Crusader Kings II

Crusader Kings II

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Crusader Kings II (aka CK2) is a Grand Strategy game set in the Middle Ages, developed by Paradox Development Studio (PDS) and released in 2012 on PC (Feb.14) and OS X (May 24). A Linux version was also released on Jan.14, 2013. It is, to date, the most commercially successful strategy game PDS ever produced, with over 1 million copies sold as of September 2014[1].

Author's Note : This entry was created in March 2017, 2 weeks after the release of the "Monks & Mystics" expansion. It is possible some of its content will no longer be up-to-date when you read it.


The game allows the player to incarnate a medieval ruler, historical or not, and help him protect, develop and grow his territory. Any kind of starting position can be chosen, from a simple count to an all-powerful emperor. The most prominent feature of the game being that if the character played dies, the game doesn't end, but instead has the player take control of their heir. As long as the character played has a title and an heir of his dynasty upon death, the game continues until 1453 (historical date of the Turkish conquest of Constantinople).

Although falling under the Grand Strategy category of video games, Crusader Kings II is particularly appreciated by its fanbase for its roleplaying aspect : all characters have defining traits, which they can acquire or lose through their life, fleshing out their personnality and behavior, and influencing the opinion of others. This feature was prominently advertised in the "7 deadly sins" web series on Youtube prior to the game's release :

While trying to survive and prosper in medieval Europe, the player will have to take care of numerous aspects of everyday life : finding a worthy wife/husband (preferably a cousin), ensuring the preferred heir receives a proper education, making sure the spymaster is loyal, plotting the assassination of a close relative, among many other chores. Furthermore, several text events popping up throughout the game add flavor and unexpected situations to it. The combination of those elements creates an "emergent narrative"[2] that has since become the trademark of the game and its (very) numerous add-ons (see below).


Upon release, Crusader Kings II was favorably received by a majority of the press, with a metascore of 82%[3], mainly praising its unique gameplay for a title of the Grand Strategy genre, as well as its accessibility for newcomers.
Through unexpected word-of-mouth, its sales have remained stable months, and even years after its initial release[2].

Update and DLC policy


Paradox Development Studio has a history of long-term development on its games, which are constantly patched and improved according to the feedback received from the community[4].
As of today (March 2017), CK2 has received over 60 patches[5], from bug fixing to major updates. These updates contain new game mechanics, new religious features, new interactions, mostly (but not exclusively) tied to a major expansion released at the same time. This allows players who do not wish to buy the latest DLC to still be able to play online with anyone. The game is currently in v2.7.


The expansions released for CK2 could be summarized as "unlockers" giving access to characters originally unplayable. The base game only allows to play as a christian (catholic, orthodox or miaphysite), while major expansions such as Sword of Islam (muslims), The Old Gods (pagans) or Rajas of India (dharmic religions) open new gameplay possibilities.
As of March 2017, a total of 12 major expansions have been made available. Owning them all is not mandatory however, as patches constantly keep the base game up-to-date.

DLC overload controversy

Aside from these major expansions, Paradox has also released numerous "cosmetic" DLCs adding new portraits for characters, new music or new coat-of-arms for major dynasties. These DLCs are often met with very relative enthusiasm, as they do not bring anything new to the game and are generally considered overpriced when not on sale.
Furthermore, if a newcomer wished to buy every single available DLC to date alongside the basegame, they would be in for a painful surprise at checkout :

