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I'm King.

A Count under a Duke vassal of mine, inherited a Duke-level title (Petty Kingdom)… and now he's independent.

I assumed that since King>Duke, he would still be my vassal, but this didn't happen.

Is that because he's not my direct vassal, and his liege was a Duke, ignoring that that Duke herself had a King liege?

Or would that have happened anyway for other reasons?

(maybe my Duke was a Grand Mayor actually, in case this changes anything, while the Count was a regular noble)

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    Honestly, that sounds like a bug caused by becoming independent from their liege and somehow becoming independent from the realm. Could be worth reporting on the Paradox forums. – Studoku Jan 18 '15 at 14:27
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    @Studoku thanks, I've reported it! – o0'. Jan 18 '15 at 14:46
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A character becomes independent when their rank-defining title grants them independence.

When a character gains a title which means a promotion for them (like in this case from count to duke), their allegiance will be reevaluated based on who is the liege of the new title. When the title is independent, they become independent. When the title belongs to another realm, they become a vassal of that realm.

You can use this to your own advantage: When you can arrange that a count(ess) of another kingdom gains a duchy in yours, they will become your vassal and will take their county with them.

  • Oh thanks! I assumed it used the same rules of the "claim casus belli", that's why I was surprised! Your explaination is very clear, thanks :) – o0'. Jan 21 '15 at 15:10
  • @Lohoris I think the claim casus belli uses the same mechanics. When you have a landless vassal and press their claim on an independent title which is higher than their current one, they become independent. – Philipp Jan 21 '15 at 15:14
  • With the claim if they are landed they stay your vassal, as long as the new title is lower than yours. They become independent, as you say, only if they were landless, i.e. not your vassal but your courtier. In this case, instead, they de-vassalized and keep those lands for themselves. – o0'. Jan 21 '15 at 15:30
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    An additional note - crown authority matters here. At high authority, the character in question is ineligible to inherit any titles that would result in loss of a vassal (to independence or another realm). – Affine Jan 22 '15 at 16:47
  • Bit late, but will add that courtiers gaining a title will stay your vassal if they are a member of your dynasty (and their title is lower than yours). – Tahsis Claus Jul 6 '16 at 18:16

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