The Reaper’s Due Has Come To Crusader Kings II

Bring out yer dead, we’ve got a lovely wheelbarrow ready and waiting. Dynastic strategy and infanticide simulator, Crusader Kings II [official site], has received its latest add-on. The Reaper’s Due brings a bunch of new events and mechanics for Europe’s worst case of the sniffles. The Black Death will ravage the land and you’ll be forced to either fight against it or hide away in your castle with your pet cat. As usual, there’s also a free patch tweaking other issues, for all the peasants unable to find £7 in their coffers.

There already was a touch of plague going around in the towns and cities of CK II, but this DLC adds the Black Death as a larger threat, whose spread can be tracked in a new map mode that details all the illnesses affecting the land. You’ll be able to hire court physicians to diagnose and treat the disease in their own medieval way, as well as build hospitals to slow the malady’s expansion. As the plague sweeps across your provinces, the decreased population will have a knock-on effect, draining you of yummy taxes and so forth. But you can always hide yourself away and respond to the new event chains from your isolated quarters. Worst case scenario, you can become a crazy cat lady.

Meanwhile, a free patch has also been released for the poxy masses. You can read all those changes if you want but here’s some of the best bits.

  • Eunuchs no longer fall for Irresistible Wenches
  • Immortal characters are now immune to pruning
  • Flanders is now properly part of France
  • Concubines can now forgive you for kidnapping them
  • Children and other characters unfit to lead troop will no longer lead siege defense
  • Fixed name of Rupert the Red

You can grab the DLC from Steam for £6.99/$9.99. Happy days. Happy, plaguey days.


  1. Gormongous says:

    Holy crap, Flanders is now de jure France? That’s bigger than anything a DLC could possibly provide!

  2. godunow says:

    Biggest change of the patch is possibility to turn of some of the least welcome features of previous dlcs.

  3. Doubler says:

    Out of curiosity, if one wanted to get into Crusader Kings II, which expansions should one absolutely get?

    Stellaris and EUIV fueled my desire to branch out in terms of Paradox grand strategy, but 250 Euros of DLC proved more disheartening to me than the game’s famed complexity :P

    • spearhavoc says:

      Most of the DLCs add the ability to play different types of characters: Muslims, merchant republics, and non-feudal tribes. I’d definitely recommend The Old Gods as a must purchase, since pagans have a lot of interesting, unique mechanics. Likewise, Charlemagne adds a new start date and a lot of cool little features. I’d consider those must-buys, with Way of Life and Sons of Abraham next on the list. Sunset Invasion and Rajas of India are by far the least essential, in my opinion.

      • Llewyn says:

        I think it’s Legacy of Rome that gives players access to retinues, which is perhaps the single most important mechanic change (ie the thing that will screw you over if you don’t have it).

      • Doubler says:

        What about something like Conclave or The Republic? There’s a number of smaller expansions that seem to be more narrow in focus. Are they generally worth getting?
        And the unit packs and shield packs and content packs and the like are purely cosmetic, correct?

        • TheAngriestHobo says:

          Both Conclave and The Republic can be skipped if you’re short on funds. The former simply adds a bit of complexity to your internal politics (interesting and sometimes challenging, but certainly not necessary), while the latter adds a government type that I have never once played as in hundreds of hours with the game (if that tells you anything).

        • godunow says:

          Unit packs are cosmetic but having some of them adds a lot of flavour to the game.

          There is Crusader Kings 2 Collection which consists of base game and first 10 or so dlcs + associated content packs. Thats all you need (well, except, Orchestral Horse Lords, Viking Metal and brand new Full Plate Metal soundtrack dlcs).

          And it is 75% off at paradox store atm:
          link to

          (there is also similar pack for people owning just base game)

          • Doubler says:

            I actually ended up getting that, then filling in DLC that looked interesting on Steam. Still expensive, but not 250 Euros at least.

    • Llewyn says:

      I would say the single most important thing about CKII (or any current Paradox grand strategy perhaps) is to match DLCs against versions. The major patches introduce mechanic changes associated with the DLCs, and having those changes in play without access to the associated mechanics can be game-breaking. Paradox use Steam betas to allow you to roll back to any major version since they enforced Steam.

      The game is perfectly playable with no DLC if you have access to 1.05, but the earliest version easily available is 1.11. Major DLCs released up to that point are Sword of Islam, Legacy of Rome, The Republic and The Old Gods, and the game effectively assumes you will have those. I think those are also the ones featured in the standard game+DLC pack, but haven’t checked.

      A lot of the cost of all DLC is in cosmetic items (unit sprites, character portraits, additional music etc) which can be completely ignored – they’re effectively used as additional crowdfunding as far as I can tell.

      • Doubler says:

        Ok, so all of the unit packs and the like are completely cosmetic? I figured as much, but it’s a lot to go through to be sure :P

        And that means that to play the latest version you should really have all the proper expansions then?

        • Llewyn says:

          For me, yes. And really there’s no point playing a version more recent than your latest expansion; the fixes for that expansion will be in the last minor release of that version (which will be the one on Steam) and subsequent major releases will be adding new features and then fixing them.

