Paradox Development Studio has just announced the fifth expansion for Crusader Kings II : Sons of Abraham. Two long-requested features, playable Jewish characters and the ability to interact with the Catholic college of cardinals, will make their way into the medieval murder your brother and steal his stuff simulator. The ability to part the seas and march your armies through has yet to be confirmed, but quite a bit else has.
The focus of this expansion, contrasting the previous Old Gods DLC , is on the Abrahamic monotheistic faiths, with special attention paid to Christian, Muslim, and Jewish characters. Catholicism will now operate under a college of cardinals. Nine cardinals will be active at any one time, appointed by the Pope. You will be able to affect this process by grooming your courtiers for a church career, keeping on good terms with the Pope, and putting money into a campaign fund.
When the Pope dies, the active cardinals will elect a new one. If your Pope is elected, you will gain powerful abilities such as the ability to be granted a crusade on a target of your choice. Controlling several cardinals not only increases your chances of having one of your candidates elected Pope, but also makes it almost impossible for you to be excommunicated.
Holy Orders are also receiving an overhaul, with several new ones added such as the Christian Knights of Santiago and the Zoroastrian Immortals. You will now have the option of disposing of a troublesome son in the line of succession by sending them off to one of these orders, where they have a chance of being elected Grandmaster. Militaristic and pious characters may go to join the orders on their own.
Heresies are being overhauled as well, with unique mechanics, heads of religion, and the ability to replace the orthodox faith they broke off from if they come to outnumber it. One example given was the Cathar heresy of Catholicism, which allows the appointment of female priests. Muslim splinter groups will now have the ability to form their own Caliphates.
Speaking of Muslims, a new divide will be introduced over the course of the game in the form of the Mutazili and Ashari theological schools for Sunni characters. The former will focus on scientific progress, while the latter is more concerned with piety and divine law. Choosing a side will put you at odds with Sunni leaders following the opposite school.
The Jewish religion will be represented by the Khazar Khanate in the 867 start date, where the nobility historically converted to Judaism. It will not be possible to start as a Jewish leader in the other start dates, but Jewish characters will now appear in various courts, and it will be possible to educate your heirs with a Jewish tutor to convert your realm. New Jewish decisions will mainly revolve around the reclamation and restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. You will also have the opportunity to restore the Jewish High Priesthood.
This all comes on the back of the massive 2.0 patch, and what the devs are calling "Phase Two" of the CK2 expansion cycle. The patch will include over 300 new events (some of which will require the Sons of Abraham DLC), cloud saving, Ironman mode, and over 50 Steam achievements. You can read a bit more in the first dev diary .
And of course, this is a CK2 expansion, and you're reading PC Gamer. So expect a gigantic Q&A with Paradox in the near future.