Crusader Kings 3 is a medieval strategy RPG game that uses a “Prestige” and “Piety” system. These are rare forms of currency that you accrue throughout your game and have a variety of uses. Careful management of these resources will allow you to expand your lands, obtain riches, and give you bonuses to many aspects of your gameplay. This guide will go over the basics of what the resources can commonly be used for and how to increase your prestige and piety.
If you are new to Crusader Kings 3, check out our Beginner Tips guide here for more information on overcoming early challenges. Our Succession and Inheritance Tips are also available here if you are having difficulty adjusting to the forced Partition system.
What is Prestige?
Prestige is a measure of how famous your character is and is spent on declaring wars, increasing Realm Authority, changing succession laws, and inviting Knights/Claimants to your Court. Many of the realm expansion methods in Crusader Kings 3 comes down to making a claim on territory and declaring a war for it. Often times you will end up spending a ton of prestige on this feature alone and you should always be ready to take advantage of opportunities to take more land. Increasing Realm Authority is important to maintaining control over your already-obtained lands. High authority will prevent lands from being inherited outside your realm and will also allow you to change succession laws to ones that enable you to pass more fiefs to your direct heir. Finally, the “Decision” option to invite more Knights is invaluable to strengthening your army. A few decent Knights especially for Counts and Dukes can be a game changer when fighting against a similarly sized opponent.
Once you have accrued enough Prestige throughout your lifetime, your Level of Fame will also improve all the way from “Established” to “The Living Legend”. Each Level of Fame provides you with increased Secular Opinion (opinion from anyone that is not clergy) and increased number of Knights. The opinion boost at max level is +30 and it gives you another 4 Knight slots that you can hire for. This bonus can be a great way to ensure your vassals still tolerate you and Knights themselves are fantastic in Wars. When you are able to hire Knights at Prowess 12 or above, they can each take out 50-60 men with ease.
With all of these features in mind, having a good supply of Prestige is extremely important to both expanding and maintaining control over your Realm.
What is Piety?
Piety is a representation of the virtue of your Character in Crusader Kings 3. It dictates how the religious members of your faith view your character and can be used for founding Holy Orders, asking the Pope for funds (if Christian), declaring Holy Wars, creating your own faith, reforming your religion, consecrating your Bloodline, requesting Divorces, and improving the opinions of your clergy. The most useful of these is the ability to ask the Pope for funds as a Christian – for 250 piety you can receive several hundred gold. This is a very useful boost in the early game when you are more likely to be spending gold on things like Knights, Men-at-Arms, or even for bribes. One of the best features of Crusader Kings 3 is the ability to create your own Faith that is tailored to your specific playstyle. There are many different tenets to select from and is a whole new topic in itself – just know that you will need a lot of piety to do so and it will take a long time to accrue enough.
Similar to Prestige, Piety also has Levels of Devotion ranging from “Dutiful” to “Religious Icon”. However, earning Piety is a little bit more difficult and it is rare to reach the last level. Fortunately, the only real bonus from these ranks is improvements to clergy opinion and you don’t really have to worry too much about leveling it up.
Piety is arguably less important than Prestige when it comes to day-to-day bonuses that you consistently use. However, if you want to dabble with religion and conversions, you definitely have to start building up your Piety as soon as you can since it is more difficult to obtain. It will take quite some time for you to get enough to play around with some of the more interesting religious features.
How to obtain Prestige in Crusader Kings 3
Calling hunts is the most straightforward method of increasing your prestige in a short period of time. Hit F8 or go to your Decisions tab and you can select the “Call Hunt” function. The cost of calling a hunt differs based on your rank, but for Dukes it costs around 67 gold. This cost in itself isn’t too bad when you consider that you can receive several hundred prestige from the single hunt. Calling for Hunts has a 5 year cool down period.
Feasts usually give you 150 Prestige upon finishing and occasionally will give you more depending on the random events that come up. Just be aware that some of these events will occasionally cost you Prestige as well, so be extra careful about which option you click. It can be found in the same way as “Call Hunts” above in the Decisions tab. Holding a feast costs around 100 gold for Dukes and increases beyond that for Kings and Emperors. Similar to “Call Hunts”, there is a 5 year cool down period for holding feasts.
