The Papal State

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Kingdom rankThe Papal State
The Papal State.png
Primary culture
Umbrian (Latin)

Capital province
Roma (118)

Papacy Government theocracy.png

State religion

Technology group
WesternWestern technology group
Papal ideas
Ambox outdated info.png Please help with verifying or updating this infobox. It was last verified for version 1.33.

Traditions.png Traditions:

+1 Diplomatic reputation
+25% Religious unity

Tolerance of the true faith.png Ecclesiastical Primacy

+2 Tolerance of the true faith

National tax modifier.png Papal Investiture and Tithes

+20% National tax modifier

Prestige decay.png Glory of Rome

−1% Prestige decay

Cost to fabricate claims.png Donation of Constantine

−25% Cost to fabricate claims

Production efficiency.png Centralize the States

+10% Production efficiency

Diplomatic free policies.png The Vatican Museums

+1 Diplomatic free policies

Aggressive expansion impact.png The Holy Father

−10% Aggressive expansion impact

Idea bonus.png Ambition:

+5% Discipline
For the workings of the Papacy mechanic, see Papacy.
Shield The Papal State.png
The Papal State is the collection of lands under the rule of Bishop of Rome, the Pope himself. Being a religious man, His Holiness is not able to focus all his energies on secular matters, and some of the Papal State's territories, such as Flag of Perugia Perugia and Flag of Urbino Urbino, have managed to assert a startling level of autonomy for themselves. If the Papacy does nothing to curb these cities' autonomy, they could slip out of Rome's grasp entirely.

His Holiness has far greater challenges ahead of him than upstart leaders of Italian communes, however. As the head of the Catholicism Catholic faith, the Pope has a unique responsibility to protect the faith and spread the Word of God far beyond the confines of the Papal States' worldly borders. To the east across the Adriatic Sea, the Flag of Ottomans Ottomans threaten the Christian bastions of the Balkans, and left unchecked could march into the heart of the Imperial authority.png Holy Roman Empire itself. Far to the north, the venerable monastic states of the Flag of Teutonic Order Teutonic Order and Flag of Livonian Order Livonian Order, tasked by the Church with serving as Christendom's bulwarks in the Baltic, are being torn apart by envious princes, and left unsupported could be extinguished entirely. Most worrying of all, dark murmurs are beginning to spread, speaking ill not just of the Pope, but of the entire structure of the Catholic Church! These muttered calls for some sort of Reformation, left unchecked, could spell disaster for the Papacy.

All the diplomatic skills of the Pope should not be used purely in reaction to events, of course. With all the power and prestige of the Church supporting him, His Holiness could construct a great Holy League to tackle the Ottoman menace. New crusades can be called, and if they succeed then Christianity can at last be restored in Jerusalem. As explorers chart the unknown corners of the globe, missionaries can follow, spreading the faith to such far-flung regions as China and Japan. With all the prestige and power which canny Popes could possibly acquire, it might be possible to even reunite the Catholic and Orthodoxy Orthodox churches and end the schism.

The Papal State is the manifestation of the temporal power of the pope. Beginning with Flag of Urbino Urbino and Flag of Perugia Perugia as vassals and with the provinces of Roma, Ancona, Spoleto, Terracina and Avignon, it is relatively large and prosperous compared to other states in the region. Despite this, it is often subject to early invasion by neighbouring states such as Flag of Florence Florence and also Flag of Provence Provence which often seeks to acquire the landlocked and isolated province of Avignon with which it shares a border. Flag of Naples Naples, while not posing any immediate threat due to its starting situation as a lesser partner in a personal union, will often seek to conquer the Papal State should it ever break free from its personal union with Flag of Aragon Aragon, which usually happens after Aragon's first ruler dies.

The Papal State will never accept diplo-vassalization; they have a −1000 acceptance modifier for the diplomatic action. If the Papal State is annexed then a surviving Catholic theocracy may cede their province to recreate the Papacy.

The Papal State is an end game tag and is not allowed to form any other countries. As such, it is the only starting Italian country that can't form Flag of Italy Italy.

Missions[edit | edit source]

Main article: Papal missions

Papal missions centre around eradicating other Christian denominations from the Italian region and reacquiring lands that once belonged to it before the game start.

Events[edit | edit source]

Main article: Papal events

The Papal State's events center around the inner workings of the Catholic Church.

If a Catholic country other than the Papal State owns Rome, they may cede it, unless they have a better claim (i.e. they're Italy or the Roman Empire). Otherwise, another European Catholic country may release them if they have ceased to exist.


