Crusader Kings 3's next expansion is the one we've all been waiting for, and it's only a few months away

When Crusader Kings 3: Roads to Power was announced back in February, the grand strategy romp's community was the most enthusiastic it had ever been. I like most of the game's DLC, but the broad reception to the majority of Paradox's post-launch offerings has been that they don't have a big enough impact. Roads to Power, though, sounds like it's going to make a significant splash. 

The headline attraction is that it offers would-be rulers the chance to play outside of the traditional, land-owning feudal structure that drives the bulk of the game. And it does this in a bunch of different ways. 

The administrative government system will finally let you play as a Byzantine noble properly, politicking and plotting your way to power even as a landless member of the aristocracy. You'll need to gobble up influence through cunning or, if you're lucky, through merit, netting yourself important roles within the empire, like a governor position. Even if you've got no land to your name you can still run your family estate, constructing buildings and throwing cash at improvements to increase your standing at court. 

With your influence, you can try to dictate the direction of the empire itself, rather than just grasping at personal glory, putting allies in positions of power and a new emperor on the throne. Emperors, meanwhile, can use this system to pick successors, and can even choose a co-ruler if running the bureaucratic nightmare that is the Byzantine Empire gets to be just a wee bit too much for them—maybe you don't want to spend all day assigning governors. 

This is accompanied by a bunch of Byzantine flavour, including themed events and activities. Fancy some chariot racing? Your wish is granted. Paradox has also created a Byzantine-themed UI skin, along with new assets so you can dress up your noble appropriately and hold court in a throne room that looks the part. The map region is getting a bit of a makeover, too, with new holding designs and monuments. 

If the life of a Byzantine noble feels too restrictive, though, you can free yourself from the shackles of courts and castles, instead starting a game as a landless adventurer, taking on contracts, serving as a mercenary or becoming an outlaw. Eventually you might choose to settle down, claiming land of your own, which you can then pour your hard-earned gold into. 

As someone who's played too many games as Haesteinn, it'll be a lot of fun to tour the world and find a new kingdom without the benefit of a gargantuan Viking army. More adventure, less easy-peasy conquest. 

I'm extremely stoked! CK3 launched with a lot of CK2's DLC features already in place, along with a whole host of new ones, but the Byzantine experience has always been lacking a wee bit—never feeling quite as fleshed out as the one found in its predecessor. But if Roads to Power's systems do what they're meant to, it should easily surpass it. The landless adventurer stuff, meanwhile, sounds like a genuinely new way to play Crusader Kings, and I'm pretty excited about the prospect of getting into all sorts of scrapes on my international jaunt. 

Roads to Power will be arriving on September 24. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.