Playing Crusader Kings 2 with the Charlemagne expansion, I started a game as a count in southern Greece (Byzantine Empire). I rebelled against my liege, and then against the emperor (note: the magic cheat fairy may have left me a large pile of cash to help me get an accelerated start and hire some mercenaries to achieve this feat with relatively little trouble). Then I slipped over to the north coast of Africa to grab some quick territory.

The only problem, and I assume this is a symptom of the early start date, every where is so under developed that I have almost no boats. Initially I could raise 3 boats in my home province, plus another 6 from a mercenary band. After moving my capital to north Africa, I had just my 3 boats (guess I lost touch with the mercenary band with the boats) and after a couple of decades, my research to get level 1 shipbuilding has crawled along and I can now raise maybe 9 ships plus a handful more from levies. This has left me in a rather annoying position of shipping maybe 1400 troops at a time or marching all the way around the Mediterranean to try and chip away at BE (my eventual goal being a glorious return as conquer after building a mini empire in north Africa).

Is there any way to get a larger fleet available to spare me so many long marches?

  • What is the rank of your top title? If you're at least King a vassalized Merchant Republic is an excellent source of boats.
    – CrusaderJ
    Mar 11, 2015 at 19:27
  • @CrusaderJ: I am a king. So promote a mayor to own a county and then a duchy?
    – Wjousts
    Mar 11, 2015 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


As JMR noted, the Decision to Conscript Merchant Ships will be useful to you at times.

In the long-haul a vassalized Merchant Republic could provide you substantial ship levies. The Doge of the Republic has a minimum levy of 25 galleys thanks to his Family Palace and will increase as he upgrades his Palace, cities, trade-posts etc. Keeping him happy will naturally help keep the number of his ships you can raise high.

You have two options, one is to try a forcible vassalization of an existing Republic, which would be complicated somewhat by trying to get a casus belli that won't destroy the republic in the process (anything that ends with you directly taking the duchy will break the republic). The other option is to create a republic.

To create a merchant republic

  1. You need to either A) find a vassal (or sub-vassal) who holds a coastal City as his capital (a Mayor, a Wali, etc.) or B) give a coastal city to an unlanded character.
  2. Give that person a County, preferably the one his City is in.
  3. Give that same person a Duchy, preferably one the County is in.

When you grant a Duchy to a person whose capital is a coastal city the game will automatically create a merchant republic. This page gives some extra tips on choosing a good site for a merchant republic and who to put in charge.

  • I think this is definitely what I'm missing. In previous games (with later starts) I had the "conscript" option, but never really thought much about it. I'll try with my next holy war (still grabbing land in North Africa) to set myself up with a handy merchant republic.
    – Wjousts
    Mar 11, 2015 at 20:02
  • 3
    A holy war for an existing Duchy would actually be wildly convenient. You will usurp the necessary City, County and Duchy all to once. My problem on creating republics is always getting the components without revoking several titles and stacking tyranny penalties. Holy Wars fix that nicely.
    – CrusaderJ
    Mar 11, 2015 at 20:16

Sounds like you need to invest some money in shipyards:

Castle Shipyards

City Shipyard

Temple Shipyard

Barring that, as a ruler whenever you are at war you should have the decision to conscript merchant ships: http://www.ckiiwiki.com/Decisions#Unit

  • 1
    Agreed, but the lack of technology at the start prohibits it. And the slow speed of technology spread means even if I spend points in the capital for Shipbuilding I, it doesn't help the rest of my demesne. And, of course, the city and temple shipyards are going to belong to my vassals and not me.
    – Wjousts
    Mar 11, 2015 at 19:13
  • Ah, duh. Must have been reading too quickly. Let me edit my answer.
    – JMR
    Mar 11, 2015 at 19:24

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