        • cookiesnap says:

          Honestly i don’t have way of life, conclave, horse lords and reaper’s due but i’m still playing the latest patch released yesterday. An amazing experience with the new game rules selector and all the UI changes done on the latest patches. Don’t listen to others, play the latest version.

    • napoleonic says:

      You should start with vanilla. The DLCs add mechanics that affect you as a player. There will still be Vikings, Muslims, Merchant Republics, Nomads, etc, etc, etc – you just won’t be able to play as them. You should start with vanilla as a Count in Ireland in 1066. Then in the Steam Christmas Sale buy whichever DLC is for the nation-type you want to play. For that I can recommend the very fun Vikings. And avoid Sunset Invasion at all costs.

    • SaunteringLion says:

      From general fan consensus, mechanically, Legacy of Rome and The Old Gods are useful for anyone (The Old Gods start date is great fun). Then if you’re at all interested in playing Norse or Byzantine, the values of those DLC doubles.

      After that, there are inessential but interesting general DLC: Way of Life, which add events to your character and allows you to shape them, Conclave, for introducing a small council as a major management aspect of your realm, Charlemagne for another, even earlier start date. Basically, if any of their features sound interesting, grab them since it’ll be useful in most of your games.

      Finally, there’s the DLC for specific cultures and styles of rule, basically. So if you see yourself planning on playing a Muslim ruler (and realistically, if you pursue a save file seriously, one dynasty can be like 50+ hours of gameplay), get Sword of Islam. If you want to rule a Merchant city-state like Venice, get The Republic, if you want to play an Indian ruler, get Rajas of India, if you want to play a Mongol get Horse Lords, etc.

  4. Vitz says:

    I’ve always held off on getting this game because I want the complete experience. Will there ever be one? The ridiculous amount of DLC (that is still being released!) has to be some kind of record, right?

    • Llewyn says:

      I think ‘the complete experience’ is a bit of a misplaced concept with this type of game; it’s very different not only from story-type games (I’ll be holding off from Mankind Divided until there’s a complete package that isn’t £65) but also from things like racing games where DLC packs simply fill out the grid and complete a season’s worth of tracks.

      CKII was a complete experience on launch. It’s currently a very different complete experience and there have been half a dozen others in between. It’s the sort of game you’ll play through dozens of times if you get into it, and the progression of mechanic changes only adds to that longevity.

    • godunow says:

      According to one of the lates Developer Diaries there will be 2-3 more content dlcs.

      Then, hopefully we will get CK2 on gog – you know for times AFTER the internet.

      • RedDragon says:

        CkII doesn’t have drm, you can play it without steam if you wanted to.

        • Llewyn says:

          But you can’t install without it.

          • Jason Lefkowitz says:

            If memory serves, you can just copy all the files from your Steam installation, squirrel them away somewhere, and then copy them onto another machine to play it there. There’s nothing tying the copy of the game you downloaded via Steam to that particular machine; the Steam installer just downloads the files and sets up a few conveniences like Start menu shortcuts.

            So yes, you need Steam to do the initial install, but if you’re concerned about that you could copy the files onto a DVD or the like in order to have an archival copy you can install from later.

          • HopeHubris says:

            How do you install games from GOG without the internet?

          • cookiesnap says:

            Steam has had a local backup function since years. You can create local or disc copies of any game you bought

    • SaunteringLion says:

      The thing is, Crusader King’s II is not the kind of game where you would even necessarily want a “complete” experience. By which I mean much of the DLC adds features that will shift how the game is played, and it’s very rare that fans of CK II will play with literally all the DLC. You go with what interests and works for you, which is going to be far less than all of the DLC. Not to mention, a lot of the DLC itself is inessential frills like music or portraits or unit animations.

      That being said, there are reliable sales that cut the DLC cost down to a fraction. Right now, all of the DLC prior to Horse Lords is $30, meaning you miss out on three major DLC but still save like $130.

  5. Captain Narol says:

    I like that one :

    Added Fibonacci, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio

  6. thetruegentleman says:

    “- AI no longer calls all allies into war, but only tries to get more than 1.5 times the opponent’s strength”

    This one seems like it could be *really* big: joining one-sided wars by invitation was a great way to score brownie points with powerful kingdoms to maintain a stable alliance for when you needed them most.

    “Rulers of all religions are now allowed to convert to the attacker’s religion during holy wars, if their Moral Authority is much lower”

    That could be a nasty surprise for the vultures!

  7. SirRoderick says:

    This game man, this game. Playing a round with a friend of mine in multiplayer yesterday with the supernatural stuff turned on. Some real funky stuff happened. So he was playing the count of a southern French holding, in Auvergne I believe. His character became possessed which led to his child being born a devil spawn. This child then proceeded to murder his older brother and then his father through events, to take the title for himself, became the voice of Satan(!) and turned down the path of immortality.

    So the south of France is now being ruled by an immortal demonspawn that prays to Lucifer.

  8. lglethal says:

    OK now I’m really interested in this patch note:

    “◾Fixed name of Rupert the Red”

    What was his name before??? Enquiring minds want to know and all that!