Crusader Kings 3: Royal Court makes a great RPG even better

The title of Crusader Kings 3’s first proper expansion, Royal Court, suggests a singular focus on a specific area of rulership, but the grand strategy RPG’s interconnected web of complex systems means that it manages to infiltrate all parts of the game. It has a lot of new toys to play with, and their impact is significant, but the one that’s lodged in my brain is mostly aesthetic: you can now see your ruler sitting on their throne, their wee legs dangling off the big chair, surrounded by family and courtiers. 

It seems like Paradox learned a valuable lesson when it swapped CK2’s creepy character portraits for CK3’s evocative character models, full of life and finally able to reflect the soapy dramas they’re involved in. CK3 might be fat with great roleplaying systems, but simply being able to admire your character has just as big an effect. Seeing them in their natural habitat, passing judgement and hearing petitions, adds even more flavour and roleplaying fun.

Picture perfect

Click on the royal court and you’ll see a snapshot of the realm and the people inside it, chatting and whispering and trying to get the attention of their monarch. You’ll see your kids off to the side, your spouse sitting next to you, and petitioners gathering around. Even the objects displayed in your court tell you something—an old crown that speaks to your family’s long and distinguished history, a banner stolen from a conquered enemy, a shield you commissioned at great personal expense.  

(Image credit: Paradox)

The royal court itself is more than just something to gawk at, and from it you can hold court, listen to opportunities your guests bring, or do a spot of decorating. It’s the heart of your realm.

I was quite happy to meet a shifty individual who was willing to design a secret shaft that would let me hoist up cake from the kitchen to my bedroom

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