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Espionage idea group.png Espionage
May fabricate claims for subjects.png Claim Fabrication
Allow fabricate claims on states
Allow transfer of vassal wargoal

Aggressive expansion impact.png State Propaganda

−20% Aggressive expansion impact

Spy network construction.png Efficient Spies

+50% Spy network construction
+10% Siege ability

Diplomat.png Agent Training

+1 Diplomat
−15% Advisor cost

Foreign spy detection.png Vetting

+33% Foreign spy detection
−0.2 Yearly corruption

Privateer efficiency.png Privateers

+33% Privateer efficiency
+25% Chance to capture enemy ships

Vassalization acceptance.png Blackmailing

+15 Vassalization acceptance
+33% Monthly favor gain modifier

Idea bonus.png Bonus:

+100% Rebel support efficiency
−20% Covert actions cost

Associated events: Espionage idea group events

Espionage is a way to weaken enemies without actually going to war. Covert actions are diplomatic actions that spend spy network points, which are built up over time by Diplomat.png diplomats. Espionage has an associated idea group in the diplomatic group of ideas which enhances several espionage aspects. As the game progresses more covert actions become available for use by progressing in Diplomatic technology.png diplomatic technology.

Spy efficiency[edit | edit source]

Spy network construction[edit | edit source]

Covert actions are executed by spending spy network size, which is gained by sending a Diplomat.png diplomat to construct a spy network in a foreign nation. As the spy networks' size grows, more costly covert actions can be executed in the target nation. A spy network which isn't being actively maintained by a diplomat will slowly decay over time at a rate of 1.00 per month. As long as the aggressor has a big enough spy network it is possible, if so desired, to perform a succession of covert actions on the target; all of which will be instantaneous and successful upon execution, along with most of the actions also having the effects lasting for a duration of Time Icon.png 5 years.

It is important to note that it's not possible to construct a spy network in a subject nation. The aggressor has to build the spy network in the overlord's nation instead. That one network can then be used to execute covert actions in the overlord's and any of its subjects nations.

Spy network construction has a base construction speed of 1.50 per month modified by distance, the foreign spy detection of the target and the following:

Spy network construction.png Triggers
+30% Ruler has Spy network construction.png ‘Intricate Webweaver’ personality
  • Advisor Spymaster.png Spymaster advisor
  • Target is a Rivalry attitude Rival
-50% Corruption.png Corruption (at 100%)

Spy network construction.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Espionage idea 3: Efficient Spies
  • Infrastructure-Espionage: Spy Network Act
  • Diplomatic-Offensive: The Underhanded Diplomacy Act
  • Espionage-Offensive: The Black Chamber Act
  • Daimyo traditions
  • Ito traditions
  • Ardabili idea 5: Religious War
  • Aztec idea 7: Pochtecayotl
  • Hosokawa idea 6: Yamabushi
  • Kitabatake idea 6: Iga-Ryu
  • Kuban idea 4: Usurpation of the Chiefs
  • Lunda idea 7: Lord of the Vipers
  • Munster idea 7: Enemies Within
  • Pattani idea 3: Smuggling Networks
  • Samtskhe idea 2: Proactive Diplomacy
  • Tokugawa idea 2: Strengthen the Sekisho Network
  • Transoxianian idea 3: Adept Diplomacy
  • Trebizond idea 7: Greek Scholars Abroad
  • Uesugi idea 5: Nokizaru
  • Frankfurter idea 4: Frankfurter Postzeitung
  • Italian (minor) idea 6: Italian Diplomacy
  • Sligonian idea 4: A Different Way
  • Takeda idea 3: Information Network
  • Ulster idea 6: The Defenders

Passive benefits[edit | edit source]

Having a spy network in a foreign nation grants several passive benefits for the country creating the spy network when certain DLCs are enabled. The benefits scale with the networks' size and at a 100 spy network will apply:

  • Siege ability.png+20% Siege ability
  • Aggressive expansion impact.png−30% Aggressive expansion impact (in that nation)
  • Technology.png−30% Technology costs (Maximum amount)
    • The applied reduction is −5% for each tech level the target is ahead in a certain tech field compared to the nation building the spy network (in case of multiple same-field reductions only the highest is applied).
    • The reduction is affected by the size of the spy network.
    • This benefit is unlocked at Diplomatic technology.png Diplomatic technology 9.

Foreign spy detection[edit | edit source]

Foreign spy detection determines the chances of discovering actively built spy networks and how quickly enemy spy networks grow in the nation.

