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Levy

In Crusader Kings II, most of your military is based around levies. At the time few had anything resembling standing armies, instead drafting peasants in times of war. As levies are core to your ability to defend yourself, understanding how to get as many as possible is important. I'll therefore be going into how levies work, and what you can do to get more.

General info on Crusader Kings II troop types : Levy (from Game Mechanics category)

The Basics

How many levies you can raise depend on three factors:

  • Holding levies
  • Levy and crown law
  • Opinion towards liege

These three factors are multiplied together to decide how many levies you can raise.

Holding Levies

This is quite similar to holding income, except with soldiers instead of gold. It is calculated by adding the levies of all buildings in a holding to the base levies of that holding. The base levies are 60 light inf, 150 heavy inf, and 15 cavalry for castles, 75 light inf and 40 archers for cities, and 45 light inf, 45 heavy inf, and 40 archers for temples.
The total levy is then multiplied by any additional factors, most notably the buildings that increase levy size, but the Marshal also has a mission that increases levy size, and certain events can increase it as well.


Levy Law

Each type of holding has its own type of levy law. Like with tax law this is based on what type of vassal the vassal is, not the holding itself. For example if someone owns a city and a castle, and is a count his levies will be based on Feudal Levies, not City Levies.
Like with tax this multiplier can vary from 0 to 1. The full list is below:

Nobles:

  • Min Feudal Levies - 0.6
  • Small Feudal Levies - 0.7
  • Normal Feudal Levies - 0.8
  • Max Feudal Levies - 1

Burghers:

  • Minimal City Levies - 0.5
  • Normal City Levies - 0.65
  • Large City Levies - 0.8
  • Max City Levies - 0.95

Clergy:

  • Minimal Church Levies - 0.5
  • Normal Church Levies - 0.6
  • Large Church Levies - 0.7
  • Max Church Levies - 0.8

Like with tax, your demesne always has a multiplier of 1.


Crown Law

Crown law decides the minimum levy your vassals have to provide you. Even if due to other factors they want to give you less than the minimum, they'll still have to give you the minimum as long as they have levies available. The full list of minimums are as follows:

  • Autonomous vassals - 0% minimum
  • Limited crown authority - 10% minimum
  • Medium crown authority - 20% minimum
  • High crown authority - 30% minimum
  • Absolute crown authority - 40% minimum


Opinion

For any opinion below 25, you will only be able to raise the minimum levy as described above. The higher their opinion above 25 the more they'll want to provide, with 0 at 25 and 1% at 100. As such for each point of opinion they'll want to provide 1 and one-third percent more of their levies.
Your opinion towards yourself is always counted as a multiplier of 1.


Calculation

Thus the full formula for tax becomes this:
(BaseLevy + Buildings)) * HoldingLevyFactors * LevyLaw * OpinionModifier
For your own holdings it is simply this as both LevyLaw and OpinionModifier are equal to one.
(BaseLevy + Buildings) * HoldingLevyFactors

Maximization

Army

With this understanding of how levies work we can figure out how to get the most out of it.
First we can, as with taxes, construct buildings, which will directly increase the levies of a holding, part of which you'll be able to raise. However, like with tax, you'll get a much higher return on investment if you build in your own demesne, as then you can raise your full levy capacity. The drawback is of course that you then have to pay upkeep, but you won't be pissing your vassals off.
Second, you can up the levy law to make your vassals pay more. However if their opinion is already low enough this will not pay off, with a full list here:

Nobles:

  • Min -> Small gives more as long as opinion is at 60 or above
  • Small -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is at 65 or above
  • Normal -> Max gives more as long as opinion is at 50 or above
  • Max -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is below 45
  • Normal -> Small gives more as long as opinion is below 60
  • Small -> Min gives more as long as opinion is below 55

Burghers:

  • Min -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is at 69 or above
  • Normal -> Large gives more as long as opinion is at 79 or above
  • Large-> Max gives more as long as opinion is at 89 or above
  • Max -> Large gives more as long as opinion is below 79
  • Large -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is below 69
  • Normal -> Min gives more as long as opinion is below 59

Clergy:

  • Min -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is at 85 or above
  • Normal -> Large gives more as long as opinion is at 95 or above
  • Large -> Max gives more as long as opinion is at 105 or above (E.G., it'll remain at 100 after upping the law)
  • Max -> Large gives more as long as opinion is below 95
  • Large -> Normal gives more as long as opinion is below 85
  • Normal -> Min gives more as long as opinion is below 75


In case anyone cares, here's the math I used for this: (3/4 * (OriginalLevy% * x = NewLevy%(x - (OpinionChange/100 * 4/3))) * 100 + 25

For the reductions I simply took the value the above formula gives, minus the opinion change.
As you can see, raising levy law will only ever help you if your vassals already like you a lot. As such, running high levy laws is seldom a good idea. However, at these opinion numbers you're unlikely to hurt any other aspect of your realm, so as long as you benefit levy-wise from raising levy law, you should.
Third, you can do what you can to keep all vassals above 25 opinion. Granting them titles, running tournaments, granting their wishes, making them councilors, etc. Each point of opinion will increase the percent they're willing to give by 4/3.
Fourth, you will only ever benefit levy-wise from crown law if you were already getting below the new minimum percent. For example if you're getting 25% at Medium Crown Authority, and raise it to high, the minimum will now be 30% and you'll be able to raise more levies. If on the other hand you were getting 35% before and you raise your Crown Authority, you'll now be getting 5 percentage point less.


Summary

Levies are easy to get plenty of as long as you have a strong demesne or your vassals like you. Your priorities should therefore be:

  • Construct buildings.
  • Don't put your levy laws high unless your vassals love you. You'll gain no benefit whatsoever.
  • You'll only benefit levy-wise from crown law if you're already getting less than the percentage the new crown law would demand.
  • Research relevant technology. This won't give you more levies, but it will make them stronger.


Published by Meneth

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