I'm running a nice empire with, as any self respecting Emperor would require, absolute crown authority. The wiki says:

Vassals can no longer go to war (except to rebel) at all ... It also does not work for any king vassal unless they are your de jure vassal.

I have several King vassals who wage quite a lot of wars on each other, vassals, and outsiders. If I wanted to keep all of my Kings at constant peace, would I have to hold the de jure Empire title above them? E.g. Hispania for Leon, Castille, Navarra et al, Francia for France, Aquitane, Bhriotáin and Brugundy. So far, only the Holy Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire exist, so it feels very weird to have vassals beholden to crown laws under nonexistent empire titles.

Can Kingdoms ever assimilate into Empires? If this were to occur, would they finally be under my crown authority?

I noticed that I can set the Crown Authority for each of my Kingdom titles independently; I gather that my vassals have that authority as well. What would the impact be if they had a lower crown authority than mine? Their vassals would be able to declare war, yes? Would they be able to declare on just other vassals of their liege or would they be able to target my other vassals?

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    I never go beyond medium crown authority because at that point the vassals can switch to primogeniture and large duchies start to form. On medium they are restricted to gavelkind or elective (but AI never seems to switch to elective). Gavelkind will usually do a good job at keeping dukes inside their de jure single duchy boundaries. – SMeznaric Dec 14 '15 at 15:19
  • That's an interesting tip, @SMeznaric. What succession law do you normally get your top level realm up to? Because getting to Primogeniture yourself and lowering the crow authority requires a very timely succession to occur. The only straightforward way of that would be waiting for your ruler to get depressed, upping the crown authority, changing the succession law and then committing suicide. – Dacio Dec 14 '15 at 20:11
  • I usually play elective. In my view this is the law that is the most fruitful because you can essentially pick your successor. The way to optimize it is to put your family members in charge of as many duchies as possible (to increase your potential list of candidates) and to have as many children as possible. Also marry off all your smart relatives to increase chances of genetically favourable traits. You'll have a good ruler every time. As if that weren't enough, the law also gives opinion boost to your vassals... – SMeznaric Dec 15 '15 at 15:36
  • I've started a new game and really pushing the dynastic realm control this time around. I haven't yet gone primo, and so far elective is working out really well. When your election goes to a vassal with a large demesne (which as you point out is pretty rare due to gavelkind), that must just be gravy being able to choose between the best provinces... On the other hand, when you start conquering, you'll inevitably find provinces that are under other crown authority laws and get their primo succession laws grandfathered in, right? (no pun intended) @SMeznaric – Dacio Dec 15 '15 at 20:21

The simple way to limit vassal kings from going to war with your other vassals is to make sure that they have all of their de jure kingdom within their realm. Otherwise the AI will go about trying to achieve that by themselves. While in theory a vassal king can still try to press other sorts of claims on your other vassals, these are harder to come by. In practice the lack of any de jure claims seems to keep vassal kings from waging war within your empire.

Mind you I've never used absolute crown authority, as I prefer to leave option of declaring war on targets outside my realm open to my vassals. The law any self respecting emperor wants is imperial administration. That lets you revoke vassals from your vassals, even kings, without penalty if they're starting to get too powerful.

Kingdoms will drift into your de jure empire, just like duchies will drift into de jure kingdoms. All the counties of the the de jure kingdom need to be inside your realm, and the kingdom title needs to be either part of your of realm or not exist. It takes 100 years to complete. In practice it'll probably take longer because rebellions will temporarily remove counties from your realm, causing the timer to start going backwards.

I'm pretty sure your vassal kings aren't beholden to crown laws of non-existent empire titles. They should have their own crown laws if they're not your de jure vassal.

  • Ah, but Imperial Administration requires Absolute Crown Authority! (Plus Majesty level 5). Do you lower your crown authority after attaining Imperial Administration? Also, my comment about being beholden to non-existent empire laws was more about they're not beholden to my Imperial Crown Authority. Excellent point on the de jure holdings of kingdoms, as they got hopelessly messed up in the French and Spanish Kingdoms before I could start claimant-conquering them. – Dacio Nov 25 '15 at 22:02
  • I didn't know I could retract vassals from kings, so I may start fixing the de jure problems. Hopefully I can get the granted-vassals bonuses to offset the retracted-vassals penalties, or else this could get interesting. Does each King have the option to refuse retraction like they get the option to refuse a title revocation? – Dacio Nov 25 '15 at 22:03
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    @Dacio There's one exception to the absolute crown authority requirement, the Byzantine empire starts with it. In my last game I managed to make the Byzantine emperor my dynasty heir and acquired the law with the title. Otherwise I'd switch to absolute crown authority (which also requires majesty 5) only long enough to enact imperial administration. Yes, the king (or duke) can refuse the revocation, so if says "maybe" or "no", it's good idea to be prepared for war. You can raise levies ahead of time, since he'd be the one declaring war. – user86571 Nov 25 '15 at 22:14
  • Dang, unfortunately the Kings themselves hold some of the untidy holdings, so I can't go for 100% cleanup for 2 reasons: 1) Revoking a Kingdom or County still incurs the tyranny penalty, which is the whole benefit of Imperial Administration for Duchies. 2) I can't revoke a county that's 'the target or justification for an ongoing war'. So I guess they'll have to duke it out for those counties. Or I'll go on a reign of terror when I get old. – Dacio Nov 25 '15 at 23:32

Crown laws only apply to de jure vassals of the particular crown title, with no respect to the de facto realm holder. This rule is exactly the same for dukedoms under kingdoms as it is for kingdoms under empires. What this means in practice is that in order to maintain absolute crown authority under all of your vassal kings, you need to either form the empire they are de jure vassals of and hold it, or make sure that title is not held by any other character and wait a hundred years for de jure drift to move the kingdom into your empire. Keep in mind that even if you hold the empire title that is the de jure liege of a kingdom, that empire title has to have absolute crown authority, at that point the crown authority of your primary empire title has no sway over the kingdom. I believe the same applies to Imperial Administration, but I haven't tested that (there's nothing to indicate otherwise, though).

Something to keep in mind is that laws apply to characters based on their primary title. If, for example, you control the Empire of Britannia, and one of your vassals owns both the Kingdom of Ireland and the Kingdom of Brittany (where the Kingdom of Ireland is your de jure vassal and the Kingdom of Brittany is not), the King will be subject to your crown laws if the Kingdom of Ireland is his primary title, but not if the Kingdom of Brittany is his primary title. Since absolute authority tends to cause a lot of rebellions, using this strategy probably is not generally a good idea, but can work if your current ruler is loved, respected or feared and the two kingdom titles will split after the current king's death, to give yourself some time to start incorporating the kingdom into your empire.

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