Msg event.pngPapal State

The deep devotion of the Roman Catholics in Rome has awakened a desire for an independent state ruled by Popes of the Church. A large part of the population has expressed support for the idea of such an establishment and has now turned to $MONARCH$ for approval.

Trigger conditions Mean time to happen

2 months

  • Has at least Cardinal icon.png 1 cardinal: ×0.95
  • Has at least Cardinal icon.png 2 cardinals: ×0.95
  • Has activated Religious idea group.png Religious Ideas: ×0.75
  • Is Defender of the Faith: ×0.9
  • Is not Defender of the Faith: ×1.1
  • Does not have a Advisor Theologian.png Theologian advisor: ×1.1
  • Has a level 2 Advisor Theologian.png Theologian advisor: ×0.9

Event button 547.png
We will never support such a state
  • Lose Yearly prestige.png 10 prestige
  • Lose Stability.png 1 stability
  • Every other Catholicism Catholic country in the world gains opinion modifier “Declined to make Rome an Independent State” (Opinion.png −20 opinion / +2 yearly decay / 10 years) towards this country.
  • The country will not get this event again.
Event button 547.png
Rome is rightfully theirs


Msg event.pngThe Papal State

It truly saddens us to see that the dominions of the Pope have all but disappeared. Our strong devotion makes us the ideal candidate responsible for establishing a new Papal State. Perhaps we should cede a province of ours?

Trigger conditions
  • Papal interaction is active
  • Neither Flag of The Papal State The Papal State nor Flag of Italy Italy exist
  • Religion is Catholicism Catholic
  • Government is Theocracy
  • Did not have this event during the reign of the current ruler
  • Is at peace
  • Is not Flag of Teutonic Order Teutonic Order or Flag of Livonian Order Livonian Order
  • Owns at least 2 but no more than 4 non-colony provinces
  • Owns at least one Catholic province in Europe other than the capital
  • The owner of province Roma is not Catholicism Catholic, or they refused to release the Papal States
Mean time to happen

6 months

  • Is Flag of Avignon Avignon: ×0.5
  • Capital's religion is not Catholicism Catholic: ×2
  • Has a level 3 Advisor Theologian.png Theologian advisor: ×0.95
  • Owns only 2 non-colony provinces: ×0.75

Immediate effects
  • Hidden effect:
    • Choose one random owned Catholic province in Europe other than the capital, if possible one that borders another country

Event button 547.png
For the Glory of God!
Event button 547.png
Perhaps not.
  • Lose Yearly prestige.png 25 prestige

Decisions[edit | edit source]


Execute decision.pngDeclare the Kingdom of God

With the lands of Northern Italy under the temporal power of the Holy Father rather than any Emperor or King it is now justified to declare this state the Kingdom of God on Earth.

Potential requirements

Flag of Italy Italy does not exist.
The country:

If the country is AI-controlled, it:

  • is not a custom nation.
  • has at least 15 cities.

Playing with normal or historical nations.


The country:

  • is not a subject nation other than a tributary state.
  • is not at war.
  • is not a nomad nation.
  • owns core provinces:
    • Genoa (101)
    • Turin (103)
    • Milan (104)
    • Modena (106)
    • Trentino (110)
    • Friuli (111)
    • Venezia (112)
    • Ravenna (114)
    • Firenze (116)
    • Pisa (115)
    • Ancona (119)
    • Perugia (2976)
    • Urbino (2977)


The country:

AI will always take this decision

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Strategy The below is one of many player suggested strategies for The Papal State. Bear in mind, due to the dynamic nature of the game, it may unfold differently for other players.

Advantages of the Papal State[edit | edit source]

The Papal State is virtually guaranteed maximum Yearly prestige.png prestige. Their unique government type gives +0.33 prestige per development per missionary and their national ideas give another Prestige decay.png −1 prestige decay. With another +1 possible from Devotion.png 100 Devotion the Papal State's prestige drifts to 100 with little player intervention. This provides another Aggressive expansion impact.png −10% aggressive expansion impact and a Improve relations.png +50% Improve relations bonus in addition to the −10% aggressive expansion impact from the national ideas.

On top of this, the Papal State has a Cost to fabricate claims.png −25% cost to fabricate claims bonus. Claimed provinces are easier to core and start with lower Local autonomy.png local autonomy—autonomy that will quickly drop thanks to the Papal State's government type.

On top of these bonuses, Devotion.png 100 devotion, high Clergy.png clergy estate influence and one of the Papal ideas can provide a total of National tax modifier.png +65% global tax modifier in a region with high tax base.

