Crusader Kings II – Monks & Mystics DLC Review
Sometimes the best games aren’t the latest releases, but the ones that you can go back to time after time. With the continued DLC support that Paradox Interactive provides to Crusader Kings II, that is exactly how I feel about it. And the latest release, Monks & Mystics, is no different.
Yet at the same time it is completely different. Or rather, it allows you to play Crusader Kings II in a new and interesting way.
If you are not familiar with Crusader Kings II, allow me to provide a wee summary. In Crusader Kings II you play as a Dynasty. Starting off at a set point in history and in control of whatever land is yours (you can be anything from a Count right through to Emperor) you build up your family’s legacy. Claim new lands through war. Make allies through marriage ties. Scheme your way into the council of your liege, or form your faction in a bid for independence. Working through feudal Europe and Western Asia, you build your own story using the head of your Dynasty. When they die, you play as their heir. The only way to lose is to not have a valid heir when your character dies. For more information, head over to my YouTube channel and check out some of the Let’s Play videos I have there.
As I said, Monks & Mystics offers you a new way to play in Crusader Kings II. Rather than pursuing a legacy in land grab and expansion, you can now aspire to be as pious or as knowledgeable as you can. This is done by joining certain orders available in the game. The Catholic religion has the most options available to it. Two orders are essentially the same in their perks, and focus on your dedication to God. A third, the Hermetics, focuses on the pursuit of knowledge, mostly of the stars. This was of course seen as blasphemous during feudal times.
Once you join a society you will be given tasks to allow you to gain points. Gain enough points and you will be able to rank up within the society. Doing this will grant you access to certain abilities. For example, as a Hermetic you can conduct a Seeing for yourself or your children, to tell what the future holds. Rank up and you can concoct a brew of healing for characters, allowing the removal of certain ill traits.
The content in Monks & Mystics is ideally suited for playing as a Count or Duke in the middle of a larger Christian kingdom or empire as it provides a lot more to do when you otherwise have little chance of expansion. And I haven’t even mentioned the best part. There is another order, one that’s only available to you if you have a sinful trait. Lucifer’s Own. Yup, Devil worshipping! Membership is by invite only, but once you are in the missions and powers available to you are very lucrative.
Get high enough up this order and you can perform curses on your foes. Got some rebellious faction leader in your realm? Silence him with a curse of smallpox. Got some miscreants in your dungeons? Sacrifice them to Satan. The difference with Lucifer’s Own order is that the top rank only has one available slot, so you can’t rank up until the current leader dies. And the top rank has the most lucrative power available. Unfortunately I never got the chance to use it in my play time, but it’s called Unholy Impregnation. If you can get a female character up to the top ranks in Lucifer’s Own, you will have a lot of fun with this ability.
Crusader Kings II is as much a role-playing game as it is a grand strategy. In the past, however, you were always playing the role of a ruler trying to keep their domain in check and expanding where possible. Monks & Mystics really offers the first opportunity to play Crusader Kings II in a much more creative role-playing manner. Whether it’s as a white as white character, devoting their life to god, or as a schemer making their deals with the devil, there is a lot of fun to be had in the Middle Ages.
9 deals with the Devil out of 10