A title is essentially a certificate of land ownership, decreeing which characters own a certain place. Each title has a rank and a unique coat of arms. Certain titles can change name based on the culture of the character holding it. All titles can be renamed by their holder.
Each title has a Rank, which determines its place in the feudal pecking order. Rank primarily governs how holders of that title can vassalize or become vassals of other characters. For example, a King can never be a Duke's vassal, and a King's vassals will all be Dukes, Counts, or Barons (a player with the same primary title rank as you cannot be your vassal, by definition). Title Rank also determines what bonuses it grants to players who hold that title. The lowest "playable" title is Count. Barons can never become independent or playable.
All opinion modifiers from granting titles last 50 years and can stack.
The Primary title is the highest title of a character and determines the Realm's Color and coat of arms. If a character owns multiple titles of the same highest rank, they can freely choose which one is the Primary title.
De Jure, meaning "by law", means that a title historically covered certain lower Rank titles. The Duchy, Kingdom and Empire map modes will show all De Jure titles. A character who owns a title can choose the De Jure Casus belli to seize a single De Jure title covered by it, provided that the character's culture has the appropriate innovation below:
- Seize De Jure County requires the Tribal-era innovation Casus Belli.
- Seize De Jure Duchy requires the Early Medieval-era innovation Chronicle Writing.
- Seize De Jure Titles requires the Late Medieval-era innovation Rightful Ownership.
If a Count's Liege does not hold the Duchy title that covers the Vassal's Primary title, or a Duke's Liege does not hold either the Kingdom or the Empire title that covers the Vassal's Primary title, the Vassal will give less Taxes and Levies and have -5 Opinion of the Liege.
If a ruler completely controls a Duchy and owns a Kingdom title other than the one the Duchy De Jure belongs to, or if a ruler completely controls a Kingdom and owns an Empire title other than the one the Kingdom De Jure belongs to, then the said Duchy or Kingdom will slowly become De Jure part of the character's Primary title. The process can be sped up by using the Chancellor task Integrate title.
Any ducal or kingdom title can be created by a character who controls at least 51% of its De Jure Counties as long as they hold either two titles of lower Rank or one title of equal or higher Rank; empire titles require at least 81% of their De Jure Counties. In the Region of Europe, AI characters will only create Kingdom titles if they have certain cultures.
If a character is holding more than 50% of the De Jure Counties of a title held by a Ruler of the same Faith or a Faith which is not considered Hostile or Evil, then the character can Usurp the title. If the holder's Faith is considered Hostile or Evil, then they must not hold any De Jure counties of the title to be able to be Usurped.
If a character is a Vassal, they cannot Usurp a title belonging to the Liege, nor can they Usurp one that has the same Rank or higher than the Liege's Primary title.
De jure drift
In general, a duchy will assimilate into a kingdom after being controlled by that kingdom for 100 years, and a kingdom will similarly assimilate into an empire in the same time frame. The duration required for assimilation is decreased by the Chancellor task "Integrate Title". Every duchy in the game is considered to be part of a specific de jure kingdom. Vassals within a de jure border have fewer reasons and abilities to revolt against their liege and declare independence.
A duchy will begin to drift into a kingdom when all of the following conditions are met:
- The entire duchy (i.e. all county titles; baronies are allowed to be outside the realm) is within the realm of the king.
- The king does not hold the crown of the current de jure kingdom to which the duchy belongs.
- The ducal title either does not exist or is held by the king or by a vassal of the king.
- The duchy is not part of the kingdom of Jerusalem.
- The kingdom is its owner's primary title or the owner is an emperor and the drifting ducal title does not exist.
- The duchy shares a land border with the existing de jure kingdom
Upon reaching Jan 01 of the next year, drift is visible as dashed stripes on the kingdoms map mode. Hovering over the duchy will show a tooltip indicating the number of years until full assimilation.
Whenever the conditions for assimilation are not met — for example, if the local ruler of a duchy rebels against top-liege, or if one of the counties in the duchy is conquered by another independent realm - the counter will tick backwards instead of forwards, and at twice the speed. When the conditions are again met — for example, if the duke's rebellion is put down - the counter will resume ticking forwards.
Kingdoms assimilate into empires in a near-identical fashion: the emperor must hold or control all county titles in the de jure kingdom, and the empire title to which the kingdom belongs de jure either does not exist or is not held by that emperor. In addition, the drifting kingdom must either:
- Share a land border with an existing de jure kingdom
- Share a naval border a maximum of 2 sea tiles away from an existing de jure kingdom
Assimilation allows titular kingdoms and empires to become non-titular and vice versa. If a de jure kingdom becomes titular, it can be created by whoever controls its de jure capital.
A claim represents a character's legal right to obtain a title which is not theirs and allows the creation of a claimant faction. If the title belongs to a vassal, the claim allows the liege to revoke the claimed title without incurring tyranny. Otherwise, a claim provide a casus belli to gain the claimed title through war. Alternatively, if the title belongs to the liege and the government is tribal, the claimant vassal can use the ‘Challenge the Ruler’ decision, which is a duel. Claims can be pressed or unpressed.
- Pressed claims are inherited by the character's primary heir as unpressed
- Unpressed claims are not inherited by the character's primary heir but can become pressed if they are used for a casus belli and the war ends in white peace
- Implicit claims are given to all children of a character on its titles and will become pressed if the character dies and the child does not inherit the title
Claims on landed titles can be obtained the following ways:
- Using the ‘Fabricate Claim on County’ councilor interaction will provide an unpressed claim on the targeted county; if the court chaplain has high learning, there is a 20% chance of gaining a claim on the county's de jure duchy instead.
- A dynasty head can use the claim title interaction on dynasty members to gain an unpressed claim on their primary title.
- A character with the ‘Sanction Loopholes’ perk can use the ‘Buy Claim’ interaction to gain an unpressed claim on another character's primary title at the following cost: (Note: if your character's primary title is a Kingdom or an Empire, you will be unable to claim another Kingdom/Empire level title)
|Title rank||Piety cost|
Revoking Titles of vassals is a crucial part of realm management, as it allows redistribution of power.
To revoke Titles:
- Feudal or Clan Rulers require Level 2 Crown Authority (and thus the Tribal Era Innovation Planned Assemblies).
- Tribal Rulers require Level 3 Tribal Authority. This means that Tribal Rulers can only revoke titles at least 10 years after a game has started, provided they have enough Prestige to implement Level 2 Tribal Authority on Day 1.
Revoking Titles incur Tyranny if done without a valid reason; valid revocation reasons include:
- having a Claim on the Title being revoked;
- Vassal has committed a Crime of a certain Severity
If the Vassal doesn't accept the revocation, they will rise in revolt, along with other disgruntled Vassals; imprisoned Vassals cannot refuse Title revocation.
Holding too many titles
Overextension: If a character is a Count or Duke, their realm can include a maximum of 30 County titles without penalties; for Dukes, this include the Counties controlled by their Count Vassals. Each county over the limit gives an overextension penalty that reduces the character's Gold income by -10%. Count-rank characters are unlikely to see this however, as they are further limited by their Domain Limit, which is usually much lower.
Too Many Held Duchies: If a character is a King or Emperor, they can hold a maximum of 2 Duchy titles without penalties. Any Duchy above the limit reduces the Opinion of all Vassals by -15.
Titular titles can only be obtained in special circumstances and are not part of the de jure hierarchy.
Every other Head of Faith also has its own Titular title, each one of Duchy tier.