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I'm often left scratching my head at the choices my courtiers or neighbors make. For example, sometimes I catch wind of a plot to kill somebody where there is no obvious relationship between the plotter and the victim. Or I get people who resign from my council without having any obvious negative reasons (ie. they still like me, are the most qualified, not old, maybe not married or has no kids, not stressed out, etc.).

Is there a mod or set of console commands that would allow me to figure out what makes these people tick? Something must make them want to kill other courtiers or quit my council just to be reappointed 10 seconds later. It'd be nice to get some insight into what motivates their seemingly random actions!

  • An additional reason specific to council "resignations" not addressed by the existing (good) answers is that it usually isn't their choice! Some council job events result in the councilor being removed from office. – Affine Jul 16 '15 at 19:40
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    @Affine Do you have a link/list of what those events are? I generally just reappoint them as soon as they resign, but I'm always left wondering why I have to bother and they won't just stay put. – tpg2114 Jul 16 '15 at 19:58
  • Actually on review of the events...that actually doesn't happen. Hmm. I have noticed that much of the time, they are resigning when an illness/injured trait pops up, which I assumed was from some of the job events. Mis-attribution! – Affine Jul 19 '15 at 22:37
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There is a certain hidden stat "rationality" which is influenced by various traits. A character with a low rationality is prone to making random decisions, like killing people without a reason or declaring a war they can not win.

Traits which result in a very low rationality are:

  • "Lunatic" (-50)
  • "Possessed" (-40)
  • "Imbecile" (-30)
  • "Inbred" (-20)
  • "Arbitrary" (-20)
  • "Slow" (-15)
  • "Drunkard" (-10)
  • "Wroth" (-10)
  • "Zealous" (-10)
  • "Infirm" (-5)
  • "Berserker" (-5)

There are also traits which improve rationality:

  • "Genius" (+30)
  • "Just" (+20)
  • "Quick" (+15)
  • "Patient" (+10)
  • "Cynical" (+10)

So when you notice a character making strange decisions, check if they have one or more traits which lower their rationality. When you don't find any, chances are that they (or their offspring) do in fact benefit from the action in a way which you don't realize.

Source for these numbers is the CKII wiki whose authors apparently extracted them from the data files of the game.

By the way, when you notice that landless people get removed from your council with no apparent reason, they might have somehow gained a landed title. This well-known glitch is described in this question.

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It's also quite difficult to explore opinions between two unrelated, insignificant characters. If one of the characters isn't directly ahead of the other in a hierarchy - as in a liege-vassal or head-of-religion relationship - you have to open a separate dialog. There are tons of distinct opinion modifiers, and I've frequently found that people plotting to kill random people have been tagged as 'rivals' for a mutual -100.

This modifier, like so many, is event based. There are many more events and many many more event triggers than opinion modifiers, so it's nigh impossible to tell with any certainty why an opinion modifier cropped up. As an example, when you take a pilgrimage, there is a small chance to cross the path of nearly any adult character in the game for a variety of different events; you could end up friends, or you could duel on the road and get a permanent opinion malus. What the event is, which options are available and which options the AI selects depend many inputs.

Aside from the sheer number of possible events, you as a player won't necessarily ever be eligible to see all the same events. Just playing as a ruler gives you different events from being a vassal. I also find I tend to groom my rulers to have high stewardship for large demense, so I usually only get one type 'high-stat' special option (e.g. you can diplomatically reject a lot of events if you have high diplomacy stat). I imagine that a lot of event special options for high intrigue or high martial characters are much less, shall we say, peaceful.

The rationality factor ties back into this, as Phillip points out. One thing to consider is that a seemingly rational person can end up plotting against a lunatic for a past transgression. Another common, but more obscured, give-away is if someone closely related to either target is a seducer (much more frequent with the Way of Life DLC), then both parties can get lots of events if the seduction target is in the same court or family.

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