Religion Guide by demetz4386

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 12/26/05 | Printable Version

Crusades & Jihads and Religion

:<>Table Of Contents<>:

1 Introduction
2a Catholic Units
2b Muslim Units
2c Orthodox Units
3 Using Religion to your advantage
3a Catholic Factions
3b Muslim Factions
3c Orthodox Factions
4 Crusades and Jihads
4a Crusades
4b JIhads
5 Version History
6 Author's contact information
7 Legal information
8 Special Thanks

1 Introduction:

Crusades and Jihads have occasionally been deplored as among the least
appreciated aspects of the game, but in truth they can be used to great
advantage if you know how to use them. Religion is one subject which many
players are at first hesitant to toy with in this game, for a variety of
reasons, but as the key to deploying successful jihads and crusades it is
essential to step back and realize that this is just a game, not real life.
Jesus, Allah, Odin, Zombie JP II, etc aren’t going to bear a grudge because of
what you do in some game. That aside, we’ll start with a brief run through of
the religious units and what they do.

2a Catholic Units:

Priest- You can create priests as soon as you have built a church. Starting
from scratch, this means four years for a fort, eight more for a keep, four
more years for a church, and finally, one year to pump out a priest, for a
total of seventeen years. The priest will convert a small percentage of the
local population to Catholicism each year, and can also act as an emissary to
other monarchs. Supposedly if the other monarch is the same religion the chance
to succeed is higher, but I find whatever increase in chance there is to be
minimal at best. His presence also helps control zealous provinces, though
minimally, if they are disloyal. You may notice a lot of priests moving through
your territory, this is because there are a lot of catholic factions. You
generally don’t need to worry much about them, but they are able to spy, so if
an unfriendly faction has priests wandering through your territory you may
consider dispatching an assassin to remove him. Some players have even
recommended the abundance of priests as food for your assassins, but the AI
usually keeps priests moving, and if the priest wanders into another faction’s
territory with a border fort while your assassin is on his trail you may well
have just kissed your assassin goodbye.

Cardinal- To create a Cardinal you must first construct a Cathedral, quite the
time consuming project. The cardinal is essentially a super-priest, anything
the priest can do, the cardinal can do better. The catch is that if you’ve
patched the game or installed Viking Invasion you can only construct one
Cathedral and likewise, one Cardinal each year. If you haven’t upgraded the
game, there is a trick you can do to get more than one Cathedral – as long as
the cathedral isn’t finished you can add it to the build queue of any province
with the prerequisites, and they will all be completed.

Inquisitor- Created at a monastery, the inquisitor is similar to the priest,
but without the diplomatic functions. Instead, you can use him to put catholic
generals (even the pope!) on trial for heresy. If you succeed the general is
executed, if not the general gets an additional cross in his character points
along with the possibility of gaining a religion-specific vice (such as
atheist). Your ability to succeed depends on the valor of your inquisitor, the
number of crosses the target has, and many priests (the fewer the better) are
present in the province. Your chance to actually convict enemy regents of
heresy is practically non-existent, even for high valor inquisitors, but you
may find the negative vices worth the trouble to add on. Who knows, your random
number generator just might throw a curve ball and end the rule of the enemy
king. His big limitation is that he can’t do anything against non-Catholic

What does an inquisitor do when his regent pays him no attention? Why, preach
to, or torture, the local populace of course! If you leave an inquisitor in one
place with no mission for a few years, he’ll start an inquisition, and murder a
few of the locals. This may be alarming, but other than random events and the
occasional general with the proper virtues, it is the only way for Catholic
rulers to boost the zeal of the provinces. The more inquisitors, grand or
otherwise, the more people that will die and the higher the zeal of the
remainder will be.

On one final note, the presence of a few inquisitors in one province may kick
its populace into submission, but if you overdo it they may actually drop in
loyalty. You can use this to your advantage by sending masses of inquisitors to
undefended rival provinces and inciting revolts. On the flip side, you should
be careful not to let too many camp out in your own provinces.

