claim on it (which you can then try to get in a peace settlement).
Grabbing claims (or usurping titles - in some cases) can be done through the diplomacy screen. Remember that it worsens your reputation.
-Clicking the sword and shield lets you perform different Actions
like granting titles (such as to your progeny or wife or courtiers), offering marriages (within your own court - to offer marriages to other rulers you need to go through their diplomatic screen), creating titles once you have the requisite lands (such as letting you become a king), sending assassins (to off pesky useless sons, perhaps?), and mobilizing forces (you can also do this individually for each of your provinces instead of all your lands).
-Clicking the group of Court
members lets you access your court. These are people that supplement your ruler's own abilities (such as Martial or Intrigue). Click on one of the five portraits to pick a new courtier/bishop. If you have Deus Vult each of them will be labelled with the relevant skills in a list. Make sure to check their loyalty (click on their portrait to bring up their character sheet). Poor loyalties here can lead to bad events in the future.
-Clicking on the treasure chest accesses the Treasury
. There you can adjust taxes and tariffs to influence your income and various loyalties.
-Clicking on the trebuchet/engineer will let you access the Technology
screen. There you can view which techs your lands have. The pipes (that is the "|" character) next to a technology indicates the level present in your capital (other provinces may have a higher level). You can click on any of the techs to have the map show each province's tech level.
You can't directly influence when things will get researched. Generally the higher level techs take longer. Techs will spread between provinces based on proximity (with some 'trade routes' that help them spread overseas and across longer distances - check the map here
(same for culture spread)). Libraries, roads, harbors and universities increase the general spread of all technologies. Other province improvements increase some other tech spreads.
-Clicking the orb and sceptre let you access the Laws
screen. There you can change your inheritance laws (read carefully to make sure you know how they'll affect your inheritance). Keep in mind that changing your inheritance laws may lead to disloyalties. Anyone who's cheated out of an inheritance will get claims on the titles they've been denied. When you create vassals they do not inherit your laws.
You can also change your 'governmental' laws (pretty much on a scale of 'absolute monarchy' to 'nearly a republic'). Feudal Contract will probably be your initial setting.
Your laws regarding secular/spiritual authority are also here. You'll probably want Ecclesiastical Balance at first (to help avoid paying too much money to the church), but there'll be events forcing you to choose between excommunication and switching to Church Supremacy).
Otherwise there's the map. The Relational map is probably the most useful. Allies are blue, enemies are red, claims are yellow and your realm is various shades of green.
Character status sheets are pretty self explanatory. You can usually mouse over things for further information. Here we have Robert the Wise's character sheet.
The portraits of kings will have a red box outline. Dukes have a golden outline with blue bands. Counts have a golden outline. Normal people have a black line.
You can click on any of the portraits here to access that person's character sheet. DV introduced an incredibly handy feature of putting a little blood droplet on anyone from your dynasty (otherwise you need to check their last name). Make sure your successor is a blood relative of your ruler, otherwise you'll see a game over screen when your ruler dies.
-The top of the sheet will list the individual's Gold, Prestige, and Piety
. This is how you can check how much money a rival (or ally) has available. AI players have secret Midas courtiers - they cannot get negatvie gold (but they can have negative prestige and piety).
-A list of icons will indicate what Traits
the character has. There are quite a few of them. DV adds more. One will always be indicative of the education the character has or is receving. Important ones to look out for are Lustful
(good for makin' babies), Celibate
(bad for makin' babies) and Prodigy
(bonuses all around!). Stressed, Depressed, Illness, Consumption, Schizophrenic
, and Severely Wounded
are all around bad. Realm Duress
is bad for rulers and implies bad things will happen. Look out for Rebellious
on vassals...tends to make their loyalty sink.
Traits come and go based on events. There are some that don't come through event. Bastard
means the character was born out of wedlock (and he may be a dick). They tend to not be able to inherit (barring event's removing the trait). Fosterling
means the character has been sent to another noble to be raised (you can send them through the diplomatic menu and you'll occasionally receive offers of receiving one). It was quite common in real life as a sign of good faith between nobles ("Here, have my 5th son who stands almost no chance to inherit - I swear I won't attack you since you're taking care of him and could behead him whenever you want.")
primarily impacts combat ability when the character is leading an army. Also affects the size of armies you can muster from your lands (which is otherwise based on province prosperity).
affects peace settlements and helps keep vassals loyal.
lets you keep a larger demesne. It'll also help you assassinate others while avoiding being assassinated.
keeps your coffers full.
- Your character's Culture
will be displayed here. Robert de Hauteville descended from Norman mercenaries who had conquered Southern Italy, so he's not actually Italian. In order for your culture to spread you need to have a province with your ruler's culture. This means as the Duchy of Apulia you'll want to grab some Italian wives for your sons to help make them more Italian (alternatively Greek). Religion also spreads through a variety of events. Provinces are easier to control if they have your culture and religion.
