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Council

For general council actions and abilities read Council (and council actions)

Your councilors in Crusader Kings II are quite important. Each councilor affects the well-being of your realm, and they all have different missions they can do. I'll be going into the effects of councilors, and how to use them to your advantage.

The Basics

There are five types of councilors, one for each attribute. Chancellors correspond to Diplomacy; Marshals to Martial; Stewards to Stewardship; Spymasters to Intrigue; Court Chaplains to Learning. Each councilor will add his statistic in the relevant attribute to yours and half of your spouse's to decide what your State Attribute in that area is.

State Attributes have some important effects. A full list of passive effects are below:

  • State Diplomacy - Every second point increases other character's (unless they're in your court) opinion of you by 1. Each point will also increase monthly prestige gained by 0.01, and Cultural tech growth by 1%
  • State Martial - Every point increases morale refill by 1 percentage point, soldiers' defense by 1% (making them take less damage), and Military tech growth by 1%
  • State Stewardship - Every point increases the income from your demesne by 2%, starting at -10%, and Economical tech growth by 1%
  • State Intrigue - Every point makes discovering plots more likely
  • State Learning - Every point increases monthly piety gains by 0.02, and tech growth by 1%


As you can see, virtually every state attribute is useful. The higher your state attributes, the better your realm will be run. Diplomacy will make succession easier, Martial will make war easier, Stewardship will make you richer, Intrigue will protect you from plots, and Learning will give you technology (assisted by most other attributes)

Chancellors

A chancellor is your diplomatic councilor, and his abilities is based on his Diplomacy attribute. He will make everyone like you more, except characters in your court (as they are only affected by personal Diplomacy), and he'll boost your prestige and cultural tech growth.
The chancellors has three missions he can go on: Improve Diplomatic Relations, Fabricate Claims, and Sow Dissent.

The first mission, Improve Diplomatic Relations, sends your chancellor to a county to improve relations with whoever rules in it with the exception of priests. This has a mean time to happen (MTTH) ranging from 293 to 38 months, and it depends entirely upon his Diplomacy skill and is at its minimum at 13+. Upon success a random ruler in the province will get +25 relations with you for two years. The mission has one failure state with a MTTH once again ranging from 293 to 38 months, but maxing out at skill 13. If triggered it will reduce a random ruler in the province's opinion of you by 20 for two years.
As the effects only lasts a mere two years, this is seldom worth doing.

The second mission, Fabricate Claim, sends your chancellor to a county to get you a claim on it or the duchy it is part of. This has a MTTH of 878 to 114 months, at its lowest at 13+ Diplomacy. If his skill is under 15, he will never be able to claim a duchy. If it is between 15 and 17, he has a 10% chance of claiming a duchy, from 18 to 19 a 20% chance, and at 20+ a 30% chance. Claiming a county will cost a certain amount of gold based on your income, and 50 to 150 prestige depending on your rank. Claiming a duchy will cost twice as much gold and prestige. This mission has one failure state with a MTTH ranging from 586 to 76 months, maxing out at skill 13. If this triggers an event will trigger for the noble you're trying to fabricate a claim upon. He will have the choice to assassinate your chancellor, bribing him, or ignoring it. If he decides to assassinate him there's a 50% chance it will succeed. If he is bribed and accepts, he will be unable to fabricate claims for a year. If you have no other way of gaining claims (more info here) this mission can be a good idea. Just ensure you've got a good amount of gold lying around. You'll get 10 Piety if you let a county claim go, and 20 if you let a duchy claim go.

The chancellor's final mission is Sow Dissent. This will send your chancellor to a county with the intention to disrupt the relationship between any ruler in it and his liege. This mission only works outside your realm.
The MTTH ranges from 293 to 38 months, and is lowest at 13+ Diplomacy. It will lower one ruler in the province's opinion of his liege by 30, and the liege's opinion of him by 20. It lasts for two years.
The mission has a failure state with an MTTH of 293 to 38, maxing out at 13+ Diplomacy. It will reduce the liege of the character you were trying to get to dissent's opinion of you by 25, and your chancellor might be imprisoned. The opinion modifier lasts 2 years.
Like Improve Diplomatic Relations, this is usually not very useful due to its short effect. However, it can be quite effective if a strong character is already close to rebellion, and could be enough to tip him over the edge.

All in all, I would say that Fabricate Claim is the most useful mission the chancellor has, but Sow Dissent can be quite useful if used wisely. If you have absolutely nothing for your chancellor to do, you might as well have him Fabricate Claims, then let them go every time to gain a bit of piety.

Marshals

A marshal is the leader of your army, and his abilities are based on his Martial attribute. He will make your troops withstand more damage and recover morale quicker, and he'll boost your military tech growth.
He has three missions he can go on: Suppress Revolts, Train Troops, and Research Military Tech.

Suppress Revolts directly decreases revolt risk by as many percent as the marshal has martial points. It also increases your chance of arresting anyone by as many percent. While the rebel risk part is not very useful as rebels are seldom a threat, the effect on arrests can be quite useful.
The mission has no associated events.