Grand Inquisitor- The Grand Inquisitor is to the inquisitor what the Cardinal
is to the priest, better at everything, with an added bonus: you can create as
many GIs at a time as you can build reliquaries.

2b Muslim Units:

Ilam- the Ilam functions for Islamic factions exactly the same way as do the
priests for Catholicism. It is produced at a mosque.

Imam- the Imam does for Islam what the Cardinal does for Catholicism, with an
added bonus: it also improves a province’s zeal without the negative effect
that come with inquisitors. Of course, no inquisitors means no inquisitions and
no trying enemy generals for heresy. Imams will slowly raise the zeal of
whatever province they are in – Muslim or otherwise – to 75%.

2c Orthodox units:

Priest – does the same thing the Catholic Priest does, except for the Orthodox
Church instead.

Bishop- does the same thing the Catholic Cardinal does, but for the Orthodox
Church instead.

3 Using religion to your advantage:

Religion has several manifestations in this game. The most obvious is that your
faction will follow a particular religion, either Orthodox, Muslim, or
Catholic, and you can not change your faction’s religion. By right-clicking on
any visible province you can see its religious makeup. Provinces that border
provinces that predominantly follow other religions will have a noticeable
overspill effect, and no matter how hard you try you can’t establish uniform
religion in such a province. You may be asking your self why you should care,
and the answer is because the populations of those provinces care. If their
leader doesn’t follow their religion they often doubt his ability to lead and
that results in a penalty to their loyalty. If the province also happens to be
only recently conquered this can easily result in a disloyalty problem and
reduce your ability to tax the province or, just as bad, result in your having
to station valuable troops there when they are needed elsewhere. You can
convert the population to your faction religion by dispatching your
religion-specific units there, or constructing religious buildings. A new
church, for example, will speed up the process considerably.

When you right click on a province you will also be shown the zeal of that
province’s population. There are two reasons you might want the zeal of any
given province to be high. The first, if a province is disloyal, but has a high
level of zeal, a particularly religious general will be able to calm them down
if you assign him governorship of that province. The second has to do with
crusades and jihads, which will be discussed in further detail later. Zeal can
be increased by inquisitors, imams, and random events. Other than random events
and just waiting, I know of no way to lower a province’s zeal.

3a Catholic Factions

If you are playing as a Catholic faction, religion can play a very important
part in your game. If you have played this game as a Catholic faction you have
doubtlessly had run-ins with the pope. You see, the pope has it in mind for all
of his followers to conquer all the non-Catholics and it annoys him deeply when
Catholic factions fight amongst themselves. To that end, he will warn the
aggressing faction to remove their troops within two years or face
excommunication. Generally, the “aggressing” faction tends to be whoever has
more territory, which essentially will mean you because a human player can
easily carve out considerable territory. It is particularly unwise to attack a
Catholic faction that is allied to the Pope, but he seems not to care so much
if you attack his non-Catholic allies.

Excommunication means, for the purposes of this game, that your zealous
provinces will drop in loyalty, you can’t start any new crusades, and you are
in fact vulnerable to being targeted by a crusade. Annoy the pope enough and
he’ll even ask for the crusades to be launched against you. So, what can you do
to handle this papal pain in the rear? The easiest way is to avoid being
excommunicated in the first place. You get a two year warning, which means you
can either withdraw you troops from the territory in question, or act quickly
and force the siege of occupied territories. Barring this, there are three
means by which you can shake off the excommunicated status.

The first is probably the least likely to be of any help. You can try to make
an alliance with the pope, and if you succeed this will negate your
excommunicated status, but unless he’s hard under siege by someone else’s
armies, and you crush them thereby freeing the papal domain, chances are he’ll
just spit in your face. Feel free to keep trying, but your chances of success
are usually just above non-existent.

