A Feudal Contract specifies the obligations between a Feudal Vassal and their Liege. Only the Feudal Government Form allows each Vassal to negotiate their obligations individually. There are special contracts, such as March, Scutage, or Palatinate contracts. These special contracts can only be held by Duchy-tier Vassals or above. We will take you through some of the basics of Feudal Contracts below.
Vassals and Vassal Obligations
A Vassal is a Ruler who has sworn fealty to another ruler, aka their liege. To be a ruler a character must hold at least one Title. These titles can be anything from a City to a Barony to a Kingdom. If you have an Empire title you cannot have a liege.
A Vassal provides their liege with Levies and Taxes, which are their obligations in exchange for protection. There are a number of different factors that go into the how many Levies and Taxes are provided. There are a lot of nuanced variables that we won’t get into, but there are a couple main factors.
Factors that Influence Vassal Obligations
- Realm Size
- Number of Holdings within their Realm
- Feudal Taxes Level
- Feudal Levies Level
- Stewardship Skill
- Martial Skill
- Others (Ex.: liege not holding the correct title to be the vassal’s rightful liege)
Basics of Feudal Contracts
Feudal Contracts have only a few main high-level items: Feudal Taxes, Feudal Levies, Succession Rights, War Declaration, Council Rights, and Title Revocation. There are basically three rules to follow when modifying a Feudal Contract.
The first rule is that you can only modify a Vassal’s Feudal Contract one time. Once you have changed their obligations, you will not have another opportunity to do so until the Vassal dies and passes the titles along to their heir. This is assumes you remain the Liege.
The second rule: When changing an obligation you have to make the trade fair or it will be considered an act of Tyranny. This will negatively impact the opinion of you with all characters in the Realm. For example, if you increase Feudal Taxes from Normal to High, you will also need to provide fair compensation to the Vassal, such as lowering Feudal Levies, providing protection on Title Revocation, or guaranteeing a spot on the Council.
The last rule is that you can use a hook to enforce an increased obligation without having to provide anything in return. This only allows one additional increase, such as Feudal Taxes from Normal to High. You won’t be able to increase to Extortionate from Normal as that is two spots away.
Feudal Taxes have five levels to choose from for each Vassal. The typical starting Feudal Tax Level is Normal.
Feudal Tax Levels (Lowest to Highest)
- Exempt (no taxes)
The range shows the levels as either the color of the parchment background or greyed out. If the blocks are greyed out then you cannot make the change as the current level of the Feudal Taxes, or Feudal Levies, is not adjacent to the current level. Example: If you are at the Normal level you can’t jump to Extortion or Exempt. You can only modify to adjacent options, so either increasing to High or decreasing to Low for your proposed Vassal Contract.
Feudal Levies works basically the same as Feudal Taxes. Again there are five options to choose from and the starting Feudal Levies level is Normal. The only main difference from Feudal Taxes is the names for the lowest and highest levels. The lowest level is None and the highest level is Massive. Again these work the same way that you can’t increase or decrease more than one level.
Succession rights is the first option below Feudal Levies and will have the options available based on your Crown Authority. The one you will always see is Forced Partition. This means that if you check this box the Vassal is forced to never have any other form of succession but Partition for their Realm. This option is not one in the Vassal’s favor and you will need to use a Hook or provide compensation such as lowered Feudal Taxes or lowered Feudal Levies.
The Vassal does not have to spend a Hook if their Liege’s Crown Authority prevents them from waging war. This special treatment also makes it easier for the Vassal to declare wars inside the Realm, reducing the cost by 50%. It is a benefit to the vassal that will increase Opinion. It also allows you to add something in return such as Increased Feudal Levies or Taxes.
The Vassal is granted with the Demand Council Position interaction that can be used at will. This special interaction gives the Vassal Council privileges, and they will expect a permanent seat on the Council. Granting this privilege to too many Vassals will eventually upset the Powerful Vassals of the Realm.
Tip: If you already anticipate giving one of your Vassals a seat on your Council, don’t just give it to them. Instead, utilize it as a way to modify the Feudal Contract without being an act of Tyranny. This especially helps if you don’t have a good Spymaster or Intrigue to gain Hooks.
This option grants the Vassal with the privilege that the Liege (You) cannot revoke the Vassals’ Titles. This gives the Vassal guaranteed ownership of their Titles, preventing the Liege from revoking them, regardless of the Liege having a Title Revocation Reason or not.
This one only is available once Coinage Innovation has been unlocked. If granted the Vassal will have +0.3 monthly developmental growth in realm capital. As the liege you will see a -2% monthly development growth.
This option is only available when the Battlements innovation is unlocked. This option gives the Vassal +1 Fort Level, -15% Castle buildings construction cost, and -50% Castle holdings construction cost. The Liege will receive +5% Castle buildings construction cost and -10% Tax from Vassal.
This option only happens if the Vassal does not have the Liege’s faith. The option means the Liege cannot use the Demand Conversion from the Vassal and cannot use the Convert Faith action from their Religious Council member.
There are a lot of other things that influence the Feudal Contracts such as Crown Authority, Opinion of Liege, and types of Vassals. I won’t talk about Crown Authority or Opinion of Liege as those have slight impacts, but keep them in mind. The type of Vassal is important. Feudal Vassals have mainly been talked about above. The other exceptions are below and the slight differences.
Tribal Vassals provide taxes and levies based on the liege’s Level of Fame, with minimum amounts determined by Tribal Authority.
The other item is Republic Vassals. Republic Vassals are usually associated with unplayable Titles such as Baronies or Mayor positions. The Republican Government is an unplayable Government Form where an elected citizen rules for life — the Government Form of burghers and merchants.
Republican Vassals have static Obligations that cannot be changed, thus always provide a dependable and predictable amount of Levies and Taxes. They always provide 20% taxes and 10% levies to their Liege.
Clan Vassals provide taxes and levies based on their opinion towards their liege, with minimum amounts determined by crown authority.