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In my playthrough for Norway, I have England invaded. There are quite a few Saxon dukes that time to time have plots and give a reason to arrest them. Usually, the arrest chance is low and when I try to arrest they riot. So before the arrest, I bring my retinues and levies on their lands so when the revolt I deal with them very fast and with low army losses. Time-to-time, other dukes join them, but still that's only very few against the whole realm and usually they are easy to defeat.

After a successful suppression of the rebellion, I put the rebellious duke in a prison and can revoke ALL of his counties and titles whily it is only that duke who is unhappy. Nobody else cares as he is a traitor. Usually, suppressing the rebellion is easy and dukes have lots of lands to make many other dukes happy or even create new strong dukes.

I can repeat this again and again. Sounds like an overpowered strategy to get rid of dukes that are against you and keep the rest very happy. The only drawback I can think of is that it takes time to deal with rebellion which you might have spent inviding new lands outside of your real. But often you are threatening and have to wait for defence pacts against you to dissolve, so that's fine.

Is there anything I'm missing which would make this strategy bad? Sounds like I can just disable 'auto-stop' for plots and use that for my advantage...?

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    Did you notice if you're getting any negative opinion from being a tyrant? I believe when you put plotting vassals in prison after a rebellion, you can only take one title for free and the rest cause a tyranny hit. I haven't played recently but if I am not mistaken, it should be like that. – Xander Dec 13 '18 at 15:43
  • Chances are you are correct, at some point, I got a negative opinion for being a tyrant and did not notice where did it come from. But I do remember I've completely busted a huge duke with like 3 duchies and 4-5 counties. I probably became tyrant after that, but spreading out those duchies and making MANY vassals happy was worth it. – Budda Dec 13 '18 at 16:52
  • That the thing which stops this tactic from being that OP. Since the penalty from the tyranny deteriorates slower than the bonus from giving land. So quite soon the new dukes and counts will hate your guts and start the circle all over. Gotta love this game. – Xander Dec 14 '18 at 7:53
  • @Xander I've been able to take more than one title without tyrrany, but not all (unless it's just one of course). It might depend on how many they start with. – curiousdannii Dec 14 '18 at 14:13
  • Ok, now I realized what the problem is. Game UI does not give a warning about getting a "Tyrant" modifier when you are revoking titles so I don't know when exactly does that happen. But it does. And it is really painful as it if not only negative opinion of vassals, it is a characteristic which also influences vassals to vote for the kingdom successor. Question: when does "Tyrann" modifier apply? The moment when you revoke any title from a prisoner? Or when you remove more than one? Please advise. Ideally make it another answer so we can accept it – Budda Dec 14 '18 at 23:04
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You are correct. This is a valid strategy for controlling your realm and keeping vassals from getting too uppity. It's also an opportunity to replace the Saxon vassals with Norwegian ones who won't get an opinion penalty for you being foreign, or to land your sons.

Dealing with little rebellions like this means you're less likely to face bigger rebellions later.

The downside, as you've noticed, is the cost of the retinues and levies. Having your levies raised costs gold and so will replacing retinue losses. Using vassal levies too much will annoy your vassals and make things worse. This is gold that could be spent on other things, such as buildings, holdings, or really expensive crown jewels.

This also relies on not having an empowered council. If your council gets to vote on imprisonment, title revocation, or title grants, they will make it much more difficult.

  • To expand on this, it may also cause issues with going over the vassal/demesne limit, which then limits the army size and maximum income. It also makes you and the rebels juicier targets to be declared war upon by third parties. If, for example, X declares war on rebels and wins the war before you crush the rebellion, you may still lose the lands that X won without having a say in it – Oak Dec 13 '18 at 17:46
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    Note that you can deploy your marshal to increase the arrest chance. If causing a rebellion is your plan and not just something you're reacting to, you might as well deploy your marshal in case they can help catch the duke, it will be cheaper and faster if they succeed. – curiousdannii Dec 14 '18 at 14:15
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    @curiousdannii You only get the revocations if they resist. You're better off lowering your imprisonment chance in this case. – Studoku Dec 18 '18 at 12:12

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