Schemes

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Introducing CK3 #04 - Schemes. One Proud Bavarian walks us through schemes in Crusader Kings 3. Understanding how to engage in cloak and dagger activities is essential to master the game!

Intrigue is one of the two paths to victory used in both the middle ages and the Crusader Kings series. It is the more indirect one, focusing on defeating other characters through subterfuge.

Schemes[edit | edit source]

Any character can be targeted with a scheme in accordance with the plans of the schemer. Each character can run one hostile scheme and one personal scheme at the same time, but a character cannot be targeted by a hostile scheme and a personal scheme simultaneously. Ongoing schemes can be canceled at any point.

Each scheme has a scheme power and each target of a scheme has a scheme resistance. Both are determined by the skill of the schemer and its target and both their spymasters. Every month a scheme has a chance of progressing one step, with the odds determined by the schemer’s scheme power and the target’s scheme resistance. Once the scheme finishes progressing it is executed with the current success chance, which determines whether the scheme succeeds or fails.

Various events can take place during a scheme.

Hostile schemes[edit | edit source]

Hostile schemes are executed in secret and have a secrecy value which determines whether the schemer will avoid being discovered when the scheme is executed or not. A high success chance increases the scheme's secrecy.

A character can run a second hostile scheme simultaneously if they have the Twice Schemed perk, or a 9 grandeur intrigue royal court (with royal courts DLC), for up to 3 simultaneous hostile schemes if they have both.

Scheme Skill used Agents Max secrecy Max success chance Success effect Secrecy effect Requirements
Murder  Intrigue Yes 95% 95% Target is killed Character only gains the Murder or Attempted Murder secret None
Abduct  Intrigue Yes 85% 85% Target is imprisoned Character is not accused of the Crime of kidnapping Kidnapper perk
Fabricate Hook  Intrigue No 95% 90% Gain a Hook on the target Can execute the Scheme again Truth is Relative perk or  Vengeful trait against a Rival
Claim Throne  Learning Yes 95% 90% Gain Pressed Claim on the Liege's Primary Title Do not lose a large amount of Prestige Meritocracy perk

Being at war with someone grants -50 Success Chance to Murder schemes and -200 Success Chance to Abduction schemes.

Hostile schemes can have agents - characters who contribute to the scheme. Their skills contribute twice less than those of the schemer but they increase the scheme power based on how close they are to the target. Agents may join a scheme if they stand to gain something or dislike the target. They can also be bribed with  Gold to slightly increase their acceptance and a  Weak Hook will greatly increase it. Characters who are terrified of the scheme target will never become agents except through the use of a  Strong Hook. Agents will grant the following amount of success chance depending on their closeness to the target and their  Intrigue.

Closeness Success chance
Spymaster +75
Spouse +50
Guardian +50
Best Friend +50
Friend +30
Lover +30
Concubine +30
Closeness Success chance
Court Physician +30
Councilor +25
Close Family +20
Powerful Vassal +15
Extended Family +15
Nemesis +15
Any other +10

A scheming character is protected from discovery while the scheme progresses but its agents are not. If an agent is discovered the target will gain a +5 hostile scheme resistance modifier for 2 years.

Personal schemes[edit | edit source]

Personal schemes do not use secrecy or agents. A failure prevents the scheme from being used again on the same character and may cause additional penalties.

Scheme Skill used Success effect Failure effect Requirements
Sway  Diplomacy
  • 95% chance to gain +25 Opinion with the target
  • 5% chance to gain +30 Opinion with the target
  • 2% chance to lose -10 Opinion with the target
  • 2% chance to lose -10 Opinion with the target who gains +1  Intrigue and +8 Hostile Scheme Resistance for 5 years
Learn Language  Learning
  • Schemer learns the target's language
  • Can choose to only lose half progress at the cost of 35  Stress
  • If schemer has the  Diplomat trait it can choose to gain +25 Opinion with the target
  • Target's language is not learned
Seduce  Intrigue
  • Gain +20 Opinion with the target
  • If characters have opposite gender high chance of pregnancy
  • If both characters have compatible sexuality target becomes a Lover
  • Either character may gain a secret depending on faith doctrines
  • 40% chance to lose -10 Opinion with the target
  • 20% chance to gain the  Adulterer,  Fornicator,  Incestuous or  Sodomite trait if applicable
  • 20% chance to lose -10 Opinion with the target and the  Adulterer,  Fornicator,  Incestuous or  Sodomite trait if applicable
  • Target's sexuality is compatible
Romance  Diplomacy
  • Target becomes a Soulmate
  • If the target does not have a Lover lose -10 Opinion with the target
  • If the target has a Lover can attempt to kill either with 50% discovery chance
  • Both characters' sexuality is compatible
Befriend  Diplomacy
  • If the target is a Friend becomes Best Friend
  • If the target is a Rival ends the rivalry
  • If the target is a Faction Leader it disbands the Faction
  • If the target is a member of a Faction it leaves the Faction
  • Lose -20 Opinion with the target
  • If the target is a rival lose -15 Opinion with every courtier
  • If the target is a Faction Leader gain +20 Faction Discontent
  • If the target is a Spouse it exposes a random secret unless the schemer pays 100  Gold or has a Hook
  • If the target is a Theocracy Vassal their realm capital loses -10  Control
  • If the target is the Direct Liege lose -150  Prestige
  • Befriend Perk
Elope  Intrigue
  • Target joins the schemer court and marries them
  • If either character is married it divorces their spouse
  • 50% chance the Lovers secret becomes exposed
  • Target is Lover or Soulmate
  • Target is unlanded
  • Target is in a different court
Convert to Witchcraft  Learning
  • If target's faith has the Accepted witchcraft doctrine it gains the  Witch trait
  • If target's faith has the Shunned or Crime witchcraft doctrine it gains the Secret religious.png Is a Witch secret
  • If either character has the Witch secret the other character discovers it
  • If schemer has the Witch secret and both characters are vassals of the same liege the liege discovers the secret
  • Witch trait or secret

