Intrigue is one of the two paths to victory used in both the Middle Ages and Crusader Kings III. It is the more indirect one, focusing on defeating other characters through subterfuge.
Any character can be targeted with a Scheme in accordance with the plans of the schemer. Each character can run one Hostile Scheme and one Personal Scheme at the same time but a character cannot be targeted by a Hostile Scheme and a Personal Scheme simultaneously.
Each month a Scheme has a chance of progressing one step, with the odds determined by the schemer’s Scheme Power and the target’s Scheme Resistance. Scheme Power and Scheme Resistance are based on the Skill relevant to the Scheme but are also affected by Spymasters, various modifiers and the schemer’s Agents. The closer the Scheme’s Agents are to the target, the more Scheme Power they add. Agents can be obtained for a scheme through the use of a Bribe or a Hook.
Once the Scheme finishes progressing it is executed with the current Success Chance and Secrecy:
- Success Chance determines whether the scheme is successful or fails
- Secrecy determines whether the schemer will avoid being discovered when the scheme is executed or not
A scheming character is protected from discovery while the Scheme progresses. Its Agents however are not. If an agent is discovered the entire Scheme is discovered, which significantly decreases its Success Chance.
Murder has as objective killing the target. Its Scheme Power is determined by the Intrigue attribute of the schemer and their Spymaster.
Seduction has as objective turning the target into a lover. Its Scheme Power is determined by the schemer's skill at seduction and that target's sexual preference.
Sway has as objective improving the target's opinion towards the schemer. Its Scheme Power is determined by the schemer's Diplomacy attribute. Sway Schemes do not use agents.
Characters acquire Secrets when they do something that is illegal or frowned upon. Secrets can be discovered by Spymasters. If a secret is discovered the character who uncovered it has two options. One option is to expose the secret, which will apply various negative effects upon the frowned upon target depending on how serious the Secret is. The other option is to use the secret as a Hook.
Fake Secrets and Hooks can be created with the Fabricate Hook Scheme.
A Hook is used to force the target to do what the character wants them to, such as accepting marriage offers, changing the Feudal Contract or forcing them to join a Scheme as an Agent. Depending on its Secret a Hook can be Weak or Strong. A Weak Hook can only be used once while a Strong Hook can be used multiple times with a cooldown. Having a Hook prevents a character from taking hostile actions against the one holding the Hook. Hooks are lost if the Secret they're used with is exposed.