Interesting characters

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This page aims to list interesting characters in the game be it because of the unique challenge they offer, their particular situation or their role in history.

For more interesting starts, check the Crusader Kings 2 interesting characters guide page; most playable characters in 867 or 1066 on the list are also playable in CK III.

867 start[edit | edit source]

Christian characters[edit | edit source]

Catholic[edit | edit source]

Asturias[edit | edit source]

  • Hermenexildo Gutierrez Menéndez, Count of Santiago: A powerful vassal to king Adelfonso III, Hermenexildo controls the lands of southern Galicia with an unsullied administration. An unquestionable loyalty towards his monarch has helped him expand the ancestral dominion of his family — but is that enough? With the growing interest in the South, will you be able to conquer the lands of Portucale and start one of its most influential dynasties?

East Francia[edit | edit source]

  • Ludwig II 'the German' Karling, King of East Francia: An ambitious man, Ludwig has long sought to reconquer the pieces of the Empire he considers his birthright. These ambitions have suffered from setback after setback, however, as his various military campaigns all ended in failure and his rebellious sons have pried away most of his own lands from his control. Can you reverse Ludwig's misfortunes and regain the Empire for his descendants, or are his sons destined to be relegated to a mere footnote in history?
  • Karlmann Karling, Duke of Bavaria: The eldest son of Ludwig the German, Karlmann rebelled against his father and forced him to give him control over the lands of Bavaria. He will expand this domain in wars with Slavs to the east, and later on will even be elected King of Italy — though an unfortunate stroke will force him to abdicate the thrones of Bavaria and Italy to his younger brothers. He will die just a few years later. With a little luck, will you be able to avoid Karlmann's unfortunate demise and establish a legacy that will last the ages?
  • Werner Salian, Count of Klingenberg: Try to climb insurmountable odds and establish your house as masters of the Holy Roman Empire. The Salian dynasty provided four Holy Roman Emperors, an immense task to be sure!
  • Liutbert von Babenberg, Count of Kärnten: Maybe someone could prevent the Babenberg dynasty extinction that would happen in 400 years?

England[edit | edit source]

  • Ælla Oswulfson of Northumbria, Petty King (Duke) of Northumbria: Having invited the wrath of the Great Heathen Army on not only yourself but the other kingdoms of England too, it'll take a lot more than a snake pit simply to save yourself from being made into a blood eagle. Can you call the bluff of these glorified bandits and throw them back across the sea, or will the ravening pagans have their vengeance?
  • Alfred Æthelwulfson Wessex, Earl (Count) of Dorset: As the Vikings push further south, Earl Alfred of Dorset is readying his troops. In the coming years, Alfred will fight numerous battles against the Norsemen and put an end to the invasion. When he inherits his brother's throne, he becomes one of the greatest English kings throughout history. Will you fulfill Alfred's great destiny, or be crushed by the Great Heathen Army?
  • Dumnarth Cerneu, Petty King (Duke) of Cornwall: The last recorded king of Cornwall, Dumnarth is a remnant of independent Brythonic rule in England, ruling over a small duchy next to the petty kingdom of Wessex. Can you outmaneuver your Anglo-Saxon neighbors to restore the borders of the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia under the banner of Cornwall, or will your lands become new holdings for Alfred the Great?

Hungary

  • Kocel, Prince of Balaton: Kocel was the second son of Pribina, a Slovien ruler who was attacked and expelled from his homeland by Mojmir I, duke of Moravia, in the early 800s. Kocel built a large fortress as his seat of power in the region of Lake Balaton, surrounded by forests and swamps along the river Zala, where he ruled over Sloviens in the area. Can he survive the Magyar conquest of the Carpathian basin and eventually re-take his father's lands in Great Moravia?

Italy[edit | edit source]

  • Louis II 'the Younger' Karling, King of Italy: As the eldest son of Lothaire of Middle Francia (himself the eldest son of Kaiser Louis the Pious), Louis the Younger is the rightful successor to the entire Frankish Empire. However, imperial power had diminished so much by the time Louis was crowned Holy Roman Emperor that the title no longer offered any real authority. Though he managed to reclaim the Kingdom of Provence, Louis' uncles and brother, unburdened by any sort of allegiance to the Imperial Crown, continue to act as they please. Therefore, he's only the King of Italy: none of the other crowned heads of Europe are likely to let go of their titles without a fight. However, as a member of the Karling dynasty, you start as heir to at least one kingdom and highly placed on the succession to several others, so a few discreet assassinations and well-timed claim wars can eventually make you ruler of a good chunk of Western Europe, from which you can create either the Empire of Francia or the Holy Roman Empire, depending on what route you take. Or you could focus your ambitions southward to a territory outside your family's control and eventually crown yourself Emperor of Italia. Historically, saddled with quarrelsome neighbors and an unstable realm, Louis will die before siring a son. Can you regain all the lost territories of the Empire and reestablish the Imperial Crown as a real power?
  • Lambert Guideschi, Duke of Spoleto: Since the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy has been ruled by a succession of barbarians from the north. Your ancestors may have been among them, but you at least have Italianized. You are one of the most powerful of the weak king's vassals, and while he may be able to call in his powerful family if you rise against him, you can fall back on your colleagues who are just as hostile to their foreign king, including your brother-in-law in Tuscany. Or should you wish to avoid spoiling fair Italy with bloodshed, the king has two daughters almost ready to be wed. Either way, with the right factions at the right time, the king will be toppled easily, and the Lombards to the south will make easy pickings for you. From there, you can expand at your leisure, but you should be ever mindful of the Byzantines. Perhaps you can even demonstrate that the Italian Renaissance needs no input from heretical Greeks.

Lotharingia[edit | edit source]

  • Lothaire II Karling, King of Lotharingia: Though he was in love with his mistress Waldrada, Lothaire's father forced him into a political marriage with Teutberga. Their union produced no children, and Lothaire's life has been a continuous struggle to divorce his wife and get his bastard children legitimized. Though he never stops trying, Lothaire will go on to die without a legal heir. Can you overcome the machinations of those who plot against you and ensure the continuation of your house?

Wales[edit | edit source]

  • Rhodri II 'the Great' Aberffraw, Prince (Duke) of Gwynedd: Rhodri doesn't seem to be someone special, just a Welsh prince with eight kids. But who knows, maybe you will be able to make him great? Oh. Nope. He already has the Great nickname... but can you go further? Rhodri and his descendants would go on to be called King of the Britons, but his dynasty would not rule over a united Wales for another 250 years. Under your guidance, Rhodri may be able to exploit the chaos in England, unite the Welsh, drive a wedge between the Norse and the Anglo-Saxons, and set the stage for a proper Brythonic dynasty to reclaim the British Isles.

West Francia[edit | edit source]

  • Bernat II Gellones, Duke of Gothia (Barcelona): He revolted against the King of Aquitaine and got himself excommunicated by Pope John VIII in 878. Will you stay within the French kingdoms and maybe take over? Or adopt the culture of your subjects, declare independence, join the Iberian Struggle and return Barcelona to Iberia by forming the Kingdom of Aragon?
  • Charles II 'the Bald' Karling, King of West Francia: At the time of Charles' birth, his fully grown half-brothers already ruled their own kingdoms within the Carolingian Empire. Without a crown of his own, he became known as the Bald, though he eventually did inherit Aquitaine and West Francia. In the future, he will even inherit Italy and the Holy Roman Empire itself, but his line will not persevere — his last grandson will die childless just seven years after his own death. Can you change the course of history and ensure a long and prosperous line of Charles' descendants?
  • Louis 'the Stammerer' Karling, Count of Bellac: Louis the Stammerer was a ruler famous, and named so, for his physical weaknesses. He was crowned twice, the second time by Pope John VIII, after succeeding his father's rule of West Francia. Three of his sons would become Kings of West Francia, the last known as Charles the Simple, with a reputation of being straightforward. You start with only two counties, so just putting your own house in order and maintaining independence will be tough, but you also stand to inherit the Kingdom of West Francia. Then you'll have a lot of decisions to make with Karling Lotharingia to the east, Karling Italy to your south-east, Muslims just across the mountains to the south, and Asturias in need of help to your south-west. What direction will you focus on? Turn back the Moors? Try to retroactively outdo Napoleon? Who knows?
  • Eudes Robertine, Count of Anjou: In July of 866, the Viking raider Hæsteinn slew Eudes' father, Robert the Strong. Mere months later, his mother Adelais died giving birth to his brother Robert. The world is cruel and the future might seem uncertain, but these orphan boys are destined to sit on the French throne. Their descendants, the Capets, will rule France for centuries to come. Can you navigate the treacherous politics of medieval France and fulfill the destiny of the Robertine brothers?
  • Guifré 'the Hairy' de Barcelona, Count of Urgell: When his father and uncle were butchered by the Duke of Toulouse, the Frankish king took their lands, leaving Guifré and his cousins destitute. It's been twenty years, and the wheel turns. Reappointed to his father's lands, Guifré's scheming cousin has likewise taken back his birthright, and their new liege is a cousin of the man who killed their parents. You of all people know that fortunes can change in the blink of an eye, and crave a more secure prize — Barcelona.

Orthodox[edit | edit source]

Byzantine Empire[edit | edit source]

  • Leon Phokas, Count of Seleukia: You are the founder of the Phokas family and great-grandfather of Basileus Nikephoros II, who was a brilliant military leader also known as the Pale Death of the Saracens. Try to slowly build up your power base in Anatolia and eventually seize the throne. The perfect start for the ultimate martial dynasty to lead the Byzantine Empire back to glory.

Sicily[edit | edit source]

  • Gregorios Spartenos, Count of Napoli: You are an aging Greek Orthodox count with one province. You've got Lombards, Franks, and Muslims to deal with, most of them more powerful than you, to say nothing of the fact that most of your sons are celibate. The pope (and Rome) is just two provinces away! But you know what? You can beat them all. Of course, the easy way out is to swear fealty to the Byzantines or whatever other powerful neighbors you can find, but why should you? There is immense satisfaction in becoming an independent despot against all the odds.

