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Crusader Kings 3 Counties: How to improve control and development

County-ing your blessings

How do I develop counties in Crusader Kings 3? Counties are the smallest kind of domain you can hold in Crusader Kings 3, and as such you'll need to manage them carefully. In particular, your county control and development are vital for the output of both gold and levies, so it's well worth improving them where you can. Here's how to increase county control and development in Crusader Kings 3.

Control and development are significant aspects to the profitability and success of your direct realm. They can be a bit fiddly to work out though, so here's our guide to improving your domain's development and control, as well as what each of them is useful for.

How does county control work in Crusader Kings 2?

Control indicates how much influence your character exerts over a given county. The maximum is 100, and anything below that will incur penalties for both levies and taxes - 0.5% per point of control for levies and 1% for taxes. Your personal domain should have 100% control if possible, because you're gaining all benefits from the higher level of control rather than only gaining the small percentage offered by your vassals' domains.

How to increase control

Of course, higher control throughout your realm doesn't go amiss, and there are some ways to improve your level of control to give yourself more taxes and levies. Some of them can take a while, but there are a few methods:

  • Base value increases control by 0.1 per month
  • Lifestyle perks like Serve the Crown (+0.3) give extra control growth per month
  • Controlling your religion's Holy Sites increases control growth by a decent proportion
  • Some buildings, like the Leisure Palaces duchy building, can increase control growth in all holdings in the duchy
  • Use your Marshal to increase control in county (click the bottom option in his council menu) - buffed up by Strict Organisation perk

If your leader is specialising in the martial lifestyle, you can even get bonuses from having maximum county control. The 'Absolute Control' perk gives you bonuses to taxes and levies when you're at 100 control, making it an excellent pick for your local empire, especially when you upgrade to the Overseer perk which improves your Control growth factor by +50% a month.

How does county development work in Crusader Kings 3?

You can see your current development level by clicking on your chosen county holding and checking out the number to the right of 'development'. It's got a maximum of 100, and climbs slowly but surely every month - you can see the breakdown by hovering over your development number. Development level directly influences your supply limit, levies, and taxes, increasing the latter two by 0.5% per point of development, so you'll want to be growing your cities as consistently as possible.

With development, it's best to keep it close by. Focus your development on your directly-controlled counties, as you'll gain 100% of the benefit from it rather than your vassals skimming the bonuses.

How to increase development

So how can you improve your development? There are a few ways to improve your realm in the long term. It's absolutely worth doing both if you're looking to cultivate a strong, small kingdom and if you're more the expansionist type. Here's a few ways to improve your level of development in Crusader Kings 3:

  • Neighbouring cities - if you have direct control over counties next to each other, they share their development
  • Lifestyle focus traits, including Centralisation and Scholar
  • Get your councillor to Increase Development In County (middle option in Steward menu) - upgraded by Planned Cultivation perk
  • Choose your cities based on landscape, for example Marrakesh has an Oasis which increases development growth by +10%
  • Buildings in your county can increase development, such as Guild Halls which at level 1 offer a 5% increase if they're in the same county as the city you're trying to develop
  • Religious tenets can increase development in your cities, as can Holy Sites held by a ruler who shares your religion. For example, Baghdad offers +10% a month when held by your religion

Make sure you have a focused hub for your empire, and development will start to increase without too much effort. Doing this will give you a constantly growing source of income and levies, offering long-term growth for the future of your dynasty.

For more helping hands, we've got more CK3 guides, including how to do the North Korea strategy, as well as using Crusader Kings 3 cheats.

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James Law avatar

James Law

Former Guides Writer

James was part of Rock Paper Shotgun's guides team from 2020-2021, bringing his expert knowledge about FPS games, Hearthstone, Path Of Exile and more from his time at Metabomb. He's also a dab hand at Hitman 3, and making his own jam - things which may or may not be related to one another.