Crusader Kings 3 is experiencing a flurry of activity with a double update today. First, there’s the free 1.3 patch, which adds some goodies to the political strategy game. The map now has a winter mode where players can choose to duel enemies to the death or first blood. Lovers and lords can now also write randomly generated poetry to one another.
The second, larger update is the Northern Lords flavor pack, which adds Norse-themed content to the game. Northern Lords is not as beefy as a new expansion, so it’s being sold for $6.99. The flavor pack adds new art for Norse characters — including hairstyles, clothes, and beards that can be used during the character creation mode — and new map models for units. There’s new music, and random Norse-inspired events will pop up among the usual rotation of schemes, betrayals, and murders.
The meat-and-potatoes gameplay of Crusader Kings 3 hasn’t changed, and the great gameplay flow remains the game. The update does make running through multiple generations of a family more interesting thanks to newly balanced dynasty rewards. A player can now choose to become a Norse lord, where they can abandon their home to raid other regions and establish an adventurer kingdom. There are two Norse dynasty tracks, one for adventuring, one for pillaging.
Starting off as a Norse lord is a fun alternative over a safe, simple start like the Petty King of southern Ireland, because you get to be the aggressor and conquer soft targets. There are new units, like Jornsvikings, Berserkers, and Shieldmaidens, adding some satisfying combat crunch for tacticians, alongside the more Sims-style story events and choices.
Alternatively, the player can choose a traditional start, but they may find themselves targeted by some hungry AI Norseman looking for glory and territory. Regions like Russia and Britain, which have historical scraps with the Norse people, are more likely to get hit by an unexpected raid. There’s nothing quite as terrifying as a sudden two-front war thanks to an invasion. There’s a setting in the options to tweak the spawn of Norse raids in the settings, with ‘apocalyptic’ being a great challenge for players who want eternal war.