I've tried playing as Jämtland, which starts as a lone Catholic count surrounded by many independent Pagans.

Its de-jure Duchy has only 2 counties, but the other one belongs to Norway, so let's ignore that.

Just to its north and east there is an unformed de-jure duchy made up of 5 counties, all pagan, all independent… borrowed money from Jews, hired the cheapest mercenaries I could find, and Holy Warred 3 of them into submission, enough to create the Duchy.

Problem is, creating the Duchy costs 155 gold, I had only ~100, and a monthly income of ~0.45 (once I dismissed the armies, of course).


  • Tribal Catholic, with Gavelkind succession law. Being Tribal means the some Councilor actions are different, i.e. there's no "Raise Taxes"
  • I already borrowed money from Jews
  • You can't expel Jews if you aren't King
  • You can't ask money to the Pope if you have free investiture, and you can't switch investiture if you aren't King
  • There are no vassals: these are all single-holding counties
  • In order to win wars hoping to get prisoners, or to do raids hoping to get enough gold, you need to have enough troops, and without the mercenaries I didn't have enough (and with mercenaries, you easily end up paying them more than you gain)
  • 1
    What is your government type? From you're description of Gavelkind succession, I'm guessing feudal, but I suppose it could be tribal, with Elective Gavelkind. Anyways, assuming it's feudal, what's your tax rate at? Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 0:23
  • @lorentzfactor it was regular Gavelkind if I'm not mistaken, but Tribal, and all my holdings were tribes so laws were irrelevant.
    – o0'.
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 0:29
  • Likely Gavelkind. Only Pagan Tribals start with Elective Gavelkind. Non-Pagan Tribals (except Muslims) start with regular Gavelkind.
    – CrusaderJ
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 15:18

3 Answers 3


I solved this, trying again… rushing.

Time is of the essence: since you pay every month, the less it takes to conquer the target counties, the higher the chances you still have enough money to create the duchy.

High Chief Austmod of Norrland has created the title High Chiefdom of Norrland

These are the relevant steps I did:

  1. Marry a woman with as high Martial and Stewarship as possible, on day 1
  2. Put the Marshal in your capital training troops, on day 1
  3. Put the Spymaster in your capital, to scheme, in order to discover and twart plots against you
  4. Go to pilgrimage, since you have to wait anyway for the new troops to be trained
  5. During pilgrimage, if you are lucky, try to get new traits improving Martial or Stewarship
  6. When you are back, consider if wait a bit more for all the troops to be trained, in case they aren't already
  7. Pick your target, looking at them: if anyone happens to have already spent his troops (often they go raid somewhere), it's him, otherwise pick the weakest
  8. Borrow from the Jews, hire The Sami Band (the cheapest mercenaries), Holy War
  9. Focus on Siege, ignore enemy troops (this is because you just need a single siege to have 100% warscore. Of course if meanwhile he's besieging you, you might need to take action: do your math ;))
  10. When you have won dismiss your troops only, not the mercenaries, and immediately declare another war
  11. When you conquered those three counties, if you were quick enough, you might have enough gold to create the Duchy

I managed to do this on the fourth try (including the three failed ones before I asked this question).

  • 1
    That's some dedication. Glad you fought a satisfactory conclusion! Out of curiosity, why do you focus on sieges and ignore enemy troops? Did you only have to win a single siege to get 100% warscore?
    – Dacio
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 17:11
  • @Dacio precisely! I'll integrate that in the answer, thanks.
    – o0'.
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 17:14

This one is not immediate, but if you have way of life DLC you can choose business focus and hope an investment pays off

  • The first four points are already dismissed by the question, the fifth is interesting, I'll try it if I get that DLC.
    – o0'.
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 9:20
  • I don't see where you dismiss the third one. Also don't understand why your steward does not have the collect taxes job available, is he leading an army?
    – SMeznaric
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 9:26
  • Sorry, I dismissed the third one implicitly, i.e. I had no vassals: those counties all start as single-holding county. He doesn't have that job at all, I guess that's a thing of tribal vs. feudalism?
    – o0'.
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 9:27
  • 1
    Oh, right. Nevermind, that's all the ideas I had.
    – SMeznaric
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 9:48
  • I'd just edit out everything but the last one then, it would focus better the answer ;)
    – o0'.
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 10:04

As you recently asked, you can Expel the Jews. This gives you a one-time lump sum of 5x your yearly income. It also removes the -10 church penalty for having borrowed money at the cost of 2 diplomacy: this will probably turn out to be a wash, but it's worth checking again to see if the Pope will gift you money with a change in opinion. You can welcome the Jews back in 20 years or immediately after any succession, which it may be worth trying to engineer your own demise if you have a qualified heir ready to inherit. This would get you another 300 gold loan right away followed by another potential expulsion. This is kind of gamey, but it's definitely the least costly way to repay your loan...

Also, you say that the Pope didn't feel like giving you the cash, but you don't say why. As long as he has the cash (which I've never not seen a Pope with 10k+ gold on hand) and you're not already at +100 opinion, it can be worth trying one of the following to sway his opinion:

  • You can send your Chaplain to Rome on a mission and if he's any good (15-20 learning) odds are very good that you'll get a few +30 relations boosts in a year or two.
  • Buying indulgence for your sins costs less than the gift of money the Pope will send back. So you can send the Pope some gold to butter him up before asking for a bigger chunk of change in return.
  • Joining someone's Holy War or crusade can net you a quick relations boost with much reduced risk, if there's a qualified war happening. The Pope often joins Catholic's defense against Jihads, but doesn't send out a call-to-arms like as happens with a Crusade, but most of the time you can still offer to join.
  • Your state diplomacy and personal piety both count for relations with foreign religious heads of state. (Secular, i.e. feudal/tribal, heads of state get bonuses from prestige instead.) It can definitely be worth your time to check for qualified chancellors and chaplains (high diplomacy and learning scores) who would accept an invitation to your court - both also increase your cultural tech point generation, which really pays off for relations in the long term (once you have secured your dukedom, that is).

You mention in a comment that you have no vassals – do you not have any other holdings built in your county? If you do have a city-vassal/mayor, raising city taxes is usually a good move.

Aside from that, I would try to figure out why you steward can't collect taxes. Are you a tribal Catholic?

  • 1. you have to be King to expel Jews; 2. if you have free investiture, the pope won't grant you anything, and to change that… you have to be king, again; 3. yes I was a tribal catholic, with single-holding counties.
    – o0'.
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 21:30

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