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT FOR THIS GAME Crusader Kings Il: Monks and Mystics Crusader Kings Il: The Reapers Due Crusader Kings lIl: The Reaper's Due Content Pack Crusader Kings Il: Hymns of Revelation Crusader Kings ll: Full Plate Metal Crusader Kings ll: Conclave Crusader Kings ll: Conclave Content Pack Crusader Kings Il: Viking Metal Crusader Kings ll: Horse Lords Crusader Kings ll: Horse Lords Content Pack Crusader Kings Il: Orchestral House Lords Crusader Kings Il: Way of Life Crusader Kings Il: Iberian Portraits Crusader Kings Il: Iberian Unit Pack Crusader Kings Il Ebook: Tales of Treachery Crusader Kings Il: Charlemagne Crusader Kings II: Early Western Clothing Pack Crusader Kings lIl: Dynasty Shields Charlemagne Ebook - Crusader Kings ll: The Song of Roland Crusader Kings Il: Rajas of India Crusader Kings lIl: Songs of India Crusader Kings Il: Saxon Unit Pack Crusader Kings ll: Finno-Ugric Unit Pack Crusader Kings Il: Songs of Yuletide Crusader Kings Il: Sons of Abraham Crusader Kings Il: Military Orders Unit Pack Crusader Kings Il: Warriors of Faith Unit Pack Crusader Kings Il: Hymns of Abrahanm Crusader Kings Il: Customization Pack Crusader Kings Il: Europa Universalis IV Converter Crusader Kings lIl: Dynasty Shield IlI Crusader Kings ll: Celtic Portraits Crusader Kings ll: Celtic Unit Pack Crusader Kings lIl: The Old Gods Crusader Kings Il: Norse Portraits Crusader Kings Il: Norse Unit Pack Crusader Kings Il: Hymns to the Old Gods Crusader Kings II: The Republic Crusader Kings II: Mediterranean Portraits Crusader Kings lIl: Songs of Prosperity Crusader Kings lIl: Songs of the Rus Crusader Kings Il: Russian Portraits Crusader Kings Il: Russian Unit Pack Crusader Kings Il: Sunset Invasion Crusader Kings Il: Legacy of Rome Crusader Kings Il: Byzantine Unit Pack Crusader Kings Il: Dynasty Shield II Crusader Kings Il: African Portraits Crusader Kings Il: Songs of Byzantium Crusader Kings Il: Sword of Islam Crusader Kings Il: African Unit Pack Crusader Kings lIl: Songs of the Caliplh Crusader Kings Il: Ruler Designer Crusader Kings lIl: Songs of the Holy Land Crusader Kings lIl: Songs of Faith Crusader Kings lIl: Songs of Albion Crusader Kings lIl: Dynasty Shields Crusader Kings Il: Mongol Faces Crusader Kings lIl: Turkish Unit Pack Crusader Kings lIl: Turkish Portraits Crusader Kings Il: Persian Unit Pack Crusader Kings Il: Persian Portraits Crusader Kings II: Early Eastern Clothing Pack Crusader Kings lIl: South Indian Portraits 5 Year Anniversary Gift 14,99 9,99 4,99 2,99 14,99 4,99 2,99 14,99 5,99 2,99 7,99 1,99 6,99 14,99 1,99 14,99 Free 9,99 4,99 9,99 14,99 1,99 9,99 1,99 1,99 1,99 4,99 4,99 0,99 9,99 1,99 4,99 1,99 Free 276,38Add all DLC to Cart
"Tax this dude into space."

Defenders of the game, however, point out that the CK2 and its DLC are systematically at a 75 to 80% discount during Steam Sales, most notably the Crusader Kings II Collection being available for 40 euros/dollars.

Sunset Invasion controversy

Even though it allows the player to reshape medieval history, Crusader Kings II is a game strongly rooted in historical accuracy, constantly adding new gameplay elements based on actual historical figures or events. One very notable exception, though, is the Sunset invasion DLC, released in Nov.15, 2012.

Not sure Deus really Vulted…

The base concept of this small expansion is to add an equivalent to the threat posed by the Mongol Hordes in late game for western kingdoms, who are relatively far and safe from the great Khan's warriors :

It is the late 13th century and Europe is still reeling from the all-conquering Mongol Hordes. Just as the Lords of the West breathe a sigh of relief, another threat looms on the horizon. Strange ships bearing winged serpents and grinning skulls, symbols never before seen in the known world, have been sighted all along the Atlantic coast. As the sun sets on the shores of Morocco, Portugal and Ireland, the largest fleet that has ever set sail approaches land, ready to invade in the name of blood thirsty gods…[6]

This expansion received a tepid welcome from the players, who were alarmed by the ahistorical nature of the DLC and the lack of balance in its execution, many complaining about the invincibility of the Aztec army. Sunset Invasion remains the most controversial additional content to the game today, according to a recent community survey[7], and PDS never released any other "fantasy" mod since then. The Aztecs have since been the butt of many jokes for the fans.



