Duels, like many other random events, are a thing that you have to deal with in Crusader Kings 3. While handling your realm and holdings, you will often have to fight wars to protect them. You also have to keep dealing with challengers, who can sometimes challenge you to single combat via a random event. Here are some basic tips to help achieve success in duels in Crusader Kings 3.
Basics of Duels in Crusader Kings 3
There are two primary types of challenges, each one requires certain aspects to be in place to take part in said duel:
- Single Combat is a duel issued by a character who has the Stalwart Leader perk against a Rival. The victor will lose Stress while the loser will gain Stress.
- Trial-by-Combat is a duel issued by a character of North Germanic culture group or Norman culture against someone of a similar culture who is guilty of a Crime and is neither their Liege nor Vassal. This was added in the new Northern Lords DLC.
When you issue or get a duel challenge, you need to take into account how well-scored your character is, but beyond that, the Duel itself has some things to track. Each duel has a few values to keep track of:
- Likelihood of Success is a measure of who is currently dominating the duel. Almost all moves add Likelihood of Success, and the first character to get it a certain threshold above the opponent’s wins.
- Risk of Injury is a measure of how overextended a character is. If at the end of a round the difference in Likelihood of Success is not high enough for a character to win each character has a chance to lose based on their Risk of Injury.
- Duel Edge is a measure of how well you are doing in that duel. Some actions taken during the Duels will add or subtract Duel Edge. That value is then taken into account when calculating your final Prowess for that encounter. Gaining Duel Edge is generally the best way to win.
Duels are played out via text boxes. As you go through each round, you will be presented with three options to choose from. Each option will be randomized, but their impacts are easy to predict. With those in mind, let’s talk about how to win.
Tips to Achieve Victory
As you pick moves in the duel, your tracked score will go up or down depending on various factors. The general idea is that the player who gains the most Duel Edge and has a high Prowess score will most often win. In general terms, going into duels with high stats is a very good thing.
Get Martial Stats, Stat
Keeping your traits with high scores gives you the best chance of success when using certain moves. Having a high prowess can help you win indecisive Duels. Any duel that doesn’t have a clear victor after a few rounds will be handed to the character with higher Prowess. Any chance you have to gain Prowess, you should probably take it.
Having high skills in certain stats like Diplomacy or Intrigue can also unlock unique options during Duels that help increase your score in each round. When fighting duels in Crusader Kings 3, you will sometimes encounter unique choices with high stats. There are also certain options, like Disheartening Speech, which can be used to swing the fight in your favor if you have them unlocked.
Read the Freaking Flavor Text. The flavor text can often give you clues as to what options are best for you in a given event, like a duel. There’s no guaranteed outcome for a duel, so that means the system can sometimes go against you. The RNG in Crusader Kings III is still pretty unforgiving at times. Freak accidents can happen, so you need to be prepared for your character to die at any moment.
During each round, both characters will choose one option from a list of three actions. Each action has its own impact, as well as its own values for Risk and Likelihood. Keeping this in mind when picking options is key to victory. Being safe because you have low stats with a character can help, but you’re going to lose at some point. A high-risk move might save you one time, and then get you killed the next, so keep the RNG in mind.
Here is a full list of each option in terms of combat moves. The more advanced options sometimes rely on having modifiers present, as well as certain stats. Familiarize yourself with the table below to learn what the best options are.
|Combat Move||Likelihood of Success||Risk of Injury||Requirements||Other effects|
|Wait & Hope||Low||Medium||None|
|Enthusiastic Onslaught||High||Very High||None|
|Hail Mary||Very High||High||None|
|Clouded Vision||None||Low||None||Adds -4 Duel Edge to the opponent|
|Headbutt||Medium||High||None||Adds -4 Duel Edge to both opponents|
|Put the Boot In||Very High||Very High||None|
|Taunt||None||Medium||None||Opponent gains a Stress Gain modifier|
|Lightning Assault||Very High||High||None|
|Attempt Disarm||Low||Medium||None||Adds -6 Duel Edge to the opponent|
|Tire Opponent||Low||None||None||Increases the opponent’s Risk of Injury|
|Disheartening Speech||None||Medium||At least 18 Diplomacy skill||Gives 5 Prestige per point of Diplomacy|
|In Command||None||Low||At least 18 Martial skill||Adds -2 Duel Edge to the opponent it has the Arrogant trait
Adds -4 Duel Edge to the opponent it doesn’t have the Arrogant trait
|Silvered Vision||Medium||None|| At least 18 Stewardship skill
At least 20 Gold
Character is not Maimed
|Costs 20 Gold|
|Like a Viper||High||Medium||At least 18 Intrigue skill||Increases the opponent’s Risk of Injury|
|Legendary Technique||High||Low||At least 18 learning skill|
|Mocking Boast||None||None|| Higher Prestige than the opponent
Opponent is not Humble
|Adds -2 Duel Edge to the opponent
Opponent gains 40 Stress if it has the Arrogant trait
Opponent gains 20 Stress if it doesn’t have the Arrogant trait
|An Unexpected Ally||Very High||None|| Duel takes place in Africa, Persia, India or Burma
Terrain is Farmlands, Floodplains, Jungle, Oasis or Wetlands
|Can only appear once|
|Master of Terrain||High||Low||Any trait that gives a bonus in the current terrain||Adds +2 Duel Edge|
|Berserkergang||Very High||Medium||Berserker trait||Adds -20 Stress|
|Hard Grit||High||None||Shieldmaiden trait||Adds +4 Duel Edge|
|Feint & Stab||High||Medium||Hunter trait||Adds a +4 Intrigue modifier for 5 years|
|Butchery||High||Medium||Raider trait||Gives 2 Dread per every 2 points of Prowess|
|Stoic Veteran||Medium||None||Varangian trait||Adds a Health Boost modifier for 5 years|
|Blade Dance||High||Low||Blademaster trait||Gives 5 Prestige per point of Prowess|
|Divine Wrath||Low||None||Zealous trait||Gives 10 Piety if opponent’s Faith is considered Righteous
Gives 25 Piety if opponent’s Faith is considered Astray
Gives 50 Piety if opponent’s Faith is considered Hostile
Gives 75 Piety if opponent’s Faith is considered Evil
|Fueled by Pain||Medium||Medium||Deviant trait||Adds +2 Duel Edge if character does not have the Severely Wounded or Brutally Mangled traits
Adds +4 Duel Edge if character has the Severely Wounded trait
Adds +8 Duel Edge if character has the Brutally Mangled trait
|Something to Hide||None||None|| Hook on the opponent
Duel will not end in death
|Adds +4 Duel Edge if holding a Weak Hook on the opponent
Adds +8 Duel Edge if holding a Strong Hook on the opponent