The second way is difficult, but you’ve got a better chance of success. You
must kill the pope. Assassination can be a good bet, as the pope is often low
in rank. If you can’t assassinate him you can invade by sea if you have no
bordering territory or by land if you’re close to him. You don’t necessarily
have to eliminate the papacy, just the pope himself, so if you can draw him
into a battle and corner him that will be the end of your excommunication. By a
stroke of luck, the pope may even die of natural causes, if you time your
defiance just right you may not have to do anything at all.

The third way is, die. Not you, just your regent. The death of the regent and
subsequent ascension of a new ruler will mean the end of your faction’s status
as excommunicated. You could work it by simply timing your defiance to occur
during your faction leader’s old age, or you could be more creative. Ordering
your own assassination has a bit of a humorous tone to it. You could try
putting yourself on trial for heresy, but the likelihood of success is still
very low. Or if you prefer, send your regent on a suicide mission, alone
against ridiculous odds. If the faction leader is of somewhat greater
importance to you, or you simply lack any heirs, you’ll be stuck with options 1
and 2.

One more thing, if you think you’ll just rid yourself of the pope forever and
conquer the papacy, think again. Eventually the pope-in-exile leads a
rebellion, and he usually brings a lot of top of the line troops when he does.

3b Muslim Factions:

Yay! No excommunication for you! Nope, instead you get to look forward to
crusade after crusade especially if you’re in control of the holy land.

If you’ve played an Islamic faction before, you’ve probably noticed that zeal
is considerably lower in your provinces than it is in most of the Catholic
provinces. If you’re playing an early era game, it will probably be quite some
time before you can change this. Your goal will be to build a Grand Mosque and
start pumping out imams to your provinces as well as those you intend to
conquer. Until you can do this, you will have to settle for the less capable
alims. There are only three playable Islamic factions, and no equivalent to the
pope to keep them from squabbling amongst themselves. The Turkish and Egyptians
are bound to fight each other, but the Almohads usually don’t bother the other
two. Most of the map is not Muslim, so you’ll have to do a lot of converting to
keep loyalty up. Building mosques in newly conquered territories usually does
the trick, but if you are unable to build one, a handful of alims will make an
able substitute. By the time you’ve converted most of a province you should
also have held it long enough to calm the nerves of its population, but if you
try to expand too quickly you will be doomed to face revolt after revolt.

3c Orthodox Factions:

Neither the Russians nor the Byzantines are able to increase zeal in their
provinces or launch an equivalent to the Catholic crusades, thus the usefulness
of religion is limited to its influence on loyalty. There is no in-game
equivalent to the pope to keep the two orthodox factions from fighting each
other either. Orthodox factions are susceptible to getting targeted for
crusades, but usually they are left alone (and it will cost significantly more
to target them) unless the faction to be targeted happens to control the Holy
Land or has been particularly aggressive toward Catholic factions. This means
if you’re playing as the Byzantines and intend to take the rich provinces to
the South you can expect your western brothers to raise a fit and send crusade
after crusade against you. For a temporary reprieve, you can conquer the
papacy, but the moment the pope in exile returns he will approve just about
every crusade so even if you kill him before he can take over any province you
will still have to fight off crusades.

4 Crusades and Jihads

In General: the most important thing for crusades and jihads is zeal. When a
crusade or jihad passes through a province the zeal of the population
determines rather you will gain troops or lose them. The higher the zeal the
more troops you get, if the zeal is under forty you can expect to lose some
troops, if its under thirty you may notice the number of desertions rises, if
its 20 or below the crusade will lose a sizeable portion of its potency. This
can be good or bad for you. If you have no intention to use religion (why are
you reading this?) then you will never have need of inquisitors and the lower
the zeal of your provinces the better, since any crusade marching through your
lands will gain troops – your troops – if the zeal is high enough. However, if
you use a crusade, you’ll want to take a path through the most zealous, or
barring that, the least unzealous areas to strengthen your troops and maintain
that strength respectively.