Apostolic[edit | edit source]

Arabian Empire[edit | edit source]

  • Ashot Bagrationi, Prince (King) of the Armenian Principalities: A vassal of the ailing Abbasid Empire under Caliph Al-Mu'tazz, you have been granted a unique titular king-level title and a religious exemption in recognition of your sovereignty over the Armenian people. A diplomat and an administrator, your family rules a number of neighboring territories in Georgia which could potentially be brought under your realm, and your vassals hold claims on nearby emirs. Historically, Ashot the Great restored the Kingdom of Armenia to prominence once more, yet remained a loyal vassal refusing to unify his realm and his religion with that of the Byzantines. Can you improve on his successes? Expansion under the caliph is easy with your influence and privileges, and Al-Mu'tazz is a deeply unpopular ruler; with luck and skill, you could achieve independence and set the Bagrationi dynasty on course to revive the ancient Empire of Greater Armenia.

Coptic[edit | edit source]

Nubia[edit | edit source]

  • Zakharias III Azim, Petty King (Duke) of Makuria: You rule what is certainly the largest Coptic realm in the Eastern Africa. If you can avoid the Tulunids long enough to save some gold, you might just be able to declare yourself the King of Nubia. From there, the world is your oyster. Reestablish Coptic power by invading Egypt? Form the Empire of Abyssinia? You can do anything from here. And all it takes is some money, cunning, and a little bit of luck!

Nestorian[edit | edit source]

Socotra[edit | edit source]

  • Denha Yahballaha, Emir (Duke) of the Yahballaha (Socotra) Emirate: Unfortunately, keeping Nestorian Socotra independent for as long as the real Socotrans did will be difficult, to say the least. Everyone on the mainland has a bigger army than you, so you'll have to pick your target carefully and stay on the offensive. If you can survive and grow in the early years, Socotra is effectively the crossroads of the East in CK3, so you can expand wherever you want, Africa, Arabia, Persia, India, or all of the above.

Muslim characters[edit | edit source]

Ash'ari[edit | edit source]

Al-Andalus[edit | edit source]

  • Adanis ibn Awsaga Banu Danis, Emir (Duke) of Baya (Beja): Tasked by the Umayyad sultan with protecting the coast from Viking raids, the Berber Banu Danis dynasty has quickly grown in influence and power. Emir Adanis has built strong fortresses in Alcácer and Coimbra, but is concerned about the Mozarabs under his rule, who would rather side with his nemesis, Ibn Marwan. Can you secure your lands and lead the Berbers to a great future in Al-Andalus?

Arabian Empire[edit | edit source]

  • Al-Mu'tazz ibn Al-Mutawakkil Abbasid, Caliph (Emperor) of the Abbasid (Arabian) Empire: Theoretically, Al-Mu'tazz should be the most powerful man in the Islamic world. But the youngest caliph since the establishment of the institution is an indulgent wastrel: callous, cynical, arbitrary, greedy, and lustful. He is beset by powerful vassals, ready to rebel, including his half-brothers Al-Muwaffak and Al-Mu'tamid. Historically, he was one of the caliphs who ruled during the Anarchy at Samarra. His reign (and the reigns of his two predecessors) were marked by a tremendous loss of power by the caliphs to regional emirs. Can you turn around the historical decline of the caliphate? Alternatively, you can play as one of Al-Mu'tazz's arguably more deserving brothers, Al-Muwaffak or Al-Mu'tamid, and try to overthrow your corrupt ruler and claim the caliphate for yourself. Note: May not be as easy as it looks.

Sicily[edit | edit source]

  • Sawdan Sawdanid, Emir (Duke) of the Sawdanid (Apulia) Emirate: Responsible for the pillaging of Farfa and many other bountiful raids, at the turning point of his political career, Sawdan seems to have run out of luck. Stuck in Southern Italy with the scheming Byzantines to his east and the Karling hordes rallying to his capital, it seems like the dream of a great Italian sultanate, after barely a generation, has run its course. Will you turn the tide and defeat the Karlings, or will the Emirate of Bari find itself between a Karling and a hard place for the last time?

Yemen[edit | edit source]

  • Aarif Dofharid, Chieftain of Dhufar: You start as an independent tribal chieftain on the shore of the Indian Ocean, and your neighbors, the Ibadi tribe of Mahra, are ripe for conquest. That’s enough to form the Duchy of Mahra and put you on a path to become the Sultan of Yemen, but beware: you’ll have to contend with the Abbasids, the Abyssinians, and potentially even the Pratiharans.

Ibadi[edit | edit source]

Tahert[edit | edit source]

  • Aflah ibn Wahab Rustamid, Emir (Duke) of the Rustamid (Alger) Emirate: You are the Ibadi emir, an adherent of a Muslim sect that predates the Islamic schism, and you represent the group of them that fled to North Africa. Your neighbors are the Ash'ari Aghlabids to the east, the Zayidi Idrisids to the west, and to the north just across the sea, the Muwalladi Umayyads and the Catholic Karlings. All of the above are more powerful than you, and they can all declare Holy War on you... Can you claim Mecca and Medina for your creed and establish your caliphate?

Muwalladi[edit | edit source]

Al-Andalus[edit | edit source]

  • Abd al-Rahman ibn Marwan al-Yiliqi, Emir (Duke) of Batalyaws (Badajoz): A rogue at heart, Abd al-Rahman ibn Marwan has a tumultuous relationship with his liege, the Umayyad sultan. But he enjoys strong support from the Mozarabs in his domain, and might in truth have more in common with them and their faith. He has carved out a stronghold in Badajoz, but in the west, the zealous Banu Danis clan grows ever more opposed to his rule over the Lower March. Might an alliance with Alfonsu III, Asturia's ever-opportunistic king, help you gain a crown of your own?
  • Lubb Muzez Banu Musa, Sheik (Count) of Najera: The powerful dynasty of the Banu Qasi, the Sons of Cassius, once overlooked all the Ebro Valley. Hard times have befallen them since the reign of Lubb's glorious father, though, and the newly-renamed Banu Musa merely mutter and lick their wounds from their ancient seat at Tudela, plotting to recover their southern dominions. Will you be able to retake what once belonged to the Banu Qasi and bring the dynasty back to its former glory?

Jewish characters[edit | edit source]

Haymanot[edit | edit source]

Abyssinia[edit | edit source]

  • Dawit Gideon, Ras (Count) of Dämbiya: You start with two counties as a vassal of the Duke of Aksum, who is in turn a vassal to the Coptic Kingdom of Abyssinia. Secure your religious freedoms early with your liege or face a quick game over screen. As a feudal lord surrounded by numerous tribes, your options for expansion are limited, and expect to be relentlessly raided. With all of these hostile conditions can you create the true glory of the Kingdom of Semien as the Gideon dynasty did many years in the future?

Kuzarite[edit | edit source]

Khazaria[edit | edit source]

  • Manasseh II Bulanid, Khagan (Emperor) of Khazaria: Faced with pressure from the Byzantines and the Abbasids to convert to their respective religions, the Khazar elite chose to stay neutral and convert to Judaism. The Khagan of Khazaria starts off in a precarious position, facing a very serious independence revolt from his many Russian vassals to the west and the fellow nomads who haven’t converted to Judaism yet. Can you keep this tribal melting pot of different cultures and religions together and retake the holy lands from the interlopers?

Rabbinic[edit | edit source]

Kharazia[edit | edit source]

  • Benjamin Yitzhak, Count of Tmutarakan: Previously the Radhanites were limited as a Silk Road bonus in Crusaders Kings 2. Here they are now a fully playable culture with a full set of Cultural Traditions, which are pretty good. Will you stay loyal to Khazars out of convenience and adopt their branch of Judaism? Or will you attempt to carve out your own realm for your people and faith ?

Dualist characters[edit | edit source]

Manichean[edit | edit source]

Qocho[edit | edit source]

  • Bokut Bilgä, Idiqut (King) of Qocho: Starting as a Uyghur Manichean ruler, your reign is immediately under threat due to a significant amount of your realm being Tocharian Buddhists and the fact you are an easy raiding target for the numerous nomadic tribes to the north. You must make a decision whether to keep your dynasty loyal to the teachings of the prophet Mani, or to embrace the Buddhist faith of your subjects. However, if you manage to survive early on, you may need to deal with subjugation by the nomads or by the Chinese.

Pagan characters[edit | edit source]

Ásatrú[edit | edit source]

Brittany[edit | edit source]

  • Hæsteinn Hæsteining, Count of Montaigu: Through cunning and courage, Jarl Hæsteinn has become a rich man. After leading a lucrative raid through the Mediterranean together with Björn Ironside, Hæsteinn has settled in Brittany. The Franks have coffers ready for picking, and a mighty Viking warrior makes a great ally in times of political turmoil. Fortune does not come without enemies, however. Will Hæsteinn's greed get the better of him, or will his dynasty prosper under your guidance?

Denmark[edit | edit source]

  • Sigurdr 'Snake-in-the-Eye' af Sigurdr, Jarl (High Chieftain) of Sjælland: As his brothers sailed off to England to exact their vengeance, Sigurdr Snake-in-the-Eye stayed behind to rule his late father's lands. Ragnarr Loðbrók has left him some very large boots to fill. Sigurdr's descendants will be Kings of Denmark, Norway and England for well over a century. Can you fulfill the destiny of his dynasty?
  • Holmger Hammer, Chieftain of Bornholm: Officially has the best dynasty name in the game.

England[edit | edit source]

  • Halfdan 'Whiteshirt' Hvitserk, Jarl (Duke) of Jórvík: The first wave of the invasion has gone very well for Halfdan Whiteshirt. With the help of his brother Ivar, he has wrestled the control of York from King Ælla's hands. And he will take so much more. Will you follow in history's footsteps and have your bloody vengeance, or stake out a new path for Halfdan?

Iceland[edit | edit source]

  • Garðar Svavarsson, Chieftain of Austrland: Historically, Garðar was a Swede who briefly resided in Iceland. He is said to be the second Scandinavian to reach the island and the first known person to circumnavigate it. Can one man (literally) build an empire from the far corner of the world?

