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Construction (Guide) - Crusader Kings II Wiki

Construction (Guide)
From Crusader Kings II Wiki
In Crusader Kings II you can construct buildings in your county capitals, and in any holdings in the county that belong to your direct vassals.
Construction is a long-time prospect, as it will take very long for most buildings to pay off. As it works on such a large timescale, quite a bit of thought
should be put into what you build, where, and when.

Contents
1 Where
2 What
3 When
4 The Maths
5 Vassal holdings
6 A Few Notes
7 Summary

Where
When constructing buildings, your first priority should be your capital. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, your capital will almost always be inherited
by your heir, even if you're using Gavelkind succession. This is important, as buildings often won't pay back the investment within a single character's
reign. Second, your capital will generally have the highest tech level of your holdings, and many technologies enhance the output of your buildings, thus
buildings in your capital will repay your investment faster.
Second, you should focus on your own holdings, not your vassal bishoprics and cities. Your own holdings give you their entire income, while vassals will
only give you a percentage. In addition, the benefit you get from your vassals is also subject to change in the long term due to changes in opinion, while
your own holdings are unaffected.
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What
Your focus should be on improving your economic situation. The higher your income, the faster you can construct or upgrade your buildings, so while at
first you'll lag behind on the military front you will quickly catch up once your economic buildings repay their cost.
After you have reached decent economic capital, with at least Castle Villages in all your holdings, you should go onto upgrading your military capabilities.
At this point you should have a pretty high income, so this should be relatively quick to do. As before, concentrate on your capital holding first, then go
onto other holdings.
For each military building you construct, your personal military capacity increases, and this capacity will be there for you even in times of crisis, and as
such gives you a base military capacity at all times, thus vastly improving your capabilities during civil wars and also helping you in both defensive and
offensive wars.

When
In general, you want to upgrade your holdings as fast as you can. The quicker you build the sooner your investment is repaid, and the more you can
construct in the future as well.
However, you should always keep a reserve. How large this reserve should be depends on your size. Essentially you should imagine the worst possible
economic scenario that could happen to your realm, and keep that much money or more in reserve at all times. As a small realm like say, Scotland,
having 50 gold in reserve at all times would likely be enough most of the time, but it wouldn't be enough if you suddenly needed to hire mercenaries. As
such I would recommend a reserve of 100g at the very least for any realm, as then you'll be able to recruit a band of mercenaries and pay their upkeep
for almost four months through your reserve alone.

The Maths
For the economical buildings, the return on investment is easily calculated.
For the castle town buildings, you get these numbers:
Level 1, cost 100, income 1.5 - 67 years
Level 2, cost 120, income 2.0 - 60 years
Level 3, cost 200, income 2.5 - 80 years
Level 4, cost 300, income 3.0 - 100 years
Level 5, cost 400, income 3.5 - 114 years

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As you can see, level 2 pays off faster than level 1, but level 3 and above pay off more slowly. As such, your first goal should be level 2 in all holdings
before you upgrade any further. Barring other factors such as province modifiers (recently conquered, steward collecting extra taxes etc.), it is better to
upgrade evenly - i.e. get all holdings to level 3 before upgrading any to level 4.
For the castle wall buildings, you get these numbers:
Level 1, cost 50, income 0.2 - 250 years
Level 2, cost 50, income 0.2 - 250 years
Level 3, cost 100, income 0.2 - 500 years
Level 4, cost 150, income 0.2 - 750 years
Level 5, cost 150, income 0.5 - 300 years

On an economical level, only the first two levels will pay of during the duration of a single campaign, so any level beyond that is not worth it on just an
economic level, but their other benefits do of course make them worth it.
Now, what also has to be taken into account is that for any town level after 1, you need a certain level of wall, thus giving you these numbers:
Level 1 town, level 0 wall, cost 100, income 1.5 - 67 years
Level 2 town, level 1 wall, cost 170, income 2.2 - 77 years
Level 3 town, level 2 wall, cost 250, income 2.7 - 93 years
Level 4 town, level 0 wall, cost 300, income 3.0 - 100 years
Level 5 town, level 0 wall, cost 400, income 3.5 - 114 years

Note that the last two levels of towns do not need further wall upgrades. With wall upgrades taken into account we now get a gradual progression for
how long it takes to get a return on your investment, which thus shows us that aiming for level 1 first in all your holdings, then going to the next level and
so on, makes the most sense.

Vassal holdings
Due to you only getting a percentage of your vassal's income and levies, your own holdings should usually be prioritized. For castles, your own holdings
are always higher priority, as they give the exact same benefits except in full.
While cities give higher revenue per town building than castles, you'll still get less overall due to only getting a percentage of the income. Churches and
cities however have one building each that can be useful: the monastic school and the university. The monastic school increases your tech growth in the
province by 10% at level 1, and 20% at level 2, for a total of 30%, while the university increases tech growth by 20% at level 1 and 30% at level 2, but
level 2 comes quite late in the game. This can make a major difference in the long run, so if you favor a tech-based approach to the game, investing in this
building can be a good idea.
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A Few Notes
As long as you have good stewardship, the break-even point for construction will be considerably sooner, as you get 2% more demesne income for
every point of state stewardship beyond 5. Thus, at 30 state stewardship, you'll get 50% higher income, reducing the time to reach break-even by one
third.
If your succession laws are gavelkind, try to keep your buildings concentrated in your capital duchy, as any other duchy could end up getting inherited by
someone other than your heir. Building up a county and then losing it 20 years later due to gavelkind isn't too great an idea.
You can also build new holdings in a county if there are free holding slots. Doing so costs 400 gold, plus 100 gold per holding already in the county.
Thus, the lowest possible cost is 500 gold. Cities can bring in quite a bit of money, at a base rate of 12 gold per year. However, even on harsh taxes this
will take 75 years to repay itself, and is thus seldom worth it for the gold alone. However, constructing cities or temples does bring the added benefit of
more tech growth slots, letting you speed up tech growth even more. Castles will repay themselves in 166 years, and are as such not worth it for the
money alone. Build new castles only if you've maxed out all your other holdings.

Summary
Build in your capital first
Don't build anything in your vassal holdings, except for monastic schools as long as you have places left to build elsewhere
For any specific building type, get it to the same level in all your holdings before going to the next
Prioritize economic buildings over military buildings
Always keep a reserve of at least 100g, and preferably more
If you're under gavelkind succession laws, keep your construction within your capital duchy as much as possible
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