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Crusader Kings 3 – 10 Hardest Starts (Locations & Characters)

After playing Crusader Kings 3 for a bit, one can get bored of conquering the world with their huge armies with no one to stop them.

This is why choosing a hard start is very important if you want to brag on Reddit about your most recent conquest.

Recommended Read: What to Do With Prestige in CK3

As you would do a world conquest with Ryukyu in Europa Universalis 4, you should also challenge yourself to these incredible starts.

So, here are the hardest starting locations and characters you can choose in both the 867 and 1066 starting dates of Crusader Kings 3.


Table of contents


Where are the Hardest Locations/Characters to Start in Crusader Kings 3

When considering what the hardest starts would be in CK3, we need to consider surrounding faiths and the age and skills of the character.

Here are the 10 hardest locations to start in CK3, ordered by difficulty:


10. Petty King Eadmund of East Anglia (876 AD)

Crusader Kings 3 - 10 Hardest Start Locations East Anglia

The sons of Ragnar Lodbrok are here, and they want East Anglia and Northumbria. Though it is much harder to survive as Aella of Northumbria, it is no mean feat to survive this conquest as East Anglia.

You will have to fight the Great Heathen Army along with Northumbria, Wessex, and Mercia, but you will have the full support of Wessex and Mercia.

Luckily, you will only have to fight Ivar the Boneless, so half of the Heathen Army will ignore you. The real problem comes afterward when you will have to survive the onslaught of Viking raiders and the threat of Wessex conquering you.


9. Petty Magajiya Daurama of Daura (876 AD)

Crusader Kings 3 - 10 Hardest Start Locations Daura

This is one of the starts that CK3 recommends, and it is a very interesting and complicated starting location for newer players.

You play as a young countess that is married patrilineally to a duke next to her territories. You will have to somehow get rid of your husband and get a new matrilineal marriage before your character dies.

Players will also have to take care of their son, as he is of a different lineage and would lose their territories.


8. Countess Katalin of Pozsony (876 AD)

Crusader Kings 3 - 10 Hardest Start Locations Katalin

Countess Katalin is in a similar situation to Daurama from earlier. However, she is 38 years old and already has three children.

Getting out of the marriage, getting new kids, and eliminating your son is something that you have to do in very little time to keep your territory together.

Luckily, there are no other conflicts in this scenario, as you just serve under the powerful Hungarian kingdom.


7. Count Smbat of Suenik (1066 AD)

Crusader Kings 3 - 10 Hardest Start Locations Smbat

What can be worse than being an independent count surrounded by two empires? Having the incapable trait.

Count Smbat is a horrible starting character with nonexistent stats and the inability to do anything.

This start would be the hardest start in the whole game if Smbat didn’t have a half-brother that can take over once he dies. Luckily, with the incapable trait, Smbat won’t live more than a year or two.

After you get rid of Smbat, this CK3 playthrough just turns from an impossible challenge to a very hard endeavor.


6. Ras Dawit of Dambiya (876 AD)

Crusader Kings 3 - 10 Hardest Start Locations Dawit

As Dawit, you are the only Jewish ruler in the whole region. You are surrounded by many religions, and your only hope to get true glory and prestige is to conquer Jerusalem.

It will be incredibly hard to get there, considering that all the Coptic, Kushite, and Waaqi rulers around you will want a piece of your land.

Dawit’s stats aren’t incredible either, which won’t help you when you will inevitably have to take down the duke of Abyssinia.

Though this is a hard challenge, it can yield incredibly satisfying results when you accomplish decisions such as Restore Israel and Restore the Haymanot High Priesthood.


5. Count Toke of Varend (1066 AD)

Crusader Kings 3 - 10 Hardest Start Locations Varend

Playing as a follower of the Asatru faith in 867 is very fun and easy. However, believing in Thor and Odin isn’t as fun in 1066.

Trying to restore the power of the Asatru faith in CK3’s 1066 start is incredibly hard, and there are only four rulers that still believe in this dying religion.

The other three choices, Prince Erik the Heathen, Botulf of Sjeltie, and Thord of Angermanland are much easier to play as. Prince Erik starts with a lot of lands and a claim on the Swedish throne.

Botulf and Thord are both independent rulers north of Sweden that can easily expand into Sami lands.

Count Toke is the only one surrounded by Catholic rulers that has almost no way to expand, with a liege that hates them.


4. Emir Sawdan of the Sawdanid Emirate (876 AD)

Crusader Kings 3 - 10 Hardest Start Locations Sawdanid

Emir Sawdan faces one of the hardest wars in CK3. Though at the start, it might not seem as extreme as, let’s say, King Aella’s war with the Lothbroks, it has a very high chance of spiraling out of control.

All the kings of Italy, the two Francias and Lotharingia, are related. This means that any time during your war with Italy, you can end up fighting even more of the Carolingians.

What’s even worse is that they have a really high chance of dying during the war. This means that your enemy, the king of Italy, can randomly inherit one of the other Carolingian kingdoms.

Unfortunately, you can’t really find any allies at the start of this scenario, as you have three sons and no strong Muslim ruler around you has someone to offer.


3. Marzoban Wahsudan of Gilan (876 AD)

Crusader Kings 3 - 10 Hardest Start Locations Gilan

Playing as Marzoban Wahsudan of Gilan is one of the hardest and most fun campaigns in CK3 by far.

Reforming the Zoroastrian faith and bringing back the Persian Empire is probably the hardest challenge in the game. Doing it with a count surrounded by giant Sunni neighbors is going to be even harder.

Declaring Holy Wars will only end up in more Ash’ari rulers coming in to intervene, making conquest almost impossible.

Though there would be a better choice to unite the Zoroastrian faith (the Sheikh of Mazandaran), Wahsudan is the one you want to play as if you want an impossible challenge.


2. Petty King Aella of Northumbria (876 AD)

Crusader Kings 3 - 10 Hardest Start Locations Aella

If you’ve watched Vikings, then you know why this start is horrible in CK3. The sons of Ragnar Lothbrok are all coming with more than 10k troops to conquer your lands and kill you in the worst possible way.

You, on the other hand, only have around 1k troops and your allies, Wessex and Mercia, are too preoccupied with protecting their own lands.

Though some might think that this is the hardest starting character and location in CK3, Aella has a really good Intrigue stat. From the start of the war, you can plot to murder Ivar the Boneless, and his wife will come and join you in this plot.

You can also imprison and execute your wife to then marry the 13-year-old daughter of Rhodri the Great of Gwynedd to get another 1.5k troops to help you. Looking at this strategy, defeating the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok will still be incredibly hard but not impossible.

However, you will still have a horrible game for the next 100 years, as Vikings will destroy your lands every second until you manage to unite England.


1. Sheikh Mu’nis of Acre (876 AD)

Crusader Kings 3 - 10 Hardest Start Locations Munis

The hardest start in CK3 easily goes to Sheikh Mu’nis of Acre since he is a eunuch. This means that he cannot reproduce.

Mu’nis also doesn’t have any family, and this trait does not allow him to marry either. Players theoretically have no chance of getting an heir, meaning that the game should start and end with Mu’nis.

However, there are a few hard things you can try. You can create a new religion that allows concubines. Yes, you are allowed to get concubines, just not get married.

This is going to take a lot of piety, and you will need to become a duke, but this is just the start. Then, you will need to get concubines that already have lovers, so they can get pregnant.

Once you manage to have someone else’s child, you will finally have a chance to continue the game.


That’s everything you need to know about the hardest start locations and characters in Crusader Kings 3!

Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.

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