In Crusader Kings II, there tends to be a motley collection of people with a claim on some particular duchy or county. You can press such a claim by inviting one of these people to court, which will allow you to declare war on the current holder of the title; if you win the war, then the guy with the claim gets the title (and loves you dearly). Of course, going to war just to hand a title to somebody else is no fun, unless they end up as one of your vassals once the war is over.

I've found a good way to bring counties into your kingdom: give that courtier a county (so he becomes your vassal), and then, once the war ends, the courtier-you-promoted-to-count will still be your vassal, and that new county will become part of your kingdom.

My question is, How does this work for duchies? If I give the courtier a county (so he becomes my count), then will he be my duke once the war ends? Or will he decide that he's going to take his duchy and become independent? Do I need to give him a duchy if I want him to be my duke after the war? How can I press a courtier's claim for a duchy and make sure that duchy becomes part of my kingdom?

  • Have you tried it?
    – svick
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 22:15
  • Not yet; haven't had much time to play lately, but in my spare moments, I keep trying to think of how to become big enough to take on the Holy Roman Empire. Being able to take duchies instead of counties would mean I could do it sooner. (Also, I don't have any casus belli against duchies in Scotland, and I'd like to become Emperor; snipping off one Irish county at a time is slow.) Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 3:19

1 Answer 1


Here's how it works: If you are their liege, the gains from the war are part of your kingdom. It doesn't matter if they're your king, duke, earl, or even mayor, bishop, or count.

To claim a duchy from somebody else through war (when you don't have a casus belli that lets you claim it directly):

  1. Find out who* has a claim on it by opening the duchy information screen and clicking on "Claimants" to see who has a claim on that kingdom.

  2. Invite one of the male claimants over to your court. (If nobody will come over, or there are no male heirs, you'll have to find another way to get that duchy. Note that if one of your courtiers marries a female claimant that you can't legally give a title to, that female claimant is not your vassal and the newly-conquered duchy will not become part of your kingdom, even if you give your male courtier a title.)

  3. Give that claimant a landed title. Any landed title will do, even a city, church, or castle.

    Note that if you land the claimant a city, gaining him a Duchy will found a vassal merchant republic instead of gaining you a new feudal vassal if you are playing version 1.9 of the game or later. Merchant republics are generally considered awesome to have as vassals due to their revenue and tax bonuses, but this might disrupt an existing merchant republic that is already earning you revenue.

  4. Go to war with the ruler of your choice, using the "Claim on duchy X" as your casus belli.

  5. Once you win the war, that claimant will be your duke.

I'm guessing that this will also work with kingdoms if you're an emperor. So far, I've claimed two duchies this way: once by giving away a county to the claimant, and once by giving away a bishopric.

*As revealed in this other answer, you can't actually press the claim in war unless the claim is strong, or the claimant is a pretender (2nd or 3rd in line), or there's already another war going on over the title, or the current holder of the title is a woman (and you have a male claimant) or a child (so there's a regency). You can only use "any claimant with a pulse" if the title is disputed or the ruler is a child; you can only use "any male claimant with a pulse" if the ruler is female; otherwise, you'll need to pick up one of the pretenders or someone with a strong claim: you'll need to do slightly more research to find who they are, and they're often harder to invite to your court.

(Note: if there are three or fewer male claimants, then it's almost certain that they're the heir and pretenders. Just grab one and go on your way. Figuring out the exact claims is more important when there are four or more male claimants.)

  • One thing to note: be careful about who would inherit when the claimant you invited dies. If you invite an older claimant with adult children to your court it's quite possible that you might give them a county, go to war to get them a duchy and then have them die and you lose both. Give preference to claimants that don't have adult sons.
    – Wjousts
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 19:52
  • I just had a problem with your steps; I gave the claimant a city and it formed a merchant republic instead of a feudal vassal duchy. Any ideas? Please help in my question if you can.
    – Dacio
    Commented May 31, 2015 at 20:51
  • @Dacio, I haven't played CKII since merchant republics were introduced. Perhaps you should use a bishop or baron title instead of a mayor title, if lord mayors like to found merchant republics? Commented May 31, 2015 at 21:36
  • One other thing I've noticed is that this does not seem to work for Kingdom level titles. When pressing a Kingdom claim, the war diplomacy popup has different hover text for the claim. It's missing "or is a vassal of <Your Title>", instead saying only: "If <You> and <Claimant> are of the same dynasty, or if <You> are the de jure liege of <Contested Title>, <Claimant> will also become a vassal of <You>." I've got a non iron-man game going on with a weak claimant vassal against a child king, so I think I'll try it and double check.
    – Dacio
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 2:48
  • And strangely enough, this seems to have worked to devour a whole kingdom at a time. Britain is now the liege land of Aquitaine, even though the new king is not my dynasty.
    – Dacio
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 3:32

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