-The character's Name
will be listed in the red bar. Children become available for marriages at 16 (...even though their are plenty of incidences of child wives and such). You can grant children titles but in DVIP their abilities progress as they age and a 3 year old is a terrible ruler. You'll gain some benefits from marrying your eldest daughter. Leaving sons without land will negatively affect your prestige (particularly your eldest son - bastards have less of an efffect).
Nobles tended to have the best diets and the best healthcare, so your ruler will likely live to at least 50 (unless he/she has negative traits).
is also listed here. Make sure it stays at least above 50 if they're one of your immediate vassals (by lowering taxes, giving them more land, adjusting your laws, giving them money or sending fosterlings). Remember that if you revoke a vassal's title it will lower the loyalty of all your vassals.
-If you're the highest noble in your realm you won't have a Liege
. Otherwise you can get to their character sheet here.
-All of your immediate Vassals
will be listed here as well. If you have a duke as a vassal and that duke has some counts as vassals you won't see them here.
don't do much, but can be useful for a casus belli or (very occasional) back-up. The number of allies you can have is a function of your diplomacy ability and the realm sizes of the two ruler's lands.
are parents. If you have DVIP some of them go back well before 1066.
-Next up is your Spouse
. Robert Guiscard is a bit of a rare example in the middle ages: he managed to get a divorce, so in DVIP he has two living wives listed. Dead wives stay in here so you can keep track. Wives adopt the name of their husbands (so having your wed daughter as your sole heir will generally not end well...unless you intend to end the game).
will be listed in their succession order from left to right (generally from eldest to youngest with sons on the left, daughters on the right). It will list this character's children - regardless of wife. So if you want to know your ruler's bastards you won't see them on his wife's page.
convey loyalty and diplomatic bonuses. You tend to get them through events.
-The character's Siblings
are listed as well, which might help you locate them in your court or abroad.
are arguably the most important component of the character sheet. If someone not of your bloodline is the next successor you'll want to plot an assassination or change your inheritance laws immediately. If someone outside your dynasty is next to inherit you lose the game. It's not enough that they have the blood droplet - they need to have your last name too (which makes it difficult for daughters to inherit).
If your successor is not in your demesne (e.g. they're your vassal or in another realm) they will use the inheritance laws of their home. This is mostly only important for DVIP in that if your successor is female and leading another realm without female inheritance you will lose the game because technically the lands will go to a male heir instead.
like to make life difficult for you. If they're your vassals expect some trouble keeping them loyal. They may start wars with you, attempt to assassinate members of your court and just be huge dicks in general.
lets you see anyone eligible to fill a spot in your court. These can be people you've gained from conquering territory, your wife, your sons wives (if you don't give them land) and people from events.
-The character sheet also shows you the Title Claims
a character has. This is where you can easily see what other leaders have as claims (if you don't want to use the map) or what individual courtiers have claims on.
Religion plays a fairly large role in the game. Two of the most important aspects are the Papacy and provincial religion.
Historically the Papacy did three important things: fight with the Holy Roman Emperor, excommunicate people (...often the Holy Roman Emperor), and declare crusades. You can fight and steal land from the papacy, but it'll likely end up with some excommunicating or piety drops.
Much of the Papal power falls to the Papal Controller in CK. In the 1066 scenario the Duchess of Spoleto is the first Papal Controller. You'll get an announcement of when this changes; it's indicated by the cross on the controller's portrait. The controller gets to declare or revoke excommunications (as a function of the target's piety and the pope's prestige). Here Apulia is a nice case as well, as you'll often get excommunicated if you become a neighbor of Spoleto (while the ruler's still the Papal Controller and your piety is low).
has some unfortunate impacts. The person will be unable to inherit lands. Other Catholic lands will be able to claim your titles without the stringent repuation cost (alternatively you'll be able to claim the titles of whoever's excommunicated).
pops up in an event. It has a chance to fire once you have the requsite combination of king's titles (generally anything involving Germany requires 3). You'll definately get it if you control 5 king's titles. It'll net you a nice monthly prestige bonus.
will occasionally be called to Outremer (it's French, so oo-tre-mare and not out-reamer). Generally all the lands of Catholic Christianity will be tasked with conquering some historical crusade goal (Alexandria, Jerusalem and Alexandretta tend to top the list of first goals). You generally won't suffer for not crusading unless your leader is Zealous or otherwise very religious. Once the land is captured an event will (eventually) fire recognizing the crusade's success.
Crusading carries a few benefits: it'll net you some nice land overseas (Alexandria is one of the top 10 richest provinces, afterall) where you can convert some heathens (never mind that much of the population was still Christian in 1066). You'll get some piety bonuses (which can lead to your ruler eventually becoming a saint) and you'll occasionally have help from other Christian lands. There are also some events associated with crusading. It tends to be expensive, however. You'll likely go by boat, which involves hiring lots of ships.
