For in depth guide to council read Guide to Council
In Crusader Kings II, your council is basically five characters who are appointed by you(from your court) as advisers, along with abilities to perform various missions. Each member of your council has a passive ability of his/her statistics being added to yours, benefiting you tremendously, as well as active ability to perform one of the three missions each.
Naturally, it is important to pick a character with highest according stats as your council member, since the success of the mission depends on their capabilities. Additionally, if you have assigned a council position to a character with a relatively low respective stat, you will likely hear from various family members clamoring for the position. Be mindful when appointing someone with less than great stats, especially when other characters are better suited. Spurning the other characters' ambition to take over the council position will eventually result in lost opinion.
Remember that changing and replacing council members too often gives a negative opinion of the fired ex-council member towards you for long time. Also be aware of the spymaster if he has a very bad opinion of you. Spymaster is probably the most dangerous council member in your court if he does not like you.
A character can become a member of the council f he is of 16 years of age. Remember, it is not possible to assign your council member any missions if he is leading the troops.
The Chancellor is your highest official of state. As he is responsible for negotiating with your vassals and with other powers, Diplomacy is his most important stat. Your chancellor can be sent to Improve Feudal Relations with your vassals, Fabricate Claims for you in lands that you covet, and Sow Dissent to damage the relations be-tween foreign rulers and their vassals. Being a chancellor gives monthly prestige of 0.015 and monthly salary of 0.1
- Fabricate a Claim - The Chancellor fabricates a claim for his liege on a landed noble's title, including as high as a duchy title! Claiming title takes no more than 360 months for chancellor to either succeed or fail. Two outcomes can happen - the noble can find out about you attempting to claim his title, his opinion of you falls and be aware that your chancellor can be a target of assassination or can be bribed during this time. Or you are presented with success, and you can press your fake claim, paying up to 200 prestige and some money for it. The title holder's opinion of you falls for years to come, though now you have a legitimate reason to go to war to get your land.
- Sow Dissent - Your Chancellor will go to the county which you specify and try to instigate all local vassals against their ruler, lowering their opinion of him. This is excellent strategy if used in time of distress and wars of the target demesne, increasing chance of mutiny and rebellion. It usually takes no more than 120 months for job to be done & success depends on chancellors skills. If successful, the vassal's opinion of his liege is lowered for two years. If the mission fails, the targeted liege can find out about it, and his opinion of you will fall, in the worst case, your chancellor can even be imprisoned!
- Improve Relations - Your Chancellor is sent to a target demesne to improve relations of his and targeted liege, so they may make alliance one day or choose not to support your potential enemy. it takes no more than 120 months for the mission to be completed and if successful will significantly improve the opinion about your lord lasting 2 years. Your Chancellor's mission can be sabotaged, leading to no results, or utterly fail. If the mission fails, the opinion of you by the target lords falls, he feels insulted for 2 years.
The treasurer handles your vast stores of wealth and is the Steward of the realm. As such, Stewardship is his most important stat. The Treasurer can be sent to Collect Taxes in a province, boosting the wealth taken from
that province. He can also be sent to Oversee Construction in a province, significantly speeding up the building time of a project. Finally, the Treasurer can Research Economy Tech in a county, providing a boost to
research and increasing the chances for a discovery. Being a steward gives monthly prestige of 0.015 and monthly salary of 0.1.
- Collect Taxes - You can send your Steward to collect taxes in the certain province. It is recommended, of course, to send him to a province with the most income, the better the result will be. Sending your Steward to collect taxes has an instant passive effect on the local taxes, increasing them by 2.5% per point of stewardship while your Steward is present. Collecting taxes takes about 360 months. During this time your Steward can present you with lump sums of money, collected as a toll from the population. Chances of this event happening can be often or slim, depending on your Stewards skills. A highly skilled steward can make a significant impact on taxes, even without the tithes. Be aware though, collecting taxes can be dangerous - there could be increased revolt risk, or your Steward can be wounded or killed. Higher-skilled stewards decrease the chance of these negative events happening.
