The Role of CK2 Councilors
Ruling an empire can be hard work. Fortunately, in CK2 you have a little help. You can appoint up to five councilors to assist your influence and allow for greater interaction with your people and foreign lands. CK2 Councilors add a lot of bonus hidden stats that can bolster your strategy.
The five characters are appointed from your court and each position is related to one of the basic attributes. The best strategy is to place characters in these positions who are strong in the specific attribute required. This will allow them to have a higher percentage of success in their tasks.
If you do not have anyone in your court that can be effective, use your character finder to locate someone willing to relocate to your court and then appoint him or her. Some characters are willing to come to court. Others can be persuaded with a little gold.
Each councilor has three different tasks they can perform. However, they can only perform one at a time. Their attributes will also contribute to the overall state attribute.
At the top of the list of councilors is the Chancellor. His primary attribute is diplomacy and can be one of your most powerful tools in the game.
Fabricate a Claim
In Crusader Kings 2, you must have a valid “Casus Belli” (good reason) to go to war. If there is a county that you have your eye on, your councilor can go and begin to fabricate a claim on that territory. A few well placed false papers and you are good to go. The higher the diplomacy of your Chancellor, the higher yearly chance of a successful fabrication.
Success gives you a valid reason for war. Failure can result in an assassinated councilor or worse, one that has been bribed.
Improve Diplomatic Relations
Your councilor can be sent to a foreign territory or a direct vassal with the objective of raising their opinion of you. This can pave the way for alliance and marriage arrangements. This is particularly helpful if you and your nemesis have the same ally and you need to ensure their assistance before going to war.
Success will give a large boost to their opinion of you for four years. Failure will actually hurt their opinion of you.
CK2 allows for you to disrupt the internal politics of a foreign territory. In order to bring them down from the inside out, your Chancellor can give a negative opinion modifier to a vassal toward their liege. Failure in this instance backfires and gives a negative opinion modifier to the vassal toward you instead.
Your Marshal is the head of your army and should be high in the martial attribute. His three tasks can drastically help the wellbeing of your armed forces.
The size of your army is determined by several different factors. The first of Marshal’s abilities gives a bonus to your personal levy size and reinforcement rate and a bonus to the reinforcement rate in the areas not under direct control. Failure here will cause some vassal to lose opinion of you and reduce the reinforcement rate drastically.
Revolts can be a hindrance to your plans of domination. This can be overwhelming at times. The rate of reduction on these events is 1% for every one of the martial attribute. It will also enhance your ability to imprison those who oppose you.
Research Military Tech
This adds a speed bonus to the rate at which you acquire tech points to spend in the military tree.
Tribes do not have the option to research. Instead, they are given the raid option. This will give you a chance to spawn an event that provides troops to conduct a raid against rival tribes.
Show me the money. This councilor is very important in CK2 since his attributes contribute directly to how much tax you can collect. Finding a great Steward will help with a lot of other areas of your rule.
This allows a chance to procure an extra tax equal to half of the specific counties annual income. Failure can cause revolts and have health consequences for your Steward including death. Peasants don’t like to be overtaxed.
Your Steward gains the attribute “Master Builder” which will speed up any construction projects as long as he is present. This is a permanent buff and will stay with the character even if he is no longer the Steward. Failure causes a delay in construction due to sabotage.
Research Economy Tech
Adds a speed bonus to the spread on economy tech between counties.
Depending on your play style, the Spymaster can make or break your strategy. Since they add significant bonuses to events that require intrigue, if you like ruling from the shadows, you need to find someone truly deceitful for this prized position.
This task adds a substantial chance to the detection of plots and also has the ability to spawn beneficial events including keeping a vassal from joining a faction against you or having them join your faction. Failure can be deadly for your Spymaster.
Build Spy Network
When you are engaged in intrigue, you need to find good help. This task will greatly increase you plot power (depending on your Spymaster’s attribute.) In addition, it can also spawn events that will give you leverage over a specific ruler.
It is time for some good old fashion industrial espionage. You can place you Spymaster in an area you do not control and they will have a yearly chance to facilitate the spread of technology for the target county to the capital. Failure will result in your Spymaster’s imprisonment.
Your Chaplain is your moral compass or at the least the church in your ear. Their abilities will help you gain piety over time as well as maintain a consistent religion throughout your rule.
You can assign this task to either a county you control or one outside your control. Both have a similar effect. The results can vary from a few vassals converting to an entire county. Then again, they can get mad and imprison or kill your Chaplain.
Research Cultural Tech
CK2 Councilors contribute quite a bit to the speed of advancement. Much like the other research tasks, this increases the speed of the spread of cultural advancements. This will allow you to unlock more complicated forms of government at an earlier stage of the game.
Improve Religious Relations
This will vastly increase the opinion of a local religious ruler toward you. It will also swing the local religious figure’s opinion away from their religious head in your favor.
Keep Them Busy
The biggest difficulties when it comes to CK2 Councilors is keeping all spots filled with qualified characters and then keeping them busy. They add so much to the random side of the game that you want to make sure that each is doing a task that will get you closer to your goals.
For more detailed information including the math see the official Wiki here.