The Isles[edit | edit source]

  • Ivar 'the Boneless' Ivaring, Jarl (High Chieftain) of the Suðreyjar: Rumors say that Ivar is weak of body, but no one can claim he is weak of mind. Through cunning and confidence, he has united a great number of Norse warbands under his banner, and won great victories on these foreign shores. But not even the greatest Viking can cheat death. In 870, Ivar will fade from history forever... Can you win Ivar's wars, and keep him alive to rule for many years to come?
  • Ketill Björnsson Flatnefr, Chieftain of the Mön: The father of Auðr the Deep-Minded and grandfather of Þorsteinn the Red, who would briefly rule half of Scotland. You start as a vassal of Ivar the Boneless, who has a few thousand event troops under his command, so gaining independence will be difficult. Your daughter has already betrayed the Old Gods and fled to Iceland, but you won't give up so easily. Will you try to expand your domain by conquering Ireland, where your son-in-law failed, or will your choice fall on the many little lords in Wales? Who knows? Do you have what it takes to become the true King of all the Isles?

Lotharingia[edit | edit source]

  • Hroðulfr Haraldrsson Akra, Count of Ostfriesland: You are the only pagan vassal in the Kingdom of Lotharingia. Your uncle, Hrörekr, is, as the Duke of Holland, your liege. Hrörekr has betrayed the Old Gods and is already a Catholic. They call you the black sheep of the family. Can you show them what you are worth?

Norway[edit | edit source]

  • Haraldr 'Tanglehair' Yngling, Chieftain of Vestfold: Play as Haraldr Fairhair who is considered to be the man who unified the petty kingdoms of Norway into one. Haraldr Fairhair was the first King of Norway, which he united to marry the woman he loved (the daughter of Eirikr Horðalandi, who is in-game as Gyda Eiríkrsdatter, the only Norwegian in 867); that is what the sagas tell. Take the challenge yourself and see if you can follow the sagas of the Norse king who would not shave his hair until he ruled over Norway.
  • Grjotgard Lade, Chieftain of Naumdælafylki: The Jarls of Lade ruled over all the lands of Hálogaland and Þrændalög. They allied Haraldr Fairhair and remained the true power in Northern Norway. During the later conflicts with Denmark over the Norwegian crown, the Jarls of Lade would play kingmakers. Can you do better?

Novgorod[edit | edit source]

  • Rurik 'Troublemaker' Rurikid, Jarl (High Chieftain) of Holmgarðr (Novgorod): Few have risen from nothingness to greatness like the brave Rurik! Together with his brothers, he brought order to the Eastern wilderness, and since their deaths, he is the lone ruler of a great chiefdom. Yet, this is only the beginning. The vast lands of Russia and the Baltic are open for conquest, and there are many paths you could take. One day, Rurik's descendants will found the Tsardom of Russia. Or will they? Will your dynasty stay true to your Nordic roots and unite your homeland, or will you or your descendants fall sway to the preaching of the Perun worshipers (as your son and heir has) or even the Christ-God of Miklagarðr? Play as the famed Varangian chieftain and begin your journey to unite the Slavic lands of Russia. The destiny of this great dynasty rests in your hands.

Ruthenia[edit | edit source]

  • Dyre 'the Stranger' Oskyldr, Jarl (High Chieftain) of Könugarðr (Kyiv): The first Norse ruler of Kyiv remains a mystery to historians. The Norse coming from Holmgarðr settled Könugarðr to have better access to the Black Sea and the riches of Miklagarðr (Constantinople). Historically, Askold and Dir were slain by Helgi the Seer, son of Rurik Troublemaker, and Kyiv would become the center of the Ruthenia territory whose rulers would go on to raid Constantinople before converting to Orthodoxy. You start as a disinherited bastard son of Halfdan Whiteshirt, but you are also a genius with great stats. The vast lands of Russia and the Khazaria (especially after the Magyars settle) are open for conquest, and there are many paths you could take. A river adjacent to the capital allows access to the Black and Mediterranean seas, which makes Crimea, Krete, and Cyprus easy pickings.

Sweden[edit | edit source]

  • Björn 'Ironside' af Munsö, Jarl (High Chieftain) of Uppland: Björn has lived a true Norseman's life of adventure. A fearsome raider, he has pillaged across France, Iberia, and Italy, together with his friend Hæsteinn of Montaigu. Now, the forces of Scandinavia gather to assault British shores once more. Though Björn is promised to avenge the death of his father in England, his descendants will rule Sweden for the next two centuries. On which side of the North Sea does your destiny lie?
  • Rikulfr Hildursson Ulfing, Chieftain of Östergötland: Not Beowulf's dynasty, but a member of a dynasty who makes an appearance in the saga. Still, one of the only two Geatish dynasties in the game (along with the House Gautske).

Bori[edit | edit source]

Hausaland[edit | edit source]

  • Daurama Daura, Petty Magajiya (Chieftess) of Daura: As the Last Magajiya of Daura, Daurama is a symbol of the old ways of the Hausa people. Her new husband, Bayajidda the Slayer of the Snake (originally from Iraq), represents change, as more and more outsiders flock to Hausaland, bringing their strange faiths and cultures with them... Daurama is set to go down in history as the Last Magajiva, but does she have to be?

Donyi-Poloist[edit | edit source]

Dzayül[edit | edit source]

  • Pelri Dzayul, High Chiefdom (Duke) of Dzayül: Already holds 2 Holy Sites of his faith, the third one is located on a bordering county. A not too hard start to experiment with the Reform Faith mechanic.

Slovianskan[edit | edit source]

Poland[edit | edit source]

  • Siemowit Piast, High Chieftain of Greater Poland: The first semi-historical Duke of the Polans and son of Piast the Wheelwright, who is believed to be the founder of the Polish state. Consolidate the Polish and Pomeranian tribes and then take the battle to the Baltic pagans to your north-east to form the Southern Baltic Empire. Will you Christianize your people, or unite all the Slavs under a reformed pagan faith?

Táltosist[edit | edit source]

Magyars[edit | edit source]

  • Álmos Ügyekfi Árpád, Grand Prince (King) of the Mogyër Confederation: When the seven Hungarian tribes united to elect a supreme leader, their votes fell on brave Álmos. One day, his son Árpád will pick up the mantle — but only if the Hungarians can keep their independence. Danger looms on the Eastern horizon. Can you defend the Hungarians and lead them to greatness? This is your chance to retell the adventures of the Árpád dynasty!

Tengri[edit | edit source]

Bulgaria[edit | edit source]

  • Baghatur Khunzakhal, Duke of Visegrad: Your lands are the last remnant of the Avar Khaganate, the most feared power in the region some 200 years earlier. Reduced to a mere vassal of the Orthodox Bulgars, you can take advantage of the Magyar invasion to secure your independence. Then outrace and outfight the new invaders to dominate the Pannonian Basin and reform the khaganate.

Ukonusko[edit | edit source]

Estonia[edit | edit source]

  • Nalka Läänemaa, High Chieftain of Livonia: Have a solid plan to consolidate your power, or you'll be soon forced to contend with stronger rivals both to the east and south and even to the west across the sea. Will you unite the lands of Finland and become the true King of the North? Or will you find yourself lured into the endless power-struggles of the Norse-ruled East and make a bid for dominance? Will you perhaps subjugate the potentially rich coast of the Baltic and eradicate the false pagans of Lithuania? Or are you going to carry out the will of God, save your people from eternal damnation and join the kaiser and his Schwertbrüderorden in a noble quest to bring light to these darkest reaches of the world? Or perhaps the promise of bountiful gold instead of naive ideals will bring you to control the trade of the Baltic Sea and beyond? As Livonia stands at the crossroads between the East and the West on the edge of the North, so will you have many paths to walk down and claim your destiny from.

Eastern religions[edit | edit source]

Hindu[edit | edit source]

Kabulistan[edit | edit source]

  • Kallar Shahi, Kabulshah (Duke) of the Shahi (Kabulistan) Kabulshahdom: Bordered by numerous Muslim nations, it could become difficult quickly enough. It’s an interesting character to play Hindu but outside of India. The Shahis are possibly also descendants of the White Huns who ruled over an expansive area stretching from the Central Asia all the way to the Western India.

Jain[edit | edit source]

Maharastra[edit | edit source]

  • Amoghavarsha Rashtrakuta, Maharaja (King) of the Rashtrakuta (Maharastra) Kingdom: The 6th and greatest ruler of the Rashtrakuta dynasty, a person who devoted himself to the pacifistic nature of his religion. Already an old man, will you continue his legacy as his successors of a cultural powerhouse expanding only through marriage, or will you form a lasting Deccan Empire across all of India by the sword?

Taoist[edit | edit source]

Guiyi[edit | edit source]

  • Huaishen Zhang, King of Guiyi: Your uncle Yichao led his forces to recapture Hexi Corridor and restore the area to the Tang dynasty, who was an imperial dynasty of China at the time. Now, he has abdicated and left the command in your hands. Starting with a strong and wealthy realm, you have options for expansion and development, but beware of the nomadic tribes in the north. Still, with enough ambition you can restore entire Tibet under your control, expanding the reach of China ever onwards.

Zoroastrian[edit | edit source]

Daylam[edit | edit source]

  • Vandad Maziarzade Karen, Vālī (Count) of Gurgan: Your family claims lineage dating back to the Parthian Empire of old, but those glory days are long gone. Your family has been driven to the fringe of Persia, and the Muslim rulers to the south grow more entrenched with every passing day. Will you stay on the offensive and become the one who brings benefit, or will you be holy warred into oblivion? You are surrounded by unfriendly Muslim realms who will not hesitate to invade if you look like a soft enough target.
  • Rostam Karenzade Bavandid, Sheikh (Count) of Mazandaran: A Zoroastrian vassal of a Muslim ruler in the mountainous region of Northern Persia. Rostam starts with three counties in his domain, which makes him thrice as big as the neighboring Justanids. Even if he can overthrow his liege, he is stuck between the regional Muslim powers. Can you make him rise to power, drive out the Mohammedans, and lead the Persian Empire to a new golden age?
  • Wahsudan Justanid, Marzoban (Count) of Gilan: Starts right next to the Abbasids, so survival will be a struggle. Still, the weak Alavids are right next door, and you can always try to swear fealty to the caliphate and destroy it from within. According to legend, it was Wahsudan who built the future Hashshāshīn stronghold of Alamut.