- Oversee Construction - Overseeing construction in a province means that your Steward will use his skills to significantly speed up the building process.(base of -0.025) This is especially beneficial if you are building large structures which take a very long time. This job can take place during any of 480 months allocated for this mission. Be aware, the construction can be sabotaged by some disgruntled noble, very much increasing the construction time (as much as 365 months!). There is a chance your Spymaster can uncover who sabotaged your construction gaining the trait dishonorable for two years and subject to punishment.
- Research Economical Tech - The target province gets a speedup boost in researching any of the economically related technologies. There is no time limit for how long you can stay in the province. Stewards presence in a province speeds up the technology by 0.05, as well as increasing the chance of a random discovery.
The Marshal is your highest-ranking military official and the commander of your levies. Your Marshal's military stats are added to yours, increasing military potential and the morale of your soldiers. Because of this, your Marshal is the most important character during your wars. The Marshal can be sent to Assist Arrests of potential rebels and enemies, Train Troops to increase the size of a province’s feudal levy, or to Research Military Tech to provide a boost to military research and increase the chances of a discovery. Being a marshal gives monthly prestige of 0.015 and monthly salary of 0.1.
- Suppress Revolts - Your marshal can be sent to a county to assist you with the arrest of a certain character. As we know, arresting your vassals or court members can fail, leading to them escaping or starting a full provincial rebellion or war for independence, since they have little choice. Marshal will increase the chance of the arrest being made (10%) and lower the local revolt risk while staying in the province. (10%). It is recommended to send your marshal before important arrest, if he is not doing anything else or leading your troops in battle.
- Train Troops - You can send your marshal to a certain province (good idea to send to a province with a large vassal levy or your personal levy) and he will increase the size of the army there as well as their reinforcement rate (you can get 25% more troops and 5% faster reinforcement while marshal stays in county, but probably more, it all depends on the marshal's skills). The mission can take up to 120 months. This action can make some nobles in the province angry or make them interfere. There is a chance that your reinforcements in province will go missing, desert (-20% reinforce rate), or there is the chance of getting extra reinforcements during the mission.
- Research Military Tech - You can send your marshal to a province to speed up research of military technology there. While staying in the county, the marshal will speed up the technology rate by 5% and there is no limit on how long he can continue doing it. During a stay of up to 240 months few negative things can happen - the marshal can be Maimed or Wounded during his military experiments, negatively influencing the marshal's stats or rendering him useless for further missions. During a marshal's stay of no less then 1000 months, there is a chance he can discover a new random military technological advance (+1), and you gain trait Grateful. Researching military tech is a long and tedious mission, you may use it if you do not need your marshal in wars.
The spymaster handles all of your intrigue and underhanded needs. Because of this, Intrigue is the most important stat for this character. Keep your spymaster relatively happy and not mad at you, since he/she can turn on you, report false plots, falsely accuse good people or assist in getting rid of you! The Spymaster can be sent to Uncover Plots by local Lords against your ruler, Build a Spy Network in a province, increasing the success rate of actions against local nobles, and Study Technology in foreign provinces, increasing the chances of ideas spreading to your capital and providing opportunities to steal technologies. Being spymaster does not earn prestige but he gets a monthly salary of 0.1
- Uncover Plots - Send your spymaster to one of the counties where you know someone has a negative opinion of you or you are suspicious they are up to no good. Usually claimants on your titles, your relatives or pretenders are a good start. Spymaster will look around, and while there, passively will increase the chance of plot discovery by 10%. During 120 months on the mission he can uncover one of the plots, exposing participants. Plot can be neutral towards you, targeting you, gaining title or changing succession laws. In any ways you will have option to arrest participants, imprison them or demand to end the plot. Some plots can be beneficial to you and you can let them be. Be careful, this is a dangerous mission, your spymaster can be attacked, maimed, wounded or killed in the process by the plotters.
