Ruler Designer

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The Ruler Designer is a free feature added with Patch 1.2. It allows the player to replace a ruler in either start date (867 or 1066) with a customized starting character, allowing attributes, traits , dynasty, and physical appearance to be tweaked, altered and tailored to one's design, within certain limits. To access it, the player must select a historical (or otherwise pre-existing) ruler on the world map to replace when starting a game and choose the Create your own Ruler option, which replaces the character by a custom one and opens up the Ruler Designer to create that custom character.

Essential Characteristics[edit | edit source]

The left panel allows you to set the basic characteristics that define the ruler. None of the options described here cost customization points (see the Attributes section below) as they are mandatory for every character.

  • Sex and sexual orientation. Your ruler's sexual orientation can be randomly generated (as determined by the game rules on sexuality) or chosen by you.
  • Faith and Culture. No restrictions apply—you can freely choose even extinct religions (such as Hellenism) or inactive cultures used by historical characters (such as German). Keep in mind your counties will not automatically convert to whatever faith or culture you choose! In particular, if you pick an inactive culture, there will not be a Cultural head until you convert at least one county to that culture, at which point you, as the only character of that culture, will become the Cultural head.
  • Character name. As usual, you can write out one manually or randomize based on culture or faith.
  • Dynasty and Realm. Besides creating or randomizing a name for your dynasty, you can randomly generate a coat of arms for your dynasty and one for your primary title.

Attributes[edit | edit source]

The right panel allows you to choose some of the character attributes of your ruler. These options can significantly provide benefits; as such, each is assigned a cost in customization points. This cost can be either positive (costing points) or negative (refunding points). Your customization points total is displayed in the upper part of the panel. While there is no hard limit, exceeding 400 points will disallow achievements, even if Ironman is enabled.

Age and Weight[edit | edit source]

Using these two sliders, you can set your character's age to between 0 and 120 (shown on the interface) and their starting weight from -100 to +100 (not shown).

Beneficial ages to a ruler cost more customization points. The range between 24 and 28 is considered a ruler's prime and thus costs the most, while 0-16 and 70 (or older) are the ages that cost the least. Starting age determines starting health, with younger rulers being more robust and growing more frail with age. That being said, older rulers do receive free lifestyle perk points and traits; this is a fixed amount based on age shown on the table below, without Education or intelligence traits affecting this.

By contrast, weight doesn't cost anything despite having a significant impact on your ruler's health (being malnourised (below -50) or obese (over 50) will cause a penalty of -1 health). Because noble characters have a tendency to easily gain weight over time (especially so if they have certain traits or lifestyles), a simple strategy is to start somewhat underweight but not too much to incur the aforementioned penalty. This corresponds to placing the slider in the second quartile, between 0 and -50.

The starting health as determined by your ruler's starting age is as follows:

Age Health Value
0-47 Health positive.png Good 5.0
48-65 Health.png Fine 4.0
66-120 Health.png Fine 3.0

Your ruler also receives bonus lifestyle perk points based on his or her age. These are tied to the perk trees matching your Education, but you are otherwise free to spend them as you will.

Age Perk Points
0-17 0
75-120 20

For every 9 perk points a ruler receives, he or she also gets a bonus lifestyle trait, so a free lifestyle perk at age 42 and a second at 69. These are chosen at random from any of the three Lifestyle perk trees that match your Education, without you having to invest in the usual per-requisite perks.

Traits[edit | edit source]

You can choose the traits for your character, classified into education, personality and other traits. Most of the usual restrictions for traits don't apply here. For example, you can start with any number of personality traits (instead of three for adults) or get the lifestyle traits for the various perk trees without having to complete said tree. The Traits page include the customization point cost of each trait that can be purchased; if a trait has no cost it's not available in the Ruler Designer. If a trait has congenital and non-congenital versions, only the former can be purchased.

Note that a trait's cost isn't affected by it being considered a virtue or sin under the ruler's faith, so in case you are unsure which traits to select, virtues allow you to eke out more benefit than their cost would imply.

Skills[edit | edit source]

You can choose a value for each of the ruler's six skills, between 0 and 100. The customization point cost to increase a stat by +1 depends on the threshold of the skill ("terrible", "poor", etc) after the increase, but before traits are applies. For example, to increase diplomacy from 3 to 4 (a skill of 4 is "terrible") costs 2 points, but from 4 to 5 (a skill of 5 is "poor") costs 4.

Because the way costs increase when changing threshold, the most cost-effective skills are 1 point below a threshold change; these are listed in the Skills page. It's recommended that the base skill of your ruler be one of these values; you can then use traits to further increase it.

Note that increasing prowess costs half as much as the other five core skills. It also determines your ruler's muscle mass, with maximum muscularity reached at prowess 25. This is purely cosmetic.

Family[edit | edit source]

You can use these settings to have the game randomly generate family members for your adult ruler. You can choose to start married (no customization point cost) with a randomly generated spouse of matching faith and culture. You can also choose to start with sons and daughters, also of matching faith and culture. They inherit your DNA and congenital traits, but everything else is randomly determined. Each child of either gender costs 10 customization points, unaffected by your faith's view on gender. Male or female, a ruler is limited to a number of children equal to one for each year since they turned 16. For example, a 50-year-old character can start with at most 34 children.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

The Ruler Designer features a robust character creator that permits tweaking the physical appearance of the character, including ethnicity, skin tone, height, and facial features. It can be roughly divided into two parts.

Basic Customization[edit | edit source]

The first screen allows for a quick generation of the ruler's appearance. You can select one of the game's predefined ethniticies and randomly generate an appearance. This can be useful as a starting point before your further refine the character.

This screen also allows access to the ruler's DNA, a string of text corresponding to the current values of your ruler's genes. You can copy the DNA to your computer's clipboard and share it with others or retain it for later use. You can then paste text from said clipboard and, if it corresponds to a valid genetic code, the game will process it and generate a character with the corresponding appearance. Note that the DNA string only applies to a characters physical appearance. Skills, attributes, lifestyle and education must be applied separately.

Further Customization[edit | edit source]

The second screen allows you to manipulate the value of most of your character's genes through a graphical user interface, similar to conventional character creators in various other games, so that you can fine-tune your ruler's appearance. None of these affect game mechanics in any way (e.g., raising height to the maximum doesn't confer the effects of the  Giant trait, only the trait will provide those).

A few genes can't be manipulated this way: body shape, body hair (for men), bust shape (for women), style of aging and eyebrow wrinkles. These genes still exist and all characters have them; they are merely hidden in the Ruler Designer interface. You can however tamper with them by copying the character's DNA to a text editor, changing the corresponding values directly and then pasting the DNA back in the game.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Once you are done customizing a ruler, you can select another one on the world map and repeat the process. However, achievements are disabled if two or more custom rulers were created, so as to prevent you from engineering situations that would make certain acheivements easier. On the other hand, achievements are not disabled if you customize a single ruler but then end up playing a historical one. A crafty player can use this to their advantage, for example to replace an intended war or scheme target with a severely weakened and greatly inferior replacement.