Foreign spy detection has a base efficiency of 100% modified by the following:

Foreign spy detection.png Modifier
+25% Trading in Tobacco.png Tobacco
+20% Ruler has Foreign spy detection.png ‘Secretive’ personality
+15% During Parliament.png Treason Act (10 years)
  • Yearly prestige.png Prestige (at 100%)
  • Federal Republic government
+5% Per Stability.png Stability Positive point
−5% Per Stability.png Stability Negative point
−10% Yearly prestige.png Prestige (at -100%)
−20% Ruler has Loose Lips.png ‘Loose Lips’ personality
−25% Corruption.png Corruption (at 100%)
Foreign spy detection.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Espionage idea 5: Vetting
  • Cascadian idea 4: Settling the Boundaries
  • Three Leagues idea 2: The League of God's House
  • Mercenary-Espionage: Loyal Conduct Act
  • Dahomey idea 4: Lagredis
  • Venetian idea 4: Found the State Inquisition
  • Chimu idea 4: Watchfulness of the Moon
  • Italian (minor) idea 3: Italian Aristocracy
  • Ormond idea 5: Irish Rivalries
  • Creek traditions
  • Sligonian idea 4: A Different Way
  • Takeda idea 3: Information Network
  • Ulster idea 6: The Defenders

Counter-espionage[edit | edit source]

Counter-espionage is performed by sending a Diplomat.png diplomat to a foreign nation with the intention of hunting down the foreign nation's spies in the diplomat's home nation. As long as the diplomat continues the action, the diplomat's nation gets Foreign spy detection.png+33% Foreign spy detection against the foreign nation in addition to applying further Spy network construction.png −50% spy network construction and slowing the foreign nation's network construction. This drastically hinders (if not outright precludes) the target's efforts to execute covert actions.

Discovery chance[edit | edit source]

Spy network construction has a discovery chance upon reaching size 25; meaning, an aggressor can fabricate a single claim or generate a trade conflict CB without risking the chance of being discovered if the network size is smaller than 25.

The discovery chance is calculated as the sum of the yearly discovery chance, which has a base of 25%[1] (or a 2.083% monthly discovery chance), and the difference between the defending nation's foreign spy detection and the attacker's spy network construction. While there are modifiers reducing (or increasing) the discovery chance, it cannot be reduced below approximately 0.06% per month.

A nation which has been discovered building a spy network will have its spy network prevented from growing for Time Icon.png 12 months, but the diplomat will not be expelled. After the 12 months are over the diplomat will resume spy network construction.[2] In addition, the size of the spy network will be reduced to 25, 50 or 75 (the closest of these that is still less). For example, being discovered at spy network 70 will reduce the spy network to 50. And finally, spy network will decay at the normal rate, as if you didn't have a spy there.

Covert actions[edit | edit source]

