In a game such as Crusader Kings 3, where intrigue, politics, and war are the main focus, marriage is one of the best tools to get your family even more glory.
Marriage is an amazing way to either get alliances or prepare a new generation of heirs with amazing traits and abilities.
Recommended Read: Crusader Kings 3 – All Cheats and Console Commands List
Your family will usually be there for you and help you become incredibly powerful compared to your neighbors.
So, since marriage and family are such a big part of Crusader Kings 3, here is an extensive guide explaining how they work and how to use them to your benefit.
Table of contents
- How Marriage and Family Work in CK3
- How to Setup a Marriage / Get Married in CK3
- Trait Inheritance Explained for CK3
- Who to Consider for Marriage in CK3? Best Marriage Candidates
How Marriage and Family Work in CK3
Marriage in CK3 gives characters the opportunity to have children and improve their stats if they are a ruler.
Only characters over the age of 16 can get married. If they are below that age, they can also get betrothed, which is a promise that those characters will get married when they reach the legal age.
Even though you can have children without getting married, those children will get the Bastard or Legitimized Bastard trait, which lowers Diplomacy by 1 and the opinion of fellow dynasty members.
Besides children, marriage in CK3 can get you alliances that will last as long as the marriage lasts. The only other way you can form alliances in CK3 is by sending an alliance request to a family member.
So, marriage and family are the only sources of allies in CK3. This is why these two things are so important if you want to thrive.
Also, family is the only way to make sure that the game doesn’t end when you die. If you don’t take the necessary precautions and marry your family off, you might find a game over screen faster than you might imagine.
How to Setup a Marriage / Get Married in CK3
To get two characters married in CK3, you just need to select them and choose the Arrange Marriage or Find Spouse options.
Arrange Marriage is used if you already have a character in your court that you want to marry this person.
For example, you have found a king that has an eligible daughter for your son. You can use the Arrange Marriage option either on the king or daughter to set up a marriage between your son and their daughter.
The Find Spouse option is good for your courtiers, children, and player character. You will find a pool of characters that would accept getting married to that character.
Just find someone that seems to be suitable and select them. You will now enter a menu where you will see if they will accept this marriage, and then you will just have to press the “Send Proposal” button.
However, those options can be limited and might not be satisfactory. Another way to find possible marriage candidates would be by using the Find Character action.
Trait Inheritance Explained for CK3
There are special traits in CK3 that are inheritable by your heirs. These traits are called congenital traits, and they usually affect four aspects of your character:
There are, however many more other congenital traits that can affect you, but these are the most common.
Active and Inactive Congenital Traits
There are also two types of congenital traits: active and inactive. If two parents have the same active congenital trait, there is a chance that the child won’t have it.
However, the child will most likely have it as an inactive trait, which can be given to their child when their turn comes.
Here is the chance of a child inheriting an active trait in CK3, based on the parents’ active/inactive traits:
- Parent with active trait + Parent with no trait = 25% active trait inheritance for child
- Parent with active trait + Parent with inactive trait = 50% active trait inheritance for child
- Parent with active trait + Parent with active trait = 80% active trait inheritance for child
- Parent with inactive trait + Parent with no trait = 2% active trait inheritance for child
- Parent with inactive trait + Parent with inactive trait = 10% active trait inheritance for child
Also, here is the chance of a child inheriting an inactive trait in CK3, based on the parents’ active/inactive traits:
- Parent with active trait + Parent with no trait = 75% inactive trait inheritance for child
- Parent with active trait + Parent with inactive trait = 100% inactive trait inheritance for child
- Parent with active trait + Parent with active trait = 150% inactive trait inheritance for child
- Parent with inactive trait + Parent with no trait = 25% inactive trait inheritance for child
- Parent with inactive trait + Parent with inactive trait = 50% inactive trait inheritance for child
Active/Inactive Congenital Traits Inheritance Explained
If that might not sound clear to you, let’s see an example:
Two parents both have the Quick trait. This means that their child has a 50% chance of getting the Quick trait as well. However, if you don’t see the child having the Quick trait, it just means that they have the trait inactive since they had a 150% chance of inheriting it inactive.
There is still an increased chance that the child will have a child of their own with the Quick trait active.
Now, the higher the level of the congenital trait, the higher the chance that one of its levels will be inherited. For example, if a parent has the Genius trait, there is an increased chance that their children will get either Quick, Intelligent, or Genius.
However, the children will most likely get the lower level traits, such as Quick. How the math works is something like this:
If a person has the Genius trait, in the active/inactive trait inheritance math, it would count as if they also have the Quick and Intelligent traits. If their partner has the Quick trait, then here is how that would work:
- Chance of inheriting active Genius trait = 25%
- Chance of inheriting active Intelligent trait = 25%
- Chance of inheriting active Quick trait = 80%
Pure-Blooded and Inbred in CK3
When two blood-related characters make children together in CK3, there is a chance that they will get negative congenital traits out of nowhere.
There are also two unique traits that can appear from this union:
The Inbred trait is one of the worst traits in the game, and it will lower all of your skills and make that character insufferable.
However, there is a magical trait that can appear, called Pure-Blooded, which lowers the chance of inbreeding by 50%.
This means that marrying two brothers who have the Pure-Blooded trait will lower the chance of making an Inbred child to 0%.
What usually decides the chance of getting the Inbred trait is the number of common ancestors. Usually, the chance of brothers having an Inbred child is over 66%.
Parents married to their children, uncles and aunts to their nephews, and half-brothers have a chance of around 10%.
The traits that can come out of inbreeding in CK3, besides Inbred and Pure-Blooded, are:
- Barren / Sterile
List of All Congenital Traits in CK3
Here is a list of all the congenital traits your children can inherit in CK3, in alphabetical order:
- Amazonian / Herculean
- Barren / Sterile
- Pretty / Handsome
Who to Consider for Marriage in CK3? Best Marriage Candidates
Depending on who you want to marry in CK3, you will have to look at many different things when considering a marriage candidate.
Marriage Candidates for Player Character
The player character is usually the most important one in CK3, so let’s look at potential suitors for them.
There are a few different scenarios a player characters might find themselves in. If you have a player character that already has more than 3 or 4 heirs, then you don’t care about congenital traits.
You should look for a spouse with really good stats. When using the Find Spouse action, sort them by “Sum of all Skills,” which is the last option.
Your spouse will directly influence the total amount of stats you have, so having a really talented wife or husband will make you a better character.
However, if you don’t have any children, or none of them are potential heirs, you should look for someone with really good congenital traits: Genius, Herculean, or Beautiful.
If you already have one of these traits or their inferior versions, try to get someone with the same trait category.
Since the new generations are more important than your current character, it is extremely important to give them amazing congenital traits.
Marriage Candidates for Heir and Potential Heirs
You should always marry your heir in CK3 to someone with good congenital traits. Nothing else matters. You need to create a powerful bloodline full of active and inactive good congenital traits.
Players should also use this strategy if they have second sons (or daughters, under the matrimonial rule) that have the potential of getting the throne.
Marriage Candidates for Children with No Inheritance (Daughters)
Children with no potential inheritance, usually daughters, should be used for alliances. When looking for potential suitors for them, sort them by “Alliance Power.”
This will allow you to see which potential marriage partners will offer you the biggest armies in return.
If you don’t like any of the candidates or have enough powerful allies, follow the strategy we used earlier for heirs.
Give your daughters husbands with good congenital traits, and make sure you marry them matrilineally. This will allow you to get some powerful family members through your daughters’ lines that can be used as potential vassals, councilors, and knights.
That’s everything you need to know about marriage and family in Crusader Kings 3!
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