I was playing with William the Bastard, and after conquering England, i stumbled upon the problem of how to deal with the remaining Godwinsons(a few of them died in battle). So i just granted them bishoprics, apart from Harold himself, whom i kept as a prisoner at first, then castrated and plotted to revoke his titles.

A few decades later, the Duchess of Aquitaine decided to demand my installment upon the throne of France, declared war for my cause, i joined with her and before long i was also King of France. Same story again - i had some very powerful vassals i wanted to get rid off, and since the game doesn't permit you to go all Rains of Castamere on an enemy's family, i resorted to the same policy - giving a bishopric to any male i could find, and plotting to usurp titles/insult vassals so that they start plotting/declare war and i have a claim and can easily usurp their titles.

That generally works, but it's:

  1. Slow, i need to build a lot of temples
  2. Costly, #1
  3. I have a gazillion bishops who somewhat like me(because of land grant), but are from families i don't want to be around. Currently the best candidates for Chancellor, Spymaster and Court Chaplain are bishops from either the Godwinson or Capet families. And there are even one or two of them who became Cardinals.

So, here's my question in essence - is there any good way to destroy a family without incurring significant tyranny? I can hope to imprison all characters from a family, and execute/castrate/blind most of them, but everybody else will hate me(which is wrong, a Norman Duke in Jerusalem shouldn't care that a French Count of Champagne and his family were obliterated).

If they were my courtiers, i could also marry them to whomever i want(like old, sterile, lowborn people in the middle of nowhere), and order them to take the vows, but that's not always an option.

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    No easy way anymore. Many patches ago, in the 1.xx era, there used to be a assassinate button that would give a % chance based on the target's intrigue (in addition to the plot assassinate) for gold based on target rank. If you had the cash, that would be the way to go, damn the consequences.
    – Affine
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 17:37
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    @Affine, this would make a good answer.
    – user106385
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 1:10
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    Yeah, the good old days. I have obliterated quite a few dynasties like that. I think my record is 50 Piasts, because they were in my way and had a lot of claims on my titles. Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 8:39
  • But unfortunately you can no longer do that... At least the AGOT mod should offer some sort of decision for that, for the sake of Rains of Castamere(and maybe play the song? :D ) Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 8:40
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    So basically combine the intrigue decisions for "Plot to Kill" and "Hold a Grand Feast"? +1 to that.
    – Dacio
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


The good news is that you don't have to kill absolutely everyone. Claims gradually weaken and go away as they are inherited; killing a strong claim holder gives his heirs weak claims, which are much harder to push and carry lower opinion maluses.

If you do have targets living in your realm, don't forget that you can take the Intrigue focus with Way of Life and use the Spy On action. This grants additional opportunities to abduct and murder, on top of making it more likely that you will reveal any plots they are a part of, granting you Righteous Imprisonment reasons (i.e. without tyranny).

Short of mass (read: slow, gradual) murder — including the more contrived forms of getting them killed in battle or by disease — the only other way to end a dynasty is through marriage. You can marry the males matrilineally and the females regularly, and any of their progeny will not be of the same dynasty any more. This will still allow claims to be inherited normally, but if they're marrying into your dynasty, then it's problem solved (from the game-over point of view, at least).

Unfortunately, this is ill suited to your question, as your target dynasty is probably either 1) not under your direct control or 2) unwilling to accept an invite to your court, because the claim they hold is against your realm. But it can work well for the branches of the family that aren't an immediate threat to your realm. Regular marriage to a female, even with a strong claim or actually in the line of succession, is usually accepted by the AI. But matrilineal marriage will typically only be accepted if:

  • The man is your direct courtier — if they hold a title, you can't get power over them by making them a member of your council.
  • The woman is important enough — basically, if you have a female relative close enough to grant an alliance to a sitting ruler through marriage, you can get non-inheriting members of other great houses to marry them matrilineally.
  • The man has no claims — useful for second generations who stand to inherit a claim, but haven't gotten it yet. If they aren't in the actual line of succession, the AI will usually let them go to matrilineal marriage.
  • More generally, the woman has to be equal to or greater in importance than the man. So if you have a second cousin who's not getting any claims or any inheritances, you're going to have to settle for marrying them to an unimportant member of the target dynasty as well.

One other note is that it's also possible to end progeny through poor marriages. If you have someone with low fertility or nearing the end of childbearing years, they can serve as a stop-gap to prevent further procreation. Only very old men will accept a bride out of childbearing years (typically 65+, but I've seen it as low as 50), but the AI is less careful about allowing marriages to homosexual theologians or stressed, depressed or otherwise ill people. As a bonus, with the buffed up diseases in the latest patch, an unmarried small-pox sufferer might serve as a means to assassinate multiple targets!

Also keep in mind that negative congenital traits are simulated with recessive genetics in mind. If you can invite a hunchback to your court and get them to breed, you could have a set of poor spouses to draw upon for your nefarious familial wedding. If you marry enough hunchbacks into your target dynasty, it'll eventually resurface. You could also try to kill two birds with one marriage by getting the target dynasty members to marry each other. (!)

And of course, if you're Byzantine you can take a more punitive approach to reproduction – this still requires imprisonment, but doesn't seem to incur tyranny like execution. On the plus side, sieges on castles seem to have a much higher chance to result in capturing prisoners from the court, so a well timed war on a distant branch of the family or a revolting vassal could result in rounding up a bunch of claimants.

I kinda love how realistically this game rewards being a bad person... Straight up murder is frowned upon, but misogyny, sociopathy and germ warfare can help you take over the world.

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