Select the “Majesty Focus” in the Diplomacy Lifestyle Tree
This lifestyle provides you with +1 Prestige per month. This might not sound like a lot, but many other variables only give +0.3-0.5 Prestige per month. For example, the Duke of Bavaria in the 1066 start only has +2.65 Prestige per month to start off with and this is already including the “Ambitious” trait that gives another +1 Prestige per month. Of the various ways to build up Prestige, selecting this Lifestyle is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways. There are also numerous useful perks in the Diplomacy tree that you should definitely take advantage of like the “Forced Vassalization” Casus Belli.
Creating titles will cost you a fair chunk of gold, but will also provide you with a ton of Prestige once you do. For example, creating the Duchy of Moravia costs you 250 gold and gives you 300 Prestige while creating the Kingdom of Bohemia costs you 500 gold and gives you 400 Prestige. If you are already set on creating these titles, the Prestige you obtain from them is usually enough to give you the Prestige needed to start another war.
Be careful to not create too many Duchies since holding onto more than 2 will make your vassals like you less. There is also a risk of these higher titles being lost upon succession since Primogeniture does not exist until 1200AD.
One other method (which is a little unethical) is to grant Duchy titles to vassals where you actually hold the Counties. Once it is granted, the vassal will likely dissolve the title since they hold no De Jure fiefs – allowing you to re-create the Duchy for more Prestige. This method costs quite a bit of money, but you can essentially print Prestige as you see fit. It can also be seen as slightly gaming the system and can take the fun out of your current play through.
Join Ally Wars and Contribute
When you join an Ally War and actually contribute, you will get a split of the Prestige according to the War details. Click on the specific War you are in, go to the “Enforce Demands” tab and scroll down until you see the part that says “Allies share _____ Prestige based on their contributions”. You will actually have to contribute to the total War score for the Prestige to be allocated to you even if you are the only Ally called to war. Also be aware that if you join the War but do not contribute, there will also be an opinion penalty from your Ally.
Raid (if available)
Tribal governments have the ability to raid for loot and you will also gain Prestige for each successful gold you bring back. All you have to do is siege down an enemy settlement and cross back into your own borders with your loot for it to go into your stockpile. If you are attacked on your way and lose, you will also end up losing your gold.
The Raiding option is really only available to Tribal governments and not for Feudal governments. If your goal is to gather more Prestige, also be aware that many of the Men-at-Arms for Tribal governments cost Prestige for both hiring and upkeep. There are other better ways to gain Prestige, but this method is almost required for the Tribal players to keep up with costs.
Set your Chancellor to “Foreign Affairs”
The Chancellor will add to your monthly Prestige gain depending on their Diplomacy Skill. Someone with only 10 Diplomacy will only generate around 0.5 Prestige per month, while a Chancellor with 20 Diplomacy will give you 1 Prestige per month. Like mentioned above, the monthly Prestige gain in Crusader Kings 3 is actually fairly low – these bonuses of +1 per month do end up adding up quite a bit.
Avoid calling every Ally to War if you don’t need them
Even when you do everything right and tried all of the tips here you can still run out of Prestige. In those cases, we have to work on preserving the Prestige you already have by reducing the amount you really need to use. The most important method is to avoid calling every single ally you have to war when you don’t need them since each ally requires a significant amount of Prestige.
Examine your troop count and compare it to your opponent and their allies. If you already have more Levies, Knights and Man-at-Arms than their entire Alliance altogether, chances are you don’t need to call in your King and Duke allies into battle. Don’t hesitate to spend enough Prestige to guarantee victory, but definitely do your due diligence in investigating how necessary they really is.
How to obtain Piety in Crusader Kings 3
Go on a Pilgrimage
This is an option in the “Decisions” tree that will send your character off on a Pilgrimage to any of your religion’s holy sites. The further away the site, the larger the Piety gain. Be aware that this method costs a lot of gold – which potentially makes it not an option for Counts and Dukes. For example, a trip to Jerusalem might be considered to be “Very Long” and cost you 187 gold. During the trip, there will be several events that pop up that give you options to obtain Piety. Some have costs attached to it and others might give you undesirable modifiers like “Ill”.