The papacy government type is also a fixed rank Kingdom tier government (Empire-tier with the Kingdom of God reform), thus granting the unique ability to join the HRE while keeping the Kingdom Rank, even without an electorate. Like all the theocracies the Papal State does not suffer a stability hit on monarch death, nor regencies. The Papal State is similar to other theocracies in not being allowed to turn their ruler into a general (unless it takes the Magister Militum Dei reform), though The Papal State does not choose an heir.

The Papal State has several unique events and decisions that provide several permanent perks:

  • The Vatican library grants the player's choice of
    • Administrative technology cost −5% administrative technology cost and National unrest.png −2 national unrest
    • Diplomatic technology cost −5% diplomatic technology cost and Diplomatic reputation.png +1 diplomatic reputation
    • Military technology cost −5% military technology cost and Prestige from land battles.png +50% army tradition from battles
  • The Sistine Chapel gives Yearly devotion.png +0.1 yearly devotion just for building it, and when decorated, can give an additional Yearly devotion.png +0.1 yearly devotion and the player's choice of
    • National unrest.png −1 national unrest when choosing Sandro Botticelli
    • Yearly prestige.png +0.5 yearly prestige when choosing Domenico Ghirlandaio
    • Improve relations.png +10% improve relations when choosing Pietro Perugino
    • Idea cost.png −5% idea cost when choosing Michelangelo
    • Missionary strength.png +1% missionary strength when choosing to "just find someone"
  • The Swiss Guard may give National manpower modifier.png +10% global manpower modifier if the player has good relations with Flag of Switzerland Switzerland.
  • The Papal State can also form the Kingdom Of God, which provides another Manpower in true faith provinces +15% manpower in true faith provinces, +10% Morale of armies.png morale, + 2 Monarch administrative skill monarch admin skill as well as additional prestige and devotion.

Lastly, since the yearly papal influence gained by Catholic nations is based on the Papal State relation score with them, all the Catholic nations will try to keep their relationship maxed, avoiding cases of the Papal State being unable to ally a Catholic nation because his own opinion toward said nation is negative. This also means that Catholic nations who become hostile or rival towards the Papal State will rarely gain control of the curia and are going to lose most of the perks of the Catholicism, thus granting the Papal State an automatic advantage toward enemies and rivals in the Catholic world.

All of this means that as soon as the Papal State negotiates the opening stages of the game, perhaps by appeasing Flag of Austria Austria and joining the Holy Roman Empire, is set to become a very offensive player in the European scenario, capable of expanding fast with minimal negative repercussions.

Pitfalls[edit | edit source]

The Papal State starts small, surrounded by acquisitive opponents. The right combination of alliances should forestall aggression, but the fact that almost all the northern Italian states are in the HRE will hinder expansion. The Shadow Empire event in 1490 may remove the Italian princes from the HRE (sooner with Emperor Emperor's imperial incident). Flag of Venice Venice and Flag of Naples Naples are potential non-HRE rivals. As with all theocracies, the Papal State cannot have royal marriages or personal unions, and since it is not a monastic order cannot make its leader a general unless the government reform "Magister Militum Dei" is taken. Unlike other theocracies it cannot become an Empire, and cannot change its fixed government type.

Papal State is also locked into Catholicism, but cannot get the perks other Catholics get from spending papal influence and has to deal with the Reformation without the ability to adopt a more tolerant religion, starts the game with the Blasphemy Act modifier that grants +1% Missionary strength.png missionary strength, but also a −1 Tolerance heretic.png tolerance of heretics that stacks with the usual Catholic low heretic tolerance for a total of −4 Tolerance heretic.png tolerance of heretics at the start of the game. Provinces that convert during the Reformation will be locked out of conversion for 30 years, and that is a massive swing towards rebellion and due to the very low heretic tolerance, not even adopting the humanist idea group can prevent the Papal State from a loss in religious unity. Low religious unity will raise corruption, that will increase all monarch power costs up to intolerable amounts unless rooted out by investing time and an exorbitant amount of gold. Luckily the usually high stability will help in keeping rebellion and corruption under control, and the Papal State starts with a +25% Religious unity.png religious unity modifier that will prevent things from getting truly nasty.

Other than that, the main problem is that after Italy is consolidated the Papal State is going to be surrounded by Flag of France France, Flag of Austria Austria, Flag of Hungary Hungary, and the Flag of Ottomans Ottomans. Avoiding a direct border will help France remain friendly.