  • All actions are instantaneous and successful upon execution; most actions have a duration of Time Icon.png 5 years or an instant effect.
  • Actions can still be executed even if a diplomat can't further build a spy network (due to discovery).
  • Same type (covert action) effects are not additive; e.g. Agitate for Liberty effects will apply only once per nation even if 2 or more aggressor nations executed it on the target.
  • In addition to adjacency, the following situations allow a country to use "Fabricate Claim":
    • The country has completed Exploration ideas and the province is in a colonial region
    • The country has Castilian idea 3 "Inter Caetera" and the province is overseas for both claimant and owner
    • (requires Mandate of Heaven.png Mandate of Heaven) It is the Age of Discovery, the country has unlocked the Splendor ability "Transfer Subject", and has a claim on a neighboring province
Action Cost Tech Requirements Effects Notes DLC
Fabricate Claim 20 + 5 per existing claim on target 0 Diplomatic technology.png
  • War.png Not at war with target
  • Yes Has a shared border (by land or sea-zone) with target or is allowed to fabricate on that province for some other reason – see above
Gain a claim on selected province owned by the target for Time Icon.png 25 years (will give Conquest casus belli) Claim duration is automatically extended to account for war or truce times with the target
Fabricate Claim on Area Cost to Fabricate Claim + 10
  • Government monarchy.png Is a tsardom (Ruthenian, Russian or Bulgarian) or has unlocked the 1st Espionage idea
  • War.png Not at war with target
  • Yes Has a shared border (by land or sea-zone) with target area
Gain claims on all provinces owned by the target in selected area for Time Icon.png 25 years (will give Conquest casus belli) Claim duration is automatically extended to account for war or truce times with the target Third Rome.png
Fabricate Tributary Claim 20 + 5 per existing claim on target
  • Mission.png Has completed the Flag of Japan Japenese "Hegemon of Asia" mission
  • War.png Not at war with target
  • Yes Any of the countries Tributaries has a shared border (by land or sea-zone) with target
Gain a claim on selected province owned by the target for Time Icon.png 25 years (will give Conquest casus belli) Claim duration is automatically extended to account for war or truce times with the target Domination.png
Justify Invasion 40
  • War.png Not at war with target
  • Yes Has a shared border (by land or sea-zone) with target
  • Has the "Ottoman Government", "Modernized Ottoman Government", "Reorganized Ottoman Government" or "Sultanate of Rum" government reform
  • Target has less than 150 total development
Gain the "Ottoman Campaign of Conquest" CB on the target for 5 years This CB enables the "Establish Eyalet" peace option Domination.png
Justify Trade Conflict 10 In the same trade node:
  • Merchants.png Has a merchant present
  • Trade power.png Has at least 10% trade power
  • Trade power.png Target has at least 20% trade power
Gain a trade conflict casus belli against the target for Time Icon.png 2 years Often the best way to get a CB on a distant nation; however, the CB does not allow to take land, revoke cores, or release vassals/nations in a peace. Best for stealing money, trade power, or enforcing fleet basing/military access. Wealth of Nations.png
Support Rebels 30 3 Administrative technology.png National unrest.png Target has any rebel faction with above 0 unrest Rebel support efficiency.png+10% Revolt progression chance per month for the selected rebel faction for 5 years This action also requires a one-time monetary payment proportional to the supported faction's size at the time the action is undertaken
Steal Maps 50 6 Diplomatic technology.png
  • Yes Target has discovered a region unknown to us adjacent to a region known to us
  • Yes Has a unit in a known region adjacent to said unknown region
Steal target's maps of a region Mare Nostrum.png
Study Technology None 9 Diplomatic technology.png Have a spy network in a country with a more advanced technology level Technology.png -5% Technology cost per level ahead
  • Maximum reduction of Technology.png−30%
  • The applied reduction is −5% for each tech level the target is ahead in a certain tech field compared to the nation building the spy network (in case of multiple same-field reductions only the highest is applied).
  • The reduction is affected by the size of the spy network.
The Cossacks.png
Slander Merchants 70 12 Diplomatic technology.png
Trade power.png −10% Global trade power

for 5 years

Mare Nostrum.png
Sabotage Recruitment 80 15 Diplomatic technology.png
Manpower recovery speed.png −20% Manpower recovery speed
Sailor recovery speed.png −20% Sailor recovery speed

for 5 years

Mare Nostrum.png
Sow Discontent 80 18 Diplomatic technology.png
National unrest.png +2.0 National unrest
Yearly legitimacy.png −1.0 Yearly legitimacy
Yearly republican tradition.png −0.2 Yearly republican tradition
Yearly devotion.png −1.0 Yearly devotion
Yearly horde unity.png −1.0 Yearly horde unity
Yearly meritocracy.png −0.5 Yearly meritocracy

for 5 years

Target gets higher stability costs and a higher revolt chance
Sabotage Reputation 60 21 Diplomatic technology.png
Diplomatic reputation.png −3 Diplomatic reputation

for 5 years

Target has a higher difficulty to recover its reputation from recent expansions or betrayals, make alliances or other diplomatic agreements
Corrupt Officials 25 24 Diplomatic technology.png
Yearly corruption +0.1 Yearly corruption

for 5 years

Mare Nostrum.png
Agitate for Liberty 90 27 Diplomatic technology.png Yes Target is a subject Liberty desire.png+25% Liberty desire for 5 years The Cossacks.png
Infiltrate Administration 40 30 Diplomatic technology.png Lift the Fog of War from the target nation
Steal modern Ideas 30 Has enacted the "Tsardom" government reform gain 2 + 0.5 times the Total levels of tech they are ahead of Flag of Russia Russia in Modernization, up to a total maximum of 5 Domination.png

Cost modifiers[edit | edit source]

Fabricate claim[edit | edit source]

Main article: Claim

Claims that are granted by missions behave just like fabricated claims, although their duration may be different depending on mission parameters.

