Crusader King 3's first expansion, Royal Court, not only comes with a comfy throne from which to hear the woes of your people but an integral new culture system that will enhance your dynasty. You can choose an existing culture, make a hybrid culture or make one of your own if you're feeling spicy. In this CK3 hybrid culture guide, I'm looking at how to splice together cultures.
Crusader Kings 3: understanding cultures
There are three key elements to cultures in Crusader Kings 3: ethos, tradition, and cultural pillars. Cultures will come with specific bonuses and modifiers and you can merge cultures together to create a fun time for you and your kingdom. Or a hellish nightmare with human sacrifice, if that's more your thing.
Every culture has an ethos pillar, such as "Bureaucratic", which is the defining trait of your culture. There are also traditions and cultural pillars, which focus on heritage, aesthetics, language, and whether or not you can have mixed or single-gender knights or commanders. Traditions are similar to religious tenets, with associated unique events. There are five traditions per culture and can be changed by the cultural head.
The key thing to remember about cultures—regardless of whether you're merging two together or changing something about an existing one—is that you'll need a lot of Prestige, which you can earn by creating new titles, focusing on diplomacy and, of course, winning wars. You'll want to set your game up with a leader who'll be able to earn you a bunch of Prestige as early as possible so future generations can change the culture of your dynasty over time.
How to form a hybrid and diverging culture
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You can't just pull a culture out of thin air and decide you want to mesh with it—it needs to be a culture within your realm. You also need cultural acceptance, so if you take over a new area, you can't just immediately add their culture to yours. The other culture also has to have a different heritage to yours. The other thing you need is Prestige.
You can use the default hybrid names that appear in-game or make up a random title for your own culture. You'll also need to have an ethos pillar from each culture because otherwise, it's not much of a mix. The same applies to traditions, and you'll want to keep an eye out for unique traditions especially. You can also mix up aesthetics such as military equipment, architecture, and naming practices.
A diverging culture works in pretty much the same way. You start with your chosen leader's culture then change things along the way, including changing the name. There won't be additional language options or any new aesthetics as you're not adding another culture into the mix, and your ethos will need to be changed. There will be plenty of traditions to choose from, but this will cost a fair amount of Prestige.
There's also the chance your culture will diverge sporadically over time. Learning the language of another culture is a sure-fire way to increase cultural acceptance, as is not fighting other leaders of that culture. You can set the rules of hybridisation in the game rules menu and, as it is extremely well tutorialised, you can hover over words to find out their meanings in-game.