Crusader Kings 2 artwork showing the king on his throne surrounded by advisors

For some completely unexplainable reason, Crusader Kings 2's community and developers have a bit of a fascination with the crusades. However, since the crusades were one of the first things that arrived with Crusader Kings 2 they are a bit underdeveloped, at least compared to what their true potential could be. As such, I am very glad to say that Crusader Kings 2's namesake will be getting a rather sizable overhaul in the upcoming patch!

"The Catholic faith will no longer use the old Great Holy War system - instead they will use a new and improved system specifically tailored to both increase immersion and enhance the gameplay surrounding the crusades," reads the lengthy developer update. "We have specifically aimed to fix the issue where, unless you intend to win the crusade, there was no real reason for you as a player to participate except to get the ‘Crusader’ trait."

"When the pope decides that it's time for a new Crusade, he will send a call to the Catholic world for support. When he does you can access the [new] Crusade View by clicking the Crusade Banner underneath your portrait. In the Crusade View you will have access to a plethora of useful information, and you’ll be able to take actions to help the crusade or to alter its course. You will be able to see the Pope’s proposed recipient (if any) in the top left corner, and the target character and title in the top right. There will be a timer counting down to the date where the war will start."

Crusader Kings 2 screenshot of the new and improved crusade UI

A small part of the new Crusade View

From the new Crusade View you are able to decide just how exactly you're going to participate in the crusade. You can pledge military support in return for piety and artifacts, 'counter pledge' if you're the religion targeted by the crusade, add a beneficiary from your own dynasty that might be granted a title in the Crusader Kingdom should you be successful, pay piety in order to change the target of the crusade, and the list goes on. While there is no simple way to explain this new system, the important thing to keep in mind is that it will offer a much greater degree of player freedom and customization, especially when it comes to loot!

"Regarding the War Chest - when the preparation phase is over, 20% of the money in the War Chest will be divided between the pledged Crusaders, in order to provide for their levies and fleets as they go to war," continues the developer post. "The rest is saved until the end of the Crusade, where it is used as rewards for the participants and to set up the Crusader Kingdom. The Crusader Kingdom will receive 10% of the War Chest in order to steel them against imminent counterattacks."

"The rest (including prestige, piety and artifacts) is given out to the Crusaders who participated in the crusade, in order to motivate you as the player to participate as much as you can - even if you don’t expect to win. To ensure that the top contributors don't take all of the War Chest rewards, any one participant can receive at most 20% of it. As the Catholic world tends to be rather… generous with their donations, this often translates into a lot of wealth! Beware though, if the crusade is lost the majority of the contents of the War Chest will be lost, and Christendom will be weaker for it..."

Crusader Kings 2 screenshot of a newly set up Crusader Kingdom

A newly formed Crusader Kingdom

Perhaps most interestingly of all, if your beneficiary is selected to be the king or queen of the newly formed Crusader Kingdom, you will have the option to switch over to controlling them! So if you feel like leaving your established character behind in order to try and wrestle for control in a highly turbulent region, this new update will give you an excellent opportunity to do just that.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg, however, so if you're curious about the crusades and what exactly the upcoming patch is going to offer, you will find the answers you seek over at the Paradox forums.