'Crusader Kings III' is the Best Medieval Intrigue Simulator

Grand strategy games come in many shapes and sizes, from games that focus on the movement of armies in ancient settings to games that have you expanding a civilization across galaxies. The Crusader Kings franchise finds its niche in the tangled web of interpersonal relationships that drove medieval politics and conflict, and Crusader Kings III is no exception. Gita Jackson and Rob Zacny have been playing the game and share their wildest stories and overall impressions of Paradox Interactive’s latest on this episode of Waypoint Radio. You can listen to the full episode and read an excerpt below.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep47ek/crusader-kings-iii-is-the-best-medieval-intrigue-simulator-waypoint-radio

So when is Austin gonna write “My Lustful Brilliant Devious Wife is a Great Mom!”?

Cause that’s a definite Day 1 purchase for me.

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Last night, the most memorable moment I had was my councilor taking my cat in to his home because my wife had really bad allergies.

I checked in on my cat a few days later, and he was happily chasing birds in his new home.

A few years later, that same councilor died on Crusade with me.

(Speaking of crusading, I wish the pope would set a rally point for everyone to meet, so I’m not tearing through an abandoned Syria looking for a fight. Or getting absolutely destroyed because I’m too early.)


My favorite part of the CK3 discourse is how it takes the avowedly leftist and empathetic Waypoint staff and turns them into autocratic, sociopathic murderers. :laughing:


hey, i’m ‘roleplaying’

Heh, I try to sneak some of my compassion in where I can. I have’t really explored outside of the Tutorial Irish family, and now I’m really invested in my family.

My first ruler, I forget his name, spent most of his life conquering neighboring counties in Ireland. This led him to accrue a huge amount of stress, and he took it out by visiting a local brothel ONE. TIME. WELL, the first person he slept with, he IMMEDIATELY got syphilis. Like… He was dead months later, and his wife has publicly shamed him.

The next ruler was a handsome lad Brian mac Brian Brian (Irish names are weird) and his focus was on intrigue. But, I made a bunch of mistakes thinking that BBB would have respect on entering court. Most of my vassals didn’t give a shit about me, and Ireland was wrought with civil strife until BBB died of ‘natural causes’ at 32.

He was able to father a son, Olav, and Olav happily had familial connects with a Norse family. These connections helped a lot in dealing with domestic issues, and I swear… Nothing helps your character get money and prestige like Crusading. Olav is basically my William Wallace now… Or the Irish equal. He finally managed to unite all of Ireland under one kingdom, and has plans to expand into Scotland. (There are people in Scotland that I could wage holy war on.) Though, Olav is a man who has spent most of his life in war, away from his homeland, and in a way has NO connections because most of the court and council ship was wiped out from the Crusades we went on. When Olav came home, his court was basically empty.

So, I’ve been working on building money and influence with my local lords, hoping to get some kind of stable lasting government installed. Olav is 42 now, and while he isn’t at any kind of health risk right now, he won’t have a long life if he keeps warring like he is. Perhaps Scotland can be a task for my son, Scott. (I named him after a friend in Discord.)

I want to carry this line all the way to the end of the playable timeline, then I wanna explore playing some Khans of African leaders.

Some advice I’ve learned: Marry outside your culture. At first, I thought, 'Maybe I should marry my family into the local Irish lordship? That rarely generated results. Meanwhile, marrying family into French, Norse, and Saxon families? Yeah, they help a LOT when you’re dealing with local lord issues. I’ve won civil wars with the help from Olav’s Norse mother from the north.

While it sounds evil, honestly the best way to help make your lord loved and wealthy is to crusade/jihad. This opens so many benefits. Your bishop will actually like you, and give you de jure fabrication abilities. The pope will willingly send you money with no real cost to the relationship. (He was at 32+ with me no matter how much I asked for money.) Selling hostages also is a great benefit, and a lot of times the AI will be too fixated on on border clashes to notice your small army swooping in and taking the capital. You can then make like… 125 per hostage.

I have found it easier to just kill or capture your vassals that won’t listen to you. I’ve had a couple of kids who wouldn’t stop fighting petty squabbles in my land, and most the time they refuse to listen to you. Revoking their titles and imprisoning them seems to do the trick. Children make HORRIBLE vassals. Most of their motivation is sending thousands of men to die because their bully in the county over called them a nerd or whatever.


Okay this is exciting to hear! Compared to CK2 where they’d sit impotently until their regency ended, I’m keen to see what the game looks like when handing titles out to babies isn’t the safest option!


I literally had to break up a vassal war between two pre-teens.

Both were like, “No, it is too late for peace my liege!”

So I had both of them killed.


Looking forward to “Paradox Forum thread titles out of context” becoming a meme again


So far I’ve started from the tutorial and conquered Ireland and Wales over a few generations. At one point the Pope stole my dog. Good game.


