With Holy Fury came changes to how Byzantine succession works. For anyone new to the game post HF release, it makes the empire extremely frustrating to play, however hopefully this guide can help new players come to grips and even love the new succession system.
Now I personally struggled to understand how the succession worked when I first got into this game and it can be a little daunting to new players so hopefully after reading this quick guide you too will be able to keep your family on the throne!
Other Crusader Kings II Guides:
- How to Destroy a Secret Religion / Cult.
- How to Get The Good Old Days Achievement.
- Building Better Badshahs Through Bloodline Breeding.
- How to Change Government from Feudal to Merchant Republic.
- Dark Ages Rules.
Part 1: Understanding Imperial Elective
So judging by these points it's easy to figure out the best way to approach the system. First of all, in the Byzantium Empire Government system it is easy to manipulate the election candidates available to make sure the list of possible choices is restricted to only your bloodline and family so that when elections occur, you will assume the new identity soon as your current character dies.
The best method of achieving this is to restrict the options available.
You can do this by only giving council positions to holders of cities, churches, clergy, theocracies and republics within your empire as they are disqualified from being choices for candidates. For new players the portraits of those in these roles have white ribbons and red ribbons for theocracies and republics respectively. You can feel safe also giving any positions to any closely related landed members of your dynasty (preferably your character's children) with your bloodline icon as if they end up electing themselves, you'll play as them, so it doesn't matter.
You can also give the positions to eunuchs and disfigured dukes as they are also disqualified.
I highly recommend you do not give commander roles to any noble landed vassal who is ambitious or gregarious. The AI for that character will go out of it's way to manipulate and carry favours with the council to gain votes against your candidate. You should also avoid giving commander positions to any landed noble vassal regardless as a matter of course; even if they have a good military score.
Give Commander positions to your character's children when they come of age, republic vassals, theocracy vassals and disfigured noble vassals. Yes, by limiting the number of commanders you will always get the minor titles icon showing up, but if you mouse over it you can check for anything that is pressing of importance, such as actual minor titles that give happiness and you want to give out!
Part 2: Dealing with Powerful Vassals
Make sure to only give out duchy vice royalties. It is safe to give standard duchy titles to republics, in fact I recommend it! The more republics you have in your empire, the more disqualified from being potential candidates you have. While you go about this, I strongly suggest you swiftly go about converting the Balkans republics to Orthodox as soon as you can and also once you've acquired more territory, forcibly splitting them up over 2 separate duchies to reduce their power. At the 867 start date the catholic republic will be the most likely to attempt to succeed from the empire, you do not want this!
When you conquer new lands I also suggest you give out new counties to your direct relatives, preferably your character's children then assign them the local duchy vice royalty. Also give your children as many honorary titles as you possibly can. You want direct relatives who have voting power to also have honorary titles. Also, give voters who are loyal to you and friendly to you titles, this increases their voting power for your chosen candidate, it also increases the likelihood of your other relatives being elected should for some unfortunate reason all of them do not like you.
Make sure standard noble vassals who are not related to you never attain too much power. Only ever hand out vice royalties upon succession and always favour weaker county holders in a De jure (de facto) duchy region. This reduces the chances of getting a powerful vassal demanding a council position who will contest the throne if they get it! Do not under any circumstance ever give favours to vassal nobles, because they will abuse it more often than not to attain a council position or a commander position.
When your vassals gain new lands along your boarder, make sure as soon as you get the opportunity to do so, to create the duchy title and then assign the vice royalty for it to the holders, upon their deaths it will split up, reducing their power base so you can reassign.
When you attain new vassals via De Jure claims, forcibly demand they give up their duchy title, because they will have a happiness penalty relative to your number of vice royalties (which would be everyone). The only nobles that would be upset by this are duchy holders who are not vice royalties, which means just that person. So feel free to remove it and your vassals won't care less. Then to make them happy again, give them back their title as a vice royalty and gift them some gold.
Part 3: Joining a Monastic Order
If you have Holy Fury and/or Monks and Mystics I strongly recommend joining the Community of Saint Basil.
Yes you'll have to donate money and build churches which are expensive, but you're the richest empire in the game with the highest income so you can afford it and I recommend it.
Members will like you more, which is a good thing and on top of this you can use the powers you attain as you rank up to remove sins from your children and family members and give them virtues. This increases the likelihood they will be voted for by the voters as virtues give bonuses to vote score while sins are either ignored or give negatives. Overall it's a good thing in the long run; It also allows you to create more powerful successors and smarter successors which also increases technology gain. It is truly a net positive and Monastic Order are considered Overpowered for a reason!
Ok, I hope my guide helped you in coming to grasps with understanding how to maintain power in Byzantium.