New Worlds: Crusader Kings II Map & History Generator

When you start a new game of Dwarf Fortress, a world is generated. Not just a map, but a world, with its own legends, characters, factions and historical wars. It’s one of my favourite openings to any game and gets me far more hyped than any fancy cinematic intro.

Wouldn’t it be great if Crusader Kings II [official site] could do something similar, rather than sticking to actual historical beginnings? Thanks to a modder who goes by the name Yemmlie, it can. The CK2 Generator can create alternate histories, simulating the appearance and development of cultures, religions, languages, characters and all the rest. It defaults to the vanilla map but if you want a random world to play on as well, that’s supported.

When Yemmlie contacted me to let me know about the generator, I figured it’d just make a random map with factions spread across it. Instead, this is similar to the Dwarf Fortress ideal, using the game’s systems to create not only new factions and power struggles, but the historical rationale for their existence. Here’s how it works:

“Basically the tool will generate, from scratch, a completely new history of humanity from its first exodus from Africa as a new mod to be playable in CK2 (and now optionally an entirely random map!). A random culture and pagan religion is formed (as in completely random, using all the parameters available for religions and cultures in CK2, as well as forming a unique language used to name characters, provinces, kingdoms, gods, religions. These cultures will then spread throughout europe, mutating and changing as they spread, words and language, religions, ethnicity, cultural ideals, laws, looting, river sailing, incest, religious heads, holy sites, wives, concubines and everything, all morphing, mutating and branching off as humans spread through time and land, and form a completely unique world with absolutely none of the vanilla cultures, religions, provinces, de-jure duchies or anything found in the base game.

“Then it starts generating the history in much greater detail, a simpler simulation than CK2, nevertheless it processes births, deaths, marriages, inheritances, wars and conquests to create full dynasty family trees, title histories, dejure kingdoms and empires, conquered lands, to create a starting point for the player to drop into and start creating their own histories in-game.”

That use of “basically” at the beginning of the first paragraph is fantastic, isn’t it? “Basically, the tool goes above and beyond what you might expect in just about every way. Basically.”

Currently in beta, the generator doesn’t seem to be entirely stable, with some reports of first and second attempts failing, and a fair amount of time required for it to complete its task, but I managed to get it working last night and everything seemed to work first time. I haven’t actually spent any time playing with my new world though. It exists but hasn’t been thoroughly tested.

Instructions for use are over on the subreddit, including a step-by-step guide to using the recently added map generation tool as well as the actual history generator.

Every time a new CK II expansion arrives, I plan to spend a few days playing and never find enough time to scratch beneath the surface (there are still far too many games). This seems far more likely to absorb me than any of the recent official releases though, simply because I’m fascinated by the stories it tells even before a game has started.

Currently, it’s only supported on Windows and all of the information and links you need are right here.

Sponsored links by Taboola

More from the web

From this site


  1. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    Cool, I’d been wondering about the possibilities of something like this for a while. As always, I’m staggered by the amount of work modders are willing to put in on stuff.

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    CK2 was one of the best games of the last half-decade. I’ve about 700 hours into it, and am just about to start a new game.

  3. alh_p says:

    World gen in Dwarf Fortress also takes ruddy ages, at least it does on my venerable i5 3570.

    How does this mod affect events? i guess if the slate is completely clean, then… the slate is completely clean and there is not much by way of scripted events.

    Although this mod sounds cool, CK2 without any of the ability to second guess the course of history and events sounds interesting, but probably a bit limited, unless you have a lot of imagination to invest. Probably much better for multiplayer though, as you create that narrative as a group of players.

    • Poolback says:

      In CK2, you can definitely chose the starting date of the game, but once the game has launched, everything is randomly generated and doesn’t follow the course of history.

      I would suspect the mod works the same way as it does in DF : the generation process happens BEFORE you play the game and not during.

      Agreed about the second point though, CK is fun because it’s strongely based on a history that we are “familiar with”, not sure how that works with universe with which we have no attachment to.

    • P.Funk says:

      World Gen in DF only takes ages if you get sill and ask it for more than a couple hundred years of history and/or do so in a world larger than the bottom two or three sizes. There’s no need to use the extravagant long time and big size thing and you still get a nice rich tapestry to base your world on. If anything its often better to not let the game run forever because then you get fewer chances for civs to be eliminated.

      In a DF game I rarely go past 125 years and pretty much never go a big world. You’re not missing anything if you don’t and you save yourself way more time on world gen to boot.

  4. Mezmorki says:

    Mostly the aliens come out at night. Mostly.

  5. RaunakS says:

    If you want to generate some detailed and authentic looking maps on your own(using Photoshop’s Perlin noise tool), take a look at this tutorial that recently popped up on the DnD subreddit:

    link to

  6. AngoraFish says:

    Yemmlie is my new God.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Captain Narol says:

    Really amazing piece of work !

    Won’t help cure my CK2 addiction…

  8. Vacuity729 says:

    Oh, wow!
    If I actually had time to play CKII, this would be what I would play next.

    I was just looking at my “list of games to play” and it’s up at well over 450 entries now, CKII being one of them (I’ve only played 109 hours, most of that four years ago, which makes me a noob). I need to retire so I can give these games the love and attention they deserve.

  9. Zankman says:

    Sounds amazing.

    I’ve had CK2 in my library forever now, but, I never really got to playing it.

    This might be what finally gets me to give it a whirl – as I find this randomly generated history aspect to be far more compelling than playing around in actual history.

  10. Sound says:

    From early on in my CKII life, and during all of my EU4 life, I’d pined specifically for a mod that does precisely this. All of the hats. They’re off.

  11. P.Funk says:

    Naturally you had to open the article with a DF reference. I clicked the article thinking the exact same thing.

    Funny how DF has penetrated the gaming world. Every new idea seems to start with a comparison to it these days. DF is the proc gen poster child.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>