I decided to pick a Kushite emir in East Africa for the heck of it, just to see what I could do sandwiched in between the Abbassids and a bunch of Coptics.

But he started with no male heir, and Matrilineal marriages are pretty hard to get, so I took the Family focus, filled up my concubine slots, and started scheming to Seduce my wife, which failed but I got her pregnant anyway. My wife produced two daughters and then died in childbirth. I remarried, Befriended and then Seduced my second wife. She made two more daughters. Meanwhile, my three concubines were spitting out even more daughters. I swear this character has like 15 daughters now. No sons.

Fortunately, after my oldest daughter – and by default my primary heir – came of age, I managed to get her a Matrilineal marriage to some commoner. Not great for my dynasty’s Prestige, but hopefully she’ll have a son. On the bright side, even if she doesn’t, it seems like my succession law is male preference rather than male-only, so if I die without any male dynasts my daughter will inherit. And I think also I won’t have any realm-splitting due to partition succession because none of the other daughters would be eligible heirs under normal circumstances? We’ll see, I guess, but my current character is still pretty young and in decent health. At least he will be if his wife doesn’t insist that he starves himself again.


I’m doing the version of that where I complicate things by changing religion [to Insular Christianity] during my first generation, and am now scheming to get some heir with a high enough Devotion to make a more egalitarian faith and try to spread it across Northern Europe.
But Ireland [and then Wales and the Western Isles first…]

I love hearing stories about Crusader Kings. I remember trying to imagine what the game was before I saw any screenshots/videos of it, and it didn’t match at all what I had created in my head. I still remember the story of Ragnar from Idle Thumbs and being totally enthralled by it. So as someone that enjoys these stories but doesn’t have a computer to play the game on, who and where should I watch/follow to hear more CK III stories?

Speaking of which, one of the “negotiate release” options for prisoners now is to force conversion. So I had my ruler do that to a bunch of characters from neighbouring duchies that got captured in battle. So when eventually I conquer them outright, I don’t have to worry about my new vassal’s court being full of heathens or anything.


Is there a way to get out of a crusade? It’s glitched or something, because it’s been going on for 300 years now being stuck at 50%

I just want out now.

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It might be that the battle score is maxed out one way and the occupation score is maxed out the other. Try checking the details on the warscore, and see if you can tip the scales on one or the other?

EDIT: I know when I’ve joined Crusades it’s easy for the battles to go really badly for the Christians as the local rulers group up into a deathstack and mow down anyone who comes ashore too close, while it’s really easy to rack up occupation score by besieging lots of stuff away from the fighting.

One Proud Bavarian is a pretty good streamer. For CK2 he did a series called The Grand Journey which he eventually made a highlight video of it called The Grandest Journey. That video gives you a pretty good idea of the stuff he does so if you like it I would then recommend his other stuff.


Well, Ireland has been through some shit.

As soon Olav died of old age, everything completely fell apart. It’s been a few generations of civil strife where no ruler is really memorable. One was even murdered at like 17…

Basically, the Kingdom of Ireland still exists, but it’s fractured by vassals who mostly hate me, and Scotland, Wales, England, and even the Norse all ripping the country apart.

I finally have a leader I’ve made some headway with… And he’s just…

Alvar is my sadistic bisexual disaster boy, and I love him. HE’S 18 AND ALREADY LOOKIN’ LIKE JESUS

He has a childhood ‘friend’ on the side he likes to be with, and his vassals are even warming up to him.

And yes, I’m broke as hit.

This is his ‘good friend’ I’m gonna romance in a bit.

I just made him my court doctor too…



Well, after this failed, I started flirting with the queen of Wales and Alvar and her had a secret passionate relationship. Some Vassal found out about our affair and tried to blackmail Alvar. I didn’t want a hook hanging over me, so I just admitted it. Unfortunately, the backlash hurt Sybille, and she decided to break it off. My wife, who I had wooed into my good graces before my affair, was heartbroken, but we mended our relationship.

BUT! Sybille’s husband suddenly died, and I had enough clout with the Pope to get a divorce. I made sure my ex-wife settled nicely. I married her to some Viking lord, and the last I saw she was in full battle armor with a big grin on her face, so I guess she’s ok. But now Sybille and Alvar could make their relationship real. :3

They had a wonderful number of years together… But she was 10 years Alvar’s senior.


There’s so much tragedy in this game, I swear to God…


Just had a small war spiral out of control. So basically, this little green spot showed up, and I thought “oh, I’ll take it in a war”.

Only one small problem. Turns out that little green nation actually owned half of the world map.


At the moment, my united (insular christian) Ireland is doing just okay, nothing special (other than my current Ruler getting seriously into mystical stuff in his old age)… but on browsing across the map to see how the world was doing, I see that Rome is currently owned by one of the North African Islamic states, and has even been converted to the religion already.
(The Pope is off in one of the nearby, still Catholic, counties; surprisingly this hasn’t had much effect on his authority, or that of Catholicism.)