Besides providing a conquest CB, claimed provinces have the following benefits when conquered:

  • Core-creation cost.png −10% Core-creation cost
  • Local autonomy.png −10% Local autonomy

Fabricate claim cost is modified by the following:

Cost to fabricate claims.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Aristocratic idea 6: Rightful Conquest
  • Munster traditions
  • Naxian traditions
  • Chiba idea 3: Coalition With Kamakura Kubo
  • Cypriot idea 1: King of Jerusalem
  • Imagawa idea 1: Claim to the Shogunate
  • Isshiki idea 4: Reclaim Old Territories
  • Lorraine idea 3: Lotharingia
  • Northeastern Woodlands idea 6: Eagle Clan
  • Northumbrian idea 2: The Memory of Northumbrian Hegemony
  • Palembang idea 4: Center of the Dynasty
  • Papal idea 4: Donation of Constantine
  • Polotskian idea 1: Legacy of the Werewolf Prince
  • Provençal idea 1: Memory of Angevin Claims
  • Yaroslavlyian idea 1: Between Hammer and Anvil
  • Nizhny Novgorod ambition
  • Thomondian ambition
  • Espionage-Expansion: The Loyalty Act
  • Brandenburg traditions
  • Saxe-Lauenburg idea 1: The Partition of Saxony

Decisions and events:

Cost to fabricate claims.png Event modifier Trigger Time Icon.png Duration
−25% Aphra Behn Flag of England Flag of Great Britain Women in History event: “Aphra Behn
Option: ‘Keep this a close secret!’
for 20 years
Emperor condemns Tuscany Flag of Tuscany Tuscan event: “The Emperor Condemns Tuscany's Elevation
Option: ‘The Emperor will not stand in the way of God's will.’
for 20 years
+50% Limited Claim Fabrication Diplomatic ideas event: “Incompetent Diplomats
Option: ‘They are of noble blood though...’
for 5 years

Note: Inter Caetera the third national idea of Flag of Castile Castile / Flag of Spain Spain allows the use of fabricate claim on overseas provinces in any colonial region which normally wouldn't be in reach of that action. This allows Castile/Spain to target colonies both inland and distant overseas, making any colony in the world a potential target (this can no longer be used once the colony turns into a city).

Two great projects also grant Cost to fabricate claims.png Cost to fabricate claim bonuses if held: (only with Leviathan.png)

  • City of Khami gives Great project level icon tier 1.png−10/Great project level icon tier 2.png−25/Great project level icon tier 3.png−30% if religion is in Pagan group
  • Petra gives Great project level icon tier 2.png−10/Great project level icon tier 3.png−20% if province culture is Syrian or Bedouin and accepted

Justify trade conflict[edit | edit source]

Justify trade conflict cost is modified by the following:

Justify trade conflict cost.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Genoese idea 1: Reuniting the Nation
  • Hanseatic idea 4: Reformed Hanstag

Support rebels[edit | edit source]

Main article: Rebellion#Support for rebels

Supported rebels will be treated as allied units, regardless of when the action began. (However, this only applies to the supporter tag itself, and not its allies or even subjects, making rebel support fairly risky in its current state.) If the rebel faction has spawned rebel units in multiple countries, then all those units will be treated as allies once support is given to that faction anywhere.

Allied rebels that are sieging a province that is an objective of theirs will not transfer leadership of the siege to the player in a war. If allied rebels cannot complete their objectives because the province they are trying to occupy is under another nation's control, they will instead wander the countryside and may engage enemy units.

Support rebels efficiency is modified by the following:

Rebel support efficiency.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Full Espionage
  • Humanist-Espionage: Cultural Understanding
  • Ligori idea 6: Rebellious Spirits
  • Espionage-Economic: The Foreign Support Act
  • Samtskhe traditions
  • Palembang idea 2: Pirate Ancestry
  • Piratical idea 7: Life of Liberty
  • Leinster idea 3: The Subject of My Enemy is My Friend
  • Palatinate idea 3: Center of Reformation in Southern Germany

Descisions and events:

Rebel support efficiency.png Modifier Trigger Time Icon.png Duration
+50% Better rebel support Espionage ideas event: “More Efficient Support for Rebels
Option: ‘Keep this a close secret!’
for 10 years


Rebel support efficiency.png Trigger
+25% Completing the "Inspire Resistance" mission as Flag of Albania Albania
+30% Completing the "The Peasants' War" mission as Flag of Dithmarschen Dithmarschen

Achievements[edit | edit source]

Networking icon
Have 100 point spy networks in 3 Rival nations.
Just Resting In My Account icon
Just Resting In My Account
Corrupt the officials in a Rival country..
Time Bandit icon
Time Bandit
Successfully steal a map from another nation.
My True Friend icon
My True Friend
Go to war in support of a rebel faction and win, enforcing their demands.

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. See in /Europa Universalis IV/common/defines.lua: BASE_SPY_DISCOVERY_CHANCE = 0.25,
  2. See in /Europa Universalis IV/common/defines.lua: SPY_DISCOVERY_COOLDOWN_MONTHS = 12,

Ideas and Policies Idea groupsNational ideasPolicies
Ages and Institutions AgesInstitutions
Innovativeness and Technology InnovativenessTechnology