Crusader Kings II Monks and Mystics: The joy of sects

What is Crusader Kings II [official site] missing? I’ve been playing again recently, drawn back in by The Reaper’s Due and its perfect simulation of the general snotty sickness of an English winter. I’d never have thought of disease as such an important addition, which is a bit silly really considering the historical impact of the Black Death, and the fact that entire military campaigns could be undone by infection and illness. Disease is important.

So too are religious societies and cults, and that’s what the next expansion, Monks and Mystics, will bring.

Gnostics and stones may break your bones, but their words will really hurt you. Here’s what to expect:

Monastic Orders: With lay offices available to non-clerical characters, monastic orders will increase your character’s piety – but they have expectations.

Cults: Gnostic heresies may flourish and it is rumored that the worship of Satan continues in the darkened fringes of the world

Climb the Ranks: Characters work their way up the ladder of Societies, unlocking new abilities and triggering new event chains

Hunt for Heretics: Send your chaplain out to find secret societies that undermine the holy church and your realm. But what if the hunter is guilty himself?

Other New Councillor Actions: Your councillors have a fourth action that will make them more powerful and integral to sound rulership

And much more: Assassins, archaeological expeditions, holy relics, great treasures and more

I can’t see a release date, which means I don’t know whether I should suspend my current game and wait for all of this stuff to land. That’s the only thing that stops me from playing Crusader Kings II all day every day really; part of me wants to wait until it’s finished so that I can play the whole thing, but another part of me is convinced that will never happen so I pick it up and start a new playthrough every now and again anyhow.

This all sounds grand though. Not essential unless you’re as excited about the idea of archaeological expeditions as I am, but it’s another layer of hidden agendas and demands, and I’m all for that.


  1. Snowskeeper says:

    I can’t wait to sacrifice the Royal Family of England to Odin.

    (That’ll be a thing, right?)

    • unimural says:

      You’ve been able to do this since Old Gods. Germanic pagans can hold a feast, during which you can sacrifice all the prisoners in your dungeons. Of course you do need to imprison the royal family first.

      • Ace Rimmer says:

        You can sacrifice up to four prisoners, picked at random, so you may need to prune your dungeon a bit before the feast to be sure of the result.

  2. Eraysor says:

    Please let us summon Cthulhu…

  3. Gothnak says:

    What is Crusader Kings 2 missing for me…

    1. Combat I understand, having any kind of clue if i am actually able to win a fight before it starts, something i rely on in other games.
    2. Not chasing AI armies all over the map.

    I think the other reason i stopped playing (after a long time!) was diplomacy was just quite vague (which might be realistic). I had no idea if people would join me in a war before it happened, and no way to learn when they would. Like, i couldn’t say ‘I’m about to attack England, will you join me if i do?’ more ‘i’m attacking, are you in?’ nope… Great… I’m pretty sure in history all diplomacy is worked out, and sure, people backstab you by not joining in, but it is a much more black and white moment when you know you have been betrayed, not because your stat is 10% better or worse than it needed to be.

    • Cropduster says:

      Yup it can be fustrating. For me, it took turning on Ironman, treating it a bit like a roguelike, and just embracing the chaos.

      The end-game is often the dullest part of CKii anyway.

    • Ace Rimmer says:

      One of the recent updates added a lot of options, including the option to disable shattered retreats.

      You do get quite a lot of information if you know where to look for it, but it’s not always very clearly presented; I never play on Ironman because the game’s systems are still opaque to me, so I sometimes have to press a button to figure out what it does.

  4. Unsheep says:

    This makes me think of the Salem TV-series (the new one).

    I get the fun part of a Crusader Kings game, I really do, but the latest game is still priced at €40 even though it’s a 5-year old game. Considering there’s 88 (!) DLCs for the game, do you even get anything of note in the core game ?

    • SirRoderick says:

      All of those DLC releases (the big packs at least, not the cosmetics) also added mechanics in free updates. PI’s update shedule normally provides a free update with the core stuff that they add AND a paid DLC with extra fluff and some cool bits that cost extra. So the vanilla game now is actually much, much more fleshed out that the original release.

    • Cropduster says:

      Only a handful of the DLC is essential, and the base game is updated alongside it. The vast majority of it just unlocks new cultures/religions for play so most just grab it as and when they want to play as something new.

      I love the look of this one though, it sounds more exiting than any of them have been for a while. More stuff to do at peace time is always appreciated.

    • Ace Rimmer says:

      The vanilla game limits you to playing as a feudal Christian dynasty (as in the name of the game), but there’s plenty game there.

      There’s usually a big stack of the DLC bundled in any of the major sales; a lot of it is just cosmetics, but the big ones add either extra complexity (council mechanics, plagues, earlier start dates) or new ways of playing (pagans, Muslims, nomads, trade republics).

      • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

        So I finally gave in and bought the base game yesterday (it’s 10 € on Bundle Stars). Which expansions, of the “more complexity” variety would you say are more interesting? The factions ones are fairly self explanatory.

