Crusader Kings 3 court guide - all types ranked

Cover image of one of the best court types in Crusader Kings Three.
Credit: store.steampowered.com

Cover image of one of the best court types in Crusader Kings Three.
Credit: store.steampowered.com

Like all Paradox Interactive games, Crusader Kings 3 has its fair share of DLC releases. They have expanded specific cultures and added new story elements, and in the case of the Royal Court DLC; the Crusader Kings 3 court is an entirely new game mechanic. The mechanic shares the name with the DLC, which is the royal court. Players of king rank or higher, now have a visual representation of their court.

It isn’t a cosmetic feature either: players can decorate their courts, audience petitioners, increase their court rank with grandeur, choose the best court type, and many other features too. Not all courts are equal, and if you are new to grand strategy games, all these extra features could overwhelm you.

Before we take a closer look at the Crusader Kings 3 court system, check out the best tactical shooter games and our Crusader Kings 3 university guide containing everything there is to know about that area of the game.

Crusader Kings 3 royal court explained

A new feature added to Crusader Kings 3 was the Royal Court game mechanic. The Royal Court DLC sought to expand the scope and responsibilities that high-ranking nobles would face, during the times the game is set.

Kings and emperors now have a lot more to deal with when ruling their vast realms. In the past, when Paradox released a DLC like this, a lot of the gameplay features were an off-screen addition.

You will be able to see your character sitting upon their throne, you can decorate your court with the artefacts you have found, all the court guests are visible too, and how the court looks will depend upon your character's heritage.

It is humorously referred to as "map-staring games" due to the extensive time players spend observing their empires from a zoom-in view. However, this new zoomed-in perspective of a single room represents a significant departure from that tradition. Now, leaders ranking as kings and above in feudal and clan societies are depicted presiding over a fully rendered 3D court, which adopts one of four distinct styles depending on the region you're playing in. Whether it's the somewhat Spartan yet cosy Western European, the airy and bright Mediterranean, the lavish Middle Eastern, or the ornate Indian aesthetics, each court looks stunning in its own right.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true grand strategy game if the features were only cosmetic. Your court can be a place for training warriors, appointing courtiers to specialist positions, forming special hybrid cultures, creating your own culture, completing special projects within your kingdom, and upgrading your court to ensure your dynasty lives forever.

Crusader Kings 3 Royal Court
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Credit: Paradox Development Studio

How does Crusader Kings 3 court work?

There are so many new features with the DLC, that it would be best to break the new additions into chunks and cover them one by one. One point to stress before continuing, nearly all the gameplay features for the Royal Court DLC is for characters ranked king or higher.

If you want to experiment with the new features, you will have to first rank up a character, or you can begin a new game as an already-established King.

Court grandeur

At the core of every court is its grandeur. Grandeur is a fancy word for how impressive something is. More famous rulers, that have large territories under their belt, will have high grandeur expectations, whereas minor kings do not have the same pressure set upon them.

An example in our time would be; if you visited a restaurant run by Gordon Ramsay, you would expect a high level of grandeur, from food to decor. On the other hand, if you visit your local KFC, you don’t walk in expecting a five-star service.

The higher your grandeur, the more perks and bonuses become available to your court. These bonuses unlock via a levelling system, and while some of the perks are always the same, you will unlock special unique bonuses depending on your court type. More on court types later in the guide.

Court amenities

Holding a royal court doesn’t come cheap you know, and your realm will now be financially responsible for its royal court bills. These bills are not a complete burden, increasing the amount you spend on each of the four types of amenity will provide you and your courtiers with boons. The four

  • Servants
  • Fashion
  • Food
  • Lodgings

Choosing to spend a bit extra on your servants will provide: a reduction in guest recruitment costs, and improvements to your spy craft. The more loyal eyes and ears you can have around your court, the better.

Court amenites guide picture, for the best court type guide
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Opening your coffers to improve court fashion leads to bountiful prestige gains.

Spending your money on food will: increase stress reduction, extra prestige from feasts, and improve disease resistance. All that gluttony does come with a cost, your character is more likely to get fat and or contract gout.

Last up is lodgings, investing in this will: make your guests stay longer, other characters are more likely to accept an invitation, artisan inspiration will improve, and guests will want to join your court more.

There's a particular standard regarding your Court Grandeur and the extent of your realm. If your Court Grandeur exceeds these standards relative to the size of your realm, you'll gain bonuses to monthly prestige, monthly renown, vassal opinion, courtier and guest opinion, popular opinion, and independent ruler opinion.

Court language

Every court in CK3 will have a language that people will speak while they are there. If your character knows the court language, it makes things much easier for them to manage. There are even further benefits available, if your character's culture uses the same language as their court.

