Crusader Kings II carries on the grand strategy genre of video games to one of the most polished and in-depth levels ever seen, with the dynasty simulating game allowing you to use marriages, wars and assassinations to gain success. But there is also a thriving modding community, allowing you to customize the game in many minor and outlandish ways. So join me as we go through the best Crusader Kings 2 mods that really enhance the games in ways that perhaps the developers didn’t intend, but are fun to do for sure!
1. Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Compatible with Crusader Kings II 3.3.3, Romance of the Three Kingdoms is focused on China during the Han Dynasty that lasted for 400 years from 200 BC.
The mod includes 5000 plus characters, 500 provinces, 14 religions, 16 cultures, and a deep and intricate duel, battle, nobility, inheritance, refugee, and imperial aspect.
Campaigns included are the Yellow Turban Rebellion, the Coalition against Dong Zhuo, the Battle of Red Cliffs, and many more.
2. Patrum Scuta
This mod helps make the crests displayed on banners in game more historically accurate for the thousands of dynasties available. You can grab it from the Steam workshop.
Many religions (other than Christianity) were given separate shield frames, as well as updating new templates based on traditional designs, for example for Islam, Tengriism, Germanic, Slavic and even Aztecs among many more.
No DLC is needed and this mod makes for a consistent as well as historically coherent heraldry.
3. A Bigger Interface
A Bigger Interface helps scale the game’s menus to accommodate modern resolutions better, being one of the best 1080p display mods for the game, which was released in 2012.
These types of strategy games normally have menus inside menus that expand into more menus, so suffice to say you’re going to be looking at a lot of text. Why not make it more readable on that sweet 27” curved monitor you have?
This mod also throws in additional keyboard shortcuts, to make menu navigation even better.
4. A Revolutionary Tooltip Font
Even with the above mod, you may still find text is a bit small, but that’s where A Revolutionary Tooltip Font comes in.
This mod makes the game and menu text bigger without going overboard and ruining the aesthetic that makes Crusader Kings II so great.
5. Graphics Overhaul
Made by the modder In Heaven, this mod changes the map aesthetic to one more like a bird’s eye view, especially if that bird happens to be a satellite.
Almost tripling the texture count from vanilla Crusader Kings II and also introducing new effects like dynamic atmosphere, sparkle effects for water, and new winters and rivers, this is a top class visual improvement for the game.
6. Rename Anyone
Just like a drama series that goes on for a few too many seasons, one of the main issues with this game is the sheer amount of people you come across.
And you can only meet so many Lord Jimbos of Jimbotown until you forget whether you actually met them or that was his cousin, Duke Ludicisilions.
However, if custom names are your thing, then there’s a mod that gives you total control over character names called Rename Anyone. Just right click on any character, and select the ‘Rename’ option, and you’re done!
7. Improved Genetics 2.0
No King lasts forever, and so it’s important that your heir is in fighting and ruling shape to take on the various ups and downs of ruling over the serfs.
The game does this by inherited traits, but this original system has some issues and that’s where this mod comes in.
Improved Genetics 2.0 uses Mendelian genetics theory and Punnett squares to bring in the concepts of carriers and other genetic realities to the game.
8. Rich Childhood
Combined with the above, this mod gives your King-in-waiting something to do while waiting for the monarch to croak. I mean, Long Live the King!
This gives you much more control over the development of the young squire, with a whopping additional 52 childhood events pushing the development of them in a dynasty defining or total ruin direction.
Events will occur based on several factors including the siblings, courtiers, age group and other influences.
9. Your Personal Castle
A criticism of the Crusader Kings franchise has often been that while the political machinations are very deep and complex, the tech trees and building options are somewhat lackluster.
With Your Personal Castle, you can do all the awesome modifications that a castle needs: study, chapel, observatory and much more, which also then leads to tech points and stat, opinion and trait increases.
Keep in mind that this is only for the castle in your capital, as the name might suggest.
10. CK2 Generator
If you feel like you’ve played every possible scenario and map before, then CK2 Generator may be the mod for you.
CK2 Generator is a third-party mod that gives you a completely new history of humanity from its first exodus from Africa, while still keeping to the vanilla release of Crusader Kings II.
Starting by creating a random culture and pagan religion, this will then spread throughout Europe as it morphs and changes, creating new words and languages, religions, ethnicities and so much more.
The mod does this by logging births, deaths, marriages, inheritances, wars and conquests as well as a plethora of other events to create a full family tree tracking the dynasty, as well as showing title histories, de jure kingdoms and empires and so much more.
All in all, you will be guaranteed to get a unique experience based on the game you know and love.
11. Sketchy Cheat Menu
The infamous Sketchy Cheat Menu has to make an appearance here, as it allows you to do basically anything in the game such as instant murder, change someone’s religion, stack bills or pretty much anything.
This mod also has a fair amount of compatibility with other mods in the game, meaning you can pick and choose how those other mods operate even beyond what their original creators intended. It is even multiplayer compatible if you both have the same mods installed.
12. Witcher Kings
Who doesn’t love The Witcher? A fantastic book series with a terrific game and accompanying Netflix series, this mod helps bring The Witcher universe to the Crusader Kings II game, although make sure you’ve updated to at least 3.2.1.
This mod helps you play a key part in the politics of the continent filled with The Witcher characters. You can engage in warfare alongside acts of intrigue and sabotage to roleplay out your dream scenario involving Geralt.
13. Crusader Kings Z
Inspired by a 2013 April Fools’ joke made by Paradox themselves, this mod by SaintDaveUK and Korbah brings to life (or death?) a zombie plague that is slowly lumbering towards your King and their kingdom.
Characters can get zombified, complete with terrifying portrait changes, and you’ll have you dismembered hands full with trying to stop the horde.
14. Game of Thrones
Given the popularity of porting other universes into Crusader Kings II, it was only a matter of time before the big G got in there too.
Game of Thrones takes place in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. You can choose from all the top royal families, including the Starks of Winterfell, Lannisters of Casterly Rock and others in your quest for the Iron Throne.
There are some extra features such as Knights, Maesters, a ‘Megawar” system for handling the huge civil wars in Westeros and additions like the Night’s Watch and one-on-one duels.
The authenticity is high enough that the mod developers warn against playing if you don’t want spoilers for the books or TV series, so that’s a good start in any case.
Interestingly, this mod works with other mods, which unlock extra features in the Game of Thrones mod such as the Sword of Islam allows a Valyrian religion player to have multiple wives, and the Way of Life enables the focus system.
15. After the End
Being one of the most popular mods out there, I had to include After the End, although it does take place in the future which is a bit out of the Crusader Kings II wheelhouse.
Set in North America, this mod allows you to rampage, conquer and otherwise do naughty things to over 900 plus provinces. If you’ve ever wanted to rule over large parts of the continent and bring the True Faith, this is the mod for you.
Interestingly, while a post-apocalyptic future, technology has taken a bit of a backwards step and so there are still knights, castles and all other kinds of fun additions.