Aside from the official forum, many communities and discussion topics have emerged throughout the web as the game began to create a cult following.
One of the most prominent examples is the subreddit r/CrusaderKings, which in turn gave birth to r/ShitCrusaderKingsSay/, a collection of quotes who can seem particularly disturbing out of context or to someone unfamiliar with CK2 and its gameplay mechanics.

Next time sacrifice more of your children to Satan. Submitted 7 days ago by Fultjack - A family that gays together 2 comments share save hide report 100 Is there any way I can become a lesbian so l can seduce my twin sister? Submitted 8 days ago by captfr 1 comment share save hide report 118 how do i sacrifice a virgin?" Submitted 9 days ago by dan99990 comment share save hide report 58 The Dominican Order Turned Me Gay Submitted 10 days ago by godofdae comment share save hide report 83 "Have you guys considered not killing babies?" Submitted 12 days ago by RingGiver 2 comments share save hide report Vielets are pretty 152 /r/CrusaderKings discusses how to hang a baby r/CrusaderKings Submitted 13 days ago by artisticMink 3 comments share save hide report Vielets are pretty 194 "I'm pretty sure this doesn't actually create the antichrist, just a "regular" demonic child." Submitted 12 days ago by MisterArathos comment share save hide report 29 Not everyday you get to end the lineage of one of the most famous historical houses using your penis. 92 Submitted 15 days ago by Street_Marshal comment share save hide report "People have it so easy these days, I remember when I had to pray for a bug to be able to seduce my sister or daughter" Submitted 17 days ago by RingGiver comment share save hide report 122 I had a satanic, gay murder o--- with my mother Submitted 17 days ago by Fultjack - A family that gays together 1 comment share save hide report 107
The kind of conversations players are having since the release of the Monks & Mystics expansion.


Crusader Kings II has been open to modding since day 1, and has revealed itself a wonderful sandbox which could be adapted to several types of universe. Some notable mods, among many others, are :



Being a game in constant development and managing tens of thousands of characters at any given time, Crusader Kings II players are bond to meet bugs during their playthrough. Thankfully, most of them are generally harmless and not game-breaking. A few ones though, have had hilarious repercussions. The now famous spymaster Roger a Muirebe, for example, is known for having escaped an assassination attempt from Roger a Muirebe, whom he discovered plotting to kill Roger a Muirebe.

My liege, I write to you with shocking news! Roger a Muirebe tried to have me assassinated to make sure I wouldn't discover his plot to Kill Roger a Muirebe. Your humble Spymaster, Roger a Muirebe Expose him immediately!

Another cult classic is the neverending tournament of the Holy Roman Empire. What was supposed to be a few months of jousting ended up spanning over more than a century, killing numerous participants running for a glory that would never come.

E. Anonymous 07/28/12(Sat)01:54 No.10488 156。 File: 134345484896 7.ipg-(15 KB, 238x279, 1340922235928.jpg) shost a grand tournament as the HRE game glitches >tournament continues on for 50 years every few months get a notification someone has died in my tournament HOLY RO Replies to this post: □ Anonymous 07/28/12(Sat)01:54 No 10488 178團困 It can only end with your death Kaiser Vojtech I'the Mad' of Holy Roman Empire 116 >> [□ Anonymous 07/28/12(Sat)01:55 No.1 0488225團因 ile: 1343454953008.ipg-(46 KB, 368x367, rome.jpg) Hess 10488156 The Emperor Bohemian Waldensian Reigning in Praha, Praha demanded entertainment. , 16 (35) 12 (32) 6(27) 0 (22) 18 (42) 85308.3 □ Anonymous 07/28/12(Sat)02:00 No 10488364團因 24532.4 Wife File: 1343455214925.ipg-(24 KB, 698x672, 1327543862048jpg) 782.6 10082.8 continued >100 years into my grand tournament I have started to run out of vassals >have to conquer new lands to acquire more people to sustain the eternal tournament convert to a christian heresy to more efficiently wage war and fuel sthe pope has called over 5 crusades to destroy the monstrosity that has spawned Replies to this post: □ Anonymous 07/28/12(Sat)02:00 No.1048 8368團因 10488329 >Fukke liege! Your guest Fodlimid Ua Briain has tragically been killed □ Anonymous 07/28/12(Sat)0200 No. 10488384口困 during the tournament! 10488364 Most unfortinate Don't bother me with such details! Mos ini Don