A crusade or Jihad must be first prepared, and then a target province must be
chosen. After you’ve selected a target the crusade/jihad marker will show that
it has a number of troops. Unless the province has a low zeal you should wait
one year and you will gain several additional units. Crusades and Jihads have
to move toward their target province each turn, or they will lose some of their
strength, the amount lost being inversely proportional to the zeal of whatever
province they happen to be in (meaning, the higher the zeal, the few troops
lost, the lower the zeal, the more troops lost). You should try to win battles
on the way to the target province if it is far away, as this will minimize the
negative effect of zeal while maximizing its positive effects – which is
especially important if the target province is deep within unzealous territory.

Crusades and Jihads can generally move freely through lands whose faction
leader is of the same religion, unless the regent is willing to fight off the
crusade/jihad he will let you pass. However, Islamic factions will never
(willingly) let crusades pass and Catholic factions never (willingly) let
jihads pass. Orthodox factions may or may not allow crusades to pass, depending
on who the target is. I’ve never seen an Orthodox faction (willingly) allow a
Jihad to pass. One added bonus to using crusades or jihads is that while you
can use your own navy to move them closer to their target province, you can
also use the navies of those factions that allow you to pass (provided you can
reach one of their ports), again, even if you are at war with that faction.

If a crusade/jihad succeeds you will be granted the use of all the units that
joined it. This is the only way to get access to some units such as the knights
of Santiago, and during the early period it can be especially good source of
top quality knights.

4a Crusades

Crusades may be produced anywhere where there is a chapter house. They cost
1000 to train and you generally have to make an additional bribe to the pope in
order to get his approval to launch the crusade. The price depends on how
friendly you are with the Pope and how friendly the faction you are targeting
is to the Pope. If you have been excommunicated you can not launch a crusade,
but a crusade in progress will not be dissolved if the pope should die or you
should be excommunicated. A crusade will be dissolved if a Catholic faction on
good terms with the Pope (as in not excommunicated) takes the province before
you do. Occasionally you may get the chance to launch a crusade against a
province that later revolts and though predominantly Catholic the crusade will
not be dissolved. Instead the leader of the crusade will ask the leader of the
rebels to turn over the province to you peacefully. If this succeeds you get
the province without a fight, if not you still have to fight for the province.
This also happens if you arrive at the target province and find it in Christian
hands usually as a result of a rival faction’s taking the province and your
crusade arriving before it can be dissolved, or perhaps if the papacy has been
conquered while the crusade was in transit. Crusades traveling through
relatively undefended areas may loot the province. This results in florins
being deducted from the treasury of the faction whose territory they occupy and
added to the coffers of the faction they represent.


Jihads are cheaper, faster to produce, and you can deploy as many of them as
you please at any one time without having to bribe anybody. The catch is that
you can only send them to provinces your faction has at one time held control
of and most of the Islamic provinces are very low in zeal – making it much more
difficult to keep troops. You can, however, alleviate both of these problems.
The first you can solve by forming up a powerful army – at least three stacks –
and going on a rampage through your rival’s territory. Just keep it moving
through as many provinces as possible before its too depleted to keep scaring
your enemies away, then dispose of it as you see fit. Now, you’ll have had
control of a number of territories no longer your own and thus, plenty of
targets. The second problem takes considerably longer to deal with. You have to
build a Grand Mosque and start pumping out imams to all of your provinces and
those provinces along the paths you intend your Jihads to take. Over time they
will increase the zeal of those provinces to 75%, plenty enough to pave the way
for powerful jihads. You can try to use the Jihad before doing this, but you
will be stuck with a serious troop desertion problem unless you’ve already
stretched your borders to and are starting the Jihad in the more zealous
Western, Central, and Southern Europe.

5 This is the Premier Version!

6 You can contact me at with any questions or
additions you would like to make

7 Everything contained in this FAQ comes straight from my brain. I give
permission to the good people at to post this FAQ on their site.
For now, this information may be displayed nowhere else without my permission.

8 Special thanks goes out to the makers of the Total War series, who have
provided me with a way to occupy endless hours of time.