How to win duels in Crusader Kings 3

How to gain piety in Crusader Kings 3

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.

READ MORE  Nanny Codes (August 2022)

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
Unsure Attack Medium High 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
Guard Low Low None
Probing Attack Medium Medium None
Onslaught High High None
Put the Boot In Very High Very High None
Surprise Attack Random Medium None
Taunt None Medium None Opponent gains a  Stress Gain modifier
Strict Guard Low None None
Confident Attack Medium Low None
Expert Onslaught High Medium None
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

The products below are affiliate links, we get a commission for any purchases made. If you want to help support ISKMogul at no additional cost, we really appreciate it.
10746 posts

About author
ISKMogul is a growing video game publication that got its start covering EVE Online, and has since expanded to cover a large number of topics and niches within the purview of gaming.