Influence Over the Curia[edit | edit source]

The Papal State starts the game as the Curia Controller and the goal is to keep that control forever. The papal state doesn’t gain Papal influence like other catholic countries do and can't spend it using the curia actions either. Instead, the Papal state gets Invested influence towards becoming the next Papal controller.

The primary source of Invested influence for the Papal State is from having cardinals within its borders and they give +1 Invested influence per cardinal (instead of 0.5 Papal influence like other catholic countries receives), and that gets automatically invested on the 1st of January. Since max number of cardinals per country is 7, that is the same max amount of Invested influence the papal state can get every January 1st. There are two ways of gaining cardinals for the papal state, appoint or conquer. Appoint cardinal is done at the curia screen and costs money from the Papal states own pockets and some corruption. The other way is to take provinces from other countries that already have a cardinal present.

Secondary sources of Invested influence are Appoint cardinal in other countries and Buy Indulgence. Appoint cardinal is done at the diplomacy screen with the target country, under Papal actions. The action spends money from the Curia Treasury, or the papal states own pockets, to appoint a cardinal in the highest developed province of that country and the Papal state then gain 10 Invested influence instantly. Buy Indulgence spends money form the papal states own pockets based of total development within the Papal state to gain 10 Invested influences instantly.  

Appoint cardinal within the Papal state is expensive but should be done at least once at the start of the campaign before the price gets too high (the price is based on number of cardinals in the world AND in the Papal state). To gain the other six cardinal spend Curia treasury to appoint cardinals in other countries that the Papal state will conquer soon, but not too soon, since that papal state gets a five year peace with the target country. This way the Papal state will have seven cardinals with in the first decades and already have over 100 Invested influence which should be enough to gain Papal control over the second pope.  

Buy Indulgence will always be too expensive to use on a regular basis since it is the Papal states own pockets that must pay for that Invested influence. Instead use the Appoint cardinal in other countries and spend some of that enormous Curia treasury just sitting there. It is best to Appoint cardinals in many different countries instead of just a few. The key to remain in control of the curia is to makes sure no other country have more than just one or two cardinals. So, don’t appoint cardinals in blobbing countries or in countries that the blobbing catholic countries will conquer. Instead Appoint in free cities, HRE electors, medium size HRE countries and Scandinavian countries. Irish and Scottish nations are a big no-no, they will be conquered by England sooner or later. The same goes for all the small French dutchies. All of Burgundy’s and the low countries Cardinals might get handed over to Austria or France (or a third nation) after the Burgundian succession, so they should not get any appointed cardinals either. It is fine if provinces with cardinals get conquered by countries with other religions, then the cardinal will disappear, and the Papal state can appoint another cardinal gaining more Invested influence. Countries like the Knights, Riga, Livonian order, the Balkan countries comes to mind, if they remain in control of the cardinal, great! If not, great too. The reformation spawning might free up many cardinals in northern Germany and in OPMs. Be aware that the max number of cardinals is not 49, the papal state can continue appointing cardinals after 49. BUT no other cardinals will be automatically appointed (based of dev) after 49.

Encouraging a hostile diplomatic game towards nations that gain several cardinal seats, with an intelligent use of rivalries, hostile diplomatic relationships and event choices, will eventually lower considerably their papal influence gains, thus reducing the influence over the Curia of the most active participants to the papal election. The papal states big catholic allies (Austria or France, Spain, England, Poland and so on), must be extremely limited with cardinals since allies will have great relations with the Papal state and dues gain more Papal influence. Most of them also gain extra permanent Papal influence from events, national ideas and great projects. Therefore, it could be wise to conquer great projects that provides Papal influence. Another tactic is to conquer provinces with cardinals present from nations that have multiple cardinals, if the Papal state have max cardinals the newest cardinal will disappear. This could also be done if the Papal state has a non-Catholic ally or vassal gaining a province with a cardinal present.

A more uncommon way the Papal State can improve its control over the Curia is the ability to willingly increase the death chance of the Pope to cause an immediate new election. A few events available to the papacy include choices that could result in the death of the Pope, so picking those choices when the Curia is under foreign control will give a chance for a new election. Due to the papacy government type, there will be no stability hit on popes’ death. The Pope can be made general with the Tier 6: Magister Militum Dei government reform, which also helps if he is a foreign pope that needs to go, or just a bad pope.  

Reform Desire Control[edit | edit source]

Among all the Catholic Nations the Papal State is in the unique position of being actually capable of greatly lowering the reform desire and slowing down the reformation process.

