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I am Zoroastrian and marrying my own sister would net me a very nice vassal opinion boost. However, I also run the risk of undesirable genetic traits (inbred). My question is, if you have played the game through, which effect generally outweighs the other?

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    Is your name Jamie Lanister? – Sorean Dec 23 '14 at 20:38
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    The famed paradoxplaza thread titles are coming to stackexchange. Also, got here through "hot network questions" from SO ;) – scrwtp Dec 25 '14 at 0:03
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    @scrwtp Arqade tends to generate a lot of those. Like "How bad is it if all my kittens starve to death?" – immibis Dec 26 '14 at 3:00
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    This made me worried for a secound when I saw it in the "Hot Network Questions" bar... :P – GiantCowFilms Dec 26 '14 at 16:53
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    Definitely gonna try this game now. – ken Dec 28 '14 at 3:08
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Correction years later.

It turns out there are two separate, different mechanics both labeled divine marriage in the game.

  • The first is applied to a religion, and only carries an opinion and piety bonus, e.g. the Zoroastrians in vanilla.
  • The second is applied to dynasties, and carries the other mechanics discussed below. This is not used in the vanilla game, but is available for mods.

Additionally, lunatic is potentially an outcome of incest at the same base rate as inbred (before potential modifiers)

Source

This obviously changes the calculus, however, it turns out unless there's sustained incest going on, inbred risk isn't that high.

Running the numbers from the source, a first generation "clean" brother/sister pairing has a 10% chance of inbred or lunatic in a child. However, the second generation brother/sister pairing would have a whopping 88% chance. However, if the second generation brings in fresh blood, and has the third generation (cousins) pair up, things are back down to a 6% chance. Thus concubines and fresh blood are definitely recommended.


The Zoroastrian "divine" marriage have these effects in vanilla:

  • 25% fertility (aka 75% reduction)1
  • 20% of base chance of having the inbred trait pop up2
  • +10 opinion for vassals, +25 for vassal priests
  • 50/100/200/300 piety on marriage depending on rank
  • One more thing that probably doesn't have an actual effect3

So in general it's a good idea, but you want to have concubines around to make up for the fertility issue.

1This is controlled by DIVINE_BLOOD_FERTILITY_MULT in defines.lua

2The exact mechanics behind the chance of having the inbred trait show up out of the blue (not inherited, which is 25%) are unknown, unlike other congenital traits which have a moddable fixed chance of appearing, but it is generally assumed that close marriages have a higher chance. This is controlled by INBRED_DIVINE_BLOOD_TRAIT_CHANCE_FACTOR in defines.lua

3There is an additional effect LUNATIC_DIVINE_BLOOD_TRAIT_CHANCE_FACTOR which I think has no effect since lunatic does not have a base chance of appearing at random or inheritable.

  • I might be wrong but CHANCE_FACTOR seems ever so slightly redundant. – Pharap Dec 24 '14 at 8:47
  • @Pharap Not really, CHANCE_FACTOR, FACTOR is a multiplication, e.g. the normal chance of the inbreed trait is multiplied by 0.2. – API-Beast Dec 26 '14 at 0:16
  • @API-Beast And yet in other places they use _MULT rather than _FACTOR – Pharap Dec 26 '14 at 0:19
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It's usually fine, especially if you have a succession law which lets you control who inherits, such as elective. Children with the inbred trait are relatively rare (Zoroastrians are less likely to get the trait) and they often die anyway.

For the best of both worlds, marry your sister for the opinion and piety and take concubines (ideally with good traits) for breeding.

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    I think 'marry your sister for the opinion and piety and take concubines' is a really great solution! Definitely get the best result from both. – LulalaBoss Dec 23 '14 at 22:11
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    @LulalaBoss like in real life :-) – TMS Dec 25 '14 at 23:07
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I think it's more of a good idea in CK2 than in real life. Unless you're playing moralistically you can easily have more than one kid. Just make sure that the kid that inherits isn't the one with the inbred. Kill any of your children that are... defective.

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