Crusader Kings 3 Marriage Guide – Matrilineal Marriages & More Explained

Marriages in a game like Crusader Kings 3 are a bit weird. On one hand they hardly seem that important. There are so many people you can arrange marriages for with far too many characters in the world. Some will be with people who hold no claims or titles, others will lock you into alliances. But the thing about marriages is they’re unimportant until they suddenly are, so understanding the full picture is important even if most arrangements are an afterthought.

In this guide we talk about matrilineal marriages, explain the alliances, and give you some backup plans in case you find your back against a wall.

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What Are Matrilineal Marriages?

By default, Crusader Kings 3 marriages follow traditional rules. That is, children of the parents are born into the father’s dynasty. There are times when your line of heirs isn’t solid, for example, that you may want your children to be born into the mother’s family. That’s what matrilineal marriages are. This way it isn’t completely game over if you run out of heirs even if your last remaining daughter is unmarried. Just find a spouse willing to accept a matrilineal marriage!

Again, in a male dominated society, if you run out of male heirs, your titles and lands will be handed to the next eligible woman. And if she’s married or betrothed in a patrilineal marriage, it might soon be game over for you unless you find a way to have children in your own dynasty tree. How you get out of that marriage is completely up to you.

How Serious Are the Alliances?

As you gain more renown, it becomes harder and harder to find someone to wed who isn’t part of another dynasty. Since marriage is the main way to make alliances, you’re going to have to ally yourself with other dynasties if you want to keep your own family tree going. These alliances are as serious as ones you would otherwise negotiate. At any point you can call them into a war and they can do the same.

These alliances aren’t infinite, however. They only last until one of the spouses passes away.

You Can Always Switch Characters (On Normal)

If you manage to flub things up and find yourself wanting to regain a lost title or give up entirely on a dynasty you can do so. At any point you can opt to stop playing as your current player heir and switch to anyone else in the world.

Those of you playing on Ironman Mode cannot, however. In order to earn achievements, Paradox turns off manual saving and changing characters.

You Don’t Have to Marry Right Away

While it’s common for the game to prompt you with a notification about someone being available for marriage, you don’t have to take it right away. You can absolutely betroth your children on the day they’re born, but you can also wait a full 16 years before they can actually marry before promising them to anyone. The only real reason to betroth them is if you absolutely need an alliance.