Provincial religion can be changed by conversion events and by revolt crushing events. You can check them individually or use the religion map mode (white is Catholic, brown is Orthodox and you'll want to convert everything else).
Since combat is one of the major aspects of expanding your domain:
As mentioned, the troops available in a province can be mobilized by clicking the soldier in the bottom left of the province window. You'll want to do this when the bar is mostly full (unless the armies you can raise there are huge
). You'll probably want to double check that the army is actually sizable.
-Army Troop Composition
depends on the power levels of your province. Nobles make knights, which tend to be the most combat effective unit type. Peasants tend to make light infantry and archers. Burghers favor spearmen and heavier infantry. None of the rulers you can play as can mobilize horse archers (although you may get them as mercenaries).
-You can Pillage
occupied lands for the immediate gains listed in the province details under Plunder. Pillaging Gains
tend to be immediate amounts of money (and often a little piety loss). You can do it if you're hard up for cash, but it will wreck the province's future income for a while (up to a few years) and may destroy province improvements.
alter the number of troops you can raise. The more prosperous the province, the more troops it can support. Thus, richer provinces (like Alexandria here) can support massive armies. Revolts and looted provinces tend to support very few troops. Rich or Prosperous territories can usually support larger armies. Disease tends to halve the number of troops available.
Remember that once a negative modifier is removed you'll need to wait a little while until the troops are recruited (the green bar fills). Training Fields will help speed this up. Anything that increases the number of supportable troops will also let you field a larger force.
-Keep an eye on the Supply Limit
. If you field more troops than this in the province they will suffer very high attrition losses.
-Speaking of Attrition
, you'll suffer it campaigning in enemy lands, (especially) traversing neutral lands and moving by sea. Make sure you'll actually have an army when you get to where you're going. Unlike later periods like the Renaissance (EU) or Industrial ages (Victoria), moving over land was easier during this period. Seamanship wasn't well developed and sailors were very much at the mercy of the wind (so water-based transit often takes just as long if not longer than land-based transit). The compass was eventually discovered during this period.
-You can also mobilize your vassals' armies (and your liege can ask to mobilize yours). Scutage
plays a large part in the money you earn and the number of troops you'll get from mobilizing your vassals. Technically scutage didn't exist in 1066, but you get to invent it earlier.
Scutage allowed a noble to opt out of military service by paying his liege (so mercenaries would stand in for the noble). This let the noble reign over his lands while his liege went to war, and would let the liege field the army he needed. Eventually kings (particularly English kings) began to demand scutage over having nobles show up in person (sparking all sorts of tension and leading to all sorts of taxes we have today - hooray scutage!).
If you increase the scutage 'tax' you'll get more money (to potentially field armies from within your own demesne), but if you mobilize your vassals' armies they will be smaller. Scutage also impacts vassal loyalty (low scutage means more loyalty (which is a little simplified since nobles were never particularly fond of being called to war)).
-You'll need that money to pay for Army Upkeep
. The most expensive thing you'll have to deal with is keeping your army mobilized. Essentially, you will not have a standing army. You'll mobilize when you need to go to war. Otherwise you'll nearly always have a negative budgetary Balance
Peace is profitable; unless all your lands are disease-ridden cesspools of revolt you'll make money at peace (and you'll be spending that money on province improvements and intrigue).
Of course, you can always click on your army for a bit more of an overview of their composition, regiments (if you've combined them from different provinces or mercenaries).
The stick figure is the number of men in the entire army. The little skull is the army's attrition (11% is high; it's so high because this army is huge). You can click on the portrait here to see the army leader's character page. Otherwise the numbers break down like the composition in the province view.
-You can click and drag over armies on the map (in the same province) to Merge
them into the same army. Similarly, you can Split
them back into individual regiment-sized armies once selected.
-You'll often have to Disband
your armies - particularly at war's end. They're expensive and you'll likely be losing troops to attrition (until you've got larger castles able to increase your supply limit). Disbanding armies in your own realm will make sure 90% of the troops remain available (you could hypothetically capture some land in a peace settlement, disband them and then remobilize them in their home province for only a 10% loss in immediately available manpower). If you disband them abroad it will take longer for the regiment to be re-recruited.
Click on an army and then right click a destination for them to move there. If they cannot move over land you'll be asked if you're willing to foot the bill to send them overseas. This tends to be a function of the manpower being sent and the distance and can get very expensive.
Once you hit an enemy army you'll start a battle (check their army size and hope you're similarly sized, your composition is better, your morale is higher, or that your tech level is higher). If you're in enemy territory and you win you'll siege the province (which will go faster if your army is larger). If you're in friendly territory the enemy will be forced to retreat somewhere
to an adjacent province (preferring their realm if possible).