Assigning clerical and worldly titles as well as offices to your family members is a major feature of dHRR. In 0.8 this will be seriously expanded and also changed in a major aspect: You will be able to assign these titles in nearly all provinces on the map, and they will become hereditary.
When you enter the world of dHRR you are not to act as Augustus or Napoleon, appointing and dismissing governors and generals at your liking. You are a medieval king who has to act within the boundaries of not only chivalry but also feudalism. Your “governors and generals” are your vassals, and as such they have certain rights – in particular the right to consider the titles (and in some occasions even the offices) you had granted them during their live as their reward for faithful service and so part of their property that they can bequeath to whom ever they like.
To inherit a title
When you start the game most of the titles proper for your starting provinces will already be held by the historical holders of the year 1080. These characters will also be attached to your family tree to allow for succession, even when their historical counterparts had not been related with the king.
As time goes by they will grow older and pass away of age or some might be killed in your service or taken by the plague. Whenever that happens to the holder of a title and he has a natural heir the title would automatically pass to this character, with no chance for you, the king, to intercept and give this land to someone whom you might like more.
This is Fulk d’Anjou, called “le Réchin”, the troublemaker. He is holding the title of a Comes Andegavensis, the Count of Anjou.
This is Fulk’s family. His son-in-law to the left, the Count of Auvergne, has nothing to do with Fulk’s Anjou possessions. He cannot inherit the title. Fulk’s three sons, Gieffroy, Robin and Poncet can. And in fact, a few years later Fulk died and the title is inherited by his son Gieffroy:
He and his two brothers are what we call “heir of the first grade”. Whenever there is a son of a former holder (and this son is of age) he will be picked first when it comes to inherit a title.
You might have noticed that both Fulk and Gieffroy had the trait “House of Anjou”. This trait is always passed from the holder of a title to his sons. These in return pass this trait to all their sons and so on, even when they do not hold the respective title themselves. These members of a “House” form the “heirs of the second grade”. Whenever there is no first grade heir, no living son of a (any!) former holder, one of the other members of the respective House will be picked to inherit the title.
Before he inherited the title of a Count of Anjou Gieffroy was able to acquire the title of a Duke of Bretagne. That way Gieffroy is member of two Houses, that of Anjou and that of Bretagne (in case of the later he is in fact the founder of the first House of Bretagne). Neither his father nor his brothers are members of the House of Bretagne. That way they cannot inherit this title, only Gieffroy’s sons could, provided he would finally sire any. When he died childless the title Duke of Bretagne would be vacant and fall back to the crown to be created anew, while the County of Anjou could be inherited by either Robin or Poncet, or any of their sons.
To acquire a title
Titles may become vacant because the holding House had died out; or they would be created the first time when you conquer a new province. In the case of conquest you would be able to create the respective title within your faction even when the former owner had already done so. Titles are unique only within a faction.
Whenever you wish to create a title for the above reasons you simply send a character that is not already holding any title into the respective town and leave him there for two turns. Unfortunately we had to change the click-on-character mechanism, because of the sheer number of the titles planned the script would had become way to large. Both requirements (not holding a title and the two turns) are meant to prevent from a single character who is conquering several towns to instantly acquire all the respective titles – irrevocably and hereditary!
When a character has successfully acquired a title he will found a new “House of…” and his heirs can inherit this title.
To hold a title
Each title gives the holder a fixed bonus of +1 Command, +1 Authority, and +1 Popularity. Because a character that already holds a title must not be necessarily eager to please his king to receive one, he also gets a -1 Loyalty. A character can only acquire a title when he does not hold any, what follows that he can only acquire a maximum of one title in his live – but he can inherit as many as the engine allows (the hardcoded limit for ancillaries is 8). That way he can accumulate up to +8 Command by his titles, but also -8 Loyalty.
Besides this fixed bonus each title also gives a local bonus of +1 Defence, +5% Tax, 25% Discount on recruitment. This bonus is only given when the holder is in his county (technically he needs to end the turn within the province and gets the bonus the next turn). And because he is considered to be away from his king, he gets another -1 Loyalty as long as he stays there.
You see that it is really desirable for your kingdom to have the correct feudal vassal sitting in each of your towns. Their boni earns your treasury cash money and even more important is their ability to raise units on discount costs (expect recruitment costs for feudal units to much higher in dHRR 0.8). But having a single character holding several titles is nothing you want to happen. This is not only because of his seriously reduced loyalty but also because he can only receive one local bonus at a time. The boni for the towns of his other titles go wasted.
Progress and special rules
We have now implemented this system of titles for France, including the rebel provinces. We certainly take account of the special situation with some titles, so the rule “One Province, One Title” does not apply everywhere. Here are a few example of the long list of exceptions:
The Count of Toulouse also holds the titles of a Duke of Narbonne and Margrave of Provence. So he is able to get his local bonus in Languedoc and Provence too. Orleans is both: the County of Blois as well as part of the French Royal Territory. That way there are three authorities who can get a local bonus in this province, the Count of Blois, the King and his chancellor (what is a first glimpse on how offices will work in dHRR 0.8). Brest on the other hand does not belong to any title to show the chaotic situation in medieval Bretagne. The Duke of Aquitaine again will be one of the most powerful feudal lords in France and his faction must not even hold all the provinces he claims supremacy in to benefit from them. Etc.
Like all modding projects, also this one has to deal with some limitations of the engine. The one thing is the limit of eight ancillaries per character. But apart from Crusades, I have hardly seen a character acquiring more than three “normal” ancillaries, so up to five titles per characters should be no problem – and that’s really a lot considering that a character can acquire a maximum of one and would need to inherit all others.
Another issue would be the order in which the engine picks heirs when there is more than one heir of the first grade. In the above example it had done right by passing the title Count of Anjou to the last count’s eldest son. But there is no guarantee that the engine always does so.
In this example the game seemed to have suspected a conflict between Etienne de Blois and his eldest son, Guillaume, because the title was inherited by his younger brother Raymond. Even Etienne’s two brothers, Odo and Hugues would have qualified as “heirs of the first grade” because the title was already held by their common father, Thiebault. Because Raymond is the youngest of the de Blois we can expect him to outlive the other three and so reducing their lineage to a secondary (they and their descendants would still be members of the “House of Blois”, so still possible heirs).
EDIT 9th January 2010:
Titles so far implemented
worldly titles, including faction leader- and crusader titles
clerical titles (Catholic dioceses); missing the Bishop of Paris and the Bishop of London who are spawned chancellors for France and England and the Bishop of Durham who also is a spawned general. Other spawned characters, but displayed on this map, are the Archbishops of Cologne, Trier and Mainz and the Patriarch of Aquileia.