Unlanded characters[edit | edit source]

Unlanded characters may vary between courts upon starting the game. Although their home may not be pre-defined, these characters have a historical basis and will appear in every game.

  • Hrolfr de Normandie, Courtier of Þrándheimr: A famous Viking warrior and the great-great-great-grandfather of William the Conqueror. Historically, he settled in Normandy and founded the dynasty that would one day take England's throne. The character Rollo in the History Channel television show Vikings is based on Hrolfr.
  • Wifredo Suniefrediz de Barcelona: The current dynasty head of the House de Barcelona and the eldest child of Duke Suniefredo. While he's been reduced to being a courtier, Wifredo has a pressed claim on the Duchy of Barcelona, courtesy of his father. Historically, he was granted the Duchy of Barcelona after siding with King Charles the Bald and his son Louis the Stammerer against a faction of noble rebels, among them the previous Duke of Barcelona, Bernard Gellones. He's the founding father of the independent Catalan counties and maybe the main hero in medieval Catalan folklore. A legend tells that the coat of arms of the House de Barcelona (which became the Catalan national flag) was created by King Charles, who drew four red bars on Wifredo's golden shield with blood from his war wounds. A hard game if you wish to follow in his footsteps and take over the Catalan counties.
  • Hussayn ibn Ahmed Fatimid: It is not safe being an adherent of the Shi'at Ali (Party of Ali) at this time. Hussayn claims direct descent from the Prophet Muhammad himself, through the line of the Prophet's daughter Fatimah and Ali ibn Abu Talib. The blood of the great Shia martyr Hussayn ibn Ali flows through your veins as distant kin. How long will you let Al-Mu'tazz and the other pretenders usurp the Muslim community? It is time to unite the people once more under the family of the Prophet.
  • Kanakk Khuda: Your family has held the glorious town of Bukhara for centuries, resisting the Muslim onslaught and keeping the flame of Zoroaster alive. Now, Bukhara is ruled by the Maturidi Samanids and you have become a landless courtier. Can you avoid your fate and reclaim Transoxiana for Zoroaster? Note: One of the few Khurmazta characters in the game.
  • Vechkas Mescheravid: Historical leader of the dwindling and displaced Meshchera people. Can you prevent the historical extinction and assimilation of your people? Or maybe even keep Moscow out of Russian hands?

1066 start[edit | edit source]

Christian characters[edit | edit source]

Catholic[edit | edit source]

Aragon[edit | edit source]

  • Sancho Remiriz de Aragón, King of Aragon: A one county kingdom in the Pyrenees, your claim over the Kingdom of Navarra offer opportunity for expansion without disturbing the wasps' nest that is the Andalusian Muslim factions to your south. You will have to pick your battles carefully, though; the neighboring Emir of Zaragoza and Duke of Barcelona are both stronger than you, but you also have the rest of the Jimena kingdoms watching your back. If you can take the peninsula, the world is your oyster.

Brittany[edit | edit source]

  • Konan mab Alan de Rennes, Duke of Brittany: The last legitimate male of his dynasty in 1066. He threatened to invade Normandy as soon as William's army had crossed the English Channel, when this happened he promptly did as promised. At the end of the year, he donned a pair of poisoned riding gloves and collapsed dead, most probably on William's orders. His premature demise meant the end of the House de Rennes; he was succeeded by his sister and, after her death, his brother-in-law. Your first priority is to marry, have children and continue the male line of your dynasty. Start forging claims on Cornwall, Wales and Ireland, then begin your wars of expansion.
  • Edouarzh mab Jafrez de Penthièvre, Count of Penthievre: A 67-year-old count who is related to the de Rennes dynasty and was once Duke of Brittany, so you have an unpressed claim on it. With good luck and health, you can take the duchy back and have a similar good start to your liege and nephew Konan, except you're much older. But the most interesting thing about this character is that he has not only a daughter, but THIRTEEN sons (almost half of them being bastards) and SIX grandsons (all legitimate), so it's a wonderful start to learn how to build a new family, marrying duchesses or even princesses to grow the familial lands.

Castille[edit | edit source]

  • Sancho II 'the Strong' Jimena, King of Castille: Sancho was cheated out of his full inheritance by his father's division of the land among all three brothers. A man of opportunity, he quickly took up arms against his brothers as soon as the peace started to crumble, but only briefly got to rule the reunited kingdom before he was assassinated. Through military action and planning, can you restore the full kingdom to its glory under the one rightful ruler, and hold on to power?

Croatia[edit | edit source]

  • Zvonimir Stjepanić Trpimirović, Ban (Duke) of Slavonia: Historically, Croatia passed to the King of Hungary after a bloody succession crisis, due to the machinations of Zvonimir's widow, Ilona Árpád, who was also the king's sister, and entered a union with Hungary that lasted until 1918. Can you prevent the extinction of the House Trpimirović and the union with Hungary (or perhaps, see Hungary and Croatia united under your house)?

Denmark[edit | edit source]

  • Svend II Ulfsen Estrid, King of Denmark: With blood ties to England and Norway, Svend has claims to both thrones. Unfortunately, his armies are small and undisciplined, making a war of conquest unfeasible. However, there are other ways to pursue one's dreams... If your children were to be married into powerful families, it could grant many useful alliances — alliances you could leverage to found an empire that would rival Rome itself!

England[edit | edit source]

  • Harold II Godwineson of Godwin, King of England: Harold Godwineson was the leader of a powerful noble house, and the brother-in-law of the king, when the childless King Eadward the Confessor died. Now, elected the new King of England by his peers, he is faced with the challenge of holding onto the throne, as the covetous Duke William of Normandy, as well as King Harald of Norway, spurred on and aided by Harold's exiled brother, seek to replace him! With a large army at your back and the support of the Anglo-Saxon lords — will the wolves find that they have bitten off more than they can chew?
  • Osulf Eadulfson of Bamburgh, Earl (Count) of Bernicia: A native son of the North, you've had your fill of being lorded over by southerners, who, to add insult to injury, have held the Duchy of Northumbria since the murder of your grandfather, Uhtred the Bold, 50 years ago. First, arrange a little "accident" for your cousin, Eadulf, who holds lands just across the border, preferably before he has children. This should give you a foothold to restore the Northumbrian rule to Lothian. Once you have Eadulf's land, you'll need to turn your attention to the Hwicce brothers (hopefully neither of them dies childless and leaves the other with both Mercia and Northumbria), from whom you will want to claim the Duchy of Northumbria and perhaps more. After that, the succession crisis in the south represents a golden opportunity, no matter which route you choose. Restore Northumbria as an independent kingdom, perhaps, and avert a millennium in London's shadow? Provide England with a new royal dynasty to stem the endless succession of pretenders from the mainland and the powerful earls who jostle for the crown through the witenagemot? Or unite the entire island, no, the entire British Isles, for the first time, and see if you can reproduce the success of a united British Empire? Whatever you choose, surely a gruff, hardworking northerner, if anyone, is up to the task?
  • Cadoc ab Cador Cerneu, Earl (Count) of Cornwall: The last Cornish Earl of Cornwall is still around in 1066, but pretty soon William the Conqueror will revoke his earldom and he'll fade into obscurity. Or will he? Descended from the ancient Kings of Dumnonia, he starts with a wife, brother, two daughters and some nephews, and is one of only two Brythonic Celtic rulers still in England. You can't form the Duchy of Cornwall immediately, and although the king always can, he's far more likely to give it to his mother than you, but with luck and patience, you'll have your chance to usurp it sooner or later.
  • Ralf de Gael, Count of Norfolk: Having spent many years in exile in Normandy, Eadweard the Confessor proved unusually amenable to continental European retainers as king, and you were one of them; you served as his stalre (so roughly a marshal or seneschal). You've been rewarded for your service, more or less. You daresay you're the first of your kind to rule the lands of Norfolk in many long centuries, but given that you hold the de-jure capital of your liege Gyrth, the new king's brother, and have no important familial connections to show for your service to King Eadweard, you may also be the last. Which also puts you in the rare position of being a ruler firmly in the bosom of Christendom for whom immediate expansion is an existential imperative. After you've seen to that, there are so many ways your dynasty's future could unfold. Though you're a Breton by birth, your family are only minor nobles over there, and it may prove in your best interests to embrace Anglo-Saxon culture; surely not a great leap for a man already known in England as Rædulf Stalre. Or, your continental heritage might put you in a more favourable position if the Normans win the crown, as you historically found when you were granted Gyrth's earldom of East Anglia by William the Conqueror. But something primal and ancient deep within you tells you those aren't the only options: to hold fast to your Brythonic heritage, destroy the Germanic invaders from within and give history the united Prydain it never got to see.
  • Eadgar Eadwardson Wessex, Earl (Count) of Warwickshire: You thought Harold was hard? Try playing as the rightful king. This unlucky teenager is the last male member of the English royal family, whose rightful throne is contested by not one, not two, but three different usurpers, all of them far more powerful than he could hope to be. All you have to work with are two unmarried sisters and a pressed claim on the Kingdom of England. Can you restore the House Wessex to its rightful throne?
  • Eadgifu 'the Fair' Swanneshals, Countess of Bedanford: Lover of King Harold, mother of his five legitimized children, and the only one of the Swanneshals dynasty. At 41 years old, time is running out to have children of your own dynasty. Will your dynasty survive the Norman and Norwegian invasions? How will you deal with your bastard kids before you in the succession? Plenty of room for charm, intrigue and maybe even darker plots.

