If you're looking for a challenge, a Tribal start is a good way of beginning. In thisguide we'll be looking at what makes Tribals tick, and what you need to do to rise above and join the ranks of the Feudal lords. Also Raiding… because who doesn't love pillaging temples?
CK3 Tribal Buildings
Despite their reputation Tribal societies aren't all bad, so first we'll look at some of the gameplay that makes them fun to play. To begin with we can't ignore that Tribal Holdings have more Levies compared to their Feudal counterparts at about a 3:2 ratio. This ratio is flipped the other way when it comes to Taxes although these are rough ratios but you get the idea - more Levies, less Tax.
The same applies to the early game buildings available in yourwhich will offer more military power than the Feudal versions. The problem here comes from the simple fact that the buildings only have two levels, seeing them quickly outpaced. Buildings also cost both gold and Prestige.
CK3 Tribal Troops
While Levies operate the same way as the Feudal peasant armies, the Tribal rulers instead use Prestige to create Men-at-Arms Regiments. This further increases the power disparity between themselves and their Feudal neighbours as even with less gold, they can quickly create Men-at-Arms, while Feudal rulers still can't afford to. Prestige also pays their upkeep which saves a considerable amount of the gold they just wouldn't be getting anyway.
If you do some napkin math on the benefits of this, even starting the game as a duchy-ranked ruler under a king, you could immediately spend your Prestige to add 50% to yourwith units that do more than twice the damage of basic Levies. This means that without any upgrades you can have twice the army damage you had when you started, which itself was already more than your Feudal counterpart.
As an additional bonus to Tribal rulers, troops from Feudal Realms will also suffer heavy attrition penalties when in your territory.
It's also worth considering the Firm Hand, which gives 1% Prestige/month for each you have. With some other basic Perks or just being a bit ruthless with prisoners, you can make a lot more Prestige/month to help fuel your bloodlust.
Another fantastic part of being Tribal is what you can do with these massive armies. Raiding is a time honoured experience for any barbarian warrior and Crusader Kings 3 offers the chance to do just that.
To start raiding you don't need to pass any laws or worry about Casus Belli, instead you just raise you army and click the little Start Raiding button on your army panel. This has to be done inside your own territory but after that you simply march them out onto your neighbours land. Note that Raiding armies suffer 1% Attrition per month. You can also click Raise Local Raiders at a Rally Point to automate this.
With your Raiding army selected, hovering the cursor over a non allied province will show you the Raid Loot available and the map will mark Recently Raided provinces with a burning torch symbol. This isn't just what you've Raided, but anywhere that cannot currently be Raided again. Hovering over the symbol will also tell you how long until it will be ready again (default 5 year cooldown).
Moving into a province with Loot will trigger an almost-siege to begin. This Raiding pits your army against the local garrison and when complete, you receive the gold you saw in the tooltip. This will also trigger Hostilities with your target, turning their armies hostile and allowing them to defend their lands. This unofficial skirmish war lasts 5 months from your last Raid.
The gold gained here doesn't just go into the bank though, and is instead packed away with your gear. If you look at the top of the army panel, you will see the usual Supplies and monthly Attrition, but also a Raid Loot total. This shows two numbers, how much you have and how much you can carry, with larger armies able to carry more.
Don't worry if your capacity shrinks below what you have already stolen though, as nothing will be dropped and you'll retain all your earnings even if you limp home with a broken force. You also gain an equal amount of Prestige when you return home.
When you feel you have enough shiny loot or a hostile army is threatening you, be sure to hurry back home to add the gold to your coffers as if your army is destroyed before then, you will lose all the Loot and the victorious army will recover it for themselves. This also partially applies to ordinary defeats, where the victor will take a portion of your Loot.
However, with no land to fight over and no real risk of retaliation, Raiding also offers a chance to fight some battles. This might sound a little pointless, but winning a skirmish earns you Prestige, and Prestige is just as valuable a currency for Tribal rulers as gold is. Don't risk too much, and try to fight when you aren't carrying a lot of Loot, but it's something to consider.
CK3 Tribal Authority
Tribal Authority pretty much mirrors that of Feudal Authority, albeit with less powers available. Each level increases these powers and includes everything from the previous one. As we can see, the Absolute Tribal Authority offers the distinct ability to transition to Feudal, which is necessary if you intend to compete later on.
- Disparate Tribes - Demand Levies and Taxes and nothing else, +10 opinion
- Limited - Can imprison characters, -10 opinion
- High - Can revoke titles and retract Vassals, -20 opinion
- Absolute - Tribal with non-Tribal Lieges can settle, becoming Feudal or Clan, -30 opinion
CK3 Tribal Expansion
The need for Fabricated Claims is set aside if you play as a Tribal ruler, with you having access to Conquest Casus Belli. At the start this is limited to Conquer County, but as your Fame Level increases, so do your options for war.
At the third Fame Level, Illustrious, you can fight for whole Duchies, and once you reach Exalted among Men you gain access to a once-per-lifetime Casus Belli that lets them claim an entire Kingdom in a single war.
A quick trick you can use with these Conquests is to create beachheads around the map. While trekking a Raiding army all over the place can prove time consuming and potentially very dangerous, defeating a single County target can get you a sliver of land far from home. Here you can create a Rally Point and Raid much further away than you normally would. Even if it proves unfeasible to defend the title in the longterm, the gold and glory you'll get from its location before that point will be more than worth it.
CK3 Adopting Feudal Ways
So you've spent your time pillaging your neighbours but as time's gone by you notice them getting stronger, Raids take longer and the armies sent to stop you grow larger. Or perhaps you've embraced the way of the warrior and conquered all your foes but are struggling to survive the inner turmoil of Tribal rule. Either way, it's time to settle down and civilise yourself a little, so stick that pinky out and sip on some knowledge.
To become Feudal you must enact the decision Adopt Feudal Ways. This decision has a lot of prerequisites but once you meet them all, it changes every Tribal Holding in your Realm into Castle Holdings.
- Absolute Tribal Authority
- An Organized Faith
- Distinguished Fame Level
- Capital County Development at at least 5
- Completed all Tribal Era Innovations
It will probably be Tribal Innovations that hold you back the longest, so take a look at ourthat talks about how you can speed up the process.
CK3 Bending the Knee
There is a simpler way of converting though. If you are a Vassal of a non-Tribal Liege, the option will exist for you to convert to Feudal if Crown Authority is at 2 and they have an organised religion. This could not only make the process faster, but also add a layer of protection for your newly Feudal land as all buildings are destroyed in the process and your power dramatically reduced.
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