Family values

As a dynastic game, CK2 emphasizes on keeping it in the family. Players must ensure their best holdings remain under control at any cost, be it marrying a direct cousin, plotting the murder of an unwelcome nephew born last week, or find a way to get rid of that inbred first-born preventing his brilliant younger brother from being the rightful heir.
Alas, despite all these benevolent efforts, there is no such thing as a "perfect family", and sibling rivalries, mortal grudges and other cold-served vengeful assassinations tend to become more and more common with each passing generation.
Since the release of the Old Gods expansion, incest is "wincest" more than ever, as the now playable Zoroastrian faith considers a ruler marrying is own mother, sister or daughter as a sacred marriage.

Grandpare nts Children rec Parents G randpare nts Great Grandparents Pepin Karloman Bertrada Isabelle Karling Pepin Giselhar Gerbe Ida ohn Roger Asha ohn Roger John Roger Idril Máire
Because not preserving your excellent genes would be a waste.
Border Gore

The term "Border Gore" has been coined to refer to an artistic cartographer's nightmare, in which realms are manifestly non-convex or discontiguous. Borders seem to have been drawn with no regard for oceans, mountain ranges, or de jure territory. Whether due to war or inheritance conflicts, this situation tends to exacerbate regional instability.

Disgusting Double Chin
Emp or Raimbaut of South Francia Countess Lociza of Cornouaille 100 de Cor Liege Breton Catholic Occ Cornouai 灧. Wife Husband Heir Heir Titles: Titles: Claims Sultan Mirza of Mirzid Sultanate 16 Mirzid 8 25% Bedouin 12 (30) 9 (24) 9 (21) 10 (25) 18 (32) 5/6 5/26 3.81K 331.4 834.3 583.7 Betrothed i Heir 21 259 Titles: Claims: Diplomacy: Attractive This character has a most pleasing physique, most attractive to the opposite sex. Attraction Opinion: +30 Family Relations Vassals (23) Court22Pacts (2) Parents Grandparents War Diplomacy: +1 Children most pleasing physique, most attractive to the opposite sex.

The "Double Chin" is a disgraceful facial feature from the base western european portraits, particularly dreaded due to its seemingly hereditary aspect. Once a character acquires it, chances are high his children and grandchildren on many generations will have it too, even if they have traits like temperate, strong or attractive.

The Karlings
King Karl of West Francia 26 Karling Frankish 10 (10) , 23 (23) S15 (15) 10 (10) 4/8 21/28 4.30K 105.0 40.0 20.0 Wife Heir Tides: Claims: Diplomacy IS KARL KARLING YOUR EMPEROR? ARE YOU A FRANCIAN CITIZEN? DO YOU LIKE HIM NO YESAND DID YOU VOTE FOR HIM? NO. I HATE HIM KARL KARLING IS NOT YOUR EMPEROR KARL KARLING IS YOUR EMPEROR

Copypasta : We are the Karlings. Disband your levies and surrender your castles. We will add your titles and claims to our own. Your demesne will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile. You will be vassalized.
We impose order on the chaos of Western Europe, we will marry into your lands because we allow it, and we shall take over your lands because we demand it.

The Karling dynasty (also know as Carolingian dynasty) was a Frankish noble family of the early middle-age. The name "Carolingian" derives from the Latinised name of Charles Martel: Carolus. The Carolingian dynasty reached its peak in 800 with the crowning of Charlemagne as the first Emperor of Romans in over three centuries. His death in 814 began an extended period of fragmentation of the Carolingian empire and decline that would eventually lead to the evolution of the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire.
Since the release of the Old Gods expansion, the Karling dynasty has generated a lot of hate and anger, as the family holds several kingdoms, duchies and counties of importance in 867. This meme became even more prominent with the Charlemagne expansion, since game events tend to favor Karl (or, more rarely, his brother Karloman) into forming the powerful empire of Francia.


