Are you about to reform or diverge a new culture in Crusader Kings 3? This CK3 culture guide can and will help you! Hello and welcome to my CK3 best culture traditions tier list. There are 15 top tier CK3 cultural traditions listed below.
First thing you need to do is to decide with cultural traditions you want to have. Then, you can reform, diverge, or merge your culture according to your preferences. In some cases, reforming will take much more time whereas culture merging will be instant for having the perfect cultural tradition combo.
Keep in mind though, you can’t get region or heritage exclusive traditions with reformation. You need to culture merge for some of the top tier traditions.
Quarrelsome gives you casus belli against everyone in your diplomatic range. Basically, you can take any duchy in your sight. As long as you have the military power.
Of course, not only you but also your vassals of the same culture will have this casus belli. They can go on and conquer more land for your empire.
Though make sure you have high crown authority to prevent your vassals fighting among themselves.
This culture tradition is the best one by far for expansionist playthroughs. For tall plays its pretty much useless but most of us barely play tall. In truth, all my tall playthroughs end up me controlling multiple empires. Ha ha.
2. By The Sword
Each ruler can only declare one holy war for kingdom in Crusader Kings 3. Except with the cultures with By the Sword. By unlocking this tradition, you can declare as many holy war for kingdoms as you want. It’s literally the perfect cultural tradition for world conquest run.
Level of devotion required for kingdom holy wars is Paragon of Virtue (lvl5). By the Sword tradition reduces the required level of devotion by one and allow you to wage holy wars as a Devoted Servant (lvl4)
You want to have this tradition if you’re following a fundamentalist religion or about to create a fundamentalist religion. Because every other religion is considered hostile for the fundamentalists. That way you can easily conquer multiple kingdoms or even entire empires in a short amount of time. As long as you can fight and defeat your enemies of course. To help you with this task, I’ll share the best CK3 men at arms regiment.
3. Loyal Subjects
Biggest threat to your dynasty in Crusader Kings 3 is not outside sources, in fact, biggest threat is your very own vassals.
If you want to reduce the number of rebellions, you need Loyal Subjects.
Of course, you need to grant lands only to the nobles of your own culture. To deal with your vassals of other cultures, go on taxation tours, imprison the ones who don’t pay tribute, and revoke their land. Also, you can tutor the heirs of your vassals to convert their culture to yours.
One more thing, your distant vassals might shift away and merge with a new culture. You can convert their capital to your culture to prevent them mixing. It’s not always going to work though. Also, they might keep the loyal subjects tradition after shifting. Besides, they don’t instantly merge with new culture, it takes a lot of time. Overall, Loyal Subjects tradition is worth investing in.
They say that the Chivalry is dead in our age. It doesn’t in Crusader Kings 3. Chivalry gives damage and toughness bonus for the strongest men at arm unit in the game, Heavy Cavalry. But it’s not the main reason why Chivalry considered top tier tradition.
Renown is one of the most important things to collect in this game. Because dynasty legacies are super OP in the long run. Anyway, renown is really hard to get, especially in the early game when you have small family. So, how to get huge amount of renown in the early game? With chivalry of course! Each successful romance scheme gives very nice amount of renown thanks to chivalry.
Unlocking bunch of dynasty legacies early game gives pretty good edge and allow you to snowball easily.
5. Philosopher Culture
Most powerful lifestyle in Crusader Kings 3 is learning lifestyle without a doubt. At least that’s what I believe. Why? Because of the high learning, cultural fascination process, better health, less stress, perk reset health trick, buy claim interactions, learn on the job bonuses, county conversion speed, and piety bonus. Did I miss anything? All in all, learning lifestyle offers a variety of bonuses that I can’t ignore.
So, what does Philosopher culture do? It lets your children get better learning education trait, advance in learning lifestyle quicker, and unlock culture innovations faster.
Got a religion that allows you to assign your own realm priest? Then the people of your culture having philosopher culture will allow you to find god-tier realm priests with super high learning abilities. Same goes for court physicians too.
There isn’t really much to discuss about Legalistic cultural tradition. It has some small pros and small cons don’t really mean much. But the +30 vassal limit is really OP for empires.
More vassals mean more money and manpower. Having big powerful vassals is not really worth it because of two reasons. First, they don’t give you much. Second, they can be a problem in factions.
