Holy Roman Empire
This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for Vanilla.
The Holy Roman Empire (HRE) is a unique political structure in the game, made up of numerous small and medium independent states of the Germanic region. From these Princely states (members), up to seven are appointed Electors, and these countries appoint an Emperor for life from amongst the monarchs of the Empire. The Holy Roman Emperor has various powers at his disposal and a great deal of responsibility to maintaining the Imperial territorial & religious status quo.
- 1 Game interface
- 2 Emperor
- 3 Electors
- 4 Princes
- 5 Imperial reforms
- 6 Dismantle HRE
- 7 Notes for Crusader Kings II converted saves
- 8 Historical context
- 9 External references
The Holy Roman Empire Interface is a small shield on the bottom of the screen (only so long as the HRE exists). Under the icon is a number which shows the Authority of the current Emperor.
Within the interface are a number of shields of various sizes. Each of them can be clicked on, which will bring up the Diplomatic interface to examine and interact with that nation. Also note that as a handy reminder, the diplomatic power of the player is displayed in the upper left corner of this window.
- Current Emperor: The large shield in the upper left corner shows the blazon of the country who is current Emperor. Beside that is the percentage of current Authority. The higher this value, the more the member states of the Empire respect the current Emperor. Beneath the shield, the game will state specifically the name and nation of the current Emperor: "X of Y is the Emperor."
- Electors: These are the seven princes that have the power to elect the next Emperor. When the number of electors is less than seven (for example, an elector has been annexed or conquered), the Emperor has the ability to appoint a new Elector among the nations belonging to the Empire. Note that the Emperor can have vassal Electors (subjugating them by force, or having them before becoming an Emperor), but cannot grant electorate to a state which are already their subject (vassal or a lesser partner in personal union).
- Underneath each of their shields is a smaller shield, representing that elector's current choice of successor to the Imperial crown. They can vote for themselves, or for other nations. Dependent Electors will almost always vote for their suzerain overlord, even if they are not part of the Empire. Next to it is a number which represents that Elector's current support of your own ruler as successor. This will range from a positive number, which means the Elector favors the player's ruler to some degree, to as low as -1000 (often because the Elector is at war with the player's nation, or the player's country adheres to a different religion. Hovering over the shield will display a tooltip showing all the factors that play into the elector's current attitude.
- Princes: below the Electors is a display of all the shields of the current member states of the Empire. This number can shrink or grow over time as member states are conquered or new ones find a home within the Empire's boundaries.
- Imperial Reforms: the upper-right of the interface shows the list of eight possible Imperial Reforms, with a green check next to any that are currently enacted.
- Leave HRE: At the bottom left is a button for those who have had enough of the Emperor's meddling in their lives. Selecting to Leave HRE will take the member's nation out of the Empire. However, there are diplomatic consequences to such a decision.
- Dismantle HRE: If the Emperor's capital is controlled and the electors either have their capitals occupied or are allied to you, it is possible to dismantle the Holy Roman Empire.
The Emperor is the leader of the Holy Roman Empire, tasked with defending and maintaining the sovereignty of member states.
Friedrich III of Austria starts the game, in 1444, as Emperor.
Electing the Emperor
- See also: #Electors
Emperors, once chosen, serve for life. However, if the emperor is vassalized, forced into a personal union, or otherwise annexed, a new emperor will be elected. On the death of the current Emperor, the Imperial Electors choose a replacement from within the Christian world.
An Emperor can only be selected from candidates that are:
- Male (NB: Austria can get an event that removes this requirement permanently if they have a female heir)
- Independent rulers (i.e. not a vassal)
- Monarchs (i.e. not rulers of republics or theocracies)
Benefits of being Emperor
The Emperor gets the following bonuses:
Powers of the Emperor
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The Emperor has the following powers: [Insert the correct in-game terms for these powers]
- Bestow Imperial Grace
- Available from the diplomacy screen as an emperor, this action gives a +40 relationship with another nation at the expense of one point of Imperial Authority. This relationship bonus will disappear if the nation loses the Emperor status.
- Propose Imperial Reforms
- Available from the Holy Roman Empire interface, the Emperor can call for a vote on an imperial Reform. Unlike in EU3, the Emperor can see how the members of the Diet will vote before calling for the reform by hovering over the reform button, and why they support or oppose by hovering over the shields of each imperial prince.
- Defend the Empire
- The Emperor receives a call to arms in wars between HRE members and outside powers. Unlike a regular Call to Arms this does not usually have an effect on prestige, but does affect Imperial Authority. If you refuse this call, you lose Imperial Authority and if you win a war that results, you gain Imperial Authority. These factors also have an effect on your relations with other HRE member states.
- Revoke the Electorate
- The Emperor automatically gains a casus belli against any Elector to revoke the electorate, and this casus belli does not allow change in war leader: i.e. even if France joins on defense of Cologne, the Emperor can gain 100% war score simply by sieging all of Cologne's provinces. This action will make the other Electors a bit leery.
- Appoint an Electorate
- If there are fewer than seven electors in the Empire, the Emperor can appoint a new Elector in the diplomacy screen to any independent nation inside the Empire. Subject nations cannot be made into electors.
- Imperial Ban
- The Emperor gains a casus belli against a non-HRE nation which controls any HRE territory, such as Burgundy or Venice at the start of the game. Conquering the target province gives the emperor a claim on the province.
- Imperial Liberation
- The Emperor gains a casus belli against a nation which has annexed another member state, with the goal to liberate the said prince and succeeding to liberate the prince will result in a higher imperial authority. The casus belli is automatically given upon the annexation, and will expire in 12 months.
- Enforce religion
- Enforce the Emperor's religion on others nations within the empire that follow heretic beliefs. As well as changing the target's religion, this results in a gain to Imperial Authority at the expense of moderate damage to relations with other Imperial states. The target is more likely to agree to this request if they have a positive relation with you and are smaller than you. Electors are impossible to coerce in this way. Doesn't work past year 1650.
- Demand unlawful territory
- The Emperor can demand another nation to return the unlawfully held imperial territory to the Emperor, refusal of which can be pressed into war. The territory is considered unlawful if the owner does not have a core yet.
- Re-Election Bonus
- The emperor gains a bonus to his chances of re-election relative to the current level of imperial authority, at approximately +1 per point of imperial authority.
Imperial authority is used to pass reforms within the Empire. The Emperor needs at least 50 Authority to pass a reform and the consensus of at least half of the members of the Empire. When a reform is passed, all Imperial Authority is removed (the counter is set to 0). Note that Austria has a national bonus of +10% Imperial Authority. This bonus makes every imperial action worth 10% more. After you pass Proclaim Erbkaisertum you get an additional +25% Imperial Authority to every action you take.
Imperial Authority changes as follows:
- +10 for maintaining the Imperial Crown through successive generations, each succession (until the Erbkaisertum decision is proclaimed).
- +1 for each province added to the Empire. In order to do this, the target province must be Christian (of any denomination), core territory and either directly connected via land border or share a sea tile with an Imperial province. For example, Roma directly borders Siena, and Napoli shares a sea tile with Siena.
- +0.08 monthly if there are no internal wars in the Empire.
- The Emperor winning a defensive war on behalf of a member increases imperial authority by 20, but neglecting a call to arms from a member decreases it by 10.
- Member states converting to a heretical doctrine [Rough/estimated/official formula? What is meant by size?], and converting back to the True Faith [By the same amount that it would have decreased by]
- Restoring an HRE member state, either by forcing another nation to release them in a peace or by releasing them as a vassal yourself, which gives the Imperial Authority between 1 and 20, where a larger and richer nation will gain more. [Rough/estimated/official formula?] (This is somewhat exploitable: the player is quite at liberty to diploannex member states, then release them, to gain Imperial Authority. Alternatively, expanding the Empire externally and releasing previously conquered nations within the empire will create them as newly restored member states, regardless of culture or tech group.)
- -1 each year if there are fewer than seven electors.
The Electors are the nations that vote for the next Emperor. When there are fewer than seven electors, the Emperor may grant the electorate to another independent nation within the Empire. Electors are incredibly protective of their sovereignty and are unlikely to vote for a nation that has an elector as its vassal. The Emperor may go to war with a country in order to remove the electorate from them.
These states begin as electors in 1444:
Nations that have their capital province inside imperial boundaries are considered Princes, or member states. These are the non-electoral states that begin the campaign in 1444 as part of the Empire:
- The Hansa
Imperial integrity is a bonus given to all members in the HRE as long as there are more than 25 princes.
Joining the HRE
A nation may add provinces to the HRE if the provinces border the HRE and the nation has good relations with the Emperor. Adding a capital province to the HRE will make that nation a member state. Note that the Emperor will not permit nations more powerful than they are to join. This relates to higher technology levels as well as a strong military force and also the size of your country.
The Emperor can also add their own holdings to the Empire, provided they border provinces which are already members and the province religion is any denomination of Christianity. Provinces connected with a water crossing can be added to the empire, as well as isolated islands provided they share a sea zone with a province already in the empire. Adding a new province to the Empire increases Imperial Authority by 1 point.
To add a province to the HRE it must be connected to the current territory of the HRE (including sea tiles) and the emperor must have a core on it. Otherwise a country can join the HRE by themselves. Note that you cannot invite a country or province to the HRE.
Leaving the HRE
A member state may leave at any time if it is at peace. Leaving removes all core provinces from the Empire. Non-core provinces are ceded to the Emperor.
Non-members may remove owned imperial territory at will if at peace by clicking on the eagle icon in the province window. This lowers imperial authority and significantly hurts relations with the emperor.
Unlawful Imperial territory
Unlawful Imperial territory are what provinces are known as when they are owned by a "non-Holy Roman Empire" member. These are usually acquired though either war or vassalisation peaceful or not. When these are owned the player or NPC (Non-player character/Non-player country) will get requests from the current Holy Roman Empire Emperor requesting for the return of the "Unlawful Imperial territory", refusing this will severely damage your relation with the Emperor and all members of HRE, while accepting will return the province to the previous/rightful owner and your relationship with the Emperor will not be damaged.
The Emperor with the support of enough member states may attempt to pass imperial reforms. The reform sequence in the game is loosely based on proposals that were made at various times in the historical Holy Roman Empire and which would have shaped it into something more like the nation-states of the rest of Europe.
The threshold for proposing a reform is having 50 Imperial Authority. Once the Emperor has more than 50 imperial authority, for each additional point they gain a boost to the nations willingness to support said reforms. Vassals and lesser parts of a personal union will almost always support you.
Princes (e.g., members) may either support or oppose the Emperor's reforms due to:
- Economic Power: The larger the prince's economy, the less likely they are to support a reform
- Diplomatic Reputation: +1 for each point of diplomatic reputation.
- Having the same government type (+)
- High Imperial Authority: For each point of Imperial Authority above 50, there is a +1 to reform support
- Same Dynasty (+)
- Opinion of Emperor (+/-)
- Culture: -5 if the prince's culture is different but in the same Culture Group as the Emperor's, -10 if it is outside the Culture Group
- Religion: -20 if the prince's religion is considered heretical by the Emperor
- Diplomatic relations with the Emperor: Allies are more likely to support the Emperor, Vassals are virtually certain to do so.
- Previous reforms passed: 3 points of penalty for each previous reform.
- Overextension of the Emperor, scaling with OE (-25 at 100%)
Call for Reichsreform
This reform gives the Emperor the "Imperial Ban" casus belli against non-members with Imperial territory.
Reform the Hofgericht
- The Emperor gains +0.5 yearly prestige, +1 yearly legitimacy and -10% core creation.
- Members gain +0.1 yearly prestige and +0.2 yearly legitimacy.
Enact Gemeiner Pfennig
- The Emperor gains a +25% global tax efficiency modifier.
- Members suffer -5% tax efficiency.
With this reform, HRE member states (including the Emperor) are forbidden from declaring war on one another. It is still possible for them to end up at war as a result of honoring alliances with non-members.
However, if the Emperor is not an HRE member (e.g. France or Spain), he can still declare war on other HRE members. In return, HRE members can declare war on the non-member Emperor
- The Emperor suffers -1 yearly army tradition and +10% stability cost.
- Members suffer -1 yearly army tradition but gain -10% stability cost.
Following this reform, there are no further elections for Emperor. The state which passes this reform automatically remains Emperor. The "elector" part of the HRE panel dialogue changes to reflect this. You no longer gain +10 Imperial Authority on a succession from this point. Also, the Emperor no longer needs to pay diplomatic relations upkeep for vassal status of any HRE members. Non-HRE vassals are not affected, and any other regular diplomatic relations will still require upkeep (for example, royal marriage).
- The Emperor gains +25% on any further Imperial Authority it gains.
- Members lose 1 diplomat as a result of this reform.