Secrets[edit | edit source]

Characters acquire secrets when they do something that is a crime or frowned upon. Secrets can be discovered through random events or via the Find Secrets spymaster task. If a secret is discovered, the character who uncovered it has two options. One option is to expose the secret, which will apply negative effects upon the target based on the severity of the secret. The other option is to blackmail the target. If the target agrees to the blackmail, the character will gain a  Weak Hook if the secret is Shunned and a  Strong Hook if the secret is Criminal. If the target refuses, the secret will be exposed. Secrets can be shared with members of the same House if the Dynasty has the 4th Coterie legacy track.png Coterie legacy.

Secret Severity Description
Secret murder.png Attempted to murder Doctrine kinslaying.png Depends on who was the target This character has attempted murder.
Secret murder.png Murdered Doctrine kinslaying.png Depends on who was the target This character is a murderer.
Secret deviancy.png Is a Cannibal Core tenet foodsacrifice.png Depends on whether faith has the Ritual Cannibalism tenet This character consumes human flesh.
Secret deviancy.png Is a Deviant Doctrine deviancy.png Depends on the Deviancy crime doctrine This character has a predilection for socially unacceptable acts.
Secret deviancy.png Is a Sodomite Doctrine homosexuality.png Depends on the Same-Sex Relations crime doctrine This character engages in sexual intercourse with other men/women.
Secret deviancy.png Is Incestuous Doctrine consanguinity.png Depends on the Consanguinity marriage doctrine This character has sexual relations with close family members.
Secret religious.png Is a Non-Believer Yes Always Shunned This character believes in a false god, or none at all.
Secret religious.png Is a Witch Doctrine witchcraft.png Depends on the Witchcraft crime doctrine This character practices witchcraft.
Secret adultery.png Lover Doctrine adultery men.pngDoctrine adultery women.png Depends on the Adultery crime doctrines This character is someone's illicit lover.
Secret adultery.png Is almost certainly an illegitimate child Doctrine bastardry.png Depends on the Bastardry marriage doctrine This character's ancestry is in doubt.
Secret adultery.png Is an illegitimate child out of wedlock Doctrine bastardry.png Depends on the Bastardry marriage doctrine This character is a bastard.

The Is an illegitimate child out of wedlock secret is removed if the real parents eventually join in marriage or concubinage.

Hooks[edit | edit source]

A hook represents that a character owes you a favor or that you can coerce them in some way. Hooks can be gained in a variety of ways and can be used to force a character to do something beneficial. They come in two varieties:

  • A weak hook can only be used once. They cannot be used to force a character to become an agent in a Murder scheme.
  • A strong hook can be used multiple times, with a cooldown between uses. It also prevents the character from joining factions, declaring war, imprisoning or demanding religious conversion from the character holding the hook. Having a strong hook over a Realm Priest forces them to pay maximum contribution.
Hook Strength Duration Source Can be fabricated
Blackmail (Weak) Weak 10 years or until the secret is exposed Blackmail character interaction over a secret which is a shunned practice No
Favor Weak 10 years Random events
Ransoming an imprisoned character for a favor
Negotiating to release an imprisoned character for a favor
Faction members who helped put claimant on the throne receive a hook on new liege
Winning a war to gain a title for a character
No
House Head Weak Permanent House Head over when a child is born No
Indebted Weak 10 years Random events Yes
Manipulation Weak 10 years Random events Yes
Threatened Weak 10 years Random events Yes
Blackmail (Strong) Strong Until the secret is exposed Blackmail character interaction over a secret which is a criminal practice No
Fabrication Strong 10 years Fabricate a Hook scheme Yes
Loyalty Strong Permanent Random events Yes
Threatened Life Strong 10 years Fabricate a Hook scheme Yes

Spending hooks[edit | edit source]

Hooks can be spent (used) in a variety of ways.

  • By spending a hook, you can make it much more likely that a character will accept a marriage proposal, join your council, come to your court, join a faction of your choice, or vote for your preferred candidate in elective successions. With a strong hook these interactions may be forced outside of primary heir disadvantageous marriages.
  • A liege can use a hook on a vassal to negotiate a feudal contract in their favor without incurring tyranny.
  • A vassal can use a hook on their liege to negotiate a feudal contract in their favor at all.
  • A vassal who has a hook on his liege can use the Demand Council Position character interaction.
  • A vassal with a hook on his liege can declare war on other vassals of their liege, even if their crown authority would normally prohibit this.
  • Though it is very difficult to get a hook on your Head of faith, doing so would ensure the head of faith agrees to any one request you might make (such as granting you a divorce or a claim on a title).
  • A hook can be used to force the person to join a hostile scheme, such as a murder scheme. Weak hooks provide a moderate acceptance modifier, while strong hooks will force acceptance into the scheme.
  • The tier 1 stewardship lifestyle perk "Golden Obligations" allows demanding payment for hooks, assuming the person you have a hook on has the money to pay for it.

References[edit | edit source]


Characters CharactersAttributesTraitsResourcesLifestyleDynastyCultureInnovationsModifiers
Realm & Governance VassalsCouncilCourtSchemesGovernmentLawsDecisionsTitlesBaronyCounty
Warfare WarfareCasus belliAllianceArmyHired forces
Faith ReligionFaithDoctrinesTenets
Meta ModdingPatchesDownloadable contentDeveloper diariesAchievementsJargon