- +1 Merchant
- +4 Tolerance of heretics
- +1 Land leader shock
- +1 Yearly prestige
- −15% Mercenary maintenance
- −10% Idea cost
- +15% Cavalry combat ability
- +10% Global trade power
- +5% Discipline
- +1 Diplomatic reputation
- Main article: Crusader missions
Unite the Two Sicilies
Form Italian Nation
Epirus starts out in a tenuous position. They are independent, but on the doorstep of the Ottomans, and Venice. Survival is not guaranteed, as they have limited ability to secure their land power and their navy will struggle to match the much stronger fleets of Venice and the Ottomans. However, Epirus is in a better position than the more isolated Crusader holdouts, such as Athens or Naxos, and they have better opportunities to expand and gather strength than other Ottoman-adjacent states in the Balkans.
A strong opening move for Epirus is to attack Byzantium for control of their southern Greek provinces. Ideally, Byzantium will only have an alliance with a single landlocked Orthodox nation such as Serbia or Wallachia. Since the Ottomans rarely ever grant military access to these states, and Byzantium's armies are usually stationed in Constantinople, it is quite possible for Epirus to declare war, wipe out the Athenian army, then occupy all of the southern Greek territories without any serious battles: the fort at Morea may be left unmaintained. At this point the player might try to overwhelm Byzantium's navy and land at Constantinople, or wait until the Ottomans attack Byzantium for Constantinople—usually this will be sufficient to make Byzantium's allies drop out of the war with Epirus, and force Byzantium to give up all their southern Greek territory.
While small, Epirus can sometimes make alliances with one or both of Aragon and Hungary—these alliances are usually temporary since both of these nations are frequently reduced to junior partners of Castile and Austria respectively. Therefore it is important for Epirus to make good use of these alliances while they last to acquire more territory and strength, so that stronger nations will consider becoming alliances with Epirus and provide protection from the Ottomans. After securing southern Greece, Good targets for conquests include Naples, as they are within range for claim fabrication, and they will be left somewhat vulnerable in the likely event of Aragon severing its personal union with Naples: if an alliance was secured with Aragon beforehand, it will be entirely likely to receive Aragonese support in the first few wars with Naples. Similar to Ragusa and other vulnerable Balkan states, seeking HRE membership and an alliance with Austria will be highly useful for deterring Ottoman aggression.
With Golden Century enabled, expansion into Naples will carry considerable risk: Aragon, Castile and Spain receive permanent claims on all of Naples with their updated mission trees—therefore, unless good relations have been cultivated with the Christian Iberian powers beforehand, they are very likely to declare war on Epirus to seize Neapolitan lands.
Epirus has a few unique quirks compared to the other Crusader states: for starters, their eastern technology group lets Epirus access the cossacks estate if they manage to acquire steppe land: one plausible method of accomplishing this is to go to war with Genoa and demanding any of their remaining provinces in Crimea or Azov. Epirus' eastern technology group also grants the option to institute Liberum Veto in desperate situations.
Due to Epirus' starting position and their impressive +4 tolerance of heretics, converting from Catholic to Orthodoxy (accomplished by deliberately provoking Orthodox zealot rebels when over half of Epirus' development is in Orthodox provinces) or adopting another denomination of Christianity during the reformation can be completed with relative ease. Just keep in mind that the Catholic 'Defender of the Faith' will be obligated to defend other Catholics from Epirus, if Epirus decides to abandon Catholicism.
Epirus will generally struggle with income problems throughout the age of discovery. Their starting provinces in Arta and Cephalonia both have terrain that significantly impedes development, and their location in the Ragusa trade node means that trade income is extremely difficult to secure: Ragusa only receives trade power from the Constantinople node, firmly under Ottoman control, and any local trade wealth generated in Ragusa has channels feeding directly into the incredibly powerful Genoa and Venice trade nodes. One solution is to move the Epirote capital or trade capital to Napoli if Naples was successfully invaded: Napoli collects trade from the extremely well-connected Genoa node, and any accumulated trade power in Ragusa can still be put to good use. Moving to the Venice node is also plausible, but the Venice node has fewer trade connections around the mediterranean in exchange for receiving land trade from the Wien node.
While Epirus has a number of acceptably useful ideas, their national ideas lack collective focus on any specific area, and therefore they do not immediately lend themselves towards choosing any specific idea group. Granting the Interfaith Dialogue privilege to the Burghers estate improves their heretic tolerance to the point where religious ideas are not strictly necessary in the early game. Humanist may have some use in preventing rebellions by reducing separatism, though once again, the religious tolerance ideas will be redundant.
Trade or Economic ideas will help shore up Epirus' fragile early economy. Trade is best used if the home collection centre has been moved out of Ragusa. Economic ideas may also be useful, as Epirus may have to accumulate significant debt and inflation in order to wage war with stronger local powers.
Epirus gets no support for manpower size or manpower recovery in their national ideas, so at least one from the Quantity, Aristocratic, or Plutocratic idea groups will be helpful. Quantity provides the most immediate returns, but Aristocratic and Plutocratic ideas include a variety of economic ideas as well.
Diplomacy will be a useful option. Epirus will likely need to keep an eye on relations with all major Christian European powers to help defeat the Ottomans, many of which will be looking for opportunities to wage war with Epirus unless strong alliances and good relations are maintained.
Exploration and Expansion ideas will not be immediately useful to Epirus. However, the Crusader mission tree does incentivize Epirus to consider a foothold in the Americas. Furthermore, with the claims to Tunis and northern Africa, colonists can be used to establish the overland route from Tunis to west Africa: this opens a new front for conquest.