        • Cropduster says:

          Way of Life is pretty much essential I’d say, gives your rulers more personality and flexibility. Sons of Abraham adds a lot of cool stuff for catholic rulers (so everyone in the base game). Conclave, adds a lot more complexity – and more potential headaches – to your day to day ruling, and Reapers Due overhalls adds some too (much less than conclave).

          All the others (unless I’m missing some) add factions or gevernment types, although it’s worth noting Old Gods & Charlamagne also add new start dates for longer games.

          • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

            Thanks! I added Way of Life to the purchase (it looked cool and it’s less than 3€ anyway) and I’ll keep in mind your guidelines for later, when I’ve learned the game a bit.

        • SaunteringLion says:

          The Old Gods, Way of Life and Legacy of Rome are generally considered by fans to be the most essential to updating the core game.

          Personally, I love the Old Gods the most of any single piece because the earlier start date is fun (I like to take it a little slow), and it adds pagans and fleshes out Northern Europe.

    • chromedbustop says:

      The upfront price might be daunting, but keep in mind that the game is regularly on sale. They do a sale during Steam’s big Thanksgiving Sale, again during their Spring/Summer sale and they seem to always do one right before releasing a new expansion. Usually seems to go on sale 2-4 times a year. And they’re like the 70% off sales, not the lame 10% ones.

      I bought the bundle on sale and got everything up to and including Horse Lords for like $40. Then I waited and got Reapers Due half off. Considering what you get, that’s a pretty good deal. And that doesn’t even take into account all of the included free updates.

      If you’re interested in getting the game and have Steam, just put it in your wishlist and you’ll be notified when it goes on sale.

  5. Michael Johnson says:

    One of my funnest CK2 memories was playing as the British Empire gripped by the Fraticelli heresy (Franciscan Catholics who believe that the church should practice asceticism rather than hoard wealth). It turned what was otherwise becoming a slow and slightly dull game upside down, with constant holy wars, rebellions and infighting. So very much looking forward to what this DLC has to offer.

    • Cropduster says:

      Yup heretic games are so much fun, free holy wars in western Europe all day everyday. The awesome thing about Fraticelli is after taking Rome you can create your own heretic papacy, complete with college of cardinals.

  6. Michael Anson says:

    Rot to trot, make any priest’s eyes pop
    She use what she got to get whatever she don’t got
    Cultists drool like fools, but then again they’re barely human
    The nun was fun because her text was profanin’
    Bones, rings, feathers, crazy writin’
    Nothin’ she ever wore was ever common
    Her cults heads of state, men of taste
    Lawyers, doctors, no one was too great for her to chant with
    Or even recant with, the Pope she says was next on her list
    And believe me, you, it’s as good as true
    There ain’t a man alive that she couldn’t get next to
    She had it all in the bag
    So she should have been glad
    But she was mad and sad and feelin’ bad
    Thinkin’ about the things that she never had
    No love, just sects, followed text with a knife and a cloak
    That last night was dope, dope

    Let’s talk about sects, baby
    Let’s talk about you and me
    Let’s talk about all the good things
    And the bad things that may be
    Let’s talk about sects

    • icarussc says:

      … that was amazing.

    • JB says:


    • Rainshine says:

      I don’t know where the song is originally from; the only version, the one I heard in my head, is by a fellow named Max Raabe. Amazing voice and facial expressions, you should hear it if you haven’t.

  7. Neutrino says:

    What Crusader Kings is really missing is richer diplomacy, any kind of economy, and the effects of terrain.

    Playing as an Irish count you can go for generations with literally nothing to do except attempt to fabricate claims on your neighbours, arrange for them to have an ‘accident’ and try to set up advantageous marriages.

    The ability to promote trade links through richer diplomacy would at least give you something useful to do while you wait for the time when you get to march your guys across the map. Different areas could have access to different resources, this would bring significance to different areas of the map.

    Currently all areas of the map have nothing useful to distinguish them. No matter which area you conquer the only gain you get from it is more men and taxes. Areas should be distinct. E.g. if I hold Rammelsberg I should get an economic bonus from silver production, if I hold Antioch I should get a defensive bonus from controlling the powerful fortified city.

    • Cropduster says:

      CKII is definitely lacking in areas like that, but then EU4 really shines in that respect. They’re both solid counterparts to each other imo, I wouldn’t want them to cross over that much personally.

      Plus it’s totally possible to go from count to king in Ireland in 1 generation with your war face and a little luck (or just become a heretic naton). It’s definitely the most flexible and sandboxy paradox game.

    • chromedbustop says:

      I think with CK2 they came to realize they had a game that was more interesting focusing on family dynamics rather than painting the map one color.
      The base game was much more of a “just conquer” the world kind of game, and I think a lot of people still look at it that way. But you’re really missing out if that’s your focus.

      Even as an Irish OPM, there’s stuff to do beyond just fabricating claims.

      Like Cropduster mentioned, if you’re looking for those sorts of things, EU4 is probably more up your alley. I think they wanted CK2 to be a different style of game though.

  8. Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

    STARING EYES. Come on, comments section, you’re getting sloppy.

  9. karnak says:

    It seems the characters in the video summoned something bigger than what they could chew.

  10. boa000 says:

    I think it will be a very good DLC, you need to download it.