In Crusader Kings 3 you control a single individual until that character’s death. During that time you do your best to ensure the survival of your dynasty by balancing resources, diplomacy, and your military might before the mantle of rulership passes on to your designated heir, who then becomes the character you play in the game. Culture is pervasive in this game, every county and character has one.
In CK3 culture can embrace many things, from unwritten rules influencing public behavior to language to foods and customs, and it influences all this for a particular county, character and Realm. One of the biggest influences Culture has is determining what Innovations and what specialized Men-at-Arms regiments are available to your empire.
Innovations are things that make your empire better and are the technology of your society. They can improve military units, buildings that are available, and influence forms of future government. The Era you are in plus your culture determines what innovations are available for you to unlock. There are three types of Innovations: Military, Civic, and Cultural & Regional.
Cultural & Regional Innovations are not available if your Culture is not present in the region. The tooltip will tell you how many counties you need or how much of a percentage you need when you hover over a Cultural & Regional Innovation.
In order to advance to the next Era your empire needs to have at least 50% of the Innovations in its current Era unlocked, and even if it has all of them unlocked you won’t advance into the next Era until you reach a predetermined year. Additionally, to progress beyond the Tribal era your Culture Head cannot be Tribal.
When viewing the progress of an innovation it will list the effects it will have and the expected discovery time. The screen will also provide a breakdown about what’s influencing progress including the base progress, the average development of your Realm’s counties, if it is at the center of your Cultural Head’s fascination and how much progress is increased as a percentage.
One major factor determining progress toward an innovation is the development of your counties, the higher the development the better the progress. Be careful if you go on a major empire expansion through warfare since your innovation progress could suffer if you take over less developed counties. Innovation is decided by the average of all the counties you own and not by one particular county. If you take over underdeveloped counties your Innovation progress will suffer.
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CK3 Culture Head
Every culture has a Culture Head and that character is the Culture Head for the entire Culture group. The only requirement for a character to become Culture Head is for the Ruler to have more counties within their realm than anyone else with the same culture. This Culture Head, or Ruler, can influence which Innovation gets the most attention by becoming fascinated by it. The increase in Innovation speed is influenced by the Leader’s learning skill, even a Ruler with a terrible learning skill can still increase Innovation speed by 25%. If your Ruler is fascinated by something, then everyone else is going to pay a lot of attention to it too. After all, who doesn’t want to gain favor with their king?
Almost every culture belongs to a Culture Group. A Culture Group is simply a collection of similar Cultures which are usually (but not always) made up of people from your family line, although the original lineage could go back hundreds of years. People in the same culture group like each other more than someone who is outside their culture group so they will have a higher opinion of them. A Culture can also be made up of individuals with totally different family lineages because they simply lived in the same area for many years.
You can run into problems as the Culture Head if the counties under your control are a different culture, the peasants simply won’t you like because you are different. It’s better to hand control of those counties off to someone who is loyal to you, like a Courtier or good friend who has the same culture as the county does.
Changing Other Cultures to Yours in CK3
One way to convert a Culture to yours is to Promote it in the county you want converted. This is a task assigned to the Steward on your Council and slowly converts a county over time to the new culture. Once you choose this task the Promote Culture map will appear and you’ll need to click somewhere on the map to assign the Steward his task. You’ll be given a final opportunity to assign the Steward this task or cancel it. Once assigned a progress bar will appear beneath the Steward’s portrait indicating how much time is left until the task is finished. When finished you can gain a few advantages, like the county having a higher opinion of you or increased taxes or Levies. The new Culture will match the current Ruler’s Culture.
One way to change a vassal’s culture is to convince the Vassal to let you be the Guardian of his heir. When sending the proposal there is a box you can check the converts his culture to yours. This must be done before you send the proposal and there is an increased chance that the Vassal will not accept. Once the heir becomes Ruler his properties will slowly transform to your culture.
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Changing Your Culture
One way to change your culture is to move your capital to a county that has the culture you want to switch to. Once your capital moves the decision Convert to Local Culture becomes available, but it costs prestige. It can only be done once in the lifetime of the current Ruler. The Ruler must be an adult and at peace.
There are random events that offer you the chance to change cultures and there are various “Embrace” or “Establish” decisions that allow you to change cultures, like Embrace English culture. It costs nothing and you actually gain 150 Prestige, but you need to meet the requirements first, such as owning the King of England title among other things.
CK3 Cultural Exposure
Exposure is simply coming into contact with another Culture, typically in the border regions of your realm. The more commonality the two cultures have, and the more counties there are bordering each other, the more the exposure, resulting in faster innovation progress for certain items. If you have an innovation you haven’t unlocked yet and the Culture you are exposed to has, it will speed up the discovery rate for that Innovation. Exposure to another culture can increase your progress toward certain Innovations by 40%.
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In one of the CK3 games I’m currently playing I have the Czech culture. I’ve gained a 40% bonus speed due to my exposure Sardinians. I also have the option of making this my Cultural Fascination, which would reduce the current discovery time of seven years down to four years.