If your character does not speak the court language, perhaps they conducted a hostile takeover or inherited the court, you can fix the situation. Characters can now learn new languages, or even change their court language altogether.

Best Crusader Kings 3 Royal Court positions

The minor titles system changed a lot when the Royal Court DLC launched. The titles are now known as Court Positions, and if you own the DLC there are a lot more positions you can bestow upon your nobles.

These titles now give your courtiers a job in court, and their skills and traits will determine how good they are at it. Use your common sense when assigning your courtiers jobs. Your paranoid brother, who has led your armies to many victories is a great candidate for a bodyguard. On the other hand, your dim-witted and blind cousin would make for a terrible court physician.

Court positions image, for the best court types guide
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All the positions provide a nice bonus, to either your character or your realm. The order you want to prioritize filling these positions is:

  1. Court Physician
  2. Bodyguard
  3. Court Tutor
  4. Caravan Master
  5. Royal Architect
  6. Food taster
  7. Master of the hunt
  8. Antiquarian
  9. Court Musician
  10. Seneschal

Best Crusader Kings 3 court types

Not every court in history was equal, and of course, it stands to reason that there would be different styles of court in CK3 as well. You would imagine a Viking court to house skilled warriors, and this would be reflected in the way they governed their people. On the other end of the spectrum, Tibetan courts would be places of learning and dedication to one's faith.

This is reflected in gameplay with the ethos system. Every culture in the game has an ethos, and this ethos provides realms of that culture with some unique buffs. The following table explains them all in detail.

Ethos Name
Court Types
Bonuses
Brief Description
Stoic
Diplomatic Warlike
Better siege defense Increased stress gain Disease resistance Fewer casualties
Stoics cultures believe in taking the trials and tribulations of life in stride. Life is hard, and there is no point complaining about it.
Communal
Administrative Intrigue
Cheaper culture mercs Cheaper construction Faster construction Increased family opinion
Community, family, friends. Communal cultures value their close bonds more than anything else. They believe only by working together, can they find their path forwards.
Egalitarian
Administrative Diplomatic
Extra vassals Increased vassal opinion Different faith opinion Different culture opinion Extra cultural acceptance gain
Differences are a cause for celebration, not fuel for more hatred. Egalitarian cultures, seek to work with others, in spite of their differences. They believe that through collaboration, they can create a better life for them and their people.
Bellicose
Warlike Intrigue
Extra prowess Bigger Levies Reduced men at arms costs More mercs available for hire
War is how these cultures rumble. A person's true character, comes from their prowess in battle. There is always another fight to be had, and these cultures will be there when it starts.
Bureaucratic
Warlike Administrative
Increased lifestyle XP Extra development growth More cultural fascination
Keeping records, extravagant procedures, and a staunch ruleset; are all hallmarks of bureaucratic cultures. Only through rigid procedure can an eternal dynasty be born.
Ceremonious
Diplomatic Scholarly
Cheaper titles Improved house opinion More court grandeur Bonus prestige
The way things are, is the way it has always been. Strict rules and etiquette are the bedrock of these cultures. Honoring the past, is the best way to ensure the future.
Spiritual
Administrative Scholarly
Faster control growth Bonus piety Cheaper faith creation
War and violence are not the way. Cultures of a spiritual nature, instead seek a path of inward perfection. Expressing and spreading the light, ensures that humans will love forever under their chosen deity.

This ethos determines which court types the player can select when they form their court. There are six court types in the game, and an excellent question new players ask is: which court type is the best in Crusader Kings 3? The next section ranks every one of these court types in order, from best to worst.

Warlike

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There are a lot of plates to juggle in Crusader Kings three. You have to manage a kingdom, a son who won't stop laying with the maids, underqualified councilors, and so much more. One factor that is a constant, is war. Unless you turn the AI off, even the most peaceful of rulers can find themselves embroiled in conflict.

This is one of the reasons why the warlike courts are so good. The second reason is the amazing benefits it provides to your men at arms units. These bonuses, along with some savvy tactical decisions, can trivialize wars that would prove difficult for a none warlike court.

Courtiers in a warlike court receive a new trait called warlike. At level one this trait improves their martial and prowess stat by one. At level two this trait begins to shine. Martial and prowess become a plus two modifiers, and men-at-arms maintenance lowers by five percent. They also receive increased martial lifestyle experience, but that is less important.

The table below shows all the bonuses you receive as you improve your grandeur level as a warlike court.

Level one
Level two
Level seven
Level ten
Ethos required
Plus 10% knight effectiveness
Plus 10 percent powerful vassal councilor levy base contribution
Plus 10 percent men-at-arms counter efficiency
Plus one size of men-at-arms regiments
Bellicose Stoic Bureaucratic

Tribal court

Some would argue that the tribal royal court doesn’t belong on this list. The reason for this is, that this type is never a choice for tribal rulers, they have to take it. It is not available for selection by feudal courts either. If you dismiss that minor technicality, in a vacuum the bonuses from a tribal court are military-focused and are very good. The table below displays the benefits of increasing your grandeur as a tribal court.

