As mentioned in our Crusader Kings III official review, the addition of dynasties and houses is a much-welcome mechanic. They definitely make your playthroughs more dynastic… err, dynamic. Oh, well, here’s our guide to help you out.
Note: For more information, check out our Crusader Kings III guides and features hub as well as our beginner’s guide (the things to do before you unpause).
Crusader Kings III guide: Your houses, cadet branches, and dynasties
Dynasties are large clans that dominate the political landscape of Crusader Kings III. Each dynasty has at least one house (the founding house). Multiple houses may emerge and these are called cadet branches — families that are still part of the parent dynasty. The goal is to ensure that your line endures so that you can continue playing as a member of your dynasty in case your ruler dies.
I think that the best way to introduce someone to Crusader Kings III‘s dynasty mechanics is via the 1066 AD start with “Iberia in Pieces” selected. Herein, you’ll see five rulers, all belonging to the Jimena Dynasty of Spain. These rulers are related by blood, and, coincidentally, they’re also out for each other’s blood.
If you pick King Garcia of Galicia and click on the Jimena Dynasty’s family crest, you’ll notice that there are 37 living members and five houses — the Jimena founding house which he leads and four cadet branches. The Jimenas also gain renown, a resource used for dynastic actions and dynasty legacies. Think of this as “dynasty-based prestige.”
Below this value, you’ll see the level of “Splendor” — the “dynasty’s fame” — which increases given the renown you’ve earned. Higher ranks give more prestige to children in the dynasty and people marrying into the dynasty. Rulers also get an increase in their “long reign” opinion bonus.
In Crusader Kings III, Renown is earned by the entire dynasty through the following means:
- The number of currently living members.
- The number of dynasty members that are spouses of rulers.
- The number of rulers that are not vassals of a dynasty member.
The Jimenas are earning 5.8 renown per month because the independent kings of Castille, Leon, Galicia, Navarra, and Aragon are members of the same dynasty. In fact, if you check the decisions panel, you’ll see that you’ve completed a tally of 5/10 rulers for the “Dynasty of Many Crowns” goal.
As an aside, I decided to switch characters to play as Infanta Urraca so she could gain her independence against her brother and lover, King Alfonso VI of Leon. I guess she stopped liking that Lannister stuff.
Anyway, by swapping characters to win the war, you could see that the Jimenas are now gaining 6.1 renown. That’s due to Urraca becoming an independent ruler (countess) in her own right.
Dynasty head actions
As the head of a dynasty, King Garcia has several unique dynastic actions that are available only to him. These allow you to target other members of the entire dynasty:
- Claim Title (150 renown) – Immediately gains a claim on a dynasty member’s title (you still need to go to war for it).
- End Dynasty War (75 renown) – A war between two dynasty members leads to a white peace.
- Disinherit (200 renown and 900 prestige) – If a dynasty member is part of your realm, you can remove them from the line of succession.
- Denounce (125 renown and 500 prestige) – Allows any dynasty member to imprison the kin you targetted.
Note: The leadership itself can get passed among dynasty members, even heads of cadet branches. Unfortunately, it can be a bit iffy at times, especially when you have a new ruler (regardless of their rank).
Cadet branches and the family tree
Rulers may try to split off to form their own cadet branch of the dynasty, essentially a house that they founded. You can do this via the decisions panel and the requirements are:
- The government type must allow cadet branches (either Feudal or Clan).
- You must not be third in line or closer to any title held by the house head.
- Your ancestors must not belong to the current house (which, for some reason, works for some Jimenas even if all their ancestors come from the same family tree).
- For women, you must be in a matrilineal marriage.
Creating a cadet branch is completely free and gives you 350 prestige. A good example of someone who can do this is Infante Ramiro of Najera, a vassal of the Kingdom of Navarra, and the aforementioned Infanta Urraca of Zamora as long as she marries matrilineally.
Don’t forget to check your family tree which has its own screen. This should help you determine your remaining blood relatives in Crusader Kings III.
Last but certainly not least, we’ve got Dynasty Legacies. These are buffs for all dynasty members and they last throughout the entirety of your Crusader Kings III campaign. However, only the dynasty head can choose.
The Dynasty Legacies have multiple tiers (each legacy costing 1,000 to 5,000 renown depending on the tier). Each tier in a row requires the previous one to be unlocked first.
|Legacy||Tier 1||Tier 2||Tier 3||Tier 4||Tier 5|
|Warfare||House of Warriors:|
-20% casus belli cost
+10% monthly martial experience
+1 max men-at-arms regiments
House Guard can be recruited as men-at-arms
+5 popular opinion
+0.2 control growth/month
|Power and Prosperity:|
+10% monthly stewardship experience
+5 powerful vassal opinion
+1 domain limit
+20% dread gain
+10 hostile scheme success
+10% monthly intrigue experience
-0.05 monthly tyranny
Major chance to prevent one murder against each dynasty member
+30% chance of inheriting good congenital traits
+30% chance of good, new congenital traits
+30% chance of reinforcing congenital traits
-30% chance of inheriting bad congenital traits
-30% chance of new, bad congenital traits
Select a specific congenital trait to become more common in your dynasty
+5 years life expectancy
+10 courtier and guest opinion
Better guests will be attracted
+10% monthly learning experience
+5 clergy opinion
+10% progress and councilor skill impact on tasks
+30 marriage acceptance
+10% monthly prestige
+10% monthly diplomacy experience
-20% short reign duration (hastens opinion improvement of vassals for new rulers)
+10 general opinion
Dynasty members gain better education traits
+10 spouse opinion
Fewer complications during pregnancy
+5 dynasty opinion
+30% personal scheme success chance against dynasty members (i.e., sway, romance, or seduce)
No prowess loss from age
Increase skills (stats) with age
I found that Architected Ancestry is probably one of the best Dynasty Legacies you can choose. This allows you to pick any congenital trait that currently runs in the family and make it more common as you progress. Imagine having lots of genius, quick, or beautiful characters in Crusader Kings III.