How Dynasties Work in Crusader Kings III

Dynasties are a core element of the Crusader Kings world, and it’s no different in CK3. The ultimate goal of the game is to build and lead your dynasty to greatness.

To do this there are a couple key points to understand in how dynasties work. There are four main mechanics in building your dynasty.

The Four Dynasty Mechanics in CK3

  • Marriage & Alliances
  • Prestige & Fame
  • Cadet Branches
  • Renown & Legacies.

How Marriage and Alliances Impact Dynasties

Marriages are rarely motivated by love in CK3, and you will be looking for marriages to bind your fate to other powerful families. It is important to note that commonly the children of a marriage will belong to the father’s house and dynasty. This is reversed if both sides agree to a matrilineal marriage.

The benefit of a marriage, other than having children and extending your line of success, are the alliances. Both your spouse and their close relatives will become allies. Marriage is how you will acquire most of your alliances. This usually (but not always) means that both sides of the arrangement will aide each other in war, but it can also have other benefits.

Take this example: Charles the Bold has married his daughter off to the Duke of Flanders. This means that the Duke of Flanders will never join a faction against Charles the Bold, no matter how the poor the relationship is between Charles the Bold and the Duke of Flanders. Charles the Bold will normally join the Duke of Flanders when he enters a war, especially if he is the one attacked.

How Prestige and Fame Impact Individuals in Dynasties

Marriages keep your dynasty going. Prestige and Fame make up the influence of your dynasty on the world. Prestige is a resource accumulated over time through your actions, the titles you hold, and your personality. You can use Prestige in many different ways.

Whether you spend your Prestige or not, all the Prestige you accumulate goes towards your level of Fame. The higher your Fame score, the higher people will think of you. A higher fame score makes ruling significantly easier.

Be careful of your own reputation. If you act dishonorably (by breaking a truce, for instance), your fame will melt away like snow in summer and people will begin looking at you differently. Prestige and Fame are a good measure of how an individual character is doing, but what really matters in Crusader Kings 3 is the family.

The Importance of Cadet Branches in Dynasties

Let’s continue by talking about Cadet Branches. A dynasty is a group of nobles that all trace their lineage back to one common ancestor. Over time and as the dynasty grows, there will be rulers within the dynasty that will want more power than what might found their own branches. These branches are also called houses and still belong to the same dynasty.

New houses can be created and, for the creator, bring more independence, more power over house members, and the opportunity to rise up to be recognized as the new dynasty head. Becoming the dynasty head requires you to lead the most powerful house inside of your dynasty.

Renown and Legacies Measure the Greatness Dynasties

Renown and Legacies measure the success of your dynasty as a whole. Renown increases over time based on the titles the current family members hold and the number of currently living family members.

Renown is a powerful tool that the dynasty head can spend on influencing their family directly or investing it in legacies. Legacies give permanent bonuses to your dynasty and reflect the history of your ancestors.

The decision between investing in influencing your family or investing in legacies is a tough one, as they both require Renown. Every accumulated point of Renown also earns your dynasty Splendor, which widens the range of resources and options your dynasty has. For example, a well-respected dynasty with high Renown will have it easier keeping a realm under control, even during hard times.

The more your family grows, the more all of you will benefit from your dynasty legacies. However, it will also mean that infighting will become a common sight. Play your cards right and you will be able to play through the ages as your dynasty’s leader. Play your cards wrong and your dynasty will be lost in history.

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