Intrigue is one of the two paths to victory used in both the middle ages and the Crusader Kings series. It is the more indirect one, focusing on defeating other characters through subterfuge.
Any character can be targeted with a scheme in accordance with the plans of the schemer. Each character can run one hostile scheme and one personal scheme at the same time, but a character cannot be targeted by a hostile scheme and a personal scheme simultaneously. Ongoing schemes can be canceled at any point.
Each scheme has a scheme power and each target of a scheme has a scheme resistance. Both are determined by the skill of the schemer and its target and both their spymasters. Every month a scheme has a chance of progressing one step, with the odds determined by the schemer’s scheme power and the target’s scheme resistance. Once the scheme finishes progressing it is executed with the current success chance, which determines whether the scheme succeeds or fails.
Hostile schemes are executed in secret and have a secrecy value which determines whether the schemer will avoid being discovered when the scheme is executed or not. A high success chance increases the scheme's secrecy.
A character can run a second hostile scheme simultaneously if they have the Twice Schemed perk.
|Scheme||Skill used||Agents||Success effect||Secrecy effect||Requirements|
|Murder||Intrigue||Target is killed||Character only gains the Murder secret||None|
|Abduct||Intrigue||Target is imprisoned||Character is not accused of the Crime of kidnapping||Kidnapper perk|
|Fabricate Hook||Intrigue||Gain a Hook on the target||Can execute the Scheme again||Truth is Relative perk or Vengeful trait against a Rival|
|Claim Throne||Stewardship||Gain Pressed Claim on the Liege's Primary Title||Do not lose a large amount of Prestige||Meritocracy perk|
Being at war with someone grants -50 Success Chance to Murder schemes and -200 Success Chance to Abduction schemes.
Hostile schemes can have agents - characters who are close to the target and increase the scheme power based on how close they are. Agents may join a scheme if they stand to gain something or dislike the target. They can also be bribed with Gold to slightly increase their acceptance and a Weak Hook will greatly increase it. Characters who are terrified of the scheme target will never become agents except through the use of a Strong Hook. Agents will grant the following amount of success chance depending on their closeness to the target and their Intrigue.
A scheming character is protected from discovery while the scheme progresses but its agents are not. If an agent is discovered the target will gain a +5 hostile scheme resistance modifier for 2 years.
Personal schemes do not use secrecy or agents. A failure usually prevents the scheme from being used again on the same character, and some may have "critical failures" which carry harsher penalties.
|Scheme||Objective||Success factors||Consequences||Base success chance||Min success chance||Requirements|
|Sway||Gain +25 opinion with the target||
Lay with the target
||5%||0%||Target's sexuality is attracted to your gender|
|Romance||Gain prestige through courtship||
||Target becomes your Soulmate||0%||0%||You and target have mutually compatible sexualities|
|Befriend||Develop friendship with target||
||Target might become a Friend||5%||0%||Befriend Perk|
|Elope||Target joins your court and you get married||
Characters acquire secrets when they do something that is a crime or frowned upon. Secrets can be discovered through random events or via the Find Secrets spymaster task. If a secret is discovered, the character who uncovered it has two options. One option is to expose the secret, which will apply various negative effects upon the target based on how serious the Secret is. The other option is to blackmail the target. If the target agrees to the blackmail, the character will gain a Weak Hook if the secret is Shunned and a Strong Hook if the secret is Criminal. If the target refuses, the secret will be exposed.
The Is the illegitimate child secret is removed if the real parents eventually join in marriage or concubinage.
A hook represents that a character owes you a favor or that you can coerce them in some way. Hooks can be gained in a variety of ways and can be used to force a character to do something beneficial. They come in two varieties:
- A weak hook can only be used once. They cannot be used to force a character to become an agent in a Murder scheme.
- A strong hook can be used multiple times, with a cooldown between uses. It also prevents the character from joining factions, declaring war, imprisoning or demanding religious conversion from the character holding the hook. Having a strong hook over a Realm Priest forces them to pay maximum contribution.
|Hook||Strength||Duration||Source||Can be fabricated|
|Blackmail (Weak)||Weak||10 years, or until the secret is exposed||Blackmail character interaction over a secret which is a shunned practice|
|Favor||Weak||10 years||Random events
Ransoming an imprisoned character for a favor
Negotiating to release an imprisoned character for a favor
Faction members who helped put claimant on the throne receive a hook on new liege
Winning a war to gain a title for a character
|House Head||Weak||Permanent||House Head over when a child is born|
|Indebted||Weak||10 years||Random events|
|Manipulation||Weak||10 years||Random events|
|Threatened||Weak||10 years||Random events|
|Blackmail (Strong)||Strong||Until the secret is exposed||Blackmail character interaction over a secret which is a criminal practice|
|Fabrication||Strong||10 years||Fabricate a Hook scheme|
|Threatened Life||Strong||10 years||Fabricate a Hook scheme|
Hooks can be spent (used) in a variety of ways.
- By spending a hook, you can make it much more likely that a character will accept a marriage proposal, join your council, come to your court, join a faction of your choice, or vote for your preferred candidate in elective successions.
- A liege can use a hook on a vassal to negotiate a feudal contract in their favor without incurring tyranny.
- A vassal can use a hook on their liege to negotiate a feudal contract in their favor at all.
- A vassal who has a hook on his liege can use the Demand Council Position character interaction.
- A vassal with a hook on his liege can declare war on other vassals of their liege, even if their crown authority would normally prohibit this.
- Though it is very difficult to get a hook on your Head of faith, doing so would ensure the head of faith agrees to any one request you might make (such as granting you a divorce or a claim on a title).
- A strong hook can be used to force the person to join a hostile scheme, such as a murder scheme, though weak hooks cannot do this.
- The tier 1 stewardship lifestyle perk "Golden Obligations" allows demanding payment for hooks, assuming the person you have a hook on has the money to pay for it.