Crusader Kings 3 launched little more than a week ago and the modding community is already off to an incredible start. One of the most popular mods at the moment is called Princes of Darkness. The near total conversion of the base game transforms the strategy role-playing title into a full-fledged vampire simulator.
Princes of Darkness reworks core features of Crusader Kings 3 to implement parts of popular Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop role-playing game, as well as other associated World of Darkness role-playing worlds. Vampire is a particularly good fit for this kind of mod, since the lore of that RPG posits that powerful undead creatures have always existed in the shadows. The deeper lore tells the story of how vampires were ultimately responsible for much of the turmoil in feudal times, including the Crusades themselves.
Of course, a big part of the storyline in the base Crusader Kings 3 experience is death. When your main character passes on, you take on the role of their next heir and press on. Things are a little more complicated in Princes of Darkness.
“The first thing to note is that, as a Vampire, you are immortal ... sort of,” states the mod description on Steam. “You won’t die of old age or disease, but being put to the torch or decapitated will still end your unlife. As such, succession is a lesser, but still present, concern for you. In the same vein, Marriages [sic] can’t produce children, so they are mostly a political tool available to a select few religions.”
Religion plays an even larger role in Princes of Darkness, even more so than the base game. The mod developers say that religion “represents the core philosophical tenets of your character, which help him not fall to the Beast.” The Beast is, of course, the insatiable bloodlust that lives inside each vampire.
Princes of Darkness is available now on the Steam workshop free of charge. It’s also not in any risk of being shut down. There was a similar total conversion for Crusader Kings 2, which was also blessed by the developers at Paradox Interactive. It makes sense, as the publisher purchased White Wolf — the company behind Vampire and other World of Darkness franchises — in 2015.