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UPDATE: Take note that as of Patch 1.06, Muslims are only playable via the Sword of Islam DLC. Attempting to use this guide, or even via cheats or modding without the DLC which would result in a GAME OVER once the game transitions to your new Islamic heir. This guide, however, would still be useful if you do have the DLC but do not wish to play any of the existing Sunni or Shia lords present in the game.
Also, with the upcoming The Old Gods DLC , pagan rulers will be playable, but again via purchase only.
So I have seen an increase in frustration because people want to play pagan or muslim and can't. The truth is you do not need mods or cheats in order to play as pagans or muslim, but I have to warn you, it is not easy being pagan in a Christian world. The process of becoming pagan is not as hard either but might require some paitence, and converting your populace to paganism and staying on the throne is the hardest part. I've decided to write a mini guide on how to play pagan.
1) Pick something to play. It is much easier playing and staying pagan If you play in eastern europe, where you have more potential pagan allies and less Christian neighbours, although the Russian dukes will provide you a challenge for survival. Now there are different types of pagans:
Romuva - Generally found in Eastern Europe. As far as I understand, it's a somewhat classic polytheistic (more than one god) religion. I'd pick one of the Russian Dukes for this one. I personally did it with the Duke of Polotsk. Has nothing to do with Druidism at all.
Norse - Found in northern Sweden and a few parts of Finland. Polytheistic religion, Thor, Odin etc. Again it is easier if you pick a Christian nation close to your pagan friends, although there are not many to choose from. Jarl Eric the Heathan of Uppland in Sweden is the most prevalent practicer, he occasionally becomes King of Sweden.
Tengri - Found in far eastern Euro-Asia. No idea what its about, and I never really tried turning to this religion. Tengrisim involves shamanistic worship of a Sky God. The word Turk refers to this God, and the word is still used in modern Turkish to refer to Allah.
Suomenusko - Finnish polytheistic pagan religion. Prevalent in Finland and northernmost part of Russia.
Pagan - That's it, a pagan religion named "Pagan", just like Lt. Columbo's dog is called "Dog". Found in small quantities in subsaharan Africa. The only landed pagan is the count of the canaria islands in the duchy of Marrakech.
Zoroastrian - Old Persian religion. Still has some vestiges and devotees in bushier parts of Persia. Note that Zoroastrian faith does not belong to Pagan religious group; it has a group completely of its own, just like Christian, Muslim, or Pagan. Similarly to Pagan religion, Zoroastrians do not rule over any land.
2) Marry a courtier with the pagan religion into your court - yes they will actully do this. I found it easist to marry a pagan woman into my court, but make sure its an unimportant courtier, otherwise the High Chief (Duke) or who ever you try to take the courtier from, wont allow it.
3) Now that the courtier is in your court, he/she -WILL- educate your heir. Make sure the heir is educated at around age 6 because that is the time where they have a high chance to adopt the guardians religion.
4) Once your heir has been converted, then once your heir takes the throne you become pagan. And yes, it is dev confirmed you can play save games with them.
I have made a savegame with an example and provided screenshots of how I could become pagan. For this purpose I have taken the Russian Duke of Polotsk. He has a son that is 6 years old which is perfect. However he has a few sons who need assassinated. So I saved/reloaded until i managed to kill off the remaining heirs because they are too old to adopt the religion of a guardian.
The Duke has quite a few sons. I believe i murdered two because they were too old to adopt the religion of a guardian. I was lucky to kill the first son at the beginning of the game. So while I wait for money to replenish I need to get a guardian for my soon-to-be pagan heir. First we find a pagan court, in this case I looked at the High Chief of Lithuania and found an unimportant female character which I married into my court to another of my courtiers.
Next step I find the pagan courtier I just married in to my court, to educate my coming heir. She accepts because she is in my court. If she was in another court she would not accept, which is why it is important they are in your court.
Now I start the time again piling up gold for the assasination of my second son while the pagan is educating and converting my other son. At some point I murder him.
This makes my new heir, the pagan son. Give it a few years before he converts though. But at this point save the game because it is not always that they will convert. For me he did not convert in the first try so I reloaded and this time he converted.
Now to speed things even quicker up I got to get my current ruler killed. Sadly we cant do seppuku in this game, but what we can do is to try to assassinate some pagans. Keep assassinating and pray that they get discovered, because if you spam assassinations then they will attempt to asssassinate you likewise. And at some point this will succede like here. Now I die.
Now I am a pagan. My church is pagan.
And to prove to you, you can still play them in a savegame then you can and I got a screenie. The game will remember you started out as a Christian, so you can continue your pagan game.
Playing Pagan is not intended though, and you can be at risk of facing huge Christian hordes. However it serves as a nice challenge, and a pagan Europe could be cool. Hope this guide provided help on how you can become pagan
Guide written by Pallen on Paradox forums: