Holy Roman Empire
This article is considered accurate for the current version of the game.
The Holy Roman Empire (HRE) is a unique political structure in the game, made up of numerous, variously-sized states of the Germanic region and northern Italian Peninsula in Europe. Members are considered 'Princely states' and their heads are 'Princes'. From these Princes, up to seven are Prince-Electors, who vote on which Prince will be the next Holy Roman Emperor upon the death of the previous one. The Holy Roman Emperor has various powers at his disposal and a great deal of responsibility to maintaining and protecting the Imperial territorial, religious, and cultural status quo. In the Common Sense DLC, there are also seven Free Imperial Cities which are OPMs, cannot be electors, and give the emperor more authority in exchange for trading bonuses (for example, Ulm).
- People talking about the HRE may be referring to the country with the same name that is formed after the Emperor has enacted the final Imperial Reform: Renovatio Imperii, and it is important to distinguish which incarnation of the HRE you are talking about.
Historically, the Empire existed from the 10th to the 19th centuries, and had up to 300 members at some points. The first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, was crowned "King of the Romans" in Rome by the Pope in the year 800, but it wasn't until 962 that the HRE as a united polity came into being. It considered itself to be the spiritual successor state to the Roman Empire, even though it never directly controlled Papal Rome (and also despite, up to 1453, the continued existence of the Eastern Roman Empire and until the late 15th century of various Byzantine holdout states such as Trebizond, Theodoro, etc.). It experienced high amounts of decentralization towards the end of the Middle Ages, which is represented in-game by the special HRE interface (see below). The balance of power between the various Princes, Electors and the Emperor was always in flux, and imperial unity was further weakened by the Reformation. From the 15th century on, except for a handful of years under the house of Wittelsbach (during the early years of the reign of Archduchess Maria Theresa) the Emperor was from the House of Habsburg or Habsburg-Lorraine, the rulers of Austria and many other European nations.
- 1 Game interface
- 2 Emperor
- 3 Electors
- 4 Princes
- 5 Imperial reforms
- 6 Dismantle HRE
- 7 Italy and the HRE
- 8 Religious leagues
- 9 Notes for Crusader Kings II converted saves
- 10 Historical context
- 11 External references
The Holy Roman Empire interface is a small shield (with a picture of an Imperial eagle) on the bottom of the screen (only visible as long as the HRE exists). Under the icon is a number which shows the Authority of the current reigning Emperor.
Within the interface are a number of shields of various sizes representing members of the HRE. 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 Imperial Authority of the current Emperor, as well as the Emperor's name and his/her main country, 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 Imperial Authority, ranging from 0 to 100. The higher the value, the more respect the Princely states of the Empire have for the Emperor. Beneath the shield, the game will state specifically the name and nation of the current Emperor, e.g. "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 and ceases to exist, but not vassalized), 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), which reduces authority gain, but cannot grant electorate to a state which is already their subject (a 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 the player's 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, the player's country adheres to a different religion, or the player is simply not a member of the HRE). 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. Adding more members will increase authority, and removing members will lose authority.
- Imperial Free Cities: Free Imperial Cities are a new addition as of Common Sense. Any one-province republic in the empire may be designated a Free City, to a maximum of 7. Free Cities gain a special government type giving them bonuses to development, and always call the emperor into a war when attacked, even if the attacker has a valid CB. The HRE gets 0.01 Authority per month for each Free City. A Free City that gains a second province loses its status.
- 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 and remove all of its provinces from 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 the player, it is possible to dismantle the Holy Roman Empire and disable the HRE mechanics permanently for 100 prestige.
- Religious Leagues: As of version 1.8, a devastating pan-Imperial war may occur if any Elector converts to Protestantism and can be resolved by the Peace of Westphalia. This has the result of determining which denominations can have Emperors.
The Emperor is the leader of the Holy Roman Empire, tasked with defending and maintaining the sovereignty of member states.
Friedrich III von Habsburg 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, converts to a heretical denomination before the Thirty Years' War, or otherwise annexed, and his/her nation ceases to exist, a new emperor will be elected. On the death or disqualification of the current Emperor, the Imperial Electors choose a replacement from within the Christian world, with the exact eligible denominations determined by the outcome of Religious Leagues.
An Emperor can only be selected from candidates that are:
- Male (NB: Austria can get the "Pragmatic Sanction" event that removes this requirement permanently if they have a female heir)
- The accepted Imperial religion (either Catholic or Protestant). If the Peace of Westphalia event happens, any Christian may be chosen.
- Independent rulers (i.e. not a vassal)
- Monarchs (i.e. not rulers of republics or theocracies)
Notably, being a member of the Empire is not a requirement, though electors will usually prefer members.
An Emperor cannot lose the election for Emperorship while in the midst of a League War.
Benefits of being Emperor
The Emperor gets the following bonuses:
- +1 diplomatic relations
- +1 possible advisors
- +1 leader without upkeep
- +5% spy offense
- +50 base annual manpower per member state.
- +0.5 land force limit per member state.
- +1.00 yearly prestige
- +2 tax income per Free City
Powers of the Emperor
|Please help improve this article or section by expanding it.|
The Emperor has the following powers and duties:
- Bestow Imperial Grace
- Available from the diplomacy screen as an emperor, this action gives a +40 relationship with a Prince of the Empire 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 Imperial 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.
- Grant Free City Status
- With Common Sense DLC, the Emperor can grant a republican one province minor the Free City status, which will give it bonuses as well as the emperor some tax income and Imperial Authority. The Emperor will be called to war when a Free City is attacked, even if it is attacked by another prince in the Empire.
- Defend the Empire
- The Emperor receives a call to arms when outside powers declare war on a Prince of the Empire, or members declare war on each other without a casus belli. Unlike a regular Call to Arms this does not usually have an effect on prestige, but does affect Imperial Authority. If the player decides to refuse this call, Imperial Authority drops, and if the Emperor wins the resulting war, Imperial Authority increases. Regardless of the outcome, answering this call to arms gives you a +50 relations boost with regular members of the Empire, and +100 with the electors. The opinion of the nation that was under attack will not be affected however.
- Revoke the Electorate
- The Emperor automatically gains a casus belli against any Elector of a heretic religion to revoke the electorate. This action will make the other Electors a bit leery.
- Appoint an Elector
- 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. Appointing an elector gives a +50 relations boost with the new elector. Subject nations and Free Cities cannot be made electors.
- Imperial Ban
- Once it passes the first Imperial reform, The Emperor gains a casus belli against all non-HRE nations that control any HRE territory, such as Burgundy or Venice at the start of the game. HRE territory owned by non-members is shown with yellow diagonal lines in the Imperial map view. Conquering the target province gives the emperor a claim on the province.
- Imperial Liberation
- The Emperor gains a casus belli against nations that annexed a 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 60 months (5 years).
- Enforce religious unity
- This is a diplomatic action to enforce the Emperor's state religion on other nations within the empire that follow heretical denominations. The acceptance of the request depends on the target nation's opinion of and attitude towards the Emperor, the Emperor's diplomatic reputation and prestige, the target nation's number of provinces and whether the target is an Elector. If the target is an elector or Defender of the Faith, it counts for a -1000 points reduction on the likelihood of acceptance, effectively rendering peaceful conversion impossible. If the target accepts the request, they convert to the Emperor's state religion and one random province becomes converted automatically. The Emperor suffers a relations hit (-25) with other Princes with the same heretic religion as the target nation. If the target refuses to convert peacefully, the Emperor suffers a prestige hit and gains a casus belli against the target.
- Demand unlawful territory
- The Emperor can demand another nation, member or not, to return unlawfully held imperial territory to the Emperor, refusal of which gives the Emperor an Imperial Liberation casus belli and gives all member states a relations penalty with the unlawful land's holder. The territory is considered unlawful if the owner does not have a core yet.
- Re-Election Bonus
- The emperor gains a bonus to his/her 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 and perform certain Emperor actions. 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). After the player passes the reform Proclaim Erbkaisertum the player gets an additional +25% Imperial Authority to every action taken.
Imperial Authority changes as follows:
- +10 for maintaining the Imperial Crown through successive generations until the Erbkaisertum reform is passed.
- +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, Rome directly borders Siena, and Napoli shares a sea tile with Siena. Any provinces not in the European region cannot be added to the empire.
- +1 per Base Tax for every province of a nation that you Enforce Religious Unity on.
- +0.10 monthly if there are no internal wars in the Empire.
- +0.01 monthly for every Free City in the Empire.
- +0.008 monthly for every Prince over 25 in the Empire
- -0.01 monthly for every province owned by a country not in the Empire. As of patch 1.12, this also applies for provinces under the suzerainty of non-HRE members (for example, France leading a PU with Lorraine). Provinces owned by non-HRE members who are subjects of HRE members do not decrease IA, although they are still subject to the Imperial Ban.
- -0.1 monthly for every elector who is a vassal. This does not apply to electors who are juniors in a Personal Union.
- -10 for declining a defensive call to arms from a member being attacked by a foreign nation.
- Winning a defensive call to arms will grant as much as 30 IA, in addition to a substantial relations boost with every HRE member nation. But it will only be awarded if the defensive War Leader negotiates a victory. The Emperor can negotiate a separate peace, but won't earn any IA.
- Member states converting to a heretical doctrine reduces Authority by the member's basetax*2. There is no loss if the Peace of Westphalia is in effect.
- -1 to Enforce Religious Unity on a Heretical member of the HRE. (this no longer appears to be the case)
- Restoring an HRE member state by forcing another nation to release them in a peace deal gives Imperial Authority roughly equal to the nation's basetax/2, with a cap at 20 IA.
- -0.1 each month if there are fewer than seven electors.
- -10 if a non-HRE nation annexes a member of the HRE.
- Following ideas increase the Imperial Authority gained:
|Bohemian traditions||Austrian idea 1: Imperial Ambitions||—||—|
|+25%||from Imperial Reform Proclaim Erbkaisertum.|
|+25%||from triggered modifiers Catholic Empire and Protestant Empire.|
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 if they follow a heretical denomination.
If there are no electors in the empire, hereditary rule is instituted.
These states begin as electors in 1444:
AI voting criteria
AI electors weight candidates according to the following criteria: (non-exhaustive list)
- + current opinion, from -200 to +200.
- + ( Legitimacy - 50), from -50 to +50.
- + Prestige/4, from -25 to +25
- + Imperial Authority, for the current emperor.
- +50 for an alliance with the candidate.
- +10 for a royal marriage with the candidate.
- -10, if a one-province minor.
- +5 for each imperial province owned after the second, to a maximum of +50. Doesn't apply if not a member state. Non-HRE provinces aren't counted.
- +5 for same culture group.
- -50 for heretic religion (i.e., different branch of Christianity).
- +50 for subject electors, towards their overlord.
- -50 for independent electors towards a candidate with electoral subjects (stacks).
- -50 for non-HRE states (like Byzantium).
- -20 to +20 for trust.
- +100 for being the leader of a religious league.
- +5 per point of diplomatic reputation.
- -200 if at war with the candidate. (NB: this is a severe penalty, but not automatically disqualifying).
- -1000 if ineligible (non-monarchy, female candidate before Pragmatic Sanction, not Christian or not independent).
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 (although Italian states are guaranteed to leave soon by "Shadow Empire" event):
- The Hansa
A nation may add provinces to the HRE if the provinces border the HRE via land connection or shared sea tile, and the nation has good relations with the Emperor (seen in province screen). Adding a capital province to the HRE will make that nation a member state.
Adding a province to the HRE as a non-member requires the Emperor to have an opinion towards the state wishing to join of at least:
'100 + CultureModifier * Development
where CultureModifier is 0.5 if belonging to the same culture group as the emperor and 1 otherwise. For example, in 1444 the Teutonic Order has 115 development and a culture group shared with the Emperor, so it requires (100 + 0.5*115 = ) 157 opinion from the Emperor to join. Since relations can't exceed 200, this means that a nation of the emperor's culture group (usually German) can't have more than 200 development, while one of a different culture group can't have more than 100 development. Since vassal's base tax does not count, releasing provinces to vassals will help joining the HRE.
Current member states add their own holdings to the Empire if emperor's opinion is +100 or higher, provided that they border or share a sea zone with province which are already members, the province religion is any denomination of Christianity, the nation has a core on the province, and the province is in Europe. 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.
Free Imperial Cities
Imperial Cities are unique countries which can be granted by the emperor. At the start, there are 6, however there can be a maximum of seven. For every Imperial City, the amount of Imperial Authority is increased by 0.01 monthly. At the start of the game, the Imperial Cities are as follows:
As the same with Electors the empire functions properly with 7 of them. Although it is at random, the Emperor will most likely choose Lucca as its first Imperial City at the start of the game. The AI will always grant the status of Free City to the maximum of 7. It should also be noted, like electors the province being granted the city status cannot be another nation's subject, however a nation can vassalize an Imperial City and it will still retain the bonuses, however if the nation gives the subject another province it will lose the status of Imperial City and will go to an Oligarchic Republic.
The requirements to be an imperial city requires the player to be a one province minor, and to be a republic. Taking any provinces will make that country lose its imperial city status and will make it become an Oligarchic Republic. The Emperor is more inclined to defend free imperial cities than normal countries, since if anyone declares war on them the Emperor is automatically called in to defend the free city.
Leaving the HRE
A member state may leave at any time if it is at peace. Leaving removes all core provinces from the Empire, reduces authority significantly, and hurts relations with the emperor. 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 by -1 and significantly hurts relations with the emperor.
Non-electors forming nations results in those nations leaving the HRE. Also should the North Italian region not be entirely in the HRE by the mid 1500s the Italian states will leave through the "Shadow Empire" event.
Unlawful territories are provinces that are a part of the HRE, but are owned by a country that does not have a core on them. This applies even if the owner is a member of the HRE. Such territory is usually acquired through either war or vassalisation, peaceful or not. The HRE emperor may request the owner of unlawful territory to return the province to its original owner, and refusing this request will reduce relations with all HRE members by -25 and give the emperor an Imperial Liberation casus belli against the target. The province in question will also receive the following penalties for a duration of 10 years:
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 in the historical Holy Roman Empire starting in the 15th century, in order to "reform" it back into the more centralized and efficient structure it was considered to be in the 10th-12th centuries. Such reforms would have shaped it into something more like the conventional nation-states of the rest of Europe. They were usually promoted by smaller members and the Emperor, and opposed by Empire's electors and more powerful members.
The threshold for proposing a reform is having 50 Imperial Authority. Once the Emperor has more than 50 imperial authority and half of the members' support, for each additional point they gain a boost to the nations' willingness to support said reforms. Vassals and lesser partners of a personal union will almost always support the player.
The player can now choose to either support or oppose reforms. In prior patches the player automatically opposes reforms.
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 ( -0.2 per Provincial base tax including Capital and Building Modifier)
- Having the same government type: +/- (Monarchies get +2 with other monarchies, -5 with theocracies, republics being neutral)
- Opinion of Emperor: +10% of positive, or -50% of negative
- Religion: -20 if the prince's religion is considered heretical by the Emperor
- Being a subject of Emperor: +25
- Overextension of the Emperor, scaling with OE (-25 at 100%)
- Allied with Emperor: +5
- Same Dynasty: +3
- 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
- High Imperial Authority: For each point of Imperial Authority above 50, there is a +1 to reform support
- Previous reforms passed: 3 points of penalty for each previous reform.
- Diplomatic Reputation: +1 for each point of diplomatic reputation.
Call for Reichsreform
This reform gives the Emperor the "Imperial Ban" casus belli against non-members with Imperial territory.
- The Emperor gains -5% build cost and −5% Development cost.
- Members gain -5% build cost and −5% Development cost.
Reform the Hofgericht
- The Emperor gains +0.50 yearly legitimacy and -10% core creation cost.
- Members gain +0.50 yearly legitimacy.
Enact Gemeiner Pfennig
- The Emperor gains +20 tax income.
- Members gain +1 diplomatic reputation.
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 or intervening in succession wars.
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.
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. The emperor no longer gains +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 gain +0.50 yearly legitimacy.
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 the Emperor will gain a CB on them. For this reason, when playing as the Emperor it is worth increasing your Imperial Authority to a level where all or most 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 gained as a result of this decision do not count towards diplomatic upkeep, although royal marriage relationships will continue to. If the Emperor releases a vassal within HRE territory as an Imperial Prince, the newly released vassal will not count towards diplomatic upkeep either. A nation liberated after this reform, however, will not automatically become the Emperor's vassal.
As of patch 1.11, passing this reform also changes the way that vassal liberty desire is calculated. Before the reform, each vassal's liberty desire reflects the combined strength of all vassals. If two vassals each have 10% of the strength of their overlord, their desire contribution from relative strength will be 10% (half of combined strength from all vassals). After the reform, they (and all newly gained HRE vassals) calculate their strengths individually divided by 2. Thus, each of the two previous vassals will have 5% liberty desire (half of strength for that vassal only) from relative strength. In this way, Revoking the Privilegia can help an overlord stabilize their relationship with vassals both in and out of the HRE.
- The Emperor gains +25% on any further Imperial Authority it gains.
- Members gain -10% stability cost.
- This reform is where the HRE will be the strongest, as any country that the emperor declares war on will have a large swarm of vassals to fight through. If the Empire is strong enough, they can usually take most (if not all) large Eurasian nations, even without any allies (providing the vassal swarm is large enough). A common strategy when playing as Austria and having the 2nd last reform passed is to rotate between targets. Attacking (in no particular order) the 3 countries that have been listed above will keep the player's army and navy tradition high and allow him/her to recruit better and better generals as time progresses. When playing as an expansionist Austria (which is recommended most of the time), it is prudent to feed captured land to vassals to make them even stronger, giving eastern land to, for example, Pomerania, Brandenburg, and Bohemia and western land (France, Spain/Castile, and maybe even Northern Africa) to the small vassals in the western part of the Empire, and taking the Ottomans, the Black Sea, and nearby steppes for the player or giving it to other members.
The last reform will consolidate all member states of the HRE into a true, unified nation, with the emperor becoming its ruler. 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). The HRE will get cores on imperial provinces held by non-members. The player nation's rank will go up to Empire and will receive permanent 'Rome Reborn' bonus, which give +1 prestige per year and +5% tax income. Government type will change to Empire, and rulers will be referred to as "Kaiser." The unified HRE is the German cultural union.
This reform is easy to pass, as all the remaining HRE states are now vassals and will usually vote for it. This has a very, very negative impact on relations with former HRE members who left when the player revoked their privileges - they get a special "Unified the Empire" -100 relation penalty with the emperor. In addition, there will be a lot of aggressive expansion when trying to conquer their provinces.
If the player did everything right and made it this far by being nice and defending any and all princes (even the ones who insulted and backstabbed the emperor for centuries), it's quite likely the player will actually be weaker after uniting the empire since HRE bonuses were lost upon enacting the decision.
Like Germany, a united HRE does not have its own country-specific ideas and will simply carry over whatever the founding nation (Emperor) had (most likely generic German ideas or Austrian ideas); similarly, it is considered the cultural union of Germany: 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.
In addition, the HRE will automatically be dismantled if there is nobody eligible to be elected Emperor (see above for requirements).
Italy and the HRE
By the 15th century, the Empire's control over Italy was increasingly tenuous. To represent this, an event ("Shadow Empire") will automatically remove the northern Italian states from the Empire around the year 1490, unless the entire 'Kingdom of Italy' region (visible on the regions map mode) is under the control of the Empire by this time. In particular, all of the lands belonging to Venice and the Papal States in 1444 must be taken by the empire to retain Italy. AI Italian states that are vassals of non-Italian HRE states will remain in the empire, and a player-controlled nation may also choose to stay.
At the start of the game in 1444, one can only be elected Emperor if they follow the state religion - Catholic. However, Electors can be of any Christian religion. After 1550, if one of the Electors (that is not a subject nation) has become Protestant (but not Reformed) and the Empire hasn't been reformed to the point of becoming hereditary, then the Religious Leagues can be formed. Any nation may join either league, regardless of religion, including states outside the HRE, even if they have a truce with the emperor. The Protestant League is created and headed by the first newly converted Elector, and the Catholic League will begin with the current Emperor at the head. After this, one League can declare war on another league at any time. If a league leader is attacked by any nation, their fellow league members will automatically join the war as defenders of the leader. This can make attacking nations in the HRE particularly difficult during the League War, as the aggressor would have to fight the target, their allies, the Emperor, the Emperor's allies, and all nations in the Emperor's league.
The league that wins the war, whether Catholic or Protestant, will have their religion made the permanent official religion of the Holy Roman Empire. This disables further league wars and means that only countries of this religion can become electors or emperors. Furthermore, all countries with their capitals in Europe, but even outside the Empire, will gain the following benefits if they follow the victorious religion:
- +0.25 Yearly legitimacy
- +1 Tolerance of the True Faith
- +1% Missionary strength
- +25% Imperial authority
If any League war lasts a long time (exact time unknown), or if it ends in a white peace, the (Peace of Westphalia) is signed, ending the religious war and allowing any Christian to be elected Emperor. This is the only way for a Reformed, Orthodox or Coptic ruler to become emperor (except if the ruler in question is not a member of the HRE, as Byzantium can become emperor before the League wars through careful diplomacy). The Peace of Westphalia disables religion-based casus bellis such as 'Cleansing of Heresy' between Christians inside the Empire. Emperors will not gain or lose imperial authority for Princes converting after the Peace of Westphalia is signed.
If the Religious Leagues are not triggered in the HRE by 1625 the Imperial Parliament convenes in a Diet to proclaim the Emperor's religion the sole faith. Also, after 30 years with no League War occurring then there is a chance that the Diet will occur in the favor of the Emperor. The mean time of this happening is 5 years after the initial 30 year and it will only trigger if the player is at peace.
Notes for Crusader Kings II converted saves
- If the Holy Roman Empire is transferred from Crusader Kings II while having maximum (absolute) crown authority, it will be represented in Europa Universalis IV as a unified nation.
- Currently, using the CK2 converter does not check all reforms as passed, and the HRE mechanics are not disabled; if the HRE exists in game as a single nation as a result of being imported while at Maximum Crown Authority, it will still be able to pass reforms. However, if the emperor 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, edit the mod/save files to remove the mechanics, or simply declare war, occupy the HRE's capital, and push the "Dismantle Empire" button.
- 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. One can go into the mod/save files and edit the ideas to whatever one wishes.
The Holy Roman 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 EU4 timeframe had become greatly decentralized, and its member states acted with great autonomy. The power of the Emperor was still considerable. He had the power to intercede in the wars and affairs of the member states of the Empire. If the Emperor can enact the reforms, he can eventually centralize all the separate nations of the Empire under his own banner, and turn the Holy Roman Empire into a unified powerhouse which in the right hands can be almost unstoppable. Alternatively, the Empire can wane in power, and, as happened historically by the 19th century, it can eventually be dismantled, in real life at the hands of Napoleon in 1806. 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 mid-sized states instead of the original 50.