France[edit | edit source]

  • Philippe Capet, King of France: You are under-age and have several vassals more powerful than you. The Duke of Flanders wants independence, the Duke of Normandy is waging a war for the English throne, the Duke of Champagne and your uncle, the Duke of Burgundy, want your vassals to be under their control, and the Dukes of Aquitaine and Toulouse are way more powerful than you. Can you repeat history and survive and prosper against all odds?
  • William II 'the Bastard' de Normandie, Duke of Normandy: The House de Normandie trace their lineage back to Norse Vikings, and established themselves on the mainland of Europe over 200 years ago. Now, William the Bastard dreams of leading his family to rule the Kingdom of England, and he believes his status as successor to the throne was promised by the late King Eadward the Confessor, and even recognized by Harold Godwineson himself. However, now that Eadward is gone, Harold has broken his oath and taken the crown for himself! William is at war with England. Can you muster your forces and claim what is rightfully yours?
  • Guilhèm IV de Toulouse, Duke of Toulouse: A very interesting character that allows for very plausible switches into alternate history. Historically, the Dukes of Toulouse and the Kings of Aragon were very close until the rise of the Montforts and the Albigensian Crusade, when Simon de Montfort defeated the combined forces of Aragon and Toulouse at the Battle of Muret. With a closely linked Aragon and Toulouse, you could potentially become the King of Aragon, and then, with a little luck, perhaps even the Emperor of Hispania. There could be an Iberian Portugal and Castille in the far west, and an Occitan Aragon that spreads along the Mediterranean coast from Provence in the east to Murcia in the west, and stretches from Sicily in the south to Lombardy in the north.
  • Guilhèm VIII de Poitou, Duke of Aquitaine: The Duke of Aquitaine is the mightiest of the dukes beneath the King of France. If you can lead a successful campaign against the young King Philippe and free your realm from his vassalage, Aquitaine stands to raise itself to a mighty kingdom. From there, another series of wars with France to reclaim the rich Duchy of Toulouse and the reconquest of the once Aquitainian Duchy of Barcelona will set you on the road to being one of the mightiest realms of Europe.
  • Robert 'Curthose' de Normandie, Count of Maine: Begin your journey as a 12-year-old count, the eldest son and heir of William the Bastard. Whatever comes of the Norman Conquest, you will be constantly battling your two younger brothers, vying to remain the heir. Through careful marriage, you could form alliances with other families, but of course, the risk is choosing someone small enough to not be a threat, but big enough to be a help in any disputes with your brothers. In real life, his long-running discord with his brothers and father (three kings, no less!) was possibly the most significant factor in ending the de Normandie dynasty. He went to war against all three of his closest male relatives, every time his miserable diplomatic skills costing him the throne (and general unreliability, as he was quite a fairly lazy man). Impulsive, begrudging, and proud, but with all the social graces of a chamber pot at high tide, he was eventually imprisoned by one of his brothers and died only a year before his youngest brother, ending the line of the House de Normandie forever. Robert was a front line warrior, better suited to the battles of arms than politics, and his fate showed this. Alternatively, he was also an important leader of the First Crusade.
  • Raimond de Toulouse, Count of Rouergue: Raimond de Toulouse (or Raimond de Saint-Gilles) was one of the leaders of the First Crusade. He would be the only crusade leader not to swear an oath of fealty to the Byzantine Emperor, and would form a rivalry with Bohemond of Antioch. After the crusade, he spent the last five years of his life establishing the County of Tripoli in the Near East.
  • Foulques d'Anjou, Count of Torraine: The ancestor of the Angevin Kings of England and the Plantagenet dynasty.
  • Herbert Karling, Count of Vermandois: The last living descendant of the House of Charlemagne and a count near Paris.
  • Eustace de Boulogne, Count of Boulogne: Play as the father of Godfrey of Bouillon and Baldwin I, the two sons that would lead the First Crusade and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Bring your dynasty to glory and make it known for brave and honorable Crusaders that liberated the Outremer from the infidels!

Galicia[edit | edit source]

  • García Fernandez Jimena, King of Galicia: Given the most troubled kingdom of the three brothers, García tried many extreme remedies to stabilize his rule. However, the fragile land was soon too tempting for his brother Alfonso who invaded in 1071. This attack kicked off the many wars that followed between the brothers, but García would spend most of this time behind bars. Take up arms against your brothers and lead this unstable kingdom to glory and victory!
  • Nuño II Mendez Vimaranes, Duke of Portucale: The Duchy of Portucale was created in 867, when Wimarano Petriz was named duke and given control of the regions between the Lima and Duero rivers. The title would stay in the family and eventually be given to Nuño Mendez in 1050. Despite being in a good position to continue control of the duchy, his dreams of an autonomous Portugal would create strong animosity from King García. Their forces faced each other in the Battle of Pedroso in 1071 and Nuño Mendez lost his life, leading to García declaring himself the first King of Portugal. There would never be another Duke of Portucale of the Vimaranes family. Defend against Holy Wars and Jihad from the south, then complete the Reconquista and set up an independent Kingdom of Portugal.

Holy Roman Empire[edit | edit source]

  • Matilda di Canossa, Duchess of Tuscany: By skill or circumstance, Matilda di Canossa is destined to inherit a substantial territory in Northern Italy. She will move on to become a powerful and well-connected ruler, eventually rising to the unique rank of Imperial Vicar and Vice-Queen of Italy. Long after her death, she shall remain a figure legendary for both her piousness and suspected witchcraft. Can you ensure Matilda's legacy endures, and continue the Canossa line for generations to come?
  • Vratislav II Přemyslid, Duke of Bohemia: The Přemyslid family has ruled the region of Bohemia for hundreds of years. They have relied heavily on Seniority for their succession, which, in Duke Vratislav's case, will eventually lead to serious strife with his brothers. To become King of Bohemia, Vratislav will need to be tactical with his resources, both material and not — are you up for the task?
  • Ernst von Babenberg, Duke of Austria: He is in a weak position with a lot of potential. With one or two carefully chosen alliances, you can beat Steyermark and Bavaria, and then, form the Archduchy of Austria. This will change your succession law to primogeniture way earlier than your neighbors can. This allows you to create a strong centralized power without any risk of fragmenting your empire.
  • Pierre de Savoie, Duke of Piedmonte: Reclaim the old Kingdom of Burgundy, destroy the Holy Roman Empire from the inside and then take on France in order to gain the Duchy of Burgundy, your rightful inheritance.
  • Géraud de Genève, Count of Geneva: Can you do better by ruling more than your single county, or even by sticking to one? Moreover, it is an interesting character. He could have a claim on the Kingdom of Burgundy through his historical great-grandfather Konrad Welf, King of Burgundy. Indeed, when the last independent King of Burgundy died childless in 1032, the title became vacant. The Ludolfingers, who held the title of Holy Roman Emperors at the time, should have inherited the throne, but they became extinct before the Kings of Burgundy. Hence, Eudes de Blois, Duke of Champagne, should have inherited, but was defeated by Konrad Salian who usurped the Imperial Crown as the successor of the Ludolfinger dynasty. As the House de Blois has failed and is now too busy with French affairs, maybe it is time for Géraud to step up as the last local male descendant of King Konrad and reclaim what is his and restore the Burgundian nation from within?
  • Werner von Habsburg, Count of Aargau: The Habsburg dynasty played a major role in European history: they would rise to be Archdukes of Austria and Holy Roman Emperors and wear a good number of crowns across Europe. For now, you are just a small count though, so remember the motto: Bella gerant alii, tu, felix Austria, nube / Nam quae Mars aliis, dat tibi regna Venus (Let others wage wars – you, happy Austria, marry / For the riches which Mars gives those others shall be bestowed upon you by Venus).
  • Ota 'the Handsome' Přemyslid, Count of Olomouc: Who is this magnificently handsome man? Well, it's Ota, younger brother to the current Duke of Bohemia. Sure, you start with two provinces in the corner of the realm, but with some luck, good assassinations and perhaps a small war or two, you can quickly take control of the Duchy, or Kingdom, of Bohemia! Not to mention, you're handsome!
  • Friedrich von Hohenstaufen, Count of Ravensburg: The Hohenstaufen dynasty would bring the Holy Roman Empire its greatest kaisers: Friedrich I Barbarossa, Heinrich VI and Friedrich II. For the moment, you are only a count though. Historically, Friedrich was close to the kaiser and when his liege Rudolf von Rheinfelden revolted, he was made Duke of Swabia.
  • Hendrik Lambrechtszoon Reginar, Count of Brabant: Beginning under a strong duke, who is also your uncle, it will take your full attention and resources to break away from your ducal liege. Once you're done, you can work towards creating your own Dutch Kingdom of Frisia within or outside of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Eglimar von Oldenburg, Count of Oldenburg: The founder of the House von Oldenburg, whose members have held the crowns of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, and even Greece. Although Eglimar's reign did not historically begin until 1091, he is playable at the 1066 start date.
  • Adalbert Ascania, Count of Mansfeld: Play as the grandfather of Albert the Bear, the establisher of the March of Brandenburg. By slowly colonizing the lands of the Slavs, secure a place among the powerful Kurfusts of the the Holy Roman Empire. Expand your duchy even further east, into the lands of the Prussian pagans and create a kingdom that will be feared by every count of Europe.
  • Friedrich von Zollern, Count of Zollern: The son of Burkhard, the recently-murdered progenitor of the Zollern dynasty, young Friedrich is unmarried and rules but a single county in the heart of Swabia - yet his descendants will rule Prussia and later a unified German Empire as the mighty Hohenzollerns. Can you drag Friedrich and his fledgling dynasty from mere counts to the dominant imperial family of Europe?
  • Otger Renart, Count of Spreewald: A character invented for promotional materials nestled at the Polish border under the Duke of Lausitz. As in the announcement trailer, your family is hounded by the neighboring bear-themed Jakob Bärenburg, already having killed your brother as an infant, and will soon turn his blade on you. Hold off his assassins while keeping the peace with your influential liege Duke Dedo and your predominantly-pagan court.