Train Troops increases levy size in a single province by 2.5% per point of Martial, and levy reinforcement rate by 5% per point of Martial.
The mission has two associated events. The first has an MTTH of 293 to 38 months, at its lowest at 13+ Martial. If it fires you'll get a 50% higher levy reinforcement rate in the province for a year.
The other event has an MTTH of 586 to 76 months, maxing out at 13+ Martial. It can only fire if a ruler in the province is either Ambitious or Deceitful. It'll reduce the levy reinforcement rate by 200% for half a year.

The final mission is Research Military Tech. It will increase military tech growth by 5% for each point of Martial. The mission has two associated events. The first has an MTTH of 586 to 76 months, maxing out at 13+ Martial. If it fires the Marshal will get the wounded trait, or with a 25% chance, the maimed trait.
The second event has an MTTH ranging from 2441 to 316 months, at its lowest at 13+ Martial. If it fires you'll get 0.1 progress in a random military tech in your capital.

Overall I'd say Research Military Tech is the most useful mission. However, Suppress Revolts can be great if you need to imprison someone, and Train Troops can work out well if you have multiple holdings in a province, and can thus reap its benefits multiple times.


Stewards

Stewards help you with your economy, and their abilities are based on their Stewardship skill. They will increase your demesne income and speed up you economical tech growth.
Your steward has three missions he can go on: Collect Taxes, Oversee Construction, and Research Economical Tech.

The first, Collect Taxes, simply increases tax income in the targeted province by 2.5% per point of Stewardship.
The mission has three associated events. The first has an MTTH ranging from 879 to 114 months, at its lowest at 13+ Stewardship. It will give you a lump sum of money based on your income.
The second event has an MTTH ranging from 586 to 14 months, maxing out at 13+ Stewardship. It is halved by a revolt risk over 10% in the province, again if over 20%, and reduced by 25% if the province is of a different culture. If it fires your steward will either get away safely, get wounded, or get killed.
The third event has an MTTH ranging from 586 to 24 months, maxing out at 13+ Stewardship. It is reduced by 25% by a revolt risk over 10% in the province, again at 20%, again if it is not of your culture, and again if it is not of your religion. If it fires it will increase revolt risk in the province by 10% for a year, and reduce the opinion of all rulers in the county of you 10 for a year.

The second mission, Oversee Construction, reduces construction time in the province by 2.5% per point in Stewardship. The mission has two associated events. The first has an MTTH of 1172 to 152 months, at its lowest at 13+ Stewardship. If it fires it will make your Stewardship reduce construction time by another 5% in whatever county he is in. The effect is permanent, but bound to your steward, not the county.
The second event has an MTTH of 293 to 38 months, at its highest at 13+ Stewardship. It can only fire if a ruler in the province has an opinion under -20 of you. If it fires construction in the province will be 30% slower for a year.

The final mission, Research Economic Tech, increases economical tech growth by 2.5% per point of Stewardship.
The mission has no associated events.

As with the marshal, I find the Research Economic Tech mission preferable. However, the other two can be useful if you have multiple holdings in a single county.

Spymasters

Spymasters are in charge of your illegal activities, and try to protect you from such activities instigated by other characters. His abilities are based on his Intrigue skill. He's the only councilor that can be female, but only your spouse or mother (or any male) are eligible. He increases your chance of detecting plots, your plots remaining undetected, your chance of imprisoning or assassination someone, and your chance of avoiding imprisonment and assassination.
Your spymaster has three missions he can go on: Uncover Plots, Build Spy Network, and Study Technology.

The first mission has no direct effect, but two associated events.
The first event has an MTTH of 293 to 38 months, and is at its lowest at 13+ Intrigue. It can only fire if someone in the province is plotting against you or someone else. If it fires, it will reveal a random plot someone in the province has, or your spymaster will get murdered. Useful if you suspect someone is plotting against you. If not, the most useful place to do it is in your capital, as your courtiers and family members will often plot against you.
The second event has an MTTH of 293 to 38 months, and is at its highest at 13+ Intrigue. It can only fire if someone in the province is plotting against you or someone else. If it fires, your spymaster will either get away safely, get wounded, or die.

The second mission increases assassination chance in the province by 0.5% for each point of Intrigue. It also has two associated events.
The first event has an MTTH of 586 to 76 months, at its lowest at 13+ Intrigue. It can only fire if a ruler in the province both has a lower than 0 opinion of you, has at least one vassal himself, is male, and is homosexual (secretly or not). If it fires you'll have the option to blackmail him, spread rumors, or do nothing. If you blackmail him you'll either get 100 gold, have your spymaster assassinated, or have him exposed as homosexual. If you spread rumors you'll either have your spymaster assassinated, or him exposed as homosexual.
The second event has an MTTH of 586 to 76 months, at its lowest at 13+ Intrigue. It can only fire if a ruler in the province has an opinion of you below 0. If it fires you'll be able to accuse the ruler of corruption, or do nothing. If you accuse him he'll either kill your spymaster, give you 50 gold, or be exposed as homosexual.
The mission is pretty useful if you want to assassinate or discredit someone.