- Build a Spy Network - Sending spymaster to certain province to build a spy network (240 months duration) will check all nobles/vassals in your county if they are up to something not good, (especially those with negative opinions), as well as increasing the chance of your action against them, as well as giving you 0.5% better chance of assassination of any of them. During this mission, spymaster can uncover a bad rumor about vassal, giving you option to blackmail him or her for money(+100 if blackmail succeeds), spread the rumor tarnishing his reputation, or do nothing. Spymaster as well can uncover corruption in the province, leading to accusing the corrupt noble, who can confess, getting you some money) or deny your charges, or you can imprison him. Of course this is a dangerous mission, there is a chance your spymaster can be attacked and get away or be killed.
- Study Technology - your spymaster can be sent to any province, foreign or yours, where there is already a good progress in technology. During this 480 months long mission, your spymaster can uncover foreign technology, steal it and bring it home. It is important to study technology in the foreign county which has higher tech than you have in any of yours. This is a dangerous path, your spymaster can be uncovered by local count and imprisoned for 5 years! As well you can gain a dishonorable scum trait and opinion about you fall as they are furious.
The lord spiritual heads up the religious and learning initiatives of your realm. The Lord Spiritual’s Learning stat directly affects the rate of technology growth in your realm. The Lord Spiritual can be sent to Head a Local Inquisition to root out heretics and convert infidels in the province to your religion. He can Research Cultural Tech in a province, increasing the speed of technology growth as well as the chances for a discovery. The Lord Spiritual can also Improve Religious Relations by leading delegations to discuss religious matters with the
local clergy of a province. Being lord spiritual gets a character monthly piety of 0.015 and monthly salary of 0.1.
- Head Inquisition - just as it says, you can send your spiritual character to a province to seek infidels and heretics of your faith who so negatively influence the province stability and rebellion risk.(?) If the province is of a different religion altogether, lord spiritual might convert the whole population. Being in a province does not bring any passive benefits but events will start happening. In a long mission of 960 months, your lord spiritual has a chance to convert whole province to your religion, removing a heretic stronghold. As well, once every 120 months he might convert a heretic noble in the province! In your own provinces, Lord Spiritual can suspect one of your own nobles (over age of 20) of heresy, where you can brand him a heretic for 5 years (liable to arrest) or state he is not, with this the targeted vassal will be very grateful to you. Remember that heading inquisition is usually not popular with population, giving a local revolt risk of 20% more than it is. As well, remember, that inquisition can irritate some of the nobles in province towards you.
- Improve Religious Relations - remember that bishops own your bishopric holdings with quite substantial levy, and are important figures in politics or your court. Pleasing them is as essential as pleasing your barons and mayors. Send your Lord Spiritual to your county where there are most of them or where bishop does not like you. The mission lasts about 120 months. successful end of this mission will improve bishops opinion of you for 2 years for +25. Lord Spiritual can also sabotage the relations of the current county clergy with the almighty head of the religion, in which case the reputation of the target will suffer.
- Research Cultural Technology - send your Lord Spiritual to any of your provinces to speed up the research process. The time of this mission is about 1000 months. Staying in the county with this mission will speed the research up by 5% . At any time, there is a chance that Lord Spiritual will discover a cultural advance in the province, increasing its level by 1. There, of course, is a chance that learning the ways of science and increasing the knowledge can brand your Lord Spiritual as a heretic! When this happens, you may not have a heretic as a head of your Lord Spiritual council and you may imprison him without problems.
While most council positions are identical between Christians and Muslims, the Lord Spiritual is replaced with the Court Imam. The Court Imam, notably, is placed for life - or until the Imam attempts to steal from the alms for the poor, when they can be arrested.
- Give Alms to the Poor - The difference between Court Imams and Lords Spiritual, rather than being able to improve religious relations, the Imam can distribute alms to the poor. This costs you nothing, and can only be done in your demesne. This can increase a vassal's opinion towards you by 40, or result in an increase of 15 piety. It also has a chance of causing the peasants to trample the Imam, injuring them. Further, the Imam may try to steal the Alms, giving you the option to either forgive the Imam if he returns the money (Giving you money and 10% Decadence) or to imprison them; this can be useful, as it clears the spot of the Court Imam.