Hungary[edit | edit source]

  • Salamon Árpád, King of Hungary: Barely more than 150 years ago, the Magyars were a nomadic tribe ravaging westwards through the steppes of Asia to flee from their more powerful neighbors. Now, the Kingdom of Hungary is poised to strike back at the Pechenegs and also has good opportunities to expand in Croatia and Poland, as well as Ruthenia to the north-east. With a Princess of the Holy Roman Empire as your betrothed, you are backed by a mighty ally, just beware of the Byzantine Empire. The historical Árpád dynasty managed to add Croatia to its domains, but then was almost destroyed by the Mongols and only survived thanks to the death of the Great Khan. Due to constant infighting which only became worse after the Mongol invasion subsided, Hungary could barely hold itself together while the dynasty slowly headed towards extinction on the agnatic line, which finally happened in 1301. Can you do better?

Iceland[edit | edit source]

  • Sigfus af Oddi, Chieftain of Vestrland: Let's face it: Vestrland is not what you would call "profitable". Iceland is, as a whole, kind of lame at this time, made even worse by that old jarl who rule it. He sits complacently on the throne of the northernmost landmass in Europe, content while the world passes Iceland by. Though this is the age of the Icelandic Commonwealth, and the Christianization of Iceland has been fairly thorough, the old tales boil Sigfus' young blood. Yet he is limited, especially since Norway is keen to assert itself over his lands. Perhaps if you wrest control of the throne of Iceland from his liege, you could rekindle the Viking spirit which brought your people to the foreboding, jagged shores of the rime-coated island.

The Isles[edit | edit source]

  • Gudrød Haraldrsson Crovan, Petty King (Duke) of the Suðreyjar: Can you elevate the Kingdom of Mann & the Isles that will last for hundreds of years? The Isles are an interesting start because you are Norwegian and independent, but surrounded by Gaelic rulers and provinces. Swear allegiance to Scotland before you unpause; this will give you room to expand in both Ireland and Scotland without having to worry as much about being dogpiled by your enemies, otherwise, Scotland will always attack you over a de jure claim sooner or later. Alternatively, for those wanting a greater challenge, try to do all of this whilst remaining independent.

León[edit | edit source]

  • Alfonso VI 'the Brave' Jimena, King of León: The middle son, and his father's favorite, Alfonso inherited the rich middle Kingdom of León. He moved on to outsmart and subjugate both his brothers, and he ruled over the reunited kingdom of his father. Through political and familiar diplomacy and aggression, do you have what it takes to unite the three kingdoms under one banner?
  • Urraca Fernandez Jimena, Countess of Zamora: As the eldest child of Fernando the Great, Urraca had widespread influence over both her brothers and the Church. She and her sister Elvira received lordship over all the monasteries in the three kingdoms, and she did not sit idly by as her brothers tore each other apart. To outmaneuver her brothers and secure her place in history, Urraca needs both patience and daring — will you succeed?

Navarra[edit | edit source]

  • Antso IV Gartziez Jimena, King of Navarra: Many lords in the west of the kingdom deserted King Antso after he ascended to the throne following the passing of his parents. He was soon embroiled in a war with his cousin King Sancho the Strong which saw Antso defeated, and after a rule marked by warfare and defeat he was assassinated by his own siblings. Rewrite history, outsmart your family, and secure your domain and heritage!
  • Ramiro Gartziez Jimena, Count of Najera: Najera starts in a precarious position — the lone county serving King Antso in the middle of the boiling pot. As the king's brother, you have a pressed claim to the Kingdom of Navarra and all his counties. While this seems minor, you also have a de jure claim over Viscaya, and you can gobble up some territory against weak Muslim emirs nearby, and possibly claim the Duchy of Aragon to allow you to eventually take over Barcelona. A fun, difficult start with tons of options.

Norway[edit | edit source]

  • Harald IV 'Hard Ruler' Yngling, King of Norway: Having displayed formidable military talent since youth, Harald has recently tried, and failed, to conquer Denmark. Now, he looks beyond the sea — by ancient contract, the crown of England should have passed to Harald, when the last king died without an heir. But, instead, the Anglo-Saxons have put Harold Godwineson on the throne! Luckily, the false king has made enemies, and Tostig Godwineson, Harold's own brother, lives in exile in Norway... By using his own enemies against him, can you give this Varangian Viking control over the North Sea?

Poland[edit | edit source]

  • Bolesław II 'the Bold' Piast, King of Poland: You are a strong king with the Holy Roman Empire to your west and pagan heathens to your north. You have lots of expansion options for a Catholic and several endgame empires to choose from, including the Southern Baltic Empire or the Empire of Slavia.
  • Sieciech Topór, Count of Zielona Góra: Historically, he managed to gain influence by exiling King Bolesław the Bold (also poisoning his son Mieszko) and taking advantage of his liege Władysław Herman (who is infirm in the game), even becoming his queen's lover. He was considered the de facto ruler of Poland and continuously tried to gain the throne through intrigue. He is also credited with conquering Pomerelia. Eventually, he was defeated in a civil war, exiled and blinded by the sons of Władysław in 1100.

Pomerania[edit | edit source]

  • Budivoj Nakonid, Count of Lubeck: Budivoj is a one county ruler surrounded by many powerful realms. If you play well, you have the chance to create the Kingdom of Pomerania as a Catholic. You can try it as an independent count if you like it hard, or you can become part of the Holy Roman Empire or Denmark.

Scotland[edit | edit source]

  • Malcolm III 'Canmore' Dunkeld, King of Scotland: Known to Scotland as the Great Chief, Malcolm's situation is tenuous, but full of opportunity. To the south, the rich lands of Northumbria lie vulnerable as England is torn apart by war, but Norse warlords and Gaelic highlanders yet contest the king's rule at home. The British Isles teem with dangers and opportunities: can you pluck a rose from this garden of thorns?
  • Gospatric Dunbar, Duke of Lothian: Gospatric is a vassal of King Malcolm Canmore, and his realm straddles the Scottish Lowlands. You have numerous options here, such as backing one of the king's relatives as a pretender, attempting to take the throne yourself (quite possible via elective succession or a strong faction), expanding into Northumbria whilst England is in chaos, or simply remaining loyal to the Dunkelds and hoping to be rewarded for your efforts. All in all, a very interesting position.

Sicily[edit | edit source]

  • Robert 'the Fox' de Hauteville, Duke of Apulia: Robert the Fox started out his career as a thief and head of a band of highwaymen. Being one of many siblings, the adventurous son was never predicted to become a brilliant strategist and statesman, ruling vast areas of land — yet here he is, a powerful duke in Southern Italy, ready to take on the path of history, which will enable the Hautevilles to have a foothold in Sicily for over a hundred years. If you can consolidate the power in the realm, the Kingdom of Sicily awaits its ruler!
  • Richard Drengot, Duke of Capua: The Hautevilles may be the strongest power in Southern Italy, but you were there first. Historically, the Drengot family came from Normandy and became the first landed Normans on the Apennine Peninsula. Although they were not a match for the Hautevilles, they often served as a counterpower. Richard's son Jordan will play a key role in the struggle between the sons of Robert the Fox by supporting Bohemond.
  • Roger de Hauteville, Count of Messina: Although Robert was the Terror of the World, it was Roger's line who founded the Kingdom of Sicily. A bold warrior and great statesman, he is remembered as the Great Count. His son would be the first true Sicilian and King of Sicily.

Sweden[edit | edit source]

  • Erik II Stenkilsson Stenkiling, King of Sweden: Your northern vassals remain true to the old ways, while you and your southern vassals have adopted Christianity. Your uncle Erik, commonly known as the Heathen, rivals you in power and ambition, and might make a move for the throne. Will you stay loyal to the One True Faith, or bow once more to Odin and Thor?

Wales[edit | edit source]

  • Maredudd II ab Owain Dinefwr, Prince (Duke) of Deheubarth: All members of your house, including you, are over 50 years old, but once you produce an heir, you can instead concentrate on reclaiming your other de jure lands. From there, unite Wales and then the British Isles through conquest, marriage or both.
  • Bleddyn ap Cynfyn Mathrafal, Prince (Duke) of Gwynedd: You start with eight kids and a medium-sized duchy. All you need is one county and some money to quickly form a kingdom. Unite Wales, defend against the English, and play the marriage game.

Orthodox[edit | edit source]

Byzantine Empire[edit | edit source]

  • Leon Pegonites, Doux (Duke) of Cyprus: Starts with the Duchy of Cyprus, split into the counties of Nicosia and Famagusta. There are two small Muslim rulers in nearby Syria as targets for expansion, but mostly an opportunistic doux will be looking for the correct opportunity to strike against the Fatimid Sultanate, which will conquer many lands. You will often lose land without having any say about the matter as the Fatimids formulate claims to your hard-won counties. Your position as an island gives you good protection from any holy wars, and the protection of the Byzantine Empire should ensure you last for a century at least (provided you're willing to stay loyal). Probably the most interesting thing about this start is that it is very difficult to quickly amass land. To combat the much more powerful leaders in this part of the world, you are forced to find ways to generate massive amounts of income relative to your stature so that you can afford to hire hosts of mercenaries, whilst building up your castles with the view of increasing your own (limited) levy. Good players will quickly find themselves in possession of 4 or 5 counties as the individual Muslim sheikhs fall to them, but much of what you do will depend on your character's own ability as a ruler. Weak leaders will lose land very quickly to the Fatimids, which will leave you waiting for internal factionalism (possibly brought on by assassinations *hint hint*) in the Fatimid Sultanate to target weak sheikhs and emirs.
  • Alexios Komnenos, Doux (Duke) of Boukellarion: Arguably the last great basileus in the East, Alexios took power and saved the Empire more than once. He is the subject of the famed Alexiad, a medieval historical and biographical text written by the Byzantine princess Anna Komnenos, daughter of Alexios. His appeals to Western Europe for help against the Seljuk Turks were also the catalyst that likely contributed to the convoking of the Crusades.
  • Nikephoros Bryennios, Doux (Duke) of Kibyrrhaiotai: Historically, Nikephoros Bryennios was a prominent general who rebelled against Basileus Michael VII Doukas in 1077. He almost succeeded in defeating the army of Alexios Komnenos in the Battle of Kalavrye, but the betrayal of Pecheneg mercenaries turned the tide of battle and his ambition was crushed at last. Can you change his fate and establish a new dynasty?
  • Nikephoros Palaiologos, Doux (Duke) of Epirus: First playable ruler of the later famous Palaiologos dynasty that ruled the Byzantine Empire from the reconquest of Constantinople in 1261 up until its demise in 1453.
  • Alusian Kometopoulos, Count of Vidin: Son of the last independent King of Bulgaria, Ivan Vladislav. Alusian rebelled in 1040 against the Byzantines in Bulgaria, together with his second cousin Petar Delyan, but in the end, betrayed his kinsman by blinding him and defecting to the Byzantines. In return for his treachery, he was pardoned by the basileus and rewarded with a high court rank. He has a pressed claim on the Kingdom of Bulgaria, so you can make it an independent country again. If you survive the Seljuk invasion, of course.
  • Radomir Kometopoulos, Count of Silistra: Nephew of Alusian and another descendant of the last independent Bulgarian king. As a grandson of Ivan Vladislav, he has an unpressed claim on the Kingdom of Bulgaria. Your two brothers have already turned Greek and become loyal servants of the basileus, but you are not going to do the same. The obvious aim is to lead a rebellion against the Byzantine Empire, as one of the few remaining Bulgarian rulers in the game.