Revoke the Privilegia
Revoking the Privilege of Non-Appeal means that HRE members are in effect no longer independent. Once this reform is implemented, all members who support it will become vassals of the Emperor. Members who do not support it will leave the Empire and you will gain a CB on them. For this reason, it is worth increasing your Imperial Authority to a level where each members would vote yes for it. Try distributing bribes, royal marriages, alliances and other relation-improving maneuvers to members who oppose it, before implementing the reform.
The vassal relationships you gain as a result of this decision do not count towards diplomatic upkeep, even though the royal marriage relationships will continue occupying the diplomatic upkeep. If the Emperor releases a vassal within the HRE territory as an Imperial prince, the newly released vassal will not count towards diplomatic upkeep as well. A nation liberated after this reform, however, will not automatically become the Emperor's vassal.
The last reform will consolidate all member states of the HRE into a true, unified nation. The nation that carries out this reform will become the HRE and will immediately inherit all remaining states (those that did not leave the HRE as a result of Revoking the Privilegia or otherwise). Any provinces held by a non-member will have a claim on them for the HRE.
This reform is easy to pass, as all the remaining HRE states are now your vassals and will usually vote for it. This has a very, very negative impact on your relations with former HRE members who left when you revoked their privileges - they get a special "Unified the Empire" -100 relation penalty with you. In addition, you will get a lot of aggressive expansion when trying to conquer their provinces.
If you played your cards right and made it this far by being nice and defending any and all princes (even the ones who insulted and backstabbed you for centuries), it's quite likely you will actually be weaker after uniting the empire. You will also lose the 2% tech bonus.
Like Germany, a united HRE does not have its own ideas and will simply carry over whatever the founding nation had; similarly, the HRE is considered Germany. In other words, all cultures in the Germanic group will consider the HRE to be their own nation, and thus give no penalties.
In order to dismantle the HRE, it is necessary to declare war against the Emperor, occupy the Emperor's capital, and have none of the Electors as "independent." Whether an Elector is counted as "independent" is not determined by whether they are independent or subject nations. The conditions are:
- If the Elector is independent and does not join the war, it is "independent."
- If the Elector is allied to the war leader against the Emperor, it is "not independent."
- If the Elector is a vassal of the war leader against the Emperor, it is "not independent."
- If the Elector is a vassal of someone else than the war leader, and does not participate in the war, it is "independent."
- If the Elector is a vassal of the Emperor, or is independent and allied to the Emperor and joins the war, the Elector is "not independent" if their capital is captured.
That is, in order to dismantle the HRE, it is helpful or even necessary to either ally with or vassalize the Electors, and the war must involve the Emperor and all Electors on either side. This, however, does not necessarily mean all Electors must be at war: an Elector allied to the war leader still counts as "not independent" even if it is not directly involved in the war, and if a third party (including rebels) takes one of the allied/vassalized Elector capital, the Elector is "independent" again. Dismantling the HRE will grant +100 prestige to the war leader, and remove the HRE interface altogether.
Notes for Crusader Kings II converted saves
- If the Holy Roman Empire is transferred from Crusader Kings II while having max (absolute) crown authority, it will be represented in Europa Universalis IV as a single nation.
- Currently, using the CK2 converter does not check all reforms as passed; if the HRE exists in your game as a single nation as a result of being imported while at Max Crown Authority, it will still be able to pass reforms. However, if it attempts to pass Renovatio Imperii, your game will freeze. The only way to avoid this is to use the console command imperial_authority 0 to occasionally reset the current Imperial Authority.
- An imported HRE does not have its own set of ideas at present; it instead seems to use a generic group of ideas for its government type.
The Empire was the dominant political power in central Europe during this historical period. Compared to earlier centuries, when the Emperor wielded more control over his territory, the Empire by the EUIV timeframe had become greatly decentralized, and its member states acted autonomously. The power of the Emperor was still considerable. He has the power to intercede in the wars and affairs of the member states of the Empire. If the Emperor can enact reforms, he can eventually centralize all the separate nations of the Empire under his banner, and turn the Holy Roman Empire into a unified powerhouse. Alternatively, the Empire can wane in power, and, as happened historically in the age of Napoleon, it can eventually be dismantled. In game, however, the Holy Roman Empire usually passes a moderate number of reforms. What happens largely is the elimination of most one province minor states and leads to an end game scenario of 8-18 states instead of the original 50.