Count pays %2 to duke, duke pays %2 to king, and king pays %2 to emperor. Where does all the money go?
Basically, more direct vassals, more power to the top liege.
7. Visigothic Codes
High partition succession law unlocks at high medieval age with heraldry innovation. But with Visigothic Codes cultural tradition, you can get the high partition law even in the tribal age. It’s pretty OP. For example, you can choose a Norse character in 867, Varangian adventure to somewhere with Basque culture, merge cultures, and enact the High Partition Law hundreds of years before it’s available via innovations.
I don’t think you can get Visigothic Codes tradition by simply reforming your culture. It requires you to be a Basque or Visigothic culture or descent. But as I’ve said before, you can easily hybridize your culture to get Visigothic Codes.
8. Staunch Traditionalists
I love Staunch Traditionalists because it stops your vassals from embracing local culture or merging with it.
Though you can disable the culture merging for AI in the CK3 game rules right before starting a new campaign.
Other than that, you get some control growth and controlled territory defender advantage. They’re both great. But I really hate -5% cultural fascination progress debuff. It sucks but that’s the price you must pay to prevent vassals from leaving your perfectly sculptured culture.
9. Garden Architects
First, Garden Architects unlocks a unique building. Royal Gardens is a duchy building giving tax, popular opinion, prestige, stress relief, and court grandeur.
Second, you can employ a court gardener which is giving huge amount of development bonus.
All in all, it’s best if you want to play tall and raise up the development.
One of the best cultures for tall playthroughs. It will quickly skyrocket the development of your lands.
Upgrading a building level is also considered new construction. So, you’ll easily hit high development levels if you get Industrious tradition early.
Keep in mind, your vassals, mayors, barons, and bishops will also build buildings. Meaning your kingdom will expand rapidly, not sideways but upwards!
11. Castle Keepers
Castle Keepers tradition will increase the cost and construction time of castle holdings. However, rulers of this culture will gain prestige and renown from owning castles.
You can complete all the dynastic perks if you set out to conquer the world and install your dynasty members on all kingdom thrones.
I always revoke land from my vassals and install my dynasty members. This is the culture I aim to get on all my playthroughs.
12. Eastern Roman Legacy
Strongest men at arms unit in Crusader Kings 3 is heavy cavalry as long as you fight in the correct region. As for the best heavy cavalry regiment, it’s the cataphracts.
Cataphracts can only be unlocked with the Eastern Roman Legacy. By the way, you can’t just reform your culture and get Eestern Roman Legacy tradition. It’s Byzantine heritage exclusive. So, how to get Cataphracts? Well, you either start as Greek, hybridize your culture with Greek, or tutor your heir with a Greek character and recruit Cataphracts after inheritance. After recruiting Cataphracts, you can embrace your local culture.
13. Coastal Warriors
To unlock top tier heavy infantry men-at-arms, you need Coastal Warriors tradition. Bondi, Vigmen, Varangian Veterans, Huscarls… Basically, the gang.
Personally, I like to hybridize cultures and get both Coastal Warriors and Eastern Roman Legacy. Cataphracts teamed up with Varangian Veterans are literally unstoppable.
Coastal Warriors tradition is exclusive for North Germanic heritage.
14. Konni Raids
Konni men-at-arms is the best light cavalry regiment in the game because of its killer pursuit stats. Pursuit: More kills in battles.
If you want to stack wipe your opponents after winning battles, your regiments must have enough pursuit. And believe me, Konni has ridiculously high pursuit even without building boosts.
This tradition is exclusive for Magyar, South Slavic or West Slavic heritage cultures.
15. Polygamous & Concubines
Why make do with one wife when you can have three more? Shit crusader kings say… It’s the truth though! The survival of your dynasty is directly corelated with the number of children you have.
CK3 BEST ETHOS < Culture ethos is also important.
Here is the difference between Polygamous and Concubines. Polygamous is a mutual arrangement by both parties whereas concubines are taken from courtiers and prisoners by the will of King… It’s great for role-playing purposes. You can simply siege your rivals castle, kidnap his wife and daughters, then turn them into concubines! Ha ha. Though you better have skilled spymaster because those angry concubines and their husbands / fathers will try to murder you.