Crusader Kings III – From a Viking to an Emperor of France (Tips and Tricks)

This guide will give you some tips on how to become an Emperor of France.

Useful Tips and Tricks

Early Game

Start as Haesteinn of Haestening Dynasty. You will start with just one county, Montaigu, at Western France. But dont worry, it seems that Count Haesteinn brought 3000 of his viking followers with him and a large quantity of gold. You will also have alot of Prestige to begin with. So use these to your advantage.

Before unpausing, choose a Martial Lifestyle, focusing on Strategy. Also, you dont need to spend gold on Men-at-arms, because having 3000 soldiers early on, your forces is far superior than other counties except of course the king of france (so better stay away from him).

The First Invasion

At the start you are surrounded by several kingdoms including the Kingdom of Brittany and the Kingdom of France. If you make the mistake of attacking them, then you’ll die and end early.

Apparently, the King of France is an ally of the King of Brittany, so attacking either of them will bring forth the wrath of their ally and could wipe you out.

So instead of attacking these kingdoms, why not focus on the County of Leon at the Edge of Western France. The Baron here only have a couple of hundred troops which is far inferior than your viking horde. It should be a piece of cake.

Don’t think of a valid casus belli, since you are the viking invaders, basically you can invade every county in france.

Where to Next?

So the next question is, since the Kingdom of France and Brittany will bring forth destruction to you, where will you invade next?

The answer is Ireland. Since Ireland is basically composed of several chiefdoms during these time, you wound expect big forces to counter you.

Basically desmond and Thomond will go down without a fight. Connacht will also be easy to take (but i didn’t). Ormond and Ossory will be allied with the High Chiefdom of Meath so you can stay away from them.

The objective is to perform a blitz in these counties, with minimal losses. The problem I encountered after is that these are of different holding types. The solution is simple, I gave the titles to my son.

But if Ireland is to far, and you want to focus on france, you can skip these part.

Becoming a Vassal of France

The dilemma is should you stay as a viking horde or should you kiss the King of France and become his vassal. I chose the latter.

I chose the King of France as my direct liege, instead of some duke of France. Why? because you will never become a duke if you are under someone else’s duchy. If you didn’t attack leon and Ireland early on, and chose to become a vassal of france immediately, you will be under the duke of Aquataine and become is baron. The trick for this not happening is to have other holdings and transferring your capital there for the awhile.

Having your capital transfered to leon or to desmond will mean that you will become a Direct Vassal of the King of France. In other words, he is your only boss. Because the crown authority is low at that time, you can still attack other duchy, as long as you have a valid casus belli.

Also dont forget to change religion to Catholicism. This will allow you to invite Catholics to court (since you are in France and Catholicism is the main religion).

Invasion of the Kingdom of Brittany

This is the time to attack the Kingdom of Brittany.

Since you are a vassal of the Kingdom of France, then your liege wont object in attacking the Kingdom of Brittany, even if the latter is an ally of the former. Brittany won’t have much of a resistance. They would only have around 700-800 Levies at that time.

Congrats, now you will have the Duchy of Brittany and now you are a Duke.

Use Your Family

The next step is not using your military prowess to take over france, rather, by carefully inserting your bloodlines into other houses.

The following tips and tricks are useful.

  1. Use your daughter to marry someone with claims, using matrilineal marriage. This means, all children will be under your house. Furthermore, the husband will relocate to your court, hence you can use his claim to expand.
  2. Use you daughter or sister to marry the prince of France. Not necessarily the heir of the kingdom of France, but rather the other sons or grandson of the King of France. This will ensure that one of your nephew will have a claim on the throne. With a little luck and sway (scheme), their opinion of you may be high enough that you can use matrilineal marriage, and your nephew will be part of your dynasty.
  3. Use your sons to marry the daughter of some nearby kings or duke, with a big army. Marrying off will automatically grant you an alliance (by blood), hence look for those kingdoms with an icon of “potential alliance” in the marriage window.

In my scenario, my sister Vigdis married Prince Carloman of West Francia. Because Prince Louis (the other Prince of France) is disfigured, he can’t marry and wound have children, hence Prince Carloman is the potential heir of France.