Level one
Level three
Level five
Level seven
Level ten
Plus 5% knight effectiveness
Plus 20% army loot capacity and raid speed
Plus 25% dread gain
Plus 5 vassal opinion
Minus 25% men-at-arms maintenance

Courtiers share the same benefits as those from a warlike court, with a little extra treat. For every 12 months that courtiers and guests stay at your court, they gain an extra plus one to prowess every 12 months. Unfortunately, this has a plus-three pacifist-style cap.

If you are running a pacifist-style kingdom, the bonuses you receive are not wasted. Despite your best efforts to avoid war, you will more than likely get into one whether you like it or not. Foreign powers will invade, and your tribal court bonuses will bolster your defence efforts.

Administrative

One of the greatest gifts you can leave your heirs is a flourishing kingdom. There are many ways you can achieve that, and the administrative court type is a great way to help. You are going to need money in this game. Your soldiers need wages, bribes need to be paid for, castles need building, and there’s always a hidden expense around the corner.

If warlike is not available to your culture, instead of using brute force to beat your opponents, you can out-economy them instead.

Image of administrative court, for the best court type guide
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Courtiers in an administrative court type claim a trait of the same name for bonus stewardship. This trait, when improved, includes bonuses to monthly control and stewardship experience.

All the benefits of an administrative court are in the table below.

Level one
Level four
Level seven
Level ten
Ethos required
10% Building cost reduction 10% Faster building time
30% more effective cultural acceptance promotion
An extra 0.2 monthly development for your capital
10% more vassal tax
Spiritual Communal Egalitarian Bureaucratic

Diplomatic

Diplomacy isn’t all about throwing levies at your neighbours and stealing all their stuff. Some nations believe that the use of words is far more effective than the use of force. Diplomatic courts shine when you are trying to convince people to become your vassal. This council synergizes so well with the diplomacy lifestyle perk tree. Combining the level one court bonus, and the True Ruler lifestyle trait; all but guarantees vassal offer acceptance.

Diplomatic court image, for the best court types guide
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This court has a very high ceiling if you build your character for it. While your neighbours throw wave after wave of men to die, you will be able to sweep in and take the spoils with no bloodshed.

As with all the court types, courtiers will receive a trait. At level one it improves diplomacy by one, and the improved versions give your courtiers bonus prestige and lifestyle experience.

Level one
Level four
Level seven
Level ten
Ethos required
An extra 0.5 towards visualization offers, per point of court Grandeur
20 percent less tyranny
Councilor opinion boosted by 10
Can use an extra personal scheme
Ceremonious Stoic Egalitarian

Scholarly

Despite being low on the list, scholarly is not a bad choice of court type. With the correct character build, you could argue this is the best court type in CK3. You could also say that for all the entries higher on this list as well. Scholarly is good, but in a vacuum, it is not as good as the other choices.

Scholarly is all about learning, and the teaching of others. A great choice for setting up your heirs with fine teachers, obtaining the best physicians, and levelling up your lifestyle choice faster.

If you guessed that your courtiers get a trait called scholarly, that improves their learning by one, you would have guessed correctly. The upgraded version also bolsters development growth and speeds up learning lifestyle experience gain.

Level one
Level four
Level seven
Level ten
Ethos required
Inspired character spawn chance improves by 10%
Courtier and guests opinion improves by 15
10% extra lifestyle experience
Courtiers and guests get plus one learning Also, you receive plus one learning per level of fame
Ceremonious Spiritual

Intrigue

The only bad court type in Crusader Kings Three is the intrigue court type. Unlike its younger sibling CK2, the intrigue system isn’t quite there yet. It is shallow, you are often outed as a murderer, and this court type does little to help that. The bonuses don’t improve that either, You are often better at selecting a different court type.

The tenth-level bonus of an extra offensive scheme is a great boon on its own. The problem is committing so much time and energy to get to that level of grandeur, is a waste of effort. Do yourself a favour and avoid this court type, unless you are role-playing as a spymaster king, and want to embrace it.

The courtier bonus, on the other hand, is quite useful. As always the level one trait improves intrigue. The Improved version increases courtier dread, and extra intrigue experience, and reduces the hostile scheme's effectiveness by ten per cent. If your courtiers like you, they can help keep a knife out of your back.

There it is, everything you would ever want to know about the new court system, that came with the release of the Royal Court DLC.

If you enjoyed this guide, check out this list of ten mods for improving your next game of Crusader Kings Three.

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