When you think about it, Crusader Kings 3‘s new Royal Court DLC makes a lot of sense. Sure, I could already somewhat accurately portray what it’s like to live in the Middle Ages. But is it truly accurate unless you’re able to take over foreign lands and pilfer their cultural artifacts just so they can sit in some display case in your court? You’d think 1,000 years would have been enough time to return them to their rightful owners.
Alas, there are a lot of rewards and bonuses to be earned by outfitting both your ruler and your royal court, assuming you have one. In this guide, we explain the two different artifact types and talk about what you can actually do with everything you’ve obtained.
What Are Artifacts?
Artifacts are historical items from throughout the world that can be crafted or collected. A limited number can also be equipped on your person or in your throne room, providing various buffs and bonuses.
Every artifact has its own history and list of claimants, for stealing doesn’t come without consequences. That important religious artifact you stole may very well be coveted by everyone following a specific faith. As a result, people can challenge you to a duel or declare war over it. Assuming you have a valid claim, you can also do the same to them.
When it comes to more personal artifacts, familial claims are not passed on further than the first generation. If your parents had a claim, you do, too — but your children will not. It’s important to note that your siblings will also have a claim and may thus try and gain control from you.
When you die, your artifacts are always inherited by the owner player’s heir — whomever the player would continue playing as. This isn’t always the primary heir. In circumstances where an artifact is inherited by someone who is not a close family member (e.g. grandparents to grandchildren), the artifact can lose durability or get destroyed outright.
As the title implies, inventory artifacts consist of anything your actual ruler is wearing. That means your crown, any kind of trinkets, and regalia. While your inventory may be able to hold many, you can equip seven at any given time across the five main types. The first four are straightforward — you can only have one of each. Trinkets are the more interesting category, containing a variety of things like a brooch or flowers from a potential partner.
The artifact types are as follows:
Each comes with a backstory and a unique set of bonuses for having them equipped. While most crowns provide you with more Prestige, one might give you an opinion bonus towards your court guests; another may make independent rulers like you more. Weapons have similar functionality, making you better at fighting and providing bonuses towards things like defending your territory, making your armies cheaper and more effective, reducing your stress gains, or even making you better at scheming. As we’ve mentioned, the effects of trinkets vary much more wildly. A brooch might make you more fertile, for example.
Court artifacts are larger and can’t be held on your person. Instead, they’re displayed in your court. Think more along the lines of tapestries, urns, goblets, books, or a box containing the bones of a saint.
These, too, come with different bonuses. A book can help you make the most of your time, increasing your experience gain; a tapestry may make your court much grander; a fancy goblet (harder to mess with) can make you more resistant to hostile schemes.
You don’t have to steal artifacts, of course. You can always have your own artisans make some. Their appearance and effects will vary based on the culture of your country.
There are two main ways of doing this. For one, you can just commission a random local artisan to make one for you. It’ll be functional and help you fill out a slot. The best artifacts in the game, however, require individuals with Inspiration. If one of your artists is feeling like making something specific, there’s a better chance it will be of high quality. However, the process may be lengthy, and they may come back and ask for more funds to keep their project going. Only landless characters can become Inspired as they travel the lands looking for a monarch to sponsor them. Meanwhile, the generic artifacts you can buy at any time are mostly low quality.
Adventuring for Artifacts
Rather than risking war, you can also send adventurers out on expeditions to find… something. These characters will want you to sponsor their journeys and promise to come back with something in return. Before leaving, you’ll have the option to specify what type of artifact they should be looking for. If you’re particularly trusting, you can instead let them dictate what they come back with, or ask them to find one of the limited unique historical artifacts in the game.
As they make their way towards their goal, they’ll send you updates chronicling what’s happened and even ask for feedback. That is, assuming they come back at all. They might die or simply never return — or they could just pretend to travel and instead steal your money to live a lavish life.
When an artifact is on your leader or in your royal court, it will degrade in quality. It’s important that you have a skillful Antiquarian on hand to repair your artifacts. If one manages to reach zero durability, it will be destroyed forever. Antiquarians also help reduce wear on the items and can protect them during sieges and raids.
As such, we recommend unequipping an artifact whenever you aren’t actively using the benefit it provides. You should do the same whenever it gets close to breaking.
Tired of an artifact that’s just sitting around collecting dust? Instead of simply selling it, you can have someone reforge it. This converts your weapon, armor, crown, or regalia into a display item that’s a proper fit for your throne room. Keep in mind that the modifiers will change. After all, buffs to your armies aren’t exactly useful in the throne room.