The third mission, Study Technology, has no direct effect, but two associated events.
The first event has an MTTH of 1172 to 152 months, at its lowest at 13+ Intrigue. It can only fire if the county has a higher tech level in some tech than your capital. If it fires you'll gain 0.1 progress in a random tech they have that is better than yours.
The second event has an MTTH of 293 to 38 months, and is at its highest at 13+ Intrigue. It can only fire if a ruler in the province has an Intrigue of 10+ or a spymaster with an Intrigue of 10+. If it fires your spymaster can get imprisoned, and it will hurt your relations with the ruler of that realm.
As the benefit of this mission is so extremely low, I would only recommend using it if you want to get rid of a vassal.

Overall Uncover Plots is likely the most useful, as it will help you protect yourself against your noble's plots. However, you'll probably discover many more plots passively than by using the mission. The Build Spy Network mission is very useful if you want to assassinate someone or discredit them. Study Technology is only useful for getting rid of problematic vassals.

Court Chaplains

Your court chaplain is your religious adviser. He'll improve your prestige and your technology growth rate. His abilities are based on his Learning skill.
He has three missions he can go on; Head Local Inquisition(Convert Populace), Research Cultural Tech, and Improve Religious Relations.

The first mission has no direct effect, but five associated events. The first event was covered in the section on religious spread in my installment on religion.
The second event has an MTTH of 1172 to 21 months, at its lowest at 13+ Learning and 80+ moral authority. It can only fire if someone in the province is not of your religion. If it fires the character is converted to your religion.
The third event has an MTTH of 1172 to 21 months, at its highest at 13+ Learning and 80+ moral authority. If it fires your court chaplain will either safely get away, get wounded, or die.
The fourth event has an MTTH of 2344 to 43 months, at its lowest at 13+ Learning and 80+ moral authority. It can only fire if any ruler in the province has a piety under 100. If it fires, a random ruler in the province is accused of heresy, and you'll have the choice to either agree that he's heretic, or disagree. If you agree, he'll become a heretic, and dislike you. If you disagree, he'll like you more, but your court chaplain will get annoyed.
The final event has an 2344 to 43 months, at its highest at 13+ Learning and 80+ moral authority. If it fires, revolt risk in the province increases by 10% for a year, and the rulers in the province get -10 opinion with you for a year.
This mission is the only way to convert counties, and the most reliable way to convert characters. Do note that what religion they end up as is based on your court chaplain, so don't appoint a heretic/infidel as your court chaplain.

The second mission increases cultural tech growth in the province by 2.5% per point of Learning. It has two associated events.
The first event has an MTTH of 2441 to 316 months, at its lowest at 13+ Learning. If it fires you'll get 0.1 progress in a random cultural tech in exchange for some gold.
The second event has an MTTH of 2441 to 316 months, at its lowest at 13+ Learning. If it fires your court chaplain will become heretic, and ask you to join him. You'll have the choice of either becoming heretic, or imprisoning him.

The final mission has no direct effects, but has two associated events.
The first event has an MTTH of 1758 to 32 months, at its lowest at 13+ Learning and 80+ moral authority. If it fires it will increase the opinion of a random priest in the province towards you by 25 for two years.
The second event has an MTTH of 586 to 76 months, at its lowest at 13+ Learning. If it fires it'll reduce the opinion of a random priest in the province towards their religious head by 20 for two years.
This mission is pretty good if you need to improve your relations with the Pope. Its also useful if you want to swing some Church Taxes your way instead of going to Rome. Dont forget that if the bishops opinion of the Pope is 100, then you cannot persuade them to send your taxes, even if you raise their opinion of you to 100. By reducing their opinion of the pope would be the only way to gain their tax income.

Overall the Inquisition mission is probably the best, as the penalties for wrong religion are severe. However, your vassals will generally be able to do this on their own, so you could instead concentrate on cultural tech. The increase religious relations mission is nice if you need better relations with the pope.

Summary

Good councilors will make ruling your realm much easier, and so will using them in a good way. My tips are as follows:

  • Get as good councilors as you can
  • The research missions are often the best
  • Fabricate Claims if you don't have a better way to gain claims
  • Sow dissent if an enemy vassal is close to rebelling
  • Use Suppress Revolts if you need to imprison someone
  • Oversee Construction, Collect Taxes, and Train Troops can be useful if you have multiple holdings in a county
  • Uncover Plots in your capital is often a good idea
  • Use Build Spy Network if you want to kill or discredit someone
  • Use Study Technology if you want to get rid of your spymaster
  • Use Inquisitions if you have infidel/heretic counties
  • Increase Religious Relations is good for getting the Pope to like you


Written by Meneth

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