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Why is everyone in these Crusader Kings 3 screenshots buck naked?

The emperor has no clothes

A lord stands in his feudal hall... naked. Image: Paradox Interactive via Polygon
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

If you roll on down to the Crusader Kings subreddit, or spend a trifling amount of time on the #CK3 Twitter hashtag, you’ll notice something unusual. An alarming number of regents in Crusader Kings 3 appear to have become nudists. So why is everyone in these screenshots buck naked?

The answer is, like so many things in PC gaming, because there’s a mod for that. It’s called Undress, and it adds a menu item into the game’s user interface that will render lords and ladies in their birthday suits. Minors keep their skivvies on, of course, but everyone else in the feudal world is covered only by their mantle of office (should they have one) and a fig leaf for their nether regions. It’s one of the most popular mods on the game’s Steam Workshop.

Funnily enough, these are all character models that were included in the game when it shipped on Tuesday. There are certain in-game events that will show naked characters, including those that feature them getting caught in flagrante delicto. Seduction, affairs, and even venereal disease are features of the game, after all.

But, unlike previous entries in the franchise, Crusader Kings 3 has much more elaborate character models. You can even take your main character and family members to the barber. Click the shears in the upper right-hand corner of the character menu and you can change their hair, their beard, and their clothes. You just can’t make them completely nude unless you get the mod.

Isn’t this super inappropriate for the time period, however? I mean, yes and no. The Puritans didn’t even get invented until the 16th century — about a hundred years after Crusader Kings 3’s timeline officially ends.

Bawdy images and stories from the period, including The Canterbury Tales, have been passed down through the generations. In fact, even the monastic community was not above recording their impure thoughts in the margins of books from time to time, even though they were treasured art objects. One folio (hat tip to medievalist Erik Wade on Twitter) even includes some particularly “obscene marginalia.” And yes, that’s a technical term. I imagine that’s part of why this particular volume survived in a private collection for so long to begin with.

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