Georgia[edit | edit source]

  • Bagrat II Bagrationi, King of Georgia: Sandwiched between the three major powers of the Byzantine Empire, Seljuk Turks and Cumans, fight your way out, taking opportunities when civil wars consume the larger states to grab land, then brace yourself for the inevitable Mongol invasion.

Novgorod[edit | edit source]

  • Sviatopolk Iziaslavovich Rurikid, Count of Beloozero: It's tough to be a bastard, but at least you've been legitimized. Your dad and uncles rule the lands of Russia, and you are stuck lording over a bunch of pagans on the edge of the Rurikid realms. To add insult to injury, your liege is your brother. Can you climb from the shores of the Lake Onega to the throne of Ruthenia? Real Sviatopolk could.

Serbia[edit | edit source]

  • Mihajlo Vojislavić Vojislavljevic, Duke of Duklja: He starts as an independent ruler and needs to usurp a duchy from the Byzantine vassal to create the Kingdom of Serbia. Easy, right? Can you unite his nations and become the true King of the Slavs?

White Rus'[edit | edit source]

  • Vseslav II Rurikid, Grand Prince (Duke) of Polotsk: Historical Vseslav was not eligible to rule Ruthenia, but that didn't stop him from trying. Can you do better and claim the throne when your duchy is not de jure Ruthenia?

Apostolic[edit | edit source]

Byzantine Empire[edit | edit source]

  • Grigor II Pahlavuni, Prince (Duke) of Vaspurakan: If the Byzantines survive the Seljuk invasion successfully (which is luck of the draw and in your position, you can't do much to influence it), the fun starts! Try to expand within the Empire and when you are ready, wait for an opportunity and then break free to establish the independent Kingdom of Armenia under the Apostolic faith. Try to do so before Armenia is culturally and religiously assimilated into the Greek Orthodox Byzantine Empire! It will not be easy — it is hard to find allies as an Armenian Apostolic, and if the basileus doesn't like you, he can start revoking any ducal titles you may have.
  • Gagik Bagrationi, Count of Lycandus: The last Bagrationi King of Armenia, now dethroned and given a "pension" in Anatolia to live off for the rest of his days. Historically, he and his two sons died because of intrigue and plots, but it is possible to reclaim your ancestral title. Also, your daughter is betrothed to the heir to the Kingdom of Georgia.

Insular[edit | edit source]

Ireland[edit | edit source]

  • Murchad mac Donnchad Briain, Petty King (Duke) of Munster: In the beginning of the 11th century, the High Kingship of Ireland has fallen in and out of the House Briain's grasp, as the Irish noble houses have warred over territory, against each other and Viking settlers. Yet, while hailing from a line of men deemed destined for kingship, not much is known about Murchad's brief reign over the smaller area of Munster. With your help, perhaps a member of the House Briain can sit on the throne of Ireland once more?
  • Domnall mac Niall Néill, Earl (Count) of Oriel: The current Earl of Oriel is from the Néill dynasty that descended from the legendary High King of Ireland, Niall of the Nine Hostages (and, according to DNA studies, the male-line ancestor of around 20% of the population of Ireland today).

Muslim characters[edit | edit source]

Ash'ari[edit | edit source]

Africa[edit | edit source]

  • Abd-al'Haqq Ibn Abd-al-'Aziz Khurasanid, Wali (Count) of Tunis: Appointed as the governor of Tunis, this dynasty protected travelers and merchants of Tunis from raids of the Hilalids, developing infrastructures and fortifications in Tunis. They would gain their independence from the weakened Zirids and maintain independence compare to other local forces, succumbing to Almohads after a century of rule in Tunis in 1158. A difficult position for certain, dryland in a single county, but Tunis is in a very prominent strategical position to usurp the Zirids, and even attack Europe; can you secure Africa from raids and develop it into a world center of trade?
  • an-Nasir ibn Alennas Hammadid, Emir (Duke) of Bejaia: In the Northern coast of modern-day Algeria, this local power developed Bejaia from a small insignificant fishing holding to a seat of a powerful kingdom. Like many local powers, their rise came from the chaotic conflict between the Umayyads, Zirids, Maghrawavid, and the Fatimids. At the beginning of the game, an-Nasir murdered his cousin and became Emir; this marked the beginning of the rise of Hammadid as economically, Bajaia was developed into a great trading city with massive amount of new infrastructures. Militarily, they hired Hilalids as mercenaries to conquer Algeria from Almorivds. Trade flourished, even the Arabic number (1-9) was introduced to Europe from here. In their dynastic late stage however, they faced many similar problems as other dying local dynasties, facing military threats from too many fronts: European naval powers making incursions and taking lands in Northern Africa, the Hilalids raiding and settling in Maghreb, and the perpetual conflict against Almoravids and later, conquered by Almohads. The Hammadid is a relatively strong power at this point, you can quickly secure your surroundings against the various Hilalid and Berber nations, and perhaps preventing them from revolting against you in the future?
  • Tamim ibn al-Muizz Zirid, Amīr al-Umarā (King) of Africa: Africa (or Ifriqiya) was, to the Zirids, the prize of their conversion to Ash'ari Islam and rebellion against the Fatimids. But it is theirs no longer. The Fatimids have bribed the Bedouin tribes to invade your lands, and have succeeded in carving your domain into a series of chiefdoms, each larger than the sliver of land that has remained under your rightful rule. To regain your birthright will take wise statesmanship, ruthless strategy, and an indomitable spirit. Succeed, and perhaps an entire continent will bear your name.
  • Muhammad ibn Walmiya Hilalid, High Chieftain (Duke) of Jerid: Clan Banu Hilal! The epic story of hardship and love of the Arab tribes (150,000 - 300,000 people) that migrated from Arabia, through Egypt, and settled in Maghreb. This massive migration had heavily influenced the melting culture of modern-day Maghreb region. Legends say that the Fatima Dynasty payed them to invade the breakaway state of Zirid Sultanate, or maybe, according to some modern scholars, there could be other reasons such as environmental. These people divided into many sub-tribes that maybe in game (Athbaj, Riyah, Zughba, Adi, etc). They fought and settled throughout Northern Africa. You may have blended with the local population, fighting for the development of all counties, sadly, many uncontrollable forces would try to dominate North Africa. The Almohad Caliphate would later defeat Banu Hilal and force them to resettle westward in Morocco. Take fate into your hands and unite all in a brand-new epic story of your own.

Daylam[edit | edit source]

  • Fariburz Salarzade Kesranid, Amir (Duke) of the Kesranid (Shirvan) Amirate: The Kesranids controlled their small and culturally prosperous realm in what is now Azerbaijan for the duration of CK3, outliving the Seljuks and only being annexed by the Safavids 100 years into the timeframe of EUIV. They are available as the Yazidids at the 867 start date but are more interesting in 1066, by which time the Mashriqi governors of Shirvan have become Persianized and started to glorify the pre-Islamic Persian past, tying it to their dynasty. The immediate goal is to be as much of a survivor as the real Kesranids and cling on against Seljuk and Christian onslaughts, but the long-term ambition is for this originally Arabian dynasty to supplant the Seljuks and create a truly Persian Empire in its place.

Maghreb[edit | edit source]

  • Yusuf ibn Tashfin Almoravid, Emir (Duke) of Marrakesh: El Cid's Moorish arch-enemy from many Reconquista stories. You start with all the riches of the Almoravid Grand Emirate in your hands, can easily acquire the crown by plotting, and have claims on all your Berber neighbors. You can then expand north into al-Andalus, as Yusuf did historically. With the Almoravids resources, completing the conquest of Spain or even breaching into Europe proper isn't much of a challenge, but he is a good choice of a character for less experienced players.
  • Mu'ansir ibn Hammad Maghrawavid, Emir of Fes: The conquest of Umayyad brought many opportunities for martially ambitious factions, Maghrawavids were one of the first tribes in Northwest Africa to convert to Islam. Throughout their existence, they leveraged their local power and connections between the conflicts of powers greater than them, gaining power under their suzerainty. Through this decisive diplomacy, they became a major military force in what is modern Morrocco. They were, however, not alone in the search for power; series of opportunistic conflicts severely weakened them, allowing other powers to take lands from them, resulting in their situation of internal conflict at the beginning of the game. Historically, they would be conquered by Almoravids in 1070. Can you balance between the local powers, unite your people, and retrace your ancestral glory?

