Crusader Kings as a series has always had a slew of characters to play as. You can choose from anywhere between India all the way to Europe, the steppes of north-central Asia, and even sub-Saharan Africa. With such a wide variety of options, perhaps you might wonder what other rulers might be interesting for your next campaign?
Paradox themselves have provided scenario bookmarks that highlight 5 characters in each of them. The “History with Crusader Kings” articles I’ve written have so far all been covering these characters. But let’s take a look at some of the other interesting characters not included in Paradox’s bookmarks. This article will be covering interesting Christian characters specifically in Europe. You can look forward to other regions and faiths in the later articles I’ve planned.
1. Werner Salian, Count of Klingenberg
Werner Salian is either the founder of the Salian Dynasty or someone with ancestral ties. You start as the Count of Klingenberg, owning 5 other counties. Historically, the Salians would take over as Kings of Germany after the Ottonian era. The dynasty would also produce 4 emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Will you be able to emulate history and bring the Salians to glory? Or will you lead the dynasty to a path of ruin? Werner Salian would definitely bring a challenge for those who wish to outdo history.
2. Liutbert von Babenberg, Count of Kärnten
Liutbert is another count in East Francia, owning a total of 6 counties in Bavaria. He is head of the Babenberg Dynasty. The Babenbergs were a prominent family originating from Bamberg. They would rule as Margraves, and later Dukes, of Austria. Their male line would eventually die out with Frederick II, who was killed in battle in the year 1246. Will you be able to prevent this disastrous end? Perhaps you will soar higher than history? Or perhaps you will flop just as badly?
3. Ælla Oswulfson, Petty King of Northumbria
Ælla is that guy I’ve mentioned multiple times before in the articles involving the Viking brothers. Due to his execution of Ragnarr Loðbrok, Ælla will have to face the wrath of the Norsemen right at the start of the game. This one will be a challenging start for sure and not one for the faint of heart. Historically, Ælla would be killed in battle or executed by the Viking brothers. Will you be able to overcome their retribution?
4. Lambert Guideschi, Duke of Spoleto
Lambert is one of the more powerful dukes under King Louis II the Younger. Though the Guideschi’s have their origins from beyond the Alps, they’ve come to assimilate to the local culture. Louis on the other hand remains distanced from Italian culture, keeping to his Frankish Carolingian roots. Perhaps it’s time for the Italians to rule themselves? With discontent among Louis’ vassals, and with the right timing, you might just succeed in taking over. Just be wary of his powerful family alliances. And if war proves too difficult, the king has two daughters if you fancy playing the diplomatic game.
5. Rhodri II ‘the Great’ Aberffraw, Prince of Gwynedd
Rhodri was able to place much of Wales under his rule and became known as ‘the Great’. The Annals of Ulster would refer to him as King of the Britons. But he would not see Wales fully unified in his lifetime. Perhaps under your guidance, not only will he be able to fully unify Wales, but also return Brythonic rule to Britain? Facing strong Anglo-Saxon and Norse threats, one must be able to play off of their conflicts. Will you see the Great become Greater?
6. Louis ‘the Stammerer’ Karling, Count of Bellac
Well, well, who do we have here? Another Karling? However, this one will be a challenging one as this Louis will be a mere count. Historically, Louis would be crowned twice as King of West Francia. But first, you’d need to survive the cutthroat politics of West Francia. If you fancy some intrigue, perhaps you could hasten the line of inheritance? This will not be an easy feat in and of itself, however, as Louis has pretty low scores across the board; aside from his high learning. All I have to say is, best of luck in surviving the early years.
7. Gregorios Spartenos, Count of Napoli
There’s plenty of challenging starts in the game, and Gregorios is one of them. He is the heir of Sergios, who was elected by the city of Naples to become their duke. Sergios was elected to help defend against the Frankish invasion. With the said election, Naples would move towards independence from the Byzantines. But now you’re one lowly count surrounded by several great powers. The easy way out is to look for protection under the Byzantines. But, as you’ve already independent, you can try your hand at going against the world with your own power—not that I’d advise it.
Hopefully, this list was enjoyable and was able to give you some ideas over some Crusader Kings characters to play as in your next campaign!