A nod to Caligula and his horse Incitatus, which he famously planned to make a roman consul, Glitterhoof can appear at court randomly if the character has the lunatic trait and the Conclave expansion.

Event ID : ZE.15000 / Name : "Horse Chancellor"
Your horse has always struck you as being of a dependable sort, a quality you feel is sorely lacking in your councillors. Time to shake things up a bit. You will appoint him as your new chancellor.
> Glitterhoof, I appoint thee as the chancellor of the realm.

Glitterhoof rapidly became an all-time favorite among players. The poor equine courtier, which gender remains to be clearly identified, has been seduced and "given a good tumble" by some, assassinated with manure or sacrificed to demonic forces by others. More positive outcomes, however, have seen him made a priest and become Pope, or his offspring Rainbow Dash become empress of the restored Roman Empire. The would-be chancellor also inspired the creation of a mod unlocking his "Horse" culture.

The Chase Begins! LA M The idea of seducing Glitterhoof- a woman of the cloth- is so exciting! Yct, I am definitely risking a scandal here.. It will be worth id No, I fear Jesus too much. Glitterhoof 16 100 Lowborn Liege Horse 0/0 0/0 0 0.0 0.7 0.0 Wife 0 Dressed in a white gown, Glitterhoof scrcams hysterically as he is bound to the stake emerging from the piled firewood. Frenzied kolduns scrcam praise to Chernobog as you approach with y blazing torch held high. At the appointed hour you throw the torch into the oil-soaked wood, the fire roars to life, and suddenly 100 NLAND Tides: Claims: Diplomacy: Glitterhoofs carlier scrcams scem quict in comparison. mily Relations Vassals (Court (35) Pat (0Abroad (0) 340 Grandparents Wards Parents A virgin for Chernobog Glitterhoof dies! =| 231,EE-1 ChiefTvrdoslav gains 100 Dark Power Children Siblings Concubines LIIVIMAN
Empress Rainbow Dash the Glorious' of the Hæsteining RUTHEN POLA Norse 19 (40) 30 (47) 17 (30) 12 (33) 8 (25) 38/42 2853K 1350.0 10.7K 5202.2 Husband Heir Tides: Claims: Diplomacy: (60) Abroad (0) ROMAN EMPIRE Family Relations Vassals (59) Court ( Pacts Wards Parents Grandparents Children Siblings ROMAN EMPIRE

Related memes

Deus Vult

Deus Vult! ("God wills!") was the battle cry by the Crusaders at the declaration of the First Crusade by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095, when the Byzantine Empire requested help in defense from the Seljuk invasion of Anatolia.
The Crusades being one of the major features of the game, it was only natural for this cry to become a motto for the community. Deus Vult was already the name of an add-on to the first game of the series, and was also coined in the Europa Universalis series of games from the same studio. It has since become a meme on its own.

rusade for Syria! His Holiness, Pope Francis, has been swayed by the cries for help from the Christian population in the Sultanate of Syria. He urges all able-bodied men of Europe to take up arms against the evil Caliph Ibrahim of The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in order to secure Syria from the clutches of the Mahommedan infidels. God will grant the pilgrims remission of sins in Heaven! Deus Vult! PSST, HEY KID WANNA LIBERATE THE HOLY LAND?

Remove Kebab

Quickly adopted by the fanbase in response to the threat posed by the Arabic Empire in the east and the Umayyad dynasty in Spain and Morocco, Remove Kebab has become an absolute priority for many Crusader Kings II players struggling to survive in medieval Spain or Anatolia. A variation of this meme, "Remove Karlings", was also invented after the release of the Old Gods expansion, in order to prevent the dynasty from becoming all-powerful (see above, "The Karlings"). Paradox Interactive strongly disapproves of this meme, and has forbidden its usage on its official forums.

EI n Camarada T

Search interest

External references

[1] Crusader Kings II: Over 1 Million Copies Sold –
fn2. How Crusader Kings 2 caught Paradox by surprise – PCGamesN (Webarchive)
fn3. Crusader Kings II on Metacritic
fn4. Official Forum for CK2
fn5. CKII Wiki – Patches
fn6. Sunset Invasion on Steam
fn7. CK2 Dev Diary #46: Surveying the Survey on the official forum.

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