The Let's Play Archive

Crusader Kings 2

by Kersch

Part 1: Picking a Character & Introducing the Interface

Here we are at the title screen. I am playing with default settings, so we're just going to jump right in. Note that this playthrough will be for version 1.05g, so some things may be different down the road.

After hitting Single Player you end up at the character and date selection screen. There are some bookmarked dates on the left along with suggested characters to play for those dates, but you can fine tune the starting date down to the day with the arrow buttons on the frame at the top center. Unless you know exactly who you want to play and where they are, this may not be the best map mode for selecting your character. Right now we're on terrain map mode, but that can be switched with the small icons at the bottom of the frame in the top center.

Hitting the Independent Realms map mode will show characters grouped under the highest independent title in their realm. The King of France doesn't swear fealty to any emperor, for example, so his holdings and all vassals that swear fealty to him or his vassals are grouped here under his highest title (The Kingdom of France). You select a character to play by clicking on a single county (province) that they control. In this map mode, I think the first time you click on any county it will select their top level liege, but if you click the county again it will select the particular character who administers that county.

There are other map modes here to let you see counts and dukes, or sort it by religion or culture. In the Ducal map mode we can see all of the duchies. This includes dukes who swear fealty to a king or emperor (such as the dukes of Aquitaine or Normandy in France), and independent dukes who also appear on the Independent Realms map mode, such as the dukes of Brittany or Munster. Remember, you aren't playing as France or England or the Holy Roman Empire. You're an individual person. You can be a count of a backwater castle in the countryside who swears fealty to a duke who swears fealty to a king.

These are the possible title ranks that a playable character can hold:

We're going to start with an independent duke, though: Duke Murchad I Ua Briain of Munster. On the map, we can see that Munster consists of 2 counties After clicking on him, we get a little information about him in the panel on the far right. This shows us his dynastic name or surname, Ua Briain, tells us that he's the Duke of Munster, he's independent so he swears fealty to no higher ranked lord, and displays his culture and religion. At the bottom we can see that he has one vassal, the count of Ormond. It says he's an Earl, but I think that's just what the game calls counts from the British Isles. He'll be an AI-controlled character who controls one of our counties but swears fealty to us. The difficulty bar is automatically generated by the game based on some numerical stats and doesn't necessarily reflect the difficulty of playing a particular person.

A list of suggested characters to try, based on either gameplay reasons or historical curiosity can be found here:
Suggested Character List
These are all characters suggested by contributors in the thread.

Upon starting the game, you'll be dropped off here. We can see the two counties that make up the current duchy of Munster are Thomond and Ormond. You may notice that the county of Thomond has a coat of arms with a golden border around it. That's the coat of arms for the duchy of Munster, and it indicates that Thomond is the seat of our capital. Ormond is controlled by a vassal who swears fealty to us, and so it has a smaller coat of arms displaying the county title. Kingdom capitals are shown by a larger coat of arms, and Empire capitals by an even larger one. Now, lets take a closer look at the UI.

In the top left corner are most of the the buttons that we'll use to control our character, manage our titles, defend ourselves, develop plots, and so on. I'll quickly give a short description of each control before going into a bit more detail with each one below. Starting from the far left, we have the following buttons:

Just to the right of those buttons we have these icons. These are very important notifications that shouldn't be ignored. Once we actually start playing, these will be the first things we address, but for now we'll move on.

The top right contains some vital personal information. This information is duplicated on your character sheet, but its important enough to justify its location on the main game screen too. From left to right, we have the following information:
Next to the game date, you can adjust the speed of the game here, just the same as with numpad -/+. Below the date display is an area for major and minor notifications. These will pop up for events such as character arrivals or deaths, imprisonments, discovered plots, and all sorts of things. Frankly, I don't think I've ever kept up with minor notifications. You can alter the behavior of what kind of messages are shown as notifications in the message settings menu option once you're in game. It might be worth going through that to prevent information overload, but I haven't really done so yet since they aren't very invasive.

Below the message notifications is a slide-out menu with some extremely useful information like the activities of your council members, the current levy size and tax rate of the holdings in your demesne, and any raised armies or navies. You can click on any of these things from the side menu to quickly jump to them and open their screens. There's a small button on this screen to lock it in place and always leave it open, and that's one of the first things I did.

Finally, in the bottom right is the world map and map mode options. Much like the map on the character selection screen, you can change the map mode in game to see independent realms, the terrain, revolt risk, religion or culture, 'de jure' title boundaries, diplomatic relations, and many other things. I'll show some of these off below.

I'll be going more in-depth into each of the screens that I described, but in order to prevent this first update from being way too long, I'll be splitting this up into two parts.