In a game dedicated to politics and court intrigue, Crusader Kings 3 allows players to put themselves in the shoes of several rulers as they attempt to create their ideal domain. But one problem any ruler can face are factions, which are groups of people who intend to fight the player if their demands are not met.
Depending on the circumstances, fighting these factions can be very detrimental to the player. So it would be prudent to dissolve these factions as quickly as possible. As such, the player needs to consider what type of factions they are dealing with and the various methods they can use to try and defuse the situation.
Commoner Factions in Crusader Kings 3
The first thing to understand is that there are different types of factions. These include peasant rabble, populists, liberty, claimant, and independence factions. Of those, it is usually the populist and peasant rabble faction types that are easier to deal with. Both because they tend to have little military power and because getting them to dissolve can be fairly easy.
The main factor rulers want to pay attention to when dealing with these factions is their popularity in certain counties. Click on the faction tab and determine which counties are affiliated with the group. Then locate these counties on the map, zoom in, and determine why the ruler's popularity is so low. Is it because they are of a different religion? Go to the council and have the bishop convert them. Are they from a different culture? Go to the steward and have him or her attempt to spread the ruler’s culture.
Players can also opt to convert to the local culture or change their religion. Just keep in mind that either of these actions can potentially have ramifications. If vassals do not convert with the player, then there will be an opinion penalty with each vassal who holds a different religion or culture. There is another option though: let them fight. If the player believes their time is better dedicated elsewhere, they can just wait for the faction to send an ultimatum and just crush the rebellion with their own military might.
But that sort of approach only works with peasants. It is when factions consist of vassals that the player should begin to worry. Vassals, especially powerful ones, can have a lot of military power. Which makes them a huge threat should they choose to rebel. So it would be prudent of any ruler to disband this type of faction as early as possible.
Diplomatic Marriages in Crusader Kings 3
When a faction consisting of vassals form, they usually demand either lower crown authority, independence, or a new ruler. But why they are forming a faction is irrelevant. The player just wants it to go away. One way to do that is to take the diplomatic route.
Look at the faction and select either its leader or its most powerful member. Then head to their character screen, right-click on them, and click “Arrange Marriage”. Unlike the “Find Spouse” option, arrange marriage focuses on the courts of the two participants as opposed to simply displaying every available spouse in the game. This means the participant’s marriable family, knights, and courtiers can all be shown.
If luck is on the player’s side, then it may be possible to form a solid alliance with this vassal through a marriage arrangement. Often by betrothing their heir to one of the player’s descendants. If the player sees their heraldry when selecting a spouse, then a marriage is practically guaranteed. When that alliance is made, the vassal in question will be unable to join a faction. Even if the faction goes through with their rebellion, then at the very least the player has an ally to come upon when the conflict starts.
Spend Gold and Sway Opinion in Crusader Kings 3
Another diplomatic approach is to change their opinion. Raise the ruler's approval rating, so to speak. If the player has a lot of gold, use it to send gifts. This is especially effective against characters who have the greedy trait. If the vassal needs more than a few coins to sway them, then attempt a sway scheme. If possible, the player should attempt to befriend them.
The aim is to get the vassals to have such a high opinion of the player that they feel no need to be part of a faction any longer. But even if their opinion is not high enough for them to back out of a faction, this high opinion could buy the player some time to dissolve the faction later on. That is because a faction with a decently high opinion of the player is less likely to call for conflict, even when they reach a higher rating in military power.
Scheme and Abduct in Crusader Kings 3
If the player cannot rule through respect, then they can rule through fear and manipulation. In the event that diplomacy is deemed either too time-consuming or ineffective, then the player can resort to malicious schemes to dissolve the faction. Be it through murder schemes or imprisonment, all the player really needs to do is to capture the faction’s leaders or gain a strong hook on them.
Make ample use of the council’s spymaster and set them to investigate the court of any of the faction’s members. Wait for the spymaster to report in, and with any luck, the player will be presented with the opportunity to either imprison the vassal or gain a hook on them. This hook can then be used to increase the chance for a successful imprisonment attempt or used to force the vassal to enter an alliance with the player through an arranged marriage. But preferably the vassal will be imprisoned. Makes things easier for the player.
If the player has invested in the intrigue lifestyle, the player can also use another option: abduction. This option does away with the need for a spymaster and will allow the player to just straight up abduct any enemy they may have. It can save a lot of time and, if successful, can quickly place a faction’s leader inside of a cell.
An imprisoned vassal is unable to join or start a faction. But even more importantly, the player has a lot of power over how to deal with them if they so wish. A vassal has a decent chance of dying due to the prison's horrid condition, but the player can also choose to have them tortured. Torturing someone can give the player important information over another faction member, can cause the vassal to go insane, and will increase the ruler's dread level significantly. With enough dread, it is possible for some vassals to back out of a faction simply because they are afraid of angering the player.
Prepare for War in Crusader Kings 3.
The final solution to dissolving factions is simple: crush them. Let them declare war and simply beat them into submission. Then immediately afterward, make “arrangements” to replace these vassals with people the ruler can actually trust.
But this approach comes with its own difficulties. Namely the fact factions don’t declare war until they gain substantial military power. Usually, until their forces are comparable to or greater than the forces of their liege. Even if the player goes with a militant lifestyle focus, this can be a bit of a problem. Especially if a foreign power decides to take advantage during or after this conflict.
So it is best for the player to prepare for this conflict well ahead of time. At a bare minimum, the player should look into making alliances with other neighboring countries and bulking up their own military force. But players are also recommended to use some of the methods outlined in this guide. More specifically, they should target the most powerful vassal in the faction and sway them over to the ruler’s side. Use any method: imprisonment, arranged marriage, sway scheme, etc. The less power the faction has, the less the player has to worry about.
Crusader Kings 3 is available on PCs