At the end of the Pilgrimage, you usually receive a large sum of Piety plus the “Pilgrim” trait that gives you +10% Piety per month. Some tenets like the “Armed Pilgrimages” tenet will give you an additional +2% Monthly Piety Per Knight. With 10 knights, this is a 20% boost! In the example above with Very Long trips, the Jerusalem journey that I sent my character on generated 625 Piety at the end of it.
One last point to consider is that there is a 15 year cool down for Pilgrimages. If you have the means to do so, going on a Pilgrimage as soon as possible will be beneficial if you intend to use a lot of it later on.
Select the “Theology Focus” in the Learning Lifestyle Tree
With how difficult it is to accrue any decent amount of Piety, the +1 Piety per month is a fairly large boost that should be considered for any ruler you intend to use to wage Holy Wars or reform faiths. The perks in the Learning tree are also great for reducing Piety costs and certain perks like Theologian and Prophet also give boosts to monthly Piety gain.
However, don’t pursue this option if you have a ruler that has decent stats in other trees since the additional monthly Lifestyle experience can be much more useful if used properly elsewhere.
Seek Indulgences from the Pope
You can buy Piety from the Pope with gold through the “Seek Indulgences” option that pops up when you right-click the Pope. The cost for this option is usually around 200-300 gold for anyone Duke and above. The higher your rank the more gold you need to pay. Unfortunately, it appears that regardless of the amount of gold you pay, you only end up receiving 100 Piety in return.
With how useful gold is and how difficult it is to obtain for early game characters, this is typically an option for Kings and Emperors. This option is essentially a reverse option for when you ask the Pope for money except you gain opinion instead. Our Beginner’s Tips guide also mentioned using Piety as a method for gaining gold early. This is actually one of the main reasons to gather Piety early game if you have no intention of reforming your faith or declaring holy wars.
Set your Priest to “Religious Relations”
Similar to how Chancellors work, a Priest set to “Religious Relations” will provide you with monthly Piety gain. It appears to operate on the same scale used for Prestige gain where a Priest with 10 Learning generates +0.5 Piety per month and a Priest with 20 Learning generates +1 Piety per month. With how much more difficult it is to generate Piety than Prestige, this is one of the more desirable settings to leave your Priest on whenever possible.
As mentioned in our Beginner Tips guide, the Priest is one of the best ways to fabricate Claims and expand territory. You will end up having to make a choice between building your realm versus building up Piety. I typically find it most useful to focus on claims earlier in the game and Piety later on once I have established a decent base of operations.
Educate Children and select Traits that are Virtuous
Changing traits for your adult characters is extremely difficult and very RNG reliant in Crusader Kings 3. However, you can set your character as the Educator for your heir and other children and you can decide which traits they get when the menus pop up. There is still a certain degree of RNG since they might not always hit the ones that are considered to be Virtuous by your religion, but this gives you some level of control over how it is done.
You can also set the primary focus for your heir to be Learning, but keep in mind that this should only really be done if they innately have a high Learning value. Forcing your child into an education that does not suit their abilities will be detrimental to how well they function as adults. See Tip #14 on our Beginner’s guide for more information about adapting to your character’s traits.
Improve Learning in random events
There are occasionally random events that pop up if you select the Learning Lifestyle Tree that can give you additional Learning points. The higher your Learning, the more Piety you gain per month. Each point your character has in Learning gives an additional +0.1 Piety per month. An average character that has around 12 Learning will have 1.2 Piety per month, but someone who has really focused on Learning and has 25 will receive 2.5 Piety per month. This is a substantial boost to how much you receive each month and can definitely be useful in the long term.
Crusader Kings 3 treats Prestige and Piety as much rarer forms of Currency compared to Crusader Kings 2. They can be immensely valuable in most aspects of gameplay and can be difficult to obtain when you need it most. Hopefully this guide has helped some of you with overcoming the challenges you have faced when you ran out of these resources!
Read our Crusader Kings 3 Beginners Guide here if you are just starting out in the game. Our Succession and Inheritance Tips are also available here if you are having difficulty adjusting to the forced Partition system.