Isma'ili[edit | edit source]

Persian Empire[edit | edit source]

  • Qarin Sharyabzade Bavandid, Beg (Count) of Mazandaran: One of the few landed Daylamites at the start of the game, and a member of the Bavandid dynasty, a cadet branch of the Sassanids of old. Try to usurp the Empire of Persia and convert it to Isma'ili Islam a few centuries earlier than historically, or go for a long-overdue restoration of Zoroastrianism.

Sicily[edit | edit source]

  • Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Kalbid, Wālī (Count) of Siracusa: You're surrounded by infidels, but if you fend off the Ash'aris and conquer the Catholics, then you can establish your Grand Emirate of Sicily right on the pope's doorstep.

Druze[edit | edit source]

Egypt[edit | edit source]

  • Ishaq Ishaqid, Sheikh (Count) of Baalbek: The northernmost vassal of the Fatimid Sultanate and an adherent of the Druze Islam (the only playable follower of this faith in the game), playing him would be interesting, to say the least...

Maturidi[edit | edit source]

Kabulistan[edit | edit source]

  • Muhammad Abbaszde Ghurid, Beg (Count) of Ghur: A century later, Muhammad's descendants would become rulers of the Ghurid Sultanate. One of them would conquer Northern India, paving the way for his general to become the Sultan of Delhi, creating many extravagant tales and changing history forever. At this point in history, however, Muhammad had to pay tribute to his Ghaznavid overlord, but later he would be defeated by the Seljuks and had to pay them tribute instead. His son would inherit a post-war mess with revolts and other problems. Perhaps you can change that, and save your descendants the harsh life of war, by becoming the Shahanshah of Rajastan yourself?

Muwalladi[edit | edit source]

Andalusia[edit | edit source]

  • Yahya ibn Isma'il Dhunnunid, Emir (Duke) of the Dhunnunid (Toledo) Emirate: The Kingdom of Toledo will be established in the late 11th century, when the King of León takes over the eponymous city. This eradication of Emir Yahya and his influence means that the Dhunnunid family will lose its hold on the region, where they have reigned for generations. Through manipulating your rivals, and finding more allies, do you have what it takes to challenge the Christian kings of the Iberian Peninsula and change history for the House Dhunnunid?

Pagan characters[edit | edit source]

Ásatrú[edit | edit source]

Sweden[edit | edit source]

  • Erik III 'the Heathen' af Munsö, Duke of Uppland: Erik's historicity is debated and quite uncertain. He is the last great Norse pagan ruler and has a shot at taking the throne in Sweden for the Old Gods. Can you reconquer Scandinavia for Odin and Thor, or will you succumb to the Christian tides?

Bidaic[edit | edit source]

Ghana[edit | edit source]

  • Tunka Menin Cisse, Maghan (King) of Ghana: Neither you nor your family has great stats or a great starting position. However, you are easily in the best position to form the Empire of Mali, and if you can slowly dismantle the Almoravids to the north, you may yet become a presence on the world stage. Not to mention that they are the only noteworthy neighbor you have, meaning that if you keep good relations, you can build in peace.

Slovianskan[edit | edit source]

Pomerania[edit | edit source]

  • Krutoj Wizlawid, Duke of Veletia: He usurped the throne after the last duke (whose son starts in Lubeck) converted to Christianity. Historically, Krutoj avoided the One True Faith for his 27-year rule, until he was assassinated, and his state itself went back and forth between Christianity and paganism for nearly a century until being firmly Christianized and vassalized by larger realms.

Ukonusko[edit | edit source]

Estonia[edit | edit source]

  • Varaka Kask, Chieftain of Osel: A difficult start. You begin with no one in your family except you. A great situation for those that like to establish their unique dynasty. Your first objective is to seize control of the High Chiefdom of Livonia. From there, you can decide between two paths. You can push upwards and conquer the Finnish lands that make up the Kingdom of Finland, or you can push south and bend the Lithuanians, Russians, and Cumans to their knees so that you establish an Estonian Russia. Either way, there are many difficulties you shall face. If you choose Finland, be warned that the Christian Scandinavian kingdoms shall not be pleased with your expansion. If you decide you wish to stay loyal to the Ukonusko religion, you will face many Holy Wars for your land. Stay vigilant and bring the Kask dynasty to glory!

Eastern religions[edit | edit source]

Buddhist[edit | edit source]

Great Liao[edit | edit source]

  • Hongji Liao, Khan (King) of Great Liao: Khan Hongji (Emperor Daozong and also known by his Chinese surname of "Yelü") would be remembered as the ruler who ignored the corruption that would destroy his realm. Rejecting the advice of his family to end the corruption and paying little respect to the role he had as khan, he would allow his officials to fool him into executing his wife, after being convinced she had written a love poem about an affair. He would also execute the primary heir as well as various other officials. He would realize his mistakes later, however, the corruption in Liao was beyond repair.

Lhomon[edit | edit source]

  • Zenji Jigme Chakhar, Prabhu (Duke) of Bumthang: You are Zenji Jigme, an almost totally unremarkable person, but you have a great legacy behind you. Bhutan is a realm that has never relinquished its sovereignty, although historians are somewhat split over whether Bhutan was subject to the Tibetan Empire. 230 years ago, all of Bhutan was under your dynasty, but now, you only hold the eastern half of the country. Surrounded by larger neighbors, can you keep Bhutan independent? For an additional challenge, you can try converting to Nestorianism by marrying into the family of the Duke of Wuluhai, and establish a Christian outpost in a sea of heretics.

Mjinjaa[edit | edit source]

  • Liangzuo Weiming, King of Mjinjaa: Historically, Liangzuo (Emperor Yizong and also known by his Chinese surname of "Li") came of age amid a bloody internal struggle between pro-Chinese courtiers and courtiers who favored a more militaristic steppe society reminiscent of older times. His abrupt death in 1068, leaving only his young son Bingchang, immediately returned the realm to the old Tangut ways. As King of Mjinjaa, you start only with the Duchy of Xia in your domain. Although Xia is very rich (the game's way of representing the off-map half of the historical Kingdom of Xi Xia), you will need to accumulate gold rapidly to fabricate claims on the Tibetan duchies to the south. By keeping your dynasty stable (and hopefully passing on your "Intelligent" trait), your holdings can be developed enough to invade China, or even reverse the historical fall of Xi Xia and snuff the Mongolian invasions in their infancy.

Hindu - Shaivism[edit | edit source]

Chola[edit | edit source]

  • Mahasamanta Parâkkirama of Pandya, Raj (Duke) of Pandya: The Indian subcontinent is home to many of the oldest continuing dynasties; archaeological records traces Pandya to at least 4th century B.C.E. The first Pandya Empire was subjugated by Chola dynasty during the 10th century through many battles, even losing their capital of Madurai to Chola and was controlled by viceroyals. At the turn of the new millennium of 1,070 A.D. however, Chola dynasty would face a power struggle with the Vengi Chalukya family historically; this instability led to the rebellious regions of Sri Lanka and Pandya to declare independence. This independence would not last, and the Chola Empire would be restored by Samanta Kulôttunka of Barasuru (Your fellow vassal in game; cadet branch of Chola), and usuring a new Chola golden age. Pandya dynasty would not restore their empire until the 13th century and would fight, but defeated, by the Delhi Sultanate due to their own infighting, falling into obscurity. Can you change this fate? Establish the Second Pandya Empire 200 years early, and conquer India yourself instead of Delhi Sultanate?

Unlanded characters[edit | edit source]

Unlanded characters may vary between courts upon starting the game. Although their home may not be pre-defined, these characters have a historical basis and will appear in every game.

  • Johan Andersson, Courtier of Övre Dalarna: Landless courtier in Sweden, like most of Paradox's staff. He always starts as an "Astute Intellectual" with "Quick" trait and Ásatrú as his faith. He's only available at the 1066 start date, like all of the Paradox staff.
  • Welf Welf, Courtier of Bavaria: The bastard son of Duke Alberto Azzo of Lombardy, can you resurrect the old and powerful House of Welf? It's a fun game, being a legitimized bastard with a wife who is the eldest child of the Duke of Bavaria. If you can pacify the Bavarian lords and consolidate, you could potentially become the most powerful man in the Holy Roman Empire. Not to mention the Duchy of Lombardy you will receive when the old man Alberto Azzo dies, and the impending succession crisis, which means you can seize your moment and swallow Genoa and Corsica as well. Bringing glory back to the Welfs should be a fun undertaking.
  • Ælfwine Haroldson Knytling, Courtier of Toulouse: Unclear grandson and the last surviving descendant of Knud the Great, who established the North Sea Empire of Norway, Denmark, and England. Quite the legacy for a lowly Anglo-Saxon courtier deep in the middle of Southern France. You start with a pressed claim on the Kingdom of England with no realistic way to push it, but anything is possible with a little patience. Perhaps you can restore your house to the throne? Or maybe even take this incompetent bastard and turn England into Knud's once more?
  • Tostig Godwineson of Godwin, Courtier of Devon: The brother of Harold Godwineson, and the one who convinced King Harald of Norway to invade England, even as Duke William of Normandy planned to do so as well. He, according to legend, won over the court of Harald, and even lead the Vikings against the Saxons at the Battle of Stamford Bridge where he died. Why not land him? Keep the Godwins going strong, even if England falls to the Ynglings or de Normandies!
  • Gruffydd ap Cynan Aberffraw, Courtier of Deheubarth: 11-year-old prince in exile in Southern Wales. Start with him as the count, build your base until you can restore the boy's claim in Northern Wales, then play on as the Aberffraw dynasty.
  • Rodrigo 'the Campeador' de Vivar, Courtier of Castille: Also known as El Cid, a Castilian knight who would become a Spanish historical folk hero and national icon.
  • Omar Khayyam: Persian mathematician, astronomer and poet who created a dynasty of hedonistic mathematician-poets.
  • Hassan i-Sabbah: Nothing is absolute in reality, everything is permitted. Where other men blindly follow the truth, remember, nothing is true. Where other men are limited by morality or law, remember, everything is permitted. We work in the dark to serve the light. We are Assassins. Founder of the Hashashins in the mountain fort of Alamut, he would overthrow the king of Daylam in the year 1090 A.D., following the Shia sect.