The biggest reasons for an alliance is to either get help with wars or to gain prestige. Without friends it will be you against the world and those odds are too steep to survive.
In Crusader Kings 3 there are other ways to form an alliance besides marriage. You can negotiate with a close family member, like your son. You can propose an alliance to someone outside your immediate family if you’re not at war with them after gaining the Defensive Negotiation perk, which is part of the Diplomacy Lifestyle, or you can use a Betrothal.
Read More: Finding the learning curve for Crusader Kings 3 to be pretty steep? Read my article about how to lessen the pain! You can also use the customized menu at the top of the page to see all my CK3 articles.
Negotiating An Alliance
Before negotiating there are a few restrictions. You cannot already have an alliance with them (obviously) and must not be in prison. You can only negotiate an alliance with a close relative (son, daughter sibling, parent, or the extended family of a spouse). Another roadblock to negotiating is that the “recipient” cannot be an abductor or abductee. The person initiating the negotiations must have a title of Count or higher and obviously once again, you can’t be at war with them
To negotiate with a family member, that member must not be unlanded, meaning they must be a title holder. To start negotiations, click on the portrait of a landed, close family member (sibling, son, daughter, parent) and choose Negotiate Alliance from the Diplomacy section of the pop up screen. You will immediately see what the results of those negotiations will be, a red “X” means the character will not accept an alliance with you, a green check mark means that the player will accept an alliance.
You will also get a detailed breakdown showing the pros and cons, with stats for each reason, that the character has for the alliance. A minus total in red means no, a positive number in green means yes. Things like base willingness, what the difference in rank is, what the character’s opinion of you is, military strength, and if that character has a claim against you, which carries a large negative number. Even being at war with someone else can carry a stiff penalty.
Proposing An Alliance
You cannot propose an alliance if the character is at war or if you’re at war with someone. To propose an alliance you must have the Defensive Negotiations perk. You can only have one proposed alliance active at a time. You can gain the ability to propose an alliance in the Diplomacy lifestyle.
With a Foreign Affairs Focus you can eventually unlock Defensive Negotiations. Not only does it give you the ability to propose one alliance it also gives you a bonus of 15 in both your own vassals opinion of you and of independent rulers as well. You cannot propose another alliance until the current proposed alliance is ended.
Unlike the negotiate alliance screen there is no breakdown about why the character will or will not accept the alliance. Once selecting it the Propose Alliance screen will activate and you will see if the proposal will be accepted or not. You’ll also have the option to use a hook if one is available. There may be other benefits as well, like the character gaining a higher opinion of you.
Forming an Alliance With A Betrothal
Sometimes, but not always, a Betrothal can result in an alliance. Make sure you’re not already allied with the character first if your main concern is obtaining an alliance. The easiest way to find a candidate for a Betrothal is to sort potential spouses by age and see who the recipient is, if it’s not the selected player itself. To find out if the Betrothal will result in an alliance, assuming the character will accept your offer, hover the cursor over the “Will Accept” box. This will give a breakdown of all the likes and dislikes for the Betrothal, and if the recipient wants an alliance with you it will be listed with a positive number in green. Send the proposal and an alliance has been formed!
Read More: Vassal giving you a hassle? Learn to manage them at my vassals page.
How To Form an Alliance With An Arranged Marriage
The most common way to forge an alliance is through a marriage, either by getting married yourself or by marrying off someone in your immediate family, like a son or daughter, or by arranging a marriage of two people in your court. When you arrange a marriage within your court your choices are limited and they always won’t end up with an alliance but some do. A lot of times the spouses are related so there is a chance that their children will be inbred, but if it’s an alliance you really need it would be worth the gamble. At the stats screen for your character right click on the portrait to bring up a list of actions and arrange marriage will be one of them if it is available. If the arranged marriage, even if it is a Betrothal, will result in an alliance an alliances tab will be below the portraits of the characters getting married. You can scroll down to see who you’re gaining an alliance with and what their military strength is. Both spouses can also get a boost in prestige.
You can also arrange a marriage with other dynasties in order to get an alliance by right clicking on the other character’s portrait. You can suggest a marriage between one of your children or a Courtiers and one of the other dynasty’s children or Courtiers. Once you’ve selected the spouse-to-be from your house a list of available spouses will appear from the other dynasty. Once you choose one a list of ramifications will appear plus you will be able to tell if the proposal will be accepted or not. Once again, you can scroll down to see any alliances that will result from this marriage, if any.
Forming An Alliance With a Marriage
Just like an arranged marriage a regular marriage can result in an alliance, except this time there are a lot more options. Choose the character you want to see married and click on the Spouse silhouette next to him or her. A list of available spouses will appear. The list can be sorted by alliance power if an alliance is your primary goal.
Click on the candidate and you’ll see if they will accept it and how much prestige both spouses gain or lose. The tab that will be of the most interest to you is the Alliance tab although you may need to scroll down to see it. At the Alliance tab you’ll see who your new ally will be and what his military strength is compared to yours.
Break (End) An Alliance
One sure fire way to end an alliance is to break a betrothal. Pull up the screen of the child you want to end the Betrothal for, right click on the portrait and choose Break Betrothal. The liege of the person will at least lose some opinion of you and family members of each side of the betrothal will lose some opinion of you as well. You’ll soon after receive a notice that the alliance has expired due to the end of the betrothal.
If it’s a negotiated alliance you either have to wait until your ally dies or murder him or her. It doesn’t matter how dastardly that person becomes, you’re stuck with that alliance to the bitter end.
And finally, there is requesting a divorce. If you’re Catholic you have to request it from your Bishop, and once approved, you’re free to marry someone else, maybe someone from a more powerful dynasty.
How To See Who Your Allies Are
There is a really quick and easy way to see a list of all your allies. At your character screen (you can bring this up by clicking on your character portrait in the lower left part of the screen) there is a button labeled Diplomacy at the right of the screen. Below that are the crests of characters you are allied with. Hovering the cursor over the crest will tell you the person you are allied with. Clicking on that character’s crest will take you to his character screen, where you can see who he is allied with besides you.
You can also click on the Diplomacy button and the lower part of the character screen will change to show you a list of ally’s crests and who they are.
Calling An Ally To War
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The great thing about allies is that you can expect them to help you out with a war, and unlike a lot of games they actually do! My favorite method for calling an ally to war is from the current situation menu. Just click on the ally or allies listed that you can call to war, make the request and voila, help is on the way! If it’s an offensive war you’ll lose some prestige but calling for help with a defensive war costs you nothing.