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I've been playing a game a Munster and progressed from 1066 to 1128.

During this time I was not aware of the Duchy limit of 2 and the corresponding penalties of holding more than 2 Duchies can incur. As such I've been creating titles and keeping them to myself.

I've only concentrated on not exceeding my demesne limit.

I created various Duchies while expanding in Ireland and then went on to I create the Kingdom of Ireland itself, and through successful marriages I have inherited the kingdom of Brittany (The title of which I created as soon I could) and I am set to inherit The kingdom of Scotland as well through my Heir.

Then I will have 3 kingdom Titles and Numerous Duchy Titles.

My question or questions are... Should I not have created the Kingdom Title of Brittany? Is there any disadvantage to holding multiple kingdom titles? Will the kingdom of Brittany ever assimilate into the kingdom of Ireland now the title of king of Brittany has been created?

Also what are the benefits and disadvantages of holding so many Duchy titles? Should I have tried to not create them in the first place and should I have destroyed the Titles as I conquered them? Or should I give them up to my vassals?

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The first disadvantage of having multiple highest tier titles (in your case, multiple kingdoms) is that it complicates succession. You'll want to make sure that all of your kingdom titles have their succession laws set up in such a way that you can insure that on your death all of them are going to your heir. The obvious problematic scenario is being on Gavelkind succession, which splits up your highest tier titles automatically. However, you can also have problems if, for instance, Ireland is on primogeniture succession and Brittany is on, say, Elective and the electors aren't voting for your eldest son.

The second disadvantage is that it creates more discontent in your realm. While holding those kingdom titles, any Dukes within the de jure territory of those kingdoms (except for those with the 'content' trait) will get a -20 relations modifier for 'Desires the Kingdom of x'. Ambitious dukes will get a further -50, since you posses something they desire. Note that this is also true of counts within the de jure territory of the duchies that you hold.

As for whether or not you should have created Brittany, it really kind of depends. Creating a kingdom is a good way to get claims, so if you needed the claims to take the territory in Brittany, then it could be a reasonable decision. Creating a kingdom 'just to have it' though when all the territory is already controlled has more cons than pros. You get a bit of extra prestige from holding the title, but the discontent it creates often isn't worth the trouble. Outside of getting easy claims, the only time I'd create a kingdom is if I need to to form an Empire.

There is a concept of 'de jure drift' which causes titles to 'assimilate' into others after they have been controlled for 100 years, but this only happens with a lower tier title drifting into a higher tier title. As such, Brittany will never assimilate into Ireland, but, should you form Britannia and become an Emperor, after 100 years the Kingdom of Brittany would drift into being de jure a part of Britannia.

The advantage of holding the duchies yourself is quite minor if you don't actually control the counties within the duchy yourself. Basically, the duchy you really want to hold is the duchy that contains your capital. All of the counties within this duchy get a bonus to levy size. Other than that, again if you don't own the counties themselves, you're only removing one person getting a 'cut' of the tax revenue and levies from the counties, but I would consider this not worth the -10 relations penalty (per duchy above two) that you're taking with all of your vassals.

I would immediately suggest giving all but two of the duchy titles away to vassals, and definitely choose counts who own land within the de jure territory of the duchy you're giving away. Keep your capital duchy, and work to get control of the counties within it (You should be able to plot to do this if your character doesn't have the 'content' trait. You'll have to get more creative otherwise) if you don't already have them. The second duchy to keep would be the one you control the most counties in, and, demense limit permitting, do the same thing as with the capital duchy. This way, you get the maximum levies and tax money out of the counties you control without taking any avoidable relations penalties.

  • Well all the land in Brittany was under my control when I created the Title. So creating the title in the first place was obviously misguided and it explains why I'm having problems with the vassals in Brittany. It would have been far better to not create the title and let Brittany assimilate in to the kingdom of Ireland. – DMK Dec 19 '14 at 14:41
  • Brittany is kind of a weird case because its a kingdom that has only one de jure duchy within it, so both the duchy and the kingdom have exactly the same borders. Do you own both the kingdom and duchy titles? How many of the actual counties do you control? – JMR Dec 19 '14 at 16:08
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This situation is sort of discussed here: What's the benefit of destroying titles?

Multiple titles has several pros and cons.

Pros:

  • More prestige (most if you keep them, but also if you hand them out to vassals).
  • If you hand out titles: more powerful vassals - they are more capable of doing stuff themselves. A Duke vassal might be able to carve out new land for himself and you.
  • With more duchies to hand out, you will have fewer vassals to worry about.

Cons:

  • More discontent among your vassals. If you exceed your demense or duchy limit, they will be angry with you.
  • De jure vassals will be discontent if you have more than one primary title. they will "desire" it. An ambitious count will get very, very discontent, if you have a higher level title that he wants. See more here: What determines when the ambition penalty triggers?
  • If you hand out titles, your vassals will become more powerful, and more of a threat to you.
  • Potential succession problems if you have more than one top-level title. The crown laws are separate of eachother, see. Since you created the kingdom, it starts with the same laws as your primary, but it will be tougher to change them. If you are gavelkind, your realm will split, no doubt.

As you can see, it seems having more titles is a very bad idea ... and that is often the case. Most of the time, you will only want one top-level title – at least for Kingdoms and Empires.

However, in some cases, you might want to create or usurp titles, simply to get de jure claims. This is not without problems, though, so make sure you are running a stable operation. People will get discontent when you are hogging all the titles for yourself.

It's also often a good idea to keep your vassals weak, thus reducing the risk of them toppling you. When you have a small realm, it's fine to have a bunch of count vassals. It might not even be a problem if you hold too many duchies or exceed your demense limit. However, as your realm grows, it will get very hard to keep 200 single-holding counts happy. The more duchies you hand out, the less people you will have to keep happy.

If you want your realm to grow, you might also hand out duchies, so they can claim territory outside your realm (hopefully you've set your crown authority to medium or higher). Keep an eye out, though, so they don't get too powerful ...

For huge empires, you might even have several king vassals.

Of course, more duke/king-vassals also means, that once they do revolt against your regime, it will be much harder for you to defeat

In the newer updates, there is also a vassal limit. In this case, you are forced to create duchies (and kingdoms) and distribute power more.

  • I've obviously gone about things the wrong way, it explains why my vassals always seem to dislike me.. Especially in Brittany. – DMK Dec 19 '14 at 14:48

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