What Is Piety in CK3 And What Is It Used For?


Crusader Kings 3 is a real-time, pausable grand strategy game. The setting is in the Middle Ages, a time when religions held a lot more sway over people’s lives than they do today. Piety is one of the many factors that can affect your control over your empire.

Piety is simply a measure of how virtuous you are, the more virtuous the more Piety you gain per month. It is a also a reflection of how other characters view you. Major uses for Piety are that it can be used for divorces, requesting money from the Head of your Faith, declaring Holy Wars, and requesting someone to be excommunicated from the church.

What is Piety?

Piety is one of the three major resources in CK3. According to the game encyclopedia “Piety represents the virtue of a character.” It’s a reflection of how other characters view you, with a more favorable view coming from members of your Faith. One way to increase Piety is to follow the doctrines of your Faith and over time, as it increases, you progress to higher levels of monthly Piety income.

What Is Piety Used For?

Piety is used to request money from the Head of your Faith, provided you have enough Piety. If you have enough Piety to trade for Gold it will be listed in the Current Situation menu on a green background. Clicking on it will bring up a dialog box where you can see what it will cost you. At the start of the game it will typically cost you 250 Piety plus the Head of your Faith will lose 20 opinion of you but you will gain 100 gold from him.

Piety can be used to request a divorce. You might want to do that if you discover someone who can offer you more, like a stronger alliance with someone.

You can also use it request someone to be excommunicated from the church. If successful it allows other characters with the same religion to declare war on him using the Excommunication War Casus Belli.

Read More: You can check out my Casus Belli page here. You can also use the customized menu at the top of the page to see all my CK3 articles.

It can be used to reform a Faith but the cost of Piety is very high. You’ll need to control at least 3 Holy Sites for that particular faith so as an option at the beginning of the game it will probably not be available.

Piety can be used to do things like declaring Holy Wars but, again, typically this option is not readily available at the start of the game.

If you unlock the Raid for Captives Casus Belli you can use it to get prisoners for slave labor. It will cost you 80 Piety if your faith has the Armed Pilgrimage tenet, 100 if it doesn’t. Piety also used by some Conquest Casus Bellis and Hoy War Casus Bellis as a justification for war.

How To Get Piety In CK3

If you want a head start on Piety at the beginning of the game, try playing as Charles the Bald in The Carolingians during 867 AD. He starts out with the Learning Lifestyle and due to his education, he gains 30% more experience in this Lifestyle. If you’re lucky he will start with the Theologian Focus completed. Among other things this Focus gives you a 1% Piety increase per month for every Knight you have due to  Prophet perk being completed, and since you gain the Theologian Lifestyle Trait automatically, your piety gain is increased by 20% per month. A nice start to the game if obtaining Piety is a primary goal.

You’ll also need to pay attention to your character’s traits. Having a deceitful nature will cost you 1 Piety per month since that’s against your Faith’s tenets if you’re a Catholic.

You can see a list of all sins and virtues for your Faith by clicking on the icon representing your religion at the bottom of the screen next to the character’s portrait. This will bring up the screen for your Faith, which in this case is Catholicism. You can see what sins and virtues will influence Piety gains and losses by hovering the mouse cursor over each one. You can also view other Faiths at this screen too.

Contributing to Holy Wars is a way to gain Piety. In an undirected Holy war, if you choose to contribute to the War Chest while the war is in the preparation phase you will receive 1 Piety for every 2 Gold you contribute to the cause. If you do that the head of the Faith will like you more, resulting in him having a higher opinion of you.

When your Court Chaplin is focusing on Religious Relations you gain some piety per month based on his learning skill. The higher his learning level the more Piety generated per month. If you have an Archbishop (Court Chaplin or Realm Priest) with a low learning skill replace him if you can. Not all religions allow this, at least at the beginning of the game, so you may be stuck with what you have until he dies and is replaced.

Read More: If you’re having trouble figuring out CK3 visit my page about reducing the learning curve.

The easiest way to fire him if you can, or to find out if you can fire him, is to click on icon with the two arrows in it next to his name. if you can fire him it will bring a list of possible replacements.

If you can’t fire and replace him it will tell you that and give the reasons why with possible solutions, if any. For example, Charles the Bald is Catholic and his religion does not give him that authority. Any religion that allows you to fire and replace the Court chaplain must have the Revocable Clerical Appointment doctrine.

Another easy way to get more piety per month is through your character’s skills and traits. With my first roll of Charles the Bald I ended up with a learning skill of 19, which was higher than the rest of his skills, which was not unexpected since he has a Learning Lifestyle. This Learning skill, which is classified as excellent, gave him another 1.9 piety per month.

The breakdown total for this character is 1.98 piety gain per month. He gains 0.55 from Religious Relations, which is a task that assigned to the Archbishop, 0.11 from Clerical Justifications, 1.90 from Learning but he loses 1 piety per month for being deceitful, which is a sin according to his religion. He also gets a 20% bonus per month for being a Theologian (that focus was complete at game start) and 7% for the prophet perk since he has 7 Knights available. He can get a little more Piety per month by adding more Knights to his court, 1% per Knight.

Since no one is perfect I would guess the character will almost always have a negative trait of some type that will decrease Piety.

CK3 Pilgrimage

Another great way to increase Piety in the early game is to take a Pilgrimage, the farther away the better since you’ll gain more Piety from the trip, although that will make it more expensive as well. This will cost gold so either make sure you have enough to cover it, or if you’re a gambler and are reasonably sure you won’t be going to war soon you can go into debt. The problem with being in debt is that you can’t raise armies in case you’re attacked.

You also don’t want to stay in debt very long since that can impose some heavy penalties. It reduces Levy size and reinforcement rate, your growth and development, vassal opinion of you, and it increases the chance of factions increasing in power. Penalties grow higher the longer you are in debt.

Clicking Prepare for Journey will bring up a list Holy Sites that are available. Hovering over each choice will give you the cost in gold and an idea of how long the journey is. Click on one and you’ll be told that it is time to depart. Acknowledge that and your journey begins.

Along the way events will happen, like getting lost. Of course, you can hire a guide at the cost of more gold. After you’ve “walked the holy path” and arrive you’ll gain the Pilgrim trait. You will gain a lump sum of Piety, in this instance Charles the Bald gained 625 piety. The Pilgrim trait gives a bonus of 10% to monthly Piety income.

Rich Gallien

I've always liked board games like chess and PC games, especially space based strategy games, which lead to the creation of this site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it and updating it with new games!

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