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Fresh(ish) Campaign Ideas for Crusader Kings III

Fresh(ish) Campaign Ideas for Crusader Kings III

Welcome to Crusader Kings Anonymous. If you pride yourself on not starting every game as William the Conqueror, only to go and play Duchess Matilda for the 30th time because you think she’s pretty, you’re safe here. If you played Iberian Struggle through only one time and went straight back to playing a Viking, this is a judgement-free zone. Let’s all hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' while I give a valiant attempt at convincing you to find some variety in your life.

First things first: If you’ve somehow stumbled your way here as a brand-new player, I must give the obligatory advice of starting your first campaign in Ireland, AKA: what the community fondly refers to as ‘noob island.’ It’s recommended by everyone, including Paradox, for a reason. Once you reunite the whole country under one crown, you’ve mastered the basics and can launch yourself down this list.


Disclaimer done, here is my quick list of fun and not nearly as overplayed campaigns in Crusader Kings III:

867: Transylvania — Prince Dox Presianov of Bulgaria

Now, I’m not going to put emojis in an article, but imagine a row of ‘OK’ emojis right about here because this start is nice and juicy if you’re looking to make money and play tall. You begin as Prince Dox, brother to the King of Bulgaria. Dox starts out with a pretty sizable duchy realm. At the beginning of the game, you have 20 holdings that can be built up and upgraded if you have the gold. Even better, you have a special building you can construct called the Torda salt mines, which will give you +2.0 gold per month, 10% stationed siege weapon effectiveness, +5% holding tax and development growth for the county, and -4.00% on levy cost. Build up your revenue and your power, push your way to becoming the regent, and you can get all the benefits of being a king without the title or the stress.

867: Kano — Magajiya Daurama

This is a well-known start, but still an interesting campaign I felt was worth mentioning. Daurama has a whole achievement based around her life and lineage called ‘Mother Of Us All,’ which can make the most seasoned and grizzled veteran of Crusader Kings III piss their pants a little. She’s listed as a ‘recommended start’ under 867, but much like Infanta Urraca(who I’ll go over a little later on), I’m giving her an honourable mention as she’s often overlooked.

1066: Bohemia — Duke Vratislave II

I’ll be honest: this is a pretty damn easy campaign. You’re Catholic, you’re in the centre of Europe, you have a decent chunk of land, and you’re a lean 34-year-old. That said, it’s prime real estate if you want to have a stable enough realm to max out your Hastiluder and Traveller traits. The funky little hitch in this run is that your inheritance rule is seniority, not primogeniture. This is an easy enough thing to fix if you want to, whether by conventional means or by a good ol’ murder or two.

1066: Anywhere around Khiva

You can go into your console commands to start the Mongol invasion yourself, but it roughly triggers in the 1200s. If you start at the 1066 start date, you’ll have about 134 years to build something that probably won’t last the wrath of Genghis Khan, but hey, give it a go!

1066: Ångermanland — Chieftain Thord

The challenge with this guy is pretty obvious. You’ll start as an independent ruler, one of the last followers of Ásatrú in what is an almost completely Catholic Scandinavia. Since you don’t have a sovereign lord who can alter your feudal contract, there’s no easy protection from religious persecution. If this campaign isn't hard enough, you could create a ruler, pick any religion the pope feels is ‘hostile’, and choose your poison when it comes to location. If you want a little chance at longevity, hang out on an island. If you want to be a complete masochist, throw yourself in Italy as an independent lord and cross your fingers. Maybe the pope will have a shorter lifespan than average.

1066: Amora — Urraca Fernandez of Castille

Dearest friends, may I offer to you an alternative to the famous Duchess Matilda of Tuscany. As the Infanta, you have only one county to your name, you’re unmarried, and you have three brothers who are all kings of neighbouring realms. You can see where this is going. Paradox labelled this start as ‘hard,’ but it gives you a lot of room for creativity while having the bonus of major family drama. Oh, yeah, did I mention you’re the lover of your liege? You know — who, as I mentioned, is also your brother? Water is wet, the sky is blue, Crusader Kings III is making your family tree into a circle. Pretty standard stuff, really.


We can hope that with more expansion packs and more time, Paradox will add new start dates to the game. Until then, those are a few options to shake up your gameplay in Crusader Kings III.

Tina Vatore

Tina Vatore

Staff Writer

“That's what I'm here for: to deliver unpleasant news and witty one-liners."

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