The Veneration of relics, Indulgences and Simony related events for the Papal State grant a choice between a small source of income for free and the banishment of said practices from the Catholic world at the cost of −1 Stability.png stability. For each practice banished not only the reform desire is decreased by a notable −10%, but also the related event is permanently disabled for all the Catholic nations, thus permanently stopping one of the most important sources of reform desire. Lastly the witch trial event can grant another −10% decrease to the global reform desire for no cost.

If the Papal State is willing to pick all the reform desire lowering choices the reform can be slowed to the point of being irrelevant for most of the game. Due to the Papal State's abysmal Tolerance heretic.png heretic religion tolerance and the consequent rise in corruption due to low Religious unity.png religious unity, this strategy has long term benefits that could outweigh the costs.

The Kingdom of God[edit | edit source]

This decision is available once most of the north Italian peninsula has been annexed. Doing this can be very valuable, since it offers Manpower in true faith provinces +15% manpower in true faith provinces, +10% Morale of armies.png morale, + 2 Monarch administrative skill monarch admin skill as well as, +1 Yearly prestige.png prestige, +1 Yearly devotion.png devotion and permanent claims on all of the Italian region. Moreover, it significantly reduces the cost of appointing new cardinals (both inside and outside the Papal lands) and increases the benefits from cardinals within the Papal State.

Starting tips[edit | edit source]

  • The Papal State begins in control of the Curia, allowing the player to begin the game with large bonuses and the ability to excommunicate rivals, allowing them to break up alliances.
  • The two biggest nations that the Papal State needs to worry about are Flag of Austria Austria and Flag of France France. Since the two are historic rivals, allying either one will antagonize the other but not allying either one is also quite dangerous, so be mindful of what allying either country will entail.
    • Flag of Spain Spain can also be a potential worthwhile ally if they manage to form and establish a sizeable colonial empire.
  • Allying Austria and improving relations to maximum can allow the player to join the HRE. Further, being allied to Austria as an HRE prince will prevent demands for unlawful territory as long as Austria remains the emperor.
  • Since the Papal State begins with two vassals, the Strong Duchies estate privilege can be granted immediately for more relationship slots.
  • Northern Italy and countries in the region possess some of the wealthiest and most developed provinces in the game, making for very lucrative targets:
    • If the player joins the HRE, Flag of Florence Florence is an attractive first target. If excommunicated, Florence incurs just under 50 aggressive expansion (no longer true for 1.30.4) and gives the player 3 very rich provinces and 2 more trade centers in the lucrative Genoa trade node.
    • Flag of Venice Venice is a tempting early target. The Papal State begins with Flag of Urbino Urbino as a vassal, and Urbino has claims on Venetian territory. Flag of Austria Austria will usually rival Venice, so if they are allied they will be an enthusiastic participant.
    • Flag of Milan Milan is another very lucrative target for conquest, as it holds very wealthy and developed provinces. Beware, however, of the high aggressive expansion that results from conquering such high-development land. Vassalizing and integrating Milan may be a safer, albeit slower alternative.
    • Flag of Naples Naples may be vulnerable if they break out of their personal union with Flag of Aragon Aragon. You might even get a Subjugation CB by event.
    • Once all of Northern Italy is under Papal rule, the Kingdom of God can be formed.
  • Flag of France France can be a powerful ally – at least until the player shares a border with them.
  • Selling Avignon to France might be easier than trying to defend it, however Flag of Provence Provence is a possible starting rival that owns an estuary city in the Genoa trade node – making it a profitable conquest. By excommunicating them first you might eliminate their alliances, and you get a casus belli with reduced aggressive expansion impact.
  • Influence has a lot of synergy with the Papal State's national ideas, while the core costs discount from Administrative is very helpful in the Italian region and synergize well with all the Papal State administrative power discounts and gains. Either of them should be the first idea group.
  • Humanist is generally not a good idea group to pick, as the Papal State starts with a hefty -4Tolerance heretic.png Tolerance of Heretics, which nullifies the +2Tolerance heretic.png bonus provided by the idea group. Religious on the other hand has a lot of synergy with the Papal State's gameplay.

Achievements[edit | edit source]

Holy Trinity icon
As the Papacy, own Jerusalem and have Livonian Order, Teutonic Order and The Knights as Marches.
Kingdom of God icon
Starting as the Papal State, become the Kingdom of God.
Holiest Roman Empire icon
As either the Papal States or the Emperor, have the Papal States as an Elector while the HRE is officially Catholic.
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