Use Schemes / Intrigue

This will take careful planning.

Since my sister, Vigdis, married Prince Carloman of France, using Martrilineal marriage (how i did this i have no idea. I may have had a hook or their opinion was high enough or he wasn’t the primary heir, so the king of france agreed to this). I waited for them to have a son. You can offer guardianship to him after if you want so that he will transfer to your court. Btw, your nephew will be under your dynasty. His name in my scenario was Angelbert Heistening.

So the Line of Succession for the Kingdom of France will be Prince Louis (Primary heir), then my nephew Angelbert (I dont know why Prince Carloman wasn’t the next in line).

This is the tricky party.

You want to to kill them all so your nephew will become the Heir of the Throne.

Luckily, for my part, Prince Louis died in a battle of Feb 881, he was 18.

Next, I planned the murder of the King Louis II of France. You need a very good spymaster to support this scheme. Furthermore, you need allies and good opinion from other vassals.

Finally after several months, King Louis II died under suspicious circumstance (by me of course!)

My nephew, Angelbert Heistening is the new King of France!

Take the Throne of France

Now, my nephew Angelbert is the new king.

Patience is the key to take over the throne. I waited for him to be engaged in several wars against neighboring kingdoms. Furthermore, by this time, I have allied with neighboring kingdoms. Remember, even if you are allied with several vassals, they wont help you with your fight against the throne hence find allies outside France.

When I saw 6000 troops from the Kingdom of France were engaged in a fight against other kingdoms, and somehow got depleted, I use the best casus belli to take over France.

I am the head of the Haestening Dynasty hence as the head I have claim to the throne. I acted fast, attack Paris head on, and captured several valuable family members including Prince Carloman of West Francia. I eventually won the battle.

I am now the King of West Francia.

Consolidate France

France was divided between the Kingdom of West Francia and the Kindome of Aquitane.

My nephew Angelbert become the King of Aquitane. You have 2 options, wait until the truce ends before taking over the Kingdom of Aquitane or break the truce and became a tyrrant.

I chose the latter. After 2 years of waiting for me to form allies and reinsforcement, I broke the truce and attack the Kingdom of Aquitane. My nephew lost and was killed of course, and I consolidated power in france.

I am now Finally the King of West Francia, Brittany and Aquitane.

Keep Vassals Happy

Since I became a tyrrant, my vassals’ opinion weren’t good. Here are a few tricks how i controlled them.

  1. Sway (scheme) them to improve opinion.
  2. Offer council positions (this improves alot)
  3. Focus your chancellor to domestic affairs as this improves vassal opinion by +10
  4. Switch lifestyle focus to stewardship and administrator. Get the branch with likable and positions of power.
  5. Ask them to change religion to Catholicism. If they refuse, throw them in prison. They can’t revolt there.
  6. Revoke titles (if they will allow you).
  7. Invade / plot to kill them.

Create the Empire of Francia

Since you now hold 3 dejure Kingdoms (Brittany, Aquitane and West Francia), while King Lothaire III holds the Kingdom of Burgundy, you can create the Empire of West Francia.

What you need is 800 gold. Just wait, and don’t spend on unnecessary things.

Alas, you are now the Emperor of Francia.

Expand and Enjoy the Game

Being the Emperor, there is nothing left to do but expand.

Luckily, one of my Vassals, Duke Karel III has claims on the Kingdom of Italy. With the use of 1500 prestige, I invaded the Kingdom of Italy. With the help of my allies from the Kingdom of Lothargia and Kingdom of Bavaria, I conqured Italy with ease.

Duke Karel III become the King of Italy, and still my vassal.

I also created other titles like the Kingdom of Brittany. I gave the Kingdom of Aquitane to my heir and son, knowing that when I die, he will inherit the Empire and the Kingdom of West Francia. His brother will become the King of Brittany and his vassal.

So what now? you can expand to the west and conquer the Infidels occupying Hispania. Or Expand north to the dejure kingdom of Britannia. Nothing is impossible for the Empire of France!

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13512 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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